RaeDi at Hummingbird Hollow

Thoughts on Food, Words from the Heart, 'The Little Winged Ones'….

Anna’a Winter Watch

“Hummingbird Hollow”

I live at a very enchanted place called Hummingbird Hollow. There are four different species of Hummingbirds that reside here the Allen’s, Anna’s, Rufus, and the littlest of all the Calliope’s. There are hundreds of the little fellas here during the season. There is lots of chuppity-chup, chip-chee-chee, and chip-see-see notes, which fill the air and is quite calming to me….

The winter of 2007 we had a storm drop over 11″ of snow in less than a day.  We have Anna Hummingbirds that winter over with us each year.  On this day, they took turns watching over their only source of nectar.   The name of this picture I did in watercolor from the  photo I took that day is called “Anna’s Winter Watch.”  Their tenacity and persistence helped to sustain them during this inhospitable time.   The snow and extreme weather did not detour their lively personality.    With some of the Anna’s staying the winter, we have their entertainment year round.    With hundreds that call our home their home during the season, we have called our place “Hummingbird Hollow.” ….

“Hummingbird darts lightly through the world, spreading its message of joy and beauty, and teaching us to appreciate the wonder and magic of everyday existence. Hummingbird brings the gift of joy. Learn to laugh and be happy”…Author Unknown

Anna’s Winter Watch   

© 2008 ….RaeDi 

The snow flakes kept descending, hours never-ending.

Their size expanding  between interludes of flurries and

      a sightless whiteout.

In a short minute of time, the limbs of the apple tree are

     leaden, heavy with snow.

The intense brightness of the snow makes it appear blinding

     and reflecting a brilliant glow.

The Anna’s sits a top the trellis , its mind only aware of

     keeping watch over their nectar.

Their only source of fuel for their endurance of this

     wintry weather.

Those few who choose to winter over, take staid, each

     their turn of this winter’s watch;

As with the snow they too will go on doing, safe keeping

     of their nectar they will persevere nonstop.

 

I have learned over the years, that from one day to the next I do not know what I will be thinking about or if I will put words to paper.  I am not sure what triggers my writing or its style.  In the poem, “The Littlest of Nests” I was just going to lay in the hammock for the afternoon and read a little, close my eyes for a few and maybe even do some sketching.  However, I had not been in the hammock long when I heard the notes of the Calliope Hummingbird.  When I found her and the littlest of nests tucked between two branches, with two little ones, the words just came to me.  The words were there when I woke up in the middle of the night and saw, “The First Snowfall of the Season.”  “Full Circle” came about when I finally knew what going full circle meant.  Whether it is poems, light stories or even events in my life, it seems with age comes putting my words to paper.  My writings are maturing as is my art and photography.  I would rather do anyone of these three things and/or traveling more than anything else in the lifetime I have left, it makes me complete.   I find with age, there are so many things that do not need to be done or that can wait, so many things that I use to “have” to do can be put on the back burner while I do the things that make my soul/spirit grow.  I like the feeling I get from doing my words, art, and photos.  I still love gardening, gourmet cooking and such.  Nevertheless, I would rather be out in nature taking pictures and letting my mind wander.   It is these times when the words are just there and I put them to paper.  For the most part, it is a way of letting my children, and future grand children know who I am, and who I was, the words, photos, and art are there for them to see and know what made me me.  I now wish that I had started this many years ago.  I hope that each one of my future family ~ as they read my words, look at my pictures and my art ~ they will see my spirit and my love of life, all of nature, people, anything and all of everything that surrounded me.  My love of my spiritual base it is the true me; it is what makes me whole.  When I am with His creations, looking at His skies day or night, seeing and hearing His timing in the ocean waves, too His rivers, mountains and deserts they all feed my soul make me feel so alive.  All His seasons, it amazes me all the colors He uses ~ every color from all spectrums’, in every direction that I look.  I am where I want to be.  The notes He made for us to hear.  The wonderful senses He created for our pleasure and the amazing tastes from every corner of this earth ~ each a culinary experience.  I have learned over the years, that from one day to the next be able to feel all the textures from sand of the ocean or desert to the petals of a rose and all that are in between, I wonder will I get to experience it all before I take leave of this life, I hope so….RaeDi

Valentine Dinner Menu of Roasted Lola Duck ~ Pavlova

 

 

Roasted Lola Duck, Potatoes and Carrots with

     Sage, Blood Orange and Blackberry Glaze Sauce

 
     

 

 

The Valentine Dinner turned out fantastic with a group of amazing friends.  Nothing was meant to be fancy, just wanted it to be a good home cooked meal.  Being together as one with good food that was (in the end) superb without a lot of work is everything a cook could ask for.   All of it was full of flavor and just good old home cooking.  I did this over a few days, working on different dishes for a few hours each day and in the end it did not feel as though it had been a lot of work. 

Anytime I want to roast meat I almost always turn to a cookbook that I have had for several years.  It is called Roasting A Simple Art’ by Barbara KafkaIt is an amazing cookbook.   I have used her recipes and tips more times than not when I have a special meal to prepare. 

I agree with Barbara Kafka that those of us who like duck love the old-fashioned, simple, crisp roasted duck.   She poaches the duck before roasting and it eliminates most of the fat from under the skin.  She uses high-heat roasting to complete the duck.  Poaching and then roasting does keep it from getting dried and stringy and the end results are you do have a nice broth after simmering it. 

 

For Simmering:

  • One duck, cut wing tips and add to pan
  • Duck Neck
  • Any giblets and such you have add to the pot
  • I added thawed duck stock and bones from my freezer and then added enough water to cover duck by an inch or:
  • Chicken stock if using (enough to cover duck by an inch)
  • 2 Quartered onion
  • 2-3 Crushed cloves of garlic
  • 3 or so large carrots chopped into large pieces
  • 3 or so stalks of celery chopped into large pieces

Into a small stock pot (with one duck you do not need a big pan and this makes for better stock) I added the neck, wing tips and a couple of quartered onions, a couple of crushed cloves of garlic, three large carrots chopped into large pieces, and a couple of stalks of celery chopped into large pieces.   I only added the veggies because I would need to add a little water and wanted more flavor for my stock.  I could have used chicken stock with the duck stock so I had enough fluids to simmer Lola in but decided on the veggies with the water instead.   I now added my thawed duck bones and duck stock from my freezer to the pan.  At this time, if you have any giblets and such add them to the pot, they give so much more added flavor.    I then placed Lola in the pot once everything started to boil.   Making sure the duck stayed submerged under the fluids, I placed a heavy plate on top of the duck when I added it to the pot; I checked it often to make sure she stayed submerged.  When Lola came to a boil I turned the heat down and simmered her for around 45 minutes. 

I spooned off about one tablespoon of fat from pot and I spread this in the roasting pan.   Now I spooned off as much of the fat in the pan as I could.   I removed the plate (or whatever you used to weigh the duck down with) and I then spooned as much of the floating fat that was left in the pot as I could.   I removed Lola from pan and drained (hold the duck over the stock pot and drain all the liquids from her cavity.) I then patted the duck dry and sat her in the roasting pan at room temperature.   I salted and peppered to taste and pressed them gently into the skin.   Be careful, she is hot and the skin is tender.     I let Lola sit and rest in the roasting pan at room temperature for about thirty minutes; this dries the skin out some.   You can roast the duck now or do as I am doing, she will sit in the bottom of my refrig until tomorrow.   I let the temp of her come down before putting in refrig. 

I placed Lola lightly covered in the bottom my refrigerator; she will continue to dry out some more.  I will take the covering off mid- morning or later and let dry in refrig until just before I am ready to roast.  I then stained the stock twice making sure that it was completely clear and placed in refrigerator too.  This makes it easy for me and there is not as much work if you divide it up some.

 

For Roasting:

To roast preheat to 425 degrees 

  • Lola 
  • 2 quartered blood oranges 
  • 2 crushed cloves of garlic  
  • Sea Salt and Pepper to taste 

I got Lola out of refrig and left her on the counter to come to room temp.  I removed the broth from refrig and spooned off all congealed-hardened fat.  This can be frozen to be used for roasting veggies and such in the future.  I only saved a small portion of the duck fat.   I pre freeze in small teaspoon drops and once frozen put in a container in the freezer and then I can get just what I need when needed.  This is only used for special treats and such, I would not recommend duck fat on a daily basis for anyone.

I preheated the oven to 425 degrees.  I put into Lola’s cavity a couple of blood oranges sliced in quarters and the crushed garlic cloves.  I cooked her on the second level from bottom; I have a convection oven so it cooked differently than a regular oven.  After 10 minutes or so, I started to spoon out the fat that accumulates in the bottom of the pan.  Be very careful, this is very hot; I take the duck out of the oven to do this.  At this time move the duck around a bit to keep it from sticking to the pan. 

I roasted Lola around 45 or so minutes, each duck weighs differently.  When the juices were running clear she was done, for me anyway. 

Roasting Veggies:

Roast at 425 degrees ~ same as duck

The amount depends on how many are sitting at your table.  I get these ready before getting Lola out of the refrigerator.  It makes it easier when you do a small amount of the work at a time. 

  • Fingerlings if you have them if not ~ I used Yukon Gold quartered
  • Whole small carrots
  • Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste  

I had Yukon Gold so this is what I used.   I quartered the Yukon Gold and washed and scrubbed the carrots. I put them in a plastic bag with less than a teaspoon of the grease from cooking duck.  I shook the bag until all were covered with a little of the fat.  I placed them in a shallow pan, put a little sea salt and fresh ground pepper on them and put in oven with duck.  I turned them every 10 minutes or so, they would not get burned and or stuck to pan (can be done as you spoon the grease from duck pan.)  They are done when tender, depending on temp of oven and size of veggies and how many you are roasting can be anywhere from 35-40 minutes give or take.  They are golden, delicious and the duck fat gives them a wonderful flavor without being greasy.  It takes very little fat to cover the veggies especially when you do it with the bag.  You only get what you want. 

Once Lola is done let her rest on counter for a few minutes before slicing.

I made a gravy/sauce from: about ¾ to 1 cup of duck broth.

 Sage, Blood Orange and Blackberry Glaze-Gravy-Sauce 

  • ¾-1 cup of broth
  • 2 Sage leaves
  • Add the Blood oranges and garlic used in cavity of duck
  • 1blood orange cut into wedges
  • 6-10 blackberries
  • Cornstarch ½ to 1 teaspoon

The amount of broth depends on how many are eating.  You would have to change amount of cornstarch to be used up or down depending on amount of broth being used.  Too, increase the number of blood oranges and blackberries needed to be about equal to the amount of broth.  Heat the broth and add the blood oranges and garlic from the duck cavity.  Now you add the slices of the blood oranges and the blackberries and bring to boil and then turn heat down a little for a few minutes.  Let it reduce just a little.  Remove the orange slices, blackberries, and garlic and squeeze them through strainer and put just the juice back in the broth.  Mix cornstarch with a little cooled broth and add to the pan whisking constantly for a couple of minutes, you do not want to taste raw cornstarch.   Keep temp at a beginning boil until thickened.  Remove from heat.  This sauce is very similar to the old fashioned raisin sauce my mom use to make. 

Serve over sliced duck or can be put in individual little sauce cups for dipping.

Save all bones and the broth and freeze for use another time.  I will be making a simple Roasted Duck Soup for tomorrow evenings meal with some of the broth and a little bag of left over duck already in the freezer from our last duck.  (All duck products from my freezer were leftover from a dinner at a friend’s house, her insisting I take home with me.  What a nice treat! )    Adding the stock from previous roasts each time you roast duck makes for a delicious future combo of anything you can possibly cook up! ….

 Steamed Baby Spinach with Pearl Onions and Almond Slivers

  • Spinach ~ amount you would need for how many you are feeding 
  • Pearl Onions ~ For this I use the frozen Pearl Onions, amount by how many you are feeding
  • 1 Heaping Tablespoon Slivered Almonds  

I put spinach mixed with the pearl onion in steamer and steam for a few minutes and turn then turn off heat.  Do not left lid, the steam will finish the spinach to a nice crispness without being overdone.  I put it in a dish and did a slight trickle of Pomegranate Balsamic.  Scatter slivered almonds on top of spinach.  It was perfect.  Spinach is one of my favorite veggies….

    

 

 

Bruschetta for Sliced Baguettes:

Since I had the pates’ it made my work of preparing the different appetizers’ that much easier.  All I had to do was put out some different crackers and I mixed some nuts with dried tart cherries and cranberries which were all a hit.  A few different kinds of cheeses and some grapes, with some sliced apples and I was almost finished.  I made a quick dish of double tomato for Bruschetta for the baguettes’ slices.  First I sliced the baguette at an angle.  I placed the slices on a jelly roll pan and drizzled Black Truffle Oil on and then toasted under broiler until they were getting just a little color and I then added Havarti and Dill cheese on top and broiled a little more until cheese was melted.  I did not cook too long to make them easier to spread the Bruschetta on.   Bruschetta is normally toasted after you put the tomato spread on the baguette, but with the company and the mix I decided to do it this way.  It was delicious.  

Double Tomato Bruschetta:

  • ½ pint cherry tomatoes diced (needed to be used and sure made a difference)
  • 1 small can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 Cup of Spinach striped (when I use fresh Spinach in the bag I always remove the long stems, I wish they would do that when packaging and in the end how much do we pay for all those stems? I love it when it is season and I can grow my own)
  • 2 cloves of garlic diced really small
  • Teaspoon plus of diced Parsley
  • ½ Teaspoon Basil
  • ½ Teaspoon Oregano

Place all but spinach in sauce pan and bring to boil, turn down heat and cook until almost all the liquid is gone.  I stir this frequently so it does not scorch; it does easily when the liquid is almost gone.    Add the spinach and stir in and put in small dish for use.  Heat from the tomatoes will cook the spinach to the right doneness.  Delicious as a spread on baguette slices.  (It is also good on cooked Angel Hair Pasta!) This is full of flavor and color….  

 

 

 

Pavlova Nests with Pastry Cream, Fruits and Chocolate Ganache:

The evening ended with desserts of Pavlova Nests filled with pastry cream, whipped cream, strawberries, blackberries, and with a choice of chopped macadamia or pistachio nuts.  I then drizzled chocolate ganache over each nest.  There too were large strawberries dipped in chocolate ganache for those that wanted just a small taste of dessert. 

While cooking the meringue nests you do not want to open and close the oven door; the meringue nests will get cracks in them.  If you do get cracks and it bothers you, fill cracks in with whip cream later.

Meringues:

Preheat oven to 275 degrees

Ingredients:

  • 4 large egg whites at room temperature
  • 1 cup of Castor sugar, also known as “Berry sugar” ( I did not have any Castor sugar so I made my own, I put the amount needed in regular sugar in my mini processor and processed until it was very fine, it works perfect)
  • 1 tsp of white vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbsp of cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cups of whipping cream

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 275F and place the rack in middle of the oven. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.  Trace around a circle of something that is the right size for your nests with pencil, turn paper with pencil marks underneath.  Set aside.

In a clean, medium-sized metal bowl, (make sure that anything you use to make the meringues is grease free) beat the egg whites with a clean electric mixer on medium speed. Beat until the whites form soft peaks.  Continue to beat the egg whites and gently sprinkle the sugar into the egg whites, one teaspoon at a time.  Your egg whites should now be glossy stiff peaks.

Sprinkle the cornstarch and vinegar on the meringue and fold in gently with a plastic spatula. Add the vanilla and gently fold the mixture again.  Put some meringue in a pastry bag with a star tip on the end.

Now gently spread the meringue in the circle on the foil to make a circular base. Make sure the edges of the meringue are slightly higher than the center so you have a very slight well in the middle.  I use a pastry tube # 43 and put two ~ three rings of meringue around the edges of bottoms to make the nest. 

I bake the meringue for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until it got a very light color and a slight matt finish.   Turn the oven off and leave the door slightly ajar to let the meringue cool completely. As the meringue cools, it will crack slightly.

I made these the day before I needed them.

Pastry Cream:

This recipe comes from Pastry Chef.  Pastry cream is a basic in a bakery, it is used in so many ways, pies, fillings add some whip cream and the lists goes on and then add nuts, fruits, it has endless possibilities. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart milk
  • 8 oz sugar, divided
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla or can use beans of one whole vanilla bean
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 1.9 oz of cornstarch
  • 2 oz butter (unsalted)

In bowl whisk together the eggs, corn starch and the half of the sugar and vanilla.  Put aside for now. 

In heavy saucepan cook milk, half the sugar, if using vanilla bean add now, (if using vanilla it is added to egg mixture,) and salt until just below boil.

Temper the milk into the egg mixture (with whisk in hand add a little of hot milk mixture to egg mixture and whisk rapidly and constantly, add a little more of milk mixture to egg mixture ~ do this until you have added all the milk mixture to the egg mixture, whisking the whole time, you do not want to cook the eggs) and then put everything back in saucepan on the stove and cook over medium heat.  Cook, stirring constantly and quickly, until the mixture has come to a boil, letting boil at least 30 seconds, it will be really thick.  If you undercook it, it will taste like raw starch.  Be careful while it is cooking it could bubble up and burn you.  Remove from heat and strain into a bowl.   Place plastic wrap directly on top of pastry cream.  Let cool down to refrigerate. 

I made this the night before.

Whipped Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup heavy cream 
  • 2~3 Tablespoon of Splendid
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla

I placed my mixing bowl and whisk blade in refrig for an hour or two to chill them before making Whipped Cream. 

When ready I got my mixer ready with bowl and whisk that are now well chilled.  I poured the heavy cream into mixer bowl added the sugar and begin to beat on low with mixer for about 30 seconds or until mixed well.  I added the vanilla and increased the mixer speed to medium high. 

I then beat the cream mixture until soft peaks form.  I put the whipped cream in a pastry bag with star tip # 43 and placed in glass and then in refrigerator until I would need it.

Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz of Semi Sweet Chocolates Pieces
  • ¼  Cup Heavy Cream
  • ¼ Teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter

Heat the butter and cream just to boil.  Pour over chocolate pieces and stir until all chocolate pieces are melted.  Pour into to squirt bottle.  Set aside until cooled to room temp.   If you need to thin this down when ready to use all you need to do is place bottle of Ganache in a glass with warm water.  It will thin out quickly.   Be sure to wipe any water off bottle, you do not want to drip water on the desserts you are making.

Strawberries, Blackberries, Macadamia, and Pistachios’:

Wash blackberries then wash and slice strawberries; they are now ready for completing the Pavlova Nests.  You can do this right before you are putting the nests together. 

Chop up the macadamia or pistachio nuts.  Put in separate bowls.

Making the Pavlova Nests:

Gently spread pastry cream to top of each nest with spatula.  Pipe the whipped cream around the edge of each nest.  Now add the sliced strawberries and arrange in a decorative pattern in pastry cream edges.   Place blackberries in center. 

Drizzle Chocolate Ganache over each of the nests.  They are now ready to serve.  Putting these together when you have everything ready takes very little time at the last minute and everyone loves them and thinks it is really hard to do. 

If I can make these anyone can.  I have a shake in my hands from a bad neck and back and they are not perfect by any means but taste just as good as if a Pastry Chef had made them….

 

 

Hummer’s Critique D’ARTAGNAN’S Roasted Lola Duck

  

 

 

Valentine Dinner of Pate, Duck, and Pavlova Nests

From: The Hummers’ Critique Corner

 

From the Free Dictionary ….Usage Note: Critique has been used as a verb meaning “to review or discuss critically” since the 18th century, but lately this usage has gained much wider currency, in part because the verb criticize, once neutral between praise and censure, is now mainly used in a negative sense. 

I do not normally like to criticize anyone; it is not my nature to do so.  I more times than not will put my money on a sure bet (one that has had praise from others) do to the economic environment we are living in today.  Every once in awhile the sure bet does lose….but could be because of many extenuating circumstances’.   I like to try to find the best in all and hopefully I will hit the prize more times than not….

This year I decided to treat some of my friends to a Valentine Dinner.  It was good to have them over and the dinner was a special treat for all of us.  It had been awhile since we all got together and spent an evening catching up.  Everyone has been so busy here lately, it was nice to just sit and relax.

I have wanted to order some things from D’ARTAGNAN’S for some time but I could not bring myself to pay the high cost of shipping it takes to get gourmet meats and such delivered over night from NJ to WA State.   They are running a special with free shipping for the month of February.   I decided to order the whole Lola Duck, it is a heritage breed which indeed does have incredible depth in its flavor as they state on their site.   It was perfect, as was the D’ARTAGNAN Black Truffle Oil.   I also ordered their  French Pate Collection*: Pate de Campagne, a traditional country-style pate of pork, seasoned with herbs and spices, Mousse Truffee, a superb, silky-smooth organic chicken and turkey liver mousse studded with 2% black truffles and Portwine, and Pheasant Terrine Herbette, an amazing blend of pheasant, pork and fennel covered in fine herbs.

The free shipping could not have been better timing, I had volunteered to do the Valentine Dinner to get things rolling again with our amazing friends.  Everything turned out without much planning and it was an exceptional evening of eating our way through baguette slices toasted with black truffle oil with dill and havarti cheese.  I made a quick dish of double tomato for Bruschetta; it added a nice flavor to the mix.  Cheese and crackers, with the three different pates to choose from and I had thrown together a wonderful mix of nuts with dried tart cherries and cranberries. 

 

 

For the main dinner we had roasted Lola Duck (roasted chicken for those that did not eat duck,) roasted potatoes and carrots and steamed baby spinach with pearl onions with a slight trickle of Pomegranate Balsamic.  I made a superb Blood Orange and Blackberry Glaze-Gravy-Sauce that was served over the sliced duck for those who wanted it. 

The evening ended with desserts of Pavlova Nests filled with pastry cream, strawberries, blackberries, and with a choice of chopped macadamia or pistachio nuts.  I then drizzled chocolate ganache over each nest.  There too were large strawberries dipped in chocolate ganache for those that wanted just a small sample of dessert. 

 

 

 The evening was perfect.  Everyone agreed that the Lola Duck was a hit and we all agreed collectively with giving D’ARTAGNAN 5 plus hummers for the duck and the same was voted unanimously for the French Pate Collection and again the same for the Black Truffle Oil.   I also give Jacob, the salesperson that handled my order 5 plus hummers, he has to be their number one sales person and the PR he gives the company alone will undoubtedly keep customers coming back for more.  Thank you Jacob for the wonderful attitude and making me feel so good while placing my orders.  There was not one question that he could not answer.  He was pure delight.  This customer will be back and I will talk with Jacob each time.   I recommend that you take a look at D’ARTAGNAN website, it is worth the time.  www.dartagnan.com (Free Shipping until the end of Feb, 2011)

 

D’ARTAGNAN Lola Duck ~ 5+Hummingbirds

* Rating of Five Hummingbirds *

D’ARTAGNAN French Pate Collection ~ 5+ Hummingbirds 

*Rating of Five Hummingbirds *

DARTAGNAN Black Truffle Oil ~5+ Hummingbirds 

* Rating of Five Hummingbirds *

Jacob with PR plus ~ 5+ Hummingbirds

* Rating of Five Hummingbirds *

The Pate Collection ~ we could not decide which one we liked the best, each was it own, and each enjoyed as much as the other.   We all took pleasure in eating another bite to see if we could decide and no one could put one above the other.  Each was smooth and silky and a pleasure to the taste buds.  Black Truffle Oil   has its’ own essence and with each bite it did deliver an earthly delight with the added bonus of the truffle aroma that brought satisfaction to our palates.   Lola was perfect; the aroma of her cooking was a pre-bouquet to her incredible depth of flavor.  As each guest arrived they commented that if it tastes as good as it smells we are in for a real treat, and that she was.

The meal was complete satisfaction from the beginning to the very end.  Nothing over the top, that was not the plan.  It was meant to be something that would bring our friends together with anticipation that we would all enjoy each other’s company and the food while having a good time doing it all.  That we did.. ..

*Each is made from D’Artagnan’s exclusive, traditional recipes using artisanal methods with only the finest ingredients. All are antibiotic and hormone free*, with no chemicals or fillers added

From: The Hummers’ Critique Corner ~ What Is It About?

 

 

 

 

 © 2011….RaeDi

 

From the Free Dictionary ….Usage Note: Critique has been used as a verb meaning “to review or discuss critically” since the 18th century, but lately this usage has gained much wider currency, in part because the verb criticize, once neutral between praise and censure, is now mainly used in a negative sense. 

This “Critique Corner” in this title means to review or discuss and open to discussions.  I do not normally like to criticize anyone; it is not my nature to do so.  I more times than not will put my money on a sure bet (one that has had praise from others hopefully) and too, due to the economic environment we are living in today (no one has money to burn.)  Thinking things through, getting all the information you can and then taking time to connect all the dots is a pretty good bet going in to buying or using something most times.  Every once in awhile the sure bet does lose….but could be because of many extenuating circumstances’.   I like to try to find the best in all and hopefully I will hit the prize more times than not. 

I have five little hummers that are here to tell us about what they find and what they think.  They are inquisitive little flyers and happy to let you know everything they know.   Their curiosity will hopefully make life easier for you.  Come along for a fast flight to words of honesty about food, recipes, foodies, books, and appliances… just about anything you can imagine.  They encourage your feedbacks and anything that needs to be corrected.  They are open to everyone else’s opinion in return.  Just do it the hummers’ way, be kind, sincere and use language that is appropriate.   We will be glad to take any advice and instructions that is given in a ‘well-mannered and courteous’ way!  Words that are rude and disrespectful with an ungracious attitude will not be posted. 

The Hummers by nature are very quick witted and fast at everything and miss nothing.  Like a cat they are very inquisitive, they will check out anything that crosses its alleyway so to speak.   Because of the general curiosity a hummer has it can be seen checking out about everything that catches it eye.     I too am inquisitive, and my curiosity seems to always lead me on different paths than the usual well worn pathways used by others.  I like to find the unusual and interesting things that are on my trail of life, something that draws my eye too, like the hummers, be it a scent or taste of anything.   Each and all my senses are definite traits that will lead me quickly down a different direction, new pathways to find the answers of how it was made, how to use…so many answers to be found.  As a young girl I can remember my Mom telling me to save some questions for another day.  It always puts a smile on my face when I think about it.   Questions can and will lead a person on many adventures. 

I find it very helpful when others give me a helping hand about different foods, recipes, books, appliances’, a reference to steer me in the right directions.   I myself like lots of references, checking them all out, in the end I find most of the time it was a lot cheaper and sometimes less painful in the end product.  Hopefully, the words from my hummers will give you a reference you can use too.   

For me (and most) it is jeopardy every time I buy something that I know little to nothing about.  Life for me is different than for most, I have a brain injury.  Instructions for most are easily read and followed, for me depending on the day it may seem it is written in a completely different language than my own.  I have to use other means of finding out how to use something more times than I would like to admit to.  One of my new tools I use is You Tube.   I now will Google something and watch the videos that other make to physically show me how to do something.  For some they must question why someone would take the time to show instruction on video, I do happen to know that most of these instructional video do work, because I have personally used them to help me navigate a new product that I cannot seem to make head or tails of.  Even when the person is speaking another language I can make out how to put something together.  A good example is a mandolin I bought and just could not make out the instructions to save my life.  I was about ready to throw in the towel and sell it on eBay.  But with a quick Google and a couple of clicks I found ‘many’ folks ‘needing’ to show me how to use that particular mandolin.  It took less time than all the time I wasted trying to decipher the instructions and almost losing a couple of fingers.    It is a good thing that so many want to be in ‘films’ the internet way through YouTube. 

Most times it works, but it is extra work…if I find a product that is more work than it is worth, I will sell it on eBay (if it cannot be returned to the store, or I will have to make a trip to the store and ‘hope’ the sells person knows what he-she is talking about!) as used once and that takes care of that.  To make this clear, with a brain injury simple instructions for everyone else can seem to be written in secret code to me.  I too, some days find it hard to spell cat, so that throws another knot into the whole ball of twine.  It is a very interesting life one leads with a brain injury, but it can be full of many surprises and adventures. 

I do not advertise.  I do not make monies from my reviews; I do it because I like to pass on good information, at least from my perspective about the things I buy, use, read and find interesting just to let folks know what I have found, maybe my words could be helpful.   I find it helpful when someone has tried something and they can tell me if it was worth the time, effort and money.  I make no monies from any of my blog, it is for my general enjoyment, when I feel up to writing my shorts and writing about what recipe I have used and such, each and all are my own words.  I will at times change the names of people, or places and such for privacy reasons.   Anyone can use some of my words and pictures with recognition and at times with permission depending on what is being used.    The same when I write about a recipe or such, where it came from will get the recognition in the post I am writing at the time. 

I hope my Hummers’ Critique Corner will be helpful to someone (s)….

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