Who Is Anastasia?

My photo
New Castle, Indiana Zone 5, United States
When I was 55, I decided to embrace the things I love and hold precious and dear, regardless of anyone else's thoughts and opinion. I am a visual folk artist who loves flowers - my own flowers, grown and/or painted by me. I love good, hearty, exotic foods, and I love to prepare them myself. I love the secret garden situated in my backyard, regardless of how overgrown and wild it gets. No longer able to afford a vacation, this will have to be it for the time being. In the winter months, I still enjoy it. Anyway, here I am sharing my art, favorite recipes, cocktails, gardening tips, and just my usual vents and bantering. After all, I'm old enough to say whatever the heck I want to now ...


My Book Available on AMAZON

Stacey Torres ART Prints

Stacey Torres ART Prints
A very limited selection of reproductions from my paintings can be found here

May 28, 2010

Homemade Body Care Recipes

It's summertime, and everyone loves refreshing treats for the body, mind and soul. While some of us cannot always celebrate ourselves with a day at the spa, there are tons of homemade treatments you can try.

Recently, I came across these simple recipes. These are fun, affordable, and nicer than anything you can buy.

Body Butter:
Mix 2 oz. each of cocoa butter and shea butter with 1 oz. each of olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil and beeswax, along with a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil.
Melt the ingredients--preferably in a double boiler or in a microwave. Check the mixture periodically to be sure you don't overdo it. It shouldn't take too long.
Mix all ingredients while they cool using a hand mixer until they are well-blended. Peaks will form in the mixture when it is ready.
Scoop the body butter into a container for safekeeping once the mixture has thoroughly cooled. Or, fill several decorative jars to set aside as gifts.

Body Scrub
Soft brown granulated sugar
Olive oil
Pour sugar in a jar ¾ full
Top with oil

Facial Toner
Add rosemary to cider vinegar
Let sit 2 weeks

Bath Salts
Epsom salts or sea salt, or both
Baking soda
Food coloring
1 or 2 teaspoons of glycerin per jar - optional, but glycerin is an effective skin moisturizer and a nice addition
Essential oils - mandarin orange, lavender, sandlewood, and patchouli

Collect your jars, remove labels, then wash and dry thoroughly.
For most bath salts recipes you can use your choice of epsom salts or sea salt, with baking soda, if desired, or a combination of all three. One good mix is one cup of epsom salts, with 1/4 cup of sea salt, and two or three tablespoons of baking soda. A little more or less of each ingredient is fine for most bath salts. Epsom salts and sea salt are soothing for tired muscles, while both will gently soften the water for a luxurious bath experience. You could also add a tablespoon or two of finely ground regular oatmeal (not quick cooking) for silky, skin-softening water.

Fill each jar to the top with the combination of bath salts that you plan to use. Empty the salts into a mixing jar and add a drop or two of glycerin, if using. Add your choice of essential oil - how many drops you use is a personal preference, but start with two or three drops and see if you like the fragrance. The same goes for the liquid food coloring; sometimes I use quite a few drops of food color to get the strong hue that I like, but so far it hasn't stained the bath tub or anyone's skin. Remember that the color and fragrance will be much diluted in the bath water. Stir the salts vigorously until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.

May 24, 2010

A Dessert for the Birthdays

Last summer, my family came to Indiana to celebrate my uncle's big birthday. My Aunt Jeanne made a fabulous rhubarb pie, which I wrote about - several posts below. This year, we are celebrating my uncle's birthday, along with my mother's (4 days apart); she will be 87.

We're having a seafood feast, and I've offered to bring a peach pie ... Here's the thing ... I didn't MEAN to offer to bring a peach pie ... I don't know how that slipped out of my mouth ...

So, I have devised a simple dessert that will be a total experiment, and my family will be guinea pigs ... they're used to that. I will post an update with pictures after Sunday. The recipe will be a Peach Passion Fruit & Raspberry Crostata ... I'm adapting the recipe from Sandra Lee's Grape & Ricotta Crostata.

So, here goes:

1 refrigerated pie crust
1/2 cup of passion fruit preserves
1/2 cup of raspberry preserves or jam
1 1/2 cups of sliced (fresh or frozen) peaches
1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
small box of fresh raspberries
1 egg
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
Unroll the pie crust and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Spread the passion fruit preserves over the pie crust leaving a 1-inch border around the edges.
Place the sliced peaches on top of the jam.
Randomly place tablespoon-sized dollops of ricotta over the filling. Fold in the edges of pie crust over the filling.
In a small bowl, beat the egg and brush over pie crust.
Randomly place the raspberries onto the crust.
Bake for 20 minutes until crust is golden and filling is puffed slightly.
Remove to a wire rack, cool 10 minutes.
When cool, dust with powdered sugar and cut into slices.

The Backyard --Today's Vacation Spot

The Backyard --Today's Vacation Spot
A simple garden meal in the shade. No, it's not my backyard, but it looks identical to the one I grew up with at our home in Queens. Looking for an original pic of it to post soon!

Old Fashioned Tips