Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Distractions -- Random Links & Recipes Bookmarked

Ready for the weekend? I always am... To help you pass your Friday here are the highlights of what distracted me this week online, what I bookmarked that I hope to one day eat and a picture. 

Food rules to remember, or at least keep in mind.

New York Times' Small Fixes section never fails to excite me. Read Fighting Cervical Cancer With Vinegar and Ingenuity by Donald G. McNeil, Jr. to see what thrilled me this time. Given the discussion of healthcare costs being too high in the US, I wonder why some of these low tech, but effective and less expensive techniques can't be implemented in the United States. 

Nick Meek has killer photos. That first mountain shot makes me wish I was hiking, or at least doing something in nature, right about now. (via Leslie on Pinterest)

Gretchen Reynolds' How Exercise Can Strengthen the Brain in the New York Times highlights a recent University of South Carolina study that proved regular physical training in mice stimulated development of new mitochondria in both muscles and the brain. She quotes one of the chief author's, Dr. Davis, as "[speculating] revitalized brain cells also, at least potentially, could reduce mental fatigue and sharpen your thinking even when you’re not exercising." This is one more piece of evidence that I should get back to exercising, even if I feel too busy / am worried about my left leg's hip flexors / any other excuse in the book.

Stream the Dum Dum Girls new album, Only in Dreams, here. It came out on Wednesday, 9/27/11.

Recipes Bookmarked 
Braised Rabbit with Prunes at Simply Recipes
Round Challah at The Cupcake Project


Wild Goose Island, St. Mary Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana, August 2010 (lots of commas!)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Distractions -- Random Links & Recipes Bookmarked

Ready for the weekend? I always am... To help you pass your Friday here are the highlights of what distracted me this week online, what I bookmarked that I hope to one day eat and a picture. 

Last weekend was the 53rd Annual Armenian Festival in Richmond and I got a plate of leftovers thanks to my parents generosity. It was all good, but the stand out was the Armenian Rice Pilaf. It tasted suspiciously like Rice-A-Roni. When I looked up the ingredients I learned it was the basis for Rice-A-Roni. Read about it here.

“To bear defeat with dignity, to accept criticism with poise, to receive honors with humility -- these are marks of maturity and graciousness.” William Arthur Ward (via Carielle, who is on a great adventure this year!)

And here is another quote... I sure hope this one is true!

James Murphy, of the now disbanded band, LCD Soundsystem is now dabbling in cooking among other things. Fun.

Alison Newton writes beautifully. I'm behind on all reading right now, but this piece on losing her father and grandfather really moved me. It is probably especially poignant as I'm nervous about my grandpop's surgery right now. Regardless, go get lost in her words.

Recipes Bookmarked
Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies at Baking Bites
Brown Sugar Rosemary Walnuts at 101 Cookbooks
Gooey Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bars at Always Order Dessert
Honeyed Gingerbread With A 20-Hour Apple Terrine at NPR's Kitchen Window

For a photo go see Carielle's shots at your big year. There is a gorgeous recent one of a lion that looks unbelievable professional.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lazy Mexican-Inspired Salad

Simple September continues with this Lazy Mexican-Inspired Salad. I was going to tell you this was my go to dinner, but then I entered its information into Self's Nutrition Data website and discovered it is probably a bit light for dinner. :/ So I suggest that you think of it as a side salad. I know I will from here on out.

That said my finding it satisfying as dinner or lunch for several years now is proof of how filling and nutrient dense it is. Self quantified that fact too. Its only downfall, according to the nutrition facts, is high sodium. This isn't a big surprise since it involves prepared foods. If you want to reduce the sodium, you can make your own dressing, perhaps a cumin-lime vinaigrette like the one I used here, and/or prepare black beans from dried beans instead of using canned. Personally sodium is not a concern when I'm eating this. My concern is eating something good and satisfying, then getting the heck out of the kitchen.

If I had more time I would have a cooking adventure instead of this salad to post, but organic chemistry and some other things are ruling my life. Given how much I've been eating this thank goodness I like it! To mix things up a bit I add tomatoes, corn and/or cilantro, but the basics are below.

Lazy Mexican-Inspired Salad

1 cup Black Beans (I used rinsed and drained a 14 ounce can, which will make roughly three portions.)
2 Tablespoons of Shredded Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese
2 Cups Mixed Baby Greens
1 Green Bell Pepper, diced
1 Tablespoon Reduced Fat Ranch Dressing.

1. Open, rinse and drain one 14 ounce can of black beans.
2. Remove stem and seeds from green pepper, then chop it roughly or neatly your call.
3. Measure two cups of salad into a bowl, then measure out 1/2 cup of black beans and place them on top.
4. Add 2 tablespoons of the reduced fat cheese to the bowl and the chopped pepper.
5. Top with 1 tablespoon of ranch dressing.

P.S. My friend Katie thought I should let y'all know this isn't a racial slur. I am lazy...not Mexicans... I didn't even realize there was a racial slur. In fact I probably would say Mexicans were hard workers based on other stereotypes of their life - being illegal immigrants in the US.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Distractions -- Random Links & Recipes Bookmarked

Ready for the weekend? I always am... To help you pass your Friday here are the highlights of what distracted me this week online, what I bookmarked that I hope to one day eat and a picture. 

I always saw these pretty lights at the Holiday Markets in NYC, but I never purchased them. If their presentation had been as awesome as the one in Jordan's photos I probably would have given in to the impulse.

Kate Ermilio's Spring-Summer 2012 collection features bows and interesting backs. Love it!

At a delicious dinner at Mama J's last Saturday between study sessions, Matt brought up Google's purchase of Zagat. He hopes this purchase will enable Google to compete with Yelp. It was an interesting point.

The Area of the Texas Wildfires Versus America's 10 Biggest Cities dated September 7...and to think the damage is more widespread now. Wow. This really puts it into perspective. (via Courtney)

Two great perspective giving post-its. I needed these. Er, I still need them.

Recipes Bookmarked
Apple Chips at The Cupcake Project
Candy Corn Cocktail (and others for Halloween) at Hostess Blog (via Rebekka)
Sauteed Sweet Potato Leaves at Eat Make Read

A red eye to or from Santa Monica, CA, December 2005

Find more songs like Crystal Castles at Myspace Music

While doing data entry at work I often listed to my iPod; it helped me plug away and block out distractions. Indie electronic music was my favorite as I could lose myself in the beat. This song worked a little too well. I listened to it for half an hour once without even realizing it was the same song. I only noticed when I looked down to see which artist I was enjoying so much.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering September 11, 2001


Dina wrote a thoughtful post about her experience on September 11, 2001 in DC and her feelings about the subject, which inspired me to jot down a few, less eloquent, thoughts.

All week VCU has had several white erase boards, post-its and pens available for students to write where they were on September 11, 2001 and how it has affected them. I was working in the Psychology department at the reception desk when I heard. I couldn't believe it. Even though we were safe in Richmond, I immediately called my family, eyes watering, to make sure they were okay. After work I spent the remainder of the day in class or with my sisters.

Everyone was scared and overwhelmed, especially those with families in Northern Virginia and New York City. Thankfully no one I knew at the time lost anyone, though later I came to know people who lost friends and family or experienced the fall out directly while living in NYC. It was such a blessing to be with friends and have family nearby when everything felt turned on end. It also was a blessing to have been so sheltered from the direct events.

My closest contact came a few weeks later when for my birthday Jaime took me to the 9:30 Club to see John Mayer perform. When we drove past the Pentagon with its gaping hole to get to the venue it jarred us into silence. Later living in NYC I saw "Ground Zero" a few times. The enormity of the absent towers never became less overwhelming.

Some things just can't be fixed. I don't think our Nation will ever be the same. What happened was shocking and uncomfortable to consider then and it still is. I can't believe it has been ten years, though seeing that a lot of VCU's current students were in elementary school at the time brought that point home in a whole different way.

Today I hope that those who were lost September 11, 2001 are resting in peace and that those who remain have found or find peace. “Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” - unknown

P.S. Sally Schmidt gives a New York perspective at The Improvised Life. I saw it after I published this and decided to add it as it is worth sharing too. I like the idea of "[fighting] back with beauty."

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Distractions -- Random Links & Recipes Bookmarked

Ready for the weekend? I always am... To help you pass your Friday here are the highlights of what distracted me this week online, what I bookmarked that I hope to one day eat and a picture.

Lanvin's Fall-Winter 2011 Campaign teaser video will make you smile. It looks like my thrifted cobalt cape  is on target for this Fall.

Also, The Glamourai's apartment is amazing. I don't think I could ever live in a home with that much white, but wow. She has these measuring cups, which somehow I missed at Anthropologie. Too bad as they were $19.95 on clearance at one point according to the internet.

How To Wallpaper" Using Fabric

"In the first experiment of its kind in the country, the Houston public schools are testing whether techniques proven successful in high-performing urban charters can also help raise achievement in regular public schools. You can read more about this clever idea here. I will be interested to see check out the results.

This gluten-free flour developed by The French Laundry sounds promising, though the cost seems prohibitive at first glance. Having never made a gluten-free flour mix I don't know how much it costs...

Recipes Bookmarked
Gingersnaps at Gluten-Free Girl
Rice Milk at at Vegan Reader
Spiced Sweet Potato Donuts at Leann Bakes
Sriricha-Baked Salmon And Kale Wraps With Roasted Red Pepper Sauce at NPR's Kitchen Window

No! Don't take me without my chips! New York, NY


I'm not THIS gloomy but the rain made me think of this song, which I have on my computer from Napster. I always thought it was by Cracker. Oops. I wish some of our torrential rain from the past few days could have dispersed into TX and Somalia where they so desperately need water.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Broiled Tomatoes with Cheese

My brother, Christopher, came home for Labor Day, which always means a feast. This time was no exception; we enjoyed spinach, blueberries and strawberries tossed with raspberry vinaigrette, Keenbell Farms' spicy cheese brats, slightly over caramelized onions and peppers in gravy, mashed potatoes and Broiled Tomatoes with Cheese for lunch. It was a filling meal that was quick to put together and quick to clean up... So far so good on trying to keep things simple in September.

Whenever he comes home I start thinking of what we enjoyed eating as a kids and this time I remembered Mom serving broiled tomatoes with parmesan cheese. According to my memory they were warm, juicy, savory and comforting. All of those descriptors sounded good to me and I saw Mom's tomatos in the garden looking ripe, so I proposed we have them. She was thrilled, partly because it was such an easy request I'm sure.

Below is her rough recipe, which she emphasized can be adjusted to taste. It, or something like it, came from a cooking for two cookbook back when us kids didn't exist. While the source has been forgotten, then concept was clearly memorable as she made this without any references. 

If you like tomatoes, pizza and/or tomato sauce you will like this one. Its simple ingredients and short broiling time let the tomato's bright flavor shine. Next time I might sprinkle some oregano or basil on top to see how much I can make it taste like pizza sans crust. 

Broiled Tomatoes with Cheese
Serves 2

1 Tomato
Garlic Salt
Bread Crumbs
Parmesan Cheese (The grated sprinkles are fine. We used those when I was young!)

1. Turn on the broiler. Cut the tomato in half, do not core it, and place it juicy side up on the baking sheet.
2. Sprinkle the tomato with garlic salt, then the bread crumbs and finally the parmesan cheese.
3. Broil until the cheese gets slightly brown!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday Distractions -- Random Links & Recipes Bookmarked

Ready for the weekend? I always am... To help you pass your Friday here are the highlights of what distracted me this week online, what I bookmarked that I hope to one day eat and a picture.   

Our power came back last night! I immediately returned to the bad habit of staying up later than I should reading things online. Oh well. Today is a new day where I can make a different decision about how to spend my time.

The Big Picture covers Hurricane Irene. Their photo coverage of events is always amazing, but be warned the photos take a while to load (at least on my dinosaur of a desktop). Having lived in NYC I have trouble seeing #10 and #40 as rare. You can visit Fort Greene, Brooklyn's Target any weekend and find equally ravaged aisles and, sadly, people are always sleeping in Penn Station.

A teaser from Fresh and Direct From the Garden An Ocean Away (NY Times), "The foods we consider local are results of a globalization process that has been in full swing for more than five centuries, ever since Columbus landed in the New World." After reading the article I added 1493 to my long list of books I would like to read.

As one of the uncool people who almost always orders flavored vodka and soda when out, Vodka Nation: How the flavorless, colorless, odorless spirit became a billion-dollar business was of interest. (via Courtney)

Last June Edible Brooklyn's Melting Pot: An Icy Drink Turns White Hot covered another favorite beverage of mine, Horchata.

If you aren't familiar with Microbiology, The New Generation of Microbe Hunters (NY Times) gives an interesting overview.. It also provides a link to the study about the seaweed digesting enzyme I was intrigued by a few weeks ago; I plan to use school's access to Nature to read it sometime.

Recipes Bookmarked
Cheesy Parsnip Spread at Choosing Raw
Roasted Vegetable Polenta "Lasagna" at Perry's Plate (via VitalJuice)
Sunshine Kale Salad at Peas and Thank You
Thai Curry Paste at Perry's Plate

A view from Parc G├╝ell, Barcelona, Spain September 2009
(I can't believe that trip was so long ago! Thanks again, Leslie.)


Getting our power back reminded me of this absurd video. Every time it came on at Liberation Dance Party I got the giggles. I don't remember there being nudity, but I can't promise and I still wouldn't advise that you watch it at work.