Welcome to my Food Blog!

Welcome! My name is Anne, aka ThePharmGirl. In 2010, I successfully made 100 recipes as a New Year's Resolution to expand my culinary repertoire and cooking skills beyond the frozen microwave dinner. This blog is a continuation of my culinary journey and serves as my personal virtual recipe box. Sometimes I like to have fun-- Check out my Muppet Mania Menu, The 12 Days of Christmas, and my Musical-themed recipes.

My current mission(s) for 2020:
* Make at least 20 recipes for the Instant Pot
* Use the Spiralizer more often

Thursday, December 27, 2018


I received the cookbook Classic German Baking for Christmas last year but hadn't tried out any recipes. I decided to make one of the recipes for this year's family Christmas gathering and chose this one because it looked good and easy to make.  I wanted to stay as true to the recipe as possible, so I splurged on the Kerrygold European-style butter, but I honestly think regular butter would be just fine.  I bought my unsweetened pitted tart cherries at Sendiks and then added a little sugar to the juices in the container.    The kuchen turned out good.  I enjoyed eating it.

Sour Cherry Streusel Cake
from Classic German Baking by Luisa Weiss

7 TBSP (100g) unsalted high-fat butter, softened (I used Kerrygold)
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
1 cup + 1 TBSP (135g) flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch ground cinnamon (I used more than a pinch)

Cherry Topping:
24 ounce jar pitted sour cherries in sugar water
2 tablespoons cornstarch

15&1/2 TBSP (220g) unsalted high-fat butter, softened
3/4 cup + 2 TBSP (175g) granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2&1/3 cups + 1 TBSP (300g) flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 TBSP whole milk  (I used 1% milk)

To make the Streusel, cut the butter into cubes and place in a large bowl.  Add the remaining streusel ingredients and work with your fingers until the mixture is well combined and crumbly, with various-sized clumps (pea-sized to lima bean-sized).  Place in fridge until ready to use.

To make the Cherry Topping, drain all of the liquid from the cherries into a medium saucepan, reserving 3 tablespoons of liquid in a small bowl.  Bring the liquid in the saucepan to a boil over medium-high heat.  Meanwhile, whisk the cornstarch into the small bowl of reserved liquid until smooth.  When the cherry juice starts boiling in the pan, whisk in the cornstarch slurry.  The juice should start immediately thickening up.  Remove from the heat and continue to stir.  Add the cherries, stir, and set aside to cool.

To make the Batter, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the vanilla.  Mix together the dry ingredients and then beat into the butter mixture.  Finally, beat in the milk. 

Scrape the batter into a 9x13" baking pan, then evenly pour the thickened cherry mixture and juices over the batter.  Sprinkle the streusel over the top.    Bake at 350º for 45 to 50 minutes, until the streusel is golden.   

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Baked Pesto Chicken

Fast, easy, and delicious.  I have a surplus of basil, so I made basil pesto and this recipe was a good way to use that.

Baked Pesto Chicken
from a recipe I found online at Skinnytaste

2 (8oz each) boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used chicken tenders)
salt and pepper
Basil Pesto
1 medium tomato, sliced thin
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese

Slice chicken breasts horizontally to create 4 thinner cutlets.  Season with salt and pepper.

Line a baking sheet with foil and place chicken on sheet.  Spread pesto over each piece.

Bake at 400º for 15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center.  Top with tomatoes, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese.   Bake for another 5 minutes until cheese is melted.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Poached Egg on Spiralized Parsnip Patties

I love Eggs Benedict, so when I saw this recipe, I decided to give it a whirl.  The parsnip cakes were a surprisingly decent substitute for English muffins.  The original recipe also called for an Avocado "Hollandaise" sauce, but my avocados weren't ripe enough.  I tried to force it, and it was a disaster, so I kept that off the plate.  I put a couple leftover parsnip cakes in the fridge, so maybe I can try again in a couple days and add the avocado sauce.  But really, it was fine without the sauce because the runny egg yolk provided a sauce itself.  The recipe took work, but it was delicious and worth it.

Eggs Benedict on Parsnip Cakes with Avocado "Hollandaise"
Recipe from Inspiralized and Beyond
Serves 2

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large parsnips, peeled, and spiralized into noodles
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 large eggs
dash of distilled white vinegar

Avocado Sauce:
1/2 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup hot water
salt and pepper to taste

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet and add the parsnip noodles, salt, and pepper.  Cook, tossing, for about 5 minutes until warmed through.    In a medium bowl, beat 2 eggs.  Add the cooked parsnip noodles to the bowl and toss to combine.  Fill two (or more) ramekins halfway with the mixture.  Cover each with foil or wax paper and press firmly to compress.  If time permits, put in the fridge for 10  minutes.

In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil.  Flip the parsnip cakes out of the ramekins onto the skillet.  Cook for about 3 minutes on the first side.  Flip and cook another 2 or 3 minutes, pressing down with the spatula to compress the cakes.

Meanwhile, fill a medium pot halfway with water and bring to a steady simmer.  Add the vinegar.  Crack each egg into its own ramekin or small bowl.  Swirl the water with a spoon to make a whirpool, then gently tip in 1 egg, white first.  Cook for 3 minutes until medium-firm, remove with a slotted spoon, and place gently on a paper towel-lined place to drain.  Repeat for other egg.

To make the sauce,  combine all the ingredients in a blender or mixer and puree until smooth.

Arrange 1 parsnip cake on a plate, top with a poached egg, the drizzle with the avocado sauce.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Falafel Waffle

I saw this recipe in a cookbook and wanted to see if it would remind me of the delicious Falafels we ate during our trip to Israel.  And since it's cooked in a waffle iron instead of deep-fried, it's much healthier.  Overall, the flavor was good, but the waffle was too dry.  The sauce was definitely needed.   If I make it again, I'd maybe add another 1/2 egg or grated zucchini or liquid of some sort to the batter to see if I could improve that aspect.

Falafel Waffle with Cumin Tzatziki 
From Inspiralized & Beyond Cookbook
Serves 2

Waffle Ingredients:
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper to taste
1 large egg

Tzatziki Sauce:
1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, combine all the waffle ingredients except the egg; process until smooth.  Transfer to a medium bowl and add the egg, mixing well.  Spoon mixture into a preheated waffle iron and cook until waffle is set and outer edges are firm and brown (Depending on waffle iron, you may need to do two batches).   Serve with the sauce.

To make the sauce, whisk together all the ingredients.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Cloud Bread

I've been trying to reduce the amount of sugar and bread carbs I eat in a day (which was a LOT), so I decided to try out this recipe for "Cloud Bread" which just has eggs and cream cheese, and a mere 36 calories per cloud.  The recipe turned out better than I thought it would.  The size of each is similar to a McDonald's hamburger bun.  I used 2 clouds as a bun for a turkey sandwich and although it didn't taste like bread, it was still good and satisfied my need for a sandwich.  They're soft, but still held their shape while I ate the sandwich.  Later, I was craving dessert, so I also tried one piece with some mashed raspberries and some whipped cream, and that was absolutely delicious--reminded me of Schaum Torte somewhat with that meringue-like interior.   I'll make this again, and perhaps add some herbs to the recipe next time. Perhaps I'll experiment with Greek yogurt instead of cream cheese to lower the fat content a bit.

Cloud Bread
Makes 10-12 clouds
36-43 calories/cloud   (0 carbs, 3.7g protein, 2.8g fat)

3 eggs, separated
3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened (or cottage cheese)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 tablespoon honey (or 1 packet artificial sweetener)

Preheat oven to 300º.

Carefully separate the egg whites from the yolks into two separate bowls.

In the bowl with the egg whites, add cream of tartar and beat on high speed until they are fluffy and form nice peaks.

In the yolk bowl, add the cream cheese and honey, and mix until smooth.

Fold the yolk mixture into the egg whites just until mixed, being careful not to deflate the whites too much.

Spray two cookie sheets with cooking spray, or use a Silpat mat.  Spoon the mixture into 10-12 even rounds on the sheets (about the size of a McDonald's bun), about 3/4" high and 4-5 inches wide.

Bake at 300º for 20-30 minutes (depending on your oven) until golden brown. Mine took only 20 minutes.   Cool on a rack until completely cool.  While still warm, they will be crumbly like meringue, but once they cool, they set up nicely.  Store in a ziplock or storage container in the fridge.  May also freeze.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies

I made these cookies for St Patrick's Day and my coworkers seemed to enjoy them.  I liked them.  Because of the moistness of the zucchini, they are a softer cake-like cookie.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies
Makes 3-4 dozen cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 small zucchini, grated
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and mix well.  Add in the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, and mix well.  Stir in the zucchini.  Fold in the walnuts.

Spray cookie sheets with cooking spray or use parchment/silpat mat.   Drop dough by tablespoonful onto cookie sheet.  Bake at 350º  for ~15 minutes or until golden. 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Reuben Braid

This is a recipe I've made in the past.  Just an easy and quick way to use up corned beef for a fun St Patrick's Day meal.  This time around, I had leftover filling that didn't fit in the dough, so I saved it and made a Reuben Panini the next day.  Still good.

Reuben Braid
Make ~4 servings

3-4 oz cooked corned beef brisket, chopped
3/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 cup sauerkraut, drained
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 tablespoons Thousand Island dressing
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon dill weed
1 package (8 oz) refrigerated crescent roll dough
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds

In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients.  Set aside.

Unroll the crescent roll dough onto a baking sheet.  Seal seams and perforations if needed.  Spread the corned beef filling down the center of the rectangle.  On each side, cut 1-inch-wide strips to within an inch of the filling.  Starting at one end, fold alternating strips at an angle across the filling, creating the braided effect.  Seal ends. 

Brush egg white over dough and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Bake at 375º for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Slice and serve.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Pork Piccata with Brussels Sprout and Apple Hash

I'm always looking for ways to make vegetables taste good, and this recipe accomplished that.  Bacon makes everything better.  I really liked the apples and bacon with the thinly sliced Brussels sprouts, and apples are a naturally good pairing with pork, in my opinion.  Jeremy picked out the apples though (he doesn't enjoy meat and fruit together).  The original cookbook recipe called for veal cutlets, but pork is more accessible and far cheaper.  I also made a quick 5-minute couscous to go with it, although it wouldn't have been necessary. The recipe made a generous portion of hash. 

Veal (or Pork) Piccata with Brussels Sprout Hash and Apples

Recipe from One Pan, Two Plates Cookbook
Serves 2

4 veal scallops (3oz each), pounded thin OR 1/4" thin boneless pork chops
salt and pepper
2 slices bacon, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 garlic clove, diced
12 Brussels sprouts, cut into thin slices
1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced
1/3 cup dry white wine (or use chicken broth or water)
1/2 lemon

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the bacon.  Cook bacon until the fat renders but hasn't yet browned, about 2 minutes.  Salt and pepper the meat and add to the skillet.  Sauté pork for 3 minutes per side (or 1 minute for veal).  Remove meat to a plate, leaving the bacon in the pan.

Add the onion, garlic, Brussels sprouts, apple, and a few grinds of salt and pepper to the skillet.  Sauté the vegetables with an occasional stir until they soften and begin to brown around the edges, about 5-8 minutes.  Add the wine and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Taste and season as needed.  Return the meat to the pan on top of the veggies with any accumulated juices.  Cover the pan and cook for 2 minutes to heat up the meat and finish cooking the Sprouts.   Squeeze the lemon over everything.  Serve.