Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Good News Volume 1, Issue 5

For the week of March 19th to March 25th, here is the Good News:

**Best news of the week**
The ACA to stay. This week, despite every attempt to destroy the ACA, the Republicans realized they did not have enough support for their own bill, which would have raised rates alarmingly for 90% of the US.
Read more at the Washington Post.

Denmark is now free of foreign debt for the first time in almost 200 years.
Read the article here at Business Insider.

King County stands up to Trump Administration, releasing detainees despite ICE hold.
Read the article here at the Stranger.

Google donates $50 million to help educate those with disadvantages around the world.
Read their statement at their blog.

Germany to annul hundreds of historical homosexual convictions.
Read the article at Reuters.

Muslims raise money to help after Westminster Terror attack in London.
Read the article at the Independent.

Feel free to link anyone you'd like to this. And if you have any Good News links in the coming week that you'd like to share, feel free to send them my way. I can definitely use more.

American Immigrant Highlights: Vietnamese

Vietnamese Americans make up about half of the overseas Vietnamese population in the world. They are the fourth largest Asian American group in the US today. They also have one of the largest naturalization rates in the country, with a 76 percent citizenship overall. The largest populations of Vietnamese in the US currently reside in California and Texas. Vietnamese is the seventh-most-spoken language in the US.

Early Vietnamese immigration to the US started in 1975 after the end of the Vietnam War. Before 1975, most Vietnamese in the US were wives or children of US Servicemen. There were a small amount that came to the US in the late 19th and early 20th centuries who did menial work. The figures grew slowly, and between 1950 and 1974, six hundred and fifty Vietnamese immigrants came to the US, people who included students, diplomats, and military trainees. After the war, much of the immigration to the US was through asylum camps in southeast Asia and the number in these camps led to the Refugee Act of 1980, which eased the restrictions on Vietnamese refugees in the US.

Vietnamese food has seen a great rise in the US in recent years. For those who have not experienced it, it's basically a combination of French and Chinese food, with an emphasis on seafood. If you live in a big city, you've probably seen a number of Pho places around town. Pho is a rice noodle soup with meat and vegetable that you add to the beef broth. But Pho is by no means the only food they have added to our food culture. Banh Mis are Vietnamese Sandwiches with meat and vegetables (often pickled), and chilies for spice. They are a very popular street or truck food here in the US. Other Vietnamese foods include: goi cuon (spring rolls), banh xeo (pancakes), rice dishes, noodle dishes, and many variations of soups, and even a few stews. For more information, look at this article on Wikipedia.

Notable Vietnamese Americans:
  • Dustin Nguyen – Actor known for 21 Jump Street
  • Jonathan Ke Quan – Former Child Actor known for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and The Goonies
  • Mary Nguyen – Reporter, first Asian-American Miss Teenage America
  • Doan Hoang – Director and Producer
  • Tyga – Vietnamese/Jamaican rapper
  • Chloe Dao – Fashion Designer and winner of Project Runway
  • Hung Huynh – Chef, winner of Top Chef
  • Le Ly Hayslip – Author
  • Nguyen Do – Poet and Translator
  • John Tran – First Vietnamese American Mayor, Mayor of Rosemead, California
  • Jacqueline H Nguyen – First Vietnamese-American federal judge; first Asian-American woman to sit on the federal appellate court
  • Thuan Pham – CTO of Uber
  • Eugene H Trinh – Astronaut, first Vietnamese-American to go into space
  • Jim Parque – Pitcher for the bronze-winning Olympics baseball team in 1996
  • Catherine Mai Lan Fox – Gold-medal winning Olympic swimmer

This is by no means a complete list. For more interesting Vietnamese Americans, look at this list on Wikipedia.

Vietnamese Americans
List of Vietnamese Americans

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Good News Volume 1, Issue 4

For the week of March 12th to March 18th, here is the Good News:

**Best news of the week**
On Friday, the Mississippi Abortion Clinic Shutdown Law was blocked by the federal courts, which means that they can't stop places like Planned Parenthood from operating within State borders. While it is a victory, it is by no means the end of the fight, as the lawmakers who created the bills will probably work to find new ways to de-fund clinics and impose bills to make it harder for them to stay open.
Read the story here at Jackson Free Press.

Remember a few weeks ago when a Muslim group helped raise funds for a Jewish Cemetery that had been vandalized? Well, this week, a Jewish Group started an online fundraiser to replace the damaged Qur'ans of a local Mosque. It seems these two groups aren't the ones we need to be worried about being violent to others.
You can see their fundraiser here, but I was unable to find any big mentions of the fundraising in the news.

In Washington DC, local government works to take climate change action, despite their new resident (who has spent less time there than elsewhere so far in his presidency).
You can read the news story here at Reuters.

Kenya bans plastic bags, one of many African nations to ban the product.
See the news story at the Washington Post.

Though the protesters at Standing Rock have been forcibly removed from the site, the protest goes on. This week, they took it to Washington DC, where they set up at TeePee city in the shadow of the Washington Monument.
Here are some photos from the Native Nations Rise protest there.

Though Republicans all seem to disbelieve Climate Change, seventeen Republican congress members submitted a resolution stating that "human activities" have affected the global climate, and to request mitigation efforts in Climate Change.
Read the story here at Newsweek.

A Transgender birth records bill passes the Oregon State House. It would privatize the process, making it unnecessary to have courts involved. The bill now heads to their senate.
Read the story here.

A New Zealand river has been given rights as human being, meaning any damage done to the river can now be easily and legally prosecuted.
Read the story at the Guardian.

The new owner of Vancouver Hotel says "Seniors can stay."
Read the story at the CBC.

Feel free to link anyone you'd like to this. And if you have any Good News links in the coming week that you'd like to share, feel free to send them my way. I can definitely use more.

American Immigrant Highlights: Syria

Syrians have many different ethnicities, including Areans, Armenians, Assyrians, Jews, Kurds, Turkmens, and Circassians. We believe that the first immigrants from the area began to arrive in 1880. The earliest immigrants settled mostly in the east, notably in New York City, Boston, and Detroit. Like the Japanese, they were affected heavily by the Immigration Act of 1924, which restricted immigration from any country to a maximum of 2% of the number from that country already living in the US at that time. The Immigration Act of 1965 abolished those quotas, and many Syrian Immigrants came to this country after that. Almost 65,000 Syrians immigrated to the US between 1961 and 2000. Most Syrian immigrants were Christian before 1960, though a few were Jewish. After 1965 is when the Syrian Muslim community began to rise. According to the 2000 Census, there were 142,897 Americans of Syrian ancestry, which equals about 12% of the Arab population in the US.

Most of the early Syrian Americans were street sellers, trading mostly in clothing. Because of this, they travelled with new groups to new areas of the continent to trade their wares. Most were quite successful, and many became importers and wholesalers, who then sold their goods to those who were still selling on the streets. By 1908, there were 3000 Syrian owned businesses in the US. Soon they began to move into other fields, medicine, law, and engineering to name a few. They worked also in the growing auto industry, causing a large Syrian areas in Michigan. They eventually moved into banking and computer science as well.

Syrians popularized many middle-eastern foods here in the US, some samplings of which include Pita bread, hummus, baba ghanoush, tabbouleh, and many others. They are also well known for their cheese. And of course, they are one of many communities that are well known for their baklava.

Notable Syrian Americans:
  • Paula Abdul, Grammy winning singer and Emmy winning choreographer, judge on American Idol
  • F Murray Abraham, Oscar winning actor
  • Tige Andrews, Actor known for the Mod Squad
  • Paul Anka, Singer
  • Rosemary Barkett, first woman to serve on the Florida Supreme Court, and first woman Chief Justice of the same
  • Mitch Daniels, Governer of Indiana from 2005-2013, current president of Purdue University
  • Hala Gorani, news anchor and correspondent for CNN
  • Teri Hatcher, Actress
  • Robert M Isaac Mayor of Colorado Springs, CO from 1979 to 1997
  • Steve Jobs, co founder and former CEO of Apple
  • Paul Orfalea, founder of Kinkos
  • Brandon Saad, hockey player for the Columbus Blue Jackets, Calder Memorial Trophy finalist, and Stanley Cup Champion
  • Louay M Safi, Human Rights activist, chairman of the Syrian American Congress
  • Jerry Seinfeld, comedian, actor, and writer
  • Diana al-Hadid, sculptor
  • Sam Yagan, tech entrepreneur, co founder of SparkNotes, eDonkey, OkCupid and others
  • Wentworth Miller, actor known for Prison Break and other roles

This is by no means a complete list. For more interesting Syrian Americans, look at this list on Wikipedia.

Syrian Americans
Immigration act of 1924

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Good News Volume 1, Issue 3

This week, I found lots of great stories, but most of them seemed to come up Wednesday and Thursday. Still, lots of new good news stories out there this week. Also, though it seems I chose today's immigrant group on purpose to post today, I truly didn't. It just fit with the theme I was going for: immigrant groups in America who were badly looked down on by the rest of the population.

For the week of March 5th to 11th , here is the Good News:

**Best news of the week**
On Monday, it was announced that in the United Kingdom, their Carbon emissions have fallen below levels recorded back in 1894. This is excellent news, as England has often had some of the highest emissions issues in the world.
Read the story here at the Independent.

A group in Seattle is working to build a tiny village for homeless.
See more details at Kiro 7 news.

Chance the Rapper donated $1 million to support Chicago schools arts programs.
Read the article at the New York Times.

Wednesday was International Women's Day.
See some photos at USA Today.
There were strikes held around the world in honor of women's rights.
See more at CNN.
And Iceland announced that it would require all employers to offer equal pay, and to offer proof that they were doing so.
Read the article at Fortune.

The American Medical Association announced that it opposes Republican Health Care Plan.
Read more at the New York Times.

A Utah School installs washing machines and showers for students' use.
Read the story atFox 13 News.

Nike revealed a Pro Hijab for Muslim athletes.
Read the article at The New York Times.

Hawaii is suing over Trump's travel ban.
Read the story here at CNN.

Local community councils in the UK pushes officials to increase number of Syrian refugees in their country.
Read the article at the Guardian

Shell's CEO plans to increase investment in renewable energy for his company.
Read the article at Reuters.

Judges rule Texas gerrymandered maps on racial lines, ruling several districts invalid.
See the article at The Washington Post.

Feel free to link anyone you'd like to this. And if you have any Good News links in the coming week that you'd like to share, feel free to send them my way. I can definitely use more.

American Immigrant Highlights: Ireland

Irish Americans have been part of the US since its inception, coming over with many of the early groups of Europeans who came to colonize the east coast of America. More than 10 percent of the American population consider themselves Irish, according to the US Census Bureau. Because the Irish were in such high numbers in Colonial America, they presented a large portion of the Continental army that fought the British during the Revolutionary War.

There is also a separate sub group of the Irish population who call themselves Scots-Irish. These are people whose ancestors were generally from the Ulster area of Ireland, which is basically the area now known as Northern Ireland. Many of these were among the earliest colonists in America, who took on the qualifier Scotch to differentiate themselves from the Irish who came in the 1840s to escape the Great Famine in Ireland. Those who came during that time were predominantly Catholic, while those already in the US were generally Protestant.

The American Irish population also played a large role in the Civil War. Many young men got off the boat from Ireland and were immediately enticed to volunteer in the Union Army. At least 38 Union regiments had "Irish" in their title. Many Irish Catholics refused to sign up, and when the conscription laws were passed, there were many draft riots that took place in New York. Between riots and the fact that many Irish were poor, Catholic, and had large families, led to a great deal of anger on other citizens' parts, and to hatred and prejudice against the Irish as a whole.

The Irish settled mostly in the cities and along the east coast, though more in the New England states than the South. New York City, Boston and Philadelphia have the largest concentrations even today. Though most Irish spoke English, most also still spoke their native language when they came to the US, and there is still a significant population who speak the language in the US today, with New York and Massachusetts having the most Irish speakers in the country. It ranks 66th out of 322 languages spoken today in the US.

I'm sure most people can name some basic Irish foods. They've become such a part of our culture that they are both easy to name, and hard to think of, because they're so obvious. Some of these obvious foods include Irish stew, soda bread, corn beef and cabbage, colcannon, and roast lamb. Of course, the Irish are even more known for their alcohol. Whiskey, porter or stout, lager, Irish coffee, Irish Cream, and many other drinks, all come from Irish brewers, and all easily found in the US today.

Notable Irish Americans:
  • Andrew Jackson, 7th President of the United States
  • Andrew Johnson, 17th President of the United States
  • Ulysses S Grant, 18th President of the United States, and Union General during the Civil War
  • Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States
  • Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States
  • John F Kennedy, 35th President of the United States
  • Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States
  • Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States
  • James Cagney, Actor
  • Bing Crosby, Actor & singer
  • Walt Disney, Animator, creator of the Disney Franchise
  • Judy Garland, Actress
  • Gene Kelly, Actor
  • Spencer Tracy, Actor
  • Maureen O'Hara, Actress
  • Ed Sullivan, Talk show host
  • Eugene O'Neill, Playwright
  • F Scott Fitzgerald, Author
  • Edgar Allan Poe, Author and Poet

This is by no means a complete list. For more interesting Irish Americans, look at this list on Wikipedia.

Irish Americans
Scotch-Irish Americans
8 Traditional Dishes that Signify the Irish Culture
Irish Cuisine

Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Good News Volume 1, Issue 2

There were a lot of great stories this week, so this one took me a lot longer than last week's. Last week, I only managed to find six good news stories. This week, I've more than doubled that. There are a total of fourteen this week. Made for a much happier week, too.

For the week of February 26th to March 4th, here is the Good News:

**Best news of the week**
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court chose to send the case of Bethune-Hill v Virginia State Board of Elections back to a lower court for further discussion. Virginia is one of several states that has very strange Voting District borders for several of their voting districts, and the case challenged that 12 of them were constructed purely for the purpose of "gerrymandering", a term that means to manipulate the borders of an electoral constituency so as to favor one group over another. The Justices ruled that since race was the major factor of one district, it would have to be redrawn, but that the other 11 did not meet the burden of proof. This means that they will have to explain to a lower court why those need to be redrawn as well. Let's all wish them luck.
Read the article here at the New York Times.
Read the Justices' Opinion here.

The Oscars were this Sunday. Congratulations to the winners!
Motion Picture: Moonlight
Animated Feature: Zootopia
Actor: Casey Affleck
Actress: Emma Stone
Supporting Actress: Viola Davis for Fences
Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali for Moonlight
Director: Damien Chazelle for La La Land
Original Screenplay: Manchester by the Sea
Adapted Screenplay: Moonlight
Best Song: City of Stars from La La Land
Original Score: La La Land
Here's the full list of winners.

The Iranian baby whose parents were attempting to bring to the US for surgery has managed to get to the doctors in Portland and is now doing well, despite the delay caused by Trump's immigration ban.
Read the full story here.

Grace Slick licenses Starship song to Chik-fil-A, then donates the proceeds to Lambda Legal, an GLBT legal fund.
Read her reasoning here at Forbes.
Or, if you don't want to un-adblock Forbes, read it here at the Rolling Stone.

A snow storm caused a tanker truck to overturn on Seattle's main freeway, I-5. Many people were stuck on the freeway for hours, including a Taco truck, who decided to open for business right in middle of traffic to feed the people that were stuck on the freeway.
Read the story here at the Seattle Times.

Harvard Law Review Elects a Black Woman President.
See the story here at the New York Times.

In Memphis, Tennessee, hundreds of students walked out of high school to protest Trump's Immigration policies.
Read the article here.

Lego announced that due to the interest in Hidden Figures, they would release a series of Female Nasa Lego figures, including Katherine Johnson, the central figure of that movie.
Read about them at the Washington Post.

It looks as though the male leads of the Big Bang Theory are going to take pay cuts so their female co-stars can get raises for the next two seasons.
See the article here at the Independent.

In Copenhagen, Denmark, the dishwasher at Noma, a world-famous restaurant, has been made partner of the restaurant. Ali Sonko, an immigrant from Gambia, has been working at the restaurant for more than a decade. Read the story here at Fortune.

Tom Hanks gives the White House Press an espresso machine.
Read the story

New York made plans to open 90 new homeless shelters.
Read the story at Reuters.

A patient with Sickle Cell Anemia has been cured by gene therapy. More research and testing will need to be done, but it's a big step forward. Now they know it can be done, they will be able to do it again. And perhaps someday, no one will even remember why it was an issue.
Read the story here at CNN.

Boy trapped in Mosul is reunited with mother after many years apart.
Read the full story at CBS News.

Feel free to link anyone you'd like to this. And if you have any Good News links in the coming week that you'd like to share, feel free to send them my way. I can definitely use more.

American Immigrant Highlights: Japanese

Japanese immigrants have been coming to this country since 1868, during the Meiji Restoration in Japan. Many migrated to Hawaii and the West Coast of the US. In 1907, Japan and the US entered into an agreement ending immigration of unskilled immigrants, and the Immigration act of 1924 banned immigration of nearly all Japanese to the US. It was not until 1965 that the ban against immigration from Japan was ended.

Most Japanese settled in Hawaii or along the West Coast, most especially San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle. Early immigrants ran farms or owned small businesses. By the War, Japanese Americans had a very strong community up and down the West Coast of the US.

Because of the immigration bans, the Japanese who came to the US, called the Issei, soon became quite separate from their American born-and-raised children, called the Nisei. Because of racism, and also because of the results of the War Time Camps, most Nisei ended up marrying other Nisei, leading to a third fully Japanese American generation, known as the Sansei. Because of the Naturalization act of 1790, US Citizenship was restricted to "Free white persons," so Issei were unable to participate in the civics of the culture that ultimately caged them during World War II.

During the War, approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans and Japanese nationals were forcibly interned in camps across the US because of Executive Order 9066, signed by President Franklin D Roosevelt. There were ten camps across the US, mostly in the west: Manzanar and Tule Lake in California, Poston and Gila River in Arizona, Granada in Colorado, Heart Mountain in Wyoming, Minidoka in Idaho, Topaz in Utah, and Rohwer and Jerome in Arkansas. They were referred to as Relocation Centers, Internment Camps, or Detention Camps. There were other camps as well, Civilian Assembly Centers that were used as waypoints from the Internees' homes and the camps they would eventually be sent to. They were relocated starting in 1942, and the last camp was finally closed in 1946. Most attempted to return to their old homes along the west coast, but faced a great deal of hostility and prejudice, particularly in rural California. Most had lost their homes and property, and it took a great deal of time to settle in once more.

Japanese food entered our culture not when the Japanese first came to America, but only after the introduction of stories of Japanese culture in the US, such as the Mikado. Before that, Japanese foods stayed within the communities of Japanese Americans in Hawaii and along the West Coast. After, a selection of Japanese restaurants opened in New York, San Francisco, and LA. The food choices at this time were limited generally to tempura and teriyaki. It must be stated that like tempura, teriyaki is more a style of cooking than a specific food, though most American restaurants have reduced it to grilled chicken with sweet sauce. Most of these restaurants closed during wartime because of animosity towards the Japanese, and interest in Japanese cuisine didn't resurface for several decades. In 1957, the first sushi bar in America was opened in New York, and in the 70s, interest in Japanese restaurants rose once more. Sushi, sashimi, and teriyaki are the most popular Japanese dishes in the US today.

Notable Japanese Americans:
  • Senator Daniel K Inouye of Hawaii
  • Congresswoman Patsy Mink of Hawaii
  • George Ariyoshi, Governor of Hawaii
  • Charles J Pedersen, winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry
  • Yoichiro Nambu, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics
  • Shuji Nakamura, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics
  • Michio Kaku, Theoretical Physicist in String field theory
  • Ellison Onizuka, Astronaut, mission specialist aboard the Challenger when it exploded
  • Minoru Yamasaki, architect of the original World Trade Center
  • Janice Mirikitani, Poet laureate of San Francisco
  • Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park
  • Hiro Yamamoto of Soundgarden
  • James Iha of the Smashing Pumpkins
  • Apolo Ohno, Olympic medalist in speed skating
  • Kristi Yamaguchi, Olympic gold medalist in figure skating
  • Pat Morita, actor, and Academy Award Nominee
  • George Takei, actor and activist

This is by no means a complete list. For more interesting Japanese Americans, look at this list on Wikipedia.

Japanese Americans
Internment of Japanese Americans
A History of Japanese Food in America

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Good News Volume 1, Issue 1

My friend Summer started doing a week in review for the news concerning the current administration and some of the horrible things they are doing to this country. It's been a great source to me, but it's so depressing to read, and I was talking to a friend at work and realized what I wanted to do was an echo of what Summer had done—to create a list of the good things I'd heard about in the past week, with highlights on the best news of the week (at least, according to me), and an American immigrant group, to give us all perspective. The immigrant piece will focus on who they are, when they came here, and where they settled, and their contributions to the US.

So for the week of February 19th to February 25th, here is the Good News:

**Best news of the week**
On Tuesday, when a Jewish Cemetery in St Louis announced it had been vandalized, a Muslim group set up a Fund site to help fix what was damaged. Not only did they manage the $20,000 they wanted to raise in only three hours that day, but the number keeps rising. They have now stated they will use excess funds to help other damaged cemeteries. Check their funding page to see the current news and total.
News story at Reuters

The Stand Up for Science rally was held in Copley Square in Boston, Massachusetts, with hundreds in attendance.
News story at the Boston Globe

The Texas Supreme Court ruled that Texas cannot defund Planned Parenthood. The fight is not over, but it is a serious blow to those who would deny women access to medical help.
News story at New York Times

NASA announced that they have found seven new earth sized planets found in a nearby solar system. Three of them are in the habitable zone of their star. The system is called Trappist-1.
News story at BBC News

A kindergartener transforms into notable black women for Black History Month. The photos are amazing, as are the stories.
See the photos here at KOMO News

Washington's Governor Jay Inslee signed an executive order protecting immigrant rights in Washington State.
News story at the Hill

Feel free to link anyone you'd like to this. And if you have any Good News links in the coming week that you'd like to share, feel free to send them my way. I can definitely use more.

American Immigrant Highlights: Iran

The earliest known immigrants from Iran, or what was then called Persia, came here in the 1920s. Their numbers slowly grew until the 1970s. When the Iranian Revolution began in 1979, immigration sped up greatly, staying at peak until the early 2000s through the many wars in their country and that part of the world.

Most prefer to be referred to as Persians, not Iranians, likely to disassociate themselves from the culture so many Americans believe is evil. Their major area of concentration is in California, though there are also significant populations in New York, New Jersey, Texas, Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC, and Illinois. They are known for their contributions in business, academia, science, arts and entertainment, though they have kept away from politics and other civic activities for obvious political reasons.

Persian food takes a lot from the same influences as its neighbors, Turkey, Greece, and India. Because of this, many of their foods are familiar to us from other cultures. They have many different stews and meat dishes, including meat kebabs, which are very popular in American cities. They also make regular use of yogurt, naan, and chai, as well as rice pilaf and rice dishes in general.

Notable Persian Americans:
  • Pierre Omidyar, the founder & CEO of eBay
  • Salar Kamangar, CEO of YouTube
  • Shahram Dabiri, Lead Producer of World of Warcraft
  • Firouz Naderi, director at NASA
  • Christiane Amanpour of ABC News and CNN
  • Daron Bakhtiar from System of a Down
  • Shohreh Aghdashloo, Academy and Emmy-award winning actress
  • Catherine Bell, actress
  • Sarah Shahi, actress
  • Bahar Soomekh, actress
  • Adrian Pasdar, actor
  • Andre Agassi, tennis player
  • David Bakhtiari, football player for the Green Bay Packers

This is by no means a complete list. For more interesting Persian Americans, look at this list on Wikipedia.

Iranian immigrants >> Immigration to the United States
Iranian Americans
Culture of Iran: Persian Cuisine, a Brief History

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Recipe Experiment: Crescent Pizza Pockets

So Foodie came over yesterday, and I had some crescent rolls in my fridge, so I asked if she wanted to make something with them, so we decided to make these Crescent Pizza Pockets. They turned out pretty great.

We made some minor adjustments to the recipe, and didn't exactly measure ingredient sizes, so they dribbled a bit, but they were still delicious.For the sauce, we used my current favorite flavor of Classico: Fire Roasted Tomato and Garlic. We also used a cheese blend I get from the store with a bunch of Italian cheeses instead of just mozzarella. And on top of the cheese, we added a bit of oregano.

They turned out great, if a bit soft. I might lower the temperature for the next time I try them and cook them at least five minutes more.

all stuffed, one folded. You can see the oregano on the top of the cheese here.

Ready to be cooked. We had some issues with them splitting, but it was easy enough to pinch the splits together.

Finished. There were less dribbles than I expected for how overstuffed they were. You can see the parm on mine if you squint.

I still have another can of rolls. I might make something like this. I've got a thing of string cheese in my fridge at the moment, after all. We shall see.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Recipe Experiment - Hash Brown Cups

I've always been fascinated by the muffin-tin recipes I've seen out there on the web, but most of them employ things that I don't or won't eat (eggs). Last weekend, though, I decided to go looking to see what I could find. I happened upon a recipe that just sounded too good and simple not to try: Parmesan Hash Brown Cups. It turned out to be a little more labor intensive than I anticipated, but overall, it was well worth the effort.

Now I love Parmesan, and I'm so so with onions now, though they used to be on my least-favorite list, but I wanted to make this in a way that I loved, so I decided to switch out the green onions for bacon bits (I'm sure you could do this with fresh bacon, but I generally don't keep that in my fridge, while I always have bacon bits if I can help it. I use Hormel, so it's real bacon, just diced and crumbled). Since I was going with bacon, I also changed the cheese to cheddar instead, because they go better together than Parmesan would. I changed the measurement for the bacon to half a cup, because when I opened the package of Simply Potatoes, I was shocked at how much was in there. I wanted to make sure I had enough bacon scattered throughout the potatoes. It did seem the right amount when I ate them. I also added another tablespoon of oil, because it really didn't feel like enough to coat everything I had in the bowl. Now I'm less sure, because you do spray the cups with oil as well, so if you only want to go with the two, go for it.

My oven runs a little hot, but I went with her temperature, and put it in for an hour. By the end, even the tops were nice and golden, if still soft. I let it sit a little, then went in with a knife around the edges until they turned with the knife. I put a paper towel over the top and a regular baking tray over that, then flipped the lot, and voila, perfect little cups. Some were definitely smaller than others, but overall delicious. As she said, they are a bit chewy as opposed to crispy, but they're so good, it's well worth trying.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Recipe Experiment - Balsamic Chicken with Tomatoes

So it's been a while since I posted, but I finally made a recipe that I've been considering for a while. Balsamic Chicken. It turned out great, so I thought I'd share what I ended up with.

I started on All Recipes, where I found two possibilities: Braised Balsamic Chicken and Roasted Balsamic Chicken with Baby Tomatoes. I liked the ingredients for the first, but I preferred the cooking style of the second, so I combined them.

I marinaded it overnight, and it was a little frozen still when I cooked it, but not horribly. Turned out sweet and juicy, and was perfect.

Here's the recipe I ended up using:

Balsamic Chicken and Tomatoes

1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegrette
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Garlic
-- (I like it strong. I think the original called for one clove, so adjust accordingly depending on how much you like.)
2 teaspoons Oregano
-- (again, I love Oregano. If you prefer one of the other basic Italian seasonings, double that instead. Or just do 3 teaspoons of the general Italian seasonings.)
2 teaspoons Italian Seasonings
2 Chicken breasts (the recipe calls for 4 to 6, so if you use less, use half or a third of the can instead)
1 14.5 oz can of Tomatoes (I used one with garlic and seasonings in, but any chunked tomatoes will do)

Mix together vinegrette, oil, and spices. Place chicken in a container and pour over the mix, then store it in the fridge for at least four hours. Overnight is better.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put chicken in a high-lipped pan. (I poured in the juice from the bag as well, and braised the chicken once during the cooking process.)

Cook chicken for 30 minutes, braising once if you wish.

Add canned tomatoes over the top of the chicken. (The can I used was definitely too much for two, but probably would have been just about right for three.)

Cook for 10 more minutes.

Let cool and serve.

I had it with potatoes, but I think it would also work with rice or similar.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

NaNoWriMo Approcheth!

So I've spent the past weekend working on a long list of things to get ready for NaNoWriMo. Lots of random chores, a bit more cleaning up the house from the move, and getting ready for next weekend.

One of the things I realized I needed last time for my story, which I will be continuing for my 2014 NaNo, was a family tree for my Main Character. He's a spoiled brat of a Noble family in England, so he would probably always be bragging about them. Friday, I realized I could do it without doing a full family tree. After all, most families don't have stories about every member of their family. So I started a fic called "20 (or More) Important Members of the Bothwick Family." It's been interesting coming up with good periods in history to fit his family into. Still working on them, but I think that's my task for the week. Looking forward to coming up with more.

I have a nice long list of events that need to happen in the story. I made a list for each of my major players in the story and wove them together in a basic outline. We'll see how much more that will get me. I figure I'll have to redo it as I go, but then, I always do, so that doesn't worry me in the least.

The NaNoWriMo site has updated once more, and now it stores all of your former NaNos, and so I spent a lot of time at the beginning of the month making up covers for my old NaNos. Some I'm more happy with than others, but it's so great to see them all lined up like that. I can't believe I've been doing this for so long. I have a total of 8 former winning stories, though one is the story I will be attempting to finish this year--Catalyst. I hit 50k, but it was nowhere near done. It's possibly the longest thing I've ever done for NaNoWriMo. Hopefully I'll be able to finish it this time.

I've also been planning food for the next month. Every year, I make a giant pot of spaghetti sauce and freeze a bunch, so that's something I'll be doing next weekend. I've made up a list of the things I'll need, and I'll probably go shopping tomorrow to get it all. I've also been considering getting a large pizza delivered Friday or so. Might even make a pot of Peruvian Chicken Breasts and make tacos with them. Beyond that, I'm not sure what I'll do food-wise, but I'll probably go with frozen for the rest. Might see if anyone's willing to give me a trip to Grocery Outlet to see what I can find there. Time will tell.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Recipe Experiment - Mummy Pizza Puffs

So my friend Foodie used to come over every weekend at my old place because we lived in the same complex. We can't do that as much any more now that I've moved, but she came over yesterday for our yearly watch of the two good Mummy movies (with Brendan Frasier and Rachel Weisz).

She'd found a recipe, so we decided to try it out. It's from Campbell's website, and they call them Campbell's Mummy Pizza Puffs. We made a few changes to the recipe for our own purposes, but they were absolutely delicious. She stopped at the store and got a different puff pastry dough brand: Aussie's Bakery. Their dough had no trans fat in it, so it's a far better choice if you can find it. For the sauce, we used my favorite brand: Classico. I highly recommend their sauces, as they're the best I've ever tasted. We used the fire-roasted tomato and garlic, which was perfect for pizza sauce. We sprinkled a bit of oregano over the top, though I really didn't taste it in the final product. We also added more of the olives inside the pizza, and she added some mushrooms to hers as well, with no variation in the cooking time.

I was happily reminded of an old frozen puff-pastry pizza Pepperidge Farms used to have, so if you remember those fondly, this will probably be something you'll enjoy. We think it would work well just as a simple crust, too, and then we could have made a possible total of fourteen, with all the extra crust we would have had. We'll definitely be making these again sometime.

Here's some shots of the pizzas once they were finished:
All cooked. Mine on the left, Foodie's on the right.

And all plated up.