Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins!!

This is the first Thanksgiving that Matt and I won't be with our families.  It's very sad, since Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays!  We were planning on just going out on a nice date to celebrate, but some of our church family has invited us to celebrate with them tomorrow!!

I wanted to make some pumpkin chocolate chip muffins to bring to their house, and thought I should share the recipe here!
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup applesauce*
2 eggs
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour**
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

*I use applesauce instead of oil to make it "healthier", but you can use vegetable oil if you like! 
**If you use self-rising flour, just omit the baking powder, baking soda, and salt


1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2) Grease muffin pan or use muffin liners.

3) In a large bowl, mix the sugar, oil, eggs,pumpkin and water.

4) In another bowl, mix together the baking flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt.

5) Combine wet and dry ingredients and stir in the chocolate chips.

6) Fill your muffin cups 2/3 full with batter and bake for 20 minutes.

7) Remove from the oven, let cool, and ENJOY!! I dare you to eat just one...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Science Saturday 1.7: Giant Amoebas, Light Metal, & More

*Disclaimer: I am in NO WAY a science writer/journalist.  I will most likely get some facts wrong (hopefully not).  I simply want to share news that I find interesting.  Knowing that my blog readers are most likely not science people, I will try to explain what I can in the simplest way possible so that anyone can learn something about science today.*

Science Saturday is back!  Sorry for the two week hiatus - real life got in the way.  To start off, if you haven't seen this amazing footage of Earth from NASA's International Space Station, you are in for a treat.  Between the natural wonder of the Aurora Borealis and the man-made wonder of city lights, our small rock in the big universe is a beautiful place to call home.

Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceonography at UC San Diego have identified xenophyophores, giant amoebas, down at the unexplored depths of the Mariana Trench.  Individual cells were found as large as 4 inches, accustomed to survival in dark and cold waters (6.6 miles deep).  Further research can shed more light on understanding cellular life in extreme environments.

The world's lightest material has been developed by researchers at HRL Laboratories in CA.  This metal "micro-lattice" is 99.99% air, made up of hollow tubes 100 nanometers thick.  The material is 100 times lighter than Styrofoam, yet it can recover from compression exceeding 50% strain and high energy absorption.  Possible uses for this material include battery electrodes or shock energy damping.

Featured Microbe: Ebola virus
A member of the RNA virus family Filoviridae, Ebola virus was first discovered in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire) in Africa.  The origin of the virus is still unknown, and outbreaks occur sporadically in humans and other primates.  The virus is spread via contact with blood or secretions of an infected person and causes hemorrhagic fever, a severe often-fatal disease.  There is currently no treatment for Ebola hemorrhagic fever.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Where's Mariel?

Hello, blogworld!  Sorry it's been a while.  Life is scurrying by and I feel like I'm barely keeping up.  I know some of you really miss the Science Saturday posts, and I promise, I have a lot of cool things bookmarked - I just have not had the time to read them and type up a post!  Hopefully it will be back next week, so stay tuned!  Here's what I've been up to the past couple of weeks:

Matt's parents visited last weekend, so we went with them to tour Vicksburg, MS, where one of the Civil War battles took place.  It was pretty neat to see the layout of the battlefield, cannons, and the monuments commemorating soldiers of the North and South.

In addition to research and lab work, I've had exams, papers, and other fun school assignments due. Enough said.

I started filling graduate school applications for PhD programs.  I forgot how hard it is to write about yourself or document your entire academic life in an application.  It doesn't help that every school has a different online application system, so I get to enter all of it multiple times!!  And don't get me started on drafting a personal statement...(anyone care to proofread/edit for me?!)

Hopefully once applications are done and submitted, life will return back to "normal" for a while.  Actually, it will lead right into the holiday season, so it probably won't be normal at all!!! :)