Saturday, January 25, 2014

Better Results Than the Last Recipe!

I made a different layered salad for dinner last night.  Everyone liked it and had seconds. There is a tiny bit left over for lunch today but it will be snagged by one of the guys, I'm sure!  It turns out I took it for lunch to a meeting I was attending, didn't have time to eat it there, so brought it home and enjoyed it.  It was even better the second day!

Make this in a glass bowl to really "wow" your audience!

Tex-Mex Shrimp

Ingredients (from the bottom):
Quinoa (cook according to package instructions -- my husband had picked up a roasted-pepper flavor quinoa/brown rice mix. It worked just fine!)
Jarred Tomatillo Sauce
Frozen Corn (steam, season with salt)
Diced avocado (toss in fresh lime juice)
Canned black beans (rinsed)
Boiled Shrimp (we used precooked small ones and I just steamed them to get them thawed and warmed up)
Minced Red Onion (I used really thin strips -- should have minced)

The only suggestion the guys had, and I agree, is that the tomatillo sauce was quite mild for this many items and a spicier green salsa would be even better.


Friday, January 24, 2014

Eagle Eyes

I had my follow up appointment this morning after my second cataract surgery last week. Turns out my vision is 20/15 in the left eye (done in Oct), 20/20 in the right eye, and 20/15 for both.


Driving up there this morning I was captivated by all I could see! I felt a renewed confidence in my driving (if not in the driving of those around me). What a joy and relief.

Now if the weather will just ease up and give me some decent bike riding temps. I did cross our rails to trails trail today and saw that it was snow covered both ways.  Our local bike/hike paths are clear, but down in the stream valley so quite cold.

Is it spring yet?  Let me know...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Thrifty and Fun

Using up some scraps today, I made these!

They're a little bit small for a full-sized adult, but would be perfect
for a kid!  The fleece is SOOO soft.

Brown with white bikes.

Going on Etsy in a few minutes!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

An Interesting Lunch Recipe

I found some recipes that sounded interesting last week in the Parade magazine in the Sunday paper. I almost never read it anymore, so this was a happy coincidence.  They are salad recipes, designed to "stack" the different components.  I made the first one today and it was ... well ... okay.  I need to go back and work with it. It has potential, but I'm not sure what I need to change.  Perhaps you can help?  Here are the ingredients:

Miso Veggie-Soba

Soba noodles
Butternut Squash, roasted
Brussels Sprouts, roasted
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Miso Dressing:
1 knob ginger
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup white miso
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs seasoned rice vinegar
1/2 cup tahini
3 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1/3 cup water
sliced scallions (to be fancy, slice them in long very thin strips)

Cook the soba noodles according to package and rinse with cold water.
Cut the butternut squash into 1/2 inch piece. Toss with 1-2 Tbs of olive oil and salt and pepper.  Spread on a lined cookie sheet and roast at 425 degrees for about 40 minutes. While those are roasting, half the Brussels Sprouts and toss them with the same amount of olive oil and alt and pepper.  Arrange them cut side down on a lined cookie sheet. Roast them for 20 minutes, until browned.
Puree the ginger, garlic, miso, vinegar, tahini, brown sugar, and water.

To assemble for tomorrow's lunch:
In your container, place a layer of noodles, then the squash and brussels sprouts. Drizzle some of the dressing over the top, and then finish with finely cut scallions.

Here are the photos.  Any suggestions are welcome!

Soba noodles.  Yummy base.

Ingredients for dressing (except water)

Noodles with the veggies on top.  After this, I added the dressing since I wouldn't be stacking it for lunch tomorrow.  I hoped that mixing it all together would bring the guys along to enjoy it.  Of course, it is all veggie, no meat, so I didn't really expect them to be enraptured. But I didn't expect to be disappointed myself.  Gotta keep working on it.  Maybe heating it up a little?

Farewell Paradise

Every escape from reality has to end, and so it was with our Hawaii trip.  We spent one last day in and around Kilauea and then caught the flight back to Oahu and then to the US.  But before we left, we again saw some amazing wonders of the world.

At night, the caldera glows with the heat of the very essence of earth's beginnings.  This is a lousy photo, but the best we could get given the distance and dark and our equipment.

There is also a lava tube (in a very stable area) that one can walk to and through. It's like a cave and the ancient Hawaiians used it as such. This was my least favorite volcano "must-see" because it is so easily accessible, it was very crowded with boorish people.  Ah well ...

Heading in -- just like a cave!

Looking to the exit, but trying to give a sense of the inside.

We also saw steam vents and sulfur beds. They look quite similar. These are the sulfur beds. Eerie.

One of my very favorite things about Hawaii was that we were so far from Washington, DC that the "Nanny State" was quite remote. What I mean is that when I'm in Washington, and I visit a museum or natural feature, there's a carefully constructed path I am to follow and the descriptions and words on the exhibit are designed to make me FEEL a certain way. Very manipulative, and if the least bit dangerous, there's a barrier that says I cannot proceed.

Contrast with Hawaii. Out on the lava fields, there is an area of petroglyphs. Carved by native Hawaiians between 400-700 years ago (they've dated the lava flow), this whole area was sacred to them. They carved shallow depressions into the volcanic rock, and placed their child's umbilical cord (they called it "piki") in the depression. This was designed to tie the child to the land of Hawaii.  Beautiful, yes?

Well, there's a hike to get there. It's only 3/4 mile each way, but it's over rough terrain and a mostly unimproved trail. The warnings go like this: "Minimal cell phone service, take water, wear a hat, walk carefully, you're on your own -- we're not coming to get you."  Then you are left to see that from cairn to cairn, the path is arduous, but doable. I'm afraid that in DC, the exhibit would have been closed due to a) fear for the exhibit and b) fear of lawsuits. At any rate, we did the hike, and were rewarded with amazing carvings.  In addition to the piki, the Hawaiians celebrated with drawings/carvings of their world.

And my totally unexpected view in Hawaii is this carving.

Do you think the ancients were secret cyclists?

Thank you for staying with this to the end. There were many more sights we enjoyed, but rather than becoming that annoying uncle or cousin with the 5000 vacation photos, this should give you a taste of why people love Hawaii.  Even Mark Twain wrote eloquently about his visit there!


Monday, January 20, 2014

Volcanic Beauty

For our last three days in Hawaii, we flew over to the "Big Island" -- Hawaii. Formed by Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, the island is also home to Kilauea, an active volcano. The landscape is scarred and carved, but weirdly attractive.

Look closely, we get our own lane!  Woo-hoo!

We flew into Kona and then drove over to the volcano park. Along the way
we visited the "Southern most point" in the United States. It was a remote area, without
any facilities. At the end of the road is the Pacific Ocean.

Just short of the ocean is a sea cave that has fallen in, so it's a hole to the
land above. Incredibly, and dangerously, there were young men (why are
we not surprised?) who were waiting for the waves to come in, 
jumping into this hole, and then swimming out through where the water comes in
and emerging in the ocean. This water coming in was NOT gentle. The violence
of the waves, and the sharpness of the lava rocks made this a
VERY.STUPID.IDEA.  But young men are young men.

Did I mention there were no facilities or services anywhere around? As in EMERGENCY response? And very poor cell coverage?  Nor were there any warnings posted. My daughter said the guys sounded like they were from Australia.  Sigh. If their mothers knew ...

You can just see his legs disappearing into the tunnel area.

 And now the tunnel is closed off as the water comes in.

Insane, yes?

Here is what the southernmost point of the US looks like:

Those structures are tethers from which scuba divers
and snorkelers tie off.

I will admit that the water was beautiful, but really ...

So then 

There's a 19 mile road (4000 ft drop in elevation) from the top of the volcano to the
coast. It's desolate. Yet, when we stopped at one of the viewing
platforms and looked back towards the top, we saw this in the sky.

Looking down to the coast.  Those black streaks are old lava flows.

This sign needed to be back at the other place!

The sea arch.  Beautiful, deadly.

Life returns pretty quickly near the coast. These succulents looked
robustly healthy!

Looks like cracked pavement, but it's a particular form of the lava.

This is from the 1983 eruption.

Uh, yeah.

Okay, tomorrow will be the last Hawaii post and will show
something I never expected to see!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Feeling Creative

I'm still restricted from cycling for another week or so while my eye heals from cataract surgery, so I've been trying to stay busy.

Just finished making this bag. It's the size to carry a notebook sized laptop or iPad -- it's made from 3T jeans. I picked up 3 pair at Goodwill for .98c each. Everything else I had on hand.  Getting ready to post it on Etsy!



Inside -- I picked yellow because I always lose things
inside my bag!  And I put in a small pocket as well.

Showing the notebook computer sticking out. It fits all
the way in, no problem. All pockets are functional!

This was fun to do.  I still have 2 more pairs of little jeans!

What to do, what to do...

Friday, January 17, 2014

Flowers, Birds and Waterfalls

Isn't that title the epitome of Hawaii?  These are from Waimea Falls park on Oahu.  Even in the "non flowery" season, it's awesome.  Enjoy.

If you look closely, you can see an endangered Hawaiian native bird.

The cannonball tree

I love the frill.

Looking to the sky through the gorgeous old growth trees.
This was in the area that archaeologists have found ancient dwellings.
Who wouldn't want to live under this canopy?

Look close, another bird!

More fuzzy frilly flowers

The falls

Aloha, dragonfly!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

North Shore Views

The North Shore of Oahu is simply stunning. While we were there, high surf warnings were all over the place. That didn't seem to stop anyone though.

Christmas Day afternoon found us enjoying these views and some hole-in-the wall Thai food. We thought it was just another food truck. Some guy in an expensive car (along with his family) was telling the person at the window that they read about it on Yelp and came out to find it.  Seeing as we were the only non-Asians under the awning eating that amazing food, I think we stumbled into a good thing that day!

Here are photos of the surf.

Not big enough for lunch.

Commuting, Hawaiian style, with a friend.