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  1. Belly Dance Lesson October 16, 2012: Choreography for Alf Leyla Wa Leyla (1001 Nights)

    October 17, 2012 by siera104

    As promised here is the music and choreography for the the lesson given on October 16. We covered parts 1 – 5.  and Feel free to try to work out the rest of the song. We will be reviewing and learning the rest of the choreography next week! Please email me if you have any questions or want to let me know about your progress:

    Lesson Choreography PDF

    Note: You can download the files to your computer if you right click and choose save as on the links.

    Alf Leyla Wa Leyla Choreography

    Alf Leyla Wa Leyla Choreography part 1

    Alf Leyla Wa Leyla Choreography Part 2

    Alf Leyla Wa Leyla Choreography Part 3

    Alf Leyla Wa Leyla Choreograph Part 4

    Alf Leyla Wa Leyla Choreography Part 5

    Alf Leyla Wa Leyla Choreography Part 6

    Alf Leyla Wa Leyla Choreography Part 7






  2. Nail Art Challenge

    September 25, 2012 by siera104

    So I tried the 31-day Nail Art Challenge. It was a challenge be inspired everyday and to find time to do my nails everyday. Some days it was hard to remove the previous day’s work. But It was fun to do, I hope you enjoy!

    I did not make it to 31, but I did do 30. I replaced the inspired by the supernatural, with inspired by my job. I also substituted rainbow for water color. The one I skipped is Inspired by a tutorial, when I get around to it I’ll be sure to post it!

  3. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year

    December 16, 2011 by siera104

    I was looking for a printable calendar for my desk at work and I could not find one that was pretty enough so I made one. Here it is. Feel free to print it and use it too. The holidays that are in a different color are the days I do not have to work.


    A pretty Calendar for you (link is to PDF version)

  4. Chocolate Almond Biscotti, the twiced baked Italian Cookie

    November 28, 2011 by siera104


    • 12 ounces butter (3 sticks)
    • 1 3/4 cups white sugar
    • 6 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon anise extract
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 6 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 8 ounces chopped almonds
    • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • More semi-sweet chocolate chips to melt


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F ( 165 degrees C ).
    2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Add eggs one at a time; beat until fluffy. Stir in the anise and vanilla extracts. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture along with the chopped almonds and chocolate chips. Stir with a spoon and as the dough comes together, Knead by hand. (Hint, you will want to flour the counter and your hands well, the dough is a bit sticky.)
    3. Divide the dough into 4 parts. Roll each piece into a log about 15 inches long. Place logs onto cookie sheets, 2 to a sheet, the long way. Flatten the logs out until they are about 3 inches wide with a slight hump going down the middle. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, loaves should be firm. Cut the loaves into diagonal slices 1/2 inch wide, place the slices onto the cookie sheets and return to the oven. Toast on one side, then turn them over to do the other side. This will take about 7 to 10 minutes.
    4. Once the cookies have cooled melt some semi-sweet chocolate chips and use a butter knife to put a generous layer of dark chocolate on the bottom of the cookie, let cool, and enjoy.

    Recipe adapted from

  5. Sensational Peanut Butter Cookies

    November 26, 2011 by siera104

    Below is the modified recipe to the Peanut Butter Cookies,found on this link . My modification on the cookie, was on accident. When measuring the ingredients I picked up a 1/3 cup instead of a 1/4 cup, (my measuring cup’s labels have rubbed off). I tried to bake them using the recipe but they were better with my “mistake”.  


    Sensational Peanut Butter Cookies
    21 cookies

    1 1/3 cup peanut butter (see note)
    1 cup natural cane sugar
    1/3 cup brown sugar
    1 egg
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    additional sugar for rolling

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees°F.

    Mix all the ingredients up in a bowl. Roll walnut-sized pieces into balls and roll balls in the additional sugar. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and flatten slightly with a fork in a crisscross pattern or leave in a ball and have your kisses ready to make blossoms. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool before removing from baking sheet.

    Helpful Hint: To measure your peanut butter, I suggest lining your measuring cup with some plastic wrap, it makes it so much easier to get all of the peanut butter out of the measuring cup.

    Note: Peanut butter comes in all kinds of configurations and the kind you choose will influence your outcome. Some peanut butters are very sweet, some have been hydrogenated, some have a whole lot more in them than peanuts! Then there is the chunky versus smooth debate. I used a Creamy Skippy Natural and have used Jif Natural with success.




  6. Eggplant Parmesan Balls

    September 29, 2011 by siera104

    I love these eggplant Parmesan balls. I adapted the recipe from Rachel Ray’s Eggplant Parm Bites. I make a larger batch to freeze for later and bake them to cut on the greasiness. I like to eat them as a snack with some marinara sauce, or as a meal with pasta.

    Eggplant Parm Balls

    Crispy Eggplant Parmesan Balls


    • 3 medium eggplants
    • 5 to 6 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • 1 medium onion
    • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
    • 2+ cups Italian breadcrumbs, divided
    • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided (sometimes I feel cheesy and have Romano and or Asiago on hand and use a blend of all of them)
    • 4 eggs, divided
    • 1 tablespoon of dried Thyme
    • 1 tablespoon of dried basil
    • Zest of 1 lemon
    • Salt and pepper
    • about 36 mini mozzarella balls
    • 1 cup flour
    • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley


    Preheat oven to 400ºF.

    Wash and cut eggplant lengthwise. Brush olive oil on the exposed inside. Bake flesh side down for 30-40 minutes until tender.

    Baked Eggplant

    Baked Eggplants

    While eggplants are cooling, chop garlic then onion in your food processor, or by hand. Then put them in a mixing bowl.

    Chopping onions and garlic.

    Now the eggplants should be a bit cooler to handle, using a spoon scoop the flesh out of the eggplants and into the food processor.

    Scooping Eggplant Flesh

    Blend eggplant in food processor, then transfer to a large mixing bowl.

    Mixing Bowl

    Stir ingredients together (but not all of the cheese and breadcrumbs, saving them for later)

    In the mixing bowl, add a cup of breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup grated cheese, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of thyme, 1 tablespoon of basil, the zest of 1 lemon, salt, and pepper. Mix well.

    Eggplant mixture

    If the mixture seems to wet to handle, after the breadcrumbs get a chance to soak, add some more breadcrumbs. Then put the mixture in the fridge for a few minutes while you set up your rolling station.

    ball rolling station

    Ball handling station

    Get 3 bowls out and the prepare the cookie sheet you will be baking with. I highly recommend Silpats. In the first bowl, is for the flour. The second bowl is for your remaining eggs, beat them thoroughly. The final bowl is for your remaining breadcrumbs, parsley and cheese. Now is the time to get your mini mozerlla balls out of the liquid too. Now is a good time to turn your oven back on, to 350ºF.

    Making the balls

    Forming the balls

    Get the mixture out of the fridge, and begin forming balls. I like using a large cookie scoop for constancy, but it is not necessary. When you are forming balls, poke a small hole in the center, and place a tiny mozzarella ball inside, see below.

    Tasty surprise inside all of the balls

    Now for the assemebly line. Drop ball into the flour:


    Roll the ball in the egg. (This does not not have to be really covered, but if you are frying the balls, then you want to get a good egg coat, otherwise they will fall apart)

    Egg coat

    Finally roll the ball into the breadcrumb mixture. Helpful note: this is a pretty messy job but a set of tongs helps your hands from getting too sticky,

    Roll in breadcrumb mixture

    Place assembled balls on the prepared cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes, then flip the balls over and bake for another 10 minutes. They should have a golden color and smell really good.

    I like to let the balls cool and place them in a freezer bag to save for later. When I reheat them I bake them for 12-15 minutes at 350 ºF.

    Prepped for the freezer

  7. Walnut Burgers

    September 22, 2011 by siera104

    I adapted this recipe for making veggie burgers from walnuts from a recipe online a few years ago. Here’s a link to the original recipe .The recipe is much easier if you have a food processor, but you can chop the veggies by hand too. The original recipe calls for frying the burgers in a pan, my patties often fell apart when I tried this, but I’ve had much more success when I’ve baked them.

    Walnut Burger

    Nutburger, with sprouts


    • 1 cup Walnuts, ground
    • 3 stalks Celery
    • 1 medium Onion
    • 1 cup Parsley (fresh or dried)
    • 1 cup Wheat Germ (or cooked rice)
    • 1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese , shredded
    • 2 Eggs
    • 1 small Green or Red Bell Pepper
    • 1 teaspoon Salt
    • 1 tablespoon Basil
    • 1 teaspoon Cumin
    1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
    2. Grind walnuts or buy pre-ground walnuts. If you don’t have any way to grind the walnuts, put them in a large plastic bag and use a rolling pin to crush them.
    3. Finely chop celery and onion, or pulse in food process until peices are small.
    4. Finely chop bell pepper.
    5. Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. If mixture is too wet add more wheat germ.
    6. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, this makes it much easier to flip and remove the patties.
    7. Press into patties, recipe makes about 6, and place them on the cookie sheet.
    8. Bake for 10-15 minutes, flip burgers, and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes.
    9. Serve warm like a burger, with condiments and toppings.

    The leftovers keep well for a few days, and the burgers freeze nicely too. When I re-heat the patties some time I put them on the George Foreman Grill.

    Mixing the ingredients


  8. Painting the Living Room

    September 22, 2011 by siera104

    I decied to tackle painting my living room, attached dining room, and hallway. I knew I really like the color  Buckskin Pony, a warm mustard-brown. The color name is pretty amusing since I always wanted a buckskin pony. I didn’t want everything to be that color so I also chose the dark color on the same card, for the dining room.




    Check out that 90's wall border, don't ya just love pastel


    Before painting I needed to smooth the walls. The dust from sanding the wall was EVERYWHERE.


    During.. again



    It took over 24 hours to prep the space, then another 12 to paint, then another few hours to clean everything and put it back in place. Below you can see the shade of paint differ from the dining room on the right from the living room.





    I had some pictures in the hallway but I found some very affordabe gold frames, and gold framed mirrors and made a gallery in my hallway. The “Behind every clever girl is a guy with a beard and glasses” print is from Egg-a-go-go on Etsy.

    I am very proud of my handy work.

  9. Dining Room Chairs

    September 22, 2011 by siera104

    One evening I decided to re-upholster my dining room chairs. For any person who wants to start upholstery this is of of the easies projects to begin with. There is no sewing involved. All you need to do if your chair has adequate padding to begin with is a screw driver, to remove the seat, scissors to cut the fabric to size, and a staple gun and staples to attach your new fabric and VOLIA!

    Before Dining Room Chairs


    Dining Room Fabric

    After Dining Room Chairs


  10. Updating the Kitchen

    September 22, 2011 by siera104

    I mentioned before I made some quick little fixes to brighten my kitchen. I spend a good bit of my time at home in my kitchen and this spring I got it in my head that it was time for some updating. If you recall there was mushroom wall paper a-la 1964, yellowy floors, back splashes and counters. I would like a modern white open kitchen. I like my birch home made cabinets that are original to the house, and the overall layout I can live with.

    I wanted to start with the walls, then get a new oven. But instead Brandon mentioned that I needed a dishwasher since he allegedly found some food stuck on a plate. The next weekend he mentioned this, guess what died? The DISHWASHER, luckily Lowe’s was having a sale on EnergyStar Appliances, so we got a Samsung DMT800rhwdishwasher.

    Dishwasher from 1989
    Before: GE Dishwasher from 1989

    New Dishwasher

    That same weekend I was feeling ambitiousness and began dealing with wallpaper removal. I had NO IDEA what I was getting myself into. It took 3 weeks to remove un-primed wallpaper. I found the best method to be buying a steamer and wait a minute, scrape, repeat. Then It was time to get the wall nice and smooth since I wanted a shiny white paint. That took another 3 weeks, oh what fun, white dust all over EVERYTHING. I am happy to announce this portion of the update is over. And now my kitchen is prettier. Below are some photos of the work in progress.

    Yeah, those are mushrooms on the wallpaper 

    And the obligatory after pictures. Please take note of the change in lighting . The style of light is called Forecast F6064-36, if you want to google it yourself.

    Next up… Countertops