Friday, June 22, 2018

So f****ing good! A repost

If you haven't yet bought the Thug Kitchen cookbook, you don't know what you're missing. Yes, the language is bad, but the recipes are great -- I haven't found a loser yet! Here's another recipe to try (I shortened the instructions a little and made a little change with the veg broth) before buying your copy:

Black Bean Tortas with Coconut Chipotle Mayo

For the Mayo:

  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite chipotle hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tblsp chia seeds
  • 1 tblsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder 
For the Creamy Black Beans:

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced, or about 2 tblsp jar garlic
  • 1 tblsp chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 cups cooked black beans (I used 2 cans of black beans)
  • 1 1/2 cups veg broth (I only used 1/2 cup and still needed to pour off a little liquid)
  • juice of one lime
  • salt to taste
Torta trimmings

  • 4 crusty rolls, split and toasted
  • lettuce
  • sliced tomatoes
  • sliced red onion
  • sliced avocado

  1. Make the mayo first. Combine all mayo ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Put the mayo in the frig and it will thicken up.
  2. Next make the black beans. Heat the oil and saute onion, garlic, chili powder, and cumin. Add the black beans and cook until soft (add veg broth to keep the beans moist). Add in the lime juice and salt. Mash the black bean mixture with a potato masher until it's chunky, yet spreadable.
  3. Now make the tortas! Spread the mayo on one roll and the black bean mixture (topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado -- however you like it). Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

It's Pollinator Week 2018!

I love butterflies!  I studied butterfly gardens for my dissertation, and have written a few blog posts about butterfly gardens, pollination, and books I've read about butterflies, monarch butterfliesbutterfly smuggling, and bees

When I was first learning about butterflies and how to identify them, I participated in a 4th of July butterfly count, sponsored by the North American Butterfly Association (NABA).  It was a great introduction to what my husband calls, "the lucrative world of butterfly conservation."  Lucrative or not, I'm still at it!  This past weekend, I headed to Sky Meadows State Park in Delaplane VA for this year's count.  It was a great day of butterflying!  Here are a few of the butterflies we saw.

Hackberry emporer

Gray hairstreak

Great spangled fritillary

American lady


summer azure

Zebra swallowtail

Monday, June 18, 2018

Mammal Monday

It's Monday.  But it's also the first Monday that the kids are out of school.  Thus, not a Monday to be too terribly serious.  So here's your Mammal Monday video (with one reptile thrown in).  Enjoy your easy stroll into summer!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Eggplant burgers


I've spent the last few mornings pulling english ivy and other non-native invasives from my yard. I've heard that many find the task of weeding to be satisfying and even rewarding.  I. do. not.  I find it to be sweaty and exhausting, and with the constant threat of poison ivy, a little bit scary.  So I need an easy and tasty dinner for tonight!

I found this tasty recipe for an easy “burger” grill in the summer Martha Stewart Living magazine. I made a few little changes and additions (in parentheses).

  • 4 slices eggplant, about 1 inch thick
  • 1 large red onion, sliced in 1/2 inch rounds (I used sweet onion, like vidalia)
  • extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing (I used olive oil spray or mist)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 pound mozzarella, cut into slices
  • 4 brioche buns, preferably with sesame seeds, halved (I used King’s Hawaiian hamburger rolls)
  • 4 small leaves of Bibb or Boston lettuce (I used spinach, because that’s what was in my frig, and all worked out OK!)
  • 1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves (we added slices of tomato)
  1. Preheat grill. Spray eggplant and onion with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill onion until it’s softened.
  2. Grill eggplant on one side. Flip and add cheese to new side. Grill until cheese is melted.
  3. Layer basil, eggplant with cheese, onion, tomato, and spinach on roll and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Caps win the Stanley Cup!

We're painting the town red here in the DC area, where our Caps are the 2018 Stanley Cup Champions!  It's all hockey, all the time at my house, so we'll be watching the parade today!

But is hockey green or sustainable?  We all know that you really should have cold weather to play hockey, and a warming planet is not good news for hockey players and fans.  That's probably a big part of the reason that hockey players and managers are looking at sustainable options for stadiums, rinks, etc.  The solutions aren't perfect, but the league has been moving toward greater sustainability in its NHL Green effort. Greensportsblog has done a great job of reporting on sustainability progress at both the professional and college level with stories on topics such as reusing/recycling hockey sticks, citizen science using backyard hockey rinks, and energy savings at Boston University.  Hockey's definitely moving in the right direction.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Mammal Monday -- Uinta Ground Squirrel

Let's take a look at the Uinta Ground Squirrel for this mammal Monday.  The research being done on this species demonstrates how climate change has definite winners and losers.  It looks like, thanks to a long hibernation period, these little rodents might benefit from warmer temps. 

Friday, June 8, 2018

Zucchini Quiche!

Here’s an easy recipe for an ingredient that we’ll have TONS of later this summer – zucchini! I adapted this recipe from a Cooking Light recipe in their August 2012 issue.

  • 1 frozen pie crust
  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • 5 cups sliced zucchini
  • 3 tblsp garlic
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup non-fat milk
  • 1 1/2 tblsp all-purpose flour
  • black pepper to taste
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Bake the pie crust, weighing down the crust using wax paper and dry rice, for about 5 minutes (until the crust just begins to brown). Lower oven heat to 375 degrees.
2) Heat the oil in a pan and saute the zucchini, garlic, and salt. Layer the zucchini in the bottom of the pie crust.
3) Combine milk, flour, eggs, and cheese and whisk together. Pour over zucchini mixture.
4) Bake at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes or until the liquid is set.