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Archive for August, 2009

To the A&E Groove Readers—

I want to take a minute to apologize to you all for the break in blog posts. I have recently moved into a new house and have not yet hooked up my internet. It will most likely be a week or so before I get everything together and start blogging again. Until then, take care!

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

The entrance to the Westfall Winery. Photo by Kate Langenburg.

The entrance to the Westfall Winery. Photo by Kate Langenburg.

Yesterday, I had the wonderful privilege of venturing out to the Westfall Winery in Montague, New Jersey. The day couldn’t have been more picturesque — there were big puffy clouds in the sky as my group of women and I tasted one delicious wine after another.

We started out our tour in the main tasting area. The winery spokeswomen gave us a list of wines we could try and we went through quite a few! They have many different kinds, including special reserves and newly bottled fruit wines. (My favorite was Stella Blue, a new blueberry dessert wine, which I promptly bought a bottle of and will drink very soon.)

Then we purchased. Cranberry wines, blueberry wines, red special reserves, and sangria were all bought. If you like fruity wines, the sangria, which is called Spanish Passion, is amazing.

The main tent area where the chili cookoff was held. Photo by Kate Langenburg.

The main tent area where the chili cookoff was held. Photo by Kate Langenburg.

We wandered our way down the hill to the large tent, and wouldn’t you know it — it was chili cookoff day! Over twenty different locals came together with their own brews of the spicy food for wine lovers to try. After patrons were finished sampling the many chilis, they voted for their favorites. I actually ended up liking a moose, elk, and caribou concoction called the hunter’s chili. Who would have thunk it?

The rest of the day we spent sitting on the hill in the shade, drinking the rest of our bottle of sangria and just enjoying the cool summer breeze. I would definitely recommend checking out this winery if you live anywhere near the state of New Jersey.

A cool thing about it — it’s situated on a horse farm, so the atmosphere is very natural. It’s actually preserved farmland. There are few places like it left in our ever-growing suburban sprawl world. Not only will you get a nice glass of wine, but you’ll also get your own piece of horse farm for the day, too!

There are many events going on throughout the rest of the summer and fall. Just check out the Westfall Winery website for more details.

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Kate Langenburg/A &E Groove

I know, the title to this blog post has a really weird name. It’s okay. Just because it’s new doesn’t mean that it has to be completely alien and strange. Give this yummy HungryGirl recipe a shot, then make your decision.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package House Foods Tofu Shirataki Fettucine Shaped Noodle Substitute
  • 1/2 cup small broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup red pepper chunks
  • 1/2 cup large zucchini chunks
  • 1 wedge Laughing Cow Light Original Swiss cheese
  • 1 tbsp. fat-free sour cream
  • 2 tsp. reduced fat grated parmesan style topping
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional: garlic powder, chili powder (I STRONGLY recommend the garlic powder)
Yum! Deliciousness. Photo from hungrygirl.com.

Yum! Deliciousness. Photo from hungrygirl.com.

Step 1: Place all the veggies in a medium sized microwave-safe bowl with 2 tbsp. water. Cover bowl and microwave for 2-3 minutes until the veggies are fully steamed. Then drain the water and set aside.

Step 2: Drain and rinse noodles well. Dry the noodles thoroughly, using a paper towel to soak up any excess moisture. Then slice up the noodles a bit to make for easier eating! 

Step 3: Place the noodles in a microwave safe bowl and top it all off with the cheese, sour cream, and parmesan topping. Microwave for one minute.

Step 4: Take it out, stir, then microwave for another minute. Mix in the veggies and season well with salt and pepper. Add the garlic powder!

Might I add that you don’t have to stick to just the veggies in this recipe. I added different kinds and even took out the zucchini the last time I made this. (I’m not much of a zucchini fan.)

Also, I have to say a quick word about tofu shirataki noodles — they don’t really taste like pasta. I just want to get that out there. Don’t expect it to taste like a homecooked italian fettucine meal. It does taste very good, but it has a little different flavor and texture happening. It’s good in a different kind of way.

However, the entire recipe is only about 150 calories…and you don’t have to share. It makes one serving and is very filling. Bon appetit!

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Over this past weekend, the 40th anniversary celebration of Woodstock was held at the original grounds of Max Yasgur’s farm. Except these days, it’s called the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.

These two prove that the spirit of the 60s never died. Photo from nytimes.com.

These two prove that the spirit of the 60s never died. Photo from nytimes.com.

Instead of Max, his son Sam Yasgur was there to make an announcement to all the old hippies and younger peace-lovers. He was very happy to be able to see such a reunion take place.

The concert went on long into the night, lasting for a total of about eight hours. Also, many of the performers grouped together to sing not as separate groups, but as many talents in one.

Apparently, a wedding even took place on stage last weekend. Lead singer Leslie West of the group Mountain was married to his bride Jenni Maurer. The two were wed underneath electric guitars that were held up above them.

View a slideshow of pictures from the reunion concert, courtesy of the New York Times.

A cool thing about the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts is the they have now opened a Museum dedicated to the spirit of the sixties and Woodstock. It houses exhibits, a theater, several galleries, a shop, cafe, outdoor theater, and classrooms for workshops. Find out more about it at the Museum website.

If you want to read a great review of the concert, visit the New York Times.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Yesterday, the National Geographic Society announced that it will begin to release and sell some of its unseen photographs. Those pictures will come from a collection of work from the 20th century, ranging from people to animals to landscape designs.

One of the many photographs National Geographic has released. Photo from nytimes.com.

One of the many photographs National Geographic has released. Photo from nytimes.com.

For right now, all the photographs being released will be black and white. After they’ve focused on those prints, they will begin to release color pictures as well.

William Bonner, the Society’s archivist, thinks it’s a shame that so many beautiful pictures have gone unseen by the public. Most were never published in National Geographic Magazine.

View the slideshow of some of the newly released photographs.

Unfortunately, for those of us who are counting the change in our pockets, most of the photographs’ prices will be anywhere between $3,000 and over $10,000.

Perhaps part of the reason for this is that many of the photographs the Society has are the originals — that means only one copy. Obviously, prints will be made for selling, but in the art world, there’s nothing like jacking up the price of a work of art.

The new photographs from the National Geographic Society will be put on display in the Steven Kasher Gallery in Chelsea, NY. The artwork will premiere on September 17, 2009 and will feature 150 vintage prints.

Still want to find out more? Read the full New York Times article ‘Treasures from an Underground Trove.’

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Today I am going to post a blog about one of my guilty pleasures. So don’t judge me, okay?

The third book in the Inheritance Cycle is the best yet! Photo from alagaesia.com.

The third book in the Inheritance Cycle is the best yet! Photo from alagaesia.com.

I have read the first two books in the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. I am just about to finish the third. You may know each individual books by their true names: Eragon, Eldest, and Brisingr.

If you’re thinking of the movie Eragon right now, STOP IT. It was horrible and didn’t live up to the book at all. Seriously guys, read the book. You’ll be hooked on this stuff. It’s technically a children’s literature adventure series, but, like Harry Potter, many adults are now reading it.

Paolini weaves a web of a distant land called Alagaesia, in which dwarves, elves, and humans all live together in sometimes not-so-perfect harmony. Of course, all this comes after the main character, Eragon, finds a dragon egg in the middle of the forest. Little does he know, it holds his destiny. 

So now, three books later, I’m still just as engrossed as I was in the first novel. There are intense battle scenes, colorful characters, and a fantasy world that has sucked me in. Sometimes I even daydream of riding on a dragon…

But here is my beef. The fourth and final book in the series does not have a release date. It doesn’t even have a title or book cover yet. So what I’m thinking is that it won’t come out until some time next year when all the information I’ve read has been lost inside my jumbled brain.

Come on Chris, chop chop! I need to know what happens at the end of the series! The only consolation is that he usually provides you with a little synopsis at the beginning of each novel to let you know what already happened in previous books. Looks like I’m going to have to rely on that!

The most interesting that about the series is that Paolini might well be a genius. He finished writing the first book, Eragon, when he was only fifteen years old. So young for a 760 page book. Kudos, Chris.

You can find out information about the series, the author, and what is to come at Alagaesia.com. But keep in mind that they’re not giving away too much about the series. Brisingr!

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Every time I see a commercial for Quentin Tarantino’s latest movie, Inglourious Basterds, they make a point of showing the same thing: Brad Pitt and ‘killin’ nazis.’ Well, if that doesn’t spark interest, then I don’t know what does.

Brad Pitt addresses his troops in Inglourious Basterds. Photo from sanfranciscosentinel.com.

Brad Pitt addresses his troops in Inglourious Basterds. Photo from sanfranciscosentinel.com.

The movie will open in theaters this week (August 21 to be exact) and I have a feeling that audiences won’t be let down. The cast of this movie, let alone the director, will draw in large crowds for sure.

Brad Pitt. He’s manly, dirty, and wants to kill nazis. It seems to be his whole reason for living — judging from the trailers I’ve watched.  Nonetheless, whatever this actor does always turns out big. He has the incredible talent to pull this off with ease, as he does in many of his other serious roles. At first, I was a little unsure of how he might fit into this movie, but after seeing a little bit more of the previews, my mind has changed.

Mike Myers. Okay, he’s not really suited for such a serious role, is he? He plays a British general. We’ll just have to wait and see how that one turns out.

And of course, anything directed by Quentin Tarantino really gets people to the movie theaters. He’s got such a way of looking at his movies through a camera that many directors lack. He may act like an inglourious basterd sometimes, but the man has talent.

Watch a behind the scenes video “How to Become a Basterd” and meet the cast.

That should hold you over until Friday.

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