Hearty Chicken pasta

This is a great dish when you have sudden guests coming and your fridge is...well...not fully stocked. It's very affordable, can feed from 2 to whatever, and tastes SO satisfying!

Save-the-day- pasta-dish ( 4-6 portions)

1lb chicken ( whatever pieces you have), diced
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 large red pepper, diced
1 tomato, diced
2 cloves of garlic
Fresh herbs ( they make all the difference!) cilantro+dill+scallion, a little of each
Cooing Oil
Pinch of the following: coriander, cumin, paprika, turmeric ( if you have)
This is my basic standard list of MUST have items in this dish, but I usually try to sneak in a couple more veggies, like zucchini or green pepper, or mushrooms, even potato sometimes. No celery though, it will overpower all others.

1. Saute onion in 3-4 tbsp of cooking oil in a large non-stick or cast iron pot
2. Add chicken and saute until golden
3. Add as you dice, carrot, pepper, tomato, garlic, etc  Add spices.
4. When everybody is in the pot, saute until veggies just start to get slightly browned.

5.Add water - the amount depends on the consistency you want. I usually make it so it resembles thick soup. Don't forget to season once more with salt and pepper.
6.When it comes to a boil, reduce the heat and and simmer for 30 min.
7. Meanwhile cook pasta of your preference. We like thin linguine or thin spaghetti.
7. When ready to serve, pour a generous amount of soup over the pasta in a deep serving plate or bowl. Add fresh herbs.


If you need to feed more people, just increase the amount of veggies and pasta!

Hey guys, I would love to hear what you think of this recipe, do you think you'll try it?


I simply like this

Totally love these, not sure if we can get them here in US, but love them anyway.

Oops can be beautiful! Who knew?

Have you seen this book? So cool! Being a creative person that I am, I cannot resist buying it.
It's called Beautiful Oops! I think it's great for promoting creativity and seeing positive things even in oops! ;))) Especially when these oops happen every day in large quantities!:)
Frankly, I am buying it for myself ( love children's books!!), and then when the moment is right I will pass it along, promise!


Time Travel....on fabric

This week Spoonflower's upcoming contest theme is " Time Travel".

The first and only thing I had on my mind when I started thinking about it was a movie " Time Machine", then " Time Traveler's Wife" book joined in ( one of my favorites by the way ;)
But still I had no idea how to translate it into fabric. The ideas were either too tacky, too complicated or too Disney.
And then it hit me! "All aboard!"
Those of you who have toddlers and "PBS kids" channel will understand me. :)))
There is this cartoon " Dinosaur Train" that runs every weekday and both my children watch it. The idea is that there is a time traveling train that takes dinosaur families through different periods of prehistoric era. They make lots of friends while exploring a variety of species that roamed the earth a very long time ago. So in this cartoon, time traveling is just a train ticket away. And that's the idea I decided to use for my fabric.
So... having-to-watch-kids-channel-until-the-catchy-songs-stuck-in-my-head has finally paid off!
Here are two colorways of my fabric (one of these will be entered in the contest today):
Which of the two do you like?
Update: Up for sale here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/NewMomDesigns




Have you started your gift shopping?

I found this adorable mini bowling set on Etsy and immediately decided that I have started my holidays gift shopping. Here are a few of my favorite kids related items from Etsy. 

I pre-ordered this for my kids. Boy, do they love to smash things and see them falling... 
Don't they all??

And how enchanting is this??? 3-D fairytale or something...

What about this cute little guy? I am sure he is looking for a loving home this year... ;)

I love everything from this store! Really. Having a hard time selecting what to buy...

More to come soon, I have to go do something about this annoying cold that's been just killing me over the last 3 days, starting right after our Thanksgiving dinner. Oh, Thanks winter season - 3 days terribly sick, all by myself with 2 little kids cooped up in the house is exactly what I needed ;)


A few of my latest fabric designs soon to be for sale at my Etsy shop ( ignore the watermarks on them)

 I like this soft palette for bedrooms, it's so soothing!

This is fresh and colorful, I see it as a cool clutch, a bag, kids clothes accent like sleeves or pockets, it would also make a great puffy skirt!

This is another color combo I love. Imagine cute little toys, pillow covers, even a small side chair upholstered in this fun fabric ( in larger scale, of course) would be an awesome addition to a hip, mid-century inspired room.

This just sings "Holidays" to me. So cheerful and bright!

Ok, enough of self-praising ;))LOL! 


My favorite steak

When it comes to meat I am not as picky as I am with some other foods. I won't freak out if a steak is overcooked and somewhat dry, I will eat it just fine.BUT... my husband is not me. He must have his meat nice and juicy AND almost well-done, which is practically impossible.Therefore I am on constant lookout for a fool-proof juicy steak recipe that will make my hubby singing praises.Well, today was pretty pretty close, he gave two thumbs up!:)
Here is what I've done.

My favorite skirt steak recipe, not really a recipe, just 3 simple steps ;)

1)The day before I marinated a SKIRT STEAK in the mixture of following: cooking oil + soy sauce in equal parts, garlic, salt, pepper to taste.

2) Next day, for lunchtime, I just threw it onto the grill ( it is actually a panini maker, but it works great on chicken and steaks of reasonable thickness :) for around 5 min. ( note, I had the heat coming from both sides, if using regular grill or pan, flip to cook another side until desired doneness)
That's it!! REALLY!

3) After a few minutes rest, I sliced it and made a killer sandwich for my hubby, then nibbled on these super juicy pieces all afternoon. It was completely cooked just as we like it ( no pink) BUT the juiciness was so overwhelming, I couldn't get enough of it!


I want to watch this over and over...

I am totally mesmerized by this video. I love the music, the idea and execution!

Her Morning Elegance / Oren Lavie


My quick little design project

I haven't been able to work on my fabric designs for a while. The kids, the house and various errands and tasks have been on my priority list. And I have missed those creative sessions ,as I call them, SO much! Today was as busy as usual, plus my daughter didn't go to day care as I felt she was coming down with something. Anyways, once they went for their day nap today, I HAD to do something... So here it is - my latest 2-hour creation ;)
This design happened very quickly, but I love how it turned out: sweet,  fresh and kind-of-wintery.
Up for sale here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/NewMomDesigns


Quarter Yard View


How to make crepes - step-by-step instructions.

I love crepes, or as we say in Russian, Blinchiki!! I grew up eating crepes on a regular basis, and my mom's crepes are Delicious! When I started cooking I have made numerous attempts to re-create them according to my moms verbal instructions and eyeball measurements (in our family recipes are never written down, they are just passed from generation to generation, and learned through simple observation and practice until you get it right, perhaps even with your own little twist) 
Anyways, I have made pretty good tasting crepes, but the process would always take me much longer than my mom. She would whip them in minutes, while I kept adjusting the crepe mix, adding and tasting, until I recognize a familiar deliciousness. And while I love crepes very much, every time I needed to make them, I had to prepare for a long and tedious process and little outcome, as half of it would end up eaten by me during trial/error process ;)) 
Well, I had to put an end to it - and I finally did it! 
Just last week I started making the crepes, while writing down all of the additions carefully measured . No eyeballing this time! I took out all my measuring spoons and everything! :))) 
I was prepared for my regular adjusting routine, but I was trilled when the very first crepe came out PERFECT! Salt, sugar, texture, elasticity - everything was just right! 
So I present you with this easy, fool-proof step-by-step recipe that you can use anytime you feel like eating crepes, please note I like my crepes on a savory side, so you need to add more sugar if you like them sweet and would be serving them for dessert ;)

Crepes - approx. 16-18 pcs

2 eggs
1 cup of whole milk
1 cup of water ( I prefer bottled or cooled boiled water)
1/8 cup of sugar ( put more if you like them on a sweet side)
1 cup of flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp neutral oil ( corn, vegetable )

"The Crepes"  starring eggs, flour, sugar, salt, neutral cooking oil, milk, water. That's it!

Start by placing a non-stick pan ( I use 10", but the bottom is actually 7") over a low heat for pre-heating.

To prepare the mix (or crepe batter):

1. In a large bowl whisk the eggs until mixed well.

2. Add 1/2 cup milk+1/2 cup water, mix well.

3. Add sugar, salt, oil, mix well.

4. Sift all of the flour into the bowl.

5. Mix well, breaking up all the clumps. You should get a thick liquid lump-free.

6. Add the rest of milk+water. Mix well.

7. Turn up the heat to medium and wait until pan is very hot.

Preparing the "Golden Liquid" :)

The consistency of the batter is sort of like heavy cream.

To make crepes:

1. Take the pan in one hand and start pouring 1 ladle of the liquid  in the center of the pan, while carefully tilting the pan in different directions ( sort of circular motion) so that the liquid spreads evenly and covers the bottom of the pan completely. Greasing of the pan is unnecessary as we have our oil in the dough + pan is non-stick!

2. Give it a few seconds ( 5-7 ) and then score the edges with a flexible spatula, all around the pan.
 ( basically free the edges from contact with a pan) This will make it easier to flip the crepe and prevent from burning the edges.Give another few seconds... it all depends on how you like your crepes: light and soft, or golden and more crispy around edges.. adjust time per your liking..

3. Then carefully lift the crepe with the same spatula and flip! You get a pretty, golden-colored crepe starring back at you :)

4. Second side cooks faster and will always be lighter with golden dots all over, so keep an eye on it. When done - just slide onto a plate nearby.

5. Repeat the steps 1-4 :))

Making crepes (love the bubbles in a pan, don't you?)

Now, we can part ways, and you may dress your crepes any way you like: pour sauce on top, sift powdered sugar, wrap fruits in it, whipped cream, fruit puree, etc.... But I like it simple: BUTTER!
I take a stick of butter out of the fridge, and unwrap the top portion. Once the newly made crepe hits the plate, I give it some butter love ;) Oh, and did I tell you the best way to eat them is right then and there?? Yes, when I make crepes, I eat them by the stove :)) They simply melt in your mouth.... Or try them with sour cream - also very tasty!
Buttering of the crepes! ( My thighs, please forgive me!)

However, sometimes I make them with savory filling, and they become a great addition to the soup. This combo makes a perfect lunch or dinner. 
I take a whole chicken, and make a big pot of soup. Then take half of the cooked chicken, and shred the meat ( no bones!) into a large pan with sauteed onion. Some salt, pepper, cooked rice and a few minutes later, you have a great filling! All you have to do is wrap it into crepes, see photos below ;)
Wrapping the filling

All wrapped up!  Enjoy!

P.S.    If you have reached this point - you deserve a chance to win a free gift - CALENDAR 2011 designed by me - giveaway ending Feb 03, 2011: http://manylittlethingsmakemehappy.blogspot.com/2011/01/first-giveaway.html


Calendar 2011

My new fabric design is actually a wall hanging calendar 2011.
Also, I am glad to report that this is my second Illustrator involved design ( Big Thank You to a friend of mine who helps me with learning this software!)


Pretty mistakes :)

My latest fabric pattern designed for the "Woodland Creature" contest. It was the first time I used Illustrator to lay out and color my base line work. It was tricky at first, especially fill/stroke option. Quite a change from Photoshop. While I know it is wrong, and even weird to render them the way I did, I kind of liked it. I got sort of a geometric/abstract monochromatic shapes that gave the woodland creatures a new modern edge. Here is the final result used with a mirror pattern:

Fat Quarter Preview

Full Yard Preview

Detail Preview


    My sample kit has arrived

    Finally, my sample kit that includes 12 of my designs has arrived! I still have to tweak a couple of colors and scales, but in general I am happy with the way they came out. Today I spent some time taking pictures for my future Etsy shop.


    The course of life

    Yesterday my grandfather passed away. I am now grandparents-less.
    We had a funeral today, and it is just kind of a sad day all around. This was my first funeral ever, and I could not imagine a more depressing environment than a memorial home.
    My grandfather was a tough cookie. Straightforward, responsible, honest to the bones and very disciplined. I remember living with him and grandma for almost a year, my family moved and switching schools in the middle of the school year was problematic. So I stayed with them to finish it. I was in a 2nd or 3rd grade, and at that time I remember him as a strong, powerful, tough man with sharp mind and memory. He helped me with my homework a lot, and disciplined me, taught me to be neat and organized - qualities that he possessed until his last days.They  immigrated to America when I was 12, and the next time I saw him was in 5 years. He looked aged, of course, but I immediately recognized that same steel spirit and sharpness.He seemed a lot more approachable and softer (?) , or maybe it was just me, all grown up, having an adult conversation with him. A few years after we settled in, it was me helping him with his paperwork, making phone calls and resolving issues with whatever. But not that much. He was totally independent, and refused to ask for help, unless it was really necessary. His mind and memory never left him, ( well over 80!) he never forgot anyone's birthday, names of our spouses, children, etc.
    He was my grandpa, a root that started this family, that started me, in a sense.
    I hope he is in a better place now, reunited with my grandma somewhere up there. We will miss you both.


    Inspirational Typography

    Great website to browse for some inspiration. I love clean lines and unique shapes of these letters!

    Is everything new just well-forgotten old?

    Let me tell you a little story.After Alinas Birthday back in august, I was left with a number of tissue paper pom-poms of various sizes. I knew I wanted to re-use them - they were large, colorful, 3-dimensional things that took a lot of effort to make. Now I've seen people use them anywhere from nurseries to front porches,  and I thought why not? Anyways, I wanted to hang them in random heights to create a nice vertical composition, but I had no tools at the time to attach them to the ceiling. But when I propped one on the wall vertically .... I kind of liked it! It looked fresh and creative, I've never seen them being used this way, and so I've decided to proceed with that. But for some reason, I couldn't come up with a good arrangement,  and colors were not exactly my favorites.  It's kind of like when you have a really good idea, but need time to work out all the details to make it really great. So up until this day, the tissue pom-poms are still up on the wall in some random unsatisfying order, and every time I look at them, I say to myself: "gotta do something here, I am not liking this, etc"
    So today I am browsing a few new blogs, and I stumble upon ,what I thought was my great original invention, pom-poms up on the wall.
     First thing in my mind - "Damn it! I am not as creative as I thought I was".
    Second thought in my mind - "Finally, Thank you, I know what I need to do now!"
    And just like that I was hooked on this new blog, and decided to share with you this lovely way to add some 3-dimensionality to your walls. Enjoy!

    These are done with paper napkins from IKEA, I love how wonderfully sophisticated these look! Hell with my plain pink and yellow pom-poms!!!  I got to get my hands on some IKEA napkins :)

    P.S. Make sure to check out Dana Made It blog for TONS of great ideas on decorating, cooking, sewing and what-not! Seriously, do it! She has over 4500 followers, that should tell you something.

    Custom wallpaper

    Have you ever wanted to make your own wallpaper just because you couldn't find that perfect one?  Well, now you can! Alluminare - is a place where you can either choose from a wide selection of designs and adjust them to your liking OR you can upload your own. How great is that?? Price starts at just $8 per sq.ft. Here is an example I played around with this morning:

    this is the original

    These are my options with different colors and scale

    The possibilities are endless!