Saturday, February 20, 2010

Music to compute by.....

I'm sure most people have radios and CD players close by their computer....I know I do....but I have recently re-discovered the joys of internet radio live streaming...

I used to use it quite a while ago...but got out of the habit when my laptop started to slow down and I was using it mostly upstairs where there is the TV to compete with.

I recently got a new computer which I set up in my studio in the lower regions of the house (read ground floor, basement, entry level....whatever works for you) so have re-instituted the practice of listening to radio online.....particularly British and Irish radio. My taste (when I'm working) is in the classical music genre so I found this site which lists classical music online radio all over the world....
I clicked on the Europe section and voila....I have a wonderful varied selection to choose from. For the moment I listen to Lyric FM in Ireland and BBC3 in the UK.....and I know there is another ...Classic FM in the UK. I haven't explored any further ones as yet, but will do at some point.

Lyric FM is a more lighthearted variety of classical music with a mixture of serious classical and light classical and jazz with some other genres mixed in. BBC 3 is a little more serious classical....full concerts there is definitely a few options.

There are a lot of options for radio online, but to find many "just classical" stations is inspires me. It's interesting too, when I have Lyric FM on, it's usually early morning or evening their time, so I get local Irish news weather and traffic reports (especially in the morning). I love it....if I can't be there in person, at least I can listen in on their lives!!!

I check out the RTE and BBC websites as well to find out what's on so if there are any special programs that twig my interest, I can listen in.

It's definitely a nice alternative to CBC, especially since the CBC has taken to "dumbing down" Radio 2 to appeal to the masses......and there's just something that kind of suits me to listen to an overseas radio station.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Food adventures....

OK, this post is long overdue, according to DH. However, it's about my recent and rather sudden re-awakened interest in cooking. Whilst DH and my bro and I were watching TV one Sunday night about a month or so ago, I was I picked up a copy of the "Appeal" magazine from Save On Foods. I was amazed how it totally absorbed my attention and how I actually considered that most of the recipes were well within my capabilities. I have a sneaking suspicion that the movie "Julie and Julia" may have twigged something way back in my mind making me realize that I really do enjoy cooking, but just couldn't be bothered.

So.....the following weekend...when looking for something to have for Sunday dinner, I remembered reading the recipe for Beef Bourguignon....and...having heard about it in the afor-mentioned movie, I thought.....why not??? The recipe from Appeal is on Page 18 here and it proved to be relatively uncomplicated. When comparing it to the Julia Child recipe, it seems that hers, while much the same ingredients, is much more labour intensive. My attempt, by all accounts, was a success......
Some pictures of the actual dish.......and then the sides.....mashed potatoes, baby carrots and green beans, along with a nice wine, which of course is mandatory!!
Having shown you this, of course, the realization has hit me that I would never make a REAL chef....I just don't clean up the presentation enough!! Splatters on the sides of the casserole....(shudder!!)

So the BB went off, feeling rather pleased with myself, I tackled a couple of baking projects, which is normally not too bad for me, but I have to say that I usually use a muffin mix as a starter when I make muffins and then add to it. However....again in the
Appeal magazine Page 56 (see link above) I found a recipe for Chunky Apple Banana Bran Muffins. I think that the fact I had most of the ingredients played a large part in my enthusiasm, plus the fact that I was at home alone with no distractions.....just music playing. Anyways, they turned out amazingly well and I learned to fill the muffin cups using an ice cream easy!!
My next baking challenge was Healthy Blueberry Bran Muffins....which was on the KCTS website (PBS) and again....they were very successful (especially with the ice cream scoop.)The only change I made with them is I used 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk instead of 1 cup of skim milk and 1/2 cup of applesauce or plain yogurt.

From this same site, I explored a bit and found a wonderful cranberry, orange, apricot salsa which is delicious and makes quite a large quantity. I'm a real fruit salsa fan, so this just hit the spot.

So, I have no more pictures as yet, but since this revelation, I have found myself to be quite creative in cooking and baking. It seems that DH is also, to a lesser degree, feeling the pull of cooking a wonderful tasty meal. His attempts have been very successful.

More about my (or our) cooking adventures in future posts....but for now, I'll just keep my apron ready and camera handy!!


Friday, February 05, 2010

A unique perspective.....

I received this from a dear friend and thought that it kind of put everything into think??? It's a very unique and pleasing way of looking at the issue!!
Anyways....I will be posting about weight loss, my ideas, and my challenges in the near the meantime....enjoy!!

Recently, in a large city in Australia , a poster featuring a young, thin and tan woman appeared in the window of a gym. It said, "This summer, do you want to be a mermaid or a whale?" A middle-aged woman, whose physical characteristics did not match those of the woman on the poster, responded publicly to the question posed by the gym.

To Whom It May Concern,

Whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, sea lions, curious humans.) They have an active sex life, get pregnant and have adorable baby whales. They have a wonderful time with dolphins stuffing themselves with shrimp.. They play and swim in the seas, seeing wonderful places like Patagonia , the Bering Sea and the coral reefs of Polynesia . Whales are wonderful singers and have even recorded CDs. They are incredible creatures and virtually have no predators other than humans. They are loved, protected and admired by almost everyone in the world.

Mermaids don't exist. If they did exist, they would be lining up outside the offices of Argentinean psychoanalysts due to identity crisis. Fish or human? They don't have a sex life because they kill men who get close to them, not to mention how could they have sex? Just look at them ... where is IT? Therefore, they don't have kids either. Not to mention, who wants to get close to a girl who smells like a fish store?

The choice is perfectly clear to me: I want to be a whale.

P.S. We are in an age when media puts into our heads the idea that only skinny people are beautiful, but I prefer to enjoy an ice cream with my kids, a good dinner with a man who makes me shiver, and a piece of chocolate with my friends. With time, we gain weight because we accumulate so much information and wisdom in our heads that when there is no more room, it distributes out to the rest of our bodies. So we aren't heavy, we are enormously cultured, educated and happy.

Beginning today, when I look at my butt in the mirror I will think, ¨Good grief, look how smart I am!¨