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Magnetic decoupling: It’s a real thing.

Guess what?  Scott got published!  He wrote an article that’s going to be in a journal called Physics Review A.

I don’t have a Physics Review A lying around, so that’s a GQ.

To be clear: there are a couple differences between Physics Review A and GQ.  For example, Physics Review A doesn’t have scented men’s cologne ads in it.

That’s a real shame, if you ask me.  Paper flaps of cologne come in handy when you don’t have time to shower.  In fact, I’m rubbing them all over myself right now.




Anyway, you’re not going to believe the title of Scott’s article.  Are you sitting down?  It’s important that you not be lying down, because I don’t want you to fall asleep.

The title is:

Magnetic Decoupling of 129Xe Nuclear Spin Relaxation Due to Wall Collisions with RbH and RbD Coatings

I’m not even kidding you right now.  It sounds boring, but it’s not.  It’s fascinating.  **IT BETTER BE FASCINATING** because Scott ignored my existence for years in grad school while he was writing it.

I think Physics Review A is a good journal, by the way.  Presumably better than Physics Review C-.

Ba dum chhh!

I’ll be here all week.

So if you’re looking for something to celebrate today, raise a glass to Scott and his friend and co-author, Jaideep.

I’m so proud of those guys.

I’m so proud I could give them bear hugs and stuff their faces with brain food.

You know what brain food gets a bad rap?

Beans.  Including lima beans.

Now, before you wrinkle your nose and start hating on the noble lima bean, let me ask you something:  when was the last time you actually tried a lima bean?  I’ve had them a lot since moving to the South, and I think they’re surprisingly good–like a cross between a pea and a white bean.

And when you toss them with a tangy vinaigrette and slivers of sweet red onion?

So tasty.  If you like three-bean salad, you should really give this a shot.

But if you don’t believe me, it’s okay.  There’s also cake.

This is a dark, moist apple cake that I threw some peanut butter and peanut butter chips into.  It tastes almost like a blondie, but moister and lighter.  Serve it with a scoop of ice cream and it’ll be your go-to, no-fuss autumn dessert.

The two recipes are below.  Cheers!


Lima Bean Salad {Download & Print Recipe}

Inspired by the lima beans in the September volume of Bon Appetit magazine


1 lb. frozen baby lima beans

1 1/2 c. water

2/3 c. finely sliced red onion

1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. red wine vinegar

2 tsp. honey

1 tsp. prepared Dijon mustard

3 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley

1/8 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. coriander


Bring the lima beans and the water to a boil in a pot with a lid.  Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, 15-18 minutes, or until the limas are tender.  In the meantime, make the dressing by combining the remaining ingredients in a bowl and stirring with a fork

Drain the limas in a sieve.  Toss them with the dressing and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours, so the flavors have time to meld.  Taste, adjust seasoning as desired, and serve warm or cold.


Peanut Butter Apple Cake {Download & Print Recipe}

Adapted from a recipe for “Teddie’s Apple Cake” in The Essential New York Times Cookbook


3 c. flour

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. baking soda

1 1/3 c. + 1 Tbsp. canola oil

2 c. sugar

3 eggs

2 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 c. peeled, cored, thickly sliced apples (I prefer Fuji)

1/2 c. + 1 Tbsp. peanut butter chips


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour an 8 x 11-inch pan.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda.  Set aside.

Cream together the oil and the sugar with an electric mixer for 5 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat another minute or so, until the mixture is creamy.   Beat in the peanut butter until combined.

Stir in the dry ingredients (Use a spoon, not the electric mixer.)  The batter will be surprisingly thick.  Add the vanilla and the apples and stir until combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.  The batter will be thick and hard to get off the spoon.  Try to poke most of your apples under the batter, but it’s okay if some are visible.

Bake for approximately 1 hour, or until the top of the cake is browned and firm to the touch, and a tester inserted into the cake comes out clean.


In other news, this is Thunder’s face for “I’m not mad at you.  I’m just. . . disappointed in you.”

Needless to say, I get this a lot.

66 Comments Post a comment
  1. Anna F. #

    You know, I hated lima beans for years. And there were a lot of years in which to hate them because my mom is from the South, and she served them a lot. A. Lot. Then, I made succotash a few years ago while visiting family overseas at Thanksgiving and thought, “Hey, these aren’t half bad and not just because I added bacon.” I’m looking forward to giving this a try, and congratulations to Scott and Jaideep!

    September 11, 2012
    • You know, I didn’t think I liked succotash and then I had an incredible succotash YESTERDAY in Chattanooga. It had a light vinaigrette on it and really tender vegetables (all local too, which was awesome). So I’m a new fan.

      Isn’t Thanksgiving overseas fun? I spent two Thanksgivings overseas in France and always found it to be hilarious. The first year, I had crepes with friends at a hole in the wall in the town I lived in in the Loire valley. We invited a guy who was eating alone to come sit with us. It turned out he was Native American. Not even kidding. We ordered another pitcher of cider for that one!

      September 14, 2012
    • Anna F. #

      OK, reporting back in after having just enjoyed a delicious lunch of lima bean salad. I made it last night to bring in lunches this week. Couldn’t have been easier. I was a bit concerned when I sampled it warm that my generous hand with the red onions was going to be cause for regret as these were particularly pungent, and I worried I should have rinsed and soaked them first. However, as promised, the flavors mellowed and melded overnight into a delightful balance of sweet and sharp. Thanks!

      And, seriously, serendipitous Native Americans in the Loire on Thanksgiving? That is a great story.

      September 17, 2012
      • Anna, I’m so glad you liked it! Yay!

        P.S. the town I lived in in the Loire was famous because (wait for it). . . a guy who lived there way back in the day invented the pressure cooker. In the middle of town, there was a statue of a dude holding a pressure cooker under his arm.

        You have to make the most of what you’ve got, I guess!

        September 18, 2012
        • Anna F. #

          Great touch with the statue! I live in the city where Fluff was invented, and although I don’t care for Fluff myself, I’m going to email the mayor about a statue.

          September 19, 2012
  2. Amy #

    Thunder is so cute! And mighty svelte too…whatever she’s eating, it’s totally working for her.

    Oh, and congrats to Scott. That’s totally awesome he got published, even if only like 1% of the population can actually understand what he wrote…but still, very cool. And that cake looks a.m.a.z.i.n.g.

    September 11, 2012
    • I am definitely not in the 1 percent that has any idea what’s going on, but I do know that Xe stands for xenon. Whoot!

      Thunder lost a little weight last month when we went to Vegas. I think she was playing outside in the heat a daycare a lot and burned a lot of calories. So we upped her food to make sure she didn’t get to skinny. But that dog is so freaking active (she can jump 4 feet in the air to catch a ball) that it doesn’t seem to stick to her! It’s nuts!

      September 13, 2012
      • Amy #

        Aw, I’m sure she’s healthy…Some breeds are just active! I wish I was active enough to require extra calories… 😦

        September 15, 2012
  3. Aaaaaaah that’s amazing! I will raise one or more glasses to you, Scott, and your brain buddy Jaideep. And then I might eat some cake.

    September 11, 2012
    • Scott requests that all of us manage to raise glasses together, in the same place. Including Jaideep, who lives in Chicago. We should probably just meet there.

      September 13, 2012
      • ps if you could bring some of that notella on the plane, that would be great.

        September 13, 2012
      • I’d love to, sounds like a plan!

        September 13, 2012
  4. Lima beans are yums. Whatever it is that Scott wrote about probably also would be super yums if it were being read out loud by the GQ guy… Specifically if he were wearing an apron and feeding me peanut butter apple cake. Well, not *me*, I’m happily married. But you know, some other person who likes being fed peanut butter apple cake by half-naked men in aprons.

    September 11, 2012
  5. Congratulations, Scott! If you take out the numbers and upper&lower case letter combinations, I actually have an idea what he’s written about.

    And I’d rather learn the bits in his paper that I don’t understand than eat Lima beans. Sorry, they’ve been ruined for me forever. Unless maybe I grow my own.

    September 11, 2012
    • Maybe I’ll grow my own lima beans, too!

      Oh, wait.


      September 14, 2012
  6. thanks for sharing – not a peanut butter fan, but maybe i can try the cake w/ almond butter and no pb chips instead, hmmm… i’m definitely trying that lima bean salad at some point 🙂

    September 11, 2012
    • You can totally make the cake without peanut butter! The original recipe, in fact, called for no peanut butter. It called for walnuts–you could toss a cup of them in if you wanted. Otherwise, you shouldn’t have to change anything. FYI–The original recipe called for 1 1/2 c. oil but I found that to be a little too moist (like I didn’t like grabbing a piece of cake and having slick fingers after), so I decreased it a little. Anyway, it’ll be great without the peanut butter/chips.

      September 14, 2012
  7. Hmmm so where do we order the Physics Review A or a Thunder Clone? 🙂 That is awesome News! and I admire you approaching Limas – I still cannot get over them.

    September 11, 2012
    • If I had to decide between getting a Thunder and getting a Physics Review A, I’d probably pick the Thunder. But be forewarned that she eats things like Physics Review A. And pillows. I’m basically going to get to a Physics Review A and a pillow for Christmas and let her rip them to shreds.

      September 18, 2012
  8. Mary #

    Physics Review A is a great journal. GO SCOTT! Also, those perfume/cologne ads are really great to have around if you sit next to someone stinky. Love the cake idea. We’re going to need something to do after we go apple picking next weekend.

    September 11, 2012
    • Apple picking season always takes me by surprise, and by the time I’m googling orchards, the season is almost over. Scott and I did manage to pick some a few years ago, though. They sold apple the most beautiful cider donuts at the orchard we went to. They smelled phenomenal. We bought some, but when we got back to town we realized that with all those bags of apples, we had forgotten to pick the donuts up at the cash register.


      September 18, 2012
  9. Stephanie #

    When I first saw the magazine picture, I thought, “Hmmm….I might need to start reading Physics Review A.” It would increase their readership if they put pictures like that in there. In other news, now that I’m a grown-up, I have taken a vow to never again let a lima bean touch my lips. Or teeth. Or tongue. Blech! But I’m all about that cake. I love surprising little PB chips in stuff. Yep. I’m all about that. And cute GQ guys. I’m all about them, too.

    September 11, 2012
    • Physics TEXTBOOKS should have cute GQ guys in them, too. If they had had pictures like that in my science books when I was in school, I would be a famous chemist by now. I just know it.

      September 18, 2012
  10. cj #

    I have to be honest, I’ve missed Thunder so much, when I got the email about your post, I completely ignored your written post and simply scrolled down to see if you’d included Thunder. When I saw her gorgeous face, I was relieved enough to go back to the beginning and coherently read your post. 🙂

    September 11, 2012
    • Awww. Sometimes I miss her so much, too, and then I remember that she’s right across on the room sleeping on the nice chair, so I get up off the chewed up couch and I go pet her. 🙂

      September 18, 2012
  11. Shalee #

    You made me laugh so hard my stomach hurts!!! My grandpa died today and my family is acting silly and this just made me happy. Thank you for your sarcasm! I love sarcasm!

    September 11, 2012
    • Shalee, what an awful day. Ugh, I’m sorry. I’m so glad you stopped by.

      We’re going to make another movie this weekend! I’m so excited. You should make a movie with an iphone. It’s goofy fun.

      September 14, 2012
  12. Pshaw! I bet Physics Review A has a MUCH higher impact factor than that old GQ magazine. Congrats to him and to you for publishing your blog, cooking, gardening, and dog minding (probably doing so backward and in high heels).

    September 11, 2012
    • Mad Queen Linda, speaking of backward and in high heels, I LOVE Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies. Do you? I LOVE THEM. When I was growing up, my brother and I would watch them on Saturday mornings, instead of cartoons. Also, my favorite movie is Bringing Up Baby, with Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn. Have you seen it?

      September 14, 2012
      • I have seen it. (Famous Pairs for $60, please.) My favorites are actually Nick & Nora in The Thin Man movies. I think it has to do with all those martinis. And Asta.

        September 14, 2012
        • I don’t remember the thin man movies very well. That means I can watch them all over again! Yesssssss! This weekend just got even more promising. Thanks for the heads up.

          September 14, 2012
  13. Cindy #

    I would just like to announce that I read the source document for that Physics Review A article. And that I love Scott and Jaideep, though not so much James or Al.

    Love, Scott’s Mom

    September 11, 2012
    • I’m pretty sure Jaideep loves you back in a way that should make you feel uncomfortable.

      Hee hee. 🙂

      September 14, 2012
  14. a #

    Congratulations, Scott! I don’t care much about magnetic decoupling, but I’m sure it has a very important application somewhere…

    Also, I don’t care what you do to lima beans, their texture is still…unpleasant. So, thanks for cake – that makes everything OK!

    September 11, 2012
    • I don’t care much about magnetic decoupling either (shhhh) but Scott cares a LOT about it, ERGO it’s the best thing since sliced bread around here. I can dig it. Also, “xenon” is fun to say.

      Cheers to a weekend of looking on the bright side of things!

      September 14, 2012
  15. Congrats to Scott on the publication of his article. Hope I can find a copy of the journal in the variety store around the corner 😊. Seriously, it sounds all very erudite-like and completely out of my league; in other words, very impressive!

    The beans are simply lovely to look at. And the cake sounds intriguing – I’ve never considered a peanut butter/apple combination (magnetic coupling?) before, but if you say it’s good, then I know it is!

    September 11, 2012
    • It’s so funny the combinations that make sense to each of us (and the ones we wouldn’t think of). When I was growing up, the after-school program at my school served apples with peanut butter and graham crackers for snack. I guess those three flavors have been melded together in my head since I was six years old. Funny the way things work out, you know?

      September 18, 2012
      • I couldn’t stand peanut butter and banana sandwiches when I was kid (maybe because the only time I was served one I was in hospital). But, a salami and jam sandwich? Now you’re talkin’!

        September 18, 2012
  16. Magnetic decoupling….sounds kind of dramatic and romatic, like those couples with tons of passion and chemistry that keep breaking up. Physics is super cool….I never understood it though; I do NOT have a physics brain. Congrats to Scott and Jaideep!

    I love lima beans so you don’t have to convince me! The apple cake…that sounds terrific…I like the idea of the chunks of apples in it. Will try.

    September 12, 2012
    • I love this! “Like those couples with tons of passion and chemistry that keep breaking up.”

      I bet you are great at those games where everyone at the table has to think up a definition for an obscure word (or a fake word), and the person with the most convincing definition wins.

      About the chunks of apples–the recipe I based this on called for “thickly sliced apples” so I sliced them pretty thickly. I thought to myself, “these have got to be too thick,” but they turn out beautifully every time. Just wanted you to know, in case you have the same doubts I did!

      September 18, 2012
  17. Congratulations to Scott! Even if it was bullshit, I’d never understand enough to know so!

    September 12, 2012
    • Juls, you know how you said “even if it was bullshit, I’d never understand enough to know so?” That’s why Scott and I are still together. Our academic interests are so different that it’s impossible for us to call bullshit on each other. It’s kind of perfect.

      September 18, 2012
      • That’s the most romantic thing I’ve ever read.

        September 18, 2012
  18. My grandmother made delicious limas with cream and thyme. She called them butter beans, which made it all seem better, don’t you think? Congratulations to the brainiacs! And to the wonderful woman who feeds at least one of them. 🙂 Both of these recipes rock.


    September 12, 2012
    • Wow, Stacy. Cream and thyme with limas sounds absolutely amazing. Did she pass down the recipe? (I agree that butter beans is a WAY lovelier way to talk about limas!)

      This fall I plan to try a cream-braised cabbage recipe that I saw last year but didn’t get a chance to make. Mixing cream with cabbage or beans or peas seems so interesting–I’d never think of it on my own.

      September 18, 2012
      • My mom still makes them. I’ll ask how but if I recall correctly, they were just cooked till tender and then she added cream and thyme. Salt and pepper too, of course. I’ll get back to you to confirm!

        September 18, 2012
  19. Melanie #

    Congrats to Scott! I didn’t realize there was lima bean hate. I can make a meal out of them, but I’ve lived in the South my entire life. Your blog is super! Thanks for the day brighteners.

    September 12, 2012
    • Hi Melanie! Thanks for the kind words about the blog–it’s been exactly a year since I started it, actually, and it has been so much fun.

      It’s reassuring you weren’t aware of the lima bean hate. I wonder if you’ll see it everywhere now–you know, like when you learn a new word and then it seems like you hear it everywhere?

      September 18, 2012
  20. As a child, succotash was one of the only vegetables I’d ask to have seconds of. I still love the taste of the stuff; it doesn’t love me in return 😦 Nikki

    September 12, 2012
    • Anna F. #

      Maybe if my mom had used the lima beans in succotash, I would have come around sooner. I bought a bag of baby limas last night to give this recipe a try. 🙂

      September 12, 2012
      • Horray, Anna! Let me know what you think. I actually love it warm right after I toss it together, but if you let it sit for a while, the flavors get more awesome. It’s a tough call. 🙂

        September 12, 2012
  21. I love lima bean salads. The flavor is so special and babys are tender and delicate and the best…

    September 12, 2012
    • Horray! Glad to meet a lover of limas. They are a wrongly maligned bean, I tell you!

      September 18, 2012
  22. Major congrats to Scott! I’ve been working on getting published myself so I know how hard it can be. And the cake looks delicious and the puppy adorable, as always. 🙂

    September 12, 2012
  23. Thunder: *Sigh* “And you had such potential, Mother…”
    I think lima beans are actually alien embryos. Or wood chips. Either way—ptooey! (sorry)
    My brain is stuck on “Nuclear Spin Relaxation.” Is that like riding a merry-go-round in Chernobel?

    September 12, 2012
  24. Congratulations to your clever fellow, and well done on the amazing cake, it looks delicious! I love your plates too, very nice.

    September 12, 2012
  25. I dont see disappointment in that face – I think Thunder is smiling and waiting for you to throw something fun to catch and/or eat 🙂

    September 13, 2012
  26. I raise my glass to Scott and lima beans. In that order.


    September 13, 2012
  27. Haha – maybe your guy would be interested in reading MY terribly scientific treatise: Auntie Oxidant Rides to the Rescue. I Love your lima bean recipe as I have actually learned recently to love lima beans. Now working on okra…

    September 13, 2012
  28. Wow, congrats to Scott for being published! Must be a terrific feeling, and well deserved I’m sure. Those recipes look awesome, too, thanks for sharing 🙂

    September 15, 2012
  29. Lima Bean Salad looks great. sometimes I want to do sth with it and I have know idea how to make it interesting and taste. I’m sure I’ll use your recipe 🙂 that cake sounds good as well (peanut butter is one of my weakness ;P )

    September 17, 2012
  30. congrats to scott! that’s impressive. you know what would be more impressive? if i knew how to formulate the words of that title together in my brain so i understood it. I’m going to work on that.
    You know, it would probably behoove Physics Review A to have cologne samples amidst its pages; i would assume those who read it would be thankful for a little help in the shower department, as most of them may be way too busy with their genius projects to bathe regularly.
    i haven’t had lima beans since i was a child. and i’m not sure why, because i loved them then. and i love three-bean salad, so…i’m trying this. you may win for “most foods shannon has tried from a blog and loved,” by the way.

    September 18, 2012
  31. Yay for Scott! And now you get your man back, right? That’s good 🙂
    And awww Thunder! Pepper gives me the same look when I don’t give her wet food, she’s getting spoiled rotten.

    September 28, 2012

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