The end of a chapter.

Wowee. I haven’t posted anything since November, 2010. Life just gets busy and goes by in a blur, doesn’t it?

Life has indeed been a whirlwind in the past 5 months. To recap quickly, I applied for residency -> travelled all over Canada for residency interviews (10 cities in 2.5 weeks!) -> matched to my first choice – Dalhousie Internal Medicine! -> wrote the final exams for med school!!! I can unofficially say that I’m now an MD! Now we’re in the midst of studying for that final little quiz that’s left – the nation-wide licensing exam, LMCC. So you can forgive me if I’ve been a bit complacent in my blogging. I would have never guessed four years ago that I’d be moving to Halifax…but life takes you in unexpected places!

This month marks the end of a chapter: medical school is finally over! It sounds so strange to say that. I’m going to try and keep this blog alive, and keep everyone updated on the cooking adventures and misadventures that will happen when I’m living on my own in Halifax. There will have to be more than just cookies and cake to keep me alive!

Today I’m going to share my favorite hummus recipe. Every time that I’ve made it so far, it’s been inhaled like crack. Joffre gets over-excited anytime I mention spinach and feta in the same sentence. It’s a little different from your average hummus recipe, the bright green colour is lovely, and it tastes amazing!! The red pepper flakes are a must, it adds the perfect little kick at the end. Make it today!!

Spinach and Feta Hummus

(adapted from Tasty Kitchen)
**The original recipe makes a TON so the one I’m posting is half that…still makes a lot!**

Ingredients:
19 oz can of chickpeas
3/4 – 1 cup Fresh Spinach
4 ounces, weight Feta Cheese
⅓ cups Olive Oil (I put a little less than that in and keep most of the water from the canned chickpeas)
2.5 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoons Tahini
1 Tablespoon Red Pepper Flakes
1-2 cloves Garlic, Peeled/Pressed (depending on how garlicy you want it)
1 teaspoon salt

Combine all the ingredients in a blender (I use my magic bullet ❤ ) and beat until it's creamy. If you leave most of the water in from the chickpeas instead of draining them, it'll be a little runny at the beginning, but firm up beautifully after you refrigerate it for a bit!

Enjoy =)

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Lime and coconut….

Sounds like a tropical party! Lime just adds the perfect amount of zest and fragrance to cookies, I LOVE it! I just never seem to have any limes in my house. However, last thursday I had two juicy limes in my house just begging to be used up. I made these Lime, Coconut, and White Chocolate oatmeal cookies and brought them for my last day on the Coronary Care Unit (CCU). They were gone by noon, it was crazy! Everyone highly approved…so you should make them too some time =)

Lime Coconut and White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies (the recipe is copied into my little recipe binder and I have no idea where I originally got it…oops!)

1/2 C brown sugar
2/3 C white sugar
1/2 C unsalted butter – room temp
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
zest of 1-2 limes ( I just used 1…zesting is hard!)
couple drops of fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 C AP flour
1 1/4 C oats
~ 3/4 C coconut
~ 1 C white chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 375 degrees farenheit.

Cream butter with the sugars. Then add the egg and vanilla. Finally, add lime zest and juice, mixing briefly.

In a seperate bowl, combine salt, baking powder, baking soda, and flour. Add this to the wet ingredients, mixing just until blended. Then add oats, chocolate, and coconut.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes. I made 36 cookies.

Cimmmmmanon…mmm…

It has been a month since I’ve updated this blog. And sadly, I must confess that I haven’t really baked much since my last update! *gasp* Not entirely true. But my camera has been with my parents in China.

Today’s post is on the cinnamon roll muffins that I made yesterday. I’m currently in the Coronary Care Unit (CCU) for three weeks, and I had been talking to the residents about cinnamon buns. I always have a craving for them. I’ve pretty much had a craving for them since my last post, on Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon buns. I have loved cinnamon buns since a young age, my mom and I used to get them at cinnzeo as a special treat. I used to say “cimmanon” on purpose. However, they are expensive at cinnzeo and much easier and just as tasty to make. The Pioneer Woman ones are to DIE for!!! However, if I had them as often as I craved them, they might literally be to die for. That, and the fact they take four hours to make are the major deterrents for why I don’t get cinnamon buns all the time.

Jon (one of the residents) shared a recipe with me for cinnamon buns that are not quite made from scratch, and only take a little prep time and 20 minutes to bake! AMAZING! But I didn’t have any frozen dinner rolls and didn’t get a chance to pick some up. So what’s a girl to do when she gets an intense craving for cinnamon rolls without dinner rolls and without 4 hours to make them from scratch?

You make Cinnamon Roll Muffins in the morning. I love this recipe! It took less than an hour from start to finish, so I made it before going to work friday morning. They have a cinnamony taste on the top, and a slightly more muffiny texture on the bottom. And I love them. Did I mention I love them? The nurses and residents seemed to love them to. I brought the tray to work, and it was sitting empty at the end of the day with a post-it note that said “please refill”.

So make some of these today. They’re not time consuming. They’re not hard to make. And they will definitely satisfy. ❤

Cinnamon Roll Muffins (adapted from joythebaker.com) Makes 12 muffins.
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 tsp active dry or rapid rise yeast
2/3 cup warm milk (100-110F; low fat is fine – I ran out of milk and used almond milk)
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg

Filling/Topping

2 tbsp butter, room temperature
2/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch ground cardamom

Do NOT preheat your oven! However, grease a muffin tin before starting.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt. Dissolve the yeast in a measuring cup filled with the warmed milk, then stir milk mixture, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and egg into the flour mixture. Mix well, until very smooth. Pour into prepared pan and let rest for 15 minutes.

While the dough rests, mix together butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and cardamom in a small bowl using a fork until all the butter has been incorporated into the sugar and mixture is crumbly. Divide the batter between 12 greased muffin cups. Sprinkle evenly on top of rested dough and press the mixture down into the dough with your fingertips or swirl with a spatula. I swirled it and made sure it incorporated well with the top of the dough.

Place pan into a cold oven, then set the oven temperature to 350F.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until bread is lightly browned at the edges and the center of the bread springs back when lightly pressed. Some of the sugar mixture on top will probably still be bubbling.

Cool for at least 30 minutes before whisking the powdered sugar and milk together to form an icing and drizzling it onto the bread. Or leave them be and devour them.

Serve warm. Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave.

On Bruschetta and Boyfriends

My friend Ryan’s girlfriend has a blog. Her name is Leslie, and her blog is Leslie Chomps!. She had a yummy post on making Boyfriend Bruschetta sandwiches. Why are they called that? I’m not sure. But I had some almost-overly-ripe tomatoes from the Farmer’s Market in my fridge, some chicken breasts, and a boyfriend to feed…so I thought it was a perfect occasion to try them out for myself.

Deliciousness! I haven’t made bruschetta before, but it seems to be a staple appetizer to order in restaurants. I don’t know if I want to order it at restaurants anymore because it’s so simple to make!

I googled “bruschetta” and put the following things in mine:

Bruschetta
– 1 clove garlic (if you like it more garlicy, put more in! I didn’t want too strong of a garlic flavor this time)
– spoonful balsamic vinegar
– spoonful grapeseed oil
– dash of basil (I only had dried, fresh would be fairly good I imagine!)
– dash of salt and pepper

– chopped up tomatoes
– 2 slices of red onion, diced

Mix it all together and let it sit for at least 10 minutes. Mine got really juicy, so I took a strainer and got rid of some of the juices. Then I toasted two baguettes with a slice of cheese, baked up a chicken breast and sliced it in half, and topped the sandwich the bruschetta! MMM. Tasty and healthy dinner. =)

Squishy-squash: the sequel

I still had a couple zucchinis kicking around, so I thought it’d be a good time for round 2 of baking with zucchini! This recipe is tasty, moist, and healthy too. I sent it off with Joffre for the crew doing emergency medicine. I think they enjoyed it =)

Zucchini Bread with Dried Cranberries (adapted from twopeasandtheirpod.com)

• 1 3/4 cups shredded zucchini
• 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
• 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 1/3 cup canola oil
• 1/3 cup applesauce
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 2 large eggs
• 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
• 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/2-3/4 cup dried cranberries
• Cinnamon/sugar to sprinkle on top

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan with cooking spray, and set aside. Grate zucchini on the large holes of a box grater (to yield 1 3/4 cups); set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together sugars, oil, applesauce, vanilla, and eggs.
2. Into a small bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and salt. Add flour mixture to egg mixture, and stir to combine well. Stir in grated zucchini and dried cranberries.
3. Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly. Sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar mixture- (if you wish, I didn’t think it needed it!). Bake until a toothpick inserted in centre of loaf comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes. (It took about 50 minutes for me) Cool in a pan 10 minutes – invert onto a wire rack, then reinvert, top side up. Cool completely before slicing.

Calories: ~160 calories/slice (slicing 13 slices)

Squash time.

It seems like this year summer just sort of took a time out, and before you know it…frost was upon us. Where did fall go? FALL IS NO WHERE TO BE FOUND! Fall’s not supposed to include frost, and cold, and a chance of flurries!

…oh wait, we live in Alberta.

However, the pseudo-autumn season does bring along it’s harvest of squash. I have an acorn squash, a spaghetti squash, and tonnnns of zucchini just waiting to be cooked! We have several zucchini from my garden, begging to be used…so I thought I’d bake with them too. SUCH a good idea! This is the first of hopefully a few recipes to be posted about zucchinis in baking. It sounds weird, yes? But think about carrot cake…that’s kind of weird-sounding too! But delicious! These chocolate zucchini brownies bake up moist, cakey, and satisfying. You can’t taste any zucchini, but it gives it some lightness, so you don’t feel so gross after eating brownies. I also calculated the calories – 160 per bar! And they make fairly big bars too! So put your zucchinis to good use and make some of these suckers.

Chocolate Zucchini Brownies (Recipe adapted from Food Finery – from two peas and their pod)
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup All-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup cocoa
2 cups shredded zucchini
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 9 x 11 baking pan with cooking spray, set aside.
2. In a stand mixer, combine sugar, canola oil, and flour, combine until mixture resembles wet sand. While mixing, on low, add cocoa, zucchini, vanilla extract, salt and baking soda. Mix until well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
3. Pour brownie batter into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and the brownies are set.
4. Cool on a wire rack. Cut brownies into squares and serve. I cut them 4×6 and got 24 brownies

Chronicles from the East

Life gets so busy sometimes. One second you’re go-go-go in third year of medical school, posting recipes to stay sane and baking while you can…

and then one second you’re in fourth year. And everything is different! I’m busy…but in a different way. I’ve got reference letter packages to drop off, errands to run, life to sort out. Oh, and my parents stole the camera so I can’t take pictures of anything I’ve made.

But here is a recipe I made while in Halifax on electives. I didn’t bake very much over the summer, but these cupcakes were prettttty tasty!

I found these little treats on joythebaker’s website (who in turn adapted them from Martha Stewart). I used a regular cream cheese frosting instead of dulce de leche because MMMMM I love cream cheese!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes (adapted from Joy the Baker)
makes about 28 cupcakes
* 4 cups peeled and finely grated carrots (if you’re a weakling like me, get a nice strong man to do it for you!)
* 3 large eggs, room temperature
* 2 cups sugar
* 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
* 1/3 cup buttermilk (As usual, in a pinch I took 1/3 cup regular milk + 1/3 tbsp vinegar)
* 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
* 1/2 cup crushed pineapple, well drained
* 1 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and finely chopped (omitted for nut allergies)
* 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
* 3 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 standard muffin tins with paper liners. In a bowl, whisk together carrots, eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, vanilla seeds, and coconut, pineapple and nuts if desired. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Stir flour mixture into carrot mixture until well combined.
2. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until testers inserted into centers come out clean, 23 to 28 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks, 10 minutes. Turn out cupcakes onto wire racks, and let cool completely. Unfrosted cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen for up to 2 months in airtight containers.
3. Frost cupcakes with dulce de leche or cream cheese frosting. Frosted cupcakes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days; bring to room temperature, and sprinkle with toasted coconut (press gently to adhere) before serving.

DELISH!