Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Date is Set!

The title of this post makes it sound like our wedding date...although it isn't the date is just as important. My PhD thesis defense date has been set for Dec 6!!! I have one more month of spending all my time outside of teaching on making revisions (there are a few so it will be tight!) and formatting. Then I will have a month while my examining committee reads my thesis to prepare for my presentation and questions afterwards! Then I will have a 2-3 hour oral exam (defense) after which I will have a HUGE party!

See you all on the other side! Okay, maybe in November I'll have some time to catch up on some of the tasty things I have been making and fun things I have been doing. Although there aren't many fun things these days they are keeping me sane! :)

Back to my revisions! Have a great weekend!

Monday, September 3, 2012


I passed my oral exam and got lots of excellent feedback from my examiners! It was the most productive and enjoyable exam I have ever had. You almost never hear that! Here's to hoping my thesis defense in December will be similar! My supervisor gave me some flowers and champagne to celebrate at the small gathering we had the evening of my exam. It was an excellent night filled with food, friends and laughter. I also want to thank you to all of your kind words or support. Just 4 more months to go!

These lovely flowers on the left were a gift from Diego for my birthday. I love the colour combination and details of the petals! They also smell lovely and have lasted. He sure knows me well. I guess after almost 10 years together I shouldn't be surprised. :)

We have also had a bounty of tomatoes in our garden this year. The potatoes and garlic were small but still tasty. I have not spent much time in the garden this year with working on trying to finish up but I am looking forward to gardening next year! Now I just need to find some tasty ways to get those tomatoes into my belly!

I hope you are all enjoying your long weekend!

Friday, August 24, 2012


What a busy few months it has been!

Diego's parents arrived for a 2.5 month visit that was kicked off with Diego's convocation. That was a proud day. They loved Halifax in the summer and my parents got to come out and visit with all of us twice! It was a lovely visit. We even took them backcountry camping in Kejimkujik National Park. It was their first ever canoe adventure and we had to paddle two hours to get to our campsite. The site was glorious and the water even better. I spent most of my time swimming...and eating of course! Another highlight was tidal bore rafting along the Shubenacadie river...such fun for the whole family!
This is the wave as it approaches...
Here is is filling the boat up after dousing us in warm sandy water! All we did was laugh the whole time...except of course when the wave hit...even though it looks like doesn't taste like chocolate milk! Highly recommended!
I also got to spend some time doing field work in Passamaquoddy Bay, New Brunswick last week for a Masters student I am co-supervising! We were island hoping for 4 days to sample different rockweed beds. The beds there are enormous because of the huge tidal range! (see below) The weather was a mixture of fog, blazing sun and heat and torrential downpour. Mostly it was glorious sun.
Interspersed with all of this I have been working hard to get my thesis done. I finished the last two publishable chapters since February for a total of 4. I have the first of 2 oral exams next Friday! The second one, my thesis defence will be in December. This will give me lots of time to make address any comments from my committee, submit my last 2 chapters for publication and write the bookends (general introduction and discussion) for the actual thesis. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! For now, it is back to getting ready for my exam!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Mexican Recipes and Coconut Cream

We had a deal.

Diego would take over the cooking once he finished his PhD so that I could have more time to spend on mine. It was only fair since I did all the cooking while he was finishing up. Ever since he got back from Mexico he has been cooking AMAZING Authentic Mexican Dishes EVERY DAY! He has been collaborating with his mom on a blog of traditional Mexican recipes...they also had a deal...she would post her recipes and he would cook them and photograph them to finish off the post. The result, delicious food in my belly and a compendium of authentic traditional Mexican recipes called Comida Mexicana! You can use google translate, but some of the instructions get translated a little funny. Some of the recipes are photos of a recipe book from his Great Great Grandmother (dates back to 1850!). Since they are photos they cannot be translated by google so you will need a dictionary. Eventually we will make an English version but in the mean time...if you have any questions about a recipe, leave a comment on the blog!

The only downside to it that I really enjoy cooking so I do miss it. I know it takes up a significant portion of my time and I do appreciate being served and having the extra time to work. However, sometimes I just can't resist baking. Which works out great since we both have a sweet tooth and Diego has been focusing on making savoury dishes. Enter one of my favorite pies...
Coconut Cream
Diego is not a fan of shredded coconut and the only coconut in most coconut cream pie recipes is shredded coconut... so I found (and modified) a recipe that uses coconut milk for the custard and it is divine!!!

Coconut Cream Pie (original recipe)

1/2 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 cup of unrefined sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups of cream
1 1/2 cups of coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 9 to 10 inch pie crust - baked and cooled

Whipped cream
1 1/4 cups of chilled whipping cream
1 tbsp of icing sugar
1 tsp cornstarch (I think I might leave this out next time...)
1/2 tsp of vanilla

In a large saucepan, whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Whisk in eggs, cream and coconut milk until very smooth. If lumpy, strain before heating. Heat over medium heat, whisking continuously until custard comes to a boil and thickens. Yous should be able to see the impression of the whisk in the custard when it is done. Remove from, heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour into pre-baked pie shell and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

In a medium bowl, beat whipped cream, sugar, cornstarch and vanilla to stiff peaks and spread onto chilled pie.
If you like shredded coconut, you can add 1 1/4 cups of unsweetened coconut to the custard when you add the vanilla. You can also toast 1/4 cup of unsweetened coconut to sprinkle on top. I LOVE coconut so I added the toasted coconut to mine. Diego added coarse cane sugar to his to add a little crunch and sweetness, his tooth is sweeter than mine! The overall consensus...this pie is to DIE for. You want to close your eyes and grunt with pleasure with every bite! Ours lasted 3 days in the fridge and that was only under extreme self control... you have been warned.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

New Look and Giveaway!

With a New Year comes some changes. In 2009 I posted about the Most Comforting Things in my Home as part of Sherrie's Comfort Week and who can blame me for picking my fish tanks, which at the time I had 4! I am still comforted by my fish tanks but with a full time job and PhD to finish, I was doing the bare minimum to keep them healthy. So when a co-worker approached me about advice on setting up a tank, I offered to sell her my 50 gallon bedroom tank! So my space went from this...
to this..
It is a lot quieter without the noise of the pumps and feels roomier and brighter. I am happy with the change and I hope our friends will be happy with their new tank! They are coming to pick it up tonight with the bonus of a Mexican feast! I have so many cool recipes to post...Diego made Longaniza (a type of sausage) from scratch and we have some hanging to dry! If only I had more hours in a day... I will post some recipe soon though!

In the mean time check out this valentine soap giveaway that Teresa organized to raise awareness of her sister's shop. What a sweety! I wish she was my sister! :)

Have a great weekend!