Friday, April 25, 2014

Happy DNA Day: DNA Day Food and Activity Ideas

Happy DNA Day everyone!!!  Today, April 25th is the day we celebrate the discovery of DNA's double helix structure by James Watson, Francis Crick (and lets not forget Rosalind Franklin!) in April 1953 as well as the completion of the Human Genome Project in April 2003.  Although, they weren't really finished.  We still keep learning fascinating things about ourselves through the study of genetics, and it is more complex than we ever imagined!  

PS. Did you know that if you put all the DNA in your body end to end, it would measure approximately 200 billion kilometers? Sound familiar?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Blueberry Peach Smoothie

I am so glad spring is here!!  Or rather, it was here, then it went away, then it was back, then it snowed, then it was back... I was informed that with the snow this week, Kentucky has had snow seven months in a row!  Snow from Halloween to Easter sounds more like the northern winters I am used to, but hopefully no more winter weather is coming our way.  

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Almond Cake with Almond Amaretto Filling...and (more) R

My second go-around with the statistical program R was, well, a challenge.  I had hoped it would get easier, but the truth is, it is like writing in a totally different language.  I know what I want the program to do, but making it do that involves hours of super frustrating trial and error.  Nonetheless, ten hours later, the homework assignment was completed, and it even worked!  It worked in a such a way that the professor didn't know just how I got it to work and that I had to spend a good hour proving that it worked, but it worked all the same!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Growing Hearts Platter

So...I may have a bit of an obsession with trees as decorations.  You can find them sprinkled around my house--in the living room, the bathroom, the kitchen--you get the idea.  Maybe it has something to do with the hundreds of family trees I have drawn as a genetic counselor over the the way, do you have your family health history recorded?  If not, this is a great tool to do so.  In any case, I was of course drawn to this pattern on one of my recent ceramics endeavors, and I have aptly named this project the Growing Hearts Platter.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Caprese Macaroni & Cheese

So, it's April.  How exactly did this happen?  What happened to March (and February for that matter)?  Someone once told me that time seems to go faster as you get older because a year is a smaller fraction of your life than it was when you are younger.  I now absolutely believe that is true. So, right, April.  Nearly every class assignment that I have this semester is due this month.  Of course, I started off the semester saying that I WAS NOT going to put everything off until the last minute.  I was going to work ahead.  Yeah...right.  

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Italian Crunch Grilled Cheese

Ahh, what a week!  After a 6 year search, I  found curtains for the dining room.  They are just what I have been looking for all this time!  So stay tuned for a dining room make-over...well is it really a make-over if the room is the same as it was when we moved in + dining room table?  In any case, so excited!  Then right after that happened, we ended up seeing the Lego movie and tried out a new restaurant in town during an impromptu date night.  Both excellent!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Pasta with Meat Sauce

Happy Friday!!  This has been a great week!  I am loving the work I am doing at a local health department, the weather is nice (for now), and I have been pottery painting twice!  And let's not forget--it's spring!!  This weekend I hope to get a head start on some crafty things I have been wanting to do.  Should be fun!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Fruit and Chocolate Cereal Bars

It's Spring Break!  Normally, I would be very excited for this little break, but this week I was even more excited because I started my first field practicum for my doctoral program.  I know, nerdy.  But I left my job to finish my degree about 6 months ago now, and I must say that I miss contributing to projects that will be used for something more than just giving me a grade. So, this week instead of sleeping in and being lazy, I have headed off to a local health department, and it has been a great experience!  Well, everything except the 7:30am daily start time. I am definitely  not a morning person...I may or may not have taken a 3+ hour nap today when I got home.  

Saturday, March 15, 2014


I am excited to share with you today one of my favorite recipes--carnitas.  I especially love this recipe because it is a quick and easy crock pot recipe, perfect for those busy days we all have.  Get everything ready and in the crock pot, set it in the morning and come home to some great food (and a house that smells amazing)!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Wreath

Just when I thought spring might be coming our way, Mother Nature throws us yet another "Snowmageddon".  Well, at least that is what the weather men were predicting.  And to be clear, this would be a Southern Snowmagedden...which would be equivalent to a normal winter day in my home state of Pennsylvania.  Turns out we didn't get nearly as much snow and ice as was being predicted, but it was still enough to turn the roads into a mess, especially given that the state was already running low on salt.  The result?  A snow day!!  And I was glad for it as the highways were not plowed at the time I would have had to leave to go to class.  

Ah, what to do on a snow day?  I caught up on some work, and then I made a new wreath!  

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Vanilla Cake with Buttercream Icing...and R

I start this blog post with a statement I never ever thought I would be writing...or saying...or thinking. This week I wrote my first computer program (in R)!! That's right, the girl who used to tell people that her husband did "computer stuff" has written code that actually works, although I'm not really convinced it does anything important. And even more inconceivable is the fact that I LIKED IT. That's right! I liked staring at my computer screen trying not to destroy the computer for the 5 hours it took me to write about 10 lines of code (give me a break people, I'm a beginner). So as to not bore you much more with my nerdiness (and if you want to hear more about that, just ask my brother. He loves to make fun of his nerd sister!), I will keep this short.  I am taking a class in bioinformatics this semester, which deals with methods to organize and analyze the massive amounts of data that come out of genetic studies, and it was our first assignment.  We'll see how the rest of the semester goes.    

Oh, and I also did a pretty good job decorating a really yummy cake!  More on that after the break!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Billy Joel and Brownies

My husband is a huge Billy Joel fan. He has been to now four Billy Joel concerts, including the Billy Joel and Elton John concert, which quite frankly, makes me a little jealous. So when I heard that he was on tour again and coming to our hometown, I knew we would be going! We were lucky enough to get tickets to the concert for Christmas, and headed up to Pittsburgh this past weekend to see the concert with my sister and brother-in-law. Now, I am nowhere near as big of a fan as my husband, but I definitely know and like his music. I must say that this concert was excellent. He sounded great and even added in some humor. My favorite part was during "Piano Man" when I swear every person in the stadium was singing. It was really like no "audience now you sing the song lyrics" I had ever experienced before. It was really pretty cool. And, of course, it was nice to get to spend time with James, my sister and her husband. We always have so much fun together!

I had been wanting to try this red velvet-cookies and cream brownie recipe for a while, so I decided to make and bring them with us to share! This way I got to try a new recipe and could ensure that I would not eat the entire pan (it's been known to happen)! They were definitely a hit!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Butternut Squash and Kale Oven Risotto

I have been trying to incorporate more meatless meals into my weekly dinner planning, and this oven risotto was a great addition.  Packed full of vegetables, it makes for a filling meal that was pretty easy to prepare.  Cooking the dish in the oven eliminates the time spent standing at the stove, slowly adding in liquid to the rice, and stirring incessantly, which was a welcomed change.  It also allowed me to spend more time sitting and watching the Olympics.  Anyone else totally obsessed with the Winter Olympics?  I just love it.  I can't believe they are almost over. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Skinny Fettuccine Alfredo

Hi All! It is mid-February and about time for me to get back on a semi-decent healthy eating plan, or rather, one that allows for a little bit of baking! I am getting a bit of a late start for 2014 because I decided that this year I would not be on a diet for my anniversary, birthday, and Valentine’s Day. I mean, all I wanted for my birthday was a cake (which I did get) rather than the one measly cupcake that I have requested in past years. But now, time to be better (there is a price to pay for that birthday cake, after all). That is why today I am bringing you one of my favorite lightened up recipes—Fettuccine Alfredo.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day, or You are the Machine Gun of Awesomeness

Happy Valentine's Day!  Or, for those people who hate, don't recognize, don't celebrate, etc. Valentine's Day, Happy Friday!  

These Hershey Kiss Rice Krispie Treats are a project that I actually started about a year and two days ago.  Sometimes, I am a great planner, but other times I don't decide to do something until the last minute.  That was the case with these Rice Krispie Treats.  Last year on the day before Valentine's Day, I decided I just had to make these for my coworkers.  Problem was, I didn't have a funnel to use as the mold.  So I proceeded to go to Walmart, Meijer, the gas station, Walgreens, etc. to look for a funnel that was the right shape.  Alas, all I could find were the funnels that were more angular in shape, and those just wouldn't work.  Needless to say, these yummy treats never got made.

Fast forward about 6 months.  I am visiting my mother-in-law, and there happens to be a Wegmans nearby.  We don't have Wegmans here, but that is where I did all my grocery shopping in college, so I was very (probably over-) excited to go.  While browsing the aisles before lunch, low and behold, what do I find but the perfect funnel to mold these Rice Krispie treats!  So this year, I was prepared.

White Chocolate Cookie Butter Muddy Buddies

Cookie Butter.  White Chocolate.  Really, does it get any better than that?  I have wanted to cook with Cookie Butter ever since I started seeing the myriad of recipes showing up on Pinterest using this ingredient, which previously I was more than satisfied eating right out of the jar with a spoon.  Seriously, have you tried this stuff?  If not, you need to stop reading this blog (but come back later), go to Trader Joe's, and get some of this creamy cookie goodness!!

I was lucky to have a jar of this in my house and to keep my husband's spoon out of the jar long enough to finally put it into a recipe.  *Note* all bets were off after the jar was opened, and it is pretty much gone only a few days later.  Anyway, I had also around the same time decided that I wanted to try to make muddy buddies.  It appears that muddy buddies have been popular for quite some time, but I seriously had NEVER heard of them.  However, I was intrigued as it seemed easy to make with a basically unlimited ability to tailor a basic recipe to try new flavor combinations.  So I settled on two of my favorite things, white chocolate and cookie butter.  I was not disappointed.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Deck the Halls Platter

Yes, I know that it is a bit late for Christmas themed posts, but in my defense, I did start this project before Christmas.  It just took a little longer than I thought!  And hey, now it is ready to go for this year.

I only recently started painting pottery, thanks to a close friend and Groupon.  I have been looking for a new hobby for a while, and I have found that this really allows me to clear my mind...and exercise my perfectionist tendencies in a controlled environment!  

Friday, February 7, 2014

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Welcome to my first blog post!  I decided to start my blogging adventure with this recipe because these are absolutely amazing cupcakes!  Enjoy!

Each year for the past few years, I have hosted a Sibling Thanksgiving for my and my husband's siblings and their families.  This was a tradition that I started in order to establish our own traditions and to carve out some time that we could all spend together without having to worry about the rush that often accompanies the holiday season.  Our Thanksgiving never takes place on the actual Thanksgiving Day--sometimes it is the weekend after, and this year we had it in early January. I look forward to this day every year and cherish the time that we get to spend together cooking, drinking, watching football and catching up!