Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Manhattan Film Shorts

N and I voted for our favorite short film at Salem Cinema Tuesday night.
After talking about our impressions on the way home, I'm wondering if I'm guilty of being blinded by the last thing on the screen, but the short was full of passion, turmoil and had such a sweet ending.

I'm telling you, it was a tough decision.  After the lights came back on, I sat with my ballot going back and forth from the 4 or 5 that ranked high for me.
For N, it was an easier decision.  He went with the film that visually made him go, "wow!".

You still have a chance to see the films.  Last day is Oct. 3.

Can't wait for the film festival mid October!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Carolyn Hax moment

". . . we have to own our own lives. I have been beating that drum for years. Even abuse victims -- none of whom did anything to deserve abuse -- ultimately have to get themselves out of the trap that ensnared them.
. . .
Rephrase the message however you want: I am all I have. You are all you have. Others can help, but there's only so far they can go." ~ Carolyn Hax

To read this column in it's entirety click here.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Good Times in Salem Oregon

What a fun time Saturday evening! Thanks to Twitter, we met up with @SalemRebekah, @AmberPadilla, @KBlocksom, @Trissajane, @Kneznanski--some with mates, some not. @VegansNightmare had volunteered for the first half, so he was leaving as we were arriving.

It looked like there were some decent numbers, and it was the first year of the event. James of Wandering Aengus, said that they poured 800 tastes. I thought that sounded pretty good. I bet there were some repeats in there, tho! :>) The pours were quite generous, which was nice and the two food booths were both local and stuff we'd normally eat.
Since we arrived a few hours after the core group, they ended up leaving and heading to La Capitale for cocktails. We arrived at La Cap too late to meet up with them. So we went to Willamette Noodle Co for their late hours. We were two of maybe 6 people there, until 20 minutes later when the place nearly filled with young folk. They were fans of the music duo playing. We ended up eating way too much while we sat enjoying the music, but it made for a wonderful end to our evening.
 I hope to go to the Manhattan Film Fest at Salem Cinema tonight. If they have tickets left.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Catching my breath

There are times when I question the reasoning behind taking 3 months off from school. These crazy thoughts usually occur in September when I'm still getting used to the routine, but NEVER in June, July or August.

I've had Junes when I decided I'd try and stick (loosely) to the regular schedule, but there's no fooling the summer brain. During the school year, when I hear that alarm, I practically hop out of bed and onto the treadmill. Once school is out, my fingers know exactly where that alarm's mute button is. Aurgh! Or maybe that should be--aurgh?

And if I don't get on that treadmill before I'm fully awake, the chance I'll take it on in the following hours are reduced by 90%. Who programmed this brain of mine, anyway??

I have serious doubts that I'll ever figure out a way to outsmart myself.  This week (yes, one week at a time, please) I'd be happy if I could talk myself into going to bed earlier.  That would solve the current early evening napping situation.
But how to convince the brain it really can watch those season openers on another day?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Group Think?

The short folk and I had our introductory science lesson yesterday.  The morning session's was abbreviated due to a drill, a visit from the counselor and testing pull outs.  Quite an impact on a 2 1/2 hour class.  It took some tweaking but we made it work.

I added something new and think I may revisit it periodically.  We talked about what "being ready to learn" looks like.  I don't understand why discussing about it as a group helps, but it does.  Now I'd like to figure out a way to encourage them to curb their behavior as a group.

I worked with a teacher 7 years ago who had a knack for creating that atmosphere where they all understand that they're a team.  That it's not enough for a single student to have excellent behavior, but they need to work together as a whole towards that goal.

Working as a team comes in handy in every aspect of our lives.  Now how to stimulate the team module in their brains?  ;>)

Monday, September 20, 2010

In Happy Anticipation

And it's a nice place to be.  :>)
Yes, my feet are a wee bit sore (getting used to this thing called work), but it doesn't matter.
N and I signed up for an infusion class given by Rob Drinkenstein at Andaluz . . .
AND it's tonight!!

Yet another fun opportunity to get together with some great people and meet some new folks.
Who knew I could ever look forward to a Monday?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

DVD Frustration or Burn Baby Burn

Yeah, I volunteered.  What you're saying is it's my own dang fault?
I guess.
But it was an opportunity to learn something new.  About a software program I didn't even know I owned--thanks to the manufacturer throwing in an extra.
My problem was manipulating the objects more than the program wanted me to.  After repeating the same process over and over this morning (with the same results), I decided it was time to make a clean start.

That's all it took.
The clean start fixed every stinking issue I was having.
It's true that I wasted 3 DVDs to test my progress along the way, but if I'm generous with myself, I'll admit that through that process I learned exactly how I wanted the layout of the DVD to work.
Now all I need is the final okay from the staff member in charge of the project.  Then I can burn 40 of these babies and be done with the job.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Cancelled Camping

I was really looking forward to heading to a campground with Jon's folks.  The two meals N and I were in charge of are all prepped and waiting in the fridge.  Guess I can't complain about the absence of inspiration in the dinner department one night this weekend.

The reason for the cancellation?  The forecast for the Newport area steadily darkened as Friday ticked forward.  Finally, NOAA put a hazardous weather warning up for the predicted 1-2" of rain.  If it doesn't rain buckets over there, I'm going to be disappointed even more.  Sorry Newport!

There is one positive:  I can burn a DVD of the recess video for final okay and then finish that job--finally!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Discovering Galettes

Where the heck have I been?
 Don't answer that.
There are probably a million more delicious things I'm totally unaware of.
Two weeks ago, N and I discovered galettes--particularly blackberry with fresh whipped cream.  And then last night, in my search for variations on galette dough, I discovered savory galettes.  Of course, no one describes them better or provides tastier recipes than Smitten Kitchen.
Let's just say, I can't wait to try this one out ... soon.  :>)
zucchini ricotta galette, served
Zucchini and Ricotta Galette
from Smitten Kitchen
Serves 6

For the pastry:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, chilled in the freezer for 30 minutes
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chill again
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water

1 large or 2 small zucchinis, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium garlic clove, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup (about 1 ounce) grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded mozzarella
1 tablespoon slivered basil leaves

1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water

Make dough: Whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Sprinkle bits of butter over dough and using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with the biggest pieces of butter the size of tiny peas. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add this to the butter-flour mixture. With your fingertips or a wooden spoon, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Make filling: Spread the zucchini out over several layers of paper towels. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and let drain for 30 minutes; gently blot the tops of the zucchini dry with paper towels before using. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and the garlic together; set aside. In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, and 1 teaspoon of the garlicky olive oil together and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare galette: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet (though if you line it with parchment paper, it will be easier to transfer it to a plate later). Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the bottom of the galette dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Shingle the zucchini attractively on top of the ricotta in concentric circles, starting at the outside edge. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of the garlic and olive oil mixture evenly over the zucchini. Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open. Brush crust with egg yolk glaze.

Bake the galette until the cheese is puffed, the zucchini is slightly wilted and the galette is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with basil, let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Monday, September 13, 2010

How about a salad for dinner tonight?

from Cooking Light

Inspired by Spanish tapas, this salad spotlights premium tuna. Bonito del Norte or albacore packed in oil are good choices for this recipe.

Yield:  4 servings (serving size: about 2 cups salad and 2 toasts)

2 quarts water
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups (1-inch) cut green beans (about 1/2 pound)
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots (about 2 medium)
2 fire-roasted piquillo peppers, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
4 cups arugula
1 (7.8-ounce) jar premium tuna, packed in oil, drained and flaked
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
8 (1-ounce) slices French bread

Preheat broiler.
Bring 2 quarts water and salt to a boil. Add green beans; cook 4 minutes or until beans are crisp-tender. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain. Combine green beans, shallots, peppers, chickpeas, and garlic in a large bowl.
Combine mayonnaise, vinegar, and paprika in a small bowl, stirring well. Add mayonnaise mixture to bean mixture; toss gently to combine. Arrange 1 cup arugula on each of 4 plates; top each serving with about 1 cup bean mixture. Divide tuna evenly among plates.
Sprinkle cheese evenly over bread slices; place bread on a baking sheet. Broil 2 minutes or until lightly toasted. Serve toasts with salad.

CALORIES 391 (26% from fat); FAT 11.5g (sat 2.2g,mono 2.8g,poly 3.6g); IRON 3.5mg; CHOLESTEROL 23mg; CALCIUM 198mg; CARBOHYDRATE 46.5g; SODIUM 1052mg; PROTEIN 23.7g; FIBER 6.2g 

Cooking Light, MARCH 2007

Friday, September 10, 2010

Zero Tolerance

No, I wasn't there.
Yes, I have witnessed rage and yes, it was frightening.
BUT I believe in second chances. . . and mediation . . . and second chances.
And if you look at our law system, so does our society.
Take for instance, drunk drivers.
Now that's quite a weapon:  a piece of metal,
that on average weighs around 4,000 lbs.,
 driven by someone whose reflexes and reactions are slowed to the point where they are 25-50 times more likely to get in a crash with an unsuspecting vehicle.
But I digress.
Hysteria and fear?
What ARE they good for?
. . . FOX news!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Trader Joe's Shopping List

Okay, here's what we've created so far:

Amber said...
So my faves are as follows:
TJ Herb and Cheese Pizza dough
TJ Chocolate Truffles, made in France
TJ Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
TJ Vitamins
TJ Refried beans - Salsa style

Rebekah said...
The nitrate free sausages. Especially the chicken ones. Also, wine. Obviously. :)

Jennie said...
My favorites are:
Meditteranean Hummus
Kalamata Olives
Tasty Bite Indian Food entrees for lunches
Bulk nuts
Swiss Dark Chocolate Bar with Whole Hazelnuts

Emily said...
Mini peanut butter cups
Goat Cheese
Chocolate croissants (frozen)
STone-ground oats
Mini boiled beets
Sesame crisps
Fage yogurt
3 buck chuck
Huge bars of dark chocolate
TJ lavender dryer bags
and and and...

Salem Man said...
Put me down for a variety of pasta including gnocchi.
Green salsa
and that tomato free corn salsa.
Bag of chips
and some Simer Times beer.
Don't forget the four pack of artichokes.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What are your TJ favorites?

Whenever N and I stumble into TJ's it's usually a spur of the moment, let's-stop-as-long-as-we're-passing-by, kinda thing.  AND we're usually hungry and load the cart with cookies, candy and "oh yeah! I wanted a some green beans and vitamin B complex!".
Bad K!!
Here's to changing bad habits!
Tell me what your TJ favorites are, so I can make an actual, honest to goodness list.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Getting back into the swing

At the end of every summer vacation, I'm thankful that the school district calls back most classified employees (like myself) on the Thursday before the Labor Day weekend.  It gives me a chance to wrap my head around the fact that summer vacation has come to an end and I'll soon be back on my feet shepherding small people during my work day.

Don't get me wrong, I love their company and I love watching them grow and learn, but it's not an easy transition going from sleeping in and doing what I want when I want, to jumping out of bed at 5:20 AM and staying on a schedule until bedtime.

And now I'll end this-- before I begin to complain repeatedly about my sore feet and tired body.
Happy weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Reuseable Produce Bags

Bigger than it looks.
After over a year of carrying around my own grocery bag in my purse and almost always remembering to use it, I've begun to notice my use of plastic produce bags.  Especially since we buy a lot of produce--every week.  

I wonder how many bags I use in a month?  I wonder if I really want to know? 

Then one day while checking out at Freddy's, an older woman in line behind me, puts her produce on the conveyor belt in these awesome looking fine mesh bags.  

"Are those your bags?", nosy me asked.
"Yes! I love them! They sell sets of three over by the produce area."

But of course I couldn't just run over and buy the first ones I hear about, I have to comb the internet for more,  compare all the ones I find and read reviews.  Did you know that checkers appreciate the bags they can read the produce codes through?  Some bags help keep produce from getting too slimey in the fridge.  

Reusable Produce Bags by 3B, 3 count [S#151963] [GM]Okay, so now I'm either confused or undecided or just can't make up my mind.  Oops!  Sorry, a bit redundant there!

Then @AmberPadilla on Twitter sends me a link on how to sew your own.  I like that idea.  Then I start calculating the time spent shopping for the right kind of material, dragging out the sewing machine, finding out the tension isn't just right  . . .   
I return to the web and do a Google shopping search and I decide these are a good buy.  

I hope I made the right choice.