Category Archives: Learning

Week 12: How To Make Stuffed Peppers

I asked a friend of mine to teach me how to stuff peppers. Just like the paneer cheese, they’re surprisingly easy to make. I like dishes that allow the cook to add in whatever is available in the kitchen – stuffed peppers are one such dish. We raided the fridge for some ground beef, garlic, mushrooms and parmesan; grabbed some herbs from the garden; pulled some breadcrumbs and pine nuts from the pantry, and used some pimento peppers from the market. That was all we needed.

First, we cleaned the peppers, and saved the seeds for future use. Then we chopped up all the other ingredients (minus the breadcrumbs and parmesan), and mixed them together in a bowl. We slowly added the breadcrumbs and parmesan to the rest of the ingredients to reach a texture that held together, and could be shaped into a ball without crumbling.

Then we divided the stuffing between the 6 peppers. We filled each pepper just above its edges, then turned them over (stuffing down) onto a greased cookie sheet. Cooking it this way helps create a nice crust on top of the stuffing. We cooked the peppers for close to an hour at 250 degrees Fahrenheit. At that point the peppers were thoroughly cooked and softened, but the outer skin was not burnt. The stuffing on top crusted over with caramelized cheese and deliciousness.









We made a salad to go along with the peppers, and crumbled some of the leftover paneer cheese on top. A perfect lunch for a Saturday afternoon!


Week 10: Adobe Lightroom

I finally purchased Adobe Lightroom so I can start editing my way through the absurd amount of photos I have from the past year and a half. I’ve used Photoshop before, back in the days of CS2, and have played around with a few other free photo-editing softwares, but never found any that I was crazy about. One of my friends who does a considerable amount of studio photography, swears by Lightroom. After playing around with the software on her computer for a bit, I decided that it was worth the investment.

Now, I just need to learn how to unlock its full potential.

How To Save A Life: Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest

Warning signs:

  1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  5. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain. (List found at the American Heart Association website.)

I went ahead an included the specific warning signs for women, because they include all the same warning signs as for men, and this list includes those few extra commonly reported symptoms. After calling 9-1-1, the person suffering symptoms of a heart attack should chew and swallow one Aspirin tablet, unless he/she is allergic, or has been instructed by a doctor not to take Aspirin. Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen do not work in the same way, and as such should not be administered. Give the person nitroglycerin if, and only if, it has been prescribed to them by a doctor. Have the person lie down, if he/she is having trouble breathing or swallowing put him/her into the recovery position. Try to keep the person calm and alert. If the person loses consciousness (enters cardiac arrest) begin CPR. If the person has no vital signs, CPR should be continued and an automated external defibrillator (AED) should be administered.   Now here is a PSA from Go Red For Women, featuring actress Elizabeth Banks. About the video, Banks said, “While the film is funny, having a heart attack is not something to be laughed at. However, I’m using humor to help uncover the truth about heart disease, to get people interested in learning more about their hearts — and our movement.” I don’t think leaving one’s mom on the floor with an iPhone and an article about heart attacks is the appropriate course of action by any means, but you get the point.

Hands Only CPR (PSAs by Vinnie Jones and Ken Jeong)

For those not trained in standard cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) (compressions and rescue breaths), the recommended course of action is to do ‘Hands Only CPR’ after 911 has been contacted.

Hands only CPR should be started as soon as possible after a person is unresponsive, and has stopped breathing or gone into cardiac arrest. The sooner it is started the better chance the person has of surviving.

The benefit of hands only CPR is that it can be done without any equipment, and it does not pose the same risks as doing mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths. The standard recommendation is that compressions should be administered to the beat of “Staying Alive”, by the Bee Gees (at a rate of 100/minute). Compressions should be done at the center of the persons chest, be continued until EMS arrives.

Here are two fun celebrity PSAs about hands only CPR, enjoy!

How To Save A Life: Recognizing a Stroke (F.A.S.T)

The generally accepted acronym to remember for recognizing a stroke is FAST:

F: Facial Drooping

Ask the person to smile. Is one side of the face unresponsive or droopy?

A: Arm Weakness

Ask the person to raise both arms. Does he/she have difficulty moving one arm, or does it drift down uncontrollably?

S: Speech Difficulty

Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence.

T: Time to call 9-1-1.

A further list of symptoms is available on the ASA‘s website:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the leg
  • Sudden confusion or trouble understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

It was harder than I expected to find information on how to help someone who is, or may be, having a stroke after calling 911. Most resources only emphasized calling 911, and gave no information on how else to respond while waiting for an ambulance to arrive. I personally like to know what to do in the interim. I was finally able to find some information on the website for the Cleveland Clinic.

Note the time that symptoms began.

If conscious, the person with stroke symptoms should lie down and should not be left alone. Try to comfort the person and help him/her to stay calm. If the person is having trouble breathing or swallowing he/she should be put into the recovery position.

If unconscious, check for vital signs (pulse and breathing). If the person is still breathing and has a pulse, place him/her into the recovery position. Stay with the person and frequently check the vital signs. If no vital signs, perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Do NOT give a person suffering signs of a stroke any water or food.

Now to end this post with a PSA from the American Stroke Association:

Week 9: Medical Emergencies

Week 9 was much busier than anticipated, and I left town for the weekend for a friends’ going away festivities, so I fell behind. Have to play catch up now. For this week I wanted to learn about the common warning signs for medical emergencies (stroke, heart attack, alcohol poisoning, etc.) and the appropriate responses one can take other than calling 911 (which should always be done first in any real medical emergency).

Since I am so behind this week (and I am not a medical professional with valid opinions or advice to give), I will primarily be posting the collection of resources that I use to learn more about these emergencies.

Let’s begin with something basic, and on the response side of medical emergencies that everyone should know: the recovery position.

The recovery position.

The recovery position.

The recovery position should follow the six following guidelines (as outlined by the International Liaison Committee of Resuscitation):

  1. The victim should be in as near a true lateral position as possible with the head dependent to allow free drainage of fluid
  2. The position should be stable
  3. Any pressure of the chest that impairs breathing should be avoided
  4. It should be possible to turn the victim onto the side and return to the back easily and safely, having particular regard to the possibility of cervical spine injury
  5. Good observation of and access to the airway should be possible
  6. The position itself should not give rise to any injury to the victim (List and image from Wikipedia: Recovery Position)

Resources For Bicycle Repair and Maintenance

I must have jinxed myself by saying that the weather was improving now with Spring – it has rained almost every day since my last post. But, that is not an excuse for how long it has taken me to update the week’s learning adventure.

I was never able to pick up my friend’s bike to work on (the weather was so bad that I didn’t want to risk transporting it on a scooter in the rain), but I was able to give my bike a thorough tune-up. The tune-up included truing the wheels, putting air in the tires, cleaning and oiling the chain, greasing the seat-post, and checking the gears and brakes. My avid cyclist friend came over and walked me through the steps for each. I will not bother typing them out at this point, because I am so far behind this week, but I will post the link to three of the sources he recommends for bike repair and maintenance information (he gave me a much longer list, but I narrowed it down to the sites that were the most straightforward and easy to navigate):

Park Tool Co. has a diagram of the bike that allows one to click on the area of the bike one needs to repair. Then the site provides a list of possible problems, and useful information for that part of the bike. Simple, user-friendly interface, and straight-forward directions with pictures; that’s enough for me to bookmark this site for future reference.

And for those who prefer video tutorials, there are two YouTube Channels that I would recommend: The first is the Expert Village YouTube Channel, this is generally a good channel to have saved. It has tutorials and lessons on just about everything, and provides an extensive list of bicycle repair and maintenance related videos. The other channel that I like is the Intown Bicycles YouTube Channel. It has fewer videos, but the videos are consistent and all done by people at the same shop, whereas the Expert Village videos are done by all different experts in the field of cycling, so there is less consistency.

The hardest thing for me was truing the wheels, it took a while to get a feel for it, and to have an eye for watching the rim. I do not have a truing stand, I turned my bicycle upside down and used the brake pads as a reference point. Below is the video tutorial for ‘Hot To True A Bicycle Wheel’ from the Expert Village YouTube channel. It provides a nice explanation for what to do, but based on my experience, if it’s your first time truing a tire, I would recommend either going in to a local bike shop to have someone give you a hands-on lesson, or call up a friend who has experience with bicycle maintenance to give you feedback as you practice.