Thursday, September 29, 2011

Anne's favourite oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

I've been promising the recipe to Anne's Favourite Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies forever!!

Last week I brought these cookies to a society fair and they were all gobbled up instantly. What makes them 'oh so good' is that the oats are ground to a flour. That and the fact that they were made with lots of love :).

To make these amazing cookies you will need:
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups oats (ground to a flour)
  • 1 2/3 cups mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup walnuts
1. Mix the butter and sugars in a bowl. Add in eggs, milk and vanilla and mix.
2. To the butter mixture, add the flour, baking soda, salt and oats, mixing well.
3. Add in chocolate chips and walnuts. Mix until evenly distributed.
4. Bake at 375F for 9-10 minutes.
5. Indulge!

I can pretty much guarantee that you will not be disappointed with these cookies. They hit the spot with their flavour, texture, and character (yes, I believe cookies have character...this one is defined by the oats and walnuts).

If you get a chance to try these beauties please let me know how it goes!

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sushi babies

My roomies and I have been having intense sushi cravings lately. We finally cracked and planned a date to take advantage of Sushi Nami's 'tsu nami' hour ... aka 20% off selected sushi dishes! The only catch? We had to wait until 9:30pm for tsu nami hour to arrive.

I satisfied my grumbling tummy with a combination of carrot sticks (1 out of 6 bags is already devoured!) and an apple with crunchy peanut butter. It's my new favourite snack!

By the time our food arrived we were not disappointed. We had:
House salad with ginger dressing
Tuna Tataki (lightly breaded & slightly deep fried tuna with Japanese spicy salsa)
Dynamite Maki (shrimp tempura, cucumber, lettuce & avocado) and Spicy Salmon Roll (salmon, green onion, tempura bits & spicy sauce)
My sushi cravings have officially been satisfied! When all was done I definitely had a food baby...maybe even food triplets. But I love them all dearly :).

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Just a (not so) typical grocery day!

Groceries have been on my mind lately...for good reason too! I was able to stop by the market over the weekend and picked up some fresh produce that made for a delicious salad yesterday, but my cupboards and fridge were still lacking some good staples.

"What are your staples?", you may ask. In general, you'll find the following at my apartment:
  • apples
  • greek yogurt
  • oatmeal
  • frozen fruit (for smoothies)
  • random veggies for salads
  • dark chocolate
  • soy milk or almond milk (just because I prefer the taste over cow's milk)
  • cottage cheese (perfect for protein pancakes)
  • peanut butter (it's an obsession...along with the dark chocolate).
In today's grocery run, I hit many of these staples. Some items I bought in excess because they were on sale (i.e. I don't normally buy 6 bags of baby carrots every week), while others I bought out of curiosity (such as the rice cakes...I've never bought them before!)
My loot! Note the greek yogurt tower. It was half price!
I usually go for at least 85% cocoa for my chocolate bars, however there was a $1.50 coupon for Nestle Noir chocolate. I wanted to put this bar to the test and see if the shape really affected my appreciation for the cocoa.
Great expectations...especially with that gold wrapper!
Nope...tasted like ordinary dark chocolate to me!
Don't get me wrong...I still will devour the whole chocolate bar, but having that extra curve in the chocolate didn't necessarily enhance my gustatory experience.

I guess I'll just have to eat a few more pieces of the chocolate to confirm my conclusion...please excuse me while I do so ;).

Monday, September 26, 2011 naturel!

The hot spell is continuing here in Hali! I was determined to have a productive day, setting my alarm for 5:30am. Well...once again, that didn't quite happen but 6am did! I crept to the gym and did an incline workout, followed by weights targeting my back muscles.

The morning did end up being productive after all, but with all of that brain power I was famished by dinnertime! I finally had groceries from going to the market on Saturday and decided to make a warm kale salad.

By the way, did you know that this is what celery looks like when you buy it fresh?

I was completely shocked! Who would have known there were all those leaves at the top!

In addition to the celery I added tomatoes, cucumber, mushrooms, carrots, and hard boiled egg to my salad...all drizzled with olive oil & balsamic vinegar.

It definitely hit the spot...especially those eggs.

Time for bed! Apparently I have a neurology case practice in the morning...which means 6am workout (fingers crossed).

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A peanut-y summer-y day

It is hot hot HOT today! I can't quite believe it's Fall. Especially with the temperature almost reaching 30C (85F).

It's pretty much tanning weather

Actually, it was too hot for soaking up the sun so I resorted to baking. And with peanut butter and oatmeal cookies on the mind lately I decided to go with the best of both worlds: Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.

As with the majority of my recipes I went to to see what the members had to offer and quickly found one that peaked my interest. With a few adjustments I was on the road to baking success!

To make OPBCCC's, you will need: 
  • 1 cup oats, ground finely
  • 1/2 cup whole oats
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
Stir ground oats, whole oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In a mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla and PB. Beat until well-combined. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined (don't overmix). Add in chocolate chips. Bake at 325F 12-15 min (my gas oven took 17 min).
Cookie dough temptation
Well worth the wait!
I also thought I'd share with you one of my favourite tools in the kitchen: the Pampered Chef liquid/dry measuring cup. It is perfect for those "messy" ingredients to measure out like yogurt, pumpkin puree, and (of course) peanut butter! All you have to do is adjust the inner cylinder to your desired amount, scoop the ingredient in and then...

BAM! By pressing the cylinder back up it smooshes everything out. You just scrape the top with a spatula and you're good to go!

Hope you're having a lovely weekend! I'm heading back to my apartment soon and gym-ing it! Or I may take my run outside if it's still bright out.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

For granted

You know that saying "You don't know what you've got 'till it's gone". That has literally been the underlying theme of my day.

I have a whole new appreciation for:

1. Reusable grocery bags, especially when shopping at the Farmer's Market.
2. My MacBook. It's been months since I've used a PC and today I was confronted by 2 of them! I knew macs were user-friendly but now it's confirmed. I actually felt pretty sad...
3. Peanut Butter. It is #1 on my grocery list. Thank goodness I'm staying with my family this weekend and can indulge in some good 'ol PB with apples!
4. My sanity. I watched Jersey Shore for the first time yesterday with my roomies and lost something I can never take back. In my defense, I was blogging while I didn't give it 100% of my attention.

5. My camera. Wondering why I'm using random pics? I left my whole purse at my apartment and in it was my camera. I feel so lost without it. That electronic device has literally become my 5th appendage!
Why my life feels like right now.
I hope you don't mistake this as a pity party. If anything I'm even more thankful for what I do have. With or without these things, life continues (well, with the exception of sanity). It just means I have to be a little more flexible ;).

Friday, September 23, 2011

It's about time...

Over the past couple weeks, my groceries have been slowly dwindling...dwindling...dwindling. What can I say, it's been a hectic week and since I wasn't able to make it to the grocery store on Tuesday I figured I'd stretch out my food until the 10% student discount day rolled by again.

In general this hasn't been a problem and I've learned to be flexible in my meals. Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal for lunch? Sure! Chocolate cupcake as my source of grains for dinner? Why not! But there's only so long you can go before you start to sound a tad when you have oatmeal for breakfast AND dinner.

Well today was not going to be one of those days! And other than being 5 minutes late for an intense "Gross Anatomy of the Central Nervous System" lecture, my day was leaning on the bright side. I woke up refreshed off of 6.5 hours of sleep, I got to hold a brain and a spinal cord in the neuroanatomy lab, and I went for a 6.9km run with some classmates followed by a shoulders workout.

Note: Running in 90% humidity = recipe for being a sweaty mess
When I arrived at my apartment I was famished. But what to eat? Oatmeal was a tempting "easy meal" but my body was craving for something more. That's when I remembered: the ground beef in the freezer.

Normally, frozen meat doesn't phase me. The issue here was the age of the frozen meat. I won't reveal too much but let's just say that I've had it since Med I. Enough said. However I figured that with enough spices, everything would turn out alright. Here's what I added to the sauce:

  • a few whole cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1/2 tomato
  • 2 small carrots, grated
  • 1/2 can tomato sauce
  • a few sprigs of cilantro
  • a small handfull of spinach leaves
  • 1 Tbsp honey

Everything looked good and smelled good. But how was the taste? Wellllll...the flavour of the sauce was good. As for the meat, I ended up leaving most of it to the side. It's unfortunate because had it been fresh I think this meal would have been a major winner! I'll definitely be giving it a fair second chance.

It's a sign...I think it's about time to get groceries...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dreams deferred

I woke up with a start this morning and did some quick anatomy review and practiced tying sutures. By 7:50am I was changed in my scrubs and set to go in the OR...only to be met by a Med III saying they had enough students and residents to assist.


*Did you hear that? It was the sound of my soul being crushed*

Just kidding :P. It's true that I was disappointed but at the same time the thought of being first assist was great motivation to study some Grays and got a couple hundred knots' experience. I'll be all set for next time :).

There were other perks too...I got to watch a really cool cardiac procedure and I got to insert my first Foley catheter...hey, it's a good skill to have!

Not to mention I got to wear a REALLY hot scrub cap ;)
Fine, fine. I look like a nerd.
In the meantime I'll keep up with my knots and learn everything possible about the heart. Someday it will be put to the test!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

All knotted up!

This morning my alarm was set for 5:30am.  Unfortunately these ambitious plans were thwarted as my body decided it liked 6:45am MUCH better.

*the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak*

Despite the later start to the day I still managed to mooooostly catch up on my "to do" list. By 11:00am I was ready to get my arm checked out...

Yayyyy! TB free!!!
After class and tutorial I needed a pick-me-up. I still can't get used to these afternoon classes. They make me hungry ALL THE TIME! I stopped by Just Us Coffee House and picked up a snack to tie me over to supper. Their oatcakes are delicious and full of flax and pumpkin seeds. So much texture!

Americano & oatcake from Just Us
 While waiting for choir to start I worked on my knotting and suturing skills.

Two-handed square knot
Knotting with instruments
My first sutures on the practice you trust me yet? :P
I gotta hands were SO cramped afterwards and I didn't even reach the ideal quota of 1,000 knots/day! Fingers crossed that I'll be ready for the OR tomorrow morning.

Bedtime soon...the 5:30am alarm is set yet again...and I still need to learn the anatomy of the heart! Eeek!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Let me show you the shape of my heart

Dear Medicine,

I think I have a new favourite organ. It's called the heart. Sure the kidneys are cute, and I'll always have a soft spot for the appendix. But there's just something about the strong pulsations and energy of the heart that is irresistable.


Today I started my elective in cardiac and vascular surgery. I was a little nervous...ok, I was actually a LOT nervous because: (1) we haven't learned too much about the heart yet, and (2) I heard that my preceptor (aka supervisor/teacher) was intense. Intense is not a bad's just intimidating for a shy person like myself.

I stepped into the OR to find the senior resident leaning over an open chest with retractors in her hands. She quickly introduced herself, found out I was a Med II and asked if I wanted to scrub in.

Heck yessss!!!

I'm so glad she offered otherwise I wouldn't have been able to see anything. I had a great view of the heart and it was mindblowing to see it contracting before my eyes.

Speaking of the heart, contrary to what we're taught as children it doesn't look much like this:

If you see any resemblance to the real thing, please let me know :P 

I think part of what made the day so good was the teachers. Before the heart was opened up I got to touch the aorta with my hand and feel the turbulent flow of blood from the stenosis (pretty much feeling a "fluttering" under my fingers from what would be heard as a heart murmur with a stethoscope).

Partway through the surgery, the senior resident turned to me and we had the following conversation:

Resident: Rebekah, what are you doing Thursday morning?
Me: *gym, clinical skills prep, lab prep, studying neuro, meeting @ children's hospital*
       Not much...we don't start clinic until the afternoon.
Resident: How would you feel about scrubbing into surgery on Thursday. We're short of hands and you could be first assist.
Me: *AHHHHH!!! oh my gosh oh my gosh oh my gosh!!!*
        Yes, that would be great!

Sometimes I'm surprised by my ability to respond in a calm matter despite what's going on in my head! My "homework" is to practice tying knots...apparently 1000 a day. I can already tell you that this will not be happening tonight! I wonder how brutal it would be to double up tomorrow.

If you have a moment, tell your heart you love it...or how cool it is. I'm sure it will love the appreciation :).

Monday, September 19, 2011

Baking Redemption

Today was one of those non-stop days...literally! Between a doctor's appointment, running to multiple meetings, going to class, and meeting up with a friend for dinner I hardly had a quiet moment to myself to just breathe.

Oh, and today was also TB testing Part I. Fingers crossed that I pass! Is it strange that I watch as the nurse does the injection?

Needles...they're a beautiful thing!
Well, after yesterday's baking fail I knew I had to redeem myself, however I was feeling a severe lack of confidence. It was time to pull out a no-fail solution: Anne's Favourite Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. Her sister put them together as bachelorette party favours and I've been itching to try them ever since!

Everything was set to go. All that needed to be added was butter, milk, vanilla, and an egg. I literally mixed them together, put them on the baking sheet, and took them out of the oven all within 20 minutes!

From the cookie dough I knew that they would be good (yes, I am a self-professing cookie dough's a fact of life) and when I offered them to my roommates my suspicions were confirmed! Perfect texture, perfect flavour, and perfect crunch from the walnuts. I literally do not know if I've had a better oatmeal chocolate chip cookie in my life!

I promise to hop back on the baking bandwagon in the very near future...but in the meantime hope has been fully restored in the cookie world :).

One, two...five strikes you're out!

Today I had the fullest intentions of baking something delicious...I really did. However, nature (and better judgement) was against me and put obstacles in my way from the get-go.

It all started when I thought to myself, "Hmmm...we have a tub of sour cream in the fridge. Sure it's past the expiry date but last I checked it was usable". Thus began the search for a sour cream cookie recipe. And why not? I've added sour cream to muffins, cakes, and banana bread in the past. How could I go wrong with cookies?

With no time at all I found a promising recipe online with good reviews. I had all the ingredients except for vanilla extract.

Strike One.

But that wasn't a problem because I could just run out to the store and grab some. Unfortunately my sister had taken the only vehicle I am able/allowed to drive (standard = constant stalling).

Strike Two.

But that was okay too because my mom was gracious enough to offer to run me over to the store, despite the fact that it was Sunday. Note: my family and I consider Sunday as our day of rest and never shop unless absolutely necessary.

Strike Three.

Thankfully the heavens didn't open and strike the car with lightning. We picked up a few groceries and made it back home alive in one piece. I started gathering all the ingredients together: flour, sugar, eggs, moldy sour cream...wait a sec...MOLDY SOUR CREAM?!?!?!

Strike Four.

MAJOR Strike Four.

I should have turned back at this point but stubbornness had a falcon death grip on me. I quickly discovered that cream & lemon juice can act as a sour cream substitute...who knew?

After this major hiccup everything else came together "fairly smoothly"'s all about perspective, right? ;). It was finally time to put these four-strike cookies to the test.

I took a bite...

     ... and couldn't believe what I had created...

          ... so I spread on some cream cheese frosting...

               ... because if anything can save a recipe it's cream cheese...


                         ... but the cream cheese disappointed.

Strike Five.

Eaaaaaaat me! Muahaha!
In all honesty, these cookies failed for me because of the taste and texture. Their flavour isn't too distinct, despite the fact that they contain both vanilla and nutmeg...but in that case the cream cheese would be able to save them. No, the true problem is the texture, because I honestly feel that these are actually tea biscuits hiding behind the fascade of cookies.

Call me a cookie snob, but today I discovered that soft cookies aren't my thing. It's too bad I didn't realize that before making a double batch for my tutorial and a society fair.

Sure there are people out there who enjoy soft cookies, but how can I serve something that I don't like myself? That's a moral dilemma!

So what will happen to these cookies? I honestly don't know. Maybe I'll dry them out in the oven and use them as a pie crust base. Maybe I'll suck up my pride and bring them to school. Or maybe I'll feed them to the fat pigeons on campus and see if their love for food is unconditional.

So many little time...

Saturday, September 17, 2011


This morning: part-time alarm clock killer, part-time smoothie fanatic

This afternoon: part-time server (afternoon tea @ church) , part-time student

This evening: part-time housewarming guest, part-time baby-lover

Currently: part-time blogger,  part-time Grey's Anatomy viewer (Season 1, of course), part-time chocolate pudding eater.

Full time: daughter, sister, friend & doctor-in-the-making!

Good night!

Friday, September 16, 2011


Top 5 epiphanies of the day (in order of occurrence) :
  1. A leftover cottage cheese container makes for an excellent moth-catching device.
  2. In the cadaver lab, larynxes look like the little aliens from Men in Black.
  3. Looks like a larynx to me!
  4. Coffee is not meant to be a water substitute...especially when 5pm rolls around and you realize that's the only source of fluid you've had all day!
  5. The best study spots are the ones that no one else knows about ;)
  6. Sushi is meant to be shared. Ok...I knew this already, but this simple concept was once again confirmed at dinner.

Happy Friday!