Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Chop Chop, Baby!

Many, many years ago, when my husband Gary was working for a Computer Software company in Newport Beach, he 'discovered' this new resturant across the street from his office. It was called 'California Pizza Kitchen', and he raved about it CONSTANTLY. Seriously. I think the during the years he worked in Newport, he ate at CPK an average of 3 times a month for lunch! Funny thing, the only thing he would order (and still does) was 1. the Thai BBQ Chicken Pizza, and 2. the Chopped Salad. He would regularly lament that he would love to eat the Chopped Salad at home, if I could find a recipe.  {sigh,...poor Dad}}

Now, this was about 16 yrs ago, looooooong before *I* discoved the Internet, and even longer before that wonder of 'Google'. Fast forward to about 5 yrs ago. Another visit to CPK (where he STILL orders the same 2 items!), and I came home determined to re-create that dang Chopped Salad. So...turn on computer, bring up Google, enter 'CPK Chopped Salad Recipe' and Viola! (that is Whaa-laa, lol) I FOUND IT !! At first glance, it seemed a bit daunting,...but upon closer inspection, realized the half the ingredients were for the dresssing, and all items in my cupboard. Yeah!

A few days later, I made the Salad for the first time....SUCCESS!! I actually tasted BETTER that the CPK version...(maybe because it was sooooo much cheaper doing it myself) ! We have this salad regularly in the warmer months, along with sourdough rolls. Yum Yum !
A couple of notes - 1. Don't add the tomatoes to the Salad, serve them on the side. This way, if there is leftover salad, you can bag it up for a day or two and it won't get soggy.
2. Feel free to change the amounts of lettuce, meats, and cheese to your own taste. As it is, this makes a HUGE bowl of salad, enough for our family of 8 for dinner. You might not want that much.
3. At least DOUBLE the dressing recipe. One recipe of dressing is not enough for all this salad. Don't change the dressing recipe...it is pretty much perfect as is. It is also VERY strong, and zesty!

All that said, here is the recipe, copied from RecipeZaar. I'm also including the link, if you want to print it from the site.  http://www.recipezaar.com/recipe/California-Pizza-Kitchen-Chopped-Salad-112979


1 teaspoon garlic, minced
2 teaspoons shallots, minced
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/3 cups olive oil, mild flavored
3 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 head iceberg lettuce, chopped into 1/8 inch wide strips
1/2 head romaine lettuce, chopped into 1/8 inch wide strips
12 leaves basil, chopped into fine strips
3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup garbanzo beans
4 cups tomatoes, seeded and diced
3 cups turkey breast, diced (i'm trying this is grilled chicken breast)
1/2 cup salami, cut into thin strips
2 tablespoons scallions, chopped


For salad, toss together the ingredients in a large bowl and chill in your refrigerator.
For dressing, whisk together ingredients in a small bowl and chill for an hour.
Just before serving, toss dressing with salad and serve on small individual plates.
Can serve 4 for a main dish or 8 for small side salads.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Fast Five for Friday !

Guess it's been a couple of weeks since I last posted. {sigh} The only excuse I have...it's been a BUSY time of year. (i get so tired of the word 'busy', anyone have other words I can replace it with??) April was full of BBQ's and Birthday Party, and MAY is Crazy Birthday Month, plus Mother's Day (ahem!)and TONS of school activities. Crazy Busy. Yep!

1. Last week was Steph's Sweet 16 Birthday Party, followed by her actual 16th Birthday this last Tues (May4th) Have I mentioned that HALF of my 6 kids have May birthdays?? Hmmmmm, wonder what that says about us?? Anyway, we had a SUPER FANTASTIC FUN PARTY, lots of friends, family, food and presents! Photo is Steph, on the left (wearing Jenni's old Prom dress) and little sis Cami at the start of the Party.

2. Jenni started a homebased business this week, making Vintage style belts and hairwear. Her FB fan page is: Jennifer Elizabeth-Vintage Belts and Hairwear . She is already super busy with orders, and happily keeping trying to keep up with them. She also does custom items, so get in touch with her if you are looking for cute and unique belts and hair goodies.

3. I'm having a VERY Last Minute Mother's Day Special on Baked Goodies! Check out my NEW FB fan page for the info : Cakes n Crumbs - FB Fan Page . All orders must be in my dinner time today, with goodies available for pickup tomorrow (Sat) evening.

4. Speaking of Birthdays...tomorrow is my #1 Oldest Son's 28th Birthday !!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY GARY ALAN !! (or G2 as I shorten his name) Wow, so if he is 28, then I must be....about 42???  Yea, I wish. I was only 20 yrs old when I had Gary Alan,...I feel like we kinda grew up together, ya know?? We even had a period of time when he was a young teen that people thought we were sister/brother. I loved it, Gary...not so much, haha! Gary is a Great Son, a Caring Oldest Brother to his 5 younger brothers and sisters, and a VERY talented Musician/DJ/Entertainer! How many of you know he is a Highly Trained DJ?? Or that he was in Show Choir in high school?? Yep, I'm PROUD of my boy. OH, and he has the CUTEST, BESTEST Girlfriend in the world !! Love you Son!  (photo: Gary on the left, doing this thing, Mike acting as 'Security', at Steph's party)

5. Waiting...waiting...waiting.....We (my husband Gary and I) are not-so-patiently waiting to hear about a couple of jobs he has interviewed for. One was from 2 months ago...they still haven't made a decision, the other is from interviews this week. They are 'supposed' to be getting back to him by the end of this week to see if he goes to the next round. Asking for PRAYERS and GOOD THOUGHTS please...I'm really trying to keep my Faith and Hope going, but it's so hard. Any additional help would be great. Thank you so much, we will let everyone know when he gets the job! (trying to keep positive here, lol!)

Off to do a bit of Costco shopping, and see what other trouble I can get into this beautiful Friday in SoCal ~!
HUGS, Linda

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Let them Eat Cake !

Since I have a few minutes of free time, and access to the laptop, i thought I'd post a few pics from the Wedding. ('The Wedding', lol) The first one is the actual Wedding Cake. Jenni pretty much left the design up to me,...I knew she wanted it kinda 'rustic' to go with her Vintage Garden theme. And it had to have the birds and branches. We also wanted it BIG, cause it needed to make a statement. (not sure what the statement was, maybe 'This is one stinkin' BIG cake' ??) This was what I came up with, and I was pretty pleased with the results. And it was VERY easy to decorate, lol. The sizes and flavors were:
12" round - Styrofoam (fake)
10" round - Chocolate and Vanilla cake, with Snicker Bar Mousse filling
8" round - Vanilla cake with Pineapple filling

The 2nd photo is of the Dessert Table. It included 5 seperate 10"round cakes, and platters of homemade cookies. Many thanks again to Angie Jones (no relation, but should be!) for her YUMMY cookies! The cake flavors were:
1. Chocolate Cake with Fudge filling
2. German Chocolate cake
3. Carrot Cake with Pecan Cream Cheese Icing
4. Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese icing (no nuts)
5. Red Velvet cake with Cream Cheese icing

All together, there was enough cake for 200 servings. My beloved husband Gary kept saying that he bet that HALF the cake would be left when the reception was over. Yea, right. Guess what?? There was NO CAKE leftover!!! Except that styrofoam layer, but that doesn't count ;) Can I just say..."In your FACE Gary!" hahaha!

Warning! Shameless Business plug coming...if you are shopping around for a wedding cake for an upcoming wedding, please give me a call! I do tradional tiered cakes, Dessert cakes, (like the 5 on the table) Money saving Sheet cakes, and Cupcakes! I can help you design the perfect Cake for your reception. Many flavors to choose from, all homemade and yummy!

Happy Eating! Linda

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Howdy Ya'll!

We's a fixin' to have us a BBQ fundraiser to get Miss Stephanie Jones on a Millikan High School Choir Trip to San Francisco! We'd appreciate it if 'n yew could come support her at the "Jones Family BBQ Joint" on Saturday, April 17th!

Vittles: Pulled Pork or Beef Brisket(BBQed by Pa), Potato Salad, Baked Beans, Coleslaw, & Ice Cold Lemonade! We'll also have a kids vittles menu with BBQ Chicken and Mac n Cheese.
Delicious desserts made my Ma will be available at extra cost.
Tickets: Presale only - $10 per adult, $7 per student, $5 fer kids under 10 yrs. old
The BBQ is Saturday, April 17th from 4-7pm, wif seatin’ every 30 minutes.
Come to the back yard at 2290 Canehill Ave for yer Authentic Southern BBQ !
We do take out!

Please contact Miss Stephanie at (562)370-7026-cell or(562)594-0059-home to purchase tickets and reserve yer seat!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Carrot Cake for 7 ? or 9 ?

Just in case you've been hiding under a rock for the last few months, and didn't hear, Jenni and Phil got Married last week!! HORRAY!!! YIPPEE!!! It was everything we could have wished for. The weather was beautiful, and Bride and Groom were stunning, the Reception was a TON of FUN, and they newlyweds had a fun and relaxing honeymoon in Aruba. (yea, i'm jealous)Jenni is so cute, she keeps posting things on FB like, "I'm a Wife!" and "I'm Married". Yeah, now the REAL life begins. lol

I'll post some photos of the Wedding Day once we get them back from the Photographer. (AnDrea, who was AWESOME by the way. And my dear friend KC as 2nd shooter!) Jenni looked Gorgeous in her Ivory wedding dress, and the Reception was decorated so cute and fun! My girl did a GREAT job with her theme, and I think the guests enjoyed all the little details that she put so much time and effort (and $$) into. And all the amazing people that just stepped right in and helped,...WOW! You all know who you are, and I've already (tried) to thank most of you, but I have to say again, THANK YOU SOOOOOO MUCH! I have simply AMAZING Friends!! In a perfect world, we would have been able to pay to have all the reception taken care of, but since we don't live in a perfect world, we had to do almost ALL of it ourselves. And it was such a great help having all the help and support and last minute donations available to us. A few people I want to give a 'shout out' to:

My AWESOME Samoaan Mother-in-law, Sefiti - 90% of the dinner! And Father-in-law Clois for his BBQ skills!
My sister-in-law Cyndi - Kitchen Helper Extrodinaire!!
Angie Jones - the YUMMIEST cookies ever! (the ONLY thing I ate at the reception, 2 of her Snickerdoodles)
Colleen and Tina - Last minute Fruit delivery, yea!
Tami, Liz, and Cari - my cake cutters/servers. I started to help with the cake cutting, but got distracted. These ladies did it ALL. AMAZING!
TAMI again, for her help that same day in getting the food ready. She followed my directions PERFECTLY!
My sister-in-laws, Rhonda, Angela, Krystal - Food helpers, great job!
My (future daughter-in-law?) Linda N - you rocked at cooking Eggrolls! haha, wink-wink!
My #1 SON Gary Alan for his awesome Skills as DJ. He rocked the house!
Sooooo many more people that I can't remember, THANKS !

So anyway...now that Jenni is gone, should it be 'Carrot Cake for 7' or since I gained a Son-in-law, 'Carrot Cake for 9' ??? LOL!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Just Keep Swimming...

I think that will be my mantra for the next 8 days. Yep, only 8 days to go until THE WEDDING! Wow. 2 thoughts..."where did the last 4 months go?", and..."HOLY MOLY, I have alot to do!!" I'm thinking a 'List of Lists' will work well for today, and maybe help me get my activities and thoughts for the next week into some sort of order. (this idea is from my Utah friend Sophia)

TEN things I need to do this weekend:
1. Go to Distribution Center today with Jenni to buy clothes
2. Stop at cake decorating store for a few things
3. Finish Carrot Cake to donate for Los Al ward's Silent Auction tonight
4. Make a "Splenda" German Chocolate Cake for a customer. (good luck with this, my first time using Splenda)
5. Pick up my Wonder Drug prescription from Costco
6. Finish editing some photos
7. And put those photos on a CD
8. Prepare YW lesson for Sunday
9. Go to Newport Beach Temple tomorrow for Jenni's endowments!
10. Teach YW lesson on Sunday

NINE places I will go this weekend:
1. Newport Beach Temple
2. Distribution Center
3. Jenni's apartment
4. Costco
5. Out to lunch tomorrow??
6. New Moon release party at Borders. Not.
7. Grocery Store
8. Church
9. Wherever kids need to be taken to

EIGHT things I hope I can get family members to do so I won't have to:
1. Fix toilet seat in bathroom
2. Clean the stove
3. Clean the Microwave
4. Clean the Bathroom
5. (do we see a pattern here??)
6. Clean Kitchen Floor
7. Laundry
8. Vacuum

SEVEN things I need to purchase:
1. New Toilet Seat
2. Cake Box/Board
3. Underwear
4. Big Cute Tote bag
5. Large Ziplock Bags
6. Plates/Napkins/Cups/Cutlery, etc for 200. (this is Jenni's)
7. New WELCOME mat for the front porch

SIX things I need to BAKE or COOK:
1. Red Velvet Cake (for wedding)
2. Chocolate Chip Cookies (for wedding dessert table?)
3. Sugar free German Chocolate Cake
4. Waffles for Sunday dinner
5. Pork Roast in the Crock Pot
6. Big Batch of Spagetti sauce

FIVE people I am GRATEFUL to:
1. Tami Mallett
2. Liz Jimenez
3. Loni Wilkenson
4. Jessica Brimley
5. Verlin Youd

FOUR things I'm looking forward to:
1. Jenni's reaction to the Temple tomorrow
2. The headbands and necklaces being made for me and my girls
3. Lunch out tomorrow?
4. Hearing about Gary's hopeful//possible JOB

THREE things I'm feeling right now:
1. Anxious
2. Detirmined
3. Nervous

TWO things I wish I had MORE of right now:

ONE last thought:
I'm SO so so so GRATEFUL for all my wonderful friends and family and all the help and support they've given us the past few months. (even the last year!) Hope to see all of you at the WEDDING and/or RECEPTION next Sat! (but I still expect you to help with setup and decorating the Woodruff Building Thurs and Friday. Really. lol)

HUGS to all!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

SNOW DAY(s) !!

Hi Gals!

I've been busy, busy this week, getting ready for our Stake YM/YW Snow Trip! I'm 'privledged' again this year to have been asked to be the COOK for this little trip. I must admit, so far it's much easier this time, since I'm using the same menu that we used last year. Still had my shopping list! So, if you have any teens, (or adults) going, here is what they will be eating:

Dinner- Homemade Chili, with Cornbread, and Veggies w/ Ranch Dressing
Dessert- Fresh Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies (i premade 10lbs of cookie dough)
Breakfast - Pancakes, Bacon, Fresh Fruit, Milk, Juice (maybe eggs for a few special people)
Lunch - Hot dogs, (chili dogs if there are leftovers) Chips, Fruit, Lemonade
Snack - Granola Bars, Fruit

See, no worries, plenty of yummy food...no one will starve!

Ok, I promise to get caught up blogging next week. Maybe a few recipes, definitely a BAKING SPECIAL (can you say LEMONS, again?!) and BIG, HAPPY news on hubby's Job Search!! I'm off, see ya in a few days!
Hugs, and Happy Eating...and Fun in the Snow!