Friday, March 26, 2010

Om nom nom

Today, for the first time, I made mashed potatoes out of cauliflower. I saw the recipe for this on The Doctors (Yes, I watch the Doctors. Judge if you must but I love it.) when hey had guest chef Rocco on. He recently published a cook book of comfort foods that you can make low calorie by changing the ingredients around. (cough cough Rocco's cook book would be a great moving to DC present for me cough cough)

For anyone on a budget like me who wants to try new recipes but doesn't want to waste money on 20 different ingredients that you will probably only use that one time, the cauliflower mashed potatoes are perfect for you. The only three ingredients are cauliflower, fage greek yogurt, and salt/pepper. It's very easy to prepare as well, although it takes about 40 minutes because of the time to roast the cauliflower. Here's what you do:

Preheat oven to 450 F. Put a piece of tin foil on a baking sheet and line it with cooking spray. Chop up 2 and 1/2 cups of cauliflower and place it on said baking sheet, and salt and pepper as desired. Put another layer of tin foil on top and fold the edges in so it's like a package. Bake in oven for 20 minutes, then take off top layer of foil (careful of the steam) and bake for 20 more minutes. Put cauliflower and 1/2 the package of greek yogurt (about 1/2 cup) in a food processor and mix until smooth. Warm up again if needed and eat!

It's that simple! Now I don't have a good food processor (my magic bullet failed me again.. sigh) so mine came out a little chunky, and I accidentally did too much yogurt and not enough cauliflower, but even so it tasted good! And a cup of this is only 180 calories, as opposed to 450 or so for regular mashed potatoes. So go put your chef hats on and get your bikinis out and ready! 

On a scale of 1-10 will I do this again: 10 for absolutely, and this time I will get the proportions right and hopefully have a better food processor!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Every crowd has a silver lining

Today, for the first time, I went to the circus. Suprising I know, but while my childhood was filled with trips to Disneyland and Midieval Times, somehow I never made it to the big top. So when the Barnum's Funundrum came to town, I knew I couldn't miss my chance. (Fun fact, P.T. Barnum was born in Bethel CT, the town my mom teaches in!)

The best part of the circus wasn't the skillful acrobatics. It wasn't the adorable and super-talented elephants or the tightrope walkers. It wasn't the exuberant amount of glitter, the bizarre characters, or the fun musical numbers. The best part of the circus was the way it made me feel like a little kid again. I let the magic in and found myself as easily-amused as the five-year-olds in the crowd. I "oohed" and "ahhed" and cheered and clapped and left feeling ten years younger.

Plus I totally want to be a carnie now.

On a scale of 1 to 10 will I do this again: I give it a solid 8 for yes please! 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Women hold up half the sky

Today, for the first time, I finished reading Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Pulitzer Prize winning journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. I started this book already having a strong passion to end every aspect of global poverty, including the oppression of women. But if I had been a person who up to this point was disinterested, unaware, or apathetic to these issues, I honestly believe this book would have changed that greatly. Kristof and WuDunn are amazing writers and jouralists because they understand the importance of telling individual stories to grab your attention and tug at your heart strings. They detail the perils of women and girls all over the world who have endured sex-trafficking, maternal health issues, rape, domestic violence, genital-cutting, unwarranted stigmatization and societal abuse. This book will make you realize the disgusting regularity with which these trajedies take place and make you feel in your core that you want to do something to help.

Fortunately, this book is only half depressing stories and statistics, intended to raise your awareness and compassion for these issues. The other half focuses on the positive, such as the numerous humanitarian organizations that help women to overcome these obstacles in their society and stories of women who broke cultural barriers to fight an injustice or become educated and financially independent. They discuss the importance of emancipating women on a governmental level (promoting education for women, cracking down on brothels), on an individual level (microfinancing, starting an aid organization), and on a societal level (changing culture, supporting foreign aid programmes).

We have every opportunity to give every woman a proper education, moral rights, gender equalities, and the chance to succeed that most of us take for granted. This is no simple task, but the more people fight for it the more we will succeed. The most important message this book offers is that the emancipation of women is essentially the largest driving force in ending global poverty; like education I believe it is a cornerstone to achieving the complete eradication of poverty and disease.  

If you are looking for a way to better yourself and the world around you, I highly recommend that you read this book. Your life will be changed.

Friday, March 12, 2010

They've done it again!

Today, for the first time, I listened to the new Four Year Strong album, Enemy of the World. I love Four Year Strong, they play great music, they are great live, and I even got to meet them once after a show. I absolutely love their previous album, Rise or Die Trying, and the new tracks are certainly up to par. The album feels like a continuation of their first, jam-packed with fast-paced guitar riffs that are sometimes so similar to older songs that I do an auditory dounle-take. I don't think they grew as a band in terms of their music evolving, but it's kind of refreshing to see a band that actually sticks with what they are good at intsead of changing so much that you end up disappointed (The Academy Is, All Time Low, Boys Like Girls, etc..) 

Favorite tracks so far (although this always changes for me over time):
It Must Really Suck to be Four Year Strong Right Now
Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)
Find My Way Back

Added bonus: The album was only $8!

 On a scale of 1-10 will I do this again: Let's just say this album will probably be my driving music for quite a while. 10!