Norwitz Notions

Norwitz Notions random header image

Mystery Squash

December 6th, 2013 · by Cyndi · 3 Comments

It had been about 5 years since my last serious summer garden.  But for 2013, I planted summer squash, cabbage, lettuce, carrots, beans, chard, and a few miscellaneous items with mixed results. My best success was about 100 pounds of Romanesco (summer squash that is like zucchini, with stripes and more flavor) plus others from a bed with 12 seedlings.

Then there were the volunteers.  A boatload of tomatoes and several squash plants, mostly winter.  I got two lovely sugar pie pumpkins, a box load of Delicata, and a mystery vine.

It looked like a bulbous yellow summer squash at first but, picked young, it had no flavor.  I left it on the vine to see what would happen, gave some to the neighbors, and, just before the first frost, ended up with one giant.

17.8 pounds!!

Mystery Squash Whole

 

Could it be a banana squash?  We had indeed bought a banana squash to try from the same local farm a few years ago that the rest of the volunteers seemed to have come from.  But theirs are the pink kind.

Mystery Squash Cut

Cut open, it was a pretty yellow, with a dry core and huge pumpkin-like seeds.

Mystery Squash Seeds

Cooked, it was slightly stringy, but not as much as an (overcooked) spaghetti squash.  It tasted like a mild butternut.  The skin was edible too.  Very thin with a surprisingly nice flavor.  Not my first choice in squashes but quite good.  We wrapped up most of it for the freezer.

Mystery Squash Cooked

So what do you think?  Yellow banana squash?  Random cross between a spaghetti and butternut?  Or something else entirely?

→ 3 CommentsCategories: Food · Garden
Tags: · , , , , , , ,

Sweet Potato Latkes (Vegan)

November 30th, 2013 · by Cyndi · No Comments

Thanksgivukah, Thanksgivukah
Come light the cranorah…

Friends, family, and a once in a lifetime holiday.  And how else to celebrate the first, and probably only, mashup of Thanksgiving and Chanukah but with sweet potato latkes and cranberry applesauce?

I’m no stranger to vegan latkes (due to my dairy allergy and my daughter’s egg allergy) and I usually make them lowcarb too.  They’re yummy, but I wanted something different.  So I searched the web and came up with a recipe from Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats vegan bakery in Washington DC.  Healthy Hanukkah Recipe: Vegan Sweet Potato Latkes.

The “gosh it’s healthy” angle is a bit annoying (and not the fault of the chefs) but then all my food is healthy by default.  And the recipe itself is a bit weird…cooked rice, really?  Since they’re served by a restaurant, I figured they’d be well tested, but the clincher for me was the mouthwatering photos.

Bottom line?  These latkes are fan-freaking-tastic.  I made a double recipe (61 latkes) and they were inhaled by the 17 people at 2013′s Environmental Health Network’s Thanksgiving dinner.  Only a few people there cared about what they were missing (gluten, dairy, egg) but everyone raved about them.  They held together amazingly well and were good even when not piping hot.

I mostly followed the recipe.  My changes, in addition to doubling it, were I used all sweet potatoes (no white) (3 lbs garnet and 1 lb purple), used 1 cup dry arborio rice (one of the options), cooked.  I used brown rice flour for the flour and tapioca starch instead of cornstarch, left out the pepper, and oven fried in sunflower oil at 450*F.

Here’s my version of how the recipe went down.  Giving the doubled one (feel free to halve it for smaller groups, or just freeze any leftovers…there won’t be leftovers).

Ingredients:
4 pounds sweet potatoes
2 pounds yellow onion
1/2 cup scallions, finely chopped
1 cup dry sticky or arborio rice, cooked in 1 1/2 cups water
6 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
2 tablespoons starch (I used tapioca)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
Oil for frying (I used sunflower; traditional would be olive)

Notes: I wanted to make a low-amine/low-histamine version.  The only ingredient I’d need to change to make that 100% so is the flax.  Chia seed works and I didn’t do it only because the flax was already ground and the chia wasn’t.  If this isn’t your food issue, go ahead and add back the black pepper (1 tsp for this recipe) and use the oil of your choice.

The original recipe calls for “flour” and doesn’t specify.  I think most any flour would have worked.  It also calls for cornstarch, which is pretty much interchangeable with tapioca here.  If you need to avoid corn entirely, just swap out the baking powder for a corn-free, or homemade, one.

Grated sweet potato

 

Scrub the sweet potatoes, cut off ends and any bad spots, and run through the grater attachment on a food processor (or grate by hand if you prefer).  No need to peel them.  I used 3/4 garnet sweet potatoes and 1/4 purple ones that the Whole Foods clerk told me is popular in Guam.  Salt liberally (several tablespoons), mix, and let sit for several hours or overnight.

Before you wash the processor, run your peeled and chunked onions through it as well.  If you’re doing this the day before, put the grated onions in the fridge.  After they’ve sat a while, give the sweet potatoes a good rinse to remove excess salt then grab a handful, squeeze very well, and set in a really large bowl.  Repeat.  Discard the water.

Rinse your dry rice under the tap then drain and put in a pot with fresh water.  Bring to a boil, stir, then simmer on low until the rice is soft.  The amount of time this takes will vary with the size of the rice grains.  20-40 minutes.

Now add the rice, scallions, and onions to the sweet potato bowl.  Measure your flour into a container twice the needed size, add in the other dry ingredients, mix well.  Spread the flour mix over the vegetables and blend.  It looks very dry at this point and we wondered if it was going to work.  Then I saw the original recipe says to mix with your hands.  This was the magic step that brought it all together.  It “activates” the flax and sticky rice to make dough.

Latke mix

Because I knew I was going to have to reheat the latkes later, I decided to oven fry them instead of pan frying.  And I’m so glad I did.  Yes, it uses less oil but mostly it is a heck of a lot easier and less messy.  The recipe made 5 sheets worth, though I only own 4 (2 cookie sheets and 2 enameled broiling pans).

Knead the dough as you work and roll endless balls, each about the size of a ping pong ball.  I placed them on well-oiled pans (enough oil to move around when you tilt the pan) with plenty of space in-between.  Then smush them down to an inch or less thick.

Latke balls

Bake at 450*F (yep, that’s hot) until golden brown on the bottom, flip, and keep cooking until both sides are golden.  The insides should still be soft.

Latkes fresh out of the oven

Remove to a paper towel on a pan or plate.  Serve immediately if you can.  Since I was taking them elsewhere, I put them all in a large baking pan, with paper towels between each layer.  I wiped clean the two broiling pans and brought them along.  To reheat, place in a single layer (touching is fine) in a 300*F oven until they are hot.

Delicious with cranberry sauce (mine was tart with plenty of lime zest) or applesauce or both.

Latkes to eat

 

→ No CommentsCategories: Chanukah · Food · Recipes · Religion & Holidays · Thanksgiving · Vegetable Dishes
Tags: · , , , , , ,

Spaghetti Squash

March 18th, 2013 · by Cyndi · 1 Comment

How do you turn a grain into a vegetable?  With spaghetti squash!  It’s lowcarb, it’s healthy, and it has a texture unlike any other squash.  Tastes good too.  It’s also pretty easy to cook, with a few tips.

Every squash is different.  The size, density, and water content will all change the cooking time.  So test it, don’t just go based on the timing.

Start with one or more firm and heavy squashes.  Wash them and poke holes all over with a knife.  About a dozen holes for each squash in the picture.  Don’t skip this step!  Whole squashes can explode.

Spaghetti squash ready for the oven

Put into the oven.  A variety of temperatures will work, but I generally use 350*F.   For a good-sized squash, expect total cooking time to be 1-2 hours.  It’s done when you can stick a regular fork into the squash from the outside.  If the fork goes in with light pressure, the squash is done.  If the fork slides right in with no resistance, you’ve overcooked it.  Don’t worry, it will still taste good.  Test it every few minutes so you don’t miss your window and roll the squash over every half hour or so.

Spaghetti squash out of the oven

Cut the squash in half the short way and let it cool until you can handle it without pain.  You can also cut it lengthwise but the short way gives you longer strands as they’re wrapped around the center.

Michael deseeding the spaghetti squash

Remove the seeds and the “goo” around the seeds with a spoon or fork and compost.  Next, take a fork and gently tease away the strands from the skin.  Sometimes you’ll end up with a squash you didn’t time just right.  These came from the farmer’s market and we had them on our kitchen counter for a while.  The large one overcooked a tad (hence the shorter strands) and the small one was still undercooked when we pulled it out (fork didn’t work on it) and we had to put it back in the oven.  Both squashes had much thicker and harder skin than I’ve ever seen on a spaghetti squash before so it was hard to judge doneness.  Sometimes that’s just the luck of the draw.  Occasionally you might even get one that went bad before it was cooked.  You can’t do anything about that, but everything else you can salvage if you know what you’re looking for.

Scooping out spaghetti squash

You’ll end up with a big bowl of goodness.  Mix in some browned garlic in olive oil (or butter if you prefer) for a side dish.  Or make it the star of the plate with a topping of sauteed onions and pesto.   Leftovers are surprisingly good in omelets.  Overcooked spaghetti squash makes lovely latkes.

Pesto & onions on spaghetti squash

 

→ 1 CommentCategories: Food · Recipes · Vegetable Dishes
Tags: · , , , , , , ,

Vegan Cashew Cilantro Parsley Pesto

March 17th, 2013 · by Cyndi · 1 Comment

Finished pesto

Back in 2008 I created a post about vegan pesto.  It’s still a great recipe, but here’s an update, made with cashews instead of pine nuts.  Why use cashews?  Well, they’re a lot cheaper than pine nuts.  I switched back a year or so ago when pine nut prices went through the roof, if you could find them at all.  And these days I’m doing a low-amine (low-histamine) diet.  Cashews are in, pine nuts are out.

Recipe:

2 cups raw cashew pieces
4 limes
1 tsp. salt
2-3 Tbsp. oil
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch flatleaf parsley

Note that these proportions worked perfectly for the recipe I photographed here, but really they are just a guess.  Because a “bunch” of herbs varies a lot in size.  Limes vary not just in size but in tartness/sweetness.  So start here but adjust as needed.  Especially the salt and oil.  Taste taste taste.  It’s the only way to get it right.

You can make this recipe with a good blender but it’s much easier in a food processor.  Start off with just the dry cashews.  Get them as close to flour as you can.

Limes

Juice the limes (or use lemons if you prefer, just make sure no seeds get in) and add to the cashews.  Add salt and the oil if you need it.  Process until creamy.

Pesto base

Twist off and discard the ends of the parsley and cilantro bunches and wash the remaining herbs well.  Yes, I use the stems.  Add all but a handful of leaves to the food processor and blend well.  Add the oil if you haven’t already.  I use sunflower oil because it’s low-amine but extra virgin olive oil tastes best.  Then add the leaves and pulse until it is mixed but still has some texture.

Pesto & onions on spaghetti squash

Pesto on top of spaghetti squash and caramelized onions.  With a side of herbed chickpea fritata.

→ 1 CommentCategories: Dressings & Sauces · Food · Recipes · Spreads & Dips
Tags: · , , , , , , ,

mtDNA: Using Raw Data to Fill Out Your Subtree

October 11th, 2012 · by Cyndi · 6 Comments

I’ve been heavily into genealogy for the last year, fleshing out both my and my husband’s family trees.  Recently, I decided to delve into DNA.  I chose 23andme and have been thrilled with the results (this link gives me a small referral fee, thanks if you use it).

One of the things they tested me for was my mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA).  This is special DNA (not within the chromosomes) that everyone has but you only get it from your mother (it’s in egg cells but not sperm cells).  In theory, I have the same mtDNA as my mother, her mother, her mother, and so on back to the beginning of human history.  In practice, DNA copying isn’t perfect.  Mutations (think of them as typos) sneak in.  We can use the mutations to track maternal history across the generations, by when (and where) the splits happened.  Each set of mutations is labeled with what is called a Haplogroup.

My mtDNA Haplogroup, as calculated by 23andme, is U6a7.  About 45,000 years ago, a group of humans left Africa for Europe.  According to the mutation history, those who stayed in Europe had the Haplogroup U5 and those who turned back into northern Africa were U6.  About 35,000 years ago, U6a spread around northern Africa.  FamilyTreeDNA puts U6 at 36,200 years ago and U6a at 26,900 years ago.  But close enough.

23andme tells me my subclave is a7 but only gives information about U6 when saying this means my maternal line is from “North Africa, the Near East, Iberian Peninsula, Canary Islands” and that the population I best match are the Berbers.  Is my maternal line Muslim?  Or Sephardic Jewish?  I don’t know.  All I know is that I’m Ashkenazi Jewish on all sides and my maternal grandmother and her mother are from Kosice, Slovakia. I haven’t been able to go any further back.

The FamilyTreeDNA page on U6 gives far more subgroups: U6a7a, U6a7a1, U6a7a1a, U6a7a1b, U6a7a1c, U6a7a2, and U6a7b. Which one am I?  I wrote 23andme for help and they did take a lot of time to explain things, but none of it got me that far.  If you have a 23andme account, log in and go to Ancestry Labs, then choose Haplogroup Tree Mutation Mapper and submit your Haplogroup.  You’ll see a long list that looks like this:

U6a7 defining mutations
variant call rCRS anc
rs28357684 A 15043 G
i3001344 15043 G
i5049907 15043 G

 

The variant is the SNP, the piece of the gene where the mutation in question is.  The rCRS (also called position) is a number more commonly used but specific to a gene or, in this case, the mtDNA.  Anc means the ancestral, regular, non-mutation form and the call is the result, or the genotype, of the person tested.  This mutation defines U6a7 (and has three variants).  Since my call (A) is different from the ancestry (G), I have the mutation and therefore am U6a7.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing that goes beyond U6a7.  23andme doesn’t have a system to pay extra for a more detailed test.  But maybe the answer was already there.  I didn’t want to pay FamilyTreeDNA or another company for a test if I didn’t have to.  23andme also told me it was possible I simply didn’t have markers to identify subgroups, so another test might not give me a better answer.

So on to the raw data.  What could it tell me?

The Mutation Mapper page at 23andme shows you a circle with a lot of the raw data, but it is incomplete.  The better option is to to click on “Account” on the top of the page then choose “Browse Raw Data” and click on “MT.”  It’s faster if you download it all into a text file, but you can also look online.  (Of course, you can use raw data from any company.)

The data will look like this online:

Gene Position SNP Versions My Genotype
intergenic 3 i4001200 C or T T
intergenic 7 i4001110 A or G A
intergenic 9 i4001358 A or G G
intergenic 26 i4000553 C or T C

 

The downloaded version (the text file) looks a bit different:

rsid chromosome position genotype
i4001200 MT 3 T
i4001110 MT 7 A
i4001358 MT 9 G
i4000553 MT 26 C

 

The name of the gene (mtDNA has 37) and the SNP (or rsid) isn’t useful here, just look at the position (the rCRS).  This is how you’ll match up results with known mutations.  The versions are what’s possible and then it gives the test results, my genotype.  Note that it doesn’t say which result is a mutation and which is ancestral.  Nor do I know which positions have relevant mutations.  Time for more research.

The FamilyTreeDNA page on U6 does list all the mutations for each subgroup but not what the genotype is supposed to be.  I needed to keep looking.

I found this amazing resource:

http://www.phylotree.org/tree/subtree_U.htm
(they have other trees here: http://www.phylotree.org/tree/main.htm )

I paged down to U6a7 and saw that there were mutation lists for three variants: U6a7a, U6a7b, and U6a7c

Each mutation is in the form: letter-number-letter (plus some optional markers).  For example: T1193C.  This means rCRS 1193 has two genotypes, T and C.  The first letter is the “normal” or ancestral expression of that SNP.  The second letter is the mutation.

Another example: U6a7 is defined by: G15043A.  If this position is an A for you, then you have the mutation and are U6a7 (perhaps with some other precursors established).  If you have a G instead, then you do not have the mutation and are not U6a7.

Using Phylotree, this is what I did next:

  • U6a7a has 8 defining mutations.  I was tested for 4 of them.  3 were positive for the mutation and one was not.
  • U6a7b has 7 defining mutations.  I was tested for 4 of them, all negative.
  • U6a7c has 2 defining mutations.  I was tested for both and one was positive, the other negative.

I concluded that I was U6a7a.  (Why I didn’t get perfect matches, I don’t know.  This data was pretty clear, but I don’t know how to interpret it when it’s not.)

That is as far as I could go at Phylotree, so I headed back to
http://www.familytreedna.com/public/U6mtdna/default.aspx?section=results

Next, there is U6a7a1 and U6a7a2.  Within U6a7a1 there is U6a7a1a, U6a7a1b, and U6a7a1c.  I suspected I was U6a7a1b because it’s the Sephardic cluster and also in the general area my maternal line is from.  That one is defined by the mutation 150.  But this site doesn’t tell you which letter is the mutation.  I had to look elsewhere for that.  I did some more research and discovered that the mutation will be T.  I found that here (I’m not Dominican but that didn’t make the page less useful to me): http://www.familytreedna.com/public/dominicansephardim/default.aspx?section=results

What am I?  I’m a 150T.  So I concluded that my mtDNA is U6a7a1b.

I also joined the FamilyTreeDNA U6 project.  The leader asked for my raw data and I gave it to him.  He agrees.  I’m U6a7a1b.  He says “You have an extra mutation 16295T” (not one of the positions I had looked at).  So far there are only 12 people in the U6a7a1b section of the project, and I’m the only one with the extra mutation.

What does this mean?  It means I can now trace my maternal line to a mutation split that happened about 1,500 years ago, a “Sephardic cluster from Spain, Italy, Germany, Poland and Ukraine.”  With the extra mutation, I might even be able to narrow it down further.

Who are my ancestors?  Let’s go back to the Dominican page:

Haplogroup U6 can be considered to be the mt-DNA equivalent of Y-DNA haplogroup E1B1B in that it is of North African origins and its distribution matches the Afro Asiatic linguistic expansion. The U6 research project has discovered what it believes to be a Sephardic Cluster in haplogroup U6A7A1B characterized by mutation 150T. U6 can be found in small percentages among Sephardic Jews and even Ashkenazic Jews. Similar to haplogroup E1B1B, U6′s presence among Jews may date back to ancient times when the founding members of the Israelite tribes performed conversions on local Canaanite women, to allow them marry tribal members prior to their descent to Egypt. Another possibility is that this lineage joined the ancient Israelites along with the “mixed multitude” that came out of Egypt with the Israelites, as described in the Bible. It is also possible that Berber conversions to Judaism during the Muslim occupation of Spain introduced this lineage to the Sephardic gene pool. This haplogroup has been found in the Sephardic Jewish communities of the former Ottoman Empire. A member of this project with a tradition of Jewish ancestry on his/her maternal line, and is a member of this haplogroup, can be considered to be likely of Jewish descent.

So wow.  23andme gives me “northern Africa” but a bit of sleuthing gives me evidence that my maternal line (the one that counts here) is Jewish possibly all the way back to the Exodus (perhaps further).  With Sephardic ancestry to boot.  Amazing.

→ 6 CommentsCategories: Genealogy
Tags:

Miriam’s Trip Blog: We’re Still in Taos

September 23rd, 2012 · by Cyndi · 4 Comments

This is two days in Taos.  [Mom says: it's actually three days.  Miriam says: But there are no pictures from the first day.]  We are at the Taos Pueblo.  So we are at the Taos’s little town.  This is a sign that says “sorry, we’re open” instead of “yes, we’re open.”  Why would you be sorry you’re open?  There were lots of shops at the Pueblo.  I thought that sign was hilarious.

"Sorry, We're Open" - Taos Pueblo

I bought the two necklaces and my mom bought the bracelet.  We bought more stuff too, but they were gifts.  I got the heart necklace from a different shop.

Jewelry from Taos Pueblo

This is our dinner at a restaurant.  I had the small plate and my mom had the big plate.  And I had the orange smoothie.  The restaurant is gluten-free and wheat-free but my mom got something with eggs in it.

Dinner at La Cueva, Taos, NM

Now we are at the house in Taos.  The person we are staying with has a cat and I am holding her cat.  Her name is Bella.

Miriam with Bella the cat, Taos, NM

I wish I could stay in Taos longer but we are leaving.  Next we are going to Snowflake.  See you again there!

→ 4 CommentsCategories: Miriam's Trip Blog
Tags: · ,

Miriam’s Trip Blog: Leaving Utah and Heading for Taos

September 16th, 2012 · by Cyndi · 3 Comments

This the pool in Moab, Utah, after we left Arches.  This has an indoor and an outdoor pool.  This is the indoor pool and a huge water slide.  There’s two diving boards way in the back.

Indoor pool Moab, Utah

This the shallow pool and three little water slides on those brown rocks.  It was too little for me.

Outdoor pool Moab, Utah

If you click on the link, it will lead to a video of me going around in some water in that pool and the water carries you.

Miriam demonstrates the current pool.

Now we’re in Taos and this is the friend we’re staying with, Aralia.  She’s giving me a painting lesson.  We’re painting a color wheel.  This is her website.  She’s an artist.  http://magdahliastudios.com/2012/09/10/transitions/

Aralia teaches Miriam how to make a color wheel

I colored the painting with my colored pencils, the one with the rain clouds.  These are the color wheels.  The one I’m holding is Aralia’s.  The other one is mine.

Miriam's and Aralia's finished artwork

Stay tuned for our next one and our second day in Taos.

→ 3 CommentsCategories: Miriam's Trip Blog
Tags: · ,

Miriam’s Trip Blog: This is the Fiery Furnace Hike

September 9th, 2012 · by Cyndi · 9 Comments

This is Landscape Arch.  It was a very long and hard hike to it.

Landscape Arch at Arches National Park, Utah

This is me and my mom in front of landscape Arch.

Miriam & Cyndi under Landscape Arch at Arches National Park, Utah

This is the sign for the tour of the Fiery Furnace.  *chol!*  It’s a three hour long tour, including stops.  There was lots of rock climbing, lots of challenges.  It was hard for my mom, but so easy for me.  I didn’t get a bit tired but my mom was so tired she could barely walk.

Fiery Furnace Tour at Arches National Park, Utah

This is Ranger Jon and me.  We’re going to climb under that tiny arch.

Miriam prepares to go through a tiny arch during the Fiery Furnace Tour at Arches National Park, Utah

Miriam prepares to go through a tiny arch during the Fiery Furnace Tour at Arches National Park, Utah

Miriam goes through a tiny arch during the Fiery Furnace Tour at Arches National Park, Utah

This is Skull Arch.  We took this from our camera on super vivid colors.  That’s why it’s red.

Skull arch on the Fiery Furnace Tour at Arches National Park, Utah

This is Surprise Arch.  It’s called Surprise Arch because it’s such a big surprise.  And it’s an arch.  We had to go into a cave to see it and sit on some rocks and Ranger Jon told us a story about his life.

Surprise arch on the Fiery Furnace Tour at Arches National Park, Utah

Stay tuned for our next blog post about going to New Mexico and stopping in Moab and staying at a hotel.

 

 

→ 9 CommentsCategories: Miriam's Trip Blog
Tags: · ,

Miriam’s Trip Blog: We’re Doing Lots of Hiking!

September 8th, 2012 · by Cyndi · 5 Comments

This is Broken Arch. It was a long hike.

Broken Arch, Arches National Park, Utah

Balanced Rock is cool. I love it!

Balanced Rock, Arches National Park, Utah

This is windows. We sat under it. It was a little fun!

North Window Arch, Arches National Park, Utah

This is me going into a little cottage in Wolfe Ranch.  It never ever got moved.  The family lived there.

Wolfe Ranch storage building, Arches National Park, Utah

This is the other cottage which you’re not allowed to go into.  It was owned by the same family.

Wolfe Ranch cabin, Arches National Park, Utah

This is inside the cottage that you’re not allowed to go in to.  There is a little table and chair.  You’re not allowed to go into it because it could be dangerous.

Wolfe Ranch cabin interior, Arches National Park, Utah

This the sign of the petroglyphs.  And we saw them.

Ute Rock Art, Arches National Park, Utah

This are the petroglyphs.  It’s hard to see them though.  We weren’t allowed to go any closer.

Ute Rock Art, Arches National Park, Utah

Stay tuned for our next one on our third day of Arches National Park.

→ 5 CommentsCategories: Miriam's Trip Blog
Tags: · ,

Miriam’s Trip Blog: We Arrived at Arches National Park

September 5th, 2012 · by Cyndi · 4 Comments

We arrived at Arches National Park and our tent is set up and this is our campsite.  Those gray clouds are rainclouds.  There was a huge thunderstorm with lightening and really strong wind and really hard rain.  Our tent almost blew away.

Our campsite just before the thunderstorm hit

This is a beautiful sunset.  We could see it from our campsite.

View from our campsite at sunset

This is me roasting a hot dog over our campfire.  In my rain jacket and flip flops.  The thunderstorm was 45 minutes.  It was over by this time, that’s why we have a campfire.

Miriam cooking hot dogs over the campfire

Stay tuned for our next post about our second day at Arches National Park.

→ 4 CommentsCategories: Miriam's Trip Blog
Tags: · ,

Miriam’s Trip Blog: Last Day in Salt Lake City

September 5th, 2012 · by Cyndi · 7 Comments

This is our last day in Salt Lake City last Saturday.

This is the Salt Lake City library and I am in the children’s section looking at Rainbow Magic fairy books.  The second and the third shelves is all fairy books and I’m looking at one.  There are so many, I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Rainbow Magic fairy book selection at the Salt Lake City library

We climbed up some stairs and ramps and went on an elevator.  And we went to the top of the library.  And I was climbing on a fence and I am at the highest point of the fence over the doors to go back in the library.  My mother was freaked that I was going to fall.

Miriam the Climber, at the Salt Lake City library

We are at the Leonardo Museum.  This is some decorations.  This is the only picture from the Leonardo.

Art display at the Leonardo Museum in Salt Lake City

Now we went to Sage’s Cafe and this is our dinner. It’s all vegan.  I can eat every single thing there.  Even the desserts.

Dinner at Sage's Cafe Salt Lake City

These are our desserts.

Dessert at Sage's Cafe Salt Lake City

Stay tuned for our next blog post about driving to Arches National Park.

→ 7 CommentsCategories: Miriam's Trip Blog
Tags: · , ,

Miriam’s Trip Blog: We’re at the Salt Lake

September 2nd, 2012 · by Cyndi · 10 Comments

Bridgers Bay Beach on Antelope Island, UT.

It was a really really REALLY long walk to the water.  When we were about 3/4 of the way to to the water, it started sprinkling, and we thought it was nothing.  Then it started raining raining.  And then it started pouring and then when we were further down we started hearing thunder but didn’t see any lightening.  I was FREAKED OUT.  But we walked all the way down.

And there were tons of little flies by the water.  Like millions and millions of them.  And my mom walked past them and put her fingers in the water and I had to touch her fingers so we could say we had touched the Great Salt Lake.

My mom really wanted to go swimming in it but I was like “no mom we’re going back now.”

Bridgers Bay Beach on Antelope Island, UT

This is when it stopped raining and there was a rainbow.  This is a picture of the rainbow and the rainbow is nice and fresh.

Rainbow after a brief thunderstorm at Bridgers Bay Beach on Antelope Island, UT

I figured out that the sand was only wet on top and not underneath.  It was perfectly dry underneath.  This is me putting my foot into the sand.

Miriam at Bridgers Bay Beach on Antelope Island, UT

We won’t be putting on our next blog for a little bit.  For maybe three to four days because we’re going on a camping trip to Arches National Park and we won’t be able to use the laptop there.

→ 10 CommentsCategories: Miriam's Trip Blog
Tags: · ,

Miriam’s Trip Blog: Heritage Center in Salt Lake City

August 31st, 2012 · by Cyndi · 4 Comments

This me mining for gold in a creek at the Heritage Center.  I found about 5 or 6 pieces.

Miriam panning for gold

This is me in a ship back in the old days laying down in the beds they slept in.

Miriam in a berth of a ship replica

This is some leather I put stamps on and a necklace I made in the crafts center in the Heritage Center.

Crafts center products

This is me in the woodworking place drilling a hole into something.

Miriam drilling a hole into wood using pioneer tools

 

 

→ 4 CommentsCategories: Miriam's Trip Blog
Tags: · ,

Miriam’s Trip Blog: We’re Driving Across the Desert

August 31st, 2012 · by Cyndi · 5 Comments

We’re driving across the Nevada desert.  It is very beautiful.  Seeing all the mountains.  But it was very very hot.

This is me eating coconut tapioca pudding.  It is delicious.

Miriam eating coconut tapioca pudding at our second food stop and first playground stop

I am at a playground at Wendover town.  This is spinning very fast.  So fast I can’t even get on it to stand up.  This is playground is AMAZING.  It’s like the best playground in the world that I’ve ever been to.  The playground was very big and it had lots of stuff that I like to do.

Playground stop at West Wendover, NV

If you click on this blue thing it will go to a video of me on a slide at that playground.

VIDEO of Miriam on West Wendover playground slide.

This is a double rainbow.  My mom took the picture.  The other rainbow you can barely see.  We didn’t think it would get a double rainbow.  We only saw one rainbow then it turned into a double one.

Double rainbow over the park at West Wendover, NV

This is the sun setting over the mountains.  It is beautiful.  My mom took lots of pictures of it but we only put one on the blog.

Sunset from 1-80 in Utah over the Nevada hills

Stay tuned for our next blog about the Heritage Center in Salt Lake City.

→ 5 CommentsCategories: Miriam's Trip Blog
Tags: · ,

Miriam’s Trip Blog: I’m at the Beach!

August 30th, 2012 · by Cyndi · 6 Comments

This is me posing for a picture for my mom at Meeks Bay beach in Lake Tahoe.

Miriam ready to go swimming

This is me jumping off a rock in the water.

Miriam jumping into the cold water

The water in the lake was VERY cold.  I could barely even swim in it.

Lake Tahoe at Meeks Bay

This is me reading a book with my sunglasses on because the sun was shining in my eyes.

Miriam reading Rhianna the Seahorse Fairy

Look out for our next post about driving through the dessert to Salt Lake City.

 

→ 6 CommentsCategories: Miriam's Trip Blog
Tags: · ,