Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Graduation Dinner Menu

Some of the dishes made have links back to the references used. If you would like more information about any of the recipes feel free to contact me at blueberryoctopie@gmail.com.

  • Carrot soup with oranges
  • fruit salad
  • watermelon salad with tomatoes, onions and balsamic vinegar
  • Asparagus pesto pasta

On Sunday I graduated from University of California, Davis with a degree in Biotechnology. To celebrate, my friends and family got together for a home cooked meal.

I love this picture of the wheat fields behind my cousin's house from the graduation dinner. 

Tonight I leave for Peru and will not return until July. I am leaving my computer behind and will not be posting until I get back. Although, on my return I will share photographs and experiences from my travels. I also have an awesome post coming up for the Fourth of July, so be sure to come back and check it out!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Eggs and Avocado Toast

For the last day of class my writing professor shared with us some last tid bits of inspiration and wisdom. First off, she emphasized the importance of reading and writing each day. Proper comma placement originates from the author's inner spidey senses, which are only honed by emerging oneself in the never ending world of literature. Communication is the number one skill desired in the workforce.

She also emphasized active thinking. At this day in age, with technology never further than our fingertips, it is unfortunately way too easy to pass the time without thinking. I know I have fallen victim to this more than I would like to admit. In the end, our thoughts are all we have. 

As many of us are looking towards graduation and trying desperately to figure out what on earth we are going to do with our lives, my professor urged us to consider what kind of day we want. I wish more people emphasized this to our nation's youth. Growing up, everything appeared to focus on goals regarding wealth and positions within society. To succeed in the eyes of others, all I needed to do was postpone happiness. But when would happiness be allowed to start? Accepting that success does not need to be measured through materialism, and understanding that choosing another path does not equate to quitting or failure, is not always easy. Separating oneself from society takes a strong individual. But the secret is, we all have this strength inside us, if we just take a moment to unearth it.

Take responsibility. If you want to be taken seriously, there is no other option. I learned this leadership lesson while event planning for a group of people who were constantly mad at each other. I would fix one person's problem, but it would eventually cause a problem for someone else, and everyone would be mad at each other again. At first I was angry at everyone for being so determined to hate each other, but then I realized I was doing the exact same thing. In the end I held a meeting, and took responsibility for all the hatred that was surging through the group. It worked like magic. Everyone focused their hatred on me, and the event turned out wonderfully. By the end, not only was everyone having a great time, but they had completely forgotten they were supposed to be hating me. If I hadn't stepped up and taken responsibility, I guarantee the event would have been a disaster. 

What I need to work on the most is ensuring that I am a kind and generous person, not just tomorrow, but today as well. I always tell myself I will donate money once I make some, but will I? However, generosity is not measured in numbers. Instead, generosity is a state of being. This past year I volunteered to help run the children's storytelling program at the local International House. When I finished my last event, I felt relieved that I would finally have my Sundays to myself again, and then I felt guilty. Even though I had spent over a year working with this program, I still had not let generosity into my heart. Generosity, like relationships or dental hygiene, will not happen overnight, and must be practiced everyday.

Lastly, I would like to add some values of my own. I believe that at the root of happiness is simplicity. Don't complicate things further than necessary, and ensure you love every minute of your waking life. Whenever I take on too much, I almost always neglect my values, and the quality of my work declines. Don't focus on topics that create anger. Life is a one time offer.

In the name of simplicity, I would like to share a breakfast dish that takes advantage of local fresh produce.

Time: less than 10 minutes
Servings: 1

  • 1 slice of rosemary sourdough bread
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 2 slices of tomato
  • 2 eggs
  • Raspberry balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper 

Begin by warming up your frying pan. Cut in half a slice of rosemary sourdough bread, or whatever you have. Place the bread in the toaster on medium heat. Cut two medium slices from a fresh tomato. Cut half an avocado into long strips. Add olive oil to the hot frying pan, and once the oil is hot fry the eggs. Once the egg whites are set, flip the egg over for a little less than a minute. A slightly runny yolk will enhance, and blend the flavors. At about this time the bread should be done. Place the avocado and tomato slices on the toast, and top with the eggs.

To garnish, add salt, pepper and a little bit of balsamic vinegar. I use a raspberry balsamic vinegar and it contrasts nicely to the sweetness of the broken yolk. Sometimes, I add a little brie between the toast and avocado, if I am feeling fancy.

Celebrating the end of spring with seven little goslings, all of whom happened to be named Ryan.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Blueberry Coconut Banana Bread

Beautiful chaos is the best way to describe this loaf. I started with banana bread, but ended up adding whatever else I could find in the fridge. Beautiful chaos is also how I would describe my life right now. 

Last week flew by, but nothing actually seemed to get done. So Friday night consisted of trying to figure out how I was going to finish my to do list, and keep my sanity intact. Like a well organized adult, I got up early, and pushed through the mindless tasks ahead of me. Unfortunately, a computer program got the best of me. Now, not only was I swamped, but I couldn't perform the tasks assigned. 

Wallowing in self pity, I considered canceling my dentist appointment, haircut, and lunch plans, and hide under the covers instead. Thankfully, I diverted my attention to the third book of the Game of Thrones series, A Storm of Swords. Somehow, my bookmark was exactly where the last Game of Thrones TV episode left off. As there was no episode last week, and I have been feeling a little deprived, I latched onto the book for a good two hours. I won't spoil anything for my fellow fans, but the next episode is going to be intense!

After reading about all the death in A Storm of Swords, not only do I understand the title, but my problems seemed a little pathetic. Since I couldn't start my work again until Monday, I took the opportunity to relax and enjoy what was in front of me. I mean, at least I'm not a female character in Game of Thrones. 

Before I knew it, I was sitting on the side of Mount Tamalpais, eating almond croissants with a good friend of mine. Watching the hustle and bustle of Marin County, I remembered the crash course in failure that is my to do list. I expected my shoulders to tighten and my jaw to clench, but instead I let out a deep breath. Being forced to slow down didn't turn out all that bad after all. 

Enjoy the bread. With some earl grey tea, it is the perfect remedy for a stressful day. 

Servings: 1 loaf
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • 1 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tbsp yogurt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (2 bananas)
  • blueberries

In a medium to large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar. Add in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the milk, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Fold in the mashed bananas and coconut flakes. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, until golden brown. Let cool for at least 10 minutes.

This recipe is adapted from Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads (1973).

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