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Swedish Knäckebröd (Crisp Bread)


Some slices of knäckebröd.

Some slices of knäckebröd. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

More and more people are starting making their own bread, today I will provide you with a recipe for a Swedish style bread, back in Sweden we call it knäckebröd. If you have ever visit IKEA, you might have tried or seen a knäckebröd it is a crispy flatbread and goes well with soups and cheeses. My favorite sandwich with knäckebröd , is a slice of bologna sausage and cheese.

When baking it, you can try it with wheat flour instead of rye. I would not recommend plain white flour but any ‘grain’ flour will do.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups rye flour, whole wheat is fine
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
Directions
  1. Combine flour, sugar and salt in mixing bowl or food processor and cut or pulse in butter.
  2. Gradually add the milk with a spoon or pulse until you have a stiff dough.
  3. On a lightly floured board roll out as thin as you can.
  4. Cut dough into strips about 2″x3″ and punch lots of small holes in each.
  5. Bake at 300 on lightly greased pan until lightly browned- about 10 minutes.
  6. Cool on wire rack then store at room temperature.
  7. Will keep 5-7 days.

Another Crisp bread recipe that I recommend.

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons yeast (or 1 package dry yeast)
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon fennel, crushed or anise seed
  • 3 1/2 cups coarse rye flour
  • 1 1/2-2 cups wheat flour
Directions
  1. Dissolve yeast in the water (if using dry yeast, follow instructions).
  2. Add salt and fennel/aniseed.
  3. Add rye and enough wheat flour to make a quite firm dough.
  4. Knead vigorously for at least five minutes.
  5. Divide into 16 parts and roll to balls.
  6. Let rise, covered, for 40 minutes.
  7. Heat the oven to maximum heat.
  8. Roll out one piece at a time to a thin circle, 8-10 inches in diameter.
  9. Use plenty of rye flour when rolling.
  10. Make a one-inch hole in the middle.
  11. Prick the surface all over with a fork (in Sweden we have special rolling pins for this purpose).
  12. Bake one at a time on a dry tray in the oven for about 2-4 minutes.
  13. They should get brown, but not too burnt.
  14. Slip them on a stick (e. g. a broom) through the hole in the middle to cool.
  15. Store in a dry place and eat with butter, cheese and/or pickled herring, maybe together with beer and aquavit.

To Read: Red Azalea


Anchee Min left China for America in 1984. She had been a prize pupil and a model member of Mao Tse-tung’s Red Guard. For her dutiful work for the Party, she was awarded a place at the arduous Red Fire Farm, where she experienced – at great personal risk – her sexual and emotional awakening with the female company leader.

Selected from 20,000 candidates to be a star of propagandist films, she left behind the farm and her lover, for fame and an exotic affair with one of Madame Mao’s leading emissaries. In this autobiography Anchee Min reveals, through a series of relationships, both a little-known China and her own character – independent, enquiring, and anxious to grasp every experience that comes within her reach. It is an erotic autobiography which, through the dialogue and characterizations of a novel, traces her life and relationships through the political and cultural upheavals of the era.

You can get it from Amazon.com – Red Azalea

Mp3-players make us egoistical and anti-social


We need to let go of our head sets once in a while. If we do not, we will become anti-social and disappear into an egoistic world. Everywhere you go in the city, you see people with head sets going to their destination. With the latest hit song pumping into their ears, the time is spent without any contact to the outside world. Will this mp3 player invasion lead to us to loose what interaction we have with other people?

I have to admit I do not leave home without my mp3 player in my pocket. When I step on the subway in the morning, I have my music playing and I often do not pay attention to the other travelers.When I was paying for my groceries at Loblaws, I almost sang out loud to “Rehab” (A catchy song by UK star Amy Winehouse) without looking at the cashier. I am not alone in doing this, almost everyone aged 15 – 50 were holding their mp3-players and swinging gently as if they were at the actual concert.

Even if a lot of people are doing this, it is still a rude gesture against people that you interact with on a daily basis; it is as rude as smoking in a restaurant.I do not think that it\’s my imagination, but I think that the music creates an artificial self confidence. The body relax and you feel at home in any environment you are in. Of course, this is not an excuse, but it could be an explanation to why so many of us have become music dependent.Our daily life looks almost like an artificial society. where a bubble is floating above each of our heads with little information about name, age, interests, and today’s song list.

People walk by each other without paying attention to anything.  It becomes like walking with tunnel vision in a world where my music and I exist; a totally egoistic world.Think about how much we are missing. At the same time we do not spare any energy or complain that no one is flirting with us, or that we feel invisible and no one pay attention to us, but the fact is it is our own fault. We become blind and deaf because of all the bass.

The normal communication between people is erased by the advantage of the music\’s loud noise. The only place were interaction become a realityis in the bar or places where music is not allowed. At that time we fall back to our old pattern where self confidence is not as pleasant any more and we\’d rather hurry back to the safe environment were we are the star of our own movie.

This behavior have gotten serious penalties. Many times it been written in the papers that some one has been hit by a car because the mp3-player noise level was higher then the cars motor noise. This should be a wakeup call but instead people continue to download new songs to their beloved mp3-player.We have to let go of our head sets once in a while. If we do not distance our self from the music, we will become anti-social and disappear into an egoistic world for ever. Press STOP before it is too late.

Choose plant-based meals


Okay, this might not be good news for a lot of you turkey-lovers out there, but sometimes the truth hurts: meat, poultry and seafood production are, in general, bad for the planet.

Let’s take beef. Vast amounts of grain must be fed to cattle to produce even a small amount of animal protein for human consumption. According to the Worldwatch Institute, the total amount of soy and grain fed to livestock in the U.S. each year could feed everyone on the planet approximately five times over.

And cattle cultivation doesn’t just waste food: it wastes land, too. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, livestock production now accounts for an astonishing 30 per cent of the planet’s surface area (including both grazing areas and arable land to grow crops for feed).

Then there’s the issue of meat and climate change. Researchers at the University of Chicago calculate that if an average, meat-eating American switched to a plant-based diet, they would eliminate approximately 1.5 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year.

Now let’s look at seafood. Industrial fishing methods can be notoriously destructive, destroying deep ocean ecosystems and depleting fisheries at lightning pace. Luckily, SeaChoice has put together a fantastic downloadable seafood shopping guide for Canadian fish lovers.

Bottom line: if you’re up for it, plan at least one plant-based holiday meal. Visit www.goveg.com for recipes and resources.

Six tips to have healthy kids


Many parents need to clean up the food and physical activity environment at home to help children be fit and healthy.

Here are 6 tips that you can start with.

1. Stock up on good food

Fill your house with foods that are both delicious and nutritious (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, fish, lean protein, reduced-fat dairy products) and don’t bring home junk food such as cookies, cakes, sweetened cereals and sugary drinks.

2. Make sweets a treat

Save treats for special occasions. You don’t have to give up sweets entirely, but go out for them instead of having them at home.

3. Ditch the drive-through

Avoid fast food.

4. Turn off the TV

Make physical activity the focus of the home instead of television. Don’t allow TVs in the kitchen or bedrooms.

5. Equip for exercise

Give older children the basic tools to be active: jump ropes, balls, baseball gloves, Frisbees.

6. Shake it!

Encourage them to dance. Dancing is an excellent activity,

Going Green: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle


Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Day-to-day actions, and the habits you cultivate, that matter most. When you change your thinking, you change your life. Adapting to a greener lifestyle is worth it for all kinds of reasons and it’s not all about the planet. Green habits often save you money and improve your health and life, as well.

How to change your thinking? Simply start practicing some mindful observance of your routines, purchases, and other aspects of your lifestyle. It’s a good idea to keep a “lifestyle journal” for a week where you note the following major areas where it’s easy to go greener:

  • Amount and type of meals eaten out of the home
  • Grocery shopping habits (what, how much, where)
  • Commute
  • Type of vehicle you drive
  • Size of family
  • Home carbon footprint (use a calculator)
  • Travel (type, how often, how far)
  • Where you buy your clothes, electronics, and furniture
  • What kinds of cleaning products and personal care products you use
  • Any existing environmentally-aware habits: biking, recycling, using energy-efficient lights, a canvas grocery sack, carbon offsets when you fly, and so forth.

Once you have a better determination of your lifestyle, it is easy to begin “tweaking” every day actions. And that starts with being aware of how much and what you consume – and what you do with things after you’re done using them. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is a very easy method for integrating actions and awareness. Some green tips

  1. Did you know 1/3 of food goes to waste? (Some say half!) The first thing you can do is reduce your food waste. Keep better track of grocery shopping – here’s another place where a journal will help.
  2. Buy higher-quality clothing in seasonal cycles rather than trendy, cheap clothing several times a month. Example: buy one good coat this year; a good wallet next year. Aim for purchases that may be a bit more up front but will end up saving you cash in the long run because they will last you a lifetime.
  3. Most entrees at restaurants are big enough for two. Save money and prevent food waste by splitting meals (warning: do this with close pals only or you may get accused of being cheap!). Brown bag your lunches, too.
  4. Force yourself to always wait one day on non-essential purchases in order to avoid impulse buys.
  5. Order online or direct from companies rather than driving to a store. This helps reduce fuel and energy waste at many points along the production-consumption chain.
  6. Look for ways to go digital to reduce waste: books, magazines, music, and movies.
  7. Keep your car longer. Instead of a 2-year lease, finance a car with a 5-year loan and keep it for 10.
  8. Reserve one day for your shopping and errands instead of making multiple trips all the time.
  9. Carpool as often as you can or ask your boss if you can telecommute.
  10. Become a zealot about turning things off: the water, the lights, the electronics.
Green Tips to Reuse
  1. Buy vintage everything. From electronics to furniture to fashion, vintage is the most eco-friendly choice you can make.
  2. For vintage furniture and electronics, try Amazon and eBay. You’ll save the earth’s resources’ and your own.
  3. Check out garage sales and estate sales, too.
  4. Try community barter trading sites
  5. Wash and save glass jars for handy use as storage, vases, and food leftover containers.
  6. Use cloth napkins and towels instead of disposable ones.
  7. Use old t-shirts for yardwork and vehicle cleaning tasks. Try to find a use for everything you normally throw away. You can get pretty creative! There are dozens of things you can reuse.
  8. Reuse paper. Printer misprints make great to-do-list scratch paper.
  9. Shoe boxes and yogurt containers can be turned into herb planters, file storage and more.
  10. Check out this helpful list for more ways to reuse household items.
Green Tips to Recycle
  1. Recycle all glass, metal, paper, and plastic.
  2. Compost everything – a lot more than food can go into the compost bucket. By recycling the basics and composting, you will drastically reduce your waste.
  3. “Recycle” things you don’t want anymore by donating them – old toys, clothes, furniture, decor, games, movies, books, and tools.
  4. Recycle paint, motor oil and other toxic household cleaning supplies.
  5. Recycle batteries.
  6. Recycle every type of plastic.
  7. Recycle your electronics for cash.
  8. Recycle your computer.
  9. Recycle your cell phone.
  10. You can even recycle your car.

Book: Global Warming Over Cool Cocktails Anyone?


The summertime air is hot, and not just from the rising temperatures. It’s hot with the buzz of global warming. Whether it’s around the water cooler, at a family barbeque or at a cocktail party – we can’t escape this heat. With mounting mixed messages and confusing sound bites flooding the airwaves, global warming has summer society all hot and bothered.

Bothered because we all know we have a problem, yet we haven’t a clue what to do or whom to believe.

Well, relief is in the air courtesy of Canadian author Annette Saliken.

Cocktail Party Guide to Global Warming is an environmental primer that should reside next to the grilling tongs, in the beach tote and even in the briefcase this summer.

Saliken, a first-time author, is officially launching the book in Vancouver, Canada July 17. But her going green manual is already generating buzz, having scooped the highly regarded Editor’s Choice and Publisher’s Choice Awards. It’s quickly become the No. 1 bestselling global warming book on Amazon.ca, shooting from No. 796 to No. 1 in just three weeks.

Saliken says she was inspired to write the book while completing her master’s thesis (related to the topic) at Royal Roads University in 2006. Her words have cut a refreshing path through the dense fog surrounding global warming. With contribution from Martin G. Clarke, the easy-to-read “layman’s handbook” aims at helping the great “unwashed” Canadian public better understand global warming and alternative energy. She says it’s all you need to be able to converse confidently and intelligently in social settings on these complex issues.

Priced at $18.95, the 178 page guide packs a wallop. The concise content:

  • translates thousands of pages of scientific data (from sources such as the Nobel Prize winning IPCC: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) into everyday language for non-technical readers.
  • “connects the dots” between climate change, global warming, natural processes, greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, and fossil fuels.
  • clarifies common misconceptions and answers frequently asked questions.
  • explores breakthroughs in alternative energy technologies including solar, geothermal, wind, ocean, hydro and bio.

The Joy of Wives


When a man steals your wife, there is no better revenge than to let him keep her. Sacha Guitry 

By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll be happy. If you get a bad one , you’ll become a philosopher. Socrates

Woman inspires us to great things, and prevents us from achieving them. Dumas

The great question… which I have not been able to answer… is, “What does a woman want?
Sigmund Freud

I had some words with my wife, and she had some paragraphs with me.
Anonymous

“Some people ask the secret of our long marriage. We take time to go to a restaurant two times a week. A little candlelight, dinner, soft music and dancing. She goes Tuesdays, I go Fridays.”
Henny Youngman

“I don’t worry about terrorism. I was married for two years.”
Sam Kinison

“There’s a way of transferring funds that is even faster than electronic banking. It’s called marriage.”
James Holt McGavran

“I’ve had bad luck with both my wives. The first one left me, and the second one didn’t.”
Patrick Murray

Two secrets to keep your marriage brimming
1. Whenever you’re wrong, admit it,
2. Whenever you’re right, shut up.
Nash

My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.
Rodney Dangerfield

A good wife always forgives her husband when she’s wrong.
Milton Berle

Marriage is the only war where one sleeps with the enemy.
Anonymous

A man inserted an ‘ad’ in the classifieds: “Wife wanted”. Next day he received a hundred letters. They all said the same thing: “You can have mine.”
Anonymous

First Guy (proudly): “My wife\’s an angel!”
Second Guy: “You’re lucky, mine’s still alive.”

Is Professional Certification A Scam?


I have been working in project management for the past 25 years. I have managed projects that vary in size from small $50,000 projects to large several million dollar ones. I have followed various international project management standards and lately I have been working under the CMMI standard.

Now my current employer is pushing me to get certified for the Project Management Professional (PMP) designation, I have refused because as far as I can see, the PMP designation though it may be a way to tell other parties like business partners to my firm or potential employers that I am indeed qualified to perform my job as a project manager, acquiring the certification is not a way to actually improve my skills.

In my mind having a PMP designation does not make any difference to what I do. I work with many project manger who have obtained the certification by spending thousands of dollars to prepare themselves to write the certification exam. It has not changed the way any of them work; they still conduct their projects according to company standards.

In my software development firm, we are Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) compliant, a standard that provides us with a strict process in delivering software. Many of the project managers we hire have the PMP designation when they come to us, but are not familiar with CMMI, and have to change the way they are used to doing things to comply to the company’s process. Many fail and leave or are dismissed, so I have concluded that PMP certification is irrelevant, and wonder why companies demand this certification.

If we look at my industry, in software development, historically very few projects have made it on time, resulting in the project managers being seen as the ones at “fault”, this might well be the case in other industries as well. As projects continue to overrun their time lines, a business opportunity was spotted. The certification industry has targeted project managers and offer them a new designation that seems to give them added credibility in carrying out their job.

The Project Management Institute that acts as the authority for certifying project managers, in all industries was created. To receive a PMP, a project manager has to agree to a adhere to a code of professional conduct and meet the Project Management Institute (PMI) requirements. Passing this standard allows a project manager to use the PMP acronym next to their name.By the end of 2006 there were approximately 220,000 PMP\’s (source wikipedia). It has also become much easier to get a PMP, as exam content is available on the Internet allowing individuals to gain certification without much knowlegde or understanding.

What PMP has created is an auxiliary business for universities, trade schools, and consultants in preparing and certifying professionals, some more professional than others, and also opened doors for cheating and undermining the PMP designation. Many serious business universities have raised their fees to ward off any cheaters and hopefully attract only serious individuals perhaps. Since when has the ability to pay been a measure of integrity?

It is not enough that we go to university to get a MBA, or PHD on top of our BA degree, we now have to get certified in the profession we choose, to compete for the available jobs out there. So, if your chosen profession is project management, you’d better get your Project Management Professional (PMP).

Before you receive your undergraduate degree, it might be a good idea to check with your university what prep classes they have for your becoming a PMP.Certification is a contentious issue, despite improving professional practice being its raison d’etre. The problem is, a certification is a stamp stating that you can do a specific job, but it says nothing about how well you do the job. so it is up to the individuals interpretation or the company process on how they do their jobs, and a companies process might not have anything to do with how you been certified to do the job.I eluded to it earlier when I mentioned that our project managers with the PMP did not change how projects were delivered and missed deadlines were still a problem.

The real issue in my industry is that we do our planning well, but during the execution due to personnel or functionality we add new features without factoring in the impact these changes will have on the end result. No collection of letters after your name is going to change this.

So, the software industry’s response to this was the industry certification of a company’s process under the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI), the CMMI has 5 levels, a company has to start a level 1 and build towards level 5, with various certifications in each step.

This has been proven to lengthen the project, as a largest part is gathering the requirements upfront, and the execution of the project then comes in on time. But due to changing priorities or client demands, executives in the software companies over-rule the process to meet specific business needs, and project still run overtime. I do not think the software industry is the only one that has business needs going before process, that happens in any industry regardless of a PMP or CMMI or ISO 9000 or what ever the specific industry certification process is.

So, to conclude there is a new business opportunity – certification of company Executives, why should the rest of us be certified when they can change the requirements or due to business needs change ways we certified workers do our jobs.

We need to know that our executives are qualified to do their job!

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