Saturday, May 28, 2016

Cool Garden Pasta for a Hot Summer Day

Too hot!!  Today was too hot for warm food. But alas, I had to use the stove.  In the future, I'll make this one up in the morning or even the night before.  This is great cold (for dinner or as leftovers) but we couldn't wait and ate it nearly cold.

And so, to make Cool Garden Pasta for a Hot Summer Day...

Cool Garden Pasta for a Hot Summer Day

1 lb bow tie pasta
1 lb ground chicken
1 clove garlic
1 medium zucchini, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup corn
3 Tbsp olive oil
large handful of fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper to taste.

1. Boil 1 lb bow tie noodles until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water when done.  Put back in pot and place in fridge to cool.


2. Pan-fry 1 lb ground chicken with one clove garlic until done. Add meat mixture to cooling noodles.

3. Add 1 Tbsp of oil to hot pan and fry 1 medium zucchini, chopped into bite-sized pieces, until dark and flavourful. Add zucchini to pasta pot.

4. Add 1 Tbsp of oil to hot pan and fry 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes until just releasing flavour. Add tomatoes to pasta pot.

5. Add 1 Tbsp of oil to hot pan and fry 1 cup corn until it has picked up all the juices from the pan. Add corn to pasta pot.

Chop a large handful of fresh basil and add to pasta pot. Season with salt and pepper. Leave in fridge to chill or eat as is.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Sleight of Hand

A few years back, my husband and I had tickets to see a magician in Niagara Falls, Ontario. His tricks required a lot of skill:
  • The assistants needed to physically be able to contort their bodies into weird spaces.
  • The magician needed to be physically skilled enough to move his hands quickly and adeptly to hide or reveal something.
But there's another skill that is at the heart of every magician's act - the mental art of Misdirection.

You cannot have a magic act without misdirection. The magician gets the audience to focus attention somewhere else so the magician can further the trick somewhere else. By the end of the trick, he has manipulated the props/people in such a way that we are amazed.

A classic example is the disappearing coin. This trick works because you, the audience, are expecting a certain result. If I hold a coin in the air and appear to grab it with the other hand, you will expect the coin to be in the other hand.

You can see this trick explained/revealed here.


As I cleaned up the breakfast table this morning (a delifghtful breakfast of pancakes, berries, maple syrup and Nutella, prepared by my three children) I noticed a label and was briefly delighted to see that Nutella has "No preservatives or artificial colours."

Always slightly suspicious, I noticed that they omitted "artifical flavours" from the list. I wondered why that was and looked at the ingredients. "Sugar, modified palm oil, hazelnuts, cocoa, skim milk powder, whey powder, soy and/or sunflower lecithin, vanillin"

Looks pretty natural, right? I can pronounce them all (although sometimes I mix up the "c" and "th" in lecithin.

Well, for those of us who aren't aware, vanillin is imitation vanilla extract. It is chemically formulated to mimic the taste of vanilla, but it contains no actual real vanilla.

But no one really notices because of their clever marketing. NO ARTIFICIAL COLOURS! NO PRESERVATIVES!

(Honestly, anyone who cares about what they eat would notice the excess sugar and fat as well as the minimal protein. A conscientious consumer might be concerned about the palm oil and the devastation that its harvesting does to forests around the world.  But I digress.)


How else are we being redirected? I try to be aware of how marketing influences me, from Saturday morning cartoons to the evening news to free samples at Costco. What partial truths are you being told that redirect you from the greater truth that you need to pursue?

I have no answers for you. I think each of us needs to consider this question more often though before we eat an entire jar of Not-Natural-Nutella...

or vote for legislation that will "compassionately allow a person to die with dignity"...

or pass judgment on a family that has done their very best to care for the family God gave them.

What are we being told to think and what truth are we being redirected away from noticing?

There are no right answers because we all do it, intentionally or not.  Being more aware that it is happening is a giant step towards being autonomous in our consumption of ideas and principles.