Monday, July 27, 2009

I <3 Blogging

In fact, I think I love blogging too much. Honestly, when everyone was all on the myspace blog kick, I LOVED it. Seriously, I would wake up every morning and read the new blogs over a bowl of delicious cereal. I love cereal, by the way. I also love breakfast. And lunch. And dinner. I should weight like 5000 pounds, but I try to eat healthy, so I don't feel so bad about overeating. And sometimes I run.

CJ and I just got back from a walk. I love this time of year, when the night is actually warm. It makes me want to go outside and play! Suddenly, the dark isn't scary, it's all warm and inviting and the air smells alive! It makes me happy. It's amazing how much more happy I am, now that I don't have school to worry about. I am practically stress-free and it's fantabulous! The job I am doing now is super flexible, which is awesome. I can work when I want and take time off whenever I want, so long as it's not during a tide series. I will say though, the lab work gets pretty boring, so it's rather tempting to not work a full 8 hours a day...

I seriously cannot believe it's almost August already. How did this happen? The last 6 weeks have gone by incredibly quickly. Work pretty much has taken over my life, but I have had a lot more time for which I mean sitting in front of my computer watching reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Veronica Mars. Hey, the WB just posted the 3rd season of Veronica Mars on their website, so now I can watch it for free!!! And here I was, thinking about actually paying for it. It's amazing that you can watch most tv shows for free, on the internet. The only shows I have trouble watching are HBO and Showtime. The one site I found for Trueblood had their hosting site shut I am WAY behind on season 2 and CJ didn't get to finish watching the first season to catch up.

I am FINALLY enrolled in my final art class of my undergraduate career. It only took 6 weeks. Whew. And $950. Awesome. I am trying to find out if I can petition to not pay at least half of the student fees, since I didn't get to use any of the services they are supposed to provide for the last 6 weeks. Still waiting to hear from the Business Office on that. I also got an e-mail saying that I am all good on my Bachelor of Science, so this art class should be it. I am super excited to actually have degrees!

As far as the cooking and whatnot goes...I think I will be making a second blog for food related posts....but I am too lazy to bother with it now... But I do plan to make potato leek soup for lunch tomorrow and tonight's dinner consisted of several glasses of Benton-Lane Pinot Gris with Midnight Moon Goat Cheese with bread and grapes. It reminds me of dinners in European hostels with my favorite lady!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Heading Down South

I will be out of town for work for the next week. Beth, my co-worker, and I are heading down to Charleston, OR for the tide series. I leave in a few hours and get back on Saturday. It kind of sucks to not be at home, but we get paid for a full 8 hours a day while down there (even if we're only in the field for 4 hours) and we get paid a per diem as well, so it's not a bad deal. I just feel bad leaving CJ at home for so long, but he'll be closing every night this week, so it's not so bad.

Brian and I just had a joint birthday party last night. His birthday is next Saturday and mine was about a week and a half ago(and during a tide series), so we decided to split the difference and have a joint party. Most of the people there were Brian's biochem buddies, but it was still fun. Brian definitely puked in the sink, which was probably the ultimate goal of most of the people at the party. The getting him to puke part, not the in the sink part. I am surprised I feel as good as I do, but as drinking is nowhere near a weekly event for me anymore, it doesn't take much to get me drunk so I don't get as hungover these days. Unless I drink 3 bottles of wine. Now that's trouble.

Anyway, I'm off to eat breakfast and pack. Charleston happens to be a pretty laid back really laid back....because no one lives there.... I will be bringing the 10th Kingdom with me, and the Clive Barker book (it's ginormous!) that I borrowed from CJ, and my bead work for my independent study along....I hope it's enough!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Gluten free is the way to be!

So I found out a couple of weeks ago that my little sister is a Celiac. If you read my myspace, I know I already blogged about it, but you'll just have to deal with a recap. Basically, it's a severe allergy to gluten. If people with Celiac's Disease eat gluten, their body has a reaction where it begins to attack the small intestine. Sometimes, people don't know they have it because their symptoms are mild or nonexistant. About 1 in 122 people in the US have it and you are more likely to have it if a direct blood relative has it. As I am not currently enrolled at OSU, I don't really have any medical coverage. Once I finally get signed up for an art class, I can hopefully get the blood test to figure it out.

Either way, I'm definitely into figuring out how to make gluten free foods. It's a pretty big lifestyle change because it can mean no more going out to eat. For some people, even a small amount of gluten (like contamination from being on the same cutting board as flour) can upset their bodies. Thus, with even mild contamination being a problem, it seems a better bet to mostly eat home cooking...but how does one bake without gluten? Good question.

I've found a couple of sites to be pretty helpful... is really great for info about it and what is ok to eat and what is not. There was a baking one I found and sent the link to my mom. I thought I had bookmarked it, but I apparently did not. Fail.

Anyway, I created my first gluten-free dessert the other day. As the family was heading back from the coast, they stopped by my place for lunch. I wanted to have something yummy for Liz to try to show that gluten-free dessert from scratch was do-able.

As I mostly shop at Win-co, my gluten-free flour choices were limited. Turns out all they had was soy flour. I bought some for my experimental dessert figuring it couldn't be too bad. WRONG-O! Soy flour tastes like snow peas. It's like eating leaves in flour form. To say the least, it was not what I wanted cupcakes to taste like.

I have been doing a fair bit of baking and lately, it's been cupcakes more often than not. They're so much better than a whole cake! They've got serving sizes built in!

I decided to turn to my old stand-by, my fabulous Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, pink edition. Now, the pink edition is extra special, but I never use the extra recipes, so the regular red and white checkered cookbook works just fine. I chose to make the one bowl chocolate cake recipe. I had made it a few weeks ago for a co-worker's birthday, with penuche frosting, and they were quite yummy. Also, I figured the best way to cover up any unpleasant gluten-freeness, was chocolate.

I ended up tripling the cocoa powder in the recipe because I continued to taste snowpeas, as I mixed the batter. Also, I had never heard anything about xantham gum at this point, so it was simply a direct conversion of white flour to soy flour.


1 cup soy flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup cooking oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350F.Combine dry ingredients. Add milk, oil and vanilla. Stir until mixed, use an electric mixer if you want, but I used mine for the frosting, so mixing the cupcakes by hand works just fine. Add egg and continue mixing. Put cupcake liners in a muffin pan and pour in batter to 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 20 minutes.

Now, since I knew the soy flour was so awful and I had extra truffle chocoate sitting in the fridge, just begging to be used, I added some of that. I just re-heated the chocolate and put a glob on top of each cupcake before it went in the oven.

Now, since my cupcakes were chocolate (and I hate chocolate cake with chocolate frosting unless it's PURE chocolate and I mean no grocery store frosting, no box cake mixes and all that rubbish, just hardcore cake with hardcore chocolate) I needed to do something other than chocolate frosting. I bought some white chocolate chips and some whipping cream and went to town. Basically, I used about 3/4 cup heavy cream, which I beat with the mixer until I had soft peaks. Add a little sugar to this and you have homemade whipped cream. If, instead, you want delicious white chocolate frosting, add 3/4 cup melted white chocolate. Let the chocolate cool a bit before adding it, but it still needs to be liquidy. Blend with the mixer some more and let cool. Be aware that this frosting is very temperature don't put it on hot cupcakes or it melts right off.

I topped my cupcakes with a blog of this frosting and then another dollop of the truffle chocolate. Overkill on the chocolate? Maybe. Taste like snow peas? Nope. The moral of this story is that enough chocolate covers up any taste.

My sis was ok with the cupcakes. Not a huge fan as they were a little overpoweringly chocolaty....but I figured that was better than snowpeas. My roommate had a guest over to help him plant some pinot noir grapes in the backyard and she approved of the cupcakes. At least, I think she did. She ate two for breakfast one day, so I think that's a good sign. Most everyone liked them and couldn't really tell they were gluten-free. In the end, that was my ultimate goal....the secondary goal was making something my sister would like. She ended up taking home the leftover frosting because she liked it so much. Hey, it was gluten-free too, so Goal 1 and 2 met!

Sorry I don't have any pictures....I'll try to work on that in the future.

Getting Started

Here it is. My very own BLOG. No more myspace blogs for me...well, maybe I'll still blog there, but now I am a real blogger!

Basically, with my impending move to Maryland, I wanted to start a blog that everyone could access, without a myspace/facebook/whatever account. This way, everyone can be as up to date on the goings-on in my life as they want to be.

Also, I really want to start getting in to blogging about baking. Maybe get a few pictures up on (, which is my current blog addiction.

I hope to have some stuff going on here in the near future. Maybe a blog about the work I am doing this summer and a separate blog about baking. We shall see just how blogivated I am.