Spicy Dessert Green Beans

Uncle Joseph, you always have the best advise. My next exam is Friday so I have a whole week to research some dirt 🙂

Mom Juan, sorry your book ruined your day off… did you goof off a little anyway?  I hope so. “Other” things always get done around the house when studying an unattractive subject is the alternative!

Sunday Joren bought some green beans, among other things, at the farmers market and was quite creative. He fired up the grill, trimmed the beans, laid them out on some foil, added two pats of butter (not margarine) and seasoned them with garlic, crushed red pepper, and cinnamon!  It was a risky move but it paid off. I enjoyed eating them leftover straight out of the fridge as finger food.  Yum!

Let me know if you’re daring enough to try it and/or if you like it.


In the Swing of Things

I conducted my first solo experiment in the lab last week and  didn’t screw it up! I loaded 2 96-well plates with plasma samples I prepared for cholesterol and triglyceride testing.  I used a multi-channel Pipet to load cholesterol/triglyceride reagent so the samples could be read/analyzed by a spectrometer. We are supposed to get fecal samples in the mail soon to test lipid levels… not rushing that project… I hear it’s a stinky job.

I took my first BioChem exam two weeks ago and still haven’t gotten my results!  Want to know why?  Well I will tell ya.  They aren’t finished being graded because it was a “short” answer test!  In BioChem!?  Ridiculous I say. One of the reasons why I like science is for those multiple choice exams. Not this time! Let’s just say… I’m not expecting an A.

I continue to enjoy my rotation at OMNI. I think I am better at my educational presentations. So far I’ve done presentations on food safety, vitamins, minerals, and fluids/hydration. This week I will be teaching and giving tips on how to shop/cook/plan meals for 1.

Well I better get back to the books. They are always staring at me from across the room. I’d love to hear from y’all.

Hope you have a good week! It’s supposed to be in the 80’s all next week here in Lincoln, perfect bike riding weather!

love, Vanessa

p.s. the underlined words are links if you’re wanting to learn more

Struggles abound! I’ll survive (with your help)

Grad school is proving to be more difficult than I expected.  Now I will be more clear.  I knew it was going to be challenging, thorough, deeper into the subject matter and time consuming.  What I didn’t anticipate is the freedom.  Freedom can be the enemy.  I, along with many of my colleagues, describe myself as a procrastinator.  This personality type doesn’t do well with freedom.  Procrastinators need urgency.  This is where the unexpected difficulty lies for me… Creating urgency everyday to move one step closer to all of my goals when they are not close enough to be on a “normal” person’s radar.

I have created a master list of deadlines, too general.  I need mini deadlines.  I am debating whether creating such a spreadsheet will take more time than it’s worth.  I guess there is only one way to find out… Or maybe I will just sit down every Saturday morning and create my to do list for the weekend and upcoming week after consulting the major deadlines for my projects.  Any suggestions?

I am also having trouble switching roles in the home!  I was the queen of the kitchen and felt as if I was pulling my weight.  It’s been difficult for me to not feel like a self-centered, self-important jerk.  I sit and read my BioChem text, answer emails, research articles and create powerpoint presentations while Joren does laundry, goes grocery shopping, cooks dinner and tidies the house.  Sounds wonderful but I have trouble with it!  Another obstacle to overcome.

A pleasant surprise this semester, I am really enjoying my time at OMNI Behavioral Health in the disordered eating clinic.  I get to learn about nutrition evaluations and nutrition therapy by shadowing the Registered Dietician and then I spend time with the day program in group therapy and nutrition education.  I really feel like this is the beginning of my professional experience… feeling like a grown up!  Finally 🙂


I’ve been waiting for the $*@# to hit the fan and realize that the anticipation of stress is stressing me out!!  Seriously Vanessa 😛  Enough is enough!  I am feeling ready to get to work after a lovely holiday weekend with my family and friends.  I think I should just get started on all of my projects, regardless of deadlines.  Keep busy, eat right, get quality sleep, stay active, and remember my loves back in sunny California!

Masquerade Party

Zombies & MSG

Anna, you know I can say no to Milky Way alll day!  Unless you were to melt cheese on them…  but yes, we as human beings are wired to crave carbs/sugar.  It’s a quick and easy source of energy.  Something we really don’t need anymore so every day we get to fight our basic human instincts so we don’t kill ourselves with food and lack of activity.  Bummer dude!

The old thought was that MSG created holes (very small) in the brain in some people.  Sounds pretty awful huh? I can’t imagine that if it was proven to do such a thing that it would still be part of our foods so I looked it up!  Here is an article from the Mayo Clinic (by an R.D. of course 🙂 )   The damage almost always manifests itself as a headache so if you don’t get a headache then you are free to eat the tasty stuff all you want!

On a lighter note (sounds like we need to cheer up a bit) I may be participating in Lincoln’s Zombie Walk this afternoon as a break from my chemistry textbook.  I will let you know if I have the courage to act silly.  Zombies don’t overeat and they are always going on long walks haha!

HotCheetos and Takis?

Wow, um…. I don’t have much to say so far.  I want to have a convo about what you think.  To start off…I love the ambition and passion from these youngsters.  They do say it’s their favorite snack so hopefully all their other meals are healthful.  I think it’s important to enjoy this and not be too serious but also lock away this information about our culture to be better prepared for what we are up against.  We LOVE our snacks. Moderation should be the nutrition lesson not elimination.  Snack on!  🙂


Week 1

This week turned out to be slower than I anticipated  (not complaining, well kinda).  I spent most of my time getting organized and doing admin requirements.  I am in the process of deciding on a minor of study. So my official program so far is:  majoring in Nutrition and Health Science with a specialization in Community Nutrition and Health Promotion.  I am leaning toward minoring in Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition (if cleared by my adviser, Dr. Carr and the department)

I really want to have a well rounded experience and learn about the internal workings of the body as well as how we function in our environment as a community and psychologically/emotionally.  I will get to take behavioral courses and work with people as part of the dietetic internship so I think it’s important to back that up with a great understanding of molecular nutrition.

Today was my first experience in Dr. Carr’s lab (who I received my assistantship with).  I learned how to use a gas chromatograph!  It’s used to separate different molecules and measure their respective amounts in a solution after the solution has been vaporized.  This machine is really more of a robot.  All you have to do is load your samples into the tray that is numbered and set up your methods on a computer and this arm will grab them one by one to get analyzed, wash its syringe between samples, record the results in a table, and then put them back in the tray!

So tonight while I am sleeping the gas chromatograph will be working tirelessly and in the morning we’ll transfer the data to a pdf file and take all the credit, buahahaha.  It was a good first day at the lab. Something not too complicated yet interesting.  Dr. Carr is a great teacher and I look forward to the semester in his lab.

After Dinner Thoughts…

This is my first photo I took with my blog in mind. As you can see I am very good at the timer. Things will get better I promise 🙂

Post your answer:  How do you like your steak?

Joren and I like it rare/raw.  Lucky us because we were able to share a 9oz. New York strip I bought at the Old Cheney Farmer’s Market today.

Grass-fed was delicious and nutritious.  You can tell it’s lean, just a bit tough so I wouldn’t recommend well-done.  The flavors we’re earthy, complex and savory.  I felt different after the meal as well, not the same tired feeling after big meals.  My goal this fall is to eat plenty of lean proteins, vegetables, and fruits.  Starches have been weighing me down and I feel more out of control when I’m eating them.

Anyone agree?  Ever felt binge-y with crackers, bread, pasta, or rice?  I never feel that way with chicken or salmon, not even my favorite asparagus or salad.

Better photo, our little kitchen in NE

Anywho… The green beans with shrimp were a good pair, surprisingly.  The sauce from that dish went very well with the steak and we had our favorite wine with the meal.  Oh!  I also made us a tomato salad.  Chopped tomatoes with fresh basil, parsley, yellow hot pepper, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, pepper and sea salt.  I know what a snob… sea salt?  Don’t judge me.

The finished product.


Fancy Pizza

Our first meal in Chicago thanks to Anna P. Wild Mushrooms, arugula and cheese Mmmmm. Tastiest flatbread.

So we went to Chicago Tuesday-Friday because we found out Nikki was going to Lollapalooza (sp?).  Loved to see Nikki, love Chicago, and someone must love the Cubs… 🙂

Van and Nik

Taking a break from our shopping spree, having dinner and beer flights

I never thought I would meet someone who loved eating more than me… Nikki and I “sing” a duet every time we dine together.


Mussels with a spring pea risotto.

Joren got a burger and Nikki got a portabello burger. They had their own homemade chips! I had never used malt vinegar at old school restaurants but Nikki was genius. Splash of vinegar and a sprinkle of salt.