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Saturday, 11 June 2016

Mama's Makeover! We Moved!

I have moved my site to

Thanks to you I have re-vamped my blog and moved it to

Without you this would of never happened! Thank you Thank you Thank you!

I will try my best to post daily my favorite recipes and other exciting stuff!

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Thursday, 9 June 2016

Homemade Body Scrub

Summer is quickly approaching. We must buff our body to show off our sexy legs. I like making my own body scrub made with all natural ingredients to slough away all the dead skin off my feet and legs. It is quick and easy and the after effect of this scrub will make your skin glow. Do not use on your face or décolleté.

Homemade Sea Salt Body Scrub

1 cup of dead sea salt or sea salt

15 drops of essential oil (I used geranium)

3 tbsp. coconut oil

Combine the sea salt with the coconut oil. Add esstential oil of your choice

Place the scrub in a clean jar

That's it! Scrub your body before entering the shower. Once you have scrubbed your body and showered, you will feel how supple your skin is. I also use a moisturizer with a self tan to add to the glow of my skin.

I love candles. So I always save the beautiful jars. To remove the wax easily, I usually put the jar in the freezer overnight to freeze the wax. With a knife I carefully pop out the wax. I then thoroughly wash the jar for future use.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Chicken Bean Burritos

A great hearty lunch or for the dinner on the go. As moms (or dads) we are always on an itinerary with our children. Dance classes, soccer, hockey games. Make this ahead and freeze it. Defrost in the morning so it's ready for dinner. When you get home, place it in the oven to heat through or microwave; and away you go!

Chicken Bean Burrito

Chicken Bean Burrito


3/4 cup brown rice

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 small onion chopped

1/2 red pepper, seeded and chopped

1 lb. ground chicken

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder

salt and pepper to taste

3 tbsp. tomato paste

1 can 19 fl. oz. (540 ml) black beans

1 cup frozen corn kernels

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

8 burrito-size whole wheat tortillas, 10 inches each

Salsa and sour cream (optional)

Cook rice your brown rice and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large sauce pan over medium and add the onions, garlic, pepper, cumin, salt and pepper. Sautee until translucent, add the meat and continue to cook until the meat has browned.

Add the tomato paste and cook, for 1 minute. Make sure you're stirring while this is cooking.

Add the tomato paste cook for about 1 minute

Add the beans, and 1 cup of water; bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer, stirring until thickened (approx. 15 min.)

Add the beans and water and simmer until thickened

Add the corn and cook to heat through for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add corn and heat through. Remove from heat.

Heat the tortillas according to the package. Then fill with the rice, and bean mixture. Add the cheese. The filling must be placed on one side of the tortilla. Fold sides, and hold the sides together and roll tightly into a bundle.

Serve with salsa and sour cream.

If you are freezing the burritos, wrap the burrito individually and place in the freezer.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Classic Lemon Cranberry Scones with Lemon Glaze

Serve this for breakfast or tea time with the girls, you will not go wrong serving scones! Easy to make, a classic that everyone will love! If you don't have cranberries, blueberries would be just divine! I prefer using dried cranberries, fresh or frozen work just as well.

Lemon Cranberry Scones With Lemon Glaze


2 cups                  all-purpose flour
1/4 cup                sugar
1 tbsp.                 baking powder
1/4 tsp.                salt
1 tbsp.                 grated lemon zest
1/2 cup                unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1/2 cup                whipping cream
1/4 cup                2% milk plus extra for brushing
1                          large egg
1 tsp.                   vanilla extract
1 cup                   dried cranberries


1 cup                  icing sugar
1 1/2 tbsp.          freshly squeezed lemon juice


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.

Stir in the lemon zest.

Cut in the butter until the mixture is rough and crumbly but still small pieces of butter are visible. It should be lumpy. Do not over mix.

In a separate bowl, whisk the cream, milk, egg and vanilla together.

Add this to the flour mixture and stir to just bring the dough together.

Flatten the dough out in a rectangle (about 1 cm thick), top with cranberries and press the cranberries into the dough.

Fold the dough over once to incorporate the cranberries.

Reshape into a rectangle. Do not handle the dough too much. You do not want the butter to melt into the flour.

Cut the rectangle into 6 even pieces. Cut it in half down the middle (long side), then into thirds (short side), then cut 6 squares into triangles by cutting squares on the diagonal.

Brush the scones with a little milk and bake for 20 - 25 minutes until lightly browned on top.


Whisk the icing sugar and lemon juice together and drizzle over the cooled scones using the whisk or a fork. Let the glaze set for an hour before serving. If glaze is too thick, add water, 1 tsp at a time.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Another Legend Has Left Us Muhammad Ali

I woke up this morning to the news of another great legend has left us. I remember clear as day of when I was a little girl seeing Muhammed Ali boxing on tv. Even though I was small, his words empowered me. His soft voice captivated me and drew me in to his words of wisdom. He truly was an inspiration to us all. Fearless in and out of the ring, he promoted his wisdom and strength to the world. I extend my sincere condolences to his friends and family and I assure you that he is looking down to us with joy and happiness. #RIPMUHAMMADALI #RIPCassiusMarcellusClayJr.

Friday, 3 June 2016

Ricotta For Breakfast

Steel cut oats, greek yogurt parfaits are the latest craze for healthy breakfasts these days. Which is great. But sometimes we need change. Changing it up a bit to make our mornings a little more interesting is needed sometimes.

I've featured my cottage cheese parfaits which are truly delicious.

Ricotta to me is such a delicious cheese. Light, creamy and a nice sweet taste. I usually like buying fresh ricotta from the local farm, or I sometimes make my own at home. Get some ricotta and try this recipe for breakfast.

Ricotta Parfait

Take a mason jar. Add fresh ricotta at the bottom. Layer with fruit of your choice. You can add pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, walnuts; the combinations are endless. Keep layering until you reach the top. I like eating the ricotta without it being sweetened. You can add cinnamon, honey or maple syrup to naturally sweeten your parfait.

Close the lid and away you go!

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Quinoa Patties

I love quinoa. As you can see throughout my blog, I have used quinoa a lot. It is a versatile grain that you can have for breakfast, lunch and dinner! In this recipe I used quinoa as a pattie. So delicious served with a parmesan dip.

Quinoa Patties

Quinoa Patties with Parmesan Sour Cream Dip

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

2 cups water, salted

1 cup quinoa

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup Italian style bread crumbs

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 onion, finely chopped

1 tsp. chopped parsley

salt and pepper to taste

baking sheet lined with parchment paper

Boil the quinoa until cooked. Let cool completely.

Add the breadcrumbs, cheese, beaten egg, garlic, onion, parsley, salt and pepper. Incorporate. Add more breadcrumbs if you feel the mixture is too wet.

I used a measuring cup (1/4 cup) to spoon and form the patties. Place the patties on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Form patties with measuring cup

Bake the patties for 20 minutes or until golden and firm to the touch.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden and firm to the touch.

Serve with parmesan sour cream dip or your favorite dip.

Parmesan Sour Cream Dip

1 small container of sour ream (approx. 2 cups)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving for optimum taste.

Serve as a side dish or appetizer

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Homemade Granola Bars

My children love granola bars. But if you look at the package, it's loaded with sugar. If you have a child that is allergic to nuts, this recipe is perfect and is also gluten free. I like making my own granola bars. It's not that difficult to make and much healthier. This recipe is not that sweet. The applesauce adds a nice chewy texture to the bar.

Make sure the bars have completely cooled down before you cut into squares.

Homemade Granola Bar, gluten and nut free

Homemade Granola Bars

Preheat oven to 350 degrees oven. Line a 8x8 inch square pan with parchment paper

2 cups         rolled oats

1/2 cup        packed brown sugar

2 tbsp.         unsalted butter

1/4 tsp.        salt

1/2 cup        unsweetened applesauce

1                  large egg

1/3 cup        pumpkin seeds

1/3 cup        chopped dates or raisins

2 tbsp.         chia seeds

Mix the oats, brown sugar, butter and salt until the butter is evenly blended. Sitr together the applesauce and egg. Add to the oat mixture along with the pumpkin seeds, dried fruit and chia seeds; stir until mixture is moistened.

Spread and press mixture into your 8 x 8 inch parchment lined pan. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and let cool completely before cutting.

Monday, 30 May 2016

Card of The Day

I have not posted a card of the day in a while. I love my oracle cards and try to sit, meditate and work with my oracle cards. I love just to sit and just let go of all the stresses of the day.

I chose a card to see what messages I get for you today.

I chose this card "LOVE".  It's from John Holland. I absolutely love the art work from this deck. I shuffled the cards and asked what message I should communicate today to my readers. This was the first card that I chose once I finished shuffling the deck.

In the book it states that love is the foundation of your existence and you're just as worthy of receiving as you are of giving love and compassion.

Sit with this. We are love. We give out love. But sometimes, I know for me, we forget to love ourselves. We are so focused on everyone else that we forget about ourselves. It's not a selfish thing. Take some time out for yourself. I know for myself, I worry about everyone else but myself. I've really started to change that. The world can wait. I deserve at least half hour to myself. At the least! Start with a walk, a pedicure, a bubble bath. Do something that you absolutely enjoy but never find the time to do.

Make this your goal and go for it!

Wishing you lots of love!

Creamy Oh So Delicious Pasta Salad

I've officially started the barbeque season this weekend. We celebrated my daughter's sweet 16 birthday by hosting a barbeque. A request that she made was for me to make my pasta salad. So I did. I love this recipe because I prepared it the night before so the flavors can blend and make the salad even tastier. And to allow me more time to focus on other last minute dishes.

I used Renee's half the fat greek salad dressing which is so creamy, flavorful and delicious.

Creamy Pasta Salad

1 pkg.             bowtie pasta, cooked and cooled down

1                     green pepper, chopped into 1/2" pieces

1 1/2 cups      shredded carrots

1 can             sliced black olives

3                   green onions chopped, stems removed

2 stalks         celery finely chopped

1 jar              Renee's Half the Fat Creamy Greek Dressing

salt and pepper to taste

This dressing gives the pasta salad a creamy texture

 Add all ingredients into the bowl and mix in the dressing. Refrigerate over night to let the flavors incorporate.

Make this the night before to allow the flavors to infuse.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

A Time For Celebration

There's two times in a year that our family totally goes stupid with celebration. The months of May and November are the busiest times of the year to celebrate birthdays. We have four family members celebrating birthdays in May and 3 family members celebrating in November. The rest of the family are scattered, thank God. Birthdays are very important to me and my family. It's a time to get together with family and celebrate. The gifts are not the main focus. It's the quality time that we spend together. We have a nice meal and catch up. Our lives are so busy, that communicating with each other isn't done enough. Wow. I know but it's reality.

So, I went on a field trip again. My family and I went to a beautiful restaurant north of Toronto called Farro Ristorante.  This restaurant is our family favorite. When there's a special occasion, we always come here to celebrate. The professional, knowledgeable, friendly staff truly make us feel comfortable and at home. The rustic décor reminds me of an old style restaurant back in Italy.

Classic memorabilia displayed throughout the restaurant along with specialty pastas, sold for you to take home. Their wood burning oven truly makes your pizza eating experience the ultimate.

Just a small sample of their wine collection

While we wait for our meal, we have some fresh bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Homemade hummus spread - so delicious and creamy!

Olive oil and balsamic vinegar

We all had a carbfest for dinner. Enjoying their signature pizzas. My dad chose their delicious  mushroom risotto.

This was my pizza. Massimo’s Pizza Bianca- New Potatoes, Caramelized Onions, in house Smoked
Pancetta & Mozzarella. Lord have mercy!

Quattro Stagioni with Prosciutto Cotto, Artichokes, Mushrooms, Olives, D.O.P.
Tomato Sauce & Mozzarella - Blessed!

The pizza had a thin, crispy crust that was perfectly cooked. This is true authentic pizza ladies and gentlemen. Old school, traditional Italian food at it's finest. Made with fresh ingredients. You can really taste the difference.

Risotto ai Funghi- Italian Rice with Mushrooms, Parmigiano & Truffle Essence

The ambiance in this place is truly amazing. So, once we were done dinner, we headed over to my mom's for some after dinner drinks, cake and coffee to cap off the evening!

Some spumante to toast.

Lemon Yogurt Birthday Cake - Divine!

And of course my cappuccino!

An evening full of good food and laughter. Who needs gifts! The opportunity to share some laughs, eat good food and relax is the ultimate gift a person can ever have.

Friday, 27 May 2016

The Most Amazing Banana Muffins

Don't throw those ripe bananas away! Peel them, place them in a baggie and freeze. Throw it in a smoothie or make these delicious muffins.

The large quantity of banana makes these muffins flavorful and moist.

Your family will thank you!

Amazing Banana Muffins

The Most Amazing Banana Muffins

Makes 1 dozen

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Grease or line your muffin pan with paper liners

1                          egg
1 1/2 cups           mashed bananas (3 or 4 large)
1/2 cup               melted butter
1 1/2 cups          all purpose flour
3/4 cup               packed brown sugar
1 tsp.                  baking powder
1 tsp.                  baking soda
1/2 tsp.               salt

1.   Beat egg, mashed banana and melted butter in a large bowl until thoroughly blended.

2.  Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to banana mixture and stir just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin pan.

3.  Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched.

I added 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. You can add 3/4 cup of cranberries or blueberries.

The riper the banana the better. One large banana should yield about 1/2 cup of mashed banana.

I'm concerned about fat so I reduced the butter to 1/3 of a cup. It was just as good.



Thursday, 26 May 2016

Chicken Quesadillas

One of my all time favorites, this dish to me is nice and light and the bacon adds a smoky flavor to this dish. I used chicken bacon to lower the calories. If you cannot find it in your grocery store, regular bacon is fine. Once the bacon has cooked, drain the fat.

Chicken Quesadilla

Chicken Quesadillas

1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast, cubed
1 packet of fajita seasoning
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 yellow, orange or red pepper
3 green onions, finely chopped
6 strips of chicken bacon, finely chopped
6 corn tortillas
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese (more if you prefer)

Preheat broiler. Grease a baking pan.

Toss the chicken and fajita seasoning, then spread onto the pan. Place under the broiler for about 5 minutes or until the pieces are no longer pink.

Broil chicken for 5 minutes

Preheat the oven  to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the chopped pepper, onion, bacon and chicken. Cook and stir until the vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes.

Cook until the vegetables have softened

Layer half of each tortilla with the chicken and vegetables mixture, then sprinkle with the cheese.

Add chicken to half the tortilla

Sprinkle with Cheese

Fold the tortillas and place on backing sheet.

Bake the quesadillas in the preheated 350 degree F oven for about 10 minutes.

Bake for 10 minutes in 350 degree F oven

Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Granola Bites

A quick and easy recipe for snacks. You never know what packaged granola at the store is made of. I like to make my own so I know what we are eating. The crisp rice cereal adds a nice crunchy texture.

Another recipe hit in my house. And no baking required.

Granola Bites

Granola Bites

1 cup              mixed dried fruit (raisins, abricots, cherries, chopped dates)
1/2 cup           raw sunflower seeds, shelled
1/2 cup           raw pumpkin seeds
7 cups            crisp rice-cereal
1 cup             quick oats
1 1/2 cups     chunky peanut butter   
1 cup             light corn syrup
1/2 cup          brown sugar
1 cup             dry instant nonfat dry milk
1 tsp              vanilla extract

Grease 15x10 inch pan

Combine dried fruit and seeds in food processor, cover. Pulse to chop into small pieces. Transfer to large bowl. Add rice cereal and oats, mix well.

Combine peanut butter, corn syrup and sugar in small, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH until bubbly about 1 minute. Remove from microwave and stir in dry milk and vanilla extract. Pour peanut butter mixture over cereal mixture. Stir well to coat. Let cool completely before shaping into balls. Store in air tight container.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Capping Off A Nice Dinner

As you may know, Italians love to eat. We love food. I look at some of my mom's recipes that were passed down to her and I just cannot believe the work that went into preparing it. Fast and easy was not the norm back in the day. Women stayed home, would wake up have their espresso and a little bite and the chores began. They would start their meals from the morning by preparing the tomato sauce, or making homemade pasta. In a later segment I will post on how my mom makes pasta e fagioli (pasta and beans). Pasta e fagioli is another comfort Italian dish which is so delicious but labor intensive. But the joy that my mother had when making the pasta was priceless. She was making it with love. She turns on her Italian music and away she goes.

So when all this delicious food is served and thoroughly enjoyed, we cap off our meal with a nice espresso. It's an automatic given. We finish our meal, clear the table and the espresso machine is on the burner.

Italians do not serve dessert after a meal. Not usually. My mom would always prepare a platter of fruit, serve the coffee and that was it. So sugary indulgences. That was saved for special occasions. My dad likes to add a little Sambuca to his espresso for an extra punch. It adds a nice, sweet, anise taste to tone down the bitterness of the espresso coffee.

It just seems like modern life is so hectic. We wake up, rush to work, come home and rush to make something to eat. I know for myself, I really need to take it down a notch. Just to relax and enjoy the simple things in life like my parents do. It's so hard to do, but I am practicing one day at a time.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Celebrating A Campfire Tradition

Summer is quickly approaching. Time to spend outdoors hosting a barbeque, going up to the cottage.  What fun! Not all of us have the opportunity to sit around a campfire to eat the delicious s'more. Not to worry. I have you covered. This delicious dessert is a tribute to the famous campfire goodie made right in your kitchen. So easy to make. You can prepare this the night before and toast the marshmallows last minute just before serving.

S'Mores Dessert Squares

64 Nilla Wafers, divided

5 tbsp. butter, melted

3 tbsp. sugar

3 1/4 cup cold milk, divided

1 pkg (4 serving size) chocolate instant pudding

2 pkg (4 serving size each) vanilla instant pudding

1 1/2 cups whipping cream

1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350 degress F. Finely crush 40 of the wafers and place in medium bowl. I used the food processor to do this. Or you can place in a ziplock and crush. Add the melted butter and sugar and mix until well blended. Press firmly onto bottom of 13x9 inch baking pan. Bake for 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Set aside.

Pour 1 1/4 cups of the milk into a medium bowl. Add the chocolate pudding mix. Beat with a whisk for 2 minutes until well blended (I cheat and beat with a mixer fitted with whisk attachment). Spread over crust and top with 24 wafers.

Spread chocolate pudding over crust. Top with wafers

Beat the whipping cream and set aside.

Pour remaining 2 cups milk into a mixing bowl, add the vanilla pudding mixes. Beat for 2 minutes or until well blended. Fold in the whipping cream into the vanilla pudding. Spread over the wafer layer. Refrigerate overnight.

Fold whipping cream into the vanilla pudding

Spread the vanilla/whipped cream mixture over wafers

Preheat broiler just before serving. Top dessert with the mini marshmallows. Broil 1 minute or until lightly browned. I really kept an eye on this and rotated the pan continuously to ensure the marshmallows were evenly browned. You may sprinkle with grated chocolate if you wish.

You may sprinkle with grated chocolate before serving

Serve immediately.

Makes 24 squares.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Pasta Al Forno

This recipe is one of my family's favorite dishes. Easy to make and a true Italian comfort food. I love making this dish when hosting a dinner party. I make it ahead of time and when I am almost ready to serve, I pop this baby in for about 45 minutes before serving time. Serve this with a side of salad and your dinner will be complete!

I used a rigatoni pasta with this dish. Penne would be a good substitute.

Pasta al forno translated in English means pasta in the oven. It's a classis dish using a meat sauce with your pasta and baking it the oven. I usually dedicate one day on the weekend to cook for the week since my week nights are so hectic. Make this ahead of time and freeze. Pop it out of the freeze the day of and bake when ready.

Pasta Al Forno

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Meat Sauce

1             garlic clove, minced

1/2         small onion or 1/4 large onion, finely chopped

2 tbsp.    olive oil

1 lb         extra lean ground beef or veal

1 can       pureed tomato

1 tbsp.     chopped fresh parsley

1 tsp        dried basil

salt and pepper to taste

1 pkg      rigatoni or penne pasta

1/4 cup   grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup   shredded mozzarella cheese

Sautee the garlic and onion with the olive oil

Add the ground meat and continue to cook until browned

Add your pureed tomato, parsley, basil, salt and pepper continue to cook for about 20 minutes

While your sauce is cooking, cook your pasta according to package directions. The pasta I used was rigatoni

Spoon a layer of the sauce in your baking dish, then top with the cooked pasta. Layer the cooked pasta, adding more sauce and mix until the pasta is well coated. If you have leftover sauce, place in a container and freeze for future dishes.

First add the parmesan and mix. Top with mozzarella cheese, cover with foil and bake in a 350 degrees F oven. for 45 minutes. Half way through the baking process, remove the foil and continue baking.

Buon Apetito!