Merry Christmas!

Happy holidays everyone!  I wrote this post a few days ago so I could enjoy spending time with family today, but this illustration shows my secret wish of fancy hot cocoa packets appearing in my Christmas stocking.  I'll let you know if I lucked out.


Sweet Coffee

Last week's luncheon ended with tasty coffee in dainty cups.  Well, at least I heard it was tasty.  I'm not a coffee drinker, though I almost became one just to hold that beautiful china.


Craving Fresh Veggies

A big bowl of fresh veggies was served at the luncheon I attended earlier this week.  It was simply large cuts of cucumber, red and orange pepper, olives, and onions covered in lemon juice and olive oil.  Feta cheese was served on the side.  I can't tell you how yummy it was.  I really miss being able to run out to the garden for fresh vegetables (I say this as we're being blasted by a blizzard!).


A Fancy Luncheon

I was invited to a lovely luncheon on Monday and just wooed over the sweetness of it.  We had three beautiful courses on the most dainty china.  Amazing tomato basil soup, scrumptious squash lasagna with fresh vegetables, plus a fabulously rich cake.  I'm still dreaming about it.  Thanks for the invitation Lois.


Bye Little One

Though I really don't eat very many any more, it's a little sad that I won't be able to enjoy a frozen twinkie in the future. Oh hum.


Yummy Granola Bars!

A perk from attending Camp Blogaway is all the neat giveaways from different food companies.  Sunbelt Bakery was one of those generous lads.  A couple of months ago they sent my family a wonderful sampler of granola bars.  My husband is already a big fan of Sunbelt (buying them for school lunches), but this gave us an opportunity to try some new flavors including peanut butter chip, fudge dipped coconut, raspberry and golden almond.  Though they were all good my daughter picked raspberry as her favorite and my son loved the golden almond.  A big thanks to Sunbelt Bakery for sharing their goodies with us!


Dessert Season

Thanksgiving has come and gone and Christmas is drawing near.  Now my life is filled with desserts from near and far.  Oh, how to control the temptations?


Happy Popcorn

As it gets colder, the kids start to hang out inside more...then crave more snacks.  Thank goodness for popcorn.


Squash & Pumpkin

Within the last 24 hours I had the opportunity to enjoy two wonderful fall foods: squash and pumpkin.  Our neighbor shared her fabulous spicy squash soup and we roasted pumpkin seeds. I hadn't enjoyed the latter since we were kids.  I knew I had good memories for a reason.

I don't have the soup recipe, but for the pumpkin seeds I just tossed them in olive oil, salt and some chili- lime seasoning, then baked them for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.



Yes, I live in Iowa and love sharing this state's beauty.  I've been wanting to create an Iowa postcard for a long time...and finally, here it is!  You can find out more about them in my Etsy Shop.


Oak & Gourd

The beautiful weather and bright leaves made me want to draw some autumn images...so you'll see some pop up over the next few days.


I'm thirsty

I was inspired to share my favorite drink today (ta-da!)...water! It's probably not exciting to most of you, but I do love a tall glass of water filled with ice to sip on all day.


Friend or Foe?

This is what happens when I walk our dog at 5 a.m....in my sleepy state I begin to think of odd things.  Today my mind wandered off to whether or not coffee and hot cocoa would be friends or foes? What do you think?  You can share your wisdom on my Facebook  or Twitter page too.


National Taco Day

Casey over at Kitchen PLAY is celebrating National Taco Day this week with California Ripe Olives...and graciously asked me to create this badge for her.  If you love tacos and olives I encourage you to visit Kitchen PLAY to learn about the big party! Yum-my!



I am currently working with Gourmet Garden creating herb botanical prints, so thought I'd celebrate these special plants over the next couple of weeks. Have I mentioned how much I love the herbs from Gourmet Garden?  They transformed my cooking this summer by introducing me to ginger, lemon grass and red pepper (among the many traditional herbs and spices).  Yum!


Just Eat Cake

The next couple of weeks is about celebrating birthdays at our house.  All three of our kids (we planned well!) have birthdays within a couple of weeks of each other.  To celebrate, I've planned a few illustrations around the sweet and tasty cake.




My husband grew a lot of these this year.  We always make coleslaw, but someday I will attempt sauerkraut.



The timing just isn't right.  I love making a salad that includes both radishes and cucumbers, but they are never ready in the garden at the same time.  My salad?  Couscous, radishes, cucumbers, lemon juice, olive oil, plus salt and pepper.  Simple and tasty.




Since the veggies are popping out of our garden in full force...why not highlight each one?  While I'm on a beet kick, let's start there.


Beet Bruschetta

We are knee deep in beets right now, so I wanted to share this fabulous recipe from Marge's Next Meal.   What a great way to enjoy this bright red vegetable. You can find the recipe here.  Thanks Marge!


Watermelon, Cantaloupe and Berry Fruit Salad

Another wonderful fruit dish...simple and fresh.  All the best summer fruit with my favorite...the addition of mint.  This dish was graciously shared by Rashmi at Yumkid.  Please take a peak at the entire recipe here.


Fruit Kebabs

I always love a simple and delicious recipe...especially one geared towards kids.  You can't do wrong with a fruit kebab, especially when you top it with a small brownie.  This recipe is generously shared by Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious.  You can find the entire recipe here.


Braised Spring Vegetables

Two posts filled with fruit...now a quick stop for vegetables.  This is a lovely dish created by Maggie at Marge's Next Meal.  I'm always looking for new veggie side dishes...and cannot wait until our carrots are ready.  Take a peak at the entire recipe here.


Honey and Peaches Ice Cream

Today I'm sharing a wonderful dessert from Anna at Blondie's Cakes & Things...Honey and Peaches Ice Cream.  Have I ever mentioned that I loooove ice cream?  This is triple threat with the added natural sweets. You can find the recipe here.


Strawberry Sour Cream Pie

Over the next week I'll be sharing some fresh fruit and veggie recipes from my fellow foodies.  I'm not the best chef in the world, so I often enjoying tapping into other's talents.

The first is a wonderful dessert...strawberry sour cream pie.  It was lovingly created by the fearless leader of Camp Blogaway, Patti of Worth the Whisk.  Please click here for the whole recipe.  I know I need to whip up something with all the strawberries popping out of my garden.



Italian Herbs

A couple of weeks ago I received a wonderful package of herbs from Gourmet Garden. I had the great opportunity to meet them at Camp Blogaway.  What makes their herbs special...is that they are available year-round, yet still maintain their freshness.  Each herb is gently tucked into a squeezable tube then stored under refrigeration.

The Gourmet Garden website also has an amazing recipe index.  I tried the couscous salad with chili pepper and ginger chicken (using their ginger and chili pepper samples) and it was superb (and extra healthy). At camp we simply added our own mix of spices to yogurt for a nice vegetable dip.

I want to thank Mary Humann and Gourmet Garden for the wonderful collection of herbs they sent including:

Chili pepper
Chunky Garlic
Italian Herbs (mix)
Lemon Grass



Being a gardener I've always used kale as a beautiful fall annual in the landscape. What a nice surprise to find out it's also a super healthy food...perfect for cooking and salads.

Dorothy from Cut 'n Clean Greens generously sent me some kale so I could try it myself.  I'm used to the thin leaves of lettuce, so was nicely surprised by the hardiness of kale.  Paired with the fabulous Cut 'n Clean dressings, kale makes a great side salad.  I have to admit, I like that it was already chopped up in a nice storage container.  I could take out a little each day as needed.  I tried several kales, plus had the bonus of a spinach and beet greens kit (yum-my).

Here are the kits I had the privilege of trying:
Organic Rainbow Kale Salad Kit
Rainbow Kale Salad Kit with Zesty Orange Vinaigrette (my favorite!)
Organic Rainbow Kale Salad Kit with Toasted Sesame Vinaigrette
Rainbow Kale Salad Kit with Avocado Tomatillo Dressing (a tasty kick!)
Spinach and Beet Greens Salad Kit with Bacon Spinach Dressing

Big thanks to Dorothy (from Shockingly Delicious) and Cut 'n Clean Greens for expanding my greens palate!

Oh, and I do have a print available also...visit my shop here.


Free Jarlsberg Notecards...woo hoo!

I have so much to share today.

First, below you'll see my new illustration for Jarlsberg Lite. If you're looking for great taste but lower calories and fat, this cheese is a tasty choice.  I enjoyed it this past weekend while spending a few sunny days in Florida for my brother's wedding...and looooved it (the cheese and the wedding).

The second goodie...Jarlsberg USA is celebrating Jarlsberg Lite this month with a special offer:

For every order of notecards placed in my Etsy shop (sets valued at $14.50 or higher), Jarlsberg will also send you a set of my newest Jarlsberg notecards which includes this new Jarlsberg Lite illustration (one free set of cards per customer). Each card also includes a recipe or cooking tip, straight from Jarlsberg. Simply use the term "JUSA" in the comments section when you order. Quantities are limited to the first 25 orders placed!

Jarlsberg USA has one more special offer...A free Toastabag for every comment on their Facebook page as they challenge you to come up with "101 Ways to Lighten Up with Jarlsberg Lite."

Please read more on the Jarlsberg USA blog. A big thanks to Jarlsberg USA for this fabulous offer!



We planted a new strawberry patch this spring and are amazed at what it produces each day.  We never imagined getting anything this year, but the red fruit is just popping everywhere! What a nice surprise everyday.