My Visit To #Strawberryland {Recipe}

 This is a sponsored post in collaboration with the CA Strawberry Commission. All opinions are my own. 

Farm Tour in Santa Cruz - header                                         

I was recently invited on a Strawberry Farm Tour, to learn more about strawberries and farming. I’m a huge strawberry fan, and already eat as many strawberries as I possibly can, so you know what my answer was… heck yeah I’ll go! 

DID YOU KNOW that nearly 90% of U.S.-grown fresh strawberries come from California, with more than 1.7 BILLION pounds being harvested annually? California strawberries are grown by hundreds of family farmers, who are passionate about producing the sweetest and healthiest strawberries in the nation. 

Due to our rich, sandy coastal soils, western ocean exposure and moderate temperatures, California has the perfect combination for a year-round strawberry growing season. More than four hundred family farmers grow strawberries on approximately 40,000 acres from Orange County, all the way to the Monterey Bay. With a 12 month growing season, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy CA Strawberries each & every day of the year…no excuses!

logo-4 We’re all trying to eat better these days, and I’m no exception. I was happy to hear that California grows more organic strawberries than any other place in the world. Woot-Woot! Not only that, but CA farmers have invested more than $13 million dollars in research and sustainable farming practices to reduce pesticide use and environmental impacts. For one particular insect, the lygus bug, strawberry farmers are working with a bug vac, a series of hoods with fans that fit over the beds, mounted on the front of a tractor, to suck the insects off of the plants and fruit. It’s like a big bug vacuum cleaner! 

After spending some time in beautiful Santa Cruz, CA- it was time to head to the strawberry farm. We boarded the bus, headed to Watsonville, CA. 

Rod Koda, Strawberry Farmer in Watsonville, California

Rod Koda is a third generation strawberry farmer in Watsonville. Rod, and his wife, Gwen, took over the family farm in 1985. Their farm, Shinta Kawahara, was established when Rod’s grandmother-in-law started growing strawberries in 1959. The Kodas continue to farm both organic and conventional strawberries on more than 27 acres along the Monterey Bay coast. Here he is, with his daughter, Joanna, explaining his planting philosophy to us. Watsonville_blogger_event_1353

A dedicated farmer and family man, Rod enjoys working on his equipment and spending time with wife and three children. Rod has a bachelor’s degree from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Farmer Rod is such a likable man, he’s passionate about his strawberries and wants to deliver the best possible product to us, the consumer. He showed us all around his farm, and introduced us to all the different strains of strawberries he grows. (My favorite was the Albion!)                                          Watsonville_blogger_event_2024 When it was Q & A time, I knew exactly what I wanted to ask him. “What about GMO’s?” I was overjoyed when Farmer Rod told me they do NOT use GMO’s. There are no genetically modified CA strawberries commercially grown & shipped … YAY! 

DID YOU KNOW eight strawberries contain more vitamin C than an orange. Low in sugar, with only about 50 calories, strawberries are a great source of fiber, folate and potassium. Strawberries help maintain a healthy heart, boost memory and may lower the risk of developing some types of cancer. Eating strawberries more than twice a week appears to delay cognitive aging by up to 2.5 years! I knew strawberries were good for you, I just didn’t know HOW good for you, they’re a Superfruit! 

Watsonville_blogger_event_1727 I had a blast out in the fields, seeing where my strawberries come from, and how they’re grown, I learned so much from Farmer Rod and appreciate the strawberries on my table that much more.                                                Watsonville_blogger_event_1883 Farmer Rod isn’t the only talented one in the family, his wife, Gwen, makes a mean Strawberry Granola. She was kind enough to give me the recipe, and I’m sharing it with all of you!  

Farmer's Wife Strawberry Granola

Farmer's Wife Strawberry Granola
Delicious granola made with fresh CA Strawberries.
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3 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup cashew pieces
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt
1/3 cup honey
3 tablespoons (packed) brown sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup assorted dehydrated strawberries
Preheat oven to 300°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Mix first 7 ingredients in large bowl. Stir honey, oil, and brown sugar in saucepan over low heat until smooth and not grainy.
Pour honey mixture over oat mixture; toss. Spread on prepared sheet. Bake until golden, stirring every 10 minutes, about 40 minutes. Place sheet on rack. Stir granola; cool. Mix in fruit.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 week ahead. Store airtight.
This Mama Can Cook
 Next post, I’ll share all the yummy food we ate while on the tour…stay tuned!


Professional Event Photos, taken by Bob Durell from Robert Durell Photography, thanks to Chaminade Resort & Spa for hosting us, and to The Lobos Truck for our delicious lunch after the tour. Many thanks to Farmer Rod Koda and his family, and of course, the The CA Strawberry Commission. 

Luscious Cream Cheese Pound Cake Recipe {Giveaway} #HamiltonBeach #NielsenMassey

I’m a Hamilton Beach Ambassador & was provided a product to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own. 


Summer is a great time to do some baking. I don’t know about you, but my family is very busy/active in the summer, which means they get extremely hungry. They’re always rummaging around in the kitchen, looking for something yummy to eat… and they’re always requesting I bake them something sweet. 

I’d been wanting to bake a pound cake for quite some time-just hadn’t gotten around to it. When Hamilton Beach sent me this beautiful 6-Speed Stand Mixer, I knew just what I’d make first! (Isn’t she a beauty?!) 

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Hamilton Beach Stand Mixers save time & energy and are built to handle even the thickest batters. Here’s a bit more info for you: Dimensions (inches): 11.89 H x 8.66 W x 13.59 D 

  • Same mixing action as KitchenAid® stand mixers
  • Mixing action gives complete bowl coverage
  • Powerful 300 Watt motor
  • Better mixing than 2-beater stand mixers
  • 3 attachments offer mixing versatility
  • 6 speeds and special fold setting
  • Stainless steel 3.5 quart bowl
  • Includes flat beater, whisk and dough hook
  • Mixing head spins as it rotates completely inside the bowl
  • Tilt-up head lifts out of the way for easy bowl access
  • Nonslip feet  
  • As I was preparing my grocery list, to get all my ingredients, I received one of those ingredients in the mail! Nielsen*Massey sent me a bottle of their Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract, one tablespoon equals one vanilla bean. (In other words, this is the good stuff!) 
     I couldn’t wait to use my new stand mixer & vanilla, game on! 
     photo 1-001 
    This Pound Cake has cream cheese in it, which all but guarantees it’s gonna be delicious… my cream cheese fans know what I mean!
    Here we go: Cream together 1 1/2 cups butter and 1 8oz pkg cream cheese. 
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    Next, slowly add in 2 1/2 cups sugar, mix well.
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    It’s time to add your eggs, one at a time- 6 total. Add an egg, then mix, making sure egg is completely blended in before adding the next one.
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    The time had come to add our Nielsen*Massey Vanilla! Yay! You’ll need 1 teaspoon. 
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    Add in 1/4 teaspoon salt next.
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    Blend them both in. Now add 3 cups flour, SLOWLY and one cup at a time. (Look at my Hamilton Beach 6-Speed Stand Mixer doing all the work!) 
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    My batter looked so light and fluffy and smelled so good! I just wanted to dip my finger in it… but I didn’t! 
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    Time to pour the batter into your greased & floured baking pan. 
     photo 3-002 Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 60-75 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the center of the cake, if it comes out clean, cake’s done. Let the cake cool for 10-20 minutes, then remove it from the pan. Once it cools done some more, you can decorate it however you like. (I added my whipped cream to the top a bit too early… and it began to melt).
    I dusted the top with some powdered sugar, added some whipped cream & mixed berries. I love the way it looked when I was all done! photo 5-002
     Here’s another pic, then we’ll get to my FANTASTIC GIVEAWAY!   
        SONY DSC
    One last pic! 
    Ahh, the cake was delicious, the vanilla is the finest I’ve ever used & my Hamilton Beach 6-Speed Stand Mixer worked like a Boss! Now it’s time for one of my readers, yeah YOU, to win this mixer & a 2 oz bottle of vanilla! Thanks to Hamilton Beach & Nielsen*Massey! Good luck everyone! 
      HB Ambassador 1

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My Miami Culinary Food Tour Experience!

I was invited to participate in a food tour while visiting Miami, FL. All thoughts & opinions are my own. 

I was in Miami recently, for a conference. While there, I took part in a food tour, courtesy of Miami Culinary Tours. It was my first food tour & I’m hooked! If every tour is as good as the tour I had of South Beach, sign me up! See that lady right there? She was our tour guide, her name is Mirka & she ROCKS! photo 5-001

First stop was Bolivar Restaurant, where we sampled the freshest Ceviche I’ve ever tasted! The Empanada was yummy too! photo 3-004photo 2-002photo 1-003 When we were done with our ceviche, we gathered up our belongings (cameras!) and headed out the door to the next stop. Miami Culinary Tours are all walking tours, you will be out & about for roughly 2 hours. All the stops are located near each other- so no worries. Next up, Manolo’s On The Beach, for something sweet! photo 4-004photo 1-005 We were treated to THE BEST CHURRO EVA! Can you say Dulce-de-Leche Churro! OMG! It was warm and soft, the filling was heavenly, you just don’t know! photo 2-005photo 3-005photo 1-006 I will never be able to eat an average churro again! When everyone finished, we raced each other to the exit, eager to see what Mirka had in store for us next. We weren’t disappointed, as we entered Habanos Restaurant, for a taste of authentic Cuban cuisine. photo 1 Cuban Sandwiches were on the menu, and Mama liked!  We were told a great Cuban sandwich begins with great homemade bread. That delicious pork can’t hurt either! photo 4photo 5

 As you can see, Miami Culinary Tours are packed with food. They’re also packed with tons of Miami history, Mirka shared historical tidbits with us as we walked from place to place. You ready for our next stop? Let’s go…photo 4-007 The Tides Hotel, on Ocean Dr., is beautiful inside! photo 2-006photo 3-006 And they welcomed us with ice cold Mango Margaritas! photo 1-007photo 2-007  After we’d finished our drinks & cooled down a bit (it was a little hot out), it was time to say goodbye to Tides and hello to Blocks Pizza Deli! We watched as they prepared healthy, organic pizzas. photo 5-009 photo 1-009 We weren’t there for pizza though, nope, we got to sample their Vegetarian Pockets! Pesto, feta cheese, tomatoes, olives & spinach… bring it on! The Sun-Dried Hippie had big, bold flavors! photo 2-010photo 4-010 It was now time for the last stop on our South Beach culinary adventure. Who wants gelato?! The best gelato in Miami can be found at Milani Gelateria! And this place is cute! It’s located on Espanola Way…where there’s plenty of outside dining at numerous restaurants.  photo 1-011photo 5-011Here’s Milani, look at those ice cream cone tables & chairs! I told you it was cute! photo 1-012photo 3-012 As cute as it was outside, INSIDE is where all the magic happens! That’s where you’ll find the Spinning Wheel of Gelato! (Yes, it really spins!)photo 1-013photo 3-013 Milani prepares their gelato from scratch, each & every morning! I loved it! 

I also LOVED my entire Miami Culinary Tour! Thank you to Mirka and the whole gang- you made this woman a believer in walking food tours. Heaven help the next tour I sign up for, because I’ll be comparing them to this one! 

Until next time, Miami! Te Amo!photo 4-012

Fruit Paletas Made With Almond Milk {Recipe}

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser.

Do you know what a Paleta is? Paleta is Spanish for Popsicle! They are usually made with fruit, and they’re great for summer! I’ve made paletas with everything from coconut milk to fruit juice. I recently started making my Paletas with almond milk, I like the benefits of almond milk and Silk Almondmilk is the one that tastes best to me. I like making these for my kids, and using healthy ingredients is the key to a great paleta! #silkalmondblends #shop

When I lived in Arizona, there was a little paleta shop right up the street from my job. They had every paleta known to man in that tiny space. Going in there was always a thrill, because you never knew what combo the shop owner would come up with next! That’s the thing about making your own paletas, anything goes. You can add as many, or as few, ingredients as you’d like. You can also blend all your ingredients together and then freeze them. (I’ll make some of those for you next time!)

For these particular paletas, I kept it nice & simple-using ingredients I know my kids will eat. I knew it was going to be hot, so after a trip to the post office, I swung by Safeway & picked up everything I needed to make my delicious treats. First up, was my Silk!#silkalmondblendsBlend_Van_248x565AlmondCoconut_Uns_248x565 

Silk Almondmilk Protein + Fiber has 50% more calcium than dairy milk, it’s a good source of protein & fiber, an excellent source of vitamin E, has no cholesterol or saturated fats & is GMO free. It’s also free of dairy, lactose, gluten, soy, casein, egg & MSG. Silk Almond Coconut Blend has the exact same benefits, but with only 35 calories! They’re both free of artificial flavors & colors. 

Next, I picked up the fruits I’d need, and some mint. #silkalmondblends #shop Slicing the fruit is the first step. Careful with that knife!#silkalmondblends #shop Once the fruit is all cut up, place it in your popsicle molds. Combine the fruits any way you want- you got this! #silkalmondblends #shop When you have the your molds filled with fruit, the next step is to pour in the Silk Almondmilk! (I made 2 paletas with Almond Coconut & 2 with Protein + Fiber.) Watch out, this part can be a bit messy! #silkalmondblends #shop Now, put the tops on them and place them in the freezer for a few hours. (These paletas do not have any added sugar, just the sweetness from the fruit.)#silkalmondblends #shop When they are completely frozen, remove from the freezer. You may need to run them under some warm water, to get them to slide out of the mold. They should look similar to this: #silkalmondblends #shop#silkalmondblends #shop Looks pretty tasty, don’t it?! Yep, I knew you’d agree! (The ones made with Almond Coconut are whiter in color.) I’ll leave you with one last pic… #silkalmondblends #shop

I hope you’ll try my Paletas! Let me know what you think, if you do!




Belgium Waffle Recipe & #HamiltonBeach SoftScrape Hand Mixer #Giveaway

I’m a Hamilton Beach Ambassador & have been provided a mixer to facilitate this review & giveaway. No other compensation has been provided. All thoughts are mine. 

photo 1 

Y’all know there’s nothing better than a home cooked breakfast made with L-O-V-E to get your day started off on the right foot. My family enjoys sitting down to a big breakfast every weekend, it’s our special time. During the week, we’re not all able to sit down and eat breakfast together, so we make up for it on the weekends. One of the most requested breakfast entrees in this home, would have to be waffles! We all like eating them & I like making them… from scratch of course! Making my Belgium Waffles is even easier since I now have the SoftScrape 6 Speed Hand Mixer with Case from Hamilton Beach.

Hamilton Beach® Hand Mixer handles are designed for control and comfort, and the unique Bowl Rest™ feature allows the mixer to sit on the edge of the bowl to eliminate messy drips. A special QuickBurst™ button provides a quick boost of power and can be used for tough tasks at any speed. With the Soft Scrape™ Hand Mixer, I can mix without having to constantly stop to scrape the bowl…that’s because its unique Soft Scrape™ attachments thoroughly incorporate ingredients as I mix.

Cooking and baking are so much more enjoyable when you have all the right tools! Don’t you agree?! 
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Now, back to my Belgium Waffles! My recipe is simple and easy to follow, which I like. I’m always changing it up & adding different ingredients, so feel free to adjust it to your liking. I believe anything goes when creating recipes- just experiment until you get it right. I like to add cinnamon to my waffle (and pancake) batters, because its good for you and it gives the finished products a little something extra. photo 5photo 2 

Butter is a MUST for my waffles, they just wouldn’t be the same without it. REAL butter, not that artificial stuff. I wish I could bottle up how good the house smells when these waffles are baking! It’s divine!

photo 3 

Once they’re done, there’s nothing left to do but drizzle some syrup over them & enjoy! Here’s the recipe:

Belgium Waffles
Yields 8
These delicious Belgium Waffles will have you asking (begging) for more! Easy to make, you'll never need another waffle recipe... ever!
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2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs (separated)
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl.
In a separate bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks and then add the milk, butter, cinnamon & vanilla. Mix well.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and blend well.
Now beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form & fold into the batter.
Bake in your preheated waffle iron until done.
You can garnish with strawberries, like I did, or use whatever you like. Enjoy!
This Mama Can Cook


 HB Ambassador 1

18 & over, U.S. resident, winner has 24 hours to respond to email notification- or new winner will be chosen. Good luck!

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TWIX® Berry Delight Dessert, Perfect for Father’s Day! {Recipe}

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for #CollectiveBias and its advertiser. #EatMoreBites 

#shop #EatMoreBitesTo me, nothing screams summer like fresh berries. I love buying (and growing), organic strawberries and blueberries for my family. I also love creating yummy recipes using these fresh ingredients. What goes better with strawberries than chocolate? If you ask me, I’ll say nothing!

I decided to whip up a yummy dessert, something light, with a twist. I ran over to Walmart to pick up a few things, I had an idea, and once I get an idea in my head-watch out! All the menfolk in my life love sweets, so I’m constantly trying to think of new & innovative desserts for them. Sometimes, I’ll take an old favorite and mix it up a bit… that’s what I did with my TWIX® Berry Delight! I headed to the candy aisle, because the chocolate I needed for this recipe was TWIX® Bites!photo-528 I grabbed a couple bags of TWIX® Bites and headed to the produce section for all my yummy fruit. Ingredients for this one are simple: TWIX® Bites, strawberries, blueberries, whipped cream, cream cheese and jello! Oh and sugar, but not too much. 

In my mind, I could taste the TWIX® Bites and berries combined & it was divine! Wait, have I mentioned the coupon? Y’all know I’m a frugal shopper & if there’s a coupon out there, I’m gonna find it! Like the one below, just click on the pic to get it!   2539_21mars_wmt_CB-Bite-Assets_vB-300x157

Thanks to, you can also save $1.00 off any 2 Mars Brand Bites, 2oz. or larger. Includes TWIX®, 3 MUSKETEERS®, MILKY WAY® Simply Caramel, MILKY WAY® & SNICKERS®. I just love saving money, don’t you? 

So I get home & start putting my plan into action, first thing I needed to do was crush up my TWIX® Bites. #shop #eatmorebites Once that was done, I packed it all down in my 9×13 baking dish, to form the crust. #shop #eatmorebites You’ll notice I didn’t pulverize it, I wanted to keep it kinda chunky- I wanted that chunky texture! Next, I popped it in the oven (400*) for 7 minutes.  OH! Grease your pan- please! #shop #eatmorebites It came out of the oven all ooey-gooey… and smelling so good! Let it cool completely. Make the cream cheese mixture & spread it onto the cooled crust. #shop #eatmorebites#shop #eatmorebites#shop #eatmorebites Now, prepare your jello mixture, add the fruit, and once it has thickened up a bit-pour it over the cream cheese layer. #shop #eatmorebites#shop #eatmorebites#shop #eatmorebites#shop #eatmorebites Look at all that yumminess! I love it! Y’all want a close-up, don’t cha?! #shop #eatmorebites  And how about a side view?! #shop #eatmorebites Yes, Lawd! Give me mine right now! But wait, it’s not quite finished yet, gotta put it in the fridge for a bit. How about a few more pics of the finished product?!#shop #eatmorebites#shop #eatmorebites

Yep, this one’s a keeper. The men in my life are gonna love this Father’s Day treat!

Here’s the recipe. 

TWIX Berry Delight
This delicious dessert will become a family favorite. Easy to make & OH SO YUMMY!
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
7 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
7 min
Total Time
1 hr
2 - 7oz pkgs TWIX Bites
1 8oz pkg cream cheese
3/4 C sugar
1 C whipped cream
1 6oz pkg strawberry jello
2 C sliced strawberries & blueberries
Crush all of the TWIX Bites, put them into a greased 9 X 13 baking dish. Press down on them to form a crust.
Heat oven to 400* and place baking dish (with TWIX Bites) into oven. Bake for 7 mins.
Remove dish from oven & allow to completely cool.
Place cream cheese, whipped cream & sugar into a mixing bowl. Mix until well blended.
Spoon cream cheese mixture onto cooled TWIX Bites crust, spread evenly.
Mix jello with 2 cups boiling water, stir until jello is dissolved.
Slice strawberries and put both strawberries & blueberries into jello mixture.
Allow jello to sit & thicken up a bit.
Once thickened, pour jello/fruit combo over cream cheese layer- spread evenly.
Put baking dish into fridge for 30-45 mins, or until jello has firmed up.
Enjoy with a dollop of whipped cream & additional fruit for garnish!
This is a great dessert for potlucks and other get-togethers!
This Mama Can Cook

BlogHer Food ’14, Are You Ready For Me?! {Miami!}

I’m up packing my suitcase for Blogher Food ’14! This will be my first time attending the conference, and I’m so excited!! It’s in Miami this year.

I can’t wait to share all the fun stuff with y’all when I get back. I’ll be going on a Food Tour of South Beach while I’m there… going to try everything they put in front of me!


When I get back, first thing I’ll do is post my GIVEAWAY for that fabulous Hamilton Beach Hand Mixer I have waiting for you! Then I’ll be posting about all the delicious Miami food in the weeks that follow.

See ya soon! 


Where ‘Ya Gonna Eat In… Downtown Atlanta, GA? Ray’s in the City, of course! #ATL

This is not a sponsored post in any way, shape, or form. I made my own reservations, paid for my meal & Ray’s has no idea I’m writing this. All opinions are mine. 

I recently shared a great place to eat in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, now let’s take it to the Dirty South… shall we?! photo 5

While on a recent visit to the #ATL, I had the pleasure of finding Ray’s in the City, located in Downtown Atlanta. 


From their website: “Ray’s in the City is the quintessential Downtown Atlanta restaurant. Enjoy hand-cut steaks, made-to-order sushi and seafood flown in daily from the Atlantic and Pacific all in a casual, yet elegant setting. From exceptional service and entrée recommendations to wine pairings, our friendly and knowledgeable staff are committed to providing you a truly memorable dining experience.”

My dining partner & I were seated in the Peachtree Room, which has panoramic city views of Peachtree St. 

footer-inthecity photo 2-001 We started dinner off with an appetizer. I’m a Texas Girl, so I went with a bowl of Seafood Gumbo. It was very tasty, but I couldn’t find the seafood. Have your kleenex handy, it’s got a kick to it! photo 5-001 Next up, my Field Green Salad, which included blue cheese, candied pecans, dried cranberries, & roasted onion balsamic dressing. This salad was delicious, I couldn’t get enough of it! Excellent! photo 2 It was time for me to order my entree & I was thrilled to see Oysters on the menu! The menu says Fresh Shucked Oysters, but I prefer mine fried… so I asked if they’d fry them for me & they said sure. Yay! photo 3 Look at them beauties! I also ordered some mashed taters, Whipped Yukon Gold Potatoes, to be exact. Oh Em Gee! I love me some mashed taters & these were like butta! photo 1 It was a huge portion too, I guess that’s why they’re called Sharable Sides. (For the record, I was not able to finish them). How about another Fried Oyster shot? photo 4 I was in Heaven eating those oysters, they were everything! I ate them nice & slow-savoring each & every bite. After dinner, we were both way too full to order dessert, but I’m sure it would’ve been yummy. Oh, I almost forgot to mention the live music- Ray’s has live music most nights after 6PM. 

I highly recommend this restaurant, if you are in Downtown ATL, you gotta stop by and check ‘em out. photo 3-001photo 1-001 

Ray’s is located at 240 Peachtree St. NW Atlanta, GA 30303
Monday to Saturday : 11AM-10PM. Sunday 11AM-9PM

Live Music Wednesdays – Saturdays  6PM-10PM




Travel & Conference Season Is Upon Us, What’s On Your Feet?! #tieks

 Vacation  season is right around the bend, soon folks will be packing their suitcases & heading to fabulous destinations worldwide. For us bloggers, that also means conference season is upon us. I know you try to pack as light as possible, but please don’t neglect your feet!SONY DSC

We all want to look cute, and pack footwear that may not be the best for traveling. I’m talking about all those pumps & stilettos in your carry-on bag! If you plan on doing any sightseeing-please do your feet a favor and pack some comfy shoes. High heels ain’t gonna cut it, I’m sorry.

Let me tell you a little story. Once upon a time, I went sightseeing in Washington, DC, after attending a conference. A few of us ladies decided we wanted to see the monuments on our last night there. No problem, right?! WRONG! I didn’t have any walking shoes with me and wore what I’d been wearing during the conference. Big mistake! By the end of the night, after all that walking- my dogs were toast! They were tore up. I had blisters on my toes, heels & bottoms of my feet. My heels were bleeding, this was some serious pain. 

Next morning I woke up & could barely walk- I swore then, never again! Now, I make sure to pack comfy shoes anytime I travel, even if I don’t use them-at least I have them with me.

I recently bought some Tieks, my first pair actually! I’ve wanted some for ages, but didn’t want to spend the money for them. I’m a very frugal person, but I realized that I’m Worth It! I save money in every way possible, shop clearance racks, use coupons, buy from the thrift store, utilize rebates… you name it! Sometimes, you just gotta splurge & buy something for you that isn’t on sale.  Take a look at my new shoes! 


Even the packaging is darling! These are the Cardinal Red Tieks. Tieks are Ballet Flats, each pair is handmade from the finest Italian Leather-it take three days to make one pair. securedownload-5securedownload-7securedownload-4 

Tieks are known for their Turquoise bottoms: securedownload-6 

I’ve worn this pair a couple of times (I’m trying to keep them looking new for my next conference!) and they are quite comfy! I was concerned that they might dig into the back of my heels, but that has not happened. 

So remember, you can look cute and be comfortable at the same time. Don’t sacrifice comfort for cuteness, when you can have them both – your feet will thank you. 

I’m excited to see where my Tieks will take me!



Grocery Outlet: A Frugal Mama’s Dream Come True! {GIVEAWAY}

I was provided gift cards for the purpose of this review & giveaway. No other compensation was received & all opinions are my own. 

If you’ve been reading my blog, y’all know how I love to save money and all about my frugal ways. People are always asking me how I can afford to buy the things I buy or take so many trips. The answer is simple: I look for bargains… and have I got a doozy for you today! Allow me to introduce you to one of my money-saving secrets: Grocery Outlet.Header1_BC-001 

Maybe you’ve heard of Grocery Outlet before, but have never actually been inside one. Maybe you aren’t sure if shopping Grocery Outlet is right for you- are you crazy?! First, let me show you some photos of the brand new Grocery Outlet in Palo Alto, CA. I was honored to be invited to their recent Grand Opening. photo 2-002photo 3-002 

Looks nice, doesn’t it? That’s because it IS nice! This Grocery Outlet is absolutely beautiful, inside & out. Forget any preconceived notions you might have about “warehouse” grocery stores. This isn’t the 70′s-things have changed, this grocery store is just as modern, if not MORE modern that most I’ve been to. They carry great brand names in groceries, frozen foods, refrigerated items, housewares, health & beauty products, fine wines (Yes, they have wine!) and much more, all at extremely low prices. If you need it, chances are you’ll find it at Grocery Outlet… and you’ll pay much less for it than at your regular grocery store. Let’s take a peek inside, shall we? photo 3-001 

I bought a 5lb bag of potatoes for $0.99… that’s NINETY-NINE CENTS!

Say what?! Huge containers of Miracle Whip for $4.99. photo 4 photo 1-001 

The prices at Grocery Outlet are fantastic- I could not believe what I was seeing. These aren’t sale prices, these are their every-day-low-prices! I could post more examples…and I think I will!

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You need dairy? You’ve come to the right place…photo 5-001 

You need meat? Look no further…photo 4-001 

Wait, what’s that you say? Do they carry Organic? Why, yes, yes they do! photo 5 photo 2

I’m sure by now, you get the idea… Grocery Outlet carries a wide range of items, all of them priced so low, it’s like Christmas Day to a bargain-hunter like me. 

How Do They Do It?

Grocery Outlet buys surplus overruns from major brands, and can then sell the items at 40-70% below avg market prices. That means great savings for me & you. It also means they may not always have the same items in the store every week. I’m gonna tell you how to get the most bang for you buck at Grocery Outlet.

Make your grocery list and go to Grocery Outlet FIRST. Find as much of your list there first, then whatever they don’t have, buy from your regular grocery store. If you find something you use a lot of, STOCK up on it. With prices this low, it may not be there next time. 

I was given a $50 gift card to spend at Grocery Outlet. Here’s what I was able to purchase: photo-520 Not pictured are a bag of Keebler cookies that my oldest was munching on when I took the photo. I bought 36 items, for $50. Bertolli, Chobani, Kraft, Dole, Degree, Bird’s Eye, Van Camps, Chicken of the Sea, Honey Maid, Dove, Betty Crocker, General Mills… these are brands we all know & love. photo 1-002photo 5-002photo 4-002 

Are you ready to try Grocery Outlet for yourself? I know once you see how much money you can save, you’ll be hooked, just like me! 

I have two $25 Grocery Outlet Gift Cards up for grabs! There will be 2 winners, each receiving one GC each!


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