Monday, February 28, 2011

Mustang: a CR Top Pick

Most people who know me know I'm a fan of the Mustang. Two models in, I've loved being an owner and it seems I'm not alone. Consumer Reports just ranked the Ford Mustang a top pick in their 2011 tests. This is something that rarely happens to American cars but I'm not surprised. Ford has kept the same body since 2005 when they unveiled the retro look kicking off the muscle car revival we're seeing. Since then, they've made improvements every year making it not only a fun car to drive but also a safe and fuel efficient ride. I can personally attest first hand on their improvements. The difference between my 2004 and 2008 mustang is huge. My current car jumps off the line much faster then my old one ever could. Also, the 2004 third gear sounded like it was going to throw a piston even at low RPMs while my current one runs smooth in each one. I'd love to trade in my current car for the 300 hp 31mpg current model but that wouldn't be financially smart. I'll have to stick to dreaming.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Maze Runner and upcoming books

I love young adult books. After coming off a phase of only reading the classics (read Alexandre Dumas if you want some great classics), I'm really enjoying the fast paced quick reads.

Hunger Games is perhaps one of the best examples. What a crazy story! Since finishing that series, Marcie and I finished the first and second book in the Maze Runner trilogy and it was just as good as Hunger Games. I didn't know that it was going to be a trilogy so I was very disapointed to find out the last book, "The Death Cure," would not come out till October. I guess that's ok, I've still got about five more Shakespeare plays to read and a few other books I'm looking forward to before that day.

Books: Year Month Day
Troilus and Cressida 2011 3 1
Hamlet 2011 3 15
Macbeth 2011 3 29
King Lear 2011 4 5
The Emperor of Nihon-Ja: Book Ten (Ranger's Apprentice) 2011 4 19
The Tempest 2011 4 19
The Kane Chronicles, The, Book Two: Throne of Fire 2011 5 2
Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel - The Warlock 2011 5 24
Septimus Heap, Book Six: Darke 2011 6 7
The Magician King 2011 6
The Death Cure 2011 10
Empire - Eragon Book 4 2011

Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel - The Enchantress 2012 5
Septimus Heap Book 7 2012 6

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Ever read your fortune in those magazines? Probably not since we all know it's fake but a recent joke by Allstate may have newspaper warning certain signs to watch out for traffic. In honor of the "new zodiac sign," Allstate posted the number of accidents per sign. While the data is real, I don't think it takes into account how many drivers each sign has. Virgo which has 700% more accidents then Scorpio may have 700% more drivers.

So, along with other vague blanket statements like something unexpected will happen today, you might get warnings to watch out for oncoming traffic on the way home.

Crispy Quesadillas with Guacamole

We loved this recipe and it was pretty easy to make. This is one of those you can edit based on what you have in the house. The trick is to have white cheese with you. Mexican food is never as good with orange cheese.

310 calories
16 g fat (5 g saturated)
730 mg sodium

Next to nachos, quesadillas are the most perilous food to be found on a Mexican restaurant menu. Overstuffed with cheese and teeming with greasy toppings, quesadillas are all but guaranteed to pack quadruple-digit calories. Tussle with Chili's rendition and you'll take in 35 bacon strips' worth of saturated fat. Our quesadilla reverses the cheese-to-filling ratio, going long on the nutrient-dense vegetables and using just enough chorizo and cheese to make it feel like an indulgence.

You'll Need:
1/2 Tbsp canola oil
4 oz chorizo, casing removed
1 small red onion, sliced
4 oz white button mushrooms, stems removed, sliced
1 large poblano pepper, seeded, sliced into thin strips
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
4 medium whole-wheat tortillas
Guacamole (store-bought or use the perfect-guac recipe in Cook This, Not That!)

How to Make It:
* Heat a large skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and chorizo; cook until browned, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat into smaller pieces. Remove from the pan and drain all but a thin film of the fat. Return to the heat and add the onion, mushrooms, and pepper; saute, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are brown--5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

* Divide the cheese between 2 tortillas and top each with half of the vegetable mixture. Top with the remaining tortillas.

* Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray and cook each quesadilla individually, until the tortillas are brown and crispy and the cheese is fully melted. Cut into 4 or 6 wedges and serve with the guacamole.

Makes 4 servings / Cost per serving: $3.11