Thursday, September 29, 2011

Apple Picking

I found my camera!  And just in time for my favorite activity of the year.  We had such a great day in the sunshine walking amongst the apples and chatting with friends.  I had more fun taking pictures (and spilling my coffee everywhere) than actually picking apples.  Sam ate some apples, bawked at the farm animals, begged to drive the tractor and threw rocks.

And we soaked up the sunshine.
Hard to believe its been a year since our last visit to the apple orchard.  He's growing up so quickly. 

Have a wonderful weekend!  I have some posts planned for next week so check back in when you get a chance. 


Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Hello friends.  Just a quick note.  I'm morning the loss of my camera these days.  I'm sure its here in this house.  Somewhere.  But I just don't know where.  I've got things to show you!  Hoping it materializes soon.

In the mean time here's something I saw awhile back on MPMK that I haven't been able to forget.....

Download a free 10 x 20 of this here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I love Swedish design

Source: via Rachel on Pinterest 

I love all the white.  I love the mix of textures and styles.  I love that they value windows and light.  I very rarely see a picture I don't love.  

But, I do love color too....  What do you guys think?  How do these spaces make you feel?  I'm off to get ready to make sock monkeys.  Unfortunately I don't know where my camera is....

Monday, September 12, 2011

El Pato Brand Tomato Sauce and my take on Crockpot Chicken with Black Bean Salsa

WARNING:  Slightly spicy and if you're really wimpy you might want to keep that in mind:)
The best stuff on earth.  Really.  I recently discovered this when it was listed as an ingredient in The Pioneer Woman's 16 minute burritos  and I've been using the heck out of it ever since. WOW! I just realized where this recipe came from.  Ree Drummond really does have it goin on cause these are my favorite (home made) burritos in the whole wide world. ANYWAY, El Pato makes any Mexican dish so much better.  TRY IT!  I tell you, you won't regret it.   Note to self:  try not to be so bossy all the time.... oh yea.  ok.  Let me rephrase.   I strongly recommend you try this sauce fools.  Oh its no use...

It has just enough kick as far as I'm concerned. I've been using it as a substitute for regular tomato sauce in stuffed cabbage (yummm) and I think when I make meatloaf again I'm going to throw a little in there... Would also make a great addition to tacos...

So I've been getting a little more cocky in the kitchen these days.  I think out of 6 dinners I cook about 4 of them turn out pretty well.  You may find that silly, but its a vast improvement over my pre-motherhood-I-need-to-learn-how-to-cook-stat, stats.  I actually feel comfortable looking in my pantry and making up a dish from its contents.  That's like pro category.   Its not?  Oh.  Well crud.

Anyway.  The other day I was in one such cocky mood (the stars were aligned just so and I think it may have been an eclipse (kidding)) and I had my normal stuff in the pantry: beans, tomato, corn.  These are things I stock up on when there's a sale.  Goodness gracious me.  Where is Kelly and what have I done with her?  I just said, and I quote "things I stock up on when there's a sale."  I guess the mother metamorphosis is complete.  Anyway.  So I stood there all puffed up.  I know just what to do with this.   No recipe. No nothing.  Just the my bare hands and my vast (1+ years) background and experience, ahem.

AND it was totally good.  I blame it all on this sauce.  After eating it I immediately knew I needed to share this secret.  The ingredient that made even ME a decent cook:)  It wasn't really an original recipe- We've all probably had it before, but I still feel proud that I put it together all on my own and pulled it out of my head...  (heavily inspired by June's taco soup recipe)

Here's the recipe, in case you ever want to try.  Super easy and very fast. Great for left overs and for working people....

approx. 2.5 lbs chicken breast (you can throw them in there frozen. Holla. No fumbling with raw grossness)
1 can corn (no salt added)
1 can Mexican Tomato Sauce (cue music from the heavens)
1 green pepper chopped
1 can Rotel tomatos
1 can black beans
1 pkg taco seasoning (reduced sodium- you won't even miss it)
cheese (I have no clue how much- I just poured it out until sufficiently delicious)
sour cream (optional)
corn chips (optional)

Mix everything together in the crockpot except for corn and cheese.  Cook on high for 2 hours then low for 4 hrs. (I think you could get away with low for the entire time but I was a little worried about making sure the frozen chicken cooked completely).  Add corn and cheese 15 minutes prior to serving.  CHOW DOWN.

If you try it, I'd love to hear what you think.

Happy monday everyone!  Here's to a week that will be full of great things!  And more cooking!

love to all

Friday, September 9, 2011

Qilts and Thoughts on Creativity and Finding Your Voice

Source: via Kelly on Pinterest

 I've been thinking about creativity, and art, and wondering about it all just lazily.  Making crazy connections between this and that...(promise I'm not whining this time:)

Source: via Kelly on Pinterest

Like last week, I was zooming here and there the other day, as Sam and I so often do, when I heard an interview on NPR.  A professional taster was offering insight into her profession, which was very interesting to me because its a profession I thought I only dreamed existed, and in my dreams there was lots of amazing food spread out before me.  Turns out, its nothing like this.  Its a science.  This woman explained how she took something that we all do everyday- some of us with more zest than others- something that I would argue is a fairly primal, emotional thing, and she drilled it down.  She starts with a flavor diluted to almost nothing, tastes it.  Then adds more flavor until soon she can tell its sweet but still doesn't know what it is.  Then more until she finally can tell its banana.  

So, by doing this, she becomes intimately knowledgeable of what a banana tastes like, I assume, from a molecular level.  I imagine over time, as her library of tastes grow, she can eat a prepared meal and tell you exactly what is in it.  In fact, I think she was talking debunking some secret recipes when I first tuned in.  I imagine she could probably rival a chemist with all their scientific tools and tests.  

And it was so funny to me because I feel I've had this conversation before when debating the worth of critics among friends, in kind of a very loosely related way.  We were discussing GREAT works of art and the academics who have in a sense, sculpted our culture by choosing from the mass of art, literature, music, what will survive through the ages- what will become immortal.  And we were saying that perhaps those works we've been told were great are not so great after all.  Who hasn't looked at the Mona Lisa and said to themselves "this is it?".  I did.  I saw it in person and left feeling it was awfully small.  Since then, I've learned the importance of the piece and now feel that seeming slightly uninteresting may in fact be a testimony to how much it has influenced our culture.  I remember, we were on the front porch of my friend's apartment,  all complaining that when one becomes an academic and devotes the majority of their lives studying an art form, their tastes seem to become very, very strange.... but could this just be because they've tried to do what this professional tester has done- boil to form down to a molecular level... 

And then there was this quote I saw on Pugly Pixel
Good design is often strange… but I don’t think it works to cultivate strangeness. The best you can do is not squash it if it starts to appear. Einstein didn’t try to make relativity strange. He tried to make it true, and the truth turned out to be strange. The only style worth having is the one you can’t help. And this is especially true for strangeness.
It really made me nod my head.  To be an artist, a critic, an academic, a musician, a writer, a taster you have to be searching for the truth, you have to find authentic, whether its within yourself or outside, in any way you know how.  Ah yes, this is a good reminder.

Have a wonderful Friday everyone!  I'm looking forward to some nice family time.... 

Oh and btw- read this if you get a minute 
Time Lost and Found
Recommended by Sloe Gin Fizz by Nicole Ray- and it was just what I needed today:)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fun with Photoshop Elements

Hello all!  Been thinking of you all but very busy with my computer of late.  Jason may be ruing the day he purchased Photoshop Elements because my house has fallen into severe disarray and he's lucky if he gets a sentence out of me after Sam's in bed.  The trash needs to be taken out, the floors need to be vacuumed. Ehhh.  Who cares when there are pictures to doctor up?  I'm very dedicated.

So I've been taking photos from the past and working on them little by little.  I'm not sure what my ultimate goal is, but the process is fun.  First of all, lets just say that I have thought of inserting this picture, where ever mine might appear on more than one occasion:

Source: via Kaitlyn on Pinterest

But... alas I think someone might notice. I'm not above adding a little something to, uh, improve the overall aesthetic, if you know what I mean.  My current skill level only allows for whitened teeth and spray tan at the moment, but when I learn how to replace my body with, for example, Marilyn Monroe's I MAY just do that. No, no I won't, but its a funny thought.  Here's an example of my "work".  
Photo taken by Lindsi Stafford (I think)
 Now this one really makes me laugh- its kind of a "I am the only one that will think this is funny" laugh, but a laugh just the same.  There we are. Cuddly and happy- ready to welcome a little one. I put a spray tan on my face- but nothing crazy.  But look at those big ol' beaver teeth sparkling like mountain snow.  And Jason's face looks a little off, right?  I tried to smooth out the skin tone, but forgot to do the arms too.  So maybe I should try that one again.  Close but no cigar.  

This is one you may remember from our (bah! a year ago now) apple picking adventure. 
  Its an orange face only a mother could love.  But then I tried again:
 It looks pretty good, but not as good as it could.... the apples actually look better in the orange one.  Luckily, there were no eyes or teeth for me to mess with.  
 This one is cute as is, but I thought I'd try a little more

I have no idea what that stuff is in the corner.  I must have confused the heck out of the program.(hmmm.  why does that always happen? Am I really that confusing;)  I tried again and Sam looks better, but a little sickly.  The colors just aren't right.  

Thankfully one actually worked out---
I took this one the last time we visited Colorado. It looks pretty bland as is.  But with a little work it looks like this:
That one is going on my wall.
And that's all you ever wanted to know about me and photoshop;)  Any of you ever work with photoshop?  I find that ultimately its a real struggle to remain true to the photo, you know what I mean?  
Anyway.  Tootle loo, my darlings.  We'll catch up with you again soon....


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Say Hey- Michael Franti

Some feel good music for you.  Heard this in the car and I was dancing.  Thought I'd share the love....


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