Amy Artisan

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Month: February 2016

Currently…February 2016

Ah FEBRUARY, the month of winter weather and glimpses of warmer weather…of a day to love on those dear to you…this year, a month with an extra day…these are the things that filled my February days…

A "stop in your tracks" sunset on a Thursday

A “stop in your tracks” sunset on a Thursday

Watching…quite a few fun things streaming through Netflix: the latest season of Crossing Borders; discovering “Alphas” and enjoying…laughing out loud at Dreamland on Netflix…

Happy Hearts

Reading…several reads shared in my QuickLit reviews…in this Lent season, a daily poetry reading…a WWII fiction in progress…

Comfort Knit

Crafting…a Simple Shawlette was on and off the needles in less than 4 evenings and on it’s way to a friend in the midst of cancer treatment…a few new dishcloths…diving into the stash for another Simple Shawlette for travel knitting…

February Foods

Cooking…all sorts of fun in the kitchen with February meal plans

Birch Mug

Sipping…from my fabulous new birch mug from my favorite, Jennie the Potter – I was lucky enough to snag one of these mugs during the January pop-up on Etsy…

St. Pete

Traveling I…the month started with a long weekend in St.Pete with the family and some dear friends for another amazing briefing about The Jesus Film Project that we are privileged to be a part of…in addition to the great briefing, we enjoyed a quick tour through the Chihuly Collection that was just across the street from our fantastic “old Florida” hotel…

Weekend Fun

Traveling II…the month ends with a trip to Wisconsin – the originally planned weekend of fun with the WI-family ended up being paired with a week at our Marinette facility…

Game Night

Playing…a rousing game of Disney Apples to Apples with the WI-family on this leap day evening…

Looking ahead…March means the return of spring…a long overdue trip to see my Texas cuties…

Linking up with Leigh‘s monthly “What I’m Into” round-up. What are you into these days?

February Foods

As January rolled into February, my meal planning continued as did my adventures in “new to me” meals that follow the guidelines of THM. These are some of the tasty meals from this month of “new” cooking.

Breakfast on a blustery Saturday morn

Baked Blueberry Oatmeal -I’ve blogged about Baked Oatmeal a couple of times before…so of course I would look for these sorts of recipes that align with THM. I made this on a blustery Saturday morning. It was delicious right out of the oven and equally delicious throughout the week either cold or warmed for less than a minute. The combo of ingredients provides you with a “stick to your ribs” breakfast in the best way possible. (THM = E)

Simple Monday Supper

Buffalo Burgers with Mashed Cauliflowers and Wilted Spinach – I whipped this meal up on a Monday evening after I had been away for a long weekend and the groceries were rapidly dwindling. I pulled the box of Trader Joe’s Buffalo Burger patties out of the freezer in the morning. After work, this meal came together quickly. In one skillet, I browned a thinly sliced onion and caramelized it with a bit of balsamic vinegar – then I added a huge pile of fresh spinach and let it wilt down. The burgers were quickly cooked in another skillet with just a bit of salt and pepper. As these things were cooking, I cooked a bag “steam bag” of cauliflower in the microwave and then made a mash in my blender (based on the recipe for the topping in this Shepherd’s Pie). Quickly this was all plated with a dash of Parmesan cheese to finish. (THM = S)

Hot Salad

Sizzling Spinach Salad with Roasted Chicken and a Fried Egg – Another Monday evening supper bowl. I started with some chopped up chicken in the skillet with some coconut oil & Frank’s Hot Sauce (a go to protein since my first Whole30) – then I added a bit of chopped/cooked bacon & a big pile of fresh spinach to the skillet & cooked it till the spinach had wilted. As the spinach went in, I also fried an egg in my mini-skillet to add to the top of the bowl. (THM = S)

Egg Cups

Green Egg Cups – A make ahead breakfast option for the work week. Fresh spinach in the bottom of the greased muffin cups. A sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. An egg cracked directly into each cup & topped with a twist of cracked pepper. Bake @ 350 for about 20 minutes.

Spinach Eggs

Spinach Eggs – A supper time variation of green eggs. I stumbled across this recipe and immediately made it for supper that evening – I’ve maybe made it several times this week as I’ve been in a “leftovers” menu plan to clear out the fridge. I added some Parmesan cheese on top of the spinach before adding the eggs. (THM = S)

From the Cookbook

Many things from the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook: Creamed Spinach with Pan Seared Chicken (recipe: Collagen Creamed Spinach)…Cornbread Crusted Mexican Pie…Blackened Chicken with Warm Peach & Black Bean Salsa (recipe: Blacked Chicken with Mangoes & Black Beans)…Egg Roll in a Bowl…Mexican Mocha Gluccie Pudding…assorted “Trimmy” coffees on cold mornings…

As February rolls to March, I have some extended travel that will have me away from the kitchen and cooking – but I’m already looking forward to when I’m “back home” and can once again play in the kitchen with new recipes and some of the recently added new faves. What were some of your favorite foods this month? 

Raindrops on Roses

An easy prompt from Carole for this Tuesday: 10 favorite things…right now. And since it’s a rainy Tuesday, the title for this post was inevitable.


  1. Clementines brighten meals & snacks! Especially on a gray & rainy days like today. And this “Cutie” was even cuter when it split at the kiss.
  2. Increasing daylight each day – it’s lighter in the morning each day as I am getting ready for work. It’s lighter in the evening when I’m leaving the office.
  3. Simple knitting – whether my “go to” dishcloths or a favorite Shawlette pattern that is basically half a dishcloth with some simple eyelet lace rows at the end – a lot of knitting is moving across my needles this month.
  4. Digging out a belt to wear so that current dress pants can continue to be worn without falling into low rider status – the meal planning is working!
  5. Cute silicone candy molds for some kitchen fun – healthy mint chocolates to include in warm beverages & ginger juice ice cubes for cold drinks.
  6. Bai Clementine & Bai Bubbles Peru Pineapple – I just picked up these drinks for the first time over the weekend – a bit of summer in a bottle.
  7. A charming new birch bark mug from Jennie the Potter is a great vessel for warm beverages these days.
  8. Discovering “Dreamland” on Netlix this weekend – an Australian sitcom that nails the “business speak” that permeates the workdays. In the tradition of Office Space, The Office, Parks & Recreation and more – it causes LOL viewing.
  9. Mrs. Meyers Sunflower dish soap and hand soap at the kitchen sink with bright new dishcloths – simple things that make kitchen chores “better.”
  10. Planning spring break adventures with my Texas cuties for my visit in March – it has been way too long!

What are some of your favorite things…right now?

Recently Read…February 2016

As I previously mentioned, my #blizzard2016 snow day was a lovely reading day. According to Goodreads, I’m ahead of schedule on my 2016 reading challenge – I’ve been making an effort to end each day with at least 15-20 minutes of reading before turning out the light.

Plenty of books at the ready for a snowy Saturday...

Plenty of books at the ready for a snowy Saturday…

When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War II by Molly Guptill Manning -This is an “NPR Read” that was under the tree. One day in December 2014 as I pulled out of my apartment complex for my short commute to work I first heard this author discuss this book – when she mentioned the popularity of the book “Chicken Every Sunday” among WWII soldiers I definitely was interested in learning more. “Chicken” was on the bookshelves at Grandma’s house when I was a kid and I read and enjoyed it many times. I was unaware of this book program that put so many books in the hands (& pockets) of our soldiers around the world during WWII. So many amazing nuggets of WWII history contained in here – among the most impactful moments were the telling of how the flood of GI students in schools after the war can partially be attributed to the books and reading during the war and also the story of how books were returned to Europe after the war through a variation of this program provided more books to the citizens than the vast quantities of books that had been destroyed by the Nazis.

Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan – A sweet tale of a woman who is facing bankruptcy and end of a relationship and business venture who leaves it all to retreat to a small town on the water and determine her next steps. There, she rediscovers her love of baking, experiences community, redefines herself and ultimately opens a bakery.

The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected by Nik Ripken – Wow! Part memoir of the time Nik and his wife spent on the mission field in Africa and part compilation of modern stories of persecuted Christians around the world. Nik and his wife have devoted their lives to missions – initially, years in Southern and Eastern Africa and now they have been around the world gathering these stories of house churches and persecution and martyrdom.  I had the privilege of hearing Nik speak early in the month.

Mycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabar & Anna Waterhouse – A fun “origin story” tale of Sherlock’s older brother decades before “Sherlock became Sherlock” – an adventure that would shape Mycroft into the character we know from other Sherlock tales. And, who knew that Kareem was a writer and a Holmesian?

The Wife, the Maid and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon – A clever fictionalized story of what “really” happened in the disappearance of Judge Joseph Crater in August 1930. As the title indicates, the story of the disappearance is told from the perspective of “the” 3 women in the judge’s life. I wasn’t aware of this page from history prior to reading the book – once finished, I read up a bit on it online.

The book stack on my nightstand is tall with a variety of books in “active read” – a new daily reading for Lent, a business book, some fiction, the new Marie Kondo and more…

Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy for QuickLitWhat are you reading these days?

Saving Winter

As the calendar turned to February, Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy issued a “challenge” to share what is saving us this winter – big or small things that are helping to pull us through what can be a dark season in many ways for some.

Snow returns...

Snow returns…

Knock on the wood of my end table as I type this, winter really hasn’t been too bad this year. Yes, there was “that one” weekend of the blizzard and about 24″ of snow. And another bit of snow is doing it’s thing today and into tomorrow. Compared to some recent winters, I don’t feel I’m in as dire straights of needing spring to emerge; however, at this point in winter it makes sense to take a couple of moments to reflect on what are the things “saving” me this winter. Beyond my staples (coffee & tea in pottery mugs, candles, the fireplace) and January currents, these are a few of my winter lifesavers.

A cozy new addition to the bedside

A cozy new addition to the bedside

A new bedside rug – Mom knit this heart from the softest cushion of yarn. Stepping on it as I get in & out of bed each day is a wonderful bit of love from home.

Ahava Mineral Hand Cream – this is a “spark joy” item for us all – over the summer, Rebecca & Mom & I agreed that this was our favorite hand lotion & that we wouldn’t buy cheaper lotions anymore that left us dissatisfied. There is a bit of magic as a dab of this thick and rich lotion is absorbed into your hands – they really do feel better right away. Yes, it’s more expensive than most hand lotions; however, the 20% coupons from Ulta are frequently used to add to the stash.

Coloring fun

Coloring fun

Time spent coloring – As I previously mentioned, coloring books and fine tips Sharpies from under the Christmas tree are being put to use. The bright colors of my pictures definitely provide a pop of cheer. I keep these right by my chair in the living room and find I’m often reaching for them while watching TV.

A gorgeous sunset descending into Philly after a great family getaway!

A gorgeous sunset descending into Philly after a great family getaway!

Winter travel plans – Even as the calendar turned to 2016, I already had 3 fun trips on the calendar for February and March. Florida with the family to start February. Ending February with the WI family. A long overdue trip to see my Texas girlies in early March. No matter the weather at the locations, these trips are sunshine on the calendar pages.

As the days continue to lengthen and winter continues to march on, what are the items that are saving the your life? 


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