Archive | June, 2011

New Upcycled Paintings

28 Jun

I’m sorry for using the word “upcycled.”  Trust me, I hate it as much as you do, but there’s not really another word that means “finding paitings at thrift stores and painting little dots and squares on them and hoping people think they’re pretty.”  I enjoy repetitive tasks because it seems to be the only way I can actually make my brain stop talking to me for a bit, so these are fun to make, too.  If you feel a burning desire to make this piece yours, let me know.

To see more pieces like this, check out the Art page.


Make Herbal Liqueur

26 Jun

In honor of the herbal cocktail making workshop I taught this weekend at Erin’s Meadow Herb Farm, I thought I’d share my favorite herbal liqueur recipe.  For those of you who love green chartreuse but don’t love paying $50 for a bottle of it, this has some of the similar earthy green taste and will cost you only the price of the vodka, herbs and sugar.

I recommend drinking it with club soda over ice or in an herbal champagne cocktail (recipe below).

liqueur infusing

Herbal Liqueur
• 3 cups 80-proof vodka
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 2/3 cup water
• 2-3 sprigs fresh pineapple sage, bruised
• 2-3 sprigs fresh sage, bruised
• 3-4 sprigs fresh basil, bruised
• 2-3 sprigs fresh lemon balm, bruised
• 1 sprig mint, bruised
• Peel from 1/4 lemon (no pith)

In saucepan, combine sugar and water; heat until boiling, stirring until sugar is dissolved; cool.

Place pineapple sage, sage, basil, lemon balm, mint and lemon peel in a clean, glass 1-quart jar. Add vodka and sugar syrup. Seal and store in a cool dark place for 2 weeks. Strain through paper coffee filter. Pour into clean bottles; seal and store in a dark place until ready to serve.

Herbal Champagne Cocktail

  • 1 oz herbal liqueur
  • .5 oz ginger simple syrup
  • 3 oz or so champagne or prosecco
  • ginger sugar (2-3 chunks candied ginger pulsed with .25 cups sugar)
  • 1 slice lemon

Put ginger sugar on a plate.  Wipe the rim of a champagne glass with lemon and place face down in down on the plate of sugar.  Add liqueur and syrup to the bottom of the champagne glass and top with champagne.  Garnish with ginger strip.

For more recipes like this one, check out the Domesticity page.

Another Banner Sneak Peek

25 Jun


Here’s a banner I made for a little girl’s first birthday party.  Get it?  One-derful?  I’ve been having so much fun making commissioned banners these days.  It’s great knowing that after I send them off, they’re going to be a part of some really special days.


Make Limoncello

21 Jun

I first heard of Limoncello years ago when my sister described it.  She was working at a cheese store in the Italian market in Philadelphia and described a delicious liqueur that her coworker had made.  When I heard this, I pictured an elaborate system of tubes and beakers and all kinds of high-tech equipment.  I recently decided to try making my own and was surprised at how very simple it is.

The only ingredients are vodka, lemons, sugar and water, which combine to make a sweet and tart liqueur that’s great for mixing or nice to sip ice cold on it’s own after a meal.

•    10 lemons
•    1 (750-ml) bottle vodka
•    3 1/2 cups water
•    2 1/2 cups sugar
Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the lemons in long strips (reserve the lemons for another use). Using a small sharp knife, trim away the white pith from the lemon peels; discard the pith. Place the lemon peels in a 2-quart pitcher. Pour the vodka over the peels and cover with plastic wrap. Steep the lemon peels in the vodka for 4 days at room temperature.
Stir the water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Cool completely. Pour the sugar syrup over the vodka mixture. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight. Strain the limoncello through a mesh strainer. Discard the peels. Transfer the limoncello to bottles. Seal the bottles and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 1 month.

For more recipes like this one, check out the Domesticity page.

Make Caribbean Spinach Coconut Milk Soup

19 Jun

I’ve been on a soup kick lately, which is a little odd since the weather’s been really hot lately.  I know soup is traditionally more of a fall/winter food, but I’ve just been enjoying the chopping, sauteeing and simmering that is soup making.  I came across a recipe for Caribbean Spinach Coconut Milk Soup on Sinfully Spicy and decided to give it a shot. I forgot to get heavy cream, so I doubled the coconut milk for a soup that was super tasty and totally vegan. What’s more- I had some the day after making and, being too lazy to heat it up, discovered that it’s delicious served cool.

Caribbean Spinach Coconut Milk Soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped spanish onion
  • 2 Thai green chillies, minced [You can use jalapeno or remove seeds to reduce heat level]
  • 2 garlic cloves,grated
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds,crushed
  • 1/4 tsp black peppercorns,crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups chicken stock [ or vegetable broth/water]
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 10 oz fresh spinach,chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
In a heavy bottomed pot, heat oil on medium heat.While it is melting add the grated garlic and green chillies.Let cook for 30-40 seconds till you start smelling the aroma.
Next add the chopped onions and saute till translucent. About 3 -5 minutes.
Next add the cumin,crushed coriander seeds, peppercorns and bay leaf.Saute for another 30 seconds.
Now, reduce the heat to minimum and add the chicken stock, coconut milk.Let simmer on very low heat for 30 minutes.
While the broth is simmering, add the chopped spinach and bring to a boil.Cook for 6-8 minutes till the spinach is cooked.In case you are using thawed frozen spinach, the cooking time will be less.
Once the spinach has cooked, reduce the heat to minimum and add the cream and salt to taste.Simmer for a while and remove from heat within 2 minutes.Note:-After adding cream, do not let soup come to a boil.
Once the mixture has slightly cooled down, discard the bay leaf & puree in a food processor until smooth.

For more recipes like this one, check out the Domesticity Page.

Go to the Meadow Lark Festival

16 Jun
Knoxvillian readers, if you’re looking for something to do this Saturday, I recommend stopping by Ijams Nature Center’s Meadow Lark Festival, an event featuring local art and music from Knoxville’s finest (including yours truly). More info:
Ijams’ upcoming music fest Meadow Lark: In Tune with Nature is scheduled for Saturday, June 18, 1 to 10 PM at the Plaza Pavilion and Meadow.  Ijams provides the meadow and WDVX has orchestrated the music. The line up of bands includes Donna the BuffaloHackensaw BoysValley YoungPhil Pollard and the Band of HumansSpirit Family Reunion.
Plus there will be local artist and crafts folk: Aud Pottery Studio, Dale Mackey, Featherlicious/Hoop Bug,Fat Calico, Jill Colquitt, Nicole Milsap, Melissa Lituma Jewelry, Sarah Brobst Designs, Stephen Lyn Bales pen and inks, Pens and Needles, Plant Companions, The License Plate Man, TWIG & Sherby Jones.
And food vendors: Cruze Farm, Old City Java, The Tomato Head, Uncle Butch’s BBQ.

Make a Word Cloud

15 Jun

Wordle is an interesting little site where you can enter a block of text or the URL for any website to generate a “word cloud” which gives greater prominence to words that appear most often in the text.  It’s been around for years, but I’d forgotten it until my sweetheart sent me a wordle he made from this here blog.  It’s pretty fun to see which words I’ve used the most:

Here’s a wordle I made from Walt Whitman’s Song of the Open Road:

If you’re looking for a way to kill a few minutes, check it out.