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Impossible April 30, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Mindfulness, People, Poetry.
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Insistent caller
Leaves message after message
Is she stalking me?

A shaky night’s sleep
Wondering and worrying
Hidden springs taunt me

Teen angst swirls around
Blanketing me in a fog
Thirty years absent

Stop!  I’ve had enough!
Why not mind your own business
And leave me to mine

Angry words erupt
amid mounting frustration ~
time for a time out

Too late . . .

Her irate silence
speaks loudly, impossible
not to comprehend

Aah . . . the calm AFTER the storm. 

Related posts:  Sidey’s Weekend Theme ~ Impossible * Impossible (View From The Side) * Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast (Kate Shrewsday)

How Pitcher Plants Make “Bug Soup” April 30, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Food & Drink, Nature.
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Pitcher plants are carnivorous.  Like this jungle cat, they are meat eaters.

Using nectar or bright colors as “bait,” pitcher plants lure unsuspecting prey into hollow pitchers and almost certain death.

When insects fall into the pool of digestive juices, they become “Bug Soup.”

One species has pitchers large enough to catch . . . rats!   And birds. 

But not this bird . . . it’s too big!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  Aah . . . That’s Better! * Orchids, Bromeliads, and Epiphytes * From Bonsai to Banyan * Fun with Words ~ Venus Fly Trap

Gleaning the Cupboards & Evicting Tenants April 29, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Life Balance, Vegetarian Recipes.
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IMGP3594bSometimes when cooking, we choose an appealing destination (e.g., a rustic veggie lasagna) and  figure out how to get THERE from HERE.

We purchase necessary ingredients, prep them, assemble them, and toss them in the oven to wait for enticing aromas to fill the house.

Other times, we start by assessing  which ingredients have been loitering about the kitchen long enough, then choose how best to combine them to get from HERE to THERE.

That’s what I did yesterday.

I gleaned the shelves of fridge and pantry, gathering ingredients to “evict” via evocative creations/concoctions.

My impromptu ingredient safari yielded:  5 onions (ready to bolt), 2 green bell peppers (starting to blush red), 1 small head of cabbage (that winked  when I opened the crisper), 1 cup of uncooked Quinoi  (humming “one is the loneliest number”), 1 cup green beans almondine (leftover from the previous evening), and 2 cups of oats (singing “mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy . . . diddle-dee di-dee doo . . . wouldn’t you?”).

Not exactly enticing, eh?  And none of these “America’s Got Talent” hopefuls seemed a bit concerned with their fast-approaching expiration dates.

Undeterred, I combined these “lost & found” ingredients with a few staples to create four delicious and nutritious dishes ~ 2 sides and 2 entrees:

1.  I simmered the Quinoi in 2 cups of water for 15 minutes, seasoned it with salt, pepper, and a splash of extra virgin olive oil, and stirred in the cooked green beans almondine . . . almost instant Quinoi Pilaf!

2.  I chopped the cabbage, added grated carrots, and tossed with dressing (1/2 c. Miracle Whip, 3 Tbsp. sugar, and a splash of champagne vinegar) . . . cool and creamy Cole Slaw.

IMGP40963.  I chopped the onions and peppers and sautéed them in olive oil, using 2/3 of the mix to make a spicy Vegetarian Lecsó (with fire roasted tomatoes and spicy cayenne pepper).

4.  I used the rest of the peppers and onions to make Kidney Bean Burgers and a dozen meatless “meatballs.”

Kidney Bean Burgers

2 cups oats (rolled or quick), uncooked
16 oz. can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
1/4-1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 Tbsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. salt (or garlic salt)
1/8 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper
1/4 c. water
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 c. sautéed onions and peppers

Mix thoroughly and blend in food processor or Ninja.  (If mixture is too wet to shape into patties, add a bit more oats, 1 Tbsp. at a time.  If too dry, add a bit more water, 1 Tbsp. at a time.)  Chill.

Shape into 6-7 patties or 24-30 meatballs ~ or mix & match, making a few of each.   Burger patties and “meatballs” can be wrapped and frozen at this point.  Just thaw, before cooking.

To serve, sauté in a nonstick pan to heat and brown on all sides.

Note:  The original recipe called for 4 oz. black beans, 4 oz. chickpeas, and 4 oz. white beans.  Rather than opening 3 cans and using only 1/3 of each, I substituted one 16 oz. can of kidney beans.  I made a second batch using a 16 oz. can of black beans.

In a subsequent, highly untouted, non-scientific taste test, all test subjects prefered the kidney bean burgers to the black bean burgers.  The control group fled the scene when they learned we were having pommes frites (instead of French fries) with dinner.

Fooled ’em!   ;)

I also eliminated half of the suggested seasonings and ingredients from the original recipe because 21 ingredients is, at least, ten too many (except when I have house guests and want to hide in the kitchen for hours on end).

If you enjoy creating tedious and convoluted concoctions (or have house guests), consider adding:  1 tsp. jalapeno (mince it . . . mince it good) * 1 Tbsp. finely diced garlic * 1 Tbsp. chopped artichoke (seriously? who has 1 Tbsp. of artichoke sitting around?) * 2 Tbsp. chopped black olives * 1 tsp. dried oregano * 1/2 tsp. paprika * 1 Tbsp. fresh minced parsley * 1/2 tsp. red chili flakes * 1/4 tsp. ground sage * 2 Tbsp. seasoned bread crumbs * 1 egg (or egg substitute).

Hmm . . . maybe the original recipe evolved from gleaning cupboards, evicting tenants, and/or avoiding house guests?  ;)

Aah . . . that’s better!

More ideas:  Get Your Grains On (AgriGirl) * Tammy’s Top Ten Tips For Less Food Waste (AgriGirl) * Lazy Sunday ~ Leftover Edition (Rufus’ Food & Spirits Guide) * A Month of Meatless Meals * Six Word Saturday (Show My Face)

From Bonsai to Banyan April 29, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Home & Garden, Nature.
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The Selby Gardens has trees ranging from tabletop Bonsai . . .

Barely tall enough to provide shade to Swift’s diminutive Lilliputians . . .

Leaving Gulliver (of gigantic proportions & portions) to fend for himself . . .

Perhaps Gulliver used a towering Banyan as his sun-shade and parasol?  

He might well have.  

Rumor has it that Alexander the Great housed his army of 7,000 men under a single Banyan tree.

Wow!  That’s hard to believe.

But begins to be plausible when we consider that the Great Banyan, a 250-year-old Banyan Tree in Kolkata, India, currently covers 4 acres.

Who knows what the Selby Banyan will accomplish in its lifetime . . . it’s only been growing since the 1930’s.

Related posts:  Aah . . . That’s Better! * Orchids, Bromeliads, and Epiphytes

What Do You Call A Solar Energy Spill? April 28, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Nature, Sustainable Living.
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What do you call a solar energy spill?

Answer:   A beautiful day.

Support Clean, Green, Renewable Energy to Power Our Future!

Related posts:  Being Wealthier By Living With Less (Love Is The Answer) * I’m in Yahoo! Finance (Angela Barton) * Big Living in Small Spaces (Planet Wonder) * 9 Green Lessons From My Asian Parents (Lynn Fang) * Angry Cow Disease (Life in the Boomer Lane)

Can You Spot The Strange~Her? April 28, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Animals, Art & Photography, Humor.
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Something in this picture is all WRONG!
      One member of this flock does NOT belong

An intruder has infiltrated its rank and file
          Camouflaged in a pink shirt and a wide smile

Look closely . . . see if you can spot the strange~her

And remind her to let “birds of a feather” flock together 

 Gators too . . .

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Together (WP Prompt) * Sarasota Jungle Gardens * Pretty in Pink

The Light At The End April 27, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Mindfulness, Writing & Writers.
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So many writers, poets, and artists are tortured souls.

Fractured like light passing through a prism.

(Or prison.)

It’s almost as if, looking for truths to share, they see the vast gaping holes between “illuminated windows.”

It becomes “too much” to bear
They cease to care
Why bother? Why share?
Shadows fill the air
Swamped with despair
No light anywhere

Except at the end . . . of the very last tunnel


That’s depressing.

Rather like biting into a poisoned apple.

Filled with worms.

OK.  Let’s try this . . . which Rik Scott shared with me yesterday:

How many existentialists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

Two.  One to screw it in, and one to observe how the lightbulb itself symbolizes a single incandescent beacon of subjective reality in a netherworld of endless absurdity reaching out toward a maudlin cosmos of nothingness.  ~ Anonymous

Feel better?
No?  Me neither.

Poor Anonymous . . . being a tortured-existentialist-artist is a heavy cross to bear in life ~ especially with the weight of the world (and the cosmos!) on one’s shoulders.

Tigger-Looking-At-His-TailOK . . . third time’s the charm.  A few Sapid quotes (also from Rik) to illuminate the recesses, switch on the light, and reframe our perspective:

* It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy.  It is what you think about. ~ Dale Carnegie

* When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us. ~ Helen Keller

* The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past  better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be. ~ Marcel Pagnol

* The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller

One last parting thought:

Inch by inch, life’s a cinch.  Yard by yard, life is hard.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Orchids, Bromeliads, and Epiphytes April 27, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Mindfulness, Nature, Travel & Leisure.
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I don’t have a tripod . . .  

Or any fancy photographic equipment . . .

Just a Pentax Optio point-and-shoot . . .

That slips into my purse or pocket . . .

But when you have willing subjects . . .

Gorgeously arrayed . . .

Brilliantly blooming . . .

In showy display . . .

When everywhere you look . . .

You find something else to gaze at or into . . .

When the kaleidoscope of colors . . .

Mesmerizes . . .

And entices . . .

Sometimes . . .

That’s all you need . . .

Aah . . . that’s better! 

Quote:  I try to leave out the parts that people skip. ~ Elmore Leonard

Related posts:  Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Together (WP Prompt) * Aah . . . That’s Better! (Photos from Selby Gardens)

Aah . . . That’s Better! April 26, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Mindfulness, Nature, Travel & Leisure.
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Yesterday, we visited Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota Florida.

We enjoyed perfect weather for our stroll around the grounds.

We spotted a manatee in the bay . . . and a leopard in the grass.

We watched some not-so-coy Koi having lunch . . . with baby ducks.

We admired the flowers . . . and rubbed Buddha’s belly for good luck.

We relaxed by a waterfall cascading into still waters.

We allowed the ever-present peace within to surface.

And . . . we stuck our heads into the hollow of this monolith.

Put your head in the hollow of the stone and hum different notes.  When you hit the right note, you will feel a gentle vibrating sensation in your body.  The result is a harmonious feeling of well-being.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Circular Motion vs. Linear Progression April 25, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Magick & Mystery, Mindfulness.
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HorseracingIf you’re running around in circles, it doesn’t matter how fast you run . . . you’ll never get THERE from HERE.

Slow down.
Take a step back.

Assess the situation.
Gather necessary information.

Avoid wasting time & energy with knee-jerk reactions.

Take one step at a time.

The way will teach you the way . . . as the path unfolds before you.

When we LISTEN . . . anything in life can be our guide.

Aah . . . that’s better!