Friday, June 15, 2012

Oven Roasted Vegetables with Pan-Seared Lamb Chops

Hello, world of blog readers! I have an amazing recipe to share, a simple, yet astonishingly delicious dinner for two! It can be made for vegetarians, with a few simple tweaks, although I really enjoyed the carnivorous version :) Here are both of the recipes:

Delicious Mediterranean Lamb Dinner for Two


2 large lamb chops, fresh as possible
1 bulb of fennel*
1 large red pepper
2 servings of purple fingerling potatoes
olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400° F

2. Trim fennel bulb and cut into quarters. Remove seeds and cap from red pepper, cut into quarters. Toss fennel and pepper pieces with fingerling potatoes with olive oil until lightly coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put vegetables in a single layer in a baking dish, Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden and tender.

3. When the vegetables are nearly done, heat 1 tbs of butter with a drizzle of olive oil in a large frying pan. Make sure there is enough to coat the bottom of the pan. When the pan is sizzling hot, add the lamb chops. Season lightly with salt and pepper as the chops cook. Cook each side until golden brown. About three to four minutes on each side will result in a medium-rare chop. Let the chops stand a few minutes before serving.

4. Serve with the roasted vegetables and enjoy!

Delicious Mediterranean Eggplant Dinner for Two


1 eggplant
1 bulb of fennel*
1 large red pepper
2 servings of purple fingerling potatoes
olive oil
salt and pepper
fresh thyme (optional, but delicious)

1. Preheat oven to 400° F
2. Cut eggplant into cubes. Soak for twenty minutes in highly salted water, then drain and pat dry. (The salt removes any bitterness from the eggplant pieces prior to cooking.)

3. Trim fennel bulb and cut into quarters. Remove seeds and cap from red pepper, cut into quarters. Toss fennel and pepper pieces with fingerling potatoes and eggplant cubes with olive oil until lightly coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put vegetables in a single layer in a baking dish, Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden and tender.

4. Serve, and Enjoy!
*Fennel :

"Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is a plant species in the genus Foeniculum (treated as the sole species in the genus by most botanists). It is a member of the family Apiaceae (formerly the Umbelliferae). It is a hardy, perennial, umbelliferous herb, with yellow flowers and feathery leaves. It is indigenous to the shores of the Mediterranean, but has become widely naturalised in many parts of the world, especially on dry soils near the sea-coast and on riverbanks.
It is a highly aromatic and flavorful herb with culinary and medicinal uses, and, along with the similar-tasting anise, is one of the primary ingredients of absinthe. Florence fennel or finocchio is a selection with a swollen, bulb-like stem base that is used as a vegetable."

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Attention Artists and Creative Types!!!

ATTN Artists/Creative Types: I am looking for some interesting individuals who have interesting talents to write spotlight blog articles about. It will involve some pictures, an interview, and ultimately an article about you and your craft/talent. Please reply, or email if you are interested! Thanks

Monday, June 11, 2012

Reusable Shopping Totes: Green Giftgiving

  More than ever, fashionable and functional reusable shopping totes are appearing in stores we frequent. Lately, they go beyond just a simple plasticy-wover bag with the store's logo, they are being designed to attract the eye as well as speak to the shopper's inner "green". I say, why just use them for shopping? Use them for Gift Bags as well!
  At an average store, a gift bag can cost upward of a few dollars. Most people find one that fits the gift, and they use it once, to bring to a party or occassion, and after the present is unwrapped, the gift bag usually falls prey to being trashed. There are those who do reuse them, but they are only so string, and will only last through so many new lives.
  On the other hand, stores from Walmart and Target, to Barnes and Noble and Toys R Us, are offering resuable shopping totes from as little as $0.85 to $1.99. This is no more than one would normally spend on wrapping, certainly, and is a gift in itself. Even though you can get a traditional bag for a dollar at a dollare store, a reusable gift bag is a practical and green gift that will continue to be useful long after the party balloons have all lost their helium.
  There are bags on the market to please people of all age groups and interests. For children and the young at heart, Toys R Us has an adorable line of shopping totes, ranging from Nintendo characters (I bought a Yoshi one for myself), to Disney princesses, to comic book superheroes. Barnes and Noble offers more intellectually savvy totes, featuring names of authors and images of beloved and classic novels. My mum recently bought me a "Tree Grows in Brooklyn" tote for $1.99. It would also have made a perfect birthday present bag for a person such as myself.

                                                         Yoshi Tote

  Burlington Coat Factory also has an amazing varied array of totes. Even the Dollar Tree had a few cute ones last time I went in, with seasonal prints. Once you start looking, you'll see them everywhere. Find the right one, put some tissue paper in it if you wish, fill it up and cap it off with a pretty bow. Using shopping totes as gift bags is a catchy idea...both fashionable, and functional, just like the totes themselves!

Enchanted Lotus Necklace

After one weekend on Etsy, my ENCHANTED LOTUS NECKLACE seems to be the most popular item in the shop...with the most views and favorites. I know that when starting an online shop, patience is very important, although it is a difficult virtue to maintain at times.

I keep telling myself one sale...Just one sale will end my frustrations. Although if luck lends me an inch, I'm likely to wish for a mile next. Although, in business, hunger for sales may well be a boon to me.

Tomorrow I am going to start posting more items to the Etsy shop. Napkin rings and more jewelry. Maybe more variety will lead to an increased chance at getting a buyer. Maybe.

Well, it has only been a few days, so I shouldn't get down on myself yet! Plenty of people wait months before something gets "off the ground", so to speak. In the mean time, I shall be anxiously awaiting!

I am also going to start a line of coasters...coasters with plenty of personality and are both functional and artistic! Keep posted!

The Enchanted Lotus Necklace:

Monday, June 4, 2012

Dragon Rider Necklace

On Men in the Kitchen

   It has occurred to me that the more helpless a woman is, the more apt her man will be to help about the kitchen. Case-in-point: My husband Christopher. Christopher is not a man lacking in basic kitchen skills, nor is he, like some, unable to follow simple recipes or instructions. However, I did not realize that he WASN'T a perfect imbecile around the kitchen UNTIL the very first time I was too sick to cook. 
  As it turns out, my husband is a whiz at making breakfast. Falling ill from cramps one Saturday morning rather early into our marriage, Christopher shocked my palate with a perfectly decent breakfast. Although the presentation may be somewhat lacking (at least compared to my artistic attempts at television-perfect plating techniques, napkin folding, and the employment of various garnishes of the edible and not-so-edible varieties), the taste was surprisingly good, and after all, that IS what matters. His more-than-edible eggs, beautifully fried bacon, and savory home style grits were the first surprise of many.
  While his meal choices started somewhat predictably,  (eggs and bacon for breakfast, soup and sandwiches for lunch, etc) I could by no means complain about his efforts. Of course, cooking is a chore that I would gladly undertake three times a day,( most days), so he gets few chances to shine as the Lone Ranger of the kitchen, although he often works as my sous chef. But how does a master know what his sous chef is capable of, if he does not let him work alone from time to time? And so, two Valentine's Days ago, when Christopher announced that he was going to blow my mind with his single-handedly prepared Valentine's Day Dinner menu, I had high expectations. But once again, my husband succeeded. He actually did bowl me over with flavor and variety so unexpected that I was speechless for nearly half the night. The lesson here: If you want your wife or girlfriend to shut up for an evening, cook for her a mind-altering feast the likes of which she never thought you were capable of. That night, we dined on superbly roasted duck a l'orange, home style mashed potatoes with sauteed mushrooms and onions, and sweet-savory grilled asparagus. He even concocted a homemade pineapple-mango sorbet for dessert. It was overall, one of the best home cooked meals I'd ever eaten.

The author's husband on the night he ended up COOKING

  What reminded me of all of my husband's culinary attempts was last night's supper. With a pulled shoulder muscle, Christopher tucked me into the living room couch with a movie, announcing that he was to be cooking that night. I hear rustling in the refrigerator, and chopping on the counter. I smell something frying, and cannot guess what he is making with the various bits-of-nothing laying about the larder. The result was a surprisingly good Texas Hash, which he pulled out of my Better Homes and Garden's cookbook. Savory bacon, fried beef, crisp okra, sweet tomatoes and caramelized onions baked in a casserole with freshly-prepared basmati rice. Wow. Amazing. I'm actually craving more. If he gets much better at cooking, I may have to start playing hooky from the kitchen. Or at least feign a headache a few times a month. Apparently, nothing motivates a man to cook more than a woman in distress, and lately, nothing motivates me more to eat than a man who can really cook.

Grand Opening: Pink Forsythia Boutique!!!

In am pleased to announce the opening of my online shop, the Pink Forsythia Boutique! After a month straight of nothing but making jewelry and napkin rings (it is a start!), I finally have enough product to open my Etsy shop. I have posted a few items to start, and will be adding more and more each day. I implore you to check in with me from time to time, and give me some feedback. You can visit my shop at ...Thanks so much for your support!