Showing posts from February, 2008

Cool Web Site to End World Hunger

One of my co-workers just turned me on to, a great game she plays when she's idle on the job or needs a little sharpening of her cognitive processing.

On Free Rice, you earn "points" of rice grains for every vocabulary word you correctly define, and the rice is then donated to the UN World Food Program.

The site's creator says playing the game will help you:

Formulate your ideas better
Write better papers, emails and business letters
Speak more precisely and persuasively
Comprehend more of what you read
Read faster because you comprehend better
Get better grades in high school, college and graduate school
Score higher on tests like the SAT, GRE, LSAT and GMAT
Perform better at job interviews and conferences
Sell yourself, your services, and your products better
Be more effective and successful at your job.

Big claims, but hey, it's a neat concept and a cool charity.

Pour Some Sugar Oatmeal

In continuation of the real vs. artificial theme (see last week's Butter/Margarine post), I am also reconsidering my stance on sugar and artificial sweeteners.
With my new WW plan, sugar and honey are verboten, but I can have all the Splenda, Sweet-n-Low, and saccharine tablets I want. YUM.

Growing up, my mom used a 50/50 mix of sugar and fake stuff in her sweet tea and I bought into it too for a while. I tried using Splenda, because it's marketed as "made from natural sugar." Granted, Splenda has less of an aftertaste than the more aspartame/saccharine stuff, but it's no sweet treat.

A few weekends ago I made a trip to Whole Paycheck in Green Hills to see if they had any natural calorie free sweeteners. I found something called "Z" natural sweetener. It's okay in flavored teas like chai, but in coffee or on oatmeal it is wretched. I spent nearly $13 on the bag, so I feel sort of obligated to use it instead of chucking it in the trash.

I want to adhere …

Conclusion: Never list "skin" on a menu

Yes, J&K, I am blogging on our wine tasting last night at one of my fave spots in town, Mambu. Predictable, huh?

When does anyone ever get a chance to say they ate skin for dinner, unless they frequent the South Pacific? (side note: a book I'm reading, Paul Theroux'sThe Happy Isles of Oceania discusses cannibalism. And I thought Spam was a gross-out meat.)

Mambu and Midtown wines co-hosted the tasting of five wines from Oregon's Willamette Valley Vineyards, each paired with an appetizer conjured up by the eclectic minds of Mambu's chefs.

The wines:
2006 Riesling $13.99
A semi-sweet medium bodied Germanic styled wine. Vibrant aromas of peach, pear, citrus and honeysuckle flowers.

2006 Pinot Gris $17.99
Bright, fruity, crisp style. Generous flavors of mineral, melon and spice interwoven with well-balanced acidity.

2004 Dijon Clones Chardonnay $18.99
Clean, ripe fruit and zippy acids. Plenty of crisp apple, Japanese pear and even a smattering of papaya. Fine value.

2006 Whole C…

Beans, Beans, They're Good for Your <3

Confession Number 2,327:
Here I am, a former bean hater, posting a recipe for the BEST "refried" beans I have ever had, my knowledge of which is pretty limited, given my previous absolute fear of legumes.

Do this soon with black beans in your Crock pot. You'll never buy a can of refried beans again.

Refried Beans Without the Refry (recipe from the miraculous place we know as the Google of the Internets.)
1 onion, peeled and halved 3 cups dry beans, rinsed 1/2 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped 2 tablespoons minced garlic 5 teaspoons salt 1 3/4 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin, optional 9 cups water Place the onion, rinsed beans, jalapeno, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin into a slow cooker. Pour in the water and stir to combine. Cook on High for 8 hours, adding more water as needed. Note: if more than 1 cup of water has evaporated during cooking, then the temperature is too high. Once the beans have cooked, strain them, and reserve the liq…

Battle of the Biscuit: Margarine vs. Butter

The great debate as to what you'd rather slather on your hot biscuit - margarine or butter?

Today at lunch a co-worker filled me in on the history of margaine, saying she read that it was originally intended to feed/fatten poultry before its slaughter. When the birds started to die, the makers had a huge supply and somehow marketed it to humans. Apparently if you put a tub of it in your garage and leave it for a few days, it will not lose its shape or texture and no insects like fruit flies or any pests will get into it.

In my childhood I rarely saw sticks of butter except for special dinners or when a cake recipe called for such. It was always Country Crock for "buttering" toast or stirring into oatmeal. My grandmother Carrie, my mom's mom, used the Parkay in a bottle, which we would squeeze onto ears of corn and her to-die-for layered cathead biscuits. (If you don't know what cathead biscuits are, get thee to a southern biscuitry right now.)
Once, my cousins and I…

Take Me Out (To Eat)

Music fans and foodies CAN co-exist, as evidenced by my latest read, Sound Bites: Eating on Tour with "Franz Ferdinand.

Lead singer Alex Kapranos gives a fun glimpse into what road food really is all about while composing little snippets of food reviews during two and a half years of touring.

My faves: his impressions of Tex-Mex in Austin, the exploration of marrow bones (ew) in an NYC bistro, an awesome description of the Formosa Cafe, a celeb haunt during L.A. movie studios glory days that now just serves really good westernized Chinese, his Asian expolits of strange sushi and blowfish in Japan, and his extreme distaste for Subway sandwiches and American versions of "chips," as in "fish and -."

His touring bandmate Andrew provides some funny adolescent-like illustrations to go with each entry.

Fun reading if you like the band and are interested in restaurants around the globe!

Mo Rockin' Food

Made a Moroccan Post Roast for "Dinner and a Movie" last night, and it was successful! A tasty meal followed by "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." Good times, indeed.
Here is the recipe, culled from "Cottage Living." The chuck roast was waaaaay too fatty. Next time I would pick a lean cut of roast. This being the first roast I have ever made, I didn't know any better. If you know of a beef roast cut to suggest, send it to me!

I served the roast with couscous and a green salad with a tahini dressing I whipped up (tahini, lemon juice, water, a little honey, salt and pep, red wine vinegar and a little olive oil).

Wine from Frugal McDougal's: BOXED wine of La Petite Frog and Pino Evil.
LPF was suggested by Jenne; Pino Evil, I just liked the box, which features the three "See No Evil" monkeys. First time buying wine in a box since college. Surprise: it's hella good, easy to pour and store, and each box has 3 liters.

Nevermind that I'm no…

Forget the leaf...I'm turning over the whole damn tree

After many weeks of disappointing workouts and wishing that I could drum up one million more thoughts to occupy a cranium-numbing five-mile run, I had an epiphany on Wednesday:
This shit isn't working.

"Pretending" to watch what I eat while I pretty much toss whatever I want into my mouth and then go for an uninspiring run, after which I literally race to the kitchen to feed my face and grumbling stomach, isn't helping. Nor is the guilt of missing yet another 6 a.m. Saturday run because it's 20 degrees outside and well, 6 a.m. Self-discipline is one thing, but complete ignorance of what my mind and my body really need is something radically different.

So, after yoga on Wednesday, I felt wonderful. My body was achey, but not on fire. My spirits were up, I couldn't not smile at everyone I saw, and I thought, "Why do I never feel like this after a run?"

The reason is simple: I am enjoying yoga to a whole other level that I have yet to see with actual exerc…

Spread 'Em!

Okay, cheesy bad blog title.
I made a whopping three spreads/dips/what-have-you this weekend for Super Bowl fun times.
First one: Curried Sweet Potato. Rather than hunt down the recipie, I'll just tell you what I did.
1) cut up 1 sweet potato into chunks, roasted it at 350 degrees for about 25 min.
2) meanwhile blanched 1/2 onion and two chopped carrots, drained water afterwards.
3) Blended the whole mix with 1/4 tsps. curry powder and cumin, salt and pep to taste.
Verdict: Yum. Different, not your average white creamy spread thing. I served it with bagel chips and I quite enjoyed it. This went to Jenne's house.

Second: Roasted Red Pepper and White Bean
1) Broiled one red pepper in oven for about five minutes, or until my fire alarm went off. Peeled skins off pepper.
2) Blended it and one drained can of white beans (big great white northern kind) with i tbsp. tahini, salt and pepper and 1 tsp. rosemary and a post-taste tsp. of red pepper flakes.
Verdict: I want to love it, but I only ki…