Thursday, October 27, 2016

Color Studies

I was so happy to be on a roll again with blogging and then Hurrican Matthew happened. Days of watching where it was going and how strong it was getting. Days of wondering if we were going to have to evacuate or if we could stay.
Days of making our house storm ready, preparing for long stretches without power and possible evacuation. Making hotel reservations inland, thinking about everything we needed for us, four cats and Winslow for a few days, and making sure we had all important papers with us. The rest of our "stuff" suddenly didn't seem all that important anymore. We did what we could to make sure it would be safe.
First there the probability we'd have to evacuate, then a polite urging from city officials, (which is when we left) and finally mandatory evacuation. We were safe in a hotel room with all of our critters. They all got along great. Everyone was calm and content. Even when we lost power at our hotel (this was a large storm), we were all still quite happy. And also a little nervous about what we might come home to.
We listened to the local news on our weather radio and it sounded like the storm had been very strong with a lot of destruction. When the evacuation order was lifted, we came home to our house and property perfectly intact. No damage! We were so grateful! It's sad to see how many hundreds of old trees fell in this storm. And it's beautiful to see how everyone came together to help each other out.
We finally got power back and then (much later) our internet and for us life is back to normal, which is certainly not the case for so many others. Again, I'm so grateful!

One thing I did notice though - my art has changed. I started painting in watercolor with a very limited palette (three colors only) and I love it! It's a new challenge and a completely different process for me.

And that's the thing I love about life: nothing ever stays the same!

Linking to the ever fabulous and inspiring Paint Party Friday.


Saturday, October 1, 2016

Chocolate Truffles

I'm always looking for handmade gifts that are easy, special and good for all kinds of occasions. Recently, I discovered chocolate truffles. I used to make them for gifts quite a bit many, many years ago, but then I forgot about them. Although I'm not sure how I could. They are so delicious!
So when Daniel recently mentioned them as a possible gift to take to a birthday dinner, I thought it was a great idea! Since then, I've tried three different recipes with varying results:

1. The first I tried was by Ree Drummond. They were easy to roll into little balls, but I found that using sweetened condensed milk instead of cream made them very sweet. Too sweet for my taste. I also didn't dip them in chocolate, but dusted them with cocoa powder.

2. Then I tried one I found on the Bon Appetit website. They were quite good, but for some reason they stayed rather soft. Maybe because it used 9 oz of chocolate to 1 1/4 cup cream.

3. Today, I made a recipe from the King Arthur Flour website. So far, I like this one best. It uses 12 oz of chocolate to 1 cup of cream, which makes for a very nice texture. I mixed dark chocolate with a little bit of semi-sweet and dusted them with Trader Joe's drinking cocoa powder. Good choice! And a perfect gift!!
No matter what recipe you use, always go for really good quality chocolate. Plus, you can add all kinds of flavorings to the ganache and also vary the toppings. The websites all have great ideas. I happen to like the traditional truffle best!

Here's to chocolate! And to you...