Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Tasty Tuesdays-The Times They Are Changin'

I'm going to admit that my idea of sharing how I was going to start writing consistently pretty much fell on its' face as soon as I left the starting block. I have no excuses but lots of reasons~ oh yeah, lots of reasons~ with photos even!
If you follow me on social media, you'll see I'm much more likely to be posting things. Why is that, you may ask (as if I think you may actually care)? Well, I'm happy to tell you anyway. It's a whole lot quicker to pop in a pithy quote or quick update or photo than it is to sit and do a blog post. Yep, that's about it. No huge revelation or new theory. Just easier and quicker is all. 
And why is this significant? Because I have been busy with the Quiltopia Quilt Show, my Etsy shop plus my new job at Whitlock's Vac & Sew, that's why as well as trying to spend time with Brian plus do my various projects here at home. And, while I am absolutely loving all this, it doesn't leave a whole lot of time- or at least not a whole lot of time to sit down and blog. 
So there you have it- my excuse reason for not keeping up writing at Mangia Mamma. The only problem is, I have a habit of posting things on social media with the promise that a recipe, craft project, idea or some other thing that a few people may actually want to know. Not wanting to lose any friends- as that's usually who says things like, "Sounds yummy. Want to share the recipe?", I am now feeling a bit convicted about keeping up with the blog.
Okay, it's time for me to stop beating around the bush and share what's really been going on!!

1) Quiltopia was a great success! It's a three-day show at the Willamette Heritage Center the first weekend of October. I had the opportunity to be the social media coordinator for the event plus I was able to demonstrate the HandiQuilter the whole weekend on behalf of Whitlock's- which is a great segue to 

Can you tell I love my new job (and Janome sewing machines!!!)?
2) My new job!!!! I've been hired at Whitlock's which is a terrific sewing/quilting shop that also sells vacuums. I had been planning on teaching kids' classes, but they've decided they'd also like me to work on the floor helping customers find the sewing machine of their dreams as well as all the notions and extras to make their sewing dreams come true! I love working there and being part of the team!!

3)Part of my sewing dream to come true is my shop, Piccolo Di Luce. I have been so excited about getting to make pocket oratories and rosary cases for so many wonderful customers since I started. This week I was actually asked to be part of the Zelie & Co. Auction as one of their guest artisans! 

Check out my shop page on my blog as I'm going to be adding a few new items in the next month.

4)With the busyness, I was so grateful to be able to get away with a group of old and new friends this past weekend. The "Cabin Girls" have been meeting at a cabin in lovely Rhododendron, Oregon for 24 years now, and this year was just as fun as when those of us who first starting coming were all a lot younger!!

5)Recipes. Yes, I had promised recipes on the blog then didn't come through. I know there are a bazillion blogs on the internet, but sometimes I still like to post recipes that I think are fun, or quirky or just really yummy. Today's is no exception. With all of the pumpkin spice craziness, I thought I'd weigh in my take on pumpkin spice creamer. It's totally delicious and simple to make. So, with friends Lynsi and Annette first and foremost in my mind, here is the recipe plus a few variations!


2 cups half & half
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice mix

Whisk everything in a small bowl. Once well blended, pour into decorative bottle and store in refrigerator.

PUMPKIN SPICE CREAMER #2 (doesn't use real pumpkin, but has a great pumpkin flavor!!)

2 cups half & half
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup pumpkin spice syrup (like Torani)
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice mix

Whisk everything in a small bowl. Once well blended, pour into decorative bottle and store in refrigerator.

~For Pumpkin Maple Creamer add 1/4 cup maple syrup to recipe #1
~ For Vanilla Cinnamon Creamer, use 2 1/2 cups half & half, no pumpkin, and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon instead of pumpkin pie spice

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Tasty Tuesday- A Sunday Supper Pie

When most people in the U.S. think of pies, flavors like strawberry, chocolate and coconut come to mind. In other places in the world, pies are more often filled with savory things like steak and kidneys, lamb, and even fish. With that in mind, I decided to make a Sunday Supper Pie for our evening meal this past weekend. It was really fun to make and super simple. For the crust, I adapted a recipe I had found in my Paul Hollywood British Baking book. I had taken some time a few months ago to render some suet and pop it into a jar kept in the back of the fridge. This is what helped to make a wonderful crust- flaky and tender while staying strong enough to keep the filling ingredients inside. The filling ended up being what we had at home- some ground beef, frozen mixed veggies, potatoes and onions along with a good dose of spices and a bit of salt. You can use whatever you have on hand as well. I'm thinking next time trying it with either some Italian flavorings like sausage, peppers and tomatoes or even a Middle Eastern flair with lamb, pine nuts and zaatar. Let me know what kind of flavors you'd like to try!!

Sunday Supper Pie

non-stick cooking spray 
10 oz. flour
4 1/2 oz. suet, grated
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried tarragon
8 oz. water

1 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. tarragon

Egg Wash:
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp. water

Preheat oven to 400º

For crust: 
Spray 10" springform pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a medium bowl, mix dry ingredients together; add suet and mix well. Start adding a bit of water at a time, mixing with spoon. When you've used about half of the water, start mixing with your hand. Add as much water as needed to bind everything together. Dump everything out onto lightly floured counter and knead until smooth (about 5-7 minutes). Roll dough out until 1/4" thick. Put into prepared pan, pressing dough up the sides. Cut off remaining dough; make into a ball and roll out to 1/4" to be used for the lid once the filling is made.

For filling: 
In a medium bowl, mix everything together. If it feels too dry, add 1-2 tbsp. water. 

To assemble pie: 
Pour filling into prepared crust, Top with "lid" and crimp around the edges until well sealed. Brush with egg wash.

To bake: 
Bake, uncovered for 20 minutes at 400º.  Reduce heat to 350º and bake for another 35 minutes. Cover loosely with foil and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack.

To serve:
Let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Remove from pan, using knife to help release pie from pan if necessary. Let sit for another 15-20 minutes. 

Delicious served with a good dry Riesling wine or Belgian White beer.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Thursday Thoughts - or - "What I Did This Summer"

I know everyone says it, but I am totally trying to figure out where summer 2016 has gone. You know how when you were little, your teachers would make you write a paper about "What I Did This Summer". Back in those days, it was usually a paper filled with the fun we had on our family vacations, books I read and maybe even a fun activity or two I got to participate in. I guess times haven't changed to much, so here are a few Thursday thoughts on "What I Did This Summer".

We started out in June with an Aziz Family Reunion here in Oregon. It was especially nice getting to see cousins that live on the other side of the county. From berry-picking & jam-making to a BBQ down at my Uncle Paul's in Lebanon to a Father's Day Picnic at a park here in Salem, the weekend was packed full of family!

I've been pleasantly busy making pocket oratories and rosary cases for my Etsy Shop as well as selling them on the Peter's Square Marketplace. One of the most fun pocket oratories I made was for a little boy whom I am happy to be praying for. His name is Ambrose. His story is amazing, inspiring and incredible, so be sure to check it out. After hearing his dad share on EWTN radio's The with Barbara Mc one morning, I looked up his Facebook page and immediately added little Ambrose to my prayer list. Whilst making another pocket oratory one day, I thought, "I need to make him an oratory, so he'll have something to hold onto at church or when he wants to see a picture of Jesus and His Blessed Mother. Ambrose's mom graciously gave me their address, and I had the joy of making this little "toddler size" pocket oratory for this precious little boy. Like I said, be sure to check out his page on Facebook, so you can pray for him and his family too!

I got the chance this summer to help a little bit with fixing up my late grandparents' house and learned a lot more about swimming pool tile than I could have imagined. My parents have done the majority of the work which is simply incredible. The house went from looking okay to simply stunning. Be sure to stay tuned as I plan on posting some "after" photos as soon as it's all finished.

We didn't go on any family vacations this year, although Cari, Mary, David and I did attend the annual Knights of Columbus campout. It was super fun getting to meet some new people as well as doing the whole camping thing. We are always in charge of Sunday breakfast and this year was no exception. We made our family favorite, breakfast burritos while standing under a canopy during pouring Sunday morning rain. It wasn't totally fun, but the food was hot and tasty, and everyone seemed to enjoy it!

The last part of August was spent sending everyone off to school again. It seemed like it might be easier than last year, and it actually was (okay, up until this week when I've had a few "kid homesick days" missing them being here). I'm so proud of all of them, especially David as he starts his senior  year at Christendom College. He's worked really hard to get this far, and we are now in continual prayer mode for his thesis, his classes and, of course, where he's planning on attending graduate school when he receives his Bachelors Degree in May. 
So now, even though it's September and technically still summer, I feel like my summer is pretty much over. Thankfully, I've got all kinds of stuff going on as well as lots to pray for, so the transition is seeming to go pretty well. The weather has been going through transitions to, so I'm working on some new food ideas too. I hope you enjoy your Thursday!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Tasty Tuesday- Cookie Time & A Winner

I hope many of you enjoyed Sunday's canonization Mass of St. Teresa of Calcutta. EWTN did such a great job covering it, and I was so happy to be able to watch it all! Normally, I would have had to take the time out of whatever Sunday activity I might be doing after Mass, but I got the privilege of attending a Pontifical High Mass held at St. Mary's in Silverton, Saturday evening. I then awoke with my Meniere's acting up, so it worked out wonderfully to be able to rest, watch and pray all Sunday!

Thanks to those of you who commented on my blog and liked the photo of my pocket oratory. Without any further ado, I'm happy to congratulate Maria Holmes as the winner of a pocket oratory as well as a rosary case!

I did a bit of baking yesterday as I owe some great kids cookies. With Cari, David and Mary attending colleges back east, they generally need rides from their local airports to school. This is where some awesome schoolmates come in- and who I made the cookies for (with, of course, a few for my kiddos as well). I did regular chocolate chip as well as a no-sugar chocolate chip which are easily found recipes. I also did a gluten-free lemon poppy seed cookie that was so delicious and really simple! I've decided to share that recipe with you today.


1 box gluten free cake mix
2 eggs
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 oz. butter, softened
2 tbsp. lemon zest
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. poppy seeds

 Preheat oven to 350º Beat cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silpat. Using small scoop, measure out dough onto baking sheets. These spread, so be sure to leave 2" between cookies. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool for 3-4 minutes before removing from baking sheet and letting completely cool on baking rack. Makes approx. 4 dozen.

Enjoy and have a blessed week!!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Thursday Thoughts- Mother Teresa and a Pocket Oratory Giveaway

With Sunday's canonization of Mother Teresa almost here I've been thinking a lot about her the last few weeks. I had watched a biographic movie a few months back with Olivia Hussey portraying Mother Teresa brilliantly. I would highly recommend it over the weekend. Maybe with some Indian food and a family donation to the Missionaries of Charity in her honor.

I thought it would be appropriate to also have my first Piccolo Di Luce giveaway in her honor. Piccolo Di Luce means "a bit of light", and this soon to be saint surely shone God's light everywhere she went. I will be giving away a limited edition Mother Teresa pocket oratory plus a rosary case (valued at $42). I'll draw the winner on Sunday! As an added bonus, for all orders on any Piccolo Di Luce items received through Monday (September 5), I am giving a 15% discount. Use the code "NEWSAINT" in the checkout.  Here's a sample of the pocket oratory:

This is a facsimile of the outside of the pocket oratory.
Please forgive the typo of her name.
It will definitely be spelled right :-)
This is the prayer that will be inside.
Congratulations to our Pocket Oratory winner, Maria Holmes! Feel free to still leave a comment.
Leave a comment on this post to enter the giveaway. Blessed (soon to be Saint) Teresa, pray for us.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Tasty Tuesday on Wednesday- a Day Late But Not a Recipe Short

So I have no great excuse for not posting yesterday even though I started my day super early and was busy until 10 p.m. I had spent all day Monday working on these two Lord of the Rings banners for one of my best friend's middle son whom I've known since before he was born. He's a senior this year at George Fox University and an R.A. for a group of freshman guys. He had asked me to make these as he is doing a Lord of the Rings themed floor. They did take a lot longer than I thought, but I am pleased with the results.

With the busy-ness, I thought it would be fun to delve into some of my recipe boxes and find a few simple recipes to share with you. I love collecting old recipes, so I am feeling blessed with the three boxes of my Nana's and Grandpa's recipes. The large file folder is my collection of recipes gleaned from magazines and the internet over the first years of marriage.

I decided to share a simple recipe today for what my Nana called, "American Strudel". Being originally from Austria, she made the most amazing strudel. As she was also a very creative cook and baker, she also loved to try her own version of recipes. This is where we get this delicious and simple strudel. I love how it says "it freezes beautifully, baked or unbaked, and can be ready in moments for unexpected guests". We've enjoyed it for breakfast, afternoon snack, and for dessert- especially when served with ice cream. It's a great recipe to use this time of year as you can make up a batch when you've got a free moment then have it ready for family or guests!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Saturday Scribblings

St. Monica by Gozzoli
After a couple of really warm days, I was happily surprised to wake up this morning to feel a cool breeze coming through the open window. What a great way to start out this feast day of St. Monica. Since Joshua started his pathway to The Church 8 years ago, I knew there must be someone praying for me specifically. Needless to say, I was thrilled when I first read of St. Monica. I have entrusted my prayers to her intercession on numerous occasions~ especially for my family. Tomorrow is the feast day of her son, St. Augustine, who happens to be Joshua's patron saint. Because it will be Sunday, St. Augustine won't be celebrated in Mass, but we'll be doing a little something special before driving Joshua back up to Mt. Angel Seminary to start school.

Since it was so hot (100 degrees) yesterday, I took some time in the late afternoon to spend some time in the backyard. Normally this view would frustrate me as we need to do so much back there, but- whether from the heat or not- I decided to just enjoy the breeze and being in God's nature. It was definitely a much more relaxing time!

I had found a recipe for eggplant "bacon" and decided to try it last night for eggplant "BLT's". After his first taste, Josh said it tasted like crispy...marinated eggplant. We all agreed it was delicious but no way could ever replace bacon in our house. It was low sodium despite how much salt is in the recipe. Since you rinse the salt plus only use a bit of marinade on each slice, it is a good recipe for folks needing to watch their sodium intake. With all that in mind, I am sharing the recipe because it was a really good way to cook eggplant!

Eggplant Bacon recipe~adapted from The Spirited Spoon
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp vinegar (I used red wine, but balsamic or apple cider would work too)
  • 3 tbsp liquid aminos (I get mine in bulk at Winco)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (plus more for brushing)
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8  tsp chili powder
  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Remove the stem of the eggplant and quarter it lengthwise, making 4 even long, thin sections.
  3. Slice each piece of the eggplant lengthwise into thin strips. 
  4. Arrange eggplant strips in a single layer on a paper towel and generously sprinkle with 2 tbsp salt. Allow this to sit for at least 30 minutes. During this time the eggplant will start to bead up with water.
  5. After 30 minutes, rinse off the eggplant strips to remove the salt added in the previous step and allow the strips to dry on new paper towels.
  6. Brush each strip with olive oil, and arrange in a single layer on a well-greased pan.
  7. Cook eggplant strips for 14 minutes, flipping half way through.
  8. Remove the strips from the oven and let cool. Reduce the heat to 350F. 
  9. Combine vinegar, maple syrup, liquid aminos, olive oil, liquid smoke, salt, paprika, black pepper and chili powder in a small bowl.
  10. Line a cookie sheet with foil, and place a baking rack over it. (The foil is optional, but it certainly makes for an easier clean up).
  11. Dip each strip of eggplant in the marinade and place strips in a single layer on the baking rack.
  12. Bake at 350F for about 14 minutes, or until the strips are nice and crispy.(Cooking time will vary based on the thickness of your strips)
  13. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a bit before using. 
Enjoy your Saturday & do something that you enjoy as you prepare for Sunday and the joys that day brings!!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Thursday Random Ramblings

So I said I was going to start being more consistent in my blogging, and I almost blew it in the first week. It's been a little busy around here as we have been shipping kids off to school, preparing for the Oregon State Fair & trying to stay cool during this last part of August.

I've got just a couple of thoughts for you on this Thursday evening. Nothing profound, mind you, just some random ramblings from an overheated almost empty nester.

One of the things that I enjoy doing with my kids is watching movies that they pick out. We've watched some good ones this summer, and I knew Josh would want to probably watch one while he's been home this week. His choice was Gran Torino starring Clint Eastwood. He warned me that I might be bothered by the swearing, and it would be okay if I wanted to watch something else. I will admit he was totally correct on the amount of swearing, but it did not detract from this amazing film. All I will say is if you haven't watched it, please do so. It is definitely not okay for children (due to language and violence), but it is one of the best films I have ever seen on the meaning of redemption. 

I've been able to do some crafting this summer which has been a lot of fun. I get the opportunity to work with my mom at the Oregon State Fair demonstrating the HandiQuilter for the next couple of weeks. With this in mind I fixed up a plain t-shirt to show a bit of creativity using Carrie Bloomston fabric. Since we're demonstrating a quilting machine, I made this Nancy Drew inspired quilt top to work on while we're there. It's going to be a great experience as I get to hang out with my mom, quilt and be at the fair!

“This is not just a book; it offers consolation to the whole of humanity.” 
—Giuseppe Verdi
The last little thought is to share one of the books I'm reading right now. Just like with movies, my kids do a terrific job of suggesting books for me to read. Josh had told me about this book he read called The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni. First published in 1827, it is considered to be the most famous Italian novel ever written. I am only about 1/3 of the way through, and I have enjoyed every minute of this book!

So there it is. My bits and bobbles of thought on this Thursday. May the rest of your week be filled with love, joy and laughter! 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tasty Tuesday- Truvy Cake with a Twist

A Disclaimer: You'll find the ingredients and directions throughout this post, but it's so easy that I'm going to forgo an actual recipe. 

Our oldest son, Josh is home for a week before heading back to Mt. Angel Seminary to start his first year of theology. Generally, when the kids are home, I try to cook/bake at least a couple of things they like. While we were talking yesterday- and we tend to talk a lot when he's home, especially as he has just completed a three week silent retreat- he mentioned how much he has realized he likes cake. 

With this in mind, I decided to bake a cake. I wanted to do something easy, but I wasn't sure what kind to do. I just happened to be on Instagram when I saw a post from Southern Living Magazine. It was a video of the movie Steel Magnolias where Dolly Parton's character, Truvy shares her recipe for a "Cuppa, Cuppa, Cuppa" cake.  It's a really- we're talking really really- simple recipe for a cake. Basically, she says "You take a cuppa flour, a cuppa sugar & a cuppa fruit cocktail (with its' juice) & mix it and bake until golden brown and bubbly".  

I didn't have any fruit cocktail, however, I had a 1/2 of a pint jar (yep, that's a cuppa) of homemade mincemeat in the fridge that I thought might fit the bill. There wasn't as much liquid in it as I thought it needed, so I scavenged around and found an almost empty bottle of orange lemonade we had drank at my youngest' going away dinner last week. I mixed those two up and voila, had a nice citrusy/raisin/date/nuts concoction that I thought would work.

I got out Grandma's mixing bowl and proceeded to follow Truvy's instructions. It looked pretty good as I poured it into a 9" square pan while my toaster/convection oven was heating to 350 degrees. I popped it in & set the timer for 30 minutes. After about 6 minutes, I realized something didn't feel right. Once I thought about it being a southern recipe, I knew what the problem was- I had just used regular flour without any added leavening. Truvy, being a true southern gal, would've used self-rising flour. I immediately pulled the cake out, added 1 teaspoon baking soda and a good dash of salt, mixed it up and popped it back into the oven. I figured even if it didn't turn out well, I could always use it for trifle or crumble. 

After 30 more minutes, I pulled out the cake which had a nice rise and golden color. We decided to have it after dinner with some vanilla ice cream- especially since, as Truvy says, "the ice cream cuts down on the sweetness". So the next time you or one of your family members gets a craving for cake, you don't need to look any farther than your pantry and fridge for a "Cuppa, Cuppa Cuppa" to make a delicious cake!

Friday, August 19, 2016

A New Look & End of the Summer Recipe

If you've ever visited my blog before, you'll notice Mangia Mamma now has a new look. Thanks to my oldest child, who is much more computer savvy than I will ever be, the blog now has a bit more of a polished look. I had once again thought about just giving it up then Cari (the aforementioned oldest child) noticed how many people actually check it out. I was so shocked that I had her double check, and sure enough, I get enough "hits" that I decided to keep going with it. 

I also now have a page about my Etsy shop, Piccolo Di Luce. It'll link you right to the shop as well as have updates on new items I'm working on & selling. 

Since I'm going to try to start blogging a bit more consistently, I thought I'd let you know what the weekly menu will look like here at MM:

~Tuesday posts will be "Tasty Tuesdays" and feature a recipe from my plethora of cookbooks or new creations from my kitchen

~Thursday posts will either be a link up to Like Mother, Like Daughter's {Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} or a post on homemaking,, movies, books, podcasts that I've been enjoying and other things like that.

~Friday or Saturday posts will be all about empty nesting & having young adult kids. I am hoping to have some guest posts about these topics as they are relevant to so many people, even if not today then in the future.

I thought I'd add an easy and inexpensive recipe for one of our family favorites during this last part of summer. When it gets too warm to put on an oven, you can still cook up a batch of Mangia Mamma Tostadas! Another bonus for us is that it's gluten free, nut free, low sodium & can be made with lactose free cheese. All of the toppings can be cut up/made ahead of time, so you can just heat up the meat & beans for a quick weeknight dinner.  Enjoy!

Mangia Mamma Tostadas
It's less expensive plus so much better tasting when you fry up corn tortillas to make the shells yourself. If you do use store-bought tostada shells, be sure to heat them for 5-7 minutes in a 300 degree oven which makes them taste a little closer to homemade goodness.

  • Yield:
  •  Serves about 6
Vegetable oil
12 corn tortillas
21 Seasoning Salute from Trader Joe's
1 lb. lean ground beef 
1 finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2-3 tablespoons low sodium taco seasoning 
2-15 oz. cans refried beans 
Toppings can include the following plus anything else your family may like:
cooked rice (I either make a batch or just reheat what I've got in the fridge in my rice cooker), chopped lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, guacamole or avocado, salsa, cilantro, grated or crumbled cheese of your choice (we do whatever we have along with some goat cheese for our lactose intolerant kid), chopped fresh cilantro, green onions, sour cream
1 Heat refried beans in a saucepan, until warm. If you are using regular canned beans, drain them, then add them to the pan with a little water, mixing them as you heat them. Keep on low while you prepare everything else.
2 Heat a little bit of oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently until opaque. Add ground beef, cooking until no longer red. Add taco seasoning and tomato paste. Keep on low heat while you prepare the tortillas.
3  Pour enough oil to about 1/4" into another frying pan. Heat the oil on medium high heat until sizzling hot, but not smoking then turn down to medium. As soon as it seems hot enough, fry the tortillas in the oil, one or two at a time depending on how big your pan is.  Fry until golden brown on both sides, cooking about a minute per side. Using tongs, push the tortilla down in the oil, and to turn and lift the tortilla out of the pan, gently shaking the excess oil as you do so.  Place the tortilla on a paper towel-lined plate, to absorb the excess oil. Sprinkle with a little salt (or the 21 Seasoning Salute for anyone who needs to eat low sodium). 
You might need to add a bit more oil to the pan as it gets low, but be sure the oil heats enough before adding another tortilla.
4 We like to serve this buffet style. I just place the pots of beans and beef on trivets on the kitchen counter along with the rice in the cooker plus various toppings in various bowls (I like to use jars or tupperware sometimes in order to expedite clean up). Have everyone serve themselves stacking their tostadas with what ingredients they like.

I usually have leftover oil and tortillas, so since I don't like to waste what can be reused, I make chips with what's left. Cut the tortillas into any shape you want and fry the same way for the tostada shells. Also, you can also use any kind of leftover meat or even eggs instead of the beef. This makes a great "Faithful Friday" dinner when you just use the beans and no meat. 
I'd love to hear what kind of tostadas your family likes to eat as I'm always happy to learn new ideas for recipes!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

{pretty, happy, funny, real} Extended Edition

   {pretty, happy, funny, real}                          


It's Thursday, so I'm linking up again with the terrific Like Mother, Like Daughter. As we celebrate Mother's Day, a number of birthdays and a couple of marriages in our family this month, I thought I'd share a few bits about my extended family that are {pretty, happy, funny, real}. 

My beautiful niece, Jeanette looking {pretty}
This pillow made me {happy}
Unfortunately, circumstances would not allow me to be present, but I spent the day of the wedding working on their gift and spending the time praying for their marriage. I came up with this idea of a pillow using linen and a photo from their engagement pictures. I'm so happy with it that I will probably be listing custom made pillows like this on my Piccolo Di Luce Etsy Shop soon. 

More {happy}
The quilt top
I also got the chance in the last few weeks to make a baby quilt for Thomas More College professors, Mr. Andrew and Mrs. Gwyneth Thompson-Briggs, who are expecting their first baby next month. As they teach The Way of Beauty course, and Mrs. Thompson-Briggs is an artist, I thought I would make a vintage style red-work embroidered quilt. My mom had given me a large container of vintage, hand-stitched strips, so I used those for the sashing and binding. I wasn't sure what color to do the border, so I sent a photo to Mary at school. She suggested mustard which was seconded by Sylvia, the owner of Greenbaum's Quilted Forest. I took their ideas and then machine quilted the whole thing before making the label. The best part was being able to pray for their family and especially the new baby as I worked on this {happy} quilt!

This is one {funny} little girl

My mom and I headed down to southern Oregon last weekend for a bridal shower for another niece and to celebrate Mother's Day with my sister. Normally, I wouldn't have gone, but since my kids are all at school until next week, I thought it would be fun. I was so right! One of my other nieces was visiting from Virginia with her little one, Zephora. She is so {funny}, and they were a great joy to be with during the weekend. The best part was they needed a ride to the airport in Portland, and a place to stay for a couple of days, so my husband and I got to host them during that time. While they were here, I took them up to Mt. Angel Seminary to visit Joshua and have a little tour. We ended up not only having coffee and walking around, but he invited us to join him and the other seminarians for lunch. My niece, Jael, loved it plus the baby was awesome!! I then took them to Fordyce Farms for the first strawberries of the season, and then we came home so I could teach Jael how to bake bread before they headed off early Tuesday. We also got to feed ZuZu (her new totally cool nickname that Unky Brian and I came up with and got the mom approval) her first taste of rice cereal. She wasn't sure about the spoon or the texture, but I'm pretty sure she'll be liking it a lot in just a little while. What a blessing it was for us to open our home and share the love and mercy God has given us!

{real} Gluten Free Banana Bread
So I mentioned the kids will all be home next week- did I mention how totally excited we are?!?!? 
Both Brian and I are looking forward to them being home for a number of reasons. I am sure he'll be glad to have others to do chores plus someone other than just me to talk with. To be honest, the talking thing works for me too- just keeping it {real} here, folks. As part of the preparing for them to be home, I did a little baking today. Now, for any of you that have read any of my posts, you may remember that we have a wacky eating family- I have one child who is celiac, one with a tree nut allergy and one with lactose intolerance plus I have to eat low sodium. Thankfully, Brian and Joshua don't have any food issues, so that makes it a bit easier. With that in mind, I made a couple loaves of banana bread, being sure to mark them well before popping them into the freezer. Since so many of you have a great recipe for regular banana bread, I thought I'd share this Gluten and Lactose Free version. I did make some with regular flour and no nuts for David, so everyone should be happy. Here's my G/F Banana Bread for you to try. Oh yeah, it tastes {real}, so don't be afraid to try it!

                                                        {REAL} BANANA BREAD

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (roughly two medium bananas) 

2 eggs
1/4 cup oil (I use rice bran oil, but use what you have) 
1 1/4 cup lightly packed light brown sugar 
1 1/2 cups G/F baking mix   
2 teaspoons baking powder 
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 

1 cup walnut pieces 

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray 9" loaf pan with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, beat the mashed bananas with the eggs, oil and brown sugar till combined. Add G/F baking mix, baking powder, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg; beat until well combined. Stir in the walnut pieces.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan and spread evenly. Stud the top with some extra walnut pieces, if desired. Bake on the center rack for 55 to 65 minutes, if necessary, until the center is done (a wooden cake tester should emerge clean).

Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool on rack.

Eat right away or wrap in wax paper and foil and freeze for up to a couple of weeks.

Makes one 9-inch loaf

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I hope you are having a wonderful month so far. Be sure to stop by Like Mother, Like Daughter to see what everyone's up to today at {pretty, happy, funny, real}.