Pumpkin muffins

Pumpkin muffins

Anatomy has almost consumed my life, but it will all be over soon. In the meantime, I decided to make some pumpkin muffins. Nothing says fall like pumpkin. Moo (the cat) likes pumpkin too.

Pumpkin muffins (adapted from Allrecipes.com)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of canned pumpkin
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 “eggs” – to make the muffins healthier, I use ground flax as a substitute (for each egg, use 1 tablespoon flax to 2 tablespoons of boiling water)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners or use one of those silicon muffin “tins”, they’re awesome, no greasing, no paper and no stuck muffins.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together 2 cups pumpkin puree, vegetable oil and “eggs” (flax mixture). Stir pumpkin mixture into flour mixture until smooth. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Arteries and veins of the upper limb

This and my other scientific images have now been moved over to Sketchy Medicine.com, my new website dedicate exclusively to scientific and medical images!

See it there!

Arteries and veins quiz (Illustrator)

This week is upper limb week in school. As part of my homework, I had to teach the arteries and veins of the upper limb (arm and hand) to the rest of the group. One of the girls starting doing nice fill-in-the-blanks type questions and it works so well. So I decided that why ruin a good thing? Of course I spent more time drawing the picture and making it pretty than actually studying the vessels, but at least I was looking at them. Right? Right?

And of course, the answers:

Arteries and veins (with answers)

The lonely mouse

Group-housed mice (Illustrator)

School has been busy to say the least. Fun and interesting, but busy. I did get all of the revisions on my paper done though, and it’s been resubmitted and accepted (WOOT!). Now it’s on to the poster. I decided that I should make my poster extra pretty, since it’s going to the huge neuro conference that’s happening in Chicago in a couple weeks. The only thing better would be if I was actually going with it. So in an effort to snazzify my poster (which would otherwise just be a bunch of graphs, such is life for a behavioural researcher, people who do histology get to actually have photos), I decided that some vector art might do the trick. So I whipped up these puppies mice. There’s actually another mouse that goes with them, since the study was investigating housing. So these are the group-housed ones and on the other side of the poster I’ll have the lonely mouse who is all alone. Poor mousey. I bet we all have days like that, I suppose we should just be happy that someone didn’t permanently move us to individual housing.

I’ll post a copy of the poster when it’s done. Which feels like never right now.

Seal (name chop)

Chinese seals, Left: mine, Right: Mike's

For quite a while I’ve wanted a seal, the name kind, not the mammalian kind. So when my birthday came around this year, I figured that it would be a cool thing to ask for. Of course, being on the east coast of Canada, it’s not like there’s a seal carver on every street corner. Or any street corner for that matter. So the internet search began. There are a lot of internet sites that will provide this service, so it was hard trying to find one that was legit and also well thought out. I didn’t just want my name in some generic font on the bottom of a rock. Luckily in my search I came across Chinese 4 Arts.

The thing that really caught my attention with this site is the artist who runs it, Chengwei Fang, is actually a scientist by day, artist by night, which of course I can relate to. Plus his gallery was really good. Mike and I decided that we might as well both get one and since it was my birthday gift, he did all of the communications with Chengwei. The whole process was really personal and really fast and the results are awesome! We just got them in the mail this week and I’m so so pleased with how they turned out. Mine’s the red on white, while Mike’s the white on red. I can’t recommend Chengwei enough, he was amazing to work with and produced two unique and beautiful seals.

Run heart run

Pacemakers heart

So a couple people in my class started a running club. It’s pretty darn awesome. A bunch of us are going to attempt a half marathon this coming month, and we decided that it would be awesome if we had matching shirts. One of the best parts about medical school is that puns are strongly encouraged. Thus the group is named “The Pacemakers”. Get it? Get it? We’re cool like that. It was then decided that we needed an incredibly silly logo so I created this guy. There’s nothing better than a heart on a pacemaker happily running along.

It’s also almost entirely anatomically correct (of course).

Mango Sticky Rice

Mango sticky rice

This has to be the easiest dessert dish ever. I think I made it a little too sweet, so I would recommend using less sugar, especially because mango is really sweet itself. My version is very quick and very dirty, but it still tasted really good.

Mango sticky rice

Ingredients

  • Sticky (glutinous) rice, this is different from jasmine and other types of rice, it should say “glutinous” on the side
  • Coconut milk*
  • Sugar
  • 1 mango

* 1 small can (~150 mL) of coconut milk would do 3-4 small servings, if you want more, use a bigger can

Directions

  1. Rinse and soak rice. If you’re in a pinch (ie you’re impatient) you can just rinse it
  2. Cook rice. I used a rice cooker, I’m sure there are other ways, but rice cookers make it much easier. I used a 1:2 rice water ratio.
  3. Cut up the mango into chunks
  4. When the rice is almost done or as soon as the rice cooker goes to “warm” instead of “cook”, mix your coconut milk and sugar. I remember someone telling me almost equal parts, but I found that that makes it way too sweet. I would just keep adding a tablespoon of sugar until it’s as sweet as you want.
  5. If you are hard core, you heat up the sweetened coconut milk in a saucepan, but I used the microwave (about 2 minutes on high) to heat it up
  6. Add most of the sweetened coconut milk to the rice still in the rice cooker, let it sit there for at least 10 minutes
  7. Dish out the rice, add the mango chunks and then pour a little more coconut milk on it if you so desire

Somewhere to sit

We are still sorely lacking furniture in the new place. We have a bed, we have an awesome entertainment stand and we now have a nice large coffee table. We are lacking places to sit though. Right now we have this

The futon

Why yes, it is a futon. This poor futon has seen better days. I did not get it new (like most/all of my furniture). I picked it up from someone who lived across the street two apartments ago. It’s comfy to sit on and great for napping because it has two mattresses but it doesn’t fold down. Well, it folds down, it just doesn’t fold back up. So after battling with it extensively during the move we were told point blank that we should find a “real place to sit”. One could point out that the floor is also a “real place to sit” but being a smart ass never helps. 

Thus began the search for a proper couch (or sofa as they appeared to be called more often). The problem with couches, like the majority of modern design is that you pay for for clean lines. I think it’s a little funny since you are getting less material in total, but obviously there is a high premium for coming up with the idea.

Mike and I are also burdened with the issue of being short. I’m only about 5’2″ (5’3″ on a good day) and he’s about 5’9″, so it was important to find a couch that wasn’t crazy deep.

We lucked out however and found this

The new couch

Source

Not the height of modern design, but not too bad and despite the photo with nothing to reference the size, the couch is the right size and most definitely the right price. It’s not actually leather, but bonded leather, which I discovered in my couch quest for knowledge is somewhere between vinyl and “real” leather. They take all the leather scraps made from other furniture and then mash it up and make a new material. Sounds good to me. We also got the matching chair.

Continued adventures in furnishing

Mike has decided that above almost any other piece of furniture or other furnishing, we need a bright green shag rug for the living room. I am all for this idea because it seems like something I would have come up with anyways. 

He had something in mind like this (but a bit brighter)

Source

I suggested that we be extra hip and cool and get a Flor rug. For those not in the know, Flor is a company that makes modular carpet tiles in hundreds of colours and textures. So we found a suitable texture in a suitable colour and started the process of ordering it.

Rake Me Over, Lime 

That’s when things went a little sour. Turns out that Flor doesn’t really ship to Canada. So not only are Canadians unable to order online, but after Mike called them they needed a day to figure out just how much it was going to cost. So we finally here back and it’s almost double what we had estimated. Turns out that every little fee that could possibly be added on is added on, especially because they don’t have anything set up to reliably ship to Canada.

So unfortunately the rug was not to be. I hold no ill feeling towards Flor though, they’re a great company and I love the fact that if you wear out a tile you can send it back and they’ll recycle it. So I would whole heartedly endorse Flor, as long as you don’t live outside the US.

From one off-white to another

The first thing Mike and I decided to do with the place was paint it. The condo had been reasonably freshly painted by the people before us, but it was a very generic yellowy off-white. Mike decided that we should have cooler colours so we trekked to the local Canadian Tire to look at colours and paints. Mike picked a nice light grey then we thought it would be pretty cool to have one wall of the bedroom a slightly darker grey. 

Not that there was a whole lot of selection at Canadian Tire as far as paint brands go, but we went with CIL Real Life Eggshell. Mostly because it said it was low VOC and that seems to be the big trend. I’d actually never painted with latex paints before because my family house was built in the 80s, when oil paint was used because it just smells so good (and you have got to love the 5 day drying time).

Painting went well. Except that it turns out that “snowfield” and “winternight” (or whatever the darker one was called) are only marginally different. As in the darker colour is exactly the colour of shadows on the first. It makes for a great optical illusion, but not really the punchy contrast we were aiming for.

Interior design (sort of)

The emptiness that is the condo

So Mike and I just got internet in the new place so I will start uploading photos of our design endeavors shortly. For the last couple days we’ve just been trying to unpack boxes and get things sort of sorted. This has proven to be difficult because we are sorely lacking furniture. And I do mean sorely.

I will post some “before” pictures shortly, but basically our challenge is this: Take a completely empty condo and furnish/decorate it with very little money. So far I think we’re doing ok. The only existing furniture we had was a desk, a broken futon and a tiny coffee table. We were lucky enough to receive a hand me down bed and bookcase and now the scrounging the classifieds begins. I’ll elaborate on this more later I suspect.

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