Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Tilted View

I've had a different view on the world for my whole life. It amuses me to see the funny in the mundane.
This might illustrate it a bit more effectively.

Oh, and school is finally back in session, so... YAY!!!!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Could we get a little more rain, please?

This summer has been one long rainstorm, with a few moments of sun thrown in. (And always when it's not possible to go to the pool - wah!)

However - the light on a rainy day is FAB.U.LOUS for painting, and I've been experimenting with a few new techniques, so it's been pretty satisfactory on the whole.

This might be something...

Monday, July 8, 2013

Summer Vacation Fun

We're home. 868 miles with a boy and a dog in the backseat. Whew!!

Totally worth it. Ten days of family fun and friends everywhere. I am so relaxed and refreshed. Did a little watercolor sketching in the backyard with a cup of coffee on those pretty mornings.

Think I need to do more of that, now that I'm home again. Stretch my wings in a few different directions.

Hope you all are having a good summer, and stretching your wings, too!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Wouldn't THIS be a nice move?

When moving, you never remember how much stuff you have until you have to put it all on one truck.

This would be much nicer.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Little Birdie, Birthday and Blueberry Crunch!

Hey, y'all!

It's been busy around here, but it's finally pool season, and I intend to be in that water as much as possible this summer. The humidity is just zero fun when you're working. Wet wool sweater - ick!

I've had a few projects fly by, and caught a new recipe that I've already made twice in one week, so I have to share that with you.

One of my favorite regular customers is a WWII veteran with the happiest disposition. He saw the worst of the human condition during the war, and won't talk about it, but celebrates life every day.

In our conversations, he told me he had written a little book about a cat and bird that make friends, but it would never make it off the page because an illustrator was just too much for him to afford.
So... I became his illustrator! He loved my rough sketches as they were, without color or embellishment, so I might have to go refine them later, but the spirit of his book is here, and quite fun.

This one was his favorite, because of the tiny flappy wings. : )

Next, it was time to design a birthday invitation for my father's surprise party - which we're holding at this completely mod-fabulous restaurant called The Vault. I was inspired. My thanks and apologies to MadMen.

And now, on to food!

This is a yummy-wonderful treat for any get-together, and nice and patriotic for the Fourth of July. Maybe sprinkle a few red and white sugar stars on the top for the holiday.

Blueberry Crunch (almost a "Dump Cake")
2 cans of crushed pineapple
3 cups of blueberries
1/2 cup of sugar
1 box yellow cake mix
1 1/2 sticks butter - melted
1+ cup crushed pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9 x 13 pan. Spread pineapple across bottom. Blueberries on top of that, make sure they are evenly distributed. Sprinkle blueberries with 1/4 cup of sugar.

* Note: I keep reducing the sugar and butter when I make this, since the blueberries are so sweet on their own. Might try it with just one stick of butter next time.

Shake yellow cake mix evenly over blueberries, getting it into the corners. Pour melted butter all over the top of the mix, and sprinkle pecans into butter.

1/4 cup of sugar over the top, to get that nice crunchy glaze.

Cook for 25 minutes, dig a few holes with a spoon to allow the inside to cook better, cook for another 20-25 minutes, depending on your oven. Remove from oven when it's no longer jiggly. It will firm up when cool, but it's sooooo good when it's eaten while hot!

Happy Summer!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Of Dumplings, Floods and The Importance of Being a ROCK STAR MOM!

A couple of weeks ago, life was pretty much... simple. With a husband, a dog, two boys and a job, and it's still basketball season, of course, simple might be stretching it a bit.

But I could handle it. So I made chicken sausage stew with dumplings. And it was good. Very very good.  The recipe is coming.

Then the washer threw up all over half of the house. My closet contents took up residence in the living room. And then everyone got THE BUG. Everyone but me, because God decided I just couldn't take it all and be sick, too. (I am grateful for that!)

So, I did what any normal mom faced with a house of sick kids and a non-functioning washer would do. I bought the part online and FIXED MY OWN WASHING MACHINE!!!

See the white circle on the left side? That is a bad water fill level pressure switch. Bad, bad switch.

Have done about 10 loads since last Wednesday night at 9pm, and I cannot tell you how happy I am to be doing laundry again in my own weird blue laundry room!!! No quarters required!

Now, on to food.

Chicken dumpling stew

1lb thin sliced chicken breast
1lb smoked turkey sausage - diced
Olive oil
3 cloves minced garlic
2 15 oz cans cream of chicken soup
1 18 oz can chicken broth
1 can cannelini beans
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 bag mixed diced veggies - I used the steam in bag kind, and cooked them in the microwave before adding them to the stew.
Salt, pepper, chicken rub spices


1 cup Bisquick mix
1/4 cup milk

Brown garlic in olive oil in bottom of stew pot. Add chicken.
Once chicken is close to done, more white than tiny bit of pink, add sausage.
Brown sausage and chicken for a bit, deglaze with white cooking wine - maybe 1/4 cup.
Add chicken broth, cream of chicken soups, beans, tomatoes, and veggies.
Stir all together and bring to boil.
While boiling, stir Bisquick and milk together in bowl, and drop spoonfuls into boiling stew.
Cook uncovered for 10 minutes, then covered for 10 minutes. Soooo good!

Serves 6 - 8, unless there's a hungry teenager in your house. Then, all bets are off.

Happy Whatever!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A little silence, a little sunset

I have a sunset yard. It performs for me all year round, and I give it full props. I also have a camellia shrub who gives me pink flowers in the winter, and I love it, too.

So I give you both, for a happy little moment, and if it finds its way onto your desktop, happy spring!!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Feeding the Masses - or just my family ; )

My creative efforts have migrated away from the drawing table and paintbrush. Not through lack of inspiration and ideas, but having a full life of kids, job, house, sports, and a generally crazy schedule does not lend itself to peaceful projects.  However, it does push me into other directions - like the kitchen.

We like to save money, and with teenagers, the best way to do that is not eating at restaurants. The boys do like to be fed, and fed well, so I've become a magician with a few pound of ground turkey, cumin, diced tomatoes, and a dream. Everybody wins!

This morning is a Saturday, so it was pancakes and strawberries. We live in a farming(ish) community in Georgia, so I can get Florida strawberries for cheap in the winter, and pick our own in the spring. YUM!!!

Today's Recipe - Heart Smart Pancakes. Taken right from the box of Bisquick Heart Smart Mix

2 cups pancake mix
1.25 cups 1% milk
1 egg
2 Tbsp sugar*
1 tsp vanilla*

*mix in at the same time you mix in the egg

I add a little water to the batter, because I like it a bit thinner - so I can draw with it on the griddle.

Pour on griddle in quarter cup amounts - or make crazy wiggly things, these are pancakes.
It's never serious when making pancakes.
Cook til bubbles break on the surface, flip, cook til golden.

The boys like theirs with sugar free syrup, but I'm a butter and strawberries girl. Happy all day!

The recipe of the week is Coffee Spice Pork Loin!  No pictures, because it disappeared so quickly, but I'll make this one again, so there is hope for the future.

I will say this, I have never cooked a pork loin before. Always see them in the store, but since I didn't know exactly what to do with it, I didn't pick them up. This time, the sale was too good, so I got brave. Trekked around, my best go-to site for recipes, and chose the rubs with ingredients I thought would be good.

Coffee Spice Pork Loin

2.5 lb lean boneless pork loin

1.5 cups brown sugar, broken up
2 Tbsp ground coffee (pick a medium simple roast, for heaven's sake, no vanilla!)
1.5 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground fennel
1.5 tsp smoked paprika
1.5 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp dry mustard flour (ground mustard)
1.5 tsp crushed red pepper
1.5 tsp ground cumin
1.5 tsp chili powder

Mix all ingredients together in a shallow dish that is large enough to hold the biggest portion of the loin. Make sure the brown sugar is broken up and distributed throughout the mixture.

Once mixed well, roll loin in rub until well covered, make sure to get it into the crevices. Place on large piece of plastic wrap and push on more of the mixture. Wrap loin up and put in the refrigerator for an hour or so.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put a bit of olive oil and any remaining rub on a shallow roasting pan, place loin on pan. Use a probe thermometer if you have one, since ovens vary so much, placing it into the thickest part of the meat without touching fat.  Cook for 15 - 20 minutes per pound, to an internal temperature of 160.

I cooked mine for an hour and ten, and probably should have turned it once to get a better crust, but it was nice and moist. I had also used white sugar, and that was not a wise choice. Too sweet.

Remove from oven and let it rest for 15 minutes before slicing.


I have lots of recipes, and will be posting them every so often, so please let me know if you try any of them, and if you changed it. Always looking for new ways to do anything!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

You Have the Right to be Nice

This about covers it. Think I'm going to make it into a tshirt and wear it around.
Too bad it's not exactly work-appropriate.

Happy 2013!!!