Pink Apricot Watercolor Tulips

Pink Apricot Watercolor Expressionist Tulips - 8 x 10 Fabriano 140 lb Cold Press

Pink Apricot Watercolor Expressionist Tulips – 8 x 10 Fabriano 140 lb Cold Press

Pink Apricot Watercolor Tulips.

I found a few extra moments to steal away to my art studio this past weekend.

I felt like painting some tulips – inspired by our recent trip to Phipps Conservatory‘s Spring Flower Show.

I gave this one a couple tries before I finally decided I liked this version.  I started too tight and too “literal.”  I so admire folks who paint things that look exactly like real life, but it is not my passion.   In my first go, I tried much to hard to replicate the photo.  I then loosened up a bit and created this version that more represents the beauty I felt looking at the tulips.

To me, this painting speaks Joy and Happiness and Life.

And that is what I am feeling this week as we count down the days in wedding week!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Daniel Smith Watercolor Paints used:  Rhodonite Genuine, Cadmium Yellow Light, Green Gold, Perylene Green

Paper:  Fabriano Artistico 140lb Cold Press

It’s What’s on the Inside that Counts

I received one of the most precious gifts yesterday from my BFF, Jill…. this darling little clutch purse for the wedding.

What is so special about it is what is on the inside.

From the outside, it is absolutely gorgeous!

But when I opened it up, I burst into tears.

The lining is made from a photo of hubby and me with our soon-to-be-groom son (taken at our oldest son’s wedding from 3 1/2 years ago!)

Isn’t this such a beautiful gift?  What a wonderful idea for brides, bridesmaids, mothers of brides and grooms!  Such a unique and personal gift.  Jill ordered it from AngeeW’s ETSY shop.

And clever, beautiful, kind Jill, wrote this beautiful note.

I don’t know how I hit the lottery on most amazing BFF and friends, but I am so grateful!  And what a wonderful reminder to all of us that it IS indeed what’s on the  inside that counts.

Especially as we grow older and all the “lovely” saggy, wrinkly, things begin to happen we need not discuss, it is especially important to remember who we are on the inside.

No matter our age, gender, ethnicity, physical appearance – we all have the ability to exude a bright, loving aura.  Have you ever noticed how a person who is maybe just average looking but has a bright, positive, happy, loving disposition seems so much more beautiful?  And sometimes people who are especially physically attractive, but not kind people can become unattractive?

I love how Jill expresses it….  she sees a person’s “aura!”

Let’s make a focused effort this week (and always) to look for a person’s aura – and remember that it is what’s on the inside that counts.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

Lemon Crinkle Cookies.

Amidst all the chocolate and peanut butter and pecans and raspberry and apricot, we needed a fresh, bright, citrusy, spring cookie for the wedding cookie table.

This light, delicate Lemon Crinkle Cookie is just the ticket!

A tangy zip of lemon juice and zest in a small little puff rolled in powdered sugar and “crinkled” will make a lovely  contrast in flavor and color.

It’s wedding week, and we are so excited!

Hope you will give this lovely cookie a try.

And while we are talking about cookies…. my friend Sherrie told me a joke this week that I thought would be fun to share given all the cookie recipes I’ve been sharing lately….

Why did the cookie go to the hospital?

……………………………………………………………………………….Because it was feeling crummy! 😝😝😝🍪

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 Tbsp freshly grated lemon zest (2 large lemons)
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (from same 2 lemons)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • A couple drops of yellow food coloring
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 1/4 ups flour
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (to roll cookies in before baking)

Directions:

In the mixing bowl of electric stand mixer, combine cream cheese and butter until creamy and smooth.  Beat in sugar, lemon zest and juice, vanilla and lemon extract, food coloring and salt.  Mix until well combined, light and fluffy.  Add egg and egg yolk and beat for 1-2 minutes on medium until creamy and light.

Gradually add in baking powder and flour on low speed until just incorporated.  Dough will be quite sticky.  Cover bowl and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Roll dough into 1 inch round balls and then roll in powdered sugar.  Place balls about 2 inches apart on baking stone or cookie sheet.  Bake 10-12 minutes until cookies puff and crinkle.  Do not overbake.  Cookies should not brown.  Cool completely on wire rack.  Cookies are wonderful when frozen or refrigerated for a “cool” taste. 

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

A Walk in the Woods

A Walk in the Woods Watercolor - 8x10 Fabriano 140lb Cold Press

A Walk in the Woods Watercolor – 8×10 Fabriano 140lb Cold Press

A Walk in the Woods.

I took some time one evening this week
to splash some paint in a way that is a challenge to me – landscape.

Not allowing myself to get bogged down in the details,
and following the inspiration of Andrew Geeson once again,

I created this little painting I call
“A Walk in the Woods.”

One week from today, a very special couple –
our youngest son and our future daughter-in-law

will be taking a very important walk…
A walk down the aisle.

A walk into a new life.
A shared life.

A lifetime commitment
to each other.

I am so happy for them
and cannot wait to share in this walk with them.

Love you dearly
Nick and Liz!

Cheers & Hugs,
Mom

And Happy Earth Day!  A landscape painting is only fitting for #EarthDay!

Fresh Strawberry & Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

Fresh Strawberry & Lemon Poppy Seed Cake.

If you know me at all, you know Poppy Seed Cake is my favorite of all cakes.

Unusual to most I’m guessing, but most significant to me because my Grandma always made it for my birthday (New Year’s Eve) since everyone is just about over it with sweets by then after the holidays.

I had some fresh strawberries that were on the verge of going bad and lemon on the brain from a cookie I was making for the wedding cookie table, so I decided to whip up and “zip” up a poppy seed cake for Easter Sunday.

A bit of tart and sweet lemon zest in the batter along with chunks of juicy red-ripe strawberries and a thin lemon glaze really “Spring”ed up my usual wintertime poppy seed cake craving.

Hubby loved his with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and an extra handful of fresh strawberries on top.

If you are looking for a fresh, not too sweet, but yummy Spring cake to serve, give this one a try.  It is truly delightful!

Fresh Strawberry & Lemon Poppy Seed Cake*

  • Servings: 1 marvelous cake
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped
  • 1/4  cup poppy seeds
  • Glaze:
    • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • 2 Tbsp milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Grease and flour a fluted cake pan or your favorite.

In a large bowl, beat together the melted butter, sugar, and lemon zest.  Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating.  Add milk, yogurt and vanilla next.  Stir in dry ingredients until combined.  Gently stir in strawberries and poppy seeds.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until cake test inserted comes out clean.

Prepare glaze by mixing lemon juice and powdered sugar until sugar is completely dissolved, then stir in milk until smooth.   Set aside.

Cool cake for at least 20 minutes before drizzling with glaze.

Serve with additional fresh strawberries and ice cream, if desired.  

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

*Adapted from a recipe found on BakerbyNature.com

The Colors of Spring

The Colors of Spring.

Tulips in Apricot…

and Crimson…

and bright, sunny Yellow.

Daffodils and Hyacinths in soft pastels of Coral and White.

A strikingly perfect Purple Delphinium.

Azaleas in bursts of Orange.

And the delicate Pink of this flower I do not know the name of that I call the snake flower.

Just a few of the beautiful colors of Spring soaked in at a brief stroll through the last days of the Spring Flower Show at Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, PA this past weekend.

Such a sight for sore winter eyes.

Happy Spring!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

The Gift

A sweet little Momma
surprised me with this little plant.

A Lavender Plant!!
With a special secret note.

She always pays such attention
and remembers the littlest things.

A thank you gift?
Not sure who is thanking who.

For the honor of spending Fridays
with a sweet little granddaughter.

If only she knew….
I would pay her for the privilege!

SSSHHH!
Don’t tell her!

Love you Colleen!
When I grow up, I want to be just like you!

Cheers & Hugs,
Mom M.

 

Buckeye Balls

Buckeye Balls.

Calling all chocolate and peanut butter lovers!  Another must-have “staple” at any Pittsburgh wedding cookie table is the Buckeye Ball!

These delectable little creamy peanut butter delights coated in dark chocolate are called Buckeye Balls because they look like Buckeye nuts and originated in Ohio – the Buckeye state.

Simple, but absolutely delish, this is cookie #9 on my wedding cookie table list.   The freezer is filling up fast, and the wedding date is closing in on us!  Cookie baking continues.

Here’s the recipe.  Hope you will give them a try.

Buckeye Balls

  • Servings: approx. 6 doz.
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 lb. dark chocolate, melted

Directions:

Mix peanut butter and butter in a bowl with wooden spoon until creamy.  Blend in vanilla.  Add powdered sugar, and stir until incorporated and a stiff mixture forms.

Roll teaspoon-sized pieces into balls, and place on wax paper lined cookie sheet or cutting board.  Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Melt chocolate in narrow deep container in microwave for 1 minute and then at 30 second intervals until smooth.  Using a wooden skewer, dip balls into chocolate all but for a bit at top.  Place on waxed paper lined cookie sheet.  Allow to cool completely and chocolate to harden.  Smooth over hole created by skewer with a small spatula or your clean finger.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Wedding Cookie List Baking so far:

  1. Jodi’s Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies
  2. Hershey Kiss Brownie Bites
  3. Pecan Tassies
  4. Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
  5. Pecan Sandies
  6. Carrot Cake Thumbprints
  7. Raspberry Dark Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
  8. Apricot Kolaches
  9. Buckeye Balls

 

 

 

Bleeding Heart

Bleeding Heart.

Each year when you* bloom –
my favorite flower of all –
you gift me with the pause to remember
the life to celebrate,
the grandma to honor,
the sweet memories to cherish.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

*This bleeding heart plant is over 25 years old and has lived and thrived at two different homes for me.  It was a gift from my grandma that will move with me wherever I live.  It is just one of several sweet special “things” I cherish because they were a part of her that lives on with me.  Love you Grandma!  It’s Springtime – one of your faves!