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. 😀

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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. 😀

QUESTION: What are you reading right now?

February’s Read

I swore it wouldn’t happen.

While everyone around me was hacking up a lung or burning a fever or being plagued with strep throat, I was immune.
Totally.  100%.  Immune.

Lesson learned: Don’t speak too soon. Because lo and behold, “it” happened.  I woke up on Monday with a burning sore throat.  Eyes that felt like giant fireballs.  And the energy of a piece of spaghetti.  Totally.  100%.  Limp.

In addition to becoming best friends with the kleenex box and guzzling tons of water, I’ve also been eating copious amounts of whole wheat blueberry muffins…I followed my basic recipe but used whole wheat in place of the white.  Delicious. I may have even enjoyed them more than the original, thanks to the slight nutty, wheaty texture.

I’ve also been eating chili like it’s my job.

(FYI, I don’t lose my appetite when I’m feeling under the weather.  But I most definitely DO have a very limited number of foods that seem to hit the spot.)

Chili and muffins.  Considering the fact that I could only eat frozen bagel bite pizzas when I had pneumonia as a kid, I’d say this isn’t so bad. 😉

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A Book A Month Resolution, 2011

January’s Choice: “Brooklyn”

February’s Choice: “House Rules” by Jodi Picoult

I am a huge fan of Jodi Picoult.  She really knows how to pull at my heartstrings, making me laugh and cry throughout each of her books.  Each and every one.  I love that.

Chapter by chapter, the characters become more than just fiction.  They become real. A sister, a brother, a friend.   “House Rules” follows the life of a family and a boy who has Aspergers.  A girl becomes murdered, and you’re left wondering the who’s, what’s, and why’s throughout the book.  You want to believe that someone in particular is NOT guilty, but then you’re not entirely convinced that he’s not.  And if he IS guilty, should he be charged?  Was it really his fault?

I loved the beautiful way that Jodi Picoult explained Aspergers.  I loved the way she tied the characters together, showing the strength of a family.  The frustrations.  The anger.  The sadness.  The happiness.  I loved the book.

Loved it.  And highly recommend it. 😀

Question: Do you lose your appetite when you’re sick?

Question: What have you been reading lately?

Over A Bowl of Oats

It was over a bowl of crunchy cashew banana oats, that I officially began my New Years Resolution.

 

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Each new year, I like to plan out what my important goals will be.  Sometimes I fall flat on my face and realize that I did nothing to achieve my resolutions.  Other years I’m overwhelmed by all that was accomplished. 

This year, I decided that I wanted to make my goals entirely achievable.  Which explains why “travel to Paris” isn’t on the list.  Maybe next year.  😉

What was on the list, was the goal of reading one book a month for the entire year of 2011.  Today, I finished January’s book: Brooklyn.

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At first I didn’t much like the book.  It was—what’s the word?—simple.  Almost too simple.  But then I realized that it was simple because Elise was simple.  She was a young girl who knew nothing outside of her hometown in Ireland.  She thought nothing would ever change.  That her sister Rose and her mother would always be right there.  That life would continue on, just as is. 

And then things change.  The book becomes more complex.  Elise travels to America to find work, and the book has an undertone of fear.  Fear of the unknown.  And then, when she meets a young Italian man in America, the book become becomes light.  Frivolous, even.  Exciting. 

The book keeps changing, as each part of the book holds a new tone.  It’s rare to find a book that can change a character—change the entire tone—while still holding true to the personality of the original character.  The book is raw.  Simple.  Complex.  Sad but real.  Honest. 

I loved it!

 

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I think the key for pulling through with New Years Resolutions and goals for me, is to break them down month by month.  It holds me accountable, and I absolutely love the fresh start that each new month (each new DAY, for that matter) brings. 😀

Crunchy Cashew Banana Oats

I’ve been eating this standard breakfast for the past week or so.  I love the sweetness of cashew butter and bananas, and I love the crunch that granola brings to the table.  It’s a wonderful, winning combination.

You could make this stovetop, of course, but preparing the mix the night before and microwaving it the following morning produces very similar results.  Letting the oats sit in the liquid for a nights course softens them right up; you will have a deliciously creamy bowl of oatmeal in 3-5 minutes flat.  Enjoy this warm treat on even the busiest of mornings. :D 

  • 1/2 c. oatmeal
  • 1 c. milk + 1/4 c. water
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. crushed flax seed
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp. Natures Path Pumpkin Flax Granola
  • 2 Tbsp. cashew butter
  1. In a large, microwaveable bowl, place oatmeal, milk, water, banana, flax seed and spices in a bowl.  Stir, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next morning, uncover the bowl and microwave for 3-5 minutes, stirring halfway through.  Top with granola and cashew butter and enjoy with your favorite book.

Question: Do you make daily/monthly/yearly goals for yourself?  How do you make them achievable? 

things to do

I put shower gel in my hair instead of conditioner.

I ate cajun in my morning bowl of oatmeal, thinking it was cinnamon.

I went to bed at 8:30 last night and fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

I had no answer for an elderly woman who asked me what day it was.  She thought I was being nice. 

I ate scrambled eggs two nights in a row.

The craziness continues.

The good news is that after tonight, I’ll be busy with only fun stuff for the next couple of weeks.  Vacation, here I am!  My brain thanks you.

I plan on vacation being filled to the brim with…

(1) Reading

I just finished Commuters by Emily Gray Tedrowe.  On first page, I honestly didn’t really like it. I had to force myself to keep going, because I just didn’t feel like the book was taking me anywhere.

And then I began the journey of getting to know the characters.  A young, punky guy who seems to just want someone—anyone—to believe in him.  An elderly woman, willing to do anything for the man who didn’t enter her life until recently.  A woman rediscovering her own life.  Rediscovering her husband after a severe accident that left him without a memory.

So many stories.  All combined into one family.  By the end of the book, I couldn’t put it down.  I felt so connected to each of the characters; they were so real.

 

Next on my list? 

I just, just, just started it, but so far I’m really liking it.

(2) Cooking

Because, really, there’s no excuse for the fact that I haven’t put the package I got from Jess to good use.  It’s a shame, really.

She sent me this package of graham flour.  I’m beyond excited to put this to good use.

To be continued…Tomorrow Morning!

(3) Preparing for Christmas

Because no Christmas is complete without at least one or two cups of hot chocolate and a night filled with baking cookies.  Not to mention the fact that I have some Christmas gift shopping to do (last full weekend before Christmas!)

Let my vacation begin! 😀

Question: Are you all done Christmas shopping?  Not me!!  Almost, but not quite.  I’m determined to finish it all this weekend though, sticking to my resolution that I will not be a last minute gift buyer.

going green

Eating outdoors pretty much rocked my morning.  I love summer. 😀

 

 Into this bowl, went:

  • 1/2 c. raw, uncooked oats
  • 6-oz. yogurt mixed with 2 T. crushed flax
  • 1 orange, peeled and diced
  • small handful of raisins
  • cinnamon & nutmeg

I never would have thought of adding oranges and raisins to my “un”overnight oats.  But since it was the very last fruit in the fruit bowl, I decided to throw it in. 

It was good!!

 

 Morning Snack: Slice of homemade whole wheat banana bread and a cup of milk

 

 I pumped out 4 miles of running today.  I felt really good, and that’s partially due to the fact that I took yesterday as an “off” day.  Yes, I still did some yoga.  But I left my running sneakers (and bike) alone.  Rest days are a big part of staying healthy, injury free, and strong, despite being one of the more overlooked components to training!!

Lunch

There was a packet of this sitting in the back of my pantry…

Front:

Back:

 

 I’ve had mixed emotions about Amazing Grass.  Some of their products have left me wanting more, while others have made my mouth feel like a big peice of chalk.  But this one in particular, I kind of liked (although not as much as the original blend, surprisingly.)  If you really want to try them out, I’d recommend you pick up a couple of different flavors and see which one you like.  That being said, I still feel that eating the real food is always your best bet, for both nutrition and flavor.  😉

Into the blender:

  • 1 c. frozen blueberries
  • 2 c. beet greens (from the garden!!)
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 packet of Amazing Grass
  • 2 prunes
  • toppings: 1/2 c. raw oatmeal, dollop of almond butter (kind of similair to breakfast, no?)

The prune didn’t blend in with everything else, and I was surprised with two chewy prunes at the bottom. :mrgreen: 

I’d say, if you’re used to eating green smoothies, try beet greens!!  But if you’re a newbie, just wanting to test the waters, spinach is probably still your best bet.  You can taste the beets in this. 😉

 

 Afternoon Snack: kashi heart to heart, raisins, coconut, milk

 

 Dinner

I don’t know what came over me.  What is it that possessed me to turn on the oven in the summer?  I’ll tell you what.  It was the thought of a roasted, caramelized tomato soaked in balsamic vinegar.  Brussels sprouts, roasted until golden and crisp.  Mushrooms, all wrinkled, shriveled, and puckered up.

It’s enough to make a girl swoon.

If you think I’m getting a little carried away, you’re probably right.  But I’ve been deprived from roasted vegetables for a while now, and this is the result.  I needed to have my fill.  And that is why I turned the oven on.  In the middle of summer. 

Totally necessary!

 

 Into a 425 degree oven (this was all split between two people) for 10 minutes:

  • 1 package of brussels sprouts, halved and tough stem removed
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Once the 10 minutes was up, I added the following to the same cookie sheet and cooked for 10 more minutes:

  • 4 mushrooms, sliced thickly
  • 1/2 green pepper, sliced thin
  • handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 c. kidney beans
  • drizzle of balsamic vinegar

And topped with feta.  Voila.  Dinner was on!

The lettuce got all wilty from the hot vegetables which I loved!!  But if you’re not really into that kind of thing, the roasted veggies taste amazing chilled as well.  Heat up some extra and you’ll have lunch for the next day as well (this is great on top of rice, quinoa, flat wraps, etc.)

Dessert: cherries and strawberries

Off to chillax with a new book: Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult

I finished The Story of Edgar Sawtelle last week.  Even though I loved the journey through the book, I was so, so, so disappointed by the ending.  Seriously.  I almost threw the book across the room in frustration.  If you read it, you probably know what I’m talking about. 😉  I’m hoping Vanishing Acts has a slightly better ending to it, but Jodi Picoult definitely knows how to spring surprises on her readers as well.

Question: Have you ever tried adding greens to your smoothie?  What kind?  Did you like it? 

Pampered Morning

I woke up smiling this morning. 

So did my oats.

Simple banana ‘n’ oats, topped with chia seeds, Natures Path Pumpkin Flax granola, peanut butter, coconut and two dark chocolate chips for eyes. :mrgreen:

Twas a delicious morning.

I took my first day of vacation and ran with it.  Quite literally.  I decided to lace up my sneaks and run.  I’m not sure if it was the cold weather numbing my legs or if my knees were truly having a really good day.  Whatever the reason, I had no pain in either my knee or my foot.  It allowed me to zone off and really take in the run.  It was quite honestly the best run that I’ve had since being injured.  I relished each and every moment, wishing it would never come to an end. 

My run, of course, did come to an end.  And when it did, I felt like a new person.  If I was smiling this morning, I was positively beaming at this point.  Four miles of walking and running with no pain.  What an invigorating morning! 😀

As I was icing my knees, I filled up a ramekin with nonfat, plain yogurt and topped it off with kashi heart to heart, raisins and a sprinklin’ of coconut.  All while reading the new Cooking Light magazine.  Everything about this morning felt so indulgent…so luxurious.  I almost felt guilty, as if I should be studying…writing…reading.  Something.

When lunch time rolled around, I had “jarlsberg” on the brain.  Shooting for simplicity, I grilled up two slices of whole wheat sourdough with a thick slice of jarlsberg cheese and a smear of homemade strawberry jam for a positively delicious lunch.  One bite into this crispy, gooey sandwich, and I immediately thought to myself, “this is what France must be like.”  Hey, a girl can dream every now and then. 😉  On the side, I cut up half an apple and poured a cold glass of milk. 

I’m not normally the type of girl who can lounge all morning long without a care in the world.  In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I read a book in the afternoon hours.  But that’s exactly what I found myself doing this afternoon.  And I loved every single minute of it.  After all, if I was going to spend the day in “luxury”, I may as well go all out. 😉

I read.  And read.  And then I read some more.  I finished the book “Lunch in Paris” which I started to love during the first few chapters.  But then I found myself becoming increasingly bored!?  Her descriptions of food and life in Paris were absolutely beautiful, but I felt like the author started to lose interest in her own writing by the end of the book.  I was ready for it to finish and I sort of felt like she was too.  Of course, I know some people who absolutely loved this book, so maybe it’s all a matter of perspective?

Anyways, grocery shopping was one thing on my list that I did want to do finish today.  So I packed the other half of my apple with a few carrot sticks and trotted off to the grocery stores.

I’m sure that eventually grocery shopping may reach the feeling of being a “chore” for me, but as of right now, it’s such a joy. 😀  Some of my best food-related conversations have been in the grocery store.  Whether talking about artisan breads or the best dark chocolate.  People have their opinions and I love to hear them. 😀

I even love putting the groceries away when I get home.  I especially love that, once again, there’s food in the house. 😉  I put together a quick snack of dried plums and almonds to munch on. 

Dinner tonight was kept simple and came together in a flash.  Mom made the sauteed chicken breast, which had a light sauce of chicken broth, thyme, salt, pepper and a bit of butter.  So juicy and fresh!  I roasted up some sweet potatoes with cauliflower, drizzled with a bit of olive oil, sea salt and fresh pepper.

Super simple.  Super satisfying. 

The highlight of my day came with a gentle “tap, tap” on the door.

When a deliverer handed me a boquet of an Edible Arrangement, I handed it back to him with a reply, “Oh, I think you have the wrong house!”  He looked back at his address tag and said, “Sarah?”  I must have looked shocked, and the poor man was left standing there with the fruit.  Then my face lit up as I thanked him and read the note.

Nicole and Nate sent me this gorgeous arrangement of fruit.  I chose a strawberry as the first fruit to try and my mouth nearly exploded with the sweet juiciness.  It tasted as if it had just been picked!  The rest of the fruit was equally delicious.  My parents and I nibbled our way through, mm’ing over each different fruit.  Let’s just say this will no longer exist come tomorrow. 😉

Who knew living the life of luxury could be so exhausting?  I’m sleepy and it’s only 9 o’clock. :mrgreen: 

Question: What is one thing that you like to do to pamper/spoil yourself? Aside from having a leisurely spent morning, I also love reading magazines outside on a sunny afternoon (preferrably with an iced coffee in hand,) long walks or bike rides, or eating breakfast in bed.  😀