Tag Archives: photography

A Day in the Garden: Winter hibernation

Even in the depths of winter, there’s beauty in the garden. 

The thaw is beginning, but I’m ready for it to be here now!

Advertisements

Today in the garden

Spring is really here now! Cool wet days, damp and heavy nights with early morning fog – it really gives perspective. Years ago I would have been disappointed with such weather, especially in temps of 50’s. But now, I actually did a happy dance on my porch.

Tomato seedlings are coming up, slowly sending out baby true leaves – it’s time to transplant them!

20140412-095325.jpg

Snowdrops – a little late but one little guy looks like he made it.

20140412-095418.jpg

And violets – the joy of those little faces peeking up. Doesn’t it look like this little face is telling us to have hope?

20140412-095449.jpg

A happy and beautiful Crocus!

“…Then from my heart will young petals diverge, As rays of the sun from their focus; I from the darkness of earth shall emerge, A happy and beautiful Crocus! Many, perhaps, from so simple a flower, This little lesson may borrow, Patient today, through its gloomiest hour, We come out the brighter tomorrow.”

from Smiles  by Miss H. F. Gould in The Poetry of Flowers, 1832. >

Finding adventure at home

S and I have a new hobby now, finding fun places to hike around Pittsburgh. Since we only get one day off a week and the time we do get is usually not on the same day, a morning hike together is a rare and special treat. This weekend we went to Fall Run Park in Glenshaw. It was a peaceful, easy hike with beautiful sights and the calming sounds of running water. These walks inspire our philosophical sides to peek out, so I cherish them very much.

20140331-132729.jpg

What’s on your windowsill?

I have a vase of lemongrass and spring onions that I’m growing from kitchen scraps (quite successfully, might I add), a lucky bamboo plant that S and I eyed for a good 2 months at the Chinese supermarket before we bought it 2 years ago (it was a baby then) and some unnamed plant of which a coworker gave me a cutting on my birthday in 2012.

Don’t they look lovely in this rare winter morning sun?

A basil plantling will come soon. And who knows what the spring will bring?

What’s on your windowsill?

My Very First Quinoa Bowl!

I’ve been hearing a lot about quinoa lately. It seems to be all the rage with everyone from hippie health freaks to Indian aunties who want to keep their husbands from getting diabetes. It’s being used as a replacement for rice, oats, millet, you name it. My dad’s been recommending quinoa to me for a while, telling me that it’s the secret to getting through my increasingly never-ending days, but I haven’t really known how to get started using it.

Heidi over at 101 cookbooks has several recipes up that I’ve never tried, so today seemed to be a good day to get started on my own quinoa adventure. I bought quinoa at Whole Foods a couple of weeks ago, but it’s been sitting in my pantry, forlorn and sad-looking. My refrigerator is home to a bag of yellowing brussels sprouts and borderline wrinkled grape tomatoes, so it was time to give them all a chance at life. My inspiration came from this recipe, but I didn’t have several ingredients that I would have loved to include, like tofu and baby bella mushrooms. In the end it turned out to be quite simple, a quick mix of brussels sprouts, roasted cherry tomatoes, toasted pine nuts and pesto stirred into a fresh, hot pot of quinoa. Since Chicago is still freezing (what is going ON?), this was a lovely one-pot lunch that warmed me up and filled me up at one go. I’m ready to hit my long day of work now, satisfied that I’ve done my part towards being healthier!

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked quinoa
8-10 small brussels sprouts
grape tomatoes – you can use however many you want
1-2 tablespoons pesto – here’s a recipe in case you don’t have store-bought
a handful of pine nuts
a pinch of sea salt
a teaspoon of brown sugar
a splash of olive oil
Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Slice the grape tomatoes and Brussels sprouts in half.

3. Stir together a splash of olive oil, a pinch of sea salt and a teaspoon of brown sugar and pour the mixture onto the tomatoes.

4. Gently toss the tomatoes in the mixture and arrange them cut-side-up in a baking dish.

Aren't they cute all lined up?

5. Do the same with the Brussels sprouts and arrange them in another baking dish.

6. You can throw in the pine nuts along with the Brussels sprouts.

7. Bake everything in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the tomatoes are well roasted and the Brussels sprouts are golden brown.

Ready to pop into your mouth!

8. Stir everything but the tomatoes into the quinoa along with a spoonful of pesto and a pinch of salt.

9. Transfer the whole dish into a plate and top with the tomatoes.

10. Enjoy!