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Picking A Prickly Pineapple August 25, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Fun & Games, Home & Garden, Humor.
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In May, we noticed a pineapple growing in our courtyard:

By mid-July, it had quite a regal crown:

And then it stopped growing and started ripening.  So I picked it:

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To give you a bit of perspective, here’s my best Carmen Miranda imitation:

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Growing pineapples is NOT a get-rich-quick scheme!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Taste of Pine Avenue ~ Garden Project July 23, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Home & Garden, Sustainable Living.
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For a different type of community garden, check out the Taste of Pine Avenue Garden Project, featuring nutritious food grown in raised bed gardens outside shops in Anna Maria’s quaint business district:

In the garden:  Okinawa Spinach, Edible Hibiscus, Katuk, Moringa, Ethiopian Kale, Roselle, Chinese Spinach, and Seminole Pumpkin.

Aah . . . that’s better!

For Recipes, like Peanut Butter & Jelly and Katuk or Moringa Muffins:

Perfect Island ~ Growing Edibles

For more information:

ECHOnet.org * Echo’s Guide to Summertime Garden Vegetables

Related posts: The Historic Green Village

It’s Curtains for Coffee July 18, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Special Events.
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Last month, the South Florida Museum partnered up to present a play in the planetarium, preceded by dessert and coffee in the atrium, PLUS a sneak peak at its exhibit on Coffee.

I don’t have any photos from the play because they asked us to “Please Refrain from Photography.”

I don’t have any photos of the Blonde Banana Brownie because I ate it.

I do have a few snaps to share from the Coffee exhibit . . .

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Harvesting coffee is labor intensive because the beans are hand-picked . . .

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Beans must be processed the day of harvest to remove the hull . . .

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Goats get buzzed off coffee beans (no roasting required) . . .

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Coffee beans are shipped in burlap bags with unique artwork . . .

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Through the ages, we’ve developed many coffee accoutrements . . .

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Because we “heart” coffee . . .

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This sack seems to say “Rise and Shine” . . .

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But this one says it all . . .

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Aah . . . that’s better!

One of the Best Things I’ve Eaten This Year July 17, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Special Events, Vegetarian Recipes.
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On our 30th Anniversary, we went out for lunch and ordered one of the best things I’ve eaten all year:

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Tempura Battered Asparagus with shaved Parmigiana Reggiano

On my umpteenth Birthday, we went out for Happy Hour and ordered another winner of an indulgence:

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Caramel Macademia Nut Cheesecake

Here’s the Birthday Girl before sharing 2 appetizers and a decadent dessert:

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And here’s the Birthday Girl after:

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Yup.  Still smiling.  Without a trace of guilt.

Aah . . . that’s better!

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten this year?

Hey, That Prickles! July 16, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Home & Garden, Vegetarian Recipes.
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In April, I shared Our Budding Pineapple Plantation with you . . .

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Since then, our lone pineapple has continued to grow . . .

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With a rather majestic looking crown . . .

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Aah . . . that’s better!

Care to share any good pineapple recipes?

Related post:  Pineapple Chutney

1 + 1 = 1 July 15, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Amazing Animals, Animal Welfare, Food & Drink, Nature.
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When one hawk . . .

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Invites one snake . . .

To breakfast.

As breakfast.

Tree-Frog-PerchedWe note that, math be damned, 1 + 1 =1 :

1 + 1 = 1 less snake

1 + 1 = 1 happy hawk

The other morning, we looked out on the back deck and noticed a hawk having breakfast.

Grasped in its talons was a poor wee snake.

When the busboy cleared the table, the sole trace of the snake was its spinal cord . . . draped over the deck piling like a discarded napkin.

Aah . . . that’s the way of the world.

Related posts:  It’s a Snake Eat Frog World * Heron Does Not Live By Fish Alone

10 Ways to Enjoy the 4th of July! July 4, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Fun & Games, Gratitude, Special Events.
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In the U.S., Independence Day claims center stage on the Summer Fun Trifecta, sandwiched mid-way between Memorial Day’s kick off to summer and Labor Day’s return to reality.

Instead of shopping in crowded malls, decorating the house from top to bottom, or wrapping countless gifts, families and friends gather for picnics, cookouts, and backyard barbeques with the focus on food, fun and good old-fashioned togetherness.

Here are 10 ways to have a blast this 4th of July as you celebrate the freedoms we so often take for granted:

1.  Enjoy marching bands, patriotic anthems, and crowds waving the Stars and Stripes in time with the music at an Independence Day Parade.


Or encourage the wee ones to put on a parade of their own, with pots and pans for drums!

2.  Pack a picnic and head to the beach, pool, park, or playground.  Or enjoy a fun old-fashioned gathering in your own backyard.

Invite a crowd!

3.  Organize a Scavenger Hunt.  Get everyone involved by playing on teams ~ pairing adults with children, or older kids with younger ones.

4.  Play backyard games ~ Croquet, Bocce Ball, Volleyball, Badminton, Horseshoes, Dodge Ball, Corn Hole,  Softball, Soccer, Frisbee, or Catch.

5.   Hold a mini-Olympics with a Relay Race, a Wheelbarrow Race, a Three-Legged Race, an Egg Toss, and the Long Jump.

Leave High Jumping and Sabre Tossing to the pros!


6.  Cool off with a Water Balloon Fight or Dueling Water Pistols during the hottest part of the day.  Or run through the sprinkler with your kids.

7.  Have a Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest ~ judge contestants on distance, speed, accuracy, and enthusiasm.

8.  Catch fireflies or lightning bugs at dusk.  Release them before dawn.

9.  Before calling it a night, light up a few sparklers to wave around while singing the Star Spangled Banner or other patriotic tunes.


10.  Attend a local community fireworks display to watch the  “bombs bursting in air” in glorious shades of Red, White, and Blue!


Aah . . . that’s better!

“It is easy to take liberty for granted, when you have never had it taken from you.” ~ Anonymous

“Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

“We are free not because we claim freedom but because we practice it.” ~ William Faulkner

“Only our individual faith in freedom can keep us free.” ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4th, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw
Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.” ~ Erma Bombeck

Related posts:  Ten FREE Activities To Enjoy With Kids * Ten Almost FREE Activities For Kids * Top Ten BETs * Ten More Fun Activities For Kids * Outdoor Fun For The Whole FamilyExplore the Great Outdoors

The Lunchbox July 3, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Food & Drink, Synchronicity & Mystery.
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200px-March-hareThis movie is an unexpected delight.

Through coincidence or synchronicity (or Universal conspiracy), two lonely people “meet” for lunch each day . . . without ever meeting.

The change in perspective allows each to see past the bleak confines of where they are to envision where they want to be.

The promise of a brighter future keeps them moving forward toward a spot of hope on the horizon.

“Sometimes the wrong train gets you to the right station.”

Handy subtitles for those who don’t speak Hindi.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Have you seen it?  Did it make you hunger for curry?  For understanding? For a heaping helping of synchronicity?

Change June 6, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Food & Drink, Health & Wellness.
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Chicken-Little-PosterFor many things, it’s slow and steady progress (not perfection) that helps us manifest change.

For others, cold turkey works best.

Gobble.  Gobble.

For example, switching from regular milk to skim milk or from dairy milk to almond or soy milk is harder if we alternate back and forth.  We don’t acclimate to the new milk until we STOP drinking the old milk.

The same is true of other dietary changes.

Our taste buds adapt to less salt and less sugar, but only after we eliminate the “problem foods” from our daily diet.

Also, change is easier if we don’t rely on sheer will power alone.


Most of us are impatient and don’t want to wait.  Delayed gratification often is not enough to keep us slogging along with the new regime.

If we focus on the short term rewards gained from the behavioral changes we’re making, rather than on what we are giving up, it makes it easier to stick with the new behavior until it becomes status quo.

For example, we can focus on how we feel after a vigorous walk, rather than obsessing about the slow-to-move number on the bathroom scale.

Aah . . . that’s better!

For some terrific tips on mindful change:  What Needs to Change for Change to Happen (Find Your Middle Ground)

Pig’s Wild! May 27, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Special Events.
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Last week, we attended the Grand Opening of the revitalized Beachhouse restaurant in Bradenton Beach.

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The interior decor is elegant, refined, and features a wall of wine.

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The ribbon-cutting ceremony included complimentary appetizers of fresh, sustainable, locally grown fruits and veggies, local seafood, and . . . wild pig!

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Judging from comments made by the owner, Ed Chiles, the emergence of wild pig on menus around the country ranks right up there with the Second Coming of Christ.

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I can’t imagine ever getting that excited about pork.

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Instead of sampling Stuffed Oysters, Salmon Tartare, and Wild Pig Sliders, we “pigged out” on Lobster Mac & Cheese while chatting with friends and a few local dignitaries.

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We also enjoyed Shishito Peppers, Mini Caprese bites, Puffed Potato Balls, roasted red peppers, and fresh strawberries, blueberries, and . . . peaches!

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Chiles relayed that peaches grown at King Farms are kin to those Adam and Eve enjoyed in the Garden of Eden . . . before they pissed off the Holy Host!

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He might be right ~> they were decadent, delicious, delectable, divine!

Aah . . . that’s better!


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