Monday, April 14, 2014

Working Christy's Graduation Celebration Slide Show + Meatloaf Recipe

I've spent the last couple of days working on the slide show for Christy's graduation celebration. How lucky Ellie and Christy are to have such a long lasting friendship.
Here's to celebrating a wonderful girl who has grown into a great young lady. It will be fun to see where life takes her next.

Traditional Meatloaf
via: Brittany's Pantry

1 lb ground chuck or sirloin
1 egg
1/3 c quick cooking oats
1 small onion, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 c your favorite barbecue sauce, plus more to glaze the top
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a shallow, oblong baking dish with foil and set aside. In a medium bowl, gently mix all the above ingredients together until well combined. If mixture seems dry, add 1 T of cold water or a bit more barbecue sauce. Don’t squeeze and overwork the meat or it will bake up tough. Place the mixture in the lined dish and gently shape into a ‘loaf’, pressing on it until it is a bit more flat, allowing it to cook faster. Pour a good amount of barbecue sauce over top and spread it all over with the back of a spoon. Let bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes, depending on your oven and the fat content of the meat. It will be caramelized and brown and the juices bubbling out will be clear. Remove and set aside to cool for a few minutes before slicing.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Paper Blossoms

Last week the folks at Two Hands Paperie put our a call for people to help them make paper blossoms for a new window display. I had to respond, of course. I never miss an opportunity to be creative with other people.
It was super fun! They had been inspired by an article in an issue of Kinfolk magazine that came out last spring. They kept it in mind until it was the right season. The people at Peerless Transparent Watercolor were also kind enough to donate some of their great watercolor color sheet for the project. They had also pre-cut a huge stack of special Sumi paper to be folded into the forms that would make the flowers.
Mia explained how to fold the flowers and we set to work.
It took about folding 10 of them to get the hang of it; the folds were very different from the other origami I had done in the past. The biggest challenge was figuring out how to cut them out just right. Next up, we used pieces of the Peerless colorsheets to create colored dipping waters to dye the paper.
With so many of us helping, we had a ton of flowers in no time. We left them on the table so that they would be dry by the morning when the people at Two Hands would begin to flower the branches that had fallen out of a tree during a recent windstorm.
As a token of thanks for helping, Mia created little kits for each of us to take home. It housed squares of paper and a nice selection of the Peerless colorsheets. I picked up some more of the paper and the special waterbrush so that I could make some of my own. I started making the flowers last night. Now I have to find the perfect branch.

In typical Mia fashion, she had used some of the same blossoms to make a new pajaki. (I still have not made one of my own, even though I have created some flowers for it, maybe I will make a spring one.)

In other news, Ethan is now on the Lady Washington and is currently the engineers mate, though he may also become the bosman's mate soon. The engineer works with the mechanics of the ship, while the bosman deals with things like the rope rigging, painting, fixing the sails - keeping the boat in good shape.

His trip back to San Fransico on the train ended up being a great choice for him. It was restful, interesting and fun. By the time Ethan returned to the boat, they had one or two nights left before they headed out. On the first Saturday of the month the Barclutha (a ship in Fisherman's wharf) host a sea shanty singing party that goes on all day and well into the evening. Ethan sang his heart out, introducing them to a new song once the adult hour (11 p.m.) had arrived. One of Ethan's shipmate also shared a new sea shanty that he had written. Ethan loved, "Barnacle Bill" best, though the real version of the song is not for young company. Here is a funny version of it. The song is traditionally done in two parts in a call and response manner.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Colorado Teen Literature Conference 2014 - Post Conference Committee and Author Dinner at The Corner Office

After the conference each year the committee and some of the authors go out to dinner at a restaurant that is within walking distance of the Tivoli. This year we went to The Corner Office.
As you can see, it was a very stylish place. And oh my, the food was fun, too. We ordered:

Saffron Arancini

CRISPY RISOTTO FRITTER, WILD MUSHROOM RAGOUT, SAGE + SMOKED TOMATO JAM

Shrimp Spring Roll
BLACK GARLIC AIOLI, CILANTRO + HOUSE MADE HOISIN

Cheese Plate
4 CHEESES, SPICED NUTS, FIG + LINGONBERRY JAM

Hummus + Htipiti Dip
KALAMATA OLIVES, ROASTED RED PEPPERS, FETA, CUCUMBER
+ WARM PITA

We also had fun things for dinner. We shared:
Sesame Chicken
SNOW PEAS, RED PEPPERS, SCALLIONS + JASMINE RICE
Shanghai Ramen
SLOW COOKED PORK 2 WAYS, MUSTARD GREENS, 62 DEGREE EGG + HOUSE MADE CHICHARRÓN

Brenna had:
Bibimbap
KOREAN MARINATED GRILLED STEAK, ZUCCHINI, WITH SPINACH,EGG, CARROT, HOISIN + JASMINE RICE

Everyone had interesting drinks. Ellie and I ordered virgin Mojitos. They were very yummy and I plan to find a recipe to make at home:

Even though we were totally stuffed,we still opted to have dessert. After all, they had really fun options like:
Cinnamon Sugar Shake
HOUSE MADE TOFFEE CRUNCH + AMARENA CHERRY
Cotton Candy [Bubble Gum Flavored] . . . the one, the only
LET US TAKE YOU BACK TO THE DAYS OF COUNTY FAIRS AND FLYING TRAPEEZE
ASK YOUR SERVER FOR TODAY’S FLAVOR

Even the bathrooms were fun, although these photos were from the bathroom in the Curtis Hotel, which is attached to The Corner Office.

Let's close this post with a few more shoots of the restaurant.

Here's a recipe I will try:

Lime-Mint Spritzers
via: Our Best Bites
from The Big Book of Backyard Cooking

8-10 large mint leaves
1/2 c. sugar (you can add more if necessary, especially if kids are involved)
3/4 c. fresh lime juice (about 7 small, juicy limes)
1 24-oz. bottle of sparkling water (like Perrier)

Finely chop the mint leaves. Place the chopped mint leaves in a bowl or non-reactive pitcher and press them with a pestle or the back of a spoon to release the oils. Add the sugar and press the mint leaves and sugar together with the back of a spoon. Add the lime juice and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved and no longer grainy.
If you haven’t been mixing the mint and sugar in a pitcher, transfer to a glass or plastic pitcher. Right before serving, add the sparkling water and serve immediately over ice. Garnish with lime slices and mint leaves.

This posting is really lovely - you should check it out!

Sunday, April 06, 2014

2014 Colorado Teen Literature Conference

Oh my, what a busy couple of days it has been. On Thursday I helped make paper flowers for a window display - so much fun; I will write about that later. Today I want to give you a small glimpse of what the 2014 Colorado Teen Literature Conference was like. I have been part of making this conference happen for about 12 years now. Ellie also attended the conference and took wonderful photos of the all of the sessions, the speakers, etc. It was a lot of work as the the sessions were spread out throughout the building, as you can see. I love having her be part of things with me, and so do the committee members. Several of them asked me to specifically mention that they would love to have her attend the conference.


Our keynote speakers this year were A. S. King (Amy) and David
Levithan
.
I created backdrop images for each of them. They were displayed on the screen behind them as they delivered their speeches.
Our conference was a big hit. We sold out in about 2 days, back in January.

It was nice to meet back up with some of the other authors I've gotten to know from past years.
Todd Mitchell has been one of our keynote speakers and a presenter often. I love listening to him tell about his newest book. I also really enjoy watching the joy and energy his displays when he is talking to another author about that authors work. I'll be reading one of her new novels very soon.
I also got chat with Todd Mitchell. He ran a couple of wonderful sessions, including one on Creative Non-Fiction, one of my favorite genres. I will also read his newest book.

I also had a long and wonderful chat about books, cooking and writing with Brenna Yovanoff. She has a new book about redneck witches.


I also got to meet a couple of authors I had not known before.

Rebekah Crane has two fun books and is very interesting to talk to. I can't wait to read her books.
I'm looking forward to her next book, Aspen, which comes out soon.

I also got to see Rebecacca Green Gasper in action. Her book is about teen dating abuse. I look forward to checking that out, too.

At the author and committee dinner the night before the conference I visited with Barb Wright, who wrote a book, Crow, which is about a race riot. We also talked about an upcoming event that she will take part in where she will be working with 6th graders who will be writing about the Hurricane Katrina experience.