NYC Trip Scarves are in!


A few months ago I got to visit New York City for the first time to visit my sister who lives and works in Manhattan. I am a Project Runway fan and I also run a small online Etsy shop (handmade women’s accessories and a few baby items). So my trip was not complete without a trip to Mood Fabrics and a few other stores in the garment district. I pre-planned excellently and brought an empty  carry-on bag to bring back fabric which ended up completely full! Below is a picture of most of my haul.


They purple jersey is for me, I will eventually make myself a top and maybe a couple of headbands out of it, the set of pre-cuts, the black and white polka dots and the multi-colored floral are for my Esty shop and will become zip pouches, tote bags, glasses cases, etc. The 4 fabrics pictured above the multi-floral are all nice light chiffon and cotton voile which I purchased with to make some nice summer weight scarves. Well about half of the scarves are finished, photographed and are now up for sale my shop! More to come in the other fabrics soon. Visit Polka Dot Sew Designs to check them out.




IMG_1991 IMG_0012 IMG_1984 IMG_1973



Grilled Whole Fish

whole grilled fish

whole grilled fish

I know a lot of people, even those that love seafood, are afraid to cook it at home. Just trust me that you can do this and it is SOOOOOOOO worth it. This is pretty hard to mess up, is sure to impress your guests and most importantly really tasty. If you have a grill and a quality supermarket/fish market close by this is easy-peasy.


Tips for Picking/Buying Your Fish

1) In terms of how much to buy you want to plan for 1-1.5 lbs of fish per person, so a 5 lb fish would serve 3-5 people depending on how big you want your servings. You can also get several smaller fish, which is a bit less intimidating for the first time whole fish griller and will cook faster. Plus, how cool would it be to serve a fish to each of your guests, or one per couple! Of course the large 5-8 lb fish certainly is a show stopper on a big platter in the middle of the table too.

2) What type of fish?  Bronzino make a great choice as does trout, snapper, bass, really anything that is fresh, ask the guy behind the counter for recommendations if you are intimidated.

3) Where to buy, what to look for? You want to go somewhere that has a fish counter that is manned. You are looking for a fish that has bright clear eyes, shiny surface, briny sea/water smell. Cloudy eyes, dull surface and fishy smell are signs that the fish is not as fresh. Ask for your fish to be cleaned (guts out, scales taken off) but the head left on. If you really can’t handle looking at the head you can ask for them to cut this off as well.


Grilled Whole Fish

Whole Fish (1-1.5 lbs per person)

Lemon slices

Orange slices

Fresh Herbs, whole on stems (Thyme, Rosemary, Oregano, Parsley, Cilantro, whatever floats your boat)

Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper


1) Pre-heat your grill


2) Make sure all the scales and guts are gone from your fish. Score your fish every few inches perpendicular to the spine between the gills and tail on both sides. (the pic here shows the fish already stuffed, I forgot to score it until then, whoops!)


3) Drizzle Olive Oil and Salt & Pepper your fish on all surfaces (skin, scores, gills, inside)


4) Stuff the cavities (center of fish, behind the gills and in the mouth) with your citrus slices and fresh herbs. You can use metal kebab skewers to “sew” the center of the fish closed and keep all the goodies in, this also makes it easier to flip your fish on the grill.




5) MOST IMPORTANT STEP Oil your grill, try to make it as non-stick as possible.

6) Make sure your grill is on medium – medium high and put your fish down. Grill time varies greatly with the size of the fish, I would flip small fish 1-4 lbs  at 5-15 minutes, large fish 5-9 lbs at 15-25 minutes. When you flip be sure to re-apply your oil, I forgot which is why I added step 7😉

7) Don’t freak if the skin falls off when you flip, you’re not going to eat it anyways and it actually makes serving easier:) If your skin has gotten stuck to the grill but your fish needs more cook time you can just put a baking sheet underneath it, it should still fit in the grill with the cover down


8) You’ll know your fish is done when it is no longer translucent and flakes easily with a fork (you can check in your scores or the center of the fish without having to cut back the skin). Transfer to you platter, or individual plates and serve.

Special Secret Spot: I’m telling you, you really want to eat the fish cheeks. To get at them lift up the gill area right underneath the eye. The meat here is the best one the entire fish, a small but tasty bite!








Magic Elixir Avocado Toasts Avocado Toasts Avocado Toasts


While visiting my parents over the 4th my Dad started raving about these appetizers/snacks that my Mom makes called Avocado Toasts so she promised to make them for us. So here is the stupidly simple yet delicious recipe for what my Dad refers to as the Magic Elixir Avocado Toasts.


Magic Elixir Avocado Toasts

Sliced Bread (best if thick/crusty “good” bread)

Avocados (1/4 per slice)

Olive Oil


Seasoned Salt (We used Penzey’s 4S)

Lime (1 small wedge per slice)


1) Drizzle sliced bread with olive oil and salt on both sides

2) Grill bread to toast (or use broiler/toaster oven)

3) Smash 1/4 avocado on each slice, sprinkle with seasoned salt and lime juice Avocado Toasts Avocado Toasts



This might be great with a bit of cilantro sprinkled on top or tomatoes or other fresh veggies. Try it out and let me know of your favorite combinations.








Toads in a Hole

Toads in a hole

Toads in a hole

Today I have a quick and easy recipe for you to enjoy. This is my go to quick breakfast, lunch or dinner when you don’t feel like cooking or fast food. I have served it with bacon and cut up fruit on the side for a really nice meal.


Toad In A Hole

Slices of Bread



Salt & Pepper


1) Melt you butter in a skillet (I like to use non-stick for this) at medium heat


2) Cut circles out of your bread slices, I use the top of a wine glass and just press it into the bread in a circular motion, makes a perfectly sized hole for the egg


3) Put bread slices in the pan and crack eggs into each hole, salt & pepper each egg


4) Once you can no longer see the bottom of the band through the egg white flip with spatula


5) Salt & Pepper this side of the egg while it finishes cooking, you want the white to get fully cooked but the yolk runny

6) Enjoy!!!!

Toads in a hole

Toads in a hole

What quick and easy go to recipes do you use at home?





Summer of Savings 2014: Part 3

Saving money on the grill with CHUCK EYE STEAKS!


If you are like me you are always looking for a way to eat well and still save a buck. Quite frankly I just don’t have the time or patience for the whole couponing craze plus it seems like the food they are able to get is a lot of packaged junk (just my opinion).

I happened upon this little nugget of summer savings totally on a whim at the grocery store this weekend. My husband finally cleaned out our grill and I was gazing longingly at the steaks not being able to justify spending $20-$30 for the two of us. I was just about to walk over to the chicken when my eyes noticed 3 lonely packages of chuck eye steaks. They came packaged in 2’s and were priced $6.50 – $8, yes you read right, that’s $3.25 – $4 PER STEAK.

Mr. Cleaver loves rib eye and my brain said….well chuckeye has the word eye in it too, maybe it’s like rib eye? So I figured we’d try them out. As he opened the package he made fun of me and my choice…how could a steak so cheap possibly be good on the grill….maybe I should use this as stew meat instead…..yadda yaddaa, yadda. I stood my ground and on the grill they went.

Chuckeye Steaks at

Chuck Eye Steaks at

SLAM DUNK! These suckers were excellent! I served them with grilled zucchini slices and my Dill Potato Salad and we had a great meal on the cheap.

I looked it up today and found out just how right my intuition was. The chuck eye (5th rib) is one cut away from the rib eye (6th-12th ribs) and is a great grilling steak as long as you only cook it to medium or below (it can get tough if cooked too long). Also the interwebs warn not to confuse it with chuck steak, which is not suitable for grilling. I am more than pleased to share this one with you so hopefully you too can have a summer filled with great grilled steaks!

What cheap cuts of meat have surprised you? Let me know in the comments.





Summer of Savings 2014: Part 1   Part 2