Sunday, January 30, 2011

Curry Favor (aka: interviewing)... har har

Last week: work a few days, fly out mid-week to a prospective graduate school.  Interview, interview, interview.  Fly home Sunday.
Next two weeks: Rinse & repeat.
Hey, I'm not complaining! It's a lot of fun getting to travel all over checking out different programs.  But it sure is draining.  When I got home today, I had a huuuuge hankering for yellow curry and the urge to make food for hours.  The stars were aligned.
I made a BIG batch so I can have this for lunch (and dinner... And breakfast...) all this week.  Without further ado, I present:

Rachael's Vegetarian Low-Calorie Curry
(makes 16 cups)
2 Red Bell Pepper
1 medium carrot
1 can of straw mushrooms (~44 mushrooms)
1 medium yellow onion
1 potato (2 1/2" diameter)
16 oz tofu
4 cups vegetable broth
5 cups chopped broccoli
6 cloves garlic
2 cans of light coconut milk
1 Tbsp Red Curry Paste
2 jalepeno peppers
spices- I use curry powder + tumeric + salt + red pepper flakes

Nutrition (per cup): 90 calories, 4g fat, 3g protein, 2g sugar

1) To speed things up, I wash, chop up and measure out all the veggies before starting to cook. This leads to less panic later.
2) Sautee the onions and garlic, set aside.
3) Bring the coconut milk & broth to a boil with tougher veggies (carrots, broccoli, potatoes) and cook until soft.
4) Add in spices and all other ingredients.  Keep stirring every few minutes and when the veggies have really soaked up the curry flavor, you're all done!

Serve hot with rice!
I told you this recipe makes a lot!

Extra Notes:
Light coconut milk: I know 'light' coconut milk is just regular mixed with water, thus, a waste of money but I had a few cans of it already.  Also, I use a lot less coconut milk so it comes out spicier instead of sweeter.  This is mostly why it's lower calorie.
Spice proportions: I just keep adding and tasting.  I recommend the same as you know your own limit of spiciness.
Serving size: I eat ~2 cups of this curry per meal and I'm very full
Other ingredients I would use if I had: baby corn, bamboo shoots and ginger. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

First Flush

Ugggh.... 4 am...
Apparently Girl Talk before bed = sugar before bed.

That or I'm just waaaaay too excited about my first flush of mushrooms.
This first harvest took only 5 days to grow!
Yeah, it's probably that.

If you've spent more than 20 minutes with me in the last few months, you've probably heard me say something like, 'Man, I love mushrooms. I wish there were an animal that pooped mushrooms so that I could own one and harvest my own."  Well, dreams do come true!  With the minor exception that in this case, animal = loaf of bread looking thing.  Which is good, cuz I don't have a green thumb, let alone an animal-thumb (a red thumb?).

This is definitely one of the more awesome things a boy has bought me... Sure beats flowers.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I meant to do a whole wow-it's-been-a-year-since-I-started-this-blog!-post but December 3rd came and went.

So I set my sights on doing a whole wow-I-finished-the-bible-in-a-year!-post but, well, I didn't.

But it's all good cuz now I can do a look-how-much-has-changed-since-this-time-last-year!-post.

 Last January, I was a first year neuroscience graduate student on the east coast... far, far from home.  I was cruising along the path I thought I was supposed to be on, having just finished my undergraduate neuroscience degree with pretty good grades that spring, I had applied, interviewed and got into grad school where I was making friends and doing well in my classes and lab rotations.  Everything was on track.  I spent January 23rd 2010 celebrating the 2 1/2 year bi-anniversary with the guy I was thought I was getting married to.  We went thrifting, got a pizza, watched a movie and then.... broke up.  Four days later, I put him on a plane back to California.  Six days later, after one of the hardest decisions I have had to make and with most of my stuff in storage, I was back in California too...  With absolutely no idea what I was going to do with my now completely derailed life.

Me then....
Rockin' 3 ties with long(ish) hair and totes handling the snow 
(pun fully intended)

Me now....

THIS January, I'm living in San Francisco, working my dream job as an assistant researcher in vision science*.   I finished applying to west coast graduate schools a few weeks ago and next week will be starting to fly all over California, interviewing for various programs.  Since January 18th 2010, I've moved 5 times and had 4 different positions (substitute teacher, after school care provider, photographer and my current employment).

This time last year, I was pretty unhappy deep down with brief bouts of surface happiness.  This year, I'm generally happy deep down with brief bouts of surface grumples.   Not that everything is perfect, but there's an underlying contented-ness that makes me absolutely certain I did the right thing coming home.  Last year, I was counting down the years til my program was over (~5-7, if you were wondering) so I could 'start my real life.'  Isn't that an awful way to live?! This year, I enjoy waking up right where I am.

This time last year:
1) I weighed 15-20 lbs more
2) I hated grocery shopping
3) I loathed the idea of being single
4) I had lost touch with most of my friends
5) I didn't have much of a sense for my own fashion
6) I didn't eat healthy (I mostly ate bread and didn't like vegetables)
7) I hated grocery shopping
8) I rarely, if ever, wore a dress
9) I had long(er) hair
10) I never froze bread
11) I never ever cooked, baked or prepared my own meals aside from cereal

Things that haven't changed:
I still hate cilantro and I still refuse to use sponges.

*A few people have asked more specifically what I do.  I'm not avoiding the question, I fully intend to do a post about this shortly.  

2010 was definitely tumultuous in every sense of the word (excited, confused and disorderly).  It seems like it was for a lot of other people too.  What about you guys?  Was last year a big one for you as well?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Best Noise in the World

Step 1: Fill your palm with whipped cream.
Step 2: Turn your palm over and let whipped cream fall onto linoleum floor.
Step 3: Come back here and thank me in the comments.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Do you like to laugh?

This is gold!  
White gold!

...Pasty, pale white gold...

But I digress!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Three things I'm addicted to

1) TED talks.  I always wished the movie Waking Life was an ongoing show.  Now I regret wasting so many hours trying out new shows on Hulu just so I could have some background noise while I did crafts. Which brings me to #2...
2) My watercolor pencils.  A dear friend of mine is coming home after a pretty rotten holiday season (involving 2 funerals).  I can't offer much but I made a bouquet that wont wilt.

3) Comments from you guys.  Awwwwwww.... ;)

Sunday, January 9, 2011


For the first time in a long time, I had nothing pressing on my agenda this weekend.  There were plenty of things I COULD do and SHOULD do but no more applications to finish, abstracts to turn in or tests to study for.  I thought free time, like corn starch and water, would instantaneously = fun but found myself strangely discontent as this weekend was drawing to a close.  At first, I thought it was a lack of productivity.   But then I looked at my To Do list and found I'd done off most of the things I wanted to check off, including this one:

Then two things opened my eyes a little.  First off, the message at church was spot on.  I had been thinking with all this free time, I could get waaaaay closer to finishing the bible (though obviously still falling short of reading it within a year, as originally planned). But as the weekend flew by, and I wasn't making progress there, I was getting mucho discouraged.  The message today was about how if you're depending on doing good works to save yourself, you're guaranteed to either fall short or feel self-righteous.  Heard it a thousand times before.  Finally hit home.
Secondly, I stumbled upon this TED talk.  The whole thing is interesting and I highly recommend watching it, but the super relevant part to me was the discovery that people are infinitely less satisfied with their decision when they're given choices.  This weekend was chock full of infinite possibilities and while I did do stuff, I was always wondering if I shouldn't be using the time for something else.
Well, the more I learn about my brain, the more I can use that knowledge to my advantage, right?
I hope you guys had a marvelous weekend!
Do any of you watch TED talks? If so, what's your favorite?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

No good reason

It's been one of those sad-for-no-good-reason days.  I can come up with lots of little things that are wrong, but when I really think about it, I realize that they aren't enough to throw off a regular day.
This afternoon, I (re)learned:
1) Alone time is only good when there's non-alone time to look forward to.
2) It's so good to just get out of the house...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A post-holiday gift guide... about as useful as a sundial in Britain but still, I just had to share.

I had a wonderful Christmas with my family and received so many awesome gifts but I feel awkward listing them on here as it'd feel dangerously close to a haul. So instead, I'll share some other cool things I've seen around the interwebs in the past months...

1. Way cool lined-paper t-shirt from Artware Editions

2. Epic Gotham City ring (link)
3. Such a great idea for a locket!!!
4. Candace makes really cute headbands....
5. I'll leave all the terrible puns these elicit to your imagination...
6. And of course, you need cute wrapping paper for all these neat gifts...
 (I forgot the link to this one... if you know it, please enlighten me).

Lastly, but SO not least, a gift for your ears.... the new January mix is up over at my brother's blog and let me tell you, it's a masterpiece.  Go check it out and leave him some love (or have him send you a copy!).
Did I mention my brutharrr can draw, too?  He's a regular ol' Renaissance man.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Round Up

Things that have amused me recently...
If you have to be away from your significant other during Christmas, I only hope you can be as darling as these two from ColorMeKatie.  She waved her hands in the air to 'unwrap' her gifts via webcam.

The littlest present I got this year...
(the coin is for size)

I won this in our family's white elephant/gift exchange.

Holiday sushi candy (idea from Safeway)

My friend's phone is so fancy it emails voicemails to him but not so fancy that it's actually accurate.  This interpretation of my fast-mumbling cracks me up....
Someone please invent this...

My most recent omelette mixture: bananas.  Yes, bananas.  Two thumbs up.