Seeing Red


red-abstract-floral-watercolor-11×14-140lb arches

Seeing Red…

Not in the usual way we think of “seeing red,”
but in a happy, loose, free, floral kinda way!

What color are you “seeing” today?

Hope it is a happy one.

Cheers & Hugs,

Watercolors:  Daniel Smith Cadmium Red, Alizarin Crimson, Hansa Yellow Medium, Perylene Violet, Sepia

Paper:  Arches 140lb Cold Press



Peace in Painting

watercolor floral in red - 9x11 300 lb cold press

watercolor floral in red – 9×11 300 lb cold press

Peace in Painting

Splashing water and paint
and creating something loose and lovely
and open to interpretation.

It has been a while since I’ve given myself
the luxury and gift of time to watercolor
with all the busyness of the holidays followed by the loss of my brother.

And what a lovely gift it was for me
to take just 15 or 20 minutes
and lose myself in the process of creativity.

It’s a wonderful thing to take time for yourself
and do something you love, because when you do,
you are a better person to be around.

Thanks to Andrew Geeson for his wonderful
inspiration of loose watercolor painting
that nudged me to do this.

Cheers & Hugs,

Pappardelle with Beef Ragu


We had our first snow of the season here in Mars yesterday.

Not only did it snow, but it snowed ALL day!

After a 73 degree F day on Friday, it was quite a shock, but also such a glorious treat for a lazy Sunday to build a fire in the morning and burn it all day long while cooking and watching football and reading and resting.

After a very busy and exciting week, it was nice.  It was also the first day I didn’t see my new granddaughter since she was born, so I am thankful for text messages and IM pictures and so proud of her Mom and Dad for the amazing job they are doing.  They are naturals, and my heart is so very full.


My belly is full too….. after making and feasting on this amazing recipe I tweaked a bit from Jamie Oliver’s recipe.

What a perfect dish to cook for hours on a cold day teasing our noses with the amazing aroma and warming the house with the oven on for hours.  Jamie Oliver does his in a pressure cooker.  You could also do this in the crockpot.  But we were home all day, and I was perfectly content to have the oven on.


I swear I am a “wannabe” Italian!  I adore Italian food.  In Italian cuisine, ragu is a meat-based sauce that is commonly served with pasta.  Pappardelle are large, broad, flat pasta noodles that originate from the Tuscany region and are similar to wide fettuccine. The name derives from the verb “pappare,” which means to gobble up.

Isn’t Papparedelle so much more fun to say than wide noodles?  And doesn’t it sound so much more delicious?!


Hubby said I could definitely make this for company!  It is so full of flavor!  I could just lick the sauce from a spoon!  And then…… when you top it with a tiny bit of finely grated orange zest and rosemary…. the flavors just BURST with freshness too.  The balance between tender slow cooking with deep, layered flavors and fresh, bright citrus – even though just a tiny bit – is simply amazing!

Here is the recipe as I slightly tweaked from Jamie Oliver’s recipe shared in The New York Times.  Hope you will give it a try.

Pappardelle with Beef Ragu


  • 2 lbs boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, plus 1 Tbsp finely chopped leaves for garnish
  • 2 sprigs fresh sage
  • 1 medium sweet onion, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 3-4 celery stalks, thickly sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced sweet red and yellow peppers (optional)
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 pound pappardelle
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp finely grated orange zest
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in dutch oven on stove top over medium-high heat.  Add beef cubes, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Stir until beef is well browned on all sides, about 5 mins.  Add rosemary and sage sprigs, onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and sweet peppers. Continue cooking until vegetables are softened, about 5 more mins.

Add wine and continue to simmer until liquid has reduced by approximately half, about 15 minutes. Add tomatoes.  Secure lid and place in oven for 3 1/2 hours.

Cook pappardelle in boiling salted water for 6-7 minutes until al dente.   Drain and rinse in cold water.  Return pasta to pot.  Add butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.   Mix gently, cover with lid, and let butter melt.

Remove beef ragu from oven.  Discard herb stems and coarsely shred beef with two forks.

To serve, place pappardelle in shallow bowl, top with beef ragu, sprinkle with orange zest, finely minced rosemary and some more freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.


Cheers & Hugs,

Spring or Fall? A Seasonal Paradox

Red Autumn Leaf on Rusty Spring - Mars, PA

Red Autumn Leaf on Rusty Spring – Mars, PA

Spring or Fall?

The things you find on an Autumn walk
that resonate with your thoughts….

Like the old rusty box spring
that has been sitting for years

against a pile of well seasoned cut and split firewood
on a path I pass frequently on my walk.

It sits there as if its purpose
is purely to create artistic beauty

A paradox…
a contradiction.

Just like a crazy 74 degree November day
in the little town of Mars, PA.

Is it “Spring” or is it Fall?

Cheers & Hugs,



Things that are Classic…
a short list…

Red sports cars, Red Woolrich flannel, Red lipstick
Converse tennis shoes, Peep toe pumps, Timberland Boots
Ray ban sunglasses, Blue blazers, Black dresses
Levi’s jeans, Heather grey hoodies, crisp white cotton shirts
Cashmere, Herringbone, Houndstooth
Diamonds, Pearls, Mood rings
Chanel, Armani, Dior
Aerosmith, Beatles, Elton John
Chocolate chip cookies, Apple pie, Birthday cake
Champagne, Martinis, Cabernet Sauvignon
Monet, Picasso, Van Gough
Kindness, Honor, Grace
Smiles, Hugs, I love you’s

Cheers & Hugs,






Red Red Wine

Red Red Wine 5x7 Watercolor Arches 140lb Rough Sakura Koi Pocket Field Watercolor Sketch Box

I’m at “Girlfriend Camp” (#GFCGeneva2016) this week.

Yesterday we went on a little winery tour.

We had some wine flights alfresco at one winery.


And guess who had the red one amidst the fruity whites?


And by the third stop, we were getting our “wine shine” on.
Okay – maybe the guy at the table next to us at the second stop said we were already there at Stop #2….


But my sweet Bub told him I don’t need to have wine to shine.  (See why I love her!?!)

The next evening was Prosecco Sangria on our balcony for happy hour.

proseco fruit punch

So today’s #WorldWatercolorMonth painting is

Red Red Wine…

Goes to my head…..
makes me forget…
(the rest of the lyrics!) 

Which just so happens to be the “ring tone” on Bubby’s cell phone for us three chicas!
(wonder why that would be – eh?)

Wishing you a day to forget the bad
and remember the good.

Cherish the moments.

Cheers & Hugs,

Fresh Red Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Bread

Fresh Red Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Bread

I obviously cannot get enough of the red raspberry and semi-sweet chocolate combination as evidenced by today’s AMAZING recipe – Fresh Red Raspberry & Chocolate Chunk Bread.

You may recall my “almost-famous” Fresh Red Raspberry and Chocolate Chunk Cookies.  If you haven’t tried these – you seriously do not know what you are missing.

I’ve also shared my recipe for Chocolate Chunk and Fresh Red Raspberry Muffins – TO DIE FOR!  And the outrageously extraordinary Chocolate and Raspberry Custard in a Jar that I copy-catted from Firebird’s Wood Fired Grill Restaurant for my son, Nick’s birthday recently.

But I must say – this bread is rocking my world right now.  I could not believe how awesome it turned out.  It is pretty much just like the cookies, but in the form of bread (which means you can more easily justify eating it for breakfast – if not any other time of the day!)

Fresh Red Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Bread 2

I sliced the end off for the photo thinking I would take a little taste to make sure it is edible and then just toss that tough old crusty end to avoid the calories – but…  I just couldn’t do it.  Even the crusty end was delicious beyond words!

Fresh Red Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Bread 3

I’m telling you friends – you really want to try this one!

For yourself – for the people you love – and for those that you want to love you!

I can’t wait to hear what you think.

Get baking!

Fresh Red Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Bread

Ingredients:Fresh Red Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Bread

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt (6 shakes!)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 large egg
3/4 cup buttermilk (to make easy buttermilk – mix 1 Tbsp vinegar with 1 cup milk and let set 5 min)
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups fresh red raspberries
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks or chips (I used Nestle Chunks)


Preheat oven to 350F. Spray one 9×5-inch loaf pan with floured cooking spray, or grease and flour the pan; set aside.

In a large bowl, add flour, sugars, baking soda, salt, and whisk to combine; set aside.

In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt butter about 45 seconds on high power. To the butter, add the egg, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and whisk to combine.

Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir until just combined.  Do not over mix or dough will be “tough.” It is ok if batter is lumpy.

In a medium bowl, add the raspberries and 2 tablespoons flour.  Toss lightly to combine Coating the berries in flour helps to reduce their sinking while baking.

Add the raspberries to the batter and fold very lightly to combine.  Gently fold in chocolate chunks.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for approximately 1 hour.  You may want to cover halfway through with tented foil to prevent top from becoming too brown.  I did.

Allow bread to cool in pan for about 15 minutes before turning out on a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving.

*Original Recipe Found and Slightly Adapted from Averie Cooks


Cheers & Hugs,

Sittin’ on the Dock of the Day Part Deux

old red boat watercolor 10x12

If you caught yesterday’s post: “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay,” you MIGHT recognize this old red boat.

I couldn’t resist doing it in watercolor.

But alas my attempts at recreating it – TWICE – last evening – fell short of what I had in mind….

One last try I thought….

So I flipped the 10×12 sheet of Arches over and slapped on some paint with abandon this time – not even trying to exactly recreate, but just having fun splashing and creating a “feeling,” presuming I would never post this one.

But then….

I kinda liked it.

It’s not a Monet or a Matisse, but it’s a “Jodi,”

and for now, that’s okay.

Cheers & Hugs,