Wednesday, March 31, 2021

In the Kitchen with Evelyn, Tom, and Alice

March has been a great month in our lives. As soon as our vaccinations were effective, we drove from our home (which we have not left in over a year) to visit our family in Fairfax, Virginia. While visiting, I have been cooking jointly with my daughter Evelyn and granddaughter Alice and son-in-law Tom. It’s been a pleasure! I’m starting this post about their kitchen with the 3-D printed hedgehog and celebratory champagne flutes on display in their kitchen bookcase. Evelyn has taught courses in math applications of 3-D printing, and the hedgehog was printed by some of her students.

I intend this post to be shared with other bloggers in the great kitchen-sharing that takes place every month. I’ve been taking photos of what is in the kitchen here: it’s so great to be out of my own kitchen for a while. I am especially featuring their great electric devices like the Air Fryer and the Instant Pot. To see what other bloggers are sharing this month, check out

Alice and I chopped a lot of mushrooms for a
mushroom-filled pastry dish.

And we chopped lots of ginger and scallions for soup.

Evelyn and Tom’s Air Fryer

Potatoes ready to go in the fryer.

The cutting device for prepping the potatoes.

Also good in the fryer: Chinese dumplings.

Air Fryer broccoli.
Great as it is, and much as I’ve enjoyed eating these dishes that Evelyn and Tom cooked, I don’t think that an air fryer is right for me in my own kitchen, mainly because I lack the space for it. The same goes for the next device: the instant pot ...

Yogurt in the Instant Pot

Evelyn’s yogurt starter is named Ivan.
She makes yogurt from Ivan every week.

Evelyn’s Instant Pot: making her very delicious yogurt.

Blog post © 2021 mae sander 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

This week in Virginia

Fairfax, Virginia. We are visiting Evelyn, Tom, and Alice.

The photographer of the previous photo: Tom’s Drone.

Visiting Miriam at University of Virginia, Charlottesville.

Miriam and Len at the Monument to Enslaved Laborers.
We drove to Charlottesville on Sunday and Miriam gave us a tour.

On campus, we wore masks all the time, as required.
Blog post © 2021 mae sander.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Tea with Evelyn

Evelyn, a tea lover, blends her own tea from a variety of recipes. She favors single-origin teas.
While visiting in Fairfax, Virginia, this week, I’ve tried a few of her blends: quite delicious.

At the blog Altered Book Lover, many bloggers share stories about their creative endeavors and about what types of beverages they are drinking. This post is for blogger Elizabeth and the rest of them: © 2021 by mae sander.


Sunday, March 28, 2021

Charlottesville, VIrginia

University of Virginia, Charlottesville: the founder Thomas Jefferson’s statue. 
Miriam, a second-year student there, gave us a great tour this afternoon.

Miriam showed us the beautiful small walled gardens.

The Memorial to Enslaved Laborers, created in 2016,  For more information see the website.

The history of the enslaved people is memorialized by a series of quotes with information that is
known about them, including their names.

Charlottesville: Painted Fences

Blog post © 2021 mae sander.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Happy Passover

Fairfax, Virginia. March 27, 2021. The first night of Passover, we celebrated the Seder with our family, at our daughter Evelyn’s house. We tend to keep our Seders simple and not as long as some people’s rituals. Our highlights with photos by me and by Alice:

“This is the bread of affliction.” 

Traditional items on the Seder plate: horseradish, green leaves, salt water, egg, and Haroset (apples).
We added the traditional menu item: gefilte fish, that is always on our Passover menu.
The traditional lamb bone was served later as part of out dinner.

Another traditional Passover food: crescent-shaped jelly candy.
Blog post © 2021 mae sander.


Friday, March 26, 2021

Occoquan National Wildlife Refuge

This morning at the Occoquan NWR we saw many ospreys flying around and gathering materials for nests.
There’s an eagle’s nest in the refuge as well.

Birders love the Occoquan refuge. We saw this group from the other side of the marsh.

A birdwatching blind near the parking lot.

 Blog post © 2021 mae sander.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

TikTok Pasta

Alice planned for us to make the famous TikTok Feta Pasta for dinner last night. It’s pretty easy and turned out very tasty: the pepper flakes add a really great flavor to the other ingredients. It’s been famous for a while so you might have already tried it. What a treat: cooking and having dinner with other people after a year of isolation!

Ingredients: feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, garlic,
olive oil, red pepper flakes, and of course, pasta.

Tomatoes, cheese, olive oil — ready for the oven.

After 40 minutes in the oven, the tomatoes have burst and the cheese is browned.
You mix it up with the cooked pasta, just like on TikTok. The Washington Post recipe
suggests adding a bit of pasta cooking water to make it creamier. This works!
On the plate: pasta and vegetables.

Broccoli in the Air Fryer...

New to me: using an air fryer. Another tasty dish!

Blog post © 2021 mae sander.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

The Weather Here


Hello from Fairfax, VA. We are happily spending some time visiting our family here, and it's wonderful to see them after more than 400 days! I'm enjoying myself so much that I haven't taken many photos, or thought much about writing blog posts. Also, the weather today is very rainy as shown by all the green cloud cover on the radar map above. Everyone is busy with zoom school and work, and I'm reading Mark Bittman's new book Animal, Vegetable, Junk. Dinner plan is the famous TikTok pasta, which I might remember to photograph. We have been to two interesting specialty food stores, which I might write about. Or not. All is well, I am just not blogging much right now.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Virginia Birds: A Change of Scene!

It's so great to be in a different house with different people, and to take a bird walk in a different park, specifically Burke Lake Park in Fairfax Station, VA! 




Photos © 2021 Mae & Len Sander

Sunday, March 21, 2021

On the road again...


On the road, especially on the Ohio and Pennsylvania turnpikes, from Ann Arbor to Fairfax, VA. The rest stops offered food and drink — like Starbucks — but we brought all our own water bottles, snacks, and sandwiches. Inside the buildings everyone is masked. The roads were not crowded, and the trip went very quickly.

On the Pennsylvania Turnpike you can still almost tell that the rest stops were originally Howard Johnsons.

All photos © 2021 mae sander.