Shop Local this Season {Fresno Area}

In years past, I’ve braced myself for crowds and cold to get the best deals on Black Friday. While I don’t regret having experienced this quintessential modern American past-time, the competitive shopping scene is not for me. As part of … Continue reading

Halloween Soup Tasting

When fall rolls around, y’all can keep your Pumpkin Spice Lattes and endless candy. I want some soup. Soups, actually, because a girl always needs options. This Halloween, we had some friends over for a soup tasting and bonfire. The soups were fantastic and the costumes were darling, but as you will see, the bonfire didn’t quite make it to s’mores.



butternut curriedb

I pulled this recipe from a Pampered Chef catalog several years ago and it makes an appearance several times each holiday season. The curry addition is sure to impress and using the mascarpone in lieu of cream gives it the smoothest texture. For that, I couldn’t make it from November to March without my immersion (stick) blender. Who says girls can’t handle power tools?

The last time I talked Danny into dressing up with me, we were still in college… here’s a throwback:

cowboysThis year we went as another couple in the “opposites attract” genre: cops and robbers.

photo (2)

Some things haven’t changed much in six years… such as my love for soup (to the point as always). This recipe has an extremely special place in my heart because I first made it for a gathering of friends after we had lost a new but beautiful person in our lives. Every time I make it, I think of her and how I wish she could be there celebrating with us – how I know she would have loved to be.

In honor of Melissa,


Click here for the link. This recipe needs no adaptations.


The high winds and eventual rains caused our bonfire to get a little out of control. Luckily, we had the “authorities” on hand… along with a surgeon, a nurse and a handful of ED docs (dressed as various characters). Not too many guests left the kitchen anyway, and the hands-down favorite soup of the night was the most simple to make!

baked potato baked potato soup

Any and all of these recipes can be made with either chicken or vegetable stock and contain no meat. Ideally, for a tasting or a crowd, I try to make at least one vegetarian option. The use of only vegetables and dairy also meant that for less than $60, I had three soups on hand to feed as many as two dozen people. The upside to the weather keeping many of our guests at home is that I now have leftovers for the week ahead! Soup-er.

Many thanks to our dear friends for lending your company and crock pots.

It’s a Date: 5 Fresno-Fab Date Night Ideas

Fresno is for lovers, too, you know. We’ve had the last two years to narrow-down our favorite local date spots so that when Danny gets a rare evening off, we know right where to go. I don’t know about you, but we’re often looking to maximize the fun while keeping our pocketbooks full enough for weekend getaways. Here are our top five Fresno picks…

din move

1. Dinner and A Movie – I was once told that Fresno sells more movie tickets per capita than any other city in America (and that’s saying something). Go anti-establishment and pick up your own projector for an outdoor movie night. We absolutely love our projector, and there’s nothing better than cozying up in a hammock with your sweetie. The Fault In Our Stars was one of my favorite reads from last year and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the movie version was just as lovely.


As for dinner, we found ourselves ducking into the local’s favorite Italian joint: DiCiccio’s last Friday for the very first time – but, certainly not the last! If you’re craving mama’s Italian served on the classic vinyl checkered table cloths, then DiCicco’s is where it’s at. Actually, let me literally tell you where it’s at, because there are about 12 locations across Fresno but only one offers $7 wine “tastings” to guests on Friday nights. I emphasize “tastings” because the resident wine buff will be bringing you ample pours of three local wines (and will then entertain you with details about the Central Valley wine scene). As if you still needed convincing, they throw in an appetizer as well. I left feeling all warm and fuzzy toward this local eatery. Check it out: 2221 W. Shaw Ave. Fresno

turn up heat


2. Gimme S’more Lovin’ – Since Dan practically lives at the hospital, I’m often left wanting more time with him. Last Saturday I reluctantly spent the day away from him to attend a professional development, but came home to find he had set up the fire pit and gathered the marshmallows. Sweeter than sweet. It’s the simple things… a long talk by the fire on a fall evening is my idea of the perfect date night!


from Tasting Room's FB page

3. Wine Tasting – Napa Schmapa (just kidding, I love their wine too). But we’ve got quite the scene right here in the Central Valley: wine bars, local tasting rooms and vineyards.

Wine Bars: I’ve stopped into many (well, all) of the wine bars in Fresno, but only one has really knocked my socks off – The Tasting Room. I love their cozy decor, regularly rotated flights and amaaaazing small bites. If you’re gonna call yourself a wine bar, ya gotta have some nosh. Just sayin’ (Plus they have a really great local musician there every 1st and 3rd Saturday that you just don’t want to miss.)

Tasting Rooms: I love packing a picnic and meeting some friends at ApCal off of Avenue 12 in Madera. They have free live music every Friday night through the summer, plus about every local wine open for pours.

Vineyards: Paso Robles is only a quick 2 hour drive on 41 and offers several dozen vineyards and cellars to satisfy even the most serious oenophile. My favorite is Tobin James. Their atmosphere is friendly, their staff is knowledgeable and the experience is just downright fun. No fee for the tasting. Take that Temecula.

page turner

photo by

4. Peruse Your Local Bookstore – While we typically find ourselves scanning shelves at the big box bookstore (and surreptitiously loading our Amazon carts with the very same titles), our favorite spot for snagging some spine is the Book Barn in Clovis. Their selection of gently used books is amazing and so well organized, we often leave contemplating whether we should finally just build that new bookshelf.


from Gazebo's FB page

5. Food TrucksGazebo Gardens & the Old Town Clovis Farmers Market are our favorite weekend-evening haunts. Both are kid friendly and feature local entertainment and food trucks. Since moving into the Tower District, we’ve been frequenting Gazebo (Shields and Van Ness) a few times a month – it’s open Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. Our strategy is to grab small bites from 2-3 trucks for dinner and then hit up Summertime Pies for dessert. Our 30 minute walk home almost makes us feel less guilty about the cinnamon-sugar coated, deep-fried handpies á la mode. Almost.

While it’s nice to have some old standbys, we’re always excited to try out new spots! Any suggestions?!