Family, Salads, Documentary, Flowers, Dessert, and Zumba (!)

This post is full of random.

Family Time

Last night after work I headed home and found my brother waiting in the cafe under my apartment. I like being with family; I’m glad that I get to see him a couple times a month. I miss the rest of my family and Bobby’s family too. Luckily we will be hosting Bobby’s parents later this month, which we are both excited for. We want to take them out to all of our favorite places. These are my siblings now (left to right: sis, bro, me, bobby, sis-in-law):

Salad Time

The cafe downstairs was having $1 off salad day yesterday so that is what I had for the first course of my dinner. I said “tofu” but the guy heard “tuna“, so that was my main ingredient. I should accidentally order tuna more often; this was delicious. It also had: egg whites, portobello mushrooms, mandarin oranges, olives, grapes, apples, broccoli, sprouts, roasted peppers, regular peppers, beets, tomatoes, and I can’t even remember what else. It has unlimited toppings so I get pretty much everything. I get the chipotle ranch dressing on the side (but I use the whole thing).

Mind Over Money

I ate my salad while watching a Nova documentary called Mind Over Money. If you are an economist (Coco) or if you just enjoy learning, check it out. It talks about the debate between behavioral and traditional (more rational) economics, and basically says that humans don’t act rationally when it comes to money – we are irrational and very much influenced by our emotions. It talks about the (in)efficiency of markets, why the crash in 2008 might have happened (and why economists didn’t predict it), the housing bubble, the tulip bubble of the 1600s, decision making, and more. I really enjoyed it. I double majored in econ and math so this was right up my alley.

We have Netflix and I watched the documentary streaming on my computer (we can watch Netflix streaming on the TV too using Bobby’s XBox). We don’t get cable and I don’t watch TV aside from Netflix documentaries anymore. And Hoarders.

Flowers for Sanity

I read somewhere that keeping flowers in the house helps keep you happy and healthy. I like them because they are a little bit of nature right in my Manhattan apartment. These are from Trader Joe’s and they were just $3.99. Good deals make me happy too 🙂

Dessert Snack Time

I never have “just a salad” for dinner and tonight was no exception. I don’t usually like nut butter, but I was in a nutty mood last night so I spread a large Trader Joe’s blueberry muffin with probably too much peanut butter and savored it. I don’t have a picture though. It wasn’t that pretty but it sure was toothsome, sapid, and titillating. There are some good vocab words for you!

And… Zumba!

I went to a gym class and I ran into Missy! We chatted and then did class together. I have been to better Zumba classes though – the instructor last night was very repetitive and too fast.

Do you have any random things to share?

Spritzers & Language

Food & Wine seems to be the quintessential foodie combo. My husband likes to unwind at night with a nice glass of wine, or by sipping slowly on a cup of whiskey on the rocks. I am not a drinker; I haven’t been since the middle of college. But I’m starting to enjoy wine again. (Apparently you can even get your wine online.) I like making connections with people, and wine is something that many people are passionate about, so it makes for good conversation.

My favorite wine from Trader Joe’s

The main reason that I did not drink for so long was that alcohol is very high in calories, and in general I prefer to chew my calories. In general, I would rather have a piece of pie than a regular soda – but I’m not that picky anymore. (Aside: The calories in wine are not protein, carbs, or fat. Some people think that alcohol calories are sugar – they are not. Alcohol is its own food group and it has 7 calories per gram, whereas carbs like sugar have just 4 per gram; protein also has 4 per gram and fat has 9 calories per gram. So alcohol, if we are judging solely on caloric content, by the gram, is more like a fat than a sugar.)

Anyway, my point is that I wanted to learn how to enjoy wine so that I could enjoy it with my husband, my family, or my friends. So I started drinking wine with seltzer. I know, horror of horrors! Wine + seltzer! To a wine fanatic that is probably a sacrilege. But to a seltzer fanatic it is not.

My sodastream seltzer machine, which I am missing much – it is in New Jersey.

But it is not a sacrilege to me. My mom and I discussed it on Tuesday night as I was walking home from my first choir practice and I think I got her on my side (she loves wine).

And now I love wine (with seltzer). I call it wine spritzer but I’m not sure if that’s the right term, because I think there is an actual product called wine spritzer. I like it much more than wine alone, which is sometimes too pungent and flavorful. And it goes by so quickly.

Maggie’s Wine Spritzer Tips

  • 3 parts seltzer to 1 part wine is my favorite mix (I eyeball it – it might be more parts seltzer to 1 part wine)
  • Dessert wine is especially good with seltzer
  • My wine spritzer has just 25% of the calories that regular wine has
  • Wine spritzer is really good for when you can’t figure out what you want to eat – once you have a few sips, your appetite perks right up
  • Try different kinds of wine with different foods
  • Drink wine spritzer while you’re cooking – it makes cooking that much more fun 😉

I googled the word “spritz” for fun, and found its etymology. (Etymology = word meaning and history.) You might remember my linguistics blog from last year (I keep meaning to start that up again) – I love words. I love languages. So I am going to tell you about spritz.

Spritz comes from German and it means splash, or sparkling. (Aren’t those beautiful words? Some of my favorites.) Spritz is basically a variation on the wine spritzer that I make and it’s served in Italy (which is one of my favorite places) – it’s made of white wine or Prosecco, a dash of a bitter liqueur, and sparkling mineral water. And garnished with an orange. You can also do it with champagne. Spritz was first made in Venice when it was under Austrian rule. (Because the Austrians drank Spritzer, which was half wine and half seltzer.)

Gespritzter (German) is the past form of the verb spritzen (to squirt). German is so cool. Spritz first appeared in English in 1917, and spritzer in 1961.

Okay I have to stop going on about languages 😉 This is why I started that other blog that I need to update! If you want more word origins, check out one of my favorite website, The Online Etymology Dictionary.

Do you drink wine? Wine spritzer? Other alcohol? What is your favorite?

For now I am stuck on wine spritzer. I hate beer, and I’m not really a fan of most hard liquor. So I’m going to keep drinking what I enjoy.

Also – don’t forget to enter my book giveaway!

Papaya Salad Rocks My Socks

Free yoga mat giveaway! (And hot sauce discount.) Now: Papaya Salad. Papaya salad is in both Thai and Vietnamese cuisine. My favoritefavorite is the Vietnamese version of papaya salad, but I suppose this is kind of a mix of both.

I love papaya salad. So much so that I had it for dinner 2 nights in a row.

Ingredients and Method

  • green papaya
  • tomatoes
  • shrimp, sauteed in peanut oil with soy sauce and chili powder
  • dressing: fish sauce, vinegar, peanut butter, soy sauce, honey, hot sauce
  • topping: PB2
  • MIX

To slice the papaya into such tiny strips (which is the only way to enjoy green papaya), I first used my mandoline to slice the papaya in thin strips. Then I just cut up the strips. It didn’t take long at all.

Papaya salad is a good reward and a great way to celebrate…

Celebrate finishing my wedding invitations that is! Almost all of them were mailed out today.

I know I owe you that explanation for why I suddenly have more time. The truth is, I don’t really have that much more time. I cut back to part time at my job and I am taking a class in the evenings, but the class ends up taking up 4-5 hours of my night… so I have about the same amount of free time as I did before. But I love the class. It’s a linguistics class.

Have you ever taken a class after you graduated college? Do you like papaya salad?

Chunky PB & Raw Salad

Do you like chunky peanut butter or smooth and creamy? Every time I get chunky, I end up with this…

01 chunky pb

I don’t know how it happens, but I unconsciously avoid the chunks and am left with a jar of peanut bits and a little bit of creamy peanut butter. Just one of my quirks, I suppose. I don’t know what to do with the bits besides eat them plain; I’m not complaining though. But I really should only buy creamy.

When I’m not desiccating (= removing moisture from) nut butters, I like to make raw salads.

02 raw salad

This is:

  • kale (1/2 bunch or so, maybe a little more) – massaged with 1/2 avocado and my own version of liquid gold elixir (olive oil, rice vinegar, bragg’s liquid aminos)
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • white onion, chopped
  • 1/2 ear of raw corn
  • salsa (taco bell brand… not exactly raw! but you could use raw salsa)

I massaged the kale with the avocado and dressing, then topped it with the other goodies. As soon as I was done I made a repeat salad; do you ever do that? Sometimes after I have a salad I go back and make the exact same salad for seconds.

03 raw salad

In this case it was nice because I was able to use the rest of the kale head, the other 1/2 ear of corn, and the other 1/2 avocado. It works out. Maybe the reason I make the repeat is to use up the leftovers from the first one!

04 raw salad

Here are some word origins for y’all…

  • vegetable (Dori) – vegetables comes from a base in proto-indo-european (PIE = basically what preceded all of the european languages) that means “be strong, lively”. It’s also related to watch, vigor, velocity, and possibly witch. after PIE it went through Latin and French before it came to English.
  • shampoo (Heather) – this comes from Hindi (champo) where it meant, “to massage”, or “to press, knead the muscles”.
  • massage – this is from French, and before French it probably came from Arabic (massa = to touch, feel, handle). If it did come from Arabic it was probably picked up in Egypt when Napoleon was there. If it didn’t come from Arabic, it probably came from India (the French colonized it) from the word amassar (to knead), which came from Latin massa (mass, dough).

Gotta go grade… Have a great night/morning!

P.S. I’m in the middle of The Time Traveler’s Wife. So freakin’ good. Have you read it? I’m going to see the movie so I have to read it first.