Browsing articles from "March, 2013"
Mar 24, 2013

Wedding Italian Soup

From the kitchen of: Isabel  Makes: A potful, feeds up to 4-6 people
Total time: 45 min to 1 hr


Spring has finally arrived … in the form of snow. Seriously? I love a good snow storm and all, but it’s almost April and I need some warm sun in my life. Why won’t Winter die already?! I’m crossing my fingers that today will be the last day of this white stuff. Well, to cope with this very odd weather, we made this Italian Wedding soup for dinner tonight. It was just what we needed on a very cold day and since Mother Nature is highly confused this season, you still have some time to make this! The first time I made this soup was actually when my husband was hit by a very viral infection back in January. He was a poor sick puppy, helpless on the couch and had to stay home for four days. I felt so bad for him that I made this soup to make him feel better. He and I both fell in love with this hearty and rich soup. It had everything — noodles, homemade meatballs, kale and yummy broth. It was salty and delicious, perfect for his sore throat. So whether sick from a viral infection or sick of this wintery weather, this soup is sure to cure any ailment.

for how to make the meatballs please check my recipe!
1 lb of ground beef
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs (heaping!)
1/4 cup shaved or grated Parmesan cheese (heaping!)
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper
olive oil

for the soup
olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced
1 bunch of kale, sliced 1-inch thick
salt & pepper
2 – 49 ounces of low-sodium chicken broth
1 bouillon cube or powder
1 3/4 cup of dried elbow noodles (or any noodle of your choice or even gnocchi!)
1 egg
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Prepare meatballs.
Follow this recipe for my version of homemade meatballs. Form them into gumball-size meatballs. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium temperature. Add a heavy drizzle of olive oil. When oil heats up, cook the meatballs for 10-12 minutes rotating every few minutes to brown all sides. Place cooked meatballs on a plate and set aside.


2. Sauté kale. While the meatballs are sautéing, heat a large pot over medium temperature. Add a drizzle of olive oil. Brown the diced red onions and season with some salt and pepper. Add the chopped 1-inch slices of kale that have been thoroughly rinsed and dried beforehand. It’s important to rinse the kale since it has a lot of grit. Sauté kale for 5-7 minutes.


3. Add broth and meatballs. Add the chicken broth, meatballs, plus 1 buillon powder or cube to enhance the flavor. Stir to combine. Allow this soup to simmer uncovered at medium temperature until soup get hots. About 20-25 minutes.


4. Add noodles. Add the dried noodles, stir and allow to simmer for 6-8 minutes until noodles are al dente. If you use a different type of noddle, check the box for appropriate cooking time.


5. Add Parmesan cheese and egg mixture. To finish off the soup, mix together an egg and Parmesan cheese in a bowl. Slowly stir it into the soup, which thickens the soup slightly while adding more flavor. Serve and enjoy while hot!


And voilà! A bowl of delicious Wedding Italian soup!


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Mar 10, 2013

Anchor’s Away! Kiernan’s 1st Birthday

My sister, Sheila, is obsessed with all things nautical. Really obsessed. Just check out her nautical inspired baby shower we hosted for her back in 2011. She continued the same theme for her son’s 1st birthday this past February, but just styled a little differently. Sheila designed an “Anchor’s Away!” birthday party filled with sailor hats, an ocean backdrop, boats and flags all in a bright blue and green color scheme. This time around it was a little more playful for a kid-friendly crowd. For all the work Sheila put into this birthday, it’s sad Kiernan won’t remember any of it. But at least he’ll have this blog post to look back at his very first birthday party. Lets take a look at all the details Sheila created and hopefully you can be inspired for your child’s birthday.


Most of the graphics was based on a printable kit design Sheila purchased through Etsy. Printastic Design was the shop she worked with. She first selected the birthday invitation, which set the tone. She then purchased the signage, cupcake toppers and menu cards to continue the theme throughout the party. She printed all of it on her home printer, cut them out and assembled it.


Sheila repurposed a few things including the flags were from her bridal shower and artwork were from Kiernan’s room. Saved money on additional decoration.



As a thank you gift to each guest, Sheila ordered buttons with cute little nautical designs on each of them. She put six in each package. The kids could pin them onto their book bags or jean jackets. They were very cute.


Downstairs in the basement, Sheila created an ocean photo backdrop by cutting out the circles and shapes to create the waves, clouds, sun, sky and even a whale. So talented! Kids definitely enjoyed themselves in front of the backdrop posing with some props she also created like a fishing pole with fish cutouts and their sailor hats.




As another activity to keep the kids preoccupied, Sheila also had an art table for kids to design their own sailor’s hat with fabric crayons.



As for Kiernan’s first experience with eating a cupcake, it was picture perfect. Look at this adorable kid. His mom is blowing out his candle for him. He is licking his finger clean. I just love this kid.




‘Do I have something on my face?’


Kiernan absolutely loved these cupcakes I made for him. I found a recipe on Pinterest for vanilla bean cupcakes with vanilla bean frosting. These cupcakes were a huge hit amongst Kiernan and all the guests. Sheila decorated each stick with a cupcake topper from the nautical template she got from Etsy.




Lets dive right into the spread. My-oh-my. My parents went all out for Kiernan’s birthday. First nephew = golden child. Haha. There was so much delicious food. I know everyone loved it even the kids!



Their famous lumpia, which I’ve had a million times, will always make an appearance at any celebration.


Pork adobo, pork stewed in vinegar, soy sauce and garlic.


My dad’s awesome, awesome beef and broccoli.


Pansit, the Filipino version of lo mein.


Andddd fried chicken. Haha.


At the end of the celebration, Kiernan opened up all of his gifts. Well actually, it was more like Sheila opening up his gifts while he played with tissue paper. He was showered with tons of toys and clothes from friends and family. Definitely spoiled! :)





Instead of toys, Jared and I decided to make him his “First Year” book with the images I had taken of him from birth up until he turned one. Being a Moleskine fan, I saw they also create photo albums at a fairly reasonable price. I used their template online to upload the images and text. It was pretty straightforward. The quality of the book and photos were really nice. Kiernan couldn’t care less about the book, but he’ll appreciate it when he gets older. Sheila loved it!


In the end, he enjoyed this plastic hanger. LOL.


Happy 1st Birthday, Kiernan! Love you always!!


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