Sunday, November 25, 2012

Support Etsy!

Support Etsy this Holiday Season!
Click on my Etsy link to the right to find some adorable little fairy houses like the one above, some one of a kind tooth fairy houses, along with some simple tea bowls and a few mugs.  Stop by and say hi!
Here are some of my favorite Etsy shops....
Claymates Pottery - Functional and whimsical pottery by my friend Linda
Dreams Unfolding - Beautiful handmade prayer feathers by my friend Judi
Bookfiends - Gifts for people who love books
Julia Paul Pottery - handmade tableware and artful home decor
The Little Red Door - Little Clay Houses Ceramic Miniatures Terrarium Decor
Cinnamon Sticks - Whimsical Rustic Life Inspired Silver
Jill K Davis Jewelry - Adorable handmade jewelry
RQP Studio - Unique jewelry made from historical wax seals
Tell me if you find any other extraordinary Etsy shops that I should add!
Jean :)
“The Internet is just a world passing around notes in a classroom.”
Author Unknown

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Creating Pumpkin Soup

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  This was one of my best Thanksgivings ever!  It was my first Thanksgiving in my new home (that's it above - lol!), and I was joined by my younger daughter and a couple of great friends!  One of the other great parts about it was the pumpkin soup we made. 
The recipe started out with just pumpkins, onions, garlic and vegetable broth, but we ended up adding a whole list of other ingredients on the spur of the moment, and it was Mmmmmm good!  The original recipe also called for two shiitake mushrooms, but I "just say no" to mushrooms! 
So, step one was cutting two small sugar pumpkins into 2 inch squares along with a chopped onion and a tablespoon of chopped garlic.  Put those ingredients in a bowl with 1/2 cup olive oil and toss well.  The bake at 450 for about 30 minutes or until tender.   As an alternative to baking, you can cook the pumpkins in water and use that water in your recipe in place of vegetable broth.
When they came out of the oven, we left the peels on and tossed all the ingredients into a food processor along with a couple of cups of vegetable broth.   Puree it all until it's nice and smooth, then transfer it to a pot and start cooking up the yumminess!
This is the point where we started getting creative...we added (without measuring, so have fun with this part) cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, crystallized ginger (chopped finely), brown sugar, cream, coconut cream, a touch of milk, and some salt and pepper.  Lucky for me I made yellow curry chicken last week, so I already had a few of the impromptu ingredients on hand!  Keep stirring over low heat until you're ready to eat!  (oh...add a little butter too...yum!)

To make your soup look as good as it tastes, serve it up in some pumpkin halves and sprinkle with a few toasted pumpkin seeds!
Check out All About Pumpkins for some interesting facts about pumpkins and a collection of which pumpkins are the best to use in your different pumpkin recipes.  For example, they suggest using Red uri, Kabocha or Butternut to make your pumpkin soups.  Better act fast though...pumpkin season at the stores may be ending soon!  And take a look below at how good those pumpkins are for your health...

Health benefits of Pumpkin

  • It is one of the very low calorie vegetables. 100 g fruit provides just 26 calories and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol; however, it is rich in dietary fiber, anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins. The vegetable is one of the food items recommended by dieticians in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs.
  • Pumpkin is a storehouse of many anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin-A, vitamin-C and vitamin-E.
  • With 7384 mg per 100 g, it is one of the vegetables in the Cucurbitaceae family featuring highest levels of vitamin-A, providing about 246% of RDA. Vitamin A is a powerful natural anti-oxidant and is required by the body for maintaining the integrity of skin and mucus membranes. It is also an essential vitamin for good visual sight. Research studies suggest that natural foods rich in vitamin A help a body protects against lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • It is also an excellent source of many natural poly-phenolic flavonoid compounds such as α, ß carotenes, cryptoxanthin, lutein and zea-xanthin. Carotenes convert into vitamin A inside the body.
  • Zea-xanthinis a natural anti-oxidant which has UV (ultra-violet) rays filtering actions in the macula lutea in retina of the eyes. Thus, it helps protect from "age-related macular disease" (ARMD) in the elderly.
  • The fruit is a good source of B-complex group of vitamins like folates, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin and pantothenic acid.
  • It is also rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.
  • Pumpkin seedsindeed are an excellent source of dietary fiber and mono-unsaturated fatty acids, which are good for heart health. In addition, the seeds are concentrated sources of protein, minerals and health-benefiting vitamins. For instance, 100 g of pumpkin seeds provide 559 calories, 30 g of protein, 110% RDA of iron, 4987 mg of niacin (31% RDA), selenium (17% of RDA), zinc (71%)etc., but no cholesterol. Further, the seeds are an excellent source of health promoting amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is converted to GABA in the brain.
Happy Cooking Everyone!
Jean :)
"I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion."
Henry David Thoreau 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Julia Galloway Workshop

I spent Friday night and all day Saturday at a Julia Galloway pottery workshop.  She is an amazing potter who does wonders with surface work and was THE MOST inspiring speaker!  If you have a chance to see her ever, DO IT!  In the meantime, visit her website at
She did demos on tumblers, handles and spouts, salt and pepper bowls, and more, working mainly with porcelain.  She throws standing up, which was something new to me...maybe I'll give it a try sometime!  
What I gained most from her presentation was to learn to be comfortable with my own style, and to not be afraid to experiment.  Boy, is that a growing edge for me!  "Make enough that you don't mind losing least in the beginning," she says.  She shared her journey as a potter with us, which, as always, includes challenges.  One thing she said that really stuck with me was, "You never know how great a predicament is, until you're in it!"  In other words, you grow from those struggles (a truth for life in general, I'd say).
She brought some items available to purchase like these sweet little cloud cups...
And this beautiful salt and pepper pot...
I was ecstatic to be able to purchase this adorable lidded salt bowl!  It was a popular item, and I was watching my back when I walked to my car at the end of the workshop!  LOL!  Check out the hollow lid on this and the fine surface decoration...oh...and the lid is a rattle, too!  Can't get much sweeter!  I'll be finding a place of honor in my home for this little treasure!

Well, off to make some pots today!  See you next time!
Jean :)
"You can't help but be exactly who you are!"
Julia Galloway

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I think this will make you smile...but it might make you shed a tear or two.  Keep a Kleenex handy!
Thank you, Judi, for sharing this with me!
Jean :)

God Made the earth, the sky and the water, the moon and the sun. He made man and bird and beast. But He didn't make the dog. He already had one.
Native American saying