Saturday, May 7, 2011

new items! and a cat

Food & eating

I've been having fun exploring vegetarian recipes and experimenting in the kitchen the past couple months.  Trying new techniques and different ingredients make spending time in the kitchen an adventure.  Recently, in talking with my mother, we thought I might have a wheat issue.  I won't go into explicit details, but it would make sense.  My mom also has cut out gluten from her diet and has been feeling a lot better.  So over the past week, I've been trying that, too.

Going both the vegetarian and gluten-free routes will be a challenge.  I looked through all my faux meat in the freezer and most of them contain wheat of some sort.  (I learned last Friday night, by accident, that seitan IS wheat gluten.  Ouch - gotta stay away from that!)  Thankfully our favorite vegetarian restaurant down the street has a lot of gluten-free options.  Stonehearth Kitchen also offers a gluten-free pizza crust (yum - margherita!) and other gluten-free entrees.  Earlier in the week I did some grocery shopping at Market Basket (one of my faves.)  Their gluten-free items are all clearly marked with neon-green tags at the edge of each shelf.  I couldn't believe how easy it was to find things and loved the neon markers.  I'm one of those people who could be sharing right at what I'm looking for and not see it.  The neon ensures that does not happen.  So, along with identifying gluten-free ingredients and trying vegetarian recipes, I'll be having quite the time in the kitchen.  The exciting life I lead!

Over the past couple of weeks I've been making myself the same thing for my late breakfast/early lunch: an egg quesadilla and fruit/veggie smoothie.  I can't take all the credit for being creative.  I got the quesadilla idea from this recipe and tweak it based on what I have on hand.  I never thought of white corn tortillas.  When I hear "corn tortilla" I think yellow. The white ones are almost a little nuttier in taste; I can't describe it.  And then placing the tortillas on top of the cooking egg is genius - and easy.  Lately I've been making them with spinach and a little soy cheese.  I had been throwing in avocado slices but went a little overboard one day.  The past couple days I've chopped up some grape tomatoes and throw those in the egg mixture.  Of course there are photos!
Some of the ingredients: eggs, white corn tortillas & some pesto because I love it
the scrambled egg on the skillet with some baby spinach leaves, salt & pepper
Placing the tortilla on top of the eggs, making sure the egg adheres
the eggs flipped over so the tortilla can brown
As the egg business is going on, I like to throw together a fruit & veggie smoothie.  I've been trying to add as much of each as possible - without the smoothie tasting gag-tastic.  Using spinach and carrot juice is an easy way to do this.  Spinach is so bland-tasting, it just adds a little earthiness to the flavor of the smoothie.  Many carrot juices are pretty sweet.  Of the three brands I've tried so far - Trader Joe's, Bolthouse Farms and Odwalla - the Bolthouse Farms carrot juice is the best.  It's great to use in a smoothie for a little added sweetness, especially if you're using fruit like blueberries, which can be tart.  For fruits, I use the aforementioned blueberries, frozen peaches or mango, and a diced-up apple.  To round out the flavor and texture - and to add a little protein - I throw in a tablespoon of vanilla Greek yogurt and some soy milk.  Sometimes I also use some ground flax seeds, bee pollen and ground cinnamon for added flavor and nutrients.
blueberries & baby spinach

the other stuff
Viola! Egg quesadilla & F/V smoothie!
I feel very healthy when I eat this.  I haven't actually broken down what sort of calories this meal packs, but many food groups are represented - and it's an easy way to ingest a few servings of fruits & vegetables. 

Stay tuned for more kitchen fun... I have a recipe from Ram's Kitchen I made a couple months ago to report and yesterday I made some delicious spaghetti squash.  I'm sure you're dying to hear about those!  After you read about them, you'll be happy you did.  Trust me.

Now, I'm off to paint some pottery in my new home studio space.  Maybe I'll fold some laundry, too.  See, the exciting life I lead!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

On Etsy's home page!

This is kind of exciting news.  My yellow party set (which is a bowl and plate) is featured on Etsy's home page! Another Etsy seller, Ayca,  had created a treasury list (curated list of 16 items) that was selected to be featured for an hour.  This is a good time of night, right?  I hope this helps business.  Free advertising - gotta love it.  Thank you, Ayca!

If you're looking at this before 8:00 pm EDT on Thursday, May 5, then you may be able to see it via this link:

Spring cleaning

It's been a while since my last post and a lot has been happening!

On April 16th, I had my first annual Spring Trunk show.  For the first time organizing an event like that, I think it was a great turnout.  I hadn't kept track of how many people came, but we had a decent flow once noon rolled around.  So, next time it will start at noon.  I'm not much of a morning person anyway. 

All the vendors were happy with the day, too.  Liz from Looka Jewelry, who sold her gorgeous silver, brass and gold necklaces, earrings and rings, wants to be a part of the pre-holiday show I'm planning for the late fall.  I've admired Liz's envelope style pieces for over a year, so I treated myself to one of these fab envelope rings with a little diamond; I haven't taken it off.  I also couldn't resist Vonica Design's totally adorable wristlet clutch.  I have been using that as my everyday bag to hold my essentials.  The extra nice thing about it, I can throw it in a larger shoulder bag and all the must-have items are easily accessible.  Having a couple great, large handbags makes this smaller bag so versatile!  The gorgeous, heavy fabric Erica uses for her bags are favorites of mine.  It's part of the reason why I asked her to be a part of the trunk show!  All the fabrics are so soft, I love touching them. 

My friend Claudia who is "Me & Louise" fashions and Claudia Venon Designs found some new fans at the show.  Her shawls, scarves and tops were very popular.  My fantastic mother-in-law surprised me with one of Claudia's awesome wrap-around skirts!  I'm so lucky.  My own mother was at the trunk show, too - as a vendor.  She is the woman behind Advintage Antiques.  I never realized how much cool stuff she sold.  Bakealite jewelry and kitchen gadgets, pewter Art-Deco bowls and trays, mini packets of buttons, sparkly vintage costume jewelry, silver candle sticks, vanity sets from the 1920s.  It was so fun to look through all of her treasures. 

One of the things I forgot to do at the trunk show was take pictures.  I was so anxious to get everything in order, I left the camera at home and didn't capture the action on pixel.  Next time I won't forget the camera - or I could just use my new iPhone!  That would be easiest.  Also, my husband and I talked about investing in a sandwich-board sign for the outside of the gallery where we could post an announcement and attach balloons (universal party/event/yard-sale marker.)  Thankfully this time we were able to attach our balloons to an old-playground-giant-rabbit-on-a-giant-spring children's ride we had on hand.  I also need to be aggressive about asking for people to sign my email list.    After having such a great day, some awesome feedback and figuring out what needs to be done differently next time (advertise more an earlier), I'm already looking forward to our pre-holiday trunk show in the fall.  Stay tuned!

In other items, last weekend, I organized our under-utilized front porch as my home studio.  It was quite inspiring, I have to say!  I cleared out a couple throw rugs, scrubbed and dusted the base-boards (didn't realize how much the cats hang out there!) and window sills, and moved around the furniture.  I brought in all my supplies and arranged my bookshelves.  It's so sunny and bright out there, and it's where I take the pottery photos anyway - it's a perfect workspace. 

I'm in the process of getting a couple shows on the calendar for June.  One in my hometown of Wakefield, MA at the annual Festival by the Lake on June 11.  I used to volunteer at the food booth there when I was in jr high and high school.  It was a fun event each summer.  And it would be more fun to be a vendor there.  The other one is at Absolutely Everything's Summer Craft Show in Topsfield, MA.  It's on Sunday, June 26.  Having these shows on my schedule motivates me to focus on which designs have sold previously so I can make more of those and tweak designs. 

To wrap things up, I've been working on some new designs and commissions as well.  At the trunk show, I had a couple custom-orders requested.  It's been fun working on collaborations with customers - and is a great boost for me too - knowing people like my work.  I'll post some pottery photos soon.  And I have a couple of food posts in the hopper, too.