Thursday, April 28, 2011

Pay It Forward day

Have seen the movie Pay It Forward? It's about a young boy who did 3 good deeds for others in need. In return, all that the child wanted was that they pass on the good deed to three other people and keep the cycle going. One good deed might not seem like much, but if everyone did something good for someone else, then the cycle of generosity and kindness can spark us to become better people.

Today, International Pay It Forward day, do a good deeds for someone else without asking for anything in return. Instead the recipient should be instructed to pay it forward to someone else in need. The difference we can make is phenomenal

Here’s some ideas:

  1. At a drive through, pay for the car behind’s meal.You could do this at the train station, at a coffee shop – anywhere.
  2. If it is raining, give your umbrella to someone who does not have one. (it might be worth taking a spare one with you
  3. Visit an elderly neighbour’s house and ask them if they need to have anything they need repaired.
  4. Donate some money to your favourite charity – perhaps collect some donation money from people at work.
  5. Tell the manager of a restaurant how great your server was. This can happen in any store / business you visit. Aim at brightening someone else’s day
  6. Top up other people’s parking metres to stop them getting a fine.
  7. If you are washing your own car or mowing your own lawn, do the same for your next door neighbor
  8. At your office, thank the “little people”. Everyone’s part is essential and no one’s job is purposeless. Thank the mail guy, the girl who cleans, or the door person.
  9. Be a mentor for someone who needs some support.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Making cheese at home from a kit

On Sunday, Max and I made our own cheese. We used this kit:

Turned out well and it was fun!

Heating the milk. At 85, add citric acid. At 100, add rennet.

Draining the curds. A towel under the curds would have been helpful.

Trying to remove as much whey as possible.

After stretching the cheese

Cooling the cheese.

The money shot!

Sliced mozzarella

Added to the pesto pasta salad

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Opening day of the West End Farmers Market is May 1, 2011

May 1st marks the first day of the 2011 season of the West End Farmers Market! The market is open EVERY SUNDAY from 9am to 1pm.

Frida Salmoran will also be playing the acoustic guitar from 10 a.m. to Noon.

There will be face painting, balloon hats, and small treats for the kids. Please come out and support the West End Farmer's Market!

Who will be there?

  • The Dressed Up Nut: Small batch, gourmet nuts
  • On the Gourmet: VA grown and made gourmet condiments, foods, ice cream
  • Fresh Joseph: Fresh squeezed orange juice and scones
  • Pearl Teas
  • Tommy Tompkins: Cheese Store and more
  • Penn Farms: Vegetables and herbs
  • Normas Produce: Vegetables
  • Medina and Sons: Vegetables and herbs
  • Papa’s Orchard: Fruits
  • Billie’s Flowers: Fresh cut flowers
  • William’s Flavor Station
  • Lucia Stolberg: Gardener
  • OPK Foods: Homemade organic sausages and meats
  • Cavanna Pasta: Homemade Pasta and Sauces
  • Vera's Bakery: Sweet rolls, muffins, breads, cookies, pastries
  • Great Harvest Bread: Breads, rolls, muffins

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My new favorite granola bar

Recently I was challenged to keep a whole grain cereal bar on hand. Initially I bought a box of Peanut Peanut Butter Kashi TLC Chewy Granola Bars. They were definitely good for me - but they were kind of dry. Not something that I wanted to eat. Then I tried Cascadian Farm's fruit and nut chewy granola bar - I found a winner! They are tasty and chewy. And organic! The only thing that would make them more perfect is if they were a little bigger.  :)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Currently reading

Radio Shangri-La: What I learned in Bhutan. the Happiest Kingdom on Earth by Lisa Napoli. Just came out in February.

Read up to the end of chapter 2 before bed. Love it so far! And I feel like I can totally relate (not that I'm 40 or burned out or overwhelmed by regret... but I am looking for a way to recharge my life).

I'm fascinated by the idea of National Gross Happiness. Sounds like a wonderful way to live! Looking forward to learning more about Bhutan and their way of life.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

Sometimes you just hit it out of the ballpark!  This was a huge hit at today's potluck lunch. Using canned beans and canned corn makes the cooking go a lot faster!

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

• 1½ cups quinoa
• 1½ cups cooked black beans, rinsed if canned
• 1½ tablespoons red-wine vinegar
• 1½ cups cooked corn, rinsed if canned
• ¾ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
• ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley

For dressing
• 5 tablespoons lime juice, or to taste
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon chili powder, or to taste
• 1¼ teaspoons ground cumin, or to taste
• 1/3 cup olive oil

  • In a bowl wash quinoa (in 4-5 changes cold water), rubbing grains and letting them settle before pouring off most of water, until water runs clear. Drain.
  • Using a rice cooker (or saucepan) of salted boiling water cook quinoa 10 minutes. Line the steamer basket with a fine kitchen towel and drain quinoa, saving the boiling water. Set steamer basked over the boiling water (quinoa should not touch water) and steam quinoa, covered, until fluffy and dry, about 10 minutes. Transfer quinoa to a large bowl and cool.
  • While quinoa is cooking, in a small bowl toss beans with red-wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Once the quinoa is cool, add beans, corn, bell pepper, and parsley. Toss well.
  • For the dressing, whisk together lime juice, salt, chili power, cumin and oil in a small measuring cup.
  • Drizzle dressing over salad and toss well. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
  • Salad may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring salad to room temperature before serving.

Based on a recipe from Epicurious.

23rd Annual Potomac Watershed Clean-Up

ASA is partnering with the Alice Ferguson Foundation again this year for the 23rd Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup. We will be cleaning up the trash and recyclables along Hooffs Run, and gloves and trash bags will be provided. This volunteer event is open to everyone!

When: Saturday, April 9 from 9:00 a.m. - 12 noon
Where: ASA, 1500 Eisenhower Ave, Alexandria, VA 22314


Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Bucket List

I have often wondered about this but only today actually looked to see if there was any research into the matter.  I found this article:

Why Time Goes Faster as You Get Older by Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D.

The article itself proposes that it's all about new experiences. Additional comments point to savoring the moment. (And then something science-y about your brain hardening which may be true but I cannot speak to that.)

If it is about new experiences (which studies have also linked to increased happiness and a better marriage), that's something I can affect. To that end, here's some things that I have never done but would like to do (in no particular order):

  • get a tattoo
  • take a trip to Italy
  • go up in a hot air balloon
  • learn Spanish
  • take a trip to England, Ireland, and Scotland
  • ride on a helicopter
  • go to Antarctica
  • see the Northern lights up close
  • try indoor rock climbing
  • learn how to golf
  • go horseback riding
  • take a trip to Australia, see the Great Barrier Reef
  • see the pyramids in Egypt
  • see a moose in real life
  • take a trip to Moscow
  • take a trip to Tibet
  • see the New England Patriots play at Foxboro Stadium
  • go to the top of the Statute of Liberty
  • go to the top of the Washington Monument
  • ride on a motorcycle
  • travel to New Zealand, see the hobbit houses
  • go to Universal Studios in Florida to see Hogwarts
  • watch a meteor shower
  • take a trip to Japan
  • attend a gala
  • learn how to belly dance
  • take a trip to Hawaii
  • ride on the Orient Express
  • go on a cruise
  • learn how to surf
  • take a trip to Kenya, go on a safari
  • take a trip to Morocco
  • ride a segway
  • get my teeth straightened
  • be an extra in a movie
  • see the wild horses in Carova
  • visit an Amish farm
  • ride in a stretch limo
  • spend Canada Day on Parliament Hill
  • help my Dad sell one of his wood carvings on Etsy
  • walk on a glacier
  • get a palm reading
  • get a tarot card reading
  • go to a maple syrup farm when the trees are tapped in the spring
  • make my own cheese

I just wish that so many of these things didn't cost so much - time and money. Just joined Bucketlist to keep track of all of this - and probably add more!