Thursday, December 31, 2009

I'm Baaaaaccccckkkk

It has been a wild ride these last 4 months of the year. As the new year approaches, I think everyone finds themselves reflecting on where they have been and what they have accomplished. With deciding to do the artshow in the beginning, I knew I was crazy. I put all of my eggs in one basket and with the help of friends and family, I was able to succeed. It was a long day, but we had a lot of fun. Below are some pictures from the space and the day.

So I am at the time of the year where you set you goals for next year. I love producing art, but I am coming to the concusion that I only work well under pressure. I completed 10 paintings in 2 months to get ready for the show. I need to just keep up this momemtom. With the success of the show, I have learned that I can actually do this. I can sell my paintings and crafts, I just need to stop being scared and take a chance this year whether it is going to local stores and presenting my coasters, glasswear, or cards or trying to push to get into a gallery, fair or restaurant. It is time for me to get serious. I am not going to lie, I am 31 years old and looking back at old journals, I have written this every year as one of my New Years resolutions.

I have had so many thing in the works, but I have half assed quite a bit. I have been wanting to learn HTML for years. I am paying for my $32K education from KU with a bachelors in fine arts with an emphasis in graphics and I never learned how to design a damn website. I have other people maintaining mine, and it has not been updated in over a year and a half. I have had a childrens book that I have written, and even started the illustrations, but in typical Brooke style, I have not finished. All I can say it is time to get it together in 2010. Hahaha!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Movin and a Shakin

So this show coming up has taught me two things. My house is never going to be a clean one when I am in my creative moods and I am much happier when I am creating art.

Here is the very beginning of a piece. I just have the outlines of the shapes of the figure so far, but I am interested to see where this one is going once I start defining the features.

The glare is horrible because it is extremely we at the time.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Save the Date Yall!

I am having a showing of my work on December 5, time to come, at 1918-1920 Washington Avenue. It is a friend of mine who owns a loft and it has a store front on it. It is going to serve as an open house for her to show her lofts, and it gives me a chance to show my work. I am nervous as all get out, but I am just looking at this as an opportunity for people to see my work, and to get the name out at the same time. Am I ready? No. But I am going to take this opportunity.

I have shown my work and had shows all over the country. Besides being exhausting showing your work, it is also mentally draining. I don't like to talk about my work. I would rather sit back and listen to people's interpretations. It is a big downfall of mine. I have had a negative taste in my mouth after showing my work. I have been in all kinds of shows, African-American shows in Philly and Baltimore to The Taste of the Central West End. I have been told on numerous occasions that my work is too black for the white community and too white for the black community? What does that mean you ask? I still don't know. If you have an answer, get back to me!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Owl Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes for Julie's shower. They were super fun to make and I think they turned out cute. I used Aldi's cake mix and icing to make it easier on me. For the eyes I used oreos with a dab of chocolate icing for teh iris, for the beak I used a cashew, and for the feathers on the head I used slivered almonds. I think it would have been cuter with shaved almonds, but you live and you learn.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Watercolor and Charcoal Study

I have been busy lately! Trying new techniques, styles, still trying to find my way! Here is a piece that I did during a watercolor study. Adding the watercolors on heavy, allowing them to drip, and in effect, it kind of looks like a tear. I love the softness of the watercolors verses the harsh black of the charcoal. I'm not too happy with the face, but I like the effect that it had. I will definitely try this technique again, but try to blend them more.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I must be crazy

I am going back to school! As excited as I am about it, I also think that I have lost my mind. I have not taken an art class since I graduated from KU in 2001. I have a friend in the program and she assures me that this will be a good step for me. I know I need to work on technique and I need instruction!

I imagine myself being that kid in class that is drawing stick figures and think they are a masterpiece while I am surrounded by Picasso's. I actually have had a dream about it. I haven't had the showing up to school naked dream yet, so I guess thats something huh?

So January brings the start of me going to Fontbonnne to get my second Masters, my last month of coaching basketball for the high school, and the beginning of a new year. 2010 is going to come in with a bang!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ohhh. Whitey's

Nick and I went to a white trash party and made White Castle's Patee. Anyone who knows Nick and I, you know our minor love for the treats in little white boxes. I mean, that is where we had our first kiss. In the drive thru. How sad are we?

Believe it or not, this stuff was pretty good! We put the ketchup on the top and served it with crackers.

White Castle Pate

15 White Castle regular (no cheese) hamburgers, boxes removed
2 tbs Worchestershire
1 package of cream cheese

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a blender or food, blend hamburgers three at a time with water as needed,scraping sides as you go. Add the Worchestshire. Finished product should look like refried beans. Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan with Crisco vegetable shortening (avoid butter ormargarine, as these will cause the pate to brown too much).Turn the pate mixture into the loaf pan, and smooth with spatula. Bake45 minutes. After removing from oven, immediately turn pate onto a servingplate. Allow to cool, then wrap in plastic and refrigerate. When ready to serve, frost pate with softened cream cheese or sour cream. Serve as a spread with thin slices of French bread or crackers.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Baby Deem

My relationship with Julie has been a funny one. Four years ago, I answered a posting on craigslist for a girl in U-City that was looking for someone to hang out with. I think the posting might have even said she needed a happy hour buddy. Of course, I stepped right up. We hit it off right away. We even went on a cruise together. We both went through a really wierd stage in our lives where we grew apart. It was something that we probably needed to do. Now, Julie is one of my best friends.

The whole time I have known Julie, her and her husband Ryan have always said they never wanted children. So I was a little suprised when last year, she had told me that they changed their minds. But none the less, they will be great parents and I can't wait to see the little girl they are going to pop out here in the next month or so.

So for her gift, I wanted to do something special. I found a quote by Vincent Van Gogh that I fell in love with. "If one feels the need of something grand, something infinite, something that makes one feel aware of God, one need not go far to find it. I think that I see something deeper, more infinite, more eternal than the ocean in the expression of the eyes of a little baby when it wakes in the morning and coos or laughs because it sees the sun shining on its cradle."

I put the quote in a tree along with the with the year. Both of their last names are patterned through the piece. I guess I would call it a Where's Waldo of baby gifts. I hope she likes it!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Best Buttercream Frosting Ever

This stuff is good, not to sweet, but gives that rich buttery taste. I have used it a few times as decorating icing. I'm not going to lie, I got this one from my sister in law Diana. I helped her make her cakes for her son's birthday parties. Thanks girl!

2 cups butter
8 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream

In a mixing bowl, cream butter until fluffy. Add sugar, and continue creaming until well blended.
Add salt, vanilla, and 6 ounces whipping cream. Blend on low speed until moistened. Add additional 2 ounces whipping cream if necessary. Beat at high speed until frosting is fluffy.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Engagement Present

It seems like most of my paintings in the last few weeks have been for presents for people. My good friend Lauren that now lives in Philly had an engagement party recently and I painted a picture of her and her fiance. It was hard to paint a picture of him because every time I see him (which has only once), he has had a hat on. But you get the idea. Congratulations Lauren!

Monday, October 12, 2009

White Chicken Chili

Hmmmmmmm.... Weather is cold, time to get the soups and chilis going! This is my first shot at making white chili. It was really good. I served it with cornbread.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed 1 (4 ounce) can diced jalapeno peppers
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers 2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth 3 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
3 (15 ounce) cans white beans 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1/2 cup white corn kernels

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Slowly cook and stir the onion until tender. Mix in the garlic, jalapeno, green chile peppers, cumin, oregano and cayenne. Continue to cook and stir the mixture until tender, about 3 minutes. Mix in the chicken broth, chicken and white beans. If you like your soup thicker, you can puree one of the cans of beans to make it a little thicker. Simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the mixture from heat. Slowly stir in the cheese until melted. Serve warm.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Getting in the swing of things

I am experimenting with colors, textures, and overlapping images. This is a new work of art that I am working on. I have shown in a previous post just the drawing. It is coming along.

I no longer like the background color, so I am going to change that, not sure to what yet. I guess Picasso went through his blue period, I am in my yellow. Errrr.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

CCF Spicy Cashew Chicken

Cheesecake Factory Spicy Cashew Chicken

5 1/2 ounce Chicken Tenders, 1 inch pieces
1 oz Rice Flour
3 oz Rice Flour Batter
1 1/2 oz Canola Oil 4 pz Cashew Sauce
2 oz Cashews 1 oz Green Onions, chopped
12 oz White Rice
1 tsp Black & White sesame seeds
1 sprig Italian Parsley, chopped


1. Dredge chicken in rice flour

2. Coat chicken pieces evenly in rice flour batter

3. Add canola oil to a hot sauté pan and heat to a sizzle

4. Add chicken pieces to hot sauté pan and flatten with a spatula

5. Cook until golden brown and crunchy (be careful because some pieces could darken quickly from hot spots in the pan)

6. Flip chicken, brown the other side. If the pieces have stuck together then break them apart at this time.

7. Drizzle the Cashew Sauce around the edge of the sauté pan, not on top of the chicken.

8. Add cashews and green onions and toss to incorporate, do not cook because the green onions will wilt.

9. Place hot rice in a pasta bowl and pour chicken mixture over rice

10. Sprinkle sesame seeds and garnish with Italian parsleyRice Flour BatterAdd water to rice flour until the consistency of cornstarch

Cashew Sauce (large batch – restaurant recipe)1/2 gallon Soy Sauce, 1 can (#10) Hoisin Sauce, 2 1/2 cups Chile Garlic Paste, 7 cups Granulated sugar ,1 quart Rice Wine Vinegar, 1/2 gallon Garlic, minced, 1 1/2 quarts Sherry Wine, 1 oz Chili flakes, crushed. Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix using a wire whip attachment.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Cheesecake Factory Recipes

For those of you that did not know, I worked at the Cheesecake Factory for two years. In that two years, I made some friends that I will have for the rest of my life. One being my old roomate of three years Tiffany. Tiffany came over a for dinner and I thought of the idea of making something we both loved from Cheesecake Factory. Avacado eggrolls! They tasted just like the real thing. Everytime we go to Cheesecake Factory, Tiff gets the same thing, Spicy Cashew Chicken, so I thought I would try my hand at that. Pretty damn good if I must toot my own horn! Hope you guys try these. Both are super easy!

Copycat Cheesecake
Factory's Avocado Egg Rolls

SERVES 2 -4 , 3 eggrolls

dipping sauce
3-4 teaspoons
white vinegar

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon
tamarind pulp

1/2 cup honey
1 pinch
powdered saffron
1/2 cup chopped cashews
2/3 cup
fresh cilantro

2 garlic cloves
green onions
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon
ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup
olive oil

egg rolls
1 large
, peeled, pitted, & diced
2 tablespoons
sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
, chopped
1 tablespoon minced red onion
1/2 teaspoon
fresh cilantro, chopped
1 pinch

3 egg roll wraps
egg, beaten

  • Stir together vinegars, tamarind, honey, and saffron in a microwave safe bowl, and microwave for 1 minute.
  • Stir until tamarind is dissolved.
  • In a blender, Puree tamarind mixture, cashews, 2/3 cup cilantro, garlic, onions, sugar, pepper, and cumin.
  • Pour mixture into a bowl and stir in oil. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Gently stir together avocado, tomatoes, onion, 1/2 teaspoon cilantro, and salt.
  • Distribute filling evenly onto center of each egg roll wrapper.
  • Position a wrapper so that a corner is pointing toward you; fold the bottom corner up, 1/4 of the way over the filling.
  • Brush remaining corners and edges of the wrapper with egg, roll up from side to side, fold top corner over all and press to seal.
  • Repeat with remaining wrappers.
  • Continue by deep-frying the egg rolls in 375 degree oil for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Drain on brown paper bags.
  • Slice egg rolls diagonally across middle and serve with prepared dipping sauce!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Leah!

It was my friends birthday a couple weeks ago and we had a little get together at my house. Two hours before the party started, I realized that I did not get her anything, so what does Leah love above all other things? Her dog Stella.

A couple of years ago, I did caricature portraits of all of my friends. I did one for Leah (she is a drama teacher). So I decided to do a similar portrait of her baby girl. No, the drawing is not messed up, that is what the dog looks like. It is a Chinese Crested mix.

Ok God...I get it.

God works in mysterious ways. I had a great (but busy) weekend. Saturday Nick and I had the opportunity to go to the taste of St. Louis. It was really neat. The old art group that I used to be a part of (Art Dimensions) was there. They had a good number of their artists showing their work and doing demonstrations at the show. It was never really a group that I felt a part of. I did two shows with them, each time, they did not put me in the program, and once, they even lost one of my pieces of work. Regardless, I still was a little bit envious of the artists that were showing.

Sunday, my plan was to spend the whole day painting. As I got on my painting camo and went downstairs to paint, I found every other thing to do. I sat down, looked at the current work I was working on and just couldn't get into it. I had a really negative attitude for some reason. I just kind of threw my hands up and decided that I am just wasting my time by trying to do this art thing. I spend a lot of time and money doing it, and maybe it is just a goal that is not obtainable at this time.

After doing laundry, arguing with DirectTv, and cleaning the basement. I made myself sit down and paint for a couple of hours then I had that feeling again. That feeling of complete rest and relaxation as I painted. I have been so busy running around, doing school plans, and finding everything else to do besides what I truly love to do.

An hour later, I was making dinner and I got a phone call from a woman named Sheila and her friend James. James and Sheila both have bought paintings from be 6 years ago when I showed at the Taste of the Central West End. They remembered me, and want to see my new works. They were at the Taste of St. Louis looking for me in hopes that I was displaying my artwork. It was a good feeling. One that I need to remember when I am going through my downtime. Hell, if I didn't have these personal struggles on a weekly basis, I don't think I could create at all.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Featured Cook

So I have decided to be nice and occassionally share the works of the love of my life on here as well. So let me introduce you to Nick. He is my best friend turned boyfriend and I can't say enough about him. We enjoy the same things, but we take different avenues in doing those things. For example, cooking. Through trial and error, we have found that when cooking together, one person needs to be the lead.

We have two totally different cooking styles. He measures, I don't. He uses a timer and the correct oven temperatures, I don't. It is quite comical to those who have had the chance to watch us work our magic in the kitchen. Mini arguments, but generally a good outcome.

Nick also is a great photographer. He has an eye for composition that makes me a little jealous! We have a darkroom in the basement that is an ongoing process, but I am hoping that when it is completed, he can get back into doing what he loves and is so talented at!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I love drawing faces. Ever since I was young, I would see faces in things. Go ahead and insert 'wierdo' comment now. I would see faces in trees, clouds, and other natural objects. I have always been intreagued by the human form. How the whole body is in proportion and how the body moves.

This is a piece I did on a whim. I was in my studio, in a great mood, with no idea what to draw. I know I said earliet that I have trouble painting white people. I find it much easier to add values when I don't feel so constained by using the natural colors.

This is a piece that I have always enjoyed. I enjoyed making it, and there is just something about the expression on her face that I can relate to. It is done in watercolor and charcoal. It makes me wonder if I am going the wrong direction by trying to work with oils.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


I make this recipe quite often because it is so easy. You can really stuff the inside with anything, but I like a pepperoni, mushroom, onion and sausage combo. I have also made them with spinach, artichoke and chicken. I use the same base for the cheese though for both. With the pepperoni combo, I use a marinara for the dipping sauce. For the chicken, I use an alfredo. I also make a just cheese option when my friend Dan, who is a super picky eater comes over. I still would like to make a breakfast calzone using eggs in the near future. The most important thing is to keep the sauce on the side and not put it on the inside!


1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon olive oil

For the filling:
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzerella or provel
1/2 cup diced pepperoni 1/2 cup sausage
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

1 small onion
1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
1 egg, beaten


To Make Dough: In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add the oil, sugar and salt; mix in 1 cup of the flour until smooth. Gradually stir in the rest of the flour, until dough is smooth and workable. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes, or until it is elastic. Lay dough in a bowl containing 1 teaspoon olive oil, then flip the dough, cover and let rise for 40 minutes, or until almost doubled.

To Make Filling: While dough is rising, combine the ricotta cheese, mozzerella cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms, sausage, onion, and basil leaves in a large bowl. Mix well, cover bowl and refrigerate to chill. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

When dough is ready, punch it down and separate it into 2 equal parts. Roll parts out into thin circles on a lightly floured surface. Fill each circle with 1/2 of the cheese/meat filling and fold over, securing edges by folding in and pressing with a fork. Brush the top of each calzone with egg and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My First Attempt at Carrot Cake

I love carrot cake, but I have never made it. Nick makes fun of me all the time because I never measure. Especially with baking. This one I did, I just made my own changes as usual. The only mistake I made was not allowing it to cool completely before I added the icing. It is a really good carrot cake though. It was super moist and the carrots, pineapple, coconut and raisons were a great combination.


3 eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8x12 inch pan.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, oil, sugar and vanilla. Mix well. Add flour mixture and mix well.

In a medium bowl, combine shredded carrots, coconut, walnuts, pineapple and raisins.
Using a large wooden spoon or a very heavy whisk, add carrot mixture to batter and fold in well.
Pour into prepared 8x12 inch pan, and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour. Check with toothpick.

Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before adding icing and serving. These also could make great cupcakes!

Saturday, September 5, 2009


This is what I am currently in the process of painting. It is such a challenge for me to draw white people. Who would have known. Something with the values, and the lighter tones I suppose. I posted the sketchbook drawing earlier. This is always the interesting stage for me as an artist. In using oils, I feel like it is so permanent even though I know its not. I have used watercolors for such a long time, it takes a little getting used to, but I think I am getting there.

Friday, September 4, 2009

New Beginnings

I love to start a new piece. Especially when you are working on one that is not going your way. It is like a fresh beginning. The only problem is that the last few pieces have not been going my way, so I keep starting new ones. This new sketch on canvas is based off of a student that I have in class. I haven't got to know her very yet, but, I can tell that she is an interesting character that is hiding something. It's only a couple weeks into school, but I am determined to find out what it is. I am interested to see how this painting continues to change as she continues to come out of her shell.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Wedding Present Commission

Last year, I was commissioned by a good friend, Amanda to do a piece of artwork for her best friend getting married. Her only stipulations where that she wanted to do a large piece, colorful, have some representation of the couple, their love and appreciation of wine, and some place that she can add the date and the couples names. This is what I came up with. Though most of the piece has been finished for sometime, Amanda was having difficulty finding the perfect quote that represented what she wanted to say to her friend. We finally got it together, and here is the final piece.

The most difficult thing about doing commissions is that the client can see your style of artwork, but at the same time, they have it in their heads as to how they want it. The more commissioned pieces I do, the more I am able to ask the right questions so that my client and I are on the same page.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A New Twist on Jalepeno Poppers

One of my favorite things to do is make appetizers for parties. Sometimes, I think people only invite me because they know I am going to cook something good. Here is a new appetizer that I tried recently for a friends get together. Only 4 ingredients!


2 (12 ounce) packages ground sausage
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
30 jalapeno chile peppers
1 pound sliced bacon, cut in half
1 1/2 cups cheddar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Place ground sausage in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain sausage and place in a medium bowl. Mix with the cream cheese.

Cut jalapenos in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds. I found it easiest (and less of a burning feeling on your hands) to soak them in water when you are taking the seeds out. Stuff each jalapeno half with equal portions of the sausage and cream cheese mixture. Wrap with half slices of bacon. Secure bacon with toothpicks.

Arrange wrapped jalapenos in a large, shallow baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven 20 minutes, or until the bacon is evenly brown.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Brushstroke and Values Study

I have been experimenting with patterning, values, and brushstrokes. In doing so, I used an old sketch from my sketchbook to experiment using oils. Right now, the hardest challenge I have been facing is when using different mediums, they either leave too shiny of a finish or dry too quickly. This is the first attempt using a suggestion from a friend. It is a medium called liquin and so far I like it. It thins the oils, but it also dries in a great amount of time. It also allows for a smoother blend between colors. So far so good, not sure I am liking the shininess that it appears to have though.

Monday, August 24, 2009

An old family recipe

I have always loved cooking and I have always loved cooking for other people. As a kid, I had a serious problem with being able to tell the difference between salt and sugar. I still remember my grandmother's face when I made these cookies for the first time (around age 7 or 8 I would say) and added salt where the sugar should have been. These cookies are even rolled in a sugar and cinnamon combination right before you cook them. Can you imagine what those tasted like.

As a kid, I had braces from 4th grade until about 7th grade. I loved my braces and thought I was the coolest kid because I had my rubber band colors changed each week to reflect my mood. With my cool kid attitude came a nasty habit of drooling. Yes, I was a drooler. I drooled when I talked, when I ate, and when I slept. With this drooling came the apprehension of eating the food that I made. It grossed most of my family out. My grandma always used to say, "It's ok Brooke, your nasty germs will get cooked off in the oven." Regardless, my grandmother never discouraged me from cooking. She is actually the reason I truly believe I love cooking to this day.

I have made these cookies for years, I hope you enjoy!


1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Cream together butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, the eggs and the vanilla. Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt. Shape dough by rounded spoonfuls into balls.
Mix the 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls of dough in mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until set but not too hard. Remove immediately from baking sheets.

P.S. A little slobber adds great flavor!

Baby Shower Invitations

I have the awesome opportunity to help plan a good friend of mines baby shower. You all know how I love planning events. Julie has beautifully designed her baby room, so you know I had to design some awesome invitations! The biggest challenge I had is that Julie does not like "baby stuff." Sooo.... this is what I did.

I used scrapbooking paper and cut and pasted each piece and then reconstructed them together. For the eyes, I used felt, and for the eyeballs, I used a gold puffy paint. I then attached each of them to the white back, which held the information about the shower. Each one is a little different. I am so happy that Julie liked them. When I was at her house on Friday, she already had three of them framed and hung up in her baby's room! The best compliment of all.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Art + Food= Love

As I am finishing up packing for my trip to Philly to visit my best friend Joanne, I am reminded of how food and art really has effected out friendship.

Eight years ago, Joanne and I packed up my Montero and drove to Baltimore for an art show. We had no idea of what was ahead of us. We got to the show, and within hours everyone knew who Joanne was. Of course a blond haired, blue eyed girl is going to stand out at an African-American art show. I hate to stand at my booth and talk to people about my artwork, so Joanne stepped up.

That evening, after an opening ceremony, we were all a little tipsy. My sister Kim and Joanne staid down at the hotel bar to have one more drink. I was not feeling well so I went to bed. Kim and Joan must have had more than one drink because on the way up to the room, they met two guys in the elevator, and of course they had pizza. Joanne, one of the boldest people I know, asked for a piece of pizza, and Ty was happy to give her a piece. Ty's friend announced that he never kissed a black woman before. Anyone who knows my sister knows that she is always willing to take one fore a team! Ha!

A little bit later that evening, there was a knock at the door, and it was Ty. I was half asleep, but I will never forget how angry with the all of them I was because they kept laughing and giggling in the bed next to me, while my sister was in bed with me with some serious gas. I have had enough and I packed up a pillow and a jacket and slept in the car.

Little did I know that Joanne would marry this man, move to Philadelphia, and have two beautiful children with him. Two drunk and hungry girls + two guys in an elevator= a happy family. Who would have thought it!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sunday Experiment

It must be dating an Italian, but after having my first arancini, I had to try and make them on my own. This are super fun to make, but next time I will make a few changes. It seems like a lot of ingredients, but trust me, its worth it, and VERY easy.

Spinach Arancini

4 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled...( I WILL NOT be using this again. It was $15 for a tiny little plastic bag. Forget that.)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice ( I could not find this in a regular grocery store. I went to three grocery stores and finally had luck at good old Trader Joes)
sea salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup white wine
2 cups chopped fresh spinach (use 1 cup, 2 was way too much)
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
...Next time I will add crumbled chicken sausage...

vegetable oil for deep frying

Bring 4 cups chicken broth and saffron threads to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Stir in Arborio rice, return to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender, yet still a little firm, about 16 minutes.

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in onion, and cook for one minute, then stir in garlic, and continue cooking until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in wine, spinach, and butter, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and fold in cooked rice and Parmesan cheese; cook a few minutes until the mixture is a little stiff. Spread onto a baking sheet, and cool in the refrigerator until completely cold, 4 hours to overnight. I just froze the rice for 10 minutes because you know I have no patience!)

Once the rice mixture has cooled, form the arancini by enclosing a cube of mozzarella cheese in about 3 tablespoons of the rice to form a 1 inch ball; set aside. When you have finished making the balls, place flour, eggs, and bread crumbs into separate, shallow bowls. One-by-one, gently roll the arancini in the flour to coat, then shake off excess. Dip into beaten egg, then roll in bread crumbs; set aside.
Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or electric skillet to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Deep fry the arancini 5 or 6 at a time in the hot oil until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Be sure to roll the arancini around with a metal spoon as they cook so they are evenly browned on all sides. Drain on paper towels, and serve hot.

Friday, July 24, 2009

What's goin' on in the kitchen

So last night I did a little Experimenting in the kitchen I made:

Balsamic Cream Sauce with Mushrooms and Asparagus


tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 onion, minced
2 tablespoons garlic
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
1 cup heavy cream (I have used 1 cup skim milk and tastes just the same)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Optional: Mushrooms and Asapargus

Heat olive oil and butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the onion, and garlic, cook until it has caramelized to a dark, golden brown, about 15 minutes. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, and cook for 1 minute before stirring in the chicken bouillon and cream. Bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese until melted.

I added sauteed chicken to the mix. I just mixed some italian bread crumbs with parmesan and sauteed in olive oil, 5 minutes on each side, and then threw it in the oven for another 10 minutes. One problem with me and cooking is that I don't measure. I try, then I forget. It hasnt gotten me in trouble so far!

What's goin' on in the studio

I have had a couple days off of work from my summer gig and I was able to paint a bit. I am currently working on two paintings and in the beginning of hashing out the idea for a third. My new theme or concept is people's dishonesty with themselves. It has been something that I have been thinking about for a while and a long discussion that I had with a good friend recently. People hide behind anything, beauty, betrayal, power, different vices. To be true to one's self is a beautiful thing, but how often do we do it?

This piece I just finished a bit ago. When looking at it now, I am unhappy with the face and will probably go back and work on that. For now, it can just hang in my spare bedroom where no one can really see it.

Here is a piece that is in its finishing stages. This is this poor canvases third painting.

This is in the working stage. Not sure where it's heading quite yet. It seems to change on a daily basis.

Here's a sketch for whats next in line. I'm excited to get this one started.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ok...Ok...I did it!

I am now officially a blogger. We are going to see how this goes. I need a new avenue to let people know what I am doing. I am horrible at returning calls, and few people know what I do on a regular basis (even my mother), so I thought I would blog about it.

A quick run down about me, I am getting ready to start my second year of teaching high school art. NEVER thought in a million years that I would be an art teacher, but I wouldn't change it for the world. I currently reside in University City, MO and have two dogs, Floyd and Roman. I am also dating Nick, the best man on the face of the earth and we just celebrated our one year anniversary.

My two loves in life art and food. I love to create just about anything in the kitchen and in my studio. This blog will document my experimentations with different artistic concepts, mediums, and different recipes. Stay tuned for the good, the bad, and the ugly and don't hesitate to email me and let me know what you think!

Happy bloggin,