Month: February 2014

Father, Son, Holy SHRIMP!- Try my Friday Menu! Panko Parmesan Zucchini Fries, Roasted Red Pepper and Pineapple Quinoa Coleslaw and OldBay Steamed Shrimp!

Why do we eat cheese pizza every Friday during Lent? Why do we wear our black blouse, silver jewels, favorite jeans and boots every time we don’t know what to wear? We are content-it is easy- everybody will eat it. There are many awesome alternatives! Have you ever tried quinoa??

Let me share with you a quick, delicious menu! Panko Parmesan Zucchini Fries, Roasted Red Pepper and Pineapple Quinoa Coleslaw and OldBay Steamed Shrimp!! Voila!

Panko Parmesan Zucchini fries

2 zucchini peeled and cut into 1/2 inch thick rectangles
2 eggs
1tbsp milk
2c.Panko bread crumbs
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Beat eggs and add milk
Set up your assembly line- zuchinni strips – beaten egg bath-flour, Breadcrumbs

Cut zucchini in half or leave long for long fries!
Cut zucchini in half or leave long for long fries!

Dip and dunk each stick!

Assembly line

Shake on your Parmesan!

Shake it on be generous!
Shake it on be generous!

Place on an untreated stoneware pan or a jelly roll pan sprayed with Pam.
Bake for 15mins at 400 degrees- flip for 10 mins. Until golden brown

Zucchini fries

Roasted Red Pepper and Pineapple Quinoa Coleslaw
1/2 jar Mancini red peppers chopped

I use these for everything! Great as a Pizza topping!
I use these for everything! Great as a Pizza topping!

1/4 c.quinoa
1 bag coleslaw mix
1 can crushed pineapple
1tbsp. Spicy mustard
1tbsp. Olive oil


Boil quinoa for 10 2 cups of water and then simmer for 15 mins

Boil and simmer with lid for 15 mins. Turn off heat until liquid is absorbed!
Turn off heat and let sit until liquid is absorbed!

In a large bowl mix coleslaw mix , red peppers, quinoa with spicy mustard, olive oil mixture

Add salt and pepper to taste!


Old Bay Steamed Shrimp
I use equal parts beer- yes beer! – white vinegar and water! Excellent recipe!! Cook only until pink!! Once the water is at a boil throw in thawed shrimp!! Love love love!!!


Old Bay shrimp!

Miss Bella and I visited Penn Ave Fish Company today! We found the freshest seafood and a wonderful surprise!!! The best fish tacos I have found, yet..spicy!!! Sushi bar and a dining room if you visit for lunch. Just walk in and buy fresh fish!

Penn Ave Fish Company

Paying It Forward – What Are We Really Teaching Our Kids?

How Full Is Your Bucket -Kids!

As parents, we read “How Full Is Your Bucket?” We teach the concept of paying it forward. We try!! BUT the most influential way to help our kids make the world a better place is to show them how WE pay it forward and let them experience helping others. Are we a good example? Through our actions are we unconsciously teaching our kids an unfair frustration and intolerance for others?

A few months ago I was in the Starbucks drive thru line and when I got up to the window the drive thru girl said “You’re good ma’am, the woman in front of you paid for your coffee this morning.” I said great! I will do the same! Two things…I can’t stand when people call me ma’am! Do I look like a ma’am??? Already? Really?? And the other thing , After handing the girl my credit card I saw the huge black Lincoln Navigator in my rearview and thought …Oh no! What if they ordered 8 drinks and 8 breakfast sandwiches??? No worries, it was a totally normal order thank goodness!!

I took that opportunity to explain to my kids how the person paid for my coffee and I paid for the person behind me. My 4 year old, Brady, said nobody got me anything and my 2 year old, Bella, said Yea, I want chocolate milk! But maybe some of it sunk in???

But really it is not the kids’ understanding a concept it is their experiencing that feeling…when you do even the littlest special something for someone else. The smiles on their faces, their eyes welled up with tears, the topic of conversation at dinner being what they did for someone else. The excitement to think about how they can pay it forward again. That is how we shape and mold them. Let them feel it not just know what they should do.

Do small things with great love”- Mother Teresa

Need some cool ideas?

Check out this article I found on Kids Activities Blog:

Teaching Kids to Pay it Forward {Acts of Kindness}

Frozen… In Summer! Create A Beach Party For Preschoolers Inside!

Raspberry Lemonade in Margarita Glasses!

Did I mention I also nanny?  On an Extreme part time basis I have 4 preschoolers!!! One of my passions is creating imaginative worlds of fun and learning! I love a good theme and go nuts with decor, crafts and food!!(You will totally understand when you see my ideas for kids’ birthday parties!)

So today our theme from Frozen, of course, is In summer!!! We did ocean adventure crafts- learned that octo means 8 and made an octopus!
UnderSea and Octopus
I always dig out the water table! Fill it up in the bathroom so cleanup is super easy!! Use bath toys or get out the summer outdoor tote! For fun we wear bathing suits and get out our beach towels and sunglasses!
In Summer lunch menu….
Peanut Butter and Nutella roll- ups made with wheat sandwich thins
Fruit Salad

At snack time, I made a raspberry lemonade and served it in margarita glasses! A total hit! The kids thought it was totally rad! We also made Olaf inspired treats with marshmallows, pretzel sticks and raisins!

He is supposed to look like he has sunglasses on! Ha!
He is supposed to look like he has sunglasses on! Ha!

Of course we blasted songs from Frozen and sang along!!

Obsessed Right Now! Tory Burch and Fontina Cheese!!

I am in love!!!! Mama got some new shoes! Finally, I’m learning!! Why do we go every Spring to Macy’s sale and then TJMaxx and then DSW and buy 3 pair of flip flops on sale for $30-$40/ pair only to actually wear one pair ever on our feet all summer???? That’s $90! Let me introduce you to the Tory Burch thin enamel flip flop in khaki…

Tory Burch Thin Enamel Flip Flop Khaki
Tory Burch Thin Enamel Flip Flop Khaki

$50!! Get one pair now before Spring-in khaki! (They sell out fast!) You will love them! These flip flops compliment all of the current trends- maxi dresses, high lows, skinny jeans, spring summer sundresses, rompers…love, love, love. And you will, too!! OK, on to the cheese and totally delicious fontina white pizza recipe!

I am also obsessed with fontina cheese right now! It’s meltability (is that a word?) is incredible! which is why I recently began experimenting with fontina on pizza!

Use to make mouth watering grilled cheese, paninis, even shredded beef sandwiches!! Here is my favorite recipe so far!

Fontina Fabulous -White Pizza
Uncooked 12″pizza shell-Yep I do! ; )
2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic
2/3 cup of shredded fontina cheese
1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella
Salt/pepper/basil/ rosemary/or your favorite Italian seasoning

Preheat oven with pizza stone @ 375 degrees
Press garlic and mix with olive oil
Brush shell with oil/garlic leaving 1/2inch on outside edge untouched
Add shredded fontina, mozzarella

Bake for 10-15 mins until golden brown and cheese melted!



Always top off with freshly grated Parmesan!! Enjoy!

A Must Have…Great Sauce!

Hello World!! All women need a great handbag, a great pair of pumps, and a phenomenal sauce! A delicious, super easy sauce is the key to happy stress- free entertaining! Start the sauce in the morning, boil some pasta, make a salad, pick up a loaf of fresh ciabatta and Voila! After realizing that my grandma’s sauce is impossible to replicate, I decided to make my own! I stripped it down and learned from countless episodes of “sauces gone wild.”

I realized I was burning my garlic! Pitch it and start over if this happens because it totally ruins the taste! No brown! I always use San Marzano tomatoes. Why? Their taste is absolutely incredible! The low acidity gives you a bold, rich flavor as opposed to a sour tasting sauce.  Red Pack will not cut it, the extra $2 is so worth it!!


I love the selection of tomatoes at Pennsylvania Macaroni  (you will find I get all of my fresh ingredients here) located in Pittsburgh’s Strip District! Or online!

So here is the most basic (still totally delicious) recipe:

2cloves of garlic chopped
2tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion chopped
2 cans of whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1 can water
4-5 basil leaves chopped
Heat oil in a frying pan on medium heat add onions and sauté
Add garlic and press with a wooden spoon to release flavors
Cover pan with basil, ground pepper and sprinkle with salt.
Add 2 cans of tomatoes, 1 can tomato paste and 1 can of water to a stock pot and stir well
Add contents from frying pan
Cook on low- medium heat covered with the lid slightly propped.

Cook a pound of pasta. Add one spoon of sauce to serving bowl and coat to avoid pasta sticking together!

Always top off with freshly grated Parmesan!! Enjoy!