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30 Sep 12:48

If it’s Wednesday this must be Nashville.

by thebloggess

Hello, Nashville!  I’m here to see you.  Are you here to see me?  Please?  A reading, Q&A and signing will be hosted by Parnassus Books offsite at Salon@615 at 6:15pm.  Click here for details on location and reserving a seat.

A giant thanks to all the people who’ve come out so far, especially since so many of you stuggle with the same anxiety issues I deal with.  You give me the inspiration to keep going even when I’m terrified and it’s been so incredibly worth it.  Thank you.

Photo by Maile Wilson

Photo by Maile Wilson

Next stop?  Miami.  See all the tour details here.


Can’t make it to any of the stops?  You can follow along here.

28 Sep 14:00

Dark Side Day Care [Comic]

by Sean Fallon

dark side day care

Comic by Jay Fosgitt created as a commission for Heather Antos. Click to enlarge.

30 Sep 12:30

Every Lawn Needs A 6-Foot Tall Inflatable Jabba The Hutt

by Sean Fallon

inflatable jabba

Put him on the lawn for Halloween with a Han Solo in carbonite graphic on your front door. When Christmas rolls around, just put a Santa hat on him. And don’t even get me started on the cosplay potential.

Indeed, the possibilities are endless when you’re the proud owner of a 6 ft. tall x 10 ft. long inflatable Jabba the Hutt. It even has a a built-in blower fan to get Jabba up and running quickly.

Product Page ($169.99)

30 Sep 14:30

‘Star Wars’ Death Star USB Wall Charger

by Sean Fallon


Tap into the power of the Death Star with this USB wall charger. It has two ports and lights up!

Q: But will it blow up my phone?

A: Maybe?

Product Page ($29.99)

24 Sep 21:13

Amazing Footage of an Octopus Creating Quicksand to Build a Snug Home For Itself Inside the Ocean Floor

by Lori Dorn

Scientists at the University of Melbourne have recently released a fascinating video of the Southern sand octopus as it used its jets to make the quicksand needed for a snug little home for itself inside the ocean floor, cleverly hidden away from scary predators.

A skilled architect, the octopus can build a mucus-lined home – complete with a chimney –20 centimetres down into the seabed, where it holes up during the day. It only emerges from its underground burrow at night to crawl over the seafloor and snack on small crustaceans.

Southern Sand Octopus

photo via New Scientist

via New Scientist

21 Sep 21:37

Luna, An Artistic Lamp Inspired by the Moon

by Glen Tickle

Large Luna Lamp

Luna is an artistic lamp design inspired by the Moon. The lamp is available in a range of seven sizes from the XXS 3.2 inch model to the XXL 23.6 version.

The Taipei-based designers behind Luna are currently funding the project with an Indiegogo campaign that has already well exceeded its goal.

Luna Lamp GIF

Hanging Luna Lamp

Multiple Luna Lamps

Luna Size Chart

images via Luna

via Werd, The Awesomer

21 Sep 17:18

Tom Scott Shows Off His Custom-Built Physical Emoji Keyboard With Over 1,000 Keys for Every Current Emoji

by Glen Tickle

Tom Scott shows off his custom-built physical emoji keyboard. The unique and impressive build features more than 1,000 keys for typing all current emojis, from birds and flags of the world to black Santa, with the simple push of a button.

Scott has promised a longer video to come that will detail his build process.

18 Sep 10:30

Snickers Peanut Butter Oreo Pie

by Beyond Frosting

This Snicker Peanut Butter Oreo Pie will make you swoon. An Oreo crust is filled with smooth peanut butter filling and topped with Snickers, peanuts, caramel sauce and chocolate chips.This Snicker Peanut Butter Oreo Pie will make you swoon. An Oreo crust is filled with smooth peanut butter filling and topped with Snickers, peanuts, caramel sauce and chocolate chips.  Hi friends! It’s Jess here from Sweetest Menu – all the way from Australia! A big thank you to Julianne for letting me share a […]

The post Snickers Peanut Butter Oreo Pie appeared first on Beyond Frosting.

20 Sep 21:14

Mississippi Mudslide Cake

by Amanda
Mississippi Mud Cake with Kahlua Whipped Cream!

The Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache, Kahlua Whipped Cream and Oreo is the definition of indulgent baking!

My friend Jocelyn has written a lovely book called Grandbaby Cakes and this cake is one of the masterpieces in it!

Sharing it with you today is pure joy for me as I consider Jocelyn to be like a sister. She is smart, sassy, hilarious, thoughtful, kind, and talented beyond words. If I were a bettin’ gal I would put money on FAME in Jocelyn’s future… big things I know!

In honor of the release of her book Jocelyn said I could share a recipe with you. Woo Hoo! But not only that, she said that she wanted to give one lucky iambaker reader the chance to win a new Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer. WOO HOO! Today is a good day! (To enter see the contest entry below)

As you can imagine, I just had to add a little twist (ha, see what I did there?) on her wonderfully classic recipe. I added this decorative rope-like design. It was inspired by Miette and her take on the beauty of Naked Cakes as well as inspired by these Elegant White Cupcakes I made last week.

Mississippi Mudslide Cake


  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Kahlua Whipped Cream
  • 2 cups heavy cream, cold
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Bailey Irish Cream liqueur
  • 2 tablespoons Kahlua liqueur
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • Ganache
  • 6 ounces dark chocolate chips (3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • Garnish
  • 1 cup chopped chocolate sandwich cookies (Oreos)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare three 9-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray and/or parchment.
  2. In the bowl of stand mixer with whisk attachment, add the granulated sugar and eggs and beat on high for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the hot water, cocoa powder, instant coffee, and salt. With mixer on lowest setting, add to sugar mixture.
  4. With mixer still on low slowly add in flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Let mix to incorporate.
  5. Add in oil, buttermillk, and vanilla extract. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl as needed. Do not overmix.
  6. Evenly pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick is removed clean.
  7. Let cakes cool in pans for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack. Let cakes cool to room temperature or place in fridge until ready to assemble.
  8. Kahlua Whipped Cream
  9. Place a clean stand mixer bowl with whisk attachment in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  10. Remove bowl from fridge and place on mixer. Add cream and whip on high until soft peaks form.
  11. Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add in the confectioners' sugar, Irish Cream, Kahlua, and cornstarch.
  12. Once everything is incorporated, turn mixer back to high and whip until stiff peaks form. Transfer to fridge until ready to assemble.
  13. Ganache
  14. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips and heavy cream. Microwave on high for 15 seconds at a time, whisking together with a fork after each interval. Once chocolate has melted into a shiny, smooth sauce (about 45 seconds total) transfer to fridge to cool for 15 minutes.
  15. To Assemble
  16. Place cool layer of cake on serving platter.
  17. Spread the top with 1/3 of the whipped cream. (If you want to pipe out the rope pattern, place whipped cream in a large pastry bag fitted with a 2C tip. Pipe circles on that are slightly overlapping around cake.)
  18. Drizzle 1/3 of the cooled ganache over the whipped cream.
  19. Sprinkle 1/3 of the chopped cookies.
  20. Add next layer of cake and repeat.
  21. Store in fridge until ready to serve.
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Recipe from Grandbaby Cakes shared with permission.

This cake was a blessing to me in more ways that one! Not only was it so good, but I was able to share this delicious cake with my mother-in-law.

My husband has been out of town for a week now (he is bow-hunting and the location they go to has no cell reception so I do not hear from him for a couple weeks!) and our babysitter went off to college in August. On top of that, I impaled my hand and wasn’t able to use it for some time! I have been feeling overwhelmed and exhausted and stressed and did I mention overwhelmed?

Well, on Friday she called and asked if it was ok if she came over and spend the night. Um, yes, yes it would be. Not only was I able to make this glorious cake and photograph it, (without interruption of sweet little ones underfoot) but we were able to have it for dessert! It was a lovely time of talking and relaxing and just enjoying each other’s company. I am so thankful for my MIL and for Jocelyn’s amazing recipe!

In honor the Jocelyn’s beautiful book, all iambaker readers can enter to win a brand new KitchenAid® Mixer! Thank you  Grandbaby Cakes!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Mississippi Mudslide Cake appeared first on i am baker.

16 Sep 16:05

zucchini rice and cheese gratin

by deb

zucchini rice and cheese gratin

September has always been my favorite month. The grimy, relentless sauna that is New York City in August finally lifts and we can almost always count on a solid week (or more) of impossibly sunny low-humidity days that I consider my personal obligation — as happy repentance for all the above griping — to spend entirely outdoors. My best memories are from Septembers; this may sound weird, but I remember going to work on the morning that nobody knew yet would be 9/11 and thinking it was as clear-skied and gorgeous out as a day could ever be. Two years later, I met my husband on that day. Six years and a few days after that, we met our baby boy, and I distinctly remember checking into the hospital on a hot summer day and checking out three days later when it was unquestionably fall, disoriented.

... Read the rest of zucchini rice and cheese gratin on

© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. | permalink to zucchini rice and cheese gratin | 179 comments to date | see more: Budget, Casserole, Freezer Friendly, Grain/Rice, Photo, Put An Egg On It, Side Dish, Summer, Vegetarian, Zucchini

14 Sep 09:45

Brown Butter Brûléed Doughnut Holes

by joythebaker

Brown Butter Brûléed Doughnut Holes

Have you heard about the latest trend?  Don’t say Kylie Jenner… don’t you dare.  

The latest trend has everything to do with fire, applied with intention and concentration to… basically anything and everything covered in granulated sugar.  

A few weeks ago we all pat ourselves on the back for Meyer Lemon Bar Brûlée.  We were a success and deserved the recognition.  This week we’re getting down and torchy  with crisp-sugar-topped, browned butter, soft and tender yeasted doughnuts.

Yea.  I mean… we all know you didn’t come here for bronzer or hair tips.  You came for doughnuts.  Let’s not beat around the bush. 

Brown Butter Brûléed Doughnut Holes

Brûléed Doughnut Holes

Before we get started, it’s best to take a deep inhale and scream at the top of our lungs ‘DOOOUUUGGHHNNUUUTTS!”.  It’s a battle cry.  Lettin’ our neighbors know what’s up.  

Brûléed Doughnut Holes

The dry ingredients include all-purpose flour, sugar, salt, and a few dashes of ground cinnamon for dough flavor depth.  

Brûléed Doughnut Holes

Everyone needs a sunny Kitchen Aid mixer.  Buttercup yellow?  Too good. Kitchen dreams, right?  

Dry ingredients into the mixer fitted with a dough hook.  

Brûléed Doughnut Holes

Wet ingredients, one at a time.  

In with three egg yolks and the risen yeast mixture. 

Brown Butter Brûléed Doughnut Holes

Butter is melted to until browned because we respect butter enough to make it as delicious as possible.  

Related:  How To Brown Butter!  

Brown Butter Brûléed Doughnut Holes

Milk is streamed into the dough as the mixer spins on low.  

Brown Butter Brûléed Doughnut Holes

The dough will be soft and wet.  Not sticky, but certainly not dry.  

Brown Butter Brûléed Doughnut Holes

The mixer does all the work of kneading the dough this round.  The bottom of the bowl is scraped, a good dusting of flour on top, plastic wrap, and a nice warm place for the dough to rest and rise.  

Brown Butter Brûléed Doughnut Holes

A thoughtful hour of rise time and we’re one step closer to doughnuts! 

Brown Butter Brûléed Doughnut Holes

Now we knead.  

Lightly floured.  Risen and soft.  We knead the dough into shape before rolling.  This is the softest, most lovely dough.  It’s my favorite yeasted dough.  Eggs and browned butter, too easy. 

Brown Butter Brûléed Doughnut Holes

The soft dough is rolled to somewhere between 1/2-inch to 1-inch thick.  

Brown Butter Brûléed Doughnut Holes

A 1 1/2-inch round biscuit cutter to make our doughnut rounds.  

The dough is left to rise for about 30 minutes while a few inches of canola oil heat in a medium saucepan.  

Every time I make doughnuts I insist that you make this fry thermometer a part of your kitchen arsenal.  I’m bossy.  It’s important to know that our oil is at 350 degrees F to make for golden, perfectly cooked doughnut rounds.   

Brown Butter Brûléed Doughnut Holes

As soon as the doughnuts come out of the fryer, they’re smothered in granulated sugar.  The hot oil will make the sugar stick, hence… fryer to the sugar.  

This would be a perfectly reasonable place to pause, look over your shoulder, and shove as many of these doughnut bites into your mouth as possible.  

But why would we stop at this reasonable place when we own a blow torch

Brown Butter Brûléed Doughnut Holes

Sugar torching.  

A quality pastime.  

Brown Butter Brûléed Doughnut Holes

Now would be a good time to call a friend and brew some coffee.  

Life is short and these are doughnuts.  Also… browned butter + brûlée!  

Someone stop the world.  (That’s a Maxwell song… not sorry.)

Brown Butter Brûléed Doughnut Holes

If your instinct is to add a cream filling to these doughnuts, thus making them Creme Brûlée Doughnuts… you’re a genius.  Get on it.  

Photos with and by Jon Melendez.

Brown Butter Brûléed Doughnut Holes
2015-09-13 23:37:59
Yields 20
Write a review
Prep Time
1 hr 45 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
1 hr 45 min
Cook Time
10 min
  1. 1 (1/4-oz) package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
  2. 2 tablespoons warm water (105–115°F)
  3. pinch of sugar
  4. 3 1/4 to 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for sprinkling and rolling out dough
  5. 3 tablespoons sugar
  6. 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  7. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  8. 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  9. 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted until browned and cooled slightly
  10. 3 large egg yolks
  11. About 10 cups vegetable oil for deep frying
  12. 2-4 cups granulated sugar for rolling and torching
  1. Stir together yeast, warm water, and pinch of sugar in a small bowl until yeast is dissolved. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If yeast doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)
  2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, combie flour (3 1/4 cups), milk, butter, yolks, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and yeast mixture. I like to stir the mixture by hand, with a spatula, to loosely incorporate before transferring to the stand mixer to beat with the dough hook.
  3. Beat at low speed on the mixer with the dough hook until a soft dough forms, about 3 minutes. Add a bit more flour if the dough seems too wet. It will tend to stick to the sides of the bowl a bit, but add flour it it seems overly wet and soft. Increase speed to medium and beat 5 minutes more.
  4. Scrape dough down side of bowl (all around) into center, then sprinkle lightly with flour (to keep a crust from forming). Cover bowl with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. (Alternatively, let dough rise in bowl in refrigerator 8 to 12 hours and make fresh doughnuts in the morning.)
  5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out with a lightly floured rolling pin into a roughly 12-inch round (1/2 inch thick). Cut out as many rounds as possible with 1 1/2-inch cutter and transfer doughnuts to a lightly floured large baking sheet. Cover doughnuts with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until slightly puffed, about 30 minutes (45 minutes if dough was cold when cutting out doughnuts). Do not reroll scraps. They tend to get tough.
  6. While the doughnut rounds rise, prepare your frying ingredients. Begin to heat your oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Spread sugar on a rimmed baking sheet for after the doughnuts have been fried.
  7. Heat 2 1/2 inches oil in a deep 4-quart heavy pot until it registers 350°F on thermometer. A thermometer is key for this recipe. You need to know just how hot your oil is before the doughnuts fry. Fry doughnuts, 3 at a time, turning occasionally with a wire or mesh skimmer or a slotted spoon, until puffed and golden brown, about 2 minutes per batch (1 minute per side). Transfer the freshly fried, hot doughnuts to the sugar and immediately toss to coat. Coating the doughnuts in sugar works best just out of the fryer so the sugar can stick to the hot oil. Remove from the sugar and allow to rest on a cooling rack before torching.
  8. Return oil to 350°F between batches.
  9. Once the doughnuts are all fried and generously coated in granulated sugar, using a kitchen torch to brûlée the tops of the doughnuts. Allow to cool and set before serving.
  10. Doughnuts are best enjoy the day they're fried.
By Joy the Baker
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine December 2006
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine December 2006
Joy the Baker
14 Sep 04:03

Frozen Peanut Butter Pie

by Sara@Our Best Bites

I’ve been seeing the classic frozen peanut butter pie making a trendy comeback recently, probably due to one of those catchy Buzzfeed recipe videos going around, and realized it wasn’t a recipe we had here on the blog, even though I’ve been making it since I was a kid.  My peanut butter pie is a little different though.  If you’ve made one of these before, you know it’s suuuuper rich.  Like tingles-your-throat sweet.  So much so, that a single pie can really serve about 20 people because a sliver is enough.  Most traditional recipes call for a large quantity of peanut butter and generally about a cup of sugar, in addition to other ingredients that contain sugar.  It’s just, a lot.  My version has, wait for it…2 tablespoons of sugar.  Seriously, that’s all it needs.  I don’t know why people load so much into it!  The lower sugar amount lets the peanut butter really shine through, and keeps it rich, yet light and creamy.  It’s pretty divine if you ask me, and gets bonus points for the fact that it literally takes about 10 minutes to make and there’s zero baking involved. Can I get a high-five here?

Frozen PB Pie from Our Best Bites

Continue reading: Frozen Peanut Butter Pie

The post Frozen Peanut Butter Pie appeared first on Our Best Bites.

02 Sep 10:00

The Eko Core Is A Digital Upgrade For The Centuries-Old Stethoscope

by Christine Magee
Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 6.47.47 PM In a few months, the stethoscope will celebrate its 200th birthday. A medical breakthrough in 1816, it’s still a part of nearly every doctor’s visit today and a symbol of medicine itself. Yet the stethoscope hasn’t changed much in the past 200 years. No different than in the 17th century, listening to a heartbeat has been a manual process that relies entirely on a… Read More
27 Aug 10:00

The Columbo Tactic: Bridging Generational Learning in Bedside Teaching

by Scott Wieters

The Columbo Tactic“I’m not sure what’s going on with this patient,” MS-3 Samir says, as he concludes his disorganized presentation to his attending, Dr. Gonzales. Dr. Gonzales listens and astutely picks up on the needle diagnosis in the haystack of his cacophony. At this point, Dr. Gonzales has two choices:

  1. She can authoritatively correct Samir, give him the answer, and tell him how he just didn’t cut it, or
  2. She can nurture scientific inquiry and lead him to process towards the correct diagnosis with some educational tactics.

“So let me get this straight,” she replies. “You’ve got a person with fever, anorexia and migratory abdominal pain that ends up in the right lower quadrant… Hmmmm. I think this sounds like something important, but I’m just not able to put my finger on it. What do you think?” she responds. Samir ponders, then retorts, “appendicitis?” “Oh yes, that might be what’s going on here; good call!” replies Dr. Gonzalez.   What did Dr. Gonzales do? She successfully utilized the Columbo Tactic. So, what is the Columbo Tactic, and why should you consider implementing this clinical teaching approach?

Lieutenant Columbo, played by Peter Falk, in the popular 70’s sitcom “Columbo,” was a deceptively brilliant detective. He would approach a complicated crime scene in a wrinkled trench coat and use a simple notebook to document important findings. Even though he appeared disheveled, confused, and aloof, Columbo was gifted at questioning witnesses in a curious and humble manner. He would summarize the pattern of the crime scene and would say, “Something about this doesn’t quite make sense.” This enabled others to organize their thoughts and implement critical thinking and problem solving skills to solve cases. Teasing out the patterns he clearly saw and allowing others to come to the conclusion, was his gift.

Columbo Tactic

The Columbo Tactic appears to be effective in clinical teaching. It is built on the educational principles of scaffolding [1] and the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) [2]. Scaffolding is defined as assistance provided to help students utilize knowledge they have acquired and apply it in a way to reach a conclusion that may at first not be evident to them [3]. ZPD is the difference between one’s independent problem solving ability and potential scaffolded problem solving ability [2]. Helping students reach their ZPD is achieved as the findings are repeated and organized in a manner in which questioning facilitates linking concepts and developing conclusions. The Columbo Tactic is fueled by students’ critical thinking process and less on that of the instructor. It causes the learner to think and talk more while the instructor listens and guides. Using this tactic maintains scientific inquiry and allows the student to see the concept in a more organized light, without distinguishing the curious flame of higher level processing and learning techniques.

Zone of Proximal Development

The Columbo Tactic, is also useful for difficult clinical questions or when presented with puzzling cases. Sometimes, the answer to the clinical question is not apparent to anyone. At that point, the instructor responds in the same way: organizing the clinical scenario and drawing a similar conclusion. After summarizing the scenario, one may say, “I’m not sure what the next best management course should be; why don’t we do more research on this and get back together next shift and see what we come up with?” The clinician educator, demonstrating by example, models humility and self-directed life-long learning principles.   This type of modeling and “strategic guidance” [3] are important parts of scaffolding the learning process because they enable the learner to see the challenge of the case and rise to the occasion.

Modeling medical decision making and processing skills for the learner and not dominating over the case actively engages the learner. When used properly, the Columbo tactic places the instructor in a more open, approachable position where he/she appears more accessible and welcoming to questions. Even though there are many formalized strategies for effective bedside teaching [4], students want educators who guide them towards a diagnosis and keeps the flame of scientific inquiry burning [5].

Instead of quickly correcting disorganized or inaccurate clinical assessments, clinical educators should try implementing the Columbo Tactic. It not only exemplifies educational humility, but also demonstrates that medical education is a lifelong process, not a destination. The next time a learner presents a disorganized presentation and is not able to formulate a conclusion or answer a difficult clinical question, consider summarizing the case and using the Columbo Tactic. Remember, all you have to do is say,“ Something about this doesn’t make sense… What do you think?”


  1. Wood D, Bruner JS, Ross G. (1976). The role of tutoring in problem solving. J Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 1976; 17(2):89-100.
  2. Vygotsky LS. Mind in Society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; 1978..
  3. Reiser, B.J. Scaffolding Complex Learning: The Mechanisms of Structuring and Problematizing Student Work. J Learn Sci. 2004; 13(3):273-304.
  4. Cayley WE Jr. Effective clinical education: strategies for teaching medical students and residents in the office. WMJ. 2011;110(4):178-81.
  5. Teherani A, O’Sullivan P, Aagaard EM, Morrison EH, Irby DM. Student perceptions of the one minute preceptor and traditional preceptor models. Med Teach. 2007; 29(4):323-7.

Post Peer Reviewed By: Salim Rezaie (Twitter: @srrezaie)

The post The Columbo Tactic: Bridging Generational Learning in Bedside Teaching appeared first on R.E.B.E.L. EM - Emergency Medicine Blog.

26 Aug 12:49

Abstracts, We Need Your Abstracts!

by cooneyrr

The 2016 CORD Academic Assembly will be here before you know it!

Again this year, the Advances in Education Research and Innovation Forum will present a peer-reviewed selection of emergency medicine educational research and innovations.

We’re looking for novel research questions and designs. We encourage Innovation submissions, such as:

  • Curricular designs
  • Computer applications
  • Faculty development
  • Recruitment processes
  • Similar topics.

Submissions can be in either of two formats: Medical Educational Research or Medical Education Innovation. As a reminder, the formats are scored slightly differently, with Research abstracts being evaluated on research question, methodology, and importance of results and Innovations being scored on curriculum/innovation need, development, generalizability, and evidence of impact or effectiveness.

More Details

Accepted abstracts will be selected for oral presentation (Research Lightning Orals, Undergraduate and Graduate Innovation Orals, and “Best of…” and/or posters.


New for this year, abstracts accepted as a poster will be displayed at the conference in a new ePoster format.

Authors will be contacted with instructions once review is complete. CORD will work with the authors to maximize the chance of acceptance at the Academic Assembly.
Abstracts must be submitted electronically using the Abstract Submission Form. All submissions must be received by 5 pm, Tuesday, December 1, 2015.

27 Aug 10:00

5 Scheduling Software Options in the Emergency Department: An In-Depth Review

by Sam Shaikh, DO

iStock_000011114453XSmallFrom the dawn of Emergency Medicine, the tradition of schedule creation has been an arduous task handed down from chief to chief. Only the most masochistic of individuals dared to rise to the challenges inherent in planning shift coverage around the concerts, reunions, and weddings of their closest peers. Luckily, as design and technology continue to advance, an increasing number of software options have become available to help assist the Scheduler in his or her duties. The software options have dramatic variations in price, interface, and capabilities. The inaugural ALIEM Chief Resident Incubator team hopes to shed some light on the various options, to help you pick the right tool for your program.


Google DocsMedRezAMiONShift AdminWhenToWork

Review by Dr. Zach Risler (Drexel)

Selling point

At Drexel, we use Google Docs to make our schedule. This works well for our program but may not work as well for others. Our schedule is based on a fixed 8-10 day rotating schedule (i.e. 6 days on, 2 days off or 6 days on, 4 days off); therefore it is easy to add individuals schedule to a predetermined template that is easily translated into a spreadsheet. This system works well if there is not a lot of variety in how many shifts you need to fill and the type of residents who fill them. However, each schedule is entered by hand with no automatization of the scheduling process. One particular advantage of using Google Docs, is that we have created a separate public folder with links to important documents, and articles, all accessible in one central location.

For the scheduler

To initially set up the spreadsheet takes some time. We have multiple ways to view the schedule, including one sheet for each rotation site, and another sheet broken down by residency class. This allows both the residents and faculty to quickly identify both an individual resident’s location that month as well as the resident schedule at each particular site. Once up and running it is easy to navigate and viewable from multiple platforms.


While Google Sheets is obviously not a scheduling program. There are some features that make it work well for this function. You can easily add additional sheets to each file to allow for multiple schedules in one place. The schedules can easily be color coded for ease of reading and organization. The file can also be shared with a link for viewing purposes or can be shared for editing purposes for all chiefs or administrators. The schedule is automatically set up to be viewed and edited easily across platforms; so editors can work on the schedule at home or on the go with a tablet or smartphone.

For the residents

Fairly easy to navigate, but can be bulky to look at so many schedules in one file. There is no easy way to separate individuals schedules out from the entire file. But you can search a spreadsheet by using control+F.  You also cannot export the schedule out to a 3rd party calendar program, like Apple Calendar.

Google Docs Annual Schedule This is an example of the R1 yearlong schedule. Each resident has a letter and rotate through the blocks. (i.e. Resident A starts in the CCU then moves to HUH (our main hospital) and so on.) On the left are the rotation sites and across the top are dates ranges for each block. Along the bottom is a sheet for each class and each hospital site.

Google Docs Schedule This is an example of the schedule at two of our community sites. The dates are on the left and the shifts and locations are across the top. Each resident rotates through the shifts (7a-7p, 12p-12a)

Software compatibility

Works well on all systems: Macs, PCs, phones, and tablets


  • Familiar software
  • Easy to view on multiple platforms (phone, computer, printed)
  • Easy to share with other departments through a link (do not need a separate login or password to another program)
  • Can give people access to view or edit – including residents, attendings, off service rotators or edit chiefs, PD, APDs, program coordinators
  • Allows residents to see everyone’s schedules to help make switches possible
  • Cost: Free


  • Less utility in a residency program that has a more random schedule
  • All swaps, trades, or requests need to be done individually by scheduling chief
  • No way to generate reports for each resident regarding number of shifts worked, holidays worked or type of shifts worked
  • No built in way to communicate possible trades
  • All schedules are hand entered – which can increase the risk for errors and uneven scheduling


  • Free


Google Docs is a free solution that is a viable option best suited for EM programs with a regular and repeating scheduling pattern. It is limited by its lack of any scheduling-specific features. The diversity and ubiquity of the Google ecosystem also makes this a great option for those who are using other Google tools.

Review by Dr. Sam Shaikh (Wayne State / Sinai-Grace)

Selling point

Here at Sinai-Grace, we are using MedRez for the first time. In prior years, schedules were done in Excel, which former chief’s report required 40+ hours just to develop the baseline schedule. When exploring scheduling software options, I was drawn to MedRez for the advertised randomizer, as well as the price of $395/year. Our residents staff 3 teams in our ED with 3 different shifts (as well as some coverage at a 4th site, our rural/community site). Scheduling is also complicated by our grand rounds on Thursday morning, which essentially mandate individuals working Wednesday afternoon or night shift to attend grand rounds and remain unable to work clinically on Thursday.

For the scheduler

Initial setup with MedRez can be a bit cumbersome. Before you can do any scheduling for an individual block you will need to setup resident names, block dates, block names, annual rotation schedule, shifts, and tallies (which tag the shifts as ‘day’, ‘night’, etc)  Some of these parameters have to be created in a specific order, which you don’t find out until you run into an error message (or do a detailed pre-reading of the help documentation).

Once up and running, the interface still takes a little getting used to, but does work quite efficiently. There are tools for batch selection and deletion. For example, removing all PGY-II residents from afternoon shifts for the block can be easily accomplished. As you schedule shifts, the software will attempt to highlight individuals who could fill the shift, based on your programmed duty hours. Conversely, you can select an individual and it will highlight potential shifts in the block they could cover. Unfortunately, the programming of duty hours is not 100% EM-centric. For example, we aim to limit the number of night shifts in a row to 4 and to give at least one extra day after the post-nights day off. This was too complex to fit into the existing duty hours parameters in MedRez.

The ‘Random Generator’ was one of the most important features I was looking for in a program, but it does have some limitations. I dreamed of a program that would do all my work for me, while I basked in the glory of chiefdom. Unfortunately this is not the case. Despite the software being aware of who is in the ED for each block, the generator does not take this into account when programming coverage on the first and last days of the block. Also, as some of our coverage rules are unable to be programmed in, the generator ends up with some shift coverage that needs to be tweaked after the fact. We also try to designate one weekend off per block, which the random generator is so far unable to fill reliably. Subsequently, my workflow involved identifying who can cover afternoon and night shifts on the first/last days and entering those in manually before starting the random generator, followed by extensive reorganizing. That said, I do find the tool overall very helpful. I am provided a nice rough draft of generally who will be covering days/afternoons/nights during a certain week. The random generator has also been 100% so far in granting vacation requests (which users can input on their own).

MedRez Scheduling Interface Tallies can be customized, and goals for each individual can be set. In this case we see Dr. Montrelli needs at least one more swing shift and 3 more total shifts. Dr. Shalam need 2 more shifts to meet her goal of 17 shifts.

For the residents

MedRez has a completely different front-end for the users than the scheduler. This is a more modern interface, that scales for mobile, tablet, and web. It is highly touch-optimized and provides great features for users including export to .ics (for Google Cal/ Apple Calendar), vacation requests, and printing of a PDF with an individual’s block schedule. I have heard nothing but great feedback from my co-residents on these perks. One limitation to note is that individuals have equal access to everyone’s schedules. This could theoretically allow a maleficent individual to modify others vacation requests or identify perceived disparities in scheduling equality to whine about. Your program’s MedRez home page can have password protection, but subsequent to that there is no further security on each residents individual page.

MedRez User Homepage Each user has their own individual page for scheduling and requests.

Export to PDF Users can print a PDF of their schedule. Perfect to put on the fridge or email to mom.

Software compatibility

Both the scheduling and user interface work well, including on mobile interfaces and the old version of Internet Explorer running inside our EMR.

I have found 2 technical hiccups with MedRez. The first is with scrolling on computers with touch screens, like the Surface, using Google Chrome. When on the user interface, scrolling can only be accomplished through touch and not the mouse wheel. Other browsers respond to both scrolling and touch scroll. Per discussions with the programmer, this is a limitation of the website being optimized for touch devices. Secondly, exporting a calendar feed to Google Calendar defaults to GMT time zone. This is a limitation of GCal, and can be circumvented by using the export to .ics feature. That said, I have found the support to be excellent. The creator of the software provides quick and relevant responses to emails, even for users in the trial.


  • Random generator
  • Vacation requests
  • Easy to view on phone/tablet/computer as well as export to pdf
  • Identifies and highlight potentially resident/shift pairings & duty hour violations while scheduling
  • Tracks annual totals for each tally (days, nights, ultrasound, etc)
  • Single click to add/remove coverage
  • Tools for dynamic batch selection


  • Duty hour customization not optimized for EM scheduling.
  • No integrated mechanism for shift swaps
  • All resident schedules are open
  • Not free


  • $395/year


MedRez is a strong web-based scheduling platform. It has made life easier for our program – both for the schedule-maker and the residents. Utilizing the random generator as a starting point, creating a block schedule takes just a few hours rather than days. Vacation and day-off requests have near 100% fulfillment with the combination of the generator and hand-tweaking. The user interface has excellent touch-enabled functionality and robust capabilities. While the initial setup was a bit onerous and the random generator is not perfect, the benefits of MedRez are readily apparent.

Review by Dr. Mike Hansen (Christiana Care)


Selling point

Amion is an online website that caters to medical scheduling. It’s set up like a fancy online excel file. It offers different ‘pages,’ where you can schedule the yearly block schedule, call schedule and daily shift schedule. It’s accessible to everyone with the use of a program specific passcode. It’s created with the use of their supplemental program, called OnCall. Everything is updated in real time. It also allows access to the Amion mobile app, where you can view your program’s daily schedule.

For the scheduler

To start, you have to download Amion’s scheduling program on your computer, called ‘OnCall.’ This was primarily designed to be run on a PC, but they offer a download option that comes with WineBottler that will run on Mac’s. I use a Mac, and other than an occasional hiccup, it operates smoothly.

Amion can be edited to your program’s specific requirements. This general setup was passed down to me (see image below), but if you are just starting, this will take some time to set up, as you will start with a blank slate.

Amion Scheduler's View How my OnCall program appears. From here, I have to manually place in every resident.

Once this is set up, then you can manually schedule every individual resident (which also takes a lot of time). It does have a helpful sidebar that appears while you’re doing the daily shift schedule that shows the amount of shifts the resident has that block and their vacation requests. Unfortunately, everything still has to be entered in manually. This increases your risk for errors.  There is a built in autoscheduler, but it cannot handle all the individual preferences our program needs (for example, we have a night block that cannot be worked into the scheduler). It alerts you if you have overlapped someone’s schedule, but it does not allow you to program in ACGME duty hour violations or any way to alert you if you schedule someone for less than a certain number of hours between shifts. It does allow you to work on the schedule however far out you need, and can publish the schedule online to any date you want. It saves online to the server, but you also have the option to save to your hard drive in case a file gets corrupted or something changes.

It also has a block view, which allows you to publish the resident’s assigned blocks for the academic year. You can edit the dates of the blocks to however your program designates (4 week blocks v monthly, etc).  The nice feature of the block view is you can enter everyone’s vacation requests and weekends need off in at the start of the year. When you’re scheduling, an alert will pop up if you are attempting to schedule a resident when they’ve requested off.

The third option is to schedule call. You can then schedule residents for call each day and have that populate to the Amion website.

Amion has an online swapping feature. We do not have this activated, as all swaps have to be approved through the chiefs. There is also the option for people to do their vacation and other shift requests online that will upload to OnCall.

It does have a useful help page on the website that is full of videos and advice on how to set up everything and to use all the different functions it provides.

For the resident

It allows the resident to link the website to their personal calendar (iCal, Google calendar) with helpful embedded links. Also, Amion allows the resident to view the schedule 3 different ways.

The first view is the block shift schedule. Where you can view the entire ED schedule and also have the option to highlight anyone’s individual schedule.

Amion Schedule View An example of an old schedule. Different level residents are represented in different colors.

The second view is the calendar view. This is specific for one resident and shows your approved vacation, call, and shifts.

Amion Calendar View This is specific for one resident and shows your approved vacation, call and shifts.

Amion Daily View Allows you to view all residents that are scheduled for a specific can break this view into sections by department/hospital/shift type


  • Easily accessible across all platforms and devices
  • Provides iCal and Google calendar links, which automatically updates
  • Updates in real time
  • Other programs can view as long as they have the program password
  • All residents can view all schedules, allowing them to set-up swaps
  • Does have option to look at total amount of shifts worked and compare. Can publish this online versus making it private. Does not allow you to look at morning vs evening. Can look at overnights.
  • Can be passed down from chief to chief throughout the years


  • Auto scheduler tough to use and hard to make work with all the different challenges of ED scheduling
  • All swaps and vacation requests have to be done by scheduler (though there are options for this to be done through Amion)
  • Takes a lot of time to set up schedule
  • Not free


  • $350/year


AMiON is a web-based user interface for the scheduling program ‘OnCall’. It provides accessibility with support for a broad variety of devices and features tools for integration into calendar applications. It also features shift-swap and vacation capabilities. The auto scheduler is not in use in our department because it is unable to account for some of our rules, but your mileage may vary. Overall, AMiON provides a solid web interface and continues to be successfully utilized by our program.

Review by Dr. Corinne Horan (Jefferson) & Dr. Devin T. Burrup (Wright State University)


Selling point

Shift Admin is a web-based scheduling program that auto-generates schedules based on specific criteria defined by the Administrative User. The program can support the scheduling needs of multiple users at a single hospital or multiple facilities, and allows for integration into one schedule or generation of separate schedules. Cost for scheduling is based on the average number of residents on your monthly schedule, with the cost coming to $5/month/resident. Flat rates can also be negotiated directly. Customized rules have associated “point-values” assigned to them (defined by the Administrative User) which result in “penalties” if that rule is broken when a schedule is auto-generated. After specific requests have been entered (i.e. vacation, day off requests, etc), the auto-generator analyzes hundreds of millions of schedules to produce one with the least amount of penalty points possible. The Administrative User can then analyze the data to determine if the penalties are acceptable. Once a schedule is generated using the auto schedule generation feature, it can be edited/tweaked as needed. If edits are required, a new schedule can be generated using the Administrative Users edits as a new starting point, thus reducing overall penalties and improving the overall schedule. The schedule can then be exported to excel or PDF for email distribution. Users can also log-in to their online account to see the schedule, offer trades, or sync to external calendar software (i.e. iCal, Outlook or Google calendar) for offline use.

For the scheduler

Shift Admin requires a lot of data input prior to actually being able to create a schedule. Users can be input through the use of a CSV template available for download on the Shift Admin site. Schedulers then need to create “Contracts” to assign to each of these users, which is likely to be the most time-consuming aspect of setup. Contracts are designed in order to tell the schedule generator what the rules are for any specific resident. Each of our PGY classes has a separate contract, and this is where you input duty hour restrictions, how many nights each resident should work, how many days off they should have per week, and how many scheduling requests they are allowed to make. The contracts are not a particularly intuitive part of the program, as each “rule” created in the contract is additionally assigned a specific weight, which tells the schedule generator which rules are more important to abide by (ie: duty hour violations are more important than having a weekend off).

Once users have their contracts assigned, you can create schedule periods for each block schedule. Users in the department that month can be assigned, and specific schedule requests that must be honored (for example, clinic days for off-service residents and which residents cannot work nights the last night of the block) can be input by the scheduler on this page. This has also proven to be a time-consuming process due to the high number of off-service rotators that often do not follow our block schedule for their rotation.

Shift Admin Requests Admin entered requests fall below the line, whereas user input requests fall above the line. Requests can be marked as “FIXED,” and can be made only for specific shifts off in addition to full days off.

From there, Shift Admin’s schedule generator goes through millions of iterations of potential schedules until it comes up with one that breaks as few of your contract rules as possible (denoted by the weight). The generator runs for 20 minutes but can be stopped at any time. Manual edits can be made very easily once the schedule is generated, and when you are happy you simply publish the schedule for all users to view.

Shift Admin Schedule View Logged in users see their schedule highlighted

The entire process when starting fresh with Shift Admin can be arduous. They do, however, offer very responsive and helpful tech support. When initially learning the system, we set up online meetings with the tech specialists, who were happy to teach us the system (including going through an entire contract with us and teaching us the best way to assign weights). Their support has certainly made the program more “user friendly,” especially for those of us that are not as tech savvy. At any time, if you are having an issue, Shift Admin will typically respond to an email within 5 minutes or will answer the phone immediately to help you troubleshoot.


While the customization process can be very time consuming and may require a lot of changes when creating the first schedule, Shift Admin itself can be customized to work for very complicated schedules. At both Jefferson (which has 39 residents staffing 4 different EDs with 120 off-service rotators to incorporate annually) and Wright State (which has 46 residents staffing 6 different EDs), Shift Admin has made a huge difference in terms of the ease of scheduling. Staffing for multiple sites and specific requests off for conference and morale days can be incorporated into a single block schedule using Shift Admin.

The true customization comes mainly from building the contracts. By changing the penalty weights in the contracts for different rules, you can tell the system what is most important for your residents’ schedule. Do you think it’s absolutely necessary that all residents have at least one weekend off every block? You can weigh that particular rule more heavily than others, and the generator will break that rule less often. However, that also means that the generator may need to break another, less heavily weighted rule in order to build a functional schedule. These contracts can additionally be customized for each site your residents staff, and changed on a block-by-block basis to ensure that residents on a particular rotation are scheduled appropriately.

Additionally, each user profile can be customized for shift preference (i.e. if a resident requests to work all night shifts, the maximum number of night shifts can be changed for an individual user without affecting the base contract and other users assigned to it). This feature can be changed on each schedule and changing this preference in one schedule period does not automatically change it for all remainder schedule periods.

Software compatibility

The mobile site allows users to view only their schedule or the group schedule as well as make offers for shift trades. From the mobile site as well as the full site, users can subscribe to their schedule via iCal or Google calendar. Users can opt to view the full site if desired, which works well on an iPhone. For those who prefer paper, a PDF can be printed directly from the site.

Shift Admin Shift Trade User shift trade interface


  • Generator that analyzes millions of schedule iterations
  • Exceptional tech support
  • Customizable
  • Easy-to-read schedule
  • Resident driven requests and shift trades
  • Compatible


  • Time consuming set up
  • Not free


  • $5/month/resident


Shift Admin is an online schedule management system that makes scheduling quick and effective. The auto-generator uses a complex algorithm to analyze hundreds of millions of schedules, resulting in a schedule that best meets predefined criteria. The interface is intuitive and easy to use. Both users and admin can input specific requests. Although it takes a significant amount of time to set-up, the support staff is knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful. Despite it being more expensive than it’s scheduling competitors, I feel it has tremendous benefits and is worth the cost. Shift Admin will ultimately decrease the amount of time required to create schedules. After all, nothing is more valuable during residency, than our time.

Reviewed by Dr. Alex Harding (Hackensack University Medical Center)


Selling point

With a website founded in 2000 and developed by math PhD’s, WhenToWork (WTW) boasts that they have been providing scheduling solutions for 28 years total. At our institution, it has been the preferred scheduling software for attendings and scribes for years. When our residency was founded, it became our scheduling tool as well (possibly due to ease of just increasing payments to an already approved company). It provides a relatively bare-bones scheduling interface with lots of functionality and customizability. Their main “claim to fame” feature is the “autofill” system, developed by the aforementioned PhD’s.

For the scheduler

Starting with WTW is easy – for each employee, a name and email address is supplied. There are options to add phone numbers, fax numbers, addresses, and other extensive identifying information as needed. There is then a single button to press that sends login information to anyone who has not yet accessed the site. Once this is complete, with or without the employee logging in, they are available for scheduling. Individual hour restrictions and shifts per week can be set to help avoid duty hour conflicts. The website loads quickly, and provides several different graph and text views of the schedule. There is an Android app that is relatively straightforward and, while it has less functionality than the full site, is useful for schedule checking on the go.

As for the actual schedule itself, hours and location of shifts are made clear, color coding helps differentiate between shifts, and shift hour templates can be programmed in for quick entry into the schedule. The shift by shift input can be cumbersome, but there are deeper features that allow streamlining of the process. There is an available trade board that, while unintuitive, allows users to control their trades rather than needing implementation by the admin. The site also accepts schedule requests, and these can be applied prior to inputting the schedule so nobody is scheduled during time they do not want to work.

WhenToWork Settings for adding a shift

While I have not personally used the autofill function yet, the summaries seem promising. Employees can enter time off, as well as shift preferences, which can then be used to autofill the schedule based on admin-set parameters. I suspect that with the variability of the schedule in EM, it may take more work to correctly utilize this functionality – a project that will take some time to flesh out. This seems more easily implemented in jobs with more uniform shift types (versus the constantly changing resident landscape)

For the residents

WhenToWork’s best feature for residents is the ease of viewing the schedule. Each schedule entry is color-coded and labeled with the area and time. Both the app and the website allow users to view “WHO’S ON NOW” and “WHO’S ON LATER” links, along with individualized schedules for themselves and others (viewable in daily, weekly, and monthly increments). Schedule requests are easy to put in, and allow users to select days and give reasons for their selection. These are automatically forwarded to the scheduler. There is a messaging system that sends a message straight to the admins through the website.

The only hefty downside I have found from a user perspective is the difficulty of shift swaps. This process typically involves 4-5 steps to approve and implement a shift swap, which has required an explanation multiple times. Also, there is no app available for iOS products (though the mobile website suffices for most applications).

Overall, shift swaps aside, WhenToWork has received no complaints from our residents, who seem to find it easy to navigate, easy to view schedules, and great for schedule requests and communication.

WhenToWork Schedule Schedule view for WTW


  • Very easy to access – employees can be entered with minimum information and automatically sent login instructions
  • Communication – messages can be posted permanently to a message board on the schedule itself, messages can be sent directly to employees and admin, and there is even an option to send an urgent text alert to all employees
  • Ease of use – the minimalist nature of the website makes it easy to load, the android app allows portability, and the ability to export shifts to iCal, google calendar, and other third party systems is very useful. The website and app both have the option to display “Who’s On Now/Who’s On Later” which can help greatly in planning events and ensuring residents who are scheduled are in attendance
  • Customizability – shift templates, weekly and monthly templates can be created to make the scheduling process easier, and various colors help easily differentiate shift times/types.
  • Hours management – each employee can be customized with max hours per week, required time off per week, and other parameters. The system will then automatically detect and flag duty hour violations.


  • Submitting trade requests is unwieldy and has a steep learning curve – employees must put their shift on the tradeboard, the other employee suggests a trade, each must confirm the trade, then it is sent to admin for approval. This could likely be streamlined.
  • No support for an iOS app at the time of this writing – iPhone users must go through the website.
  • Changing shifts from one area to another requires deleting the shift and recreating it to properly display the correct shift location
  • By default, any changes to the schedule automatically sends an email to the affected user, which can be annoying when many changes are being made without deselecting this option manually each time
  • Entering shifts can feel cumbersome to a new user who hasn’t yet mastered the intricacies of the system
  • Cost: Not free


  • Cost: Variable based on duration and number of employees – for our 36-resident program, it costs $330/year.
  • The cost for WTW is available on monthly, 3 month, 6 month, or yearly terms. Longer contract lengths offer significant savings. This pricing scheme is readily available on the website, and is dependent on the number of employees to be supported on the site. As our residency has 36 residents, we fall into the category that, on a yearly basis, pays $330 per year.


WhenToWork is not the most aesthetically appealing scheduling option, and it has a steep learning curve, but there are many benefits and options available that can make it a great scheduling tool for any residency. The ability to easily communicate, quickly access the schedule, export the schedule, and shift hour violation checks make it very useful for a chief resident scheduler. While there are several downsides, they are easily addressable and, overall, once the scheduler and residents become familiar with the interface, it is a very solid scheduling option.

Editor: Dr. Adaira Chou

 * Disclaimer: We have no affiliations (financial or otherwise) with the software scheduling platforms.

Author information

Sam Shaikh, DO

Sam Shaikh, DO

Editor, 60-Second Soapbox series
Emergency Medicine Chief Resident
Sinai-Grace Hospital/ Detroit Medical Center
2014-15 ALiEM-CORD Social Media and Digital Scholarship Fellow

| Twitter |

The post 5 Scheduling Software Options in the Emergency Department: An In-Depth Review appeared first on ALiEM.

02 Sep 16:16

Annemarieke Kloosterhof – Vital Cuts

by Vanessa Ruiz



Annemarieke Kloosterhof Pace

Annemarieke Kloosterhof Oxygen

These exquisite heart and lung paper cuts are part of a series, called “Vital,” exploring topics of disease and malfunction within the vital organs of the human body. Expertly crafted by master paper-cutter, Annemarieke Kloosterhof—a student of Central Saint Martins in London. I’m always amazed at the patience and diligence of people who work with paper as a medium. Annemarieke not only cuts out the anatomical shape, but inserts the tiniest of details throughout each piece.

Annemarieke says that she tries to,

“capture the essence of the different diseases people struggle with, and the feeling it gives them, hiding amongst the delicate veins are animals and insects to be found, portraying the delicacy of the human body and its vital organs.”


Annemarieke Kloosterhof Pace detail

Annemarieke Kloosterhof Pace detail 2

Pace,” represents heart disease and the fragility it places on a person’s life. Look closely and you’ll find 14 insects, 3 cocoons, 5 caterpillars, and 6 moths hidden amongst the arteries. Each stage represents the cycle of life and, for humans, how it “all stops and starts with the heart.” Hand-cut from a single piece of 120gsm white paper, splattered with red watercolour and ink.


Annemarieke Kloosterhof Oxygen detail 2

In the piece titled “Oxygen,” you can find 14 tiny birds perched among the branches of the broncioles. Annemarieke says, “The birds hiding amongst the veins symbolise the sound of a pair of lungs when someone suffers from Asthma and has difficulty breathing.” Hand-cut from a single piece of A3 watercolor paper, splattered with red ink.


If you love seeing work-in-progress shots, then follow Annemarieke on Instagram to see her paper-cutting.

See more of Annemarieke Kloosterhof’s paper work at! You’ll get lost in it as I did.



02 Sep 13:30

The Most Iconic Lightsabers In The ‘Star Wars’ Universe [Infographic]

by Sean Fallon


We can’t resist a good infographic (especially when Star Wars is involved) so head after the break to check out the latest from It charts “some of the most important, most unique, and most recognizable lightsabers from the Star Wars Universe.”



03 Sep 16:12

Here’s Your Chance To Own Your Very Own BB-8 Droid!

by Geek Girl Diva

sphero bb8

The very first time I saw a teaser of the BB-8 toy from Sphero, my inner self screamed “WANT!”. I’m happy to tell you (and myself) that your dreams of owning your very own BB-8 droid are finally about to come true.

This miniature, app-enabled version of everyone’s favorite little beach ball droid will be available on Force Friday at participating Apple stores, Best Buy, and the Sphero website for $149.99. The companion app will be available in iOS and Android.

You can see the official Sphero video and an adorable video of BB-8 and puppies after the break.

Product Page: ($149.99)

(via The Mary Sue / Puppies via Vanity Fair)

01 Sep 13:30

Dad Turns Son’s Room Into A ‘Portal’ Test Chamber

by Rielly


Am I too old to get adopted? This awesome geek Dad completely transformed his son’s bedroom into an amazing Portal test chamber.

After demolition, Randy Slavey used tons of paint, some Portal products from ThinkGeek and back lit mirrors to really complete the look.

I am just in awe of the accuracy and scope of the details in the room. It’s hard to believe that this real and not some sort of CGI rendering.

Check out more pictures of this fantastic Portal room, after the break.

Portal Bedroom

Pics of the build process are available on GeekDad.

(via reddit)

01 Sep 14:01

C.O. Trading Card #16 (With Bonus Alternate Card!)

by Brinke

By Request from pwagz, who said last month “This needs to be made into a poster immediately.” Well, here we go! (With TWO to choose from- click for C.O. Super-Size™!)


Collect ’em all– trade ’em with friends!

Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Blue Footed Booby, C.O. Super-Size™, C.O. TRADING CARDS
31 Aug 10:00

Mini Baked Alaskas!

by Christina Lane

Baked Alaska for two recipe!

I’ve been carrying around this little notebook for 5 1/2 years. In it, I write all the desserts I want to scale down for two. I’m always consulting the list and checking things off. It’s because of this little notebook that I’ve never experienced burn-out here in this space. There are always more sugary sweets out there to scale down to serve two. Life is pretty sweet, friends.

I reach for my trusty notebook when I eat at a restaurant with an inspiring dessert menu. I reach for it on Monday afternoons during the period of time I block off on my calendar for creative daydreaming. (Yes, I really do that. Try it!) Lately, I’ve been reaching for it often at the end of the day to scribble in my current cravings…which then become tomorrow’s reality. I’m taking full advantage of the extra calories breast feeding is burning, to put it nicely. I eat dessert daily. Sometimes twice.

I think Baked Alaska has been on the list for close to 5 years. I’m not sure what took me so long to make it. It’s a great little posh dessert–a slice of sponge cake covered with ice cream of your choice, all schmeared with meringue that gets toasted just before serving. It’s like cake meets ice cream with toasted marshmallow. In the words of Queen Ina, “how bad can that be?” Answer: not bad at all. Freaking fantastic, actually.

Mini baked alaskas

When I spotted this black cherry sorbet at a specialty shop, I knew it was time to make Baked Alaskas for two. You can use any flavor or sorbet that you think is fancy. Though I didn’t make the sorbet myself, I did stuff another one of those dang cherries that I just can’t get rid of in the center. (Like two cherries are really making a dent in the jar, though).

You can make this recipe serve way more than 2 by using the sponge cake recipe from my Shortcut Tres Leches Cakes. Or, you can half that recipe exactly and make it in a loaf pan. Just a note: half a tablespoon is 1.5 teaspoons. Be precise! In both cases, add a splash of almond extract. Frozen sponge cake leaves a lot to be desired in the flavor department, but extract saves the day. Vanilla would be fantastic, too. Or lemon. Anything, really.

Baked Alaska Dessert for Two

Ok, so prep. Let’s chat. I made the sponge cake the day before. While it was cooling, I scooped perfect spheres of sorbet using an ice cream scoop. The trick to getting perfect orbs is leveling it off in the scoop. Just scrape it against the side of the pint. Then, use a wet thumb to make a hole to stuff the cherry inside. (That is officially the weirdest sentence I’ve ever typed on this blog. Oh wait. I talked all about puking on my boyfriend once). The stuffed cherry part is optional, yo. You can stack the sorbet scoop on top of the cake and freeze it overnight. Or, put the sorbet scoops on cupcake liners and freeze, like I did.  The egg white part is the only thing that has to happen just before serving. So, when it’s go-time, whip the egg whites with sugar. You can use a piping bag or just schmear them on the sorbet-cake bombes with a spoon–imperfection is the goal so we get ridges for toasting. If you opt for a spoon, drag the edges of a fork to make even more ridges before brulee-ing. You can do it!

How to make Baked Alaska

5.0 from 1 reviews
Mini Baked Alaskas!
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2 cakes
  • 2 tablespoons + 1½ teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons + 1½ teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon + 1½ teaspoons milk
  • 1½ tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
For the rest:
  • 1 pint black cherry sorbet
  • 2 Morello cherries (optional)
  • 3 egg whites
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Use a 9 x 5" metal bread loaf pan for this recipe; it needs to have sharp corners. Do not use ceramic bakeware with rounded corners.
  3. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Trim it very well to fit perfectly. Do not grease the pan in any way.
  4. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and cornstarch twice. (Or, whisk it very well).
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the granulated sugar and egg. Beat on high speed until it reaches the consistency of soft whipped cream. This can take anywhere from 5-8 minutes. It will be fluffy and pale yellow with soft, floppy peaks.
  6. Melt the butter and milk together in the microwave. Stir in the almond extract
  7. Fold one-third of the flour mixture into the eggs. The proper folding technique is: down the middle with the narrow part of the spatula and then sweep the sides of the bowl. Take your time and do this carefully until all of the flour mixture is incorporated, adding ⅓ of the flour mixture at a time.
  8. Finally, stir in the hot milk and butter mixture all at once and fold in very well.
  9. Pour the batter into the pan, and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  10. Remove the pan from the oven, and let cool for 10 minutes. Then, run a knife along the edges of the pan and invert the cake carefully onto a cooling rack. If the cake doesn't flop out, use a rubber spatula to help it. The cake is very forgiving and does not tear easily. The parchment paper will stick to the surface of the cake. Gently peel it off, but if any more than a thin layer of cake sticks to it, let it cool completely before pulling it off. You can make the sponge cake the day before.
  11. Next, scoop two perfect spheres of the sorbet by using an ice cream scoop. Level off the surface of the sorbet with the scoop to make a flat bottom. Then, dip your finger in warm water, and then push a hole for the cherry in the center of each scoop. This is optional.
  12. Move the sorbet scoops to cupcake liners (or parchment paper) and freeze until very firm.
  13. To assemble, use the edges of your ice cream scoop to cut out perfect-sized rounds of sponge cake. Top each cake round with one of the sorbet scoops. Place back in the freezer.*
  14. Next, whip the egg whites in a medium bowl on high speed until soft peaks start to form. Stream in the sugar and beat until combined. Don't beat the egg whites past the point of soft peaks--no stiff peaks! (The large amount of sugar should prevent stiff peaks, but be careful, still!)
  15. When ready to serve, pipe the egg whites (or use a spoon) over the sorbet-cake bombes. Use a fork to make ridges in the egg whites.
  16. Using a culinary torch, brûlée the egg whites from a safe distance.
  17. Serve immediately.
*You could top the sorbet scoops on the cake and freeze overnight.

  Continue to the recipe...
31 Aug 09:48

Buttery Layered Buttermilk Biscuits

by joythebaker

Buttery Layered Buttermilk Biscuits

Now, you know I love a biscuit!  Now that I live in the south, I take my biscuits more seriously than ever.  Buttery and tender, up for just about any pairing from coffee to chicken.  I hold my biscuits to very high standards, they must be buttery and rise tall, the perfect balance of salty and sweet, with just a hint of crunch on top and a doughy tenderness inside.  

Because I hold my biscuits to very high standards, I’m always looking for ways to enhance the magic.  The answer:  better butter and a fold or two.  

Let’s go back to basics and make a better biscuit!  

Buttery Layered Buttermilk Biscuits

The fewer the ingredients in baked goods, the more important it is to use really quality ingredients.  

We’re using Land O Lakes® European Style Super Premium Butter for these biscuits.  

You guys, this butter is fantastic!  European-style butter extra creamy and higher in fat than traditional butter made here in the US.  Extra creamy and more fat makes for extra flakey biscuits.  We’re going to use salted butter in these biscuits for that alluring, extra-salty bite.   

This post is in collaboration with Land O Lakes®.  Photographs by Jon Melendez.  

Buttery Layered Buttermilk Biscuits

Sugar, baking powder, and baking soda into the flour with a quick stir.  

Buttery Layered Buttermilk Biscuits

Our butter moment!  

We want it cut into small cubes and cold.  

Cold butter broken down into the dry ingredients will help make the flakey in our flakey biscuits.  Don’t go thinkin’ you can sneak around with warm butter.  That just won’t do.

Buttery Layered Buttermilk Biscuits

Butter is tossed into the flour with a spoon.  

Now would be a great time to admire how golden and lovely the butter is… that’s what I did.  

Buttery Layered Buttermilk Biscuits

Fast hands!  

I like to make biscuits with my fingers instead of a pastry cutter.  It’s like playing with my food, but totally allowed.  

I press the cold butter into the flour mixture, creating small flecks of butter throughout.  

Buttery Layered Buttermilk Biscuits

Butter bits, large and small.  

In with the beaten egg and buttermilk.  

Egg for structure.  Buttermilk for always.  

Buttery Layered Buttermilk Biscuits

Quick stir.  One two three.  Not too many.  

Buttery Layered Buttermilk Biscuits

The biscuit dough will come together feeling rather shaggy.  Moist but shaggy. And you’ll see lots of butter bits studding the batter.  That’s exactly right! 

Buttery Layered Buttermilk Biscuits

Flour for the counter.  

We don’t want stuck biscuits.  

Buttery Layered Buttermilk Biscuits

Once the dough is on the counter, we’re going for more of a gather than a knead.  We don’t want to work the dough too much, just bring it together. 

Buttery Layered Buttermilk Biscuits

We gently roll the dough to a 1-inch thick oval.  

This dough doesn’t require much push.  It’s malleable and easily suggested into shape.  

Buttery Layered Buttermilk Biscuits

For extra flakeyness, we fold.  The bottom half of dough goes up toward the center.  

Buttery Layered Buttermilk Biscuits

And the top half of dough gets folded over the first fold.  

Once folded, we roll out the dough again.  

Buttery Layered Buttermilk Biscuits

And give the dough another fold treatment! 

The dough folding will add to the flakey layers in each biscuit because we’re literally adding layers to our dough.  

Buttery Layered Buttermilk Biscuits

We’ll roll the dough in a 1-inch thickness after the folding and use a round biscuit cutter to cut our biscuits.  

This is my happy place.  There’s butter everywhere! 

Buttery Layered Buttermilk Biscuits

Before going in the oven, we give the biscuits a bit more of the butter treatment but brushing the tops with melted butter.  Why not? 

Buttery Layered Buttermilk Biscuits

Baked for 20 minutes, these biscuits will rise mile-high and be super layered and flakey!  They pull apart beautifully.  

Buttery Layered Buttermilk Biscuits

Best served warm from the oven with extra butter and sweet jam.  

Back to basics with beautifully delicious butter and flakey layered biscuits.  

Buttery Layered Buttermilk Biscuits
2015-08-24 13:49:04
Yields 12
Write a review
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
  1. 3 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  3. 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 3/4 teaspoon salt
  6. 3/4 cup cold salted Land O Lakes® European Style Super Premium Butter, cut into small cubes, plus 2 tablespoons melted to brush the biscuits, plus 2 tablespoons melted to brush the biscuits
  7. 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  8. 3/4 cup cold buttermilk
  1. Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using your fingers, quickly work the butter into the dry ingredients until some bits of butter are the size of oat flakes, some the size of small peas. Chunks of cold butter is what we want in our dough.
  3. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine egg and buttermilk and beat lightly with a fork.
  4. Create a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the egg mixture all at once. Stir into a shaggy mixture. The dough will be moist, but not overly wet.
  5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and use a floured rolling pin to gently roll the dough into a into a 1-inch thick oval. At the short end of the dough closest to you, fold the dough over until the edge of the dough meets the center of the dough. Fold the top edge of the dough towards the center over the first fold. Gently roll the dough into a 1-inch oval and repeat the folding process again.
  6. After the second fold, again roll the dough out to a 1-inch thickness and use a 2-inch round biscuit cutter to cut biscuits. Press any dough scraps together to make a few more biscuits out of the remaining dough.
  7. Place 1-inch apart on the prepared baking sheet and brush lightly with melted butter.
  8. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown on top. Serve warm with extra butter. Biscuits are best the day they’re made, and though they can be frozen and lightly reheated in the oven if you need a future treat.
By Joy the Baker
Joy the Baker
Joy the Baker has partnered with Land O’Lakes for an exclusive endorsement of Land O Lakes® European Style Super Premium Butter. This post is sponsored by Land O’Lakes.
17 Aug 13:42

No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars

by Ree

DSC_0932I made these on a recent episode of my Food Network show, and they’re too tasty for words! They’re a super-simple no-bake bar that uses mostly pantry ingredients, and they’re a great treat to have in the fridge for after-school snacks…or, in my case, after breakfast snacks.

But that’s more my issue than yours.

No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars13First, make the chocolatey peanut buttery topping! Put some chocolate chips in a bowl with some creamy peanut butter…

No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars17Microwave it for a minute or two…

No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars18Then stir it until it’s smooth, silky, and you feel like diving in and going swimming. Set this aside to cool slightly while you whip up the bar mixture!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars2Throw a box of vanilla wafers into the bowl of a food processor (or a large ziploc bag)…

No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars3And pulverize them into fine crumbs. When I made them on the show, I kept the crumbs a bit chunky, and that’s delicious, too! Set the crumbs aside for a minute…

No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars4Then throw 2 sticks of nice, soft butter into the bowl of a mixer.

No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars5Add a cup of chunky peanut butter…

No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars6And mix it until it’s smooth.

No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars7Then add powdered sugar…

No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars8Mix it again until smooth…

No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars9Then add the crumbs…

No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars10And a bag of a mini-chocolate chips!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars11Then mix it until the crumbs and the chocolate chips just barely come together.

No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars12Butter a 9 x 13-inch dish and dump the mixture right in…

No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars15Then press it with a spoon or spatula…

No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars16Until it’s in a nice, even layer.

No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars19Then, you guessed it, pour the chocolate/peanut butter mixture all over the top…

No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars20And spread it into a thin layer, until it coats every last crumb.

No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars14Crush up some peanuts…(or pretzels!)…

No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars21Then sprinkle them…

No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars22All over the top!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars23Oh, yum. Double yum. Triple yum!

But you can’t eat them yet. You have to pop the pan in the fridge to set the chocolate topping as well as the bars themselves. Just an hour or two! Patience is a virtue!

DSC_0930Once they’re set, you can cut them into squares.

DSC_0932And serve them up.

DSC_0937These are so good, friends. Cut ‘em big, cut ‘em small…and enjoy every bite!

Here’s the handy dandy printable.


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No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars

Prep Time:
Cook Time:


  • 2 cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 2 sticks Butter, Softened, Plus More For Greasing The Pan
  • 1 cup Chunky Peanut Butter
  • 2 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 box (12-ounces) Vanilla Wafers
  • 1 bag (12 Ounces) Semi-sweet MINI Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Peanuts

Preparation Instructions

For the topping: Using a double boiler or a microwave, melt the chocolate chips and creamy peanut butter. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes while you make the bars.

For the bars: Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan with some butter. Using a stand or electric hand mixer, mix together the butter and chunky peanut butter until smooth. Stir in the powdered sugar a cup at a time.

Add the vanilla wafers to a food processor and process until they are in crumbs. Then add the crumbs and mini chocolate chips to the peanut butter mixture and mix until just combined. Spread it evenly into the buttered pan and set aside.

Pour the topping over the base. Spread it out evenly and sprinkle over the chopped peanuts. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, then cut into 20 bars.

Keep refrigerated, as the bars and chocolate will soften at room temperature.

Posted by Ree | The Pioneer Woman on

14 Aug 14:00

The Empire Doesn’t Care About Your Stick Figure Family

by Sean Fallon

sw stick figure family

Or, more accurately, they do care about your stick figure family and want to destroy them.

This vinyl decal is available in several different styles. Two of which can be found here and here.

(via Reddit)

11 Aug 13:21

How the ‘Star Wars’ Universe Has Influenced the Film and Television Industries Throughout the Years

by Justin Page


The creatives at Shutterstock recently teamed up with Pop Chart Lab to create a wonderful infographic that explores how the Star Wars universe has influenced the film and television industries throughout the years. They used numerous photos, vectors, and illustrations from the Shutterstock collection to map out how huge of an impact that the galaxy far, far away really had on our beloved entertainment industry.

Star Wars created beloved characters and gave us vast, over-arching storylines that would support an entire franchise. Movies are rarely released these days without a nod or a wink to the fact that there will be more films in the series.

Although it wasn’t the first big film trilogy (lest we forget The Godfather), Star Wars made the trilogy format so successful that it’s helped change how films are now written, produced, and released. (read more)






images via The Shutterstock Blog

10 Aug 18:49

How to Create a ‘Star Wars’ Tauntaun Cookie That Includes Yummy Candy Innards Spilling Out of It

by Justin Page

Tauntaun Cookies

Jenn Fujikawa of justJENN recipes has shared a detailed set of instructions that show how to create a Star Wars-themed Tauntaun cookie that includes yummy candy innards spilling out of its carcass. Jenn‘s wonderful step-by-step guide is available to view on the official Star Wars website.

Imagine you’re stranded on the ice planet Hoth, blinded by snow, surrounded by ice. Alone, afraid, you only have one option to survive and that’s to cut open a tauntaun and eat its candy innards!

Tauntauns aren’t really filled with candy, but it would be amazing if they were. These sugar cookie snow lizards are stacked and filled with candy entrails that will surely save your hunger in a pinch. (read more)

Tauntaun Cookies

Tauntaun Cookies

Tauntaun Cookies

Tauntaun Cookies

Tauntaun Cookies

photos by Jenn Fujikawa

10 Aug 11:18

Chickpea Curry

by Ree

DSC_0491This is an utterly scrumptious, super-flavorful pantry meal that happens to be one of the fastest ways to satisfy a curry craving that might strike you here or there. I love chickpeas, but I mostly eat them cold, whether whole in salads or pureed in hummus. I forget how delightful they are in soups and sauces. And, unless the rumors are untrue, chickpeas are exceedingly good for you!

Here’s how to make Chickpea Curry, one of my favorite pantry dishes of all time. If you’re a fan of curry, you’ll slurp up every bite.

If you aren’t a fan of curry, this one might just turn you around!

Chickpea CurryHeat a little vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat and throw in the diced onion and a little salt and pepper. Saute it for a few minutes, stirring it around, until the onions starts to soften and turn golden.

Chickpea CurryThen, get ready for the fragrance! Sprinkle curry powder over the onions! It’ll be the best decision you make all week.

Chickpea CurryBest decision you’ll make all week #2: Add minced garlic at this stage, too.

Thank you for listening.

Chickpea CurryKeep sauteing the onions as they become coated in the curry powder.

Chickpea CurryThe beautiful flavor of the curry will be released and get a little toasty and miraculous in the process.

Note: Your kitchen smells like heaven right about now.

Chickpea CurryAfter a good minute or so, pour in some vegetable broth.

Chickpea CurryStir it all together, then turn up the heat to medium-high and let the mixture start to bubble. Add a little more salt and pepper, then let it cook like this for a good minute or two, until the liquid starts to reduce…

Chickpea CurryThen crack open a can of coconut milk (give it a good shake first!) and pour it in.

Coconut milk. I can’t say enough about it. It’s mysterious, creamy, tasty, and wonderful.

Chickpea CurryStir in the coconut milk, then squeeze in a little honey…

Chickpea CurryAnd, the kicker: Sriracha (or any hot chili paste or sauce.) The sauce really needs a little spice, and Sriracha has a nice flavor and tang to it.

Note: One other ingredient I often like to use with this is lime juice! But it’s difficult to add lime juice to this dish when one is out of limes. But if you have lime juice—use it, use it, use it! It will be the third best decision you make all day.

(Lots of good decisions with this recipe!)

Chickpea CurryNow, the sauce needs to bubble up and cook again—probably two to three more minutes, just to thicken it up slightly.

Chickpea CurryThe chickpeas also need to go in! Two cans. Drained and rinsed.

Chickpea CurryMmmm. Turn the heat to low and let it simmer away!

Chickpea CurryMeanwhile—I forgot to tell you!—I cooked some basmati rice, which is something that pretty much makes my whole day. I love the stuff. Pile it on a plate…

chickpea curryThen spoon on the curry, making sure to get plenty of the sauce along with the chickpeas.

chickpea curryA few cilantro leaves are nice, too. The flavors really go together! And again, if you’re one of those lucky humans that has limes in his/her fridge, serve a couple of wedges on the side.

DSC_0491This is an absolute dream, friends. A dream you’ll never want to wake from!

(Not to be dramatic or anything. Ha.)

Here’s the handy dandy printable. Have a wonderful Monday, friends!


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Chickpea Curry

Prep Time:
Cook Time:


  • 2 cups Basmati Rice
  • 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 1 whole Large Onion, Diced Fine
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons Curry Powder, Any Variety
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 cup Vegetable Stock
  • 2 cans Chickpeas, Drained And Rinsed
  • 1 can (13.5 Ounce) Coconut Milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey, More To Taste
  • 1 Tablespoon Sriracha Or Hot Sauce (more To Taste)
  • Lime Wedges, For Serving (optional)
  • Cilantro Leaves, For Garnish

Preparation Instructions

Cook the basmati rice according to the package instructions.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes, until the onions are soft and starting to turn golden. Sprinkle in the curry powder and garlic and stir, cooking for another minute or so. Pour in the vegetable stock and stir to scrape up all the brown bits in the pan. Add the coconut milk, honey and a squirt of sriracha. Bring to a boil, add the chickpeas, reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt, honey, or Sriracha (or lime juice, if using.)

Serve the curry over the rice. Garnish with the cilantro.

Posted by Ree | The Pioneer Woman on

10 Aug 00:51

Malt Ball Layer Cake

by Kristan

This chocolatey Malt Ball Layer Cake is filled with malted whipped cream and covered in silky chocolate malt buttercream.

Malt Ball Layer Cake PictureMy husband and son went on a “man trip” last week.

And the weird thing about being at home alone with a toddler for a whole week is that you lose all sense of time and structure. Toddlers literally have no idea if it’s weird that you’re still wearing pajamas at 4pm or you’re having pinto beans, cheese cubes, and sliced strawberries for dinner. They ask no questions.

It’s quite refreshing, if you really want to know. For an entire week, I was the boss of my very own life. There were no fussy questions like, “Have you seen any of my clean socks lately?” or “What are we having for dinner?” or “You DO realize that a reality show isn’t a healthy way to find true love, don’t you?”

Malt Ball Layer Cake Photo

And for the record, NO. No I don’t know that.

Also? I only had to make half of the bed every day. My husband’s half sat there nice and made because UNLIKE SOME PEOPLE, women don’t need to flop around the entire bed to get to sleep. We just stay on our side of the bed, all nice and tidy with our Kindle and glass of ice water. Gosh, it’s like we have to teach everyone how to live or something.

The other thing I did while the boys were gone, besides eat pinto beans and make half the bed, was bake a massive Chocolate Malt Ball Cake. It just seemed like the thing to do. No knife, no little serving plates, just me, Lucy and a fork. She’ll never remember it. That’s why toddlers are the very best partners in crime.

Chocolate Malt Cake Image

This cake is basically the most marvelous thing that ever happened. Layers of very NOT dry (PLEASE DON’T MAKE ME SAY THE M WORD) chocolate malt cake, tons of light, cool, creamy malt whipped cream, and a layer of silky smooth chocolate malt buttercream. Pour some ganache over that and BAM. Heaven on a plate.

If you’re ever going to be happy in life, you really must make this.

Chocolate Malt Cake Pic

DO IT!!!

Malt Ball Layer Cake

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 15 servings


  • Cake:
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup Hershey's Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 2/3 cup chocolate malt powder (like Ovaltine)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Malted Whipped Cream:
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups malt balls, crushed
  • Chocolate Malt Buttercream:
  • 2 sticks salted butter
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cup chocolate malt powder
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • Chocolate Ganache:
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup or honey


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour 3 (8 inch) round cake pans and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, malt powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  3. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched in the center. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes before moving to a rack to cool completely.
  4. Prepare malted whipped cream: Place a metal mixing bowl, along with your mixer's whisk attachment in the freezer for 10 minutes. Remove from freezer and add heavy cream and powdered sugar. Beat on high until a stiff whipped cream forms. Fold in crushed malt balls. Transfer to a bowl and cover; place in refrigerator.
  5. Prepare frosting: In the bowl of your mixer, beat butter and heavy cream on medium low speed until combined. With the mixer on low, slowly add powdered sugar, malt powder, and cocoa powder until just barely combined. Increase mixer speed to high and beat for one minute, until fluffy and smooth.
  6. Level cake layers with a serrated knife. Place first layer on cake plate, bottom side facing up. Spread generously with malted whipped cream. Repeat with another layer, finishing with the last cake layer, bottom side facing up. Frost cake with prepared chocolate malt buttercream, then top with a final layer of malted whipped cream. Place in the refrigerator for several hours to chill.
  7. Prepare ganache: In a microwave-safe bowl, heat chocolate chips and cream, stopping every 20 seconds to stir until melted and smooth. Stir in corn syrup, then let cool and thicken just a bit. Remove cake from refrigerator and spoon ganache over the top of the cake, spreading to the edges and letting it drip down the sides.


Cake batter portion adapted from Hershey


Enjoy and have a great day!

The post Malt Ball Layer Cake appeared first on Confessions of a Cookbook Queen.

10 Aug 10:00

Chocolate Cherry Coconut Bars

by Christina Lane

Cherry Chocolate Coconut Bars

It all started with this jar of Morello cherries. I clearly bought them when I was throwing back Bourbon like it was my job (pre-pregnancy). I liked a Bourbon smash with a cherry. I liked a whiskey sour with a cherry. I even like Tres Leches Cakes in jars with a cherry.

But, that’s like 5 cherries total. So, they’ve been sitting in my fridge ever since. They’re great to snack on. They lack the artificial flavor (and dye!) of Maraschinos, and taste just a bit more like fresh sweet cherries that are soft.

Morello cherry dessert

So, depending on how long you’ve been reading my site, you’ll know about the unsung hero recipe around here: my perfect blondies for two. I say ‘unsung’, because they’re an old recipe that not many know about. I call them heroes because once you’ve made them, you instantly become a dessert for two fan and a loyal reader. It’s true. I’ve proven it many times. I even put a pecan blondie recipe in my cookbook based on that recipe. These cherry coconut blondies are based on that recipe, so you know they’re good!

In true small-batch dessert fashion, we’re going to bake these in a bread loaf pan. The standard 9″ one you have in your cabinet. You can cut them in half for two big, fat bakery-sized blondies, or cut them into 4 little blondies. Your choice. Your sweet, sweet choice.

As always, since this recipe uses just an egg yolk, be sure to check out my section on recipes that use the leftover egg white!

4.8 from 4 reviews
Chocolate Cherry Coconut Bars
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2 bars
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup coconut shreds (sweet or unsweet, your choice)
  • ¼ cup diced Morello cherries
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Line a 9” x 5” x 3” loaf pan with enough parchment paper to overhang the sides and make handles for lifting the blondies out.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together the melted butter and brown sugar with a wooden spoon until well blended.
  4. Stir in the egg yolk, vanilla, almond extract and salt.
  5. Sprinkle the flour and baking powder evenly on top and stir it together.
  6. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips, coconut and cherries.
  7. Bake for 22-24 minutes. Use a toothpick to test for doneness—you don’t want the toothpick to come out dry; some moist crumbs clinging is what you’re looking for. Immediately lift the blondies out of the pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before devouring.