Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Preteen Hormones Invade My Life

Tomorrow the sixth graders will flood the middle school halls for their special day of orientation before the older kids come to warp their minds. Today I took one last look at the shiny, waxed floors and sighed. In only a few hours it will smell like developing B.O., fruit-scented body spray & Axe, and grade school french fries. The floors will be covered in mud, gum, spit, lost IDs, pens, pencils and even pants (To this day I still don't know why we find that last one quite often.).

The impending madness means two things:

1. I may not be posting every day. I need my beauty sleep lest my soul be crushed by lack of REM  And lest the lack of sleep causes me to finally snap and duct tape some unsuspecting 7th grader to the wall.

2. However, that means that I will have that many more amusing kid stories to tell. I put forth for your consideration the dialogue between myself and a 7th grader upon introducing a college tutor to the student.
Student: ...Is he your son?
Me: Jake, how old do you think I am?
Student: ... Twenty three?
Me: And how old do you think your tutor is?
Student: ...Twenty?
Me: So I was three years old when I gave birth to him?
Student: ...um...wait...oh...wait...

Thankfully enough, Jake's tutor was there to help him in math.

And so, bring it on you little nose miners! Give me all you've got you lovers of Justin Bieber (Even if your humorous attempts at rebellion reveal themselves in the form of cursing me out, or bad poetry accompanied by anime drawings.)! The blog and I will be ready for you!

Monday, August 30, 2010


Another year of fake British accents, sweaty geeks, and zaghareets. Renaissance Festival was a blast this year! We got there in the morning and spent all day tromping around the dusty grounds checking out every shiny thing available. This was the first year I wore my tribal bellydance costume, and it was definitely the first time I'd ever shown cleavage in public. Don't know if I'm too big a fan of the extra torso attention, but it was fun all the same. Besides, it was possible it attracted Jesus.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Finished Crafts, Failed Food, & Ren Festing

Three weeks ago my friend saw the mini version of my niece that I crocheted and asked if she could have her own goth version. And three weeks later I'm finally done! 
I also managed to finish up Moko the cat (whose pattern is free and can be found at Baghi's blog.):
So after I finished up these guys I decided that it was time to experiment with food. Somehow I got it in my head that I was going to make fruit sushi. I dug out the sushi mat, looked up a few videos on how to roll it, and went out to get my filling. Every site I looked at said that white rice wasn't sticky enough to make a roll, but despite popular opinion I was convinced I could make it work. ... I couldn't. Here was the end result:
But I greatly enjoy the old saying that from failure comes success.

I'll be off Saturday, as I'm heading to Minnesota (for real this time) to go a renaissance festing with the belly dancers. Guaranteed there will be many photos of dancers, good and gut-wrenchingliny horrible costumes, wenches, and men flinging mud. For now, I leave you with this photo from last year, which I think adequately demonstrates the effectiveness of corsets.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Great Blogger Chain Letter Award!

Yay! I got my first award! I feel loved!

#1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you the Versatile Blogger Award.
A big thanks to Leeanna over at Can We Have A New Witch? Ours Melted. Leeanna, I started reading your posts a few months ago, and you never cease to give me a good laugh. :)

#2. Share 7 things about yourself.
1. I love coffee flavored ice cream, coffee scented candles and the smell of fresh-brewed coffee. But I hate the taste of coffee.
2. I went to preschool in Texas and had the unfortunate experience of sitting on a fire ant pile during recess. The teachers had to drop my drawers in front of everyone and wipe the bugs from hell off my butt.
3. Hablo español y también un poquito de francés. Pero en francés sólo recuerdo el frase: Je nais pas etudie l'histoire de blaireau! (I can't study the history of the badger anymore!)
4. Famous people I've met include Wisconsin governor, Jim Doyle, the late author, Kurt Vonnegut, & actress Natalie Portman.
5. I would absolutely love to own a capybara as a pet.
6. I was the first 14 year-old to ever be admitted to the National Archives in D.C.
7. I've moved to 5 different states, lived in 10 different houses, and attended 9 different schools.

#3. Pass the Versatile Blogger Award along to 10 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic for whatever reason!
1. Soraya of Spellbound by Moonlight
2. Chris of A Badger and a One Eyed Toad
3. Danielle of Chronicles of a Dairyland Vegan
4. Tawny of The Daily Icing
5. Amberleigh of Dividing by Zero (For info on Egyptian mythology, this is the girl to talk to!)
6. BleuMoon of Witch Way
7. Willow of The Green Witch
8. Teckla of The Long and Winding Road
9. Frenchy of Les Chateau des Fleurs
10. Ben, Joel, Abraham, Nathanael, Mike & Nolan of The Blog of Super Awesomness

#4. Contact the bloggers you’ve picked and let them know about the Versatile Blogger Award.
Contacting people is for wimps! I'm going to sit back on my lazy butt and see if they figure it out. ...Wait, no, the opposite thing. You know. Contacting them.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

It Deliciously Burns!

Cooking Adventure: Spaghetti Squash with Jalapeño Cream
Source: My Recipes
The Bellydance Soundtrack: Shimmy Baby by DJ Mosavo
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 30-40 minutes

Maybe the best way to describe the process involved in this recipe, and the reason for the extremely fast bellydance accompaniment, is to relay the panicked monologue from a few nights ago:
Okay. So I've got my two jalapeños. Ah, jalapeños. My arch nemesis. Maybe I should make gloves... No. No. You know what? I'm just going to touch them with one hand and do all the cutting with the other hand. Then I'll just make sure to wash that hand really good. 

Right, so I need milk now. Whoops! Whoa! Almost grabbed the refrigerator handle. Then I would have had to clean that off.

Milk and pepper pieces are cooking - OH GOD NO! Why'd I touch my eye!? Get to the sink! Get to the sink! Flush the eye with water! Flush! Flush! ... Am I good? I think I'm okay. Phew. I'd better check that other recipe.

5 minutes later...

Whoa! Forgot about the milk! Please let it be good! And why the hell is my hand burning on the back!? I didn't even touch the stupid peppers with the back of my hand! Okay. Okay. Um. Okay, mix the melted butter with the milk, okay - WAIT! No not with the milk with the flour. OW! My hand! Stupid steam!
For Next Time: Wear gloves before I cut jalapeños. I probably should have guessed that the fiery juice from them would burn badly when I kept coughing from just inhaling the aroma while cutting them. When that stuff soaks into your pores it burns enough that you get distracted and add ingredients in the wrong order because you're spending most of the time with an ice pack on your hand. It also burns so badly that steam & other heat makes it ten times worse. Needless to say, I give credit to my husband for doing most of the oven removal and stove top stirring. 

The finished product tastes good, though. Since you don't actually use the peppers themselves in the recipe, it has a nice mild hotness to it. Although, I admit that after my cooking fiasco I haven't had more than a few spoonfuls. Peppery things haven't been on my craving list for a few days.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Kitchen Giveaway

Need more kitchen supplies? Marie over at That Girl Can Cook is having a giveaway for a $65 CSN stores gift certificate. I'm gonna get me some baking tools!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Pole Dancers: My New Heroes

I can feel my own body. That's the best way I can describe the ache in my shoulders, the stiffness in my legs, and the inherent strain in lifting my arms above my head. This is all a result of me uttering the phrase, "You know, I don't have anything going on. I think I will help you install your pole."

We belly dancers put up a constant battle to stress that our dancing is an art form, and is in no way connected to exotic dancing or stripping. Granted that doesn't mean we oppose the more scandalous dances completely. For example my friend, Elena, went to a free pole dancing demo class a few months ago & got so hooked that she not only ended up taking the eight week course, but also ordering her very own pole. And holy cow, those things aren't cheap! $370 for a giant adjustable pole that we wedged between her ceiling and floor in her apartment's living room.

Elena tried to teach me the basic mechanics of the art of the pole. You have to walk around once or twice to get your momentum going, swing your leg around the pole, grab on with your other hand and let gravity take over. Sounds easy enough, but then there are the little details like where you put your weight, how you position the non-pole leg, and the volume of your scream as you collapse to the floor.

Today my arms are out of commission from grasping at the large piece of metal for dear life. I believe I now have a new found respect for pole dancers everywhere.

Yeah. There's me. And then there's the REAL dancers. I don't think I will ever have the muscle it takes to do some of those moves. By the way, cool little factoid about the shoes. Not just for looks. The extra height gives shorter dancers a step up on the pole & more space to slide down.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

We've Been Spotted

Shhh. ... Don't move... I think its eyesight is based on movement...

The UW Art Department is Pagan

Quite a while back in Madison - 2005 actually - we had the winter to last all winters. It wasn't even the good kind of winter with 32 degree days, no wind, sun, and just enough snow for schools to be called off. In fact, it was the antithesis of a good winter: weeks with below zero temps and a biting wind chill, sleet, icy roads, months of overcast skies, gritty car boogers, and a general feeling of "blah". Everyone in town seemed extra cranky due to an increasing feeling of hopelessness that spring would never come again.

And then the local artists came out - the ones that sometimes create for a final project, but sometimes just for the sake of creation. There was a collective sigh of relief and a brightening of spirits the day we all saw the art tree. The giant maple tree in the heart of the UW campus, which had previously been in bare-boned hibernation, was covered with multicolored pieces of square fabric. An art student had set up a ladder and had meticulously tied hundreds to each twig. Looking from a distance, the tree represented the four seasons - going from light green to dark to oranges, reds and yellows, to bare again. That was the first day the sun had come out in weeks. I remember people standing around it like it was some kind of shining beacon of hope in the midst of the cold.

Friday I walked through the downtown theater's art gallery to find that even in the summer, the UW art department never ceases to amaze. Their latest installment is called "The Web of Life", and aims to remind its audience that an oil spill in the gulf doesn't end at the shoreline.
Although, the circle here kind of reminds me of Big Bird's nest. :)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Rose Quartz Giveaway

For those of you who like shiny things (And if you're a bellydancer I know you do!), Judith over at Merlin's Magickal Mistress is hosting a giveaway for a beautiful rose quartz pendant.

Be sure to check out the rest of her site, as she has some great herbal recipes.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Salad for Shrimps

Cooking Adventure: Shrimp, Mango & Avocado Salad with Sweet Chili-Ginger Vinaigrette
Source: Bon Appétit magazine
The Bellydance Soundtrack: Cantamilla by Tranquility Bass
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

So today I open the fridge thinking I'll make some more salad for lunch with the leftover shrimp. Somehow the shrimp ended up in the freezer. Normally this would be fine, however it had been frozen once before. Meaning? What ended up having to thaw was not just the shrimp, but also the water from the bag that had caused it to freeze into one large, pink ice ball.

I can't list the recipe here because of copyright issues, but let's just say this is worth buying the August addition of Bon Appétit. And this is coming from the woman that usually hates salads.

For Next Time: Put less of the vinaigrette on it. If you mix the shrimp in it, and then drizzle it on top it's just too much. Also, I've found a new friend in Asian sweet chili sauce. It tastes like the base for sweet & sour sauce and it is excellent!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Can You Crochet Me A Gun?

That was the question a little 5 year-old boy asked me today during 7th grade registration. He and his cousins were watching me crochet the hair cap for my latest amigurumi project - something I got hooked on last year (Ooh. Sorry about the pun.). Last week I gave my niece a doll of herself holding her new baby sister, and this week I'm constructing a goth girl for one of my bellydance friends.

If you'd like to try some of your own, know that it's highly addictive. So if you didn't have a place to store yarn before, find one now. I believe my yarn supply is starting to construct its own stronghold in my closet. And it's possible that they're sacrificing each other at night because I find little yarn "limbs" scattered all over the floor in the morning.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Celebrating Fried Stuff the Indian Way

Cooking Adventure: Vegetable Pakoras
Source: All Recipes
The Bellydance Soundtrack: Chunari Chunari by Abhijeet & Anuradha Sriram
Prep Time: 5-7 minutes
Cook Time: 2-3 minutes per pakora

My husband can attest to the fact that, for a while, I became obsessed with Indian food. I'm not exactly sure from where it stemmed, only that this recipe was the best thing to come out of it. Pakoras are great because they're easy to make, you can use just about any veggie, you can reuse the oil from the recipe, and the best part, because they impress vegetarian friends at parties.

Of course, pakoras have also taught me another thing: that fried things are usually unphotographable - especially when you are working with overhead kitchen lighting. Fried things, unless you're dealing with fries, usually come out looking about the same - whether they're fried veggies, chicken bits or even candy bars. Ew. But I kid you not, Monday night I actually turned to grabbing our mini camping lantern and hold it to the side of the food in a vain attempt to produce more appetizing photos. Thank the God for the few remaining minutes of luminescence left in the sunset that night.

For Next Time: Usually I only use onions and cauliflower for this, but I think I'd like to try mushrooms and see where those go. Tried carrots once. Don't try carrots. They don't work. I'll describe it as baby food in a fried coating and we'll leave it at that.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

School Supplies Out. Pentacle Away.

Once again the school year is quickly coming upon us in Wisconsin. Myself, I spend the semesters as a volunteer coordinator and part-time kid wrangler. When I stopped by my office today to make my own preparations, the tables and computers were already set up for registration this week. I'm sort of excited for registration because it means an official start to the inherent madness that is middle school. I get to meet kids who I might forget a few minutes later - those are usually the really good kids. And then I get to meet the kids whose names I will learn from hearing them repeated and screamed over the walkie-talkies - those are usually the kids who want to be good, but find the process challenging. It gets me excited for a new year of ups, downs, and head-on collisions.

However, the start of the school year also means the end of summer, and coming to grips with a new reality. I've kept the pre-registration tradition of getting one last look at myself in the mirror with my pentacle necklace on. I take the time to remember my other tradition - the second school lets out for the year one - when I put the necklace on and never take it off for a second. Heck, I didn't take it off even when I went up north to the Iron County fair when I worried that the more conservative ilk wouldn't take too kindly to it (Actually, no one batted an eye, and I met two other Pagans there. Kudos to Iron County and breaking down small town stereotypes.). I kept it on for every bellydance performance, lesson, and practice. I wore it to bed, in the shower, and when I went to the gym. But when the school year starts it has to come off.

I know why I do it. There are many reasons. Mostly because kids talk. And also because adults talk, and boy do they ever. Parents worry. Assumptions are made. And if you've ever worked in a public school before, you know that there's too much assuming and gossip already. All of these reasons go through my head that day before registration. And every year I try to fight it with my own counter arguments. I try to tell myself to wear a less conspicuous piece of jewelery. To put it under my shirt. To just stop whining already - it's just a necklace. In the end, though, I always take it off. I enjoy my job too much to turn it into a fight.

Really, it's not about wearing the pentacle itself, or about attracting attention (Though often it is how we Pagans find each other.), or even about battling some kind of perceived religious repression. It comes down to the fact that all summer I'm completely and wholly myself. But when fall rolls around... Well, I guess you could say that part of me goes into hibernation - only to emerge during the evenings, weekends, and finally in the summer.

I think I know what Persephone must feel like. :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Bringing Out the Stash

Cooking Adventure: Pumpkin Cookies with Cinnamon Glaze
Source: Heather Bullard
The Bellydance Soundtrack: Baghdad by Jesse Cook
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time: 13-15 minutes

Part one of the part time cooking was actually supposed to be this recipe. I went with the candied citrus peel after I called the grocery store asking if they had canned pumpkin & was told that there was a national shortage. "What?" I said. "Yeah right, I'm going to look that up." And sure enough, believe it or not, the U.S. is currently experiencing a shortage of canned pumpkin (You can read the Washington Post article here). Turns out the main source for pumpkins is Illinois. They've had so much rain this summer that it was just too much for the fields. I admit it made me realize just how separated we can get from the sources and processes behind what we eat.

Lucky for me though, my husband baked several trays of pumpkin seeds last October and had stored the pulp in the freezer. And also lucky for me, I didn't chuck it the day I wondered aloud when we were ever going to use that frozen pumpkin.

And so, if you're fortunate enough to have your own stash, I highly recommend these cookies. They have a very nice doughy bread consistency that will definitely have you blogging about how you're blogging to keep from eating the whole batch.

For Next Time: I forgot to add the cinnamon to the glaze, but it still tastes great! And the fact that I got my pumpkin amidst the shortage makes it sweeter.

And Here We Have the Elusive Bellydancer!

One of my favorite pastimes has been to takeover the local YMCA's dance studio for an afternoon. I love to hunker down for an hour or two with my iPod and my bellydance swag bag. The studio is wonderful. It has a perfect sound system, an ample amount of mirrors, lighting and fans, and excellent wood floors. There's only one slight downside. While one side of the studio is a set of second-story windows, the other side is also windows - facing the hallway and the windowed kid's center. The result is that I inevitably hear little banging sounds coming from the hall window while I'm dancing. The first day it happened I looked over to see four little kids with their hands and foreheads pressed up against the glass. I'd become a bellydancer in a fishbowl. I've gotten used to it though. Anyway, it's even more entertaining when the sword comes out. Once I heard a little boy yell, "Woah! Dad, can I get one of those?" Somehow I don't think he'll be getting that from Santa this year.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Citrus Peel Epoch

Cooking Adventure: Candied Citrus Peel
Source: Good Housekeeping Cookbook
The Bellydance Soundtrack: Greek Belly Dance Routine by Anto & Yervant
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

While I'm not quite in the age bracket for the Good Housekeeping magazine yet, I bow down in worship to their cookbooks. I'm not completely in the know-how when it comes to basic cooking techniques, and I always seem to forget the ratio of water to rice. With these things in mind, the Good Housekeeping cookbook has a veritable vocabulary for the culinary adventurer.

I had to pop in my Greek music for this one. Why? Because I was cooking with portokali's, which led me to think of Portokalos, which led me to think of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", so, there you go. Sometimes we spend so much time cooking for our own physical survival, that we just need to change things up and cook because we can. And boy, does this recipe call for some cooking! It's not complicated in ingredients or techniques, just in its steps. I boiled the peel three separate times, boiled sugar water up to a specific temperature, simmered and stirred for an hour, and then let the peels dry overnight. The lesson here: don't make these expecting to eat them right away. The other lesson here: This recipe makes 2 pounds of candy. Good amount for parties; way too much for one person.

3.5 cups sugar
1.5 cups water
5 medium navel oranges (I don't really think it matters what kind of orange you use.)

1. Score the oranges into quarters & carefully remove the peel. Cut the peel into 1/4 inch strips.
2. Put the orange peels in a deep pot and cover with water. Heat to boiling, boil for 5 minutes, and drain peels well. Do this 2 more times.
3. In a separate deep saucepan mix in the water & 2.5 cups of the sugar. Heat to boiling and allow sugar to dissolve completely.
4. With a candy thermometer, heat until temperature reads between 230-234 degrees Fahrenheit (Takes about 15 minutes). At this point, stir in the orange peel until well-coated with sugar mixture.
5. Reduce heat and partially cover. Allow to simmer until the orange peels have absorbed all the sugar mixture - about 1 hour stirring every 10 minutes or so.
6. Sprinkle remaining sugar on a strip of wax paper. Using tongs to handle the peels (They're REALLY sticky!) coat them in sugar. Place on wax paper or wire wrack to cool and dry overnight.

Peels can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature for up to a month.

They come out tasting almost exactly like those gummi orange slices you find at Walgreens and gas stations, but I suspect these are a tad bit healthier. Well, as healthy as something coated and soaked in sugar water can be.

For Next Time: I don't know how big a fan I am of the 1/4inch strips. They come out looking a bit like gummy worms. The next go around I'm using mini cookie cutters and doing shapes. I'd also like to switch it up and make it more colorful with some lemons and limes.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

So, About That Trip...

My husband and I were just leaving Baraboo when we got the call from my dad. My grandma was back in the hospital getting CAT/MRI scans to find the cause of her slurred speech. Of all the things in the world it could have been, her body drew the brain cancer card - the one where you do a Wikipedia search for symptoms and it takes all day to load the page. She's a strong woman, though. And proud at that. She didn't want more people seeing her sick than was necessary, so my husband and I headed back home. We'll be driving back in two weeks anyway for the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, so I'll get to see her then (Hopefully, by then back to home and out of bed.).
Of course, we couldn't just drive straight home. We'd gone all that way, and I needed some cheering up, so we stopped by the Just Imagine toy store in downtown Baraboo. I think we might have been the only two adults without kids shopping for ourselves. I added to my growing wind-up toy collection that my 3 year-old niece absolutely loves to play with (Stories to come another time.). Plus, I found hamster stickers! Always a good excuse to write letters the old fashioned way.Before leaving town we got some air at the Baraboo Zoo/Park where we fed the goats, stared at the bobcat until we though he was tired of us, and faked gymnastic prowess on the playground equipment. The whole side trip had me feeling better, and gave me some new photos to send my grandma's way.This is what happens when you take a photo of someone making silly faces at the top of a swing.
Like I said, faux gymnastics skills.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Traveling Traditions

My family went on many the car trip when I was a kid - from the deserts of Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada & Texas, to the bang-your-head-on-a-wall-for-fun boredom of the straight shot through North Dakota. So my parents learned to stock a good supply of automobile entertainment. While I no longer have my 60's travel bingo cards, my tape recorder with a microphone (That made for some interesting old tapes containing literally hours of kid babble.), or my lap desk/pillow, I've still found ways to entertain myself and my husband on those 5 hour trips to the Twin Cities.
This weekend I'll be tuning in to find out the chilling conclusion of Superman vs. The Atom Man! It's a 7 CD collection of old Superman radio shows from 1948, and there is no better nostalgia than the kind that happened before you were born. Each show was sponsored by Kellogg's - which is proudly announced at the beginning of every show: "Kellooooggs PEP! Start your day off with a bowl of Kellogg's brand Pep cereal! And kids, make sure to collect the Kellogg's buttons with all your favorite characters, warplanes, or military insignia!"
The shows highlight Superman trying to stop the evil Nazi scientist, Der Teufil, from injecting a soldier with Kryptonite that would turn him into an atomic man - capable of defeating and controlling Superman! Superpowers aside, the plot is fairly believable, but there are some things that make me question the intelligence level of the greater Metropolis area. Like the fact that Superman is constantly forgetting to maintain his cover while dressed as Clark Kent.

Clark Kent: We have to stop him! A Kryptonite man could destroy me!
Police Chief: What's that you say? Destroy you?
Clark Kent: I mean Superman! Yes... destroy Superman!

Or the strange medical practices of the city's doctors. Clark Kent and the Police Chief need to question a man who has just sustained third degree burns over 80% of his body and is more-or-less dead (He's not quite dead!).

Clark Kent: We've got to wake him up! Please doctor, you've got to revive him!
Doctor: Well, I'll see what I can do. Get me a rag and a bowl of hot water.

Note to self, don't wake up to find myself injured in Metropolis. When I last left Superman the Nazis were just about to succeed with the Atom Man and Clark Kent had finally changed into Superman. I'll let you know how things go. I expect there will be physical battles, and battles in Clark Kent's psyche to keep him from wearing his Superman uniform to work.

Impromptu Breakfasting

Cooking Adventure: Breakfast Yogurt Parfait
Source: Me
The Bellydance Soundtrack: First Train Home by Imogen Heap
Prep Time: 2 minutes

At the moment I'm in a kind of food coma after eating my very delicious parfait. I'm taking the time to enjoy my morning lull before finally showering up, getting dressed, and packing for my weekend jaunt home. My grandma just had her second surgery to take care of colon cancer that reared its ugly head, so I'm visiting her to make sure, as she puts it, all her parts are in order.

Imogen Heap has some songs that are not only good travel music, but perfect for veil pieces. I was lucky enough to see a solo veil performance to her song, "Have You Got It In You?", a few years ago, and it was, to say the least, breathtaking.

For those of you scrolling down and saying, "Yes, yes. Get to the food part already!", here it is:

1-1.5 cups vanilla yogurt
A hard granola (I used Oatmeal Crisp. Special K type stuff will not work. It gets really soggy really quickly.)
1 Tbsp. Raisins
1 Tbsp. Chopped walnuts
3 pinches Cinnamon
1 pinch Nutmeg

1. Put the yogurt in the bottom of a wine glass/small bowl.
2. Fill with just enough granola to cover, & sprinkle with raisins & walnuts.
3. Top with cinnamon and nutmeg.

For Next Time: I wouldn't change a thing for mine. It was perfect. Although if you're feeling adventurous - and I hope you are - you can always substitute/add in almonds, dried cranberries, honey, blueberries, etc.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Future Quiche Topping?

Cooking Adventure: Balsamic Roasted Tomatoes
Source: The Food Network
The Bellydance Soundtrack: Shimmers in the Sand by Phil Thornton & Hossam Ramzy
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

The tomato is the symbol for love, and apparently last night I didn't get enough lovin' from the artichoke stew. So today I decided to try another recipe. What better way to get rid of leftovers before a weekend trip? I found a Roma tomato hiding in the fruit drawer whose purchase date I I could only vaguely remember. Luckily, it was enough to know that it was more than likely still good. Did the squeeze test. Yup. Still good.

It turns out to be a good recipe for a quick snack. But I'd suggest having the tomatoes on top of something (i.e. toasted bread, quiche, etc.). I'd also suggest checking the oven before you preheat it so you don't open it only to find the burnt remains of what used to be pita bread. This is the exact reason I never store things in my oven.

For Next Time: Slap it on top of something. And involve olive oil somehow.

Caution: This recipe may result in byproducts in the form of burnt pita.

Biking Chores

Although it's been ungodly hot outside lately, the inside of the apartment is even more sweltering because of my stubborn need to conserve energy by not turning on the air conditioning. So, in an effort to create my own wind, I did a few errands by bike. Stopped by the post office for some government-funded Antarctic-level air conditioning. Hopped over to the pet store (because the hamsters refuse to eat anything in their current food bag but the sunflower seeds and peanuts). And ducked into the St. Vincent de Paul for a quick look-see. Biking back down the path I came across this.
I discovered the magical twig a few months ago, and to this day can still not figure out how it did that. Any takers?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bellydancing at the Hookah

Madison has an excellent bellydance friend in the Mediterranean Hookah Lounge and Café. It actually used to be quite the seedy place until they spruced it up and give the restaurant its Middle Eastern theme. Now it's the hot spot for up and coming dancers to practice their skill for a live audience, and for bit of extra cash. Not to mention a a great place for catching the music group, Alkhemia. Last night the owner opened the restaurant especially for student night, when any dance student can come and strut between waiters and performance-flirt with patrons. You'll never find a more accepting and supportive crowd anywhere else. Nor will you find better lattes!

Dipping my Toe in the Vegan Stew

Dance is such a large part of my life. It encompasses my workouts, my wardrobe, my friends, my craft and even my cooking. The great part about kitchen crafting is that every budding chef cooks to a beat of their own - and me, well, quite literally. A new recipe always has its own soundtrack, and with these entries I hope to combine the music and the food to really give you the full experience of dancing with a spatula wand.

Cooking Adventure: Red Lentil Artichoke Stew
Source: The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
The Bellydance Soundtrack: Junktion by Beats Antique
Prep Time: 5-7 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

I really love meat and other animal products too much to ever go vegan, but that doesn't mean I won't try their recipes. I eat so much bread anyway, that it's time for me to finally abide by that age old motherly saying: Eat your vegetables.

The hubby was out at roller derby practice and wouldn't get back until 8:30PM, so I started around 8PM thinking that by the time I got done prepping I'd be too tired to actually combine the ingredients. Surprisingly enough though, the biggest things to do were to chop two onions and mince garlic. Prep time was made even better by the can opener and a can of chopped tomatoes and artichoke heart quarters. It was a throw-it-in-the-pot and simmer kind of recipe - my favorite kind for late night cooking.

, it came out pretty much how you'd expect lentils, tomatoes, artichokes and cumin to taste. Pretty good for a quick meal. And plenty leftovers for work lunches.

For Next Time: I'd probably serve it over basmati rice. It just needs to go with something else. Ooh. Perhaps served with grapes and mangoes?