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:

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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:

Ingredients

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:

Ingredients:

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: