October in the Hudson Valley, NY

There are many wonderful things to do during the Fall months in NY and up here in Westchester county.

Me and a few friends spent the day in Cold Spring, NY this weekend. It’s a quaint town with antique shops, and mom & pop stores along the beautiful Hudson river.Wall of Ivy 10.14

The Foundry cafe serves up hot coffee. beverages, huge muffins (I highly recommend the Pumpkin walnut!). We sat out on their cafe tables, sipped hot coffee, some herbal tea as we shared that muffin – it was yum!

The town was hopping not just with locals but tourists visiting NYC, College students, etc.

A ride on the trolley took us down to the riverfront where we spent time knitting. It was a great day with friends!

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Hispanic Heritage Month – Artist

Hispanic – Spanish culture or origin regardless of race,  people from many different countries and cultures.

I’m profiling a Puerto Rican Artist, Francisco M Oller. Here is a collection of some of his work.

http://www.puertoricanpainter.com/Oller.htm

The Fransico Oller museum is located in Bayamon, PR.

El Velorio f oller

I appreciate the detail and simplicity of his Art. I was fortunate enough to view his Art on display at the Museo de Barrio, in NYC. I never met him but he is also my great grandfather :)

Happy Fall Cooking

Autumn starts tomorrow but here in NY the days are already cooler. So, I’ve actually turned the oven on again! Although we had a mild Summer, the last thing I want to do is turn on the oven. I rarely make pasta but when I do I go all out. This dish could easily be made with zuccini/squash and gluten free pasta, if need be. I made this the other evening…mmm, mmm…

Shells lasagna

PASTA:
Box of shells – cook halfway, al dente

SAUCE:
6 oz can of Tomato paste & can of tomato puree
Add fresh/powdered garlic, a bayleaf, pinch of oregano, & red
pepper flakes, salt, black pepper – simmer.

Stir in 6 oz of Ricotta cheese to the finished sauce.

MEAT:
Cook your ground meat with same spice used above (I used Turkey) it can also be made with meat.

ASSEMBLE LASAGNA:
Spray/oil the bottom of your lasgana pan (I used a smaller 12×9″ pan) and made 3 layers. Double your recipe to make a larger lasagna.

Add a ladle of tomato sauce to the bottom of the lasagna pan.
Layer pasta, scatter frozen green beans, cheese (shredded mozzarella &
cheddar cheese, sauce and repeat 3x’s. Add sauce and cheese to
the top. Cover with foil and bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes

Home Goods – my mini haul

Back in town and quickly made my way to the nearest Home Goods store.  I used my $100 gift card = mini haul fun!

The store was neat, well supplied and had clearance shelves in every department.

 Largest box Rose NY

3 Boxes

I love their boxes!!! The largest one, 16″  was $10, 14″  was $8 and the 12″ round hat box was $6. They are priced 60% less then what I’ve seen them sell for! They will hold some yarn, accesories and for some crocheted baby items I’ve already made.

A few pics help to give you and idea of what they sell ….and this does not even cover the bedding, toys,  furniture and rugs!

 

New project underway!

A sneak peek at some of the baby hats:

Baby hats 82114 for Hats from the Heart WP HospBlue & Wht baby hat3 Baby Hats Hats from the Heart

Summer 2014 is nearly over! Summer concerts, trips to the beach and picnics coming to a end. It was memorable spending time with my niece and nephew – making good memories.

The ladies of my Stitch & Bitch are always anxious to start a newproject that the group work on to produce items for charity. Lois came up with the idea to make baby hats for the newborns – “Hats from the Heart” will go to newborn babies at White Plains Hospital.

Pattern:

I used Caron Simply Soft, H hook.

1) Magic loop 12 dc

2) 2 dc in each st *

3) 2 dc st, 1dc st  *

4) 2 dc st, 1 dc st, 1dc st , 2 dc st *

5) 1 dc st * 

Repeat round 5 until you have 10 rounds.

6) The final round make 1 sc *  

On a more serious note – my mom continues to battle Pancreatic Cancer with amazing strength. I am very proud of her. The Cancer had spread to her liver and the doctors said the chemo “may” address the liver cancer…a recent scan has proven that it did!! Liver Cancer = GONE!!! Wish they could do that with the Pancreas…some day…

Palombo opens in downtown

 

White Plains, NY:  PALOMBO: Pastry shop – Bakery – Gelateria – Cafe

A new store opened yesterday, 7/9/14. Located on the corner of Martine & Court St (across from 7-11).

The store space is small, clean and welcoming. There were a number of employees available to take orders and they all had smiles.  I asked to meet the owners but was told they were not there.  Oh well, I would have liked to meet them since it’s new.

There are a few club chairs with small tables so you can sit, sip and nibble something sweet. They also offer two trays of sugar free cookies. The coffee bar is good looking, They serve Espresso & other varieties and flavored coffee beverages. They also have boxed tea.

The counter is attractive and inviting. A counter of Gelato with a few varieties is up near the front counter. Around the side are long glass counters loaded with delicious looking baked goods.

If you’re looking for a wide variety of Italian pastries, cakes and cookies they offer a lot. Everything looks very good.

I was hoping for a full Italian bakery that would carry a line of crusty sesame covered NY Italian bread – nah, not quite. The employee pointed to a sad looking loaf…really!?

Well, I wish them well. It’s a great location.

Bursts of color

Outdoor enclaves for lunching… one of our fav spots. The large pots are always bursting with seasonal flowers. These Petunias are gorgeous!!
Outdoor lunch cafe

Container plants are bursting with color, all over!

Hibicus

Makes walking downtown even more enjoyable.

Streetscape 62214

Serving up Sunshine

I saw this neat idea and gave it a try. One egg is about all this green pepper ring could hold. I trimmed the over spill and added a dash of salt & pepper. It came out fine.

Tip: griddle must be hot or the egg will run out.  Once the egg is in the pan reduce the heat to very low and let the egg cook.

 

Egg in pepper ring

Rose bloom

June 1st…Roses always bloom in June, in New York. These are small but beautiful – and what a great color!Rose bush

Colorful Crochet

COLORFUL handbag 5.16.14

It’s Spring and I’m loving using multiple colors!!! Working on a handbag inspired by Lucy @ http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/crochet-bag.html…I used acrylic yarn. I usually make my Spring/Summer bags and totes out of cotton. So, I’m in search of a good supply of cotton yarn…0n sale of course!

This makes good use of scraps. A handbag is a necessity, for me!! Now, to sew on the handles! I will also be line the inside of this bag with cotton/ muslin. This bag measures 24″ x 14″ :)

 

I used some of the leftover yarn, I made this soft cover for my Kindle.

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Mother’s Day, Love

Happy Mother’s Day to all mom’s!!!

No Cancer or illness can steal the love  I have for my mom.

I’m sorry it is not a  “Happy” Mother’s Day for her.  Hospital visits and Chemo fatigue

fill her days.

I sent her favorite chocolate truffles along with a card that I ‘d selected weeks ago. I’d returned from an out of State visit with her and felt the urge to buy her a Mother’s Day card, earlier than most. There was no time to delay! I selected a card with words that jumped out conveying my exact sentiments of appreciation. I arrived home and reread the card. What I somehow missed in the store were the final words “Happy Birthday”!! OMG…how did I miss that!? Funny, how the brain see’s what it wants!! I managed to cover it up with a carefully glued photo I had taken of us together. She loves it!!

HMDAY

 

 Saturday morning  May comes relief

Received and appreciated it arrived

Unwrapped, tangled and crystal clear

Sincere words of gratitude

Live fully, no delay

 

Feliz Cinco de Mayo

Know about the Mexican festival Cinco de Mayo and how it is celebrated

Cinco de Mayo should not be confused with Mexican Independence Day. That is September 16th. Cinco de Mayo is not a largely observed holiday in Mexico (with the exception of a few regions), but is much more popular in the United States. So, what is Cinco de Mayo? The short answer is that it celebrates the defeat of the French Army by Mexican soldiers at the battle of Puebla. The real answer is that Cinco de Mayo is a uniquely Mexican-American holiday. It celebrates a change in the relationship between the United States and Mexico.
The end of the Mexican-American war in 1848, not only left a strained relationship between the two countries, but left Mexico deep in debt which grew through the years of civil war. Mexico borrowed money from European countries and eventually, these countries wanted their debts repaid. England and Spain entered the scene and left just as quickly, but France took advantage of their moment and decided to invade. As it turned out, Napoleon III was determined to conquer Mexico, set a Hapsburg prince on a Mexican throne, and rule over Mexico. Some argue that from Mexico, Napoleon wanted to aid the Confederacy in the U.S. Civil War. Exactly what role the French defeat at Puebla played in the U.S. Civil War is debatable, but if the French had supplied the confederacy more actively, the war could have been longer, harder and much bloodier.

When the Mexican Army defeated the first invading battalion they were greatly outnumbered and faced with a technologically superior force making the triumph all the greater; the reason it is celebrated today. Ironically, this battle did not end of conflict between Mexico and France, but was just the beginning. French forces returned a year later in larger numbers and took control of Mexico placing the puppet Maximilian in charge of Mexico. The people of Mexico resisted and once the Civil War ended in the United States, President Lincoln sent General Sheridan to supply the Mexican resistance. Many U.S. soldiers were decommissioned from the Union Army in Texas to join the Mexican Army. A battalion of U.S. soldiers marched in the victory parade in Mexico City when Maximilian was finally defeated in 1868. In honor of the aid provided by the United States, thousands of Mexicans crossed the border to join the U.S. military in the weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

It is unfortunate that the real story of Cinco de Mayo remains lost to advertisers who see it as little more than an excuse to sell beer (Cinco de Mayo is now the second largest beer consuming day of the year just behind St. Patrick’s Day). It is a celebration of the long relationship between the United States and Mexico, including years of cooperation, and the hope of a future where two neighbors can set aside their differences and work together.

 

*http://latinamericanhistory.about.com/od/thehistoryofmexico/p/10cincodemayobasics.htm

 

You will find some good recipes here:  http://www.mexicanrecipes.org/

 

 

 

Happy Easter

After service tomorrow we’re going to a relative’s home and bringing a mini kitchen of cooked food.

I’m busy today boiling and dying several dozen eggs. A dozen hard boiled will remain intact and colored with food coloring. With the rest of the eggs I’m making deviled eggs. Hard to believe but I’ve never made deviled eggs!! I was inspired to try when I saw it online. I opted to use beet juice to dye them – works beautifully!! With some of the eggs I boiled and cracked but, did not peel. I soaked them in the juice for a half hour then peeled them. It resulted in a neat marbled look.

These eggs have the shell removed and are soaking in beet juice (straight from cans of beets).

Easter eye dying w Beet juiceEaster deviled eggs 4.19.14

Egg salad: I mixed in spicy mustard, salt, pepper, mayo then garnished with dried dill and paprika.

I’m making potato salad, a 14 lb ham garnished with pineapple chunks (a tradition in our home). Love getting this free deal from ShopRite with their annual “spend this and get a FREE Ham, etc”. Easter Ham 4.2014

Thank you Jesus!!! Thank you for dying for all of us!!!  Happy & Blessed Easter dear friends!!

EASTER

Dance in the rain

BLUE orchid

My appreciation of flowers came from my mom’s passion for plants. She even named me after a flower, Dahlia.

From very young, mom had her hands in our small garden. She wore those cutesy floral cotton garden gloves and enriched the soil with old coffee grounds and egg shells way before composting became popular. She grew the most beautiful Peonies, huge Roses, Dahlias, and Tulips. She put a lot of energy and love into it. Our yard was bursting with colors all Spring & Summer long, year after year. In Fall, I’d kneel beside helping her deadhead the Marigolds after they bloomed…the dried up flower heads would come off with the slightest touch. Every Spring we’d plant each tiny seed knowing how full and beautiful a plant each seed would become.

During this emotionally difficult time for me, as I watch my mom dying from Cancer and her “Season” is coming to a close I am sad. Yet,  I can hear her saying, “This too shall pass”,  “For everything there is a Season”, “Life goes on”… How very true. My heart is heavy and I am even more easily moved to tears but, I am grateful and learning to dance in the rain.

Thank you mom. Thank you God.

 

“For everything their is a Season”

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain”

Yellow flowers for Spring

 

 

Season of Hope

BotanicalsSpring, a season of nature’s beauty, renewal and hope. It’s a reminder that life = constant change. All things grow …and come to pass.

Although I feel devastated these days, since my mom’s diagnosis of stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. I know it too will all pass. A phrase my mom has always used “this too shall pass”. Embrace the day(s) and the moment is what I remind myself throughout the day.

On this first day of Spring I have to have Faith that my mom’s end days will be peaceful. Not the pain filled hours that my mind creates and often obsesses about. :( I force myself to engage with the world (even though I feel like retreating). Life is good, God is good.

I’m blessed with a husband who provides enormous love and support during my emotional lows. I have friends who care. They know that I am likely to burst into tears at any given moment, and that’s OK. I walk around with water-filled eyes, yet I still wear eyeliner!! I just need to carry a box of Puffs tissues with me! I have received cards of support and it feels like a huge hug jumping out from the card. I am so very grateful.

As life happens, it turns out that a dear friend just lost her mom a few weeks ago. Naturally, she is grieving – “we will get through this” she said. Yes, we will, I replied.

Signs of Spring

It’s always beautiful to see blooming flowers at the NYC street markets.Happy faces Pansies

During stressful times in life it’s important to continue to look for, and be thankful for daily blessings.

Life goes on…Live in RW Emerson

Adios…

CB  goodbye

Goodbye, farewell, literally, to God.

Witnessing the circle of life. This past Friday I found out that my mom has late stage Pancreatic Cancer – OMG!! I’ve done a lot of  crying, and sighing. She is aware and says she does not want treatment. She feels  it’s useless – with late stage PC, it often is.  She saw her mom die of it as well, decades ago.  While more is available these days, the bottom line is they can only buy time and attempt to ease symptoms.  At the same time Chemo is powerful and has so many side effects that could only make her days very uncomfortable. My hope is medications could keep her as pain-free as possible.  She wants to go to the beach and spend as much time by the ocean. I’m hoping.

There is nothing I have left unsaid with my mom. She knows I love her and am grateful. For the past two years, after suffering two strokes, she has battled with Aphasia. As frustrating as it is for her, she takes it with humor too.  She will say something, then say “no, not that, ay carajo!” as she  laughs at the  words that  come out of her mouth. Sadly, she was an avid reader and having lost that ability was devastating to her. She worked tirelessly trying to regain that ability. I will miss our two-hour plus phone calls. I will miss her sarcastic sense of humor and quick wit that sometimes got her in trouble with others. I developed my strong love of reading from her,  and my love of flowers. We  share  our first name,  we have similar tastes in food and she is the person I most resemble.

Praying for mom. Praying for strength, for myself, and my siblings that we will be able to do what we have to make mom as comfortable as possible.

SNOWpocalypse!

Haven’t seen such a good snowstorm in years, like the Nor’Easter we had today.  I’m enjoying every moment of Winter!

Not sure why, but  our Post Office was closed – so much for conducting business! City buses appear to be running OK . And DPW  has plowed since the early morning hours.

Thankfully, our local Starbucks was open!

Starbucks

My V day gift

to me:  this pretty long black & white heart printed scarf from H&M. I used my $6 WRAPP app coupon, so I only paid a few dollars = extra happiness!! I do love scarves!!

I’m also doing a few random acts of kindness gifts of chocolate candy, free coupons & free cups of coffee this week. #ShowSomeLove #Valentines

Valentines Day git to me H&M 2014

Quick & easy

Hot out of the oven Broccoli casserole

‘Dump’ casserole recipes – mix and bake. So simple. It’s going to be few busy days of commuting into the city this week, so I’m preparing  today! Thanks to my friend, Karna for posting the idea from the Betty Crocker site.

Naturally, this can be adapted to include whatever you like. I certainly did.  I rarely use Bisquick mix, but like to keep it in the pantry for occasions like this. One could also use the gluten-free mix. You can add more cheese, if I had ricotta I would have cut back on the milk and used ricotta cheese. Some of the reviewers added ham/sausage, etc.

Betty Crocker Dump recipe modified

Veggie Casserole recipe:

1 box of  frozen broccoli (cooked until thawed, but not overcooked – drain any liquid)

1/2 cup of shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese

1/2 cup of Bisquick

1 medium Onion, diced

2 medium potatoes (I microwave them just enough to cook some, 3 minutes for both) dice after cooking

1 Egg

1 cup Milk

1 teaspoon of Sazon mix (it’s a mixture of garlic, onion, annatto, coriander spices)

Dash of salt & pepper

Cover the dish with foil paper

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes

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