Paleo Pizza You Can Eat With Your Hands!

My husband commonly refers to himself as a “pizza connoisseur.” But only on cheat days, of course, because pizza is so not paleo. Usually.

I’ve tried everything from almond meal and ground up cauliflower to eggplant slices and whole portobello mushrooms looking for the perfect paleo pizza crust, and some of them were pretty good. But this is the first one that tastes like real pizza AND can be eaten like real pizza. Not that I mind using a fork.

This recipe uses flax meal, one of my new favorite paleo ingredients, and it’s pretty simple. It doesn’t fluff up like regular crust, but it holds together and tastes pretty good. Get the recipe {here} at food.com.

For the sauce, I used regular tomato sauce and spiced it up with garlic and an Italian seasoning blend.

And for the toppings. You can put whatever you want on this crust, but I’m kind of picky, and this is one of my favorite combinations:

Chicken breast
Bacon
Tomato
Onion
Mushroom
Spinach

And of course, mozzarella. Not really paleo, but we couldn’t resist.

20140331-170504.jpg

20140331-170509.jpg

It turned out amazing. The flax meal makes it filling, so we had leftovers, but they disappeared before I could eat them!

We’re from California and pretty spoiled when it comes to good food. This pizza is different, but I think I like it better than most of what you could buy around here.

So if you’re into healthy delicious food, try it and let me know what you think!

Perfect Paleo Almond Butter Brownies (Easy&Amazing!)

Might have to try these easy, delicious-looking paleo brownies

boxgrl81

IMG_0002

IMG_0003

IMG_0002

These are hands down the best paleo brownies that I have made! I have to give a shout out to http://paleogrubs.com/ that’s where I found them! I could eat the whole pan easy by myself in one sitting. My husband has yet to try them so they are not husband approved yet but I’m 99.9% sure that he will love them also! They are also so easy to make and call for pretty normal ingredients. I didn’t have to make and special run to the store I had everything I needed already. I love that because I hate going to the store. lol I highly recommend trying these and if you do let me know how they turn out and if you love them just as much!!

Ingredients
1 cup chunky almond butter
1/3 cup pure 100% maple syrup
1 organic egg
2 tbsp butter, melted (or you can sub…

View original post 89 more words

I’ve Changed My Etsy Shop Name!

noelletournesol is now PasticheAccessories! (If you get my newsletter I’m pretty much repeating myself, so, sorry.)

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, but with this month’s sales slump and the resulting creative stagnation (not to mention the limited artist community in a military town and the lack of feedback on my social media sites…c’mon Twitter, I thought you were all about networking…) I’ve probably spent an unreasonable amount of time agonizing over finding a name I like that is also relevant.

“Tournesol,” or sunflower in French, had a story behind it. I love the big, cheery flowers, and my interest in the language was sparked by a short-term mission trip to Haiti, where natural beauty and some very talented artists inspired some of my early work. But the word just didn’t make a lot of sense for people searching online for a handmade jewelry shop. And, confused about shop name vs shop title, I’d combined the word with my first name, which I think added to the ambiguity.

“Pastiche,” on the other hand, (also a French word, but now adopted into the English dictionary) refers to art that is inspired by other works or made up of multiple styles or materials. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of various parts coming together to make a beautiful whole, such as a mosaic. As a Christian, I think this is a beautiful picture of the body of Christ using their vastly different gifts to serve God and others together. As an artist and crafter, I think it represents my ever-changing, little-bit-of-everything style.

At the same time, I am trying to give my shop more focus, and my sales on Etsy are primarily of jewelry. So I’ve removed my canvas paintings to give attention to my “Accessories,” (hence the other part if my new name), but the paintings are still available via my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Noelle-Lewis-Artist/140740499366377?ref=stream, or on the new Gallery page of this blog.

I’ve also made a new shop banner (with a great lettering idea from one of my readers!) and will be updating my business cards and some of my social media sites, but as far as Etsy, old links will be forwarded to my new URL, so you shouldn’t have any trouble getting to my shop. But let me know if you have any questions!

To my customers, thank you in advance for bearing with me through these changes. I hope that even as I grow and develop in my work, my shop will continue to be a friendly place to find unique items for decoration, self-expression, or whatever you desire. And to other readers of this blog, I hope you’ll go check it out!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/PasticheAccessories

20140328-002738.jpg

Making Religieuse: a Delicious Cultural Experience

My husband Joe is currently taking French classes as part of his Army training. He’s not used to sitting all day and doing work that is mentally, rather than physically, demanding. But there’s not much in life he doesn’t give his very best at, so I think he’ll do fine.

If you know Joe well, you also know that behind his tough exterior (6’4″ and covered with muscles and tattoos) and blunt honesty is a super sweet guy who will go out of his way to make someone’s day special.

Joe’s teacher is from France. Teaching language school in the military can be a tough job at times. So when she mentioned how much she enjoys religieuse pastries, he thought it would be nice to make some for her and the rest of his class. And since I’m pretty good at baking, he asked if we could do it together.

The religieuse, meaning nun, is a round pastry with another small pastry on top, filled with crème patisserie, and covered with chocolate ganache or one of many exotic flavors of glaze. It’s basically a super fancy cream-filled donut. It looks a little bit like a figure in a nun’s habit, hence the name.

We started this project one evening after Joe got home from work, not realizing how busy he’d be that day or how much work would go into it, partly due to all the measurement conversions. If you ever use a European recipe, I suggest figuring that out ahead of time!

So he made the choux pastry while I made dinner (paleo zucchini sausage roll-ups with pesto that I will have to blog about later) and I had to finish the rest while he ran his tri-weekly Crossfit training group and caught up on French homework.

I was already doubting whether my skills would measure up to those of the bakers in France. But it’s the thought that counts, right? So I put on some French café music and kept going, complaining to Joe about how many pots and bowls I would have to wash. (Seriously, I don’t think anyone considered that when they wrote the recipe).

Our pastries were a little flat, but I managed to squeeze the vanilla crème inside them, and when the ganache reached the right consistency, I spread/poured it over the top. I finally tried one after Joe went to bed, and as I savored the near perfection of what we’d created – a soft, crispy pastry with thick, just-sweet-enough vanilla crème patisserie and an amazingly rich chocolate ganache, I was suddenly reluctant to give them away!

20140323-200011.jpg

When Joe came home from work the next day, he told me how much his teacher like the pastries. She said I could open up a bakery – in France! We also had some leftover crème and ganache, so I made some quick popovers to use it up (and shamelessly reward myself for all my hard work).

In our modern world of convenience foods, it felt really good to make something that took some time and effort – that felt like not only real food, but art. I kept thinking, these are so legit they don’t even have vanilla extract, they have the seeds of a single vanilla pod scraped out by hand (it tastes amazing and you can see the tiny black specks in the pastry crème). Also, the French are not afraid of butter, which gives the ganache it’s singular richness.

Of course, I wouldn’t cook like this every day, but I was very proud of myself, and I felt I’d had an interesting cultural experience. And, no doubt, helped put a smile on someone’s face.

So if you’re ever in the mood for spending a couple hours on a dessert, here’s the recipe: Choux Pastry Religieuse. I would suggest cutting the ganache ingredients in half.

Let me know if you try it, or if you’ve had a similar cooking experience!

New Item for Sale: Mini Art Pendants

So I had a bit of an identity crisis the other day when a slump in sales led me to consider some changes in my Etsy shop, and my mind quickly went from “I need to pin down my market, my style, and what sets me apart as an artist,” to “Oh crap who am I?” Welcome to the mind of an over-thinker.

Since I do a little bit of everything, my niche is difficult to pin down. I’ve been drawing forever and working with clay since at least junior high, when my parents bought me Sculpey supplies for a graduation gift, but I’ve also been known to go googly-eyed over beads, I have drawers stashed with yarn, and a brush-full of paint in my hand never fails to make me feel alive. Not to mention my hoards of, basically, trash, that I might use for something someday. (Small, organized-ish, hoards. Don’t worry, I probably won’t end up on the TV show. Probably.)

In my Etsy shop, I sell primarily jewelry. My paintings are listed as well, but I’ve only sold a few, and mostly to people I know. I guess art is not a very practical thing to be selling, considering the time and cost of creating it. But it’s a little discouraging to feel like I’m doing it just for myself.

So I’m pretty excited about my new product idea. It combines art and jewelry, thus allowing me to share my original work in a wearable, affordable way. These art pendants, inspired by my failure at polymer clay image transfers, showcase tiny prints of my original paintings. They are reversible, so each one fits two of the nine available images. I’ve also posted another option with nature photographs to choose from.

20140322-014527.jpg

If you’re into DIY-ing, these might make a neat gift with a family photo or your own artwork. I bought the little pendant frames at Hobby Lobby and printed the images on card stock at home. Or if you would like to support my work (excuse my shameless self-promotion), you can buy one of my designs here Painting Pendant or here Photo Pendant .

20140322-014634.jpg

Still working on the whole figuring myself out thing, and you may see some changes to my shop, specifically the name. (There’s a story behind “Tournesol,” but I think I need something easier and more relevant.) But for now, I hope you will check out these art pendants and some colorful new designs for Spring!

Paleo Meal of the Week: Creamy Dill Salmon, Greek Salad, and Flax Bread

…”of the week” meaning last week. I had a weird few days where my brain decided to talk to itself all night instead of sleeping, but I was somehow super productive, doing the shopping, trying new recipes, even watching my friend’s kids, having other friends over for dinner, and doing some much-needed cleaning and decorating and yard work. This kind of motivation is rare for me even when I do sleep!

But it all finally caught up with me, so I needed a littlecouch-bumming. Now that I’ve watched a few too many episodes of Desperate Housewives and had my mental-health-required craft time, here we are.

I love that the Paleo diet is becoming more popular. It can be a chore to plan and cook such healthy food all the time, but with my Instagram feed full of mouth-watering culinary experiments, and with a regular exchange of ideas with friends, staying inspired becomes a little more realistic.

So, the recipes! I found this Creamy Dill Salmon Recipe at a website called PaleOMG that seems to have some great ideas. This one is pretty much as easy as it sounds! I used the regular mayo we had on hand, not quite Paleo, but close enough for me. Also, side note, my brother makes salmon with a similar sauce using pesto instead of dill. Ahh-mazing!

For the Greek salad, I threw together some romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, kalamata olives, those sweet red mini bell pepper looking things, mushrooms (not really Greek but they were going to go bad), and this simple Greek Dressing Recipe that I really liked!

And for the bread. I bought flax meal because I couldn’t find our go-to almond meal, but it’s actually a lot cheaper and supposed to be really good for you. I’ve been dying to to find a paleo bread recipe that actually tastes like bread, and I think this Flax Seed Bread is the one! I substituted tapioca flour for the almond meal I didn’t have, and I would probably double it next time for a regular bread pan. The dough, more like batter, will seem thin when you add the water, but it really does turn into bread! Maybe not fluffy delicious white bread, it’s more like a nutty whole grain, but put some butter on it and it’s pretty darn good.

20140318-014916.jpg

These three recipes came together really nicely. Hubby said it was the perfect post-workout meal. But of course, feel free to mix and match! What are you cooking this week?

A Note on Opinions, and Some Things About Me

Lately it seems like every time I open my mouth, somebody has an opinion for me, especially on social media. In fact it seems like everyone has an opinion about everything, and most of them are not very nice.

Share an unusual craft project? Too much time on your hands. Post too many pictures of your pet? Must be a loser. Think anything in life is hard, ever? You need to toughen up, or be more positive. Basically if you’re different from someone else, you need to change. If you’re not perfect, people will be lined up to tell you about it.

When did we become the police of each other’s time, thoughts, feelings, words, and actions? Why do we feel the need to “fix” everything that makes us the slightest bit uncomfortable?

I’m sure some people mean well, and there is definitely a time and place for friendly advice. But if it’s not needed, or you don’t know the person/situation, or you can’t be tactful, it’s probably not that time and place.

Some people also like to trivialize because it’s “just social media,” but the way I see it, it doesn’t really matter what means of communication you’re using. If you order something online instead of buying it in the store, you’re still going to get the real thing. If you say something thoughtless, chances are your words are still going to stick.

On the other hand, sometimes we take things personally that weren’t meant in a negative way. It’s really hard to tell where someone’s coming from when you’re not face to face, and it’s better to clarify than be mad about nothing.

Maybe I’m just as guilty as anyone else. I’ve definitely stuck my foot in my mouth a few times and realized too late how someone might react. All I’m saying is that our words are powerful and we should be careful with them.

20140313-203129.jpg

While I’m on the topic, I am going to go ahead and share some things about myself that are often misunderstood. Not sure if anyone really wants to know, but here goes.

I have depression. I can be negative sometimes, but I am trying to make the best of my situation. Sometimes that means laughing or patting myself on the back or doing things I enjoy. Sometimes it means lying on the couch all day or exercising to angry music or, God forbid, venting a little. And when you’ve heard “look on the bright side” enough times, it starts to sound a lot more like “suck it up,” so it’s probably not going to help.

I’m an introvert. I need more time to myself than some people. I don’t attend a lot of group functions because they wear me out, but my friends are still important to me.

I’m creative. I make art because I’m good at it and I enjoy and it keeps me sane, not because I have nothing better to do. I’m working hard and my sales are picking up, but I don’t need a successful career to feel like I have a meaningful life (luckily for now my husband supports me with his “real” job and I support him with my fabulous domestic skills).

I’m an Army wife. Deployment sucks. I’ve pretty much heard it all. “He’ll be home soon enough.” “At least we have technology now.” “I know how you feel, my boyfriend’s away at college.” “At least you have a husband.” Yes, it could be worse. Yes, it’s made us stronger. But at the end of the day, I’m still lying in an empty bed with a half-empty heart hoping he’s coming back at all. So while I appreciate people trying to make me feel better, it doesn’t always work. And I really don’t need an opinion about the war, either.

I’m sensitive, which means I tend to get my feelings hurt, but it also means I care about people like crazy, and I take the time to understand complex situations and personalities.

I love Jesus, and I have my beliefs, and I try to live my life accordingly. But if I had the chance to show love to a gay person or a prostitute or a criminal, or a woman who had an abortion, or someone who practices a different religion, I would. Because you don’t have to agree with someone to care about them.

So add cats and baking and nerd movies, and that’s me in a nutshell. I definitely have my flaws, and my opinions, and my judgments. All I am asking is that we think before we speak.

What are your thoughts on opinions? What do you wish people understood about you?

(Photo credit: http://sundayinbed.tumblr.com/page/17)