Saturday, February 27, 2010

Amazing granola bars

You may have noticed the blog taking a bit of a turn toward food. I’ve been getting more and more into exciting and local foods over the past few years, and have clearly been influenced by some of the other blogs I read, many of which beautifully document the beautiful food they prepare. While I would never call myself a foodie, and don’t pretend to really know what I’m doing in the kitchen, I hope you enjoy this occasional foray into deliciousness… Now back to your regularly scheduled programming:

I can’t figure out how I got to this blog, but it’s amazing. One of the first few posts I read was one about making delicious granola bars. I was wooed not only by the photography, but by the promise of chewy crunchy deliciousness. I’ve been a bit put off recently by most of the store bought bars, and really should be paying $3-5 for the nice one. (I’ve bought a complete lunch for less!) The simplicity and flexibility of the recipe inspired me to give it a shot, and I think these gems will be regulars in the oven and the freezer around here. I used a store bought trail mix for my “dry fruit and nuts” mixture, but am looking forward to a trip to the bulk food store to mix up my own.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dreaming of springtime

It’s gotten really cold here again. I knew it would happen, as it happens every year, but I do think with global warming (brilliantly re-termed “global weirding” in the NYTimes) is making it worse. Here’s what generally happens:

1. It becomes horribly, bitterly cold at the end of January/beginning of February. I become horribly bitter because it is my birthday.

2. Toward the end of February we have a week of weather in the high 30’s, even hitting 40F once or twice. I begin to think that Michigan winters really aren’t that bad and that soon enough, there will be flowers blooming and all will be well.

3. As fast as the warm weather came, it leaves, and we don’t see another above-freezing temperature for weeks. I return to my bitterness, but also feel somewhat pleased that I can wear my new super warm mittens for another few weeks.

This year though, I’ve taken spring into my own hands. After having a lovely time sprouting and planting little herb seedlings during my prelim last year, and after killing a good number of plants during the weeks leading up to my prospectus defense, I decided that I should try my hand at more container gardening. It’s a relatively cheap investment (approximately $3.50 for seeds) and holds the potential for delicious spinach and cilantro (that’s what’s growing now at least). Based on my current progress, it is sufficient to say that I may not be harvesting huge volumes of crops, but that I am likely to have at least a few little plants. I present to you my attempt at tricking my brain into thinking it’s really spring:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Delicious Olives

Alicia brought me a great page-a-day calendar with recipes on each day. I’m pretty sure it’s from Bon Appetit magazine, based on the copyright to Condé Nast and the green and white color scheme, but this calendar does not have the name of the magazine printed on it anywhere. (Presumably it was on the box and the first page, but I’ve long since recycled those.) In any case, I made marinated olives last week to take to the HBHEDoc Wine and Cheese Potluck on Saturday. They were a great success!

Marinated olives with tangerine and rosemary
Adapted from Bon Appetit Page-A-Day Calendar

1 pound assorted olives
1 small tangerine, cut into 4 wedges and thinly sliced crosswise (I used a clementine and it worked just fine – Whole Foods shockingly did not have tangerines when I went…)
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh rosemary (Dried worked fine…)
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly crushed
1/8 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

After draining the olives, I put everything into a large glass jar and shook it around until it looked mixed. I left it in the fridge for 4-5 days, shaking it each day to mix.

The spices and the orange juice permeated the olives, but weren’t too strong. So tasty!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Snow Day!

It’s really coming down this morning and has been since last night. I’ve opted to stay home and work rather than braving the weather (and the inevitably delayed bus). Walter is not pleased that the plows cannot keep up with the snow and he has to walk on covered sidewalks. He is, however, quite pleased that I’m staying home today.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

What do you get…

when you sauté garlic and ginger with teriyaki sauce, lime juice in a little sesame oil and then mix in purple cauliflower?

I present crazy magenta cauliflower. This picture is an accurate representation of the color of our dinner:

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sunshine and Puppy Dogs

This is actually from last week when it snowed a bunch, but you get the idea...

Some days it’s harder to be inside that others. It’s chilly today, but is actually a bit above freezing (computer says 36F) and the sun is shining. I felt awake this morning when the alarm went off at 6:00am and so did the dog. We went out and walked a little bit before breakfast (no sun then, but it was already warmer than I’d anticipated). Before my class at 9:00am we went on another walk, appreciating the already sunny morning and the unforeseen side effect of melting snow: revealing more things that Walt has not peed on. Walt appreciated the second part more than I did, but we had a nice walk. Looking at the slice of sky I can see through two layers of window from my cube, I’d like to be back outside walking with the dog, basking in the rare winter sunshine.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Title almost as long as article itself

NYT World Briefing

This is a link to a NYT “World Briefing,” which apparently truly means brief – it is only a single paragraph informing the reader that France has removed “gender identity disorders” from an article of the social security code related to “long-term psychiatric diseases.”  I’m actually not sure what to make of this.  Does it mean that their healthcare system will no longer treat people who need hormones or surgery in order to feel right in their bodies?  Or does it mean that in addition to treating it they’re trying not to stigmatize? 

Here’s a little more information, through these seem to suggest that this change happened last year in May, which is a bit puzzling.  I’m not sure why this made my NYT Health Alert this morning…


France Today

Le Provence

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Being unreasonable…

Ever have one of those days where you realize that you’ve been being unreasonable all week about a variety of things?  Like getting upset that people take longer than 30 minutes to return your e-mails?  Or that your apartment complex doesn’t recognize the little secret path you use to get out to the bus stop and as a result there is a five foot (seriously) wall of snow between you and your bus?  Or that the dog can’t use the toilet yet? 

Okay, I admit, I’ve never really been angry with the dog about that and when I do you’ll know I’ve truly hit the bottom (or the top) of the unreasonableness scale.  Suffice it to say I’ve had a strange day today peppered with realizations of my own crabbiness.  I think I need to sleep, so tonight I’ve planned to go over to a friend’s house to watch movies.  (What???  Clearly the unreasonableness realizations have not sunk in fully…)  Hopefully I’ll catch up this weekend and can have a more measured week next week.  Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Still snowing…

You can see the hazy snowfall under the parking lot lights behind our apartment building.

While we’re clearly not receiving the full force of the storm that hit the mid-Atlantic region earlier in the week, it’s been snowing steadily all day today. The parking lot in our complex looks so much prettier like this!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Birthday Calendar

I like to have lots of celebrations for my birthday, often extending it to a week or a month of festivities. This year is no exception… Last night Alicia and I went to the DSO and had a wonderful time. It was a beautiful concert and I really enjoyed it. Tonight we are going for sushi and will be relaxing at home (my activity of choice these days) and I’ll be celebrating with each mom and dad later in the weekend. Yay!

Here's Alicia's first shot with my camera - me inside the lovely Detroit Symphony Orchestra Hall.

And a lovely picture of the program...

The hall itself (I was told I could take photos as long as I didn't use a flash, didn't take a picture of any of the musicians, or take any photos during the performance...).

Here we are, having set the camera on the ledge in front of us for a variation on the held-at-arms-length shot.

And finally, Orchestra Hall from down the street on our way home.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

There once was a bit of blue sky…

I haven’t really taken the camera outside much due to the weather, but I captured some of the fleeting blue sky last week through our window.