That’s what I get for posting about Christmas, I suppose. After our weekly bout of weather in the 70s and 80s, we are back down to the 50s this week. I even cracked out my wool jacket for work, since I spend some time outside for recess.
I’ll take it though. Next year Taiwan may be sunsunsun with no reprieve.
I was going to say these were pumpkin but they aren’t. That would be a lie. They were good though.
You guys must think I only have one plate. The fancy pink one. To my defense, it is my birthday plate from childhood. I think my Mom used to put my cake on it.
Anyone else like to stack their pancakes? I love how different people eat their pancakes different ways. I make mine mini and stack them, usually in two towers or else they would fall down.
Some people overlap theirs a la restaurants. Some people make one huge one. Some people make three regular sized ones then cut a huge wedge out of all three. I like to eat mine one by one.
Have I shared our recipe for granola yet? My brother loves the stuff with homemade yogurt and not so homemade jam.
Last week I was super happy for it to be getting toward smoothie weather.
Obviously I haven’t convinced my parents to buy a Vitamix yet. Here’s hoping, although at this point I’ll save up and have it be a momentous occasion when I have enough to buy one.
I love my green smoothies. So does everyone else. But there is enough spinach to go around.
Slightly fuzzy. Camera doesn’t do well with close ups sometimes. Shows you how much I know about photography.
The secret of these cookies is that they are actually made out of almond butter. My sister didn’t even know!
And I quote, ‘Wow! These really smell like peanut butter!’
Then there was that time I tried to make my own pizza crust because I didn’t feel like making regular frozen pizza for the sibs.
They baked up well and were topped with cheese. Since we’re basically on a tomato free (among other things) kick here, these went naked.
I’d love to say these went over well but…not so much.
Even though I presented them in a beautiful fashion.
I guess it wasn’t delivery OR Digorno.
What food fails have you had?
That one. And there was the time I tried to like avocados by putting them in brownies. Seriously gross. Couldn’t mask the flavour and smell. They went right into the bin and I’m all about never wasting things. Quest to like avocado: still underway. Suggestions?
It has been so hot lately!
I shouldn’t complain for two reasons.
1. I live in Upstate New York, some of you live in places where it is much more hot!
2. I’m moving to Taiwan next year where it will be hot all.the.time.
So no complaining.
Still, I can think back to colder times, can’t I?
I’m remembering Christmas today with some seasonal pictures and a recipe for Gingerbread Waffles featured in last week’s WIAW.
Christmas has that thing about it. That glow. Literally.
Our family hangs our stockings up in a row on this little stand (?) because we haven’t gotten around to building a mantle piece yet. Also our fireplace is sadly electric/gas, although I wish it were real so I could listen to the crackling logs and smell the charring wood.
Mom likes to put Christmas lights where they don’t necessarily go. I love this adaptation of the idea because it makes the bowl glow and warm to the touch.
We cut out Charlie Brown tree (shown below and above)
Out of our yard instead of going to a tree farm to cut it. Saves money and also we have quite a few. I think it looks a bit German, actually. Not overburdened with ornaments. Just simple and glowing.
Crinkle. We unwrap stockings first. Santa has finished the milk and homemade cookies G and E have left out the night before. G reads the note. E gets into the chocolate. Typical.
After snapping some pictures of my family, I tug my stocking off it’s hook and set to unwrapping everything inside. One present at a time. Folding the white tissue paper that has been wrapped with string.
Everyone takes pictures of their feet on Christmas as well. The slippers have been around for so many years and have ‘mouths’ at the front. My feet stick out like thick tongues.
I unwrap the first finds.
If you’ve never had Theo chocolate, do it. It is seriously some of the best chocolate I’ve had.
I got into a bit of the chocolate before breakfast
I also got a friend.
and some lovely earrings from Anthropologie.
Because Christmas was a fair while ago, I’m not really sure I remember what I had for breakfast, but pairing this post with the Gingerbread waffles I had at some other time seems fitting.
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 Tbsp baking powder
dash baking soda
sweetener, to taste
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp pumpkin puree
1 egg white
scant 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
Mix dry together. Mix wet together. Pour into your waffle maker.
Mine is seriously so old. What I’d give for one of these….
Enjoy with whatever toppings you love. I’m partial to yogurt for dipping, as well as my usual assortment of nut butters.
Best thing about this recipe? It makes TWO that you get to eat all by your very own self.
One of my favourite sayings, as anyone who has lived with me will tell you, is ‘but I bet you could make that yourself!’ and this saying is never more true than when it comes to yogurt. No icky thickeners or added sugars here, just a few hours and a little effort and precision and you’ve got yourself a wholesome treat at little cost to your health or your wallet!
Start with a yogurt maker. I know there are now more high tech versions of this. I also know it is possible to do without a yogurt maker. I’m going to need to do it when I’m in Taiwan next year.
- old as the hills, still effective
I got my method from this book:
Old as the hills, as you can see, but effective all the same.
Start with your milk. You can use any sort of nondairy (I’ve tried only with soy, but have yet to try others); I find that low fat organic ‘yogs’ best. You’ll also need a starter
Anyone like Fresh Market? I’m a fan of FM And this yogurt. Dreaming Cow Yogurt is the yogurt I always use as the starter to my homemade stuff- pure and natural.
Take your quart of organic milk and heat in a saucepan until boiling, to kill off any bacteria. We use the kind in glass jars, which often break in your trunk…just saying. Make sure to keep watch on your milk so it doesn’t scald, and also so you can occasionally remove the film that will form on the top.
Once you’ve reached boiling, remove from heat and let cool to around 115° (I used a candy thermometer). Make sure that you do not add the starter (one tablespoon worth) until it has reached this temperature, otherwise you will kill the bacteria. You can also use starter from a package, but again, I haven’t tried that yet.
Mix thoroughly and put into the little yogurt cups in the maker or into glass jars or whatever you’re using.
Leave forever and a day. Okay, so it’s usually just overnight. But check to make sure they are yogging by tipping the container to check viscosity and thickness. When you think they’re done (usually, again, after more than 12 hours), remove them from the warm place, and put in the fridge for another 12 hours. It does not have to be that long, but refrigeration stops the yogging process and prevents yogurt that is gummy.
After waiting and waiting, you end up with this!
It should be thicker if you’ve used low fat milk, and thick thick thick if you’ve used whole. I haven’t tried with skim yet, but I imagine it would be a bit more runny. A little fat does more good than harm.
Make sure to wash up!
Best to enjoy within a week of making, since it has no preservatives in it, but I found that mine lasted longer.
What happens to the rest of the starter that I didn’t use? (Remember, only a tablespoon is needed)
By which I mean I used it as a dip. Can’t go wrong.
If you’ve ever made homemade yogurt, I’d love to hear your experiences, tips, or even failures!!
Have you ever made Vegan yogurt? From what? I made goat’s milk yogurt which worked out really well but didn’t taste good to anyone in my house but me. I prefer goat’s cheese.
What is your favourite way to eat yogurt? straight up, yogurt mess, with pancakes, with fruit, with waffles, as a dip, with apples, in smoothies, with sweet potatoes, with oats, with squash. Basically, I just love yogurt.
Sorry for that awful pun. I swear, I only just thought of it. And once I had the thought well, it came out my fingers.
Thanks to Jenn for taking back someone who posted every week religiously for years and all of a sudden went cold tofurky.
So we’ve already gone over where I’ve been but what have I been eating? I already made that awful joke, I might as well make up for it.
**WARNING- this post has no focus. You’d think that now that I’ve been graduated from college for a few months I could write something with organization? I’m taking a break.
So it’s obvious that I love breakfast. It’s really the meal for which I make the most effort. I should change that. I could have readers who think breakfast is boring and hate seeing bowl after bowl after plate after cup of breakfast ingestion. Buttttt judging by the blogs I read, you all love breakfast as much as I do
Oh, and by the way, that turned into this.
Went to DC and saw Julia Child’s kitchen! (Interesting factoid: Julia Child went to Smith, just like me!)
and I saw a Stevia plant in the botanical gardens there! They had a really interesting section that was focused just on medicinal/edible plants!
Back to the breakfast. I swear, I AM trying to get a breakfast focus going on here.
Seriously, how is that sweet potato so purple?! I have figured out that I like them purple or white more than orange, and I like yams better than sweet potatoes? Or maybe I’ve got it all wrong. All I know is that there is a ‘Hannah yam’ that has my name all over it (pun intended) (not pictured above) Also that I’m going to be living in Asia next year and they’re really big on their sweet taters and squashies. Is Kabocha not an asian type of squash? SO excited.
Please join me in geeking out over squash. It’s all good.
Also good is this:
this is delicious. With nut butter. Because let’s be honest, what do I eat that doesn’t go with nut butter? EVER?
I especially love roasting cashews in my toaster oven and putting them in the wrong jar as nut butter.
Truth is, I can’t bear to recycle that jar, since it reminds me of London. Good thing it is glass and therefore dishwasher safe!
I’ve been loving on pancakes lately. I’ve had a few mishaps with the gluten free lifestyle my Naturopath prescribed for me, but I’ll get to that in another post. Let’s just say I didn’t know Barley flour wasn’t gluten free.
Mom hates me for this, but we’ll go to Fresh Market and buy three cartons on sale. I’ll take them home and hide them in the basement fridge behind bags of lettuce. Secret secret.
This green smoothie would look so good if it weren’t so out of focus. I’m not good with a camera yet and also am unsure whether mine really even does good close ups. Which is a shame, since I like close ups. Especially of green smoothies.
These were inspired by Heather. She makes the most enviable pancakes. If you haven’t checked out her blog you really should. Although I can’t imagine you haven’t.
Return of the egg omelette breakfast sweet thing? The only good thing that has come out of my Dad having had surgery and only being able to eat egg custard is that I get LOTS of egg whites!
OH and here’s a dinner picture.
and I made these black bean brownie donuts. More on that soon!
More recipes up soon. Tales of my new ways of eating and some things. Check my aforementioned blog for updates on preparation for my departure for Taiwan!
I was eating breakfast this morning while my Dad was downstairs watching the news.
Boston Bombings. Stock Market. Weather. The usual. I tuned out of the muffled voices drifting upstairs through the open door and tuned into my breakfast.
All of a sudden I heard the newest Yoplait Light commercial.
Lost inches off your waist! Comes in 40 different flavors! Sugar free and low calorie! Now with Splenda!
I can’t find the link, but here are some examples of the types of things we’re dealing with; I’m sure you’ve all seen them:
So they claim their yogurt is ‘so good’ and I bet some people love it. I KNOW some people love it. That’s not my point. Nor is my point to personally attack yoplait for producing a product I do not endorse with advertising that I believe is misleading and unhealthy.
My point is that yoplait takes the truth out of eating by concentrating on calorie count, depravation, and body size as a measure of health and happiness.
And then there are ads like this one that have gotten flack for promoting eating disordered thought and behavior. You can see why:
As someone who has struggled with disordered eating myself, I will admit to once upon a time falling for the 40+ flavours offered by Yoplait, all of which somehow had the same number of calories. Sure, I wouldn’t allow myself a real Strawberry Shortcake, but why would I need to when I could eat it for breakfast in the form of a 90 calorie yogurt!
There have been spoofs on the idea that yogurt can replace desserts, this ad even going far enough to mock the fact that yogurt could somehow replace all food and lead to consistent weight loss-as if that was the only thing that mattered and indeed the only thing women could think about.
The point is, these ads and indeed the way the yogurt is portrayed strays from the very idea and point of food in the first place: nourishment. Yes, it tastes good, but it is (or should be) also good for you. What these ads don’t show is the fact that, while the yogurt is lower calorie than regular yogurt, it also contains dyes, artificial and added sweeteners, and thickeners which are not natural to real yogurt and can be harmful to our bodies.
I won’t pretend to be a nutrition guru here, because lord knows I’m still learning in that department, but I do want to point out the power that the advertising industry has on consumption in this country and indeed wherever these products are sold. Someone consumed with body image guilt will not get the information that yogurt is healthy, containing calcium and protein, as well as the fact that low fat or regular yogurt can be great for skin and fertility, seeing light yogurt as a medicine and a key to thin.
The message of these ads seems to be ‘eat yogurt, then you won’t feel guilty about the way you look!’ rather than ‘eat yogurt and you will reap the health benefits’ and that saddens me. As I have taken charge of my own nutrition, done research, seen a naturopath, and experimented, I have found that the more whole and natural the food, the better it is for you. I stopped buying ‘light’ yogurts and ‘reduced calorie’ drinks. My body couldn’t handle their artificial ingredients, and it now thanks me for the real food I feed it. Yogurt with fat in it? You bet! Nut butters? Of course. There is no point in saving those calories and feeling deprived or guilty as though somehow food will make or break you. I used to feel that way, and it took me years to begin to break away the negative associations how I felt, what I ate, and my body.
Eat the real food, people. !
It’s been ages. I’ve made promises. I’ve broken them. But hey, I don’t have an obligation to anyone.
Short list of things that have been up since Ive been here:
- I’ve been subbing, it’s been great! I’m learning so much about myself as a beginning teacher (soon) and also a bunch from observing other teachers in action
- I’m also working at a preschool as a one-to-one aid. This is great for two reasons: 1. The kids are super cute and they make me smile daily 2. I know that, as cute as preschool kids are, I really do not not not want to be a preschool teacher. I need something that has a bit more intellectual chutzpah.
- I applied to graduate school and was accepted! I am almost certain I know where I’ll be in two years (more on that in a minute) and I’ll share that with you when I confirm it
- I’m also a Fulbright Fellow to Taiwan for this coming year! Those of you who read my blog before will know that one of the reasons I was kind of absent of late was because I was working hard on my application. Then there was the waiting and anticipation. That’s over though, and off I go at the end of July! For those of you who will want to follow that journey, see my travel blog–>A Case of Wanderlust
- I’ve been seeing a naturopath for a few health issues, and I expect I’ll be talking more about that in coming posts. Nothing good nutrition can’t fix, and I’ve already been on my way with that. This is really the first time I’ve taken up my health by myself as an adult and boy, does it feel great!
- Due to the above reasons, my diet has changed a bit more. I’m currently on the anti inflammatory diet, which means that I’ve recently (in the past two months) cut out wheat/gluten, sugar, tomatoes, corn,peanuts, citrus, and potatoes, among other things. Much more on this to come. It has been great for the most part, but there are some things I miss
- I’m also doing seed cycling. For those of you who wonder what this is, I’m going to post about it at some point as well, not that I’m an expert yet.
- Recipes. I have some things I’ve been trying. In fact, I’m about to pop into the kitchen to try out a gluten free version of the black bean brownies I made forever and a day ago. This time using rice flour instead of wheat bran. The beans are currently soaking and cooling down (I had boiled them to help them soften, any tips for making this process go faster?).
So that’s me, currently.
Also of note:
Yeah. There are two. For one person. I ate both. Happily.
Never try this tea.
I bought it hoping it would be all delicious and helpful in calcium consumption. WRONGO! It had a weird slimy thing going on and didn’t taste much better. Kind of like a mix between slime and chalk? Okay, so it wasn’t that bad, it had a flavor (cherry?) but it wasn’t natural tasting at all. I also just prefer herbal teas.
DO make this:
I love the texture of oat bran. I had this a while ago because on my current anti inflam thing, I haven’t been able to eat oats/bran, because they might contain gluten.
just go buy some gluten free oats -DUH
yeah. I just haven’t gone to that store/forked over the extra money.
I made donuts for the first time!
My siblings loved them:
I promise you, he was thrilled.
G, my little sister pronounced them, ‘better than dunkin donuts!’ which is saying something.
That’s enough for now.
Or rather, it has come.
You see, I’ve been mulling things round in my head and have decided that this blog needs to stop existing and start thriving. Start being the pool at the end of my fingers where I can collect thoughts and musings from the day.
In short, I’ve chosen to pursue writing seriously. This means that I need to hold myself to writing regularly and in seriousness. I may, in the future, move over to another blog, but I like the name of this one, so I’m going to stick to it for now.
There may be some of you who leave for the sake of the change in content, and to that I say, come and go as you please, for I write for myself. If what I write pleases you, and you somehow care about the idle banter of a 22 year old college graduate, stick around, recommend me to your friends, lovers, and agents. Mostly the last one though, I’m always looking for one of those.
So what have I been up to since I last wrote seriously? I don’t count the random sporadic posts that have been cropping up here and there during the last 6 months; honestly I’m not sure I put a lot of thought into them and honestly-er, they were really only here to keep you all assured that I wasn’t dead/deleting my blog. If that isn’t what makes you alive, don’t do it: something I’ve learned of late. You see as you know, I’ve recently graduated from college. With a B.A. in Religion. Cue the questions of ‘Oh, so you must want to be a priest?’ and ‘Well you must know everything about all the religions then, I won’t even get into it with you!’ that I get oh, so often. I will disappoint you immediately and tell you that neither of the aforementioned are true; I am neither pursuing the ministry nor do I know everything about religions of the world. Like most people with a liberal arts background, I know a bit about most of them, but cannot pretend full proficiency.
That aside, I will say that I spent the fall semester preparing applications for a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship to Taiwan to teach English, as well as the eventual realisation that I wanted to teach and the subsequent development of applications to MAT programmes. This did not last, however, for just one day before the applications were due in (having been completely filled out and proofread, mind you) I decided that I was not one hundred percent sure about wanting to teach (keep in mind that I am an introvert and suspend your mind to imagining me in front of a classroom. Can’t? Neither could I.) At this point I was about to depart to D.C. for a conference on Education Policy (which I incidentally ended up really enjoying) but made the firm decision not to apply. The last application could have been sent in today and I, at nearly 9pm, have 3 hours left to do it. Will I be doing it? No I will not, because I’m still not sold and am not about to spent $300 on a half hearted decision (and still more on tuition). Which brings me to the next chapter of my life and my blog, and indeed of this post.
Well, almost to there, because besides pinning myself to a desk to write what I KNOW is inside my head, I’m also substituting for my local school district. In 6 months I’ll either have a boatload of teaching experience or a book. I’m hoping for both, not just the former, which will happen regardless. You’ll probably hear a fair bit about that, actually.
So I turned inwards to that which I’ve loved all my life and in college had to eschew due to lack of courses (I wouldn’t lie, but aren’t you in shock!?) When I was in high school, I took as many English classes as I could that included writing (and reading, but I really wanted to develop my writing skills). I applied to conferences and was selected as one of two representative students from my school in a national writing contest. When I won, math class slipped into the background, literally and also in terms of how much I’d need math in the future- unless it was to count my earnings when I made it big as a writer. Kidding.
When I got to college, I approached the sign that said ‘English’ at the major fair and asked the representing professor politely if they ‘had any creative writing classes.’ when she responded to the negative, I backed away slowly, wondering how I would make it through the next four years without writing. I could do it on my own, yes, but it was something nice to have a writing group or exercises. Over the years, I kept up my journal (there are now 47 under my bed from the last 6 years), attended on-campus retreats, and took one creative writing class off campus. I will readily admit that it was my favourite class overall, and it rekindled my downtrodden attitude.
As I sat in my living room the other day, having decided and exclaimed loudly once again that I was not going to be applying to be a teacher, my hands began typing into the google search bar: ‘Creative Nonfiction graduate school programmes’ and I came up with my answer. Creative Nonfiction, unlike Journalism (and here I quote the Columbia University School of the Arts)
‘Literary nonfiction (sometimes called creative nonfiction) comprises such forms as memoir, personal essay, travel writing, profile, lyric essay, polemic, meditation, reportage, biography, history, cultural and political commentary, and reviews of the arts. While journalism employs established forms and methods, literary nonfiction uses the full range of techniques it shares with fiction and poetry but refuses to alter provable fact. Literary nonfiction celebrates all that is distinctive in an individual writer’s voice and vision.’
For a girl who has always been told that I had ‘such voice’ in my writing, I think I’ve found my muse of a graduate program. Shake your heads, go on now, knowing that I have trouble committing to things because I have trouble deciding about what is the right decision in case I am wrong. I think this is write, I mean right. (I swear that just happened!).
Get ready. Here come the words.
In fact, we’ve been having the opposite of sunny weather here in Upstate New York. I thought we were lucky to have a white dusted ground for Christmas, but we got lucky the day after (and the day after that) and now have a solid duvet covering of the thick white stuff covering our yard. Unfortunately, along with this beautiful snow comes ice, which does not a comfortable bum make. Getting out of the car today, I slipped on the ice and went down, cutting my hand. Luckily everything was fine, but it scared me something fierce. The way I reacted, you’d have thought something worse had happened. My Dad, who stayed out to salt, apparently fell as well. I’ve half a mind to get out there with a pick axe….
But back to the sun coming out. It came out today, and will continue to come out into my future. As a recent alum, I am no longer confined to the ivy covered walls of woman-land, and have begun my adult life! You’d laugh if you could see me now, in the bathrobe my mother made for me for my 16th birthday and the silly tasseled woolen hat with I got even younger. Yes, I may not look like an adult, but I, Hannah, am a gainfully employed college graduate.
Behold first day. Actually, I kind of miss that room right now.
Behold last day:
Wow. I need to get back on this ship.
Here’s an excerpt:
4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 31,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 7 Film Festivals