I know I’m busy when…

I know I’m busy when I bounce out of bed at 5:00am on a Sunday morning, with a feeling that I’m late for something important.

I know I’m busy when a quiet movie night at home becomes the highlight of my week.

I know I’m busy when I can’t for the life of me remember what year we’re in.  How old am I again?

I know I’m busy when my calendar begins to look as if a two year old randomly scribbled a bunch of chaotic marks across the page.

I know I’m busy when I make three large salads, just so that I can have lunch already made for two more days.

I know I’m busy when I forget about the broiler.

I know I’m busy.  And yet, through it all, I know I am okay.

Because I actually kind of like early mornings, even on Sunday.  My scribbled calendar secretly makes me happy.  And larger than life salads never get old.

Oh.  Yes.  And I’m also okay with improvising.

 

QUESTION: Even when you’re in a time crunch, what is one thing that you refuse to give up? For me, it’s spending at least 15 minutes for breakfast.  And going for at least three runs or walks a week.  AND, spending at least half an hour at night to read in my book.  :D

Saying Goodbye to Clinical

When it comes right down to it, I’m not really very good at saying good-bye.

Silently, I kind of wished that today would be painfully torturous.  Excruciatingly long.  Boring, maybe?  Because driving to the hospital for my last day was a little like reliving all of my past good-byes.  The ones I didn’t want to make.  And I was reminded of how much I hate seeing things end.  Beginnings, new starts, early mornings—those are more my style.  Maybe if today was nothing special, I wouldn’t feel so darn apprehensive of bidding farewell.

But today was not a bad day.  Not at all.

The patients were exceptionally delightful to work with.  Nurses and doctors whom I’ve never even talked to before, suddenly spent the day joking and laughing along with me.  I was presented with a whipped cream frosted, “congratulations on finishing clinical,” yellow, fluffy cake.  And a card with signed notes from the entire kitchen staff (they’re so great!)

Today was not disastrous, as I had kind of, secretly, half-heartedly hoped it would be.  Today was actually pretty wonderful.   It was, in every sense of the term, a bittersweet moment.  Two dietetic rotations down, one to go.  Starting this Monday!

Goodbye, clinical rotation.  You were fun and filled with layers and levels of new experiences.

Hello, community rotation. I’m looking forward to getting to know you. :D

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A Book A Month Resolution, 2011

January: Brooklyn

February: “House Rules”

March: “American Wife” by Curtis Sittenfeld

For my March read, I chose “American Wife.”  I absolutely loved the beautiful way that Curtis Sittenfeld walks the reader through the life of a presidential wife.  She did it with such elegance and flare, always leaving me wishing that I had just a few more moments to read.  Each new chapter welcomed me into a new period of the “American Wife’s” life, and I loved this about the book.  Despite its slow paced, descriptive nature, I never felt bored.  It was nearly impossible to place back down on my nightstand.

However, in the end, I felt as if the story fell a little flat.  I wanted more before reading that last, final page.  A more definite ending.  Somehow, it just didn’t feel right to me.  But the inners of the book certainly made for a fun journey. :D

QUESTION: What are you reading right now?

I’m calling it a recess.

The word “Hiatus”, defined: “A temporary break.  A recess.”  Yes.  I think I could use a recess. ;)

Sometimes life pulls and prods us in every which direction.  Sometimes we must say no to some things.  Say yes to others.  Primarily, we must say yes to the things that keep us sane (i.e., running, cooking, and family) and healthy and happy

Now that I’m grueling through my final week of clinical and preparing myself for my community rotation (which starts on Monday,) you may not see a whole lot of me this week.  But know that I’m still here.  Cooking and whisking and making a mess with flour, honey, cabbage leaves and things like that.  Not all at the same time, of course.  Of course.

Yes.  Know that I am here.  Know that I am still keeping up with all of your delightful blogs.  Know that I’ll be back in full swing before you even realize that I’ve been missing.  Consider this my short-term, very temporary recess.  ;)

In the meantime, keep on having fun in your kitchen—don’t be afraid to get a little messy—and I will see you all again soon! :D

Cute story of the day:

90 year old patient: “Here, let me show you how to use my kindle.”
Me: “Okay, but technology kind of scares me.”
90 year old patient: “Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it.”

I think I need to get with the times. ;)

 

one, two, three…

ONE

The number of “new” breakfasts eaten this week.

(this will change tomorrow, and that’s all I’m saying)

TWO

The number of quotes that made me smile and/or reflect today.

Quote Number #1: “I love hot water.  I should have been born a tea bag.”
Nicole @ Loving Simple Moments

Quote Number #2: “We are always getting ready to live but never living.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

THREE

The number of months since my last hair cut.  And the last time I checked, the shag wasn’t really in style.

I really should get on that.

Four

The time that my alarm clock went off this morning.

Yes.  It hurt.


FIVE

The number of pre-dinner walks that I’ve gone over this past week.

Delicious.  Absolutely delicious.

SIX

The number of banana bran muffins consumed.

SEVEN

The number of larger-than-life salads consumed.

EIGHT

The current time.

Time to pull on some fuzzy socks and unwind with a good book. ;)

QUESTION: What are some NUMBERS from your past week? Three mile run?  Hanging out with your two best friends?  A one dollar jar of peanut butter?

clinical staff relief

At the end of the dietetic internship’s clinical rotation, there is something known as the “3 week staff relief.”  What this means, basically, is that the intern takes over all responsibilities of the dietitian.  She takes on the role and the pager.  The duties, obligations, frustrations, and limitless questions, faxes, requests.

Yes.  It is a little insane.

Yesterday, I had the entire hospital to myself.

Becoming the sole “dietitian” of the day might sound like a good thing, but if we’re going to be completely honest here, it’s actually kind of frightening.  Patients need renal diet education.  A woman just got placed on level 3 of the dysphagia diet and has no idea what to do when she goes home.  A man just found out he has diabetes.  Notes need to be written before a certain time.

Go, go, go!!

And then, of course, there’s the whole issue of having confidence or lack thereof.  My clinical rotation has brought out a whole new level of self confidence that I never even knew I had.  But then, at the same time, I feel this strange lack of confidence because I know there are so many things that I still don’t know.  So many things to learn and understand.  Counseling skills that need developing.

You know, it’s true what they say.  The biggest road block in life is oftentimes ourselves.

The hard part is trying to convince ourselves that we DO know what we know and speaking with absolute confidence.  Of course, nobody knows everything. But whatever it is that we don’t know, should never be thought of as a fault.  It is simply a learning opportunity.

Perhaps one of the greatest life lessons that I’ve learned came from a professor who told me never to be afraid to admit when I don’t know something.  “Look it up, Sarah.  Learn more about it.  Never stop learning.”

As you can imagine, most days of clinical staff relief have been a little insane.  There really hasn’t been much time spent in the kitchen, but (sigh) that is okay for now.  Because sometime, very soon, I will be back in the kitchen with full force and gusto and my little yellow apron.  Yes.  There is a whole lot of food in my near future (i.e., this weekend.)  Maybe I’ll try something new that I’ve always been afraid of.  Maybe I’ll even make a souffle.

Because it’s okay to admit that you don’t know how to do something.   But it’s never okay to be afraid to try.

QUESTION: What is one thing that you KNOW you’re good at? Don’t be afraid to brag a little. ;)

a handful of green

I’ve been a little MIA this past week, in more areas than one.

I haven’t so much as touched the book that I’ve chosen to read during the month of March.  Aside from wearing a green scarf, I completely forgot about St. Patrick’s Day.  I’ve been living off of hummus and swiss cheese sandwiches for lunch, with raw veggies, fruit and almonds for snacks.

In other words, I’ve been kind of busy.  And I really miss my kitchen.  And I think my kitchen kind of misses me.

So as soon as the day was officially “complete,” as soon as it was over, I decided to stop off at Whole Foods and see what I could conjure up for dinner.  I felt the need for something…something…

…something green.

If you’ve ever seen a bunch of bright green garden cress at the supermarket, but you’ve  had no idea what it was or what you could do with it, you are not alone.  The flavors were a complete mystery to me until today.  I had no idea how I would use the little green leaves.  If I would use the little green leaves (!?!)

But the bright, cheery little bunch was a mere $1.00.  I’ll try anything for $1.00.  Especially if it’s bright and sunny and it makes me smile.

The sign at Whole Foods explained the leaves as being smooth, soft, bright, tangy and peppery.

“Perfect for sandwiches and soups and salads,” it said.

Perfect for tonight.

The cress bared a faint resemblance to arugula, without being over the top or in your face about it.  It’s a little more subtle.

Light and soft and elegant.

And it really does lend the most wonderful, rustic charm to a hot bowl of Mushroom Soup.  I simply chopped it up and sprinkle it on top for a deliciously healthy garnish.

You could also let it wilt by throwing in a handful or two at the end of the soup’s cooking time.  It would also pair lovely with a hummus wrap and a slice of sharp cheddar.

It felt really nice to be back in the kitchen, tonight.  Chopping and dicing and stirring and eating.  Yes.  It felt good to unwind.

Have a happy Friday!

in the early morning

While I’ve always been a morning person, I don’t always bounce out of bed with limitless energy.  And yet, that’s exactly what I did this morning.  At 4:30 am.  On a Saturday.

What is wrong with me?

Anyways, I put the extra morning time to good use.

First, I got to work on fixing yesterday’s conundrum.  The misspelled word on my poster.  There was absolutely no way—no way!—that I was going to pay another $30 to have the poster printed.  So I took some photo quality printer paper and printed out part of the poster on an 8×11 sheet.  I really just wanted the word “The” so that I could paste it on top of the word “To.”

(It practically killed me to replace “to” with “the” on my saved version, without being able to so easily change it on the hard copy!)

While I wouldn’t say this was the most perfect, flawless solution, it did solve the problem…

My hope is that most people will stand far back and not even take notice. ;)

The sun was still barely waking up, as I rolled the poster back into its case.  It was just shy of 6 o’clock.  I didn’t have a long run planned.  I didn’t need to be out of the house until 9:30.  I literally still had an entirely full morning left.

Obviously, it only made sense that I bake a batch of blueberry muffins for breakfast.

I have always said that if I were to ever make it famous in life, I would want to be most famous for one of these two scenarios: (1) Owner and operator of a gourmet oatmeal buffet (don’t laugh, I can totally picture this!)  Or (2) a baker.  Of breads and pies and pastries.  And, mostly, of muffins.

Whole Wheat Banana Berry Muffins

Whole Wheat Banana Berry Muffins

Warm from the oven, these muffins make for an absolutely fabulous weekend breakfast.  They’re delicious as is, or crumbled into yogurt with almond butter too.  They also make the perfect breakfast-to-go, but honestly, I prefer eating them in the comfort of my home on some Saturday morning, in my pj’s, with a hot cup of coffee.

I used whole wheat graham flour for the fun, nutty texture.  But really, you can use any whole wheat flour that you happen to have on hand.  Enjoy! :D

  • 2 c. whole wheat graham flour
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c. mashed, very ripe banana (about 1-1/2 bananas)
  • 1-1/2 c. frozen blueberries
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Whisk together first 5 ingredients up to nutmeg.  Whisk together next 7 ingredients up to banana in a separate bowl.
  3. Add blueberries to dry mix; stir until blueberries are coated with the flour.
  4. Add wet mix to dry mix.  Stir just until moistened.
  5. Pour batter into 12-muffin pan coated with cooking spray.  Bake for 17-20 minutes in preheated oven.  Once done, run knife around edges and pop out onto cooking rack to cool.  Serve warm for the ultimate muffin experience.

Sigh.

I love muffins.

I love early mornings.

Question: What was the highlight of your Saturday?

i need to run

Reason #1,000,003 Why I Run

February, 2011: My abstract on the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet was accepted to be presented in poster form during the statewide Dietetic Conference.

Today @ 3:00: I felt pretty happy.  Pretty complete.   In fact, I felt 100% satisfied with all of my hard work.

Today @ 3:04: I looked closer.  Closer.  I noticed something awry.  Something strangely…how should I say it?…off.

And then I saw it.

Oh yes.  I did.  Thousands of proof reads.  Too much time over-obsessing every single inch of detail.  And yet, somehow, I failed to notice the most obvious of issues.  I used the wrong word at the beginning of the very first paragraph.

First thought that came to mind: *GASP*  Somebody shoot me!!

Second thought that came to mind: I need to run.

And so I did.  I ran and I ran and I ran.

I let every worry and care roll off my shoulders like the droplets of rain that splattered breathlessly against my face.

And then I realized the same thing that I realize after every run.  You can’t cry over spilled milk. You just can’t.  A misspelled word is nothing to get hung up over.

(hopefully, it’s nothing that a little marker job can’t fix either!)

Attitude is everything.  Running helps.

And cooking too.  To be continued…

Question: Have you ever made a big (silly!) mistake with your job or in school?

the smile list, part II

5 Things That Made Me Smile Today

1. Coming home to a completely empty house after a super busy day.

For an internship requirement, we (my fellow interns and I) volunteered at some local elderly feeding sites.  Our main job was to do some light education on sodium and fiber.  It was a little challenging, since there was a definite language barrier.  Just one more reason why I need to learn Spanish!  But the people were adorable and very willing to listen.  One woman was shocked to learn that potatoes and beans were good sources of fiber.  I had so much FUN talking with the people!

By the end, however, I was pretty much zonked out.  So I made a super simple salad complete with avocado, beans (FIBER! :D ) and sunflower seeds, with a whole wheat onion bagel on the side.  I finished it all off with a bubble bath and some yoga.

D-e-l-i-g-h-t-f-u-l.

2. Buying tickets for an upcoming Josh Groban concert.  The price was a little ridiculous, but for Josh Groban, I will gladly tighten the wallet in other areas.  Yes.  I will even give up my bi-weekly almond butters…ha!

3. Starting my day with a brisk morning walk.

Waking up with the sun.  A fresh new morning.  Feeling 100% energized.

4. Dessert.

There are times when I want fancy creme brulee and creamy cheesecakes.  And then there are times when I want a tried and true, nothing fancy, regular ol’ piece of candy.  Reeses are my favorite!

5. Realizing that it is Friday and I have a busy weekend filled to the brim with fun things.

  • 8-mile run tomorrow morning.
  • Ice skating and a church buffet tomorrow afternoon.
  • Volunteering at a 5k, Sunday morning.
  • Hanging with my bestie—aka, Nicole—Sunday afternoon.

What is your favorite candy/dessert?

AND

What made YOU smile today?

The Smile List, Part I.

a list of to-do’s

The Ever-Growing To-Do List
  1. Finish major clinical case study and put together presentation.
  2. Finish three mini clinical case studies.
  3. Finish budget case study and present it to the panel.
  4. Finish abstract and present at the upcoming MDA conference.
  5. Finish poster for the hospital’s cafeteria.

Tell me this.  Is there any better feeling than crossing off an item from a to-do list?  Sigh.

The Dietitian that I’m working with during my clinical rotation part of the internship asked me to put together a poster for the upcoming National Nutrition Month (March!)  The theme this year is “Color Your Plate,” so I—of course—focused on including lots and lots of color.

I tried to keep it simple by focusing mostly on a few flavorful, healthy options that anyone and everyone can add to their basic, daily routines.

It was fun to put together (although it really did leave me feeling kind of hungry. ;) )

By the time I finished the project, it was already 4 o’clock, and I realized that I had barely had any fresh air all day.

Time to stretch the legs with a brisk walk before dinner!

The sun was absolutely glowing, transforming everything within its path into a bright, fluorescent orange.  So beautiful.

And despite the 15 degrees, I actually felt warm.  The sun felt so, so, so nice on my face.

What a deliciously invigorating walk.

I couldn’t decide on any one dinner tonight.  Which is why I didn’t.  Because every once in a while, a hodgepodge collection of random things is exactly what satisfies me the most.

A little of this.  A little of that.  Different flavors, textures, and moods.  I like to think that it’s a little like eating a three course entree. ;)

(1) Spinach and Egg Scramble

(2) Homemade Baked Beans, pulled from the freezer

(3) Zucchini and Summer Squash, sauteed with diced tomatoes, garlic, italian seasoning and balsamic vinegar

(this tasted like summer!)

One item crossed off my to do list.  Poster complete!

One refreshing pre-dinner walk.

Three course meal.  Not at all fancy.  Completely delicious.

Two hours left to read and relax before bed.

Spinach and Egg Scramble

Serves 1

This scramble pairs particularly well with feta, goat or even (especially?) ricotta cheese.  If you have extra veggies on hand, you could also throw in some tomatoes, mushrooms, asparagus, etc.

There’s nothing at all fancy about this scramble.  In fact, it practically screams simple. But that’s what makes it so appealing after a long, hard day at work or school.  Enjoy with a slice of toasted whole wheat bread and your favorite side veggie for a quick, satisfying meal. :D

  • A few large handfuls of fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1/4 an onion, chopped fine
  • 2 whole eggs + 1 egg white
  • splash of milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Coat a medium, nonstick pan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until tender but firm.  Add spinach and continue cooking until spinach has wilted and onions are tender.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt and pepper.  Pour on top of spinach mixture.  Occasionally scrape down the eggs from the side, letting the runny part run underneath.
  3. Once the eggs have come together, chop the eggs and spinach a little with the spatula and cook until done.  Transfer to plate and ENJOY! :D

Question: Do you keep daily/weekly/yearly to-do lists?  Are you usually pretty good about checking things off? I keep monthly to-do lists, and they’re usually complicated things that take forever to actually check off.  Which is why I usually throw in some simple, easy things as well, just to give me the pleasure of crossing an item off. ;)