Friday, November 7, 2014

Top Chef Duels

I love Top Chef.  Love it! Like SUPER LOVE IT!!!   

I'll watch Top Chef, Top Chef Desserts, Top Chef Duels and reruns of any of those shows any time they are on.  Is it marathon time?  Bring it.  I'll have any of those shows playing in the background while I cook or clean, listening in and commenting on the Pea Puree Scandal (Season 7) or how Jamie Lauren (Season 8) didn't actually cook, cause that's how I roll.  When they announced Top Chef Duels I was initially taken aback.  I liked the dynamic of the entire group competing with each other which I am enjoying this season, but what I didn't count on was the creative themed meals the judges would ask each set of chefs to prepare.  

Of all the battles, I enjoyed that of Kevin Gillespie vs. Art Smith the most and not just because one of the uber chefs created a Critter Fry Challenge but because these men cook from their heart and to see them compete was heartwarming.  Knowing their styles the judges requested a three (3) course meal with a dinner theme of stress relief, cures for homesickness, and mending broken hearts that played to their strengths.

Coming up with a menu for this left me puzzled and intrigued.  

What would I make?  What would speak to me and satisfy this dinner theme?  Not that I'm anywhere near the level of these great chefs, but think about it.  What would you want served to you that would address this dinner theme?  

When I thought of a stress reliever I couldn't come up with a single meal item and then it hit me....
A Salted Caramel Mocha Frappucino with Soy 
image courtesy of

Yes, that would definitely relieve stress in an instant.  

Onto the next dish, a cure for homesickness would be my mother's homemade Bacalao Encebollado with Rice and Beans.  Bacalao is the Spanish term for dried salt cod which is white, delicate, and tender once it’s re-hydrated.  There are many ways to prepare it but this is my favorite, fried and with onions and olive oil. 

Cod Fish with Onions and Olives (Bacalao Encebollado)

  • Salted Cod Fish - 12 oz package
  • Olive Oil - 1/2 cup
  • Spanish Olives - 1/2 cup of whole olives
  • Onion - 1 Medium Onion Sliced - I like onions so you can always use less if you'd rather
  1. In sauce pan place the cod fish in water and boil.  Once its boiled, repeat again until the water runs clear.  
  2. With your fingers carefully shred the cold fillets and be careful because even if the bag says there aren't any bones beware they always have some in each package.
  3. In a skillet, heat the olive oil and saute the onions.  Once tender add the shredded cod and cook for another 5-7 minutes then add the olives and serve with Beans and Rice.

As for the dish to cure a broken heart, the perfect dish would be a Brownie Bowl, a warm fudge brownie served with a healthy scoop of Vanilla Bean ice cream topped with caramel syrup and hot fudge. 

Ah yes, now that would be a meal I could most definitely create and be happy to have anytime. 

What would you make?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

My BFF is back for her next adventure

"A good friend is a connection to life, a tie to the past, a road to the future, the key to sanity in a totally insane world."   Leis Wyse

image courtesy of

Yesterday I had the privilege of picking up my BFF at the airport, with my kids in tow naturally.  She's returned home after living in Texas for over 10 years to start her next adventure.   

She's been so far away for so long that it doesn't feel real that I can now get in the car, again dragging the kids with me, and just visit her. Ah Le sigh.....come on people you know you are out there...haven't you had that friend you've met in your adult years, okay maybe when you thought you were an adult, who just got you.  Someone who you could just look at and be like "did you just see that" and she rolls her eyes in return and cracks up too.  

Now don't get me wrong, we are not both cut from the same cloth.  While we do enjoy a lot of the same things we also have so many differences and that is what makes it work. 
She's seen me at my best, on my wedding day, has shared my joys at finding out I was pregnant, and at my worst as a young girl enjoying her freedom at 21.  Can you say Lemon Drop.  She's a bit braver than I am, living so far away from her family and I was her cheerleader (no pom poms people) and still am too.  

While she was away we came up with ideas to keep in touch, because when a friend becomes family that's what you do.  We started with a book club of 2.  We dedicated a night every so often and watched a Hallmark movie together over the phone, cracking up at the same parts and figuring out the ending long before the movie had ended. Once we both tried to incorporate a little drink, but its been so long since my 21 year old days that it was fortunate my cat knocked over my drink or I would have never been able to see the rest of the movie with her.  

She is definitely the key to my sanity as I would call her at odd ends of the day to vent over things at my old job, family weirdness, my new adventure as a stay at home mom and just around everything and I in turn would listen to her vent about her job, family weirdness and all around everything too.  

Now she's back and it's like she never left. We are planning on a movie night (in person at a theater!), walking adventures and dinner nights and who knows what.  I know this move back will be short as its a stepping stone to her next adventure but no fear, we'll keep in touch because that's what BFFs do.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Music Monday

One of my new workout songs. And it doesn't hurt that he's not hard on the eyes ladies. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Chicken Little's Birth Story

The first thing to know about my boys is that they like to be early.  Yup, V-Dub came into this world about ten (10) days early, and Chicken Little decided he wanted to come fourteen (14) days early. 

This time I thought to myself I had learned from before and made sure I was completely ready.  I had booked the C-Section 10 days early from the due date, my hospital bag was packed, made some freezer meals, washed the baby's clothes and thought I would take care of the last little things over the weekend before the baby came.  Yeah, wishful thinking because the Thursday before, around midnight, after I told my mother to go home, moving her from around the corner to about twenty (20) miles away, my water broke around midnight.

Did you know that only 10% to 15% of labors begin with the breaking of the waters?  Yeah go figure, but my luck it happened to me not once but twice.  This time I knew what was happening and yet I still thought no problem I can make it stop.  Crazy right.  A frantic call was placed to my sister and she came over to watch V-dub and mi esposo and I headed to the hospital.  

As I mentioned earlier, this baby would be brought into the world by C-Section for several medical reasons.  I searched the net for information, bothered every doctor and nurse in the practice (all questions no matter how silly were welcomed) and even watched birth videos to prepare, but reality is always different than what you expect.  

I was scheduled for an 8 am procedure and let me tell you when they say 8 am, they mean it.  Everyone was racing to meet the start time.  The nurse assigned was unbelievably nice, the anesthesiologist and his assistant were completely understanding and when he said here comes the bee sting, he was done!  Nothing, I felt no pain whatsoever. He asked if I was scared and said yes, but mostly because I was scared I would be cold and shake on the table so what did he do, that wonderful man went and got me a heated blanket so I had nothing to worry about. And my doctor and her assistant physician, I love that woman, she must have been about 90 lbs soaking wet but she tugged until she got that baby out and sewed me up like a champ, all the while making sure I was okay.  Love that entire team!!!!! 

The procedure lasted about an hour and I didn't feel a thing other than the tugging when she took out little mister and then put all my insides back in.  What I did find strange was I heard the clamps, I heard the clicking as the Dr. put them in place and my arms were strapped down but after the procedure started they took off the straps so I could hold my baby.  While I couldn't see Chicken Little right after he was born in all his gooeyness, I was able to hold my perfectly clean baby and press him to my check just as I held my first born.  After Chicken Little was born we had the choice of having mi esposo stay with me or follow the baby and I sent him to check out our newborn.  Honestly, he can't sew so he might as well head over and watch over our precious gift from God.  I hung around on the table and waited until everything was done which was about twenty minutes later. 

The recovery was different, but then again due to complications it took long to recover from my first born's birth so I was familiar with a long recovery.  One thing though, I felt a burning in one hip, turns out he was born in the oblique position, which occurs in less than 5% of pregnancies and means head in the hip, yup another rarity for me.  The burning was from having my muscles stretched on one side so the doctor could get the little bugger out, but it went away by the second week of recovery.  

One of the helpful hints I found online was to order the healthiest items on the menu especially soups and hot tea.  Apparently drinking warm liquids helps you pass gas and digest solid foods which is what all the nurses are hoping for, this means that your stomach and intestines are back on track and everything was put back together the right way. wink, wink.  This completely worked and I advise you to DO IT!  I hated being stuck in the hospital for four days, I missed my V-Dub so much I couldn't wait to get back to him and this little tip made sure I was well on my way. 

Walking as soon as you can was another helpful hint and I believe which helped speed up my delivery.  The day after my son was born, the nurse came in, removed the catheter, yup had it and then had it removed easily and painlessly, and started to walk, slowly, very slowly but it worked.  I jumped (yeah right more like hobbled) into the shower and instantly felt soo much better.  Oh and one thing when you are taking a shower, they tell you to take off any tape the doctors may have used, just don't do the steri-strips.  I took one of them off and boy was that a mistake.  I kept having dreams my insides were going to fall out.  Anyway I recommend walking; take your newborn baby for a stroll along the corridors.  Chicken Little and I met all the nursers and some of the new moms and babies on our strolls. 

Oh and another thing, don't be surprised if a nurse sees you the first day while you are on IV and then on the third or fourth day and doesn't recognize you.  Apparently I was so swollen from you know the pregnancy not to mention all the fluids that they pumped in me and when said nurse came back to check on me on day three she literally jumped back in surprise thinking she had the wrong room.  

And the last tip, wear flip flops if you can, your feet will be twice their size because all the fluid will pool to your feet, this is a good thing so don't be alarmed.  It means you are walking, things are going well and if the excess fluid hasn't all been released from your system it will head to your feet but should be gone within a couple of days.  

After that I had smooth sailing but had to remember to take it easy, not something I'm good at, but this time I had a good reason to be stationary as I was holding this little cutie.....

So now that I've had both a regular delivery and a C-Section, I can definitely say both have their positives and negatives but ultimately I was able to receive two wonderful gifts from God and would do it again in a heartbeat.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Music Monday

I created a playlist with songs that reminded me of mi esposo this weekend.  You know just for fun and I have about thirty-three songs so far, but its this song I keep playing over and over again. 

I think I've played it over twenty times already.  

Plus I'd love the Mini Cooper from the video too.  

Friday, October 10, 2014

A Delightful Girl's Lap Quilt

Remember this post when I promised to share pictures of my creation from the bright and fun fabric I had, well I've finally kept my promise. Here it is!

This lap quilt was created especially for my Aunt's first grandchild, a beautiful, blue-eyed cutie.  The pictures were taken back in May (notice my helper's sandals) when the quilt was completed but I couldn't deliver it until a month later as I had a cold. There was no chance I was exposing her to any illness, so once I received a clean bill of health from the doctor off I went to meet the newest member of our family.  

Honestly, it was surreal to hold her, such a sweet precious baby, for several reasons. You see I was pregnant with my own little blessing and kept imagine holding him and I could also remember holding this little beauty's father, my little cousin, when he was a baby. Whenever he came over with his family to visit, my sister and I would always ask to hold him, feed him, and give him lots of kisses and hugs.  Now he's a grown man and has his own family.  My has time flown. 

Welcome to the family little one! I hope you enjoy this creation made especially for you. 

P.S.  Can you see my little helper in the last picture, he's hiding a smile behind the quilt. Oh how I love him! 

Monday, October 6, 2014

October 2014

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn't it?"  Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables.

I love October!  Right outside my window I can look at my beautiful tree and admire God's handiwork as its leaves turn colors from green to a beautiful shade of red and yellow. Pumpkins, scarecrows and monsters are put on display announcing the arrival of fall and Halloween.  The weather changes and the brisk winds blow in a new season.  We can break out jackets and make gingersnap cookies or s'mores while having a nice hot cup of chocolate.  In my house, this is also soup season and to welcome October here is a recipe for Potato Soup that I treated my in-laws too, and I'm happy to say they loved it! 

Potato Soup
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup of chopped Onions
  • 11 cups of diced Potatoes
  • 7 1/2 cups of Water
  • 3 Chicken Bouillons, crushed 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of Thyme, Rosemary, Oregano and Salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon of Black Pepper
  • 3-4 cups of Milk
  • 1 cup of Cheese (Cheddar works best)
  • On low to medium heat, melt butter in a large dutch oven
  • Add onions to the melted butter until softened
  • Add water, potatoes, spices and crushed bouillon cubes to the pot, cover and bring it to a boil
  • Remove the lid, reduce heat and allow some of the water to evaporate, about 10 minutes or so
  • Remove the pot from the stove and take out some of the potatoes and puree in a food processor or blender.  You can take most of the potatoes out or leave some in, all to preference, I like to find potato chunks so I typically puree about 2/3 of the potatoes
  • Return the puree mixture to the soup and stir in milk and 3/4 cups of the cheese
  • Serve and garnish with remaining cheese, scallions and even bacon bites
Enjoy and Happy October!!!!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Public Service Announcement - Good Customer Service is a thing of the past!

Gone are the days of "the customer is always right," "satisfaction guaranteed or your money back," or even an attempt at the customer service representative to listen to your problem and an attempt to fix it.  

Case in point #1....Wittlebee disappointment

     I discovered the Wittlebee service and was in love with what they promised.  As a working mom, at that time, the service would be saving me so much time by shopping for clothes while I could instead spend time with my son rather than braving the store for clothes and dealing with countless people and long lines.  I setup my son's profile, indicated all of his stats, important items to mention, he was a boy, size 3 and did not want to recieve a onesie, (V-Dub was not a fan of them).  Wouldn't you know it, the Wittlebee stylist sent a onesie.  I updated his profile due to this problem with a nice BOLD highlight that indicated onesies were not desired and hoped the next stylist would look at my history and ready my notes and correct their error.  The onesie error never occurred again but a new erroneous pattern began to surface, which I believe was due to a lack of interest in the details by the stylist(s).  See my email below that details my issues....

Please cancel my subscription for my son effective immediately. While initially the service was a blessing, I even featured two of our favorite boxes on my personal blog, unfortunately the last set of boxes arrived with duplicate items and clothing my son cannot wear, such as larger sized clothing, he is a size 3 and we have received several size 4 clothes, as well as a girl's outfit.   As a working mom, my free time is limited and I would very much prefer to spend that time with my son then at the store and unfortunately with the unwearable items he has received, and the fact that when I went on line today to select clothing and was unable to view the showroom I need to divert my valuable resources elsewhere. Please confirm receipt of the cancellation via return email. Thank you. 

     Now the point of this service was to save me time and anguish remember.  Who wants to be the mom that send her son out in the same outfit a couple of days in a row, he would look like a little dirtball right?  Or what about the larger items they began sending me that he couldn't wear, how is that helping. NO! Or even better what about the incredibly light green shorty shorts that are for girls!  Needless to say I had had enough and sent an email to Wittlebee justifying my disappointment expressing my frustration hoping that at least I would have gotten an email from them saying sorry let's try again. 
And much to my surprise here is their response....

We have cancelled your Wittlebee account per your request. We’re disappointed to see you go, but we thank you for giving our club a try.  Sincerely, Wittlebee Customer Service  

Wow, they didn't even try to correct any of their mistakes so disappointed and lesson learned.  

Account canceled and No NO TO WITTLEBEE!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Its been some time........

I had every intention of keeping up with this blog.  I have written blog posts in my notebook and adjusted photos and started my posts but I couldn't get myself to activate the posts.  You see I've had a little something that I was working on and now that he's here I can get my thoughts together and move forward with all the wonderful changes now going on in my little life. 

I'll share his birth story soon and how his brother is adjusting to having a little noise maker in the house. V-dub named him our little wonder, Chicken Little so that will be the moniker I'll use for him on my blog. 

Before the boys get up from their nap, (wow I get to say boys, my boys!!!) here is one of the last quilts I was able to make before Chicken Little came into our world. 

This lap quilt is inspired by a couple of designs I saw online but with some modifications to create the cutest lap quilt for a newborn, yup I had newborns on my mind, and its soon become my "go to" gift.  It satisfied my need to sew something special for my friends and family who were also expecting a new little one and I was able to sew it before I got too big to fit behind the sewing machine. 

A fabulous mentionable item, V-Dub is taller (and sooo cute too, I know I'm biased) that I discovered a picture helper literally in my back yard! ;)  He's just the right size to hold up this creation and I don't have to figure out how to arrange the quilts on the various trees or bushes in my backyard.  I'll still have to wait until afterward the photo session to wash the quilt and then send it to its new home, but I get to include my cutie in my photos now.

So serious in this picture!

 He's smiling here but its hidden by the quilt.

Off it went to its new home and I'm pleased to say the baby's parents were very happy with the gift. Yay!
Here is a sneak peak at the next creation.  Let me go because the boys (can't believe I've been blessed to say that! SO EXCITING!) are waking up so I'm off and will be back soon.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


I can hardly believe my last post was in November 2013.  Unbelievable. 

Since then, I've been spending time with my boys, of course we celebrated the holidays with family and had a blast. 

I've worked on some great new Quilt designs like the below for my newest nephew, Logan.  There is a general love for the Phillies and all things sports so I created a fitting quilt using red, blue and Phillies fabric for our newest cutie. 


The stitching is my favorite part!  I hope Logan enjoys it for many years to come. 

This little man of mine has grown even bigger.....

Here is his Christmas picture.  Please take notice of the frosting on his nose.  He was "helping" me make cupcakes.  Interestingly enough, he told me that somehow a cupcake left or should I say walked away before we were done decorating them all.  When I asked him how it walked  away he said it just did and promptly left the kitchen. 

I didn't yell at him. I couldn't.  Come on look at the cute face, but I have learned my lesson, don't leave cupcakes close enough to him so that they can "walk away" again.