Heart of the Sea
I finally made some time to do a little watercolor painting tonight. I just kept layering in color and the mermaid started to emerge. I used Jane Davenport's paint over pens to add in some texture, then added in the details with a fine point black pen.
With the Super Bowl just around the corner, it seems like the perfect time for a delicious pot of Cheese Fondue. It's so easy to make and ooey, gooey good!
I tried this recipe last year at a winter getaway at the Wisconsin Dells. After a morning spent at the indoor water park, it was a great lunch time treat. We dipped cubes of French bread and apples. You could also dip pear slices, pretzel rods, pita chips or anything else that goes well with cheese.
1 garlic clove, halved crosswise
1-1/2 cups dry white wine
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 lb. Emmental cheese, coarsely grated (2 cups)
1/2 lb. Gruyere cheese, coarsely grated (2 cups)
Season the inside of your electric fondue pot by rubbing it with the cut sides of the garlic, then discard the garlic. Add 1 cup of wine to the pot and bring it to a simmer over medium heat.
Stir together cornstarch and the remaining 1/2 cup of wine in a cup.
Gradually add the cheese to the pot and cook, stirring constantly until the cheese is melted and creamy (do not let boil). Stir in the cornstarch mixture. Bring fondue to a simmer and cook, stirring regularly, until thickened (5 - 8 minutes).
Note - if you're using a flame-heated fondue pot, complete above steps in a heavy 4-qt. pot on the stove and then transfer to fondue pot.
Based on a recipe from Epicurious.com
Hearty Tuscan Soup
I've been on a mission to use the things that have been lingering in my pantry and freezer. Tonight I used a dried soup mix as a base and whipped up a flavorful Hearty Tuscan Soup. I served it with a slice of warm parmesan focaccia bread for a great Saturday night supper plus some additional servings for later in the week.
6 cups water
1 package Alessi Zuppa Toscano Tuscan White Bean Soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup (regular or 96% fat free)
1 12-oz. package Al Fresco Sweet Italian chicken sausage (4 pre-cooked links)
4 - 6 slices Canadian Bacon
4 oz. sliced fresh mushrooms
Handful of baby spinach (optional)
Grated parmesan cheese (optional)
In a small soup kettle, bring 6 cups water to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the package of Tuscan White Bean Soup and the can of cream of mushroom soup.
Slice the four chicken sausages and chop up the Canadian Bacon. Add both to the pot, along with the fresh mushrooms. Allow the soup to simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
Stir in the baby spinach and allow it to wilt slightly. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with grated parmesan cheese.
Soothing Lavender Bath Salts
A long evening soak in the tub after a workout (or some good old Wisconsin snow shoveling) is a real treat. There's nothing like a warm, soothing bath to make everything feel better, Add in some of these easy-to-make bath salts and it's even better!
3 cups Epsom Salts
2 cups Sea Salt
1 cup Baking Soda
5 - 10 drops Lavender or Serenity Essential Oil
Dried Lavender Blossoms (optional)
Purple Soap Coloring (optional)
In a large mixing bowl, mix together Epsom Salts and Sea Salt, breaking apart any clumps with spoon. Gradually add the Essential Oil, mixing thoroughly. Add Coloring until you've reached your desired color level. Stir in Baking Soda and continue mixing. Stir in Lavender Blossoms if you are using them.
Scoop into a glass jar. To decorate, cut a circle of scrapbook paper the size of the lid insert and adhere it with double-stick tape. Add embellishments or ribbons if you like.
To use, add about a cup to running water for a nice, relaxing soak.
If I Had No Fear...
During the cold winter months, my skin gets really dry and cracked - particularly lately since I've been doing a lot of cleaning and painting. This sugar scrub is so simple to whip up and makes your skin feel nice and silky. Best of all, when you're done, your hands will smell like fresh-baked cookies. Yum!
Mix the two sugars, vanilla extract, cinnamon essential oil and dash of cinnamon. Gradually add in the almond oil, mixing while pouring. Add the oil until you are happy with the consistency of the oil.
Scoop into a small jar. To decorate, cut a circle of scrapbook paper the size of the lid insert and adhere it with double-stick tape. Add embellishments or ribbons if you like.
To use, take a small amount with your fingertips or use a small spoon. Rub together in your hands and then scrub your skin with it. Rinse off with warm water.
Preparation Time: 15 min.
It seems like there are always overripe bananas on my kitchen counter. And on a cold winter morning in Wisconsin, what could take away the chill better than a homemade loaf of banana bread? I like to throw in some blueberries just to make it a little more interesting. I've found that if the berries are getting a little old and dried out, they work even better because they plump up just perfectly in the batter.
The Art of