Amy Artisan

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Month: January 2018 (page 1 of 3)


Ah, JANUARY…a month filled with…snow and bitter cold days…and rain and warmer days…a new word for the year…a nutrition reset…and lots of “offline” activity that can’t yet be shared…In the midst of it all, these are the things that filled my days…


Reading…a few fictions to start the year, Young Jane Young and The Alice Network. I’m currently in the midst of our cryptographic history with The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America’s Enemies. As the year is underway, I also have a couple of daily devotional readings in flight.

Blooming…enjoying Amaryllis Watch 2018 as my two bulbs have been doing their thing…and it looks like I might get a few more blooms out of them, still…

Blogging…One way I’m channeling my one word is by focusing on my blog more than I have in a long time. Beyond not only writing but publishing more posts, I also spent some time refreshing things around here – a new layout, a category cloud, my Instagram feed and more.

Hibernating…thankful for the opportunity to work from home on winter weather days…

WatchingThe Coronation “sit down” with Queen Elizabeth was a delightful program filled with all sorts of fun trivia tidbits…continuing with the royal theme, the return of “Victoria” on Masterpiece makes for good viewing, too…thoroughly enjoying the new Ann Curry storytelling that is We’ll Meet Again on PBS…

Streaming…finally watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and laughing throughout…Hunted was a good thriller series…thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Sloane and Florence Foster Jenkins…

Tidying…2 Green Drop pickups scheduled in the month were a prompt to continue tidying/konmar-ing/purging the excess within my house. With each new pick-up, it feels better and better to be clearing out the clutter…more pickups are planned for the coming weeks…

Some of the tasty Whole30 food prep and meals from the month

Resetting…Successfully completing a January Whole30 reset and now in the “reintroduction” phase. Skillet suppers were a key to success for the month and are something I see continuing for meals going forward. There are still more posts to share, but along the way this month I shared a great way to slow roast tomatoes, some of my simple skillets, and some of the food prep that helps me stay on track.

Looking ahead to February…a work trip to Oklahoma to start the month…taking a few moments to send “Happy Hearts Day” notes to dear ones…taking the time to do a “real” introduction to see what post-Whole30 foods may need to be reconsidered…continued progress on the “offline activity” that has yet to be shared…

What filled your JANUARY days?

Linking up with Leigh Kramer for What I’m Into. And also linking up with Kristen for What’s New with You? 

Meandering to PEI

(…picking up with tales from the great Sisters Road Trip with Rebecca in June…first to Acadia National Park and then to Prince Edward Island…the adventures continue…)

On Monday morning, we packed up to depart Acadia and begin working our way towards PEI. We knew we needed to be on PEI by Tuesday afternoon but we didn’t have anything specific on the itinerary for our driving routes on Monday & Tuesday – other than a planned Monday evening stopover in St. John NB.

As we left Twilite, Chuck offered up a few suggestions for things to see in our Maine meandering.Breakfast was at a cute café in Ellsworth – Flexit Bakery & Café. After fried seafood weekend suppers and big, sweet blueberry desserts, our veggie laden breakfasts were just what we needed to start the day.

Leaving Twitlite and a veggie fuel-up!

As we left Ellsworth and headed out on US 1, we decided to drop-down to wander through the Schoodic Peninsula portion of Acadia National Park. The park was mostly empty and we enjoyed pulling off the road at several pretty spots before getting back on the road towards Canada.

Exploring the Schoodic Peninsula

We passed through the HQ town for “Wreaths Across America” – little did we know that we would be a wreath recipient 6 months later…

In Machias, we detoured to Jasper Beach at Chuck’s suggestion. We spent almost as much time navigating out of our parking spot as we did on the beach – but it was still a beautiful stop with a few rocks added to our collections.

A quick stop at Jasper Beach

Late Monday afternoon, we easily crossed the border into Canada and in short order we were pulling into our Airbnb for Monday evening. For dinner, we went to a local pub, Britt’s Pub & Eatery, for a tasty meal and local ciders. Rebecca had a burger and corn chowder; my salmon with a blueberry sauce was delicious. The evening was for reading and enjoying the breezes coming through the open windows at our stay.

Now, into Canada

On Tuesday morning, we were up and out the door by about 7:30 – our first stop was Tim Horton’s for breakfast and coffee and we also picked up a couple of donuts for a mid-morning break. Then we headed out of town on Route 11 to see the Bay of Fundy. The Fundy Trail was a great way to experience this amazing space. Because we were there early, it was almost 2 hours before we encountered any other visitors at any of our stops. Since it was low tide, at the end of the trail we were able to walk out on Long Beach and pick up a few more rocks for our collections.

Exploring along the Fundy trail

After enjoying our donuts with a final view of the bay, we wound along back roads to reach NB-1 and continue to PEI.

Down along the Bay of Fundy shoreline

At our fuel stop in Petitcodiac, the cashier noticed my Green Bay Packers front license frame and asked if we were from Wisconsin. Her dream trip is to visit Laura Ingalls Wilder locations (in Wisconsin and beyond) – so she thought our trip to PEI was pretty cool.

By mid-afternoon, we were crossing the Confederation Bridge to “finally” arrive on Prince Edward Island. We stopped at the Visitor’s Center (and picked up our PEI oval decals for the cars) and then made our way to our charming farmhouse rental, Summer House. As we arrived to our home, we were surprised to discover that next door was “The Table” where we had reservations for Wednesday evening.

The Confederation Bridge is an impressive engineering feat; Summer House – our charming rental

Now that we were on the island, it was time for some Anne of Green Gables adventures…

(more tales to be shared in the next installment of Travel Tuesday…)

Three Things…Amaryllis Watch 2018

One of my favorite things in January, as the year starts full of promise and we all hit the reset button and identify our One Word or other intentions/resolutions is watching and waiting for amaryllis to burst forth in bloom.

Dad always got his girls amaryllis bulbs over the years – realizing there would be no bulb from Dad at Christmas was a “Missing Dad” moment, for sure. This season, I picked up a couple of the “new” Amaryllis Wax Bulbs from Trader Joe’s to enjoy in the new year. I kept them closed up in a bag to keep growth at bay until I was back from Christmas in the Ville.

It has been fascinating to watch their progress and not worry about watering, over watering, staking the stalk, and wondering if I’d come home to bulb/pot/dirt on the floor.

On this Thursday, 3 highlights from my Amaryllis Watch 2018.

January 14th – Red emerging; White is maybe a 6″ stalk

January 17th – Working from home on a snowy day – the red blooms pop against the snow

January 20th – Red has eclipsed; White is a stunted stalk but blooms are popping

Overall, I was very impressed with these bulbs. I will definitely look for these again in future seasons.

Are you an Amaryllis grower?
Do you have another favorite “forced indoor bulbs” ritual?

Linking up with Carole and Kat for Three Things on Thursday

Visiting Vermeer

Over the Christmas break, I surprised my sister with a day trip to  Washington DC – the objective for the day was to explore the Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. A great Artisan family Thanksgiving was 1995 when we were able see the remarkable Vermeer exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. In November I saw  an article about this latest exhibit and plotted how we might be able to see it. I had a voucher for a free companion air ticket and the fares were “right” so I booked us on a “one day there & back” and told Rebecca to hold the Tuesday before Christmas for a fun day. (And definitely had her curiosity piqued since I wouldn’t give details.)

An early start to the day

On Tuesday morning, we were to the airport early and had no issues breezing through TSA Precheck to get to our gate. It was a beautiful sunrise as we departed and in no time we were descending into DC (with the Washington Monument in view).

Ready to enter the exhibit

A quick Uber ride brought us to the National Gallery of Art about 10 minutes before the museum opened. We were the 2nd and 3rd people in line for the exhibit – the weather was just fine for standing outside for a few minutes and watching the city scurry to work around us. A few minutes before 10:00AM, those in line for the exhibit were ushered in for a slight “early entry” – we quickly checked our tote bag with our jackets in coat check and followed the ropes up to the entrance of the exhibit. We enjoyed being close up with the paintings (but also observing proper museum viewing etiquette) and definitely learned some new information about Vermeer and the other painters in the exhibit. Rebecca is already notating where in her lesson plans this art/info will appear next year.

In the Vermeer exhibit

After we finished our time in the exhibit, we spent the rest of the day exploring one of our favorite museums. In summer 2016, Rebecca did a one week teacher residency workshop at the gallery with a focus on Renaissance art so she was completely in her element as we strolled through the Renaissance galleries and it was a treat to hear her explain “little known details” about some of the art on display.

Rebecca & the Renaissance

For lunch, we treated ourselves to the Vermeer-inspired menu in the Garden Cafe (instead of the food court, like we typically do when there). It was a delicious meal to “refuel” for exploring the rest of the gallery. After lunch we wandered through more of the galleries in the West building and saw some of our favorite works from previous visits and also discovered some new favorites.

Wandering the West Galleries

When we’d exhausted exploring the West building (& were a bit exhausted ourselves), we paused for some gelato and iced coffee along the concourse before heading to the East building to wander through the more modern artwork.

In the Concourse

In the East Galleries

After wandering the East galleries and as closing time approached and the day was getting dark, it was time to head back to the airport. It was a beautiful drive, even in “rush” hour traffic.

Back to the Airport

Time to Jet back to GA

A bit of shopping at the Smithsonian shop in the terminal, a bit of enjoying the carolers singing and a bit of splitting Qdoba chicken nachos for supper and then it was time to go through security and await our flight. As we prepared to wing our way back to Georgia, some of the iconic DC skyline sites were on full display.  All in all, it was a pretty special day with my sister. (And it was great fun to keep it a secret from her until just before the trip!)

A pretty great day

(In this new year…I’m starting a new “Travel Tuesday” focus to finally be sharing many travel adventures that have yet to be shared…)

Preptime: January Whole30

As the calendar rolled to 2018, it was time for me to do a January reset by starting another Whole30. This is my 5th time doing a Whole30…with each round, prepping and eating within the guidelines seems to get easier and easier.  As I’m at the halfway point of this round, I thought I’d share some of the my weekly food prep that is helping me find success in this January reset.

It’s said that food prep is the key to success with a Whole30 and that is definitely true. Even when I’m not in a Whole30, I find the weeks where I spend some time with Sunday food prep and have some sort of meal plan for the week ahead just go better. So what are some of the things that I do to stock my fridge with ready to use components?

  • Compliant sausage & hot dogs – Sliced & cooked; Aidell’s Chicken Apple Sausages & Applegate hot dogs are easy meats to always have on hand. I used to just cook them whole; but I now I like having the sizzle on more of the meat. And, having them already sliced makes them even easier to use as the week progresses.
  • Hard boiled eggs – I go with the oven method – in a muffin tin for 25-30 minutes @ 325. Peeled and in a mason jar ready to go. (Full disclosure, in a pinch I’ve bought these “ready made”)
  • Roasted veggies – sometimes as part of a sheetpan supper, sometimes just veggies. I only minimally season them before roasting so they can easily be used in all sorts of dishes.
  • Homemade Mayo – light olive oil, an egg, a splash of vinegar, a bit of dry mustard, a pinch of salt – all in a mason jar & quick whirl of the immersion blender makes for a silky saucer – either plain or incorporated in other sauces & dressings. There are lots of recipes out there for this.
  • Marinated Beets – a packaged of the pre-cooked/peeled beets combined with a vinaigrette makes for nice addition to salads and more
  • Slow Roasted Tomatoes
  • Fruit & veggies washed and ready for use

With these components in the fridge, I make sure to keep a large container of spinach/power greens and also some eggs. To make a salad to take into work, all I have to do is fill a container with greens and then add several prepped goodies. Quick suppers (or weekend breakfasts) easily come together by adding some meat and veggie to the skillet and then topping with eggs (either a scramble or fried).

No matter your eating program, do you do any weekly food prep activity? 

Weekly food prep is just one part of food “readiness” for Whole 30 success, this week I’ll be sharing more of my Whole30 “tricks” (go-to recipes, convenience foods, etc) that help me see a Whole30 not as daunting but as doable..

(No affiliate links – just personal recommendations)

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