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Showing posts from 2018

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.

It's Cherry Season...

That's right.  It's cherry season.  That means that for the next week or so I will be frantically trying to create ways to use up all billion gallons of cherries we get from our one lonely cherry tree. 

In the past, this has proven to be a challenge for which I was not equal.  This year I have resolved to hunker down and use every last one of the little bastards.

If you don't like cherries, then now would be a great time to hop over to Pinterest or Instagram and digitally hoard things other than cherry recipes.

If you do like cherries, stick around for the next week or so and watch as I try to fit cherries into every meal I consume, and store them in every way known to mankind.

Shrimp and Grits

I'm on a roll, folks!  Another great summer supper.

I love shrimp and grits.  If I see it on a menu somewhere, I usually order it.  If that menu is at a restaurant in the South, I'm usually not disappointed.

I've made this before, but I never make it the same way twice.  I wanted to try to make the grits in my Instant Pot, so I looked on Pinterest to find a basic recipe.  I read it, ignored some of it, and proceeded to create supper.

Here's the link to the recipe I found.  I trust the lady that writes the recipes for this site, and if I'm looking for Instant Pot advice, I go here first.

This is what I did differently...

Her recipe calls for 3 cups of water and 1 1/2 cups milk or cream.  I used 2 cups of tomato juice, 1 cup water, then the 1 1/2 cups whole milk.  If heavy cream was in my icebox, I'd have used it as well.  She put all the butter, cheese, and liquid in the pot at once, then cooked it.  I chose to put the juice, water, and milk in, cook the grits, …

Day 1 of Summer 2018!

There are obviously many things to enjoy about summer. Cooking is one of my favorites. Making creative meals at a leisurely pace is a luxury that rarely occurs during the school year. 
This is my first leisurely breakfast creation of the summer. I had leftover roasted sweet potatoes, so I threw them in my trusty cast iron skillet with some rough-chopped red onion and breakfast sausage. Devin likes his eggs scrambled. I like my hash topped with a fried egg. Either way you go- it was a suitable First Breakfast of the Summer!

It’s Been A While...

I haven’t posted in a long time. No good excuse.  Life is what it is...

We are getting near to the end of the school year and things are crazy. Schedules are full and patience is short.

I’ve been playing with some new practices to help me be more present and mindful about my life. I’ve been redifining my relationship with food for a while now, and although I’m still struggling, I am so much better off than I was a year ago.

I’ve also been flirting with some night time yoga for relaxation and flexibility. I love the feeling I get when I do it, and it is so hard to make the time for it.

Exercise has been a new focus for me as well. I have done 2 5k run/walks in the last few weeks and I feel really good about that.

Stained glass, jewelry-making, crochet, and card-making have become new outlets for creativity. I didn’t realize how much I wanted to create until I let myself loose to play!

Lastly, in my efforts to become more intentional, I’ve been reading about mindful hand lettering. I am…

Busy Sunday Breakfast!

This is just my regular buttermilk pancake recipe, fancied up with bananas, blueberries, and walnuts. You could fancy up any kind of pancake or waffle this way!

Making a Rug

Today I am working on this bin of old jeans. I have been stock-piling them for a long time, figuring I’d find some thing to do with them.

A few weeks ago I took a crochet rug class at Speckled Feather Mercantile, and finally found the perfect project.

All you do is take old textiles (jeans, sheets, etc.) and cut them into strips. Then you take the strips and single crochet them into whatever size rug you want!

I am going to mix this denim with some other sheet yarn I had left from the class and make a rug for my classroom.

I love it when I can reuse something creatively!

My Yarn Stash

This is my yarn stash. It is unorganized and messy- kinda like me!

I joined a stash challenge over at Loops Love, So now is my chance to organize it and use it up.  Then I can go out and buy more yarn!

Knitting- Rediscovering An Old Passion

It has been at least 4 years since I dusted off my knitting needles. I learned how to crochet, and it seems like I had decided not to go back to knitting.

But then Shelley Brander over at Loops Love started a knitting challenge I just couldn’t resist. So now I’m in the process of re-teaching myself how to knit.

This picture shows a hat I cast on to double points. This was not a good place to start!

I have since frogged this. Maybe I’ll teach myself a different method of knitting in the round. Perhaps a method that does not require 3 hands with 16 fingers on each.
Here’s another shot of the project before I abandoned it.

I love the colors of this yarn. If I had more than one skein, I’d crochet some socks!

Stained Glass- A New Passion!

This is my first Stained Glass piece. I call it “Crab.”

My friend Holly Miller convinced me to take a Stained Glass Class at the local community college. The rest is history.

The class is taught by #dianemeyer, who is an amazing Stained Glass artist.

I have already drawn some plans that continue the story that began with “Crab.”

I love learning new things!

Craft Classes and Meatloaf

I went to a card making class this morning. I’m not particularly good at it, but it is strangely satisfying.

When I got home, I promptly took a nap.  Upon waking, I felt less than inspired to cook. Lunch consisted of an apple and some almond butter. Supper didn’t hold much promise, either.

I knew I didn’t want to go to the grocery store, so I needed to use what I already had. This is what I came up with...

Meatloaf Onion Bombs

1 pound ground turkey
3/4 cup uncooked oatmeal
1 Egg
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Greek seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 large onion
Sliced cheddar cheese
Brussels sprouts, or any other veggie that tastes good roasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium size bowl, mix together the first 9 ingredients. Set aside. Cut onion in thick rings. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. I halved Brussels sprouts and tossed them with olive oil and salt, then spread them on the cookie sheet. Any veggie will do. S…

Breakfast Experiments

Today’s culinary adventure was brought to you by my obsession with Starbucks Sous vide Egg Bites. I especially like the Bacon/Gruyere flavor.

I’ve seen copycat recipes on Pinterest for a while now, and finally gave in to temptation.

I do not have a sous vide set up. I specifically asked Santa for one this year, but apparently Santa thinks I have enough kitchen gadgets already. What?  Too many kitchen gadgets?  Did Santa tell Michelangelo he had too many paint brushes?  I think not!

Anyhoo, I do have an Instant Pot that I love dearly, and it worked great for this recipe.  I have not given up on the sous vide. It will be mine!  I don’t need no stinkin’ Santa Claus!

I used this recipe, but instead of her add ins, I used Swiss cheese and bacon. My small town grocery store didn’t have no fancy gruyere cheese. :). I also made a batch with chopped leftover ham from dinner last night.

I now have breakfasts for the whole week- but Santa is getting cereal. ;)

Pecan Shortbread Cookies

These are fantastic!  I made Pecan Shortbread cookies yesterday. After last week’s molasses cookies (which I thought were way too soft), these were a welcome change.

I followed this recipe exactly... except I rolled mine out and used a cookie cutter. The recipe writer rolled them into balls and smooshed them.

One word of advice... these are easy to make and have few ingredients. Use the very best butter and flour you can find. It makes a difference. I used Irish butter and organic King Arthur flour.

I don’t think I can describe how sublime these are with a cup of hot tea. Heavenly!

New Pin

I’ve been doing a little bit of collecting lately. Ever since the events of January 2018, I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking about what it means to be a citizen. That thought process (and a life in education) has led me to be more active and vocal about issues impacting women. I found this pin on Etsy, and I had to have it. I think it is gorgeous!

Here is a link to the Etsy shop.

Go shop and have fun!