Walk it off Wednesday – Things are looking up…

 

Going out and about themeless was an excellent idea – instead of desperately searching for something I just enjoyed what I saw and the theme developed all on its own – looking up.

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I seem to have spent an awful amount of time complaining about the weather recently, but not this week! We’ve had a couple of beautiful days and whilst feeling the effects of the sun on my face I looked up and marvelled at the sky through the leaves. Not only is the weather looking up, and my mood, but I am too – literally.

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Walk it off Wednesday – Hatchlings and Bluebells

It happens almost without fail, whatever I see lots of one week I can’t seem to find the next. Hatchlings for example. I had seen baby ducks, moorhens and geese. When I went to photograph them they had all moved on, or been eaten….let’s say moved on. This was the only batch I could find:

I found a nice collection of big birds –

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And some lovely bluebells – not English bluebells (there is a difference) but beautiful all the same:

So this coming week I am not going to pre-choose, I’m going to see what I find….

Meat-free Monday – Fruity Curried Rice

I think I may be a flexitarian. I’m not a vegetarian, I eat meat, all meat, and so I am definitely not a vegan, however I have embarked on meat-free week days and am really rather enjoying it. Today’s meat-free fare was an old favourite: fruity curried rice. I used to do this with BBQ food as a side dish or with roast chicken. Basically it goes with anything.

It’s also really good on it’s own – and it’s vegan too. And it’s really simple to make.

The ingredients:

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1 chopped onion
Oil of choice – 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon curry powder – I use a hot one for this dish
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 chopped pepper – any colour
A big handful of mushrooms
100g basmati rice
100g frozen peas
100g dried apricots – chopped
100g raisins
100g salted peanuts
Some chopped coriander leaf

The method:

Cook the rice and the peas together, then drain and set aside.
Fry the onions, then add the spices and fry them off. Throw in the pepper and mushrooms, add a splash of water if it’s dry. Cook for a couple of minutes. Throw in the rice and peas and heat through. Then throw in the dried fruit and nuts. Lastly add the coriander leaves.

That’s it. You can eat it hot, but I find it tastes better lukewarm.

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Perfect.

Walk it off Wednesday – blooming small gardens

Well I definitely caught the cherry blossom at the right time, it’s all over now. Tulips are starting to make their appearance now, as is apple blossom. On my daily walks I see many glorious gardens, but when I actively seek them I can’t find them. It’s the same story every week!

Here is what I saw:

What I have seen this week is the first hatchlings! Ducks, coots and geese – and that’s what I’m photographing this week.

Walk it off Wednesday – Bring on the Swans…

April is coming on well. Gradually the weather is improving, although the nights are still frosty on occasion. The flowers are blooming, ducks are seeking their mates, and Easter has been and gone and with it everything containing sugar in our house. It is time for a new start. The swans seem to know this, their nests are made and eggs are laid. Not chocolate ones this time…

I live in a small town. A small town with a lot of houses. It constantly surprises me how wildlife chooses to live so close to us. These swans live on stretches of water between residential areas. For some there is as little as 10 metres between their nests and someone’s front door. Dangerous living in the breeding season!

Back to new starts – there has been a lot of garden-tidying-up activity in the last couple of months and I have seen some joyous front gardens, so that’s my theme for the coming week – pretty front gardens.

Walk it of Wednesday – Magnolias out, Cherry Blossom in…

What a beautiful week – lots of sun, Sunday hit 22 degrees which is very warm for the time of the year, and it seemed that every tree was in full bloom. The cherry trees are particularly spectacular. In every direction there is a billowing cloud of blossom to admire – and I have!

It has been perfect gardening weather too. I have spent a good number of hours tidying up our little patch of land and have thoroughly enjoyed it. For the first time in a few years I have found joy in weeding and splitting and replanting. I think this is because I’ve stopped teaching in school; the garden was then a chore, now it is a treat as it should be.

This coming week’s theme has been difficult to choose – there are so many flowers to be seen including apple and pear blossom, rhododendrons, early clematises…but I have also seen nesting swan pairs so I’m going for the birds!

Walk it off Wednesday – Spring has Sprung, and so has the pollen…

Beautiful weather, beautiful flowers, and a nose full of pollen.

It catches me out every year. I start with the cold that is doing the rounds and before I can say ‘sinusitis’ my head feels like it’s about to burst like an over ripe tomato.

So that was the last 2 weeks. Mucus management. Joy.

Here are the (now 3 weeks old) photos of spring in Veghel:

So after a three week break I am healthy again and ready to pick up my photo challenge. This coming week I want to seek out magnolia trees – they are already in bloom and fast fading but they are just too glorious to give up on.

Walk it off Wednesday – Interesting Ironwork

What a beautiful week!  The sun has been shining, the temperature has risen, and nature has popped.

And I was looking for iron fences…and gates….

Missed a trick this week.  I have seen daffodils blooming, azaleas and rhododendrons in full colour, trees covered in blossom and ducks a-dabbling.  Iron work just didn’t seem so interesting.  Yet here is what I saw –

And this week I’m leaving it at that.  Next week’s theme – nature’s glories in March.  Now, where were those daffodils…

Banana Bread -an experiment with spelt and coconut flour.

Who doesn’t like banana bread. And there are so many recipes to choose from.  Generally speaking where baking is concerned I like to follow a recipe but I have tried, and liked, so many banana breads I thought I’d give my own a go.

I started with a table full of possible ingredients:image

Then I checked a couple of favourite recipes to get an idea of amounts, and off I went….

  • 3 large bananas
  • 50g softened butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g spelt flour
  • 60g coconut flour
  • 30g broken flaxseed
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

160 c fan oven – 45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

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Really tasty, not too sweet, lots of fibre – what’s not to like!

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Walk it off Wednesday on a Thursday…crocuses and snowdrops.

Yesterday was one of those days where many things went slightly differently to how I had planned.  Including sitting down in the evening to share my photos from the week.

The best laid plans of mice and men…etc.

It has been an incredibly wet beginning to the month. It’s raining now. I’m so British, I just love to point out what the weather is doing.  Despite the rain the sun did break through a couple of times and I took my ipad in hand and headed out. I walk my 30 minutes each day but am unwilling to get my tablet wet so I had to find all my shots in a session or two.

And I am very happy with the results! It really does feel like spring when I look at these.  Not so much when I look out of the window at the drizzle.

This is perhaps my favourite – and it belongs to a house just across the road.  image

One does not have to travel far to find beauty – and that’s good because in this weather I don’t stray too far from home.

It’s such a grey day today I am going to choose a grey theme for the coming week – interesting ironwork.