Wednesday, February 9, 2011

We Need a Hero

Seinfeld had Superman.
World War 2 readers had Wonder Woman to fight the Nazis.
The Green Lantern fought crime.
Spiderman is doing his darndest to fight critics who are panning the new Broadway show.
Will Smith has stepped up to the plate a couple times in "Independence Day" and "Men in Black" to fight off alien invaders.
These heroes are great, but.... face it. We don't have a big problem with invading space aliens or Nazis.
We have a big problem with bad weather. Floods, mudslides in Australia and South America followed by wild fires. Grade 5 Cyclone (hurricane) in Australia. Ice, frozen water pipes and shortage of natural gas in the frozen southwest..New Mexico, Texas. Oklahoma is setting records for snowfall and ice storms. Atlanta, Memphis, Nashville are all in the snow belt. The citrus crop and strawberries froze in Florida. Sub-zero temps are dipping deep into our country. Alaska is warmer than Texas many days. The Superbowl promoters had troubles with ice sliding off the stadium roof.
We need a new hero. We need "weatherman". I wonder what he could do. Who can control the weather. Where is the one who calms the raging seas? Oh. There is someone who can do that.
His name is Jesus and this might be a good time to seek him for help.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

On Marco Polo's Trail

If I remember history correctly, the Chinese invented noodles. Although Italy is more famous for pasta, it isn't native to that country. The famous Venetian explorer Marco Polo first ate spaghetti carbonara in Peking and brought the recipe home.

I receive a daily recipe from a Weight Watcher's site called "Hungry Girl" and have received multiple emails recently touting the benefits of tofu shirataki noodles. They are very low calorie and protein packed. That got my attention and I looked for them at Cub (local market). No tofu shirataki noodles there. Next shopping trip was to our food co-op where you can find a nice variety of organic and healthy foods. No shirataki noodles but the clerk said they have been getting frequent requests for them. "Try Kowalski's" she recommended. I did. Kowalski's carries many things you can't find other places but they don't have any form of shirataki noodles.

The Wiki page on shirataki noodles says there are two types:

The traditional Japanese noodles are made from the konjac plant and have no nutritional value and no calories. They have little flavor and absorb the flavor of the seasoning or sauces used with them.

The health food magazines are currently pushing a variety made from tofu. They are low-carb but a good protein source. They can't be frozen or dried and are packaged wet and refrigerated.

When I communicated with my daughter Mary about my quest , she recommended trying an Asian market a mile from her house. "If they don't have it, I don't know who will". Mary wasn't too impressed with my excitement about noodles made from konjac, a fibrous plant with no nutritional value that you don't absorb. I think she asked if I couldn't achieve the same result with packing peanuts.

Anyone got any good recipes using packing peanuts?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Finding Nemo

Hudson, WI is celebrating "A Hot Air Affair" this weekend. This river town is just six miles downstream. We didn't see the balloons launch this morning because flights were cancelled due to poor visibility. The valley was blanketed in fog. Daughter Mary, Mike and the grandtwins picked me up and we went for the evening display of lit balloons. A couple dozen of the balloons were inflated and tethered at a local schoolyard. They light them by using the gas powered flames. It was a mild night and quite a spectacle. The balloons randomly light up with countdowns every few minutes to synchronize all of them ablaze at the same time.

The two years olds seem to enjoy it and were little troopers trudging through the snow. Amazing sight on a nice winter night. It is always a good thing to enjoy this snowy season.

Before we left home I showed the kids pictures of the balloons that would be on display on the website. They were thrilled to see a clown fish shaped balloon we dubbed Nemo ,like the Disney movie. Nemo was the first balloon we saw as we arrived.

The Farmer in the NFL

I almost choked on the coffee I spewed when I read that Farmer's Insurance is buying naming rights for a proposed new stadium in Los Angeles. It will be called "Farmer's Field".
Backer's are aiming to attract an NFL team to play there. LA doesn't have an NFL team.

Back in Minnesota we have an NFL team buy not a stadium to the owner's liking. They rejected the Metrodome. They rejected the Metrodome when it had an intact roof. Once again supporters, who can't envision Minnesota without the purple ones, are trying to drum up support for a new stadium. Our state coffers are depleted and in deficit. Our people are overtaxed. Our unemployment rate still high. We are more generous with health care for the indigent and seem to attract more indigent. (That probably wasn't pc.) We seem to have a lot of needs more important than a new stadium.
Forget our problems. Our billionaire NFL owners and millionaire players need a new stadium now. If we don't buy it for them, they could be recruited to play at the proposed Farmer's Field in LaLa land. I wonder if this time they would bother to change the name from Vikings to something that reflected southern California. They kept the Lakers the Lakers. Never could figure that. Never will understand how you can name a field "farmer's" in the midst of the biggest metropolitan area in the country.
Now do you understand why I will cheer for the Packers tomorrow? We know where they will be in ten years.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Labrīt, Latvija

Priecigs jums lasijuma so emuaru.

English speakers: A welcome to the Latvian readers of this blog. Yesterday I had more hits from Latvia (28) than the USA (17). It varies everyday with small numbers from all around the world and the biggest usually my relatives and friends, acquaintances here.
Latvia is a Baltic country so I feel an affinity with my last name sounding like it is from that area.
It is a beautiful, peaceful country that would be interesting to visit.

The title translates "Good morning, Latvia" followed by "Glad you are reading this blog".

Amazing what you can do with the Google translator. Hope it is accurate.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ground Hog Stuck in the Snowbank

February 2nd. Groundhog Day. How's the weather in Punxsytawny, Pennsylvania?

Will the groundhog see his shadow? Legend says if he comes out and sees his shadow because it is sunny, he will duck back in the burrow for another six weeks of winter. If it is cloudy, out he comes expecting spring is right around the corner. Tradition doesn't dictate what he does if the snow is so damn deep that he can't get out of his hole. That is the most likely scenario this year. Too much snow.

I have missed walking outdoors. My walks have been confined to the indoor field house track. Like many seniors, I don't want to risk a slip & fall with injuries. This weekend I finally purchased a pair of spikes that fit over boots so you can walk sure-footed on slippery snowpak. Ice fishermen use them. They work well and I have taken several walks and felt secure.

You can dress for the cold. I am acclamated to -20 with the proper clothes as long as there is not a biting wind. I hate the wind. Today it is -13 with expected wind chills in the -35 degree range. Back in my burrow I go. I might watch "Groundhog Day" on Netflix today and wish we only had six more weeks of winter. From the depth of that snow in our yard, I would judge twelve weeks is more accurate.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pique in the Cupboard

I am a sucker for buying groceries with labels that say "reduced sugar", "no fructose corn syrup" or " no transfats". One cupboard shelf has this assortment of jams or jellies:
Smucker's Sugar Free Blueberry Preserves,
Welch's Reduced Sugar Concord Grape Jelly and
Smucker's Seedless Red Raspberry Jam. I eat the sugar free stuff. Jon likes the fully sugared stuff. No one eats the 1/2 sugared jelly.
As a sugar addict I thought artificially sweetened stuff was the answer. I don't think it works well for me. It just keeps the sweet tooth alive.
I continue to read labels and try to adapt to things with less calorie content. I found lower calorie bagels (I've missed bagels) and coupled that with fat free cream cheese. Toast that up and top it off with the blueberry jam. Good stuff. Jon saw what I had and picked up the cream cheese to read the label. Good, I thought. I have been trying to get him to read labels. Then he said, "Did you know there are traces of salmon in that stuff?" Following the list of 15 or 20 ingredients is Allergy Warning: Contains Milk, May contain traces of Salmon, Almonds, Pecans, and Walnuts.
Something is fishy with Great Value fat free Cream Cheese. I think I will stick to peanut butter on my lower calorie bagels.