One of the fun things I did on our trip was take my watercolor journal and actually do some sketching and painting in it. I intended to do a page every day, but the road to and from Canada is paved with good intentions, evidently --
Here's one from the first day out. We were still in California when we saw a whole bunch of balloons:
They were so pretty! I couldn't get my camera out fast enough, and who wants a blurry pic taken through a car window anyway? So I sketched it and painted it in later. I had with me my Holbein travel kit (very wonderful) and the Neocolor II crayons.
Here's the one I did on the second day, of things I saw along the way in Oregon and Washington:
Barns, lambs, a monument, a bridge -- and some comments from me along the way ("very bad lamb" -- it actually looks like an anteater). I'm working on two more -- one from the Butterfly Garden, and another of scenery on the way home.
I like to do watercolor journaling because, as my teachers Christina Lopp and Gay Kraeger said, there are no mistakes! It's very free-form and you just don't worry about how it comes out. Just doing it is the great fun of it.
And what about the recipe? That's connected to artsy stuff too. On Thursday, I'm going to a collaborative workshop at A Work of Heart, my favorite arts n' crafts place in San Jose. The workshop is "Chunky Book: Recipe Exchange"; each of the participants is bringing copies of three different recipes and each of us will make book pages during the workshop. At the end, we'll exchange pages and bind the books, and then insert others' recipes in the pockets in the pages. Sounds fun, doesn't it?
So, I thought I'd share one of my recipes, which I started making when I was 17 or 18. It's called "Chinese" spaghetti sauce, because I learned it from a Chinese-American woman, Ann Maud. She swore it was a Neapolitan recipe, but I've looked and looked and never seen anything like it. I actually think it might be Greek in origin. Anyway, here it is:
“Chinese” Spaghetti Sauce
1 lb ground chuck juice of ½ an orange
½ yellow onion (or to taste) oregano
3-4 cloves garlic (or more) cinnamon
3-16 oz. cans of tomato sauce sugar (to taste)
1 small can tomato paste
In a dutch oven or other largish pot, brown ground chuck and onions; add garlic toward the end. Drain excess fat. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, and mix until the paste is broken up. Squeeze the juice of half an orange into the sauce, and add the oregano (start with 1 tsp.), the cinnamon (start with ½ tsp) and sugar (start with 1 tsp.) Stir and adjust seasonings to taste; add salt and pepper as desired. Simmer for ½ hour or so.