we love bbq-ing.  especially when the weather is so nice like it is right now.  i don’t know what is going on in az right now but i like it.  we try to spend as much time outside as we can before it really starts to heat up.  if you’ve been over for a bbq then you know ivan really is the best.  he is constantly getting asked if he has a restaurant and why not?  i asked him to share a bbq recipe and some tips he has learned along the way.


prepare your meat the night before so it has time to marinade.

you can use whatever seasoning or spices you like. he typically does a wet rub on the meat.

wet rub recipe:

apple cider vinegar

olive oil

brown sugar

garlic salt

montreal steak seasoning

apple cider vinegar

olive oil


cocoa (dash)

tony chachere’s original creole seasoning

coat the meat with oil and vinegar then add the dry ingredients on all sides.  place in a bag, remove as much air from the bag as you can.  store overnight in the fridge.

in the morning he will start up the smoker.  he prefers to use a mix of mesquite and pecan wood, mostly pecan.  he smokes the meat for 3-4 hours at around 225, then places it in a deep pan and covers with foil and bakes it in the oven at 270 for another 3-4 hours depending on how tender you want it.


a few of his favorite cuts of meat are


cross rib roast- for shredded beef



pork shoulder- for pulled pork sandwiches

st. louis ribs

and of course his amazing bbq sauce completes the meat.  i couldn’t get him to share the recipe,  but come on over and grab a jar.  he’s always willing to make extra.






we went to the gilbert farmers market this morning.  i love showing the kids what fruits and vegetables look like fresh out of the ground.  carrots aren’t always perfectly straight and tomatoes aren’t always perfectly round.  they had a lot of fun checking out all the booths.



i had no clue that artichokes bloomed into beautiful flowers.  the color was so vibrant.  the nice lady at the market said if you don’t pick the artichoke it will bloom into this amazing flower, once they bloom they’re no longer edible.


after chores were done we decided to get a pretzel at qt.  i don’t typically eat gas station food.  as in i never ever eat gas station food.  except for pretzels at qt.  did you even know they have pretzels?  i didn’t until this past week when ivan got me one.  they’re delicious and the machine you order them on is so fun for the kids.  you can pick flavor, butter + salt, cinnamon sugar and a few others and then pick your dipping sauce.  a little bribery helps make chores a little more enjoyable and qt pretzels make us all happy.







we ended the night with dinner at houstons.  i can never decide between the french dip and the cheeseburger.  i got the french dip.  you can’t go wrong either way.  the ice-cream sundae really made my night!





i recently started running again.  i ran track in high school, i’ve run two half marathons and a handful of 5 and 10k’s.  i’ve never loved running, i only did it because my friends wanted me to and i was certainly never any good.  i don’t know that i can say i love it yet but i love the way i feel after.  i love the form of therapy it is for me.  i love that i’m a better mom + wife once i’ve cleared my mind.  i’m not fast and i’m ok with that.  i don’t run to compete.  i run to show my kids that its important to take care of yourself, to take time out for the things you enjoy.


i’m not a seasoned runner.  i don’t know why everything hurts after i run or why sometimes i get an awful stomach ache halfway through.  but i am lucky enough to have an amazing best friend jamie campbell, who happens to be the race director for the BMO Harris Bank Phoenix Marathon and coached cross country at mountain view high school for 7 years.  not only can she put together an awesome race, she’s run boston the past two years (the last being 10 weeks after having a baby!).  she’s fast, really fast.  she’s my go to for all things running and i was lucky enough to have her share some tips for beginning runners.


  1. Invest in a pair of running shoes. One of the great things about running is that you don’t need a bunch of equipment to do it. That being said, you do need a good pair of shoes. Don’t pull an old, ratty pair of shoes out of your closet from your high school track days and expect to have good results. The rule of thumb is to replace shoes every 300-500 miles. If the shoes are old, have lost their cushion or if you’ve been wearing them to the gym for more than six months, its time for a new pair. If you’re unsure about what shoe you should be running in, visit your local running store and get fitted. If you don’t live near a store that can fit you, stick with a neutral shoe, like this one Finally, lace you shoes up, snugly. If you are able to slip your shoes on, they’re not tight enough. Loose shoes will result in a lack of support and lead to injury.
  2. Stay Hydrated. Drinking lots of water will reduce muscle cramping, and help fuel your metabolism. At a minimum, drink 1/3 of your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weight 150 pounds, try to drink 50 oz. of water per day, more if you live in a particularly dry climate.
  3. Fuel- you’ll be burning extra calories when you run. Make sure you’re eating healthy carbs, and include extra protein in your diet to build muscle. Avoid eating too much before a run, and stay away from things like dairy prior to running.
  4. Get a running partner or join a running group. This will help you stay motivated and hold you accountable. Plus, it’s more fun to run with a friend!
  5. Have a goal, or sign up for a race. What are you running for? Speed? Weight loss? Overall health? Decide why you are running and the results you want. Running for weight loss is different than training for a marathon.
  6. Start with 20-25 minutes of running. Run out 10-12 minutes, turn and come back. Try to get a little farther each time, and don’t worry if you have to walk in the beginning. If you’re serious about running, invest in a GPS watch like the Garmin Forerunner 15 or Forerunner 220 If you don’t want to spend a lot of money, stick with a simple stopwatch or use your smartphone. One of my favorite apps is Strava. Check it out here:
  7. Gradually build your mileage. Just because you can go run eight miles doesn’t mean you should. The majority of injuries are a result of weak muscles (quadriceps). Your quads are crucial in walking and running and providing stability to your knee and hip joints. Give you muscles some time to build up and you’ll be less likely to strain other parts of your body.
  8. Listen to your body. If you are experiencing pain, you may need an anti-inflammatory and ice. Consider taking a break or cross training. If the pain persists, see your doctor.
  9. Your body needs time to rebuild your muscles, Consider a running schedule in the beginning like:
    1. Monday – run
    2. Tuesday – run
    3. Wednesday – rest or cross train
    4. Thursday – run
    5. Friday – run
    6. Saturday – rest or cross train
    7. Sunday – rest
  1. Invest in some running clothes. Technical clothes will reduce chaffing and wick moisture. Reward yourself for committing to a new healthy routine. And as my Cross County runners always say, “Look good, feel good, run good!”


these tips have helped me find a starting point.  i’ve been able to gain mileage fairly quickly and safely.  jamie put together a running schedule for me a month before the BMO Harris Bank Phoenix Marathon and i was able to run the 10k faster than i thought i’d ever be able to and finish without walking once.  it feels like a great accomplishment to complete a race and have your family cheering you on as you cross that finish line.



i had this dish in san fransisco over 8 years ago and instantly fell in love with it.  its so simple yet so delicious.  i like to pair it with a simple salad and bread + olive oil.



3 large tomatoes

1 log of mozzarella diced (or container of small round ball mozzarella cut in half) or brie with wax cut off

1/2 package fresh basil cut into strips

2 garlic cloves

1 package of angel hair or spaghetti (i love angel hair my husband doesn’t so we use spaghetti)

1/2 c. or more olive oil

salt + pepper


boil noodles according to package


in a bowl combine

diced tomatoes

basil cut into strips

finely minced garlic

salt + pepper

brie (if using mozzarella i like to mix all the ingredients including warm noodles then add the mozzarella last, it doesn’t melt as well as the brie does)


pour hot noodles over the top of tomato mixture

pour olive oil on top and combine

serve warm







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