Today in our life …

March 27, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Posted in art, family, gifts, Life, Mother's Day, NYC, recipes, shopping, women | Leave a comment
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I’ll be writing more a little later, and posting a blog in the morning. In the meantime, I wanted to share this with all of my readers. My son’s Etsy Shop (FlyingJunction.Etsy.com) is offering free shipping this week.

If you haven’t seen his work before, he painstakingly designs authentic looking, vintage inspired subway signs and bus scrolls featuring neighborhoods in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, London, Paris, Seattle and more. He can personalize any of his offerings, or make a custom sign to your own specifications celebrating important places and “subway or bus stops” from your own life. They are a great gift idea to commemorate Mother’s Day, birth announcements, weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, graduation, retirement parties … or just living.

From a decor viewpoint, these signs are eyecatching and look great displayed at home, the office, even in a cottage or on a farm!

Many of his signs have a very awesome distressed finish to them, and they are all printed on high quality heavy weight paper. His shipping is impeccable and each tube is a deligth to receive.

Check him out, see what he’s been up to over the past few months.

Have a great day, and I’ll meet you back here tomorrow with a recipe for that incredible looking chocolate cake you saw in last week’s post … mmmm, yummy!

~firefly

Things I look forward to

April 8, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Posted in country life, country living, faith, family, flowers, food, gardening, gifts, Holidays, Knit Alongs, knit-a-long, knitting, Life, love, marriage, Mother's Day, photography, recipes, relationships, shopping, yarn | 6 Comments
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Our lawn is beginning to show signs of the gorgeous, lush green glow that spring and summer bring to us.  As much as I love winter and the magical beauty of snow in a mostly monochromatic world, the anticipation of color returning to the world is very awesome.  I am sitting in an old fashioned, high-back chair by the window in our sitting area that faces the barn.  I hear birds calling, and see that glow from the lawn that promises much green to come, thinking of things I look forward to.

I look forward to green, orange, pink, purple, yellow, blue, and many other colors as they open up and paint themselves all over the countryside.  Wild flowers growing along the roadsides, the our farm fields waking up and coming to life, the Sincere Pumpkin Patch we will grow this year, the sunflowers I intend to plant all around the perimeter of our yard, between the yard and the crop acerage.

I look forward to Easter Sunday and an egg hunt out by the between the barn and the willow.  I look forward to opening up the cottage and bringing it back into service for the warmer seasons.  I look forward to my son and parents being here at the farm at various times during the coming colorful months.  I look forward to knitting by open windows, with a gentle breeze rustling through and the beautiful voices of the birds calling, singing, squealing, honking, tweeting … all of their various sounds.

I am looking forward to that first moment in this year when I step outside and feel actual warmth from the sun touching me lightly on the shoulder.

Trips on the river in the canoe, camping out in the backyard, picnicking there too.  Painting inside late into the day because of abundant light, painting outside because of the nice warm air, rain showers, thunderstorms, mud puddles, and blue skies.  I am looking forward to it all.

I am a couple of days late in sharing two recipes with you all, and several days late on issuing the next set of instructions for the Summer in the Country cotton blanket knit along.  My flu went away, and then it came back and felt a bit worse the second time around. Makes me want to talk like a pirate, but it isn’t September 19th yet so I might restrain myself.  Today I am feeling 98% well again but it has been a bit rough getting here.

For the recipes, they will follow below.  For the knit along, click here for that update.

Just a quick note about my son’s Etsy store before we get on to the recipes.  He has some new releases recently that you might enjoy checking.  First off, he has this new collection of three Los Angeles Subway Sign Prints, and of course I love the vintage look Keep Calm and Carry On signs (great story of the history behind that sign).  You can also follow his business now on Twitter and Facebook — I know he would really appreciate the support.

As I said last week, my son and I would like to share two recipes with you this week.  Both are for Pimento Cheese spread for sandwiches.    When I was a little girl and my family was still living in North Carolina, my mother used to make a pimento cheese spread from time to time and we would have delicious, refreshing pimento cheese sandwiches.  She continued making that treat for us at times when we were in California, and it was a special treat.

What I didn’t know at the time was that pimento cheese spread is — or was — a southern thing.  I found that out from an article in the Food section of the Los Angeles times where several pimento cheese recipes were shared.

Recently I mentioned pimento cheese to my son and found out he has been making it too, but his take on it is completely different from my mother’s.  We thought it would be a good idea to share the two recipes, side-by-side.  My mother has graciously given me her permission to tell you her recipe, one she invented to come up with a more economical way of providing pimento cheese sandwiches to a large family of seven (Mom, you rock).

First up …

Mom’s Downhome Pimento Cheese Spread

1 8-oz loaf Velveta cheese
1 5-oz can evaporated milk
1/2 cup Miracle Whip or other sandwich spread
1 small jar chopped pimentos

Gently heat Velveta cheese and evaporated milk in a medium sized saucepan on low to medium heat until cheese is melted. Remove from heat. Stir in Miracle Whip until thoroughly mixed. Drain pimentos and fold into the cheese mixture. While warm and soft, place in a glass container to cool.

Make sandwiches with this spread by, well … spreading it on your bread and then you’re done.

And now …

Flying Junction’s Favorite Pimento Cheese Spread

8-oz grated cheddar cheese
4-oz grated Ppepper jack cheese
1/3-cup mayonnaise
2 ounces canned diced pimentos
1/4-tsp granulated garlic
1/4-tsp granulated onion
1/4-tsp black pepper
pinch of cayenne (optional)
two drops green pepper sauce (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl until well blended. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before spreading on sandwich bread. Our favorite thing is to use this to make a grilled cheese sandwich on a couple of slabs of hand-cut sourdough bread.

We hope you will give pimento cheese spread a try, if you haven’t ever had it before. Personally, I think it makes a wonderful springtime sandwich — so refreshing and bright!

Here is another bright thought for you … need a unique idea for a Mother’s Day gift? Our top three suggestions for unique gift ideas for Mom:

1) Send your Mom to Paris with a collection of three Paris Metro Line 1 signs from Flying Junction
2) Knit her a biscuit blanket using our beautiful Deluxe Biscuit Blanket Kit (includes fine art gift card and beautiful gift box) — not many left in stock
3) Give her a Knitter’s or Crocheter’s Eye Chart art print

Off to enjoy a pretty spring day … hope you have a great one!

~firefly

Beside myself

March 15, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Posted in art, country life, country living, faith, family, food, free knitting patterns, gifts, Knit Alongs, knit-a-long, knitting, Life, love, Mother's Day, recipes, relationships, shopping, sweet potatoes, yarn | 3 Comments
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You can take that statement, “Beside Myself” in a couple of different ways … perhaps.  But I am actually using it as a play on words.  My focus is on the “side” syllable.  I have shared a couple of main course recipes the past two weeks from those my son and I have worked on together, and today I thought I would share two recent side dishes we have deployed into the family menus.

Unfortunately, these two side dishes are so good that each time we make them up, they are devoured before a camera can be fetched–so I have no photos for you.  They are, however, so delicious that I will describe them to you in detail and you will be able to fill in with your own imagination what I have been unable to capture with my camera.

Before I do that, for my knitting readers I need to give an update regarding the summer blanket knit-along I mentioned last week.  There were plenty of people interested in joining in, so I have posted the first set of instructions here (and if you look at the top of my blog, under the header photo there is a navigation tab “KAL”, that is the one you can click on to go directly to the knit along). Be sure to check in there, and sign up in the Comments for the RSS feed for the KAL to stay connected with the group and receive updates via email.

And just one more thing for my knitter readers and other fiber artists. I have been telling you the last few weeks about the Knitter’s Eye Chart art prints my son and I collaborated on. This past weekend we released our newest art print for fiber lovers … I am calling it Stash Pride. As you can see, it states very clearly, “If You Can Read This You Are Standing Too Close to My Stash.” The inspiration for this one should be obvious to any fiber hoarder lover fanatic addict … well, all of those things that we are.

The Fiber Stash is sort of like a sour dough starter that has gone completed out of control. It begins with a tiny little bubbly internal growth that you hardly notice at first but over time (a short amount of time usually) each bubble (represented by one more ball of yarn or poof of wool) multiplies exponentially until before you know it the Stash has taken on a life of its own and is bursting forth, spilling out of the closet, into the hall, throughout every room in your house, into your purse, your car, your garage, your attic, the lawn, the street … well, you know how it is.

The Stash Pride art print is a way of proclaiming the completely obvious, but also making it clear you are proud of your fiber addiction. We created them in five different color schemes and they are available in my Etsy store or on my website in two sizes:

11″ x 17″ for $19, any three for $49
8″ x 10″ for $10, any three for $26

You can also now get the Knitter’s Eye Charts in the 8″ x 10″ size for $10, three in that size for $26 — in addition to the original 11″ x 17″ size ($19, set of three $49).

Okay, back to being Beside Myself with a couple of scrumptious side dishes.

These are both super simple, nutritious side dishes that will tickle your palette and your appetite in a big way: Sweet Potato Almond Jumble, and Roasted Carrots with Asparagus. We came up with both of these sides in an effort to put more alkaline-based food choices on the table in a life-long quest to provide delicious yet healthy food to family.

The Sweet Potato Almond Jumble is delicious for breakfast, or as a side dish any other time of day. This is a beautiful, jewel toned side because sweet potatoes bake to such a glowing orange color. Little almond chunks and almond dust with maple syrup dripping over them on top of the potatoes provide texture visually and in the mouth.

The Roasted Carrots with Asparagus is a surprising punch of flavor, as roasting brings out the rich flavor potential of the carrots and the roasted asparagus gets a bit crunchy–the two vegetable flavors pair perfectly with each other.

Sweet Potato Almond Jumble

1 to 2 large sweet potatoes or yams
1/4 to 1/3 cup finely chopped roasted or raw, unsalted almonds
a touch of butter or an olive oil based butter alternative
touch of sea salt
maple syrup or raw sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F). Wash potatoes thoroughly in cold water. Puncture several times with a fork. Place on the oven rack and bake until tender throughout, about 40 minutes to one hour depending on how large the potatoes are.

Remove potatoes from oven, cut in half and peel immediately. Slice potato halves into a casserole dish, or directly onto serving plates; cut slices into bite-size pieces and arrange in a little pile. Put a dab of butter or alternative on each pile of potatoes. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt (optional). Sprinkle finely chopped almonds evenly on each potato pile. Drizzle about 1 Tbsp maple syrup over each pile, or 1 or 2 tsps raw sugar (to taste).

Each potato makes a good sized serving for two people.

Roasted Carrots with Asparagus

One bunch of carrots
One bunch of asparagus (preferably younger, thin stalked asparagus)
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F). Wash carrots and asparagus thoroughly. Peel carrots and remove tops and tips. Cut carrots into one-inch long pieces, then slice each piece down the center. Cut asparagus into 2 inch long pieces.

Place carrots and asparagus in a bowl, then pour 1 to 2 Tbsp of olive oil on top. Stir the vegetables together, tossing so that the olive oil evenly coats them. Use enough olive oil so that all of the veggies are coated. Spread them in a glass cassrole dish or on a cookie sheet lined with foil, large enough so that the veggies are in a single layer.

Place in oven and roast for 40 minutes, or until carrots are tender and begin to get a lightly roasted color to them.

Remove from oven and serve as-is, or lightly sprinkled with sea salt.

My family completely loves these new sides we created. As always, I appreciate my son’s collaboration with me on menu plans and recipe development … thank you dear son of mine.

I have to run now, but hope you enjoy the recipes and, if you join the knit-along, that as well!

Have a great day,
~firefly

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