Tuesday, October 17, 2017


These are two more photos from Gregg's sister, who spent time recently with this little sweetie.  She was helping her with the latest puzzle.

"Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen."
~Orhan Pamuk~

Monday, October 16, 2017


Viennese Sausages with Cheesy Mashed Sweet Potatoes 

We have been enjoying our Blue Apron meals for several months now.  They are excellent but we do have our favorites.  Those favorites end up on my blog.

We made a couple of changes.  Gregg does not like sweet potatoes, so we fixed two kinds of mash today (made this for the first time on 10-4-17), the sweet plus regular.  I am not sure what kind they were as we had them already in the vegetable bin, just a white potato.

Where the original ingredient list calls for a bunch of kale, neither of us like it so we substituted a quarter of a cabbage, and prepared it as directed.

You can find the original recipe here.

Viennese Beef Sausages with Cheesy Mashed Sweet Potato

Time from prep to finish: 30 to 40 minutes.
Serves: 2

2 Viennese Beef Sausages made with natural pork casings (if you can't find Viennese use your personal favorite)
4 ounces of Sweet Peppers
2 cloves of Garlic
1 bunch of kale (this is where we changed it to a 1/4 of a whole cabbage)
1 Sweet Potato and/or 1 white potato
1 bunch of Parsley
1 Shallot
1 tablespoon of Red Wine Vinegar
2 ounces of Monterey Jack Cheese

Step-by-step instructions:

Prepare the ingredients:

Heat a small pot of salted water to boiling on high.  Wash and dry the fresh produce.

Peel and large dice the sweet/white potato.  

Medium dice the cheese.

Peel and thinly slice the shallot.

Remove and discard the kale stems; roughly chop the leaves (or do as we did and use a quarter of a whole cabbage, take the core out and roughly chop the leaves).

Peel and roughly chop the garlic.

Cut off and discard the pepper stems.  Quarter the peppers lengthwise, then remove and discard the ribs and seeds.

Roughly chop the parsley leaves and stems.

Cut the sausages on an angle into 2-inch pieces.

Cook and mash the sweet/white potato:

Add the sweet/white potato to the pot of boiling water. use two small pots for each if cooking both.  Cook 12 to 14 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork.  Turn off the heat.  Drain thoroughly and return to the pot.  Add the cheese and season with salt and pepper.  Using a fork, mash to your desired consistency.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Brown the sausages:

While the potato cooks, in a medium pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high until hot.  Add the sausages and cook, turning occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Leaving any brown bits (fond) in the pan, transfer to a plate.  Set aside in a warm place.

Start the vegetables:

While the potato continues to cook, add the
shallot to the pan of reserved fond; season with salt and pepper.  (If the pan seems dry, add a drizzle of olive oil.)  Cook on medium-high, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until lightly browned and slightly softened.  Add the kale (or cabbage if using), garlic and peppers; season with salt and pepper.  Cook stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until the kale (or cabbage) has wilted.

Finish the vegetables and sausages:

Add the browned sausages and 1/2 cup of water to the pan.  Cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes, or until the water has cooked off.  Add the vinegar (be careful as the vinegar may splatter), and cook stirring constantly 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until thoroughly combined.  Turn off the heat; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Plaste your dish:

Divide the mashed potato and finished vegetables and sausages between 2 dishes.  Garnish with the parsley and a drizzle of olive oil.


The only Viennese anything we have ever had are those little Viennese cocktail sausages you get in a can, back in the day.  These Viennese sausages were very good, a different consistency to what we have eaten before.  They are made by a company who sell specifically to Blue Apron, and I am not sure you can buy them elsewhere.  We will probably be using a different sausage at another time, that is if we can't get the Viennese Beef Sausage variety.

The dark green of the kale does add a pretty look to the final appearance of the dish.  Due to our own personal taste and even though the colors were more subdued, we felt the cabbage was an excellent substitute and one we preferred.

Use the addition of salt at your own discretion.  We don't add as much as is called for in the original recipe.

Friday, October 13, 2017


I have a doozy of a cold so if your comment is late in appearing, it is because I have the pace of a snail 🐌 right now. Thank you all for visiting and thank you everyone who leaves a comment.  I probably won’t be posting again until Monday. 

The Elizabethan Gardens' website can be found here.

Right outside the gift shop/entrance there was a very large selection of garden ornaments.  I would have enjoyed taking a few of these home but managed to keep myself in check.  We are downsizing and trying not to add anything else right now.

They were fun to look at though.

So, I tore myself away from all the garden goodies and started to explore.

These beautiful gardens can be found within the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, on 10 acres next to the  Roanoke Sound.  There are hundreds of native plants, and many others from around the world.  We didn't see any wildlife apart from a few squirrels, but it is home to a variety of birds and animals.

The Elizabethan Gardens are only yards away from the original homes of the 1580's Lost Colonists.  In the photo below is the building that contains the gift shop where we bought our tickets.

The following photo showing the iron gates were once placed at the French Embassy in Washington DC, and they gave them to the garden as a gift. 

We came across a statue of Virginia Dare.  The original sculptor's vision carved her as an adult, with fishing nets draped around her waist.  He saw in his mind-eye, what he believed she would look like had she grown up on Roanoke Island.  

Virginia Dare was the first baby born to the colonists in the New World, and was only an infant when she and the other colonists disappeared.  (There is a very interesting history here.  And there is also an urban legend of Virginia Dare and the White Doe here.  As legends often are, it is a rather sad and fanciful tale.)

This statue itself has an interesting history as it was carved in 1859 in Rome and was eventually donated to the gardens.  First, however, it survived a Spanish shipwreck, was a controversial display in the Raleigh State Hall of History, and then had a long stay with the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, and original author of the Lost Colony play, Paul Green.  There is a popular belief that Virginia Dare survived and was assimilated into the local Native American culture, that maybe others were too.

The Garden itself was officially opened to the public on August 18th, 1960, on what would have been Virginia Dare's 373rd birthday.

There were a lot of nooks and crannies to find, and more flowers to share, but I will leave those until next time.

If you would like to see my other posts from the garden, you can click on the label below this post that reads, "The Elizabethan Garden_Manteo_NC.”

I have also included two maps of the area and where it can be located.

Thursday, October 12, 2017


My first photo is from yesterday's post, without the quote.  The photo below shows the garden we found, next to the Wild Horse Museum-Store.  It isn't too far from the lighthouse in Corolla, just up the road.  

At first you think it might be very overgrown and uncared for.  It is at the end of the season.  However, if you look closer still, you realize it would be like coming across a meadow and perhaps this was their intention.  Look closer still and there were dozens of bees and butterflies very happy at its wild state.  

"With rake and seeds and sower,
And hoe and line and reed,
When the meadows shrill with "peeping"
And the old world wakes from sleeping,
Who wouldn't be a grower
That has any heart to feel?"

~Frederick Frye Rockwell~
"Invitation," Around the Year in the Garden, 1913"

Here are a few of those happy visitors.

"Beautiful and graceful, varied and enchanting, small but approachable, butterflies lead you to the sunny side of life.  And everyone deserves a little sunshine."

~Jeffrey Glassberg~

"The hum of bees is the voice of the garden."
~Elizabeth Lawrence~

"Butterflies, bees,
Our winged, happy friends.
Oh, to dance in the air
And float on the breeze."

~Terri Guillemets~

"What do you suppose?
A bee sat on my nose.
Then what do you think?
He gave me a wink
And said, "I beg your pardon,
I thought you were the garden."

~English Rhyme~

"The pedigree of honey does not concern the bee, a clover, anytime, to him, is aristocracy."

~Emily Dickinson~

"When I add a spoon of honey to my tea, I give thanks to a dozen bees for the work of their whole lives.  When my finger sweeps the final drop of sweetness from the jar, I know we've enjoyed the nectar from over a million flowers. This is what honey is: the souls of flowers, a food to please the gods.  Honeyeaters know that to have a joyful heart one must live life like the bees, sipping the sweet nectar from each moment as it blooms.  And Life, like the world of honey, has its enchantments and stings."

~Ingrid Goff-Maidoff~
 "The Honey Sutras"

"Every saint has a bee in his halo."
~Elbert Hubbard~

"I've watched you now a full half-hour;
Self-poised upon that yellow flower
And, little Butterfly!  
Indeed I know not if you sleep or feed,
How Motionless! - not frozen seas 
More motionless! and then
What joy awaits you, when the breeze
Hath found you out among the trees,
And calls you forth again!

This plot of orchard-ground is ours;
My trees they are, my Sister's flowers;
Here rest your wings when they are weary;
Here lodge as in a sanctuary!
Come often to us, fear no wrong;
Sit near us on the bough!
We'll talk of sunshine and of song,
And summer days, when we were young;
Sweet childish days, that were as long
As twenty days are now.”

~William Wordsworth~
"To A Butterfly"

"I don't like formal gardens.  I like wild nature.  It's just the wilderness instinct in me I guess."

~Walt Disney~

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


Gregg's sister recently sent this rather spectacular shot of the moon on a beach. I always enjoy seeing her photos and am grateful she doesn't mind me sharing here.  I have several more of her photos I would like to show you eventually.

Monday, October 9, 2017


Happy Thanksgiving to all our Canadian Friends.
May it be a great one for you all. 

The start of a new week and I thought it would be a good time to thank you for all the very nice comments you leave me.  They are always much appreciated.  Thank you also to those who follow my blog, which I also appreciate.  I have enjoyed chatting with you over the years, and meeting new blogging friends too.  Wishing you all a great week of happy blogging!

Last week I was doing a little blog visiting and found myself looking at a Chili recipe Debbie from It's All About Purple had shared here.  Gregg and I had been talking about finding a chili recipe, as it had been a long time since we had eaten it, and here was one from a blogging friend I had been visiting for years.  I have saved several of Debbie's recipes, with the intent of making them all one day.  However, I had all of the fixings in my kitchen for this one, and there you go.

I am sharing the ingredients from Debbie's list.  I changed a few things as I wanted to use up what I had.

1 pkt. McCormack Original Chili Mix
1 tablespoon of Olive Oil or Butter
1/2 cup of chopped Onion
1 pound of Ground Sirloin
1 clove of Garlic, minced
8 ounces of Tomato Sauce
14.5 ounces of Petite Diced Tomatoes in Juice
1/2 cup of Water
1/2 cup each of Red and Green Pepper
1 can of Red Kidney Beans (light), rinsed and drained

Heat olive oil (or butter) in a large saucepan or Dutch Oven. Debbie has a beautiful cast iron pot which you can see by clicking on the link above.

When oil is hot (or butter has melted) add chopped onions and sweet pepper.  Cook until they are softened.  Add your ground beef.   Once the beef has browned and there is no pink left, add the rest of the ingredients, and combine.  Debbie cooks her chili for an hour on low.

Gregg came home and said the aroma wafting through the house was wonderful, and he arrived hungry.

He had the fixings of a salad with him which we used on the side.  And I had made cornbread.

I didn't have any green sweet pepper so used a red I already had in the fridge, along with a few small orange sweet peppers.

Thanks Debbie, it was delicious!

Added note: Debbie reminded me in her comment that this is a very mild chili, which was perfect for my palate.  She did say that McCormick has a spicy version also, and if you need more of a kick, to use that.  Thanks again Debbie!

Sunday, October 8, 2017


I could happily lean on a gate all the livelong day, chatting to passers-by about the wind and the rain.  I do a lot of gate-leaning while I am supposed to be gardening; instead of hoeing, I lean on the gate, stare at the vegetable beds and ponder.

~Tom Hodgkinson~


I have my own memory of an old gate in front of our home, and from the ages of five to fifteen, I spent many a time swinging on it, leaning on it, climbing up it (to a child it seemed like Mt. Everest) and watching the world go by.  This is not that gate I am sharing today, but an old photo I took on our last trip to England.  

Friday, October 6, 2017


A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love

~Saint Basil~


One of those change of pace posts today.  These were taken of the artwork and nicknacks in the house we stayed at when we were on vacation in Corolla last month.  Someone had put a lot of thought into decorating.  I took notes for when I decorate my son's old bedroom.  I intend to put mostly framed photos on the walls, but a few works of art plus a collectible here and there, would be nice.

Many of the prints were those canvas ones without frames, the kind where the sides are about an inch deep and stick out from the wall.

Definitely a beachy theme which fit in perfectly being near the ocean.

These were hanging up in the breakfast nook.  Made me want to go get my coffee right away!  Talk about the power of suggestion.

As you can see, I had a great time walking around snapping away.

The birdhouses below fit very well in one of the bathrooms.

I can't remember where I found this tile.

A lovely wrought iron piece in one of the hallways.

There are enough photos for another post sometime, but I will leave it alone for now.

Things are slowly getting back to normal after our trip.   A visit to my dentist was at the top of the list.  Gregg and I are going to the same practise, so we have both had appointments since we got back.  

My second visit was today.  It went better than the first time.  I tend to be a bag of nerves when I go.  It has been a while as the last place I went was like a house of horrors.  I think I may have written a post about it once on my old blog, when it was still a fresh memory.  Suffice to say it took me a while to get back to a dentist, and Gregg did the ground work to make sure it was a good place.  I am happy to say it was.  The people in there are lovely.  

The first time the dental hygienist noticed that the small bottle of water I had in my hand looked like a storm at sea.  My hand was literally shaking.  She immediately took my blood pressure and I think was surprised to see that it was very good.  The next question was, she wanted to know if I was on any blood pressure medication.  I told her I wasn't and she seemed surprised; she probably thought it would be out the stratosphere.  

Both the dentist, the dental hygienist and the receptionist treated me with kid gloves on that first visit, and the dentist and dental hygienist kept telling me I had done so well and that they were proud of me.  I had a hand rub or two with kid-gentle expressions, and I'm thinking all the time, wondering if Gregg had said anything to them beforehand.  I asked him when I got into the car at the end of that first visit (he had taken me and waited for me), "Em.....what did you tell them about me, just curious?"  "I told them to be nice to you or you'd be out of there faster than a bat out of you-know-where."  I had to smile, he was speaking the truth, and I would never have gone back.  I think they also noticed that when they called me in, I hesitated for several seconds and quickly looked at the exit door.

I'm glad to say on my second visit I felt a little calmer.  I have to go back in three weeks, and then it will be on a normal schedule.  They are very nice people, and I will be going back on a regular basis.  

And you are going to have to put your sunglasses on when you speak to me, my teeth are nice and sparkly.