Friday, August 31, 2007

Cookies from the Peabody

No...not the Peabody Hotel with those famous ducks! Our Peabody! The one who makes those wonderful looking recipes, the one with wonderful pictures. These are the cookies that apparently blew her mom off her rocker! I just had to try them, and let me say, they did not disappoint. I had purchased some craisins because I wanted to try these and then realized I didn't have pistachios OR an orange. Finally, I picked up a bag of pre-shelled nuts (not what I usually do) and an orange (which I stuck back in the fridge after zesting, it promptly froze to the consistency of a slushy, and was should try that!). Let me tell you, these were the perfect cookies to make to relieve mid-surgery rotation stress! Thanks, Peabody! I've put the recipe here as well as linked it to Peabody. Check her wonderful site'll enjoy, no doubt!Cranberry Orange Cookies
Orange Sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp freshly grated orange peel
1 cup sugar
¾ cup butter, room temperature
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
½ cup sweetened dried cranberries, chopped (I just used craisins, no chopping required)
½ cup pistachio nuts (I did chop these just a bit)
1 TBSP freshly grated orange peel

Heat oven to 350F. Combine all orange sugar ingredients in a small bowl; stir until well mixed. Set aside. Combine 1 cup sugar, butter and egg in a large bowl; beat at medium speed until creamy. Reduce speed to low; add flour, baking powder and baking soda. Beat until well mixed. Add all remaining ingredients. Continue beating just until mixed. Shape dough into 1-inch balls or use a cookie scoop to scoop the balls; roll balls in orange sugar. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Flatten with bottom of glass (or your clean hand!) to 1 ½-inch circles. Bake for 7 to 11 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. (DO NOT OVERBAKE). Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets/stone.

Source: Adapted from Land O’Lakes Holiday Cookies 2005

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

What to post, what to post! I'm about to start a new rotation...after a disasterous test in surgery I should have time to actually cook! I mean, for real cook. Not just stress relief baking, not just throwing veggies into the oven and then into eggs for an omlette, not just pulling a frozen fish out of the freezer. Actually cooking. In three days I've already tried three new recipes...all of which have been a success and will be making an apperance here soon! In fact, one will appear today. While typing the past few sentences, I have decided which recipe to post. Aren't you curious!? Well, I guess I gave it away by the picture...oh, well!Sunday my grocery store had a nice bag of "ready to eat (HA!) or bake bananas" for 25 cents a pound. Bananas here never last long...I bought seven bananas on Sunday (the kind that are REALLY at eating stage) and by Tuesday they were GONE! I had ONE...meaning my roommate is a monkey! :-) Hey, at least it's bananas. Anyway, like I said, bananas don't last for baking purposes. So, I was excited to see these baking bananas in the store. However, I didn't want to do my normal banana bread as my oven has been having issues with baking quick breads. So I went in search of a banana recipe. Not finding any, I started going through my normal blogs. When I got to Kristen's I saw a banana muffin recipe! Yes! This is what I'm going to try. That afternoon, I had Oprah on because Dr. Oz was there. I really like watching him because he teaches well and it shows me that I really have learned things in medical school! Anyway, he was talking about 5 foods that you should try to stay away from. Uh oh. If you like to bake this is bad news. The foods: partially hyrdogenated oils (meaning real butter is okay but taking shortening out of the picture), sugar (hmmm), high fructose corn syrup (I don't use this except around Christmas), enriched flour (eh), and saturated fat. I was inspired. SO, I set off to make these muffins with as little of these five ingredients as I could. Let's see...shortening - a no-no, though I'll still use it some, so I used canola oil, don't really know how olive oil would have worked. Okay, sugar...well, I could have converted for honey but didn't feel like it, so I just reduced the amount of sugar. Dr. Oz probably would have used honey or even agave nectar. Bananas...super good! Eggs...a natural food, okay. Flour...well, for baked goods you've got to have this, but I changed from white flour to whole wheat pastry flour - no enrichment needed. I love this stuff. It gives that great nutty taste of wheat flour without making the baked goods tough. I might just have to go buy some in bulk from our local whole foods store. Everything else in the recipe is fine. I did change the applesauce to fat-free vanilla yogurt just because that's what I had on hand. Add in some walnuts (good fat!) and I think this recipe would please Dr. Oz! So, check this out and thank Kristen for the inspiration! Julianne's Mini Banana Muffins (though I did regular size and mini- I think mini are my faves!)
2/3 cup sugar - could have used less, probably 1/2 cup, but didn't want to change too much the first time
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
2 eggs
3-4 bananas, peeled and smashed - I used 4
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional
Combine the sugar and oil, stirring for a minute or so. Add the yogurt, eggs, and bananas. Stir until well combines, about 2 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Once combined, slowly add to the banana mixture and mix until incorporated completely. Add walnuts if using. Bake in sprayed muffin tins on 350 for approximately 12 minutes (or until toothpick in the center comes out clean).

Makes about 48 mini-muffins. I got 12 mini-muffins, 12 regular muffins, and 2 muffin tops.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

My Favorite New Lunch

In general, I'm not a huge fan of sandwiches. So often, there is too much bread for my taste. I prefer open faced sandwiches. However, one day while I was studying for my Step 1 exam I found a whole wheat pita pocket bread on sale. I decided to try it out. They were pretty good.

For the past 12 weeks, I've been on my surgery rotation and you really need something quick and easy for lunch, especially if you take your own instead of buying something. I always take my lunch, it's much cheaper! Anyway, I wanted something other than salads and determined that these pita pockets would provide a perfect option...but what to put inside? Let's see...pita...hummus! What else is mediterranean?...Feta bell pepper. I had a lunch coming together. My favorite way to put this sandwich together is to spread the inside of the pita with some sort of hummus. Then line/stuff the bottom of the pita with spinach. On top of that place some roasted veggies (see below). Top with turkey and feta cheese. Enjoy this sandwich with some fresh fruit and you have a nice, healthy lunch. With the roasted veggies, this is full of antioxidants. So, this is my entry for Sweetnick's ARF-Tuesday. Check her site for more great recipes.

Roasted Veggies
Your choice of fresh vegetables: onion, bell pepper (I like red), eggplant, squash, zucchini
garlic powder
season salt
olive oil Cut veggies in thin slices. Preheat oven to 425. Place veggies in a roasting pan. Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil. Toss with your hands. Sprinkle garlic powder over veggies and toss with your hands. Sprinkle season salt over veggies and toss with you hands. Place in oven and roast for 15 minutes or until veggies are tender. Enjoy as a side for dinner or in a pita for lunch.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Perk Me Up!

Well, I got tied up with my rotation the past week. I even missed ARF at Sweetnicks this week...oops! I had long days all week and then was on call this Tuesday. I ended up getting a total of one hour of sleep Tuesday night, so these cookies are perfect for a post-call day...or if you are lacking in sleep for any reason...or if you just like coffee flavor. I saw these at Nic's site a while back and decided that I should try them. You see, here in Mississippi we have incredibly hot, and currently dry, summers. So, even though I'm waking up quite early I don't want coffee. In fact, my morning drink is usually lemonade! However, I do enjoy coffee flavored things. I decided to do these cookies the same way Nic did and just put the granules straight in without dissolving them. I really like the speckled look. It kind of gives a hint of something different to come upon tasting them. Although they do have a coffee flavor, they are not overwhelmingly strong, so even if you don't like to drink coffee you may just like these cookies. Give them a try!Cafe Latte Cookies
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp instant coffee powder (I used instant granules)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 400 F. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars. Beat in egg, milk and vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, coffee powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Stir the flour mixture into butter mixture.
Drop dough by rounded spoonfuls, forming 1-inch in diameter mounds, on the baking sheet. Bake until cookie are golden at the edges, about 8-11 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Give Me Berries

I have had the longest days these past two days...I'm two days into my week and I've already worked 25 hours! Fun stuff! It wasn't so bad thought, because I've been busy during the day. Anyway, I made these cookies a couple of weeks ago and they are SO yummy! I was concerned that they would go old quickly, but they last a pretty good while. They do soften over the days but hold their flavor well. If you're one of those people that freezes cookies, I think these would be a good cookie to try that with. What are they? Oatmeal strawberry cookies! I found them at Anna's site last year and finally tried them! Instead of using dried fruit, these recipe calls for fresh strawberries. It works well, actually. I might even add more strawberries next time! And what's better than chocolate and strawberries? Might I add that berries, chocolate, and oatmeal have lots of antioxidants, so these are good for you too! ;-) So, check out Sweetnicks' for this recipe and others on her ARF tuesday! Strawberry and Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup butter -- melted (no subs please!) - I actually used one stick butter, one stick margarine
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (or to taste)
3 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries -- sliced in halves
1/2 cup chopped walnuts - I used pecans!
1/2 cup raisins (optional)- I omitted, let those strawberries shine!

Set oven 350°. With an electric mixer, cream melted butter with sugars and honey until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add in the eggs and vanilla; mix well. Mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, oatmeal and salt; mix well to combine. Add in the dry mixture to the creamed mixture; mix well until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips, strawberries (care not to break too many of the the berries when mixing in) walnuts and raisins. Shape into golf ball size balls (I used a Tablespoon scoop). Place on a cookie sheet (leaving 2-inches apart).
Bake for 12-16 minutes or until set. Cool ten minutes before removing to a wire rack.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Cooking on Trees

I love getting surprises for people I love and this Christmas, I found a surprise gift for my parents. It wasn't anything big, but I was excited because I knew it was something they would like. The gift...cedar planks to grill on. The planks I got were from Williams-Sonoma, but you can get them elsewhere and they aren't expensive. Anyway, sometime this spring when I went for a visit, we finally got them out and put them to use. Let me just say DELICIOUS!!!! This made the BEST salmon I have ever had. It was SO tender, not the least bit fishy but with a good salmon flavor, and with a beautiful color. Daddy didn't cover up the fish with much seasoning. I think maybe just a little season salt or maybe even just salt and pepper. All you have to do with the planks is soak them in water for a couple of hours before you plan to grill. Then season the meat and grill away. He grilled them until they flaked and we enjoyed a great spring dinner of cedar plank grilled salmon, panzanella, and squash! This makes me want some right now. Daddy, maybe the next time I get to come home this is what we should have!!!! :-)

Monday, August 06, 2007

Green and Yellow? Nope, not M&M's

Hmmmm...what to post this time. I had a hard time deciding what to post for Sweetnicks' ARF this week, but since my last post was cookies, I'm going to wait for the cookies until next week. Just to keep you intrigued...think strawberries! Anyway, the entry for this week is another eggplant stir fry. When I went to the Farmers' Market a couple of weeks ago, in addition to the usual kinds of eggplant, I saw a green one and a BRIGHT yellow one.Yep, that yellow is eggplant, not squash! I couldn't pass them up, so I got both in addition to a white one. I decided to make a Mediterranean style stir fry with eggplant, red pepper, and shrimp. Once again, it's just thrown together, but here's the basic plan. Eggplant Stir Fry
3 small eggplants, cut in the shapes you desire (I did one cubed, one moon shaped, and one in some shape I can't remember!)
1 red bell pepper, cut in strips
1 small bag salad shrimp
1/2 cup Italian dressing
garlic powder
Parmesan cheese

Coat a skillet with oil or cooking spray. Place the eggplant and peppers in the skillet. Sprinkle with garlic powder and cook until tender. Add the shrimp and allow to warm. Serve over brown rice and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Thanks for the Cookies, "Doc"

I've used the same peanut butter cookie recipe for as long as I've been making them. However, I decided that I wanted to try a new recipe that makes less and doesn't require refrigeration. I found one that really interested me over at Anna's Cookie Madness. It has wheat germ in it!!! For some reason, that quality always draws me in. So, Friday night before I was on call from 7 am Saturday to 7 am Sunday I decided to make these cookies to take with me. Let me just say...they were quite a hit! The residents (all guys this night) really enjoyed it. In fact, one of the guys told me Sunday that I did a good job helping out in traumas but that he really appreciated the cookies even more! HA! I thought that was funny...we had trauma the ENTIRE DAY through to Sunday morning (less than 2 hours of sleep) and he appreciated the cookies more. SO, I'd say they were pretty good. I had to make some more later because the first batch was gone. The measuring cups in these pictures are from my Granny's house. We found them stuck in a cabinet and, even though I lost the "draw" for them, my cousin let me have them because she had already "won" something and I was losing every draw! :-) Hope y'all enjoy this different recipe for peanut butter cookies! Chunky Peanut Butter Cookies With Wheat Germ
1 cup crunchy or creamy peanut butter
3/4 cum firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup wheat germ
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, stir together first 6 ingredients. Combine dry ingredients and add to peanut butter mixture. Shape into 1 inch balls and drop onto parchment lined baking sheets. Press down with a sugared fork to make criss-crosses. Bake for 12 minutes. Let cool.