Something Fun and New

January 4, 2010

On Friday evening, after a long day of playing in the mountains, I was putting my kids down to bed and thinking a lot about where I wanted this coming year to take me.

Many of us have talked about creating community, and what it has meant to us to come together and learn from and inspire one another, and as the wishes of the year are unfolding, I realize that I want to see this amazing community grow even more.

A while back I started an interview series on this blog called Artists at Work. The interviews were of some incredible women who inspire me and help to fuel my creative life. I have wanted to return to the series in the past few months, but I really wasn’t sure if I wanted to stay in the same platform that I had been using.

This photo was taken at a mountain center that we visited over the weekend. It is actually a circle of stone and wood benches that is used for gathering.

I decided it would be fun to rename the series Circle of Stones, since that was one of the posts that really began to develop a sense of place for me. Instead of formal interviews and giveaways, I just want to get to know some of the unbelievable people who visit here with me everyday.

I envision the weekends with a full cup of tea, and all the amazing women I have met gathering together to meet someone new, or to discuss an inspiring topic. Maybe it will work well, or perhaps it will have to be tweaked, but either way, I want to give it a try. I just feel like there are literally thousands of us who come to the computer every day and share common interests and passions. It just seems like we should meet!

So I hope that you will join me on Fridays as we start things off.

I have made some changes around this space over the weekend, and I would love to know what you think (don’t hold back, I want your honest opinion). I still have some work to do with it, but I was happy to at least get it started. I have decided to stay here at Blogger for a bit, and not worry so much about moving to a different platform. Life has been good here, and I enjoy the simplicity that this platform has brought.

It is hard to believe that the holidays are now over, and that we are settling into the long Winter ahead. It was a cold weekend, but a beautiful one here in Colorado, and the family was clamoring for a “belly toasting” meal, as my youngest calls it.

I love polenta with all my heart, and a few years back I was in a restaurant that served a wonderful polenta and mushroom dish that just stuck to my ribs. I recently decided that I had to try and recreate it, and we have been enjoying this dish ever since. There really is nothing like simple comfort food to beat away the winter cold.

Thyme Mushroom Polenta
6 1/2 cups of water
2 bay leaves
kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
1 2/3 cup of polenta
1/4 cup of heavy cream
2 tbsp. butter
4 oz of fresh mozzarella
3-4 cups of sliced button mushrooms
1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
Parmesan cheese
Add salt and bay leaves to the water, and then stir in polenta. Bring to a boil, and stir constantly for 30 minutes.
Turn off the heat, and add the cream, butter and mozzarella. Allow to melt together.
While that is coming together, saute your mushrooms in olive oil until a deep brown color. Add the thyme, and a bit of salt and pepper, and pour over top of the polenta.
Top with curls of Parmesan cheese
Bernadette and I have a surprise for tomorrow, and I can not wait to share it with you!

Until then, have a great start to your week.

{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

bright and blithe January 4, 2010 at 12:39 pm

I look forward to seeing where this new path leads. There is certainly plenty of inspiration to pass around.

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Meg Evans January 4, 2010 at 1:29 pm

I'll be here to see what you're doing! (I was going to type "cooking", but we all know what you're cooking right now–that polenta looks yummy!)

Happy New Year!

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Brooke January 4, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Sounds like a great start to a new year. I hope it is all that you imagine. Love the new look of the blog… pictures are always good to lead you to good places (well, not always, but in this case, yes!). Love the name "Circle of Stones" by the way…. just seems so solid.

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Gypsy Forest January 4, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Wow, that polenta looks so yummy…. and I am really diggin' the new looks around here :)

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Valarie January 4, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Happy New Year Heather! It's great to be back and to catch up with everyone. I love your idea of circle of stones. I am in awe on a daily basis from all of these women I've come to know along the way…of course you are one of them. I so look forward to getting to know more about the people in our circle. Thanks for wanting to create so many wonderful moments for us.
I'm loving what you've done with your blog space. It is looking so crisp and beautiful. Have a great day friend.

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Suzanne January 4, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Great idea! And I think th enew look is very apealing:-)

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Gypsy Forest January 4, 2010 at 2:36 pm

And I especially LOVE the recipe index :) Thank you!

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maeghan January 4, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Love how it looks. I especially like the buttons on the side!

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eliz~ so wabi sabi January 4, 2010 at 2:58 pm

that circle of stone benches is a welcoming spot even in the snow. I once had a delicious polenta based dish at a restaurant for my birthday. I've never had anything like it before or since…your mushroom polenta sounds delish.
blessings~

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lorena January 4, 2010 at 3:12 pm

happy new year! thanks for posting the polenta dish – it looks delicious – something i'd definitely want to try…..anything w/mushrooms is perfect for me!

your picture of the gathering place is so beautiful – what a place to come together………

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Meryl January 4, 2010 at 3:12 pm

I want polenta right now, for breakfast even! And I like the buttons dividing everything out too…but now they've made me wonder, is there going to be another vintage swap soon?

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Thenotsotiredmummy January 4, 2010 at 3:58 pm

gosh I am starving after seeing that recipe now xxx i love to come and rest a while at your blog xx

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nicola January 4, 2010 at 4:18 pm

your blog changes are lovely. i spent part of the weekend fiddling with my blog to. time for change this new year.
i look forward to your circle of stones. i agree this community is a lovely one and influenced much change and motivation for me in 2009.
and thank you for the recipe! polenta is a long time favorite from growing up. my parents have always made it baked and firm, but when i lived in italy, i enjoyed it as a mush with tartufi (truffle mushrooms) mixed in. yum.
nicola
http://whichname.blogspot.com

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Julia January 4, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Circle of Stones is perfection! You know that I will be here until the last post that you make… Fridays….it's a date! I am loving your sidebar, especially the capture button, really stunning.

Polenta is yummy, thanks for the recipe.

PS, there is a little something for you here…

http://www.adirondack-mama.com/2010/01/timing-is-

Hugs my friend.

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Chelsea January 4, 2010 at 5:16 pm

Everything sounds very, very good. I'm curious about your circle of stones project — its sounds to be the perfect name, though… +Chelsea

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Mary YDP January 4, 2010 at 5:23 pm

I can't wait for circle of stones, Heather you have such a wonderful spirit about you– I can't wait to find our who inspires you!
And the polenta, I must make this soon.

Hope your holidays were wonderful!

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Ivy January 4, 2010 at 5:27 pm

I so look forward to your Circle of Stones community. The community aspect and all the things we can learn from each other is my favorite part of the blog world. The photo of the circle looks so inviting. Who wouldn't want to sit right there and spend time learning about each other?!

Oh, and I've never had polenta, but your recipe makes me want to try it!

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larissa January 4, 2010 at 5:36 pm

LOVE the circle of stones idea! I really enjoy learning more about the women behind the blogs – can't wait to see what you come up with. the photos that you take on your walks are amazing. And the polenta looks so yummy – it's a hit in our family too but we use onions instead of thyme.

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Lisa Q January 4, 2010 at 6:16 pm

your blog is looking great…makes me realize I need to give mine some attention. I love the circle of stones theme. That post was very poignant and inspirational to me. I'll be checking back to see what surprise you and bernadette have up your sleeves. Thanks for sharing the recipe…it sounds (and looks) fabulous!

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kyndale January 4, 2010 at 6:34 pm

The polenta looks amazing! One of my favorite (and one pot meals) is a risotto with mushrooms and peas. I am very much looking forward to more interviews! What a beautiful place you visited this weekend!

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Tonya January 4, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Heather,
Your blog looks wonderful. I love the idea of the circle of stones interviews and that recipe sound delicious! Looking forward to tomorrow's surprise.
Warm wishes.

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Its_Lily January 4, 2010 at 7:22 pm

I'm looking forward to what becomes the Circle of Stones. I don't usually come to the computer on weekends, but I'll be delighted to discover the news on Mondays. Your recipe for the Thyme Mushroom Polenta looks wonderful. I'll let you know if mine tastes as delicious as your picture makes it look.

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Shivayamama January 4, 2010 at 7:27 pm

Thanks Lily. That is why I want to do the posts on Fridays and Saturdays, so that it gives everyone a chance to read the post before the weekend. Have a great Monday, and let me know how that recipe goes.

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Kelly January 4, 2010 at 7:45 pm

yum! thanks for sharing!

and I can't wait to see the interviews. what fun!

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Shivayamama January 4, 2010 at 7:46 pm

Oh wow, I want your recipe! That sounds delicious

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kerry January 4, 2010 at 8:02 pm

I am really looking forward to Circle of Stones on Friday. You do have a bit of magic with all that you do here…
I can't wait to try the polenta after my next shopping trip!

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Shivayamama January 4, 2010 at 8:04 pm

I am really excited to see where this community can go to as well. It feels like so many of us are very tightly connected, and I think that we can have a larger impact the more we get to know one another.

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Stephanie January 4, 2010 at 8:19 pm

Sounds like you have lots of new things going on, can't wait to hear more about the circle of stones and the surprise you've got going! The meal looks so yummy and warm.

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Hannah January 4, 2010 at 9:08 pm

Your blog looks lovely Heather! I can't wait to learn more about the circle of stones :o)

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Nina - Tabiboo January 4, 2010 at 3:06 pm

The recipe sounds delicious and the snowy pictures are amazing – ours is just a smattering in retrospect, but it's snow and the children are excited plus it brightens the day so even a little is good.

I can't wait to see how your Fridays unfold,

Happy New Year and welcome to 2010 and warm wishes for a bright and shiny year,

Nina xx

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Jennifer January 4, 2010 at 11:16 pm

Oh my! That Thyme Mushroom Polenta sounds amazing; I'll have to make it next time my friend Amy comes for dinner with all our kids; hubby doesn't do mushrooms.

I think the changes you made look great; and circle of stones sounds awesome. I noticed that you'd asked Elizabeth of So Wabi Sabi for an interview; I can't wait to read that one. I love her blog!

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Arianne January 5, 2010 at 2:52 am

Oh that looks sooo yummy! I love mushrooms but I am not a big polenta fan, but they say your taste buds change every few months (?) so I might give it a second chance. I do love lots of thyme too on any belly warming cold weather dish.

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Earth Mama January 5, 2010 at 3:02 am

I do like the updated "look" and am very intrigued by The Circle of Stones…I can't wait to check it out…and the Polenta…yummmmm.

:)Lisa

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jamie January 5, 2010 at 3:28 am

I have recently found your blog and I am so encouraged and inspired. Your aspirations for 2010 were exactly the same kinds of things on my heart. Blessings to you as you create more community here. I would love to be a part of that.

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Jodi January 5, 2010 at 8:03 am

Your site's just lovely. And interviews are so much fun. What a great idea!

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AG Ambroult January 5, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Super excited for the Circle of Stones series–great idea. I am motiavted right now and looking for inspiration anywhere and everywhere so reading that will be perfect.

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Donna Ashton January 5, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Ohh..I am so excited to see what is in store for Friday..Circle of Stones sound great! Thank you for bringing this to us.

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Shivayamama January 5, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Thank you so much Jamie, your comment made my day :)

Warmly,
Heather

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Shivayamama January 5, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Thanks Arianne. I am sure that you could add some peas and parmesean and use risotto instead of polenta, and it would turn out pretty good. Actually, I might have to give that a try :)

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Shivayamama January 5, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Thank you Hannah, so excited foryour Home Baked Challenge

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Shivayamama January 5, 2010 at 4:10 pm

Thank you so much Kerry, your comment made my day!

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Shivayamama January 5, 2010 at 4:33 pm

You know, I have heard the breakfast polenta kind of rocks. I will have to try that sometime soon :)

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Shivayamama January 5, 2010 at 4:37 pm

Thanks Maeghan, it feels good to get it cleaned up and organized. Havea great day!

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perches January 5, 2010 at 8:08 pm

My goodness, that polenta looks DELicious. That's an amazing photograph of mushroomy goodness. This recipe is going on our menu for the weekend. Thank!

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kristyn knits January 6, 2010 at 2:17 am

I love your new header and sidebar changes! I'm with Lisa…I need to update my space too!
Can't wait to learn more about you and your fans!

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Courtney January 6, 2010 at 4:08 am

What a wonderful idea! I can't wait to see what Friday holds …

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Linda January 6, 2010 at 6:09 am

Hello Heather,
The interviews sound amazing and I love the new look of your blog:) We tried the toffee recipe 2 days ago and it was heaven, all the toffee is now eaten… Your recipe looks fantastic, I will definately have to try it this week…
Warmly
Linda

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Francesca January 6, 2010 at 7:22 am

I'm looking forward to your Circle of Stones on Friday (what a lovely name). I'm all for using the Internet as a tool to bring people together, and create more community feeling among us users (the horizontal kind you were reflecting on recently).

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