Archive | April, 2012

Lemon Poppy Dressing – with a salad

27 Apr

So this is just what it sounds like, a salad. However, this dinner is all about the dressing!

And since I am trying to cook more dinners, this dressing recipe is something I love and it healthy!

For the salad –

I like to use spinach not bore snore lettuce – but use whatever greens you like mixed with; cucumbers, carrots broccoli and any other veggies you like.

Slice strawberries and add those in. Also, mandarin oranges, pears and apples work just as well!

Toast some almonds, walnuts or pecans. Make sure you toast them, it make them taste SO MUCH better in the salad. You know the nuts are done toasting when you can smell the woody deliciousness!

Add some feta cheese.

You can also include grilled chicken, shrimp or some other type of protein.

Now for the best part the dressing which is healthy – hooray!!!

Light Lemon-Poppy Dressing

1/4 cup low-fat yogurt, (I like Greek yogurt)

1 tsp lemon juice – I also zest the lemon (is that how you say it?)

1 tsp sweetener of choice (I added honey)

pinch of salt

1 tsp oil

1 tsp vinegar

1 tsp poppy seeds


To make the dressing, whisk all of the ingredients together and place in a covered container.

Chill briefly in the fridge while preparing the salad.

When you are ready to serve the salad, add the dressing, and gently mix together.

Serve immediately.

We (the husband and I) also used lime in place of the lemon and it tasted just as good! Have fun and enjoy!


My New Obsession – and why I am sometimes late places

26 Apr

I inherited an espresso/latte maker.  I LOVE it, although, I am still perfecting the art of the latte. Fortunately for me, my brother used to be employed at Starbucks so he has been able to give me tips.

I have been making “skinny” vanilla lattes thanks to my friend Arantha who bought me sugar free vanilla syrup.

And although my lattes don’t look fancy– they are delicious!

Here are my tips for the best homemade latte!

  • Make sure you give yourself plenty of time in the morning to make it – and clean up – so your husband does not get mad.
  • Grind the espresso beans when people are awake. Not in the morning when your brother who works the evening news is still asleep. Because he is grumpy in the morning and does not want to be shocked into consciousness with the sound of a grinder.
  • If you are really tired because you are dumb and stayed up later than you should have reading (because you are a nerd) or because you had some other less nerdy more important reason to stay up – make your latte a double or triple or whatever. Which means you make two, three four or eight espresso shots and pour your steamed milk over those shots!
  • Pour the syrup into your cup then pour the espresso then pour the steamed milk.
  • If you are running out of time – make it an iced latte. All you need to do is make the espresso. No need to steam the milk  (which I tried because I am an idiot and my brother pointed out that I was just putting it on ice either way . . . )
  • Don’t go to a place where there are no bathrooms after you enjoy your latte – because those things go right through you. And being in the middle of a really good movie or church sucks when the latte hits!
  • Make one for a friend, relative or co-worker so they appreciate your hard work – and like you more!

That’s all hope you enjoy! Or just go to a coffee shop and get one. However, a bag of espresso beans costs just as much as one medium vanilla latte.

Books and Authors I adore! First up Sophie Hannah

25 Apr

I love anything by Sophie Hannah –her books are criminal mysteries that have so many twists and turns I can never predict or guess how each book will play out. These books are a series, they have a new mystery and main character for each book but the detectives are the same in each book.

Sophie Hannah is from the UK so she has a UK and US version of each book. This really confused me at first, and so you don’t make the same mistake as me and buy the same book twice I have listed both the UK and US titles below – also in order of when they came out.


Little Face Little Face

The Truth Tellers Lie Hurting Distance

The Wrong Mother The Point of Rescue

The Dead Lie Down The Other Half Lives

Cradle in the Grave A Room Swept White

The Other Woman’s House Lasting Damage

(No US title yet) Kind of Cruel

The books are not scary – even though the titles would suggest otherwise. If you love a good mystery these books are for you!

Cooking, Baking and all that JAZZ!

24 Apr

I am going to add another hobby to my life. It’s not new, just something I need to do more.

My running hobby attempt is going well and although my knees are mad at me I have been running for a few weeks. I won’t say I am “addicted” to it, or that its become a habit – but I am working on it. And sometimes I look forward to running – and much like homework and church – I am always happy when it’s over!

My next hobby will be cooking more! Like I said before I love to bake and I am actually pretty good at it. However, my cooking skills need a little help.

I also want to cook healthy yummy food which is not always easy. So I am going to TRY and cook healthy versions of food – but that’s not always possible or fun. So if I can find or come up with an alternative version of what I am cooking or baking I will include both versions of the recipe.

My first recipe is one I got from another blogger I adore called Dashing Dish.

I made the Lasagna Roll-Ups and they were indeed delicious! And what’s great about them is they are so good and healthy and it’s just Shane, my brother and me so I had plenty left over for a healthy lunch.

Hope you enjoy!


6 whole wheat (or fiber plus) lasagna sheets

1 cup cooked ground chicken or cooked lean ground turkey/ lean ground beef

1 cup low fat cottage cheese, blended in a blender or food processor until smooth, (or low fat ricotta)

1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (don’t like frozen spinach so I left it out)

1/2 cup parmesan, separated

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp italian seasoning (or 1/4 tsp basil + 1/4 tsp oregano)

1 jar spaghetti sauce (I used)

Optional: 1 cup mozzarella sprinkled on top


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Pour 1 cup of spaghetti sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Set aside.

2. In a large pot, bring water to a boil, and cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. (I recommend cooking a few more than 6, just in case one breaks or tears. With any left overs I threw them in another baking dish and made “messy lasagna”)

3. Meanwhile, in a medium size bowl, mix together meat, 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce, cottage cheese, spinach, 1/4 cup parmesan, and spices.

4. When noodles are cooked, drain in a colander, and lay on a kitchen towel to dry. Start assembling lasagna roll ups by spreading 1/6 of the meat mixture over each individual lasagna noodle.

Each roll only has 224 calories – and if you care it’s 6 Weight Watchers Points.

You can easily make this recipe not healthy by using regular noodles and non-organic sauce. But why would you want to? This is seriously so good you will think it’s bad. And I used ground turkey and it was delicious. Even my picky brother liked it!


Happy Birthday Dad!

19 Apr

It’s been just over three months since my dad passed away. Today is his birthday. Yesterday was my birthday and my brother birthday was Monday.

Yup we were born April 16, 18 and 19. And my Papa’s (grandpa) birthday is April 23rd.

So in honor of my dad, below are some pictures of him and his amazing life! I also included his obituary so you can understand the kind of person he was.

Age 66, a long time resident of Albuquerque, died Tuesday, January 10, 2012. He is survived by his son Nick Burke, daughter Josephina Montoya and son-in-law Shane Montoya, all of Albuquerque, NM; his sister Barbara Franklin of Albuquerque NM; his brother Dan Burke of Phoenix AZ; as well as nieces, nephews and many close friends. Mr. Burke was preceded in death by his father Dale Burke and mother Martha Burke. Hank was born in Coffeville, Kansas. He was a graduate of Regina Coeli Catholic School, Saint Pius X High School, and Eastern New Mexico University. Hank proudly served his country as a member of the United States Coast Guard and was a Vietnam Veteran. He started his career as an elementary school teacher and later became an engineer for Motorola. He retired in 2002 to take care of his father. Hank was a loving father and sibling as well as a dedicated and loyal friend. He traveled the world thoroughly, visiting six continents. Among other things Hank was a skilled poker player, avid reader, passionate Dallas Cowboys fan, talented story teller and consummate practical joker. There will be a Rosary recited Thursday January 19, 2012 at 6:00 pm and a memorial will be given on Friday, January 20, at 11:00 am with a reception to follow. All services will be held at the French Mortuary on 10500 Lomas Blvd. NE.

Hank Burke - Coast Guard

Hank Burke - Coast Guard

The Burkes

The Burkes



Dad, Nick and Me on our porch in Jemez

Dad, Nick and Me on our porch in Jemez

Dad, Nick, Me  at Disneyland

Dad, Nick, Me at Disneyland

At Wailing Wall Jerusalem- 2000

At Wailing Wall Jerusalem- 2000

Winning Big at Sandia Casino

Winning Big at Sandia Casino

At my wedding - October 3, 2009

Birthday Birthday La La La La Laaa

18 Apr

Today is my birthday!

Boo Boo

Boo Boo

And it’s also this guys birthday! On April 18, 2006 at 12:01 am my cat Grey Cat decided she would give birth on our bed. After quickly getting a box to put her in Grey Cat gave birth to four beautiful bundles of joy! Boo was the last kitten to be born. And almost was not – since Grey Cat herself was just a year old and a single mom she gave up halfway through Boo Boo’s birth. So Shane had to pull him out! I know so gross. I was a witness to the first two kittens births and decided that was all I could take so I passed out. Lucky for Grey Cat and Boo Boo – Shane was a trooper and stayed and helped Boo Boo. Now Boo Boo is six and the skinniest heaviest cat ever! And oddly enough, Grey Cat and him DO NOT get along! Well Boo Boo loves her but Grey cat does not return the affection

So here is to Boo Boo and me and a couple of others!

Famous people born today

Kourtney Kardashian – she is famous to me don’t be a hater! I love those crazy Kardashian’s!

America Ferrera – or Ugly Betty

Conan O’Brien – I would love to be on his show one day – for no reason other than to just be on his show!

Betty Ford – I hope all we share is a birthday and not an addictive personality. Maybe we can share being rich as well!

Famous events that happened on April 18

1775 Paul Revere and William Dawes warn “British are coming!” – If they would have told me this happened on my birthday when I learned this in school I never would have forgotten!

1868 San Francisco Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals formed – this must be a reason I love animals!

1902 Denmark is 1st country to adopt fingerprinting to identify criminals – Way to go Denmark!

1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire kills nearly 4,000 and destroys 75% of city – Well it can’t be a good day for everyone:(

1909 Joan of Arc declared a saint – Good for her!

1939 Gene Autry records the popular song “Back in the Saddle Again

1942 “Stars and Stripes” paper for U.S. Armed Forces starts – YAY

1949 Republic of Ireland withdraws from British Commonwealth – This one’s for you Ryan.

1956 Grace Kelly marries Prince Rainier III of Monaco (civil ceremony)

1962 16th NBA Championship: Boston Celtics beat Los Angeles Lakers, 4 games to 3 – This one’s for you father-in-law!

1966 Bill Russell became 1st black coach in NBA history (Boston Celtics)

1968 London Bridge is sold to U.S. oil company to be erected in Arizona

1975 John Lennon releases “Stand by Me”

1988 Barbra Streisand records “Warm All Over”

1983 I was born!

1995 Quarterback Joe Montana announces his retirement from football

2000 My future husband asked me to prom – with a raunchy birthday card – Thanks Shane!

2012 You get this wonderful, enlightening blog post! Have a great day!!!

Make your own Bath Soak

17 Apr

This weekend my cousin-in-law (is that right?) Sue shared her secret bath soak recipe with my sister-in-law and me. Well it’s not secret but it just makes it sound more adventurous.

Over Easter, Sue and I were talking about baths and how bath bombs were cool and amazing. Since Sue is incredibly creative and innovative she told me she makes her own!

So last Sunday – she showed me how to make a bath soak. She also gave me the recipe for bath bombs which I will soon attempt and gave us wax and wicks for candles – Thanks Sue!

Since my sister-in-law Gianna is also very crafty like her cousin Sue, I have recruited her to help me with this stuff since I myself am not so crafty.

That being said this is a NEW joint hobby! Gianna and I are going to make things! Things like bath soaks, candles, bath bombs and anything else Sue gives us recipes for. I will share the recipes with you as well.


Bath Soak

4 Cups powdered Milk

1 Cup Baking Soda

1 Cup cornstarch

½ cup powdered buttermilk or powder goat’s milk

3-4 drops fragrance

Combine the ingredients and mix really well.

Let the bath soak sit for 24 hours


If you want to divide the ingredients before you put in the fragrance you certainly can so you can make several different flavors.

You can also just use four cups powdered buttermilk or powder goat’s milk – it’s up to you.

You can buy the oils at most whole food stores – or you can order online. This is a good site. However, I will keep looking and let you know of any bargins I find on the oils.


Gianna and I making bath soak - not cutting crack!

Gianna and I making bath soak - not cutting crack!