Thursday, March 31, 2011

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

One of favorite cookies is snickerdoodles, so when I saw a snickerdoodle cupcake recipe, I knew I had to try it. The batter was delicious, but honestly, the cupcakes didn't do much for me, or Joe. We generally eat our cupcakes without icing, and these definitely needed the icing for extra sweetness. I used vanilla bean icing, and, well, see that post for how delicious it was! I was too lazy to take a photo, so just imagine.

Recipe from Annie's Eats, who obtained it from Martha Stewart's cupcake book.

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes
Yield: about 28 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1½ cups all-purpose flour - 6.38 ounces
1½ cups cake flour, sifted - 6 ounces
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1¾ cups sugar 12.25 ounces
4 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1¼ cups milk

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350° F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. Combine the flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl; whisk to combine. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Blend in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat each addition just until incorporated.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes. Allow to cool in the pans about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Frost the cooled cupcakes as desired.

Vanilla Bean Icing

MY NEW FAVORITE ICING! Enough said. Seriously, the vanilla bean flavor is amazing. Scraping the vanilla beans take a little extra time, but OMG, it was so good!

Recipe copied from Brown Eyed Baker who obtained it from Cooks Illustrated
Yield: 3 cups (Enough for 24 cupcakes)


2½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
2½ cups confectioners’ sugar (10 ounces)
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons heavy cream

1. In a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Using a paring knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean into butter and beat mixture at medium-high speed to combine, about 15 seconds.

2. Add confectioners’ sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully incorporated, about 30 seconds; scrape bowl, add vanilla and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 20 seconds, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Work Out Commitment

It's hard to believe in high school I used to work out at least 2 hours a day for 5 days a week. Yes, I felt amazingly fit, but I know adult schedules just can't incorporate that commitment right now.

Up until I started residency, I was pretty good with doing some form of activity at least 30 minutes, 3 times a week. Residency sucked all energy out of me, well at first. I feel like I've adapted to the hours better now, and my body's craving physical activity. I'm realistic and realize I can't do as much as I used to, but I want to/need to do at least something.

Yesterday I decided to make a goal to work out 3 times a week over the next 4 weeks. It's hard to believe that means only 12 workouts, or approximately 6 hours of my life for the next four weeks. I've tried this before, and haven't been very successful, so I'm going to give myself a reward. I haven't decided what I want my reward to be. I'm thinking about a piece of Belleek Pottery or a new fun apron. I don't want to buy a new cooking tool because then I'll be tempted to use it and I'm trying not to gorge on sweets, and I'm sure that's what I'd make.

Hopefully posting this will make me more accountable.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Photo from Cooking Light

I'm always game to try a new banana bread recipe, and I love peanut butter, so when I saw this reipe in Cooking Light I knew I'd eventually have to give it a try. Overall, the bread is very enjoyable. I like the nutty flavor and it is SO moist! I doubt this will be my go-to banana bread recipe, but it was definitely worth making. I opted to forgo making the glaze.

Recipe originally in Cooking Light, found online at My Recipes


* Bread:
* 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana - 4 bananas
* 1/3 cup plain fat-free yogurt
* 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
* 3 tablespoons butter, melted
* 2 large eggs

* 1/2 cup granulated sugar 3.5 ounces
* 1/2 cup packed brown sugar - 3.75

* 6.75 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
* 1/4 cup ground flaxseed 1. 25 ounces
* 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
* 2 tablespoons chopped dry-roasted peanuts (omitted)

* Glaze: (Did not make)
* 1/3 cup powdered sugar
* 1 tablespoon 1% low-fat milk
* 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. To prepare bread, combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed. Add granulated and brown sugars; beat until blended.

3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through allspice) in a small bowl. Add flour mixture to banana mixture; beat just until blended. Stir in nuts. Pour batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan; cool.

4. To prepare glaze, combine powdered sugar, milk, and 1 tablespoon peanut butter in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle glaze over bread.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Name of the Wind

The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicle, #1)The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Just as enjoyable the second time around!
View all my reviews

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Irish Stew

I have a slight obsession with anything Irish or Celtic and wanted to try something new for St. Patrick's Day. Dear hubby said it had too many vegetables, so he didn't try it. However, Dad was at our house over the weekend helping mount hubby's TV, so I rewarded him with some homemade stew. He definitely enjoyed it as well. There isn't anything special to this stew, but it tastes oh so delicious.

Recipe adapted from Your Irish

2 large onions - quartered
4 large Carrots - peeled and cut in large chunks
1 pound of stew beef
5 large potatoes - I could have used less - peels and quartered
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
32 ounces of beef stock
1 cup of water
Salt and Pepper to taste

  • Wash and cut onions into moderate size chunks and add to the pot.
  • Wash carrots and cut into chunks, some prefer thicker chucks for taste.
  • Wash and peel the potatoes, cut each one in quarters
  • Place meat and potatoes in large pot, cover with beef stock and 1 cup of water.
  • Bring to boil then start adding the carrots and onions, keep on a low boil.
Cooking time for the Irish stew should be approximately 60 minutes or when the meat is fully cooked and the potatoes are soft inside (check using a fork).

Deceased Patients

The majority of my posts is recipes or book reviews, but I sometimes need to use this blog as an emotional outlet too, so I apologize in advance for the sad subject.

My hospital has a system set up to notify any provider who's taken care of a patient in the past two years if the patient has passed. While I appreciate the knowledge, it pains me every time I see one of these notifications. Today I received one on a patient I helped care for several months ago. At that time I knew the prognosis was poor, but looking at the patient, I only saw hope. The patient had made so much progress, the patient had good spirits, and I could only hope this patient would be the one who defies the odds. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

I appreciate knowing the ultimate fate of the patients, but it pains me every time I receive one of these notifications. I think about how their lives were cut short. I think about how their parents and families have an amount of grief I can't even imagine. I think about how life is unfair. I think about what I learned from each patient and how I can carry that with me. I remember their names, their smiles, their pain.

I don't understand why horrible things happen to people, and I don't think I ever will.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Broccoli-Spinach-Poatato Soup with Cheddar

To be honest, I couldn't get past the color of the soup to determine if I liked the taste or not. I know I shouldn't have been surprised by the bright green color with the ingredients, but it just didn't look right. I sent the leftovers with my family. They too said they couldn't get over the color to actually give it a try.

I found this recipe in a cook book called Almost from Scratch, p. 71, by Andrew Schloss. My adaptations are in italics.


1 tablespoon butter
1 cup chopped onions, frozen or fresh
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic, jarred or fresh
1 large container (32 ounces) chicken broth
1 box (10 ounces) frozen broccoli (I used 14 ounce bag)
1 box (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach
3/4 cup instant mashed potato flakes (I used one of the pre-cut steam in microwave bags of potatos)
(1/2 cup milk)
3 ounces (3/4 cup) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Salt to taste

1/4 tsp dried basil


Melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan. Add the onions and saute until tender. Stir in the garlic and broth, and bring to a simmer.

Add the broccoli and simmer until almost tender, about 4 minutes. Add the spinach and simmer for another 3 minutes. Puree in a food processor until smooth, return to the saucepan, and bring to a simmer.

Stir in the potato flakes and simmer for 2-3 minutes, until the soup thickens slight. Remove from the heat to very low, add the cheese, and stir until melted. Do not allow the soup to boil.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Cheese Irish Soda Bread

Last year King Arthur Flour sold a celtic circular baker. I was so disappointed I didn't get a chance to buy it before they sold out, I had to snag this square as soon as I saw the email. However, this post isn't about the pan, but I definitely love having this piece of Celtic in my collection.

Now onto the bread. I'd give it 3 out of five stars. It was yummy, but not something I'm rushing off to make again right away.

Recipe from King Arthur

* 2 1/2 cups (10.5 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (Cabot preferred), cut into pats
* 8 ounces Cabot sharp or extra-sharp cheddar, grated; about 2 cups, lightly packed
* 1 1/4 cups buttermilk*
* 1 large egg
* *Don't have buttermilk? Substitute 3/4 cup plain yogurt + 1/2 cup milk


1) Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease an 8" square or 9" round pan.

2) In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3) Add the butter, working it into the flour until the mixture is crumbly. Toss in the grated cheese.

4) Mix the buttermilk and egg, and add to the dry ingredients, stirring just until everything is moistened.

5) Scoop the sticky dough into the pan, using your wet fingers to spread it to the edges of the pan.

6) Bake the bread for 40 to 45 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Its internal temperature at the center will be close to 200°F.

7) Remove the bread from the oven, and loosen the edges with a table knife. Wait 5 minutes, then gently turn it out onto a rack to cool. It's tempting, but wait about 20 minutes before cutting the bread, if you can; it's a bit crumbly when hot.

Yield: 1 loaf, about 12 servings.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ten Big Ones

Ten Big Ones (Stephanie Plum, #10)Ten Big Ones by Janet Evanovich

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nice, easy book to listen to during my commute. The plot doesn't change, and sometimes I get bored of it, but overall enjoyable.
View all my reviews

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Nebraska Weekend...

A what weekend?!? Now let me explain... It wasn't long ago that Joe and I lived in Nebraska so I could go to medical school. We had friends in Nebraska, but there was usually at least one weekend a month where we decided to keep it in the house, be lazy, and just enjoy each others' company. Since moving back East, I feel like I've either been working every weekend, moving or working on house projects, or hanging out with family and friends. As much as I enjoy all of those activities (well, except 26 hours straight of work), I needed a "Nebraska weekend." Fortunately this weekend was one of my "golden weekends," and Joe had off both Saturday and Sunday. We had the chance to hang out, cuddle, and just enjoy our time together. One of the great things about being back in Maryland is being close to family, but we needed this "Nebraska weekend," and now I'm ready to start four weeks of a 1.5 hour commute each way to work =(

Pumpkin Scones

So the problem with being so behind on posting things I've baked is now I want to go and cook them again! Yes, these aren't quite spring, but the joy of canned pumpkin is it's available year round. To my credit, I did make these way back in October, oh well. Either way, if you love pumpkin and cinnamon, I definitely recommend these yummy scones! Yet another hit by King Arthuer.

Recipe from King Arthur Flour


* 2 3/4 cup (11 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
* 1/3 cup (2 5/8 ounces) sugar
* 1 tablespoon baking powder
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
* 1/2 cup cold butter
* 1-2 cups s minced crystallized ginger, cinnamon chips, or chocolate chips (I used cinnamon bites!)
* 2/3 cup (5 1/2 ounces) canned pumpkin
* 2 large eggs
* coarse white sparkling sugar, for topping


1) In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices.

2) Work in the butter just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly; it's OK for some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated.

3) Stir in the ginger and/or chips, if you're using them.

4) In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin and eggs till smooth.

5) Add the pumpkin/egg to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holds together.

6) Line a baking sheet with parchment; if you don't have parchment, just use it without greasing it. Sprinkle a bit of flour atop the parchment or pan.

7) Scrape the dough onto the floured parchment or pan, and divide it in half. Round each half into a 5" circle (if you haven't incorporated any add-ins); or a 6" circle (if you've added 2 cups of fruit, nuts, etc.). The circles should be about 3/4" thick.

8) Brush each circle with milk, and sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar or cinnamon sugar, if desired.

9) Using a knife or bench knife that you've run under cold water, slice each circle into 6 wedges.

10) Carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them just a bit; there should be about 1/2" space between them, at their outer edges.

11) For best texture and highest rise, place the pan of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered. While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425°F.

12) Bake the scones for 22 to 25 minutes, or until they're golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean, with no wet crumbs. If you pull one of the scones away from the others, the edges should look baked through, not wet or doughy.

13) Remove the scones from the oven, and serve warm. Wrap any leftovers airtight, and store at room temperature. Reheat very briefly in the microwave, if desired.

Yield: 12 scones.

Cinnamon French Toast

Sometime around Christmas when I was post call, I stopped by Cracker Barrel and ordered the cinnamon french toast. I think it was some of the best french toast ever. It was smothered in cinnamon and drizzled with icing. Unfortunately, Cracker Barrel isn't serving it right now. Since I've been craving it, I decided to make some french toast yesterday. This was the first time I've every followed a formal recipe for french toast, and maybe the last time. I realized I need the egg yolks, it brings it all together, plus I think I put in too much nutmeg. I'll just stick with cinnamon next time. I used whole grain white bread, poor choice! If you're going to splurge with the french toast, splurge with white bread too! I feel bad for saying I'll never make this recipe again, but it just wasn't my cup of tea. Some may enjoy, but not me.

Oh, and yes, I made my normal french toast this morning with white bread and now I'm almost satisfied.

Recipe from Southern Food

* 1 egg
* 2 egg whites
* 1/4 cup milk
* 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* dash nutmeg
* bread

In a shallow bowl, whisk egg and egg white until foamy. Whisk in milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Heat butter in heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Dip 4 slices of bread in the egg mixture, turning to coat thoroughly. Let excess drip back into bowl.

Place coated bread slices in hot skillet. Cook, turning, until both sides are nicely browned, about 2 minutes each side.

Transfer to a warm plate and keep warm in oven. Repeat with remaining bread and egg mixture.

Herb Batter Bread

I originally posted this recipe way back in May 2009, but I didn't take a photo of the bread. So, now it's updated with the photo. I've tried some variations with wheat flour and all, but I've learned this recipe is perfect as is.

A delicious and fairly easy homemade bread! Serve it by itself or many were using it with the pesto dip I made. I found the recipe on


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 3 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon margarine, melted


  1. Combine 2 cups flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl. Stir in the water, shortening, parsley, rosemary, and thyme. Use an electric mixer to beat on low speed for 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Turn mixer to medium, and beat for an additional 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Stir in remaining 1 cup flour; mix until smooth. Scrape batter from sides of bowl. Cover, and let rise in warm place for 35 to 40 minutes.
  2. Grease a 9x5 loaf pan. Stir down batter by beating about 25 strokes. Scrape batter into greased pan; pat down with floured hands. Cover pan. Let dough rise in warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes. Do not allow dough to over-rise.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  4. Bake in preheated oven until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, 40 to 45 minutes. Brush top with margarine. Remove from pan, and cool on wire rack.


  • Cook's Note:
  • To substitute fresh herbs, use: 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme, and 2 tablespoons chopped parsley.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Reliable Wife

A Reliable WifeA Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Honestly, this book didn't do much for me. It wasn't horrible, and it was easy to get through, but I don't feel like I'm walking away with much. The story helps show fear, hatred, love and redemption, which I enjoyed. In some ways the characters were a stark contrast, in others they were identical. Overall, I feel fairly neutral about the book.
View all my reviews

Love This! Allerbling

Can you tell I have off this weekend? I'm finally catching up on my google reader...

So, to the post. I'm training to be a pediatrician and ran across a great idea on Lyndsay and Jason's blog, Finding Our New Normal. I originally followed Lyndsay because I loved her photography, and then her life changed when her youngest son became sick and that's how they started the above blog. Somethings I understand, others I don't, but it's helping me keep my mind open as I go through my training. But, back to this post. Her middle child was just tested for allergies and Lyndsay found a great way to help tell everyone what allergies she has....Allerbling!
I'll have to remember this the next time I come across a patient with severe allergies. I love this idea. It's to the point and kid friendly!

Belgian Waffles

It's not an active search, but I am in search for the perfect waffle recipe. My darling hubby loves belgian waffles, but I don't make them nearly enough. With my schedule this year, it seems I'm only to try new recipes on my 1 or 2 weekends off a month, and sometimes I just want to sleep during those. But I digress and I'm starting to whine. A couple of weeks ago I gave these waffles a try. They're quite delicious, but I don't think they're quite "the one." I definitely love the buttermilk, but I think I want to find something just a tad bit sweeter. Heck, I may eventually just adapt this recipe sometime when I'm not working 80 hours a week.

Recipe from Tasty Kitchen


* 2 whole Eggs (separated)
* 2 cups Milk Or Buttermilk
* 2 cups Flour
* 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
*1 Tablespoon Sugar
* ½ teaspoons Salt
* ⅓ cups Canola Oil


Beat egg whites until stiff. In a separate large bowl, put remaining ingredients and beat on low with a hand mixer until moistened. Increase speed to medium and mix until smooth. By hand, gently fold in beaten egg whites. Pour 1/2 cup of batter onto hot waffle iron. Cook until lightly browned. Serve with your favorite toppings. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Unfinished Desires

Unfinished Desires: A NovelUnfinished Desires: A Novel by Gail Godwin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked how the book followed the characters from teenage years to senior-hood, but I felt the story jumped too much. I found two of the main characters annoying personalities, which was the author's intention I think, but it didn't fit me as much. Honestly, I wouldn't say "don't read this book," but it's not one I think you should run out and pick up. It was worth the read, but in due time.
View all my reviews
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