Monday, January 27, 2014

Facebookless Fun

First, I want to wish Yvonne a very happy birthday today! I could not have asked for a better step-mom, and I hope your coming year is a fantastic one. Sending lots of love your way!

So I have been Facebookless for, well, less than a week, but I have to say, it's FANTASTIC. I can't believe how much time I have wasted on there! The amount of "free time" I have without it is amazing. I check my email every morning and boom, done. Sometimes I sit for a minute and think, that's it? I can move on with my life? I can already walk away from the computer? And yes! No scanning newsfeeds and responding to comments. No seeing what everyone's doing every minute of every day and reading endless Buzzfeed shares. I have more time for reading, so my 24 book goal for 2014 is going well, and, of course, I have more time to think about/work on school stuff. And I have time do other things online like find awesome recipes.

And oh, have I found some awesome ones! In fact I found the BEST website with great, tasty, and CHEAP recipes and it tells you how much each serving costs. I love it! However, I went on yesterday morning to share a recipe with a friend and the site was gone! Ahhhh. I hope they just forgot to pay their web domain bill or whatever and will be back because they were awesome and I'm very disappointed that they've vanished.

I made one really simple recipe from the site, black bean quesadillas, for a crowd of 7 Saturday night and it was a roaring success. So I'm going to share here. It was $0.66 per quesadilla. We devoured 14 of them last night, so I fed 7 people for less than $10! You can't beat that! I doubled it last night but this is what it originally called for:

1 can black beans, drained (don't really need to rinse them, just drain in colander)
1 cup frozen corn (does not need to be thawed)
2 cups cheddar cheese
1/4 batch fresh cilantro, chopped (I used a whole batch last night because I love cilantro so I would say add to your taste)
1/2 a red onion, chopped
1 "batch" taco seasoning (I didn't make my own "batch" which was what it was calling for. I bought a big thing of Ortega taco seasoning and used 4 tablespoons, so for this I would use two, but again, I would just do it to your taste preferences)
I believe it also called for minced garlic, I just used a dash of garlic powder, again to taste.

Mix all of this in a large bowl.

Use soft taco sized tortillas. It takes about half a cup of the above mixture on half and then fold the tortilla over. Pop it into a nonstick skillet (or lightly sprayed if you don't have non-stick) and cook until done! They are good plain or with sour cream and salsa. I bet they'd be good with guacamole too.

I think a good variation of this would include mushrooms and maybe green peppers, but it was fantastic as is.

Speaking of online recipes, I have developed a new Internet pet peeve: why do people rate recipes online and comment that something "looks good" or "will try." Don't rate something if you don't know how good it is yet! Your comment is worthless and the star-rating of the recipe misleading! Don't do that people. Don't. Do. That.

Alright, that's all from me this week. Have a good week everyone!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Return to Blogging, Facebook Hiatus and Other Updates

Yeah, I've been gone for a spell. You don't have to tell me; my blinking cursor says enough. But hey I'm back for a bit, so that's something, right? Backtracking would be impossible, so here are some basic updates:

1) Starting Tuesday I am taking a BIG Facebook hiatus. I need to keep myself on track academically and personally over the next few months, and Facebook is a bit of a time/soul suck for me that I need to step back from. Aside from the time suck factor, I think we get too caught up comparing ourselves to everyone else on social media sites, and, well, that's just silly and I know better. But not comparing your life to others is easier said than done, and it will be easier without social media shoving it down my throat. I need to gain some personal perspective. So I am taking a break, at least for the semester. 

2) BUT, I am intending on returning to my once a week posts here, so I hope you will keep stopping by for the occasional visit! There will be a new post every Monday. 

3) One BIG reason for the hiatus is that I am taking my MA exam this semester. It is an oral exam during which you demonstrate your knowledge of the three primary subfields of anthropology (cultural physical, and archaeology…linguistics, the fourth subfield, is not included). Oral exams have always been quite frightening for me, so yes I am a bit nervous about it. I am also continuing work on my dissertation proposal so that I can get my MA finished and actually get started on my PhD. That seems crazy…but I'm getting there.

4) Yes, I am planning on returning to Bangladesh this summer, God willing and the creek don't rise, as Grandad Raymond always says. I am looking forward to it because I know I can make it a good experience. And of course I am missing some of the great friends (like family) I have made there! Hopefully I will see them again soon.

5) Mr. Kitty and Ripley are as awesome as always. Unfortunately, my camera is broken so I won't have any photo updates for you for a while. I know you are disappointed. My apologies.

6) My only resolution for 2014 is to read 24 books. That's it. Keeping it simple with the hopes that I can complete it this year. I am keeping track on So far I have finished two books: the first book in the Hunger Games trilogy (yes, it is as addicting as I had heard) and a book called Homer's Odyssey by  Gwen Cooper, about her experiences with her pretty awesome blind cat. 

7) Also, in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which is another American holiday we should think more about, I am sharing this article and I am adding King's Where Do We Go From Here?: Chaos or Community? to my reading list for the year. From what I understand, he wrote this book in isolation while in Jamaica and it was out of print for some time. This book talks a great deal about his philosophy on the solution to poverty, and I suspect that it would remain highly relevant to today. 

To be honest, dear readers, 2013 brought some things to my life that I was not ready for and that I am not having a particularly easy time understanding. I'm still sorting a lot of things out. And I know that 2014 likely won't be much easier, and, indeed, will perhaps be much harder, because I know that some big decisions are coming up in my life and they are only mine to make. Making decisions that are only yours to make are the hardest ones, because you are the only one you can blame if you decide later they were the wrong ones. But they are coming and by golly I'm an adult and so I will make them.

In the mean time I will try to keep up here – weekly, like I was doing before – despite my Facebook hiatus. I hope you check in every once in a while. 

Bangladesh Photo of the Week!

I think of these hills of tea leaves surprisingly often, as I have never seen such a rich and beautiful green. The photos, of course, do not do it justice.

Have a great week everyone!