101/1,001 – Sunrises and Lasagna

Quite by accident, I caught this morning’s sunrise. It was lovely.

I woke about 5:55 with a searing pain in my left side. I’m not sure what it was but when I sat up, it went away. Since I was sitting up and my feet were on the floor and I was a bit afraid that if I laid back down the pain would start again, I decided to get up, grab my camera and catch the sunrise (#27).

On my way down the short drive to the edge of the field where I could get a better view of the spectacle, one of our outside cats – Marbles – ran to greet me. I was glad to have the company until I spotted a fat, baby Bluejay on the ground, apparently out learning to fly. Marbles pounced immediately, thinking that she had hit the jackpot, I’m sure. The poor little bird, who couldn’t fly yet, tried to hop away from her. She stayed hot on his track. I, being a person who does not handle these situations very well, even though I AM a Southern girl, began to scream and shriek and say “STOP! STOP! STOP! STOP! STOP!” as frantically and loudly as I could. Bear in mind that this all occurred at about 6:00 a.m. My poor Mother heard all of this commotion and almost killed herself trying to get off of the couch where she was sleeping to come see about me. According to her, she thought a coyote had me.

I ran back in and then we both went out and, by that time, the birdie parents, and what sounded like the rest of the birdie family, were squawking and swooping and doing all they possibly could to save the baby bird. It was truly an amazing display of how animal families stick together. However, Marbles didn’t move away from the birdie until my Mother got a long stick and “swooshed” it at her, screaming for her to get away from the birdie. Sadly though, the damage was done. The birdie didn’t make it as I think Marbles had bitten its neck.

I was very sad and cried and told the birdie that I was sorry for what the cat had done and I told the birdie parents that I was sorry for the baby and I truly was. How sad that the birdies were out of a beautiful early morning, learning to fly and one of them didn’t make it. My Mother, however, reminded me that this is just how nature works, how cats operate, how things sometimes happen. I know that. I know that Marbles acted out of instinct, that no matter how much good catfood we give her, she will still want birds. I know that but I am still sad for the bird, and for its parents, and for it never even learning to fly. My Mother also told me, however, that I probably saved the other three or four birdies who were learning to fly as I noticed what I was going on and I put Marbles in the storage room so that they could continue their flying lessons undisturbed. It doesn’t make me any less sad for the one little birdie that didn’t make it but I sure hope that the others made it and were able to fly as planned.

I must admit that this string of events put a bit of a damper on my sunrise watching but it was still stunning. Absolutely gorgeous. I’m continually amazed – even despite incidents with cats and birds – at the wonders of nature. Birds learning to fly, knowing to do it in the early morning, hopping from tree to tree, sibling and parent birds doing what they can to help the others, the sun always rising in the east and going down in the west. It all works together. It all knows what to do, in what order, and it all happens faithfully, without fail. Yes, it happens everyday but everyday it is a wonderful and wondrous miracle all the same. And, somehow, every day is a bit better than the one before. That is also a miracle.

So, enjoy my sunrise with me. Yes, it will hopefully happen again tomorrow but… isn’t today just the most amazing thing you’ve ever seen?

(Click thumbnails for larger images.)

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Amazing… wouldn’t you agree?

I also worked on my 101/1,001 List #87… try new recipes. I didn’t stipulate in the list that I had to LIKE the new recipes that I tried but – as luck would have it – I DID like this one. I had some chard that was about to ruin so I Googled for a good chard recipe and came back with Chard Lasagna. Mmmmmm… so good! If I may say so myself, this is the best lasagna that I’ve ever had. I used whole wheat lasagna noodles and had to substitute cottage cheese for the ricotta and had to tweak the tomato sauce a bit to accommodate what I had on hand (the secret to good tomato / spaghetti sauce is a pinch of sugar and a dash of balsam vinegar… TRUST ME!)

Bottom line… this lasagna is AMAZING! And easy. Try it and you will see!

CHARD LASAGNA

1 package (8 oz.) dried lasagna
1 pound red or green chard
1 cup ricotta cheese
Salt and pepper
1 onion (about 8 oz.), peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and pressed or minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cans (14 1/2 oz. each) crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoons teaspoons dried oregano
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1. In a 5- to 6-quart pan over high heat, bring 3 quarts water to a boil. Add lasagna and cook, stirring occasionally to separate noodles, until barely tender to bite, about 10 minutes. Drain pasta, immerse in cold water until cool, and drain again. Cover loosely.2. Meanwhile, rinse and drain chard. Trim and discard discolored stem ends. Thinly slice stems crosswise and coarsely chop leaves. In a 4- to 6-quart pan over high heat, bring about 1 cup water to a boil. Add chard, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until stems are tender-crisp to bite, 4 to 6 minutes. Drain, extracting as much water as possible with the back of a spoon. In a bowl, mix chard with ricotta; add salt and pepper to taste.

3. In the same pan over medium-high heat, stir onion and garlic in oil until limp, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil, and oregano; cover and simmer to blend flavors, about 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Cover bottom of a 9- by 13-inch baking dish with a third of the noodles, then half the chard mixture, spreading it level to edges of dish. Spoon a third of the tomato sauce over chard mixture and sprinkle with a third of the parmesan. Repeat layers of noodles, chard mixture, sauce, and cheese. Cover with remaining noodles, then remaining tomato sauce and cheese.

5. Bake in a 350Β° regular or convection oven until hot in the center and bubbling at edges, 25 to 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Mmmmmm… DELICIOUS!

Before I skeedaddle, a couple of other pics that I snapped today.

If you remember, just the other day, I posted this picture (directly below) of a garlic that resides in the front flowerbed. Just that short time ago, it was still closed up, barely blooming…

garlic1.jpg

Well, today, only two days later, it is all bloomed out! The sun and a bit of rain will do that! ‘Tis the season, after all…

garlic-flower.jpg

I also shot a picture of myself this morning as I was watching the sunrise. I call this “Post-Traumatic Self-Portrait“…

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And, what would a Zazazu post be without a kitty picture? This is one of our outside cats – Pearl – during one of her many inside stints today, playing with the catnip toy that she adores so. She is a sweet girl… Pretty blue-eyes…

pearl-blueeyes.jpg

Before I leave, I’d like to solicit your help for my 101/1,001 List #95. What music would you recommend that I hear (one song from any artist) that I might not have heard before? I normally listen to jazz. I’m all about suggestions! Thanks lovelies!

Have a great one, everyone! xo…

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30 thoughts on “101/1,001 – Sunrises and Lasagna

  1. Sorry about your birdy incident. That would have shook up my day too.

    Song suggestion for your project:

    Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis by Tom Waits cause it just makes me ache.

    Or if you’ve heard that one – The Kite Song by Patty Griffin cause its hopeful.

  2. Oh and here I thought your blog couldn’t get any better, but then it did… recipes!!!! I’m going to try the sugar/balsamic vinegar thing.

    I once found a dead bird still in the bottom half in it’s egg shell in my yard as a little girl. I remember being so upset that it fell out of the nest trying to hatch. Talk about the hazards of life!

    Hmmm I get to suggest a song that you will listen to… by someone you probably never heard of before. I’ll list 2 in case you had heard of one of them. Run to the Water by Live, and My Weakness by Moby.

  3. Those sunrise pics are absolutely gorgeous!!!
    That’s what you get for waking up with the sun…to see nature in full force….aka kitty attack. It’s true though, your kitty was simply following his instinct. My outside cat, no matter how well I fed him, had to bring a mouse home every day! OY… Mother Nature’s food chain!

    My grandma used to say that animals teach us how to act, how to parent, etc. You have seen a great example of this, the momma bird tryin to push her baby into independence, but still watching in the background and squalking when something goes wrong.

    That lasagna sounds delicious….I may have to try that one!

  4. Boho Mom – I agree with your Grandma… there is SO much to be learned from nature!

    Let me know if you try the lasagna. It was SO good! Hope you like it too! πŸ™‚

  5. Claire & Sarah – Thanks for the song suggestions! I’ve not heard any of those before and will add them to the list! Have a lovely weekend! πŸ™‚

  6. Gorgeous sunset photos! I often watch the sunrise (more so in winter when it doesn’t get up so early! LOL!)from inside.

    I’ll paraphrase something I once read…a small child was on the beach among hundreds of beached starfish. She carefully picked them up one by one and tossed them back into the ocean. A man was watching her and asked why she was doing it–there were so many, what difference could it possibly make? As she went to return the next starfish to its home, she looked at it and said, “It makes a difference to this one!” I thought of this when I read your bird story. Be happy for the ones you saved, the rest is the way of nature!

  7. I was even saddened by the birdy incident. I’m easily traumatized from animal deaths. It affects me badly. My husband is a bird lover. I wasn’t initially but have since grown really fond, as was easy to do because I love animals in general.
    I too, have a sad birdie story.
    I think I can reccomend some new music to you.
    xo

  8. Sorry your day went off to a bad start. : (
    Your photos are lovely and absolutely beautiful.
    Yay for trying a new recipe!
    I think I can recommend some music for you, too. : ) I love that you are open to trying out different styles and genres; I’m too fixed in my music-likes, I think! : )

  9. your kind heart just shines through in this story of how you were apologizing to the little bird’s family. so sad. in the midst of your beautiful sunrise…but i am so glad you captured it and shared the pictures here.

    this lasagna sounds wondrous. we get chard all the time in this box of organic fruits and veggies we get weekly. now i know what to add it to!

  10. Chard Lasagna sounds….GROSS! (laughing) But heck. I guess I could try it if you say it’s that good. It MUST be good!

    Listen to this:

    Gone Fishin’ by Taj Mahal.

    LOVE THAT SONG!

    Tam

  11. Sorry about your day starting out so bad.I too am very sorry to hear about the babybird.Hope the rest of your day goes well.

    As for listening to new music,I am very much into electronic music like Kraftwerk ,New Order.Depeche Mode I don’t know if you would really enjoy this??

    hugs Dees

  12. I have never had chard…will have to try this lasanga
    the sugar and vinegar for the sauce sounds yummy!

    sunrises are something I see so infrequently…I’m not an early riser..
    your pictures are so beautiful….I want to see the sunrise.

    I could have some left over chard lasanga at sunrise….
    : )…really, this sounds good to me…
    thanks!

    (hope you are feeling well)

  13. I am sorry you had a pain in your side! I hope you are doing better now! I am so sorry to hear about the baby bird, but unfortunately, that is how life/nature works. I scream at 6am all the time, no wonder my neighbors hate me. It’s not really screaming, I am singing, but I may as well be screaming.

    P.S. James Franco does play the part of Harry Osborn, Spidey’s arch nemesis. He is pretty good looking. In my mind, at least.

  14. Oh, thanks for the chard lasagna recipe- I am so into chard right now…
    and I would have felt bad for the baby birdie, too. I wouldn’t watch March of the Penguins if I were you… 😦
    xoxo

  15. Oh No! Poor bird.. But Alas, it is part of the circle of life….

    I am soo glad you got to watch the sun rise. It is stunning!! Where in the world are you? I know, I know this already.. but it is amazing!!!! Beautiful and magical!!! xxxo,V

  16. Vanessa – Yes, it is the circle of life but still hard to see. I felt so badly for the baby bird. 😦

    I’m in Mississippi. You are welcome to come see “my” sunset anytime! xo…

    Regina – This was my first ever experience with chard! I didn’t know how to prepare it and let it sit too long but it turned out JUST RIGHT for the lasagna. Good recipe! Ymmmmm!!! Oh, and no worries about March of Penguins. I’m not real crazy about animated movies, for some reason. πŸ˜‰

  17. Kristen – Have you had a chance to relax yet?

    The pain in my side is gone. I think it was starter aches from whatever “crud” I have right now. My throat is so sore that I can barely speak. Argh! So, I think it was the beginnings of that. Achey and such… ugh. But, I’m taking some Allegra so it will all be okay in a day or so. πŸ™‚

    Ha! Singing at 6 a.m. You are funny! You and my sister would get along great! πŸ™‚

    James Franco… he is very “symmetrically” handsome. Very good looking indeed!

    xo… πŸ™‚

  18. Jen – If you try it, or the sugar/ vinegar trick, be sure to let me know!

    Dees – Ohhhh… I’ve never heard of Kraftwerk or New Order but will check them out. I’ve heard of Depeche Mode but have never really listened to them much. Thanks for the suggestions!

    xo… πŸ™‚

    Tam – Chard is a lot like spinach. Do you like spinach? Mmmmm… I’m a total veggie girl! There isn’t much that I don’t like. The only veg that I really can’t handle is fennel. Other than that… tank me up! πŸ™‚

    Taj Mahal… never heard of that. Will add it to the list! Thanks! πŸ™‚

  19. Liz Elayne – It is so great to hear from you! Thanks for stopping by. It is an honor to be visited by someone with such a great and inspiring blog as yours.

    Curious… how do you have organic veggies delivered each week? That sounds like an amazing program!

  20. Projectmetta – Can’t wait to hear your music suggestions! xo… πŸ™‚

    Cheeky – Can’t wait to hear your suggestions too! I will add them to the list whenever you want to send them. I’m a total animal lover too. I get so easily upset about animals who are hurt, killed, or not appreciated. Even birds. This one was so cute and fat too. Do you have many pets?

  21. Debbie – Thank you so much for visiting my blog and for commenting and for sharing that lovely story. I have heard that story before and, in light of yesterday’s bird incident, it helped! I can see how it applies and am so thankful that you shared it with me.

    Hope you are having a great day!

  22. Oh, I am so sorry for your birdie incident!
    You have been so busy lately! I love the list of things to accomplish in 2 1/2 years…I am going to have to write my list too..what a great idea! The symphony today was glorious…I love visiting your blog…so inspirational!
    Spend time with that wonderful Mom of yours this weekend…she sounds like a love!

  23. Your photos are beautiful. I hope your side is OK. I love, love, love music. I am a Depeche Mode, The Cure and New Order girl myself as someone above mentioned. But I also like tons of other stuff. So, if you need more suggestions i would love to help. But for now something makes me think you would really like 10 Song Demo or Black Cadillac by Rosanne Cash.

  24. Hi! Ur blog is awesome! It not jazzy but it is a good song, Delilah, by The Plain White T’s…you can check it out on their myspace page…just play around with the spelling of their name in order to get their page, lol..like Plain White Ts

    Anyway, regardless of circumstance, your photos came out amazing! Mississippi looks really pretty. I’ve never been! Well…I saw a poor kitty on the road today that must have been struck, but there was a nice man standing over it waving traffic around it. I’d like to think the kitty was one of the rare few who actually SURVIVED the incident today. I prayed for it.

  25. Your pictures are amazing! I’m so sorry about the birdie!
    I love the sunsets here in Wisconsin…I’m just not a morning person.
    I always like trying new recipes, chard is a new one…Hmm have to look into it!
    I love all kinds of music. One song I think is pretty neat is ‘Spanish lady’ by Celtic Women.
    Hope you don’t get your pain again! Have a good rest of the weekend.

  26. Oh.
    This is a sad but necessary way of life I guess.
    I don’t handle those things well either:(

    The HighwayMan by Loreena McKinnett from her Book of Secrets album.
    (the Mummer’s Dance is also entrancing)

    Sunrise was beautiful!
    Thank you for sharing!

  27. I remember typing up a comment for this…now I am beginning to wonder if I did not hit submit.

    hmf.

    either way…poor birds and poor you…and poor kitty even who didn’t know it was wrong.

  28. Christine – A word about chard… I live in a small town and am not able to find it here EVER. I have to wait and get it when I go to the Wild Oats in Memphis. So, I’m not sure that it is overly common in regular grocery stores. Or it might be… just not mine! Ha! Let me know if you like it! πŸ™‚

  29. Foxhollow – My Mother IS a love, as exemplified somewhat in my Mother’s Day post today. πŸ™‚ How was your Mother’s Day, by the way? Are you back in NOLA?

    I can’t WAIT to see your list! You seem to have accomplished so much already that your list will entrance me, I’m sure. I’m so glad you are going to write one!

    xo… πŸ™‚

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