Saturday, September 1, 2012

I'm back...

It's been over a year since I last blogged.  A terrible loss sent me into terrible grief...I am re-emerging...and am starting to "see" again...beyond the grief lies laughter and joy and wonderful memories, old memories and new memories.  I have put the grief to bed and am ready to breathe again, ready to create again, ready to move forward.  A new day, a new season, a new purpose. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A head start on home made holidays...the art of not being a pro-craftinator!

Karen  from the blog spot Sew Many Ways  -  has started a pro-craft-inators club!

So many of us find ourselves in the same boat every year - you know...of struggling thru holiday projects at holiday time...sucking the joy out of the holidays due to late nights and the struggle to get the gift o' love done?  I have actually found my self sewing final touches on christmas morning!!!!

The idea behind the club is for the next 5 months we work/complete  a gift on the 25th of every month...and try to stay ahead of the gift making game!!! I love this idea and am going to commit to making this hopefully this year come holiday time I can enjoy a little eggnog and  have a little fun!!! 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday Tutorial: How to make a 4th of July Medallion Banner

Making things festive for fourth of July can be easy and cost effective...and a little quirky too! 
Here is a fun, easy project for the 4th of July and it's green too...a Paper Medallion Banner!

You will need:
 -A computer for printing out your letters (spelling out your message)
- Cereal box
-Newspapers (like your local Gazette)  a sheet for each letter
- Red and Blue rolls of crepe streamers
-  stapler
- glue gun

crepe paper ribbon, newspaper, stapler (glue gun not shown)
begin folding at bottom of newspaper rectangle...back and forth
...just like a fan or an accordion...
Fold in the middle

... staple at the top to keep "fan" in fan shape...
make two fans per medallion, make one medallion per letter....
staple both fans together to create a medallion...
center and trace a circle around letters you have printed from the computer...
trace and cut out same size  circle out of your cereal box cardboard....
start folding and stapling crepe ribbon around cardboard circle....
finally cut out letters and attach with hot glue to your "medallions"..
Alternate colors for a festive touch...
hot glue letter medallion to center of your newspaper medallion..
with a hole punch, punch a hole at the top of each medallion, string with twin, hang and enjoy!

Happy 4th of July!!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend...what does it mean to you?

Memorial Day...for many this weekend means the beginning of summer, barbecues and picnics,  for some it means "sales"...for many of us still, this day  means a day of remembrance, it is the day we remember the fallen soldiers who have fought for our country.  The sacrifices of  soldiers young and old , the reminder of their commitment to this country. We celebrate the lives of the fallen of those who served our country and gave their lives for causes, past and present. 

I recently read a book that would be a perfect gift this memorial day for any veterans or their families...a great gift for Father's day.

Until Tuesday ...the story of a Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever who saved his life.  The book is touching and inspirational, and shed light on so many issues I was so very unaware of.  The story of  Tuesday and Luis, is about war wounds seen and unseen, struggles and harsh realities and the connection of two souls who find each other and make their way.

I have actually had the pleasure of meeting Tuesday at a book signing last week at the local Barnes and Noble...he is even more charming in person this four legged charmer!   If you'd like to learn more about Tuesday and Captain Luis Carlos  Montalvan go to

Have a safe and happy Memorial Day and remember this weekend to take a moment to reflect on why we celebrate and find a way to pay homage to these fallen heroes.  

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Royal Tea...

(continental breakfast setting...smack dab in front of the telly!)

The Royal Nuptials fell upon us on a Friday of all days...On this day I chose to give in to my inner romantic and indulge myself with the joys of a Royal Wedding!

I graced my tables with the most romantic notions and at 5:30am or so I began my wedding watch.

(my finest vintage linens perfect for the occasion)

6am - Continental Breakfast- Tea and Crumpets
(the melon and prosciutto never made it's way to the table...sleepy head)
this small crowd was made up of ladies who caught the wedding before work...ah the spirit! Early risers and in Tiaras!!

(Charles and Diana tea set from the 1980's)

Even the front Door received a little wedding "jooje" even if was from Charles and Di's wedding...who could forget the magic?!

12pm Noon - Wedding Luncheon/ Tea
Tea Sandwiches, Baby Quiches, Mimosas, Fresh strawberries and the daintiest delectable sweets. This enthusiastic bunch chose to enjoy it with the same celebratory passion I did!

On the Menu: Curried Chicken Salad Sandwiches on Baby Croissants, Dill Cream Cheese with smoked salmon on cocktail ryes, baby quiches, Raisin bread with carrot ginger cream and walnuts.

... and Oh the hats....Check out this lovely!

A wedding marathon...

All in all I watched the wedding 3 times that day...and loved every glorious bit of it!

That night I slept like I was curled up in a warm vat of honey while visions of wedding veils, horse drawn carriages and tiara's danced in my head. Lovely!
Crumpet anyone?

Tah-tah and Pip Pip for now!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mothers Day!

Most of all the other beautiful things in life come by twos and threes, by dozens and hundreds. Plenty of roses, stars, sunsets, rainbows, brothers and sisters, aunts and cousins, comrades and friends - but only one mother in the whole world. ~Kate Douglas Wiggin

(Of all of my life's most wonderful treasures here sit two most precious...My Mom and Granddaughter)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Little Cake's Book Nook: Eat, Pray , Love!

As many of you know my goal for the year is to trim down the mountains of books I've accumulated....the plan was two books a month. Between crafting and blogging, it looks like my plate is only big enough for 1 book a month!

March book menu: Eat, Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

The premise- 30 year old writer and divorcee, sets on a path to "escape" her sorrow for a year.
She packs up her bags and divides her time in 3 different countries in her struggle to find balance.
I enjoyed her style of writing it was like talking to a good friend, one that puts it all on the table.

This was a book I ate slowly, I really did savor every page, every chapter...I enjoyed her journey- from her most indulgent and decadent wanderings/waivering thru Italia to hugging trees in India it all just sang to me. The book made me curious on several levels, especially her spiritual journey. I was enchanted by her quotes, her sassy sense of humor and the idea of finding words to match a city or yourself. I giggled thru so much of her book and her inner voices. I was charmed by all of the people she met along the way and really enjoyed her path to this nirvana and back to earth again. I was truly delighted through most of this journey and felt as if I too had had a little escape.
I love a book that leads me outside of my current thought process ...this book has inspired me to want to look deeper into my spiritual connections, the powers of meditation and yoga and definitely a trip to Bali in hopefully the very near future!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happy St. Patricks day...and irish tamales?

Ah St.Paddy’s day…culturally speaking, being raised in a Latino household - St. Patrick’s day does not commonly mean the wearin’ o the green!

Despite my roots, my childhood "Americanization" started early on (I was born in Washington, DC) and my mother gleefully embraced all North American “culture”, be it macaroons at Passover/Easter on sale at Safeway or the cute green clover cookies in the bakery in March. As a young mom in the 70’s she embraced recipes that were just as foreign as the land she now called home and delighted in it. My Salvadorian mother makes a mean shepherds pie!

I was blessed with the opportunity to live in Ireland in my 20’s and will always look upon that time as magical. Ireland was truly the Emerald Isle I’d imagined it to be. I’d never seen such lovely rolling green hills all dotted with little cotton balls (actually sheep)all over the country side, enjoying these sites as I rattled along in trains from one end of the country to the other sipping my Lucazaid (tastes like a sparkling , not so sweet Gatorade) and smokin’ “fags” (slang for cigarettes- rid of that habit thank goodness!).

Though many years have passed since my last visit to Eire, I hold dear in my heart all of my fond memories and the beautiful people who crossed my path.

In Homage to the Saint, his adopted country, and the true Irish spirit of the Shamrock and its meaning- my low carb St. Paddy's day dinner!

Starter: Dublin Bay Prawn Cocktail Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 10 minutes

(photo istock .com)

Ingredients: * 1cup peeled, cooked prawns or shrimp * 2 tbsp mayonnaise * 1/2 tbsp creamed horseradish sauce * 1/2 tbsp tomato ketchup * 1 cups shredded Romaine or iceberg lettuce * 1 lime, quartered * 2 large, cooked prawns, shelled with tail on (garnish) Preparation: Serves 2 * Place the prawns, mayonnaise, creamed horseradish and tomato ketchup into a mixing bowl. Stir to combine all the ingredients; make sure all the prawns or shrimp are coated in sauce . * Divide the shredded lettuce between 2 large wine glasses and top with the prawns and sauce. * Decorate with a wedge of lime and a large prawn on the edge of the glass and serve with small slices of buttered brown bread (or not)

Main Course:

Salmon- The mythical Irish Fish of Wisdom.

Poached "Shannon" Salmon w/ Picatta Cream Sauce (Eating Well magazine) recipe dubbed "Shannon" Salmon by little old me!
· 1/2 lb center-cut salmon fillet, skinned and cut into 2 portions
· ½ cup dry white wine, divided
· 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
· 1 small shallot, minced
· 1 tablespoons lemon juice
· 2 tsp capers, rinsed
· 1/8 cup reduced-fat sour cream (for lower carb – use full fat)
· 1/8 teaspoon salt
· 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1. Place salmon in a large skillet. Add ¼ cup wine and enough water to just cover the salmon. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer, turn the salmon over, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the remaining ¼ cup wine; boil until slightly reduced, about 1 minute. Stir in lemon juice and capers; cook 1 minute more. Remove from the heat; stir in sour cream and salt. To serve, top the salmon with the sauce and garnish with dill.
Per serving: 304 calories; 16 g fat ( 4 g sat , 7 g mono ); 73 mg cholesterol; 4 g carbohydrates; 23 g protein; 0 g fiber; 307 mg sodium; 500 mg potassium.
Accompaniment :
Steamed Asparagus

Bailey’s Butter-Pecan Creme Brulee ( a recipe for 2- double recipe for 4)
(Low Carb –Sugar free!)

1 cup heavy cream
2 egg yolks
1/4 tspvanilla
dash of caramel extract (if you can find it for the “baileys” flavoring)
Dash of salt
1 tablespoons Splenda

Heat cream over medium heat, just until bubbles start to form.
Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
In a bowl, whisk together egg yolks, vanilla, salt and Splenda.
Gradually whisk in cream.
Strain mixture.
Divide into two custard cups.
Bake in a water bath for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.
Custards should be set, but still jiggly.
Chill for one hour.
Make butter-pecan topping and divide between between cups.
Refrigerate for four more hours or overnight.

Butter-Pecan Topping:
1 tablespoon butter
1/8 cup pecans - finely chopped
1 teaspoon Splenda

Melt butter.
Stir in pecans and Splenda.
Heat just until nuts begin to color, being careful not to burn!
3 to 4 carbs per serving

Served with :
Irish Coffee
Happy St. Patricks day!
Remember to find a way to make every day a reason to celebrate.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Low carbin' Mardi Gras style!

My days of Mardi Gras - party time are long time ago and nothing but fuzzy memories anymore, but I still like a themed "to do"... so for tonight in honor of Fat Tuesday, I've whipped up a little something special for Tuesday night dinner along with themed table scape and beads and masks to boot!

What is Mardi Gras?

(pronounced /ˈmɑrdiɡrɑː/ Mardigras began as a christian European tradition- it's the season of carnival that generally begins on the epiphany (January 6th) thru Ash Wednesday.

Mardi Gras means Fat Tuesday in french, it refers to the last of the fat laden, sinfully delicious feasting the tuesday before the fasting of the lenten season commences for Ash Wednesday. Generally personal sacrifices are made during the lenten season, some people give up sweets, meat, booze, anything that requires a sacrifice as a show of penance.

These carnival celebrations are recognized and symbolically celebrated through out the Americas and Europe. There is Carnival in the Caribbean, Carnevale in Italy, Fastnacht in Germany, and of course in New Orleans which really made the celebration a well known in the States as it is - Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras - in Ireland and England they celebrate Fat Tuesday with pancakes, it's called Shrove Tuesday, unfortunately for me pancakes are not low I'm taking my Mardi Gras inspiration from the Big Easy- New Orleans!

Chicken Gumbo
(for two -with left overs for lunch)

Boil chicken breast in water with a tbsp salt and a small onion
boil till chicken is no longer pink. Cut in to cubes.

Saute in a bit of evoo/butter:
4 celery ribs, sliced medium
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves
2 chicken andouille sausages from Trader Joe's cut in to rounds
1 can of chicken broth
1 can of sugar free diced tomatoes
1/2 bag of sliced okra (frozen)
Chicken chunks
24 Shrimp
I added the shrimp last as I didn't want it to get rubbery.

Just cook the whole mess for about 30 minutes and you've got a roux-less gumbo, the okra is a natural thickener, voila low carb gumbo!

This partnered with a green salad topped with fried green which I used pork rinds instead of cornmeal and fry in oil and then top with my take on shrimp remoulade!

Laissez les bons temps rouler! Let the good times roll!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Kiwi's Bloggers Followers

Hey SB friends...I misread the rules on this little swap and did not create my formal here it is! I Hope you enjoy my happy little blog! This little button fairy was created for an SB SWAP...she was lots of fun to make.
See you on SB!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

This cheerful little holiday brings back childhood memories of decorating shoe boxes covered in tinfoil with red construction paper hearts and doilies- my Valentine's day "mailbox".

When I think of all the steps in preparation for the big day, as I carefully chose from the lovely array of little cards in that little box, hand picked by me at the local GC Murphy's or Woolworth's.

Selecting my favorite cards for my latest crush and best girl friends, signing my name so carefully to each and every valentine card ...the thought of all the pink and red chocolate cupcakes with the little plastic heart toothpicks stuck in them and mountains of potato chips,'red hots' and conversation hearts, just beyond made the day all the more exciting...all of that tinged with the slightest concern that I may not come home with a full "mailbox" always worked out...the cupcake usually bigger than I could handle, and the simple joy of sitting criss-cross applesauce that afternoon as I picked my favorite cards and sorted carefully through 30 + cards- for the prize card from my favorite boy.

Fast forward 30 something years...not quite the same...but certainly the simple pleasure of romanticizing the house and sending little cards to dear little munchkins and friends certainly still makes this holiday a fun to do...and the prize card from the favorite boy? Well now I'm the favorite girl, so the card is all the more special.

Happy Valentine's Day to all!

Hope your day is filled with something sweet, a little fun and a little something special in your mailbox.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Littlecake's Book Nook - Book #1 Friday Night Knitting Club

As I mentioned previously my goal for 2011 is to slowly eat thru my stacks of unread books by reading 2 a I thought I'd share...these are not reviews...just my little take on sharing the scoop on my latest read.

The first on January's list was The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
The story of a single mom, her knitting shop, her 12 year old daughter, betrayals and love lost... good friends, old friends, rolled cozily into a not so tightly wound ball of yarn. This is a light read, not a classic, nothing amazing, just an easy read. Enjoyed it enough...but not a fave.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The start of a new year...

Happy New Year!
The ringing in of a new year always leaves me with a nostalgic sense of wonder combined with a healthy sense of optimism as I look upon that crisp path to a fresh start- the clean slate...getting more sleep...doing more blogging...eating "more" -you know this song!

This month is just flying a start 2011!
Ciao' 2010 - per my norm the old year brought many changes with it , this seems to be my current life trend as of the last few horizons just keep getting broader- in a good way I think. It seems to me that every time I get used to the dance, someone changes the song again!

I am thrilled with all of the lovely new memories, new friends and new experiences. 2010 brought with it some much needed reconciliations, a dash of- tell it like it is, and sprinkle of - some things put to bed for good. There was a good measure of fear thrown into 2010 just to shake it up a bit, sometimes just a bit of that can help remind you, how much you appreciate things...your health...your friends...your family (just in case somewhere down the road you didn't notice you'd failed to be appreciative of these oh so special things.)

2010 left me with a nice sense of accomplishment -as I've kept several promises to myself last year(broke a few too)... I promised myself I would participate in my first craft show... and I did...TWO- as a matter of fact! I promised to live more creatively last year...and I was a homemade christmas and some! I promised myself to learn to sew and I did....well sort of...a wonky seam or two, but loving it!

2011 is off to a fair start...
I am promising myself to blog at least twice a month
I am promising myself to eat 2 books a month, and banishing them from my home once read (unless it's a true keeper). I am a self confessed bookaholic. The books, all of the lovely books are invading my planet... my mantra : read it and pass it on.
I have other promises to me...but those are just for me...we'll see how they come to fruition...only I can dream my dreams...