A Simple, Easy Marinara Sauce!


If you read my post Marvelous, Moist, Meaty Meatballs then you are familiar with my Italian neighbor in Lugano, Switzerland. She is the one who taught me how to make these amazing meatballs. So, what’s a good meatball without an equally delicious sauce?

I always thought that a really good marinara sauce took hours and hours of stirring and simmering, stirring some more and simmering some more. While this is true in some scenarios, it was not true in my wonderful Italian neighbor’s repertoire of amazing sauces.


She taught me a very simple recipe for an absolutely amazing marinara sauce. If you start your sauce before starting your meatballs you will have an awesome pairing of sauce, meatballs and a side of pasta.

The trick to this sauce is simplicity, a little love and just the right amount of time to cook off the rawness of the tomato sauce.
Today, it reminds me of Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce but back then I didn’t even know who Marcella Hazan was. I wonder if my Italian neighbor did? I’m sure she did … she knew everything … she was just amazing! I hope I do her proud in passing on the wonderful recipes she shared with me during my incredible journey in Switzerland.
Okie doke then … let’s get to it we have meatballs waiting to be dressed!

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Marvelous, Moist, Meaty Meatballs!

When I was in Lugano, Switzerland, I had a small studio apartment and a lovely neighbor who was a fabulous Italian cook. During this time, I was. not. a. cook. She offered to teach me a few of her easiest dishes. I eagerly jumped at the chance!

Life couldn’t get much better. I was staying in beautiful Lugano, eating some of the finest food Switzerland has to offer and learning how to make a few of my favorite dishes! A total score!

I wasn’t always a meatball aficionado. However, I was dining at a small trattoria when I spied some very large meatballs floating on a serving tray making their way through the dining area. They smelled heavenly! I don’t know if it was the ambiance of the trattoria, the lovely view of Lugano or … was it … I actually wanted those meatballs? So odd for me, I usually go straight for the seafood never, ever the meatballs.


Needless to say, I ordered the meatballs. They were the most delicious meatballs I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing! They were huge! They were moist! Their flavors blended together in the most amazing way! They didn’t taste like meatloaf! I was super stoked!

Later that evening, my neighbor and I were chatting over a glass of wine. I told her of my meatball eating experience and asked if she could teach me how to make T.H.O.S.E meatballs. She smiled at me sheepishly and said T.H.O.S.E. meatballs are my meatballs. She went on to say that the mother of the trattoria owner was a friend of hers for years. Together they created a very popular meatball recipe which in turn was offered at the trattoria. Holy crap! I felt like I won the lottery!

She gave me a list of ingredients and told me it was market day in the square. Her instructions were to only buy the meats from one vendor and produce from another. These vendors offered the freshest meats and produce in the market.  She went on to say that if she were to teach me to cook, she would also teach me to use the finest ingredients available as it made a big difference in the outcome of the recipe.

Dutifully, I made my way through the market, raced to my neighbor’s and we got started on T.H.O.S.E Meatballs!
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Vacation Planning?! Cherokee, NC and Anthony’s Restaurant are Must Dos!

This is NOT a Sponsored Post. Opinions contained herein are mine.

Spring is in the air! It’s time to start planning our Spring and Summer vacation destinations!

Last Summer Mr. R and I spent a long weekend in Cherokee, NC. We had a fantabulous time!

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Mashed Potatoes w/Hard-Boiled Eggs Just Like Grandma Made!

Mashed Potatoes w/Hard-boiled Eggs
garnished with sauted Spring Peas

When I was a child I loved being in the kitchen with my Great-Grandmother and Grandmother. I would listen to them chatter about the neighbor down the road, how my Grandfather would make my Grandmother mad and the gossip they overheard at the market about someone or another.

They would chatter and giggle while peeling potatoes, shucking corn, snapping beans, preparing pots and pans for the evening meal never missing a beat. I loved to watch their hands flow through their work as if they, themselves, had minds of their own. When they were giggling about some gossip they heard that day, it seemed their hands would giggle too. When they would discuss how Grandpa made them mad their hands would move even faster. It was as though their hands knew exactly what to do.

I loved those days. My Grandmothers made me feel accepted in their matriarchal circle even though I was just a young female child. They would teach me how to prepare the produce they picked for the day and gave me instructions as to my next task, which was usually doing the dishes to prepare more room for the cooking. I didn’t mind doing the dishes, it made me feel like I was apart of the tribe.

How I wish I could just go back to those days and feel the love that penetrated that kitchen. My beautiful Grandmothers who taught me so much about life, love and most of all, kindness.

On one such day, my Grandmas were making a huge meatloaf for dinner. There were a lot of mouths to feed and a huge Meatloaf would be just the ticket. Every time they would make Meatloaf they would make Mashed Potatoes with Hard-Boiled Eggs. Ooohhh, how I loved Mashed Potatoes and Hard-Boiled Eggs!

I guess it goes without saying that every time I make Mashed Potatoes with Hard-Boiled Eggs for my family I feel like I’m back in my Grandmas’ kitchen listening to them chatter and giggle. It’s a beautiful, warm fuzzy feeling I hope to never let go of.

So, today I thought I would share my Grandmas’ recipe with you in hopes that it will bring you and your family a warm fuzzy feeling that can be passed down for generations.

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Visit Pho Viet, Columbia SC’s Truly Authentic Pho Restuarant!

This is NOT a sponsored post. The opinions contained herein are my own.

I am in love with Asian cuisine! So much so, that I could easily survive in any Asian country and not starve, LOL. However, this is one cuisine that I have not been able to master as far as culinary skills go. I try and try but it just does not taste the same as the restaurant version.

Mr. R will ask, “what restaurant would you like to go to for date night?” My answer is always and I do mean always, Asian. Anything Asian. Mr. R is not an Asian cuisine connoisseur. He looks at the menu as if it was actually written in an Asian dialect, scratches his head and asks, “So, what will I like?” My answer, pretty much not a thing except stir fry. He’s a meat and potatoes man and would certainly die of starvation in any Asian country… LOL

Unfortunately, he no longer asks me to pick a restaurant choice and we usually go to a local steakhouse which is our fav. I have decided to spare him from my Asian cuisine excursions and tend to venture out to new restaurants on my own at lunch time.

On this day, I chose to go to Pho Viet located in Five Points in Columbia, SC. I have been wanting to try this restaurant for quite sometime and I finally made it!
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Let’s Splurge! It’s Steak Oscar for Dinner!

I was at the market this weekend and felt like making something epic for dinner. There were quite a few sales but the grass-fed filet mignon just looked absolutely delish. So did the wild caught white shrimp. I decided surf and turf would be fabulous!

I don’t get a chance too often to make a big splurge at the market like this, but, life must be lived and good food must be included. Even if it’s an occasional splurge.

I decided on Steak Oscar. It’s one of my absolute favorites when I go to my local steakhouse! Mr. R was delightfully surprised with my choice as well. Brownie point for me!

This is not a classic recipe for Steak Oscar because generally it’s made with crab instead of shrimp. Have you seen the price of crab lately? Geezzz, I wanted to splurge but not go broke and using that awful imitation crab-like stuff was definitely not an option. So, shrimp it was …

You start with a good cut of beef, in this case, filet mignon. You grill it to perfection and top it with blanched asparagus, a yummy shrimp mixture with garlic, shallots, butter and white wine and the piece de resistance a lovely lemony hollandaise sauce. Oh my … my mouth in watering!

So let’s get started!

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Are You Disrupting Your Hormones? Things You Need To Know!

I am sure that by now you have heard about all the chemicals we are subjected to on a daily basis. Chemicals are in everything; our clothing,  our food, our cleaning products and our cosmetics.
However, did you know that these chemicals can also be hormone disruptors? Yes, hormone disruptors! As a woman going through menopause the last thing I need is disrupted hormones! Geezz… all that work at trying to keep my hormones balanced and a spritz of Windex can simply ruin it for the day!
Menopause is not my only motivation for eliminating as many chemicals as possible from my daily life though. I have a horrible genetic profile … Cancer runs through my family like water runs through a river.

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5 Emotions Necessary to Find Your Wings Again

Some women find themselves as empty-nesters, no longer having to focus on raising children, school projects or soccer practice. Some find themselves as grandparents with the joy of spoiling that baby and sending her/him home so Momma and Daddy can do all the parental worrying. Some find themselves in a state of loneliness, their lives feeling empty, not knowing how to NOT “caregive.”
Some women simply have forgotten how to truly focus on themselves. These women forgot that prior to marriage, children and adult life they, too, had dreams and goals they wished to accomplish. They forgot who they were, they set all their original desires and dreams aside to take care of their families. They simply forgot about dreams and goals.
Once a woman arrives at a point where her menopausal symptoms have been controlled and sanity returns, she begins to reflect on the aftermath of her life. She begins to discover the 5 emotions that are necessary to find her wings again.

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Do You Love Chocolate Cupcakes? This Is For You!


I’m not one who generally has a sweet tooth. Mr. R, absolutely! Me, not so much. There is also that promise about quitting sugar I made to myself 3 years ago. The good news! I have kept my promise. The bad news! I am not motivated to bake!

However, every once in a while Mr. R begs (read “pleads”) me to bake something, anything! A baker I am not, so I revert to my old standbys, Cookies or Cake. That’s about as good as my baking skills get, well, at least if you want it to actually be edible.

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Baby, I Refuse To Adult Today! I’m Thrilled To Be Coloring!

Have you heard about the newest craze? Adult Color Books! Can you believe it?!

When I was a child I would whittle away hours coloring. I believe this is where I was first bitten by the creative bug that I have carried throughout my life. After, growing out of the coloring phase of childhood, I took to painting in acrylics, doodling in my journals, all the way to creating my own embroidery patterns for my very stylish, hip hugger, bell bottom jeans. I may have looked like a giant flowering vine in those jeans but Hey! It was the 70’s and they were cool. I even had my rocker friends in bands want me to design their stage garb.

Here I am, a million years later, rediscovering my love of coloring.

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