i {heart} beaches


i’ve never done this before. here’s my entry into the weekly photo challenge at iheartfaces.

i just love this photo. a blast from the past – this was anya’s first visit to the beach…she was only 5 months old!

i realized after posting that i need to mention that my hubby took this photo. he gives me full rights to the photo. hehehe!


tortilla pie


sounds kinda white-trashy, i know…but it really is quite good. you’ll see.

this is a super easy go-to recipe when you just want to get rid of stuff. you can modify this recipe very easily and use differnet meat or veggies, if you’re  into that. you can also use any shape pan…pie dish just works well because, well, it’s tortilla shaped!


  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 whole Onion, Chopped
  • 1 pound Ground Turkey
  • 1-½ tablespoon Granulated Garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Paparika
  • Salt & Pepper (to Taste)
  • 1 cup Black Beans, Drained And Rinsed
  • 1 cup Cooked Rice (white Or Brown)
  • 3 whole Tortillas (burrito Size)
  • Salsa
  • 2 cups Shredded Mexican Cheese Blend
  • 3 whole Green Onions, Chopped
  • Sour Cream


preheat oven to 375°

– Heat extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

– Add chopped onion and saute until translucent (about 5 minutes)

– mix all spices in a small bowl (this step is not required, I just like mixing them before hand for even distribution in cooking)

– Add ground turkey to cooked onions and add spice mixture.

– Break up ground turkey and cook completely until browned.

– Taste mixture and add salt/pepper as needed.

– Add black beans and rice to ground turkey and mix well.

– Using a pie pan, put a layer of salsa on the bottom (about 1/4 cup.)

– place a tortilla over the salsa.

– sprinkle cheese over tortilla.

– spoon meat/bean/rice mixture over cheese layer.

– repeat layers once more starting with salsa and then end with a tortilla and remaining cheese on top.

– Place in the oven for 12 minutes to heat through and melt the cheese.

– Place under the broiler for about 2-3 minutes to make the tortilla and cheese a little crispy on top.

– Finish off with chopped green onion.

– Slice and serve with sour cream and extra salsa and tortilla chips. Enjoy!


i’m beside myself with my latest kitchen gadgety thingy.
i received one of these as a gift. i’ve wanted one for a really, really, really long time.


are you one of those people that goes for the edge pieces on a plate of brownies? i sure am. in my humble opinion, that’s the best part of the whole batch! with this pan, you get an edge piece – are you ready for this…with every serving!

there are recipes for savory dishes cooked in this pan as well, but lets be honest here people – is there really anything more important than brownies?

i’ll be back with my first baking experience soon. i can’t wait!


here i am back with the completed brownies. drum roll please…


ta da!!! so yummy!

adorable headbands

i found this talented blogger, rae gun ramblings, from a comment left here at urban bundle.


i just had to post about these super cute headbands! love the tutorial on how to make them as well…the possibilities are endless!

plus…you can go here and enter to win three of these awesome headbands! hurry, you only have until 7/18/09. so go…get outta here (but remember to come back)…i’ll wait.

acini di pepe savory salad


i came up with this recipe on a whim when trying to figure out something to bring as a side dish to a family gathering. i thought about the typical potato salad or fruit salad, but wanted to make something different.

i think i succeeded. this salad was light and refreshing and super easy to make! (oh, and for all you veggie/vegan heads out there, it’s friendly for you too!)

typically acini di pepe pasta is used to make sweet salads usually with pineapple. i think it worked quite nicely in this savory dish.



1 box acini di pepe pasta (or any small pearl pasta or orzo will do)
1 cup red onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
16 oz. package of heirloom tomatoes (grape size)
1/4 cup newman’s own light balsamic vinaigrette dressing (you can add more or less to your liking.)
1/4 cup  italian parsley, chopped
salt & pepper to taste


  • cook pasta following directions on box.
  • dice onion, green bell pepper, and slice all tomatoes in half.
  • once pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse with cool water.
  • transfer pasta to large bowl and add all ingredients and stir well.
  • cover to cool in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

i hope you enjoy this light, summery pasta salad alternative!

printable recipe here.


our “guest book”

john and i got married under some special circumstances.


we got engaged in february of 2002. we planned on getting married the following spring, but
john’s mom clara was diagnosed with very advanced colon cancer in may of 2002. we decided to do an
impromptu wedding so his mom could be there to witness our nuptials. we had about a day and a half to
get all the logistics ironed out. we only had two other guests at our wedding besides john’s parents; his sister katie and his sister mary, who was visiting from minnesota to help out with their sick mother.

i’m glad we were able to give clara this gift. i know it meant a lot for her to see her “baby” (john’s the youngest of 8.) tie the knot.

clara went to heaven on august 30th, 2002.

by the time our 1 year anniversary came around, we thought instead of doing another wedding, we would just throw a big reception. we were already married and felt we just wanted to get our family and friends together to celebrate.

in july of 2003 we threw a huge reception. we even did our own invitations.

img_24961 img_2497

my favorite thing of all was our “guest book.”


we decided to have a couple of polaroid cameras at the entrance and people were asked to take a photo of themselves and then write a message to the bride and groom on special paper we had sitting out.


(sorry for the bad photo. by the way – the flowers sitting on the table is one of the centerpieces i put together.)

the photo and the message got dropped in a bag and later we put them all in a book. i love looking back at what people said to us.


i think this means so much more than just a one line note in a guest book. the guests seemed to enjoy participating too.

we have lots to be thankful for and this book shows us all the people we are so blessed to have in our lives.

i’ll leave you salivating over our cheesecake (neither one of us is overly fond of regular cake – so we had these made instead.)


true love

our friends leng & melinda got married yesterday. they are such a lovely couple.

the nicest people you’ll meet.

excuse me for a minute…break for cake porn…


carrot cake, people! seriously delicious!!

ok…sorry…eh, hem…i’m back.

what was i saying? oh yes, lovely couple. beautiful bride!


they had beautiful favors of little candles at the tables.


i wish i had taken photos of the food. it was an amazing seafood spread! delicious!

congrats leng and melinda! we had a wonderful time and were glad we could share

in celebrating your special day!


with all this wedding talk, i think i’ll share some of the things we did to document our own wedding.

seven years ago!

stay tuned!

patriotic cookies

nothing says 4th of july like cookies…does it not?

i made my favorite sugar cookies (thank you martha!) – in star shapes of course – and decorated them in festive colors of royal icing.

this is the simplest fool-proof recipe and i’ve used it for years.


my icing was a bit thick, but worked out ok.


unfortunately, i ran out of red food coloring (note to self, put on grocery list!) so my red was not as red as i would have liked it. still pretty though!


i’ll wait here while you go get your glass of milk to go with these cookies!


stay safe and enjoy your 4th of july!

1 year

i love looking back at old photos of the kids. i thought i’d look at some from a year ago.

so much changes in a year.

they grow so fast.

here’s anya in 2008 and in 2009 – still smiling


here’s stella in 2008 and 2009 – still a petite little thing


stella is almost 2. i can’t get over it. where did my baby go?