Sunday, July 13, 2014

Our Now-Famous Pasta

This is my favorite summer dish - and one of our most requested recipes

The Light's Pasta Mediterranean

Cook one box of Farfalle pasta, as directed, then drain before tossing in extra-virgin olive oil. 
Put in the refrigerator to chill.

Prepare the following:
2 - 3 Tablespoons chopped basil
1/4 cup shallots, finely diced
1 container of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 ball of Mozzarella cheese, cubed
3 cloves of garlic, minced

Add ingredients to pasta, toss, then chill for about two hours.

Plating: When ready to serve put individual portions on plates. Grind a little pepper and shave Parmesan cheese over each. Finish with a decorative drizzle of balsamic glaze.

NOTE: For leftovers, I usually toss in a little extra olive oil before finishing the plating.

Please comment below if you give it a try - I'd love to hear from you!

Shopping List:
A box of Farfalle pasta
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 container of cherry tomatoes
1 ball of Mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese wedge
Bottle of balsamic glaze

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Biking Germans

On our recent educational trip to Germany (with the Center for International Understanding), I loved seeing how so many residents used bicycles as a means of transportation.

Sign bike
When urban areas were redesigned, family-friendly areas and bikes usage were included.

bike garden
Bike racks were located near park cafes, office buildings, and subway stops.

Bike lane
All streets had designated bike paths OR a double sidewalk - shared between walkers and bikers.
One tour guide explained commuters in Munich have two bikes: one near their home, which they
ride to the subway, and then another one at their work station, which they ride to work. He said bike
theft was not a real issue.

riding bikes
Street crossings had special buttons for bikes to enter the roadway.

covered bikes

Different methods of protecting bikes from the elements were employed in various locales.

Double cover bikes
School yards and college campuses were filled with bike parking.
school bikes

vine covered bikes
This covering, one of my favorites, was in the solar district of Freiburg.

rill bikes
When I was a teen, I rode my bike everywhere - to school, practice, the beach. One day in college, while stopped at a red light, an elderly man hit me. My bike was mangled and I was scratched up and shaken. I couldn't afford a new bike, so that was the last time I rode.

After moving to NC and living close to the Tobacco Trail bikeway, I'm ready to try again. I can't ride my bike to work, as it is too far, but I can make some changes to save energy in other ways. So now, I'm saving up for a bike. Do you bike?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Children in Germany

Screen shot 2014-07-03 at 10.12.30 AMChildren of GermanyBy Marjorie Light

As we traveled around the country (Teachers from NC with the Center for International Understanding), one recurring theme of discussion was the children, their freedom, and the relationship to their parents.

At a fountain in Berlin, I sat with my roommate Holly and watched children scamper across a jumbleof large slate rocks, with a bubbling waterfall cascading over a section. Parents set around the perimeter on a low wall: reading, chatting with friends, eating a snack. On the way back from our walk, we stopped by the same area. This time, there was a man on the rock fountain, following around a boy of nine or so, arms outstretched, as if to save him from a fall that never came. After a few minutes, we realized they were the only American family there.

At dinner each night, the group would compare notes. Most babies were carried in front backs, or ensconced in raised prams, within easy reach. They were nurtured and nuzzled. As the children grow, however, a time of play and exploration began. 

Berlin Child on Fountain Rocks

The children in the solar community played hide and seek in the green spaces or slid down incredibly fast slides.

The children of Freiburg play in the Freiburg Bächle (runnels or rills - dtich-like, water-filled streams), running after origami boats, splashing, or making dams with their feet.

DSC09617   DSC09438      DSC09519
Secrets shared over                  Boat Races                              Solar Community Sign             
Freiburg Bächle 

Community Playground Sign

We asked ourselves, from where did our culture of fear originate in the United States? Why, in a generation's time have we gone from a nation of children playing in the neighborhood to one of helicopter parents? Would you care to chime in with your ideas?