You Can’t Hate On This

I’ve spent the past 5 days traveling cross country and back for a college graduation.  I loved the trip, but hated the flight schedule and one of the airlines in particular (I’m talking about you Allegiant Air).  How in the world does an airline have a plane that departs a 24 hour city (Las Vegas) at 6 AM filled with seats that don’t recline?? MAJOR FAIL!  The cost of a one way flight from Las Vegas to Oklahoma City was great ($103 each with the stupid $15 carry on bag fee, $6.59 credit card processing fee, and the various taxes and fees) but the lack of reclining seats for a 3 hour flight is a deal breaker!

Having finally gotten back late Monday afternoon, with a cough, sore throat and ears that ached, all I wanted was a fuss free meal, some cough medicine, and to sleep in my own bed.

Thinking back to when you were a kid, what meal resulted in no complaints ever?

If you were me, that complaint free plate featured a perfectly crisped grilled cheese sandwich.  If my Mom wanted to make me really happy she’d serve it alongside a bowl of Campbell’s Tomato Soup she’d doctored up with milk, butter and freshly popped popcorn floating in it.

That’s my idea of heaven!

Knowing the schedule of the flights I’d booked, the likelihood of tornado delays (big thanks to Jim Cantore at The Weather Channel), and that I would be eating huge meals & drinking a lot of wine over the weekend,  I had prepped my kitchen ahead of our trip with the essentials.

My perfect grilled cheese

  • Thick Cut Sourdough Bread – My first choice is Francisco Sourdough
  • Butter – ONLY real butter, no margarine or anything else
  • Cheese – If I am in a hurry it can only be Kraft American Singles, but if I have the luxury of time, I like to slice thick chunks off of a block of Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  1. Preheat a skillet over medium heat on your stove
  2. Butter one side each, of two pieces of sourdough bread
  3. Place first piece, butter side down, into the pan
  4. Layer either the American or Sharp Cheddar cheese (don’t skimp) on the piece in the pan
  5. Place the second piece of bread, butter side up, on top of the cheese
  6. Cook until you no longer see bubbles around the edges of the bread and a quick peek verifies that you have a crispy, well browned, bottom piece
  7. Using a spatula, flip the sandwich over onto the uncooked side and cook as directed in step 6
  8. Once cooking is complete slide the sandwich out of the pan and onto a plate.
  9. Slice down the middle and enjoy the gooey goodness.

Yeah, that (and a glass of ice cold milk) makes this girl happy!

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My Top 5 Bloody Marys

bloodymarybasicsThere are few things that are more satisfying on a lazy Sunday morning than a great Bloody Mary.  But, as we who enjoy them can agree, not all Bloody Marys are created equal.

Personally I like mine to not be so spicy as to rip my throat off as I swallow, or sting it so bad that I can’t enjoy more than the first sip or two.  I like a lot of flavor and really enjoy the presentation of a pretty AND tasty drink.

I also enjoy a little variety.  My favorites have featured chunks of crab amongst crisp, tall vegetables; entire lobster claws; thick strips of crispy bacon; antipasto on a skewer (tomato/mozzarella/basil/salami);  and crispy, fresh vegetables to munch while sipping a perfectly spiced drink.

My Top 5 Bloody Marys:

  1. The Crab House on Pier 39 – San Francisco, CA
  2. Lobster Me at The Palazzo in The Venetian – Las Vegas, NV
  3. Paul Martin’s – Irvine, CA
  4. Olive Garden – Santa Ana, CA (Mainplace Mall)
  5. The Signal Lounge – Orange, CA

After stumbling across a picture of a giant fried WHOLE CHICKEN hanging out of a giant Bloody Mary I decided that I need a list of places to visit just for my favorite Sunday morning cocktail!

Although I’ve been to Milwaukee before, somehow I managed to miss Sobelman’s Pub & Grill and their menu of “Beast” Bloody Marys.

My mouth waters thinking about their 80+ oz concoctions that are meant to be shared by at least 4 people.


The Chicken Fried:  $50 and topped with a whole fried 4 pound chicken from Ray’s Butcher Shop in Greenfield.  That is one intimidating presentation!  It’s a drink for a cause though!  During the last 4 months of 2014, for every Chicken Fried sold, the owners of Sobelman’s donated $5 to Milwaukee’s Hunger Task Force.

abc_heeseburger_bloodymary_jp_121212_msCheeseburger Bloody Mary:  Features a scallion, a stalk of celery, a colby cheese wedge, a Polish sausage, a pickled mushroom, onion & brussel sprout, a pickle & olive, a shrimp, cherry tomato & lemon wedge, a spear of asparagus and a bacon cheeseburger slider.

2012-08-30-bacon-thumbAnother Bloody Mary that is definitely on the “Must Try List” is this 32 ounce monster from The Nook in AtlantaThe Bloody Best:  8 oz. of Absolut Peppar vodka mixed with a special Bloody Mary mix, garnished with pepperoncinis, jalapenos, Tater Tots, steak, a slice of toast, a hard-boiled egg and you drink it through a straw made of meat!

The list is in its infancy and recommendations from enthusiastic Bloody Mary adventurers are welcomed.

On the flip side, I know that there are those who only partake to quiet the ache in their head and swirling of their bellies after a night of over indulgence, to that end, Smirnoff shares their basic recipe for a pitcher of basic Bloody Marys:

  • 9 oz Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka
  • Tomato juice
  • 1 Lime juiced
  • 1 Lemon juiced
  • 4 tsp Hot sauce
  • 2 tbs Horseradish
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Celery salt
  • 1 tsp Black pepper
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Smoked paprika
  • 1 Lime wedge

Blend all ingredients except vodka. Pour into pitcher. Rub lemon or lime wedge around the rim of highball glasses and then roll glass in celery salt and add ice cubes. Fill glass 1/3 with vodka & top off with Bloody Mary mix. Serves 10.

Time for this girl to head to bed so I can wake up and create something somewhere in the middle of these to sip tomorrow!

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. I may not write a blog post every day, but there are daily updates to my This Girl Loves To Eat community at: