Cooking, Travel and just Other Stuff

You have to understand. I come from a line of very crafty people. My sister paints, one niece can knit anything out of a ball of yarn...oh and she paints and wood carves and makes jewelery. The other niece designs things and then sews them and then my great niece...well we will just call her insanely crafty. They all have blogs where they show all of their wonderful things they do. So, that brings me here. I decided I wanted a blog too, but what to write about. I'm not insanely crafty, can't paint, don't wood carve, tried knitting-didn't work....hummm, what do I do? Well, I like to cook and travel and eat, so I thought maybe we can start there. My blog will be about recipes I've made, places I go and restaurants I eat at with a few other things thrown in along the way. I've also heard that writing is good for you brain, so I figure-as I'm getting older now-this could be a good thing. So anyway, if you find my rantings worth commenting over, I'd love to hear from you. If I post a recipe you like, please let me know, other wise you can keep your opinions to yourself. This, after all, is my blog to make myself feel better, to try and compete with my family, because I don't do anything crafty.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Two days in Tahoe

It's been a while since I have written anything, but Brent and I just got back from a short trip to Tahoe City so I thought I would just mention it here. I had been wanting to go up and stay at a cute little place called River Ranch Lodge & Restaurant. It is on Hwy 89 at Alpine Meadows Road. Old and Rustic. We spent last night there and it was just right. The rooms are done in a woodsy theme with excellent wi-fi and cable TV. The Truckee River flows right past the hotel.
The picture to the left is right off he patio. It's low this time of year but still pretty. The people were very friendly and the restaurant is worth the drive all by itself. The food was fabulous, not inexpensive, but amazing. It is a farm to fork restaurant and they serve it in a beautiful plating. We didn't make a reservation and did manage to get a window table but for a Thursday night it was pretty packed. Would definitely make a reservation if it was on the weekend. The other thing that is great for you bikers or if your like us, walkers, the paved trail along the Truckee River is right in front of the hotel. You can start there and bike forever. Tahoe City itself is 3.5 miles from the hotel and then you can either go up Hwy 89 or 28 for a very long walk or ride.We did almost 3 miles on Thursday night before dinner. It was very pretty. Perfect temperature.

So if you want to take a couple of days, cuz that's all you have I highly recommend staying here. On Friday and Saturday night the hotel has a band and food on the patio. If you get a room with a balcony you can sit on the balcony and listen to it. If you want to check it out here is the link:      

The other thing we wanted to do was do some hiking. Today we hiked into Antone Meadows. It is off of Hwy 28 in the Burton Creek State Park. The whole loop was 6.1 miles and we did it in 2 hours and 44 minutes which is pretty good for a couple of old people. Moderate climb with mostly soft paths but in a few places was a little rocky and uneven. When you get toward the end you can catch glimpses of the lake. Beautiful scenery, great day. If you like to do Tahoe and you like to hike, I highly recommend a book called Best Easy Day Hikes Lake Tahoe by Tracy Salcedo-Chourre and published by Falcon Guide. 
Antone Meadows

After we were done hiking we were going to get a bite to eat in Tahoe City, but with the upcoming holiday weekend it was already busy. I Yelped restaurants in Truckee and this seafood restaurant popped  up. Seafood in Truckee? Really? Oh my goodness!! Best seafood ever. Better than places in San Francisco. Fresh from all around the country. It is also a fish market if you want some fish for home. The restaurant itself has very limited sitting inside but today we could sit outside. I would order it and eat it in the car it was that good. I had the crab cakes with a salad and a side of fries (the fries were so good!) and Brent had swordfish kabobs with cold slaw and fries. Morgan's Lobster Shack & Fish Market. Five Star yum!!!
Hope you all have a great weekend. Take care, Rhonda

Saturday, September 20, 2014

With Love from Beyond

This very special envelope arrived to me on Thursday. In it contained the most beautiful letter to me written on August 29, 2002. Why am I receiving it today? Because last week the amazing woman who wrote it pass away from this life to be with the God she loved. In her life here on this earth she served God and served others.

She made, I would say, in the thousands, quilts for those she loved. At one point when I worked at Ronald McDonald Hose she made quilts for the kids there. I remember her telling me once that in that year she had made over 300. She did not keep any of them.

Her cooking was very well know by those who loved her. Best chicken and dumplings ever. Cobblers, cakes, pies! It was always a treat to eat at their house.

She took care of her ailing husband for over ten years. She did it with love and perseverance. Most of the time never asking for help.

She and her husband were two of the best encouragers.  They always had a smile on their faces and a hug for everyone they saw. They loved young kids and were two of my son's greatest cheerleaders.

But the thing I remember most is her sense of humor. She laughed easily and always had a funny line. One of my favorites was when you asked her how she was she would say' "fine as frog hair and twice as fluffy."

I met Helen Gray when I was 16. When Brent and I got married and we attended church at Carmichael we became part of her family. We were so blessed. What I didn't know at the time but she was watching me. Her letter tells me of the strength she watched in me through some of my darkest hours. Strength I didn't know I had or was showing, but that encouraged her. She praised God for me! A young girl who was just trying to get through life.

What I regret is not being able to tell her what this letter has mean't to me. As was her nature she was giving and self-less even in death. I hope I can always be the person she saw in me and take her lessons into the rest of my life. One of the best things we can be is an encourager and giver to those we love and those that need it. And one lesson she has taught me through this letter is to walk as God would have you and that no matter your age others are watching and drawing strength from you.

Helen will be so very missed. She had a great impact on so many. In her last line of the wonderful letter she tells me to "keep up the good work. I love you very much." I will try Helen and I love you too.

Julie and Logan with Helen with a quilt she made for them.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Need some Lycopene and Beta Carotene.....Try Tomato Sweet Potato Bisque!

So I have been searching for a long time for a really good tomato soup recipe. I have tried a lot and even found  one that I really liked but it wasn't Money Man's favorite. So I kept searching. Well a couple of months ago Good Morning America had a guest chef on and she did this Tomato Sweet Potato Bisque. It is so yummy and so good for you. Everybody I have made it for has loved it. So for all the people who have been asking, here is the recipe. I have deleted and added a couple of things after making it a few times, but the recipe is from Chef Carla Hall.

Tomato Sweet Potato Bisque
2 Tblsps. olive oil
3 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
1 jalapeno chile- stemmed, seeded and chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp thyme
4 to 6 fresh basil leaves
1 14.5 oz. can diced fire roasted tomatoes
1 qt. vegetable stock, unsalted
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
                                                                                    1/4 tsp. cinnamon
                                                                                    1/2 cup heavy cream
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until just hot. Add the carrots, celery, onion and salt. Saute stirring occasionally until the onions just turn translucent.
Add the jalapeno, garlic, thyme and basil. Cook stirring occasionally about 7 minutes. Stir in the can of tomatoes, vegetable stock sweet potatoes and cinnamon. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer until sweet potatoes are very soft, about an hour. Let the soup cool slightly.
Using an immersion blender, puree until very smooth. Stir in the cream and reheat over low heat. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas will never be the same.....

I heard this today on a television program, "I don't think anyone experiences real loss until they have lost a child." I have wanted to write this blog for a while but just haven't. While this time of year is filled with much joy and happiness,  There is always a loneliness that fills my heart. There is a part of me that is missing.  A part of our family that has a hole. This year, for some reason, the hole has been more acute.

Lindsay-Christmas 1982
 She would have been thirty this year. Her name was Lindsay Joanne Agee and she is my daughter. In 1983 we lost her to cancer. I don't think about her everyday anymore with an aching sadness. Sometime her birthday will go by or the anniversary of her death and I realize I have forgot. I'm not over taken with great sadness anymore at the thought of her death, time really does heal. Most of the time I remember her with very happy memories.  I picture, and find comfort, in her and my Dad walking down a country lane in heaven hand in hand. But this time of year is always hard for me. No matter what happens during the rest of the year, Christmas is a time for all of the family to be together. For all those pieces of the family puzzle to come together to form one big loving puzzle.

This week has been especially difficult. I have thought a lot about four very special women who belong to a "club" that none of us wanted to join, Candee, Sharon B., Sharon T. and Connie. I have prayed for all of you. And I have thought a lot about and prayed for the parents of Newtown. For all of us, the puzzle will never be complete again. At least not in this life.

The upcoming week will bring many joys that will help fill the hole for me. I have been blessed with two of the most beautiful grandchildren who are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Santa. I have a wonderful son and an amazing daughter-in-law that fill my life with joy. I am so blessed they live close. Life is so precious but none of us are guaranteed it's length. I miss Lindsay and without her Christmas will never be the same, but our family puzzle will come together to share the love that is family and I will be so thankful. I pray the same for you.

(Side note: My friend, Connie, who lost her son a few years ago will have her son's photo on the Donate for Life float in the Rose Parade this year. When George died, Connie made the decision to have his organs donated. George's liver recipient, Alfonzo Garcia, will be riding on the float with George's picture and Connie and her daughter, Nicole get to help decorate the float. Love you, Connie)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Hiking to Lands End

It has been a while since I have posted a hiking blog. This one I think you will like. The hike around Lands End has to be one of the most beautiful hikes in California. You have the forest and the ocean with some cool things to see along the way. It is absolutely worth the drive to San Francisco. I stumbled upon this in the Sacramento Bee about three years ago. I cut it out and tucked it away to do some time in the future. Last Thursday was the day. My niece, Sherie, great-niece, Corrie and I took off for Lands End. So to give you a prospective of where it is here is a picture of the map we used for the hike. We did the trail in the orange with several of the side hikes. We ended up doing about four miles from what we could tell on different signs, four pretty strenuous miles. If you are used to hiking and stair climbing...a lot of stair climbing, then you shouldn't have any problems. Great place to take kids, although you might not be able to do the whole thing with small kids. It is also dog friendly and parking is free. We parked in the Lands End parking lot. The one nice thing is you could do how ever much of it you wanted to do depending on ability. We just choose to do the whole circle. It took us a little over three hours to do the trails we did. The views as you will see...amazing!
 So a little bit of history. The trail is on property that was once owned by a man named Adolph Sutro. He earned his fortune from his engineering skills in building a drainage and ventilation tunnel for the silver mines of Nevada's Comstock Lode. He sold it in 1879 and returned to San Francisco and used his profits to buy real estate and construct public attractions. Two of those were the world's largest indoor swimming complex, the Sutro Baths, and the Cliff House Restaurant. We started the hike by going down to the Sutro Baths ruins. Constructed between 1892 and 1896, it featured seven swimming pools, a museum, restaurants and hundreds of changing rooms. The entire complex was covered by three acres of stained glass and steel. They burned down in 1966.
Looking down on the Sutro Baths ruins
You can still see the blue of the plaster

The ocean laps right up on the walls

Steps down into one of the pools

Unfortunately the water is not so good anymore. It smells. Considering the time it was built, it must have been spectacular. Adolph Sutro built the Ferries and Cliff House Railroad to bring people from San Francisco to Lands End. The trains ran along the edge of the cliffs above the Golden Gate and through a pair of tunnels to bring people to the baths and Cliff House. Part of the trail you walk on follows the former roadbed of the train. 

You can walk through one of the tunnels and see what looks like part of the old track.

The train tunnel

Looking out the other side

These steps went down on to a platform. This area is roped off.

On the right side of this picture is what looks like it could have been the train track. The ocean now almost comes up to it.They don't tell you what this was used for but it is at the end of one of the tunnels and the stairs came all the way up to the top.

The beautiful wooded trail

When you leave the Sutro Baths and the Point Lobos area you get up into a wooded area. The coastal cypress are beautiful and there are some beautiful flowers along the way. After a short walk you come upon a memorial to the USS San Francisco. The ship served in World War II and was critical in the Battle of Guadalcanal. Part of the crew for California set up a foundation to maintain the memorial. It's a nice stop along the way and a great reminder of the history of our country.

Once you leave the memorial you are back in the woods with spectacular views of the ocean.

These stairs go down to the most beautiful little beach. It would be a great place to have a picnic. Going down these were not bad but the coming back up was another story.

This is the little beach. It would even be a great place for the kids to make a sand castle. This is definitely not a place to go in the water. The water here is very powerful and the current strong. 

...but it sure was pretty. This was looking down on it from above.

 On the edge of the cliff above the beach is a rock labyrinth. why it is there and who made it, don't know. But we did it. It is really almost right on the edge.


...And did I tell you there are quite a few stairs....

....well there are really quite a few will not need to hit the gym after this.

Thank goodness some of them actually go down.

Wild sweet peas grow everywhere along the trail.

Unfortunately the fog never lifted so we could only see the bottom of the Golden Gate.
It was such a wonderful day. It is such a great way to spend the day especially when it is going to be hot in Sacramento. If you don't live in the area but are going to visit San Francisco and you like to hike this one is a must do. Before we started out on the trail we needed to eat lunch. At the trail head to the Sutro Baths is a wonderful little restaurant called Louis'. It has been there since 1937 and the food is great! We had fish and chips, a BLT and a ham /cheese sandwich. It was all good, but the fries...oh, yum! Not necessarily a place for good diet food, but if you eat before the hike it just won't matter. (note: they only take cash)
One other note, If you park in the Lands End parking lot there is a gift shop, restrooms and a little espresso/tea shop with snacks and drinks. The kid that did the cappuccinos for us makes a great espresso. It was a wonderful place to stop into after we were done and it had gotten a little cool. Well I hope you enjoyed reading this and if you get a chance to go let me know what you think. Happy Hiking!!
Rhonda, Corrie & Sherie

(For more information on Lands End visit:

Friday, April 20, 2012


Okay, so after 3 weeks the kitchen is finally done. I am so glad to have my kitchen back and be back to cooking. With the space I had to work with to try and make the area look bigger and have more space, I think we did a good job. You can only expand so far when the kitchen is in the middle of the house. I do love it!
Old stove area
New stove area

The cabinets have an "espresso" finish on them. I don't think I have said this before, but my daughter-in-law designed my cabinets. Julie works for a cabinet company as a designer.We got her discount on the cabinets-lucky us! She put in all the bells and whistles. The drawers are self-closing and the shelves pull out. We replaced all the appliances with Stainless. I love the clean look of the stainless steel.
Old laundry room
New butlers pantry
I love this area much better then when it was the laundry room. It gives me so much more counter top and cabinet space and it's really no big deal to walk out into the garage to do laundry.
old frig area
New frig area
We did the area around the frig with a pantry. The lower cabinet has pull out shelves making it easier to get to everything. It is deep and big! Love it!
Old kitchen looking from family room
New kitchen looking from family room
I just looks so much richer. Lowering the island gives me so much more counter work space, so even though I lost a little counter where the new pantry is I gained it with island work space which is what I needed. We also replaced the old can lights with the new LED can lights. It makes such a difference as far as a true light goes.
This is a pull out next to the stove. I love this feature. I use it to hide things that were sitting on my counter before and some of the bigger spice containers.

The pull out garbage can. Can I just say how much I love this! Yes, yes i can!

This is the back splash. It is a limestone tile bordered by a travertine rope with glass tile insets.

Granite counter tops.
I still have the painting left to do but that will come later. We have a few more things we are going to do to the family room space before I have the painting done. But that's another blog.

All of the work was done by DiChristina Custom Builders and they did a fabulous job. If you need some work done give John a call. I can't say enough good things about his work. He is reliable, trust worthy and reasonable. And one of the most important things-finished in a very timely manner. Highly recommend him and his wife Linda. If you need some remodeling done in our area give him a call at (916) 799-8501 or

I got some of my ideas at: If you have not discovered this website it is fabulous for ideas. It lets you save things you like to ideabooks so you can go back and readily found them. Fun site.