Sunday, December 25, 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Auntie Ruth's Pumpkin Pie

It is the weekend before Thanksgiving and it is really feeling like Fall today.  The day has been rainy and cold, but the perfect solution for that is warming the house by cooking and baking up a storm!  Yesterday I made a big pot of Pioneer Woman's Chili, her "perfect pie crust" recipe and a yummy dessert called Pumpkin Love.  
On this rainy afternoon I whipped up my pumpkin pies for Thursday's feast.  I've decided to share my own recipe with you ... shh! don't tell anyone!  Modified and adapted from the recipe on the Libby's pumpkin can.  

Auntie Ruth's Pumpkin Pie
(Makes 2 Pies)

1 cup Sugar
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Ginger
1 teaspoon Pumpkin Spice
1/2 teaspoon Cloves
4 Eggs
1 can (29 oz) Pumpkin
1 can Evaporated Milk (I used the reduced fat kind)
1 can Condensed Milk
2 unbaked Pie shells (I used this recipe)

Pre-heat oven to 425.  Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl.  In a large bowl beat the eggs then stir in the pumpkin, sugar mixture and   both cans of milk until combined.  Ladle the mixture into the pie crusts.  Bake in a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes then reduce the oven temperature to 350 and continue baking for 45 minutes.  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I just finish making what I call the Perfect Fall Soup this afternoon.  It is one of my favorite recipes when the weather begins to get cold.  I've modified it and tweaked it over the years.  This time I added sweet potatoes and it turned out really good.  Give it a try!

Perfect Fall Soup
10 servings (about 1 cup each) 

2 T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, sliced
2 qts (8 cups) water
1 C dried lentils
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
3 bay leaves
2 T balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper 

Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in carrots, sweet potato, bell pepper, and garlic; cook 5 minutes.  Stir in remaining ingredients except salt and pepper, bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat; simmer uncovered 30 - 40 minutes; or until lentils and vegetables are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Remove bay leaves before serving.  

Enjoy a nice big bowl of this tasty soup with some fresh, warm bread or cornbread on a cold day!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Be still sad heart and cease repining;
Behind the clouds the sun is shining,
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life a little rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Delicious Fall Recipe

Last week we had a small glimpse of brisk, cool Fall weather which got me in the mood for making this recipe I found on The Pioneer Woman's site.  So even though this week feels hotter than summer (104 on Wednesday) once it cools down again for good this will be something you will surely want to try!  It is easy and very delicious!  

Here is how I made it...

Cut the acorn squash into wedges and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle a little bit of salt.  Pop that in the oven for 20 minutes.
While the squash is baking grab some fresh rosemary and chop it up finely... inhale the wonderful scent of freshly chopped herbs... Mmmm!
Combine the butter, brown sugar and rosemary into a paste...
Take the squash out of the oven and smear the all paste mixture on the wedges...
Continue to bake until golden.  Drizzle sauce over the wedges to help them carmelize.

There is the printable recipe from The Pioneer Woman's website.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Goodbye Summer... Hello Fall...

Fall has finally arrived.  Even though I don't live in a part of the country where the leaves change and display a beautiful palette of colors, there are different sorts of Fall colors I enjoy this time of year...

Sunrise in Costa Mesa last week

From sunrise to sunset

Sunset at Creek Park last week

The colors of the season are brilliant and beautiful!

Sunset from up on the hill

The shadows in the afternoon are long and the breeze is brisk.

 At the end of each day it's a wonderful sight to behold.

City lights from up on the hill

Saturday, September 03, 2011

It's hard to believe that I started this blog five years ago on September 6, 2006. It really doesn't seem that long ago! Through the years I found it to be a great place where I could share thoughts, memories and photos with family and friends near and far.

This summer I took a brief hiatus from posting and spent lots of time enjoying family, friends and the great outdoors. So as summer comes to an end I am ready to get back into the groove.

My Summer

warm sand
excited kids splashing in the waves

Trips to the city
exploring monuments of concrete and steel

Serene countryside
snugly, fluffy kittens to hold

Two birthdays and a wedding
family, food, friends
spending many wonderful hours together

Walks in the park, sharing summer bounty
in colors of red, green, purple

Summer has come and is almost gone
warm memories will stay forever.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Vacation Treasures

I've been on vacation visiting my best friend in Amish country in Pennsylvania. We went out antiquing the other day in Smicksburg. This was the best find of the day. Three teacups for $2.50! I love finding little treasures.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Happy First Day of Summer

I started getting in the summer mood a little early by spending lots of time in the pool this weekend! We all got together to celebrate Greg's birthday. I love sunny summer days and good times spent with family and friends.

Summer solstice with the most daylight hours of the year started a little gray but ended in a beautiful sunny afternoon. After my walk in the park I hung out with some of my four legged friends. Coby (the regal one), Rufus (the cuddly one), Zorro (the leaning one), Sunny (the lumbering one), Gracie (the temperamental one) and Machka (the kissing one).

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Monsters and Elephants and Lions, Oh my!

It's not everyday you get to create 36 unique "monster" cupcakes for a one year old's birthday party
or paint safari animals cut out of plywood for Adventure week at church but sometimes God surprises me with unique opportunities to use the talents He has given me. This weekend that is just what I did. I worked on baking these a couple evenings ago and then decorated then late Friday and finished them up early on Saturday morning. It was fun coming up with unique designs for each one. Even though the party had to be moved indoors because of the rain we all still had a great time celebrating with Cole.

A month or so ago my friend Laura approached me about painting some animals for the safari themed vacation Bible school this summer. Kim, Tiffany, Hanako and I all worked painting lions, gorillas, and elephants. I can't wait to see how they all will turn out!
I've been learning to listen to the Lord's gentle reminders to use my talents in ways that I never have expected. So whether it is blessing a mom and her little one with decorated cupcakes or the many kids that will attend Adventure Week I'm doing it as unto the Lord!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Circa 1963

Today would have been my parent's 49th wedding anniversary. I don't have a picture from their wedding day but this photo was taken soon after. A friend wrote a fitting description... "In the early 1960s my father (left), a Colombian Émigré, returned to his native country with my mother, a Pennsylvanian farmer's daughter who spoke no Spanish and who was, for the first time, seeing her husband's native country. In this photograph they meet an old family friend (right) on a busy street in Bogota. It was popular at the time for street photographers to take a person's photo and given them a ticket they could later redeem for a developed print - often as a same day affair."

Saturday, June 04, 2011


The last couple of weeks in May have gone by like a whirlwind! Is it really June already? It's been busy but good. The ladies Spring tea at Grace was on the 21st.This was the culmination of several months of planning and preparation. Melanie gave an inspiring talk of the theme of "God's Unfailing Love".
I didn't host a table this year but I enjoyed seeing all of the beautiful tables the ladies decorated. All so different but beautiful in their own way. I am so blessed to be part of such a great group of ladies. They all are an inspiration and encouragement. In the middle of it all I misplaced my camera and didn't get to take any pictures during the tea. Thankfully I found it at the end... Phew! The following day was the art exhibit at church called The HeART of Isaiah. It was sixty-six pieces of art representing each of the chapters from Isaiah. I met up with some of my Grace Group friends and enjoyed seeing every one's creative expressions.

Work was also quite busy. End of May also means the end of a semester and graduation ceremonies. It is one of the busiest times for us at the office. Another record breaking number graduated this year. I stayed away from campus on that day since they were expecting more than 10,000 guests on campus.

Memorial Day weekend has sort of become the "unofficial" beginning of summer. The weather is finally getting warmer and spending time outdoors has been fantastic. I wanted to celebrate by inviting some friends over and making them dinner. It was a fun evening and we all got to take a turn at turning the crank and making homemade ice cream.

Summer also means that the trees are yielding lots of fruit. Apricots are in season now. My neighbor invited me to go pick some and of course I couldn't pass on that opportunity. Today, I made 12 jars of apricots preserves from all the fruit we picked. I love summer!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sunday supper on a Thursday

Last Thursday after work Grace and I took the train down to Irvine to meet up with Jon, Adam & Edgar for dinner. If you are ever in the Irvine, CA area and want an unforgettable dining experience that will rock your tatsebuds then you must visit Lucca Cafe. This month their "Sunday Supper" normally held on the second Sunday of the month was held on Thursday which was perfect timing to celebrate J's birthday. Chef Cathy Pavlos didn't disappoint. One of the delicious dishes was Raviolo alla Mascarpone (ravioli with marscapone cheese, potatoes, wild mushrooms and thyme; with butternut squash risotto, radicchio, caramelized onions & nutmeg. Mmmm so good!

Monday, May 16, 2011

One of my favorite things

Blue Skies and puffy white clouds! I love the sky the day after it rains. It is so clear, crisp, blue and beautiful it makes my heart sing.

Psalm 147:7-9
7 "Sing to the LORD with grateful praise;
make music to our God on the harp.
8 He covers the sky with clouds;
he supplies the earth with rain
and makes grass grow on the hills.
9 He provides food for the cattle
and for the young ravens when they call."

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Spending some time with Mom

Mom has been staying with me since coming back from Italy last week. I have really enjoyed our time together and it is much more fun to cook for two than for one! Saturday morning after sleeping in a little bit we got ready and headed out to Kimmie's for breakfast. I love the little quaint diner feel of that place. Mom had the pancake combo and I had the classic breakfast. It was really good but quite a large breakfast so we decided to go walk around for a while. We picked up my sister on the way and drove to the Fullerton Arboretum. It was a beautiful morning for a walk. The flowers were all blooming, colorful and each so different and beautiful. I had a great time taking lots and lots of pictures (and stalking the bees to try and get the perfect shot). This evening my other sister dropped by after work. So I decided to make chili and cornbread for dinner. I made up my own chili with what I had in the pantry but for the cornbread I used a recipe that has become a favorite. I made The Pioneer Woman's Skillet Cornbread. I have made this recipe quite a few time and it is quick, super easy and yummy, and never disappoints. Here is the recipe:Pioneer Woman's Skillet Cornbread
Prep Time: 5 Minutes Cook Time: 20 Minutes Difficulty: Easy Servings: 12
1 cup Yellow Cornmeal
½ cups All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Salt

1 Tablespoon Sugar (I added this to Ree's recipe)
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1 cup Buttermilk (Since I didn't have buttermilk on hand I just used regular milk and added a little vinegar)
½ cups Milk
1 whole Egg
½ teaspoons Baking Soda
¼ cups Shortening
2 Tablespoons Shortening (I used butter because I ran out of Crisco)
Preparation Instructions
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Combine cornmeal, flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl. Stir together.
Measure the buttermilk and milk in a measuring cup and add the egg. Stir together with a fork. Add the baking soda and stir.
Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir with a fork until combined.
In a small bowl, melt 1/4 shortening. Slowly add melted shortening to the batter, stirring until just combined. In an iron skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons shortening over medium heat. Pour the batter into the hot skillet. Spread to even out the surface. (Batter should sizzle.)
Cook on stove top for 1 minute, then bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Edges should be crispy!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Spanish Hash for Dinner

Sometimes I just like to look through the pantry and refrigerator and make something from whatever I have on hand. This evening I made up a recipe which turned out really tasty and delicious. I'm not sure what to call it but for now I'll call it Spanish Hash.

Here is how I made it... Drizzle some olive oil in skillet and saute the chopped garlic and onion
Cut the kernels off a fresh ear of corn. Chop one peeled, cooked sweet potato into cubes. (I cooked my sweet potato by wrapping it in a wet paper towel and microwaving it for 5 minutes.)

Add the corn to the skillet and cook for a minute or so. Add the cooked brown rice and stir around for another minute or so.
The add the cubed sweet potato.

Next add some leftover cooked, meat chopped in small pieces (I used pork tenderloin leftovers).

Grab a bunch of cilantro and chop it up.
Add the cilantro the skillet and stir. I love the smell of freshly chopped cilantro!Now for some seasoning. Sprinkle in some seasoned salt, cumin and a little garlic powder to taste.Serve and enjoy!

Spanish Hash (Makes 4 servings)

  • 1 ear of corn, kernels only

  • 1 sweet potato, cooked and cubed

  • 1/4 onion, chopped

  • 1 garlic clove, chopped

  • 1 Tbs Olive oil

  • 1/2 cup Brown Rice, cooked

  • 1 cup of any kind of leftover cooked meat, chopped

  • 1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped

  • Lawry's Seasoned Salt to taste

  • 1/4 tsp, Cumin

  • 1/4 tsp Garlic powder

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Welcome Home from Italia!

Picked up Mom & my sister Grace this evening at LAX.

They just spent a wonderful two weeks in Italy.

I'll post some pictures as soon as I get them. Ciao bella Italia!

Posted by Picasa