Monday, December 29, 2008
Yes, sewing. I haven't done it in ages for anything other than a repair. Now I'm hooked again and having SEW much fun! This weekend I made three sets of pajamas for American Girl dolls. They were (you guessed it) SEW CUTE!!!
I also got some fun art toys for Christmas that I will be using in my sketchbooks. New pens, a water brush and a few watercolor pencils in colors I didn't have already. I also got Danny Gregory's An Illustrated Life which I have been savoring daily. It is a lovely book for any artist or aspiring journal maker. I know I'll get back to sketching soon since it is much more portable than a sewing machine.
In the meantime, happy stitching!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
In October-November I took this fun online journaling class and this was one of the things I did in that class. I learned lots of cool stuff and got some really great ideas. I will definitely be using those ideas in future journal pages.
The class was taught by Jessica from here. We had a great group of students and I got to see a lot art from a bunch of very creative artists.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
- that someone invented the dishwasher
- Bon Jovi was the number one song from the top 80's countdown we watched this weekend
- That there are now lots of sandhill cranes in Michigan (especially since at one time there were only 17 breeding pairs in the state)
- That our girls still like to play in cardboard boxes
- For good jobs
- Scrabble and guacamole dip
- Health insurance and medical technology
- The wonderful hand that Becky just dealt me in Five Crowns
- All the colors of the world (like baby turtle, galapagos green, brushed aluminum, going to the chapel, minced onion, tree moss, northampton putty, crisp khaki, urban legend, cream froth, american cheese and simply white - from Benjamin Moore paint samples)
- The ability to help others
- To have choices in where I live and what I do
- For a second refrigerator when I have large crowds over (this one was obviously mine)
- For the view from my deck which always makes me feel relaxed
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I have continued with my art projects, mostly through my online journal class. I will have to scan in pictures of what I've been up to lately, but won't have time until the weekend.
No suppa club lately. The pork ragout is cooked and eaten and we haven't settled on a new recipe. I'm not even sure who's turn it is to pick out a recipe.
With Thanksgiving coming up and 20 people expected at my house, I won't be doing much of anything except preparing for the feast over the next week.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Pork Roast with Three-Mushroom Ragout - from Cooking Light
1 package of shitake mushrooms (3.5 ounces)
2 8-0z packages button mushrooms
1 8-Oz package cremini (baby bella) mushrooms
1 large onion (cut in wedges)
0.5 oz sun-dried tomatoes, packed without oil, quartered (about 6)
1 can of crushed/diced tomatoes
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons thyme
1/2 teaspon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1.75-2 lb boned pork loin roast
Mix together 1/2 can of tomatoes, flour and thyme in slow cooker. Cut mushrooms in quarters and place on top of tomatoes in slow cooker. Add onion wedges and sun dried tomatoes. Place pork roast on top of mushrooms. Salt and pepper pork roast. Pour rest of tomatoes over roast. Cover and cook on high for one hour. Turn down and cook on low for 7 hours. Slice pork and serve over cooked egg noodles.
In the Crock Pot
And the finished product
This was a definited winner. It was delicious. I loved all the mushrooms and the meat was nice and moist with good flavor. I mostly followed the directions, except for the addition of garlic cloves. Somehow, once I cut up onions and sun dried tomatoes it seemed like it needed garlic. I put in about 8 cloves of garlic. My husband and in-laws seemed to like it and my kids ate the meat and noodles at least.
(Please click to enlarge - you just have to see this thing up close!)
Yikes! That is one heck of a pile of gilded fruit. You can make this lovely gilded centerpiece with fresh pineapple, a variety of fresh fruits and nuts, greens and a can of gold spray paint. And lucky us, because the spray keeps air from the fruit this will keep a week or more and "could grace a side table after Thanksgiving." And for an added touch of elegance, you can place the fruit on a mirror. I don't think I could handle that much elegance!
And here's what the book says about Thanksgiving...
This most American of holidays dates back to 1621, when Governor Bradford of Massachusetts instituted December 13 as a day of feasting and prayer for the colonists to give thanks that they were still alive. Women spent days preparing the feast which included wild turkeys, venison, and many corn dishes.
The mother of our modern Thanksgiving is Mrs. Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of the famous Godey's Lady's Book, who worked 17 years for a "national day of thanks."
The very mention of Thanksgiving brings thoughts of warm country kitchens and good things to eat.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Suppa Club has been fun. We have had the hostess pick two recipes and the group then votes on which they would prefer to try. (Hey, is this a rule now or can I just send one recipe out when it's my turn?) This week our recipes were slow cooker recipes, one of my favorite things to do and perfect for a working mother. The choices included a rosemary garlic chicken and a mushroom pork ragout. The mushroom pork ragout won out (it has three kinds of mushrooms!) so I will be making that tomorrow.
I have to admit that, while I voted for the pork, I also liked the sound of the chicken one and made that last Monday. No pictures though, but it was tasty. I left it a bit long in the slow cooker and it was dryer than I would have liked. The sauce was not as flavorful as I expected either. I may make a variation of this again sometime and just roast the chicken in the oven. I will either skip the sauce altogether or try to zest it up a bit somehow.
I plan to make donut muffins Saturday morning with the kids. We love to make homemade donuts and we've made many kinds of muffins, but never these. They sound like the blending of two perfect worlds! I can't wait.
So, we have lots of cooking and baking going on this weekend. I just need to dig out the camera and share. Happy Halloween and Happy Weekend.
Monday, October 20, 2008
This picture does not do this dish justice. I made this for a large crew of people (10) this weekend and it was a big hit with everyone except my picky eater. Instead of Kielbasa, I used polish sausage that I picked up at Detroit's Eastern Market. It had a bit of spice to it already. I made few other changes to the recipe other than adding more of everything to feed a larger group. I omitted the peas as it seemed to have plenty of veggies already and I didn't have them on hand. I also discovered near the end that I don't have marjoram so I threw in a bit of italian spice mix instead.
Well, now that I read through this, I guess I didn't really follow directions either since I didn't peel my potatoes, cut my carrots small, cut my beans up or make homemade beef broth. However, it got rave reviews from kids and adults and I sent the recipe home with our company at their request. What little I had left was great the next day!
Bavarian Sausage Hot Pot
1 pound cabbage, cored and sliced 1/2-inch thick
2 medium-sized carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
6 ounces green beans, tipped and snapped into 1-inch lengths
1 pound Maine or Eastern potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups shelled fresh green peas or frozen green peas (donot thaw)
3 cups rich beef broth (preferably homemade)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon dried leaf marjoram, crumbled
3/4 pound knockwurst or kielbasa, sliced 1/4-inch-thick
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Place the cabbage, carrots, beans, potatoes, the fresh peas, if using, the broth, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in a large heavy kettle (pot). Set over moderate heat and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the broth bubbles gently, cover, and cook without stirring for 20 minutes. Add the caraway seeds, marjoram, knockwurst, and frozen peas, if using, and toss lightly to mix. Re-cover and simmer 10 minutes. Add the parsley, toss lightly, and serve in soup plates with crusty chunks of bread.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Every month I create a new calendar to journal in. I've been doing this faithfully since May of this year. That's FIVE months! Pretty good for me. I have lots more ideas for calendar spreads so I don't plan to stop anytime soon. I've been unsucessful at writing in a journal on a regular basis but I seem to be able to draw in a sketchbook regularly so this is working out very well.
I'm just posting this on here to see if my dad ever looks at this. He really doesn't like Michigan, being an MSU grad but he was cold and my son lent him his sweatshirt. Mike had to take a picture. I think he pulled the hood up to hide his true identity!
Dad, if you're reading this, you better post a comment.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Fun Stuff for Spring-Summer List:
- MC Escher Exibit Done
- Flint Farmers Market Done
- Detroit Eastern Market Done
- Mushroom Hunting Missed it this year
- Strawberry picking-make freezer jam too! Done
- Lots of walking/hiking in the woods Done
- Canoeing Done
- Camping DONE (really, I've had enough for this year)
Hmmm, not bad. I think we got it all in except for morel mushroom hunting. We had a great summer. Now it is really beginning to feel like Fall.
Monday, September 29, 2008
This recipe was from Epicurious and a group of us tried it out. It was easy and fabulous. I didn't have ham but I had thick sliced bacon so I fried up about 5-6 pieces and tore it in pieces. Then instead of vegetable oil, I used the bacon grease to fry the veggies in. (Yea, I know, not very healthy.) It gave the soup a wonderful flavor though. Instead of cheddar cheese I used a mixture of parmesan and mozzerella. The soup was a big hit with everyone in my family and our company. Next time I will remember to buy ham and try following the directions just to mix things up a bit.
Here's a link to the original recipe.
The library project is coming along. We have most of the shelves up but need to attach a few to the walls yet. The book organizing will take us a couple of weeks unless we can move it into high gear. We are trying to catalog the books, group them in piles by subject according to the Dewey Decimal System and then we will actually start shelving them. We want to group them first in order to determine how much space each subject will take. We've even found a few to get rid of (about 7 so far).
Monday, September 22, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
In the meantime, we are getting nearer to completing an item on my to do list - build a home library. We have the books, just not any place to put them. Looking at my house you wouldn't even know I liked to read right now. Hardly a book in sight. That is soon to change! We are heading to IKEA today to pick up shelving units. YEAH!
I also need to package up my jam for the JAMMIN' JELLY EXCHANGE and ship it off. I hope she likes it as much as I do.
And of course there's other fun stuff like the applefest, mow the lawn (yea, right up there with the applefest-NOT), visit friends and clean the house. Busy, busy, busy!
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Success. I finally got all the ingredients together and just did it! On a week night. After work. After running errands. I even cleaned the kitchen afterwards. Wow is this stuff good. I did warm up exercises by making crabapple last weekend and raspberry pear last night. This is my favorite and I’m glad I decided to just go buy peaches and do it. Yes, I made PEACH PRESERVES! Cross it off the TO-DO List!
Monday, September 8, 2008
1 stick butter (1/2 cup - 1/4 lb)
2 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
Set oven at 375 F. Recipe requires jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with high sides. You can also use a lasagne pan but the pancake will turn out a little more "custardy" and may require a bit more time in the oven. Even a 9X13 cake pan will work but will require more time in the oven. Basically, I use the largest pan I have with sides.
Melt 1 stick of butter on your pan in the oven. While butter is melting, mix the rest of the ingredients in a blender or with a mixer. Pour about half of the melted butter into the batter mixture and blend. Leave the rest in the pan and return the pan to the oven rack. Pour the mixture into the pan with the melted butter.
Bake for 30 minutes until light brown on top.
4-6 servings (unless you have a 12 year old boy - then make 2 batches)
Then we were off to the neighbor's yard to pick crabapples. We weren't exactly in the kitchen but this leads us to Sunday's kitchen time. We picked about 12 lbs of crabapples, enough for me and the neighbor to make a large batch of crabapple jelly.
Back home again and to the kitchen. The kids and I made a batch of "Better Than Those Fancy-Schmancy Department Store Cookies..." from Noble Pig blog (see below in blog links) to take to my sister. We also whipped up a dream whip pie - haven't made one of those in ages, some fresh salsa from all those tomatoes I have sitting around and baked a loaf of bread in the bread machine. Then we took the whole lot to my sister and her family's for dinner.
Sunday found us back in the kitchen, cleaning up after the dog ate the rest of our donuts off the counter. We really do know better but we were just running late for church and left them on the counter and not in the cupboard. At least there weren't any chocolate ones. My husband helped get the crabapples ready to cook and I got the lemon jelly started.
In one of the lulls of waiting for something to cook, I threw together Salsa Lime Pork Loin from my Southwest Slowcooker cookbook and tossed another mix into the bread machine.
I finished the jelly on my own while my family headed outside to play. Both kids had friends over. I managed to get everything cleaned up and sit down to dinner with a nice clean kitchen.
And just beause I hadn't had enough of the kitchen, I threw together some chocolate chip banana bread to use up a couple of overripe bananas before bed. Boy did I sleep well Sunday night!
My kids really have been enjoying cooking lately and that's fine with me. We usually have fun in the kitchen as long as we aren't arguing over who gets to crack open the eggs.
I am hoping to try a different lemon jelly recipe next weekend and hope for better results. Or I just may try something completely different. There's a whole bushel of pears sitting here that need something done with them. I've never made pear preserves or jelly but I haven't settled on anything yet. We'll see...
Anyway, I must pick something for the Jammin' Jelly Exchange I'm participating in.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Hmmm, do I really post this mess? It was a fun day and full of great memories so I guess I will. This was an expiriment gone wrong though. A regular sketchbook moleskine does not take watercolor well as the blobs on this page prove. I was playing and didn't have my watercolor moleskine with me. Ah well, the wine was good!