The Happy Peasant Soaps

The Happy Peasant Soaps
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Monday, January 24, 2011

Soothing Vegetable Chili Recipe

Soothing Vegetable Chili

2-3 T Butter or Olive Oil
2 Medium Onions, minced
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 C. Celery, minced
32 Ounce Can/Jar of Tomatoes
2 Cans of Beans (Pinto and/or Kidney, do not drain)
1/2 Package of Frozen Corn
1 Can Vegetarian Refried Beans
1 Can Tomato Paste (Optional)

In large large stock pot brown onions and minced garlic in 2-3 T butter or olive oil. Add 1/2 cup minced celery. Saute together.
Add beans (I like one of pinto/one kidney, undrained), tomatoes and corn.
Season with cumin, pepper and salt to taste. Stir in one can vegetarian refried beans.
(If thicker chili is desired, add one can of tomato paste. Bring to slow boil, stirring frequently, reduce heat and simmer until ready to serve.)

Serves 4-6

Serve with crackers and canned fruit (peaches) for dessert (:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Feathered Friend - Completed

The oil paint finally dried and I was able to apply the last touches on my oil painting. Encaustic beeswax with oil paint. The entire encaustic process was so fun. I was immediately transported back to Kindergarten. Sitting at the table with all the other children, I reached into the crayon box and pulled out a full white crayon. While the other children switched colors, I intently colored with the one white crayon, adding layer upon layer, discovering the texture and delighting in my discovery! The wax of the crayon built up in beautiful ridges! "Look! Look everyone", I thought, "I have discovered something." My excited Kindergarten mind thought surely that the teacher would stop at my drawing, hold it up and proclaim it a crayon marvel...a first time masterpiece.... I fully expected her to instruct the entire class to color with only one crayon and to exclaim, "look what Amy has discovered. The world of crayon coloring in Kindergarten will never be the same!!!"

Alas, this did not occur. But, I have never forgotten that 'aha' moment. And, while working with the oil paint and encaustic beeswax medium I, again, felt the same exhilaration. The oil paint became 'movable' and living. The wax added a layer of depth and age at the same time. Very enjoyable. I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Hunger Moon

Yesterday, as I was gathering eggs in the old henhouse, the light was dim and dark and I was certain that I had been sent back in time to Charles Dickens' world. The dark wood and the barren surroundings implied it all too well. As I grabbed the warm brown eggs out of each nest, I realized that the hens had drastically cut their egg production in almost half in the past few days, due to the extreme cold weather. And, it was then that I remembered we had entered what was/is commonly termed by the Native Americans, The Hunger Moon. The Hunger moon is the time of year when fresh food fed by green pasture and flowing spring is meager. When the last of the meat is being used up and the body begins to crave the vitamins and plentiful bounty of spring and summer. Dairy animals are due to give birth soon, and so the milk is not yet available. All things are low, the earth is cold and sleeping and the light is dark to, at best, dim.

With this Hunger Moon upon us, I feel a special need to share some of my favorite winter farm and field recipes with you. So, while I wait for my 'Create, I mean Create 365' paintings to dry, I will be posting some comfort food to warm the soul, feed the body and keep us healthy until the waters and the sun flow and shine once more.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Feathered Friend

With my 365 Create I am learning that art projects take more than one day, due to drying time, layering or simply having to run out and get more supplies (: Here is my oil painting, 'Feathered Friend' still drying in phase II, and ready for it's finishing touches which will occur in phase III. Then I will move on to my next idea (trust me, I have a list a mile long of projects just jumping off the page to be created!).

Monday, January 3, 2011

Create 365

Create 365

Last year, I came up with the idea to have a 'Create 365' project. Where I 'created' one project or piece of art each day and then photographed it and shared it online. I think this is a great motivating idea for staying creative. However, I've joked that it should be revised to 'Create 182.5' (: (One every other day).

With 2011, I am beginning Create 365, and will share my latest creations with you!

Happy New Year! Happy Creating, from The Happy Peasant! (:

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Layers (a poem)

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own, and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through the wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
"Live in the layers
not on the litter."
Though I lack the art
To decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I'm not done with my changes.

─ Stanley Kunitz