January 30, 2011

Sunday salad #4- balsamic vinaigrette

This week is a healthy low- fat salad idea. Traditional balsamic vinegar is produced from the juice of just-harvested white grapes (typically, Trebbianomust, which is then fermented with a slow aging process which concentrates the flavours. The flavour intensifies over grapes) boiled down to approximately 30% of the original volume to create a concentrate or the years, with the vinegar being stored in wooden casks, becoming sweet, viscous and very concentrated. Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, an inexpensive modern imitation of the traditional product, is today widely available and much better known. This is the kind commonly used for salad dressing together with oil. Here is my favorite version of this salad dressing.
1/3 c olive oil
1/3 c balsamic vinegar
2 tsp dry thyme
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp basil
 -into jar and shake, gets better as it sits

January 27, 2011

button flowers

It's cold or windy or snowing, hard to want to be outside at this time of year (except for a few choice places). Those of us in the cold climates are already thinking of warmer weather and outdoor things, like walks, picnics, or flowers. Here are a few flowers I made, to create a bright spot in my daily life. All you need for this project is some buttons(I used some modern type buttons), pipe cleaners, magnets and glue to create this small bouquet of flowers in January.

January 23, 2011

Sunday salad #3- dill potato salad

Dill originated in Eastern Europe, fresh and dried dill leaves (sometimes called "dill weed" to distinguish it from dill seed) are used as herbs. Successful cultivation requires warm to hot summers with high sunshine levels; even partial shade will reduce the yield substantially. It also prefers rich, well drained soil. If you love the flavor of dill, here is a classic salad that is a perfect side dish to any protein and another veggie. Perfectly hearty for winter and also a picnic favorite in summer. 

8 potatoes (peeled, diced and cooked)
4 eggs (hard boiled and diced)
dill pickles and splash of juice
½ c finely chopped onion
½ c chopped celery
¼ c mustard
½  c mayo (or until consistency you like)
salt, pepper, dried and fresh dill to taste

January 21, 2011


Recycling and not throwing things away to put in landfills is one of my goals in life. I have a closet full of arts and craft items as well as interesting vanity case full of "treasures" or "junk". Here is a nature inspired, mixed media collage I created from stuff in the closet...

January 17, 2011

Martin Luther King Jr.

Monday, January 17, celebrates the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., remembered for his heroic leadership of the civil rights movement. Here are some collages I have done over the years with many of his wonderful words. 
from an altered book of collages I made
"I Have a Dream Speech" collage
 some details

the MLK, Jr. quotes:

"We will remember not words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

"There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love..."

"Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend."

"Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness."

"Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better."

"The quality, not the longevity, of one's life is what is important."

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."

"We must use use time creatively."

"Life's most urgent question is: what are you doing for others?"

"A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus..."

"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."

"A man who won't die for something is not fit to live."

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.
In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.
As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."
And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snow capped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

January 16, 2011

Sunday salad #2- wild rice salad

Wild rice is four species of grasses and the grain is harvested from them. The grain was historically gathered and eaten in both North America and China. The plants grow in shallow water in small lakes and slow-flowing streams, most times, only the flowering head of wild rice rises above the water. The grain is eaten by dabbling ducks and other aquatic wildlife, as well as humans. Being from Minnesota, wild rice was a staple, as it is grown there. I'm always looking for new recipes with this rice and this one turned out great. This is savory and sweet, the flavors complement each other quite well. If you've never tried it, this is a good starting recipe.
 1 c wild rice (cooked with salt and a bay leaf)
(or mix ¾ c wild and 1/4 c brown)
-cool rice
1 c chopped walnuts
¾ c craisins
½ c chopped Italian parsley
¼ c chopped scallions
 -toss with dressing:
 2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp brown mustard
1 clove minced garlic

January 11, 2011

recycled paint samples

One of things I collect are cookbooks, I have so many that I decided I needed some more book markers for them. I always say you can never have too many (cookbooks or book markers!). I fixed these up with paint samples from the home improvement store. Paint samples are are the perfect size and they already have a base background because of the colors. All that you have to do is cover the back and add your own embellishments. Of course the possibilities are endless. Here are a some food themed ones I made...

January 9, 2011

Sunday salad #1- pasta salad

At the beginning of the new year a lot of people like to make food resolutions, usually to eat better and lose weight. I already eat pretty well (most of the time) and I'm not into losing weight (although maybe I should), so I thought I'd share a series of salads with you that are filling, without making you feel as if you've over-eaten. You could even call them side-dish salads, to go with your choice of protein, some even have protein in them and could be a meal themselves. So, start your new year with 12 Sundays of salad ideas that are healthy, hearty, and homemade.

The first salad is a very common one, so easy it is ridiculous. Add the raw veggies you like and your favorite Italian dressing. Here's my version...

12 oz. tri-color rotini (cook and cool)
-don't forget to add salt while cooking pasta
1/2 medium purple onion (chopped fine)
1 green bell pepper, or any color (chopped)
2 tomatoes (chopped)
1 c. black olives
1 c. Italian dressing
-toss all together then add 
1/2 c. parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste
-makes six servings

January 4, 2011

2011 snail mail challenge

Happy New Year! As some of you may know, I am really into snail mail. Letters, postcards, recipes, and photos are the type of things I like to share. In my blog readings this past week, a friend mentioned a 2011 challenge for letters in the mail and of course I was interested. So check out these sights and get some inspiration. 

The challenge is to send one piece of "real" mail, once a week for the whole year.This may be a fun way to get into or back into the art of letter writing. You can send whatever you like: a handwritten or typed letter, a handmade or picture postcard, mail art like ATC's or handmade envelops, newspaper clippings with a note, favorite recipes, photos of your kids or outdoor adventures, the sky is the limit! I guarantee whoever receives this lovely piece in their mailbox will absolutely love it and feel special. And as a last thought, I always say: 
Here is some simple stationery I made on the computer.