Sunday, August 15, 2010

Food is Good

Alli is almost done with her surgery rounds, but I've grown to see that cooking is something that I can ACTUALLY do. Here's some more of my creations.

Here I am on the way to making another Greek Salad, this time as a side.

It was a side to lamb. I figured I should give it a try since it was the recipe of the same chef that I had ordered it from in New York.

Then I made these Melon Slushes from a cantaloupe we bought at the farmer's market. There is also pink lemonade concentrate and ginger ale in it. They were really refreshing.

For my first pasta dish, I made Spaghetti with Red Bell Peppers and Kalamata Olives. It tasted like The Olive Garden. There was a lot of Parmesan cheese in it.

For a side, I tried to make a Chilled Avocado and Mint Soup, since it has been so hot out, but it was probably my first two thumbs down dish. It was too minty or something. The flavor was just something that you became weary of. Although, it did look cool, so it took very good pictures.

I went to Whole Foods and got a Salmon, big enough for two meals, so that I could experiment. The first night I cut the skin off the part I wanted to cook, which was really hard, and I never want to do again. Then I marinated it in an Asian flavored mixture that had Soy Sauce, mustard, Bourbon, and maybe a few other things. It turned out suprisingly good. Alli previously thought she didn't like Salmon, but now she does. :)

Alli made cookies! She got the recipe from Molly in our home group and they are good! Even better with ice cream.

For the second part of the salmon, I left the skin on and cooked it in a skillet, one side on the stove, and one side in the oven. Then topped it with a tomato vinaigrette. We also made Hush Puppies! They were kind of scary because you fry them, but the dough was really sticky, so it was hard to figure out how to put it in the oil with it in a ball. We took the picture with our two most successful tries.

And we had breakfast for dinner the other day. Ricotta Pancakes with Orange Syrup. They were fun to make and really good. Probably the least healthy thing I've made too. But we made the Orange Syrup by boiling orange juice with orange zest, water, and sugar. I learned words like blanch and julienne.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Grouchy Chef

Now that Alli is out being a doctor most days, I (Mark) have decided to give cooking a try. Alli calls me the Grouchy Chef because when she asks me questions while I am cooking I get really flustered and can't do two things at once. But I don't look THAT grouchy, do I?
I bought a "Food and Wine" magazine, mostly because I liked the layout and photographs, but have really tried to make some interesting things. My first go was an Omelet with Herbs. It was ok, I think I put too many herbs in it, but it wasn't bad.

We had some ribs in the freezer, so I went all out, because ribs are one of my favorites. We went to the farmer's market and picked up some veggies and fruits for the next couple weeks. This recipe was for Blueberry-Glazed Ribs, so I made this Blueberry Syrup and after putting the ribs in the oven for an hour and a half, you brush this mixture of blueberry and other stuff onto the ribs and broil it until it browns. These were some of the best ribs I've ever had to be honest.

We have a lot of leftover Blueberry Syrup, so I put it in lots of different things like vanilla ice cream.

Next, I made a Summer-Vegetable Casserole that had potato, zucchini, tomato, yellow bell pepper, and onion in it. The dish was pretty good, but was more of a side in my opinion.

When we were at the farmer's market, we also got some red grapes so that we could make this Harvest Cake with Grapes and Sangiovese Syrup.

It was a little lemony and sweet enough for me to enjoy it.

You serve it with a grape syrup that you make by boiling grape juice.

Finally, there was a bunch of Greek recipes by a chef of a restaurant in New York called "Kefi". We went there when we were living in New York and loved it, so I really wanted to make a few of his dishes. So we made these Greek Salad Sandwiches, and they were AWESOME.

We made the dough from scratch, and then you fry it. You spread a tzatziki suace (which we also made) and then top it with the greek salad (which would have been great even by itself).

There will be more dishes soon!

Sunday, August 1, 2010


I started my 3rd year of medical school a month ago, and it has been quite a busy month. I brought it on myself though- I purposefully put my surgery rotation first because I knew it would be the most time-intensive and exhausting rotation, plus I am pretty certain that I do not want to be a surgeon. So, the idea was to more or less get it out of the way. I know I won't regret doing it first once it is over and the rest of the year feels a little less stressful in comparison to surgery, but in the meantime, I have been thrown in full-force to the fast-paced and demanding world of doctoring.

Mark will be the first to tell you that surgery is not my favorite. While I have really enjoyed starting to finally be involved in patient care and have really liked my residents (they de-stigmafied the "super-demanding, overly-intense and often angry" personality profile they sometimes get), the OR is just not my home. 90% of the time I spent in the hospital this month was in the OR with the patient under anesthesia, and I tend to enjoy my time in clinic and on the hospital floors more. I'm glad I confirmed that though, and now I have at least a little more direction as to what I want to be when I grow up. Also, I have learned so much this month that I know will make me a better doctor in the future even though I won't be going into surgery. I definitely will not forget this experience!

For the month of July, I was on Surgery C at Parkland Hospital, which is the Colorectal Surgery team. Lots of guts and butts. My hours have been really long- waking up at 4:30 AM most days and getting home about 6:30 PM, working Monday-Saturday, averaging about 70 hours/week. Mark has been SO understanding of my inability to stay awake much later than 9 o'clock most nights. ALSO- he has found a new talent/hobby that we will blog about soon, I'll just say that it has helped me out tremendously and it has been a huge surprise that he enjoys it so much!

Starting tomorrow, for the month of August I will spend 2 weeks on Trauma and 2 weeks on Emergency General Surgery. My schedule changes big time- I will be on what is called "Q3" where I am on-call every 3rd night. That means I stay in the hospital for about 24-28 hours every 3 days, but the other days I'm only there for about 4 or 5 hours. So, I'll say goodbye to Mark Monday morning at about 5 AM and not see him until he gets home from work on Tuesday night. Kind of a bummer, but it will only be for a month and only every 3 days. I am NOT an all-nighter kind of girl, so we will see how it goes!

I am learning so much about patient care now that I am finally in the hospital and starting to do what I came to medical school for. For the past two years, medical school has been predominately classroom/lecture work, but now I am full-time in the hospital. It is a HUGE learning curve. I know a lot about disease process and physiology, but I know very little about how to take care of patients in the hospital. Even the everyday things like how to dress a wound properly, how to manage IV fluids, what to pay attention to on a daily basis to track a patients progress. Most of the time I feel really dumb, but I have to remind myself that it takes time to learn all of this stuff and everyone in my class is in the same boat. I don't know how many times this month I was asked a question and had no clue what the answer was. But, I know it will come and I will just have to keep reading and asking questions. It can often be a frustrating place to be though.

I LOVE seeing patients everyday. I have really enjoyed the relationships I've made and I have learned so much from them. I've learned that you can't expect to approach different people the same way and expect the same results. It is so important for me to know my patients well so that when something changes, like Mr. J this month who just wasn't himself one morning and ended up having an infection in his abdomen, I can be aware of it. I've also become intensely well aware of how much of a blessing my health is. Some people are just sick all their lives- one thing after another just keeps breaking down. It is so difficult to watch, yet so important for me to be present for. It is going to be such a great privilege and responsibility, and one of the main reasons I chose medicine, to be there for people when they are vulnerable and hurting. I am going to learn so much this year and on about what my role is in that situation, which brings a lot of mixed emotions. On the other hand, it brings so much joy to see patients get better and go home, and it makes the hard work worthwhile, to learn what I need to do to help patients get better.

I think that's enough for now. I fly through a lot of thoughts and emotions lately and I want to remember them, so I'm going to try to keep writing more.

The Smokey Mountains

After I finished my boards on June 22 (longest 5 weeks of studying ever, I couldn't be happier that test is over with), Mark and I left for the Smokey Mountains! We planned an anniversary trip to a place where we could get away and spend some good quality time together. We rented a cabin and it was a great combination of relaxation and time outdoors.

Our cabin was spectacular, it had an amazing view and 2 porches with a swing and a jacuzzi. Ours was the one on the far left. It was so cute and cozy. We hope to go back one day.

The view from the porch. So pretty.

We got there on the weekend, so there were a lot of tourists in the park. Mark and I thought it would be a good idea to go for a harder hike because then there wouldn't be so many people. Mark looked up a trail that sounded a little tougher, but led to the tallest waterfall in the park. I love waterfalls so I was sold. Little did we know......

The preditor...Ramsey Cascades. The victim...2 unsuspecting and naive Dallasites with little hiking experience. We started off with our lunches packed and our 1 powerade to share (mistake #1). I also brought a few books to read when we got to the top (mistakes #2,3,4). We started off feeling great and excited about our first hike. The hike was 4 miles each way, so 8 total. In case you don't know, 8 miles in the mountains is much, MUCH different than 8 miles on flat ground. It was a little tiring at first and we saw some benches but decided to press on. After about an hour and a half, we came to a sign pointing us toward a smaller path- we had only just begun.

Can you find Waldo in the picture below?

We started up the smaller trail and it got really tough. Every step was uphill and we were drenched in sweat. We came upon a group of people and asked how far from the top we were, they smiled and said that we hadn't even started the hardest part. There was one point where Mark asked me if I wanted to turn back. I told him in a very serious voice, "I'm NOT going back." We were determined to finish. And finish we did! We finally reached the cascades and it was beautiful. We were beyond exhausted but pretty proud of ourselves for finishing. I was, however, wishing I had brought 3 fewer books and 1 more powerade. Oh well, you live you learn.

We stayed for a while, put our feet in the water and took some pictures. Then we realized that it was getting a little later in the day and we still had a 4 mile hike back to the car, so we started down. By the time we finished, we were fully exhausted and our feet were hurting pretty bad, but we came out alive! The soreness the next day is another story...

The next day we decided to go for a scenic drive and go to the highest point in the park, Clingman's Dome. It is only a 1/2 mile hike on a paved road to the top, so it was nothing to us. We took the rest of that day and the next off to rest and watch more of the World Cup.

After a few days of resting, we were up for another hike. We were more careful this time to read about the hikes- realizing that Ramsey Cascade's is rated as "strenuous" and we gained over 2000 feet in those 4 miles up. We went for Rainbow Falls, a shorter hike to the highest single drop waterfall in the park. It didn't disappoint!

The picture actually kind of dwarfs the waterfall, it started really high.

On the way down, we saw some giant catepillars. We loved all the nature around us, but were absolutely fine with not seeing a bear this time like we did on our Thanksgiving trip.

The Smokey Mountains is one of our favorite places now. We decided that it could be a neat place to take our kids one day if its possible. It was so fun to get away from the city for a while, have some fresh air, and appreciate God's green earth!

1st Anniversary!

Mark and I had our first anniversary last month. It is hard to believe that a year has gone by since our wedding day. At the same time, it is starting to be hard to remember what it was like to not be married to each other. I know him so much better than I did a year ago and appreciate him so much more.

Many people say that the first year of marriage is really hard, but I can honestly say that we had a fun and happy first year of marriage. While there were some things to get used to, like figuring out how to find a happy medium between my semi-obsession with keeping things clean and in order and Mark's, well, lack of obsession, and learning how to approach finances, we came out of the 1st year feeling even more in love and excited for the future. Marriage has been the greatest catalyst for spiritual, emotional, and relational growth that I have ever experienced and has pushed us both towards maturity. I'm thankful for the ways it has made me let go of, or continue to try to let go of, areas in my life where I can be so selfish and self-centered and move toward putting another person's needs first. It also helps that I am married to a man who is so forgiving and makes it easier for me to apologize :)

Mark gave me the best 1st anniversary present I could have ever imagined! He made a book with pictures and descriptions of all the things that happened during our 1st year of marriage. I love it now and I can't wait to share it with our kids one day! You can see some of the pages on his website -

The bakery we got our wedding cake from made us an anniversary cake so we didn't have to eat year-old cake. I guess it kind of ruins the fun of it, but at least the cake didn't taste like freezer. We had it for over a week though because it was packed with frosting. We had a bottle of champagne that we saved from our wedding which turned out to be a golden-yellow color and disgusting, so we had part of the experience. The champagne in the picture was a fresh one :)

We went on a wonderful anniversary trip that Mark planned and he's going to put up some pictures of it soon. It was a huge blessing for us to be able to get away and spend some time together because life has changed in a big way since I started my 3rd year of medical school. More on that to come!