Happy Easter-Feliz Pascua de Resurreccion




Washi Tape Spring Gumball Machine

Hola Amigos...Good Friday to you all! Today was a day I meditated about Love...Let's love each other as He Loved Us. Looking forward to the big celebration on Sunday, Easter Sunday!

Just a little note before getting into our project today, as you have noticed my pictures are now watermarked right in the middle due to some unscrupulous people stealing not only pictures but the entire content of my posts and claiming them as their own. This as we all know is illegal and I will try my best to at least deter them from doing so by having this stamp right on my picture. I have tried to make it not as intrusive so you can still appreciate the content. Thank You friends for your understanding.

Today I'm bringing you an easy last minute quick craft where I experimented with the current rage among crafters, Washi Tape. I didn't spend a whole lot of money on it either, my luck, I found it on sale at Target for  $1!!! Not bad if you want to give something new and unknown to you a try right?

Trying to find out a bit more about this Washi Wonder Tape, I learned it originated in Japan, Wa ( Japanese) Shi (paper)  and it's basically a natural fiber tape, a natural masking tape, pretty than the traditional but masking tape after all! Prices ranges depending on the quality, I was able to find them online  from $2.50 per individual roll to up to $8.00 per roll depending on the quality.
But back to our project, I decided to bring my good old Kiss Me Gumball Machine I used for St. Patrick's up to date with the season with a Spring Inspired Decor and Washi.
As you can see, I covered the base of my Gumball Machine with the Washi Tape and embellished it with a couple of flowers. 

The tape was fairly easy to use but it was a bit hard for it to stick permanently to the terracotta material. I made sure and used some ModPodge to keep it in place.
I painted pink the rest of the gumball's areas and put a little spring ribbon around the top one! I just love that ribbon, so festive, and matched the colors of all the designs on the Washi Tape which was a plus!

To top it all of, what else...a cute $1 store bunny I refinished it with white and metallic paints diluted in just a bit of antiquing medium.

A couple of eggs here and there and some moss...Voila! I just made a  very festive Easter Jelly Beans Machine to adorn the kids table for  Easter's brunch , kitchen counter or office desk throughout the entire Spring Season, watch it people will be stopping by very often! lol

So what it's my opinion about Washi...well..I think I rather use paint..Don't get me wrong, the greatest  advantage of Washi is that as any tape it's  easy to remove, just peel it off and you are ready for a new project,, but you could also cover some previous paint job with primer.

I believe that if it is used in scrapbooking, card design and origami it's an excellent tool since it comes in a variety of colors and designs and it's very flexible but resistant as well.
This is just my personal view of Washi. Perhaps you've found more creatives ways to use it than me and I would love to see your projects or for you to share your opinion. So far if you search the immense world of Pinterest on Washi, board after board you will find a few very creative projects but in the majority of them you will find Washi Tape use for what it is, a very fancy tape! 

Hope you got a little inspiration from today's project! Wishing you a very peaceful Good Friday Evening and an even better Holy Saturday.


"Washing" with Fun at the Fabulous Parties:
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Mango Cheesecake Smoothie

Hello Friends and good day to you all! Moving on with my Spring cleaning I'm workig on my refrigerator.
There are not that many of unused or old items there since every Sunday I go through the whole thing cleaning and tossing out those things that I know are not going to get eaten..like....Wednesday's left over tuna casserole!
But there's always that elusive bottom drawer where things get to "hang around" a little longer...out of sight, out of mind sort of speak..and that's where I found a package of Neufchatel cheese that I bought by accident  last Friday and  a couple of very ripened mangoes (yes I've been on a Mango kick lately!) . So before my mangoes expire I'm using them to make a cheesecake on the go...you know...just like my Apple Pie Smoothie! I want to free some space for Easter's treats and Ham!
Here we go then!
 Mango Cheesecake Smoothie

1 (8zoz) container of mango yogurt (frozen)
1/2 cream (chilled) 
1 Cup Peach Nectar (frozen) 
4 oz Neufchatel Cheese

The Pulp of 2 Mangoes

In a blender combine the yogurt, cream, nectar and cheese until smooth. Add the mango pulp until everything is smooth and creamy.

Don't you love a recipe with only a few ingredients but packed full of flavor!

I tell you, I can live the rest of my life just on smoothies like this...well I have to replace the cream with something else, but that's another story.

Think about flavor possibilities using this simple recipe...just change the fruit flavor, nectar and yogurt and you can have a different flavor for every day of the week!

If you are missing the crunch of the cheesecake graham crackers crust, no fear guys, it's thick enough for you to dunk your favorite cracker, mine of course Chocolate Graham Crackers!

 Or just crush  a couple of them and sprinkle some on top!

Thank You for visiting my friends, tomorrow we will tackle the pantry...wonder what I'm going to find there! Stay tuned!


Lunes de Chocolate-Chocolate Monday

Hola Amigos! Hope you all had a beautiful weekend. It might be Spring in the calendar but when you have to clean the snow off your car and driveway every morning it sure doesn't feel like it! I'm forcing Spring...yes I am,  the same way you force tulips or bulbs to bloom, I'm forcing Spring to show up so today I'm starting with  my Kitchen Spring Cleaning.
First place to clean, the freezer. Half full bags of frozen fruits, popsicles, ice cream cartons (which by the way way you open them they only have 1 spoonful left!!!), frozen veggies, well you get the idea.
Unfortunately, no chocolate in the freezer so no chocolate treat today but .lots of frozen fruit bags though, I think the best way to get rid of them is by making a refreshing fruit crisp with 1 full bag of frozen mangoes and 2 half bags of mixed berries. Let's start this week on a "Berry" Sweet Note!

Berry Mango Spring Crisp

4 Cups of Frozen (or fresh) Mangoes and Mixed Berries
2 Tablespoons of sugar
1/2 Cup of packed Brown Sugar
1/2 Rolled Oats
1/4 Cup Flour
1/4 TSPS of Nutmeg, Ginger and Cinnamon each
1/4 Cup Butter

Heat up the oven at 375 degrees
Thaw the frozen fruits keeping their juice and 
mix with the 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place in a baking bowl.

Mix Together brown sugar, flour, oats, spices and butter until getting coarse lumps.

Sprinkle them all over the fruit and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.
Serve while worm by itself of with your favorite scoop of Ice Cream

I can't decide if it's better with Raspberry Sherbet 

Or Vanilla Ice Cream

Or just tasting the big chunks of mango and crispy oats all by themselves 

The important thing is my freezer is frozen fruit free, ice cream carton free and I have a happy family enjoying a fruity dessert in a snowy Spring afternoon. 

Remember everything tastes better with a Pinch of Love!


Yuca Frita-Yuca Fries

Hola Amigos! Happy Weekend...this is a make up post for the absence of Quicky Friday yesterday, so I worked really hard trying to find something fun and different for you to enjoy.

I found what I was looking for in a very odd looking root, Yuca! yes,,,if you are tired of your usual french fries or  even sweet potato fries...keep reading, you are going to love these.
Yuca, also known as cassava, manioc or mandioca is a shrub from South America, Africa, Asia and any other tropical weather region. It's root is rich in starch which makes it a main source of carbohydrates. When it's dry and powdery is called Tapioca (I'm sure you have heard and tried this before).

I was happily surprised that one of my favorite restaurants, Bahama Breeze serves them as appetizers under Crisp Yuka Fries (this spelling is actually the name of a Mammoth from Yukatia, a whole different thing, but it sell I guess, lol). So if you happen to be at a Bahama Breeze, after reading this post perhaps you'll feel more comfortable ordering them.

This is a Pic of Crisp Yuka Fries from Bahama Breeze

The location of the restaurant is quite far from where I live, so since I like them so much I made my own batch as I'm showing you here so you can also make them at home if  you see this funny looking root at your local market.

Yuca Frita- Yuca Fries

1-2 Yuca Roots
oil for frying 
salt, pepper or lemon pepper to taste.
First you need to take a good look at your yuca so you can assess  where to cut it in chunks, you know, 3 or 4 chunks out of one, pretty much the same thing you do when you have to cut a potato or a squash.

Once they are cut, peel the thick skin until they are all white, again, just as you would do with a potato.
(I went and cleaned these chunks a bit more after this pic)

Drop them in a large pot with salt and boil them until they are soft but still somewhat firm (imagine you are making a potato salad and not mashed) about 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and drain them, let them dry on paper towel for a minute or 2, cut them in little chunks while your heating up the oil in your fryer.

  Fry them until they are crisp and golden brown.Sprinkle them with salt, or if you want a little bit of pepper or lemon pepper to kick them up a notch.

They are so good! As a snack by themselves with some ketchup if you want.

As a side dish with your hamburgers
or instead of hash browns for breakfast

They are addictive I tell you...if my picky 4 yo loves them you would too!
Hope you enjoyed this post and give my Yuca Fries a try this weekend. Remember, everything tastes better with a Pinch of Love!


Sharing a tropical snack at these Fabulous Parties:
Spatulas on Parade


Very Berry Hibiscus Cooler

Very Berry Hibiscus Cooler, just like the one at the expensive coffee shop but even better, make more than 8 servings for only $3!
Hola Amigos! Almost the weekend..wow...can't believe how fast this week is going by! Good! the faster it goes the sooner we get to have nice afternoons in the yard, delicious brunch dates with family and friends and fun outdoor activities.
Speaking of Brunch with family and friends...this drink or cooler would be PERFECT for such occasion.
Where I'm from we have "Saril" (Sorrel, Hibiscus or Agua de Jamaica) mainly around Christmas time since it's when our summer season begins and all through the first months of the year when this little shrub is in full bloom  and we pick it's flowers right from our backyard's plants and  spend a couple of hours being careful not to get one of the prickly transparent thorns of the seed pod in our fingers! Ouch...those tiny little things are similar to the ones you find in cacti flowers!!!
Very Berry Hibiscus Cooler, just like the one at the expensive coffee shop for only a fraction of the price!

Note : The hibiscus flower for tea  is not that pretty bloom you find in Hawaii
The hibiscus flower you make tea and coolers with is a little shrub. I really don't know if you could make an infusion with the flowery type.

Here in the US, or at least in the state I live in, I haven't been able to find Fresh saril or hibiscus flowers just  the dried ones...which are just perfect for the drink or tea and   the ones Lipton sells previously bagged  or the coolers sold at Starbucks. Now let me tell you friends, I paid $3 for a 12 ounce Very Berry Hibiscus Cooler, and it was 6 oz of ice and maybe, maybe,..6 oz of some sort of light, transparent syrupy drink with what I think were berries of some sort floating around. I almost returned the thing and asked for my money back!

Instead I came home and made my version from scratch in 20 minutes and wrote this impromptu post  in hopes to benefit the wallets of any of my readers.
You won't be disappointed and from now on this will be the only way you will have your Hibiscus Cooler, I promise!
 Very Berry Hibiscus Cooler
(Starbucks Copy Kat)

1 Cup dried Hibiscus Flowers
1 inch piece ginger root (or more to taste)
3/4 sugar (or more to taste)

4 Cups of Water
1 Cup frozen berries
2 cups water

In a big pot and high heat add 4 cups of water until it boils, add the hibiscus flowers, ginger and sugar, bring to a boil again, reduce temperature to low and let it simmer, covered for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool down to room temperature.
Once it's cooled strain the infusion, discarding flowers and ginger
In your blender, add 2 cups of water and 1 cup of berries, hit pulse  repeatedly until they're chopped in little pieces .
You will need a large pitcher now to integrate the infusion with your berry blend.
Serve it chilled with ice and enjoy!

As with any tea or infusion if you find that you need to add a little more water or sugar to make it suitable to your taste, please feel free to do so.
Can you tell the difference? I got 1 1/2 QT of Hibiscus cooler and all for $3!!! The same price of just 12 ounces and oh! so much better!!!! (the flowers were only 1.99 and the fruit $1 at the dollar store)

Hibiscus flowers and therefore it's infusion is rich in Vitamin C and has been known to lower high blood pressure as well.

Just the delicious taste of it is worth the 15 minutes brewing time...watch an episode of your favorite show, at the end a delicious drink will be waiting for you!

I think my version looks a lot better in this cup...what do you think?

Thank You for visiting the blog today, and remember dear friends, everything tastes better (and it's a lot cheaper) with a Pinch of Love!


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