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Curried-Cumined Zucchini Soup

Curried-Cumined Zucchini Soup

Our winter is too long and too white. There, I said it! To break all this whiteness, I made a warm green soup.

you’ll need:

  • 2 Tbs fat (butter, ghee, coconut oil, tallow);
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds;
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped;
  • 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped;
  • 1 tsp curry powder (if you like less spicy, use 1/2 tsp curry and 1/2 tsp turmeric);
  • 3-4 zucchini, coarsely sliced (I also used one Dudhi, an Indian type of long zucchini);
  • 3-4 cups liquids (bone broth, chicken broth, vegetable broth, water). Use less liquid (3 cups) for a thicker consistency;
  • salt and pepper;
  • lemon;

* optional: garnish (cilantro, parsley, sour cream)

ingredients assembly. not in the photo: lemon, broth, parsley, salt n' pepper

ingredients assembly. not in the photo: lemon, broth, parsley, salt n’ pepper

how-to:

  1. Melt fat in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and allow them to heat just until they let out their wonderful aroma. They will start to splutter. Don’t allow them to burn or blacken.

    sizzling cumin opening it's fragrance

    sizzling cumin opening it’s fragrance

  2. Add the onion and garlic and saute for about 4 minutes until they start to soften.

    zuc·chi·ni. noun, plural zuc·chi·nis

    zuc·chi·ni. noun, plural zuc·chi·nis

  3. Add liquid, zucchini, curry powder and salt (add more salt if using only water as your liquid). Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook gently for 30 minutes, until veggies are tender.
  4. Allow soup to cool, and blend (I use an immersion stick) until just smooth.
  5. Before serving, reheat soup. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. Ladle into bowls, squeeze some lemon, and add some garnish.

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*PLARN= plastic yarn

So, I’ve never really crochet(ed) before, but being a plastic-bag collector as I am, and following the beautiful bags and baskets that one talented Israeli artist, Arbel Eger, is creating, made me try to crochet my very own little basket. I looked online for some simple instructions, and they are out there, in cyberspace.

Here’s the first result:

my first basket crochet made of plastic bags

first plarn crochet

I was very happy and excited with what seemed to look like an actual basket, and even gave it as a gift. My friend looked pleased (she either liked it, or she was really kind to me), and she’ll be using it to collect her own plastic bags from now on.

Encouraged, I have decided to ride again on the waves of success, and created yet another basket to be given as a gift. This time I used more colors, and here it is:

crocheting basket from plarn, again

another crocheted basket

I am now hooked :). be prepared for some more photos.

For instructions on how to make PLARN, here a link to Arbel’s blog. It’s in Hebrew, but the great photo tutorial explains it all, loud and clear.

Any questions? remarks? I’d be happy to address them.

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I’m sure that I’m not the only one that hates it when a good cork is tossed away.

I love wine and I love corks! So I collect them.

corks corks corks

some quick cork facts:

  • cork oak tree grows in coastal regions of the Mediterranean.
  • cork trees survive harsh conditions.
  • average life expectancy of a cork tree would be 120 to 200 years.
  • natural cork is actually obtained from the bark of the tree.
  • In ancient times, cork bark was used to form sandal soles, food storage vessels, and floats for fishing nets.
  • Seventeenth century, one French monk, Dom Perignon, is credited with being the first to recognize the ability of cork to contain sparkling wines. The rest- is history.

Cork oak with bark of lower trunk removed (Ian Francis, Australia).

Corks uses nowadays:

cork collage

cork designs by Martin Margiela

cork floor

cork floor (from corkfloor.com)

And here are some things the kids made at our Trash 2 Art club, and anyone can make:

heat resistent cork trivet

heat-resistant cork trivet

Erel's trivet

Yahel's cork art- ancient dog?

cork trivet

Standing cork trivet

and there’s plenty more to do with corks. maybe we’ll wait for next winter. meanwhile- collecting more of them.

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floating gracefully

floating gracefully

So we had a party coming up. A BIG party. We needed to decorate a large hall. I schlepped around some party stores that sell a tiny decorative item for at least $2. For a larger item, the price blows up like crazy. I wasn’t ready to spend a lot of money, though I must admit that I have bought some decorations. Call it party fear factor.

Making it a family project, we sat around the table and started to prepare some decorations. we had fun and laughs  making them. Whether or not they’re cool, they sure are original. I call it: the jellyfish decor. That’s what they remind me of.

jellifish decor

jellyfish decor

wait, don’t throw: colorful plastic bags, plastic bottle (such as your empty organic apple juice).

to do:

  • Flatten the plastic bag, then cut off the top to remove the handles, and the bottom to remove the closed end. Fold the bag lengthwise several times,  then cut strips (between an inch to 2 inches wide) thus creating plastic rings.

making plastic rings

putting my brother to work into cutting plastic rings. he's good.

  • now that we have many colorful rings, we’ll take our empty, clean and dry plastic bottle and cut it into… aha… more plastic rings. On second thought, it’s more like slicing the bottle, like so:

plastic slices

plastic slices. Use a utility knife or scissors

  • now, we need to tie the plastic bag rings onto the plastic circle we created. Wrap the ring around the circle and pull out through the ring itself. Nothing like a picture to demonstrate:

wind plastic rings around plastic slice

wind plastic rings around plastic circle

  • cover the whole circle with many colorful, dangling rings, till it looks like- a jellyfish when you play around with it. You then attach a string to two sides of the circle, to be able to hang it high up on the ceiling. Make many jellyfish to brighten up any party.
  • and…we also managed to create yet another cool colorful chain from the plastic bag left-overs- by tying them to one another, and tying balloons on.
balloon chain

balloon chain

did I mention recycle?

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Where do I even start?

Well, it’s my inner instinct and logic to prefer food that does not contain chemicals (man made), toxins, pesticides, hormones, or any other synthetic additives, nor food that has been meddled with (genetically). I don’t need any books, studies, magazines or movies for that strong inner feelings. Yet, better know and be educated, informed, than not…

organic

organic

Lately I have read Robyn O’Brien’s book “The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It“, who has started AllergyKids.com.

According to the book, most of Europe and Great Britain, Australia, Japan, and even Russia demand the clear labeling of food products that contain genetically engineered ingredients.  Several African countries even refuse to accept genetically modified (“GM“) grain as food aid. According to Reuters, Egypt just announced that it won’t be importing or exporting any GM foods.

Today I have also watched the film “The Future of Food” that has reinforced and better illustrated my gut feeling. I am already waiting to watch the much talked about film “Food, Inc.“.

It seems that while the world around us has long begun to understand the meaning of contaminated food and its consequences, here in the US, people are either too sleepy, or ignorant, or affixed and have their mind set, that the FDA or big agri-businesses or the government are taking real good care of the people and the food they are allowing us to eat.

That’s right, nobody is forcing us to buy GM food,      or do they?  When we try to buy any box of any food, and read the list of ingredients, do we know which was GM’d ? Do I know if the corn flour, the soy or any other grain was modified?

No, I don’t. In fact, I just learned about genetically engineered sugar beets in Kellogg’s products:

Organic Consumers Association and allies sent a letter to Kellogg’s on June 12, requesting that Kellogg’s not use sugar from genetically engineered sugar beets in its products or face a consumer boycott.

Kellogg’s has responded, claiming that US consumers do not care if their food contains Genetically Engineered (GE) food or not.”

So do I have any free choice in choosing the unmodified foods? not if I can’t identify them.

proccessed food

processed food

D’you hear the name Monsanto before? I bet that once you start to read a little more about any of those topics above, “Monsanto” will introduce itself right out of those articles you’ll be reading, because it is one of (if not the largest) multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation that has produced herbicides, genetically engineered seeds, and develops and markets Bovine growth hormones, just to name a few.

And guess what? Monsanto is fighting hard and lobbying with all its might (and mighty it is) to keep us consumers in the dark. It is fighting against labeling any of the GM foods as such. The Europeans, concerned about the food they eat, chose mandatory labeling of GM foods and ingredients. Here, Monsanto and big $$$ are still winning, and GM foods aren’t labeled. Read more about GM foods.

The more I dived deep into the food industry info, I became aware of the knotted political ties that thrive behind the scene of the food industry, the ones between government, pharma- business and agriculture business. I also became aware of the potential role of the chemical toxins added to the foods in the development of autism, allergies, asthma, and ADHD.

What is one to do in the meantime?

  • read, learn, watch the movies, get educated, and pass on the word.
  • try to avoid processed foods, or at least read the labels and make a rational decision based on what you know when choosing that product;
  • try to consume organic food products, or at least the basic ones, such as milk, and eggs.
  • try to purchase locally grown fruits, vegetables, dairy and support your local farmers.
  • take an extra step and write to your local newspaper editor;
  • take an even bigger step and write to your legislators (type your zip code to find your officials);

It’ll probably be long before the labeling of GM food will become a must, or maybe even banned, it’ll take some time before government will subsidize organic farms. But we shall overcome someday.

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well, it’s an upside-down plant made of a plastic bottle and a cloth-hanger. and a plant.

cute plant growing down

cute plant growing down

But wait- it’s not just pretty, it could also be beneficial, when you try it with a tomato planter. Google it up and you’ll find that it sells for $$$, but you can skip the buying. There are different ways of doing it, but here’s my way:

tomato plant, swinging in the air

tomato plant, swinging in the air

  • The only thing we bought is an organic tomato. Before cutting it into our great salad, we kept some of the tomato seeds, and planted them, first, in small yogurt containers with our own soil from the back yard. We took care to water the little tomato plants, and when the stems showed up, at around 2-3 inches long, we then transferred them into clean plastic bottles.
  • To prepare your plastic bottle, cut off the bottom of the bottle (the wide part) with a utility knife, and puncture two holes so you can attach your hanger.
  • Insert, carefully, the tomato planter, with stems/leafs upside-down through the narrow opening of the bottle, fill the rest with soil.
  • Attach hanger and… hang in a sunny location. Be sure to water and take care of it.
  • Adore it !

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Though most people don’t need road maps anymore due to the incredible ease of the GPS. Never the less, I have stocks of old maps, and even some new ones from places I visited recently. You know how you enter a visitor center and you just can’t leave without a handful of brochures and local maps, that eventually find their way to the recycling bin, or even worst- the trash bin?

The Maryland border is so straight

The Maryland border is so straight

well, why not save paper, and money, and stash ’em right where you keep your gift wrap paper? Yap, those maps give a nifty, sophisticated look to your gifts.  Add a little ribbon or make a card with motifs from the map leftovers to make it even more special.

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