Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Could you handle....

living off the land, with no electricity, sometimes faulty equipment, monitoring the habits of sea ottters for over a year??? Wait, there's as second part to this question. Could you handle all of that, with your spouse?

Judy Swain Garshelis and her husband Turk did just that. They spent over a year in the remote near Prince William Sound in Alaska, studying the breeding and eating and general movements of sea otters.

Judy told me how the head of the project (from the University of Minnesota) said that he didn't think it was a good idea for a married couple to do the project together. But the Garshelis' proved him wrong. Now, years later, Judy has written about their experiences. The book is called "Otter Spotters - A Wildlife Adventure in Alaska". Judy will be talking about her book and experiences on Thursday Dec. 1st at 7pm at the Grand Rapids Area Library and also signing copies of her book at the Village Bookstore on Saturday Dec. 5th.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Upcoming library/author events in northern Minnesota

Thursday Nov. 19th - The Amazing Charles will be at the Hibbing Public Library from 6-7 teaching about balloon art.

Thursday Nov. 19th - Lorna Landvik is at the Bemidji Public Library at 7pm.

Saturday Nov. 21 - 10:30 at Bemidji Public Library Alison Edgerton will talk about the "real" Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Saturday Nov. 21 - Stephanie Stevens will be at the Village Bookstore in Grand Rapids at noon to talk about her book for children, "Isabelle and Grandma Birdie".

Sunday Nov. 22 - Deborah Adele will be at CENTER in Grand Rapids at 11am to lead a discussion of her book "The Yamas & the Niyamas - Exploring Yoga's Ethical Practices". See Center's website for prices and more information.

Saturday Nov. 28 - Tom Chase has a book part for his first sci-fi novel "Stargazer - The First Days" at Brewed Awakenings in Grand Rapids starting at 11am.

Thursday Dec. 1 - Judy Swain Garshelis is at the Grand Rapids Area Library at 7pm to talk about her book "The Otter Spotters - A Wildlife Adventure in Alaska".

Saturday Dec. 5 - Judy is at the Village Bookstore in Grand Rapids at 12, signing copies of "The Otter Spotters - A Wildlife Adventure in Alaska".

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Yamas & the Niyamas


Yamas? Niyamas?

The Yamas & Niyamas are yoga's ten ethical guidelines and comprise the first two limbs of Yoga's eight-fold path.

They are the foundation of skillful living.

Yamas include nonviolence, truthfulness, nonstealing, nonexcess and nonpossessiveness. Niyamas include purity, contentment, self-discipline, self-study and surrender.

Deborah Adele is the author of the book "Yamas & the Niyamas - Exploring Yoga's Ethical Practice"and the co-owner of YogaNorth in Duluth, MN.

She'll be not only my guest this week on Realgoodwords, but she'll also be in Grand Rapids on Sunday morning (November 22) to kick off a guided study of her book at Center.
In the preface of her book, The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga's Ethical Practice, Deborah Adele says, "We all want to live well. Let's face it, at the end of the day, it's not how much you have or how much you accomplished that counts. What matters is how well you have participated in your own life, both the ordinary routines and the extraordinary surprises." Deborah brings these 10 guidelines to life with gentleness and grace as she shares her own life stories. She provides opportunities for self reflection as she challenges us to apply yogic wisdom to our lives today.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A recipe from Michelle Maisto's memoir

Her new book is called "Gastronomy of Marriage - A Memoir of Food and Love". One of the things I like about it is that she treats food as culture. She uses food memories to tell stories. Like her grandma's famous walnut tarts. Not only does she tell us about her mother making these and 11 other kinds of cookies at Christmastime, she gives us the recipe for these delights.
8 oz cream cheese
1 stick butter
1 cup flour

1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts or a combination of the two
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. For this recipe you'll need a mini muffin tin (two ideally). Put these in the refrigerator. Then blend the crust ingredients until smooth. If, like me, you tend to have warm hands, wash them under cold water. Drop teaspoonfuls of dough into each muffin cup and press the dough with your fingertips until each one is like a mini piecrust. Don't press them so thin that you can see the gray of the muffin tin; the thickness of a navel orange peel is about right.

Put the muffin tines back into the refrigerator while you make the filling, simply mixing the ingredients together. Spoon the filling into each little pie shell, leaving a little space before the top of the crust. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the crust is light brown.

Tune in this week for my conversation with Michelle Maisto about her relationship and her relationship to food. If you miss it, check the archive!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Poetry inspired by Nature and the phenology show on KAXE

Each week on phenology talkbacks with John Latimer, we get to hear students from around the region call in their phenology sitings. One of the regular contributors is from Ms. Hagelie's class at the Charter School in Emily. This week we got a treat of poetry inspired by white pines. Enjoy! (Thanks to Eli Sagor of My Minnesota for the photos)

White Pine
White Pine of beauty,
Sticky sap and big pine cones,
Your beauty is so grand.
Roots that go so far,
Green needles against blue sky,
The king of trees is pine.

Written by:

White Pine Big Tree
It has rough bark,
It is the biggest tree ever.
It has lots of needles,
It also has big branches.
It has no leaves.

Written by:

Old White Pine
Tall, thick, round, wide, rough,
Soft, pointy, odd,
Old White Pine

Written by:

White Pine
The White Pine is mossy,
It is hard.
It has thick branches,
It is tall and wide.
It has many branches,
Its needles fall off.
It has indentations,
Some branches are cut off.

Written by:

The White Pine
Its bark is rough,
Its rather tough.
Its tall and round,
Weighs more than a pound.
Its full of moss and needles,
Home to birds and beetles.
Its bark is as brown as a penny,
It is loved by many!

Written by:

Our White Pine
The branches are long.
It has lots of pine needles.
Trunk is really wide.

Written by:

White Pine
The big White Pine towers over the rest.
It’s a big rough and tough tree.
It’s bark is rough, it’s needles pointy,
It’s one great tree!
The branches twist and turn,
Our tree is a White Pine.

Written by:

White Pine
So sweet and fine,
You’re the big White Pine.
You’re the biggest I can see,
You are bigger than those other trees.

Written by:

Thursday, November 5, 2009

All Cakes Considered by NPR's Melissa Gray

This week I had the chance to talk with NPR producer and cake guru Melissa Gray. Her new book is called "All Cakes Considered". Not only did I enjoy it, but my coworkers did - because I decided in order to be fully "prepared" for this interview, I needed to make a cake at work and see what the response was.

The response was "mmm" and "buttery" and "so moist" and "pass the whipped cream" and "who ate all the cake?"*

The recipe I chose was "The Barefoot Contessa's Sour Cream Coffee Cake". Here's the recipe:

YOU'LL NEED: A 10-inch tube pan

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 extra-large eggs
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sour cream
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsps ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp cold unsalted butter cut into pieces
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
2 Tbsp real maple syrup

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.

2. Cream the butter and the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment for 4-5 minutes until light.

3. Add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla and sour cream.

4. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With teh mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Finish stirring with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.
Melissa's note: Don't worry about sifting - dry whisking will work fine

5. For the streusel, place the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt and butter in a bowl and pinch together with your fingers until it forms crumbs. Mix in the walnuts if desired.
Melissa's note: You can also use a wooden spoon if you don't want to use your fingers.

6. Spoon half the batter into the pan and spread it out with a knife. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup streusel. Spoon the rest of the batter in the pan, spread it out, and scatter the remaining streusel on top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

7. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Carefully transfer the cake, streusel side up, to a serving plate.

8. For the glaze, whisk the confectioner's sugar and maple syrup together, adding a few drops of water if necessary, to make the glaze runny. Drizzle as much as you like over the cake with a fork or spoon.

Heidi's notes: KAXE staffers couldn't wait the 30 minutes for cooling - and we didn't even take it out of the pan, we just spooned our warm pieces out. Also some (scott) didn't think the frosting was necessary while others (jennifer) did.

Do you bring cakes/cookies/treats to your workplace? What goes over the best?

If you missed the interview, you can hear it here!

*apologies to John Latimer and Mark Tarner who missed out. I'll try another cake on a Tuesday John, I promise.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

William Kent Krueger this week on Realgoodwords

William Kent Krueger's latest is called "Heaven's Keep" and this time Cork O'Connor is not hired or called in to solve a mystery. This time the mystery is his life. His wife Jo has left northern Minnesota on a small plane, headed to a business meeting when the plane goes down in the Wyoming Rockies. Stay tuned for our conversation this week!