Monthly Archives: February 2013



Volver….es lo que está en mi corazón hoy.  Estuve viendo fotos de mi querida Guatemala aquí en, suspirando con la foto del amanecer, y rapidamente recuerdos llenaron mi mente.  También me vinieron a la mente dos canciones que siempre han sido especiales para mi.  Fuí a buscar la letra….y voy cantando mientras pongo la letra y los enlaces de los videos aquí, por si quieren compartir conmigo en un poco de nostalgia…. 🙂

Volver Volver

Este amor apasionado, anda todo alborotado,
por volver.
voy camino a la locura y aunque todo me tortura,
se querer.

Nos dejamos hace tiempo pero me llego el momento de perder
tu tenias mucha razon, le hago caso al corazon y me muero
por volver

‘Y volver volver, volver a tus brazos otra vez,
llegare hasta donde estes
yo se perder,yo se perder, quiero volver, volver,

Nos dejamos hace tiempo pero me llego el momento
de perder
tu tenias mucha razon, le hago caso al corazon
y me muero por volver.

‘Y volver volver, volver a tus brazos otra vez,
llegare hasta donde estes
yo se perder, yo se perder, quiero volver, volver,

Yo siempre escuchaba esta cancion cantada por Nana Mouskouri, y se puede ver un video de youtube con ella cantandola aquí: Volver Volver.

Otra favorita, un tango:


Yo adivino el parpadeo
de las luces que a lo lejos
van marcando mi retorno.

Son las mismas que alumbraron
con sus pálidos reflejos
hondas horas de dolor.

Y aunque no quise el regreso
siempre se vuelve
al primer amor.

La vieja calle
donde me cobijo
tuya es su vida
tuyo es su querer.

Bajo el burlón
mirar de las estrellas
que con indiferencia
hoy me ven volver.

con la frente marchita
las nieves del tiempo
platearon mi sien.

que es un soplo la vida
que veinte años no es nada
que febril la mirada
errante en las sombras
te busca y te nombra.

con el alma aferrada
a un dulce recuerdo
que lloro otra vez.

Tengo miedo del encuentro
con el pasado que vuelve
a enfrentarse con mi vida.

Tengo miedo de las noches
que pobladas de recuerdos
encadenen mi soñar.

Pero el viajero que huye
tarde o temprano
detiene su andar.

Y aunque el olvido
que todo destruye
haya matado mi vieja ilusión,

guardo escondida
una esperanza humilde
que es toda la fortuna
de mi corazón.

con la frente marchita
las nieves del tiempo
platearon mi sien.

que es un soplo la vida
que veinte años no es nada
que febril la mirada
errante en las sombras
te busca y te nombra.

con el alma aferrada
a un dulce recuerdo
que lloro otra vez.

Aquí se puede ver un video de Julio Iglesias cantando Volver.  Para mi, siempre fué Julio Iglesias cantando esta, pero si le gusta estilo mas mariachi, aquí se encuentra un video de Volver con Julio Iglesias, Viciente Fernandez y Jose Luis Rodriguez! (!!esta es para tí, Mamá!  ?Qué serian los 70’s y 80’s sin estos artistas?)

!Y derrepente encontré este video con los dos cantando juntos!! Tambien otra de mis canciones favoritas!  Julio Iglesias y Nana Mouskouri cantando La Paloma.

!Ay recuerdos tan lindos!!  Algún día Volveré….

(foto por Claudia de Stahl)

Hello (and Goodbye) Valentine’s Day!!


Hope you had a sweet Valentine’s Day!  Personally, I think it should be Valentine’s Week, just to fit everything in.  Around our house, things do tend to get drawn out, birthdays, holidays, stuff like that, so maybe it was Valentine’s Week around here 🙂

I always tell myself that this Valentine’s Day I’m not going to go crazy getting stuff done for the kids’ school valentines…but every year (excepting one) I stay up late getting cookies baked, bags packed, labels stamped, gifts wrapped, etc.  It’ s one of those obsessive things I can’t seem to get past!  Here are some of the cookies I was working on, denna's ideas: hello kitty cookies for valetine's day denna's ideas: hello kitty valentine's day cookies Denna's Ideas-- hogs and kisses cookies Denna's Ideas-hedgehog cookies for valentine's dayI don’t always do cookies, but rather send candy, since kids nowadays don’t seem too content with just small paper valentines 🙂 but this year I did go for cookies since I had this cute cutter and the first grade has a pet hedgehog named Chloe!!

Here are some more photos from our Valentine’s Day (week)….and for some reason I put quotes on them……                                                                          follow the way of love--valentine's day decor by denna's ideas valentine's day squirrel cookies by denna's ideas valentine's day decor by denna's ideas valentine's day train cake by denna's ideas                 Fondant train made by Amber!! valentine's day train cake by denna's ideas valentine's day tulips by denna's ideas - Page 001denna's ideas--tulip love    Some of our pixelated Valentine’s Day decor came from the Minecraft birthday party we did at the beginning of the month (and which I will post about soon!)Valentine's Day Chalkboard by denna's ideas - Page 001All in all, it was a sweet week!!denna's ideas: valentine's day

Perfect Valentines’ Beverage: Hot Pink Punch!!

Perfect Valentines’ Beverage: Hot Pink Punch!!

This hot pink punch is sure to warm you up on a blustery & freezing Valentine’s Day with your sweetie(s)!!

At the last minute (as usual) here I am with something “pink” to post….like I said before, I haven’t been up on preparing for Valentine’s Day…but I did get one thing done yesterday…making Hot Pink Punch!  (Of course we had to sample it right away, but saved half for tomorrow).  I had most of the ingredients on hand, and it’s fine to do a bit of improvising.  The secret ingredient is red-hot cinnamon candy hearts (or whatever they are called!)

denna's ideas: Valentine's Day Hot Pink Punch

Just a note first:  In Guatemala, hot fruit-based punch is very popular (along with a lot of other interesting *usually thick* hot drinks).  There is the traditional fruit “ponche” that is served at Christmas time. I only made a quick version of it this year, but I have now decided that this Hot Pink Punch is going to be my little tradition addition…maybe for Christmas sometimes, but now I’m thinking….perfect for el Día de San Valentín!!  (Aside from the great pink color, it’s way easier to find cinnamon heart candies at Valentines than at Christmastime!)denna's ideas: Valentine's Day Hot Pink Punch

This hot fruity punch has a cranberry base, with a spicy note from cinnamon heart candies and some lemon/lime zestiness, with the cloves adding a more traditonal tang.  It smells great simmering on the stove and looks so pretty in glass mugs 🙂

Recipe for Hot Pink Punch:

1 pkg. (12 ounces) fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed

11 to 12 cups of water, divided

2 and 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup red-hot cinnamon candies

10 whole cloves

1 cup orange juice

2/3 cup lemon or lime juice

In a saucepan, combine the cranberries and 4 cups of water.  Cook over meduim heat until berries pop, about 10-15 minutes.  Cool slightly.  Press though a strainer; discard skins.  Set cranberry mixture aside.  In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, red candies, cloves, orange juice, lemon or lime juice and 4 cups of water.  Cook and stir until sugar is dissolved and red candies are melted.  Stir in cranberry mixture. Add enough remaining water to achieve desired concentration (could be up to 2 cups of water); heat through.  Discard cloves before serving.  Yield: about 3 quarts.  Garnish with whole cranberries and lime or lemon wedges.

Recipe by Lucile Cline from Taste of Home, Holiday Entertaining.

denna's ideas: Valentine's Day Hot Pink Punch cranberries denna's ideas: Valentine's Day Hot Pink Punch denna's ideas: Valentine's Day Hot Pink Punch cinnamon hearts denna's ideas: Valentine's Day Hot Pink Punch cloves denna's ideas: Valentine's Day Hot Pink Punch limesI used frozen cranberries, and I always use limes instead of lemons (just a habit).  Cloves are a vital part of Guatemalan cuisine, so we are used to them 🙂  I don’t think the punch would be the same without them, so I’d recommend not skipping that part.  As far as the orange juice and lemons or limes, those can be changed up a lot as far as quantities or substitutions…..

It’s hard to get the right color in my photos….like I’ve complained before, the lighting in my kitchen in winter is just terrible, so I have to adjust the photos quite a bit and sometimes the color is really crazy, but the punch is really such a pretty shade of pink , not quite so reddish orange as in the photo 😉denna's ideas: Valentine's Day Hot Pink PunchHope you can simmer up a batch of Hot Pink Punch!!  Today is the perfect day for it here…..the snow is blowing horizontally past my windows as I write this…I may have to warm up a mugful of punch to keep my tummy warm today (before my sweeties get home!)…..

the pink blues….


For some reason I haven’t posted any of the “Valentines stuff” that I had imagined I would. Number one, I haven’t actually gotten anything done and then B) I haven’t felt up to posting.  So look someplace else for Valentines inspiration please!!!  🙂  There’s a lot on pinterest!  I think I will be able to scrape together some stuff for the kids to take to school and for thursday itself, but just couldn’t get anything done ahead of time.  It’s very hard for me to be an “ahead of time” person….. 🙂   but I am thinking about St. Paddy’s day that’s coming up….not that there’s a drop of Irish in me, I just love the rainbows!!! heh heh…..


Quesadilla Dogs!!

Quesadilla Dogs!!

Have you ever eaten a Quesadilla Dog??  I’m guessing that you haven’t, since I’m pretty sure that my Mom invented this delicacy!!  Well, I suppose if you’ve attended Eston College, then maybe you have, since I introduced them when I worked there…. 🙂 but I don’t know if they are still serving them….not the healthiest thing on the menu!  (but I think they are super yummy and worth a blog post!)

For those times when you feel like having a hot dog but don’t want all that soggy bun….or when you’d like a quesadilla, but a little more substantial….it’s the Quesadilla Dog!!

Super easy to make for a quick lunch (supper, snack or breakfast!!)  I think that if you like hot dogs or smokies, you’ll enjoy this twist:

Quesadilla Dogs

everything you need:

hot dogs or smokies

tortillas (flour or corn & flour blend)

grated cheese (mozzarella or cheddar)

jalapeños (optional!)


ketchup and/or salsa!  (optional!)

skillet or frying pan  (oil is optional)

What to do:

First heat up the smokies/hot dogs however you like.  To do this quickly, I usually throw them into the microwave (after pricking them) on a plate with a bit of water and heat them like that.  The yummiest way would be to fry them up!! Haha!  Or you could boil them or grill them….or use leftover bbqed smokies!!  Anyways, heat them up a bit.  Oh, and start heating up your skillet or frying pan now, too….

Get out the tortillas.  We usually use those whole wheat, whole grain ones with all the little flax bits in them, like this…just because…denna's ideas: making quesadilla dogsbut this last time we tried the flour and corn blend ones and they were very tasty!  Now get out the grated cheese!!  (we always use mozzarella, just because)…denna's ideas: making quesadilla dogsLay the first tortilla out and add the hot dog and sprinkle it with cheese:denna's ideas: making quesadilla dogsNow add some pickled jalapeños if you like them!!  Go for it!denna's ideas: making quesadilla dogsRoll up the tortilla and fix it in place with a toothpick (this is one of the corn & flour tortillas)denna's ideas: making quesadilla dogsSet that little baby into the hot skillet….I don’t use oil or anything, I just brown them on all sides in a dry skillet.  Of course they are super delicious fried up in oil!!!  (At Eston College we used to quickly fry them up in the deep fryer!! ahhh!)  But, you know, I try and not fry too much just because…blah blah blah…..denna's ideas: making quesadilla dogsdenna's ideas: making quesadilla dogsWhen they are toasty on all sides, serve them up!!!  Either pull out all the toothpicks, or remind everyone to NOT BITE down on one!!  Serve with choice #1 Ketchup, choice #2 Salsa or choice #3 Sour cream and Salsa!!  🙂  Everything tastes yummy!  (Oh booy, I get soo hungry when I post about  my favorite foods!)denna's ideas: making quesadilla dogs

Let me know what you think if you try this out at your house 🙂

Gluten Free Chocolate Brownies–with a Secret Ingredient!!

Gluten Free Chocolate Brownies–with a Secret Ingredient!!

The ingredient will soon be secret no longer…I am about to tell you what it is, but first must say that I baked a pan of brownies last night, to test out this interesting recipe.  It looked great when baking…such a smooth top, no crowning.  It smelled great while baking, nice and chocolatey.  It cut up nicely into squares (when almost cooled) dense and kinda fudgy.

My idea was to just cut the edges off and serve that right away, then save the rest for the next day (to photograph in natural light).  But my family liked it so much, they wouldn’t stop bugging me for more ’till the whole cake was gone!!  (8×8 cake thank goodness)  It was an experiment to see if anyone commented on a weird taste or texture….but they loved it!!  I must admit that I rarely make brownies.  I have never found a recipe that I’ve really liked.  I think this recipe is a keeper for sure!  It was fairly quick to make (though needed more clean-up than usual).  It is a fairly “healthy” cake, as cakes go.  And it will be great to have another gluten-free recipe in my recipe box!gluten free chocolate brownies with black beans tested by denna's ideas

Following is the recipe I found on the blog Healthy Foodie Travels with a guest post by Claire from The Realistic Nutritionist (click to find another similar recipe).

Chocolate Brownies

Yields about 12 brownies
Prep time: >10  minutes
Cook time: 28 minutes
  • 3 brown eggs
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil (can also use vegetable)
  • 15 ounces of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup gluten-free semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 x 8 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large blender, add black beans, eggs and canola oil. Blend on high until mixture is smooth. Pour mixture out of the blender and into a large mixing bowl. Add cocoa powder, sugars, vanilla, salt, walnuts and chocolate chips. Stir well. Pour mixture into the prepared baking dish.
  3. Bake for 22 – 28 minutes, or until the edges start to come in and top is a little dry.  (I baked for 28 minutes, and it seemed just right).
Nutritional information per brownie:
Calories: 116
Fat: 5.4 grams
Carbohydrates: 17.3 grams
Fiber: 2 grams
Protein: 2.75 grams
Weight Watchers Points Plus Points: 3gluten free chocolate brownies with black beans tested by denna's ideasgluten free chocolate brownies with black beans tested by denna's ideas
gluten free chocolate brownies with black beans tested by denna's ideas
Did you see it??  Did you find the secret ingredient??  Heh heh, unbelievable right??  You would never guess it. And if you didn’t catch it, I’ll tell you, the secret ingredient is–black beans!!!!  About a can of black beans!!
 I don’t even have a blender, so I just blended the beans in my food processor, so there were tiny bits of the black bean skins in it, but they weren’t very noticeable at all.  Oh, and I used pecans instead of walnuts. No one noticed and they licked the platter clean!!
When I did finally tell them the secret ingredient, they didn’t believe me.  🙂
Amazingly good, that’s all I can say!
We’ll have to see how things go, and whether we will need to change the name of the brownies to “tooty-frutti” brownies!!  🙂

Groundhog ladyfingers

Groundhog ladyfingers

After posting some groundhog day treats, I felt very inspired to try something, so I looked around to see what I had on hand….and the only cookies I found were some Italian ladyfingers stashed away in the cupboard.  I’ve never tried making tiramisu nor any other dessert with them, so this seemed like a good excuse to experiment with them a bit.  There was no cream around, so I decided to use some vanilla yogurt and to make some home made pudding.  It was supposed to be vanilla pudding, but at the last minute, I threw in some cinnamon to give it a flavor that I remember from Guatemala.  Funny thing is, I was in such a rush to make the desserts (and I was on the phone at the same time) that I totally forgot to put in the butter and the vanilla!  I scraped the bowl and ate the last little bit and it tasted fine to me… we’ll see how this dessert turns out….it will definitely be low-fat with no cream and no butter……

Here’s the pudding recipe I use, from Hershey’s Classic Recipes Book:

2/3 cup sugar

3 Tbsp. cornstarch

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 cup cocoa powder (optional)

2  and 1/4 cups of milk

2 Tbsp. butter or marg.

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Stir together sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan; gradually stir in milk.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils; boil and stir 1 minute.  Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla.

Pour into individual dessert dishes.  Press plastic wrap directly onto surface; refridgerate.  Remove plastic wrap.  Garnish with whipped cream and nuts if desired.   Makes 4 to 5 servings.

Instead of making chocolate pudding, I just added a piece of cinammon stick while the mixture was boiling.  It gives a fairly strong cinnamon flavor.  And I forgot the butter and vanilla!!!  I love eating this pudding while it’s warm…it’s such a homey comfort food for me!!  🙂

Layering ladyfingers and hot pudding and then cream (or yogurt)…. denna's groundhog day treats denna's groundhog day treats denna's groundhog day treats denna's groundhog day treatsMaking the groundhogs: chocolate chips for cheeks, sliced almond tops for ears and teeth, candy melts for eyes and nose…. denna's groundhog day treats denna's groundhog day treats denna's groundhog day treatsHappy Groundhog Day!  🙂  We’ll see if he sees his shadow or not….not much light around here today, just snow and more snow…