Roundup #16 - Friday the 13th edition.

It seems like the whole world has gone Valentine's Day crazy this year. Is that every year? Maybe I just don't pay close enough attention. Maybe it's because Jesse and I stay home to make nachos and avoid the whole restaurant scene. Regardless, while the world is swooning, they also seem to be overlooking the fact that today is Friday the 13th. Good reason to stay home, avoid the subzero temperatures and pop in a scary movie or two (though Scary Movie 2 is about as scary as I can handle). I digress. 

Here's some links from around the web this week: 

What a Happy Cell Looks Like - Really interesting piece from The Atlantic about how happiness interacts with our bodies on a cellular level.

Jesse's cousin is in New Zealand right now and her Instagram feed reminded me of the glow worm caves in Waitomo (pictured). Definitely on my list. 

One of the world's most adorable old man knits sweaters for penguins. He's 109! Starting to feel the need to take up knitting. 

Here is today. Ever feel like you're having the worst day ever? Start clicking and watch as the day starts to feel really inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. 

Or maybe it isn't so inconsequential and it really is time for a change. Laurel Pantin's interesting take on leaving New York City for Cape Town. 

And if horror movies aren't your thing, why not try your hand at Beeramisu as a special treat for tomorrow's holiday? 

Mexican tofu stuffed peppers.

Stuffed peppers are sort of a fail safe in my kitchen. No matter what's going on or how crazy the week may be, it's a good dinner. Last week was just such a week. One of the dogs had surgery, the other was waiting on lab results, I had a crazy rash, the boiler blew, you get the picture. 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 large bell peppers, halved and cleaned 
  • 1 onion, diced 
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 block of firm tofu, drained, pressed and diced 
  • 1 cup of black beans
  • taco seasoning 
  • 2 ounces reduced fat cheese, grated (optional) 

Steps: 

  1. Preheat the over to 400 degrees F. Arrange your cleaned peppers a small baking dish or pie plate.
  2. In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium. Once it's shimmery, add the onion and let it cook for about 3 minutes or until translucent. 
  3. Add the tofu to the onions and mix together with the taco seasoning. Allow the tofu and onions to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. 
  4. Mix the black beans in with the tofu and onions and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Remove the mix from the stove and cool for a few minutes. 
  5. Scoop the tofu mixture into the peppers and cover the dish with tinfoil. Bake in your preheated for 45 minutes. 
  6. After 45 minutes remove the foil and cover the peppers with the grated cheese if you so desire. Return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes. 

Serve as a meal or pair half of a pepper with a salad. Save the remaining peppers in the fridge overnight. Makes 2 full servings. 

#TenementSnaps

I am not much of a photographer nor do I really claim to be. But when I heard about the opportunity to tour the Tenement Museum and take pictures inside the spaces I jumped. In essence, the Tenement Museum is a preserved tenement building on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It was inhabited by over 7,000 people from 1863 until 1935 before it just sort of sat empty for 50 years. Rediscovered in the 1980's, the building is a testament to the old New York, one that was full of freshly emigrated faces from around the world looking for a new life in America. 

So on Friday, February 6, the museum invited people in to take pictures of the spaces and exhibits it holds for only the second time ever. I'm not sure how frequently they're planning to run these types of tours but the museum is definitely worth checking out without your camera too. Here's some of what we saw: 


"Cheesy" roasted carrots.

Like most things, there are some recipes that you find, and others that find you. This one found me. After purchasing a big bag of baby carrots on a whim one day, I wondered what to do with them. So seeking warm, comforting food to get me through the winter doldrums I decided to roast them. Fast forward to a few weeks later and I'm on my third big bag in a month. The recipe changes from day-to-day depending on my mood but the basics stay the same. 

Ingredients

  • 1-1.5 cups of baby carrots 
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
  • garlic salt, to taste 
  • curry powder, optional 

Steps

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and line a baking sheet with tinfoil. 
  2. In a medium size bowl, pour the oil over the carrots and mix until the carrots are coated. 
  3. Sprinkle the carrots with garlic salt and curry powder if so desired. Top off with nutritional yeast and give the carrots a shake to make sure they are covered evenly. 
  4. Bake for 25-30 min, removing once to flip the carrots over. 

Remove from the oven, let them cool for a few minutes and enjoy. Can be served as a snack or a side. Double or triple accordingly. 

Hawaii.

It's funny. In the pre-online era, taking vacation pictures was seen as a good thing. A hobby of sorts. Now there seems to be this growing backlash around documenting your travels. Oh well. I did it anyway. 

After an action packed year filled with work, weddings and living, I decided to round things out with a vacation. And not just any vacation, but one that took me to see my favorite West Coast faces before jetting off for Hawaii to celebrate a momentous birthday with a few East Coast friends. 

Here are some fond Maui memories: