Pumpkin it up around the House

Pumpkin it up around the House.

The heat wave finally broke yesterday around here, and it is beginning to feel like Fall!

This year I added a few new pumpkins to my collection in the form of pillows with my watercolor artwork on.

I decided to add a few of my art pieces to a McKinneyX2Designs Society6 shop to see how it would turn out.  I’m pretty thrilled with the quality of the pillows and pouches I ordered.

Besides that are some of my collection through the years, including signs and rustic pumpkins made by my DIL for our McKinneyX2 Etsy Shop and on display at Berry Vine Gifts in Bradford Woods (which by the way is holding a Fall Festival this weekend where I will be working this afternoon!)

I have pumpkins at the front door…

and at the back door.

There are pumpkins here..

and there…

and everywhere!

I’m hoping to add a few more to my collection today at the Fall Festival,

because I still have some pumpkin-less spaces!

If you would like to see more of my art on pillows and pouches and cups and mugs and notebooks and iPhone cases, and even furniture, check it out here:  Mx2 Society6.   There’s even a great Fall sale going on.  We also have some super new stuff added to our ETSY shop so you can Pumpkin it up around the house!

Happy Fall Y’All!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Fresh Red Raspberry Pie

Fresh Red Raspberry Pie.

Before we fully embrace all things pumpkin and apple and cinnamon and spice for Fall, I decided to slide in one  last “Summery” pie for the season a week or so ago when my youngest son and his wife came over for dinner (knowing this is one of his faves).

Fresh red raspberries are such a treat all by themselves, but baked to overflowing  with a bit of tapioca inside a tender flaky pastry crust is pretty close to heaven.

Fresh red raspberries used to be a rare find in our part of the world, but they are quite prolific in the grocery stores year-round now.  Buying enough for a pie can be a bit pricey, but worth it for a treat every once in a while.

Grandma always said the only way to know when a berry pie is done is when it bubbles over into the oven, so that is how I gauge the time too!

Here is my simple, old-fashioned recipe.

Fresh Red Raspberry Pie

Ingredients:

Pie Crust:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • Heaping 2/3 cup Crisco shortening
  • 2 dashes of salt (12 shakes)
  • Approx. 1 cup cold water

Filling:

  • 5 cups fresh red raspberries
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 Tbsp tapioca
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 dash salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Prepare filling by blending raspberries, sugar, tapioca, lemon juice, and salt in a bowl.  Let sit while you prepare crust.

Prepare crust by blending flour, Crisco, and salt in a large bowl with a pastry blender until crumbly.  Add cold water and gently mix just until able to form a ball.  Divide dough in half, and put one half on floured surface to roll out.

IMPORTANT:  Do not overwork the dough.  It is not bread dough that needs kneaded.  The more you “work” pie crust, the tougher it will become.  The less you play with it, the more tender and flaky it will be.

Roll out first half using heavy floured marble rolling pin into a circle large enough to fill 9″ pie pan.  Lift it from the surface to your pie pan by folding it into quarters, then unfold it in the pan letting it hang over edges.

Roll out other half of dough into rectangle and cut into 8 strips to weave into a lattice topping.

Pour filling into bottom crust.  Top with 4 strips going same direction.  Weave by lifting two alternating and place one the opposite direction, the lifting the other two, and repeating.  Pinch top to bottom doughs together all around edges.

A nice finishing tough is to brush crust with some water and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Cover edges of the pie with strips of aluminum foil or a pie crust shield (the most GENIUS invention ever in my baking opinion!)

Bake in 425 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 375 degrees F, and bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbly, about 30 minutes more.

Serve warm or cold topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Tedrick the Teddy Bear

Tedrick the Teddy Bear Christmas Watercolor -11×14

Tedrick the Teddy Bear.

Loosely splashing,
I set out to create.

A brown bear, I thought,
was what I would make.

But, as so often happens,
my heart took over

And decided to speak
through my hands.

Looking me in the eyes,
what appeared instead,

and begging me to
bring him to life,

was a teddy bear.

So I named him Tedrick.

I looked at him
and smiled.

And I thanked him
for showing himself to me.

From my heart to yours….

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

 

Easy Fresh Homemade Salsa

Easy Fresh Homemade Salsa.

I LOVE salsa!

And this time of year when tomato plants in our gardens are overflowing with more tomatoes than we can eat, it is the perfect time to make fresh salsa.

It is so easy to make and so healthy and versatile for snacking or cooking.  I love dipping tortilla chips in it for snack.  It is also my favorite baked potato topping.  Skip the butter and sour cream for me, and pile on the salsa!  Throw frozen skinless, boneless chicken breasts in a crockpot on low, top with a pint of salsa, and ignore it for 8 hours.  Return for a delicious, nutritous main course of Salsa Chicken.

There are gajillion ways to make salsa.  You can add corn and black beans for a heartier twist.  You can add chopped peaches or mango for a sweeter twist.  You can add jalapenos or your favorite spicy, hot peppers if heat is your style!

What are your favorite ways to enjoy salsa?

Here is how I made it this past weekend.

Fresh Homemade Salsa

  • Servings: approx. 6 cups
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 Ripe Tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 10 oz. can Rotel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chiles
  • 1/2 Large Vidalia Sweet Onion, quartered
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
  • Fresh Cilantro (or dried) to taste
  • 3 green onions, cut into pieces
  • Juice of a fresh Lime
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp Maldon Sea Salt Flakes or your favorite salt

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a food processor.  Pulse several times until desired chopped consistency.  Serve immediately or store in a jar or airtight container in refrigerator for up to several weeks.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Weathered

Weathered Barn along a Country Road in Western Pennsyvlania

Weathered.

The stories this weathered barn
could tell
are likely
more than we can imagine.

Much like the lines
on beautiful, weathered faces
we appreciate so much…
(until they are our own).

On a day like September 11th,
which in the U.S. has become known as 911,
we cherish weathered barns
and weathered faces.

Remembering and honoring those
who didn’t survive
the opportunity
to grow to become weathered.

Cherish the moments.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Painting Pumpkins

Abstract Pumpkin Watercolor 11×14

Painting Pumpkins.

Lest you think I just skipped over Autumn and Pumpkin time to Christmas from my last post, know I have pumpkin on the brain!

Last weekend, when I found some time to spend in my art studio, I painted the below painting first….

I thought it was “Mehhh…”

Pumpkins & Sunflower Watercolor 11×14

Then I let loose and painted the first one.

Simple….
but powerful
and satisfying.

This is my favorite way to paint.

Let loose!
Express yourself…
in bold, but simple ways.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Red Lantern in Snowy Woodland

Red Lantern in Snowy Woodland Watercolor 11×14

Red Lantern  in Snowy Woodland Watercolor.

When it is 109 days until Christmas….  (woohoo!)
and  105  days until the first day of Winter….  (while I paint in shorts in air conditioning)
and 72 days until the Mars Fall/Holiday Craft Show…. (the biggest, greatest craft show in our area!)

I can’t help but get a teensy bit excited for snow…
and Christmas…
and holiday decorating.

And I had so much fun painting this wintery scene
while early September temperature hovered in the 90s,
but Autumn sunsets and breezes tantalized and teased.

And I dreamed of the warm glow
and frosty blanketed beauty
of a White Christmas.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

McKinneyX2Designs

MarsFallCraft Show

Roasted Carrot Soup

Roasted Carrot Soup.

One day last week I woke up with a sore throat.

And even though the temps lately have been in the 80-90 degrees F range, there is a feeling of Autumn in the air.

In the mood for soup, I decided to create a roasted carrot soup with some vegies I had in the fridge.

It turned out SOOOO good!

I mean – how can you go wrong with roasted vegetables that include onion and garlic and fresh rosemary pureed into a creamy, warm, soothing soup?

You could add some greek yogurt or cream to make it even creamier, but I loved the freshness and healthiness of this soup that tastes like it is loaded with calories, but instead is low-calorie and loaded with flavor!

Hope you will give it a try.  I loved how it turned out!

Roasted Carrot Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. bag organic short cut carrots
  • 1 stalk celery, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, cut into chunks
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, chunked
  • 1 large sprig fresh rosemary, minced
  • Maldon Sea Salt Flakes * (which I purchase through Amazon)
  • Freshly Ground Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Croutons for garnish (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Layer first 8 ingredients in a large stoneware bar pan or shallow roasting pan.  Drizzle liberally with olive oil, and toss to coat.  Roast 30-40 minutes.

Transfer roasted vegetables to a pot.  Add chicken broth.  Blend with Immersion Blender or in food processor or blender until creamy.  (I love using an immersion blender as it is quick, efficient, and easy to clean up.)

Ladle into bowls, and top with croutons if desired.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

*I have become such a huge fan of Maldon Sea Salt!  I’ve always been a salt lover, but these soft, flaky sea salt crystals have a clean salt flavor without the bitter after taste that table salts I’ve always used in the past leave.  It truly provides a freshness that enhances the flavor of food.  I so highly recommend it!  It not only tastes wonderful,  but it is also beautiful to season with.  AND, as a watercolor artist, I love it to use to create textures in my artwork!  I keep mine in a cute little bamboo salt box on the kitchen counter next to the stovetop for ease of grabbing pinches of for cooking.  Bravo Maldon!!  (and this is not a paid promotion in any way, shape, or form – I just seriously love this stuff!)