Thursday, August 28, 2014

Playing Around

I got this idea from the website HowDesign. This particular creativity exercise post was written by Stefan Mumaw.

One of my favorite exercises he writes about he titles, The Gamemaker.

The Rules:
  • You must create a game out of what is in your reach right now, like literally touch with your body.
  • This game needs an objective and rules. It must end in a winner and therefore a loser. This is not a game where everyone wins.
  • You have twelve minutes....Go!

The point of this exercise is to help with problem solving. So many of us feel that in order to solve a problem we need to reach to something we don't already have. Oftentimes the more limitations we have the more creative we can get. Look to what you already have to figure out your problem.  To quote Stefan, "Next time you're given a problem to solve, don't worry about what you don't have... focus on what you do have."

Can't wait to read your games on the facebook page.

Game on!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Fresh Tomato and Basil Salad

Can you believe it is Labor Day weekend already? Where did the summer go? No, seriously... I have no idea how the time flew by so quickly.

Perhaps it flashed by because it was such a great summer. I finally went on my honeymoon to London and Paris, which was incredible; I got to spend some time kayaking on the Charles River; I celebrated my one year anniversary; and, perhaps best of all, I took many relaxing afternoon walks with Ryan after work. When the weather is beautiful and crazy schedules settle down a bit, it's no wonder that the days melt away. If only we had another month left.

Admittedly, I know for many people - myself included - it is also nice to return to a regular routine; the kids go back to school, fall activities start up, and before you know it pumpkin flavored everything takes over the blogosphere. Ah, fall. I love you, too.

Nevertheless, I am not quite ready to relinquish my grasp on the lazy August days, and you will find that the next few posts fully embrace the fresh flavors of late summer. Today I offer you a light, refreshing tomato salad that is perfect for bringing to your Labor Day BBQ or serving up as quick side dish on a busy weeknight.

The ingredients are simple and it comes together in less than 10 minutes. Grab some cherry or grape tomatoes, your favorite ranch dressing, a little basil, and you're in business. Enjoy!

Paula's Notes: Feel free to use whatever color tomatoes you have on hand. I used a mix of red, orange, and yellow, just because the colors are so beautiful and I enjoy the subtle difference in flavors.

Fresh Tomato and Basil Salad

Yield: 6 servings (about 2/3 cup each)
Time: 10 minutes

  • 4 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, whichever color you prefer
  • 6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 2-3 tbls. of your favorite ranch dressing (start with 2 tablespoons, add more if desired)
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely minced (If you use my recipe for homemade ranch dressing, there is a good amount of garlic already, so you may want to taste prior to adding the extra clove)
  • Pepper, to taste
  1. Slice about 2 cups of the cherry tomatoes in half. Place in a large bowl with remaining tomatoes and basil.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together ranch dressing and garlic until well blended.
  3. Add dressing to tomatoes and mix gently until tomatoes are fully coated.
  4. Season with pepper, and refrigerate until ready to eat.
Recipe adapted from Kraft.

Green Juice to Start Your Day

This recipe, is my go-to juice recipe. 

Loaded with antioxidants and vitamins, this juice is great to get your morning started or give you an afternoon pick-me-up.  I didn't have celery on hand to add to this recipe, but usually I like to throw in a couple stalks.  This may be a stretch, but if you put a couple ice cubs in it and pop in a straw, I think it has a lemonade taste to it.

I use a juicer, but this could easily be made in a blender. I'm hoping to get to try it with a Nutri Bullet soon.

Basic Green Juice

Yield: about 12 oz.
Time: 5 minutes

  • 1 large granny smith apple (remove core)
  • 5 stalks of Kale (remove stems)
  • around an inch of ginger
  • 1 cucumber (I remove the skin to make it easier for the juicer)
  • 1 peeled lemon
If using a juicer, push the ingredients through the juicer.

If using a blender, add 1/2 - 1 cup of water when you blend the ingredients together.

The best part about juicing is all the combinations you can throw together. The possibilities are endless. Drink up!