Thursday, September 30, 2010


This morning I went for a run. I saw several interesting things: I saw a lawn care company that pulled a trailer full of equipment behind a minivan. I saw a squirrel with no tail, it was sad.  (Side note: A couple weeks ago I saw a bird with one leg. Well, it had two legs but one was broken so it hopped around quite content on one leg. My friend (Kendra) told me it would be eaten soon, circle of life.)

And then I saw this...

It stopped me in my running tracks...

Where did it come from?

Is it lost?

Is it a fake decoration that got blown off of someone's porch?

It must be lonely all by itself. An outcast in the midst of all these palm trees...

All these thoughts and questions ran through my head as I stood staring at the leaf, looking like a crazy person, wishing I had a camera to document my discovery.

It must have blown in from Tennessee. That is the only logical conclusion I can come to. It traveled all the way down to Florida to interrupt my run and remind me that Fall is taking place in other parts of the world.

I guess the good news is Starbucks has their Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Are there hayrides in Florida?

In class I've met a couple from Europe, I've been bringing them information for a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains over fall break/reading week. It's funny trying to explain hayride to someone who has never heard of it. I think the appeal was lost on them...

"It's a big trailer filled with hay, you sit on it and a tractor pulls you around."

They just smiled and nodded.

"No hayride? There's a festival going on in Gatlinburg that has free hayrides!" I pressed on.

Again they smiled and nodded.

"I love hayrides! Have you heard of John Deere?"

More smiles and nods.

In order to spend my time looking up Gatlinburg activities and contemplating the change of seasons, I need simple dinners. This dinner recipe is probably too easy to post, but it is for all the people who struggle on a daily basis for meal options. Here is a quick, easy, tasty and healthy option.

Black Beans and Rice

- 1 can black beans
- 1 can tomatoes and green chiles
- 1/2 cup onions, chopped
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 cup brown rice, dried
- 2 cups water
- dash of salt
- Cheese (optional)
- Sour Cream (optional)

For the Rice: Bring 2 cups water and salt to a boil. Add brown rice. Once it comes to a boil a second time, lower temperature to low. Simmer for 20 minutes with the lid closed. Remove rice off the heat and let sit with the lid closed for another 10 minutes. Remove lid and fluff with a fork.

For the Beans: In a large skillet on medium heat, saute a tiny bit of olive oil (I used olive oil spray) and onions until onions are almost translucent. Add minced garlic. Continue to saute until onions are translucent. Add black beans (drain half the liquid) and tomatoes (use all liquid). Cook for 3-4 minutes.

Serve over brown rice. Top with cheese and sour cream. Quick and easy!

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