What We Would Miss

A Snowy Stroll at Sunset - January, 2018 - Mars PA

A Snowy Stroll at Sunset – January, 2018 – Mars PA

What We Would Miss.

If we didn’t go out
to explore
or saunter
or simply to
unwind,

think of
all the
things we
would
miss.

Walking
isn’t always
just about
the exercise
for our body.

It can
also be
a break
for our
mind.

An opportunity
to commune
spiritually
with oneself
and nature.

If I didn’t allow
myself
the gift
to get out
and walk,

this
one
beautiful
moment
in
time…

Look
what
I would
have
missed.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Dealing with Change

Icicle - Dealing with Change - Mars PA January 2018

Icicle – Dealing with Change – Mars PA January 2018

Dealing with Change.

If you
think
you can’t

deal
with
change,

think of
the drop
of water

who froze
in
midair

when the
brutally
cold wind

met
it.

It became
an
intricate flake

that
landed
on the rooftop

and joined
the
others

to form
a
soft

white,
fluffy
blanket.

Then
the sun
came out

and
warmed
it

just
enough

to create
a crystal
clear,

hard,
solid
icicle.

The sun
grew
warmer yet,

and
the icicle
melted.

The
drop of
water

fell
to the
earth

and
watered
the ground

where
the tree
grew

that
provided
shade

when
the sun
grew

even
warmer
yet.

It went
through
all that,

and
remained
beautiful

in
every
stage.

If a
drop of
water

can manage
through
all that,

You, too,
can
deal

with
change.

Cheers & Hugs,

Jodi

Orange Flowers for Benjamin

Orange Flowers for Benjamin 11×14 Watercolor 140lb Cold Press

Orange Flowers for Benjamin.

Some of you may remember my little friend Benjamin.  He is the sweet little guy, who reads my blog with his “Gem” most every day and was a huge inspiration to me in writing my book, Klaus the Mouse, and other Silly Animal Animal Tales (available on Amazon here).

Well, the other day when I posted my Blue Reflections painting, Benjamin told Gem,  “It is a pretty blue picture, but can my Jodi do orange too?”

Apparently, orange is Benjamin’s favorite color.  So, though I didn’t do the same painting in orange, I did paint some orange flowers I hope my Benjamin will enjoy when he visits here with Gem next week.

Orange is such a happy, cheerful color!

According to Color Wheel Pro:

Orange combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow. It is associated with joy, sunshine, and the tropics. Orange represents enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, and stimulation.

To the human eye, orange is a very hot color, so it gives the sensation of heat. Nevertheless, orange is not as aggressive as red. Orange increases oxygen supply to the brain, produces an invigorating effect, and stimulates mental activity. It is highly accepted among young people. As a citrus color, orange is associated with healthy food and stimulates appetite. Orange is the color of fall and harvest. In heraldry, orange is symbolic of strength and endurance.

Orange has very high visibility, so you can use it to catch attention and highlight the most important elements of your design.

Well…. no wonder my Benjamin loves orange!

Wishing you all an “orange” kinda day!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

This painting and others available at McKinneyx2Designs.

A Winter Warbler Watercolor

Yellow (rumped) Warbler in Winter Watercolor 11×14 140 lb cold press

A Winter Warbler Watercolor

I was looking at some beautiful photos on Mike Powell’s Photography Blog the other day of a fluffy little yellow-rumped warbler he spotted eating berries in the frigid winter weather at the Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Reserve in Virginia this month.

He was so cute, I asked Mike if I could paint one of his photos.  He kindly obliged.  My watercolor doesn’t do justice to the beauty of the bird or the magnificent shot Mike caught, but it was fun to do.  It’s been a while since I painted a bird.  And this little guy had his fluffiest coat on in the frigid temperatures we’ve been experiencing in the Northeast part of the United States lately, which made him just too irresistible for me to resist.

Thanks for giving me a shot at him Mike, and I hope you all might find some time to  check out Mike’s lovely photography blog.   And if you really love bird photos, you must also check out Kathy’s blog at Backyard Bird Nerd.  Kathy has the best backyard birds I’ve ever seen.  She claims one of her secrets is the bark butter.  I think every bird on the planet would like to live in Kathy’s backyard!

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Best Ever Apple Fritter Cake

Best Ever Apple Fritter Cake.

So… this happened the other day…. this absolutely amazing “cake” that is like a pan full of apple fritters.

O M G!

It might not be the healthiest or quickest or easiest to make….

but it is sooo worth it!

With all the snow and colds and flu and healing going on around here…. we needed some serious comfort food.  We needed the house to feel warm and smell wonderful.
We needed some sweetness.  We needed some yummy for our tummy.

Everyone I’ve shared this with pretty much moaned with delight.

And I am right now trying to ignore it calling me from the fridge!  (Eat me…. you know you want me…)


If you are in the mood to treat yourself….

Or need to treat yourself…

Look no further!

Here is the recipe that I slightly tweaked from Cookies and Cups.

Best Ever Apple Fritter Cake

Ingredients:Fillings:

  • 2 cups peeled and diced apples (I used 2 large Gala – use your favorite!)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar + 1 tsp cinnamon

Cake:

  • 1/3 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup chunky applesauce
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (or you can use sour cream)

Glaze:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

Fillings:

Combine apples, granulated sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch, and water in a medium saucepan.  Heat on medium-high heat for approximately 5 minutes until apples soften and a syrup forms.  Set aside.

Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl, and set aside as well.

Cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Blend butter and sugar for 3 minutes with electric mixer until fluffy.  Add applesauce, vanilla, and eggs, and mix until combined.  Gently mix in baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Finally, add flour and Greek yogurt in alternating parts (flour, yogurt, flour, yogurt).  Mix until just combined.

Spread half of the cake in an Deep Dish Baking Stone (or your favorite 10-12 inch round or square or 11×13 rectangle baking dish).  Top with all of apple filling to cover batter.  Sprinkle with 2/3 of the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture.  Add remaining cake batter and top with remaining 1/3 brown sugar/cinnamon.

Bake approximately 30 minutes until center of cake is set, but do not overbake.

Glaze:

While cake is baking, prepare glaze by mixing powdered sugar, milk and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth.

As soon as cake is removed from oven, poke holes using a butter knife or wooden spoon handle all over the cake – 20-30 pokes.  Pour glaze over the top, spreading to cover completely and allowing to soak in the holes and edges.

Allow glaze to set approximately 20 minutes, and cake is ready to serve warm.  Also very good refrigerated cold – just depends on your preference.  (In our case, hubby likes it warm, and I adore it cold!)

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Blue Reflections

Blue Reflections Watercolor – Cerulean and Indigo – 11×14 140lb cold press

Blue Reflections.

Baby boys turned into men.
The future in my granddaughter’s eyes.
The color of the ice caps over Mount Denali.
The color of the sea in St. Marten.
Scoring Boardwalk and Park Place in Monopoly.
Moonlight and starlight in the forest.
Dipping soft sable hair into cerulean and indigo watercolor.
Blue reflections creating magic.

I so enjoyed creating this watercolor painting! I splashed a bit and walked away for a while. I came back and added some more, and walked away again.  And then I did it again.  It was so exciting to come back and see what magic happened, and I so love how it turned out.  When I look at it, I think blue…. and memories flood my heart.

And I smile.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Quick & Easy Egg Roll Lettuce Wraps

Egg Roll Lettuce Wraps.

I am so excited to share this recipe!

A friend on Facebook recently shared a recipe for a Sausage Egg Roll Bowl that had me so intrigued…

and so hungry….

that i couldn’t wait to try.

All the yummy ingredients of an egg roll without the deep fried wrapper in a bowl sounded divine!

But then I thought……  how about wrapping it in crisp Romaine lettuce leaves and making it into yummy, healthy, quick, and easy Egg Roll Lettuce Wraps?!

What I loved, and I think you will too, is how FAST and EASY this recipe is – especially for how DELICIOUS it is!

This is definitely a 20-minute meal from start to finish.  Who isn’t looking for one of these a few times a week?!

And there are so many possibilities for changing it up…  switch out chicken or turkey sausage for the pork sausage…  add raisins or craisins….  add walnuts or slivered almonds…  add chopped sweet red peppers or crisp celery or mushrooms…

I think the key ingredients to this recipe are the soy sauce (low-sodium!) and the sesame oil (I used Trader Joe’s Toasted Sesame Oil).

I am a salt LOVER, but I only buy low-sodium soy sauce (believe it or not).  If you want the full flavor of soy sauce without all the sodium, you will love low-sodium soy sauce.  In fact – you can add more flavor!  You can always add a dash of salt later if you really think it needs, but you can never take away too much of a salty flavor.

Here is the recipe as I slightly tweaked and made into a wrap!

I hope you will try, and I hope you love as much as I did!

Quick & Easy Egg Roll Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients1 lb bulk sausage (pork, chicken, turkey)

  • 1 14-oz bag Fresh Express Cole Slaw Shredded Cabbage & Carrots Mix
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1-2 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 bunch fresh Romaine Lettuce

Directions

Cook sausage in a large stir-fry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often to crumble, until fully cooked.

Add cabbage mix, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce.  Cook for 3-4 minutes until cabbage has softened a bit.

Remove from heat and top with green onions and drizzle with sesame oil.  Stir to combine.

Serve over a bed of fresh romaine leaves or scoop into leaves to serve.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi