April 15, 2014

Carrot Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Cake

With Easter just under a week away, let this cake inspire your spring baking spirit! This recipe will impress your family, inspire a new favorite and maybe get your kids (or husbands) to eat some carrots!

Thank you to SSC member Katherine for letting us re-post this from her blog pleasegivepeasachance.blogspot.com!

Welcome to the best Carrot Cake post EVER. No really.
Carrot cake. Vanilla bean. Cheesecake. Cake.
Moist carrot cake layers, a layer of creamy vanilla bean cheesecake, smothered in a Cinnamon vanilla bean cream cheese frosting, topped with candied carrot curls. HELLO.
Perfect for any occasion really.
This cake takes some planning to make. There are quite a few steps but the methods themselves are easy. I made two of these carrot cakes, a round and a square. It's a long story, that had to do with not having enough cake pans, and what not. In the end I dropped a layer on the floor and had to toss it, so I had enough extra batter to redeem myself. I guess I just knew I needed that extra batter.

 To find the recipe for the cake and cheesecake follow these links
  Carrot Cake
Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

Frosting and candied carrot curl recipes are at the bottom of this post.

Some notes:

  • Just like the Chocolate Mint Cheesecake Cake, this is cake/cheesecake/cake/frosting. I don't put extra frosting between the layers of cake. 
  • The candied carrot curls on top were easy to make, and I got a great simple syrup for my tea out of it. The recipe for that is below.
  • If you are making this cake and placing the layers in the freezer  in between steps, thaw before serving! It tastes better fully thawed.

Give Peas A Chance Ginger Candied Carrot Curls

3-4 carrots (depending on size)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 few slices of ginger- fresh or crystallized about one inch rounds (Use a stick of cinnamon to tie in the cinnamon in the frosting and omit the ginger if desired)

  1. Peel the carrots. Then take the peeler and long strips with it.
  2. Put the sugar, water, and ginger in a pot. Bring to a simmer until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add carrot slices to the pot, bring to a simmer.
  4. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.
  5. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the carrots are just pliable and not crisp.
  6. Drain the carrots and ginger. RESERVE the yummy simple syrup.
  7. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  8. Place the carrots on the parchment paper. Lay them out in a single layer, not touching.
  9. Place them in the oven for about 20-30 minutes.
  10. Take the carrots out of the oven while still pliable, but not wet.
  11. Shape them into curls - I used a chopstick.
  12. Gently slide the carrots off of the chopsticks.
  13. Bake them for another 10-15 minutes until they set.
  14. Cool. Keep these in a dry place. 

Give Peas A Chance BEST Cinnamon Vanilla Bean Frosting

 (I frosted two cakes with this, so keep that in mind)
4 packages of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened 
2-3 teaspoons vanilla bean paste - or like a tablespoon
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 cups of sugar (powdered) I may have used 3 1/2 

  1. Beat the cream cheese and butter with a wire whisk attachment on a stand mixer, or use a hand mixer. Beat until light and fluffy with no lumps.
  2. Add vanilla and cinnamon. Beat well.
  3. Slowly add in powdered sugar. Mix well.
*A note about powdered sugar, if your frosting is runny, do NOT add more powdered sugar, that will make things worse. This is why I add a little sugar at a time to check consistency.

Katherine a mother of 3 and the creator of Please Give Peas A Chance, an blog with healthy and easy lunch ideas, desserts, dinners crafts and more!

March 24, 2014

Meet the Member Mondays- Kristen R.

Hi! My name is Kristen and my fiance is Jeremy (MS1, USAF). We live happily in Rockville with our vicious 3 lb yorkie, Rupert Preston.

Jeremy is from VA and has lived this military life the past 5 years living in Texas, Louisiana, and Italy. I am from NJ (no, not the Jersey shore) and have been in NC until this past year. We moved here this summer from Wilmington, NC where we met our first day at UNCW 10 years ago. After playing 8 years of friendship, and 2 years of dating, we are excited to get married on October 12, 2014!

I have my Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and my Master’s in Reading Education which has landed me a very challenging yet entertaining job as a kindergarten teacher in Germantown. I enjoy reading, cooking, drinking wine, going to pilates, and pinteresting (which I actually follow through with at times!).

This is the first experience I’ve ever had with military life style. I will never understand all the acronyms and I refuse to use military time, but when I didn’t have to personally pack up a U-Haul to move here, I knew good things were in store. The SSC has already introduced me to great friends and I am thankful for that! It’s been fun to help out with the SSC WWR Race and being nominated for Adult Social Chair is exciting as well! I can easily see how difficult this life could be: moving often, continuously making and leaving friends, trying to find a job at each new location; but I think the sacrifice is worth the reward.

I am excited to continue this adventure with my soon-to-be husband and look forward to meeting wonderful people along the way!

March 18, 2014

Meet the Member Mondays- Emily G.

Hi! I'm Emily Gregory. My husband, Tim, is a first year Army student. He was in the Army National Guard before coming to USUHS. We have an almost two year old son, named Dorian.

I was born and raised in Florida (Sarasota/Bradenton area). Tim is from Pittsburgh, PA.  We met when he was the lead guitarist in a band. They were touring the East Coast and stopped by our house to stay for a few days since my cousins were also in the band. I went to one of their shows, and what can I say, I like a guy who can play guitar! But I like a man in uniform too, so it all worked out ;) 
After a lot of visiting back an forth, I eventually moved to Pittsburgh where we were later engaged. We were married in August, 2010, and the rest was history!
I graduated with a BA in Social Sciences from the University of South Florida.  I worked as a Teacher for an out of school time program in Pittsburgh before we moved here. Right now, I'm going to school part-time for Photography. It's super fun and I'm learning a lot. By the way... I need some practice, so if anyone wants some free portraits, let me know ;)  Other than that, I stay at home full-time with our son Dorian who always keeps me on my toes!

The hardest part about being a part of the military is living so far away from my family in Florida. Other than that, it's been a good experience. My favorite part about USUHS is the sense of community and the family-friendly atmosphere. I'm thankful to have made great friends through the SSC.  Right now I'm using tuition assistance (MyCaa) specifically for military spouses, which is a great also a great benefit! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about it.

While Tim is in school, Dorian and I love to get out and explore, so if anyone wants to do something, let me know! I can't wait until it warms up... The FL girl in me is ready for winter to be over so we can get outside and play! ;)

March 10, 2014

Meet the Member Mondays- Katie B

Hello! My name is Katie Bogenberger. My husband is Ken and he’s an MS2 in the Army. Right now he’s in North Carolina for his second rotation (family medicine).

We are both from California. I’m from Visalia and Ken is from LA.  We recently were married last July after dating for 6 years. Ken is prior service; he served for 6 years as an ambulance platoon leader in the California National Guard before coming to USUHS. He also worked as an officer strength manager, recruiting medical professionals to serve in the national guard.

I am a teacher and choral director. I have taught both music (grades K-12) and general elementary (2nd grade) and directed church and school choirs. I have a BA in music education from Vanguard University and two teaching credentials. I am currently working on an MA from the University of Maryland in music education.  It is a challenge to be a student again after working full time for a few years. I miss teaching and I hope to start again in the fall. In my free time, I like to knit, read, be outside, and exercise.

Moving to Maryland was a big change for me. I love California (especially the weather) and I loved my job, my church, and being near family and friends. I’ll always miss California, but it’s fun being on this adventure with my husband. I love that Ken's schooling is paid for and it has allowed me to go to school at the same time as him without the huge amount of debt. I’m very lucky to have an incredibly supportive husband who helps me realize my dreams as well as pursue his own. The SSC has been a great way to meet people, make friends, and get answers to any questions about the military or medical school. I really enjoy helping with and attending events. I look forward to meeting more of you at future events!

March 3, 2014

Meet the Member Mondays- Emma M

Hi there, my name is Emma Matthews. My husband is Phil, he is coming to the end of MS3 (class of 2015) in the Air Force. We have two baby angels; Lily, who is 16 months and Daniel who is 4.5 months. 

I am from Ireland and Phil is from New Jersey. We met in march 2010 in Haiti while volunteering after the earthquake. When we both returned home in the summer, we had a brief long distance romance which involved a couple of extremely expensive transatlantic date weekends, before we decided to go the distance. We got married in London in April 2011 and Phil started school in July. It took me a while to get my visa sorted - I was a legal alien for the first year of medical school, but I finally got my Green Card and work permit in April 2012. 
I am a trained Occupational Therapist however, my qualifications are not recognized in the US so I plan on completing a masters program once the babies are a little older. So right now, I am a stay at home mom with my 2 little ones. I love to run and have a jogging stroller so am very looking forward to springtime when we can get out everyday. I love hiking, picnics, cooking, baking, travelling, going to the pub, concerts, plays, reading, drawing.  I also seem to spend a lot if time on FaceTime and Skype to friends and family in Ireland. Technology really helps the homesickness! 
I joined the spouses club when Phil started school and it has been a lifesaver for me. I felt very lonely and isolated when I first arrived in this country but the club and the wonderful people I met through it really helped me to feel at ease. I have made some wonderful friends through the club and it's marvelous to have people around who understand exactly what it's like to have a partner in medical school!
Things I love about the military are-
- Instant friends through SSC
- Tricare - the babies even have their Tylenol covered!! It's a pretty awesome service.
- Military discounts
- A man in uniform! 
- The NEX

 If anyone wants to make a play date or hang out without babies, just give me a shout! We live in Gaithersburg but are happy to travel anywhere.

February 26, 2014

SSC Wounded Warrior Run!

Today marks two months until our 2nd annual SSC Wounded Warrior Run!
Here's what you need to know:

What does the 'SSC' stand for?
The SSC stands for the 'Student Spouses Club' and we are are the significant others of the military medical students at the Uniformed Services University. This is our blog! Check out our bio on the right or find us online here.

How did the SSC Wounded Warrior Run get its start?
The students at the Uniformed Service University previously organized a run called 'Medical Students for Wounded Warriors.' When the student curriculum  changed and the run was no longer feasible for their work load, the spouses club saw a great way to grow their club and keep the spirit of helping our wounded service members.

Who is benefiting from the SSC Wounded Warrior Run?
Proceeds benefit the Walter Reed Warrior Family Coordination Cell (WR-WFCC) and the USU Student Spouses Club. The SSC provides support, friendship, and community for military student families through a variety of social and service activities throughout the year.
A larger portion of the profits will support the WR-WFCC who that coordinates all non-medical services for the wounded, injured and ill service members in the Bethesda and DC areas.We are proud to have the run focused on local heroes this year!

Who helps put on the run?
The race is entirely organized and managed by volunteers from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and their significant others.
While our volunteers are primarily from the Student Spouses Club, if you would like to get involved with race day activities, please contact the race director at sscwoundedwarriorrun@gmail.com

Where is the run held?
The run is held in Derwood, MD, about 20 minutes north of Bethesda, at the Agricultural History Farm Park. The race is an off-road trail run on the property. Find the map of the run here!

What options are offered at the race?
The SSC Wounded Warrior Run offers 5k and 10k options as well as a free Kid's Fun Run!
The rates are currently $30 for the 5k and $35 for the 10k and each will rise by $5 starting March 30.

Join us online for more:  

February 10, 2014

Meet the Member Mondays- Nana

Tropical forests have been cut down for different kinds of monoculture plantations (where there is only one species of crop in the plantation) such as oil palm, rubber, coffee, cacao, tea. All lovely animals and plants are gone and local people, who rely on the forest, may face lack of water, less food a few years after the forest is gone.

This is the background of my PhD in Ecological Economics. I do spatial analysis and map the economic benefit of the crops. I tell people where and where not to plant and what they are going to lose if they do or don't in the long run.

After my PhD I end up with working in an international agroforestry NGO, called World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), where I met my husband. He was a conference coordinator and a researcher on Eco-health with ICRAF. He was the first guy who gave me the brightest smile in the early morning when I walked in the office.

My name is Zhuangfang Yi, 28. All of my friends, colleagues and family call me Nana. I received my PhD degree from Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in 2012, and am now a scientist at ICRAF and also a researcher at CAS. I am originally from a very remote village, kind of inside of the tropical jungle, on the border of SW China with Laos. My husband, Benjamin Custer, is a 2LT in the Army, and is in his first year of medical school.

We lived together in Kunming, SW China before we moved to the states together. In China we biked 8 miles to the office together every day. Biking through traffic chaos and dust were the most intensively stressful hours I had been through in my life. People would drive, walk, stand, talk and bock the bike lane when we speed up. However, Ben always led the way, I was just shadowing him and kind of enjoying the chaos later. He is also the one who led us when we got lost in a tropical jungle. When we heard that USU accepted him, it was a thrill, we held each other’s hands and jumped around for while, and then we decided to get married. We had been dating 10 months and two months later I followed him to the states.

Moving to the states and being a wife is a big life transition for me, but Ben is always there, very supportive and proud of what I am doing and learning. Life is never easy, however, USU and the SSC have brought joy to our life and we appreciate it. Besides that, what his left for us is ‘to make our life easy together’, which is what we’ve been doing and we are enjoying the teamwork so far.