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Monday, August 31, 2015

Leaves a-flame

I was in between projects for a bit there, and got into playing around with patterns.  This is a piece I got caught up in earlier in the month.  It is a 9x12" piece, done on watercolour paper.  I took a leaf stencil and lightly penciled the pattern onto the paper.  Then I added the lines with a fine Sharpie pen in black.

I used the parallel line sets to define the leaf shapes, rather than outlining the leaves themselves.  It turned out rather neat.  Then I used watercolour pencils to add colour.  I was thinking of bright fall colours against the darker green/browns of the woods.

I am rather happy how it turned out, for playing around.  Also, I found making the series of lines very therapeutic and meditative.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

What's on my table...

We were away this weekend...  DH's hunting group wanted to have a family gathering, since often the wives and family don't get a chance to meet.  It was also in honour of previous members, since this is the third generation of the hunt camp.  It was nice to see some family members we haven't seen for awhile... not so nice in others, but everyone behaved in general, and had a good time.  DH's brother though... we had to bed down together in the same room, and many years ago his friends gave him the nickname of "drunk bastard".  He certainly proved that he lives up to it.  Ugh.

Before we left though, I started on some stamp carving.  They are in a roughish phase - I still need to test them out... part of the reason I craft (including poking at things with sharp knives, ripping off bits with pliers, etc) is to work off my frustrations.  Afterall, I can't smother Mark with a pillow when he gets into a drunken argument in his sleep, or beat him with my shoe.  But I can tear into a piece of stamping rubber with various sharp gouges... crafting as therapy, and a way to prevent murder.   I am all for it...

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Uncle Tetsu....

If you have been to Downtown Toronto, you may have noticed that there is a new phenomenon at Bay and Dundas... there are huge daily line ups at a relatively new little shop here that serves Japanese cheesecakes, called Uncle Tetsu's  They have been open for a number of months, but still they have line ups and waits daily, even with opening earlier and extending their hours.

Finally, the other day, I got off a night shift, and saw that there was only 2 or 3 people in the line up, so I decided what the heck, let's give it a go.  Actually, I wanted to go to a couple of art stores to pick up supplies, but they had changed their hours and I couldn't be bothered waiting.  I had given up my ride home, and did not want to go home empty handed, so let's get a cheesecake (see how the hamster on the treadmill I call my brain works?)

Like I said, there were about 3 people in line ahead of me.... well, let me say, that is NOT an indication of how fast things move - it is incredibly deceptive!  The shop is small and they make their cheesecakes fresh... it's not like they ship it in from a plant out in Mississauga - they are making it right there in the shop, and they can only make small batches at a time, so the number of people in line does not indicate how long you are waiting, because I waited 45 minutes for my 1 cheesecake and 3 madeleines (which are not like french ones, they are more like jumbo honey cakes).

So, after 45 minutes of being dripped on by icky old AC condensation from the window above, developing even more sore feet, and sweating in the humidity, I finally got my hands on the cheesecake.  By then I was tired, cranky, and just went home, gobbled a honey cake, and tossed the cheesecake (which was fresh and hot out of the oven when I got it) into the fridge.  We had it for dessert that night.

It's small.  It's cute.  It has a big-headed Uncle Tetsu burnt into the top.  It is nicely packaged.  I like that it is fresh, crustless, and light.  Is it worth the line ups???  Not in my opinion.  Would I buy it again?  Probably, when the novelty wears off.  It would be neat if they did make some flavour variations, like with some lemon, strawberry, green tea, etc.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Cheesy garlic brown rice.... with a secret ingredient

This looks like a hot mess, but it was actually quite delicious...  I was playing around with my brown rice recipe that I like the other day by adding some extra garlic and cheese into it when serving it, and it was delicious.  I love short grain brown rice - so nutty and yummy!

Then I was thinking of using up a head of cauliflower and remembered when I made the mac and cheese switch and bait recipe...

What if I did a cauliflower cheese sauce and used that in the brown rice combo to make a cheesy brown rice casserole?  I did it rather ad hoc, and it turned out rather nice - at least tasty.  DH snagged a spoonful as I was making it and gave it his wholehearted approval - fantastic, as he needs to eat more veggies with the Celiacs - to pump up some nutrients he may not be absorbing.  

Cheesy Garlic Brown Rice.
serves 4-6

1 1/2 cups brown rice (I prefer short grain)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
8 oz mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and sliced
2 cloves garlic, and 3-6 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 small head of cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets
1/2 cup milk
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup shredded cheese
salt, pepper to taste
olive oil

In a skillet, warm a couple of tbsp of oil, and saute the onion, mushrooms, and first measure of garlic, until browned, with thyme.  Add the cleaned and dried rice and saute until golden.  Place into small casserole.   Preheat oven to 375F.  Bring to boil first measure of stock and pour over rice mixture, cover and bake in center of oven for 1 hour.

When rice is cooked, fluff with fork and sent aside.

In large pot, bring second measure of stock to a boil, and add cauliflower.  Cook until fork tender. Ladle about 1 cup of broth and set aside, and drain cauliflower.  Place back in pot and place over medium low heat.  Using a stick blender, puree in pot until relatively smooth, adding milk, and cheese to melt.  Use reserved stock to loosen if too thick.  Add cooked rice to mixture and stir well

Yeah - that is a chunk of rare venison roast - he likes it really rare...
Next time - I may roast the cauliflower for more depth of flavour, and add some nutmeg or play around with spices/herbs.  I have also done the sauce with butternut squash, so that may be something to consider too!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Autumn - (Tim Holtz 12 tags of 2015 - August, version 4)...

One more version of this month's Tim Holtz tag....

Maybe I was hating the sweltering weather we had last week, but I definitely had cooler thoughts on my mind when making tags this week - hence the Snow Angel, and even Ephemeral Beauty looks very Spring-like to me.  Fall is one of my favourite times, it is cooler, the air feels crisp and clean... anything but that hot, wet, sticky humidity we had.  Thus this is my tribute to my love of Spring, in tag form.

I had fun with a fall leaf die, and some crackle card stock and die cut out some lovely little leaves and branches.  I die cut out some fall words and glued a birch bark patterned paper onto the backing tag, and used some Fall tones for the inking.  I think it makes a nice background for the fall leaves.

I think Fall is so pretty with the glorious colours that erupt and chose word stickers that reflected that.

I used garden twine for the bow and some leaf charms to dangle from it.  At the top, I glued some large fabric leaves in behind the tag, and an arch of smaller leaves and branches in front.  Also, if you peek at the lower bundle of leaves, you can see I tucked a tiny bunch of copper acorns in the middle of them... the glue hasn't even dried yet!  I love those tiny acorn charms!