Monday, February 21, 2011

Tropcial Sherbet

I received my Cooking Light magazine last week, and there were so many great recipes. I found this one particularly appealing.

I made a one slight change. I couldn't find any papayas at Sprouts so I had to use a mango instead. Also, I tried to run it through a sieve and it was slow going so I abandoned that step all together. There wasn't really anything gritty to separate out. Maybe if I had used papaya this would've been a different story.

I put the mixture in my ice cream maker for 20 minutes.  It's finished when it looks much thicker and slushy.

Serve with a slice of papaya or in my case mango! 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Book Review: Room & The Condition

During my trip to Boston I finished 2 books. It was a really long plane ride.

Room by Emma Donoghue
This book is told from the point of view of a 5 year old boy who is trapped in a room with his mother. The boy has never been outside of the room. It is imporant that the story is told from the point of view of a 5 year old so that the story doesn't become too depressingly sad. His innocence makes the story bearable. Once you look at the table of contents you know that the story is going to end up all right. And that justice will be served. It's interesting the sensory deprivation that the boy experiences, which resembles some of the sensory problems that children with autism can have. I highly recommend that you read this novel.

The Condition by Jennifer Haigh
This novel is about a dysfunctional family, and if they would've communicated with each other they could've solved many of their problems.  The little girl has Turner's Syndrome, and it's refreshing to see how she copes with her condition to be independent and ultimately fall in love. The other 2 boys are pitted against each other. One is a screw up and the other is the golden child. As this family enters adulthood and the parents age, you watch them work out their problems, and come to some sort of balanced family. I felt like the majority of the story was really told well, but the author had some trouble wrapping up the end.  I enjoyed reading this book while in Boston, because the story was set in Boston. I wish that we had made time to head over to Emerson Pond, it sounds beautiful!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Eating in Boston

I ventured up to visit Micah in Boston, since he was going to be there for about 2 weeks. This is my second visit to Boston in winter, not such a smart time to visit! Micah was working in Billerica (in Boston it's pronounced Bill-rick-uh). Here's some of the places we ate, since pretty much the only thing to do in Boston is EAT!

On Friday, we narrowly made it out of the airport, got a little lost, and then decided to hit the suburbs. Micah is much more familiar with the burbs then Boston proper. We had dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant, Cafe Luigi. I had pasta primavera and Micah had chicken parmigiana (which was a really huge portion). I treated myself to a glass of Riesling and stuffed mushrooms.

Saturday afternoon we met Lucy for lunch in Boston and ate at a quaint sandwich shop, Cafe Vanille. I had a veggie wrap which had eggplant in it with a side of tomato soup. At first Micah was put off because of the eggplant, but he thought it was great and ate half of it!

For dinner, we walked all over Boston and ended up at Kashmir an Indian food restaurant. It was delicious! I have probably only had Indian food about 4 times total, and the naan here was excellent. I want to drink the naan dipping sauce. Micah had kebabs and I had rice with veggies. After dinner, we went next door to Johnny Cupcakes, I was really looking forward to a cupcake. Imagine my shock and despair when we realized it was a t-shirt shop. Talk about false advertising.

On Sunday, we ate at Pedro's which serves a Latin cusine. I didn't have high hopes for eating Mexican type food out of Texas, but it was really good. I had shrimp quesadillas, which were fabulous. They had this dressing (cilantro, oil, lemon, and garlic) that they put on top of the rice, and it was so good we asked the waiter how to make it. As sides they had yucca and plantains, which were a treat instead of plain old rice and beans.

Obviously we missed out on the Italian food in the North End, and we didn't even make it to Mike's Pastry. The purpose of this trip was to spend time together instead of being ultra touristy. I had a great time!

Monday, February 14, 2011


Last Sunday I dropped Micah (Boston bound) and my Dad (Utah bound) off at DFW. I decided to stay with my Mom while the men were out of town. Sounded like a great idea, except well, we are a disaster together....

On Monday, Mom let Barley out in the backyard to play with the other dogs. The backyard was very muddy. Barley attempts to come back in the house, but he is so muddy there is just no way. I get on my rain boots and am going to wash him outside, but there are no hoses hooked up. And I would have to traipse him back through the mud to get inside. Mom keeps insisting that we put him in her shower and wash him off. But, how are we going to carry a muddy 116 lb dog across the house? Well, I come up with the brilliant idea to put him in a tote.  We lift sweet Barley into the tote, and then push him around the house. I'm laughing so hard I can barely pull the tote. We get Barley into the bathroom, I hose him down and he's good as new.

Tuesday we behave ourselves.

Wednesday we are very productive during our snow day! We make Nutella Cookies, do Yoga, stop by the library, and Mom hangs 2 of my new blinds.

Thursday morning, Mom tells me the story of her thinking that there was a baby chick?? in the garage, so she scoops it up and is trying to put it in a bowl in the house when it comes to. It wasn't a baby chick at all but a little tiny bird. Mom and I spend 15 minutes screaming and waving around a sheet (Mom) and a leopard print scarf (me) trying to get the bird to go outside. The bird would fly near the door, feel the wintery cold and come right back into the warm house. Once we had thoroughly worn out the bird Mom was able to throw a sheet on top of it and put it outside. Why she ever thought there was a baby chick in the garage is beyond me.

Thursday evening I'm heating up the oil to put some pork chops in. I guess I let the oil get a little too hot, because when I poured the pork chops in along with the marinade that they were marinating in, a three foot flame erupted. One of us was calmly reaching down to get a lid to put out the fire (me), while another was running around the house screaming (Mom). Barley was looking perplexed with all of the very loud smoke detectors going off. I couldn't even reach down to get the lid, and the fire went out all on its own. So really it was nothing major at all. Thank goodness I didn't torch the place.

Friday morning I'm heading out to go to Boston, and Mom is graciously helping me load the car. I'm backing out of the driveway and hear scraping noises. Hmmm, maybe left over ice in the driveway? I get out and inspect the front of the car. Nothing amiss. Get back in car, reverse. I hear noises again. Then alarm bells start ringing. Mom put the suitcase behind the car but not in the trunk. Therefore I have just run over my beautiful new PURPLE suitcase. The sadness.

Well we survived one week. Let's see what week 2 brings. Dad catches a flight out tomorrow morning, and Micah & Dad don't return until Thursday. Pray for us.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Two Book Reviews: The Girl Who... & Three Cups of Tea

Here's what I've been up to while I've been snowed in for the past 4 days......

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
I ended up having lots of reading time due to the weather and managed to read The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest in less than a week, and watched two of the movies in the trilogy. When reading the The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, you find yourself wading through about  a 100 Swedish names. So, you think you can skip over a few of them, but later on down the road, you have no idea which character they are referring to. It become especially confusing when you have 2 bad guys named Niedermann and Nieminen. At one point I thought that I should take out a scrap of paper and take notes on who is who. I find that was Stieg Larsson really needed was a strong editor! Larsson goes into unnecessary detail after unnecessary detail. He spent about 3 pages talking about a janitor's background when he could have cut to the chase in about 2 sentences. The movie handled this nicely by not having this character at all! 
Why was The Section going to such trouble to cover up all their crimes? The people who were involved in the crimes were about to die, and Gullberg killed himself anyways, so why go to any trouble? Clinton and Gullberg could have taken all the blame and said that they were in charge of putting Salander away. Let the old geezers die and let them take all the heat. 
Then we get to the part of the trial, blah blah, just because they were able to discredit Teleborian, that doesn't mean Salander didn't commit a crime (aggrevated assault). 
So, in sum read it if you are snowed in for 4 days and have nothing better to do. Otherwise watch the movie, it is much better as far as editing goes. I still have qualms with the movie because where is the hunky Blomkvist? And why isn't Lisbeth shorter and more petite? I'm just guessing they have limited Swedish actors to chose from.

Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace...One School at a Time
This novel was actually quite good. I wouldn't rush out and buy it, but as an educator I found it heartwarming. The novel is about Greg Mortenson who attempted to hike K2 unsuccessfully, and the Balti people rescued him from the mountain. Mortenson made tremendous sacrifices to help educate these mountain people. If we think we have it bad being snowed in for 4 days, I can only imagine what these rural villages go through. They do not even have roads to make it out of the mountains to get supplies. Mortenson helped build a bridge to make this easier. He worked night shifts as a nurse, and slept in his car to save money to return to Pakistan and help. He was helping the Pakistan people before 9/11, and continued to help the Pakistani and Afghani people after 9/11. He feels that educating is the key to the war on terror. If the village and rural people have a chance to see their choices then they would not feel that they have to join the Telban. Mortenson is a great hero for caring about people who Americans do not care about, and educating women who would have never had the chance to attend school. He works non-stop for others with little pay ($25,000!).

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Kicking the Winter Blues

On the first snow day here's what you should do....
  • Sleep-in and don't get dressed. Stay in your pajamas all day.
  • Make pecan and chocolate chip pancakes.
  • Watch Keeping Up with the Kardashians on netflix until you are completely brainwashed and think that the Kardashian sisters are actually good people.
  • Since you are brainwashed, start watching Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami. Tell Micah how the Kardashian sisters are actually pretty smart business people. Watch Micah roll his eyes at you.
  • Don't bother going outside, it's too cold and you might slip and fall on the ice.
  • Find as many people as you can to play Words With Friends on the iPhone. Try to win all games.

On day 2 of snow day here's what you should do to combat cabin fever:

  • Sleep in, maybe the day will go by faster.
  • Open the blinds to let some light in, so you don't fall into a depression.
  • Take a shower and put on some make-up. The bags under my eyes was scaring my puppy.
  • Check the The Weather Channel app every half hour, to determine the warmest hour that a 6 mile run could happen.  No hour is warm enough, a steady 19 degrees today!
  • Work-out on the Wii Fit since you can't go running in 19 degree weather, and you'll fall on the icy sidewalks.
  • Keep your day scheduled with 3 meals, instead of snacking all day long. You aren't hungry, just bored. Hide your various stashes of chocolate.
  • Clean out closets.
  • Clean your colon by drinking 3 cups of coffee.
  • Check your e-mail, Twitter, and Facebook at least every 15 minutes.
  • Consider scrapbooking, but its too big of a mess to get out since you'll be returning to work tomorrow.
  • Contemplate how happy you aren't at work with rolling black-outs and crying 3 and 4-year-olds.
  • Put on real shoes for the first time in 2 days, and take pictures of the ice. Watch Barley get frisky in the snow.