27 December 2009

Women Geared Scholarship Empowers & Puts Pro Camera Gear Into Your Hands 36

For most food bloggers, showcasing their food images is a thing of pride and mostly of beauty. People have a love affair with food and photography.

plated desserts 035Throwing scone dough onto the bench.I like polished shots (my pic on upper  left), but I think I get a real kick out of food in action - such as motion blurs from the act of creating scones (my pic on bottom left), or a mixer in a hardcore whirling motion.

The act of creating food, sparks my interest maybe more that tasting it. I love to see the way that true culinarians immerse themselves in their work - it is something very magical, echoed in the expressions and precise movements of their hands and in their body movements.

I acquaint it to a dance. Working in close quarters among a crew in  a commercial kitchen or bake shop, it takes the best choreography,  to make time most efficient and productive.

But when you are able to capture those flashes of  creativity and of proficient knowledge, the outcome of your photos become all that more interesting.

If you are a woman aged 21 yrs or older (regardless of your foodie status) , living in the US, and have ever dreamed of taking your blog or picture taking abilities to the next level - the SOAR! Scholarship from ME KA ROH Photography can do just that.
The three SOAR! recipients will be given thousands of dollars of camera gear, services and mentoring. But throughout the next twelve months, they will also be given something you can’t quantify. They will be given the gift of guided challenge—challenge to CLIMB heights they have never imagined. They will gain strength which will lead to empowerment. When they have made the leaps of risking over and over again, our goal is that they will be empowered to catch the wind. And we will not only witness them take flight, but we will see them SOAR!

Imagine being a winner and having not only pro photography gear put in your hands, but tons of professional software (like photoshop CS4), pro classes and training, mentoring and your own PR - see the whole list of prizes.

For me this would be a dream come true, I would love to delve into professional photography, and have all the expensive tools and be empowered to use them.

There will be 3 grand prize winners chosen on January 1st, 2010. The winners will have an intensive 12 month schedule aimed at sculpting them into photography business pros.

All you need to apply is fill out the application, then submit a 2 minute video on "why you are worthy of receiving the SOAR Scholarship"

You can learn more about contest rules/regulations, by visiting http://www.soarwithmera.com/ .

21 December 2009

Series: Teaching Kids The Value of Money 26

Teaching Kids The Value of Money, Sustainability & Eventually Food Costing. When kids look at food they only see the visual or sensory aspect of foods - the thought that ingredients or that a meal costs something couldn't be furthest from their minds. Children see food as a either a thing of joy, or as a yucky substance to avoid. Even though there are quite strong feelings toward food, children are however for the most part, ready and willing to learn about where the food they eat comes from.

Where to begin?  Lets start with teaching the concept of money. Trying to talk about money right out of the gate might be a little preachy and not quite as interesting. Kids are interested in rhythmic melodies and beats and research shows melodic song improves and stimulates how children's brains absorb knowledge (See: The Mozart Effect). 

Knowing that I was about to bridge this theme, I was thrilled to be able to review and introduce a great video that accomplishes teaching the value of money in a melodic fashion : Munchkin Math: Counting Money.

  • Format: Animated, Color, DVD, NTSC #
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Ages: 3-9yrs
  • Run Time: 22 minutes
  • ASIN: 0979901332
  • Website: http://www.munchkinmath.com/
Wendy Miller, the creator of Munchkin Math, teaches unique rhymes, chants and hand motions to enable a lasting impression while making the subject of money entertaining, with the help of her kid assistants.  The main objective of this DVD is to help build "The Money Worm" using different US coinage, as illustrated on the cover .

My 6yr old , who is really getting into money lately (she got an electronic piggy bank as a present) was very interested in the video - she thought that having the older boy (which I am guessing is 10 yrs old) in the video, was very "cool", and thought learning the songs was fun. She got into the mathmatics - shouting the answers to the screen. The first time she watched the DVD, she was moving with the beat and had learned the words on the 3rd go around. Even my 2 yr old had mustered a decent attention span - enough to point out the quarters & follow along with the narrated ques.


Through rhythmical, visual and kinesthetic cues this video will help your kids absorb the core information - such as US coins - shape, size and values ; Plus math formulas they will use throughout school and life.

It is short enough to interest even the shortest attention spans, keeping kids engaged and entertained.


I found the sound quality very good, but recorded at a very high volume (even louder than most videos) - be prepared to to adjust the volume immediately when hitting play.


If you are looking for ways to educate children aged 3-9 yrs old, about US coinage, while providing a fun and entertaining way for learning, then Munchkin Math: Counting Money is a good DVD to invest in. It will present core math and money skills that will make a lasting impression.

More Teaching Money Resources:

  1. Money Instructor: TEACHING KIDS MONEY SKILLS "We have money worksheets, money lessons, money lesson plans, and interactive money exercises to help". This site is great. There are age appropriate sections for preschool through 10th grade.
  2. Kids.gov: Money - A whole lot of links dedicated to different facets of financial education. Great resources!

Once your children have a basic understanding of coin values, then you can move onto teaching more complicated subjects - such as ingredient or grocery costs. Have some insights into teaching children the value of money? Share them!

Be on the lookout for the next article in this series: Teaching Kids The Value of - Food Sustainability.

18 December 2009

A Foraging We Will Go, Mushroom Hunting in Oregon 82

Here in the Pacific Northwest we are lucky to have such lovely forests, as I mentioned in an early post, I found a mushroom hunter from Eugene, OR - who was interested in guest posting here on Renaissance Culinaire. Please note the orange icons with skull & cross bones, these reference poisonous or un-edible species of mushroom. Here is his post:

Hello, chanterelle hunters! The problem with yellow footed Chanterelles (Hygrophoropsis aurantiacaW) is that when they are plentiful, the price falls.

Everyone with a vehicle is suddenly a Chanterelle hunter. Get 'em while you can, because soon you will not see a chanterelle until next fall. I love hunting chanterelles, but making money with them is hard. When Chanterelles are abundant, more people go picking and the price drops.

For me, mushrooming is not about money. It is about finding those perfect beautiful patches in the forest. Hunting is about finding one chanterelle and then looking around and seeing a hundred more chanterelles. It is a beautiful sight. Hunting is about getting our side in the rain and being active. There are easier pickings in the mushroom patch than chanterelles, but this takes more knowledge.

 In the fall, what  I go after is the Common Meadow Mushroom (Agaricus campestris W -) that grow on lawns and fields. Meadow mushrooms are abundant between rains when the soil humus takes off.

(photo right - credit Lee Norris)

The Meadow Mushroom is listed as choice by the National Autobahn Field manual. The manual says that they grow in late August and September, but I have found meadow mushrooms much later in the season in late September throughout October.

The National Autobahn manual does not say anything about meadow mushrooms growing in rings, but I have seen them growing that way.

Do not confuse the Meadow Mushroom with California Agaricus (Agaricus californicus). Both are similar in appearance but California Agaricus will make you sick.

 (On  left Photo by Lee Norris; Right, Photo  Credit © Fred Stevens)

As you look at the two pictures, the left has older  California Agaricus mushrooms and the picture on the right features a  younger version of California Agaricus - this species  has a very noticible identifier - a ring (looks kind of like a skirt) higher on the stalk (which may appear broken or ragged as the mushroom matures), this is the best indication as to what variety they are. The Meadow Mushroom has a half ring, faint ring or even no ring, where the California Agaricus' ring is much fuller.

The Felt Ring Agaricus (Agaricus hondensis Murr),Yellow-foot Agaricus(Agaricus xanthodermusW)and Western Flat-topped Agaricus(Agaricus meleagris) are other species confusable with the Meadow Mushroom that are poisonous.

Sometimes mushrooms can be identified by the odor, feel and even the mass. Some grow on in fields and lawns and others only in wooded areas. If you go out and identify, you will get to know what they are.

(photo credit Wikipedia)

I like Waxy Caps. (see: Hygrophorus Agaricales W, Hygrocybe coccinea, Hygrophorus chrysodon, Hygrophorus occidentalis). Waxy caps favor colder weather and grow much later in the season. Waxy caps have a slimy cap to the touch and there is no other species confusable with the same cap. Waxy caps are not too tasty, but waxy caps kill my appetite and are good for weight loss. I like to cut up a few waxy caps and put them in scrambled eggs in the morning. I can go until supper without feeling hungry.

(photo credit Wikipedia)

Slippery Jacks (Suillus luteusW) are edible, but their appearance in the field is unappetizing. Slippery Jacks grow mainly later in the season when it is cold and wet. I always think that I will build a dryer and dry a lot of them because they are so abundant. The manual says that you can get diarrhea from eating the slime on the cap, so it is best to peel the skin off after they are dried. I have put dried Slippery Jacks in meatloaf, and they have a sweet taste.

Bon appetite, But do not believe anything I say about wild mushrooms. This article is not meant as a field guide and do not trust anyone else’s word for identification. Years ago, a knowledgeable mushroom hunter died in Eugene. He did so because he trusted the identification ability of one of his students. The student was a knowledgeable hunter who got a   Destroying Angel, a.k.a Death Cap (Amanitaceae Agaricales see: Amanita phalloides , Amanita virosa ) ,a very poisonous species, confused with a Western Lawn Puffball, which is edible. He did not check out what he was eating.

“Know thy mushrooms for thyself!” There are people that know what they are doing with mushrooms but there are also many that think they do. Research your wild mushrooms for yourself, and leave alone what you do not know.

This brings me to the second axiom of mushroom hunting. You can generally trust field manual like the Autobahn Society, for what mushrooms are edible. I say generally but not always. For example, many people really like the Yellow Footed Chanterelle. I am a person that can not eat Chanterelles. If I eat Chanterelles, they will likely come right back up. Go slow with any wild food that you do not know.

By Lee Norris*

Lee Norris can be found contributing on http://www.stimulusbike.com/ and on Helium. His personal website - Sadlebutts Corner is a cycling website.

For More Info On Forgaging - Check Out These Great Guides:
*This article has been edited, formatted and embelished with links & additional pictures by Renaissance Culinaire's Owner. All text & photos, copyright stays with the respective author(s) .

Harvesting, Foraging and Mushrooms - Oh My! Part 3 - Foraging Edible Plants 9

This post references cookbooks,  publications, lectures and industry focused literature - on foraging Edible Plants. I was re-reading a previous post Harvesting, Foraging and Mushrooms - Oh My!, and thought I should split up the Foraging , Truffles & Mushroom Hunting Publication list into 3 posts (Truffles, Mushrooms and Foraging Edible Plants, so that it would be more user friendly. Enjoy!   

Sweet Potato Plant, a Tropical Vine with an Edible Tuberous Root Art Giclee Poster Print, 24x32

Wild Edible Plants Harvest & Identification
Wild Edibles Industry Focused:

Pacific Northwest / West Coast  / North Central  Edible Plants

Mid West - Edible Plants

North East / South East / East Coast - Edible Plants

South West / South - Edible Plants

North America / Canada - Edible Plants

South America


Edible Pants

ASIA / South Pacific / Asia-Pacific

Pacific Islands - Edible Plants

Africa / Middle East - Edible Plants

Type-A Parent New York City Bootcamp (Focus: Brand-Blogger Relations)
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