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!)