in the kitchen: quinoa porridge with blueberries & pecans

quinoa porridge? porridge, really?  i know, i wasn't sure about this when i read quinoa.  quinoa for breakfast? in a porridge?  ... but,  kevin's photo looks delicious. and i am a sucker for almost anything with blueberries in it. that's just a fact.  so he has lots of good recipes on his blog closet cooking!

i like how the blueberries turn the milk purple. yum.

well, my husband wasn't feeling well... allergies, cold, some mix of those?? i thought a warm healthy breakfast might be just the ticket. it couldn't hurt, right?

this dish was so yummy! the maple syrup really added a perfect flavor to it. i added a little sugar because i forgot i put the syrup in at the beginning of cooking... so mine was a little sweet... i like sweet though. it would have been just fine without it though.

pecans sprinkled on top. 

i really like steel cut oatmeal, too. it is chewier than regular oatmeal (which i think is kind of mushy). the quinoa had the same texture as the steel cut oatmeal. i bet you could make the same recipe with oatmeal if you wanted. i thought the nuts & blueberries added a nice flavor to it as well. because spring is here and we still are having chilly mornings here or there, i enjoy a warm breakfast to keep the chill away... this was the perfect dish. plus, i get tired of the same things over and over. this gives me a little inspiration about what i might make on those mornings before summer hits, and smoothies become the breakfast of choice. give it a try...

i know this would be even better with fresh from the farm blueberries! oh, i might have to make this in late june when we go out picking blueberries... even if it is hot outside! 

let me know what you think about this porridge recipe...

happy monday!

~ julie


hobo bag, take 1

i discovered bags, the modern classics: clutches, hobos, satchels & more by sue kim. i love this book of handbag patterns. so far i have copied all the patterns onto tracing paper so they are all ready when i get my fabrics picked out... and i have made the hobo bag for a friend.

hobo bag made with fabric from sweetwater

i added some pockets on the inside.

i think it turned out rather cute myself. lots of polka dots never hurt anything. *smile*

i thought it needed something on the side and wasn't sure what to do, but ended up making a fabric flower and centering it with a wonderful red button i found at the store last week.

lovely fabric flower.

i have decided that i would like to try two fabrics on the outside paneling of the bags, so i will be designing a modified version of this bag this coming week. i promise to post some photos once i am done.

on a different note all together... my daughter and her husband bought their first house last week and we spent all day saturday helping them prep the wood floors by sanding, cleaning, sanding the moulding, and painting one of the rooms... we stopped there only because the day was drawing to a close... there are other rooms to be painted, but that will be this week. do you remember getting your first home? are you still living there? are you dreaming of that? it is exciting... even when it's your daughter's. it is the cutest house. i think it is cottage-like. i think that is what i will call it... their cottage.

 happy friday!

~ julie


inspiration location: my own backyard

isn't it funny sometimes how we overlook the things that are right there in front of us? just the other day i decided to just go in my own backyard and see what was happening. it seems that we get busy and never even have a minute to just relax and see what is back there.

our new blueberry bushes survived the winter and look so great!
we planted blueberry bushes last fall.  we loooove blueberries.  every year we go to a farm and pick them fresh.  last year i think we picked probably 35 - 40 lbs!  we a lot of them while they are fresh from the farm... and then we freeze all the others.  so, last year we thought it was time that we bought a few of our own.  so far, so good!

our raspberries have buds, too!

our raspberries a filling in well, too.  last year we had a stinkin' insect that was messing with our plants.  we tried to get all the eggs as soon as we saw the plants (they lay them inside the stalk just below the top of the plant) start to die at the top.  dumb 'ole bugs.  i am sure we will have to clip those tops again this year... but we still seem to get plenty of raspberries.

wisteria finally blooming!
when our daughter got married 2 years ago this july, we decided to build a trellis and plant wisteria to grow up on it.  it didn't bloom last year.  but... this year it did!  you can see in the photo above that i do have blooms, but there are also some dead parts too... i am not sure what that is about, but i think they may have been affected by the really nice warm weather which caused an early blooming season, then the frost that came later.  i am still excited that i have some blooms though.  i think it is so pretty!

lily of the valley.  beautiful and lovely to smell!
and, lastly, are my sweet lovely lily of the valley.  these were plants we moved from my grandparents home before they moved out and we sold their property.  they have since passed away and these plants bring back so many wonderful memories of them and their place which i used to visit almost every weekend growing up.  i miss them.

a nice little visit to my backyard.  i should go back there more often!

but, for today it is rainy and blah outside... seems a good time to work on some art projects inside... and some hand-quilting that has been waiting patiently for me to spend time with it. 

happy thursday!

~ julie


in the kitchen: oatmeal cream cookies

when i saw this recipe on pinterest i knew i would make them... and finally this past week i did.  they turned out perfectly.  tasty goodness.  like a warm memory from my childhood good.  these oatmeal cream pies were found on macaroni & cheesecake by stephanie. make sure you check out her blog because she has some awesome recipes on there!

oatmeal cream pies all ready for some eaten!

i was having a little get together and wanted something i could make to have with tea or coffee.  these worked out just right.  lots of compliments. it is always surprising to me how many people are surprised when folks make things from scratch.  don't they know everything is better when you make it from scratch. *sigh*

the recipe made about 26 oatmeal cream pies.

i followed stephanie's recipe for the cookies except that i made them a little smaller... probably more of a rounded teaspoon of dough for each cookie.  i thought they were actually a great size.

one other change i made... i actually did not make the marshmallow cream filling which she has in her recipe.  there are two reasons for this... one, i really didn't have time to make it. and two, i love plain vanilla icing in them.  it's a sugary wonderful thing.

vanilla icing:
5 cups sifted powdered sugar
5 TBSP milk
2 TBSP softened butter
1 tsp vanilla
-- blend ingredients together with an electric mixer until slightly fluffy.

i actually think i will make these again next week.  they were eaten so quickly that i am still having a craving for them.

happy monday!

~ julie


retreat anyone?

i am taking a wonderful class called creative courage by stephanie levy. finding our creativity, understanding how to make our lives more creative, living the life we dream of... these are all topics covered and explored in this awesome class.

a wonderful e-course by stephanie levy!

in addition, every week we get to hear from several women who have found their true calling and are living a creative life. yesterday the interview was with tracey clark from shuttersisters. wow!  she was so real and down-to-earth. i was really inspired by the conversation. and, of course, i had to go check out her site and blog. i was not disappointed. nope. not one bit. what i have discovered is that a dream i have (which i was not aware of until i went to her site) was that i really would love to go to a retreat. and at this moment, i want to go to THIS retreat, oasis, in october in palm springs, california.

oh, yes, i do!

here is the promo for oasis...

i wanted to go just listening to the music.  i am downloading that song and playing it in my studio this week! 

anyone want to go with me?  if i don't make it to this one... well, you can bet that i am saving my 'moola' and going to the next one. 

 happy sunday!

 ~ julie


in the kitchen: blackened chicken & quinoa

well... what the heck? i posted this on Monday and when i looked at it today... nothing. nada. zilch. guess folks are wondering what the secret is/was about the blackened chicken and cilantro-lime rice. i suppose that when i went in to fix a typo after it was posted, i must have touched a key or button that *poof* erased the whole post.  sorry for those who took a look at it and then saw emptiness.

source: sarcastic cooking:
blackened chicken & cilantro-lime rice

ok, blackened chicken & cilantro-lime rice. another wonderful discovery on pinterest! seriously one of the best meals i have made lately. i even ate all the leftovers by myself. and, was sorry when i had eaten it all. ~sigh.

cilantro, limes, quinoa, and seasoned chicken... oops forgot the chicken broth.

i found the recipe on sarcastic cooking by stefanie. a wonderful blog with lots of good recipes. so far this is my favorite... and that has nothing to do with it is the only one i have made so far.

it only took me 25 minutes start to finish. gotta love that. plus it was deeelicious. gotta love that. i followed the recipe exactly. even put the chicken in and left it for 7 minutes each side without peeking or checking. i just trusted. my husband was impressed. also, if you have never made quinoa (pronounced: keenwah), you really should give it a try. it is quick, easy, tasty, and healthy. bonus. i just about love anything with lime and/or cilantro, so this makes me a little partial to the recipe. if you don't like lime or cilantro, you could just make the quinoa with the chicken broth or add other herbs. also, i did make the avocado cream sauce. love it as well. perfect compliment to the spices on the chicken.

my final wonderful dish.
the lighting isn't the greatest... but the food was!

did i mentioned i really loved this dish?

give it a try. let me know what you think.

happy, well, wednesday now!

~ julie


small projects

seems i have a little bit of a hard time keeping up with my blog.  anyone else have that problem?  not that it is so much of a problem as it is something i always want to do... but other 'things' get in the way.  you know, life.  the last couple of days i have just had the yearning to actually start and complete a project though, so i picked two small projects that i know (or i thought i knew) i could get done...

first, i found these sweet little 2 1/2" squares of the central park collection i was lucky enough to win from kate spain's site almost a year ago... so, how about a creative little bunting to hang in my studio?

my cute little kate spain blocks
and, then, i had a stash of cotton ribbon... what is the correct description?  the word has escaped me...

perfect for bunting!
and in just a little while i had this cute bunting to hang in my room!

i love the little squares... don't pay any attention to any mess you might see though :-)

and then this morning i pulled out my scandinavian stitches by kajsa wikman.  i love all the wonderful projects in this book... but in order to make something in a short amount of time and make myself feel like a superstar, i picked 'garden shed.'  my only challenge was using my free motion foot on my sewing machine.  i might need to practice that just a tad more (actually a LOT more, but, hey, let me believe it was decent).

just a cute little house.  minus a chimney. 
the next one will definitely have one!

so i now i can claim to have completed two projects! woo-hoo! and, i have two new floorcloths in the works. hope to have them both finished and online by monday.

happy thursday!

~ julie