Monday, January 31, 2011


So, at the beginning of the month, I joined several other bloggers in a project to set some goals and make healthy changes.  Today, we are supposed to talk about what our favorite change has been!  Well, I would love to say that it was drinking lots of water or cooking a lot more...but I didn't really succeed in either of those goals, though I did reach my goal of cooking at least twice each month! 

Due to my busy month, I didn't actually cook that much but, I think to this point, my favorite things I have started doing is making a grocery list.  In trying to cook more, I'm actually looking at recipes and need to remember what to get.  So, that means that I need a list.  This is helpful is more than one way...first off, it makes sure that you get everything you need.  Secondly, it keeps you focused so that you don't add too many un-needed items.  This all helps keep purchases within whatever your decided budget it.  Hopefully, my list will lead to more homecooked meals!  :-)  Check out other favorites with the other bloggers joining the Eat. Live. Be challenge (list below the recipe)

Sometimes, changes are needed to recipes.  When I was home one weekend, I found a recipe in a new cookbook my mom had that looked great!  It was an oatmeal bar with caramel in the middle.  Ooey, gooey, deliciousness!  I forgot to the get the recipe, so I had her e-mail it to me. 

She kept telling me it was 2.5 CUPS of butter.  She even looked multiple times in the said 2.5 cups.  I just couldn't imagine that was right.  That would be 5 sticks of butter.  WOW...crazy!  So, when I made the recipe, I started with 2.5 sticks...yeah, I think that's what they meant!  Even that was a little soupy.  So, if you make this, you might want to try decreasing the butter to 2 sticks (or 1 cup).  I took it to the ER on one of my shifts and they were definitely enjoyed.  I love the combination of the caramel and oatmeal.  Perfect!  I definitely recommend this...and please, change the butter to 2.5 sticks...NOT 2.5 cups!  :-)

Caramel Delights

2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups oatmeal
2 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda
2 1/2 cups butter, melted
1 (14 oz) bag of cubed caramels
1/2 cup cream or milk
2 cups chocolate chips
nuts and coconut optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients together, add melted butter. Line a 9 X 13 pan with half of the mixture and reserve the rest. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Remove and sprinkle chocolate chips over all.

In a separate bowl melt caramel and cream. Pour caramel over chocolate chips. Crumble the second half of the oatmeal mixture over the top of everything. Then top with as many nuts and as much coconut as desired. Bake for another 15 minutes. Cool, cut and serve.  Enjoy!

•Sarah Caron -
•Cate O’Malley -
•Maris Callahan -
•Chris Arpante -
•Faith -
•Kristen -
•Emily -
•Jenna - FireMom -
•Casey -
•Patsy -
•Tri-Fit Mom -
•Allison -
•Jen -
•Leslie -
•Rivki Locker -
•Claudia - Journey of an Italian Cook
•Jennifer Schulz -
•Sarah Rogers -
Denise and Lenny -

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I think there are layers to most things in life.  Some layers are pleasant, some are not but they all work together to create the entire experience.  My call in the NICU was a hard one last night.  We had two babies to die, I had to deal with upset parents (thankfully able to answer their questions and appease them), and admitted 3 born at 2am, meaning that I finished everything at sleep for me.  But this is part of my job and as hard as that "layer" of it is, I love it and am thankful for everything I learn.  I only hope that I can display love and grace to those I come in contact with when the "layer" they are in is one of the hard ones.

I made this dessert a while back when I was in the ER.  To me, the more pleasing layer is the shortbread layer.  There is just something I love about a flaky and simply tasting shortbread.  However, the addition of the chocolate layer that is fudgy complements the flakiness of the shortbread in a delightful way.  These layers, I say, go quite well together!  I did change the recipe a bit as I didn't use the candycorn pieces and used a cake mix instead of the brownie mix, though I cannot remember EXACTLY what I did.  I know that I used 2 eggs and maybe 1/2 cup oil - simply less liquid than would be used for a cake.  The batter LOOKED like a brownie mix!  This worked quite well; so, if you don't have a brownie mix, use a cake mix.  Either way, this is a great treat!

And check out other great sweet treats at Lisa's blog!

Shortbread Candy Corn Kissed Brownies adapte from Picky Palate

1 chocolate cake mix (I used sugar free) or a 13X9 brownie mix (made to package instructions)
2 sticks softened butter
1/2 Cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 3/4 Cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions, set batter aside. In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugars until creamy and light. Slowly add flour and salt until combined. Press shortbread dough into a 11×7 inch baking dish lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Pour brownie batter evenly over the shortbread crust. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick comes clean from center. Let cool completely before cutting into squares.  Enjoy!

2. Place remaining kisses in double broiler to melt. Spread melted chocolate over brownies, sprinkle if desired and serve.

12 brownies

Monday, January 24, 2011

Your Challenge, Should You Choose to Accept It...

Most things in life that are good, pleasing, beneficial, etc. require some kind of work at some point.  Marriage takes work.  Friendships take work.  Getting that really neat dress you like...that take work.  Finishing medical school, residency, etc. takes work.  Making beneficial life changes takes work.  Eating healthfully takes work.  And as with all work there come some challenges!  True, at times work is easy...and that's good.  But sometimes...frequently or not so is a challenge.  If you ask me...that's good, too!  It lets you see who you trust, depend on, and if you truly are motivated to reach your goals.  For makes me seek encouragement from people I trust and to seek direction and strength from God. 

This week in Eat. Live. Be. we are supposed to talk about what our challenges are and how to overcome them.  For me my biggest hurdle is just laziness!  Who is really going to care if I cook?  What does it really matter?!  Well, first off...I'll know and you'll know.  Another way to look at it is that one day I'll have a family of my own...and they will definitely care if I provide a meal for them, so why not start NOW getting ready for the time when I will need to cook for others as well. I'm sure I'll be just as busy then, if not more, than I am now (which presents another challenge of time and happens!).  So, how to overcome this...well, as Nike says "Just do it!"  I think that this is a good lesson to learn for lots of challenges in life.  You may come across things you don't WANT to do but know that you need to do.  So, instead of moaning about it...JUST DO IT! 

Now, to be honest, I forgot that I had made this recipe...but I do remember that it was really good!  I made it during one of my ER months.  The original recipe called for Kraft Greek dressing but I just used some Italian dressing.  It was delicious and is full of healthy ingredients...I think Mediterranean foods is some of the healthiest (and most delicious!) there is.  There is just something I love about barley!  So, please...just make this!  :-)

Mediterranean Barley Salad
1-1/2 qt. (6 cups) water
1 cup pearl barley, rinsed
1 pt. cherry tomatoes
1 can (6 oz.) pitted black olives, drained
1 small red onion, chopped
1 pkg. (4 oz.) ATHENOS Traditional Crumbled Feta Cheese
1/3 cup Italian (or Greek) dressing
1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Bring water to boil in large saucepan on medium-high heat. Add barley; return to boil. Simmer on medium-low heat 45 min. or until barley is tender. Drain barley; cool.  Place barley in a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients; mix lightly.  Enjoy!

Sarah Caron -
Cate O’Malley -
Maris Callahan -
Chris Arpante -
Faith -
Kristen -
Emily -
Jenna - FireMom -
Joanne -
Casey -
Patsy -
Tri-Fit Mom -
Allison from
Jen from NJ Epicurean
Leslie from
Rivki Locker from Healthy Eating for Ordinary People
Claudia from Journey of an Italian Cook
Jennifer Schulz from lick-a-plate

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Light and Fluffy Granola

I promised you another recipe for granola with a bit of a different texture and I shall provide!  This is a recipe from a college student and her mom where my mom lives.  The texture is so light.  To me, it is the perfect granola!!!  Now, I must admit that I have tried to make this several times.  The first two times, I had been given the wrong amount of oil...this made a very dry granola (though it was still good and I still ate it!).  The last two times I made it, I cooked it a bit too long, so there were parts that were burnt...but it was still good and I still ate it!  The recipe makes a LOT of granola.  So, either make it and share, cut the recipe in half, or make the whole thing for yourself and enjoy it. 
Granola  from Sandy/Alyssa Bantz 1 1/3 (I used 1 cup and it was fine) cup oil
2/3 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla
9 cups oats (1/2 quick,, ½ regular)
2 cups shredded coconut (I have used a decreased amount and omitted before)
1 cup wheat germ, rye flour, or whole wheat flour (I've used 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 wheat germ)
1 cup chopped nuts, optional

Blend together oil, honey, and vanilla.  In a LARGE bowl, stir together oats, coconut, flour/germ, and nuts.
Blend honey mixture in bowl of oats. Spread granola mix on 3 or 4 baking pans. Bake at 300 until golden and toasty, stirring every 20 minutes. (about 3 cycles) Remove from oven and cool in pan.

Variations: Add seeds, different proportions of oats:flour. Use cinnamon different oils or butter.  Cinnamon is very good addition!  If you add dried fruit, add this AFTER baking!


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pumpkin Granola

There are two camps in granola, light and feathery...and crunchy.  I have a recipe for both!  Tonight, I'll give you the crunchy.  I saw this recipe on Maria's site.  The title intrigued me and her pictures were just tempting.  After I made the pumpkin truffles, I needed something to make with the remaining pumpkin...this was perfect!  I overbaked it slightly and didn't quite break up the pieces as much as I should.  The flavor was great and I loved coming across the random nut. 

I used this in my morning yogurt and, sometimes, just as a snack straight out of the container.  I must say, I was really excited about my was a container that a local pediatrician group gave us peanut brittle in...I decided that it would be of great use in my kitchen and eveyone else said to take it!  YAY!  If you love granola, give this one a try!  Come back soon for another recipe, light and feathery granola!

Pumpkin Granola adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
5 cups rolled oats
1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
¾ tsp. salt
¾ cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup applesauce
¼ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup walnuts

Preheat the oven to 325° F. In a large bowl, combine oats, spices, and salt. Mix well. In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, pumpkin puree, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth. Pour wet ingredients into oat mixture and stir until the oats are evenly coated. They will be moist. Evenly spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.  Be sure to break up the mixture to the size you desire the granola to be.  Bake for 20 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and stir. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the granola is golden and crisp. Remove from oven.  If you desire to add dried fruit, add at this time. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.  Enjoy!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Baby, It's Cold Outside

I am really...frugal, I guess you could say, when it comes to my electricity bill.  I try to last as long as I can without turning on the heat.  So long that I have to wear sweatshirts and I jump into bed and ball up because that is the only way to get warm.  By the time I wake up, I'm nice and toasty...but some people would call me crazy!  For the past 3 weeks...I have had my heat on.  It's been cold!  Sometimes when it's cold, you just want to become a bear and hibernate.  Go to work, come straight home and curl up on the couch under blankets with a hot cup of tea or coffee and watch a movie!  YES!!!'s still really important to keep active and have healthy meals.  This week for Eat. Live. Be. we are talking about how to stay moviated.  How do I keep myself in an exercise mode?  Well, first off, I make exercise part of my routine.  I just do it!  Next, I put my exercise clothes in the car so that I don't have an excuse!  If I get home and it's cold, I do NOT want to get back out.  But if I go to the gym straight from work, then I just get it done...and I warm up for a cold ride back home! 

Now, I must say that one of my favorite parts of winter is soup!  In and of itself it is a good way to stay warms from the inside out.  It is also a good way to pile in nutrients into a single bowl.  Tonight, I made a delicious black bean soup.

 It was marketed as being a thicker soup but (and several of the reviews commented on this) it ended up being the typical thickness of a soup.  That does not bother me, but if you want a thicker soup, I would either add an extra can of beans or use less stock.  It was "souper" good...and I'm looking forward to eating it tomorrow night on call!

Black Bean Soup from AllRecipes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 carrots, chopped
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 cups vegetable stock
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (8.75 ounce) can whole kernel corn
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes

In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; cook onion, garlic, and carrots, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until onion is softened.

Add chili powder and cumin; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add stock, 1 can of the beans, corn, and pepper; bring to boil.

Meanwhile, in food processor or blender, puree together tomatoes and remaining can of beans; add to pot. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until carrots are tender.  Enjoy!

Sarah Caron -

Cate O’Malley -
Maris Callahan -
Chris Arpante -
Faith -
Kristen -
Emily -
Jenna - FireMom -
Joanne -
Casey -
Patsy -
Tri-Fit Mom -
Allison from
Jen from NJ Epicurean
Leslie from
Rivki Locker from Healthy Eating for Ordinary People
Claudia from Journey of an Italian Cook
Jennifer Schulz from lick-a-plate

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fake Lasagna

Last week a friend and I got together to make dinner.  We don't see each other often because of our work schedule but like to cook when we do.  That day, we both went through our cookbooks looking for something to make...then I thought of one of my favorite meals as a child, fake lasagna! 

Another title is Laura's lasagna.  There was this elderly couple in the local Rose Society (my dad was a rosarian, even took trips to judge rose shows!) and they kind of adopted us.  We called them Uncle Joe and Aunt Laura.  By MY memory (I could be wrong and if I am we'll pretend I'm not!) she gave us this recipe.  It's pretty simple just noodles on the bottom, meat and tomato mixture on top, with cheese topping that.  What makes it special is what is IN the noodles...cream cheese! 

OH!  This just makes it delicious.  I just can't think of a reason a child wouldn't like this (unless they can't have diary or something like that).  This time, I even got whole wheat egg noodles.  I was worried at first but it turned out great.  I'm planning on trying to do variations on this with a bit less cream cheese and topping it with a veggie mixture.  I think that would be great!  Please try and enjoy this recipe from my childhood!

Laura's (Fake) Lasagna
4 cups egg noodles

1 lb ground beef
½ cup onion, chopped
2 8oz cans tomato sauce
1 tsp garlic salt
8oz cream cheese, softened and cubed
1 can evaporated milk (the small one, 5oz maybe - I used 1/2 cup)
1 cup mozzarella

Cook noodles until soft in boiling water. Brown beef and onion. Add tomato sauce and cook until thickened. Drain noodles and stir in cheese, milk, and garlic salt. When melted pour into a 2 quart baking dish. Spread meat mixture over the top. Top with cheese. Bake in 375 degree oven for 10 minutes or until cheese browns.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chicken Tabouleh

My first brief return to cooking started last week with a simple tabouleh salad for lunch.  Unfortunately, I left it at home one day and when I pulled it out yesterday to take to lunch today, the peppers had begun to mold.  However, the days I did eat it, I enjoyed it.  The chicken gives it a nice fullness.  I must say, though, there was still something missing.  I think adding some goat cheese would help...though that still wouldn't make it quite like "real" tabouleh.  This just doesn't have the strength of taste...something missing in the seasoning.  Any ideas?!  Coming old childhood favorite!

Tabouleh with Chicken and Red Pepper from Cooking Light March 2009
1/2 cup uncooked bulgur
1/2 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups diced pulm tomatoes
3/4 cup (I used 1 full cup) shredded, cooked chicken
3/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced English cucumber
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine the bulgur and boiling water.  Cover and let sit for 15 minutes or until bulgur is tender.  Allow to cool.  Drain if needed.  Add all remaining ingredients and toss well.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A New Career

Well, after my night in the NICU last night...I decided that I just can't take it!  I have to do something else.  Just kidding.  Actually, call last night was very low key and I actually got 5 hours of sleep!  All of the babies behaved and the only admit I did arrived at 1530.  I even watched a movie on Netflix...because I can't download Java so that I could STUDY for an upcoming exam (tell me...does that make any sense?!). 

Anyway, I cooked these pomegranate white chocolate chip cookies Sunday night to take to call.  After lunch, I set them out on the counter for people to taste.  One of the nurse practitioners told me I shouldn't put them out if I didn't want people to eat them...HELLO!!!  That's why I put them out!  Her response..."Mmm...I love cookies.  Don't you love cookies?!" 

Then, after watching our neurologist perform a nerve conduction study, I came back to the work room where he proceeded to try them.  The fellow told him not to because he'd get addicted...then Dr. V said "Let's open a restaurant together.  Just quit here.  I'll be the Indian cook and you bake."  Sure, Dr. V!  Sounds like a plan!  :-)  Anyway, these cookies that Maria made were so good!  I loved the sweet/tart of the pomegranate counteracted by the white chocolate. A perfect combo!  For some reason, mine became very crumbly overnight...maybe I put in too many arils?

 Maria suggests placing 5-6 arils in each dough ball but I just folded in the arils.  None of them burst and I didn't have any problem with staining of the dough.  If you do this, just don't use your mixer, gently fold them in.  Please, if you have pomegranates...TRY THESE COOKIES!!!

White Chocolate Pomegranate Oatmeal Cookies from Maria at Two Peas and Their Pod
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup old fashioned oats (almost forgot these!)
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup pomegranate arils

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside. 
Cream together butter and sugars in a bowl until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until well combined.  In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Mix until just incorporated.  Stir in the oats and white chocolate chunks. Then gently fold in the pomegrante arils.  Make dough balls-about 1 tablespoon of dough per cookie. Bake cookies for 12-13 minutes, until the cookies are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for two minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.  Enjoy!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Help! I Need Somebody, Help!....

Anyone remember that song?  Yep, it's the Beetles...and, yes, it was made into a movie that I have watched MANY times.  It was one of THREE movies that we had when my family and I lived in Kyrgyzstan (along with Mary Poppins and Who Framed Roger Rabbit).  As strange as the song and the movie are, The Beetles were onto something.  We all need help, in just about everything.  When it comes to reaching your goals, it helps to have someone, to hold you accountable.  For me, there are many different areas where I need to be held accountable and I use different people to do that ranging from friends to co-workers to my Sunday School class.  However, applicable to Eat. Live. Be. my accountability is basically from YOU!  Because I'm not cooking for other people, I don't have someone to say, "Hey, you didn't cook at all this week!" but I do have you.  There should be at least two meals posted here each month.  Watch me!  In orders to accomplish my goal of cooking a meal at least once every two weeks, I need recipes.  Well, I found a great recipe just before New Years on Tasty Kitchen for some black eyed peas.

 Though this is not heavy duty cooking, I did make the beans from "scratch," i.e., no canned or frozen peas.  It was really pretty easy and has been SO filling and satisfying.  The recipe originally called for using bacon but I didn't use it as I didn't want to buy bacon simple for this would have added a different depth of flavor, to be sure.  I loved the addition of the bell pepper to this recipe and might would have added more.  Top this with a little salsa and serve with cabbage and cornbread, and you have a nice little New Years meal!

New Year's Black Eyed Peas adaped from Tasty Kitchen
olive oil
1/2 whole Large Onion, Cut Into Medium Dice
1/2 whole Large Bell Pepper, Cut Into Medium Dice
1/2 small bag Black Eyed Beans, Soaked In water Overnight And Drained, instructions are also on the bag
2 quarts Chicken Broth, Plus 1 To 2 Cups Water As Needed (I used chicken bullion cubes)
1 pinch Salt And Ground Black Pepper To Taste

Heat a large soup kettle over medium-high heat. Put a little olive oil in the pot.  Add onions and pepper; sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add peas and chicken broth or water and bullion. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until peas are fully tender and cooking liquid turns from translucent to opaque, adding water as necessary to keep peas moist but not soupy, about 1 hour. When peas have fully softened, season generously with salt and pepper and stir in thyme. Continue to simmer to blend flavors, a couple of minutes longer. Serve with a dish of red onion and vinegar or pepper sauce or salsa alongside.  Enjoy!

Sarah Caron -
Cate O’Malley -
Maris Callahan -
Chris Arpante -
Faith -
Kristen -
Emily -
Jenna - FireMom -
Joanne -
Casey -
Patsy -
Tri-Fit Mom -
Allison from
Jen from NJ Epicurean
Leslie from
Rivki Locker from Healthy Eating for Ordinary People
Claudia from Journey of an Italian Cook
Jennifer Schulz from lick-a-plate

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Food for a Fiesta

So, this post is a long time in coming...I made this in July!!  Before Katie got married, I helped put together a Bachelorette shower for her.  It was fun but I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off making the food.  We had cake balls, muffaletta rolls, spinach salad, and this yummy Mexican layered dip.

  I think it's a pretty standard party dish but often it is made with full fat ingredients.  Guess what!!!  You can make this with ingredients that actually make it (almost) healthy!  Just substitute fat free refried beans, Greek yogurt for the sour cream, go light on the cheese, and make your own guacamole (though, like I said, I was a chicken with my head cut I purchased the guacamole!).  Then you just layer everything.  SOOooooo good!

Mexican Layered Dip
1 can (or two depending on how thick you want the layer or how big your plate is) fat free, refried beans
8-10 oz Greek yogurt
tomatoes, chopped (probably 2-3)
green onions, sliced (3-4)
black olives, chopped (1 small can)
cheddar cheese, shredded (use what you want - 1/2-1cup)

Get a large rimmed plate or a pie plate.  Open the beans and place them on the bottom of the plate.

  On top of the beans put a layer of guacamole.

 Top this with a layer of Greek yogurt. 

Sprinkle the onions, olives, and tomatoes on top of the yogurt. 

Top it all with some cheddar cheese.  Serve with dippers such as tortilla chips, carrots, bell peppers, and celery.  I've even used it as a topper to salad!  Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Melting Molasses

I think that certain times of year lend themselves to specific flavors.  One of the best flavors for a cookie during fall/winter is molasses.  I do have a recipe that is very good, though I haven't posted it yet.  However, when I saw these cookies on Peabody's site, I KNEW that I had to make them.

 I made them one Saturday before my Sunday School class went to a cabin our teachers have.  It was the perfect dessert on a cold, winter day.  One of my favorite things about molasses cookies is how they just melt in your mouth and the flavor just oozes out.  Add white chocolate chips to the top...and Oh my!!!  Please, try them for yourself!

White Chocolate Molasses Cookies
3 cups flour

2 tsp. Ginger, Ground
1 tsp. Cinnamon, Ground
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 cup white chocolate chips

Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in large bowl.  Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add molasses, egg and vanilla; beat well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Press dough into a thick flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap (or cover bowl with plastic wrap...that's what I did!). Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.  Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges of cookies just begin to brown.

Immediately press about 5-6 white chocolate chips into center of each cookie. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Store cookies in airtight container up to 5 days. Enjoy!

Monday, January 03, 2011

A Working Challenge

Hi ho, hi ho, it's back to work I go...back to the NICU specifically.  I do usually enjoy this month and I'm hoping it goes well but I'm feeling tired already!  Today, you may notice several bloggers talking about a new challenge:  Eat. Live. Be.

 This is a challenge that Cate and Sarah organized to encourage us to set healthy goals for the new year.  Some people are hoping to lose weights.  Others want to exercise more.  What do I want to do....cook!  Yep...cook!  Seems simple but somehow, between working, church, and other things I tend to just roast vegetables, make a salad, use frozen things, make eggs, or eat leftovers.  Kind of makes for a pretty boring diet.  So...I want to start cooking again!  When I was making food for some friends after they had a baby, I realized that I miss cooking.  It just feels good.  Yes, I bake.  Baking is easy.  But cooking, cooking requires thought and planning...and time!  We're supposed to give our starting stats:  let's just say that over the last two months of last year, I really cooked (excluding Thanksgiving) maybe once!  So, my beginning goal (especially since I'm going to be on a rotation where I'm on call every 4th night) is to cook once every two weeks.  Now, that doesn't mean I can't cook more.  In fact, that would be great...but to start with, twice a month. 

What do I need to do in order to achieve this...plan.  I need to find some recipes that are good for one-two people.  I've already got a lot of recipes stockpiled that I want to try, so I should be okay...BUT, if you have any ideas...feel free to share! 

Now, in honor of the beginning of cooking, here is a recipe that I have played around with some.  It's not perfect and definitely could use some work, but if you like black bean burgers, I think you'll like this one.  It's adaped from a recipe Joe posted quite some time ago.

Black-Bean Mushroom Burgers (adapted from Joe from The New Vegetarian Grill)

1 onion, finely chopped
10 ounces baby portobello mushrooms, finely chopped (I used two...this was a LOT)
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs (Joe used 4 slices of toasted bread)
15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can diced green chiles
Joe added this - 2 ounces (about 1/2 cup) crumbled goat cheese - it would be FANTASTIC!
salt and fresh ground black pepper
olive oil
salsa verde or salsa, if desired for serving

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion - cook until golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in mushrooms, garlic, cumin and paprika - cook until the mushrooms have released their juices, about 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

Add mushroom mixture, beans and chiles into the food processor bowl - pulse until combined, but not smooth (I did mine a bit too much so it was quite soft) - leave some chunky bits. Scoop mixture into the bowl with the bread crumbs (some other recipes use oatmeal) - add goat cheese (if using) and season with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Mix ingredients together, then divide into the size patties your desire. With dampened hands, shape each portion into slightly thick patties (I didn't do mine thick enough)

Heat a skillet to high heat.  Spray the pan or drizzle with olive oil.  This is important to give the patties a crisp outside.  Place patties onto the skillet and cook until thoroughly heated through and the outside has crisped, about 5-8 minutes per side. Serve burgers on toasted muffins, sandwich thins, or atop a salad.  Top with salsa if desired.  Enjoy!

Eat. Live. Be. Bloggers:
Sarah Caron

Cate O’Malley
Maris Callahan 
Chris Arpante
Jenna - FireMom
Tri-Fit Mom

Saturday, January 01, 2011


Happy New Year!!!!  I hope you are all ready to begin a new year of LIFE.  I chose...well, not really chose...all my friends were either out of town, working, or at a wedding stay in last night watching movies.  It was the perfect time to do it, was storming here.  So, I took advantage of the Netflix membership my mom and dad gave me for Christmas.  AWESOME!!!  I've thought of joining before but didn't think I'd use, yes please!  But, as much as I do enjoy watching movies, I enjoy doing things with people as well.  I think that is one (of many) reasons that I like my job.  I get to spend time investing in people's lives. 

So, in the year to life!  Whether that means taking time to relax and watch a movie, encouraging a friend, reading so that you can keep learning (it IS a lifelong process!), taking time to go on that walk, calling up a friend you haven't seen in a while, reading a book to your child at bedtime, writing a letter (snail-mail style!) to a family member, waking up a little earlier than usual so you can get that precious time in the Bible, or just cooking a good meal...enjoy the time you've been given and live life (and these cookies...they're GREAT!)!!

LIFE Cookies (taken from the Living Well cereal box...aka Kroger style Life cereal)
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups AP flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups Living Well (or Life) cereal
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream sugars, butter, and peanut butter together.  Add egg and vanilla and mix.  Stir together flour and baking soda and mix into butter mixture.  Add cereal and chocolate chips.  Stir well.  Drop onto baking stone or sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool for 1 minute prior to removing to a cool rack.  Enjoy!!