Reading and studying "Words That Make A Difference" is a great way to learn more vocab!
On my hunt to find another creative vocabulary book, I came across Words That Make a Difference: and how to use them in a masterly way, written by Robert Greenman. Words That Make A Difference offers yet another way to ATTAIN a great vocabulary through context. The book features hundreds of words that were used in passages from the RENOWNED newspaper, The New York Times. The book also includes a vocab list at the beginning and offers an easy tool at the end to clear up common linguistic mistakes, such as understanding the difference between “affect” and “effect.” There are about 400 pages of vocab words used in context, a sentence definition of that word and also how to sound it out. This book will keep you busy! Words That Make A Difference is a self-guide to learning words by reading passages that were written by vocabulary experts. It’s interesting and it makes learning fun.
SURREPTITIOUS suh ruhp TI shus: acting in a secret, stealthy way
“‘The video pirates would take portable video cameras into movie theaters and surreptitiously tape the feature films being shown,’ Ms. Pirro said. She said they would then return to their base of operations and, using hundreds of conventional videocassette recorders, mass-produce copies of the movie.”
Words That Make A Difference was published in 2000, so it can be considered a “classic.” For words that make a difference today, Erin McKean writes a column for the New York TimesNEMESIS called, Week In Words, a field guide to unusual words in this week’s Wall Street Journal. Erin highlights vocab that is not likely to appear on standardized tests but is fun NEVERTHELESS.
Mirliton (AKA chayote squash)
Erin wrote this in the February 11, 2012 column:
the mirliton squash (also known as a chayote) can be swapped for bitter melon varietals.
The word mirliton comes from a French word for a kazoo-type flute, although the squash itself is often called a “christophene” in France. It is also pronounced as “mella-ton.”
April 25th is National Zucchini Bread Day… consider baking a mirliton bread to celebrate! Scarlott Paolicchi recently featured my Zucchini Brownies recipe and fun fact vocabulary from Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T. on her blog, www.FamilyFocusBlog.com. Brownies aren’t exactly bread…but close enough?
April 22nd is Earth Day, a celebration of our beautiful planet and sustainable living. It’s a great time to thnk about eating healthy, nutritious food, organic whenever possible. In honor of Earth Day, here are two tomato recipes and a bunch of tomato fun facts.
This recipe adds sweetness to savory tomatoes. You can use 1 1/2 cups of toasted bread cubes instead of the bread crumbs. Add 1/4 cup orange juice to make it more sweet.
Tomato Pudding is an ANACHRONISM. Most people have never heard of it, much less tasted it. I got this recipe from my Mom’s friend, Judi Hirsch, who got it from her Mom via the original Joy of Cooking, which was published in 1931! The recipe is no longer included in recent editions of the cookbook. Use heirloom tomatoes for this recipe if you really want to honor history.
Here are some tomato fun facts, some of which I recently shared with “Mike The Gardener,” who blogs at www.AveragePersonGardening.com, sells seeds and offers a Seeds-Of-The-Month Club:
Tomatoes were declared a vegetable by the Supreme Court in 1893 in Nix v. Hedden (biologically, they’re really fruit!)
Storing tomatoes at room temperature preserves their flavor better than refrigeration
If your tomatoes taste like cardboard, they were probably picked too early and ripened with ethylene (vine ripened and organic are much more flavorful!)
Tomatoes are the number one vegetable grown in home (non-commercial) gardens
Cooking tomatoes makes their antioxidants more easily digested (especially if you use olive oil)
Here’s my recipe for Fried Green Tomatoes, from Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T. It works as a side dish or appetizer.
This is not exactly the healthiest dish on Planet Earth, but it tastes great!
Earth Day participants cooking with tomatoes can enjoy an ARRAY of shapes, sizes and color. Sizes vary from the 5mm Tomberry tomato, through the cherry, grape, plum, and Roma, all the way up to the large beefsteak. Tomatoes come in a rainbow of color options, including yellow, orange, pink, green, black, white, multicolor and striped. Enjoy your tomatoes raw, cooked, canned, and in drinks.
Try to make every day Earth Day!
Thanks for the recipe and the bit of cookbook history, Judi!
Forbidden rice is black when dry, purple when cooked.
Forbidden rice is an heirloom rice that, in ANTIQUITY, was eaten only by emperors. Luckily, these days, anyone can partake in the nutty taste and chewy texture of this superfood, which is full of fiber, antioxidants, iron, amino acids and other nutrients.
Even more luckily, forbidden rice is not forbidden on the Clean Program, a 21 day detox cleanse, which worked out really well for my brother and parents. Clean allows a protein shake for breakfast and dinner, and a healthy meal of protein and vegetables for lunch. My family EMBARKED on a Clean Program DERIVATIVE when we returned from our spring break trip, substituting the Metagenics brand of medical food for the Clean protein powder.
Black rice is the new brown rice.
For one lunch, my brother decided to MODIFY the “Mediterranean Turkey Meatloaf” from Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T. because my recipe contains sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, eggs and a small amount of flour, all of which are PROHIBITED during detox. He prepared the black rice using a 1/3 to 2/3 ratio (1 cup of black rice cooked in 2 cups of chicken broth), simmering it for 60 minutes after it boiled. He only used a cup of cooked black rice for the meatloaf and saved the rest for another meal.
My family’s cleanse is over and they’re still enjoying black rice. Can’t wait until I’m home and can try some.
Healthy fruit makes for a great tasting and nutritious breakfast!
Being at boarding school makes me COVET the fruit bowls my Mom used to make me everyday for breakfast. I consider the fruit bowl my CONSECRATED breakfast. If you are SOLICITOUS about your health, then you just found your answer. This recipe will fill your vitamin and mineral nutrition quotient. Berries are best, but the fruit choices are completely optional, so feel free to get creative with ingredients. Chia seeds have lots of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Almond milk has lots of vitamins and calcium.
Ingredients: 3 oz blueberries, 1/2 grapefruit (peeled and chopped into 3/4" slices), 1 kiwi (diced), 10 grapes, 1/2 banana (diced), 1 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes, 1 tbsp ground chia powder, 1 cup almond milk.
Sprinkle in the chia powder, which is optional, and the coconut flakes.
Raw ingredients for easy Passover Ashkenazi charoset. Aquidneck honey is the best!
Every Passover seder includes charoset, a sweet, fruity mixture that SIGNIFIES the mortar that ancient Jews used for building, while enslaved in Egypt. That’s where the UNIFORMITY stops. There are many traditional varieties of charoset, each reflecting the fruits and nuts that were readily available in the specific location that Passover was celebrated.
Ashkenazi charoset reflects my Eastern European (Polish) heritage, but our Passover table will also contain Sephardic charoset to honor our Costa Rican and Colombian guests. Sephardic charoset typically includes a mix of dried apricots, figs, dates and other fruits and nuts that are INDIGENOUS to warmer climates. Whole Foods catered our Sephardic charoset, which contains figs and pistachio nuts.
5 gala apples
1¼ cup chopped walnuts
1 cup sweet Passover wine
2 tsp cinnamon
1½ tbsp honey
½ tsp lemon juice
Chop the apples into 1/4″ cubes. Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Let stand for 30 minutes before refrigerating.
Serve with matzoh.
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.
Prepare the charoset 1 - 2 days before Passover to let the flavors blend.
Passover is a celebration of freedom. I hope you and your friends and family enjoy your meal together.
Easter is coming up, so, no surprise, I decided to make some colorful Easter cookies! I thought, “why not stick to a classic and simple dessert that everyone will love?” In a slight DEVIATION from typical M & M cookies, I used M & M’s bunny mix Easter candy. Two pluses are that these cookies can be made with surprising CELERITY, and are also so beautiful. After making these treats, some might even think you have the eye of an AESTHETE! Enjoy!
Ingredients: 1 cup vegetable oil, 1 cup packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup white sugar, 2 eggs, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt, nonstick cooking spray and a handful of Easter bunny mix M&Ms
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, cream together the vegetable oil, white sugar, and brown sugar.
Add the eggs, one at a time, cream slowly, then add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until combined. You may need to add an extra 1/4 cup of flour if the mixture looks too wet.
Place the cookies on a greased, nonstick pan. Place about 1-2 tbsp of the mixture per cookie on the sheet and press down slightly. Separate each cookie by about 1" on all sides. Arrange as many or as few M&Ms on the cookies as you like..
Bake the cookies at 350ºF for 9-11 minutes and serve!
“Eggs are brain food” is a mantra I was INDOCTRINATED with since I was little. My Mom fed me and my brother eggs every day between the ages of about 1 -3 years old because our pediatrician told her that’s when maximum brain connections are formed, and she wasn’t about to let that opportunity get away. Now, it’s impossible for me to take any important test without a breakfast that includes eggs.
My Dad fixed me steak and eggs on the morning I took the SSAT and my Mom credits all that choline in the egg yolks for my results . . . which is why, when WTNH anchors Teresa LaBarbera and Jocelyn Maminta invited me back to cook a breakfast for the morning of the S.A.T., I knew exactly what to do.
I cooked Buttermilk Biscuit with Poached Eggs Florentine, which I call “Breakfast For Dinner” in Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T. I had so much fun and I hope I am asked back to Connecticut Style to cook on the “In The Kitchen” segment again.
Here are a few fun facts* about eggs, which get MALIGNED for raising cholesterol levels:
Eggs are actually a multivitamin (except vitamin C)
Eggs are one of the few natural sources of vitamin D
Eggs are a complete protein, which means they are one of the few foods that contain all 9 essential amino acids
*Thanks, Mom. You are a REPOSITORY of egg information.
My recipe calls for the poached eggs Florentine to go on a buttermilk biscuit instead of this English muffin
It’s finally that time of year again…spring break! Words cannot begin to describe how happy I am to be able to take a short (but much needed) break from school, unwind, spend time with my family and do fun things. Tomorrow, I kick off my spring break by cooking on In The Kitchen, a segment of the Connecticut Style show!
I did the show during my Thanksgiving break and had a great time making my “Fish In Parchment” recipe from Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T. with the two hosts, Jocelyn Maminta and Theresa LaBarbera. They invited me back and this time I am making the ultimate breakfast to CONSUME before taking any ASSESSMENTS, especially standardized tests.
I will be making poached eggs with spinach on buttermilk biscuits. In addition to cooking, I will be talking about why eggs are one of the best things to eat before taking a test, due to their high content of protein. My Dad cooked me steak and eggs before I sat for the SSAT and I am convinced the meal helped my score. I had scrambled eggs this morning before my math final. Wish me luck with that, and with the show!
Canned food may be contaminated by BPA, so I updated the hummus recipe in “Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.” using raw chickpeas. It takes planning to make the hummus from scratch because the chickpeas have to soak for many hours.
1 cup dried organic chickpeas (garbanzos)
¼ cup organic tahini
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 lemon, juiced
4 tbsp EVOO + more for drizzling
1 cup parsley, shredded + more for garnish
½ tsp cumin + more for garnish
½ tsp salt + more to taste
The chickpeas float until they absorb water, then become submerged
Soak the chickpeas overnight for 15 hours. Drain the water and soak them again, covered in fresh water, for 3 hours. Drain the chickpeas and rinse with fresh water.
Place the chickpeas in a large pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 1½ hours. Remove the foam and peels that form and float on the boiling water. Drain, saving 1 cup of the cooking water.
Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend into a thick paste. Add cooking water, 1 tbsp at a time, and pulse until the desired texture, smooth and creamy.
Add salt to taste.
Transfer the hummus to a bowl and chill. Dust with cumin, drizzle with EVOO, and garnish with parsley just before serving.
Skim the foam and peels from the pot as needed
Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor
Hummus from scratch, the finished product
Here’s the fun fact blurb for the “”Nancy’s Hummus With Pita Chips” recipe in Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.:
Hummus recipe fun fact blurb
Try to figure out the vocab in context before you take the match test. The correct answers are listed alphabetically in the vocabulary word list on this website.
The vocabulary match test for the hummus fun fact blurb
Hummus is high in protein so it’s a great dish for vegetarians. It’s delicious and the recipe can be varied to include your favorite herbs and spices.
This recipe for Steamed Bok Choy, Mushrooms and Shallots is a variation of the Steamed Bok Choy and Collard Greens recipe in Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T. No ingredient is SACROSANCT in cooking . . . you can always substitute and still end up with a great dish.
“Double, double, toil and trouble. Fire burn and CALDRON bubble.” (Thanks to William Shakespeare and Macbeth for SAT vocab and to my brother Ross for helping me out with the quotation).
I chose to use vegetable broth this time
Chicken broth is a good ALTERNATIVE to my choice of vegetable.
The finished product is sooooo tasty and delicious
Steamed bok choy, portobello mushrooms and shallots can be served as a healthy snack, side dish, or, over rice as a main dish.
Don’t forget my kale chips for your Superbowl party!