Monday Mystery Photo – Last Week Talliin

Each Monday, I post a mystery photo, or occasionally a mystery object on my blog. I encourage you to leave a comment if you think you might know where the following mystery photo was taken, or what it is. If you guess correctly, I will credit you the following week and post a link to your site/blog.

Guest contributions are always welcome. Simply drop me an email or leave a comment indicating you would like to submit a photograph to my feature.

Looking at the photo below,  can you guess ‘Where in the World’, I am this week?

Last week Monday Mystery Photo was at the Riigikogu, in Talliin, Estonia on a snowy day in winter. The building contains the Presidential palace and Parliament of Estonia. All important state-related questions pass through the Riigikogu.

mmp1st FebDrake from LeDrakeNoir correctly identified the mystery photo. Well done!

Monday MysteryCan you guess the Mystery Photo? On Mondays, there is always Something to Ponder

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Thursday Doors

Visting Estonia is like stepping back in time to the Hansa period. It is a fascinating time capsule, full or friendly people. As Monday Mystery Photo was also in Talliin, last week, I thought I would post some doors from there too. The “Pepperjack” door was supposedly the Devil’s Door, a place of some hauntings!

 

 

From Talliin, we move to Norway and a geometric pattern on a army arsenal. They clearly had an eye for art as well as military things.DSC01301What is behind it? That is Something for you to Ponder About

More here

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Proverbial Thursday –

Proverbial sml

I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.

Each Thursday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking. 

I hope you will too.

This week I have chosen a proverb that is so meaningful to me. Although it comes from China, it has been my mantra for raising my children and also for sharing with my friends, any skill, they would find useful. It speaks of a very practical approach to life, for where would we be without knowledge, and especially knowledge passed from generation to generation.

 

When someone shares something of value with you and you benefit from it, you have a moral obligation to share it with others – Chinese Proverb

Character is determined more by the lack of certain experiences than by those one has had – Friedrich Nietzsche

Do you agree with Nietzsche’s quote? What do you think of it?

AmandaMarienlyst

Proverbial Thursday gives me Something to Ponder About

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Lingonberry/ Cranberry Slice – Tantalizing Tuesday

Well known in Scandinavia, the lingonberry is related to the cranberry, bilberry and blueberry. Berries are a great addition to one’s diet. Why? Because they contain powerful antioxidants  and provide many health benefits when we eat them. And why not enjoy them in a delicious dessert slice. This slice can be served hot or cold.

Tantalizing Tuesdays

More information on the health benefits is given below but here is the Scandinavian recipe:

Lingonberry  / Cranberry  Slice

 

Base:

4 1/2 dl (almost 2 cups) Plain white flour
1/2 dl (2/3 cup) Sugar
1 tablespoon Baking powder
150 g(5 ounces, almost 2/3 cup)
Unsalted butter
1 Egg
2 dl (3/4 cup) Lingonberry  or cranberry jam/ plum filling/ or your favourite preserves

Streusel topping:
1 1/2 dl (2/3 cup) Oatmeal
3 tablespoons Butter
1 dl (1/2 cup) Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla sugar (1/2 teaspoon extract)

Pre – heat the oven to 200 degrees C (400 degrees F).
Combine flour, sugar, and baking powder then cut in the butter.
Add the egg and mix well. Spread into a greased 20×30 (8×12″) pan.
Spread the preserves quite thickly over the batter.
Bake 25-30 minutes, until golden.

Cool in the pan and slice while still warm.
Enjoy served warm or cold. Yumm!!!!

 

Animal studies have shown how the lingonberry can lower inflammatory molecules, block oxidants from destroying tissue, and also help the body replace important antioxidants, like glutathione, which is a master antioxidant in our body. Lingonberry has also been shown to increase red blood cell and liver enzymes needed for antioxidant protection. We need antioxidants to protect vessels and nerve tissue, and also to help decrease the damage from inflammation. Proanthocyanidin extracts from lingonberries were also found to be effective against the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause a wide variety of infections.

[Credit: http://www.doctoroz.com/article/superfruit-lingonberry%5D

Something nutritious and delicious to Ponder About

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Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge – Nature

seagullsDare to be Different!!

Join in with Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge here

Taken with a Samsung S4 note on a windy day.

Yet most of the gull’s feathers remain unruffled!

Something to Ponder About

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Monday Mystery Photo – Last Week Australia

Each Monday, I post a mystery photo, or occasionally a mystery object on my blog. I encourage you to leave a comment if you think you might know where the following mystery photo was taken, or what it is. If you guess correctly, I will credit you the following week and post a link to your site/blog.

Guest contributions are always welcome. Simply drop me an email or leave a comment indicating you would like to submit a photograph to my feature.

mmp1st Feb

Where in the world are we?

Last Week we were in Australia, at the Cataract Gorge Chairlift, in Launceston, Tasmania.

IMG_1002

Well done to MOSY for correctly guessing the location… (Home country advantage) and Gerard for spotting the Aussie Vegetation!

You can read more about its history and see photos of its beautiful gardens and peacocks here

Monday Mystery

Something to Ponder About this Monday

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Proverbial Thursday – Global Proverbs

I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.

Each Thursday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking. 

I hope you will too.

In coming weeks, there will be a series of Swedish proverbs. Many of them speak of age -old traditions, customs or knowledge, and even can be a comment on life in general.

Skansen

Magra myggor biter värst.  Thin Mosquitoes bite the worst. – Swedish proverb

 

The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche’s quote is intriguing and one that I am still cogitating on. What do you think it means?

Proverbial Thursday offers Something To Ponder About

Proverbial sml

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Monday Mystery Photo – Last week Switzerland

Each Monday, I post a mystery photo, or occasionally a mystery object on my blog. I encourage you to leave a comment if you think you might know where this mystery photo was taken, or what it is. If you guess correctly, I will credit you the following week and post a link to your site/blog.

Guest contributions are always welcome. Simply drop me an email or leave a comment indicating you would like to submit a photograph to my feature.

Where in the world are we?

IMG_1002

This week’s photo is a little obscure, but there are clues in the photograph and an extra somewhat cryptic clue is – ‘a defect in the eyes.’

Last week MOSY was correct in suggesting we were in Switzerland. The image below is taken by S. Humm and it is in the lesser known River and Lake Sils district in the Engadine Valley, of South East Switzerland.  Tara and Andy were very close in guessing Austria, as was Gerard, who thought it was Italy.

shummMMPJan18th2016

Monday Mystery

Monday Mystery Photo – throwing out a Challenge to Ponder About

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CFFC- Blue and Purple Flowers

This photo challenge spoke to me, and after a quick flick through my media library, I realize they do attract my attention wherever I am!

I hope these images give your eyes Something beautiful to Ponder About

wpid-2015-10-10-16.12.32.jpg.jpg

In my garden

Ethereal Water Lilly

Noosa, Australia

 

Blue and Purple Flowers that I have in my garden and seen on my travels in New Zealand, Australia, Italy and Norway.

[Click on the individual image for a link to the media file]

More details  from Cee’s page here

 

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Quotes Challenge – Week 3

quotes Challenge
This is the final week of the Quotes Challenge wherein I listed 3 quotes and nominated three other bloggers to participate, with no obligations, of course.

 

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”Bill Gates

graffitiart (Small)

I like the fact that Bill Gates turns this into a positive and not a negative. He almost welcomes criticism.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

–Charles Darwin

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An interesting quote because it is a cliché that it evolution theory is “survival of the fittest” – whereas Darwin himself point out that may not be the fittest, but the most RESPONSIVE or adaptable to change. Change is an inevitable part of our dynamic world.

Those who resist change are seldom happy.

And the final quotes in this challenge, I feel is a controversial one. Do you agree with the comedian and writer, Spike Milligan?

“We are destroying childhood.” – Spike Milligan

The final three nominees, (by coincidence, all happen to be men), for this challenge are:

Oosterman Treats Blog

Drake

Fife’s Photos and Art

 Please also note that I dislike the term, “Rules,” and so have also customized this aspect of the challenge.

Quotes Challenge Rules – Guidelines

images

 

The rules  guidelines are simple:

  • Post three different quotes on consecutive days/weeks. They can be from any source, or your own.  All three quotes can be of a similar theme or can all be completely different/unconnected
  • I am going to post three quotes on each of the three posts, one post per week, but that is my variation on this challenge
  • Nominate 3 people for the challenge.  [ In doing this, I just wish to highlight their blog and place no pressure nor expectation that they need to accept or pass on the challenge.
  • N.B. My variation is that I am going to incrementally nominate bloggers for this challenge, but do not feel bound to follow my example.]

Previous weeks of this challenge:

Quotes Challenge – Week 1

Quotes challenge – Week 2

 

Quotes give us profound words to Ponder About

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Savoury Muffins – School Lunch Recipe

620-x-400-frazzled-mom

Summer in Australia means school aged kids are under their parent’s feet at home, yet, paradoxically, many parents actually look forward to School holidays. Why? One reason is that holidays means a slower start to the day, no school run stress, no juvenile screaming they can’t find their hat/maths homework/bus-card, and most significantly, no need to prepare school lunch boxes, each and every morning.

 

workingmother

 

Day after school-term day, many parents over-stress and almost tear their hair out trying to provide a nutritious, yet appealing school lunchbox for their kids, particularly during the high school years. As any parent with teens knows, asking adolescents to consume anything remotely wholesome and not packaged in four layers of plastic or laced with half a salt mine, is tantamount to offering them a piece of buttered cardboard and likely to be received with this enthusiastic response:

yukkyfood

[Source -dailymail.co.uk]

So how does home-cooked food, originating from the household pantry or fridge, compete with the highly addictive products of multinational food companies or their derivatives, with the myriad of flavourings, salt and sugar content? How did we get to this situation?

What society thought school lunch should look like –

foodpyramid

What teenagers thought school lunch look like –

junk food

What parents think school lunches are like –

 

mum lunchbox

With the impending start of the school work year, I  decided the school lunchbox had to be not only visually appealing, but tasty as well and, it had to tick most of the ‘healthy lunch’ boxes, (no pun intended!) So I studied a few basic muffin recipes and came up with my own savoury muffin that I am confident even the fussiest teen would be hard-pressed to refuse, (and if he/she does, there is always bribery and corruption as Plan ‘B’….)

The real secret to this recipe is that it looks like a sweet cake in appearance, (first duplicitous manoeuvre) and, secondly, it tastes like the junk food on offer at most food outlets, (but is actually good to eat).

Enter the Savoury Muffin to Die for……

savoury muffins

Amanda’s Savoury Muffins

The rosemary and sea salt topping really stimulates those adolescent taste-buds and once your teen has shown a positive interest such as, “What’s that you are cooking, Mum?” comments, and eats a few here and there:   then and only then might I suggest slowly, (over a few batches), decreasing the amount of sea salt used as topping, to improve the nutrition levels further. Easy does it though: Teen noses and taste buds can easily detect the covert operation you might have in mind.

The list of suggested fillings, is one that you can add as many or as few of these as you have on hand, or in the pantry, without unduly affecting the outcome of the recipe.

Experiment to see which flavors teens like best.

Savoury Muffins

[Makes 12 serves]

Ingredients:

2 cups Self Raising Flour

(or 2 cups Plain flour with 4 teaspoons of baking powder added)

1 teaspoon Baking Powder

80 g Butter, melted

1 tablespoon good quality Olive Oil

1 Egg

1  cup Milk ( I use low-fat)

1 slice Ham – diced

1/3 cup grated Zucchini (courgette)

1 clove Garlic, minced

1/3 cup Baby spinach, diced

1/3 cup cooked Pumpkin (roasted or steamed)

1/3 cup Capsicum strips, roasted (can use jarred variety)

80 g Feta cheese ( crumbled)

Toppings:

savoury muffins20 g Feta cheese ( crumbled), extra

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon Rosemary

Sea salt

Optional extra or substitute fillings:

1 tablespoon Olives, sliced

1 tablespoon Parsley

1 teaspoon Mint leaves

2 sticks Spring Onions, sliced

1/3 cup Sun-dried Tomatoes

grated carrot

Pineapple Pieces – (drained well)

Method:

Pre-heat Oven 200 degrees

Mix Flour and Baking powder in large bowl.

Mix melted Butter, Oil and Egg and Milk in separate bowl.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix gently with a wooden spoon.

Fold in the rest of the ingredients only until just mixed and no lumps of flour remain.

Fill a Muffin pan that has been lined with paper Muffins cases to 2/3 capacity.

Sprinkle Parmesan, extra Feta and a mixture of Rosemary and Sea salt on top.

Bake for 20 minutes or till golden brown on top.

Cool on a wire tray covered with a fresh tea towel to prevent muffins drying out.

These muffins freeze well wrapped individually or in a seal-proof container.

The perfect morning tea or lunch snack for those on the go.

P.S. If you are really daring or have one of those ” I’ll eat anything as long as it’s food,” kind of kids: Round off the lunch box offerings with some hummus, hard-boiled eggs and fruit.

Tantalizing Tuesdays

Filling the lunch box give parents ‘Something to Ponder About’

 

 

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Monday Mystery Photo – Last week Verona

Each Monday, I post a mystery photo, or occasionally a mystery object on my blog. I encourage you to leave a comment if you think you might know where this mystery photo was taken, or what it is. If you guess correctly, I will credit you the following week and post a link to your site/blog.

Guest contributions are always welcome. Simply drop me an email or leave a comment indicating you would like to submit a photograph to my feature.

Where in the world are we?

Monday mystery photo

Last week we were in Verona, in the North east of Italy, correctly guessed by MOSY . Well done!

After some deliberation, Drake suggested that last week’s photo, seen below, was where opera was performed, and indeed it is. Aida was performed the night before I took this photograph, and in the background, one can see the sets being dismantled and removed, if you look hard enough.

Even though  it was a wild guess by her own admission, Millie  deduced the correct answer after initially thinking it was the Colosseum in Rome, as did Andy from Fife Photos and Art and Ineke from Scrapydo2.

Verona Italy

Monday Mystery gives you much to ponder about!

Monday Mystery

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Proverbial Thursday – Global Proverbs

I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.

Each Thursday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking. 

I hope you will too.

irishproverb

Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.” -Robert McKee

Proverbial Thursday gives you Something to Ponder About

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Quotes Challenge – Week 2

quotes Challenge

After being nominated, I created a photo logo, seen above, for this challenge and anyone is welcome to use it, if they wish.

I have varied the challenge guidelines slightly, as I will post three quotes on each post – one post over each of three weeks. Please also note that I dislike the term, “Rules,” and so have also customized this aspect of the challenge. Thanks to Millie for the opportunity to showcase some fabulous quotes that I find inspirational.

 

Confucius is a fascinating character whose quotes have featured strongly for this challenge:

confucius

 

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
― Confucius

and more…..

“Give a bowl of rice to a man and you will feed him for a day. Teach him how to grow his own rice and you will save his life.”
― Confucius

1295_happy_pencil_with_folder_049_tnb

Learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts, never fears, and never regrets – Leonardo Da Vinci

 

As this is the second week of the challenge, I have two nominees and both are in New Zealand:

IScrap2nz-icon1

Ineke has some excellent photography and fiction on her blog

DecocraftsDigicrafts

Pop on over to see Raewyn’s excellent photography.

 

Quotes Challenge Rules – Guidelines

images

 

The rules  guidelines are simple:

  • Post three different quotes on consecutive days/weeks. They can be from any source, or your own.  All three quotes can be of a similar theme or can all be completely different/unconnected.

 

  • I am going to post three quotes on each of the three posts, one post per week, but that is my variation on this challenge.

 

  • Nominate 3 people for the challenge.  [ In doing this, I just wish to highlight their blog and place no pressure nor expectation that they need to accept or pass on the challenge. N.B. My variation is that I am going to incrementally nominate bloggers for this challenge, but do not feel bound to follow my example.]

Quotes Challenge – Week 1

Quotes give us profound words to Ponder About

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Tantalizing Tuesday – Honey Steak – Don’t Complicate It!

Honey steak

Who says the cheaper meat cuts aren’t tasty?

Not me, I can assure you!

Whilst they have the sad reputation as being off-cuts, or ‘depression cuisine’, I agree there is a bit of an art to cooking cheaper cuts of meat, such as blade and chuck steak. And that art is, to “do” them slowly, preferably in a ‘crock-pot’ or slow cooker. “Sure, they are affordable, but who could be bothered with all that cooking,” many of us ask? “Most of us are out of the house, until late in the evening, or busy throughout the day, so who feels up to producing a gourmet meal, when we’d rather just wind down and relax?”

tired

There is a growing trend away from a weekly grocery ‘shop’ and planned meals, and towards ‘picking up’ processed, packaged or ready – made meals on the way home from work, as time-poor adults create demands for items like this:

We can't even shred our own lettuce anymore!

We can’t even shred our own lettuce anymore!

The solution, I’d like to suggest, is easy. Spend 5 -10  minutes preparing the ingredients, (and this recipe has very few of those), the night before the meal, place in a zip-lock bag in the fridge, or prepare them first thing in the morning. Then, before you leave the house, bung it all in the slow cooker, and when you return  home in the evening – hey, ‘Presto!’- Your meal is ready to serve.

An added bonus to this cooking method is coming home to a tantalizing aroma as you enter the kitchen! [This aids digestion by stimulating the flow of digestive juices!!! – Believe me, all good stuff as we get older!]

Using the slow cooker also means there is only one bowl to wash up afterwards!   After a busy day, what could be better than a nutritious, delicious meal that required less than 10 minutes preparation and clean up?

You might also prepare some vegetables, such as chopped carrots and sliced onions in a separate zip-lock bag, then add them in the slow cooker, as well; just be sure to place them in the cooker FIRST, and the meat on top! Wanna try it?  Here is the recipe:

Honey Steak

Please note that this is not a stew*- it is steak, cooked slowly, in a rich marinade. The vinegar content in this recipe aids the break down of the blade steak’s fibrous texture and results in a “melt the mouth’ quality.

*[Scroll down for an alternate, slightly more complicated stew recipe, also in the slow cooker ]

Ingredients                      

Blade steak, sliced thin and cut into serving pieces – I used 1 and 1/2 steaks and this was enough for 3 adults
1 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar, (or ordinary white vinegar will do)
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 cup water (Add more if you would like lots of sauce)

Method

Throw it all in the slow cooker !!

Cook on low setting for a minimum of 4 hours.

[My slow cooker does cook a little hotter than most, on the low setting……so you may want to rack it up a notch, if yours is an older model]

Add seasoning to taste and serve!

* That is it! What could be simpler?

I served this with potatoes, steamed carrots and spinach and feta – Delicious!

Final Thoughts:

Every day, I see more and more processed, packaged or ready – made meals, slowly infiltrating the consumer psyche, as acceptable items on the supermarket shelf. I lament that all too soon the simple act of grating a carrot ,or shredding our own lettuce, will be relegated to an activity seen only at historic reenactment group ‘open’ days, as we as a population, (generally speaking), forget the simple tasks involved in creating a balanced meal, for ourselves, from uncomplicated  ingredients.  We must buck the contemporary trend to complicate food and hang on to the practice of preparing and cooking not only  nutritious meals, but also ones that are freshly made with a variety of ingredients, even the less popular ones.

If you are someone who prefers a more stew like consistency to your meal, and you want to use blade steak, here is another Slow Cooker recipe:

BEEF and CARROT STEW

1.25 kg diced beef (I used blade steak)
1 large onion diced
3 large carrots cut into large cubes
1 capsicum chopped
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
1/2 small jar whole grain mustard (I used a supermarket brand)
1 small tin tomato paste
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion and garlic in the pan with a small amount of oil, until soft.

Add beef and cook until browned.

Transfer beef, onions and garlic to the Slow cooker.

Add all other ingredients except sour cream, and mix well.

Cook in Slow cooker for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low.

Mix sour cream in before serving.

(If you like a thicker sauce add in a teaspoon cornflour that has been mixed in 1 tablespoon water  and add to the stew 5 minutes before serving).

Serve with mashed potato and vegetables/salad!

Tantalizing Tuesdays

Something to ponder about

 

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