Thursday, February 15, 2024

Stunning Flower Design at Yume Japanese Gardens

One of my favorite pastimes is to walk outdoors to commune with nature, and unwind in a serene place that captures the essence of the season. 

Last October I had the pleasure of seeing a flower arrangement exhibit, Fall Ikebana 2023 Festival at Yume Japanese Gardens of Tucson, AZ that was sublime. I'm excited to share my photo essay with you.

For those unfamiliar with the term Ikebana, it is the traditional Japanese art form of flower arrangement. To learn more, read

The gardens are located at 2130 N. Alvernon Way in central Tucson, AZ. The picture right above shows the entrance. The gardens may be difficult for first time visitors to notice, since signage is small. My tip is to drive slowly, once you're on the 21oo block of N. Alvernon Way.

The gift shop, book store, museum, and 8 garden areas are concealed in the back. Parking is free but limited, although there is neighborhood on-street parking nearby.

Hours, days of operation, and admission fees vary depending on event. Check ahead by calling 520-303-3945 or see the website.

Stunning Flower Design at Yume Japanese Gardens

Ikebana Flower Arrangement

Fountain Landscape Yume Japanese Garden

Ikebana Flower Arrangement

Ikebana Flower Arrangement

Display Yume Japanese Garden Museum
kimono is part of museum collection

Ikebana Flowers

Ikebana Flower Arrangement

Ikebana Flower Arrangement

Ikebana Flower Arrangement

Paper flower designs (Oribana-combo of Origami and Ikebana)) exhibited in museum

Sign for Ikebana Exhibit
Next Ikebana Exhibit Feb. 22, 2024 through Mar. 3, 2024

See Ikebana Flowers at Yume Japanese Gardens for additional flower arrangements.

I love the minimalist look of Ikebana flower arrangements, graceful lines of museum memorabilia, eye-catching décor ideas, and serene and refreshing landscapes at the Yume Japanese Gardens. 

This flower design exhibit in Arizona was food for my mind, body, and spirit.

Have you ever been to a Japanese Stroll Garden or Ikebana Flower Exhibit? Please share about it in the comments section below.

Which flower arrangement do you like best or least and why? Please share below.

Note: I read and appreciate every comment. Just refrain from putting links in your comments, as I can't publish them that way.

Thanks for your visit and please share the love on social media.

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Thursday, February 1, 2024

Vegan Fajita Recipe that's Colorful, Satisfying, and Fun to Eat

Simple to prepare plant-based fajita recipe

A fajita is a Tex-Mex term for a delicious grilled entrée, usually served with flour or corn tortillas.


Both savory and spicy, this plant-based fajita recipe features hearty-tasting marinated portabella mushrooms, red and yellow bell peppers, zucchini, jalapeño pepper, garlic, onion, and a mix of additional seasonings served sizzling hot.


Rather than use the traditional strips of beef or chicken, my veganized fajita rendition is budget-friendly and chock full of colorful, satisfying, and fun to eat mushrooms and veggies.


Colorful, Satisfying, and

Fun to Eat


Vegan Fajita Recipe


Some ingredients for vegan fajitas


6-8 oz. Portabella Mushrooms

1 Red and 1 Yellow Sweet Pepper

1 Large Red or Yellow Onion

1 Medium Zucchini

1 Tablespoon Whole Wheat flour or naturally gluten-free corn flour, with 2 Tablespoons of water to mix away lumps.

1-2 Tablespoons olive oil (use water or veg broth if you want dish to be oil free)

½ teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika

1 small jalapeño pepper (clean, de-seed, and chop)

2 Tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos, or soy sauce

2 teaspoons onion powder

2 or 3 cloves minced fresh garlic or to taste

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley if preferred

2 teaspoons tomato paste or 2 teaspoons tomato sauce

Juice from 2 fresh limes or lemons (reserve 8 drops of juice to sprinkle on at the end)

8 Corn or flour tortillas

Guacamole or sliced avocado


Optional Ingredients: beans, brown rice, corn kernels, tofu, tempeh, greens, and other colorful veggies.



What to do:


Make the marinade first. In a medium size mixing bowl, combine the flour and water until lump free. Add lime juice, oil, spices and seasonings, Bragg Liquid Aminos or soy sauce, tomato paste, and salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Mix it or whisk well.


Clean veggies and mushrooms, and cut into strips of approximately the same size. The variety and amount of veggies you use is flexible.


Place in a storage container and blend in marinade until fajitas are well coated. Cover with a tight fitting lid, and shake well.


Select a cook method that's practical and easy for you. 

The first method I suggest is to find a broiler safe pan. Put a few drops of water in the bottom of the pan so veggies don’t stick. 

Place marinated veggies in the pan and cover with aluminum foil. Roast in a preheated 400° F oven for 15 minutes. Then uncover and place veg fajita mixture under broiler for 4-5 minutes or longer to give this dish that grilled look.

Ingredients for vegan fajitas in a roasting pan

A second way to cook fajitas is to spread marinated veggies and mushroom strips on a piece of parchment paper that covers a sheet pan. Then roast the fajitas in a preheated 400° F oven for 15-20 minutes or until tender.

Note: do not put parchment paper under broiler as it will burn.

A third way to cook this dish is on an indoor or outdoor grill. 

I prefer to use the first cooking method, because it's easy to keep fajitas juicy this way. I also don't want to be bothered with running outside in the winter to use the grill. 


Cook fajita mixture immediately or refrigerate until ready to cook. The longer the veggies marinate, the more flavorful they get. Before cooking this dish, shake the fajita mixture again. Use within 3 days.


When ready to plate cooked fajitas, scoop a portion of this mixture into a flour or corn tortilla, one that's already been warmed in a 350° F oven for 5 minutes.

Drizzle on a drop of fresh lime juice, dollop of guacamole or avocado slices, and salsa onto the veggie mixture. Garnish with sprigs of cilantro or parsley and lime slices. Two tortillas make one serving.


Another way to serve it is to put it all on a bed of brown rice and black beans. That way everyone can help themselves. 

Serving Suggestion-Vegan Fajitas on Bed of Rice and Black Beans

Vegan Fajitas are a healthy south of the border treat. Serve it on Meatless Monday, for weekday lunch or dinner, weekend meals, and fun gatherings.


Satisfy even the heartiest eaters, by serving this dish with a portion of whole black or pinto beans, and rice or corn. Why not include a tossed green salad as well?


This recipe serves 4 people. Leftovers can be refrigerated and eaten within 3 days. If you'd rather freeze extra food, place is an airtight container and keep in the freezer for up to a month.

Please comment below.


Have you ever made fajitas? Even though this recipe has many ingredients, it's a snap to put together and cook. It can be ready in no more than 30 minutes, and is brimming with bold and bright flavors, interesting textures and colors, and has a tantalizing aroma.


Kids, adults, and the pickiest of eaters are sure to say Vegan Fajitas are one of their favorite meals. In my house, I get raves.


Do you think you'd like to add additional veggies to this recipe or substitute others? Please share those ideas below. 

I have made this with veggies including strips of carrots, Calabacitas, beets, and broccoli stalks.

I appreciate and read every comment, but won't be able to post ones with links in them. Thanks for understanding.

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Monday, January 15, 2024

Benefits of Walking Every Day and Tips for Success

Brisk Walking is Beneficial to Overall Wellness


Benefits of Walking Every Day

Brisk walking on a daily basis can improve cardiovascular fitness by strengthening the heart, lowering blood pressure, and improving circulation. Walking at least 30 minutes a day helps lower the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular conditions.



Walking is a low-impact activity, which means it will create less stress and strain on your joints than activities like running or tennis.



Walking is easy enough that all fitness levels can get those daily steps in, without special equipment. Gear can be as simple as a sturdy pair of walking shoes and comfortable, loose fitting, layered clothing, and drinking water.



Walking is a zero-calorie fitness strategy that offers similar stress reduction perks as eating some good mood foods.

Walking helps tone bodies and burn calories. A daily walking habit may help you lose weight and belly fat, and keep it off. In fact, walking just one mile burns about 100 calories.

For people of any age who have arthritis, walking is especially good medicine. It strengthens muscles, which helps shift pressure from joints and reduce pain. See How to Exercise Safely With Arthritis for details.


Everyone benefits from a regular walking routine, as walking compresses and releases the cartilage in knees, and helps circulate synovial fluid that brings oxygen and nourishment to joints. 


A study published in September 2022 in JAMA Neurology, found walking 9,800 steps per day was associated with steady declines in dementia risk, and even fewer steps than the 9,800 threshold were still associated with a decline.

Regular exercise gives your face a glow, and your being the vim and vigor you can’t get any other way.  


Walking can raise your energy level, cognition, memory, and sleep quality, as well as strengthen the immune system.

Time spent walking can be an opportunity to meditate, and put aside electronic devices. It's self-caring to reserve time every day to unwind and relax with no interruptions. 

Walking with someone makes time fly


Tips for Successful Walking


Start out with short walks or walking at a light intensity, and gradually build up to longer walks or moderate or vigorous speed. 

As soon as your walking parameter feels too easy, work on increasing the duration, frequency, or speed. 

Keep up motivation by focusing on progress not perfection. When all else fails, use the mantra some exercise is better than none.

Do not start any new exercise program, without consulting your health care provider.  

Notice all windows of opportunity. For example, when you're running errands by auto,  park far away from your destination. Finish the last half-mile on foot. 

If you are up to it, leave the car at home and do errands by walking the whole way. 

Whenever possible, walk during daylight hours, and wear a light colored vest or sweatshirt so you are visible to traffic. 

Always walk facing oncoming traffic. If it's dark carry a flashlight or walk on a lighted track or indoors on a treadmill.

Choose routes that are well-used, well-lit, and safe. Even if you walk the same route every day, stay alert at all times to prevent falls from stumbling over brush and other obstacles in your path.

Don’t compare your routine to what others are doing. Set a time or step goal that is attainable for you. If you need to start with just 10 minutes or 5,000 steps a day and build up, that is better than nothing!

Pay attention to your surroundings, and avoid distractions like headphones. Refrain from being on your phone. Give yourself permission to be fully present to the now.

Walk on a sidewalk or a path whenever possible or find a smooth, stable surface alongside the road.

Dress appropriately. For colder temps, keep extremities protected from the environment. Fingers, toes, ears, and nose are most likely to suffer a cold injury like frostbite. Wear layers and wear a hat and sunglasses.

In warm or hot weather, try to exercise in the shade as much as possible, and keep to tree lined paths for your walk. 

Wear appropriate clothing: Light colored, loose fitting clothing made from cotton or sweat wicking fabrics are best. Also, don't forget a hat, sunglasses, and water for hydration.

Mix things up by grabbing a walking buddy, some friends, your children, or romantic partner and take an invigorating walk together.  

Make your walk feel fresh, and go to places you haven't been to before. Examples are a park, arboretum, zoo, or hiking trail. Find a new path or hill to climb. 

Even if you go to the same place every day, go at a different time of day than you’re used to. Lighting, colors, sounds, and smells will be different, and the people and living creatures you notice will also change with a different time.
There are many benefits of walking every day, and self-care tips and ideas to make this type of exercise a triumphant, health enhancing activity you take in stride (pun intended).

Note: This post is intended for educational and entertainment purposes only, and not offered as health or fitness advice. Please consult with your health care provider, before starting any exercise program.
Please comment below.
Do you have questions or feedback about walking for its wellness benefits?

Those people who walk every day find they improve their mental and physical health and feel better about their appearance as well. Do you agree or disagree and why? 
Did this post reveal something new that encourages you to consider developing a daily walking practice?
Please share below.
I have found if I walk early in the morning, the feel-good vibes I experience carries over into my work and play.
I read and appreciate every comment, but will not publish those that contain links. Thanks for understanding.

This post has been shared at Talking-about-it-Tuesdays-#7

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