Monthly Archives: January 2011

Happy Birthday Rudolph!

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Every January my dear friend, Rudolph, from the Netherlands, visits the Bay area for a conference. I always look forward to his arrival in January. It means that good times are near.

I have known Ruud and his wife Annemieke for going on seventeen years now. (Yeesh, has it been so long?) At the very least I can count on spending time with Rudolph once a year while he’s here for the conference. If I’m lucky I get to see both of them as was the case this past year when Annemieke came out on her own to visit for a week.

As usual with their visits, they are WAY too short.

But we did get a chance to celebrate Rudolph’s 50th birthday while he was here. (Annemieke: you and the kids were here with us in spirit!)

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Happy Birthday, my friend! May the next 50 be better than the last.

As always, you’re an inspiration!

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Elephant seals doin’ the naughty

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Before the latest rain storm hit we were able to squeeze in a trip to Año Nuevo State Park, which lies 13 miles south of Pescadero on the California coast. It’s a beautiful coastal preserve as well as the landing spot for some 5,000 to 7,000 elephant seals who gather once a year to have their pups and mate before heading back out into the ocean for 7 to 8 months of ocean-living at 2,000-feet below sea level.

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It’s a 2-1/2 hour guided walk that costs $7 per person and it’s fascinating. I highly recommend the little jaunt. It’s a beautiful place and it was highly informative. Plus, it was just plain fun.

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Thai tempeh with cashews

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I’ll admit it: I’m a novice at cooking tempeh.

I’ve worked with tempeh several times in the past with unispiring results. When people talked about tempeh my reaction was: “Meh.” I don’t care how healthful it is, if it tastes bland, it tastes bland. No thanks.

Until now!

Finally, I have found a tempeh recipe that I can see will become a regular in my weeknight repertoire.

Once again, it fits my criteria: tasty, easy and cheap. As a bonus, it’s fast and very healthy.

If you have serious doubts about tempeh than I encourage you to give this recipe a try.

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Chocolate espresso power bars

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Two words.

Yum. Oh.

Okay, okay! I can’t stand the silence! I gotta be me and that means using more than two words.

So, here’s the deal. This semester my school schedule is packed, forcing me to get creative about snacking for quick between-class pick me ups. (I get super cranky when I’m hungry. Plus, my brain starts to go fuzzy and that’s not helpful while trying to memorize all the functions of the body in Physio. After all, my sole purpose these days is to use my mind. Not easy, but I do try.) Anyway, I started stashing Luna bars in the car for easy emergency food, but quickly realized that I was going to go broke as these babies aren’t cheap. And while I have a whole host of other snacks that I alternate through sometimes a good energy bar just fits the bill, you know what I mean? It also satisfies my sinful desires for a chocolate candy bar, but in a healthful way. I needed to start making my own.

I’m the kinda girl who makes her own meusli and yogurt. Why wouldn’t I want to make my own power bars?

But I had some requirements: the recipe needed to be easy, tasty and cheap. I perused quite a few recipes that had so many ingredients that I might as well save myself the trouble and just buy Luna bars.

I’m happy to say that this recipe fulfills all of my criteria and then some.

And to my surprise Jack’s response (not that I cared since these were pretty much just for me) was, “These are F****** good!”

And then he ate three of ’em.

And then he said again, “These are F****** good!”

I hope you like them as much as we do.

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Sundays

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Five minutes before:
The cat, Abby, was curled up sleeping under a huge pile of newspapers. I didn’t realize she was under there until I began rifling through the paper for a not-yet-read section. She did not seem to mind all the newspapers on top of her, but more that I had the nerve to wake her up with my rifling. Nothing much fazes this cat. This is the same cat that plays with the dog (both mentally and physically). This is the same cat that sleeps all over the computer keyboard in our office; you can move her over in order to type and she’ll barely crack an eye at you. Despite being a girl, she’s got some cojones. We like that about her.

Five minutes later:
Abby the cat was again peacefully sleeping sprawled all over the newspapers. Jack was passed out and softly snoring in Sunday-nap position blanketed by the ‘Cars’ section of the newspaper. And the dog just continued her snooze.

Posse-bonding in action.

Lily’s first time snowshoeing

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We took off this weekend for a fun day of snowshoeing. We meant to go out two weekends ago, but I was sick with a terrible cold so we had to put it off. I’m so glad that we did because it ended up being a beautiful sunny weekend versus the hideous weather of two weeks ago. (JACK: by hideous, Mic means we would have been hiking across three feet of fresh powder…albeit in a snowstorm!)

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We’re pretty fortunate that we live an easy 2 to 2-1/2 hour drive from Lake Tahoe, which makes it the perfect destination for day trips.

Plus, it was Lily’s first time in snow and we wanted to test her out on the trails in relatively easy conditions to see how she would do; we have some bigger snowshoeing trips planned for February so this was a good trial run.

How did she do?

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Let’s make some Dashi!

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Fresh veggies and protein … plus …

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… noodles … plus …

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… dashi stock … equals a freakin’ fantastic bowl of noodle soup, the perfect antidote to chilly winter weather.

But let me digress for a second: One of my goals in 2010 was to improve my Japanese culinary skills. As far as 2010 resolutions went learning Japanese cuisine fell far to the wayside in favor of studying and sleeping. Goofy, I know.

So I’m trying again in 2011.

I wanted to start off with dashi, a soup stock that is a cornerstone in Japanese cuisine.

And you know what? It’s as easy as 1-2-3.

Who knew?

First, what exactly is dashi? Read the rest of this entry

Today is a day for peacefulness

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Today is a day of rest, remembrance, consciousness. Today is a day to practice awareness and appreciation, to live in the moment. Today is a day to further solidify deep compassion.

The truth is that we should be doing all of these things every day, but it’s nice to be reminded every once in awhile to regroup and recharge. Practicing deep compassion is easier said than done.

Martin Luther King Jr. is famous for his oratorical skills. Here are a couple of my favorite quotes:

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

… and …

“On the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life’s roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.” —From a sermon delivered at Riverside Church.

Phew, it feels good to take a break today. We’re going to enjoy a little peace and quiet.

We’ve had three days of hard work. Here’s a sneak peek at the past weekend …

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