Saturday, April 15, 2006

Cardamom: Game ON

(above is a corner of my mom's garden)

My 10-year-old niece Izzy and my 13-year-old cousin Alyssa are both visiting from different parts of California this week for spring break, so I'm getting a dose of kid-life for a few days. We've been to the zoo (where we saw tree kangaroos trying to kill each other and a gigantic bat licking his penis); we've spent hours at Powell's books; we've eaten pancakes, pizza, and icecream; we've watched Howl's Moving Castle and American Idol. We've also done crafts. Here are the girls decorating their new journal covers with collage:

While various collage elements were drying, we started blogs for the girls. I thought Alyssa, who is a budding writer, might be induced to participate in Sunday Scribblings (she might), but for Izzy, the idea of a blog quickly became a way of searching for other profile pages that listed Dylan Sprouse as an interest. I have never heard of this 13-year-old mini-man, this teeny-tiny heartthrob, and it made me feel very old and - to borrow a new word from Blue Poppy -- "yeeky". But lo and behold, there ARE other bloggers who worship this tiny male person! One even posted stalker-esque photos of him trying on clothes in a store! However, unsurprisingly, none of these blogs had been updated for a year or so, which led me to speculate that other aunts had entertained their nieces by helping them start blogs. Izzy's blog title, incidentally, is "Master Peanut Speaks" and thus far contains (besides the Dylan Sprouse-dominated profile page) a photo of a monkey and the words "Hi. I'm new." I have more hope for Alyssa's blog, which is titled from a line in one of her own poems: "Fading Street," which I find wonderfully evocative, and (hint hint, Alyssa) I hope to see more writing living there in the future!

Meanwhile, preparations for vegetarianish Easter continue, though I must confess I used organic free-range chicken broth in the carrot soup. I really enjoyed reading everyone's comments to my last post -- seems like I'm in good company. A lot of veggies and semi-veggies out there, and a lot of good tips & ideas, as well as a really tricky one sent by M, that really makes a profound statement about the changing world and our food supplies.

So I have a few cooking challenges for myself: 1) Figure out tofu. I've never really cooked much with it, and I'm going to learn. And 2) Cardamom! This is rather silly, but after spending $13 on 2 ounces of cardamom yesterday just for one weentsy little lowfat carrot cake, I am determined that this pricey spice not sit in the back of the cupboard and languish until Christmas cookie baking time. So, what can I make with cardamom? We shall see. Oh yes, we shall see. Cardamom: game ON!


Jennifer said...

I like cardamom cinnamon tea. Here's a recipe:

Master Peanut said...

Those girls need to back-off cause Dylan's my man!! Oh also, cool story :).

melba said...

What a great auntie you are! My 13 year old niece loves, but I think it can be a bit dangerous.
I know there is cardamom in a lot of Indian food. I have a great Indian cookbook that a friend gave me, but I like to get take out so I have never tried making anything from the book.

Amber said...

What a cool Aunt you are! They must love you. I love the journals, and the "life is a song..." one made me smile.

Happy Easter.


megg said...

I'm so happy those girls have you - someone to help them see how beautiful they are and what they could be!

P.s. I'll send you tofu ideas & a cardamom recipe (Mark's - I can't cook!)

P.P.S. those flowers made me grin!

Shannon (Sentimental) said...

You are such a good aunt. I wish my aunt would have set me up that way! Sounds cool!

Marilyn said...

That's your Mom's YARD?! Wow, gorgeous! (I'm always smitten by tulips.) What a great aunt and cousin you are. Must Google Dylan Sprouse, since I have NO idea who he is. (Or maybe I should just ask my 8-year-old niece.) ;)

AnnieElf said...

Hi Laine, Here are a couple of links to start you out on your cardamom cooking quest.


acumamakiki said...

cardomon is a lovely spice albeit expensive. we use it in chinese herbology as a medicinal in the cateogory of aromatic, transform heat.

Cate said...

I want to be one of your nieces! You just wait until I show up at your place next Spring break . . . :)

I'm still reeling from the kangaroos trying to kill each other. And I'm in awe over the beautiful garden and journal covers. Lucky girls, lucky aunt--doesn't get any better!

Have a lovely Easter!

HoBess said...

First, some chefs use cardamom and corriander and other warm spices with dark chocolate. I'll see if I can find some online recipes. Second, you must be the coolest aunt/cousin in history. It sounds as though you had an amazing time together. Such lucky girls to be surrounded by people who see the world as one big juicy fruit! I love what your mom told the other Navy moms ... hugs and applause for her! How did the Easter meal turn out?

krista said...

Hey, if you have a deep frier, you can bread the firm tofu, and deep fry it, and it tastes like heaven. It's called "agadeshi tofu" I've had it at Japanese restaurants.

Also, I was wondering about the name Izzy. I like that name. Is it a nick name? If it is a nick name, can you email me the full name?

shoofly said...

cardamon in coffee...yum! Thats how I drink my arabic coffee....a little cardamon is ground with dark dark dark roasted coffee beans to an extra fine powder and then you "cook" the coffee on the stove.