Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dessert: homemade pudding with pomegrate seeds

We had some milk and cream to use up before we left for vacation, so I made pudding, roughly based on a recipe in Bittman's How to Cook Everything.

Sift together:
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 T cornstarch
- pinch of salt

Whisk together:
- 4 tiny eggs
- 1 1/2 cups dairy (We had 1 cup whole milk + 1/2 cup half-and-half)

Whisk in the sugar mixture, and cook over low heat until thick, about 10 minutes, stirring constantly.

Stir in:
- 1 T butter
- Seeds from one pomegranate

Pour into bowls and refrigerate. Yum!

Flavor-injected rump roast

Scott bought a "flavor injector" (a syringe) at Target the other day. I had my doubts, but now that I've seen it in action, I'm a believer. He filled it with a mustard-anchovy paste mixture and pumped it into our (grass-fed) rump roast, along with some garlic slivers. It cooked quicker than we expected, so it got a little dried out, but it tastes fantastic!

Last night we ate it with broccolini, and tonight we roasted some carrots and parsnips to have on the side. I always forget how good roasted root vegetables are.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Beef stew - with Guinness!

Scott made this for dinner on Saturday, while I was off in Berkeley making cookies with Mavis, Maya and Nia. I came home pretty full (from eating lots of cookies), but I still had space in my belly for this - it's tasty!

Guinness Beef Stew

Serves 6 to 8

Make sure to buy large chunks of stew meat. Trim meat of excess fat, as necessary, and cut into 11/2-inch pieces. Be gentle when stirring in the flour in step 3-the fork-tender beef will fall apart if stirred too aggressively.

4 pounds boneless beef chuck stew meat
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions , chopped
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups Guinness Draught
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate , chopped
2 bay leaves
5 carrots , peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 pound parsnips , peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 1/2 pounds baby red potatoes , scrubbed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

1. Pat beef dry with paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook half of beef until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker insert and repeat with additional 2 teaspoons oil and remaining beef.

2. Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil, onions, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to skillet and cook until onions are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add broth, 1 1/4 cups stout, sugar, thyme, chocolate, and bay leaves and bring to boil, using wooden spoon to scrape up browned bits. Transfer to slow cooker insert.

3. Add carrots, parsnips, and potatoes to slow cooker insert. Cover and cook on low until meat is tender, 9 to 10 hours (or cook on high for 6 to 7 hours). Set slow cooker to high. Whisk flour and remaining 1/4 cup beer until smooth, then stir mixture into slow cooker. Cook, covered, until sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Stir in parsley, season with salt and pepper, and discard bay leaf. Serve.

Make Ahead: You can prepare the recipe through step 2 the night before the ingredients go into the slow cooker. Refrigerate the browned beef and the onion mixture in separate containers. In the morning, transfer the beef and the onion mixture to the slow cooker and proceed with step 3.

Heads up

FYI - This blog is about to get more kitchen-y. I'm going to use it as a repository for our dinner recipes/concoctions, and I'm no longer automatically exporting posts to Facebook or Google Buzz.

Update on Mr. Mini

From my weekly pregnancy email (23 weeks!):
Turn on the radio and sway to the music. With her sense of movement well developed by now, your baby can feel you dance. And now that she's more than 11 inches long and weighs just over a pound (about as much as a large mango), you may be able to see her squirm underneath your clothes. Blood vessels in her lungs are developing to prepare for breathing, and the sounds that your baby's increasingly keen ears pick up are preparing her for entry into the outside world. Loud noises that become familiar now — such as your dog barking or the roar of the vacuum cleaner — probably won't faze her when she hears them outside the womb.

Translation - Mini McNiven loves kipping pull-ups and won't be fazed by the sound of loaded barbells crashing to the floor.

In other news, Scott and I picked out a first name for our little boy, but we're keeping it a secret until he's born. We still need to settle on a middle name, and we should have a girl's name in our back pocket for the slim chance that our ultrasound was misinterpreted!

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Spent the day in Berkeley, at the 5th annual cookie baking party with Mavis, Maya and Nia.

I made Earl Grey cookies, which were pretty good, and someone else made lemon cornmeal black pepper cookies, which were really really good!

Earl Grey Tea Cookies

Yield: Makes 6 dozen


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Earl Grey tea leaves, from approximately 6 tea bags
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces


Heat oven to 375° F. Pulse together all the dry ingredients in a food processor until the tea leaves are pulverized.

Add the vanilla, 1 teaspoon water, and the butter. Pulse together until a dough is formed. Divide the dough in half. Place each half on a sheet of plastic wrap and roll into a 12-inch log, about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap and chill for 30 minutes. Slice each log into disks, 1/3 inch thick. Place on parchment- or foil-lined baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake until the edges are just brown, about 12 minutes. Let cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks.

Nancy Myers, Real Simple, MAY 2005

Lemon-Black Pepper Cornmeal Cookies

Epicurious | May 2001

by Lori Longbotham

Luscious Lemon Desserts

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 teaspoon fresh, coarsely ground black pepper (optional)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 large egg yolks

  • 1. Whisk the flour, cornmeal, black pepper, if using, and salt together in a medium bowl.

    2. Beat the butter, sugar, and zest in a medium bowl with an electric mixer, beginning on low speed and increasing to medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and beat to combine well. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture, and beat on low speed just until blended; the dough will be crumbly.

    3. Press the dough together with your hands and divide it in half. Place each half on a sheet of wax paper and form each piece into a 10-by-1 1/4-inch log. Smooth each log with dampened fingers. Chill the logs, wrapped in wax paper, for at least 3 hours, or until firm.

    4. At least 25 minutes before baking, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter 2 large nonstick baking sheets.

    5. Cut each log into 1/4-inch-thick rounds and arrange the rounds 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, for 10 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are golden brown. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

    Wednesday, October 27, 2010

    Black bean & butternut chili... gone Hawaiian.

    I just made a batch of black bean and butternut chili for tonight's potluck party. (Recipe below.) As usual, a few modifications were required.

    1. The recipe comes from a vegan cookbook, and I figured I could improve it by adding a pound of bacon ends we got from the meat lab last week. In went the ham with the onions.

    2. Replace butternut squash with acorn squash. There aren't any squash chunks, but it gives a nice velvety texture.

    3. The recipe calls for apple juice, which we didn't have. We did have a 6 oz. can of pineapple juice that I grabbed from the Safeway-sponsored lane of the half marathon Finisher's Village bonanza. I figured the pineapple juice would be a little sweeter, but otherwise an innocuous substitution.

    Turns out that adding pineapple flavor to something with ham instantly reminds me of Hawaiian pizza (which used to be my favorite kind). It's a little odd, but I'm a big fan!

    Here's the original recipe, brought to me this week from Lynn Rossetto Casper's Weeknight Kitchen email.


    Reprinted with[out!] permission from Party Vegan: Fabulous, Fun Food for Every Occasion by Robin Robertson (John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2010). Copyright © 2010 by Robin Robertson.
    Makes 4 to 6 servings

    Halloween colors play out deliciously in this flavorful chili made with black beans and diced butternut squash.

    1 small butternut squash, peeled, halved, and seeded
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
    1 medium carrot, finely chopped
    1 medium orange bell pepper, coarsely chopped (optional)
    1 14.5-ounce can crushed tomatoes
    2 tablespoons tomato paste
    4 cups cooked or 3 (15.5-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
    1 chipotle chile in adobo, minced
    1 cup apple juice
    3 tablespoons chili powder
    1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
    1/2 teaspoon sugar
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Cut the squash into 1/4-inch dice and set aside. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the squash, onion, carrot, and bell pepper, if using. Cover and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.

    Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, beans, and chipotle. Stir in the apple juice, chili powder, allspice, sugar, and salt and black pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer, covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    Uncover and simmer about 10 minutes longer. Serve immediately. If not using right away, bring to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 weeks, then thaw before reheating.

    Friday, October 15, 2010

    "On Punctuation" by Elizabeth Austen

    This is from today's Writer's Almanac. I actually really like the formality of good punctuation, but this is a fantastic poem nonetheless!

    On Punctuation
    by Elizabeth Austen

    not for me the dogma of the period
    preaching order and a sure conclusion
    and no not for me the prissy
    formality or tight-lipped fence
    of the colon and as for the semi-
    colon call it what it is
    a period slumming
    with the commas
    a poser at the bar
    feigning liberation with one hand
    tightening the leash with the other
    oh give me the headlong run-on
    fragment dangling its feet
    over the edge give me the sly
    comma with its come-hither
    wave teasing all the characters
    on either side give me ellipses
    not just a gang of periods
    a trail of possibilities
    or give me the sweet interrupting dash
    the running leaping joining dash all the voices
    gleeing out over one another
    oh if I must
    give me the YIPPEE
    of the exclamation point
    give me give me the curling
    cupping curve mounting the period
    with voluptuous uncertainty

    "On Punctuation" by Elizabeth Austen, from The Girl Who Goes Alone. © Floating Bridge Press, 2010.

    Monday, September 13, 2010

    Good news - I'm healthy!

    Scott and I recently got the results from our blood work. I admit, I was a little nervous to see my cholesterol levels. After all, we eat a very high fat diet - especially saturated fat.

    Happily, my cholesterol levels look great. My HDL is actually four points
    higher than my LDL (74 versus 70 mg/dL), and my total:HDL ratio is 2.2:1. (5:1 is considered good, and 3.5:1 is ideal, so 2.2 is beyond ideal.) Scott's numbers are darn good too.

    I know that our diet and exercise regimen isn't for everyone, but it sure seems to be working for us. Here's a quick write-up of how we eat and play.
    • No grains or sugar. We don't eat any grains at home, and we mostly avoid them when we're out (exceptions being a slice or two of pizza, which I can't resist, and home-cooked meals at friends' houses). We hardly ever eat sugar at home (including agave nectar and honey). We do eat a little dark chocolate most evenings.
    • Lots of non-starchy produce. We eat a lot of vegetables and try to stick to the less-starchy ones. (More leafy greens, fewer potatoes.) I usually have one serving of fruit each day.
    • Lots of saturated fat: plenty of fatty cuts of meat (and bacon and sausage) and around two eggs per day. When we sauté things, we use animal fat that we've rendered. Sometimes we use coconut oil & flour, and we enjoy our avocados.
    • Full-fat dairy (which means yet more saturated fat), mostly its fermented forms: yogurt and cheese. Scott is religious about full-fat dairy, and I'm glad - it's so much tastier. We use whole milk to make our own yogurt and eat about a gallon each week between the two of us.
    • MUFAs (monounsaturated fatty acids), mostly in the form of almonds, olives and olive oil.
    • Fish: a can of sardines (or tuna) is one of my favorite snacks. I buy them packed in water, since the oil-packed variety uses soy oil, which is almost all omega-6. We eat seafood once or twice a week for dinner.
    • Lots of fermented foods: yogurt, kim chi, sauerkraut, kombucha, soy sauce, miso, fermented tofu, fermented anchovy juice... Asian groceries are a great source for these things. I think these foods are really good for gut and immune system health.
    • A few supplements: 2400 mg of fish oil (omega-3s) and 1000 IUs of vitamin D3 with dinner each night.
    • CrossFit: We get in a good, hard (not necessarily lengthy) workout at least four times a week. And, of course, since we live in Davis, we mostly bike or walk instead of drive.

    Changes ahead. We like our habits, but there's always room for improvement!
    • Higher quality meat, eggs and dairy. We're going to rely less on the UC Davis meat lab for our meat and eggs and opt for 100% grass fed options. We started buying organic milk instead of the grocery store brand. Not sure yet if we'll go all the way to buying grass-fed milk... it's expensive, but it's healthier.
    • More intermittent fasting: we weren't fasting very much over the summer, but we're getting back into it now. There are tons of ways to do it. What works for us is an 18-hour fast followed by a 6-hour eating window. For example, I fasted from 8pm last night until 2pm today. I had a snack at 2pm, a big meal at 4:30, and I'll have another small meal around 7:30.
    • More standing: Scott bought a desk that's high enough for us to stand up at while working. It requires more energy than sitting, but it's definitely better than sitting slumped on the couch for hours each day.

    Let me know if you have questions - I'm happy to send you resources, references and more information.

    Wednesday, July 07, 2010

    Last missive from the eastern hemisphere

    Saw the Terra cotta warriors in Xi'an. Super awesome. Also saw a tomb
    filled with thousands of Tera cotta barnyard animals - goats, sheep,
    cows, chickens, dogs, pigs AND piglets. Really cool. Xi'an is also
    home to a thriving Muslim population, so we checked out one of the
    biggest mosques in China (the minaret is a pagoda) and wandering
    through the neighborhood.

    Took the night train to Shanghai and spent yesterday afternoon in an
    artsy-fartsy gallery neighborhood in the French Concession. Amazing
    seafood dinner, with fish, prawns and two completely unidentifiable
    sea creatures. Sad to be leaving this country!

    Saturday, July 03, 2010

    Last day in Peking. Smog creeping back.

    Spent the morning at the Summer Palace, which wasn't quite as overrun
    with tourists as yesterday's attractions. We're taking a night train
    to Xi'an, looking forward to leaving the big city behind.

    Realized today that we're missing Potlatch this weekend. A tinge of
    regret... Hope everyone is having a great time up there!

    Friday, July 02, 2010

    Lamb testicles for dinner tonight

    Very tender! Also had pumpkin balls, and fried hawthorne.

    Spent the day at Tianamen Square (which is vast) and at the Forbidden
    City (which is great, but very hot and crowded today, so it was pretty
    draining). Blue sky today! Yay! And no sunburn!

    Thursday, July 01, 2010

    Great Wall, great neighborhood, great dinner

    The wall is as big as everyone says it is. Fairly astounding. Sadly,
    we had a rainy day, so the vistas were of pure fog.

    We got dropped off in the 798 Art District, which is sort of like
    Beijing's SoHo. Not quite as bustling, but a fun, young, hip
    neighborhood. We nosed around galleries and drank expensive espresso
    for the afternoon, then dined on sea cucumbers, pickled duck, sort of
    a savory Jell-O dish, scallion pancake (quesadilla minus cheese) and
    dried tofu wrapped around raw veggies dipped in a great black bean

    The rain cleared up a lot of the smog in the city, so we actually got
    a sense of the skyline today! Yesterday it was too hazy to see more
    than a few blocks away. This place is huge. Huge! It's about the same
    size as Belgium, in fact.

    Wednesday, June 30, 2010

    Safe arrival in Beijing

    - We left the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen and arrived the
    smoggiest city I'veever seen. But it's good to be here. Phi Phi Island
    was ridiculously relaxing, but we pretty much ran out of things to do,
    especially when some heavy rain came our way. I read "A Fine Balance"
    (it's SO good!), went snorkeling and ate lots of seafood.

    - Tonight we ate duck gizzard (or was it goose?), jellyfish, and a
    huge pot of mushrooms. Thai food is tasty, but Chinese food is
    definitely more interesting and, in my opinion, preferable.

    - Great Wall tomorrow, then some sights around town.

    Thursday, June 24, 2010

    Halfway through the honeymoon!

    Stuff we've seen so far...

    Shanghai and the World Expo, which is ginormous. Tasty treat: bullfrog soup.

    Suzhou, the Venice of the East.

    Lijiang, winding cobbled streets and canals. Rode horses, ate dragonflies.

    Shangri La: caught the annual horse racing festival (we didn't ride
    this time) and experienced how thin the air is 3miles above sea level.
    Very, very thin.

    Siem Reap: fulfilled Scott's childhood dream of visiting Angkor Wat,
    which is truly awesome. Got "Dr. Fish" massages, where you stick your
    feet in an aquarium and let tiny fish nibble away the dead skin. It's
    fun, and it's fun to see the expressions of the tourists who walk by.
    Ate crickets.

    Bangkok: vies with Naples for the most hectic city I've visited. We
    visited some sites this morning, ate some good street food
    (mealworms!), then relaxed near our hotel with Swedish & foot massages
    ($7/hr) and drinks and free wifi, sans the Great Firewall of China,
    which blocks Twitter, Facebook, and Blogger.

    Headed to the beach tomorrow (Ko Phi Phi or Railay) for a few days of
    lounging, then on to Beijing.

    Saturday, May 01, 2010

    Happy May Day!

    Such a good day.
    Quilted for a few hours first thing in the morning, listening to Weekend Edition. Studied for next week's midterm. Ate sardines for lunch. Read Einstein's God for a bit on the hammock, and then dozed (but it's a good book! Not boring!). Tossed with Max, Alex & Bryce in a sunny park. Got a good, hard CrossFit workout in with Maiya, Melinda & company. Just finished a dinner of liver and roasted cabbage & daikon, listening to This American Life. Scott is due home from Santa Cruz in a few hours - my day will be complete.

    Friday, April 30, 2010

    I love Radiolab

    I've been listening to a bunch of podcasts lately and have become a huge fan of Radiolab, from WNYC. A lot like This American Life, where each show has a theme and an eclectic mix of subtopics.

    Here's their homepage:
    So far, my favorite shows are:
    The Bus Stop (March 23)
    Limits (April 5)
    In C (December 14)
    And there are a bunch of really neat ones on animal minds as well.

    Monday, April 26, 2010

    Salmon (Mackerel) pea (beet green) Quiche

    One of my most prized wedding gifts is a pair of cookbooks: Cooking in Minnesota and More Cooking in Minnesota, published in 1975 and 1983, respectively. They're out of print, so finding good used copies can be a real treasure hunt. And treasured they are: I grew up on these recipes.

    Tonight, I opened up MCiM to page 77: Salmon Quiche. It calls for a pie crust, salmon, dill, evaporated milk and frozen peas. We substituted a potato crust, leftover mackerel from last night's dinner, fresh mint, leftover coconut milk, and some wilting beet greens. It's still in the oven, but I think it will be good!

    Also, I made this orange and olive oil ice cream for Scott last night, and it was incredible. Highly recommended. I think it would be a great flavor profile for custard as well... I tried baking some of the cream mixture that wouldn't fit into the ice cream ball, but I think it wasn't eggy enough to stabilize. I'll definitely try again!

    Monday, April 19, 2010

    What I'm drinking

    Thoroughly enjoying tonight's dessert smoothie. It contains:
    • 1 cup of whey (I strained a recent batch of yogurt to make yogurt "cheese" and saved the liquid whey)
    • 4 raw swiss chard leaves (with stalks!) from our miniature chard jungle in the garden
    • some fresh mint leaves, the big ugly ones from the bottom of the stems
    • a 3-inch chunk of frozen banana
    • 5 frozen strawberries
    • cinnamon - maybe a half teaspoon?
    It is a lovely smoothie. Bright green. Minty, tangy, velvety, with a hint of strawberry sweetness.

    Sunday, March 21, 2010

    Out of the woods!

    Winter quarter officially ended on Friday at 3pm, when I finished my final final (Animal Biochemistry and Metabolism). The last month has been a little hectic - mostly because I had to learn a lot about vitamins in a short amount of time, but also because of some fun things:

    A trip to Portland to visit my parents, brother, his g.f. Bri, and my cousin-once-removed Kay. Beautiful sunny weather, a big family breakfast on Saturday morning Chez Kay, some modern art, a Japanese garden, a delicious Lebanese dinner, a gorgeous service at First Presbyterian, a trip to Oregon City (the western terminus of the Oregon Trail) and plenty of quality time with the fam. Nothing like cramming six adults into a tiny rental car!

    Some great performances at the Mondavi Center: Les Ballets Trockadero (hilarious & unexpectedly graceful), Joshua Bell (gorgeous tone & good selections of modern music) and Del McCoury (infectious).

    Our semi-anniversary! Six months down. Many, many, many more to go.

    Lots of quality study time with my classmates. The work gets stressful, but I've really enjoyed bonding with my classmates this quarter.

    Settling into spring break now. Scott's parents are here for a laid-back visit. We'll do some hiking and see some local attractions (like an alpaca farm!) but it's pretty nice to sit around and chat and not have too much of an agenda. We welcomed them in last night with a big batch of fish head soup.

    1 enormous fish head (5 pounds?) from the Sac farmers market
    Random vegetables - we had onions, cabbage, mustard greens and dried black fungus on hand
    Salt, soy sauce, fish sauce, pepper, etc.
    Tamarind paste - this is the most important ingredient after the fish head. It adds a nice sourness.
    I added a little kim chi to my bowl.

    We threw everything in our stock pot and let it boil for an hour or two. Amazing how much meat (and other stuff) came out of the head. The bones all fell apart, and we ended up picking them out of our spoons & mouths - not the most elegant dining, but delicious!

    Thursday, February 04, 2010

    The Surprise Adventure Date recap

    One of Scott's Christmas presents from me this year was a "Surprise Adventure Date." It's reminiscent of the time he gave me the board game version of "Battlestar Galactica" - more appreciated by the giver than the receiver. But he dutifully kept free the weekend of January 30 and gamely helped keep the destination secret. (I'm terrible at secret-keeping, but he kindly refrained from asking me anything about it.) He correctly guessed it, but at least he didn't tell me!

    I rented snowshoes & bought tire chains between classes. And I made picnic food: hard-boiled eggs seasoned with soy sauce and ginger, and ground-up walnuts and apricots mixed with a little cocoa powder and rum - an excellent alternative to those all-natural energy bars.

    We packed up the car in the morning, arrived at Castle Peak, just off I-80, by 10:30. The trail was crowded with several large groups, and the skies were crowded with clouds. We kept thinking of things we'd forgotten, like a compass and a camera. But we forged ahead, left the other groups in the dust, and got to the peak precisely at noon. Winded, given the steep slope and unfamiliar altitude (9100'), and windblown. We hunkered down on the lee side of a rock and ate our eggs and walnut paste. Practically no visibility, so we couldn't enjoy the view, but the fog did lend a nice air of remoteness. We could have been anywhere on Earth.

    View of Castle Peak

    Easy tromp back down the mountain, some meandering through a meadow, then back to the Saab to find our night's lodging... in Nevada! A friend of mine generously offered to let us stay at his family's cabin, which happens to have a superb view of Lake Tahoe. We rolled in around 3pm, stripped off wet layers and promptly made dinner, which we ate while watching the sun set over the lake. (1st course: sausages and brussels sprouts. 2nd course: raclette cheese melted over sliced apples - a dish we coined Swiss Nachos.)

    Between courses, we played our favorite card game and idly planned our summer honeymoon by reading the Asia chapter of "1,000 Places to See Before You Die." China? India? Vietnam? Thailand? It's going to be hard to whittle down the options. We went to bed embarrassingly early. Scott is still jet-lagged from Uganda, so at least he has an excuse.

    View from the cabin.

    Sunday: woke up just in time to see the sun rise. Cleaned up, packed up, dug the Saab out of its parking spot, hit the road. We were planning to hike to some lakes near Big Bend, but we couldn't quite figure out the trailhead, and I was starting to get nervous about a large midterm I had on Monday morning (All About Minerals!), so we just returned to Davis.

    Study, study, study... then a lovely study break that involved walking to buy the Lonely Planet China guidebook, stopping for pizza and beer, and then including a frozen yogurt stop as long as we were out and it was still technically a Surprise Adventure Date Weekend.

    Well, not a surprise. And not a spine-tingling adventure. But refreshing and romantic all the same, which was the primary purpose.

    Saturday, January 23, 2010

    Ran across this music and am enjoying it...

    Monday, January 18, 2010

    Wedding photos!

    It took me a while, but I finally have some wedding photos online!
    Wedding 090905

    Home from beautiful Santa Monica

    Just got home from a quick trip to Santa Monica. Flew down on Friday night (hooray for cheap Southwest tickets!), and Julie picked me up and whisked me home. Leisurely morning with her and Michael and then a nice 30-minute walk to the beach for the ultimate tournament (Lei Out). Perfect weather - t-shirt and skirt weather, not too hot, not too windy. We lost all four games but didn't worry too much about it. I'd forgotten how good it feels to play on soft sand under a warm sun. A few of us jumped in the Pacific afterwards - big waves, setting sun - hard to beat. Went out for amazing kimchi quesadillas for dinner. Spent the night with J&M again. Watched Up in the Air before bed - liked it, especially with the un-perfect ending.

    Sunday morning started with oatmeal a la Julie, and some modeling of a vintage dress she's thinking of wearing for her wedding. Walked to the beach, played three games and won one of them! Another jump in the ocean, then off to Melody's parents' house for a very Swiss evening. The highlight was a dinner of raclette - slabs of special cheese, melted on a special grill and served with special sides (boiled potatoes, pickles, radishes, sausage & salami). The wine flowed generously and the traditional mountain music (yodeling!) rang out loud and clear.

    Up early this morning to catch a flight home. Tough to come home to a cold, empty apartment. The dreary weather didn't help. I spent the afternoon putting our wedding photos in an album, and I got to go for a nice sunset walk in the afternoon when the skies finally cleared up. And I got to catch up with Scott - he presented some of his research at a conference in Capetown on Saturday and said he got great feedback and generally had a nice time down there. He keeps talking about how beautiful it is there. He's back in Kampala now for one more week. It's going to be a long week for both of us.

    Sunday, January 10, 2010

    One of my resolutions is to post here more frequently - at least once a week. Here goes.

    1. Winter break was awesome.
    • We spent a week in Florida with Scott's family - lots of old family photos and stories - good stuff. I feel like I have a much better context for Becky's side of the family now. We got to see a bunch of cool animals too, both at the zoo and in the wild!
    • We spent a week and a half in Duluth with my family - lots of snow! We got a big blizzard that started on Christmas Eve day and continued through the 25th.

    2. Winter quarter is off to a solid start... academically speaking.
    • Once again, I have Animal Biochemistry and Metabolism at eight o'clock in the morning, five days a week. Part of me is really bored of this class, and part of me really likes the routine. Calvert is a fantastic professor.
    • I haven't made up my mind yet about this quarter's nutrition core course: Vitamins and Minerals. This week we should get some material to sink our teeth into.
    • I'm pumped for Lipids with Dr. German. His passion for this stuff is palpable and infectious.
    • News on thesis research (involving gut microbes) coming soon, I hope.
    • I'm already starting to prepare med school application materials. (I won't actually turn in the application until June 2010, and I won't start school until fall 2011.) A long road, but it feels good to be on it.

    3. The January downer is that Scott is off in Uganda. Fortunately:
    • We get to talk nearly every day.
    • He'll be back on the 24th. This trip is only three weeks, two weeks shorter than his trip in May.
    • He's doing well, and it sounds like his research is going as well as can be expected.
    • He's in Capetown this week for a conference, and he says the place is gorgeous! Glad he gets to have a little fun while he's over there.

    4. Recent kitchen adventures:
    • Last night: fried liver and onions. I soaked the liver slices in milk before frying them, which mitigated their potency a bit. The fried onions were great!
    • This afternoon: almond flour biscuits. In support of my efforts to eat fewer sugars and cereal grains, Scott gave me almond flour, coconut flour & appropriate cookbooks for Christmas. The biscuits were my first recipe. Not what I was expecting (more scones than biscuits) but not bad. Recipe needs some "jazzing up," as a Minnesotan would say. Ketchup?
    • Tonight: roast cabbage - very tasty! The recipe called for laying a strip of bacon over each cabbage wedge. Having no bacon, I roasted it with olive oil and then dipped it in my leftover homemade baconnaise. Very delicious.

    5. Happy new year!