Sunday, November 29, 2009

Nap after Thanksgiving feast

cheetah, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

I hope you all had a fabulous turkey day with family and friends. I went to Denver to visit Ella and Kate and their parents. When I arrived my bedroom had been decorated with butterflies the girls (and Ryan) had made for me......there were also beautiful rainbows and a jellyfish to make me smile each morning when my eyes opened. Thursday of course was spent in the kitchen....a quick break in the park and then a yummy dinner. Friday we decided to go to the Denver Zoo. It was a bright sunny day and the animals enjoyed basking in the sun as well as the Coloradans and the lone Californian.
Saturday we went up to the mountains to have some fun. We started off tubing and then went to Winter Park. It was a great day trip. I spent quite a bit of time in my 20s and 30s in these beautiful Rocky Mountains. It was great to visit them again.
Hold on tight for a busy December...I hope we all take a little time to bask in the sun.

Family at the zoo

Family at the zoo, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

The day after Thanksgiving we all went to the Denver Zoo. It was a really warm and sunny November day. The animals and the people all enjoyed the "summer" day

Ella tubing

Ella tubing, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

We went tubing nearby Winter Park on Saturday

Kate throwing snowballs

Kate throwing snowballs, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

and Kate has a snowball fight with Nana

Monday, November 23, 2009

Early Thanksgiving in Seattle

Last Thursday I flew up to see my son, Brad, and his family in Seattle. We like having an alternative Thanksgiving so that's what we did. Friday Amber, Reina and I went to the Pacific Science Center and visited the Tropical Butterfly exhibit. Reina dressed appropriately in her pink butterfly shirt. If you look closely at the milkweed in the background there are two orange, one black. Some of the butterflies actually landed on our was very cool. When we left the exhibit we were asked to turn around in front of the mirrors to see if there were any butterflies trying to escape on our clothes. Reina also liked the dinosaurs. Some of them roared at us but we just roared back. It was a really rainy four days but it is always nice to see my northwest family. Next visit to Seattle will be to welcome the newest grandaughter....due January

owl butterfly

owl butterfly, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

paperwhites, planting

paperwhites, planting, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Six months ago I packed up all of my Christmas decorations and put them on the truck to Denver. The are residing in the basement of Whitney's home along with too much of my other stuff. We all thought I would definitely be there by this time. Wrong! It looks like I will still be living in sunny California through the end of the year so I am without Christmas embellishments! Merde! Solution: I have gathered a shallow red pot from the garage and filled it with paperwhite bulbs in anticipation for a show of white and fragrance in December. I will chronicle their progress:
First day of planting 20 paperwhite (narcissus) bulbs in a pot. I placed a layer of rocks on the bottom of the container and rested the bulbs on top. Then filled water to the level of the base of the bulbs to stimulate the roots to "wake up" It's showtime in 6 weeks (That's December 29...Oh I might be too late...let's see)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Before the fall

before the fall, rose, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

After the fall

paul bocuse rose petals, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

A few days ago one of my climbing roses was full of blooms. Even though I love to see them on the bush I had to cut them and bring them inside so that I could not only see their beauty but smell their frangrance as well. Yesterday the blooms lost their petals. I scooped them into the kitchen sink and this is the spill the petals made. Paul Bocuse rose petals..... a fitting place to fall

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Mushrooms in sherry shallot broth

mushroom soup, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Another soup! A pretty fast preparation time, too. I found this recipe in Sunset Magazine October issue. The shallots mild flavor complement the mild and earth tones of the mushrooms. I used all portabellas...some little ones and 1 big one. But use any kind of mushrooms you have or can find.
1 lb mushrooms cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup chopped shallots
4 cups chicken broth

Saute the shallots in butter until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add mushrooms and 1 tsp fresh thyme. Cook until mushrooms are lightly browned, 8-10 minutes. Add 1 cup sherry and bring to boil, stirring. Add chicken broth, cover and return to boil, then simmer 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with a garnish of thyme and flat leaf parsley.
Bon Appetit!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The spa at La Quinta

The spa at La Quinta, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Early this morning I took my rescue pack (art on the go) out to squat in front of this building known as The Spa. Soon into my sketching a resort employee driving a cart offered to bring me a chair to sit in. About an hour later the Spa manager offered to let me come in to the Sanctuary to do my art there. It is interesting when you take the risk to "be an artist" in public what kind of people come by to watch. Anyway I spent a couple of hours on this and then we had to come home so I finished it this afternoon at home. It is a bit larger than scanner needs to expand a bit to get it all. It is 15" x 11"...a little big for me. It was a good art weekend.

La Quinta

La Quinta resort and spa, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

I decided to tag along with Ryan this weekend to La Quinta. He flew out to attend a high school friend's wedding in the desert and I was welcomed along. He had social events all day on Saturday....I had nothing to do.....but sketch and paint. It was the best studio imaginable. This resort was built in 1926 with a Spanish colonial design and was full of charm. All of the buildings were white stucco....lots of curved details. The roofs were all tile. I studied them carefully and the technique of an authentic tile roof is amazing. All of the window frames and shutters were a beautiful cobalt blue. These elements were repeated in all of the structures whether build in 85 years ago or 10 years ago. The Santa Rosa mountains back this resort as most of La Quinta. This sketch took more than my normal 20 minutes but I had the whole afternoon. Lots of work on the roof.

It was a fast but very relaxing trip. I am grateful for Ryan letting me tag a long. Happy Birthday Ryan!

wood chair back

wood chair back, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

I sat on a bench in the Plaza while sketching. This was the seat next to me. It also was of Spanish style and had a cobalt blue cushion.

tile roof detail

tile roof detail, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

All of the roofs were terra cotta tiles. They were beautiful and extremely functional providing insulation from the desert heat.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Butternut squash soup with crispy prosciutto

butternut squash soup, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

OK as promised soup and salads for a while...
I love butternut squash soup. It is so complex to the palate for a simple pureed soup. This recipe is from Williams-Sonoma' s Thanksgiving menu for this year and it is divine. They have a new jarred butternut squash puree. It is $12 and probably worth every penny but it is not difficult to do at home. I roasted a whole butternut squash in a 400 deg oven for about an hour. First cut a few slits in the side with a sharp knife so it won't explode in your oven. That would truly be a mess and not only would you have to clean your oven but you would also have to buy a new squash. Let cool and scoop out the insides after removing the seeds. Then proceed with the recipe. This soup has the unique flavor of butternut squash, the savory flavors of the traditional soup herbs and vegetables and the added twist of pear which gives the soup a little sweetness but adds a unique flavor of its own. Try it for your Thanksgiving or before.

Oh..The soupspoon on the right is a very old piece of hotel silver that I have enjoyed collecting over the last 15 years. I just took several pieces to be re-silvered. Silver plate does wear thin after a while and this is the first time I have tried replating any. I just picked up about a dozen pieces today and they are beautiful. Recycle, it what you want but I am really pleased.

caramelized pears

caramelized pears, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

to die caramelize pears. Slice 4 pears into 1/4 inch pieces and place in pan with 2 Tbs of melted butter ( only one layer at a time) and cook on medium high heat for about 5 minutes total, turning only once. Half of the pears go into the soup. The other half is used for garnish. I think these would be fabulous in any salad.

prosciutto, oven baked

prosciutto, oven baked, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

For the crispy prosciutto: place individual slices on a baking sheet and place in 350 deg oven for 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and get really crispy

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Peach & blueberry crisp

peach & blueberry crisp, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

One more yummy dessert and then I am on to salads and soups. My pants are getting a little tight in the wrong places. Merde!
This is one of my favorites: not because of the peaches but because of the topping. It is easy. It is crunchy. It has that has to be good for you. I use this sparingly on the fruit and put the rest in the freezer. I would recommend using Ina Garten's recipe for the method and use whatever fruit you have or is fresh in the Farmer's Markets in your neighborhood.
The topping"
1 1/2 cup flour. try using whole wheat
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup old fashioned Oats
(see the ratios here?)
1 tsp salt
2 cubes (total 8 oz) cold butter, diced
Mix all ingredients together by hand or a mixer and sprinkle over fruit. A little will go a long way.. We don't ever want to buy the next size jeans!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Halloween quilt, 4, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

I hope you all had a spooky and treatful Halloween. There were fun and adorable trick or treaters at my door last night. I think my really scary Jack-o-lantern scared them away though or maybe it was my dog, Sophie. I am not sure. This Jack is the center block of my Halloween quilt made 2 years ago. The starry eyes are buttons.