December 30, 2013

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

hope you had a wonderful Christmas
wishing you a happy New Year!

Cooper enjoying his new cupcake toy!


December 17, 2013

The Keto Diet & A Recipe

One of the few blog followers/readers, I have (hi Julie!) said that I need to post more recipes and she is absolutely right! Food is the main reason why I created this blog in the first place and it has been quite some time since I posted a recipe.

My husband started on the Keto diet about 7 months ago. Keto consists of  a high-fat, high-protein, low-carb diet. Essentially, it forces your body to burn fat rather than carbs. It's similar to the Atkins diet. I am so proud of him for sticking with it and he has lost 40 lbs! At first, I was making Keto meals for him and separate meals for myself. This became too much so eventually, I started on the Keto diet too.

As a lover of rice, pretzels, bread, french fries, potato chips, CUPCAKES... it was not easy in the beginning. Good lawd was it hard! The longer I stuck with it and began to see the results, it became less hard. I won't lie, I still crave those things and I will allow myself to eat those things and when we go out I don't follow the diet strictly, but I am definitely more aware and more conscious of the better food options to choose. I don't believe in not allowing yourself to give into your cravings. I think it will in the end, result in a binge.

Thank goodness we live in the world we live in today. So many people are on special/restricted diets that there are plenty of low-carb products out there! Also, the internet has allowed for the sharing of low-carb recipes. We find a lot on Reddit. This has made it easy for us to not feel like we are missing out on some of our favorite foods.

This leads me to the recipe I want to share. This recipe is for mashed cauliflower and my husband has said that this tastes better than real mashed potatoes. I am bad at following recipes and often find myself changing it up. Sometimes this works out and sometimes it doesn't :) I apologize that this recipe is not exact, but it really doesn't need exact measurements to turn out delicious mashed fauxtatoes!

CupcakeRN's Mashed Fauxtatoes
What You'll Need:
Food processor/blender
1 head cauliflower
1/4 cup regular cream cheese
1/4 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup chicken stock (optional)
2-3 tbsp heavy cream
2 tbsp butter, a little extra for greasing the casserole dish
2 tbsp regular sour cream
Salt & pepper to taste

What You'll Do:
1. Chop up the cauliflower (don't chop too small or else it will cook too quickly and turn mushy).
2. Bring some water and the chicken stock (if you have it) to a boil (the chicken stock adds a lot of flavor to the cauliflower). Add the cauliflower and boil until fork tender (approx 8 minutes).
3. Drain the cauliflower.
4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
5. Put the cauliflower into your food processor/blender (I have a Ninja and it is awesome, but you might have to do this in batches depending on how large or small your appliance is). Add the cream cheese, feta, cream, butter, and sour cream.
6. Let that bad boy rip until the cauliflower is somewhat smooth (unless you like lumpy fauxtatoes). Taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking, blend again just to incorporate the salt & pepper.
7. Pour the fauxtatoes in your greased casserole dish.
8. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes (or until your mouth starts watering).
9. Enjoy!

You could really change this recipe up however you like add more or less of something, sub in a different type of cheese if you don't like feta. I've made it before and sprinkled bacon over top, also have made it with cheddar cheese. The possibilities are endless! I'll post a picture next time I make these which will probably be sometime later this week.


December 15, 2013

More Dachshund Finds

I am pleased to say that my Christmas shopping was completed over a week ago. What a relief! I am especially relieved to not have to deal with the chaos of the shopping malls and parking lots.

While the Mr. and I were out and about this past week, I came across a few more Dachshund Finds. Ever since I started collecting Dachshund related things, I am seeing them everywhere I go!

Sterling silver Dachshund post earrings: found at Kohl's in Ellicott City, price $20 on sale for $10

Dachshund Riesling wine: found at Perfect Pour in Columbia, price $13.99

Dachshund flannel pajama pants: found at Nordstrom Rack in Columbia, price $9.99

Here is my Dachshund, Cooper. He loves looking out the front window!


December 6, 2013

Holiday Dachshund Finds

Ever since we got Cooper, I've become obsessed with him and all things dachshunds! Any time I spot any doxie related items I'm going to post them. If any of you happen to come across any awesome doxie finds, please share! Here are a few recent finds. Christmas is coming, so these would be perfect gifts for the dachshund lover in  your life :)

Lighted dachshund: found at Lowes in Columbia, price unknown (Mr. Cupcake bought this for me)

Dachshund salt & pepper shakers: found at Target in Columbia, price $7.99

Johnathan Adler dachshund ornament: found at Nordstrom Rack in Columbia, price $13.00


November 27, 2013

Taste of Aloha

For our honeymoon, my husband and I went to Maui. We wanted to go somewhere where we both hadn't been and wanted to really relax and unwind after all the hustle and bustle with the wedding. Oh, and of course we wanted to go somewhere great for foodies like us. We booked our honeymoon through Unforgettable Honeymoons after hearing about our friends' fantastic experience with them. We share our friends' sentiments as we too had a fantastic experience with that company. They made everything so easy and really listened to what we wanted. 

We stayed at the Ritz Carlton in Kapalua and @#!$%&^*, so amazing!!! We stayed in a room on the Club Level which gave us access to personal concierge and the private lounge. In the private lounge there were free drinks, breakfast, lunch, dessert, and snacks/appetizers. Often times we found ourselves just wanting to eat in the lounge. Everyday there were new dishes and all were freaking delicious. We did manage to venture out a couple of times and all the food we had we kept saying that "this is the best I've ever had." There is one dish in particular that we still are talking about now over a year later. The dish we are obsessing over is Ahi Avo from Star Noodle in Lahaina (the exec chef was a contestant on Top Chef BTW). Ahi Avo was like a gift from the Gods. It was so simple yet so delicious. It consisted of the freshest Ahi tuna diced and served with avocado, some kind of sauce, and had this lemon oil drizzle.

I am currently drooling all over my computer.

So that brings me to the whole reason for this post. I saw someone tweet @HowChowBlog about a fairly new restaurant that opened up in Arbutus called Taste of Aloha. I checked out their website and immediately forwarded the website to my husband. They have all of the Hawaiian food we have been craving since we left Hawaii (POKE, plate lunches, matsubi, kalua pig)! We decided to check it out last week, basically because I couldn't wait any longer to try this place. 

We talked to the owner while there and found out that they have been open for a little over a month now. Their menu changes often. They have a small area with a few tables and chairs if you want to eat in which is what we did not realizing that they would be closing shortly for a private event (oops). They were nice and did not kick us out :)

Roy-bi Munchie (Kalbi on a Kaiser with kimchi slaw and teriyaki mayo)
The husband liked the flavor very much and the generous helping of macaroni salad. The only dislike was that the kalbi was not very tender.

Mahi Kimchi Tacos (whatever fish option of the day is with sriracha sour cream, kimchi slaw, and fruit salsa)
I thought these were good, but messy. I loved the fries, I have a soft spot for fries.

Daily Poke
From their website:
Poke pronounced po-kee or po-kay, is a lesser known Hawaiian favorite. This raw seafood salad, a cross between sushi and cevechie, is loved  by both the locals and the haole (white folk) that come to stay.  You can find fresh pre-made made poke at every fish counter in Hawaiian grocery stores and at seafood markets across the state. Locals often stop by the market several times a week for this quick and healthy lunch. We will make ours fresh daily with seasonal ingredients.

I laughed when I read this because when we were in Maui we did stop at least a few times at the grocery store nearby our resort for fresh poke. 

I will definitely return to Taste of Aloha and encourage all of you to give this place a try!


November 6, 2013

Stock the Cabin, Feed the Pups!

Just another way to help during this time of Thanksgiving: I got an e-mail from Camp Bow Wow a day camp for dogs that we've taken Cooper to. They are collecting non-perishable food items for local shelter pups in need. The donations will benefit the Howard County Animal Shelter.

                                                      Camp Bow Wow
7165 Oakland Mills Rd
Columbia, MD
(410) 964-2275


Giving Thanks

It is hard for me to choose which holiday is my favorite. Thanksgiving or Christmas? I love Thanksgiving because of the delicious food, but I also love Christmas because I looooove giving people gifts. Don't get me wrong, I love receiving gifts, but I really, really enjoy giving gifts to others. Ask my husband, he'll tell ya. I always try to get family to open their presents whether it be birthday, anniversary, Christmas weeks in advance because I love seeing their faces when they open their gift. I think I get more excited then they do.

Around the holiday season, people seem to be in a more giving spirit, myself included. If you think about it, Thanksgiving literally means giving thanks. By reflecting on all the things that I am grateful for it reminds me that there are others who are not as fortunate. 

Every year around the holidays, I like to give back in some way or another, big or small. Things I've done in the past are dropping change into a collection bucket, participating in Adopt-a-Family through my employer, choosing a child from the Angel Tree at church, participating in the Race for a Cure, and donating to the Wounded Warrior Project. 

This year, I am going to contribute to the Helping Up Mission. 
Helping Up Mission is faith based and located in downtown Baltimore. Not only do they provide shelter to homeless men, but they provide programs addressing individual physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs. 

I was fortunate enough to visit the Helping Up Mission during my Community Based Nursing course in grad school. I was impressed and amazed at what I saw. I was really blown away by the respect and dignity everyone was treated with and it was in no way a "half-way house" nor did it even look like one! It looked more like a college campus, albeit a small one. I spoke with residents and staff there, observed an education class that was going on, toured the "dorms," and also got to see other parts of the facility including their fabulous library.


November 4, 2013

Nurses: Conductors of The Medical Orchestra

An acquaintance asked me to help with an assignment for grad school. They wished to know my thoughts on the projected nursing shortage, suggestions on how to address the shortage, how much do nurses contribute to patient outcomes, how hard/easy is the transition from student nurse to nurse grad, and how will the role of the nurse evolve with the Affordable Care Act.

Of course, I put some thought into my responses, but one question particular really got me thinking.

What do you think nurses contribute in terms of patient outcomes?

Nurses play a huge part in patient outcomes. If I had to give it a weight, I’d say 75%. Yes, it is the doctor who writes the orders, but it is the nurse who has to carry the orders out. An analogy I think of is that the nurse is the conductor of an orchestra. I read this months ago and although it is from a Critical Care nurse's perspective I think it applies to all areas of nursing:

The first commenter, Barbara Fagan couldn't have said it any better,

"I often felt like a conductor in an orchestra – meaning that some roles overlapped (I might be able to play piano but not cello so well…) or that I might be able to do things other professions can do, but that when working collaboratively within the interprofessional team, ... nurses plan, coordinate and execute care that that meets the constantly shifting needs of an unstable patient. Beautiful music to behold for any conductor or music lover!"


Hello, again.

Well, well, well. Its been a long time coming, but I'm back! After a two year hiatus, I've returned to my blog. It will need a good dusting off as I'm sure the dust has collected and cobwebs have formed.

So much has happened since my last blog entry. Wow. I got married! Started a new job!

Since the creation of my blog, I've always been searching for an identity for it. Where do I fit in? I struggled with this and I think that's what ultimately led me away from blogging on the regular. I tried to make it a nurse blog, then a baking blog, then a foodie blog. To heck with it I say!

Thanks to all those who kept me on your blog list, blog roll, blog feed. 'Preciate it :)