AZ Local: Cool Things To Do & Yummy Places To Know About

I am still reflecting after enjoying an action packed weekend last week that reminds me of some of the cool places the Valley of the Sun offers.  Be sure to check out some of these ideas if you haven’t already.

On Friday, my daughter and I enjoyed a nice breakfast in Tempe at the always good Snooze restaurant. She was out of school for an early morning doctor’s appointment on the other side of town, so we decided to enjoy a meal afterwards.  If you haven’t tried Snooze, put it on your list for one of the best breakfast spots in town.  snoozeSnooze has several locations.  We chose Tempe and it is always fun to feel the college vibe at the eatery since ASU is back in full swing.

Last Friday night’s attire for me included wearing slippers to an NCL (National Charity League) event called the Slippers & Sangria Social.  It was nice wearing comfy shoes to a party and I especially loved that each guest brought a new pair of slippers to donate.  What a great idea for an event.   Have your

Wearing my comfy slippers and a brand new bring in the bag to donate. Such a cool idea!

Wearing my comfy slippers and a brand new bring in the bag to donate. Such a cool idea!

guests wear something fun and then bring one extra to donate to those in need.

Saturday morning I am proud to say that I made a 6:30am workout at my favorite small gym, Body by Design.  me-after-gymOn my early morning drive to my gym, it was refreshing to see all of the early risers up and at em’ jogging, biking and walking because that means that our awesome fall weather has arrived.  I could feel it this morning and this is an exciting time for us Phoenicians!  My favorite mountain to recommend hiking is South Mountain’s Telegraph Pass.  I think it is one of the easier climbs, but still gets the heart rate going.  If you haven’t tried this one, be sure to as the view is really pretty. signPost gym I went to my favorite real deal healthy clean food restaurant, Pomegranate Cafe to have a wellness shot that is made with ginger, turmeric, lemon, apple and cayenne.  I swear whenever I start to feel like I may be getting sick, I have one of these and so far, so good…knock on wood!  I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had earned a free breakfast since I participate in the restaurant’s electronic punch card app.  pom-breakfastMan this was incredible fuel for my body.  The So Cal omelette with sweet potatoes hash browns, super seed bread with homemade jam.  So tasty!  In fact, Pomegranate was in the top 10 best vegetarian restaurants in the nation by Forbes a few years ago.  Even if you aren’t a vegetarian, you will like this place.  Real food with a bakery, too!  Delish!

That evening called for a girls night out as we celebrated a fun birthday for one of my best friends, so we wanted to be sure the night was special.  The long running Ruffino restaurant on 48th Street & Warner was recently sold and is now Trattoria D’Amico.  I am very happy to report that that this place is scrumptious with a great atmosphere, too. I made reservations there the day before the bday dinner for my friend and the staff took great care of us.  j-bday-nightIf you go, I highly recommend the red sangria followed by the incredible Tuscan Garlic Chicken.  It was so good that all five of us gals ordered the same entree!  I wish I would have taken a picture of the food. The Tuscan dish is angel hair pasta, garlic and olive oil tossed with grilled chicken breast, artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes.  Bon Appetit for sure!

After dinner we headed over the newly remodeled AMC Ahwatukee 24 and I love the changes!  The red leather reclining movie sets recline into an almost flat position.  So comfy.  The bar that is stocked with different varieties of wine, beer and movie-themed cocktails is great and we love that drinks can go inside the theater with us.

And to round out the weekend, on Sunday my daughter and I drove to Peoria to see our friend perform in the lead in Les Miserables School Edition and he…and the entire cast…were absolutely incredible! julianSince my daughter has performed in local community theater for the last nine years, she has many pals who now perform in different productions all over the city.  We have been thoroughly enjoying making the rounds to see our many young friends perform.  Theater Works School Edition blew us away.  The acting, the singing, the stage, the special effects.  The show runs through September 25th and although I heard it may be sold out, it is definitely worth checking to see if any extra tickets can be had.

And speaking of local children’s theater, be sure to check upcoming productions for Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre and Actor’s Youth Theatre.  My daughter has appeared in numerous productions at ACT and was cast in 13 over the summer at AYT.  ACT’s Christmas Carol is always a joy and gets one in the holiday spirit of gratitude for sure.  great-xmas-carol-shotA wonderful local tradition for families so be on the lookout for that one in December.

So much to do here in the Valley of the Sun, especially this time of year!  Share your favorite Valley spots in the comments section and get out and do stuff with your people.  Especially those of you with little kids because you won’t believe how fast they grow up and leave home.  Trust me!


Family Dinner Favorite Find…Farm Sent Healthy Meal Kits!

I just love when I find healthy new tips for families, especially when it comes to cooking nutritious and tasty dinners.  I am SO excited to tell you about the new meal kits that I have been receiving that come from a local and organic farm!  Sunizona Family Farms now ships dinner kits that contain everything you need to make a healthy, organic and tasty meal!  Plus I have been trying to prepare and eat more plant based meals and this service makes it easy and tasty, which I am thrilled about!

Here is the box that I made last week that contained organic whole food ingredients to make yummy veggie Queso nachos that actually used eggplant, garlic, seasoning, red bell pepper and other surprising ingredients to create nachos that tasted hearty and fantastic! contents boxSo with this particular meal kit, the recipe instructed me to broil the sliced eggplant and then blend with other whole foods, that all came from the farm in this convenient kit.

So this eggplant, along with other ingredients that came in my Meal Kit,….eggplant…became this plate of beautiful and scrumptious nachos…

done chips

one chip

Yum!  These were so unbelievably tasty! The recipe comes with step by step instructions, along with a picture of how the finished dish will look. instructions recipepictured recipe done

And the best part is that this recipe is healthy and organic and provided servings of veggies and fruits that included eggplant, red bell peppers, jalapeno, tomatoes, garlic, onion and more!  I am thrilled about this amazing local find!

Plus the meal kit came with everything needed to make a nice fruit salad to compliment the spicy nacho chips.  fruit saladIt was perfect! And this is a much better dessert option than a sugary recipe for my family.

Wondering how this works?  It is super easy!

Every Tuesday, I go to my favorite local healthy cafe, Pomegranate Cafe to pick up my weekly Sunizona Family Farms Flavor Crate which is filled with the organic and fresh produce and foods that I ordered online over the weekend.  Recently Sunizona Family Farms added the Mealkits.  Sunizona Family Farms delivers both the Flavor Crates and the Meal Kits to a variety of locations in Arizona.

I preorder over the weekend and pay online.  Each Meal Kit costs $22 with a subscription option available with more details here.  For that very fair price, I receive a box packed with every fresh whole food ingredient needed to make a meal and a side dish, which may be a salad and sometimes a healthy dessert, too.

Some of the other Meal Kit recipes I have made, that my family loved, include the Minestrone Soup which also came with items to make a nice tossed side salad and yummy whole grain garlic bread. soup and salad kit

And look at this gorgeous entree salad that I received and made last week!  veggies for saladsalad entreeAnd my favorite recipe so far has to be the super comfort food (but made healthy with this Meal Kit recipe) their veggie Hearty Pot Pie…

h pot piepot pie doneIt was very interesting to me that the recipe used an organic oat non-dairy beverage, which I hadn’t tried before. Oat subIt worked well in this pot pie recipe, which also came with a salad and a tossed dressing, too.  salad with dressingThe biscuits were made using a sprouted flour and it was all just so delish!

I am super excited to try this week’s recipes which include Crispy Aoli Potatoes & Crispy Ks.  Here is the picture from the Farm’s website which shows what the finished dish will look like…potatoes_zpsbtkvnwofHow good does that look?!  I also ordered and received Meal Kits this week that will make Rice Ramen with Fresh Veggies and Veggie Burgers.  I can’t wait to get cooking and tasting!

Every week when I log on and purchase my Sunizona Family Farms Meal Kits, I feel like these meals are worth every penny, plus I think it is a good value.  I can skip the grocery store and am receiving and preparing fresh whole organic foods from a local farm.  The meals are pretty easy for me to chop, mix and prepare and my family is getting a healthy dinner.  I am thrilled about this new service!

To try it, visit Sunizona Family Farms and check out the Meal Kits here!

Wine,Beer,Sangria & More Now Being Served At Pomegranate Cafe – A Forbes Listed Top 10 Wholesome Restaurant!

pomegranate storefrontIf you haven’t tried Pomegranate Cafe, located at 40th Street and Chandler Blvd. (a few doors down from Trader Joe’s) in Ahwatukee, then you are missing out on the cafe that Forbes listed as one of the top ten best delicious, healthy & wholesome restaurants in the nation!  And guess what?  This wonderful eatery, that satisfies the taste buds and your body’s nutritional needs all in one delicious sitting, just added wine, beer and other spirits like this delightful Sangria that I thoroughly enjoyed!  It was very refreshing.SangriaWhen cafe owner, Cassie Tolman told me the news and invited me to the restaurant’s wine tasting, I couldn’t wait to attend! tastingMy fellow Pomegranate loving  friend, Julie and I had a good time tasting the different wines and ice cold beer flavors.  As you can see, we did our share of tasting…cheers tastingtasting wine….and we appreciated how the Pomegranate management asked customers for feedback by listing our favorites which we happily took part in by jotting down our top Vino picks.   [Read more…]

My Favorite Juicing Recipes

     Manic:  Me trying to get 5 daily servings of fruits and veggies in my body…not to mention my kids, too.  It isn’t easy!

Managed:  Started juicing and I like it.  Check out the recipes I showed on the KTVK 3TV morning show, “Your Life A to Z” and you will be pleasantly surprised by the good price I found on my juice extractor, too.  Take a look…