Friday, July 29, 2011

Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta

Not every dish is a winner, at least, according to boyfriend.  Personally I loved this dish.  We were in fact thinking the exact opposite thing.  This is how this dinner went down...

Picture us, sitting on the couch, enjoying an episode of House Hunters International.  I've spent the last twenty minutes, slaveing away in the kitchen (not really) on a hot summer night.  I presented boyfriend with a delicious bowl of pasta and he likes pasta.

There I am, shoveling goat cheese and sun-dried tomato covered pasta into my mouth.  Tangy, sweet and savory, I'm definitely enjoying this dinner.  My only complaint, I'm thinking "I wish I had more goat cheese."

Meanwhile, boyfriend sits in his chair, meticulously eating his bowl of angel hair.  He's looking a little suspicious of what I'm feeding him.  Then I hear "What's the white stuff?"

"It's goat cheese, it's delicious."

"Huh, I think you gave me too much of it."

Too much goat cheese?  Is there such a problem?  So, note to self.  Boyfriend loves pasta, boyfriend does not love goat cheese...  yet... 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Peanut Brittle

This one's for my mom!  If there's anyone out there who I know will be thrilled with this recipe, it's my momma!  I've been putting off this traditional candy treat because I wasn't sure I'd be able to reproduce that classic flavor.  Peanut brittle has such a specific taste, if it isn't right, then it isn't peanut brittle.  Luckily, this recipe turned out dead on prefect.

I made a small batch this time, just to be sure that I got it right.  The only problem that I had with this recipe had nothing to do with anything that I did.  I'm sure that most of you living in the states got to enjoy the fabulous heat wave that rolled across the country.  Making hard candy in this type of hot and humid weather is not a good idea.  I made these on a dry day, but then the humidity rolled in and the candy made it's best attempts at sticking together.  What was a girl to do?  Eat it!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Honey-Basil Chicken

You may have noticed that I've been missing recently.  I'm three weeks into my first job and things are a little crazy.  I'm working on balancing my work, life, blogging schedule.  I've actually been cooking a lot, since I need to feed boyfriend and myself, I just haven't had the time to get the deliciousness from the camera to you! 

It's been a little tricky to feed both boyfriend and I.  We both eat very different types of food.  He's a HUGE fan of all things pasta, creamy and cheesey.  I like chicken in light sauces.  He doesn't eat seafood, I don't eat beef.  I like to pile my plates high with vegetables and he orders his sandwiches without lettuce or tomatoes. 

Luckily, we can agree on a number of things.  Chicken is a staple in our house, leaving me to find more and more delicious chicken recipes.  That is, until I can convince boyfriend to eat food my way.  I think I need Jessica Seinfelds cookbook...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Pizza Foccacia

Among all of the big changes that have been happening in the Wilde household, the change in living situations is probably one of the biggest.  For the past eight years, boyfriend and I have been a long distance couple.  It did help that we've known each other for the past fifteen years and also that we were both so very busy while we were apart.  Boyfriend was busy building his career and getting a great job, while I spent my time holed up in labs finishing my education.

Now that we are living in one household it's totally different.  Good different!  Not only are the living expenses cut in half (a great bonus), but sometimes I arrive home to discover the laundry I put in the dryer that morning has folded itself up and put itself away!  The dishwasher empties itself and even dinner arrives without me having to lift a finger!

Now, I realize that boyfriend might have a bit to do with the amazing feats of housework and food prep (ordering) because these things never happened when I was living alone!  Food covered dishes would just sit in the sink until I faced the music and put them in the dishwasher.  Laundry would remain in the dryer until I tried to run another load, so that's where those pants were all week...  Dinner would often be a bowl of lettuce that I would call a salad. 

Living with boyfriend definitely has is benefits, most of all being, I get to see him every day.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Peanut butter and Chocolate Chip Ice cream

The summer of 2008 is fondly remembered as the lost summer, at least in my mind. 2008 was my last year of grad school and the summer of 2008 was the summer of my thesis. I defended my thesis in late august which meant that I spent the many weeks and months before writing.

My thesis is a collection of over 500 pages worth of text, images and data. Lots and lots of data. I'd say it's over half full of NMR spectra, experimental protocols and mass spec readouts. This massive collection of my brilliance was no easy feat to pull together. I would spend all day working tirelessly in the lab, trying to finish my project before my D-day. I would then head home and take up residence at the kitchen table. I would write introduction chapters, edit Chemdraw slides and resize NMR files. Images would suddenly jump to the next page and I would try to keep data next to the relevant text. The sun would rise and set and I would be there at my computer.

The summer of 2008 was lost in a blur of thesis writing and chemistry doing.  Of course it was all worth it, in the end.  I'm now Dr. Wilde in the Kitchen and my PhD has allowed me to become gainfully employed.  So, while the summer of 2008 may have passed me by, the summer of 2011 is going to be mine.  Here I come weekends, get the beaches ready, release the summer blockbusters, fill my calendar with festivals.  I'm so ready!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Light Wheat Bread

I know, it's Monday, beginning of the work week.  It is also the end of my first weekend as a non-student!  And let me tell you, I enjoyed every non-lab filled minute of it.  I slept in, I baked, I made dinner.  It was fabulous.  Let us compare a student weekend to my first non-student weekend.

Student weekend - Wake up at 6:30 and bake something quick, like zucchini bread.
 This weekend - Wake up at 7:45 and read my book for a half hour (what can I say, I'm an early riser)

Student weekend - Shower quickly and throw on some jeans and a t-shirt.
This weekend - Put off taking a shower and watch some HGTV with boyfriend.

Student weekend - Eat some cereal and a banana
This weekend - Eat a banana while making boyfriend and I some French toast with my homemade bread.

Student weekend - Walk to the lab, enjoy twenty minutes of sunshine (although it is most likely through a cloudy sky).
This weekend - Walk to D Do's and get coffee for boyfriend.

Student weekend - Spend the next several hours working in my hood, staring sadly out the window.
This weekend - Run some errands with boyfriend, spend lots of time outside and get a little suntan.

Ahhh, I'm liking weekends.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Strawberry Pate de Fruit

Do you remember what you wore on your first day of high school?  I do.  I thought I looked super cool in my overalls, pink Gap t-shirt and matching pink socks.  I also had on my brand new Aasics with the pink triangles.  I loved those shoes and wore them all year long.  The triangles always matched my outfit.  And I still own those pink socks.  Thankfully I no longer own those overalls, I think they were too short about a month after I wore them.

When looking in my closet last night I was faced with a similarly important decision.  What do I wear on my first day of work?  What could I see myself wearing on that all important day?  How would I remember myself as I walked through those glass doors?  This was an important decision.  As I mulled over my closet, boyfriend commented "I thought you would have this figured out a while ago!" 

Luckily, I didn't have too much to decide between.  Having worked in a university lab for the past seven and a half years, my wardrobe consists mostly of jeans and cute t-shirts.  My collection of business clothing is far smaller than my collection of white tees.  I'm going to have to go shopping!

Perhaps you're wondering, what did I decide on?  Sage green, silk button-down with a tie at the waist.  Black pants that I have decided are about a size too big after wearing all day.  Black patent leather ballet flats with a shiny silver buckle.  Today was a great day and I looked pretty good walking through those doors.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Oatmeal Pancakes

Today is my last day of summer vacation, ever!  I'm not sure if that should be a happy or a sad exclamation point.  Tomorrow is the big day, my first day of work in the real world.  It feels like the day before my first day of school.  I'm looking at my closet, trying to decide what to wear.  I got a haircut this weekend and I'm all ready with my new do.  The occasional butterfly in my stomach and those first day thoughts keep popping up.

What will it be like?  Will I fit in with the rest of the scientists?  Will I fall asleep on the train and miss my stop?  I hope not!  At least I'll have these little beauties to keep me energized and ready to go on my first day of work.  And I totally have my outfit picked out and ready to go.

Rather than posting yet another picture of pancakes (while they were delicious) I thought you might enjoy some pictures of the Macy's fireworks from last night.  Happy 5th of July!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Banana Coconut Muffins

I'm out.  Yesterday I said goodbye to the hallowed halls of academia, my wonderful labmates, my brilliant undergrad and my faithful hood.  I made the trek to my new home sweet home, New Jersey.  This morning I woke up realizing that I wouldn't ever again be working seven day weeks.  I wouldn't see the sun rise and set while working at my bench.  No more would I lose days and weeks, only to realize that summer had passed me by.  It's time to revel in it, I'm a grown up!

It sounds strange to be excited about being a grown up, but I've been in the ranks of higher education for eleven and a half years.  And this isn't even a long time for someone with my degree.  I graduated undergrad in four years, even with taking a year to be a photography major.  I completed my PhD in exactly five years, defending my thesis on the exact day that I joined UW - Madison, five years later.  I worked as a Postdoc in a fabulous lab and completed a couple of natural projects. 

In the end I obtained the goal I set forth as a graduate student.  Most people make 30 before 30 goals.  I made just one goal and I made it, with a few months to spare.  Get a real job, before hitting the big three-O.  Now I'm making big plans of what to do with my weekends, how to spend my vacations and trying to figure out what real people do with three-day weekends.  At least I'll have help to fill my time. 

For eight years boyfriend and I have been a long distance couple, both of us moving around the country for jobs and school.  I'm very happy to tell you that I'm sitting in OUR apartment, writing this post.  Together at last, I hope I don't annoy him too much.  Better go make him some cookies to soften the transition.

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