Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Me! A-Z

Read this survey on a friend's blog and thought it would be fun to do, as well as a way to let people know a little more about me as a person.

A is for age:  I am currently 25 (A whole quarter of a century, wow!)
Taken from
B is for breakfast today: Today I had a bowl of Basic 4 with cranberries and raisins, mmmmm.  Never thought I would like a bran flake cereal, but this is seriously delicious.

C is for currently craving: Chocolate...almost always this will be the answer...but now that I am seriously thinking about it--crab rangoons.

D is for dinner tonight: I am going to create my own recipe for a spicy corn chowder (without the help of a recipe) and maybe bake a loaf of bread to go with it.

E is for favorite type of exercise: I love to dance.  However, I have recently discovered a love for vinyasa yoga.

F is for an irrational fear: I have a few of these.  My most irrational (and terrifying) fear is that an insect or arachnid will lay eggs in my skin and they will hatch out...gross, right?! My skin is shivering every time I think about it.

G is for gross food: I hate things with gross textures...I think my least favorite thing to date might be all variations of grits, just the thought of them makes my lip curl in disgust.
H is for hometown: Indiana born and raised.

I is for something important:  My family is the most important thing to me (this includes married-in family and my kittens).

J is for current favorite jam: I actually loathe both jam and jelly and preserves...anything in that family really, I am fairly certain it is the texture.  I have never liked them (even as a kid I did NOT eat PB&J).

K is for kids: My cats are my least that is what some would say.  I might agree with them.  I like to play with them and spoil them, and I love them to pieces.  I am going to be a mess when they get old.  But other than that: I like children, they are definitely adorable and say the sweetest things.  I do not have any children, but I have nieces who light up my life and crack me up.  I miss them. 
My babies
L is for current location: East Coast

M is for the most recent way you spent money:  I spent money on lunch this afternoon, but that is so boring.  My last big purchase was bus tickets to NYC for St. Patrick's Day to visit my brother!
My brother and I out for lunch and drinks on St. Patrick's Day

N is for something you need: I need a kitten...ok, not really but I really want one.  I would particularly like a floppy-eared kitten.
Reblogged from bewbies
 O is for occupation: I am a entomology research technologist at a major university.  I manage the undergrads, the inventory, and I do research related to caterpillars.
(Lymantria dispar) ©Pawel Bieniewski
 P is for pet peeve: I hate, hate, HATE when people make mouth noises when they eat...enough said.

Q is for a quote: "What would a rose with all her pride be worth, were there no sun to call her brightness forth?" --Regina Spektor

R is for random fact about you:  When I find a recipe for something, no matter what it is...I never make it that way.  I always change something.  I also like to invent my own recipes.

S is for favorite healthy snack: I love pear flavored yogurt!

T is for favorite treat: I like to occasionally be able to sit down, watch a television show or movie, and drink a glass of wine or a white russian when I get the chance.

U is for something that makes you unique:  I often talk to myself and my cats...I don't expect them to answer but I completely have conversations--it sometimes helps me to multitask as well as organize things.

V is for favorite vegetable:  I love onions!  They make everything better (well, okay pretty much everything)!

W is for today’s workout:  Today I walked across campus, carrying a liquid nitrogen dewar...I know, not that epic but I have a badly twisted ankle :(

X is for X-rays you’ve had:  I have had numerous X-rays: lots for the dentist to check tooth health, several when I hit my head, several when I had stress fractures in my shin and when I have twisted ankles badly (yes, this is an unfortunate habit), when I was in a car accident in high school, and now every time I get TB tests because I have been exposed to it so I always test positive to the poke test they do.

Y is for yesterday’s highlight: Being home with my husband, after being away in NYC for four days.

Z is for your time zone: Eastern

What about you?  Answer the A-Z about you!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Quick, Easy, No-mess Banana Bread!

Sorry I did not get to post last weekend or yesterday, things have been busy!  Last weekend my sister and her boyfriend came to visit, there will be a future post about that as soon as I have pictures up!  And this weekend Thomas and I had a full weekend with friends playing games, going to a potluck, and going to a winery to do wine tasting today!  But on to my post for today.

I have found a love, and a knack, for baking since I moved to PA.  I like to share what I bake with other people (labmates, friends, whoever will eat what I bake).  There's something I really enjoy about looking at a recipe, changing the heck out of it (yup, I am one of those people), and then giving it a whirl.  The first thing I learned to make is banana bread.  The first step in baking/cooking is this...fill your sink with hot soapy water and put all your dishes that have not been done in it!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees (by the time you get used to this recipe you will be done mixing ingredients before your oven is at temperature!).

Line a loaf pan with aluminum foil (great because you do not have to clean the loaf pan and you have a wrapping for your loaf when it is done!).

Next, have a recipe to work from (if you're that kind of person-I only write down recipes once I have doctored them and am happy with the result).

Gather all your ingredients and utensils (as you finish with dishes, measuring cups, bowls, etc. just drop them in the sinkful of soapy water).

Wet ingredients
Dry ingredients
Then I toss the butter in a largish mixing bowl and microwave it to soften it (it is so much easier than waiting and I think it gives the bread a better texture).  After the butter is liquid (usually 1.5 minutes in the microwave will do it), put in the bananas and smash with a potato masher, add the eggs and sugar and mix well.

This is what it should look like.
Next put all your dry ingredients in a separate bowl and then mix them well.  Then gradually add your dry mixture to the wet and stir until well-blended.  Then add whatever extras you like: I like semisweet chocolate chips (one of my friends made it with espresso-chocolate chips and walnuts and it was amazing).

Almost there!
Pour the batter into your loaf pan and put it in the oven for about an hour!  Check to make sure it is done by putting a toothpick in the center and seeing if it comes out clean.

Makes the house smell delicious!
While the bread is baking wash the dishes from mixing (and any others you had lying around) and scrub down your sink!  I guarantee you will be done with this in a few minutes.  Overall, it takes me less than half an hour to mix and pour ingredients and wash all the dishes (even if there were some from before).
Nothing better than no dishes and a clean, shiny sink as you wait for your banana bread!
 What about you?  What is your favorite quick item to bake?  Do you generally bake for yourself or to share with others?