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Food to Soothe the Soul- Tomato Bisque

I had one heck of a Monday today.  The one bright spot in an otherwise stressful day was lunch. 

Every Monday in the office where I'm lucky enough to work, we eat lunch together.  Since the weather has turned cold, we have started a soup rotation.  It was my week to provide the soup- so I chose this one.  Another of my co-workers brought a griddle and all the stuff to make grilled cheese sandwiches.  Seriously- best work lunch ever!

I used this recipe from a blog called "Ministry of Curry."  I have to say it was delicious.  The only suggestion from the office ladies was a pinch of red pepper flakes to give it a little zing.

I used the canned tomato option instead of the fresh tomatoes- mostly because cans were easier to deal with at work than skinning and seeding the real thing.  I followed the recipe exactly and doubled it.
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Shepherds Pie

Firstly, I think it's fortunate that I don't do blog posts to qualify for photography awards.  Cuz this pic is awful.  In my defense, what I was trying to capture was the thick, bubbly ooziness on the front edge of the pie.  I think I missed the mark, but Dev and I were so hungry by the time this thing came out of the oven, a photoshoot WAS NOT going to happen.

I'm going to carry on with the recipe and blather on about it afterward.  I truly hate having to scroll through 1500 words of description, then 52 photos of the prep and final presentation.

Shepherds Pie

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground lamb (could also be stew pieces)
1 small onion, diced- don't be particular
2 large carrots, diced- again, just get it done
1 bottle of Guinness (other stouts would do- but why would you use anything else??)
1 tablespoon beef base- I use "Better Than Bouillion" because I can get it at the store
1 small can tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespo…

Supper For One!

So Devin went to help his mom unload a pallet of pellets this weekend. I got home late yesterday from a quick trip to Denver- so I have the house to myself for the weekend.

The most exciting part is getting to eat everything he hates while he’s gone! Here’s what I came up with for supper tonight. Here’s the link to the recipe I based this on. It’s a Katy Lee recipe from FoodTV.

Brown Sugar Spiced Salmon

1 salmon fillet- dried with a paper towel
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon of chili powder (I used arbol)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cover a cookie sheet with foil. I brushed a little bit of olive oil around on it to keep the fish from sticking. You could use butter too. I patted the salmon dry with a paper towel, then put the fillet skin side down on the foil covered sheet.

In a small bowl mix the rest of the ingredients and pat the mixture on top of the fish. Put it in the oven for 10 minutes. Serve immediatel…

Pork Posole- Instant Pot Version

I have a good friend at work who is from the Jalisco region of Mexico.  Lorenza grew up outside of Puerto Vallarta.  Recently, she has been educating me on where to find the best Hispanic products and food in the valley where we live.

Aside from ruining my ability to ever eat Mexican food in Rifle ever again, her teachings have made me rediscover my love of Mexican food- both dining out and making it at home.

My husband, Will, is battling a cold for the second time in a row- which was the only excuse I needed to get in the kitchen and whip up some posole.

In my opinion, posole is to Mexican mamas what chicken noodle soup is to American/Southern mamas... pure comfort.

I make absolutely no claims of authenticity, nor do I believe this is the best way to make it.  But it sure did hit the spot after a day of cleaning and craft projects!

Here’s the link to the recipe I used from a blog I read frequently called “Pressure Cooking Today.” I did not follow it exactly (big shock- I know) as I…

Crafting...In General

I have never in my life categorized myself as creative. I still don’t, really. However, I have discovered in my advancing years that taking time to be creative has great restorative power for me.

In the last year or so I have dabbled in lots of different artistic spheres. The two genres that seem to have stuck with me are working with glass and papercrafting. I’m not sure why this is true, as I don’t have a background in either area.

A distant third, but still a great creative outlet, is jewelry making. I take classes at my local craft store- Speckled Feather Mercantile.  Every time I go, I learn a different technique, or work with a new material. Serious fun!

The downside to all of this creativity is its impact on my bank account. All 3 of these activities are expensive!  I suppose what I spend on glass, polymer stamps, inks and other materials is still less than therapy? Maybe?

Sea Glass Jewelry

I've been taking jewelry classes at Speckled Feather Mercantile in New Castle, CO for a few months now.  Although I was intimidated at first, I really enjoy learning new techniques, and the artist who teaches the class, Elyce, is one of the sweetest people I know.  She is always able to put me at ease, and so far, has been able to undo whatever bone-headed mistakes I have made.
This particular class was great because I knew all the basic skills and was able to do it independently and even help a few people out.  
I love the look of sea glass, and I'm happy to have a piece of jewelry in my collection made out of it.  The fact that I made it myself is a bonus!
To make these pieces, all I had to know how to do was make a wrapped wire loop, and how to open and close jump rings- that's it!  Now I have a beautiful set- a pendant and matching earrings!  These would make awesome gift sets...
If you live near New Castle, CO, and you are interested in art classes- you owe it to you…

Backyard Flowers

So I have no talent for arranging flowers.  I love flower arrangements, but flower arranging is not my superpower.
However; sometimes you just accidentally trip over something really beautiful.  I was in my backyard watering my mint and basil plants when I glanced over at a neglected bed of herbs.  Almost all of them had gone to seed.  The parsley, in particular, was stunning.  I also noticed the chive blossoms and chamomile seed heads.  
It occurred to me that any or all of those might make a cool flower arrangement.
So, I went inside, grabbed some bottles I'd tucked away for just such a project, procured the scissors, and set about creating.
Would anyone mistake them for professional arrangements? No.  Did I bring them inside and tuck them around my house?  Yes.