Easy Last-Minute Easter Centerpiece

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I clipped this idea out of Better Homes and Garden’s Creative Home Magazine way back in the spring of 2007 and just came across it again today while I was doing some spring cleaning. It’s such a lovely and simple idea that I thought I’d share the goodness here. Many of you have colored your eggs by now,┬áso you’ve already completed the bulk of the work and could easily feature this lovely arrangement on your Easter table.

Instructions:

Color hard-boiled eggs in shades of pink and brown (leave some of them white). Center a drinking glass or a candle sleeve inside a large-mouth jar and carefully stack eggs between the glass and jar, alternating the egg colors. Fill the glass with water. Cut rose, ranunculus, and gerbera stems to desired lengths and place them in the glass. Fill in with anemones as needed.

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How easy is that? (Photos from Better Homes and Gardens)

Miltonia Orchids in Watercolor

Miltonia Orchids1 Small

Miltonia Orchids Close Up Small

My daughter painted these gorgeous miltonia orchids during a recent late night mother-daughter painting session. I love the bits of white she left on the edges of the petals and the one bright white flower to the left of the center of the painting she chose as her focal point. And of course I love the bright, highly saturated colors.

This painting was based on a tutorial in Ann Mortimer’s newly released book, “Orchids in Watercolor.”

Spiced Pork Chops with Fried Cabbage and Onions

Spiced Pork Chops1

The first time I made spiced pork chops with fried cabbage and onions (or haluski as my Polish grandmother called it), my boyfriend fell asleep early and I couldn’t wake him for dinner, so my daughter and I ate without him. The meal was so good that we finished our portions and ate his, too. Hey, you snooze you lose, right?

I found the recipe for spiced pork chops in Taste of Home magazine years ago and I’ve made it countless times. It always gets rave reviews and it’s one of my daughter’s favorite meals. Get the recipe here. I got the recipe for haluski from my grandmother. Normally I serve it over egg noodles but I didn’t have any on hand so I improvised and used bow tie pasta instead. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make fried cabbage and onions:

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cabbage, core removed and roughly chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 stick butter (don’t substitute margarine)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • hot cooked egg noodles prepared according to package directions

Instructions:

  1. Melt butter in a large fry pan (I used a wok)
  2. Add cabbage, onions, salt, and pepper
  3. Fry over medium heat until the cabbage and onions are golden brown
  4. Serve over egg noodles

This side dish isn’t fancy, but it sure is delicious.

 

 

New Addition to My Artist’s Toolkit

Martin Universal Design Fusion Leak-proof Watercolor PaletteMartin Universal Design Fusion Leak-proof Watercolor Palette2

I can’t wait to use the latest addition to my artist’s toolkit–Mijello’s Fusion Leakproof Watercolor Palette–a gift from my sister. This palette can be used for either oil paints or watercolor paints. It has removable trays for easy cleaning and the container is airtight, so my watercolor paints will say fresh and free of debris like dust, bugs, and dog hair (a big problem since I share my home and studio with five dogs). You can purchase this handy watercolor palette at dickblick.com. Thank you, sissy, for such an awesome gift.

Quick Macaroni Salad

Quick Macaroni Salad

I promised I’d share my recipe for macaroni salad when I posted my Texas Hot Dog Sauce recipe last week. Homemade macaroni salad is so easy and quick to prepare–it’s ready in about 10 minutes–that there’s no excuse for serving grocery store or deli prepared macaroni salad. Store-bought salads don’t compare in quality, texture, or flavor to homemade macaroni salad and they’re always a disappointment. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make macaroni salad:

Ingredients:

  • 1 16-oz. box elbow macaroni, cooked al dente (approximately 6-8 minutes)
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 large tomato, seeds removed and diced
  • 1 medium green pepper, diced
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (I use Duke’s mayonnaise–it tastes closest to homemade mayo)
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Prepare macaroni according to package directions (cook it al dente–approximately 6-8 minutes), drain, rinse, and place it in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add diced onions, tomatoes, and green peppers.
  3. Combine mayonnaise, vinegar, and sugar. Stir with a whisk until smooth. Pour sauce over the remaining ingredients. Stir until well combined.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

A Castle for Frodo

Frodo's Toad Castle2

Now here’s a castle fit a king–King Frodo, that is. And speaking of Frodo, he should be emerging from his long winter nap in April and climbing my deck stairs to enjoy his evening meals. This cute Big Top Toad Castle from grandinroad.com will offer Frodo a shady spot to escape the harsh summer sun. I can’t wait for Frodo to make his first appearance and grab some photos of him. He’s been hanging out on my deck for 10 years now and I’ve grown quite fond of him. Here’s hoping that he’ll be back again this year.

Onion Tart (Torta di Cipolla)

Onion Tart

I found this recipe for an onion tart on CiaoItalia.com and tucked it away last summer, but it got lost in my ever-growing stack of recipes that I want to try. I had some onions that I needed to use, so I remembered this recipe and pulled it out of my stack. And, boy, am I glad that I did. This recipe was super easy to make, it calls for simple ingredients that are readily available, it looks gorgeous, and it tastes even better. It has a subtle flavor that would satisfy even picky eaters and could be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, plus it heats up in the microwave (1 minute per slice) beautifully. I served this onion tart for lunch yesterday with a side salad and then popped it into the microwave and ate it again for breakfast this morning with a cup of coffee–it was that good. Get the recipe here. Doesn’t this look great?

Onion Tart3