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Monday, June 24, 2013

Vegan Lemon Bars


This week is a busy one for me! I've got two events and one cookie order all by Friday or BUST! So, I'm embracing it and sharing one of my new favorite recipes found in Chloe's Vegan Desserts cookbook. She's adorable and her vegan desserts actually taste fabulous! I am not a HUGE fan of fruity desserts, but this one sure satisfied my tastebuds...even a friend of mine who is a HUGE fan of lemon bars, enjoyed this one to the very last bite! Here is her recipe and the picture above are of the ones I made...I must say that the all natural food coloring made them look a bit orange, so note to self, get a good all natural food coloring or skip it all together! 
SHORTBREAD CRUST:
1/2 cup vegan margarine (found it at Trader Joe's and Lassen's)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar (I used all natural cane)
1/4 teaspoon salt

FILLING:
1 cup soy, almond, or rice milk divided (I used almond)
6 Tblsp cornstarch
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup lemon juice
2 Tblsp lemon zest 
Natural food coloing optional

Powdered Sugar for serving

To make shortbread crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8-inch square pan and line with parchment paper long enough to overhang the edges. Lightly grease the parchment paper.

In a food processor, pulse margarine, flour, sugar, salt, until crumbly. Press into the prepared pan. Bake for 18 mins. Remove from oven and let cool.

To make the filing: In a small bowl, whisk 1/2 cup nondairy milk, cornstarch, and flour until completely smooth. Set side.
In a medium saucepan, combine remaining 1/2 cup milk, sugar, and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and slowly whisk in cornstarch mixture. Continue to cook, whisking continuously, for about 5 mins until very thick, like pudding. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest and food coloring if using. 

To make lemon bars: Pour the filling over the crust and bake for 15mins. Let cool, then chill in refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight. Once chilled and set, lift parchment paper to release the bars from the pan and unmold. Using a sharp knife, cut into 2 inch squares and dust with powdered sugar.

Chloe's Vegan Desserts by Chloe Coscarelli

Enjoy!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Intergrity

(me and my sissy with  my dad. My brother lives out of state-not in picture)
Wikipedia.com defines the word integrity as  a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In refers to this meaning in ethics as the "honesty and truthfulness of one's actions." An internal consistency of virtue. If you were to read on you would find amongst many great historical figures in our Nathion's history like Abraham Lincoln a man by the name of Paul A. Dictos. An immigrant who wanted to achieve the "American Dream". A man who came over with his family, a soon to be bride and $200.00 in his pocket. I remember listening to this story as a child. He  was so proud to have come from so little and be able to provide for a wife and three children and own his own business. This was his dream, along with many high hopes for his children.
And on this Father's Day 2013 I can only honor this man who continues to be my dad with this one simple, but heavily weighted word Integrity. In this day and age a man of integrity is hard to find. But my dad has been consistent in doing what is right in his business, in his marriage, in his relationship with his children, in his relationship with Jesus Christ, in his relationship as a son and father, and in his most current position in a world of no integrity...politics. I am so proud to call this man my dad. He has never wavered in his internal belief of being honest and truthful. He lost a few clients in his business who didn't want to be honest, he's made some enemies in politics because he has chosen to do what is right for the Valley. He took care of his mother who suffered multiple strokes as long as a son could possibly do on his own. And when he couldn't anymore he would visit her everyday at the home where she was able to be taken care of. He never used a penny of her money for himself, he always used it to give her the best care she could possible have. During the holidays he would bring her home and wash her feet in our lego buckets and sing to her. And today, he does the same with his wife. He keeps her at home with the best care and washes her like he did his mother. This is a man of internal consistency of character.  His actions are never selfish, always taking care of everyone around him. He still takes care of me to this very day. He always fixes my problems, always takes my hand and encourages me to be my very best. He hurts when I hurt and rejoices in all my successes. He believes in me and would do anything for me.  He always ends our conversations with "I love you more". I never tire of hearing those words.  I am blessed beyond measures with a father of greatness and proud to call this man my dad. I love you dad and am humbled in the presence of your integrity. Thank you for showing me what this word means, Happy Father's Day to the greatest dad in the world. 

Your Ninaki


Thursday, June 13, 2013

FULL

This week has been full. FULL of car rides between Clovis High and Clovis North, picking up and dropping off kids to camps. It's been FULL of children in my house from the pool and back inside. FULL of messes of spilled watermelon, melted ice cream, crushed gold fishies, and sticky lemonade drops. FULL of car problems, surprisingly NOT the Honda. FULL of sadness as a dear friend's father passes and a family friend's baby girl struggling to breath, and a mother slowly deteriorating before my very own eyes. FULL of no interviews or job prospects for next year and FULL of bills adding up for all the various activities and bottomless pits in this house. And as I was driving today in the 1995 Honda, I cried out to Jesus, where are you? I ranted off the list above and questioned the presence of Jesus. Where are you? Where is my job for next year? Where is this baby girl's healing? Where is the life of my friend's father before Father's Day? Where or where are you God? (Yes I am the crazy lady besides you on the rode in my beat up Honda that refuses to die talking to herself-that's me) Since there is no radio in the car that will never die, I drove in silence after all that. 
Surprisingly I was reminded ever so gently...
I'm Here. See Me. I'm Right Here. See Me.
See me in the car that is able to take you from point A to point B. See me in the bills that have all been paid for for the month. See me always providing for you and your family~no one has yet to go hungry. See me comforting your friend with family and loved ones all together, under one roof, being together; loving one another. See me in the safe helicopter ride baby girl took today to heal her lungs. See me in the continual care your mother gets from your father and the love she has all around her. See me in all your children's faces, smiling and dancing around in the summer sun. 
I AM HERE, SEE ME.
HE is here, taking care of me and you. 
I pray you enjoy this summer and see beyond the FULLness of your life. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

American Girl Inspired Birthday Party


I had the privilege of throwing an American Girl Birthday party for one of my favorite clients and friend. We did this for her older daughter a couple years back and it was so cute then that we had to repeat-with a few new tweaks of course! Enjoy one of the most beloved dolls in America!!!

The party room...we emptied the living room and set up two 6ft tables into a square and rented chairs from Bargain Party for $2.50 each.
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Made a cute little photo booth with some fabric and a large frame hanging from the banister! 
This was the table place setting. Girls got to color and answer questions about their doll. They also got to put together their own gumball necklace. 

I pushed a lollipop stick through each end of the gumballs and then with a plastic needle we thread the ribbon through each gumball.
The thank you bags at the candy buffet! The wire rack is from Sur La Table. 
The small American Girl bags were graciously given to us from the American Girl Store at the Grove. We kinda had to beg, but they eventually shared!
Cake by Frosted


The pinwheels were purchased from Target and I created the letters and hot glued them in the center.
The Birthday Girl
Candy Buffet before the cake. 




Bed time


Everyone having a good time!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Subway Summer Art

Summer is here...school is ALMOST out...so we need some framed summer subway art around the house! Here are some free links online that you can quickly print, frame, and display! Enjoy!!!
My favorite from Simple Crafter
From Digital Scrapper...love all the orange and yellow!
From Eighteen 25 I think my favorite so far!

From Alderberryhill  Too cute! 

Happy Summer!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

It Was Only a Dream


I had a dream last night. It was such a beautiful dream. It started out with me doing my daily routine of getting ready, helping my kids (screaming, repeating, hurrying, you know the drill), and dropping them off at school. I usually will hit the gym right after that, but in my dream I went straight over to my mom and dad's. I parked in the garage like I normally do when I go over and enter the house through the garage. But this time when I entered the house, I didn't see mom sitting at the table, stone-like and lost. I didn't see her sitting on the couch listening to the Greek channel dad has purchased for her to feel like she's at home. No, today in my dream mom greeted me like she used to, with a broom in hand and a pep in her step. She was full of life and came right up to me and hugged me so tight it felt real. I looked at her in amazement wondering what miracle has just happened in our lives and how come dad didn't call me to share the good news that mom was back! That she was Stella. That she was okay! I looked at her and she looked at me and she asked me when we were going to the mall to walk up down and look through all the deals and have some See's Candy while we were there, drinking our coffee. I asked her how she felt and she said great, never better! Effie was still at the house, she was working in the backyard and mom said we couldn't let her go because she felt better, so she's helping her around the house, even though she doesn't need any help. Sadly, I woke up before we could go to the mall and before she could play with the kids. Sadly, I started my day as I normally do and I went to see mom who was sitting at the table, stone-like and lost slowly eating her breakfast. It was only a dream, but it felt so real and I so missed my mom even more today than I normally do. It was only a dream.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

A Little Revamp~Reshape

Every now and then there are some corners in my home that need some love and attention. And there is one very ugly wall in my home that I haven't done anything to since I took down my 3 hanging iron candle holders. I see it every day as I enter my bedroom and it really is an eye sore. So here we are 3 years later and I have a plan. Since my room has been recently changed to the ever trendy yellow, gray, and teal combo, I thought to bring that look into the foyer of my master suite! So here is a little DIY that has brought a smile to my face when I enter my room.
Here it is...I see this EVERYDAY as I enter and exit my bedroom. You can even see the smoke residue from a candle I lit to be oh so romantic...once.
I listened to my friends at HGTV and they told me taping is everything! I already had the gray paint from my bedroom project so that was free, tape and a new roller and sponge...$7.50 
I did not prime as I was lazy and just was eager to paint this gray! I did about two coats.


 
Here is the finished project! I bought this frame from Aaron Brothers. It was originally $79.99, but I got a coupon and spent $35.06, or something like that...my next order of business is to find a family photo I can blow up to a 16x20 to finish it off! All and all, I LOVE my little revamp~reshape! Hope you do too!




My Favorite Thing Right Now

So, I don't know if many of you suffer from this, but lately I feel my hair thinning on the top. I think it could be from the synthroid I am on and lack of thyroid, but in any case I wanted to do something about it. And here is my favorite thing RIGHT NOW! I have been using the Aveda Invati Shampoo and Conditioner since January and I am here to say I have had A LOT of new hair growth! I even had my doctor check it out at my last visit and her was amazed of how much new hair growth I had near my forehead and top of scalp! I love it! I you have thin hair go to your nearest Nordstroms or Aveda Salon and purchase yours today! They run $25.00 each. 
It's amazing...