The first time that I tried Chicken Salsa Soup was over a year ago, and it was from a little restaurant in Chesapeake, VA.  I loved it.  I was a little surprised that a cup of soup was $3.49, but that didn’t stop me from ordering it again. Unfortunately, I don’t live in Chesapeake and the restaurant doesn’t deliver to my front door; therefore,  I took to the internet to find a recipe that would satisfy my craving for this soup.  The first recipe that I tried was BANDERS CHICKEN SALSA SOUP, and it became my “go to” recipe. You can use canned chicken, you can boil a couple of pieces of chicken, or you can use rotisserie chicken.  I have found that it tastes wonderful every time (even if you don’t use 2 full cups of chicken).  I usually make it with leftover rotisserie chicken.  It can be topped with cheese, sour cream, tortilla strips or chips.  In this photograph, I used leftover rotisserie chicken I just pulled it off the bone and threw it in the pot. This recipe is delicious just the way it is written or you can use it as a base and tweak it to make it your own.  I definitely recommend giving this recipe a try.

                   Cook Time:  Ready in 30 min      —           Yield: 4-6 servings                  


  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 1 (15 ounce) can  chicken broth 
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 (16 ounce) jar your favorite salsa
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans
  • 1 cup of frozen corn
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper


Add all ingredients to a pot

Bring to a boil

Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes, or until everything is heated through

Serve with shredded cheese for extra super yumminess, and tortilla chips or saltines on the side.


Red and Yellow Peppers, Easter Egg Radishes and Shishito Peppers

If you can’t make it to the farmers market, no worries, there are a couple of other options.  Virginia Beach has two pop up farmers markets that offer fresh produce, artisan bread, honey a host of other homemade products, vendors and crafts.  The first is located at 620 19th Street near the oceanfront. It is known as the Old Beach Farmers Market. They are open on Saturdays primarily during the spring/summer months (9 am – Noon); however, they do have a year round schedule so you should check their website if you are interested in going ( or check out their Facebook page.

During my most recent visit, I was able to sample artisan bread, local honey, fresh homemade peanut butters and locally produced Kombucha Tea.  In addition to sampling the local fare, you can enjoy food from Full Quiver Farms or an amazing crepe from Lamia’s Crepes. When I left, I was already looking forward to going home and enjoying a BLT sandwich with my fresh tomatoes.  One slice of tomato covered the entire slice of bread and the freshness can’t be beat. It was heavenly. I am now looking forward to eating my Easter Egg radishes.

Squash, Cherries and Fresh Baked Bread

The second option is the pop-up farmers market at 2961 Shore Drive.  They are also opened on Saturdays primarily during the spring/summer months (9 am – Noon).  They also have fresh produce, artisan bread, homemade products and crafts for sale. Be sure to check out their website if you are interested in going or you can check out their Facebook page.  During my most recent visit, I purchased fresh produce and some amazing fresh baked rosemary bread from Gateaux.  They have a storefront located at 1628 Independence Blvd, Suite 1500.  It is a French-inspired bakery & cafe. I look forward to visiting the shop.  


More Mushrooms

I was absolutely amazed with one vendor named Jenny.  She had the most beautiful mushrooms. I had no idea that anyone grew mushrooms locally.  I didn’t plan on going home right away so I didn’t purchase them; however, I plan on doing so on my next visit.  They were absolutely lovely. Also, if you are planning to visit there is a gentleman (Tim Robinette) that will sharpen your knives – working with dull knives in the kitchen is can be a hazard. 

I would recommend visiting one of the pop up farmers markets. They are strategically located, convenient, there is plenty of parking and it is a great way to start your weekend.

              Pop Up Farmer’s Market on Shore Drive in Virginia Beach

Potato Wedge Recipe

pot wedge               Seasoned Potato Wedges (Naturally Vegan and Gluten-Free)

I had planned on having baked potatoes with our dinner.  However, at the last minute, I remembered seeing a recipe for potato wedges and I decided to try it.  The recipe was posted by Erin at and the potato wedges were delicious.  It didn’t take long to make them and we had all of the ingredients on hand.  We actually doubled the ingredients and put it in a spice bottle so it is readily available for when we decide to make another batch.  My boys loved them and we would recommend this recipe. I will definitely be trying some more of Erin’s recipes. Be sure to check out her website.

    Prep Time: 10 Min     Cook Time: 35 min      Ready in 45 Min  — Yield: 6 servings


  • 2 1/2 pounds (1.13 kilos) potatoes (or 3 pounds for less spicy potatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or 2 garlic cloves, minced)
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (I like things salty and use more)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 °F (230 °C). Pour the olive oil onto a rimmed cookie sheet. Add the spices and mix with the olive oil. Some people prefer to mix the oil, spices, and potatoes in a bag but I prefer the other way as it doesn’t dirty up a bag.

  1. Clean the potatoes and slice the potato into even wedges. Put the potatoes on the cookie sheet and use your hands to coat the potatoes with the olive oil mix.
  2. The baking time will vary depending on how big your wedges are. I usually bake mine for 20 minutes, take them out of the oven to flip them, and bake for another 10 – 15 minutes. If you want them crispier, bake them for a few minutes longer.
  3. Let sit for about 10 minutes before serving.
  4. Eat immediately or at room temperature.


RAKUTEN – Ebates (My Review)


I am sure that you have probably seen some of the commercials for Rakuten (formerly Ebates) on television recently.  I decided that I wanted to give it a try and see if it was worth my while. I signed up and started going through their site when I wanted to purchase something online.  It was definitely worth a try, and I will continue to use this service. 

I received a total of $64.11 cashback in just a couple of months.  These were purchases that I would have made online regardless if I were participating in their program.

A good example of how it works is that I just recently purchased a pair of Sketchers Women’s GoWalk Sneakers from Macy’s online.  I received 20% off the regular price and then since I had gone through Rakuten, I received an additional 15% cashback ($6.00) and free shipping,  It was a total savings of $16.00 (plus what the shipping charges would have been). Rakuten will be sending me a check for my purchases during this quarter in November.  The checks are mailed quarterly (February, May, August, and November).  

The percentage that you receive in cashback changes regularly.  When I made the purchase they were having a special of 15% cashback for Macy’s.  The normal cashback amount for Macy’s is usually 3% but they do offer double cashback specials and they also have days where the percentage is more than double.  I have downloaded the app on my laptop so when I go to the store’s site, Rakuten will give me a pop up asking if I want to activate the cashback and it lets me know what the cashback is at the time.  This is extremely convenient.

You can take advantage of this cashback program when you shop online at Macy’s, Kohls, Amazon, Sephora, Walmart, and Ebay, just to name a few. They participate with over 2,500 stores.  They also offer double cash back savings, in-store cashback, discounts on travel and vacations as well as incentives when your friends or family sign up and use the service.  

You have to wonder how they can offer these savings.  It is called affiliate marketing, the stores pay Rakuten for sending customers to their sites/stores and Rakuten rewards it’s customers for going through their site.  I just appreciate saving money.

If you are interested in trying Rakuten and haven’t already,  it’s FREE. Please click the link below and sign up. You will receive $10.00 just for signing up once you have made your first purchase.  Anyone who refers another person will receive $25.00 for each referral. It is their “Give $10, Get $25” referral program. WIN-WIN


Chicken Marsala

Chicken Marsala, Angel Hair Pasta and a Simple Salad

I really like Chicken Marsala.  It was a special dish that I would order when I went out to a nice restaurant.  I started making it about 12 years ago and my boys fell in love with it. I decided to make it for dinner but couldn’t find my recipe card, so I googled it — You just have to love technology.  I happened to come across this recipe from Karina at Cafe Delites. She has a wonderful website and I will definitely be trying more of her recipes.

One thing that she suggested was to halve the chicken breasts horizontally.  Silly me, I have always pounded it with a rolling pin. Using her suggested method made making Chicken Marsala much quicker.  My boys and I had an amazing dinner. We paired it with angel hair pasta and an arugula salad. This is my new “GO TO” recipe for Chicken Marsala. 

Prep Time: 10 Min     Cook Time: 25 Min Ready in 35 Min  — Yield: 4 servings



  • ½ cup all-purpose flour (plain flour) 
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon black cracked pepper
  • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, halved horizontally to make 4 filets*
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

Marsala Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter as needed
  • 8 ounces (250g) brown or cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ cup dry Marsala wine
  • 1 ¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth (or stock)
  • ¾ cup heavy cream (thickened cream, evaporated milk or half and half may also be used)**
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley


  1. Mix the flour, salt, garlic powder and pepper in a shallow bowl.  Dredge the chicken in the flour mixtures and shake off excess.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil and 2 tablespoons butter in a 12-inch pan or skillet over medium-high heat until simmering.  Fry 2 of the chicken breasts until golden-brown on both sides (about 3 to 4 minutes per side). Transfer to warm plate, tent with foil and keep warm.  Repeat the same with the remaining 2 chicken breasts.
  3. In the same pan with the remaining pan grease left over from the chicken, melt 1 tablespoon of butter.  Add the mushrooms and for 2-3 minutes until brown, scraping away at any of the leftover chicken bits off the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  5. Pour in the Marsala and the broth and simmer until reduced by half and starting to thicken (about 10-15 minutes).
  6. Pour in the cream and return the chicken back into the sauce.  Cook until the sauce thickens (about 3 minutes). Garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately. (The sauce will continue to thicken off the heat.)
  7. Serve over cooked angel hair pasta (or pasta of choice), rice, potatoes, cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles, if desired. 


*For pounding chicken breasts method:

You will need 4 chicken breasts (skinless and boneless).  Place one chicken breast in between sheets of plastic wrap (or in a ziplock bag) and use the flat side of a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound and flatten to an even ¼ inch thickness.  Set the flattened chicken breast aside and repeat with remaining breasts.

Continue on from Step 2

** If using half and half, be careful not to bring your sauce to a rapid boil or it may curdle


Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

NUTRITION Calories: 503kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 134mg | Sodium: 753mg | Potassium: 773mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 870IU | Vitamin C: 6.1mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1.9mg 

Peach Blossoms

This photograph was taken of the peach blossoms on a tree that I planted in my father’s memory.  It seemed fitting to plant a peach tree because when I was a child, my father planted two peach trees and two apple trees in our yard.  Once the peach trees became prolific, he would make homemade peach ice cream on hot summer days. We would have family, friends, and neighbors gather to share the ice cream and socialize.  This was a time when you didn’t lock your doors when you left your house. We didn’t have security cameras, we had caring neighbors. Everyone looked out for each other. You knew and respected your neighbors and valued spending time with each other.  My father was extremely generous and friendly. He would help anyone in need and give you the shirt off his back.  

My mother would use the peaches to make the most fabulous peach cobbler you’ve ever tasted.  She would just whip it together and she never used a recipe. She would also can the peaches so we could enjoy them during the winter months.  She was thoughtful and shared the harvest with family, friends, and neighbors. My mother was an amazing cook and her abilities weren’t limited to the kitchen.  There wasn’t anything that my mother couldn’t do, fix or make. To this day, I am absolutely amazed at her loving grace and the abundance of energy that she had.

My parents were just like everybody else’s parents.  They loved each other. They were committed to each other and they took care of their family.  They endured hardships but they stuck together and leaned on each other. They were able to celebrate 60 wonderful years together, prior to my father passing away.  I am honored to be their daughter. I can identify where my personality traits and physical traits came from. There are times that I see my mother in my actions and other times, my father.

Interestingly, I have been told that peach blossoms are significant in Feng Shui.  They help attract love and like-minded people to you. While I do not know anything about Feng Shui, I do know that I have been blessed with a loving family and many like-minded friends.  Acquaintances, not unlike the seasons come and go, but I have an amazing family and friends that love me and always have my back. For that, I am very thankful and I count my blessings.

What things in nature remind you of your childhood or make you feel warm and fuzzy when you see or even smell them?  Peaches will always make me think of my father.