Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Yeah, I'm hooked

Yes, I am hooked on Katy Perry. I'm sure it'll pass... someday.

Music and Planet Money

I like the podcasts from Planet Money on npr - they're an entertaining way to learn about finances here in the US and abroad. I am often pleasantly surprised by how varied their content is.

Recently I listened to a Planet Money podcast about Katy Perry. Well, more appropriately, about recording agencies and the distribution of the ridiculous amount of wealth that can be accumulated with a hit song, or five (even with the rampant piracy that certain US legislators seem so worried about).

I heard another podcast about an independent musician, and he netted about the same amount from his music working as a free-agent for his initial work as he did for his second album, when he did a lot more work, partnering with a recording agency.

So, maybe it wouldn't be such a bad time for the recording companies to be put out to pasture.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Want to work with dolphins?

Then don't skip your Calc class. I have a friend who wrote an article about her experience studying dolphins. The spectacular thing about it is that she highlights that it wasn't simply love of the adorable sea mammal that got her where she is now. It was coursework in genetics, and algebra, and biology. It was working hard as an unpaid intern. It was dedication, boredom, and enjoying the enormous, but difficult to catch, thrill of discovery.


I have to focus on work today - and I think it will be a good day - so here's a video that sings to me this morning.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Homemade food

So, I do cook a lot, but since I've lost my iPhone (aka instant camera) I haven't been posting as much about it, or anything really. I like having pictures. Well, no new phone, but I have a computer that makes it much easier to download pictures, so I'm hoping to get back to posting a little more often, with images.

So, vegan. I like the idea of it (except foregoing honey - really, honey? Honeybees are good, and honey is delicious. I could never ever give up honey). But the rest of it - limiting/excluding animal products, is really, for the most part, good for ones own health (assuming you don't live on potato chips and vegan ice cream), but more so, it is good for animal welfare (which is good for both humans and animals, emotionally), and it is good for the environment. So, although we did buy some animal products this week, I'm still trying to incorporate less of them into our regular diet.

Luckily, there are lots of delicious, animal-product free foods!

First, I made edamame-guacamole (same recipe as guacamole, but substitute half of the avocados with pureed edamame). I was inspired because we found a whole bag of avocados at the store for a dollar (they were ready to be eaten today), so I made the largest bowl of guacamole any 2-person household should every have (regular-sized coffee cup there for comparison).

For breakfast this morning (yes, at the appropriately ungodly hour of 7:23am) I made not only vegan pancakes (substituting ground flax seed and water for the egg), but DINOSAUR PANCAKES!! They were really delicious, and doubly fun because, well, they were dinosaurs. Claire ate all the Pterodactyl eggs. Also, in case you're wondering the top is a momma Pterodactyl with a bunch of eggs. On the bottom is a Tyrannosaurus Res attacking a Stegosaurus.

And, last night, I made a very flavorful black bean soup.

Black Bean Soup
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 celery ribs, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1/2 onion, diced finely
1 can of black beans
1 cup re-hydrated black beans (or another can of black beans pureed)
1 tomato, diced
Chile powder to taste

Vegan sour cream (toffuti brand is good!) and chopped cilantro for garnish.

Saute garlic and onions. Add celery and carrots and cook 5-8 minutes. Add beans tomato and chile powder. Cook until carrots are your preference of softness.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy New Year!

It's Chinese New Year today, so I'll celebrate by sharing our annual greeting card, highlighting some of our favorite captured-on-film moments of the year.
Stationery card
View the entire collection of cards.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Juicer fun

I got a masticating juicer for my birthday, and have really been enjoying it (the whole one day I've had it). It is really cool! It juices just about everything. I tried carrots, beets, onion, cilantro, swish chard, celery, tomatoes, kale, pears, apples, oranges, broccoli and cabbage. I want to try and figure out how to use most of the fibrous output (although there isn't much to do with the fibers from the kale other than compost them).

My first attempt was with the carrots, I made a carrot-ginger soup, and it was a wonderful start to our dinner (vegan enchiladas).

This morning we juiced a pear, carrots and a half a honeydew. It's amazing how sweet the fruit juices are.

My favorite thing about the juicer is that I can make fresh fruit and vegetable juices for our daughter (and water them down). Yesterday she had half-carrot, half-water with dinner and this morning she really loved the honeydew juice. Yay!

It's so easy being green

So, I've not really made a huge effort, and have really enjoyed being mostly-vegan the past few days.

Yesterday (sorry, I forgot to take pictures) I made vegan peanut butter cookies. They were very flavorful, but a little crumbly, probably because I used whole wheat flour.

For dinner I made amazing green vegan enchiladas. I used green enchilada sauce, layered with corn tortillas and a mix of Fantastic Foods Taco mix with a can of no-salt-added kidney beans.

After some research, I decided to try the daiya cheddar style shreds to melt on top and was not disappointed. 

I also bought some seitan and some tempeh, but haven't decided what to make with them yet. I'll blog more when I actually make something with them. But, so far our family's forays into being mostly-vegan have been easy and delicious.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Going vegan

Okay, so I'm not going totally vegan, but I'm really excited about my birthday present (a juicer, coming soon!!), and about trying to eat a little healthier (both for our own wellness and for the environment). So, I bought a new cookbook, and I'm going to try to make some recipes and them blog about the outcome - both how tasty and how easy they are to make.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Canada unmarried us?

How would you feel to wake up, listen to the news, and realize that the government where you got married decided to that "until death do us part" really meant "until the conservatives gained a majority and deemed us unworthy of this lifelong commitment"?

Well, that has happened to thousands of couples married in Canada, including a commentary from one here.

I have to admit, there was no earth-shaking realization the morning after our marriage when the world looked different and my life was forever changed. It was forever changed when I decided to spend the rest of my life with one other person, choosing to live with him, do my best to make him happy, raise a family with him, weather the ups and downs, and share our strengths and weaknesses. The wedding, the marriage document, they didn't make our relationship what it is, and the disreputable act of the Canadian government is not going to break up any relationships.

It does however show a lack of respect for our fellow humans. And, it threatens to strip rights that any committed couple should have (such as being able to stay with a sick partner in the hospital, or carried on health insurance, or, should it come to it, taking over after someone has passed).

The finalized paperwork of a marriage implies so many legal rights and responsibilities that it probably shouldn't, but because it does, I don't think it should matter who wants to enter into that contract, so long as they do so of their own free will.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

Well, she isn't a little baby anymore, but she'll always be my baby. She's been walking for nearly three months now, and is a pro. We were lucky enough to celebrate her birthday and Christmas with her grandparents, and family on her dad's side. It was a truly wonderful trip. She didn't mind (or at least tolerated for a couple minutes) the abundance of hairbows we put on her, even the ridiculously large ones:

She took pictures with her cousins (but hasn't yet learned the reflex-smile-for-the-camera):

One of her favorite activities during our trip was playing peek-a-boo with everyone from inside the cardboard house that Nana bought and her cousins decorated. 

She really enjoyed the whipped cream frosting birthday cake.

 All around, she's a very happy little girl. She likes waving to strangers, meeting and playing with other little kids, and exploring everything around her. We couldn't be luckier. She wakes us up with smiles and baby-talk, and keeps us going all day long. Thank-you sweet girl for such a wonderful first year of life! I'm so excited to watch you (and learn with you) over the next year.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

When sound effects make the movie

Or, in this case, the clip. I don't know why, but this video cracked me up. I know chameleons don't scream, but I imagine that if they could, the world would be a very funny place.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Peruvian dinner

Happy New Year!!

Both Scott and I went to pick up Claire from daycare and on the way home decided to get dinner out (usually one of picks up Claire and the other works later then we meet up for a quick dinner at home before getting Claire ready for bed). We stopped into a new Peruvian restaurant, Tumi, and we were not disappointed. Neither of us had tried Peruvian before, and it was fantastic!!

We met and spoke with the owners (the host/waiter/owner was the husband and the cook/owner was the wife), throughout dinner, and also struck up conversation with the only other table, a Peruvian father/son who had come in for dinner. It was a truly wonderful experience all around.

But, let's get to the most exciting part: the delicious food!!

We started off with a traditional Perubian drink, Chicha Morada. Our host explained that the Peruvian chicha morada is made of boiled blue corn and pineapple husks, with spices and a tad of sugar. It was deep purple, spicy, and very fulfilling for a drink. I am tempted to find a recipe and try to make it at home!

Next we had some platanos fritos (fried plantains with sour cream and salsa criolla), that Claire noshed on, and a plate of Ceviche de pescado clasico. Whoa. It was one of the most amazing dishes I've ever eaten, but definitely not for everyone. It is described as, "White fish, made with rocoto, cilantro, red onions, toasted Peruvian cancha, Cuzco corn, and sweet potato". The liquid is called, "leche de tigre", and our host told us that is is basically a "cure-all" in Peru. He said people will order a shot of it (the lime juice turns milky after the fish has marinated, and the spicy pepper turns it a pink/orange color), to stave off a cold or cure a hangover.

So, in traditional Peruvian fashion, after we finished the ceviche, I downed the leche de tigre. What was really surprising is that it is very spicy, but unlike other peppers, it vanishes pretty quickly. I would definitely recommend ordering this dish!

Then, our main meal was Arroz con Mariscos (Peruvian style paella, calamari, scallops, shrimp, baby octopus, Peruvian scallops, clams, mussels, fish and salsa criolla). Our host described it as rice full of surprises in every bite, and he wasn't lying. Every single bite had a piece of seafood goodness in it. We got a picture with one of the baby octopi:

It's a little challenging to keep Claire occupied when we go out to eat, but we will definitely be going back to Tumi to try out some more freshly-prepared Peruvian fare!