Bavaria

Bavaria

Like many Americans, I’m a mixture of several nationalities. One of them is German, though I have to admit I don’t have a strong connection to this part of my heritage. My German ancestors had been in the USA almost a full century by the time I was born. Very American. So, it was fun for me to visit Germany so many years ago as well as in my research and to imagine the branch of my people that came from this beautiful country. 

Bell Peppers

Bell Peppers

I’ve always enjoyed bell peppers and recently developed a craving for pasta salad with, you guessed it, bell peppers. I’ve been using yellow, orange and red ones. The red seem to be the sweetest and also provide high amounts of Vitamin C and A. Beyond salads, I enjoy stuffed bell peppers, especially if a red sauce, some kind of meat as well as a cheese is included.

Hibiscus

Hibiscus

As many of you know, my backyard garden is my joy. It’s also a great form of exercise since an active gardener uses about every muscle group known to humankind. I’m also in the process of creating a patio garden, with an evaporative cooler, so that I can be outside in my desert world through the summer. I love being in the outdoors and taking in all that fresh air.

Crowned Pigeons

Crowned Pigeons

Indigenous to New Guinea, crowned pigeons are on the endangered species list due to diminishing natural habitat and overhunting. The calls of the pigeons aren’t even heard in the forest anymore. No one knows how many, if any, are left in the wild. But conservation efforts are being undertaken and this seven-minute video shares some beautiful footage of these rare birds as well as the ways the movement is helping to save crowned pigeons from extinction.

Istanbul

Istanbul

Do you love to shop? If you do, you might want to consider putting Istanbul on your bucket list. It has one of the world’s oldest and largest covered bazaars with 5000 shops. If that’s not impressive, the bazaar extends over 60 streets. Another blog had a terrific photo of the bazaar as well as terrific photos of some of the funfacts I included below. If you feel like taking a detour, it would be well worth it to see the photos. Here’s the link to the blog

Strawberry Desserts

Strawberry Desserts

Some topics deserve serious attention. Strawberry desserts is one of those. I even came across a page in Wikipedia called: List of Strawberry Dishes. (Source) So, here’s a summation of the most well-known strawberry ‘dishes’ on that list: Chocolate-covered strawberries, Eton Mess, Frasier, Pavlova, Strawberry Cake, Strawberry Cheesecake, Strawberry Delight, Strawberry Ice Cream, Strawberry Parfait, Strawberry Jam, Strawberry Pie, Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie, Strawberry Sundae and a Candied Strawberry called Tanghulu which is a traditional Chinese confection. For a description and picture of each of these, go here.

Orchids

Orchids

I have always been fascinated by these exquisite, long-lasting flowers, but never really knew much about them. Two years ago, when hubs had his heart attack — and recovered fully, thank God — he was given an orchid by one of his well-wishers. Since then, he’s taken remarkable care of this beauty and has succeeded in not only keeping it alive but encouraging it to bloom. He’s done a miraculous job. I confess I’m not great with container gardening; I don’t have the patience or perhaps even the discipline he does. His father had the same gift, so I’m not surprised. I seem to do better tilling the soil. Alas, I don’t have a photo for you. It’s blooming cycle is almost at an end. 

Desert Foxes

Desert Foxes

It is said that the desert fox, also known as the fennec fox, can hear a mouse’s heartbeat under the desert sand. Found in North Africa, the Sinai Peninsula and in the Arabian desert, these small foxes have enormous ears compared to their body size.They use their ears not only to hunt but to disperse the searing desert heat. They are the smallest foxes on earth, even smaller than a typical house cat. But they’re highly social and are a favorite among exotic pet owners because they fit right in with the family.

Mont Saint Michel France

Mont Saint Michel France

Every once in a while, I come across a place that has a real fairy-tale feel and appearance. Mont Saint Michel France is one of those places. The small ‘tidal-island’ community took over a millennium to develop into its modern-day form. Though it is a monastery with an amazing abbey, it has also served as a fortress. For over twelve centuries, pilgrims have traveled here for religious observances and were provided a traditional and very fluffy omelet to fortify them on their journeys. These omelets are still made today. The streets are very narrow and stuffed with all kinds of eateries, shops and stalls that serve the three-million visitors that come to the island annually.

Bruschetta

Bruschetta

We’re all pretty much familiar with this simple appetizer that originated in Italy. It has some of my favorite ingredients: Italian bread, fresh olive oil and basil, salt, and tomatoes. Other ingredients can be added at will including cheeses of different kinds and cured meats. Some foods, in their most basic form, are best: Bread with a bit of dressing, tomatoes, an herb, maybe some cheese. This dish can easily move from appetizer to main course. What do you think?