Sunday, September 27, 2009

NICU is Daring Enough

Yes, it is Daring Bakers' (check the blogroll here!) post day and I have not post. I think that it is fair to say that this month, the NICU is daring enough for me! The challenge this month was a lovely, buttery puffed pastry...that I used to LOVE when I was little. Well, I've never actually had it homemade but one of my favorite dished was a chicken dip that my mom served in these very pastries...the American version, straight from the freezer...they were delicious! And to top it's QUICK AND EASY...and obviously kid friendly! I have recreated this recipe with a few changes...adding some broccoli and decreasing the delicious creamy stuff. I must say that the regular version IS better but the slimmed down version is still quite yummy! I'll give you both here. And if you're daring enough you can make some of these delicious pastries and try out chicken dip for yourself!

Chicken Dip (the original)
1 8oz cream cheese (1/3 less fat is what my mom uses), softened
1 can cream of mushroom soup (98% fat free)
1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
1/2 cup milk

Stir ingredients together and microwave at 50% for 6 minutes. Stir and then on high for 3-4 minutes. Serve in puffed pastry "baskets."

Slimmed down version - okay...I don't remember what I did because it's been so long, but I know I used a bag of broccoli and less cream cheese and soup...probably half, enough to coat the chicken and broccoli (the other version is very creamy). Then I topped it with some fiber one and baked in the oven at 350 until bubbly.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Snickerdoodle Cake

I have come to the conclusion that snickerdoodles are one of my favorite cookies. So, whenever I see something with the name "snickerdoodle" in it, I want to make it. Like snickerdoodle muffins. Or how about snickerdoodle blondies. Or snickerdoodle pound cake from Julie at Dozen Flours? Well, that's what I decided to make this week for a meeting where M was talking about a mission trip to Nicaragua. It was for a group of women, so I knew that this lightly flavored cake would be perfect. I did have one little snag while I was making it (on my pre-call day knowing that I would not have time to make it post-call)...I CANNOT FIND MY BUNDT PAN! I'm so sad...somehow, in my move, it has been misplaced and I still haven't found it. Thankfully, I have a glass tube pan from Granny. It is a bit smaller than your typical bundt pan, so, the cake came close to overflowing, but it still worked. I did have to change one thing in the recipe because I didn't have any sour cream; so, I substituted buttermilk in equal portions. I think it worked, though sour cream probably would have made for a slightly moister cake. One of the cool things about this cake is the crust that the cinnamon sugar leaves on the top of the cake...LOVE IT! I also love the layers left by the cinnamon mixing with the batter. Beautiful! So, how did it go over at the meeting? I was worried that I would come home with lots of leftover cake...well, I came home with ONE piece! I'd say the ladies liked it. So, try this delicious's perfect for a tea, Sunday dessert, or just beacause. And stay tuned, because I have another different snickerdoodle recipe to try out sometime. Snickerdoodle Bundt Cake

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup white sugar

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup full-fat sour cream, at room temperature (I used 1 cup buttermilk)

In a small bowl, combine 1 cup of sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Mix together really well and set aside. Preheat oven to 325F (oops...I did it at 350).

Spray a 9 inch Bundt pan with cookiing spray, being careful to cover all the nooks and cranies, as well as the center tube. Gently dust the entire inside of the pan with the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Beat just the butter on medium speed for one full minute. Add the white sugar and mix for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and blade and add the brown sugar.

Mix for 2 minutes until the mixture looks light brown and uniform in color. Add the eggs one at a time, beating each for 1 full minute. Stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the sour cream; beat well. (I just added all the flour at once AFTER adding the buttermilk...partly because I just didn't read this instruction. It still worked but might be more tender if you do it the correct way.)

Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup of the cinnamon sugar mixture over top the cake. Spread the rest of the batter into the pan and sprinkle any remaining sugar mixture over the top. (If you run out of cinnamon sugar, you can mix just 1/4 cup of sugar + 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon together for the top of the cake. It should be more than enough.)

Bake in the preheated oven for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sweat and Sour

...and no, that's not a typo! In July I decided that I wanted to try and make a vegetarian version of shepherd's pie...I guess that would make it a gardener's pie! So, I searched for recipes but didn't really find one I liked. I did notice, however, that most recipes used curry powder...which I tend to enjoy. So, I chopped up some veggies including eggplant, zucchini, squash (summer and pattypan), and onions. I sauteed these in my cute new PINK pan that I purchased at Kroger (ha!). Then I added some seasonings along with curry powder. A few minutes later this weird, sweaty smell arose from my pan. What is it with curry that makes it smell like sweat? Hmmm...I still like the taste of it! One other thing I changed from the traditional shepherd's pie is substituting mashed cauliflower for the potatoes! I have mentioned in the past how much I love mashed cauliflower and I think it really worked for this dish. On top of the dish went Parmesan cheese and some sharp cheddar, which browned nicely. Now, to the taste...overall, I really enjoyed this. However, there was something not quite right...something, oh, sour! It drove me crazy for a while, then I determined that it was the pattypan squash. Every bite I had that contained this squash was a bit sour. I'm wondering if the squash I had just wasn't quite ripe, because I've had pattypan before and don't remember it being sour. I think this was a fun variation on a comfort food classic...try it out some time with your OWN variations! Gardener's Pie
1 eggplant, cubed
1 zucchini, cut into thin slices
1 summer squash, cut into thin half moons
1 patty pan squash, cubed
1 can Italian diced tomatoes
1 tomato, cubed (optional - wanted to increase the tomato)
1 onion, diced
salt, pepper
curry powder- 1/2 tsp or more as needed for proper seasoning
1 head cauliflower, steamed and then mashed/pureed (I used one and it really could use up to two heads)
Parmesan cheese, grated
sharp cheddar cheese

Prepare the cauliflower. In a large skillet sprayed with cooking spray, place eggplant, onions, and squashes. Saute until softened. Add seasoning and curry to taste. When softened more, add tomatoes and stir until heated through. In an oval baking dish or 11X8 pan, pour cooked vegetable mixture. Spread mashed cauliflower on top. Sprinkle a liberal amount of grated parmesan cheese on to and add a handful of cheddar cheese. Place in a 350 degree oven until bubbly and cheese has browned.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Lightened Up

So, my last call was MUCH better than my previous one. The babies were kind, didn't crump, and though there were lots of babies born, they were mostly on time. I was already sleep deprived after going to a retreat for our church college Sunday School and getting up early to come to call with M, so around 0030 when I was unable to keep my eyes open, I went to bed. I didn't get paged and got up around 6:30 (after fitful sleep). Then, we had a delivery to attend and I got to intubate a baby again...successful on the first time! Woo Hoo! My call was definitely lighter! And so is this bar cookie I took to call a couple of weeks ago. This is one of the recipes I had saved from a Cooking Light (April 2009). It's for a lightened up Butterscotch Bar. One reason I like it is that it uses sweetened condensed milk. Yes, I know this stuff is horrible for you, but I love it. I used to always get one of the flavors that "required" it when I would get sno-biz (Hawaiian shaved good!). However, this recipe only used 3/4 cup of it (about half a can). I didn't have any butterscotch and, after NOT reading the instructions, thought that white chocolate-chocolate swirled chips would be yummy. Well, you end up melting the chips, so the swirl didn't really matter! It still turned out being pretty good. The bars were a tad dry but not so dry that it hurt to eat them. I enjoyed one for breakfast post-call. :-) Lightened Chocolate (or Butterscotch) Bars from Cooking Light April 2009
1 cup packed brown sugar
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
9 ounces AP flour (2 cups)
2 1/2 cups quick cooking oats (I only had old fashioned...maybe this is why they were a bit dry) 1/2 teaspoon salt (I didn't use)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1 1/4 cups butterscotch morsels (or your chosen flavor)
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (I don't think I used nuts)

Preheat oven to 350. Combine sugar and butter in bowl. Sitr in vanilla and egg. Combine flour and oats and soda in a bowl. Add oat mixture to sugar mixture; stir until combined and crumbly. Place 3 cups oat mixture i the bottom of a cooking spray coated 13X9 pan. Press into the bottom of the pan. In a bowl place the sweetened condensed milk, morsels and microwave for 1 minute or until morsels melt, sitrring every 20 secconds. Stir in nuts if using. Scrape on top of crust until evenly covered. Sprinkly evenly with the remaining oat mixture and press into the milk mixture. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden. Run a knife around the edges after removing from oven. Allow to cool completely. Yield: 36 bars at 146 calories a bar.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

What Do I Say...

WARNING: The first of this post is a run-down of an on-call day in the NICU...if you just want the cookie, PLEASE scroll down to just above the first picture! :-) It's a great cookie!

I guess I'm liking the NICU thus far. I really like my babies, though some of them have decided that it's cool to just hang out and let us pump formula in the instead of sucking the bottle. We'll just have to teach them. I was on call Tuesday night and it was busy to say the least! Between 6:30 and 8:30 we had three deliveries to attend. Then from 10 until about 2:30 we were dealing with a baby who was crumping (basically trying to die). We sat there and watched while her heart rate dropped into the 40's and, at times, even to virtually zero. Somehow, she kept returning to a rhythm. By about an hour to two hours in to working with her, we knew she was dying but "stable" for the night. So, we went to bed...for 15 minutes when we were paged to another two deliveries...then returned to bed for 30 minutes when we were paged to a delivery only find that the baby was already in the NICU...strange! Got that baby situated and we were paged to ANOTHER delivery...where I successfully intubated the baby!!!!!! I was so excited. That's where my call went really bad. I was on rounds and the nurse came to tell us that the baby we worked on for so long had no heartbeat...and my attending decided that it was a good idea for me (after virtually no sleep) to pronounce her. Um....let's just say my emotions were running on high (or low). I had to compose myself before I gave a time of death, then had to compose myself before returning to round...and on and on. Let's just say I had several moment of tears and basically broke down in my car on the way home. I think, though, that it's a good thing that this happened. It helped me see that, even though in the heat of the moment, in the stress of trying to figure out what's going on you almost HAVE to detach so that you can get things done, I am still human and really do care about my patients. That sweet thing was so small and her Mama didn't get to take her home. I cannot imagine.

After all that, it was a good thing I had one solitary cookie left over from call! Yep...I'm continuing the tradition of making treats for call. This time, I purchased a bag of toffee and went in search of a cookie recipe, and, boy did I find a good one! This is, once again, from Anna. The recipe is actually from Reynolds wrap. I changed it a bit for what I had on hand. Although Anna calls them capuccino cookies, I honestly couldn't taste the coffee. That did NOT detract from the cookie itself, though. My fellow on call residents thoroughly enjoyed them...M even told me that I had to quit bringing such good things on call because he had already eaten around 7 cookies. :-) Even my attending had a couple...of course, he never got away from the NICU, so they served as his supper. Anyway, I highly recommend these...and I'm not even a huge chocolate fan! Chocolate Toffee Almond Cookies

2 1/2

cups flour


cup cocoa


teaspoon baking soda


teaspoon salt


cup (2 sticks) butter, softened - I used 1 stick plus 3 Tablespoons and they were still quite moist and delicious!


cup packed brown sugar


cup granulated sugar


tablespoons instant coffee


tablespoon milk




teaspoons vanilla extract


package (8 oz.) toffee bits, divided I didn't use the full package...probably have 1/2 cup left


cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks I used about 2/3 cups white chips and 1/3 plus a little more of semi-sweet chips


cup sliced almonds, toasted I used pecans

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a bowl (or just wait and do my quick combine on top of the butter sugar mixture!)

BEAT butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar together in a large bowl, on medium speed of an electric mixer, until light and fluffy. Dissolve instant coffee in milk. Beat in coffee mixture, eggs and vanilla until well blended.

ADD flour mixture gradually to creamed mixture; beat on low speed just until blended. Reserve 3/4 cup toffee bits; stir remaining toffee bits into dough. Drop by heaping tablespoons about 2-inches apart onto parchment-lined cookie sheets. Combine chocolate chunks, almonds and reserved toffee bits (or white chocolate chips, pecans, and toffee!; set aside.

BAKE 4 minutes (cookies will still be wet on top.) Remove from oven; press cookie flat with the back of the measuring spoon. Sprinkle 1/2 heaping tablespoon almond-toffee mixture onto each cookie. Using the back of the measuring spoon again, lightly press topping into dough to form a larger round cookie.

CONTINUING BAKING 8 to 9 minutes longer or until cookies are set. Do not over bake. Slide parchment with cookies onto a wire rack to cool. This suggests using parchment paper...I didn't have any, so didn't use. IF you don't use it, be sure to remove the cookies after about 4 minutes of cooling or they will be VERY hard to remove from the pan!

Monday, September 07, 2009

It's ah Pizza-ah.

Before I get to the pizza, I want to make you aware of a simple way that you can help someone in need. Kristen, of Dine and Dish, has a friend, Ann, who is battling breast cancer. As you can imagine, there are lots of struggles that come along with this, one of which is money. Any time you visit Kristen's site some she "earns" money, which she is donating to Ann's family. So, stop by and help Ann out through Clicks-4-a-Cause. Now the pizza...I've been seeing several people making these wonderful looking vegetable pizzas. Well, I decided to join in and make a roasted veggie pizza. It was pretty good but I think that my yeast was pretty dead because the crust was fairly flat, whereas it is normally delicious! I didn't put much sauce ON the pizza because I was putting tomatoes on there, but after the fact, I think sauce on the crust would have been better. I ended up dipping it in sauce like you would stromboli. I used goat cheese on the pizza and it was pretty good. I'm going to have to revisit this sometime.Recipe...well, basically you make the crust linked above, roast the desired veggies (I did zucchini, squash, peppers, mushrooms and I think eggplant). Then spread sauce on, put the veggies on, add some tomatoes and cheese and bake at 425 for 15 minutes.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Baby, Baby, How was I Supposed to Know...

On Tuesday I started my new rotation in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). Now, this is somewhat...okay, TOTALLY uncharted territory for me. I did not do a NICU rotation my fourth year in medical school and it just kind of scares me. Most of these babies are teeny tiny. All of mine are less than four pounds (most less than three) and turning them over to listen to their hearts the first day was a bit nerve wracking...I'm a pro now. Now, I'm on call tomorrow and have no upper level to help me as there are three interns this month to two upper levels. Yes, I am the chosen one to be on call alone. Apparently, this won't really change much because there are nurse practitioners on with us, but it still makes me nervous. I guess that's all the more chance for me to learn quickly. There is SO much that I just don't know.....but one thing I do know is that browned butter makes just about everything better. I've found that using browned butter allows you to use LESS butter. I guess the flavor is just so rich, that you don't need as much to give the flavor. So, several months ago I decided to make a new recipe for chocolate chip cookies using browned butter. I must say that they were a success. I took these to a college Sunday School gathering and several of the other teachers requested the cookies just for them! The texture of these was just perfect....crispy on the outside and soft, almost chewy on the inside. I'm definitely going to try this technique again for some other "traditional" cookies...wonder what a browned butter snickerdoodle would be like? Would it change the taste too much? Hmmm...might just have to try that out! In the mean time, enjoy these! Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup wheat bran
1 cup chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a skillet over medium heat, cook the butter until melted and browned (about 3-4 minutes). Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. When cooled, cream together the browned butter and sugars. This will be thinner than the typical creamed mixture. Add egg and buttermilk and mix until combined. Stir together flour, soda, and bran. Mix into the butter mixture. Stir in chocolate chunks. Place the dough on baking stone or sheet in tablespoon sized balls. Place stone in oven and cook for 8-9 minutes or until slightly golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Remove from stone and cool on cooling rack until ready to enjoy!