I Am The Number 25

This is so cool. Pieter T, a talented artist from Canada decided to paint portraits of various people from the photos he gathered online. He painted 25 portraits and posted his last one on the New Year's Eve. I am the number 25.

He gave me a man jaw, but I'm still amazed by the outcome.

The original photo on the right was taken by the talented Cody Bratt for one of the episodes of The Faces Of Gmail.


#1 Christmas Rule

If it ends up in my closet, I don't want it!
I have been struggling with accepting various unattractive pieces of junk my family and friends were giving to me over the years. Since receiving a gift should be a pleasant experience for both the one who gives and the recipient, I could not let the my loved ones know that their gift sucks big and will soon end up at the nearby Goodwill store. This lead to my #1 Christmas rule:

I will gladly accept edible gifts, especially those from various specialty stores.

Mom wonderful mom-in-law sent us a huge box full of goodies from Brad's hometown's Stonewall Kitchen Factory. This is my favorite gift of the year! It won't last long, but it will be remembered.

What is my #2 Christmas rule?

Give me a new experience -- trips, show tickets, day at the spa, or take me on a walk, ride, or a hike.

These kinds of gifts will be remembered and won't be filling up your closet or the city dump. Make these your rules and start enjoying the new experiences your loved ones give you!


3 Ingredient Nut Cookies For The Culinarily Challenged

This one is for the culinarily challenged or those whose memory does not serve that well. All you need to remember is this: 

  • nuts
  • sugar
  • eggs 

To be exact, you need

  • 200 grams (8 oz) walnuts (you can throw in a few hazelnuts if you want)
  • 200 grams (8 oz) powdered sugar
  • egg whites from 4 eggs

Make sure to shred/grate the nuts in a cheese grater or a food processor first. I use my old school German "reibemachine". You also need a double-walled pot. If you don't have a double-walled pot, you can use a regular pot (put about an inch of water at the bottom) with a glass or metal bowl over it. Using this kind of pot will prevent the ingredients from burning.

Wait few minutes until the pot is hot, then add egg whites with sugar and keep whisking for few minutes until bubbles form. Add the nuts and whisk a bit more until well combined.

Scoop the dough onto a non-stick sheet, top with hazelnuts, and bake on a low temperature (265 F) for about 20-30 minutes until the bottoms of the cookies start getting crusty. You are really just drying them up to a desired consistency. You might like them chewy or crunchy. It's up to you.

Share them with friends or keep them all to yourself. I shared mine with a co-worker who took a code compilation monitoring shift for me while I was on vacation.



What Did Petra Do In 2011?

It's easy to forget how many things one can do in 365 days... until you see a year worth of photos. I put together a slideshow of some of the memorable moments I captured on camera. My New Year's resolution is to visit at least as many interesting places and generate at least as many interesting photos as I did in 2011.

Click in the center of a photo to pause a slideshow. Slideshows are chronological.


15 Minute Cheesy Leek Soup From Heaven

I can guarrantee that this cheesy leek soup is the best you ever had. And it only takes fifteen minutes to make. Exactly the kind of recipe I city folk need. Who has time to spend hours in the kitchen, right?

The soup is so good, people literally devour it in seconds. My husband said this is the best dish I have ever made. (He is either right, or he can't remember any other dish I made in the past.)

How to make this cheesy goodness?


  • 1 leek (cut along the long side and then chopped into thin half circles)
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 3-4 Laughing Cow wedges (or 4-6 Mini Babybel cheeses)
  • vegetable bouillon
  • a splash of oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1-2 tea spoons of starch (or 2 tablespoons of flour) 
  • shaved parmesan or any other soup topping you like


  1. Saute onion and leek on a splash of oil and butter.
  2. Add bouillon, cheese, little bit of water, and stir until the cheese and bouillon melt.
  3. Add more water and bring to a boil. Cook for few more minutes (it's a quick soup).
  4. Before the soup is fully cooked, add starch (dissolve it in a splash of water first to avoid lumps). Boil for couple of more minutes until the starch thickens the soup into a desired consistency.
  5. Serve topped with shaved parmesan or croutons.