Month: October 2012

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins and the Pentose Phosphate Pathway

My apologies for allowing things to be all quiet on the food blog front – I guess you could say that med school happened. The past two weeks have been filled with metabolic pathways and introduction to the immune system. There’s been a lot of tedious memorization, but we’ve also learned some practical skills on the side, like how to take a patient’s pulse and blood pressure! Very cool stuff, here. It at least helps remind us that we are in school to become doctors, not just to become professional studiers/coffee-gulpers/library hermits.

In other news, it’s cold here today! I guess, gauging by my last post, you might have thought that it’s been cold since then. Not so! The temperatures have been quite warm lately, but today felt like fall again! It’s been cold, overcast, windy, and rainy. Perfect studying weather if there ever was! This weather also makes me want to bake, read, and light spicy-scented candles. And wouldn’t you know, I did all those things today? 🙂

Our early-morning ladies’ Bible study starts up again tomorrow morning, so I decided to bake something to bring for breakfast. I was in a fall-ish mood, so pumpkin it was! I also had some assorted ingredients (leftover cranberry sauce and stale ginger-snaps) to use, so I combined them all into some rather tasty muffins! I hope no one minds that I’m bringing a “blogger’s dozen” muffins tomorrow morning (11 muffins: because one has to be tasted/broken open to photograph).

As a side note, our can-opener is broken, so I’ve been opening all of my cans with a knife lately. This simultaneously makes me feel very industrious/capable and like a hobo from an old movie. Eh, it’s real life.

PS. Sorry about the wonky lighting/coloring. Apparently there’s not a lot of sunlight at 8PM on a rainy evening in late October. Who knew?

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 5 ginger-snaps, crushed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a medium-sized bowl, combine pumpkin, cranberry sauce, egg, milk, and oil. Add to dry ingredients and stir til just combined. Fill 12 greased muffin cups and sprinkle ginger-snap crumbs on top.  Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

I used gingersnaps on top just because I had some stale ones in my pantry that I didn’t want to go to waste. If you don’t have them, a quick streusel topping (maybe brown sugar, oatmeal, and butter?) would be delicious! Also, I fully intended to put a tsp of vanilla extract in these and forgot, so maybe you’d like to try that as well! Or maybe use half whole wheat flour and half white. Be creative! Be daring! Don’t follow recipes! 🙂



Potato Corn Chowder and Practicals and Powerpoints

Today is cold (relatively speaking), overcast, and blustery. It’s the first day of real fall-ish weather. How did I determine this? It’s the first day this season I’ve worn flannel. This is also an exam weekend; yesterday we had an anatomy lab practical and we have our second block exam on Tuesday. This exam will cover fifty-five new lectures and have some questions from the last exam thrown in just for fun. So what does cold weather plus kajillions of hours spent studying mean for me? Simple: make Crock-Pot chowder.

Start by sautéing onion, red pepper, celery, and garlic. When translucent, put it all in the Crock-Pot.

Dice up the red potatoes that have been languishing in the recesses of your pantry (…am I the only one who has this issue?)

Fry those potatoes around in a hot skillet until they get tasty brown edges. We’re going for a kind of “home-fry” thing here. Don’t worry about actually cooking the potatoes at this point – they’ll cook in the crock-pot. This is a flavor-adding mechanism. Put these in the Crock-Pot on top of the sautéed vegetables.

 Fry up some sausage so that it gets tasty brown edges – same song, second verse here, guys. De-glaze your skillet with a little chicken broth so you don’t leave flavor stuck to the pan. Pour everything into the Crock Pot on top of the potatoes.

Add frozen corn, chicken broth, and parsley to the Crock Pot and stir everything together.

Put the lid on and cook on High for six hours (or so). I went and took an anatomy lab practical while this was cooking. Use your six hours how you choose. Please be aware that your house will smell amazing while this is cooking.

About twenty minutes before you plan on serving your chowder, pour in a can of evaporated skim milk. This will give your chowder a rich, creamy broth without the added fat of cream! Allow the chowder to heat through and serve!

Seriously, y’all, this is comfort food. Alright, don’t waste any more time reading this post. Go make some to warm up this chilly, gray day. Meanwhile, I’ll be studying.

Potato Corn Chowder

  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1/2 onion, chopped (I used Vidalia, but use whatever you have!)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk of celery, chopped
  • 5-6 red potatoes, chopped
  • 1/3 pound link sausage, sliced (I used Polska Keilbasa, but you could use bacon or ham as well!)
  • 1 bag frozen corn
  • 2 cans chicken broth
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 can evaporated skim milk (EVAPORATED – NOT CONDENSED; this is important, guys)

Saute onion, pepper, garlic, and celery in butter ’til translucent. Empty skillet into crock-pot and saute potato chunks until they’re lightly browned. Empty the skillet into the Crock-Pot and fry around the sausage until browned. Deglaze the pan with some chicken broth and empty skillet into Crock-Pot. Add frozen corn, chicken broth, and parsley. Stir to combine, cover, and cook for six hours. If you’re so inclined, use a large spoon to smoosh some of the potato chunks against the side of the pot. This will help thicken the chowder. Twenty minutes before serving, stir in evaporated milk and allow to heat through. Serve with warm bread and a lot of love. 🙂