KathyBou’s Blog

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Archive for November 2008

Salmon pasta

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One of our favorite dinners around here is salmon pasta, which is a recipe from D’s sister with a few modifications. There are no exact measurements but it’s a forgiving recipe – just trust your gut.

Salmon pasta:

You’ll need:
  • Salmon
  • Lemon
  • Olive oil
  • White wine (optional)
  • Mushrooms (lots!)
  • Onion or shallots
  • One leek, chopped
  • Whipping or heavy cream
  • Vegetable or chicken stock
  • Pasta of your choice
  1. Turn oven on at 375F. In a baking dish, and olive oil and salmon.  Add some lemon juice, white wine (optional). salt, pepper and any type of seasoning you like (i.e. dill or maybe fennel).
  2. Bake in oven for about 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness. Do not overcook and the salmon can actually still be a little uncooked in the middle as it will sit for a while.  Cover with foil when out of oven (it will keep cooking).
  3. Meanwhile, put the water to boil for the pasta.
  4. In a frying pan, put some olive oil and butter.
  5. When melted, add one chopped shallot (or 1/4 of an onion) and cook 2-3 minutes. Do not let brown.
  6. Add the mushrooms (I like a combination of crimini, white and shitake) and cook until water has evaporated from the mushrooms. Season with salt, pepper and something like thyme, tarragon or oregano (at your choice!).
  7. Add about 1 cup of stock and bring to a boil. Add chopped leek. Let boil for 2 minutes.
  8. Add cream. The amount is really up to you, taste the sauce multiple times to adjust. You are going to want to let the sauce thickens – maybe 5 minutes.
  9. Once satisfied with the thickness, cut the salmon is bite size pieces and add to the warm sauce. Mix well and serve over pasta.
Depending on how much salmon/pasta you make, this dish can feed as many as you wish.  Trust me, it is going to be yummy!

Written by Kat

November 30, 2008 at 10:42 pm

Posted in Food, Fun

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@TV

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Hope everyone’s enjoying their weekend.  Been catching up on recent TV on this side.  Here’s a quick, albeit random, commentary:

Dexter

Amazing the crazy stuff going on this show.  The acting is great, and the storyline stays barely on the right side of believable but it does manage.  That they have pulled off a likable main character who does what he does, hah, that’s well done.  Should be interesting to see what goes down between Dexter and Miguel next.

Grey’s Anatomy

Continues to be the worst “medical show” I’ve watched.  Couldn’t they have done the same show, but in a real estate office instead?  Or maybe a law office?  At least then when they do all the wrong things we’d be less annoyed.  The Izzie and Deny thing?  Pretty far off the rocker isn’t it?  The thing is, I really liked Denie (yes, go ahead and call me girlie, but I did cry when he died).  But I’d rather believe some crazy story about him not really dying than this ghost/crazy thing, sigh.  Other than that, Sloan is showing a more likable side.

House

Still loving House, even during it’s less exciting episodes.  Last week’s episode with Foreman getting his own case to diagnose on the side was interesting.  The writer’s fun this season seems to be in throwing changes at House and seeing how he handles it.  Will he or won’t he decide to try dating Cuddy?  This show isn’t really about the medicine either, but it’s such a drastic contrast from Grey’s. You do get to hear an awful lot of disease names on this show – I’m a bit curious what real doctors think about the terms being thrown around.

Prison Break

This season started slow and then has gained momentum during the last weeks.  It’s been really good until the end of the last episode.  Nothing good can ever happen to these guys. Seriously, in four seasons there has been two “winning” moments on the show.  Each of these lasted about 5 minutes.  Gah.  It’s frustrating to watch them always in so much doo-doo.

Written by Kat

November 30, 2008 at 1:50 am

Posted in tv

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News, etc…

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What is going on with the news this week?  As much as I hate to say it, maybe it was better when the news headlines were about the price of Palin’s skirt-jacket ensemble, not people getting trampled in Walmart, the deaths in India, and uninsured children. Egh.

Some good news please?  I did read one interesting article – resveratrol may help fight aging.  Know where you find it?  Red wine.  Of course red wine.  It makes you wonder if there is some multi-national organization pushing red wine sales.

Also makes me wonder if I should be drinking more?

Lastly, I heard today about Canadian politics going haywire – the possibility of another election less than 2 months from the last one?  A writer for the National Post has a funny rant about it here.  There are all kinds of new-to-me-terms going on with this latest spectacle – I’ve got more reading to do.

Written by Kat

November 28, 2008 at 11:40 pm

Posted in health, news

Tagged with , ,

Thanks

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I’m thankful for many things, just looking at the news today makes me realize even more how thankful, and to remember to appreciate now.

—————————-

Buying gifts online may actually be more time consuming than going to 5 stores looking for the same item.  If you are lucky enough to know for what you are looking. Hee.

You name it I’ve seen it whilst trying to finish/start/be done with our Christmas shopping this year.  I’m not finished yet.

You do find some funny things online though, here are some oddities, surely perfect for some specific persons (that I don’t happen to know):

Written by Kat

November 27, 2008 at 11:27 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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Handwriting

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I wrote a few weeks ago about how Germans write numbers.  It got me to thinking how I’ve changed my own handwriting during different phases.

When I was in 2nd or 3rd grade I decided I wanted to write the number two with a loop, something like this:

This phase didn’t last long, but it was unique enough that one of my unsigned math tests was matched to me, which is good because it was between me and another student and there was only one test.

Later on I decided I wanted to make my lower case ‘A’ like a type face:

This way of writing my a‘s lasted for at least a couple of years.  I eventually got out of it, I think I decided it was wasting too much time when taking notes in class, something like that.

I also recall one of my friend’s went through a long phase of dotting her i‘s with small circles instead of points:

Girly, right?  I think this was the look she was going for then.

A little later in high school plenty of people were practicing their mother’s or father’s name, or [cough] signature.  Only for unsigned permission slips of course.

What about you?  Any handwriting evolution or major modifications along the way?

Written by Kat

November 26, 2008 at 10:51 pm

Posted in Fun

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Short week

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For all you United Stations.  I’d say I’m jealous, but that’s kind of obvious.  Though I’m not getting any turkey this year, I heard that this year Thanksgiving on my mom’s side is going to be at my grandmother’s, and on my dad’s at Uncle Fred’s, per usual.

Don’t worry about the economy on Thursday, D and I will be working and holding down the fort for y’all.

This week at work has been kinda strange for us here too.  It’s been feeling holiday-lax around here on my project even though there’s no free days until right before Christmas.  Maybe everyone hit the Christmas market a little too hard over the weekend – it opened on Friday in Aachen and runs until December 23rd.

For those who haven’t heard about Germany’s Christmas markets – it’s one of their premiere festivals, dwarfed only by the Oktoberfest events in Bavaria in the Fall.   I may not get the beer and sausage thing, but I do get into Christmas so it’s a nice time.  Here’s a picture from us at the market last year:

We were freezing out butts off but we were drinking hot German spiced wine called Glühwein, which really does chase away the cold.  The boot glasses we’re holding up are part of the tradition.  Cute no?

Other than the wine you can find Christmas ornaments and touristy type gifts and all kinds of festival food – pastries and fried potatoes and sausages, candy, chocolate, and gingerbread, etc, etc…

I went again on Friday for a quick visit with a coworker who was leaving last Sunday and wanted to check it out.  What’s amazing is that the market is open everyday from now until just before Christmas.  It’s a big tourist attraction and I’ve heard more than once that the Aacheners are happy when the market starts and equally happy when it ends.  It’s alot of congestion for the downtown area I guess.

Written by Kat

November 25, 2008 at 11:19 pm

Posted in Fun, holidays, Work

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Bikes, snow, frozen

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Took the bikes home to tonight after work.  It snowed lightly all day but the roads were clear so we knew it wouldn’t be dangerous.

But once we got outside the building to where we park our bikes, we noticed the bikes were not completely under the overhang so they were caked with white crystallizing snow.

Are we having fun yet?

So we’re trying to unlock the bikes and the lock won’t relock on the side of D’s bike because the mechanism is gunked up with too much snow.  Meanwhile I’m dusting off my seat and his and the bike bags, with my gloves (BIG MISTAKE).  You know, a girl from Florida doesn’t have much natural snow intuition, let me tell you.

We end up throwing the lock into the bike bag since it won’t lock, then ride across the parking lot trying to make sure the brakes still are working.

Flash forward 5 minutes.

My fingers are completely frozen.  And we’re still another 10 minutes from the apartment.

Note to self: it’s never okay to use your gloves to clean snow.

Written by Kat

November 24, 2008 at 10:36 pm

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A few more from Amsterdam

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In my last post about Amsterdam, I talked about our visit to the Rijksmuseum, which we loved. Here’s a rundown of some of the other things we saw.

Bicycles and more bicycles

Our hotel was just outside the center of town, about a 5 minute walk to the tram line running straight into the center of Amsterdam.  This worked out well because trying to find parking in Amsterdam isn’t easy, unless of course you own a bike.  I know this isn’t news but Amsterdam is literally covered in bicycles.

Bicycles e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e.  Bicycles and scooters, in bike paths that are near or sharing the pedestrian areas.  Each one of us almost got ran over by a bicycle at least once in our walks around town.  It was a little stressful honestly, though I’m sure once you live there it becomes second-nature.

At one point, we were in the museum area between the Rijks and the Van Gogh, and a scooter flies by us in the walk lane.  A cop happened to be on the side of the road, outside his car, and he actually tried to pull the guy on the scooter off his bike.  We were all about 2 feet apart from this and I couldn’t help thinking it would have been really bad if the cop had been successful – the scooter would have shot off in who knows what direction.  From what we saw walking around, we decided that the unofficial right of way goes something like this:

bicycles > scooters > pedestrians > trams > cars*

*with cars having the least right of way

Bonne Fete

We stayed in Amsterdam for 3 nights, including that Friday, which was D’s birthday!  How sweet is it when you and your parents get to eat your birthday dinner together, even when far, far away from home?  Here’s the restaurant’s special birthday dessert – an assortment of ice cream, fruit sorbet, and whipped cream:

Food

D’s parents arrived the Wednesday before, at the Brussels International Airport.  We met them there, rented a car, and drove north into The Netherlands.  We stopped for lunch upon arriving in Amsterdam, at a place in one of D’s mother’s guide books, an Indonesian restaurant called  Tujuh Maret.   We were all a little travel-shocked, but with the waiter’s help we ended up sharing two orders the restaurant’s most popular item – the rice table.  This consists of multiple small hot and cold Indonesian dishes, both vegetable and meat, and ranging in from mild to very hot, along with white and yellow saffron rice.  It was good but a little too much production for a lunch.  The restroom there was up the narrowest, turning stairwell I have ever seen.

Museum pass

After the first night at the hotel, we took the tram into town to the visitor center.  We got an iamsterdam card, get it? “I am sterdam”, clever eh?

The card gives you access to most of the museums in Amsterdam, including the RIjksmuseum and Van Gogh, but it did not include the Anne Frank Huis.  Darn.  We got it anyway because it also included some attractions, and public transportation too.  The cost is €33 for 24 hrs, €43 for 48 hrs, or €53 for 72 hrs.

We took the 2-day pass which was perfect for us.

The Canals

After visiting the Rijksmuseum we got some lunch, it had started to rain so we decided to do a Blue Boat tour, included with our pass.

The Amsterdam canal system is the result of conscious city planning, seeing a map of the city makes that very obvious:

Anne Frank Huis

After the boat tour it had stopped raining, and though we thought we might be too late, we walked along the Prinsengracht canal to the Anne Frank museum.  It turned out the museum was still open, extending it’s summer hours of operation, so we had plenty of time and no crowd. This museum is great.  It’s sad to be there, but it’s real, and it’s crazy.  I’m happy it has been preserved to serve exactly this purpose.

D’s mother and I both bought a copy of The Diary of Anne Frank, one in French and one in English.  The paperback copy I bought here is the definitive version, which has 30% more content than the one I originally read in school.   D took an interest in the book after we got home, so he’s reading it first.

Van Gogh Museum

The next day, we visited the Van Gogh museum, which, fittingly, holds the world’s largest collection of art by Mr. Vincent Van Gogh.  I loved this museum.  If I had to pick between Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh I’d have a hard time.  They are completely different, first of all.  Secondly, they cover the art in different ways.  In the Van Gogh museum we see the progression of Van Gogh’s life and his art; they are definitely tied together.  His story is sad, but also interesting and passionate.

I also realized while I was there, that the eye-catching novel cover of David Sedaris’s When You Are Engulfed in Flames, is Van Gogh’s Skull with Burning Cigarette:

Red light, etc…

After the museum we thought we’d go see the Oude Kerke, which is the oldest church in Amsterdam.  We got there at 5:15 p.m. so we were 15 minutes too late to see inside.  As we were rounding the corner though, we saw hookers instead.  Ouch.  Turns out the Oude Kerke is inside Amsterdam’s Red light district.  We saw 3 rather large women, scantilly clad, inside their showcase windows.  Okay.

D’s parents were tired by now so they decided to take the tram back to the hotel.  D and I, well maybe more me, wanted to see more red light district.  So we did.  Nothing wrong with a little curiosity is there?  We walked back into the area, which is quite large.  I had read that it’s impolite to take pictures, and as I like my camera, I didn’t bring it out.  It wasn’t really scary or creepy until we turned one corner and ended up in some very narrow, sketchy alleyways.  The girls did look better here but at that point I got weirded out so we decided to leave.

Hmm, what did I leave out?  Oh yeah… We did smell and see people smoking pot, numerous cannabis cafes, and souvenirs like green cannabis lollies, for example.  I didn’t find it overwhelming, but we might have missed the best areas for those seeking this out.

Amsterdam was a super city to visit. My only advice: watch out for the bikes, or maybe get on one!

Written by Kat

November 24, 2008 at 12:37 am

Posted in family, Fun, Travel

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Saturday night movie

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No, we didn’t see Twilight, turns out it doesn’t come out here until Dec 4, which is odd because we saw another movie that did just open, everywhere, this weekend, Body of Lies, the Leonardo DiCaprio/Russell Crowe offering by director Ridley Scott.

Leonardo plays CIA agent Ferris, who is “in the field” in Iraq and Jordan, trying to uncover a terrorist leader. He works with/for Hoffman played by Russell Crowe, who is mostly calling the shots, over the phone, from somewhere in the USA.  Lots of black cars, scenes with people speaking Arabic, of course guns-galore, and a fair amount of bloodshed.

I honestly don’t know what I think about the movie.  Strange?  To be fair, I think it’s a good movie for this kind of movie.  I didn’t get lost, in a fairly complex sequence of events, or get names confused.  The acting was good, I really liked both Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe in this one.  Leonardo, in the past few years, has grown on me.  Russell Crowe gained alot of weight, when I got home tonight I just had to check if this was on purpose for the role – he did.  Cheeseburgers for breakfast to get his fat middle-aged look he’s got going in this movie.

While just visiting the ever informative imdb.com to make sure I spelled DiCaprio correctly, and that Rusell has two ‘l’s’, I read that:

It’s ironic to think that the last time these two actors shared the screen was back in 1995, with the clichéd-but-entertaining The Quick and the Dead.

Wow, that’s true.  I liked The Quick and the Dead, even though it seemed to get replayed every weekend on USA or TNT for years.

Written by Kat

November 23, 2008 at 1:02 pm

Posted in movies

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Wii Fit, for a bit?

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I know this it isn’t exactly the holiday spirit, and I don’t mean to sound hum-bugish, but I do seriously wonder how many people, that bought or were gifted Nintendo Wii Fit hardware and game, are actually still using it.

The Wii Fit and balance board had been wildly popular in the USA since it’s release in May and will be a very popular gift item this Christmas.

Recently, in Forbes, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime states:

“With Wii hardware, I think we’ve got a good shot at meeting demand during the holidays. With ‘Wii Fit,’ I know we’ll fall short. That’s a product we have consumers lining up for each morning outside of our Nintendo World store.”

But are people still playing the game and using it as an exercise tool months after?

I found some interesting, though maybe unsurprising, responses to this very question on LiveJournals girl gamer’s forum.

A user who bought the Fit is still going strong at the 2 month mark, but is concerned it may grow repetitive:

“I’ve had mine for almost two months now and I try to use it every day. I’m also getting close to reaching my first weight goal, which really excites me. Of course, it’s not Wii Fit alone that is doing it all, I’m working on changing my diet quite a bit, but it is the main exercise that I do (besides walking up stairs instead of taking the escalator).

Obviously, I haven’t had it as long as some people, but I don’t expect that in two more months things will have changed (I hope not). The only real complaint I have is that it does get a bit monotonous and I wish a few of the activities had more variation (mainly the step aerobics).”

Some said they got bored because the work-out wasn’t challenging enough:

[…] “While most people said they got off it each day with aching muscles I never felt that at all, it just wasn’t challenging enough for me. I like it and keep planning to try again but the breaks between each exercise while selecting things are too long and break what could have been a good rhythm”[…]

Another comment was that while they don’t use the Fit regularly anymore, it did help with better balance:

“Well, when I first got the game when it came out, I played it quite regularly.
The only benefit I really got from it was an improved balance (seriously, my balance was appalling), but as far as weight loss… not so much. Now I do other exercise, so I haven’t played it for months.”

Another Wii Fit owner uses it off and on again:

“I used it every day for the first month, and then I got lazy and kept pushing “I’ll work out tomorrow~” and ended up neglecting it for almost 2 months. I’m back on it every day now, though.”

All of this reminds me of people talking about going to the gym doesn’t it?

I love the idea of game systems going in interactive directions.  And giving people alternate ways to exercise at the same time they are having fun, awesome.  Even so, I’m hoping that the people at Nintendo are thinking up new ways of keeping everyone moving, after the fad wears off.

What about you?  Do you have a wii Fit, and still play?  Do you want one?

Written by Kat

November 22, 2008 at 1:31 am

Posted in fitness, Fun

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