Adventures in Cooking: Onion Soup

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soupThis soup is a cleverly disguised (and tasty) way of eating a whole lot of onions. You’ll find there’s not much else in the recipe. I picked this particular recipe because I’m fighting a cold and I figured it would help. Keep in mind you’ll need an immersion blender for this recipe.

 

My Thoughts

Don’t expect to be in flavor country with this recipe. It’s good but bland. Surprisingly filling, the soup gave me energy and helped clear out my sinuses. I recommend serving it piping hot. While eating it, I couldn’t help but think of Stanley and Zero from the book Holes.

The Recipe

Click here for the recipe I used.

I underestimated just how long it would take to sauté 8 onions (WOW). I recommend separating them out into a few different pans and cooking them simultaneously. The directions say to take the celery out before serving, but I personally like celery in my soup. When you make the toppings (more onions + cilantro) I recommend sautéing the onions until they are crunchy. Continue reading

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Adventures in Cooking: Refrigerator Oatmeal

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unnamedThis week’s recipe is a breakfast dish that goes by the names muesli, summer porridge, and breakfast oatmeal.

I’m one of those people who need to eat breakfast. And I almost always prefer cold foods to warm foods. Refrigerator oatmeal has quickly become a breakfast staple for me for so many reasons:

  • It’s convenient (you make it the night before)
  • It’s a great source of calcium and protein
  • There are over 10 different flavors
  • I love the texture of oatmeal (not to mention it’s cheap!)
  • The chia seeds help stabilize my blood sugar level (among countless other benefits)

To read more about chia seeds and to see the recipes, click here. For 8 additional recipes, click here.

So far I’ve tried the Maple Blueberry and Pumpkin Pie (see picture) varieties. I definitely prefer the blueberry because it has a lot more flavor than the pumpkin. The sourness of the not-quite-ripe blueberries I used went well with the greek yogurt. Because of what I had lying around the kitchen, I experimented with honey instead of maple syrup (not the best idea) and used almond milk instead of skim milk (this one worked out). The pumpkin is a little bland (and the color takes some getting used to) but you can fix this by sprinkling cinnamon or nutmeg on top just before eating.

Adventures in Cooking: Turmeric Tea

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unnamedAs part of my 2014 resolution to cook more often and eat a healthier diet, I’m aiming to try one new recipe each week. This week’s experiment is Turmeric Tea.

Why Turmeric?

Sometimes called the “Spice of Life,” Turmeric is a gold-colored spice that comes from the plant Curcuma Longa. It is mainly used in India for its health benefits and as a yellow dye (be careful, the stuff stains kitchenware). Turmeric has considerable anti-inflammatory properties and has historically been used to treat sprains, aches, and pains along with liver and gastrointestinal disorders. Curcumin, the stuff that gives turmeric its yellow color, is responsible for all these benefits. Among a host of other word that begin with “anti,” curcumin is an antioxidant that can fight against chronic illnesses like diabetes and arthritis. Curcumin has even been labeled as an “anticancer.”

Click here for the recipe.

I liked this recipe because it was simple – there are only four ingredients. If you like honey, the stuff is actually pretty good. Just be careful with the black pepper. I added way too much the first time I made it and the taste of pepper covered up everything else!

Just Because –

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book wormReading a lot of blogs lately has made me realize that I haven’t posted on my own blog in far too long. Perhaps this is because many of my posts are book reviews and I haven’t finished any books lately; or maybe the big changes going on in my life right now have prevented me from wanting to or having the time to write.

But since I’m now feeling the inclination to write, it’s time to talk about my favorite topic – books! I’m currently in the middle of Mervyn Peake’s exhaustively dense Gormenghast Trilogy and Salvatore’s Gauntlgrym, the first in a quartet titled Neverwinter. I ordered the first three books in the saga because I thought I needed to get caught up on Drizzt’s story before The Last Threshold came out … but I just saw that it was released on March 5. Continue reading

Exploring Florida’s Waterways – the Ocklawaha River

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Ocklawaha River - Photo via FloridaTraveler.com

My boss wanted me to write about the canoe trip I took on the weekend of my 23rd birthday – but of course it had to be work-friendly :/

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What do alligators, bacon-wrapped Oreos, and hillbillies have in common? They were all part of my weekend canoe trip down the Ocklawaha River near Ocala, FL. Exploring Florida’s waterways is part of my continuing discovery of the Sunshine State. I encountered my first alligator while kayaking on the “wild and scenic” Loxahatchee River, I have helped locals clear trash from the mangroves in Biscayne Bay, I celebrated my first Florida fourth of July by swimming in the Atlantic, and I have experienced the Gulf by boat. Last month I had the opportunity to canoe an 18-mile portion of the Ocklawaha River. Continue reading

Why you Shouldn’t Watch Oz: The Great and Powerful

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Oz: The Great and Powerful The only thing “great and powerful” about the new Oz film is the trailer. The fast-paced and exciting preview will make anyone familiar with L. Frank Baum’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (or the 1939 movie) want to watch this movie – and who wouldn’t? Everyone loves this whimsical tale, including me. The story is cinematic gold – and one would expect Disney to put a little more effort into a movie they know everyone will want to see. The story is so popular that it has spurred the creation of Gregory Maguire’s popular quartet of novels: The Wicked Years and the Broadway musical Wicked. Based on my opinion of the original movie and the aforementioned books and musical, my hopes were sky high for the new movie Oz: The Great and Powerful.

(Spoilers!) Continue reading

The War of the Worlds: What I Really Think

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The War of the WorldsI have a hard time being objective. I’d prefer to leave objectivity to the journalists. That being said, I usually try to be at least somewhat objective when I review a book. And since my tastes – from music to men – usually fall far from the norm, I try my best to look at a book from all sides.

When I finally got around to reading my old copy of The War of the Worlds, I had high expectations. I mean, HG Wells is heralded as being one of the “fathers” of Science Fiction.  Along with Jules Verne, he is virtually given credit for the invention of the genre – which just so happens to be my second-favorite (after Fantasy, of course).

Oftentimes, Science Fiction writers focus so much on creating a plot full of aliens, explosions, and the like that they completely forgo character development (I have to admit that Fantasy falls into this trap as well). Sometimes this works out if the plot is exceptional, but I usually feel like something’s missing. When I find a book that combines an exciting plot, character development, AND great writing –well then I’m hooked (**coughOrsonScottCardcough**). I expected nothing less when I read Journey to the Center of the Earth last month. Honestly, the book couldn’t have disappointed me more. I respect its place in the Science Fiction canon, but throwing all objectivity aside – it sucked.  Continue reading

Save Fort Lauderdale’s Rain Tree!

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ImageOn the south side of the New River, across from Fort Lauderdale’s historic district, towers a stunningly large tree. The tree is an Albizia Saman – more commonly known as a “rain tree” because its leaves curl up during precipitation. One of our guides, Chris Brennan, recently brought to our attention that this nationally-treasured tree is in danger. This species of tree might look familiar to you because an even larger rain tree in Tobago served as the site where castaways built an elaborate tree house in the movie Swiss Family Robinson.

In 1982, the Fort Lauderdale rain tree was declared the largest of its species in the state of Florida. And since Florida is the only state in the US where rain trees grow, it is probably the largest in the country. In 1987, the Fort Lauderdale City Commission added this six-story-high tree to a list of 36 protected trees to ensure that it would not be damaged or removed. However, developer and property owner Asi Cymbal has plans to build an enormous condominium in the same location. If this rain tree is destroyed, only 11 protected trees will remain standing in the city. Continue reading