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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Foodie Pen Pal

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I mentioned in a post earlier this month about being part of a new food exchange program.  Well, today is reveal day!  I want to thank Kasey over at Powercakes for her AWESOME box of goodies :).  She has a great blog about clean eating, gluten free foods, and some awesome exercising.  Here’s my monthly loot:

Foodie loot

In there I got some awesome organic raw apple cider vinegar (which should be good in smoothies?), a HUGE water bottle/shake bottle, a package of nori (I guess I need to learn to roll some sushi), raw vegan coconut wraps (maybe for a vegan version of my egg rolls?), and a package of asparagus almond soup!  This is awesome!

Just a couple of words about the foodie pen pal program.  It’s a monthly group where you get matched with your pal and send them a package.  The items are supposed to be food related and total no more than $15.  You then post about your awesome package at the end of the month.  Think about joining!

The Lean Green Bean
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Garden Week Three

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Garden Week Three

So, it’s been three weeks since I decided to put together and plant a garden.  The weather here has been strange in that it’s been cold (well, in the 40s-60s) to hot (today is in the 90s).  We’ve had a week of consistent rain, strange pop-up storms, and predictions of rain with nothing to show for it.  I guess that’s the usual for spring in the Mid-Atlantic area.

It seems that with weeding out one of the squash plants the other two are doing better.  I still need to select one of these as the one I hope to grow.  My garden cukes are not growing.  My container ones are THRIVING.  Any thoughts?  Also, my red beefsteak plant has this one green tomato on it.

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The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

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Yes, you are reading that correctly.  I watched this movie.  Maybe you don’t even remember seeing the previews back in 2010.  The only reason I even saw this movie is it was on Encore, so I could see it for free (with my monthly cable payment).  But before I get to the synopsis, I have to admit something.  I heart Nicholas Cage.  He’s a TERRIBLE actor.  I know this.  And yet, I can’t seem to get enough of him.  He’s had some honestly good movies like Moonstruck and It Could Happen to You.  But then there are some really bad movies that I totally enjoy such as Gone in 60 Seconds (though Angelina Jolie looks like a skank in that movie), The Rock, and Ghost Rider.  So, I don’t claim to watch only Oscar winners or indie films that invoke lots of thought.  I do enjoy some really “dumb” movies as well.

On to the movie.  When I first saw this movie was available, I really wasn’t sure I could take how bad this movie looked.  Nicholas Cage has long hair, a long trench coat, and is a sorcerer.  But I got over my reservations and watched the movie.  I’m actually pretty happy I did.  The premise of the movie is that Balthazar (Cage) is trying to prevent Horvath (Alfred Molina) from releasing the ultimate bad witch, Morgana, from the magic prison.

A boy named Dave (Jay Baruchel) is introduced to this struggle at age eight and is forever changed.  He is mocked as a child, but grows up to be a very skill physicist (in college).  Again, he ends up getting pulled into the fight between Horvath and Balthazar.  But this time he gets involved with magic.  He ends up becoming the apprentice to Balthazar.  We also learn that Balthazar was the apprentice to the famed magician Merlin.  As was Horvath and Veronica (Monica Bellucci, who is super hot), but back in the day Veronica chose Balthazar over Horvath and releasing Morgana is Horvath’s way at getting back at them.  So while this is a movie about “magic” there is of course the love part thrown in.  Dave’s crush Becky ends up getting involved and taken by Balthazar.  There is lots of fighting and a great ending to the movie, even if it’s super predictable.

Honestly, my biggest complaint with this movie was not Cage’s acting.  It was Jay Baruchel’s.  He was so whiney and annoying, it took away from Cage’s one not acting ability.  Yes, the character Dave is supposed to be a loser in life and love, but this actor did not step out of himself enough.  I found myself wanting ANY actor but him to be in the movie.  I’ve only seen Baruchel in movies where he’s played smaller parts (such as Knocked Up and Tropic Thunder).  He’s been fine in these roles.  Being in a starring role does not seem to agree with this actor.

All in all I give this movie a 6.5 out of 10.  You will not gain any brain cells by watching this movie, but it’s entertaining non the less.

Garden Update

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Garden Update

So, I wanted to give a quick update on my little garden.  I’ve added a few plants to fill the square feet that I had open.  I added a grape tomato plant, a sweet pepper plant (not a bell pepper hopefully), and I planted garlic!  I also ended up taking out the chives as I have no real use for them and added in rosemary instead.  Everything seems to be coming in pretty nicely!

No Bake Bars

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No Bake Bars

I recently decided to join this group of people that enjoy food and want to share their love of food.  It’s called the Foodie Pen Pal Program and is run by blogger Lindsay, who is a registered dietician.  What stared off as a small group has grown to over 600 people sending food around the world!  I got paired up with a newbie as well, and she let me know she likes peanut butter and chocolate.  I’m not a huge fan of peanut butter (I actually really don’t like it at all!), so I was kind of stumped with what to make.  I then saw these on Chocolate Covered Katie’s Blog and decided to change it up a bit.  Perfect!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups rice crispies
  • 3/4 cup oat flour (packed tightly)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla
  • 7.5 tbsp peanut butter
  • 4.5 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp cocoa (unsweetened)
  • Handful of pretzels

Mix all the wet ingredients together to form a paste.

Wet Ingredients

Add the dry ingredients (except pretzels if using) to the wet ingredients.

Dry Ingredients

Mix until fully incorporated.

Batter

Line an 8×8 pan with parchment or wax paper.  Add the dough to the lined pan and smooth the dough down.  Add the pretzles, cover, and put in the fridge or freezer to set (an hour or so).  Makes 9 bars.

Bars

If you do not have oat flour, but have rolled oats, you are in LUCK!  I ended up taking about a cup of rolled oats and blended well to get about 3/4 cups of packed oats flour.

Oats getting ready to make flour

I knew it was good when my husband ate two pieces back to back….  Note: I used Better n Peanut Butter, which is a lower fat/calorie version of peanut butter.  There were not complaints from the hubs, so I assume he didn’t even realize 🙂

Good Hair

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I sometimes catch myself watching a movie I might have never watched when it’s on cable.  I’d heard of this documentary/comedy by Chris Rock when it came out, but it was not going to be a movie I went to the theater to see.  So, Sunday night at 8pm I found this movie showing on BET and decided to watch.

I was honestly surprised in a good way.  I liked Chris in the movie Dogma and in the remake of The Longest Yard.  He was a supporting actor in both of these movies, which was good.  His humor I think is lost on me sometimes.  But this documentary wasn’t about HIM.  It was about hair.  Yes, this is a two hour movie (on tv with commercials) about hair.  But it was FASCINATING!

The premise of the movie is that Chris Rock is trying to discover what Blacks, mostly women, do to their hair and how it will effect his daughters.  He visits a company that creates relaxers.  He also goes to a scientist who explains to him what the chemical (sodium hydroxide) is and what it can do.  After 4 hours a soda can disintegrates while sitting in this stuff.  We also find out that relaxers are called “creamy crack”, because once you start on the stuff you can’t get off.

Weaves are also explored in this movie.  Rock travels to India to find out where/how the hair is collected.  The majority of human hair used for weaves is exported from India, and is the third biggest contributor to the country’s GDP.  CRAZY.  According to the Hindu religion, hair is a sign of vanity (as it is in many other religions).  As a form of sacrifice, Hindus cut their hair in a ceremony called tonsureThe majority of the hair exported for weaves are collected from this ceremony, washed, and arranged for sale.  We also learn that a weave costs $1,000 AT LEAST.  And that’s just for the hair!

Another theme of the movie is the role of the barber shop in the Black community.  Rock explores the idea that even during economic downturns, the barber shop or beauty salons do just as well.  Interestingly enough, salons that cater to Caucasian women tend to not do as well and the sale of at home products tend to increase.  The idea of the barber shop and beauty salon as a gathering place for social and informative reasons has been explored in previous movies as well.  Rock also explores the idea that many of the products that are marketed are not owned by Black companies.  Therefore, the money that is spent from relaxers, weaves, and general hair care, most go to Asian companies or large corporations.

There were two parts of the movie I especially loved.  The first was the hair competition.  The annual Bronner Brother’s hair competition is also weaved (pun intended!) into the story line.  We meet four ambitious stylists in Atlanta that are competing for the title of Top Stylist of the Year.  The stunts that these groups do to win are amazing.  The second reason I loved this movie was for the cameos.  Chris Rock had everyone from Nia Long, to Raven Simone, to Ice-T, to Salt-n-Pepa, to Rev. Al Sharpton, to Maya Angelou.  Maya Angelou!!!!  To hear these ladies and gentleman talk about their hair as it relates to relationships, sex, status, and public policy was hilarious and amazing.

I really recommend this movie.  I give it an 8 out of 10.

Easy Cucumber Salad

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Easy Cucumber Salad

I was going to name this recipe “Jewish Cucumber Salad” but I don’t know if this recipe is expressly Jewish.  I do remember my grandmother having this at her house and I know another friend’s Jewish grandmother also used to make it.  But both of our families came from Eastern Europe.  So, who knows?

Most pickles are made by boiling vinegar, spices, salt, and sugar and pouring the hot liquid over your fruits/vegetables.  This is true for both refrigerator pickles or for pickles you store for long term.  The way I was taught to make this recipe does not include any boiling.  So, instead of this being ready an hour after assembly, the veggies are better at least 24 hours post assembly.  This has the advantage that there isn’t a whole lot of mess involved and you can adjust the taste over the the 24 hours.  But it does require some forethought.

Cucumber Salad

  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dill

Slice cucumbers into fairly even slices and discard the ends. Slice onion half into half and chop onion in small rings.  Add salt, sugar, dill, and vinegar to the veggies.  Try to submerge as many of the cucumbers as possible.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.  Enjoy!

Options:  I’ve also made this without the onions and really enjoy it as well.  Fresh dill is awesome as well.  If you are diabetic and want to make this without sugar, my mom has made hers with splenda or the splenda mix and that has worked fine as well.