MeRrY ChRiStMaS!

A Memory as I Recall It

While searching in my recipe box for

holiday cookie favorites, I came upon this old
photo which graced our fridge for years.
I switched it to the safer
environment of the box as
I felt it had garnered enough
kitchen character.
It wasn't taken at Christmas, but somehow
the sticker frame and the photo became
a duo.

The great memory this picture encapsulates:
I was teaching second grade. It was year three
of my great four year career.
{said the housewife}
During that year, when my students and I
shared all the excitement of little Scout's
impending arrival,

one of the precious side effects was a ritual
that Evan and I fell into.

One day I mentioned in class how we liked to go
to Long John Silvers on Whatever Day ~
I can't recall which weekday or what the special was ~
and one of my students piped up that her family
liked going there, too. And I casually said how we could
meet there one day. Lo and behold, she came to class
with a note from mom and, long story short,
we made plans to meet there.

That first week started a sweet time capsule custom.
In the photo

above, which Mrs. Callihan asked us to pose for
and then generously shared a copy with me,
you see Evan, our Jon Cody, yours truly with Scout
cozily growing and awaiting her debut,
my adorable student, Courtney and her younger brother,
whose name is on the tip of my tongue, but
eluding me at the moment. Isn't he a cutie?

Some things I especially treasure about this photo,
apart from the obvious happenstance of how special
this impromptu chatter turned into a delightful
extension of my 'career'
and, therefore, defines much about my
short foray into teaching,
and, thanks in large part to this spontaneous photo,

a forever happy memory, are:

Jon Cody's groovy flat top, Courtney's awesome bow
and dress, little brother's Churchville Bumblebee sweatshirt,
the tennis shoe on the car roof ~ what is that? ~
my wedding ring on a ball chain, not because my
hands were swollen but because the pregnancy
immediately caused a strange gold allergic reaction

last but not least,
16 years later I am still wearing that chambray shirt
on a regular basis. I have patched it endlessly.
It still makes me feel as happy as I was when I
first borrowed it from Evan's side of the closet.
And this is the only photo that
serves as the memory of when
that came to be.
Thank you, Mrs. Callihan.

Merry Christmas Everyone.
May all your memories come true.



Where Have I Been?

It was a dark and stormy night...

It's been a long time since I've blogged.
I missed it a lot. But I was busy.
And still writing.
In fact, I was writing and writing...

...and writing...
I participated in NaNoWriMo.
That's National Novel Writing Month
and it takes place every November.
Since 1999. And it's international now.

The goal is to write a brand new
50,000 word {175 page}
novel in rough draft form
in the 30 days of November.
That's 1,667 words a day.

Evan, Scout and I all joined in.
Scout {15} wrote 20,611 words.
Evan wrote 51,600 words
and finished his novel.
I wrote 65,542 words.
Maybe first time's a charm because...
We did it!
But I wasn't finished with my novel...

So I kept at it until
at 10:00 AM on December 8th
I finished my novel
with 70,444 words.

It feels great.
It was really. really. really. hard.
It was also fun, satisfying and incredibly rewarding.

Now I am working on: Draft II ~ The Revision.
And I love it.
It's the best feeling to be reading
an entire novel from start to finish
~ that I wrote. It's surreal.
I highly recommend the experience.
Have a look around their site.
I would love to have you as my NaNoWriMo Buddy
in 2010.

In the meantime,
please read panel #3 above...
I am going to work my way
back into writing regularly
here at joonbeam. I want to say
to my visitors who have
faithfully checked in during
my absence. I appreciate your patience
and thoughtfulness.

So please come back often for more
earth friendly creations and tips,
favorite family recipes
and tales from my crazy journey
through this journey we call life.
"Don't leave me!" she cried.



Joon Appetit ~ Rocky Mountain Barbecue 101

Today's recipe is my custom version that
I adapted from a recipe in the fabulous
Colorado Cache Cookbook,
one of my top 10 favorites.

Aye, here's the RUB

1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 TBSP. chili powder
2 crushed bay leaves {I simply crumble with my hands.}
Combine in your favorite small bowl.
See below.

Take out:
one gorgeous 4 pound brisket
medium size roasting pan
Large piece of foil {or lid}


Isn't this pretty?

Place your brisket FAT SIDE UP in your casserole pan.
Caution: Do not freak out over the amount of fat.
Just quickly sprinkle your beautiful rub
generously all over it and you'll be OK.
I mean, seriously, look at that photo.
It's all good.

Cover pan tightly with foil {or lid}.
Bake for 4 hours. How easy is this?

When you remove the brisket, place it on
a cutting board and
scrape off the spices and fat. Discard.
Slice thinly across the grain.

Serve on buns.
Smothered in this fantastically
delicious and easy BBQ sauce...

joonie, I will be first in line to buy your cookbook barbecue sauce:

About 20 minutes before your brisket is done
combine these ingredients in a medium size saucepan.

3 TBSP brown sugar
1 14 oz. bottle of Heinz ketchup { 1 3/4 cups}
1/2 cup water
4 TBSP. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. celery salt
6 TBSP. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
few shakes of pepper

Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer.
Simmer until meat is ready, stirring occasionally.
Spoon generously over sliced brisket.
Line up at your local bookstore ... someday soon.

Watch your family & friends dash away with their prize.

We serve ours on buttered stove top grilled buns
with a side of Evan's fabby freshly home made coleslaw.
Oh ~ on our Scout designed plates.
I need to photograph those and
share them here.

Come back and see me
after dinner. I want to
know your story.

ox joon


Packaging Counts II

Three recent packages I enjoyed designing.
The package above includes one of my handmade
corner bookmarks. This one a recycled envelope corner.

I love my new heart tree stamp.

Reverse of the button card.

Halloween magnets on recycled Museum map
with my vintage bat stamp for accents.

So true.



Joon Appetit ~ Sesame Broccoli


1 pound fresh broccoli
1 TBSP. oil
1 TBSP. vinegar
1 TBSP. soy sauce
4 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds

Cook broccoli in small amount of boiling, salted water just until tender. Drain. In same saucepan combine all ingredients & heat to boiling. Simmer for a minute. Return broccoli to pan. Stir/toss to coat broccoli with sauce. Serve immediately. Lovely. :)

This is the perfect accompaniment to our favorite quick dinners. An easy and delicious change of pace that we can't seem to resist. Steamed sticky rice, this broccoli & Lemon, Sesame
or Kung Pao Chicken ~ divine.

Until next week...


Thanks, once again, Scout, for your photographic contribution.
This is how she entertains herself in the grocery store.
Smart cookie.


ReCycLeD InSPiRaTioN

A Retro Designer Fabric Flower
was the springboard for this letter art.

I stitched it onto a plain white 4 x 6 card
and added colored pencil elements.

It wouldn't be one of my stitch artworks
if it didn't sport one of my signature thread tails.

I carried out the color scheme to the envelope
and the handmade recycled flat magnet surprise.

The black & white & pink library card pocket
is a first. I am inspired to make more. They
will include one dozen handmade
~ recycled, of course ~
recipe cards
and will be offered in my joonwalk shop.

Until next time...



FaMiLy AffAiR ~ BBQ Chicken Pizza with Fresh Ranch Dressing

Homemade Pizza You Will Love In Every Way
From Start To Finish

Our Favorite Thin Pizza Crust

1 TBSP yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 TBSP olive oil
1 cup cool water
3 1/2 cups bread flour {all purpose is also fine}
1 1/2 tsp. salt

In a large mixing bowl or a Kitchen Aid {this is what I use}, stir the yeast into the warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in the olive oil and cool water, then stir in 1 cup of the flour & the salt. Stir until smooth. Stir in remaining flour, 1 cup at a time until the dough is mostly incorporated. If using Kitchen Aid mix with dough hook until you have a smooth, soft dough. You might need to add just a few TBSP of flour, but you do not want a heavy, stiff mass. If kneading by hand, work on a lightly floured surface until smooth & soft ~ about 8 to 10 minutes. Your dough will be velvety.

Cover loosely with a kitchen towel. Let rest 15 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, divide into 4 equal portions. I use a knife. Loosely form each section into a round. Let set on your floured surface under your kitchen towel and let rise about 1 hour. Your dough is now ready to use. Stretch and form it into your favorite pizza pie shape.

Dough may also be stored, short term ~ up to 48 hours ~ in your fridge. Let stand 15 minutes before forming pizza. Dough freezes beautifully. Slip each flour dusted ball into a Ziploc. Freeze up to one month. When ready to use, place frozen dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover loosely with plastic wrap, let thaw overnight in fridge OR about 2 hours at room temperature. Thawed dough should be puffy and soft to the touch.

Evan's Fabulous Salty Sweet Pizza Sauce

This sauce is perfect for your pizza. It's simple, easy, quick and just the right flavor and consistency for your pizza. No soggy dough issues. Compliments toppings just right.

This recipe makes sauce for 2 pizzas. Double if making all 4.

In small saucepan on medium heat:

1 TBSP butter
1 TBSP olive oil

When butter is melted and both are nice and hot, ADD & Stir in:

1 can Contadina tomato paste

Simmer for about 5 minutes. ADD & Stir in:

2 TBSP sugar
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp salt

Simmer for a while ~ maybe 10 minutes ~ until it begins to carmelize. Slowly stir in just enough water to attain a spreadable, yet thick, sauce.

BBQ Chicken

About 2-3 cups of cooked chicken breast, chopped/shredded into bite size pieces

In a saucepan, preferably non stick, saute your cooked chicken in a little oil or oil/butter mixture until it is a bit dry crispy. How's that for a technical cooking school term? Add about 3/4 cup of any BBQ sauce you love. Simmer until most is absorbed into the chicken pieces. I usually make this amount fresh using a simple ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, molasses, chili powder off-the-cuff sauce. I haven't measured yet. I do have a fabulous Coca Cola BBQ sauce recipe that makes about 3 cups of sauce. It is very easy and lasts in the fridge for at least a week. Let me know if I should post it.

Grate 1 pound of mozzarella per 2 pizzas.
Our pizza also has sliced banana peppers ~ Mount Olive Brand.

Oven: 450*

Sprinkle some cornmeal on your pan & place your lovely crust on it. Bake your formed crust alone ~ no toppings ~ 5-7 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from oven. This step serves to 'seal' up your crust so the sauce doesn't soak in. Sometimes a crust may puff up in spots during this step. No worries. Simply use a fork and poke the top layer & use your sauce spoon to pat it back down. Again with the technical terms. Top your crust with sauce, mozzarella, then BBQ chicken & banana pepper rings. Return to oven and bake about 10 ~ 15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and crust is light brown.

Top individual slices with Scout's Ranch Dressing. Experience heaven on earth.

Yes, she did toddle through the kitchen and it has paid off...


Packaging Counts

* * * Mail Box Sunshine * * *

A combination of recycled and new working well together

Here's a recent order all ready to go. I found this THANK YOU stamp irresistible. Since I usually hand write and illustrate everything I had to find a way to incorporate that handmade element. The stitching and colored in hearts satisfy my sensibilities and
transform this into one of my bookmarks
all at the same time.

This card doubles as a securing device for
the magnets {seen below}. The handmade corner bookmark
is a combo of recycled papers & added touches.
It compliments the magnets.

I love quotes. Especially handwritten versions.

These magnets are attached
with a mere loop of scotch tape
so they are easily removed, no harm done.
Viola ~ another bookmark.

Another order all wrapped up & ready to go

I know I spend way too much time on my packages, but I seem unable to break this special treatment habit. I'd love to hear about & see your packaging style.
What is your signature wrap?

Until next time...
{Recipe Day. Don't Miss It.}



Joon Appetit ~ Easy Coconut Custard Pie

Sometimes Running Out of Energy Comes in Handy.

When I read this recipe
I wondered if something
this simple could turn out

But you will not have
that doubt and neither
will I

I'm sure none of you have ever said
something like this before:
I've had this coconut in my freezer since last summer.

It just happens.
It's a mystery.

Fast forward to last week.
I made homemade crust early in the day.
By late afternoon I was not inclined
to stand over the stove making custard.

Then, this recipe on the coconut package caught my eye.
It was a sign.
I was hesitant, but tired
and, frankly, my dear,
determined to have pie for dessert.

It is delightful, rich, creamy
and unbelievably easy.

Be sure to let me know
how yours turns out.


Thanks again to Scout
for her photos of
our lovely pie.


Joon Appetit ~ Red Pepper Jam Tutorial

Lovely Red Pepper Jam ~ a True Treat

It's That Time of Year for Beautiful Red Peppers

Red Pepper Jam is so easy and rewarding.
Here we go...
Chop: 4-6 red peppers.
We used 4 here because ours were quite large.
Scout, who I would like to credit with and thank for all of the photography for this post, hand chopped these peppers. You can use your food processor or mini chopper, of course. We just don't have either at this time.

Sprinkle on & stir in 1 TBSP. salt
Let sit at least 3 hours.
More is fine, too.

Drain well.
We line our strainer with a piece of cheesecloth.
It is not necessary if your strainer has finer holes.

You can see the value of this step.

In a heavy, medium saucepan PLACE:
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar

ADD & STIR IN: your chopped, drained peppers

Heat to boiling.
Reduce heat.
Simmer on a low simmer, uncovered, for about one hour.

{Scout just wanted to include this photo.
She likes it. She thinks it's fun.
That covered pan in this shot is another pan.}

Ladle your jam into recycled jelly jars if you like.

{The kind that make you smile.}
You can store it in any refrigerator container.
It lasts for a LONG time.
I have no idea how long.
Ours is always gone in days.

Isn't it pretty?

This Jam makes a fabulous gift.
We always include a package of
Kraft Cream Cheese & a roll of Ritz Crackers.

Pure Heaven on a plate.

Please come back and let me know how your jam
brightened your day.

Until next time...


And Thanks Again to Scout for her photography and help.


Something Out of Nothing ... BookMark

Charlie Brown & Woodstock Think Cool

I made this out of a bank statement insert & a vintage illustration from one of the Charlie Brown Super Books of Questions & Answers. Do you remember those? They are so great. I love that our bank ~ local is the only way to go ~ is named FROST in Texas. Of course, I am partial to snowflakes, but that's another story. :) Since you can only see but a glimpse of the snowflake symbol, click HERE to view it in full.
And, seriously, look at their pretty insert.

From one sweltering friend to another...

I made this for my friend in Sierra Vista AZ this summer. Now she has moved. Maybe this will remind her of what she left behind and won't miss. Or perhaps warm her up come January in Colorado.

Until next time...