All we need is love

All we need is love
All we need is love

Friday, August 31, 2012

Pizza with Caramelized Onions, Goat Cheese, Prosciutto and Fresh Italian Parsley

Does this speak to you?? It certainly does to me. It screams, 
"EAT ME!" 

I discovered this wild and savory pizza while on the hunt for an appetizer for my last girls night in. Giada de Laurentis from the Food Network created this pizza in a mini, two-bite version called a "pizzette" which translates to mini-pizza in Italian. Well, my guests and I were so blown away by the flavor on those pizzettes, that I decided to create one large version for my family's Friday Night Pizza and a Movie. 

I'll be honest though, my husband wasn't too impressed. He didn't like the bites of soft, melty goat cheese that he encountered. But then, he isn't really a fan of goat cheese to begin with and he's definitely a carnivore when it comes to his pizzas. I would say, if enjoy the occasional culinary adventure and don't mind straying away from the traditional pizza with red-sauce and mozzarella, you might really like this one. I loved it and I can't wait to make it again. Here's the recipe.

Pizza with Caramelized Onions, Goat Cheese, Prosciutto and Fresh Italian Parsley


Pizza dough- store bought or home made
3 large onions
3 tablespoons EVOO
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon each of dried rosemary, thyme, basil and oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Goat cheese, crumbled- 3 ounces (about 1/2 a cup)
Prosciutto, cut in thin slices- 3 ounces
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf  or Italian parsley, chopped
fresh rosemary sprigs (optional)

whole wheat flour or corn meal


Prepare your caramelized onions first- they'll take about an hour. You can make these hours in advance if needed. 
Peel your onions and slice them into 1/4-1/2" rounds. Place them in a large saute pan with the EVOO, sugar, spices, salt and pepper. Cook on medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions cook down and caramelize into a dark, golden brown- about 45 minutes to an hour. Set the onions aside.

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Prepare your pizza dough. Roll it out, throw it up in the air- what ever you like to do to get it into a nice, big, flat circle. Place in on a pizza stone or cookie sheet   that is coated with whole wheat flour or corn meal. This will add to the crunch of the crust and help prevent the dough from sticking to the pan. 

Top your pizza dough with all of the caramelized onions. If there is any flavored oil left in the bottom on the pan from the onions, pour this on your pizza too. Sprinkle the crumbled goat cheese over the onions and place in the oven to bake, for about 15 minutes, or until the dough is cooked through. Once out of the oven, sprinkle the pizza with the cold Prosciutto slices and the freshly chopped parsley and/or rosemary sprigs and serve immediately.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mandy and Me

I got to have dinner with one of the greatest friends I have ever had, Amanda! This is a special night, because we only get to do this a couple time each year. Our schedules are so different with her teaching  during the day, Monday though Friday and me working nights 3-4 days each week, so we usually have to plan to make it happen. I'm so glad we did tonight! 
I love talking with her and reminiscing our 16 years of friendship. She is always a great encouragement and keeps me laughing! Very few people in this world know me as well as she does. I love her and I appreciate our friendship more than she'll ever know! It's humbling to have a friend in your life who knows you so well, warts and all, and still chooses to love you. I love you Mandy!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Family photos on canvas

Another reason to love Snapfish..... 

Canvas prints! 
Slowly but surely I am redecorating my "play room" into something that we all can live with and enjoy.  One of the details I have always wanted to incorporate into my interior decorating is a grouping of family photos on canvas. Well, I finally broke down and ordered some pictures and they came in today! 
I ordered these beautifully matted pics from Snapfish- of course- when they had a fabulous sale- 40% off all canvas prints. 
As I said, just another reason to LOVE Snapfish!
Aside from the one you see here (look familiar?), there are a couple of close-ups of the kids that I will thoughtfully place somewhere soon. When I do, I'll take some pics to show you the result. Regardless of where they go, I know they'll make me smile whenever I see them. It's a subject matter I adore!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Long Overdue

At the end of the summer, I decided it was time to lob off some of the scraggly hairs my kids have grown out over the Summer. So, we took a trip to see Mommy's hair stylist at Leiden Mitchell and the kids got all prettied up for their first day of school. 

Cole wasn't too happy about chopping his mane and going for  a more clean-cut look, but it's a requirement at school, so off it came!


Aria, on the other hand, had been  wanting a drastic cut for a while now. Although she loved the attention from her long brunette locks, she was craving something different. After all, she's had long hair a good portion of her life. 

I love the result. Her hair looks so much healthier. She kinda likes it too. I'm sure she'll love it once she mourns the loss of such a huge part of her!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Italian Sodas

When I was a teen, my first job was as a barista (or coffee bartender) at a local coffee shop near my home, Xtremely Xpresso. We sold bagels and pasteries and lots of different coffee and espresso drinks. But for those who wanted something delicious and refreshing that wasn't of the coffee variety, we made Italian Sodas. 

An Italian Soda is a carbonated drink made from adding a flavored syrup to soda water. Simple. Delicious.

What you see here is a sugar-free coconut Italian cream soda. 
It was made by adding a small amount of flavored syrup to the bottom of the glass, a dollop of cream, just enough Club soda to fill the glass. You can add more or less flavoring to suite your taste. The only real way to mess this drink up is if you add way too much syrup, and the fix for that is simply adding more soda water.

These drinks are fun for parties or for an after school treat. You can make them in pretty much any flavor, especially if you go to a retailer that sells Torani Flavored Syrups. They have many flavors in a sugar-free version as well. So stock up on a couple syrups and keep a bottle of Club Soda in your fridge and you'll be prepared for a refreshing, custom, Italian Soda any time you want it! 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Bracelets for sale!

Cole and Aria have taken some orders and sold some really pretty bracelets since we first discovered how to make them. At $5.00 a piece, I personally think they are a bargain, but the kids think their rich! Between the two of them, they've sold about a dozen so far, and they're still looking for prospective customers! So, if you know anyone who might like a Paracord Survival Bracelet! Let us know!

Friday, August 24, 2012

I HEART Snapfish!!

Do you know Snapfish?? If you are a picture person and are on the Internet, you should. It's one of my favorite photo processing sites (aside from Shutterfly) where you can order prints, photo books, stationary and other great items using your photography that you upload to their site. 
If you are on their e-mail list, you will frequently receive great coupons for free shipping and discounts on their products. They recently had a nice little sale, so I bought a few things and the first of them came today! 
Little gifts for myself and my family- like Christmas in August! 

So here it is.... my notebook. It's a 6.5x8.75 inch college-ruled, spiral bound for me to write all of my to-do's in. The quality of the cover is so high, and they're pretty inexpensive. I've had one before and I carried it around everywhere! I depended on it to stay organized. Unfortunately, that last one got stolen by a purse thief!

That is why, on this one, in addition to my little prologue to myself, I included a note to anyone who might come across it to kindly return it to me in the case that they happen upon it. Let's hope I never have to worry about that, but just in case. . .

Drinks with my Nery

I'm so happy- I got to spend a few hours with one of the greatest girls I know- my friend Nery. We ventured out to Cave & Ives for a new Moscato by Mama Mango called Mango Moscato from Italy. It was amazing- as was the coversation. The view wasn't so bad either- overlooking Indian School at night. Can't wait to do it again!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My new found flower love

Aren't they lovely!?!? Our newly remodeled neighborhood marketplace has been selling huge bunches of these long-stemmed ladies for next to nothing and I haven't been able to pass them up.  They have them in so many colors- and each one is more beautiful than the next! Very few things put me in a better mood than fresh flowers in my home and I think Gladiolas have become my Summer favorite! 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Chloe's 10th Birthday Party- 80's Style

Aria's BFF Chloe celebrated her 10th birthday today with some 80's-style bowling. Everyone was encouraged to dress up "like their parents did in the 80's". It was so much fun to get ready for... LOVE this party concept! Chloe looked beautiful on her special day- as did all of the girls. It was so fun to see them all decked out!
Aria and I had been planning her outfit for a couple days before the party. It turned out pretty stinkin' cute! 

Here are some pictures from the party of these cuties. These girls rocked their 80's looks!

Even Mommy dressed up for the party!

LOVE this 80's hair!

Aria was thrilled with her award- I think she was pretty spot on!

BFFs- for sure! 
Chloe and her family

Friday, August 17, 2012

Cupcake Liner Award Ribbons

This past weekend, I agreed to help my girlfriend make award ribbons for her daughter's 10th Birthday party. I had made them before so I was prepared to show her what I did. 
She came over toting her supplies along with the cupcake liners that she was using for the birthday girl's cupcakes to show me the color scheme. As she held them in her hand, it donned on her that if she flattened them out, she could use the liners as part of the award ribbons. 
I thought the idea was genius! Not only were these little awards much easier to make than the ones I had made previously, but they matched the party perfectly! Karen, you are one creative lady!

Check out what we did.

So here are the two different cupcake liners we used. 

First we flattened them out in the center, sort of crushing them down in order to maintain the crimped edges of the liner while creating a relatively flat circle.

Then, using a 2.5 inch circle punch, we cut out circles from coordinating cardstock paper that we hot glued to the front of the liner. Doing this helped to keep the liner flat and covered the crushed section. This is also where we planned to attach the award label.

Next, we cut out strips of paper and glued them together to create the ribbon tails. The exact size didn't really matter- you could probably just eyeball it.  

These ribbon tails were glued onto the back of the liner. . .

. . .then covered with another circle punched out of coordinating cardstock.

This it what the party guests ribbons looked like before we added the label. 

We added some little embellishments to the birthday girl's ribbon. Her's had to be the most special- of course!

When we were are all done, we printed out the award labels and glued them to the front circle. We also added a flat-backed safety pin to the back so the party guests could pin them to their outfits.

I can't wait to show you the girls with their ribbons tomorrow after the party! I know they're gonna love them!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Lace glove- 80's style

Aria was invited to her BFF's 80's-themed 10th birthday party. She is super-excited about getting to dress up like they did when I was a kid. Well, I never actually wore a lace glove, but Madonna did- so we're adding it to her costume! 
Luckily I had an old lace shirt that I haven't worn in years and probably will never wear again. We cut it up and Aria sewed it into a tube that she could slip her hand into. Then she sewed a little section together to create a thumb hole division.

This was her first hand-sewing project. She didn't want to do it after her first needle stick- but she got over that pretty quickly.

We both agreed that it should be dyed some color- any color- other than the cream of the original fabric.  We didn't have any fabric dye, so we added a combination of royal blue and black food coloring to hot water and soaked the glove in the dye bath for about 5 minutes. 
This was what it looked like at first.

 But when we rinsed it- it was a beautiful shade of PINK!! PERFECT!
I can't wait to see it put together with the rest of her 80's outfit!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Braised Red Cabbage

I know what you are thinking..... Braised cabbage? Cabbage? All by itself? As a side dish? No thanks. (And BTW- it's purple.)

Well let me tell you- that's what I thought until just recently when I had a head of red cabbage left over from another recipe that I didn't know what to do with. We were low on veggies and so I sauteed or braised it in a pan with a little EVOO, salt and pepper just long enough soften it up, but keep a nice bite to it. 

Introducing this new side to my family was met with a little apprehension and turned up noses- as I am sure I don't have to tell you. Well, it was delicious. I have to admit, I was surprised myself! Then I made it again tonight, only this time I smiled as I set it on the table hearing my kids cheer because they get to have it again. Victory! 

Not only is this side dish inexpensive and easy to make, but it's low in calories and fat and high in fiber, vitamins A and C and even has a bit of protein and iron in it too. I'll be adding this to my list of dinner sides, thank you very much. I hope you'll give it a try too!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Monday Night Martinis and Manicures

The Monday before school started, I had a bunch of girls over for some yummy food and drinks and a little pampering. Monday Night Martinis & Manicures was an event started years ago at a posh little restaurant/bar called Furio in Scottsdale. They closed down a few years back when the economy went south. I had been longing for another night of drinks and manis with the girls so I recreated the nights we used to enjoy so much. It was wonderful!

We had a professional manicurist from Leidan Mitchell Salon and Spa come down to polish our pinkies while we sipped on our signature drink for the event- the "Tall Blonde"- created for my best friend Erica, who had just moved back from Utah. (This was also a little celebration for her as well.) The food was great, the drinks were perfect, and the company was the best. I can't wait to do it again!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Happy First Day of School!!!

 We met up with our friends before school started! This is a special day- Cole's first day at Veritas Prep and Roman's first day of Kindergarten. They are growing up so fast! *tear*