the final word!

ladies and gentlemen, i am reporting to you live as the final presidential debate takes place between mr. donald trump and mrs. hillary clinton.  i have once again found myself out of town for this entertaining and informative viewing, this time coming to you direct from west palm beach!  i will admit that splitting my attention between blogging and listening is a bit of a task, but i will do my best.

in response to my previous post about the second presidential debate, my lovely friend courtney replied that i should enjoy the final presidential debate by enjoying chips and guacamole while listening to some billy joel.  well, ask and you shall receive!  as things at my client site wound down, i asked them for a good mexican restaurant recommendation nearby.  after a little mumbling and collaborating, torero’s authentic mexican cuisine was suggested.  only about ten minutes from the office, it was rightly a no-brainer for me.  with google map’s turn-by-turn directions in the background, i let billy joel serenade me along the way.  give me more of that “uptown girl”, i beg you!

anyway!  the breezy atlantic winds were blowing strongly this evening, so i requested a seat outside on the patio.  although the food was delicious (and i’ll get to all of it shortly), the service left much to be desired.  after seating me at my table, i wasn’t waited on for about 15 minutes.  eh, not the best way to start the dinner.  however, i caught up on all my social media feeds and e-mail inboxes so i wasn’t too ruffled about the delay.


it had been quite a day at the office, and with two more days on-site, i knew it was going to be a busy end of the week.  chips, salsa, and the large house margarita sounded like a bet i couldn’t lose, so that’s just what i started out with for my meal.

i took my time sipping on my beverage and snacking on some chips and eventually ordered, per courtney’s request, some guacamole.  i’ll be honest, the guacamole was less impressive than the salsa.  it’s not that it was bad; i ate the entire plate.  however, it wasn’t anything particularly special.  now, i don’t like to discriminate when it comes to guacamole because, let’s all be real, there’s not much better than avocados really any day of the week so i ate my dip contently.


as i finished up my appetizers, i asked for an order of the fish tacos because, you know, i was in florida and fish tacos sounded like a good idea.  unfortunately, after taking my order the waitress returned to tell me, much to my dismay, that they did not have fish that night.  well, alrighty then…since i was still in the mood for tacos, i ordered a chorizo taco and, per the waitress’ recommendation, a steak taco.  well, i’ll say that these tacos were the highlight of the meal.  the chorizo wasn’t too spicy but was quite flavorful and the steak taco wasn’t overly filling.  i’d absolutely order these two tacos again, but with so much else on the menu, i’m sure i’d try something else if i were to return here to dine.


so, with the end of this meal and this campaign on the horizon (and i know many of you are awaiting its close), i want to kindly thank everyone for participating in my campaign and debate journey in good fun.  i also want to say how impressed i am with the attention my peers are giving to this election, knowing that the outcome will affect our very near future very soon.  if you’re registered to vote, i encourage you to exercise your american right to make your voice heard.  let’s start the show!

the easiest dip ever

this past weekend phillip and i spent some time in dadeville, alabama visiting my childhood friend adam at his parents’ lakehouse.  at lake martin we lounged in the water drinking beers, took the jet ski for a whirl, ventured to chimney rock, and enjoyed the company of friends both old and new.  after this long day of relaxation and fun, we arrived back at the house hungry and lazy.  well, the dip that adam’s mom tina whipped up was the perfect appetizer for a bunch of hungry and lazy twentysomethings.  this recipe is so easy and so delicious that i insist you go out to the store, acquire all of the ingredients, and make it right now!

so, how easy is it?  let me tell you.

step one:  grab an 8-ounce block of cream cheese out of the fridge (no need to let it soften).

step two:  moosh that cream cheese evenly across the bottom of some kind of microwave-safe dish (i think a square or circle casserole dish would do nicely).

step three:  grab a can of your favorite chili.  with beans, sans beans, beef, turkey, whatever your taste buds desire.

step four:  evenly spread the chili on top of the cream cheese.

step five:  suffocate the chili layer with shredded cheese of your choice.  i prefer to put so much on that you can’t see the chili through the cheese.  true confessions:  i love cheese.

step six:  microwave your masterful creation for about 3-5 minutes, depending on how powerful your microwave is and depending on how melty you want the cheese.  we nuked ours long enough so that the cheese kind of bubbled around the edges.  mm.

step seven:  devour the entire dish without any regrets because you’re at the lake and it’s the weekend and that’s acceptable.

salsa – the number one condiment in america

recently phillip returned home with arms full of groceries from the local buford market for, you guessed it, taco night!  as everyone knows, no taco night is complete without chips and salsa, and phillip picked quite the winner with the herdez salsa casera.

this salsa is fresh and flavorful, everything you want in a little pre-dinner appetizer.  i mean, if you’re gonna fill up on chips and salsa, it may as well be the best stuff you can find!  this jar of condiment heaven is the perfect balance between chunky and liquid-y, if that makes any sense at all…?  i guess what i’m trying to say is that it’s kind of more restaurant style, and i think it is just divine.

also enjoyable is their verde salsa.  it was a great topping for my taco salad, and i’m sure it would be a great addition to a plate of enchiladas or maybe even chimichangas.  heck, dip your quesadilla in it, too!  the possibilities are endless!

i mean, as long as you don’t get your salsa mixed up with your seltzer, you’re good to go!

aunt helen’s balls


okay, folks, before we get started, i have to confess that i am in no way related to this aunt helen.  my aunt cindy, who is my actual aunt from my dad’s side, has a friend cheryl.  aunt cindy and cheryl play bunco together, and it is cheryl’s aunt helen who is the originator of this recipe.  it took a quick phone call to actually find out that information, and now we know!  this simple appetizer is a solid recipe to have in your box and is a good base for something even more amazing.  maybe try it with some finely chopped asparagus or some green pepper/red chili mix.  my first though was bacon because as we know, just like puppies, bacon makes everything better!

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honey teriyaki appetizer

last week i got caught up in the flurry of an online recipe exchange – how exciting!  i had received a honey teriyaki appetizer dish from our good family friend mary b., and with so much free time over the holiday weekend, i roped my mom into giving it a try with me.

maybe you should give it a try, too?  go on!  flex those cooking muscles, ya beast!

okay, i’ll stop.  you know how i cannot help getting carried away at times.

wait, carried away?

i get carried away, by the look, by the light in your eyes, before i even realize the ride i’m on, baby, i’m long gone”  “i get carried away, nothing matters but being with you, like a feather flyin’ high up in the sky on a windy day, i get carried away

ha!  gotcha!  i couldn’t help myself.  who doesn’t love indulging in some classic george strait?  that’s right.  EVERYONE loves indulging in classic george strait.

okay, i really will get down to business with this recipe so that you can enjoy it.

did you say “get down to business?”

let’s get down to business to defeat the huns”  “did they send me daughters when i asked for sons?”  “you’re the saddest bunch i’ve ever met, but you can bet before we’re through, mister, i’ll make a man out of you

okay, OKAY!  i really, really do promise that’s the last of it.  at least for you.  this show in my mind is 24/7.  ah, to be so lucky…


8 ounces of cream cheese, very softened

1 – 1 1/2 cups of shredded chicken (you can also chop it if you need to save a little time; don’t worry, the chicken doesn’t know if it’s shredded or chopped, so i promise it will taste the same)

*also!  this chicken can either be a rotisserie you picked up from the grocery OR you can poach/boil the chicken yourself.  it will really depend on what’s available and how much time you have.

garlic powder

shredded carrots (the recipe calls for shredded, but we only had matchstick carrots on-hand and found those were a great choice because their crunch held up; just personal preference)

coarsely chopped dry roasted peanuts

chopped green onions

honey teriyaki marinade (just look for a bottle of this stuff in the international aisle of your grocery store)


for a few hours, marinate the chicken in some of the honey teriyaki marinade (not marinate, for marinate is the verb and marinade is the noun; the more you know!).

mm, marinated chicken.

mm, marinated chicken.

grab a greased glass baking dish (a 9 x 13 will do, or something a tad smaller; you don’t want an 8 x 8, though, for that won’t be enough space) and spread the cream cheese out on it.  sprinkle with the garlic powder.

all i want to do is put raspberry jam on it and eat it with a bagel.

all i want to do is put raspberry jam on it and eat it with a bagel.

add ze chicken.


now, at this point you can take this dish in one of two directions.  direction one is to serve it warm.  direction two is to serve it chilled.  i will detail both directions so that you can wisely make a choice.

direction one (warm)

on top of the chicken, add the carrots and peanuts.

drizzle on some more honey teriyaki marinade.


pop the baking dish into a warm oven for 15 minutes to get everything warmed through and slightly bubbly.  be careful, though; you don’t want to burn that cream cheese.

top with the green onions and serve with crackers.


direction two (cold)

on top of the chicken, add the carrots, peanuts, and green onions.

drizzle on some more honey teriyaki marinade and serve with crackers.

whether you prefer direction one or direction two, the dish is going to be a hit.  now, as a cream cheese lover, i am always in favor of more than less, but the 8 ounces the recipe calls for here is just perfect.

mom recommended throwing in some water chestnuts, which are another one of my favorites.  i totally understand that they have zero flavor whatsoever, but that crunch is just so delightful!

finally, if you don’t want them on a cracker, we decided it would be just as delectable in a lettuce wrap, either for an appetizer or an entree.