Monday, March 28, 2011

Review: Understanding Sexual Violence: A Study of Convicted Rapists

Understanding Sexual Violence: A Study of Convicted Rapists
Understanding Sexual Violence: A Study of Convicted Rapists by Diana Scully

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a comprehensive, interesting study with great social and feminist theory. My only complaint is that it is dated, especially in conversation with the literature review.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Blackberry Scones for Lovers

Blackberry Scones

These scones are healthy with fruit, whole grains, and flax, and only about 300 per serving, although they yield a large scone. They are also fast, only about 25-30 minutes from start to finish

This is a great basic recipe you could add almost anything to. I used blackberries when I made these as that was what I had on hand, but they would be good with some grated lemon zest, or some minced crystallized ginger, or even shredded ginger if you put it in the wet mix. You could also experiment with almond or another flavored abstract. I really want to try the following combinations: dried cherries and walnuts, lemon and ginger, and raspberries, white chocolate, with almond extract.

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 - 1/4 cup ground flax (optional)
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar
5 Tbsp. cold, unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)
2 eggs, room temperature, plus one egg white
1/2 cup skim milk
about 1 cup frozen blackberries (I chopped mine in thirds so they were still in fairly large chunks . I would recommend keeping these frozen until everything else is done)

Heat the oven to 425F. Lightly butter or grease a large baking sheet.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, flax, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the dry mix until it resembles small crumbs and is integrated fairly thoroughly.

In a medium bowl, whisk the 2 whole eggs, then add the milk. Using a wooden spoon (as the mixture will be thick and sticky), stir the liquids into the dry mix until just moistened. Very carefully (especially if you are using fresh berries!!!), fold the berries into the mix.

Turn the dough onto a lightly-floured surface and flatten into a circle that is about 3/4-inch thick. Don't worry about the dough being perfectly level; uneven scones are the prettiest! Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into six wedges and carefully transport them to your baking sheet. Whisk the egg white, and lightly brush on the scones.

Bake for 12-14 minutes, until they are golden brown.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Steak Tacos and Other Pressing Business

**Addendum: We found out I was pregnant about 22 hours after I published this post, which completely explains the weird sleeping which continued throughout the whole first trimester, and the steak taco thing.**

And so ends another crazy week! My sleeping has been erratic at best - it's not just that Ian and I characteristically go to bed too late, but I'm having trouble actually staying asleep when I fall asleep. So, the first hour or two is me drifting in and out of sleep, which leads to me being really annoyed at myself (and the world!!!), which doesn't help. And then it's waking up 3-5 times in the middle of the night. So not cool. Last night I sleep all the way through, cause for celebration all around! I'm hoping that trend continues. I've started doing yoga every night for 20-30 minutes before bed, so hopefully (besides learning how to better open my creaky hips) my sleeping will improve as a result.

 I met with my gynecologist on Friday to check out my lady parts and give the a'okay for baby plans. I love her - she's about 50-55 but wears zebra clogs and has a pink streak in her hair (but not in a trashy way, it's very Ann Arbor). I think I'm much more worked up about my health and weight and nutrition than she is, which is both calming and unsettling.

Ian and I realized this week that we may not be able keep our kitties when we move to NYC, depending on what housing Columbia offers us. But, even if they do allow pets, a baby and two kitties in a wee, quite probably one-bedroom apartment? No bueno. When we adopted Vixen and Peter, we had no idea that we would be (most likely) down-sizing living spaces, or planning to procreate so quickly! I say this as Peter is laying on my lap on his back receiving belly rubs and purring like a little truck, and it breaks my heart. We have been brainstorming ways of putting a kitty or two on loan until our situation stabilizes. Anyone for a heart-breakingly fabulous cat for a year or two?

Ian and I have been driving into Ann Arbor on Wednesdays and over the weekends to work in coffee shops or at Tanner Library (the philosophy library to UM). We've been experimenting with all sorts of little places. Today we drove in with hopes of getting lunch at Zingerman's Deli, but even at 3:00 PM they had a line out the door for a sandwich. We stumbled across my favorite tea store, Tea Haus. Tea Haus recently expanded and now has a lovely little tea room. We shared a few pots of tea (English Breakfast and Diplomat's) and had scones with real clotted cream with an assortment of lemon curd, strawberry jam, and marmalade. Heaven. I may be the fussiest person this side of the Mississippi (as my terribly understanding and patient.. and brutally honest husband could attest to), but I am easily satiated as well. What a lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

And finally...

I was craving steak tacos, so Ian and I traversed to battle the fripperies of Whole Foods to find some organic veggies and responsible meat for tacos. Nomnom! (maybe these are actually fajitas? Who can say)

Steak Tacos with Red Peppers and Onions and Avocado Salsa
We purchased 1/2 pound strip steak, which was about 2 generous tacos each. We used Ezekiel's sprouted whole grain tortillas, soft, healthy and really delicious!

Steak Marinade
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
juice of 1-2 limes
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup red or white wine or beer (you could substitute broth but add a little sugar)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chile powder
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of pepper
splash of favorite salsa (optional)
2-4 crushed garlic cloves
1/2 - 1 lb strip steak, cut into thin strips, against the grain

2 Tbsp oil
1/2 - 1 sweet onion, cut into 1/4 inch strips
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch strips
small-medium tortillas
Cheese to serve (would be good with goat cheese, queso fresco, cheddar, or monterrey jack)

Avocado Salsa
1 avocado, cut into cubes
1/3 cup salsa verde (jalapeno or poblano based)
juice of 1 lime
pinch of salt

Mix the marinade ingredients and add the steak. Add more liquid (wine/beer/broth/salsa) if need to cover the meat. Let this rest, covered, for at least 30 minutes, but preferably 1-2 hours.

Right before making the veggies and meat, prepare the avocado salsa but stirring together the diced avocado, salsa, lime juice, and salt. Keep the pit in the salsa until you serve to keep it as fresh as possible.

Heat nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbsp. oil and heat until almost smoking. Add the onions and saute. When the begin to brown, add 2-3 Tbsp of the marinade. Cook down liquid and brown onions until soft and carmelized. Add sliced peppers, again adding some marinade and a little salt. Reduce the heat a bit and cook until the peppers are crisp-tender and the liquid is cooked off. Set the vegetables aside and cover to keep warm.

Add 1 Tbsp oil to the pan and heat. Drain the steak (we want as little liquid in the pan as possible at this point) and add it to the hot skillet in a single layer. You may need to cook in batches if you are serving more than 2 people. Cook about 2 minutes on each side until the juices are running clear (or to your preference).

Serve the tacos with steamed tortillas and all the fixings. Nomnom!

Oh Boy (or whatever you are)

This coming week I am giving a paper twice. Neato, my first academic presentations (woot!). My research is based on the work of Anne Fausto-Sterling, a feminist biologist and author at Brown University who essentially argues (based on scientific data, historical research, and in observation of current culture) that the binary of sexual categorization (male/female, XX/XY) is false and product of our culture and times. I think take that theory and apply it to intersectionality in the discussion of gender formation and sexual categorization, and then discuss this as it applies to feminist methdology and epistemology. And all in 15 pages!

My presentation on Monday is at our Eastern's graduate research fair - I'm not really nervous, and I'm not even sure if anyone will show up. Practice run! Then I present at the Annual Michigan Women's Studies Association conference this coming Saturday. This is big, at least for little me. Yipes/Eeps/Egad!

So, anyways, cross your fingers and wish me luck (and lack of flat tire when Handsome and I drive to Grand Rapids this weekend).

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Review: Maisie Dobbs

Maisie Dobbs
Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

While this was a charming, fast read, I'm not sure what all the hype was about. It's a bit tame (idealistic maybe is a better word?) and the "mystery" wasn't that gripping. It's an unfair comparison, but I'll stick with Dame Christie.

 I mailed my copy to my mom. I think she might enjoy this more.

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Friday, March 11, 2011

BlackBerry Ginger Ale

So, now that, we're, you know, trying to... knock me up, alcohol is out. But this doesn't eliminate delicious beverages or a little kitchen creativity.

New Favorite Thing: ginger ale, frozen blackberries, and a sprig of rosemary.

You could probably mix vanilla vodka or gin or coconut rum in if you wanted to, but you really don't need it.