Friday, October 30, 2009

Bye Bye Baby

One of Eric's best friends just had a baby girl and I had the wonderful opportunity to care for her in the 1st couple of months of life.  Due to the 10 miles of communte, her mommy thought it to be more convenient to place her in day care, to save  herself  on time and milage.  We will miss your happy smiles little baby. 

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Recipes b4 Trick or Treating

Treating your kids to a spooky Halloween dinner will make them less likely to eat the candy they collect.  Check out these cool recipes.


1-1/2 lb ground Beef
6 slices cheese, cut into desired shapes
Red or green bell peppers, cut into desired shapes
Pitted olives, cut into desired shapes
6 lettuce leaves
6 hamburger buns, split

Lightly shape ground beef into six 1/2"-thick patties. Choose a cooking method.
To broil, place patties on rack in broiler pan so surface of beef is 3 to 4" from heat. Broil 10 to 12 minutes or until centers are no longer pink, turning once. To panbroil, place patties in preheated nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook 10 to 12 minutes or until centers are no longer pink, turning once.

Season with salt and pepper, if desired, after turning. During last few minutes of cooking, top with cheese, bell peppers and olives to make faces. Serve in lettuce-lined buns. 6 servings.


1 large pumpkin
Melted butter
2 large onions, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
Olive oil
3 pounds chuck steak, cubed
1 pound tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 1/2 pints beef stock
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 pounds white potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 pounds raw pumpkin, cut in chunks
2 cans sweet corn
12 canned yellow peach halves, sliced
Syrup from canned peaches
Bouquet garni
1 heaping teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper

To prepare the pumpkin, cut the top to form a lid, angle cutting so the lid will sit on and not fall in. Leave the stem for a handle. Remove the the "guts", the fibers and seeds and discard. Scoop away most of the solid flesh, leaving a sturdy wall of pumpkin, being careful not to cut through it. Measure out 2 pounds of the pumpkin flesh for the stew.

Brush the inside of the cleaned pumpkin with melted butter and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Replace the lid and set the pumpkin aside on a baking sheet.

Cook the onion and garlic in a little oil until soft but not browned. Transfer to a large saucepan. Brown the beef in the oil and add it to the onion mixture in the saucepan. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, half the stock, the bouquet garni, a little salt and plenty of pepper to the meat and onions. Cover and simmer until the meat is almost cooked. This should take about 1 hour.

At this time, put the pumpkin shell in the oven at 375 degrees. Leave it for 30 minutes, or longer if the walls are thick. But be careful not to collapse the walls. You can use a large casserole as a support for the walls.

Add the sweet potato, potato and pumpkin to the saucepan and cover with more stock. Return to a boil and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the meat is tender, the potatoes are cooked, and the liquid is thickened with the dissolved pumpkin.

Stir in the sweet corn and peaches and simmer for another 15 minutes. Taste, correcting the seasoning and adding a little of the peach syrup. Remover the bouquet garni and discard. Ladle the stew into the pumpkin and put back into the oven for 10 to 15 minutes and serve. Makes 6 to 8 servings.


1 Pumpkin (14 or 15 inches in Diameter) or 2 smaller ones
4 TB Sugar
2 TB Tamari sauce
1 c Water
1/2 LB Fresh shelled chestnuts
1/4 c raisins
1/4 c apricots, Chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, chopped or any tart apple
1/2 c Walnuts, broken but not too Small
1 Stalk celery, chopped
1 medium White onion, chopped
1 medium Red onion, chopped
1 can Corn, drained
1 medium Sweet green pepper, chopped
1 medium Sweet red pepper, chopped
1 medium Zucchini squash, chopped
1 medium Yellow squash, chopped
2 medium Fresh jalapeno peppers, Seeded and minced
2 c Cooked brown basmati rice
1/4 Ts Mace
1/4 Ts Tumeric
Black pepper
1/2 Ts Cinnamon
4 TB Tamari sauce

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Wash pumpkin and cut off the top, angle the cut so that the top will fit back on more easily, use a big spoon to scoop out strings and seeds. Mix sugar and 2 tbs. tamari sauce (you can warm them in the microwave so they will mix more easily ) and spread evenly over insides of pumpkin. Line the bottom of a large pan with single piece of aluminum foil folded over itself 3 or 4 times, pour 1 cup water in pan, place top back on pumpkin and place in baking pan, cover the pumpkin and the pan with foil. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until pumpkin is just starting to become tender, the thicker the pumpkin the longer it will take.

2. Steam the nuts for about 15 minutes. Rinse them in cool water and slip off the brown skins. Chop chestnuts coarsely.

3. Combine chestnuts with raisins, apricots, apple, walnuts, celery, white and red onions, corn, green and red pepper, jalapeno peppers, mace, tumeric and rice, mix well. Add the 4 tbs. tamari and mix again.

4. Dust the inside of the pumpkin with the cinnamon. Pack the pumpkin with the filling and replace the pumpkin top. Return pan to oven, add water to cover the bottom of the pan and bake for 45 to 55 minutes.

5. If you are going to serve the pumpkin on something other then the pan it was cooked in BE CAREFUL. The bottom of the pumpkin may be VERY soft. Wrap the foil from the bottom of the pan up around the pumpkin as you pick it up, this will keep the bottom intact.

When serving this recipe, scrap the inside of the pumpkin with the serving spoon and mix the pumpkin into the stuffing.

If you have leftovers do not leave it in the pumpkin. Remove the filling and scrape out the pumpkin and store in your refrigerator.


1/2 cup canned solid pack pumpkin
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon (generous) baking powder
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Whisk pumpkin, egg, salt, nutmeg and baking powder in large bowl to blend. Mix in flour (dough will be soft). Dip 1/2-teaspoon measuring spoon into boiling water to moisten. Scoop up generous 1/2 teaspoon of dough and return spoon to water, allowing dough to drop. Working in 2 batches, repeat dropping 1/2 teaspoonfuls of dough into water, first dipping spoon into water to moisten each time. Boil dumpling until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to colander and drain. Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add dumplings. Sauté until beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer dumplings to bowl. Sprinkle with cheese and serve. Makes 4 Side-Dish Servings.


Pumpkin (Red Hubbard Squash Preferred)
White Eastern Potatoes Bacon

Cut up a pumpkin into manageable pieces. Remove skin off of the pumpkin with a potato peeler. Run pumpkin slices over a grater to shred the pumpkin. Shred enough to fill half of a 9" x 13" pan. Pile the shredded pumpkin higher than the sides of the pan as it will shrink as it cooks. Mix 1\2 to 1 cup of granulated sugar into the pumpkin to suite your taste.

Peel and slice enough white potatoes to fill the other half of the pan. Add salt to the potatoes and mix thoroughly.

Place pan in oven at 350 degrees for 1-1\2 to 2 hours. During the first 1\2 hour, stir the potatoes.

Also stir the pumpkin. After 1\2 hour, cover the top of the entire pan with slices of bacon. Turn bacon over halfway through the baking process.

Enjoy a great one pan meal. I personally like to use Hubbard Squash (red in color pumpkins). They are a sweeter pumpkin for use in cooking and especially for pumpkin pie.


Pumpkin Filling:
2/3 c. canned pumpkin
1/2 c. fresh grated
or shredded Parmesan cheese
(preferably parmigiano-reggiano)
2 Tbsp. dry bread crumbs
3 Tbsp. ground amaretti cookies or almond biscotti
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
Dash nutmeg
Dash salt

For sauce:
1/4 c. butter, melted with dash fresh chopped sage, poured over hot pasta, or to above melted butter and sage, stir in 1/2 C cream and heat to hot but not boiling, pour over hot pasta

Make ravioli dough and press or buy pre-made.

Combine all filling ingredients. Use to fill ravioli dough by putting 1 tsp. of filling onto one square of dough; moisten edges (use egg wash or egg beaten with a little water), then top with another square of dough, pressing edges to seal. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Cook in boiling water for 6 - 8 minutes or till pasta is cooked, but firm. Drain ravioli and keep warm while preparing sauce.


1-1/2 teaspoons dried ground small red chilies such as Piquins
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 16 ounce can pumpkin puree
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 cup half-and-half or light cream
1/4 cup dry sherry
grated nutmeg

Sauté the onion and garlic in the butter until they are soft and transparent. Add the pumpkin, stock, Chile pepper, ground pepper, allspice, sugar, and sherry. Bring to a boil and cover. Simmer the soup for 30 minutes. Place the mixture in a blender and puree until smooth. Return the soup to the pot, add the half-and-half, and simmer until heated. Garnish with the nutmeg and serve.

This soup can be served either hot or cold. Serve it hot with grilled fish and seasoned green beans or cold as a luncheon entree with a crisp salad.

3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 LB pumpkin flesh, peeled seeded and diced (use one pumpkin about 1 3/4 LB)
8 fl oz strong vegetable stock
2 tbsp. parsley, or 1 tsp. dried parsley
4 fl oz single cream
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
pinch of ground black pepper
pasta, freshly cooked, to serve

Gently fry the garlic and onion in the oil for 3 or 4 minutes. Do not allow them to burn. Add the pumpkin and vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer over a medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pumpkin is tender.

Break up the pumpkin by beating it with a wooden spoon, and stir in the parsley, cream, nutmeg and seasoning. Cook for a further minute and add a little of the pasta cooking water if the sauce is too thick. Pour over the pasta and serve immediately. Serves 3

Tyler's 14th Birthday

We spent Sunday afternoon at Dave & Buster's for our nephew Tyler's 14th Birthday.  Of course, Eric forgot to tell me about the party until Saturday, 1 day before the party.  So, there we go circling the entire mall with a bunch of "maybe" gifts but, no gift which totally read "the one".  Until finally, almost the very last store we visited we found these slippers, and they were in his fav "Charger" blue and gold.  Nedless to say, he was very happy with them. 

The funniest part of the story was when Tyler and his friends said, "Oh wow, you got Michael Jacksons!"  LOL!  The adults could not help but giggle at the fact that these Nike shoes are Michael Jordans.  Wow, this made me feel really old.

After lunch, we went to the gaming area and Deric had a blast.  He ran around and just took everything in. 

We had a great day but, unfortunately ended in tears.  Those terrible (pre) 2's kicked in and Deric did not want to leave.  He got over it pretty quickly as we walked around Tempe Market Place and he was asleep within the hour.

Anniversary of Life

As a child, or young adult, we all could not wait for birthdays.  One year older, one step closer to independence, drivers licence, gradjuation, etc.  Then one day we ask, where has the time gone? 

My mother does not celebrate birthdays.  In fact, I think she has been 35 for about 35 years LOL.  So we decided to meet up for a nice meal and enjoy one anothers company and celebrate my mothers "Aniversary of Life".  I figured, if she no longer has birthday but she does celebrate aniversaries, why not celebrate her Aniversary of Life.  I'm thinking I may just start celebrating my own "Aniversary of Life" myself here in a few years.  Here are some photos.

Oh and I could not resist snapping a shot of this.  The monkey never did have a shot against this dinner roll.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sorry I've been away... Update

Wow, we've been really busy these past few weeks.  Deric's 1st visit to Peter Piper Pizza as a toddler.

Play Dates w/cousins Breanna & Viney

My niece Breanna's 5th Birthday Tink Party.

Eric's Karaoke Birthday Bash

And last but not least, caring for my son and babysitting little baby girl.

Life has been wisping by filled with not one boring minute.  I am going to try my hardest to continue to document our lives but in a more timely mannor.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Declutter me beautiful

A decluttered worktop gives the implication of a tidy kitchen so get to decluttering. Remove all items that are not used regularly such as juicers, rice cookers etc. The amount of space this creates gives the illusion of a bigger kitchen and creates more space for food prep.

When is the last time you decluttered your kitchen?
After I decluttered, I grouped several items which were scattered through out the kitchen counters, and placed them on a platter. Our kitchen is so much more functional and still has a decorative flaire.
Be creative! These everyday cooking utensiles stored in a big drawer. I found myself scurring around to find exactly what I needed. I found it more efficient to my cooking lifestyle to have them visible. I worked with what I had, and placed them in this vase. It gives a touch of eligance to the kitchen.

I wish I had taken a before picture so i had to zoom in on another picture taken in the kitchen lol but you get the drift.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A new baby in the house

She is the 1st baby girl to very good family friend and they have chosen to make me her care giver. I must admit, it is nice to have a brand new baby in the house. She is 4 weeks old, and just a doll. She has the most beautiful blue eyes.
I was a bit worried to see how Deric would react with a new baby in the home but he actually was not bothered at all. Never the less I like to be prepared and weigh on the side of caution so, I invited my Parents over today, after their morning run to assist with entertaining Deric. I really don't think it will be necessary but Deric always enjoys time with Grandpa.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Day 1 of our diet

Breakfast:Yesterday was day #1 of our diet. Our family is enjoying scrambled Eggs (with milk mixed in) on a bed of Spinach, with Low Fat Cottage Cheese, and washing it all down with coffee.


We enjoyed a health snack consisting of 1/2 an apple and 1 table spoon of Peanut Butter with good ol' H20.

Spinach salad with a tea spoon of lean turkey bacon, low fat cottage cheese is used to replace salad dressing and a dash of spicy Cayenne Pepper, for a little kick.

I had the other 1/2 of the apple with Peanut butter.

Bone less skinless chicken breast topped with sauteed garlic, onions, and roasted green chili and a side of steamed broccoli.

We are shooting for 3 dairy, 3 fruit, & 3 veggies per day. Last time we did this diet, after Deric was born, we lost about 30 pounds. Oh and that was without exercise. This time I'm throwing in Zumba Fitness. I'm excited to see the results this time.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cart Caddy

Becca made this , in her own words, out of absolute frustration and insanity prevention ! Last week while shopping, I was so fed up with losing my coupons, having to pry the slobbery remains of a coupon out of my babies mouth and simply not having enough hands while I shop! My shopping excursions are a mess!!!! If you were ever to see me shopping with three kids in tow you'd most likely find two out of three of 'em crying and the other covered in chocolate chip bribery!Well...Problem solved!!!! (at least the coupon part of my problem! Let me know if you have a wondersolution for the kid melt downs!)I came home to create this Coupon Catch all for my Shopping cart!It has two pockets! One to hold my Coupon Organizer and one to store the coupons I will be redeeming! And if you're not a coupon shopper it's the perfect little helper to hold your bottled water, emergency candy bar you opened 15 min. into your visit and cell phone while you graze aisle after aisle! Visit Becca's page at a chance to win this awesome giveaway.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Our Son's Winnie the Pooh Bathroom

I wanted to create a fun, playful bathroom wonderland. Something functional but more importantly, something that my child enjoy and spark imagination. I also wanted something unisex, and I think that is what I was able to capture with the assistance of our ol' pal Pooh.

Deric has a "Jack & Jill" bathroom, and this is the view as your coming in from the main entrance.


I wanted to mix classic "adult" pieces with fun plastic ones. This shelf was purple. At 1st I thought, perfect! Then once I saw it up, it just wasn't right. So I decided to pull the Espresso color from all the fixtures, on to this shelves and Pooh Picture frames by the toilet so a little spray paint did the trick. Did you notice the pictures by the toilet are at child eye level. Yes, we did that purposely.

Wash cloth holder.

I normally would never opted for a plastic shower curtain however, this one is so colorful and vibrant, it just works perfectly. After all, I am going for a fun room.
We wanted to place the towel/robe hook at child level, it works perfectly.

This laundry basket, I've had for yeeeears. I actually thought of donating it due to the color. Really, Hunter green does nothing for me... until this project. I wouldn't have any other way.
How perfect is this Dixie Cup dispenser? And the best part was $1.00 price tag at a neighbor's yard sale.
This is the faucet. Tigger is hot water and Eeyore is cold. Their little bodies swivel in circles to turn the water on and off. Pooh is taking a honey break under a big shady tree. Piglet is at the top of the tree holding a water pail in the downwards position. This is where the water dispenses from.

The original vanity top was a boring white so, we took a little trip to Restore, and found this vanity top for $50 bucks. What a bargain!



Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Personalized Frame for my mother

I wanted to make something personal for my Mother so I took a little trip to my fav store, Hobby Lobby.

$2.00 Picture Frame
$ .50 Scrapbook Paper
$1.00 Letter F
I already had: Red & Black Sprey Paint, hot glue.

1.) The frame was natural cardboard-like, as was the letter F. The F was sprey painted Red,
& the frame was painted black.

2.) Cut the scrapbook paper to fit in the desired photo frame and instert.

2.) Take your hot glue gun and glue the letter onto the top of the exterior glass. Kind of a 3D effect but looks fab!
And wah-la... ur done! This also works with any old frame without a glass.
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