It’s National Ice Cream day! A day almost anyone can get behind.

Agreeing on a favorite flavor…well, that’s another story.

What’s surprising is that if you Google what people’s favorite flavor of ice cream is, you’ll find tons of results that claim Vanilla is the most popular.

Seems crazy to me. There’s so many other awesome flavors. I almost never see someone ordering Vanilla at an ice cream place.

And, I hear and see the same stuff in terms of real estate…

Everyone seems to think that “vanilla” homes are the most popular with buyers. You know, “neutral” decor, paint, and no personal touches. Bland. Boring. Lacking “flavor”.

Real estate agents even advise people to make their house “vanilla” before going on the market.

The truth is, there are buyers who love and buy homes with “flavor”.

Now don’t get me wrong, a “vanilla” home will appeal to more people. And that can be good.

But to advise everyone to make their homes vanilla is silly.

Unique, even a kind of crazy “flavored” home can really appeal a specific buyer or two. Maybe not every buyer. But to those it does appeal to, you have a captive audience who can’t get what you got to give anywhere else.

Debating whether you should make your house “vanilla” or not, for the sake of selling it, boils down to how quickly you want it to sell…

If your home is “vanilla”, it will probably appeal to more people, and will therefore probably sell more quickly or readily.

But, if you have a home with some “flavor”, it might not appeal to tons of buyers, but it could translate into being worth more… to the right buyers.

Cindi Benton, Realtor
NuView Realty, Inc.
4410 Southpoint Blvd.
Jacksonville, Fl


With a Little Help from Pinterest

STRAWBERRIES! This is today’s project. Tanya, with Lovely Greens, switched up the popular strawberry pallet to make the best thing I have seen yet for my strawberries. Their own container box that can be moved in times of need. And they just keep growing and growing. This keeps them out of the way in the raised beds where other veggie’s are grown.


Befuddled by the Beehive Bailiwick

Last month I bit the bullet and bought the FLOW Hive from The Honey Flow peeps, but to my amazement, showed up like this…


instead of something more like…. (without the honey, of course)


So now I have to put it together, and stain it – or not, and build a stand, and prep it… which is not at all THE problem.

I have No Idea where to put it in my yard. They say not to put it near the garden, not to put it in full sun (well, not Full FLORIDA Sun), not to put it in the shade. But, have you seen my yard? (See previous post) Wide Open Spaces by the Dixie Chicks is playing in my ears right now…  I’m so afraid I am going to fail before I even start, that I haven’t even put this hive together yet.

I did some driving around town yesterday while working and noticed there are a lot of bee hive boxes strategically placed in the oddest of places. My first thought is, the Florida Sun must not be too bad if all these hives are thriving. Then the second thought… how do I know they are thriving? The bees are NOT at my house, nor in my garden. Which is the reason for the beehive. The first of many was my hope.

Ever since the weekly visit of the noisy truck spraying for mosquitos a few weeks ago, I have not seen one single bumble bee, or any other kind of bee for that matter. I think the bats and bees would survive if that truck went away, ya know? Lord knows they aren’t decreasing the yellow fly population, so what can it hurt to turn them away?

The Mosquito Control Lady assured me I could be on a No Spray List, no matter where I lived. Just before I get the bees in the Spring, I’m suppose to call her to make sure the truck turns around before he gets here. If you have any advice whatsoever, you are a blessing.

Have a wonderful weekend, y’all 🙂

Cooking in the Kitchen with Ina

If Only. Wouldn’t that be the coolest of coolest things to happen. I just can’t get this tune out of my head that I switched up the words to Ina.  Sorry – not intended to be false advertising 😀 … What is the name of this silly song I can’t get out of my head?

It has taken me almost a year to figure out how to log back in to this wordpress blog. I purchase the website name dot com every year to make sure I don’t lose it. But it doesn’t work either. Even the wordpress people themselves are no help. Now that I am finally back in, maybe it will be easier to make theflavorthusiast.com to actually work. I have many recipes and photos to add but they are all in the past 18 months. Who wants to go backwards? Thankfully, that is one of the things I have come to understand in the last year… we can’t go back.  So with that…

Cindi's Playground
The Sky’s the Limit!

With July, 2017 coming up, I am taking Independence Day to a whole new level in my little life.  More Cooking for Others… More Growing for Others… More Joy for Others.  and for Me… Just More. Seems kinda strange making resolutions in the middle of the year LOL. but hey, I’m the only one reading my thoughts here, so its all good. HAHA



The new garden is the biggest event of the year ^^ … just need to move out the the toys and put up the fencing around the chicken coop, She Shed and the part that is now leveled.  I think the larger garden will definitely give me what I need in the feeding other’s plan.  I am very excited about the new endeavor!

til next time….


Creamy Chicken & Mushroom Casserole




1/3 c sliced morel (or portabella if you can’t find morel) mushrooms
1/3 c sliced shiitake mushrooms
1/3 c sliced porcini mushrooms
6 pieces chicken thighs
2 shallots, chopped
5 cloves roasted garlic, mashed
1 Tbl Capers
1 c Crème fraîche
2 c heavy cream
1 c Madeira Wine
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Pecorino Romano Cheese


Preheat oven to 350º F.

Rinse mushrooms well, lightly pat dry with paper towels and set aside.
Season chicken legs with salt and pepper, and dredge in flour, shaking off excess.

Browned Chicken Thighs in butter and garlic
Browned Chicken Thighs in butter and garlic

In a large  pan, heat 3 tablespoons butter and 1/2 tablespoon olive oil over medium-low heat. In two batches, cook chicken & 2 garlic cloves, browning both sides, for a total of 8-10 minutes. Transfer chicken to an over-proof casserole dish.

Add remaining butter and olive oil to saute pan and add mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and capers. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously so they don’t burn.
Add wine to the vegetables and let mixture reduce by half, 3-4 minutes. Then add in heavy cream, sour cream, and a pinch of salt and pepper.Bring mixture to a boil and cook until thickened, 6-8 minutes.

Pour mushroom sauce over chicken, shave cheese over top, and bake for 15 minutes, or until chicken is heated through.
Add more cheese after if you wish.

“How can a nation be called great if its bread tastes like kleenex?”

That was a quote of Julia Child. She really was a funny funny woman. But since having my very first attempt at trying to make bread today, I am feeling pretty accomplished since it doesn’t taste like kleenex!

To my knowledge, I followed the recipe to a T for making Hawaiian Buns. Obviously, I need more practice runs with this ingredient called YEAST.

This so called "Sponge" seemed quite dry.
This so called “Sponge” seemed quite dry.

The recipe called that ^^ a Sponge. It didn’t seem wet enough. But I left it alone.  Those little yeast beasts are in it. Sitting. Waiting.  hhmmm.

So then all the wet goodness mixed up and with the flour and salt and it all went in the mixer… as an after thought from baking, I might have needed to KNEAD it a little longer.

And now we wait. 2 hours.
                And now we wait. 2 hours.

I let the big ball, sit for almost 2 hours. The recipe called for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. It definitely doubled in size. I thought that was all I was suppose to look for. I just don’t think so.

Then I read that it goes in the oven for 20-25 minutes, however it also says to use a thermometer and the bread will be done at 190*.  It didn’t say either/or.

So in goes the bread balls (I want buns for black & blue burgers this weekend). I set the timer, and the thermometer is inserted into one of the balls of dough. 15 minutes in and the thermometer goes off. 190* came fast. I peeked a look at the buns and they sure didn’t look done. Barely browned on top. So I gave them five more minutes.  Burned on the bottom :/ and don’t taste like Hawaiian Rolls AT ALL, but they do taste good. Soft and fluffy in the middle, but not as hard as they look on the outside. (except on the bottom)

Cindi's Version of Hawaiian (Not King) Rolls
      Cindi’s Version of Hawaiian                      (Not King) Rolls

Ok, so they won’t be used for Black and Blue Burgers… but will definitely be a great addition for the creamy potato soup I’m making tomorrow.

Ok, if you have a minute, is kneading longer a possible fix, or maybe just sitting longer than 2 hours to rise? And is that dry Sponge a major problem? The recipe came from the blog of King Arthur Flour, so I was sure it was going to be great.  But I am positive it’s me, not them.

Happy Wednesday!