Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Instant Pot Wild Rice Chicken Soup

Wild Rice with Chicken Soup in the Instant Pot! A great Recipe for Fall!! 


For the Instant Pot:
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 5 stalks celery, chopped
  • onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup uncooked wild rice 
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning ~ I used a combination of sage and oregano and rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
For the Stovetop:
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 can of coconut milk
I added a cup of Cooked Chicken before serving


  1. Instant Pot: Put all the ingredients in the first list into the instant pot.  Cook for 45 minutes (manual). Release steam using the valve on top.
  2. Stovetop: When the soup is done, melt the butter in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour. Let the mixture cook for a minute or two to remove the floury taste. Whisk the coconut milk, a little bit at a time, until you have a smooth, thickened sauce. Throw a little salt in there for good measure.
  3. Together: Mix the creamy sauce with the soup in the instant pot. Voila! Mushroom Wild Rice Soup.

REcipe adapted from Pinch of Yum

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Worked on this really large Floral Painting today.  I used an 24 x 48 canvas that I had laying around.  It was previously painted and very brightly colored and textured.  I painted over it before I started.  Not quite sure if I am finished yet....

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Caramel Apple Sweet Rolls

We had doubts while making these, but they turned out Wonderful.  Quinn made this recipe from the recent issue of Pioneer Woman Magazine.

Caramel Apple Sweet Rolls

Prep: 90 MinutesLevel: Easy
Cook: 30 MinutesServes: 30


  • Dough
  • 2 cups Whole Milk
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 4-1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 package Active Dry Yeast (about 2 1/4 Teaspoons)
  • 3/4 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • Filling
  • 4 whole Granny Smith Apples, Finely Diced
  • 1 stick Butter (1/2 Cup)
  • 1 cup Lightly Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 stick Butter (1/2 Cup)
  • 1 cup Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 2 cups Powdered Sugar (up To 4 Cups Depending On Consistency You Want.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt



To make the dough, combine the milk, vegetable oil, and sugar in a large saucepan or small pot. Heat it until just about to boil, but don't allow it to boil. Turn off the heat and let it cool until warm...but not too warm!

Add 4 cups of the flour and the yeast, and stir to combine. The dough will be very sticky at this point. Cover the pot and let it rise for an hour. 

Add the remaining flour, the baking soda, the baking powder, and the salt. Stir to combine. Then you can proceed with the rolls OR refrigerate the dough, covered, until you need it. 


To make the filling, saute the apples in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove them to a plate and set aside.

In the same skillet over medium heat, add a stick of butter and a cup of brown sugar. Stir it around until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves, then pour in the cream. Stir it around and let it bubble up and thicken for about a minute. Turn the heat to low and add the apples back to the skillet. Sprinkle in the cinnamon, stir the mixture, and let it thicken for another 1 to 2 minutes. Spoon it into a bowl to cool. 


When you're ready to make the rolls, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and roll out the dough on a floured surface to a rectangle about 10 x 30 inches. Spoon the caramel apples all over the dough and spread it out evenly. Roll the dough toward you into a long, tight roll. Pinch the seam when you get to the end, then turn the roll over so that it's seam side down.

Slice the dough into rolls 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick and place them into disposable roil cake pans with a little melted butter spread into the bottom of each pan (the rolls will fill about 3 to 4 pans.) Set the rolls aside and let them rise for 20 to 25 minutes, then bake them for 15 to 18 minutes, or until they're nice and golden.


While the rolls are rising or baking, make the icing: Melt the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and let it dissolve and start to bubble. Add the cream, then cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Turn off the heat and add the powdered sugar and whisk together. Add up to 2 more cups of powdered sugar to get to the consistency you want. 

The second the rolls come out of the oven top with the icing and spread to coat all the rolls generously!

Serve warm.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake

Love this really rich Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe

Cheesecake ingredients~
  • 1 (18 1/4 ounce) packages spice cake mix
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 (14 ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and Ginger

  • Topping ingredients~
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

  1. Place rack in center of oven and preheat to 325 dg. Lightly grease a 13 x 9" baking pan with the softened butter or vegetable shortening. Set the pan aside.
  2. Measure out 1/2 C of the cake mix and set aside for the filling.
  3. Place remaining cake mix, melted butter and 1 egg in a large mixing bowl. Blend on low for 2 minutes Scrape down the sides of bowl with spatula. Batter should come together in a ball. With your fingertips, pat the batter evenly over the bottom and 1" up the sides of the prepared pan, smoothing it out with your fingers until top is smooth. Set pan aside.
  4. For the filling, place the cream cheese and condensed milk in the same mixing bowl used to make the crust and and blend about 30 seconds until combined. Add remaining cake mix, remaining 3 eggs, pumpkin, brown sugar, and spices. Beat on medium for 1 minute then scrape down the sides of the bowl with spatula.
  5. Pour the filling onto the crust and spread so that filling covers the entire surface and reaches the sides of the pan.
  6. Place the pan in oven and bake until cheesecake looks shiny and center no longer jiggles when you shake the pan, about 40 to 45 minutes Remove pan from oven while you prepare topping. Leave the oven on.
  7. For topping, place the sour cream and brown sugar in a small mixing bowl and stir with spoon until well combined. Pour topping over the cheesecake and return pan to the oven.
  8. Bake until the topping sets, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool, approximately 30 minutes.
  9. Lightly cover the pan with plastic wrap and place the pan in the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hr., but preferably 24 hours for the flavors to meld. Cut into squares and serve.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Painting Barn Quilts with Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint

 I just Love how the milk paint soaks into the raw wood!  I painted this with Typewriter and Marzipan ~ two of my favorite colors of Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint!

Flow Blue and Marzipan

I will be hosting a workshop in September where we will be creating these~

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Painting up some Vintage Furniture Finds

I love these colors and how smooth and easy this paint is to work with.  Finally found a chalk style paint that has no VOCs and  natural ingredients in the finishes like hemp oil and bees wax and essential oils.  Another great quality is that is is so compatible with Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint.  
The coverage is what really amazes me.  
One Pint covered a large furniture piece and two smaller projects. I painted this antique dresser in Smokey Quarts and also a display shelf and a sign with one pint.   I finished this piece with the Lemon Verbena Furniture Salve~ All Natural and smells so wonderful.  
 I have tried so many of the Liquid Chalk/mineral/milk paints on the market.... 
but have really loved Wise Owl.  

Painted in Smokey Quarts and finished with Lemon Verbena Furniture Salve

Painted in Vintage Duck Egg and the detail in Antique Villa, finished with hemp seed oil

So Many Beautiful Colors 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Diffusing Lots of Lemon Essential Oil

 Lemon is a great scent for Summer!  Love Lemon Essential Oil!  Here are some great diffuser blends using LEMON! 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Cocktails from the Garden

Mixology 101 ~ create drinks from the freshest things growing in the garden

How to infuse herbs into your cocktail~

Muddling herbs:

This method gently releases the herb oil into the cocktail.  Place the herb in the glass and press the leaves against the side of the glass; releasing the fresh flavors into the glass, allowing them to permeate the spirits.

Pulsing herbs and vegetables:

Using the food processor , chop vegetables and herbs and then add them to the spirits or fruit juices.

Infusing herbs:

Adding  a spring of a savory of herb to the cocktail.  The scent of a strong herb is the first thing noticed when sipping the cocktail.

Spirits and Juices that make great Cocktails from the Garden~
Lime Juice
White Grape Juice
Agave Nectar
Tomato Juice
dark beer
Pomegranate juice

Cocktail Making Tools~
a shaker
a muddling stick
a jigger
a bar spoon

The best tasting cocktails come from using the freshest herbs, fruits, and juices and good quality alcohol.


Simple Syrup~
makes 1 1/2 cups
In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water to  a boil; simmer until the sugar is dissolved, 3 minutes. The Simple Syrup can be refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.

Here is another Simple Syrup Recipe~

Garden-Infused Simple Syrup

From The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart
"Simple syrup" is a cocktail staple for balancing the flavors in other ingredients. It can also be used to add a hint of sweetness and flavor to seltzer.
  • 1/2 cup herbs, flowers, fruit or spice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 oz vodka (optional)
Combine all ingredients except vodka in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and stir well, until the sugar has dissolved. Let the mixture cool and pour through a mesh strainer. Add the vodka (if using) as a preservative and keep refrigerated. Good for one to two weeks; lasts longer in the freezer.

Tomatillo Gazpacho~

2 to 3 firm tomatillos~ remove husks and wash well and chop
1 green pepper chopped
1-2 jalapeno peppers chopped
 5 green onions , white parts only
2 T fresh cilantro
2 to 4 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 cup white grape juice
Place first 4 ingredients in the food processor and pulse until blended.  Add lime juice and 1 cup white grape juice white grape juice. Pulse again until smooth. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until cold.
Serve in shot glasses, using a flat leaf parsley stem for garnish.

The Best Bloody Mary~ Garden Style

4 to 5 roma tomatoes, coursely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and coursely chopped
1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and coursely chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 beet, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp celery seeds
6 Tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 tsp hot pepper sauce
1 Tablespoon grayd horseradish
2 tsp coursely groung black peppercorns
1 tsp hot chili sauce
1/4 cup guiness
3 cups vodka or gin

Place first 6 ingredients in a large pot and add enough water to cover, bring to boil,  heat to medium and simmer uncovered for about 50 minutes or until vegetables are very soft. Discard bay leaf.  Add salt and lemon juice. cool slightly. Puree vegetable mixture in blender.  add enough water to make 8 cups. Cover and chill.

Grind celery seeds. Add celery seed, worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce  and guiness to the vegetable mixture.  Cover and chill over night.  Divide cold mixture among glasses with ice add vodka or gin. Stir and garnish.

The RoQuette
1 cup loosely packed baby arugala
4 1/2 tsp agave nectar
4 1/2 tsp fresh lime juice
1/2 cup Gin ( Hendrick's ) This is a Scottish gin infused with cucumber and rose petals
ice cubes
Combine 1 cup arugula, agae nectar and lime juice in a cocktail shaker. using a muddler or long handled spoon, mash until arugala is wilted, atleast 1 minute. add gin. fill cocktail shaker with ice cubes,  Garnish with arugula leaves.
Yields 2 drinks

Basil Vice
2 Basil Leaves
1/2 shot glass of Vodka
dash of raspberry syrup

Roll the basil leave up tightly, cur into thin strips and chop finely.  Place the basil strips in the bottom of a shot glass, then almost fill up with crushed ice.  pour in vodka, stir and add dash of raspberry syrup.

8 mint leaves, plus one for garnish
1/2 lime
2 dashes simple syrup
2 parts white rum
1 dash soda water
Muddle the mint, lime and simple syrup.
Fill glass with crushed ice, add the rum, then the dash of soda water. Garnish with mint and serve with long straws.

Tomato Pep
1/2 apple~ Pink Lady
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 1/2 T fresh basil , chopped
1 tsp fresh mint, chopped
1 cup baby tomatoes
Roughly chop the apple and strip the leaves off the thyme sprig. Press the herbs through the juicer, followed by the apple, then press through the tomato.  Stir the juice and pour into a glass, garnish with thyme leaves.

Ice Water can be so interesting~
 Slice cucumber with skin on and add to cocktail
Key Limes ~ puncture about 4 to 5 holes in the limes and freeze them and use them like ice cubes
Cherry Tomatoes can be pierced and frozen
Star anise can be frozen in an ice cube tray of water
Freeze grapes or raspberries
Mandarin oranges can be cut into circles and frozen

Yummy cocktails can also be made without alcohol~

15 mint leaves
1 tsp raw sugar
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
4 ounces chilled ginger ale
in a cocktail shaker, muddle the mint, sugar, lime juice and simple syrup. Add ice, shake well and pour into a glass. top with ginger ale.

Cucumber Cooler ~ makes one drink

1/2 small seedless cucumber, grated plus 4 thin cucumber slices
1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks
2 ounces pineapple juice
1/4 oz simple syrup
1 oz chilled club soda

Strain the grated cucumber through cheesecloth-lined strainer set over a bowl.  twist and squeeze the cheesecloth to extract as much liquid as possible ~ 2ounces of cucumber juice

in a cocktail shaker, muddle the pineapple chunks and juice with the simple syrup.   Add the cucumber water and ice. Shake well.  Pour into a glass and top with the soda and cucumber slices.

Fresco ~ makes one drink

4 ounces club soda
1 1/2 ounces fruit nectar
1 oz cranberry juice
3/4 ounces fresh grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce simle syrup
2 dashes if angostura bitters
2 sprigs of thyme

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add all of the remaining ingredients except one thyme sprig and shake well.  Strain into an ice filled glass and garnish with remaining thyme sprig.

Porch Crawler~

5 cherries, pitted, plus 1 cherry for garnish
3 mint leaves
1 hot chili, halved and seeded
white rum
1 ounce lemon juice
2 ounce simple syrup
2 ounce chilled club soda
In a cocktail shaker, muddle the 5 pitted cherries, mint leaves and chili. Add ice and rum, leon juice and simple syrup; shake well. Strain into and ice filled glass, stir in the club soda and garnish with a cherry and mint sprig.

Replanting after the storm damage

Planting Several Tomato varieties in the Heat of July.  The June storm smashed all my plantings of herbs and also took down several large trees above my studio patio.  This leaves lots of clean up and more sunshine.  After cleaning up most of the branches and some of the trees,  I wanted to get something planted before summer was over.  A garden friend had some extra tomato seedlings struggling and in need of planting.  I potted them up in new soil and compost but plan to plant them in the next few days above my studio patio.  I am excited to try some of these varieties:

Gardener's Delight~ This old German heirloom cherry tomato boasts many clusters of 6 to 12 tomatoes all summer long. It's indeterminate, crack resistant and very prolific. Proven tops for performance, flavor and wide adaptability.

Tommy Toe~ A larger size than most Cherry tomatoes, contain lots of Juice/gel, and have a old-time tomato flavor. They are acidic and slightly sweet. The plants are super productive and very vigorous growers.

Sweet 100~bears long, branched clusters of deliciously sweet tomatoes high in sugar and vitamin C. But Super Sweet 100 is known to be more disease resistant, giving plants in a better chance where certain problems may be soil-borne. You’ll be eating them right off the vine before they ever make it to the salad bowl! They are perfect for snacking, salads, and even juice. Super Sweet 100 lives up to its name, especially when harvested that the peak of ripeness. The indeterminate vines continue bearing until frost. Give them a tall support because they grow and grow over the top of the cage and back down again. Resistant to disease.

Glory~A semi-indeterminate that grows at least twenty tomatoes with continuous production. Tomatoes are in the 8-10oz. range and very sweet and juicy. Taste even better when picked ripe and allowed to stand a day .Becomes even juicer. Fruit stores well and is a firm slicer with few seeds. Seems to be very high in disease resistence. Supposedly is a cross of two heirlooms. 

HawaiianThai Red Turtle Egg~ 

Yellow Pear~ Heirloom. Long, indeterminate vines produce a seemingly endless supply of mild flavored, pear-shaped tomatoes all summer. The tiny tomatoes are borne in clusters. This is one of the prettiest tomatoes in the garden — it’s beautiful in salads! This variety is known to bear fruit dependably through summer weather. Vines can grow 8 feet or longer, so give them a tall support or place to ramble.

Red Pear~A bright red, pear-shaped heirloom with an American pedigree that goes back to Colonial times. Attractive and tasty, the 1-2" long fruits are delicious in salads or roasted in the oven. Indeterminate.

Stupice~ A great potato leaf variety that comes from Czechoslovakia. One of the best early tomatoes, this is among the earliest. Perfect for gardeners in northern climes. Excellent flavor for an early type; these produce lots of red, small to medium sized fruit over a very long season. Highly popular in areas with short summers.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Saturday, March 04, 2017

“She was not quite what you would call refined. She was not quite what you would call unrefined. She was the kind of person that keeps a parrot.” ~ Mark Twain

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Fairy Garden for the Studio

Fairy Garden Doors are available to purchase here~ on my etsy site SimplyHomeSweetHome

I added an indoor Fairy Garden to the Studio.. I created a few mushrooms and Fairy Garden Doors out of pottery. I experimented with some of the glazes that I came with the second hand pottery wheel that I picked up a while ago....

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Boxwood Chest Transformation



This antique chest was solid oak and had a lovely rustic feel, but It had been "modernized" in the 60s with added feet and new hardware.  (Not the look I had in mind) The bottom drawers did not slide that great so I removed them.  I had some old farmhouse wood trim pieces that fit great in the bottom of the shelves.  I chose to darken the top and paint the body with milk paint in boxwood.  Metal baskets fit on the shelves and give some extra storage.  The piece measures 30wx18dx28h.  Perfect size for so many things.  It would be great in for an entryway, or for a coffee bar, or for a kids room...

Friday, January 20, 2017

Working on Water Color Cards

I really enjoyed creating a variety of notecards using water color paints, distress markers and distress crayons.  I used basic water color painting techniques and water color paper on all of the cards.  Last week, I had just hosted a bible journaling and water color note card workshop and I still had everything out already so I had fun working away in my studio experimenting with some new supplies.  

Here are some of the products that I used:  

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