Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Deal alert: fabulous Vitamix deal !

Deal alert, valid only for today (7/29/2014)---- $389 Vitamix in berry (pink!) with 2 containers, one for regular one and a wet blade for grains. That is such a deal it makes me want to buy a second vitamix!

You can bring down the cost by using EXTRA10 (-->$350 for the vitamix, free shipping, of course)

check it out!
vitamix

Summer dolce far niente

July slowly comes to an end. It feels like a long drawn out month, a summer month, but endless. Maybe it was because I did not feel like going in my usual summer hectic of “Oh, I have to make the most out of summer, let cram as much as possible into every day.” For paradoxical reasons, doing the opposite actually made the month feel endless. But there is no denying it, only one month of official summer left.

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Everyone looks like this by now.

I am not sure if I will continue with my laid back attitude or go into vacation with a renewed sense of “let’s make the most out of summer there is not much left”.  I should get at least one hike in. Eat one lobster.

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But I am eating no-lettuce salads, and managed to finally lose my fitbit flex. The clasp had opened several times recently but always at home and just in time I caught it. This time it happened on campus. I retraced all my steps, and despite it being bright pink it was not to be found. Hope, it makes someone else happy.

Fortunately, there is always cake to cheer me up..and ordering a new one.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Personal ricotta lemon cake

Currently, I am into baking smaller cakes. Like a third of a recipe sized cakes. However, as lesson learnt shows, you can’t just divide the ingredients into 3 and then go with a third. The proportions no longer fit, especially if you don’t weigh ingredients but go by cup measurements. I did this with the ricotta lemon cake, making it in a size just right for 2-3 people. The first round, I just third-ed the ingredients; the cake came out very tasty but very dense, more like a cheese cake. The second version, investigating proper portion proportions for fluffy cakes, I got it right. 

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It starts with a half stick of butter, and a half cup of sugar, butter airated with an electric mixer.

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Then, add 1 egg, 4oz of ricotta, vanilla extract, lemon extract and lemon zest.

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Finally, sieved in a cup of flour, mixed with 1 ts of baking powder, 1/4 ts of baking soda and a pinch of salt (all mixed before adding).

Pour into a greased small bundt cake or 8 inch spring form.

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Baked in a preheated oven at 350F for 35 min.

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So, this was the first version with the proportions of a half cup of flour and ca 8oz of ricotta.

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I placed frozen berries on the bottom of the pan for a summer note.

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A delicious, moist cheesecake treat.

Second try:

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More like it.

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1 slice = 1/8th of cake = 170kcal.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Great Beauty

Yesterday, I saw a movie that knocked my socks off. I am still reeling in the impression of it, and decided then and there that I need to buy the DVD. --- I can imagine it is a love-it or hate-it movie. I could not remember what made me originally add it to my DVD queue in Neflix, and that can happen. This was one of them. I started watching, I had not googled anything about it, and I was just taken in, annoyed that I ordered a movie with subtitles, and wondered after 15 min “This is fun, but where is the plot???”

After 30min it was clear “The Great Beauty” was more a Fellini-type of movie, and I had to check the small signs of a Mac or other indicators that this is current movie. It could easily have been a classic Fellini with its array of colorful, absurd, over the top characters and lack of plot. What drew me in immediately where the roof top over Rome party scenes. My favorite type of dance music and everyone, in every shape, size and age group, brought it on, shaking to the rhythm like they owned it. Bravo, Italia! I thought. “Everyone has the attitude it does not matter who you are, elegance, beauty, sensuality and living life belongs to you. La Dolce Vita.”.



The scenes of dazzling night life are contrasted with scenes of solemn women singing and a Japanese tourist suddenly dropping dead. Foreshadowing – nightlife and death. After a while the plot becomes clear. It is about Jep, an aging socialite, on his 65th birthday when he starts to reflect on his life. In his youth he had loved Elisa but she left him and he never knew why. He never married, only wrote on book in his youth (when he still believed in the beauty and poetry of life) and then was too distracted by just living the glittery high society nightlife of Rome, which was really more empty, overstimulated, with a lack of real emotions. It is a loving homage to his friends, and all of them having had their smaller and larger disappointments and disillusionments in life, but they jointly, politely, lovingly keep the illusion of the “Grande Bellezza” of life intact. Yet, people feel empty, people kill themselves, hang on to trying to be finally successful or loved, die too young of unspecified illnesses, retreat to their hometown and disillusioned leave Rome. But Jep, encountering a 104 year old nun/saint, whose goal it is to climb the stairs to a saint in a church on her knees on her visit from Africa, depicting so clearly that much of life can be pain, suffering and hard work, finds his roots, connects to the true beauty of life again and starts to write his second book. The film ends with a boat ride on the Tiber through Rome, underneath the stone bridges at sunrise (after a typical long party night).

The film opened with a quote: “To travel is very useful, it makes the imagination work, the rest is just delusion and pain. Our journey is entirely imaginary, which is its strength.”

(“The Great Beauty” won the Oscar for Best Foreign Movie this year).