Cactus Pear

I tried three new-to-me fruits – cactus pear, pepino melon, and pomegranate.

Cactus pear is the fruit of the prickly pear, or Opuntia.  Also known as cactus fig and Indian fig, the plants grow all over the world in the proper climates.   It can be found in South America (mine was grown in Chile), Mexico, and desert climates in the United States.  It is also found in Southern France and Italy, Sicily, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Egypt, Eritrea, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and many other places.

I got my cactus pear at a grocery store (Wegmans!) and all of the prickly parts had been removed.  There are many warnings about touching these fruits without proper gloves, and taking care not to touch the fruit even if the spines have been removed.  They also have something called glochids, which you don’t want to mess with.


Creative Commons from the Wiki page – Stan Shebs

The insides of the fruit are a deep red.  The meaty pulp is heavily speckled with seeds, which are extremely hard.  We removed the meat and then strained the seeds out of it.

The texture of the fruit seed to me to be quite similar to quava or mango – lots of liquid contained within the meat.  It was sweet and enjoyable (except for the prevalence of seeds!).  It also stained my fingers a slight pink from eating a tiny piece.

You know I love my health protein shakes these days!  Mom and I are going to add some fruit puree (minus seeds) to our shakes.

I would also love to try dyeing some fabric with the gorgeous red fruit.

Here are some recipes I’d like to try using cactus pear.

Tuna and Peas with Parmesan Cheese Sauce

tuna cheese peas

1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons gluten-free corn-free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill GF All Purpose Baking Flour)
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pinch paprika
pasta of choice (I used a gluten-free corn-free spaghetti)
1 can of tuna
frozen peas

First, start the pasta according to directions on the package, using a fairly large pot. The pasta will take the longest to prepare.

Next, start the cheese sauce – melt butter in a medium sized pot on medium-high heat. Add in flour and whisk continuously for about a minute. Keep whisking while adding in the milk. Bring the mixture to a boil, while continuing to whisk. Once at a boil, cook for about 2 minutes. Add in the parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and paprika. Keep whisking! When your sauce is smooth and not lumpy, it is done.

Drain pasta when done, and put it back into the pot. When cheese sauce is ready, add it to the pasta. Also add the tuna and peas at this time. Stir over low to medium heat until peas are hot.

Serve and enjoy!

tuna cheese peas

Love, Cori!

May the Light Shine

The holiday season is in full force for 2015 – pun intended, with the new Star Wars movie coming out soon. As I drove back home last night, I thought about what the season means to me. 

The spirit of the season is the most important part for me. Here in Upstate Western New York, we start entering a long dark few months which are often filled with cold winds and snow. My great grandparents came over to the U. S. by boat from Sweden in the early 20th century. St. Lucia Festival was an important part of my growing up. I looked forward to the day when I would get to be the girl with the crown of candles on her head, and was honored to get the chance twice to be “Lucia.” 

For me, St. Lucia represents the purity and innocence of life, which is recaptured each year when we celebrate. As we sing Silent Night, first in Swedish, then in English, hope and faith in humanity is restored. We can face the trials of our lives for another day. 

Christmas Eve church service ends similarly with Silent Night. Everyone lights their candles, one by one. The heat from the small fires always warms my heart and mind. The energy in the sanctuary is almost palpable as we welcome the boy child of God into our lives. 

I so believe in Magic. Experiencing these two particular celebrations is evidence to me that Magic is real. People come together to enjoy good music and wonderful company. Food for my soul. 

What feeds your soul during the holidays?


What does it mean to live In the Spice Rack?


To live In the Spice Rack means that you embrace the things in life that make you happy, and add a dimension of wholeness to your life. Give up feeling guilty for enjoying pleasure in your life. Be happy. Do great work that enriches your life, and the lives around you. Know that you are worthy of being loved and cherished just as you are. Start with yourself. Living a colorful and pleasure filled life isn’t for everyone. Are you daring enough to take the leap?

A Review – Train’s Bulletproof Picasso

After listening to this album, my first question is – Who got divorced?


I think this album is one that a lot of people can relate to on an emotional level. I highly recommend it if you like emotional music, albums that tell a story, danceable tunes, songs that will fire you up and break your heart, or if you simply love Train.

Train has borrowed styles from many different artists and effectively pulled it off. I am very impressed with their versatility.

Let’s go through each song!

  1. Cadillac, Cadillac – The beginning of this song reminds me of an older Police or Sting song, and has a fantastic beat you can dance to.
  2. Bulletproof Picasso – The title track reminds me a bit of an epic One Republic anthem. The harmonies are fantastic, and the old timey ragtime piano adds a lovely folk dimension to the song. “Say what you mean, and mean what you say to me.”
  3. Angel in Blue Jeans – I recognized this one from the radio immediately! It’s got a bit of a country feel, which is not my favorite, but I do enjoy this song on occasion.
  4. Give it all – This has a marching drum that propels the chorus. A haunting falsetto sings “I have a lot, maybe too much, but I’d give it all for one more night with you.” When you work as hard as artists have to do to continually be in the public eye, it is hard to stay connected to loved ones left at home to continue the day to day life that has to go. It’s no wonder that celebrities don’t last very long together in relationships. A minute out of the public eye means you might be forgotten. I think this can apply to anyone that is apart in a relationship – maybe serving in the military, or driving trucks across the country, or in a long distance relationship. Unless you make great efforts to stay connected, it’s easy to lose yourself in new experiences.
  5. Wonder What You’re Doing for the Rest of Your Life – I’m not a big fan of this one for reasons I can’t pin down. It just doesn’t speak to me personally, and feels a little bit campy. It’s a cute song though.
  6. Son of a Prison Guard – I love listening to the story in this one; it’s a story that anyone can relate to.The song is mellow sounding, but not too syrupy. It’s got a gentle dance beat.
  7. Just a Memory – The words are sung in a rhythmic style. The style of this song reminds me a lot of Maroon 5 during the chorus. I’m not particularly captivated by this one versus other songs on the album. Maybe during radio play, I’d enjoy it more.
  8. I’m Drinkin’ Tonight – this one has haunting guitars starting the song off in minor 7 chords, and I immediately like it. “The only thing stronger than you is whiskey.” I can understand the need to dull pain. We’ve all been there.
  9. I Will Remember – This song will break your heart! Haunting guitar licks play between the lyric lines, pulling on your heart strings even more.
  10. The Bridge – You want to move your feet to this song for sure. This one has an R&B feel, and gritty, emotional vocals.
  11. Baby, Happy Birthday – “Don’t you think that I wish that I could be somebody else sometimes, someone that would not forget your birthday.” Ouch. Yeah, that’s pretty bad. It has happened to the best of us, but still, that’s pretty awful. Has someone ever forgotten your birthday?
  12. Don’t Grow Up So Fast – Acoustic guitar opens this song, with lovely vocals singing a simple melody. At first, I wondered if he’s singing to his daughter. But following the rest of the album, I wonder, is it his ex wife? I’m hoping daughter.  It’s a beautiful song regardless. A solid tune, with 1970s style piano in the background.

Don’t forget to watch Train’s live performance on the QVC channel on Friday, September 5th at 5pm ET.

If you want to get the album for yourself, check these links out!



I participated in the Train Bulletproof Picasso album review program as a member of One2One Network. I was provided a free album to review but all opinions are my own.

To Open or Not To Open

Skotte often goes to gaming conventions. Over the course of a few days, he might play something like thirty games, some of which the world has never seen before.  It’s very exciting stuff!

After one convention, I received the cutest gift from him – a tiny Doctor Who!


I had to talk myself out of wanting one of every character the company makes!  They are so cute!

No, I will be content and deliriously happy with my one tiny Doctor.

Tiny Doctor resides on my desk, amongst other fun characters. There’s the fiddle playing gnome, Hello, Kitty! on a keychain connected to my WoW authenticator, a mini Wegmans truck (Wegmans is our totally awesome local grocery chain), and my Autumn Bear from some good friends.

There is something missing though…!!! I have Sandman figures which I received for Christmas one year from Skotte.  They are all sitting in their original packaging, because that makes them more valuable for the future.  But are they really serving me in this capacity?

I go back and forth on this issue.  Obviously, once opened, you can’t really turn back time to un-open them.  (Although, maybe my tiny Doctor could help now!) The Endless and their Dreaming counterparts sit patiently in the meantime, wrapped in plastic.

There was a Judge John Hodgman court case about this.  (Listen here.)  A woman wanted to open her Scully figure, while her husband wanted to keep his Mulder and her Scully in their packaging to retain the value.  I won’t tell you how Judge Hodgman ruled, but it’s a rousing case, and worth listening to!

So I ask:  What would you do?