Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Absent Minded Artist....

...Creeps in, and hangs her head in shame....

Yes, it's been well over a  month since I've updated my poor, neglected blog here - and right after a New Year's intention (I don't do resolutions, and you can see why, lol) to be better about keeping things current here!

I hardly know where to start, so I suppose I should pick up where I last left off...

The holidays were truly wonderful, and this was the second year we spent Christmas with daughter Courtney and her beau in Philadelphia. Every time we travel into the city, I'm reminded how much I love it - such great energy, wonderful little neighborhoods, and a really marvelous mix of old and new, contemporary and historic - a really unique vibe I've never felt in other cities. We returned resolved to visit more often (although at 150k miles, were nursing the Beetle along as carefully as we possibly can, so are also limiting long distance trips!) That said, we'll definitely venture in for the Impressionist exhibit this spring/summer!

Did you click? Doesn't it sound incredible?!

Things have been as busy as ever in the studio, with progress made on both commissions and assorted other pieces. The next offering will actually be tonight, for the monthly EHAG Emporium; a couple of *magical* little wizard pieces...

 They make me smile. :)

On the home front, we've had a few challenges with John's health again, this time several skin cancer surgeries, the last of which required over 50 stitches. He's facing it as he's faced the heart issues, the lung issues and the lymphoma, with amazing perseverance and grace. I marvel at how he takes these things in stride, and it makes me want to be more stoic about my own health challenges. ;)

On still another front, I've been immersing myself in some selfish knitting (all for ME, lol), and am very pleased with the results. This "shawlette" is a recent project...

I liked it so well, I've started another in a different colorway...

With a wind chill of six degrees below zero, it's very good knitting weather!

It's also very good soup/stew weather, and our crockpot has been working overtime with healthy, nutritious, and relatively low cal recipes, like this chicken and apple stew. (It's one of John's favorites!)

So aside from a few gorgeous, but not too heavy snowfalls, that's about it for the last month's doings. I know, not very exciting, hehe. I won't promise to be back very soon, as I tend to set myself up that way - but I will try!

In the meantime, I hope everyone is staying warm and cozy, and enjoying all the blessings this beautiful Winter has to offer.

Much love and appreciation for sticking with me, even when I'm a neglectful blogger,
♥ Carolee

PS. After a few requests on Facebook for the stew recipe, here it is, courtesy of a wonderful collector friend of mine, Susan. I usually tweak the recipe a bit by added small whole onions instead of the sliced onion, extra veggies, an extra apple and a bit of chicken stock/broth to cut the sweetness of the apple cider. Enjoy!

Apple Chicken Stew

4 medium potatoes
4 medium carrots, cut 1/4"-thick slices
1 medium red onion, halved and sliced
1 celery rib, thinly sliced
1-1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 - 1/2 caraway seeds
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2 Tbsp olive or vegetable oil
1 large tart apple, peeled and cubed
1-1/4 Cups apple cider or juice
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 bay leaf
minced fresh parsley

Layer potatoes, carrots, onion and celery into crockpot. In a small bowl, combine salt, thyme, pepper, and caraway seeds. Sprinkle half over vegetables. In a skillet, saute chicken in oil just until lightly browned. Drain off drippings. Transfer chicken to slow cooker. top with cubed apple. In another small bowl, combine apple cider and vinegar. Pour over chicken and apple. Sprinkle with remaining salt mixture. Lay bay leaf on top. Cover. Cook on High 4-5 hour until vegetables are tender. Discard bay leaf. Stir before serving. Sprinkle bowls with parsley.
I have made this several times, usually adding more vegetables than called for and adding more cider as needed. The last time I made it, I used half sweet potatoes.