Posts tagged ‘cinnamon’

Lessons Learned

This past month has taught me a lot. Sure, I put in a lot of hours learning microbiology, physiology, pharmacology, pathology… but beyond the medical science, I also learned a lot about myself.

I learned that it is okay to realize you have worn nothing but leggings and yoga pants for 6 days straight when you sort your laundry.

I tested my attention span and sedentary capacity to their limits, and then broke up study blocks with jumping jacks and sit ups to stay awake and sane.

I realized how important it is to get out of the house each day, even if it is just for a quick one mile jog.

I learned how much I love to run.

I remembered how much I love to walk on days when I just can’t muster the energy to run.

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I appreciated just how much I learned in the past two years, and how much there is that I still don’t know.

The human body is an amazing machine.

I learned that it is okay to cry on a friend’s shoulder when you are overwhelmed and feel inadequate for the task at hand.

I was and am constantly reminded that God is faithful. Starting the day with a Psalm helped refocus my priorities on some really tough days.

I am amazed at the supportive and loving community that has surrounded me and carried me through to where I am now.

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I learned that colored pens make everything more fun.

I released my post-exam anxiety and jitters by recycling two years of notes and scrap paper.

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I learned how important home cooked meals are to me. I only ordered take out twice. And both times were worth it.

I survived by being okay with having breakfast for dinner. And lunch. And breakfast. Because what would life be without home fries and eggs?

I made more variations of home fries and eggs than I knew possible before this past month. Breakfast for dinner meals were great because they still gave me the break I desperately desired in the kitchen without any intensive prep or clean up. I never measured, so these are loose instructions for some of my favorite and unexpected combos rather than strict recipes.

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The first is a Turnip Hash that was inspired by the plethora of turnips I received in my Boston Organics box. I cut up a large turnip (peeled) and a large potato (unpeeled) into bite sized pieces and steamed them until they were fork tender. I then sautéed them in a large skillet with a pad of Smart Balance Light butter, a pinch of salt and rosemary. On a whim, I threw in a small handful of raisins and a dash of cinnamon, because it makes everything better. And it did. I was surprised how much I liked this! The classic rosemary with potatoes kept it homey, while the turnips added an interesting flavor and stronger texture. The raisins were a nice sweet addition, though I did make it without and liked it both ways. A whole turnip and potato made at least 3 if not more meals for me served alongside a fried egg and piece of toast. Breakfast for dinner success number 1!

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The second is a Curried Egg Omelette. I can’t take credit for this idea – my Grandma is the true brains behind this creation. While in Florida, she made eggs one morning and on a whim (I am seeing where my cooking style comes from now…) threw in a dash of curry powder and cinnamon. I was skeptical, as I am sure you are as well, but, like I said, cinnamon makes everything better. And it did. The cinnamon flavor didn’t shine through, but instead enhanced the light curry flavor that took over the scrambled eggs. It was unexpected and addicting. I knew I had to make it again. So I did. I mixed two eggs with a teaspoon of Greek yogurt (you could use milk or sour cream as well) and a few shakes (about 1/4 tsp) curry powder and a shake (less than 1/8 tsp) cinnamon. You can turn this into scrambled eggs, or pour it into a really hot pan for a nice omelette with a crunchy outside. The curry flavor is mild but unique, and leaves me wanting more! I ate these eggs alongside some sweet potato  home fries, skins left on and sautéed in olive oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

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Lesson learned in writing this post: I should buy stock in cinnamon.

And I am so excited to cook and share with you all again!

May 21, 2012 at 11:00 am 7 comments

Pumpkin Baking

I have recently done the opposite of what most of the healthy food blogging world attempts to do. Bake with pumpkin, twice? No, that’s still pretty much everywhere. I un-veganized a recipe, twice. Why, you might ask? (after wondering if that is a real word…) I made plans to bake with friends, and both times ended up traveling to their apartments. Since most of my friends do not regularly stock almond milk, flax/chia seeds, Earth Balance, and specialty flours, I had to change the recipes up a bit to make them more user-friendly. The results: fantastic. They are definitely indulgences, but the best part of baking with friends is that there are many people around to enjoy the results!

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The hardest part about this recipe: you have to let it chill for a few hours to let the pie set! So hard not to eat right out of the oven...

Baking date #1: Oh She Glow’s Pumpkin Brownie Pie. I saw this weeks ago and immediately called my friend to tell him about it. Pumpkin pie and brownie together? What’s not to love. Unfortunately, one of his roommates is allergic to pecans. In order for everyone to be able to enjoy the pie, we used slivered almonds in place of the pecans. You can find the original recipe here. The changes we made, besides the nut substitiution, were to use butter in place of coconut oil in the brownie, as well as to use regular milk and butter wherever vegan alternatives were called for in the recipe. The result was truly decadent. A splurge whether you keep the recipe vegan or not, but so worth every bite.

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I swear there is a pumpkin pie layer in there somewhere!

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Artful icing drizzles

Baking date #2: Eat Live Run’s Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls. M and I are in another discussion class together this semester, so of course we had to bake something delicious for our classmates! Remember those sinful brownies we made last time? Deciding against the chocolate coma this time, we experimented with these fall treats. We again used regular milk and butter, used a real egg instead of a flax one, and omitted a few of the spices that M didn’t have on hand. We also added a few big spoonfuls of pumpkin to the cinnamon sugar filling. The result: decadent, fall-spiced cinnamon rolls. Even with the un-veganizing, these are still on the healthier side of baked goods (not counting that amazing icing of course!) Our classmates enjoyed the treat during a long Wednesday afternoon discussion!

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Convinced of your need to hit the kitchen and bake these yet?

Switching between baking styles can be tricky, but whether you are cooking for a vegan recipe for non-vegan friends, or trying a new trick or two in vegan baking, remember to have fun! If the recipe changes you make don’t work out, just try again! Most of the time, however, your experimenting will result in something delicious!

Question: Do you ever modify recipes to suit your own or your friends needs/preferences?

October 21, 2011 at 7:14 am 8 comments

Fall Favorites: Sugar Free Apple Crisp

There is nothing better in the fall than apples, especially in New England. They are incredibly cheap at the local grocery store, crisp, fresh, and so much sweeter than their available year-round cousins. I am hoping to go apple picking soon, but the 6-lb bag I purchased for $6 the other day should hold me over until then! Anyone who follows my blog regularly may be confused to see a dessert recipe up here. Why is that? Oh yeah, my crazy roommate and I decided to give up sugar for three weeks, and we are smack-dab in the middle of it! Neither of us have huge sweet tooths, but there are just some days when you want dessert. My roommate, sick with what might be my cold (sorry!), had a rough day and was really in the mood for a baked treat. I told her to forget the sugar fast and take a day off, but she is stronger willed than I! I admire her determination and fierce commitment, and so I told her I would experiment with a sugar-free apple crisp.

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The results surprised even me. Maybe our tastes are changing, or maybe fall apples really are that sweet, or maybe this recipe is really that decadent without an ounce of added sugar! There are two versions – the original, and then our second recreation during our roommate dinner. Both are excellent, the full-fat version being slightly more decadent and the applesauce version just a little sweeter. Try one or both and let me know what you think!

Question: What is your favorite recipe for fall apples?

Sugar Free Single Apple Crisp

serves 1

For apple:

1 apple, chopped

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp lemon juice

For crumble:

1 tbsp butter (melted) OR 1 1/2 tbsp applesauce

1 tsp butter (chopped into small squares)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 tbsp whole wheat flour

1 tbsp chopped almonds

4-5 tbsp oats

In a large ramekin or small loaf pan coated with cooking spray, combine chopped apple, cinnamon, and lemon juice. In a separate bowl, mix melted butter or applesauce and the rest of the ingredients. Pour over the apple mixture. Dot with the butter squares. Cook in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35 minutes until fragrant and slightly crisped.

October 7, 2011 at 7:00 am 18 comments

WIAW Leftover Edition

I had a lot of fun participating in Peas and Crayons‘ What I Ate Wednesday last week, from taking pictures of my daily eats to getting inspiration for simple meal ideas from other bloggers. I am excited for my second WIAW, and hope to do this more in the future. Yesterday’s meals were pretty simple, pulled together from leftovers. I hate wasting food and will always use up leftovers (or freeze them) before cooking a new meal, even if I am getting bored. Freezing leftovers has been a huge help in the past, since I will often freeze individual containers and then have my own, homemade TV dinners when life gets hectic. Another way I have found to avoid leftover boredom is to reinvent them. Keep reading for some of my leftover makeovers!

Pre-breakfast snack: 7am

I set my alarm for 6:45am, with no intentions of leaving my warm cozy bed for class. Instead, I brewed a pot of my pumpkin spiced coffee, grabbed a handful of peanuts in the process, and crawled back under the covers with my mug and clinical textbook to learn about the cardiac exam.

Breakfast: 8am

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After making it halfway through my reading, I decided to face the day and my cold apartment. I finally made myself some Pumpkin Oatmeal! I saw it on so many WIAW’s last week, and pumpkin recipes keep appearing everywhere, so I knew I had to have some. I followed this recipe at Oh She Glows for the oatmeal, but skipped the suggested toppings, choosing a few toasted almonds and some fresh ground cinnamon instead. So yummy! A hearty breakfast that sneaks good-for-you veggies without you even realizing… (Yes, pumpkin is a vegetable and it is rich in fiber and Vitamin A!)

Lunch: 11:45am

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Lucky I had leftover Subway sandwiches on hand for what turned out to be a hectic afternoon. The break in the rain I needed to bike to campus never came, and so I was resigned to taking the bus. Unfortunately, the bus takes at least 3 times as long, and so I had to inhale my lunch as I was getting ready and flying out the door. I gave the Veggie Sub a little more staying power with a slice of melted cheese on one side, some hummus on the other, and a few extra pickles in the middle. Perfection. Good thing my new travel mug kept my peppermint tea piping hot until I got to school! Peppermint tea works way better than gum as a breath freshener (no one wants their (future) doctor to have Subway breath!)

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Snack: 4:30pm

A long day of learning about heart sounds and the complete cardiac exam left me quite hungry by 4:30pm. I didn’t want to eat too much, since my yoga class was in an hour and it is not advised to go to hot yoga after eating a meal. I ate the pear I had picked out for lunch and didn’t have time to eat, and drank a whole lotta water in preparation for yoga. Good thing! This was the hardest yoga class I have ever taken! Granted, I have only been to 3… but it was a challenge, and I loved it! My arms feel strong, my legs feel stretched from the previous day’s 10.5 mile run, and I sweated more than I knew possible! (TMI? Sorry!)

Dinner: 8pm

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The only One problem with not being able to bike to class is not being able to bike home! I was probably a treat to sit next to on the bus – sweaty, tired, and hungry (read: cranky). I heated up some leftover winter melon soup (almost through that gigantic pot!) but was sick of having eggs with it. Instead, I sauteed a few mushrooms in chili oil and added them to the soup with some soy sauce for a different spin. It was a nice change since I have eaten a lot of this soup lately, and it was good to have so much liquid after hot yoga.

Dessert(s): 9pm

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Still pretty hungry after my big bowl of soup, I sought a sugar-free dessert. This is a trick from my roommate for “baked” cinnamon apples! Just cut up an apple, sprinkle it with cinnamon, and microwave it for 2 minutes. The apples give off a bit of juice that makes a quasi-sauce, and the natural sweetness and spice of the cinnamon really shines through. Not eating added sugar really opens up your taste buds!

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Still hungry, I munched on some peanuts and raisins after my apple. I was really craving something salty, and needed a bit more protein in my day.

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I settled down to finish studying for the evening, and was still hungry and thirsty from yoga! I made some decaf green tea with a few slices of fresh ginger (my new favorite night time drink!) and had a slice of toast with Smart Balance. I may or may not have sprinkled a tiny bit of salt on my toast… finally hit the spot!

Question: Have you ever done hot yoga? Do you experience weird salt cravings afterwords, or does it take your body a while to recover from the fluid loss?

September 21, 2011 at 6:42 am 10 comments

Seasons of Change

Fall is in the air and the blog world is abuzz with pumpkin, squash and cinnamon. I am loving all of the new meal ideas, especially anything with pumpkin pie spices! Recently, my friend turned me on to spiced coffee. In your regular drip coffee maker, sprinkle a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg over the coffee grinds. Brew your coffee as normal and a hint of the spices will shine through. It tastes like fall in a cup! As good as gourmet pumpkin spice roasted coffee blends without the cost.

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More than just the season is changing around me. School is picking up intensity faster than I ever could have imagined. I am already two exams in with only harder modules in sight. I have a lot less time to cook, and also less of a need to cook since it is just me. (Marie and I are still working on that big batch of winter melon soup from last week!) I also have a lot less time for blogging, necessarily prioritizing school on certain days. I love cooking and writing and sharing and will still plan on doing so, but will have to pull back from daily posts. I do not want to promise a schedule either, since this blog is something I do to unwind and have a stress-free outlet. I hope you will continue to read and enjoy my adventures, even as I become a busier and busier student!

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Last change – I am giving up sugar! For three weeks at least… My hiking buddies and I are running the Boston Half Marathon over Columbus Day weekend, and we talked about nutrition and training during our hike. We are all dedicated to running and eat pretty healthy (whole grain, vegetarian, mostly unprocessed) diets, but want to be at our peak for the upcoming race. We committed to forgoing added sugars until the race (with one cheat day allowed for a pre-planned event). I am even planning to avoid natural sweeteners like honey and agave, hoping to better taste the sweetness of fruits for dessert. I started yesterday and was already craving a biscotti from Starbucks, so this will likely be harder than I expected.

Challenge: Want to join me, my roommate, and friend as we give up added sugar for the next three weeks? It is simple! Avoid most desserts, choosing fruit instead, and check your normal spreads and sauces for added sugars. It is always helpful to have accountability partners in lifestyle changes, whether near or far!

September 19, 2011 at 7:00 am 13 comments

Going Granola

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Marie and I finally fulfilled one of her life goals: to make homemade granola. A small and silly goal, but exciting none-the-less. We both love granola, whether it is mixed into yogurt for a post-run snack or dessert, or sprinkled on top of our oatmeal for breakfast. And we both just realized how much oatmeal we go through…
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Yes, we did eat that in the course of 5 months. Make that 4, since we were both gone for a month…
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Granola can be great, but it can also be a sneaky source of calories and sugar. A half-cup serving of store bought granola has 160 calories – and a half cup isn’t much! It also has so much sugar that I can’t even eat certain brands! Homemade granola is still calorie dense, but it is much easier to control how much fat and sugar you are adding, and it remains all natural. Watch out for low-fat and low-sugar products, since they usually contain filler and not-so-good for you additives to keep the taste the same!

This will likely be the first attempt of many. We used a recipe I had archived in my documents from an old NY Times article, and it has a great, fall flavor. We thought it had the perfect amount of sweetness, the right amount of cinnamon and maybe a bit too much nutmeg, and the hazlenuts and almonds add great crunch. We thought it was perhaps a bit dry, maybe the fault of the coconut or oat bran. Still my go-to granola recipe for now!
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Granola cravings really seem to strike busy med students around the same time! Check out Baking with Em & M for their Cinnamon Granola. Also check out this recipe at Clean Eating Chelsey for a quinoa granola I have been dying to make for a long time. Maybe that will be Marie’s newest life goal. (Or maybe the IronMan competition she has always wanted to do! Obviously on the same playing field, in terms of life goals ;))

Question: What is a goal recipe you have for the kitchen?

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Homemade Granola

Yields about 4 cups

3 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup oat bran

1/2 cup wheat germ

1/4 cup flax seeds, coarsely ground

1/4 cup coconut, flaked (optional)

1/2 cup chopped nuts (we used hazelnuts and almonds, but I would do all hazelnut next time!)

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

scant 1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup honey, plus 1-2 tablespoons for drizzling

1/2 tablespoon vanilla

1 cups raisins

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and coat with cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix together oats, bran, wheat germ, ground flax seeds, coconut, chopped nuts, nutmeg, cinnamon, and raisins. In a smaller bowl, combine honey, oil, and vanilla. Heat on medium power for 30 seconds until honey is very smooth. Pour slowly into the dry ingredients. Spread the granola into a single layer on the baking sheet. Drizzle with a bit more honey to create clusters. Bake for 45-55 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so. Allow granola to cool on the sheet and store in an airtight container.

August 28, 2011 at 9:00 am 5 comments

Chelsea’s Chex Mix Adventures

This guest post is from my lovely sister Chelsea, sharing a little bit about her adventure to find cereals and snack foods to suit her new, gluten and dairy free diet. Enjoy!

CHELS, INSERT YOUR THOUGHTS HERE AND THEN CLICK UPDATE :)

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Snickerdoodle Chex Mix

from the cereal box

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

2 cups cinnamon Chex

2 cups chocolate Chex

4 cups popped popcorn

1/4 cup butter or Earth Balance buttery sticks

In a small bowl, mix together cinnamon and sugar. In a large bowl, mix together the cereal and popcorn. Pout the melted butter over the cereal and popcorn until well covered. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture and toss to coat evenly. Microwave for 30 seconds to ensure even mixing and coating.

July 5, 2011 at 9:00 am 19 comments


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