"No matter where I serve my guests, it seems they like my kitchen best" -something I saw on my mom's kitchen wall as a kid, author unknown

Posts tagged ‘Hurray Screenies!’

Monday’s Potatoes

On Tuesday I started out with this plan to write about the OsmPotatoes I made for dinner on Monday night… somewhere along way the thought derailed into this hippie-love post for those who have been very influential to me lately. (Love you guys!) And then there was Wednesday… I wanted to get the scrap book out for you as promised… once again, putting the potatoes on the back burner. (lulz?) So today I give you OsmPotatoes! (fully illustrated with photos that made the making of said potatoes take TWICE as long – good thing Michael is patient!)

OsmPotatoes™

Firstly, start out with some firm taters, peel them and cut into bite-sized chunks. I can never remember what kind of potatoes I use… generally the ones from Idaho, I think – just not the ones you can buy in singles for the microwave. (That’s just weird, I think) Use the number of potatoes that will accommodate the meal that you are making… I used 6 in this example and it allowed for a few leftovers! (hurrah!)

Once your potatoes are peeled, cut and washed, soak them in a bath of slightly salty water on the stove… and boil! You will want to boil them to a firm, but not crunchy texture. Since I didn’t time it I have no idea how long it takes – also I was busy fiddling around with my camera… You don’t want them to be soft like you would for mashed potatoes or they will just fall apart in the next step and at that point, really, mashed potatoes would be a better choice.

While I was working on my photos making the potatoes, Michael was busy outside doing the grilling. (Something I stay away from) The grill is Michael’s domain. I think one time he said that grilling is therapeutic for him after an awful day at work (and, unfortunately, he has many of those) so I leave him to it. It’s pretty quiet out there, so I imagine it to be kind of like a zen time for him. Here is what he walked in the house with while my potatoes were STILL in the pot boiling. (I still deny that it was due to my trying to get a good picture to blog with…) He IS a grill master…

Okay so after fiddling with the camera and while the potatoes were still boiling I got to thinking about WHAT to season the yummy chunks of starchy goodness with… what I came up with was a mixture of Plain Bread Crumbs, unsalted herbal seasonings mix and about one or two teaspoons of salt to counter-act the unsalted herbs. (huh?!) I don’t know – it was what came to mind…

Anyway – I drained the taters and put them into a huge bowl and drenched them in butter… maybe about 1/2 cup worth. I just mixed the potatoes around until they were all well-coated. Once the tots were all glistening in buttery goodness, I poured the seasoning concoction over them and mixed – again until all the little chunks were coated. The aroma was divine and drew Michael into the kitchen from the living room. I hadn’t even gotten to the last step yet! It was a good sign… or maybe he was just really hungry and I was just taking way too long?

Once the potatoes were coated with seasons, I moved them to a frying pan on a high heat setting. The idea was to make them crunchy on the outside and to cook the butter IN to the chunks a bit. Also to brown the potatoes. It reminded me a bit of homefries… but for dinner. The frying took quite a bit longer than I had anticipated… I think it was due to the fact that I was frying SIX chunked potatoes in a smallish frying pan. Next time I will probably use the Wok or at least a larger frying pan… (I love my Wok, have I ever mentioned that?) The potatoes were a bit ornery and were refusing to brown… so I put the heat up a bit higher and added another tablespoon or so of butter to try to make the difference. When everything was done, this is what we ended up with:

Yes, I know there are no vegetables there – it’s not that we aren’t fans, we just forgot to make them and so skipped them this one time. My friend (and future house mate), Mark, insists it’s the Irish part of me… ha! I love making dinner with Michael. We turn out some pretty yummy stuff when we try. I’ll have to make sure to include adventures in partner cooking in future blogs.

Thanks for coming out today – if you try potatoes like this, let me know how they come out!

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Wednesday Scrap Book

It’s Wednesday and time to dig out the scrapbook! I’ve been trying to decide on what to share today and my eye keeps coming back to this image.

This was a beautiful horse I passed while driving through the country side in Illinois one day. There’s something about his expression that intrigues me… very intelligent eyes, I think.

I dressed this photo up a bit. It’s amazing what you can do with digital tools, I think. I fully enjoyed shooting pictures of the countryside and old buildings while in IL. I found that I really like to shoot rotted out, broken down old barns – I don’t know why. There is just something about them; so much history to learn from them – just to be there and soak it in. You can hope that in the quietness, the spirits that pass by on the wind will osmose their knowledge in to you.

I know I put a smaller version of this in yesterday’s post, but I felt like it needed its own space here in the scrap book. This was sunrise on a small dirt road that ran between two fields. You can just see the hint of frost still on the grass. The trees themselves really interest me. I see a few things, but the one thing that makes me giggle is that they look like they are pulling back in surprise at the one lone tree standing tall.

I shot this pretty thing while at the St. Louis Zoo with my family. Anyone with children (who have watched Sesame Street) will know that Bert LOVES pigeons. Most call them rats with wings, but I see the beauty that Bert sees. Look at the lovely colors around the neck and the striking markings on the wings. The orange of the eye contrasts so nicely – maybe it’s because purple, green and orange are my favorite colors that this bird is so glamorous to me…

That sky. THAT is what I absolutely love about Illinois. The sky goes on forever and ever and ever and ever and ever… you get my point. Having grown up in the beauty of Pennsylvania, surrounded with architecture (old and new), trees, and mountains, the beauty of Pure Sky is something that I immediately fell in love with. (Which, this picture FAR from does the Sky justice)

Thanks for coming out today and sharing my memories, and my attempts at “good photography”. Maybe next week I’ll post some of those broken old barns full of memory and intrigue!

Inspiration and Evolution: my blogging journey

Recently I’ve been inspired.

It’s a funny thing – inspiration – it comes about at the strangest of times and sometimes by the oddest of things. Some people think of this as a muse even. Sandy Ackers has a great blog and brings her muse into a lot of the posts I’ve read recently. MY muse has come to me in the form of fellow bloggers (Sandy being one), or perhaps more appropriately, their blogs.

My bff, Teresa was my first inspiration – back before she was my bff and before we were Altaholics-Anonymous even. Her writing NEVER fails to bring a smile to my face, or even a ‘LoL IRL’. Also, Apple – ever the word of encouragement, she’s always happy to offer up feedback or even play along when I’m writing improv. So a GREAT.BIG.THANKYOU and many more hugs to these two lovely ladies for their inspiration, great reads and continued support in my endeavor to become a better writer.

I love you guys!

 (Note: I do NOT think of you guys as elephants, or heffalumps even… I just could NOT resist the cuteness that IS this picture)

Debra is the better half of my friend Jim and I love her blog. One of her more recent posts has inspired me to be a more social blogger. Reading that post made me realize that other bloggers like to know that they are being read too. Also, who DOESN’T love some comments?! What a great, innovative way to meet new ‘pen pals’ of sorts. Thank you, Debra. (Also, I’m seriously delinquent on making some layouts for you… have you seen the new, highly customizable layout now offered right here in WP? – It’s the one I’m currently using though I’m still working on a custom background).

Touching back on Sandy’s blog for a moment… the passages I’ve read from Strangling My Muse have inspired me to write – not perfect. (Which is something I found to be a huge hinderance to me – even in constructing THIS post). I love the challenges she presents and have tried them out on more than one occasion – sometimes even more than once just to observe the different results. What a great resource for writers in general. Thank you, Sandy!

Another recent, interesting inspiration came from sssourabh. I found him on Freshly Pressed one day when he posted an interesting spin on a ‘Top 10’ list… yeah, you know the kind! Having recently read Debra’s post related to commenting, I felt particularly inclined to leave my mark. A wonderful thing happened – sssourabh, in return, not only responded to my comment but visited MY blog and made comments of his own. Wow, I thought, THIS must be what Debra was talking about! One of sssourabh’s comments was an encouragement to include more photos within my blogs. That comment had me grabbing up my somewhat dusty Nikon case and toting that thing with me EVERYWHERE. (Also, my phone camera has been getting a huge workout) If I was going to include photos in my blog, I wanted them to be my own. (note: I genuinely WANT to learn more about photography, but for some reason have been resistant to reading many books on the subject – I think I’d rather learn by doing with a mentor).

Incidentally, I’ve had an odd inspiration this week for a weirdly interesting photo study (if that’s what they are called)… I’m just not certain how to go about it as it would require a number of volunteers  – with facial hair… Any suggestions are very, very welcome.

While reading his recent post about chocolate, sssourabh encouraged me (likely without knowing) to put more thought into what I write. I read and re-read and re-read again his delicious descriptions – I love (and live very near) Philadelphia and had to applaud him for making me think of ‘my’ city in a whole new light… and the chocolate… his words had me tasting the chocolate and feeling it’s textures without taking one bite! Thank you, sssourabh, for some fantastically descriptive words and for inspiring me to pick up my camera again and shoot the world.

Thank you ALL for helping me to evolve as a writer and artist… your contributions, comments, feedback and just coming to read – whether you know it or not – have been very important and meaningful to me.

Thanks for visiting my kitchen today – and to think this post was supposed to be about the potatoes I made for dinner last night…

All photos are © of their creators. Links to the source are included.

Scrap Book Day – Episode Two

In the spirit of consistency, I think I’ll share my scrap book with everyone on Wednesdays. I found some pictures this past week that I shot in Illinois. (Have I mentioned how beautiful it is in Illinois?) I was going to share them out today, but I think I will wait until next week. What I’d like to share this week is the Ren Faire you’ve been hearing me go on SO much about. Unfortunately there are limited photos as I did not take my lovely ‘real’ camera into the faire. For two reasons really – one, I didn’t want to lug the thing around all day and two, who had lovely Nikons in the 17th century?! amirite? Anyway, I felt less bad pulling out my phone and snapping a few shots of the joust. Which, by the way, I think my phone does a terrific job for being a phone!

So, here is where we started – at home in front of the rose bush… and apparently the neighbors garbage can.

Getting Started

The small one didn’t go along with us this time, though she is well aware of where we were going. As soon as I donned my red skirt she asked, “Mommy, are we going to the faire?”

Here is us being super silly 🙂

Silliness!!

After arriving to the faire, we purchased a lovely bodice for Phoebs. It’s green and reversible to black if she decides to change the rest of her gear ever. Unfortunately I don’t yet have a photo of her wearing it. I’m not sure why I didn’t just shoot one of her with my phone. Hindsight? We decided that if we did nothing else that day that we would not only see the joust, but have amazing seats as well. We went to the field 30 mins early and watched the second half of the archery demonstration that was on just before the joust. Can I say – that guy was AMAZING.

I always love the joust. I think much of that love stems from my very first trip to the faire with my 7th grade history class. That day I shared my ice cream with a horse and bestowed a favor upon one of the rider’s lances before the fight. I felt immersed in the entire event as if I were really in the 17th century… only sporting the tall hair of the 80’s (yikes!) This day we were cheering for Sir William riding for the white and red and Sir Roderick riding for the black and gold. (They were the chivalrous knights vs. the other two who were out for bloodshed and death – exciting no?)

Sir Roderick

 

Sir William Dismounts the rider in Blue and Silver

The Knights We Cheered For

… and she had a great time (you can kind of see the bodice here – though obviously not to the full potential) The bright blue/purple (however your eyes see it) is the inside of her cloak. She was cold and using it as a blanket.

The Ride Home

 

It was a good day… full of quality time spent in 17th Century England.

Thanks for sharing my scrap book today.

Photo Op!

It’s scrap-book day!! =) Inspired by Debra’s amazing photos, I’ve decided to make today my scrap-book day. I may make every Wednesday scrap book day – I haven’t yet decided. You guys can let me know with your feedback, whether or not it’s a good idea. ❤

Something that I adore doing to destress and find myself among the sometimes chaotic debris of life is to take my camera and shoot things. (Which, I think is a better solution than shooting things with a gun?) I’m striving to take more and more interesting pictures as I grow my inner artist. These are a few of the pictures I took just after Michael got me my first Nikon.

…Except the first one… since Debra asked, and because I don’t have my faire pictures yet, here is a shot taken with a cell phone of me out at Rend Lake while I was in Illinois this past year.

Early morning at Lake Rend - Loving the icy breeze

My go-to place that I found some years ago, is a small, secluded lake near(ish) where I hail from. Here is a shot of where I usually stand to shoot photos over the lake.

I usually set my case and such on the picnic table and carry my tripod as close to the lake as I can get.

These cattails are actually in the photo above as well… they are just mixed in with all of the other brush.

These are some lovely, frozen cattails I shot while experimenting with focus.

Earlier in the year when I was staying in Illinois, I would get up very early to watch the sunrise over Rend Lake and watch the wildlife begin to stir. (Whatever wildlife was willing to come out in the icy weather) One of my favorite mornings was when I was early enough to watch the sun slide lazily up over the horizon as if struggling to wake. Here is just one shot that I took as it was finally almost completely over the horizon.

There's nothing more peaceful than listening to the tiny waves of a lake wash gently over the rocks of the shore while silently watching the sun rise.

Here is a photo I shot in early January while visiting my friends in Colorado Springs. I am very very excited to be moving to a place where I have such great friends and that it is so full of amazing beauty is a major bonus.

Breath taking view of the Rocky Mountains from a small road... somewhere... near(ish) Pike's Peak

Speaking of great friends… Here is Mark feeding his poor poor Jeep my Fiji water…

Please note that the car ran VERY WELL after consuming my Water of OSM

I do have more photos to share, but I think I’ll leave them for another day. Let me know if you enjoyed this feature, and I’ll see about posting 4-5 photos each Wednesday from the digital scrap-book.

Thanks for visiting today!

Autumn Is…

Splashes of color – watercolors if you will, as it tends to be rainy.

Time for sweaters and sweatshirts and snuggly, warm blankets.

Camp fires and marshmallows.

Harvest celebrations.

Earthy tones and smells reminding us where we came from and enriching the spirit.

Apples – both crisp and cooked – and even pressed for cider mmmm…

Leaves that have fallen provide endless hours of entertainment for children.

Time for family and friends coming together closely, intimately.

A season to reflect back on the events of the year; learn from our mistakes and celebrate our victories.

A time to begin change, so that when her sister Spring arrives, there can be fresh growth.

A time when the earth’s children give back to her to help her rejuvenate.

One of my favorite times of year…

Thanks for coming out today and thank you to Apple for the Autumn Inspiration – what is your favorite time of year, and why?

Thought Hodgepodge and MOAR Apples!

Well, sadly, I will not have my Phoeb’s outfit ready for the faire tomorrow. I wish I had mice… you know, like the ones in Cinderella. Or perhaps a resident Apple… she’s good at that sewing thing. I have two more weeks to get it done so that she can wear it this season. Also, she said she would like to take it to her dad’s for halloween. (“no pressure, mom”)

Do you like the music? That’s my Fiona Apple station playing – I really enjoy her sound as well as the other musicians that pop up on her channel especially Regina Spektor. Also, I can sing along with most of them and not break my windows… (this is not to say that the singing is GOOD, just… not window shattering)

Also, Apple’s family has apparently loved the bread recipe so much that she’s baking loaves TWO times each week! (Fortunately she’s not baking for the whole place yet… though I suspect that perhaps there would be fewer loaves of bread in the freezer than there are cupcakes – I wonder if she could make the bread pink…)

I’m a little nervous for the Ren Faire tomorrow, guys… We’re having a group going and I’m going to be the only one in period garb. I wonder if they will think it’s weird… or awesome. Either way I’m doing it. The Ren Faire is ‘my’ thing, and they are coming with me – so I’m not going to do anything differently. Although, my sister in law DID say she’d go in dress also – IF she had something. Maybe next year. (Which, I plan to get to the faire at least once before moving to CO next year… and maybe even planning my vacation visits home around attending the faire… maybe I can drag Teres with me…)

Speaking of Colorado… let’s bring it back to coffee. I have Wawa and Dunkin here in PA… and where will I go in Colorado? I *can* make coffee, but it tends to not be quite as good as the Wawa or Dunkin coffees. I’m not certain if that is because *I* am not making it, or if it’s just because I make it poorly when I do. I wonder if I will be able to buy Wawa coffee from online and have it shipped… No no no, not the steaming hot cup of coffee, silly! The ground coffee – so that I can put it into my coffee maker and pretend I still have a local Wawa. (despite the fact that the quality will not be as good.) Maybe I’ll petition the Wawa corporate office to plop a wawa on a corner near my new residence in Colorado – think they’ll go for it? I think it would go over well. Really!

Giver of Life