Friday, December 13, 2013


I met with my thesis committee this week to get my project – and me- evaluated (and judged). To me, the whole process feels like being on a reality TV competition. You do your thing, then you leave the room so the committee members can deliberate, and then you come back to get your critique. It has all the elements needed for a good TV show, including the suspense, the crying and all the drama behind the scenes. So if you are a TV executive looking for your next hit TV show – Grad School Shark Tank - give me a call and I’ll give you some ideas.

Some fellow students claim that meeting with their thesis committee is not a big deal. Not to be disrespectful, but that’s a lot of bull… It is very, very stressful, and you need to prepare quite a lot to be ready. You have to prepare a power point presentation, write a progress report and be ready to answer all sorts of questions.  It can go well, but it can also go south pretty quickly. I’ve had some meetings that have gone so bad that I’ve thought of storming out in a song- Broadway style- to protest, but I’m not a good singer and I certainly don’t want to go viral on YouTube “singing” my heart out. I’ll leave that to the cast of Glee. So instead I’ve taken notes and I've worked harder and harder. This time the hard work finally paid off. Now I’m a step closer to that Ph.D. and more motivated to finish than ever.

The last part of getting ready for my meeting was to actually chill a bit during the last few days before my meeting.  We went to see (or to listen to) the Cleveland Orchestra performing Beethoven’s Piano Concertos 2 and 3, and we went to Playhouse Square to see Wicked. I’ve been listening to the original cast recording for years, but I’ve never seen the actual musical. I was so excited! Going to the show was meant to be the highlight of the weekend, but I’ve got to say it was harsh, man. The bad acoustics of the theater were nothing compared to the problems created by the people attending the show. The worst of it was this woman saying hi (yelling, actually) from the second floor of the theater to someone in the first floor DURING the second act. She is so lucky that I’m not a witch, because I would so be a wicked one. She would’ve been turned into a flying monkey in no time. Still, I did my best to enjoy, and I did. It was a good performance, but it wasn’t the stress-free evening I was going for.

I still needed another way to relax and to enjoy myself. Frankly, I don’t know a better way than to have a nice homemade meal to feel relaxed and happy. Cooking makes everything better. I wanted to cook, but I couldn’t make anything complicated (or that involved getting many dishes dirty) because of time constrains. Meatballs were the solution to all of my needs. They’re easy to make, they’re done quickly, and they can be low in calories. The ones I made were just 239 calories per serving. They were so good! They were also an inexpensive dish! In my last blog post I said I could cook nice meals regardless of the budget. Well, these meatballs are the perfect example; they were made with just about $5.00 for the whole dish, or just $1.00 per serving! These meatballs really gave me that “everything will be alright” feeling I was longing for!

On the road shortcut
Nutritional info per serving (serving size 2 meatballs):
239 calories, 4 g carbs, 14 g fat, 23 g protein

1lb 93% lean ground beef (calories calculated using 1.13lb)
1 teaspoon salt
½ ground pepper
½ dried oregano
½ dried thyme
1/3 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
1 jumbo egg (beaten)
2 tablespoon olive oil

cooking spray

optional: fresh parsley (to garnish)

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a mixing bowl, season the beef with salt, pepper, oregano and thyme, and add breadcrumbs. Add the egg and oil, and mix with your hands.

Using an ice cream scooper, scoop the meatballs (about 10) into a baking dish lightly sprayed with cooking spray.

(Optional: lightly spray the meatballs with cooking spray.)
Bake at 350F for 15 minutes. Turn the meatballs, and bake for 5 more minutes.

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