Monday, January 21, 2013

New Years Resolutions

I feel like I should make a list of resolutions for the coming year.  A lot has changed over the years, making several of my previous resolutions like "Lose some weight," "Exercise more," and "Get better grades" somewhat obsolete.  The first two because I've managed to incorporate that in to daily life, and the latter because grades essentially do not matter anymore.  10 is always a nice number for lists, and I think I've noticed that the key with resolutions is to be specific with the directives.

The new goals/resolutions this year shall be...

1. Properly budget money - I am going to soon receive my final loan disbursement.  After July 1, I shall be on a resident's salary of somewhere between 45-50k per year.  I'd rather not have a crap ton on my credit cards...

2. Maintain weight and exercise practices - That's always the challenge, isn't it?  Just staying where you are.

3. Read more medical books and studies, and incorporate into practice - essentially, be better about using evidence-based medicine!

4. Read more non-medical books and finish at minimum 10 books from The Great Books list - I've been doing okay with supplementing with a story or two from the Necronomicon every other day or so, but I need to step it up a notch!

5. Cook a duck and a goose properly

6. Go skydiving - It's already in the works but it'll be nice to cross something off my list early on in the year

7. Sort and identify the remaining insects in the boxes - at least that ONE box - you know the one - I really need to get on this - can't really call myself an insect collector if I don't do some work!

8. Make 10 signature cocktails - I already have one or two, but I need to make a few more that are just 'mine' and with the DIY Cocktail book I have, plus the Little Black Book, it shouldn't be too hard!

9. Take falconry lessons - Again, it's already in the works, but it looks impressive on a list of resolutions.

10. Finish the NaNoWriMo novel before the next NaNoWriMo event 

PS: Start painting...

These must be remembered as being distinct from my current wedding planning to do's... which still include...
- Buy shoes and a veil
- Take dancing lessons
- Order materials for and make wedding favors (the bottles, the packet, and the beads)
- Finish pen and ink drawings so that we have labels for tables
- Figure out who will officiate
- Figure out the music
- Buy a shirt and tie
- Add more to the registry

Friday, January 18, 2013

Random Recipes 15.05

Here's an experiment in Chocolate Mousse - using silk tofu, vanilla extract, and amaretto.

Here are the ingredients: 1/8 cup white sugar, 4 eggs (separated), 1/2 package of semisweet chocolate chips, 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream (or if you are not splitting the recipe in half to allow for silk tofu then use 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream), and extra bowls for pouring stuff into.

I know they always say to heat the chocolate over boiling water in a double layer pan, but honestly, if you know how to do it you can perfectly melt chocolate using the microwave.  Start small, with say 1 minute.  Then stir generously, try to evenly distribute, then heat for another 30 seconds.  Mix again generously, try to let the stored heat melt all the remaining solid chips.  If that doesn't do it, try another 15 seconds.  It should turn out okay.  Mix the white sugar with the egg yolks until smooth, and while WARM (not HOT, you don't want to cook the eggs when you add the chocolate to them...) add the chocolate - this should be one of the last steps, while you are beating the egg whites.  You don't want the chocolate-yolk-sugar mixture to cool in the meantime or it is hard to blend into the heavy whipping cream or silky tofu, whichever you are using.

Here is the heavy whipping cream after mixing for a long time with egg beaters on high - you can use a whisk but I don't see any difference.  It takes a few minutes but I promise it ends up looking like this

Here are the egg whites after being thoroughly mixed.  At this point, you will add the chocolate-yolk-white sugar mixture into the whipped heavy whipping cream and mix until smooth.  After that, add the whipped egg whites and fold into the mixture until smooth.  Then separate into bowls and cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for a few hours.

Here are the various bowls of chocolate mousse - half are made with heavy whipping cream, the other half are made with blended silk tofu.  Each mixture has three bowls.  In each subdivision, one of the bowls is left as is, another is given 1/3 tsp vanilla extract, and another is given 1/3 tsp amaretto liqueur.  Just a little experiment.

At the end of the experiment - I thought they all tasted quite yummy, however, I gotta say that tofu doesn't quite add the punch that the heavy whipping cream adds.  It's plenty edible, but with a semi-blind taste test, Kit preferred the three that used heavy whipping cream to the three that had soy, and he thought the vanilla was too strong in the one with added vanilla. 

We did end up with an interesting conclusion:  The chocolate mousse with heavy whipping cream that had the added amaretto liqueur was equivalent in taste to the chocolate mousse without the amaretto.  Essentially that gives me permission to add a little amaretto to the mixture the next time I make chocolate mousse.  In the meantime, I get sole ownership of the remaining chocolate mousse samples, while Kit eats the remaining "chewy" chocolate chip cookies that I didn't like.

More to come later!

Cocktails 12.05

I've been feeling better lately - not sure if it's the fact I'm doing rotations again and thus actually busy with something that challenges my intellect, or just that I'm not around family.  Either way, I infused some more vodka with blackberry and pear, and I created a ginger syrup and a cinnamon syrup.  Here are a few shots of the process:

Reducing ginger syrup - a little added sugar, boiled ground ginger root with water, and then reduced.

Cheesecloth for sieving and the final product.

Blackberries and Pears infused in Russian Standard Platinum Vodka over past week.

Blackberry vodka after sieving

Finally the Pear infused vodka

 The trio after sieving through a wire mesh and cheesecloth into nice containers.  Ginger - Pear - Blackberry.

Friday, January 11, 2013

In the Wasteland

Been feeling a lack of inspiration lately.  And when I'm not 'doing' something, I start feeling depressed, so I gotta shake myself out of this.  Don't really know what I should do to fix it, so I'll run through my usual ideas.

Idea: Get gung-ho about exercising!
Counter-argument: Already have a decent regimen going, and wouldn't want the fiance to get upset if I look too toned...

Idea: Write more of that NaNoWriMo!
Counter-argument: Not in the mood, not 'feeling' it, blahhhhh

Idea: Work on beaded bugs
Counter-argument: Gotta buy materials, and it takes time

Idea: Order wedding favor parts and get started!
Counter-argument: Expensive?  And the fiance needs to work on his portion.  And we don't know final numbers, might be able to save money if we wait a bit.

Idea: Learn the piano!
Counter-argument: Not a bad idea, but laziness and lack of training materials...but still not a bad idea

Idea: Find new music to get excited about!
Counter-argument: Doesn't feel too productive to sit on my laptop with Pandora, but not a bad idea.

Idea: Paint!
Counter-argument: What subject?  Dark stuff?  Something for the fiance?  Might not have sufficient materials...

Idea: Read more Necronomicon + tea or other beverage
Counter-argument: Might do that, since they are short stories and if I'm not feeling it then I can put it down.

Idea: Play computer games!  I do have two new ones...
Counter-argument: One game really needs to be played at night by myself in the dark, the other - not in the mood.  The usual: played a million times, though I do have a new 'quest' that I can explore somewhat.

Idea: Organize insects!
Counter-argument: Don't have the patience right now, but I really should get on that...

Idea: Cook something fancy!
Counter-argument: Again, money - and trying NOT to gain weight.  However, I am going to start experimenting with roasting poultry since the fiance has passed the baton to me, so to speak, after a few less-than-successful endeavors.  That'll be next week maybe though.

Idea: Work on Spanish on Duolingo!
Counter-argument: Maybe I will since it's quick.

Idea: Clean upstairs!
Counter-argument: Now you're really reaching...

Idea: Watch stuff on TV that I've already watched?
Counter-argument: Maybe... or maybe find something NEW for a change?

Idea: Go for a walk - it's pretty nice out!
Counter-argument: If I can get the fiance to go with me - otherwise I'll wait and run in the evening.  Didn't put on makeup today so a shower won't be particularly inconvenient.

Idea: Learn another skill - or learn a set of knowledge.  Like reviewing wine regions, characteristics...?
Counter-argument: That might work, though I gotta find some stuff to do first.

Idea: Read medical articles/journals - you're starting an Emergency rotation on Monday...
Counter-argument: Blahhhhhh...

Idea: Have a drink?  Forget the world?
Counter-argument: It's 2pm and sunny.  And calories.

Idea: Okay, I tried, go fuck yourself.
Counter-argument: Maybe I will...

Well, after all that it looks like I'm most open to... going for a walk run (since the fiance said no), reading more Necronomicon with a beverage, watching something on TV - maybe look for some videos about Emergency medicine, playing out some of Skyrim, exploring some music or doing duolingo...  Kinda want to give up Facebook too.  That and Yahoo! News are both on my continual refresh list and they almost never change with anything interesting so it's getting pretty boring...Don't know why I bother.  Partly used to be to enjoy schadenfreude but now I don't even care as much about that.

I think I'll start with reading...I guess.  I could also just take a long walk over to the UC Davis bookstore and get a pair of scrubs, but then I'll probably be too tired to run later.  I'll leave that for tomorrow, I suppose.  I'll be running shortly.