Like any pregnant lady, I get cravings. Recently, with the weather being what it has been, I’ve been really craving soup, specifically the bad-for-you kind— broccoli and cheddar, with real cheese. Panera’s version is a little pre-mix-y, even for my (significantly lowered) pregnancy standards. So yesterday, between four conference calls and managing our sick two-year-old, oh and some hormone-induced panic attacks because that’s how I roll during pregnancy, I made some soup. This soup. It was pretty darn good, which was surprising because I usually feel like making food based on a craving is an easy way to get let down. No let down! I subbed whole milk for half-and-half, in an effort to avoid all the fat (ha! it’s still basically cheese and milk, oh well). Recommended. (I also didn’t make it in a bread bowl— LOLOL is appropriate here. No, I am not superwoman, I don’t make bread bowls during the day on Monday for my soup to be housed inside.)
This other recipe from Marcus Samuelsson’s blog is one I want to make. I am going to re-print the recipe below, in an effort to guilt myself into making them. I love spinach, and quinoa, and cute little cake-like-items.
Fava, Spinach and Quinoa Cakes
Calories: 300 per serving
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
1. Preheat oven to 400
2. Squeeze out as much water as possible from the spinach and place in a large mixing bowl
3. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fava beans and cook for 3 minutes. Drain them and place them in the bowl of a food processor, pulsing until a coarse puree forms. Add to the mixing bowl with the spinach
4.Stir the quinoa, garlic, salt, cumin, coriander, paprika, and turmeric into the spinach/fava mix. Stir in the egg whites until well combined
5. Form into 12-14 patties and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Flip and bake for another five minutes.
For more pictures and general bloggery, go to the original post here.
My dear cousin Haley lives in South Sudan, and she and her husband were home for the holiday (thankfully) when they got the news that the political unrest in Sudan had led to violence, which then led to the U.S. ordering non-emergency U.S. government personnel (most of their colleagues and friends) to evacuate immediately. I read the travel advisory and instantly thought it would be insane to voluntarily travel back there— although clearly that is their current home, where they will want to return, so it’s not really insane, just hard to imagine for a person living in the peace and comfort of the United States. They are now trying to determine when (and if) they will return.
Because the world is a scary place, sometimes humor and appreciation of absurdity helps things, and for some reason once on the travel advisory site, I started clicking through other places the U.S. warns you not to go. Everyone loves listicles at the end of the year, right? Without further ado, here is my 2013 Round-Up: Places I am Not Vacationing Today.
5) Place I’m Not Vacationing Today: Libya
Information Discouraging My Vacation Plans to this Locale: "Many military-grade weapons remain in the hands of private individuals, including antiaircraft weapons that may be used against civilian aviation."
Verdict: I personally fear flying on an average day, and I really hate it when I am wondering if a civilian is going to shoot down my commercial jet with one of their antiaircraft weapons, just because.
4) Place I’m Not Vacationing Today: Venezuela
Information Discouraging My Vacation Plans to this Locale: "All U.S. direct-hire personnel and their families assigned to U.S. Embassy in Caracas are subject to an embassy movement policy for their safety and well-being. The policy divides Caracas into three zones: Yellow, Orange and Red. Movements into the Orange Zone between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. are not recommended, and if U.S. personnel choose to visit the Orange Zone during those hours, they must notify the Embassy when entering and upon departing the zone. In addition, U.S. personnel must request armored vehicles to transit the Orange Zone between midnight and 6:00 a.m. Unofficial (i.e., personal) visits to the Red Zone are prohibited, and U.S. personnel are only authorized to transit the Red Zone on personal travel during daylight hours provided they remain on one of the city’s highways. If a trip includes movement through the Red Zone, U.S. personnel must notify the Embassy. Furthermore, U.S. personnel are required to leave public establishments, regardless of zone, by 2:00 a.m."
Verdict: Too complicated. I don’t like rules, and this seems like a lot of rules for a vacation. And something about armored cars seems like a little bit of a buzzkill, too.
3) Place I’m Not Vacationing Today: Iran
Information Discouraging My Vacation Plans to this Locale: "Iranian authorities also have unjustly detained or imprisoned U.S. citizens on various charges, including espionage and posing a threat to national security…The U.S. government does not have diplomatic or consular relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran and therefore cannot provide protection or routine consular services to U.S. citizens in Iran. The Swiss government, acting through its Embassy in Tehran, serves as protecting power for U.S. interests in Iran."
Verdict: I already knew this was not on my list, but it’s really crossed off now. Cool that the Swiss are cool with them, though. The Swiss really keep it neutral.
2) Place I’m Not Vacationing Today: Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of, a.k.a. North Korea
Information Discouraging My Vacation Plans to this Locale: “North Korean authorities may fine or arrest travelers for exchanging currency with an unauthorized vendor, for taking unauthorized photographs, or for shopping at stores not designated for foreigners…penalties for knowingly or unknowingly violating North Korea’s laws are much harsher than U.S. penalties for similar offenses. Sentences for crimes can include years of detention in hard labor camps or death.”
Verdict: There is always some appeal to a little risk, and some thrill at doing something not very many people have done before. This probably stretches that concept to its own limit. Plus, I like shopping and would be very worried I would go to the wrong store and be sentenced to death.
1) Place I’m Not Vacationing Today: All the rest…Burundi, Honduras, Algeria
Information Discouraging My Vacation Plans to this Locale: "Exchanges of gunfire and grenade attacks are common even in densely populated urban areas."…”Since 2010, Honduras has had the highest murder rate in the world."…"All visitors to Algeria should remain alert, avoid predictable travel patterns, and maintain a low profile.”
Verdict: All of these locations seem like dry vacations; drinking would pretty much guarantee murder, a grenade attack, or a kidnapping. Although I am currently pregnant, I do like to plan future vacations with the assumption I can have a glass of wine without such extreme negative consequences. For this reason, these locales are not places I am vacationing today.