Chex Mix and Puppy Chow

Hi Friends. It’s been a while.
We’re now just under 2 months into the ever-terrifying intern year. And while this may be stating the obvious (as evidenced by our lack of posts), life has been busy. Here are some of the big updates since my last post:
1. I am officially a surgeon-in-training (I’ll write a post soon explaining exactly what that means).
2. Michael (the fiancé) and I bought a house. It feels incredibly adult to say that. So adult, in fact, that I feel like I’m kidding myself into thinking I’m mature enough for the responsibility of homeowner-ship. This was especially obvious as I tried to get over the sticker shock after seeing the bill for a 10 minute furnace repair job.
3. In spite of having owned our house for over a month, our garage is still nonfunctioning as it is currently full of unpacked boxes.
4. I’m afraid of my kitchen. Weird statement, right? Well when I first began cooking for myself it was out of necessity…no one else was going to put food in my mouth. Initially I was overwhelmed by all that went into preparing a meal. Over time, I learned to love the process, but I appear to have regressed. Now, you might be asking yourself, well if you’re not coking, how are you eating? (In truth, none of you were probably thinking that, but I needed some kind of lead in) Well I have recently discovered the beauty of “call money.” Michigan spoils us with a monthly allowance that can only be spent at the cafeteria. I’ve NEVER been the person to spend my money on hospital food. I was a religious brown-bag-luncher…until now. I mean, I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. Now I walk into the cafeteria like a rich kid in a food court. No more brown bags for this girl! And what that translates to is less cooking (Actually this is all an excuse…I’ve been avoiding cooking because if I’m cooking then I don’t have an excuse for not posting on BA. It’s all just a copout.).
5. Okay I know that  most of you have already stopped reading and jumped down to the recipe, but for those of you who stuck it out, this is the last point. I promise. It will even tie into the recipe! In an attempt to expedite the move in process, I scheduled my first vacation week in early August, and my best friend (Angela) was generous enough to spend that time with me painting, building furniture, cleaning, watching mindless reality TV and teaching me to make snacks that smell strikingly like high school. Phew. Done. Now go and enjoy.

Puppy Chow

  • 1/2 stick butter (4 tbs)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • about 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 bag of rice chex (about 4 cups)
  • 1/2 bag of corn chex (about 4 cups)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • a lot of powdered sugar (about 1 cup?)
  1. In a microwaveable bowl, combine the butter, chocolate chips and peanut butter.
  2. Microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each interval, until the chocolate chips are melted.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the chex, then pour in the chocolate peanut butter mix. Stir until the chex are evenly coated.
  4. Pour 1/2 cup powdered sugar into a gallon ziplock bag, add the chex mixture, then top with another 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. Close the bag and shake until the sugar is evenly distributed (you may need a little extra).
Chex Mix
  • 4 tbs butter
  • 3 tbs worcestershire
  • 1-1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 9 cups assorted chex (rice, corn and wheat)
  1. Melt butter and mix in the worcestershire and spices.
  2. In a separate (microwave safe) bowl, combine the chex and pour in the butter and spice mix. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Microwave the mixture for 2 min, stir, then microwave for another 3 min. 
  4. LET COOL (says Angela)!! You WILL burn your tongue if you do not heed Angela’s warming.
Posted in Dessert, Snacks, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Orange Almond Biscotti

Happy Father’s Day!  In commemoration, I’ll tell you about an item on my pre-residency bucket list.  I’d had my eye on a file cabinet on Pinterest that had been converted into a mini kitchen island.  However, I was also  fully aware that the only tools to my name are a convertible screwdriver and an abandoned hammer that I once filched from my apartment basement.  I found a filing cabinet at a thrift store for $5, but wasn’t sure how to break into an entirely new realm of “recipe”.   So I called upon my dad, who went with me to Home Depot and helped me find the necessary hardware.  I then went to my brother-in-law’s father’s house, where we used an electric drill to install the wooden top and casters (and he was impressed by my recognition of the metal awl).
At the end of a few weeks of planning and two afternoons of work, I’m thankful that these two dads were willing to help me construct my crazy dreams, didn’t laugh at me while doing it, and taught me something new.  And now I get to cook with the result any time I want.

Recipe (can be found at Smitten Kitchen by clicking here…I know, I know, next week will have a different source!)

I made these as a thank-you gift for all of the help I received for this project.  It is now my go-to for last minute gratitude.  It is about as easy as banana bread, but more portable — it doesn’t go stale for 1-2 weeks and holds up to shipping (done once already).  Here’s my advice:

  1. A 1/2 recipe will suffice for one gift; it makes about 15 biscotti
  2. During the second bake, don’t worry about the biscotti still feeling moist in the oven before you take it out.  If you wait until they’re completely hard, they won’t be very tender.
  3. Play with the ingredients…the next time I think a lime & cardamom might be nice.  Anise lends a traditional yet more adventurous taste.
  4. If you’re shipping, ship in an air-tight container, preferably with layers of parchment or wax paper between layers of biscotti.
  5. This a gift that is especially good for coffee and tea drinkers.
Posted in Cookies, Dessert, Snacks | Leave a comment

Cowboy Caviar

Peace out Cleveland. It’s been real.
As of one week ago, I no longer live in Cleveland – my home for the last 8 years. I’m not really sad about this, but mostly because it hasn’t hit me yet. I was forced to start acknowledging this change as I drove behind the uhaul truck carrying all of my worldly possessions to an overstuffed 8’x10’ storage unit in Ann Arbor, but since that point I haven’t given myself the chance to think about it. I’m spending my last remaining weeks of semi-adulthood (I think I officially become an adult when I start work) spending time with family and friends. As I type this post, I’m in an equally overstuffed car with my sister as we roadtrip to LA for her summer internship.
I realize that the move is going to catch up with me one of these days, but not until I give myself the chance to think about the fact that Anita, my roommate for the last three years and BA partner-in-crime, is now my long distance co-blogger. I’ll realize that all the goodbyes to my friends weren’t the “I’ll see you next fall” kind. These are friends who have weathered the last 4 years of not only a medical education, but also an education in life as a grownup…and I’m not ready to give them up.
I have a feeling the first couple weeks/months of residency will feel kind of like summer camp. We’ll stay up late (on call), eat smores (flavored pudding from the nutrition closet), and participate in arts and crafts (of the human body). When August rolls around, however, I won’t return to my “home” in Cleveland. Maybe that’s when it will sink in. It’s time, Ari. Time to put on your big girl (scrub) pants. You’re about to become an adult.
In honor of all the cowboy-themed museums/ranches/posters that plaster the major highways through Nebraska, here’s a tasty recipe that is aptly named “Cowboy Caviar”.


  • 1- 15 oz can corn
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 avocados (cubed)
  • 2/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 8 green onion stalks, sliced
  • 6 roma tomatoes


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin

Mix first 6 ingredients together.  Combine dressing ingredients and pour over corn mixture.  Serve with tortilla chips.

Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments

Hazelnut Brown Butter Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Did you know that another name for a hazelnut is a Filbert?  I discovered this when shopping for ingredients for this cake.  The name is awkward, as is the taste of a raw hazelnut — a little green and plastic.  You could still eat it, but it wouldn’t be particularly rewarding.  But after blanching and toasting, the hazelnut loses its bitter skin and gains an inviting flavor profile.  It is the heart of Ferrero Rocher, the soul of Nutella, and the primary valence of Frangelico.

In a way, Case Western’s campus has undergone a similar change over the last eight years.  Euclid avenue was rebuilt and scrubbed clean, new shops have opened, bridges have been completed, and several buildings on campus have emerged.  I almost can’t recognize what I saw as an eighteen-year-old but for the freshman dorms (which still look like tiny prisons) and the elephant stairs.

UH Seidman Cancer Center at the corner of Cornell and Euclid

Museum of Contemporary Art now on Euclid Ave

Cleveland Museum of Art – Renovations completed 2013

Tony Brush Park in Little Italy

New University Circle Apartments & Restaurants

Tinkham Veale University Center of Case Western – to open 2014

I’m sad to leave, especially when Cleveland has become such an amazing place.  I guess it’s just time to move on and start work on a new nut.


It feels lazy to not write out my recipes, but when they are too similar to the original I think it’s basically plagiarism to post as adaptations.  This is another Smitten Kitchen special (click here).  I made this for my mom’s book club meeting, and it went over well with coffee.  Here are my notes:
  • Addition of 1/2 – 1 tsp salt
  • Addition of 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • I only needed ~30min of baking time, so be sure to test yours with a toothpick at that time
  • This was my first time using a stand mixer to try to achieve stiff peaks from egg whites.  For some reason I kept beating and beating and still was not getting stiff peaks by 15-20 minutes (the recipe suggests 5 minutes).  My guess is that I either let some yolk sneak into the mix or that I did something else wrong that I don’t understand yet.  I was nervous, but the cake didn’t fall when I took it out of the oven; so whatever foam I created was sufficient.  Needless to say, there will be another whipped egg white recipe soon so I can try to master this!
  • I was able to make this cake in the morning and put it in the fridge.  We took it out about an hour before the party so that the cake could return to room temperature.
Posted in Dessert, Vegetarian | 1 Comment