A funny thing happened on the way to this Monday… What is Apple worth more than? Plus, 30 Super Bowl menus

-o- Apple is worth more than… -o-
Apple’s market cap rose to a record $400 billion on January 19, 2012. Check out Mashable‘s “Apple Worth More Than All the Tea in China; What Else Does It Beat?” article; here’s more.

-o- 30 Super Bowl Menus -o-
Loved this. There’s a Giants-themed menu, a Packers-themed menu, and sooo many more. No Philly or Baltimore menus, which I found sad… but if you’re a Philly fan, just switch out one of the items here for cheesesteaks. Ravens fans… crabcakes, of course. Find them all here on Epicurious.

Here’s my favorite menu in the bunch:

Here are all the recipes in this menu.

-o- Films coming out this Spring -o-
Let’s face it: movies have been less enticing of late. Sure, there have been scattered gems, but in general I find film-going has become more of a tiresome expense than a stirring engagement.

Still, I like movies, and I like movie theaters. Here is a list of films writers at The Washington Post recommend making an exception for this Spring.

Also, Spring exhibits in the D.C. area. 40 X-Rays of huge fish in the Sant Ocean Hall in the Natural History Museum? Oh, for sure (begins. Feb. 4).

-o- Where are the 2012 candidates on student debt? -o-
According to an article by Forbes‘ Stephen Richer, “Rock the Vote” polls in 2006, 2008 and 2010 demonstrated that young voters rated “education and the cost of college” as one of the top 5 issues of concern. So how do the 2012 presidential candidates make voters feel about this?

For more, read Stephen Richer‘s article “Student debt: Obama gets it, Romney and Gingrich Don’t.” Richer uses this year’s State of the Union address as evidence of Obama’s awareness and support of those facing large amounts of student debt, and campaign materials from Romney and Gingrich as evidence that their stances are unlikely to bring out voters in their favor… at least on this issue.

-o- Paula Deen, Novo Nordisk’s new diabetes drug rep -o-
Oh, the irony. FiercePharma covered this story twice: first, when Novo Nordisk announced Deen’s sign-on, and then when her publicist dumped her for, in MY words, blatant hypocrisy. Here are our articles, written by Tracy Staton: Is Novo’s Deen-on-diabetes campaign brilliant–or insane?; Publicist quits over Deen’s tie-up with Novo.

By far, the funniest coverage of this event was an opinion piece written by and published on Fox News. Here it is; I strongly recommend a read. If you need more convincing, here’s the title: “God, guns and grease! Northern snobbery fuels the Paula Deen fingerpointing.”

New York Sports Club ran an ad making fun of Deen; here it is along with Foodista‘s ‘s notes on the ad.

NYSC Targets Paula Deen in Latest Ad

-o- Can one be de-baptized? -o-
Read NPR’s article on Rene LeBouvier , the man who took the church to court in France for the right to be removed from the baptismal records. The church maintains that being baptized changes one “permanently” in the eyes of God.

A funny thing happened on the way to this Monday… Timeline of the downfall of SOPA, Tips for Stumblers

-o- Newt Gingrich wins in South Carolina -o-
Dare I say I still think Romney will end up as the nominee? Both Gingrich and Santorum could still take it away. The Washington Post published a piece on the women who turned out to vote for Newt. Read it here.

The Florida debate is tonight… I wonder who will be ahead tomorrow.

I also read an interesting feature on Callista Gingrich, the potential nominee’s third wife, in The New Yorker this weekend. You can read it here.

-o- The Ravens lose, the Giants win! -o-
For me, the Ravens-Patriots game was painful, but extremely fun to watch! Here’s Billy Cundiff, watching the bowl sail past the goalpost.

                                     (photo credit: Robert Deutsch, USA Today)

(Because I love my friend Steve, I’m happy the Giants won.)

-o- Timeline of SOPA’s demise -o-
Mashable‘s  compiled a timeline of SOPA’s ascent and fall over the past week. I joined the WordPress bloggers that blacked out their sites Wednesday, January 18. The people spoke, and Congress heard.

Check out Fitzpatrick’s article here.

-o- Today is National Pie Day! -o-

Apparently… Check out the history of the Day and other January 23 food history tidbits on Foodimentary.

-o- What’s the best book you’ve read in one day? -o-
I love everything about this question. My answer is, either The Old Man and the Sea or The Pearl by John Steinbeck. I know they are both very short, but still I think the best books I’ve read in a single day.

Check out Reddit’s post and the many responses. There’s also a collection of responses in the Publishing Talk Daily.

-o- 10 Tips for Savvy Stumblers -o-
Also from Mashable: Here are 10 tips for the stumbler.

-o- Mini food sculptures -o-
“Most Amazing Miniature Food Artworks” by Shay Aaron. View them all here.

Miniature Food Sculpture
These make me so happy!

Top 100 Lists: Best Opening Lines, Best Closing Lines, Best Films Based on Books

I’ve recently learned that the U.K. Stylist has some great stuff – other than fashion tips and beauty products.

Check out their Top 100 list of films adapted from books here. Among those with which I agree are:

The Godfather (1973)

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe (2005)

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Here’s their Top 100  list of the best opening lines of novels. Here are the ones that I love that did not make my list:

“You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings.” – Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1818)

“If you were going to give a gold medal to the least delightful person on Earth, you would have to give that medal to a person named Carmelita Spats, and if you didn’t give it to her, Carmelita Spats was the sort of person who would snatch it from your hands anyway.” – Lemony Snicket, A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Austere Academy (Book the Fifth) (2000)

That Lemony Snicket quote reminds me of the opening line to The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: “There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”

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Lastly, here is their Top 100 list of ending book lines. I like several of their selections, including:

Charlotte's Web

“It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.” – E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web (1952)

Anne of Green Gables

“‘God’s in his heaven, all’s right with the world,’ whispered Anne softly.” – Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables (1908)

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Here is my post on 10 Superb Opening Lines of Novels; read my follow up list of Superb Closing Lines.

Finally, today Shhh… Mommy’s Blogging posted a Top Five Movies Based on Books list, complete with movie trailers! Love it, and recommend checking it out here.

A funny thing happened on the way to this Monday… An inspiring story for the would-be published novelist, Nile Gardner’s Top 10 Conservative Movies of the Modern Era

-o- It’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day -o-

  • What’s been happening in the District this weekend? Find some of the events, lectures and discussions that occurred earlier this weekend and are continuing into the week here.
  • Read ABCNews‘ coverage of the quote controversy (just the newest of, in my opinion, unfortunate conflicts over this new impressive memorial) here.
                                            (photo credit: Rachel Cooper, about.com)
  • What’s cooking today? Epicurious suggests you regard the day off of work and the weather as reasons to break out the crock pot or the stock pot (and end up with leftovers for the week). Find “Federal Holiday Food Projects” here. I’ve been planning to make vegetable soup all week but will be waiting until Wednesday when I will have turnips and spinach (*see below). Here is a super yummy-looking chicken soup recipe from Foodista.

-o- And the winner is… -o-

                                                  (photo credit: The Inquisitr.com)
Check out the full list of Golden Globes nominees and winners; here are red-carpet photos from The Washington Post.

I didn’t get to watch the show, but there are a few categories in which I was interested.

  • Downton Abbey (Masterpiece) on PBS won the award for Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television.
  • Martin Scorese won the Best Director award for Hugo.
  • Matt LeBlanc won the award for Best Actor in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical for the Showtime production Episodes. Also nominated? Alec Baldwin from NBC’s 30 Rock and David Duchovny from Showtime’s Californication.
-o- One man’s list of the Top 10 Conservative Films -o-
I find even the idea of listing  “conservative” or “liberal” films a bit absurd (mostly because I think that all forms of art are by nature rather subjective) let alone ranking them not quite by quality but by their representation of certain values. But still, this was fun to read. I recommend you read the whole piece by Nile Gardner of The Telegraph. Well-written and intriguing.
Number one? Chariots of Fire,  directed by Hugh Hudson and released in 1981.
Find out why… Here’s the full list!
Read Asawin Suebsaeng‘s article “One Right-Winger’s Terrible List of ‘Top 10 Conservative Movies'” here in Mother Jones.
-o- The best Brunch blog post I’ve ever seen -o-
The White Library’s “Farmhouse Breakfast Brunch Inspiration” post is indeed inspiring, not to mention mouthwatering. On the menu? Quiche, maple bacon, and perfect little French toast triangles.
                                  (photo credit: Sandra of The White Library)
-o- Amanda Hocking, self-published millionaire -o-
Hocking, in need of a few hundred dollars to make ends meet, ending up making over a million dollars self-publishing her novels and selling them online. I found this story riding home on the metro one day and was truly inspired. Not for myself necessarily,  but for the several brilliant and creative people I know who have written novels and are truly, seemingly fruitlessly, to share them with the world.
I hope you too enjoy reading Amanda’s story. Here’s the article from The Guardian. And here’s the list of her books for sale on Amazon.com!
While you’re there, check out Underwood by A.M. Henry. I’m reading it now and enjoying it immensely. The author of Underwood is another writer using Amazon.com’s self-publishing options to distribute her book; you can get her book in paperback.

-o- What’s on my menu this week -o-

  • Schezuan tofu and green bean stir fry. Here’s the recipe from The Huffington Post.
    Szechuan Tofu & Green Bean Stir-Fry                                                             (photo credit: Ken Burris)
  • Turnip soup from Epicurious.

Looking back at 2011, I’m very excited for 2012

How did I grow last year? And what can I do to maintain my stability and contented state in 2012?

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What happened in 2011?

-o- I earned my Master’s degree in English from George Washington University and loved it (and lived through it…)

-o- Brian and I traveled across the United States with two tents, a minivan, and not much else. We hit over half of the states and visited several cities and national parks. Stay tuned for my trip journal’s appearance on this blog.

-o- I moved out of Washington D.C. (barely) to Silver Spring, Maryland and am settling in to a new neighborhood.

-o- I secured a full-time editorial position in the media industry.

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What do I want to happen in 2012?

It took almost two weeks of the year to solidify my resolutions, but finally, here they are:

-o- I will be a more consistent blogger. -o-

I want to continue my weekly “A funny thing happened…” post and begin another serial type of post, though I haven’t decided on what yet (probably food!) I like Life of Roya’s “Mid-Week Music” postings (see this week’s on Stars here) and may adapt that idea for my purposes.

I expect to launch this new serial type of post on February 1, 2012.

-o- I will make soup stock. -o- 

I will start with vegetable and hopefully graduate to lobster. I want to make soup from scratch for several reasons. Among them are: it’s a solid and variable way to add more vegetables to my (and Brian’s) heavy-on-the-bread-and-cheese diet; soup freezes well and therefore can be made in advance and eaten over several weeks or months; making soup from the very beginning, stock and all, will make me feel accomplished!

I have purchased a stockpot and Brian’s mother found me a Dutch oven, so I am good to go!

-o- I will learn to cook different cuts of meat well. -o-

I was raised as a vegetarian, and though I certainly know well and understand the arguments for that type of lifestyle, as I learn more about cooking and food I feel as though whether or not I eat what I cook, I’d like to be able to do it. I will learn to make a tasty and not overcooked steak, a pork chop, and a meatball made from a combination of pork and beef.

-o- I will dress better. -o-

I go back and forth on whether this is a worthy resolution. I do know deep down that I’m not defined by how I dress, but I still have been scratching a recently developed itch for a new, work-worthy wardrobe. Stay tuned for a post on my burgeoning collection.

-o- I will develop and maintain an exercise schedule. -o-

I’ve always been an on-and-off exerciser. I’ll get into phases where going to the gym is paramount: I will go every day and sometimes twice a day. Then something will happen that throws me off for a few days, and the drive is gone.

This year I want to consciously combat this tendency of mine, and the simplest way seems to be to form a strict schedule and keep up with it.

-o- I will make time for reading. -o-

I have always been a reader. “Reading” is one of the first “likes” people who know me would volunteer, if asked. But while getting my Master’s degree I (understandably) stopped reading books for pleasure. This needs to change. I will substitute reading in bed for watching more “30 Rock” at least twice a week.

I asked for The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt for Christmas. I’m about a third of the way into it (it’s long!) and am completely enamored.

I couldn’t have picked a better starting novel!

-o- I will love my man, my family and my friends better every day. -o-

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Thanks to Ashley of Lifevesting for this post idea! Check out her Year in Review.

A funny thing happened on the way to this Monday… Salvador Dalí gave outlandish dinner parties; Dozens of chicken recipes from Punchfork and Cooking Light

-o- GOP: Romney v. … Santorum? Gingrich? -o-
I’m sticking with Romney (as is most of professional and popular opinion), but the news this week is still looking at Gingrich and the newcomer, Rick Santorum. And, despite numerous press gaffs, Rick Perry vows to press on.

Here’s The Washington Post‘s take on the state of the race; read NPR‘s article for more. Here’s the AP‘s story on Perry.

-o- Nicholas Lemann’s commentary on Ron Paul -o-
It’s been awhile since I had the time to read The New Yorker, but suddenly I spend hours (and so much money…) on the metro during the week and so have returned to reading it whenever possible.

Read the fun and fascinating commentary “Enemy of the State” here.

-o- Salvador Dalí gave off-the-wall parties -o-
Well, yeah… I have personally visited the Salvador Dali museum near Barcelona, Spain, and I would never have imagined otherwise. Check out the video below of one of Dalí’s dinner parties. I  wish I could see the full menu!


(image from Photos of Spain)


(image from my trip to Spain in Fall 2007)

View the video of the party here on Foodista.

-o- 10 most popular stories on TheNewYorker.com this year -o-
I really enjoy reading The New Yorker. Thanks to the sensitivity and generosity of my mom, I’ve had a subscription for a few years now. Though I have gotten very into the headline-based news gathering Twitter offers me, I still cling to “knowing a lot about a few topics” as a worthy pursuit. The New Yorker offers that, with features by regular and constantly improving writers such as Jeffrey Toobin and Malcolm Gladwell.

Among this year’s most popular stories: “The Tweaker” by Malcolm Gladwell, November 14, 2011 (“the real genius of Steve Jobs”) and “Looking for Someone” by Nick Paumgarten, July 4, 2011 (“Sex, love, and loneliness on the Internet).

Here’s the collection.

-o- Fantastic Collection of Chicken Recipes on PunchFork -o-
On top of my list to try: Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwich and Grilled Chicken with Spinach and Melted Mozzarella.

Check out the whole gallery.

Also, get some of the featured chicken recipes in the January/February issue of Cooking Light below. Find all of the recipes from this issue here.

-o- Balsamic Chicken
-o- Chicken and Rice
-o- Chicken and Rice with Mushrooms
-o- Chicken Enchiladas
-o- Chicken Piccata
-o- Chicken Pizza
-o- Chicken Quesadillas
-o- Chicken Spaghetti
-o- Chicken with Olives and Lemons
-o- Chicken with Pepperoni-Marinara Sauce
-o- Chicken with Root Vegetables
-o- Chipotle Chicken
-o- Creamy Chicken and Mushrooms
-o- Green Curry Chicken
-o- Maple-Brined Chicken with Sautéed Brussels Sprouts
-o- Maple-Mustard Glazed Chicken
-o- Moroccan-Style Chicken Tagine
-o- Sautéed Chicken with Olive Tapenade
-o- Sautéed Chicken with Onion Jam
-o- Sautéed Chicken with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
-o- Spicy Chicken Quesadillas
-o- Szechuan Chicken Stir-Fry

-o- 6 Startups to watch this year -o-
Where would my weekly post be without a Mashable mention? Here are the 6 companies to watch in 2012, according to Sarah Kessler:

-o- Skillshare (website)
-o- Zaarly, Taskrabbit or something similar (Zaarly website | Taskrabbit website)
-o- LevelUp (website)
-o- Dwolla (website)
-o- Eventbrite (website)
-o- Codecademy (website)

How many of these have you heard of? Can you guess what they offer?
If you are part of a startup company, what is your new idea, and why does it deserve a place on this list?

Read Kessler’s article here.

-o- Where does the Nook stand in the eReader game? -o-
The New York Times looks into the eReader market and reports that, according to its sources, Barnes & Noble holds around 13 percent of the market. That’s certainly more than I would have guessed, considering the number of die-hard Apple fans and the fact that Amazon.com is a giant, and the Kindle was around first.

Read the article here.

-o- Nature’s Weirdest Events -o-
BBC Nature‘s  list of eerily strange natural events.

Among them: the tongue-biter, or Cymothoa exigua, one of hundreds of an isopod or louse which attaches itself to a fish’s tongue after entering through the fish’s gills.

Ceratothoa imbricata in Blacktail (c) Nico Smit
(image via BBC)

-o-  Random House’s collection of “Best of 2011” Book Lists -o-

Random House collected dozens of the year’s “Best of” lists in one place! Here’s the loot.

New Year’s Eve Dinner – Brie, Asparagus, Curried Chicken Bites, Salmon and Orzo with Olive-Mustard Butter

-o- Brie, Baguette and Strawberries -o-

No explanations needed here. We are on a budget, so we bought Simply Enjoy brand brie from Giant, and found it delicious. With baguette slices toasted into crostini and a few ripe strawberries, we had a very romantic first course for our 2011 New Year’s Eve dinner.

-o- Curried Chicken Bites with Lemon-Dill Yogurt -o-

First, prepare the yogurt so you can cover and chill. Mix 1 cup plain lowfat yogurt, 1 cup finely shredded peeled, seeded cucumber (with as much moisture removed as possible), 1/2 tsp. lemon juice (resist the urge to add more), and 1 tsp. dried dillweed in a small bowl. Cover and keep chilled until it’s time to serve the chicken bites.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs. chicken breasts or tenderloins, cut into 1-in. pieces (*note: you will end up grinding this; I suppose you could buy ground chicken, but the recipe I used for inspiration called for grinding your own and I did like being able to remove most of the fat)
1/4 cup onion, finely minced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp. ground red pepper (cayenne)
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

3 tbsps. flour (optional)
2 tsps. vegetable oil
1/4 tsp. paprika

Method:
Add half of the chicken pieces to a food processor bowl. Pulse until pureed. Place in a large mixing bowl; repeat with remaining chicken. Add onion and garlic. Add the egg slowly, stopping when it looks wet enough. Mix together with a wooden spoon or your hands.

Mix together the dry ingredients (breadcrumbs and spices, minus the paprika). Add to chicken mixture. Mix well (I used my hands).

Shape the mixture into 40 (or so) 1-in. balls. If you are cooking them right away, dredge in flour (optional) and place half of the bites in a glass pie dish. Microwave for a few minutes, mixing halfway through. Fry over medium-heat in 1 tsp. vegetable oil and 1/8 tsp. paprika. Repeat with remaining bites.

If you want to freeze them (which I have been doing, because they are rather labor-intensive), skip the flour step and simply coat wax-paper-lined baking sheets with cooking spray. Spread the bites onto the sheets; coat with more spray. Freeze for an hour or so, then transfer to a cooking-spray-lined freezer bag. When you are ready to cook, microwave for a few minutes as directed above, then proceed.

Serve with yogurt.

Inspiration: Spicy Chicken Bites with Cucumber Dip, from the CookingLight Five-Star Recipes: The Best of 10 Years (1996).

-o- Simple Roasted Asparagus -o-

See the recipe for my favorite way to eat asparagus – simply – here. All you really need is good salt, freshly-cracked black pepper and a bit of olive oil.
You can see Brian’s favorite asparagus recipe, Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Vinegar and Tarragon, here,  featured as part of a weekend dinner menu.

Preheat the oven to 425 when you put the water on to boil for the orzo. When you add the to the boiling water, reduce the heat to 400 and add the salmon. Depending on your oven, stove, etc., everything should be finished around the same time!

-o- Roasted Salmon and Orzo with Olive-Parsley Butter -o-
Serves 4 

Ingredients:
4 salmon fillets, about 6 oz. each, skinned
8 oz. orzo pasta

*I made double the amount of olive butter and froze half for future use. If you want to do the same, double the amounts below and roll the unused butter into a log and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Use within a month.
1/4 cup salted butter (1/2 stick), room temperature
6 Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 a medium shallot (about 2 tsps.) minced shallot
2 tsps. chopped fresh parsley (or more, to taste)

Method:
Put a pot of salted water on to boil. Cook the orzo according to package directions and return to the pot.

To make the butter, put the butter, olives, mustard, shallot and parsley into a food processor. Process until smooth.

Coat a baking sheet with olive oil. Sprinkle both sides of the salmon fillets with good-quality salt and pepper. Place in the preheated oven and roast for 12-14 minutes, until just done in the center.

Add half of the butter to the orzo, toss well to coat. Place a small dab of the butter on each piece of salmon and garnish with fresh parsley and/or whole olives.

Enjoy!

Inspiration on Epicurious.

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