Archive of ‘Lifestyle’ category

Miltonia Orchids in Watercolor

Miltonia Orchids1 Small

Miltonia Orchids Close Up Small

My daughter painted these gorgeous miltonia orchids during a recent late night mother-daughter painting session. I love the bits of white she left on the edges of the petals and the one bright white flower to the left of the center of the painting she chose as her focal point. And of course I love the bright, highly saturated colors.

This painting was based on a tutorial in Ann Mortimer’s newly released book, “Orchids in Watercolor.”

Spiced Pork Chops with Fried Cabbage and Onions

Spiced Pork Chops1

The first time I made spiced pork chops with fried cabbage and onions (or haluski as my Polish grandmother called it), my boyfriend fell asleep early and I couldn’t wake him for dinner, so my daughter and I ate without him. The meal was so good that we finished our portions and ate his, too. Hey, you snooze you lose, right?

I found the recipe for spiced pork chops in Taste of Home magazine years ago and I’ve made it countless times. It always gets rave reviews and it’s one of my daughter’s favorite meals. Get the recipe here. I got the recipe for haluski from my grandmother. Normally I serve it over egg noodles but I didn’t have any on hand so I improvised and used bow tie pasta instead. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make fried cabbage and onions:

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cabbage, core removed and roughly chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 stick butter (don’t substitute margarine)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • hot cooked egg noodles prepared according to package directions

Instructions:

  1. Melt butter in a large fry pan (I used a wok)
  2. Add cabbage, onions, salt, and pepper
  3. Fry over medium heat until the cabbage and onions are golden brown
  4. Serve over egg noodles

This side dish isn’t fancy, but it sure is delicious.

 

 

New Addition to My Artist’s Toolkit

Martin Universal Design Fusion Leak-proof Watercolor PaletteMartin Universal Design Fusion Leak-proof Watercolor Palette2

I can’t wait to use the latest addition to my artist’s toolkit–Mijello’s Fusion Leakproof Watercolor Palette–a gift from my sister. This palette can be used for either oil paints or watercolor paints. It has removable trays for easy cleaning and the container is airtight, so my watercolor paints will say fresh and free of debris like dust, bugs, and dog hair (a big problem since I share my home and studio with five dogs). You can purchase this handy watercolor palette at dickblick.com. Thank you, sissy, for such an awesome gift.

Quick Macaroni Salad

Quick Macaroni Salad

I promised I’d share my recipe for macaroni salad when I posted my Texas Hot Dog Sauce recipe last week. Homemade macaroni salad is so easy and quick to prepare–it’s ready in about 10 minutes–that there’s no excuse for serving grocery store or deli prepared macaroni salad. Store-bought salads don’t compare in quality, texture, or flavor to homemade macaroni salad and they’re always a disappointment. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make macaroni salad:

Ingredients:

  • 1 16-oz. box elbow macaroni, cooked al dente (approximately 6-8 minutes)
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 large tomato, seeds removed and diced
  • 1 medium green pepper, diced
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (I use Duke’s mayonnaise–it tastes closest to homemade mayo)
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Prepare macaroni according to package directions (cook it al dente–approximately 6-8 minutes), drain, rinse, and place it in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add diced onions, tomatoes, and green peppers.
  3. Combine mayonnaise, vinegar, and sugar. Stir with a whisk until smooth. Pour sauce over the remaining ingredients. Stir until well combined.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

A Castle for Frodo

Frodo's Toad Castle2

Now here’s a castle fit a king–King Frodo, that is. And speaking of Frodo, he should be emerging from his long winter nap in April and climbing my deck stairs to enjoy his evening meals. This cute Big Top Toad Castle from grandinroad.com will offer Frodo a shady spot to escape the harsh summer sun. I can’t wait for Frodo to make his first appearance and grab some photos of him. He’s been hanging out on my deck for 10 years now and I’ve grown quite fond of him. Here’s hoping that he’ll be back again this year.

Onion Tart (Torta di Cipolla)

Onion Tart

I found this recipe for an onion tart on CiaoItalia.com and tucked it away last summer, but it got lost in my ever-growing stack of recipes that I want to try. I had some onions that I needed to use, so I remembered this recipe and pulled it out of my stack. And, boy, am I glad that I did. This recipe was super easy to make, it calls for simple ingredients that are readily available, it looks gorgeous, and it tastes even better. It has a subtle flavor that would satisfy even picky eaters and could be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, plus it heats up in the microwave (1 minute per slice) beautifully. I served this onion tart for lunch yesterday with a side salad and then popped it into the microwave and ate it again for breakfast this morning with a cup of coffee–it was that good. Get the recipe here. Doesn’t this look great?

Onion Tart3

Enjoying My Favorite Starbucks Beverages At Home

Latte Station

My daughter surprised me with this fabulous Starbucks Verismo 580 coffee machine and all the supplies necessary to brew my own Starbucks quality espressos, vanilla lattes, mocha lattes, caramel macchiatos, and more in the comfort of my home. So I set up this handy barista station in my kitchen so I can enjoy lattes any time, day or night. What a lovely surprise.

You can purchase a Starbucks Verismo 580 coffee machine and a variety of supplies at the Starbucks Online Store.

Santa Cruz Waldorf School May Faire

Santa Cruz Waldorf School May Faire Poster

Santa Cruz Waldorf School May Faire Poster Final

Bryce Eberhart, Director of Advancement at the Santa Cruz Waldorf School created these gorgeous posters for his school’s upcoming May Faire using my rose petal fairy watercolor painting. I can’t wait to frame these as poster-sized prints and hang them in my home. You can follow Bryce Eberhart on Pinterest. If you would like to use my images on your school’s posters, flyers, or other items, contact me for licensing information at afternoonartist@gmail.com.

Texas Hot Dog Sauce

Texas Hot Dog Sauce

I love hot dogs. I like them with simple toppings like mustard and ketchup; I like them fancy with exotic isle toppings like pineapple, papaya, and cilantro; I like them Chicago style, and I like them Texas style. It seems like whatever I top my dog with the end result is delicious, and this recipe for Texas hot dog sauce is a big hit with my family.

I like to serve Texas hot dogs with macaroni salad and baked beans, like the delicious sausage-spiked baked beans pictured here. What? You want those recipes, too? You know you do. I’ll be posting those recipes next. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to prepare Texas hot dog sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 heaping teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 2 heaping teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 heaping teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 6 heaping tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 package hot dogs, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 package hot dog buns (I like Martin’s potato rolls)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions:

  1. In a large skillet, cook the ground beef and onions over medium heat until the beef is browned and the onions are soft; drain fat.
  2. Add remaining ingredients; simmer for 30 minutes, adding more water if necessary.
  3. Serve over hot dogs with additional mustard, finely chopped raw onions, and shredded cheddar cheese.

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