Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Salmon and Salsa

It feels like the health of everyone around me is being attacked. Immediately new diets are researched. Old ways of eating and and favorite foods are scrutinized to determine if they are healthy... or hazardous enough to be discarded from regular menus.

All of this concern has rubbed off on me. I'm busy looking for recipes to suggest or what the next expert has to say about what we eat. In the process, I have found some recipes that look so very good. One in particular is Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa.

I waited for a beautiful avocado to come to the perfect point of ripe. The cilantro bunch was deep green and fragrant. The salmon waited... we all waited for the avocado. Finally the day arrived.

The spicy rub was applied to the fish. The salsa was resting in the refrigerator. The moment arrived. Grill pan hot. Fish sizzling... and flipped. The kitchen smelled wonderful. I plated the cooked fish, hurried to the fridge to get the salsa to spoon on top.

But the bowl didn't want to slide off the shelf. So I pulled a little harder and as it slipped from my finger and smashed - I should say exploded - on the floor. Every little chopped piece of my salsa... ruined.

So, I have no pictures of the perfect salmon dinner. I'm still filled with sadness. Sometimes it is the little things that spoil a day.


Jesus said... In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

Thursday, February 19, 2015


You know it's cold outside when you see your breath and feel your face burn in the 15 second run from car to store.

When the snow crrrunches beneath your boot-encased feet... It's bitterly cold!

When the above statements are true and the rooster yard guard is up to his neck in snow ... well, it's just plain time to hibernate.

I know that it's winter and it's Michigan... but I am so ready for some green grass. This too shall pass, right? Right?

Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation. Psalm 62:1

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Chili powder DIY

Twenty plus years ago, I discovered the world of super fresh spices. Through all these years I have stayed with one company that supplied me with any spice for any recipe that looked intriguing. I was a faithful and very loyal customer.

But now, the search is on for a new seller of spices. Who knew finding an excellent spice merchant could be so difficult? I discovered that chili powder is a good way to gauge a merchant's product line.

My first order in new territory included "medium hot chili powder". I was concerned that one man's "medium hot" might be another's "HOT!", so I ordered the smallest amount. It was bland to the point of being tasteless.

Back to the computer for another search - this time, DIY chili powder. Did you know that some chili powders have a paprika base, while others use a variety of chilies? (I immediately understood the makeup of my bland experience.) I narrowed my recipe choices to 4, read each one very carefully and picked the one that looked most promising.

hot! hot! hot! Fortunately the test batch was very small, so I adjusted the next batch to my idea of "medium". Wow. I think I have reached chili perfection right in my own kitchen. (Original recipe here)

I'm still working from my supply of excellent spices from my former supplier, but some things are getting very low. A serious hunt is on for a new spice home.

I do love tasty food. 

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.Matthew 5:6

Friday, February 6, 2015

Grocery lists... and pickles

No matter how carefully you write your short grocery list, when you hand it to a man and send him off to the store alone, you never know what will fill the bags that come home with him. Bless his heart.

I needed one red onion. Among the other surprises that came home from the store that particular day, there was a 3# bag of red onions. I used the one that I needed... and then wondered what I could do with the 2.5# still in the bag.

My penchant for clipping recipes actually rescued the situation. Quick Pickled Onions they're called. They are delicious... and beautiful. Best of all - they are easy.

Because the first batch disappeared so quickly, I bought a bigger bag of red onions to make more pickles... in a bigger jar.

While I had the four (that's right 4, plus water) necessary ingredients out, I decided to find out how carrots would respond to pickling. That was an experiment worth repeating.

Here's the original recipe for all of this quick and easy goodness.

Quick Pickled Onions 

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup water
1 red onion, thinly sliced (I used my food processor)

Whisk vinegar, sugar, salt, and water in a small bowl until the sugar and salt dissolve. Place the sliced onion in a jar; pour the vinegar mixture over. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. (You can make these ahead. They will keep for 2 weeks in the refrigerator.)

I used the same recipe for the carrot rounds (minus the onions, of course) and added a few celery leaves, some peppercorns, and a pinch of crushed red pepper. Those are very good too!

Maybe next time, everything that looks lonely in the vegetable drawer will end up in a jar together. Maybe I'll give it a fancy name .... like Pickle Melange. One thing is certain.... there will be a next time.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Matthew 5:6

Monday, February 2, 2015

Seven years of making

Today is a special day. Seven years ago today, I started this blog. The first few posts were labelled with Making __________. 

In my mind "making" is the word that encapsulates my days. It soothes my soul to have the work of my hands involved in something useful. If it turns into something wonderful... even better! Oh, the adventures, the lessons, the growing that has occurred in the last 7 years. I am only the same person in that I still love to "make". What I make now is another story.

My latest project has been to make myself a desk calendar/planner. Last year, I inherited and "refurbed" an outdated planner. But it just wasn't pleasant to the eyes and it didn't get much use. So this year, I aimed for lovely.

I dressed up the covers of an old book with gorgeous paper from Hollander's. The plan was to use a spiral binding, but the cover was too thick to fit into the machine. Plan B included 1" book rings.

The dividers for the months are from my stash of painted papers... too pretty to cut up, not pretty enough to stand alone.

 The pages are designed to keep a log of my life. No diary or journal entries... just what I did and when. Very helpful when trying to remember the sequence of events... or win an argument. Heh heh.

I dipped into the boxes of leftovers from printed/painted papers - the insides of die-cuttings, almost-right experiments, hand cut shapes and bits - to find decoration for various spots that needed something.

I'm happy - a month late for keeping tabs on the new year - but late is better than never, right?

Happy birthday little blog. You make my heart and hands sing.

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Colossians 3:17

Monday, October 27, 2014

Practical vs creative

Somehow, in the midst of trying to be productively creative, I lost my way. Literally, my way.

There is a natural conflict when a practical person tries to be creative ... the practical demand for "useful" can quickly crush the joy of seeing "beautiful!" appear as the fingers manipulate color and paper and glue.

I have been working to fulfill a friend's request for flower cards, and trying to invent something that was easily reproducible (just in case they took off and I got an order for 100 copies, you know). But reproducible, I discovered, has no texture. It's smooth, and boring, just like the one before it and the one after it. There is no life... no beauty that brings the I love it! gasp, or the desire to reach out and touch.

So, onward into bumpy, spattered, layered, one-of-a -kind! Let the joy of creating be the reward for creating. It is enough for the inspired heart.

I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvelous works. Psalm 9:1

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The "studio table" norm

Achieving normal on a work table takes time and effort. The put-away neat stuff is easy. Just put things back where they belong. But a table surface built in the heat of creating is a one-of-a-kind, hard fought, creative mess! (Be sure to check out the inspiration for all of this - The Altered Page blog)

Many hours of work (really? work?) passed between this and this...

which grew into this...

 and grew some more to become this.

I figure when I have to search for every tool, it's a very productive day. Yesterday was very, very productive.

I now have, ready to use, my pigeon  - made entirely of  gelli printed papers, then embellished with paint and ink.


 Look at the texture these collaged papers add. I am just loving this!

And for the road trip on Thursday? I have 3 pieces of guerrilla art. Oh yeah. This is a wonderful way to make a mess.

Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof; and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. Ecclesiastes 7:8

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Show me your studio table

The challenge was thrown out by Seth Apter  nearly 2 weeks ago - show the world your studio table.

So, I added my name to the list and on Thursday, I'll show my work space. Before that could happen however, I had to find the surface of that table. I picked up, put away, taped lovely clean white paper (my paint catcher/stamp checker/color tester) in order to show that there actually was a table in the room!

all nice and tidy
The first project to hit the sparkling clean table top was a shadow box that is to be filled with military memorabilia - medals, ribbons, etc. It isn't a messy job. In fact, it's a very precise art in itself. I'm learning a lot of trivia regarding military honors... my respect for the men in my life who have made it from the swearing-in to honorable-discharge has grown immensely.

This is what the surface looked like a couple of days later. Turns out I spent more time researching than actually creating. Still pretty tidy... aren't you impressed?

Stay tuned. The show-and-tell comes Thursday.

Ye are blessed of the Lord which made heaven and earth. Psalm 115:15