Sunday, December 16, 2012

Rambling: High Speed Trains

Alright this post is random but I just have to share.  A friend of mine who is currently living in Taiwan recently blogged about how awesome the high-speed trains are (you can drive 2+ hours or sit on a train for 25 minutes).  I had been thinking the same thoughts and wanting to write about it here, so decided just to share my response:

OMG I've fallen in love with high speed trains. Barcelona is about 400 miles from Madrid, so about 6 hours by car. OR you can take the train and be there in 2.5 hours. How awesome.

Since the distance from Chicago and NYC is about double, how cool would it be to get on a train in Chicago and be in NYC 5ish hours later, rather than driving 12+ hours. It would make business sooo much easier. And visiting people. We would just be so much more connected. I would do it all the time, unlike driving 12 straight hours, which I'm never going to do. But taking a train for 5 hours I would definitely do.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Words: Do you have beggars in the US?

*man begging for money passes us on subway* 
R, my British friend: Do you have that in the US?
Me: What?
R: People begging?
Me: Ummm, yeahhh..... I mean in all the cities.
R: *stares at me with horror and disbelief*
Me: Actually, now that I think about it, I guess I didn't really see anyone begging when I was in London, hmm. Yeah we have them on the streets, on the trains, ya know, like here...
R:  *increases horror and disbelief*  Wow, I can imagine it's hard to see them and not be able to help. Like here it's especially so sad when you see the elderly or sick people... there's this one woman always shaking.....
Me: Yeah, we have lots of old and shaking people begging, especially since they probably can't afford health insurance so they can't buy medicine. It's the worst when you see them outside in the snow.
R: *stunned silence of horror and disbelief*  It makes me really glad to live in a country with a good welfare system.

Recipe: Squash Soup

Though my favorite was the onion soup, this one was pretty good.  I'm curious to try it with different herb combinations! 

1) In a large pot, boil salted water.
2) Chop roughly and add half a white onion, one large carrot, three potatoes, and half a squash (they cook with squash all the time here and I thinnnk it's butternut).
3) Whirl everything in the blender and strain. It's excellent with thick rustic bread.

I wonder how it would taste with caramelized onions, too...

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Recipe: Fried Eggplant

Here's one posing with salmon.

1) Peel eggplant.
2) Slide it thinly and place slices in a bowl of water.
3) Beat an egg and sprinkle salt; pour breadcrumbs into a plate.
4) Assembly - coat slice in egg then breadcrumbs, place in pan over medium heat with oil in bottom.
5) Once golden brown, enjoy with tomato sauce!

Recipes: Easy Garbanzos

Yummy, super easy garbanzos:

1) Chop and saute onions in olive oil.
2) In a large pot over medium heat, boil water, garbanzos from a jar (here they're packed with spinach), and a little salt.
3) Add sauteed onions and chopped potatoes and continue to boil.
4) Call it done when the texture is to your liking!

I like how there's so much leftover broth, so I use it to make couscous :) 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Printed: Education Things

Teachers only spend 4 hours a day in the classroom, and take 2 hours a week for "professional development".
Some things that have caught my attention lately:

FINLAND: Oh, Finland. The country with consistent wonderful education outcomes for years and years, studied and admired by all. This recent article gave some facts about how they do things that I hadn´t heard before - I´d be curious to find out how true these things are for all schools, but it´s definitely food for thought.  (no school until age 7? teachers spending 4 hours per day in the classroom?? and they all have masters???)