Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Recipe: ginger teriyaki sauce

Wisk the following together:

1 Tsp freshly grated ginger
2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp honey

Coat 2 salmon filets with mixture and cook in the oven wrapped in foil packets.

It is super yummy!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ho ho ho!

Like many people, this is my favorite time of year. The temperature drops, football season is in full swing with the playoffs in sight (Go Steelers!), I pull out my winter coats (I have several, all different colors so that I can match my outfit with my coat), and I look forward to Christmas. This year, I decided that I was going to get the most out of my tree, so I unpacked it and decorated it the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I love to sit with Theo and Sassy and admire the tree when it is all lit up.

My dad is to blame for my love of Christmas lights. For as long as I can remember, he has taken Christmas lights very seriously. It may have taken a couple of decades, but he has accumulated an attic full of outdoor holiday decorations and lights. The whole process of getting the yard decorated takes several weekends. He carries the ladder up the driveway and proceeds to outline the front of the house, hang wreaths at the windows, and my mom paces in the house totally freaked out that he's going to fall and break a bone. It is reminiscent of Clark Griswald in the National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation movie. I think Clark is his inspiration and that house in the scene when it finally lights up is his ultimate goal. The past few years, dad has taken it up notch by purchasing two animated light-up moose, giant blow up globes and cartoon characters, a santa complete with his sleigh and reindeer that are animated and light up (of course), and a Christmas cow. Yes. A Christmas cow. He has become my favorite. And the reason it takes several weekends to get this spectacular display of holiday cheer completely set up is because he does this all in stages and plays around with the actual arrangement of everything in the yard. Hey, he does have to carry all of this down from the attic. What I think is super special is that he doesn't forget about the back of the house. He lines the patio with lights, puts up a separate tree, and I think there is a blow-up snoopy back there too. It is pretty impressive.

My sad little Kmart tree with target ornaments just doesn't compare to what my dad creates every year in his front yard, but until I have a house of my own or an actual outlet on my balcony, I am restricted. I will say though that I get pretty competitive when it comes to door decorating if there is a contest. Normally, I am not a competitive person. I couldn't care less if I win things, but one year, I wrapped up my door in pretty paper and hung a wreath and stockings on the door. My neighbor then did the same, copying me, but she had that special wrapping paper cutter so that she actually measured and cut out the door knob. So I had to go and get candy canes to put out for people to take. She did the same damn thing! So I fixed her wagon and got battery operated twinkle lights and put them on my wreath. I don't know how I didn't win that contest...I had a light up, blinking wreath!

Another thing that I do this time of year is not only shopping, but gift knitting. Since I learned to knit, I have made most of my gifts. Hats, scarves, name it, I've made it for someone as a gift. Typically, I start out with the best of intentions and plan on beginning my holiday knitting early. Inevitably, I am knitting right up until dinner on Christmas day to finish. I am proud to say I have never given anyone something on the needles and told them I would finish it and they would get it in a few days. Yes, people actually do that. This year, I am almost done way ahead of time! I picked a small project and I did it for my immediate family only--my parents, sister, brother-in-law, and my neice. Izzy always gets something special, and this year it is leg warmers for her to wear to her dance classes. I think I will also make her a fair isle hat, but that will only take a few days and I have plenty of time. The rest of the gifts I bought and they are stuffed in places throughout the apartment.

I even designed Christmas cards! I decided that everyone I know sends me cards with pictures of their kids on them. I don't have kids, but I do have 2 cute cats. So to embrace my current "cat lady who knits" status, I put my cats on the card and signed their names. Either people will think it's funny, cute, or sad. They can make their own judgements. I personally think it's cute and funny :)

Monday, November 29, 2010


So it has been forever since I posted on my blog, but I have been very very busy. I have started a new job! I am a senior editor at the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI). This job is perfect because it blends my interest and education in cancer biology and research with my love of writing. I never thought that my major in English at W&J would ever amount to anything, but it really was a factor in my getting my job. I think that overall, being able to critically evaluate published literature and clearly communicate my thoughts were two skills I learned in college that I have always applied to my work as a scientist.

In other news, I sold my car and I am officially car-free. I have been having my groceries delivered (thank you, Peapod!) and renting zipcars to get around when I have heavy shopping to do. Otherwise, I am taking the metro to work and learning the bus routes and schedules. So far, so good!

So if anyone actually reads this blog, I will be better about posting now :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Slave to Fashion

For as long as I can remember, I have been obsessed with shopping and clothes. Growing up, we had special church clothes and I loved Sundays because it meant I could wear a pretty dress and my white puffy poncho. Yes, I had a white puffy knitted poncho. Mom and Dad would take us to Hills and we would spend what seemed like hours picking out new school clothes to put on lay-away. Then my mother would wander off and Dad would assign Stacey and I areas of the store to look for her. The idea was that once one of us found her, we were to stick to her like glue and bring her back to the front of the store so that we could check out. I have no idea how she does it, but that woman can disappear in a store. Literally disappear. You are talking to her one minute and the next you realize you are talking to yourself and she is no where to be found. Then after you hunt for her and finally find her browsing in a random aisle. You ask her why she disappeared and she just shrugs her shoulders at you. I have had this happen so many times in my life I can't count. The worst is when she does it at a busy shopping mall and it takes you 45 minutes and several phone calls to her cell phone (which is in her purse, turned off or dead) to find her. One time in Kohl's, her phone was actually turned on and the ring tone led me to the shoe aisle she was in but unfortunately many stores don't have cell reception and she is notorious for carrying around a phone that is turned off, gone dead, or set to silent. Okay--I think I've totally gone off track here, but if I could get back the time I've spent searching for my mom in stores I would have enough banked for 6 month trip to Thailand. Seriously. When your feet are aching and you need a nap and all you want to do is get out of a crazy store, hunting her down was not fun.

Back to business. So I love clothes and shoes and accessories and anything else that I get to wear and makes me feel pretty. All throughout my life I have been devoted to fashion. As any fashionista knows, you must keep abreast of the latest trends. So I am a regular reader of the blog, I love it! It has posts from a wonderful group of women that focus on fashion, relationships, women's health, and pop culture. Yesterday I read a post about how throughout her life, the blogger keeps coming back to overalls. I realized that I myself have had an on-again, off-again love affair with overalls, too! I know I wore them as a child for convenience and comfort. Then sometime in middle school, I remember pairing them with polo shirts and converse sneakers. In high school, I had a pair that I bought from the gap that were my absolute favorite overalls. I wore them with simple tanks and sandals in warm weather and with a tee and a flannel over top in the winter. I thought that my overall days were numbered when I started college. Looking like a farmer just didn't seem like the way to make friends at W&J College. I was lonely and having a hard time finding friends because I didn't live with the other freshmen--I had been put in a building with all the sororities. I put my overalls in the back of my tiny closet and saved them for holiday breaks. After pledging Kappa Alpha Theta during the spring semester of my freshmen year, the time to get matched with our big sisters (a mentor) finally came. I received Theta-themed presents plastered with pansies, kites and cats for an entire week with clues about the identity of my big sister. My final clue the night before the big reveal told me to show up for the scavenger hunt in a pair of overalls! I pulled those suckers out of retirement and wore them with pride as I ran around the frat houses fulfilling tasks and earning the clues that led me to my big sister and the rest of my Theta family. It turned out that I had become a member of a branch of the tree that calls itself, "Theta's Overall Best Family." Hence, the overalls. I have pictures in my scrap book from that night of four generations of my family all wearing overalls. My family line still exists today, but I'm pretty sure that the overalls have been nixed. The Frisky blogger said that overalls are sure to reappear on the runways and in the stores sometime soon due to the cyclic nature of fashion. She posted some pics of a striped tee and a blazer that she would pair with her overalls along with a cute belt and some gorgeous platforms, I tried to imagine myself throwing on a pair again. Yet, I just don't think that I could pull off overalls at the age of 30, no matter how cute I think they would look with a pair of pretty platform heels. I will never say never. My sister thinks I'm a little off since I swore that leggings were ridiculous and I'd never wear them again, then I showed up in a pair under a dress. Although I did swear off the skinny jean and cowboy boot trends, and tight rolling my jeans (thank you Katie Holmes for bringing that one back). I think I will hold strong and resist the temptation with this trend as well.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Knit This, Not That

originally uploaded by labkat02.
The past few months, my knitting output has drastically decreased. Since I am no longer teaching knitting classes, I thought I would have a lot of time to finally focus on my own projects. I was sadly mistaken. It seems that I am now busier than ever! I am a new volunteer writer for the NIH Office of Communication and Education, Cancer Publishing Branch. So I was assigned a short review of a paper that was recently published about a new technology to discover and test autoantibodies as cancer biomarkers. The plan is for this Research Advance article will be published on when it is finished. I am hoping that if I'm successful at this assignment, they will have more for me as well. Also in my spare time, I am the volunteer editor for the Montgomery County Story, the bi-annual Montgomery County Historical Society publication. I stumbled upon this as a way to get experience editing and learn something new about the county I work in. From the previous blog posts, I think it is clear that I have been spending more time in the kitchen as well. I love trying new recipes and expanding my culinary palet.

As a result of all of these extra-curricular activities, knitting has not been on the top of my list of priorities. Until a few days ago. I was trying to pick out what sweater pattern to knit for a new baby that is expected at the end of this month (shout out to baby boy Lewis!) and I realized that I had planned on beginning my holiday knitting in July. Somehow, July came and went. I have patterns that I bought last January. I just need to choose the yarn and get it done. It is actually a really cute, but easy and thoughtful gift that I'm giving to everyone in my immediate family. I have failed. So the baby sweater is at the top of the list, along with one for the best big brother ever (Yea Hayden!) because being a big brother is an important job that deserves a special new sweater too. I already am half-way done with H's sweater and I'm excited to send it to him. Then I realized that I have no plans for Izzy's birthday present. I make my neice something special for her birthday and Christmas every year. Her birthday is in early October, so I have time, but I need to budget for the yarn which means I have to pick the project and plan it out. So in summary, I have three little sweaters and about seven holiday gifts to knit. This seems reasonable, right? Of course not! To complicate the matter further, you have the fact that I am neurotic and very task-oriented. I have a shawl/scarf that I began a few weeks ago that is still sitting on the needles taunting me. I hate unfinished projects sitting around in my knitting basket. For example, the pair of slippers I knit last January that still need to be felted. I am ashamed of myself for being too scared to felt them. I've never felted anything and the process is seemingly easy--hot water, a top-loading washer, and lots of friction. I am not even going to mention the insane afghan I decided to make that is going to take me about a year at this pace because I have to make 48 separate blocks that need to then be seemed together to create a blanket that is 72"x54". All of this has left me reeling and unsure of what to knit and what not to knit. I am about to resort to my old system--post-it notes. Lots of post-it notes all over my laptop and coffee table to keep me focused.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Favorite recipe of the week

Amanda's Non-fat Peach Mango Smoothie

1c ice cold skim milk
1c fat free vanilla yogurt
1 large peeled and pitted peach
1 mango (peeled with pit removed)
2 Tbsp honey

Combine in a smoothie maker or blender and mix at high speed until smooth. It's the perfect treat on a hot day!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Favorite recipe

My sister first told me about making a salsa-based chicken soup a couple of months ago. I have added a little bit more to it every time I make it and I think I have created a great version of my own. It's one of those super easy but flavorful crock pot recipes that I think everyone loves. Put it on in the morning and by the time you get home, you have a great pot of soup.

chicken broth (one of the big boxes you can get in the canned goods aisle)
1 jar of your favorite salsa
2 frozen chicken breasts (you can use more if you want)
1 can black beans
1 can of corn
fresh chopped cilantro (1 cup)
1/2 bag of frozen bell pepper strips (or use fresh red, green, yellow and orange bell peppers)

*I crush up some tortilla chips over top when I serve it.