Spring has Sprung!

Photo courtesy of David O'Donnell david@davidbodonnell.com

Photo courtesy of David O’Donnell david@davidbodonnell.com

Spring is my favorite time of year. I love how we can see the season change, even here in Southern California. The grass gets greener, the freesia bloom, we have more rainy days. You can see trees getting new leaves and budding if they flower. We have a night-blooming jasmine in the front yard and the smell at night is intoxicating. The skies are often full of puffy white clouds and there is a crispness in the air. You start to see asparagus and artichokes in the market and everything looks really healthy. You start to see pictures of baby lambs being born and everything is lush and full of life. I chose to marry in the Spring many years ago and this year on the Anniversary it was an almost identical day, warm but with a cool breeze, blue blue skies filled with white puffy cotton ball clouds.

I’m even in a cleaning mood because of the season! Today I went thru our pantry and sorted out some things. Found some soups in the back that expired in 2008. Oops. I see these really organized pantries on Pinterest and I’m so jealous. My pantry does not look like this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or like this:

Maybe someday I can redo our current pantry to look like these but the pantry looks 90% better and that makes me happy.

Even our diet changes when Spring hits. We want to BBQ outdoors even though being in Southern California we can BBQ anytime of the year . BBQ’d vegetables like zucchini and yellow squash, tomatoes and asparagus are Spring time favorites. We like to make Spring salads like our broccoli and Cauliflower Salad.  I usually want to eat lighter and less meat.

What does Spring mean to you?

Chilaquiles and Gringo Salsa

My Mother and I started the day by going to a tiny Mexican restaurant/takeout place that I read about on http://www.yelp.com. They had really great reviews for their chilaquiles. Have you ever heard of them or had them? Chilaquiles are corn tortilla chips mixed with a spicy sauce and traditionally serve with an egg either scrambled or fried. The place is a little corner joint, nothing fancy but the people are super nice, they have a great rating and if the food is good, who cares about fancy. They have a makeshift patio with 4 or 5 booths so we ate there.

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Would you look at this plate! I wasn’t expecting to have beans and rice and salad with it. All this for $ 5.50?! The reviewers were correct. The chilaquiles are the best and everything had that homemade authentic taste. We will be back. I can’t wait to try their tacos for lunch or dinner.

If you are in the area or have a hankering for truly authentic mexican food, make the trek to Mi Sabroso Michoacan in Montebello, CA http://www.yelp.com/biz/mi-sabroso-michoacan-montebello-2?ob=1

Then we went to the Farmers Market we like near my house and Mamacita wanted me to make my homemade salsa. This batch came out particularly tasty so I thought I’d share the recipe with you. I made it in our Magic Bullet blender, but you can make it in a food processor or regular blender too.Here’s how I made it.

Wash the tomatoes, peppers, chiles and tomatillos. You blacken a pasilla pepper over an open flame until it blisters and turns black.

wpid-20140222_164558.jpg

Looks scary all burnt huh! Let it cool and then scrape off most of the burnt skin, cut off the top, and deseed.

wpid-20140222_165101.jpgCut the tomatillos, tomatoes, and peppers in half and put on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Also add the garlic cloves in their shell to the sheet. Broil for 5-10 minutes or until they char a little. Remove the garlic cloves from the shell and cut top off the charred jalapeno and Anaheim chile. You can deseed the jalapeno if you are concerned about it being too hot/spicy, but I did not, I put in the blender whole after cutting off the stem and our batch was not too hot at all. And if you like it hotter, add another jalapeno to the mix. Let them cool slightly and then add everything to a Magic Bullet blender, food processor or regular blender. Add salt and pulse until blended and big items are liquified. You may have to pulse a few times and then mix for about 10-15 seconds. It may get a little foamy but that’s ok. Taste and add salt if needed. You can eat right away or put in the fridge to cool and let the flavors meld.

wpid-20140222_165944.jpgAnd this is what it looks like. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips. I like to eat with scrambled eggs too. I hope you enjoy and if you try my recipe I’d love to hear your thoughts on how the recipe worked for you and if you like this!

Michele’s Gringo Salsa

1 pasilla pepper (is it a pepper or chile?)
1 jalapeno
1 Anaheim pepper
7-8 tomatillos, peeled
3 cloves garlic, left in the shell
3 Roma tomatoes
2 tsp. salt

New Years Eve Contemplating

It’s New Years Eve, the year is almost over and the feeling of change and all things new is in the air. I love the possibility of change and thinking that this is the year. The year that I’ll be a better house cleaner, a more organized person. This is the year I’ll lose this excess weight and being physically active will be a daily habit. This is the year I’ll find that special someone and wonder how I ever lived without him. This is the year I’ll find a job and life will be more normal.

I know that all these things are possible and it is what I hope will happen. I’m hopeful for the year 2014. I really don’t like 13′s so this last year was kind of meh. Even though I have had several positive changes this year, I’m glad the year is done.

I intend to create my blog to be a place that people will want to visit. I’ve been reading a lot of blogs on Bloglovin and it’s opened my eyes to the fact that I have many areas of interest, not just knitting. I would like my blog to include my day-to-day activities which will include cooking and recipes, kundalini yoga, home decor ideas, painted furniture, beauty and makeup,knitting, spinning, crafty type things because that is who I am.

“Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.”
― Brad Paisley

How will your book for 2014 read? Wishing you all a Healthy and Happy 2014!

Obsessed

Pinterest is so wonderful and I’m obsessed. Obsessed with ideas of things to do. I find the most interesting things on there. Great recipes, fashion ideas, beauty items, decorating inspirations… I find myself going on pinterest and then going on to a blog, which leads me to other sites. So here’s a few things I wanted to tell you about that I found on pinterest this week. (Please add me on pinterest, i’m mitchypoo777)

Spectrum Chia Seeds

Chia Seeds

I saw these dark little seeds on pinterest and had to know what it was all about. Yes, these are the seeds they use for Chia Pets, but these are edible and are a Super Superfood! Here is some info about the health qualities of eating chia seeds.  So I’ve started using them because they are healthy and help promote weight loss. I’ve developed a little routine with them in the morning. I put 8 oz. of warm water in a glass and add 1 Tbsp. of chia seeds and about 1-2 tsp of honey and stir. Then I let it sit for about 10 minutes. The seeds swell up and get gel like. Looks odd and I wasn’t sure I could take the texture but it’s really not a big deal. So after 10 minutes I wash my face but I put about 1 Tbsp. of the chia/water mixture in my hands and put on my face as a mask. Then I brush my teeth and do whatever else I need to let the chia mask stay on for a while. Then I wash it off and you won’t believe how soft your skin feels. Then I drink the rest of the chia water. I’ve read that a normal serving daily of chia is 1-2 Tbsp. a day. I have added 1 tsp. to a serving of yogurt and you can put in smoothies, or salads and you can eat them whole or ground.

Another thing I’ve found on pinterest and I’m very curious about is coconut oil and all of its uses. I found this article today about 52 uses for coconut oil.  And then I found a recipe for DIY Coconut Oil Deodorant. Perhaps you’ve heard that most deodorants contain aluminum which is thought to contribute to breast cancer. I wanted something healthier and like the idea of making myself. This is so easy and although it only helps with the smell and not the wetness I’ve found after using it that it doesn’t make you wet at all. So this is how easy it is:

5-6 Tbsp. coconut oil (I found this at Trader Joe’s)

1/4 cup baking soda

1/4 cup corn starch or arrowroot (I used corn starch)

8-10 drops of tea tree oil (or your favorite essential oil or omit if you want)

Put all ingredients into a bowl and mix. I used a small spatula to mix and ended up with a thick frosting-like texture that was slightly drippy. I put into a glass jar with a lid and it solidified overnight. That’s it! I use my finger to put a small amount on my pits after showering. It’s not greasy from the oil and stays dry because of the corn starch I think. So happy to have this option!

And here is a recipe that I’m posting for my dear friend Michele in Hawaii, she heard me plurk that mamacita made this cake for us last night. I really enjoyed it! She got the recipe from her sister, my Aunt Angie in MN who was telling her how much she loved this cake that someone brought to a church function. We have homemade coffee liqueur so we used that in place of the Kahlua. Mamacita served it with some whipped cream.

Black Russian Cake
1 yellow cake mix
4 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup Kahlua
1 pkg. instant chocolate pudding
3/4 cup strong brewed coffee
1/4 cup vodka
Mix cake mix and all above ingredients together and put into a greased bundt pan. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes and cool.
 
Glaze:
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup water 
1/4 cup rum
Put all in small saucepan on medium heat and bring to a boil, cool slightly. Poke cooled cake with skewer or chop stick or small wood spoon. Pour glaze over cake. Serve with whipped cream and sprinkled powdered sugar. Enjoy! It’s suppose to be even better the next day!

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

Three Cheese Stuffed French Toast

All that Mamacita wanted for Mother’s Day was for me to make her Three Cheese Stuffed French Toast. She had never had it before but remembered it from when I told her about making it years ago when I was married and living in OR. We had family friends visiting and I made it for them. It was a huge hit. I think I saw this recipe in an old Bon Appetit. The recipe is credited to Seven Sisters Inn in Ocala, FL. It has been years since I thought of this recipe but I had written it down and sent it to Mamacita and she found the recipe.

I will post it for you with my few modifications.

Three Cheese Stuffed French Toast

8 slices french bread, 2 inch thick
Cut a slit into each 2 inch slice forming a pocket.
 
3/4 cup (3 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese
4 oz pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 Tbsp. ricotta cheese
3 Tbsp. apricot jam or preserves
 
Mix cheeses and jam together. Divide and put about 1-2 Tbsp of mixture into each slice. Put into baking dish, cover and refrigerate for 8 hrs. or overnight.
 
1/2 cup milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup panko bread crumbs or crushed corn flakes
2 Tbsp. butter, melted in large fry pan.
 
In bowl mix milk, eggs and cinnamon. Dip slices into egg mixture and fry in pan with butter melted. May have to do in 2 batches. Put in buttered or sprayed pan. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.
 
1 sm. can sliced peaches in syrup
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
Put ingredients in small saucepan over low heat until mixture bubbles and slightly thickens. Serve over baked french toast. Serve with apricot or maple syrup and powdered sugar.

This is a very good recipe and I’m sure we;ll make again because everyone loved it! I hope you will try it and enjoy with your family.

I’m reminded today that Mother’s Day is difficult for a lot of people. I’ve been so lucky to have such a wonderful Mother but not all are so lucky. There may be distance between you or hurt feelings or maybe no relationship at all with your Mothers and for that I’m truly sorry.

If you are a Mother celebrating today I wish you love and happiness and thank all that is good for wonderful Mothers!

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Please click the pic above to go to Joyce’s blog and get all the detailed to join us in the Wednesday Hodgepodge.

1. St. Patrick’s Day will be celebrated this coming Saturday. What’s a favorite article of clothing you own that contains a touch o’ the green?

I love green, I have a lot of green yarn and I have a green bag and a green top that I will probably wear on Saturday when we are going to a “Thirty One” Bag party at a friend’s house. We may also go have dinner at a cute local bar to celebrate.

2. What’s a favorite ‘green space’ in the town, state or province where you live?

We have become part of a community garden in our city. It’s a lovely garden thru the YMCA and seniors are able to rent a garden space for the year. This is all new to us, but we hope to have lots of fresh veggies and tons of tomatoes this year.

3. Do you wish you were taller, shorter, or think you’re just about right in the height department?

I’m pretty tall for a woman, I’m 5′ 9″ and was always the tall one in school until I hit high school and then there were some taller boys. It bothered me sometimes at that age, it was harder to fit in, but now I love my height and wouldn’t change it.

4. What’s the surest way for someone to pick a fight with you?

I’ve never been in a fight, but I will have words with you if I see you do something blatantly wrong or mean-spirited. I have a brother in a wheelchair and I was the kid who would call you out if you did something mean toward my brother. Staring is one thing, but don’t make faces or say something mean. 

5. Broccoli-spinach-string beans-peas…of the four your favorite green veg? (Or the one you dislike the least if that first option is too hard for you. I know there are some veggie haters out there).

I love them all and will be planting them all except broccoli because it takes up a lot of room. My favorite is the peas. Nothing like eating raw peas out of the garden! 

6. March is National Women’s History Month…besides friends, neighbors, and the women you’re related to, who’s a woman in history you admire and why?

I’m reading a story about Olive Oatman and the Oatman Massacre. She was taken to live with the Mohave’s and from what I’ve read she was an amazing woman. 

7. Keep calm and ___________on. You fill in the blank.

KNIT! Of course, right? You know i’d put that. Knitting keeps you calm and it’s meditative and creative and a true passion. I wish everyone could find something that makes them so happy.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I made this Coconut Caramel Cake yesterday and I thought I’d share the recipe because it was really good and so easy to make. You bake the cake and then add this “frosting” and then put it under the broiler to brulee. I cooked the cake in a 9×13 metal pan. The recipe shows it made in a glass dish, but I was afraid to put our glass dishes under the broiler. I also will next time turn down the oven to 325 degrees. It cooked well but the bottom got a little dark in 35 minutes. One other change is the coconut topping called for 1 1/2 cup brown sugar which seemed a tad excessive to me so I only put 1 cup brown sugar. It was yummy and tested out by my friends at knit night. They agreed that the topping was good w/less brown sugar.  Enjoy!

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. The Hodgepodge falls on the last day of the month this year, a leap year. How will you spend that extra day?

 It’s so odd to get an extra day every 4 years. Nothing special to do, it’s just like any other day I guess. 

2. What has recently required a leap of faith on your part?

 Well, I’m doing the PINK Method for weight loss and it’s really tough at the beginning. I have found myself praying a few times. I’m losing so I’m sticking to it. But I know I’ll have a “cheat” next week or possibly this weekend when we go to dinner for my birthday. I’m on the first step which is 14 days of lean protein and unlimited low-calorie veggies, oh and a shake in the morning. Do you know how quick veggies can get boring?

3. We’re one week into the season of Lent…are you marking these forty days in some way? Giving something up or adding something extra to normal life? How’s it going so far?

I am a cradle Catholic, but I don’t belong to the church anymore, so I am not doing Lent.

 4. When was the last time you sat beside a fire?

 Oh, much too long ago because I can not remember when the last time was. I love sitting beside a fire, letting my hands warm up, talking to people, roasting a hotdog or making a smores. Good times.

5. Surf and turf is on the menu. Do you order as is or do you ask for just the surf (lobster), just the turf (steak) or a menu so you can select another option?

I’m STARVING right now and you ask this? :) I want the whole lobster, a tub of melted butter, steak medium rare, baked potato w/butter and sour cream, chives and rolls w/butter, ceasar salad and a dirty martini. AND I want creme brulee for dessert! 

6. If you could have any television show back, not in reruns but in new episodes, what program would you choose?

Downton Abbey, I don’t want to wait until September or whenever the next Season is supposed to start.

7. They say an elephant never forgets. These days would you say your memory is more like an elephant or a gnat?

 Uh…a gnat….what was the question?

8. Insert your own random thought here.

 “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” ~ Buddha
via The Wholehearted Life – encouraging others to live as authentically and wholeheartedly as possible.

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Click the pic above to get all the details on how to join us for Wednesday Hodgepodge from Joyce's blog.

1. February 22nd is National Be Humble Day…what makes you proud? What keeps you humble?

I am proud to be American, a daughter and a sister. Those are all things I had no control over. I think being humble has to do with knowing that I am a sinner and I’m blessed for what I do have and don’t deserve it.

2. Where is the catch-all (aka dumping ground) in your house?
 Where should I start? The area by the phone seems to always be cluttered with mail, notepads, pictures, etc. The bar area no matter how many times I unclutter it, gets cluttered with bills and tax junk. It just breeds in this house.
3. Do you make it a point to visit State/National Parks when you travel or even in your own hometown? What’s your favorite?
I have visited Yosemite National Park, but only because a childhood friend’s family invited me on their trip. My family was not the camping type. I thought Yosemite was beautiful, gorgeous. We did some hiking, some swimming. We had this cement type thing that we slept in in our sleeping bags which was very rustic for me, but I had a good time. I love being in nature and I’d like to visit all our National Parks someday. I also used to live in Winema National Forest in Oregon. Our house and land was near there. It too was really beautiful, but to live there daily it was too isolated for me.

4. How would you define honor?
Honor is being truthful to yourself and others. To stand behind everything you do and say.

5. Angel’s food or Devil’s food-which cake do you prefer?
I prefer Angel’s food cake with Cool Whip and crushed pineapple. I also like chocolate cake, but it’s heavier and it’s always too big a slice.
6. What’s the most recent road trip you’ve taken? Where did you go and how many hours did you spend in the car? Do you like to zoom to your destination without stopping or leisurely wind your way there with stops along the way? What is your car snack of choice?
I think the last real trip was last July when I drove with Dorothy, a knitting friend to Portland, OR from Southern CA. Dorothy invited me on the trip so she wouldn’t be alone and she hoped I would help drive. Well I love to drive and she has a Prius which is very cool. After I guess she figured out that I was a good driver and she felt safe I did all the driving! We stopped along the way which was fine with me, we had to find some sights bc she had Groupons to use, we stopped for lunch, we never did fast food. We stopped for several yarn stores, because, come on, we are yarnies. And we even stopped for donuts! We heard about Voodoo Doughnuts, they have like a cult following and so we had to find one on the way home, I think it was in Eugene and it was worth the drive! We didn’t have car snacks, I didn’t feel comfortable eating in her car and it’s better for me not to munch in the car.

7. Recent headlines told how a preschool child in NC had their packed lunch from home taken away and a school lunch substituted by a school inspector who deemed the homemade lunch unhealthy. Reportedly the parent was then billed for the school lunch (chicken nugget meal) although an update to the story says the parent was not billed. The inspector was conducting a routine inspection of the classroom-he/she was not there solely to peek in the lunchboxes.
The packed lunch contained a turkey and cheese sandwich, an apple juice box, a bag of chips, and a banana. You can read the story here. Your thoughts?
I’m sorry but I didn’t take the time to read the whole story but based on what is written here and if that is the lunch the child was given and it was deemed unsuitable, I’d be outraged. Are you going to tell me that a chicken nugget meal would be healthier? Processed, condensed chicken parts, and you don’t know what those parts are, breaded, and fried, with probably, fries is a better option? I think not.
8. Insert your own random thought here.

From His Pursuing Kindness blog. “Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours” - Swedish Proverb

I’m running late with posting this Wednesday Hodgepodge so now I’m off to read everyone else’s posts!

Wednesday Hodgepodge

If you’d like to join us for the Wednesday Hodgepodge please click on the above pic which will redirect you to Joyce’s blog w/all the details.
1. George Washington-Abraham Lincoln-Thomas Jefferson…who would you most like to meet and why?

Abraham Lincoln. I’ve always admired his attitude in that day and age and I’d love to talk to him about it and see why he felt like he did, how he had the courage to do what he did.

2. What’s your favorite chain restaurant?

I like The Outback, their coconut shrimp appetizer is yummy and enough for a meal. Their steaks are usually good too.

3. I spied this question on the Bears at Home blog last week and she gave me permission to steal borrow it-

When you look back on your life, do you imagine you’ll think about the goals you failed to meet with regret? Or will you look at what you accomplished and say: it was good?
I’ve done both of these many times. I think it’s normal to see the good and bad of things but overall I look at what I’ve accomplished and know it was good. I have failed, i have had regrets, but I believe things happen like they must and it’s up to us to figure out why.
4. Grapefruit-take ‘em or leave ‘em? Given the choice between an orange and a grapefruit which would you choose? Would you prefer it served as is or squeezed into juice?
 I’d prefer the grapefruit, pink grapefruit if available. I like to eat them like an orange, peel fruit, peel slice outside layer to only have the fresh fruit.
5. When was the last time you cleaned out a closet? Is there a closet in your home that currently needs cleaning? What are you waiting for?
 It’s been a while and I have many closets to clear out. If you count a pantry I just cleaned those out. 
6. You get to have lunch with three famous people…who would you like to see round your table?
You didn’t say alive or dead so I’m going with both!
  1. James Beard ~oh the stories he could tell of the culinary world.
  2. Julia Child ~think she’d just be entertaining.
  3. Jacques Pepin~ He’s a friend of Julia’s and I admire him. He has a wonderful story.
7. On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate your ability to parallel park?
Oh, I’d give me a 8 or 9, I usually am pretty straight and I try to have an equal distance between the car and my car on both sides. Unless the other person parked stupidly, then I don’t care if it’s tight for them to get in.
8. Insert your own random thought here.
Back pain is the worst. It puts me in an instant funk, everything is an effort and makes me angry. An instant depressor. I guess I overdid this weekend trying to clear out the garage, by Sunday night my back was tight, Monday night was worse, yesterday I could hardly move around. Slept in my brothers hospital bed last night and that helped because I was able to take the pressure off my back. Feeling better today, but think I’ll have to still baby it today.
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