Thursday, November 1, 2012

Spices of Life

Today over on the Sketchbook Challenge Blog, it was my turn to pick the theme for the month.  I happily picked The Spice of Life!  I can't wait to see what everyone does with that challenge!

One of my motivating factors for this challenge is the time of year, obviously.  For some it may be wonderful, for some it may be more challenging.  Will their color schemes and images be darker?   It will be interesting to see what spices the other artists lives. Another thing behind this choice was how I spice up my art life, so it won't fall into a routine or rut.  In effort to continually keep learning, I self assign projects or studies.  For this particular sketchbook, I chose Georges Seurat, specifically his Pointillism. If you would like to know a bit more about him, check out the Web museum, Paris.  Finally, I love how spices are good for so many things!

For instance, did you know many people use Nutmeg as a natural sleeping aid?  I've had insomnia for years, and tried most of the prescription and over the counter stuff with little effect.  However, a glass of warm milk that has nutmeg in it really seems to relax me!

My mom makes these wonderful spice "Nerve" cookies.  They had tremendous buzz, as her doctor gave her the recipe originally. Supposedly, they had all the "happy" spices, the ones that release joy endorphins in the brain.  I don't know about the claims, but I DO know I was always happier with a cookie than without one! 

Mom's Nerve Cookies

1 1/2 cups butter

3 cups brown sugar
2 eggs plus 1 tablespoon water, well beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
6 cups flour
1 pinch allspice
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 1/4 teaspoons nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves

Cream butter and sugar until creamed. Add eggs one at a time until incorporated. Sift remaining dry ingredients together. Add to the creamed mixture. Shape into rolls, wrap in waxed paper and chill for 2 hours. Slice thinly and bake at 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes.