Artichoke Nachos

This is a great go-to recipe for a quick weeknight dinner.  I originally got it from Sandra Lee but have since made some changes.  Enjoy!

Artichoke Nachos

1/2 package tortilla chips
1 can black beans
1 jar artichoke hearts, diced into pieces
6-9 plum tomatoes, diced 
1 scallion (green onion), diced
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, shredded
mozzarella cheese, shredded
cheddar or colby jack cheese, shredded

* Grease a glass or metal pan (8 x 8 or 9 x 13) and preheat the oven to 350 degrees

* Put a layer of tortilla chips on the bottom of the pan.  Sprinkle 1/3 of each of the ingredients on top of the chips, finishing with the cheese.  Repeat this step until the pan is full and the ingredients have been used.

* Bake for 20 minutes and let cool for 5 minutes.  Enjoy with sour cream, salsa, or pico de gallo.


Mindful Living in Amsterdam

This week I spent a little time in Amsterdam, an amazing city that has a lot to offer anyone.  Besides the usual walking time around the city, I was actually surprised at how sustainable the trip became.  The tiny flat where I stayed was conveniently located within walking distance of almost everything but was also on several tram lines.  Plus, I had the pleasure of taking an eco-canal ride to explore the different districts further.  It was an electric boat that was small enough to pass through the tiny canals in the newly named UNESCO world heritage center of town.  On top of that, the city offered several organic food locations and a variety of vegetarian fare.

The best thing about being in this city was understanding the pace of living that the residents enjoyed.  With plentiful tourists and busy activities, the streets still managed to be pleasant and quiet.  Everyone seemed to be mindful of each moment they were spending in this beautiful place.  What a lovely goal to have for living a meaningful life!


Friday Favorites: Good Housekeeping Muffin Recipe

Breakfast on the weekends in my house is always a special treat usually consisting of a carb overload to make your belly nice and heavy for a late morning nap.  I've been using this basic muffin recipe for several years now as my go-to breakfast.  It's from the Good Housekeeping cookbook I received when I got married, and it's been the gift that keeps on giving.  Some of my favorite add-ins to the recipe include blueberries and cinnamon apples.  Give it a try:

Good Housekeeping Basic Muffins
(Adjusted slightly to my tastes)

2 1/2 c flour
3/4 c sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c milk
1/2 c (1 stick) margarine or butter, melted
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

* Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and grease your muffin pan.

* Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

* In small bowl, beat milk, melted butter, egg, and vanilla until blended.  Add to flour mixture until moistened.  If slightly too thick, add milk until it runs off spoon with ease.

* Add your favorite fruit, chocolate chips, or nuts to create your own flavor combination.

* Cook for 20-25 minutes and serve warm.



Gift Tags

Well, I'm starting to look at my holiday gift giving ideas to get an early start on some items.  Just thought I'd share some ideas for gift tags.  They can be a great way to add a handmade touch to your packages this year.

White pinwheel: Handmade in my home studio
Hot Chocolate: Seasonal Delights
Just for You: Handmade in my home studio using the Quickutz Silhouette machine
Red Snowflake: Hallmark
Stamped Pear: Seasonal Delights


Tailored Sustainability

I always have sustainability on my mind, but recently it's been a fairly constant train of thought.  I've been working on my thesis about sustainable housing and thinking of all the ways I try to live sustainably.  With all the hype these days, it's a little overwhelming to determine what you should really invest your time and energy into doing.

I subscribe to the idea that it's alright to tailor your social responsibility to your lifestyle and needs.  If there's no way you can walk or bike to work, then try to substitute on weekends with a walk to the market. If you're a die-hard for certain brands at the grocery store, just try a new environmentally friendly product every now and then until you find some you like.  If you can't live without drying your clothes in a machine, then aim to air dry a load of linens once a month.

It's all about giving what you can and living with the intention of leading a responsible and meaningful lifestyle.  Don't stress if every element of your house and life isn't quite up to the standard.  You can reset that standard in a way that makes you comfortable.  That's what living responsibly is about.

If you're still a little hesitant about this whole sustainble living thing, just take it at a snail's pace...


Mix It Up

Mixing bowls are a serious staple in my house.  I think I go through at least one a day from whipping up some pancakes, throwing together a fruit salad, or just mixing ingredients for dinner.  They're a great way to add style to a conventional and purpose-driven kitchen space.  Whether you go with glass, ceramics, or plastics, there's something for everyone.

Pyrex are actually my favorite all-purpose bowls but I do find it hard to mix liquids in them.  The bowls are somewhat shallow, and I usually end up wearing most of what I'm making.  The ones with rubber on the bottom suit me fairly nicely for baking.  Plus, you have to have at least one with a pour spout.


Product Photos

I've been slacking a little on blog posts this week as I prepare to open my Etsy shop.  My husband has been helping me out with taking some amazing photos of my wall art.  I do the staging, and he works the technology.  It's a perfect match!

I've been learning some great photography tips through the whole process.  Here are a few of my favorites:

* natural light is your best friend

* use natural materials and interesting textures in your backgrounds

* stage your photos to create a story

So, check out the photos of my new work and see these tips in action.



I'm on Pinterest.com!  This is a great site for those who like to bookmark their findings on the web but don't like maintaining them in list form.  It's for visual people in need of a huge pin board to see their inspiring pictures adjacent to one another.  What a simplistic, yet genius idea!  Of course, you do need to be very careful not to get sucked into it too much.  This helpful, little website can quickly become a time-consuming addiction.  So, beware!

Mostly, I plan to use my account as an inspiration board for my projects, though it has all kinds of great uses, especially for the home.  You could pin items for an upcoming party, compile recipes for baking, curate your own online art gallery, or pick paint colors that match your furniture.  The possibilities are endless.  Check out the stuff I'm pinning for a little encouragement to start your own board.


Petal Pics

I love passing by this little flower shop next door to a cafe I frequent in our village.  It always has the most vibrant plants outside for everyone to admire.  I can't help but stop and smell all the wonderful things they have available.  So, I thought I would share a bit of it for some gardening inspiration or an idea for a vase or two.


Friday Favorites: Floor Pillows

One of the first things that I learned how to sew was a pillow cover.  My sweet friend, Allison, taught me several years ago as I was renovating my first home.  I wanted to choose my own fabrics and patterns for the house to make it uniquely ours.  That's the great thing about learning to sew...a whole new world of design opens up to you.

I especially love the idea of making floor pillows because they are so easy to quickly whip up in an afternoon.  They've been really great for our cozy, little house in the UK since we have so little sitting room.  We just store them behind the sofa and take them out when company arrives.  Voila!  We have ourselves a lot more seating that creates a fun and casual atmosphere.

So, here's a link for a great little tutorial from Curbly to get you started with making your own floor pillows.


Orange Blooms Card

I've been hard at work on my collection for Etsy.  So, I thought I'd share a new photo card I've been making.  It will be available as a digital file that can be printed at home or at any photo processing store.  Send me an email at kristen.king@shortstackstudio.com if you'd like to pre-order it!

Photography by Loren Kerns


Tortilla Soup

This recipe is becoming one of my absolute favorites and has worked its way into my fortnightly dinner rotation.  The soup reminds me of some fabulous tortilla soup I used to get at a little restaurant on the Texas-Mexican border.  I've been trying to find a suitable replacement for it ever since moving away from Texas. This one is great because you just throw all of the ingredients in the slow cooker, and you're done!  I'm loving it!

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • 1 pound shredded, cooked chicken
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans diced tomatoes and green chiles
  • 1 (14 oz) can hominy (substitute another half package of frozen corn if cannot find)
  • 1 (14 oz) can black beans
  • 1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • tortilla chips (crushed)
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 package instant rice
  • shredded cheese
  • sour cream


*Place chicken, chiles and tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onion, and garlic into a slow cooker. Pour in water and chicken broth, and season with cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Stir in corn, hominy, black beans and cilantro. 

*Cover, and cook on Low setting for 6 to 8 hours or on High setting for 3 to 4 hours.

* To serve, add rice and a dollop of sour cream to each bowl.  Sprinkle tortilla chips and shredded cheese over soup.

(Recipe adjusted to my own tastes from the original by Elena on Allrecipes.com)


Screen Printing

This past weekend my husband and I took a screen printing class at the London Print Club.  It was a great beginners' class that focused on printing with water-based inks on paper.  I just really loved being in the studio full of creative people with different backgrounds interested in learning this new craft.

We brought several photographs that my husband took and adjusted in Photoshop.  Really, all of the graphics turned out fantastic, and I was very impressed by the products of this medium.  So, yes, I'm hooked and am already planning how I can accommodate this new hobby in my home studio.

Developing our images onto the screens

The fun part: using the squeegee full of ink

Time to wait

Finished products