Posted by: catailsandotherfoundthings | May 28, 2010

Curried Apricot Pork Chops

I recently stumbled upon this AMAZING recipe while surfing the net. Pork and certain fruits pair exquisitely together. Some delicious sides to accompany this lovely portion of meat would be sauteed green beans, a summer swiss chard lightly drizzled with red wine vinegar, steamed asparagus or oven roasted brussels sprouts in butter and a pinch of garlic. Any sort of potato will also go well, but use spices and sauces lightly as the dominant flavor should be the pork chops.
Don’t hesitate to message me for more details on side dish recipes. Enjoy and please share your comments as always!


A fresh fruit glaze that’s both sweet and savory drapes these tender chops. They’re pretty enough to serve for a special night in.
-Trisha Kruse

2 Tbsp. apricot nectar
1 Tbsp. plus 1 1/2 tsp. apricot preserves
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. curry powder
2 boneless pork loin chops (5 oz. each)
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 tsp. canola oil
1/2 cup sliced fresh apricots
2 green onions, sliced

In a small bowl, combine the first five ingredients; set aside.
Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper. In a small nonstick skillet, cook chops in oil for 5-7 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. Remove and set aside.
Add apricots and onions to the pan; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in nectar mixture. Return pork chops to the pan and heat through, spooning the sauce over the top. Cook until slightly thickened.

Posted by: catailsandotherfoundthings | May 26, 2010


You’ve most often heard the word Palette when referring to taste of foods or the board in which paint is placed by an artist. One definition I found for the word palette was: a comparable range, quality, or use of available elements. Just as each person has a particular palette for tastes, textures and flavors through their mouth, each person has a particular palette for color through their eyes. Not everyone sees the same colors when looking at a particular painting. The same is true to most colors that we see. I may look at a particular car and say it is blue, yet you may see the same car and in your eyes it is purple.

The beauty of art is that it is always open for interpretation, even down to the colors in the art piece. Some artists define particular colors as being ‘the standard’ red or blue or yellow, but the fact is that there are no ‘standard’ colors. The range of basic colors react differently when mixed with others and each color has a particular cool or warm tone. Some colors like light blues have an icy temperature, therefor they are defined as ‘cool’ tones. Others like dark blues with red undertones are richer and bolder, giving them a ‘warm’ tone definition. Having said that, it’s relative. No matter what the basic color there are both cool and warm tone types when mixed with particular others.

As an artist is it easy to become attached to a particular color palette, which is natural, but it is important to stay flexible as to not allow all your paintings to look alike. Some of the best artists in history were not afraid to experiment and change up their pigments and make changes. Be brave! Be bold! Be creative and force the change in your works to open yourself up to new possibilities. Who knows what your eyes will see!

Posted by: catailsandotherfoundthings | May 25, 2010

Elsa: Photo & Design Extraordinaire

I think it best and simplest to describe Elsa by quoting her Facebook bio which reads: “I’m short, round and dark. I look funny and sound funny. I talk to much, not enough and say nothing. I hate to workout, I hate to sweat, and I really don’t like onions.”

ElsA FloREz

We often dread dealing with graphic design or having a professional head shot done, but Elsa’s personality and humor creates a perfect platform for building comfort and lasting relationships with her clients.

“It is incredible to me that I can wake up every morning, make a short
commute to my studio and do what I love all day,” the native
San Diegan says of her thriving photography business. She feels blessed
by the opportunities that have come her way.

She began taking pictures at the age of thirteen when she received
her first camera. It has been a passion ever since. After many years
of living on the periphery of this business, working in photo labs and
running a part-time business, she took the plunge in 2004 and went full-time
as PHOTO BY ELSA. Although she has had a couple of internships and dabbled in a few college courses, the majority of her skill has been self-taught.

Elsa is an amazing photographer coupled with an innate sense of the
psychology of behavior. She has natural instincts which put people
at ease in front of her camera. Many of her clients comment that it is the
most fun experience they have ever had having their picture taken.

Elsa’s natural creativity shines through in her graphic design. If you need post cards, brosures, business cards or other marketing materials she offers great design and printing rates. She made my new business cards and they turned out a perfect balance of professionalism and my own artistic mark. THANKS ELSA!!

Posted by: catailsandotherfoundthings | May 25, 2010

Susanne with Farmer’s Insurance

Meet Susanne Romo with Farmer’s Insurance and President of Women’s Networking Group of Chula Vista.

Meet the Romo's: Susanne, Ernie and Maggie

Not only is Susanne our gracious leader and inspirational networking partner, she has been working in the insurance and financial services industry since 1986. She graduated from Pepperdine University with a BSM in Business Management in 1992. The reason she decided to focus on insurance is that as she was helping clients to save money for retirement, she realized that most of her clients were horribly under-insured, and that one car accident could wipe out the years’ worth of work her clients had put into creating their financial future.

Susanne has a passion for helping the community, and does so via MILK, which stands for Managing Information on Lost Kids, which is the digital version of the Amber Alert. Susanne volunteers on the weekends at community events, photographing hundreds of children each time and providing their parents with the MILK software. The MILK software allows parents to send an email to all 17,400 law enforcement agencies across the country in case their child goes missing, as well as create posters and flyers with their child’s photo and vital information. Susanne has photographed over 4000 children over the past 4 years.

Susanne is also a volunteer Big Sister, and has been in a ‘match’ with her ‘little’ for 7 years. She is proud to say that her “little” is more outgoing, is doing better in school, and is now planning on attending college.

Susanne’s agency helps with both personal (auto/home/umbrella) policies as well as commercial policies (general liability and workman’s comp, plus selected E&O policies). She has a fully bilingual staff.

Posted by: catailsandotherfoundthings | May 25, 2010

Women’s Networking Group of Chula Vista

I have recently had the privilege of joining a Women’s only Networking Group in Chula Vista. I was invited by my friend and neighbor, Heather who owns a pet sitting/dog walking company and has been a member of this dynamic group of women for a while. This is a group of lovely ladies who inspire and motivate each other to success in many elements of their businesses. We meet every other week, at the Prudential California Realty Office in Eastlake, near Target, at 9:30 AM for approximately 1 hour. We share stories, struggles, leads and we all share a passion for seeing one another find success.

My blog is a perfect platform to introduce you to some of them, as well as share a little with you about our group and how it could be beneficial to you, or a business woman you may know.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact any one of us directly. All members are listed to the right of this post on my blogroll. Or, visit our Womens Networking Group website:

Thanks for continuing to support my blog and watch for articles on each of my WNG partners!

Posted by: catailsandotherfoundthings | May 14, 2010

Painting and Light


Today we begin a journey through the beautiful world of painting and light. Light is a magnificent creation and without it painters, like myself, could not survive and thrive. Painting would not be possible. “Light is not only the energy that drives our lives – there would be no life without it – it’s also the energy that defines our art. There would be no art without it.” -Phil Metzger

Painting has always been a passion of mine, a lifeblood. Therefore, I have learned to appreciate and respect the role that light plays in my life and art, but to master the use of light in each setting and each individual piece can be a challenge. I hope that these articles will ‘shed some light’ for you on using light in your paintings, no matter what sort of artist you are.

Article #1: Value, Color & other important Light terms.

To understand light one must understand two other terms: Value and Color.
Value is the lightness or darkness of an area. Ranges of value are used to create focal points. Light objects with dark background are noticed instantly, as will dark objects with light backgrounds stand out. A grade of value is also used to develop an illusion of depth. Light and dark may give a three-dimensional illusion, like shading part of a painted face. The darkest value is black and the lightest value is white.

Color is a visual effect of things that result from the light they emit, transmit or reflect. Objects have no color, rather they reflect a particular wavelength of light to the eye. Color varies, appearing differently when seen through incandescent, florescent or natural lighting. Colors can change with different surroundings as well.

(image credit to wiki color vocabulary:

Color Terms

In our main color scale we have primary and secondary colors.
Primary colors are red, yellow and blue and secondary colors are defined as orange green and purple. The color circle is a great way to view how the different colors mixed create other colors. The color mixing process is a beautiful art form all in itself. Using primary and secondary colors, the amount of color possibilities is endless.
Complementary color of a primary color (red, blue, or yellow) is the color you create by mixing the other two primary colors. So the complementary color of red is green, of blue is orange, and of yellow is purple.

Hue is the quality of a color as determined by its dominant wavelength. It is essentially the name we give to each color (red, blue, yellow, green).

Another term we use is intensity which describes how strong or week, bold or dull, a hue is.

I hope you have enjoyed this article. Please continue following my blog as we continue through our journey of Painting and Light.

“The whole world, as we experience it visually, comes to us through the mystic realm of color.” -Hans Hofmann

Posted by: catailsandotherfoundthings | May 12, 2010

Smoky Portobello Mushroom Soup

I recently heard some amazing research on the holistic health benefits of mushrooms. There are even studies being done on some exotic mushrooms that could potential cure or prevent cancer. Today I am sharing with you an amazing recipe I stumbled across on The Artist Point Wilderness Lodge’s Smoky Portobello Mushroom Soup.

Portobello mushrooms pack a punch of nutritional value. They are low fat and high fiber. They contain selenium, a mineral for optimal antioxidant activity, potassium, B vitamins and their polysaccharide and beta-glucan components show anit-cancer properties.

A shopping tip for picking the best portobella’s is be sure to look for the smoother and firmer caps that do not have any slimy wet patches. Store them in a loose closed paper bag in the refrigerator.

One cup of grilled portobello slices contains:
Calories: 42 kcal
Fat: 0.9 g
Carbohydrates: 5.9g
Protein: 5 g
Fiber: 2.7 g
Glycemic Index (GI): Low (below) 55

6 medium portobello mushrooms
3 medium smoked portobello mushrooms
1/2 cup sweet onions
1/2 cup chardonnay
1 1/2 qts. heavy cream
24 oz. chicken broth
1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped garlic
1 1/4 cup white roux (equal parts of butter & flour; cook slowly over low heat)salt and pepper to taste
chive oil
roasted shitake mushrooms
chives cut for garnish

Pre-prep of ingredients:

* Smoked Portobello Mushrooms
-In a home smoker, place thick slices of portobello mushrooms on the rack and cold smoke for one hour
(oak chips are suggested)

1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Cut 6 slices of your favorite bread into 3/4″ squares.
3. Toss in a bowl with 1/4 cup melted butter.
4. Place on a baking sheet and season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Bake at 325 degrees until brown.

*Chive Oil
1. Place 1 cup of light olive oil in a blender and add to that 1 cup of chives.
2. Blend for 30 seconds and let rest for 1 hour.
3. Strain through a find sieve.

*Roasted Shitake Mushrooms
1. Thinly slice 2 cups of Shitake Mushrooms.
2. Toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a little salt and pepper.
3. Place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven at 375 degrees until crispy and golden brown.

*Sour Cream
1. Place a little sour cream in a bowl and whip it up by hand until smooth.
2. Set aside.

1. Clean the portobellos by wiping them with a damp towel, remove the mushroom gills.
2. Saute the onions lightly.
3. Add the unsmoked mushrooms to the onions.
4. Add the garlic when the mushrooms are almost cooked.
5. Add the smoked mushrooms.
6. Add the Chardonnay and reduce by half.
7. Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer.
8. Place in a blender or food processor in batches.
9. Add the heavy cream slowly and continue to blend.
10. Season to taste.
11. Place the mixture back into the pot.
12. Add the Roux and let simmer for 20 minutes.
13. Serve hot and garnish with croutons and roasted shitake mushrooms, a dollop of sour cream, drizzle with chive oil and cut chives.

Now, whip it up and enjoy!  Please share your comments and any other delicious mushroom recipes you suggest.  Always remember that some wild mushrooms are poisonous, so be sure you are selecting only store bought mushrooms.  Every mushroom type has different nutritional value and details can be found on Wiki or google search engines.

Posted by: catailsandotherfoundthings | March 8, 2010

George Washington by Vaughn

From the Worlds Most Beautiful Paintings – Copyright 1966 by R.T.V. Sales Shorewood Reproductions.

If you have ever been in the White house or any other State Capitol Building across American for that matter you would have seen the many beautiful traditional paintings and portraits of those that have held office there or of the other great Americans who have fought for our nation.

One of my favorite portraits is that of George Washington in “The Corcoran Gallery of Art” in Washington D.C. It was painted by Gilbert Stuart a Great American Painter who lived from 1755 – 1828. Gilbert Stuart was born in Newport Rhode Island, the son of an insignificant snuff-grinder. As a boy, Stuart was fairly wild and given to boyish pranks, but he was already painting on commission by the time he was fourteen. Prominent citizens of Newport sent him to study with Cosmo Alexander, a visiting Scottish portrait artist who took the gifted Stuart back to Edinburgh with him in 1770. Two years later, artist in a manner that proved that he had not absorbed the elegant techniques of 18th century British and Scottish Artists. When the American Revolution broke out, Stuart left for London where upon discovering that his rough American style did not please the English, he studied with Benjamin West; learning from him how to paint the glean of satin and silk and the translucence of flesh.

When Stuart opened his own studio, he was phenomenally and very rapidly successful, for West’s training had opened the path to his own natural genius. Stuart, however was an excessively nervous man and he began to drink heavily to quiet his nerves. Stuart, however was excessively led to debt and to avoid debtors prison, he fled from Great Britain and returned to the United States in the winter of 1782-1783.

Once in his own country and freed from the necessity of competition with the English artists, Stuart who once said that “Flesh is like no other substance under heaven” could paint portraits as he saw fit; almost totally eliminating backgrounds and bodies to concentrate on physiognomy and character, achieving his effects by his brilliant treatment of the skin tones. The Vaughn portrait of George Washington exemplified the necessary qualities of leadership; he has no need for symbols or decorations to indicate either his rank or his greatness. That this portrait still symbolizes the underlying principles of the Constitution of the Bill of Rights is proof enough that Stuart had translated into art the ideals of the founding fathers; he had transmuted what he learned in Europe into something uniquely American.

This excerpt was taken from 100 of the World’s Most Beautiful Paintings, 1996.

Posted by: catailsandotherfoundthings | March 1, 2010

Photography Tips

Physical Likeness & Character Make a Good Portrait

We have all gotten lucky at one time or another and had a photograph we had taken come out extraordinarily beautiful.  We have also had many more that were unmentionable.  A good portrait will contain at least one element that reveals the subjects personality, attitude, unique mannerisms, special markings in the case of an animal or any other features or traits that form the individual nature of the subject.  To do this you must feature a common ground in the picture with the subjects mannerisms, interests etc., and show the subject relaxed in most cases ( I have seen portraits of horses in a raring up position that are very beautiful though unrelaxed, but this is an exception).

I love to capture children’s pictures when they are no aware the camera is on them.  They tend to go right into a posing mode as soon as they see the camera and very often lose the spontenaety we love to see in their portraits.  To see a toddler climbing into a wagon, a little girl playing dress up or a child with a pet and not be aware of a photo being taken can be an awesome candid photograph for a portrait.  Don’t hesitate to take lots of pictures even though you may feel you have already captured the shot you want.  We are often surprised how different certain shots look once they are printed or cropped.

Adult Portraits are often more dramatic when the subject is looking directly at the camera, whether formal or casual in dress or pose.  Lighting plays an important role also  An in’in studio’  photographic portrait most often lacks shadows while for the painted portrait it is important for the painting to have contrasts to create the 3D effect we want to make the portrait realistic.  Whether you choose a posed or candid picture to have a portrait painted of, try to choose the one that best shows a good likeness of and character of the subject.

For me pet portrait photographs has been the most difficult to capture all that I strive for.  It seems I need to take at least twice as many pictures as I do for People Portraits.  I guess it is because they are not as cooperative during a shoot.  If you are considering a pet portrait painting, I would suggest you keep your camera handy and take pictures often until you find the one best represents you pet.

Try to stay on the same level as your subject or sometimes even being a bit lower than your subject can dramatize and best show off the event you are trying to capture.

Posted by: catailsandotherfoundthings | February 18, 2010

Hello Blogosphere!

Thank you for visiting my blog!  I am very excited to share with you my ‘Cattail’s and Other Found Things’.  Here I will share with you stories of life, food, my work as an artist and much more.

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