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Posts Tagged ‘learning@lunch’

I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions, but studies have found evidence that temporal landmarks can help overcome motivation problems. You may have seen it referred to as the fresh start effect. It’s not a panacea (as gym members everywhere can attest) but whatever, if it helps me to rethink my process in a productive way, great.

As New Year’s rolled around I started thinking about trying new things. Today I’m thinking about new recipes. 

Be it bread, brownies, cake, yogurt, or a magic wand, I like working out the best way (for me) to make something. And knowing that my birthday cake is going to come out exactly as planned? Priceless.

But I also like working on new projects, triangulating resources, experimenting with techniques or components. Making something new.

So far this year I’ve tested new ways to make cinnamon sugar bread, lemon cake, and mushroom soup. Next up? A quick trip to the tropics.

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Mr Man brought home a box of fresh passion fruit yesterday. I’ve tasted it before, most recently in a collection of holiday Chocolates by Enid.* Passion fruit also appears frequently on the Great British Baking Show, where bakers treat it like your average ingredient but might go bonkers for recipes I consider excellent but everyday, like Key Lime Pie. 

My lack of experience means I have questions. Why are the fruits I’ve got two completely different colors? How can you tell when they are ripe? Do you just scoop out the pulp or is there bitter pith to be avoided? How do I keep from thinking about runny noses and other gelatinous goop while engaging in said scooping? Does the goop need to be strained? And why are those seeds looking at me?!

So much to learn, and all of it sounds like fun. Wish me luck!

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Not Enid’s chocolates but hey, close enough! Photo by Massimo Adami on Unsplash

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* These chocolates appeared as a temporary holiday treat at a local farm store but the source is otherwise mysterious. Who is Enid? Where did she come from and why won’t she make chocolates past December? Has she now retreated back to Choclandia with the other chocolate fairies? And where can I find more of those passion fruit cream-filled chocolates?! 

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I’m working today but I’d rather be baking. While in Montreal last week I picked up some sugar cookies. Mediocre, not good, stale cookies. They were, to put it mildly, a disappointment.

I hate disappointment. What do I like? Recipes that are satisfying, easy enough to make whenever I want, and showcase flavor rather than perfection. A little flash doesn’t go amiss, either. 

We’re watching The Great Canadian Baking Show and I am reminded that there are so many interesting things out there to learn. So while I’m looking for the perfect sugar cookie recipe, I may also start building a list of essential* recipes and methods I don’t already know.

And then start baking.

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* My definition of essential will almost certainly differ from yours, but I’m aiming for techniques that can be used in a wide variety of recipes, help build flexibility into both recipes and bakers regardless of skill level, and eschew fiddly for fun. That said, how have I never made a pithivier? Also, buying puff pastry is absolutely acceptable in my book.

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I found this visualization of ocean denizens and depth fascinating. It looks simple but keep scrolling down (and scrolling, and scrolling) to see what lives where and how.

The Deep Sea

Elephant seals can dive to 2400 meters deep? That may be why the Headless Chicken Fish (real name) goes 500 meters deeper. Then there’s the Cookiecutter Shark, Flabby Whalefish, Dumbo Octopus, Sea Pig, Faceless Fish (who comes up with these names, they’re awesome) and not-really-related to jellyfish Comb Jelly.

And did you know that Orange Roughy can live up to 200 years? Or that the Patagonian Toothfish is found down to 3900 meters and has antifreeze in its tissue? I didn’t.

Next time there’s a choice of fish for dinner I think I’ll head over to Seafood Watch to find the most sustainable options. And skip the Orange Roughy.

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Photo by 毛 祥 on Unsplash

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What am I reading with lunch? How about a graphic novel about a woman, space, and a spunky little robot? App and interactivity are optional (but could be fun).

NASA – First Woman (read onlinedownload PDF)

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NASA

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I’m bouncing from project to project again, doing some work work and some practice work. I’ve also started about half a dozen posts but nothing feels right, because none of them said what I was really thinking, which is that today I am the Queen of Meh.

This is not to say that things are not a-ok, I’d just prefer to be making more progress.

Mood: pretty groovy, thanks for asking.

Fine, let’s roll with it.

I did nothing amazing today but do things I did. The project I had the most fun with was practicing photo compositing. Here’s a chimera that is not very good but I like anyway: Behold, the Winged Buffabear!

Original photos by Steven Cordes and Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash,
daguerreotype overlay from Spoon Graphics

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I think I’ll try to follow this advice by Christine Carter, and my own, and aim low:

The 1-minute secret to forming a new habit

Here’s why we need to be willing to be bad: being good requires that our effort and our motivation be in proportion to each other. The harder something is for us to do, the more motivation we need to do that thing. And you might have noticed, but motivation isn’t something that we can always muster on command….

The goal, remember, is repetition, not high achievement. So let yourself be mediocre at whatever you’re trying to do, but be mediocre every day. 

— Christine Carter

That I can do!

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Look at all those minutes!
Photo by Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash

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No writing today, but I did learn a little more Affinity Photo. I spent some of the afternoon playing with images and one of the things I made was this poster with Pride and Prejudice text overlay.

Now it’s time for pizza (which does not intimidate me)!

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Text by Jane Austen, Photo by Edu Lauton on Unsplash

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This morning, we discovered an army of teeny tiny ants making a foray under the mudroom door, and thus commenced a battle for the ages!

/ahem

They are winning.*

I took a break from the fun that is that to learn another way to make a painted sketch in Affinity Photo. It’s a good technique but my mouse-based brushwork could use a bit of practice:)

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Original Photo by Zane Lee on Unsplash

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* No worries, I am consoling myself with brownies.

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It’s lunchtime and I’m snacky, so for today’s post I bring you an excerpt from my European travel journal, featuring the delicious and mysterious (not really) zalmforel!*

I like the map, too.

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Bron: OTRES. Licentie: Publiek domein

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* It is a trout that looks something like salmon, but isn’t (despite what the nice lady told me at the time) an actual cross. Still very good, and isn’t it nice to learn new things?

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I read with lunch. Sometimes speculative fiction, of course, but often other types of writing as well, including nonfiction. Right now I’m reading Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal by Melanie Warner.

Appropriate lunchtime fare, wouldn’t you say? Allow me to share with you two fascinating excerpts:

You probably don’t think of your lunch as being constructed from powders, but consider the ingredients of a Subway Sweet Onion Teriyaki sandwich. Of the 105 ingredients, 55 are dry, dusty substances that were added to the sandwich for a whole variety of reasons. The chicken contains thirteen…. The teriyaki glaze has twelve…. In the fat-free sweet onion sauce, you get another eight…. And finally, the Italian white bread has twenty two….
— p.11

Yum. And lest you think that a salad at home is necessarily pitfall free:

… using fat-free dressing on a salad can prevent you from absorbing many of the vegetables’ healthy (fat-soluble) phytochemicals.
— p. 18

This has been Learning@Lunch. Enjoy:)

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