31 October 2008

Happy Halloween

Well, it's once again time for the Friday Fill-in...I hope everyone has a great weekend!

1. My favorite food seasoning is tarragon…especially in chicken salad!
2. A raging thunderstorm is music to my ears.
3. Lucky is realizing the importance of being happy with what you have.
4. Teaching people (young and old) to read and write well is something I take very seriously.
5. Many people are absolutely wonderful, beautiful, shining souls.
6. Halloween candy (peanut butter cups!) was the last thing I bought at the store.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to taking my little witch trick-or-treating, tomorrow my plans include possibly attending a Halloween party and Sunday, I want to take my daughter to the movies!

23 October 2008

Eat Local Challenge

I was thrilled to see my blog named on Jennifer Maiser's roster of Eat Local Challenge participants who were blogging about their Challenge experiences of the month...and chagrined to think that I have spent hardly any time blogging about my experiences with eating locally this month.

I set out with sterling intentions for participation in this challenge and for documenting that participation. What I have found, though, is that my intentions and my actions have intersected very little this month. I am a mother, student, full-time worker, wife, friend, and dedicated committee member to name a few of the roles I play. Dovetailing my desire to eat mindfully AND locally just has not happened often this month. However, I have not quite given myself up as a complete disappointment in this endeavor. I have learned a lot about food, the way I view and consume it, and how I can improve those habits. Here are a few of the lessons I have absorbed so far this month:
  1. Being too busy to slow down enough to eat mindfully is a state of living that needs to be altered quickly.
  2. There are MANY delicious, simple recipes that can be made quickly using low impact ingredients. What do I mean by low impact? Well, ingredients that can be procured locally and ingredients that are minimally processed.
  3. There is a lot of room for improvement in my community for establishments to commit to using local ingredients. I sense in this a future community advocacy project and will keep you posted.
  4. I can be a culinary magician when necessary. See two (modest) recipes I recently invented, below.
Kitchen Cupboard Onion Bulgur Soup
2 C thinly sliced Vidalia Onion
1-2 t butter
6 C Vegetable Stock
1 C Bulgur
Other cooked, canned or frozen veggies you have on hand
To make:
  1. Saute the sliced onion in the butter in a large saucepan or stockpot on medium high heat until the onion is nicely browned and crisp in some parts. Don't crisp them up entirely.
  2. Add the vegetable stock and veggies on hand, scraping up the browned bits of onion that may be sticking to the bottom of the pot. I used garbanzo beans and frozen spinach. Bring to a slow boil.
  3. Add the bulgur and reduce heat to simmer. Allow to cook for 10 - 15 minutes.
  4. Serve with good crusty bread for sopping up the broth.
Last Minute Inspiration Kale and Onion
1 small, thinly sliced red onion
olive oil for sauteing
2 C torn kale leaves
asiago cheese
To Make:
  1. Saute the red onion in the olive oil over medium heat until soft.
  2. Add the torn kale leaves and cover, stirring occasionally. Cook until kale leaves soften and brighten in color.
  3. Remove from heat and plate. Shred asiago cheese over kale and onions to your desired taste while still warm.
  4. Delicious with a glass of red wine!
The challenge will be on for another eight days. I will do my best to update again before all is said and done. Happy eating!

19 October 2008

Review, Long Overdue

Title: i love geeks: The Official Handbook
Author: Carrie Tucker
Publisher: Adams Media

Who knew there were so many different types of geeks? And who knew that they have an attraction factor that is nearly impossible to resist? Carrie Tucker, that's who.

From start to finish, i love geeks is an accessible guide for anyone who is puzzled by his or her strangely-obsessed significant other. Tucker takes the reader on a tour of geekdom, beginning with a brief introduction to the evolution of geeks followed by six chapters devoted to deconstructing some of the more common species of geek.

Each chapter provides an introduction to the highlighted geek, the Video Game Geek, for instance. This introduction is followed by good-to-know technical terms--before reading this book, I had never heard of filk (sci-fi folk music)--a time line of important events in the history of each unique geekdom, and suggestions for ways in which you can connect with both your significant geek and your own inner geek.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book; it was entertaining and enlightening. Tucker writes with a quirky humor that reflects many of the observations made by my friends and me about the geeks we love. I chose to review this book because I am married to a Video Game Geek, and I was not disappointed as I read Tucker's light prose, which described the love of my life to a tee. Read this book if you want to decode the strange behavior of a friend, lover or brother.

My grade: B+

17 October 2008

Time again...

...for the Friday Fill-in. It has been a roller-coaster ride of a week, and I am glad to be standing on the exit side of the tracks. I hope everyone has a great, relaxing weekend.

1. Follow the beat of your own drum. Far too many people devalue themselves trying to live up to someone else’s ideals.

2. A good book and a journal are two somethings I always take with me on vacation.

3. To achieve your goals, you must make decisions, stick to them, and take responsibility for your successes and failures.

4. That I am incredibly saddened and embarrassed by the displays of racism exhibited by people who live in my neighborhood and community is something I'd like you to know about me.

5. I have a hankering for a nice glass of red wine.

6. Very small rocks float. Ha! Ha!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to actually seeing my husband and child, tomorrow my plans include celebrating my brother’s birthday and Sunday, I want to take my daughter to the pumpkin patch!

10 October 2008

So glad it's Friday!

...of a loooong weekend. I'm so in need of a few rejuvenation days.

Friday Fill-in for this week:

1. One of the best concerts/plays/movies I ever saw that I really didn't think I'd like was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I thought it was just all a lot of hype, but seeing that movie led me to reading all of the books (and loving them!) and seeing the rest of the movies that have been produced to date.

2. Pantry shelf Soup is a recipe I recently made (or meal I recently ordered) that was delicious! We had an ‘Old Mother Hubbard’ week at my house last week and cooked with just the things we had lying around the house. I made a really (surprisingly) delicious caramelized onion and chick pea soup.

3. It's time for paying some close attention to what is really important in life.

4. Taking a five a.m. walk with a good friend is quite refreshing.

5. If I never hear the word webinar again, it'll be too soon.

6. To one side of the curving road was a slender shade tree, and on the other was a lemonade stand.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to dinner with great friends, tomorrow my plans include deep fall cleaning and Sunday, I want to take a mini road trip!

03 October 2008

It's Friday!

I'm so glad we're approaching the weekend once again.

1. October means cozy nights under thick quilts with hot cider and a great book.
2. These next couple months scare me! But in a good way: I am going to be making a lot of life changes.
3. Leaves are falling all around, it's time to gather them into piles for little leaping children.
4. My favorite horror movie is Mean Girls because it makes me chuckle to remember the good old days and how awful we girls could be to each other. Sorry, I know that answer does not make a lot of sense!
5. My little girl + any time I spend with her = good memories.
6. It was a dark and stormy night, and I was sitting at the window watching nature’s fireworks.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to going on a date with my husband, tomorrow my plans include reconnecting with my brothers and Sunday, I want to bake a kitchen full of yummy things!

Happy weekend, everybody! Stay toasty.