The Internet Cookbook: Quinoa, anyone?

One of my Twitter friends had posted a lovely picture of a quinoa dish she’d made for dinner, so, in return, I promised I would post one of my favorite quinoa recipes. Okay, actually, I am going to post two of my most-used quinoa recipes- one for a tasty soup and the other for one of my favorite side dishes.

Quinoa is known as the “Wheat of the Andes.” Because it is a complete protein, high in iron and fiber, some people consider it a superfood. If it’s your first time cooking quinoa, remember that it generally needs to be washed first to remove the naturally occurring bitter saponins. I usually buy Bob’s Red Mill from Amazon because it is organic and has been pre-rinsed so I don’t have to wash it. Quinoa comes in several varieties, including a red quinoa.

Chupe de Quinua:  This is a traditional Peruvian soup that is incredibly tasty and filling. The recipe calls for 250 grams of quinoa; for the metrically challenged like me, that’s about 8.8 ounces. For the cheese, I used queso fresco.  Be sure to fry the onions and garlic until they are golden; it’s what gives the soup its lovely color.  

Quinoa with mushrooms:    I usually make this dish with red quinoa because I think that it looks more attractive. It is a great side dish and a nice change from rice. If you want to make the dish vegan, you can use water or vegetable broth instead of the chicken broth.  

I am always on the look out for more dishes using quinoa. Anyone else have any good recipes to share?

The Amend the Constitution Meme

Every now and then I get one of those chain emails that actually makes sense. This is the one I received today. Rather than forward it to 20 people via email, I thought I would share it with you here:

The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971… before e-mail, before cell phones, etc.

Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land…all because of public pressure.

I’m asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.

In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.

Congressional Reform Act of 2011

1. Term Limits.

12 years only, one of the possible options below..

A. Two Six-year Senate terms
B. Six Two-year House terms
C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms

2. No Tenure / No Pension.

A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

3. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.

All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.

4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/11.

The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S. ) to receive the message. Maybe it is time.

THIS IS HOW WE FIX CONGRESS!!!!!

What do you think of the ideas presented here?

Weekly Blog Roundup for January 23, 2011

Here’s a recap of what I have written on my various blogs during the week of January 16, 2011 to January 22, 2011.

Here on Glinda Says:  A review of the upcoming new book by Susan Jane Bigelow.

On The eBook Evangelist:  A look at the state of library lending for ebooks.

On Glinda Reads:  A post on a new place or readers and authors to connect and a quick link to the story of a British town’s attempts to save its library.

On eBook Evangelist News:  Some thoughts on my first look at CD Baby’s new ebook publishing service.

Broken – A review

Every so often, if you’re lucky, you come across a book that reminds you of everything you love about reading science fiction—and why you started reading it in the first place.  Broken is one of those books.

It has all these delicious elements: A dystopian world set in the future. A superhero who has lost her powers. A scared young man who can see the future.  The future of mankind at stake….

But don’t let the description fool you. This is not your typical stereotypical superhero story. This is an amazing book and an exceptionally fun read that I found almost impossible to put down. Susan Jane Bigelow is an extremely gifted writer who knows how to tell a story. She avoids the pitfalls of tedious world-building and long descriptive paragraphs that just drip with voice. Instead, she allows the reader to organically experience the world she has built for us through the story itself and the actions of the characters.

The characters themselves are interesting, fully fleshed out and beautifully written. They felt like real people, people you want to care about. Bigelow skillfully plays with stereotypes and expectations in a way that adds depth and dimension to the characters.

The story is cohesive and tightly written without feeling “plotted.”  Bigelow does a great job of keeping you guessing. I can usually tell right where a storyline is going, but this was suspenseful throughout. The author also has a delightful sense of humor that occasionally she allows to peek through.

While this one is definitely a fun read, the book also was thought provoking and deals with some serious themes: the concept of names and labels, identity, self, responsibility and courage.  It was difficult to let go of the characters and the events of the book, even after I finished reading.

In short: I laughed; I cried. I finished the book and wanted to immediately hit the go-to-beginning button on my Kindle and read it all over again.

I took a sneak peak at the author’s blog, where she hinted that there was a sequel in the works. It will definitely be on my to-be-read list.

I found it difficult to believe that this was Susan Jane Bigelow’s first novel. She is definitely a writer to watch in the future. I am definitely looking forward to reading more of her work.

Brokenwill be released on January 25, 2011. It is only avalable in a digital form.

Disclaimer: An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher, Candlemark & Gleam,  who had no idea that I would fall completely in love with the book! 🙂

The Internet Cookbook: Ham and Asparagus Risotto

Risotto is a  family favorite in our house. This creamy Italian dish made of arborio rice cooked in broth is generally considered intimidating because it must be cooked slowly with constant stirring. The solution? The microwave oven. This recipe for risotto with ham and asparagus takes only about 30 minutes to prepare and because it is cooked in the microwave, it doesn’t require the constant attention of the stovetop version.

While it is possible to use other kinds of rice, risotto is traditionally made with arborio ricebecause of its ability to absorb liquid.

This recipe is versatile, too! You can change the ingredients to make various risotto dishes. I have made mushroom risotto or a traditional one with saffron and peas (Risotto con i Pisellini e Zafferano).  It can also be adapted for recipes such as Lemon risotto with saffron or Risi e Bisi (rice and peas w pancetta). You can also substitute vegetable broth or potato water for the chicken broth to make a vegetarian version.

Is Indiana Social Media Going to the Dogs?

Is Indiana social media going to the dogs? Well, not yet it isn’t–at least if you pay attention to social media in Indiana.

Right now, social media peeps are voting in the 2nd Annual Indiana Social Media Summit.  And, interestingly enough, the Twitter account for the mascot for Butler University, @butlerblue2,  was nominated for the  Summit’s most influential social media dude in the 2010 contest.    Except there was a slight problem:  Turns out that since  @butlerblue2 is technically a dog and not a dude, he was disqualified and taken off the ballot.

That’s right. Disqualified. Even though @butlerblue2  made the point that “You do know that a ‘dude’ actually does my tweeting, right?” and even provided pictures of himself using Twitter.  I mean, we are talking here about a dog that has his own blog and his own email. And, he has more Twitter followers than I do! And if you read his Twitter feed, you will see that he is really quite the conversationalist.  If that  isn’t dog dude discrimination, then I don’t know what is.

And while it seems that @butlerblue2 is handling being disqualified from the the ballot with his usual good grace and equanimity, the whole situation certainly gave me paws pause. Some of the most attention- grabbing and influential ads that I recall have featured animal mascots such as Morris the Cat and the Taco Bell Chihuahua. 

And if the category is the most influential, shouldn’t it be the influence that actually matters? After all, we all know who the man behind the curtain really is.

Case in point:    Mashable.com recently did an article on the Top 10 Digital Advertising Innovations of 2010.  Number one on the list? The Old Spice Guy, Isaiah Mustafa, whose commercial ad and series of follow-ups went viral on the web. In the follow-ups, Mustafa posted video replies on YouTube to customers’ inquiries from Twitter. According to Mashable, Mustafa only responded to 180 inquiries. One of those video follow-ups was to a question from a dog that I happen to follow on Twitter, @theblacklab.

 That video, embedded below, has had over 100,000 views. And with that kind of a response, that makes me think that social media going to the dogs may not be a bad thing at all.

 

How To Zombie Proof Your Car….

Read any zombie book and it is quite obvious: Your car is one of the most vulnerable places you can be in the midst of a zombie outbreak. Sitting in your vehicle on a traffic-jammed highway in the midst of a zombie outbreak is almost as bad as being at the mall….

This video offers a very detailed look at the role of your car in a zombie apocalypse and includes important points like how to choose a vehicle, modifying it and then using it. When a zombie outbreak begins, the last thing you are going to have time to do is shop. So this video focuses on materials that are readily available. It also has tips on other things you will need during a zombie outbreak like weapons, food,water, first aid and entertainment.

The Patron Saint of Plagues – A review

As a long time fan of authors like Robin Cook and Michael Crichton, I LOVE medical thrillers. The more viruses, bacteria, plagues, and epidemics, the better, at least as far as I am concerned.  Just mention etiological agents and I get really interested.  So, I started reading The Patron Saint of Plagues with a lot of excitement and was more than prepared to like it.

Unfortunately, I was tremendously disappointed in this book.

First, I might argue that this book was mischaracterized by calling it science fiction – realistically it was more of a combination speculative fiction/mystery. It was set 50 years or so in the future. The author did a poor job of world-building here and I spent the first half of the book asking myself why it was set in that time.

The characters suffer from the same lack of development as the world-building does. The characters are unbelievable and barely fleshed out.  They are also constantly contradicting themselves for reasons which are never explained.

The protagonist, Dr. Henry David Stark is a perfect example. At various times in the book, he is referred to by three or four different names. Also for no apparent reason, he sometimes (and only sometimes) speaks a pidgin English that no one else in the book (including his family) speaks. This is never explained.

What the reader gets out of this are plastic, predictable characters doing predictable things leading to a predictable ending. The only surprises were the parts that didn’t make sense.

I found this book poorly edited – and by this I don’t mean spelling and grammar errors. Those things were fine. I mean the guidance an editor SHOULD give a writer. Little things like telling him when the story doesn’t make sense. Or when a scene should be cut. Or when the dialogue isn’t working. Or that the story isn’t flowing. Or that he has thrown information out there and never followed through with it.

The description for this book said that author Barth Anderson has won awards for his short fiction work. Since this was his first novel, he may not have been ready for long form writing. Although, honestly, the reviews for his second novel, The Magician and the Fool, were not much better.  I think one that of the reviewers for that novel summed it up best by saying, “Barth Anderson may be a skilled writer, but he is a terrible storyteller.”  Unfortunately, I have to agree.

This book is available in a Kindle edition.