shishito soup

My daughter was craving shishito peppers. She wanted to drive 40 minutes to the nearest Trader Joe’s to get some. But I wouldn’t go. There is a pandemic! My small-town grocery store feels much safer, especially at 6am.

And what happens a week after she moves out of state? My small-town grocery store has shishito peppers.

I understood her simple recipe of blistering the peppers in olive oil and sprinkling with salt, but it just didn’t fit into the meal schedule. I was craving soup and could it have anything to do with the -9 windchill weather we are having? Yes – that is a negative sign before the 9.

Naturally, I googled to find a recipe, but found nothing. So here it is. Delicious – and completely made up by me.

shishito soup

A creamy base mushroom soup with amazing flavor
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: mushroom, shishito
Servings: 4
Calories: 242kcal
Cost: $6


  • small stock pot


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 10 shishito peppers wash; cut off stems; cut into .5" pieces
  • 8 oz fresh raw mushrooms slice
  • 1 shallot diced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 2 tsp L.B. Jamison's chicken flavored soup base
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Heat olive oil in stock pot. Blister pepper slices and sprinkle with salt. Remove peppers from pan.
    Add the butter to the pan and sauté mushrooms and shallots for five minutes. Stir in flour to coat the mushrooms, then slowly add milk while stirring. Add thyme, bullion, and blistered peppers. Cook on medium and stir until there is a low boil and broth has thickened.
    That's it. So easy and so good.


This soup is easy to make and has amazing flavor. 

I’m already dreaming about another shishito soup recipe – maybe beef base with a hint of tomato.

Stay warm!

paper making

I first made paper when I was going to grad school at uw-madison. I was working on my masters in graphic design and I wanted to have some fun, so I took book making. It was fun! I won’t kid you, being an art major is too good to be true and so is being a graphic designer. I have absolutely loved my career. Back to paper making.

Before my Dad died, I interviewed him about his life. Each page of this book had quotes from the interview. I illustrated seven trees to represent each person in my family and illustrated the initial caps to match the trees. The pages of the book are held together with tree branches. see more

Part of the bookmaking class was actually making the paper for the books. We learned about different binding methods, printing, etc. The classroom for paper making was amazing. It had two pulping machines–large containers with sort of a lazy river and grinding system. We brought in used fabric made of 100% cotton and cut them into 2″ scraps. I went to the local resale shop and picked up some sheets, t-shirts and tablecloths. The scraps of fabric flowed around the lazy river, and at one point, funneled through grinders. Over the course of a few hours, the fabric turned into pulp–a mush of cotton.

The classroom also had large sinks, drains in the floor, huge buckets, screens large and small, drying racks and a hydraulic press to squeeze water out of the paper. I don’t have any of that at home, but paper making is still fun.

You’ll need a few things. The screen is essential. A bin can be used to screen the pages. If you buy a kit, it may come with a sheet of felt-like material. That’s fine, but I recommend finding an old wool blanket and cutting it into squares slightly larger than your screen. I found my old army blanket at the local resale shop. Wool is key. When you peel off the screen, you want the pulp to stick to the wool.

Basically, as the video shows, have a bucket of pulp and another container to screen the pulp. If you are looking for consistency, start with enough pulp to create the desired thickness and then add consistent amounts back in after making each sheet to maintain that thickness.

The pulp can be bought ready to go. Just ad water and depending on the quality, you probably want to soak in water overnight to make sure it’s loose. For the brown pulp, I used some packaging. It looked similar to egg carton material. I tore it into 2 inch squares and soaked it overnight. By the next morning it was broken down into mush. I ran my mixer through it to break up any chunks.

Leave the sheets of paper on the wool until completely dry. They may curl up if you them off early. The lawn chairs and table provided a great place to work. The screen on the table allowed the water to drip down and screen on the chairs made for fast drying.

from left to right, the first three are 100% recycled cotton. The third piece has seeds in it. The fourth is recycled packaging.

painted wood?

partially stained and partially painted white
stairs with wood clearly from the 90's - that yellowy oak.

My old house had tons of woodwork that I never would have painted. Big thick baseboards, doors, pocket doors, and a pantry all had original stain and aging. But what about a newer house with wood from the 90’s?

I felt like it was dated.

The tile was replaced with cherry shortly after we moved in. I didn’t feel like the oak, no matter how I stained it, would look good next to the cherry. And I’ve always loved white painted wood. Still feeling guilty about painted the wood, I decided to meet half way and stain the wood white.

I screened off the hallway with plastic sheeting to contain the dust and used a rotary sander for most of it. Stripper did not seem like an option. I know myself well enough that I would not be able to keep the stripper off the nicely finished floors. I protected the floors with an old rug while sanding.


Between the rotary sander and the corner sander shown below, it only took about four hours to sand.

It took me a while to decide if all of it should be stained or just part of it. I started with a thin mixture of paint, plaster of paris and water. I worked in layers until I was happy with the color. The first few coats left a pinkish hue. 3-4 coats made it white, and the wood grain shows through as I wanted. The main boards were painted solid white. It was still a chalk paint mixture, but less water. Two coats of paint and several coats of Minwax Paste Finishing Wax should hold up to the traffic of the entryway.

This job isn’t done yet! We are still debating: do we replace the steps with cherry? Or sand the oak stairs and replace carpeting?

to be continued…


I’ve always wanted to try this. Now I have time.

The romaine lettuce appears to be growing… slowly.. but yeah. When I have time, I’ll see if there is something I should add to the water. For now, I am trimming the base to start and I refresh the water every day.

I’ve grown avocado pits before. My most successful “tree” got to be 12″ before I neglected it. It takes a long time for the pit to show any growth… maybe three weeks? I can see the brown outer skin on the large one is starting to crack. A sprout may be poking through soon. I used some toothpicks to keep the pit upright. This is the first time I have a vase like this. I had received it a couple years ago with tulip bulbs in it.

avocado pits
experimental orange seed

I remember my grandma ruby had an orange tree in her living room. I think it was at least several feet tall. It seems like I remember smelling it, but I may be confusing driving through the orange groves in Florida.

So a little potting soil inside an eggshell. A little dirt in the bowl will hold it upright. I admit, I don’t read things thoroughly or follow directions. I read something about nutrients in the eggshell and when the sprout is ready to transplant, crack the shell a little so the roots can explore.

You won’t get facts here. It’s all random, experimental and no disappointment if it fails.

potato fail

speaking of fails, the potato thing didn’t work. even though i changed the water frequently, the potatoes rotted and smelled horrible. I’ll try to find a safe way to get to the greenhouse for some real starter potatoes. curbside pickup?

shiny objects

some of these marbles were those I played with in 2nd grade–over 45 years ago. Some were my dads!

keeping critters out of my garden is a real problem. I have yet to see a strawberry mature. sprouts are nibbled off before they are inches tall.

in addition to the fencing i’ve been working on, i thought some shiny objects might keep the birds out. a big bag of broken jewelry, marbles, and wire were used to make some beautiful garden necklaces. You can see… anything goes.