Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

Last night I made a great recipe for Chewy Gingerbread Cookies that I found on Martha Stewart’s Web site. The cookies look and taste great, and I'm hopeful they'll be the perfect offering for my Thanksgiving hostesses.

3 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
2 tablespoons finely grated, peeled fresh ginger
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
2 tablespoons baking soda, dissolved in 1 tablespoon boiling water
1/3 cup granulated sugar

Sift together flour, cocoa powder, and spices into a medium bowl. Put butter, brown sugar, and grated ginger into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in molasses.

Beat in flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the baking soda mixture. Shape dough into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours (up to overnight).
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Shape dough into 1/2-inch balls, and space 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate 20 minutes.

Roll balls in granulated sugar. Bake until surfaces crack slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on sheets, 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks, and let cool completely. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container up to 3 days.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Banana Espresso Muffins

In anticipation of the work week and my continual need for a a sweet accompaniment to my morning coffee, on Sunday night I made a recipe for Banana Espresso Muffins that I found on a cooking blog (via Tastespotting). I love banana bread, and this recipe seemed to offer a new and exciting alternative to the classic staple.

The muffins turned out quite tasty and have paired nicely with my morning java this week.

1 very ripe banana, lightly mashed
1/4 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup unbleached flour
6 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor mix banana and sour cream until smooth. Add the egg, lemon zest, and vanilla and process until blended. In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and beat on low speed of a stand mixer for about 1 minute. Add the butter and half the banana mixture and beat until the dry ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and add the remaining banana mixture in two parts, beating for about 20 seconds after each addition. Add pecans and beat on low speed just until incorporated. Remove half of the batter and place in separate bowl and add the espresso powder until incorporated.

Place muffin liners in tins and alternate spooning banana mixture and espresso mixture into each liner until full to the top. Take a knife and gently swirl each muffin liner to mix the espresso batter and banana batter. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove muffins from pan and cool on wire rack.

African Peanut Butter Stew

I tried a recipe for African Peanut Butter Stew this past Saturday night. I found the recipe online at Lunds and Byerly's, the Minneapolis gourmet grocery store that I am mildly obsessed with. For over a year, I've been wanting to recreate an African stew that I enjoyed at an on-campus lecture event I attended last year (at which my former Professor, Harold Scheub, of the famed African Storyteller 210, relayed his favorite tales and explained commonly used story devices). I've been waiting for the perfect stew weather. And this past weekend, I knew that it was finally time.

While the stew did require some prep work, the end result was well worth the elbow grease. My friend Karen gushed that it was one of the best dinners I've ever made. The pictures above just don't do the dish justice. It was a great combination of hearty vegetables, chicken, and subtle flavors of curry, peanut butter, and pepper, over a fluffy bed of couscous. The recipe also made enough to feed approximately 10 people, and since there were only three of us, I have lots of great leftover lunches for the week.

2 tablespoons roasted peanut oil
1 large onion, chopped (1 3/4 cups)
2 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can chicken broth
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
4 large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 bell peppers, green, red and yellow, chopped
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 6 cups)
1 (10 ounce) package couscous

Heat oil in heavy saucepan. Stir in onion, cook over medium heat until translucent. Stir in chicken, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until outside is browned. Stir in chicken broth, tomato paste, peanut butter, carrots, bell peppers, curry powder, red pepper flakes, remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat; simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Stir in sweet potatoes and continue to cook until potatoes are tender and chicken is no longer pink (about 30 minutes). Meanwhile, prepare couscous according to package directions using 1 teaspoon salt. Serve stew over hot couscous.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Modern Camper

Growing up, my family did a lot of camping, traversing the best Wisconsin state parks with our trusty popup camper in tow. Many of my favorite memories from growing up are those in which I was camping and spending time with my family in the great outdoors. That's why I was so excited to learn about a new "camper-esque" product on the market for today's adventure lovers...

Recently awarded the coveted designation of “Men’s Journal Gear of the Year 2008,” Sylvan Sport’s GO is the most unique, intuitive, versatile, and lightweight mobile adventure camping and travel trailer ever created.

The all-aluminum, low profile design weighs in at just 800 pounds and can be pulled behind even the smallest cars. You can stow up to 800 pounds of equipment in one configuration, and strap gear and bikes to the Thule-compatible roof rack system in another.

The tent fits cleanly into the roof’s storage box, and when you’re ready to set up camp, the tent stands up in just two minutes. The camper-esque dome tent offers a dining table and space for up to four adults. The GO also comes with a locking, weather-proof gear box where you can keep all of your camping essentials. The GO will set you back $8,000.

The Glady-Ator

Gladys "Glady-ator" Burrill, age 90, plans to race walk her 5th marathon at the Honolulu Marathon on Dec. 14. Her goal is to do an 8:30 marathon and break the women's 90-94 age group world record. Wow.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Ugg-Free and Proud

Meet my new winter boots. While I haven’t purchased them yet, I intend to as soon as possible. They’re the perfect blend of style and function—sort of a hybrid of rugged Sorels and trendy Uggs. I’ve been searching for the perfect pair of boots for some time now. Specifically, something that I can tromp around and shovel snow in, but just as easily wear to work and pair with my long, wool black coat for a more sophisticated look. I’d say these Merrels succeed in meeting both requirements equally. I found the boots in the latest Title Nine catalog.

As a side note, I will never wear Uggs. I will always remember my brother telling me a few years ago, “Don’t be one of those girls.” That’s stuck with me, and I just can’t do it. To this day, I remain Ugg-free and proud.

Most Delicious Apple Cake

Last weekend, I also made this great apple cake that I found at the excellent food blog 101 Cookbooks. It was really easy, and I think it turned out quite delicious. I also think it looks hot, too (see photo, above). Would you agree, Katy?

I made/would make a few substitutions. I couldn't find large grain sugar, so I just used regular sugar to sprinkle on top. And although I used natural cane sugar as the recipe suggested, I think I would use brown sugar next time for a little more flavor and sweetness. The cake definitely got better throughout the week as the flavors intensified and the cake moistened.

Unfussy Apple Cake Recipe
from 101 Cookbooks

2 cups sweet, crisp red apples, cut into 1/4 cubes (peel on)
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup dark Muscavado sugar (or other fine-grain natural cane or brown sugar), lump-free
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2 eggs1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled a bit
3 tablespoons large grain sugar

Preheat the oven to 400F degrees, racks in the middle. Butter and flour (or line bottom with parchment paper) one 9-inch square baking dish or tart pan, you can also bake it in a 9x13 pan but really keep a close eye on it after 20 minutes - it will be quite thin.

Place the chopped apples in a bowl of water along with the juice of one lemon. Set aside. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, sugar and salt in a large bowl. And in a separate smaller bowl whisk together the eggs and the buttermilk. Whisk in the melted butter. Pour the buttermilk mixture over the flour mixture and stir until barely combined - try not to over mix. Now drain the apple, shake off any excess water, and fold the apples into the cake batter.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, pushing it out toward the edges. Sprinkle with most of the large grain sugar. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until cake is just set and a touch golden on top. I like this cake every-so-slightly under-baked, just barely, remember it will cook for a little while after you remove it from the oven

Favorite Chili

I made a double batch to ensure plenty of leftovers!

Here's my Tupperware, reheat special!

The last time I was home to visit my parents, my mom whipped up an amazing batch of chili from a recipe that she had found in the March 2008 Rachel Ray magazine. Apparently it was the winning chili recipe for some sort of chili cook off Rachel had hosted for readers. I think this chili is awesome, especially served with cilantro, shredded cheese, and tortilla chips. It's quickly become my favorite, and it's the perfect Tupperware, reheat lunch for me at the office.

2 T. olive oil
1 pound of lean ground beef or Boca meatless ground burger
1/2 cup chopped onion1 garlic clove finely chopped
1 T. chili powder
1 t. ground cumin
1 15oz can black beans1
15 oz can pinto beans
1 10oz can tomatoes and green chiles
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
12 oz Monterrey jack pepper cheese, shredded
1 (10 oz) bag corn chips such as Fritos

1. In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook for 7 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, chili powder and cumin and cook over medium low heat for 5 minutes. Add the beans, with their liquid, and the tomatoes; bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Stir in the cilantro, then top with the cheese, cover and let stand until the cheese melts, 5 to 10 minutes. Place a handful of corn chips in each of 4 bowls. Top with the chili and serve.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

He's At It Again!

My brother recently found out that he secured a lottery spot for the 2010 Western States Endurance Run, which is a race that he's been trying to get in to for a few years now. Western States 100 is one of the oldest ultra trail events in the world, and definitely one of the most challenging. The 100-mile rugged trail run winds through California’s Sierra Nevada, beginning in Squaw Valley, and ending in Auburn. The run includes a climb of 2,550 vertical feet in the first 4½ miles, and a cumulative total of 18,000 feet of climbing and 23,000 feet of descents.

The race begins at 5am on the Saturday of the last weekend in June and runners must finish by 11am the following day in order to be eligible for an award (the coveted bronze belt buckle). The field typically consists of approximately 450 seasoned ultra running veterans.

So Kelly will add yet another ultra endurance race to his impressive and continually growing resume. His next ultra is on February 7—the Rocky Raccoon 100 mile trail run in Huntsville, Texas, which is the race that started his ultra career in 2005. Since the race will be much flatter and faster than many of the other ultras Kelly has competed in, his goal is to run a PR. Can you even imagine trying to run a personal best in a 100-mile trail run? It’s really just hard to grasp the concept of running that far, let alone trying to run it as fast as you can. But that’s my brother. Always making my athletic accomplishments look like small potatoes :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pain Un Chocolat, S'il Vous Plait

Over the weekend, I joined my friends Jill and Ryan for a nice breakfast of patisseries at La Baguette, which recently relocated to Madison from the north woods of Minocqua, and prior to that, France. The bakery is now located in a strip mall near West Town mall on Mineral Point Road. While the owners make a solid effort to create the atmosphere of a French cafĂ©, the location and strip mall vibe thwart all attempts. But here’s a case in which food trumps atmosphere, and the declisous pastries and breads more than made up for what La Baguette lacks in atmosphere.

I met Jill and Ryan for breakfast on Saturday at 9am. By then, the place was bustling, and there was already a sizable line at the counter, which only continued to grow during our time there. Luckily, Ryan was able to save us one of the 10 or so tables for dining in, and Jill and I stood in line and salivated over the beautiful baguettes, croissants, brioches, ciabatta, and quiches. I decided on an apple turnover for breakfast and a chocolate-chip scone to go. Why is it that I can never decide on just one of something? Jill and Ryan each enjoyed a chocolate croissant and shared a goat cheese quiche.

As I’ve mentioned before, Jill was my roommate my freshman year in college in the dorms, and has been a close friend ever since. Jill studied abroad in Paris her junior year in college (with our mutual friend Emily) and is pretty much obsessed with anything French. She is quite the connosuier of chocolate croissants (I love how she confidently marches up to the counter and orders a “Pain un Chocolat” in a beautiful French accent. I also have to add that when Ryan proposed to Jill a few years ago, he learned a bit of French so he could ask her to marry him in the “language of love”. Now that deserves a drawn-out awwww…

Back to the patisseries. They are wonderful, and from what I’ve been told, very genuine. They’re light and flaky, and very fresh. I was most impressed with the sheer number of options. Prices are also very reasonable. We all agreed, however, that service is still a work in progress. While the staff is attentive and friendly (and very French), they need to come up with a better strategy to get the line moving a bit quicker. It seems like a second cash register would speed things up significantly.

Other than that, I was very impressed, and it’s already clear that La Baguette will be very successful in Madison. Jill and Ryan claim the’ve been there every weekend since it’s openend.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Long Live the 80's

Over the weekend, I attended an 80’s-themed 40th birthday party at Nakoma Country Club in Madison. Random. How did I find myself at such a function, one might ask?

My friends Brodie and Lauren, who have been great friends of mine since college (I was even the maid-of-honor in their wedding two years ago!) invited me to go with them to the party, which was a birthday celebration for two of Lauren’s married clients who train at her West side Orange Shoe Gym.

The party was a blast, and I’m now inspired to throw an 80’s party of my own. Although we were notably lame, sporting little 80’s flair other than “Save Ferris” buttons, we promised each other that we would be well prepared for the the next 80’s party we’d surely find ourselves at soon.

One thing is for certain, these 40-some year olds sure knew how to roll. The 80’s decorations were fantastic, with movie posters and classic quotes adorning the stately country club decor. I loved the continual play list of 80’s hits, complete with music videos on a big screen, and watching everyone re-live their glory days on the dance floor while sporting tight-rolled jeans, leg warmers, and acid washed jeans. Not to mention the spread of amazing appetizers, cake, and of course, the open bar. Like I said, this was a party.

Mark my words, I will not be lame at the next 80’s party I attend.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Holiday Art Festivals

Need something unique for that special someone on your holiday gift list? Look no further...

MMoCA Holiday Art Fair
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art
227 State Street
Friday, November 21, Noon-6pm; Saturday, November 22, 10am-5pm; Sunday, November 23, 11am-3pm
$4 admission
  • Shop for original art and gifts from many local artists and the Rediscovered Art and Treasures Sale; quilt raffle and carolers.
4th Annual Holiday Craftacular
Saturday, December 6th, 10am-6pm
Madison Masonic Center
301 Wisconsin Avenue
Free admission

  • Over 60 artists and crafters featuring holiday gifts, cards, purses, housewares, clothing, body care, and more! First 50 shoppers get a free gift bag.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Beloved Farmers' Market Moves Indoors

The outdoor Dane County Farmers’ Market on the Square has come to an end for the season, which makes me want to cry. Last weekend marked the last outdoor market, and it was a sad site—it was freezing and seemingly decimated.

Luckily, a smaller, indoor version of the market is offered until the outdoor season returns next April. The indoor market will run every Saturday through Dec. 20 from 7 a.m. to Noon at the Monona Terrace (early winter market), then will transfer to the Madison Senior Center, 330 W. Mifflin St., in January through mid-April, on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to Noon (late winter market).

Although it’s definitely not the same as the outdoor market, the indoor market still features the season’s best bounty of vegetables, crafts, and homemade, home-grown Wisconsin products from over 300 vendors. Additionally, the “late” winter Farmers’ Market held at the Madison Senior Center features the very popular “Winter Market Breakfast,” which is a full breakfast that features vendors’ products as the main ingredients.

Perhaps all is not lost.

Free Beer This Weekend

99 Bottles Documentary is a documentary film that explores the history, processes, and culture of craft brewers in Southeastern Wisconsin. The film features the founders and brewmaster of 16 unique Wisconisin breweries and brewpubs. It’s a collaboration between Wisconsin-based Mutant Barmonkey Productions and Haptic Visison that began over a pint at Wolski’s Tavern.

The documentary is playing tonight and Saturday night at the Orpheum Theater in Madison. And yes, there will be free beer. Each show will feature a pair of breweries from the documentary that will sample their products thirty minutes before the show begins. Sounds a nice weekend excursion/cultural outing.

Cliff Bars for the Holidays

Just in time for the holidays, Cliff Bar has introduced three new seasonal cliff bar flavors that include Carmel Apple Cobbler, Iced Gingerbread, and Spiced Pumpkin Pie. Now that makes me want to get up and go work out!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

It's Back! Gingerbread Bagel.

Equally as good as Einstein’s seasonal pumpkin bagel is Panera’s seasonal Gingerbread Bagel. As so, as the saying goes, when one door closes, another one opens. Panera’s Gingerbread Bagel is flavored with ginger bits, cinnamon, nutmeg, molasses and filled with white chocolate & cinnamon chips. I prefer mine with the Hazelnut cream cheese and mug of piping hot dark roast coffee. Now that's breakfast.

Speaking of Panera, I’m also currently obsessed with their Bacon, Egg, & Cheese Breakfast Sandwich, a somewhat recent addition to the breakfast menu. The sandwich is made with all-natural eggs—freshly cracked every morning—a thick slice of Vermont white cheddar, and Applewood-smoked bacon all grilled between two slices of freshly baked Ciabatta. It’s heaven. There’s just something about that Vermont white cheddar that leaves my mouth watering, even now.

Sometimes I can't decide between the breakfast sandwich and the bagel. If you, too, find yourself in a similar situation, I'd recommend that you do as I've done, and just order both.

Friends & Family at Gap Inc.

Need clothes? Receive 30% off during Gap Inc.'s Friends and Family Event. 4 days only, November 13-16. Includes Gap, Gap Outlet, Banana Republic, Banana Republic Factory Store, and Old Navy. For every purchase you make, Gap Inc. will give 5% of the amount you spend to the World Wildlife Fund. Get the in-store, multiple use bar code here. Now go shop and stimulate the economy! Thanks to my friend Christie for the tip.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Buckeye Spirit?

Working in college admissions, I'm often amazed and equally humored by the things that prospective students write in their application statements and general e-mail correspondences. I could probably put together a whole book of funny stories and excerpts from my four years in admissions. I just received the following e-mail this morning from a prospective student....

I just wanted to thank you so much for the great information session last week. I had looked at your school online, but seeing it in person was a much better experience. The Buckeye spirit is quite something!

Buckeyes? I think you mean Badgers.

And last week, I reviewed an application statement with the following excerpt.

I have seen the Dave Matthews Band live twelve times in four cities across the Midwest. This is an example of the passion and dedication I will bring to Madison.

These sorts of statements give me headaches and make me laugh. Today I also read a letter of recommendation for an applicant from the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, Bud Selig. Just another day in college admissions.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Cronometro Bike Swap 2007

18th Annual Cronometro Bike Swap

18th Annual Cronometro Bike Swap
Madison, WI
Alliant Energy Center
Saturday, January 10, 2009
$7 per person

I think this is one of the best bike swaps in the country, and also where I purchased my first road bike and current commuter several years ago. It's a huge event, and there's both used and new bikes and gear. I've also found fantastic deals on new jerseys and bike shoes at this swap. If you're in town and in the market for affordable bike gear, definitely plan to check this one out. But make sure to get there early...there's always a long line at 9:30am.

Standing By My Man

Nov 4, 2008-Zilly Rosen of ZILLYCAKES in Buffalo, NY, builds a likeness of presidential candidate Barack Obama using 1240 cupcakes. Incredible!!

I love this picture!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Chef Dangler's PR Pasta

I found the following recipe in the November issue of Runner's World. I love how they always feature a runner chef and that person's favorite runner-friendly recipe. This one is from Chef James Dangler at the Ritz-Carlton Westchester in White Plains, New York. Chef Dangler credits this dish for his sub-three-hour PR marathon. I really enjoyed the recipe. You could definitely shorten the recipe by buying pesto, rather than making it from scratch. I thought the meal had great flavor, and I really enjoyed the flavor contrast of the pesto pasta on a bed of bell-pepper coulis sauce. I'll have to try the dish before my next big race. Perhaps maybe I'll run a PR, too!

Chef Dangler's PR Pasta
Runner's World, November 2008, The Athlete’s Palate

5 oz. fresh basil
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tbsp. pine nuts, toasted
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
½ cup olive oil

Bell-Pepper Coulis
1 12-oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained
¼ cup water
1 tbsp. dark balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. jarred grated horseradish
1 pinch sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

4 chicken breasts, cut into pieces or strips
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup white wine
1 16-oz box rotelle pasta, cooked
1 tbsp. toasted pine nuts
1 tbsp. basil, sliced into thin strips
2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated

Pesto: Place all ingredients in food processor and puree. Bell-Pepper Coulis: Puree all ingredients in blender. Warm coulis in a saucepan. Place in pasta bowl. Pasta: Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a skillet. Add chicken and minced garlic and cook through. Add white wine, scraping pan to loosen any brown bits; simmer to reduce liquid by half. Add five tablespoons pesto. Toss pasta with sauce. Add toasted pine nuts, basil, and grated Parmesan. Place pasta into bowl over bell-pepper coulis. Serves four.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Weekend Visit Home (and to the Zoo!)

This past weekend, I spent some time home with my parents in Brookfield to destress. I took the day off work on Friday and drove there on Thursday evening. It was a beautiful Halloween weekend with incredibly warm temperatures. I enjoyed a couple nice runs, and the first-ever run with my mom! My mom has worked extremely hard to get to where she's at now health wise. She's so fit, and also eating really well, too. We ran approximately 4 miles together, and I was overwhelmed with pride to be able to share that with her.

The rest of the weekend I spent time catching up with my parents, shopping and enjoying coffee with my mom, and we also made a visit to the zoo on Saturday morning, probably my first visit to the Milwaukee County Zoo in close to two decades! Growing up, my mom would take my brother and I to the zoo all the time. It was great to go back and see what a wonderful place it still is. I think it's one of the finest zoos in the nation. It was also nice because it was a free admission day on Saturday, so there were many families taking advantage of the opportunity to enjoy the zoo on such a beautiful fall day. The backdrop of the colorful, crisp leaves was breathtaking. Afterwards, my dad and I ran from the zoo, back to my parents' house in Brookfield.

Vintage Vinyl Sale

This afternoon begins the popular annual vintage vinyl sale at St. Vinny's in Madison. I've heard great things, and have never been, so I'm pretty pumped to check it out this afternoon. Apparently the staff puts all of the great vinyl aside throughout the year and saves it for this annual sale. I'm hoping for some great finds!

St. Vincent de Paul’s 11th Annual Collectible Records Sale
Madison, WI
Basement of St. Vincent de Paul thrift shop
1309 Williamson Street
3-5:45pm Wednesday ($5 donation to enter)
9am-5:45 Thursday-Saturday (free admission)

Yes We Can.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voting on Campus

Photos by university photographer, Bryce Richter

If you vote, Starbucks buys your coffee

Election Day Freebies

In addition to ensuring democracy, your vote can also get you freebies today at Starbucks and Ben & Jerry's. Starbucks is offering a free tall coffee all day to anyone who's voted. Similarly, from 5-8pm tonight, Ben & Jerry's is offering a free scoop of ice cream in celebration of democracy.

Freebies aside, there's no denying the magnitude of this election, and the extent to which the outcome will change our nation's history. I literally had tears in my eyes this morning at my polling place as I cast my ballot. To know that I was voting for someone who I truly believe can change the world was very powerful.

Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato "Spaghetti"

Over the weekend, during a short visit home to spend time with my parents, my mom gave me a copy of the Vegetarian Times that she had laying around. Inside, I found several great recipes, including the following recipe for Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato "Spaghetti" that is made with spaghetti squash. I made this meal on Saturday night. It was definitely one of the best meals I've made recently, and I wouldn't change a thing to the recipe. It was the perfect mix of flavors and colors, and a very healthy meal, too.

Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato "Spaghetti"
Vegetarian Times, October 2008
Submitted by Amy Schwartz, Macon, GA

1 large spaghetti squash
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
5 oz. spinach
1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp.)
1 cup chickpeas
4 oz. oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and julienned
½ cup fresh basil, chopped
1 ½ tsp. garlic salt
4 Tbs. low-fat feta cheese

1. Pierce spaghetti squash rind several times with a fork. Microwave on high 5 minutes per pound of squash, until squash is soft. Cut in half lengthwise, and remove seeds. Rake insides of squash into bowl.
2. Cook olive oil and onion in large skillet over high heat, until fragrant. Stir in spinach and garlic, and cover. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. When spinach has cooked down, reduce heat, and stir in spaghetti squash.
3. Stir in chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, and garlic salt. To serve, divide among 4 plates, and top each with 1 Tbs. feta cheese.

Sunset at Green Lake

Beautiful sunset at Green Lake this past weekend