Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Few of My New Favourite Things

As you may (or may not) be aware, I've gone cold turkey on junk food and subsequently the majority of carbohydrate-loaded foods because bread is my #1 vice and I cannot eat normal portions of pasta.
I've now gone 5 whole days without consuming sugar.
It's horrible.
But my body's sugar cravings are in their death throws. They've almost worked themselves out of my system.

I've eaten a ton of vegetables this week and I'm feeling good.
I went shopping after work today and was poking around the vegetarian section when lo and behold, I came across this amazing product that I've read about but never before seen:

It's pasta but it's not! It's tofu!
It's also only 40 calories for the entire package.
I could eat bowl after bowl of this stuff and never gain a pound.
I made the package of angel hair shirataki (I also got spaghetti and fettucini) and tried it with chicken and soy sauce.
Really good.
I'm so happy I found this!

Second: I tried this for the first time this morning and I'm in love.

I had the Apple Pie flavour and it's exactly like taking a bite of apple pie.
I need to stock up on this gum. I want to try the other two as well.

That's it for today. I've worked all week so far and I have an exam on Monday that I should probably study for somewhat.

Tomorrow is the first of December!
We had our first real snowfall today and I also heard my first Christmas song on the radio (perfectly timed with the falling snow) so I'm ready to get into the festive spirit.
Staying true to my promise, I'm embarking on the Christmas Cookie Countdown.
I've been baking ahead to ensure I don't miss a day.
Expect daily posts until Christmas!
And leave suggestions if you have a holiday favourite you enjoy baking.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happy American Thanksgiving Weekend!

Thanksgiving weekend in the States comes to an end and I didn't have time to make any turkey. I did buy turkey bacon though and I had it for breakfast this morning so.... problem solved.
I'm trying to limit my carbohydrate intake not because I want to lose weight but because I eat so terribly and I find myself turning to quick carb-loaded food items instead of going into the kitchen and making a meal.
I'm on day 2 of eating better and already my vegetable intake has been more than it has been in the last few weeks!

Thursday night was my last shift in the ICU!
It went pretty well, the 12 hours more or less flew by, and the same patient who called me a 'dickhead' on Monday was slightly more sedated.

Didn't do too much this weekend, apart from working and then going out last night to hear John's brother play.

Oh! I won a give-away!
If you aren't already following her and if you like beautiful photography you will like this blog.
Go visit it here.

Lastly, I came across this masterpeice whilst perusing some of the gossip websites. I forget which one but I saw it and I couldn't stop thinking about it.
It's on my list of things to do to make a Turducken.
This is the desert version.

The Cherpumple.

A cherry pie, a pumpkin pie, and an apple pie all baked inside a cake.

If I wasn't trying to cut out all junk food I would be in the kitchen right now making this.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Holiday Biscotti (a 2-for-1 recipe post!)

Tomorrow night is my last shift in the ICU!
I'll be sad to leave but happy to regain free time and be closer to the holidays.
Yesterday I was finally "abused" by a client - I use quotations because it really wasn't abuse at all and I say finally only because I've been waiting for a hilarious moment like this.
The patient was confused and disoriented and trying to climb out of the bed. Not a great idea when you have a central venus access device in your jugular vein, IVs and arterial lines, and you're receiving dialysis from a machine at the bedside. We had to keep him loosely restrained so that he wouldn't escape from the bed.
He was becoming more and more agitated and I tried to reorient him to where he was. He told me he had to go to a dentist appt and that I needed to let him loose. I apologized and tried to explain as best I could why he had the restraints on (believe me, there's a policy of least restraint that is followed so people aren't just tied to beds for fun). He responded with, "ahhh let me loose you dickhead".

I had to turn and walk away to keep from laughing.
It might be the best name I've ever been called. Ever.
I wouldn't let just anyone call me a dickhead but this man endeared himself to me by doing so. The poor guy just wanted to get to that dentist appointment!

Anyway, the year is now officially winding down and free time is on the horizon.
John's work crew are taking turns bringing in baked goods every day for the next two weeks and John's turn is tomorrow. He said he was going to bring in his camping stove and make hot chocolate for everyone. I volunteered to bake. We decided biscotti would go nicely with hot chocolate as it's perfect for dunking.
I looked up a holiday biscotti recipe and went with gingerbread. I halved the recipe because in the comments section someone said it made 5 dozen (it didn't) and I was left with one measley cookie per person. So I made another batch. I was going to do double chocolate but I ran out of chocolate chips. I did however have some raspberries. So in they went.

Gingerbread Biscotti
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In large bowl of an electric mixer, beat 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup molasses, and 1/4 cup fresh ginger until smooth. Add 3 eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. 
  • In a bowl, stir 3 cups flour, 1/2 tbsp baking powder, 1 tbsp cinnamon, 1 tbsp nutmeg, 1/2 tbsp cloves, and 1/2 tbsp allspice. Add to egg mixture; stir to blend.
  • On two greased 12x15 inch baking sheets, use well-floured hands to pat dough into 2 flat loaves, spacing them evenly on sheets. Bake in a 350 F. oven until browned at edges and springy to touch, about 25 minutes.
  • Let loaves stand on baking sheets until cool to touch, then cut into long, 1/2-inch thick diagonal slices. On baking sheets, arrange slices close together with a cut side down. Return to oven and bake at 350 F. until cookies are brown, 15 to 18 minutes longer. Let cool and enjoy!
Raspberry Chocolate Biscotti
(Taken from Martha's Double Dark-Chocolate & Ginger Biscotti Recipe)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, 1 1/2 tsp  baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt until well combined; set aside. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat 1 egg, 1 egg yolk, and 1/2 cup sugar until light and fluffy; beat in 1 tsp vanilla and 1/4 cup oil until well combined.
  • With the mixer on low, beat in dry ingredients until combined. Mix in 1 cup fresh raspberries and use a spatula to mix well.
  • With moistened hands shape the dough into 2 logs, each about 9 inches long and 2 1/2 inches wide. Bake until set on top, about 20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pan. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  • Transfer logs to a cutting board and, with a serrated knife, cut each log on the diagonal into 16 slices, each 1/2 inch thick. Bake until crisp, about 20 minutes, turning the biscotti over midway through. Cool 5 minutes on a baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to a week
My LCBO gift basket came!
Not too shabby for a losing blog entry!
It's not a great picture what with the cellophane and all but there are 4 wine glasses, a tray, a bowl, kitchen towels, bread dipper, crackers, olives, a spread, a cheese board, cheese plates, and more that I can't see from where I'm sitting.
Pretty nice.
Thanks, LCBO!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Healthier Corn Dogs

When I was little, my family spent a lot of time in Pensacola, Florida.
My memories are strongly linked to smells and tastes so a few things remind me of my childhood spent on white beaches.
One is Dr. Pepper.
The other is corn dogs.

I had a weird hankering for them the other day but wanted to make them rather than buy a boy of froze pogos. I also wanted to try and bake them rather than deep fry them in a pot of oil.
A quick google search gave me a good place to start.

Recipe for batter from

1. Mix together 1 cup flour, 1 cup cornmeal, 1 tbsp granulated sugar, 3 tbspbaking powder, and 1 tsp salt. Mix in 1 egg (whisked), 1/4 cup vegetable oil, and 1 cup of milk. Add in the milk 1/2 cup at a time, keeping the consistency thick enough to shape onto each hot dog.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Skewer hot dogs with wooden sticks. Using your hands, mold the batter around each hot dog and place on a tin-foil lined baking sheet.
4. Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until the corn batter is set but not too brown. Serve with mustard for dipping.

My batter was too thick so it made it hard to eat properly but it'd be worth trying again.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Parker House Rolls (American Thanksgiving Prep)

The fact that a holiday appears on a calendar is reason enough for me to celebrate it.
Next week is American Thanksgiving, or as I am choosing to call it, Thanksgiving Round Two.
I don't know that I'll pull out all the stops and make a turkey, stuffing, etc (especially seeing as I will likely be doing my very last shift in the ICU next Thursday night) but I would if I had the time.
For those of you who want to celebrate Thanksgving Round Two (or you just want a good bun recipe) I've got a great recipe that will come in handy.

In the November issue of Everyday Food there was a recipe for Parker House rolls. I used this recipe for the buns for my sliders and they are deeeeelicious.
If you want to make your own rolls for a meal, try these ones.

(This recipe will make 24 rolls)
1. In the bowl of a mixer combine 4 1/2 cups flour with 4tsp coarse salt, 5 tbsp unsalted butter cut into peices, 1 tsp dry active yeast, 1 1/2 tsp honey, and 1 1/2 cups whole milk. Using a dough hook, mix on low until the mixture comes together. Increase to medium-high and beat until butter is incorporates and the dough is soft, about 10 minutes.
2. Coat a large bowl with non-stick spray. Form dough into a ball and place in the bowl, covering with a damp cloth. Set aside in a warm place and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
3. Lightly coat a baking pan with cooking spray. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide dough into 24 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and arrange in pan about 1/2 inch apart. Repeat. Cover the pan with a damp cloth and let rise until rolls begin to touch, about 1 hour.
4.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush each roll with melted butter and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Brush with more melted butter and sprinkle with salt before serving.

  If you want to use this recipe to make some rolls but don't plan on making a huge Thanksgiving dinner, may I suggest making sliders?
Or make 12 rolls instead of 24 and make real-sized hamburgers.

You won't be disappointed.

Tomorrow I'll show you how to make slightly healthier corn-dogs!
Warning: my corn batter was way too thick and fell off after the second bite.
We can troubleshoot together.

Ohhh also my gift basket came from the LCBO!
Pictures to follow at some point this weekend.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The End is Nigh

Only make sure you say the title of this post thinkin about the end of the world.
We've got just over a year before that happens.
Way to go, Mayans.

It's been a long time.
I handed in my last (I still have a self evaluation and an exam) assignment yesterday and I'm nearing the end of my ICU placement.
Last week I did two back to back night shifts and boy was I smart to not do that at the beginning of the semester. Last Monday night almost killed me because our patient was transfered to another unit and after preparing the room for the next patient we waited upwards of 4 hours before finding out the patient had died in the OR. It was a weird feeling knowing no one was going to be wheeled into our unit from surgery.
Then on Tuesday we got a fresh post-op patient at around 1 or 2 in the morning and it's kind of chaotic for the first few hours. Vitals need to be recorded every 15 minutes for the first hour, every 30 mins for the second, then every hour after that.
Then at around 6:30 am I measured his chest tube drainage and we realized he was hemorrhaging. Then more chaos ensued. The fellow came in, the attending came in, the surgeon came, the respiratory therapist was there, there were about 3 RNs in the room pushing meds, bolusing fluids....I was happy to stand back in a corner out of the way and observe.
It was really the first time I'd had  a seriously unstable patient in the ICU (which is crazy considering the vast majority are IN the ICU because they're not stable enough to be on another floor). I was exhausted after that.

I did a day shift yesterday and d/c'd a radial art line (I say that only to soud like I'm on ER) - basically I pulled a short line out of the patients artery in her wrist. And of course after a minute of putting pressure on the area I looked down and saw the gauze soaked with blood so I'd been putting pressure just slightly off from where I should have been. Terrible. She was fine though, don't worry.

That's that!
I have 3 more shifts in the ICU and then I'm done for the semester.
And only a few more weeks until I can celebrate Christmas in the apartment.
But you better believe I'm already well into the Christmas spirit what with all the commercials and songs and decor I've been seeing and hearing lately.
I'm trying to make corndogs today (don't ask, weird craving) but I just looked through Martha's thanksgiving deserts and I want to include the following into my 25 baked goods of Christmas:

Maple Cheesecake with Roasted Pears

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Dulce de Leche

Rustic Apple Tart (I might make this today)

Apple Crumb Pie (or this one today)

Pear Charlotte

As for today's venture I've talked one of my work friends into doing a theme dinner with me tonight at work so we're doing a "USA A-OK" meal and everything sort of fits at a State fair.
I've got hamburger buns on the go (making sliders) and I'm going to run out in a few to grab cornmeal for the corndog batter!
I'll put up the recipe and pictures tomorrow!

December 1st, the official start of the apartment Christmas season.
So soon.
December 5th I'm done the semester!