Bulk Cooking Spreadsheet

Recently I’ve decided I wanted to get into bulk cooking, and have also been trying to teach myself how to use new commands in excel.  To make bulk cooking on the weekends easier I put together a spreadsheet that will compare user added ingredient lists against another user added list of ingredients that they have in their kitchen to generate a shopping list.  It’s nothing spectacular, but if you’re good at keeping track of what you have and don’t have in your kitchen it should make shopping a little easier if you know what you want to make during the week.

Quick run down on how to use the spreadsheet.  List all the ingredients in Column A of the Master Ingredient List Sheet.  Recipes can be added in pages R1-R10.  The formatting is important for these pages, row A is only for the names of ingredients you want the spreadsheet to search for in the Master Ingredient List page (word of warning when manipulating these cells, they seem a little finicky so I would recommend not trying to move cells around in the recipe pages). After adding the ingredients in pages R1-R10, a shopping list will be generated in the Shopping List page.  All the recipes pages are currently filled as examples of how to use the spreadsheet.

Hope someone finds this helpful!

Shopping List Spreadsheet

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Mcat Flashcards

I was hesitant to do this before I got my Mcat scores back, but after receiving them I feel comfortable doing this.  I’ve attached my Anki decks from when I was studying for the Mcat this summer.  One is fairly personalized so some of the answers might not be immediately intuitive, but I hope someone somewhere might one day find them useful.  At this time I would rather not publicly release my score but using these two decks I was comfortably over 90th percentile.  Also, the first linked deck is courtesy of the Reddit user  sc4s2cg, while the second deck was made by me.

The method I used to generate my deck was to take practice tests to identify my weaknesses and to guide my studying.  Every Saturday I would take a full test following the AAMC testing guidelines.  After taking the test I would review every question on the practice test (right and wrong) and make flashcards out of every distinct fact that I was not 100% confident that I knew.  So even for questions I answered correctly I would make a flashcard for if I even felt like I was not certain I knew that fact.

I also used the practice tests to identify topics I didn’t know.  After identifying topics I would read up on whatever topic I had identified and took notes from the Princeton Review study books I was using, and then made flashcards out of my notes.

By the end of the summer and about three weeks out from the test I had accumulated a large number of flashcards and began to worry that I had forgotten some of my earlier ones, so I changed the Anki setting such that I would review each card every three days minimum so that I was constantly seeing every card I had made.  This helped me feel more confident, but such a drastic way of studying might not be necessary for others.

Anyway, I hope this helps!  If anyone finds this -and further finds it helpful-and has any questions please don’t hesitate to ask!

Dropbox download links:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/43352119/MCAT%20-%20Check%20Dropbox%20on%20Saturday.apkg

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/43352119/MCAT.apkg

Tinder Date

Ingredients:

1.5 Ounces Tequila

1 Ounce Triple-sec

3 – 6 Ounces Grapefruit Soda

1 – 3 Muddled Strawberry (depending on size)

Muddle strawberries with tequila and triple sec, shake, double strain (optional), add grapefruit soda, and garnish with lime twist.

Brief note before going to the schematics of the drink.  This drink evolved from a cynical desire to create a drink to share with my other single friends on a lonely Valentine’s Day.  Ironically, I didn’t spend that Valentine’s Day single or with my other single friends, and my girlfriend Lily (with whom I spent Valentine’s Day with) helped me concoct this drink.  I had planned to spend that evening with my single friends while the couples in our friend-group went to do couple things, instead I found myself escapading hundreds of miles from my school to go on my first date with Lily.  But that’s a story for another time.

In creating this drink the name came first and the ingredients were selected to capture the aesthetic of the name.  I settled on the name Tinder date represented an easy alternative to spending Valentine’s Day single, and seems to capture feelings that are opposite to those associated with Valentine’s Day.  Tequila was selected as the base spirit because nothing spells out ‘poor decisions’ better than tequila and a Tinder date.  I felt the incorporation of grapefruit soda incorporated a slight bitterness I wanted in the drink.  If you haven’t picked up on it yet, I was not happy about Valentine’s Day.  Finally, strawberries give the drink a pleasant red hue, and also go well with the theme of the drink.  Unfortunately, the only reason Triple Sec was used was to add a bit of sweetness and citrus flavor.

Now onto how to actually make the drink.  I found while making this drink for my friends (including the couples) single straining instead of double straining allowed for little bits of strawberry to make their way into the final product.  Personally I found it enjoyable because the small pieces of strawberry were pleasant to eat.  Depending on how strong you would like to make your drink the amount of grapefruit soda can be varied.  In terms of taste, there were dramatic differences depending on the amount of soda used.  With only 1-2 ounces of soda the drink the taste of tequila was much more obvious and the carbonation from the soda was basically negligible, but with 4-6 ounces of soda the drink almost seemed like a punch because the tequila was completely masked by the taste of grapefruit.

Reflecting on the drink I suspect the incorporation of lime juice might be a pleasant addition.  I don’t necessarily think using less triple-sec would be necessary because a large reason it was used was to add sugar to the drink because grapefruit soda is not terribly sweet.  Another aspect I would like to improve on is incorporating a stronger strawberry flavor, it might have been because the strawberries I had access to were not very ripe, but I think taste of strawberry was too subtle.  Two alternatives come to mind immediately, first would be to incorporate half an ounce of strawberry liqueur (replacing half an ounce of triple-sec potentially), or to use a touch of strawberry syrup.  I currently have a bottle of Amoretti Wild strawberry Syrup that I’ve become an increasingly large fan of.

That’s all I have for this drink.  Even if you don’t make it for Valentine’s Day, it’s a delicious drink independently of the thought process behind it.  Enjoy!

Pomegranate Cocktails

My girlfriend Lily just ordered a bottle of Amoretti Pomegranate Syrup.  So of course my immediate reaction was to want to make a cocktail with it.  So I did a cursory search for cocktail recipes that include pomegranate for inspiration.  I compiled a few that looked interested in an attached spreadsheet along with unit conversions because despite jiggers nearly always being labeled in ounces, not all cocktail recipes are given in ounces…

Will update with original ideas as they come, but I’d like to try some of the cocktails in the spreadsheet before I try my hand at anything original because pomegranate is not a flavor I’m incredibly familiar with.

Enjoy!

Pomegranate Inspiration

Chai Tea Cocktail

Recipe

4 ounces chai tea (cooled)

2 ounces ginger infused vodka

1 ounce sweetened condensed milk

Combine ingredients over ice, stir, strain, and serve with ice.

Garnish with candied ginger

Optional: Use an atomizer filled with angostura bitters to ignite bitters over the drink before serving to add a smoky aroma to the drink (also a gimmicky way to impress guests).  To ignite bitters simply spark the lighter, and aim the atomizer towards the drink, two to three sprays should suffice.

To make the ginger infused vodka, start by peeling a piece of fresh ginger and chopping it into small bits.  Then steep the ginger in vodka for about 30-60mins shaking regularly.  Finish by straining out the ginger.  A shorter infusion period is used here to avoid introducing a bitter flavor from the decomposition of the organic matter from the ginger pieces.

In a few words, this cocktail (no name-suggestions welcome) is a smooth drink that has a light kick from the ginger infusion.  A warm version of the drink can be made by using warm chai tea instead of cooled, and not stirring over ice.  However, I’ve found that doing this accentuates the alcohol taste from the vodka- more condensed milk can be used to mask that flavor.

In terms of experimenting with this drink there are number of directions that could be interesting to explore.  There is a ginger liqueur called Big O I’ve seen starting to pop up which could be an effective substitute for the ginger infused vodka (which admittedly is not the most versatile infusion).  Unfortunately due to the price ($40/bottle) and lack of perceived versatility, I haven’t had the opportunity to try Big O yet.  Another potential idea is to try making ginger infused dark rum to use instead of the vodka.  Using a dark rum, rather than vodka, could add a new layer of depth to the drink that the vodka couldn’t provide.

Interestingly after a bit of searching, I found that there are a few chai tea liqueurs on the market, the most popular seem to be Voyant Chai (a liqueur which is comprised of basically everything in the chai tea cocktail described here), and Dancing Pines Chai Tea Liqueur (which seems to be more of a tea liqueur rather than a cream liquer).  Finally,  I came across a recipe for creating a liqueur similar to Voyant Chai which seems like it could be a fun project.  I plan to try this recipe once summer is over and going outside stops being the equivalent of taking a shower, will report back with results.