Music to my ears…..

In the last few days I received some wonderful texts. I wanted to save them before I accidentally deleted them from my phone. This is music to my ears.

“I can’t tell you how nice this is! I’m loving it! You all do a fantastic job!

Roslyn P.

“House looks fabulous as always, by the way. Thank you.”

“You do a great job. I tremendously appreciate your service”

Reilly C.

“You know a house is clean when a 9 year old boy walks inside and says, ‘hey, the house is clean!”

“Just got home – I love the flowers! And, of course the house smells and looks great”

Leigh O.

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Find Me

I’ve just started marketing my services through a wonderful site called, “Thumbtack”. If you are interested in my services; catering, cooking classes, cleaning, etc…go here. There are all sorts of service providers on this site, check it out. I love it. It’s been an amazing source of new business for me. And, you might find just the right professional for your needs. I highly recommend it.

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Time for a few recipes…..

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Creamy Pasta With Kale

This, was a hit with my semi-resident, Vegan Boy. Translation, my son who comes home from college often, and has started to forward recipes to me prior to his arrival. So thoughtful…….This was really good.

For the creamy sauce

2 cups cauliflower

1 cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)

2-3 table spoons of olive oil (I use more than necessary because I like the added richness and flavor)

4 garlic cloves sliced

1 large shallot, or 2 smaller ones

1/2 teaspoon salt

 

Other ingredients

Pasta cooked according to package. 1 lb box.

2 cups kale, rough chopped

1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, packed in oil or roasted tomatoes from a jar

Put cauliflower in saucepan with an inch of water or so, cover, bring to boil and steam for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in saute pan, add garlic and shallots, sauté for 10 minutes or so.

Place the drained cauliflower, almond milk, sauteed garlic and shallots along with the oil in a blender or vitamin. Blend until creamy. Season to taste. Toss with cooked pasta, kale,  and tomatoes. Voila, that’s it. It was great! Us non-vegans also had broiled chicken along with it as we sat in front of the TV and watched a new episode of , “House of Cards”. Nice….

 

 

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Stay Busy and Create

Image 9This is not going to be one of those posts, the “I’ve been absent a long time and feel bad about it” posts. It is what it is. I’ve been writing like mad, just not here. I committed to getting out the stuff that’s been swimming in my head for too long. So, every morning I’m up about 4:30. And, after some wake-up time, I write. Yesterday I got 2 solid hours in before I left for a job. It felt good. Anne Lamott says there is no magic, you have to sit your butt in the chair and write.

I have a notebook next to my computer – yes, paper. I have three columns; writing, business, art. Every week I have a time goal for each of the columns. Every day I do something to reach that goal. Then, I write it down. It helps me try to stay on track with the things that are important to me. I’m not perfect at it, but it seems to be a good tool.

I got the idea for the notebook from Lisa Call. She’s awesome. She’s a software engineer by day, a textile artist at night. She shares a lot of her organizational techniques, which is incredibly helpful to me. The way her brain works is different than the way mine does, so she makes things easy that aren’t as obvious to me. Creating systems and organization being her strong suit, IMHO.

Where is food you ask? It fits into all three columns at any given time. But, now that I’ve typed that, I’m thinking I’ll add a fourth and fifth (exercise) column next week. Hmmmm, I’ll think on that. I like it……

ImageI’ve also started a new blog, which has captured my time for awhile. I’m just building it up and getting some writing done, so I’m not sharing it openly just yet. It’s directed at a whole different audience; women starting over in midlife. The picture at left is a hint at the title, though not necessarily the subject matter.

I took a leap and let a few of my biggest clients go. I love my clients. I really do. I love them, I appreciate them, I become friends with them. So, letting anyone go was a first for me and tore me up. It cast a shadow over a few weeks. If there was ever evidence that I’m not a cutthroat business person, there you have it. I’m a softy. I want to please people, not hurt them. But, what these customers wanted was taking me away from where I wanted to go.

I hung on because, of course, who walks away from business, right? Sometimes you have to, when it starts directing you, instead of the other way around. And, it was all going in the wrong direction, not what I wanted. I began to dread it. So, I ended the business relationship. It hurt. But, it made room for the things I wanted to flow in. That’s important. That’s how things work. The good stuff can’t flow in, if you are hanging onto the bad stuff, or the stuff that isn’t working out. You have to let go. It frees you up. Good things flow in. It doesn’t work to hang on to what you don’t want until what you do comes to you. There is no room for it. You have to make the room by letting go of what doesn’t work. That was a hard lesson for me. I tend to hang onto things longer than I should. I like my comfort zone. But, it’s something I’m determined to get better at, letting go of the wrong thing.

ImageThis blog/site itself. I want to change it. I have a vision that isn’t quite jelled for changes I want to make. It’s the “not quite jelled” that has kept me away from it. It’s time to plan, make the changes, and move forward. I’m ready. I’m thinking something more elegant, more variety, cleaner design, etc……Of course, it will be food, among other things. The photo at left. So beautiful! It’s a chili paste I made with a variety of dried chilis. I used it as part of a fajita assemblage. I’m on the fence about it. Interesting flavor.

Video. I’ve been having a wonderful time making videos. I’m creating a series that is near and dear to my heart. It’s been a long time in coming, but my video capabilities have made it possible, finally. This iMac of mine came with a video creating/editing program. I was so excited when I discovered it. It’s amazing! It opened up a whole new world for me. It was the missing piece for some things I want to do and a wonderful discovery. I started making videos during the last cold snap a few months ago in my studio. But, it was so uncomfortable, and I had to be bundled up, then my computer had a problem and the video board had to be replaced. It’s almost new?! I’m convinced it was the cold, even though SirG doesn’t believe it was….In any case, it’s fixed. I’ve moved my computer to a nice, warm office in the heated part of the house, so I’m back in business.

The picture at the top? That’s my son with his “GoPro” video camera on his helmet. He’s also been having great fun creating videos. I’m using it myself for some future projects. Creating is good. Creating while skiing, well, is there any greater joy? So many things are a tie in my head regarding what brings me joy. That’s one of them; skiing with my son while he pushes himself to try new things. It’s a beautiful thing to be a part of.

Today, it’s minus 8 outside. Right now. It’s like a winter wonderland out there. I wanted to stay in the warm bed for a few extra minutes and talk to God. God often talks to me in pictures. And, I wanted another one. I’ve been asking for guidance, wanting to see a picture, so I could move toward it. And, I saw myself with a series of canvases, then in the kitchen welcoming a group for a class, then writing at my desk…..(God manages to say so much to me with a few snapshots…usually in quick succession) And the words,“Stay busy and create” popped in my head. Okay!

So, here I am, 874 words later. Enjoy your day!

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“Win The Battle” Fundraiser Event

Image 4Here are a few photos of the event I just catered this past weekend. I’m notoriously bad at taking photos of an event, I’m way to busy to stop and snap. I should have someone come with me to take a few pictures so everything doesn’t just become a blur. In any case, this is what I have…..

This was an Oktoberfest themed event, which helped me zero in on some initial ideas for the food, but in the end, people want what tastes good. All the sausages I brought didn’t go over nearly as well as, say, the olive oil dipping sauce I made, which was all mediterranean; garlic, kalamata olives, capers, oregano…..This was a last minute addition to the menu on the day of, when I Imagewas in my groove and feeling creative. But was so popular I’ve decided to make a batch for every event I cater. It’s become one of my “signature” touches along with fresh flowers, gratis, for every customer, every day…….

I cooked every day for a week leading up to this event. It is the only way to go. I get the plan in my head and keep thinking of “What’s next?” and how I’ll put it together at the event, how to prepare and store parts of a recipe so that it’s easily transported and assembled, if need be, on-site.

Calculating quantity of food is more of a crapshoot, Image 1even though there are rules of thumb and industry standards you can turn to; ounces of meat per person, pieces of appetizer, etc…In the end, they’ll eat more of what tastes good and less of what doesn’t and you don’t always know what the crowd with gravitate to. So, you come prepared for anything, which means, in my case, an abundance of everything.

Image 3The organizers were very pleased with the food, which pleases me. I do take it personally, how can I not? After every event I think about the flaws, what I could have done differently. And, it bothers me a lot to think that way, but I try to use  it as a way to do things better next time. Even if everyone is extremely happy, I do see what could be better. I’ve accepted that this is how I’ll always think and it’s probably a good thing. I do want to do a great job for those who trust me with their events. The next person benefits from my introspection, so I’m okay with it. I should have browned the sausages, okay? It would have been so much better…..Okay, got that off my chest.

Now, I begin to plan a holiday party for 60. Fun!

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Asian Appetizer Cooking Class/Party

553049_372102842921867_216393434_nI have been remiss, not posting pictures of some recent events. Here are some pictures of an Asian Appetizer Class/Party I did recently. Gorgeous home, fun group, gracious hostess, good food….. What could be better.

An old high school friend of mine saw the picture on the left, of me and the party Image 2hostess, and created this fun juxtaposition. I decided to wear pearls to all my events from now on, for the fun of it. :  )

For this class we made: spring rolls, sushi rolls, chicken satay with peanut sauce and chicken lettuce wraps. There was a lot going on, but we did it. I can create a custom class for your group to suit your own tastes. Give me a call. 303-549-3417.

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Amen

Image 10I had to share this beautiful message, from Bill Watterson, the creator of Calvin and Hobbes, my son’s favorite childhood comic.

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