Wednesday, October 28, 2009


One of the basil plants from the window has made some really big basil leaves. With a little garlic, sundried tomatoes and olive oil pesto anyone?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lists, lists and more lists

Hello friends it's been a few days. I was overloaded with way too much laundry. No food in the fridge. And suffering from ADCD "Attention Deficit Craft Disorder" I'm not sure who that's from but we all know that a lot of us suffer from it. Lately I look at the yarn and I don't know how to knit the project I want. I look at the suede yarn and I don't know how to make the ponchos. I see the embroidery still on hold. The book still not finished reading. What to do? Well sit down and make some lists. Not one but 3 or 4!
So Saturday night sat down with my meatballs and sauce over rice with a side of greens (no pasta or subrolls) and got out several cookbooks and worked on my favorite list. Thought about what needs to go on the grocery list and looked over several recipes I wanted to try. Added the ingredients to the list and hope for the best that they will be made.
Tomatoe Soup with Fennel
Asparagis, Leek and Shitake Ragout
Cauliflower with Salsa Verde
Red Cabbage Salad
Chickpeas and Spinach
Some of these are from A Homeade Life.
And oh yes when in need of additional mental organization journaling the thoughts and stories.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Completed scarf #2.

This one is for Valentina which she was delighted to wear yesterday. I was just as happy to have completed it in 2 weeks instead of a month like the first one. No matter how long it takes I'm still happy to crochet or knit for therapy. So lately I pick up my knitting needles which are sharpened wooden chopsiticks (from take out food) with a shell glued at the end and knit. (Sometimes I have to unravel things 2 or 3 times to figure it out.) It's what gets me through the down time while I wait at ballet, practices or in the car or need a moment to myself. People usually ask me where do I have the time to do all this stuff. For starters I can only do one craft at a time and that's how I follow through to completion.
Another Luisa philosophy is wait time = craft time.

What gets you through the day?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Book Fun

As I said in yesterday's post even my reading has been little slow. I finished A Homemade Life and it was delicious. I was left hungry and frustrated. Half the recipes I may not make but the ones I would like to try I'm missing some of the ingredients. What I also love is that I never have to visit Paris again. If I want a taste of Paris right in my own kitchen this book has some good recipes and ideas. (I love that because I don't see us going there as a family destination.) It's hard to describe this book because it's easier to think of it as a cookbook with short stories of the authors life and how food intertwines it. It makes the stories of her life more interesting when there is a recipe behind it. I even started checking out her blog Orangette.
I hope to have more good luck with the new additions to my library.

A Good Indian Wife by Anne Cherian looked interesting. The reviews are mixed.

The only disappointment about the Sea Glass Chronicles is that it reminds me summer is a long way off. I can't believe we had a little snow here on Sunday. So not ready for that.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Foodie Family

I apologize to you if lately this seems more like a food blog instead of a place for all kinds of creations. Not much crafting has been going on here. It's been slow but I have been enjoying the knitting it's rythmic and helpful to my soul. The reading has also been a little slow but enjoyable. I guess that's why you have been seeing a lot of food lately. I can only work on one thing at a time and try to do it well. Of course all my cooking has been inspiring my children. I guess you could say we are a family of foodies.

I have woken up on more than one occasion on weekends to find breakfast all ready made by my kids for mom and dad.

This second salad was really tasty. It was made with carrots, fennel, tomatoes, celery and croutons tossed together with ranch dressing. I put some in wrap. Very yummy!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Warm soup

It's been a few days and well the kids have been battling a cold. I think I'm winning. My best defenses for this weekend have been soup, rest, writing, some fresh air and more soup. Last week we had a family dinner at an Asian restaurant where they serve soups in a hot pot right in the middle of the table. I thought for this weekend that would be a good idea since I do not make a very good chicken soup. At this point I have no interest in trying again. So Jimmy runs to the Asian grocery store for some ingredients. Together we come up with our homeade version of a hot pot soup. The following night we had a few left over vegetable so we chopped them up and added them to our alphabet soup.

Homeade Hot Pot Soup
Quart pot
1 boullion cube or packet
2 carrots
handful Yu choy (or any green leaf vegetable like spinach or bak choy)
handful of bean sprouts (optional)
cabbage (use less than half of the cabbage and chop into thin slices like coleslaw)
1 garlic clove
cooked diced chicken
For flavoring soy sauce and 1 chopped scallion.

In a large pot bring 5 quarts of water to a boil. Add boullion, carrots, green leaf vegetable, sprouts, cabbage and garlic. Cook about 5-8 to minutes until vegetables are tender. When ready scoop broth and vegetables into a bowl with chicken. For flavoring add a dash of soy sauce and chopped scallion. In place of the soy sauce we sometimes use only one of the following sauces for taste: curry, black bean, sa cha or maybe a dash of chili oil.

Serving suggestions: Any of the following go well with this soup rice, vermicilli rice noodle or egg noodle
Variations: We sometimes buy thin sliced chicken, beef or pork from the Asian market and cook it with the soup. To make it vegetarian add cut up tofu.

A little warmth on a cold day or to help get rid of a cold.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Crisps

Yes! Finally some weekend baking.
Applesauce mixed with berries. Then took a spoonful and mixed it with the pancake batter.

What our family loves about fall after apple picking are the apple crisps.
The bigger pan is apple only. The smaller one is a berry crisp. I thought I'd try something new 2 apples, 2 peaches, some strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Top with the crispy topping I use for apple crisp, bake for 30 minutes. Enjoy!
Hmm something new maybe for a Thanksgiving dessert?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Goodbye Pie

The pie was replaced with Sophia's leaves. The story behind the pie was the result of a craving for pies and crisps at the end of the summer. I was in the mood for something made with berries and summer fruits.

Luisa's Strawberry and Rhubarb Pie
1 rhubarb washed and cut
Strawberries cut in half (I'm not sure how much since it was summer I just kept filling the pie)
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1/8 tsp salt
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine (we use a dairy free margarine)
Pie crust (which ever you prefer store bought or your own recipe)

In a bowl gently toss together all 6 ingredients. Pour into the pie plate lined with pie dough. Then place another pie dough on top to cover the filling. Fold the edges and make four slits to let the heat out. I use a pan under the pie plate when I'm baking in case the juices spill over. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, then lower temperature to 350 degrees and bake another 30 minutes.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Inside Fun

Beautiful autumn!

"Mom! Look at my diggers!"

Gianfranco's volcano eruption

Inspired by Gianfranco's volcano.

"Mom where do I put my goop?"

Love the origami!
In thereapy right now with scarf #2, much needed green tea and Italian wine cookies.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Journal Journey

Oh did I mention I love journals? You know the pretty books with tons of pages waiting to be filled thoughts and ideas.

Well through out my life I have filled about 1 or 2 journals maybe. I had one journal for me and a separate one about my kids. But then my girlfriend showed me a different approach to journal writing that's more open ended which can include snip its, articles, family pictures, magazine cut outs, reviews of things I've read or seen, whatever is going on in life, etc. Well I tried it out but then realized all my thoughts are jumbled in one place. I needed to organize and separate so that's how I ended up with 6 journals!
  1. Life Journal a place for me to jot down whatever is going on in my life or I find interesting.

  2. The Kids Journal I like this instead of a calendar or memory book. The memory books are about milestones but I needed a place for what goes on in his/her day to day life. A place for the funny stuff, activties, traditons, milestones, quotes all in one place. Because their lives aren't separte I don't keep a separate journal for each child it's easier to keep one journal and just write as I go about each one. (Some day I hope to photocopy and bind the kids journal so each one has a copy.)

  3. Craft Journal All my sewing, crafting, knitting,.... ideas that I find or think up. These are creations I would like to do now but I'll be happy if I get them done in the next 1-10 years :)

  4. Book Review I think you may have noticed I like to read, so in addition to that I started a journal to keep track of what I've read and thoughts about it.

  5. Homeschooling Journal I just wanted a place to jot down ideas for my kids that weren't arts and crafts. It's a place to jot down learning projects that inspire and motivate the family to write, learn and grow.

  6. Blog Log I wanted another journal to jot down what I'd like to share with you.

What I love about blank journals they can be for whatever you want them to be. A couple of these journal are worn because they were reincarnated. They were already used for 3 or more other themes or logs. This is ther final destination.

The real purpose for these journals is a place for me to sort out ideas and take a look into my own life to see what it is I do besides cook, clean, laundry and change diapers. As I got halfway through starting my journal collection I thought maybe one day my children would like these journals as a window into my life.

P.S. I apologize if today's blog was too lengthy of a read but I hope it inspires you.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Birthday fun

Earlier this week Stefania turned 7. So it was time to make a cake. Since I don't make cakes for my birthday and we don't buy cakes (because of food allergies and it's more fun to make them)everyone looks forward to Stefania's birthday.

I made a rectangle cake and cut part of it. After I frosted it I decorated it with twizzlers, skittles and starburst candy flowers. I know loaded with sugar. The flowers are a neat thing I learned to make from a magazine. Take 4 or more starburst candies put them on a plate and microwate 5-8 seconds. It should be soft enough to roll out on a cutting board, then use a flower cookie cutter for the shape and a skittle or m&m for the center. The flowers are fun for a purse or spring cake. I should tell this was my second cake of the day. The first one fell apart.

Part of her gift was a day late. It took a whole month to knit my first scarf. (Not as organized as I wanted to be for her birthday celebration.)

Even though it was my first knitting project it was made with thought and love.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cleaning the family space

I have desperately been trying to tackle the clutter that accumulated the past of couple of months on the kids toy and game shelves. And now I'm done! A little over a year ago a friend of mine helped me redo my home. She helped me pull it all together and get rid of the unnecessary "stuff" that just was not working for my family. That's where the art studio came in, my space and now you can have a look at where all my children's toys and games belong. (I took it a step further and label everything to keep me on track.)

I came up with a philosophy for my family that has helped.

  • Keep away from the plastics as much as possible. (There are a few exceptions.)
  • In/Out rule. New thing comes in so what's going out to the thrift store. (Makes me think twice or more about what does our family need and want.)
  • Where exactly is it going to go on the shelf?
  • Marketing review: What do we really want to expose our children to that the media says we need or will make our life better?
  • Minimizing the typical commercial stuff. Who said again girls play with this and boys play with that? Keep some basic things that work for all and promote creativity.

Now how did I come to this conclusion and new philosophy? Lots of mistakes and a lot of eye opening cleaning up with my girlfriend :)

Hey was that flash "The Hacker"?!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Meals to go

Case #1
Ever go to a dinner party or gathering and dig in to the appetizers? Then you get to the meal and well you wish you had more appetizers instead? Well why can't the appetizers be a meal by itself. Cold cut up vegetables with ranch dressing or your favorite dip and tortilla chips. For healthier chips try multi grain. For my son who doesn't like vegetables and has food allergies he was happy with a plateful of fishsticks. :)
Case #2
Look in the fridge there is little bit left of this vegetable and some of that and some left over chicken. Looking at each one individually it's not enough for the whole family. Put them together and have a meal. Looks and tastes just as good as something you would order.

Chicken Stirfry
1-1/2 cups cooked diced chicken (Leftover chicken or the invidiually wrapped frozen chicken comes in handy here.)
green string beans
1-2 celery stalks
1 onion
1-2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup diced red pepper
2 Tablespoons oil
handful of spinach

The sauce: In a bowl mix 1/4 cup light soy sauce 1/4 ground ginger. Set aside.

In a pan put bean, carrots and 1/2 cup water and cover. Cook on high heat about 5 minutes till water bubbles. When the beans and carrots look not quite done drain the water. Stir in celery, onion, garlic, pepper and oil. Cook covered for 3-4 minutes till vegetables are tender (or slightly crunchy if you like) Stir in the the chicken, spinach and sauce. Cook for about 2-3 minutes just enough for the spinach to wilt and warm up the chicken and sauce.
Serve over rice or rice noodle.
Note: This is a great way of using up left over chicken. The vegetable can be whatever is in your fridge or what your family enjoys. I sometimes substitute the chicken for extra firm tofu.

Case #3
Tortellini Soup #1
Tortellini Soup #2

This soup is made with tortellini, diced tomatoes, garlic sauteed in oil, chicken broth (or half packet of chicken bouillion). One has a handful of spinach, the other does not. Lovely color and eye appealing. Yet both have no flavor. The second one has a little more but the first forget it's there just for looks. I have made this many times before and there has always been plenty of flavor. Not this time. I blame the tortellini.
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