Nature Recipes Travel

Houston Arboretum & Nature Center

Receiving almost perfect online reviews, we took a little of our hard-earned downtime to visit Houston Arboretum & Nature Center on a recent business trip to Houston.

Spending a couple hours in nature with perfect weather is just what the doctor ordered.  Not that I needed doctor’s orders of course.

Hub joined me, and spying all the fun critters in and out of ponds brought his inner 12-year-old right out.  When was the last time you heard a bullfrog serenading you?  Yep, we heard a couple.  Handsome little dudes.  Well, it’s all relative.

In the same pond we saw several slithering snakes (the alliteration does not escape me), two adorable turtles on a log, and the highlight.  Drum roll, please.  A majestic Yellow-Crowned Night Heron dining on a crawdad.

Lots of other green growy stuff I cannot identify with my limited arid terrain experience, but the mossy trees and pretty flowers motivated me to use the PlantNet app.  Merlin Bird ID is the app I used to pin down that heron.

Lance-leaf arrowheads rimmed the ponds and the Spanish moss on a giant elm screamed Southern charm.

We met super nice people on the walking path which added to the lovely morning.

And.  Guess what topped it off?  A blood orange mimosa at a cute and trendy restaurant.  Ahh, if only all mornings were so sweet.

What I’m Reading

I mentioned I was reading the second Riley Wolf from Jeff Lindsay and enjoyed it.  It is face paced, smart, has engaging characters with plenty of twists.  There are a couple of weak spots, but since this is a series, I think those spots can be shored up in the future and no harm done to an enjoyable afternoon.

On audio I am listening to There Will Never Be Another You by Carolyn See.  This is a favorite narrator, C J Critt, but a new author for me.  See is the late mother of Lisa See whose Chinese-American stories I’ve enjoyed over the years.

I am less than half way through, but I’m seeing some creepy stuff in my future and am anxiously awaiting it. I’ll report back with the finale next time.

What I’m Eating

Popcorn.  Oh, yeah, I’m doing another post on popcorn.  Sorry about that. 

While we were visiting our DFs Leon, Michelle and Angelo in Fort Smith, Leon whipped up (several batches) deluxe popcorn for our card-playing frenzy.  His secret to deluxe?  Coconut oil.  Butter flavored and colored.  The description of Snappy popcorn oil says healthier than butter, but ummm, I’m not sold on that.

Doesn’t matter.  Delish.  We started out purchasing a small container from Amazon, went through that in a week and then hub broke down and ordered the gallon size.  I’m not kidding. And it’s getting used.

This is what John does:

  • Melt about 1/3 – ½ cup oil in the bottom of a heavy sauce pan
  • Add about 1/3 cup popcorn so it’s swimming in oil
  • Pop till done
  • Salt to taste
  • Leave the mess for the wife to clean up

He makes it stove top and I have used it in the silicon microwave popper.  The microwave popper leaves no mess. Either way, it’s dang good.  Just salt and serve, no additional butter necessary.

I had a bit of left over champagne and it paired so well. Are you noticing a champagne theme here? What can I say, I really got hooked during quarantine. It’s not like I drink it every night. Or every weekend.

I want to share a tiny bit more from our recent Houston trip, but that will wait until the next post.

For now, have a wonderful weekend and thanks for sharing my journey.

1 Comment

  1. Hello Corine, I always pop my popcorn 🍿 on the stove. So, I didn’t get what you were saying about the oil your friend uses? Is it just Coconut oil? Or butter flavored coconut oil? After I pop mine I drizzle truffle oil on it and use truffle salt. Yummy! You have to love truffle though.

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