the art & adventures of tracy durnell


November 27, 2009


Happy Thanksgiving! (Brussel Sprout Recipe)

I hope everyone had a nice thanksgiving - we just hung out at home and I prepared a feast for the two of us!

My main course, wild rice stuffed butternut squash, was a flop. But, the wine-glazed brussel sprouts are super delicious and EASY! Plus, you get to drink the rest of the wine ;D

Wine-Glazed Brussel Sprouts

Purportedly serves 8 - the two of us mostly polished them off!

2 pounds Brussels sprouts
1/2 cup dry red wine
3 T honey, agave nectar, or maple syrup
1 1/2 T soy sauce
1/2 c water
1 1/2 t cornstarch

Prepare brussel sprouts: trim the stems, remove outer leaves, and cut a 1/4 inch deep X into the base.

Prepare sauce: in a small bowl, combine the wine, honey, and soy sauce.

Cook: combine brussels, sauce, and water in a 3-quart saucepan. Cook, covered, at a gentle simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 10 minutes.

Finish: dissolve the cornstarch in a small amount of water. Stir into the saucepan quickly and cook for another 5 minutes.

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November 22, 2009


More Jewelry in November!

I went to the international gem and bead show in Seattle this weekend, and exchanged many hours worth of money for many hours worth of beads!

Some of the beads: agate, unpolished agate, fire agate, wonder agate, onyx, freshwater pearl coins and sticks, brass spacers and chain, turquoise, crystal, geodes, etc.

So, I made a couple new pieces of jewelry last night too!


November 14, 2009


November Jewelry

turquoise, matte coral seed beads, and silver
I can't get enough of turquoise with this soft coral color!

white and orange lucite bracelet
It's like a two-tone bar! I modeled it with Robin's awesomezor vase thing that I used upside down cause I'm a terrible, I mean creative person ;D


November 8, 2009


Productive Weekend

I made a few new spice labels to match my set from 2 years ago.

I also polished my black shoes - man, I forgot how much work polishing is!

My parents were up to deliver me stuff, meaning I had to reorganize all my art stuff, kitchen stuff, books, etc! I acquired a bookshelf, which makes our living room look exponentially nicer (not exactly a feat considering the cardboard box table).

Also, we were leaving my aunt and uncle's house and spotted a garage sale - they had a great new dresser we picked up. The mirror is from a different garage sale over the summer - it was $5 so I couldn't resist, although I had nowhere to put it. It's non-functional atop the dresser, but at least it looks pretty ;D

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November 5, 2009


CSA Review

The idea of CSAs (community supported agriculture) has intrigued me since I heard about in college, but they always seemed to come in 4-person or 2-person shares, which I didn't need. But now I have someone to share with, I finally got to try one!

After MUCH hemming and hawing, I decided on Boistfort Valley Farm, which has a delivery site in Kirkland only a fifteen minute round trip away. Why I picked them:
  • they're 'Salmon Safe',
  • they offered a two-person share,
  • it cost ~22 bucks a week for the whole summer all the way through October, and
  • the variety of food they offered sounded delectable and delicious.

Our final delivery was last week, and now I'm trying to decide whether to buy a winter share.

Overall I loved having the CSA! I pretty much stopped grocery shopping, only going for pasta, dairy, and baking supplies, yet we were always inundated with food! We always got way more than we could eat, and I felt bad letting stuff go bad in the fridge when I didn't get around to cooking it. Each week was different so I didn’t wind up making the same things all the time. It was fun to try stuff I hadn’t tried before - garlic scapes (thumbs WAY up!), celery root (thumbs down), random asian greens (shrug), etc. An added bonus was the farm included recipes each week, which all sounded delicious - and all the ones that I made were! I couldn't get enough of the peas or the scapes, and the carrots were the best I've ever had. It was amazing to make whole meals - stews, pasta sauce, salad, etc - all from the freshest ingredients.

There were some drawbacks too though:
  • no choice in what we got, so we got some stuff I know I don't like (chard, celery, fennel bulbs) - although I did re-try some things (Note: even peanut sauce does not make chard edible)
  • no choice in what we got, so I couldn't get more of the stuff I loved
  • no choice, so we doubled up with our own garden. This turned out to only be an issue with tomatoes due to our slacking garden skillzorz, nothing a little pico de gallo won't fix ;D
  • we didn't know what we'd get each week, making planning a challenge
  • made it so I didn't need to go to farmer's markets ever :'(
  • got too many of some stuff (zukes, cucumbers (uh, how much tzatziki can I eat?), radishes, green beans by the end)
  • flowers were included - CJ would have rather'd more food, though we already had too much! (The lily's exacerbated his allergies)
  • I wanted more fruit, cuz the fruit we did get was SO GOOD! I've never really liked nectarines, but I made a stupendous cobbler and wanted more!

All in all, though, awesome. I think I'll do it again next summer. I'm not sure I need that many root veggies though to warrant the winter share...

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November 4, 2009


New Jewelry! October

I've been so busy trying to get stuff ready and posted for my new etsy shop that I've done only a little bit of beading this month! Here are a couple new pieces:

brass and pearl accorian double ball
Vaguely steampunk brass and pearl earrings - I love the brass rounds-they're like an accordian tucked in on itself, with a touch of texture.

I LOVE this light teal/aqua color. Dyed jade, brass filigree, and faux pearls for this one.