Tuesday, December 31, 2013

12 Things About 2013

I thought I would challenge myself to pick 12 things that happened over the past year. These are not in any particular order. Happy New Year!!!

A new family

Opened my Etsy store

Ended my teaching career to begin a new one

Briefly thought about baking and selling foods

Could I get any bigger?   
Yes… ;-/

Hosted my best friend's Baby Shower

Took Jamie to the Cape (he didn't like the cold wind blowing)

Daddy time

New Friends


Jamie on the his first airplane ride

Bought a new house

It was a good year!!  Looking forward to what 2014 has in store.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Holiday Rush…..

The other day I received a text message from my Facebook page saying, "my fans missed me." Awww, I feel so loved. Yes, this holiday season got the best of me and something just had to be dropped. This beginning our first holiday with JDQ, we went hog wild! We really wanted him to be immersed in the holiday spirit.  N and I took JDQ to see Santa right after Thanksgiving; no line. He was completely in awe of the camera; he just stared at it. Finally towards the end, he turned to look at who was holding him….  "Wahhhh!" Ok, photo shoot IS over. We did pick three photos, this is my favorite:

It reminds me of this song:

Here are some scenes from around the house…

Among other things, we took JDQ to see Christmas lights, though most of the time he fell asleep in the car. Went shopping :), listened to Christmas music (Jingle Bells, Dominic the Donkey and March of the Toys were his favorites). Exchanged gifts with friends and unwrapped presents. Though they were someone else's…

I must say, it was fun. The best was waiting for Santa to arrive. And boy was JDQ surprised. As usual he woke early for a morning bottle. Luckily, it was still dark and I was able to keep the lights off. As he ate, he did notice somethings that Santa left behind but in the dark he wasn't quite able to make out what they were. For the past week, he has been playing with different items each day, its been great seeing him enjoy himself. Next year, will be even more magical and I'm already counting down the days!

We hope everyone had a magical time!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

We Need a Little Christmas….

Right now, I'm scouring magazines for ideas on how to decorate the house inside and out. I have many back issues of Martha Stewart, some British magazines that I'm thumbing through and that trusty website Pinterest, so I thought I would spread a little inspiration. I'll share the finished project soon. Let the decorating begin!

Enjoy!!  Share your ideas/photos on my Facebook page or here.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!!

We'd like to wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving and to enjoy every moment with your family.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Butternut Squash Risotto- YUMMMM

Butternut Squash Risotto

Everything Thanksgiving, we order our turkey from Bristol Farms. You can choose many different sides and one is butternut squash risotto so I decided to make it once. Here is my version...

Right now I'm going to sound like Sally Albright from "When Harry met Sally" because I'm going to tell you some things I did different for this recipe.  First, the recipe I used was for pumpkin risotto but I used butternut squash instead.  Second, it was one I wrote down from who knows where, so I found an easier one (www.marthastewart.com).  But that's not all I changed.  Oh, no....   To make the butternut squash really tasty, ROAST it rather than cooking in the saucepan.  I mean, it probably is good but it has more flavor when roasted. (roast at 400 degrees until fork tender (and don't be doing yoga while doing this part).  I also sprinkled the cut-up squash with salt, pepper, thyme and some rosemary.

When it came to cooking the risotto, I seasoned my oil with some more thyme, tarragon and some shallots.  Also I did not add the squash until half-way through cooking the risotto.

Make sure you heat your stock (you can use vegetable stock instead of chicken).  Also when the risotto is at the creamy stage (which is when the risotto is al dente), remove from heat and add 1-2 Tablespoons of butter.  (This is a tip from Jamie Oliver)

Last, I added some cooked pancetta.  YUMMM!

The rest of the steps can be found in the recipe below.  Also I don't add the extra salt, I find the pancetta and parmesan give it enough saltiness.

Rather than adding the squash at the end, we cooked it with the Arborio rice; the squash softens during cooking and makes the dish sweeter.
Everyday Food, October 2004

Good Morning! Baked French Toast with Blueberries

What's For Breakfast? Baked French Toast with Blueberries

Relatives in town? Need something different for breakfast other than toast and eggs? Try this….

I don't care what anyone says, there's nothing better than Mum's home cooking.  Whatever your age; to be greeted at the door with your Mum saying, "Guess what I made for you!"  I'm visiting my family for the weekend, they only live an hour north, so I'm blessed that I can visit anytime.  I think for most people, going home brings back days of yore when life was simpler and the only worry you had was what imagination game you were going to play that day.  This morning my Mum made Giada's Baked French Toast with Blueberries.  The golden brown top sparkling with cinnamon and sugar; the smell of sweet blueberries, divine;  the inside was so light and fluffy that it melted in your mouth with just a hint of lemon.  Give it ago this week and Enjoy!


  • Butter, for greasing
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup, plus extra for serving
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 3 (1-inch thick) slices (8 ounces) day-old challah or sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) fresh or frozen, thawed, and drained blueberries
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar


Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs until frothy. Add the milk, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, and lemon zest. Add the bread cubes and mix until coated. Stir in the blueberries. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
In a small bowl, mix together the remaining cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the egg mixture in an even layer. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the top is golden and the filling is set.
Spoon onto serving plates and drizzle with maple syrup.

Looking for an Alternative to Turkey- Seitan Wellington (vegan)

Seitan Wellington- vegan

Hooray to the Spork Girls for another fabulous recipe!! I made this the other night using one portobello,  a mixture of other wild mushrooms- I think it was some Oyster, crimini, button, and some type of Japanese mushroom.  The taste was amazing, the smell so homey and comforting.  I've never made a Wellington before and had been wanting to try one since I saw Jamie Oliver make a Turkey Wellington. So I was eager to try this one.  Instead of the fresh herbs I used dried and I used Cupcake's Red Velvet for the wine.  

The Recipe:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mushroom Filling:

1 T non-dairy butter
1 T olive oil
4 C crimini mushrooms, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped (I didn't add this part and felt it tasted great)
3 sprigs fresh thyme or about 2 t dried or more to your liking)
2 T vegan red wine
1/4 t sea salt
1/4 pepper
2T flour

In a large pan, heat butter and olive oil (I added the thyme to this to flavor the oil). Add mushrooms, shallots, and garlic. Cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add thyme or other herbs- I added oregano and some marjoram, wine, salt, pepper and flour.  Cook until liquid is absorbed about another 3-5 minutes.  Set aside.

The Seitan Filling:

2 Packages "chicken style" seitan
4 sprigs thyme, stemmed and chopped
2 T mustard (I used the gingerbread mustard)
2 T red wine
1 T maple syrup
3/4 C flour, plus more for dusting
grated lemon zest (I left this out as I didn't have one)
1/2 t paprika
1/2 t salt
1/4 pepper

1 package puff pastry

In a food processor, combine seitan, thyme, mustard, wine, maple syrup, flour, lemon zest, paprika, salt, and pepper.  Pulse until uniform about 20 times. (Doesn't look appetizing but trust me, it tastes great!)
On a lightly floured surface (I used some parchment paper but still sprinkle with flour) roll the puff pastry out to about 1/8 inch.  Place mushroom filling in center and spread out, leaving a 1-2 inch pastry border.  Top mushroom filling with seitan filling and fold party over, sealing edges.

Make a few slits in the top and bake for about 40-45 minutes or until golden brown.

Reposting old recipes: Black Bean Burgers - vegan

 Black Bean Burgers

Is it obvious that I'm liking the recipes from the Spork girls?  A while back, I made the Black Bean and corn burgers. They suggest making mini burgers but I made them regular size and boy are they yummy!  I also used Eden's Carribean Style black bean and rice with some extra black beans from Eden's canned black beans (minus the liquid).  As usual, I used a shallot instead of a regular onion.  For the toppings, I used Whole Foods mango salsa (so tasty! and the green bits are from the salsa), and ketchup and mustard.  Even though I halved the mixture, it still made quite a bit so I froze the leftovers (shaping them into burgers before wrapping them up).  Later, I defrosted one and they still tasted just as good as the first making.  

(makes 12 mini burgers)
1 T oil, plus 2 T for cooking
1/2 of a large onion 
2 cloves garlic (didn't use)
1/2 c corn, fresh or frozen
1/2 large red or orange bell pepper, finely chopped
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed
1/4 t chipotle powder (I used a little cayenne powder, thyme and red pepper flakes)
1 T vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 T lemon juice (I used a lime)
2 t agave nectar
3/4 C rolled oats
1 C bread crumbs (I used the whole wheat bread crumbs) or 2 pieces of spelt bread

Preheat large pot over medium heat and add 1 T oil.  Add onion and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.  Add corn, bell pepper, salt, and pepper.  Cook until mixture is slightly browned, about 3-4 minutes and set aside.

In a food processor, combine black beans, chipotle powder, salt, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and agave. Pulse together 5-8 times. Add oats and bread crumbs or spelt bread.  Pulse until uniform, scraping down the sides to further incorporate into processor.  Transfer to a large bowl.  Add cooked onion and pepper mixture to the bowl and mix. 

Heat a large pan over medium heat and add remaining oil.  With damp hands, form into burgers and place into heated pan.  Cook for about 5 minutes on each side or until browned. 

(some information: "Oats are a super nutrient-dense cereal grain that can actually help reduce cravings for cigarettes!)

(If you do decide to really bbq these, I would probably use a pan, I don't think the mixture would hold...)  

Enjoy!!  xo 

Pumpkin Gingerbread

With Thanksgiving a few days away and relatives coming in, I wanted to share some recipes from the first Raining Confetti.

This is Pumpkin Gingerbread

Recipe courtesy of flourchildblog.com

2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups evaporated cane juice or granulated sugar
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2/3 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup walnut oil (or vegetable oil of choice)
1/4 cup molasses
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sweet potato puree (from approximately 1 1/2 large sweet potatoes, roasted and cooled, skins removed)

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees F and lightly coat a loaf pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and sugar until light, creamy and tripled in volume, about 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

4. With the mixer on medium-low speed, drizzle the oil into the egg-sugar mixture. Beat until incorporated. Add the molasses, vanilla and sweet potato puree and beat until combined. [Superstar tip: after adding the oil, use the same measuring cup for the molasses. The coating of oil in the cup will ensure all of the molasses makes it out.]

5. Stop the mixer and add the flour mixture, gently folding it into the batter until incorporated. Be careful not to over mix the batter, as doing so activates the gluten in the flour and results in a heavier, denser crumb.

6. Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out with a light coating of moist crumbs. Allow to cool before serving. The loaf will keep, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator for several days.


Beware: Rant ahead

Ok what is it with the carseats??!! Now I get the safety factor and that children are safer in rear-facing  car seats for the first twos years of their life but must car seats weigh 700 lbs and be as big as an elephant? JDQ has almost outgrown his car seat. Depending on his position, some days his legs are hanging over the end of the infant car seat which is an indicator to move onto the next car seat - the Conversion seat. These seats are for both rear facing and then can be turned around for forward facing . Yesterday JDQ and I went to Buy Buy Baby to buy one of these seats. The people who work their were nice and seemed knowledgable about the car seats. The one that I really wanted
was on sale but they hinted that it had safety issues. Of course, every parent wants their child to be safe so they brought me over to Britax and told me all about their safety rating and that their name is well known (uhmm, OK). Of course, they cost more also. We listened to all that two workers had to say and decided to buy the Britax Advocate.
 I also had to buy the floor model and was able to get 20% off the price. We got it home and JDQ was really excited to try it out. It was cushy and big. I set the straps for him but noticed that his feet were already at the edge of the seat. He didn't care for the reclining position which is what Britax recommends.  Putting the seat into the car was a pain, the seat alone weighs 20 lbs (to be clear, JDQ was not in the seat). Then came the time to put JDQ into it. He started screaming as the Click and Safe Snug harness tightened. When it came to moving the car seat to my Mum's car this was not easy. I have a Honda Element so the back has plenty of space but my Mum has a PT Cruiser so the back is smaller; the car seat barely fit and we had to change the angle to make it fit. So much for Britax's recommendation. What were we to do?
Then there is the fact that JDQ needs to be in this for a while. His feet were already touching the back seat, where is he going to put them as he grows?  In infant car seats, you change when the feet touch the back seat of a car (usually because your child has reached the height limit)

but for a conversion seat suddenly all this is fine??!

Again I get the safety factor but I really think think was decided but adults whose children are already grown. They don't have to deal with the screams.
Well, in the end after lots of research, I'm still torn between returning the seat or keeping it since it is the best for safety (full rebound bar).  But you know people need to take into consideration the parents who have to deal with all these changes as well as the children who have to endure it. I mean we're all here. For the first few years of my life I rode in my parents lap.

And what about the many children I babysat who sat in forward facing carseats? They are still here.  So who's safety is in question?

Ok, I think I'm about done.  Thanks…