I have been working on Valentine ornaments and have just uploaded the image at right - my latest and greatest. The best part is the tiny scrap quote in the upper left corner, which I am sure you can't see. I happened upon a tiny little leather bound book of quotes last year when I was helping to sort through my grandparents belongings with my siblings. It was published by Hallmark, not sure when, but it's old and vintage and good. I think I remember a little squabble with my sister over ownership. When I told her it was from Hallmark, she didn't want it any more - ha, my strategy worked. It is a treasure. She is a bit of a literary snob (love ya).
Here is the quote.
Fear less, hope more;
eat less, chew more;
whine less, breathe more;
talk less, say more;
hate less, love more;
and all good things are yours.
Oh those swedes! Who knew that chewing more could be such a blessing.
Feeling very uninspired, just trying to make it through January in MN...and then, my muse duo returned from their month long vacation to Arizona and the Turks and Caicos Islands - all tan and full of adventurous stories including dancing all night with bronze gods.
I went straight to work. I live in a house where the toilet seat is always up - a husband and two teenage sons. They just don't get the crafting thing. So, I am constantly running across the street to visit with my adopted mother and daughter to show them my latest creations. They are so supportive. It's a girl thing.
Recent conversations include a tile mosaic mirror frame, leather tooling, exotic plant species, ceramics and welding. Kudos to Karla who looks like a rock star with her french manicure and a power drill!
In early January, I went on a pilgrimage with my sister Kris (fondly referred to as "deter") to Northfield, Mn to check out a store she had heard about called Digs. Our plan was to make the hour drive early on Saturday morning, spend some time poking around and then enjoy a leisurely lunch. This store was soooo amazing - a retail space dedicated solely to ribbon and fabric. If you are a trimmings fanatic you will easily fall into a trance. We spent a half hour just looking at the first display. Definitely worth the trip. Needless to say, after two and a half hours of "hey, look at this" and "must have it" we only had time for a chili cheese dog and a root beer.
With the glitter season coming to an end, I turn my attention to other interests - cooking. Let me tell you about Nathan and Tina. Seemingly normal names - right? They are actually the names of the organic pigs that I have shared with my sister the last two years. Yes, I acknowledge that attaching names to the food you are about to eat is odd and maybe slightly creepy. Sorry to all of you vegetarians, but have you tried bacon lately?
I once made split pea soup and my veggie-only friend Lisa broke down and tried some. Evidentially the wafting aroma from my kitchen rendered her powerless. She picked out the ham, but alas, several hours later ended up in the bathroom ridding herself of all that was pork. After recovering she stated, "it was worth it!" This is the best compliment a cook can get.
In early December my sister and I split the butcher's packages of ham, bacon, sausage, ribs and roasts. We will be feasting all Winter long. If you like to cook, check out my sisters blog, krisapolis for recipes and links to food sites. Among her many hobbies, she is a proud foodie.
Here are two tested pork related recipes that went over well. Both are from thefoodnetworkcompliments of Rachel Ray (another discussion) and Giada De Laurentis. A note on the bacon wrapped shrimp and scallops...I don't care for scallops, so I opted to do all shrimp and increased the quantity to 24. I also pre-cooked the bacon for just a bit so it would be good and crispy. I cut the bacon in 1/2 length-wise - not sure if this is correct, but it worked. Enjoy!
Whisk the eggs in a pie plate to blend. Place the bread crumbs in another pie plate. Place the cheese in a third pie plate. Sprinkle the pork chops generously with salt and pepper. Coat the chops completely with the cheese, patting to adhere. Dip the chops into the eggs, then coat completely with the bread crumbs, patting to adhere.
Heat 3 T of oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Add pork chops, in batches if necessary, and cook until golden brown and the center reaches 150 degrees, about 6 minutes per side. Serve with lemon wedges.
Bacon Wrapped Shrimp and Scallops
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
12 jumbo raw peeled, deveined shrimp, 16-20 count per pound
12 large sea scallops, trimmed and well drained
1 lime, juiced and zested
1 T toasted sesame oil
1 T grill seasoning or coarse salt and black pepper
1 tsp hot red pepper flakes
12 slices center cut or applewood smoked bacon, cut in 1/2
3 scallions, very thinly sliced on an angle
Dress seafood in shallow bowl with lime juice, lime zest, a generous drizzle of sesame oil, grill seasoning and hot pepper flakes. Wrap each shrimp and scallion with 1/2 slice of bacon and fasten with picks.
Arrange shrimp and scallions on a slotted baking pan, such as a broiler pan to allow draining. Bake 10-14 minutes until shrimp is pink and curled and scallops are opaque. Shrimp may finish before the scallops.
Christmas packages got some added ho, ho, ho with these santas. I went into production mode and made about 50 of these guys. Their bodies are made from red chennile stems and the beards and hats were trimmed with tea-stained curls (too much work). I found quite a few of these on the floor after the presents were opened - what's that about?!
This year (like it or not) all the lovelies in my life got glitter goods christmas ornaments - surprise! I delivered them to their mailboxes in gingham bags embellished with a little added shiny and bright. I found the bags at the dollar store. I also found some great vintagy-looking tissue paper with a poinsettia design and scalloped edges, but my son used the last of it to wrap the dogs present - oh well, the spotted princess reigns supreme! If you must gather, check out your local dollar store - always great finds, always great bargains. Has anyone figured out yet that "gather" is code for "shopping".
...and all through the house, not a creature was stirring - just me, I am ordering supplies for Valentine ornaments. Not one holiday is over and I am already thinking of the next (I am sick inside). You know the saying, "men are hunters and women are gatherers", I MUST GATHER! I ordered ribbon, ribbon and more ribbon, metal findings, pink tinsel and crepe paper. And of course, glitter glue, glitter spray, glitter glass, anything glitter - hense, the name. I find most of my supplies on e-bay. I am addicted! If it's old, used and beat up - then it is perfect.