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Nutty About Nut Butters!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I loved Coach Nicole's recent blog on homemade nut butters; here's the link if you want to take a look for yourself:

http://www.dailyspark.com/blog.asp?post=
going_nuts_for_flavored_nut_butters

Peanut butter is one of my all time faves -- and yes, I prefer the not-so-good-for-you kind with a bit of salt and sweetener. Skippy reduced fat is generally the number one choice (occasionally good old Kraft chunky). I would love to try the Trader Joe's reduced fat peanut flour which you mix up as required to the thickness preferred: but haven't seen any source for that locally just yet.

But other than peanut butter, the more exotic nut butters (almond, cashew) are so expensive. And often to my way of thinking just too too oily as well.

And: Nutella (which I love) is something I almost never permit myself to buy because the list of ingredients is so scary: mostly vegetable oil and sugar, tiny amounts of hazelnut and chocolate. Not really a nut butter at all.

So now following Coach Nicole's lead I'm inspired to experiment with my own nut butter versions. Tonight it was toasted walnut with a little real maple syrup: easy to make (just toasted the nuts for 10 minutes at 350, cooled slightly, whirled in food processor for longer than I would have though necessary, added a tiny bit of walnut oil and about 3 tbsp syrup and a tiny bit of salt): delicious! Had two tablespoons spread on slices of Honeycrisp apple for dessert after my Thai coconut curry soup. It was a great supper.

And next up: I'm going to try a proper chocolate hazelnut that's mostly hazelnuts and cocoa (or maybe Lindt 85%). Anyone have a good recipe to share for that? I'm happy to experiment: imagine it's important to rub off the hazelnut skins . . . maybe with a tea towel after toasting??

I'm finding that adding a bit of fat to my diet is helping with satiety particularly now that the weather is getting cooler: and the nut butters may be just the thing (in moderation, of course: in moderation! Two tablespoons of the walnut butter clocks in at just over 200 calories . . . ).

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TKADEEPBREATH 11/10/2010 8:53PM

    Since I'm such a "nut" for ALL nuts, these "butters" in the pantry would be a hugh temptation for me. Still want to try it though.

Great blog .. . . .

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PENNYAN45 11/5/2010 1:25PM

    I also love peanut butter -- and eat too much of it. I almost don't want to try another nut butter. Why add another food to the mix that I will wind up eating too much of?
LOL.



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FROSTIERACES 11/1/2010 10:50PM

    I LOVE peanutbutter!!! Tempted to now get out of bed, go down to kitchen, grab a TBSP and reach for the Skippy! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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STEPFANIER 10/25/2010 1:21PM

  Nice blog post, but that wasn't Coach Nicole's blog. It was mine. ;)

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WATERMELLEN 10/23/2010 1:07PM

    From: DANCINGGARDENER!! I will be trying this one out -- and also trying not to eat the entire batch in one sitting . . . .

You asked for it....

A recipe for Gianduia
(Hazelnut Praline or "real nuttella")

2 oz dark chocolate
1 tsp powdered sugar
2 tsp peanut oil
1.5 oz hazelnuts

Heat an oven to 300

Roast the hazelnuts for 7 minutes and then roll them together in a dish towel to remove the skins, if they don't come off, you may need to bake them a little more but do not burn them, it is important to get almost all of the skin off the nuts.

In a coffee grinder or a blender, grind the nuts until you have a very fine powder.

Add in the oil and powdered sugar and blend thoroughly.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or a microwave at 50% power stirring every 30 seconds or so until it is completely melted.

Add the hazelnut mix to the chocolate and stir in thoroughly, keep in the fridge...

(if you figure out the calories... it's somewhere around 625 calories for the entire pot)



Comment edited on: 10/23/2010 1:07:31 PM

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FLOWINGWATER 10/23/2010 9:24AM

    Nummm! Maple walnut DOES sound good! I like your idea of making home made Nutella. I have to say, Nutella has become a staple in our house and I'm starting to feel like it needs to be replaced with something healthier.

I have found, too, that good fats (like nuts) really do help me stay satisfied for a long time! A full serving of all-natural peanut butter keeps me full for HOURS! Now I try to include some fat and protein with every meal, so I'll stay full longer.

I used to love less-healthy peanut butter (Jiff), but I made the switch and though it took some getting used to, now I love my natural brand. (I used to add my own salt and sugar to it, lol, but I don't any more.) You might give Maranatha brand a try. It's one of the best natural peanut butters I've tried. Get the salted version - it'll be closer to what you're used to.

Another bonus to nut butters - they are tying more and more health benefits to monounsaturated fats, and are even saying that a diet high in them promotes weight loss! Food for thought...

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BRIGHTSPARK7 10/22/2010 9:04PM

    Maple walnut sounds delish!

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DREMARGRL 10/21/2010 8:08PM

    OMG! You have my mouth watering! I got addicted to peanut butter and was eating wayyyyyy too much.....mixing it with Cool Whip and putting globs of it on sugar free Jello Chocolate Pudding that you cook. MMMMMmmm. I find that if I find something I like that well, I eat way too much of it. It's all/ a lot! or nothing for me, but enjoy your butters, darlin'. I loved reading your blog. XO MaryAnn
LIVE STRONG!

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PHEBESS 10/21/2010 7:25PM

    Sounds yummy!!!!!

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WALKINGANNIE 10/21/2010 3:21PM

    Mmmm. Never thought of making my own....

I'm wary of peanut butter because of my problems with fat and sugar but I do love the taste. I might experiment with small amounts.

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KALIGIRL 10/21/2010 9:04AM

    I too love chocolate and nuts - waiting (semi-patiently) for your recipes!

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DBCLARINET 10/21/2010 12:42AM

    Hmmmm, I skipped over that link in my e-mail. I guess I should have read it -- I love nut butters! I usually just make my own in the food processor with a little bit of oil.

I've seen some recipes for homemade Nutella (I'll admit, I love it too but will never buy it). You're right about toasting the hazelnuts and then removing the skins with a towel. The recipe I saw used just hazelnuts, cocoa powder, and coconut oil. I'm sure it's flexible -- you could probably use melted dark chocolate, too, or a different kind of oil, or maybe add some sweetener or something. I've never really tried it myself, so I couldn't say. I'm scared to, because if it turned out good, I'd probably eat all of it in one sitting!

One of my favorite treats ever was Artisana Cacao Bliss coconut butter. Oh. My. Goodness. I haven't bought it since because it, like peanut butter and Nutella, is more likely to get eaten in one sitting than spread out as normal-size servings. And it's just too darn expensive for that!



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TRYINGHARD1948 10/20/2010 10:57PM

    I love peanut butter too, but have never tried to make any nut butters so can't help with a recipe. I agree that having a little fat in the diet is good. Hope your experimentation works out well. emoticon

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IMREITE 10/20/2010 10:20PM

    I have never made my own nut butters. they sound really goof thought and being made at home, there is no need to add all the artificial stuff.

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SERENE_ME 10/20/2010 10:05PM

    I, too, prefer the less healthy varieties (Kraft smooth - my favourite!) but the walnut sounds superb! My brother is drying some black walnuts for me from the tree in his yard (so superior to the store bought kind) - I'll definitely try the maple walnut when they're ready.

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BELLABANANAS 10/20/2010 9:45PM

    Sounds delicious!

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Ooey Gooey BBQ Ribs

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Went for a walk in the woods (with Charlie, crunching through the leaves) and then out for smokehouse BBQ tonight with my husband and son (Charlie not allowed) to a new restaurant in town -- which is the best BBQ I've tasted since last fall's trip to Austin. We all have backyard BBQs pretty much (for steaks, burgers) but this kind of smokehouse falling off the bone BBQ place is not particularly a Canajun kinda thing, so the new restaurant is a nice addition to the local market.

I was pretty moderate -- three ribs, a handfull of fries, a quarter cup of baked beans, less than that of coleslaw: but it was delicious, and I enjoyed every mouthful. Also enjoyed a (rare rare rare for me) diet Coke. Kept well within my daily calorie range while I watched with astonishment just how much my tall and rangy son can actually pack away: no doubt he'll finish off the ribs we brought home in the take-out container before morning.

I'm thinking that the smokehouse should consider cooperative marketing with the carwash around the corner: all three of us had BBQ sauce everywhere!! And although I've scrubbed my hands repeatedly, I can still smell that smokey sauce: mmmmmmmm!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PHEBESS 10/19/2010 8:40PM

    I think our local Texas BBQ adds something to make it addictive. Really. I always get the chicken, DH gets the brisket - and we just crave it sometimes. Soooooooooo good!

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LUNADRAGON 10/18/2010 8:34PM

    Once in a while a treat like that is perfect. The whole game is knowing that the key is once in a while. It sounds like you had a lovely time!!
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KALIGIRL 10/18/2010 9:41AM

    Sounds like a fun and wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

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WALKINGANNIE 10/17/2010 11:46AM

    Mmm. I could almost smell the smell!

I love the term 'Canajun'. Haven't heard that before and it quite tickled me.

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DBCLARINET 10/17/2010 1:21AM

    Mmmmmm... barbecue. I didn't realize how spoiled I was in Texas until my mom asked me to find a good place for ribs in Cleveland that wasn't a chain restaurant. I found out you either get ribs here at an expensive steakhouse or at a cheap pizza place. Boo. Should've eaten more when I had the chance, although it's probably better that I didn't!

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TRYINGHARD1948 10/17/2010 12:05AM

    They maybe do that deliberately so that your senses will cry out for more, an insidious scheme, don't you think. Sounds just the thing for those Autumnal evenings, glad you enjoyed.

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Five Fat Turkeys Are We

Monday, October 11, 2010

Five fat turkeys are we
We slept all night in a tree
When the cook came around
We couldn't be found
That's why we're here you see!

Yesterday while golfing in glorious October sunshine, I saw five fat wild turkeys sauntering across the second fairway.

In my part of Canada, wild turkeys were extinct for many years. There was an attempt to re-establish wild turkeys by hatching turkey eggs, then raising and releasing into the wilds: but that initiative was spectacularly unsuccessful. The baby turkeys imprinted on their turkey handlers and were sitting ducks (to mix the metaphor) when released into wilderness areas. Much appreciated by coyotes and wolves but not lasting long enough to reproduce.

Then evolved the brilliant idea of capturing whole flocks of mature wild turkeys from the Carolinas, importing them (no word with respect to the security checks at the border, presumably they were not required to pluck themselves) and releasing the whole flock into forested areas.

Within a few short years, wild turkeys have re-established themselves prolifically, extending north well into Canadian Shield areas where apparently wild turkeys never roamed before. There is now a spring and fall turkey hunt for licensed turkey hunters. But so wily are the wild turkeys that only one in three hunters ever succeeds in bagging a bird. Apparently the wild turkeys know both when turkey season opens and what areas are off-limits to turkey hunters: such as my golf course. Presumably the wild turkeys move in a timely manner from non-protected areas and into the save haven.

So these magnificant birds showed no fear at all. Their bronze feathers gleamed, the male turkey was in full display, and his four hens strode confidently in his wake.

The turkey roasting now in my oven for Canadian Thanksgiving dinner is of course of the domesticated varity: and of the pre-stuffed, frozen solid variant (in keeping with my "pre-fab less-flab" approach to all feast days: as blogged about previously , the less time I spend in the kitchen, the less I'm likely to overeat. Although I did take a little trouble over my butternut squash soup this year!) Domesticated turkeys have had all the brains bred out of them --replaced by bread cubes and seasoning, perhaps -- such that they are by reputation at least too stupid even to come in out of the rain . . . in comparison, those wily wild turkeys are positively Einsteins! Culture can be highly over-rated, don't you know?

Dancing Gardener saw wild turkeys on her bike ride Saturday -- and says she is thankful for all her Canadian friends! (We thank her, and in turn are nominating her an honourary Canadian, eh?)

I am thankful for my American friends including of course Dancing Gardener -- and for all my SparkPeople friends around the world -- and for the glory of wild turkeys under brilliant maples.

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PHEBESS 10/12/2010 8:45PM

    Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!! And it's always a joy to read your blogs!

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TRYINGHARD1948 10/12/2010 1:57AM

    So enjoyed the blog and I'm sure you will enjoy your thanksgiving. emoticon

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TKADEEPBREATH 10/11/2010 5:56PM

    Oh, I love this wild turkey blog!! What an amazing sight that must be. I don't know that I have ever seen one. I don't think they walk around here too much . . hahaha.

But please, I need to have your recipe for butternut squash soup. I've been wanting to try that even if it takes a while. I love butternut squash . . . at your convenience of course.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I like the less time in the kitchen = less food eaten tactic. Works for me too.

Talk to you soon, Jan emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WALKINGANNIE 10/11/2010 1:29PM

    Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

I love the idea of turkeys coming through cross-border security checks!
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DANCINGGARDENER 10/11/2010 9:44AM

    Awwww..... mentioning me in your blog about wild turkeys & Thanksgiving. I am sporting a such a blush that it may not subside for hours.

Our turkey population was re-instated about 15 years ago as well. Once they took hold there is no turning back. They are EVERYWHERE!!!! It is to the point that you are just as likely to total your car hitting a turkey as you are totaling your car hitting a dear. Turkeys are both bigger and more solid than you would actually think.

I do want to be an honorary Canadian... I do, I do, I do. I swear to live up to my honorary status on this day of Canadian Gratitude. Today, I will eat, drink and speak Canadian, eh.

Have a lovely feast and a well-deserved nap right afterwards!


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ZONER25 10/11/2010 9:18AM

    Hunting keeps them wily! Without the predator they would become a different bird.

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Get Out of Jail Free Card

Friday, October 08, 2010

It was an exceptionally beautiful day, sunny, morning glory blue sky, and nothing too too pressing in the calendar at work: so, I gave myself the day off. (I have an occasionally indulgent boss: me.)

Went to the gym first for a thorough cardio workout on the elliptical cross trainer, burned over 400 calories in 31 minutes: and then my upper body weights workout. A non-rushed shower, putting on my comfy blue jeans and a check shirt, visiting with friends I don't usually see at my regular gym time slot: all this was a great start.

Then I took myself for a drive down country roads with great blazing maples arching overhead -- and more woolly bears racing across the road. They were in a hurry: I was not.

Poked around doing a little shopping in a neighbouring small town -- found the replacement camel turtleneck I needed for some of my fall outfits AND on sale. Simple but nice!

And I considered treating myself to a small New York Fries. Until I noticed a lady eating a largest size tub of New York Fries who weighed -- ok, judgmental is not good, I do get that -- so suffice it to say, a fair bit more than I want to weigh.

Treated myself to TWO Paula Red apples instead. And the new Oprah magazine.

Lots of exercise, fresh air, a little retail therapy: and Charlie standing on his hind legs looking out the window to greet me when I got home.

And: a glass of white wine with my chicken barley soup for dinner.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LUNADRAGON 10/18/2010 8:34PM

    Perfect reward!

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KALIGIRL 10/11/2010 12:36PM

    Ben Franklin wanted the turkey as the US national bird - no wonder with their fabulous smarts and golden feathers.
We too have seen the flocks increase.
emoticonfor sharing a wonderful sight.

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TRYINGHARD1948 10/10/2010 7:24PM

    A beautiful Autumnal day, gorgeous! emoticon

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MSSNOWY 10/10/2010 1:20AM

    Nice day. What are the wooly bears saying about the winter this year? Or haven't you asked?

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DBCLARINET 10/9/2010 10:44PM

    My dad found a woolly bear today -- and didn't show it to me! :-( I guess this woolly bear was predicting a mild winter.

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PENNYAN45 10/9/2010 6:17AM

    Sounds like a PERFECT day off! We call them mental health days -- because they're good for the soul.



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WALKINGANNIE 10/9/2010 2:14AM

    Sounds as if you had a fabulous day Ellen. You deserved the 'you time' and I'm sure that you feel better for it.

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DONNACFIT 10/9/2010 12:30AM

    Sounds like a fabulous day!!!

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BRIGHTSPARK7 10/9/2010 12:28AM

    "Lots of exercise, fresh air, a little retail therapy... and Charlie..." A noteworthy day, my friend. Glad your boss (you) gave you the day off. :-)
I love that phrase, 'glory blue sky.' So evocative and joyous.

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Leaf-Peeping Geezerdom: Official Members

Sunday, October 03, 2010

As a teenager and a young adult, I used to laugh at my parents going out to see the brilliant fall leaves, and in particular mocked ungently their ecstatic rhapsodizing on their return. To me this was definite evidence that they were well advanced into old geezer territory.

At least back then this activity had not yet earned the current and most unattractive sobriquet of "leaf-peeping". Which has a bit of a "Peeping "Tom" connotation to me. You just looked at the leaves full on, with nothing furtive about it. Vocalized loudly. Telephoned friends to recommend an especially colourful route so they could go and look too.

But it wasn't just their descriptions of the vistas they'd viewed which I found annoying. They could also remember quite a number of "autumn poems" (they had both been school teachers). And would be unable to resist reciting them in suitably exalted voices:

Oh the scarlet of the maples
Can shake me like the cry
Of bugles going by
And my lonely spirit thrills
To see the purple asters
Like smoke upon the hills.

I'd roll my eyes, groan in agony. (But as you can see, I remember them too).

And then they would follow up with fresh torments: cranking up their LPs (vinyl, of course, back in the day) of bird song, replete with sonorous voiceovers. Like this: "Chirp. Chirpchirpchirp. SKARRRREEEEEE". And now the human voice, solemnly, and with excruciatingly precise enunciation : " RU---FUSS TOE - HEE". Or whatever.

Even then they would not be done: there was a test at the end of each LP, just the birdsongs in rapid succession without the voiceovers. Giving my parents their own opportunity to call out the bird identifiers. With enthusiasm. Each trying to be first, so of necessity speaking rapidly. ("No no no no no , that's NOT the olive-backed warbler, that's the yellow-rumped warbler. Just listen").

Really. They did. Triumphantly. So as not to forget, I expect, before the birds returned north again from their fall migrations. And of course I would leave the room. But you could hear those piercing birdcalls all over the house: there was no escape. (And yes: I still remember most of them as well.)

Alrighty then! Guess DH and I have officially entered advanced geezerdom ourselves since the two of us set out quite deliberately to "view the leaves" this afternoon in gorgeous October sunshine. Munched on fall-juicy apples too. And listened for the blue jays and cardinals and the fall warblers. And checked for woolly bear caterpillars. (Found quite a number, thanks: brought a particularly attractive one home and have made him a cozy residence for now in an old jam jar, with lots of clover.)

Not at all covert. There was no side-long peeping: I really looked. Listened. While trying to keep all self-conscious emoting to the barest possible minimum. But: it was a dazzling dazzling experience.

And I know. The apple did NOT fall far from the tree.

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSSNOWY 10/10/2010 1:18AM

    Ah, yes, geezerdom. Last autumn I took my mother on weekly jaunts in the car to see the leaves. It was the one thing I could get her out of the house to do. Now that I'm seeing them again, I think of her and remember. I was, however, spared the childhood bird call LPs and drives in the country. But then we didn't have fall color where I grew up and traffic was bad, so maybe that was the reason. Still your blog definitely resonated. I'm reminded of Pogo and his: We have met the enemy [or in this case, the parents] and he is us!"

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FROSTIERACES 10/6/2010 5:22PM

    ahha!! The woolybear!! :)

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WALKINGANNIE 10/6/2010 2:55PM

    Great descriptions - and I love the idea of geezerdom! I like 'viewing the leaves' and kicking through crispy dried leaves on autumn walks, although there's not much chance of crispy leaves in rainy England just now. Everything here is soggy and the caterpillar would need oilskins and a sou'wester instead of a woolly jumper!

The photo is great.

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PHEBESS 10/4/2010 7:49PM

    LOL!!!!!! You are so funny in a poetic way! And yes, I think we're in geezerdom - DH and I sit on the porch and rate sunsets each night.

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DBCLARINET 10/4/2010 6:12PM

    Awww, it's CUTE! I haven't had the luxury of seeing a woolly bear yet, but I've been afraid to venture out into the cold fall air. Texas really did make me pathetic...

Now if only it would stop raining, I would do something amazing like pick apples or go to a maple syrup farm or something. Your afternoon sounded way better than many of mine!

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PENNYAN45 10/4/2010 4:09PM

    The autumn leaves seen in New England have been the reason for many of our family car trips throughout the years. It is nature in one of its most beautiful stages.
I'm glad you've joined us in enjoying the beauty!

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IMAGINE_IT 10/3/2010 11:37PM

    Welcome to "Geezerland". ..... emoticonI love nature ...and often get amazed at all the Beauty our Earth has to offer...it's sad that so many people don't ever stop and really "look" at what is all around them...seems as if everyone is always in a rush...going nowhere!!! I like the way you always describe Nature Ellen...makes me feel as if I'm right there too!! emoticonAnd I'm glad that you and your husband had a great "geezer"day emoticon emoticon

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KALIGIRL 10/3/2010 6:37PM

    Sounds like a grand way to spend a Sunday.
I guess I too am a geezer emoticon

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