Dec 31, 2010

{homemade eggnog}


i tried something different this year.
i've always been so curious about it. but you know how when you were little, your mom talked about how they used to make eggnog, but you never should, because there were raw eggs in it? 
well, my mom said that at least.
but these eggs get cooked. so its all good :)

& this doesn't look like eggnog. i'm pretty sure it was, & it was just the bottom of the batch & all the spices made it darker.
although it could have been my cup of chai tea, also…

anyways. it was easy. i would recommend doubling the recipe. it doesn't make a whole ton.
but its soooo so rich & yummy. you can still make it for new years! its not too late. really.


you will need:
4 whole egg yolks
1/3 cup of agave nectar or 1/2 cup of sugar
2 cups of milk
1 cup of heavy cream
1/8 tsp of allspice
1/4 tsp of nutmeg
1/4 tsp of cinnamon

no. 1
whip up eggs & sugar in your mixer. if you're using sugar, whip until it turns a light yellow color. if using agave nectuar…its not going to turn light yellow. so just mix it well.

no. 2
combine milk, heavy cream & spices to a small saucepan over medium heat until its just about to boil. or steaming.

no. 3
remove milk mixture from heat & very slowly begin to pour it into your egg mixture. wisking as you go.
its really important you dont do this all at once. you could cook your eggs & that would defeat the whole purpose of making eggnog.

no. 4
now pour all of your eggnog BACK into your saucepan on medium/low heat. stir often. once it begins to thicken up a bit, you can set it aside to cool. pour into a jar & place  in the fridge to cool completely.

enjoy!


a few little notes:
*double yolk eggs are AWESOME for this recipe. especially if you want to double it. if you are a charlottean, you can find them at the bradford store. they also make awesome boiled eggs, in case you wanted to know…

*i actually halved the spices in this recipe. they were much thick in the eggnog. especially towards the bottom of the jar. so i would start with half & you can always add more later.

*i added a bit of brandy to our eggnog too. if you want to give it a little kick, add it at step 4.

Dec 28, 2010

some {afters} of our house.

i recently realized that i haven't mentioned our little home in awhile.
we're living here! i think i've at least said that much. we moved in at the end of october. it seems like so much longer already. i actually do miss living with daniel's parents. we had fun with them.
but its nice finally being here.
here are a few pictures of the befores and the kind of afters. only kind of because we're obviously not totally done. there are still curtains & pictures to hang & cute things. but that will all come in time.
i took a lot of these pictures right before our christmas housewarming party a few weeks ago.
or you can just believe that its always that clean :)

bathroom before >>>>>>>>>>>> & after
i reaaaally wanted to use an old sewing table for our sink basin. i couldn't tell you where i got the idea. i think it was actually an original one. most of my ideas come from other blogs in some shape or form. but i was thrilled with how it turned out :)


our entry-room afters

& before

dining room after

dining room before


family room afters

family room before. & i'm really missing this beautiful view right now...

bedroom kind-of after

bedroom before


its taken a lot of lovin' to get it this far! can't wait to see what it'll be in another few months!

Dec 25, 2010

{happy christmas day}


from us & presley. our dog that really isn't ours. but basically is.

hope you all have a most wonderful day!


Dec 24, 2010

{double chocolate truffles with sea salt}

we've had these delicious truffles two years in a row in our house.
this year i got a little smarter & decided to have people over to help us eat them.
last year i think we ate about twenty truffles a piece {eeeekkk!}
made from the pioneer womans recipe.


so here is what you need:
16 ounces of dark chocolate for the inner layer of your truffle.
1 {14 ounce} can of sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
8 ounces of meltable milk chocolate
sea salt for sprinkling

no. 1
break your 16 ounce of dark chocolate into smaller pieces & place in your {makeshift} double boiler. heat on medium low until all chocolate is melted.
i used a dark dark cocoa {like 85%} & then just a regular dark chocolate.

no. 2
add your can of condensed milk & vanilla. stir to combine.

no. 3
remove from heat. cover & refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.


no. 4
once removed from fridge, your chocolate should be cooled enough to work with & roll into small balls. you may have to leave it on the counter a bit until it softens up.



no. 5
melt your milk chocolate on your double boiler & roll chocolate balls around until coated. a fork seemed to work well for me to help prevent huge blobs of chocolate…

no. 6
place on a pan covered in wax or parchment paper & sprinkle with sea salt.

then eat :)

makes about 45 truffles.


Dec 20, 2010

{make your own: toothsoap}

i have some goals.
things i want to do before my next birthday. i'll share the list when i finish it, but switching over to a mostly-natural beauty regimen is one of them. & toothsoap is my most recent switch-over.

the only thing you may not like about it is that you have to dip your finger into the jar & put it on your toothbrush. so i get that that's not super appealing to some people. it doesn't bother me a bit.
daniel is still squeezing out every drop of his colgate to avoid it for that very reason. until i get a toothpaste dispenser that is. its his only complaint.

so that is what i have to say to you…if you don't want to get your fingers messy - get a dispenser!
this is super easy to make. there are all kinds of recipes for toothsoap. but this particular one made the most sense to me. & had the most ingredients that i had at home.

i tweaked it juuust a bit as you'll see below. this is my first batch of it & i think you really should try it. just for a week. the first day it tasted just a little funny to me. partially because i used too much dr. bronner's & also because our toothpaste is SO SWEET!! 
i love that i know what is in this & how it makes my teeth feel so so clean :)

i'm pretty positive you'll love it too if you give it half a chance!

you will need:
1 teaspoon of dr. bronner's castile soap - the original recipe told me 1 tablespoon but it was WAY TOO SOAPY!!! you can add more if you want once everything is all mixed together. trust me. {i got the peppermint one at target. its by all of the natural makeup & burt's bee's things. it took me FOREVER to figure that out…}
5 tablespoons of coconut oil
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
10 drops of peppermint essential oil
10 drops of sweet orange essential oil {optional}

mix all together & put in a small, shallow jar.


p.s.
here is a link i found that is similar that i'm going to try next time around & i'll let you know which one i like better!

{quick & speedy mulligatawny}

we have been devouring soups the past few months. 
i have never felt north carolina SO COLD before!!! 
i am nearly positive all of the arizona has been sucked from me for good for two reasons:
1.) i'm actually beginning to think having pale legs for the rest of my life isn't a bad thing
2.) today as i was driving, the radio told me it was 28 degrees & i said 'thank GOODNESS it's warming up today!' before i even really thought about it. & last time i checked, 28 is still below freezing!!!

so we are making progress. & i think i'm going to survive this winter after all, thanks :)

SO. in other news, daniel & i love indian food. 
& i haven't had an enormous amount of success making it, personally. but we love it all the same.
& this soup, by the way, was easy peasy to make & it turned out gooood. 
it is called mulligatawy. don't ask me to say it out loud. it will sound like i'm sneezing on you. or casting made-up spells. 
but however you say it, it is perfectly delicious for wintery days. we will definitely have it a few times more before winter is over, & its a good introduction to indian food if you've never had it before...


for the chicken:
1 whole chicken breast {boneless + skinless & cut into small, bit sized pieces}
*a pince of salt & pepper

for the soup:
*3 tablespoons of butter
*1 medium onion {diced}
3 cloves of garlic {minced}
*1/4 cup of flour
*1 tablespoon of curry powder
*16 oz. of chicken or veggie broth
*2 cups of coconut milk
*1 granny smith apple {peeled + diced}
*1 tablespoon of honey or sugar
*1 teaspoon of sea salt, black pepper & cayenne pepper to taste {optional}

no. 1
heat 2 tablespoons of butter over medium/high heat, add salt, pepper & chicken. stir occasionally until cooked. & set chicken to side in a bowl

no. 2
using your same pot, reduce heat to medium & add remaining butter, onion & garlic. stir occasionally until your onions are beginning to brown.

no. 3
sprinkle flour over the onions. add curry powder & combine. then add chicken broth & cook for about 5 minutes.

no. 4
add coconut milk, sugar & any additional spices & cook for another 5 minutes.

no. 5
add chicken & apple & cook for 10 minutes. let sit for 5 or so minutes before serving.

& voila! yummy soup.

serve with basmati rice. either on the side or in your soup is reaaally yummy, too :)

{adapted from the pioneer womans recipe here}



Dec 15, 2010

vegetarian chili from heaven.

okay. heres the thing...
i'm a southern gal. really i am. 
eleven years on the west coast can't take that away from you. the redneck really does run deep deep in my veins.

& one southern tradition in my family has always been chili & rice. beans & cornbread is another. yes. just beans & cornbread. but i've never been a fan of that one. ANYHOW. i had chili 1-2 times a month for 20 years. i've been to chili cook-off's many a times. i know good chili, dear folks. although if i'm being perfectly honest, i've never loved the stuff for the simple reason that i'm just not a big fan of beans. except this year i found my exception. black beans. oh yuuum they are good :)

but i'm getting of track here again. my point is, that the other day i realized that i haven't made chili ONE TIME since we've been married. in 15 months. nada.

so i decided to go out on a limb & try a new recipe for chili. & ohmygosh. it is probably the VERY BEST i've had in my 22 years. my dad loved this chili. & he is a snob about these things. let me tell you…

{i'm sorry this isn't an awesome picture AT ALL. this is what my cold leftovers look like. we just ate it WAY to fast…}

so here is the recipe. you are so very welcome.

1 large onion. chopped.
4 cloves of garlic. minced.
1 tablespoon of coconut oil {you can use olive oil, too}
1 cup of celery. chopped.
1 cup of carrots. chopped.
1 cup of green pepper. also chopped.
1 tsp. of ground cumin.
1 tsp. of dried basil
1 tablespoon of chili powder
1 1/2 cups of water + 1/2 cup of vegetable broth {the original recipe called for 2 cups of tomato juice, but i substituted it with this & there was still PLENTY of flavor in the chili}
2 cups of black beans. cooked.
1 16 oz. can of diced tomatoes {with liquid}
juice of 1/2 a lemon
3 tablespoons of tomato paste
1/3-1/2 cup of dry, red wine {you can't skip this step. its what really makes the chili delicious}
1 tablespoon of sweetener {honey, agave nectar, sugar}

optional:
1 lb. of ground beef {thats right. that would make this no longer a vegetarian chili, but we did it anyways}
a few slices of jalapeno, if you want it to have a little kick.


put all ingredients in a crock pot & cook on high for about 3 hours or low for about 6. there is a little more prep work in this one with all of the veggies. i just got a food processor & that made it all go SO much faster. 

serves 6-8


Dec 10, 2010

{things i love today}

happy friday you all! hope you all have fun & festive things planned for the weekend.
we are going to a white christmas party tonite. i am SO excited :) its at my dear friend charlotte's house. they've done it every year for as long as i can remember. &&& its going to be so fun :)

so i've found a few super cute things while browsing online, & catching up on my google reader to share with you all.

maybe they could make some fun {last minute} christmas gifts?
this adorable wooden tea set.  this website has a lot of really fun kids toys. i really have no reason to be looking at them. honestly. 

GLASS straws. okay. these are kickin. they have all kind of fancy fun ones, but i kind of just like this one. its not really that boring, is it? i can just see myself in {much warmer weather} drinking smoothies by the gallon through these. & they're guaranteed not to break. sooooo there goes that excuse.

the recipe for these ginger bread men. i have NEVER made them. can you believe it? i think this is definitely the year, though.
this beautiful green holga from uo. oh my word. it.is.gorgeous.

these beautiful wool blankets. you know they're gonna be warm, guys. & the part that i love the very best - they are hand woven on prince edward island. pei for all you anne folks. & for someone that has so recently finished the series, that was just totally the icing on the cake for me :)

& i'm MOST excited about this bird cage lamp from uo!!!!! its the SAME one i posted a few months ago that i wanted to make!!! i saw it in a magazine & couldn't find the source for it. just no one go buying them all until i get one, okay?

Dec 8, 2010

hello again!

ahhhh. guys. i am the worst at blogging.
but for good reason.
well you see…we haven't had internet for the past two weeks.

i know what you're thinking.

"HOW ARE YOU EVEN LIVING?!?"


but its actually been kind of nice.
its probably just the purist in me that secretly loathes technology. but then also not at the same time. its such a complicated relationship.
i have noticed though, that i have more free time in the day to read & things because of it.
& my beloved google - of which i am completely, whole-heartedly addicted to, has been the hardest to go without! but with that, i actually have to THINK about things & be more creative whereas before i would just immediately hop onto google & have it tell me.

for instance: i made up my own recipe for hummus. out of desperation, but it is my best batch yet (!!!) so take that google.

its also forced me to use my cookbooks more. & thus actually organize my cookbooks so good has come out of the whole thing.

okay. so now onto christmas things :)
on our way home from our coleman christ-giving celebration, we saw a sign on the side of the freeway very similar to this one below.
we had been planning on getting our tree up in boone like last year. we adore boone, but our month had already nearly filled up! so we were wracking our brains trying to find a date that would work to go.
this was a wonderful solution.


so meet our lovely christmas tree.
her name is gigi. named after the tropic smoothie stand we drove by on our way out of town.


& so after we picked her up, we decided to make a spontaneous stop into asheville to eat at tod's tasties & drive by our honeymoon inn. the most darling little bed & breakfast. maybe someday we'll go again?

oh. you may be asking how i am even posting now?
god must have just given me this one day of internet for my sanity.
i think maybe i'm ready to go a few more, now :)
ha. not.

Nov 24, 2010

pre thanksgiving thanks.

so here is another post full of thankfulness. for mostly really little & seemingly insignificant things.

i am thankful that all of our windows get foggy in the morning from the bitter cold outside.


i am thankful for the pies that are baking in the oven that make our house smell like cranberries & nutmeg.

that i am not too old to find the high school musical soundtracks AWESOME.
maybe i shouldn't be thankful for that. but i am :)

for all of the people who have ever cut butternut squash into bit sized pieces before. it is not as easy as you would think…

for a time of year we get to see lots of family.

for another year with people i love.

i am thankful i got to see harry potter last night with friends + daniel & that i am becoming more patient & was able to wait four whole days to see it.

i am seriously thankful for libraries. & that i can reserve sherlock holmes online & it is waiting for me when i get there.

i am thankful to have a job i love. having no so great jobs before too, make me even more grateful. & for a husband who encouraged me to make a change in the first place.

ummm, did i mention that i am thankful for highschool musical soundtracks?
just kiiidding, guys! geez. i'm not that lame. okay. well maybe.

for google searches. & for homemade toothsoap *cough* i mean toothpaste.

for all the awesome christmas pictures we will {hopefully!} be getting this next month.

i am thankful for THIS little booger.

oh. SURPRISE GUYS! our third little coleman.
his name is hunny bunny. not so masculine of a name. but we're not even positive its a boy. so its all okay :)

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

Nov 23, 2010

{make your own: vanilla extract}

make your own vanilla extract.

i have been selfish for the past few months & didn't want to share this recipe.
or idea.
or whatever you want to call it.
because i wanted to be able to give it to people & have them think that it was just an amazing, painstaking process for me to make this for them.

have you ever thought about making your own vanilla extract?
it is seriously the EASIEST thing to do.
it takes two minutes to prepare & then you just need to be patient while it ages.
yes. like a fine wine.

actually, when you make your own extract, the longer you have it around apparently, the better.

so i'm going to make this SO easy for you guys.

you will need:


get your vanilla beans here. there are a ton. its overwhelming. i know. i would suggest starting with 1/4 lb. of bourbon grade b vanilla beans.

trust me, ladies {and gents?} you will save yourself SO much time looking around for them if you just click on that little link. i searched for a good couple of hours for vanilla beans. these are great. & they are INCREDIBLY reasonable.

& the vodka you can get just anywhere. at an abc store if you are in NC. & don't even feel self-conscious about grabbing the largest bottle of vodka they have. even if it is larger than the entire middle of your body. & even if the sweet old woman ringing you up continues to give you glances that say 'oh my word, you must have had the worst day EVER.' aaanyways. moving on.

another note that will help you:
you will want to get grade B vanilla beans. i know, you would think you needed grade A because it sounds nicer. i actually didn't know this until after i ordered my beans, but thankfully i was being cheap that day & bought the B ones anyways. B is the best for extract. there is a reason for it, but i forget at the moment…

SO, once you have your vanilla beans, cut up about 6 beans into 1" pieces & put into a quart sized ball jar. add vodka until its about full.

put your jar in a cabinet or somewhere relatively dark & where it wont be moved around a ton. you can pull it out & give it a shake every day or so if you want.

here is the kicker, though…

your extract will have to age for about 2 months. it should be a dark amber color. after a few weeks, if you extract isn't looking dark enough, i would add another bean to it. so you're playing the patience game, BUT it is so worth it for delicious vanilla. it seriously makes all the difference in the world to have good vanilla in your baking :)

okay, i know, i'm making this long, but one more thing!
when your 2 {or so} months is up, you will want to discard your beans & strain your vanilla with a cheesecloth or something similar to get all of the little bean particles out of your vanilla. and voila! you now have enough extract to last you for the entire rest of your life!
or you can share it with friends, give as a gift, etc...


ENJOY!!!

Nov 22, 2010

today i am thankful.

today i am thankful for my hot cup of passion tea.
for a warm house to putter around in.
when so many people don't have a place to stay this winter.
for my camera.
even though i really want a fancier one. 
i am grateful to have one at all.
& to be taking pictures of an awesome family this morning.

& lots & lots of other things, too.


also:
i have recently realized {where have i been?!} that i don't know almost HALF of you that are subscribed to my blog {!!!} which is totally awesome & crazy for me.

So THANK YOU GUYS!!!
& i would love it if you would say hi & post something about yourself & your blog link (if you have one) so i can know a little more about you all :)

Nov 19, 2010

picture of yesterday.

this is the part of yesterday when we went to see our friend aj at his dance performance at uncc.
& were late because it took us so long to park at a meter & scrounge for change.
& was actually sold out. so we sat in the window like little children who realllly want tickle me elmo's at christmas time. kind of.
but we got to see him & he was the best dancer there. duh.
& we danced around in the leaves on our way back to our car & tried to take a cruddy picture in the black of night on my phone.

its nice to be on campus again sometimes :)
i was feeling pretty nostalgic.


p.s.
i've been over here more, lately. posting pictures from a few shoots lately.
i literally have…6 more to post. soon.
so check them out & let me know what you think!

Nov 16, 2010

raw applesauce.

my first & second canning experieces were frightening & successful.
those two don't typically go together. but today they just do :)

frightening because i thought a jar was going to explode in my face the whole 2 hour process & successful because it was yummy & all of my jars actually sealed (!!!)

so…raw applesauce sounds a little weird. but it seems the most fitting to me for this, & it is SOOOO easy to make! after this, i don't know if i could ever make applesauce the traditional way again.

so this is what you need:
*apples
*water
*cinnamon (optional)
{10 apples for me made 2 quarts + 2 pints}

cut up your apples into small enough pieces so your blender can puree them. & LEAVE THE PEELS ON! so much easier. plus, a lot of the nutrients in apples are directly under the skin, so if you peel them off, you are loosing a lot of the healthy-ness. this DOES make your applesauce just the tiniest bit less smooth feeling. it didn't bother daniel or i a bit, but you could always test it out on one apple & you'll know if the texture is going to bother you…


add 1/2 to 1 cup of water. basically JUST enough to get your apples blending. puree for about a minute in your blender.



then put your applesauce in a large pot on low heat, just enough to get it warm before you put it in your jars.


i've only canned twice now, so i really don't feel like i should be any kind of expert telling you what to do. but here is basically what i did:

1.) sterilized jars in the oven for about 10 minutes
2.) sterilized {new} lids in boiling water on the stovetop
3.) fill jars not quite to the top with applesauce & screw on your lid. it doesn't have to be super tight. just hand tightened well.
4.) bring a large stock pot to medium heat & place jars inside. i've heard that you shouldn't put your jars in vigorously boiling water right off the bat, because the chance of them cracking is greater. so i started at medium heat & raised it just a liiitle after a few minutes. 
5.) place lid on top. let boil about 15 minutes for pints & 20 for quarts & remove from water with a handy dandy canning tool like this one. you can get them at walmart or target in the little ball jar canning kits.

note: my jars didn't seal immediately. it took an hour or two for my first batch. but you know their sealed when the lid is sucked in & doesn't make a popping noise :)


GOOD LUCK!

{if anyone has any thoughts or knows more about canning than i do, please feel free to leave a comment! i'm still learning, so my way is doubtfully the best!}

one of the things i like best...

i have to confess,

are sci-fi/fantasy type novels.
really awfully massively long ones.
that come in really awfully massively long series.

i wonder sometimes if i could have been a trekkie if given the proper opportunity.
i think i'll just be thankful that i'm not, though.

harry potter is a favorite of mine.
{AND IS COMING OUT IN FOUR DAYS!!!!}

so while i was writing out my applesauce recipe, i came across this…somehow. in my distractedness.

harry potter {daniel radcliff} singing the elements of the periodic table.
maybe its a nerdy thing to watch.
but i did like chemistry in high school a lot.
& i think everything about this post is probably nerdy.
so there.

Nov 15, 2010

daniel cooks.

saturday day daniel & i went to earthfare.
always a treat :)
but they have this sweet deal going on now where you can get a free little log of brie, so we got brie cheese.
& daniel made us a surprise treat for our dinner out of it.

it is more like a delicious breakfast.
i wont totally give it away, but its a walnut, butter, cinnamon & brie concoction wrapped up in a little pastry.
so yummy.
he hasn't done a lot of cooking to date. so it was really exciting :)

a good way to end saturday.

Nov 13, 2010

a lowes day.

okay. i am such a liar about the applesauce.
i won't post it tomorrow either. i just know it.
but monday…just wait folks.

well so far i have kept my promise to myself.
just not to you all.
i am a day behind posting, but i DO have pictures for every day! thats something at least…

this is where my hubsand works.
{yes, i spell it like that on purpose}
i went to meet him for lunch on friday.
it is always such a fun ordeal to get to him. i have to pass through security gates & then i park in the visitors deck. although on THIS day the sucurity woman was soooo nice to me & said i could park at the very front of the building in the 15 minute parking & i could stay as long as i wanted :) & then i go inside where a receptionist takes your picture & makes you sit in a waiting room & makes you a visitors badge that you use to open doors & things. then they call daniel & tell him a little girl is waiting for him in the lobby so he can come to pick me up!

so there is a pretty bridge & glorious looking trees to the right of us that we stomped around in.
it was a very nice part of my day :)

& then i found a lot of old atlas jars at habitat on my way home. eight of them for .80.
its becoming a horrible addiction.
my growing ball jar collection.
{whoops}

so today i am thankful for lots to cabinets to store them all in!

Nov 11, 2010

pictures of us.

daniel & i were talking the other night, & since I've been taking pictures so much of other people this year, we don't really seem to take any together anymore. thats an awful excuse. but its all i can think of.

so thats when we made a pact. we are going to take at least one picture a day together between now & the end of the year. & just to be sure that we really do - i'm going to post them here every day. starting with yesterday.


daniel took me to pf chang for my birthday. we like going there to celebrate special events. well...there and red robin.
& we always have wonderful waiters. last time our guy sat down with us & wouldn't stop telling daniel he looked like robert pattinson. {haha} & then gave us a gift card for next time. last nite he made me a little 'cake' out of fortune cookies with a candle for my birthday. & banana spring rolls with coconut ice cream which is the BEST

then we rented toy story 3 & pulled our tv into our room.
we are probably some of the few people have hadn't seen it yet.
i bawled my eyes out for about the last 8 minutes.
but you should see it if you haven't! we are just such suckers in pixar movies for whatever reason…


later today i am going to {try to} post a recipe for homemade apple sauce.

Nov 10, 2010

minstrone soup.

yaay! finally posting a recipe again.
praise the lord.
my kitchen is at least workable enough to make soups.
lots and lots of soups.



this is the best version of Minstrone Soup i've ever ever had!
{coming from someone who has never been a fan of minstrone soup}
 slightly adapted from this recipe.

because we have made sooo many soups this week. i cut up a bag of carrots, several onions & a bag of celery & had them waiting in our fridge for each recipe, so I was probably a little off on the amounts below. I ended up adding about 1 cup of chopped veggies of each.

ingredients:
1 medium onion
3 celery stalks - cut into small, bit size pieces
4 medium carrots - sliced in small strips
3 garlic cloves - crushed
1 cup of green beans - cut
1 zucchini or squash - sliced
3 small red potatoes - diced
1 cup of cooked black beans
2 cups of diced tomatoes
4 or so cups of vegetable stock (or if you're like me...chicken stock & water)
1 cup of butternut squash or pumpkin puree
2 tsp of thyme
1 tsp of oregano
1 tsp of basil
2 bay leaves
salt+pepper to taste

no. 1
saute onions, celery & carrots & garlic in a bit of coconut oil {or olive oil} for about 5 minutes

no. 2
add potatoes, tomatoes, black beans & butternut squash & mix.

no. 3
pour in your stock & add herbs. bring to a low, constant boil.


no. 4
reduce heat to low & let simmer for a few hours.

no. 5
add your green beans & zucchini about an hour before you eat so they dont get tooo mushy. but you can add them in with the rest of the veggies if you don't mind that.

you can make this recipe in a crock pot too! i would just combine all the ingredients together early in the morning & let it set on low all day!

top with parmesan, romano or even sharp cheese.

ENJOY!





Nov 8, 2010

a favorite artist of mine.

today seemed to be a good day to introduce you to one of my most favorite artists.


his work is inspiring to me & happy to look at. 
the colors he uses are calming & vibrant & perfect all at the same time.

the titles of his pieces are half of what i love so much. he uses a lot of the same 'characters' in his paintings & each title seems to tell a little bit of a story to me.

here are just a very few that i love. i can't even say they are my favorites. almost every piece of his is a new favorite to me.

"Although this scene may look dire, Alfred meant Mabel & George no mortal harm. He had been courting her for months & thought marriage was at hand."

"Arriving in Stockholm"

"alfred, louis & francois after 12 years of preparation were surprised to find a cafe at the top of mount Everest."

"Alfred was obviously underdressed for his induction into the Adventures Hall of Fame."

"I shot an arrow into the air, they fell to the earth in Berkeley Square."

"Forest."


you can find mattes work on his flickr (link above) or also on etsy.