Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Best Feeling

One of the best feelings is success.  Success can be defined in many different ways, but I would like to define it as "a performance or achievement that is marked by success, as by the attainment of honors" (  While my lab results have not demonstrated the outcomes wanted, like today where I expected to see bands on the Western blot, yet knew my protein was on the membrane.  This is a big relief, as my protein was properly transferred.  A western blot is a gel that contains the protein you are trying to detect, and is transferred to a membrane that can be used to detect the protein through an antibody that gives off a signal.  I have my protein, as marked by a red dye, but no signal was received from the antibody.  Going into problem solving mode, we determined that the source of the error may be the conditions of which the antibody was put on the gel. Tomorrow, I will rerun and determine if that is the issue, as my protein is there.  While I did not see the results I wanted, I was successful in getting my protein to transfer from the gel to my membrane.

The greatest feeling of success I have had comes from the application of my knowledge.  In the last few days, my lab professor has commented on the application of my knowledge, and is thoroughly impressed.  I have taken what I have learned from other classes, and applied it to lab.  This is mainly in the form of controls.  A control for each experiment is important, as it can dictate if the experiment was carried out properly ie. if the enzyme works or not.  In addition, I have used the background knowledge I have gained from writing my thesis to ask questions that impress my professor.  In my opinion, I have been successful as I have demonstrated a performance of my knowledge.

I have also sent a draft of my thesis introduction to a good friend of mine, who also studied Biology with me at Scripps.  She thought it was a great first draft, and had no major changes to make!  Step 1 of thesis: complete. (Step 1 was writing a draft of my introduction).

As many of you know, I have a very sweet tooth.  I put my sweet tooth to work over the past 26 hours and baked pancake muffins and cookies.  Not just any cookies however….cake batter oreo sprinkle cookies!

Recipes are as follows:

Pancake muffins:
Made 21 muffins.

-3 cups all-purpose flour
-1 tbsp. baking powder
-3 tbsp. sugar
-3/4 tsp. salt
-2 1/2 cups (skim) milk
-1 tbsp. white vinegar
-2 eggs
-1 tbsp. vanilla extract
-4 tbsp. butter, melted
-semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Stir together the milk and vinegar, and let sit for 1 minute.  Whisk in the vanilla and eggs.  Add baking powder, sugar, salt, and flour.  Then add the melted butter and stir.  If the batter becomes too thick, add a little bit of milk.

Grease the muffin-pan, and fill each cup 2/3 of the way.  Add 4-5 chocolate chips (or more if desired) on top.  Bake for 8-9 minutes.

Eat fresh, at room temperature, or heat up in the microwave for 15 seconds!

Cookie time!

These cake batter oreo sprinkle cookies may be seen as over-kill.  I mean, they contain cake batter, oreos, sprinkles, chocolate chips, and butter-scotch chips.  However, they are so delicious!

Cake batter oreo sprinkle cookies:
Made 63 cookies (I would expect to make less)

-1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
-1 1/4 cups funfetti cake mix (you can also use yellow or vanilla if desired)
-1/2 tsp. baking soda
-3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
-1/2 cup granulated sugar
-1/2 cup dark brown sugar (can use light as well)
-1 egg
-1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
-10 oreos, crushed (I used cookie dough but any flavor works!)
-2/3 cup sprinkles
-2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
-2/3 cup butter-scotch chips

Cream the softened butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together on medium speed until smooth.  Add the egg, mixing on high until combined (about 1 minute).  Add in the vanilla, and continue beating until combined.  Add the baking soda, cake mix, and flour and mix on low speed until combined.  Add in the oreos, sprinkles, chocolate chips, and butter-scotch chips.  I mixed with my hands, but you can also use a spatula.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours and no more than 3 days.  I put in the fridge for about 17 hours.  Roll dough out as you are using it.  The refrigeration step is important, as the dough will spread too much when cooking if bakes from room temperature dough.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and place balls of cookie dough on an ungreased baking sheet.  I made smaller cookies, using a little less than 1 tbsp of dough per cookie.  Shape the balls to be tall and thin.  I made sure that that there were either oreos, sprinkles, or chocolate chips at the top of cookie dough ball before baking.  This makes them prettier.  Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes.  The center of the cookie will appear very soft, but they will set as they cool.  Let them sit, and then enjoy!

I think that is all for today.  Life is good, I am not sore anymore and my sunburns from the hike are going away, I was able to run this morning (if only for one mile), and I am happy.

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