Sunday, January 31, 2010

Recipe: Spicy Nut Mix

I make this every Christmas, in double or triple batches, and it always goes over really well. It isn't just a seasonal recipe though - I'm planning on making some for our Super Bowl party. The original recipe called for Shreddies, pecans & almonds, but I've added to that to make it a bit more interesting.

Spicy Nut Mix

Ingredients:

3 cups Shreddies
1 cup pretzel sticks, broken in half
1 cup almonds, whole
1 cup pecans, whole or halves
1 cup peanuts or cashews
1 cup nut mix (store bought, or your favourite nut)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 large egg whites

Methods:

1. Mix together first 6 ingredients.

2. Mix together the sugar and spices.

3. Whisk the egg whites until foamy. Combine with the nut mix & stir until well coated.

4. Pour in the spiced sugar and mix until evenly coated.

5. Bake at 325F in a greased 9x13 baking dish. Stir every 10 minutes until the nut mix is no longer wet, about 30-40 minutes. Cool completely & store in an airtight container.

Item of the day: Handwoven Shawl with Crochet Point Lace

I was browsing Etsy for shawls when I came across the shop laslopezlas.
These gorgeous shawls are made with handwoven cotton & silk fibers and edged with a fine crocheted point lace. I can't decide whether I prefer the red or the white. Which colour do you prefer?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Five

Here's what I was up to this week:
  1. On Tuesday, I half witnessed a traffic accident. I was just about to walk into the hospital (where I work) when I heard a huge BAM! There at the nearest intersection, right in front of me, a car was sitting too far into the intersection when another vehicle turned. Thankfully, there were no injuries, only some busted fenders (plus some yelling between the drivers).
  2. A lovely lady asked me to make her & her sister matching bracelets from some sentimental beads. I was honoured to be chosen for this task & I'm pleased with the results:
  3. Wednesday I TAed the last lab of the semester. We went out to dinner with the students afterwards & they all surprised us (the TAs & Eva, the program director) with a gift of wine! I'm going to miss TAing every week...
  4. I ran a muscle bath experiment Tuesday & tried to reproduce some results our instructor talked about in class last week. And I did! The neatest part was that I wasn't looking at the same system as him, but obtain similar results (he was looking at the effect of fat surrounding the arteries whereas I was looking at fat surrounding the airways)!
  5. I added a few Valentine's Day items to my shops. I particularly love these earrings:

Item of the day: Moira shawl

If you've followed this blog for a while, you'll know that I love silky, colourful scarves. This gorgeous screenprinted shawl from birribe is double-sided, so you get two looks in one.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Etsy Gifts

I've said it before & I'll say it again: Etsy is a great place to make friends. More specifically, the MMG forum thread I participate in is a great place to meet awesome people.

Case in point - a few weeks ago I featured a necklace of a friend, Sima. She promptly sent me a similar tag with my favourite quote (found in Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice).
I love Sima's shop & I'm a proud owner of a few of her pieces. I've worn this one all week!

Item of the day: Winter Heart Brooch

On Valentine's Day, it is customary to offer your sweetie your heart - but this year, be creative! Don't give just any old fake red heart. Anatomically correct replicas are all the rage right now. I particularly like this brooch by alrightdarling.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Item of the day: Take Me Out Tonight

I have a feeling I've featured groundwork before - the dreamy quality of her paintings are just too hard to resist. I really love this lake one, it reminds me of home.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Science Byte

Today's Science Byte is brought to you by Robbins & Cotran's Pathologic Basis of Disease, page 659.

Iron deficiency, or anemia, is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in the world. You have about 2 grams of iron in your body normally if you're a women, and up to 6 grams if you're a man. This iron can be divided into a functional group & a storage group. The iron in the functional group is what you use daily - 80% of this being in the hemoglobin of your red blood cells. This is what binds to oxygen when the blood passes through your lungs, circulating this necessary nutrient throughout the body. You can see a picture of hemoglobin on the right, with the 4 protein subunits in red and blue. The small green units are heme groups, which contain an iron atom at their center (in orange).

You lose about 1 - 2 milligrams of iron each day, mainly through shedding of dead epithelial cells (both your skin & the lining of your intestines). This means you have to absorb 1 - 2 mg of iron each day to remain balanced. You have to eat about 10 - 20 mg of iron each day though since you only absorb about 20% of what you eat (this decreases to 1 - 2% of the iron found in vegetables though, so it's best to take a multivitamin & mineral each day if you don't eat animal products).

Item of the day: Memories

Angie of jellybeans is a friend of mine that I've featured before. Her artwork is amazing - but I'm particularly awed by one of her newest paintings, Memories.
The colours are absolutely stunning. I have the perfect frame for it too...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Five

Here are 5 things that happened this week:
  1. I gave a presentation in class. One down, three to go.
  2. I saw Avatar & had a good laugh.
  3. I thought I had a solution as to why my proliferation assay hasn't been working - but discovered it still isn't working.
  4. I won a notebook from subu.
  5. I listed some new items.

Item of the day: Tulip Rouge

I love the sweet design of this ruby necklace by chocolateandsteel.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Science Byte

Welcome to my new regular feature - Science Byte. Since starting the new semester, I've been extremely busy with my Master's and course work. So I thought I'd incorporate that into my blogging goals (to blog more than once a day). On a regular basis, I'll post a Science Byte - a small tidbit of interesting (ok, interesting to me) information. I'll usually open up an old text book at random & tell you about the first thing I see - or maybe I'll tell you about a recent article I've read. In any case, I'll try to explain things in the simplest terms possible... which might make fellow scientists cringe a little, so I apologize in advance.

Today I've been working on my smooth muscle course work. Did you know there are 3 different types of muscle? When you think of muscle, you're most likely picturing skeletal muscle. This is the meat you eat & the muscle you control to move yourself. The other 2 types of muscle are cardiac & smooth - neither of which you can control. Cardiac muscle obviously makes up the heart whereas smooth muscle can be found throughout the body, typically surrounding tubes (like the intestines, airways & blood vessels). In terms of how they look under the microscope, skeletal muscle cells are really long and striated - you can see the stripes of their contractile machinery. Smooth muscle is organized differently: they have a spindle shape and are not striated. Cardiac muscle is sort of in between the other 2: it's striated, but is composed of smaller cells like smooth muscle.

Item of the day: Spoonful of Sugar

I came across this shop HappyFind on another blog I follow. I think her spoon pincushions are extra clever - which colour would you get? I like the 3 in the middle - green, yellow & orange.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Item of the day: Leaping Bunny

I was searching Etsy for bunnies yesterday & fell in love with this sweet little pin. His rainbow tail and adorable face are what did me in.
Browsing through PindorasBox revealed these pears though, which I think I may even like more! They're just a little more classy.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Recipe: Ratatouille

This summer, I first tried & fell in love with ratatouille. It's basically a vegetable stew - traditionally, all the vegetables are cooked in separate pots & mixed together at the end. But you can cheat & cook it all in the same pot - only the sequence of veggie additions becomes very important so that they all cook evenly. So it's actually really simple & doesn't take all that much effort. The end result is hearty enough to be a main course (especially when served on rice) but also works really well as a side for just about anything.

Ratatouille

Ingredients:

1 onion
2-4 cloves of garlic
2 green (or red, orange or yellow) peppers
5-6 large tomatoes or 2 large cans of chopped tomatoes
1 medium zucchini (or 2 small)
1 eggplant (or 2 small)
basil
thyme
parsley
salt & pepper
around 1/4 cup olive oil

Methods:

1. Start by slicing your eggplant into coins. Salt both sides & place them in a colander in the sink while you prepare the ratatouille. I'm not exactly sure why, but salting the eggplant for about 10-15 minutes helps to cut down the bitterness of the vegetable.

2. Chop the onion. Add about 1/4 cup of olive oil into a large pot - enough to cover the entire bottom. Add in the onion & turn on medium-low.
3. Chop the garlic (or use a press) & add it to the onion.

4. Chop the peppers & add them to the pot.
5. Chop the tomatoes (or open the cans) & add them to the pot.
Give it a good stir. If it wasn't sizzling a bit before you added the tomatoes, turn up the heat a little bit now.

6. Now it's time for the spices. Add in basil, parsley, thyme, pepper & salt. I add in lots, but it's really up to your taste. Sprinkle them over the top - stir, taste & add more accordingly.

7. Chop the zucchini & add to the pot. Stir occasionally.

8. Rinse the eggplant. Chop it up & throw it in. Give it all a good stir. Taste it again & add more spice accordingly. Let it simmer on medium-low for at least 15 minutes, just make sure it doesn't start boiling too hard. You can leave it on low for up to 45 - 60 minutes. Stir occasionally. The vegetables should be soft when ready.

Best served on brown rice.
Optional: add in some yellow summer squash

Item of the day: Chalk Board

I love vinyl decals - they're an easy way to dress up your walls, especially if you rent a place where you can't poke holes into them. These vinyl decals by asignofthetimes are too cool - they're a set of seven, day-of-the-week chalk boards, which you can write on & erase like a regular chalk board!
Seriously, what a great way to stay organized for the week! Menu plans, anyone?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Mosaic Monday

Blue Bunny (I was feeling a bit blue this morning - and nothing cheers me up quite like a cute little bunny!)

Item of the day: Sushi Plates

Tiny dishes make me smile (ok, and squeal like a little girl) - they're just so cute and delicate! Sushi plates are particularly adorable, especially when they come in sets.
I really love this Japanese set by MaisonDeUla - the little container to hold all the plates is just too cute!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

New Blog Background

I changed things up with my blog template - felt like it needed something new for 2010. What do you think?

Item of the day: My Love

This beautiful necklace by PianoBenchDesigns is absolutely perfect for Valentine's Day and anniversaries, yet still subtle enough for all the days in between.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Sale!

All my holiday tags are on sale!
Receive 10% off all sets of tags in my holiday section. Check out as usual & I'll reimburse your savings via PayPal.

Item of the day: Bird #5

I've had this gorgeous digital print by kareemrizk open in a separate tab for over a week now. I keep tabbing over to stare at it - it's so pretty! I love the 6 bird prints in this series, but number 5 is my favourite. I just may have to add him to my bird wall of prints...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Marigold

Marigold is getting to be so cute! She was out and about during Christmas, eating presents, the tree & pretty much anything else she can get her teeth on (crayons, legos, the floor, etc). In fact, after Christmas, she pulled the tree down (of course dad & John left it knocked over in the living room & I almost tripped over it coming home late that night - picture Pat & I carefully putting it back up & removing ornaments quietly at 2AM)!
She's a curious little rabbit, that's for sure. Still a little skittish when it comes to letting you pet her, but she'll jump up on mom on the couch when it's a little more quiet.
Her favourite treat is cabbage - she'll devour it in seconds. She still has a two-toned looked to her fur too - with slightly lighter brown sides.
She's adorable & has definitely won a place in all our hearts!

Item of the day: lap quilt

I've been following the blog Film in the Fridge for quite some time - I am in love with her quilting. I love her modern style & the way she pieces together a complementary back to her quilts.
Check out just a couple of my favourites from her Etsy shop, filminthefridge.