Tuesday, June 26, 2012

More baking...

I totally forgot to take a picture of the peach cobbler from the other night ... and then it was gone!! It tasted delicious! I'll share the recipe below... 
But first, something else.  Fig season has arrived and our tree is gifting us with an abundance of ripe figs. So what's a girl to do but bake?! I made the fig tart again that I had shared with you here. Amazing!! It might seem complicated, but it really isn't. Just make sure you make everything ahead of time so the tart crust and the pastry cream can cool completely before putting it all together.

I didn't have fig jam for the glaze, so I used orange marmalade instead (and left out the pepper) and it was great! I also think this tart can be made with any number of fresh fruit. I might try blueberries next.  Perfect for summer...
Ok, and here's the cobbler recipe:

Blueberry Peach Cobbler
from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites

Fruit Filling
4 cups peeled, pitted and sliced peaches
2 cups blueberries (I used fresh)
1 tablespoon unbleached white flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Topping (which I changed, but I'll give you the official version here)
1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons canola or other vegetable oil
1/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt

Preheat the oven to 350℉.

Prepare a glass, ceramic, or stainless steel 10-inch round or 9-inch square baking dish with a light coating of oil or cooking spray.

Combine all of the fruit filling ingredients and pour them into the baking dish.

Sift the flour (accidentally typed flower at first...), baking powder, salt, and sugar into a large mixing bowl (I used the food processor). In a separate bowl combine the oil and yogurt. Fold the oil mixture into the dry ingredients with a fork. Using flowered hands and working the dough as little as possible, form it into a ball. Turn the dough onto a floured surface. Cut the dough in half, place one half on top of the other, and press down. Repeat three times.

With a rolling pin or pressure form your hands, flatten the dough into a 10-inch circle or 9-inch square to fit your baking dish and place it over the filling. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the crust is golden and a knife inserted in the topping comes out clean.

My changes
I made some adjustments to the topping because we like it a little nuttier. I substituted whole wheat flour for half the flour amount, added some ground almonds and rolled oats. I also increased the yogurt/oil mixture by however much was needed to have the dough hold together. I did all the mixing in by pulsing the dough in the food processor (I'm lazy that way...).

The topping didn't rise very much (next time I might add some baking soda), but it was so good and crunchy and the perfect contrast to the soft fruit filling.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and ENJOY!!!


In other news, we've been having lots of rain from tropical storm Debbie and are loving it! It feels as though the world is upside down a little. Yesterday it was rainy and 77 degrees here (in Georgia, in June!!) while in Denver it was 105! But no worries ... our temperatures post-Debby are forecast to be around 100 with the humidity to match it! I am NOT looking forward to that...

We are going to have company for the next three weeks, which means a) we'll have lots of fun, b) even more good food and c) that my blogging will be even more sporadic than it has been.

Make sure you connect with me on Facebook (there's a link on my right sidebar). I find that when I get a little computer time, I often check in there as it is quicker for me than planning and writing a blog post. Should I be making any art, I'll post that on my Facebook Page.

In the meantime, I wish you a most wonderful and creative time!!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pie Interlude...

On Monday I made this super delicious Honey Bourbon Caramel Peach Pie (click here for the recipe) for a dinner party we were invited to. Double yum!!

And for tonight - this time we are having company at our house - I made a Blueberry Peach Cobbler. You see, peaches are in season right now and I LOVE them!

I just pulled it out of the oven and it smells divine. If it tastes as good as it smells, I will share the recipe with you.

Wishing you a delicious Thursday!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Caitlin ~ New Art

 My art is changing again! I guess I should just expect it to change depending on how I feel and what's going on. For now, I really wanted to draw ... and that's what I did here.
I took a long time drawing this painting in detail and enjoying every minute of it. 
Drawing is so relaxing to me. Like meditation! 
When the drawing was perfect (to me), I started layering in thin washes of acrylic. It took way longer than my "normal" process, but was intensely satisfying. 
The result is beautiful to me. There's intensity and softness. And it has a dreamy quality somehow, which I like! I already have ideas for the next one! 
acrylic over graphite on 8 x 10 inch canvas board

Available here.

Linking to the wonderful folks at Paint Party Friday!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Garden News

This is a great time in our garden when so much is growing and ripening. It seems that every day we get to pick something else for a delicious meal.
To me there is no more delicious combination than sun-ripened tomatoes and fresh basil. This year we have both, "regular" basil and the purple kind that tastes a like licorice. Love it!
Our tomatoes are producing like nobody's business this year. Last year, not so much. I cannot figure out what makes the difference. Here one of the yellow varieties ready to be enjoyed.
I just had to take a photo of the first fig that is changing color and starting to ripen. That means that in the not too distant future we'd better be ready for many, many figs. I cannot wait!!!
Our hydrangeas are entering their most beautiful phase in my eyes.

 I just love it when they start adopting their muted colors.
This is where we sit every morning to read for a while and it's become one of our favorite spots. It's been beautiful and sunny and not too hot and we are taking full advantage of it.
And now a few pictures that just stunned me when I found them recently. The picture below is our backyard before it was ours. As you can see, no plants at all.
The next photos is our backyard shortly after we moved in and started planting the first plants.
And this is our backyard now. Earlier this year, we took out a big part of that cement slab and continued our planting.
Over the last six years, our backyard has turned into a beautifully woodsy garden, a haven for birds and us alike!
This is all Daniel's work and I am so grateful he loves to garden. In the heat. And the humidity. It's become my favorite room of the house!

Wishing you a sunny and happy day ahead!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Wildlife News

Life has been less than wild at the Powers household. First Daniel and then I caught summer colds. Not fun! But luckily, they came on fast and were gone just as quickly. Still, the energy level was rather low for a while...
The weather has been glorious though and we spent much time outside. It is unheard of in mid-June for us to be able to turn the air conditioning off and open the windows. But that's exactly what's been happening here this year.
So, here are some beautiful animals that have been visiting our small back yard and our neighborhood. Normally, we don't get to see the green herons. They like to roost way up in the pine trees and usually the view is blocked by the oak tree canopy in our garden. But the one in the photos above posed beautifully for us for a while!
This little blue jay baby came to visit as well. He sat on our porch unafraid.
That was a few days ago. By now, the baby is much bigger and the whole family comes to our bird feeder and entertains us several times a day.
Last night, Daniel spotted this very cute baby raccoon trying to get comfortable on our neighbor's swing set.
I just love their little faces!!
In my next post, I'll have some garden news and after that I'll also have some art to share again. I've been working on a drawing that is taking a good bit of time.

I hope you all had a great weekend and wish you a good start into this summer solstice week!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lina - Updated Painting

Last night, I took Lina and my color pencils and worked on her a little more. Not much, just to deepen some of the colors and to strengthen the contrast a little more. 
She still kept her essence of sweetness. It has been interesting drawing these last two from photos of me when I was a child. It has made me really remember what I was like - such a tomboy with so much energy. And apparently, I hardly needed any sleep at all, much to the chagrin of my tired parents...
8 x 10 inch; acrylic and color pencil over graphite

Available here.

Tomorrow I'll have some fun photos to share with you from the garden. At least I hope they turned out - I still have to download them. We've been having storms and rain every day, so when it was dry this morning, we used the opportunity to sit outside and read. It was wonderful!

This afternoon we are expecting more storms. It has been extraordinarily rainy here! I hope the weather is peaceful where you are and wish you an excellent Wednesday!!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Little Emma - Painting Makeover

Little Emma had a slight makeover since my last post. She needed more substance - plus I didn't quite realize how cross-eyed she was! :-)
I put quite a bit more work into her and now I could just pinch her chubby little cheeks!
Little Emma
6 x 8 inch acrylic on canvas board
Available here

My blogging has been sporadic (and that's being kind). I guess that's how it will be for a while. While summers usually are slow for us, this one is turning out to be quite busy as well. So, I will check in with you whenever I can.

In the meantime, dear friends, I am so happy about every one of your visits and comments here!! And soon I'll have more to share with you.

Much love to you all on this Monday evening!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Paintings

Lina ~ 8 x 10 inch acrylic painting
I had such an odd week. I somehow felt off all week and tired and like I was getting a cold. I came to the conclusion that is must be allergies (grass pollen is really high right now). Today, the weather dried out (it's been raining for a few days) and I feel much better! So, I finished a couple of paintings this morning... Although I might work on them some more.
Emma ~ 6 x 8 inch acrylic painting

I must be in a pink and blue phase and I don't mind at all. For Lina I kept the acrylic washes very transparent so the graphite drawing could shine through. And Emma is just a little painting based on a childhood photo of myself. Actually, both are based on photos of me. And both are somehow tender and sweet. I love how I never know how my paintings will turn out. They all have a life of their own!

I'm linking to the very inspiring Paint Party Friday! Click on the link to see much more fabulous art!

Happy Friday!!

P.S. You can see an updated version of Lina by clicking here, and of Little Emma here.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Garden & Snake

These have been days that are slow and busy at the same time it seems. I have not been back up to my studio since I showed you the last sketch. Maybe this afternoon. Somehow I am a little afraid to continue with it for fear of ruining it. When I get to feeling like that I usually wait until I feel inspired again...
In the meantime I took a few photos in our garden as so much is happening this time of the year. We only have very few pomegranates this time around. Somehow the bees weren't there when they were blooming. But we'll get five or six. The peppers are all doing well and some of them are ready to be eaten!
The eggplant are growing wonderfully this year!
As are all of the tomatoes! We've even been able to eat some of the little ones already. They are so sweet - so different from when we buy them at the store.
A few zinnias self seeded from last year and are blooming happily.

And the kumquat tree is loaded with flowers...and they smell so good!
Another pomegranate, just because they are so beautiful...
Winslow enjoying the rain we had this morning.
And here the grey rat snake we saw this morning.
It is one of the non-venomous snakes we see fairly often around here. But this one was special. Daniel woke me up early, early this morning, telling me that there was a relatively small snake on the side of house that was trying to eat a frog. I was up and dressed in a flash!

For the next two hours, we watched mother nature at work and were equally amazed and put off by what we witnessed. We had such mixed emotions as we love snakes and the frogs that sing when it rains. Just like we love cats and birds. Yet sometimes they collide and one feeds the other.

Instead of putting all the photos we took on my blog, I thought I'd give you the choice of looking at them if you'd like. They are not for the faint of heart or those of you who get queasy easily... If you'd like to see, simply click here!

With that I leave you for today and wish you a beautiful Wednesday!

Friday, June 1, 2012

WIP and Food

A bit of art and a bit of food today! A good combination in my world...
I discovered a whole bunch of childhood photos of myself and am having fun working from them for a few paintings. Love how this drawing has turned out and can't wait to start painting today!
I was glad to read that I'm not the only one with trouble getting back into routine once it's been broken. One of the things that helps me is cooking and last night I made one of our favorite summer food: Baba Ganoush.
I had shared the recipe a few years ago in this post, along with a recipe for preserved lemons and hummus. We mostly eat it with cut up veggies like cucumber, carrots, radishes, or jicama. Easy to make and so delicious!

Happy Friday!!