Monday, January 12, 2009

Good Taste comes in many packages

Good Morning!

A bit of news to share. The first Polymer clay competition/contest/challenge I have ever entered was the one held by my etsy guild PCAGOE January Challenge. I think I posted about this last week, and my new friend Milica Bubanja from Slovenkia took 1st place with her stunning black and white millefiori necklace, which sold before the contest was over! Congratulations Milica! I tell you, no one could be more surprised than I was that my entry took 2nd place from 23 submissions. My husband keeps telling me I am my own worst critic, and I am, but I am still astonished by this! Truly, but thankful to those who appreciated my efforts in my entry, which in reality, combined ( I realized this after I made it) three of my favorite things together.

Third place went to this dancer doll of Kerijoys, who makes wonderful wall dancers, please check out her shop on etsy.

The three things ( three 'T's') combined in my entry are 1. Trees, I love them, more than flowers even, I have always loved trees and forever it seems tried to capture them in many of my artistic endeavors, through many mediums, only to feel disappointed that I never came close. This one wasn't too bad and I think that is because of the way I used texture to help interpret the bark, by using extrusions and my sculpting pen.

Then there is the background of Time, I have always been in love with clock faces, it doesn't matter what numerals it uses, they just have a strange attraction for me, which probably explains the 3 1/2' clock table that sits in the middle of my living room. A piece I acquired at the Mystic Seaport Museum over 15 years ago and which I will hang onto until I die. Then there were the words, Text. Those that only know my work by my Organic Odysseys series haven't seen this yet, but in my other works I love to add words, they are the main focus of the piece. I shall be doing this with my organics as well, shortly I hope. So all in all it is an interesting piece and I guess others thought so as well, and I thank you!

Here's my clock table shown with some magazines I got yesterday for perspective.........:)

Now for a different kind of good taste! :) I have discovered a new flavor of coffee, at least it is to me, if someone out there has already been doing this, well, I'm just catching up, but I promise I didn't find this on the Internet or at any restaurant ( which I haven't even had a bought coffee out of my house for years because I have Celiac disease) so this combo came as a surprise and delight that it tastes so good.

As you know, I like earth friendly things, not only eating organic, and building my art around it, but also in recycling, reusing, re-purposing, in other words, getting all you can from something. Now when I have citrus in the house, one of my favorite things to have to add to baked goods, before squeezing for the juice I always try to wash the outside rind well and then use my new(ish) microplane to shave off the wonderful zest. I use this in a lot of my baking as I do all my own, being gluten and wheat challenged, and it add flavor to all kinds of goodies. Orange can be used in cranberry bread, pumpkin bread ( muffins too) pancakes, even banana baked goodies, as well as chocolate cake! Lemons and limes have their place too and if not using them with fish, or guacamole, cold bean dishes, then they make it into some of the baked products as well, Lemon poppy seed muffins anyone?

So the other day I was preparing to squeeze some fresh OJ for breakfast, and I washed off the orange, and dutifully shaved off its wonderful zest onto a paper towel. If I am not using right away, I leave it there to dry out and then store in a little glass cup until needed. So I didn't have any baking on the schedule the next few days, so it sat on the counter. Now ever since our coffee pot broke, I have not replaced it because My hubby will drink a whole pot and I don't believe we need that much stimulation, sleep is a lot better for your body, so we have cut down greatly. But sometimes you just want a nice cup of coffee. To conserve on paper waste, when I did have the pot, I bought a gold filter, it is a very fine mesh, gold plated that you use in place of the paper ones and you just wash, rinse and use again and again. So this is how I make my coffee now, one cup at a time, in one of those large 'Friends, Central Perk ' style cups. The filter fits right down a bit in side it ( it also works in a 2 cup glass measuring cup) and I add the coffee.

This is important to know, for a really good cup, you add about 4 tablespoons of the coffee to the filter, this will give you a nice rich cup with no bitterness and not strong, just full of flavor. Boil your water in a tea kettle or pot,pan. Now before you add the water, this is where the flavor comes in, and I have tried, cinnamon a lot, a sprinkle of salt, even some hazelnut flavoring ( I can't get the coffee with it in it, because it may contain gluten so have to use gluten free flavorings and organic too!).

So as I said, a few days ago I was doing this little routine when I spied the dried orange zest on the counter and thought, why not? So I grabbed a pinch ( about 1/2 teaspoon loosely) and crumbled it between my fingers on top of the grounds. Then for some odd reason 'Allspice' popped into my brain. I have added cinnamon before and nutmeg , but never thought of this but figured, what the hey, it's only one cup, so I added a few shakes. Well I have to tell you, I was so pleasantly surprised that I have got to go to the store now to buy more allspice. I made my hubby a cup and he absolutely adored it! Better than any fancy coffee shop he said. Now of course we use organic raw sugar and organic cream in it, but even if you don't it should still come as a pleasant surprise to you.

I think many coffee lovers will like this and even those who love chai's or herbal teas with milk, it spans across many hot beverage tastes. So give it a try, make some when you have company over and you only have an Entemanns cake in a box to serve for dessert, if you make this coffee they will think they are in the finest bakery/coffee shop, and remember you fondly for it!

And for another recycling tip, after your coffee grounds mixed with the orange have cooled off, dry them out ( reuse a paper towel for this) and when dry, put in a recycled jar next to your sink. when you have been cooking, fish or doing some other chore, or even may have paint thinner or something else unpleasant on your hands, shake some of these grounds into your hand with a bit of liquid soap and scrub away! It will take off any grease, paint, and the smells too!

Let me know what you think, I'd really like to hear back from some who have tried it!



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