Magpie’s Shiny Things: March 31, 2011

Magpie's Shiny Things

I just realized it’s the last day of the month. Time for another edition of Magpie’s Shiny Things.

The other night I received a friend request on Pioneer Woman’s Tasty Kitchen site, and I’ll never be the same. It was from Paula Jones of bell’alimento. Sigh, swoon, gasp. I think we may be kindred spirits. Love of Italy, love of Italian food, love of Nutella. It’s a match made in heaven. I can’t wait to go bleary-eyed reading every single recipe on her site. The food photography is gorgeous, as well.

Let me whet your appetite just a bit. How about Nutella-filled cinnamon rolls drizzled with cherry glaze? Huh? Huh? In this recipe, she announces a new website called Bella Nutella, dedicated to, you guessed it, Nutella recipes. I’m sobbing! I was under the impression that you couldn’t cook with Nutella. A message on the label says not to microwave it. I carried that warning to the extreme. (Kind of like how my Mom has never cut those tags off her pillows because she thinks the Feds are going to show up at her door.) But I digress. Bell’alimento offers a lot more than just desserts. There are mouth-watering pasta, chicken, beef, pork, vegetable, and seafood dishes, too. Check it out, preferably when you’re not too hungry. 😉

Michael of Sharing a Love of Teaching comes through again with another great post on education. This time it’s The Use of Video in Education and it features Salman Khan’s talk at TED. (I love TED talks!) Khan was a hedge fund analyst who made YouTube videos for his cousins to help them with their homework. Other people found them and used them, and now he has over 2,100 videos posted over at the Khan Academy site. I haven’t looked through all of them, obviously, but if you have kids in school (just about any level) or if you have gone back to school yourself, you might want to check them out. Topics include arithmetic, calculus, biology, chemistry, banking, economics, history, finance, and much more. 

And finally, if you’re in the mood for a heart-tugging read and some beautiful photography, check out Rebecca Mullen’s Altared Spaces blog. She is visiting colleges with her daughter and her latest post explores their relationship, using elements of nature to spotlight the contrasts. See if you can read this one without tearing up.



  1. March 31, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    If you pay me $10,000 I will not tell the FEDS what your mother did with the pillows. This cannot be construed as blackmail or extortion. It is an amicable out of court settlement. Don’t delay either. Cash only.

    • March 31, 2011 at 7:54 pm

      You’ve got nothing over us, Carl. I haven’t seen a pair of scissors any where near those tags for almost 46 years.

  2. March 31, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    Dawg. I was gonna pay off that credit card.

  3. March 31, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    I couldn’t read without tearing up. Why am I so lucky to have a friend who mentions me in her fabulous blog alongside such marvels as Nutella and TED talks? Not to mention that fabulous, colored bird???

    This is the place people are celebrated for being themselves. Can we ask for anything shinier?

  4. huffygirl said,

    March 31, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    A Nutella recipe blog? You must be in Nutella heaven.

    • March 31, 2011 at 10:44 pm

      You know that last jar did me in. But I’m back in my groove again–eating right and jogging again now that the weather has slightly improved. For now, I’ll just read those recipes and drool. Perhaps I’ll pencil my next day of sin on the calendar. Something to look forward to. 😉

  5. Jess Witkins said,

    April 1, 2011 at 1:12 am

    Oooh, nutella filled cherry glaze cinnamon rolls! Drooling in anticipation. I will definitely be checking that recipe. YUM!! So, am I correct in assuming that I can now upgrade my diet from cheetos to bologna to oreos to nutella, and you’ll be ok with that?

    • April 1, 2011 at 7:50 am

      No, I cannot endorse a diet heavy on Nutella. Despite its claims of being a healthy food every kid should eat for breakfast, you just have to read the nutrition label to know there’s nothing healthy about it. First ingredient—sugar. That’s a bad sign. (Apparently, a woman is suing them for their misleading advertising and claims. What a surprise, huh?)

      How about something green in the vegetable family? Broccoli? Spinach? Yum? 😉

      [Full Disclosure: Despite my blog swoons over Nutella, I have eaten only 2 small jars of it in my entire life. I suppose I should mention one of those jars was consumed in a hormonal frenzy over a 24-hour period. It happens. 😐 ]

  6. Melinda said,

    April 1, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    My children are going to love you for the Nutella recipes. They are addicts! I try to only buy it every so often, and they attack it. What an exciting friend request!

  7. Richard said,

    April 1, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    So how’s the struggle with that Nutella addiction going? 😐

    • April 1, 2011 at 6:52 pm

      No worries, Rich. I got sufficiently disgusted with my winter sloth and am back on track–jogging, walking, crunches, and no grains or added sugar. Lost three pounds in 5 days. Yay!!

  8. April 2, 2011 at 8:00 am

    I may be the only person who has never tried Nutella. I’m not a fan of nuts in any way, shape or form and it’s just never tempted me to try it. Cherry cinnamon rolls might change my mind 🙂

    • April 2, 2011 at 2:10 pm

      I’m always curious when someone mentions they dislike an entire category of food. There’s nothing similar about the taste of almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, walnuts. I’m assuming you’ve tried them all and don’t like any of them. Is it a texture issue? Please clarify. 🙂

      • April 2, 2011 at 8:43 pm

        Yes, I’ve tried them all. Cashews are the most tolerable of the bunch to me, but I wouldn’t purposely choose to eat them. It’s not texture and they don’t all taste the same, you’re right, but there is a nutty quality/taste/aftertaste/scent (not sure which or all) that I just don’t care for. Hard to pinpoint because typically if something has nuts in it, I just don’t eat it.

      • April 2, 2011 at 10:50 pm

        Now that we’ve had this discussion, it reminds me that I am guilty of deciding I didn’t like liver–any kind of liver–after several bad experiences as a kid with beef liver. Recently, my dad convinced me to try chopped chicken liver and I admit it wasn’t bad. I don’t think I’ll ever have a raging craving for it though. Something about eating organs that are responsible for filtering toxins out of a body puts me off. Go figure.

        Thanks for coming back to clarify the nut thing. I am so fascinated by the sometimes very different preferences people have when it comes to food. My husband and I have never been able to share meals at a restaurant because we have totally incompatible taste buds. You’d think I have learned after 20 years that when I ask “Hey, you wanna share the octupus salad?” the answer is going to be “Um, no, I’m having the chicken parmigiana.”

  9. Ray Colon said,

    April 2, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Hi Margaret,

    Yes, the TED videos are great and I came across Salman Khan’s videos a while back. I’m an advocate of video tutorials as a supplement to classroom study. As an accountant, I’ve used Microsoft Excel a lot, so over the years I’ve made many tutorials videos to share my knowledge. While my feedback cannot compare to what Khan has experienced, my most popular video has racked up 25,000 views. Occasionally I will receive a note of thanks and that always makes me feel good.


    • April 2, 2011 at 2:16 pm

      Wow, Ray, 25,000 views is impressive, but the note of thanks outweighs it. Thank you notes are becoming rare, it seems. What’s amazing is that someone took the time to write a thank you when they were an anonymous viewer. I would feel good about that, too.

  10. markp427 said,

    April 2, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Jessica is not the only person out there: I have still never tried Nutella, either. One of these days, one of these days. I do love Italian food, though.

    • April 2, 2011 at 2:26 pm

      I love any kind of food, and I am helpless when faced with the power of suggestion. You mention a pastrami sandwich on Monday, I’ll have eaten one by Wednesday. If there’s a discussion about Mallowmars in July, I’m the first one standing in the cookie aisle in October when they resume shipping after the summer. I wonder if there was someone like me in a prehistoric tribe in the past. “Gukajokalee was talking about giant red ants in mosquito sauce and I can’t stop thinking about it.”

  11. April 4, 2011 at 12:35 am

    always enjoy this type of generous kind referral. thanks. will ck them out!

  12. April 5, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    I loved the post on Altared Spaces. It’s beautifully honest and insightful. Thank you for sharing it.

    As for Nutella, I am surrounded by people who say it’s one of their favorite foods. Their eyes glaze over when they talk about it. To me it tastes like chocolate-flavored peanut butter. I’d rather have a Twinkie. In fact, I think I will.

    • April 5, 2011 at 6:09 pm

      Glad you enjoyed the Altared Spaces post. I really like Rebecca’s writing a lot.

      I don’t think hazelnuts taste anything like peanuts. And Twinkies just aren’t what they once were. They taste like chemicals to me. That’s why they have to deep fry them…to disguise the taste. 😉

  13. donotmarryanalien said,

    April 7, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Thank you for posting Khan Academy information!
    I would have written you are a thank-you note, but we are in virtual world, so here you are:


  14. Val Erde said,

    April 8, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Nutella, nutella, wherefor art thou nutella.=? I haven’t had nutella in years. Thank you so much for giving me a craving for it!

  15. April 9, 2011 at 10:41 am

    Everybody knows about Nutella (spellcheck doesn’t like it, and it doesn’t like the word spellcheck either, lol) but me. I still have not seen it in the grocery, although I keep forgetting to look.

    Note to self: FIND and PURCHASE. Figure out if all these people are crazy, or else learn than I’ve been living under a rock for all these years.

    Ok, the rock thing is probably true anyway.

  16. May 15, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Thanks for sharing

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