January 2012 archive

Creamy Avocado Pasta

I have discovered a new go-to meal that I will be making probably once a week. To be honest, I made it twice last week – and I ate it for dinner and lunch! I found this recipe on one of my new favorite blogs, eatswellwithothers - It’s written by Joanne, a fellow medical student in NYC and she makes great vegetarian meals and tasty desserts.

I saw this creamy avocado pasta on her blog and I was excited by how easy it was to put together.
Avocado, basil, lemon juice, olive oil and parmesan cheese – just a few simple ingredients needed for this quick meal. But an avocado pasta sauce? It totally seemed weird.

Fast forward to an empty plate and avocado all over my face – it’s incredible. This pasta is light, tasty and satisfying. It takes no time at all to whip this dinner up and I know I’ll be making it fairly often.

Creamy Avocado Pasta


  • 6 oz (2 servings) whole wheat pasta
  • 1 medium ripe avocado, pitted
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced and zest for garnish
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste


  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add in pasta and cook until al dente.
  2. In a food processor or with a hand blender, process the avocado, basil, lemon juice, garlic, cheese and olive oil until smooth.
  3. Pour avocado sauce over pasta, and add some pasta water if necessary to make it looser.
  4. Garnish with lemon zest, basil, Parmesan and black pepper.

Adapted from joanneeatwellwithothers originally from Oh She Glows

Hope you enjoy this healthy pasta dish!

– Jennie

Oreo Cookie Coffee Cake

It’s that time of year again – medical students and residents get tossed to different hospitals, put in different departments and work with different teams. Personally, I find settling into a new hospital ward the most difficult part of  3rd year medical school. Working long hours or doing loads of reading doesn’t get to me – it’s having to mesh with a whole new group of people after finally getting into a groove on my last rotation that kills my soul.

I really shouldn’t complain though since the last few months have been a breeze – I had a lot of free time to do as I pleased which often led me to the kitchen. Unfortunately, the next 2 months will not be as laid back since I’m rotating in Internal Medicine. In a nutshell, it’s everything I have learned in medicine all wrapped up in a select number of patients – kind of like the show House. We really do sit around a table and ponder what our next plan of action will be with respect to patient care. Fortunately there’s no grumpy man with a cane yelling at me, just staff “pimping” students – questioning them about random facts in order to determine their worth as a medical student.

Those moments can be miserable.

What is one lowly medical student to do when thrown into the lions den? Bake a cake and bring it to the work station!

And play Big Pimpin by Jay-Z on repeat in your brain while not knowing any answers while being pimped.

Oreo Cookie Coffee Cake


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 30 oreo cookies (or fudgeo), coarsely chopped


  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2-6 tablespoons water, as required
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Spray a 9-inch tube pan with non-stick cooking spray and place pan on a prepared baking sheet.
  2. In a mixer bowl, cream softened butter and sugar on medium speed with an electric mixer until blended. Mix in eggs 2 at a time until well blended, scraping bowl to make sure butter and sugar don’t stick to the bottom.  Add vanilla and buttermilk and blend well. Fold in flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and blend into batter until smooth, about 2-4 minutes.
  3. Pour 2/3 of batter into prepared pan and then sprinkle 2/3 of cookie crumbs over batter – put more on the perimeter than directly in the middle area since they are more likely to sink.
  4. Top with remaining batter and top batter evenly with remaining cookie pieces.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes and then reduce oven temperature to 325ºF . Finish baking for another 15-20 minutes, Cool 10 minutes in pan before turning out onto a serving plate.
  6. For glaze, whisk together confectioners sugar, water and vanilla to make a drizzly glaze. Drizzle glaze over cake with a whisk or a fork. Let set.
  7. Eat and enjoy!

Source: A Passion for baking – Marcy Goldman

Hope you like this cake! It’s a great looking dessert and it tastes even better!

– Jennie


Beef Stew

Growing up I never had beef stew. Someone in my family (*cough* my father), used to call it Alpo (aka dog food). Sure, it doesn’t look too appetizing, and it’s not exactly fancy stuff, but let me tell you something – it is heart warmingly delicious. Especially when its -40°C back home.

Cars don’t start, fingers turn pink, and I’m in my snugly slippers eating soup. Shivering of course – but not because of the cold. BECAUSE OF FEAR. Welcome to interview month – the 4 years of medical school culminate into 4 weeks of interviews for a residency position. While nerve-racking, it is also really exciting to see all my friends deciding on their career paths and travel to parts of Canada we never thought we would (hello saskatoon!).

What I need today is simply a hearty soup all wrapped up in a one pot meal. A warm belly always leads to an amazing interview process, right?

Braised Beef Stew


  • 1.8kg (4 lbs) stweing beef cubes, cut into 1-2 inches
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium onions
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp hot paprika
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 1-2 cups water
  • 8 red potatoes, sliced in thirds
  • 6 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 3 parnsips, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 2 cups mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • pinch of dried thyme
  • kosher salt and fresh pepper to taste


  1. Mix flour, paprika, salt and pepper in a bowl and dredge beef cubes through this mixture.
  2. Heat oil in a dutch oven (hot, but not smoking) and sear the meat in the pan (in batches to not overcrowd the pan). Brown  meat well on all sides. Repeat with all meat and move to bowl, and set aside.
  3. Lower heat to medium low and add the onions and paprika and garlic. Saute until onion are soft, about 8-10 minutes.
  4. Return the beef the pot, add the stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour uncovered.
  5. Stir in potatoes, carrots and parsnips, adding water one cup at a time until all contents in the pot are covered.
  6. Cover and continue to cook for another hour.
  7. Add mushrooms, bay leaf and thyme then cover and cook for an additional hour.
  8. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with flat lead parsley.

Source: Cooking with Love

I hope you stay warm in this arctic air!




Valentines Day Cometh Early

Chocolate covered strawberries are a classic Valentines Day treat. I used to hate the “holiday” – I was totally anti V-DAY all the way. That is until I discovered … wait for it…. you think I’m going to say love but I’m going to say fun heart shaped desserts (ok fine, MAYBE love… geez I’m blushing). While heart shaped desserts are a plus for the holiday, I feel like some things (like chocolate covered strawberries) get put into a V-DAY box and are never seen again until the following year.

Who ever said chocolate covered strawberries were solely for romantic purposes? What if I bought tasty strawberries but wanted to have something chocolaty – Would it be so wrong to combine the two and eat them while watching The Biggest Loser?

Totally legit.

I say we screw convention and make them on a random Tuesday night and indulge a little. It’s nice to give yourself treats now and again. If you want to remain conventional, Feburary 14th is right around the corner – it’s coming to getcha!


Chocolate Covered Strawberries


  • Strawberries (as many as you want!)
  • Chocolate – milk chocolate, dark chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate (whichever you prefer). High quality or what you have around your house (like chocolate chips)
  • White chocolate for drizzle


  1. Set out parchment paper on a plate or baking sheet
  2. Rinse and dry strawberries
  3. In a microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate in microwave using 20 second intervals
  4. Dunk each strawberry halfway into the dark chocolate and let set on parchment paper
  5. Drizzle each strawberry with white chocolate – you can use a fork to get the squiggly look :)

Hope you indulge yourself in a special treat!

– Jennie

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes




I’m sure you probably want  me to stop that – but I can’t. I have eaten the BEST pancakes of life and all I’ve been doing is thinking about them, dreaming about them and I’m pretty sure I can still taste them if I focus hard enough on my taste buds.

Those who know my breakfast ways will be shocked by such an admission. Most Sundays I go out for breakfast to different locations in Montreal and I am ALL about French Toast. (Especially with some cream cheese and maple syrup – heaven!) I will rarely order pancakes at restaurants, let alone make them – I find them dry and bland, so I end up putting tons of butter and syrup on them just to make them taste OK.

I have to admit something – I have never ever made pancakes before. While there are other breakfast dishes I’ve been wanting to try, I couldn’t get past my pancake making virginity – I needed to see for myself what it was like. This Sunday, I took breakfast into my own kitchen and WOW.

Since I was venturing into unknown territory, I KNEW I had to use one of Joy the baker’s recipes – she’s a pancake maven! (I also made her coconut ginger carrot soup. Can you tell how much I love her? She’s so cool.) Anyways, these are classic buttermilk pancakes made with butter – I clearly don’t believe in January 1st. I used Joy’s recipe and added a touch of vanilla and a cupful of blueberries to brighten it up, and it was out-of-this-world.

These pancakes are probably the best dish I have ever made and definitely the best pancakes I have ever eaten. They are thick looking pancakes that are light, moist and bursting with blueberries.

These blueberry buttermilk pancakes are a cinch to put together and pancakes are a really fun breakfast to make for yourself or a loved one as a treat.

Can’t believe what I was missing out – there’s a whole pancake world out there that I have yet to discover! Yahooooo!


Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes


  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries – set aside 1/4 cup


  1. Whisk together milk, eggs, vanilla and water in a medium bowl, then whisk in the butter.
  2. Stir together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in another medium bowl. Whisk in egg mixture until combined.
  3. Fold in blueberries with a wooden spoon. Do not overmix!
  4. Spray griddle or skillet with non-stick cooking spray over medium heat. Working in batches of 3, pour 1/4 cup of batter onto skillet and cook until bubbles have formed on the top and sides of the pancakes and broken, about 2 minutes. Flip pancakes with a spatula and cook until undersides are golden, about 1 minute more. Lower heat if pancakes brown too quickly and respray pan between batches.
  5. Serve with fresh blueberries and maple syrup.
  6. Eat (gobble) and enjoy!

Adapted from Joy the Baker

These are incredible and I hope you enjoy these as much as I did ( and will again very soon!)

– Jennie

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