Humor, Travel

Cicada at Suncadia

Out in plain sight.

We arrived at night to the Suncadia resort in Cle Elum, Washington. It was a wet, rainy night and we were glad to check into our room. My husband and I were relaxing in bed when we heard the repeated sound like ringing that lasted for a duration of 30 to 60 seconds. We were baffled by where it was coming from.

We explored the room where we thought the noise was coming from, opening closet doors and searching the bathroom and under the bed. I had a hunch what it was because I have heard a sound similar to this one. I turned on the flashlight on my iPhone and began searching the slats of the closet and nightstand. Eureka! I found it. It was a small, wheat-colored bug tucked away on the outside of the closet frame. I could see its beady little eyes and antenna slightly probing the air. It was a cicada! Actually it was kind of cute.

I am familiar with cicadas as they are prominent in the later weeks of summer in Michigan where I grew up but the sound emitted of the type there is different . The sound from this cicada was higher pitched and had a ringing tone. Well, anyway, my husband captured it in an empty coffee mug and set it outside the hotel room door. He thought it might be too cold to place outdoors. Well, it took about 30 minutes for it to get comfortable and it began “singing” again, but this time the chirping echoed upon the walls in the hallway and was just as loud. I opened the door and had to search because it was camouflaged quite well. Back into the coffee mug and this time it had to go outdoors.

Zoom in at the top left corner to see the camouflaged little fellow.

In contrast, the next morning after arriving home I was startled by a pretty ugly spider that showed up near my clothes hamper in my bathroom. We didn’t look at each other very long. I am sorry to say, my shoe came down upon the ugly, treacherous-looking spider with a smack. You get the picture. Now, cicadas, even though they look similar to roaches when they are full grown, gain my approval because of their interesting sweet sound, especially when their buzzing chorus penetrates the thick summer air giving indication to the particular stage of summer.

Don’t get me wrong. The resort hotel was quite new and clean and I would definitely go back there again. This little guy just made his way in, probably in anticipation of the cooler outdoor temperatures. Don’t we tend to go to places we are most comfortable?

Food, Inspiration

Chance Meetings and Dilly Beans

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“Those look good,” I said.

“Oh, yes I am getting beans, all the same length to make Dilly Beans,” said Debbie, the farmers market customer whom I just met. We proceeded to have conversation about canning, etc. I continued to shop for produce but kept wondering about the Dilly Beans.

I caught up with her again at the check-out stand. “How do you make the Dilly Beans?”

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“Let me have your phone number and I will text you the recipe,” said Debbie.

I felt a connection, even if only for a brief moment. She texted me the recipe to preserve the beans but I have yet to put them up.

I often think about how easy it is to meet some people and others not. I feel like I just want to make the Dilly Beans so that I can respond to Debbie to let her know that I was successful making them. I may need to wait until next year as the season for green beans is almost past.

Meeting new people is just a matter of talking to them and I feel that even though our encounter was brief we were friends for those brief moments. I do have her phone number so I will need to reach out to her since we have this dilly green bean connection.

Food, Health

Super Sorghum

Many Health Benefits

This little miniature-sized kernel is packed with health benefits and is believed to prevent certain types of cancer, can help control diabetes, is gluten-free, offering a dietary option to people with celiac disease. It improves digestive health, builds strong bones, promotes red blood cell development, and boosts energy and fuel production.  What’s not to love?

Sorghum is mineral-rich, and contributes 10g of protein and 6g fiber per 1/2 cup to the diet. It is a good source of calcium, phosphorus, iron and zinc. You can pop it like popcorn or use it as a replacement for rice or barley in your favorite dishes or soups.

Sorghum is a drought tolerant cereal grass native to Africa, but is widely cultivated throughout the world, including the U.S, Central and South American and India.

If quinoa and millet are just not doing it for you, why not give sorghum a try. You can even buy it as flour and as beer and in packaged foods like crackers.

I especially love popcorn and this is a good alternative to popcorn. It is oh, so flavorful, especially when you pop the kernels in ghee. Another benefit to eating sorghum is that there are no annoying hulls that get stuck in your gums and teeth. They are a bit small to pick up with your fingers so it does take some getting used to. Also, not all of the kernels pop, but they are also edible but I tend not to eat the un-popped ones.

1/3 cup sorghum
2 tablespoons melted ghee
medium high heat, put a lid on it when it begins to pop and shake the pan a bit
add a little salt and enjoy!
Food, Health

Avocado and Toast Best Friends Forever

Lately, it’s all things avocado. Avocado toast, avocado colored shoes, guacamole. There are even giant avocados grown in Florida that measure three feet long and cost around $45. That is some serious green there!

Avocado is incredibly nutritious: Vitamin K, folate, Vitamin C, potassium, Vitamin B5 and B6, Vitamin E. It also contains small amounts of magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorous and vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin).

Benefits of Avocado

Contains more potassium than bananas

Loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids

Loaded with fiber

Eating avocados can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels

Avocados weigh in at around 160 calories, 2 grams of protein and 15 grams of healthy fats.  They do not contain any cholesterol or sodium and are low in saturated fat.

Avocados are considered a high-fat food but the fat content is oleic acid—a monounsaturated fatty acid that is also in olive oil.

You can get as creative as you want to with avocado. Of course, there is avocado toast where you spread avocado on toast and top with an egg. Add some arugula to the top with a sprinkle of lime juice and celery salt. I’ve had avocado in breakfast bowls comprised of brown rice, egg and slices of avocado with a sprinkle of soy sauce. There are a myriad of ways to prepare it.

Seriously, you can’t go wrong with eating avocado in any way, shape, or form. They taste good and are good for you. My favorite way to eat them is mashed with a clove of pressed garlic, a squeeze of lemon or lime juice to prevent oxidization and to add flavor, a sprinkle of sea salt, a hint of tabasco and then I dig in with some tortilla chips. Yum!

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Health, Inspiration

Summer Breeze Makes Me Feel Fine…

Sweet days of summer, the jasmine’s in bloom
July is dressed up and playing her tune

I love the sweet scent of jasmine on a hot summer evening as I sit on the porch and drink an ice-cold glass of water and listen to the breeze gently blowing and rustling the tree leaves. It’s one of my favorite pastimes. The jasmine sits in a comfortable spot in a container on my porch and runs up a small trellis. Every time I think of jasmine, I think of the Seals and Crofts song with some of the lyrics evident in the blog title and photo caption.

Not only is the sweet scent pleasant on a summer evening but scientists have discovered that the fragrance of jasmine could potentially help replace medication for sleep, anxiety, stress, and a host of other modern day illnesses.

It has been determined that jasmine can

-Reduce anxiety and nervous tension

-Boost mood and improve cognitive performance and alertness

-Improve sleep quality

-Balance hormones

-Treat hot flashes and mood swings

-Increase libido

Scientists who conducted tests on laboratory mice discovered that the fragrance of jasmine augments the effects of a chemical named GABA on nerve cells.  This chemical reaction is what helps relieve anxiety and stirs up the desire to be still and at rest.

Being in nature naturally reduces anxiety and stress and it has been found that there is a correlation between stress and oxygen levels.  Adding the soothing aroma of jasmine can positively impact mental health and improve your mood in general.

Now if only my bedroom window was closer to the jasmine.