Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Easy Cheesy Black Bean Stuffed Peppers

Garden season is an excellent time to experiment with different vegetable recipes. The supply of vegetables are abundant in gardens and farmers markets, and a light vegetable entree is perfect for a summer night. I made this recipe for my kiddos not to long ago and they LOVED it the bright colorful peppers were fun for my boys, and they were excited to pick out their own colored pepper. Not only that, but it tastes great so they had fun eating them and I didn't have a hard time getting them to finish their plates.

I try to prepare my family's meals around a vegetable rather than just using it as a side to reduce how much meat we eat. We are in no way vegetarians, but I feel fruits and vegetables are the most necessary component to a meal, and they offer the most vitamins and minerals that we all need to fight off sickness and keep our minds sharp.

To make these colorful beauties I first mixed the following ingredients in a medium sized bowl while cooking 1/2 cup of white rice....

  • 1 can of organic black beans
  • 1 can of sweet corn
  • 1 large diced tomato
  • 1 small diced red onion
  • 1 small bunch of chopped fresh cilantro
  • salt, pepper, garlic to taste

After I had the ingredients mixed I set aside a portion of the mixture and saved it as a fresh salsa to snack on with blue organic corn chips. This makes quite a delicious appetizer to bring to a summer cookout too if you wanted you could stop the recipe here.

To finish the pepper recipe...

  • slice the tops off three peppers and hollow them out.
  • once your rice is ready combine it with your vegetable mixture
  • fill your peppers with the mixture
  • place the tops and bottoms on a baking sheet filled with a half inch of water
  • top with your choice of cheese ( I used a cheddar because that is what we had)
  • place the pan in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 1 hour
  • once they are ready place the tops on the peppers and serve.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Purple and Patriotic

This summer my Pallet Flags have sold like crazy! Between the Oconomowoc Farmer's Market and selling by word of mouth I completely sold out of my stock! One of the flags that I was particularly excited about was this custom purple flag made out of old cedar fencing. I made it the same as the pallet flags by breaking the fencing apart and putting it back together the way I needed it just with a different type of wood. Then I painted it in shades of purple to match the colors of the recipients living room. After it was painted I gave it a rough sanding to give it a little wear and a cohesive look. 

For the sake of photographing the piece I used an old art easel that was given to me by a friend. Normally  I use the easel as a trellis for my clematis growing in the front yard but I thought it would make a great prop for my flag. It may seem odd to keep junk in the front yard of a house you are trying to update and fix up, but for some reason it just makes me happy to have an old painted up easel sitting in my flower garden :) 

(Please excuse the weeds growing underneath my trellis the farther along I went in my pregnancy the less important garden maintenance was for me)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hand Painted Chrysanthemum Inspired Patio Furniture

Over the past few months I have been working with a client designing and creating this custom furniture piece for their pool area. I was contacted by this customer after they purchased a gift card for custom artwork I submitted to a fund raiser for the Make-A-Wish foundation. I try to support Make-A-Wish and other similar fundraisers that work with children when I can. I have seen within our own family how they can make a difference to families in need, and being a parent myself I feel supporting these organizations is the least I can do. 

My gift card was for a specific dollar amount off a piece of custom art chosen by the recipient. I was excited  to hear that the purchaser wanted a buffet table custom painted since painting furniture is kind of my thing. After going over a few of my designs my client chose a chrysanthemum inspired pattern and I got to work. I was 9 months pregnant  when I painted this piece so it took a little longer than usual for me to complete it but once it was done I was very happy with the results and more importantly so was the owner. 

Before I painted the piece I first sanded it with an 80 grit sandpaper to give the table a rough finish so the primer and paint had something to stick to. Next I used a water based primer and primed the entire piece. I did this mainly to give it a cohesive background color to paint on since the original background was a variety of different shades of color. I finished the piece by painting it with Rust-oleums glossy outdoor oil based paint. I bought just a few of my staple colors red, blue, yellow, black and white and then mixed my colors to match the colors of my original design. I always prefer to mix my own color rather than buying them because it gives me the exact color I need and I feel my pieces are more original that way. Not that I will turn down a premixed color though... I am a bit of a color junkie. Finally since this is an outdoor piece it was sealed with a clear coat of polyurethane.

Now that I have the table complete I am on the scout for 4 metal chairs I can paint a similar red color and a matching umbrella. Once I have those I will also paint the umbrella stand in a coordinating color. I am also thinking that a black and white geometric or tribal looking seat cushion would really be a good idea too. This piece is still a work in progress but I have the bulk of the project complete. I'll keep you posted.

Oh ans P.S. I am no longer pregnant! We welcomed a beautiful and healthy baby girl to our family since this table was completed two weeks ago...

Meet Corinna LuMaye

She was 6 pounds 11 ounces and fitting in with her brothers just fine.


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