Friday, August 18, 2017
link I'll be trying from All Recipes and Disney. I'll let you know how it turns out. If you try it, please post on our FB page about whether you liked it.I've got all of the ingredients, because my garden is growing crazy! So this week I'm going to try ratatouille! I don't have a recipe that I've tried before, so here's the
Monday, August 14, 2017
Smithsonian's National Zoo to take a few pictures and check on some of my favorite animals like the naked mole rats. My family and I wandered onto the American Trail exhibit, where we could see sea lions, seals, wolves, bald eagles, otters, and these cute little guys:
Thursday, August 10, 2017
As I drove across chilly Iceland, I couldn't help but think about a rather odd topic -- warming. Global warming, that is. While playing with puffins at an aquarium, I spoke with people in the Westmann Islands who told me about a wetter than usual spring. Was this just a weather event or is the climate of the Westmanns getting wetter? I chatted with researchers who were investigating the distribution of orcas in the frigid water around Iceland. I wondered what would happen to the orcas and minke whales that I saw as the ocean absorbs more heat and CO2 in the future. As I hiked up to huge glaciers and gazed down on the glacial lagoons, I remembered reading national park signs describing the 5-meter annual loss of the glaciers leading to larger lagoons and downstream flooding. I felt fortunate to visit Iceland right now, and I'm curious to see what it will look like in 20 or 30 years.
Planning for my trip to Iceland involved proper clothing selection (that would be lots of layers, since I'm a warm weather gal) and a few other items (but not too many, since I was flying on no-frills WOW airlines). One must-have is a book. As every avid traveler knows, you've got to bring along a good book when you travel. Playing solitaire on your phone or scrolling through instagram for hours during a long car, ferry, or plane ride just won't cut it. Just before leaving on my trip to Iceland, I attended a book signing by Dr. David Goodrich who retired as head of NOAA's Climate Observations and Monitoring Program, and served as the Director of the U.N. Global Climate Observing System in Geneva, Switzerland. For my Iceland trip, I brought along Dr. Goodrich's book, A Hole in the Wind. As I made my way across Iceland, I enjoyed Dr. Goodrich's story of his cross country (U.S.) bicycle trip (actually, several of his long-distance bike trips). Throughout the book, Dr. Goodrich skillfully weaves together biking adventures, history, and climate change stories. Each evening, after exploring a new wonder in Iceland, I enjoyed reading Dr. Goodrich's entertaining tales about the people he met. I also enjoyed learning about climate change from an expert, because Dr. Goodrich provides the facts about climate change in a non-threatening but informative manner. As my travels and the book drew to a close, I was inspired by the author's hopeful outlook. One of my kids once told me after meeting folks at a polar plunge environmental fundraiser, "these environmental activists deal with one of the most depressing topics, but they're the most positive people I know!" Dr. Goodrich is one of these positive people, which is why I highly recommend A Hole in the Wind to anyone looking for an entertaining yet informative read. The final section of the book is titled, "A Case for Hope", and Dr. Goodrich states, "It's a great battle, but one that's been won before. More than a battle, it's an opportunity."
Monday, August 7, 2017
Arctic foxes have specially adapted furry feet to help them walk on frozen ground and snow, and their coat color changes from dark to light to allow them to blend into the snowy winter landscape. Although in Iceland, they survive by eating birds as well as other prey, they're probably best know for their ability to hunt for prey under the snow:
Monday, July 24, 2017
Saturday, July 22, 2017
We were back in the stream to monitor for invertebrates this month! Unfortunately, our stream didn't score in the healthy range, but that could be due to the fact that we were monitoring in the middle of the summer heat, or we monitored after a major rainstorm, or we didn't search in enough places.... We did find some pretty interesting invertebrates anyway. We found lots of scuds, which are pretty tolerant to pollution or other imperfect water conditions:
One interesting find was these neat dragonfly larvae:
And it's always nice to see a katydid on the way back to the car!
Friday, July 21, 2017
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
- 4 crusty rolls, split and toasted
- sliced tomatoes
- sliced red onion
- sliced avocado
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!