Spring Flowering Bulbs

photo 11

Even though it has been more than a month from the official start of spring we did not get to experience the true spring weather during this period.

I even made a cake to welcome this spring and prayed loudly for some more sun. Well, such efforts seems to have paid off as we finally are getting some truly spring weather here at the west coast. I am now enjoying my walk and strolls in beautiful Stanley Park, Vancouver BC. The other day I took my camera along and took these pretty colorful photos which I wanted to share with you.

Stanley Park Rose Garden, Vancouver BC

Stanley Park Rose Garden, Vancouver BC

photo 16
Beside sharing these photos I will also share the story about how, lured by the beautiful scenery, that day I lost my jacket, wallet with my ID’s, credit cards and KEYS.

It was quite warm that day, so while taking photos I took off my jacket (with a wallet and keys in it), and left it on a nearby park bench. Such a careless act, you might say, and I agree.

I was carried away by the beautiful scenery so while taking pictures I realized that I ended up being quite far away from the bench where my jacked was. When I returned the jacked was not there. I panicked. The first thing that struck my mind was that the jacket was stolen, so I needed immediately to start canceling my credit cards and find a locksmith to open my condo door. But, before starting doing all that I started running back and forth the park lanes (all in panic) hoping that I will see someone holding my jacket and asking me “are you looking for this?”.

photo 15

Stanley Park Rose Garden, Vancouver BC

Stanley Park Rose Garden, Vancouver BC

Well, that did not happen because the whole thing would sound too good to be true. Instead, I found myself sitting hopeless on a park bench having no idea on what to do next. At this point at time there was a gentleman passing by the bench I was sitting on and, even though I did not expect any positive answer, I asked him whether he saw anybody taking a white jacked from this bench? To my surprise he answered that he saw the garbage guy taking a jacket. Bingo. I knew at least what to look for before starting canceling my credit cards.

I went to the nearby offices of the Stanley Park Service Yard and I was lucky to run into the park supervisor named Guy who immediately made a phone call to find out the phone number of the person who was collecting the garbage that day. In the mean time he got into the car and together we drove along the garbage collection route hoping to find the garbage truck and the garbage guy who took my jacket. Luckily, before nearing the finish of the garbage route we saw the garbage truck. The driver had already received the call that we were on our way to pick up the jacket. I took the jacket, and the valet and keys were in the pocket.
photo 1o

photo 2
I could not thank enough the Park Supervisor for his tremendous efforts for helping me find my wallet and keys. What happened that day will always remind me that there are some extraordinary people out there that will go above and beyond to help others, and you just have to be lucky to run into them. I was indeed lucky that day, but I also learned that regardless of my love for spring and flowers I should not be carried away by beautiful sceneries and should be more accountable for my belongings.

photo 3

photo 6

photo 8

photo 12

photo 14

Hope that you will enjoy all these beautiful colors and perfectly manicured lawns in the Rose Garden, Stanley Park.

Happy weekend. Sit back relax and enjoy.

Stanley Park Pavilion, Vancouver’s preeminent banqueting venue.

Stanley Park Pavilion, Vancouver’s preeminent banqueting venue.


Thank you for reading.
Sharing with How Sweet the Sound


Meringue Berry Cake

photo 4

With the delayed spring this year we ended up having more winter than we needed or expected. Luckily, here at the west coast, there is no snowfall at least so we are spared from shoveling our driveways; however, the rain and the grim whether is just unbearable and keeps you feel kind of depressed sometime.

I love spring. As the matter of fact I love it to the extent that I would not mind if spring lasts forever. No wonder that I am getting so angry and frustrated because the winter has made itself so comfortable this year and is hesitating to leave.

The fragile spring, on the other hand, is trying hard to put its foot in so it helped the bulbs to sprout everywhere and blossom to bloom in most trees, but the old grumpy winter just does not want to give in. With the snow in some parts of the country, and the rain and grim whether elsewhere you cannot help it but hear the winter say: “ I got lazy this year so I will be sticking around for few more…”. Let’s hope that the winter wants to say “few more days”, so we will finally start enjoying the beautiful spring and all those plenty colors it brings along.
photo 2
Wishing the spring a warm welcome, yesterday I made this Meringue Berry Cake. It reminds me on my childhood and beautiful, sunny and colorful springs I experienced with my siblings and the meringue cookies that my mother used to make for us at spring time. She did not have a hand mixer (and the standing ones were not even around at that time), or fancy kitchen gadgets, but with her jumbo whisk and few other modest utensils she made her cookies and cakes stand out and “be the talk of the neighborhood”. phot 7

Meringues are pretty easy to make and have very few ingredients, but the key to succeed with the meringue mixture is to have the egg whites at room temperature, and to make sure that the bowl and whisk are completely dry and free of any grease.
ready for ovenfour layersedited
photo 6

So if you ever get into a mood to make this cake you will need:

1. 8 egg whites
2. 4 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3. 1 tablespoon lemon extract
4. 1 pound of mixed berries
5. 2 packages of desert whip


1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C). Flour three separate baking sheets.
2. In a glass or metal bowl, whip egg whites until foamy using an electric mixer. Sprinkle in sugar a little at a time, while continuing to whip at medium speed. Add lemon extract. When the mixture becomes stiff and shiny like satin, stop mixing, and divide the mixture in three separate bowls and color the mixture to your preference. Transfer the mixture to a large pastry bags. Pipe three large meringues out onto the prepared baking sheets using a large round star tip.
3. Place the meringue sheets in the oven (both racks) and place a wooden spoon handle in the door to keep it from closing all the way. Bake for 3 hours, or until the meringues are dry, and can easily be removed from the pan.
4. Allow cookies to cool completely before assembling the cake. Prepare the dessert whip according to the package directions. Top each meringue sheet with a layer of dessert whip and berries and finish with a meringue sheet.

Hope that spring will feel more welcomed now, so we will soon start experiencing warmer weather and more sunshine.
welcome spring 1
Thank you for reading.

Wall Art Redo

photo 2

At the time I was furnishing my condo bedroom several years ago, I opted for an easy and cheap way of adding a wall decor to my bedroom. I bought four frames and a piece of fabric at IKEA, and framed cut pieces of the fabric to those frames. I hung the frames above the headboard, and although I was not thrilled with this decor, at least I knew that I am not going to have a bare wall above the headboard. My husband didn’t like this idea very much and he thought this decor appeared to be kind of cheap, but he did not make a big fuss over them so I was not in a rush to take them down.

Over the years I got used to this wall decor to the point that I wasn’t even noticing until the following happened; it was the middle of the night and my husband was deep asleep when one of the frames fell down behind the headboard. The noise from the falling frame and the cracking glass not only woke him up, but scared the hell out of him. He did not know what happened and, as he recalls, he thought that somebody threw a rock on the bedroom window so he rushed to check the window out, and realized later that one of the frames had fallen down.

I happened to be away at that time, so next morning he called me and said: “Your decor idea was about to kill me last night”. So the same day he got rid of the wall decoration from the bedroom. I do not blame him. I would do the same thing if I had experienced such a scare in the middle of the night.

Well, since then I had these frames stored for a while, and I thought with a fresh redo we can maybe have them around for some time before deciding to give them away.

I started with the project by detaching the back of the frames. For the previous project I have glued the fabric to the back of the frame, so now I only had to paint over the fabric. I used grey latex paint which was a left over from one of my previous projects.
photo 3
While waiting for the paint to dry I measured and cut in three identical pieces the image of an Ancient Hawaiian Petroglyph featured in the Big Island Dining and Entertainment Magazine. With a permanent marker I drew lines around the edges of each piece for a sharper look of the image.
phhoto 1

photo 2

photo 4

photo 5
Subsequently, when the paint was completely dry, I glued the cut pieces of the image to the backs of the frames. Lastly, I attached the backs to the frames using the duct tape.

And here they are.

photo 3
photo 4

They seem to blend in nicely with the colors in my living room and appear to have that “gallery look”. I think that until we find some serious art for our living room, these will do the job for now. But most importantly, let’s hope that these will not fall down again and make a big mess…..
foto 1

Do any of your DYI projects have a funny story behind? If so, would you be willing to share it?

Thank you for reading, and thank you for your comments on my previous posts.


Asparagus & Tomato Salsa Bake


Are you searching for healthy, pretty looking and most importantly quick and easy diner ideas? Well you just found one. This asparagus side dish is all of the above.

I love asparagus and since I tried many ways to prepare this lovely vegetable, I also started creating my own recipes.

One of my original asparagus recipes that I am featuring in this post is crunchy baked asparagus topped with fresh tomato and mint salsa. It is a very simple, quick and easy recipe and this is why I love, so I wanted to share it with you. You will find that all of the ingredients needed to execute this recipe you may already have in your fridge or pantry, and if you decide to have this side dish with fish, your dinner will be ready in less than 30 minutes.


Bunch of asparagus
1 large tomato
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5-7 leaves of fresh mint
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 cup of grated mozzarella cheese
Dash of dried basil


Cut tomato into small pieces. Add oil, sugar, salt, garlic, mint and set aside. Let the mixture stand for few minutes for flavors to incorporate. In the mean time turn you oven to 400 F, rinse asparagus, line a baking pan with baking paper and spread asparagus in the pan. Top the asparagus with tomato salsa reserving the juice of the salsa. Sprinkle the asparagus tops with the salsa juice for flavor. Sprinkle over the grated mozzarella and basil.

Bake for 15 minutes and then broil for 5 minutes. At this point in the higher rack of your oven you can broil few slices of bread which after taking them out of the oven you can top them with salsa from the baked asparagus. This way you will have some bruschettas aside.

While your asparagus releases the yummy aromas from the oven you can cook fish of your choice and make your favorite salad.


10If you decide to try this recipe I would love to hear from you and see how you rate it.

Thank you for reading.


Ideas for Customizing Ready Made Drapery Panels

Beside addressing the privacy issues and blocking the sunlight, drapes and curtains also ad warmth and style to any place, be it a living room, bedroom, kitchen, or any other place which needs a “dress up”. However, having them custom made will cost you a fortune, so these days people opt for ready made drapery panels which can be bought everywhere at very affordable prices.

After purchasing ready-made curtain panels there are a number of things you can do to the panels to make them your own. By customizing and making the panels your own, you will automatically add your home a distinguished style that speaks “more you”.

In the below attached pictures I have selected some designs that I would definitely consider using for customizing ready made drapery panels.

By adding sheer fabric to the top of the ready made panel you may acheive this refined custom look.

This is an interesting design where you can use 3 different fabrics and a ribbon to acheive this attractive look.

If you already have a cornice on the window and you would like a fast and easy makeover, you may consider painting the cornice white (even if the cornice is upholstered) and add a trim on cornice and curtain panels.
The trim on the cornice may be glued while you may either stitch or glue the trim to the ready made panels.

If you happen to find lined silk drapes at affordable price, you can make them your own by adding a band at bottom of drapes.

If you buy a ready made white panels customize them by adding vertical blak ribon to them either by using two sided gluing tape (for a budged friendly approach) or for a more profesional look sew the ribon on the panel.

Ready made white roman shades which can be bought at most of big box stores may be turned into these beautiful shades loaded with classical look. To achieve this classic coastal look you may consider using deep indigo trim.

Yuo can customize and if needed lengthen your drapes by adding a trim to top & bottom, like these ones.

The white ready made curtain panels may be turned into such cute drapes by adding ribbon ties of different color and trim at the bottom.

If you already have a pair of white/beige curtain panels, buy another curtain panel (or similar fabric) in a bold color or in black. Cut out the middle section of your original curtains horizontally and add a horizontal stripe of your bold color. Reattach the bottom section of your original curtains w/hems and you have a custom look!

Tall, drapes like these ones below cannot be customized as no ready made drape comes to that lenght, but I think they are beautifull so they are worth paying to custom make them.

I hope that you will find inspiration from these photos and in case you undertake any drape customizing project I would love to hear how your drapes turned out.

Thank you for reading and have a nice weekend.


Banana & Kiwi Fruit Cake

ake 1

This used to be a very popular cake in my hometown back home during 70’s. My sister and I used to make this cake for almost every occasion.

At that time in Kosova bananas and kiwi fruit were not available all year around, and if there was a supply of these fruits you could not have them as often as they were quite pricy. The economy was run by the state government (Former Republic of Yugoslavia) and Kosova was the most neglected province by this government. The neglect was so severe to the point that amounted to discrimination. So, as one would expect, the likelihood of Kosovans being regularly supplied with exotic fruit was not in the government’s priority list. Therefore, whenever bananas hit the grocery stores there was a reason for us to make up an occasion and serve this cake.
cake 1

Interestingly, few years before the war erupted in Former Yugoslavia, the government policy on economics changed a bit so there were plenty of private trade companies which emerged almost overnight, and guess what, bananas were everywhere, and the prices dropped so low so people were buying boxes of bananas to get over that craving they were missing for years.
Cake 3

With the influx of bananas and other exotic fruit in the market, this cake ceased to be as popular as it used to, but my sister and I still used to make it occasionally. However, I have not made this cake for over 10 years and have almost forgotten this recipe. The other day I was searching through my old recipe book for a corn bread recipe and came across to “once famous Banana & Kiwi Fruit Cake” recipe, and struck by nostalgia I made this cake few days ago. So here is the recipe below.
Cake 4

Cake 5

Prep Time: 2 hrs
Cook Time: 30-45 minutes
Difficulty: Medium
Serving: 12
Cake 6

The Sponge:

9 tablespoons all purpose flour
9 tablespoons grated walnuts
1 teaspoon baking powder
250 gram sugar
5 eggs at room temperature
9 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla

The Filling:

1 liter milk
8 tablespoons corn starch mixed with 8 tablespoons milk
250 gram butter
300 gram powdered sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 big or 4 small bananas
5 kiwi fruit

To make the sponge:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 15 X 12 inch pan with parchment paper.

Combine flour, grated walnuts, baking powder in a large bowl. Separate eggs.

In e separate bowl beat egg yolks and sugar on high speed and vanilla. Pour the egg yolk mixture over the flour and grated walnuts and mix with spatula.

Beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form.

Fold the egg white mixture into the batter very gently until just combined. Pour into prepared pan and spread to even out the surface.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn sponge onto flat surface lined with a dish towel, remove the parchment paper and allow cooling.

Cut the sponge into two pieces with the following dimensions: 6 x 12 and 9×12 inches.

To make the filling:

Bring the milk to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat and add the mixture of corn starch and milk stirring vigorously to avoid clumping. Reduce the heat to a medium or low and continue to cook for about 5-10 minutes stirring continuously. Allow the mixture to completely cool at a room temperature, stirring it occasionally.

In e separate bowl whip the butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Add and stir the corn starch mixture (cooled to a room temperature) into the butter, one spoon at a time, and continue whipping. Add vanilla.

Layering the cake:

Spread an inch thick layer of filling onto a small sponge rectangle. Place lengthwise a row of bananas. Spread another inch of filling over bananas. Place lengthwise a row of peeled kiwi fruits in the centre. Spread another one inch thick layer of filling over kiwi fruits. Cover the cake with the remaining piece of sponge cake, and decorate with the remaining filling and chocolate or white chocolate mousse.

If you happen to try this recipe I would love to hear from you.

Thank you for reading.


Sweet Potato & Celery Cream Soup


This winter I was very much into a soup mood, so I tried various recipes and created some of my own too.

Even though it is already spring I continue to cook a pot of soup whenever it is rainy or grim day like today. Sweet potato and celery cream soup is one of my own recipes and I would like to share it with you as this soup recipe turned out to be very tasty. I just made a pot of this soup today and can’t wait to have a bowl or two.

When I made this soup for the first time I only had one big sweet potato, two carrots and 6 stalks of celery in my fridge, so this is how this recipe was born. I also used a small onion and two cloves of garlic and spices such a dash of white pepper, freshly ground black pepper, nutmeg and most importantly 2 teaspoon turmeric.

Since I have learned about the health benefits of turmeric I use every opportunity to incorporate this spice into my recipes.

Few years back I have never used turmeric in my cooking, but after learning how healthy this spice is I became a real turmeric fan.

Some may find turmeric powder bitter or otherwise off-putting, but when a teaspoon or two is added to a pot of soup or stew, the flavor disperses and adds a subtle depth and complexity that most people may find appealing.

Turmeric is an orange-colored spice imported from India and is part of the ginger family. It has been a staple in Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian cooking for thousands of years.

Recent research reveals that this herb is a powerful healer due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties and it has proved to be beneficial in the treatment of many different health conditions from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease.
For more about turmeric health benefits you may visit http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/stories/the-amazing-health-benefits-of-turmeric and/or http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/20-health-benefits-of-turmeric.html

Now back to the soup recipe.


1 big sweet potato peeled and chopped in big chunks
6-8 celery stalks – chopped coarsely
2 medium carrots – chopped in big chunks
1 small onion – diced
2 cloves of garlic- diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt to taste
5 cups of vegetable broth (or 5 cups of water and 1 cube of veggie bullion)
2 teaspoon turmeric
Dash of white pepper, freshly ground black pepper and nutmeg
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup grated cheese of your choice (I used cheddar)


In a medium sized sauce pan cook onion and garlic in olive until golden brown. Add chopped vegetables, salt and broth and cook for 30 minutes or until potato is softened.
Remove the pot from the stove and puree the vegetables using the stick blender. After the pureeing is done add spices, salt, butter, milk and cheese. Return the pot to the stove and cook for few more minutes.
Note: After pureeing more water or milk may be added to dilute the soup to the desired thickness.

If you try this recipe I would love to know how you would rate it in a scale of 1 to 5.

Thank you for reading.

Kitchen Design Ideas


In my last post I showed you some beautiful kitchens designed by Vancouver designer Alana Johnston. In this post I decided to show you my modest kitchen design of my Vancouver condo.

I designed this kitchen 8 years ago when we undertook the major renovation immediately after purchasing our condo.

Unfortunately I do not have the “before” pictures of the kitchen but I will try to explain the previous kitchen layout so you could better understand the transformation of the present kitchen area.

The previous layout can be described as an “U” shape kitchen with a wall dividing the kitchen and dining area. The kitchen had sort of dropped ceiling in which several neon lights were inserted to create the illusion of the skylight. The sink was placed right in the corner, and this made it very difficult to do any dish rinsing and let alone any dishwashing.

To make it more efficient, I decided to get rid of the “U” shape layout and opted for an open kitchen concept. I got rid of the dropped ceiling and replaced the neon lights with several pot lights, and most importantly I made sure that I get rid of the pop corn ceiling which was imposing that seventies statement around the whole space.


While planning the layout I realized that in order to have an efficient layout I still needed some more square footage in the kitchen area, especially for that big ice maker fridge which I always liked to have in my kitchen.

In order to get some more cabinet space I decided to use the closet space in the hallway to place the big fridge. This worked very well as the placement of the fridge in that spot, beside creating an illusion of a big kitchen area, added that square footage that I needed for kitchen cabinets.

In the middle of the kitchen, right between the kitchen cabinets and the fridge I placed a tall bistro table and two leather chairs which we use as a breakfast area as well as a place to converse and have a glass of vine ( umm…maybe two) while preparing the diner.


Placing the fridge in the mentioned spot has left me with the possibility to supply the kitchen with a pantry cabinet, which is a must for any passionate cook like me. I make sure that this pantry is always well stuffed with all food staples so I do not miss anything when I try new recipes.


Adjacent to the pantry cabinet I placed the wall mounted oven and the microwave, and this kind of placement of kitchen cabinets added the space a very modern look.


I placed another tall wall cabinet adjacent to the oven and microwave cabinet, and I use it as a jar pantry where I keep various food staples and my favorite spices.

Since I was limited with the counter space I had to alter the two bottom cabinets to place the ceramic cooking range on top.

Instead of placing upper cabinets all around the walls, I decided to place a stainless steel hood over the cooking range so to ad a more appealing and modern look to the space. I left some spacing in between the wall cabinets and the range hood, and I think that, visually, it worked quite well.

The lazy Suzan cabinet is one of the spaces where I can place most of my odd pots and pans, and I love these two huge drawers where I keep my basic cooking set and storage containers which I use daily.

The lower kitchen door cabinets are solid wood, and the upper ones are combination of glass and aluminum. I intentionally opted for mixing the brown wooden kitchen doors with the glass and aluminum ones aspiring to achieve that “the traditional- meeting new” feel, and I was quite happy with the outcome.

I used the high legs for the lower cabinets and this makes it so much easy for cleaning. Some may argue that legged cabinets add up to some more cleaning, but I assure you that it does not take you more than 30-40 seconds to vacuum under the cabinets and you will feel exceptionally good knowing that everything is dust free in your house.
I used IKEA kitchen planer for creating this design, and I found it to be very useful and easy to use. I will definitely consider using this planner in my next kitchen design and I would recommend it to everyone.

I hope that you liked my design. Does your kitchen need remodeling or an update? What would you like to change in your kitchen? Share your thoughts and I can maybe help with my humble advice.

Thank you for reading.