Friday, August 30, 2013

That One Time, When We Gave John The Camera...

So on of my dearest friends Sadie stopped in town yesterday! I fortunately had the ability to finish my work up early that day and spent the afternoon with her and her fella John! We went to Chipotle for Lunch and caught up on many subjects with much silliness involved and then came home and chilled by watching a movie before dinner.... notice how there is a theme when I have guests... food/cooking for said guests! :) 

Anyway, after a nice naptime... after all, they had driven staright through the night all the way from Little Rock!!! we went out in my back yard for some obligatory "we never see each other and need to take pictures" session where we had a little mini couple shoot ...

...and then gave John the camera and attempted to have a friends shoot! Which, eventually we got a few good shots out of ;) As John rolled his eyes at our mutual photography obsession! Tehe!

As Sadie and John said.. now its my turn! Hopefully I'll be able to make it out for a visit to Arkansas sometime in December! 

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Buffalo Farm

We stopped by a Buffalo Farm the other day... and I grabbed a few quick shots with my grandfathers Tamron 50mm lens on it my digital Nikon body... I love the slight aged patina this lens always gives me on my DSLR!  These photos remind me of old post cards I've found in under the eaves at my Grandma's house and in antique shops! I keep imagining one that reads "Greeting from the Adirondack Buffalo Farm!" in some lovely vintage font... hmm.. I think its time to go to photo shop! :)

Oh, there was a little shop too, we bought some Buffalo burgers to take home and I got a lovely soft deerskin yellow change purse!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Fresh Bounty

So one of my favorite things to do on vacation is... eat in! Yeah, seriously, I do enjoy the occasional meal out, like the scrumptious Lobster dinner I had while eating out tonight! But mostly, i enjoy having the time and leisure to cook whatever I want while on vacation and not worry about having it all ready and on the table by  like during the work week for my family. 

Here in upstate NY the veggies always seem extra packed with flavor and sweetness because of the shorter growing season... maybe its my imagination but seriously, I look forward to the road side farmers stands in the Adirondacks all year long! 

So a few nights ago I made a simple Shrimp Pasta with some delicious and sweet tomatoes. Mom and I ate on the back porch enjoying the sparkly view of the lake visible in little blips through the filter of trees. 

30 Minute Shrimp Pasta:
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Serves: 2

1/2 bag 25-30 count size shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1 package Quinoa Pasta (12 oz)
1/2 bag Baby Spinach
3 cloves garlic minced
2 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
1 juicy fresh large tomato

1. Thaw shrimp in cold water- may need to empty and refill with cold water again after 10 minutes. (Peel and devein if not already)
2. Fill large stock pot with water to 3/4. Put on stove to boil
3. Mince Garlic and place in large skillet with butter and olive oil, heat to low-medium.
4. Place pasta in boiling water to cook.
5. Once garlic and butter/olive oil has cooked 3-4 minutes, add shrimp.
6. Cook shrimp over medium heat til just pink, add all the baby spinach and let shrimp continue to cook while spinach wilts.
7. Once pasta is cooked drain.
8. Toss pasta in skillet with shrimp and spinach. Salt and pepper to taste. Add diced tomato and toss to distrubute evenly.

9. Plate and serve with parmigiano!


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Digging Pits On Vacation...

Hey friends! Life has been super hectic the past few weeks, my apologies for not blogging! I'm finally getting some me time and on vacation for a week and trust me, there is a whole lotta blog worthiness where I am! And amazingly we have wifi this year! 

So, even though its vacation, I am doing some good old fashioned hard work around my families cottage by re-digging the fire pit for my Grandmother. This is how it looked before and then during my "renovation"... more like excavation!
I will totally admit that re-digging the pit is partially selfish so that I can get a few good work outs in while on vacation and so that I can give pit firing a try. But I also know that its is something my Grandma has wanted done for a few years but was one of those projects that by the end of summer still hadn't been gotten to. So its a win win.

 I've brought my cute little brent wheel with me and have been throwing some pots that are now drying.

  Its very likely that all of the pots I've made will die a fiery explosive death because using open flame, or even hot coals is a much more volatile exposure to heat than in a kiln but hey, the 1st ceramic artist never got anywhere by being afraid of losing a few pots in order to try something new! 
 But some of the pots I threw today are really cute so I photographed them pre-firing to keep them in mind for some future pattern ideas incase they don't make it.

 Before I put the in the fire to pit fire, they need to be completely dry. So they hung out by the fire today.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Quick Chicken Spaghetti

Sometimes I just want quick, easy and comforting for dinner. Hmm, actually, I pretty much always want that for dinner. But in addition I really like it to be healthy too!

This is an easy receipe that you can make for the whole family in 45 minutes or less. Use any pasta you want, or skip the pasta and serve it with a salad. I try to eat pasta no more than once a week max because it is heavy and because if I don't limit myself, I could have pasta every night happily because I love carbs. But limiting it to once a week makes it all the more delicious and something to look forward to on a night when I want to throw something together quick and can turn to it!

Chicken Spaghetti:
Serves: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

4 skinless chicken breast
1 12 oz can diced Italian tomatoes
3 fresh tomatoes (sub an additional can if you don't have fresh)
3-4 cloves garlic- minced
1 box gluten free spaghetti 12oz or more
2 tbs olive oil
1 tsp and 1 tbs each: Basil, Oregano, Marjoram
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Optional: 1/2 cup dry white or red wine

1. Clean chicken and cut into even 2 in thick strips. Salt and pepper, add 1 tsp: oregano, basil and marjoram
2. Heat olive oil in large deep dish skillet. Add chicken strips and cook 3 minutes each side over medium heat.
3. Fill Large Stock Pot with water 3/4 way full and place over high heat. Bring to boil.
4. When chicken is browned on al side, add canned and diced tomatoes over them in pot. Add 1 tbs of Oregano, Basil and Marjoram. Add 1/2 cup wine.  Cover, turn heat to medium low and let simmer.
5. Add pasta to large stock pot when water comes to rolling boil and follow directions for cook time.
6. Drain pasta, check chicken to make sure cooked through.
7. Serve Chicken and sauce over pasta.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Thrifty Thursday: Petersburg, I love you!

So last weekend two of my favorite girl friends came to visit! We planned this visit over a month ago and I had been excitedly looking forward to it all of July, so I was very excited when the day finally arrived and I got to have some fun with these friends. 

Lauren and Bethany are sisters and we all went to college together. Lauren and I were friends 1st but as  we've hung out over the years since graduating from college, I've gotten to know Bethany and we've become good friends as well. 

So while they were visiting, we decided to use our Saturday morning to do some antiquing and drove down to Petersburg. I seriously am falling in love with this forgotten city that is just 30 minutes outside of Richmond and full of beautiful Civil War era brick buildings. While the economy there is pretty much non- existent and it is unfortunately biased as being a not safe city to live in, I find myself understanding why artists are willing to "take the risk" so to speak and live there/ start a business there.

Ok, enoughgushing over how much I like the place and on to the fun we had! We stopped at Petersburg Pickers, definitely worth the visit, for their Goat Days of Summer sale that happens every other weekend. Fri is 50% off, Sat is 60% off and Sunday is 70% off. So everything was 60% off the morning we went. 

As you may have read in a previous post, I have been setting up a ceramic studio in my home studio and while I found a wheel, I haven't been about to find a good stool that is the perfect height. If you are a thrower, you'll understand why having the right height seat to your wheel is important. 

Well, I wasn't even looking, not intentionally anyways, and what did I find at Petersburg Pickers but the perfect stool for my studio! This fancy fella was perched on top of a table and its industrial metal and black caught my eye. I'm never one to turn down style and function! The price tag was $95 but with %60 off it came to $40. 
While that isn't really what I'd planned on paying for a stool for my studio, I was willing to for this because I know it can function beyond a studio perch in a future place. And who can turn down a height changeable swivel stool! Now I can have one seat for both working at my wheel and for working at my hand building table!
But that was just the 1st find of the day, and while it was the one I most needed and had the biggest "sale" on it, it was by no means the best find! In another antique shop we stopped into I found these gorgeous crystal doorknobs in a box in the back corner. 
Ok, so ever since I got that iron bed, I'be been thinking that using glass/crystal door knobs to cap off the corners would looks really pretty since the brass knobs it had are gone. However, the cheapest I've ever seen glass door knobs for was $15 a peice and its usually more like $20 or more. Not to mention there are never more than 2 that match. So in this box in the back where about 12 door knobs and after picking through them I selected these four, all matching and all with pretty clear non yellowed glass. 
And guess how much I paid for all four!?  $21!!! They were $5 each! There was no way I was gonna pass that rpice up! I even kept trying to think of other uses I might have for them like one of those door knob shelf/hanger things but I was watching my spending and didn't want to just buy more becuase they were so cheap. At least now I know where to find them! :)
The last thing I got was this pretty green book for $5. Its called the Judas Tree and I have no idea if I'll ever read it, though when I perused it the story seemed interesting. I just like collecting books for their covers, its a bonus if its a story I love or one I enjoy reading. This cool pastel lime green was too nice to pass up!

My friends had some great finds too! Bethany got a beautiful Oval mirror on a stand for $40 and they both got a bunch of pretty vases and table decor. We went to the Blue Willow Tea Room for lunch and then drove around exploring the real estate... and even got out to check out a few houses that had for sale signs on them. 

Lots of fun! A perfect day with dear friends who equally love old houses, antiques, a good sale and exploring! :)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Gluten Free Drop Scones

Last night I was craving something sweet and chocolate... unfortunately, there was no chocolate in the house!! GAH!! So instead I decided to do some late night baking. 

I pulled down my favorite gluten-free flour: Pamela's All Purpose Baking Flour, and after perusing the recipes on the back and making sure we had all the ingredients, decided to make scones! 
We didn't have the raisins but we did have craisins which I prefer anyway. We also had frozen blueberries which I decided to add to half the batch. 

I've always liked the idea of scones, but only ever had a few that I actually liked. I know they are supposed to be this way, but I just always find them too dry. The only ones I liked, ironically considering I hated every other food offered there, were the ones sold at my college grab and go cafe. Of course, those weren't gluten free. 

Anyway, these scones came out sooo good! Totally beat the college ones and have a lovely rich taste. They're a little softer and slightly less dry than your typical scones but I am just fine with that. I also think I could have gotten them more firm by cooking them longer but eh, why bother when I like the how they turned out.

Gluten Free Drop Scones:
Makes: 10-12
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Times: 15-17 minutes

2 1/4 cups Pamela's Gluten Free Baking Mix
4 tbs Unsalted Butter - soft/room temp
2/3 c milk (or milk sub like Coconut, Almond, Rice milk)
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 large egg 
1/2 cup Craisins or Raisins

Optional: 1/2 cup frozen blueberries 

Preheat Oven to 375 Farenheit

1. Mix Flour with baking powder, butter, milk, and egg. Stir until batter is just coming together. 
2. Add Craisins and any other additions. 
3. Stir batter to make sure everything is evenly incorporated. 
4. On a baking stone (or metal sheet) place parchement paper. Spray with cooking oil. 
5. Drop scoops of batter in even rows 2 inches apart onto baking surface. About 1/4 cup per scoop and try to keep them piled high (don't flatten them out, they'll do some a bit naturally while cooking).
6. Bake for 15-17 minutes.

Note: if you use fresh or frozen fruit- bake for an additional 5-7 minutes. I cooked all of mine for 17 minutes and my Craisin only scones were perfect but I should have cooked the blueberry ones longer as they were a bit gooey in places. 

Eat them warm! Or serve the next day for breakfast with clotted cream (or coconut milk whipped cream) which is what I used!