New Meal: Julia Child’s Entree & Dessert

It’s another weekend, which means, another inspired meal by Julia Child.

First things first…I went to Sur La Table and got a few things I needed:

  • 9 1/2 inch cake pan
  • 1 Medium Glass Mixing Bowl
  • 10 inch Balloon Whisk
  • Icing Piping Bag & 10 tips
  • Chocolate Wafers


After taking a nap, Saturday, it was time to start on the meal.

Instead of doing dinner first. I decided to start with dessert.

Yes, dessert. A second chance at making Julia Child’s Butter Spongecake. But this time, I wanted to make sure I do the eggs right.

Let me just say, I give props to ALL home bakers before the KitchenAid was invented. I had to have been whipping egg whites for almost an hour or so, but I got it. Soft peaking before adding sugar and stiff peaking after you add sugar.

The cake came out better than the first time, although, third time is a charm. I still need to find cake flour which I think will be better than any substitution.

Now, it’s dinner time.

For dinner, I made Julia Child’s Supremes De Volaille A Brun, with Petits Pois Frais a l’Anglaise, and Pommes De Terre Sautees aka Chicken Breasts Sauteed in Butter, with Buttered Sweet Peas, and Potatoes Sauteed in Butter.

The Petits Pois Frais a l’Anglaise aka Buttered Sweet Peas was fairly easy to make.

Instead of fresh-fresh sweet peas, I used frozen (steam) peas. Put them in boiling water, add salt and let them get tender.

Drained them, added sugar and a pinch of pepper put them in a hot casserole dish with 6 Tb pieces of butter, and they are ready to serve.

The second dish was fairly easy as well: Pommes De Terre Sautees aka Potatoes Sauteed in Butter.

You boil the potatoes in water, add a pinch of salt, after they are soft but not mushy you cut them into slices, put them into a cast iron skillet that has had clarified butter in, let the potatoes sit and saute for 2-4 minutes and turn over and repeat this step until they are golden brown.


Now, it’s time for the Supremes De Volaille A Burn aka Chicken Breasts (Boned) Sauteed in Butter.

With this particular dish, I had to use Clarified Butter which does not burn like normal butter or unsalted butter. This butter is allowed to become a higher degree and does not burn quickly.

With 4 pieces of boned chicken breasts, you top with salt and pepper and then cover in all-purpose flour. Dust off the flour and put into the butter and cast iron skillet.


Once each side is golden brown, flip over. Now, in this recipe, I wanted to make sure that the chicken was cooked through because the pieces were so thick. So in a separate cast iron pan, I had the oven in, I put the chicken on the pan, added the recipes Brown Butter Sauce (6-8 TB of Melted Clarified Butter, 1TB of Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice, and Tarragon) into the pan and I put the chicken in for 20 minutes.


After that, it’s time to eat.


-My Cooking Journey

New Meal: Three Julia Child Recipes

Over the weekend, I made three dishes inspired by Julia Child from her book: Mastering the Arts of French Cooking.

Fish Fillets poached with White Wine, Buttered French Green Beans, and a Butter Spongecake.

I’m not going to lie, the majority of the recipes have been easy to follow. But, this weekend, dishes either had questionable ingredients or very technical procedures.


Dish One: Fish Fillets poached with White Wine aka Filets de Poisson Poches Au Vin Blanc.

Now, baked, sauteed, or even fried fish I’ve done before but POACHED??? Um…nope, never.

Well, the recipe is pretty easy, it was finding the right fresh fish to go with it.

Can you guess what the recipe calls for?

Flounder…Yes, Flounder.

I kept thinking to myself, “I am not in France, how in the world will I find Flounder?” According to Julia Child, the fish “sole” is what is originally used in the book but Founder for Americans is the “next best”. So with that in mind, I went to Whole Foods trying to find the best substitute. Come to find out, there is a fish called Pacific Black Sole that is normally found on the east coast but the west coast can get it to, and the fish is in the Flounder family. SCORE!!

Well, the recipe itself is easy…All you need is a cast iron skillet, shallots, the fish, white wine, and of course BUTTER!

The only difference I will say about the dish is the fish is fresh, so if you’re not used to fresh-fresh fish, the taste will be different.

Dish Two: Buttered Green Beans aka Haricots Verts a l’Anglaise

This particular dish is very easy to make. the only thing you need besides whole green beans is butter, butter, and butter.



Butter Spongecake aka Biscuit Au Beurre

Now, this is where things get technical. As stated in many of my posts about Julia Child: Mastering the Arts of French Cooking, her book is very thorough and PRECISE!

A French Butter Spongecake is supposed to be a fine, light sponge cake that can be served with a sprinkling of powdered sugar or fruit. You can fill and decorate it or eat it just by itself with a cup of tea.

The hardest part about this recipe is the precise technical parts.

First: What is French Cake Flour?

Who as a person like me a “home baker/cook” knows what cake flour is? I had to do research, talk to a baker, and talk to my mom who is a baker, to find out what cake flour is. She knew exactly what it was and back in the day stores used to carry the lot of it.

French Cake Flour is a fine flour that has basically been sifted to perfection. But since we’re in America and stores stopped really carrying it, you have to find substitutions.

Substitution: 1 cup of all-purpose unbleached flour, take 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour out and replace it with 2 tablespoons of corn starch. Shift immediately after. And there you have it, American Cake Flour.

Nex, the technical part is whipping egg whites to perfection. The recipe calls for the eggs whites to be beaten until peaks are formed. In Julia’s books, you whip the eggs until they are actually whipped like cream.

When I made the cake it was not fluffy. It was spongy but not anything desiccant.

I had to ask my mom about “Peaking”. So I did it all wrong. When you whip egg white, you form a white whip and peaking is where the cream substance peaks like mountains.

Even though the cake was not my best my roses perfect.

I decided to try making strawberry roses to go on top of the cake.

For the first time at trying my knife skills, I must say I was proud of myself. It took a couple of tries but I got it using two different pairing knives.

Even though some of the dishes came out great and some were not up to pair, I must say I was proud of myself.

– Cooking Journey

Julia Child Recipe & Lodge Cast Iron Cooking (Recipe Included)

After making my Julie & Julia Child’s Bruschetta, last week; I decided that every weekend if I can, I will be making dinner.

This week I decided to make: Julia Child’s Pan Broiled Steak with Shallot and White Wine Sauce (Bifteck Saute Bercy), Skillet Potatoes, and Broccoli. And for dessert, I would make a Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie.

Now, on Saturday I went to Sur La Table because they had a cooking sale. 40% off on all Cast Iron’s and aside from that you also got 20% off your entire purchase.

I ended up getting a 6 1/2 inch skillet, a 10-inch grill skillet, 3 bamboo utensils, and a garlic mincer. While out after my kitchen shopping, I got some Pink Himalayan salt. Typically, I don’t cook with salt but I decided to give Hymilayan salt a chance for the minerals, texture, and taste.

I must say that everything came out PERFECT!

From the dinner to the dessert. Only thing I need is more 8 or 12 inch cast iron skillets.

-A Cooking Women


Note: I prepped everything before getting started

Let’s start with Julia Child: Pan Broiled Steak with Shallot and White Wine Sauce (Bifteck Saute Bercy)

2 to 2 1/2 lbs Steak – 1inch is best for this recipe
2 1/2 Tb butter (unsalted) + 4 to 6 TB softened butter
Salt and pepper taste
3 Tb minced shallots or green onions (I used green onions)
2 Cast Iron Skillet – 1 to cook in the other in the oven to heat
1/2 Cup Dry White WIne or dry white Vermouth

  1. Saute the steak on each side for 3 to 4 minutes. If the sides are fatty or thick, hold each side to cook for 2-3 minutes. The steak will be medium rare (remember steaks cook even after being in the stove/oven). Remove steaks to a hot platter (I used the cast iron I had in the oven).
  2. Pour the fat out of the skillet, add butter to the pan. Stir in shallots or green onions and cook slowly for a minute.
  3. Pour wine into skillet, boil down rapidly, scrap up coagulated juices from the bottom of the pan until liquid has reduced ALMOST to a syrup.
  4. Off heat, beat in the butter a spoonful at a time until it’s all absorbed and the sauce has thickened. Beat in salt in pepper to taste. Optional is to add parsley.

Spread sauce over the steak and serve.


Skillet Potatoes with Garlic and Chives

1 1/2 Pounds Yukon Golden Potatoes (I used 3 decent sized potatoes)
Sea Salt (Optional: I used Pink Himalayan)
4 Tb vegetable oil, divided or just pour from your dispenser
1 Large shallot or green onion minced
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
Black pepper
Optional: 2 Tb minced chives

  1. Boil potatoes in water for 10 -15 minutes. This allows potatoes to become soften. Drain and set aside and cool. After potatoes have cooled cut into 3/4 inch pieces.
  2. To a 12 inch cast iron skillet, set heat to medium, and add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is shimmering, add shallots/onions and cook until lightly browned about 5 minutes. Add garlic, cook until fragrant for about 30 seconds. Transfer all items to bowl, set aside.
  3. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to skillet, and heat over medium until shimmering. Add potatoes to skillet. Gently press with a spatula into a single layer. Cook undisturbed for 5-7 minutes.
  4. Flip potatoes, 1 section at a time, and once again lightly press into a single layer. Repeat the process every 2 minutes or so, until potatoes are fully cooked through and crispy.
  5. Take off heat, add shallots/onions and chives. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Ready to serve.


Steamed Broccoli

Nothing came from this just steamed broccoli and added salt and pepper to taste.




Now, it’s time for dessert!

Dessert: Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

12 Tb unsalted butter, divided
1 cup packaged light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla paste (vanilla bean extract)
1 teaspoon sea salt (Pink Hymilayan is good)
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 unbleached all purpose flour (sifted)
1/2 teaspoons baking soda (sifted)
1 Cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat over to 375 degrees.

In a 12 inch cast iron skillet set to medium heat, add 9 tablespoons of butter. Cook until butter develops a nutty aroma, and foam subsides for about 5 minutes.

Transfer butter to a large bowl and whisk in remaining 3 tablespoons butter until fully melted. Wipe the skillet with paper towel and reserve.

To the bowl with butter, add brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until combined. Whisk in eggs until smooth.

In a 2nd bowl, put sifted flour and baking soda together. Fold into the butter and sugar mix until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Note: You should no see any traces of flour.

Transfer dough to skillet, pressing into an even layer with a silicone spatula.

Take to oven and bake until cookie is golden brown and edges are set. About 20 minutes, rotating skillet halfway through aking.

Remove the skillet from the oven and set over a wire rack color for 30 minutes.

Cut the cookie before removing, and serve with milk 



A trip to Sur La Table: Cast Iron Sale!

It’s Memorial Day weekend, and since I have to work on the actual holiday, I decided to cook this weekend.

But, before I could cook anything I had to go to Sur La Table.


Simple, they had a 45% Off Cast Iron Sale, and then aside from that, you get 20% off your total order.

I ended up getting 2 Lodge Skillets. 1 6 1/2 inch skillet for $8.99, and 1 10 inch grill skillet for $27.99.

I also got 3 Bamboo cooking utensils, and a garlic grinder as well. Those were all $8 a piece, but kitchen utensils are Buy 3 get 1 free, and that’s where the garlic grinder comes in.


I’m not going to lie, I hated cutting/mincing garlic, and I usually buy the pre-made minced garlic, but this device is super easy and typically, in all of my cooking classes we use the garlic grinder.

I ended up spending less than $65 for all of my items.

While at Sur La Table, I was able to ask a few of the chefs I’ve had classes with some questions and found out I’ve become one of the known, and favorite students there. Who would’ve thought, lol?

Now, I ended up going to Ross and while out, and even though I was going for 1 item, I ended up getting some Pink Himalayan Salt.

Typically, I don’t cook with salt because most herbs when combined have enough flavor. But, I tried it on my dinner and dessert and it was great!

I must say that I was thoroughly happy with my purchases!

-Happy Dance for Cooking / Happy Dance for Buying Cooking Utensils / Investment in the Kitchen

A Toxic Relationship & Learning From It

This post is not to bash but to give insight and empower men and women that have been hurt from a relationship. You are not alone. 

About a year ago, I met a man at a particular party. We exchanged numbers and agreed to go out.

It was my first official date in a very long time.

Since my ex in Memphis, I had decided to take time and date myself. I wasn’t and still not desperate to have a partner. I want one but I’m not settling for just anyone.

Anyway, we went out and had a great time for a first date: movies, picnic, and a very nice dinner.

We continued to see each other, but what bothered me was that he did not tell his best friend (a woman) that he, and I was seeing each other. She too, I met at that particular party.

One of my friends who knew them both pushed me to go out with him and to continue to date him. She knew the single version of him, but I knew the “relationship material” version of him. The single version of him was from what I continued to hear, a hoe or a F**K boy.

Now, I didn’t see these tendencies but there were definitely red flags that just did not settle with my spirit.

I wasn’t looking for evidence or to jump to any conclusions. But, there were things that just didn’t settle or make sense.

Well, after praying for enlightenment on this situation more than once, about 8 months in…the same friend who knew both of them called me and told me she had something to tell me. Immediately, I thought it was regarding her children, not having a clue it had to do with the man I had been dating.

What she told me was disturbing, to say the least.

I was told, that while she went out with one of her friends for dinner, her friend elaborated to her how she had a threesome with this couple and had it on video. When my friend saw the video she went into a fit and then that’s when she called me. Yes, the video was horrid but the disturbing part was it was the guy I had been seeing, and his so-called “best friend”.

Now, the majority of the time, most women jump when this situation arises.

I didn’t, but I was tactical. I’m a journalist, and I wanted to hear ALL sides.

My friend did not understand this until later, she just thought I took his side. No, my spirit told me something was going on, but I didn’t know what it was.

When the answer was presented, I went into “reporter/investigator mode”.

I confronted him. And instead of him coming out with the truth, first — he wanted to blame EVERYONE else. He thought someone leaked it and so forth. After we decided to talk, he only then came out with the truth, talked about everything and decided to partially continue.

Well, that was short lived for about 2-weeks.

More lies, drama, accusations, and situations that he had been doing while we were together started to come up. By then my blood pressure was high and I was done.

My final straw was when he accused my character of video recording him while we were intimate. Something he did and still tried to play the victim.

He and his “best friend” come to find out, continue to have sex with each other while they are with people and play with people’s sexual health and livelihood.

I cut it off right then and there.

I’m almost 30 and at a point in my life where I have no time for games, and manipulation.

The only thing I wanted from him was a monogamous/exclusive relationship from him.

But, I thanked God that he showed me the type of man he is before it was too late. After a month or so had passed by I realized I was glad to be out of a toxic, manipulative relationship that was based on games and lies. Games that I didn’t know how to plan and had no intention of playing.

Not to mention the man and best friend are almost 40!

Age does not mean maturity.

When you pray, God will show you and heal your heart if you allow it.

I admit, it took a while for God to work on my heart because my trust, emotions, and sexual health… all of it had been violated.

I was hurt, but once healed me, I was able to not be phased when I heard his name or when a thought passed in my mind.

I write this post for any man or woman that has been deeply hurt in a relationship. When you put God first, he will show you their true nature or colors. It’s up to you to either confront and deal with it or be blind and suffer.

I thought I knew what I would and would not tolerate but OH NO. If I did not learn anything else from this past relationship, it was indeed what I will AND what I will NOT tolerate from any man in a relationship.

-“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ~ Matthew 11:28-30jesus rest

-“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” ~ Isaiah 40:29


Travel Queen: Solo Birthday Trip

In October of 2018, I ended a very toxic and drama-filled relationship and decided that if I got it approved I would go on a solo trip somewhere for my birthday on November 16.

My choice was between Los Angeles, California, and Denver, Colorado.

Welp, my boss approved for me to have my actual birthday off, which was on a Friday and I chose…DENVER!

Before I continue, I will say this. This was my first time having my birthday off in 6 or 7 years! The month of November sweeps in News and majority of the time, you can’t take off. But my boss had let me. So, I was going to take advantage of it.

Don’t get me wrong, I had been to Denver a few times before on solo trips but this time, it was special.

I got my flight at 1 a.m. that Friday morning and was headed to Denver. Got in town by 4 a.m., got my rental and was off to the hotel. The hotel (DoubleTree by Hilton Denver) allowed me to check in early and gave me extra buffet tickets.. so after I got settled in I could eat and pass right out before starting my day.

When I got to my room, I realized the hotel staff had upgraded me as well. I knew then my birthday was off to a wonderful start.

After getting settled, I went to eat before taking a shower and passing out. The DoubleTree Denver is a great hotel right across from the old Denver Airport on Quebec and MLK. Two-years-ago, the hotel had an old antique elegant atmosphere. But now, after being renovated; the hotel is like a modern, luxuriant hotel in the Mile High City. Not far from Stapleton mall, I-70, downtown and more.


After resting, one of my friends picked me up and treated me to one of my favorite places…Celestial Seasonings.

Celestial is one of the best tea brand companies in the United States (In my opinion). The company makes all types of teas including the famous Sleepy Time tea.

Celestial Seasonings.png

Celestial’s ONLY factory is in Boulder, Colorado. At the factory, they test new teas, make the tea, produce the tea…The whole SHABANG! And when you go, you can taste every tea they make, go on a tour, and buy any Celestial product in their shop; which include teas that are not in stores, clothing, teapots, dishes, and more. The company also has its own cafe, where you and workers are able to enjoy Celestial even more. My friend and I decided to eat there, try some more teas and stock up on teas to last me for a few months.


After getting back to my hotel, it was time to get ready for my birthday dinner. My friends from college threw me a birthday party at my favorite jazz restaurant in Denver, called Nocturne Jazz & Supper. A wonderful lounge in the industrial area that has been transformed into shops and restaurants. The lounge has a band to perform every night and the food is always amazing.


After all of the laughter and food, it was time to head back to the hotel. I had an edible to relax me more and since I had gotten hungry again since dinner was early…I had some awesome nachos from the hotel. By the time I ate, showered and got in the bed I was OUT before 11 p.m. that night.

The only thing I had to do on Saturday was to enjoy my spa appointment.

Snow was in the forecast, so it was nice and warm on the inside.

That morning, I woke up and took myself downstairs for breakfast at the buffet. I ate and then my body said, “I’m getting sleepy.” So, I decided to go back upstairs, take a shower, and get back in the bed. Now, normally around this time of year, Freeform starts their countdown to the 25 Days of Christmas. I remember watching Christmas with the Kranks and that was it. I was in and out of sleep world majority of the morning and afternoon until it was time for me to go to my spa appointment.

Now let’s talk about the spa. The spa that I go to is very “old English” grand and historic, called The Brown’s Palace Hotel & Spa. This historic building is one of the oldest hotels in Denver, Colorado. It’s also one of the only hotels to serve a lot of presidents. With its English Teatime, grand chandelier, and beautifully done a hotel in dark wood…the spa is just as rich.



When I do spas, I don’t hold back because this is time for myself and I’m going to enjoy it. And The Brown’s Palace Spa does not hold back! I put my phone on “Do Not Disturb” and I ended up spending 5 hours at the spa. Originally, I purchased a travelers package, which includes: 1 hr massage to fit your needs, 1 hour facial and 30-minute pedicure. During the 5 hours, I had time in between the appointments which were filled with steam rooms and mimosas!


By the time I was done and headed back to the hotel I was so relaxed and tipsy, I grabbed a quick bite to eat, showered, and guess what…passed out.

The next morning was my last morning in Denver. Booooooo!

I decided to end my trip on a high note and go to church. The Potter’s House of Denver. Yes, T.D. Jakes, daughter and her husband has a church in Denver, Colorado and simulcast their service to another church in L.A. The message, the atmosphere, and energy was what I needed.


By the time, it was time for me to leave I was completely detoxed, well rested and uplifted.
I encourage every man/woman to go on a solo trip for their birthday and see unlimited possibilities.

I guarantee I will be going out of town for my birthday on a solo trip, AGAIN!

-Travel Queen’s 28th Birthday

Inspired by Julia Child: Julie & Julia Bruschetta (Recipe Included)

One of my favorite movies is “Julie & Julia”. A movie based on the book about a woman who cooked and blogged her way through Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”.

I was finally able to buy Julia Child’s Mastering the Art Volume One.

Immediately, I began going throughout the book. And I must say, it is “very” very detailed. Not only are there recipes in the book but also measurements, conversions, definitions, knife knowledge, and graphics on how to handle or make certain dishes.

Now, while I was going through the book, I had already had in my head, that I would make Bruschetta. But not just any “Bruschetta”. I would make the “Julie & Julia” version of Bruschetta.

I found the recipe earlier in the week and tweaked it own my own.

The best part is Julia Child’s book also helped me with some of the conversions. Prime example: Did you know that one medium garlic clove is the same as 1/8 teaspoon of pre-minced garlic? No? Neither did I until I got Julia Child’s book.

Come to find out making Bruschetta is quite easy.

The recipe takes maybe 30 minutes or less and can feed up to 3-9 people, depending on much bread is sliced and how many Roman tomatoes you have cut. And just like the movie and Julia Child’s book, you definitely use BUTTER, BUTTER, BUTTER.

The dish turned out to be amazingly easy to make and paired with a nice white or red wine, which gives the dish a certain unique feature.

-Continuing the expansion in the kitchen


  • 2 Roman Tomatoes
  • 1 loaf of French Bread
  • 1 teaspoon Basil Leaves or Basil Seasoning
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of Butter or Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper1/2 of Garlic Clove or Minced Garlic Juice


  1. Take tomatoes and cut in half. Scoop out all seeds. Proceed to slice tomatoes in halves and chop. Put in a bowl.
  2. Mix basil or basil leaves into tomatoes as well as sprinkle in salt and pepper to your desire and set the bowl to the side.
  3. Cut French bread into a 1/2 inch thick. Note: Some recipes say 3/4 inches thick but depending the bread will depend on how you cut it. I decided to test both theories.
  4. Heat a saute or cast iron skillet and place olive oil or butter in a skillet. Once oil or butter is heated place the bread on its side, allowing itself to become golden brown, and then flip over for the other side to become golden brown. Once the bread is done, place each slice on a cooling rack.
  5. Once slices have cooled spread garlic juice or rub garlic clove on one side of the sliced bread.
  6. Place tomatoes mix on top of the slice of bread and enjoy.

NOTE: Some recipes say you can add sprinkle shredded cheese on top as a garnish. (Feta, goat, etc)

The Joy’s of the Kitchen: A Women’s Expansion of the Culinary Arts

The one thing I have not added to my topics of writing is my LOVE of cooking and baking. I’ve always enjoyed cooking and baking but over the last few years, I’ve tapped into my culinary skills.

Now, I’m at a point where I wanted to learn and expand my knowledge of cooking and baking as well as enjoying the recipes.

With this idea, I decided to take cooking classes when I could at the beginning of 2019.

My first class was Knife Skills 101 at Sur La Table. I recommend any person who loves to cook to take this class.


Knife skills are essential to cooking. In the class, you learn the different designs and make of knives, how to hold a knife, how to cut, dice and mince, and lastly how to cut certain vegetables.

My second class was learning how to make Classic Croissants. The class was 3 hours long and tennis shoes were definitely needed for this class.

This particular class was very technical. I had NO idea that so much went into making croissants. From making the dough and making sure that salt was last so that it does not deactivate the rest of your ingredients to all of the prepping and folding and refolding the dough and the time it takes to make it.

By the time the class was done and I got settled at home, my wrists were SORE LOL!

When I make my homemade buttermilk biscuits I didn’t have to proof or use a rolling pin. In this class, I had to, which was also why my wrists and hands were sore.

Overall, it was worth it. Learning to make another “breaded” dish was amazing.

My third class was supposed to be Artisan Breads. However, I did not make it to that class and hate that I missed it.
Instead, my next and most recent class was Cast Iron Skillets: Entrees to Deserts

I would LOVE to take that class again if they have another menu. The class was amazing, once again. And the meal was awesome.

I have a cast iron skillet that is already seasoned and probably over 20 years old. Taking the class not only taught me how to use my skillet more but to also yearn to make more dishes in the skillet.

This particular class we learned how to make Pan-Roasted Chicken Breasts with grain mustard, leeks, and Tarragon and a white wine rue. Skillet Home Fries with Garlic and Chives and for the desert; Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie.

My love of cooking and baking has grown to extreme lengths now.

I get excited when shopping for cookbooks, looking for the next class, and even shopping for cooking utensils.

Besides my cooking classes, shopping for cooking utensils became another love.

Since the start of expanding my kitchen knowledge, I have expanded my kitchen utensil. So far, I’ve bought wine glasses, a rolling pin, an icing/cream spreader a double-sided pizza/dough cutter, a baking/measurement slab, mortar & pestle, and more recently a Wusthof knife made for left-handed people, and Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Volume 1.”

The kitchen has started to become a new journey and outlet for me.

I hope you’re able to enjoy the journey with me.
-A woman’s expansion in the kitchen

#TravelQueen strikes again: 3Day Solo Trip to the LA Area #CaliLife

First and foremost let me say that if you have never visited Los Angeles, California. GO!

Second, if you’re looking for all of the “touristy” things to do, you’re in the wrong place because this particular post is not about hitting the major tourist attractions it’s about hitting the local ones.

OK, got it? Got it? Good and Let’s Goooooo!

My day started with a great flight with Jet Blue. I landed at the Long Beach Airport and had my “free checked” bag within 10 minutes or less after deplaning.

After getting my bag, I went to Enterprise to get my rental (deposit is only 20%) and I also had my rental within 20 minutes. Prior to coming to the LA area, I had researched, sought out and pre-planned a 3-Day Mecation. (Remember, Mecations you are on a solo trip and you have the freedom to do what you and want and see who you want all in your timing)

First stop – Brunch
I decided to invite one of my girlfriends who lived in Cali, to have brunch with me in Long Beach prior to me checking into my hotel. She agreed and we decided to try out a place called Plunge, which is inside the 1900 building.

So, if you did not know… parking is always crazy and limited in Long Beach. The building where Plunge is located in an upscale high-rise on Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach.

After finding parking spaces and walking to the building we made it to this open and airy restaurant that is open not only to their residents but to the public as well.

The view alone puts you in a relaxed mindset and the food on top of that will make you want to come back.

The restaurant faces the beach and it doesn’t matter where you sit, you have a good seat and good views.

Second Stop – Hotel Check-In (Hilton Long Beach)
I normally would stay at one particular Hilton property but I wanted to try this one out.

Like Plunge it’s also on Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach. This hotel, however, is smack dab next to the World Trade Center. This particular hotel is more of a business luxury hotel, with all of the bells and whistles of the modern age.

After checking in and getting settled, I decided it was time to venture to the Venice Beach area.

Third Stop – Abbot Kinney Boulevard (TOMS Coffee)
One thing to know off the back about Venice is the artistry, hipster, bohemian-chic vibe, that Venice has.

Abbot Kinney Boulevard also seems to always be extremely packed and parking is limited. But, once you are parked the street is your zoo to explore.

From restaurants and coffee shops to clothing and makeup stores to green living and energy cleaner stores – this street has it all.

I wanted to get some local coffee and I heard TOMS actually has a coffee shop. Yes, you read correctly…TOMS; as in shoes and sunglasses…well they have a coffee shop that sells shoes and sunglasses lol.

The coffee is rich and the staff is great. Definitely plan to go and spend more time in there and might even buy some shoes, next time. While I was at TOMS, I noticed a store I was not expecting to see…Asa Kaftans!

Yes, the beautiful Shah’s of Sunset star Asa Sulton has her shop on Abbot Kinney Boulevard. Now, I fell in love with her collection of Kaftans when she started her clothing line on the Bravo hit show…so like any woman I had to go in an check it out…and it was LIFE. I was able to FINALLY able to buy a Kaftan for a reasonable price.

Fourth Stop – Santa Monica secluded beach – The People’s Peninsula Beach
I decided after having another cup of coffee to just drive and I ended up on the further end of the beach of Santa Monica. Just a nice walk, enjoying the sun.

Fifth Stop – Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles in Inglewood near Manchester and the 405

I met up with a couple of my friends who live in the LA area and I must say…the food is LIFE and everything you hear about it is true. I understand now why anyone I know who visit LA multiple times always has Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles on a MUST DO list.

Sunday – Date Myself and Detox
Sunday was ALL about me!

I got up and got dressed to the nines.  Makeup slayed and beat to the GODS and I took myself to brunch in Beverly Hill: The Blvd Restaurant inside the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

The hotel alone is lavish, immaculate and everything you can imagine. This is also the very same hotel Pretty Woman took place in and it faces Rodeo Drive. The restaurant was beautiful, lavish but in an old classic Beverly Hills way. The food and staff were awesome and everything was reasonably priced for it to be a restaurant in Beverly Hills.

After brunch, I decided to go ahead and go to Marina Del Rey to check out the community before my spa appointment. I was an hour early when I arrived at the Ritz Carlton-Marina Del Rey but I was able to go ahead and check-in and let me just say the spa (Sisley Paris) was everything I could have pictured, wanted and so much more.

The spa was recently bought by another company so I will not give prices because they are different now, but mark my words I will be back to the hotel no matter what. I ended up spending right at 5 hours at the spa because I bought a package.

Being that I didn’t plan on what I wanted for dinner I saw my guy friend again at his job before heading back to Long Beach. When I got to the hotel, I decided to eat in and I must say the food was awesome. I had some chicken nachos, a hard cider, molten cake and coffee and I was ready to pass out.

Monday – Last Day 

Monday, was the last day in Long Beach and I decided to eat at the Queen Mary’s Promenade Café….great food – buffet style – wish I had time to check out the ship but I did not.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed myself and will be doing another mecation to LA again to check out more hip-local places, lavish places and detox places.

-Calisolotrip from The Travel Queen

Going to Las Vegas soon? Stay at Lake Las Vegas

Have you ever wanted to go on a staycation within your own city and not stay at home?

Well, I have done it and tried a new place instead of staying on The Strip in Las Vegas. I took a weekend and went to Lake Las Vegas.

Where is that you may ask?

Well, it’s a small Tuscan village on a man-made lake about a 30-45 minute drive from the Las Vegas Strip.

However, this is not like any of the iconic hotels on The Strip. This place will have you feeling like you’re in the different country, let alone a different city and state…but… you’re not.

Let’s talk about hotels…well you only have two options – The Westin OR The Hilton Lake Las Vegas. Both are diamond resort hotels but I would prefer the Hilton (I’m a loyal member). This opulent resort has all that you need and more; including a lavish spa (Spa Ravella), outside pool, rooms over the lake, ballrooms, and a large cafe that serves breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. Plus a Florentine garden that you can walk through, eat, sit and have special occasions in.

There is a nice selection of restaurants and a small market in the village as well as a slew of outdoor activities to choose from.

This particular place is simply how you make it.

I went as my Metime, Mecation. I took myself to lunch and spa, dressed up and took myself to dinner and the next morning, I took myself to breakfast and just rested.

But like I said, this place is how you make it…whether it’s for metime, a wedding or birthday party, bachelor/bachelorette party, bridal/baby shower, romantic getaway etc… You name it…I’m pretty sure Lake Las Vegas has seen it.

Plus, it’s a small living community and even some celebrities who have taken residence in Las Vegas live out that way.

If you’re coming to Las Vegas and need something NEW and REFRESHING outside of The Strip…. well this place is for YOU!


-See you at Lake Las Vegas