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Food Cheating – It’s okay!!

Everybody knows that Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners are big with my family and number of my readers have been asking, “Well,what you got planned New Year’s.”  I have to say – I’ve cheated.  My husband whisked us off to Palm Springs for his annual recouping from Santa Claus.  Oh, I may have forgotten to mention that he is a professional Santa Claus.  He has been doing that at the Simi Valley Town Center for the past 10 years.  If you go to the Simi Valley Town Center Facebook page you will see him.  Every December 26 he returns to mortal life.  He shaves his beard and starts growing it again in April.  Anyway, we are in Palm Springs staying at the Palm Canyon Resort and even though I have a kitchen it is limited.  I have my whole family here and it’s wonderful.  My two kids are grown and with lives so busy it is hard to get everybody together but we did it and here we are.

I found it easier to go to Ralph’s and purchase our New Year’s dinner.  Though I have to say I always prepare something.  On the  menu we have:



  • Tortilla Chips
  • Water Crackers
  • Toasted hard breads
  • 3 types of Salsa
  • Cheese platter (remember a decent cheese platter takes three types of cheeses).  We had; Brie, Creamy Toscano.  Yeeesss, I know we were missing one!
  • Trader Joe’s Quartet Humus (Spicy, Roasted, Original Tomato Basil)


  • Pasta Salad
  • Greek Salad
  • Ambrosia


  • BBQ Chicken
  • Spicy Chicken Wings
  • Tri Tip


  • Almond Ring Danish
  • Chocolate Brooklyn Babka

This feast was all provided by Ralph’s and Trader Joe’s.  I did prepare the Tri-Tip.  It’s in my DNA – I always have to prepare something!

We served 11 people for under $100.00.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL  – I look forward to this next year blogging what I love doing.

Chef Shay


Our main course Includes:

  • Standing Rib Roast
  • Boiled potatoes with butter and garlic – lots and lots of garlic
  • Scalloped potatoes
  • Lasagna
  • Salad

As I am basically do this blog real-time things our moving fast in our house hold so I’m not going to go into detail on the preparation of the salad, lasagna and boiled potatoes.  The star of the evening will be the standing rib roast

Chef Shay purchased two rib roasts.  the secret to an excellent gourmet rib roast is in the preparation.  I watched her lovingly prepare it with the following seasonings:

  • Garlic Olive Oil
  • Pepper Plant Seasoning
  • Rosemary


  • 3-4 Carrots
  • 1 Onion

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Press all the seasons together.  Rub the garlic olive oil over the entire meat and then rub on the seasonings.  Let meat stand until room temperature.

Place Rib Roast in oven.  As Chef Shay always says, do not cook by time.  Cook by temperature to 120 degrees (about 2 hrs.).  Remove from oven and let rest for about 20 minutes and then serve.

From seasoning to carving

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It is 5:18pm PDT and dinner is being served and I am signing off to chow down.  Wish you were here.  MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD MEAL!!!!


Appetizers -the things you fill up on before dinner

Prior to dinner comes the appetizers.  We have three appetizers in the  offering.


  • Antipasto Platter
  • Cheese Platter
  • A toast or cracker spread

Antipasto Platter 

This delectable display consists of:


  • Heavenly Villagio Marzano Tomatoes from Trader Joes.  (Any small cherry tomatoes will work for those without a Trader Joe’s).
  • Italian Cold Cuts
  • Prosciutto Ham
  • A mix of Olives marinated in Lemon and Herbs
  • Italian Breadsticks wrapped with Prosciutto Ham


Cheese Platter

Cheese platters are always a hit at any gathering.  The cheeses chosen here are from Trader Joe’s but the formula for an excellent platter is to have at least one firm cheese, one soft cheese and one unique cheese (stinky). The cheeses we used are:20151225_133748

  • Pave D’Affinois
  • Campo de Montalban
  • Bleu D’ Auvergne
  • Farmhouse Cheddar

To be served on a Rustic Multi-grain Bread or Water Crackers.

Simple to set up.  Remember presentation is paramount.

Toast / Cracker Spread

20151225_133859This appetizer is served with the toasted hard breads, water crackers.  The spread consists of Lentils, Feta, Trader Joe’s Bruschetta,  and diced Cucumber.

MERRY CHRISTMAS – Let’s start with Breakfast


This is Chef Shay’s husband blogging. Chef Shay is in the kitchen preparing the day’s faire. I’m going to let you know how the day progressive culinary wise. Christmas is always a big day for us. Lots of family & friends coming together to celebrate the holiday and each other. This morning we have our daughters, my wards, and my eldest daughter’s boyfriend. Welcome to our day – we celebrate with you and yours.

Before we are even awake there’s hot chocolate greeting us as we wipe the sand from our eyes.

Here’s the mornings menu:

Overall breakfast

Pastrami style smoked salmon accompanied by:Smoked Salmon

  • Tomatoes
  • Onion
  • Pickles
  • Sliced cucumbers
  • Capers and fresh dill

… next a parfait with fresh blueberries, raspberries, blackberries with Greek yogurt and granola.


And then… Pigs in a blanket – fresh biscuits with ham.Bisquits

Ohh! And of course don’t forget the mimosa!


And of course coffee and more hot chocolate.

That’s just for breakfast……

See you at dinner time!