Wednesday, July 26, 2017

BLANKET FLOWERS



A Flower is a Flower

I did not bring you roses
When you searched for something rare,
Instead I brought you daisies
And I hoped you wouldn't care;

And now I look behind me
With a wistful little smile - 
You would have taken dandelions
And loved me all the while.

~Linda Ori~



Tuesday, July 25, 2017

DID I TAKE HIM HOME WITH ME?

Nope, but....


you are never too old to hug a teddy bear.  


My old one is still around but stored away for safe keeping.  Below is an old photo I have shared before, and if you know me from my old blog, maybe you remember the photo.  That bear was a gift from my parents when I was a year old.


Yes, I'm still hugging them, just maybe not quite as often.





Monday, July 24, 2017

MONDAY RECIPE - SHRIMP ROLLS WITH QUICK PICKLEs AND SWEET POTATO WEDGES


While Bill from New Zealand was with us, I stopped the Blue Apron deliveries for two weeks.  I knew there would be a lot of sight-seeing and probably eating out.  


Bill is still traveling.  From us he went down to Florida to visit a cousin, from there he flew over to England to visit another cousin.  We have been enjoying his travels via Facebook.  (Gregg shows me photos as I don't do that but rarely, sorry!  I will get back into it sometime, the same for my memes.)  Bill has another country to visit before he gets back to New Zealand.  And if you see this Bill, we loved having you stay with us for a while.  Happy Traveling!

Getting back to today's recipe, I arranged for the BA boxes to start again the morning we took Bill to the airport (I wrote this on June 16th), as I knew we would be home from Richmond well in time for the delivery.  The package is well sealed in large refrigerator packs but still, I don't like to leave them out for any length of time in hot, muggy weather. This being the case, I checked every 10 minutes around the time they were due on the doorstep.  I only had to check a couple of times before they arrived.



Shrimp Rolls with Quick Pickles and Sweet Potato Wedges.  

Cooking time: 25-35 minutes
Makes: 2 servings
Nutrition: 760 calories

(If we have a question about a particular technique, there is usually a video at their website.  It makes a great visual.)

10 ounces of raw Shrimp that have been peeled and deveined (the shrimp from Blue Apron are already shelled and deveined)
2 Hot Dog Buns
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 Kirby Cucumber (we will use a regular hot house cuke if we can't find the Kirby, using perhaps half of a medium size.  All depends on how much you would like to add.)
1 Lemon
1 pound of Sweet Potatoes
1 Stalk of Celery
1 Bunch of Dill
1 tablespoon of Sugar
1 Red Fresno Pepper (will juse a jalapeno or equivalent pepper if we can't find the Fresno.)
1/4 cup of Creamy Mustard Sauce (Dijonnaise Sauce - recipe below)
1/4 cup of White Wine Vinegar

Prepare and roast the sweet potatoes:

Preheat your oven to 475 degrees F.  

Wash and dry the sweet potatoes.  Cut the sweet potatoes lengthwise into 1/2 inch wide wedges and place on a sheet pan. (I use non-stick aluminum foil to cover the pan for easier clean-up.)  Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Toss to coat and arrange in a single layer.  Roast 24 to 26 minutes, or until browned and tender when pierced with a fork.  (They brown very quickly so I turn them half way through the cooking time.)  When cooked remove them from the oven and transfer to a serving dish.  Set aside in a war warm place. 

Prepare the remaining ingredients:

Peel and devein the shrimp if necessary.  Wash hands thoroughly and also any prep board used before continuing.  (I have two cutting boards - one for meat and one for vegetables.)

While the sweet potatoes roast, wash and dry the remaining fresh produce.  

Peel the garlic and using the flat side of your knife, gently smash each clove to flatten.  (I always use a garlic press.)

Roughly chop half the dill.  Keep the remaining dill springs whole.

Quarter and deseed the lemon.

Quarter the cucumber lengthwise, halve crosswise.  Place in a medium heatproof bowl; top with the juice of 2 lemon wedges.  Toss to coat.  

If necessary halve the buns by cutting lengthwise across the top, but leaving the bottoms intact.

Thinly slice the celery.  

Cut off and discard the stem end of the pepper; half lengthwise, then remove and discard the ribs and seeds.  Thinly slice the pepper crosswise.  Remember to thoroughly wash your hands immediately after handling the pepper, and do the same with the cutting board.

Make the pickles:

While the sweet potatoes continue to roast, in a small pot combine the vinegar, sugar, garlic, whole dill springs, a large pinch of salt and a 1/4 cup of water; heat to boiling on high.  Once boiling, cook without stirring for 2 to 4 minutes, or until the liquid is slightly reduced in volume.  Carefully pour into the bowl of cucumber and stir to coat.  Set aside to cool, stirring occasionally for at least 10 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the shrimp:

While the pickles cool, rinse the shrimp and pat dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper.  In a medium pan (nonstick if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high heat until hot.  Add the seasoned shrimp.  Cook, stirring occasionally for 2 to 4 minutes, or until opaque and just cooked through.  Transfer to a medium bowl.

Toast the buns:

While the shrimp cooks, place the buns on a separate sheet pan, cut side down.  Toast in the oven 3 to 4 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned.  Remove from the oven and transfer to a clean work surface.

Dress the shrimp and plate your dish:

To the bowl of cooked shrimp, add the celery, creamy mustard sauce, the juice of the remaining lemon wedges, and as much of the hot pepper as you would like, depending on how spicy you would like the dish to be.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir to thoroughly combine and again season with salt and pepper to taste.  Evenly divide the dressed shrimp between the toasted buns.  Now put one of the shrimp rolls on each plate, along with the roasted sweet potatoes and pickles (discarding the liquid, garlic and dill sprigs before serving) between 2 dishes.  Garnish the rolls with the chopped dill and enjoy!

Dijonnaise Recipe:

Whisk together 1/2 up of high-quality mayonnaise with 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard.  Season with salt and pepper but not too much as the mustard already has plenty of these ingredients.

Taste and adjust to your liking.  

You can also adjust the amounts according to how much you need.

Other suggestions: add 1/2 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt or a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. or even a little Worcestershire Sauce, along with a little chopped dill (or tarragon or thyme).  

A dash of Tabasco if you like it hotter.

Good with roasted vegetables, mix for a tuna fish salad.  

Dijonnaise also makes an instant base for a creamy salad dressing, or a pork loin marinade. Also great for sandwiches.



What did we think?  This was one of our all-time favorites and we seem to enjoy every meal they send us.  

You can leave out the salt and pepper if you have health issues.  I often do this as I tend to keep salt intake at a minimum.  

I still have a sweet potato in the fridge as Gregg doesn't eat them and we only used one of the potatoes.  It wasn't wasted as I roasted it for lunch the next day.  Next time I will serve with a mixed salad, though that potato is very yummy.

I found the sweet potatoes browned a lot, so I would suggest turning them over half-way through roasting if you have the same issue.

The calories seem high to some but we generally only eat two meals a day and don't over indulge at other times.  I try to keep healthy snacks in the fridge if we need them.



I love the recipe cards sent by Blue Apron.  The step-by-step photos, plus instructions, are very easy to follow.  Our role in the kitchen for the three meal plan we order, is that I sit at the kitchen table and read those instructions, and show Gregg the photos if he requires a visual.  He enjoys getting stuck in and does the majority of the work.  I set the table with cutlery, knapkins and our drinks.  I always prepare the garlic as it's not his fave, and sometimes do another prep if he wants the help.  It is a team effort and we enjoy our time in the kitchen together.  





Sunday, July 23, 2017

MORE PHOTOS FROM THE WASHINGTON NATIONAL CATHEDRAL

The following photos were taken below ground level, where there are five small chapels known as The Crypt.



This is The Resurrection Chapel, and contains mosaic scenes which depict the appearances of Jesus following his resurrection.



The mosaics in the back were designed by one of the most prolific and long-lived cathedral artists, Rowan LeCompte and his wife Irene.  




So the story goes, Mr. LeCompte became enamored by the stained glass on a visit to the cathedral when he was 13 years of age, and he took up the craft.


He has designed more than 40 stained-glass windows for the cathedral, including the great West Rose Window and all of the clerestory (top-level windows in the nave).






















If interested I found a YouTube video on the making of the mosaics.  If you can't see it below, the link is here.  The video wasn't very clear at times but the narration was informative.



The cathedral would appeal to those who are not Christian, and people of all faiths can be seen here. It truly is a magnificent structure, and its architecture, history and artwork is amazing.








This is the final resting place of Alfred Harding, the second bishop of Washington National Cathedral, his wife Justine and their infant son.



I am not sure where I found the painting below, except that it was in the crypt.  A hallway between chapels perhaps.


The only other we entered was The Bethlehem Chapel.  We intend to go back to see the others.



There was a lady here.  She was sitting in a pew to the side, quietly reading a book.  After the hot, muggy weather outside, the coolness underground was very much a comfort.  One could sit in quiet contemplation for a long time without being disturbed.  


Bethlehem Chapel was the first part of the cathedral built on top of the foundation stone, at what is now the crypt level.   Beneath its altar is that foundation stone, which contains a piece of rock from a field near Bethlehem.  It was set on September 29th, 1907, in a ceremony attended by President Theodore Roosevelt.

A worship service has been held here every day since it was finished in 1912.  Bethlehem Chapel was dedicated to the first bishop, Bishop Satterlee, whose remains are laid to rest behind the altar in an alabaster sarcophagus, along with those of his wife Jane.  Bishop Satterlee was a major player in getting the cathedral constructed.  




The chapel also contains the tomb of Admiral George Dewey, hero of the Spanish-American War and later a member of the Cathedral Chapter.

More photos of our time at the cathedral in later posts.




Thursday, July 20, 2017

VIDEO FROM MEADOWLARK GARDENS


I sound half alseep while narrating this video but we had just walked all over, and up a very steep hill in the gardens, plus the fact that it was extremely hot and muggy.  Excuses over!


I had to smile when I played this back and was talking about the Canada Geese, and knowing what a mess they make but I still love them.  Shortly after I said that, one of them dropped a package, to prove a point.  I only saw this when I played the video back on the larger screen of my laptop.  One eye-roll later I decided to share the video anyhow and yes, I still love them.


Our walks here are very enjoyable, and with plenty of benches in nice, quiet, shady spots, it is lovely to sit for a spell and enjoy the surroundings.


Hope you enjoy.




Wednesday, July 19, 2017

BACK TO THE FAIRY GARDEN....


Every time we go for our walk at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, I never fail to stop by the fairy garden.  



Even fairies and gnomes like to spend time at the beach.



"Spread your wings...



and let the fairy in you fly."



"If I am honest I have to tell you I still read fairy tales and I like them best of all."
~Audrey Hepburn~


"The fairy poet takes a sheet
Of moonbeam, silver white;
His ink is dew from daisies sweet,
His pen a point of light."
~Joyce Kilmer~



"The wall is silence, the grass is sleep,
Tall trees of peace their vigil keep,
And the Fairy of Dreams with moth-wings furled
Plays soft on her flute to the drowsy world."
~Ida Rentoul Outhwaite~




"And as the seasons come and go, here's something you might like to know.  There are fairies everywhere: under bushes, in the air, playing games just like you play, singing through their busy day.  So listen, touch and look around - in the air and on the ground.  And if you watch all nature's things, you might just see a fairy's wing.
~Author Unknown~



Hand in hand, with fairy grace,
Will we sing and bless this place."
~William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream~



"Why should we strive, with cynic frown, to knock their fairy castles down?"
~Eliza Cook~



"Soft moss a downy pillow makes, 
And green leaves spread a tent,
Where Faerie fold may rest 
And sleep until their night is spent.
The bluebird sings a lullaby, 
The firefly gives a light,
The twinkling stars are candles bright, 
Sleep, Faeries all, Good Night."
~Elizabeth T. Dillingham - A Faery Song~



A QUOTE FROM THE GARDEN


"I only went for a walk and finally concluded to stay til sundown, for going out...was really going in."
~John Muir~



Monday, July 17, 2017

BISHOP'S GARDEN AT THE WASHINGTON NATIONAL CATHEDRAL


In the above photo, near the second car from the right parked next to the wall, is the archway leading into the Bishop's Garden.  We are on the seventh floor where we can see the most incredible views.  The photo only shows half of the garden.  There is a large lawn to the right out of sight.











The roses were a little past their prime but I loved the sunflowers.  They were the star of the show today, not forgetting the Cathedral behind them.



















I have a few other photos from here, which I will share later.  However, I wanted to finish this post with a pretty mockingbird atop an old carved stone in the garden.