a bird caught in a dreamcatcher

So I tried to break myself out of the creative prison of my last failed painting, and ended up with something weird and ugly. In letting out my feelings onto canvas, I suppose that was a success. But it’s nothing pleasant that I would hang or ask anyone to buy. I paper mached the canvas in some misguided effort to create texture, and then started to paint a bird caught in a dreamcatcher before the painting suddenly decided it wanted to be an abstract. I tried to follow the instinct and ended up wrist deep in this:

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It actually wouldn’t be so weird if not for the paper mache…?

No. It’d still be weird.

Afterward I made Rolo Chocolate Chip Blondies — the obvious choice for an evening of pouting. (After an impromptu run to the store in our pajamas — thank you, baby! <3)

I COOKED!

Okay, so I do this weird thing. I get an idea of something I want to have for dinner — something really specific. Like…broccoli chicken casserole…but with yogurt cheese sauce. Because we have this fucking tub of yogurt in the fridge from a recipe that called for like a tablespoon of it. And then I hit Google hard until I find something that fits my exact needs — no carbs, quick and easy, can use cheap rotisserie chicken.

But not this time, because this time Google had absolutely nothing for me. But I was determined to do exactly this thing. Mostly because of the yogurt. We’re trying to use more of the insane amount of groceries we buy.

So I made something! On my own! Just winging it! I’m very proud.

I preheated the oven to 350, got out a skillet and a sauce pan. In the sauce pan I heated a cup of yogurt, and in the skillet a little bit of olive oil. Mushrooms went into the skillet, followed by half a chopped yellow onion. Meanwhile I mixed a cup of cheese into the yogurt to melt, and microwaved one of those ready to steam bags of broccoli. Husband kindly chopped up the white meat of a rotisserie chicken while I wondered whether or not this was going to turn out. Because my yogurt sauce got grainy but then again not in a bad way. I probably heated it too much but I wanted the cheese to melt.

Anyway, then I mixed it all together in a bowl — the cheese sauce, chicken, broccoli, mushrooms and onions. Oh and I was salting and peppering everything like a boss — paprika was used at one point. I know that this really needs a noodle or rice or something…but we’re not eating carbs. Very sad. So into the glass baking dish it went, topped with more cheese. Baked for 20 minutes and then promptly eaten.

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YUM.

Weekend Update

I was super duper productive. The only creative endeavor I didn’t undertake was writing, which I guess I’m doing now, so yeah. But I do have a novel idea! One that doesn’t seem like hypomanic psychobabble, so yay me!

Okay, first of all I decorated Christmas cookies for the first time in a friend’s class. I love them so much — even the ones that suck! I was able to get out of my head and risk being imperfect, and I wasn’t socially awkward for once. Major successes! Plus, COOKIES. Come on!

I also started on my Christmas presents to everyone — these cute little Pinterest faceless elves made of polymer clay.

I shall paint them and name them Squishy and they shall be my Squishy. I was super stressed about an affordable, unique and homemade gift for the million people I know…and then these little dudes came along! Happy days.

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I also did a weird doodle. Several, but this is the one that made the cut.

If you can’t tell, I like to either keep busy or sleep. There is almost no in between. But I am a person who can keep busy wondering about whether or not there’s a secret world in deep ocean water. Or maybe it leads to deep space, like a wormhole. Or heaven, since we are all made mostly of water and that seems to make some kind of spiritual sense.

Yeah, you see?

of soups and songs

So I went to a local singer/songwriter’s festival and came home thinking “I could do that.” Kind of like when I thought I could be British after watching Spice World. I was a kid, but yeah.

Anyway. I did in fact write a poem that I intend to be song lyrics. And somehow, between my VERY limited, laughable knowledge of piano, guitar, and 4th grade recorder, I will write a song. I can sing, so in the very least I can make a melody and then force someone with more musical talent to assist me.

That, and the poem itself are works in progress, but here…

Broken Thoughts

Don’t you worry for me
I’m getting up, I’m going out
I’m functioning
Just a little armageddon stain about me

Back and broken
Put your lover to bed
Let the pill feed the spiders in her head
And if at morning
I’m not sorry and there’s
Darkness swallowing me whole
Don’t you worry
Let the pill lick away the sour in my soul

I’m going out, I’m looking in
I’m suffering
Ghosts and demons steal art and stories
In my dreams

Back and broken
Darling, put your lover to bed
Let the pill feed the spiders in her head
And if at morning
I’m not sorry and I’m
Melting into darkness after the bloodshed

Don’t you worry for me
Let the pill feed the spiders in her head

edit: this is obviously not a Top 40 kind of song.

Also, I recently had my lower braces put on along with a medieval torture device known as a bite plate. This is a plasticy sort of thing the size of a wad of Bubblicious gum behind my front teeth, keeping me from biting closed and actually touching my teeth. So I don’t eat anymore (exaggeration). Since I am a fat kid and do need delicious food, always, no exceptions…I made some soup!

Spinach and Goat Cheese Bisque

Adapted from an Eating well recipe

Ingredients

1 1/4 lbs fresh spinach
1 yukon gold potato, peeled and diced
2 yellow onions, diced
Olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons marsala
4 cups vegetable broth
salt
pinch of cayenne
1/4th teaspoon nutmeg
4 ounces goat cheese

Directions

Get a tablespoon and one teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet and heat on medium. Throw in your onions and thyme and about a fourth teaspoon of salt and caramelize, stirring frequently and covering alternately for about 20 minutes. (the recipe does say to add 2 tablespoons of water when the onions just begin to brown to get this process going). Meanwhile, heat two cups of water in a pot and bring to boil. Add potato and cover, cooking 12-15 minutes or until soft. It was somewhere in here that I realized I wanted more fat in this soup and threw a couple teaspoons of butter in the pan with the onions. This is because I misread the original recipe, which does call for more butter later. Whatever, it came out fucking great. When  your onions are caramelized, add marsala and heavy cream and remove from heat. By now your potatoes should be about done. Add the onion mixture to your potato pot along with the vegetable broth, goat cheese and about two tablespoons of butter. Bring back to simmer, add all that spinach, cayenne, more salt if you want and nutmeg and cover for about 5 minutes to wilt the spinach but not cook it too much. Then remove from heat and use a blender or food processor or whatever you want to puree the whole thing. Enjoy!

Shit, I thought I had a picture but I just sat down and pigged out apparently… Sorry. this is a photo of the original recipe. They garnished with a toasted baguette round and more goat cheese, but I didn’t do that because bite plate.

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aglio e olio & amore

I started my weekend so hungover that I didn’t think I would get anything done, and yet I made some more progress on my client’s Hollywood film strip wall (forgot to take a picture of the latest logo), finished a personal piece of art, and (co)made a fabulous dinner last night!

Let me back up and assure you that I didn’t deserve to be as hungover as I was. I really didn’t drink a whole lot (for me), I ate plenty of food (as if there’s ever any doubt of that), and drank a lot of water (again, for me)… So what the heck went wrong? I was practically bed ridden the next day! I mean, WTF? Is this because I’m almost 30? Is this the beginning of the end?

Don’t answer that…


So this is called “Love Potion,” I decided this morning. And just for fun, I actually have a recipe, which ties into some of the concepts and imagery I have in the piece.

-a dream wrapped in old newspaper
-countless wine soaked memories
-a real fake engagement ring
-a pinch of heartstrings
-pearls of orgasm, to taste

directions: mix gently with your eyes closed, until bubbling, bursting and fragrant…always seal with a kiss.

How cute, right? I amuse myself, haha! I actually really like this painting, even if parts of it are awkward and messy. I’m awkward and messy. More and more I find myself looking for areas of imperfection, or where I can see paint built up or smudged or something. It tells a story, sometimes coinciding with the theme of the piece itself — when I’m lucky. And in this case, I think I was.

And now for a REAL recipe! Baby and I make this all the time. It is the simplest, tastiest dinner and I canNOT get enough, ever. Adapted from a Barefoot Contessa recipe, which I’m ashamed to admit but damn that bitch makes some good food.

Aglio e Olio with Angel Hair

Ingredients

1 lb dried angel hair pasta (or whatever you want. it’s all the same.)
8-10 cloves of garlic (depending on size…I always add more if I have those stupid skinny cloves.)
1/3 cup olive oil (your favorite…Ina calls for ‘good’ stuff, but she says that about everything. it’s basically your main flavor though, so not Kroger brand would be my suggestion.)
1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (less if you don’t like spicy — like 1/4 would be better if you’re worried about it)
1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
1 cup grated parmesan (plus more, because cheese) (yes that’s the end of that statement)
wine, if you have it
SALT (seriously)

Directions

So get your water going early for the pasta, because you need reserved pasta water for the “sauce” in this. Add two tablespoons of salt (I know. trust me.) and bring to boil, cook noodles to package instructions, yada yada. You get this part. The point is, before you strain the pasta and set it aside, you need 1 1/2 cups of that pasta water. Now, while this is going on, my husband likes to add the olive oil to a skillet with the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook it on low while we make the pasta. We think it brings out the garlicky flavor more in the oil. Who knows. Then when it gets to the point that you’re almost done with the pasta, we raise the heat on the skillet and cook the garlic until it’s just starting to get golden. Do not burn the garlic. It will be sad for everyone. Then add the pasta water and a little wine if you have it (this isn’t traditional, just something I do because I like wine. surprise.) Also add a teaspoon of salt (not a low sodium dish). Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let it reduce by a third. I have a terrible eye for this reducing business, so I usually just call it good when I am too hungry for the simmering to go on any longer. Add your pasta, parsley and parmesan, tossing it all together. You want the pasta well coated with a little of everything. To serve, top it with some more parm and parsley.


SO GOOD.

(Have you guys noticed that the only recipes I put up are some variation of pasta and cheese…?)

The Lovely Bricks (and Facebook Cooking)

After a rough couple of days, the last thing I wanted to do was figure out a way to replicate old, weathered bricks on a sample board for a client. I was dreading it, truth be told, because I think I’ve had enough experimenting with new things for a while. But along with breakfast the other morning, my husband surprised me with this:

Whether he wants to admit it or not, he’s an artist at heart. While I was off bragging about my painting from Friday’s class, he quietly took home his own wicked cool piece. And that wasn’t the first time–he’s come to not only support me but work alongside me at several of those classes. And then with his set design experience, he laid this foundation for me and lifted a huge burden from my shoulders. He knew how much I needed a fucking break. And with his guidance, I powered through and sanded the piece:

then he whisked me away to Home Depot for paint. He carefully navigated me through a near meltdown as he rummaged up some additional dark brown paint from the garage in mid sponging the shit out of this square of drywall. And so it is entirely because of him that I can preview this:

The client still has to approve it, mind you. But those fake bricks mean the world to me. I even like the things I don’t like about it, which is a complicated emotion you should have an artist near you explain.

And so tonight, a celebration with a Facebook video recipe…

Creamy Tomato Basil Tortellini


As seen on a Facebook video thingy. Ingredients are:

1 20oz package of tortellini (we always get the mixed spinach kind)
2 tablespoons of butter
1/2 small onion, diced (I had a glass of wine so somehow I read this as a whole onion, minced. Which is what we did and I stand by that decision.)
4 cloves of garlic, minced (it was probably 5 or 6…because there’s never too much garlic)
3 tablespoons of flour
1 1/4 cups whole milk (I don’t do whole milk. Can’t drink the stuff, and I hate buying shit for one recipe and never using it again. So we used 2%)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes, with juice
5oz baby spinach (we used 6, because I don’t get how to measure ounces in food)
3/4 cup parmesan cheese, finely shredded (I used a few handfuls. Until I really felt satisfied…)
Salt and pepper (of course)
Red pepper flakes (naturally)

So I cooked the tortellini like the directions say, which ashamedly I have memorized. Melt the butter, cook the onion in the butter, add garlic, smell garlic, add flour. Stir it around a bit, until you’re nervous that it’s been too long since you’ve done anything, then add milk and cream. Bring to simmer, add tomatoes (with juice) and spinach. It takes a deepish sauce pan for this since spinach starts off like a million times the size it ends up as in your dish. Add salt, pepper and pepper flakes to kill the spinach and when it’s wilted add the important stuff…cheese and tortellini. It turned out pretty freaking delicious, actually!

I’m aware those directions sucked. But recipes are SO boring to write. Sorry ’bout it.

Work in progress

I’m painting my babies!

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So excited to see this one turn out. I can already FEEL them on the canvas… By the way, those rascals were just all kinds of pissed off thanks to some loose dog outside our fence. The one on the right tried to dig a hole to get out there and tear shit up. She’s fierce.

Also,

CHEESY ALFREDO TORTELLINI BAKE!

my very own recipe that I will not make a Facebook video of because I’m way too drunk when I’m cooking for that.

ingredients:

Buitoni Mixed Cheese Tortellini (1lb 4oz package)
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 cloves of garlic, minced (I like me some garlic)
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon salt
dash of nutmeg
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cup shredded Italian blend cheese (seriously though I measure cheese by the fistful…)
1/4 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped

for the topping:

3 tablespoons butter
1 cup panko breadcrumbs

directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare tortellini to package instructions.

Heat butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. When melted, add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add heavy cream, white pepper, salt and nutmeg and heat until simmering, stirring often. Add parmesan and simmer for 10 minutes until thick and cheese is completely melted. Add Italian blend cheese and stir until melted, then turn off heat (if sauce seems too thick, add a couple tablespoons of milk to loosen). Add parsley and cooked tortellini, stirring to coat the pasta. Meanwhile, heat butter for topping in a small pan. Add panko and coat with butter. Spoon the tortellini mixture into an 11×7 glass baking dish and cover with more cheese (use your discretion). Top with breadcrumbs and bake for 30 minutes. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. Be prepared this is very rich and probably awful for you.