There was an error in this gadget

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mini-newbies

So neither of these require full-fledged posts, but I still think they are worth mentioning!

Today, for the first time, I climbed up and down my stairs for a half hour as a workout. The basement flooded because of all the rain so I couldn't use the treadmill, so I researched and found that climbing up and down your stairs for 30 minutes will burn 300 calories. I knew it would be difficult, even totally fit people get winded on stairs. Well, at least I knew what was coming.. it was EXHAUSTING! Even with the most energy-boosting tunes (gaga, beyonce etc.) coupled with saying insporational mantras (bikini, beach, etc.) I truly thought around minute 22 that I wasn't going to make it. After the fact, I am SO glad I did. I usually don't sweat much even when I get a good workout, and it always makes me feel a little less accomplished. I can safely say that I am currently drenched in sweat. Unattractive yes, but also very satisfying.

Today, for the first time, I also tried the Asiago Roast Beef sandwich as part of my pick-two at Panera. First of all, let me just say that anyone who is calorie-conscious will thoroughly enjoy the nutrition calculator on the Panera website. Not only does it tell you the calories of every food item, it tells you the calories of each individual ingredient and allows you to take out, add, and substitue ingredients and it will re-calculate the calories for you! That said, I usually get the pick two with the low fat chicken noodle soup (80 calories) and the Bacon Turkey Bravo but on whole grain and with no cheese or special sauce (290 cal). As long as you get an apple or skip the side altogether, it's a delicious and low-calorie meal! So today I decided I wanted to try something new, and found out through the nutrition calculator that the Asiago Roast Beef sandwich was also pretty low-calorie. All I had to do was switch to whole grain and take out the horseradish (that's just a personal choice, the horseradish is only 25 calories), and paired with my noodle soup it was only 380 calories! The sandwich wasn't quite as good as the Bacon Turkey Bravo in my opinion, but it I still enjoyed switching it up!

On a scale of 1-10 will I do these again: Well I have to do the stairs again tomorrow since I still won't have a treadmill, and I think after that I'll do it every once in a while for a really intense workout, so I give it a 5. For the sandwich I say 7 because I know I'll have it on days that I get sick of the bravo!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Don't believe the lies!

Today, for the first time, I read Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History by David Aaronovitch. I've been mildly curious about conspiracy theories in the past- I even watched "Loose Change" and thought my eyes had been opened to the truths behind the tragedy of 9/11.. I wouldn't be fooled like everyone else because I was now on the side of the experts intelligent enough to sniff out a huge, complicated, intricate conspiracy. In fact, as far as I was concerned, how could anyone overlook these facts and still believe the lies our government was feeding us? However, after reading Voodoo Histories, while I acknowledge that the most important conspiracy theories in history are interesting, compelling, and often times alluring and thought-provoking, they are also largely untrue and shaped our history in a negative way.

While the novel itself can get very classroomy at times, Aaronovitch's thoughtful analysis of major consiracy theories (the Protocols, Pearl Harbor, the Kennedy assassination, Princess Diana) shows both how it was possible for so many to believe them and how this impacted society. For example, the "Protocolos," a collection of papers detailing how Jews were behind every major act and decision during the Russian Revolution and how they had a secret plot to take over the world, lead to an overall anti-Jew sentiment that would later help to fuel tagic pieces of history like the Holocaust. Even now, long after it has been proved that the Protocols were mostly plagiarized from old pieces of fiction and thoroughly untrue, there are still people who believe them to be fact.

One of the arguments Aaronovitch makes is that if it is convenient for you in any way to believe a conspiracy theory, then you are more likely to believe it- even when faced with irrefutable evidence to the contrary. It certainly doesn't help that the media will try to keep a story like the death of Princess Diana in the headlines with any new discovery or twist that adds mystery and intrigue to what was really just a fatal car accident. Aaronovitch cites the playwright Mamet, who said "It is in our nature to dramarize." Afte reading this book, I think it is important to be critical of conspiracy theories. If you ask yourself, "Could this cospiracy truly have been pulled off?" and your first reaction is to say "no," you're probably right.


On a scale of 1-10 will I do this again: 2 for probably not. It was a very interesting book, but I got all the information I needed from it the first time around. I highly recommend you read it though!

P.S. Sorry for the long wait on a new post, I've really gotten into making jewelry out of clay so I've been spending a lot of my time doing that. Plus it took me a few days to read this book!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Les Crevettes

Today, for the first time, I cooked healthy style shrimp and crab cakes. For all of you who voted in the poll, cooking something with shrimp was the clear winner. As I began searching for a recipe, I knew I wanted to cook something that was healthy and low calorie but also exciting and delicious. When I landed on the shrimp and crab cake recipe, I knew I had to try it.

The whole process was very trial and errror. I followed the recipe, which called for:
  • 10 ounces raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped
  • 6 ounces flaked crabmeat, squeezed dry if necessary
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, preferably kosher
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup fine, unseasoned dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
(courtesy of www.eatingwell.com)

I used cooked shrimp instead of raw because I was at the grocery store too late so I couldn't order raw shrimp. After mixing all the ingredients together I found that the cakes weren't sticking together at all, so as I was trying to cover them with bread crumbs they completely fell apart. I decided to make half of them the way the recipe called, but add some light mayo and some extra bread crumbs to the other half of the batch.



Even with the added mayo, I was STILL having trouble getting the patties to stick together. I decided to give it one more shot, thinking that maybe I hadn't chopped everything up enough. I undid the patties and chopped everything much finer. To my elation, the patties were sticking!



In the end, each patty is about 240 calories rather than 176 like they should have been, but I am very happy with the result. Sure, it's not the low-calorie-yet-somehow-gourmet-tasting shrimp crabcake I was hoping for, but it's pretty damn good.

On a scale of 1-10 will I do this again: I give it a solid 6 for maybe. It's tasty, but it was a lot of work and I think I could make an even tastier and more convenient shrimp dish someday.

P.S. Check out the new poll!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Johnny Cupcakes eat your heart out!

Today, for the first time, I made my own jewelry out of clay. Back when I was interesting I used to be more crafty; I scrapbooked, made hand-designed cards for my friends, and even made ridiculously awesome themed Christmas parties like Elf and Global Guts (no I'm not being cocky, just ask any of my friends who attended said parties). One of my top priorities when it comes to trying new things is to get back in touch with my creative side, and I knew one of the first things I wanted to do was make jewelry out of clay.

I go gaga for Betsey Johnson jewelry, most likely due to my fondess for things that are pink/girly and my fondness for things that are miniature. I can't tell you how many times I've almost caved and bought the mismatch earrings with the little lips on one and the little whistle on the other. So for my first creation I decided to go with something that is cute, girly, and makes everyone happy: cupcakes.

And so I began my journey at Michaels. First off, I'm pretty sure I will be frequenting Michael's ALL the time now, I could have spent a million dollars in there if I had it. It didn't help that everything was pink for Valentine's Day.

Here was my shopping list:
Small blocks of sculpey III clay in brown and pink
Sculpey glaze
Small eye pins
Earring hooks
Small paint brush

All I had to do was mold around the clay for a while until I could make 2 small cupcakes that I was happy with (it only took a few cupcakes to get it right). I mostly used my hands but I also used my cuticle pusher to smooth out some of the edges. When my cupcakes were complete, I poked them both through the center with an eye pin to create a hole, then took the eye pins back out. I baked them in the oven (first time I baked cupcakes and didn't eat them!) for 15 minutes at 275 F. I let them cool for 20 minutes, brushed on a light coat of the glaze and let them dry for another 20. I stuck the eye pins back in (I might superglue them in to be safe), attached the earring hooks and that was it! It was fun, it was easy, and when I wear them I feel super cute, like the way food tastes better when you cook it yourself. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I wear them.

If you are feeling crafty I HIGHLY recommend giving this a try. But enough talking, time to show off!


 

Will I do this again? On a scale of 1-10 10 for you better believe it!