Mar 2, 2009

Summer Reading

by Ellen Wilson

We're too grown up to do the type of summer reading where you get a sticker for each book and then an ice cream sundae in August. However, just because we're old enough to read from the Adult Section doesn't mean we have to- it's summer! We think you can indulge a little beyond textbooks and the classics. Try our mix of summer reading books for a variety of literary pleasures mingled with some of our own delicious recipes.

Adult Fiction
Mama Day by Gloria Naylor
Recipe: Honey Barbecued Chicken

Set it both New York City and Willow Springs, an island off the coast of Georgia and South Carolina, Naylor's novel incorporates a love story, racial issues, southern mystics, family history and supernatural events. Woven through three narratives, Naylor lets you personally examine the whole of each relationship the characters experience. The story appropriates material from several of Shakespeare's plays, most notably The Tempest. While knowledge of Shakespeare is not necessary to enjoy the novel, familiarity with his plays will deepen your appreciation of Naylor's prose and symbolism.

Young Adult Fiction
The Schwa was Here by Neal Shusterman
Recipe: Stuffed Burgers with Gorgonzola Cheese and Bacon

Schwa: the symbol used to represent an unstressed neutral vowel. Calvin Schwa is an eighth grader who has a knack for going completely unnoticed. When new friend Ansty Bonano discovers The Schwa, the two boys explore the extent of Calvin's invisibility. However, when Calvin is dared to enter the home of the local eccentric, the two get caught and then forced to come back and walk the man's 14 dogs and spend time with his blind granddaughter. The friendship between these three characters culminates with the phrase written on the bathroom stall in their favorite burger joint: "THE SCHWA WAS HERE."
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Recipe: Thin German Puff Pancakes

Narrated by death, this novel about a young German girl during World War 2 presents a different view on Nazi Germany. Abandoned because of war events, young Liesel Meminger is sent to live with foster parents in Molching, a small town near Munich. Silently revolting against the Nazis, Liesel collects stolen books to save them from the book-burnings. Hidden within the house of her foster parents, the Hubermanns, are not only her books but also a Jewish refuge, Max. Max and Liesel become close friends and chronicle their experiences by whitewashing a copy of Hitler's Mein Kampf to use as their own storybook. However, Death as the narrator and character doesn't remain far off in this novel of human relationships, war, and death himself.

Adult Nonfiction
Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
Recipe: Tuscan Style Steak

Malcom Gladwell, the author of The Tipping Point and Blink, returns with a book answering the question as to why some people succeed while others never seem to move beyond mediocrity. Gladwell proposes that these successful individuals, or outliers, have certain advantages and he explores how some of these advantages are earned, while others have just plain luck.
Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracy Kidder
Recipe: Pineapple Salsa

Following the life of physician and anthropologist Paul Farmer, Mountains Beyond Mountains illustrates the extraordinary vision Farmer creates of what can be done to help impoverished individuals in need of medical care. Founder of Partners in Health, Farmer's example of dedication to cure the world of its diseases presents a view of what the world could be if we maintained the hope that change can be accomplished in situations where it seems most insurmountable.

Four for Under Five

by Ellen Wilson

College. A noun typically synonymous with "low-income," "broke," and "strapped for cash." While you can get a meal at the Cougareat without breaking the bank, here are four campus dining locations outside of the Cougareat where you can get a less expensive meal in addition to a change of scenery. While you can find other menu items for less than five at these locations, we do have a few personal recommendations.

Museum of Art Café
Located in the mezzanine of the Museum of Art

There are always plenty of salads to choose from, which is perfect for the hot summer heat. Our personal favorite is the Chicken Curry Salad (small for $4.79).

Orville & Wilbur's
Located in the Games Center

Enjoy lunch in the lively atmosphere of the Games Center. Feel free to play a game of pinball while you wait for your order. Orville and Wilbur's offers wings with many different sauces but we recommend either the barbeque or the buffalo wings (2.99 for six pieces or $4.79 for ten pieces).

9th Street Grill
Located in the Creamery on Ninth, 1209 North 900 East

If you need to stop by the Creamery for groceries after work or class, grab a bite to eat beforehand at the 9th Street Grill. We can't even make a recommendation because it's too hard to choose between the burgers and chicken sandwiches! However, we do suggest the fries and all of the ice creams.

Blue Line DeliLocated in the new addition to the Tanner Building, W117 TNRB

The daily hot entrée is always under five dollars, as are the soups. Some options could be Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Chili, Beef or Veggie Lasagna, Shepherd's Pie, and other soups and hot entrées.

Legends Grille

by Ellen Wilson

Are you a fan of BYU sports? How about combining food with sports? Located in the Student Athlete Building, Legends Grille offers a casual dining experience surrounded by BYU athletic facts, plasma TVs and a ticker tape with worldwide sports scores.

With a varied menu, Legends offers burgers, toasted sandwiches, baked pasta, hearth baked pizza, steak, salmon, and fresh salads. You can choose a specialty sandwich or created your own sandwich from a wide variety of proteins and toppings. It's the same process for the hearth baked pizzas and the baked pasta. Legends Grille works to cater to your personal tastes and gives you more control over your eating choices than other dining places.

Instead of crowding over your little TV for BYU away games, come to Legends and enjoy the game with a good meal and an enthusiastic crowd. If you want to throw your own party or bring dinner to your study group, order some pizza from Legends. Pick it up or have it delivered to you on campus.

MIX! Says Relax

by Ellen Wilson

"Reasons to be stressed:"
  • School (tests, reading, studying, papers, homework)
  • Work
  • Paying your rent and utilities on time
  • Finding a date for Friday night
  • Not tripping down the RB stairs
  • Finding a place to sit in the Wilkinson between 11-3
We all have a list like this, if not longer, of reasons to be stressed. So when times are crazy busy, MIX! says relax. Here are some tips on how to lower your stress level and be able to tackle life's challenges with a fresh mind and body.

Schedule relaxation time. Try to plan an activity, even if it's just a walk to the park or giving yourself time to bake your favorite cookies. By planning your time, you'll be less inclined to waste it. Unplanned time typically turns into wasted time.

Call a friend you haven't seen in a while. Meet up for a movie or lunch on campus. Catching up on their life diverts your focus to something other than your own list of to-dos.

Do some calming activities. Turn on soft music or any other music that helps to clear your mind. Read through a couple chapters of your favorite book. Stretch your stiff, been-sitting-in-a-desk-all-day muscles. Just do anything that clears your mind and calms your body.

While studying, take some deep breaths. Don't let your workload overwhelm you.

Do some volunteer work. Nothing helps forgetting your own worries faster than helping someone else out.

Have a confidant you trust. Talking over your worries can be relieving. However, be sure to give your confidant your ears when they need someone to talk to.

Don't be too critical of yourself or others. A negative attitude kills positive motivation. Take things one step at a time, doing the most important things first, and don't beat yourself up.

Remember that you are in control. When life throws everything at you, you are the one that chooses your stress level. Long-term stress can raise blood pressure, weaken your immune system and speed up the aging process.  Safe yourself from more problems: avoid those gray hairs and take some time to de-stress.

Mar 1, 2009

Pi Day

by Ellen Wilson

March and April are full of holidays and occasions that provide ideas for creative dating. Think outside the typical St. Patrick's Day and Easter celebrations and observe some other traditions.

3.14: Pi day. Gather up a few couples for a group date and have a pie cook-off. Making pies is quite a bit of work, so you might want to have the couples do their cooking separately and then come together for a final taste test. Award the winning couple with a trophy.
March 15: "Beware the Ides of March" - Shakespeare's famous warning from the soothsayer to Caesar in his play Julius Caesar. Although the Ides of March aren't actually days of doom ("ides" is just the middle of the month in the Roman calendar, typically the 15th), you can plan a deliciously creepy and foreboding evening. Host a horror movie night or if you'd like celebrate the day in a more literary manner, watch a production of Shakespeare's play.

National Poetry Month: The first order of business for an April date is to incorporate some poetry. If you feel like you can't  (or just won't) write poetry, take your date to a poetry reading.
Jazz Appreciation Month: If you haven't been to BYU jazz concert, you must go. Visit the Harris Fine Arts Center website for details on the when, where and cost of jazz concerts. Many times there will be free jazz concerts for the jazz lab band and other groups.
Earth Day/Arbor Day: Plant a tree. If you'd rather stay inside, start an indoor garden. Get a pot and paints to decorate it. After the pot is decorated, fill it with a lightweight soil that drains well (lightly packed). Leave 1 to 2 inches for watering and be sure that there is drainage at the bottom of the pot and an additional plate or bowl to catch the draining liquid. Some good ideas for plants are herbs, such as mint, rosemary or thyme. Be sure to read the directions for your individual plant for how much sun and watering it needs.

By Ellen Wilson

Springform Pans

If you're interested in baking your own cheesecakes, it's almost essential to own a springform pan. Its removable sides and bottoms help to keep the sides of your dessert smooth and also allow for easy removal that won't damage your dessert. Some desserts that a springform pan may be used for are cakes, tarts, tortes, frozen desserts, coffeecakes and cheesecakes. Some tips in picking out a springform pan is to choose one darker in color so that the heat will be distributed more evenly. In addition, a pan with a dimpled bottom allows for easier removal. The springform pan featured is leak proof to protect your oven from a mess, especially with less solid desserts. You can purchase springform pans in various sizes at any kitchen supply store.

The Commons at the Cannon Center

Where: The Commons at the Cannon Center

What: All you care to eat

Price: $7.75 (cash price) or $6.90 (signature card)

As much as you like from the Exhibition, Fusion, Euro Kitchen, Salad and Wrap, Grill and Grainery stations

The Commons at the Cannon Center offers a wide variety of options at every meal. Lunch options include enchiladas (pictured here), chicken parmesan, hamburgers, hot dogs, pot pies, chicken tenders, pasta, pizza, Navajo tacos, wraps, salads, fruit, sandwiches and lasagna. The grainery includes bread, waffles, muffins, ice cream, slushies, cookies, cakes, pie, rice krispy treats, cheesecakes, tarts and pudding. This one-stop eatery has everything you need for a filling midday meal. Not just for freshmen, the Commons offers a unique atmosphere with many different seating areas.

Coloring Flowers

Coloring Flowers
Do you ever wonder how some flowers look so vibrant? You can easily make white flowers any color you want with these directions for creating a beautiful spring bouquet.

Food coloring
White flowers (carnations, daisies or roses)
Warm water

  1. Fill each vase with about a cup of warm water.
  2. Put 20 drops of food coloring in each vase, mixing the color in with the water. Try combining colors, i.e. putting blue and red food coloring in a vase to make purple flowers.
  3. Cut the stems of the flowers a few inches up at an angle.
  4. Put one stem in each vase.
  5. Leave the flowers for a few days and watch as they slowly begin to change color.

How this works:
Flowers draw up water from their stems to their petals. The water with food coloring travels up the stem and colors the petals. The water evaporates, but the food coloring cannot, so it stays on the petals.

Personalized Cakes

By Ellen Wilson

Next time it's a friend's birthday or a special occasion, try making them their own personalized cake. A decorated homemade cake adds that extra touch that store-bought cakes just can't give you. Not to mention, you have greater control over appealing to individual tastes. If you love chocolate cake and lemon flavored icing, making your own homemade cake means you can have your cake and eat it too. Here are some cake decorating tips, so even if it's your first attempt at cake decorating, your creation will be a smashing hit.
  • When baking your cake, don't fill the cake pans more than halfway full.
  • Always let your cake cool before icing, preferably in an airtight container for a day or overnight.
  • If you're making a double-layered cake, be sure to trim the sides and top so that the two pieces are the same size and will stack evenly.
  • Use a lot of icing. Don't let your spatula touch the cake because you'll risk getting crumbs in the frosting.

  • Ice the top of the cake first. Spread your icing from the middle towards the edges. Once you have the top of the cake iced, use the edge of your spatula to gently sweep over the top of the cake to smooth the icing. If you need to do this more than once, be sure to remove the excess icing each time from your spatula.

  • Cover the sides with icing and smooth by holding the spatula's edge just against the icing. If you have a circular cake, move the plate in a circle slowly, while holding the spatula still to evenly smooth the icing. Once again, if you do this several times, be sure to remove excess icing from the spatula before repeating the process.

  • After icing the cake, let it sit for at least 15 minutes and then you can smooth out the icing one final time with parchment paper.  Place the paper on the cake and use your hand to gently smooth out any remaining bumps.

After the cake is iced, you can write a message on the top and decorate with candies and sprinkles. Be creative! Go beyond the typical "Happy Birthday" and use that inside joke about "Game Night" or the cutie that sat across from you at the HBLL. Use candies, sprinkles, and icing to create pictures or designs that make your cake not only a dessert but also a personal present.

Crab Cakes

Crab Cakes

1 pound snow crabmeat, picked free of shells
1 pound of Dungeness crab meat
1 cup panko bread crumbs
3 green onions (both green and white parts), finely chopped
3/4 cup finely chopped bell pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 eggs
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1/2 lem
on, juiced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
3 tablespoons Asiago cheese, finely grated
2 teaspoons salt
1 dash cayenne pepper
Flour, for dusting
1/2 cup peanut oil

Favorite dipping sauce, for serving
In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients except for the flour and peanut oil. Shape into patties and dust with flour. Heat peanut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, carefully place crab cakes, in batches, in pan and fry until browned, about 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully flip crab cakes and fry on other side until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Serve warm with preferred sauce.

Grilled Salmon with Fresh Corn and Black Bean Salsa

Grilled Salmon with Fresh Corn and Black Bean Salsa
6 Servings

Fresh Corn and Black Bean Salsa
Makes about 4 cups
1 cup fresh corn kernels, blanched
1/2 cup cooked black beans (from a can, drained and rinsed)
1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
2 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tab
lespoon lime zest, finely grated
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, minced

In a large bowl, gently combine all ingredients except the cilantro. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Just before serving, toss in the cilantro. Serve chilled.
Grilled Salmon 
6 6-ounce salmon fillets
  3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Grill salmon on medium heat, brushing with olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper. Cook until salmon is at 145 degrees or until it begins to flake. Serve with fresh corn and black bean salsa.