Fresh Blueberry, Pistachio, & Edamame Salad with Goat Cheese

Fresh Blueberry, Pistachio, & Edamame Salad with Goat Cheese.

Summer is such a glorious time of fresh bounty.

Salads become meals made from fresh fruits and vegetables.  Like this yummy salad I made for lunch one day with some plump sweet and tart blueberries, crunchy pistachios, protein and fiber-rich edamame, and creamy crumbled goat cheese piled on a bed of greens.

All of this drizzled with a honey red wine vinaigrette is heaven in a bowl!

What is your favorite summer salad?  There are so many wonderful combinations and possibilities!

Fresh Blueberry, Pistachio, & Edamame Salad with Goat Cheese

Ingredients:

  • Mixed Greens (Kale, Arugula, Spinach Swiss Chard – any of your faves)
  • Fresh Blueberries
  • Pistachio Nuts, shelled
  • Edamame, shelled
  • Goat Cheese, crumbled
  • Green Onions, chopped (optional)
  • Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing (homemade or your fave – this is how I make mine – it will make more than you need for one salad) 
    • 1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
    • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
    •  Tbsp Honey
    • Salt & Pepper

Directions:

In a bowl, place a handful of mixed greens.  Top with fresh blueberries, pistachios, edamame, goat cheese, and green onions (if desired).  Drizzle with Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

On Hospitality

Pineapple Watercolor 11x16 Artistico Fabriano 140lb

Pineapple Watercolor 11×16 Artistico Fabriano 140lb

On Hospitality…

“True Hospitality
is when people leave
feeling better about
themselves –
not better about
you.”
– – Shauna Niequist

My hope is that all who enter my home leave feeling better about themselves.
Better because they felt welcomed….. loved…….. and comfortable.
Better because their bellies were filled with yummy food.
Better because we shared good wine or good coffee.
Better because we laughed.
Better because we could be our authentic selves.
Better because we shared and created memories.
Better because they know they are always welcomed back.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Watercolor Pineapple – a sign of hospitality – using Daniel Smith Cadmium Yellow, Quinacridone Gold, Burnt Umber, Olive Green, Perylene Green on 11×16 Artistico Fabriano 140lb Cold Press.

 

Don’t Let the Grass Grow Under Your Feet

Grass Flip Flops – Don’t let the grass grow under your feet

Don’t Let the Grass Grow Under Your Feet.

After getting a total kick out of these grass flip flops I spotted in a gift shop in Sedona   and seeing where someone who lives in the desert southwest might enjoy these, they reminded me of this saying Grandma used to say.

“Don’t let the grass grow under your feet!”

Some of her other favorites included, “Make hay while the sun shines,” and “Work before pleasure.”

I can still hear her saying these in my head, and it makes me smile.

Grandma only went to school until fourth grade before she had to stay home and take care of her brothers after the passing of her mother.    At the age of nine, she also did the cooking and cleaning and laundry (long before automatic washers and dryers, microwaves, and vacuum cleaners) while her dad worked in the coal mine.

Can we even image any of our children at the age of 9 doing this today?  Not that I would recommend it!

Though she lacked formal education, she had more common sense and a stronger work ethic than anyone I’ve known.  There is nothing she wouldn’t try doing – including electrical work!

She taught me many things.  Things you don’t learn in school.

She taught me the important “stuff!”

But most of all she loved me with a love I still feel today.

My grandma has been gone for over 20 years, but she is still my guiding light in so many ways every day.  Now that I am a grandma, I can only hope that I will have the same impact on my grandchild(ren).

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Ethereal

Ethereal.

Everything changes
when you allow yourself
to be you.

Not the you
everyone
thinks you should be.

Not the you
you think
everyone wants you to be.

But when
you allow yourself
to be you…

You embody
the light
that is you

through the fog
that is
the world.

Be the light
that is you
to the world.

When you are real
you become
Ethereal.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Apricot Glazed Pork Tenderloin

Apricot Glazed Pork Tenderloin.

Pork lovers get ready to swooooon!  This might be the most delicious way I have ever prepared pork tenderloin!

I made this yummy recipe earlier this week to go with the Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Apples I featured HERE.

It was like a match made in Yum Yum Heaven!  I have to admit I moaned a few times eating it!

Hope you give it a try!

Apricot Glazed Pork Tenderloin*

Ingredients

  • 1 pork tenderloin (approx. 1 1/2 lbs)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth/stock
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 Tbsp apricot preserves (heaping)
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce (as much as I LOVE salt, I always recommend low-sodium soy sauce)
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt butter and a drizzle of olive oil in a large oven-safe skillet.  When hot, add tenderloin(s).  Liberally season pork with salt and pepper and dried thyme.   Sear the pork on all sides.

When pork is beautifully seared and browned all over, add wine and chicken broth/stock to the skillet.  Cover and place in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 140 degrees F.

Remove pork and place on cutting board.  Cover with aluminum foil, and let rest for 5 minutes.

In skillet, add apricot jam, Dijon mustard, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and rosemary.  Cook over low heat for 4-5 minutes allowing the glaze to thicken.

Slice pork tenderloin and drizzle glaze over top.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

*Original recipe found at AGoudaLife.com.

Watercolor Boats in Marina at Sunset

Boats in Marina at Sunset Watercolor 11x14 Fabriano Artistico 140lb Cold Press

Watercolor Boats in Marina at Sunset.

The other evening, I felt like painting something different.  I found a very talented watercolor artist on Youtube, Tim Wilmont, from the UK, who generously shares his talent via Youtube demos,online classes, and workshops (if you are fortunate enough to live near him or be able to travel to Venice or Tuscany to attend one of his week-long workshops).

Well – since Venice or Tuscany are not in my near future, I settled for watching Tim's live demo of boats and tried my hand at it.

The painting above was my second go at it.  The first is torn in half, and the back will be used for warm ups or color testing.  This second one, though nothing near the talent of Tim, feels pretty good for me.

I learned a lot watching Tim (twice)!  I long for the day when I will have the natural gift to know where to leave white and light so instinctively and how best to balance blending colors.  And drawing is the first challenge for me, but I did it.

Thanks, Tim.  I look forward to watching more of your tutorials, and maybe someday – just maybe – I'll see you in Venice!  (A girl can dream can't she??!!)

My painting is for sale in our McKinneyX2Designs ETSY shop, and if it doesn't sell before September 9th, I'll be taking it to our FIRST EVER McKinneyX2Designs booth display and showing at the Lake Latonka Fall Festival!

Colleen, my daughter-in-law, (who makes extraordinary rustic signs and crafts from reclaimed pallet wood – like these autumn signs and adorable pumpkins!)

and I are excited to participate in this Festival, which is in it's 38th year.  If you live anywhere nearby, we hope you will come visit!

What I did with this painting (and what I do with most all) is make it available for sale as an original and in 8×10 and 5×7 prints, which are printed on soft, 100% cotton watercolor rag paper that look almost like an original.

Boats in Marina at Sunset Watercolor 11x14 Original Matted and Framed

I also make my watercolor prints into cards on Solar White 80lb Super Smooth Card Stock and box them in sets with envelopes and tiny gold bows.

Check us out on Facebook or Etsy or visit us in person at the Festival next month!  We'll be the ones who are laughing loud and having fun!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Apples

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Apples.

When my friend, Janet shared a recipe yesterday on Facebook for Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Apples by Mary from BarefeetintheKitchen, I knew I was making this for dinner last night.

I had just bought some fresh tiny, tender brussels sprouts, and I had bacon in the freezer and apples in the crisper.

And oh am I glad I tried this!  It was absolutely amazing!  A veggie side dish easy enough for an every night dinner as well as being delicious and “special” enough to serve to guests for a special occasion is perfection in my book!

Here is how I made it!  Please let me know if you try and how you like it.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Apples

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 lb fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
  • 1 apple, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place bacon in a single layer on stoneware baking pan or shallow baking sheet.  Roast 10 minutes.   Remove bacon from pan and set aside.

Place Brussels sprouts in pan and toss thoroughly in bacon drippings.  Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.  Roast for 10 minutes.

Remove pan from oven, and add apple pieces and bacon to Brussels sprouts in pan.  Toss to incorporate.  Roast an additional 10 minutes or until Brussels are browned and apples become tender.

Remove from oven, and sprinkle red wine vinegar on top of all.  Toss, and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Pittsburgh’s Picklesburgh 2017 is a Big Dill

Pittsburgh's Picklesburgh is a Big Dill! #Picklesburgh2017

Pittsburgh's Picklesburgh is a Big Dill!

Though I reside in a little town called Mars, our "big city" is Pittsburgh.  Just 30 minutes from Mars (hard to believe eh?!), Pittsburgh is really where all the "action" is.

This past weekend (July 28-29, 2017), one of Pittsburgh's 446 bridges (the Roberto Clemente or 6th Street Bridge) was closed down to automobile traffic and opened up for a dill-lightfully dill-licious celebration of all things pickle!  Picklesburgh 2017.

So what to do at "life in between?"  Why visit Picklesburgh of course!

Why Pickles?

Pittsburgh has a particularly popular pickle-loving history beginning almost 150 years ago when the H. J. Heinz Factory was built.  I remember going on a Heinz factory tour as a grade school field trip and receiving one of the now iconic pickle pins.  (My granddaughter now has one in her Grandma Memory Jar from our visit to Picklesburgh this past weekend.)

Picklesburgh celebrates EVERYthing pickled!  You could find pickle-flavored sodas, pickle beer and moonshine, and pickle-flavored cocktails.

Dill-acacies included pierogies with pickles, pickled funnel cakes, pickle-flavored custard, and deep-fried, bacon-wrapped pickles on a stick.  There were pickles and dip and grilled cheese sandwiches with pickles.  There was pickle fudge and pickle peanut butter cookies.

There were pickle balloons – small and large – including a giant flying Heinz pickle balloon, custom built by a team that also crafts balloons for Disney and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

There were pickling food demonstrations

And pickle samples from local farm-to-table shop small vendors like Epic Pickles

and the Pittsburgh Pickle Company,

where I bought one of each flavor!

And if you don't have one yet, who could live without a dill pickle talk-to-text Linabag?

It sure was a dill-leriously dill-lectable way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

Thanks Picklesburgh!  Next year, I may just try that Pickle-flavored Italian Ice……

Maybe….

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

A Bumble Bee Named Buzz

Buzz the Bumble Bee 8x10 Watercolor 140lb Saunders Cold Press

Buzz the Bumble Bee 8×10 Watercolor 140lb Saunders Cold Press

A Bumble Bee Named Buzz.

On the edge of a meadow lives a bumble bee named Buzz.
He lives near his aunt and his uncle and his cuz.

Aunt Sally, Uncle Sam, and Sherman they was.
They love Buzz more than any other in Americas.

Sherman and Buzz love to play and dance because
It is what all the bumble bees in the meadow does.

So if you see dancing bees and think your eyes are a fuzz,
don’t be surprised if it’s Sherman and Buzz.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

This is just one of a series of fun animal watercolor paintings and rhymes I am pursuing.

See the others:
A Rare Hare with Flare
A Duck Named Chuck
A Fawn at Dawn
Rooty the Rooster
A Precocious Pink Pig  
Hal the Colorful Cow
A Mouse named Klaus

Pam the Lamb
An Otterly Awesome Otter
Earl the Squirrel

Adele the Gazelle
A Snail’s Tale
Chippy the Chipmunk
Hedy the Hedgehog

#WorldWatercolorMonth

Watercolors Used:  Daniel Smith Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Orange, Indigo, Perylene Violet, Permanent Rose, Olive Green, Perylene Green.