Fiat Lux

It's Latin for 'Let there be Light'

Recipe: Quinoa With Black Beans and Tomato

Somewhere between a side dish and a salad, I pulled this dish together last night from the pantry and the garden. It turned out very well for a freehanded dish, so I thought I’d share it. I used standard canned black beans; other beans might work well as well.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup chicken stock (or water if you’re a vegetarian)
1 large shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 can cooked black beans
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes (approximately)
8 leaves fresh basil, chopped
2 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Cook the quinoa according to the package directions and allow to cool. I used chicken stock instead of water for extra flavor.

Put the oil into a nonstick pan. Sauté the shallot and garlic over medium heat until golden brown – watch carefully to avoid burning, especially if you chopped them very small.

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and then put them into a bowl big enough to hold all ingredients.

Add the black beans, basil, parsley, shallots, garlic, and the quinoa.

Mix everything up in the blow and then salt & pepper to taste.

Can be served immediately or held in the fridge until dinner time.

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My “Instagram for Brands” Presentation: #SMSsummit Chicago

I had the pleasure of presenting a session on “Instagram for Brands” at the Social Media Strategies Summit in Chicago today.

Several people asked me to share my deck so here it is! Click the Instagram icon to download it. :)

Instagram for Brands

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Some Things Stay The Same. Others, Not So Much.

One afternoon in late May 1932, the New York Times reports, a group of 15 students showed up at the home of famous financier J. P. Morgan, signs in hand, to protest the condition of miners employed by firms Mr Morgan had invested in.

What did they want?

They paraded for an hour, carrying sandwich posters reading “Kentucky’s Shame is Yours, Mr Morgan,” [and] “Stamp Out Want in Your Own Lines”

One afternoon in early April 2014, Business Insider reports, a group of self-proclaimed anarchists showed up at the home of famous entrepreneur and investor Kevin Rose, signs in hand, to protest rising housing prices and disruption in San Francisco.

What did they want?

that Google give three billion dollars to an anarchist organization of our choosing. This money will then be used to create autonomous, anti-capitalist, and anti-racist communities throughout the Bay Area and Northern California.

Good luck with that, guys!

If you read the NY Times article, you might have noted a familiar name. That was my grandfather.

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A Bumpy Road to the Quantified Self

Fitbit tracking data So for the holidays this year, I received a Fitbit Force as a gift (thanks boss!).

I’d been considering getting an activity tracker for some time now – the main thing stopping me was that all the wrist-based trackers didn’t particularly fit my personal style. Still, once I actually had a Fitbit, I figured I’d give it a try.

A few weeks in, there’s a lot to like about the Fitbit Force. It’s surprisingly accurate in differentiating arm movement from actual motion. Cordless synching with the Android app makes keeping the data updated a breeze. And the most powerful tool by far has been combining my food intake tracking with activity tracking. Being able to see at a glance how many calories a day I have left in my ‘budget’ makes me a lot more mindful about my food choices.

Plus, like many people, I’ve struggled for years with finding the time and motivation to exercise. Now I can see exactly what kind of difference exercising versus not exercising has on my calorie intake. I love it. I’ve finally found something that motivates me to get my butt off the couch, and that’s great.

So what’s the problem? Getting the damn thing onto my wrist each day – there is no way it should be this hard to use! The Force has the worst clasp I’ve ever used, bar none. The fact that Fitbit needs to put a video on their website showing how to use the clasp suggests they were aware that it was an issue but chose to put it out anyway. Not their best decision.

Even after watching the video & a couple of weeks’ practice, getting the two prongs to click in every morning is a frustrating struggle that usually involves multiple tries and some curse words. I don’t know what Fitbit was thinking or who they tested it on, but as much as I like the data I’m getting from the Force, it’s bad enough to make me seriously think about using a different device.

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As 2013 winds down

holiday card 2013

This year didn’t start out all that well but it’s been pretty smooth sailing lately! Here’s hoping 2014 continues bringing more good than bad – to us, to you, and to the world.

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RIP Nelson Mandela

Image source: nupeoplemagazine.com

In my personal pantheon of heroes, Nelson Mandela ranks very high.

As much as his inevitable passing is a sad day, I’m comforted by the fact that unlike King, Gandhi, and Lincoln, Mandela was able to live out his full lifespan and die peacefully of old age. Perhaps this was Fate’s payback for the 27 years of his life he spent locked away in prison.

What he did for South Africa needs no retelling here. Like so many others around the world, I have found his commitment to freedom and equality, and especially his steadfast leadership of South Africa into its post-apartheid era, to be both moving and inspiring.

Mandela spoke these words in 1964 when on trial for his life:

“I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

And despite 27 years of imprisonment, he did achieve it.

Godspeed, Mandela. Thank you for all that you did. We will not see your like again soon.

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