Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Cabbage Soup

 I've been on a soup kick lately and I think I'm getting the hang of making them. Tonight it is a chilly 55 degrees Fahrenheit in sunny California. I know,  many of you may laugh because 55 is not chilly at all, but we Californians are a different breed of animal, we don't handle the cold well at all, especially Californians born and raised in Arizona as I was!

Earlier today I came across a recipe for Cabbage Food, courtesy of the Food Network Kitchen, here's the link to their soup. I of course modified it a bit and it was a hit with my family so I want to save it for posterity on my blog!



2 T. Olive Oil

4 Stalks Celery diced super tiny

2 1/2 cups shredded lettuce - any brand

1 Green bell pepper also diced super tiny

2 Cloves fresh garlic -grated

1 - 14 ounce bag Classic Cole Slaw Mix

2 T low sodium Soy Sauce

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

Salt and Pepper (to taste)

1 - 8 ounce can tomato sauce

1 - 15 ounce can White Beans also called Navy Beans (optional)

4 cups low-sodium chicken sauce

2 cups water


1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat, then add celery, carrots, peppers and minced garlic and cook until the vegetables begin to brown and become fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir in Soy Sauce, garlic and onion powder, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper. 

2. Add the cabbage to the pot and stir until it begins to wilt, won't take long since it's shredded cabbage and carrots, about 2 minutes. Add the can of tomato sauce, chicken broth and water, stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook until the cabbage is tender, 30 minutes or to suit your taste. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and/or pepper as needed.

My daughter didn't think beans would be a good addition to the soup, but I love beans in soup so I open the can and drained them well with hot water, added about 1/4 to a 1/2 cup in the bottom of my bowl and added the soup on top. The beans helped to cool the soup a bit. I also added a splash of La Victoria. Yum! 

It was just that easy to make a hearty, healthy, satisfying soup for a cold winter day. I know this one is a keeper and I will be making it often!

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Mom is 85!

 On December 19, 2021 our mother turned 85 and we had to celebrate her. 

In 2016 she turned 80 and we tricked her! Instead of celebrating her birthday on December 19th, we changed it up and had a huge bash for her on October 22nd, you can read about it and see pictures HERE

Here's a photo of her at her party for her 80th Birthday.

This year we wanted to do something big for her again, not everyone makes it to 85! Unfortunately COVID has changed so many things and gathering family from far and near was just out of the question. 

So we decided to do a smaller gathering, just her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Not everyone in the family has received their vaccines and I'm really serious about keeping mom safe and away from people that may possibly be sick. The idea of mom dying alone in a hospital without her family is just unthinkable!

Anyway, because December is cold, we planned a lunch for her and we weren't able to surprise her because it was planned for the backyard of my house and she lives with me. Regardless we had a wonderful time and "Our Queen" was so happy. 

I want to share some photos of the event.

Here's a photo of mom alone with her cake. Honestly I think she is getting younger!

As always, she's draped in red, her favorite color for as long as I can remember. She always dressed us in red as children.

From left - my brother Fred, me in pink, mom in red, my sister Lisa and my brother Jaime. I'm the oldest, Jaime is the baby.

Not everyone was able to attend at the same time as some had to work, I tried to get photos as I could of her with everyone.

Here's mom with me and my son James, my daughter April was missing.

The next in line as far as age in our family is my sister Lisa. Here she is with her husband Sean or as he is known to us Guero. Lisa's son Sean Jr was unable to attend as his wife was pregnant and due to have that baby any second, turns out the baby had his own schedule and I'm proud to say that little Baby Sean was born on December 22 at 5am, healthy at 9 pounds, 21 inches long.

My sister Lisa and her husband Sean aka Guero and mom

 We did take mom to visit her newest great grandson on December 31st, New Years Eve, I'll go ahead and post a picture of her with the baby here, even though the baby did not attend her party! Isn't he precious! Mom was so happy to meet him.

Next in line is my brother Fred aka Federico, named after my dad. His family was all working, they did show up later in the afternoon, but I didn't get a chance to get any pictures! But I did get one of mom with Fred.

Next was my baby brother Jaime and his family. I didn't manage to get a family photos all together, but I did catch them all separately.

Mom and Jaime

Mom and Jaime's wife Connie

Mom with brother Jaime's children, Gabriel, Clarissa and Sarena

And last but not least, I have to share this photo of my mom with our dog Chorizo. Mom and Chorizo are the best of friends and Chorizo seemed to know it was a special day and stayed close to mom's side.

It was a beautiful day and I am so grateful to have this woman in my life, she's been a great teacher and friend. Love you mom and we'll write another blog about you when you turn 90!

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Books Read in 2021

Happy New Year to each 

and every one of you!

Here's hoping and praying that this new year with be just a bit better than last year, that the pandemic will become simply a memory and that we can all learn to be better humans!

As I do each year, I share the books that I've read in the year that just ended.  I began my blog in 2008 and started keeping track of books read on my blog since 2009.  

In 2012 I signed up with Goodreads and I've been keep track of my books online and it's been so much easier! I love setting goals and meeting them and looking back at the history of the books I've enjoyed through the years. 

Here's a screenshot of the books I've read before signing up on Goodreads: 

What I love about Goodreads is that it keeps track of the goals I've set and the books that I've actually read. Here's my list from 2012 to 2020: 

So without further ado....


(drumroll please!)

As you can see, I exceeded my goal! I attribute this to less TV time. Instead of sitting mindlessly at the TV and playing on my phone I watch just the shows I enjoy and Football and if there is nothing I have scheduled to watch, I turn the TV off and read instead. As you can see, I was wasting a lot of time watching TV.

Here's all the books that I read:

I have to say that my favorite books that I read this year were the ones by the author Kristin Hannah. Wow can that lady write! I hope to read several more of her books in 2022!

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

In The Time I Have Left

      I read a very interesting blog post today during my lunch hour while I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a cup of sugar-free hot chocolate...none of which I am allowed, but it's cold outside and I wanted something comforting, so I'm feeling ok about my lunch because I used sugar-free jam and sugar-free hot chocolate mix, and the peanut butter has protein, so let's not worry about that bread, right? 

     So...let me drop the link to this blog post right here so you can go visit him. I've been following Urspo for a while now and find his posts to be entertaining, enlightening and very often thought provoking, such as the one I've linked today.

     As I mentioned in my comment to him, my dad died at age 82, my mom will be 85 next month and I am currently 63, so I figure I have 20 years or so years of life left and that inspired this post and the title, "In the Time I Have Left."

     Let me begin by posting my comment to Urspo, "That's a good tip. I'm a bit of a procrastinator when it comes to paying bills, so I've set up almost everything on auto pay so I don't have to worry about it. As I get older though, I find that I make excuses based on the length of time I have left in life. I'm 63 and my dad lived to be 82 and my mom who is still with me will be 85 next I figure I have another 20 or so years to live. Given that I have such a small amount of time left, do I really want to spend that time cleaning my house or paying bills or doing yardwork? Or do I want to read amazing books and work on my art or write blog posts and watch as much football as the NFL can throw at me? (Ok, I changed up my comment from what I posted on his blog, let's call it creative license, or maybe it's the glass of wine I just matter, let's move on, shall we?)

     So...where was I going with this? Oh yes, the time I have left. Some might think that I should retire already, but I plan to work until I'm 72. I enjoy my job. Not every day...but most days. With the pandemic in play, I have been able to work from home since March of 2020. I've avoided that dreaded commute I had every morning and evening, so I've gained an hour and a half in my day, so why not earn that paycheck as long as possible right?

     Once I retire I figure I will have 10 to 12 more years of life and  hopefully I will have good health and the mental awareness to do the things I love to do. 

     When my dad retired, I remember like it was yesterday, he sat at the kitchen table dejected and sad, not knowing what to do with the rest of his day, the rest of his life. All he knew how to do was work and he loved what he did. My mom on the other hand loves to do beadwork and sew and read and shop, she's always been a very crafty, creative person. I like to think I got the best parts of  each of them, so I will work as long as I can, as my dad should have done and when I can't work anymore, I will paint and read and cook amazing soups, when and if I want to.

     So that is the plan for the rest of the time I have left...what is your plan? 

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Halloween 2021 - Baby J and Baby Rose and their Nana

 A quick post just as a remembrance of Halloween this year. 

Last Halloween was sad because of Covid. We hard-core sheltered in, we have to because mom is 85 and her lungs are compromised. So no one was allowed in the house. They could visit, but outside, everyone with a mask and they had to sit 10 feet away from mom.

This year we've both had 2 vaccines and a booster and we feel like we can be a little bit more daring...not crazy daring, we're not hitting the clubs or anything, just opening up our home to family again. Maybe we will even host Christmas again this year...we will see, baby steps Alicia, baby steps.

So we got to see our beautiful, sweet, smart Baby J! I posted this photo on my blog on September 2014. She was about 5 months shy of becoming two years old. She's the first great grandchild my mom has been blessed with and she continues to be a blessing to us all. She's the daughter of my sister Lisa's firstborn son who is shown in the picture at his swearing in ceremony for law enforcement. He's still a peace officer today.

Well Baby J is mostly all grown up now. I believe she's going to be 9 in Feb of 2022 and she has a sidekick now, her little sister Baby Rose! Here's a picture of them this Halloween as their daddy brought them to visit their Nana. And even thought Baby Rose has not been as lucky as Baby J to visit Nana every week, there is still a strong bond. My dad used to say "la Sangre llama" which translated means "blood calls" and there is a strong call to my mom with all her grand and great grandchildren. 

Baby J is the big girl with the Mickey Mouse ears. She closed her eyes in this one, but I loved the expression on Baby Rose's face so I had to share it. Doesn't my mom look so happy!

Baby Rose was so cute, she would shout "Trick or Treat" and then reach into her bucket and give US candy! You can see my mom is enchanted with Baby Rose in this one. I should have taken a video so I could know what they were chatting about.

The face of my mom says it all! And guess what??? Next year for Halloween, there will be a new member to this family! A little man! Can't wait to meet him. Thank you Sean for always sharing your beautiful family with us! We love you all!

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

My Art Featured on Art Group - The Mixed Media Emporium

 I was honored yet again to have my artwork featured on the masthead of the Facebook group page for The Mixed Media Emporium - with Nina Ribena & Kylie Coo.

This is a prompt related group on Facebook. Every week on Sunday morning there is a YouTube video from Nina Ribena and another from Kylie Coo that features a specific prompt. It's what I look forward to most on Sunday mornings, grabbing a cup of coffee and watching both videos and then visiting Facebook to see what others have done.

This prompt was for the month of June, Week 4 and the prompt was Watercolor Doodles. I started out with a piece of watercolor paper that was 6 inches x 5 inches and I added watercolors in shades of pink and green and grey and a touch of turquoise and yellow to add some brightness. 

I knew that what I wanted to doodle was roses so I left certain spots pink on purpose.

I just finished the 100 Days of Zentangle 2021 with The Tireless Tangler, Cyndee Pulley and the Tangle pattern we did on day 96 was one called Pozer by Beth Snoderly and it's so easy and yet you achieve such a beautiful design that it looks like you spent hours on it. The easiest Roses I've ever drawn!

The leaves are a Tangle pattern called Anuleaf by Lila Holter and the rose buds are a Tangle pattern called Buddy by Dorothy Allison. The little fringy things with dots are just something I like to do, not sure where I saw it, but it's cute.

So I was very happy that my artwork was chosen to be featured for the week! This is my third time to have my art featured. You can find the first time HERE and the second time HERE. I think I'm getting better with a fine wine!

I find it hard to make time to do every weekly prompt, but I try to do as many as I can. It's a great group of super-talented individuals.

I'm going to try to share some of my favorite pieces from The 100 Days of Zentangle 2021 in another post. Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 11, 2021

So What Have I Been Up To?

      So what have I been up to since my last post on January 20, 2021? Well I'm still working from home so that eats up 40 hours of my week, but at least I'm saving an hour a day on my commuting time. 

     When I'm not working, I keep busy of course, trying to fit in working on art when I can.

     But today I want to share a new kitchen gadget that I bought. I'm not big on gadgets because I really don't have room to store them, but I decided to get this one because my sister in law has it and she recommended it so highly it was hard to resist.

     I introduce to you my new Ninja SP101 Foodi Flip 8-in-1 Digital Air Fry Oven.

     I know...she looks like a regular toaster oven, but she's not. Trust me, I have a toaster oven and it's now in a box of things being donated to Goodwill because this one does what that one does and so much more!

     The Ninja Flip can Air Fry, Air Roast, Air Broil, Bake, make Toast, Dehydrate, can toast Bagels and can keep food warm. 

     So far I have used it to broil Petite Sirloin Steak with french fries but forgot to take a picture. I've heated up corn tortillas to make Huevos Rancheros, I've air fried potatoes to go with the Huevos Ranchero, but again forgot to take a picture.

     Today I took pictures! Because today I made Egg Bites.

     These are supposed to be similar to the ones Starbucks sells, but Starbucks uses a sous vide method of cooking and I used the Ninja Flip.

     I want to make sure to have the recipe somewhere handy and my blog is the best way to do that.


Recipe & setting:

5 eggs

1/2 cup shredded gruyere cheese

1/4 cup cottage cheese

1/4 tsp kosher salt

Black pepper to taste.

I put all the eggs, cheese, cottage cheese, salt & pepper into my blender, blend for 30 seconds. Grease your muffin tin, I used a regular metal tin & Pam cooking spray. Fill cups to top, will make 6, I added bacon bits. Put in Ninja Flip, Bake setting for 14 min. Turn the whole tin at 7 minutes.

     That's the basic recipe but I tweeked it a bit and added finely diced red bell pepper and yellow onion to the bottom of the tin and then added the egg. The veggies had a nice crunch to them.

     You can of course do these in your regular oven but it's 101 degrees outside right now and we're supposed to get to 111 so there was no way I was turning on my oven. The Ninja Flip hardly puts out any heat at all! I just love it!

     I wish I had more time to share some artwork, but a nap is calling to me. Until next time...

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Why I Finally Had to Unfollow Someone on Social Media

 I recently had to unfollow someone on Instagram, Facebook and a Group we were in together. Now I don’t do this…ever! If I don’t like what someone says, I just disregard it because I know that I can’t agree with everyone 100% of the time, we are all individuals. If we just get rid of everyone in our world that doesn’t agree with us, what a boring world it would be.

But I just couldn’t in all good conscience continue to follow this person or her group. She’s had quite a rant about Donald Trump in the past, but on the day of the chaos that happened at the State Capitol, Wednesday, January 6, she just came unglued.

Let me go back to the beginning, she has a YouTube channel, which I have also unfollowed. She’s growing quite a few subscribers and with good reason as she’s fun, funny, smart, creative and has a “no fear” attitude that I love when it comes to creating Art, she just dives in and hopes for the best and 99.9% of the time it’s a work of Art!

She also has a Facebook Group for all those that follow her YouTube channel and want to share their art and get together with like-minded art loving, creative types. The group was fun, I enjoyed sharing my art work and getting feedback and I loved seeing everyone else’s art because it was inspirational.

On the day of the Capitol Riots she came online into the Facebook Group…which is her Facebook Group, she started it, she’s the administrator and I suppose she felt she had the right to express her political opinion on it. I didn’t copy down her exact words and now since I’ve left the group, I can’t go back to see them, but the gist of it was “Oh my God, Trump and Trumpers are the worst, this is disgusting and if any of you reading this are Trumpers then just get the hell out of my group or tell me and I will automatically ban you!”

Several people took offense and left a comment only to receive such vile and vicious replies from her and from others in the group that it was sickening. As if what was happening to the American Way and Democracy at the Capitol was not disheartening enough, she had to bring that hatred and single-mindedness into what was/is an Art Group for Creative people, not that creative people can’t and don’t have opinion, but “time and place” people, “time and place”.

I was saddened by her anger and hatred and even more so by the way she personally attacked and let others attack people that did not think like her.

I’m not saying that I am on the side of Trump, or the Republicans, or the Democrats or that I even have any political affiliation, that is my own personal private business, I believe what I believe and I don’t force my beliefs on others, unless someone asks my opinion.

Regardless, moving forward to a couple of days ago, I went to her YouTube channel during my lunch hour and was watching a video she posted recently and in it she said, and I paraphrase “I have not posted since my rant on Facebook and whoo boy, all I can say is Sorry, Not Sorry.” So, which is it? Sorry? Why say Sorry at all if you are going to follow it up with Not Sorry. Because of course, she is not Sorry. She felt justified in vilifying and attacking supporters of Trump.

I don’t understand how someone can justify hatred of a group of people, whether those people are members of a particular political party, race, gender, etc. I just could not in all good conscience continue to listen to her spew such venom and while I will miss her videos and her creativity and her group and the friends I have made in the group, I just can’t stomach hatred.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

The Problem with Homemade Food!

      Recently one of my readers (Urspo of Spo-Reflections) left a comment about the home-made tortillas I made a few weeks ago. He had never made them and he wondered if home-made was better than store bought. Definitely they are better, but here's the thing...

     Growing up everything we had was home-made. Mom made home-made tortillas, usually flour but often corn tortillas as well. 

     I can remember she would give me a little round ball of flour masa (masa=dough) and I had my own little rolling pin and I would roll out my tortilla over and over again, often times dropping it on the floor and by the time I was done, it was dingy and dirty and mom would cook it for me on her comal, see photo below. (Comal=Cast Iron Griddle) 

     I don't think she actually cooked mine, I'm pretty sure when I wasn't watching she would throw it away and give me one of her tortillas that was clean and perfectly round. She would place a big pat of butter in the middle and I would cut little pieces of the tortilla and dip it in the butter which was starting to melt and it was the best thing I ever tasted in my whole life. Same thing with the corn tortillas...nothing better than a fresh home-made corn tortilla with butter!

     Fast forward to the introduction of the flour and corn tortillas in the stores. I'm not sure exactly when that was but whenever it was, that was when my mom decided that the tortillas she could buy in the store were healthier than the home-made ones, and you want to know why? Because when you buy them in the store, you don't see the flour and lard that goes into them, so of course they seem healthier.

     So we went from having home-made tortillas made simply with flour, lard, salt and baking powder (and my mother's love), to having commercially made tortillas made with Enriched Bleach Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Vegetable Shortening (interesterified and hydrogenated soybean oils), Salt, Sugar, Baking Soda, Sodium Acid, Pyrophosphate, Distilled Monoglycerides, Fumaric Acid and Calcium Propionate and Sorbic Acid (to maintain freshness).

     And we wonder why we are so much more unhealthy than our ancestors? 

     So yes Urspo, home-made tortillas are better, they taste better and they are actually healthier for us. But of course the best thing is not to eat them at all, but c'mon...who are we kidding, we're not going to stop eating them, they are just too good!

     I had never heard the word "interesterified" and google is telling me it's misspelled, but it doesn't offer any meaning or corrected spelling, so I googled it. don't Google it, sometimes what you don't know can't hurt you.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Live - Laugh - and Love

 I was just getting ready to start a post about Christmas being over and my day yesterday spent putting everything away.

I have the TV on watching the Baltimore Ravens play the Tennessee Titans, yes...I am a hardcore NFL football fan.

A Progressive commercial came on. I love these new commercials with Dr. Rick. No offense to Flo, but I'm a bit tired of her.

This is the commercial I just saw. What caught my ear was the beginning when he says we don't need a sign that says Live, Laugh, Love to Live, Laugh, Love. I beg to differ! I need that sign, I have that sign, I love that sign!

I'm a huge believer in the written word. If I see something in writing, it sticks in my head, especially inspirational words, quotes, sayings. When I wake up in the morning I see the words, Live Laugh Love and it's a reminder that I've been given another day to do just that. Sometimes of course, like anyone else I, Waste Growl and Dislike, but I always have the next day to do better.

I also have another sign over the door heading out of my bedroom that says "It's a Wonderful Life"...many, many times I need that reminder, especially during these dark days of Covid. 

I have to see things in writing for them to stick in my head. So with all due respect to Dr. Rick, I will keep my Live, Laugh and Love sign!

So yesterday I put away the Christmas Tree and all the decorations. Since I was already in the shed where I store all my decorations, I went ahead and took out my Valentine's Day decor and got that all set up.

Yesterday was the first day of the NFL playoffs so I watched football while I did all this. Then as usually happens, I nodded off briefly and took a quick cat nap on the couch. Aren't those the best naps? The unexpected ones on the couch? I woke up so refreshed that I made a big pot of soup and some homemade flour tortillas! 

The last time that I had made them was in November of 2008 and I did blog about it, see that post HERE. If you want to make them, I share the recipe and the how-to. Wow, I just went back to review that post and I even did a video! 

This was in my previous home, I loved that house, I loved the kitchen in that house, the old-school green tile and the sink that sat in a corner. I miss that house!

I can see that the ones I made back in 2008 were a lot better than the ones I made yesterday, well they looked prettier anyway.

Back to watching football and working on coloring in a Mandala I drew Friday.