Thursday, December 30, 2010


Given to me by an investigator, Barbara, in Austria
Serves 5-15 people

200 g quality chocolate (measure using a scale) - I use semisweet chips
40 g butter (4 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp powdered sugar
4 eggs, separated (whites only)
160 mL whipping cream (pyrex wet measuring cups have mL measurements)
1 tsp vanilla sugar
-Wash hands. With clean hands, thoroughly clean a lg mixing bowl and beaters. Dry thoroughly. In clean bowl, beat egg whites till stiff. *If bowl or beaters or hands are not free from ALL traces of oil or other substances (like egg yolk or shell), egg whites will not become stiff.* In a med-size mixing bowl, beat cream till thick (semi-stiff peaks). Melt chocolate slowly in a double boiler, stirring occasionally. (Two pots - one small, one medium. Choc goes in sm pot; about an inch of water in med pot. Set sm pot in med pot and bring water to boil. Heat from water will slowly melt chocolate.) In sm mixing bowl, beat melted chocolate, butter, pwd sugar, and vanilla sugar. Add choc mix to bowl of cream and beat. Add choc/cream mix to egg whites and beat.
Serve and enjoy some chocolate heaven.

-I made this for a baby shower once and put it in cupcake holders. Cute and different.


*Serves 4
1/2 lb penne pasta
3 Tbsp - 1/4 c. white cooking wine
apprx 1 c. favorite pre-made spaghetti sauce (more if serving more people)
apprx 1/2 c. whipping cream
1/2 box frz spinach, thawed & drained
3-4 sun-dried tomatoes from a jar w/ oil (leave whole, as chopping will make them flavorless in sauce)
1/4 ea. red & green peppers, chopped
1/2 zucchini, shredded
1 good dash cayenne pepper
extra garlic, depending on garliciness of spaghetti sauce
Garnishes: freshly shredded parmesan; provolone cheese slices; freshly diced tomato

-Do all food prep first. If you begin pasta and sauce at same time, they'll finish at same time - warm pasta, warm sauce.
-Cook pasta according to pkg directions (apprx 10 min). *Bring water to boil, THEN add salt. Adding salt first makes water take longer to boil.*  While water comes to boil, start sauce. In sm sauce pan over med, heat wine and reduce to cook out alcohol. Stir in rest of ingredients and cook over med 5-8 min or until pasta is ready. If sauce begins to bubble, cover and turn to low.

-I use Pillsbury Crescent Rolls instead of puff pastry sheets.
-I don't grease baking sheet or use a floured surface. Instead, I lay out and separate each crescent roll on baking sheet, then twist them, then brush w/ butter, then roll in cheese mixture.
*A fresh parmesan cheese block is a MILLION times better than the Kraft pkg kind. If you wrap it in celophane and put in a ziplock, it keeps for a month or two, so you don't have to worry about it going bad before you eat it all. Plus, it's a super easy way to fancy-up a meal.


My additions:
1 tsp Garam Masala pwd
3/4 tsp extra tumeric (equalling 1 tsp)
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, peeled & shredded
1 tomato, diced
*Serve over Basmati or Jasmine rice
-When you cook the onions and spices in oil, add the extras I suggest, except the tomato. After you add the sauteed spices to the dal, then add the tomato and cilantro, and cook until the tomatoes are soft (appx 5 min).
-The picture on that site makes the dal look thick, but most of the time I make it, it stays a little soupy, which is nice when you're serving it over rice.

My additions:
2-4 carrots, diced
1-2 med potatoes
1 (15-oz ?) can chick peas
*Serve over Basmati or Jasmine rice or EXOTIC RICE:
-Cook the additions when cooking the onions, garlic, & ginger.
-Ghee is another name for clarified butter, which you can buy, or you can just use regular butter. If you make the ghee, the whole recipe takes about 2 hrs from start to finish. If not making ghee, takes maybe 1 hr total, including the exotic rice, if you plan it right.
-I have used several dashes of ginger pwd instead of fresh, which has worked fine; also used green onions as a substitute; also never used chiles, but instead, a few dashes cayenne pepper
-Instead of making his curry powder recipe, I use 1 Tbsp curry pwd + 1 Tbsp Garam Masala + s&p
-Pork works just as well as chicken

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Awesome Awesome Awesome

Kitchen Towels
Check out this awesome gift idea! I know it's getting a little late for holiday gift-making, but this could be an any-time-of-the-year gift or you could use the idea next year!
SK said it took her one afternoon and her boys helped!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Favorite House Plants

String of Pearls
Norfolk Island Pine - can become quite large; super soft needles
Velvet Leaf Philodendron - vine-like; soft, velvety leaves


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Awesome Tip from Ina Garten

No more brining! And always-moist meat!
Ina was on NPR today, and one of the tips she gave was to salt your meat when you first buy it, before you freeze it. It has the same effect as brining, w/o the effort! Ingenious!!

So sad, so funny

Jason doesn't like it when I'm on the other side of the see-through baby gate. So he used to cry and smash his face up against the gate. I think it may have also been soothing for him to gnaw on the bottom of it at the same time. I died laughing every time.

Who knows why some things are funny to babies...

Jason used to laugh so hard when I'd put my chin under his chin. I have a video of it, but just so people don't get tired of seeing a million videos of Jason laughing, I'll refrain. I also have one of me holding his hands and pretending to punch me. He'd laugh and laugh and laugh. But this is not that video either.
We usually had to sneak the camera in so he wouldn't see us and stop being cute. (Please excuse the messy room.)

More Laughs

0-30 sec.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Male bonding...something I'll never understand

We thought this was pretty funny.


He laughs through most of this video, but don't feel like you have to watch all of it - you'll get the gist of it pretty soon into it.

In the Buff

0-50 seconds of cuteness

Ticklish Chin

Jason was, and still is, ticklish under his chin :)
Must See! (first 20 seconds)

Morning Stretch

Jason is always so cute in the morning. This is a video of his morning cuteness from way back when we swaddled him and he didn't get out of it w/in seconds.
Bang for your buck: 1:30 (min:sec)

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I think most people would rather see pictures than watch videos, but I'm posting some anyway.
For the most bang for your buck, just watch the beginning (about 20 seconds worth).

Friday, November 12, 2010

"Yummy Veggies" shortcuts

1. Asparagus: plain rock salt is just as tasty.
2. Green beans: I usually use canned garlic paste (I have a huge jar of it that will last me through the millenium probably), instead of mincing a fresh clove. And I always use lemon juice concentrate (another large bottle). I don't think I've even once bought a real lemon. If gourmet chefs ever read this, they'd probably have me executed. So let's just keep it on the DL.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Almost Vegetarian

Well, sort of. I still eat slices of genoa salami as a snack, still believe in the goodness of fish, can't live w/o cream, milk, cheese, or ice cream, and ate a hot dog today. :)
A former coworker of mine, Heidi Hunsaker, read a book called "The China Study" and would tell me all the stuff she was learning from it. It's about how the Chinese don't really eat a lot of meat or animal products and how much healthier they are than Americans. So many animal products in America are subsidized by the government that we're really lead to believe claims like, 'Milk is the best way to get calcium'.
All that info has been stewing in my brain for a year or so, and for a while, I weighed how much meat I used to make dinner and then cut back a little at a time. Then I started making Dave regular-size portions of meat and giving myself half-size portions. Then, my mother-in-law went to a class by a guy who, because of underterminable deteriorating health, tried implementing the life-style change that "The China Study" advocates... and it worked. He now has his own book out called "Original Fast Foods". I'm not exactly sure how the two books compare, but I think "The China Study" has more research and scientific info.
This has lead me to give it a try. I don't usually eat meat for dinner, now. And I'm surprised that it's not as hard as I thought it'd be. I eat a lot more vegetables, too, to make up for it. I try to put as many vegetables as I can (or as seem fitting) into dinner meals.
Soap box time: Before my friend Heidi even started telling me about this book, I had been wondering about the Word of Wisdom's council to eat meat sparingly, only in times of winter or famine. And I really think that it means sparingly. Who woulda thought that the scriptures actually mean what they say!
Anywho, take it or leave it. Just another update of what I'm doing these days.

Fresh Ginger Tip

Great tips from Steamy Kitchen on what to do w/ fresh ginger.
1. Don't peel
2. Grate using a microplane zester
3. On plastic wrap, form zested ginger into thin rolls/logs
4. Wrap up like candy, tying or knotting ends
5. Freeze!
6. When you need some fresh ginger, simply break off a chunk :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Yummy Veggies 2

This is my favorite way to cook green beans. Sooo gooood.
Green Beans
-1/2 lb fresh green beans
-1/2 tomato, diced
-2 Tbsp butter
-1 clove garlic, finely chopped
-lemon juice
Wash green beans, trim stems, and cut long ones in half. (Each piece should be about 2-3" long.) Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add 1/2 of chopped garlic. When garlic becomes fragrant (about 30 sec or so), add green beans and saute until they start to turn brown. Stir occassionally. (You can dice the tomato while the green beans are cooking.) Once they begin to brown (probably about 10-15 min), cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Remove lid and add tomato, rest of the garlic, a couple dashes of lemon juice (maybe 1/4 tsp?), and a little salt. Cover again and simmer for 4 or 5 minutes, just to let the tomato warm and absorb the flavors.

Yummy Veggies

This is my favorite way to cook asparagus.
-herbed rock salt*
-olive oil
-parmesean cheese block
Herbed rock salt consists of rock salt, olive oil, rosemary, and thyme. In a very small dish or container, combine salt, oil, and thyme. Crush (as best you can) rosemary and add to dish.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash asparagus. Cut off 1-2 inches of bottom of stems (the white/purple part). Lay out on baking sheet. LIGHTLY drizzle with olive oil. Take two pinches of herbed rock salt and rub over asparagus. Bake for 17-20 minutes (depending on the thickenss of the asparagus). When finished, remove and freshly grate parmesean cheese over top as garnish.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cayenne Pepper

In Parenting magazine, they cited research that shows cayenne and other hot pepper things help burn fat! So add a dash or three to your meals!
One of my favorite things.

We'd pick him up, and he'd stretch by raising his hands in little
 fists and curling his legs up under him.
1-2 months old, I think.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I think blogging is like having an in-your-head conversation with one of your best friends who has moved very far away...

Monday, October 18, 2010

2 Cats, 1 house

A regular occurance. Elvis cleaning his mama. I love how she just burries her head. (Jason is making baby noises in the background, in case you're wondering.)

Baby Smiles

It's a bit lengthy, so the cute parts are around 2:25 min.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wall Panels

I just rediscovered that one of my favorite things is cherry blossoms. For a while I thought they were over-done, but my love for them has been rekindled. While trying to find a good picture of a double weeping cherry tree for a design I'm working on, I got sidetracked by googling "cherry blossom wall". ahhhhhhhhh *sigh* So many beautiful things!!
I also LOVE LOVE LOVE, have always loved, panel paintings. Here's one I WISH was still for sale.

Monday, August 30, 2010

This was when he was about two months old. We thought it was so exciting that he could hold his bottle!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Tyler Florence - Sea Salt Potatoes
He doesn't say how long, but I looked at other fingerling potato recipes and recommend:
500 degrees for 20 minutes
Also, I don't have fresh rosemary and thyme on hand so I just used dried, but still "crushed" it in the sea salt.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

First bath. His shivering was so sad and so cute!


Introducing Jason Isaac Perez.
Born: Dec. 30, 2009 9:45 pm

So little in his car seat! First day home.

Before leaving the hospital.

I hope this isn't too risque, but I just think it's so cute!

8 lbs. 10 oz.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


A few days before!

8 Months

7 Months

6 Months


These are out of order, but I just found them.

Painting the no-purpose room off the entry green.

Painting the upstairs a taupe-y color.

Just moved in. (Those are Dave's parents.)

Monday, June 7, 2010

And then there were two...

Elvis loved to watch tv. (Horton Hears a Who, in case you were wondering.)

Kitten's first time in the snow. As it fell, she would pounce on it. The pouncing made the snow fly everywhere, which would make her pounce again, and again, and again. She ran/pounced all over the back porch snow. It was hilarious to watch.
Only two left: Tiger and Elvis.

Not done yet! They were just so cute that we had to take a million pictures! I promise not to post a million though. (It's going to be this way with pictures of Jason, too - just to warn you.)

Freckle and Tiger
Freckle on top. Tiger on me. Crook on the left,
Elvis on the right. Chiona looking at the camera.
Freckle and Elvis were fluffy w/ long hair and stripes.
Crook and Chiona had short hair and stripes.
Tiger... the odd ball.

Playing in the laundry bins.

Tiger in my sweatshirt.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

And More...

Tiger's black paw pads

Elvis in the laundry basket
Chiona. It means "cry baby" in spanish.


More Kitty Cuteness

Marie getting a kiss

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I once had a baby
who slept for twelve hours
without even batting an eye.
I want him back.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Life Cycle

Kitten is contributing to the cycle of life - she's killed two little birds in the last two days. Yesterday I saw her sitting by a dead one, so I wasn't sure if she was the killer or if she just happened upon the scene of the crime. But today, I saw her with one in her mouth, still flapping its wings a little :(. I went outside to see if I could get her to drop it so it could fly away. She dropped it once I got close, but then circled me, attempting to recover her prey. And the bird made no attempts to fly, or even flap. So instead of letting it die a slow and certain death, I let Kitten have back at it :(. What do I do now though?! She needs to stay inside for a while because the more she's outside, the more undomesticated she becomes, and thus, the more birds she'll kill. But her mouth is undoubtedly teeming with easily-transmitable-to-humans-and-babies diseases! It's a Catch-22. Well, I guess right now, it's only a "catch 2"... only 20 more to go... poor birdies.
A picture with this post just seems like bad form. Use your imaginations if you must.

Monday, May 24, 2010

More cute sleepies.