Mar 27, 2020

Colombian Ajiaco Soup

Colombian Ajiaco Soup
(simplified Americanized version
of Bogota chicken & potato soup)

Hi! Remember me? I know! I really didn't fall off the planet.

We just recently returned from an 11 day trip to Bogota,
Colombia. By the time our trip had ended, things were already
going haywire due to the Corona virus sweeping the planet.
Thanks everyone for not saving us any toilet paper!
Truthfully, I was scared to death that we wouldn't
be able to fly home. Some countries in
South America were closing their borders
and I knew Colombia at some point would follow.
I was even afraid after we got in the air they would
turn the plane around and make us go back.
Hey, I loved Bogota, but I was getting mighty homesick.
If we could just get to Ft. Lauderdale I knew we could get
the rest of the way to Arizona one way or another.
Well, things weren't quite as exciting as I had feared.
We got back to Arizona without a hitch and I was immediately
itching to make this soup!
While in Bogota, this recipe was served to us twice and
I ordered it one more time in a restaurant.
I just couldn't get enough of it.
I love it's beauty, it's simplicity, and the special flavor of the guascas,
which I had never tasted or heard of before.
The closest thing I can compare the flavor to is artichokes.
It's a special plant that grows around Bogota,
hence this is also sometimes called Bogota soup.
Apparently it grows in the US in a couple of places too.
You can make my Americanized version start to finish in about 30 minutes.

5 medium russet potatoes
5 small red potatoes
2 TB chicken bouillon powder
2 cans chicken (Costco)
1 can corn, drained

Cooked white rice
½ cup sour cream
3 TB drained capers (Amazon link)

Cut the potatoes into small’ish chunks and put into soup pot.  Cover with water just barely above the potato line. Cook until potatoes are soft, but NOT MUSHY.  Use a potato masher to partially mash the potatoes right in the water. You still want chunks of potatoes, but enough of them mashed that it thickens the soup.
Add the remaining soup ingredients and let simmer a few minutes until guascas is rehydrated.

Serve with sides.  

In Colombia they don’t use canned ingredients, it’s all fresh, and the corn is actually cooked in the soup on the cob.  It’s really pretty, but I’m not really a corn still on the cob kind of girl, so I used canned. They cook their chicken from scratch and sometimes even serve that shredded on the side.  Also, in Colombia you do not put your rice and avocados into your soup, you eat them separately as sides. So if you want to be authentic, do that. But I sorta like to just throw it all in there and enjoy it together.  I feel guilty even saying that, cuz tradition is tradition and I’m just raking this over the coals. The Colombian people are the most gracious giving people I’ve ever met and I hate to downplay tradition, but my laziness is winning on this one.  Bottom line...I like recipes that are easy and fast!  And most importantly, it tasted exactly the same!

                Chow Chao!

Nov 25, 2018

Cranberry Snow - A Beautiful Holiday Treat!


A friend shared this with me several years ago 
when a group of us were swapping favorite holiday recipes.  
I wasn't too sure if I'd like it, 
but she swore it was amazing.  

She was right!
It was an instant hit with my family!!

It's like 'healthy' candy that you just pop into your mouth.  
One after the other.....
again and again and again!

It's better made the night before serving 
so it has time to air dry thoroughly.  

1 regular size bag of fresh cranberries (2 lbs)
1 egg white
Gallon size Ziploc bag

Add one teaspoon of water to the egg white and beat by hand with a fork in a small bowl.

Put 1/2 of the cranberries in the Ziploc bag.  Add only half of the egg white mixture to the cranberries, zip shut and thoroughly coat the cranberries until they're all shiny.

Add 1 - 2 cups of sugar to the shiny cranberries, zip shut and gently toss them until as much sugar as possible sticks to the cranberries.

Spread out on a large waxed paper covered cookie sheet and allow to air dry completely (preferably overnight).

You're gonna love 'em, so go ahead and make the other half of the cranberries and the rest of your egg white mixture while you're at it!

This is an amazing addition to any holiday relish tray or great by itself!

I'd recommend only making as much as you think 
you'll consume in a 24-48 hour period.  
It's best at room temperature and the cranberries 
will get mushy if left out for more than a couple of days.  
That's usually not a problem for us cuz 
we scarf them down pretty quickly. 


Aug 22, 2017

DIY Dishwasher Clean/Dirty Magnet FREE PRINTABLE

I just don't want any more confusion.  That is all.  ;)

There were plenty of options out there, 
but I just wanted something simple that was black and white.  

I printed the one sheet on cardstock.
I used the same piece of cardstock to cut two more 'layers'.

I used a little glue stick (which I RARELY use) 
to adhere the three layers together.

I only wanted to cut this baby out once and I wanted the edges to line up.
THAT'S why I glued them together first.

But guess what?
Wet hands are going to be touching that
hopefully ALL.THE.TIME.
So I need to waterproof it a bit.
If you have a laminator,
you can skip the next couple of steps!

I love love love Scotch glue, 
but Elmers or whatever you have on hand will work fine.
I glued the edges with the tiniest most imperceptible line of glue.  
Less is best.
I just don't want my layers pulling apart.
See how much I trust glue stick?
Like, not at all.

I Modge Podged a veeeery thin layer on top.
Too much will just warp your paper.
You can already see a little warping on the right,
but it smoothed out after everything was dry.

After the front is dry, don't forget to Modge Podge the back too.

After it was completely dry
I added a couple strips of 
self-adhering magnets.

I love it!

Simple, practical, and made with supplies I had on hand.

My fingers are crossed that my family will now actually use it!

Jun 11, 2016

Relief Society Birthday Party Picnic - The Ants Go Marching...

Celebrating the 174th anniversary of the 
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints' Relief Society organization
with a picnic themed birthday party!

Mason jar flower vases with a junque bow and a string of buttons

Jun 10, 2016

Teacups and Teapots Made of Paper

As seen in my Dream Tea Party
we handcrafted teacups as one of our activities after lunch.
Cuz what's a party if you don't craft something??
I also included a handcrafted teacup and teapot as part of my gift basket.
Each of my 9 party guests and I chose a separate theme to create a beautiful basket full of goodies that we'd exchange in a white-elephant-rules type of game.  
I chose Tea Party, cuz hey, I was already totally in that mode.
I filled this basket with so many delightful goodies,
the teapot and teacup,
as well as several other paper handcrafted tea-themed items.

(I made an extra set for myself to keep cuz I loved them so much!)

Jun 9, 2016

Tea Party White Elephant Gift Basket Exchange

This is all about the delightfully fun and beautiful
 gift baskets that my guests and I created
I think this is what first got us all so excited 
and so into the spirit of it.

Way ahead of time, each of us chose a separate theme to 
create a beautiful basket full of goodies that we'd exchange 
in a white-elephant-rules type of game.  
I chose Tea Party, cuz hey, I was already totally in that mode.
I filled my basket with lots of  'British' goodies!

The first rule was to keep it around $30, so I didn't want to spend much on a container.
I found this perfect hat box at Goodwill for only a few dollars!

May 25, 2016

My Tea Party Dreams Have Come True!

I've planned a lot of parties,
but they are always for my kids, or on assignment for large groups.
This time it was just for my close friends and me!

I've been planning this party in my head for about 20 years,
so it goes without saying that I had a lot of fun with it!

Good friends who are also crafty and creative.

These gals wore Easter bonnets, which ROCKS!

Here's our whole group in our tiny felt Easter Parade hats
 that we made as one of our two crafts.

Apr 3, 2016

Favorite Chicken Salad on Croissants

A few friends have asked me lately for my chicken salad recipe. Since I never really had it written down, this has forced me to be more specific with what's in it. It changes based on what I have on hand, but these are basically the ingredients I use. 

Costco canned chicken
Canned pineapple tidbits
Chopped red onion
Plus any other delish dressing you have (ranch, Asian, whatever)
Bottled cole slaw dressing is really really good too
Coursely chopped cashews
Thinly sliced celery
Halved grapes
Frozen peas
Salt and pepper

That's pretty much it. :)


As you can see, last time I made it I made a LOT!  My family (especially Maddie) loves chicken salad croissant sandwiches big time, so they (her) were very happy that I had extra to bring home. ;)

Aug 8, 2015

Frozen Hot Chocolate

It's just so hot here right now.  
Most of the year I love Arizona, but August....well, not so much.   

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

The very first time my husband and I went to Mexico together
was while we were dating and it was amazing! 
It was partly amazing due to my discovering 

One particular evening I wasn't in the mood for heavy tacos, 
and honestly, I'm not even really a fan of regular shrimp cocktail,
but that night I must have seen it at someone else's table
and decided to give it a try.

From then on, I always looked forward to our trips so that I could order more!

After we'd been married a couple of years, there was a new Mexican restaurant that opened up near our home that advertised the same Mexican shrimp cocktail that I thought I could only get in Mexico.  Unfortunately that restaurant only stayed open a short time.  :(
I finally decided to do some research for a recipe 
(because I wanted it for my whole family),
and after a bit of tweaking to make it my own, 
this is what I have come up with.
It's a family favorite!

The best part is, it's very healthy and totally guilt free!
Eat all you want, my friends!
It won't make you fat!!!

Feb 6, 2015

Best Tomato Dip, Salsa and Guacamole

By request 
here are the recipes for the three dips we served on Super Bowl Sunday, 
as seen on my Instagram and Facebook feeds.

Dec 14, 2014

Twenty-One Handmade Ornaments - Annual Exchange

We've had TWO ornament exchanges this year,
so I have lots of wonderful handmade ornaments to share with you!
TWENTY-ONE, to be exact.
Ohhhh, how I love all of this year's ornaments.
Every year they get better and better!

Dec 13, 2014

Another Fantastic Shop...The Old Brick House Vintage Market

I don't know how Rachele found this place, but we checked it out yesterday

is located in the old charming area of Mesa, 
right on the main drag.
It's only open the 2nd weekend of each month.
(see dates and hours below)

Yeah, the JUNK WAS GOOD!

Oct 28, 2014

Winter Wonderland Tree Centerpieces - Coffee Filter, Burlap, and Linen

In my last post I showed you our Polar Express ward party.
These are the centerpieces that we used to decorate our dinner tables.

I've had so many questions about the tree centerpieces,
so here's the how-to's on making your own
VERY SIMPLE and inexpensive trees!

We had tried other kinds of trees too, 
but nothing seemed to work out for us except these three.
Once we were done, WE LOVED THEM!

Our three kinds of trees were

Oct 27, 2014

Polar Express Ward Christmas Party

It's almost Christmastime again 
Ahhhh, that most wonderful time of the year.

Sep 29, 2014

I Am Brave And Beautiful

I am Brave and Beautiful - a beauty movement that is sweeping the globe. Colbie Caillat started it with her recent song and video called TRY. My blogging friend Megan of Brassy Apple wanted to push this movement along and invited women from all over to share what they looked like without make up and I joined in!! Colbie's song says, "Take your make up off. Let your hair down... Look into the mirror at yourself, Do you like you? Cause I like you... "
Megan and her friend Cobi of Peacefrom6pieces have been the team behind this whole project. Their worldwide vision included creating their own video inspired by the song TRY. The talent of Robbins Creative made it possible for them to pull it off. You have to click play and see the beauty and bravery displayed and you might even recognize a few faces in there.
Me along with 101+ other blogging women from different backgrounds, religions, ethnicities, ages, shapes and sizes have decided to be Brave and Beautiful! You can join in this movement too by sharing what you look like without makeup on. You don't need a blog either! Just tag your photo with #IamBraveAndBeautiful on Instagram and search the hashtag to see who else has joined in. ALSO, if you tag it with a second hashtag - #ColbieTRY we just might be able to get Colbie Caillat's attention since she was the inspiration behind it all!
Are you brave and beautiful? I am, here I go!

Sep 22, 2014

Girl's Red and Turquoise Cake Decorating Birthday Party

I love planning parties, but THIS one is my favorite so far!

My daughter Madison just turned 12
and since she's sort of obsessed with baking ANYWAY
what better way to incorporate her love of baking than to include her friends in a 

In my head it started out as a cute idea on a small scale,
but in my true Cindy fashion, it escalated into so much more.
Even my husband thought it was cool, 
and he doesn't think very many things are cool.

Besides baking, we tied in a few other fun things too, 
like hipster mustaches, big lips, and bow ties,
ruffled aprons,
and cupcake liners as decor!

Dollar Tree and Party City are so great for finding affordable place settings and decor.  
Everything you see is from either of those places, 
except the cupcake liners, which are from Michaels.
I made the gift bag name tags out of several layers of cupcake liners.  
Scrunch each layer a little smaller so that all the colors show, 
then staple them in the center to hold it all together.  
Hot glue a name sticker to the top to hide your staples.  
These are SUPER fun and easy to make!

More fun with cupcake liners!  
I made a big long banner of different sizes, 
plus I added coffee filters and small paper lace doilies.  
A lot of decor bang for your buck, super cute, super easy, and adorable!  
Great way to add some color to the party!

Here's a full view of the cupcake banner which is draped across the mirror.

The big surprises we had in store were personalized ruffled aprons and 
a freshly baked double layer cake boxed up for each girl.  
The cakes were plain and unfrosted, 
but the party is all about cake decorating, right?!

I almost can't even stand how cute these aprons are!

Aug 16, 2014

50 Interesting Things In My 50 Years


I'm not sure how I feel about turning 50.
I hate that I'm 50 years old now,
but making a list of cool things I've gotten to do over the past 50 years 
definitely makes it a little easier, 
not to mention that I'm on my grandest adventure yet 
at this very moment (I'm about to see some pretty amazing stuff!).
I've been extremely lucky to have a little adventure over the years, 
along with the triumphs, heartache, surprises, day-to-day routines, 
and best of all, great love.

Someone whom I highly esteem once told me that my life was so interesting 
that I should write a book and it would be a best seller.  
At the time I was only 20 years old.  
Add 30 more years of adventure 
(and crazy) 
on top of that, and it's been quite a ride.

My husband calls Fifty the new 'f' word.  haha.  Now I will too.

I've been working on this list for weeks.
I'm sure there will be things I'll think of later that I'll wish I had added, 
but as of today, here are the most interesting things I can think of that I've done/seen/accomplished over the past 50 years.

50 Interesting {to me} Things I've Seen/Done
In The Last 50 Years
(not in order of most interesting)

1.  Gave birth to five beautiful kids.

2.  Met my husband online.  I call him my mail-order husband.  He has five beautiful kids too.

     4.  Zip lined on the Big Island, HA and in Ensenada, MX
     5.  Been on an Alaskan cruise (as of yesterday)
     6.  Flown closely over an active volcano
     7.  Helicoptered over Molokai and Maui, HA, saw the steepest coastal cliffs in the world.
     8.  Snorkeled many times in Hawaii
     9.  Kayaked to Captain Cook’s Monument
    10.  Climbed to the top of Mt Timpanogas (signed the book)
    11.  Scuba dived in the drifts in Cozumel
    12.  Snorkeled with sea lions in Mexico
    13.  Seen the Napali Coast in Kauai
    14.  Water skied Lake Powell
    15.  Snow skied CO and UT
    16.  Rappelled down a few cliffs
    17.  Drove coast to coast in a borrowed VW bug
    18.  Rode on an elephant
    19.  Boated with dolphins
    20.  Floated the Salt River (several times)
    21.  Eaten alligator

Other Travel 
    22.  Times Square in NYC
    23.  Disneyworld
    24.  Niagra Falls
    25.  Toured many church history sites in the east, including Nauvoo, The Sacred Grove, the Whitney store, Hill Cumorah, etc.

    26.  Modeled swimsuits on the strip in Las Vegas 

    27.  Was the ring girl for boxing matches in Las Vegas (my sister saw me on ESPN 2,500 miles away)
    28.  One night I had my own personal body guard
    29.  Won Miss Congeniality in a beauty contest
    30.  Attended an International Winter Olympics event

    31.  Met Gordon B. Hinckley in a private meeting with my family
    32.  Kissed David Hasselhoff
    33.  Met Alec Baldwin (he even gave my baby a banana)
    34.  Michael Ballam sang Happy Birthday to me on my 40th birthday
    35.  Was life-flighted on my honeymoon from Mazatlan to SLC in a private Lear jet.
    36.  Been proposed to at least 7 times
    37.  Pretended to be blind for a whole day.  In public.
    38.  Almost caught the whole neighborhood on fire (don’t play with matches!)

    39.  Been to MX about 50 times. 
    40.  Been to NASCAR in a cpl diff cities
    41.  Stung by a scorpion
    42.  Got comp’d great seats to Donna Summer in Las Vegas.
    43.  Comp’d the biggest hotel suite you've ever seen that had 2-story electric curtains opening up to the Vegas strip.
    44.  Been married 3 times, twice to the same man.
    45.  Lived in foster homes in high school (it was a really good thing, my parents were wayward, not me)
    46.  Sat front and center at Cirque du Soleil
    47.  Seen horse races at Del Mar
    48.  Been top salesperson for every sales job I've ever had.
    49.  I win a lot of great door prizes. Maybe I should be buying lottery tickets?? I've NEVER bought one....YET! (since writing that, a friend gave me a lottery ticket.  I didn’t win.  haha)
    50.  Horseback riding on the beach

I guess I should also mention that I'm the youngest of seven children.
NEVER have I seen all six of my siblings at the same time, and never will
(a couple of them have already passed away).

A few of my kids have already reviewed this list
and believe me, THEY HAD QUESTIONS!
I had some 'splainin to do.

     I've come up with a Bucket List too.  
Wanted to put 50 things on it, but honestly, 
it's hard to come up with 50.  Wow.  
That's surprising.  I'll keep working on it.  :)


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