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

December 18, 2011

Seasoned Cocktail Peanuts

On the 10th Day of Christmas, my true love came almost seven days late! This time, my treat was a bit different. Rather than just a holiday cocktail, he brought me a wonderful garnish -- tastes great in or out of a cocktail - Good for snacking on, but they do have a good kick to them. It felt like Ten Lords A Leaping all over my mouth!

Toss these in chilled vodka for a crisp, winter's eve drink.


1.25 cup Peanuts
1.5 tbsp chopped red onion
2 green chillies chopped fine
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
salt and red chilly powder as per taste
Dry roast the peanuts in a pan.
Let it cool for 5 minutes. Meanwhile lay some old newspapers on the sink. Transfer the peanuts in a plastic colander over the newspapers. Rub the peanuts with your fingers and shake the colander.

Some of the skin will fall through the holes and which is left can be gently blown by tilting the colander side to side. Put the peanuts in a plate. Add chopped onion, green chillies and cilantro. Season with salt and lemon juice. Gently mix it and serve with any cocktail drink.

I served it with Caesar. Typically it contains vodka, clamato and some sauces. Being gluten free I avoid bringing any sauce that has gluten in it. This is a simple Caesar with Vodka, V8 and pepper ( celery salt optional).

Recipe courtesy of balvinder, www.enpetitchef.com

October 21, 2011

Vegangela’s Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup (with Chickpeas)

I recently had a chat with a young lady from Ontario, Canada (my mother's homeland) about soup. As the cold weather season was approaching, a mutual friend's significant other was feeling under the weather and wanted to know about comfort food for him. It was unanimous that soup was the answer.

My friend, Veganela, has an enormous treasury of vegan recipes that I will be sharing on this blog from time to time. This first installment is for a wonderful, delicious Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup (with Chickpeas)

Veganela's Carrot & Sweet Potato Soup with Chickpeas
• 1 medium red onion
• 2 toes garlic
• 3 large carrots
• 1 medium sweet potato
• 2 ½ cups veggie stock
• 1 cup plain soy milk (or preferred non-dairy milk)
• 1 tsp seasoned salt
• ½ tsp roasted garlic and peppers (spice mix)
• 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Soup Preparation:

1. Peel carrots and cut into short sticks.
2. Peel sweet potato and cut into small chunks.
3. Place carrots and sweet potato in a microwave safe bowl and add a small amount of water.
4. Peel and mince onion.
5. Peel and mince garlic.

Soup Cooking Instructions:

1. Cover bowl containing the carrots and sweet potato with cling wrap and microwave on high for approximately 8 minutes.


If you would prefer to boil instead of steam: Cut them the same way, place them in a medium sized pot, cover with water, cook until tender.

2. Drain.
3. Mash or blend until smooth.
4. In a medium sauce pan combine the onion, garlic, and oil.
5. Cook on medium-high heat until onions are translucent.
6. Remove from heat.
7. Add carrot and sweet potato mash, soy milk, and veggie stock to the sauce pan with onion and garlic.
8. Whisk together and return to medium heat.
9. Whisk/stir frequently to prevent sticking.
10. Add spices.
11. When evenly heated remove from stove.
12. Blend if preferred. (Optional)


• 1 19oz can of Chickpeas (drained)
• 1 tsp minced garlic (from jar)
• 1 tsp roasted garlic and peppers (spice mix)
• ½ tsp seasoned salt
• ½ tsp Frank’s Original Red Hot Sauce
• 1 tbsp cooking oil


1. Add garlic, frank’s, spices, and oil to a large skillet at medium-high heat.
2. Add chickpeas.
3. Cook on medium-high until the outside of chickpeas are crispy.

Final Instructions:

1. Combine chickpeas and soup.
2. Mix well.
3. Serve hot.

August 31, 2011

Crazy Easy Spinach Casserole

A few days ago, I came across a very simple, basic and delicious recipe for Spinach Casserole. Of course, most of us have had some casserole or another over the years that contained spinach, but seldom have I found a recipe for just spinach casserole that I found noteworthy.
The young lady who shared the recipe with me gladly granted me permission to post this, but did not want credit for it, claiming she had found it in an old church cookbook ... tried and true church cookbooks; who hasn't had one or two -- or three?

Anyway, I made the recipe the other night for my mother and myself, and we loved it. She is aging and for some reason or another, really does not like cooked vegetables any more. We don't know why. So, casseroles have become a staple for me as a means to get her to eat more veggies; much like we do with children.

While we enjoyed the recipe immensely, knowing me, I just had to tweak and modify it to my liking, but soon learned the possibilities were endless. I am sharing the basic Spinach Casserole recipe with you, and have listed a few of my simple changes.

Use your imagination and create your own quick, easy go-to recipe perfect for a fast supper or lunch, potluck, picnic, or even a gift for a new neighbor. I know, I know, I'm getting mushy and retro on you. But love and good food never go out of style.

Love & Spinach,

3 eggs

6 Tablespoons flour
16 oz carton small curd cottage cheese
8 oz package shredded cheddar cheese
10 oz package spinach, thawed and drained

In a medium size bowl, beat eggs and flour together. Add all other ingredients in order, mixing well after each one. Pour mixture into an 8x8 glass, greased, baking dish. Bake in a pre-heated oven of 350 degrees for an hour uncovered.

Feel free to change the vegetables and cheeses. The lady who provided the recipe says she likes to use cauliflower with or without spinach, and she sometimes will use low fat cheese.

My additions are typical of me:
Feta Cheese
Asiago Cheese
Mexican Cheese Blends
Sour Cream
Brussels Sprouts
Collard Greens (frozen/thawed is best for this recipe)
Eggplant maybe?

Top it off with crushed potato chips (go light, if you must), or French fried onions ... just go for it.

Okay, okay ... it's a retro kind of day ...

July 2, 2011

Stacey's Triple Threat

I don’t really do “The Fourth” like most people do – I do the First of July (in memory of my late Nana, who passed away on July 1, 2000 at the age of 104); I do the 2nd, and the 3rd –in that order … surprised? This has been a hideously stressful month for my family and me, so, I decided to have my own July 2nd celebration.

Right now, there is a crater in my living room approximately 9’ x 11’ – it is in the shape of an “L,” and I am told it will be a “J” before noon tomorrow … hmm. While having simple tile laid on the floor, we learned the support beams and joists are rotted … you can rip them by hand. Oh, Joy! Look, the dog has fallen into the pit chasing his ball … oh, my …

Anyway, for said celebration, I created a drink (I’m sure it’s NOT original, but it popped into my head) that I call TRIPLE THREAT. I’m also sure there is at least one other cocktail by that name, but who cares? I’m feeling the effects of #1 and #2.

Triple Threat is a mistake. I don’t know what I was thinking, but here’s what happened. I found a bottle of Triple Sec on top of the fridge … Lord knows how it got there, but it was calling me (out loud) – “Drink Me, Drink Me … Drink Me, dammit!” So, I poured about 4 ounces of Triple Sec into a 10 ounce glass (plastic party cup, actually) … which I then filled with Home City Ice (my favorite commercially produced ice on Earth) – you really should capitalize the word “Earth” … it is a place, you know … Anyway, after the ice, I topped it off with some orange soda (yeah, yeah, I know – it was diet; but that’s what I had on hand).

Here’s the beautiful part. The soda will not blend into the liqueur; it just sits on top like a perfect bunch of goldenrod on a glass pedestal – so beautiful and graceful. I watched it for a long time, never occurring to me that I should drink it – the Sunkist Orange® just sat there floating like a happy orange moon on a clear silver sky … hee hee … So, I began to sip and sip and sip … it tasted like Sunkist Orange®. Slowly, it began to show a hint of Triple Sec. The thing is, you have to stir this drink if you want to blend it. I, however, thought it made a grand presentation. Heck, I could carry dozens of these around on a tray and look pretty competent, don’t you think?

But then, all of a sudden, BOOM! The two meet in between and all Hell breaks loose (yes, you should capitalize “Hell” too, since it’s also a place). Suddenly, after about 20 minutes, either the soda sinks down into the liqueur, or the Triple Sec reaches up to grab it and pull it down – either way, I was caught in the middle mid-gulp.

My TRIPLE THREAT packs a sweet and gentle wallop. I’ve had three tonight so far.

The purpose of this blog was to give you my recipes for my July 2 nonsense:

Celery: stuffed with anchovies, cream cheese with chives and honey

Egg Rolls with Oyster Sauce

1 (yes, One) pint of blueberries.

1 lb. green, seedless grapes

Orange slices (should’ve thrown them in the cocktail)

Devilled eggs: stuffed with smoked salmon, cream cheese, eggs and dill.

Happy July 3rd and 2nd and 1st you all.

May 26, 2011

Sangria Peach Compote with Ice Cream Recipe

Sangria Peach Compote with Ice Cream Recipe
This has not been an absolutely wonderful day. I'm out of sorts, stressed and saddened. My first inclination was to reach for a tall glass of Sangria and relax ... I tried it, and I couldn't relax ... Oh, come on ... what's every girl's favorite comfort food? Ice Cream!!! Duh!

This recipe for Sangria Peach Compote with Ice Cream is just too, too, too much - love it! Found it on a bhg.com ... Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

April 25, 2011

Easter Pie

Yesterday was Easter Sunday, and we had rain most of the day. This year, Easter was particularly said and sentimental for my mother and I, so instead of church we took a long ride. Like Thanksgiving, we ate huge cod fish sandwiches and leftovers.

Saturday night, I made a Kool-Aid Pie (yes, there's such a thing; both to my horror and delight). It's really a delightful pie. Here's my simple recipe:

1 Graham cracker pie crust (I used deep dish)
1 tub Cool Whip
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 pkg. (unsweetened) Kool-Aid (any flavor)
Mix well - Making sure there are NO lumps and the condensed milk is blended into the Cool Whip.
Mix WELL, and pour into crust; cover & chill over night - Fabulous! - What made mine fabulous was the pint of fresh strawberries (halved) that I added to the mix (used strawberry Kool-Aid).

Half a Pie Gone ... Hmm

April 15, 2011

How To Make Grilled Honey Rosemary Lamb Chops With Mustard Potatoes Recipe (Lamb)

How To Make Grilled Honey Rosemary Lamb Chops With Mustard Potatoes

Grilled Honey Lamb Chops with Mustard Potatoes Recipe. Lamb chops served full of flavour from their honey and herb glaze, perfectly complemented with a mustard potato salad. Taste our Grilled Honey Lamb Chops with Mustard Potatoes Recipe.

Step 1: You will need Units: Metric US Imperial UK Imperial

•8 lamb chops
•4 tbsp honey
•2 cloves of garlic, minced
•1 tbsp rosemary, chopped
•1 tbsp sherry vinegar
•1 tbsp water
•2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
•17 fl oz vegetable oil
•1 tbsp whole grain mustard
•1 tsp mayonnaise
•1 tbsp parsley, chopped

•1 small saucepan
•1 large saucepan
•1 slotted spoon
•1 brush
•1 tray
•1 pair of tongs
•1 bowl
•1 spoon
•paper towel
•1 barbecue
•1 bottle of water to douse any flames

Serves: 2

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Step 2: Prepare the barbecue

If you have a charcoal BBQ light it 30-45 minutes before you plan to cook. It is ready to cook on when there are no more flames and the charcoal has turned white.

If you are using a gas BBQ, light it up and turn it to the highest setting. Leave it for 15-20 minutes to heat up.

Step 3: Make the honey rosemary glaze

Place the honey, garlic, rosemary, sherry and water Into a small saucepan. Heat gently, mixing well and as soon as it comes to a simmer, remove from the heat.

Step 4: Fry the potatoes

Heat the oil in the large saucepan on moderate heat. When just hot, place the diced potatoes into the pan in batches and let them cook for 7 to 10 minutes until they brown.

Remove them from the pan with the slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain the excess oil.

Step 5: Make the potato mix

Place the potatoes in a bowl and add the mustard, mayonnaise, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and then mix well.

Step 6: Grill the lamb chops

Season the lamb with salt and then brush with the honey glaze on both sides.

Place the lamb on the grill and grill for 2 minutes on each side. Brush the glaze over the chops every time you turn them.

Turn them 2 more times, brushing with glaze every time, for a total cooking time of about 6-8 minutes. Dowse the flames with water if necessary to prevent the meat from burning.

Step 7: Plate

Place some potatoes on each plate and top with a few chops.

Step 8: Serve

You can serve the chops by themselves as a starter or with the potato as main course.

Also known as:
(How Do I Make Grilled Honey Rosemary Lamb Chops With Mustard Potatoes)

Thanks for watching video How To Make Grilled Honey Rosemary Lamb Chops With Mustard Potatoes For more how to videos, expert advice, instructional tips, tricks, guides and tutorials on this subject, visit the topic Lamb.
From videojug.com

How To Make Grilled Honey Rosemary Lamb Chops With Mustard Potatoes Recipe (Lamb)

March 12, 2011

Soda Pop Planters

I found this wonderful website that has the most interesting (and simple) methods for organic & container gardening - two of my favorite things:

February 4, 2011

Lamb Kabobs

12 ounces lean boneless lamb leg (or shoulder)
1/4 cup stone ground mustard
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 green onions finely chopped
2 teaspoons of fresh thyme (finely chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
16 small new (red) potatoes
1 Bermuda onion, cut into wedges
1 red, green or yellow pepper (cubed) - You can alternate the colors (Stoplight) if you wish
Trim fat from meat before cutting into 1" cubes. Place in a medium glass bowl.

Marinade: Blend the mustard, lemon juice, green onion and thyme. Pour half of the marinade over the meat, and coat. Cover and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 hours.
Cook (boil or microwave) potatoes until they are tender (do not over cook). Allow them t o cool.
Pull onion wedges apart so that they are in 2 to 3 layers.
Drain the meat from the marinade (discard; do not keep the marinade).
Using METAL skewers (don't have to soak and can be re-used), thread the meat, potatoes, onion and peppers (leave 1/4" between each unit).
Broil* on an unheated rack of the broiler pan 4" from the heat for 8 minutes. Turn the meat and brush with the glaze (stop 5 minutes before the meat is done).
Serve with rice, cous-cous or salad.
* Of course, you can do this on your grill also.

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