Monday, June 28, 2010

Cooking 'Honey' style

I love to cook...that said I don't do it as often as I could/should.  My mom got me started cooking - watching her and seeing how important it was for us to always have a balanced and home-cooked meal set me on the road to creating meals.  Being an Italian family (there is some dispute about just how Italian we are...but I remain determined..I AM ITALIAN) means that all activities are in some way connected to food.

My grandfather, who we affectionately called Honey, was the one in the family who cooked like me.  Standing in the kitchen he would just add ingredients until he was happy with the result.

                               Look at that precious smile...he was the sweetest man...

Don't get me wrong - I do use recipes - I love trading with friends and family and finding a new fun cook book. ( My favorite cook book right now being The Pioneer Woman's new cook book.  Thank you Stacy!!!)

And...sometimes I even use them without changing them!  But, what I love to do is to get a feeling about the flavors I want to experience and then try to just add ingredients until I am happy with the result.  Sort of like Honey!

Following is one of my latest concoctions.  It is so fresh tasting, perfect for a warm summer evening at the pool!

You will need:

1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can black olives

Now, all these ingredients are going in a bowl together -

So rinse the beans and dump them in the bowl and as you add the olives just crush them with your fingers to break them in half.

Chop 1/4 of a bunch of cilantro and add that in

along with 1/2 of a red onion diced

2 tomatoes seeded and diced and 1/2 of a medium jicama peeled and diced.

                    This is what a jicama looks like in case you haven't cooked with it before!

Add the juice of one lime....

and the zest also

In this picture are two of my favorite kitchen helpers!  First the makes the job of zesting so much easier, just rub it across the lime and the zest piles up on the other side ready for you to drop into your bowl!  Then the other gizmo my mom brought me from squeezes the juice right out of your lime...check the local Mexican markets.  Here it is in action....
It works great for Mojitos also!

So, all of the above items are in your bowl...add garlic salt to taste and 1/2 cup of salsa and Ta Da!  your fresh summer salad is complete.

Sometimes we crush tortilla chips over ours...sometimes we just dig in.

For convenience sake here is a list of the ingredients:

1 can black beans - drained
1 can kidney beans - drained
1 can black olives - crushed
1/4 bunch of cilantro chopped
1/2 medium jicama - peeled and diced
1/2 red onion - diced
2 tomatoes - seeded and diced
juice and zest of 1 lime
1/2 cup salsa
garlic salt to taste

What's your favorite summer salad?

xoxo    Elizabeth

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Over Easy

Yesterday I decide to make a cake...went to the fridge to get the eggs out and the pooch, Miss Lena, had to come and see what I was doing...I pull the eggs out of the fridge she comes up between me and the fridge...pushes me, I lose my grip on the egg carton and.............


What a mess...........I hate cleaning up eggs.............they are so slimy, you can never get them all up in one swipe...............

Then the dog wants to lick them the time I'm done I don't even want to make a cake anymore...

And the waste....I hate wasting things....think of all the work those poor chickens went to, to make these wonderful eggs......

Just kiddin'.....

This is a carton of cupcakes that my girlies made!!!

A few years ago my sister got this fun cupcake book called.... Hello Cupcake....

It is amazing the things you can do with a cupcake!!!

We made these for our friend who loves penguins.....

***No real penguins were harmed at this party!!!

Recently my sis, Jennifer, found another cupcake book....What's New Cupcake?  Which she gave to Lane so they could each have one and share back and forth!!!  Cause that's what Aunties do.

This one is also filled with the funniest, cutest, most clever ideas for cupcakes.   Who would ever think that you could make cupcakes look like a dozen eggs, broken no less!!!

We decided the egg carton would be the perfect dessert for our pool date with the wonderful Avalos family (Hi Stacy, Dave, Tatum and Tristan!) - our friends that bring us yummy fresh eggs!

As cute and real as they look they really aren't that hard to do.  There are ingredients to consider - these needed lemon curd (which you could make yourself but I took the lazy way out and bought a jar), white chocolate, a cake mix, and canned frosting....oh and some food coloring.

Then you have to invest a little time...but the results are certainly worth it and don't require any crazy cooking skills.

So if you need a few projects for the summer and you want to be the hit of the parties you attend...I suggest you go out and buy yourself one or both of these wonderful cupcake books!

And don't trip over the dog on the way to the fridge!

What are you doing this summer?

xoxo      Elizabeth

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Dad Stuff

This is for the two Dads in my life...

First, there is the Dad who married my mom....

And with her help made - me (and a couple of other swell kids)

Thank you for loving Mom so well, and with her creating a home and family that nurtured, protected, encouraged, challenged, supported...taught us how to be and who to be.

Thank you for teaching my girlies from a young age that to give is better than to receive.  And for loving them like only a devoted grandfather can.

Thank you for all the listening you have done over the years,  for all the times that you gave us your much needed advice...and for being patient and being there for us...for 'peeling back those layers' and letting us blossom.

I appreciate the careful consideration that you give to all matters in your life...and I LOVE  the wonderful hugs that you are always happy to dole out.

I am proud and honoured to say that you are my dad....and I am your daughter.

Now, the other Dad in my life

The one that married me....

The one that became a Dad while making me a Mom....

First with our Madison...

and once more with our Lane.

Thank you for being the kind of Dad that loves to spend time with his girlies -  just hanging out...

Going on a trip...

Even getting all dressed up and painting the town...purple... of course!

Maybe just for today I will give in and say...yes you are our King...our one and only... our man of the house....the Grand Poopaw (is that how you spell that?)

Thank you for making me feel special and beautiful...even after all these many years.

Thank you for all that you do for our family...for being there when we need you, for having our best interests at heart...but most of all for loving us unconditionally and with the fierceness and commitment of a true King.

With all my love to the two Dads in my life.....Elizabeth Anne

Happy Father's Day to all the deserving Dads out there!

xoxo     Elizabeth

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My 'other' life...

In my other life I am - The Crazy Costume Lady...

As a little girl I always wanted to be a ballerina.  Mom and Dad sent me to lessons - I have a vague recollection of a mirror, a bar, a lady teacher, and a big Irish Setter...maybe the ballet teacher had a dog?!

The way I remember it I went to my classes and then...there came time for a recital...I think the idea of a recital, getting up in front of everyone - just scared the living daylights out of, I refused to go.  And that was the beginning and end of my ballet career.

Now I live vicariously through all the wonderful ballerinas at Merced Academy of Dance by being their Crazy Costume Lady!

I take care of the platter tutus - I think they are my favorites - don't tell the other tutus!

I help all the ballerinas and ballerinos stay organized...

I keep track of the hats....

...and sometimes the feathers....

                                 This picture is thanks to Stacy Avalos

Sometimes I make headpieces - like the one on Miss Briana...but if I am going to be honest...Lane actually made this one and I just attached it!  Of course she had to pass it by me first because I am a bit bossy and opinionated about things like that - truth be told.

There are little girl tutus....

and tutus for tumbling!

Pointe shoes...another love of mine.  I am envious of the beautiful girls that get to dance in them.  I am proud of the beautiful girls that get to dance in them.  And in my dreams...I dance in them!

Isn't this the perfect juxtaposition?  Top hat and pointe shoes....what could be better?

So they dance and I sew, they dance and I glue, they dance and I glitter....all the while being so happy to be a part of it all.

From dancing Miss Briana's Carousel ...

To Carol's beautiful Other Side (or as I like to call it The Kermit Dance)  a ballerina's life is not always easy...

First of all there is wearing those pointe-y shoes...

Then there is all that practicing...

and practicing...

and practicing....


And all the listening...because there will always be cleaning, and changes, and more changes...

...and no matter how tired you might be, or how much your feet might hurt...the show must go on!!!

So whether they are dancing a modern piece like Envy...

...a classical piece like La Bayadere

or a modern ballet piece like Shadow Fax...

These ballerinas (and the ballerinos too) give it their all...
150 percent every time they hit that's a special group and I am happy to say that I am their...
Crazy Costume Lady!!!!!!!!!!