Month: October 2012

Purple Tulip Bouquet In Watercolor

Tulips are my favorite flower to paint. They’re simple but elegant, they come in a variety of colors, and the leaves offer a lot of opportunities to play with a range of blues, greens, and yellows. I wasn’t sure if the pastel background would work with this painting, but I think I pulled it off. This painting is based on a tutorial in Fiona Peart’s book, “Tulips in Watercolor.”

Here’s a close-up view:

Farmer’s Market Goodies

I went shopping at the farmer’s market again yesterday. It was a great day to be outside. The weather was gorgeous. The air was cool and crisp–just the way I like it. And  look at all the fabulous goodies I bought. Since there’s only one week left to shop before the market closes for the season, I stocked up on all the fresh goodness I could carry home. I’ve got lots of cooking to do this week.

For just $20.00 I bought two types of apples, green peppers, cherry tomatoes, eggplant, kale, jalapeno peppers, tiny white potatoes, and sweet potatoes. What a deal! I also bought farm fresh eggs, home-made applesauce and apple butter, barbequed chicken, and plenty of pulled pork and barbequed beef brisket to stock my freezer so I can enjoy it over the coming winter months.

I’m going to miss my weekly trips to the farmer’s market and all the people I met there this summer. I’ve grown so fond of all of them. See you next spring.

Slow-Cooked Chicken with Coconut-Pineapple Curry Sauce

Here is the final recipe we sampled during our Columbus Day family watercolor/food fest. I don’t know which was more fun–painting the day away with my mother, daughter, and sister or sampling three new recipes in one day. I’ll call it a tie. This slow-cooked chicken with coconut-pineapple curry sauce was the perfect choice for a cold, rainy fall day. Its stick-to-your ribs goodness warmed our bodies and the wonderful aroma filled the air as we worked on our paintings. This recipe was originally featured in Betty Crocker’s ipad cookbook, but my mother adapted it to suit our tastes. Here’s what you’ll need to make this delicious chicken curry:


1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 red or green bell pepper, cubed
1 can (14 oz.) coconut milk
1  can (20 oz.) pineapple chunks with juice
2 cans (4.5 oz.) chopped green chilies
1/2 cup chicken broth
4-6 teaspoons curry powder (we used 6 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons corn starch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large, firm banana, cubed
2 cups cooked rice (we used jasmine rice)

Spray a 3- to 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Combine all ingredients except banana and rice. Cover and cook over low heat for 6-7 hours. Spoon over hot cooked rice.

Weekend Chef: Panzanella Salad

My mother, sister, daughter, and I painted from sunrise until sunset during our Columbus Day watercolor fest. We did take occasional breaks for important things–like breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For lunch my sister whipped up this delightful Panzanella salad. It was quick, easy, and delicious. It’s best made with good quality home-grown tomatoes, like these beauties I bought last weekend at the farmer’s market–which were probably the last tomatoes of the season.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this salad:


2 thick slices of  dense bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (we used honey sunflower artisan bread I bought at Harris Teeter)
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1/4 small red onion, diced
1 cup fresh mozzarella, cubed
1 stalk celery, diced
8 basil leaves, sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients into a medium-sized bowl. Stir to combine. Let sit at room temperature until the bread softens. Serve with a glass of peach iced tea. Serves 3-4.

Weekend Chef: Bananas Foster Puffed Pancake

As promised, here’s the recipe for the amazing bananas foster puffed pancake we served for breakfast during our Columbus Day watercolor fest. As usual, my mom made a few changes to the recipe. She used spiced rum instead of regular rum and omitted the powdered sugar and whipped cream. She felt the whipped cream might overpower the delicate flavor of the bananas and I agree. We served it with steaming cups of coffee.

As you can see in the next picture, it was delicious. The four of us devoured the whole thing in a matter of minutes. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

Columbus Day Paint Fest–Rainforest Fairy

Rainforest Fairy

I thought it was time to switch things up and create another fantasy illustration so I painted this rainforest fairy during our Columbus Day weekend family paint fest. This painting was quite time consuming and challenging but I learned a lot and I’m satisfied with the end result. This painting is based on a tutorial from “How to Draw and Paint Fairyland,” by Linda Ravenscoft.

Columbus Day Paint Fest: Yellow and Orange Tulip Bouquet

During our Columbus Day family paint fest my sister painted this amazing bouquet of orange and yellow tulips. She really enjoyed learning Janet Whittle’s background painting technique at our last family paint fest and wanted to try it again on this painting. This is her third watercolor painting and I think she’s hooked. I couldn’t be more thrilled; I love hanging out with my sister and look forward to many more painting sessions with her.

This painting was based on a tutorial in the book, “Tulips in Watercolor,” by Fiona Peart.

Here’s a close-up view of my sister’s painting:

Columbus Day Paint Fest: Stargazer Lilies

During our Columbus Day family paint fest my daughter painted these gorgeous stargazer lilies. I love the combination of yellow, pink, purple, and touches of blue she used on the petals and the fine details she added with acrylic ink. This painting was based on a tutorial by Wendy Jelbert in the book, “Flowers,” by Wendy Jelbert, Michael Lakin, Fiona Peart, and Wendy Tait.

Here’s a close-up view of her painting:

Eat, Paint, Love

What a busy weekend. Not only did I attend the Remington fall festival, I also hosted a Columbus Day girls weekend at my house. My mother, sister, daughter, and I spent the entire weekend together and we did what we girls do best–we cooked, we ate, and we painted. On Sunday we started off the day with a breakfast consisting of this delicious bananas foster puffed pancake and coffee:

After a quick clean-up, we got down to some serious painting.

My daughter worked on these colorful stargazer lilies:

My sister tried her hand at painting a bouquet of tulips:

My mother worked on these morning glories:

And I worked on this rainforest fairy, who looks a bit freakish at this stage because she has no eyes:

We painted for several hours then stopped for lunch. My sister prepared this fabulous panzanella salad with some tomatoes I bought at the farmer’s market (probably the last of the season) and some fresh basil from my mother’s garden. She served the salad with glasses of peach iced tea.

Then we continued our painting fest. We painted well into the evening because my sister was determined to go home with a finished painting. Everyone completed their paintings except my mother, who stopped to cook us this fabulous chicken with coconut-pineapple curry sauce, which we piled on top of jasmine rice:

I don’t know which was more fun–painting the day away with my family or preparing and eating these fabulous meals. I’ll call it a tie. I’ll be posting pictures of the completed paintings and recipes for the fabulous good eats next.

Remington Fall Festival

This weekend my mother, sister, and I attended the Remington Volunteer Fire & Rescue Department annual fall festival. The event was held at the Remington Carnival Grounds and featured a pancake breakfast, arts and crafts, ice cream and live entertainment, an antique car and tractor/truck show, and a fish and chicken fry. Remington, Virginia is a small town, so it wasn’t surprising that the carnival grounds and festival were quite small as well, which is just the way we gals like it.

The day started out cloudy and there was a light drizzle when we first arrived at the event, but it lasted only a few minutes and then the sun came out and it turned into a picture-perfect day–sunny, cool, and breezy. We had a great time.

We skipped the pancake breakfast and headed straight to the antique tractor, truck, and car show. Here are few pictures of the antique tractors on display:

This gentleman was all smiles when I asked him to hop up on his tractor and pose for a picture.

This was an interesting tractor. Notice the log cutter on the front of the machine–it’s a two-fer-one special.

Next, we headed over to the antique car and truck show. There were some real beauties on display, like this gorgeous turquoise Ford truck:

Here’s my sister getting “all up in its grill.” She really loved the front grill and how the red tail lights looked against the bright turquoise paint.

This picture is for you, sis:

My mom really loved this old Chevy.

This orange Chevy Nova really caught my eye.

Check out the size of that hood scoop.

Love the two-tone paint job on this Plymouth Charger, the chrome bumper and side pipes, and mag wheels.

I don’t recall what type of car this was, but check out that custom paint job. What’s not to like about purple flames?

My sister and I loved the front end of this car. The over-sized wheel wells that wrapped around to the front of the car reminded us of the Batmobile.

We spent a long time talking to the owner of this 1957 Cadillac, which is still sporting its original chrome, paint job, and interior. He is the third owner of this garage-kept vehicle, which has only 75,000 miles. With the exception of a few scratches on the left rear panel, this car was in mint condition, and still sports the original goddess hood ornament. What a beauty.

When the owner pointed out the goddess on the hood to the onlookers, for a moment there I thought he was referring to me. A girl can dream, can’t she?

To gas up this baby, you have to lift up the tail light. I’ve never seen that before. We thoroughly enjoyed looking at these beauties and talking to their owners.

After the car show, we decided to sample some fall fair delicacies. The selections were typically unhealthy, but so delicious.

We chose funnel cakes and fried Oreos–totally delicious. Afterwards, we headed over to the fish fry. It’s always best to eat dessert first so you don’t run out of room for dessert.

My sissy about to dig into her meal.

What a meal–two kinds of fried fish, french fries, home fries, green beans with bacon AND sausage, cole slaw, corn muffins, chocolate cake, and iced tea. Not the healthiest meal, but sometimes it’s okay to throw caution to the wind and just enjoy the moment.

The live country music was the perfect accompaniment to this down home meal.

Several gents were sporting straw hats.

The Remington Fall Festival is held each year on the first Saturday in October. I know where I’ll be next year. I better shop around for a straw hat, so I won’t look like an out-of-towner.

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