Applebee’s In Ocala

My daughter has been obsessed with the commercial for Applebee’s and the free french fry refills (we love fries). So last Sunday, we were looking for someplace to go for dinner when we remembered the commercial that had us longing for crispy fries. We drove over to Applebee’s and were surprised when we walked in – the entire place had been remodeled.  It still has the same areas, but there were lovely banquettes in the bar area as well as the hightops that I love.  We got a table and started to look over the completely redesigned menu and I have to say, we were overwhelmed by the amount of choices.

Our server, whose name I regrettably can not remember (because she was awesome!), came over and we ordered margaritas and bloody marys – (It’s two for one).  The margarita was a little sweet for my liking (I’m a purist and really just want tequila, triple sec, lime juice and salt), but our dinner companion liked it just fine.  The bloody mary however was incredible!  Our server told me the secret was that she added A1 sauce as well as Worcestershire – whatever it was it was delicious, spicy, peppery, juicy, with olives and celery. It really hit the spot!

When we finally decided what to eat, which took quite a while, especially for me, we decided on:

Three Cheese Chicken Penne – but substitute the chicken for Salmon -


The Mushroom Swiss Burger


Shrimp and Sirloin Parmesan with broccoli, and garlic mashed potatoes


I have to say that normally, I’m never happy with chain restaurants – but this was definitely an exception.  Everything was cooked perfectly, the service was phenomenal and that burger was the best burger I’ve had in a very long time.  The prices were very reasonable and we even enjoyed the piped in music!

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Easy Gazpacho

This was so good that I don’t even need to tell you that it’s vegan, healthy, gluten free,  and that the only carbs in it come from the veggies and fruit.  But it’s true, so I’ll tell you.  Do not miss this cool, summery, Easy Gazpacho!

  • 1/2 honeydew melon, peeled and very rough chopped
  • 2 red bell pepper very rough chopped
  • 11 (that’s what I had left) peppadew peppers
  • 1 large cucumber (I like the English cuke for this, skin on – but any really good cucumber will do) halved length wise, very rough chopped
  • 5 tomatoes seeded, very rough chopped
  • 1/2 large red onion peeled, very rough chopped
  • 2 cloves elephant garlic (or 4 regular), very rough chopped
  • 46(ish) oz. of good vegetable juice – check the ingredients list – we want this healthy and fresh!
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup sherry vinegar
  • 2 big pinches of salt
  • lots of fresh cracked pepper (I like the mixed)

The best way to do this is with a food processor – Get it out, with the big bowl attachment and put a large pot with a lid on the stove.  You will not be heating this pot at any time. (I know, so easy, right?)

You’re going to want to do this in batches as the different textures of the produce will have different results and times in the processor.

Process the melon

Gazpacho from

until it’s in small chunks and transfer to the pot.

You can process the bell peppers with the peppadews and transfer, then the cucumber and transfer…

Gazpacho from

The tomatoes and transfer…

Gazpacho from

Then the onions and garlic and transfer…

Gazpacho from

And add the vegetable juice, olive oil,  vinegar, salt and pepper and stir to combine.

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Cover and refrigerate, overnight to let the flavors blend.

Ladle some into a bowl and serve.

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Perfect with a salad on a hot summers day. Next time, I think I’d add some cilantro and sliced avocado before serving.  Surprisingly filling too.

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Some of the Coolest Women on the Web

Full disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, some aren’t.  ALL are programs, products, women I believe in, whose work I use and recommend whole-heartedly!  Enjoy!

Coming to the end of the year – I can’t believe it! – and as always it’s time to reevaluate, reconsider, dream, scheme next year’s plan,  and acknowledge the year that has passed.  For the third year in a row, I’m using Leonie Dawson’s  Gorgeous Planning Calendar!  I love this planner – it’s so thoughtful and beautiful.  I print it on really nice, 28 lb. paper so that it feels good under my hand and this year, I put it in a disc bound binder -I’m also a member of her “Amazing Biz and Life Academy” and I love it!

In joining the Academy, I’ve come across some really beautiful, interesting, brilliant women who have wonderful offerings.  I thought I’d list some of them here, for you to go off on your own journey.

Gorgeous Mermaid, Kris Oster Enchanted Circle Group.  I’m just finishing up her “Bewitch” course which has been an amazing journey of self discovery and the excavation of my soul’s path!











Maria Bovin de Labbe Drummer. Artist. Teacher. Passionate Creative. Gorgeous artwork!

Kate from Daily Tarot Girl is a delight!  Daily cards, weekly readings and a post every week from her shadow, Veronica Noir.

Wonderful Dominee of Blessings Manifesting  – Monthly Challenge – Gorgeous Freebies – Self Love Planner… Her chakra challenge was awesome and I highly recommend it.

Hibiscus Moon Crystal Academy – Yummy crystal videos, courses, lots of great information.

Filipa from The Nature Freedom whose Living Nature eCourse, I’m currently taking (and loving).

So there are some of the coolest women on the web.   Do you have any to add?


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Kick N’ Back Cafe


A while back, I took myself to the beach.  It’s about an hour and a half from my house and the drive has some gorgeous, scenic routes.  Basically, you drive through the Ocala National Forest and there’s plenty of beautiful, lush foliage and quaint little towns and places to look at.  I passed a place called the Kick N’ Back Cafe – about 25 minutes from my home and made a mental note to go back there, sometime.  Turns out, the next day was “sometime” and Haley found ourselves with time to kill, hungry and looking for something different.  I suggested Kick N’ Back – and off we went.

This place is a little gem – it looks like a tornado picked it up out of the Keys and set it down in the middle of the forest. Everything is painted the bright pastels that you expect to see in Southern Florida and there’s plenty of seating inside and out.  There are lots of little touches all over the restaurant and Haley and I spent a great deal of our time pointing things out to each other.

I’d heard about this place from a few different people, but everyone I spoke to loved it and now I know why.  What an adorable place, the people could not be friendlier and the food is quirky, unexpected and really good.

I had the Redneck Eggrolls which were stuffed with pork, coleslaw, and yummy BBQ sauce, then fried crispy and served with a side of BBQ sauce.  Really not much to look at, but delicious!



Haley had the garden salad topped with blackened mahi, which was fresh, crisp, and also delicious.


Now, y’all know how I love condiments, right?  The best thing about this place was that there is no shortage of condiments here – all made in house, everyone that I tried, delicious.  Hot sauce, salad dressings, all home made.

I have a friend who swears that the Cuban Sandwich here is the best he’s ever had. And after Haley and I told my husband that they had Conch Fritters, he started going every chance he had. He says they’re terrific. Their desserts are made on site as well and though I didn’t try it, I may have to go back for the Key Lime Pie.

The people were super friendly, the place was adorable, and the prices were very reasonable.  There’s lots of room to hang out, outside and I could totally see this as a Sunday afternoon hangout.  As a matter of fact, who wants to join me there this Sunday?



Kick n’ Back Cafe


14400 E Hwy 40
Silver Springs, FL 34488

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It Appears As Though I Took the Summer Off

Wow.  So much has happened since my last post – which, unbelievably was in June! It’s been a crazy summer here as I reinvent myself, yet again – and figure out what I want, who I want to be and how I might best serve.  It’s been an emotional, spiritually charged summer and while there have been many changes, I like to think that we’re headed in a positive direction. As a back to school, back to reality token, I’ve created a new eBook – Seven Easy Steps to Cleaner Eating. It’s written for those of us that are having a little bit (or a lot) of a hard time figuring out just where to start to make the changes to bring your kitchen, life, family, and self into a healthier direction.

I’m offering the book at a very discounted price of $.99 for my readers.  It probably won’t stay that inexpensive for long, so let’s see how it goes, shall we?


It’s an easy payment with Paypal that links you to an automatic download once the payment clears.   I hope it helps and I hope we can get reacquainted for autumn!  Hope your summer was spectacular!

And just a reminder, my cookbook is full color, chock full of recipes, and free, just for signing up for my newsletter, so if you haven’t already – I’d love to have you jump on board!

Subscribe and get all the recipes from ColorMePink! in an eBook.

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1. liking or enjoyment of the taste of something.
2. pleasurable appreciation of anything; liking: He has no relish for obscene jokes.
3.  Cookery.

  • a. something savory or appetizing added to a meal, as pickles or olives.
  • b. a sweet pickle made of various vegetables, usually chopped or minced.
  • c. an appetizer or hors d’oeuvre.
4. a pleasing or appetizing flavor.
5. a pleasing or enjoyable quality.

6. a taste or flavor.
7. a smack, trace, or touch of something.
verb (used with object)

8. to take pleasure in; like; enjoy: I don’t relish the long drive home.
9. to make pleasing to the taste.
10. to like the taste of.


Relish.  Just the word, evokes all kinds of feelings.  To relish is to is to take the time to truly enjoy something, to savor whatever it is, be it a moment, a taste, a feeling.  As a food, it reminds me so much of my grandmother. She loved relish and pickles and I don’t know whether it would be accurate to say that she instilled that love in me, but we certainly enjoyed a lot of relish together.  We put it on and in, everything: hot dogs, hamburgers, tuna salad, chicken salad, salami sandwiches, ham sandwiches, deviled eggs, of course tartar sauce.  Honestly?  I could eat it with a spoon.  In recent years, I’ve taken to buying the relish or sweet pickles that were sweetened with Splenda in an effort to avoid high fructose corn syrup – but I didn’t love that idea either as I like to keep things as natural as possible and I’m of a mind that these fake sugars aren’t good for us either.  I don’t relish (ha! see what I did there?) the idea of making my own pickles, though, so I keep looking for alternatives.

A few weeks ago, I spotted Wickles Relish on the top shelf of my supermarket and on impulse, I reached for it. The ingredients list was a welcome surprise!  No yucky stuff in there. I bought a jar and we went home.  That week we had the relish on hotdogs and I’m telling you, there’s something special about this relish.  It tastes like your grandmother made it. It tastes fresh and real and has this ever so slightly, spicy kick.

And for those of you who use Buycott:  Look!  No conflicts!


Today I had gorgeous Ugly Tomatoes, ripe avocados and Haley was clamoring for her favorite food (bacon), so we put together this BLT Salad but without the cucumber and with avocado.  Haley took care of everything*, but the dressing.  This was outstanding.  Fresh, beautiful ingredients in a meal you can feel good about. I can’t seem to get enough of the tomato/avocado combination and the dressing with sriracha, Worcestershire, and that lovely relish.  Just, yum.


Disclaimer: Wickles, in no way compensated me for this post – I just love the product and wanted to share.  However, if they wanted to send me a case of stuff to try, I wouldn’t turn them down!

*Tomorrow’s my birthday and the kids are being pretty nice to me.  Helping, doing chores without being asked, Travis even mowed the lawn and skimmed the pool!

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Courthouses, Old Wounds, & Letting Things Go

Growing up, I spent a lot of time in courthouses.  When I wasn’t being pulled from one or another parent’s home, I was in trouble for truancy, running away and was certainly considered a “Person in  Need of Supervision”.  I’m not mentioning this so that anyone will feel sorry for me, or think any way about it, it’s simply a fact.  As such, I never knew, when I entered a courtroom where I would be going when court was over.  My mother’s house?  My father’s?  A relative’s?  Foster home? Group home?  State run juvenile facility? Wayward Home for Girls? Yes, I really did spend a year in a “school for girls”, court appointed, a ward of the state.  It wasn’t as bad as it sounds and I’ve left most of that part of my life behind.  No grudges, no blame… Do I wish it had been different?  Maybe, but I do believe that everything I’ve ever done, everyone I’ve ever met, everything I’ve ever been through makes up who I am now – and I’m OK with who I am now.  More than OK with it.  There are a couple of residual things that sneak back into my life on occasion… I startle very easily, I jerk awake if there’s a noise that’s outside of ordinary, I can’t sleep with a bedroom door closed and I hate courthouses. I really hate courthouses. I’ve avoided them at all costs through the years, paying tickets I didn’t deserve, letting things go that were pretty egregious, because the idea of entering a courtroom was more than I could bear.

In the past year, I’ve been “invited by the universe” to look at this and been given the opportunity over and over again to put it behind me.  Each time I’ve tried – but in the end, chickened out.  Last May I received a speeding ticket, in a known speed trap and I believe I could have had it thrown out.  I planned to go, really, but on the very last day, I called the court and paid the fine.   Then over the summer, I received a parking ticket in a spot that was not clearly marked and as a matter of fact, since I received my ticket there has been a new sign erected there, clearly stating, “No parking here to corner”.  I was the last ticket issued there before the sign.  Again, I meant to fight it… I did.  I know I could have argued effectively against the ticket.  And again – the very last day, I paid the fine.

Then, in November, I went through a red light.  I knew it – the yellow light was so fast that there wasn’t really much time to stop, but I could have.  I could have jammed on the brakes and although it would have been uncomfortable, I could have done it.  It was at an intersection with a red light camera and I remember releasing a string of obscenities when I’d realized what I’d done. I went on with my life and waited for the ticket to come in the mail.  This time, I was wrong… clearly.  I would have to pay this fine, but no ticket ever showed up.  I Googled red light camera tickets in my area and read that people were fighting them and that the counties were shutting them down and I figured that they had turned this one off… The fine would have been $156.00 and I would have paid it.  In January, I received a letter by certified mail, informing me of my infraction and stating that my fine was $268!  I was outraged.  I called the county where I was supposed to pay the fine and told them the story – the woman there said that there had been lots of problems with these tickets and that what I had received was the second notice including the inflated fine.  She told me to call the town where the ticket was issued – that their police department could help me.  When I called there, the woman said that I had been sent a first notice (really?  I never got it) and that I had to pay the fine.  I called the county back and requested a hearing; all the while hyperventilating.  I called my husband, who’s very familiar with my courtphobia and told him the whole story.  I told him that I clearly needed to get over this and move on with my life – you know, in between sobs.

The hearing was this morning, so last night I took a “sleeping aid” so that I could stop hyperventilating and maybe get some sleep.  When I woke this morning I was strangely calm.  I took a shower, got ready and drove myself to the courthouse.  I didn’t know where to go and no one seemed to be able to tell me, but still I didn’t panic.  I got a “You Go Girl, You Got This”™ phone call from a great friend and I agreed with her, I did have this.  I finally found the right area, and when they started to call names, I got slightly panicked. We were all ushered into a courtroom and the man (not a judge, a “hearing officer”) hearing the cases didn’t look like an ogre at all. The first case was heard and after a long drawn out story, the hearing officer said, “So you never got the first notice and you just want to pay the original fine?”  The accused answered affirmatively.  He was asked to sit while they got his paper work ready.  “Is there anyone else who didn’t received their first notice and just wants to pay the original fine? If so please raise your hand”.  I raised mine.  He asked my name, called me up to the, what is it, a podium?  They have mics, did you know that?  I didn’t… He asked me to confirm that I, indeed, wanted to pay the original fine and did I agree that I had run the red light – I did.  He asked me to sit with the other gentlemen while they got my paperwork. It took about five minutes.  I received the paperwork and then the weirdest thing happened. They let me leave.  Yep, they let me just leave.  On my own recognizance. OK, well it’s not really on my own recognizance as I’m not awaiting trial or anything like that.  But they let me go home. No petitions, no group homes, no foster home (Ha!  Foster home at 47 – that would be interesting) – and I know it sounds ridiculous – but that’s really what I’ve been afraid of all these years. I walked to my car, called my friend to let her know I had survived and said, “and they let me go” – and she said, “that’s what happens to most people when they go to court”.  Huh.  Imagine that.  And then I cried.  Right there in the parking lot of the courthouse, I cried.  I cried in relief, I cried for that little girl who has carried this with her for so many years, and I cried because I knew I had finally put this behind me.  And I moved on with my life.  I picked up my groceries, ran to the fish market, did laundry – all the usual things that I might do in a day.  And nothing had changed even though I spent a small part of my morning in a court room.


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Hoggetown Medieval Faire

Every year I say I’m going to go, but every year I don’t make it there for one reason or another.  This year I promised friends (and my children) that we would absolutely go.  The morning of our trek, I really didn’t feel like it. I was so tired.  We’ve been so busy lately and I just wanted to stay in bed, but a promise is a promise.  So I dragged myself out of bed and got ready, made plans to meet up with friends and drove about an hour north to Gainesville; specifically to an area called Hoggetown.  As we approached the parking area I started to see people who were serious about this.  We were coming across all kinds of costumes and all manner of people and since people watching is one of my favorite past times, I was absolutely thrilled.

Tickets were $14/adults – $7/18 and under.  After getting tickets, we walked into the fair grounds, through a castle gate that had people on top yelling down welcome messages as well as insults and I was surprised at some of what they were saying, but in a good way… they were clever and funny.  Walking through the “gate”, there were throngs of people, lots of them in costume, people on stilts, a harp player, a pub, vendors – there was so much to look at and I just started snapping photographs.

We started with the acrobats, Barely Balanced who put on an amazing show.  Slightly naughty, hysterically funny and their strength and ability was beyond amazing. They just so happened to be completely adorable as well.

Remarkable Acrobatic Show

Then we walked and walked and walked and stopped to look at the beautiful things that people were selling, listened to the music from lots of different performers and even the banter of the people working the booths and the rides were very entertaining.

When we started to get hungry, there was so much food to choose from.  Not just your regular festival food, but all kinds of goodies.  There was Thai food, turkey legs, sandwiches, burgers, seafood and all of it looked pretty good.  I opted for falafel on top of seasoned rice with Pico de gallo and hummus.  It was pretty tasty, too.  Everyone I was with enjoyed their food and the portions were huge. I got a Junior portion and couldn’t finish it. We ate sitting on the lawn and just people watched, enjoying all the costumes and antics.

Very close to where we sat to eat, there was jousting going on and the caller was very funny, so we went over to take a look and I have to say there was quite a bit of eye candy, ladies. Like this:

Eye candy jousting

Yup. That happened. (It’s happening next weekend too – just sayin’)

Interestingly enough, we only ran into three people we knew all day – I thought all of Ocala would be there, but they weren’t.  Here are the three beauties that we did run into. Yay!

The Goddesses

I love them!

Towards the end of the day, we saw belly dancers who were headed to a show, calling out for people to follow them to the “Pub Sing”.  We happily followed and I’m so glad we did – it was the highlight of the day!  There was a story teller who was hysterical and a couple of musicians, singing wenches (Just Desserts -who were very  bawdy and very funny!)

Wenches from Just Desserts

Let’s just say that their song was about a lost rooster, shall we?

These gentlemen – for whom I can find no contact information – who sang my all time favorite “Black Velvet Band” – the participation version, of course.

And She Was!

And She Was!

If you know who they are, please let me know – I’d like to follow them around.

And the aforementioned Belly Dancers

Belly Dancers

You can see all 208 pictures (I took about 400, but discarded the ones that just didn’t come out well, or the ones that were duplicates.  I took a LOT of the acrobats, because everything they did was amazing.  I only included about half!

The Fair is happening next weekend too – (Feb.1, 2, &3) and if we didn’t have First Friday, a performance in Homossassa on Saturday and Haley’s Birthday on Sunday – I think we’d go again!

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Feta Mediterranean Cuisine in Ocala

Ever since I heard the first whisper of a fine Mediterranean restaurant opening in Ocala, I was very excited.  Mediterranean food, in my opinion is some of the most delicious, thoughtful, comforting food on the planet and this Irish girl loves it like it was her own.  Specifically the flavors of Greece seem to me so warm, fresh and welcoming that I was really looking forward to trying Feta.  This past Sunday, my daughter Haley and I were out shopping and we decided that it was time to check it out.  Located in a two story, stone building on Broadway St, it’s easy to get to, but somehow seems tucked out of the way.  There’s plenty of parking in the lot and on the street and it’s far enough away from the square to avoid the crowds, but close enough to do some window shopping after lunch or dinner.

Walking in, we were greeted very warmly by the host who asked us whether we wanted to sit upstairs or down.  I chose downstairs because I like to see the action in the kitchen.  It wasn’t crowded, but it was between lunch and dinner on a Sunday afternoon and by the time we left it was starting to fill up. The menu is extensive, yet not overwhelming with the majority of your choices Greek, but a few nods to the Italian Mediterranean as well. There are lots of mouthwatering choices and we did have a bit of difficulty deciding. Our server, Paige, was adorable; super friendly, very patient with our indecision and willing to answer all four thousand questions that we had.

We started with the Mediterranean Trio which is Tzatziki (a cucumber yogurt dip), Skordalia (a sort of hummus, but made with bread and almonds and garlic), and Taramosalata (a miracle, that I have never had before, with fish roe in some sort of dip base).  They were served with warm, fresh pita bread and we devoured the whole thing.

Metirranean Trio

Haley decided to have the Greek “Village” Salad which was one of the freshest, most beautifully presented salads I’ve ever seen.  Haley remarked at how everything was obviously just cut to order, crisp and perfect.  Served in a beautiful bowl, that we somehow didn’t get into the shot – you’d think my kids would know how to take these shots by now, right?


But just look at how beautiful that was.

Village Salad

I couldn’t decide what to get, so I opted for the Greek Sampler… And oh my.  Even with Haley helping me, we took almost half of it home. Moussaka, Spanakopita, Pastichio, tyropita, chicken souvlaki, tzatziki sauce and a small Greek salad.

They phyllo dough was perfect! Flaky, warm, crisp on the outer layer, super tender as you got closer the middle and the warm packages of melty cheese, spinach… The bechamel toppings were amazing, the chicken super tender and perfectly cooked. The moussaka perfectly seasoned and savory. What we brought home was eaten by my husband and son and even then they were raving about the flavors (they didn’t get any of the tyropita or spanakopita though – Haley and I finished them).

Greek Sampler

We would absolutely go back again!  Dinner for the two of us, with a tip was a little less than $50 – and worth it. That’s an appetizer and two tremendous entrees, with enough to bring home and share.  Welcome to Ocala, Feta – we’re glad you’re here.

We ate way too much to even consider dessert, but we did notice the dessert refrigerator contained very familiar (and delicious!) desserts – some of our favorites from Stella’s The Modern Pantry. Good to know if you’re jonesing for a tart on a Sunday.

Feta Mediterranean Cuisine
306 SW Broadway Street, Ocala FL
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Late Night Snack

Sometimes I forget dinner.  Usually if my kids are out I actually plan to forget about dinner, but about 8:30 or so, I start to get hungry.  This is what I had on hand (on purpose), and it was so good, I thought I’d share. Absolutely wonderful snack for those times that you deserve something especially nice.

This cheese is insanely delicious – like a super creamy brie, you could use it as you would any soft cheese, but this pairing was especially delicious with the Pinot Noir I happened to be drinking. The lovely folks at Stella’s turned me onto this, but if you’re not lucky enough to live near Ocala, you can buy it online, directly from the people who make it, Cowgirl Creamery.

See these?  These are incredible, little, biscuit type thingies – that are flavored with sugar and almonds and they’re delicious all on their own… Matiz Torta De Aceite.  However, pairing them with this particular cheese was truly inspired.

To take it right over the top, add some real, raw honey – with the honeycomb still in tact.  A little pricey, but worth every penny. Raw Honeycomb Honey from Savannah Bee Company.  A little piece of the cheese, on top of the biscuit, drizzled with just a touch of honey…


A decadent, beyond words, treat – I know I worked hard all day, about you? That’s what I thought, you totally deserve this.

You’re welcome.  If you’re near Ocala, run right over to Stella’s and get this immediately – you will not be sorry.

Disclaimer: I was not in any compensated by anyone for this post.  And the blurry pictures? Let’s just say that the wine doesn’t actually improve my vision.

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