Sunday, January 20, 2013

Black Bean Salsa...

Having had the privilege of growing up in beautiful Santa Barbara, California, where Old Spanish Days is an annual celebration and a taqueria can be found on just about every street corner, it stands to reason that I love Mexican food. Burritos, tacos, enchiladas, posole and tortillas...

YES please!!!

With a three day weekend and abundant sunshine at my doorstep, I decided to make my delicious Black Bean Salsa and served it alongside a freshly made basket of warm tortilla chips, topped with lime salt and Tecate beer. Absolutely wonderful flavors and a perfect January getaway to summertime in Santa Barbara. Life is good.

Black Bean Salsa

10 Roma Tomatoes, halved
2 Jalapeno Peppers, halved (for milder salsa, remove seeds and veins)
1 Yellow Onion, halved
3 Garlic Cloves
1 Lime, juiced
1/4 C. Cilantro
3/4 C. Black Beans, canned
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 t. Salt
1/4 t. Pepper

Place tomatoes, peppers and onion cut side up on a sheet pan, with garlic. Drizzle olive oil on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in 400 degree oven until carmelized, about 20 - 25 minutes. Place vegetables in food processor, adding lime juice, cilantro, black beans, salt and pepper. Pulse until desired consistency is reached. Serve with corn chips. Store in refrigerator. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Fried Chicken...

This morning, I woke up to the beautiful sound of rain, which I absolutely love, especially on the weekend. Over coffee, I decided that soul food would fill my kitchen today. Deep down, honest to goodness comfort and a perfect meal for a cold weather day. Yes ma'am, fried chicken, spicy parmesan green beans and kale, hot water cornbread and my sister's ridiculously good apple pie would be on my menu this blessed Sunday. I once had a co-worker tell me "your fried chicken is so good, the chickens come to your house and say, fry me, fry me". Exaggeration, so be it, but I have been told that I make amazing fried chicken and I give thanks to Wayola, my sister-in-law, who generously shared her love of baking and cooking with me. My memories of her are forever etched in my heart. Below, I have listed "our" fried chicken recipe. There really is no secret ingredient, it is all about the oil type, temperature and cooking time. This is for you Wayola. I have made adjustments to my liking over the years, but you are the original inspiration.

Fried Chicken

Chicken, thighs and wings

Tabasco or hot sauce, to taste
Peanut oil
Seasoning salt, to taste
Black pepper, freshly ground, to taste

In large bowl, soak chicken in buttermilk and Tabasco or hot sauce overnight. In large pot, heat peanut oil to medium temperature. Use enough oil to float chicken. In resealable bag, add flour, seasoning salt and pepper. Remove soaked chicken from bowl and immediately drop in bag. Shake to coat. Remove from bag and drop in oil to fry. The key to great fried chicken is oil temperature. Too low and it will be soggy, too high and it will burn.


Friday, January 4, 2013

Pink Paper Pagodas...

I love making cards, scrapbooks and creating memories through art. Over the years, I have collected a bounty of scrapbook paper that is now bursting from my craft room. Designing on a dime is easy for me and has become a way of life. Often times, ideas come to me randomly and when I least expect it, as did the pink paper pagodas. If you have been following my blog, you know by now that I have a pink bedroom in my house designed for the little girl in me, sweetly inspired by my eldest daughter. The pagodas were inexpensive and easy to make, adding color, texture and lots of love to my bedroom. And, best of all, I found another use for my paper.

So, here is how my concept came together...

First, I folded sheets of color coordinated 8 1/2" x 11" scrapbook paper in half, carefully tearing the paper into two pieces, each measuring 4 1/4" x 5 1/2". By tearing the paper, I achieved a soft, feathered edge rather than a hard, cut line. Then, I rolled the paper around a dowel rod, working from the bottom (cut edge) to the top (torn edge). Using a glue stick, I secured the torn edge to the paper tube. Finally, I removed the dowel rod, which left a tight and sturdy tube.

The rest is really quite simple. I formed the paper tubes around a square frame in order to keep them straight and just kept building up. Each tube was secured seam side down with a bead of craft glue connecting the ends. In no time at all, the pagoda was finished and in place in my pink bedroom. I added a glass votive and tea light inside for soft illumination, which gently peeks through the colored paper. Note: I used a glass votive that was significantly taller than the candle to prevent the paper from catching fire.

Okay, so they are not necessarily pagodas, but the name sounds cute, right?

Here are some other whimsical touches in my pink bedroom. More to come, with a full room reveal soon!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Every Tree Needs An Angel...

With the holidays behind us and a new year ahead, we are filled with resolution and hope as we look to the future. I would like to pause for a moment, however, to remember Ty, a special, once in a lifetime dog who was taken from our lives far too soon. This is for you little guy...

Dear Ty,
I love you to the moon and back. I put a picture of you on my tree because every tree needs an angel. You are the meaning of love and when I look at your smile, I am reminded that life is a gift worth living to the fullest, with an open heart and without constraint. My resolution this year is to embrace each day with a song in my heart and a skip in my step. I will accept and love my imperfectly perfect self because it brings joy and laughter to others. This is how I will honor your legacy. Thank you beautiful boy, "TY". 

I am smiling back at you...

To learn more about Ty's Story, please visit The Lucky Fox.