Pumpkin Cinnamon Applesauce

I have seriously neglected this thing. For almost 2 months. T.T

However, now that I’m finished with my 5 weeks of night float, I am now on a much much lighter rotation! Giving me more time to do…nothing! Catching up with fall TV for sure, but also many other things that I really should be doing. Like giving an extremely thorough cleaning job to my studio (it’s a studio for goodness sake, why can’t I keep it clean!?), doing my laundry on the reg, getting caught up with some studying, case logging and dare I say it…thinking of some research ideas?!

During my night float, several of my med school buddies were also on a night rotation of some sort. And overwhelmingly hated it. At least that’s what Twitter told me. I seemed to be the only one who was loving it! I don’t really know why. We got quite busy as the weeks went on, and I sometimes did not get to eat although I would always stock up on a ton of snacks and drinks. But I still really really enjoyed it. I think. The reason, I think, must have to have been my team. I loved working with my R3 and chief. We had each other’s backs, were encouraging, looked out for one another (mostly them looking out for me if I seemed to be drowning) and importantly, created a safe space to vent when need be. I think the last rotation has really solidified the concept for me: The people are the most important part of your job. The hours were crazy, all I did was eat, work, sleep, shower, work, repeat, but because of the people I was with, it made it a wonderful experience. 

Not only that, but I was talking to a friend of mine online who has the most incredible travels around the world, hitting up London, HK, Sydney, etc but because of who she was working with and spending that time with, she was having a horrible time. Really really, people matter.

For those M4s going on interviews soon, really really remember that. Residency is hard enough, try to make it a bit easier for yourself with a program where you can see yourself fitting in. Sometimes you have to pull away some of the glitz and glam and take a hard look at the people there.

I also cannot believe that we are going to be interviewing people for a new intern class already. WTH! I’m BARELY an intern, how can we be looking for new ones already!? I don’t feel like I know anything!! Hopefully that changes…but yeah pre-interview dinners being organized, tour groups, lunches. Man. I’ll be seeing it from the other side…wonder what that is like. Also makes me kind of wonder what they thought about me last year.

Anyways. Recipe for this entry: Pumpkin Cinnamon Applesauce. It’s a pretty Autumn kind of recipe, and good for lazy people like me. And healthy I think. NO SUGAR ADDED! 😀 Got the recipe from The Novice Chef Blog which I got from Pinterest (of course). And another of course, I did not really follow exactly what it said.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Applesauce

Yield: 4 cups of applesauce, 8 servings

Recipe Note: Notice in the directions the apples do not need to be peeled. The skin of an apple holds a lot of nutrients, and once the apple is cooked down and pureed, you won’t even notice it’s there! Also, this recipe has No Sugar Added, just natural sweetness!

ingredients:

2 1/2 pounds apples, cored and chopped
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
juice of 1 lemon
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla

directions:

In a heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat, combine apples, cinnamon, lemon juice, and water. The liquid will not cover the apples. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat. Simmer the apples for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally, until apples are super soft.

Once apples are nice and tender, remove the pot from the heat. And now we split off into two groups of people. Chunky or Smooth!

Chunky: Add pumpkin puree and vanilla. Smash apples with a potato masher until you reach the desired chunky-ness.

Smooth: Carefully transfer apples and all liquid to food processor or blender. Add pumpkin puree and vanilla. Puree until desired consistency.

Serve applesauce room temperature or cold, straight from the fridge. Store applesauce in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 1 week. Or freeze up to 3 months.

I’m not exactly sure how many apples accounts for 2.5lbs, but I just used two large apples that I happened to have in my fridge…which were there for at least 2 months. But still good!!! I swear!! But like I said, great for lazy people. Chop the apple up however you want, doesn’t need to be even, doesn’t have to look nice, don’t need to peel them. Then just put them all in a pot with water, cook cook cook. I also cooked it for a pretty long time. Don’t know how long, just went by the mush factor. Watched some “New Girl” then some “Grimm.”

I also don’t have a food processor or a potato masher, so I kind of just chopped it as much as I could with a spatula in the pot after it got soft and smushy. Worked pretty well I suppose. And DEFINITELY tastes better cold.

I just need to figure out what to do with the rest of that can of pumpkin puree I have.

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Flexibility + Caramel Brownies

Before I started residency, my impression of the difficulties were pinpointed mostly on the long hours and the relatively low wages that came with those long hours. That and the ridiculously steep learning curve that would inevitably accompany intern year. Especially after M4 year. Surprisingly (somewhat), I am finding that the hours are bad yes, but once you get into a rhythm and schedule, they’re not ALL that bad. I’m tired and waking up is still the worst part, but once I get going, it’s very doable. Learning curve steep yes, but again, there’s no learning like learning on the job. Seeing the pathology, seeing how to treat it and seeing how the treatments take effect. All of that really helps solidify the concept 100x better (for me anyways) than just words on paper.

No, the most difficult at this point, and probably to continue until graduation and beyond, is being mind flexible. Everyone has their own way of doing things. All with the same goal in mind, but with small subtle differences here and there. Before residency, I would hear this and think “Man, that’s awesome, I will get to see so many ways to do things and find a way that I like and agree with.” Still true, but it does become a bit frustrating when you start doing things one way then the subtle difference of where to pull, push, anchor, put your hand, which hand to use, etc. with each person you work with enters the picture. I end up feeling like maybe I really just don’t know how to do whatever action it is I’m supposed to be doing. Or thinking “wait, I thought I was doing this right…but…no??” and putting myself back at square one. Every resident, every staff has their own way of doing things. And they all do admit to it too, which is nice, but as the intern during the moments of doing things, it really just makes me feel a bit behind. They all say, you’ll learn how “so and so” likes to do their “_____” and I guess as residents we shall just have to keep a mental filing cabinet of who uses what where and when.

Anyways. The WORST part so far is probably just living alone alone here. I mean I don’t mind living by myself. It’s kinda nice, my own schedule, my own mess, all my responsibility, etc. But it does kinda suck that there isn’t anyone else around here to talk to or greet me at home or de-day with. Maybe I should get a dog. Except the Bing is too big. 😦 And then what if I get a new dog and he’s not as cool as the Bing!?

Moving on, something you guys can do! I made these absolutely AMAZING caramel brownies last week. I did my first night call and my time was so confused on Sunday when I slept when I got home and then had to sleep again to go to work early Monday AM. Hum.

So I decided to pinventure! Found the recipe from Chef in Training who I believe found the recipe from another site. These are definitely worth it worth it to make.

CARAMEL BROWNIES

  • 1 (14 ounce) package individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package chocolate cake mix
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a heavy saucepan, combine caramels and 1/3 cup of evaporated milk. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth; set aside.
Grease a 9×13 inch pan.
In a large bowl, stir together the cake mix, melted butter and 1/3 cup of evaporated milk by hand until dough holds together.
Press half of the dough into the prepared pan, reserving the rest.
Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips over the crust, pour the caramel mixture evenly over the chips. Crumble the remaining dough over the caramel layer and return to the oven.
Bake for an additional 15 to 18 minutes in the preheated oven.
Cool in refrigerator to set the caramel before cutting into bars.

The only thing I would suggest about changing is that it doesn’t necessarily need the 1 cup of semisweet choco chips on top of the caramel. They’re really sweet and cutting that part out may help it out a bit. For my brownies I did end up using all of the ingredients though.

Also, keep the caramel on low low heat after it’s all smooth. Or just re-heat it prior to pouring it onto the first layer. The final layer on top of the caramel does not need to cover all of it. Compared to the site I got the recipe from, I had it spread out more evenly, but you can leave more holes too! You can put these in the fridge if you want to help them stay better longer (?) and they’ll get harder, which made me sad at first, but if you leave it at room temp for a while, they will get back to super gooey. 🙂 Just keep them in an airtight container! If I liked milk, these would probably be really good…with milk.

Fishtail Top Bun + Birthday Love

Almost a month without a post. I’m not quite keeping up as well as I had hoped. Hum.

In any case, since I haven’t done a pinventure post in a while, thought I’d put this one up. I’ve actually used this hairstyle a couple times already. Found it (of course) through Pinterest, and love love the blog. They have fantastic hair tutorials and gift guides and giveaways and… 🙂 A Cup of Jo with direct access to their Braided Top Bun tutorial. This is one that works quite well and stays in place all day. Very cute and convenient for running around the hospital.

I thought, normal braid works well, why not try fishtail with it? So it’s exactly the same as the original except braided fishtail style. Worked out alright, fishtail braids don’t tend to stay as tight as a regular braid, but still looks pretty good. If nothing else, it looks nicely coiled.

On another note, had my first bday away from home. Was able to spend a nice weekend with friends at home, delicious dinner with authentic Chinese dishes which I have missed very much since moving. (Aside from the food my mom has packed me!) And a nice night out (with some drama, but that just adds spice to the memories)…although I did get very sleepy early on. Alas what waking up at 0430 does to you!

Then had a wonderful dinner on my actual birthday with my classmates! Got slammed on the floors and didn’t get out until later than anticipated, but I was so happy to walk into the restaurant and see everyone there!! A pretty big deal considering everyone’s schedule doesn’t always pan out. (Just missing our nights lovely girl) Homemade birthday cake decorated with real flowers. Delicious shared pizzas since I got out late and didn’t order. Made it quite perfect. 🙂


Not to mention a gift sent from across the country. Distance don’t mean a thing…just like that meme I posted before.

Despite being away for the first time, I couldn’t have asked for a better way to start off another year of my life!

Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake + Tomato Alfredo Pasta

Today was the first day of grand rounds and clinic (for me) for the year. Which also means…break from the floors!! Early arrival home!! Which is so so necessary. Last week I went straight through (as did my R2) and I think we were both pretty exhausted. Unfortunately, my one patient on my list for clinic was a no show. 😦 No one wants the noob doctor to see them. But I got to see one of my R2’s return OBs it was just good to be able to see how things in clinic work since it’s on a completely different computer system than I’m used to on my current block.

Anyways, got home early. Really early. I got to do some real life things like cancel a credit card, pay bills, set up online payment, clean off my ridiculous table covered with rounding papers. And I also attempted to cook. 

There’s a grocery store about 0.2 miles away from me, so I just took a quick trip, picked up some ingredients I didn’t have and popped back home. Of course, being a terrible cook and baker, I didn’t really read the whole recipe. For either dish. And had to improvise here and there…I think things turned out okay. Haven’t really tried the breakfast cake yet. 

Anyways! These are recipes I found on Pinterest. I’m always looking for healthy quick easy things to eat (grab and go) for the morning and easily packable for lunch (non sandwich!). Found the buttermilk breakfast cake recipe from Alexandra’s Kitchen and it seemed pretty easy. Until I tried it. Okay to be honest, it’s not difficult. Here’s the recipe from her site.

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tsp. lemon zest or more — zest from 1 large lemon
7/8 cup* + 1 tablespoon sugar**
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups fresh blueberries
½ cup buttermilk

* 7/8 cup = 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons
** This 1 tablespoon is for sprinkling on top

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cream butter with lemon zest and 7/8 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy.

2. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Meanwhile, toss the blueberries with ¼ cup of flour, then whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder and salt.

3. Add the flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in the blueberries.

4. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan (or something similar) with butter or coat with non-stick spray. Spread batter into pan. Sprinkle batter with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 35 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness. If necessary, return pan to oven for a couple of more minutes. (Note: Baking for as long as 10 minutes more might be necessary.) Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Now…my first mistake. Was not having any mixing bowls. So I was just using the largest bowls (ramen size maybe) I had to mix things. I also did not have a whisk or any sort of electric mixer. So I used…chopsticks. And then…I did not put the butter out early so it was not at room temp. To fix that, I somewhat chopped it up and mixed it in with the sugar, then put it outside on my mini balcony/porch where I attempted to have the 100 degree weather soften it up. Worked ok I think. My salt was also not kosher, and I used less lemon zest than they indicated. Maybe some more blueberries. In any case, I also did not have a square pan. Only 9×13. So I ghettofied it and made my own version with aluminum foil. 

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Square enough!!! While that was baking, I started attempting the Tomato Alfredo Pasta, which I found from Kitchen Trial and Error through Pinterest as well. I LOVE LOVE pasta. Especially “stabbable” pasta – the only kind I like to eat with a fork. Apparently no one calls this kind of pasta “stabbable” and I just made it up. Her recipe is below.

creamy tomato pasta
alfredo sauce adapted from cook’s illustrated
30 minutes, serves 4

for the tomato sauce –
1 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes (about 9 medium)
1 small onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves minced
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
olive oil

for the alfredo sauce –
(if you want to lighten it up, halve the alfredo and keep the tomato sauce the same)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons flour
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup half & half
2 garlic cloves peeled and crushed
1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 pound farfalle or other short cut pasta

  1. bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.
  2. start the tomato sauce. bring a large pot of water to boil. score the bottom of the tomatoes, blanch in the boiling water for about a minute, cool and peel. discard skins. roughly chop tomatoes and set aside.
  3. in a small saucepan, sweat the minced onion and garlic in about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium low heat for about 5 minutes, until soft.
  4. add the tomatoes to the onion and garlic. if you want a thin sauce like mine, blend the sauce with an immersion blender. cook about 15 minutes until thickened.
  5. while the tomato sauce thickens, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the package directions.
  6. while the pasta and tomato sauce are cooking, make the alfredo sauce. melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. whisk in the flour until smooth and cook about 2 minutes, until brown.
  7. whisk in the milk, half & half, and garlic and season with salt & pepper. continuously whisking, bring to a simmer and cook about 2 minutes until thickened. fish out the garlic with a slotted spoon and discard.
  8. whisk in the parmesan. the sauce will be very thick, so add 1/3 cup of the hot pasta cooking water to the alfredo sauce to thin it out a bit. remove from heat.
  9. drain the pasta and add to the alfredo sauce.
  10. mix the basil into the tomato sauce and add the tomato sauce to the pasta. mix well.

I for one, did not follow it exactly. I used 3 large tomatoes and just store bought the alfredo. I did happen to make the tomato sauce from scratch though. And it turned out pretty well. I hate raw tomatoes, but I love tomatoes in sauces, salsas, chunky tomatoes in sauces, etc. If you’re going to use store bought alfredo sauce, I recommend just putting the whole jar in. I didn’t exactly measure things as accurately as in the original recipe, but I think without adding any salt to the tomato sauce, you’ll need the saltiness/richness from the alfredo to balance out the fresh tomatoes. 

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Final product there…before I went back and added the rest of the alfredo. I think you can adjust it to your own liking though. I love pastas with lots of sauce for the most part…and I love cheese so that worked out well for me.

I actually baked the breakfast cake 10 minutes longer (as she had said!) and went by color more than the toothpick stick. Partly because I don’t have any toothpicks here. Still deficient in many normal household goods..

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Not bad though eh? Now I have breakfast for the rest of the week! And lunch for a bit at least. 🙂 Baking is supposed to be pretty exact, but a little bit of improvising couldn’t have hurt that much right? I haven’t tasted it yet though…so who knows…

Pics to Canvas

So technically this pinventure was done before any residency activities began, but I’m going to blog about it anyways because I learned some interesting things along the way. Tips for the next time I do this and I do not want to forget!

I originally found this great pinterest DIY from A Beautiful Mess Blog where I also ended up pinning other genius ideas! I loved the way that her canvas had turned out, especially the imperfections making it look all “vintagey.”

Since I was about to move into a new place, I decided a couple canvas portraits would be a great idea to decorate! My friend Kathy concurred and we went out and purchased the materials.

  • canvas in size/shape of your choosing
  • gel medium from Liquitex – we chose just the regular one, heavy not super heavy and not matte
  • pictures printed to your chosen size – laser copy
  • brushes to apply gel medium

***When buying the canvas, make sure you buy one that is smaller than your print!***

We bought canvases before prints at FedEx/Kinkos so we guesstimated what we wanted the sizes to be. All turned out to be a bit too big. =/

When we went to print out our pictures, it turns out that the photo had to be sized correctly prior to them printing it out. Depending on the dimensions of your photo, especially if you had cropped it, it may not print out properly. For THEM to resize it, it would cost a ridiculous amount of money (around $8/resizing + printing costs). They also print only on 8 1/2 x 11″ or the elongated version. Otherwise prints have to be custom and would take much longer (the guy told us next day) and of course be more expensive. Therefore, the 8×10 canvas that was used in the original post seemed to be best.

***Size your photos properly especially if cropping! Check before you bring to get them printed out!***

That being said, we did our best and lugged everything back. As described, we applied the gel medium to the blank canvas giving it a generous coating. You can see our photos in the background which don’t extend to the edges of the paper!

After the gel is applied, we stuck the photos on face down onto the canvas. Be careful because once you stick it on, it is difficult to move around. If your photo is larger than the canvas it shouldn’t be TOO much of a problem unless yours is really crooked!

Then just leave it overnight to dry!

The next day we took a dishtowel and dipped it in water (generously!) and applied the water to the paper on the canvas.

When the paper is wet enough, you’ll see the image. Then just roll the wet paper off. You can actually peel it as well if you can. This part takes the longest time and you’ll probably have to go over it multiple times to make sure the paper is off. If it isn’t, it’ll dry with some white fluffy material which is additional paper. As you remove the paper, you will get the “vintage scratches.” We kept trying to figure out how the scratches were appearing…

***It seems like the scratches appear only in the direction that the brushes applied the gel medium and was dependent on how hard you stuck the photo on. Areas that were looser (more air trapping?) seemed to have more scratches. One photo that Kathy REALLY stuck on there had no scratches at all!***

Our final product wasn’t a perfect as the original I had seen and pinned, but they were pretty darn close and now after going through it once and figuring out some tips, I think I’ll have a much better second round!