Monday, April 19, 2010


I understand the value and importance of anonymity. However, I don’t understand why people insist on the cowardice of hiding behind the face of anonymity to say nasty things. I distinctly remember being taught, “If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all.”

If someone has something to say then just say it. If they don’t have the audacity to say something directly, making themselves known, then I honestly believe they shouldn’t masquerade their thoughts anonymously just so they can take a cheap shot and feel comfortable about it.

We’re not going to like what people have to say from time to time but that doesn’t mean we should be assaulted under the veil of anonymity.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Raspberry Shortbread Thumbprints


2 cups plus 2 T all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup softened butter
2/3 cup white sugar
1 large egg
*2 tsp almond flavoring/emulsion (you can use vanilla instead but almond brings out the best flavor)

½ - 1 cup raspberry preserves


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place butter in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high speed for 5 minutes; butter should be pale yellow and fluffy. Add sugar and beat on medium-high speed until mixture in very pale and very light, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl and add the egg and almond flavoring. Beat for 30 seconds, or until incorporated. Add flour and salt, beat slowly for 30 seconds or until mixture forms a rough dough. Refrigerate dough for 10-15 minutes (a cold batter helps prevent the cookies from spreading too much while baking).

Measure even tablespoonfuls of dough and roll into balls; arrange on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Be sure to space the balls at least 1½-2 inches apart. Make an indent in the center of each ball using your thumb. Measure preserves into a zip-lock bag; cut a small hole in the corner of the bag. Squeeze a generous amount of preserves (about one generous teaspoon) into each cookie indentation. Bake for 11-12 minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottom, tops should barely take on color. Allow cookies to cool for 1 hour to set.

Notes: This is my signature cookie recipes. Everyone asks me to make these cookies!

For well baked cookies be sure to rotate the pan back to front halfway through baking.

* I use all non-alcohol flavorings for religious reasons. I highly recommend using emulsions as they are just as strong as extracts but the flavor won't bake out. Try this Almond Emulsion from Lorann Oils - it's amazing!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Good Fitting Jeans!

Buying Jeans for Aaliyah is challenging at best. Her fluffy little tummy and the fact she prefers low rise jeans makes it difficult to find good fitting jeans that aren't too tight around her bum (she has a terrible plummer's crack problem). I oftentimes have to buy jeans 2 sizes too big in order for them to fit her correctly - which are ultimately too long as they were meant for 7 or 8 year olds with longer legs.

I'm forced to buy the good fitting jeans and hem them to avoid the unsightly rolling/cuffing. Hemming jeans is a fairly easy task long long as you have a good iron and some demin thread (both the goldish heavy duty "jean thread" and denim colored thread too). I measured Aaliyah's inseam (17.5") and marked her jeans, allotted an additional .5" for room to grow as well as 2 full inches for the seam allowance (it would be nice to be able to let the jeans out a little if needed as she grows). I cut the jeans accordingly and then pressed the seams to make sewing much easier.

All in all - the jeans look identical to how I purchased them - except they're not just the right size! See for yourself...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos are a big Southern California/Baja California "thing" - they are quick, easy and oh so delicious!


½ cup lemon juice
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
salt & pepper

1 ½ cups flour
1½ pounds white fish (cod or tilapia) cut into taco sized portions
Vegetable or Canola Oil for frying

White Sauce
½ cup plain yogurt
½ cup mayonnaise
1 lime, juiced
1 minced jalapeño pepper, seeds removed for less heat (canned jalapeño will work too)
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp dill weed
¼ tsp chili powder

Corn tortillas
½ medium head of cabbage, finely shredded


In a large bowl, combine lemon juice through salt and pepper and mix well. Add fish to lemon juice mixture and let marinate 30 minutes.

While fish is marinating prepare the white sauce: Mix together yogurt and mayonnaise in a medium bowl. Gradually stir in fresh lime juice until consistency is slightly runny. Season with jalapeño, oregano, cumin, dill, and chili powder; mix well.

Heat oil in heavy duty skillet to 375°F. Dredge fish in the flou and fry until crisp and golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Warm the tortillas in the microwave (or on the stovetop). Place fried fish in a tortilla, and top with shredded cabbage, and white sauce. Serve with fat free refried beans or whole black beans and mexican rice.

WW: You can opt to bake the fish instead of frying to reduce calories. Bake at 425˚F for 10 minutes.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

It's Spring Break...

Finally - a much needed break from homeschooling. Although, truth be told, we're still doing a few lessons a day just to stay on top with her schoolwork. We're currently scheduled to finish the semester a couple weeks early - so we're looking forward to a longer summer!

We're planning on getting together and doing a picnic with friends later in the week!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mama's Little "Helper"

The joys of children are oftentimes mistaken for the most frustrating moments. Ilyas is mama's little "helper." Of course his version of helping is almost always trouble and results in more work for me.

Last week I caught him putting ALL of our clean cloth diapers inside the dirty diaper pail. Then when he was finished emptying the basket he would put the basket back in its rightful place and grab another basket and continue putting all the diapers inside the pail.

There were a few diaper casualties and a few frustrating words... of course now I laugh at the thought of what he did but I wasn't so affable about it when it happened, needless to say.

How do your little one's "help" you?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Roasted Chicken with Vegetables

This is a staple recipe in our house. When I'm not sure what to cook this is a tried and true recipe and for any leftover chicken we use it for chicken sandwiches or chicken pot pie. While I always prepare this dish as a roast - it can easily be adapted to your crock pot too!

Roasted Chicken with Vegetables

2 T butter
2 T olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1 T zataar*
1 T dried basil
½ T paprika
½ tsp chili powder (optional)
2 tsp salt
1 T freshly ground black pepper
1 whole chicken
3 extra large baking potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, quartered
3 zucchinis, quartered
1 ½ cups baby carrots
1 Acorn Squash, quartered with outer skin (optional)
1 cup water or broth

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Melt butter and oil together in a large roasting pan. Add garlic and spices to melted butter/oil, mix well. Add chicken to pan and coat well with mixture; remove and set aside. Add potatoes, onions, carrots, zucchini and acorn squash to remaining mixture and coat evenly. Place chicken on top of the vegetables carefully add 1 cup of water or broth to the roasting pan. Cover with foil and cook for 2 hours, remove foil and cook additional 15 minutes or until chicken is browned.

*Note: Zataar is a special blend of spices - commonly made from ground dried thyme, oregano, marjoram and mixed with toasted sesame seeds. If you can’t find zataar you can use regular thyme instead (however the flavor will be slightly different).

Weight Watchers: 3.5 ounces of chicken breast with 2 Tablespoons of sauce and 1 cup of vegetable mixture (going easy on the potatoes) = 7.5 pts