Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Blondies

When it comes to brownies, I prefer blondies.

When it comes to boys, I prefer...well....really honest ones that claim my new blog layout reminds them of "a high schooler's MySpace page."
He tries so hard to get rid of me :-)

This weekend, my professor recommended we take a break from Organic Chemistry and relax. "Relax" for me means baking. Ok, it actually means sneaking spoonfuls of brownie batter into my mouth and force-feeding Brian the batter that actually gets cooked. 

Once I examined the contents of the fridge and pantry, I realized I had all the ingredients on hand to make a batch of blondies.

Here are the ingredients:



Here is the remaining batter that I didn't devour:


 And here are those chewy blondies:


The recipe I used was taken from Eat, Live, Run, but I made a few adjustments. Since Brian and I love toffee, I added more Heath bar bits and fewer nuts. I also used pecans instead of walnuts, because that's what I had on hand.

Also, the dark brown sugar that we had in the pantry was more like a dark brown brick. After an unsuccessful attempt at breaking up the sugar brick, I used light brown sugar instead.

Overall, the blondies were delicious. I actually preferred them later that night, after they set a few hours.


Heath Bar Blondies
makes 12-16
1 stick butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract (or the seeds of one vanilla bean)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup heath bar crumbles
1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts
Preheat your oven to 350 and butter an 8-inch square pan.
Brown your butter by melting it over medium heat on the stove until it becomes a golden caramel color (see here for more tips). Be careful not to burn the butter—you only want to brown it. This will take several minutes and it’s easiest to keep swirling the pan with your hand while it browns.
Pour the browned butter into the bowl of a kitchen aid and add the brown sugar. Beat for about four minutes, until creamy. Add the egg and beat again. Then, add the flour, salt and vanilla extract (or seeds). Beat until combined.
Fold in the heath bar bits and chopped walnuts. Spread out mixture in your buttered pan and bake for 25 minutes.
Happy Baking!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

Up at 5:30 this morning due to a highly annoying dog who's name I won't mention.

Starts with a B and ends with an Ella.

I'm working at the bank this morning and then Brian and I are spending the evening with Brian's coworker Kevin and his sweet family.

Other than that, it's nice having no agenda!

I definitely plan on baking a little....in the kitchen and in the sun! I'll share some of my goodies with you here and on my cake blog!

Did you notice the new blog changes? If I only achieved one of my month's goals this month, so be it. But I was able to spend the rainy day yesterday changing the layout of all three blogs! Four hours later, I had completely lost track of time and it was already time for dinner.

Well, off to work I go. I hope everyone has a fabulous Memorial Day weekend! Remember to wear sunscreen!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Atlantic City

The resort

Atlantic City "Cat Project" known for the biggest stray cat prides in the United States

Shoreline

Another view 

View from our hotel window of the pavilion and boardwalk

Brittany and Me

Monday, May 23, 2011

Birthday Blog

Twenty fours years old today!

In the words of OneRepublic, "Don't really know how I got here. I got some pictures on my phone."

Even though it often feels like one huge blur, I made a list of some of my life's highlights. It's these moments that I remember the best, even the smallest details. 

Here's twenty four of my fondest memories:

24. Riverside theater productions
23. Eighth grade lunchtime with Anna and Maggie
22. Kenny Chesney/country concerts on the lawn
21. Rides in the back of Papa's truck
20. Camp Oak Hill
19. Day at Hyco Lake
18. Croasdaile pool with the gang
17. Grandma and Pa's farm with Erin
16.  New Year's celebration at the Holmes'
15. Mill Creek Invitational weekend
14. Mountain Weekend with "the Von Trapp family singers!"
13. Aspen ski trip with the Family
12. Busch Gardens trip with Mollie and Megan
11. Easter weekend, 2006
10. Lake Winnipesaukee with Meg and Chris
9. Grey Stone Day Camp
8. Scotland 
7. Son Power choir trip, 11th grade
6. Spring Break in Gulf Shores
5. Annual Outerbanks trip
4. Bonfires at Ame's
3. M202 freshman year
2. Falling in love with Brian
1. Honduras, Spring Break 2008

Well, looking back over the list, over half of my happiest memories took place during my recent college years. That can either mean one of two things:

Your college years are the best years of your life.
-or-
Life just keeps getting better with age.

If the first one is true, I guess it's a good thing I'll likely be in college until I'm thirty.

If the second one is true, I definitely have a lot to look forward to!

Honduras 2008

Friday, May 20, 2011

Photo Blog

My Droid phone is the source of most of my pictures. I was deleting most of them from my phone just now, so I figured I'd upload them to my blog to share a few memories.

Cute book club invitations that I worked extremely hard on...and then never actually sent!

Bonfire at Ame's house

at Sharky's



Laying out in the backyard

 I remember this picture--Brian was about to start getting on my case about my not being on time for the reunion, and luckily someone called his phone right at that moment. Yep, he's the one that officially made us late!

Flowers I bought last weekend

My favorite pup

Now off to Atlantic City for the weekend....

Thursday, May 19, 2011

"Dental School...Like...To be a Dentist...."

For those of you who read this and want to keep tabs on my current whereabouts...

And for my parents, who will read this blog post and still ask me every single day the same exact questions...
  • I'm currently enrolled in my summer Organic I & II Chemistry courses and will be done with my last class on July 22nd
  • The application for dental schools becomes available June 1, 2011 and most of them are due sometime in the late fall of this year (Sept/Nov).
  • Interviews for applicants being seriously considered for dental school start in September-December. First round acceptance letters are mailed December 1st, and a second round of acceptance letters is sent in the late Spring.
  • I am applying to five schools: Pacific University (San Francisco), UNC (Chapel Hill), ECU (Greenville), University of Maryland (Baltimore), and University of Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh)
  • I have only taken pre-requisite courses for the UNC dental school requirements, and have still yet to take Physics II, which is required. The pre-requisites differ slightly between schools, but they can be "in-progress" as long as they are completed before Fall 2012. Unfortunately, that means additional pre-req classes are in my future.
  • To my surprise, I'm excelling in Chemistry. Physics, not so much.
  • My current interest is Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, which is a branch of dentistry dealing with injuries and defects of the face, jaw, teeth, etc. And to think this all started with me simply wanting to scrape plaque off of someone else's teeth!
  • I want to be a writer. But, as you can tell from the previous bullet points, I have one hell of a backup plan. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Too Many Options

Lately, I've been trying to save money by not eating out as much, which means that I end up going to my parents' house and eating their food instead.

But I'm pretty sure that a homeless, starving person from off the street could come into my parents' house and leave empty-bellied.

Everyday I get home for lunch, it goes something like this:

I. cannot. find. a. single. thing. to. eat.

Unless of course I'm having an odd craving for...

 cheese....

 yogurt...

or cereal.

And there you have it. The contents of their kitchen. 

Mom and Dad, please stop tempting me with all of these options. It's no small task choosing between the Blackberry or the Banana Cream Pie flavored yogurt. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dog or Human? (Top Five Convincing Reasons)

Some people treat their dogs as their own children.

And some maybe treat their dogs better than their own children (for good reason I might add).

From what I've observed, Colby is like a child in many ways (although she is much faster, more intelligent, and more compliant than her Homo sapian counterpart).

Convincing Reason #5
Children are often very inquisitive and constantly questioning the ways of the world. By her facial expressions and her intense gaze, I know that Colby also ponders philosophically about the world and dares to ask questions that no one else asks. Such as...
"Why is this small Yorkshire Terrier humping me? Didn't y'all get him neutered!?"
"Why bother with the dishwasher if I can clean them for you?"
"Why do black males always make me so nervous?"

Convincing Reason #4
Much like a child, Colby can often be found napping. She needs at least sixteen hours of sleep a day in order to function at her best.

Convincing Reason #3
She has a favorite toy. Her red bull goes with her everywhere.



Convincing Reason #2
Colby always has to be the center of attention. Always, always, always, always. Try doing anything without Colby directly in your path--it's impossible! She definitely suffers from a serious case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).

Convincing Reason #1
I've loved her since the very first day.
From what I'm guessing, a mother loves her needy, whiny, alien-esque baby from Day 1. Most parents spend copious amounts of time and money on their children without ever receiving a "thank you." Colby urinated on my North Face and infested Amy's apartment with fleas on our first day together, but for some inexplicable reason, I still adored the fur ball.

 More proof? She is selfish...
 And stubborn at times....


Yep. She definitely has a human soul.

Colby, thank you for your constant entertainment and your unconditional love. And sorry I compared you to a child--I'm fully aware that you loathe little kids.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Still at the Kid's Table

In the 1970's, an article was written titled "Where have all the men gone?" The article was about the sudden rise of women going to college and becoming professionals, while men's numbers were falling. This trend is still seen today with more females enrolled in college than males, and the gap is only getting wider.

A more recent trend and discussion that I'm sure is taking place in many sociology classrooms is the new "pre-adulthood" stage. I didn't read much about this new trend until a couple months ago, and now I've finally put a name to my stark realization: I'm 23-years-old, living at home, and still financially dependent on my parents.

While I was sitting at a bar on Saturday night at 2:30 am--extremely tired and completely sober--a hundred thoughts were running through my head: How many more years is it going to be like this? Why is this not as fun as it used to be? Everyone here is older than me, and they still find it fun. Am I being lame?

When you don't want to go out and socialize (i.e. drink excessively) on a weekend night, you are "being lame." I guess I was under the impression that that ended after college. Wrong.

The older I get, the less impressed I am with the bar scene. And on most days, I actually feel the urge to be domestic--to create a home with someone, cook meals, and do laundry.

But then there's that fear of "settling down", and if dental school doesn't work out, I'm pretty tempted to backpack Europe, spend a year in search of "myself," and put aside all responsibilities while I'm still young. Okay, so maybe I won't actually backpack Europe, but it's a nice thought.

And here is some more food for thought:
I've attached links to several articles on the "pre-adulthood" topic, in case you're interested.

The Men from the Boys
Pre-Adulthood
Where have all the good men gone?
What is it about 20-somethings?

And on that note, I think I'll go have a PB & J.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Camels and Needles

Shortly after I decided to make one of my May Goals be that I blog every weekday this month, I had a brief moment of panic. For the first time, I was at a loss of words! Usually my mind (and mouth) is overflowing with stories, insights, and opinions that I care to share with whoever will listen. 

Today, thankfully, I once again have a million things to say. For reader's sake, I'll pick just one topic for today's blog, which leaves about 999,999,999 things for me to talk about with someone else later on today (read: Brian). 

Between gas prices, the five organic chemistry books I had to buy, and my Kaplan course expenses, my money is tighter than a pair of jeggings. 

And while I have likely not been spending as wisely as I should have, I am wise to remember that God has always favored the poor believer. Why? Because God commands us to turn away from Earthly possessions and find our happiness in Him. 
 
One of my favorite Bible versus that has always stuck with me is Matthew 19:24:

"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

I love this metaphor for so many reasons, and I've always wanted it as a wood carving placed above the entrance to my house. My future house. My future house that is very grand, elegant, and something that might be found in Southern Living. Just sayin.

For now, I'll just have it on my blog and I'll have it in my head for comfort. 

Lord knows I'm not gonna have the easiest time getting in to heaven, but Lord knows I'm poor.

So at least I've got that goin' for me. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Diet Coke with a Salmon Caesar...Light on the Dressing

Ryan Seacrest posted this question today on his radio show, and I (of course) had an opinion.

What do you think of a guy ordering a "feminine" food at a restaurant?

Over the weekend, while on a date, Ryan ordered quinoa as a side dish. Along with the fact that he pronounced it in the most obnoxious way ever (I, personally, would say qui-no-a with a long southern drawl), it was definitely a very odd choice.

I remember when my friend Dave first started ordering Diet Coke when we were out to eat. It was weird. It just seemed so girly.

Now that I'm dating an avid Diet Coke drinker, I've gotten more used to this occurrence. Brian also swears to me that men can be choc-o-holics, whereas I tend to think of chocolate as a "feminine" food.

Here's what I think:

If a feminine woman orders a "manly" meal, she is "one of the guys." If she can eat it all, even better.

But if I was on a date and the guy ordered a peach margarita with a sugared rim.....

Waiter!!.....Check, please!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Random Thoughts of the Day

These are some random and witty thoughts that I found while blog surfing a few weeks ago, and I thought I'd share them with you.

As a bank teller, my favorite is the last one.


Random Thoughts of the Day
  •   More often than not, when someone is telling me a story all I can think about is that I can’t wait for them to finish so that I can tell my own story that’s not only better, but also more directly involves me.
      
    • Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the heck was going on when I first saw it.
      •  I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.
        •  Lol has gone from meaning, "laugh out loud" to "I have nothing else to say". 
        •  I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger. 
        • How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear what they said?
        •  I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars teams up to prevent an aggressive driver from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers!
          •  MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.
            • I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired. 
              • Whenever I'm Facebook stalking someone and I find out that their profile is public I feel like a kid on Christmas morning who just got the Red Ryder BB gun that I always wanted. 546 pictures? Don't mind if I do!
              •  Is it just me or do high school girls get sluttier & sluttier every year?
              • Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go around and say their name and where they are from, I get so incredibly nervous? Like I know my name, I know where I'm from; this shouldn't be a problem....
              •  You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you've made up your mind that you just aren’t doing anything productive for the rest of the day.
                • Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after DVDs? I don't want to have to restart my collection.
                • There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.
                •  I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.
                • When I meet a new person, I'm terrified of mentioning something they haven’t already told me but that I have learned from some light internet stalking.
                • I like all of the music in my iTunes, except when it's on shuffle, then I like about one in every fifteen songs in my iTunes.
                  • Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.
                    • It should probably be called Unplanned Parenthood.
                      •  Even if I knew your social security number, I wouldn't know what to do with it.

                      Monday, May 9, 2011

                      May Goals

                      Today is my last day of "summer vacation". I had four days off of school. It was fun while it lasted!

                      Tomorrow it's back to the grind.

                      5 and 1/2 weeks of Organic Chemisty followed by 5 and 1/2 weeks of Organic Chemistry II. I hope I can survive! Luckily, I am feeling extremely motivated to really dedicate myself to these classes because this is the FINAL STRETCH.

                      May is already starting to slip away from me, but it's not too late for me to set some goals for this month.

                      Goals for May
                      1. Plan and organize my week on Sunday...that includes my study schedule, my blogging, my errands, my workout, etc.
                      2. Weight lifting. 4 days/week. This is scary for me, as I am much more of a cardio gal.
                      3. Spend 30-60 minutes/weekday reviewing for the DAT exam.
                      4. Take my Kaplan DAT final exam, and hopefully do well!
                      5. Blog every weekday for the rest of the month.
                      6. Dedicate more time to the book club! I have been slack this month, since school was wrapping up, but I have some creative ideas.
                      7. Revamp the blog. This will take extensive research and learning, seeing as  how I am technologically inept.
                      8. Continue Power of a Praying Woman bible study.

                      Apparently I have a lot on my plate this month, but that always seems to be the case.

                      Happy May to you all!