Friday, 1 May 2009

Friday This and That . . .

"The world's favorite season is the spring.
All things seem possible in May."
- Edwin Way Teale

What a beautiful morning it is here at Oak Cottage this morning. The birds are singing and I can see just the faintest hint of a blue sky off in the distance above the orchards to the back of us. The Clematis is blooming along the roof line of the shed. We have another bunch of it that grows in a tree at the far back of our garden and that is decorating our lives as well. We decided to replace the mallow that died with a bed of roses and so Todd has been really busy this past week with putting in new roses and mulching and fertilizing the garden. We had an old Wisteria along the back wall that he tried to cut down several years ago as all we got on it was leaves, but it has come back yet again, and I am glad, for I truly love it . . . whether it flowers or not.

I love this beautiful video I found on Mormon Messages of President Dieter F. Uchtdorf. I watch it every morning, and it inspires me. (If you want to listen to it, and I highly recommend that you do, pause the music on my play list at the bottom of this page now.) He says that the desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul . . .

I am a very creative woman, as are many of you. Sometimes I get a bit down about my work. Especially if it isn't selling, or if nobody seems all that interested in it. I start to think that . . . perhaps nobody will ever want it. But then when I have those thoughts I have to ask myself . . . why do I create? Do I create because I want people to buy it? Or do I create because I have a need to? The answer is very clear to me. I create because I have a very strong need to. To not be able to create would be like cutting off my right arm or sucking the very life out of me. It is as much a part of me, this desire . . . this need . . . as is my will to live. And maybe the things that sprout from my fingertips will only ever bring joy to me and to my family, but that's ok, because in the process of being creative I am feeding my soul, and I am fulfilling a part of the measure of my own creation by my Heavenly Father. Something that is so strong an urge in me and that brings me as much joy and pleasure as my painting does, surely must come from above . . .

And then . . . when I think about the simple act of being able to create, I realize that I am constantly creating . . . whether it be a new recipe that I am trying out and adapting, or a poem for a friend, a story for my grandsons, pictures I try to capture with my camera's eye, or sewing, painting, writing letters and e-mails, preparing a lesson for Seminary or Young Women's, whatever . . . they're all acts of love aren't they? And isn't that what creation truly is? An Act of Love? A moving outside of yourself and a giving back to the people around you, the universe, the Great Creator Himself . . .

It's making your mark, and leaving the essence of your being behind, the essence of your love . . . love for family, love for friends, love for the greater community, love for life, love for your Father above . . . it's feeding your soul in a wonderfully magical way, and you don't even have to be really good at whatever it is you are doing for it to bring you joy . . . and it doesn't matter if one person loves it, or hundreds of people love it, or even if nobody loves it but you . . .

it only matters that you create . . .

And so I will continue to create and amuse myself with my little drawings and verses and stories, and I will continue to share them with each of you from time to time. I know that it will bring me joy and perhaps it will bring joy to one or two of you as well. I know it will bring joy to my Heavenly Father, and that is the most important thing of all. ☺

I just love risotto. There is a great comfort to be found in the simple act of making a risotto . . . the sweating of the vegetables, the rice . . . the patient act of adding the broth a little bit at a time, the stirring . . . the cheese . . . Sometimes though, you just don't have the time to stand there and wait and stir. You want all the pleasures of eating a tasty risotto, but you don't really want the trouble of having to stand by the stove to create one . . . there are a bazillion other things you must do instead. That's when a recipe such as this oven baked risotto comes in very handy. all the eating pleasure and comfort of a risotto, without any of the faff! There is a time for all the comfort of creating a delicious dish and then there is a time to let it go and let the oven create that delicious dish instead . . .

*Baked Risotto with Tomatoes, Courgettes and Parmesan*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

I love baked risottos. There is none of the fuss that is involved when you make a stove top risotto and the end result is every bit as delicious. Just less work.

2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup arborio rice
1 1.2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 (14 oz) tin of chopped plum tomatoes, undrained
3 medium courgettes, washed, trimmed and finely sliced
2 1/2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 TBS finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
To Garnish:
Fresh shavings of Parmesan cheese (Optional)

Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and sea salt. Cook, stirring until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the rice. Cook and stir for another few minutes. Add the stock and the chopped tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Stir in the courgettes and Parmesan. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper. Pour into a large oven proof casserole dish with a lid. Cover tightly and bake in the heated oven for 30 minutes, or until the rice is cooked.

Remove from the oven and spoon into a heated serving dish. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and shaved Parmesan cheese. Serve hot.


  1. Happy Friday dear,
    I marvel that you keep coming up with such wonderful inspirational posts day after day.... I guess it is the creative side of you. I am creative in my own right but nothing compared to you. You truly do amaze me.

    Keep on creating because we all love the fruits of your labors.

    We just got home from the temple. We are tired but happy after our service there today as always. We feel so blessed that we get to work in the temple each week. It is the high light of our week. We love the spirit that feel there and we try to bring it home with us.
    What exactly are risotto and courgettes? The picture looks good but I have never heard of these things before. Educate me.

    Have a great day. I am off to lullaby land. Much love.... Lura

  2. I find you very inspiring Marie. Keep creating.. it makes everyone around you, and yourself..happy.

  3. I've never had risota but it does look so good in that dish you prepared. You should definitely keep creating your lovely drawings. We need to express our selves and our love and your work, cooking, painting and all are part of your life. Have a wonderful weekend.

  4. Are courgettes the same thing as zucchini? That is what it looks like in the picture. Keep up the good creative work!

  5. A really lovely looking risotto Marie! I love the addition of courgettes.

  6. Hi Marie
    Your post today replenished my soul. Thank you!
    Hugs, Rhondi

  7. So inspiring for a Friday morning. If I couldn't create new things...I would shrivel up and wouldn't know what to do with myself. You truly do inspire us with your creativity. Your words, your food, your wisdom daily are a true gift. Thank you so much!

  8. "I am a very creative woman.."

    well, duh! LOL

  9. Hi, Dear Marie! A very uplifting post in so many ways! Like yourself, I've been a bit down regarding the slow sale of my art work...It's always good to put things into perspective and remember why we do the things we do--whether or not anyone else appreciates it, as long as we do it has great value. :o) I admire you many creative abilities so much. All that you do give great pleasure to many people--all over the world too, like with this blog! You are a wonder, and I am so glad to be your friend and have you as mine. We are enjoying the beautiful day here too... We were meant to be working in the yard, but sitting on the terrace with tea/coffee, the newspapers, the sunshine, etc. won over--LOL! Oh, well...we all need a real day off sometimes! Happy weekend ahead to you all there. Oh, just love today's recipe. We love risotto any way it's fixed! LOVE YOU HEAPS ((BIG HUGS))

  10. you are definitely one of the most creative people i've met(even though we haven't physically "met" you know what i mean:) and i LOVE that message from Pres. Uchtdorf. the first time i heard it, it really inspired me. thats a great idea to listen to it every day!

  11. Marie, I had to go and look up what courgettes meant, cause they looked like zucchini. I love zucchini... I'll definitely have to try this recipe! Thanks for sharing so many great looking recipes to try!!
    Lisa (lisita15)

  12. Hello my friend,
    wonderful post. I agree that love for something does come from above. I feel the same way when I am creating. I love your work - it is wonderful!

    And that video is beautiful. I have seen it a few times. We showed it at Relief Society a few Sundays ago. Very inspiring!

    Good luck with your new rose garden. It will be so pretty! Have a wonderful Friday!


  13. What wonderful words about creativity! It is hard to create and create and feel like you're just sending it into an endless void.

    I'll send you LFB this weekend!

  14. Speaking of creativity, you're featured as the creative woman of the Pond tommorow!

  15. Marie:

    Your post about utilizing ones creativity really got me thinking. You know I've been, well, depressed, for quite some time. I haven't actually sat down to create a new piece of art in well over a year. At least since my mom has been so sick. I wonder if not being able to create could be part of my problem. I've been creating "stuff" all my life. Maybe this very long creative dry spell is only helping to make my heart lower.

    Anyway, those Clematis are gorgeous. Here in the desert of So. California, we have only the dark purple ones and they struggle in the heat.

    Thanks again for your inspiring words:
    Garden Painter Art

  16. You are SO creative, inside and out. I know, through Lura, that your heart is every bit as talented as your head and hands. I have a creative heart, but I'm not so good with the hands anymore...they just don't want to work for me. My sweet are definitely NOT to far away to be in the giveaway. I've shipped to the UK many times when I was into I've got you entered twice in my drawing and good luck to you...Hugs, Jan

  17. Hi my dear Marie, try to rest todsy, you work a lot, always I think,Im agree with Heatherfeather that you are so inspiring my dear, and you love all you make, that is wonderful, many huggs to you and Todd and Jesse, (mouska love kisses too) xxGloria
    Have a lovely day Marie and a nice weekend, Love ya, Gloria

  18. I find all you make is beauty and special dear,xoxoxoxo Gloria

  19. I love risotto but only make them for a special treat. I think a special treat is called for this Sunday!

    love, Angie, xx

  20. That looks wonderful, but what are courgettes?

  21. Marie,
    You are, I believe, the most beautiful person I've never met. If I could only have one blog to read daily it would be yours. As I've said before, we are going thru rough times here now and every day your blog puts a smile on my face and your faith kicks me in the hiney on the days when my own faith is running on empty. I love your recipes homey and yummy! Your cards are amazing...I honestly can't believe someone hasn't picked them up yet. You will be in my prayers every day.
    Thanks for YOU!



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