Sunday, November 30, 2014

A poem

Friends by Abbie Farewell Brown

How good to lie a little while
And look up through the tree!
The Sky is like a kind big smile
Bent sweetly over me.

The Sunshine flickers through the lace
Of leaves above my head,
And kisses me upon the face
Like Mother, before bed.

The Wind comes stealing o'er the grass
To whisper pretty things,
And though I cannot see him pass,
I feel his careful wings.

So many gentle Friends are near
Whom one can scarcely see.
A child should never feel a fear,
Wherever he may be.

(Abbie Farewell Brown was an American author who lived from 1871 to 1927.  While attending the Girls Latin School she created a school newspaper, The Jabberwock, which is still being published today.  In the poem "Friends", Brown shares that even things in nature can be children's friends, giving them comfort whenever they fear.)

Friday, November 28, 2014

TODAY'S FLOWERS #325 - November 29th, 2014

You can find all kinds of beautiful flowers from around the world if you click here.

Luiz Santilli Jnr created Today's Flowers and I am very happy to be the present host of this lovely meme.  Thank you Luiz!

Today's Flowers' home page can be found here.


I am also linking with Laura's i heart macro.  

and Judith's Mosaic Monday.  

If you click on the light blue links above for each meme, you will be able to visit other participants. 

Thank you for hosting Ladies. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


While some of you who are checking in a few days after Thanksgiving, our day of thanks will already have passed.  I am starting this on Thursday beginning with Good Fences, and I wanted to wish all my family and friends who are celebrating a very special time together.  To everyone else, I hope your week has been one of equal joy.

We were heading to Middleburg when the weather was still warm and the trees were fully clothed.  Middleburg is a darling little town where you can enjoy yourself for a few hours.  There are shops and restaurants and it is surrounded by beautiful country side. 

For Good Fences and SkyWatch Friday

I did a double-take when I spotted the most enormous bottle of Champagne I had ever seen just beyond this neat looking fence, and isn't that a pretty sky?

There is a winery down that road.  Virginia has many wineries and they produce excellent wines, and champagnes....

Or is that just a fancy wrapped bottle of wine?

It looks like a bottle of bubbly to me about 30 feet high.

I didn't take any photos of animals this week so I am stretching a bit, but don't you think that is a cute print of a bulldog on the wall behind Gregg?  Hello Camera Critters and Saturday's Critters.  (Eileen I hope you are back by now and that all those problems have allowed you to start up again.  I am keeping my fingers crossed.)

Gregg and I occasionally go to Common Grounds which is a lovely little place that we enjoy (you may remember it from other posts). More cute dog prints on the left.  I like it here not only for lunch but there are lots of lovely prints on every wall for sale.  A big pat on the back to them for helping our local artists.

There is the little pig chef standing on the floor next to a shelf display of goodies, and two particularly took my eye....

that cute fox figurine and the wine glass.

This is the Red Fox Inn where Gregg and I have gone for special occasions. I have also been here with friends several times over the years and have mentioned it before on this blog.  It's as close to a British Pub as I have ever come across and has a wonderful atmosphere inside, with low beamed ceilings. You can also sit at a table by a large roaring fire in the winter months.  I think it's time to go back.

It also has a fence out front, and a little bit of sky up there, wink, wink, and I am sure a couple walked by with a dog on a leash earlier.  They were just too fast for me to take a photo.

And now for willy-nilly-friday-five.

1) We were in REI's last weekend. Gregg wanted to look at the bicycles as he is intent on buying one, and for me too.  I am very leery and I can't see us doing much biking now that the winter is/going to be on our doorstep. Neither of us have been on a bike in years and I can't help but be very nervous for both of us.  I told him all my excuses.  I had many, a few ankles, all of which have been through the mill after taking falls from my own two feet let alone a bicycle.  He says he'll be happy to buy me one with a motor.  Errrr.......wouldn't that give me motor power, wouldn't I go even faster?  I can envision the cartoon action figures already.  Not ruddy likely!   

I keep hearing about these accidents, yes over a lot of years I know but I have a memory like a laser for some things. Our son fractured one elbow and badly sprained another a few years back after doing a somersault over his handlebars, no, not by choice. I remember that day vividly. He was in his early 20s, no little guy, and let's not talk about those days. Let's just say PeeWee Herman has a lot to answer for.  I have heard of two horrific accidents, once when a bowling friend came a cropper when she was on holiday, and now the latest by U2's Bono, article here in case you haven't heard about it - you probably have by now.  The poor man, I wonder how he is doing?  I immediately showed it to Gregg.  It phased him not one bit as he tells me statistics. I know statistics, I just don't want to be one of them.  If you see a strange woman cycling down the hill coming towards you at a high rate of speed, wearing bubblewrap like Tutankhamen's Mummy , you'll know that will be me, but please get the heck out of my way and dive into the bushes. Gregg will have to put me on a bike first and frankly I would rather walk.  I actually enjoy walking.  I will be showing this post to him but I know what he will do, show me those statistics.   Do I sound like Chicken Little?  Probably!  I have always been overly cautious and my little rant is over.

And then there is always this type of bicycle....

seen in Washington back in the summer.  I have a hard time riding a two wheel bike let along one.  What keeps those people up?  Where's their bubble wrap?

Okay, so I need to hear from all those dedicated bicycle riders who will put my mind at ease.  I really do wish you the best of luck!

2)   A very pretty animation at this link.  Click here.

3)   A Thanksgiving Card.  Please click here.

4)   A Card for Everyone.  Please click here.

5)   A poem for you, which kind of follows on from 4).


I didn't have potatoes,
So I substituted rice.
Didn't have Paprika,
So I used another spice.

I didn't have tomato sauce,
So I used tomato paste,
A whole can not a half can,
I don't believe in waste.

My friend gave me the recipe,
She said you couldn't beat it,
There must be something wrong with her,
I couldn't even eat it!

(Hmmm...... I have been on both sides of that table)

The author is unknown.  If anyone knows the person who thought this cute poem up, I'll be very glad to add their name.


You can click on the links below to see other participants.  A big thank you to our hosts.

The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC - Part 2

If you missed my first post about the Gallery, you can see it here.

The Emperor Napoleon in His Study at The Tuileries
Oil on Canvas, 1812
Jacques-Louis David - French, 1748-1825

Misse and Luttine 
Oil on canvas, 1729
Jean-Baptiste Oudry - French, 1686 - 1755

Madame Moitessier
Oil on canvas, 1851
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres
French, 1780-1867

Family Portrait - Oil on canvas 1756
Francois Hubert Drouais 
French, 1727-1756

The Marquise de Pezay, and the Marquise de Rouge with Her Sons Alexis and Adrien - Oil on Canvas, 1787
Elisabeth Louise Vigee Le Brun - French, 1755-1842

Warwick Castle, England
Oil on canvas, 1857
Jasper Francis Cropsey
American, 1823-1900

Master John Heathcote 
Oil on canvas, c. 1771/1772
Thomas Gainsborough
British, 1727-1788

The Hon. Mrs. Thomas Graham
Oil on canvas, c. 1775/1777
Thomas Gainsborough
British, 1727-1788

Miss Juliana Willoughby
Oil on canvas, 1781-1783
George Romney
British, 1734-1802

I have so many more photos but I think I will stop here and share the rest another time.  

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Random Photo

I had never seen pine cones and pine needles on a beach before.  A line of pine trees edged a beach we visited the last time we were in Florida and though that looks like snow, it is in fact white sand.  

Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday Food Post - Quick and Easy Crunchy Parmesan Garlic Chicken

Well, I wasn't actually going to post this today but published it anyhow without realizing and then I saw that I had a few comments already and realized my mistake.  So here we go, two recipes on Monday Food Post.  It looks a little bit overdone in one part but not really, it just browned a bit patchy.  Still tasted delicious.

I found this recipe here at Hesitantly Healthy.  You will have to put "Quick and Easy Crunchy Parmesan Garlic Chicken" into the search engine to see the original recipe.  The page kept kicking me back to the home page.  I don't know whether this is a temporary glitch or whether it is set up that way.  Anyhow, I enjoyed the story that its host, Jess, told of helping her mother in the kitchen.  Love the stories that go with the food.   I highly recommend you reading her recipe as she also tells you what is in those packets of prepared, on-the-shelf seasoned breadcrumbs that I used to use all the time back in the day, but these last few years I have been reading the labels a little more carefully.

Crunchy Parmesan Garlic Chicken

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes

Author: Jess at Hesitantly Healthy

Serves: 2

2 large defrosted chicken breasts
2 teaspoons chopped garlic (fresh or jarred)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup whole wheat Panko crumbs
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Dredge each chicken breast in extra virgin olive oil.

Make thin slices into the top of each chicken breast and stuff with the chopped garlic.

Mix Panko and Parmesan together in a shallow dish.

Dip each chicken breast into the Panko/Parmesan mixture.  Next place them into a baking dish. 

(Be sure to grease it if it's not nonstick.  I use non-stick aluminum foil to line my dish so I don't have to grease my dish.)

Top with a sprinkle of black pepper.

Bake for 30 minutes and check to see if chicken is cooked through.  If it isn't done check the chicken every five minutes until there is no pink running out of the chicken.

Jess' note:

Serve with a side of steamed veggies for a quick and easy meal.

What did we think of this dish?  Very tasty!  I ended up cooking them for 45 minutes as the breasts I bought were quite big, and then I thought they didn't look brown enough so I put the broiler on and could have taken them out a little earlier.  I did in fact cook two but as they were rather large, Gregg and I shared one and I put the other in the freezer.  

Monday Food Post - Make-ahead Quinoa Salad with Cucumber, Tomato and Herbs

This salad has a dressing that is nice and light and had only two ingredients, red wine vinegar and olive oil. I found it here.

Make-ahead Quinoa Salad with Cucumber, Tomato and Herbs

Serves 4 to 6 people

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes


1 cup Quinoa

1 pint grape tomatoes, split into quarters 
1 large cucumber, seeds removed , cut into 1/2 inch pieces
Kosher salt to taste
2 small shallots, minced
1/2 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine Quinoa and 2 cups of water in a small saucepan.  

Bring to a boil, stir, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 7 minutes.  

Shut off heat and let rest until water is absorbed, about 5 minutes longer.

Transfer Quinoa to a fine mesh strainer and rinse until cold water until thoroughly chilled.

Let drain for 10 minutes.

While Quinoa cooks, combine tomatoes and cucumbers in a colander set in the sink.

Season with the Kosher salt to taste and toss to coat.

Let drain in sink until ready to combine with Quinoa.

In a large bowl, toss drained Quinoa, drained tomatoes, cucumbers, shallots, parsley, mint, olive oil and red wine vinegar.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.  

Serve immediately or, for the best flavor, let rest overnight in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Salad can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

What did we think of this recipe?  Very enjoyable and it is a pretty salad served with your main meal.  

My two major test-tasters were Gregg and his Dad and they were good sports for trying something relatively new to our palate.  

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) isn't something that I have used very often, in fact maybe only once before, but I like the texture and knowing how good it is for a person, that went a long way for me to try it.  On this page I read that Quinoa was an important crop for the Inca Empire, and that they referred to it as the "mother of all grains", believed to be sacred.  It actually isn't a grain but is a seed that is prepared and eaten similarly to a grain.  It has been consumed for thousands of years in South America but since it reached a 'superfood' status several years ago, it has become very trendy.

I changed three of the ingredients by replacing the shallots with green onions and the fresh mint with fresh basil.  I also used an English (Hothouse) cucumber which I prefer.  You don't have to remove the seeds in those either.

Added note: I made this dish again a while later.  I was curious what it would be like using Orzo pasta.  I replaced the Quinoa with the Orzo.  It was again delicious. This time we added a couple of slices of crusty bread, thinly sliced Dubliner cheese and Branston chutney, which made a semi English Ploughman's supper.  

Here is a photo of the salad with the pasta.