January 28, 2010

I'm A Little Teapot

I would love to share some of the pottery I've done over the past couple of years. I feel like I'm just moving past being a beginner, but I LOVE IT! There is nothing like working with my hands and seeing something being formed from a lump of clay!

So, here is my first teapot... not an easy one to make, that's for sure!

"Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand." Isaiah 64:8

Cinque Terre, Italy

Cinque Terre, Italy.
June 2001.
One of my most favorite places in all the world! I wish I was there right now.

Alphabet Art

You might have seen those pictures of things that look like letters and are spelling different words. So, for Christmas this year, I grabbed my new camera and headed out to try my hand at it... not as easy as it may seem! But I ended up with some fun pics and put together a frame for my sister and her husband with their last name (Taylor). I think it turned out pretty cool.

January 27, 2010

Frozen Lemonade Pie

Oh my! I made this pie for the first time last week and you have got to try it... wow!

Graham Cracker Crust:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
7 tablespoons butter, melted

Lemonade filling:
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk, chilled
1 (12 ounce) container whip topping, thawed
1 (6 fluid ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate, keep frozen
Zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon candied lemon peel (I made my own... really fun! Recipe for that HERE.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In food processor, combine cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup of sugar, and the melted butter. Press firmly on bottom and up sides of pie plate. Bake for 7 minutes and let cool completely.

In a medium bowl, add chilled sweetened condensed milk and cool whip and fold gently. Add frozen lemonade and zest and continue to gently fold. Do not let the mixture become soupy.

Pour mixture into the pie crust and freeze overnight.

Garnish with candied lemon peel.


My sister Tiffany emailed me a bunch of old pictures that my grandmother gave her and I found one of my great-grandfather. What a cool picture! I think there is something beautiful about older photos and the depth they have.

And my great-grandfather had quite a story... much of which we actually can't trace. But what we do know is that he fled to America as an anarchist from Italy and changed his last name to Manfred when he got here. Crazy. Nonetheless, I love that I have this picture.

January 26, 2010

My New Favorite Breakfast Food

Grapefruit. Yep, I LOVE it! Is that wierd?

But... did you know?

Grapefruit are loaded with vitamin C. In fact, half of one grapefruit or an 8-ounce glass of grapefruit juice provides at least 100% of the Daily Value for vitamin C! Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants, acting as a scavenger to help neutralize free radicals. Antioxidants may assist in fighting cell and tissue damage that could eventually lead to diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Vitamin C can support a healthy immune system to help the body fight infection and increases the absorption of iron.

So, there you have it. And all this time I just thought they tasted good. Who knew?

January 21, 2010

January 20, 2010

Palomino Spaghettini

This is one of my favorite recipes. It is quick, easy, and so yummy! And it makes great leftovers!

Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 20 min.
Total Time: 30 min.

1 lb. spaghetti (original recipe calls for 1 ½)
5 T. olive oil – divided
3 large chicken breasts – diced & sautéed (optional)
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1 T. minced garlic
1 c. diced roma tomatoes
½ c. diced sundried tomatoes
6 T. fresh basil, julienne cut (if using dry, use only 3-4 T.)
1 c. chicken broth
½ c. white wine
6 T. butter
Parmesan cheese
Pine nuts, toasted

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and toss lightly with 1 T. olive oil. Set aside. Saute chicken seasoning with a little salt and pepper and set aside. Heat the remaining 4 T. olive in a sauté pan. Add salt, pepper, and garlic. Saute garlic until it is light brown, about 2-3 min. Add tomatoes, dried tomatoes, 2 T. basil, chicken broth, and wine. Bring to a boil.

Add butter, chicken, and pasta, tossing until liquid reaches sauce consistency and butter has melted.


Place in a large bowl and top with parmesan cheese, remaining basil, and toasted pine nuts. Enjoy! Serves 6-8.
Buon Appetito!

January 17, 2010

Grandma's Spaghetti Sauce

1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 T. olive oil
Salt & pepper
2 t. dried oregano
2 T. fresh basil, chopped

In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil. Add garlic and a pinch of salt, and sauté only until lightly browned (about 30 seconds). Add tomatoes. Re-season with salt and pepper. Add oregano. After 15-20 minutes, add basil and cook for another 10-15 minutes. But… the longer you let this sauce simmer, the better it will taste.

Four Cheese Manicotti

I love this recipe! It is rich and full of flavor. You can use the filling in lasagna or stuffed shells. Eat these with a yummy salad and a big hunk of crusty bread that you can dip in good olive oil!

1 box Manicotti shells
2 c. shredded mozzarella
8 oz. ricotta cheese
8 oz. cottage cheese
2 T. Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
2 t. dried parsley
2 T. fresh basil, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch nutmeg
2-3 c. spaghetti sauce (try using "Rachel's Spaghetti Sauce" with this)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook manicotti shells according to directions on box. Mix 1 c. of mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, and Parmesan cheese, egg, parsley, basil, garlic, and nutmeg. Mix well. Fill shells with cheese mixture (use a pastry bag or Ziploc bag with corner cut off). In a 9x13 baking dish spread 1 cup of spaghetti sauce. Place filled manicotti shells in dish and cover with remaining sauce and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle a little extra Parmesan on top. Bake for 50-60 minutes.

Caribbean Taco Salad with Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette

This is super refreshing and so easy to make! It makes a great meal for a summer night. The most fun part of this is making your own taco shells.

Olive oil cooking spray
4 (8-10-inch) whole wheat tortillas
1 (20-ounce) package ground turkey
1 (1.25-ounce) package reduced sodium taco seasoning mix
2 T. water
1 mango, chopped (about 1 cup)
3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
3 T. finely chopped green onion
3 T. finely chopped fresh cilantro
3 T. finely chopped tomato
1 ripe avocado diced (optional)
1 t. grated lime peel
1 T. brown sugar
2 c. firmly packed fresh spinach leaves
(Vinaigrette directions below)

Preheat oven to 425°F. Invert four, 10-ounce custard cups onto a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Spray outside of cups and one side of each tortilla with olive oil cooking spray. Place tortillas, oiled side up, over cups. Bake for 4 to 6 minutes or until lightly browned. In medium skillet, brown turkey until no longer pink and cooked through. Add taco seasoning mix and water. Cook over low heat for 3 to 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, stir together the mango, bell pepper, green onion, cilantro, tomato, (& avocado just before serving so it doesn’t brown) lime peel, and brown sugar to make the salsa. Place taco shells on serving plates. Divide spinach leaves evenly into shells. Top with cooked turkey and salsa. Drizzle vinaigrette over each serving. Serves 4.

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 T. rice wine vinegar
1 T. honey
1 T. ground cumin
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup canola/olive oil blend

Combine lime juice, vinegar, honey, cumin, cilantro, salt, and pepper in a bowl and whisk to combine. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the oil. Whisk until well-combined. Reseason with salt and pepper, if necessary.

Artichoke Dip

I make this every time we have a party! And everyone always asks me for the recipe, so here it is... ENJOY!

1 can artichoke hearts
8 oz. cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
1 c. mayonnaise
1 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F. Thoroughly drain artichokes & squeeze out juice by hand. Place all ingredients (except crackers and veggies) in a food processor and mix until well blended. Pour into 9x13 baking dish and bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm with crackers and veggies.

Mediterranean Quiche

I know not everyone is a fan of quiche, but we LOVE it! I modified a recipe I found and it is so rich and delicious, Enjoy!

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup sliced yellow onions
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1/4 pound mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
4 ounces oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
“Never Fail Pie Crust” (see separate recipe) *or you can use a pre-made crust
3 ounces Feta cheese, crumbled

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large skillet melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and zucchini and cook, stirring, for 6 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until the liquid is rendered and the vegetables are wilted, about 10 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes, basil, and thyme and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let cool.

In a bowl, beat the eggs and half-and-half together. Add the salt, pepper, grated mozzarella, and crushed red pepper.

Spoon the vegetable mixture into the prepared piecrust, pour in the egg mixture, and crumble the feta cheese on top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until set. Remove from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes before serving.

Yield: 8 servings