Sunday, October 31, 2010

Salsa and Caramel Corn

Paul and I were on a cooking frenzy yesterday.

Our old blender was breaking down, so we bought a new blender from Bed, Bath and Beyond on Friday - actually a three piece set for pretty cheap. 
It slices, it dices, it blends, it chops - it literally even makes snow! (We had snow cones.)

So, because of this great new blender, we decided to make our own salsa and have a Mexican feast! I'd also already planned to make caramel corn also, so we decided just to make everything all in one evening!

So - Salsa first . . . Just a note before: we just threw whatever we felt sounded good into the salsa but we felt like something was missing at the end... it's good but . . . something is not there! So, if you ever try this salsa and add something to it that you feel completes it, let us know!

P&E's salsa recipe:

You will need:
3 Large Vine Tomatoes
1/2 Bunch Cilantro
1/2 Jalapeno (more or less according to how hot you like it)
4 Yellow Peppers
1 Slice Onion
Juice of 3 Limes
4-5 Stalks of Green Onion
1 Clove Garlic
1/2 Tsp Sea Salt
1/4 Tsp Cumin

De-seed the peppers! (Original on right, de-seeded on left.)

This is what I mean by 4-5 stalks of green onion in case that was unclear! : )

Throw everything into your blender . . .


Here is what our Mexican feast looked like!
Steak tacos, black beans, olives, avocado, pepper jack cheese, salsa, Mexican rice, onions, flour tortillas = yummy!

Caramel Corn Recipe:
You will need:
3 quarts of popcorn (approximately 3/4 unpopped popcorn)
1 5 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1 cup Karo Corn Syrup
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 stick of butter

Have popcorn prepared before beginning.

Bring brown sugar, butter, and syrup to a boil, stirring constantly. 

Add the condensed milk, and continue to warm and stir until the caramel thickens.

I liked putting the popcorn spread out in some 13x9 pans and the leftovers in the large bowls, making it easier to stir the caramel in.

Pour a little bit of the caramel at a time over the popcorn and stir into the popcorn. Continue until all caramel has been used.

Let cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

At Home Remedies: Sugar Scrub Honey Facial

I haven't posted in a while . . . I know this. I was planning on giving an update on school (since it has gotten significantly better this last week) but . . . that will have to wait for another post. Instead of giving a journal like update, I want to focus this post on something that I think is fun, helpful, and (to some, may be) exciting! So why am I sharing this? Because I saw a noticeable difference in my face (tightening, smoother skin and less zits) in two uses!

Honey/Sugar Scrub Facial Recipe*

1.25 lbs SUGAR (one canister)
1 cup SEA SALT
1 cup HONEY
The juice of three LEMONS (fresh, preferably - approximately 1 cups' worth)

Make sure to make this in a container that is airtight for storage (I used tupperware.)
Mix well.
The lemon juice and baking soda will fizz so here's a tip: (Add the salt AFTER. This will calm the reaction.)

(Take note that the salt MAY sting. If this is the case, consider using less (or no) salt.)

TO USE: It would be best to use in the shower (after the steam has opened your pores), but not necessarily needed. Make sure to have completely removed any traces of makeup before using as you will be leaving the mixture on for a few minutes. Scoop a generous amount of the scrub into your hands and gently put onto your face. Spread thick - not thin! Leave on for about 3-5 minutes, then gently rub in circles before rinsing with clean, lukewarm/warm water. Use your favorite facial moisturizer afterwards.

All of the ingredients in this recipe are natural, and great for your face for different reasons. From my research:
Lemon juice is good for lightening spots from acne scars and sun spots.
Baking soda, sugar and salt are natural exfoliants that leave for faces noticeably softer without the over-processed, unnatural chemicals from who knows where! Baking soda and salt are also natural sanitizers and cleaners.
Honey has a natural antibiotic that can help kill and prevent germs, and therefore clear your pores, as well as tighten the skin for firmness.

*This recipe was compiled and designed by me. I found many sources that pointed to all of these things being good for your face and decided to see what would happen when mixed. Enjoy!


Monday, October 11, 2010

Disappointment and Direction

This may come as a major shock to some people ... but I miss MJC.

Now before you start the witch trials and throw me into the looney bin, let me explain.

I've written before about how I had some incredibly great teachers at MJC. Teachers who literally changed my perspective and gave me passion for things I had no idea I'd do well at, let alone be interested in. So far, I hate to say it, but I haven't been significantly impressed with the professors here. Perhaps it's that I expected too much. I heard so much about UCSD being the number 7 public university in America. I'd heard about the Nobel prize winners, the award-winning journals and books written by professors here, the noteworthy, influential people who not only graduated from this university, but came back to teach here as well. Or perhaps it's that I expected too little. I'd also heard about how professors here do less teaching and grading because they are more wrapped up in their research - that teaching for the university is merely a way to have funded research and time. Perhaps in my preparation to be disappointed, I allowed that disappointment to be fulfilled.

Whatever the case, I'm, again, not significantly impressed. I miss the teachers of community college who teach because they love to learn, who teach with a passion for their subject, who teach with the desire to impart true knowledge and love of learning to their students who they often take the time to mentor. I've been struggling here to get excited about school this semester. YES, I do have a class or two that I am sincerely interested in, and the reading is fairly interesting, and that really helps. But for the most part, I'm struggling to want to do homework as I have wanted to so frequently in the past.

Don't worry, I'm not giving up. There's no way my pride or my perfectionism would allow me to lower myself to not studying for tets and not doing homework assignments. But I feel as though it is half-hearted ... and, in that regard, I have disappointed myself.

Another problem, I feel, is that I want to learn, I want to enjoy what I'm studying ... but yet another difference separates my experiences from MJC to UCSD. At MJC, I felt that the reading assigned was supplemental, and that, while important, was not meant to be a stand-alone teaching device. Oftentimes, the reading was short or concise, and the teachers expanded upon this reading, if any, in their lectures. The teachers took the directive themselves to teach and to impart the knowledge. I felt that the learning was meant to be enjoyed and retained. Here, I feel as though there is so much reading that no sane person could possibly get through it all in one week, and if they do, it is so quickly inhaled that it is forgotten soon after. The lectures are dry and factual, or too quickly given with so much information thrown at you that you can't possibly learn and remember.

I know that I am in a period of adjustment and change. I know that the ten week quarter system is different from the 15 week period I am used to. I know all of this. But I don't feel as though that is the issue. I can't quite put my finger on it, but those things are not it. I don't mean to sound ungrateful that I am here. I don't mean to seem as though I have given up all hope of enjoying learning and retention. But I think that I do have to be honest that I am still disappointed that I am not at the school I really wanted to be at ... I need to be honest that I thought things would be different, would be better.

But I don't mean for this entire post to sound discouraging, or depressed, or whiny. I feel that really, this has given me, again, more focus and direction. I know now that if I become a teacher, a professor, I do not want to teach at a four-year university. I learned so much from those professors who dedicated themselves to teaching community college courses to students who weren't sure they were going to go somewhere. I was so changed by them, so encouraged to continue and go on, so motivated to get through even a less mentored time later, here, that I cannot help but rather be one of them. I don't want to be continually forced to be publishing and researching and writing and focusing elsewhere. I want my focus to be where it should be when I am a professor - on continuing to love to learn, and helping impart that passion to students who are just like I was - unsure of where I wanted to be, unsure of what I wanted out of life, until I had someone who cared give me direction, purpose, and passion.

In that spirit, I again dedicate this post and my education to those professors who changed me and influenced me for the better. You know who you are, and I sincerely thank you. I wouldn't be who I am, where I am, or where I want to be, without all of you.


Saturday, October 9, 2010


It's already the end of Week 2. I can't believe we've already been at UCSD for two weeks. It's just finally settling in that I am a JUNIOR already at one of the best universities in the US. I'm amazed sometimes that we've made it here already.

Paul and I are both enjoying our classes. Well, that is to say, we're enjoying some of our classes. I am taking History of Socialism, the Sociology of the Holocaust, a lower-division US History class, and we are both taking Sports History. Paul is taking Pre-Calc for pre-med majors, Gen. Chem., and History of Mexico.

Paul actually loves his pre-calculus class. His teacher is apparently funny and very thorough, and Paul feels confident coming out of that class (thank goodness! He has a long career of hard math classes ahead, so starting off on the right foot is great!), but he says his chem class is very boring and confusing. He also really enjoys his Mexican history class. Paul recently spoke with someone about surgeries and he is incredibly interested in medicine and surgery. He still has a goal of sports - but he wants to go further now than he had previously planned. His goal now is to get into orthopedic surgery (knees.) Wish him luck (and prayer) on this long journey he (we!, who am I kidding) is embarking on.

Our Sports history class is so incredibly boring that I'd rather not waste the energy to write about it. My LD US history class is - eh, lower division. Not too difficult, per say, but tedious because it's meant to separate the history lovers from the ... well, non-history lovers. I am loving both my Socialism and Holocaust classes. In both, the subject matter as well as the teachers are great. It is really helping me refine and refocus what I plan to do as far as majors here at UCSD and my further educational career. I am now considering a minor or double major in sociology. I love knowing WHY people have done the things they've done and do. I'm also not 100% sure anymore about French history; German history is pretty interesting as well, what with the Reformation, the World Wars, and the Holocaust (along with a lot more that I'm sure I have yet to learn!)

But enough about the classes. We have also gotten involved in the Libertarian (Young Americans for Liberty) group. There are some in the group who are a little bit too far gone, in my opinion - anarchy and discussions of 10 yr olds having liberty is ridiculous. But a lot of the others in the group are right on target. We believe the Constitution, and Jefferson is our role model.

I've started going to the Campus Crusade, Real Life, women's Bible study on Monday nights and have already made some great friends, one of whom is in my socialism class. Paul and I have also looked into getting more involved with leadership and activities committee. However, it's a little bit hard right now because I am working on top of my classes and we are just too, too busy! I'm sure we'll settle in eventually but it's difficult for both of us right now.

On another note, I am turning 21 in 10 days!! We don't have any plans yet because my birthday, quite unfortunately, falls on a Tuesday. But I'm sure we'll do something fun during the next weekend or something. Anyone have any ideas?? :)

I am missing the transition right now from summer to fall to winter in Mo-town. It's weird here because it was about 105 here last week, then it rained part of this week, and now it's just ... 75 and sunny. I'm not sure how to handle this when I am wishing it was cold and rainy for a couple of months, so I can light some harvest/fall candles, so I can feel like the holidays are actually coming (pretty sure it won't feel like Christmas time when it's warm all during December:)

Anyway, I think that's all for now, folks!