HoydenSeek’s Weblog

hoy·den: a boisterous, bold, and carefree girl; a tomboy + seek: to go in search or quest of

Perfect Mix & Match Salad February 23, 2009

Filed under: Food,Health & Beauty — suzanne turner @ 12:20 am

I always crave the same kinds of flavors- complex, contrasting, crunchy, bold, balanced. I have found I can often achieve the correct blend of flavors to satisfy me in a salad. But the formula is nearly always the same, and its nothing new. I first had this type of flavor combination in Marcia Dow’s AMAZING salad years ago. I have lost that recipe and asked her for it again so many times, but now I pretty much have the main points committed to memory because I can’t bear to be without it. Then I had a similar combo at Panera, and now they are doing it everywhere. The basic recipe is always greens + cheese + fruit + nuts + dressing (poppyseed vinaigrette is my favorite and always seems to pair well with these ingredients.) You can add anything and use practially any variety of each component. I add chicken like Panera did in order to get protein, add some warmth and make it a seriously satisfying meal.  Marcia’s salad used candied pecans, feta, and craisins and it is seriously good.  Tonight I used sliced almonds, crumbled gorgonzola, and halved grapes and sliced apples. Then I topped it with chicken that I had cooked stovetop with halved cranberries and sliced onions in 1T butter, about 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, and a splash of real maple syrup and about 1 T honey. I reduced that and let the chicken strips and onions brown all over adding black pepper to taste. I was really just throwing things together hoping it worked, but it turned out exactly as I had envisioned. The gorgonzola is so creamy and delicious. I would say I used about 2 T for a medium-sized salad. The greens were a mixture of green leaf lettuce, red chard, and the “fresh herb mix” from Sprouts’ small box. I always rinse the greens for a minute and then chop into small bite size slices. I think it helps the other flavors mix into the greens easier when they are small, and it’s easier to eat. So I plan to play around with this a lot more and try all the combinations! Here are the basic combos:

Balsamic glaze with turkey breast, chicken, pork chops + strawberries, cranberries, or raspberries

Red or white onions raw or in glaze

Pecans, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts

Apples, pears, plums, grapes- cold and crisp on top

Feta, blue cheese, gorgonzola, goat cheese     

Diet Bonus: You get a good amount of protein, antioxidants, a bit of calcium plus good fats and a limited amount of carbs from the fruits. I try never to add anymore sweetening than is neccesary, which makes this a great way to control your blood sugar, especially late in the day.

In my current self-designed nutrition plan, I try to eat complex carbs mostly in the morning with a little protein, and then swith the ratio the other way throughout the day, adding protein and subtracting carbs as the day progresses. This gives me sustained energy for the day’s activities, and then prevents carbs from storing as fat toward the evening. I also try to stop eating 2-3 hours before bed to keep any remaining carb calories from being stored overnight as fat. That is the reasoning behind the salad as a dinner choice. If I had it at lunch, I would want to have a small bowl of whole grains on the side, like brown rice or barley. They could also just be added to the salad. This never bothers me. I just have to be mindful about adding the right portion size of grains. Usually, I cook a good amount of barley each week to have in the fridge ready to add to soups and such, but I’ve noticed it needs to be used within a day or two. I also just have a few crackers or a bit of granola or cereal. I could also add whole grain croutons, wonton strips, or crumbled Terra chips. I have Terra chips in small portions as a topping or a treat from time to time. I can’t resist them if they’re on sale. The apple slices also give a little bit of low GI carb content.

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slacker.com & the slacker portable February 11, 2009

Filed under: Entertainment,Very Good Things — suzanne turner @ 1:59 am

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ – Website; Handheld Internet Radio/MP3 Player

I know a lot of people enjoy internet radio, and I think a lot of people use Pandora or Yahoo music like I used to… until I discovered Slacker Radio. (Actually, Kim discovered it and enlightened me. Thanks Cheesehead Sr!) Anyway, it has so many great things about it, I’d better get to it.

  1. The site has tons of premade stations, so you can just click one and go. Or…
  2. It also has the option to make your own station, which is really easy. You can start with another station and edit it, or add artists you like manually to build stations for every mood. It’s like an ever-changing playlist.
  3. Whenever a song is playing that you like, you can tell it so. You can also ban songs and artists that you don’t like from ever being played again on that station. So it gets to know what you like and plays more of it. I can’t possibly go into all the details, but suffice it to say that it is extremely customizable.
  4. You can listen to other people’s custom stations, including those made by your friends.
  5. There are comedy stations, both clean and explicit that can brighten any day in a minute.
  6. You can tell it how much you want to be exposed to new artists. It’s a great way to get suggestions. It knows that if you like Jeff Buckley you might also like Elliott Smith and may never have heard of him. Or say you then become a huge Elliott Smith fan… you can quickly make an Elliott Smith station, which automatically plays primarily his music and the 25 other artists most like him. It’s a great way to deeply explore your favorite genres and really branch out.
  7. There are no commercials! That is one of the things I can’t stand about regular radio- half of it is talk, and the other half is nearly all commercials. The small remainder is music. Very rarely on Slacker, there is a little blurb that just says “Slacker Radio” I would say it’s about 5 seconds long. I hear it once about every hundred songs or so. I can live with that.
  8. Best of all, the basic use of the site (unlimited) is FREE. I have never felt the need to upgrade. Though if you do, you can save songs you like to your library, request certain songs to play on your stations, and skip an unlimited number of songs.
  9. Slacker, Inc. Headquarters : 16935 W. Bernardo Dr. Suite 270, San Diego, CA 92127  – Woohoo SD!!!

In addition to the awesome site which keeps you company at your desk, there is also the slacker portable player. Joel and I both opogled these over the summer and finally sprung for them. And we’re so glad we did. I still use mine every day. (My iPod is now my backup player, if that gives you any idea how much I love it.)  Also, if you have an iPhone or Blackberry, you can use the applications without even buying the Slacker portable. Again, the app and the service are FREE. But if you are in the market for a portable player, here is the rundown:

  1. It is great for working out, though it is a little bigger than an ipod. The iPod is still better for running because it fits in an armband. Luckily, I don’t run! 🙂 (Keep in mind, we got the first generation of portables, and they have already since come out with a slightly smaller version.) They have great pictures of it on their site, of course.
  2. It has buttons to quickly let you “heart” or ban a song from your portable stations.
  3. It updates when you connect it to the internet to refresh with the changes you may have made to your stations, and to get new music for them.
  4. It comes with pretty decent earbuds, a wall rapid charger, and a USB cable that connects it to your computer.
  5. It has a library that you can use to store songs from your current music collection. It even has a user-friendly drag & drop method for transferring songs from Windows Media Player right into your portable library.
  6. It has a great big glossy color display that will tell you about the songs and artists.

The minor drawbacks:

  1. The portable is a little larger than I would like, though very light.
  2. I don’t really like or use the protective tough cloth case it comes with, though Joel uses his.
  3. Sometimes it can take a while to connect and update. It depends on your internet connection, but I think it is pretty slow. You don’t have to refresh it all the time, though. It prompts you every few weeks, but you only have to do it every few months. I never get bored with all the stations, so I hardly ever update it.
  4. I wish it had more stations that were separate regarding movies and musicals. I like musicals, but not all Broadway music. And I wish they weren’t lumped together. I also wish they had soundtracks separate from scores…

Obviously, I’m splitting hairs and reaching for cons, but it is to illustrate that I am being thorough. Overall, it is the coolest thing ever. So despite the drawbacks, I still give it 5 hearts. They may even have addressed some of these issues once I got my first edition. 🙂 And even if they didn’t, I would buy it again in a heartbeat… Though, I may have just bought a Blackberry or an iPhone if I had known about the compatability. But the Slacker was cheaper.  🙂

 

Denver eats, so far February 9, 2009

Filed under: Food,Very Good Things — suzanne turner @ 2:07 am

India’s Pearl         

Food: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥    Atmosphere: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 

Duffeyroll              

Food: ♥ ♥ ♥           Atmosphere: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The Hornet          

Food: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥        Atmosphere: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Fontana Sushi    

Food: ♥ ♥ ♥         Atmosphere: ♥ ♥ ♥

Yume Sushi        

Food: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥        Atmosphere: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥  

 

Rich Dad, Poor Dad

Filed under: Books & Mags,Very Good Things — suzanne turner @ 1:51 am

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ – Personal Finance

This book teaches you the essential rules of managing money, and that it isn’t all about just making more of it. It is about making smart choices, and not stretching your budget, no matter your income, to the limit. It advocates building assets versus aquiring liabilities. The first step is knowing the difference and this book does a great job of laying out the concepts to help you understand how to acquire assets and minimize liabilities. I recommend it highly. A friend who is also a fan of this book told me about a game that accompanies it called Cashflow, which is supposed to be a fun way to apply the ideas from the book. Unfortunately the game costs around $200… so I don’t think that is a prudent decision for my budget right now. 🙂 But I’ll keep an eye out for it in the free section of Craigslist. In summary though, I’m very happy Joel and I found this book when we did. It has changed the way we look at money, how we are handling the budget now and setting future goals.

 

The Business of Being Born

Filed under: Entertainment,Health & Beauty,Very Good Things — suzanne turner @ 12:48 am

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ – Documentary

I gave The Business of Being Born 5 hearts because it is exactly what I want from a documentary: life-changing, enlightening information presented in an interesting way. This film was inspired by Ricki Lake’s (yes, the former talk-show host) experiences during the birth of her first child, when in the hospital she was given little choice in the way the process unfolded. It chronicles several pregnancies of women who have decided to have a certified nurse midwife attend their home births, rather than have a doctor deliver the baby. It is filled with sobering statistics and sensible explanations regarding the correlations between doctor interventions with drugs and the rise in recent years in the number of caesarian sections performed. I think this is something everyone should know about, and this is a great way to find out more. If you have had a child, plan to someday, or know anyone in either of those situations, this should be mandatory. Not everyone may agree completely with the all ideas presented, but having more information with which to make important life decisions is never a bad thing in my opinion.