Happy 2013!

2012 was an amazing year, full of discovery, travel, henna, and art. 2013 promises even more creative growth and I can’t wait to get started!

Highlights of 2012 were:revamping all my henna design books to a spiral-bound, laminated format, travel: from Palm Springs to Beijing to Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and back, the art postcard swap which stretched me artistically and introduced me to some fantastic new friends, and a few notable gigs with a Bollywood theme where the people were delightful and the mood celebratory.

Plans for 2013: a photo book of the cats that I met in Israel, expanded drawing and painting projects, and more focused henna design books with a few photos as well as drawings.

Since I’m from the South originally (grew up in Nashville, TN), I always have a ham for New Year’s along with collard greens, black-eyed peas (with a penny for good luck) and corn bread. This year, I’m trying a marmalade glaze on the ham and I’m combining the beans and greens with some rice for my version of the old Louisiana favorite, Hoppin’ John:

Hoppin’ Johnny Jr, Natasha-style
1 bunch collard greens
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbl chopped garlic (about 4-5 cloves)
ghee to sauté the greens, onion and garlic (about 1-2 tbl)
5 strips bacon
2/3 cup rice cooked in 1-1/3 cups broth (I used vegetable)
1 can black-eyed peas, drained
1/2 tsp hot smoked paprika
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup additional broth

Sauté bacon until it is crispy. Remove bacon. Add ghee and sauté onions, garlic and greens until greens are limp and the onion is translucent.

Add black-eyed peas, pepper and paprika and heat through.  Add cooked rice and stir until completely coated with spices and ghee.  Add remaining broth and simmer until absorbed.

Crumble bacon on top of dish and enjoy!

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