Happy weekend, friends! I'm in the final days of vacation (back to work on Monday), as is Mr Official Taster. It's also a certain husband's birthday on Sunday! As usual, I'm more excited than he is (he's not that into birthdays. I don't understand). His big birthday present came into our lives last month (a new PS4), so this weekend will be pretty low key. He hasn't mentioned a pcake yet this year, but I also haven't come up with a new and brilliant idea. Yet. Pinterest stalking here I come.
I'm back on the west coast after a nice trip east. I had the chance to see both some friends and some family, as well as avoid the heat wave that was happening out here. One of my favorite couples took me to Chanticleer Garden. For those of you in the Philadelphia region, it's definitely worth a visit. It's yet another estate that's been turned into a public garden, and it's really lovely. It much less informal than places like Longwood or Filoli - they even let you walk on the grass. You can spend the afternoon there, and even picnics are ok.
Meet Monkey! She does not live at Chanticleer, but rather at my friends' house. Monkey is surprisingly amenable to being picked up, though I suspect she's just gotten used to it since she doesn't really have a choice in the matter. I learned that chickens are surprisingly soft!
By now you have probably heard that the Nobel Peace Prize went to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai, who both do really important work. I think it was a stroke of brilliance to split the prize this way, as Malala's fame helps shine a light on Kailash's noble work. Malala was on with John Stewart last year as part of her book tour, and the way she speaks and her courage gave me chills. Go watch - even if it's just the first part, you won't regret it.
Colorado, what are you doing?!
The University of Illinois has put together a comprehensive stain removal guide, which seems like one of those handy bookmarks.
Some community colleges are trying something new - avoiding the dreaded remedial algebra classes in favor of what turn out to be higher level math classes. Students enrolled in these pilot programs have a much greater graduation rate.
A smart op-ed in from The New York Times on the diversity of Islam
In case you didn't fully realize it, what with the pumpkin everything that's out there, some lovely photos of fall color.
In a shameless plug, have you tried my pumpkin chili? There are actual (and delicious) chunks of pumpkin in it.
From The Kitchn, 5 ways to make your jack-o-lantern last longer.
If you're wondering, 7 strange questions that help you find your life purpose.
What children's' breakfasts around the world look like.
How to preserve roasted sweet peppers and herbs in olive oil.
Numi Tea, which I love, is running an Instagram fund-raiser/prize drawing. All you have to do is tag a photo with hashtag #4H2OPE and they donate $1 to @charitywater. (Numi has no idea who I am. I just find their tea delicious)
From the Center for Food Safety, info and an app that helps you avoid GMOs.
It turns out that not only do we have GMOs to worry about, now there is synthetically modified food to sort out.
A splurge or scrimp restaurant edition to help you choose when to go out and when to make your own.
A conversation about the best non-tofu vegetarian meal ideas for the holidays.
Looking for more great reads? Find more editions of weekend reading here.