Saturday, June 29, 2013

Lemon tree, lemon tree

As usually, the garden likes the rain weather mess, especially the lemon tree. The green hard lemons  seem to absorb any rain drop and plump up. This is my first summer growing them in Maine in a container, and I am curios if they actually will turn yellow before I have to move them indoors again. Over the last weeks, I added some guano fertilizer and they responded with developing new clusters of huge flowers. Happy lemon tree.


It might be weekend but I am working. I’d rather go places right now, but the deadline looms. A few more days. Thanks weather, for not making me to have to stay close to the computer too much.


Friday, June 28, 2013

Mark Bittmann’s chickpea burgers

When I saw Mark Bittman with his own show on the Cooking Channel, I knew that I can trust his recipes – he tries it out and eats it himself. This is a go-to recipe for veggie burgers, make it with beans, lentils or chickpeas as base, and add the onion, chili powder and the oatmeal. I made the recipe and decided it needs more of a kick….. I added a middle eastern touch, with a tablespoon of sumac, a tablespoon of dukkah, and 3 tablespoons of Stonewall’s Ginger Teriyaki Grille Sauce (BBQ sauce would also work). Instead of frying them, I baked them in the oven. They are fabulous!

chickpea_ burgers
Middle eastern chickpea burgers
  • 2 cups of cooked white or black chickpeas (I used black ones, available in India stores)
  • 1 onion, peeled, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal (I used Trader Joes hot cereal multigrain flakes)
  • 1 TB chili powder
  • 1 TB sumac
  • 1 TB dukkah (Trader Joes!)
  • 2-3 TB Stonewall Kitchen Ginger Teriyaki Grille sauce (or Spicy BBQ sauce)
  • 1-2 ts salt
  • 1-4TB of chickpea cooking liquid or water
Preheat oven to 375F.
Mix the chickpeas, onion, oatmeal, spices and salt in a food processor until well mixed. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray, and form patties with the mixture. Baked on 375F for 20min, flip and cook another 15min.
serve as a veggie burger.

Rained out, once again

I have a deadline on Monday, so I am not too much complaining that the weather is less than summery. I won’t regret to sit indoors, in my office, or at home, for the weekend pat. Next week, when the schedule frees up and July4th should bring the first summer end sale bonanza the weather forecast promises summer temperatures again. In principle I have more of a Californian state of mind, more summer is better, but alas sometimes you have to see the benefit of it, when you are rained out.

Everyday Google reader informs me it will say sayonara on July 1 but I am still using it as my first choice when I need to browse through whole categories of blogs fast. Scroll, scroll, scroll. Who has time to click through blogs? The two options with easy imports seem to be bloglovin and feedly. So far I am using both. Feedly looks better but there is more clicking; bloglovin cuts done on the clicking by using the ‘next’ option in the full page view. The verdict is out. Google Reader til the end!


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Memories of a Greek Island

Today’s envy picture comes from Larbs, another honeymoon photo, this time from Mykonos, Greece. I’ve been both to Mykonos and Santorini (her next stop), and can attest that this photo summarizes summer beach fun on a Greek island perfectly. Awwww! Memories!


Here, the summer took the complaints about it sudden onslaught of heat, humidity and a taste of Florida weather on Monday and Tuesday seriously, and we are back to rain, overcast and wool sweater weather. I think we have to come up with new seasons soon. There are no more stretches with consistent weather patterns but the seasons are all mixed up, all the time.

Today, I compared the fitbid flex and the bodymedia armband and they are within 90kcal of each other assessing my activity yesterday. I call this a fabulous result. More comparisons for a few more days, and I can give my tattooed arm and its counterpart a rest for the summer.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fitbit flex, 1 day later

I am wearing the Fitbit flex for the 3rd day. The first day was not comparable, since I didn't wear the entire day. Yesterday, I wore the fitbit flex and the bodymedia both on my dominant arm. The Fitbit flex was set to 'dominant hand' setting so it would be less sensitive; the bodymedia armband ist supposed to be worn on the non-dominant arm (therefore, the tattooed arm).

The fitbit gave me approximately the calorie burnt readout I would expect from the bodymedia worn on the correct arm. So today I will place the bodymedia on my left arm again and see how similiar they are tomorrow in their assessment.

Ironically, the fitbit flex gave me a higher step readout (7400) than the bodymedia (5300). Both did not  really 'get' my bike ride, however they saw it as high activity event.

I still have not figured out how to put the fitbit in the "I am going to sleep now" mode. The 5 taps did not work. Maybe, as usual, there is a youtube video.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The tattooed arm

It started all with this: An upper arm that started to look significantly thinner than its right counterpart. I could see the place where I wore the bodymedia armband for 4 years straight.  In the summer I find it more annoying because the fashion statement of ‘cool summer dress’ and bulky ‘armband’ does not look elegant. For this summer I decided to change things up and try the Fitbit flex. After waiting forever for it to become available on Amazon I finally bought it at bestbuy. and in anticipation of  summer arms I had changed the armband from the left to the right arm a week ago. This is how my arm still looks like today despite plenty of sunshine. The permanently bodymedia tattooed arm.


The device definitely helped with more accurate information of my actual activity and sleep pattern (and a new appreciation of the calorie burn of house cleaning). But the arm?

Today, I set-up the fitbid flex. I spare you the details, obviously I was the only one for whom the set-up took 4hours, on 4 different platforms, mac, windows, ipad, old windows machine, but it worked at last so all is forgiven. Now, let’s do comparison tracking.


Goddess Nature

This winter and spring were particularly long, cold and with ample rain here in the Northeast. Large parts of Europe were flooded just weeks ago.  People in North India are now not faring that much better with the monsoon this year. Impressive images of flashfloods in Uttarakhand, India. Mother Nature unleashing a fury of floods while Goddess Shiva tries to smile on.



Sunday, June 23, 2013

Quaint Sunday lunch

Another week to go and it will be July, July 4th falling into the middle of the week, which makes me wonder which end of the week is the long weekend? It’s Sunday, the season’s finale for Mad Men and it looks like another Draper marriage is going down the drain. Since yesterday I have been fascinated with “The Fall”, a BBC series with Gillian Anderson (yes, X Files Gillian Anderson) as detective in Belfast, North Ireland. I was so gripped by the story that I could not stop watching the 5 episodes on netflix streaming. Unfortunately it ends with a cliffhanger and we’ll have to wait until season 2 to find out more. Creepy, slow and utterly gripping!

Lunch, on the other hand, was quaint and Jane Austen. Salad with flowers. Perfectly seared scallops from the farmers market.

salad_w_ flower


The early bird gets the kale

When I made it to the farmers market yesterday morning, I had not much choice at my favorite farm stand: mixed lettuce, one bok choy and a few head of romaine. “Not much ready this season yet….?” “If you turn around, you see…..” I saw the handwritten chalk board with the list of produce and their prices…. “Oh, I guess I have to come earlier….” “We are here on Tuesdays, too. There is less competition.” Yes, the Saturday market is emptied at 10am. The early bird gets the worm. Or the kale.

So, I walked home with the last bok choy left, some scallops from the fish truck, and lunch was bok choy steamed in chicken stock, edamame and a Morning star chickpea burger, which I love.


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Cat sunshine

This morning, I started out my day with a bit of cat internet fun. A miraculously appearing link said poodle cats. "Poodle cats?!" I thought, "never heard of it!". Some googling revealed breeding of cats that due to some genetic kinky hair mutation has produced, well, curly heard cats. Now, I am daydreaming of a dreadlock cat roaming my garden sunnying himself in the catnip bed.

The 'barking cat' video still has me in tears laughing. I can just imagine a "bilingual cat" sitting in a window, barking at some passersby furiously, and once realizing they are in company, returning to miouwing, all innocent and sweet... Haven't we all been there ;-)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Midnight Summer Dream

It has been a busy week and not much sleep during the last 2 nights. Today was rough and I just made it through the day on the thought it is almost weekend and there is a chance to catch up on sleep tonight and tomorrow will be better. The freed up schedule made me appreciate the longest day of the year. It is 8:49pm and it is only half dark. There is a smell of burnt wood in the air but it is the neighbor and his son making a first summer night’s bonfire. The other neighbor walks her dogs, I walked though my garden and said goodnight to the newly planted plum tree. Chanelle perches on the upstairs window sill and intently listens to and watches the doings of dusk. Summer!

I cannot believe that from now on the days already will get shorter again. June is almost over. Only July and August left. But summer only starts.  I wonder how Paula Dean feels tonight. I wonder if James Gandolfini enjoys summer with the fairies somewhere. I am sure North by Northwest smiles.


Monday, June 17, 2013

To Paris or not to Paris

It is a busy week again, the weather cannot quite decide if it is sunny or whips up a sudden thunderstorm and I have to work myself through piles of papers. Kim K had her baby and due to a merger with a privacy-oriented other half there are no photos yet. Or is the 1 Mio deal for the first exclusive not signed off yet?  -- This is a tale of life, of opposites attract. Kim K, a genius on making a hefty income by being photographed, magically attracted to the opposite, all artistic and mumm on the rest. Now, what?  Maybe, they'll wrestle out a middle?

And while I am distracting myself from work by checking out the world and the life they have, I am utterly envious of this. Not the honeymoon per se, but this sandwich in a Parisian Bistro.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A bunch a kale

It’s almost the weekend, and after some night showers the outlook is sunny. In hope of finally bikini-ready summer weather I moved a chaise on the deck, and got some sun today. In the grocery store I decided to do away with my questionable meal choices lately and put some kale back into the eats. A bunch of kale was only 1.99 and supersized. I felt like I got a half of a  raised bed of kale, like an armful, a huge bouquet. I chopped a few large leaves, heated pre-cooked brown basmati rice with chicken stock, and added the kale to it to barely wilt it down and heat it up. A few cherry tomatoes on top, salt, pepper and some goat cheese to round it out. Oh, kale, how come I got bored with you?


Hungry in Maine

All the complaining worked: the summer is back, for a week as it looks like. Which means, first of all, mow the lawn, then, enjoy the good weather and make plans.

It is lunch time and I saw this photo of a meal at 88 at the Spruce Point Inn Resort&Spa in Boothbay Harbor. Too bad the drive is too long for lunch. But those scallops do look really good.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Cry me a river

It rains again. It is dark, dreary, rains with no end, and the rivers are dangerously swollen, flooding the running paths next to the river. After work I went to the mall yesterday to cash in on my 40% off coupon at GAP, and almost cried a river, too: all the stores had started “end of season” sales. “End of season?!” I cried “Summer has not even STARTED yet.” This is what you get when your life revolves around enduring the long months of winter in bravery to live for summer. And then summer never comes.

The rest of the world seems in a not much better state. Jenny gets wrapped up in house remodeling instead of wedding planning, flights to France are in jeopardy because of strike, Colorado is on fire (they probably wish to have some of our rain), Kim K  is in hiding to have her baby in peace, and so we all have out burden to carry. Yesterday, when I tried on summer dresses at GAP I decided I need to start some form of summer shape up. Something like “bride’s arms in 20 days” or “bikini booty”, I guess these would be the appropriate google search terms. Oh well. Maybe, I should just skip it because…. there is no summer this year.


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Swiss chard in the garden

Today I was rather grumpy. As if someone had stolen my favorite toy and I was 7 years old. I walked through Target and got even more grumpy passing through the garden and BBQ section. “The summer is withheld from me!”. “Everyone else is probably having a great summer time right now with fabulous weather.” Comparing your circumstances to others with a sweeping assumption of ‘It’s only me who has is it bad” is a particular effective way to oppress the mood even further.


Eventually I headed to Home Depot to buy a few plants since due to the messed up spring and early summer weather  this year my raised bed was still empty. Swiss chard was the plan. Then it was Swiss chard, and several eggplants and a husky cherry tomato plant. Some wood stain. My outlook improved. There will be food. Lots and lots of Swiss chard, just around the corner. After planting, watering and the sum coming out, life was ok again. Especially with the bright pink rhododendron in full bloom.



Jump right in

Today’s lunch was another pile of fried rice with edamane, tomatoes, celery and savory and I… jumped right in. The sky is blue but the weekend almost over, and it is too late for hikes, or coastal town bliss…so  I am watching through a new 2013 series, Top of the Lake, with Mad Men’s Peggy, as detective in a New Zealand small town crime investigation. Summer, please come back!


Saturday, June 8, 2013

This is 40

It is Saturday and one of these days when I usually start thinking about painting something around the house. Yes, it is Saturday and likely to rain most of the day. Le sigh. I cleaned up the kitchen, cuddled up with my laptop joined by a cat or two, and popped “This is 40” in the DVD player, which arrived in the mail yesterday. 15 min later it is bright sunshine in my mind and heart. It is hilarious and sweet. I think I like it as much as “Juno” and “Bridesmaids’.

When there is sunshine in the heart, the rest doesn’t matter.

Lunch was brown basmati rice cooked in bulk in the super-brain rice cooker, fried up with mushroom, tomatoes, edamane, green onions, salt, pepper and sesame oil.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Oh sunshine, oh sunscreen

So, here we have it: use sunscreen and be wrinkle-free longer. A scientific study in Australia showed that if people slather on at least SPF 15 sunscreen every day their skin stays longer wrinkle free. We should've all listen to Nicole Kidman.

"People who diligently use sunscreen every day can slow or even prevent for a time the development of wrinkles and sagging skin, a new study found. Although dermatologists have long told people to use sunscreen to prevent aging, this is the first research to show an actual effect on the appearance of skin, researchers said." 

If you don't believe it, check this photo

Salmon kebabs

The temperatures have chilled down to pleasant upper 70s, the sky is bright blue, the birds are chirping, the early morning lawn mowers in the background,  the cats sit in the open window and listen to the concert of the outside world probably daydreaming of exciting bird chases. The much slower start to summer.

My morning readings at the Sprouted Kitchen made my mouth water: salmon kebabs with lemon slices and zucchini? A perfect summer dish!

Find the recipe(and photographed instructions) here:


Sunday, June 2, 2013

From winter to summer in 2 days

The weather did a flip flop and it is just the way I like it: so hot and humid you just have to relax and suspend any ambition. Very sensual, very Rome, very Italian siesta. Chanelle adapted, too, chilling as much as possible with a Maine Coon fur coat.


The other day I headed out in Maine, with a familiar view. Just in green now.


It was time to decide on a summer leather tote at Cole Haan, but the colors? Doubtful. Leather? Fabulous. The Cole Haan Village serena tote, at half price at the outlet store now.


But all’s well that end’s well: lunch at Wholefoods. If not there is always prosecco.


Today, the produce transported home in chilled conditions from Trader Joes made it in a salad, starlighting the newly found spice mix at Trader Joes: dukkah. I think it is an Egyptian ‘spice’, but it really more  a mix of chopped nuts, sesame seeds, salt and some sugar. The TJ version is more salty than mellow and sweet. It works really well with many dishes, from sweet to savory. This time I just added it to the salad. Now, it is time to get a tan and relax and wait for the new seasons of the Kardashians.  Brody! Didn’t I say it is too hot to do anything reasonable in life?