Monday, March 30, 2015

Shake and Vent -Chemistry Music Video

Check out this awesome video made by some pretty talented people in the Cornell Chemistry Department. It's a spoof of Taylor Swift's "Shake and Vent" -if you look closely you'll see me in the background of a few scenes!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Arabian Nights Dinner Party

It's been quite a while since I've thrown a dinner party. So, this year for my birthday I decided that throwing a dinner party was exactly what I wanted to do. I thought of a few different themes, but finally settled on an Arabian Nights theme -mostly because one of my friends thought that an Arabian Nights dinner party would be "a dream".
In order to do this on the cheap side, I borrowed a canopy tent from a friend who just happened to have one handy. Then I covered it in any fabric I could find (table clothes, bed sheets, comforters...) as long as it was gold, yellow or red. I had everyone sitting on the ground on cushions and I propped the table up on cinder blocks to give it a little bit of height.
I made some pretty cool looking Moroccan-style lanterns to hang inside the tent. I really liked the way these turned out and they were cheap to make and not very time consuming.
For the table setting, I had a brass tea set that I placed in the center of the table. I didn't use a lot of flowers for this table because I wanted the brass tea set to be the star of the table -and I didn't really feel like doing any fancy floral arrangements. 
We had some dahlias and marigolds growing in the garden so, I picked them and put the dahlias in a vase and scattered the marigolds around the table. 
I decided to have everyone eat with their hands for this meal. I thought it would be fun and add to the whole dining experience. So, I included finger bowls with water at each persons place setting. I put out lots and lots of candles and to complete the look I placed two candlestick holders with gold candlesticks at the ends of the table.
Now for the food...mmm...
 For the starters I made small plates of taboulisamboosahummus, and baba ganoush and placed them around the table with some pita bread. For the main course I served kabsa. And for dessert, I made some baklava, which turned out amazing -totally worth making!
I had a lot of fun putting this party together. I always love seeing what the final product looks like. It is always so fun to throw a bit of an over-the-top dinner party. Give it a try, the planning is fun, the prep is fun and the dinner party itself is always fun and memorable. Phew -that's a lot of fun!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Triple-Chocolate Cheesecake

So, I've decided to start up with blogging again. We will see how long my resolution lasts. I have been sitting on this recipe for a long time and I am excited to share it with you guys because it is delicious. Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate...I don't think this cheesecake needs any further explanation. 
The recipe for this cheesecake is pretty easy and straightforward. I really like that word: straightforward. What a great word and it's so nice to make straightforward recipes right?

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Haunted Carnival

 This year I thought it would be fun to have a haunted carnival for our annual church Halloween party. So, I decided to dress up some skeletons in some simple costumes and use them as carnival performers. I made two trapeze artists and one tight rope walker. You can find lots of information on the interwebs on how to make something like this. It's a bit of work, but it looks pretty awesome once it is set up. 
 I wanted to stick with the carnival theme for the food, so we served hot dogs, popcorn and caramel apples. For the drink I just made some red punch from a fruit punch soft drink and some ginger ale. I then added some dry ice so the punch was bubbling like a witch's brew. 
The whole space was decorated with lights and we set up some game booths with candy for prizes.  Sadly, I didn't take any pictures of the booths, but we had a coin toss, haunted bowling, a ghost hunt  and a fishing booth. We also had a fog machine which ended up setting off the fire alarm -oops. Other than that, the party went off without a hitch. By the time the party started, the room really did look like a carnival. It was so much fun.  And I want to give a shout out to all the people who helped to set up and take all of the decorations down, thank you, it was a huge help!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pop-up Dinner Party

So, I have this friend  who heard about something called a pop-up dinner party. Since she knows how much I love planning parties, we decided to throw a pop-up dinner party together. What is a pop-up dinner party, you might ask? It's basically a fancy dinner party in a picnic location. 
So, we decided to give it a try and throw a pop-up dinner party at a park on the shore of Cayuga Lake. It was raining earlier that day, but the weather cleared and it turned out to be a wonderful night. 
We wanted to make easily prepared food that could be served at room temperature. So for the starters we had roasted asparagus wrapped in prosciutto served alongside crackers, fruit and an assortment of cheeses. 
I brought my camping stove so I could cook the main course while we ate the starters. We decided to have a clambake, because it's simple, elegant and delicious. For the dessert I wanted to stay simple, so I bought a coconut cake and decorated it with fresh strawberries and mint. 
For the centerpiece I used a piece of driftwood, which I found on the lake shore. I then added the orchid to the driftwood, some flowers from my yard and a few candles. In the end we had a cheap yet beautiful centerpiece for the party.
The outdoor lighting was created by hanging candle holders from a tree.
The location and atmosphere really made the evening perfect! I think that pop-up dinner parties might just be my new favorite thing. I (and hopefully said friend) will definitely be doing this again soon.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

First Publication!!

My first paper was recently published in PNAS! It's titled: "Direct substitution and assisted dissociation pathways for turning off transcription by a MerR-family metalloregulator" and you can check it out at the link below.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Raspberry Cinnamon Rolls

Let me start off by pointing out that these are most definitely not good for you. So, if you're on a diet you have been warned: proceed with caution!
With summer drawing to an end, I find myself craving warm desserts more and more (I included the flower to conjure up summertime memories -is it working?).  So, when I stumbled across this recipe I had to make it -with a few minor changes, of course!
The filling is the only thing I changed. I added some homemade raspberry jam (recipe to come), melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. So, it ended up being a fusion between a raspberry roll and a traditional cinnamon roll. And let me tell you something, it was so, so, good!