Monday, February 28, 2022


Arugular and Poached Eggs

Added with all the other ingredients, this is one of those meals that I feel good about eating.  It was very tasty and if this seems like it could be for you, enjoy!

Cheesy Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Arugular and Poached Eggs - serves 4

I got this recipe here.

4 medium sweet potatoes
1 cup black beans
4 ounces fontina cheese, freshly grated
2 cups fresh Arugular
1 teaspoon olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
4 eggs, cooked to your own taste.
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  

Poke sweet potatoes with a fork and then place on a baking sheet. 

Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. and bake for 30 to 40 minutes more. Remove and let cool slightly, at least 5 minutes.  

Carefully slice down the center of the potato, pushing the skin open.  Stuff each potato with an ounce of fontinaYou can pop the potato back in the oven for a few minutes until the cheese is melted.

Season Arugular with olive oil and lemon juice, then add a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Add it on top of the black beans, then add your cooked eggs on top of the Arugular.  

You can cook the eggs when the sweet potatoes have a few minutes left so that they are ready to put on top and ready to serve.

Sweet potatoes is a particular favorite of mine but not for my Dear Other Half.  Most of the time we like the same foods but there are occasions when we go our own way and choose something different at dinnertime.  

What did I think of this originally?  A dish I have made several times over the years, very tasty. As I made this for myself it was easy enough to cut the ingredients down for one person: 1 sweet potato, 1/4 cup black beans, 1 oz. cheese, a handful of Arugular, a smidgen of olive oil and lemon juice, and one egg.  

You can see from my photo that there is no egg on top.  Next time there will be. 

I had no fontina but did have Wisconsin Cheddar, which I grated. 

I used spring greens instead of Arugula. 

Information on the sweet potato: they are a very nutritional vegetable, high in vitamin A, vitamin B5, B6, thiamin, niacin, riboglavin and thanks to their orange color, are high in carotenoids.  Plus, they are fat-free, relatively low in sodium and have fewer calories than white potatoes (though they do have more sugar).  

It is an antioxidant powerhouse and is linked to anti-aging benefits, cancer prevention and maintenance of good eyesight.  I found all this at the National Institute of Health. There is a lot more information at this site.  

Though I know their benefits and how healthy they are, I would still eat a sweet potato because I enjoy them.  It is, however, nice to know how good they are for you.

Thanks for looking and have a great week!

Saturday, February 26, 2022


 I had time to play on my laptop this morning, and for a change decided to share something on Saturday.  Normally I take the weekend off.

  This is a recent visitor (Black-capped Chickadee) out back.  I decided to add the spring blossoms and fancy frame found on - made it a bit too fussy I think but I thought I would share.  Same photo below which I changed to a sepia tone.

I hope you are all enjoying your Saturday.  
Thanks for looking in.

Friday, February 25, 2022


 This morning I was looking for a particular photo and I don't even know how these popped up.  One of those times I should have made notes on the steps but forgot.  Anyhow, I enjoyed looking at all my posts over the years and thought you might enjoy too.  You can enlarge to get a better look.

It rained heavily yesterday but looks pretty decent today.  It is going to get up to 53 degrees Fahrenheit.  We're off out for a quick trip.  Gregg wanted a Bahn Mi sandwich from a favorite Vietnamese shop we know a few miles from here.  We have been going there for years, ever since he discovered it on his way home from work in Washington DC (before retirement). There are no seats inside and we always end up having a car picnic.  No breakfast today as we slept in, but Bahn Mi sounds wonderful for our first meal of the day.  

As always, thank you so much for looking and I hope your day and weekend is happy and healthy.

Thursday, February 24, 2022


  you wake up, get out of bed, not fully awake, tap-dance your foot around under the bed, searching,  find the slippers one at a time, struggle to put the right slipper on the right foot, the left slipper on the left foot, all this while not looking down obviously, go downstairs into the kitchen, start the coffee to try and wake yourself up, go over to the window to look at the birds, look down at your feet and stare at those feet in disbelief, then you start laughing.  Sweet Other Half joins you. You point in the direction of your feet and he starts laughing too.  It’s good to start the day off with a laugh.  It’s good to laugh at yourself.  The rest of the day went well, and I wore my mismatched slippers all day, just because I could.  Maybe I will start a new trend? Have you worn any mismatched slippers lately?

Voilà!  A recipe for mismatched slippers! 

“A good laugh is sunshine in the house.”
~William Thackeray~

Wednesday, February 23, 2022


Well, the squirrels sounded like Hannibal crossing the Alps as Gregg put it.  They were very loud.  We have two trees that are overhanging the roof, one in back and one in front where they have a nest.  We have made a call to the same man who cut our other two down.  Not to remove them but a good trim so that they will not touch the house.  Our furry friends will have to take the longer way around, and we won't hear the sound of elephants crossing the alps waking us up in the morning!  And we don't want them chewing through the roof and taking up residence in the attic, bless their furry cotton socks.It was gorgeous on Monday (65 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit).  Blue skies and Huntley Meadows was calling to us.  The rest of the week is going to be rainy.  The photos above and below I took because of the single leaf caught in a tangle of branches.  The splash of red in all that brown got my attention and begged for a photo.  I notice these things.  I would have taken a better photo of that leaf, but someone forgot to put the battery back in the camera after they recharged it last night.  Not pointing any fingers but I saw that person in the mirror this morning, still rolling her eyes!  The battery is now back where it belongs.All my photos were taken with my cell phone, which is my camera of choice these days, unless I want to get closer to the wildlife, and you know what happened there.  These phones are getting better and better for taking photos.  I do need to get a better holder for it, so that I can grab it more securely.  Do any of you have one for your phone that you can recommend?  I have been looking for a while.The first thing we noticed at the park was how high the water level was.  It had extended further towards the wooded path we take to get to the wetland.  Of course, the water birds are loving it.  I cropped the ones of the ducks below from the photo above.

The park's Beaver population has been busy! Below you can see one of their lodges.  I read some are big enough to fit a human inside.  It looks small but a lot of it is built under water, so who knows.  This particular lodge some time ago, almost covered the bench at the start of the walkway, but gradually the park people managed to reduce the lodge back to this size.  Otherwise, I think that lodge would have extended across the walkway, covering the bench completely and blocking the path to the wetlands.
Here's Gregg standing next to the bench where we often sit. You can about make out a couple of smaller tree stumps that have been nibbled to a point.  More clearly if you enlarge.
We arrived at 4.00 p.m., wanting to get photos when the sun was lower in the sky.  The parking lot was packed.  Also, the road leading down to the park was lined with cars parked on the side of the road for about half a mile.  We were lucky as there was one parking space near the entrance. Otherwise, we would have turned around and gone at another time.  It was Presidents Day.  We had forgotten many would not be at work.
Wire fencing was wrapped around several of the trees to protect them, as you can see from the one above.  Many trees in the park had orange marks, identifying those to be cut down. An industrious beaver had had a good nibble.  I don't think it would have been much longer for that tree to topple.  
For safety reasons I'm sure, as it was right next to where people walk every day, it had been cut down.  There were many of them like this.
The following is a photo from one of my old posts. I have seen them here but there were none today, still a little bit too early I think.

I read that Beavers form monogamous pairs and usually live in family groups of up to eight related individuals called colonies. The younger siblings stay with their parents for up to 2 years, helping with infant care, food collection, and dam building.  Talking of which, you can just about see a dam in the lower part of this photo.

Next is the root system of an old tree, the felled trunk out of sight.  It was much bigger at one time but it is slowly disintegrating back into the water.
Gregg is on the right in the next photo, and we are at the point where we decided to turn around and go back on a quieter day.  It sounds silly I know, but I was getting a bit nervous of an adult or child running or bumping into me.  I had already had a couple children doing just that.  The boardwalk isn't wide enough if all of a sudden you come across a group of people who are staring at something that catches their attention.  One person stops and suddenly you have a lot of them looking in the same direction. I didn't want to be knocked over the side!  I can't dodge that fast any more even if I saw anyone coming.  I had visions of swimming with the fishes, and the toads, and the snappers, and everything else in that murky water.  Yes, I'm exaggerating somewhat, but the thought crossed my mind as I heard yet again a parent telling their children to slow down, watch where they were walking/running, as they made their way around me.  Dodgem cars anyone?  Not that I begrudge these children and their parents enjoying this glorious day.  It is a great place for a seed to be sown in a child, to enjoy nature in their early years, better still to learn how to protect it, and maybe watch out for the older ladies who may be in the way.
So, back towards the car we went, having had a thoroughly enjoyable time, and knowing that we would be able to come back at any time the weather was agreeable.  I feel very blessed that this place is only a short car ride away.  We passed this lovely dog, what a beauty!  
The rest of the photos are sights we saw on the way back through the wood.

This is the visitor center on our right as we pass by. We always know we are a short distance away from our car.
A few photos on our way home.  It was a lovely sunset but I had missed the full onset.

That's all for today.  Thanks for visiting and a very happy Wednesday to you all.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022


 Three Doves and a Downy - if I was good with prose, that would be the start to a lovely poem, or the beginnings of a great joke.  Unfortunately, not even a short ditty comes to mind.

Our son just left, he got an education on who was visiting the bird feeders in the time he was here.  He's a good sport and put up with it all from his mother, even at how close they stand next to the trail cam.  

The female Northern Cardinal heard the Mourning Dove and posed beautifully, standing back at just the right distance, with her best side showing.  
Well, something startled this one!
The Starlings were too busy to notice the bad hair day.  I can relate mind you, I have my own bad hair days.
Mr. Squirrel decided to pay us a call.  He was in a hurry!
The male House Finches thought they had better get in before all the food was gone.
They know that just like the starlings... 
the squirrels can be a wee bit greedy!
The Dove learned a few tips from the Cardinal about posing, and that's where we are ending our post today

Thanks for looking and enjoy the rest of the week.

Monday, February 21, 2022


This is one of those recipes I forgot to take a note of when I saved originally.  If you recognize the person who made it, please let me know as I always like to give credit where credit is due.

  It was a delicious meal!  It is quickly put together and is on the table under half an hour.  We kept this vegetarian, but you can add your own favorite protein, taking into account this might lengthen the time it takes to prepare.  We thought it was hardy enough it didn't need anything else.  We made a few changes also, which I have added to the bottom of the recipe.

1 pound fresh tagliatelle, or dried

A little salt for use while cooking the pasta

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

3/4 pound mixed wild mushrooms, sliced

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, plus more for serving

1/3 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc

8 ounces crème fraîche 

Freshly ground black peper

1/4 cup peeled, roasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped (about 2-1/2 ounces), for serving (see notes)

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil on the stove.  Add the fresh tagliatelle and cook, stirring occasionally, according to package directions, 3 to 5 minutes (this will take longer if using dried pasta).  

Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water, and return the cooked pasta to the pot.

Meanwhile, in a large heavy-bottomed skillet, over high heat, add the oil and butter until the butter melts.  Add the mushrooms and sauté, stirring occasionally, until they dry out and turn a bit golden (about 5 minutes), adjusted heat as needed. 

Add the garlic and rosemary.  Cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds).   Pour in the white wine, reduce the heat to medium and cook until slightly reduced (about 1 minute).

Fold in the crème fraîche until it melts and makes a smooth sauce.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, if needed.

Pour the mushroom sauce and a couple of tablespoons of the pasta water over the cooked tagliatelle.  Stir well to combine, adding more pasta water as needed.

Portion the pasta into bowls and top with the chopped hazelnuts and rosemary.

Calories per 1-3/4 cup serving: approximately 586

Suggested storage time: refrigerate for up to 5 days.

This dish is best with crème fraîche, but you can substitue an equal amount of mascarpone, or in a pinch, Greek yogurt.  The yogurt makes the sauce thinner

If possible, buy peeled, roasted hazelnuts.  If they are not available, toast and cool the nuts.  Then place them on one side of a clean kitchen towel. Fold the towel over the nuts and vigorously rub to remove any loose skins.  Some skins will remain.

We made a few changes as there wasn't much planning ahead of time.

I always have Angel Hair Pasta in the pantry, and used that instead of the tagliatelle. 

For the crème fraîche we substituted sour cream.

For the wild mushrooms we used Portobello (the small button-sized ones).  You can use your favorite.

For the Rosemary we subsituted Cilantro.

We had a bottle of Beringer's White Zinfandel (a favorite) which we used instead of the Sauvignon Blanc, and had a glass with our meal.

No unsalted butter and used salted.

No hazelnuts and toasted walnuts instead.

I realize these substitutes may have altered the taste to our recipe, but the honest truth is we thought it was delicious.   Also the calorie content may have been altered.

There was enough for a second meal the next day, and it tasted even better!  

All that being said next time we will prepare ahead, put everything on our shopping list beforehand, and use all the ingredients on the original list, just to see how different it tastes.

A delicious meal even with all the changes.

Thanks for looking, have a great week and Bon Appetit!