Friday, October 31, 2008

textures, tones and mood

Random Autumn pictures

Outside of the Eugene Public Library earlier this week. It took my breath away.
These grapes are ornamental, I bought the plant because it was on sale at the end of summer a couple years ago.
Elderberry shrub changing colors.
Downtown Eugene is really blessed with some great trees.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Doctor, Doctor help me please...

Hi, My name is Tonia and I am a Dr. Who addict. Really though, I don't want to quit. I just want netflix to send me season 4 NOW. Not after it is released on DVD November 18. Crikey! I didn't think I'd get hooked. I mean, I watched some of the older series years ago and wasn't too impressed. Pretty silly stuff I thought. The most recent series started out with Christopher Eccleston as the 9th embodiment of the Doctor. I was hooked. I loved him, I loved Rose.When that season ended, I didn't think I would want to watch the next season because Christopher Eccleston left the role of the Doctor. Ahhh, but then I hadn't met him. He is ...The Doctor. I try to stay away from the fan sites. Really. I mean, I might go here once or twice a day. I could quit any time I want to IF I wanted to. If it's wrong, I don't want to be right.

Behold, the sweet potato...

The other day Lisa at tardyhomemaker posted a recipe for a spicy sweet potato, shrimp and coconut soup. I thought I would get on the sweet potato bandwagon and share my favorite recipe for sweet potatoes. It comes from the March 2000 issue of Vegetarian Times magazine. Here is the recipe as printed in the magazine.
• 2 tsp. vegetable oil
• 2 medium onions, chopped
• 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 3/4- inch dice
• 2 large cloves garlic, minced
• 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
• 4 tsp. ground cumin
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 3/4 cup frozen corn
• 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

In large, heavy skillet, preferably cast-iron, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add sweet potato and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown in spots, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic, jalapeño, cumin and salt and cook, stirring often, 30 seconds. Add 3/4 cup water and cook, stirring to scrape any browned bits from bottom off pan, until potatoes are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in corn and beans and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Season with freshly ground pepper to taste and serve hot.

4 servings
207 calories per serving
9 g Protein
3g total fat
9g fiber

I like to use recipes as a base and then create my own variation based on what I have on hand. So, I don't really use that recipe anymore except as an idea to get me started. I usually use olive oil and instead of jalapeno, I dice up a red or green bell pepper (I prefer red) and add that with the onion. I also often dice up two sweet potatoes (because I really like them!) I use fresh or frozen corn and I substitute whatever beans I have handy-sometimes kidney or pinto. I also add about 1 1/2 cups of fresh salsa. While the hash is still hot I throw a tortilla with some grated Cheddar cheese into the toaster oven. When the cheese is melted, I put some of the hash on it and fold the tortilla over and eat!
Variation #2
A couple of weeks ago, I had some sweet potato hash, some cooked Quinoa and some leftover tomato sauce. I mixed the Quinoa in with the hash and put some onto tortillas, rolling them like enchiladas. I then put a little sauce and salsa into the bottom of a baking dish and put the enchiladas on top, I added more sauce and salsa to cover and some grated Cheddar on top. I put them in the oven at 375 or 400 F for about 20 minutes or until the cheese melted and got a little bubbly. It was so good.
I absolutely hated sweet potatoes for years. I have vivid memories of my Mother's sickly sweet marshmallow capped sweet potato "casserole" at Thanksgiving and Christmas-not pleasant ones. Anyway, something clicked a few years ago when I realized that other than meat there were only a few foods that I wouldn't really want to eat. Sweet potatoes, bananas, avocados and Brussel sprouts were the main members of that list. I am happy to report that I have overcome my aversion to all of them. Sweet potatoes and Brussel sprouts are really favorites now. The other two I no longer avoid like the plague.
Do you have a favorite sweet potato recipe? Does it involve marshmallows? For more info and recipes go here.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Another weekend, another class...

Yesterday I took a candle making class at Glorybee. I have made candles on my own before but it has been years ago and the results weren't quite was I was hoping for. Fortunately I still have many of the molds and pans I bought back then, so I don't have to sink a lot of money into those things. The class was a combination of lecture and hands on experience. There were quite a few of us, almost 40 I would guess, so the hands on part was choosing which fragrance out of a choice of two you wanted and pouring the wax into the molds. It wasn't practical with a class that size for everyone to have their own hot plate and wax pot. We made a soy molded candle, a beeswax votive and palm wax container candle. We were also given sheets of dyed beeswax and a demo and instruction sheet of how to make rolled candles. I had hoped that we would do dipping but that wasn't on the agenda, although it was briefly discussed. I came home with a fir and rosewood essential oil scented soy candle, the natural beeswax votive and a synthetic (ugh! I know) Spice scented palm wax container candle. The fir candle and the spice candles were colored with a soy "eco" dye. I plan on making some undyed candles for Solstice and Christmas presents. I really like beeswax but I also like essential oil scented candles and the beeswax scent isn't always complimentary with chosen oils. Are there any candle makers out there that have researched the pros and cons of soy wax? I really like the texture of the candle we made yesterday, but wonder how environmentally friendly it really is? Anyone?

Friday, October 24, 2008

I've been tagged!!!

Lisa at tagged me. Thanks Lisa!

1. Post the rules on your blog
2. Write 6 Random things about yourself
3. Tag 6 people at the end of your post
4. If you are tagged, just do it, and pass it the tag along

OK so drum roll, please...

1. The song, "You are my Sunshine" makes me cry in a heartbeat. My Dad used to sing it to me and I would burst into tears. I still do.
2. I am pigeon toed. I have worked to correct it, but when I am tired my right foot tends to turn in. If I am really tired it really turns in.
3. I am terrified of spiders of certain sizes and varieties. The ones I am not frightened of get caught (if in house/studio) and are fed to my chicken. The ones I am frightened of get killed outright. (Sorry, sorry. I am so, so sorry!)
4. If given a choice between caramel and chocolate, caramel always wins.
5. Ice cream is my favorite food group.
6. I thought I would be an archaeologist, a writer, a librarian, or a teacher when I grew up. I am still trying to figure that one out.
OK so I would like to tag: Aly at blissmonkey and Jenn at ottersandowls and Gina at cauldron ridge and Kathie at twofroghome and if any one that has been reading my blog and not commenting would like consider themselves tagged, please do. Leave a comment and your blog name or if you don't have a blog leave a comment with 6 or however many random things about you. Thanks for playing along!

Sunday, October 19, 2008


This is the time of year when my thoughts turn towards family and friends. There is a need for connecting with those still here and those who have passed. Daylight is more precious as the brightness of summer fades and the darkness of winter approaches. Perhaps my desire for connection stems from some primal "strength in numbers" mentality going into the longer nights.
Although I am not RELIGIOUS in any organized way, I do feel a desire to mark the season of harvest, celebrate the bittersweet decay of the summer's bounty and to remember family and friends that have gone back to earth.
I like creating a place to focus my thoughts and having tangible reminders in a beautiful display helps me do that. I will add pictures and momentos through the next week or two. If you do something like this, please let me know.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hmmm....I'm thinking Christmas presents

I used to take classes in all sorts of things. After I bought my house seven years ago I kind of got caught up in house stuff and mortgage payments. I pursued my interests, but not as much as I wanted. Well, I decided after a pretty nasty case of depression this summer to take some classes. I took an evening aromatherapy class last month and a bookbinding class at Oregon Art Supply. This is the book from that class ,taught by Jill Cardinal, just finished today. It was a 3 day class but I missed last week as I was sick. It is called a map book. It's an accordian style book. Normally there would be a pocket with a pamphlet booklet inside, but some how I skipped a step and missed that part. All in all I am pretty darn happy with the book and the class. So much so that I signed up for another one starting next weekend.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Meet the fur people...

Sibella a.k.a. Dim Dim. Beautiful and knows it. Not the brightest star in the sky. Or maybe she is the evil genius ringleader but probably not.
Skitty a.k.a. Tripod, due to an unfortunate meeting with a car. Lost a leg and his tail but not his zest and knack for terrorizing rodents and his nemesis Tabitha.
Tabitha Louise a.k.a. Tabs. I think of her as the Billy Jean King of cats or maybe Dinah Shore. Athletic, but so neat and tidy and kind of old school. She pushed her way into the house (literally) and stayed much to the chagrin of the other two. As their minions it is our job to make sure that Tabitha is not tag teamed by Sib and Skitty. She can hold her own one on one, but when the dynamic duo join forces it can get very ugly, very quickly. She is a scrappy cat and has a bit of an attitude (above and beyond the "normal" attitude cats have). They are amazing little people in furry pajamas. Which reminds me of a favorite book of mine. Have you read The Fur Person by May Sarton? I think it is time for me to re-read it. It is a very sweet, charming, gentle book. Highly recommended if you are a cat person. Enjoyable even if you aren't.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Autumn oranges

I repurposed a yard sale necklace into some earrings.
Some fall time mini bouquets

Holy Donuts!!! (Updated 10/16/08)

These lovely, yummy things are made by my friend Karen here in Eugene. Karen is an amazing cook (her pizzas are to die for) and doughnut making goddess. If you are in the Eugene/Springfield area you owe it to yourself to try one of her amazing concoctions. The pistachio chai doughnut is my personal favorite. You can get them at most of the locally owned markets in town like Kiva, Sundance, and most of the Markets of Choice stores and the Eugene Saturday Market at the booth she shares with James (Warrior Princess jewelry) and Sierra (Oh Snap!). Go here for a picture. Most of the donuts are vegan. They are all yummy!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Monday, October 6, 2008

Next project

I am hoping to use up this green yarn from my stash. I bought it for another sweater about 8 years ago and got really burnt out on the pattern. I am a knit purl kind of gal. The sweater I had planned on making involved cables and all sorts of fancy stuff. I like mindless knitting. Scarves are great. Actually patterns in scarves work for me OK. It is just when I have to increase and decrease for sleeves AND think about the cable or other pattern, it becomes work and not fun. The pink sweater I am currently working on is only about 4 years in the making. I had to take a break from knitting for awhile because of a hip injury. I couldn't sit still for any length of time without a lot of pain. Thankfully that is behind me...(knock on wood.) Hopefully I will get it done fairly soon. I have been known to have a sweater completely knitted and let it set for months until I get the nerve to actually do the finishing. For some reason it is really intimidating. I guess it's because this is where you actually find out that it really did matter that your gauge was off. I have learned to not knit under the influence of Nyquil. Yep, learned that one really well. Anyone working on any knitting projects older than their kids?

Something new...

I know I have been talking and thinking about not buying for the sake of retail therapy, but when I came across this blouse/sweater I said a little thank you to my Dad and Step-mom for sending $ for my birthday. I go weak in the knees for this vintage-y look. Is it the 40's maybe? The green is awesome. It reminds me of clothing that I see in British Country Living or in the Rowan knitting books. I would love to find some tights this color of green.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

This is the time of year when I crave connection more than anything. Connecting with nature, people, music seems more of a necessity going into the dark half of the year. I spent some time with friends this last weekend. A housewarming for Elena and Anthony. There home is warm and vibrant. The food was excellent, Karen made one of her to die for pizzas. She puts her pizza dough on the stone and then instead of tomato sauce she puts baked squash puree. She sautéed some Chanterelles and onions to put on top along with some feta and sliced figs. Oh, how I love her cooking and her. No pictures of the pizza or the get together just some random pics.