Ground turkey, kale vegetable soup

Last night I decided to make soup as when I left my Dad’s the night before he was making a soup and it spelled delicious.  Keep in mind I had been gone for a week so I didn’t know what hubby left me in the house to cook.  The best things about making a soup is you can usually find ingredients around the house to make some kind of soup.  I took inventory and this is what I came up with:



3 – 4 Tablespoons of olive oil

3 shallots, chopped

1/2 large onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 celery stalk, chopped

3 large carrots, cut into rounds ( I prefer thicker about 1/2 inch)

1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks (I kept about the same size of my carrots)

Fresh green beans, ends cut and chopped into about 1- 1/2 inch pieces (about 2 cups)

1- 1/2 lbs ground turkey

1 1/2 Tablespoons Herbes de Provence

1 can of cannellini beans, rinsed (12-15 oz)

8 Cups chicken stock (2 cartons)

1 can of diced tomatoes, don’t drain (12-15 oz)

Kale, coarsely chopped (1-2 bunches or about 4 cups)

1 cup brown rice, cooked

Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. Heat the oil in Dutch oven over med-high heat.
  2. Add the shallots, onion garlic, celery, carrots, green beans and bell pepper.  Add a sprinkling of salt and pepper.  Sauté while stirring frequently until vegetables start to soften.
  3. Add your ground turkey and continue sautéing until meat starts to brown (7 minutes), then add your herbs de Provence and cook for another 1-3 minutes.
  4. Add your beans, tomatoes with liquid, and chicken stock.  Bring to boil then turn down to low.
  5. Add the cup of cooked brown rice and kale.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Cover and simmer until vegetables are cooked (about 10-15 minutes)


If using brown rice remember it takes about 45-50 minutes to cook.

You need to taste your broth constantly to adjust your seasonings.  Salt and pepper go a long way and will also depend on the type of chicken stock you are using.


Bella Italia Pizzeria & Restaurant

Bella Italia Pizzeria & Restaurant is located in Bardmoor Promenade at 10801 Starkey Rd Largo Florida. Don’t let the strip mall location and 80’s style interior fool you.  If you are looking for a great New York style Italian meal then look no more.  My parents have been here before and recommended this local place for a dinner out for 5 of us.  We arrived around 6:30 pm on a Friday and it was busy and got busier but we were seated right away.  It is rather small and doesn’t have a waiting area so you may have to arrive earlier or later to make sure they have room.  We were seated directly in front of the counter with cooks behind us.  This was entertaining as they were tossing pizzas amongst the three cooks and the whole restaurant spelled of Italian cooking.

We all got a Caesar salad with our meals.  The salads were a little over dressed but not soggy.  It was bigger than a normal side salad.  We also received complimentary garlic bread which for the 5 of us they brought over two baskets.  Both baskets were a large portion as you would expect if you were at a  Italian’s family house for dinner.  It was buttery, garlicky, and very addicting.  The menu is everything you could want for an Italian meal- pizza, stromboli, calzones,salads, pastas, and specialty plates.  As usual I couldn’t decide between all the options but got down to three:  linguini and clam sauce, manicotti Sicilian style (rolled with eggplant), or shrimp fra diavola.

shrimp fra diavlo

The sauce was thick and garlicky with just a mild heat that does not overwhelm the dish and full of flavor.  I like hot so I wouldn’t mind a bit more spice but this was perfect to accommodate even those who do not like a lot of heat.  There were a lot of shrimp and the pasta cooked a perfect al dente.

The other members of my party all enjoyed their dishes as well.  We had a “small” stromboli, chicken piccata, veal parmesan and 1/2 chicken parmesan with  side of broccoli.  As you can see you get your money’s worth.

bella italia_calzonechciken picadaveal parmhalf parm_side broccoli

I would have liked to try the pizza since it is advertised as New York style.  It did look like NY style pizza and what I did see looked delicious.  I guess that means the next time I am in Largo I will have to order a pizza.  With so many choices to eat in the Largo area you may overlook this place but don’t!  You will not be disappointed.

First Watch- The Daytime Cafe


First Watch is breakfast-lunch restaurant open from 7 am – 2:30 pm.  My dad and I went to one located at 13200 Seminole Blvd in Largo Florida.  First Watch has 100 restaurants located in 13 states.  They have a lot of healthy options and traditional breakfast items to satisfy everyone’s dietary needs.  The décor is very open and bright.  Being in Florida you can also choose to dine on the outside patio.  The had a community table available that was nice if you don’t mind sitting amongst others.

first watch_1 first watch_2

Dad and I decided to jump start our day with specials from their fresh juice bar, the kale tonic and day glow ($3.99 each).  The kale tonic I ordered was Fuji apple, kale, cucumber and lemon.  It was very refreshing.  You could taste each ingredients in order as you drank it.  At first I tasted the tart Fuji apple with a hint of kale, then the freshness of a cucumber finishing with the lemon.  I highly recommend this.  My dad tried the day glow which was made with carrot, orange, lemon and organic ginger.  He described it as I did where you could taste the individual ingredients.  Our server mentioned she wasn’t a ginger fan so didn’t care for the day glow but dad said the ginger wasn’t overwhelming.

healthy drinks

If you have read some of my other posts you will not be surprised that I ordered the eggs benedict.  They actually had a traditional, a Florentine and a special salmon benedict.  I decided to stick with the “healthy” theme and go with the Florentine.  I made sure to ask the server how they cook the poached eggs which see said they are slightly runny.  I was not disappointed!

eggs benedict


The Florentine eggs benedict ($9.39) came with fresh spinach, avocado, and tomato.  First I need to say the eggs were cooked to a medium poach where the yolk ran out when cut into.  The dish definitely didn’t skimp on the spinach and avocado.  The spinach was fresh and was like a mini spinach salad, also it came with 4 quarters of avocado.  The eggs came with a side of potatoes and fresh fruit salad.  I really enjoyed that their fruit salad was fresh consisting of pineapple, grapes, strawberries, and melon.  If I had to point out one ‘complaint’ it would be that the avocados were brown and bruised.  For someone like me who knows that it is just the oxidation of the avocado it is fine, but….if someone saw it who doesn’t know that they may be turned off.



scrambleDad got the breakfast scramble ($8.39):  fresh, scrambled cage-free eggs, spinach, ham, and melted cheddar and monterey jack on multigrain bread.  Topped with hollandaise sauce.  Since there wasn’t a crumb left on his plate I have to say it must of been tasty.  The eggs were not overly scrambled and the ingredients were abundantly mixed throughout.  I really like that they used obviously fresh ingredients and you are not “looking” for the ingredients.  You are getting your money’s worth.

The servers that we met were very friendly and accommodating.  The restaurant was very busy but I would expect that on a Saturday morning.  It was so good we recommended it to my stepmom’s weight watchers group for Sunday. They enjoyed it too and said it was busy but enjoyed the outside patio.  They even partook in the jump starting drinks.  The website has a nutritional value page of its menu items but did have the kale tonic or day glow on it which for those needing to calculate points or calories would need.  The server couldn’t help them out either with how the drinks are actually made.  I would recommend that all servers should know if the special drinks are made from concentrates or freshly pressed and know the nutritional value or at least place it on the displays.

If you have a First Watch near you—you need to go!  You will not leave hungry and leave happy feeling good.

Andrea’s Family Restaurant

Andrea’s Family Restaurant in Winter Haven Florida is Mediterranean-Greek inspired.  It is very casual family oriented.  We went on a Friday late morning and it was about 80% full.  My friend said whenever he goes into a restaurant he looks at the overhead vents to make sure they are clean..they were.  The waitress overhead him and said they clean all the time even moving the tables and cleaning the walls.  The restaurant was in fact very clean.


I had the Greek Omelet with potatoes and a biscuit along with a side of country gravy.  The      omelet had feta cheese, red onions, and tomato.  The serving size is enough to feed two people.  It looks like the omelets are at least 3 eggs.  My omelet ingredients were fresh  and mixed thoroughly into the eggs.  The seasoning on the potatoes were perfect not too salty or bland. I didn’t even need to use ketchup.  The country gravy was your basic gravy.  Nothing to rave about but no complaints either.

The omelet was under $7.00 and the side of gravy under $3.00.


andreas_1 Jim ordered the Rosemary chicken omelet with hash browns and toast.  It had big chunks of     chicken and fresh mushrooms.  You could tell the eggs were cooked on a flat griddle then the ingredients folded in separately.  This was different than my omelet where the ingredients were mixed into the eggs. He said it was good but could use cheese to bring it all together.  I would agree as I think omelets need cheese to bind everything. Of course, I love cheese and think everything is better with it.

As you can see we did not leave hungry!  Our two meals cost under $20.00.  I would highly recommend Andrea’s for breakfast.


Andrea’s is located at 1498 Havendale Blvd in Winter Haven Florida.

Blatt Beer and Table

Blatt Beer and Table opened a new location in West Omaha at the Shops of Legacy.  We have enjoyed all the food we tried and Brendan loves to go for the shuffle board.  The only problem is it is a small place!  We have visited this location twice and both times it was packed and hard to find a seat.  We stopped by a couple other times but couldn’t get a seat.  I am confident if they were able to expand they would do great.

On our first visit we were pleasantly surprised that it was Happy Hour.  They do have some great happy hour drink and food specials.  Happy Hour hours are M-Sat 3- 6:30; Sun noon- 8 pm; and a reverse happy hour Fri/ Sat 9:30- 11:30 pm.  We tried the recommended Char-Fried Chicken Wings in both the Sriracha and Blatt BBQ sauce.  If you are a chicken wings fan these will not disappoint.  Brendan loves pretzels (what kid doesn’t) so we also tried the Bavarian Pretzel with German rosemary mustard and Gruyere fondue.  An excellent snack.  Brendan wasn’t as impressed with dad’s order of chicharones but they were served in a small paper bag and for the price an excellent bar snack with one of the many beer offerings.

On our last visit we wanted to try something new.  IMG_3230I decided on the Salmon Gravlox BLT with salt and vinegar chips.  If you are looking for something different you must try this.  The coriander cured Scottish salmon was refreshing and this BLT was served on mini pretzel rolls.  I am a salt and vinegar lover and these chips were addicting!  I was trying to figure what they used to make the salt-vinegar “dust” as it reminds me of using liquid nitrogen but I doubt that is it.

Paul decided to try the Grilled Mix Sausage on a Stick.  It had jalapeno polish sausage, kielbasa, beer braised brat, and knockwurst served with braised kraut and potato salad.  Paul said it was very good but I think the highlight was the braised sauerkraut.  It was fresh and had a crunch.  This was another recommended dish by our server and it was one to please.


Blatt’s serves a smoky tomato ketchup that is served on the side.  I know the secret to this awesome ketchup but I am not going to repeat here.  I was telling my server how great it was and he said a lot of customers ask how to make it but they are not allowed to tell.  I told him how I would do it and he said he can’t lie since I got it right….but I won’t spill the secret  🙂

Brendan’s kid version of chicken strips was a substantial size.  The ketchup served with his dish was not the smoked version so I am assuming they have regular and the smoked version available for customers. On the previous visit, Brendan tried the fish and chips which were light and flaky.  The coating was perfect and they have malt vinegar!!! Which for me is a big plus.

We hope to enjoy more from Blatt but as mentioned due to the size it is hard sometimes to get a seat. I should mention the servers are friendly, knowledgeable about the food and the drinks, make great recommendations and are attentive.


Granite City Food and Brewery

Granite City Food and Brewery is a relatively new establishment in Omaha.  A friend had mentioned her and her husband had gone and enjoyed it so we decided to check it out.  Granite City is located in 13 states and has 30 restaurants.  We like sitting in the bar area  where we can sit back in the booths in view of sports on the TVs.  All the handcrafted brews are excellent and if you enjoy a great beer you need to sign up for their mug club.

On our first visit, the manager gave us fresh-baked cookies to take home and a discount on a future visit.  Since registering my mug club card I have received several discount coupons for visits and my birthday.  We usually go on the weekend when we are out running errands.  The best part is they have a happy hour on Sat- Sun from noon- 5 pm.  If you want a snack this a great time to come.  Other happy hour hours are M-F 3- 6 pm and a reverse happy hour every day from 9 pm- close.  Two of our favorite happy hour snacks are the Edamame and Maple Pepper Bacon Flatbread.

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We were surprised by the amount of Edamame we received for $4.00!  On the kids menu the pepperoni flatbread was the same size as the regular flatbreads.

untitled (6)One thing to note is the lunch burgers are only a 1/4 lb versus the 1/2 lb dinner burgers.  I was a little disappointed in this when I order the lunch Blue Peppercorn Burger.  It was very tasty, but if I had realized how small it was I would have ordered the dinner portion.  Now, the menu does say on the lunch that it is a 1/4 lb but the connection didn’t really click.

On this visit, Brendan decided to get the mini corn dogs and fries.  It is your typical kids corn dogs and fries but I think they could do something more with the plating of it as it just looks like it was thrown on the plate.    Maybe if they tried different plates the burger and corndogs wouldn’t look so plain.


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We hope to try some more of the food.  The menu is quite extensive with many types of offerings.  Sometimes, when a menu is too big I get worried that some dishes and presentation are sacrificed.  Nevertheless, we will continue to frequent Granite City  on the weekends to enjoy some edamame, flatbread and a great Beer or two.

Square 1 Burgers

I am visiting my parents in Largo Florida and Dad decided to take me to lunch.  We went to Square 1 Burgers.  Dad had been there before and knew I would enjoy it.  Square 1 Burgers has 8 locations in Florida and will not disappoint if every location is to the same standard as the one we visited today.

Entering you are met with a red and black color theme, with some booths in a white and black cow print.  There is a lot of dark wood and colorful chandeliers.  It definitely says we are not your ordinary burger joint, we like to have fun but offer a high quality product.  The wait staff was very friendly and attentive.

There is a wide variety of specialty cocktails, beers and wines to quench your thirst.  We just enjoyed a couple of beers, Square 1 Red and a 3 Daughters Beach Blonde ale, both were excellent.  Although we sat inside because it was getting ready to storm, I love how in Florida most of the restaurant have an outside seating area.   Most of the locations are also dog friendly (outside) and there is even a doggie menu for your 4-legged family member.

I decided on the Poblano Peno Burger.  This 1/2 lb 100% all natural Angus burger had roasted poblanos, jalapenos, swiss cheese, tomato, onion and a cilantro-lime cream sauce on a grilled brioche bun.

Poblano Peno

This is definitely not a “date” burger, it was messy and juicy, had a little bit of heat from the fresh jalapenos but not overwhelming.  The cilantro-lime cream sauce was a perfect complement to the two peppers.  My side, coleslaw, was a good basic slaw.  A little too much liquid but otherwise good, not too much vinegar and not too creamy.

Dad ordered the 3 mushroom burger made with porcini, portobello, and garden mushroom sauté, gruyere cheese and square 1 sooner sauce with fries.   He said it was perfect and left no crumble behind.

3 Mushroom Burger

The fries appeared to be the only way fries should be made–fresh cut.  We ordered our burgers medium and medium-well and each came out to that exact temperature.

They do have other items in addition to burgers for the non-burger and non-bun fans.  Instead of Angus beef you can substitute ground chicken, turkey, lamb, Kobe, or buffalo for an additional charge.  Today’s special burger was a crab cake burger that sounded delightful.

Do yourself a favor and visit Square 1 Burgers next time you are in Florida!