Messy elves in the kitchen for holiday cooking

Someone’s been baking in my kitchen and they’ve made a Big Mess!

Messy sink

Egads! Who messed up all those dishes?

Messy counter and sink

The sink was so full of dishes that it leaked them all over the counter too!

Whoever it is, they’ve also created some yummy looking things.

Pecan pie

Pecan pie (with chocolate on the bottom)!

Pumpkin pie

Good old-fashioned pumpkin pie.

Homemade bread

Homemade bread!

Who could these messy elves be?

???

It’s me! The messiest elf of them all!

SRDryja in the kitchen.

SRDryja in the kitchen. Hat and apron were gifts from my sister.

Fortunately, my husband is the cleanliest elf of all. He loaded up the dishwashers and made everything sparkle again.

Clean dishes

Clean dishes!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Quality and kindness are the secret to success for My Fit Foods

SR Dryja:

Margo Brown’s review of My Fit Foods makes me want to check it out!

Originally posted on The Great Experimenters:

When I walked into My Fit Foods there was a huge row of glass refrigerators that housed stacks of square plastic containers. I thought “Ugh, eating here is going to be like chewing on cardboard.” Quickly, I turned to look at the tables full of patrons and their reactions to the food. As soon as I did there was Bryan with an extended hand “it looks like this is your first time at My Fit Foods” Bryan said. Yes, it was and I had a coupon for a free meal but as they say, there is no such thing as a free meal and my mind began churning over the tasteless options waiting. I mean it all comes packaged up, probably frozen, healthy but tasteless. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

Bryan patiently explained that all the meals are fresh, portioned controlled in color coded 3oz, 5 oz, and 8 oz packages that…

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Flancer’s rocks tastebuds every night of the week

One of the restaurants at the top of our list in the Phoenix metro area is Flancer’s in Gilbert. Their motto is “rockin’ tastebuds since 2000″ and they’ve been rockin’ our tastebuds on a near weekly basis since about 2007 when we first discovered them. This is the place we meet up with family and friends. This is the place we take out-of-town visitors when we want to provide a local experience with delicious food. We have also catered our Christmas and Thanksgiving meals several times from Flancer’s. The food is always delicious and it takes all the pressure off.

It’s not a fancy, hoity-toity kind of place, but that’s one of the reasons we like it. We can go there, knowing the food and service is going to be excellent and we don’t have to dress to the nines to experience that. All we have to do is come as we are, relax, and unwind with all the other folks who have discovered how great Flancer’s is.

If the sign is lighted, tastebuds are ignited!

Pictured below is Juliet, one of our all-time favorite servers who has become a great friend. She takes such good care of us. She always remembers our regular orders and makes us feel like VIPs. As you get to know the staff there, you learn that a lot of them, like Juliet, are vibrantly creative. Juliet is an artist who was featured at a gallery downtown. Jimmy, the general manager, is an accomplished musician and artist in his own right. It’s no wonder the atmosphere at Flancer’s is so alive when you have such creative, thoughtful people working there.

We love Juliet! Hugs!!

The fun starts as soon as you walk in the door at Flancer’s. Jimmy is there with great advice on the beer selections that he hand picks every week. Hubby always loves his choices of IPAs. And Kacie is a wisecracker who cracks us up even before seating us. Below, she gets in on the fun as I tried to capture a picture of Hubby on the Flancer’s patio.

Silly, Kacie!

Their patio is one of my favorite spots to eat in the Valley. Even though it sits alongside a busy street, the cafe lights and the great music piped through the speakers overhead–classics from the 60s, 70s, and 80s–make me feel as if I’m on an isolated island where everyone knows my name (Cheers!) and I know all the words to the song. It’s just a very easy place to be.

On this night, we had the patio almost completely to ourselves, but don’t let that fool you! That same night, we had to wait 20 minutes for a table because we got there when the restaurant was completely full.  When we first got seated, the tables on the patio were full. We just linger longer than others and, by the time I took this picture, the patio was almost empty. It is a hopping place and does not take reservations, so be prepared to hang out. It’s worth it!

The patio is dotted with pretty cafe lights and heaters for when it gets cold.

My favorites on the menu for dinner: the Veg Out pizza (pictured here) or the Vibes of Veggie sandwich. Their bread is homemade and slap-your-knee fantastic, so pretty much all their sandwiches are a hit. Hubby likes their buffalo tenders with HOT sauce.

Veg Out Pizza, minus the black olives.

Juliet always puts on a fresh pot of Lavazza coffee when we arrive. It’s fresh and a perfect accompaniment to the cobbler of the week. My favorite is the strawberry cobbler, but shown below is the apple-cinnamon. Yum!

I only eat half of it because I'm keeping track of calories, but it is good enough to inhale the whole thing.

There are two Flancer’s locations, one in Gilbert and one in Mesa.

The Gilbert location can be found at 610 N Gilbert Road, a quarter mile south of Guadalupe, near historic downtown Gilbert. Take out orders can be made by calling 480-926-9077.

The Mesa location is at 1902 N. Higley Road, on the southwest corner of McKellips. Take out orders can be made at this location by calling 480-396-0077.

Flancer’s is rockin’ it seven days a week 10:30am to 9pm. Happy hour is from 3pm to 7pm everyday!

For more info, visit their website, which provides access to their menu, along with information on upcoming events, such as the Charity Beer and Cigar tasting. If delicious food, fun atmosphere, and great people aren’t enough, Flancer’s is big into supporting the community, so many of their events benefit charities. Currently, they are organizing a raffle which will support the Wounded Warrior/Warfighter Sports. When we eat there, we feel great knowing we are supporting a local business that goes on to support others. It’s win-win all around.

Thanks, Flancer’s and all the staff there, for being such a great place we are happy and proud to call home!