Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Way to a Man's Heart....

Is through his stomach. Right? I have been told this many times. I know I've secured my place in Ryan's heart but I figured baking some cookies for him couldn't hurt. He loves white chocolate and macadamia nuts, and since they are exotic and decadent compared to the classic chocolate chip cookie, I thought I would head in that direction. However, white chocolate is not my favorite, so I made a compromise. Queue Zebra Macadamia Nut Cookies.

These bad boys turned out pretty freakin' good. I like 'em and he loves 'em. Win-Win. I have plenty to keep him satisfied and for lunches this week.

Want to make them for yourself? Go for it....I highly suggest it!

Zebra Macadamia Nut Cookies
What you need:
  • 1 c. (2 Sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 c. sugar
  • ¼ c. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ½ c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 c. white chocolate chips
  • 1 c. bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1.5 c. chopped macadamia nuts

What to do:
  • Heat oven to 375.
  • In large bowl, beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and salt with electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs one at a time; beat well.
  • In a separate bowl, stir together flour and baking soda; gradually add to cream mixture, until well mixed.
  • Stir in white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts.
  • Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until just "golden kissed".
  • Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I'm excited

I'm feeling pretty good right now.
I got my ticket taken care of today. There was a little drama about that yesterday, since they would not accept my proof of insurance. I was freaking out because then my fine would have been just short of 500 bones. Seriously? But, I was able to get it fixed and taken care of today. So I only had to pay $130 for the "filing fee" and I get to take a defensive driving course. I am so glad that I went early rather than waiting until my court date, otherwise I would have been REALLY angry. Glad that's off my back.
Even better though, I found out my uncle is going to have a baby girl. Awwww! I just called him and he was telling me about the ultrasound and how he could see her perfect little hands and feet. When the nurse was pushing against Kelly's belly with the probe, the baby pushed back with her hand and they got a perfect picture of her hand. When she pushed harder, the baby tried to push back with both hands. He said that she also also going to have big lips, typical for our family =). She sounds like a doll already. And he just kept going on and on about it, it's so sweet. I am SO EXCITED for him!
I am going to make some crib/ baby quilts. One will be for Oom Tiki and Kelly's baby, the other for Ryan's sister, Jenny's baby Myla. I just ordered the prints from SewMamaSew.
Myla's will be pink and soft blue. Jenny wants the baby's room to be how hers was as a little girl, and those were the colors.
For Oom Tiki's and Kelly's baby: pink, yellow and lavender.
A couple examples of the prints:

Van Delden and Myla quilts

Van Delden and Myla quilts

Van Delden and Myla quilts

Van Delden quilt

van Delden quilt

Myla's quilt

Myla's quilt

These are just some of the prints. Each quilt will have ten different prints and some solids as well. I will be using Alicia Paulson's Ollalieberry Ice Cream quilt pattern for these.

You're probably saying: "But wait, aren't you getting ahead of yourself? Don't you have other baby presents to finish and Alyssa's duvet cover still to start?" Yes, you are right. I am just about done with the baby receiving blankets. I still have to crochet one edge around the last blanket, and those will finally be done. I just haven't had a lot of free time, and I ran into some difficulty once I started, so I kind of dreaded making them. But these are special presents, and I don't want to make them with this dark cloud over my head, so I have been waiting for a change in attitude. As a result...I have been and am procrastinating. For the first two blankets I used a cotton yarn, so it had a lot of friction (since you have to push the yarn through the flannel) and crocheting the border ended up taking a lot of time and was a bit frustrating. This last one has gone much better since the yarn is more slippery and it is easier to pull through the fabric. I think another thing helping me is the print is my favorite of the three, I think it's going to make the prettiest blankie, so I like working with it. The flannel is also super soft. Ramses could verify this for you since he is constantly trying to lay on it while I am working. I still have the rest of the burping cloths to do, I have about 5 more of those to make. I'm crossing my fingers that once I start those, I'll get on a roll and finish them all at once (I've run into difficulty with those too, grrrr). I promise I won't start anything new until I get those done and sent out to the Webber's.
I also have another secret project that I am anxious to start once the Webber baby gift is finished. Can't wait to start it!

Saturday, September 12, 2009


It's raining here. Still. I don't think it has stopped raining for the last 6 hours. We've been gloomy, grey and wet since Tuesday. We really, really, really need this rain though. It's good that it's the slow, constant rain rather than the torrential storms that pour and run.
It's in the low seventies too, so I'm like, cold. Sad, I know. I don't handle large weather deviations very well. I want to go home and make a fire, kinda like this:

Tesia says, "aaahhhhh, this is nice."

Now that looks perfect. I wanna be sprawled out like her too. This is what I am going to do: go home, cozy up under a blanket with something hot to drink, put on a movie and crochet with my kitties hanging out around me - crying, begging for and getting attention. I mean, with these faces, how can you resist?

Mom, please stop taking pictures of me

Fine, I'll model if I must

I look good, don't I?

I'm the cutest kitty, ever.

Ramses likes to watch things from above.
I love how he is always hanging his legs off of things

sitting, waiting, wishing
(for me to stop flashing bright lights in his face and get him some more food)

on the move

We don't get this weather very often, especially in September. Got to make the most of it while I can! I really, seriously need to finish those baby gifts this weekend. Since I won't be tempted by laying out by the pool (which I didn't get to do much of this summer and now I try on weekends to squeeze it in), I think I might be able to do it. I hope so. . . I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

I'm looking forward to my weekend indoors.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Twenty Six

I'm staring it in the face today. And this is what it looks like.

I'm leaving work a little early today to get a facial at the spa. Then Ryan is taking me out to dinner, probably to our favorite sushi place. I've told him not to make a big deal out of today and not to get me anything. He needs to save his money for something else!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Sigh - Ah Summer, you are finally leaving us. I can feel the coming of Fall in the early grey light of the morning and the initial feeling of a little "crispness" in the air. I really felt it yesterday morning. And this morning it was raining. But that's ok because we really need the rain, and I was finally able to get a hot tea latte without feeling silly about drinking a hot drink in hot weather. (After four years of waiting, the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf just opened up here in Austin and I LOVE their tea lattes.) Even though the clouds have since broken up and the sun is shining, that element of blazing Texas heat is severely lacking compared to recent weeks. I guess it's a welcome change.
But a part of me is still kind of sad. Summer is my favorite season. Summertime nostalgia: lots of beach trips, camping trips at Jalama, swimming at Tante San's house, mom taking all us kids to Toys 'R Us on the really hot days since we had no AC, playing at the Pacheco's house which consisted ofeating their Otter pops, catching the chickens, Nintendo and endless games of hide & seek. More camping trips at Rock Creek, Convict Lake and June Lake, no school, playing school (we were funny kids), trips to the park, running around bare foot, getting to watch all of the afternoon cartoons, bike rides around the neighborhood, horseback riding, exploring in the orange groves with subsequent orange fights, catching lizards, building forts, etc.

Instant flashback:

swimming lessons with: Adam and Kaci Pacheco (old neighbors), me, Willem (cousin) and my brother, Ben.

The good old days of being a kid.

And.... it's this lady's birthday today. She's so awesome and I love her tons!

Happy Birthday Tante San!!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Labor Day Cookout

Yesterday we decided (we being me and the other American students in my research group) that we wanted to enjoy the last real day of summer. So, we only worked half a day and then everyone headed over to my apartment complex to grill out by the pool. We also had the new first year students come out. . . it's important to do fun stuff with them outside the lab! We had a good turnout with me, Ryan, Ryan M.(a first year from Berkeley), Chris, Jason, Emma (first year from Boise), Alex (exchange student from Bristol), Evie (another grad student from the Bielawski group) and her boyfriend Kyle, Rachel (inorganic grad student and my life saver - but that's a long story) and her boyfriend Steve. It was a good crowd!
Everyone chipped in and brought goodies. [My] Ryan cooked up some of his famous burgers and I got some wings ready to grill too. I seasoned them Jamaican Jerk style and they were so delicious! I am definitely keeping this recipe.


It's just a recipe I found online, and of course you can use this marinade for any cut of chicken. I find that wings are the easiest to grill though, and they are the perfect BBQ finger food.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Mix in a large bowl:
2 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp ground sage
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
big pinch of salt
1 Tbsp sugar

Whisk in the following:
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup orange juice
juice of two limes

Add the following to the marinade:
2 serano peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 cup chopped white onion
3 green onions finely chopped

Add the chicken (3 lbs or so)
Stir to coat the chicken
cover in saran wrap and keep in the fridge for at least an hour.

I let mine marinade for almost three hours and it was perfect! Grill 'em over hot coals until they are cooked through. Enjoy!

We finished off our meal with some yummy brownies and a game of apples to apples. so much fun!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I'm seeing green, and I like it

No, I didn't win some huge sum of money, or stumble upon a lucrative business adventure ( I wish) but I mean green in the environmental conservation/ reducing carbon footprint sort of way. I was at the store this weekend and seeing what was in people's carts made me smile.

reusable bags with goodies**

Almost everyone I saw had these reusable bags! I know, they aren't the cutest thing, I plan on making myself some stylish ones at some point, but they get the job done for now. I like how sturdy these things are, I don't have to worry about the plastic bags ripping - as they frequently do. And they're big, so you can fit a lot of stuff in 'em, and this means I can make it into my apartment from the car in one trip. Which I will soon appreciate even more since I will no longer have my wheels, and will have to make these trips to the store on my bike or the bus.

What made me even happier was seeing what people were putting IN their carts. Maybe it's because Austin is a hip, healthy town. Or maybe the day I went to the store was the day that all healthy people also do their shopping. Nonetheless, I was pleased to see that there was lots of produce, organic and natural goods. There really wasn't a whole lot of the pre-packaged stuff. Which I find amazing!

And doesn't what we spend our money on at the grocery store send a message to the food companies about the types of things we want to put in our bodies and how we value our health? Absolutely it does! It's like each item is a tic- or vote -about what you are willing to spend your money on, and how important food production, agriculture and the effect of this industry on the environment is to you. Don't you think?

So I had a proud moment this weekend. I was glad that the people of Austin, myself included, are willing to pay an extra buck for the "real stuff". I'm still kinda smiling about it.

**Since they are re-usable, and things like meat, unwashed produce, etc are put in there, and they're kept in the car (where it's warm) so that they are ready anytime you hit the store. . . bacteria can build up. if you do use these bags, give 'em a wash every once in a while to be on the safe side =) **