Saturday, February 28, 2009

Out of the mouths of babes

Story of the day:

My daughter was coloring and watching Handy Manny this morning on TV. For those of you unfamiliar with Handy Manny, it's a cartoon show on the Disney channel. Manny is the bilingual, Hispanic handyman of Sheet Rock Hills and has talking tools. Manny and the tools can fix anything. It's a cute show and Cookie really likes it.

Cookie ran back to her bedroom to grab another coloring book only to call out for me/announce that her bedroom door was "broken".
Now that you know the back's the dialogue.

"Mama, my bedroom door is broken. Can you fix it?"
"Well, I'm not sure but I can look at it."

Turns out that the trim piece of the handle came loose, it was any easy "fix".

"Hey mama, you fixed it!!!! You're my Handy Mama"

Where do they get this stuff????

Friday, February 27, 2009

Cookie vs. the makeup

I gave my sweet daughter "Cookie" some play makeup and a makeup mirror a few weeks ago and let her have at it. She played for the longest time, admiring herself in the mirror, carefully applying layer after layer of lip gloss and eyeshadow.

It took an extra half hour in the bathtub to get it all off but it was worth every minute. Who knew that some drugstore make up and a mirror could be so fun!

Getting started

Which one should I choose?

Pink. Definitely Pink.

Ohhh..... eye shadow.

I think pink eyeshadow will do.

Lips good? Definitely.

Hmmmmm, now what?

It's all about blending.

Pure Joy. Period.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Need to kill 5 hours? Love to cook? You're in luck. I'm sharing two of my favorite food community blogs with you. And since you'll be busy for awhile I'll say goodbye now. Happy reading, see you in 2 weeks.

P.S., you might want to free up some space on your hard drive or buy a ream of paper, you're going to need it.

Here they are, in no particular order of love.

food gawker

Monday, February 23, 2009

A trip back...

We traveled to my parents house over the weekend to attend a surprise birthday party. Three things happened over those two days that made me very happy, two of which involved my mom cooking.

I neglected to take my camera home this weekend so I have no photographic "proof" for you. I do, however, have the recipe for the doughnuts which I'll share with you at the end of the post.

Happy item #1: Doughnuts.
Saturday morning my mom announced that she was making homemade doughnuts for breakfast. When I was little she used to make those little cake doughnuts on Christmas morning. The smell of cinnamon and fried dough was heavenly; it took me right back to my childhood, right back to Christmas morning, right back to simplicity and youth. I love you mom, thank you.

Happy item #2: Robins.
Yes, robins. Little birds; orange bellies. The robins have made their way to Wisconsin and that can only mean one thing; Spring is on it's way. Nothing makes me happier in February than the site of those little birds.

Happy item #3: Meatloaf.
I told you there were two items involving my mom cooking. I haven't made meatloaf for years. I really don't know why other than it's one of those foods that just taste better when your mom makes it. It was delicious by the way, no secret recipe, no special technique, it's just that my mom made it.

Here are my questions of the day for you:
1. Are there foods or smells of foods that can transport you right back to your childhood?
2. What gets you ready for Spring? Is it the robins? Tulips? Longer daylight?
3. Are there foods that only taste amazing when your mom, or dad, or Grandma, or Aunt Lucy makes them?

Mom's Cake Doughnuts
Recipe from her Betty Crocker cookbook, circa 1976.

Favorite Doughnuts

3 1/2 cups all- purpose flour

1 cup sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

2 tablespoons shortening

2 eggs

3/4 cup milk

Heat fat or oil (3-4") to 375 degrees in deep fat fryer or kettle.

Measure 1 1/2 cups flour and the remaining ingredients into large mixer bowl. Blend about a minutes on low speed, scraping bowl constantly. Beat 2 minutes medium speed, scraping bowl occasionlly. Stir in remaining flour.

Turn dough onto well, floured cloth-covered board; roll around lightly to coat with flour. Roll dough gently 3/8 inch thick. Cut with floured doughnut cutter.

With wide spatula, slide doughnuts into hot fat. Turn doughnuts as they rise to surface. Fry 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown on both sides. Carefully remove from fat; do not prick the surface. Drain. Serve plain, sugared or frosted.

Makes 2 dozen doughnuts.

*If using self-rising flour, omit baking powder and salt.

P.S., If you have this cookbook it also contains my favorite recipes for Peanut Butter Cookies and Stuffed Cabbage Rolls.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Easy Ravioli

Otherwise known as "Say No To The Can Ravioli".

I won't hold it against you if you love the can stuff but I really encourage you to try this quick and easy "homemade" version. It combines simple ingredients to create a yummy meal in under 30 minutes. And the best part is that you know exactly what's in it.

Here are the ingredients (minus the meat, which was browning):
Diced tomatoes, sliced mushrooms, diced onion,
roasted peppers, pasta sauce, and ravioli. As always with my cupboard concoctions, use what you have and feel free to add or subtract ingredients.

Sauce completed

Ravioli almost finished (9 times out of 10 it will float when it's done)

Yummy Sauce

Easy Ravioli


  • 1 lb lean ground beef (or turkey or whatever you like)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (I used the "no added salt" variety)
  • 1 can sliced mushrooms (again, I used the "no added salt" variety)
  • 2 roasted red and/or yellow peppers, diced
  • I jar of your favorite pasta sauce or homemade sauce
  • 1 bag of frozen ravioli, I used the 5 Cheese variety

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

While water is coming to a boil cook ground beef, in a dutch oven, or other large pan, until no longer pink. Season beef with salt and pepper as it's cooking. Drain fat, if any, and add onions. Saute beef and onions until onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and peppers and saute for a minute or two.

Stir in tomatoes and pasta sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, add the ravioli to the boiling water and cook according to package directions. Drain ravioli. At this point you can either mix the whole mess together or serve the sauce over the ravioli, whatever makes you happy.

I like to add a pinch of red pepper flakes for a little kick, feel free to omit if heat isn't your friend.


I've Been Up To...

No Good. Fun, isn't it?
  • Really wanting these canisters. Can't wait to get my hands on this one and this one.
  • Bidding on this book on eBay.
  • Almost finished reading Inkspell. Ready for Inkdeath soon. God love ya Cornelia Funke, you sure know how to write a story.
  • Wanting to read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.
  • Made "Say No to the Can" ravioli last night. Hoping to post the recipe tonight.
  • Need this paper by the truckload! Too bad it's $1.00 per sheet at my favorite scrapbook store.
  • Read Time's 25 Best Blogs of 2009 the other day. Fun read, not sure I agree their choices but, hey, it's worth a read.

Monday, February 9, 2009


I'm in a bad way.

I went to IKEA with Bub yesterday because she was in the market for new chairs. Her getting new chairs is not the bad part, that part is very very good. She got nice chairs; exactly the shape, style, and color she wanted. The bad part is that after "chairs" we went to kitchens.

Now I've been to IKEA before so the experience was not new to me. What I've not done before though is take a leisurely trip through the kitchen section. Did you know that in IKEA the heavens open up and the angels sing? Yep, I'm not even kidding.

Cabinets. Check.

Handles. Check.

Flooring. Check.

Counter tops. Check.

Call husband and tell him that we're getting a new kitchen this year. Check.

Leaving my husband speechless. Priceless.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Meet Cookie. My wonderful, sassy three year old. Cookie is going to end up on Broadway, I just know it. She's in love with music and has a touch of drama queen in her.
I hope all of you have a Cookie in your life. There's just nothing like it.

Hence the name "Cookie".
She loves them.
She also inherited Autie Julia's love of chips.
God help me.

I know. I know.

The ring around her mouth you ask? Cookie.

Cookie LOVES LOVES LOVES her daddy and
her daddy thinks she's okay too.

All princesses need their hands kissed
when you meet them, didn't you know that? Oy Vey.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Pesto Bruschetta Chicken Pasta

I'm not even kidding with this one.

Here's my never ending dilemma which, I'm sure, most of you experience on a regular basis. I get home from work and stand in front of the cupboards trying to figure out what's for supper. I stand there until ingredients pop out at me and I begin to concoct a dish that generally has no rhyme or reason. I call them "Cupboard Concoctions". In a perfect world I'd have supper planned out in advance but that's just not how we roll around here the majority of the time.

Tonight's Cupboard Concoction turned out pretty good so I thought I'd share. I really liked the sweetness of the jarred Bruschetta with the density of the pesto. It was a happy marriage. If you don't have access to jarred Bruschetta, leave it out and add what you have, that's what Cupboard Concoctions are all about.

This "recipe" make a large pot of pasta. Feel free to cut the recipe in half. Happy Cooking.

The partial assembly of ingredients. Photo taken AFTER the dish was made...Oy VEY.

Pesto Bruschetta Chicken Pasta

  • 1 pound box of pasta. I used Barilla Piccolini Mini Bowtie
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 c. pesto. I used homemade but use what you have.
  • 1 c. jarred bruschetta. I used Trader Joe's brand,again, use what you have.
  • 3 c. fresh spinach
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Olive oil or chicken broth for sauteing.
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, in salted water. Reserve some of the cooking liquid to thin the sauce if needed.
  2. Drain pasta, return to pan, and stir in pesto. Stir to coat and keep warm on low heat. If the pasta seems too thick add a little of the reserved water until you get the right consistency.
  3. While pasta is cooking saute chicken breasts, in a little chicken broth or olive oil, until completely cooked through. Set aside to rest for a few minutes, then cut in to bite size pieces.
  4. Using the same skillet, or a new one if that's what does it for you, saute carrot and onion in a little olive oil until soft. I added a little pasta water at a time to help steam the carrots and bring up some of the chicken bits.
  5. Stir in spinach and still gently until spinach is wilted.
  6. Add jarred Bruschetta to vegetable mixture and cook over med-low until heated through. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.
  7. Combine the Bruschetta vegetable mixture with the Pesto pasta and stir to combine.
  8. Add in Parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of pepper flakes.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Picasa 3

I generally use Microsoft Digital Image Suite or Photoshop to tweak and edit photos. I recently downloaded and used Google's Picasa 3 and I love it. It's very easy to use and I especially love the Collage feature.
If you're new to digital imaging, try Picasa 3. It's fun, easy, and FREE to download.
Here's a fun example of the Collage feature using garden photos from Chile's garden.

Posted by Picasa

Winter Blah

It's that time of year when I become tired of Winter. It's been very cold for a month; too cold to enjoy the outdoors. Too cold to make a snowman or go sledding or anything really.

These photos reminded me that Spring will be here soon. I took them one evening, last Spring, at Chile's house. Her gardens are beautiful and I can't wait for them to come alive again. Here's to wishing for an early Spring.