Saturday, September 27, 2014

Harbingers of Fall

When this guy shows up in Musashi's Garden,
I know it's Fall.

It's the only time he appears at the bird bath!

Great-tailed Grackle

A big, brash blackbird,
the male Great-tailed Grackle shimmers in iridescent black and purple,
and trails a tail that will make you look twice.

Great-tailed Black Bird

* *

You may recognize this arrangement.
I replaced the old mums with new bronze colored ones this week.
The protea are hanging in.
You can see how they've changed.
They are beginning to dry and change color, but still add a little pizazz to the fall arrangement.
A very good buy at Trader Joe's!

Protea Collage


The arrival of fall means it's soup, stew and chili time.
I made Pineapple Pork Chili and like all good chili -- it's better the second day.
It is a Better Homes and Gardens recipe.

Pork Pineapple Chili



1 pound ground pork or beef
1 16 ounce jar pineapple salsa
1 15 ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
Pineapple slices (optional)

1. in 3-quart saucepan brown pork; drain. Stir in salsa, beans, tomato sauce, and chili powder. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes. Serve with pineapple slices.

If you can't find pineapple salsa, use regular salsa and add 1/3 to 1/2 cup crushed pineapple.

Those of you who know me, know that I hardly ever make the recipe the way it is written, so here's how I made Pineapple Pork Chili!

I like onion and garlic, so I cooked some in a little bit of olive oil until the onions were clear and soft.
I did use ground pork.
I found a jar of pineapple salsa at Trader Joe's.
I didn't have red kidney beans so I used pinto beans and I didn't rinse and drain.
I didn't have tomato sauce so I used 1 16 ounce can of diced tomatoes and 1 can of tomato paste.
I used 1 tablespoon of New Mexico red chili powder.

It is yummy! 

Wishing YOU well and much joy!

I'm joining the lovely Judith for Mosaic Monday.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Tea at the Museum

The Museum of Fine Arts Houston held a Tea and Tour in conjunction with the 
Houghton Hall exhibition.

Houghton Hall - Image from the MFAH website

It's always a delight to have tea served in one of the galleries of the museum
surrounded by beautiful art.

Set for Tea

Christine Gervaise, the curator for the Houghton Hall exhibition was the speaker.
We ate and drank while she talked.


Petite Chicken Salad Sandwich
Light chicken salad served on whole wheat bread

Petite Cucumber Sandwich
Sliced seedless English cucumbers and herbed cream cheese served on white bread

Petite Apricot and White Chocolate Chip Scones

Chocolate Dipped Strawberry

Lola Catering gets five stars for the food and their wonderful staff.

Tea at the MFAH

Isn't the China pretty?
This year I remembered to look at the bottom to see the name.
Premier One - Made in China
It is very sturdy -- almost heavy, but lovely.
We felt very "adult"!

Tea at The MFAH

Three different teas were served and I made sure I tried them all.

I started with the Organic Lady Earl Grey,
the most famous of black teas infused with white Tibetan lavender.

Then the Organic Darjeeling,
the champagne of black teas from India.

Last was the Organic Rose Jubilee,
South African tea infused with rose and caffeine free.

My favorite was the Organic Lady Earl Grey.
It was light and lovely.
You could taste the lavender on the tip of your tongue at first sip.

All the teas were from the Path of Tea.

The afternoon was complete with a glass (or two) of champagne.

Wishing YOU well and much joy!

I'm joining the following tea parties.
Thank you to the hosts of:

Sunday, September 14, 2014

September Days Are Here

...September days are here,
With summer's best of weather,
And autumn's best of cheer.
~Helen Hunt Jackson

Last weekend I put the Autumn wreath on the front door. 
It was an effort to get Autumn to make an appearance.

Fall Wreath

And guess what?!
It worked!
At least for one day.
Lows in the high 60s and a high today in the low 80s.
It may not sound like much to most of you, but to me, it was bliss!

I made a trip to Trader Joe's and came home with some goodies including these:

Bouquet Collage

Such pretty fall colors!
Mums, Protea and Eucalyptus.
They should last awhile (I hope).
I love Protea and I don't splurge on them too often.

Kooky Protea

They provided some playtime, too.

The produce bins were full of squash and cooking pumpkins.
I came home with these:

Delicata Squash

Delicata Squash
Small and cute!
Have any of you tried them?
The sweet girl who checked me out said she'd tried them and they were very good.
She put a little sea salt on them.
I'll let you know what I think.
At one dollar, I couldn't resist!
And, I liked that the label said Product of the USA.

After my trip to TJs I walked into my Village.
Had lunch.
Checked out the 2015 calendars at Half-Price Books and walked home.

Cubs baseball now and then football.

That's it for me.

Today I'm joining the lovely Judith for Mosaic Monday
and The Fabulous Fall Party

Wishing YOU well and much joy!

"Delicious Autumn!
My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."
~George Eliot

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Butterflies and Flowers

The butterfly counts not months but moments,
and has time enough.
~Rabindranath Tagore

Swallowtail Collage

Butterflies are self propelled flowers.
~R.H. Heinlein

Spicebush Collage

If nothing ever changed,
there'd be no butterflies.
~Author Unknown

Kooky Butterfly

"Just living is not enough," said the butterfly,
"one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower."
~Hans Christian Andersen

Today I'm joining the lovely Judith for Mosaic Monday.

May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun
And find your shoulder to light on,
To bring you luck, happiness and riches
Today, tomorrow and beyond.
~Irish Blessing

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Life By The Cup

Did you labor over the Labor Day weekend?
I did not.

The kitties and I had a quiet weekend doing quiet things.

I finished my first watercolor pear.
This was done on left over paper from another project.
There is a horse lightly sketched on the other side.
Probably a leftover from Chinese New Year.


Since I'm becoming quite proficient in drawing pears, there will be more in my future --
this time on "real" watercolor paper!


It is September ... the first of the "BER" months.
That means fall is just around the corner and temps below 95 for me!
This is one of my favorite teacups.
It is a Bentley teacup and came with a selection of Bentley teas.

Bentley Tea Cup


Over the weekend I finished LIFE BY THE CUP.
I'll let you read my review.
After reading the book, I couldn't decide which tea I wanted to try
(other than Coconut Chai).
They all sounded so delicious so I bought two sampler packs.
(As if I needed more tea.)

Life by the Cup: Ingredients for a Purpose-filled Life of Bottomless Happiness and Limitless SuccessLife by the Cup: Ingredients for a Purpose-filled Life of Bottomless Happiness and Limitless Success by Zhena Muzyka
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Put a book about tea in front of me and I have to read it! LIFE BY THE CUP is Zhena Muzyka's story about heartache, hard work, a vision, success and tea. It is also a "how to" book filled with suggestions on ways to find happiness and success. I was less interested in the how to sections of each short chapter and simply captivated by the stories Zhena told about her life and her marvelous teas. Her stories would make a lovely movie. Using fair trade organic teas and her own essential oils, aromatherapy and herbal teachings from her Gypsy grandmother, Zhena builds a successful business: Zhena's Gypsy Teas .. a thriving, purpose-driven, fair-trade, multimillion-dollar brand. I'm a big tea drinker and had never heard of Zhena's teas until I saw them at World Market. Now I'm a big fan and after reading the book have a whole list of teas I want to try with Coconut Chai on top!

View all my reviews

'Afternoon Tea'
Afternoon Tea by Edward Cucuel (1875-1954)

Wishing YOU well, much joy and a wonderful cup of tea!

I'm joining the following tea parties.
Thank you to the hosts of: