Thursday, April 29, 2021

First Shoot in my Home Studio

 My mother in law agreed to be my first "victim" in my home photo studio.

She put up with me not always knowing what I was doing with the strobes and backdrops.
She breezed through it like a pro.
Isn't she lovely?
Now who wants to be my next victim?

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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

{Field Trip} John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

We didn't have plans on Easter and decided to visit another spot on our list.

The John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge was another place that we'd always wanted to check out.   

I had no idea what to expect but it was a fantastic place to walk around and enjoy the wildlife.
It was such a peaceful oasis from the city.

The swans were loving it too.
There are different paths you can take around the refuge.  From this point you can see the Philadelphia Airport.

Stopping for a selfie along the way.
We did see a bald eagle but this is not one(we weren't close enough for a  good photo).  

Sunbathing turtles.
There were lots of places to get closer  to the wildlife and observe them. We saw a few photographers with huge cameras.  They probably got some eagle shots!
Another observation spot.  We ended up walking over 4 miles and were ready for some lunch after that.
We drove into Philly and had lunch here.  It was such a cool place and had lots of outdoor dining areas.
We walked around the neighborhood after lunch and saw lots of places we'd like to try next time.  It was a perfect day trip!
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Thursday, April 22, 2021

More Trader Joe's - Mostly Staples Edition

Another trip (or two) to Trader Joe's and another haul for you.
I thought I'd try my luck with this kit but it's been a bust so far.  
I got these massive artichokes for my Vegan Italian Stuffed Artichokes.
I love these mini plum tomatoes! They are sweeter than grape tomatoes.
I like keeping a bag of mixed veggies in the freezer for recipes like pot pie, shepherd's pie and soups.
Mr. Click  loves these chips (I do too!).
This is a nice clean, organic soy milk with just soy beans and water.
These fries are another staple we usually pick up at TJ's.

I picked up these flowering branches but they're not doing as well as the bunch I got last year.  I'm not having much luck with their flowers!

I think this is the first time I picked up their asparagus. We like to roast it.
Finally, some salad staples. I love the Organic Shredded Green and Red Cabbage. It adds a lot of crunch to salads and tacos! The carrots and cucumbers are great too!

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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

{Field Trip} Crossing Ben Franklin Bridge

We had been wanting to do this walk for ages and finally looked into it and did it!

My main concerns were parking on the Philly side and where to access the walkway. We found a convenient spot with  Spothero app.   We parked near Independence Hall and it was a quick walk over to the pedestrian entrance  to the bridge. If one side is closed, there's an underground walkway to the other entrance so you never have to cross bridge traffic.  The entrance is at 5th & Race across from the U.S. Mint.

You can start on the PA side or the NJ side and it's a 1.5 mile walk each way.

It was the perfect day for it too!

A view of I95 as we walked  over  it.
It was nice that it wasn't very crowded this day.
Looking back at Philly once you cross into New Jersey.
Looking at the Camden Waterfront.  Camden has come a  long way in recent years. We've been to the Adventure Aquarium and BB&T Pavilion but we want to visit the Battleship New  Jersey (you can see it at the very end) next time we visit the area.  We also walked above the Rutgers University-Camden campus.
On the Jersey side now!  I noticed plenty of street parking on this side.
Some  history of the bridge.

Heading back to Philly.

We had lunch at The Independence Beer Garden. It was a fun spot to try some IPA's.  You order and pay right from your phone and we felt plenty socially distanced in the covered outdoor patio.
After lunch we walked around a little looking for coffee and stopped in at The Bourse Food Hall.  
A lot of the vendors were closed or closing but it was cool to walk through.
We got a quick look at The Liberty Bell on the way back to the car.  It was a great day trip and we'll definitely be doing this again! For more information, click here.

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Thursday, April 15, 2021

{Recipe} Vegan Italian Stuffed Artichokes

Remember this Trader Joe's post when I spotted the huge artichokes? 
Well, I went back a few days later and got some.
 I was inspired by Julie's Instant Pot Stuffed Artichokes recipe.    I don't have an Instant Pot so I looked around for some other methods and used this one as a starting point.
Ingredients (for 2):
2 large artichokes, cut and cored
1/2 lemon for juice and zest
1 1/2 cups water
1  garlic clove,  cut in half
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup plain bread crumbs (I made mine from toasted bread)
3/8 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (I used Violife Just like Parmesan)
1 tsp dried parsley (more, if using fresh)
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for finishing
3/8 cup  vegetable stock
1/8 cup dry white wine
salt & pepper to taste
bay leaf
  • Start by cutting off the bottoms of the artichokes so they stand up and trim the tips of the leaves. Optional- Core out the center purple leaves (video explains this better). 
  • Squeeze some lemon over the artichokes to keep them from browning.
  • In a small/medium  Dutch oven, bring  1 1/2  cups of water to boil and place artichokes in. 

  • Cook for 50 minutes on low. Put lid on, leaving it slightly open.

  • While they are cooking add olive oil to a large skillet and  bring to medium high heat. Sauté the minced garlic, do not brown. 
  • Turn off heat and add breadcrumbs, grated cheese, parsley, salt & pepper.  Stir to combine and add more olive oil to moisten it if needed.
  • Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Remove artichokes and let cool to the touch.
  • Start filling the leaves with the breadcrumb mixture starting at the center. Hint: fill over the breadcrumb pan to keep them contained.

  • Place in a square 9 x 9 baking dish. Add the broth, wine, cut garlic clove and bay leaf to pan. Pour it around the artichokes not  on top
  • Drizzle some olive oil on top of each artichoke.
  • Top each one with some lemon zest.
  • Bake for 20 minutes with foil, then remove foil and bake another 25 minutes.
  • Serve with more grated Parmesan cheese on top, more olive oil and juice from the drippings on top. 
  • Enjoy!

They were tasty but time consuming. Check out Julie's much faster recipe here.  Have you ever cooked artichokes?

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