A Spicy Video: Harissa

The year is coming to an end. Above all, I would say that 2014 has been surprising. I never quite knew what to expect, but worked really hard, had a lot of faith and things fell into place. I didn’t have a chance to do my quote for the week yesterday, but found one that I like by Angela Davis.

I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.

Since I don’t have much time to do a proper post, I thought I’d share a video. Many recipes now call for harissa and it’s also something that I’ve started seeing more of on restaurant menus.

For whatever reason, I always forget what it is when I see it. Maybe this video will help permanently embed it in my brain! I just have to remember that harissa is hot! And it’s pronounced like Lisa, not Melissa.

In case I don’t get a chance to pop in here before the year ends, Happy New Year to you!

Special Day Cooking: A Life Skills Cookbook

Special Day Cooking cookbook cover

When I heard about a cookbook written especially for people who love to cook and have an intellectual disability, I was interested in learning more, so I accepted a review copy to look at myself.

The author, Beverly Worth Palomba is originally from Massachusetts, but moved to the West Coast. As a high school Special Education teacher, she created a life skills cooking class especially for her students. Since Palomba’s unique method of teaching worked so well, she decided to write a cookbook. An excerpt from her website gives more insight.

Special Day Cooking was written to help people with developmental challenges become independent in the kitchen. Whether you are living at home, in a group home or on your own, Special Day Cooking provides the tools to be independent or part of a team. Special Day Cooking chefs have the ability to prepare dinner, pack their own lunch, and bring a goodie to a social event. Cooking involves so many aspects of life; it is creative, builds social skills, fosters teamwork, encourages self-confidence and is a fun activity to do with family and friends.

I haven’t made any of the recipes from the cookbook, but I’m impressed with the variety and the easy feel of it. There are recipes for every meal of the day, soups and salads, vegetables, drinks and snacks. And my favorite – dessert! There is even a recipe for Chocolate Mug Cake!

I love cooking and think that the more people who cook their own food the better. Saving money and healthier eating are also big benefits of cooking, so having this life skill exponentially increases the positives in our lives.

This book is a great idea and would make a wonderful gift for anyone who enjoys spending time preparing food and has an intellectual disability or is just a beginner cook. Either way, Special Day Cooking is a cookbook that will provide some tasty food and lots of fun!

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 Disclosure: The review copy was provided complimentary to me. Thank you!

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Screenshot: Amazon

Etsy Artists of Boston Winter Bazaar: December 20 – 21

Etsy Artists of BostonIf you have some holiday shopping to do, there’s still time! Also, some local Etsy sellers will be live and in person this weekend in Watertown with their handmade goods for sale. Below is some information from their Facebook page.

Just in time for the holidays, a selection of New England’s most talented artisans and crafters will bring the best of their handmade jewelry, fiber arts, ceramics, soaps, candles and body oils, sculpture, original illustrations, photography and paintings, chocolates and confections to the Arsenal Project (formerly the Arsenal Mall) for a weekend-long shopping extravaganza. With gift-wrapping on-site with proceeds going to charity and live musical performances from local musicians and choirs, this event is not to be missed!

If you’re looking to support local artists and buy gifts that you are certain were made in America, this is a great way to do it! Thank you to Dara Cheek for letting me know about this wonderful local event.

I met Dara when I visited ASSEMBLED in Somerville back in July 2013. Her Etsy shop is called Hieropice and I fell in love with her terrarium necklaces. She makes other beautiful items as well, so be sure to take a look. If you don’t get a chance to visit the Bazaar, you can still visit her shop online!

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Screenshot: Hieropice on Etsy

Quote of the Week: Desmond Tutu

covered bridge

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”  ~ Desmond Tutu

This week we have the least amount of daylight for the year. Sunday is the Winter Solstice — the first day of winter. After that, we start back toward longer days and more sunlight.

While winter is not my favorite time of the year, there is beauty in the season and a certain coziness with coming inside out of the cold. So I’ll appreciate the gifts of winter and look forward to spring.

Happy Solstice!