National Grid finally found us!

>> Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hopefully we'll have electricity tonight! Camping out at home is only fun for so many days!
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Thankful for running water.

Still no electricity, but at least with water I am able to percolate some coffee on the grill and use our solar shower to keep everyone clean.

The kids asked when we were going camping when they saw me take out this stuff. I told them we already were! :)

Maybe we'll pitch one of the tents tonight if the power is still out...
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In anticipation

>> Saturday, August 27, 2011

We are packing up and moving to higher ground. Due to our proximity to the water, we're in a mandatory evacuation area and have to be out by 10am tomorrow morning.

So we picked every last veggie we could see

moved all the plants and furniture into the garage
and took some farewell shots of our 2011 garden as it may well be ruined when we come home on Monday.

Stay safe everyone!


I give you my heart

>> Thursday, August 18, 2011

Finished and listed to my Etsy shop

Handcut sterling silver heart with genuine red sea glass bezel set to one side


Honkin big sea glass, seaside cliffs and cairns, oh my!

>> Wednesday, August 17, 2011

This past Saturday we took our annual (this is our second year and we plan to do it again next year, so that makes it "annual" now right?) trip out to Block Island, RI with the motorcycles.

A gorgeous day riding around the island and stopping at the beaches to wade, look for sea glass and relax.

I was lucky enough to find the first piece of glass

We stopped at the breath taking Mohegan Bluffs on the south side of the island
In the 16th century the island natives, the Niantic chased the invading Mohegan tribe off the bluffs, nearly 200 feet to their deaths. Climbing up and down the bluffs today is made possible by way of a 144 step staircase built into the side.
At the base of the bluffs, there are cairns (man made rock stack formations) everywhere.
Some were simply amazing.
Then on the west side of the island I found an uber piece of turquoise. And at the exact moment that I yelled out to Ed to come look at the color I found he calls out to me "does it look anything like this?" and walks up behind me with a teal chunk (and I do mean chunk) of insulator glass.
Holy freakin smokes! There's a reason I married this guy. This just might be it.
We win for the best glass found this weekend. ;)


Made. New sea glass starfish bracelet

>> Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hand forged sterling silver cuff bracelet with a piece of genuine cobalt blue sea glass nestled within the center of a handcut sterling silver starfish


Be still my heart... work in progress Wednesday

>> Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I've got a ton of work on my bench this week, but the most exciting is this pendant I'm designing.

My mom gifted me the glass yesterday. I was immediately inspired to turn it into a heart.
It's almost finished and I can't wait to see it all shiny and ready to wear!


I've opened a new Etsy shop filled with craft supplies!

>> Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I have so many craft shells and beach themed supplies I decided it was time for them to have their own shop!

A smattering of what you'll find:

Click the logo or the link above to come check it out!


Mmmmmmm, Breakfast for Mama.

>> Sunday, August 7, 2011

I am the only person in this house who will each a poached egg. I am also the only person madly in love with Hollandaise sauce- I know, right?

Because of these simple facts, I have NEVER made either at home and have always saved my indulgences for going out to breakfast. This morning I decided to treat myself and give it a shot. And of course being the blogger that I am, I had to document my experience. :)

I did some recipe hunting, read over the directions really carefully in each one and then took my favorite ingredients from each of the variations and combined them together to create my own version.

Mama's Eggs Benedict Florentine

2 eggs (for poaching)
1 generous handful of fresh baby spinach
4 baby bella mushrooms, chopped
1/2 tsp minced garlic (1 clove)
salt and pepper

For the Hollandaise:
1 separated egg yolk
1/4 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp fresh chopped parsley (plus more for garnish if you wish)
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp water
a dash of hot sauce
salt and pepper
1/2 stick melted butter*
*this makes enough Hollandaise to do 4 eggs (serve two people) so it's really not all THAT much butter per person and I never said this was a diet breakfast anyway. :)

The first thing to do is saute the mushrooms, spinach and garlic until the spinach begins to wilt. To do this, heat a small pan to medium, and drizzle with olive oil. When the spinach just begins to soften but is still bright green, remove it from the heat, sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside; 2-3 minutes. (I move it to a back burner so it was still in a warm area)

Next we're going to poach the eggs.
I've seen this technique on a lot of cooking shows lately -and since the few times in my life (years ago!) that I've actually ever poached eggs was the traditional way in water and vinegar and I've wound up with long, trailing, ugly looking egg white tentacles- I decided I'd give this method a shot. I love it and will never go back!

Heat a pot of water (at least 3 inches of water to cover the eggs) to a boil. While the water is heating, get out some plastic sandwich baggies (the fold over kind, not the zip kind) or a sheet of plastic wrap. Place the baggie down into a small ramekin or bowl and lightly coat with cooking spray. Crack 1 egg into each baggie and then tie securely closed.

Immerse the eggs into the boiling water and cook 3-4 minutes (depending on how runny you like your egg). Once the eggs are done, remove them with a slotted spoon, but keep them in the baggies until you're ready to serve. I set them on a tea towel and covered them over to help keep them warm.
A tip I saw on Brunch @ Bobby's was that in restaurants, they do this to help keep the eggs warm without overcooking the yolk. Then they immerse it back into the water for just a moment to warm it through again before serving. I didn't need to do that last step, because my sauce came together pretty quickly and the eggs were still hot.

Okay, on to our Hollandaise Sauce. This was probably the thing I was most nervous about. But I just made sure to focus on what I was doing and be very very disciplined about each step. The result was a smooth and decadent sauce that held together beautifully. I am so proud!

In a clean, dry glass or stainless steel bowl, combine your egg yolk, mustard, water, lemon juice, parsley and hot sauce. DO NOT add any butter.
Create a double boiler by filling a pot smaller than your bowl with water and get the water to simmering. Be sure your mixing bowl doesn't touch the water below. Whisk the yolk mixture consistantly until it begins to look creamy and pale yellow in color; about 4 minutes.

Remove the yolk mix from the heat and SLOWLY, repeat SLOWLY begin to add your melted butter to it. Like not more than a teaspoon at a time, whisking constantly. If you add too much butter too fast, you're sauce will "break" which means you'll wind up with a yolk mixture sitting seperate in the bowl from an oily buttery looking mixture. The two won't emulsify and you'll have to start over.

As you add the butter, you'll note the sauce taking on a bit more vibrancy in color and a glossy shine, as well as thickening up a bit- but not becoming dense or clumpy looking. Salt and pepper to taste.
Don't rush this process and you should be rewarded with the awesomeness that is Hollandaise Sauce.

Finally, assemble everything atop some toast or english muffin (I only had wheat bread on hand) and dig in!


Works in Progress Wednesday. The late edition.

>> Wednesday, August 3, 2011

It's barely still Wednesday in this time zone. I've been crazy busy working all day and most of the night. Here are some of the new pendants, earrings and bracelets I've started on:

PS- Valerie, your earrings are in this mess!


Grilled Pizza. Yummy.

>> Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I have been making this all summer long. It couldn't be easier (or more economical) Obviously you can change this up any way you like to suit your family's tastes. You can also make your own dough if you're so inspired. Typically I'm not so inspired. Read: Lazy.

Anyway, here we go!

store bought whole wheat pizza dough (1 lb size)
flour for dusting
olive oil
2-3 whole heads of garlic
fresh mozzarella (1/2 lb)
grated cheddar cheese, about 1 cup
fresh tomatoes, sliced
fresh basil*
salt and pepper

I've always had trouble with the premade doughs- getting them to rise properly and then getting them to stretch large enough to make a pizza. I'd roll them out and they'd snap right back like an elastic band and I'd wind up with some thick dough frisbee type thing, not a thin cripsy pizza crust. After much messing and many so-so pizzas, I think I've finally discovered a method that works for me (so far) every time.

Place the dough in a small bowl and drizzle it with a little olive oil to prevent sticking and crusting. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel or cloth napkin.

Set it on the counter at room temp for about an hour.

If you're following my recipe for the pizza toppings, while your dough is rising, preheat your oven to 450 and prep your garlic. Slice the tops off your garlic heads, drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap them tightly in foil and roast in the preheated oven for 45 minutes.
Once the dough has had it's hour to rise, remove the towel and literally punch the dough down to remove the air. Recover it and let it sit another 30 minutes or so.

While the dough is in those last 30 minutes of resting, I prep my other ingredients (shred my cheese, slice my veggies, etc). The garlic should be out of the oven by now and cool enough to handle. Squeeze the cloves out of their skins (should come right out) and into a bowl.
Drizzle with about a tbsp of olive oil (+/-) and sprinkle with a touch more salt and pepper. Mash up the cloves with a fork until you have a nice garlic paste to spread on your dough. (I am making a sauceless pizza)
Preheat your grill to high. Clean the grates well and then using a basting brush or a clean kitchen rag lightly brush over the grates with olive oil.

Rolling out your dough: For ease in transfer, I roll out my dough on a large cutting board that I can carry right out to the grill.
Dust the board with a pinch of flour and also dust your rolling pin. Roll the dough out in several directions, adding additional small pinches of flour as needed to prevent sticking. I also periodically flip the dough over while rolling to help keep the circular shape. They don't have to be perfect, they just need to be basically round enough to resemble pizza and thin enough so you don't end up with a dense, bready mass instead of a nice crust.

Carefully transfer the dough to the grill (If you're making a large pizza, I find the assistance of two big spatulas helpful for getting the dough off the cutting board and onto my grill) An alternate option is to cut the dough into smaller portions and make mini pizzas- much easier to move the dough around.
Allow the dough to cook for about 1-2 minutes, then flip and give it another 1-2 minutes. You may get some giant air pockets during this process. Just puncture them with the corner of your spatula and you're good to go!
Remove the dough from the grill and bring it back inside for topping- this is a lot of fun for the kids- When I have patience, I make the mini pizzas and let them pick out their own toppings and arrange them however they'd like. Today I am tired and hungry after a long day at the beach (I know poor me, right?) and so I opted to just make two large pizzas with basic ingredients that everyone in my house likes.

Use a spoon to scoop and spread your garlic paste across your grilled dough. Top your pizza(s) with the rest of your ingredients and then return to the grill to melt the cheese.
I turn the grill to low, sometimes I even turn it off depending on how hot it's gotten. Usually it takes about 6-8 minutes for everything to get gooey and delicious looking. Or maybe I'm just really hungry, so I pull it off when I can't wait any longer!
*Note: don't top the pizza with fresh basil before cooking. It will turn dark and slimy (although still taste fine). Instead, snip or tear it into small pieces and sprinkle it over the pizza as you bring it to the table. The smell is divine!


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