Sunday, August 29, 2010

Been sick.

Me: I feel like crap
Chief Resident: well you're a doctor, diagnose yourself.
Me: I have some kind of virus and it's making me feel like crap.
Chief Resident: you probably need some chicken soup.
Me: my husband brought me some on call.
Chief Resident: well it's good to know he's helping to keep this residency running.

Seriously though, between my five years of medical training and his eleven, the only answer we came up with was chicken soup. And of course the unspoken day of rest which is not really an option. I also bought myself some superfood today, not because I actually think it will make me better, but because I don't let myself buy seven dollar juice unless I am sick and need a pick me up. Let's just hope tomorrow is a slow call so I can sleep at work.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Its starting to look like a triple rainbow

I wish I could get as happy about anything as this guy gets about a double rainbow. maybe when Ethan and I have our first child. Or if I drop acid.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

creamy pepper tomato soup

The other day I was in our garden admiring its bounty, and said to myself, "what can I make that can contain Anaheim peppers, jalapenos, and basil". then I answered myself and said, "soup". So I did make some soup. and it was delicious. here's what it had in it:
First I sauteed:
3-4 small yellow onions
2-3 cloves of garlic
in a few tablespoons of butter and some olive oil.
Then I added:
about 2 quarts of homemade chicken broth
I (very)roughly chopped up:
4 roma tomatoes
4-5 carrots
1 red bell pepper, seeded
1 orange bell pepper, seeded
4 small jalapenos, seeded
1 anaheim pepper, seeded
and added them to the broth mixture. I then added
1 handful of freshly picked basil
1 small can of tomato paste
Salt, pepper, turkish paprika, and some garlic powder.
I put it on super duper low heat and went to take a nap (it's what I do best these days). When I woke up, I tried a little magic food trick I read about from Julia Child- adding leftover cooked rice to a soup and then putting it in a blender to make it taste like there is cream in the soup when it's not there. so I added:
2 cups cooked leftover rice
and used my trusty hand blender to make all the soft vegetables and the rice together super creamy. And the rice trick worked like a charm. I got a creamy, spicy, delicious soup with a good pepper and basil flavor, and it was awesome. Especially with a dollop of plain yogurt on the top.

The only problem? I still haven't figured out a good way to use my immersion blender without leaving enough splatters behind to make the cooking area look like a crime scene.

Friday, July 30, 2010

one year.

August 9, 2009. We got married.

September: Hiking and relaxing.

October: best Halloween costumes ever. I wore my grandmother's fur and Ethan wore a blouse I bought two years ago for an 80's party (we were Eurotrash).

November: we saw La Boheme in Austin

and traveled all over Texas and to Colorado for residency interviews.

December: Honeymooning in Paris! Our first Christmas together.

January: New year's day walk to the Eiffel Tower.

and we went to the Rodin Museum.

February: I made Ethan the biggest birthday cake ever, and we had a snow storm in Dallas!

March: My niece Win is born.

while my sister was in the hospital, we got to take care of Anna at my mom's house.

April: we went to Austin for Easter and made a trip to the Salt Lick.

May: we moved into a little house, and went to Austin to see my little sister graduate from UT Plan 2 Honors. we also stopped by Mount Bonnell. Ethan also graduated from UT Dallas, but he chose not to walk so I don't have any proof by pictures.

June: I graduated from Medical School.

July: I started work at Parkland. I worked my butt off at the hospital. I made six pepper jelly and got a pedicure, and worked about 350 hours. There are only 744 hours in the month of July, meaning that I was awake and at work roughly 2-3 times as much as I was awake and at home.

August: we celebrated our anniversary early because I'm on call the day of our wedding. Cafe Madrid followed by darts at the Gingerman (whoever decided that giving people beer and sharp missiles at the same location was probably not the smartest guy who'd ever lived.)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

makes me feel better

Nothing completely eliminates the stress I feel from work, but this sure helps a lot:

This may have to be a monthly occurence. partially because I can literally not find time to even clip my own nails. Okay I know that's a weak excuse for needing a monthly pedicure, but how about the fact that I felt really good afterwards?
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Friday, July 23, 2010

six pepper jelly

After I graduated college, I had 6 months off to do whatever I wanted to do. So I took my extremely expensive Duke degree and went to work as a server in a gourmet market/restaurant named Foster's. One of the things that they had for sale there was a seven pepper jelly, which was so wonderful. It was good as a spread over cream cheese, it was good as a marinade on chicken, or even on sandwiches. I decided a few weeks ago that I was going to take some of our garden produce and make a six pepper jelly. It wasn't seven because I ran out of ideas for different kinds of peppers.

1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
a handful of jalapeno peppers
4 or 5 banana peppers
crushed red pepper flakes
6 cups of sugar
1 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
1-2 packets liquid pectin.
Jars for canning (will make 6 half pints with a little left over for immediate eating)

How to make:
1)slice all peppers(except for those in dried form). remove seeds unless you want some spice (In retrospect I would have left more seeds in).
2)Place all the peppers in a food processor, reserving 1/2 of red bell pepper. Pulse into a pulp.
3)place pepper pulp into pot (hee hee)and add vinegar, water, and sugar.
4)slice up reserved red bell pepper half into a fine dice, and put into pot (this just makes it a prettier jelly).
5)add dried peppers to pot, bring mixture to a boil, and let boil for about 6-8 minutes.
6)add certo and let boil for another 1-2 minutes. one packet of certo will make for a less firm jelly (if you want to pour it over something), two packets will make it a more firm jelly.
7)put into sterilized jars and boil the jars in hot water to seal them.

I think next time I may add some cayenne to give the jelly a little more kick (And to make it a seven pepper jelly!)

The last step is to have an extremely patient and giving husband who will clean up after you when you make a mess and the kitchen is all sticky because lately, I have just enough energy to make a mess, and not nearly enough to clean my own up. But I do make him home-made jellies so I guess it's a fair trade!

pickled peppers

Ethan introduced me to eating ceviche. before we met, he was already practically a connoisseur, and had a ceviche cookbook. One of the things in the cookbook was home-made pickled jalapenos. The first time we made these we were converts- no more of those limp little store-bought pickled jalapenos for us! these are crunchy and just a tiny bit sweet and salty. here's how to make them:

get about 8 jalapenos and 2 shallots. if you don't have shallots, you can use a small white onion and a clove of garlic.
slice the jalapenos into thin slices (I added some banana peppers that needed to be used up in this batch)
The shallots or the onion+garlic need to be minced fine.
combine the shallots and jalapenos in a large jar. sprinkle over about 2 Tablespoons of salt and 2 of sugar. pour white vinegar over mixture to cover. let sit at least a day before eating.

And yes, I intentionally used the grocery bag as a backdrop so you would think we were fancy. our real relationship with Whole Foods is that we go and eat their samples and then I buy a few of their "under $10" section bottles of wine. so now you know.
most of our groceries really come from ALDI.

holy mid-century classic, batman!

Today after I got off of my 30 hour shift, Ethan drove me home, and I took my post-call nap, I got up and took Ethan to the thrift store. Something about going to thrift stores and finding the one thing that is there that is not absolute crap, then giving it a home, is so satisfying to me. especially today.

I spied these in the furniture section of Garland Rd Thrift, and said to myself "we need a desk chair, and those are cute. I think I'll get one of them!" it was comfortable, so I did the next logical thing- flipped it over and looked at the tag on the bottom. it said "knoll international". My heart started beating a little faster. I googled knoll international chair from my iphone and discovered that the chair I was sitting on was actually one of those fancy iconic modern classics that's actually named after someone! They are Pollock executive chairs.

And they retail for around $1300 each. Unless you buy vintage ones at Garland Road thrift, where they retail for $19.19 a piece. So we got both. And now we have the ultimate accessory of the over-educated white person's home, a chair with a name.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Life has been hectic. I started residency on July 1. Since then I've worked about 120 hours (I mean... of course I'm only working 80 hours per week! I'm totally within my limits!) Yesterday I found myself in bed at 10 pm with no recollection of how I got myself there. I am just really, really busy, and really, really tired. And despite being at work pretty much all the time, I still don't feel like I'm doing enough. I know for a fact that I'm forgetting things at work and not providing the best care for each and every patient. but when I'm trying to manage 21 patients and I've got to see them and write notes and order labs and do all of the bullshit paperwork and return pages and console patients who didn't get operations as soon as we told them they would, AND occasionally going into the OR to actually operate, It's hard to even remember which patient is which, let alone providing them with first quality care. So I leave most days with the nagging feeling of not having done everything. And I get home to Ethan and it's all I can do to stay awake long enough to have a conversation or eat dinner with him. Ethan has started driving me to work on call days so that I don't have to drive myself home after being up for 31+ hours straight (gotta love a husband who is willing to drive his wife to work at 4:30 in the morning).
I really hope this starts feeling easier soon.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sweet Potato Experiment

I previously mentioned that we had some sweet potatoes that were so old they were starting to grow a tiny vine inside our pantry... So I stuck two in the ground and left one out as a science experiment. Here is my science experiment 2 weeks in.

At some point I may cut the vines back and dig up the roots to see if I have more sweet potatoes I could eat! yum.

Hot Stuff

This summer we have been eating a lot of grilled stuff because I hate sweating over a stove when it's 90 out... So Ethan will grill while I stay cool inside and make the salad/ side dishes. Then I come outside to join him and we drink some cold tasty beverages in the shade
I know that most people nowadays prefer cooking with a gas grill because it is more convenient. But when you have your first piece of meat grilled over hickory lump charcoal after years of gas-grilled meats, you will realize that convenience is definitely NOT everything. Using lump charcoal made from real wood adds a smoky richness to food that is really unique and special.
Also, a basic Weber grill costs only about $80 and will last almost forever because it has no movable (breakable) parts. The downside to the basic Weber is that there is no place to put your grilling utensils, and without lighter fluid it can take potentially FOREVER to get the thing hot enough to use:

This is a picture of the first night we got our Grill. It was taken at about 11 PM because it was the first time that Ethan had ever tried to light a charcoal fire without lighter fluid. I think we ended up eating our hamburgers around midnight.

In order to have faster and more efficient grilling, Ethan and I (but mostly Ethan) had to pimp our grill. No, we didn't add a flat screen TV and 20" rims.

We DID add some simple S-hooks to the grill handle, in order to have a place from which to hang the grilling utensils. S hooks cost like a dollar.

Second, Ethan stuck a small metal organizing basket into the bottom part of the grill where the charcoal goes. This keeps the charcoal more organized, so you can use smaller pieces (which light faster) and you can use less charcoal. He then uses strips of twisted paper grocery bags as wicks, which he inserts and lights through the vent holes at the bottom of the grill. This way when the paper begins to burn, the heat rises, in turn lighting the charcoal.

With this advanced grilling technique, Ethan has made such wonderful things as:

hot-dog shaped hamburgers for when you have the wrong kind of bun!

Aussie-style hamburgers

He's also made really awesome steaks, brats, hot dogs, salmon steaks, salmon patties, turkey burgers, chicken, fajitas, and pork chops, but I don't take pictures of everything we eat (I don't think a picture of a grilled chicken breast is super exciting).

Harvest time.

I had to start my orientation this week. The first two days were not that terrible as we were learning Advanced Trauma Life Support (And I start my rotations in the ER, so what we learned is going to be pretty immediately applicable). But today was kind of terrible. I had orientation at the VA and the BEST part of today was a woman dressed up as a giant hand giving us a power-point presentation about how and when to use alcohol-based hand cleaner. I didn't get a picture, unfortunately.
Spending a half a day listening to presentations about billing, compliance, patient safety, hand-washing, coding, fire safety, parking, computer safety, etc is just not my cup of tea. Actually I really spent my time tuning the presentations out while playing on the internet, and I started looking at seed catalogs online. Which brings me around to the topic of our garden!

Today I harvested several jalapenos and a red bell pepper! We are going to roast the red pepper and put it on a pesto and goat's cheese pizza tonight. I'm not sure yet what to do with the jalapenos but they may be pickled.
Our tomato plants started flowering again when the temps got under 100 last week. I tried to pollinate them with my fingers, but I'm not sure if it worked. only time will tell!

The squash that I planted really late in the season (like end of May) have started to flower.

The mammoth sunflowers are almost as tall as our chain-link fence. In the past two weeks they have grown about 2 feet in height.

The top of the sunflower is looking really cool... I'm not a gardening genius but I'm pretty sure this means that it is about to make a flower.

And here is the full view of our garden!

As a reminder, this is what it looked like about a month and a half ago.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

gardening again

Here's my garden update! I am pretty certain that I like these more than anyone else. I am just so amazed when I look at how much things have grown in such a short period of time!

My Mammoth sunflower plants are now up past my knees. I also planted some purple heirloom string beans next to them that are starting to vine up the fence (and I only put them in the ground like two weeks ago!)

My squash plants are growing slowly but steadily. After having to thin them excessively (I pulled up more than half), I realized that when I prepare the soil and enrich it and protect my little seedlings from predators, then I don't actually have to plant the entire package of seeds. I know, it should be common sense, but I have NEVER done this before in my life. I'm planning on training them to vine up the fence too, to keep the fruits away from little bugs and pests.

My tomato plants keep getting bigger and bigger, and making some flowers, but then the flowers are falling off. I think it's getting too hot for them. I'm sure I'll have a bumper crop in the fall when it's not 100 degrees out anymore.

My peppers don't seem to mind the heat; they're producing well. I can't wait till the jalapenos get big enough to harvest and pickle.

Last but not least, I have started a little science experiment: We had some sweet potatoes that were in the pantry so long that they started to grow a vine... like with leaves on it and everything. I decided to put two of them in the ground, and one is living on our back porch. I'm going to compare how they do in their different habitats!