Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Please support me!

On Saturday, April 16th, I will join others from the Washington, DC area for the National 5k Walk to End Violence Against Women. Globally, up to six out of every ten women will experience physical and/or sexual violence in her lifetime. This figure is too frightening to ignore.

I'm walking in memory of women like Jayna Murray. And Hena Akhter. And the countless women around the world who have been killed, harmed or suffer in silence on a daily basis.

I've set a modest fundraising goal that I would very much like to meet and then exceed. Please consider making a donation, no matter the size. You can do that my visiting my FirstGiving page. All donations are secure and the funds are sent directly to the US National Committee for UNIFEM.

If you are in the area, you can still sign up to join me and walk for this worthwhile cause! Register here.

Monday, March 28, 2011


This past weekend my Mom and her boyfriend came down to visit my sister, Jesse and I. On Saturday, following a sangria-soaked lunch at Lauriol Plaza, we took a walk around the Tidal Basin to see the cherry blossoms. They were as beautiful as always but for some reason this year they are much more white than pink. Maybe it has to do with the weather? The credit for this pretty picture goes to my Mom:

Since it is just about peak season for the blossoms, it was extremely crowded down there. This picture doesn't really show the sardine-esque nature of most of the area.

More blossoms! This time I took the photo.

I made Jesse pose with the flowers so I could send the picture to his Mom.

On Saturday night we meandered around Old Town Alexandria. On Sunday we headed out to Eastern Market for some shopping and brunch at Ted's Bulletin. It's a super cute 50's style restaurant that has black and white movies playing and has a pastry chef in the window making old-fashioned pastries. Note: It is best to go in a group of two people. While the wait is horribly long no matter what (they don't take reservations, are extremely popular and the dining room is small), it's really bad for large groups since the majority of the tables are small booths. They told us when we put in our name to come back in 30 minutes. Our total wait time was two hours. Oy. It's a good thing it was worth it! This is their menu, which looks like an old newspaper:

My Mom and sister:
A homemade cherry-filled pop-tart! So worth the wait! They also make their own twinkies and snow-balls. For lunch, I had a grilled cheese and tomato soup.

Us girls:

What a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Last Weekend...

...I made a few dozen of these hamantaschen, in honor of Purim. This year I went with cherry preserves and apple pie filling. There are recipes for these all over the web but I have found that the recipe in A Treasury of Jewish Baking comes out perfect every single time. And now I've been sucking down green smoothies and eating veggie sushi non-stop. Time to do some Spring cleaning, in all aspects of life!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Revelry Review: Nothing to Envy

I recently finished the book Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick. I picked this one up because #20 on my 30 Before 30 list was to read a book on each of the following places: China, North Korea, Iran and Africa (on all of it or on any specific country). I realized that even after having obtained a MA in International Affairs, I still had gaps in knowledge about certain parts of the world and I wanted to do something about it. I saw this book recommended in several places, so I knew this would be the one I read on North Korea.

Demick follows the lives of six North Korean defectors. She uses these stories to portray what life has been like in North Korea under a repressive regime. Starvation, black outs and fear of being sent to labor camps for any infraction permeate daily life. Propaganda in support of the regime knows no bounds. This review of the book gives a great summary. I particularly like the remark that Demick "does not tell, she shows." Most of the defectors ended up in South Korea (either directly or by way of China). The comparison between what modern day life is like in the two countries is heartbreaking.

I confess to having been largely ignorant of the situation in North Korea before reading this book, other than having read Somewhere Inside by Laura and Lisa Ling, which is what initially sparked my interest in learning more. Nothing to Envy was both intriguing and horrifying. I gasped out loud at certain sections. I highly recommend it since it is written in an easy to read and interesting manner but packs in a ton of information.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Delicious Dishes: Hamburger Buns

Would you believe me if I told that I never ate a hamburger bun until recently? It's true. I've never eaten red meat and I don't like veggie burgers unless they look like vegetables (as opposed to fake meat) and I've made them myself so I know what is in them, so I've simply had no reason to eat hamburger buns in last 29 years. All that changed in the past week or so.

First, I made Analiese's "Best Ever Black Bean Burgers". I love cilantro and avocado, so I made the "zesty" variation. Burger, baby spinach, tomato, lots of avocado and salsa on a Whole Foods' whole wheat burger bun, Deeeeeelicious! And more than just nutritious and yummy, these burgers are also very filling. Here's a picture of our dinner (with some simple mashed sweet potatoes):

Since burger buns come in quite a large pack for just the two of us, I wanted to find another way to use the remaining ones. Inspired by a wrap that I had at Soul Vegetarian awhile back, I decided to try barbecue tofu. I love barbecue sauce and eat it pretty infrequently since I gave up chicken a few years back. So very easy! I pressed the tofu in my handy Tofu Express, brushed it with sauce and baked for about 40 minutes on a baking sheet. I flipped and basted one time at the 20 minute mark. I served them with baby spinach, tomato, and a ton of pickles. I added a little sauce to the tops of the buns so that they wouldn't be dry. This would be a terrific thing to add to our weeknight recipe routine--quick and easy! (Forgive me for the paper plate--our dishwasher is out of commission and we had some left from a Superbowl gathering we had!).

What are some vegetarian-friendly ways you use hamburger buns?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Delicious Dishes: Biscuits

This weekend I was inspired by this post on the Orangette blog, so I tried my hand at biscuits for the first time. Light and fluffy. Warm and golden. Perfect! (Now I am on a mission to find a much more calorie-friendly but equally as delicious version.)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Delicious Dishes: 2nd Avenue Vegetable Korma

I made the "2nd Avenue Vegetable Korma" from Appetite for Reduction last night. The more I cook from it (and the others written by her), I am convinced that there is nothing that Isa Chandra Moskowitz can't do, or at least nothing that she can't make taste AMAZING.

Coming in at just 180 calories a serving (without the rice I added), it is a keeper. It feels like comfort food. Rich, spicy and warm. And it comes together in about 30 minutes (less if you are a quick chopper) and makes enough to have a ton of leftovers. Next time I am going to try adding some dry pan-fried tofu, as Isa suggests on one of the sidebars. Yum!