Wednesday, April 30, 2014

NATURE NOTES AND WILD BIRD WEDNESDAY


When we were driving down the gulf coast of Florida, I saw a flash of two birds scratching in the dirt, in the long grass at the side of the road.  I had never set eyes on them before.  I found this extraordinary looking bird again at the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.  As I mentioned in a previous post, the park is also a rehabilitation center for injured birds.  It is called a Crested Caracaras and a member of the Falcon family.  They build large nests in trees or on the ground, and live 9 to 15 years.


 You can click on this link to learn more.




Today I am linking with Michelle's Nature Notes and Stewart's Wild Bird Wednesday.  Thanks for hosting these wonderful memes Michelle and Stewart. I enjoy joining in when I have something to share.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Food Post - Salmon with Soy Sauce and Brown Sugar Marinade

I am trying to put at least one recipe on here each week, at least for a while.  Here is the latest.


Gregg was away last week and he gave me leave to prepare all the foods that I love that he doesn't.  This is a family joke just in case you think he is being rather Victorian.  We have a deal, he doesn't eat liquorice in front of me and I don't eat hard-boiled eggs in front of him.  He also is not a fan of salmon so when he had been gone for a couple of days, I went down to the supermarket and bought a piece for myself.  I had found a recipe here which I wanted to try.

Soy Sauce and Brown Sugar Marinade

1-1/2 lbs. salmon fillets
Lemon pepper to taste
Garlic powder to taste
Salt to taste
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Season salmon fillets with lemon pepper, garlic powder and salt.

Combine soy sauce, brown sugar, water and vegetable oil until sugar is dissolved.  Place fish in a large resealable plastic bag.  Pour soy sauce mixture over the fish and seal.  Turn the bag to coat.  Marinate for at least two hours.  I turned it over a couple of times during but I am not sure if this is necessary, so you decide if you want to bother with that.

The recipe gives you two choices for cooking, one on the barbecue and the other in the oven.  If you use the barbecue it says to cook the salmon 6 to 8 minutes on each side, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

I wrapped mine in foil just like in the recipe, and baked at 425 deg. F. for 15 minutes or again, when you can easily flake the fish with a fork. The flavor was lovely. 



What did I think of this dish?   Tasty!  It will be going in my make again file.  As it was just me I only bought a small fillet and downsized the marinade accordingly. 

If you cooked it on the grill it probably would have browned more, but I was happy with how mine turned out and I wouldn't change a thing.  You can always pop it under the broiler for a little while if you prefer, but be careful not to overcook it.  

I served it with a simple salad of lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber.  I am not a fan of dressings so I usually leave them off.  Another side was half a yam, cut into fries and roasted in the oven.

Now, where are those eggs?  Got me some boiling to do!  

 (photo found online)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

TODAY'S FLOWERS #294


Here are my flowers just a little bit late. 
 
The link to Today's Flowers on the home page opens at 12.15 a.m. every Saturday, Eastern Time (US).  The old link will close the previous Thursday at 11.30 P.M.
To see beautiful blooms from around the world you can click here.  My grateful thanks to last week's participants.


These were again found in our favorite garden at Meadowlark Gardens.  If you would like to look at other posts, you can click on their name below this post. 








Today's Flowers was created by our good friend Luiz Santilli, Jr.



You can find beautiful flowers from around the world if you click here.

TF teamPupo - Sandy Carlson - Denise

If anyone would like to be a guest and share photos on our home page, details can be found at the top of Today's Flowers web site, which you will find here.





As I have some macros today I thought I would link with Laura's I Heart Macro here.  Thank you for hosting this wonderful meme Laura.

Shine the Divine

Saturday, April 26, 2014

CAMERA CRITTERS, SATURDAY'S CRITTERS AND BIRD D'POT

I will be in and out today and as I always have the moderation feature on to prevent spam, your comment may take a little while to appear.  Thank you to everyone who visits my blog.  I always enjoy reading your comments.  I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who are following.

I would obviously rather see these magnificent birds in the wild, but when we visitied the Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park in Florida, we were afforded the opportunity of seeing a pair of Bald Eagles close up.  They were living at the park after being injured.  


 This park is  a rehabilitation center not only for manatees but for all kinds of birds, many of which are released back into the wild.  If that isn't impossible, then they will be given a home here for the rest of their natural lives.

 
 To be in such close proximity to them was a real privilege and one I will always be grateful for.










  











Last night, once again, I had a dream
About an eagle in the blue,
And just like all the other dreams,
Right above my head it flew.

In every dream of it I had,
It landed somewhere close by,
And each time, I was so excited
For the beauty that caught my eye.

Our national emblem gracing the sky
For so long I yearned to see,
And envied those fortunate enough
To see him on the wing, being free.

When I awoke from the glorious dreams,
Some disappointment I did feel.
But then I overcame with happiness,
For the dreams had seemed so real.

Majestic Dreams
by
Stacy Smith

~~~~~~~


I am joining Misty's Camera Critters 








  Thank you for hosting these great memes ladies.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

SKYWATCH FRIDAY



My thanks to the SkyWatch Team, YogiSandy and Sylvia,  for hosting this wonderful meme.


Please click here to visit other sky watchers.


Happy SkyWatch Friday!

GOOD FENCES

This was taken in the children's garden at Meadowlark Gardens in Vienna, Virginia.  It is full of whimsical garden ornaments which I always enjoy, and also has a lovely fence to share today.


Thank you Theresa at The Run*A*Round Ranch Report for continuing another great meme.  Click on the blog link to see other participants, and the button below to find out more information.  


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

NATURE NOTES AND WILD BIRD WEDNESDAY

 

I am taking us back to the beach we visited towards the end of our time in Florida last February.  We had spotted a large number of gulls and I wanted to get some photos.  I expected to see only seagulls and it was a delightful surprise to find a couple of birds that were different from the rest. 

One that I was interested in and had never seen before was a Black Skimmer.  If you want to learn more about him you can click here and again here.







It has a very long, narrow beak.  The lower mandible is used for scooping up small fish as the bird glides over the water.










 
Occasionally they get told off by the seagulls.











 
Round Two?




Today I am linking with Michelle's Nature Notes and Stewart's Wild Bird Wednesday.  Thanks for hosting these wonderful memes Michelle and Stewart. I enjoy joining in when I have something to share.

Food post - Slow Cooker Butter Chicken


A lot of the time when we sit down for a meal,  I don't follow a recipe and fix our old favorite standbys.  However, when I do have the extra time, and more to the point, the inclination, I enjoy browsing through food blogs on line, for those times when we want something a little bit different.  Gregg loves trying ethnic foods, he actually started me on that path, but it took a while as I grew up in a very plain cooking household.  

My Mother was an exceptional cook and her meals were always ones to look forward to (her Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding will never be surpassed in my eyes).  However, after my marriage and with all Gregg's traveling from his navy days, he developed a taste for more exotic cuisine, and introduced me to it.  His Mother also was a great cook and used more seasonings and I had never been used to anything other than salt and pepper, but she taught me about such things and I took note.

I always remember a conversation with my Mum after I had lived in the States for a few years, and at the risk of repeating myself here because I have been writing this blog for a long time now, Mum and Dad were visiting and had been with us for about a week. Mum and I were in the kitchen, chatting over a cup of tea after she had watched me prepare another meal.  I remember going all out with the menu plan, trying to make my Mum proud of my developing cooking skills.  





After looking at all the ingredients I had on my counter, Mum said, with this kind of quizzical, very thoughtful look on her face, "You don't cook English any more do you Neesie?"  

It kind of took me aback because I hadn't thought about it up until that point.  I actually think I was making a spaghetti sauce and now it makes me smile because spaghetti and meatballs was an exotic dish to my Mum and Dad. You didn't get pasta unless you went to Italy.   

If they could have bought all their English groceries with them they would have but obviously would never have gotten it through the customs, not that they would have tried in the first place.  They were allowed to bring tea -  I think - and as we couldn't get English tea here back in those days, they always came with a suitcase full to the gills with PG Tips.  This was all gone by the time they went back and their empty suitcase was filled with all kinds of souvenirs to take home to family and friends.  

I love thinking back to that conversation Mum and I had in the kitchen all those years ago.  She would have been proud of the fact that Yorkshire Pudding was still on the menu.

At heart I am still a plain cook but I always find several recipes to browse through, and I asked Gregg to choose tonight.   His choice was Slow Cooker Butter Chicken by Chung-Ah at DamnDelicious.   You can visit the original recipe here.

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken
6 Servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 hours 5 minutes
total time: 5 hours 15 minutes.

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion, diced
1 (14 ounce) can light coconut milk
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves.

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium high high.  Add garlic and onion and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Stir in coconut milk, tomato paste, flour, garam masala, curry powder, chili powder and ginger powder until well combined and slightly thickened, about 1 to 2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place chicken into a slow cooker.  Add sauce mixture and gently toss to combine.  Cover and cook on low heat for 5 hours.

Serve immediately.



What did we think of this meal?  It was another hit.  I won't share anything that we haven't enjoyed.  The main reason I put recipes on here is that it is another way to save those that we enjoy, and can easily look up when we are in the mood to try it again.

I love getting the slow-cooker out.  Fixing things early in the day is a big plus, and by the time you sit down you can relax enough to enjoy the meal. Everything is in the pot before noon, and this leaves the afternoon for other things. 

Gregg asked if I could cook chicken thighs instead of breast and that was the only thing I altered. It cooked in the same amount of time.

This is the first Indian dish I have prepared.  It wasn't hot at all and if you do enjoy a little more heat, you can add extra chili to taste.  I offered to add more chili the next time but Gregg said no, he wouldn't change a thing.  

We are not eating out as much and it is one of the reasons I am making more ethnic dishes at home.  It stops the craving for meals we only found in restaurants before.

Thank you Chung-Ah for sharing this delicious Slow Cooker Butter Chicken.   Please check out DamnDelicious.  Her meals are varied and they look excellent.  I will definitely be going back to find more yummy meals.  You can find her blog here.

Monday, April 21, 2014

A touch of whimsy - The Fairy Garden


"When the first baby laughed
For the first time, 
Its laugh broke into a thousand pieces
And they all went skipping about
And that was the beginning of fairies."

~Peter Pan~


 "Who knows what secrets fairies like to keep.
Perhaps they whisper about the follies of humankind"

~Fairy Secrets - Brian Froud~


 "Blessed are those who see things in humble places,
Where other people see nothing."

~Author unknown~


 "Garden fairies come at dawn,
Bless the flowers and then are gone."

~Author Unknown~


 "And though you should live
In a palace of gold,
Or sleep in a dried up ditch,
You never could be as poor
As the fairies are,
And never as rich."

~Rose Fyleman~


"Some day you will be old enough
To start reading about fairytales again."

~C. S. Lewis~


"Did you know,
hanging a spray of primroses on your door
is an invitation for fairies to come into your home
and bring fairy blessings?"

~Author Unknown~


"Children, children, don't forget
There are elves and fairies yet.
Where the knotty Hawthorne grows
Look for prints of fairy toes.
Where the grassy rings are green,
Moonlight dances will be seen.
Watch and wait, oh lucky you,
If you find a fairy shoe:
For a ransom he will pay
Hobbling barefoot all the day.
Lay it on his mushroom seat,
Wish your wish and go your way.
If your wish should be discreet,
Never fear but he will pay."

~Dora Owen~


"Stories are like fairy gold, the more you give away, the more you have."

~Author Unknown~


"Admit it, we all need books
and fairy dust once in a while."

~Author Unknown~


"Down along the rocky shore, 
Some make their home.
They live on crispy pancakes 
Of yellow-tide foam.
Some in the reeds 
Of the black mountain lake,
With frogs for their watchdogs,
All night awake."

~Excerpt from The Fairies by William Allingham~
(You can read the rest of the poem here.)




Down along the rocky shore
Some make their home,
They live on crispy pancakes
Of yellow tide-foam;
Some in the reeds
Of the black mountain lake,
With frogs for their watch-dogs,
All night awake.

Read more at http://www.poetry-archive.com/a/the_fairies.html#UlT7OpdpIZVRRRYp.99
"Mist-clad in the light of the moon,
Starspun seekers I search for thee!
Faery light I ask they boon
Of branch and thorn and Elder tree!
Wood woven creatures, shadow weavers
River keepers come to me!
Just beyond reaching, never in keeping
Spirits of Faery I call unto thee.
Wind-hewn wildness, dark and brightness,
Spiral enchantments born of the sky.
Cradle me with Elven hands,
Abide with me, thy human child!"

~W. B. Yeats~ 



I hope you've enjoyed my touch of whimsy today.  I found this very special fairy garden at Meadowlark Gardens in Vienna, Virginia.



Down along the rocky shore
Some make their home,
They live on crispy pancakes
Of yellow tide-foam;
Some in the reeds
Of the black mountain lake,
With frogs for their watch-dogs,
All night awake.

Read more at http://www.poetry-archive.com/a/the_fairies.html#UlT7OpdpIZVRRRYp.99