Friday, September 25, 2009

Scratch Pediatric Endocrinologist... the list of future professions. I'm about 85% sure I want to go into general pediatrics, but I'm still keeping my mind open to specialties. I took an endocrinology class in undergrad and loved it. It's amazing how the body's hormones control so many things in such an ordered fashion. So, these past two weeks, I spent my time rotating in the pediatric endocrinology clinic. It was only OK for me. The endo cases themselves are interesting, but there's not much variety. Almost every patient was a growth hormone deficiency or hypothyroid patient. We'd maybe have one congenital adrenal hyperplasia patient or type one diabetes patient a day. (Most of the diabetes patients were seen by nurse practitioners). I'm not going to lie, I was bored after two weeks, I can't imagine seeing the same cases over and over my whole life. Yes, I know the patients get sick and some cases are more interesting than others, but it's just not for me. I'm realizing more and more how much I like well-child checks and the teaching opportunities for general well being general peds offers me. Plus, as a general pediatrician, I'll still see the endocrine disorders, but I'll also see lots of other things too.

Declined an Interview

It's always hard to predict how many interview invitations a fourth year med student will get and honestly, I'm not one of the most competitive med students to cross the program directors' desks. I'm a strong candidate, but there are definitely candidates above me. That being said, for pediatrics, I applied to a large number of programs, especially since Joe and I want to get closer to Baltimore. I was hoping for a 33% interview invite ratio, as of right now, I'm at over 50%. I am very grateful for this, but it's placed me in the position where I've had to decline an interview. I can't describe how I felt when I declined the interview and withdrew my application. Yes, it wasn't an ideal location based on our other offerings so far, but the program still wanted to give me a chance. They took the time to give my application consideration and a chance for me to learn even more about it. I know I've been fortunate to get these other interviews, but I still couldn't help having a "what if I have to scramble?" thought as I withdrew my application. My dean thinks I'll be fine matching and I'm starting to believe him, but it's still an odd feeling for me to cut strings from a program.

Post Op Appointment 2

Can you tell I'm back on rotations? No cooking, baking, or even blogging this week. Yesterday was my second post-op appointment. It's been just over 5 weeks since my surgery. My ortho doc continues to say I'm doing better than expected, so that's good.

As mentioned, last week was rough. I was the most swollen I'd ever been and limping like crazy. This week, the complete opposite. It was actually a little weird. Monday I expected to come home and be really swollen again, but nope. By today, I'm not even really limping anymore. I still feel a little weak walking down stairs and I can't squat as low as normal yet. I'm making progress!

The doc would like me to build some more quad muscle before I try to start running. I don't want to undo any progress we've made, so I'll hold off a little longer. I admit, I'm starting to get tired of my knee exercises. They're all about strength training and I'm more of a cardio girl. Either way, I'm keeping them up, no fear.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Pumpkin Sausage Baked Ziti

After going to the store today and not finding more pumpkin, I knew I had to use the half of a can I had left from this weekend's baking. I just couldn't justify tossing it. I love to bake, but I'm a little tied of pumpkin desserts. I found this recipe on Nestle's site and knew it was a go. Since I only had 1/2 a can of pumpkin, I halved everything else, plus Joe won't eat it anyway. I'd love to make this again. Perhaps for my family when I'm home next month. I'm afraid they'll not like the spinach, but it's really subtle. Recipe adapted from Nestle.


  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 4 cups (12 oz.) dry regular or whole-wheat ziti
  • 1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Fat Free Milk
  • 4 links (12 oz.) fully-cooked Italian-seasoned chicken sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices I used 1 pound ground Italian sausage
  • 1 pkg. (6 oz.) or about 4 cups pre-washed baby spinach I used one package of frozen chopped spinach, heated
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded part-skim or 2% milk reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup (1.5 oz.) shredded Parmesan cheese - Didn't have any on hand, so didn't use


PREHEAT oven to 425º F. Spray 4-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

PREPARE pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water and set aside for later use. Drain pasta; return to cooking pot.

MEANWHILE, COMBINE pumpkin, flour, garlic powder, salt, nutmeg and cayenne pepper in medium skillet over medium heat. Slowly add evaporated milk, stirring until smooth. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken slightly. Pour over pasta in pot. Add sausage and reserved pasta cooking water; stir well.

SPREAD half of the pasta mixture into prepared baking dish. Top with spinach. Cover with remaining pasta mixture. Lightly spray piece of foil with nonstick cooking spray. Cover ziti with foil, greased-side-down.

BAKE for 20 minutes or until heated through. Combine mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses in small bowl. Remove foil; sprinkle with cheese mixture. Bake, uncovered, for an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese

I have an uncanny affinity towards pumpkin. This wouldn't be so bad if Joe liked pumpkin, but he has his mind set that he doesn't. I've been hearing about fellow nesties on the What's Cooking board having problems finding pumpkin in the stores and I thought I had been spared. Not. so. fortunate. This makes me sad. I'm hoping a shipment will have arrived by my next grocery trip.

Well, enough rambling and onto the cream cheese. I didn't have any agave nectar, so I left it out at first. I've since added honey instead, but I've yet to try it. The cream cheese is a nice change. It's not too sweet (at least without the honey), but just enough to top some wheat bagels. Recipe from Gina's WW Recipes

Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese
Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 12 Serving Size: 1 oz Calories: 63 Points: 1.5 pts
  • 8 oz Philadelphia 1/3 fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin (canned is fine)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar
Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and beat until smooth. You can easily 1/4 or halve this recipe if you wish to make less.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ugh. Parents!

As a future pediatrician, I know that I am going to deal with all types of parents and I'm going to disagree with their parenting on a fairly regular basis. My pet peeve right now--wrestling! I don't know much about wrestling, but I know before each match the kid has to weigh in. Well parents, when your kid grows an inch, it's OK that he's gained 10 pounds, especially when he's still on the same percentage of the growth curve. So parent, you should not be telling him he's going home and running to lose those ten pounds so he can weigh into the lower weight class. Come on! Let your kid grow and accept he may not win as many matches in the next weight class, but that's where his body's supposed to be!

A med student's gripe about electronic medical records.

Overall, I think electronic medical records (EMR) are the way to go for health care. From a med student's perspective however, they can be very frustrating and actually impede my learning. The thing is, EMR can only work if everyone who's caring for the patient has access to a computer. Right now the resident and I share a computer, and the fact of the matter, we only have access to this computer because one of the doctor's is on maternity leave. A large part of receiving adequate medical care is continuity. When I don't have have access to a computer, the only information I know about a patient is a one sentence chief complaint. Hence, I waste time and fee like an idiot getting the background that they've already given.

This isn't my only experience with EMR. It's a problem at a lot of the hospitals as well. So, when everyone makes the switch to EMR, please, please, please have enough computers for the med students as well!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I want this ornament.

I saw this ornament in Hallmark a couple of weeks ago and I so want it! The thing is, I'm not pregnant. I don't feel like I can justify buying it without actually expecting. That being said, perhaps I could buy it and save it... Who knows. Now if one of my dear friends decides to get pregnant, I think I'll have the perfect gift! So you know who you are, well at least I know I'm thinking of two, keep trying! My fingers are crossed for you.

Oh, in case you can't tell, she's holding ice cream in one hand and pickles in the other.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Reasons not to bake tomorrow

1. With all of my cooking the last two weeks, I've gained 3-5 pounds. The caramel apple cream cheese bars are what really did me in.

2. I'm back to clinic, aka standing 6-10 hours. My knee is SWOLLEN! My doc doesn't have clinic tomorrow, so I have the day off. I really really should just keep my feet up all day to help the swelling go down.

3. Joe would prefer I never cook or bake ever...well, that I never use dishes, drop flour, make any sort of mess in the kitchen, etc. Last Sunday he asked that I don't bake or try new recipes on Sundays because he has to pay attention to football and doesn't want to worry about how big of a mess I'm making in the kitchen. The thing is, no matter how well I clean up after myself, Joe feels be must basically disinfect everything.

Even though I found some pumpkin recipes I'm dying to try out, I truly think I'll try to hold off tomorrow. We'll see.

Monday, September 14, 2009

First Day Back

Ahh, it feels good to be back on rotations, seeing patients, and using my brain for clinical knowledge again. That being said, I'm tired as all heck! My knee is a little more swollen than yesterday. OK, actually, it's the most swollen it's been since surgery. I took an ice pack with me and iced during lunch. I'll keep that up. The hardest part is being on my feet so long. Clinic really isn't a desk job, plus we're walking around a lot. I was a bad girl and didn't do my exercises today. I figured 8 hours of standing was enough PT for today. I didn't want to shock my body too much all at once. Anyway, I'll pick back up with my exercises tomorrow. No more baking for awhile. Once I get home from clinic and do my exercises, I'm plopping my butt on the couch and putting my feet up.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Back to School Tomorrow

My two weeks off for recovery has come to an end, and my knee's the most swollen it's ever been, go figure. I'm excited to go back to rotations tomorrow. As much as I loved having the time to try tons of new recipes and surfing the internet, it's time for it to end. Joe is ecstatic I won't be trashing the kitchen as often. I clean up afterward, but no matter what, he feels the need to clean up again after me.

Overall, my recovery's still going well. I pushed myself at physical therapy a little hard this week. That, along with my desire to "just try one more recipe," contributed to my knee swelling. I'm really curious to see how swollen it is by the end of the work day tomorrow. Fortunately I think I'll only be at clinic for about 8 hours, but I'll find out tomorrow. The swelling isn't really painful, just annoying and an indicator that I'm doing too much. What can I say? I'm an overachiever in all senses of the word.

Caramel Apple Cream Cheese Bars

OMG, delicious!! It's the perfect combination of sweets and fairly easy to make since it uses a lot of premade ingredients. I didn't use the granola bars, instead I used some granola I had on hand. Personally, I don't like the crunchiness, so I'll omit them next time. Also, a fellow blogger and friend used caramel ice cream topping instead of melting her own. I think that's a better idea since I now have a fair amount of half and half left. If you're a cheese cake fan, I'd think about doubling the cream cheese mixture. It might be a little too rich then, but I think I'd like more cheesecake. I'm learning my baking hobby is becoming expensive. Beware, this dish will set you back about $10, but it's a great contribution to a dinner party. Recipe adapted from Picky Palate


3 Tablespoons melted butter

3 Cups Golden Graham Cereal, ground in food processor

1 Roll Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Dough or 2 pkgs Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Dough Mix prepared and divided into 2 equal parts

8 oz softened cream cheese

1/4 Cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

21 oz can apple pie filling

1.5 oz package Nature Valley Oats N’ Honey Crunchy Granola Bars (2 count), crushed (I use a rolling pin to crush them right in the bag before opening) I used granola, but I'm going to omit all together next time

9.5 oz Kraft Caramels

1/2 Cup half and half

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine melted butter and ground cereal into a large bowl; press into an 8×8 inch baking dish lined with foil that’s been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes then remove from oven. Crumble half of the cookie dough over partially baked crust.

2. Place cream cheese, sugar and vanilla into a mixer; beat until smooth. Pour over crumbled cookie dough layer. Bake for 25 minutes then remove from over. Top with 3/4 of the apple pie filling (I chose to just add part, but you can add the whole can if desired). Next top with remaining cookie dough, breaking off into little pieces evenly over top. Sprinkle with crushed granola bars and bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes clean from center. Let cool completely then cut into squares. Melt caramels and half and half according to package directions. Drizzle over each bar. Refrigerate leftovers.

9 squares

Apple Bread

I've been in search for espresso powder since I made the peanut butter torte, but I've yet to find it. While driving the other day, I came across Penzey's Spices, but they didn't have it either. However, while I was there I picked up their fall catalog with this recipe. I halved the recipe since I didn't want two loaves, recipe below is the full recipe. I'd give it a B+ only because I prefer Jewish apple cake.


4 cups apples, peeled, cored, and chopped (4-5 apples)
4 large eggs, beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar

3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)


Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease two bread loaf pans. Peel, core, and slice apples; cut into 1 inch pieces. In large bowl, beat eggs with electric mixer until fluffy. Add oil and beat until combined. Add vanilla, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Beat until thoroughly combined. Add flour and sugar and mix on low until just blended. Beat on high until mixture is smooth. Fold in apples. Spoon batter into the two pans.

Topping: combine flour, sugar, and cinnamon in small bowl. Cut butter into mixture until moist and crumbly. Sprinkle topping on the two loaves.

Bake about 1 hour. Cool on rack.

Chick Fil A BBQ Sauce?

Not quite. One of the many things I miss from Baltimore is Chick-Fil-A. Omaha has one, but it's only open to Mutual of Omaha employees :( One of the many things I love about Chick-Fil-A is the barbecue sauce. A google search led me to a recipe by Todd Wilbur, the guy famous for imitation recipes. I think this recipe resembles the honey roasted BBQ that comes with the chicken sandwich, rather than the red BBQ I love with my waffle fries. This the first time I've ever made BBQ sauce and I was taken aback by the need for raw egg yolk. I think I may have enjoyed the sauce more if I could get over the fact I was eating raw egg yolk. In fact, I couldn't finish my chicken breast and I ended up throwing out the rest of the sauce.

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon ketchup
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
2 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon concentrated hickory liquid smoke flavoring
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon water
1 teaspoon corn starch


1. Combine oil, honey, mustard, ketchup, sugar, paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder in a small saucepan over medium heat until boiling.
Stir. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
Add vinegar, smoke flavoring, and lemon juice.

2. While the sauce cools, vigorously whisk egg yolk with 1 teaspoon water in a medium bowl for about 2 minutes or until color is pale yellow. Whisk in cornstarch until dissolved.

3. Drizzle he cooled sauce mixture into the egg yolk mixture in a steady stream while rapidly whisking. This will create a thick, creamy emulsion that will prevent the oil from separating. Cover the sauce and chill it until it's needed.

Makes about 1 cup.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Marlyand Crab Cakes in Omaha?

Yup! You read that correctly. Sam's club sells pasteurized blue crab meat and my mother in law gave us Old Bay's crab cake classic mix. They were delicious! The last time I tried making crab cakes I used a recipe I found online, and they just weren't up to par. We'll have to buy some more mix when we go to Baltimore since they don't sell it out here in Omaha. Since I knew the meat was pasteurized, I think I was bias in my opinion--Joe loved them, I thought they were B+. Maybe next time I'll spend the extra $5 and buy the "absolutely fresh" blue crab from the local seafood shop.

If you'd like to buy some mix for yourself, check it out here

Friday, September 11, 2009


My generation's Pearl Harbor. I don't have anything profound to say, just a reminder to take a moment of silence in honor of all of lives lost.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Photo Contest Winner

Each year my medical school has a photo contest. This year I decided to submit a couple of photos, and guess what, I earned third place =) Here was my winning photo.

I've really let my photography go to the way side. I still enjoy trying to take good photos, but I'm not putting the effort into truly learning all of the ins and outs of my camera needed to take good photos. Plus, it seems most of my photos now a days are food. Truth of the matter, I have way too many hobbies.

Nutella Cupcakes

I'm only just discovering the joys of baking with Nutella. (Well hazelnut spread since the grocer's brand was $2 cheaper than name brand). These cupcakes didn't require a lot of man power. I used a boxed yellow cake mix and spooned about 3/4 teaspoon of nutella on each cupcake. I tried marbleizing the nutella into the cupcakes, but I ended up just pushing the nutella towards the bottom. Next time I make these I'm going to use at least 1 teaspoon of nutella and only scoop a little bit of batter over the nutella rather than trying to marbleize it.

Monday, September 7, 2009

New Stand Mixer Cover!

I absolutely love! After we couldn't get the unknown stains out of our white mixer cover, Joe and I decided to look for another. His only request was that it was a dark color so it wouldn't show stains as easily. I knew I wanted some personalization to it, so I headed right over to etsy. Violet's shop had the perfect style and fabric for us, plus she easily agreed to make me one with a butterfly.

Joe and I figured black would be the best color. I was torn between sticking with this baking scene or asking for a butterfly.

 My girlie heart won out and Joe said he didn't mind the butterfly, so butterfly it is. I can't wait to receive it in the mail!

Tomato and Cheese Sandwich

One of my most favorite parts of the summer months is fresh vine ripened tomatoes. Today I made tomato sandwiches for lunch and at the last minute I grabbed my camera phone and thought I'd share with you. They're nothing fancy, but oh so delicious. Thanks Mom!

I use my toaster oven, but we've also used the real oven.

Toast desired slices and type of bread on both sides using cookie sheet. I usually have the oven at 350. Place desired brand of cheddar cheese on bread, top with sliced tomatoes. Heat until cheese is melted. Top with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Post-Op Day 12

There's a fine line between rehabilitation and recovery. Recovery involves rest and limited activity, but rehab requires use of affected problem areas. And here lies my problem. If I don't work my legs, I'll lose whatever muscle I've already developed. Even everyday activities help rebuild or maintain my muscles in my left leg. The problem is, when I'm on my feet too much, my knee starts to swell, hence affecting my recovery. I'm trying to find a balance, but it's definitely hard for a girl who can only handle being off for so many days.

That aside--I can now go up and down the stairs alternating feet. I'm still limiting my stair use though for reasons of recovery.

Like clockwork, I wake up from knee pain at 4 am. It's odd because my knee only throbs at this time, not when I'm up doing things. I've tried taking ibuprofen just before I fall asleep, but I still wake up. Naprosyn has a longer half-life, so perhaps I'll try that tonight.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

First Interview Invite

Today I received my first official invite to interview for a pediatric residency. You would think I'd be excited as all heck, but really, I think it just makes me more nervous about the whole residency process and the fact that I'm going to be responsible for peoples' lives in less than a year. I'm not sure if I'm ready for the mayhem of interview season. The complete opposite of medical school, only one program to which I applied is within driving distance for interviews, the rest will require flights back East. Looking at this realistically, I'll probably be spending most of December at my parents' and borrowing a car to drive to interviews. This will definitely save on plane tickets, but I like my home here. It's where Joe is and where all of my belongings are. That aside, interviews do not mean acceptance. I can absolutely love a program, but depending on how they rank me, depends on if I have a chance of matching. I like to tell myself I'm not a control-freak, but let's face it, I am. I like adventures, but it makes me slightly anxious to have no idea where Joe and I will be living one year from now.

The process of becoming a doctor also has this way of making me question all of my abilities and strengths. I'll be the first to admit that in high school and college, I was a big fish in a small pond. I never questioned my intelligence and ability to conquer the world. And then I went to medical school. Don't get me wrong, I know making it this far in medical school is not an easy task and something of which I should be proud. I am, but I finally experienced what it was like to be a small fish in a big pond. I never really had to worry about earning passing grades until medical school. The fact of the matter, med school has broken me down a little. I've lost the girl who never questioned her intelligence and felt she knew the answer to everything. Wow. I've never really admitted this before. The thing is, I know that I know the information and I know that if I don't, I'm capable of learning and retaining it. So, part of my journey during this interview season is to reclaim my "big fish in small pond" attitude because I'll definitely need it once I start my residency.

So, now that I experienced that cathartic post and have probably bored you to no end, you're probably wondering from where I received this interview invite. Right now I'm thinking I don't want to post that information on here just in case programs stumble across this blog. Perhaps I'll change my mind, we'll see. Either way, it's not a secret, so if you know me and you'd like to know, just shoot me an email.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Zucchini Nut Bread

I'm too lazy to take a picture. I love this recipe. It's my maternal grandmom's and when I mentioned to Mom I was baking zucchini bread, she immediately said, "Oh, Pop-pop and I love that." It was nice thinking of memories of Mom-mom as I baked this. I'm not big on nuts in my food, so I omitted them. I also used apple sauce in place of oil. Enjoy!

Zucchini Nut Bread

3 eggs
2 c sugar
1 c oil
2 c grated zucchini
1 tsp vanilla
3 c flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 c chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 325. Grease two loaf pans.

Beat eggs until foamy. Add oil, sugar, zucchini, and vanilla. Mix well. Sift dry ingredients together and add into mixture. Add nuts. Divide batter into the two greased loaf pans. Bake 45-60 minutes.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Let's Look Inside My Knee

I really spent way too much time labeling these photos, but alas, it's not like I have anything else to do. I mean, really, do I want to work on a research paper? I know these aren't the best quality. I scanned the color photos the doc printed out for me. So, buckle your seat belts and hop on the magic school bus =)
The band above is the plica. Plica can cause pain, but the doc says this wasn't big enough to be the sole source of my pain.

Although I didn't have any symptoms of torn menisci or collateral ligaments, it's always good to check them out while they're in there.
Here's the fat pad. Everyone has one, supposedly mine is a little inflamed, likely secondary to the tracking misalignment.
I can't remember if he said he removed this or not...

And here are the big bucks. If you look at the picture, you can see my knee cap rubs against the lateral (outside) of track and is a distance from the medial (inside) of the track. The rubbing of bone on bone contributes to the pain. To help the knee cap move in the proper tracking, the doc did a lateral release, which is better described in this post.

Lateral release will not solve all of my problems, but as long as I keep up my exercises, it should help. Only time will tell.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte

This was a lot of firsts for me. First time using my springform pan; fist time making a torte; first time using my new Kitchen Aid mixer attachments; first time making ganache, and I'm sure the list could go on.

I originally saw this on Annie's Eats and I started drooling on the spot. I'm not a fan of peanuts, so I substituted peanuts for chopped Reese cups. Also, I didn't have any espresso powder, so I just omitted it. Both adaptations were not detrimental in the least.

One of the most delicious parts of this dessert is the Oreo crust. I don't know why, but the bottom of my crust will not come off of the pan with the torte =( I'll have to ask some of my cooking friends what I did wrong. I did butter it, but I didn't use a baking sheet underneath, so I wonder if that's what it was.

Overall, I'm not sure I'll make this again unless someone requests it as a gift. I didn't realize how labor intensive it was and how many dishes I'd accumulate from this. It probably didn't help that I was baking on a bummed knee. Taste wise, it's a little too rich for me, but still yummy. If you decide to give this a try, recruit your neighborhood kids to do the dishes :p

For the crust:
32 Oreo cookies, finely processed into crumbs - I used my KA fine shredder attachment
5 1/3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Small pinch of salt

For the crunch:
1 cup chopped Reese cups
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips - I used regular size
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. espresso powder - Didn't use
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
Dash of ground nutmeg

For the filling:
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter (not natural)
2 tbsp. whole milk

1/4 cup chopped Reeses

For the topping:

1/2 cup chopped Reeses

1/2 cup heavy cream
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped


To make the crust, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and place it on a baking sheet. Combine the Oreo crumbs, melted butter and salt in a small bowl. Toss with a fork to moisten all of the crumbs. Press into a thin layer covering the bottom and sides of the springform pan. Freeze the crust for 10 minutes. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before filling.

To make the crunch, in another small bowl combine 1 cup chopped Reeses, mini chocolate chips, sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Toss with a fork to mix and set aside.

To prepare the filling, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip 2 cups of the cream until it holds medium peaks. Beat in 1/4 cup of confectioners’ sugar and whip until the cream holds medium-firm peaks. Scrape the cream into a separate bowl and refrigerate until needed.

Wipe out (do not wash) the mixer bowl, replace the whisk with the paddle attachment, and beat the cream cheese with the remaining 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until the cream cheese is satiny smooth. Beat in the peanut butter, whole milk, and 1/4 cup of chopped Reeses until well combined.

Using a large rubber spatula, gently stir in about 1/4 of the whipped cream just to lighten the mousse. Still working with the spatula, stir in the crunchy peanut mixture, then gingerly fold in the remaining whipped cream. Scrape the mousse into the crust, mounding and smoothing the top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight; cover with plastic wrap as soon as the mousse firms.

To finish the torte, put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Leave the bowl over the water just until the chocolate softens and starts to melt, about 3 minutes; remove the bowl from the saucepan. Bring the 1/2 cup of cream to a full boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and, working with a rubber spatula, very gently stir together until the ganache is completely blended and smooth.

Pour the ganache over the torte, smoothing with a metal icing spatula. Scatter the remaining peanuts over the top and chill to set the topping, at least 20 minutes. When the ganache is firm, remove the sides of the springform pan. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Source: adapted from Annie's Eats who adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Post-Op Day 8

It's official, I've been doing too much. Today I had my first post-op appointment with the doc. The doctor was impressed at how much progress I've made so far but warns I shouldn't push myself too much or else I'll start regressing. I haven't used a crutch since Sunday and he suggests I start using one again. I don't know if I'll take this piece of advice, but I will start wrapping my knee in the ace bandage again. The past two days I have been doing a lot of baking, cooking, and errand running, so I will ease up on that. It's probably better that way and I've known I've been doing too much.

The stitches came out today. Here's a picture. One to close each of the 3 port holes and 4 on the outside where they performed the lateral release. The nurse removed two of them and then I realized I wanted to be in control of the discomfort, so I removed the rest myself. Yes, I'm a weirdo.

Today is the most swollen I've been since two days post-op...likely due to all of the activity I've been doing. It's hard to determine from the picture above if my knee is swollen, but as one of my attendings said, "God was kind enough to give us two of each so we know what's normal." So let's have a little lesson.
The best way to tell if a joint is swollen is to compare it to the other. While looking at both joints, look for the dimples. As you can see, I've circled my dimples on the good knee, but you can't really see them on my left knee. If there is enough fluid in there, you can press on one side of the knee and feel it on the other side. So...I'm keeping my feet up a lot more than I have been for the next couple of days.

Next post...a tour of my knee.

Red Lobster Biscuits

Don't get me wrong, I love shrimp and crabs, but the biscuits were the only reason I ever wanted to go to Red Lobster. I'm not too big of a fan of other seafood. So needless to say, before a fellow June 08 nestie shared this recipe with me, a trip for just these biscuits could become quite expensive. Not any more. And an added bonus, Joe loves these too.

Recipe makes 12-14 biscuits


4 2/3 c Bisquick
3 oz freshly shredded cheddar cheese - I don't have a scale, so I always guess-timate
11 oz cold water

Garlic Spread:
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp parsley flakes


Preheat oven to 375. Grease cookie sheet with LOTS of non-stick spray. To cold water, add Bisquick and cheese. (I usually blend with my fingers.) Shape into balls, place on well greased cookie sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.

While biscuits bake, combine garlic spread ingredients. Brush baked biscuits with garlic topping.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Chocolate Chip and Pretzel Bars

As soon as I saw these on Brown Eyed Baker's Blog I knew I must try them. Needless to say, the recipe did not disappoint! I made these just before Mom came to visit and we were such a bad influence on each other. "I'm going to have another cookie. Want one while I'm up?" Brown Eyed has much better photos than I do and photos of the inside too. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip & Pretzel Cookie Bars

Makes 32 squares

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1½ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12-ounce bag bittersweet (or semisweet, if you prefer) chocolate chips
1½ cups mini pretzel twists, coarsely chopped
¼ cup chocolate chips, for drizzling (optional)
¼ cup peanut butter, for drizzling (optional)
¼ cup pretzels, crumbled, for topping (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.

2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt. Using a mixer, beat the butter and both sugars at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Beat in the eggs and the vanilla extract. On low speed, beat in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips and pretzel pieces.

3. Spread the batter evenly in the pan and press it down evenly with a spatula. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool completely.

4. In separate sandwich size baggies, melt the chocolate chips and peanut butter. Cut off a small corner on each bag and drizzle the chocolate and peanut butter over the top of the bars. Sprinkle the extra crushed pretzels on top. Let set and then cut into squares.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

They're Submitted!

Today marked the first day 4th year medical students could submit residency applications. I am happy to say, mine are submitted, woo hoo! I'm waiting on at least one more letter of recommendation, but otherwise, they are complete. It's starting to feel more and more real that I'm graduating med school this year. Now off to wait for programs to contact me about interviews...

Post-Op Day 6

I have been completely beat all day.

Yesterday I went shopping with Joe for about 2 hours and today I woke up with a killer back. I don't know if my back pain was due to walking around or the joys of being a woman. I would love to take a hot bath and soak, but I can't until my stitches are out...two more days.

Today I was itching to try some new recipes, but I needed to go to the store to get the ingredients. Between shopping and cooking, I've been on my feet at least 6 hours today. My knee's feeling fine, but I just feel like it's taking more energy than usual to do everyday tasks. I didn't finish my baking, I'll do that tomorrow.

My big accomplishment of today - going up the stairs using both feet. My knee still feels too weak to go down the steps alternating feet, but I'm glad I'm starting to be able to put more weight on it.

Pain wise, honestly my back hurts so much more. My knee pain is the worst when I wake up, but as soon as I get moving around, it starts to feel better. I'm still taking ibuprofen on a regular basis, but I can now go longer in between doses.
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