Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sun-Dried Tomato and Tortellini Soup

This is one my of favorite soups. It's so easy, and the flavor is wonderful.

I've made the soup many times, and found a few shortcuts to save you time (for example, making it all in one pot, as opposed to using two pots), and a few substitutions to make it a bit more healthy (for example, not using two cups of half n' half).

Sun-Dried Tomato and Tortellini Soup

Serves: 4-6
Time: 30 min.

  • 1 package refrigerated cheese tortellini (9-12 oz.- more is better. Sometimes I buy two packs and use all of one and half of the other)
  • 2 cans tomato soup
  • 2 c. vegetable broth
  • 2 1/2 c. milk (fat-free, 1%, 2%... anything you normally have on hand)
  • 1 c. half n' half
  • 1/2 c. chopped or sliced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (I use the TJ's julienne-sliced kind that come in a little glass jar. They're handy because I don't have to slice them myself!)
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. dried basil (or more to taste)
  • Salt to taste

  1. In a large pot, stir together tomato soup, veg broth, milk, cream, tomatoes, and all seasonings. Bring to a simmer and add tortellini. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until tortellini is done. Add salt to taste. 

That's it!! Stir it all together and let it simmer!

I serve it with crusty garlic bread and a green salad, and  it makes a delicious dinner, and the leftovers are equally good warmed up for lunch the next day. I usually make the entire recipe for just the two of us just so we can have leftovers.

If you're not sure what to do with the rest of the jar of sun-dried tomatoes, check back in the next week or so for a sun-dried tomato pesto recipe that's fantastic tossed with pasta or spread on toasted bread for a turkey sandwich. Yum!


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Autumn Art, round 2

After a brief spike in temperature back up to the 80's the past few days, it's once again breezy, cool, and today, there are big puffy clouds in the sky. Perfect fall day!

And it's a prefect day for a second round-up of lovely fall prints.


1. Mushrooms, by Geninne
2. Bouquet, also by Geninne
3. Forest, by Matte Stephens
4. Orange Ride, by Bucks County Frames
5. Log No. 30, by Golly Bard
6. Squirrel Sequesters an Acorn, by Cheeky Blue Jay
7. Orange Joy, by Sarah Moldovan
8. Autumn's Alchemy, by Irene Suchocki
9. Cooper's Hawk Feather, by Jody VanB
10. The First Day, by Bucks County Frames

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Autumn Art

Believe it or not, it actually feels like fall here in L.A. Usually at this time of year the fire department is still battling massive brush fires across the state because it's still 90 degrees without a drop of rain! Well we've certainly had rain- and today, lots of wind. It's been downright chilly!

So this calls for a roundup of lovely fall prints to complement the season. I just love fall; it's my favorite time of year, so I love all these prints.





1. "Houses All in a Row" by Claudia Pearson
2. "Seeds from the Oaks" by Golly Bard
3. "Large Birch Tree Forest" by Lisa Congdon (you may remember her from my plate wall inspiration)
4. "The Leaf" by Humboldt Street
5. "Autumn Gold" by bomobob
6. "Echinacea" by Gilding Lilies
7. "Meeting to Feed the Birds" by Matte Stephens (a personal favorite)
8. "Fall" by Mai Autumn
9. "Volkswagen Camper" by Old School Stationers
10. "Keep Canning" also by Old School Stationers


Friday, October 22, 2010

What I Would Not Spend $100 on

What would you not spend $100 on?

I would not spend $100 on a photo of eggs.

"Egg from the series White"

The artist says, "I found through photographing this "White" series a discovery of timelessness that is quite beautiful."

When I look at this, I see a white sheet draped over a box, with two eggs in a pair of egg holders, possibly vintage.

$100? Not for me.

Do you agree, or beg to differ?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ramona Falls

I realized I've never posted anything about music.

The time has come!

Ramona Falls is great stuff. The "band" is a side project of Brent Knopf, one of three members of the band Menomena. I call Ramona Falls a "band" because it's kind of only Brent Knopf, but also kind of a whole lot of other people he collaborated with. If you click on the "credits" tab on the Ramona Falls website, you will find more names of collaborators than you care to read through. Word on the street is that Knopf started the side project while Menomena's third album's release date was delayed. I have to say, I like Ramona Falls better. I'm not sure what it is. Menomena feels a little more rough around the edges, I suppose. I've listened through Ramona Falls' entire first (and only, at this point) album several times now, and I have yet to grow tired of it.


Here's a couple music videos for your enjoyment.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Lost & Found

Sam escaped from her cage last night.

I came home from the rehearsal dinner/wedding I had been at from Friday night til Saturday night (and Adam is out of town), and of course the first thing I checked on was Sam. And Sam wasn't there. She must have crawled out of the hole that I can barely stick my pinkie finger into. I really don't know how she did it, but there's no denying that she did.

So I started turning our apartment upside-down, kinda scared that a lizard would come leaping out at me (Sam's a little feisty), but there was nothing to be found. My old roommates, Emily and Loriel, who live five minutes away, offered to come over and help me look for Sam, but still, to no avail. I mean, I even emptied out our laundry hamper. We took everything out of the closet. We flipped over the couch. Every corner and cranny of the apartment. No lizard.

We were about to give up, until I realized the only place we hadn't looked was under the power strip behind the TV. We had rustled all of the cords back there, but we hadn't officially turned over the power strip. I wasn't expecting to find anything, so when Sam, who was indeed under the power strip, wiggled and started to run, I yelled "LIZARD!"

Loriel and Emily blocked Sam in with pillows and couch cushions while I got a tupperware bin. Loriel used one of my gliding discs to scoop Sam in (which was somewhat anti-climactic because she practically walked straight into her new cage).

So Sam is safe, I am safe, and no lizards crawled on me while I was sleeping last night.

Sam's new cage.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sam and Friends

It has been Creature Week in fourth grade.

For science, we are studying insects and arachnids, so the kids have been in the mood for collecting insects and other creatures so we can examine them up close or perhaps, even keep them for pets.

We've borrowed second grade's tarantula for a few days now, and on Tuesday, the kids caught a beetle, and we fed it to the tarantula. That thing gobbled the beetle right up. I'm not a huge fan of spiders, but it was pretty cool.

There's our tarantula friend, fat and happy after his beetle.

We found a praying mantis...

And then... since the second grade class had caught the mother of all praying mantises, we decided to see what would happen if we put the two of them in the same cage together.

Watching the show...

And this was the result:

Yep, that's the big one eating the little one. The big one ate everything but the papery wings. It was crazy. You can imagine the commotion.

But my favorite find that the kids brought in is Sam, our new class pet.

That's Sam there. A Southern Alligator Lizard, straight from one of my students' driveways. After doing some research online, I've found that they survive in captivity quite well, and they will eat anything that moves. I picked up some mealworms from the pet store today, so we'll see how Sam does. We're not sure if Sam is a girl or a boy, hence the name that could be Samantha or Samuel. Lizards just seem more like "he" creatures, so it'll probably end up being a "he".

He seems pretty happy for now in his makeshift cage, which is a tin baking pan with a plastic cover. One of the kids has an empty reptile tank in the garage, and another student is going to bring in a desk lamp so Sam can have some warmth.

I'm starting to grow a bit fond of Sam.

I hope he survives!


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Ika Bags

I came across this seller on Etsy the other day and thought her bags were so cute, I'd share them with you. Plus the fact that the bags ship from Paris increases their stylishness, I think. I'd like to think about the fact that my bag was handmade by someone who probably strolls by the Eiffel Tower every day, eating a baguette sandwich with a tarte au framboise for dessert... sigh.

Christmas is coming, you know. Perhaps if you can't justify buying one for yourself, you could gift one to a friend :)  ...or just dream of wearing one on the streets of Paris.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe

Have you ever visited The Curiosity Shoppe? In the shop owners' own words, it's a collection of "crafts, kits, and curios for the creatively inclined." So much fun stuff-- and it makes me want to have a unique home, with interesting and useful items all around.

Like these little log salt and pepper shakers:

Or a super-stylish flash drive...

Perhaps, to go with the flash drive, you would like a know-it-all pencil set?

I suppose these aren't functional, but how cute would they look in a little bowl on the coffee table or the kitchen table during the fall?

Ok, I know this one tips the scales a little at $275, but how can you resist? This little wooden radio really works, and you can plug your i-Pod into it!

Check out the rest of the shop here!