Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Good Morning! Here it is, 2 days before Thanksgiving Day....is your menu complete? Is the table set? How many trips to the grocery store have you made?
Exhausting, isn't it? Well, I am about to give you some tips that will make your day go more smoothly and generally help you out in the kitchen. 
These tips aren't mine, but I am going to direct you to the guy with the answers. His name is David Lebovitz, a resident of Paris, a chef, cookbook author, and a wonderful food blogger.
Please click on the link below and read his posting from today.....great tips are worth a million! Enjoy....oh, and while you are there, you can sign up for his blog to be delivered straight to your email mailbox. Good stuff!


Saturday, November 19, 2011

I know, 2nd blog today...what can I say, other than "sorry'?  But I had to share my gravy experience with you! As I said earlier today, I had my turkey wings in roasting in preparation for Thursday's gravy.  So, they roasted for awhile, but then, this wild side of me came out and  I did not follow my own directions!
The original  recipe calls for removing the wings from the roasting pan and putting them in a stock pot. That is the way I've done  it in the past....but ALAS! Not today. Instead, I left everything in the roasting pan and added the chicken broth and thyme to the whole thing. I covered it with foil and cooked at 300 degrees for 2 hours.
Foodies, let me tell you, I had the deepest, richest broth ever....probably in the history of cooking! And it was from a small list of ingredients! Of course, I couldn't stand having it in the house without making a small pan of gravy, after all,  I had to do a quality check, right? Naturally, gravy requires mashed potatoes, so I, of course, made some.  Mighty fine dinner I am having!
So, since I changed my procedure, and rudely told you to look in the archives  if you wanted my gravy recipe, I am thinking I  need to type it out, right here, right now. Here you go.
Totally Fool Proof, Excellent, Never Fail Gravy
4 turkey wings (about 3lb.)

2 med. onions, peeled and quartered
1 c. water, or if you are me,  Somerset Ridge white wine, either Chardonel, Reisling or Oktoberfest
8 c. chicken broth
3/4 c. chopped carrot
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
and for your roux:
1 cup butter
1 cup flour

Heat oven to 400. Have ready a large roasting pan. Arrange wings in a single layer in pan; scatter onions over top. Roast 1 and 1/4 hrs. until wings are browned. Put wings, onions and carrots in a 5 to 6 quart pot.  No, DON'T! Leave themin the roasting pan! Lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees. Add water (or white wine) to roasting pan and stir to scrape up any brown bits on bottom.  Add all 8 cups broth and the thyme. Cover with foil and return to the oven and continue roasting for 2 hours.  Remove wings and when cool pull off meat. (can save meat for other use, I made some turkey salad for my Mom) Strain broth into a 3 qt. saucepan, pressing vegetables to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard vegetables; skim fat off broth and discard. (By the way, I had very little fat)
In a small skillet, melt the butter and when foaming stops, add the flour, whisking as you add. Over low heat,let roux cook for several minutes. Meanwhile, bring broth in pot to a gentle boil. Whisk in the roux and simmer for 3-4 min. Taste and correct seasoning, for you have not added any salt, as of yet. Serve, or pour into containers and refrigerate up to 1 week or freeze up to 6 mos.
See, simple as, well , buying a pie. Certainly a whole lot easier than baking a pie!
So, what have we learned today?  Gravy is nothing to panic over, and that I am very flexible!
The holiday cooking has begun! Grocery stores are packed, with both food and shoppers. Big fat turkeys are flying out of there! Fortunately, I did my shopping several days ago, and today, the turkey wings are roasting in the oven in preparation for making the gravy. My house smells heavenly and so far it is just the wings and onions, and the carrots and broth that are cooking. Don’t you just love the aromas of Thanksgiving?

I remember as a small child loving every moment of the day. My parents would prepare dinner for everyone in the family. It was an art! They both had 8 to 5 jobs, yet, they were so prepared, and usually calm. And, the food was always divine!
Mom wasn’t stuck in the kitchen, all alone. No, my Dad loved to cook and was so good at it. Together, they treated the entire family to a heavenly Thanksgiving dinner. Of course, there was the Thanksgiving Day that Dadwoke at  4 AM to put the bird in the oven, only to realize they had forgotten to pick up the turkey! Grocery stores were closed for the holiday, besides, large chain groceries didn’t sit on every corner. This was in the early 60s. The original Hen House, which is now a major chain here in Kansas City, was located about 83rd and Wornall. We lived in Kansas City, Kansas….quite a distance away. My dad jumped in the car at 4 in the morning and when he arrived at the store, one lonely custodian was holding down the fort, mop in hand. He opened the door for Dad and after much negotiating (Dad was a car dealer!) Dad was on his way home with the one, the absolutely ONLY turkey left in the store! Dinner was slightly delayed, but not by much. Thankfully, that one lonely turkey was not frozen!

Povitica, a holiday must in Kansas City!
It was a day to be thankful, to be joyful, to be hungry! Mr. Tom Turkey was accompanied by Minnie Florence Ogg’s Cornbread Dressing, Mom’s Green Beans that had been cooked for hours in her big thick, heavy pot we called “the green bean pan” with lots of country ham and onions, and the creamiest mashed potatoes on the face of the earth! Mom always made individual frozen Cranberry Salads, as well as her Fruit Salad with pineapple, grapes, bananas and apples with a few marshmallows to thrill the kids. Sometimes she made her Red Hot Applesauce Jello that always hit the spot. As for the rolls, they were usually good old brown and serve, out of the package and into the oven. Pumpkin Pie was the dessert,  but we also had slices of Povitica, a Northern European holiday nut bread, very common in Kansas City, Kansas. Early settlers came from Poland, Croatia, Germany and Russia to work in the meat packing plants. Today, many of their ancestors and recipes are alive and well on Strawberry Hill overlooking the Kansas River. In fact, there is a Strawberry Hill Povitica Company that you can order from on line.
Go to www.povitica.com and check it out. Start a new tradition for your family this Thanksgiving.
The photo above is from a webpage called http://www.passionateaboutbaking.com  There, you will also find their recipe that has chocolate included!  I think I will be trying it soon!
I just checked on the turkey wings and they are browning beautifully. It is just about time to start turning that wonderful brown stuff on the bottom of the pain into the perfect gravy!
Next, I will go to Somerset Ridge to pick up the perfect wine for our dinner. They are releasing their new Norton today! The winery is on many lists of things to do today….we need the perfect bottle to go with our perfect meal!

Did you see Doug Frost’s article on local wineries? Go to http://www.kansascity.com/2011/11/18/3274044/be-thankful-for-midwest-wines

For my gravy recipe, and the recipe for my grandmother’s cornbread dressing, go to my archives. They are there! For the challenge of making your own Povitica, go to

Next week is going to be a busy one, so may I take this opportunity to wish you a perfect Thanksgiving. Please, be safe, and remember, you may not remember what you had for lunch today, but you will always remember the perfect holiday meal...aromas and all!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, da Vinci was a very smart guy! There are drawings, paintings, and papers that prove what a genius he truly was.

The part of his genius that hits home with me comes through some of his quotes. There are numerous Leonardo da Vinci quotes that I find very useful, and very true. There are a few that hit home….usually in a painful way. For instance....
Even though my painting is going very well, for now, I have to lament over the wasted years when I painted what I thought the subject SHOULD look like, not what I was actually seeing. Leonardo said it this way:
"There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.”

Do you know how depressing it is to find out you have spent years not seeing! But thanks to painters like Ada Koch and David Gross, I have moved to the second group…”Those who see when they are shown.”

The series of paintings I am working on for the December show at ARTichokes, http://www.artichokeskc.com/  is a group of large canvases with memories of my trips to Europe. Therefore, I am referring frequently to photographs I have taken. As I work on a painting, the photo is right there, and yet, I catch myself not referring to it, but rather painting what I think it should look like. Guess what….I am almost always WRONG!
Now that I am painting at home, I can stop, lay down my brush, walk 6 feet and bake cookies. 30 minutes later, I can walk back, pick up the photograph and study what I have painted, compared to what I should have painted. My mistakes stick out like sore thumbs! Dear Leo, what was I thinking?
As I work on this problem of not seeing, I am trying to deal with another weakness (besides eating all of the cookies I bake while I am working on my frustrations)…..That of quitting, giving up. I have been known to throw up my hands, and toss my painting in the trash….sad, but true.

Those moments are fewer now, thank heavens. That is when I remember another Leonardo da Vinci quote….a really good one. A quote that makes me realize why David Gross has dozens of "unfinished", absolutely beautiful paintings. A quote that makes me know it is okay for me to take the painting I am working on, down to the basement, turn it towards the wall, and walk away.

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.”
That abandonment may be for a day or two, a year or two….maybe forever, but it is okay. It will be there waiting for me, if and when I think I am ready to  continue on. Who knows,  someday it may be my Mona Lisa!
Stick with me Leonardo, I need all of the help I can get!

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Major Change

Today, I moved paints, brushes and canvases home from the studio in Paola....not all of  them, but a good amount of them. Why? Because I was stuck at home for many months last winter due to icy weather and  an injured knee. I was miserable the entire time.  It was so good to get back to the studio in Paola and to my good friend, David Gross....and of course, it was spring!
The National Weather forecast is saying we are going to have another long, hard winter. Oh JOY!
So,I am taking precautions. 
The big question is, will I be able to paint? 
I guess we will see.
I set up an in-house studio once before....in my basement. Great spot, great light with two large windows. It simply did not work for me. So, this time I  am setting up in my kitchen! What room makes me as happy, makes me feel creative? My Kitchen, of course!
I have purchased a new easel which arrived yesterday.  I brought home my paints, my brushes. I have sparkling white canvases of assorted sizes. I have a gallon of terpentine that is odorless. Now, I just need to paint! 
The show at ARTichokes Gallery is just a month away. I need 2 or 3 more paintings.  I have some ideas with layouts.  Now, I just need to paint!
Tonight, I will put a sparkling white canvas on my new easel....then,  I just need to paint!
If it doesn't work, I can always cook.

 Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Are you ready? Have your menu all figured out?
The drive between the vineyard and the studio in Paola is a beautiful drive through rolling hills covered with herds of cattle, beautiful Wea Creek, fields with recently harvested corn stalks scattered about. Today, I was thrilled to see huge flocks of wild turkey dining among the stalks. We won't be dining on wild turkey, but we will have a big, fat bird to feed a crowd. Of course, my mind immediately goes to cornbread dressing and turkey gravy and desserts.  That is exactly what I want on my plate!
A few years ago,I compiled a cookbook for my high school class 50 year reunion.  One of the recipes that was submitted was for make ahead perfect turkey gravy. I questioned how that could be...make ahead?
I am going to give it to you now, so if you hate making gravy, don't like that last minute panic over getting the gravy done right before everyone sits down at the table,  try it.
It just might make you enjoy the day!

Make Ahead Turkey Gravy

4 turkey wings (about 3lb.)
2 med. onions, peeled and quartered
1 c. water
8 c. chicken broth
3/4 c. chopped carrot
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
3/4 c. flour
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. ground pepper

Heat oven to 400. Have ready a large roasting pan. Arrange wings in a single layer in pan; scatter onions over top. Roast 1 and 1/4 hrs. until wings are browned. Put wings and onions in a 5 to 6 quart pot. Add water to roasting pan and stir to scrape up any borwn bits on bottom. Add to pot. Add 6 c. broth (refridgerate remaining 2 c.) the carrot and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 1 and a 1/2 hrs. Remove wings and when cool pull off meat. (can save meat for other use) Strain broth into a 3 qt. saucepan, pressing vegetables to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard vegetables; skim fat off broth and discard. Whisk flour into remaining 2c. broth until blended and smooth. Bring broth in pot to a gentle boil. Whisk in broth-flour mixture and boil 3-4 min. Stir in butter and pepper. Serve, or pour into containers and refrigerate up to 1 week or freeze up to 6 mos.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

One of my duties as a blogger is to read as many blogs as I can....food and art blogs, that is. After my posting last night, I knew I needed to give you more recipes, particularly desserts. This morning I dived right into the project....but, my goodness, do you have any idea how many recipes I have for favorite desserts?
I settled in for a long elimination process.
I use MasterCook software to organize and control my multitude of recipes. I can set up an unlimited number of speciality cookbooks, each holding an unbelievable number of recipes. This definitely comes in handy, especially this morning.
There I was, reading glasses perched on my nose, laptop in front of me, Diet Coke with Lime within reach.
Just as I was about to click on MasterCook....as if a gift from above, there it was...Martha strikes again!
Her daily email had just arrived in my inbox.
Yes, I do recommend Martha frequently....the recipes are crisp, clean, easy to read and understand....and if there is a misprint or mistake, it is corrected quickly. You can make comments, or ask questions, which are answered.  Of course, I understand she has a team of hundreds working for her....I am just me. But I am comfortable  passing on a recipe that sounds heavenly to me. And today's recipe is dreamy and I will be fixing it for Thanksgiving.
Maple Cheesecake with Roasted Pears (doesn't that make you drool?)
Maple syrup not only flavors this luscious cheesecake, but it also is brushed on thinly sliced pears that are broiled to create a very unique decoration atop this festive dessert.

Everyday Food, November 2010

Serves 6 to 8
2 bars (8 ounces each) cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 Easy Press-In Pie Crust http://www.marthastewart.com/285864/easy-press-in-pie-crust, made in a 9-inch springform pan with vanilla wafers
Nonstick cooking spray
2 medium pears, such as Bosc or Bartlett, sliced lengthwise 1/8 inch thick

1.In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on high until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup maple syrup; beat until smooth. In a medium bowl, beat cream and sugar on high until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. With a rubber spatula, stir about one-third the whipped cream into cream cheese mixture, then fold in remainder. Transfer to crust and refrigerate until firm, 3 hours (or up to 1 day).
2.Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Arrange pear slices in a single layer on sheet and brush with 2 tablespoons maple syrup. Roast until pears are soft, 20 minutes. Remove from oven and heat broiler. Brush pears with 2 tablespoons maple syrup and broil until browned in spots, about 4 minutes, rotating sheet frequently. Let cool. To serve, arrange pear slices, overlapping slightly, on cheesecake.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Baking for Thanksgiving

I suppose I am a baker at heart. I love kneading bread, rolling out pie dough, baking hundreds of cookies. That must mean I am a true baker, right? This time of year always makes me want to dive into flour right up to my elbows. The aromas of yeasty bread, warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, autumn fruits bubbling away under flaky pastry, all drive me crazy! I want my house to be filled with these aromas 24/7.

The opportunity to share your wonderful  baked goodies is right around the corner....Thanksgiving! If you are the holiday meal preparer in your family, or if you will be a guest at a loved one's table, let the treasures from your oven be a part of the day.

I will share a few of my favorite recipes here today, and I want to encourage you to visit several of my favorite baking blogs. But first, I want to let you know about an outstanding baking product that you should definitely use for your holiday baking. I have mentioned King Arthur Flour's web page more than once and here I go again.
They carry disposable baking pans that make giving your baked goods as gifts a snap. Check it out....go to http://www.kingarthurflour.com/ and click on "shop'. Next, click on "bake and give" and just like magic, there they are!  I discovered these pans 2 years ago when I wanted to make Italian Panettone. Now, two years later, they have loaf pans, 9" rounds, cupcake cups....everything you might need. I hope you order some for your holiday baking....they make life so much nicer! And, they are attractive!

So....now recipes.  (by the way, King Arthur has some doozies!)
Let's start with bread and rolls... I realize many of you grew up with the crescent rolls that chubby little doughboy advertises, but listen to me....homemade is so much better! This recipe can  be made the day before. Therefore, they are called Refrigerator Rolls.

Refrigerator Rolls

You can prepare this dough and keep it in the fridge for up to a week, making as many rolls as needed on a day-to-day basis for your family's meals.

1 cup plus 1 tbsp. vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar
1 1⁄2 tsp. salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 7-gram packages active dry yeast
7 cups flour
1⁄4 cup butter, melted

1. Grease a baking sheet (or several of your new baking pans!) with 1 tbsp. shortening; set aside. Put remaining shortening, sugar, salt, and 1 cup boiling water into a large nonmetal bowl and stir to dissolve shortening; let cool to lukewarm. Add eggs and stir with a wooden spoon to combine.
2. Put yeast and 1 cup warm water into a small bowl and stir to dissolve. Add yeast mixture to shortening mixture; stir to combine. Add flour and stir, first with a wooden spoon, then with your hands, to form a dough. Turn dough out onto a heavily floured surface and knead gently until dough forms a smooth ball, 1–2 minutes. Clean out bowl, place dough inside, and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
3. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and roll out into an 8" × 15" rectangle. Cut out rounds using a 2 1⁄2" round biscuit cutter. Brush tops of each round with melted butter (reserve leftover butter), then fold each in half to form half-moon shapes, pressing down gently on edges to secure shape. Arrange rolls on the prepared baking sheet, spaced evenly apart. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to let rise until doubled in size, about 1–2 hours.
4. Preheat oven to 425°. Uncover rolls and bake until golden brown and cooked through, 13–15 minutes. Brush with reserved butter; let cool.

Another delicious roll for your Thanksgiving table...also excellent in the disposable pans

Parker House Rolls

3/4 cup milk, heated to 115°
1 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. barley malt syrup or dark corn syrup
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into
1/2"cubes, softened
1/4 cup clarified butter, for greasing and brushing
Fleur de sel, to garnish
1. Stir together milk, yeast, and malt syrup in a large bowl; let sit until foamy, 10 minutes. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt; add to milk mixture along with butter and stir with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth, 5–6 minutes. Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap; let sit until nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour. Uncover and punch down dough; cover and let sit until puffed, about 45 minutes.
2. Heat oven to 325°. Portion dough into fourteen 1 1/2"-diameter balls, about 1 1/4 oz. each, flatten each slightly to an oval shape. Using the handle of a butter knife, crease ovals slightly off center. Fold at crease. Arrange in rows, slightly overlapping, on buttered baking sheet, with shorter side facing down. Allow at least 1/4-inch of space between rows. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit until doubled in size, about 2 hours. Brush with clarified butter and bake until puffed and pale golden brown, 20–22 minutes. Transfer to a rack and brush with more clarified butter; sprinkle each roll with a small pinch of fleur de sel and serve warm.

Lets move to desserts!
what is Thanksgiving without Pumpkin? But it doesn't have to be pie!

Spiced Pumpkin Cake

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter,
softened, plus more for pan
2 cups cake flour, plus more for pan
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground mace
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup canned pumpkin purée,
preferably Libby's
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1. Heat oven to 375°. Grease and flour two 8" round cake pans lined with parchment paper cut to fit; set aside. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, ginger, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and mace; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat 1/2 cup butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until smooth, 1–2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition until smooth. Add half the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add pumpkin and milk, and then add remaining dry ingredients; mix until smooth. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and smooth tops with a rubber spatula; bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool for 30 minutes; unmold cakes and let cool.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat remaining butter and vanilla on medium speed until smooth. Add confectioners' sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating after each addition until smooth. Increase speed to high and beat until frosting is light and fluffy.
3. Place 1 cake on a cake stand and frost the top with 1/3 of the frosting; stack second cake on top and frost top and sides with remaining frosting. Refrigerate cake; let cake sit for 1 hour at room temperature before serving.

Will there be kids at your table? Young and old kids?  Here you go, check this one out.

Pumpkin Whoopie Cookies
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 TBSP cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground fresh nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup canola oil
3 cups chilled pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare to baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk to sugars and oil together. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine thoroughly. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined.
Sprinkle the flour mixture over the pumpkin mixture and whisk until completely combined.
Use a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism to drop healing TBSP of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart.Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool completely on the pan while you make the filling. They will look more like mini cakes then cookies, so don’t panic about that.

Maple Syrup Cream Cheese Filling
3 cups powdered sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3 TBSP maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth with no visible lumps. Add the cream cheese an beat until combined.
Add the powdered sugar, maple syrup and vanilla and beat until smooth. Be careful no to overbeat the filling, or it will lose structure.
To assemble:
Turn half the cooled cookies upside down. Pipe filling (about a TBSP) onto that half. Place another cookie, flat side down, on top of the filling. Press down slightly so that the filling spread to the edges of the cookie. Repeat until all the cookies are used. Put the whoppie pies in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm before serving.
Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

Are you doing a traditional Turkey this year? Last year on November 20th, I gave you a recipe for a turkey rubbed with lots of herbs and spices....heavy on the smoked paprika. It was pretty good! I haven't decided how to fix a turkey this year, or if I will fix beef. My family has always prefered beef, we used to do a Prime Rib for Christmas dinner. It was wonderful, but there were no leftovers! I think that is the one thing that keeps the cook on her/his feet, knowing after the cooking marathon, there will be food  left for several days!
In case you are roasting a turkey, here is a great web page to keep your family safe. No one wants food poisoning!

Well, to end this posting, I feel I have to give you my Grandmother's recipe for her Cornbread Dressing!
Minnie Florence Ogg  was a farmer's wife and could bake like an angel! Enjoy!

Minnie Florence's Cornbread Dressing
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup diced celery
1 cup butter
8 cups cubed white bread
12 cups crumbled cornbread
bacon drippings
1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 large eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried sage, crushed
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Saute the onion and celery in the butter until both are tender and soft. Do not brown. In a large bowl, blend the breads, parsley and seasonings. Beat the eggs with the cool bacon drippings, and stir into the bread mixture. Add the celery, onion and butter , mix well. Put into a well buttered casserole and bake
in a 350 degree oven until golden brown on top.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Christmas is coming!

It is hard for me to realize that in about 50 days, Christmas will be here! Where has the year gone? There was a time when I had my Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving. That hasn’t happened in years! But, there are those who are working overtime to produce all sorts of “stuff” on which you might spend your hard earned money!

The following is from an email I received from an old friend. I contacted Jack to ask if he was the author, or if not, did he know who did write it. So far, all I know is it is from an unknown writer. But I can also tell you he/she makes some very good points and has some excellent ideas. Read and see what you think.....

“As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods -- merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor.

This year should be different. This year Americans should give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands.

Yep, there is! It's time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper?

Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificate from your local American hair salon or barber? Gym membership? It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.
Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates.
Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plunking down the Benjamins on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.
There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants -- all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint.

Remember folks, this isn't about big National chains --this is about supporting your home town Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.
How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?
Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.
My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.
OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes.
Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre? Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.
Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of lights, about fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice  BIG TIP! You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine.
THIS should be the new American Christmas tradition.
This is a revolution of caring about each other, and isn't that what Christmas is about?
And lastly a New Years Resolution: Support Green Energy. Well, Green and Energy. --- Keep the green in your wallet and save yourself a lot of "real" energy in 2012 because we need both, to defeat our energy and treasure sapping government.
God Bless You and God Bless America!"

Well said, whoever you are! Now, readers, wherever you live….there are hard working Americans in small individually owned businesses all over our beautiful country! Seek them out. There are amazing gifts out there for those you love.

May I suggest a few of my favorite places to shop and dine? All are locally owned by outstanding Americans and I recommend them to you without reservation!
ARTichokes Gallery, Leawood, KS for excellent art work, jewelry, pottery, etc.
Molly's Table Restaurant and Catering, Paola, KS for gift certificates for dining and catering 
Jasper's Restaurant, Kansas City, MO for award winnng Italian food
The Tortoise Gallery, Paola, KS for paintings,jewelry and pottery
and of course....
Somerset Ridge Vineyard and Winery, Somerset, KS for award winning wines and wine related gifts
Happy Shopping!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My dear friends, Becky Pashia and Laurie Barling of ARTichokes, are holding their annual Ladies Night Out
on Tuesday evening November 8th! Last year I found several important gifts for friends while strolling around the gallery. It is a great opportunity to buy one of a kind works of art for those special friends and family members.
I know many of the artist's who will have their work there that evening, it is going to fun! Maybe I will see you there? 

I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to return to ARTichokes on Friday, December 16th for the opening celebration for David Gross and me and our show of paintings! David and I are looking forward to a great evening...lots of Christmas Cheer, lots of friends, lots of fun! ....I want you there!
I am painting like a wild woman for this show....
I have set my goal pretty high and I am determined to reach it. 
So, by December 16th, I will be ready to have a party!
As for David....he is plodding along at his own pace, he is calm,
he is in control, he is painting amazing things! Seems unfair, doesn't it!
I think it is going to be a good show....please come!
I will be blogging about the show as we get closer to December,
but I know how busy the Holiday Season gets....
so mark your calendars now....I'd love to see you there!

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy
oil painting by Kay Tucker

Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek

Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek
Oil Painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection


oil painting by Kay Tucker

Kansas Storm

Kansas Storm
oil painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection

Watercolor Collage

Watercolor Collage

Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time

Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time
48"x36" sculptural painting by Kay Tucker