Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday Soup! I promised.

I did promise to throw this easy recipe out there, so here it is!.  The title sounds devine, the array of ingredients sounds overwhelming, but it really is a simple soup.  The combination of light broth with hearty bites makes this a studio favorite, with most any kind of bread.  So bake some and make some;  ...this is true comfort food for wintry days!

Chorizo, kale and winter bean!

2 tbsp     olive oil
1/2 cup   bacon, chopped
1  medium onion finely diced
3 large   carrots roughly chopped
4  pork chorizo sausages sliced into 1 inch chunks (get the cured Spanish chorizo, not the raw Mexican type)
1/2 cup sherry (i used red wine :-)
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp   smoked paprika
1 tbsp    tomato paste
fresh ground pepper
4 cups   chicken stock
1   28 oz  can of tomatoes, diced
16 oz can of navy beans, rinsed
1 bunch of kale (i used half the head, washed it, cut it into big bite sizes)
1/4 cup italian parsley roughly chopped

-In a large saucepan, heat oil and saute bacon until lightly browned. Remove from pot, set aside.
-Add chopped onion and saute until softened and golden brown. Remove and reserve.
-If needed, add more oil, add chorizo to pan and saute for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from pan and reserve.
-Deglaze pan with sherry or red wine, gently removing brown bits from bottom of pan with wooden spoon. These are the tasty bits!
-return onion and bacon to pot.
-add chopped carrot and stir in both paprika's, pepper and tomato paste. Cook this for two minutes before adding canned tomatoes and chicken stock.
-Bring soup to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cook until carrots are just tender, about 15 minutes.
-Finally add the reserved chorizo and any accumulated juices to the pot, along with parsley, navy beans and chopped kale.
-gently simmer for another 10 minutes to heat through.

We kept it in the pot in fridge all week and kept heating it up. Was delish!!

with some Cuban bread for dippin'

Friday, January 27, 2012

Fresh Food!

Working out of your home requires a different kind of organization than the usual commuter.  Having done the 9 to 5 grind for many, many years, it took some time to come up with a formula that would mimick a professional work setting, but, obviously, in a casual environment.   From organizing a schedule that includes a set work day, a few mind mandatory breaks, and ensuring that meals aren't being skipped, BUT then, you're at home, so there is always tackling the : cleaning, the walks with the four-legged creatures, the activities of  the two-legged creatures, the shopping, and bill-paying, and SHOVELing, and, and, and, ALL IN between the real "work".  Well, "efficiency" is my middle name.  Not really, but, let's just pretend it is.  So, when something new adds time to my 24 hour day, I have to speak up.  
snow day, warm fire!

This past Christmas this household received a gift called the "FoodSaver".  Immediately, I took notice.  Two of my favorite things : food and saving!  I had an inkling as to what it was, but I still mildly doubted the pretty box and all the wonderful things this machine claimed to do.  The test would be : how was it in action, in our kitchen, with our food? 
using his Java kitchen bench
So, we took it to task.  Our last grocery run was a bulk run and so I pulled out the machine and enlisted the help of the six year old apprentice.  After a few instructions, and a little extra help - he was merrily sealing and vacuuming every bag I filled.  Now, his little six year old hands did have some difficulty pressing down the lever that closes the unit, but true to his nature, he kept at it until he got it.  And, nailing down the right size bag took some trial and error, but, what a marvelous machine, cut the bags, seal one end, then suck the air out, and seal the other end.  The best part, without all the extra air, it eliminates that dreaded freezer burn.  And, it didn't take us very much time to package all the sausages, chicken thighs and ground beef in one shot. 

So, I can definitely recommend that if you like to freeze items, especially in the winter, like I do, this is the way to go.  Gift or purchased, it is worth the investment : this has proved to be a big time 'saver' around here.

(no promotional consideration was given by Foodsaver to the author for this recommendation.  purely my opinion and experience)

:: insight, RB Studio

Monday, January 23, 2012

Inside Job!

The new head of Quality Control, Pet Feeder division has settled in quite nicely, and has even been instrumental in some of the new designs for 2012.  Earlier this week I caught him hard a work, thinking and thinking and thinking ...

Since he was putting so much effort into it, I thought, maybe I could put some brain cells toward the effort too.  So, I went into the shop and had a look at some cut-offs of wood and a cute little design started to take shape.  A little hammering, pounding, screwing and glueing, added some color, two shiny new bowls and voila!  I was ready to present my creation to him.  "Hey Sonney, I want to take your picture with the new pet feeder, okay?"  I gave him a few minutes to get his bearings .. and then....begrudgingly he got up for the photo shoot.  And, then right back down again!  It seems that he was so worn out from all his duties that he just.didn'

looks great, can I eat UNDER it?

So, in the end, the new Pet Feeder stands alone.  It was approved by the new head of the department, and, maybe next time he'll have the energy to participate!

8" Pet Feeder in Medium Brown  

See : for awesome examples for your family pet!

:: insight, RB studio

Sunday, January 22, 2012

More Soup, For YOU!

Is there any food better than soup?  Probably, but the right soup is a hearty meal for a week.  Around here soup and "insert a side here" is practically a daily ritual, and it does not get old or boring.  I'm always looking for a new soup to add to the favorites.  And recently I found a soup to fulfill my kale kick.  But, I'll get to that in a minute.  First off .. the usual suspects...

Butternut Squash soup
Chicken Noodle soup
Split Pea with Ham
Salmon and Clam Chowder
Chorizo and Winter Bean Soup (with Kale)

Each one is made in a large batch so that it can be reheated for lunches and dinners.. then just add sides, like Cuban bread (that's right, a new favorite), grilled avacado and salami sandwiches, or oven baked tortilla chips.  In this studio, the easier the meals are, the more work that gets done along side the constant juggle of the everyday activities and needs of the brood. 
And, when the kid is sick, soup is the best way to feed his cold.

So back to the new soup - I haven't tried it out yet, but found the recipe at :

And, since reading up on kale, I had to include more of it in our meals, and give this one a try.

Here's a good article about kale:

Off to the store I go, to find more kale, then back to test out this soup on the staff, the apprentice is still sick, so MORE SOUP FOR HIM!

:: insight, the RB studio

Saturday, January 21, 2012

If you can't BEAT them, BAKE them!

Everyone I know has plans for a winter getaway, somewhere hot.  Friends are off to Florida, Mexico and Cuba, to name a few.  I dreamed of doing the same, looking up last minute deals, looking up deals for February or March or April .... all with the same sigh at the end of each search.  My thoughts were "it would be nice, but, but, but"  work, the child, the dogs, the work, the child, the dogs, oh yeah, and that little thing called 'extra moola'.  It is fun to dream, though, and to be happy for those going on their trips, because, it will be us again one day .. just not today.  So to beat the vacation blues, I found a recipe that, at least, made me laugh and also felt very comforting.  It made me laugh because I had never heard of it before ... "Cuban Bread" .. and it made me curious, is there bread specifically made in cuba, because, I don't remember it when I went years ago.?  In the end, it was comforting because, when I eventually ate it, I just thought about Cuba and our vacation there, and all the fun in the sun.

I found the recipe here :


Did I alter it,? No.  But, the next time, I will try a few things a little differently to suit my oven's heat.  It was very easy, as the recipe says, and is a great tasting quick bread.  Excellent with soups, which is the main food around this studio.

So, give it a try, and imagine a sunny destination while you're doing it.  It worked for me.

:: insight, the RB studio

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cookies equals Motivation

The holiday season is long gone, winter is here, and the six year old has been on and off sick for two weeks. If it's not a persistent cough it's the stomach flu (and that's a whole other blog about what it's like to have a child spew from the top of a loft bed!). So, even though it's a new year, it's been a bit difficult to kick start the staff into a consistent working rhythm. When I saw them snoozing it up in the sun this morning, I thought about delivering some motivation. Many Ideas came to mind, but in this studio, food is ALWAYS a motivator. It's a dirty trick to pull out the recipe box, but someone's got to get them back on their feet, and I need some help around here, fast, there's just TOO MUCH TO DO.!

I rolled and cut and docked and baked, and every now and then, I glanced over and saw some fluttering eyelids and running feet. It seemed to be working...albeit slowly, but once the waves of cinnamon and apple began working it's way through the studio, interest peaked...

Sonney Boy came over first, nose in the air.

(mmmmm! that smell..)

And, then Black Dawge thought it would be a good idea to look interested ...

"If I give you guys some, will you get back to work?" I asked.

"You can count on US!" they said enthusiastically. I was mildly skeptical, but I decided to trust them ... I mean really, look into their they not look like they're telling the truth??

True to their promises, they got right back to it (does checking their facebook count?). After some lip-smacking goodness, Black Dawge barked orders (as usual, after all, she is the top dog) while Sonney Boy got back into a tap, tap, tap rhythm that was music to my ears.

:: insight, the RB studio ::

Sunday, January 15, 2012

New Staff!

It's been very busy around the studio, so it was time to consider a new staff member to round out the team...someone to help with quality control for the very popular "Pet Feeder" pieces. Someone with a good nose for style and a flair for design and functionality. I scoured the newspaper for potential candidates, and came up with three names that seemed to have the experience and background that would fit in with our existing staff. Our close working environment requires maturity, patience, communication and an ability to work on your own, at times. SO, I was pretty sure I had the next Director of Quality Control, Pet Feeder Department, with these potential candidates, it was just a matter of getting through the interviews - I had it all planned out, the prying questions, the math tests, the observation techniques, the whole works! I was ready...

Okay, Let's be honest... He had me at HELLO!

Meet Sonney!

(Rescued from a local Shelter)

I Never Even Looked at Another Candidate!

A mature boy, at 8 years old, he has the most perfect manners, and dazzling eyes (one brown and one blue, oooh, the girls go ga-ga!). He doesn't speak often, but when he does, you know he's put alot of thought into it.

Now at first, while he was settling in, he had a hard time figuring out where his duties lay. Then, as his confidence grew, and he started getting involved in other staff members overseeing the coffee table department. And, the gathering table department, which is Black Dog's area of expertise, under the table, shnoofer that she is.

But, within days, he had it finally figured out!

(and this is my look of approval!)

Now that he's had his first bath (thanks to Doggie Styles), he's taken his show on the road. He visited Paws A Bit Boutique and put his paw of approval on all our existing stock, and even had a chance to sample their baking! mmmmm!

So, please join me in welcoming, Sonney. Rest assured that every one of our pet feeders has been thoroughly inspected by this hard-working, conscientious 'new' staff member, before it is shipped to your family! Enjoy the latest creations at :