Friday, February 26, 2010

Fueled by Sweet Potato Fries

You guys, it's been a crazy week!

The computer crashed....not so much! But thanks to our pal Scott, we've got a loaner until we can get the issue resoved, so everyone, send Scott some good chi(~~~~~wheeee~~~~~)

Anyway all the snow is melting and everyone is talking about spring. I have been feeling a little spring-y myself and have been busy making beaded flowers and getting excited about the Muse concert I'm seeing in March. I bought those tickets at the begginging of December, and March seemed like a zillion years away. Now all of a sudden we're booking a room at the Nashville Howard Johnson's and pooling together our gas money.

Another sign that spring is just around the corner is that I'm starting to get restless with my winter foods. Winter is time for sweet 'tatoes, squashes and apples. I eat them constantly. By the the end of winter I start wanting lighter stuff. I go into what I call my transitional foods- lighter soups, pasta with veggies and stuff like that.

There is one way to prepare sweet potatoes that I can eat pretty much any time. I could eat them during a giant snowstorm (and have), or eat them in the sweltering summer (and have). I could eat them in a tree, I could eat them by the sea. I could eat them in a house, I could eat them with a mouse.

Sweet Potato Fries--tada!!

I noticed yesterday that I've eaten them for breakfast every day this week, so I decided that I just had to share the wealth and post my recipe today.

Katty's Sweet Potato Fries
you will need:
1 sweet potato
olive oil
italian seasoning
lightly crushed fennel seed

Cut the sweet potato into long sticks of desired thickness. I usually cut mine into sixths lengthwise and then turn it and do it again. Then put your potatoes in a big bowl and pour on enough oive oil to coat the fries. Then add big picnhes of salt and herbs and spices. Toss it all with your fingers to coat 'em. (Fries not fingers. But they get pretty coated, too.)
Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet or pizza stone and bake in a 400 deg. oven until the fries are golden, about 15-20 mins.
I like to serve mine with a side of Annie's Naturals Goddess Dressing, but that's only beacuse I think it makes everything taste better. But pick whatever dip rings your bell or eat 'em naked...I won't judge.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rah! Red Alert!

Hey guys,
Just in case anybody reads this blog (I'll be totally wowed out if you do! :) ), our computer crashed and so my posts will be a bit sporadic until we get it fixed. Please, please stay tuned! I will be updating as often as I can.
Much love,
Katty <3

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Week in Pictures

I noticed my posts have been minimal this week, so I thought I'd share a few scenes from my week.

There was another epic snowstorm...which meant epic nature walks around the neighborhood!

And of course chilly girls make nice, hot, soup when they get home (like this delicious spinach, sweet potato, apple combo!)

There was :



organizing... (slowly but surely....)


And of course there is always a ton a crafting! Here's the highlight reel:

I finished a painting...

Gwenny finished her FIRST painting!!

I did my first experiment with resin (this lovely pendant is from Cynthia Thornton's inspiring book, Enchanted Adornments)...

which turned into my first resin pouring disaster...(cut to the river of resin on my craft table)
and another first...shipping out my VERY FIRST ETSY SALE! huzzah! (shameless plug :) )
I made some new pillowcases with this fun flannel I found on sale.
and made a new batch of women's cloths....
...just in time!

Whew! Add to that a full time job aaaaaaaaaand that's what I did this week!

I think I need a nap.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Katty's Pick: Shutter Island

So good. SO good. So. Good.

I have been affectionately a fan of Martin Scorsese since I saw "The Grifters" on the Channel 33 Saturday Movie Matinee when I was 13. I remember being completely appalled that the 3/6 mafia won an Oscar before he did...with respect to the 3/6 mafia of course- but Scorsese's been in the game longer. (Got to keep myself in check, just in case a member of the 3/6 mafia is a blog reader.)
Leonardo Dicaprio came later. I don't know why, but it took me a long time to take him seriously as an actor. (I'm currently going through the same thing now with Zac Efron. ) Even after I fell in lurve with Baz Luhrman's Romeo and Juliet, I regarded him as just another Hollywood Pretty Boy. I finally got around to seeing "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" when I was about 22 (thanks again, Kristen. I could give a list of awesome movies as long as my arm that she introduced me to when we lived together.) and I finally hopped full on, ring a ding- ding, to the Leo Train.
Sorry it took me so long Leo.

Anyway, enough with the back story. The short version: Marty and Leo are my dawgs and I knew they wouldn't do me dirty.
Set in the early 50's, Ted (DiCaprio) and Chuck (Mark Ruffalo) are two federal marshals assigned to the case of a missing patient at Shutter Island, a maximum security mental institution for the criminally insane.
Ted gets suspicious as the doctors in charge are less than cooperative and everyone from the nurses to the patients seem to be hiding a secret. Determined to find out what's happening at Shutter Island, Ted plays an intriguing game of cat and mouse with the head doctor (Ben Kingsley) while struggling with sudden migraines and hallucinations of his own grisly past.
The only way out is a ferry controlled by the authorities that seem quite determined to keep him there. Will Ted and Chuck ever make it out to the real world again?

Scorsese really went old school in the making of this movie. Everything from cinematography to screenplay to soundtrack was classic film noir. His direction as always was brilliant as was the well crafted story.
I usually pride myself on guessing the twist of a movie either from the trailer or in the first hour of the feature. I actually guessed the twist from the trailer and was still fooled. Scorsese's brilliantly concealed hints only served to intrigue me instead of reassuring me of my previous convictions of how the story might end. I was continually led away from those convictions until the moment the truth came out-- I was happily surprised I'd been right in the beginning and delighted I'd been fooled so effectively.
A word of caution though- I was extremely glad I did not have to watch this alone as there were lots of creepy moments and intense silences.
All in all I loved it and can't wait to see it again.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Ode To The Humble Icicle

I'm the kind of person who believes everything happens for a reason. God moves in mysterious ways, so who am I to complain when something goes wrong? Over and over I've seen Lady Fate turn frowns upside down.
The week before last, I had a cute little post planned with cute little icicle pictures. Then life got in my way and something real happened and I posted about that instead.
Now I know why fate prevented me from posting my icicle pictures by distracting me with a bad morning. Because there was a HUGE HONKING SNOWSTORM COMING THAT WOULD RESULT IN MINDBLOWING UBER- CICLES!!!!! and great would be my glee.

Now I love, love, love snow. I grew up in Miami, whose last snow had been in the early 70's and it didn't stick. A move to Ohio in my teens made the magical wintry wonderlands of my dreams a reality. Snow! Real snow! It looked just like it did on the Cream of Wheat commercials.
However, I have developed a deep, unexpected passion for another of Old Man Winter's creations.

The icicle.
Winter's second banana.
About two weeks before I saw my first snow, I saw my first ice storm. I woke up one day to find everything out side covered in a sheet of ice. I went out to walk in it. (Walking a lot like Maggie Simpson, but you know.)
When I wasn't too distracted with falling on my face, I was observing the fine fringes of icicles suspended from the phone lines, touching everything I could reach, and generally getting my socks knocked off with how gorgeous everything was. I remember imagining that a fairy had come and worked a spell, covering the world with glass. I remember particularly a bush, bare of leaves but dotted with bright red berries, jewel-like in their glossy coating of ice and thinking it was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen.
I was in love.
Oh, the humble icicle. I adore them all, from the fine fairy-like fringe to the gigantoid rippley mutant-cicles...and my house is lousy with them!

I have to brag just a little. Our house has the best icicles in the neighborhood. A few days after a big snow there's a big rippley sheet running down the front of the house. It's the world's most awesome reminder that the gutters need to be done.

As awesome as the front of the house is, though, my favorite icicle spot in the neighborhood is behind the grocery store. The front lot is a blanket of glittering snow marked by a few Kentucky proud teens who run doughnuts in the parking lot shouting "WOOOOOOOO!"

In the back however is a cut in the hill and clinging to the rocky slope is a friggin' majesty of icicles. Icicles of every shape, size and type. A show in and of itself, I could sit there for hours in complete wonder of this icy fairyland behind the Kroger.

Oh, the humble icicle. How I love thee.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentine's Cookies!

Oh, what a snuggly day we've had here today. We spent some time in the kitchen today baking up some yummy Valentine's Cookies. This year we tried a scrumptious recipe from Lisa at 5 Orange Potatoes-- one of my favorite, favorite blogs. We tried out the wonderful Rosewater Cookies recipe found here, but adapting it to fit what we had here. These came out so very tasty that I wanted to share.
First of all, I had roses on hand, but not rosewater. Instead, I made a tea of dried roses. It came out super fragrant and quite tasty! ( I let it steep about a half hour to make it pretty potent.) Now, armed with my rose-ish water, I was ready to get started.
I had almost all of the wet ingredients except lemon extract and sour cream. For the lemon extract I just used the juice of a meyer lemon, but as I'm typing this the thought occurred to me I could have just used a drop or two of lemon essential oil and that would have been pretty good too. For the sour cream, I whipped some regular cream and added a splash of apple cider vinegar. At this point, I got curious and dipped my finger into the mixture to have a taste and I was quite delighted!
Gwenny loved helping out with the rolling and cutting!

These came out so yummy! Light, a little lemony, a little floral...totally dreamy. We felt, though, that they needed just a leetle something on top- nothing too sugary , just the teensiest bit of extra sweet. I came up with this light, delicate glaze that set them off perfectly. (Squeeeeeeeeeeee.)

Katty's Splendid Sesame-Agave Cookie Glaze

You will need:
1/3c. agave syrup
2tbs. sesame seeds
1t. rosewater or rose tea
a pinch of salt
2 drops of red food coloring

(I just eyeballed it sounds about right :))
So I put everything except the food coloring in a small saucepan over medium high heat. I let it bubble until it got all foamy and then waited about three minutes after that point before I took it off the heat and added the food coloring. I set the pot aside for about 20 minutes and waited for it to harden a bit. Then we just dipped the fronts of the cookies into the glaze and let the extra run off. Then we set the cookies aside for a minute before we dug in.
Nummies!! Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

James E. Tobin- a helluva guy.

See the guy on the left? That's my Grampa Jim. I know...what a dish!
I've been away from this space this week in order to celebrate his wonderful life with my family.
He passed on Monday night, peacefully and at home, just like he wanted, after a mercifully quick battle with cancer.
Can I tell you, though, just how much class this guy had? Lots. He always put on his best face, smiled and joked with us whenever we came by to see him those last months.
That's the kind of guy he was, the kind of grampa that wears suspenders and tells good jokes and always had a peppermint on his person. Honestly, I've done more smiling than crying the last few days, thinking about him and the kind of person he was.

My grandparents are the ones on the left locked in a giant smooch, of course.

He was married to a lovely lady for 60 source tells me that he still had an Irish twinkle in his eye for her until the last. (My source is gramma.) His wife loved him.His children loved him. His grandchildren loved him. His great grandchildren loved him. Everyone loved him. He was that kind of guy .
I'm left with lots of happy memories, a cache' of good jokes, and a great example of how good humor and selflessness can get you through life's troubles. (In addition to an affection for peppermint.)
It's true! I betcha he could out-grampa anyone on the block. I love you grampa Jim. I'll be seeing you.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Picture Page

Squee! I got a new camera!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Katty's Pick: Crazy Heart

I've been excited all week because I knew I was going to get to see this movie. It was kind of a long wait, but ooooooooh boy. It was worth it.
Sometimes a movie comes out and it gets hyped and everyone's talking about it and then you see it and you're kind of....let down. Then sometimes a movie comes out, gets hyped, has awesome word of mouth, you finally get a chance to see it and it's awesome. This is one of those.
Crazy Heart is a slice of the life of Bad Blake, a writer and singer of "real country", who is approaching his 60's with nothing but a guitar, a dwindling career and a slew of health problems.
Blake is on tour hitting some of the most prestigious corner bars and bowling alleys in the American Southwest when an encounter with a beautiful small town newspaper reporter inspires him to put down the bottle and write his first new song in years.
Giving Blake the chance at one last comeback is his much younger former back up guitarist,the now famous Tommy Sweet. Blake must put his ego aside as he evaluates his life and tries to make amends for his glaring shortcomings.
Interestingly, the movie was originally made for television, but when viewed by Fox execs, they insisted it be shot as a full length feature film, and it was--in 24 days!
Jeff Bridges gives the best performance of his career as Bad Blake- and that is saying something. Completely understated, so genuine and so human, he made this character a living breathing person. I had two friends watching this with me and he reminded each of us of our fathers in different ways. I think this may be where the real charm of the performance lay.
However, I do not believe that Bridges was the whole movie. It was beautifully written, beautifully shot. The supporting characters were wonderful. The soundtrack is completely awesome (and I'm not really that into country).
A sure fire winner for this first time director Scott Cooper.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Accentuating the Positive

I was fully intending to write about icicles today. Last night when I went to bed I was thinking about some pretty pictures I had of the killer icicles that my house produced after the last snow we had here. I'm sure I will post about them sometime because my house really does have the most killer icicles in the neighborhood, but not today.
I want to share a bit about my morning but please, bear with me for just a sec...I'm well aware that no one likes to go to a pity party--no matter how good the refreshments are.
So, I woke up today to find some people had some negative things to say about this attempt at a small online shop I'm trying out and then right after that I got dressed and my jeans wouldn't zip. I can't even begin to tell you how it feels to have your jeans not zip after you've experienced losing seventy pounds. It's been three years since having a morning where my jeans don't zip.
So my art sucks and I'm fat was my morning.
Before my morning could become my entire day, I took Rafiki's advice,"put your behind in your past".
It was time for a mental health walk.
I love the mental health walk. When I quit smoking I followed my friend Moe's advice. He told me about a woman who had quit smoking. Every time she wanted a cigarette, she would take a walk instead. Eventually she lost a ton of weight and hiked the Appalachian Trail.
I did not set my heart on a goal quite as high as that, but the losing a ton of weight part sounded good, so I started walking every time I wanted a smoke. The first few days I noticed two things. One was that I was way more out of shape then I thought and the other was that I had deprived myself of oxygen without realizing it.
Oxygen became the anti-drug. It was the all purpose motivator, mood improver, mind clearing polar opposite of what I'd been doing before. I didn't realize how much I needed it until I started getting it.
This is where the mental health walk comes in. I live right on the Ohio River, which is cool because in 15 minutes I can go from being in Kentucky to being in Ohio. Maybe I'm easily entertained, but this tickles me. What I like to do when I'm feeling down is walk through my neighborhood, turning my issue over in my mind, trying to accept or sort or whatever I need to do. Then I walk over the bridge. I like to pretend that on the other side of the bridge is not just a new state, but a new state of mind. When I get there, I stop and take a deep breath. I turn around and take my new state of mind home with me.
So that's what I did today.
I walked. I accepted that two people didn't like my stuff. I thought about what changes in my routine may have contributed to my jeans not zipping. I remembered that other people wrote nicer things in their critiques, naming an item they liked, or if they had an idea that they thought would better serve my little shop, they gave me a specific, constructive suggestion. I comforted myself with the fact that here and now I was walking, and that would serve my body. I remembered the woman who took a painting out of my hands as I was unpacking it and bought it before the show even began. I remembered that I can't teach my stepdaughters that it's ok to be yourself if I can't be myself.
Oh, how I love the lovely oxygen. I came home with a plan of action and a better state of mind. I'm feeling kinder towards myself and my work and the people who did not like it.
(and what the's an icicle picture for the road)

Breathe. Have a super day!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Biiiiig Day!!

Rah, you guys, I'm so excited! The Oscar noms were announced today and it's a big deal.(to me.)This was really just a spectacular year for movies, in my opinion.
My friends and I love Oscar time and have a lot of fun putting our "picks" together. Then on Oscar night, we have a party. Everyone puts a couple of bucks in the pot and writes down their picks and who ever guesses the most wins. It's a lot of fun, (especially when there's a big upset and we all go "naaaaaaaw!" and start throwing candy at the TV)and I usually win. Last year I was dethroned by the lovely April. I lost by a guess and a half- yet i will always stand by my pick...Mickey Rourke was "sha-shAA!" in The Wrestler.

This year is going to be great. There are a whopping 10 Best Picture Nominees, Tarrantino is seriously representing, an awesome battle of the exes for Best Director, and a really tip top celebrity death- match of Best Actress Nominees-- so far for me, the toughest category to call this year.
So here are some early snaps for this years nominees-
For me, Avatar is going to be my go to pick and I'll tell you why. It's amazing! Here's an interesting factoid: this movie has been out for over a month and people still applaud at the end of the movie. Unheard of! This movie is beautiful and it will move the whole industry in a whole new direction, like The Wizard of Oz or Star Wars. For that reason, I really like it for Best Picture (yes,yes I know WofOz and SWars did not win Best Picture) and Best Director.
One of my flava-rite performances this year was Mo'nique's crazy momma in Precious. The movie in general was just a beautiful, inspiring thing despite the rough parts. We saw a whole different side to this actress and many of us realized how little credit she gets.
Other favorite performances this year included Stanley Tucci's creepy serial killer neighbor in Lovley Bones and Christoph Waltz's giant pipe smoking Nazi Detective in Inglorious Basterds, making supporting actor a tough category to call.
This space will probably be a little moviecentric this week for two reasons- one: I will be viewing two movies this week that I'm expecting to love enough to write about and two: my camera finally died.
The simplify project is doing awesome- I can't wait to post some progress pictures! Also, I'll be posting soon about this month's One Small Change adventure.