Wow, it still feels like FOREVER since my last post launched. Let’s just say that my work and academic schedules kicked me in the ass. Consequently, my blog had to take a back seat. In a way, it would have been pointless to publish anything amidst the chaos because my creative energy and fire were not nearly as fervent as usual. There has barely been anytime for me to create new recipes (trust me, there will be plenty in store) and think of original ideas. Priorities, priorities. Straightening them out…as I internally die.
But anyhow, what’s the update? I’ve been working at my local chocolate shop three times a week instead of just one. There have been many more orders for the holidays (including Halloween and the winter holidays), formal events, and other purposes, so most of the workers are now situated in the back making chocolate or assembling online orders, leaving me to oversee the front of the shop. No complaining–any reason for me to walk around, listen to my favorite music, greet kind people, and assemble vegan dark chocolate items has me sold! My schedule consists of only eleven units, but they all require a ton of outside work and research. If any of you have ever needed to use JMP, you probably know the pain. Here’s just a slew of photos capturing everything I’ve been up to!
At the very least, my social group has never been more solid. I have never felt more secure with the people I love the most. We recently celebrated Cory’s birthday–very long overdue, but the trip to Santa Barbara for brunch at Mesa Verde and Pressed Juicery was 10000% worth it!
Another update that may seem completely ordinary to you is my Instagram name. It’s no longer “superfitbabe”, but now “cassieautumntran”. The reason for this swap is because the former name felt quite misleading–you’d normally expect someone wearing gym gear and drinking protein shakes while lifting weights in each picture or at least every other picture for such an Instagram handle, but instead here I am posting photos of vegan food, restaurants, and other miscellaneous content. There are no reasons that concern gaining or losing followers, rebranding the whole Instagram, or any form of a pre-quarter life crisis. It’s simply just applying a label that is much more transparent to what superfitbabe always was. As for the blog, I’ve considered changing the name as well, but I have yet to find one that fits better than “superfitbabe”.
Okay, now onto the senior project: the endeavor entails achieving a marvelous ketchup sauce that is A) nearly 100% equal to the store-bought condiment in terms of pH, viscosity, refractive index, and flow, B) the taste and texture are similar enough to use as ketchup, and C) the base has to be made of blueberries. That’s right–BLUEBERRIES.
Thus far, we have only created the control blueberry sauce and a formula made with one tablespoon of corn starch, which did not thicken the sauce until five to seven minutes later. In fact, it seemed more watery than the control! However, once it cooled down completely, the yield was actually much larger than the control (which was quite thin in viscosity and flat on its surface), thicker and jelly-like in texture, and heavier overall. The corn starch appears to have swelled the blueberries so that the second formula looks higher in quantity even though the recipe was the exact same, except with corn starch! The more you know. Next time, we will try other stabilizers, acids, and spices to test thickness, pH, shelf-life, and flavor.
My parents also came to visit me earlier this month! They treated me to a mani-pedi, an all-paid trip to Trader Joe’s, Thai food for lunch, vegan and gluten free carrot cake and red velvet cupcakes from a Santa Barbara-based bakery called Lilac Patisserie, and a lovely dinner at Luna Red with my boyfriend where we feasted on tacos, shishito peppers, and chips and dips. LOTS and LOTS of chips and dips.
Of course, the internship search has been UNREAL. I have already secured one that I will not discuss the details yet about because the position is not 100% set in stone as to what my role will be. However, I have applied to countless companies and await responses. Crossing my fingers for one based in Los Angeles to not re-locate, but I am open to exploring a new state and city. Fortunately, my options are wide open as I have chosen to take an extra quarter in the fall of next year to focus on retaking some classes that would be worth brushing my skills on.
That is all for now. I am currently typing this with seven minutes left until bed–I am physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted! But I truly have missed blogging to the core! Hopefully, the next posts will center more on my senior projects, classes in Food Science, and just personal interests like food reviews, guilty pleasures, events with friends and family, and everything in between. Trust me, I have been watching an unhealthy amount of Cupcake Wars that I could picture myself in that competition, and I don’t even bake cupcakes regularly.
What have you been up to lately? Would you try blueberry ketchup?