Monday, January 31, 2011

Keeping the Sanity

Yes, they're predicting a foot of snow for the Kansas City area tomorrow and blizzard-like conditions.  I'm so over winter.  I've decided whenever I'm fed up with the weather, I'm just going to throw up the Frank Martin picture, and he will tell you exactly how I feel:

Anyways, I've decided to share some things with you that are getting me through these long winter months, but I better hurry before the yetis come down from the hills to feast...

1. Shameless on Showtime. Scott and I got Showtime for the sole purpose of watching "Dexter" - which I will venture to say is the best show on television.  But of course we found out Showtime has a lot of good shows - Weeds, Californication, and this newest revival of a British show - Shameless.  It's hilarious, and makes me feel like a billionaire while reminding me things could always be worse.

2. Cafe Escapes Milk Chocolate K-Cups.  My Keurig I got from my dad for Christmas has been amazing, and I've used it almost every day.  I don't drink very much coffee, so I love these hot chocolate cups.  And, while searching for this image, I found out Cafe Escapes makes Chai Latte K-Cups.  I must find these immediately!  Plus, is there anything better on a snowy day than sitting inside with hot chocolate (probably watching Showtime)?!

3. GapBody Fleece-lined Yoga Pants. I got these pants from my mom for Christmas (in gray).  I've worn them every weekend day since.  They are so comfortable.  I get home Friday after work, the yoga pants come on and stay on until Monday Morning when it's time to go back to work. 

4. Art projects.  The applications for the Kansas City Plaza Art Fair open tomorrow, so I better get crackin!  This is the first year I've considered participating, but it's quite the big deal here in the fall.  Hopefully it will be a good chance for me to finally get some of my paintings out there, and being stuck inside motivates me to work on them.

What gets you through these cold days and long winter nights?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

On The Menu: Sun-Dried Tomato Tilapia

This is one of those meals that takes absolutely no time.  Ok, more like around 5 Minutes to prepare and 10 minutes to cook...but still.  I never used to be a huge fish eater.  I love seafood like shrimp, scallops, crab, lobster, etc, but I couldn't really ever get into actual fish.  Until I found out why.  White fish like tilapia has almost no flavor, so you really have to season it up before cooking.  I still don't like Salmon though..too fishy.

What you will need:
• Tilapia filets (we buy the bags of tilapia in the freezer section that come with about 10 individually wrapped tilapia filets in them) - thawed if frozen.  I find it's best to let them thaw naturally instead of defrost in the microwave, because they're so thin, they can start cooking in the microwave. And no one wants that.
• Olive Oil
• Italian Seasoning (or basil and oregano)
• Garlic Salt
• Black Pepper
• Chopped Sun Tried Tomatoes (I buy the jarred ones in oil)
• Red Pepper Flakes (Optional)
• Extra Minced Garlic (we also buy this in a jar and use it on everything) (Optional)
• Pat of Butter for Each Filet

Suggested Sides:
• Steamfresh vegetables - For this one I used the SteamFresh New Potatoes in Garlic Butter Sauce
• Rice
• Green Beans
• Pasta

1. Preheat oven to 425 Degrees.

2. Start by pouring a few tablespoons of olive oil in a small baking dish. Place the thawed tilapia in the pan and coat in the olive oil on both sides.

3. Sprinkle both sides with salt, pepper, and italian seasonings.  There is no measurements for this, just make sure both sides have plenty of seasoning, but not enough so that you can't see the fish.

4. (Optional) We like a litle extra spice, so I add a few red pepper flakes and about 1/4 tsp minced garlic to each tilapia filet on one side only.

5. Chop the sun dried tomatoes into bits and distribute evenly over fish.  Most sun dried tomatoes in jars come in slices or halves.  Just make sure to make all the pieces the same size.  You can even use a little of the oil that comes in the jar of tomatoes over the fish as well.

6. Top each piece of fish with a little pat of butter and bake in the oven at 425 degrees for 8 - 10 minutes.

7. Serve with your side of choice.  With those steam vegetebles that cook in bags in the microwave, you can heat them while your fish cooks.  Enjoy!

IDEA: You can also buy sun dried tomato pesto, or make your own, to top these fish.  Sounds yummy as well!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Time is flying!

January is going by so quickly, and I am NOT complaining.  Our weather people are predicting a 50-degree Friday (which to some of you may sound freezing, but it sounds amazing to me at this point).  I think only basketball coach Frank Martin can sum up how I really feel about winter...

Friday, January 21, 2011

New Products

I realize I've been a bad blogger lately.  It's been hard to find time to update!  Hopefully next week I'll be back with new crafts and recipes.  Until then, I've decided to start selling some Moravian stars in the Etsy Shop.  If you want to take the time to make your own, you can find the original craft post HERE.  I'll be doing some fun special watercolor ones as well soon.  Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

And Again...

The snow has just started again here in KC.  They're predicting up to 10" for our area.  Yuck.  I hate winter.  I realize this is so pessimistic, but it's hard for me to be motivated to do anything other than staying at home with a movie and a hot chocolate on days like this.  We're in for a COLD night.  Stay safe out there, everyone!  If you need a good, hot recipe, I'd recommend my CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP

Monday, January 17, 2011

Productive Weekend

I finally finished a painting I've been working on forever this weekend.  It's not that it was particularly complicated, but I have just been particularly not motivated.  However, I knew these cold weekend in winter were worth something - forcing me to work on projects I have otherwise put off.

One of these days when I have a bigger place to work, I'll get a better easel.  This painting is 16" x 20" Oil on canvas. Part of my ongoing amusement park series of paintings.  I'm going to enter an application to the Kansas City Plaza Art fair when they open in February.  I've heard it's kind of expensive to get in to, but we'll see.  I hope you all had a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

We Did It!

© Arnaud Frich
We're definitely going to Paris!  We've decided to go in June, and I can not wait!  Instead of a hotel, we're doing an apartment rental in Montemarte through the lovely people over at Haven In Paris.  I love the fact that we're staying in a quiet area, and that it will feel like we're actually living there for a week.  Here are some wonderful photos of the small studio apartment we'll be staying in:

Of course we went with the most affordable rental they had, but it had nothing but amazing, glowing reviews.  If you want to go wild, they have beautiful 5 Bedroom rentals for up to 7000 Euro a Week.  I'd say that's slightly out of our price range :).  I don't even know what I'm most excited for:

Whether it's seeing the Sacre Coeur out of our window every morning...

Strolling the streets of Montemarte

Just walking around enjoying the Parisienne life...

Place de Vosges in the Marias...

Or shopping?!
By the way, aren't the photos of Paris amazing?  Head on over to Arnaud Frich's website to see all of his amazing photos of the City of Lights.

Monday, January 10, 2011


View from my office window.  Up to 9 inches of snow on the way.
I hate winter.  Yes, I'm a party pooper, a Debby Downer, a winter hater, and I am generally no fun.  But my lips are chapped, my skin is dry, my hair is both stringy and full of static (an interesting conundrum), and my dogs keeps shocking me with their noses.  So all you snow-lovers can bite me.  Sure, snow is fun when you're in school and it gets cancelled and you don't have to go anywhere.  But if my wonderful husband hadn't offered to drive me to work today, I would have probably cried.  I wish I could hibernate until spring...

Friday, January 7, 2011

DIY Craft: Morovian Star

Image Via Design Sponge

I'm a sucker for a good paper craft, and when I saw this Morovian Star on Design*Sponge a couple of days ago, I got really excited.  I will say, it's not the easiest paper craft I've ever done, but it's definitely one of the prettiest, and the colors aren't season specific.  It would be pretty to do these in a bunch of scrapbook papers and have a ton of them hanging from the ceiling.

You can get the link to the template here:  Template and you can get written instructions HERE.

The first page is the template for all of the points, and the second page is the core.  The solid lines are cut lines and the dotted are fold lines.  The little flaps are meant to be glued.  I used elmers, but I'm sure there's an easier way.  There's really no easy way to do the core because it will eventually be a solid round piece and it's hard to glue that last flap.  Here's mine:

Yes, it was taken with my phone.  I got elmers glue on everything.  One tip:  Score all your folds lightly with an exacto knife before making them!  This one took me a couple lunch breaks over about three days to do.  A fun weekend project to do indoors while it's cold and snowy outside.  Enjoy!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

On The Menu: Shrimp and Wild Rice Casserole

I love a good casserole.  Just throw everything in a dish and bake.  For someone who hates cleaning up, these one dish meals are perfect.  I received the Lady and Sons Cookbook from my brother two Christmases ago.  This is one of the recipes I make most consistently from that cookbook, but of course, like every other recipe I love, it serves 8 people.  The modified version below will serve more like 2 - 4.  And unlike most Paula Deen recipes, this one uses NO butter.  It's a Christmas Miracle!

Shrimp and Wild Rice
Serves 2 - 4

1 lb. Shrimp - raw, deveined, tail off
1 Package Uncle Bens Long Grain and Wild Rice
1 Can Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/2 Bell Pepper - chopped
1/2 White Onion - chopped
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp dried mustard
1 T worcestershire sauce
8 oz (1 Cup) shredded cheddar cheese plus an extra handful for the top

Shrimp with seasonings, bell pepper and onion

All the ingredients with the cheese on top


1. Preheat oven to 350 Degrees.

2. Cook the Uncle Bens Rice According to the Directions.  We usually buy the 90 second pouches that cook in the microwave.

3. Combine the rice with the rest of the ingredients including the 8oz of cheese in a square baking dish or small casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining handful of cheese over the top.

4. Bake about 40 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese has turned into a nice brownish crust.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

So, I don't normally make New Year's Resolutions, but I figured there is no better way to make a pact with yourself to improve your life.  I'm a little late with the New Year blog post, I realize this.  So here it goes, my list of resolutions!

1. I will not self-diagnose myself using google, WebMD, etc. This one I've already broken...BUT, no more.  I promise.  I will set aside my hypochondrianism in favor of opinions from actual doctors who will diagnose me if I am actually sick/dying/suffering from zombie apocalypse virus.

2. Be more patient.  My husband thinks I was born without patience, and this is true.  I wonder if I can buy some at Target...  But seriously, being more patient might help my lingering anxiety issues.

3. Go to Paris.  Simple enough.  We don't have kids, and we need to do one more big trip before the big "C" - that's children, not cancer.

4. Get healthy and feel better about myself.  No, this isn't one of those, "I will start working out 5 days a week and eat nothing but fruit and cayenne pepper" resolutions.  But I need to do something.  At least my husband runs with our doggies and takes them for walks.  I pretty much sit around.  I know if I just got in at least a little physical activity I would feel better and healthier.  Plus, seeing Black Swan (as crazy as it was) made me really miss ballet.

So those are my goals.  I would love to hear if anyone else has made any resolutions this year!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011