Mother's Give Their Hearts - 1000 Hearts Project

It all begins in with the tender love within a mother's heart.  The world becomes light and magical with hope.  Nothing can calm like the sound of her melodic voice.  Her words of encouragement and love can inspire courage to overcome all.

Grandma & Grandpa Cooper with their new little girl Frannie.

My mother was the most beautiful heroine in the world.  She lit up our lives with her smile and laugh.  Her creativity new no bounds.  I loved wearing my tomato shirt as often as she would let me....and of course the crocheted vests were a very close second!  She painted, did macrame, ceramics, sewed and crocheted, cooked and all looking like she came out of Better Homes and Gardens! 
My beautiful mother with her three children!
Sitting down for a lovely dinner with my mom, grandparents and great-grandfather.  I'm wearing the crochet vest and look at that beautiful blonde hair on my mom!

My mother did everything well, but the things she did the best were the things she did that no one else saw.  It was the way she would put everything away to read to us.  The naps that she let me skip to hang out with her and color like a big girl.  The time I sneaked down from my room to find her outside in the sun reading alone (probably enjoying some much deserved "me" time) and having her put her book down and roast marshmallows in the middle of a hot afternoon with me.  

For my mother us children where her life and I appreciate all of the beauty and grace she has helped me to see in this life.  I have missed the times that we are apart.  As I have grown and am now a mother and grandmother I cherish the memories of all she gave to me and continues to bless my life with.

 My Mother 

I received an exquisite hand-made Mother's Day card from her yesterday along with a picture of her.  A tear fell from my eye as I see her beauty and light still shinning.  I am forever thankful for the mother I have and for the life she gave me.  I am thankful for the grandmother's who loved me dearly and gave me all the hope and promises in life.  I am a truly blessed.  I love you mom!   Happy Mother's Day!!!

I have written this public thank you to my mother to help in the 1000 Hearts Project and to help bless another child.  By following this link and sharing a thank you to your mother you can help a mother and child in Haiti.  I love this way of honoring my mother and the other mother's who give their best.  So please follow this link or the button on the right side of this page to help a mother in Haiti on this Mother's Day!
All Joy,

Read more »


My Cinco De Mayo Celebration Menu

This Saturday is May 5th which also is Cinco De Mayo.... which means it is time to break out the tortilla pan and enjoy yummy food with you family and friends!  It's hard to believe that I never enjoyed this fabulous cuisine until I was twenty and now I can't go a week without some kind of tortilla stuffed food!

One of my favorite meals is Grilled Fish Tacos with Black Beans and Rice. The aroma of the fish sizzling on the blackened grill with the hope of lime and cilantro makes this New York native wish she was born south of the border.

Grilled Fish Tacos with Black Beans and Rice

 When I lived in California I would go to the busiest Mom and Pop Mexican food "dives" and ask them to show me how to cook this amazing food.   Surprisingly they would welcome me into the back and show me how to cook their secret dishes.  What a gift to be in a greasy kitchen being taught by those women.  My family has appreciated their "lessons" for many years.

Grilled Fish Tacos

5 Talapia Fillets
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil
Fresh Flour or Corn Tortillas
Mexican Slaw (recipes below)
Cilantro Ranch Dressing (recipe below)

Make Cilantro Ranch Dressing and chill. (see recipe below)

Make Mexican Slaw and chill. (see recipe below)

Heat grill to 375 degrees.  Lightly rub olive oil, salt and pepper on the talapia fillets.  Set aside until grill is hot.  Place on grill for about 5 minutes per side until flaky.  Cover with foil to keep warm.   Cook fresh tortillas (available at Costco or most grocery stores) until tortillas are done...and a little toasted.  Slice cooked fillets about 1 and a half inches they fit on the tortillas well.

Take tortilla, fish, a little mexican slaw and drizzle with Cilantro Ranch and finish with a squeeze of lime!  Fold together and sink your teeth into a little bit of Baja Mexico!

Mexican Slaw

1 Head Napa Cabbage
1 Small Bag of Broccoli Slaw
1 Bunch Cilantro
Balsamic Vinegar

Wash your green Napa cabbage and cilantro to get off any grit.  Chop the Napa cabbage in 1/2 inch slices, place in bowl.  Open your broccoli slaw and ad to cabbage.  Chop the cilantro so that the leaves still are large enough to look like leaves...I don't like the toss them out.  Toss the greens together.  Set Aside.

Mix together 1 and a half cup of balsamic vinegar with 1/2 cup of sugar and the juice of two limes....and mix together until sugar dissolves.  

Add to greens and toss together.  Set aside in a fridge...the vinegar break down the cabbage and the sugar gives this wonderful sweetness to the slaw and is fabulous with the grilled fish.

Cilantro Ranch Dressing

1 Cup Buttermilk
1 Cup Greek Yogurt
1 Package Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix
2 Tomatillos
2 Cups Chopped Cilantro
1 JalapeƱo Pepper
2 Limes

Place yogurt and buttermilk in blender, add ranch mix.  Blend until smooth.  Chop tomatillos, jalapeno, and cilantro and add to blender.  Blend on high for a minute or two until smooth.  Squeeze two limes into dressing and mix one more time.  It is now ready to drizzle over your hot fish tacos.  This dressing is good enough to dip the tortillas straight into!

Abby's Black Beans

3 Cans Black Beans
1 Can Enchilada Sauce
2 Tomatillos Chopped
1 Bunch Cilantro Chopped
2 Cloves of Crushed Garlic
2 Tablespoons Cumin
Bacon Drippings

Heat bacon drippings to hot, add crushed garlic, drained black beans, enchilada sauce, chopped tomatillos and heat on medium to high for 20 to 30 minutes until everything is looking blended and yum!  Add the chopped cilantro  and mix into beans.  Cook for 5 to 10 minutes and take a masher and lightly mash until the beans look a little creamy.  Now they are ready to enjoy....soooo good!

Mexican Rice

3 cups Rice
3 Cups Chicken Broth
3 cups Water
1 Jar or Tub of Fresh Salsa
4 Tomatillos Finely Chopped
1 Bunch Chopped Cilantro
3 Tablespoons Cumin
4 Tablespoons Butter

Boil rice, chicken broth and water with salsa, chopped tomatillos and cumin.  Once the liquids begin to boil, turn down to medium/low heat and simmer until rice is tender.  Add chopped cilantro and lightly toss into rice.  Add butter pats and cover with lid to melt butter.  I love the way the butter adds a creaminess to the spicy rice.  This is fabulous with the black beans and a little feta cheese...yes...feta cheese.

Happy Cinco De Mayo everyone!

All Joy,


Read more »