Sunday, November 10, 2013

What-What?! Week of November 10th

Finally this week, the children and I are getting better.  After getting over Fifth Disease, the kids managed to catch a cold, and now they’re still coughing from that.

Edited to add:  I did do some writing this week!  See the above tab, "Farm Books for Children", which has a collection of my favorite children's books involving farms and farm animals.

Behavioral economics moved somewhat away from experiments, and on to the discussion of examining how people make intuitive decisions.  The professors actually discussed one thing that I’d discovered on my own—that people, when given the vocabulary to describe something, will take the time to examine more closely their own likes and dislikes.  When my sister took art classes, the class would look at a piece of art, and each student had to explain why they liked or disliked it; they were not allowed to say “just because”.  They learned the vocabulary to describe art (compositions, techniques, color theories), then applied that to the pieces they viewed.  A few years ago, I became much more interested in food, tasting food, and trying new things.  I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about why I like or dislike a food, and through this, I’ve learned new words, and I’ve learned a lot about myself.  I’ve gotten a lot of practice asking myself why, and examining the answers.  I think this has helped me understand other people, too, because now I can ask more detailed questions when I want to know, “how do you like this dish?”

Creamy Ham and Rice Bake
Want something creamy, a little salty, and a little cheesy?  Then this is the casserole for you!  I liked how the veggies in this complemented the rich sauce very nicely, helping the dish from becoming too rich.  This is based on the Veggie, Ham & Cheese Rice Bake from Tasty Kitchen, I simplified the recipe and subbed out the cream of chicken soup for a simple white sauce.

  • 2-3 tablespoons Butter
  • 1/4 to 1/2 Onion, diced
  • 1-1/2 cups Ham Steak, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Flour
  • 2 cups Milk
  • 1 cup Fresh or Frozen Broccoli
  • 1 cup Fresh or Frozen Cauliflower
  • 1 cup White Rice (long or short grain)
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1/2 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9x13 baking dish and set aside.

Saute onion and ham in butter on medium heat, until onions are translucent and ham is browned.  Add flour and let cook 1-2 minutes, then stir in milk.  Bring mixture up to a simmer to thicken, stirring as needed.  Add broccoli and cauliflower, then simmer another 2-3 minutes, or as long as needed to heat them all the way through.  Add rice, water and cheese, mixing thoroughly.  Add salt and pepper as needed.  Pour into prepared baking dish, and bake for 40 minutes, until rice is cooked.  Enjoy!

Film:  My Little Pony:  Equestria Girls via Netflix

Netflix just added this to the video library, and because my kids are pony fanatics, we had to watch it.  Consequently, we have watched it every day since.  I was pretty pleased with it, though make no mistake:  I would not watch this if I didn’t have children.  The story was good, though the ending is weak, and the romance feels like it was inserted in order to pander to the desired demographic of tweens (or tweens’ younger siblings?).  At first, I actually thought that the love interest was Twilight’s brother, and my mistake didn’t actually become clear for quite a while (storytelling oops!).  I enjoyed that the alternate world that Twilight Sparkle steps into is nothing like home, except in every single detail.  I worry that the dependence of the story on technological elements will mean that it will become dated quickly; one of the things that I enjoy about the old My Little Pony show is that it really isn’t that dated, other than the clothes that the children are wearing, and a few other things like that.  The next season of the regular My Little Pony show is due out on November 23rd, so be prepared for more pony talk in a few weeks. ;D
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