Easy to make Wasabi Popcorn recipe. This healthy snack is only 31 calories per cup! I love to eat this when I’m watching TV on the couch!
Popcorn, it’s pretty amazing, right? It’s a staple for movie watching. It’s a great snack in bed reading (although could get messy if you drop a few pieces – don’t worry, you’ll find them eventually). And for dinner, sure, why not.
1 cup of air popped popcorn has 31 calories which means if you eat 16 cups of popcorn it’s 496 calories. Are you amazed? I am.
As I write this post I’m 2 episodes away from being caught up on the amazing show Scandal. So that means by the time you read this, I probably am caught up completely and am crying in a corner somewhere because I’m so sad my workout sessions don’t involve President Fitzgerald Grant anymore. If you aren’t watching Scandal, you have to watch a episode! You will either feel:
– You want to be Olivia Pope. You want all of her coats. You want to know how she stays warm in the winter because her coats don’t look very warm (although beautiful) and usually always her bare shoulders or arms or chest is showing. I mean I assume she has a driver and isn’t working to work, but still, girl has got to catch a chill traveling from her apartment to the office.
Do you like the title? I hope you do. So many of my favorite meatloaf recipes are inspired by the cook’s mother or grandmother, but because this recipe is inspired by Amy’s mother’s meatloaf, and she’s not my mother, I decided to name it Not My Mom’s Meatloaf.
I don’t think meatloaf gets the love it deserves but I’m here to change that. I love meatloaf. It reminds me of my childhood, it reminds of plaid printed aprons, and mothers with perfect hair and televisions with antennas. Doesn’t it have that vintage feel to it? I like to think June Cleaver in the picture below is whisking eggs for meatloaf. Also I’d like to think that one day I will look that fabulous in the kitchen. Someone remind me to buy a strand of pearls.
Have you been to Disney World before? AKA, the greatest place on Earth (honestly, it’s amazing). At Hollywood Studios they have a restaurant named 50’s Prime Time Cafe and it’s everything you hoped it would be like, from the tables to the waiters. Everything on the menu is home cooking inspired from Dad’s Grilled Pork Chops to Aunt Liz’s Golden Fried Chicken to Grandma’s Chicken Pot Pie and of course Cousin Ann’s Traditional Meatloaf. I got the Meatloaf when I was there and it was served with green beans by our waiter Uncle Gary. Throughout the dining experience he would introduce us to our cousins and just be that Uncle we all know. When we left we we wrote him a love letter, he was so much fun.
Meatloaf is often made with ketchup but I love this recipe because it uses spaghetti sauce instead which personally I find more pleasing and tasty. The spaghetti sauce acts like a gravy that you can lather your meatloaf in which I love, I definitely will put a few spoonfuls on. Also, this meatloaf has mushrooms that are baked in it which will cause your entire dinner table to fight over who gets the mushrooms, so be sure to fight hard for them. 🙂
Hope you enjoy this delicious dinner table favorite!
Lately I’m obsessed with Chinese Vegetable Noodle Soup. Every time I go to my favorite Chinese Restaurant (which is Kum Kau in Brooklyn) I always get the vegetable shrimp soup and stuff myself on noodles and broth. But I don’t want Takeout Chinese weekly, even if it’s only soup, I want to be able to make it myself. So I came up with this recipe and I couldn’t be happier with the results. If you’re a fan of Chinese Noodle dishes, you will love this soup!
This soup is very brothy so if love broth, you will be swimming in soup heaven. Also, this soup asks for a squirt of Sriracha sauce (chili-garlic sauce), you can add or subtract if you want more or less heat, but I definitely think if possible you should add a bit, it gives the soup a real nice kick but isn’t whelming in spice.
Because I always want to add vegetables to every meal, there’s a bunch of kale and carrots in this soup. I always love the way kale looks and tastes in a brothy soup. Along with the vegetables there’s garlic and the real star: ginger. I always think using ginger in dishes really gives it that true Chinese taste. If you cook a Chinese dish without ginger and with, it’s always the ginger dish that wins – always! But don’t worry if you don’t have fresh ginger or fresh garlic, because I have something that is going to help you in cooking year round. Do you know about frozen herb cubes? They are the best. I’ve bee using them for years and they have been saving me from the issue of making a dish and then realizing halfway I don’t have fresh cilantro, ginger, parsley etc on hand. I just open up the freezer, pop out a few cubes and I have fresh herbs. And don’t stop at soups, I love using the frozen cilantro for salsas in the winter time. And frozen dill cubes are perfect for adding in Sour Pickles!
The fine folks at Dorot sent me a few packages of their frozen garlic and herbs to try out and I have to say – Dorot is totally the brand to pick. As soon as I opened up the frozen cubes of ginger the smell hit me. The ginger smelled and tasted so fresh I was amazed that this came from a frozen package. As soon as I had garlic and ginger in the soup pot, Matthew even complimented across the room how great the soup smelled. A little more about Dorot, the company was established in 1992 and is fully owned by Kibbutz Dorot in the southern part of Israel. The kibbutz has more than 3,500 acres of field crops – garlic & herbs – which are picked, and then immediately chopped, packaged and frozen in a unique fast freeze process, maintaining their taste, freshness and nutritive value. And bonus, their products are all natural, non-GMO and gluten-free. Dorot can be bought in most grocery stores, while you can find them under Pop & Cook at most Walmarts. Each packaging will tell you the frozen equivalent measurement. For ginger, 1 cube is 1 teaspoon. For garlic, 1 cube is a clove. I’m in love with these frozen cubes.
So now that we have our easy to use fresh herbs, let’s get soup making! In this recipe you can use lo mein or chow mein noodles, but I prefer lo mein noodles myself. They don’t take very long to cook, 5 minutes max.
And in not much time, you’ll have a big pot of delicious Chinese Vegetable Noodle Soup ready for dinner.
And if you have any left over (it’s hard to do), it even tastes great heated up the next day. Enjoy!
The BEST Powdered Sugar SNOWBALL Cookies! This is my favorite Christmas cookie recipe! These Russian Tea Cake Cookies are so easy to make! They’re made with pecans and then rolled in powdered sugar after baking! I make a few batches to hand out for gifts around the holidays – everyone always love them!
What do you call these cookies?
Mexican Wedding Cakes?
I call them delicious.
Snowballs are commonly baked around the holiday season. They are a form of Jumble which was a popular cookie pastry made in the Middle Ages. Jumbles were popular during that time because they traveled and kept so well, thanks to their hard nature being made with nuts or seeds. Although in the Middle Ages they were known to keep these cookies around for a year without becoming stale, I dare you to keep them around for a week without eating them.
These are one of my favorite cookies due to the crunch of the finely chopped pecans and powdered sugar you roll them in. Do you love powdered sugar as much as I do? I hope so.
I prefer using pecans for these cookies. You want to make sure they are finely chopped so they don’t overwhelm the cookies so just take a handful and throw them in your food processor. A few pulses later you’ll have exactly what you want.
You’ll also want to chill the dough for about 20 minutes. Why do you want to chill? These cookies have flour in them, so chilling the dough permits the gluten strands in the flour to cause a rubbery texture in the final cookie. Also, having the chilled dough makes it much easier to roll some balls when it’s time to bake them.
The BEST Powdered Sugar SNOWBALL Cookies! This is my favorite Christmas cookie recipe! These Russian Tea Cake Cookies are so easy to make! They're made with pecans and then rolled in powdered sugar after baking! I make a few batches to hand out for gifts around the holidays - everyone always love them!
1/2cupbutter - softened
1/4cupconfectioners powdered sugar
1 1/4cupall purpose flour
1/2cupfinely chopped pecans
confectioners powdered sugar to roll cookies in
Mix butter, sugar and vanilla together in bowl.
Mix flour and salt together in other bowl.
Combine flour mixture with butter mixture, stir so blended together nicely.
Add pecans and stir so they are equally distributed.
Chill dough for 20-30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Roll dough in 1 inch balls and place on lightly greased cookie sheet.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until set but not browned.
While still warm, roll each cookie in powdered sugar.
Are you ready for the holidays? The big day is just a few days away!
Are you excited? Do you get anxious the night before? When it’s Christmas morning do you bounce out of bed? The holiday is always full of so much magic. Even as you get older, there is still a feeling of excitement that always exists.
So the Cookie Party is ready to begin, but you spent all day baking your favorite cookies, suddenly you realize you have 30 minutes to throw on a sweater, shake the flour out of your hair and clean your house that is looking a big messy. Don’t worry, you can clean your house in 23 minutes. Yup, you heard me right, 23 minutes.
Don’t worry about rooms that won’t get visitors. Most likely noone is going to be stopping in the bedroom, so don’t worry about cleaning that room. Shut the doors to all those rooms, it’s the secret code to “don’t you dare look in this room”.
A bathroom mirror is one of the most looked at places in your home. Everyone checks themselves out in it. Grab a paper towel, wipe down the mirror and then use that towel for the sink and faucet. Just like that your bathroom is looking shiny clean.
Those dish towels you used all day long while cooking and baking? You want those cleaned up. Make sure to replace them with some fluffy clean towels.
If you have a Roomba, run it while you’re doing all the other clean up spots. Let the robotic vacuum help you out! I love our Roomba, his name is Blinky.
Did you bake some cookies for your friends or family? That’s pretty kind of you! But here’s the tricky part, how do you ship them overseas without breaking or causing custom issues? Here are some tips to make this process easier and prevent perfect looking cookies from turning into crumbles.
Please share in the comments your own holiday tips!
One of my favorite candy treats of the holiday season is Peppermint M&Ms. They are white chocolate, they are red and white festive candies and they just scream “The holidays are here!”. Well they don’t scream it, they sing it to you softly because M&MS are very polite. With these cookies, I have a pretty hard time making them due to the amount of M&M snacking I do in the process. It goes something like this, shape a cookie, eat a few M&Ms, shape a cookie, eat a few M&Ms, repeat, repeat. I should really start buying 2 bags of M&M for this baking session, one for cookies and one for my belly.
I love these cookies because they have a sugary, peppermint, chocolate taste to them. In each bite you get a nice taste of peppermint crunch from the M&Ms. If you like peppermint bark at all, I think you will love these. Hope you enjoy these cookies! As always, be sure to grab a couple when snacking. 🙂
Welcome friends to Cookie Week!
It will be a week full of crumbs, holiday sweetness and maybe a few more treats thrown in. I am giving you the gift of chocolate and sugar, I hope you like it! I think you deserve it, so take a cookie and snack on.
First up this week are one of my favorite cookies, Peanut Butter Blossoms. Who doesn’t love peanut butter and chocolate? I declare this Peanut Butter Blossoms recipe the best because it’s Matthew’s mother’s recipe and they are extra good. Every year we get a big box of cookies sent from Ohio from his mom and we anxiously await for that day. Then we rip it open and eat cookies for the next few hours, it’s great. I asked her for all her recipes of my favorite cookies she makes and a few days later I received all the recipes in the mail. Then I proceeded to make these cookies, a few times.
I love Peanut Butter Blossoms down to every single little crack they create. I love that they are moist but yet they have a little crunch to them. I especially love all the Chocolate Kisses that are plopped on top as soon as they come out of the oven. If you don’t have Kisses on hand, feel free to substitute a few chocolate chips instead, it’s equally delicious.
Tell me how do you like to enjoy your cookies? Do you eat the cookies by themselves? Do you have some milk on the side, or how about tea or coffee?
It’s hard to just stop at one of these cookies, so be sure to grab a couple. Enjoy!
These Triple Chocolate Avocado Peanut Butter Brownie Bites are delicious! The recipe uses 1 whole avocado which is a healthy alternative to oils. Because they’re bite size they are perfect for parties or guilt free snacking!
Oh friends, have I got a treat for you. These Triple Chocolate Avocado Peanut Butter Brownie Bites are something real special. Remember when you were young and got that first kiss and you got all those butterflies in your stomach? Well that is the feeling I got when eating the first bite. Oh brownie bites, I have a big crush on you, I wrote my landline phone number on your hand, please call me and we can hang out at the arcade Friday night.
These are triple chocolate because I have been craving chocolate real bad. There’s chocolate chips that melt inside the brownie bites which will turn into chocolate lava when you take a first bite (butterflies!), there’s cocoa powder and then there’s chocolate peanut butter. Triple the chocolate, triple the fun, that’s my motto in life.
The real star of these brownie bites is… are you ready? Avocado. Yup, that’s right. One whole avocado is baked inside of these making these chocolate treats creamy, fudgy and beyond delicious.
I love baking with avocado because it means no oils are needed, we’re like bbbfs (best baking buds forever). Avocados have naturally good fats, over 75% of the fat in a avocado is unsaturated. That means it’s a great food substitute for a more nutrient-dense dessert. Avocados can be used in sweet, savory or snack dishes and what makes it even better is they are cholesterol-free, sodium-free and less than 1 gram of sugar per 1 oz serving. Don’t you just want to grab a avocado and eat it right now?
Now grab some of these brownie bites and get a room.
You can either sprinkle these brownie bites with powdered sugar or holiday festive sprinkles – the choice is yours!
And wait till you see how creamy and fudgy they are in the middle. You’ll just fall in love.
With all the sexy chocolate talk a few days ago I decided I wanted to share something different today! Even though it’s alot of gardening and cooking on this blog, I’d like to slowly start to dip my toes into making some fashion and design posts so I thought this would be a great start.
To start, Matthew and I often work in fashion so even though you see me in some pajama wearing dressed garden pictures I love clothes and sparkly nails. Matthew actually makes fun out of me because I often dress in inappropriate gardening clothes, who knew Yohji Yamamoto could make dresses for girls to pick their cauliflower in? Patent leather shoes in the garden? Why not.
I have been wanting a hair change for a while now. I had blue hair for so many years but then I decided it was time to let go so I went back to my natural dark brown. And then months later I immediately regretted it and dreamed of having blue back. I went back and forth between doing it and not doing it and then finally I decided on a happy medium – gray. I’m going gray already, so why not just start out early and go full gray? So earlier this week I went see the ultra talented Aura at Sally Hershberger salon and went silver. It’s a bit darker than what I was hoping for, and I have fears of green and yellow tints (hopefully will be solved with some shimmer I add in when washing) but a few days later I’m feeling pretty good about it. It especially shines gray in the natural light. Snowmen love it too. 🙂
Right now I’m kinda crazy about bonnets. I have a friend who constantly thinks I’m crazy for this, but I’m in love. On my Christmas list I have “bonnets” listed. I can’t get enough. A sharp black bonnet for the winter time makes me weak in the knees.
Also I’m all about layers year round, but especially in the winter time. This is my winter coat I often wear, but I love wearing multiple skirt layers underneath to peek out from the front.
Along with long flowing skirts, I love casual Oxfords or sneakers to be worn with it.
Knitted wear for cat lovers. Multiple people passed this link on to me, glad I’m thought of when it comes to cats.. 🙂
Have you seen the Meadham Kirchhoff for Topshop collection? I want everything, but especially these 2 dresses and the monster throw.
I’ve been dreaming of neon and pastel colored satchels.
I love the hair for the Valentino Spring 2014 show. I have tried to do this to my own hair a few times now.
I love these nails for the upcoming holidays.
Have you tried Beauty Box Five yet? They are a subscription service that delivers a box of sample beauty products every single month. They kindly asked me if I wanted to sample them so they sent me a monthly box. Here are my thoughts:
My products were travel size shampoo/conditioner, eyeliner, lip gloss and oil absorbing facial tissues
The box is $12 which is a good deal. The eyeliner and lip gloss retail for $30 together so already you are saving.
The eyeliner comes with a lid that has a built in sharpener – genius idea in my opinion.
The lip gloss is ok but I don’t think I would wear it. Honestly I can’t bring myself to wear anything that says “be a…bombshell”.
I wasn’t a fan of the shampoo or conditioner, I went back to my regular bottles the next night. Also the full sizes bottles retail for about $20 a piece so a bit pricey if you end up buying it. I didn’t like the shampoo and conditioner were 2 out of the 5 products.
The oil absorbing tissues are nice to have, but I have a few already and this pack isn’t anything special.
I was a bit bummed to not find any nail products in this box, especially as nail color is so popular right now.
If you’re into beauty and love trying new products, I think you should give it a try. If you’re incredibly picky, it might not be for you.
My fragrance of choice for the past few years has been Tom Ford’s Black Orchid. I have been stopped and asked so many times what I’m wearing. I like perfumes that are less floral and more strong. Black Orchid is described as “sultry woods” and has in it Bergamot, Citrus, Mandarin, Black Gardenia, Jasmine, Ylang-Ylang, Lotus Wood, Orchid, Spicy Floral Accord, Orchid (Tom Ford Black Accord), Patchouli, Sandalwood, Incense, Vanilla. If this ever gets discontinued I will cry.
Do you use dry shampoo? Isn’t it just the best? Dry shampoo is great on those extra lazy days of “I don’t want to wash my hair but I don’t want to look like a greaser”. I have very fine hair so my hair tends to get oily quick but washing it every single day is bad, especially if it’s colored. With dry shampoo I can throw this on everyday instead. With my silver hair, it’s preferred I only wash it with real shampoo 2 times a week to make the color last as long as possible, so the dry shampoo works wonders to last the week. I’ve tried many dry shampoos that are out there, ranging from very expensive to cheap and I find that Suave’s Keratin Infusion works just as good as the extra pricey versions. Even better, you can find it at almost any drugstore now.
Another great hair product that works really well for dry or damaged hair caused by dying, bleaching or the elements is Living Proof Restore Mask. It increases hair’s resistance to breakage up to nine times while healing, protecting, and preventing further damage. It’s a bit pricey but because you are only going to use it 1-2 times a week, a bottle lasts a long time. I was told by my stylist to mix a drop of this with my conditioner every time, especially because my hair has been bleached and dyed so many times it can use some healing.
So tell me what are your favorite beauty products right now? What clothing or accessories are you dreaming about? What is your favorite mascara for long lashes? Please give me recommendations, I’m looking for a new mascara!
Delicious dessert recipe for Oreo Chocolate Mousse Pie. This is a rich double chocolate no bake pie made with Cool Whip and a Oreo crust.
I make this pie when I’m feeling like I need a boost, a real great chocolate boost. This is a ultimate bad girl pie, full of cream and chocolate.
Not only is there melted chocolate pieces, but then there’s chocolate chips along the outside. Decorating the outside is a great way to go because it guarantees that everyone who gets a slice will get double the chocolate. Oh did I mention the pie is on top of a Oreo crust? Oh my, I’m a bad girl.
This is a chocolate lovers pie, perfect for the holidays. I made this for Thanksgiving and a few days later I found myself sitting at my desk daydreaming about it. If you’re able to make this pie and not eat it all at once, you’ll be even more pleased. I feel the longer it sits and sets, the yummier it gets. So if you can keep this pie around for a few days, every single day it will get better. Oh Oreo Chocolate Mousse Pie, I love you so. The melted chocolate and milk. Did I take a spoonful? Absolutely.
When mixing it all together make sure the Cool Whip is thawed or it won’t be easy to mix. If you are in a pinch, throw the Cool Whip (dump into a microwave safe bowl) in the microwave for 15 seconds – works wonders. And then a few hours later after setting you’ll have this delight!
First I want to thank you for all the kind comments you left on my fire safety post earlier this week. Reading all your loving and kind words makes me want to bake you a big batch of cookies. Thanks again, it means alot to me and my family. <hug>
Now in some happier news..
I’m proud to announce I’ve joined the the Peanut Butter & Co Blogger Recipe team! Peanut Butter & Co are my favorite Peanut Butter brand hands down so when they asked me I immediately responded with excitement. Over the next few months I will be sharing some recipes, from sweet to savory and everything in between.
Because it’s near the holidays I have one thing on my mind- COOKIES! The amount of times I’ve said I wanted a cookie this week is very high up there, it’s all I want. This weekend I plan on making a few more family tradition cookies that I can’t wait to share with you, but for now I am baking these glorious babies – Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies.
That’s right. A triple chocolate cookie. Can it get any better than this? I don’t think it can. These cookies are delicious, they will leave you wanting more, they will leave you smiling. They really are that great. They are A+.
Fire. That word alone is the most terrifying thought in the world to me.
Fire safety has been a issue to me for the past few years but it wasn’t until a few nights ago when our apartment building’s fire alarm system went off 5 times during 1:30-3:00AM that left my hands shaking, heart beating quickly and pacing our loft (with kitties in arms) that I knew this had to be a post. When I spoke with Matthew the next morning discussing the best fire practices for our living space, what to do, when to stop and get out of there, etc that he said “You should do a post about this”. And that was a brilliant idea. When a fire hits, we tend to panic. We will stop. We will fill up with fear. We might even freeze. We all need to be prepared incase of a fire to protect ourselves, our family, our homes and our neighbors.
Hearing about a fire is pretty awful, but it wasn’t until it touched me personally that I knew how heart breaking and life shattering a fire can be. Let me take you back to January, 2011. I was asleep when my phone rang during the middle of the night. When you look at the phone and see it’s a family member calling you at 4AM, you know this will not be good. The phone call went like this:
“Pamela, it’s your brother.”
“Don’t freak out, Dad is OK, but the house burned down.”
Enter tears, the tugging of the heart and Matthew’s arms immediately wrapping around me as I sobbed in bed.
Immediately the phone calls started coming in from my sister and my mother while all I could think about was getting to hear my father’s voice. Everyone told me it was all over the news so immediately I jumped on the TV stations from Central/Northern Pennsylvania and saw this on the front page: My heart sunk. The fire was coming out from my brother’s bedroom that I spent so many years in listening to the Beastie Boys while shooting nerf basketballs at him. The hours we played Nintendo in this bedroom was unimaginable. But there it was.
Next came this photo and that’s probably where I really lost it. Not only is the house on fire, but the truck now outside is. My brother took this photo right when the fire departments arrived.
Later scene on the front of the newspaper, the next morning. That’s my brother in the picture.
That was my house. That was truly my house. I might have moved away and moved around but the only house to date that was ever “mine” was that one. I lived in that house from the time I was born to the time I went to college. The phone number of that house will always be the most remembered digits in my head.
So what happened? During the middle of the night the house next door to mine lit on fire, it started in the kitchen. Then it quickly spread. It left 5 houses homeless. It spread quickly because they are row homes and because it was in the single digits that January night so firefighters were battling ice. My dad who doesn’t have the best hearing was asleep when he finally woke up from the blaze. Everyone from the other houses were already out wondering when my dad was going to come out of the front door. He later told me that as he left his bedroom, down the steep stairs of the house, around the middle room and finally out the front door where someone was waiting to grab him and pull him out, fire was blazing on the walls. He saw fire on the walls in his house that all his children were raised in. To this day every time I imagine my dad in that situation it breaks my heart and my throat tightens up.
After they pulled my dad from the house, with nothing left, he couldn’t even grab his cane, they rushed him up the street and someone threw a winter coat on him.
I was finally able to speak to my dad on the telephone after the good people at the Red Cross and neighbors supplied him slippers, a coat and a gift card for a few nights at a local hotel. As soon as we heard each others voices we both started crying. I just wanted to grab him through the telephone and give him a great big hug. And that’s what I did a few hours later after I immediately ran to Port Authority, jumped on a bus and made my trip back. I found my dad at the hotel, sitting, not having any of his own belongings. And I just wrapped my arms around my dad, one of my best friends for life and just told him I loved him.
After I saw my dad my sister took me to see the damages. The fire trucks were still there the following evening as little blazes would come here or there. As soon as we arrived on the hill where I spent 18 years of my life rolling Matchboxes down the pavement, playing kickball that left all neighbors angry at us kicking balls at their cars and organizing neighborhood kids bingo games I saw what was left of the house. And then I smelled the fire. That smell will stick with me forever. Whenever I smell anything remotely to burning, I become paranoid. Is someone outside barbecuing or is that a fire? I have to check it out.
When walking down that icy sidewalk to look at my past home this was laying in the street. I wish I could have grabbed it and removed the smell. That was my couch’s pillow. That couch was a highlight when my parents bought it one year. It was bold red plaid and it matched nothing in the home, but it was gorgeous and we all loved it.
The next day I ventured back to the house to look at it during the day time, see old neighbors who all had that look of pity on their faces and see if I could possibly savage anything alongside my brother. I think it’s therapeutic to talk about things like this so I wanted to share these pictures with you. Days after these pictures were taken the houses were leveled to the ground where now nothing exists but grass.
First, that’s my bedroom. Even though it no longer exists, I still call it mine. My bedroom had all my treasures down to my Hawaiian girl sheets, family photos and notebooks full of my first 18 years of my life. All now gone.
You can see the roof no longer exists in my brother’s bedroom.
A eerie curtain hangs from my dad’s bedroom.
The kitchen where I made sugar cookies every Christmas and halupkies a few times a month with my mom.
The kitchen sink and stove.
The ceiling of the first floor or what was left.
Ice hanging off the existing ceiling pieces.
My front house window that no longer existed.
My living room that I tried to learn how to ride a bicycle in but fell off and hit my head making my babysitter panic and call my parents on their date night.
Me standing on a wall that used to exist.
The middle room of the house. Above this is the upstairs which I wasn’t allowed to see.
All my baby photos and books are gone, family photo albums gone forever, but somehow this pin of my Kindergarten picture made it out. I owe it to the stylish bow-tie that a 6 year old wore decided to wear for picture day and unfortunately messed up her own bangs right before the photo was taken.
Also this cat garden sign survived. I got this custom made for my Father one year because he’s in love with Xanadu (and vice versa) and even though Xanadu didn’t live there, in his heart Xanadu ruled his home.
The experience was life changing and gloomy for quite some time. Many families lost their homes that night but thankfully noone was seriously injured. The Red Cross, the Community, family and firefighters were extra nice to my dad and I thank them for that. I sent the firefighters Junior’s NYC cheesecake weeks later as a well deserved thank you.
The heart warming part of this story? After my dad lived in a hotel for 8 months (!) while home owners insurance finally settled, my father was able to buy a home he always wanted. One that had a great big yard where he could grow his massive amounts of tomatoes and peppers and that had a garage that he could wash his car outside of. Car washing was one of my dads hobbies I remember not enjoying as a kid as I was always selected to help him pull the hose up from the basement which happened somehow every Saturday morning while I was trying to eat cinnamon rolls and watch Save By The Bell.
And guess what exists in his front yard now? Yup, the Xanadu cat sign. She pretty much has a shrine in one the front yard beds.
In this yard he’s able to put as many santa wearing bears and cats and disco balls as he wishes now. Many people ask where I get my creativity from? My dad.
So with that, let’s talk fire safety. The fire started next door in the kitchen. Who knows the real cause, but we know it came from the stove in some way. Fires start in the kitchen more than any other place in the home. Although fires can’t be prevented completely we can minimize fire risks to keep our families safe. Two out of three reported home-cooking fires start with the range or stove. Let’s be prepared in case we ever have to face that moment.
Install a smoke detector. Make sure it isn’t installed somewhere where it always is going to go off during cooking but close enough. Install a smoke alarm near the kitchen, on each level of the home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms. Test it, make sure it’s working. Replace your batteries.
Have a fire extinguisher nearby. I keep mine right next to the stove in a bottom cabinet. I can get to it within 1 second (trust me, I practice). Replace your extinguisher immediately if needed. Learn how to work it, learn the PASS system – pull, aim, squeeze and sweep. I learned that as a kid and I will never forget it. Educate your kids about this. If you contact your local fire department they will even show you how to use a fire extinguisher.
Unplug electric appliances when not in use. Toaster ovens, mixers, coffee makers, and so on, continue to draw electricity even when they’re not turned on. So if the wiring is old or faulty, or if the thermostat overheats, a fire could break out.
Use caution when lighting the pilot light or burner on a gas stove.
Don’t use metal in the microwave. Ever.
Don’t overfill pots or pans with oil or grease. They can splatter and cause a fire.
Always roll up long sleeves and tie back long hair when cooking. Need to reach to the cabinet above the stove? Be careful. Make sure your apron isn’t even close to a burner that is on.
Keep dish towels, pot holders, and paper towels away from the stove. Also curtains, paper bags, food packaging, wooden utensils. If your burner is left on by accident, these can light on fire.
Keep your stovetop, burners and oven clean.
Plug it directly in. Plug microwave ovens and other cooking appliances directly into an outlet. Never use an extension cord for a cooking appliance, it can cause a fire by overloading the circuit.
Never leave cooking food unattended. Ever. Get a phone call during making dinner? Don’t risk it, shut it off if you need to leave the kitchen.
Use a Timer. Incase you were to forget you are broiling something, the timer will remind you. I have 5 different timers in my kitchen incase I am cooking multiple things.
Check it. Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off. Matthew and I have a mental checklist that we check before leaving the house. If you leave the house and aren’t sure if you turned it off, return home to be extra safe.
Talk to your Family. What happens if the kitchen is on fire? Where is the nearest exit? In general, kitchen or not, have a exit plan. Everyone in the family should know their part of the escape plan, even the dogs and cats should have their carrier readily available if needed. Be prepared. Sparky is a great resource for children.
If there is a fire:
Smother the Flames. Always keep an oven mitt and a lid nearby when you are cooking. If a small grease fire starts in a pan, smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan. (Make sure you are wearing the oven mitt.) Turn off the burner. Do not move the pan. To keep the fire from restarting, leave the lid on until the pan is completely cool. Never use water or flour or pick up a burning pan to put into the sink. Smother it with a lid and remove that oxygen.
Turn off the heat. In case of an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning you or your clothing.
Keep The Door Closed. If a fire starts in your microwave or toaster oven, turn the appliance off immediately and keep the door closed. Never open the door until the fire is completely out. Unplug the appliance if you can safely reach the outlet.
Exit. Fire too much? Leave immediately. Your life and your families are much more important then your Le Creuset cookware. Call 911 immediately.
Stop, Drop and Roll. We all learn this as a kid but remember it. Don’t run if your clothing catches fire , stop where you are, drop to the ground, and roll,
Thanks for sticking with me through this post because honestly I had to stop and cry a few times. Thankfully memories last forever. I hope the safety tips are helpful to you and your family.
Now, a group hug.
Easy to make tamale soup recipe that only takes 20 minutes to make!
Tamale Soup Recipe
Are you like us and are extremely indecisive when it comes to dinner when there are no plans? “What’s for dinner?” is the worst question in the world when the response is “I don’t know, what do you want?” That leaves Matthew and I both opening the freezer, looking in the vegetable drawer, browsing the pasta selection and usually ends up with me on the ground crying “Just eat without me! I can’t decide!”. That’s what hungry bellies do, they make you irritable.
So enter this Easy Tamale Taco Soup. I’m really big on quick meals when we’re on deadline for projects. Slow cookers rule, but sometimes I don’t have time in the morning to get it started so I need something super quick. That’s why canned goods and frozen vegetables rule.
This Taco Soup is made in 20 minutes. You use up all your energy opening up the cans, dump them into a pot, boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Then you sit at your dinner table and eat it about 2 minutes because you are that hungry.
Do you guys know about Homel Beef Tamales in Chili Sauce? I recently came across them in my travels at the grocery store. They are basically Tamales in a can. They scream out “lazy”. I love it.
And the ingredients aren’t frightening at all for Tamales in a can: Water, Beef, Tomatoes (Water, Tomato Paste), Corn Meal, Corn Flour, Masa Harina, Salt, Chili Powder (Chili Peppers, Flavoring), Lime, Cornstarch, Paprika, Spice.” No additives, no preservatives, no words I can’t pronounce. Pretty cool right? And even better the entire can is 340 calories. Throw this in a pot with just a full lineup of beans and corn and you got a pretty healthy extra quick meal.