Friday, November 30, 2012

My Artful Friday - 30 Nov

Wow!  November has been so busy with guests and traveling that I haven't had much time to spend on any sort creative project... and what few I've done, I haven't had time to post!
Here is the  companion piece to "Little Pink Toes" I did for Little Bird.  This one is "Future All Star" with Little Hoss' tiny socks.  Hard to think that one day his big toe won't fit in those sweet socks! 
I made this as part of two challenges - "blessings" and "numbers".  I call it "Counting My Blessings".
A new note card for my series. 
A fun little altered bottle for the challenge "Steampunk". 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Salud! at Whole Foods: Italy - A Fall Celebration (with recipe)

A few weeks ago Himself and I took another Whole Foods cooking class with Chef Dan of Caffe Nonna in Nashville.  If you want some really good Italian cooking, I would highly recommend his restaurant… but make reservations! 
It was a full class and soon we were all busy.
Browning the beef loin before roasting.  That gives it nice color and makes a base to do gravy from.
Himself and I made the polenta.  I’ve wanted to learn how to do this.  It’s really easy… but there is a LOT of stirring that must be done.
This recipe was for Gorgonzola and parmesan polenta…
… freshly grated of course!    Ummmmm…
And more stirring. 
Until it was creamy, tender and THICK.  But not too thick.
All the components to the meal came together perfectly and Chef Dan plated the meal.
Wild mushroom soup with pine nut & herb gremolata
Rosemary roasted beef tenderloin with roasted fall vegetables & red wine gravy, on top of the Gorgonzola Polenta
Pumpkin Gingersnap Tiramisu
Gorgonzola Polenta
1 3/4 cups polenta (course cornmeal) NOT instant
6 cups chicken stock (plus some extra in case the polenta thickens too much while cooking)
3/4 cup gorgonzola cheese (we also had about a half cup of fresh grated parmesan)
1/3 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt & cracked black pepper to taste 
Bring the chicken stock to a boil.  Once boiling, gradually add the polenta in a steady stream, making sure to whisk continually the mixture so that it is smooth and there are no lumps.
Bring the mixture back to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook until the polenta is tender.  (Ours took about 20 minutes).  Have some stock ready in case the polenta becomes too thick.
Remove from heat and stir in the cheese and cream.  Stir until melted.  Season with salt and pepper.
Serves 8

Monday, November 26, 2012

Wild Lights with the Wild Life

While in MO for Thanksgiving, we went with Sis and Big J to take the babies to see a special event at the St. Louis zoo.  It’s called “Wild Lights”. 
Areas of the zoo are decorated with Christmas lights and decorations.  It’s done very well, quite a treat for the eyes.
The babies were bundled up as warm as possible. 
Loved this swan near the entrance!
The polar bear almost looked furry.  I couldn’t figure out what it was made from.  Isn’t it fantastic?
The kids really liked it.
This was a ‘moving’ light display, with the monkeys swinging along a vine.  Little Bird showed us how the monkeys were moving.
There were a few areas open, such as the penguin house.  These King penguins looked a bit sleepy!  LOL
Little Bird checked out the area from on top of Himself’s shoulders. 
Almost nose-to-nose with a Rockhopper penguin!  She loved it!
The Conservation Carousel was open too.  The babies got two rides on it; one with their Mom and Dad… and one with their auntie and ‘unka’ – US!
We didn’t get to stay very long, as the night was pretty “Frosty” and babies get cold!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Don't Miss The Leonid Meteors this Weekend!!

November 17-18 - LEONID meteors - An exceptionally good year for the normally dependable Leonids: the moon will be in a waxing crescent phase and setting around 10 p.m. local time. Although the Earth is somewhat posed out of the main clumps of cometary material from Comet 55P/Tuttle, the parent object of this debris, there is always a chance of an encounter with a secondary pocket of debris during any year. Most meteor scientists are expecting the peak for this year to be slightly before MIDNIGHT on November 17 and perhaps extending into the early morning hours when the radiant will be high in the eastern sky. In many years hundreds or even thousands of meteors might be seen. This year is predicted to be an exceptionally favorable showing in terms of recent years as the Earth passes near the thick debris cloud that produced the famous 1466 meteor "rainstorm" that was recorded over all of Europe. Meteor forecasters are calling for somewhat of a "strong year" in 2012 with many of the brighter members along with the faint fast meteors being seen because of the lack of moonlight. Be sure to let us know what YOU observe on this famous meteor shower during 2012...and in spite of the strong moonlight this year, DO NOT MISS this year's Leonid Meteors!!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Chestnut Envy

I’m very jealous of my neighbor up the hill.
Absolutely green with envy.
Because she now has this grazing in the pasture next to her house…
I think he’s a Tennessee Walker.
We have nice talks when I go out for a walk.
But since I don’t have any sort of treat for him, he soon goes back to his grazing.  (I haven’t asked permission yet to give him treats.)
He would make a very good lawn mower.
The way he eats… I’m going to have to bring a lot of apples and carrots…

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Home Organization 101: The entry

More decluttering going on around here.  This week’s challenge was for the “mud room”.  Well, we don’t have a mud room… just our entryway. 

And it’s not a very big entry at that!  Not much to do here!  Himself keeps his walking stick in the corner to the right of the door (he was out walking so that is why it is not there).  The stone is from Alaska and it our door stop.

We do have a bit of room for this tiny shelf to help organizing and a mirror for a quick look before we answer the door!

The key bowl is an antique from the farm Himself grew up on.  No more “where’s my keys?” around here!  And the horse shoe ‘fish’ was made by a blacksmith friend – it keeps my lists from blowing until I get out the door.
(Sorry for the wonky picture – not enough space to back up to get the whole thing at once so I had to knit 2 shots together).   We repurposed the coat closet for general storage as there just isn’t enough storage area in our house.  I added shelves and the roll out cart to maximize what I had to work with.  It functions as extra kitchen storage and utility storage. 

These shelf extenders from The Container Store have given us even more useable space. 

Adding hooks to the bottom of the shelf got the mugs up and out of the way.  I added a shelf up high to store roasting pans and other shallow cookware. 

On the back of the door are two hooks to keep our aprons on. 

Because of the size we have to keep the entry decluttered.  So even tho it is small, meets our needs well enough.