Guess What I Found in the Cheese Case?


I just love cheese … don’t you? I was at Trader Joe’s this weekend perusing the cheese case when I heard a young boy, maybe 8 years old, speaking to his Momma in French. French is a non-fluent, stumble through second language of mine. My curiosity peeked as I stood there pretending I wasn’t listening. Don’t judge me. There aren’t too many people in Columbia, SC who speak French.


This young man was helping his Momma pick out a suitable cheese for the evening table. He went on to tell her that what he missed most of France were the cheeses. The United States didn’t have too many good choices. I saw that this young man would become a cultured gentlemen with a solid knowledge of all things cheese. He loved it as much as I do.

In search of a new cheese to try myself, I was subtle but very attentive as to what he would choose. Suddenly, he became very excited and that’s where I lost him. He was so excited he was speaking much faster than I could comprehend. So, I faked my perusal of the cheese case to gain a few minutes. He pulled out this interesting looking package. The package read Délice de Bourgogne. Huuummm, interesting and a cheese I have never had the pleasure of sampling.I waited for them to move on with their shopping so I, too, could make an exciting cheese purchase. It was a soft-ripened, triple cream cheese much along the lines of a good Brie. I made my purchase and tallied home.

That evening, I made a charcuterie platter using the Délice de Bourgogne and paired it with marinated olives, artichoke hearts, smoked salmon, Sumo mandarin oranges and a sliced baguette. All I can say is C’est Magnifique!

The Délice de Bourgogne was creamy, fluffy and smooth like butter. At first taste, it was like a very light blue cheese, then a hint of mushroom, a slight smoky taste with a subtle sweet finish. Man, Oh, Man. I was in love!

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Caution: Men are Victims of Menopause: It’s All Their Fault


We all know that entering Midlife can be a difficult experience for women. It can also be difficult for men as well. Mostly, because they are the victims of the women in their life. #Truth

As history goes, men tend to age with grace. Their salt and pepper hair can be attractive for some. They are settled into their careers and aren’t put on the “Oh! He’s Over 50 List” when searching for a new career or advancement in their current position. To be fair, men do go through a period called andropause  but it is a much slower process than the typical menopause that women experience. Andropause is different than menopause, simply stated.

As a result of this, I have come to the conclusion that men are put in a tail spin when having to deal with their menopausal spouses. They do not understand why the woman they have known and loved for the last 20 years have all of a sudden become a raging lunatic. They don’t understand why their spouse has no filter when spewing everything he has or has not done in the last 20 years. Men don’t understand the solitude their spouse so desperately craves. Hot flashes, fatigue, depression, lack of confidence and self esteem. Nope, men are baffled. Do a Google search on menopause. You will see more comments from men who simply don’t understand, are confused, or they drag their women to the closest doctor for meds because they think she has simply lost her freaking mind.

Well, Gentlemen, this is for you! There are only two things you need to realize. You will either SINK or SWIM.
Your spouse is going through one of the greatest changes of her life. This change is a natural, biological occurrence that she has no control of. It’s not like she has a choice. Trust me, women would certainly choose NOT to go through menopause.  This is the worst time and the best time of her life all wrapped up in a hot, soggy, tearful and frantic mess of a human being.
So, you ask, “What the hell am I to do, then?” My answer to that is:
  • You can get all pissy and leave this page; or
  • You can drop the MANitude and continue to read further;
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    A Journey In To MidLife: How to Find your Wings Again Part Four


    After surviving the insanity of menopause and addiction, the grief of losing my Momma and Sister, I was left feeling confused and kind of lost. Well, definitely lost. My world went topsy turvy. It was the worst rollercoaster ride of my life. I used to love rollercoasters but not so much these days.

    Menopause leaves us feeling unworthy, guilty, questioning our every move, every word we speak. It leaves us questioning ourselves and the world we live in. We don’t feel sexy or attractive, in fact, we feel the complete opposite. We feel like we have morphed into our Grandmothers over night. We begin to loathe the wrinkles, the belly bloat, the gray hair and the very existence of ourselves.

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    Oy! It’s the Tomatillo! Biggest Zinger in the World!

    Reminder: Public voting for Round One begins TOMORROW and runs until March 21st! If you think my entry is worthy, I’d appreciate you following this link and voting for me! This is gonna be soooo awesome!

    Oy! I’m starting to work on my recipe for Round Two of the #Chopped Home Challenge and in my basket I find:

    • Sargento® 4 Cheese Mexican Blend
    • Corn tortillas
    • Tomatillos or store-bought salsa verde
    • Chicken thighs
    Well, the ingredients sound simple enough except … the tomatillos because you know I’m not going for the store bought salsa verde. I’ve never, ever used a tomatillo. For some reason, they intimidate me. I know, right? Snarky, crassy me is intimidated by a fruit! This simply cannot be so!
    So on with my researcher hat and let’s get to work. Wikipedia defines the tomatillo as follows:

    The tomatillo (Physalis philadelphica), also known as the Mexican husk tomato, is a plant of the nightshade family bearing small, spherical and green or green-purple fruit of the same name.

    Tomatillos originated in Mexico and were cultivated in the pre-Columbian era.[1] A staple of Mexican cuisine, they are eaten raw or cooked in a variety of dishes, particularly salsa verde.

    And also states:

    Tomatillos were domesticated in Mexico before the coming of Europeans, and played an important part in the culture of the Maya and the Aztecs, more important than the tomato.[2] The specific name philadelphica dates from the 18th century.

    Wow! They date back to the 18th century. How cool is that. Now I’m totally curious …
    I did a Google search for some ideas and pretty much got one million and one ways to make salsa verde, which I happen to love. But, this is a #Chopped Home Challenge! I have got to get creative!
    I also read:
    • They tend to be mushy when fried,
    • You have to really be careful if you roast them,
    • To eat them raw just sounds gross to me, and,
    • You’re pretty much stuck making salsa verde
     I’m screwed! This is #Chopped! I really wish I had a Hispanic friend that has all her Abuela’s old world recipes right now, I really, really do!
    But, alas, my Hispanic friends don’t really know how to cook and if they do it’s pretty much Mexican-American. I’m not opposed to Mexican-American but, people, this is #Chopped we’re talking about. I’m on the verge of stalking Hispanic customers at the market to pick their brains about tomatillos. Pray for me…
    Stay tuned while snarky Mrs R goes head to head with the illustrious tomatillo. Game on!

    Reminder: Public voting for Round One begins TOMORROW and runs until March 21st! If you think my entry is worthy, I’d appreciate you following this link and voting for me! This is gonna be soooo awesome

    Do you have an old family recipe for tomatillos?

    See you in the comments,



    Mrs. R’s Awesome Tater Tots! They Will Make Your Taste Buds Tingle!


    Homemade Tater Tots are one of my favorite ways to eat potatoes. They remind me of the warm, fuzzy feelings of childhood. But, these Tater Tots are sooo much more than the frozen kind I had as a child.


    The recipe is pretty straight forward using simple, basic ingredients but they can be a bit labor intensive if you’re feeding a large family. Because of this, I usually make them when I’m batch cooking on a Sunday. They freeze really well and come in very handy for a busy weeknight dinner.


    One of the things I love about making these Tater Tots is the recipe can have so many variations. You can add cheese, or green chilies, pimentos and finely diced onions the list is endless. You can very easily tweak the recipe to fit your family’s palate. The kids, well, they will love you for it!

    I always start out using organic russet potatoes. Why, you ask? Well, potatoes are a very heavily sprayed crop. The pesticides are not only on the surface but actually inside the potato itself. This is due to potatoes being a root vegetable and root vegetables absorb the run off of the pesticides being sprayed. Therefore, there is no way to wash the pesticides off. This is another good reason to make your own as the frozen varieties are usually not organic.

    So let’s get on to the recipe:

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    A Journey In To MidLife: How to Find your Wings Again Part Three

    I started researching menopause and natural ways to combat the 34 symptoms I was experiencing.  I found very, very little information and started to become discouraged until I came across @Hystersisters . Not only was I excited to finally be able to get some tried and true information, it was exciting to not feel so alone! Eureka! I’m normal!
    Information in hand, I set out my game plan:

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    A Journey In To MidLife: How to Find your Wings Again Part Two

    After going through this traumatic entry into midlife I knew something had to change. I just wasn’t quite sure what kind of change had to take place. You see, I looked to my Hubby and basically started there.  I felt he was the one who had to make a change. He had to start looking at me through a different light, right? After all, I’m a different woman than the one he married 19 years ago. He had to accept my differences, my quirkiness and it all started with him. I felt he had to “handle” me differently than before.

    Now don’t get me wrong, Mr. R is a wonderful husband, friend, father and provider. He was my island! I felt if I let one foot off the island my whole world would fall apart. He cried with me, held me, picked me off the floor when I couldn’t get up, supported me and, most of all, never stopped loving me. Even though I knew there were times when he wanted to sell me to the highest bidder just to get a break from me and my midlife. I knew he wouldn’t get much for me. A basket of cherries yields a much higher price than a basket case. Am I right?

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    A Journey In To MidLife: How to Find your Wings Again

    Part One
    Midlife has not come easy for me and I’m sure there are a lot of you who can relate to that. However, after getting over the threshold, I made a promise to myself that if I do nothing else in life I will help make a difference in other lives.
    I’m going to share a few of the issues that I faced while entering midlife:


    First, I was a business owner who, in the throes of The Great Recession, was faced with closing my business which took me 8 years of hard work to build. No Bueno!

    Second, my only child was facing a very horrible addiction at that time. As a mother, I worked hard and long, cried and screamed, loved and lost to save my only child.

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    I Fear the #Chopped Kitchen!!



    Public voting for Round One begins on February 29th and runs until March 21st! If you think my entry is worthy, I’d appreciate you following this link and voting for me! This is gonna be soooo awesome!

    I’m very excited to announce that I am participating in the #FoodNetwork #Chopped Home Challenge this year!

    I love cooking and have dreamed of becoming a chef with my own restaurant. However, when I think about the 18+ hour days in a hot, steamy kitchen I have to step back and say “no, thank you”. I can blissfully enjoy cooking in my own kitchen, blogging my recipes, success and failures and be just as satisfied, especially at this age.

    That is why I decided to participate in the #Chopped Home Challenge, it’s the modern day equivalent to submitting a recipe into Taste of Home Magazine but waaaay better! To win the #Chopped Home Challenge would be like winning the blue ribbon, a vindication of my culinary talent. To be able to participate in a cook off at the #Chopped kitchen would put me over the top but I totally fear the “televised” portion of this win. I’m not the most graceful, politically correct kinda of woman. I’m a little loud, crass and sometimes pretty snarky. What if I’m consumed with fear and freeze up? Or forget how to cook? Or trip on my own two feet? Or have something fly out of my mouth that was totally inappropriate? Or have it be the most exciting thing I have ever done on my culinary journey!!!

    I decided to pull up my big girl pants and have it be the most exciting thing I have ever done on my culinary journey. Just get on with it, don’t over think it … after all, I haven’t won yet but I’ll never know if I don’t participate, right?

     My Round One: Comfort Food recipe is …. {drumroll} …..

     Today I present to you a savory French crepe stuffed with melted #Sargento sharp cheddar, caramelized leeks and mushrooms, thinly sliced braised chicken thighs topped with a cauliflower puree and finished with parsley and sriracha for a little added heat.

    The sweetness from the leeks and mushrooms, the creamy lemon tartness of the cauliflower puree, the salty goodness from the chicken and cheese marries very well with the sriracha sauce. It’s an explosion of salty, sweet, tangy and heat all in one bite!

    The crepes were handmade using in a traditional French recipe, the leeks and mushrooms where slowly caramelized in butter and brown sugar. The chicken thighs were seasoned and browned, the pan was deglazed with red wine, I added chicken stock to the pan and braised in the oven on a low temperature. The cauliflower was sauteed in butter until soft then blended with salt, pepper, milk, cream and lemon zest until creamy.

    Public voting for Round One begins on February 29th and runs until March 21st! If you think my entry is worthy, I’d appreciate you following this link and voting for me! This is gonna be soooo awesome!
    I will update this post for each of the 3 rounds with my recipe entry and public voting link. So please make sure you follow Simplify Life with Mrs R for all the updates!

    Have you ever entered a recipe in a contest and came out a winner? I’d love to hear your stories!
    See you in the comments,

    I Hate Kale … There I Said It!



     I know, right! This is a very bad statement especially coming from an advocate for green living. But, truth be told, I have tried to develop a loving relationship with the nutrient dense Brassica oleracea. I have eaten it raw, sauted, in soups and stews, juiced, in smoothies, braised and bruised, all to know avail. I still hate kale. It’s just simply a fact in my green living life.
    Until one day when I had a house guest staying with me. Being the gracious hostess, I always make sure my guests have some of their favorite things to make their stay more homey and comforting. On this particular day, my guest requested kale chips. Gaaaaawwwwd! Kale of all things … are you kidding me {insert eye roll here}! So, I diligently ran to the market for fresh, organic kale because just buying a few bags of ready made kale chips would be way below my standard of hosting.
    So here I am standing in the kitchen holding my arch nemesis, talking to it under my breath and reiterating my dislike. I have read many recipes for kale chips. They all seem pretty straight forward. The key, just don’t burn them to a crisp. Okay, I got this, burning things is never on my culinary agenda.

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