This Page

has been moved to new address


Sorry for inconvenience...

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
Eclecticisms: March 2011

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Haiku Thursday!

What is a haiku?
a poem, message, statement,
it's meant to be shared.

This week I decided to ask people to write haikus for me, not because I'm being lazy, but because I like to feature other people and get them involved. Here's a few I got today.

Cooking and crafting,
Are two things I do for fun,
Wish I had the time.

-David Worman

I don't want to write
A haiku for Valerie
And so I will not

-Daylon Morrison

Lionel Ritchie
I've just got you let you know
you're all I ever want

-Michael Gunderson

Share your haiku here!


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Oatmeal-Raisin Muffins (A work in progress...)

You know when you buy something at the grocery store planning to find a recipe and you end up using every ingredient under the sun except what you bought? That's what's going on with some dried organic fruit I picked up at Trader Joe's recently. Luckily it won't go bad in this case, though. I was looking up muffin recipes to try my dried fruit in and ended up making Oatmeal Rasin muffins instead.

The muffins turned out tasting fine, but almost rubbery, and they they were sticking to the paper a bit. Definitely NOT a win. I used applesauce as an oil substitute, and I'm wondering how well using 1/2 apple sauce and 1/2 oil would work, instead of just apple sauce. I like the idea of these being healthier though, so I'd prefer not to use all oil. This is my first time substituting apple sauce for oil, which in my sometimes boring life, is pretty damn exciting, even if they didn't turn out all that great.

This wesite suggests trying 1/2 and 12 to start, if you aren't used to the apple sauce substitute. I've heard so many people say that you can't tell the difference that I didn't even think to do the 1/2 and 1/2 combo. What I now know, is that you can tell the difference and a 1/2 and 1/2 combo is something I want to try.

I made a couple alterations to this recipe; click here for the original. (I made it healthier, and without 100% apple sauce substitute these would work probably pretty well.)


1 Cup soy milk
1 Cup quick cooking oats
1 egg
1/4 Cup apple sauce (Try 1/2 oil, 1/2 apple sauce or all oil instead)
1 Cup all-purpose flour
1/4 Cup light brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 Cup raisins

Preheat oven to 425 and prepare your muffin pan.

Combine oats and milk in a small bowl, and set aside. Let sit for 15 minutes.

In your mixer bowl, blend egg and apple sauce together well. Then add oatmeal and mix.

In a seperate bowl, sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. Mix in the brown sugar with a fork until thoroughly combined. The original recipe called to sift the sugar, but I substitued brown which I was afraid might be a bit thick and/or sticky for a sifter.

Make an angry face with raisins (or don't, this step is optional).

Using the lowest speed on your mixer, blend the dry ingredients into the egg and applesauce until just combined. Add raisins.

Add batter to the muffin cups, about 2/3 full. (I got 23 muffins.)

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool in the muffin pan for 3-5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling. These taste goodwith a little butter while they're still warm! (You know, since we made them healthier we can slather them with butter, right? Right.)

Please share your tips and experiences on making recipes healthier! I want to start paying more attention to that, and making substitutions when I can. (Not always of course... or even most of the time for that matter!) Have you tried the applesauce substitute? How did it turn out?

Labels: , ,


So, it's not MY giveaway I'm posting about... it's my cousin's (her FIRST!) and you should enter!

 Katie owns a lovely shop in Barrington, IL and will have online shopping set up within one MONTH! Woot! She's starting to build up her blog followers as well, and I see more fun and giveaways to come. (*wink*wink*)

Go check out her blog (and follow her!) to enter her fabulous giveaway!


Thanks for your continued support! I have a recipe to come later. It's not fantastic, but it was, well, a learning experience. I need your inpout on it, too!

Happy Wednesday!

*hy all the exclamation points, you ask? Because it's exciting, that's why!


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tickled Tuesday

I'm not late this week!

Here are some quotes about happiness:

Even if happiness forgets you a little bit, never completely forget about it.  ~Jacques Prévert

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
 -Buddha quote

"One joy shatters a hundred griefs”
 -Chinese Proverbs quotes

Happy Tuesday!


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Parsnip and Carrot Mash with Feta

Today's veggie feature  is... the parsnip! Parsnips are a vegetable I had on a semi-regular basis as a kid, usually in stews and soups, but I'd never actually made them myself. As mentioned in a previous blog, I've been trying to think of topics to write about in between baking recipes that won't be super boring (or way too personal), and I think I'm going to try and feature one ingredient/food occasionally. I will include recipes that demonstrate an easy way to incorporate the food of topic into your diet/menu plan. shows that parsnips have..
99 calories per cup
14% DV potassium
26% DV Fiber (woah!)
3% DV protein
0% Sodium and cholesterol!

A parsnip, cousin to the carrot, is a winter root-vegetable. In case you've never tried parsnips before, their taste can be described as similar to a carrot's, only with a bit of a kick to it. I've seen them described as mild turnips as well as sweeter versions of white carrots. Parsnips were a staple before the potato was introduced to many cultures and has since taken a seat on the sidelines.

You can cook parsnips anyway you would a carrot. Various sources suggest steaming them and then peeling their skins off instead of peeling first, to help retain nutrients. Packed with potassium, folic acid and fiber, this veggie is good tasting and good for you.

I saw a few parsnip recipes while poking around the web, including a couple for carrots and parsnips mashed together. The couple I looked at called for onions and/or herbed butter and sounded great, but once I'd seen the mashed option I was ready to experiment. I bought some feta, which I figured would be a great salty balance to the sweetness of the vegetables, and I was right. I must say, I'm pretty proud of the results I ended up with!

Parsnip and Carrot Mash (w/ feta)

*Serves 2-3

4 medium parsnips
4 medium carrots
1-2 Tbs Butter
3 oz feta (more for sprinkling, if desired)

Peel parsnips and carrots. Place about 1 Cup water in a large pot and add a steamer basket. (The silicone ones are the BEST!) Add veggies and cover. (The carrots seemed to cook slower, so put those underneath the parsnips, so they receive more steam.)

Like a potato, parsnips will begin to brown if peeled and left to sit. Be sure to peel them right before you plan to use them! If very large, it is suggested you remove the core of the parsnip, as it is bitter.

Cook on medium high to high heat for about 15 minutes, checking periodically after 10. The veggies should be cooked until soft, but not falling apart.

Once cooked, drain water and return veggies to the pot without the steamer basket. Add butter and feta, and mash well (using a potato masher).

Serve warm, sprinkled with more feta if desired.

This healthy, colorful dish is easy, fast and affordable. Make it a part of  your next meal and let me know what you think!

Happy eating!

Labels: ,

Friday, March 25, 2011

Etsy Feature Friday Post (The Type A Housewife)

Kiersten of The Type A Housewife invited me to join in on her new Etsy Feature Friday post! I had a lot of fun looking through Etsy at all different kinds of items, and am especially glad I took part in this after seeing what a fantastic job she did on the post!

Make sure to check out the post here!

I'll be posting a quick recipe soon... hopefully later tonight or tomorrow. I'll give you a hint... it's healthy and delicious!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Haiku Thursday

It often feels like
a never ending stream of
"Thank-you, come again."


Labels: , ,

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 Tuesday...?

Agh! I totally missed this week's Tickled Tuesday feature! I thought about it on and off all of Tuesday and then promptly forgot it existed until now. Major fail on my part. Still, it's never too late to pass on some love.


Labels: ,

Monday, March 21, 2011

Adler Planetarium Trip

I've been struggling with coming up with ideas for blogs lately, and the two I had planned for this weekend were nixed when I got sick late Saturday night. I still plan on trying the recipe I picked out at a later date, but I was supposed to plant seedlings with my Mom and wanted to track how they were doing through my blog. I might end up just tracking things I plant directly in the garden in a couple of months. (Big disappointment!)

Anyways, I spent Sunday doing everything in my power to kick this cold (which I've done, for the most part) so my Monday plans of going to the Adler Planetarium wouldn't have to be postponed. Luckily, I woke up feeling ok so we hit the road around 9:30 as planned and headed downtown.

The Adler Planetarium is one of many fantastic museums that Chicago has to offer. If you haven't been there and either live here or are ever in the area, check it out! (By the way... did anyone get to see the super moon this weekend? There were too many clouds overhead and I didn't catch a glimpse. I'm pretty bummed about it!)

There's something about looking up at the night sky and learning about space that makes me feel a certain sadness. Part of that is because we are really so inconsequential in the grand scheme of things and part of it is probably just feeling so overwhelmed and small compared to even the tiniest of stars. Still, somewhere in that sadness hides a sort of joy really, knowing that we are here and we are so aware of our stellar surroundings, always learning more. I'm in awe of those who are able to grasp the scientific facts, math and physics around it all. Those who work in this field are true geniuses and I can't help but feel a litle bit dumb when I read about the things they do. Still, I can enjoy the beauty, the vastness, the sheer beauty, that is the universe.

To begin, I can't help but make fun of the woman who couldn't figure out how to pay to get into the lot. Even with the help of the lot employee, she was baffled.

I know... I'm a jerk. This isn't news. Let's move on.

It was a gloomy morning, but there are some really great views from the museum's property.
Main Entrance
The view from the deck outside their cafe:


Now onto the actual museum.

Cpt Lovell

One topic touched on by an exhibit was light pollution. There was a board where you could fill out post-its and explain how you would work to reduce it. I just had to post a few of my favorites (not including the "ninja" one).

These kids are going to recreate the Great Chicago Fire...

Light pollution is something I've always lived with. Having been in Chicago my entire life, it's just something I've always been used to. I love going out in the country and looking up at the stars and actually being able to see more than a couple. Still, I usually can see quite a bit from my yard (I'm on the edge of the city and there's no alley or lights back there) so it's not something I'm super aware of and it certainly doesn't consciously bother me. These pictures really put things into perspective though.

I can't imagine the beauty we'd be able to enjoy without all the light pollution. Still, that would also mean giving up a lot, including safety. Some places are just better off lit up unfortunately, especially the homocide capital of the United States! (At least we were last time I checked...) Light pollution really is just one more thing that gets in the way of us remembering our place in the universe and how beautiful it is out there. Even areas that I consider to be the "middle of no where" have light pollution. Here's a good article about it, from Wired. Check out the Bortle Scale to get a better idea of where your area falls in the light pollution category. Yet one more reason to turn those lights out when you aren't around...

Is this blog sappy? Sorry. I think space is pretty damn neat.

Pretty depressing. Let's move on to happier talk.

The highlight of the visit was surely their Definiti Space Theater! The screen is a huge dome that goes over and above the seating area, which you view from reclining chairs. The images are spectacular and you really become overtaken by what you see here.

To be able to see actual fragments from space is pretty awesome as well. I remembered hearing about a meteor shower nearby a few years ago, and they had a fragment from it donated by a couple whose house it ripped through in 2003.

We saw lots of old astronomical tools that are on display, too.

An Orrery, showing how planets rotate around the sun.
An old sundial.
18th Century Turkish Pillar sundial

Astronomer's rings, used to locate stars in the sky.

Another very old sundial. Isn't it exquisite?
A Celestral Sphere, c.1650

Did you know you could use your hands as sundials? The left hand is for the morning, the right hand for afternoon and evening.

We saw so many other exhibits and learned a lot of interesting facts as well. Did you know that in medievil times, March was considered the beginning of the year?  That the moon is 1/4 the earth's size? (I thought it was smaller.) That the sun is 109 times the earth's diameter? That solar winds are the causes of auroras (i.e. Northern Lights)? Now you do!

Landing capsule, Gemini XII. (Interior) 
Just outside the cafe area.

We had a great time and saw lots of cool stuff!

I love my home town.
 I'll reiterate. You should definitely go to The Adler Planetarium, especially to see their Definite Space Theater. No visit there is complete without some freeze dried ice cream though! Leave without it and you can consider it a half wasted trip. (Ok- maybe not that extreme.)

Until next time!

Labels: ,