Monday, May 27, 2013

Daring Adventures in Paint: Orange

For the second week of the Daring Adventures in Paint class, we had a treasure hunt for ORANGE. It's amazing how hard it is to find orange in Virginia in May. The flowers are purples and whites in my yard this time of year. These oranges came from around the house and a hotel I recently stayed at. Of course, I couldn't resist the Virginia Tech tie too!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Food: Picnic Ideas

I've been insanely busy over the last week and haven't had time for cooking of any time. Since it's Memorial Day Weekend, it seemed like a good time to bring back some favorite Friday Food recipes that are great for taking to a summer picnic. Take it from me, these three are crowd pleasers and relatively simple to put together. You'll be the talk of the picnic! And don't forget to remember the reason for Memorial Day is more than just a long weekend!



Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday Food: Salmon Cakes

Like crab cakes? These are similar, but use canned salmon instead. My husband said he ate Salmon Cakes a lot growing up. They were simple, tasty, filling, and seemed a bit extravagant even. When his mom was sick with leukemia, he asked her how to make them and got one of those "little of this", "little of that", "until it's the right consistency" recipes, but he ran with it. He made them so well, in fact, that near the end of his mom's life when he made them for her, she raved about them to everyone who visited and said they were her "new favorite meal." I think that says something for her recipe, but also for her ability to teach her son about the important things in life: how to cook well and how to be a loving, caring man.

This is my husband's recipe as I wrote it down while he was making them the other night. You could use Saltines or bread crumbs in place of the Ritz Crackers, but the Ritz add body and a buttery taste. You could add onion and celery, if you like that kind of thing. And don't tell him this, but I suspect you could cook these in far less oil and just brown on either side, but you can't take the oil out of the Southerner!

Salmon Cakes

3 - 6 oz. cans salmon
2/3 of a sleeve of Ritz crackers
1 cup (or so) mayonnaise
dash salt
dash pepper
vegetable oil

Drain salmon. Place in large bowl.
Crush crackers and add to salmon.
Add mayonnaise and stir. The consistency should be similar to tuna salad.
Form into 6 patties.
In a large pan, heat 1/4" vegetable oil on medium high heat until hot. Cook patties until lightly browned on each side - about 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Daring Adventures in Paint: Week 2

I started the Daring Adventures in Paint class 2 weeks ago. Where are Week 1's adventures, you ask? Why they're hidden under Week 2! We have been working on lush backgrounds. My Week 1 background, painted in a hotel room, wasn't quite as lush as it could have been.

That all changed once I got home! We were encouraged to use tools like a brayer, sandpaper, spatulas, etc. to apply the paint. I did that and my Week 1 background became this:

Now that's much more daring! I made 2 more backgrounds. The first has a cool background and warm foreground. I used a linoleum block carving of a flower in the background and my new letterpress letter set to add letters. I applied color with a paint brush, my fingers, and a seam roller. I rather like the color and effect.

The third background has a warm orange background and cooler blue in the foreground. I used paint brushes, the seam roller, and an adhesive spatula to apply the background paint then used the end of a plastic lead refill container to create the diamond shapes. 

Week 3 is collage so it will be interesting to see where my backgrounds go from here. Stay tuned!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Friday Food: Chocolate Mug Cake

Yes, it's Sunday, not Friday. Sorry for the delay, I was out of town with a laptop that didn't want to access the Internet. I thought a little Chocolate Mug Cake would be perfect for Mother's Day. It's an easy-to-make hit of chocolate even for those who aren't comfortable in the kitchen. Make a mug for Mom! And put a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream on top to get extra points!

Chocolate Mug Cake

4 Tbsp flour
4 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp baking cocoa
1 egg
3 Tbsp milk
3 Tbsp oil
3 Tbsp chocolate chips
Splash of vanilla

Add dry ingredients to a coffee mug and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Add milk and oil and stir well.
Place mug in microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. If your microwave is stronger than 1000 watts, cook for less than 3 minutes or cake will get hard.
Cake may rise over the top of the mug and that's okay.
When done, allow cake to cool a little and eat from mug or tip out onto a plate.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Daring Adventures in Paint: Red

I took the Get Your Paint On on-line class last spring with Lisa Congdon and Mati Rose McDonough and I loved it! I enjoyed painting with acrylics and learning to let go rather than be so literal with art. I've followed both of them ever since and was thrilled when Mati's book, Daring Adventures in Paint, came out last summer. I was even more excited when she announced her class this Spring!

Class started last Monday with the first assignment being lush backgrounds. Part of the first assignment was a treasure hunt for at least 10 things that are RED. I was away on vacation last week and so tried to find red things during my trip - not an easy feat when Spring hasn't quite sprung yet in New England! My finds came from hikes in the woods, an antique shop, and a trip to Old Sturbridge Village. Enjoy!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Friday Food: Cheesy Ham Macaroni

I seem to have 2 themes here: chocolatey or cheesy. This week I chose cheesy. This recipe is easy and hearty and uses things that I usually have on hand so it's a win-win! The original recipe was from Taste of Home. Enjoy!

Cheesy Ham Macaroni

1-8oz package elbow macaroni
4 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
dash pepper
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
1 cup broccoli
1/2 cup crushed Ritz crackers (about 11 crackers)

Cook the macaroni according to package directions. Drain.
Cook broccoli. Drain.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt butter. Stir in the flour, salt, and pepper until smooth; add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute, or until thickened. Reduce heat.
Add the cheese. Cook and stir until melted. Stir in the ham, broccoli, and macaroni.
Transfer to a greased, shallow 2 1/2 quart baking dish. Sprinkle with cracker crumbs.
Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until heated through and bubbly.
Yield: 8 servings.