Monthly Archives: May 2012

Agua de Pepino con Limón (Cucumber Lime Cooler)



How is it that one day back at work and I am exhausted after a three-day weekend? I think this weather is wreaking havoc on me and my body! Over the weekend it was in the hight nineties and now it’s like sixty-five degrees? I am just exhausted and if you ask all my friends the weather is to blame for everything. If I am hungry…it’s the weather. If I am tired…it’s the weather…If my knees hurt it’s the weather…but I truly believe the weather certainly has a lot to do with how we feel physically so I will continue to blame the weather.

So I checked out our local fitness facility the other day and don’t know what to do…to join or not? I can’t walk as exercise because my feet hurt so I was thinking that maybe I can do the elliptical or other monstrous machines to get some sort of exercise. I will hopefully be trying it out next week with a friend so that I can make my decision. I am still kind of watching what I eat and have maintained my weight so far, but I would like to add a bit of change with the exercise thing. Wish me luck!

One of the things I miss about going to Mexico in the summer is all the delicious fresh “aguas”. There’s agua de pepino (cucumber), agua de sandía (watermelon), agua de melón (cantaloupe) and agua de jamaica (hibiscus). These delicious fresh drinks are so refreshing on a hot day; especially when you are sitting in the plaza with your friends just people watching. So since I haven’t been to Mexico in a while I make these drinks at home for my family.

My Julissa especially likes this Agua de Pepino.


1 large cucumber

6 cups water

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (2-3 limes)

1/3 cup sugar or to taste



Rinse the cucumber well. Leave the skin on, cut off about 1/2 inch from one end, and rub the two flat surfaces against each other (this helps remove any bitterness). Discard the end piece and repeat with the other end.

Slice the cucumber, then put it in  a blender. Add the water and blend until completely pureed. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a pitcher, then add the lime juice and sugar and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Taste and add more sugar if you like. Refrigerate until completely chilled. Serve over ice.

Makes about 8 cups.

I really like the cucumbery taste in this drink so I actually used 2 cucumbers and peeled them before putting in the blender. I just thought rubbing the surfaces against each other was kind of weird…

This might seem like a lot of work to some people, but it is so worth the healthiness and taste of this delicious drink. Make sure you mix it before serving it in each glass.

This kind of drink just makes me want to go to Mexico…



Recipe from Paletas from author Fany Gerson




Sugar Cookie Bars



I hope everyone had a wonderful long weekend! Mine was ok…kind of boring actually! Saturday I visited my new niece. She is absolutely adorable! The rest of the weekend…well not so great when you have a seventeen year old with a full weekend agenda who needs a car! I was carless most of the weekend so I spent an extremely quiet weekend at home. I vegged out watching TV all day Sunday and yesterday I kind of did a few little things here and there at home.

Summer is in full swing now! This dessert recipe is perfect for all sorts of summer gatherings!


1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup butter; at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
5 tablespoons milk
food coloring, if desired


In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla.

In a separate bowl sift together flour, salt, and baking soda. Slowly add to butter mixture and mix just until combined. Grease a large rimmed baking sheet (a 13×18 or 10×15 jelly roll pan) or line with parchment paper. Gently and evenly spread out batter onto sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 10-15 minutes (mine took more like 20-25 minutes), until light golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

To prepare frosting, in a large bowl, beat butter until fluffy. Mix in vanilla and salt. Add powdered sugar (1 cup at a time) until combined, then add milk & mix until smooth and spreadable. Add a few drops of color, if desired. Spread over cooled cookie, then cut into bars.

These bars were delicious! I have to admit that I was kind of lazy with the frosting. I used some green canned frosting that I had. I am sure the homemade frosting is tons better.

Any baking that I do in the summer is always done early in the morning or late at night so that the kitchen doesn’t get too hot.



Recipe from

Crock Pot Italian Beef



Happy Friday! It’s been a busy exciting week! On Monday my sister in law had her baby girl. Baby #4 to be exact! That started out the busy week. Tuesday was my daughters graduation and my dad’s birthday. I am very glad that Wednesday was pretty quiet. Yesterday was that last day of school for my district! Yay! My daughter is so happy to be sleeping in for the summer. Sure ,I still have to work another two weeks before starting my vacation, but it will be nice and quiet in my office as we close out this school year and get things moving on next year. I can’t wait to go see  my new niece on Saturday. The rest of the weekend will hopefully be spent relaxing!

It’s going to be in the 90’s this weekend and I am not looking forward to that temperature. It will definitely be good weather for lounging around!

My younger brother had asked if I can try making Italian Beef in the crock pot so of course I had to try.

They were delicious and juicy. They were even better dipped! It almost tasted like the great beefs you can get in so many places here in Chicago.


  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon onion salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (.7 ounce) package dry Italian-style salad dressing mix
  • 1 (5 pound) rump roast


  1. Combine water with salt, ground black pepper, oregano, basil, onion salt, parsley, garlic powder, bay leaf, and salad dressing mix in a saucepan. Stir well, and bring to a boil.
  2. Place roast in slow cooker, and pour salad dressing mixture over the meat.
  3. Cover, and cook on Low for 10 to 12 hours, or on High for 4 to 5 hours. When done, remove bay leaf, and shred meat with a fork.
I did add 3 beef bouillon cubes to make sure it tasted beefy enough. I had mine with gardiniera and that made it all the better!



Happy Wednesday!

I am exhausted! Yesterday was my daughter’s graduation! I am so proud of my girl! I hope she grabs onto the future and uses it wisely! She is mart and beautiful and I am hope she makes the best choices! It was also my dad’s birthday. After the graduation ceremony we went out for dinner and I feel like I need a lot of extra rest! We were out until about 10:15. I know that’s not late, but after a day at work, graduation and out for dinner I am totally out of energy! I need to get out more!

I will post some pictures in the next few days once I can pull it all together. Today I have the cutest little sack!

I made this for my last group swap, The theme was anything you wanted it to be. I kind of wanted it to be a gift within a gift. I decorated a kraft bag and filled it with about six mini notes. I figured it’s the kind of thing you can use to give as a gift but the recipient can still use the cards for gifts.

I need some recuperation…




Supplies from: Crate Paper, Stampin’ Up!, misc. buttons, rhinestones, lace & kraft bag

Inspired by


Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake



Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend! Mine was pretty busy and I need  to rest. My daughter’s prom is over and I am super relieved! Her graduation is on Tuesday and we are ready for this milestone too! Next weekend I am hoping to get some rest!

This past weekend was super hot…86 and 90 degrees. I am not ready for this heat wave. I like having a gradual warm up. Of course today it’s only supposed to be about 65 degrees…only in Chicago!

Last week I kind of started getting a few projects out of the way so that I can relax a bit over summer vacation. I cleaned out my youngest daughters drawers and shopped for some summer clothes for her. I printed out labels for my spice rack and pantry. I am definitely thinking ahead on everything I need to do.

Of course baking is something that is constantly going on in my house. I still bake in the summer but try to do it really early in the morning or late at night so that the kitchen won’t get too hot. Pound cake is so good. The only problem is that is packs on the pounds. I love it with ice cream on top but truthfully I very rarely buy ice cream because my youngest will devour it in a minute.

I made this wonderful pound cake, but had no ice cream to serve with it.



– 1 1/2 cups (170g) all-purpose unbleached flour
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, slightly soft
– 1 cup (225g) sugar*
– 2 large eggs, at room temperature
– 1/2 cup (approx. 120ml) buttermilk**
– Zest of 1 lemon, finely chopped or grated


1. Heat the oven to 325°C (160°C). Spray a loaf pan that’s about 8x5x3 inches with a nonstick coating.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt until well blended. With an electric mixer, beat the butter until it’s very pale and little tails have formed.

3. Sprinkle in the sugar and beat well until slightly fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl well. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until blended before adding the next.

4. With the mixer on low, add about one-third of the flour and mix until almost combined; then add half the buttermilk and mix until just combined. Repeat with another third of flour, and then the last half of the buttermilk, ending with the last third of the flour. Just before all the flour is incorporated, switch from the mixer to a stiff rubber spatula, add the lemon zest, and slowly stir to blend in the flour and zest, taking care to scrape the bowl’s bottom and sides.

5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs clinging to it when inserted in the center, 45 to 50 minutes. Let the cake cool before slicing.

I chose to make mine in mini pound cake loaves sot that I can share it with my family. This was really good. It was delicious with a simple glaze made from a bit of milk, confectioners sugar and vanilla. It would also be delicious with some lemon curd or fresh fruit…MMM…nice and fresh tasting.

Have a great day!



Recipe from

Senior Prom, 2012


Hi Everyone!

Yesterday was my daughter’s prom! I was so excited! I was so very happy to spend the day with her and take her to get her hair and make up done. Yes, my butt hurt from sitting so long, but it was well worth it! I have a few pictures to share!

My girl is little! She’s only about 100 lbs. and about 5’1″ !

I edited a few pictures and they look amazing!

This is in front of our house. We have this cute little tree that flowers every year with what I believe might be hydrangea. It’s my favorite place to take pictures.

This is my absolute favorite picture! I edited this one too and I love, love, love it!

I am so proud of my “big mama”. She is a beautiful smart young lady and hope that this night was fun and magical for her. As I write this post I am actually up waiting for her. I couldn’t wait to edit and crop the pictures so I figured I would do them too since I was going to be up late anyways.

I have a feeling I won’t be getting up early…



Tomato & Sausage Risotto



What a busy week!

Today is my daughter’s prom and she is super excited! Yesterday she had her mani & pedi and today she is having her hair and makeup done! I am so happy and grateful to be a part of this for her! I want her to have fun and be safe!

And now for some delicious food! I can eat rice every day. It doesn’t matter if it’s white rice, brown rice, wild rice…I will eat it. I can make a meal out of just rice alone!

This was delicious! I couldn’t stop eating it!

1 (28 oz) can of diced tomatoes in juice
3 c water
¾ lb hot Italian turkey sausage, casings removed (I used 3 links of Jennie-O)
1 small onion, finely chopped
salt & pepper, to taste
1 c uncooked Arborio rice
½ c dry white wine
9 oz fresh spinach, chopped (Fresh Express sells a 9 oz bag, I used that)
½ c grated Parmesan cheese
2 T light butter

1.    Combine the tomatoes and their juices with the water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Turn heat to low to keep the mixture warm until needed.
2.    In a large pot or sauté pan, combine the sausage and chopped onion and add salt & pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat, breaking the sausage up with a wooden spoon until meat is brown and onions have softened. Add the rice and stir to coat the rice and combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes and then add wine. Stir until wine is absorbed (1-2 minutes).
3.    Add two cups of the tomato mixture to the rice and stir. Turn the heat down to a simmer (medium-low heat) and cook until liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Add another cup and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed. Continue, one cup of liquid at a time until all of the tomato liquid has been added and absorbed. Rice will be tender and creamy. Add the chopped spinach and stir in until combined. Cook for another 1-2 minutes until spinach is wilted and combined.
4.    Remove risotto from heat and add the butter and cheese. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Serve immediately.

When I first made risotto years ago I was scared because it just sounded like it needed so much attention. It is really easy, just a lot of broth adding and stirring. Nothing scary about it.

This rice had so much flavor.  Have a  glass of wine with the risotto and you are all set!



Recipe from