Amy Artisan

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Month: January 2018 (page 2 of 3)

Three Things…in a Skillet

Since this Thursday is day 11 of my January Whole30 reset, today’s three things are tied to that. One of my keys to success with Whole30 is to spend some time each week prepping an assortment of meal components that can easily be added together through the week for quick and tasty meals.

This month, my skillet is getting quite a workout – both during food prep and also with many simple skillet suppers. Here, 3 quick meals that have hit the spot.

Skillet Sizzled Salad – In my largest skillet, a bit of avocado oil to get started. Then the chicken sausage went into a section of the skillet. After a few minutes sliced pears were added to another section. Then a large handful of spinach and baby kale added to the remaining section of the skillet. Once greens are wilted, transfer all to the bowl. Topped with a few pecans, blueberries & Tessemae’s Caesar dressing.

Lazy Saturday Skillet– aka, clearing out some bits before another round of food prep. The last of the baby kale from one container + some roasted veggies (carrots, Brussels, butternut) + chocolate chili.

Chili Greens Skillet – Pan fried some frozen okra (avocado oil, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper) + chocolate chili + spinach. Just a touch of Tessemae’s Caesar dressing to finish the bowl.

Do you have any “quick skillet recipes” that are in your rotation?

I have some posts planned to share some of the food prep activity that is helping me with this Whole30.

Linking up with Carole & Kat for Three on Thursday.


In a Word…2018

Several years ago, I was first introduced to the concept of choosing “One Word” for the year instead of a list of resolutions. I’ve chosen words in the past, with minimal follow-through throughout the year. As 2017 was winding down and I was starting to look ahead to 2018 and all that is on the horizon, one word popped up and I brushed it aside as I kept looking. But that first word kept coming back to the front and the more I thought about it the more I realized it was the right one for where I am. My word for 2018 is…

More to come on this throughout the year. Do you have a “one word” for 2018?

A Year in Books…2017

Somehow 2017 escaped from me without spending time here on the blog recounting my reads. A lot of my reading occurred while on the road (or more accurately in the air) – I was blazing through books until August – and well, everything has been different since then – including reading. I set a goal of 60 books for the Goodreads Reading Challenge and I just barely managed to reach the goal before the calendar switched to 2018. The stats that Goodreads provides are always fun to look at.

(After these screen grabs, some highlights from the year.)

Looking through the eclectic assortment of reads, there are some themes and some definite highlights.

  • Thoughtful police detectives are a good read- I continue making my way through the Inspector Gamanche series set in Quebec (books 3/4/5/6/7/8 this year). Additionally, I started into the Commissario Brunetti series set in Venice and my first visit with Bruno, Chief of Police in a small French town has me wanting more visits. These series are all library loan reads – I need to get my queue setup to keep moving through them in the new year.
  • finally started into the Anne of Green Gables series ahead of our road trip to Prince Edward Island – these reads will continue, for sure.
  • I continue to work through a couple of fun “thriller/history/elite agencies/fate of the world in the balance” series by Steve Berry (Cotton Malone) and James Rollins (Sigma Force)
  • Charles Martin books always seem to be read at just the right time for me – this year, I enjoyed 2 more from his collection: Long Way Gone and Thunder and Rain.
  • Becoming Bonnie was a fun debut novel from a colleague’s wife. This take of Bonnie before she became “Bonnie & Clyde” is a nice addition to the “fiction inspired by real women of the early 20th” genre – together with The Wife, The Maid, and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhorn and Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart.
  • I enjoyed several memoirs throughout the year.
  • The Secret Wife was a sweeping fiction read that came highly recommended by my best friend. I was immediately pulled into the stories from the last days of the Romanovs connected to a modern day women in transition.
  • While I haven’t read many short story collections to date, I enjoyed the Uncommon Type collection by Tom Hanks and want to read more collections in the new year.
  • During the Christmas season, I seek out fun and sweet Christmas stories. In 2017 I enjoyed several, including: A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg; Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan and Dear Santa: Children’s Christmas Letters and Wishes, 1870-1920. A couple more Christmas stories were picked up via Kindle deals and filed away for next Christmas,
  • My under the tree fiction gifts were just right! The last week home in the Ville was filled with lots of reading time for all of us and my varied fiction stack was very enjoyable. I started with The Austen Escape – then onto Sourdough – and my last night in the Ville included staying up till 1:00 AM to finish Manhattan Beach. Once I got to the gate for my flight home, I started into The Simplicity of Cider and it was finished before bedtime back home in PA that evening.

For 2018, I’ve kept the same goal of 60 books to read. Along the way, I plan to be involved in a couple of book related blog connections to help ensure I’m sharing books here along the way.

What were your best reads from 2017?
What are your reading goals for 2018? 

Finally connecting up with Stephanie & Jana for the monthly Show Us Your Books link-up. Also joining in the Modern Mrs. Darcy QuickLit roundup

Slow Roasted Tomatoes

In canning season, tomato jam is always one of my favorite things to make (& share). Since I’m currently doing a January Whole30 reset, the tangy sweet goodness of tomato jam is a no-go for the time being. Last week, I picked up a bowl of small tomatoes in a rainbow of colors on an impromptu Costco run. This weekend, I turned them into jammy tomato “chips” to use in my meals for the upcoming week.

Tomato Evolution

  1. Pre-heat oven to 325.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or foil).
  3. Wash & slice tomatoes in half.
  4. Toss with olive oil & pink Himalayan salt.
  5. Place tomatoes on baking sheet – cut side up.
  6. Roast for about 2 hours. I checked at 55 minutes & kept going. At 01:50, I turned the oven off and kept the tomatoes in the oven for another 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven – flip all tomatoes over to cool.
  8. Store in an airtight container and enjoy!

These will be put to tasty uses during the week – obviously, any salads will include them; maybe an omelette or egg scramble; a twist on the classic wedge salad.

This is a great way to incorporate tomatoes in the off season! How would you use these tasty morsels? 

Three Essential Things…

As we dive into the new year, filled with new intentions…many times involving homemaking, today’s “three” are household items I no longer purchase. Instead, I’m making these products with essential oils. In fact, on New Year’s Day a fresh bottle of each of these was made.

Shower Spray – I came across this “recipe” over the summer on Stephanie’s blog and was instantly intrigued. Before long, I had ordered blue spray bottles and acquired the “non oils” ingredients. I vary the essential oils I use each time I make this – the current bottle is lemon & eucalyptus. I have Mom & Rebecca using the same spray now – we all have noticed that it definitely helps keep the shower cleaner. Since we weren’t keen about glass bottles in the tile showers, we ordered these JarJackets to provide a bit of glass safety.

Linen Spray – I used to buy a big bottle of lavender linen spray & use it on my bedding. In the fall, I made the switch to DIY and definitely won’t look back. Now, I follow this simple recipe – instead of lavender, I normally use the doterra Serenity oil (which is my preferred sleep oil for the diffuser). I keep the small bottle on my nightstand and spray my pillows each nite as I get ready for bed.

Fabric Softener – I’ll admit, this was triggered by a Facebook sponsored “life hack video” – although I can’t remember the specific brand promoting it – it was an appliance company. I go very basic – just white vinegar and a few drops of essential oil in a pretty kombucha bottle. As I looked at online recipes, many include baking soda – since I normally toss a scoop of baking soda in with each load of laundry, I kept it out of the mix. (A couple of years ago I stopped using fabric softener sheets & now just use wool dryer balls – when I remember to, I’ll put a few drops of an oil on the balls to provide drying freshness.)

I first started using essential oils in a diffuser about 18 months ago and since then have been increasing use in other areas.

What homemade cleaners do you use? How do you use essential oils?

Linking up with Carole and Kat for Three on Thursday

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