This past Saturday, 22 pilot whales beached themselves in Fort Pierce, Florida. Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute responded to the stranding and was able to save four of the whales, all of them juveniles or younger. Harbor Branch has a large pool that the whales were transferred into and were able to swim in comfortably. The whales were very weak so they needed help swimming for the first day or so. They were also fed every 2 hours (a mixture of fish gruel). The whales were under 24-hour observation to make sure that nothing went wrong. The observations included watching their respiration, behavior, and swimming patterns; this was my job.
I observed the whales on a 6-hour shift to make sure everything was going swimmingly (no pun intended). The whales each had their own personality quirks and it was really interesting to watch them. The youngest whale (a young female who was only a few months old) was always cuddling up to the rest of the group and would occasionally make a call, presumably for her mother. The oldest whale would round up the rest of the group and keep them in line if they tried to stray away. The other two loved to try to swim up the stairs of the pool and swim away from the group once in a while.
While I was observing them, Harbor Branch got a call that Sea World was on its way to transport the whales to their facility in Sea World Orlando. The team showed up and they were all very friendly and professional. They transferred the whales one at a time, from oldest to youngest, putting each whale into its own tank in two separate trucks. We were notified earlier today that they were transferred smoothly and safely and they're all swimming happily in their pod. It was really great to work with so many wonderful organizations (Harbor Branch Dolphin Rescue, Marine Mammal Conservation, Sea World Orlando) and I hope I get to work with them more in the future. Here are some pictures of them in their new home:
Ok, now let's get down to business (but not to defeat the Huns). So, I picked two recipes that I've been wanting to try for a while. The first one is a butterbeer latte (I know, I was freaking out too) and the second is a chicken dish served with a balsamic cream sauce.
In case you didn't know, I am a big (and I mean BIG) Harry Potter nerd. I love the books, movies, merchandise, actors, theme park, author, etc. So when I see something that is related to the Harry Potter series, I jump at the opportunity to make it. When I saw this, it had my name written all over it. I just wish it was cold out so I could sit outside and enjoy the weather with a nice hot mug of butterbeer, but c'est la vie. Since I couldn't contain my excitement any longer, I got all of my ingredients together and got started.
This afternoon when I got home from class, I was very tired so I decided I needed a latte. I love Harry Potter and I love butterbeer, so why not mix all of that up into latte goodness? When I was looking over this recipe, I noticed that they used vanilla extract. I tried it that way first and it tasted okay....but I wasn't looking for okay, I was looking for a magical concoction of butterbeer latte! When my friends and I make homemade butterbeer (yes, we actually do this), we use "Butter and Nut flavoring." It's a McCormick brand extract and it's really easy to find; your local grocery store probably carries it. So, for my next latte, I used this.
|Lots of butter.....yum!!!|
|The delicious mixture!|
I realized halfway through making this recipe, that this "latte" was an imposter because there was no coffee in it at all!! So, I added a little instant coffee to my mixture (be very careful when you do this because once I added the instant coffee to my pot, it almost instantly boiled over!!). This added a little extra kick to it and made it taste amazing!
So, I absolutely LOVED this drink and I am definitely going to make this again! It was so quick to make which makes it really nice if you're in a rush. I do recommend using the Butter and Nut flavoring though because it really gives it that "magical" touch (pun intended). I also think that this would be really good with some whipped cream on top! :)
Chicken with Balsamic Cream Sauce
I absolutely love balsamic vinegar, so I jump at almost any recipe with that as an ingredient. This recipe was actually really easy to prepare and cook. The biggest thing to save money is buy chicken when it's on sale and perhaps buy generic balsamic vinegar. Also, I bought my chicken stock when it was on sale, buy one get one free. I buy mine in a carton instead of a can so that if I don't use it all, I can save it for later and don't have to worry about it spilling. Before I began, I rounded up all of my ingredients (don't forget your mise en place!) and started cooking:
|Lots of butter, my kind of recipe!|
|Lots of onion too...yum!!|
|The force is strong with these onions... :)|
|Your onion should be browned like this.|
|Just brown the chicken first; don't cook it all the way through|
|It may look like a pan that will be hard to scrub, but this is perfect for making a delicious sauce!|
|It looks kind of gross, but it tastes amazing!|
|Even if you don't like mushrooms (like me), you should add them any way because it gives the sauce a really nice flavor|
|Put the chicken back in and cook until it is 165 degrees Fahrenheit|
So, this recipe turned out really well! It was surprisingly fast and easy to prepare and it looks like you made a really fancy meal haha. My only change to this recipe was that I added an extra tablespoon of balsamic vinegar; it gave it a little extra kick. We scarfed this meal down and I will definitely be making this again in the future!
I hope you all enjoy these recipes and I will definitely keep them coming! If you have any recipe suggestions, feel free to leave me a link in the comments! Also, don't forget to subscribe to my blog so you'll be updated whenever I put up new posts! Come back soon to see more Pinterest recipes!