Monday, December 22, 2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Fun with Photography 'Apps'

 Don't get me wrong, I love my camera and the photos it takes.

 But recently, I discovered that I can change the look of my  photos

using a myriad of 'apps' on phone , tablet or computer.

 I was, of course,  aware of photoshop and that it could do lots more but, at first,  I was too timid to experiment with it.

 What I didn't realize was that there are scores of 'art' apps and photo editing apps that will alter photos to look

like watercolors 

or oil paintings.

and literally hundreds of other styles too.

I have been creating haiga using my photos for several years but recently began to experiment with altered photo images, such as these.

It is very enjoyable for me to put the photo through several 'apps' to get different effects.

Once I find the most pleasing image,  I use another program to add the poem to the image.

 These photos were taken last fall during the leaf-peeping season and depending on the mood I want to create

                  they can be very vibrant or muted.

I am not an artist but I do take some pretty good photos  and it has given me great pleasure to learn how to turn the pictures into 'works of art.'

Here is a completed haiga which was

published in the Winter 2014 edition of  Akitsu Quarterly

Take-Away - it is never too late to learn new tricks.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Gifts of Early December

Winter is almost here. 

 I can taste it in the coolness of the air. 

 I can see it on my breath. 

The time has come to dial down the noise and spend some quality time meditating and praying. 

For me, early winter is the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, when I like to skip away from the bustle of preparing for the holidays and spend some quiet time in the woods.  

It isn't terribly cold yet and the sun obliges with shadows that are only this interesting once a year. 

My eyes notice textures and colors that are obscured by the green and gold of other seasons.

The light is free to play on the water.

And the mauve and gray tones compete with black and white in the late afternoon clouds.

The hearty birds stand guard over the wetlands and provide company for a solitary walker.

My heart feels bigger in the last weeks before the solstice.  I find so much to contemplate in the silence of the woods.  Everyone else is somewhere else and I can find all the gifts I need, right here in the woods. And I give thanks for them!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Fresh Sage - A Delicious Twist

OK.  There is a good reason I named this blog 'The Healthy NUT.'  I am just a little crazy and this post may prove it.   I have had almost no desire to cook much lately, relying on easy summery recipes that require a minimum of time in the kitchen.  We eat lots of salads and fresh veggies, chicken and fish.

Recently a friend e-mailed me asking for some recipe ideas for a bumper crop of sage.   I suddenly had a burning desire to make something I could garnish with fried sage. Usually I make  vegetarian cassoulet or bean soup in the fall and  both recipes are enhanced by the frizzled sage on top.    But who wants to make a meal like that in August.

Today while in the market, I spotted a butternut squash  -already peeled and cubed.  A recipe was forming in my (crazy) brain.  I added a package of crumbled gorgonzola to the basket and I knew what we were having for dinner.
Perhaps it was the 13 inches of rain that fell on us in 24 hours that gave me a yen for comfort food, but this is what I cooked up tonight.

Quinoa Risotto With Butternut Squash and Fried Sage Leaves and Gorgonzola

Olive Oil
4 cloves ofGarlic
1 Onion
A handful of fresh sage
1 cup tricolor quinoa
2&1/2 cups of water or broth
2 cups of cubed winter squash 
1 cup of gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

Coat the squash with olive oil and bake in 400 oven for about 30 minutes.

Heat a generous amount of olive oil  and fry the sage leaves quickly.  Remove from the heat when they are crispy and drain on a paper towel. 

In the same pan, heat more oil (a tablespoon) cook the onion for 3-4 minutes add garlic and  quinoa.  cook for 3-4 minutes until quinoa starts to jump around in the pan. Slowly add water or broth, 1/4 cup at a time and stir as you would risotto.  Keep stirring and adding the water. This will take about 25-30 minutes for the quinoa to cook.  

Add salt and pepper to taste.  Turn off the heat and fold in the gorgonzola and the roasted squash.  Garnish with the sage. 

I served this with a straight- from- the- garden -yellow- tomato- and -basil - salad and a simple dressing. Drizzle with olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Anyone who has read my recipes before knows that I like a recipe that can be changed up with whatever is on hand.  I can envision this working with asparagus and goat cheese or sun-dried tomatoes and parmesan cheese.  

Today's Take-away 

               Sage - It's not just for Thanksgiving anymore!

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