A blog about outdoors, food and other handy projects.
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Sunday, November 13th, 2011
8:12 PM

I just finished one project off my inspiration list, but I can't share since it's a gift. A gift that I made almost 2 months in advance. I'm the worst at keeping craft projects a secret, so hopefully I can keep this one. But let me just say that it came out awesome!

In lieu of what will be an awesome craft post, I'll talk about another reason why I haven't been crafting as much lately.

I have been attending a weekly public lecture at Harvard University on the topic of Science and Cooking (from Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter). Harvard actually offers this course to their students, but also allows the public to get a taste of the class through the public lecture series. Also, all of the lectures are streamed online live, and are available a short time after on youtube/itunes. ** I really love the lecture series for two main reasons: 1) It fulfills my curiosity on all of those "Why" questions. (ie Why does this taste so good?) and 2) It more than fulfills my absolute nerdiness into world famous chefs.

The lecture starts with a 15-20 minute delve into the why of certain topics that may be covered that week. There's even an "equation of the week"! It's really dumbed down for us laymen, but goes into enough detail that I can relate it to my everyday work-life as a chemist. Then the next 1.5 hrs is spent on a world famous chef talking about what they do, and even offering tastings!

Then what's even better, is that most weeks we go out to eat at a restaurant that fits the theme for the week. Unfortunately Boston and the surrounding areas aren't known for their molecular gastronomy, but we have been making our way to a lot of the Boston area's great restaurants. Although it hasn't been the best for my wallet, my belly has thanked me!


The two pictures above were from a special lecture that was last Thursday, that was only on alcoholic drinks. We got five 1/2 shot size tastings, and it was free! The picture on the left is of Dave Arnold (sorry about the camera guy) mixing liquid nitrogen into a mixture of gin and lime juice (I think). The picture on the right was of my favorite drink of the night (it had the least alcohol taste) which is called a Red Hot Ale. It's a throwback to the middle ages, where they would use a hot poker from the fireplace to warm/set fire to your drink. They would then douse it with some ale, and call it a day. Dave Arnold had engineered a bar-safe hot poker and was using that to set things on fire. Keep in mind this is in a lecture hall @ Harvard!

Anyways, this class has taken 1 day out of the week for me. Thankfully it's just for my enjoyment - and I don't have to do homework! But it does take a day away from crafting! Next weekend I've got some planned handy crafting with my mom, so that should be fun to post on.

** If you are at all curious - I'd recommend checking out the first lecture with Dave Arnold and Harold McGee. Harold wrote the text book for the course, and Dave Arnold is just super entertaining to watch. A lot of the visiting chefs are from Spain, and thus do not speak english. It can be very difficult to watch since it is a live translation.

Sunday, November 06th, 2011
6:06 PM

Since last week was a little bit snowy,

I decided to push forward a project that I thought I would have more time for (seriously, who get's a Nor'easter in October!?). I went to Goodwill Saturday morning, and found an awesome serving tray (probably from BSG**).

And after a coat of paint, and the addition of some rocks, it became a wonderful boot tray!

Let me just apologize for the look of the photos. I swear these are not from instagram, I'm just horrible at waiting for good lighting. Here is a less-yellow picture:

You can absolutely see from this picture that I need more rocks, possibly smaller. On a few inspiration photos, they had the tray painted white, so that it was harder to see the gaps in between the pebbles. But I really like the contrast. If you know where I can find some white pebbles, let me know!

I also picked up a few other crafty things at Goodwill. One will hopefully become a spiffy carrying case for a new boardgame we got. And the others are for Christmas presents (yes, I already am thinking about it!). I am going to do something similar to last year, where the majority of the gifts will be different variations of the same gift.

** I have actually only seen a few episodes of the first season, so I'm not really that well versed in the series to actually make that joke. But Dave OK'ed it since he explained it to me. For those who haven't seen it, see here.

Sunday, October 30th, 2011
10:02 PM

Happy Halloween! This year we did a few fun stuff to celebrate (despite the Nor'Easter we were hit with).

We carved pumpkins using a wonderful pattern book we got from Dave's parents! I kind of wanted to do our initials, a la Young House Love, but Dave talked me into doing something a little bit more Halloween-ey.

On the eve of the big storm we headed out to a haunted house out in Gloucester. It was held at a really neat museum that I had never heard of, Hammond Castle (apparently once owned by the "Father of the Remote Control"). The haunted house was great. I got a few scares, and there was a group of jumpy teenage girls with us who were really funny to watch. And the castle was really neat, so we will definitely be returning to see the actual museum. Only bad part was that it was really really bad driving conditions. It was really crazy driving in the snow, it felt like February!


And then on Sunday, after the snow melted. We headed to a Zombie boardgame extravaganza. Complete with cooking contest, costume contest and raffle! Since I'm horrible with costumes, I decided to go all out with the food! I found an awesome idea on how to make BRAINS!!! in a jar, and went with it. For the cupcake, I made a pumpkin beer cake, and for the frosting I made a cream cheese frosting. It was soooo sugary. Also, I won the cooking contest and got a very fitting prize (it's a cross stitch):

Happy Halloween everyone, hope there's more treats than tricks !!

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