Saturday, December 25, 2010

on the twelfth day of Christmas...

©2010, Monika Roe

 true love gave to me: twelve Drummers Drumming! Merry Christmas everybody!!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

on the eleventh day of Christmas...

©2010, Monika Roe

 true love gave to me: eleven Pipers Piping! Have a wonderful Christmas Eve everyone!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

on the tenth day of Christmas...

©2010, Monika Roe

 true love gave to me: ten Lords-a-Leaping!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Eve deliciousness

©2010, Monika Roe

Every Christmas Eve in Denmark Risalamande (or some version of it) is served for dessert. It's a sweet, rich rice pudding with whipped cream folded into it. A blanched almond is mixed in and then the pudding is dished out with fruit sauce poured over the top. In my family the fruit sauce is always strawberry, but you might find it with cherry or raspberry sauce (both of those just sound so WRONG to me!)

The person who finds the almond in their bowl wins a prize. The prize could be a marzipan pig or another sweet like a chocolate bar. My grandfather would always act like he accidentally swallowed the almond to win the prize, but somehow one of us kids always found the almond. Imagine that!

My grandmother made this every year and after she passed away the tradition fell into my hands. I haven't found her recipe for it, I suspect she didn't need a recipe because she was an amazing cook and worked from memory a lot. I reconstructed it using a recipe from Sunset magazine as a loose guide for the rice pudding, and my intuition for the sauce. It's spot on.

See my illustrated recipe for Risalamande on They Draw and Cook's website!

on the ninth day of Christmas...

©2010, Monika Roe

 true love gave to me: nine Ladies Dancing! Something a little different for this traditional carol!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

speaking of nesting dolls

When I was in St. Petersburg last year one of our guides said that you always want to open ALL the nesting dolls in a set that you are buying, especially from that street vendor who is giving you an unbelievably good price. Sometimes people get home and find the doll forms inside are all blank! So that good deal isn't so great after all!

on the eighth day of Christmas...

©2010, Monika Roe

 true love gave to me: eight Maids-a-Milking! As we get up to the large numbers of people in this song, the challenge is how to draw that many people and still have a clean design! For today, I chose to have a concept of Russian nesting dolls. So we have the maid-a-milking shown on the smallest interior doll, and 7 shells surrounding it representing the rest of the nesting dolls.

Monday, December 20, 2010

on the seventh day of Christmas...

©2010, Monika Roe

 true love gave to me: seven Swans-a-Swimming!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

my illo on the Food Network blog!

©2010, Monika Roe

Today my illustrated peppermint bark recipe was featured on The FN Dish, the Food Network's blog!!! It was one of my entries in theydrawandcook's holiday contest.

Read more about it here (FN blog) and here (TD&C blog)!

on the sixth day of Christmas...

©2010, Monika Roe

 true love gave to me: six Geese-a-Laying!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

on the fifth day of Christmas...

©2010, Monika Roe

 true love gave to me: FIVE GOLDEN RINGS!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

on the fourth day of Christmas...

©2010, Monika Roe

 true love gave to me: four Colly Birds! I always thought this lyric was "four calling birds". Not so according to the internet. A colly bird is a blackbird. In England colly means black like coal, it comes from the word for a coal mine which is a colliery. These black birds make strong shapes in today's illo.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

on the third day of Christmas...

©2010, Monika Roe

 true love gave to me: three French Hens! Ooh la la!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

bang, bang!

©2010, Monika Roe

Yesterday I took a walk on the wild side and asked my stylist to give me bangs. I like 'em!

on the second day of Christmas...

©2010, Monika Roe

 true love gave to me: two Turtle Doves! When I was drawing this I was thinking about my friend Jill who is currently battling cancer. This is SO Jill! Read more about this awesome lady and her experience at her blog "Kicking Cancer's Butt":

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

on the first day of Christmas...

©2010, Monika Roe

 true love gave to me: a Partridge in a Pear Tree! I know the 12 Days of Christmas technically start the day after Christmas, but I can't wait! Here's a sassy partridge to kick off my series.

Monday, December 13, 2010

'tis the season

©2010, Monika Roe

Holiday parties are in full swing! Have you recovered from your weekend yet?

Friday, December 10, 2010

the colors of Christmas

©2010, Monika Roe

Inspired by all of the colored trees I've been seeing this year in the homes of friends and family. The colors in my illo include (clockwise from top): Holly Berry, Santa's Cheeks, Sugar Plum, Blue Christmas, Forevergreen, 5 Golden Rings, Naughty Coal, and Cozy Fireside. Which one are you???

Thursday, December 9, 2010

not in a hurry curry

©2010, Monika Roe

I used a crockpot for the first time EVER yesterday! I know! First time EVER! I cook a lot so it may sound weird to those who know me that I've never used this commonplace appliance before. Heck, I even OWNED a crockpot years ago, but never used it. The whole concept seemed so planned. And planning that far in advance for a casual dinner was never appealing to me. But when I came across this recipe for Slow Cooker Coconut & Green Curry Pork* I couldn't get it out of my head. So, I borrowed a crockpot and fired it up for this 8 hours of curry goodness.

The whole crockpot idea seems '50s to me (even though it wasn't invented until the '70s), so I drew this illustration in a retro style!

*You can find the full recipe at I made one change to the recipe, I used lite coconut milk in place of the regular. Still yummy.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

advent calendars

©2010, Monika Roe

Loved having an advent calendar every Christmas when I was a kid. It was always the kind that had a piece of chocolate behind each window. A calendar with pockets like the one I've drawn here would have been too tempting to raid all at once!

Monday, December 6, 2010

under the mistletoe

©2010, Monika Roe

A pink Christmas illo to honor my mom's new PINK Christmas tree. Another friend of mine has a purple Christmas tree this year. Nice to see that people aren't afraid of color or breaking with tradition!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

pretty poinsettia

©2010, Monika Roe

Poinsettia bloom as a hat!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

cake truffles

©2010, Monika Roe

During December, really early in the mornings or really late at night I'm probably in the kitchen working on my holiday baking. There are certain recipes I look forward to making every year. Those pages in my recipe notebook have become quite a mess over the years, but reprinting clean copies isn't an option, in fact, it would be sacrilege! And then there are recipes that end up in my repertoire completely by accident. This is one of those recipes. Made one year because the recipe was so highly reviewed online, I now get requests for it every year.

Forget about my time consuming gingerbread with it's super secret ingredient. Alton Brown's fruitcake with it's deliciously long list of ingredients and 2 weeks of steeping time? Not interested! Sigh. THIS is the recipe people look forward to every year, despite the fact that it calls for just a few ingredients and those ingredients are as common as you can get. I give you: "cake balls". Yes, "cake balls". I changed the name to the more elegant sounding "cake truffles", but I admit they are really just "cake balls". Laugh amongst yourselves...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

glædelig jul

©2010, Monika Roe

To say "Merry Christmas" in Danish you say "Glædelig Jul"! Some of the things that are always a part of my Danish Christmas decorating are paper star ornaments, lots of greenery and red hearts, especially heart-shaped woven paper baskets hung on the tree! And if someone fills those heart ornaments with candy I won't complain!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

cold weather, hot cocoa

©2010, Monika Roe

Sometimes when the weather gets cold (oh yeah, it does happen in California!) my coffee mania gives way to a craving for hot chocolate. Tonight I'm indulging in a warm and cozy mug of Chocolate Azteca by Tio Pablo of Auckland, New Zealand. It's an "Oaxacan blend of dark cocoa, cinnamon and chili spices". To order yours go to Mmmmmm......

Monday, November 29, 2010

blue and red...

©2010, Monika Roe

 one of my favorite holiday color combinations. There's something so retro cool about it!

Friday, November 26, 2010

it's on!

Fall decorations are coming down today and being replaced with Christmas! To kick of the season here's one of the illustrations I did for the Ideal Home December issue.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

happy thanksgiving!

©2010, Monika Roe

Still life complete. Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you have a great day with family and friends...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

still life part 3

©2010, Monika Roe

Part 3 of my Thanksgiving still life. Still need a few things for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow so I'm off to the store when I get a break! Making Giada deLaurentis' Ciabatta Stuffing with Chestnuts and Pancetta this year. I need to get the ciabatta bread and Italian parsley. Can't wait to start cooking and hang out with my family tomorrow!!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

still life part 2

©2010, Monika Roe

Part 2 of my Thanksgiving still life. I'm gearing up to make the meal on Thursday! Going over to my mom's later after work to pick up the roaster for the turkey. That was a great purchase, it frees up the oven for cooking the sides and makes the days work much easier!

Monday, November 22, 2010

thanksgiving week

©2010, Monika Roe

This is part one in a progressing Thanksgiving still life I'm doing for the blog this week. I'm going to drag out autumn as long as I can! Looking forward to Christmas, but still loving the colors and feeling of fall.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

it's raining, it's pouring

©2010, Monika Roe

It's been raining all weekend. This is one of my favorite rainy day illustrations. Of course I had to draw her with fabulous rainboots!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

mandarin orange

©2010, Monika Roe

The mandarin oranges on the tree outside my studio window have finally reached a beautiful orange color. Just lovely!

Friday, November 19, 2010

the California Fig Advisory Board rocks!

The California Fig Advisory Board sent me a package today (courtesy of! WOW! They were so generous, tshirt, totebag, flash drive, recipes and 4 giant bags of figs. I'm a lucky girl!

mother & daughter

©2010, Monika Roe

This is an illo I did of my dear friend Marcia and her daughter Zoe. I wanted to show the love between a mother and daughter and their gorgeous hair!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

fig recipe

©2010, Monika Roe

This is the fig recipe I illustrated for As a result the California Fig Advisory Board is sending me figs! Score! I'm also working on a couple more recipes for their holiday contest...