Saturday, April 29, 2017

After the Rain

'A little over nine miles walked today, beginning at 6:15 this morning after a night of rain. 
I continue to find such sweet graffiti. . .love and kindness all the way. 
The first of four found hearts today--
--was soon followed by the second. 
It started raining at the 6.5-mile-mark this morning, so I went back out for another two and a half miles this evening.  And found more sweet graffiti. 
My walk ended as it began, with the streetlights on and the moon out--
--and with more hearts gracing my path. 
A beautiful walk. 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday's Walk

'Getting back into my eight-miles-a-day after a few months of shorter walks.  This evening's weather was perfect for a couple hours outside, with soft light and just enough of a breeze.  Love, love, love.  ♥  It is past time to replace these shoes, though, and finding new ones will be one of the next couple weeks' projects.  They have seen me through so many gorgeous walks. 
Ah, this glorious golden hour when even my 5'2" self looks lanky and leggy! 
Temperatures are only supposed to reach the sixties the next few days, which will make the next few walks at least as pleasant.  Here's to springtime, good light, and good health. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Yellow Squash Roses & Ice Cube Misadventures: Easter 2017

It stormed here both while I was cooking and while we were eating dinner, so all the more reason to enjoy a colorful and sunny Easter table today.  I forgot to make the mashed cauliflower, my Daffodils from the grocery store barely opened before dying, the Dandelions wilted, the edible-flower-filled ice cubes melted almost instantly and became a loose-flower mess inside our water glasses, and in the last-minute rush to finish, I forgot both to season the quinoa and to add the leftover edible flowers to the salads, but--!--the meal came together, everything tasted good--even the quinoa once I'd seasoned it after our first couple bites--and the table was pretty enough to make me happy even if not quite as flower-filled as I'd intended. 
I was originally going to make tomato roses as garnish but then saw online on various sites that stripes of squash work too, and since the yellow of squash seemed more springy than the red of tomatoes, I went with the squash.  One yellow squash made four of these roses.  I just sliced the squash into thin strips of various lengths, microwaved the strips for about a minute to soften them enough to make them pliable, then patted them dry and rolled them up into the wells of a muffin pan, the shortest strip in the center of each soon-to-be-rose, and the other strips around it until the well was filled with the rolled-up strips.  I wanted to be sure to keep a nice golden color on each squash-rose so mixed some turmeric into a beaten egg and drizzled that mixture over each one too.  For the last few minutes of maybe a thirty-minute-total bake-time, I sprinkled some cheddar shreds between the squash strip-petalsThey kept their shape even after being transferred to the plates, which delighted me.  (It's the little things.  :)   )  I shaped spinach patties into leaves, although I see now that raw spinach leaves likely would have given me more of the look I was envisioning for these.  I have to think this would work with carrot-strips and any other vegetable or fruit that would soften enough to be rolled.  For a first attempt, I'm quite pleased. 
I also made the balsamic carrots that I first posted here last year, ultimately-seasoned quinoa, a mushroom stuffing dish that seems to grace all our holiday tables and deserves its own post one of these days, although it's not remotely photogenic, green beans sauteed in garlic and olive oil, side salads, and our usual Easter dessert of robin's-egg-blue-colored peanut M&M candy "eggs" inside peanut butter/marshmallow/pretzel "nests." I dye my hard-boiled eggs inside too but left one uncolored to slice for our salads and added the blue and pink ones to our plates.  After years of eating my deviled eggs at Easter, Mike finally told me he prefers hard-boiled ones, and I don't have a preference, so I skipped the filling this time around and just left them plain.  Since I color the egg-white part regardless, they add a pop of color either way. 
I found the two red potatoes closest to being egg-shaped and fried slices of them to add to our salads, along with yellow, orange, and red grape tomatoes.  
The edible flowers that were supposed to dot the tops of the salads were forgotten and remain in the fridge to be used elsewhere this weekAlas.  The last few minutes of holiday meal-preparations are always so chaotic, even with all the planning and list-making. 
The edible-flower-filled ice cubes looked gorgeous in the trays but melted almost as soon as water hit them.  'Not impressive.  Maybe if the water had been ice water kept in the fridge, the cubes would have lasted a bit longer, but I doubt they'd have lasted long enough even then to make me want to try this again.  With mint leaves or lemon bits frozen into the cubes intended for iced tea, sure.  With flowers specifically chosen to complement the flavor of the drink they'll be going into, yes.  Flower-filled ice cubes for bowls just to chill bottled drinks, of courseBut not like this again.  
I added oats to the recipe--such as it is--to the nests this year to make them more like healthy no-bakes than candy.  Two microwaved marshmallows, a few broken pretzels sticks, about two tablespoons of peanut butter, and maybe a fourth-cup of rolled oats were enough to make these three nests come together.  The bags of pastel-colored/Easter peanut-filled M&Ms always include a few gorgeous aqua ones that already look like little  eggs, so they're my go-to for this dessert
'A sweet end to a sweet weekend, and a colorful Easter after a rather dreary and depression-filled start to this year.  Here's to flowers and faith and life's many other lovely blessings.