Friday, May 25, 2018

Sympathy Card

Several weeks ago,  a very special lady and friend lost her battle to cancer.  She had been running the ShareaCard organization that I have been involved with the past 20 years.  She took over 14 years ago when the founder passed away - also from cancer.  Kath felt that it was her responsibility, but more importantly, her privilege to take over and make ShareaCard all that it could be.  And she did just that.  Because of her dedication, we have touched the lives of many seriously ill adults and brought them happiness through thoughtful greeting cards.  Both Suzanne, the founder, and Kath lived in PA - and the rest of us are scattered all over the US, as well as all over the world.  And now, her daughters are going to continue the work of ShareaCard in memory of their mother.  They grew up watching the dedication, love and unselfishness of their mother. They are going to follow in her footsteps and continue to help bring cheer to those in need.  I am so proud to be part of such a wonderful organization.  You can learn more about it at

I let almost a week go by before starting to make a card for Kath's family.  I was in such denial that this disease had taken her from her family and all of us.  I wanted to make a card that somehow depicted who she was to me - someone with grace and beauty and gentleness.

Here is a closeup of the gerbera daisies stamp by Sheena (Crafter's Companion).
It is embossed with a silver white embossing powder that sparkles 
beautifully in person.  And the pearls and sequins add a nice touch.

The photo below gives a slightly different view of the front of the card - and all of the detail in the stamp.  I love how it turned out.

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Saturday, May 5, 2018

A Bright and Fun Congratulations Card

I am so lucky to be involved with many organizations that do so much good in our beautiful city - particularly for the youth.  One of my passions is working with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Oceanside.  They do such amazing work for the youth in our community and I am truly honored to be a part of that.  As a side note, it is interesting how things come full circle in life.  In the 1960s, my father was part of the group of businessmen who started the Boys Club in Oceanside (back then it was just for males!!)  And he stayed involved most of his life.  So how special is it for me to now be on the board and help follow in his footsteps and also follow my own passion - I am all about the youth in our community and exposing them to as much as we can.  I want them to know that they can do whatever they want - they only have to reach for it.

Every year in our club (and in most Boys & Girls Clubs), a youth of the year is chosen.  That youth goes on to compete in the county competition against other youth in the area, and then the winner goes on to State, then Regional, then National.  It is an amazing opportunity and at the National level, there is a lot of scholarship money available to the winner.  Last year our youth of the year won the County and then became the California State Youth of the Year.  This year, we did it again!!!  Our 16 year old incredible young woman won San Diego County and then recently won the State competition.  We are so very proud of her.  She will go on to the regional completion and compete against youth from Washington, Idaho, Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona and a few other states I cannot remember right now!!  So exciting for her and what an opportunity for growth, win or lose.

She was planning to attend board meeting last week, so I wanted to make her a card from the Board to let her know just how proud we are of her.  This was super fun to make because it was different than the get well or birthday cards that I usually do.  I am super happy with how it came out. I hope you like it too!

Here you can see a closeup of the glitter and foil - 
both challenging to capture the sparkle beauty!

The background foiled image was actually a negative piece left over from another project. I had used Gina K's Foil Mates with the stars, so this was fun to add to the feeling of celebration - and the fact that she IS a star!!

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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Chicken Tortilla Soup...... a new FAVORITE!

I was definitely on the fence about Chicken Tortilla Soup.  I didn't hate it - I just wasn't sure that I liked it enough to make it.

Well....... I have followed Carlsbad Cravings for several years, and all of her recipes are always fabulous.  And Carlsbad (the city) is literally next door to where I live - just 5 minutes away.  So......
I am a fan for many reasons.  I knew she would not steer any of us wrong on this recipe , and I was SO VERY RIGHT!

You need to make this  -- and you need to make it soon.  You will not be sorry!!


adapted from Carlsbad Cravings

2 T. olive oil
2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness
1 medium onion, chopped
1 poblano pepper, chopped (I LOVE these peppers - so good and not too hot)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
5 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tsp. each:  chili powder, ground cumin, chicken bouillon or broth powder
1/2 t. each:  smoked paprika, oregano, salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 small (4 oz.) can mild green chilies
2 - 15 oz. cans fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
1 - 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 bag Trader Joe's frozen fire roasted corn (i can of sweet corn can be used, but this is SO much better)
1 - 10 oz. can mild enchilada sauce
6 c. low sodium chicken broth

In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add chopped onion and saute for about 3 minutes.  Add bell pepper and poblano pepper and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add garlic and saute briefly.

Add all remaining soup ingredients (except the lime juice and cilantro).  Cover soup and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer over medium low or low heat.  Simmer 20-25 minutes or just until the chicken is tender (check for temp of 165 to be sure).  Remove the chicken from the pot and let rest about 5 minutes.  Carefully shred the chicken (be careful - it will be hot!)

Add chicken back to pot along iwth the lime juice and cilantro.  Taste and season with additional salt and live to taste.  Stir in additional chicken broth if you want a less chunky soup. (I like it chunky!)

Top individual servings with baked tortilla strips (below) and garnish with cubed avocado, shredded Cheddar cheese, additional chopped cilantro (and anything else you like).


To add later:
1 T. lime juice (and extra lime slices for serving)
1/3 c. chopped cilantro


Homemade Tortilla Strips:
8 - 6 inch corn tortillas
1 T. vegetable or canola oil
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 425 for the tortilla strips.

Cut tortillas into 1/2 inch strips.  Using a pizza cutter can make it easy to create the strips.  A few can be stacked at a time and cut to make it easier.

Line a half sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper and .  Toss the strips with 1 T. oil and spread over the pan, making sure to arrange the strips in a single layer.  Grind pink Himalayan salt over the top.  Bake for 12-15 minutes in the oven until light golden brown. Set aside to cool and crisp.

This soup is delicious - REALLY scrumptions!  I served this to my neighbors who love tortilla soup and they said it was the best they had EVER tasted - and they have tasted many!  Needless to say, that made me one happy girl.

The added bonus was that this soup was super easy to make.  I will definitely be making this more often!

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