pictures, words, food, adventures and once in a while, something random

Archive for February, 2012


Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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God gives us dreams a size too big so that we can grow in them. ~Author Unknown

Remember when we were kids and we dreamt of being “Someone” some day?  I believe that we all have our own purpose and the desire has been planted in us long before we even knew right from wrong.  Then life happens and we play the cards we are dealt, right?  Well who said you can’t walk away and play at another table or even start your own game?  We are all victims of fear.  Fear we learned from past mistakes, pain life threw our way and the shame we had to face.

Rewind back to that place and time you had a moment of clarity before all this fear settled in.  When you had a dream so big you never questioned yourself.  If you don’t remember that moment then dig deeper.  It’s there and once you find it then make it day one of your journey to fulfilling it.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Refreshing Salsa Chicken Salad

Ingredients:  2 cups Chicken strips (1/2 X 2 inch – Baked, grilled, fried or roasted chicken breast), 1 cup chopped tomatoes, 1 cup chopped yellow onion, 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, 1 lime, 1 romaine lettuce, 2 cups crushed tortilla chips (Not finely crushed) and ranch dressing.  In a small bowl, combine tomatoes, onions and cilantro.  Squeeze the lime over the mix and add 2 pinches of kosher salt.  Mix and set the salsa aside.  Cut up the lettuce in 1/2 inch strips, wash to clean and put in a bigger bowl.  Put in 1/4 cup ranch dressing (Depending on the size of the lettuce you may need less or more.  But use enough to coat the lettuce lightly).  Add the chicken strips and drizzle a bit more ranch to very lightly coat the chicken.  Add the salsa, and mix everything together.  Before serving, add the crushed tortilla chips and mix/toss.  Serve and enjoy!  This goes great with the garlic cheese bread.

The picture shown is a variation of this recipe.  The ranch dressing was blended with pico de gallo instead and was served without the tortilla chips because of this no carb diet I’m on.  I bought an 8 ounce tub and slowly added the ranch dressing (about 1/2 a cup).  I used a whole roasted lemon pepper chicken, de boned and cubed the meat.  I cut 2 whole romaine lettuce in 1 inch strips.  Cut up a lemon into 8 wedges.  I put all the ingredients in its own bowl and set up the assembly line.  Took less than 10 minutes to prepare, made 10 servings.

Easy Oriental Noodle Recipe

Picture by CJ Sternfels

This took me 20 minutes to prepare, using left over grilled steak.  Servings 6-8

Inspired by the Filipino dish called Pancit lomein (I think I spelled that right).  Oriental style noodles are packaged in balls and usually come 12 to a pack.  Each is about 3 inches in diameter uncooked.  Follow the instructions on the package on how to cook the noodles.  I just boiled some water, drop 6 noodle balls in there, kept it in for 3-5 minutes and placed the cooked noodles in the strainer.  I used two forks to spread them out a bit.  Still in the strainer, I put about two tbsp Maggi seasoning, 1 tbsp garlic powder and 1 tbsp sesame oil and mixed it around.  Because the noodles are still hot, it sucks in the flavors.  Set aside uncovered.

If you don’t have cooked meat, you can stir fry some chicken pieces.  I’ve used de-boned and skinned thighs and used 4 to 5 thawed and fully defrosted thighs.  Slice it in stir fry size (1/2 x 1/2 X 1 inch).  Heat 1 tbsp. sesame oil on high.  Sauté 3 cloves (crushed) of garlic. 3 chives chopped (in 1/4 inch pieces) with the chicken for 3-5 minutes or until meat is cooked and browned.   Flavor with 2 tbsp oyster sauce.  Then mix in 3 bunches of bokchoy or one small Chinese cabbage (Cut in 1 inch strips) and stir for a minute.  You can use any meat and add more vegetables.  This recipe is very forgiving.  While sautéing the meat and vegetables, slowly add the noodles in until all are in the wok or pan.  Add Maggi as needed, scoop some up in a bowl and enjoy!

If you have cooked meat, prepare the same way, just takes less time to cook.

Sausage in Raspberry Vinaigrette Sauce

Servings: 6.  Prep time 15 minutes.

Ingredients: 10 smoked sausage links (Regular hot dog size).  1 pound broccoli florets.  1/4 cup raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing.  1/2 cup water.

Cut sausage diagonally, each link into 4 pieces.  Boil in water covered on high for 10 minutes, or until water is reduced.  Add salad dressing, cover on high for 2 minutes.  Add broccoli (Cut and washed clean) florets, mix and cover for 2-3 minutes.  Cooking on high the entire time.

The time to cook depends on the intensity of your heat.  Ensure sausage is fully cooked and slightly browned before adding the broccoli.  Broccoli should be half-cooked.  Serve and enjoy!

Forever and almost always


Can you believe this flower is considered to be a weed?  But look at how pretty it is!

We’re all so busy praying for miracles, we neglect to recognize the ones within our reach.  I truly believe that nature is God’s way of saying “Helloooo… I’m right here”. ~ Christine Sternfels

The Promise

When you break a promise, you break a heart. ~ Christine Sternfels

Finding yourself

“No one can see their reflection in running water.  It is only in still water that we can see”.
~ Taoist Proverb

I’ve heard it over and over and I’ve even said it “I need to find myself”.  The thing about getting older, you do get wiser.  With that said, this phrase makes less sense to me every time I hear it.

Ongoing life lesson: With time, your being changes.  Trying to find yourself keeps you stuck in the past.  Embrace who you evolve into, without getting lost by compromising your values and principles.

Spring’s around the corner

No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.  ~Proverb

Chunky & Moist Corn Bread

No Low fat/sugar free substitutions 2 sticks butter 1 cup white sugar 1 can evaporated milk 4 eggs 16 OZ sour cream (1 tub) 1 package each – Marie Calender’s corn bread mix and Krusteaz corn bread mix 2 cans whole kernel corn drained 2 cans cream style corn.  See below for dip ingredients.

To prepare: Soften butter, mix sugar in until syrup like then add everything else one at a time in the order listed above – while hand mixing. Mix until somewhat like a brownie mix – a little softer than brownie mix. Pour into two 9X13 greased pan. Pre-heat oven at 325 – cook for 50-60 minutes or until set and lightly browned.

For corn bread dip: mix some whipped salted butter and add honey until it is sweet & buttery enough for you.

For chili dipping corn bread: Reduce the above ingredients to 1 can whole kernel corn & 1 can cream style corn. But you can keep it at 2 cans each if you want your cornbread packed and filling. This recipe is very forgiving… just have fun with it. To the batter, add 1/2 cup red pimento, 1/2 cup green chili (Ortega mild), 1/2 cup chopped yellow cheddar (to the size of half a raisin). mix all by hand. Cooking time may be 55-65 minutes. Right before serving, sprinkle some finely grated cheddar on top, put back in oven until cheese is slightly browned & melted.

Versatile Blogger Award

I’ve been given a Versatile Blogger Award!

This award is a means for bloggers to support each other, and recognize great, versatile, and helpful blogs.  First and foremost, I’d like to thank nocturnefirefay- Miss L.F for the award,  I am honored.

Fay’s blog is about musings and rants, mini adventures and observations, life, random sparks and tickles, flickers of interests, randoms, passions and fashions-short true stories recipes and poetry, drifting thoughts and love of music.  Visit her at

The rules to the awards are the following:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to them in your post.
  2. Share 7 things about yourself
  3. Pass the award on to 15 more bloggers that you enjoy
  4. Contact the people you have nominated.


  • I’ve discovered that less is really more.
  • I believe that people are good by nature.  It’s when a group of them get together that changes that opinion.
  • Hate is a very strong word, I try to avoid that emotion as best I can.
  • My favorite phrase: “When you look for the bad, expecting it, you will get it. When you know you will find the good—you will get that…” a quote from the movie Pollyanna.
  • I can sleep all day.
  • I wish I could fly, but I’m afraid of heights!
  • I love to swim in the ocean, it’s so peaceful.


These blogs are about photography, life, gratitude, second chances, dreams, cooking, faith, rants, poetry and so on.  When you can, please find some time to visit them and discover the beauty in each one and I hope you discover new blogs to follow!


Congratulations all and happy blogging!  Thank you again Fay for your nomination!

Pop’s Fried Chicken

Inspired by the Filipino fried chicken, goes great with banana ketchup!

Serving: 2-4

1 Game hen, cut in half.  Thawed, washed and patted dry.  In a ziplock bag (One with a seal and big enough to fit your meat), squeeze 1/2 small lime, 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp. sea salt, 4 tbsp. soy sauce, 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. cummin, 1 tsp. garlic powder.  Place meat in the bag of marinade and massage for a minute.  Place in the freezer for 20 minutes before cooking.

Cook in a skillet.  Set heat to medium high, place meat skin up with marinade in the skillet, cover for 10 minutes.  Take lid off, turn the pieces around, cover for another 10 minutes.  Take lid off (keep it off) and put heat on high.  Pan starts to dry and have some oil from the marinade.  Feel free to add a bit more oil if you have to.  Just enough to pan sear until cooked inside and the skin is a combination of gold and brown.

Great with a spinach and tomato salad with sesame ginger dressing and some steamed rice.


What’s in the box?

“The best things in life are unexpected – because there were no expectations.” ~ Eli Khamarov

I’m not saying that everything you’ve attained with a set of expectations were a disappointment but if you think about what gave you delight, most of it were probably what you least expected.

Ongoing life lesson… set expectations on certain goals to continuously challenge yourself, but definitely make more room for surprises.


What would be left to the imagination if you were already in paradise?
~ Christine Sternfels

Location: Kauai.  This picture was not edited at all and yes… the water was THAT blue!

Chocolate Peanut butter balls

This is so easy to make even your kids can do this themselves!  Makes approximately 100 1 inch PB balls.

2 cups smooth peanut butter,  1 cup butter or margarine, softened 5 cups confectioners’ sugar.

Mix all together. Shape into 1 inch balls, place on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt 24 ounces of chocolate chips.  They usually come in 12 ounce packages.  Follow the package’s instructions on how to melt this down.  Dip peanut butter balls in melted chocolate using a fork (scoop from the bottom), toothpick (insert toothpick on top of the frozen PB ball to pick up)  or easter egg dipping wire.  After dipping, place the chocolate covered PB ball on wax paper lined plate and refrigerate for 10 minutes to cool.

You can also melt white chocolate and drizzle on the already dipped ball for design or sprinkle powdered graham cracker or drizzle melted caramel and sprinkle with some sea salt.  Get creative… the worst part about messing up is eating the evidence and with chocolate covered PB balls, all your mistakes will be delicious!  Great for gifts and even wedding give-aways for those brides & grooms crazy for chocolate covered PB!


I treasure your heart

Chicken Chutney Pita

Quick and easy.  Makes 6 servings. 5 minutes to prepare.

3 Breast Patties.
3 pieces Pita bread.
1 tomato
3 TBSP chutney
3 TBSP mayonnaise.

I purchased the cooked chicken breast at Wal-mart, but I’m sure it’s available at any grocery store in the frozen food section.  The Deshi chutney can be found in the Asian section by the Indian food, I got mine at a mediterranean grocery store.  There are several kinds of chutney, this is the green one (Coriander).  Hot is good, it gives a bit of a kick.  Pita you can get at the bread or frozen food section as well.

Heat up the chicken according to the product instruction.  While I had the 3 patties in the microwave for 3 minutes, I was heating up the pita bread on my non stick skillet, stove on high at 30 seconds each side.  Slice the tomatoes thinly.  In a bowl, mix mayo and chutney.

Spread the mayo and chutney mix on each pita bread.  Cut the pita and chicken patties in half.  On one half of the pita, place a layer of tomatoes, 2 half patties, then top it with another half pita, cut it in the middle and serve.

You can add cucumbers and lettuce if you want.  That’s it!  Easy to make and great for entertaining.

Trail Mix

Does this picture make you want to grab a handful so you could toss it in your mouth and munch?

It’s so easy to make trail mix and there are many varieties to choose from.  You can go healthy and use Kashi cereals with dark chocolate chips and sesame sticks or do the traditional kind.   If you have kids, this is something fun to do with them and great to have around the house for mini snacks or to feed those emergency cravings that we all get every now and then.

Things you’ll need for a traditional mix:  Raisins, M&M’s,  Peanuts,  Almonds and Cashews.  You can just put a cup of each ingredient in a bowl, mix well then store in baggies or a mason jar.

There is really no wrong or right way of doing this, but it’s always fun to put it together.  Enjoy!

An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

Some little known facts about the apple from

  • Weight Loss  - A Brazilian study found that women who ate three apples or pears per day lost more weight while dieting than women who did not eat fruit while dieting.
  • Bone Protection  - French researchers found that a flavanoid called phloridzin that is found only in apples may protect post-menopausal women from osteoporosis and may also increase bone density. Boron, another ingredient in apples, also strengthens bones.
  • Asthma Help -  One recent study shows that children with asthma who drank apple juice on a daily basis suffered from less wheezing than children who drank apple juice only once per month. Another study showed that children born to women who eat a lot of apples during pregnancy have lower rates of asthma than children whose mothers ate few apples.
  • Alzheimer’s Prevention  - A study on mice at Cornell University found that the quercetin in apples may protect brain cells from the kind of free radical damage that may lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Lower Cholesterol  - The pectin in apples lowers LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. People who eat two apples per day may lower their cholesterol by as much as 16 percent.
  • Lung Cancer – Prevention  According to a study of 10,000 people, those who ate the most apples had a 50 percent lower risk of developing lung cancer. Researchers believe this is due to the high levels of the flavonoids quercetin and naringin in apples.
  • Breast Cancer Prevention  - A Cornell University study found that rats who ate one apple per day reduced their risk of breast cancer by 17 percent. Rats fed three apples per day reduced their risk by 39 percent and those fed six apples per day reduced their risk by 44 percent.
  • Colon Cancer Prevention – One study found that rats fed an extract from apple skins had a 43 percent lower risk of colon cancer. Other research shows that the pectin in apples reduces the risk of colon cancer and helps maintain a healthy digestive tract.  Liver Cancer Prevention  Research found that rats fed an extract from apple skins had a 57 percent lower risk of liver cancer.
  • Diabetes Management  - The pectin in apples supplies galacturonic acid to the body which lowers the body’s need for insulin and may help in the management of diabetes.

Sounds like a trip to the store for me… need more apples since it also has more caffeine than a cup of coffee and I’m trying to cut down.

Home Made Ghirardelli Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups!

Christine Sternfels:

Found this on HAD to share it. Can’t wait to make them!

Originally posted on Part Time House Wife:

WHY WHY WHY Haven’t I thought of this before!?! I was perusing the aisles of the grocery store this morning picking up a few things for later posts and found myself wandering down the Valentine’s Day aisle. I picked up a few boxes of my husband’s favorite candy and set it right back down. I’m not paying extra because it’s a heart shaped chocolate peanut butter stuffed candy. Then a light bulb went off and I pushed my little cart right on over to the baking aisle and grabbed two 4 oz. Bars and one 12 oz. bag of Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate. Rushed home and my version of Home Made Ghirardelli Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups were born. I know I’m not an original in this, I’m sure there were hundreds even millions who beat me the punch on this one but I’m still really excited. A perfect Valentine’s Day Treat!

View original 654 more words

Splitting image

How dare you question me…they look just like your mother!

Staying young

“We do not cease to play because we grow old. We grow old because we cease to play.”
~ George Bernard Shaw.


Do over

There are no backspace or delete buttons in life, but don’t let that stop you from trying again. 
~ Christine Sternfels


I think we’ve all been in situations where you might say “Wish I could click undo.  Do over!” 

I’ve been there too many times and continue to realize that had I given up in my darkest moments, I wouldn’t be here.  Had I given up on love, I wouldn’t be happily married.  Had I given up on my daughter, someone else would be helping her plan her wedding.  Had I given up on my career, I wouldn’t be able to pursue my dreams.  We learn things along the way and we don’t find the value in pain and hardships at the time but it’s what helps us achieve.  Learning from our mistakes makes us wiser and more equipped to be able to handle, maintain and appreciate success.

Life is one lesson after the other.  Each time you fall flat on your face or even if it’s just a scratch, get up and start all over again.


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