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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My German-style Split Pea Soup

Another Family Favorite we can't live without that goes perfectly with cold, gloomy weather. I usually make a double batch to freeze because it is so popular with the kidlets. While it does take about an hour and a half cook time, total prep time is actually about 15 minutes, so is a very easy recipe. Usually I serve it with a loaf of pumpernickel bread or hearty multi-grain on the side. And if you have the inclination to make homemade butter to spread, I added the instructions after the soup recipe :) Cheers!

1 Hamhock
1 bag of Dry Split Peas
6 Slices of Bacon chopped
5 carrots, sliced in coins
1 red onion Chopped
4 stalks of celery chopped
2 Tbsp. Sea Salt
1 Tsp. freshly gound Black Pepper
2 Tbsp. Fresh Thyme Leaves
1 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 cup White wine

First, in a large pot/dutch oven, Place hamhock, pour in split peas, salt, and half of the pepper, and cover with water. Bring to Boil at high heat on a back burner then turn down heat to medium to allow for a rolling boil. With a large skillet, brown bacon until crisp, then add chopped onion, carrots, and celery and the remaining pepper. Let brown and caramelize over medium heat, then deglaze with wine. Once all of the browning has lifted from the bottom (you can help it along with stirring), pour the contents of the pan into the pot of boiling lentils. Add 4 cups of water, cover and and turn down heat until at a nice simmer. Let simmer for 1-11/2 hours, or until peas have fully softened. Stir occasionally to make sure there is nothing sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add a little water as needed to make sure all ingredients are covered with liquid. In the last 10 minutes of cooking, add lemon juice and thyme.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Fresh butter

1 pint Heavy cream
1/4 tsp. sea salt (optional)

In a mixer, whip cream and salt until it forms a pale yellow creamy butter. Great way to show the kids where butter comes from...well besides taking them to a farm to milk a cow, etc. ;)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Curating Treasuries

Lately I have been pulling together treasuries as a form of training my an artistic brain teaser.  I also find it a little therapeutic when I am getting stumped on a project and need a little break that still feels productive.  Here are some of the treasuries I have curated recently.  

You can subscribe to see my treasuries as I create them by clicking "add to circle" on the treasury page. (And if you haven't yet joined Etsy, I highly recommend signing up. It's truly a wonderful place to find beauty, inspiration, and creativity.)

Have an inspired day!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Anniversary Bliss

It is officially the 10 year anniversary of Inspirations by Faith! In celebration, I am offering ALL repeat customer who have supported me over the years (including those who have done business with me through private art commissions), 50% off any one item in my Etsy store.  Just message me with the item you would like to purchase, and I will create a custom listing just for you.  All customers, in the month of September will receive a special anniversary gift valued at $5. There will also be a tons of great items going on sale throughout the month, so make sure to check it out and check back regularly!  This is the perfect time to buy for the holidays...and if you participate in the design challenge and/or Riddle Me treasury, you can get an even bigger discount!

There is something very unique in how we all view anniversaries.  They have a way of making us look back and conjure up the special, often life-altering, moments we connect to a particular date and time.  Some can be joyous occasions. Some are, well, not.  But our minds have a way of letting us lose ourselves in those moments...such an incredible gift!  We can take those re-connections and learn, grow, heal, and even find ourselves inspired into action. 

The one custom order this last month that touched me the most deeply, was a husband's first wedding anniversary request.  It is a very rare occasion for a man to grace the virtual doorstep of my online store.  And even more surprising, he contacted me from overseas on military deployment, inquiring about my Paintbrush Bouquets.  Spending his anniversary away from his wife, he wanted to send her a paper flower bouquet in the time-honored tradition of giving paper on the first anniversary. Now I am an imaginative, and creative person, but it had never crossed my mind how great this item is as a first anniversary gift, and I just love the idea! (Not to mention that " sweet" moment.)  He had me add a very special message, and he picked the custom colors he knew she would love. We waited to ship so she could receive it just before her anniversary with the message on the box for her to not open it until that date.  The romantic in me can just imagine her surprise, and total adoration knowing he put so much effort and thought into making the day special and gifting something so unique.  He later messaged me to confirm the bouquet had arrived safely....and the coup de gras, he shared that it may have inspired her to start painting again.  That just makes my soul dance.

As the years have gone by, I have created many things to commemorate anniversaries of various types.  This one certainly has reminded me the incredible value of having a life partner that supports not just the everyday, but also your dreams and aspirations.  When someone supports the part of you that is inspired, creative, even a little frivolous and unconventional because they know it feeds your know you have someone in life that is of incredible value.  I know I am blessed to have that in my life {love you, Marc}, and I feel very honored to have been a part of the story this wonderful couple has begun to write.  Happy Anniversary!

The custom paintbrush bouquet :)

I need to share a few important announcements before I go eat the carrot cake my husband just handed me :)

The winner of the Riddle Me Treasury goes to *drum roll* Angela. Congratulations! She will be receiving a wonderful collection of goodies and 40% off her next order! She is a fellow seller on Etsy, and I hope you check out all her pretty wares. The answer, as many of you know, was Anne of Green Gables.  Everyone who guessed should have received a response from me earlier today with your discount coupon. If for some reason you didn't receive it, please drop me a line. If you didn't get a chance to participate, I still encourage you to click the treasury link to get a giggle, and see how the riddle treasury works just in case you want to participate in the next one.

The September design challenge is still in effect, so make sure to join in the fun.  I will announce October's challenge in a couple weeks.

So on that note, I bid you all a happy holiday weekend, and hope you all stay deeply, madly, passionately, inspired by life!