Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Meet "Muffy"

I just wanted to share "Muffy". She may be my favorite painting that I've completed to date. The little bird brain paintings are fun, but I wanted to challenge myself a bit. I'm so glad I did. It's strange how things work out when painting. I can feel it when one is going my way (this has happened one other time) and I know from the near beginning that it's going to come out. Muffy was so much fun to paint and I love her. Love her enough that she is now living on my dining room wall! Hope you like her as much as I do!  

Saturday, October 23, 2010

"Lighter" Potato Soup that I made not as light...

It's starting to get cold out and all I want is soup. This potato soup recipe was a first for me and it will certainly not be the last time I make it! My friend Beth gave me this fantastic recipe. It was super easy and tasted liked baked potato heaven. I know a lot of potato soups have butter, whole milk, and regular bacon but this one is skim milk, no butter and turkey bacon. I was a little skeptical that it would not be as tasty, but it was wonderful! This serves 8 and is 329 calories per serving if you follow Beth's way, my way had real cheese and real sour cream so obviously the caloric intake is higher, but I stuck to the rest. I just don't like light sour cream and I'm not willing to compromise on cheese. I likes my cheeses!   

4 baking potatoes (cooked for 1 hour in the oven. Peirce the potatoes and cook at 400 degrees)
1 cup of flour
6 cups skim milk
1 cup light sour cream
1 tsp white pepper
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1 cup reduced fat grated sharp cheddar cheese
4 strips turkey bacon crumbled (cooked nice and crispy)

I started off prepping all my ingredients and getting the bacon cooked. I put one cup of flour in the bottom of a dutch oven and gradually whisked in the 6 cups of milk. You don't really need to boil this, but just get it "bubbly".  Whisk in your salt and pepper. Every time I say salt and pepper I get this stuck in my head...ooh baby baby baby...Salt and Pepa here...sorry, just a little 90's rewind. Anyway back to the soup. It will thicken.

Next, scrape the "guts" out of the potatoes into the milk. I broke the chunks of potato up a bit for smaller bites. Add your sour cream, green onion, and cheese. Keep whisking until the cheese melts.

Why does turkey bacon have ruffles? Anyway, you're now ready to serve up your soup. Add some extra cheese, onion, and bacon on top. Curl up on the couch, try to keep the dogs off you while you eat (stupid turkey bacon) and know that your freezing fingers will soon be warm cause that bowl is crazy hot!
Enjoy! :-)
One last note. These are the little things that may make me a crazy person. I love my mums on the front porch and honestly, this window basket was crazy cheep from the dollar store...I'm talking maybe $8. So my thing is, they are trying to make it cheep I get that...why do they have to put the stupid leaf thing on the front!? It looks stupid I'm going to try and take it off and hopefully can just touch this up with a little paint. (I also hate that the previous home owner put the house letters on the diagonal.) People stop putting things on the diagonal! It looks bad, it also looks bad when you do it with artwork. You may as well hang your art too high while your at it. OK, I'll stop being a grump and complaining and when we paint the house I'll get new house numbers and hang them straight.  

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Trading Art...

Last week I went to Caroline Zama's (my pottery instructor ) to do a little glazing on a small pitcher I made in class. Caroline asked me if I would bring a few of my little birdbrain paintings so she could see them. I did and to my delight she wanted 3 of them. We were able to work out a trade...some of my paintings for a few pieces of Caroline's beautiful pottery. I'm so excited to have these wonderful pitchers! I love the little birds and the earthy, natural feel to her work.


 I'm glad Hillary, Tilly, and Lizzie have a good home!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fall Clean Up

It seems to be that time of year again when I take the plants from spring inside for the winter...  (wait I just let them die last year). OK...sorry I got confused, it's Martha who brings in her plants. Yes, yes, she puts them in her gazillion foot greenhouse and has about 20 "plant people" that take care of them. OK, back to reality.  I really was cleaning up the mess that the front porch had become. I brought the plants in for the first time and put them into the guest bedroom/ sewing room/ art supply storage room/ ( the dining room is also the art supply storage room) / my "getting ready room", that's what the boy calls it because I keep my clothes in there, plus a roller rack of clothes due to the fact that we live in an old house with no closet space. I'm loosing my point. The point is, I'm so proud of myself for actually dividing up the plants into their own little pots and bringing them inside for the winter! After all,  I spent a small fortune on them and it would be wasteful to chuck them and buy new again next spring. We bought some lovely mums for the porch. The poor boy, I made him drive to 3 different places because I wanted some orange mums, and he never complained once!    
 Above: I filled the flower box with the button mums. Three colors of cream, orange, and sort of a deep wine.

Below: Last springs flowers that never bloomed (strange). There were snapdragons and geraniums that should have bloomed like crazy, but.... nothing.

I love loads of mixed flowers in a large pot...makes a statement. Statement being that I can't decide on what plants to buy.
This is the same succulent that was in the blue pot above, it's HUGE! It's sitting on my great grandmothers vanity. I love the amber handle on her vanity, she loved Scandinavian modern....she had great taste!
It looks like a crazy plant lady lives in this day I'll have a Martha greenhouse and my sewing machine can have it's spot back.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cherry Cheese Danish

This is a super easy and delicious recipe!

For the danish
2 sheets of puff pastry
1 can cherry pie filling
1 8oz pkg cream cheese
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla in cream cheese

For the icing
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract

OK...this is easy peasy...preheat your oven to 375 OR 400 if your oven is like mine (in need of repair). Thaw your puff pastry, unfold, and cut in to squares...make them whatever size you like. I like mine a little smaller.

Make cream cheese filling by heating your cream cheese in the microwave to soften. Just 10 seconds or so, you need to be able to stir it around. Mix in your sugar and vanilla.

Assemble by putting a blob (that's a technical term) of cream cheese in the middle of pastry square....I spread it out a little bit on the diagonal down the center. Dump (another technical term) some of your cherry pie filing over cream cheese. Take the two sides of the pastry that you didn't spread cream cheese on and fold over the center...pinch together so it stays closed. Bake for (crap I forgot to time it) ummmm maybe the pastry box will tell you? Maybe 12-15 mins? Maybe you just keep checking it? I sort of tell by smell...when I can smell it I check on it.

When you're done let the danish cool on a wire rack. I put the wire rack on top of the baking sheet I used so it catches the drizzle from the icing.

Now, on to the icing...just mix your powdered sugar, extracts and milk till you get a nice consistency for drizzling. Should run off the spoon, but not overly runny.  After the danish is cooled completely drizzle your icing.

Poor some ice cold milk, pop in Cobra (or your favorite Sylvester Stallone movie). What, you don't have a favorite Stallone movie? What, your home alone? Party on ....put in Sex in the City and eat your cherry danish!!!!  

Monday, October 4, 2010

Paula Deen

Hi Ya'll! I just wanted to give ya'll a run down on Paula Deens restaurant at the Horseshoe Casina (Casino to you northerners). All I can say is it's just like you think it would be...hoe cakes, fried stuff, and butter! It's sort of like Cracker Barrel as far as the concept of country cooking and shopping. There's loads of butter and southern fried favorites.

This is a country mess! Lets start at 12:00 on the boys plate. That appears to be smashed potato's, 1:00 fried shrimp, 3:00 shrimp cocktail (minus the cocktail...he has an aversion to horsey sauce and possibly gravy...why is there no gravy on those potatoes? Maybe their grits?). 4:00-7:00 is a giant hoe cake. I had to be schooled on the hoe cake, as I had never even heard of them until I moved to Kentucky. It's some sort of cornbread/pancake thing. The boy said it was almost as good as his grandmothers! Last but not least we have Paula's Mac & Cheese. This was the only thing I was a little disappointed in and I feel guilty saying that just because I wouldn't want to hurt Paula's feelings (because we're such close friends) but it was a little bland.

This is one of the dinning rooms. Very pretty and I would say it has some of that Savannah style. The Hoe cake stand and the Deen Brothers Barbecue (outstanding BBQ by the way).

Here is my first plate (it's a buffet ya'll). Shrimp cocktail and baked oysters. I think that's an onion ring on the right. All very tasty. This is my "main course" plate. 2:00 Green beans. 4:00 frog legs, this was a first for me and they do not taste like chicken. I'd say it was more like fish, the look and texture of the meat was definitely more like white fish. It didn't taste like fish, it was it's own thing. 7:00 mashed potatoes WITH gravy...the BEST gravy I've ever had in my entire life gravy! I think it had a little red pepper in it or was outstanding! 9:00 fried chicken. And last at 11:00 more of that mac & cheese.

On to dessert. All I can say is heaven. The boy and I picked a little bit of this and that and shared a bite of a few things. The chocolate cake was perfect with loads of yummy icing. There was also this other cake that had pecans in it and tasted sort of like a Famous Dave's cornbread muffin that turned into a cake with cream cheese icing. YUM! There was also loads of candy and cobbler, and pie, and confections. We were to stuffed to sample very much, but we gave it a good try!

These looked so pretty I had to take a picture. We didn't try them, but they look great!

Bye Ya'll!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Shaker Village

Last weekend my parents came down from Indianapolis to spend a relaxing day in Kentucky. The boy and I took them to Shaker Village and it was truly a perfect day. We finally had some relief from the 100 degree temps, although being thrown into 60 degree fall days would not be my ideal (hello...where did 75-80 degrees go) but I'll take it. We toured the fantastic buildings of this village and ate lunch outside under an old oak tree. This place is somehow serene even with lots of other people touring it. Only bad thing was I forgot to charge my camera battery and about halfway through it died and I had to switch to using my phones camera...of course the one thing I really wanted a shot of...the famous staircase came out gritty...stupid forgetting to charge battery!

Meet one of the Shaker Village residents...."McDuffy"...look he's showing you his pretty teeth!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Two More Witches

I should probably start painting something else, but I just love Halloween and all things "crafty"! ;-)

Meet Bird Brain Miranda & Bird Brain Rosamund!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Three Bird Brain Witches

Despite the temps hitting close to 100 this week (101 today) I'm feeling the fall/halloween mood. I've taken to painting some more festive "bird brains."

Meet "Bird Brain Hazel"

Bird Brain Lucinda...& Bird Brain Tabitha

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pottery, Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins, and AWESOME Garage Sale Find

First off I want to say that this post is pretty much some pictures and captions because the boy and I went to The Paula Deen Buffet today and well....we are pretty much on fried food/butter/country food / SWEAT TEA (yes even though I hate sweat tea I had to do it right) overload...lots of pics to come and a full review of the carnage in the next day or soon as I've recuperated!

As promised, here is the results of my second pottery class. Sort of a fun little fat bird. I used stamps to make the pattern and a balloon is used to get the body shape.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins...a la Betty Crocker...pretty good for a quick morning muffin fix.

This is my awesome garage sale find! $3...that's right a three bones...three bucks...three green backs...I don't know what it costs regular, but I know it's a lot more than $3.


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