Monday, April 26, 2010

Homework...

I am currently writing two papers. One on the dominant patriarchal paradigm and one on feminism.

Nic is afraid I am going to hate men by the time I finish this Culture, Gender, and Global Communications class. LOL

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Trip to Estes Park

We decided to take a short road trip up to Estes Park yesterday to get out of the house.

Estes Park is a beautiful little town up in the mountains. It's sort of like a smaller Park City.


It is also home of the Stanley Hotel (which was Stephen King's inspiration for The Shining). They have ghost tours and play The Shining 24/7 on TV. I am determined to stay here sometime before I move away!


We drove through the national park which was beautiful!


We saw lots of local wildlife.


We took a longer way home through Glen Haven, Drake, and Loveland. We loved driving through the small towns and the beautiful canyons. One of the best finds on our trip was the Colorado Cherry Company. They had all sorts of jams, honeys, salsas, etc.

Overall it was a great day, and we can't wait to go back to Estes Park!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Wild Animal Sanctuary


While Ben was here we decided to visit the Wild Animal Sanctuary. It is the largest and oldest sanctuary in the US that is dedicated to carnivores. In other words, they rescue carnivores that are being kept illegally (in homes, for backyard circuses, etc.) and bring them here to live out their lives. They told us that there are more tigers in captivity in Texas than there are tigers in the wild.


We saw some big cats in Africa, but these tigers are HUGE!!!


video
This is a video of the tiger cages. They put them in one of these by themselves when they first arrive. After awhile, if they've learned to play nice, they can move in with another tiger, and when they are ready, they place them in a large environment.


video
Whoever said cats don't like water didn't know this tiger!


Sleepy Lion

They have lions, tigers, bears, wolves, cougars, leopards, servals, and a camel. As Nic pointed out, camels aren't carnivores, but she was going to be euthanized, so they saved her anyway.


Nic and Ben loved these masks!

This sanctuary is a really cool place and we can't wait to go back again!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Death by Chocolate

Nic's little brother Ben has been in town this weekend, and we were all feeling like dessert. I told Ben to look through my 500 Cookies book (thanks Courtney!) and pick something.
This is what he picked. The recipe calls it "layered birthday cookie", but we call it "death by chocolate." Our goal was to put some pounds on Ben while he was visiting, and I think we succeeded. Here's the recipe:

Layered Birthday Cookie

For the Cookie:
1 cup (2 sticks) sweet butter
2 cups light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
6 tbsp. Dutch process cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda

For the Topping:
1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet butter
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup (9 oz) cream cheese (we only used 8 oz since that's a package size)
1 cup (8 oz) melted bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup (3 oz) M&Ms
1/2 cup (3 oz) semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350. Line two 11-in springform pans with parchment (we used two 9 inch cake pans and just used Pam instead of parchment).

Beat the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs and vanilla extract. Sift the flour, Dutch process cocoa powder and baking soda and stir into the batter. Divide the dough in two, and press into the prepared pans. Bake for 20 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool, then transfer to a wire rack.

To prepare the topping, beat the butter and confectioners' sugar together, then beat in the cream cheese and melted chocolate. Spread the topping over the cooled cookies, place one on top of the other, decorate, and top with chocolate chips and M&Ms.

Another option is to omit the cocoa powder, use whipped cream (2 cups heavy cream whipped with 2 tsp vanilla extract and 2 tbs confectioners' sugar) instead of topping, and decorate with fresh fruit.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Reporter

Last night Nic and I attended a documentary called The Reporter. It was about New York Times op-ed columnist, Nicholas Kristof (winner of two Pulitzer Prizes). He is known for bringing human rights abuses in Asia and Africa, such as human trafficking and the Darfur conflict to light. He writes about all the things the rest of the media should be covering, but doesn't. If you get the chance, I would highly recommend watching the film. In the meantime, check out his blog.

Friday, April 02, 2010

What are YOU saving for?

AP Photo/Karel Prinsloo

A text from my friend Lucy in Kenya:

"starting frm Dec at least i've save 35 thousand (bob) am happy cauze i've bought a cow 4 my Dad..so that we will b selling the milk"

Oh, how different life is over there!

2 Weeks Down, Only 8 to Go!

Well, I made it through the first two weeks of classes. I can't believe how quickly time goes when you're on the quarter system and only have 10 weeks for each class. I ended up with only two classes, but they seem to be keeping me adequately busy, so that's good. I hope to start volunteering at the African Community Center soon to help keep me busy (plus, I want to do an internship with them next year).

After two weeks, I still don't love my Spanish class, but it's pretty much a necessary evil, so I will stick it out. :) I absolutely LOVE my Culture, Gender, and Global Communications class. According to the syllabus, it explores the ways in which culture, gender, and communication intersect and shape a variety of issues from an international and intercultural perspective. We pretty much sit around for four hours and watch videos, listen to guest speakers, and have discussions.

On a completely unrelated note, Nic and I made eggplant parmigiana last night and it was fantastic! We like to try a new recipe every week, so Danette gave me a book called 500 Casseroles, which is where this recipe came from:

Eggplant Parmigiana

2 tbs butter, melted
1/2 cup Parmesan, plus 2 tbs
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2/3 cup evaporated milk (one of the little cans)
2 medium sized eggplants, cut into 1/4 inch slices (we just used one bigger eggplant and got 6 slices out of it)
8 oz plain tomato sauce

Preheat oven to 350. Pour melted butter into an 8-inch square casserole (we used a 9x13 casserole with 3 tbs butter). In a small bowl, combine 2 tbs grated parmesan, flour, salt, and pepper. Pour 1/3 cup evaporated milk into a shallow dish. Dip each eggplant slice in the milk, coating both sides. Then roll each cutlet in the flour mixture. Place the eggplant in a single layer in casserole and bake for 30 minutes.

In another bowl, combine remaining 1/3 cup evaporated milk with 1/2 cup parmesan. Remove eggplant from oven. Pour tomato sauce around the eggplant, then spread the milk and parmesan mixture over each slice. Return to oven for another 20-25 minutes until bubbly.

You can also replace the eggplant with 4 chicken breasts if you'd rather do that. It takes awhile because it has to cook for so long, but otherwise, it's really easy and yummy!