Monday, June 30, 2014

A Breakfast Smoothie

So many recent magazines are full of information on how to eat healthier.  In one of the magazines I  saw a recipe on how to make a green smoothie.  The article went on to talk about how healthy this green smoothie was.

While I thought that smoothie seemed like a good idea, the magazine smoothie recipe did not seem to have enough variety,  so I decided to come up with my own recipe for a healthy green smoothie.

Mixed Berries, Spinach with Kale, Protein Shake

Or, I sometimes add Collard, Mustard and Turnip Greens.

Sometimes I can only find Spinach without the Kale.

Recently two physicians were on TV talking about the amazingly healthy benefits of Broccoli Sprouts.  Our local produce manager helped me find these in our local Publix grocery.  I have since read that the Organic Broccoli Sprouts are the most beneficial.

I added this whole  4 oz. package of Broccoli Sprouts.

To help mix everything I sometimes use water and sometimes use Pomegranate Juice,
which I also understand is very good for us.

To give flavor and taste and a bit more nutrition I add a scoop of Vi-Shape Shake Mix.  
 There are many protein nutritional shake mixes available in the health food stores,
or even your local grocery store.

One small little scoop is enough.

Put the berry mix in the blender, add some water or juice, 
add a scoop of protein shake mix and blend together.

Then add your greens and the broccoli sprouts and blend.  I always add as many greens as it takes to fill the blender after adding the fruit,  blending a little at a time adding more greens until blender is full.

If you add a lot of the mixed berries the smoothie does not turn out so green.

The next time I made this smoothie mix,  I used tropical mixed fruit with pineapple and mangoes,
which is lighter in color,  and then the smoothie did turn out to be green. 

I keep the covered blender in the refrigerator and have a glass each morning.  My blender makes enough to last for three days.   It still tastes good on the third day.  If the smoothie has thickened a little I add a little water and re-blend.

I thought this healthy concoction might be worth sharing with those of you trying to live a healthy lifestyle.  And, I have to say it actually is very delicious.

Below is a website that has lots of healthy smoothie recipes if you are looking for additional ideas.

We will be leaving tomorrow for a couple of weeks vacation in the mountains of North Caroline.  Also, we will be meeting the kids and grand kids during the 4th of July weekend. As always I will take my camera along and be looking for photo opportunities from all the beauty the Good Lord has given to us to enjoy.

Wishing you happy days, a fun 4th of July,  and a special Summertime wherever you may be.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Good Day Fishing

Some of you may remember the words to George Gershwin's song "Summertime."   I was reminded of some of the words to that song a few days ago when our daughter Sharon and three of her four sons came fishing.

And the livin' is easy
Fish are jumpin'
and the cotton is high ~"

The grandsons were walking around the pond and saw fish jumpin' so they decided it was time to do a little fishing and try to catch the "big one."  There are a lot of bream, large-mouth bass and catfish in the pond.

Getting the fishing gear ready.

Preston ready to try his luck.

Sharon, our daughter,  the grandson's mom,
 trying her luck.

Our pond is located a short distance away from Lake Iamonia.  Lake Iamonia is an ancient lake thought to date back to about 200 BC.   The lake is 7 miles long and 2 miles wide and is known to have lots of good fishing and also lots of alligators.

We often find alligators in the pond.  They seem to come and go,  and we think their home-base is the large Lake Iamonia.  That is the only way we can figure how they manage to come visit our pond so often.

Baby alligator watching the boys fish.
If you look closely you can see him in the below photo toward the bottom right.

They are so little and cute and harmless looking.  But, we all know they are definitely not harmless and we keep our distance from them.

As you can see in the below photo this little guy seems to be enjoying watching the boys and their mom fishing.  He toodled around watching each one of them and then seemed to loose interest and went under the water.

Baby alligator in the pond.

Will enjoying fishing.

Yes, Will caught the "big one,"   a huge catfish.

Lawson, putting the worm on his hook.

Lawson had good luck too! ... He caught the smaller bream.

It was not meant to be for Preston and their mom to catch anything that day.   But, everyone enjoyed the "livin' is easy" part of the day and being together for an afternoon of fishing fun.

Wishing you blessed,  and happy,  and  a "livin is easy" kind of Summer wherever you may be.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Early Morning Visitors

It is not unusual to spot deer visiting in our yard at just about any time of day.  As I walked into the kitchen a couple of days ago and looked out the window I spotted two deer who were passing through.  They always look toward the house as if they are wishing for company. 

I went to get my camera in hopes of trying to get a good picture of them.  
I used the Canon Zoom EF 70-200mm 1:4L lens.  The below photos are as close as I could zoom from the kitchen window.

We do enjoy seeing the deer, but on a hungry day for them,  as they are passing through,
they even have been known to eat the rose bushes with thorns.

   As I looked out the kitchen window at first I thought there was only one deer, but looking closer I saw she had brought a friend along.

Or, maybe, they are mother and daughter.  Or, maybe even sister and sister.

It must be hard to be a deer and have to constantly be looking for food to eat.  Sometimes Wal-Mart has large bags of deer eating corn available ... I wonder if they would stop eating the roses and other plants if they saw that corn was available for them ... That would be worth a try!

This world we live in is an amazing paradise when beautiful creatures like this can freely stop by for a visit at any time, along with the birds, raccoons and possums, bob-cats and an occasional red fox.

Wishing you blessed and beautiful days during this lovely month of June.  

The official first day of Summer is rapidly approaching and will be here day after tomorrow, on Saturday, June 21st.  Happy Summertime wherever you may be.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Chicago's Magnificent Mile

This week we flew into Chicago for my husband to attend the annual AMA meeting 
held at the the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Chicago. 

In the below photo we see the skyline of Chicago from a taxi as we are driving into the city.

We arrived at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in the middle of downtown Chicago.
In the below photo is a view from the hotel window.
The boats you see down on the Chicago River are tourist sightseeing boats.

The AMA meeting is a huge meeting addressing medical issues and patient care.

While my husband attended his meetings I had the great pleasure of taking my camera and trying to capture some sights of this beautiful American city.  I chose to take my point and shoot camera, because it is so much easier to pack and carry while traveling.

Walking across the Michigan Avenue Bridge from the hotel I spotted another tourist 
sightseeing boat going down the Chicago River.

Chicago is the 3rd most populous city in the United States after New York and Los Angeles,
with over 2.7 million residents.

In the below photo is a view from the other side of the Michigan Avenue Bridge.

Just across the bridge it is not hard to spot The Wrigley Building shown in the below photo, which was used as the company headquarters for Wrigley Chewing Gum Company back in the 1920s.

Walking across the bridge the wind was blowing these flags in the below photo to where they were almost standing straight out.  We have all heard Chicago called "the windy city" and on this day it sure was true.  They said the wind was blowing about 20 mph.

There are many skyscrapers located in the city of Chicago.  In the below photo you can see the Trump Tower which is the second tallest building in Chicago, and the third tallest in the United States.  The "Trump" name on the building features 20 foot high letters, and as you can see,  the last letter "P" has not been completed and put in place.

There is so much to see walking along the famous Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue.  The city has placed little mini-gardens all along the entire mile and they are all a pretty sight to see.

This particular garden-planter had,  of all things,  beautiful Orchids growing in the planter.

These pretty planters were located on both sides of the street 
for the entire length of the Magnificent Mile.

Many of the restaurants along the way also had beautiful flower-filled planters.

Walking along the Magnificent Mile I spotted this silver colored street entertainer.  Many folks were stopping and having their photo made with her.  Every once in awhile she would move around and stand in a different pose.  I think she was supposed to look like a statue, but it was easy to tell she was a real human,  even when she was standing perfectly still.

The entire length of the Magnificent Mile has over two hundred shops with just about everything you can think of available.  There are also upscale hotels along the way and many wonderful restaurants.  It is quite a treat to walk the whole mile and window shop.

One of the windows that really caught my eye was the display window at Crate and Barrel.

My favorite store of all to go into is the Polo Ralph Lauren at the corner Michigan Avenue and Chicago Avenue.  Somehow I failed to snap a picture of that beautiful store.

In the below photo is Garrett's Caramel Corn shop.  As you can see there is a long line waiting to get in the door.  Yes, we did have to get some of that delicious Caramel Corn to take home to the grand-kids.


I love to see the horses that pull the tourist carts.   They are so big and strong and so pretty. This photo was taken with the zoom part of the camera from across the street, therefore you can't see them real well from this distance.

I thought about taking a taxi back to the hotel, but as you can see,  walking was 
definitely faster than taking a taxi because of the heavy traffic that was hardly moving.

In the below photo is one of Chicago's landmarks, The Old Chicago Water Tower Building which was built back in 1869.   The tower was used for pumping water from Lake Michigan for firefighting.  The tower is now used for the Chicago Office of Tourism art gallery.

There are over 6,000 restaurants in the Chicago area.  With so many to choose from, we decided to select a restaurant within walking distance of our hotel.  The hotel Concierge recommended Shaw's  Crab House. We very much enjoyed Shaw's Crab House on the first evening of our stay in Chicago.

With the thought in mind of finding another restaurant within walking distance of the hotel the McCormick and Schmick's restaurant came highly recommended.  On the second evening of the meeting we enjoyed this seafood and steak restaurant very much.

Have you ever eaten at a P. F. Chang's restaurant?  This is a chain restaurant.  Our daughter told us about this restaurant and said if we ever had the opportunity to eat there that we must order the "Lettuce Wraps"  appetizer.

This restaurant was within walking distance, but a long walking distance.  On this particular evening the rains had begun to fall along with the temperatures.  It was about 58 degrees, wind blowing and raining too.  We borrowed umbrellas from the hotel and took off walking in the rain and wind.  It was fun to feel like a teenager again, but we were glad to finally arrive at the restaurant.

The below photo does not show how delicious these lettuce wraps are. I went looking on the Internet for the recipe for these Lettuce Wraps and found what they call a copycat version of the P.F. Chang's Lettuce Wraps.  I included the recipe below just in case you do not have a P. F. Chang's Restaurant near you and would like to try them.

Lettuce Wraps served at the P. F. Chang's Restaurant in Chicago.

Copycat P.F. Chang's Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Serves: 6-8 lettuce wraps
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons sriracha sauce
  • 1 can (8 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
  • 1 small bunch green onions, sliced
  • 2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • salt to taste
  • Iceberg, Bibb or butter lettuce leaves, rinsed and drained
  • Soy sauce, hoisin, spicy mustard sauce for dipped (optional)
  • Roasted peanuts, chopped (optional)
  1. In a medium skillet on medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Add the ground chicken and cook until it is cooked through. With a spatula, break it up into small chunks as it cooks (it will resemble ground beef). Remove from heat.
  2. Stir in the onion, garlic, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, rice wine vinegar, and sriracha sauce until completely coated.
  3. Fold in water chestnuts, green onion, sesame oil, and peanuts, if desired. Salt to taste.
  4. Serve in a lettuce leaf and top with hoisin, soy sauce, or spicy mustard.

 In the above photo is a beautiful old clock we walked past on our way back to the hotel.  

We enjoyed our stay in the beautiful city of Chicago.  The AMA meeting was a good one for my husband and his associates. I enjoyed walking around the charming city taking in the sights and sounds and trying to capture some of the beauty of the city with my camera.

There is so much to see and do in this amazing city of Chicago.  There are interesting museums, parks and theatres.

Thanks for coming along with me as I walked down the beautiful Magnificent Mile along Michigan Avenue.  I hope you enjoyed seeing the sights as much as I did.

As we begin a whole new week I wish you happy and blessed days wherever you may be.