Guts, grit, and lots of heart.

“You can always tell when a person has worked in
a restaurant. There’s an empathy that can only be
cultivated by those who’ve stood between a
hungry mouth and a $28 pork chop, a special
understanding of the way a bunch of motley
misfits can be a family. Service industry work
develops the “soft skills” recruiters talk about on
LinkedIn – discipline, promptness, the ability to
absorb criticism, and most important, how to read
people like a book. The work is thankless and fun
and messy, and the world would be a kinder place
if more people tried it. With all due respect to my
former professors, I’ve long believed I gained
more knowledge in kitchens, bars, and dining
rooms than any college could even hold.”

– Anthony Bourdain

I came across this quote today and it holds so true for me and others in the culinary world. Working in this industry takes guts, grit, and lots of heart. You have good days and bad days. Some days you’re on top of your game, and others you scramble to keep up. Full of long hours, striving for perfection, neverending tickets, sharp knives, and lots of fire. In this world, you’ll find it full of people who are scrappy, endearing, hardcore, and full of life. I have learned so much from culinary school like how to be prepared, try new things, build priceless relationships, and find my fire. Working in different restaurants over the past ten years, and now owning two has been a wild ride I wouldn’t trade for the world.

Until next time~J

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After a very long day yesterday, full of complications and unknowns I was tired and just felt off all day. The bad seemed to outweigh the good, nothing seriously bad but a lot of little things just seemed to add up all on the same day. I’m pretty positive most of the time, but yesterday was just a meh day.

This morning I woke up, made coffee, and felt good again. Like I had a blank slate and could fight through the small problems, and make good things happen again. It’s a good reminder that even though we all have those days that every day is different and I’m grateful for each day that I have here.

Growing up I had an older brother, Troy. He was three years older than me and he was my world. I looked up to him, he was cool, and I wanted to be like him. Being his bratty little sister I followed him around and was always trying to hang around with him and his friends. I grew up a tomboy and we played outside a lot. I also have fond memories of playing Nintendo NES in his room. Still to this day because of him I have a huge love of the Legend of Zelda game and still play it now and then. It takes me back to when we were young and I still miss that, and him.

When he was nineteen, he passed away from suicide. I was sixteen and a junior in high school. It shocked my world and everyone around him. It took me over a decade to forgive myself and let go of the guilt. The day he died I was the one who found him and from that day I was changed forever. Today it has been almost twenty-five years since he passed away. It feels like a lifetime ago.

Through all the grief and struggle, In the long run, has made me a stronger person. Going through this experience has made me see the world differently. It has shaken and humbled me in so many ways. I try to share the love of what I do with everyone because you never know what people are going through. How their world is.

So today I am grateful. Even for all the silly, yet at the time seem bigger problems that may arise, we are meant for better things. Helping people, building community, and giving kindness and love as much as we can.

Until next time~J

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Greek Salad

I love a good salad. We have this at our cafe and it’s one of my favorite items on our menu. Lots of fresh ingredients with balsamic dressing and crumbled feta cheese.

Yield: 2 salads

Note– to make this vegan substitute chickpeas and any plant-based cheese you like


1 head green leaf lettuce

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1 cooked chicken breast

1 English cucumber

1 tomato

1/4 red onion

1/4 cup green olives

Balsalmic vinaigrette


Wash all produce.

Dice/ chop lettuce into bite-size pieces. Slice the olives in half.

Thinly slice the red onion, dice the tomato, and slice the cucumber into rounds.

In a medium bowl add the lettuce, onion, cucumber, olives, and tomato.

For the chicken, you can use ready-cooked frozen and thaw. I like to cook a whole sheet pan of chicken at the beginning of the week and use it for meals to save time. In a single layer of a sheet pan, add chicken, lightly pepper, and salt, and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in the oven @ 375 for 45 minutes or until the chicken has an internal temperature of 165*F.

Dice the chicken breast and add to the salad. Toss all ingredients with the dressing and top with feta cheese.

What do you love about your salads? To see more recipes like this one, comment below with your favorite ones!

Until next time~J

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Remodeling Update

Our little cafe is almost done with the final stages of remodeling! We got the big reveal yesterday and it looks amazing. While I can’t post pictures until the show airs early next year. However, I can tell you it’s now a whimsical and modern coffee shop with fun elements and modern twists throughout.

I’m really excited about what’s to come next for us with Zazzy Cafe and what the impact will be for us and our little town. I send out a huge heartfelt thank you to Jenny and Dave, the crew, and everyone who worked and helped on this project. It means so much to me that this special place can be shared with the world and I can bring joy and love to everyone who visits our little cafe.

For more info connect with us-

on Facebook~

on Instagram~


Until next time~J

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Chocolate toffee scones

Scones, light, crumbly, flaky, buttery, and filled with goodies. For this recipe, I used chocolate-covered toffee chips and topped them off with a chocolate glaze and powdered sugar. To save time I used Bisquick baking mix.

Yield: 8 scones


2 cups Bisquick mix

2 tbsp. sugar

1 whole egg + 1 egg yolk

1/2 cup butter

3 tbsp milk+ more if needed when mixing

flour- for dusting

1 tsp. almond extract


powdered sugar 1/2 cup

1 tbsp milk.

chocolate syrup 1 tsp.


Preheat the oven to 375*F

In a medium bowl mix all the dry ingredients together- Bisquick mix and sugar together.

Cut the cold butter into small dice (pea size) and add to the dry mix.

Rub the butter into the dry mix with your hands until it’s coated well in the mix. Add in the toffee chips and mix lightly.

In a small bowl add the egg and egg yolk with the almond extract and milk. Add to the dry mix and lightly stir with a fork until it starts to come together. Dust your table/surface with flour and scoop out the dough. Lightly kneed until a soft dough forms, similar to cookie dough.

Note-If it’s too crumbly when mixing add more milk or water. If it becomes too wet add a little flour

Once you have a ball of dough lightly press down and flatten it to a circle about an inch thick. You can flour a rolling pin to spread out the dough. Once you have about an 8-inch circle, use a knife or bench scraper and press into the dough about halfway but don’t cut all the way through. This gives the dough a chance to rise into the classic wedge shape. Divide into 8 pieces- divide it right down the middle, and halfway across, then diagonally like an x and you have 8 sections.

Next place on a lined baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat and bake for 12-15 minutes, just until slightly golden around the edges. Take out of the oven and cool on wire racks if you have them or a plate.

Next, make the icing-

In a small bowl combine the powdered sugar, milk, and chocolate syrup. Mix with a fork, if it is too runny ass more powdered sugar.

When the scones are slightly cooled, cut out wedge slices, drizzle the scones with the icing, dust them with powdered sugar and enjoy.

To see more recipes go to

Comment below with your thoughts, or any ideas on what recipes you would like to see here on the blog.

Until next time~J

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Cherry Hand Pies

This is a wonderful heat-warming recipe that takes me back to childhood. Warm and flaky pie crust filled with sweet cherry filling, ah so delicious! You only need 6 ingredients to make these delicious pies and be the dessert hero of the day.

Yield: 8 pies


cherry preserves (or any fruit you like)




vegetable or butter nonstick spray

1 package of 2 frozen ready-made pie crust


Thaw pie crust overnight in the fridge.

Take the crust out of the package and unroll it out on the counter lightly dusted with flour.

Preheat the oven to 425*F.

Cut the crust into fourths, straight down the middle, and across. Then take 1-2 tbsp. of the cherry preserves and fill in the middle of each section.

Then fold in half and pinch the edges so the pastry is closed all around. Trim off excess dough and using a fork lightly press along the edge and poke holes on the top of the pies in the middle to help them bake evenly.

Then in a small bowl mix 1 tbsp of sugar and 1 tsp of cinnamon together. Using the pan spray, lightly spray on top of each pie. (you can also use an egg wash for this step). Then sprinkle on top of the pies the cinnamon and sugar mix.

Bake at 425*F for 20-30 minutes until pies are nice and golden in color.

Cool for 5-10 minutes and enjoy. These are also delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

I’d love to hear your comments on this recipe or ideas for recipes you want to see on this blog.

Until next time~J

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My Top 15 Grocery Saving Money Tips

Good afternoon everyone.  I have always been a frugal girl ever since I was little. Grocery shopping and planning your meals can be overwhelming. I’ve put together my best grocery store tips that are easy to do. Below I have listed my top 15 tips that will not only save you time, but also saves you money too, and who doesn’t want that?

Grocery shopping is one thing in our budgets we can control how much we spend. With the right strategy, you can save a lot. Planning meals around what you already have on hand will also save on food waste.

I know it can be scary handling or even looking at your finances, but  I can honestly tell you the little bit of extra time to meal plan and prep it out will help you eat healthier and help minimize your food cost.

I wrote a meal planning book originally to organize my personal planning, and I loved it so much I decided to publish it! It has sections for recipe ideas, monthly calendars, weekly meal sections, and pages for grocery shopping lists and notes. The book has enough templates to keep you organized for a whole year! Plus the monthly templates are blank so you can fill in whatever month you start with.

Available on Amazon

Here are my top 15  tips for shopping at the grocery store:

  1. Shop the perimeter of the store and avoid all processed and packaged foods.
  2. Buy in bulk.
  3. Bring your own bags, some stores give you $ credit for using them.
  4. Buy produce that is in season and look for whatever is the cheapest/ on sale.
  5. Make your own oat milk, nut butter, condiments, cleaners, and detergents at home.
  6. Drink water, your body will thank you…..and on that note use a reusable water bottle. Don’t waste your money on bottled water. I take my bottle everywhere I go, and water filter devices for your sink or pitchers will save you hundreds. They are much less expensive and buy cases of water, and there’s no plastic pollution from all the bottles.
  7. Buy whole foods, peel, chop, and portion out your fruits and vegetables at home. Buying the already cut-up produce and grated cheese can cost 40% more!
  8. Shop generic, you’ll always save money over the big brands, and most of the time you won’t even taste the difference.
  9. Look at the items on the top or bottom shelves….anything in the middle is usually more expensive.
  10.  Start looking at the unit prices for each item. Sometimes with sales, the biggest option isn’t always the cheapest. You want to get the most product for the least amount of money.
  11. When buying bagged produce by weight, like say 5 pounds of apples for $2.99 count the number of apples in the bag. Since it’s by weight the total amount can vary. I always count how many are in the bag, and I can usually find one with 1 or 2 more apples in the bag. When you’re stretching every dollar even this can make a difference.
  12. Use the produce scales so you can see exactly how much you can get for 1 lb. of produce.
  13. In the bakery department, there is usually a section of discounted bread and desserts, I always look for good bread on sale, and I can use and freeze them for later use.  You to make french toast, breadcrumbs, or croutons from stale/day-old bread.
  14. Good staples to always have on hand are rice, beans, grains, pasta, and potatoes. You can make endless recipes with them for pennies per serving.
  15. Meal planning can save you hundreds over the month/year!  Shop your pantry first, look at the store flyers, and plan your meals based on what is in your pantry and what is on sale. Make a list of what you need and stick to it. This will save you time, waste less food, and you’ll have more money in your pocket.
  16. *Extra bonus tip- do curbside pick-up if available. You won’t impulse buy and know exactly how much you are spending.
What are some of your best grocery tips? Comment below and share your advice. You can also connect with me on Twitter & Facebook under @noshchefjulie

Until next time~J

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Sweedish Meatballs

This recipe is a warm and cozy comfort recipe that is easy and ready in thirty minutes! I made these with penne pasta. This recipe is perfect on a cool day. These meatballs are great with rice, egg noodles, roasted veggies, or potatoes. With less than 10 ingredients, what’s not to love?

Yield: 6 servings


18 meatballs (frozen and pre-cooked)

1 x can of cream of mushroom soup

1 tbsp. worcestershire sauce

2 tbsp. brown gravy mix

1/2 cup water or beef broth

dried chives

2 1/2 cups penne pasta


In a large pot, on medium heat- mix the mushroom soup, worcestershire sauce, gravy mix, broth, or water, and stir well.

Next, add in the meatballs, and stir until covered and mixed well. Then cover and cook for 20- 30 minutes.

While the meatballs are cooking, cook your pasta per directions. Drain and set aside.

To serve-fill your bowls with pasta and top with meatballs and sauce. Garnish with chives and enjoy.

Comment below if you liked this recipe or suggestions on what recipes you would like to see on this blog!

Until next time~J

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Hometown Goulash

Here on the plains, I’ve been working hard to get our second restaurant open. Taking over a place that has been shut down for over two years is a lot of work. We’re excited at the possibilities and it’s coming along with lots of elbow grease! Even so, after a long day of cleaning, this recipe hit home. When life pulls you in so many directions, having recipes like this one is a snap to put together after a long day. This goulash recipe is a favorite for quick and easy comfort food. It’s a family-style recipe that I love, so gather with the ones you love and try this one out.

Note- For a leaner recipe, you could use turkey. For a vegan meal-substitute, plant-based meat, and butter. Or lentils are also great with this too!

Yield: 8 servings


1 lb. bag of elbow macaroni pasta

1 lb. of ground beef

1 12 oz. can tomato sauce

1 white or yellow onion

1/2 stick of butter unsalted

olive oil

spices- salt, pepper, chives, chili powder, paprika – all a half teaspoon. Then add more to your taste if needed


In a large pot fill half with water and some salt. Heat up to boiling and add the pasta. Stir every couple of minutes so it won’t stick. Cook for about 8- 10 minutes. Drain and return to the pot. Add in the butter and stir until melted.

Wash and peel the onion and chop it into a large dice size.

In a large skillet, heat on medium and add the ground beef. Drizzle about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil into the pan. Start to break up the beef with a wooden spoon. When the beef is about halfway cooked, add the chopped onion. Add all the spices and continue to stir and cook until the beef is cooked through.

Next, add the tomato sauce into the skillet, stir and cook for 5-10 minutes until it has thickened up a little and soaked in with the beef and onions. Taste and add more seasoning if needed. When this is ready pour it all in with the noodles and stir and you’re all done!

I hope you enjoy this recipe. Comment below with your thoughts and what other recipes you would like to see on this blog! Until next time~J

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A new journey to come

Quick update, our cafe has been closed for a remodeling project. It has been hard waiting, but the end result I know will be amazing. I’ve met a lot of people in the community during our downtime. My husband and I have been busy networking to see what we can do more with the community and help on a higher level.

The potential of what this remodel will bring is potentially life-changing. Being on a popular network, being filmed, and meeting others from there is all a dream come true. I can’t wait for it to air and see the impact it has on us and this town. I’m hoping for a more connected community overall. I hope it lifts everyone up and brings more people together.

I think it’s a wonderful start for change. The makeover is bringing new life here with so many possibilities that will touch many lives. It’s really amazing to be a part of it. Some days I don’t believe all the blessings that have come our way. It’s overwhelming and so humbling.

Recipes are coming soon…..still deciding what to post first. If you have requests on recipes write them in the comments!

Photo by Ivan on

Until next time~J

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