Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt - March

This is the final post for the Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt, which ends on March 31.

#4.  Glass:

#4: Glass

It is a glass bottle that has a round glass ball at the top which is pushed in to open the bottle; the neck of the bottle is shaped so that it holds the glass ball in place:

Glass Bottle

#5.  A treasured item: My mother's book of recipes, dated 3.9.53 (September 3rd, 1953; she married in June of that year):

#5: A Treasured Item

Recipe on the first page 

#9.  Weather conditions:  Rain and hail:

#9: Weather Conditions: Rain and Hail

#11. Measures:  A set of measuring cups

#11: Measures - A Set of Nested Measuring Cups

1 Cup, 1/2 Cup, 1/3 Cup, and 1/4 Cup Measures

#12.  In the distance - Mountains in the distance

#12: In the Distance

#17.  Comfort food:  Amba Achcharu/Mango Pickle - a very popular Sri Lankan snack that my daughter requests time and time again!

#17: Comfort Food - Amba Achcharu (Mango Pickle)

'Seasoned' mangos (firm, not green, but, not fully ripe) cut into small pieces and mixed with a solution of salt, vinegar, chili powder, and sugar.  It is ready to be eaten as soon as it is made.

#18.  Something you do every day:  No explanations needed!

#18: Something you do every day

I was able to find a picture for each prompt, this time.  But, I also took some pictures for the alternatives, too:

Alt A: In pieces - Dancer wanted to participate, too!

Alt A: In Pieces  

Dancer says it is called "torn paper towel art".  

Alt C: Black and white 

Alt C: Black and White

My previous posts can be found here (December), (January), (February).  I might do a single final selection post, too, to have everything in one place.

Thank you, Eileen, for hosting the Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt.  

Doughnuts and Bunny Tales


Sunday Brunch

Sunday morning, I woke up to an offer of doughnuts from neighbor S and her daughter N!  They had extra doughnuts and would we like to have some?  Well, I am not able to say no to doughnuts, so, of course, I said, yes, please!  I had made coconut roti (flat bread) for dinner on Saturday and I gave a few roti in return.  S had said she doesn't eat coconut, but, N texted my daughter saying she liked the roti.

N had also mentioned that she had seen the rabbits, too.  That's right!  Rabbits!  Plural!  Two to be exact!  N said they were in the middle of the road on Saturday night!  Uh-oh!  So far I have only seen one rabbit at a time!  

Later in the evening on Sunday, I was watering the front garden, when one of the people in the neighboring house walked by  (there are several people living in that house, including in their converted garage and two motor homes that are parked in their driveway).  I asked him about the rabbits and he said there were two white rabbits and they were his friend's.  I said the rabbits are roaming all over, but, he didn't seem concerned about it.  Apparently, they are not someone's "lost" pets; they are pets who are allowed to roam around!

Still later on Sunday evening, as I was preparing some soup for dinner (chicken and vegetable soup), there was a knock on the front door.  When I went to answer it, it was someone who was out walking and had seen the bunnies!  She asked if they were my rabbits (I guess they were outside my yard?) and I said no.  She said they were on the road and she was concerned that they might get run over by a vehicle.  She wanted to call the City's Animal Control to pick them up if they didn't belong to anyone.  I said they belong to the people next door and suggested she spoke with them.  I saw her standing by their gate, but, I don't know if she spoke with anyone.  I hope she did and they are keeping their rabbits in their yard.   I haven't seen them today.

To be honest, I didn't mind the rabbit feasting on the weeds, etc., in my garden; I don't mind even if there are two.  I think they are cute!  But, I wouldn't want them to get struck down by a vehicle because they are hopping about on the road!  Not to mention going into one of the neighboring yards where there are dogs!  Come to think of it, the neighbors with the rabbits also have dogs!  Maybe that's why the rabbits are in my yard - a safe haven from the dogs!  

But, at least, they are not someone's lost pets.  I know some of you who have read my earlier post about the rabbit had expressed concern that it might be a lost pet and worried that someone, perhaps a small child, would be sad about it.

On Sunday, I was grateful for:

- Doughnuts for brunch
- Finding out that the bunnies were not lost pets!
- A sunny, warm (87F) day
- Water for the garden
- Memories of my father (Sunday was his birthday)

Sunday's joyful activity was eating doughnuts!  LOL!

How was your Sunday?

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Monthly Photo Challenge - March: the Letter C

The March photo challenge theme is the letter C.  First, I had to get the Cookie Monster's song out of my head ("C is for cookie, that's good enough for me...cookie, cookie, cookie starts with C")!  LOL. 

C is for...

Cookies!  Sandwiched with a pumpkin cream filling!

C is also for Clouds:


Curry Puffs:

Curry Puffs - Fresh Out of the Oven

Cake (times two!) 

Cinnamon Pecan Cake and Crumbs 

Caramel Walnut Cake

Calendula flowers:


Citrus fruits like Calamondin/Calamansi:

Calamondin Fruit

Chrysalis/Cocoon:  Found on the trunk of the calamondin tree -


Chrysalis - Side View

And, of course, C is for Cat!

"Humph!  Kept me for last!"

"It's called saving the best for last, Dancer!"

"Oh, is that so?"

I think he was only slightly mollified by that explanation!  LOL.

Thank you, Eileen, for the opportunity to participate in the monthly photo challenge.  Looking forward to April's theme.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Guess Who Came to Dinner?

On Wednesday, when I went outside to walk a bit, I caught a glimpse of something white hopping away and hiding under the space beneath my closet which bumps out of the wall.  Was it Snowball the white cat?  No, Snowball didn't have long ears!  But, by the time I went inside to get my cell phone and came back out, I couldn't find Long Ears anywhere!

Then, yesterday, I went back outside in the evening, this time with my cell phone, and yes, something hopped away from me!


It's a full grown rabbit!  Maybe someone's pet who has escaped?  Once before, too, I found a little brown bunny hopping around in my garden, but, that time, it was a baby bunny and my daughter named it Usagi (which is Japanese for rabbit, she informed me).  

Can it be the Easter Bunny?

It has a brown circular patch on its face which makes it look like it might have stuck its face into a cup of chocolate or coffee!  Maybe it's the Easter Bunny, taking a break from dipping chocolate eggs!  

Nibbling on the Grass

It went into the back garden and began nibbling on the grass - the above picture was taken through the smudgy sliding glass door.  I opened the door to take a clearer picture, but, it hopped away around the other corner of the house!  

I wonder if it will be back?  I don't mind if it does!  It can share the backyard with the cats and the possums!  But, I will have to tell M to put a fence around the summer vegetable plot!  I am not that willing to share my vegetable plants with it!  

Do you see rabbits around your homes?  Do they visit your garden?  

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Not Quite Gold Dust


Oranges Picked Fresh from the Tree

A couple of years ago (well, back in 2018, actually), I read a post on Angela's blog, in which she mentioned preserving orange zest in powdered form and called it "gold dust".  I was intrigued because I am always looking for ways in which to preserve the rind from my oranges, instead of adding them to the compost pile or making orange cleaner.  Candied peel is one idea, but, I don't use it that much.  I have cut up the zest and frozen or dried it to use in baked goods, but, the idea of drying and powdering it was new.  However, I forgot to make any powdered orange zest, until recently.

I used the peel from my homegrown oranges which haven't been sprayed with anything other than water.  Since I don't have a zester, I peeled the oranges as thinly as I could with a knife and left them on the kitchen counter for a couple of days to dry:

Air Dried Orange Peels

Then, I put all the dried peels (from four oranges) into my mortar and pestle and ground them up:

Ground Orange Zest

The aroma reminded me a little of the powdered orange drink mix, Tang!  I probably could have pounded it a bit more or sieved it to remove the bigger bits.  But, I was satisfied with how it looked and put the powder in a small recycled glass jar (it originally contained some instant coffee) to keep on hand, to use in baked goods, etc.

Jar of Orange Zest Powder

I plan to dry and add more powdered orange zest to it as I pick the rest of the oranges from my tree. 

Thank you for the idea, Angela!

Have you ever tried drying and preserving orange zest for use in flavoring various dishes? 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021



Yesterday (Tuesday) morning, I drove my daughter to get her first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination.  She qualified to receive the vaccine as an employee of the University of California system and had already received a notification from her health care provider to call for an appointment.  Unfortunately, her health care provider is in northern California, so, she had to look for a vaccine appointment down here, instead.  She, too, had to go to an adjoining city (but, still within Los Angeles County) to get her vaccination.  It required taking three freeways, but, it only took about 30 minutes of driving to get there.  I drove her there and back and went into the pharmacy with her to wait while she had her vaccination and waited for the required 15 minutes.  I experienced no desire to go shopping while I was in the pharmacy, this time, so, I fully believe that the urge to shop that I had when I went for my first dose was definitely a side effect!  Daughter, however, didn't seem to experience that particular side effect!  She received the Pfizer vaccine and felt a tingling in her arm while we were still in the pharmacy; we notified the pharmacist, who said that it was a side effect, although not a common side effect.  But, since there was no redness or rash, it was not something to be concerned about.  

After we came home, we had some of the curry puffs I had made for brunch.  Daughter had taken the day off from work, so she could rest after her vaccination.  She felt soreness in her arm, some fatigue, and a mild headache.  But, she claimed she didn't feel the need for a Tylenol.  However, she took a nap in the afternoon.

I did a load of laundry while she napped and read.  After daughter had woken from her nap, I practiced the piano.  I was to have my piano lesson, yesterday evening, but, S called and asked if we could reschedule it for today, instead, and I was happy to do so.  

We spent a quiet, relaxed evening.  Daughter had some soup for dinner; I had a tortilla with keema curry.

Dancer decided to play a game of hide and seek!  Where is Dancer?  Is he hiding?  Can you find Dancer?

Dancer Hiding

Daughter said she felt well, other than a sore arm, this morning, and worked.  She did develop a slight headache towards evening, but, didn't want to take anything for it.  She did decide not to take her online exercise class, this evening.  Her second dose is scheduled towards the end of April.

Remember the medication refill I had ordered on Monday?  On Monday evening, I had received an email confirmation of the order, giving the date of delivery (Thursday), etc.  Well, Tuesday night, I received an email notification that the order and delivery had been canceled!  What?  It was too late to call the pharmacy, last night, so, I called them the first thing, this morning!  I spoke to the same pharmacist I had spoken with on Monday and she assured me that the order went through, yesterday!  So, I was very confused!  Shouldn't I have received an email saying my order has been filled?  That is what they've done in the past (except one other time, when there was another order canceled notification when it had been shipped!)  Anyway, I received my medication in the mail, today, a day earlier than promised, so, all is well!  

Yesterday had been a very windy day.  Today, it was calm and still in the morning, but, the winds have picked up in the afternoon.  Mostly sunny with a high of 75F according to the weather forecast (tomorrow, in contrast, will be cloudy with a high of 60F, according to the same weather forecast).  I walked in the driveway for 15 minutes.  

My plans for today include watering the indoor plants since I didn't do that, yesterday, and my piano lesson in the evening.  

I put mung beans to soak, last night, and boiled them this morning for brunch.  Dinner will be leftovers.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- Daughter receiving her first vaccination dose
- Daughter having only mild side effects
- The car started and had a good run
- My medication was delivered to me
- The winds didn't cause any damage

My joyful activities include spending time in the garden and taking an afternoon nap!  

How is your day coming along?

Monday, March 22, 2021

Sunny Monday

It's a sunny spring day, today, with an afternoon high of 68F according to the forecast.  The drapes are open and at least a couple of windows are open, too, for fresh air.  Earlier in the afternoon, I watched Dancer cat napping in a spot of sun shine on the living room sofa, dreaming kitty dreams of catching a bird, perhaps, if the twitching of his whiskers and paws were anything to go by!  

Yesterday (Sunday) was a relaxed day.  Daughter decided she wanted to try her hand at baking bread!  But, not a regular loaf of bread!  She wanted to make a type of Japanese sweet bread known as "melon pan".  It's a type of bun, actually,   It called for bread flour for the bun, itself, and cake flour for the sweet biscuit/cookie type dough on the outside, neither of which we had, but, she made do with regular all purpose flour.   Once the dough was made (she kneaded it by hand), it was kept to rise, then, formed into balls, which were covered with the sweet biscuit/cookie dough (she omitted the optional step of coating the outer surface with sugar), scored, kept to rise a second time and then, baked:

The Melon Pan Rising

The Baked Melon Pan

Melon pan are called that because the scored buns are considered to resemble cantaloupe melons.  We had some with our evening coffee and daughter took one over to her friend N across the street (S's daughter) to try.

I mostly relaxed and read while daughter was making the melon pan.  But, after she finished, I cooked a package of ground beef I had kept to thaw, making a keema curry with it.  Then, I took some of the keema curry and a package of frozen puff pastry squares and made some curry puffs for our dinner:

Curry Puffs

Today, I did laundry and switched out daughter's pillows to the new ones I had ordered for her.  I think I am due for a set of new pillows, myself!  

I also checked on my medications and called the pharmacy to order a refill on one medication that was overdue for a refill!  Not quite sure why it didn't get refilled automatically, but, I made myself a note on the calendar to call for another refill before I run out!  Will probably need a new prescription from the doctor, by then.

Later in the evening, I watered the garden (front and back) and took the trash cans to the curb.  It had been really windy, last night; I suppose that's why I found, not one, but, two, disposable face masks in my yard - one in the back and one in the front.  I used a long handled garden tool to pick them up and put them in the trash can.   

Brunch was curry puffs for both of us.  Dinner was rice with keema curry and vegetables; I only needed to cook some rice.

I haven't been making weekly meal plans, but, this week's meal options include:

Brunch: curry puffs, melon pan, toast with scrambled eggs, French toast, pancakes, salad, sandwiches.

Dinner: rice with keema curry and vegetables (there's enough keema curry for more than one meal); parathas or tortillas with keema curry, fried rice, ramen noodles with chicken and vegetables, fish curry with rice and vegetables, leftovers, or something entirely different (soup, macaroni and cheese, etc.) 

Today, I am grateful for:

- Sunshine and warmer weather
- Working appliances
- Water for the garden
- Free delivery of medications
- Medical/prescription insurance

Today's joyful activity was being in the garden while watering the plants with the garden hose and watching a hummingbird hovering in the air, drinking the water from the end of the spray of water!  I held the spray as still as I could until the hummingbird darted off.

Plans for tomorrow include doing some dusting/cleaning and my piano lesson in the evening.

How was your Monday?  What are your plans for Tuesday?

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Spring Joy List 2021

Happy first day of Spring!

I am inspired to post a list of joyful activities to enjoy during this spring.  

Last year, I didn't do a Spring Joy List; we had just started what was supposed to have been a two-week "shelter at home" period and worries about the pandemic and keeping safe took precedence over just about everything else!  Last spring's joys were finding enough toilet paper, sanitizer, and face masks!  

This spring, the pandemic and the need to keep safe are still a concern; however, there are vaccines being made available, we've learned to sew face masks (although wearing them seems to be still a problem for some), and there's toilet paper on the store shelves again! 

I think it will be a good year to post a list of spring joys, again.  My last list was in 2019.  Some of this year's spring joys are repeats, but, they are no less joyful for being repeated!

2021 Spring Joy List:

* The warmer temperatures

* The longer evenings 

* Spring gardening

* Flower arranging

* Daily walks in the garden

* Bird watching in the garden and listening to bird songs

* Celebrate Sri Lankan New Year (April 13)

* Play with fabric

* Craft projects with daughter

* Sketching/painting/coloring

I think it makes a nice list of joyful activities to enjoy doing this spring.  Some are daily activities (enjoying the warmer days, longer evenings, etc.), some are weekly joys (flower arranging, crafts, etc.), and others (like celebrating Sri Lankan New Year) are a one time thing.  Everything on my list are activities I can do alone or with my daughter, at home, as neither of us is ready to go out and about unless we have to.

What are some spring activities that bring you joy?  Will you be making a spring joy list?

Broccoli Harvest on Friday

Remember this photo from a previous post?

Broccoli, Taken March 2

Well, this is how they looked, today:

Broccoli, March 19

Broccoli 1


Broccoli 2

They've been ready to be harvested for several days, but, I was waiting until I was sure that they would not grow any bigger.

Broccoli 1 Side View

Broccoli 2

But, I didn't want to wait any longer because some of the buds were starting to look like they might flower!  So, today, I harvested them!

2021 Broccoli Harvest!

Unlike that very first broccoli I harvested, these had grown to a respectable size, I think:

With my Hand for Comparison

I cooked them very simply, stir fried with some garlic and soy sauce to have with dinner:

Broccoli Stir Fried with Garlic and Soy Sauce

Dancer received a broccoli leaf and he had this to say about it:


I think that translates to "Homegrown broccoli leaves are yummy!"  

Today, I am grateful for:
- My broccoli harvest
- M making another planting bed for the summer vegetables
- Phone chats with family and friends
- A sunny and warm day
- Oranges from the tree

Today's joyful activity was harvesting the broccoli!  

Have you grown broccoli in your vegetable garden?  What's your favorite way to cook them?

* Apparently, I forgot to publish this on Friday!  I wondered why no one commented!  LOL!

More Cardmaking on Saturday


New Cards

I slept in on Saturday morning, then, spent the rest of the morning and part of the afternoon catching up on blogs, etc.  Later, I did a bit of gardening, mopped the kitchen floor, practiced the piano, chatted with friend R, and cooked frozen gyoza (pot stickers) for an easy dinner.

In the evening, daughter suggested making some cards together.  She made several cards; I made two and started on a third one.  The hearts are cut free hand with small scraps of the handmade paper.  It was fun to sit at the dining table and craft with my daughter.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Cardmaking with my daughter
- Chatting with friends
- Oranges from the garden
- Sunny days
- Hot water on tap!  

Today's joyful activity was cardmaking with my daughter.

How was your Saturday?  What are your plans for Sunday?

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Card Making and Cooking on Thursday

Card with Handmade Paper

Yesterday's headache stayed with me till evening, but, it eventually wore off and I managed to get the vacuuming done.  But, card making and cooking the cauliflower got postponed until today!

This morning, while daughter was having an online meeting, I pulled out my cardmaking supplies and sat down to make a card, using a piece of the paper daughter had made (she is sharing them with me!).  The handmade paper seemed to need something more to set it off, so, I decided to paint a simple flower on it.  The card is for my half-sister (Akka means older sister).

After I made the card, I did a bit of cooking; yes, the long neglected Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.  I am posting pictures and post how I cooked them, mostly for Eileen, who has a "Cooking with Bless" recipe collection!  LOL.

Brussels Sprouts

I sauteed the Brussels sprouts in a little bit of vegetable oil, with curry leaves, a few pieces of dried pandan leaves (optional), and dried chili flakes, then, added a little water to cook them through, some salt to taste, and finished it off with a little lemon juice.  I didn't add any onions, but, they can be added when sauteing, if you like.


The cauliflower was sauteed, too.  I heated a little vegetable oil and added curry leaves and about a teaspoon of mustard seeds to the oil, then, added the cauliflower florets to it and sprinkled turmeric, dried chili flakes and salt.  Everything was stirred in the saute pan until the cauliflower was tender, but, still crisp, because that is how I like cauliflower.  No water was added. 

My daughter ate some of the Brussels sprouts and cauliflower as a snack with her coffee!  

For dinner, I made fried rice with leftover rice, a couple of sliced hot dogs, some finely cut onion, a beaten egg, a handful of cashews, a sprinkle of dried chili flakes, and the last of the chicken curry gravy added to it for a bit of flavor.  I didn't take a picture of the rice, but, we enjoyed it, topped with some sriracha sauce!    It turned out really well.  

In the evening (before dinner), I watered the front and back gardens.  After dinner, I wiped the stove top and counters and ran the dishwasher.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- Being able to make the card
- Water for the garden
- Daughter enjoying the food I prepare
- Emails from friends
- A relaxed day

Today's joyful activity was making the card.

Plans for tomorrow include:
- Mopping the kitchen floor
- Dusting my bedroom
- Tending to the garden with M
- Practicing the piano

How was your Thursday?  What are your favorite ways to cook Brussels sprouts and cauliflower?

Wildflowers: Phacelia



I had a small packet of wildflower seed mix that had been given to me, a couple of years ago, which M scattered around one side of the small vegetable plot.  I didn't keep the seed packet or a record of what seeds it contained, other than California poppy.  So, when a couple of plants with lacy leaves began to grow, I wondered if they were a variety of yarrow.  But, yarrow leaves are more feathery and soon, it became apparent they weren't a type of yarrow:

Not Yarrow Leaves!

Not only were the leaves different, the flower head looked very different, too!

Blurry Cluster of Flower Buds

The First Flowers Open

Lilac Colored Flowers

My clue to identifying them were the lilac colored flowers and the long stamens.


As the individual flowers opened, the tightly clustered flower stems opened out, too.

Phacelia Flower Clusters

According to what I read online, the plant is in the same family as borage and is also known by several common names including purple tansy and scorpion weed.  The flowers provide a lot of nectar and bees like them.  They also make long lasting cut flowers and I can attest to that, because I cut a stem more than a week ago and it is still looking quite fresh.  The plants themselves are very attractive and I wouldn't mind encouraging them to grow throughout the garden.  I am unable to identify which species these are with certainty, but, I rather suspect them to be Lacy Phacelia.  

Lacy Phacelia?

But, definitely Phacelia!

These plants are not edible (as far as I know), but, since they attract bees and other pollinators, they are good companion plants to be grown around vegetables.  Apparently, they are also grown as a cover crop or for green manure.  

Have you grown phacelia plants?