(Faux) Zatar Roasted Potatoes

What is Zatar?

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For a recent family gathering I was assigned to make Zatar roasted Potatoes. I must be out of the loop because I had no idea what Zatar was.After looking it up I found it was a middle eastern spice that is very trendy now. So trendy in fact that there was none to be found in the stores in my neighborhood. I found a couple of recipes for faux Zatar and gave it a try.

 

Zatar has Sumac in it, this faux zatar replaces that with lemon peel.

I have a big family so had 5 lbs, of red potatoes ready to go, you won’t need this many. Not only are we many, we all cook and love to eat. I grow thyme so had plenty dried. for some reason I saved and dried the peels of lemons I had juiced. Sesame seeds needed to be toasted but basically I was ready to go.

 

Recipe Preheat oven to 425 degrees Recipe: for about 4 servings Cut 4 potatoes into bite size pieces and par boil about 10 minutes 2 tablespoons dried thyme 2 tablespoons dried lemon peel - replaces Sumac whichI didn’t have 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted Course salt to taste Grind together in food processor or spice grinder Place par boiled potatoes on parchment paper - I love using this whenever possible saves a lot on clean up! sprinkle oil on potatoes and toss Sprinkle with Zatar mixture Roast for 35 minutes.. If inclined drizzle sesame tahini on top and serve      

Recipe

Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Recipe: for about 4 servings
Cut 4 potatoes into bite size pieces and par boil about 10 minutes
2 tablespoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons dried lemon peel - replaces Sumac whichI didn’t have
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
Course salt to taste
Grind together in food processor or spice grinder

Place par boiled potatoes on parchment paper - I love using this whenever possible saves a lot on clean up!
sprinkle oil on potatoes and toss
Sprinkle with Zatar mixture
Roast for 35 minutes..
If inclined drizzle sesame tahini on top and serve

 

 

 

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Sumi-e: An Introduction

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The first time I picked up a bamboo brush was in a third-grade classroom in Japan. It was the highlight of the day for our visiting group of teachers from America. The initial experience of dipping that brush into the ink and writing my first kanji is unforgettable. Twenty years later, I have rediscovered my fascination with Japanese ink painting, known as sumi-e. In this first installment in a series, I will introduce some basics to get to started in sumi-e.

Experiencing calligraphy for the first time, twenty years ago in Japan.

Experiencing calligraphy for the first time, twenty years ago in Japan.

Not So Simple

One may hear of "the simple art of sumi-e", but sumi-e is far from simple. It has the potential to be life-changing, as the practice of painting with ink is more than the art form. The sumi-e artist is challenged with capturing the essence of a subject with the fewest brushstrokes. It requires self-discipline, courage, and the willingness to take risks in learning to use the ink and brush confidently. Once the mark is made with the brush, there is no turning back, and no corrections can be made. This encourages dedication to improve, spontaneity and in time, energetic paintings full of life.

traditional ink painting supplies

traditional ink painting supplies

The Four Treasures

In sumi-e, the essential materials are known as "The Four Treasures." While it may be easier to use bottled ink, I find that grinding my own ink allows me to focus as I prepare to paint. 

  • Paper (washi): While a variety of rice papers and silk is traditionally used, beginners will actually practice on many, many sheets of newspaper.
  • Brush (fude): The brush is traditionally made of natural materials with a bamboo handle in a variety of sizes.
  • Ink (sumi): This is a dry stick of ink, also known as pine soot ink. Bottled ink is used as well.
  • Ink Stone (suzuri): The ink stick is rubbed in water onto this stone which has an area carved out to hold the new liquid ink.
practice on newspaper before using expensive rice paper

practice on newspaper before using expensive rice paper

Beginning Sumi-e

The basic strokes of sumi-e can be learned by practicing specific subject matter found in nature.  The photos above show some of my early experiments with bamboo, pine, and plum blossom, the building blocks of sumi-e painting. The techniques learned can be applied to all aspects of brush painting, and is a necessary foundation to expanding to other subjects. Practicing these subjects teach control of the ink and handling of the brush: making confident strokes without hesitation is key, as this will show in the work. Since results are immediate, one can instantly determine the effectiveness of technique. The practice of sumi-e takes great dedication, and the process can be quite fulfilling to both artists and non-artists.  Stay tuned for more in my journey! 

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Nicoletta is a lifelong artist and art educator, with an M.A. in Art Education and Administration. She travels the world seeking cultural inspiration for her art, and has worked in fibers, acrylics, oils, and sculpture. She currently teaches elementary art education, adult oil painting and sumi-e classes in New Jersey.  She is also known for her unique jewelry, inspired by the reinvention of the mundane zipper, featured throughout the NY/NJ area as Artologie Zipper Jewelry.

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Benefits Of Chlorophyll

Food | Health | Wellness 

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Being a health & fitness coach in NYC I'm always hearing about the next hot commodity when it comes to health, fitness, food, and wellness. From supplements, herbs, holistic nutrition & natural beauty products it seems that something new is trending weekly. If you frequent Pressed Juicery or any of the Juice bars, you may have noticed the rise of chlorophyll water. If you follow me over on Snapchat you may have also noticed me dribbling green drops into my water in some of my  stories.... also chlorophyll !

So what is chlorophyll and why is it everywhere ?  

If I'm being honest, I hadn't heard the word chlorophyll since grade school science class. Chlorophyll is a green pigment found in plants which absorbs energy from the light in the process of photosynthesis. This energy is what allows plants to grow and flourish.  

It has become a hot trend for a handful of suspected benefits. For one the Chlorophyll molecular structure is almost identical to that of hemoglobin, the substance our bodies use to build and transport red blood cells. Meaning chlorophyll can actually help do the job of hemoglobin by increasing the quality and quantity of red blood cells in your body. More healthy red blood cells mean better oxygen absorption in the bloodstream. This means more energy all around & oxygen utilization in the body. 

Other suggested benefits: 

• Energy Booster  

•Immunity Booster  

•Wound Healing  

•Hormonal Balance  

•Detoxification & Digestive Health  

•Good Source of Vitamins A , C , E , K , & Beta Carotene 

•Rich in Antioxidants & Vital Minerals such as Magnesium, Iron, Potassium, Calcium & Essential Fatty Acids.

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You can find chlorophyll drops at any health food store. I picked mine up at Whole Foods. They are flavorless & the bottle will tell you exactly how many drops to add to your water. If you give chloroyphyll a try let me know what you think by commenting below.

Until Next Time, 

XOXO,

Rachel Leigh

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Creator Of Spaces

Founder Of MozieMo

NYC Based Designer | Blogger  | Health + Fitness  

Shop MozieMo On ETSY

Email : MozieMoByRachelLeigh@Gmail.Com

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DIY: Craft Fair Table Display

DIY: Craft Fair Table Display

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This summer I decided to make a table display that had shelves for my craft items to sit on, and that could fit inside the largest luggage allowed by airlines without penalty.  My other requirements were that they would make use of height, since I could be selling from a 4' table space, be clamped to the table to withstand wind, and to be made from materials I already had around the house.  I have gone through so many different displays and selling so many different kinds of crafts, that I didn't want to spend any more money on my next wacky idea.  And since we have been over twenty years in our house, there were a lot of odds and ends that I could use; much of the wood came from a torn down tree-house or remnants from fixing up the old garage.  For this job I needed a table saw, a miter saw, a sander, a drill press, and cordless drills; I had plenty of screws and nails from previous projects, and all of these things I had bought previously.  I don't come from a handy family, and often I don't know the names of things I need or use.  Thanks to YouTube and HGTV, I plunge ahead into my very amateur woodworking adventures.

I plotted out the size after measuring my large luggage case, and decided it could be 27" high and 20" wide, with removable leg stands for clamping to the table. There would be three shelves, and the topmost rung would hold other beads/finials/box toppers.  When you build your own display, you can design it to show off exactly what you make.  For example, I have another display from re-used materials for jewelry, and for that I have rungs that are just right for hanging 16" necklaces on one shelf and 18" necklaces on the one below.

I plotted out the size after measuring my large luggage case, and decided it could be 27" high and 20" wide, with removable leg stands for clamping to the table. There would be three shelves, and the topmost rung would hold other beads/finials/box toppers.  When you build your own display, you can design it to show off exactly what you make.  For example, I have another display from re-used materials for jewelry, and for that I have rungs that are just right for hanging 16" necklaces on one shelf and 18" necklaces on the one below.

Old wood that have been in the yard for 17 years.  Re-Use!  Holes and old paint just add interest!

Old wood that have been in the yard for 17 years.  Re-Use!  Holes and old paint just add interest!

Cutting up all the pieces.  And all my tools are cheap - I'm not making fine furniture, after all.

Cutting up all the pieces.  And all my tools are cheap - I'm not making fine furniture, after all.

Making the boxes for the leg stands

Making the boxes for the leg stands

The assembled leg stand

The assembled leg stand

Adding rims to the upper shelves

Adding rims to the upper shelves

Drilling holes on the top rung.  I will put cut pieces of brass wire to put in them to hold my toppers. 

Drilling holes on the top rung.  I will put cut pieces of brass wire to put in them to hold my toppers. 

Attaching the shelves to the standing legs; because the shelves will fold flat, a strip of wood on the back will keep it in place when folded out, and so the shelf back hangs a little farther out than the leg. 

Attaching the shelves to the standing legs; because the shelves will fold flat, a strip of wood on the back will keep it in place when folded out, and so the shelf back hangs a little farther out than the leg. 

The shelves are attached with screws or glass headed screws (that I'd made for an earlier display - one that failed to work as planned!)

The shelves are attached with screws or glass headed screws (that I'd made for an earlier display - one that failed to work as planned!)

I measured the shelves to open to 90 degrees from the legs

I measured the shelves to open to 90 degrees from the legs

And added stoppers underneath the shelves to keep them in place when in use

And added stoppers underneath the shelves to keep them in place when in use

A wooden strip across the back also keeps the shelf in place and keeps things from falling off.

A wooden strip across the back also keeps the shelf in place and keeps things from falling off.

It works!  I decided I didn't need any rims yet for the lowest shelf.  I may put something there later.  The two top shelves hold very light objects, so they can be on the thin side.

It works!  I decided I didn't need any rims yet for the lowest shelf.  I may put something there later.  The two top shelves hold very light objects, so they can be on the thin side.

I decided to paint the shelves as the different kinds of wood was distracting from my boxes.  Just with gesso I already had in stock.  Note - sometimes I used my glass beads as shelf stoppers!

I decided to paint the shelves as the different kinds of wood was distracting from my boxes.  Just with gesso I already had in stock.  Note - sometimes I used my glass beads as shelf stoppers!

The legs were wobbly in the leg stands.  Amateur woodworker me had measured incorrectly and left too much room in them!  But I wanted to be able to make each display moveable on its own anyway, so I lampworked glass fins onto some wood screws, drilled holes into the backs of the leg stands, and used the finned screws to keep the legs in place and steady.  Fins are better than round knobs - they give you a better grip for turning.

The legs were wobbly in the leg stands.  Amateur woodworker me had measured incorrectly and left too much room in them!  But I wanted to be able to make each display moveable on its own anyway, so I lampworked glass fins onto some wood screws, drilled holes into the backs of the leg stands, and used the finned screws to keep the legs in place and steady.  Fins are better than round knobs - they give you a better grip for turning.

The screws dig into the legs of the display and all are soundly but not permanently attached.  Yay!

The screws dig into the legs of the display and all are soundly but not permanently attached.  Yay!

All folded up.  The two displays weigh about 15 pounds together.  Not a light weight display, but that was secondary to my requirements.

All folded up.  The two displays weigh about 15 pounds together.  Not a light weight display, but that was secondary to my requirements.

The finished display stands

The finished display stands

What the display will look like when it is in use.

What the display will look like when it is in use.

Unattached box toppers can be displayed on the very top rung by putting brass wires in the pre-drilled holes.  This is also an effective way to hang necklaces and jewelry for display.

Unattached box toppers can be displayed on the very top rung by putting brass wires in the pre-drilled holes.  This is also an effective way to hang necklaces and jewelry for display.

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Labyrinth or Maze?

There's something mesmerizing about labyrinths and mazes. Being immersed in solving a large-scale puzzle provides fascination as well as inspiration. However, there is a definite distinction between a labyrinth and a maze. Mazes are puzzles in which choices are made as to paths and directions. A labyrinth, however, is a single, meditative, path leading to the center through a series of concentric rings, known as circuits. One can think of a maze as a place to get lost, and a labyrinth as a place to find oneself. 

"Be Present" Labyrinth: Take a "walk" around this labyrinth with your finger to stimulate productivity.

"Be Present" Labyrinth: Take a "walk" around this labyrinth with your finger to stimulate productivity.

Found all over the world since ancient times, labyrinths have a purpose: they are used as walking meditation, personal transformation, and a way to re-focus and stimulate creativity. Want to "walk" a labyrinth right now? Use your finger to trace the path to the center (and back out again) on the finger-labyrinth above.  

Need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city?  Take a walk in New York City's Battery Park, where you will find the hidden gem known as the "Labyrinth for Contemplation." 

Which do you prefer, a labyrinth, or a maze?

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Nicoletta is a lifelong artist and art educator, with an M.A. in Art Education and Administration. She travels the world seeking cultural inspiration for her art, and has worked in fibers, acrylics, oils, and sculpture. Her current work is inspired by the reinvention of the mundane zipper, elevated to an art form into unexpected jewelry designs, and shown throughout the New York/New Jersey area as Artologie Zipper Jewelry.

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A Summer Garden Gallery

A little portfolio to cool you off from the summer heat, perhaps inspire you for next year's planting.  Taken this year and July last at Chautauqua Institution.

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Jody Lee / a Studio by the Sea
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While Visiting Family in Bangkok

I ATE SOME AMAZING FOOD AND SAW SITES I COULDN'T HAVE IMAGINED AND PLAYED WITH MY CUTE GRAND NEPHEW WHO IS JUST DISCOVERING ABOUT THE WORLD AROUND HIM

I'll start with some food. Rambutan is a relative of the Lychee so the flavor was similar. Mangosteen looks beautiful in its outer cover and is a segmented white fruit inside. Its full of antioxidants, fiber and vitamins. My nephew had vegetable and pork soup in Chinatown. The appetizer plate, Miang kham is eat onleaves..very tasty bite! Butterfly pea flower iced tea starts out blue but adding lime gives it the beautiful purple color. Finally delicious spicy soft shell crab curry, my favorite! 

 

Now for the sites. The Grand Palace is just that-Grand. It'smade up of numerous buildings, halls, pavilions set around open lawns, gardens and courtyards. There is more gold in this complex then I have ever seen, the statues are filled with details, heads on toes of feet, wings, gods, goddesses. Wat Pho - the Temple of the Reclining Budda is one of the largest and oldest temple complex in Thailand. the architecture is less extravagant but full of detail.

Of course everywhere you go someone is taking a selfie you couldn't find a more interesting spot

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Went to Bali and Made a Bracelet

While in beautiful Ubud Bali last month I discovered the Pondok Pekak Library & Learning Center which offers private classes in traditional Balinese art & culture to travelers.

A list of classes can be found on their website http://www.pondokpekaklibrary.com/classes

I decided on the Silver jewelry making class although fruit and vegetable carving sounded fun. The teacher was from a close by town that specialized in jewelry making. After deciding on a bracelet design I went to work.

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The tools were handmade and were really comfortable to work with. The torch ran on petrol and was kept going by pumping a bellows.

Demo of using the torch. A real challenge for the uncoordinated (me)

Demo of using the torch. A real challenge for the uncoordinated (me)

Small beads were added by placing them with a thin wooden stick on top of a layer of glue made from the seed of a local plant..the glue was only good for a day.

Small beads were added by placing them with a thin wooden stick on top of a layer of glue made from the seed of a local plant..the glue was only good for a day.

Once the paisleys were finished the band was added directly to the edge

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After I oxcidized the background I polished it and it was added to my collection of bangles

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Easy Recipe: Make Pesto Like a Pro

One of my favorite summer herbs is basil: its fragrant aroma and versatility makes it an irresistible ingredient in appetizers, salads, and main courses.  Find it available in bunches (with or without its roots), or as small plants, fresh and abundant at local farmer's markets. I grow some every year for my favorite basil pesto recipe, and I make extra to freeze for the winter. This year I  planted a 6 pack of small basil plants in an outdoor planter, which grew into 18-inch tall plants.  While I don't claim to have a green thumb, these plants yielded some beautiful basil leaves, which I picked for use in the recipe you see here. As with any recipe, be sure to use the freshest and best ingredients available for an amazing, delicious pesto!

Basil Pesto for 2

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup packed basil
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • salt
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Directions:

Combine the following ingredients together in a blender or food processor: basil, oil, garlic, pine nuts, and pinch of salt. (If doing this by hand using a mortar and pestle, pound the dry ingredients together first, then add the olive oil). 

Blend into a smooth green sauce. 

Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Stir in the cheese.

Prepare your favorite pasta. I usually follow the rule of thumb and make about 1/4 lb. per person. 

I prepared rotini pasta for this dish, which has a shape that holds the pesto really well. Add your pesto to hot pasta, using as much as you like. Also makes a great appetizer spread on toasted French bread. Store any extra in the fridge, but be sure to use it within a few days.

Tips for Freezing: Withhold the cheese to add later on, and freeze in small batches or cube sized containers for easy defrosting to add to favorite recipes.  Enjoy!

Post by: Nicoletta Siccone / ETSY Shop: ArtologieDesigns / Website: www.art-ologie.com

Nicoletta is a lifelong artist and art educator, with an M.A. in Art Education and Administration. She travels the world seeking cultural inspiration for her art, and has worked in fibers, acrylics, oils, and sculpture. Her current work is inspired by the reinvention of the mundane zipper, elevated to an art form into unexpected jewelry designs, and shown throughout the New York/New Jersey area as Artologie Zipper Jewelry.

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NY Handmade Collective Travels: India part 2

A few months ago, I took an amazing trip to a friend's wedding, near Jaipur, in India (I recounted the wedding itself in this post).  Of course, once I arrived in such an exciting, long-dreamt of location, I couldn't just head right home - I had to explore!  I find bright colors and interesting textiles incredibly inspirational, and my entire trip was a continual jolt of creative stimuli. I traveled around the 'golden triangle' - a popular tourist route, through Jaipur, Ranthambore National Park, Agra, and back to Delhi - and this route is classic for a reason.  It gave an amazing introduction into a huge, complex and fascinating country.  

I was also lucky to be in India during the festival of Holi, a spring festival famous for vibrant colors and joyful celebration. We played Holi with the classic fluorescent powders in Jaipur, and it was a unique, lovely day.

Holi is fun for all ages!

Holi is fun for all ages!

We also arranged for exfoliating scrubs that night at our hotel so we got squeaky clean after all that playing with powder.

We also arranged for exfoliating scrubs that night at our hotel so we got squeaky clean after all that playing with powder.

After we washed off the awesome rainbow that was Holi, we set out to explore Jaipur.  Jaipur is known as the 'pink city' although the color of all of the gorgeous historic buildings is a bit more salmon-hued, in my humble opinion, but no less beautiful for being a slight misnomer.

In addition to the incredible architectural detail that graced every corner, Jaipur is famous for its textiles and jewels.  I was lucky enough to learn about about how they make the classic block print pattern, and I even got to try my hand at it. [Not pictured: all of the textiles and clothing I purchased and brought back with me!  We did a lot of research so that we made sure to shop in places with fair business practices that pay their artisans proper wages.  I also learned that due to the nature of block printing, slight overlaps in the blocks that show in the reprinting can actually be desirable, as it shows that something is actually blocked out by hand. I had a number of pieces made just for me, using textiles and saris that I fell in love with, and every piece is so colorful and distinct.]

Of course, I was also inspired a bit more directly by some of the sights in India - since I paint animals, I couldn't resist depicting a few of India's goofiest and well-dressed camels.

This is just one of the animals I was lucky enough to depict from my own photographs!

I hope you enjoyed this peek into my adventures in Jaipur and the creativity they inspired; may the colors, shapes and patterns of the photos in turn spark some of your own creative thoughts!

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