Archive for June, 2010

Magnificent Mussels

Author: admin

Magnificent Mussels

Mussels are a great appetizer for two or a real nice meal for one.  These mussels are cooked in a very simple, very fresh way.  Light and tasty, these are perfect with an ice-cold beer…

1 bag of mussels (usually a pound or more)
1 can petite diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
thyme

Soak the mussels in a pan of water for about 15 minutes and swish around to loosen any remaining dirt.  If there are any fuzzy “beards” on them, remove them.  They are usually pretty clean if you get them from the grocery stores, but there may be one or two with some of the beard still on.

Drain and set to the side for later.

Chop the garlic.

In a large skillet or pan that you have a cover for, heat some olive oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan.

Add the garlic and sautee for a minute or so to cook out the rawness.  Add the can of petite diced tomatoes.  Bring it up to a simmer and let it cook the tomatoes down a little, about 3-4 minutes.

Salt and pepper to taste.  Add the thyme.  Cook 1 more minute.

Add the mussels.  Stir to coat them.  Put the lid on and let them get happy in the sauce.

When the mussels all open, they are done – Usually just a couple of minutes – Definitely less than 5.  You do not want to overcook them.  Overdone mussels are like rubber bands – tough and chewy.

Turn off the heat.  Stir again to coat everything nicely in the sauce.

Pour into a large bowl and serve.

You can add fresh chopped parsley for garnish if you want, but they don’t really need them.

Yum!

Science Daily

Author: admin

Web Site Recommendation:  Science Daily

 * Croc, Hippo: Brain Food for Human Ancestor?

 * How to Survive Freezing ‘To Death’

 * World’s Oldest Leather Shoe Found

 * New Species of Dinosaur Unearthed

 * Yangtze River’s Ancient Origins Revealed

 * Earth and Moon Formed Later Than Previously Thought, New Research Suggests

If these titles intrigue you, then you will enjoy visiting Science Daily.  They have tons of articles covering all types of science categories:  Fossils & Ruins, Health & Medicine, Earth & Climate, Space & Time, Plants & Animals, and more.

I visit at least once a week and take a peek to see what’s new.  I’m never disappointed.  There’s always something interesting there every time I visit.

There are more article there than you can count.   Delve deep into some of the topics and you’ll be amazed at how much information is there.

Enjoy!

Zebra Finches!

Yes, I finally did it.  I finally have pets again.

I always had dogs growing up, and then an occasional gerbil and guinea pig.   Later on, always dogs, and once I even had sea horses.  Yes, sea horses… 

But now, living in an apartment, we aren’t allowed to have dogs.  I’m not a cat person, and I don’t want fish.  Bunnies, guinea pigs, and other rodent type things, I’m just not interested in anymore.

When I get a house again, I WILL have a dog.  However, it’s been a very long time, and the companionship of pets has been calling… and calling…

It took a while, but I made the right decision.  I feed the finches and hummingbirds outside, and I enjoy it so much watching them.  I love my outside birds so much, that I decided to match them with some inside ones.  Inside finches are the perfect solution, and these two are awesome!

Unlike larger birds who are people-social, finches are bird-social — meaning that they prefer the company of other birds rather than humans.  You can tame them somewhat and hand feed them and let them land on your finger, but they aren’t going to go squawking up a storm and get all pissy because you don’t have time to take them out of the cage for an hour or so every day to play with them and pamper them like the larger birds.

They are happy and content to play with themselves and with others.  They are more like fish as pets, in that you provide them with a comforting and pleasing home and then enjoy the entertainment in watching all of their antics.

These two already get very excited when I come home and will sing up a storm.  They respond to my voice and “human chirps.” 

Watching them in the birdie bath is hysterically funny, and they are just such a joy to watch with all of their hopping, fluttering, chattering, singing, and other fun acrobatics that they do.

And no, I still haven’t named them yet…   Depending on what they’re doing at different times, the names could be all over the place.  They are very multidimentional.

And so much FUN!

Serpentine

Author: admin

Serpentine gets its name from the word ‘serpent’ because it resembles the skin of a snake.  It is sometimes called New Jade, and it occurs in a variety of colors.  Serpentine is most commonly green, although sometimes you will find brown, black, red, or white mixed in depending on the region and various other minerals with which it is found.

History and Uses

Considered an important gemstone to the Assyrians, as early as 4000 B.C. it was used in seals, cylinders, carvings, and as amulets.  Serpentine was carried in ancient Assyria to request the gods and goddesses to provide double blessings.

The 30th Chapter of the Egyptian Book of the Dead is said to be carved from a tablet of serpentine. 

The Aztecs prized all green stones and serpentine was known to be valued in their time. 

Rasputin was said to favor serpentine and requested an entire dinner set be created for him by the Czar and Czarina as a favor for saving the life of their son.

Italian peasants believed that carrying serpentine pebbles protected them from the venom of poisonous creatures. These pebbles must be in their natural state and untouched by iron, or they would lose their protective nature.

Healing Properties

Serpentine makes an exceptional meditation stone. It helps you to find inner peace. It is said to help you to feel more in control of your life and to help balance mood swings.

It is said to protect against poisonous creatures such as snakes, insects, and so forth.

Serpentine can be placed directly on the skin. It is an aid to kidney and stomach complaints, relaxes cramps and menstrual pain, and helps to release the tension.

In healing Serpentine is believed to aid the detoxification of the internal organs and the blood.
Serpentine is found in New Zealand, India, Italy, Pakistan, China, Afghanistan, South Africa, Russia, Zimbabwe, Britain, Norway, England, and the United States.

Feldspar

Author: admin

Feldspar refers to a group of igneous minerals, all of which are softer than quartz, having the chemical composition of aluminum silicates, containing sodium, potassium, iron, calcium, or barium or combinations of these elements.  Feldspar is found in association with all rock types, including granite, gneiss, basalt, and other crystalline rocks, and makes up about 60% of the Earth’s crust.

Pure feldspar is colorless and transparent but the mineral is commonly opaque and found in a variety of colors.  Each variety of felspar has its own properties.

The feldspar family includes Amazonite, Labradorite, Moonstone, and Sunstone.  Moonstone is a milky, bluish variety of orthoclase used as a gem, and a green variety of microcline known as amazonite, or Amazon stone, is used for jewelry and other ornamental purposes.

Uses

In addition to gemstones, feldspar has many uses.  Feldspar is used to make glass artware, dinnerware, fiberglass, and ceramic glazes and fillers.  In ceramics and glass production, feldspar is used as a flux (a material that lowers the melting temperature of another material).  Feldspar is a major component in porcelain, where it provides the high glaze and smooth-impervious surface that distinguishes it from china and makes it valuable in a range of uses, from bathroom vanities, tiles, and building tiles, to ornaments and dolls.

Healing Properties

Feldspar helps us to find unconventional and exciting ways to reach our goals.  It is a stone of creativity and creative thinking.

It assists in locating that which has been misplaced, and also in discovering and understanding previously unidentified messages from both within and outward of the self.  It is a stone helpful with self-awareness.

It can be used in the treatment of disorders associated with the skin and muscular structure.
Feldspar is found in abundance mostly in Argentina, Brazil, India, Canada, and the United States.