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Alligators

by Meghann on March 27, 2012

This Facebook status update made me giggle today. 🙂

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Only because I can totally relate.

My parents’ live right next door to a swamp and they’ve had their share of alligator problems.

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Alligators have turned up in the pool, in the yard, in the road, under the van, etc. Actually, one of my earliest memories was the time we couldn’t go to the beach because a three legged alligator had taken up camp under the family van. My cousin Jessica and I went outside to do something and about had a heart attack when we discovered the green tail sticking up under the van. In the end, I think we were more sad about not going to the beach than we were scared of the gator (we were 5).

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On Saturday I went on a run with a recent Florida transplant. Stephanie had moved from DC (originally from New Jersey) to Tampa a couple of months ago and is a bit sad that she hasn’t seen a gator yet. I told her to just wait – she’ll spot one soon. If not, I’ll take her to my parents’ place. One is bound to show up sooner or later. Or maybe I’ll take her to my friend’s place who left the Facebook status up above. Sounds like she already had her hands full with them. 😉

What wild animals are likely to show up in your backyard?

Besides the occasional alligator, my parents had an otter (at least I think it was an otter) in their pool a few years ago and a wild hog that wouldn’t leave last summer. Derek and I live in a pretty populated area, so I think the only thing we’ve ever had show up in our yard has been the occasional lost dog or squirrel. 😉

Lunch

Nachos anyone?

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My lunches always tend to start as one thing and lead to another. This lunch originally started as a ‘snack plate’ with a little bit of everything, then I discovered the blue corn chips in the pantry and thought it would be more fun just to combine everything in nachos form.

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Nachos have a nasty reputation fo being very unhealthy – and while that can be the truth at a restaurant – that doesn’t have to be the case at home. The trick is to keep the toppings light and veggie-friendly. I started with a base of blue corn chips and topped them with pieces of turkey, carrot, shredded cheddar cheese, and olives. Everything went under the broiler for 5 minutes and were finished off with a heaping spoonful of salsa.

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Delicious. 🙂

Paired with a side of applesauce.

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Next time it could be fun to get a little more creative with the nachos. Pizza nachos? Ruben nachos? Indian nachos? The sky’s the limit. 😉

1 Daphne @ Candy Coated Runner March 27, 2012 at 2:37 pm

That’s so funny! I was joking with my friend this morning about making breakfast nachos!
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2 Meghann March 27, 2012 at 5:07 pm

I’ve made fruit nachos before with apple slices as a base, yogurt as the sour cream, and almond butter as the salsa. Try it! 😉

3 Lindsey March 27, 2012 at 2:40 pm

I love making nachos at home. Favorite topping include roasted fajita chickpeas (vs meat), peppers, green onions, tomatoes, black beans and cheese! With salsa and lots of guacamole too!
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4 Meghann March 27, 2012 at 5:07 pm

I usually do black beans, but I like the idea of fajita chickpeas! Good one!

5 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats March 27, 2012 at 2:41 pm

oh my gosh, your parents have seen a LOT of wildlife! I think the weirdest thing we’ve had is a possum! Oh we did find a small turtle once… Yep, that’s about it in Kansas City!
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6 Meghann March 27, 2012 at 5:06 pm

They’ve had turtles in their pool too! I almost forgot about that one. 🙂

7 Nikole March 27, 2012 at 2:44 pm

I live in Kansas City too and my parents have a vineyard and we get foxes, deer, hawks and eagles all the time. My favorite are the wild turkeys. My parents dog loves chasing them. Did you know turkeys could fly? They are not graceful but they can fly up into the trees.

8 Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat March 27, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Oh wow, even if I lived in Florida I don’t think I could ever get comfortable with the fact that I could wake up and find an alligator in my pool! We don’t have wildlife anywhere near that interesting here.. just the occasional rabbit or skunk!
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9 Lindsay @ Running the Windy City March 27, 2012 at 2:51 pm

I grew up on a lake in Michigan and we’d occasionally see water possums (one got into our pipes once) and garden snakes but that’s about it. We never saw anything as exotic as an alligator!
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10 Anne March 27, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Around our house we see skunks and racoons. A friend of ours lives a bit further out in the ‘burbs, and she sees wild turkeys from time to time. We saw a few down on Cape Cod last summer.
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11 Niki March 27, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Alligators frequently? That’s crazy! The other day we had to stop short for a possum (in NYC). I have heard folklore about an alligator in the subway tracks, but I don’t believe it 😉
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12 Nikki March 27, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Oh my gosh I want nachos right now! yum!
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13 Carly March 27, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Yikes! Maybe I am just a suburban Jersey girl but I don’t think I would begin to know what to do if an alligator came to visit. Maybe hide under the bed!
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14 Kristen @ notsodomesticated March 27, 2012 at 2:58 pm

When I lived in Florida, I was cool with the gators. What I WASN’T cool with was the one time when I came home to find a snake in our kitchen. He scared me to death, then he slithered under the stove, so I couldn’t see him anymore. I hightailed it out of there, and I didn’t come back until my roommate found him and got rid of him. Bleck bleck!!
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15 Meghann March 27, 2012 at 5:05 pm

haha I haven’t had that problem, but I know people that have had frogs in their bathrooms.

16 Samantha Angela March 27, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Lots and lots of deer in my area. I see them on a regular basis when I go for walks.

17 Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife March 27, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Yikes. I would DIE if alligators lived nearby!!! For us it’s just deer, and the occasional coyote or wolf (but not really in plain sight–you can just hear ’em or see the remains from what they ate).

Looks tasty (lunch). hah
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18 Brie March 27, 2012 at 3:10 pm

We have so many deer around here, it’s a real problem!
I also see wild turkeys pretty frequently.
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19 Dani March 27, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Here in Brooklyn, the only wildlife I really see are rats and mice. The other day I saw a whole FAMILY of rats on the subway tracks–a couple big grown up ones and like 7 little babies. Not cute at all–they give me the heebie jeebies!

I’m planning on making chili for dinner–and I got to thinking how similar lots of mexican style food is. Nachos are just taco toppings on top of crunchy tortillas instead of inside of them. Chili is a similar re-arrangement of the same kind of ingredients. Sillt!

20 Hilary March 27, 2012 at 3:18 pm

I’ve been curious before if you’ve ever seen alligators on your runs. I once met a person from Florida who said she’d see them all the time on her running trails.
Here in northeast Oklahoma I see possums, skunks and coyotes, but I live on the edge of town so we still pretty much get normal urban wildlife.

21 Meghann March 27, 2012 at 5:03 pm

I haven’t encountered any on my runs(my running trails are typically paved and city-central), but I have encountered them on a bike ride outside Miami before. When I was younger they used to populate a ditch/lake that I frequently pass on my runs back home, but I haven’t seen any there for years.

22 Erica March 27, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Being from Oklahoma, I don’t think I’ve ever even seen an alligator!
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23 Socal Rachel March 27, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Alligators would freak me out! I live in the city in Southern California but get quite a bit of wildlife in my backyard. I’ve had a family of feral cats, raccoons, opossums, squirrels and skunks. A skunk once got trapped in my garage for a night & no he didn’t spray. Cute little guy was hungry, once he got out he could care less about the people around, he was looking for food.
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24 christa March 27, 2012 at 3:31 pm

no real animals by my casa in houston, but lots of coyotes around my parents’ house on the outskirts of dallas…can be scary if your pets get loose!
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25 Danielle March 27, 2012 at 3:34 pm

I don’t understand how this meal is veggie friendly. It has turkey and only one vegetable?

26 Meghann March 27, 2012 at 5:01 pm

All I had to work with was a carrot this afternoon, but I’ve made nachos in the past that had broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, tomatoes, and more. I just wanted to share that nachos don’t have to be on the ‘no’ list. 🙂

27 Bethany @ More Fruit Please March 27, 2012 at 4:22 pm

I grew up in Central Florida and we used to have black bears come into my parents’ backyard pretty frequently to either drink out of our pool or eat whatever cat food was leftover. Now though, squirrels are about as exotic as it gets in my backyard!
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28 KatieTX March 27, 2012 at 4:30 pm

I am guessing the otter was actually a nutria. Way less cute, but way more common in swamp areas. They are all over the canals in New Orleans.

29 melbourne florida spa March 27, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Your lunch looks SO good!! I am going to make that later this week (bookmarked this page).. The gator in the pool is just funny, its cute 🙂

30 Serena March 27, 2012 at 4:47 pm

The nachos look delicious. You could substitute alligator for the turkey 🙂
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31 Sara@RunningInPinkProject March 27, 2012 at 5:01 pm

My husband has been in Tampa since October and he saw his first alligator within a month or two. He was out riding his bike and there he was, a massive alligator. 🙂
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32 RunEatRepeat March 27, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Wait. That’s not your dad with the alligator is it?
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33 Meghann March 27, 2012 at 5:10 pm

haha – no, but it kinda looks like him, doesn’t it? 😉

34 RunEatRepeat March 27, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Yes! I was thinking it was your dad in your old backyard catching gators!
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35 Steph @321delish March 27, 2012 at 5:10 pm

HAHAH! Yes! I was totally expecting to see alligators everywhere since saying that I hadn’t seen any yet…but still none! I guess I need to get out of South Tampa a little more…
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36 Meghann March 27, 2012 at 5:11 pm

I need to take you on some bike trails – maybe we can spot one then!

37 Heather B March 27, 2012 at 5:31 pm

We have raccoons here. Especially when we have grapes on our vines in the back yard. They drive our little dachshund crazy. He barks at them from the house and they so don’t care.

The nachos look great!

38 Life's a Bowl March 27, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Any kind of nachos are a winner in my mind… Possibly for dinner tonight, thanks for the inspiration!
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39 Alison March 27, 2012 at 6:26 pm

I LOVE otters. They’re one of my favourite animals. And while they won’t show up in my backyard, I can often see them in the harbour near where we live. Cougars can wander their way into the city near where I live but thankfully I haven’t seen any up close and personal. Other than that our backyard is mostly frequented by neighbourhood cats. 🙂
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40 Carolyn March 27, 2012 at 6:41 pm

If you want gators, I suggest going canoeing on the Hillsborough River. Google for canoe rentals. There are tons out there even on a “bad” gator sighting day! 😉
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41 Liz @ runbakerace March 27, 2012 at 7:20 pm

I love nachos!!! I live in NJ and we have a family of 5 deer living in our backyard along with some foxes and woodpeckers.
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42 Natalie @ Adventures in Jackson March 27, 2012 at 7:44 pm

I live in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and the wildlife is crazy! I see a mom moose and her baby many times when I go out to my car in the morning and at night. Also, we have to wait for bison to cross the road on our way out to the mountains. Did I mention that every hiker here carries a can of bear spray? It is about the size of a large can of hairspray.
I would love to see gators! But definitely from a distance =).
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43 Brittney March 27, 2012 at 9:19 pm

The coyote problem is running rampant in upstate SC! They keep killing our chickens!

44 wendie March 27, 2012 at 9:35 pm

I live in Montana–we have grizzly bears, wolves, bison, and elk in our backyard. But I have to say that alligators scare me more than any of the above!

45 Ricole Runs March 27, 2012 at 9:36 pm

I hate hate hate HATE alligators! They terrify me. When I visited my mom in February I was pretty much super concerned about alligators At. All. Times. They are waiting for me, they are lurking around the corner, all hikes should be avoided because they will be there. And God Forbid you bring your dog along! I realize most of this is irrational, but they still terrify me. The most frightening thing we’ve got going on in our backyard in Seattle is a raccoon I think!
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46 Jessica @ The Process of Healing March 27, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Those nachos look great! And you’re right! They can actually be good for you!

47 Cait's Plate March 27, 2012 at 10:23 pm

I love the idea of breakfast nachos!
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48 Jessica March 27, 2012 at 10:26 pm

i read the title of this post and i was like “i wonder if meg is gonna post about the three legged Gator.” …and you did!!!! oh memories!!!

49 Caroline March 27, 2012 at 10:48 pm

Oh I think I’d lose it if I walked outside and an alligator was in my drive way… shudder…

50 Elisabeth March 28, 2012 at 12:03 am

I live in rural Ohio, so no alligators or otters here! We’ve had many types of birds (including fun ones like cardinals & hummingbirds), squirrels, chipmunks, groundhogs, raccoons, opossums (EW! their tails – so gross!), cats, geese & ducks (our house is on a big pond), deer…that’s about it!

51 Lisa in IL March 28, 2012 at 9:58 am

this just made me giggle. 2 years ago when we were in orlando for a wedding I ventured out for my morning walk. found a cute little cottage neighborhood and looped my way around. stopped to take a picture of a sign about not feeding the wildlife & realized I was looking at a pair of alligator eyes looking at me. being a northerner I kinda freaked (but didn’t run – cause someone once told not to run from gators) and hauled it back to the hotel. the next day I found a different route on the main drag to walk.

52 Corrie @ Blurb Column March 29, 2012 at 6:35 pm

When I lived outside of Portland (OR) I had animals show up in my yard. We had a pair of ducks decide to hang out in our winterized pool one year, of course tons of squirrels, but also raccoons were common and then we had several deer show up one day and meander around our yard eating grass and bushes. At another house I had a squirrel get trapped in my woodstove (??). An aligator would probably freak me out a little bit!
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