Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Past In The Present

It's time to deck the halls!
There are some advantages to living in the Pacific Northwest like....growing your own Christmas trees in the backyard.
At a glance the trees outside always appear smaller to me than they actually are.

So, harvesting at the perfect time is tricky.
Because they look small.....I always want to wait allowing them to mature.
Which inevitable means we'll be chopping down treezilla!


The Christmas magic begins with the nostalgic decorations.
We are fortunate to have inherited (my hubby) Paul's childhood ornaments.

They're so very precious to us.
So, to avoid the possible mishap when my sons cat is playing ping pong with the Christmas trimmings I will create a vignette where they're safely spotlighted.

Although these are from Paul's Christmas past, I grew up with the same style of ornaments on my tree.
They bring back a flood of cherished memories.
I remember how each one twinkled among the
(old fashioned) tinsel.
We had a color wheel that spun round projecting an array of reflected colors on the ornaments.
I loved sneaking into the living room, (at bedtime) with a cushy blanket and pillow in tow.
I'd lay on the floor in front of the Christmas tree watching the light show until I fell asleep.

I love A-L-L the shapes and colors of pink or teal, with touches of gold and silver glitter. I especially adore the little details in the written sentiment
of holiday cheer.

Whats your favorite ornament or decoration you look forward to displaying each year?

I was searching for an affordable solution in giving a little something to those who live in various (distant) locations.
With the mailing cost it adds up quickly.
I'd like to show you what I've found to solve my dilemma.

Walgreens has several style options of (flat) glittered ornaments that easily tucked into my Christmas cards.
They were on sale at $1.49 for 12 so....I stocked up for next year and then some.

Before finding the deal at Walgreens...I'd purchased these majestic looking (gold glittered) reindeer at the Dollar Tree.
They were a little more expensive than Walgreens at $1. for a pair.
The reindeer went into this years cards with a few added embellishments and a hang tag that read...
"A Pacific NW Rain-dear"

Thursday, November 17, 2011


The table will be set.

Our star guest Mr. Tom will be sitting center stage waiting for his accompaniment.


For many years this was our traditional Thanksgiving side dish..."sweet potato casserole."  Loaded with toasty, gooey marshmallows.
That is year when inspiration and (marshmallow) boredom hit.   That's when a  new (side dish) star was born and my Thanksgiving went to pot.

"POT PIE" that is.

Here's the how-to's for my.....
Sweet Potato Apple Streusel  Potpie.

2-3 29 oz cans cut sweet potatoes or
the equivalent of  baked sweet potatoes.
1-20 oz. can (no sugar added) apple pie filling
1/2 c. diced apple 
Combine drained sweet potatoes, apple pie filling and diced apple. 
Spoon half of the  sweet potato filling into a baking dish. 
Spread an even layer of the streusel topping over the filling.
Repeat with the remaining filling and topping.
Bake 350 degrees 25-35 mins

    3-4 tbsp. butter, semi firm
 1/2 c. (give or take) flour or Bisquick
1 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. coarsely chopped pecans 
1/2 c.coconut (optional)

Using prepared pie crust
(Trader Joes has phenomenal frozen pie dough sheets).

Before rolling dough out, brush various autumnal colors of food coloring in random spots.

Leave some of the natural color as well.
Roll  dough, then
with a maple leaf cutter stamp a variety of sizes. 
For the veining gently score the leaf with a paring knife. 

Using the back of a mini bundt  or  jumbo muffin pan coat it generously with oil.  (I used a coconut spray oil , but any oil will do).
Cover the individual  pan shapes with pie crust (I cut the crust that's going to be the top shorter)
 Baste the shell with food coloring.
This is only necessary if you want the shell to resemble a pumpkin
Bake until golden brown.

Fill your baked pumpkin shells with the piping hot...  
Sweet Potato Apple Streusel.
 Top with a  dollop of whipped cream.

Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without a few gifts of gratitude.  Sweet pumpkin and acorns shared with family and friends.
The acorns and pumpkins are this years fun discovery that I'm ecstatic about making (showing major restraint in not inhaling every
one of them).
How classic do these lil' pumpkins look in white.
  I will be posting the blogger who has the directions, along with a major change I made to the original recipe.  You can choose either option.
(you can convo me if you need the directions before Monday)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My cup runneth over.

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for each and every note written to me.
 Your words are truly what continues to help me cope in this healing process. I will forever cherish your friendship and support.

There will be a few new changes to Sara's Sweet Surprise.  I will be adding more DIY projects for gift giving use as new touches to your decor.

The most challenging and yet very exciting addition will be..."Girl Talk!"
 Vlogging on a plethora of topics that we girls love to chat about.

No worries, I will continue to bring my unique style of cuisine to the table.
1. Pumpkin (shaped) Pot Pies
2. Edible Cupcake Wrappers
3. Candy Snowflakes

It's sure to bring a
sweet surprise! 

Friday, May 27, 2011

She knows we have to say goodbye....

Angel laid on my chest and filled my face with kitty kisses. Trying to give me enough of them to ease my pain and hopefully carry me through in her absence. Our time is fleeting. How I wished I could turn back the clock.
When I look at her I can't convey to her the the love
I have, or how great this loss is to me.
how I'll miss her everyday.

Angel always loved blogging, more so putting in her opinion.

She has been my constant companion through my darkest hours and has brought my greatest delights for 16 years.
As my dear friend said to me..."they're the ones we whisper our greatest fears to."

"We have a big favor to ask of you."

My circle of family and friends is very tiny here, so finding solace can be distant.

This is where I'm reaching out to you.
I know you understand with all your heart what these furry companions mean to us.
I would like to compile a scrapbook with all your comments.
Whether your a pet owner or just a lover of animals, would you please be willing to share your thoughts in the comment forum.
If you have or had a
fur buddy I'd love to read about your journey.
"Could you also invite your sweet (blogging) friends to stop by as well?"
I "
truly" appreciate anyone who would be willing to leave a comment at this fragile time.

Sweet Angel you have left a permanent paw print on my heart that will last forever.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Angel in my life.

Angel's been in my life for over 15 years. She is my constant companion and comfort. Especially now as I struggle through a personal event. My heart aches as I wait to hear the results from her vet. Please keep us in your thoughts as we go forward. I know how much you find unconditional love from your fur babies too. They bring our greatest joys.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Align Center
Preparing for a Fiesta! 

For many revelers, the Fifth of May has come to mean Margaritas and Mexican food, and spring weather. But Cinco de Mayo isn't the celebration of Mexican independence, as many believe, nor is it celebrated throughout Mexico. Festivities are generally confined to the state of Puebla, where, in 1862, Mexican troops defeated an invading French army nearly double their strength. Citizens there still mark the occasion with a military parade honoring the Battle of Puebla, followed by a fiesta filled with music, dancing, and, food.

In the U.S., though, Cinco de Mayo is rapidly becoming a favorite springtime celebration. Whether you blame it on the aggressive advertising of Mexican beer companies or credit Chicano pride and a growing interest in Mexican culture  along with the cuisine..... the fact remains that May 5 is the perfect excuse to entertain.

Méxican Folklórico Dancers

A folk dance is performed in celebration of a special event. The dancers are wearing the region of jalisco dress. Every region represents their own rich cultural heritage through their interpretive dance and costume.

The dresses have an array of vibrant color's.

To become an accomplished dancer it takes years of vigorous training, so
children start practicing at a very young age.

Every female dancer will have (colorful) ribbons braided into her hair or wear a flower headpiece for her performance.

The accompaniment for the perfect fiesta...... is a
Mariachi band!

The food is an integral part of the celebration!
I focused on authentic meals that are as complex and rich as Mexican culture itself. My dishes are not commonly found in a Mexican restaurant, but would be found on every Latinos dinner table. Add drinks and a festive setting, and you've got the makings of a fabulous fiesta.

Nuestra cena mexicana

I found these little maracas and repurposed them into napkin rings.
The tissue flowers are a traditional Mexican decoration.

Main course ...chilaquiles

Made with corn tortillas, enchilada sauce, ground beef, spices and lots of cheese!
Garnish with sour cream and sliced avocado.
We like a little tomato and lettuce with our chilaquiles.

Fideo with frijols refritos

I refer to this dish as... Mexican spaghetti, the pasta is similar to angel hair that's been cut into tiny strands.

The fideo has a tomato sauce base with chicken broth, onions and comino (cumin).
Topped with refried beans, salsa, green onions, cilantro and sour cream.
It is typical to eat with tortillas... for scooping
 (in place of a spoon or fork)

Dessert.....pan dulce

"Conchas" are a lightly sweet bread that has a sugar-shell pattern on top.
An "Empanada" is a turnover with a pumpkin , jam, or cream filling.
"Besos" consists of two round domes with a “kiss” of strawberry jam and coconut,
 (my favorite!!)

No fiesta would be complete without a Piñata!

So I made you a mini version of a "sombrero."
Created from a swatch of chile pepper fabric and gathered crepe paper.

Here are the treasures you'll find inside when you crack it open.

Hot Tamales, chocolate gold coins and confetti.

De mi familia a la suya,
Feliz Cinco De Mayo

Friday, April 1, 2011

Dinner and dessert...

chicken nuggets, peas and carrots.
With a side of mashed potatoes and gravy.

Chocolate Strawberry Pie

Strawberry and Blueberry Cupcakes.
A dinner and dessert...perfect for Aprils Fools Day!
Recipes:April Fools dinner
Fish Sticks
(I preferred the faux fish sticks recipe for the chicken nuggets)
Berry Pie

I'll be back to blogging next week.
Hope to see you then.