Monday, August 24, 2009

A Splash of Famous Women, Men and Independence

Biographies always intrigue me, and lately I seem to be on a Revolutionary War kick. I am currently reading Thomas Jefferson: A Well Tempered Mind by Carl Binger, Martha Washington: An American Life by Patricia Brady, and Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution by Natalie S. Bober. More will reviews will follow after I actually finish all of them, but in the meantime, I will still recommend them. All three are delightful, informative, easy reads. I feel that they are a great introductions for John Adams and 1776 by David McCollough, both of which I will be diving into next. If any of them interest you, happy reading!

Shrimp Scampi

1 lb. tiger or large shrimp (deveined, butterflied and de-shelled with tails left on)
5 T butter
4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 C good white wine (dry)
Salt and Pepper
½ tsp crushed red pepper
Zest of ½ lemon
Juice of ½ lemon
1 T fresh parsley

Sauté shrimp on both sides for approx. 1.5 minutes until pink. Don’t over cook. Remove from pan and combine the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Add shrimp to mixture, combine, add salt and pepper. Finish with lemon zest and sprinkle with fresh parsley

Recipe from

Healthier Scones

I made these the other day and really enjoyed them; they're the perfect healthy cookie to grab on a busy morning.

Mix together:
2 cups oat flour (oat flour can be made by blending oats in a blender. If you do that, however, you will need to add some normal white flour to add dryness and elasticity to the dough)
¼ cup + 3 Tbsp. raw sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. vegetable shortening
1 mashed banana
½ cup soy milk
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
(Add blueberries to moisten, if desired)

After mixing together, roll to 1 inch thickness and cut with a biscuit-cutter (the mouth of a cup also works just fine). Sprinkle with raw sugar, and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes (turn scones over halfway through baking)

Recipe from Health Magazine

Multi-grain Blueberry Pancakes

Mix together:
¾ cup multi-grain pancake mix
1 Tbsp. oil
½ cup + 2 Tbsp. soy milk
½ cup blueberries
Mix together, and cook on griddle until done. Cover with powdered sugar or syrup as desired

Recipe from Health Magazine

Monday, August 10, 2009

Did You Know That...

At one point in the movie It's a Wonderful Life, Thomas Mitchell, who plays "Uncle Billy" drunkenly goes off-screen and is heard crashing into something. He cries in a slurred voice, "I'm all right; I'm all right," and Jimmy Stewart chuckles. Well, that part of the movie was not planned. Mitchell actually ran into some film equipment, and rather than doing a new take, he just ad-libbed the line, and Stewart's chuckle wasn't acting. Fun, eh?
Picture from google images

Piece of Triva for the Day

Jean Arthur, actress and favorite of director Frank Capra (she appears in such movies as The Devil and Miss Jones, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, You Can't Take it With You, Shane, and more) had a secret, and a very nice one at that: she looked ten years younger than she really was.
Picture from google images

Shrimp Linguini

I found this recipe in Health Magazine today, and it looks delicious. I'll be trying to it this week and will let you know how it goes.

Shrimp Linguini
12 oz. large shrimp, deveined and peeled
¼ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves
10 oz. uncooked linguini
1 cup canned diced tomatoes, undrained
¾ cup clam juice
¼ cup halved Kalamato olives
2 Tablespoons capers
½ cup chopped Italian parsley

1. Bring large pot of water to boil. Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic. Cook 1-2 minutes, or until golden.
2. Add linguini to water. Cook 11 minutes or until al dente (chewy)
3. Add tomatoes and next three ingredients (through capers) to skillet. Cook 5-6 minutes or until reduced by half. Stir in shrimp and garlic and two-thirds of the parsley. Drain pasta and return to pot. Toss shrimp and sauce with pasta. Transfer to a serving platter, and garnish with remaining parsley.

Book Review

The Mother Tongue: English and How it Got that Way by Bill Bryson

If it were ever possible for me to choose a favorite book...well, I guess that would be impossible. But Mother Tongue is definitely my favorite linguistics/English/language history book. It is hilarious, informative and devoted entirely to language---an English major's wildest dreams come true! I read this book for a project in college. I procrastinated until the end of the semester and only had two days to read the entire book and create my portfolio--a pretty daunting prospect. But, because the book was so amazing, it was probably the most fun and easy procrastinating I ever did. Bill Bryson's writing is genius; I also recommend his Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid and A Short History of Nearly Everything.

Picture from

Mistaken Ideas of Womanhood Corrected in Proverbs 31

belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I have heard some disturbing sentiments of late from women in my church. I've heard them say things like

"Women have it so hard in this church. We are supposed to get an education, find a college major that we like and that could possibly support a family, yet we must be willing to drop it at a moment's notice in order to be stay-at-home moms like we're supposed to be. Sigh."

To those women, I say this:
1. Get off your martyr-kick.
2. You've got this church's view of women all wrong!
3. Without even delving into what Church officials have said, etc., you can just read Proverbs 31! In that chapter, you will see what the Lord considers "a virtuous woman." And that virtuous woman is NOT someone who has let her education or mind go to waste.

Below I have listed the qualities and activities of a virtuous woman, as presented in Proverbs 31.

A Virtuous Woman (In ancient times as well as today):
verse 11-12: is faithful and loving to her husband.
verse 13: Is creative, seeking out projects and activities that enrich her life.
verse 14: Is industrious, proactive and independent.
verse 15: Rises early, gives and serves others willingingly.
verse 16: Is self-sufficient, bringing in money and blessings through her own talents and hard work.
verse 17: Is physically, spiritually and emotionally healthy and strong.
verse 18: Is confident. Is not idle. Enjoys working, creating and doing in her spare time.
verse 19: Is talented and capable.
verse 20: Is mindful of and helpful to those in need.
verse 21: Thinks ahead, is prepared.
verse 22: Is comely in appearance and gifted at working with her hands (or we could say, gifted at working with her own set of abilities and education).
verse 24: Uses her talents, resources, abilities and knowledge to bring in money and satisfaction.
verse 25: Strength and honor show in her countenance. She is content and peaceful about the future.
verse 26: Not afraid to speak out and state her opinion, but speaks with wisdom and kindness.
verse 27: Her family and household are a huge priority. She is always working for their welfare.
verse 28: She is a wonderful wife and mother, and her husband and children laud her for it.
verse 29: Fulfills to the fullest all the opportunities and callings in her life (including family and church callings).
verse 30: Fears the Lord and doesn't care about what other people think.
verse 31: Makes a difference in the lives of those around her, and the world.

Now, ladies, does this virtuous woman sound oppressed to you? Does it sound like she is expected to give up her education, her interests, her creativity, her life? I don't think so. This woman is full of grace, accomplishments, and intelligence. This woman is respected, loved and honored. She does not consider motherhood and wifehood a bondage, but an opportunity. This woman speaks up and uses her talents to do amazing things.

Now I speak to women in general, not just women of my church: please know that the Lord wants you to get as much education as possible. He wants you to grow and blossom and thrive. He wants you to have every blessing and opportunity that you can possibly handle. He wants you to have a family and an amazing life as well. So, please, rejoice in being a woman, a wife, a mother, a college graduate...use your talents, and "let your own works praise you in the gates."

Wonderful Article

The proposed government health care plan has quite disturbed me. In the link below, Mark Steyn sets aside the problems with the actual health care plan and focuses on the hypocrisy and down-right sinister approach government is taking to squelch opposition to its plan. This article is not only right on the mark, but also hilarious.
The Community Is Restless by Mark Steyn on National Review Online

Book Review

French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano

Mouthwatering French recipes, oodles of style, silly stories and fun fitness tips make this one of my favorite books to munch on. However, don't read it as a cure for getting fat; read it with a piece of Dove chocolate in your mouth. This book is pure delight--why spoil it with thoughts of pounds?

Photo from

Elegant Spinach Salad

When I found this in a health magazine, I thought it would go perfectly with the carrot soup and poached pear recipes I've posted. However, I've yet to try all three together. If you feel the urge to test the entire trio, let me know how they all turn out!

Spinach salad
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 tbsp oil
3 pears, peeled, cored, sliced
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp minced shallot
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
½ cup apple juice
2 tsp cider vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 bag spinach (16 oz)
2 ounces gorgonzola cheese (I also love goat cheese)
1. In skillet toast pecans, add 2 tsp oil, add pears, sprinkle with brown sugar, don’t stir.
2. Cook pears 5 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom. Stir to melt sugar. Put pears on plate.
3. Add remaining oil to pan. Add shallots, salt and pepper. Stir till fragrant. Add juice, vinegar and mustard. Whisk, simmer 3-4 mintes until slightly reduced. Add pears. Toss mixture with spinach, put cheese and nuts on top.

Perfectly Poached Pears

I got this recipe from Mireille Guiliano's French Women Don't Get Fat. It's incredibly simple, but if you serve it with the right flair, your friends will think you've gone gourmet chef!

Poached pears
2 cups wine (I use a wine substitute like grape juice, sparkling grape juice, cranberry juice, etc)
½ cup sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 bosc pears, peeled, cored and halved
4 scoops vanilla ice cream

1. In a saucepan, bring the wine (or substitute) and sugar to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for five minutes.
2. Add the lemon juice and pears. Cook for ten minutes over medium to low flame. Cool and refrigerate.
3. Bring the pears to room temperature before serving. Add 1 scoop of vanilla ice cream to each serving. For extra luxury, serve each pear in a little pool of melted dark chocolate (My personal favorite is a 60% dark chocolate with a smooth filling in the center)

Unbelievable Carrot Soup

I'm always searching for flavorful, fun and healthy things to cook. I found this recipe in a health magazine; it's so decadent you would never know it's healthy! (I would recommend serving this carrot soup with spinach salad and poached pears for dessert. I've posted the recipes for both.)

Carrot soup (200 calories per serving)

2 tsp olive oil
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small white onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove minced garlic
3 tbsp fresh ginger
1 cup diced/cubed butternut squash
1 diced and peeled apple
4 ½ cups vegetable broth
1½ tsp salt
12 oz. can light coconut milk
1 diced and peeled bosc pear
2 tsp minced chives
4 slices whole wheat toasted bread

1. Sautee carrots and onions until soft. Add next four ingredients (through apple). Sautee until fragrant.
2. Add broth and salt. Reduce to medium-low heat. Simmer covered for 45 minutes or until veggies are tender.
3. Blend mixture in blender (I would recommend blending a little at a time, not the whole mixture at once. When I tried it all at once it splattered everywhere). Add coconut milk, then salt to taste. Garnish with diced pear and chives.

image from

Explanation and Hello

Welcome to my new blog! Created completely for fun, I will stuff it with posts about language, literature, food, classic movies, music, religious thoughts, and some occasional rants and politics. Bon appetit!