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Today is Sunday, February 18, 2018.

From the Ancient Archives: (3009 days ago)

3:30am boredom fixers: Nestlé Crunch Hotline:

If you can’t sleep and you’re looking for some inane entertainment, why not call the Nestlé Crunch Hotline? Believe it or not, there is much silly fun to be had. Here’s what to do: Dial this toll-free number: 1-800-295-0051 Listen to the options for English and Spanish without choosing one, then WAIT through several seconds of silence. A new set of options will be provided… if you don’t want me to spoil the fun, go do it now. If... read more...

Sorrento, Italy on our honeymoon
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Recipe: Bean Tostadas

Tostadas are a favorite of mine, because they’re tasty and easy to make. They could be described as an “unfolded taco” fairly accurately. While this recipe is for vegetarian bean tostadas, you can adapt the recipe to make them with veggie crumbles (TVP) to make them similar to beef tostadas (see instructions below), or, if you aren’t a vegetarian, you can make them with shredded or ground beef or shredded chicken.

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Recipe: Black Beans and Rice

This is a recipe I came up with years ago as a side dish for when I cook Mexican food. My husband likes to make it as a dip for tortilla chips. It’s whatever you want it to be, I guess!

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Recipe: Refried Beans (Crock Pot)

In crock pot, cook beans, salt, cumin, and chili powder on high.
In a skillet, heat onions and garlic in the olive oil until tender. Use a food processor or stick blender to make the oil/garlic/onion mix into a slushy liquid…

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Recipe: Cream of Broccoli Soup

Steam both bags of broccoli (either on the stove or in a microwave vegetable steamer) When they’re fully cooked, chop them into very small pieces, and set them aside…

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Recipe: Easy Fudge

Melt chocolate chips over medium heat until smooth. It is important that there aren’t any lumps as you will feel them in the texture of the fudge if there are…

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Recipe: Cheese Enchiladas

In a small frying pan (it just has to be large enough for one of the tortillas to lie flat in) pour about a half an inch of vegetable oil. Heat on medium heat.

Create a staging area like so…

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Recipe: Chimichangas

Pour at least one inch of vegetable oil into a pan and set it on medium high heat.
Warm the tortillas on a paper towel in the microwave for about 10 seconds to soften them.
Spoon a dollop of refried beans onto one side of the tortilla as shown, and add some diced onion and shredded cheese…

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The World's Most Complicated Drink

This is me in Sorrento, Italy. I’m enjoying something to eat and drinking a whiskey sour. I’m on my honeymoon. Life is good. What led up to this moment, however, was just bizarre. We had taken the train from Naples to Pompeii, then after looking around Pompeii had taken the train to Sorrento. We walked down the long, winding road to get to the water’s edge and found a little restaurant with outdoor seating. It was...

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Recipe: Spinach Artichoke Dip

Just in time for Super Bowl Sunday, here is my recipe for Spinach Artichoke Dip!

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Recipe: Frozen Margaritas

This is the recipe that my husband’s family makes and they are without question the best margaritas I’ve ever had. I don’t know how to make this “on the rocks,” only frozen…

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Recipe: Enchilada Casserole

This is sort of a Mexican style answer to lasagna, using layers of filling and corn tortillas instead of pasta. This recipe is vegetarian but you could use whatever you want…

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Recipe: Hot Chocolate Mix

This makes a big batch of hot chocolate mix — about 48ox. One batch often lasts us all winter, kept in a sealed container. Actually, it lasts longer than that, because I’ve finished a previous winter’s mix the following winter and had nothing bad come of it. We use a jar from one of those big plastic containers of whey protein powder that they sell, which we washed out well and has served us for...

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Recipe: Creamy Curried Potatoes

This is an easy to prepare potato dish with a creamy curry sauce.

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Recipe: Opal's Lasagna-style Vegetarian Spaghetti Sauce

This is my vegetarian spaghetti sauce recipe in its current form. (Yeah, I keep changing it. I do that.) The can sizes for the tomato products are frustrating because they seem to vary by brand. I’m using this rough sizing for this recipe: “28 oz”—these are the really big, fat cans. Depending on brand they may be 29 oz or some other close number. It’s good enough. “15 oz”—this is the standard “soup can” sized...

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Recipe: Sweet Vegetable Curry

This is an Indian style curry with a sweeter taste. It has a little bit of spiciness to it, and can be easily adjusted to be hotter or less hot.

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Recipe: Vegetarian Chili

This is a chili with a bit of kick to it. It’s spicy enough to clear your sinuses a little, but not so spicy my son can’t eat it.

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Recipe: Broccoli Quiche

This recipe makes a quiche with a lot of flavor. If you like a more “delicate” flavor, just ease back on the herbs a bit. The recipe will make 2 quiches using standard frozen store-bought pie crusts. If I have time, I prefer to make the pie crust myself (this is my favorite recipe) and then it’s going to depend on how big your pie pan(s) is/are. Ingredients: 6 eggs 1 1/2 cups milk 1 package frozen broccoli, steamed...

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Recipe: Flourless Chocolate Cake With Ganache

I finally succeeded in my quest to create the perfect flourless chocolate cake. This is a dense, rich cake with a ganache layer on top. This is the kind of cake you’d refer to as “death by chocolate”. Enjoy!

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Recipe: Creamy Zucchini Casserole

I adapted this from a recipe that a friend gave me. The tofu gives it a very creamy taste and texture, similar to if you added sour cream or cream cheese. In fact, you could do that if you’re “tofu-phobic”. This is a very tasty casserole that is light and goes with anything.

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Chocolate...uh...what? Soup? A recipe gone awry

I am currently on a quest. A quest to make a cake as close as possible to the amazing dessert I’ve had at Atlanta’s Après Diem, where they simply call it “flourless chocolate cake”. I’ve learned that they buy it from the Buckhead Bread company where it is sold under the name “Chocolate Decadence” (far more suitable a name). This cake is a dense cake, not overly sweet, not fluffy or spongy at all, yet...

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Recipe: Gingerbread Men

This is another traditional holiday cookie in my family. It is listed in my mom’s recipes as “Auntie Kit’s Gingerbread Men” but I’ll just call it “Gingerbread Men” since you won’t have the foggiest clue who Auntie Kit is. These are the best gingerbread men I’ve ever had. But I might be biased.

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Recipe: Mace Holiday Cookies

These cookies are a traditional Christmas treat in my family. It isn’t the holidays without them, in fact. The mace (which is part of the same plant as nutmeg, just as a bit of trivia for you) gives them a very delicate and unique flavor. They are listed in my mom’s recipes as “Mrs. Quimby’s Sugar Cookies”; Mrs. Quimby apparently being someone known to the family before my time. Thank you, Mrs. Quimby, wherever you are.

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Recipe: Fettuccini with Veggies in Cream Sauce

Note: I refer to most of the seasonings as being “to taste” but it should be noted that my own “to taste” is rather on the heavy side. I like a lot of flavor. So if you want yours to come out like mine, be generous with the spices. I will put my estimate of how much I used in square brackets after each one, and next time I fix this recipe I will actually...

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Recipe: Coconut "Chik'n"

I came up with this recipe to use the Morningstar Farms Meal Starters “Chik’n Strips” that I had in the freezer. You could also use sliced firm tofu, or probably even actual chicken (though being a vegetarian, I haven’t a clue about how to cook actual chicken, so you’d be on your own for that part of the recipe.) Ingredients: 1 pkg Morningstar Farm Chik’n Strips “meal starters” 1 red pepper, cut into pieces 1 pkg sliced Baby Bella...

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Recipe: Cream of Mushroom Soup

This recipe makes a good deal of soup, because I cook with the goal of having lots of leftovers. If you have a small family and/or don’t want leftovers, you may want to cut the recipe down a bit. I made this recipe up based on what sounded good to me at the time and what I had in the fridge, but if I may toot my own horn, it ended up being the tastiest mushroom...

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Recipe: Broccoli Casserole

I came up with this recipe after poking through a bunch of other peoples’ recipes for broccoli casserole and never quite seeing exactly what I wanted. Now this is a fairly “chunky” casserole. I realize some people may like more smooth-textured casseroles, and so for those people I recommend chopping the broccoli up into small pieces and either cutting up the pearl onions or using diced sweet onion instead. Ingredients: 1 bag of frozen broccoli (big but...

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Chocolate Challenge

Hey Opal! This is just a ploy to get people to send you chocolate! Well, yeah, sure, that is part of it. But I’d also really like to find out where the best chocolate is. I’ve been told many times that this or that place makes the best chocolate… so here is the challenge: Send me chocolate that you think is the best. I’ll taste them, and then decide where in the world the...

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Vegetarianism: the why, the wherefore

“I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men. “ – Leonardo da Vinci, 1452-1519 Most people’s relationship with the cow, the pig, etc. is a predator/prey relationship. This page is my explanation for why mine isn’t. I am a vegetarian, and have been since 1986. I eat...

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an opal kitty

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