Home canning. What a fabulous way to savor summer’s bounty! I spent the past weekend canning tomato sauce. My recipe? Twenty pounds of tomatoes, one boiling hot kitchen and many, many hours of time yield tidy rows of crimson jars. I love cooking homemade sauce and nothing can beat the flavor. But spending the time is luxury that I can ill afford. That’s why, as often as possible, I look for ways to save time. How about you? Would you like to preserve veggies in a fraction of the time? Read on.
The solution is fermented vegetables! Make as little or as much as you like in less than 30 minutes and enjoy delicious crunchy veggies for the next several months.
All you need to preserve these healthy veggies:
Quart canning jars
Plastic lids--in a pinch use the metal jar rings with a bit of plastic wrap or waxed paper in place of the seals
Organic veggies and herbs
Cold filtered water
Chop a variety of vegetables. Add them to clean quart jars along with herbs and 1 ½ to 2 Tbs sea salt mixed with 2 cups of filtered water. Top the mixture with a cabbage leaf to hold the veggies under water, screw on the lid and let them sit on your counter for 5 to 7 days. When they’re done they’ll be a little bubbly, a lot salty and full of healthful probiotics. Store the fermented vegetables in your fridge for up to six months.
What about flavor combinations? To get started I tried assorted veggies like cauliflower, cucumbers, carrots and beets mixed with peppercorns and lots of dill. Since then I’ve tried Italian mixes of red and green peppers, chili, radish and sweet onion with basil; Thai veggie mixes with bok choy, cucumber and carrot with cilantro, basil and mint; and Mexican flavors with peppers, chilis, onions, cilantro and red chili flakes. I’ve even made jars of cucumbers, garlic, peppercorns and dill that taste like old fashioned half-sours. Improvise your own flavor combinations--whatever you choose will be delicious, salty, crunchy and so good for you.
I like to mix them with brown rice or quinoa a little olive oil and some toasted almonds for a simple lunch salad. They are also a yummy vegetable accompaniment for a chicken or fish dinner.
Make one jar or several. Try it--they are so quick and easy you can make a batch today! Let me know what you tried in the comments section below.
Visit nourishingmeals.com to read their great blog post and watch a how-to video.
We are on the road in New Mexico. On our way to Carlsbad caverns we decided to stop off in Roswell to see the UFO museum. The cluster of booths inside a warehouse suggest the government's cover-up of an alien crash. This story is told in a series of newspaper articles, photos and conflicting eye-witness accounts. About half of the museum is a gallery of art inspired by UFOs. It's been on my destination list for a long time. I might have enjoyed it more if I had entered into the spirit of fun like the high school group who sported alien helmets crafted from aluminum foil. At least I can say I've been there. Truthfully the alien-head street lamps lining main street were my favorite part of the visit.
We were lucky to discover a gem in this hot desert town--The Roswell Museum and Art Center
which featured an exhibit and an entire wing devoted to Dr. Robert Goddard. Had my husband not been a flight buff we would have kept right on driving. Goddard, the father of modern rocketry was fascinated at an early age with the idea of space travel. His work began in his home state of Massachusetts. His first rocket launched in 1926.
I was intrigued with the museum's display because of the recreation of Goddard's workroom. The opportunity to see a creator's workspace is a favorite subject of mine
. Two walls of the large space were lined with workbenches containing rocket parts. Above the tables were orderly rows of tools. The other side of the room stored sheets of metal and a metal cutting machine. It was a fascinating look inside the working mind of a genius.
In the adjoining hallway examples of his many rocket designs are displayed behind glass. In this collection of rockets I was surprised they noted the failures. It's easy to see the end result--"the success" and forget how much work went into the outcome. "During World War II, Goddard offered his work to the military, but lack of interest in rocket development led to his closing down the Roswell establishment and participating in the war effort through a small Navy contract for work at Annapolis, MD, on the development of a jet-thrust booster for seaplane takeoff." ~ Encyclopedia Britannica
In 1960, fifteen years after his death, the more than 200 patents held by Goddard and his heirs were transferred to the United States for a settlement of $1,000,000. He studied and experimented for years in his tidy workshop, was initially ridiculed by the media, had his work rejected by the government and died before he ever saw his research come into use. A plaque next to the rocket displays described his life and work with an interesting word--"tinkerer". Did he think all those years, all that effort was a waste? Picture a seven-year-old Robert Goddard in 1899 as"... he climbed a cherry tree in his backyard and “imagined how wonderful it would be to make some device which had even the possibility of ascending to Mars…when I descended the tree,” he wrote in his diary, “existence at last seemed very purposive.” ~ Encyclopedia Britannica A waste?
No way. I think he was just having fun.
Desks are on my mind these days. It started with a visit home. My sister-in-law just started working from home and set up a work space in the living room. Her desk features 3 computers and 3 monitors and an enormous leather wing chair. They laughingly call it "the command center." I call it idyllic--between calls she listens to the murmur of their chickens. Then last week I heard Science Friday’s Desktop Diaries for the first time. This show, centered around the amount of time we spend at our desks asks scientists to describe what’s on their desks and why. Now I’m noticing desktops everywhere! I’m more interested in creatives desktops like Lauren Bucquet’s that I stumbled upon yesterday. The head shoe and accessories designer for Rag & Bone has a space filled with pens and chalks, fabric and leather, buttons and vintage trinkets and plenty of photos that help complete her story. I’ve always loved Karen Michel’s photos of her art supplies--her tools become just as beautiful as the finished product. Musicians working spaces are music stands and studios piled with instruments and scores. The practice room is yet another kind of desk. The Colorado Springs Philharmonic offers a peek into the working space of 75 musicians. Dubbed “Musical Chairs” this fascinating opportunity invites donors to sit onstage next to musicians during a rehearsal. It’s a multi-dimensional experience not only to hear, see and feel the music, but to observe interactions between working conductor and musicians. Our wonderful supporters become part of our group’s “desk”, sitting next to their favorite section, asking questions, learning more about our work.My desk is a collection of metronomes, reading glasses assignment charts and scribbled ideas. A violin and viola hang on the wall at the ready. The rest of the space is filled with photos and mementos of my children and whimsical pieces that remind me to have fun. What about you? What’s on your desk? A work in progress? An idea just waiting to happen? Like a three dimensional mind map your desk is a crystal clear reflection of your work. Now it’s your turn. We want to see where your magic happens. Show me your desk. Hop on over to Beyond-Do Re Mi’s Facebook Page and post pics of your desk, studio or workspace. I can't wait to see!
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There are buds on my lilac bush. Ahhh...Spring. It gives me hope to watch the world renew. Yes, we’ll have more snow but it will be dotted with playful crocus and sunny daffodil blooms. The buds and bulbs alert all my senses. Colors, texture, fragrance--it feels fresh and new. The anticipation of a new season helps lift me out of a rut and back in the creative groove.
What about you? Are you in a groove? Congratulations! May your ride be smooth and productive.
And the rest of you? Are you like me, in a rut? My tasks feel heavy. Arduous. Chores pile high like dirty snow. It’s been a somber, grey winter and I need a change. The best way out is to take a cue from Spring and lighten up. Be playful. Think young. Here’s a game of Child’s Play to lift you out of the rut.
Collect a crayon and paper and practice this meditation: close your eyes and think back--to being 7. You are wearing cowboy boots and “Cars” pajamas. (You also wore this yesterday and will wear it again tomorrow.) Run to the kitchen to drink half a glass of juice. Grab paper and crayon. Run to the living room. Stop to knock down your brother’s tower of blocks. Run back to the kitchen to drink more juice. Wipe your mouth on your sleeve. Now run back to the living room to draw. Fling your your body on the rug and burp. Laugh out loud. Draw a picture of your crying brother. Then, while you’re in “time-out” think about some other things you can draw....Now, make your own drawing. Be seven-years-old while you draw. Sing while you draw. Make up a story while you draw. Feel renewed.
It's a healthy way to suspend impulse control. You'll find this exercise works wonders for the psyche. It's as relaxing as meditation and rejuvenating as a brisk walk. And that's a handy tool when you are overworked. Keep a pad of paper and some markers handy, close your eyes and dream up your own seven-year-old meditation and doodle your cares away. Practice often and you might find yourself journaling. You'll be back in the groove in no time. Maybe for the first time since you were seven!
BTW, the absolute best book about this kind of spontaneous, childlike drawing is “Harold and the Purple Crayon.” It's so good I dare say it is required reading. Read it and be seven again!
I love the way a fabric covered memo board adds a little color and romance to the utilitarian cork or magnetic versions. Why not take it step further and create a memento wall?
Vintage Valentine's Day Cards
My powder room was the ideal canvas for this project. The room was already painted a bright kiwi above the white chair rail. I picked a pretty eggplant grosgrain ribbon and some brass upholstery tacks. With a couple of hours of work I have a visually intriguing and whimsical display wall.
Start by measuring the width of the wall. Divide that number to come up with even spacings for the ribbon. Mark the ribbon placement for top, bottom and sides of the walls with pencil since it will be covered up by the ribbon. You also want to think about what you'd like to display. The memento wall needs smaller spacings to hold items in place without padding. Once the walls are marked measure to determine how much ribbon to purchase. Hold the ends of the ribbon in place with push pins. It’s a good idea to leave a few inches on each end. I put up all of my ribbon before I purchased upholstery tacks so I could be certain how many to buy. Since this was done over a wall it’s important to keep the ribbon taut. With the push pins in place work from the center of the wall, hammering the upholstery tacks at each ribbon intersection. I used a plastic hammer to keep from damaging my upholstery tacks. Continue to pull the ribbon taut after each tack is installed. You will need to re-push pin each ribbon edge as you work. When all the interior intersections have been tacked cut the extra ribbon and attach each end with an upholstery tack.
I display photos, postcards, Christmas cards and in February, vintage Valentines. There are so many variations on this project. and out. Use black and white to showcase colorful kid’s art and awards. Use hot glue instead of upholstery tacks and hang cards with mini clothes pins or fancy paperclips. Create a modern look with neutral colors and a collection of joss paper. Cover a wall of outdated wallpaper with a memento wall of vintage photos. Or turn a bedroom wall into a giant padded memo board with batting and fabric.
A collection of photos, postcards and vintage ephemera
Charming Pop-Up Cards
Pizza, Grissini and Chocolate Calzone from scratch.
Announcing our first collaborative art project on Beyond Do Re Mi. "It Starts With a Smile." Join in the fun and we'll spread some cheer one doorstep at a time. Share your chalk welcome mats on Beyond Do Re Mi's Facebook page. Check the Event posted on Facebook for more details. I'll collect your photos and post them here on the blog.
I've had this topic on my "to write" list ever since last summer. Imagine my surprise and delight when my all time favorite blog, the Improvised Life gave me a nudge this morning. Read their article here
What makes sidewalk chalk so fun? An unbelievably large canvas for one thing. What could possibly be a better surface than an entire driveway? It's spontaneous and unscripted play with a forgiving medium. The most important reason? It's impermanent. Cars and footsteps and rain make it virtually impossible to create a "mistake."
Wouldn't it be great if "grown ups" could capture the exuberance of giant doodles? I smile every time I see a decorated sidewalk. And Sally just gave me a reason to join in the fun. Chalk welcome mats! Simply brilliant.
I couldn't get to the store fast enough to buy my own sidewalk chalk--I bought a box of 52 washable chalks by Crayola
. Here's my welcome mat and some of the submissions we received. It's not too late to join--post yours!
It's a busy week for the summer festival so we're camping near Central City. It's a beautiful place to relax
and journal between seven opera performances. I woke up in the mountains yesterday next to my husband with love in my heart and an idea for a journal page--an exercise in the simplicity and complexity of love. I pictured a simple graphic heart on a quilt block background as an exuberant symbol of love. I nearly finished the page that morning; later in the day I re-read a section of Twyla Tharp's book, The Creative Habit
. As she discussed artists' skills Tharp says one goal is to make our work seem effortless. But to achieve that first we must master the basics. It was a perfect fit for my page.
From Twyla Tharp's book, "Picasso once said, while admiring an exhibition of children's art, 'When I was their age I could draw like Raphael, but it has taken me a whole lifetime to learn to draw like them.' "
I've been too busy playing opera to write. I really should be heading to the shower so we can play an afternoon Carmen. Instead, I'm making time to write just for fun. All because of a darling bit of fluff.
I don't even know what category to choose for this post. I bought it at the opera gift shop so it's a bit like music. But it's also inspiring my muse so maybe it's even more like creativity. It's a little bit like a makeover so it fits well in Courageous Communication. P.S. to Inside Out Makeover.
No matter the category, I just have to share. A colleague told me about these headpieces a couple of weeks ago. I finally made it to the gift shop earlier this week to see for myself. I tried one on and was instantly transformed! So cute! But where would I wear it? Later in the pit, I excitedly shared my find. A friend suggested I might have to create opportunities for wearing something that made me so happy. That was all I needed to hear. Last night I returned with money in hand.
Fascinators! Recently in the public eye due to a beautiful and stylish Duchess, these are ethereal confections for your head. Set at a jaunty angle they add charm and whimsy. All tulle and feathers and lace--try one on and you won't be able to stop smiling.
An opera house employee had just arrived last night with fresh stock of hair accessories--the seventh of the season! There were piles of fascinators. So many that it was hard to choose. But then, they are all so darling you really can't go wrong. My husband was with me when I shopped. I asked if he liked them. He said he liked how much they make me smile.
#3 Power Wear
Third in a series on giving yourself an Inside-Out Makeover
, this step encourages you to find your special power garment and wear it to radiate confidence and authority.
I didn't notice my new attitude until this spring. Just like the previous year, my husband gave me a shoe shopping trip for my birthday. This time it was easy to choose. I'd heard so much about the barefoot running shoes Vibrum Five Fingers, I couldn't wait to try them. It was love at first step. I felt powerful and I felt free. In touch with nature I relished feeling the earth beneath my feet. Athletic and strong I was ready for challenge. Pliant and vulnerable I quickly adapted to the varied terrain.
Last year's gift was another story. I had barely celebrated my birthday when Mom's health took a turn for the worse and she died 5 days later. It was weeks before I was in the mood to shop for birthday shoes. But when I finally did, I made an interesting choice. I picked tough chick shoes. Black patent, strappy, towering heels covered in studs. Don't mess with me shoes. Armor for my feet. Although what I was really trying to protect was my heart.
Last year: warrior. This year: road warrior. Anyone who knows me is familiar with my love of shoes. But I was still surprised to see my confidence (or lack of) so obviously demonstrated in my footwear. And that got me thinking about power wear.
Wonder Woman has her unbreakable bracelets. My kids had blankies. There are days when we all could use an extra measure of self-confidence. Your power garment makes you feel invincible and keeps you safe. It's an item of clothing that makes you feel your best. It can be a signature item or your own little secret. It might be a special gift or a cherished heirloom. It's significance is your symbol of bravura. Whether it's your treasured earrings, those fabulous boots or even the most delicious perfume I'll bet you already know your power wear. Put it on the next time you need a boost. Better yet, wear it every day.