Monday, January 28, 2008

Chili Recipe

I am not sure if Chili can be considered haute cuisine, but it sure is comfort food that can keep any man happy. Try this Chili recipe for cold days, game days or the Super Bowl. Coming home to a warm homemade dinner is just another day in a Euro style life.

Chili Chili

2 pounds ground beef or ground turkey (browned and drained)

1 large onion, chopped

1 large can (28 ounces) of diced tomatoes, with liquid

1 can (8 ounces) tomato puree

1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, with liquid

1 can of black beans, without liquid

2 cans (4 ounces each) diced green chilies, with liquid

1/2 cup of water

1 teaspoon of minced garlic

2 tablespoons of chili powder (or more if you like it spicy)

2 tablespoons of Tabasco sauce (or add individually to servings when done)

salt and pepper to taste.

Combine all ingredients in greased 4 1/2 to 6-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on high 2-3 hours or on low heat 4-6 hours. Serve in bread bowls or serve with tortilla chips or cornbread. Makes 10-12 servings.

Garnish with sour cream, chives and grated cheddar cheese.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Are you a Branché girl?

Branché means trendy in French. Branché is also the name of my jewelry collection. There are a lot of trendy girls out there strutting their Branché jewelry. If you are one of them, I'd love to hear all about how you wear your jewelry, where you wear it and compliments you've received from wearing it. You can also include comments and suggestions for new styles and pieces you'd like to see. Click on the link marked "comments".

Visit to see more of my jewelry collection and you too can say "Oui, I am a Branché girl!" Naming necklaces after people is one of my favorite things to do. And who knows, maybe the next Branché neckalce will be named after you!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Lake Arrowhead, California

There are times when a weekend get-a-way is all you need to get a little R&R. We decided to head for the mountains and enjoy nature. Lake Arrowhead is about an hour and a half from Los Angeles and about half hour from Big Bear Lake.

We selected a Bed & Breakfast in Lake Arrowhead called the Storybook Inn. This small B&B has 10 rooms all themed after storybooks. One highlight is their spectacular views because of their location on "the rim of the world". The house was built in the 1940's and later was converted into a B&B. While the house could use a little TLC, we found our room to be quite comfortable. Breakfast in the morning includes eggs, sausage, toast, fruit and other breakfast items. The Storybook Inn generously offers evening hospitality with your choice of complimentary wine or soft drinks. You may also choose to have your complimentary beverage at dinner in their restaurant.

Of particular interest is the restaurant located on the premises called Eligio's. Open Wednesday-Sunday, Eligio's offers Italian cuisine and an Italian chef from the north of Italy. We ate dinner there each night during our stay and were not disappointed. Prices range from $14-$25 per plate and all entrees come with soup or salad. We received above expected friendly service offered by the chef's wife and daughter. The restaurant is popular among locals not only for the fantastic cuisine but also for the view of "the rim of the world". Be sure to make reservations and request a table with a view.

The B&B along with great food and an amazing view make for a romantic weekend without putting much thought into it. Whether you are going skiing for a day or staying the weekend, be sure to stop by Eligio's for a wonderful dinning experience. Maybe it's not the Swiss Alps but with a delicious Italian dinner, it's just another day in a Euro style life.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Toscana Soup Recipe

Nothing can bring comfort to the soul like a great bowl of soup on a cold rainy day or to ease symptoms of the flu. Try this simple recipe for a healthy and comforting dinner. If you try the soup recipe, I'd enjoy hearing your comments. Please post them for all to enjoy!

Toscana Soup

1lb uncooked Hot Italian sausage links (note: the spicier the sausage, the better the soup. You can also use turkey sausage.)
1/2 chopped onion
8 strips of bacon diced
2 garlic cloves minced
4 c water (or replace with all chicken stock)
2 cans (14.5 oz) chicken broth
3 cups potatoes
3 cups sliced spinach or kale
1 cup of heavy whipping cream

Remove sausage casing. Cook sausages fully. Drain. Cut into bite-size pieces. Saute onion and bacon until onion is tender. Add garlic; saute for 1 minute so that garlic doesn't get bitter.-add water, broth, and potatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 20 min or until potatoes are tender. Add sausage, spinach (or kale), and cream to soup; heat through but do not boil. Yield: 3 quarts

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Colmar, France

France has much to offer to the experienced tourist. While the city of Paris remains one of my favorite places in France to visit, I hope to introduce my readers to various parts of France that are not so commonly known. Or if they are known, they are rarely visited because they are away from the major cities.

One city takes the cake on European charm, Colmar, France. About 30 minutes from Strasbourg is this little city referred to as Petite Venise because of it's narrow canals resembling Venice. It is also the capital of Alsatian wine.

Colmar became an imperial town in the 1200's. During the Thirty Years' War, the city was taken by Sweden in 1632 and had possession of it until 1634. The city was conquered by France under Louis XIV in 1697.

Colmar seems just the place to escape the busy city life or hectic schedule of the tourist traveling from one city to the next. One can take in the sights, go wine tasting and take a boat ride down a canal. You can also purchase handcrafted goods from the local artisans of this region.

Colmar is the place where tourists go to experience old Europe. It is a very unique city in the sense that it is greatly German influenced. One of the best times to visit Colmar is during December during their Light Festival. The entire town is lit up with twinkle lights. This adds to a nostalgic feel and to the village's storybook charm.

Whether it's your first time to Europe or yet another stamp in your passport, take the time to visit this storybook romantic city of lights and tiny canals. Who knows, maybe you'll be inspired to write the next folk tale to last centuries.