Picnicking Birds


Seen on the Internets


Armadillos have been moving into the area in greater numbers.  I suspect the changing climate is the reason and that gives me pause.  Armadillos are relatively benign but things like tropical diseases are moving north as well.We are pretty much at peak crabapple blossom season.  I took some pictures with my cell phone from my seat on the mower.Google bought Snapseed, a photo editing suite, and made it a free download from their store.  This one has the HDR turned up to 11.So does this one.  The pink blossomed crabapples are dominating the ornamental peaches.  The taller tree on the right is a redwood.  I forget the details of the story, but this is a species thought extinct until a grove of them was found.  They are marketed as “Dawn” redwoods, I bought two saplings a while back.  This one has a companion planted nearby but out of frame.  They are doing well.Red beans and rice!  I made these in the Instant Pot.  The recipe I was following said to give them 40 minutes but  my beans were a couple of years old so they needed another 20 minutes.  Homer is laying on what we have taken to calling the Cat Rock.  All of the kittehs find it eventually and they all like to stretch out there.These plastic trays are great for saving leftovers.  I made this up from the remains of the broccoli beef stir fry we had a few days ago.  The containers stack well in the freezer.  I leave them in them unless I know the storage will be long term, then I pop the frozen food out and use the vacuum sealer.  It’s the best way to keep larger quantities of broth – freeze into blocks and then seal in plastic bags

Ropa Vieja

This isn’t as colorful as it would be if all the peppers and onions had not been pressure cooked with the meat from the beginning.  It’s an InstaPot dish adapted from this bon appetit recipe.  I used the rest of a big flat iron steak that I used for the beef and broccoli stir fry a few days ago.
Not that I have any experience with traditional Cuban cooking, but the black beans and the rice are considered to be a requirement for this dish.
I transferred it to the stovetop so I could reduce it, it was a bit thin because I had used a full quart of my canned stewed tomatoes because they were put up with quite a few peppers and onions.  The recipe calls for pimento stuffed olives but I didn’t have any on hand.  Should have sliced them in half, though.
I gave the ropa a full 60 minutes in the InstaPot, and then another 30 because my flat iron steak wasn’t yet ready to shred.