A Valentine’s Day Bike Ride

I can’t remember the last time I rode my bike. It was probably in September before I was leveled by mycoplasma for 6-8 weeks.  In any case, it felt great to be with Kent and to be riding my bike today. The weather was perfect, sunny, breezy and cooler than usual.  Not cool; just cooler than usual.

Lots of other creatures seemed to agree that the weather was lovely.  I had lots of fun catching glimpses of the creatures below. None of the photos are mine. Hover over the photos for the credits.

First were the changeable lizards.  They are actually an interloper here in Singapore, pushing out the native green lizards.  Even so, I enjoy them. I occasionally catch a glimpse of them sunning on a tree or scampering across a sidewalk in my neighborhood.  Today, as we rode on a trail along a ridge, most of the trees sported a sunning lizard.
Changeablelizard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After we passed under the freeway and were on the trail between the greenhouse and the military base, I saw a flash of red in the jungle.  Perched on a tree was a common holdback. Or at least I think it was. I could only see the head and the breast, not the back.

Common Flameback , male (Dinopium javanense) - Flickr - Lip Kee

We often encounter long tailed macaques on the Mandai Park Connector.  Today they were aggressive.   It is mating season and we saw them loudly scolding children. They also chased Kent’s bike for a short distance. I rang my bike bell like crazy and they watched me intently but didn’t offer chase. I was more frightened one would dash erratically in front of me and we’d both get hurt.

Long-Tailed Macaque (7668280042)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we rode out over the Seletar dam in the Upper Seletar Reservoir, there was a raptor riding the thermals far above the reservoir.  Unfortunately I couldn’t see it well enough to identify which raptor.

In the park by the dam we spotted a collared kingfisher on our way out and on our way back.  It was flying from the same spot each time. I wonder if it is nesting time for them.

Collared kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris) - Flickr - Lip Kee

On our way home, we were on Mandai Road near the crematorium.  We heard a crashing on the hill across the street.  It was a wild board. We just glimpsed it before in slipped into denser vegetation. Back in January I was in a taxi on the BKE at night and saw one eating the plants in the embankment. Before this year I don’t know that I’ve seen them here in Singapore.

Chek Jawa Wetlands 47 - Wild Boars

 

In addition to these animals, there were many butterflies. Most common were the yellow ones, the orange ones and black ones with a greenish-yellow stripe.  However, I never had a clear enough view to identify them – just enjoyed them.

The entire ride was 10.75 miles.  We walked in smelling the Slow Cooker Creamy Tortellini, Spinach and Chicken soup.

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No Bake Chocolate Bars

This great recipe has been making the rounds at work. I think it originally came from here. The first time I made the recipe as written except for using almonds instead of walnuts. It was fantastic. However, the bars were really addictive. That let me know the sugar level was too high.

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I figured I could substitute cocoa instead of the chocolate chips which would cut out a bunch of the sugar. I did some research online and found if you’re going to substitute cocoa for dark chocolate chips, you need a certain ratio of oil or butter and sugar. Since this recipe already has honey and coconut oil I figured I would not need to add anything. Further research showed I needed about 20 tablespoons of cocoa to replace the 1.25 cups of dark chocolate chips.

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I made them last night and they met my all of my requirements. They are as delicious as they were the first time, but the lower sugar makes them less addictive. They are rich, chocolatey and satisfying.

No Bake Chocolate Bars

2 c dry oats

1 c shredded coconut

1/2 c chopped walnuts or almonds

1 t vanilla extract

1 cup peanut butter – get the good stuff

1/2 c honey

1/2 cup coconut oil

20 T unsweetened cocoa.

My Directions

  1. Coarsely chop the almonds.
  2. In large food processor bowl combine oats, coconut, almonds. (Or mix by hand.I just like using the food processor.)
  3. On cooktop, melt peanut butter, honey and coconut oil, stirring constantly.
  4. When melted, add in cocoa and vanilla.
  5. Add melted mixture to dry mixture.  Blend until mixed.
  6. Spread in 8″ x 8″ or 9″ x 9″ pan.
  7. Cool in refrigerator until set.

They aren’t pretty but they are quick, easy and delicious made with ingredients I usually have on hand. I can’t say how long they last in the refrigerator since we ate the first batch in 3 days. Here in Singapore I need to store them in the refrigerator to keep them firm.  Back in Minnesota they could probably sit on the counter and stay solid.

Here is the gratuitous photo of the cat who slept through the entire process.

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