Happy Father’s Day!

16 Jun

Dad. Our eternal fix-it guy. Our ever present dude. I hadn’t gone all out for Dad yet, and it was high time to!

But I had limited time. I had a few hours to pull this thing off, so I turned to Pinterest for some inspiration (who doesn’t, right?!)

I found this great pin at Sweet Designs with some great FREE printables. Whoo hoo! Cute, free, easy to recreate, this is my kind of place! I cut out some neck-ties for bottle toppers, and the banner, and headed out to Walmart for candy to make this cute candy topiary (thanks Lookie What I Did) and a few other odds and ends.

The tree was easier to put together than I thought. My glue gun was acting up at first, but eventually, it started coming together.


If you don’t have a glue gun, straight pins will work.


Some twine for the banner, and photos printed and put into the frame, and ta-da! A set-up to celebrate Dad today!



Pastelitos de Guayaba

23 Nov

It wasn’t until I left Miami that I realized not everyone was familiar with such delicacies as churros, pan Cubano, turrón, or even the almighty lechonsito asado. I landed in Louisiana and developed instead a taste for blacked gator, boudin, and mufalletas. Look, there was a good reason I put on 15 lbs living in that state: the food is awesome!

But as good as it was there, and California, and overseas for a while – – it just wasn’t home.

And then, I was let in on a secret–I can make pastelitos in my own kitchen without slaving over phyllo dough!

And now, you can too 😉

Start with a block of guava paste and a thawed box of puff pastry: 20121122-191417.jpg

Open a pastry sheet and lay it out an parchment. I usually roll over it to smooth it out


Using a pizza cutter, I slice up the dough and cut if the wobbly edges


Then, add a small slice of guayaba


Fold and seal the pastries. I recommend using a wet finger or small brush to wet the edges so you get a good seal


Pop them in the oven as directed on your pastry dough box.

And now comes the hard part – waiting until they’re cool enough to eat and enjoy!


Happy thanksgiving! 20121122-192417.jpg


Thanksgiving Traditions

22 Nov

As the season of eating is upon us, it wouldn’t be right to leave today postless.

But instead of posting a turkey or stuffing recipe, I want to take a second and reflect on what we are today, as Americans.

First and foremost, we are a nation of immigrants. Just about all of us came here from somewhere else-or our ancestors did. And we have some traditions that we’ve adopted into our holiday festivities. It wasn’t until I left Miami that I began to appreciate all the Cuban culture I took for granted. From birthday party foods (what do you mean you don’t have ‘bocadito platters’? What else do you serve at a one year old’s party?) to holiday traditions of lechón, pastelitos, and turrón, food and language represents our strongest ties to our heritage; irrespective of location, these traditions make us feel “at home” even when we’re not.

So I’ll share one tradition I’m starting this year. Pastelitos de guayaba. Made at home. I don’t have time for all the phyllo dough, so I’ll be using puff pastry as a shortcu…errr, ‘substitute’ for the session.

While the pastry thaws (and I get guayaba before the grocery store closes!) I’d like to invite you to share – what are your thanksgiving traditions? If you haven’t made any, what are you waiting for? Start with my pastelitos. Stay tuned for the recipe!

Gluten free cake pops: Completed

29 Sep

So my girlfriend came over this morning to make said attempt at cake pops for Celiac sufferers.

She baked a gluten free cake the night before, using a Betty Crocker mix. She said she must have a mouse in her house because they’d eaten a piece of one of the corners. These mice must be super neat, have opposable thumbs, and access to her cutlery 😉 I have those too.

So, we took her baked cake, cut off the harder edges, and threw it in the mixer. I noticed this cake was denser, and her result wasn’t as crumbly as either one of us expected. I thought this would be great because we wouldn’t need as much frosting to hold it together.


We spun it right round like a record, baby…. Until it looked like this:


Not too shabby!

Next, I added about 1/4 cup of cream cheese frosting. It didn’t gel at all. And normally, I like to add spoonfuls at a time, but this was just clearly not enough. I scooped out about another 1/3rd cup and plopped it into the mix, and let the mixer do her job. It worked, and after mixing for a couple of minutes, it turned into the beautiful dough ball it was supposed to:


From there, we formed the balls by hand, and dipped them in candy coating. The result?


Her reaction:

These are better than the one I paid for!

Why? Because the texture was smoother than the bakery created one. She thought the bakery version was just compressed gluten free cake into a pop form that had been dipped into candy. The frosting inside the pop made all the difference.

Hope you enjoyed! Keep creating!


Cake pops for The Gluten Intolerant

28 Sep

My girlfriend of many years thought cake pop mania was the result of some mental defect or silly people who had hysteria for sugar.

And then she had one.


Like I need a reason to make cake pops!

One complicating factor: she’s gluten intolerant. So gluten free cake mix it is!

I don’t have experience with making gluten free cakes, so-this may be an opportunity for cake pop wrecks. My strategy? Use more frosting. Can’t go wrong with that.

28 Sep

A dash of Pinterest with a heaping tablespoon of reality….

Myndi Shafer

So, I have sixty Pinterest boards. Lots and lots of pretty pictures, lots and lots of really cool ideas, lots of funny, lots of sweet, lots of hell-yeah.

Pinning is addictive. So very addictive.

But I’ve become a couch-pinner. A pinner who pins but does not do. This does not sit well with me – I’ve always been a do-er, not a…*squinches nose*. What’s the opposite of a do-er? A not-do-er? A don’t-do-er? A ne’er-do-er?

Anyway, point is, somewhere between school, babies, books, and laundry, I’ve stopped doing anything that doesn’t fall into those categories. Small kine self preservation, but still, not healthy.

So on Sunday I sent the kids out for sticks, with the intention of making something with them that was a cross between this:

and this:


Wanna guess what I ended up making?

That’s right. Sticks on a Pizza Hut…

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Pinteresting Times

22 Sep

Having spent most of my time waiting for the purchase of my new home on pins and needles, I looked to Pinterest as a form of escapism. Little did I know it would suck me in to projects…..

So the famous Mod Podge coasters. Yeah, I gave it a whirl. After trips to Home Depot for some supply or another, countless trips to K-Mart in search of the right acrylic coat, and a few evenings cussing under my breath in Michael’s, I finally had four coasters I wasn’t ashamed to hand my mother for Mother’s Day.


Of course, this needed to be followed by bird nest jewelry…


And who can forget, original artwork by a five year old for Grandma…


Happy pinning!