Thursday, September 27, 2012

Think About It Thursday

"Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly." - Cornelia Funke, Inkheart

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Think About It Thursday

"In the best of times Nina could embrace the mysteries of her art, finding comfort in the ineffable.  "Did you know that the human voice is the only pure instrument?" she wrote one of her brothers.  "That is has notes no other instrument has?  It's like being between the keys of a piano.  The notes are there, you can sing them, bu they can't be found on any instrument.  That's like me.  I live in between this.  I live in both worlds, the black and the white world.  I am Nina Simone, the star, and I am not here.  I'm a woman.  My secret self is between these worlds."" - Princess Noire by Nadine Cohodas

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My daily goal

I decided that this week I was going to add two new goals to my list.  I was reading an article which discussed political views/skews of the Supreme Court Justices when I realized I did not know all of the justices and their backgrounds.  I made myself a goal for today which entailed learning the names of the justices, order of appointment, whom they were appointed by, and what state they were from.  Interestingly enough, did you know that the justices are from New York, California, New Jersey, and a lone sole from Georgia? Funny how those first two seem to always be at the top.  The two Italian sounding names both come from New Jersey which is known to have a large Italian population.  Well at least Alito sounds Italian to me.  Anyway, I am glad to say that I accomplished my goal and can now sleep tonight.  Tomorrow, the 32 starting Quarterbacks for the NFL.  Listen people, these facts are useful.  Now go out there and learn something new.

An now from memory...

Chief Justice - John G. Roberts, Jr., Bush, New York
Associates   - Antonin Scalia, Regan, New Jersey
                      Anthony M. Kennedy, Regan, California
                      Clarence Thomas, Bush, Georgia
                      Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Clinton, New York
                      Stephen G. Breyer, Clinton, California
                      Samuel A. Alito, Jr., Bush, New Jersey
                      Sonia Sotomayer, Obama, New York
                      Elena Kagen, Obama, New York

P.S.  How did I do?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Think About It Thursday

"Nothing is more despicable than a rich man's scorn for a poor man's longing." - The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Book Review: Gold by Chris Cleave

GoldGold by Chris Cleave

Gold, by Chris Cleave, was featured in a magazine I was flipping through around the time of the beginning of the 2012 London Olympics. The story was to be about two competing Olympic cyclists from London themselves. I figured, hey I like cycling and the Olympics, why not read the book.

The main characters featured Zoe, a harsh, self-driven cyclist at the peak of her career, relying on and having no one but herself. This dark-haired, green-eyed beauty hurts everyone around her and can't stop running from the past death of her younger brother. What she lacks for in her personal life accomplishments she makes up for on the track. Juxtapose Kate, the soft-spoken, kind-hearted blond who has chosen a life that includes a loving husband, Jack, and her Star Wars-loving daughter, Sophie, who is struggling with leukemia, and who puts everyone else first before her own needs or wants of Olympic glory. Although naturally gifted at cycling which leads her to be at the same level as her competitor and friend Zoe, her lack of confidence and drive as a competitor hold her back from what was alluded to be her potential.

The book had excerpts from the mind of an Olympic athlete training and competing which made you feel like you were ease dropping on their own personal thoughts which I happen to love. With flashbacks and fast-forwards, Cleave trails a story for you full of surprises and character changes adding depth to each character which each memory depicted. Although the book is described as focusing on two athletes I really felt like the character given the most attention was Zoe with her strong personality while Kate was portrayed as a week doormat most of the time both on and off of the playing field. I found some scenarios in the book implausible given the depictions of the characters making their unexplained behavior appear as more of a grasp at a plot than what seemed right for the character. One thing I enjoyed was the cycling aspects of the book and the details of the bikes and the nuances of the competition. As a side note in case you feel like reading this book, the book was written by and English author and had quite a bit of cursing which I felt was a bit of a fluff filler and unnecessary. As you might have grasped, this was not a page turner for me nor was it a complete waste of time, just another book to check off of my list.

All that to say, just because a book is listed in a magazine you like does not mean that you will like the book but you can always give it a try in case you do find that diamond in the rough.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Think About It Thursday

"The wonderful thing about simplicity is its ability to give us contentment. Do you understand what a freedom this is? To live in contentment means we can opt out of the status race and the maddening pace that is its necessary partner. We can shout ”No!” to the insanity which it chants, ”More, more, more!” We can rest contented in the provision of God." - Richard Foster

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What 1,200 Calories Looks Like

So one of my favorite blogs to read, Can You Stay For Dinner?, has a few posts about what 1,200, 1,500, and 1,800 calories looks like.  One of the reasons I started following the blog is because she eats very similarly to me.  My sister and I are tracking out workouts and food consumption with the LoseIt! app and I decided to take pictures of what I ate today to show you what a typical day looks like.

 I am one of those people that needs to have protein in the morning otherwise I will be starving by 10am.  I had a nectarine from the farmer's market as well as 2 poached eggs also from the farmer's market.  If I could I would have had scrambled but I was pressed for time and opted to microwave the eggs.
Calories: 225

I pretty much have a salad everyday for lunch.  I have loved salads ever since I can remember.  And the more fun ingredients you put in the better.  Today is was mellow with romaine, cucumber, bell peppers slices, and homemade salad dressing.  The protein is pulled chicken (same as pulled pork but made with chicken).  I used the Kelsey Nixon recipe which I love and is super easy as you just put everything in the slow cooker and walk away.  I have been having this for lunch all week and am not yet sick of it.
Calories: 275

Not pictured, but a cup of coffee with a splash of half & half and a homemade banana muffin in which I used apple sauce in place of vegetable oil.  It was m afternoon snack and just hit the spot.
Calories 200


I was going to go to the gym after work and watch the Dallas/New York kickoff game for the 2012-2013 NFL season.  I was feeling pretty tired and wanted to have dinner so I listened to my body and took a night off and just had a small dinner.  I got home and decided I wanted to make a quiche so my sister could have something to eat for her long nights at work this week.  I busted out my Donna Hay Modern Classics Book 1 cookbook for her classic crust recipe.  I am telling you, once to see how fast and inexpensive it is to make your own crust you will never buy another overpriced one from the grocery store again.  I decided to make a quiche I have never made before and before arriving home I stopped by the grocery store and grabbed some sliced ham, swiss cheese, and spinach.  As I was making the crust I saw that Donna Hay had a similar recipe to the one I was making so I used her cooking time and measure of some of the ingredients.  While the quiche was cooking for 40 minutes I snacked on a peach as I was getting hungry.  The quiche smelled like Heaven and I had a hard time waiting for it to cool.  I finally cut my sliver and had it with some romaine lettuce, parmesan cheese, and balsamic vinegar for a side salad.  The meal was hearty and left me feeling satisfied.  Man, who knew?  I never really eat ham but I am definitely making this quiche again!
Calories 500

So there you have it, 1,200 calories consumed.  If I can do it, anyone can do it.  Making my own food and packing my own lunch has really helped curb my calories as I know what and how much goes into each piece of food.  I have to say, it was a good day and I am glad I took a night off and went home to watch Dallas stomp New York!!!

To see pictures of when I went to the Cowboys training camp click HERE.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Book Review: The Hypnotist

The Hypnotist (Joona Linna, #1)The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this book because NPR touted it to be the next "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" trilogy which I enjoyed immensely. While this book is written by Swedish authors and has a few twists and turns as does the Millennium series that is where the comparison stops.

That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The title, "The Hypnotist" refers to one of the main characters, Dr. Erik Maria Bark, who was formerly a hypnotist but after an awful accident and being accused on implanting false memories he vowed never to hypnotize another person. Enter Detective Joona Linna (I pronounced his name the name "Jonah" for ease of reading.) There has been a terrible murder of a mother, father, daughter, and attempted murder of a son. In order to pursue the assailant and save the last daughter who is presumed to still be alive, Detective Linna seeks the help of Dr. Erik Bark, persuading him to break his promise and to hypnotize one last person in order to save a life. Because of this seemingly innocuous act a string of horrible crimes, including the kidnapping of Dr. Bark's son ensues.

The book is filled with twists and turns and does not disappoint with is sundry of action. Book one is the series was a great summer read, I cannot wait for read book two, "The Nightmare".

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Week 11 Donna Hay: Summer Night

Donna Hay: Summer Night

Things have been a bit crazy for me this week.  I had a lot of big projects to do at work and found myself going in early and staying late.  I have been neglecting my own life so when I was suppose to cook on Friday night I was just beat.  I wanted to just sit in my room and stare at the wall in silence for a long time.  Just me?  I decided that I was going to get over myself and muster up the energy to cook.  I had planned on making another one of Donna's meals but my sister said that the Summer Night menu sounded good and to be honest it was more appealing as it entailed little "cooking" and the flavors sounded refreshing.

Peaches Wrapped in Prosciutto
Peaches Wrapped in Prosciutto
A great way to start off a fun menu.  The recipe called for the peaches to be on rocket/arugula but after going to several stores for ingredients, forgetting to buy said arugula at each place,  I decided to just have the peaches and prosciutto.  There was a small amount of balsamic reduction made which just added to the complexity of the flavor.  I think this dish would be great for appetizer with some nice white wine at a gathering.  Virtually no cooking involved and perfect for the hot weather we have been having.

Lemon, Ricotta and Pea Pasta 
Lemon, Ricotta, and Pea Pasta
Pasta!!  I love pasta.  Pasta loves my waistline which is why I don't eat it very often, but when I do you can be assured that it tastes great.  Every ingredient that went into this light and refreshing dish is something I love.  Peas, lemon, ricotta, and pappardelle pasta (my favorite)!  The middle sister and I went to a few stores just to find the pappardelle pasta which apparently is not that popular as main stream grocery stores do not carry it.  We ended up going to our local Italian grocery store, Lucci's Deli, in order to find the perfect pasta for the dish.  (I can be quite particular at times.) The quest was totally worth it as the large long noodles made for a great net for the creamy ricotta.  Next time, if not pressed for time, I am just going to make my own pappardelle as it will be far less expensive and fresh made pasta is really close to Heaven.
Strawberry Shortcakes
Donna Hay Strawberry Shortcake

Pizzelle Strawberry Shortcake
And dessert... When I was little and growing up no sugar was allowed in our home.  Every so often we would have "dessert" at home which consisted of us girls getting to split a can of mandarin oranges.  To this day I cannot remember when I realized this was not what most of America considered dessert.  So of course when there is a chance to have "real" dessert I jump at it.

This dessert recipe was an interpretation of strawberry shortcake.  The recipe called for shortbread cookies but apparently the grocery stores we went to did not view this as a grocery staple.  Last resort I opted for pizzelles from Lucci's which are thin Italian waffle cookies.  I thought the dessert was a bit of a sticky mess.  Flavorful, yes, but because it was so hot the mascarpone was a little more liquid than what the pictures in the cookbook looked like.  Next time I will make the mixture ahead of time and stick in in the refrigerator.  Also, I might pipe the cheese onto the cookie to make it a bit more decorative.  I expressed this to my sisters and as I looked up I saw them both licking their plates, literally.  I guess they liked dessert.

Overall the meal was light, refreshing, and a breeze to make.  The only cooking involved was the balsamic reduction and boiling water for pasta.  These recipes are being added to my make-again repertoire.  I hope you enjoyed!