Monthly Archives: June 2012

Om Nom Nom: Kumas Corner

This weeks Om Nom Nom isn’t a particular food or recipe, but a haven of deliciousness. This week I’m talking about Kumas Corner. I had mentioned it previously, but it deserves it’s own post . It is STILL my favorite place to eat in Chicago. This genial metalhead tavern provides both a badass place to chill at but also mouthwatering burgers and beers. You will find burgers like the ‘Megadeth’ (burger topped with Chorizo and Red Potato Hash, Pico de Gallo, Cayenne Avocado Cream, Tortilla Strips), the Black Oak Arkansas (Red wine BBQ sauce, Bacon, Aged White Cheddar, and Alpha King Battered Fried Shallot Rings), the Metallica (Buffalo Sauce, Bacon, Bleu Cheese Dressing) and their famous Kuma Burger (Bacon, Cheddar, Fried Egg ). The list of the burgers they have is much longer, but those are just a few. I adore that they name these unusually topped burgers after metal bands/songs/albums etc.

The “Iron Maiden” Burger

The Slayer

The Infamous Kuma Burger

They have other food their too, if burgers aren’t really your thing. Their macaroni is absolutely divine and I like their appetizers. But be prepared to take some food home because they give hefty portions. To me, at least. The burgers are a  bit pricy (about 13 per burger), but again both delicious and a big portion.They have a full stocked bar but they’re better known for their beer. Note: they do NOT sell Miller or Budweiser or any other mass produced beer. They only sell beer that is locally brewed. Trust me, it’s still delicious. In fact, I happen to like the taste of the local beers better.I would recommend the Left Hand (from Longmont, CO) JuJu Ginger bottled beer. I like some of their other Ale’s and Lager’s. It’s fantastic.

Kumas Mac N Cheese

Jalapeno Poppers

Raspberry Ale

Only downside to such an awesome, metal based, tattooed staffed establishment is that it is rather small. They do have a patio during the summer months, which helps a bit. Regardless, you will probably have to wait a bit to be seated. So, patience is required…but it is WELL worth it. Side note: Though it is a bar/tavern type place, they will NOT turn on to sports…so don’t ask. Go to Buffalo Wild Wings or something, for that. They also will not take music requests (they keep their music strictly to hard rock, metal, and the like…but again, no requests). I never have a problem with that because most of the songs they play there, are the ones that I like. If it’s not your cup of tea, might wanna consider another venue.

…on a light day.

Lol Kumas be trollin’

It has been a most pleasant experience every time despite the waiting that has to be done. They usually try to get you to a table as fast as they can and I think the longest I have ever waited has been an hour. It was during the weekday and in the afternoon. I’d imagine you’d want to avoid the evening and weekends since people are off work and are more able to go. So, that’s a bit of a pro tip if you’re trying to go but don’t want to wait TOO long. Either way, if you’re looking for a unique place to chow down, Kumas Corner is your best bet. I’m hoping to go back sometime this summer myself. If you ever find yourself in Chicago, I hope you’ll do the same. You won’t be disappointed. Hungry yet? You should be. Go go go go. Cya next week!

In case you’re curious: Menu page: Kumas Burgers

My Gripe on…group work.

I hate group work. Don’t ask where  this particular rant is coming from because I’m not so sure myself. But the fact remains the same, I hate group work. I have been plagued with working in groups, as most students have, throughout my academic career. It wasn’t so bad during grade school, but it started to get worse in high school. In college? Probably the worst. I’m a senior in college now, with one semester left, and I look back at my group work experience and cringe. I consider myself to be both ambitious and hard working when it comes to most things, especially academics. I’ve always made excellent grades and it’s in part because I put in a lot of effort. I am also a bit of a control freak. So, it comes as no surprise that I don’t appreciate working with others as opposed to working by myself. I am ALWAYS stuck with the type of students I can’t stand worth a damn.

Student type 1: Slacker girl/guy who is just there because he/she has to take whateverthisclassiscalled-oology 200 and has zero intention of: putting in effort, trying to even KNOW what in the  world the assignment is about, and is totally satisfied letting everyone else take up the slack. These students will either screw it all up, not do anything at ALL, or half ass the entire way by not being prepared, etc. Needless to say, I don’t get a long with these type of people much. I normally don’t say much (I’m like the quiet storm, unless provoked) but I’m internally damning said person who is sitting there texting instead of doing anything worthwhile. Either that or mentally trying to shove the phone up their…nose. 😛

Student Type 2: The dumbass. Ever been in a class with a person that you weren’t sure if they had a brain in their own head? I don’t think there’s enough numbers in the world I can count to…to even try to attempt counting how many people I have encountered in this category. It’s both amusing and painful. Amusing because I always get a chuckle listening to the resident ‘airhead’ try to deciper things…and then fail epically. Yet, it’s painful to be STUCK with said person and having to work with them. It’s not so much the lack of effort as demonstrated in Student 1…BUT, sometimes it’s frustrating working with someone who can’t rub two brain cells together. Most of the time, I have to keep myself from head desking a dent into my own head.

Student 3:…another overachiever. Which is not a problem unless the person is the competitive type. Then we have issues lol Control freak, remember?

For the most part I have managed to wiggle my way out of group projects. Half the time the other person or people end up not doing anything, so I just request to do my own portion myself. I feel like group projects are some sort of punishment or torture concept invented to spite me. If it goes well, then no problem. But when it doesn’t…it REALLY doesn’t. It really grinds my gears that someone will put forth minimal effort into something, make ME do the work, and still get the same good grade as I did. It puts one in a bad situation. You want them to fail…but that would mean that YOU fail as well. Which for me, is not acceptable on any planet…I’d rather douse my head in gasoline and light a match then sabotage myself.

I think teachers need to put all the slackers and dipshits (for lack of a better name) together in their own group and just see how it goes. I think it would be fantastic and would make for great television. I think we could make some serious money off that. I mean it would probably be more entertaining than some of these other lame reality shows. If I hear about another House Wives of blahblahblah county again, I think I’ll gouge my eyes out.

What I don’t understand is WHY. WHY on earth are people satisfied with half-assing everything? I don’t understand why anybody is okay with being dead weight. I guess that’s just how things are? I don’t know. I have one semester left in undergrad college and I’m crossing my fingers that I won’t have to be subjected to anymore group projects. Of course, then I realize that I will have to work with others in my career. Well, so much for that. I am optimistic that I have a better chance of working with people who actually want to get things done because they’re actually adults. Who knows. I guess only time will tell. Until then, I guess I’ll try to refrain from pulling out every strand of my own hair in frustration at another late night of picking up the slack.

 

Side note: YOLO (You only live once) is Carpe Diem for Stupid people. Well said Jack Black, well said. I’m so entirely irritated hearing that. Please stop taking the first letter of every word of every phrase (that you didn’t even come up with yourself) and putting them together. It’s called an acronym and this one is not even clever. Stop it. Seriously.
See you next week. ❤

Knitting Overhaul Part 1

I have finally caught up on my knitting. I just hadn’t really taken the time to sit down and get back into my projects. I didn’t think I would have such a hard time reminding myself what the hell I was doing. 😛 Once I picked the needles back up, I had little problem getting back into the swing of things. It has proven to be quite relaxing. I decided I would just work in a handful of projects for the next bit, even though the adventurous knitter in me wants to try every new thing I find. I also know that I will be working on gifts for a few people early so that they’re all ready for the holidays. But for now, I’m only working on a few things.

~For the record, I have only been knitting for about 10 months so it’s a work in progress. 😛 I hope to continue to improve as time goes on~

Project 1: Socks

I had never made socks before and it was the next thing I wanted to try. Up until now I had become quite comfortable with making hats and scarves but I wanted to try something else. Socks just seemed like the most logical thing. I guess I should have gotten worsted yarn first to try…but I kind of jumped the gun and bought sock yarn. It is actually turning out quite nicely, with a few mistakes but I’m learning. I’m surprised I haven’t made any real errors thus far…and I just finished ‘turning the heel’. Not too shabby for my first time making socks. Here is what I have done so far:

K2P2 Rib for the Cuff

The body of the sock before the heel I knitted until It measured 10 centimeters. I didn’t want a super long sock for my first one 😛

Down to 2 DPNs now

Ready to ‘Turn the Heel’!

I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to ‘turn the heel’ for the sock. I did have to sit down and concentrate through it, but It wasn’t as bad as it seemed. I made a minor error somewhere…but still not bad for a first time. It looks like what it’s supposed to look like, So I’m satisfied with that.

I’m nearly done with the sock at this point…well one sock that is. 😛 I still have to knit the gusset, the rest of the sock and the toe..and of course stitch it up. All of which are new to me. I know I’ll be done with it by the end of the week and then I can start the second sock which I should be able to get through faster considering I have one under my belt…or on my foot, rather. So the other foot would like to match, me thinks 😛

Project 2: Block Blanket.

Pretty easy enough. I wanted to knit a blanket and I figured a Block blanket would be a good start. I would just knit 30 individual blocks and combine them. The only problem I had been having is just picking out so many different patterns that will lay nicely when knitted so that it won’t bunch up in the blanket. I’ve been successful for the most part, minus one mistake or two, but it’s not bad. I’m still learning so I’m going to be proud of it either way. The next one I do, whenever that happens, will be much better.

Progress so far:

Finished 5/30 Blocks.

Working on Block 6!

Project 3: Jester type hat…

I like making hats and this one seemed a lot more fun than the ones I’m used to doing. We’ll see how it turns out. This is more of a test run with some yarn I had lying around in my (small) stash…and I didn’t know what to do with it.

I’m at the point of where I can know knit the individual long points of the hat. I hope to get to that relatively soon.

Misc: Knitting Goodies 😀

I have been (slowly but surely) trying to add to my knitting arsenal. I have a good supply of bamboo straight knitting needles, ranging from size 0 to size 17…and a pair of size 50. I don’t have much in the way of circular or DPNS: I only have a size 7 circular and both a size 2 and 7 DPNS. I’ll just collect new sizes for DPNS and circulars as I need them for projects that require them. I also decided it would be nice to get a nice little knitting bag, bowl and accessories. In my search I found the Knit Kit by Martha Steward (go figure). I’m not so fond of the unnecessary and obnoxious pink color (which a carefully used sharpie won’t fix) but I AM fond of the contents within this. The front of The Knit Kit contains a durable  row counter and a smooth retracting 5ft. tape measure. The left side of The Knit Kit has a fully removable crochet hook and the right side of The Knit Kit has a folding in-and-out thread cutter. The back compartment of The Knit Kit nicely houses collapsible scissors as well as point protectors and three different sized stitch markers. All in all, I like it with what I have used so far. It helps me keep up with my knitting whatevers a lot better.

Knit Kit, New DPNS, new knitting bag and the sock yarn I’m using for the sock Project 🙂

Inside View

The next time I update for this post I SHOULD have at least one sock done and no idea about where I’ll be with the hat and blanket per say…but I assume I will have progressed in some way 😛 Damn you summer business. Anyway, more later. Stay tuned!

 

 

Om Nom Nom: No Bake Cheesecake

I finally had time to go grocery shopping so I could try this recipe. I like to make desserts when I can, but I hate using the oven in the summer cause it makes the room so damn hot. I found a no bake cheesecake recipe online after a bit of searching, so I decided to give it a try. Needless to say, I was pretty satisfied with it.

Maybe not the most glamorous looking…but certainly delicious.

Making this pie is pretty easy.

Ingredients:

Graham Cracker Pie Crust

1/2 Pound fat-free cream cheese (softened): Or regular if you don’t want a fat-free version

1 1/2 cup(s) Reduced Fat Cool Whipped Topping, Thawed

1/2  tsp vanilla extract

Optional: Fruit for topping (I used blackberries and raspberries)

Topped with Blackberries.

Instructions:

1. Mix cream cheese with vanilla until well blended.  2. Add cool whip and mix 3. Then spoon into pie shell, smooth over top and cool in the fridge for 4 hours. 4. Garnish pie slices with fruit. Serve!

Topped with raspberries and a bit of cool whip. Mmm ❤

I was really pleased with how it turned out. It was so delicious, and not bad for you either (if you use the fat free cream cheese and cool whip). Regardless of which you choose, it’s perfect for a quick and easy dessert. Feel free to take the recipe and give it a go. Enjoy~

Starbucks Summer Missoin #8

I’m exceptionally kind of excited about this one guys. This drink is the first of the Starbucks secret mission (and secret menu items in general) that is created solely by me. Well, as far as I know at least. I have checked multiple websites, blogs and whatever else to find the many MANY creations for the secret menu. Thus far I have not found anybody posting anything like that one I ‘created’ yesterday. So, if anyone has…they haven’t posted it 😛 So, I get dibs. Sorry bout it.

Anyway. So I kind of wanted to create a tasty blend myself and give it a snazzy name etc etc. It’s actually a lot harder than I thought. There’s so many possibilities…I couldn’t pick anything easily. After a lot of deliberating, I finally came out with a combination that I wanted to try. If I liked it, I’d go with it. If not…well back to the drawing board. Thankfully, It  ended up tasting good on the first try.

~très bon~

I give you all…the Gilligan Frappuchino! For lake of a better name. It’s a coconut creme frappuchino with matcha green tea powder (I asked for only a small bit…maybe just to the first line…or less), an extra pump (or two) of coconut syrup, and whipped cream blended in. Cookie crumbles top this frappuchino for the finish, and there you have it! It’s very coconut-y, as it should be. The green tea powder added to it actually enhanced the flavor and the cookie crumbles was just a nice final touch (but probably not necessary, but I like chocolate flavors in my drinks). My Barista at the Starbucks I go to got a good chuckle as I ordered this, and said he will have to try it himself lol I’m glad they’re good sports about the odd things that I order. I figure, If I’m going to pay for it, might as well get what I want. Right? Anyway, it’s really good. So, I hope that you will venture forth and try it yourself sometime and let me know what you think. If you liked it or didn’t…or if you suggest any tweaks I could do to it. Happy Sipping!

Completed Drinks List:

Item 1: Cocoa Cappuchino

Item 2: Thin Mint Frappuchino

Item 3: Cookies and Cream Frappuchino

Item 4: The Nutella Frappuchino.

Item 5: Iced Caramel Macchiato

Item 6: Twix Frappuchino

Item 7: Oreo frappuchino

Item 8: The Gilligan Frappuchino

~Peace,Love,Starbucks~

Starbucks Summer Mission #7

Lucky 7’s as they say. This is another delicious secret menu frappuchino concoction! I give you….*drum roll*…the Oreo frappuchino. I, despite not eating oreos really anymore,  love them. I mean who doesn’t like them? They’re the perfect combo of chocolate and cream. Mmm…so frappuchino version of this famous cookie sounded like a legit idea.

It’s me in a drink…kudos to the few people who will know what that means 😉

You want to try this cookie inspired beverage? Ask for a double chocolate chip frappuccino with white mocha syrup instead of the regular mocha. I think it was pretty spot on. I might add either an extra shot of white mocha syrup, or maybe ask for a bit of vanilla bean powder added to get a better vanilla to chocolate ratio. But otherwise it’s fine just the way it is. I’m definitely rating this one a 5/5! It was perfect for the hot day I got this on. Loved it. I think you should go try it. If you do, let me know how you enjoyed it. If you have any suggestions of drinks I should try (or crazy combinations)…feel free to comment.Happy Sipping~

Completed Drinks List:

Item 1: Cocoa Cappuchino

Item 2: Thin Mint Frappuchino

Item 3: Cookies and Cream Frappuchino

Item 4: The Nutella Frappuchino.

Item 5: Iced Caramel Macchiato

Item 6: Twix Frappuchino

Item 7: Oreo frappuchino

~Peace, Love, Starbucks~

 

 

Thirsty Thursday: (Belated) Tazo Tea

I have been so busy this week and didn’t have time to post a few blogs this week…so now that I have a bit of time, I am catching up. Ugh summertime. I digress. Moving right along to what I should have posted yesterday. I realize most of the drinks I post are coffee related drinks. So, I decided to post something for the tea drinkers out there (as lame as you are. Jk :P). Actually, I like to try to mix things up every now and then. Keeping that in mind, this week’s drink is from Starbucks (surprise surprise). I really like Tazo tea and I usually buy Tazo tea loose leaf tea by the containers for the fall and winter.

I was in Peoria not too long ago with some friends and saw that Starbucks has both Iced Tazo tea and Iced Tazo tea with lemonade. I like my iced teas with a good amount of sweetness so I decided to try it with lemonade. I originally had the Passionfruit tea with lemonade and let me tell ya…it was AWESOME. Probably one of the best non-coffee drinks I had had in a long time. The blend of the passionfruit tea with the lemonade made for a sweet, but not overly sweet, combination. The lemonade kept it a bit tart, so that might have helped. It was great and a lot cheaper than their other drinks at the same size. It’s also a healthier options than their frappuchinos, not that I care…but a nice side deal I suppose.

Awww Yeah~

A few days ago, I decided to get another Tazo tea with lemonade but I wanted to try a different tea blend. Starbucks gives you the choice of passionfruit, black, green and peach tea. I figured black tea and lemonade would  make for an interesting mix, so I went with that. It isn’t as good as the passionfruit but it’s still really tasty. Sooo refreshing ❤ Especially on these hot summer days. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys delicious and cold iced teas. Go try some. Go go go! I think I’ll try green tea next but in the mean time… Happy Sipping 😀

Our Little Friend of the Week: Stone Man Syndrome

Ok, so this week I won’t be focusing so much on any particular microbe. Instead, I wanted to go a bit into a disease that  fascinates me a bit more than it probably should lol It’s called Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, also known as Stone Man Syndrome. I first heard about this rare disease a little while back in this month. A girl, Ali Mckean from the UK, suffers from this disease. I read about it in an online news article in the medical section. I was gobsmacked because I had never heard about anything like this before. I started researching online more information about this disease and I was amazed (yet terrified at the same time, a bit.)

Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, Stone Man Syndrome, is pretty much what it sounds like. It is an extremely rare disease of the connective tissues. Somehow a mutation of the body’s repair mechanism causes fibrous tissues (including muscle, tendon and ligaments) to be ossified when damaged. Ossified meaning, turning into bone. Injuries can often cause the joints to become permanently frozen into place. Even surgical removal of the extra bone has shown to cause the body to “repair” the area with even more bone. So surgery doesn’t appear to help the problem.

Close up of the skeleton. Note the extra bone growth.

People born with this disease are usually born with deformed big toes and sometimes missing a joint. The first flare-up that leads to the Stone man Syndrome occurs (usually) before the age of 10. FOP (shortened version of the technical name) is a genetic disease. The bone growth progresses from the top downward. This is just how bones grow in a fetus. A child afflicted with FOP will develop bones starting in the neck and then on to the shoulders, arm, chest area and onward on to the feet. The gene that causes ossification in the body is normally deactivated after a fetus’s bones are formed in the womb. However, in people with FOP, the gene continues to work long after. Because the disease is so rare, the symptoms are often misdiagnosed as cancer or fibrosis.

The best known FOP case is that of  Harry Eastlack . His condition began to develop at the age of ten and, by the time of his death from pneumonia in November 1973, six days before his 40th birthday, his body had completely ossified, leaving him able to move only his lips. Hence the “Stone Man” aspect, it was as if he had been “turned to stone”, almost literally. Before his death, he had made it clear that he wanted to donate his body to science in the hopes that his death would be able to help find a cure for this disease. You can find his body kept at the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia. There have approximately been 700 confirmed cases across the globe from an estimated 2500. Unfortunately, there is no current cure for this disease. Attempting to remove any bone only results in more bone growth (and sometimes more rigorous growth). This puts quite a damper on the life of the person affected since there appears to be nothing that can really be done. Even their current living situations change. Activities that increase the risk of falling need to be avoided, as injuries from falling can provoke the growth of more bone. This is a considerable problem for young children since they run around, play and fall often…which is normal for a young child. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be young and have this rare disease.

Many years ago there was a trial going on where scientists had discovered that a component in sharks can prevent the growth of blood vessels in tissues, which would prevent the creation of bones…in sharks. The trial started in 2002 but was ended in 2007. Since then, there has been no clinical trials for FOP.

I can kind of relate to this, on just the basis that I suffer from an autoimmune disease that currently has no cure. Granted, It is not life threatening and does not do the same things to my body as FOP would. But, I do understand what one feels like when you suffer from something that can’t be cured. I consider myself lucky that (even though i can’t be “cured”), my illness can be treated and I can get back to a mostly normal physical life, with hard work. I hope that there will be a day when the people who do suffer from FOP, can count themselves lucky too because their illness will no longer affect them.

That is my ‘Little Friend of the Week’ for this week, sort of. Next week, I will either delve into Yersinia Pestis (involved in the Black Death) OR…go into another biology related topic I enjoy…Parasitism! I was thinking of eventually doing a post on Parasites…the good (their not all bad) and the bad (to be fair) and the interesting. See you next week 🙂

Starbucks Summer Mission #6

Twix! Yes, there is a “twix” frappuchino drink at starbucks. Well, sort of. It’s another awesome drink from the starbucks ‘secret’ menu. This is one that I didn’t find on most of the online sites I had found some of the menu items on. I came across this purely by accident, but when I read about it It sounded delicious and something I couldn’t pass up. What else could be better than a twix flavored frappuchino? Not much, I’d say. Or at least that’s how I saw it that day 😛

I got a venti size…grande would have left much to be desired 😉

Topped with whipped cream and caramel goodness ❤

If you want this, make sure to order: Caramel frappuccino with extra caramel and mocha drizzle in the cup, whipped cream blended in, one pump of hazelnut, and java chips!

My review? It tasted just like a twix bar. It’s one of my new favorites now because it tasted like what it was named AND it tasted fantastic. I will definitely be ordering this again sometime soon. I think anyone who likes a lot of chocolate or caramel flavors in their starbucks drinks will enjoy this. 5/5!

I think I’ll either try the “Fruity Pebbles” or “Captain Crunch” Frappuchino next. I’m getting a taste for something less chocolatey and something more fruity. We’ll see. Happy Sipping!

Completed Drinks List:

Item 1: Cocoa Cappuchino

Item 2: Thin Mint Frappuchino

Item 3: Cookies and Cream Frappuchino

Item 4: The Nutella Frappuchino.

Item 5: Iced Caramel Macchiato

Item 6: Twix Frappuchino

~Peace,Love,Starbucks~

Starbucks Summer Mission #5

Ok so this one is sort of….a part of the summer mission. I HAVE had Iced Caramel Macchiatos before, but I normally don’t get them. I have actually never had one from Starbucks before. I started drinking them when I was on campus at my university and so I had only had them at the cafes on campus. So, I will count this as part of my summer mission 😛

So, Iced Caramel Macchiatos are AAAAAAAAmazing. I know there is another version called the Marble Mocha Macchiato…which I had awhile back and is just as good. Depends on your preference. The Marble Mocha Macchiato is a twist on the Caramel Macc but instead uses white mocha on the bottom, shot on the top and mocha drizzle.  But on to the drink at hand…I like my caramel macchiato both hot or iced. I, of course, got mine Iced since it was hot as balls outside. But I’ll fancy a pipping hot one in the chillier months. The first time I tried it, I was pretty impressed. I had seen people order it before and it looked pretty good…but I had never actually ventured to try it. I love the caramel richness of the drink, and how creamy it is. 5/5 rate! I recommend anybody going to their nearest starbucks (or any cafe really…) and trying one out. Happy Sipping!

Iced caramel Macch…how I love you. Also, the separation of the milk and syrups is pretty cool.

Item 1: Cocoa Cappuchino

Item 2: Thin Mint Frappuchino

Item 3: Cookies and Cream Frappuchino

Item 4: The Nutella Frappuchino.

Item 5: Iced Caramel Macchiato

~Peace, Love, Starbucks~