Names and Stuffing/Dressing

I realize that my last name is complicated. However, there are still unacceptable things to call me.

I was born with a Polish last name that isn’t quite pronounced the way it’s spelled. It actually used to be far more complicated, but my great grandfather had changed it, assuming that people would still know the basic pronunciation of the Polish language. That essentially means that I was always really good at identifying telemarketers as a kid, since they always said my last name with two syllables instead of three.

For most of my patients, I introduce myself as Dr. So and So, but then normally tell them that they can call me by my first name if a wave of confusion washes over their face. However, I always have to say the “doctor” part the first time I meet someone- in the hospital, everyone and their mother is walking around in a long white coat. There’s also the fact that every patient tends to assume that any female they meet in the hospital is a nurse, and then I get paged incessantly about how the “doctor hasn’t been in to see the patient yet” when I’ve spent 30 minutes already that morning explaining everything.

But, I digress. To the story at hand.

It was the same drill as always, “Hi Mr. Patient, I’m Doctor So and So.”

Each day, this gentleman got more and more casual. At first, I was still Dr. My Last Name. Which then became Dr. Megan. Which became Megan.

Which then transformed into something else entirely.

When I was in the process of discharging my patient, he thanked me for providing him with good medical care during his visit.

Except he said, “Thanks Doctor Babygirl, I had a great time.”

When asked, he couldn’t even understand why this wasn’t appropriate to say.

Multiple Names Stuffing/Dressing

Stuffing/Dressingin my family you don’t dare call this by the wrong name unless you want a lecture

Ingredients (makes 3 cups stuffing)

  • 5 slices wheat bread, toasted
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/4 c dried cranberries
  • 1/2 c white wine
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning

How-to

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Saute onions and celery in the butter (just do all at once- no need to pre-melt the butter) in a medium saucepan.
  3. In a large bowl, rip up toasted bread into small pieces. Add in celery, onions, butter, and cranberries.
  4. Stir in poultry seasoning (sometimes I go up to 1 1/2 tsp).
  5. Add in wine (start with 1/4 cup and continuing adding as the bread soaks up the wine). If necessary, add more wine to soak wheat bread (you want this to be pretty moist so it doesn’t try out).
  6. Salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Stuff into birds (this makes approximately 3 cups) for stuffing or bake in a casserole dish for 30 minutes, covered with aluminum foil, for dressing.
  8. Serve with gravy.

Old Men and Cornish Hens

Few people are as old-fashioned as old men.

I was flying across the country to give a talk. Unfortunately, it wasn’t really anywhere that I could fly direct to, and thus I was stuck with a connecting flight on the way there and on the way back (and I was flying in and out on the same day).

Now, I’m normally a person who loves flying. I can fall asleep sitting in the middle seat between two rather large people occupying my armrests. I joke that the engines can rock me to sleep. I can nap through turbulence, babies crying, and bratty children kicking my seat for hours.

That day was just not my day.

I went to get my seat for my first flight, where I discovered that I was next to an older gentleman.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love little old men. They remind me of my grandfather and my great-uncle and I just can’t help but want to have them tell me stories and hope they’ll treat me like their granddaughter for the foreseeable future (I was a daddy’s and a grampa’s girl, after all). I can listen to old war stories for hours, cry with them as they remember meeting their wives, and rejoice in hearing of first becoming a grandparent.

Yes, I do realize that it’s like I’m an old person already. But that’s besides the point for this encounter.

Older Guy (noticing my work bag): So you’re in medicine?

Me: Yup, I’ll be a doctor next Spring. I’m in med school now.

Older Guy: You do realize that you won’t be a success in life until you have a ring on your finger.

I politely declined further conversation for the rest of my flight. And on to flight #2…with another older guy next to me.

Older Gentleman #2: You’re a doctor? And you’re not married? Is there something wrong with you or something?

Again, I made the wise decision to decline further conversation. Then I gave my talk, boarded ANOTHER plane, and again found myself sitting next to an older gent…

Old Guy #3: In my day, women didn’t work, they got married. You’re going to be a horrible mother if some guy ever wants to married you.

This really was old after the first flight. But the hits just kept coming with my fourth and final flight of the day.

And another, final, old man was awaiting me.

Old Gent #4: You do realize that no matter how successful you might be, you’re always going to be a failure until you’re married, right?

Obviously, I need to sit next to grandmothers on planes instead.

Put a Ring on It Stuffed Cornish Hens

Stuffed Cornish Henin case I need to offer more than the doctor card

Ingredients (per person)

  • 1 cornish game hen, thawed
  • 1 c of your favorite stuffing (my recipe to follow in the next post!)
  • Olive oil spray (mine is just in a spray bottle since it’s better for you than the store-bought version!)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika

Tools

  • Aluminum foil
  • Roasting rack (not totally necessary, but essential if you want to have crispy skin all the way around!)

How-to

  1. Make your stuffing (as I said, my recipe to follow in my next post)
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Wash and dry cornish hens. If you don’t dry them (use a paper towel!!!), you won’t get the crispy skin (which we all know is the best part).
  4. Sprinkle on salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika onto skin of cornish hens.
  5. Stuff bird with the stuffing (if you don’t use it to stuff something, it’s called dressing…you didn’t dare call it otherwise in my house growing up).
  6. Place bird(s) on a roasting rack (also essential to having crispy skin all over the bird).  Be sure to tuck in the wings so they don’t stick out and burn. Cover with aluminum foil and roast for 40 minutes.
  7. Remove foil and spray bird(s) with olive oil.
  8. Return to oven (without foil) and roast for an additional 30-40 minutes, when juices should run clear when you poke the birds with a knife (use a meat thermometer to be sure as this is poultry! Remember, you will see at least 5-10 degrees of carryover cooking after you remove from the oven).
  9. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Grandsons and Pumpkin Bread

Sometimes, patients have ulterior motives.

I was trying very hard to discharge my patient, an up-to-this-point very pleasant, easygoing Thai woman.

It just wasn’t working.

We told her at 6am (I was, after all on a surgery month, where rounds start far earlier and thankfully are far shorter) that we’d be sending her home later that day once her paperwork was done.

I was done with her paperwork by 9am, with her discharge order in shortly afterward.

And here was where the trouble began. Now, most people don’t like being in the hospital. Yes, you do have a few people who attempt to work the system, but in general, being in the hospital is NOT like being in a hotel (more stories on that to come in future posts).

First, she wanted refills of every medication she ever took, along with having them hand delivered to her room. Accomplished.

Next, she wanted to stay through lunch, as her family wouldn’t be able to pick her up until the afternoon. Request granted.

Then she wanted both the flu shot and the pneumonia vaccine. Ask and you shall receive.

I kept getting paged over and over again to go into her room and answer questions. (Can I shower when I get home? Well, we let you shower here, so…Can I eat my normal foods? Well, we had you on a general diet here, soo…)

And then the real truth came out.

Patient: So, you no married, no? My grandson, he real hottie for young doctor. He be here soon! Make grandma proud! Nice doctor to marry!

I then had to politely decline her offers to grant me a husband.

Potential In Law Approved Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin breadin case I ever truly find myself in that situation

Ingredients (makes 2 large loaves of bread)

  • 1 overly ripe banana
  • 1/2 c vegetable oil
  • 3 cups brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 15 oz can pumpkin
  • 1 c whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/3 c white flour
  • 1 c dried cranberries
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2/3 c water
  • 4 tbsp roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • Cooking spray

How-to

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Liberally spray two loaf pans with cooking spray (otherwise these puppies won’t come out, and you certainly don’t want that!).
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer (though feel free to make this by hand if you so choose), beat together banana, oil, and sugar. Add in eggs, one at a time, then pumpkin.
  4. In another bowl, mix together flours, dried cranberries, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  5. With the stand mixer running on low, alternate adding the flour mixture and water (I do flour/water/flour/water/flour).
  6. Equally divide batter between the loaf pans.
  7. Sprinkle each loaf with 2 tbsp pepitas and 1 tbsp sugar.
  8. Bake for 55-65 minutes, rotating one halfway through, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out cleanly.
  9. Cool bread for 10-15 minutes in the pans, then carefully remove from pans (remember, I said they stick!). Let bread cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap covered by aluminum foil and wait to eat until the next day (or immediately if you cannot wait). Slice thinly (or thickly if you must) and enjoy!

Emailers and Oven Pancakes

Persistence can be a virtue. Other times, not so much.

Remember the guy with the awkward voice? Yeah, the story didn’t end there.

When we had left off, I knew that I didn’t want to see said gentleman again for a variety of reasons…being late, the quick urge to settle down, and that whole voice that was higher than my niece’s.

It soon because obvious he did not feel the same way.

The next day, I had an email.

“Hi, I had a gr8 time last night! We had tonz in common and your super hot. Can’t wait to see you again! Here’s my phone number, what’s yours? Email back soon pls!”

Yes, the typos above are correct.

I then very politely responded back a few days later that I was busy with work (which I was), that I was not interest (also true) and thus unfortunately I did not think (my word choice as I was attempting to be polite) I would be able to see him again, but I wished him the very best in his continual search on online dating.

And then…

“Hey, R U any less busy with work? Would love to see you again! What’s your phone number?”

This time, I chose not to respond, as I had already said I wasn’t interested.

But the emails kept coming…for weeks.

“Hey, call me sometime!”

“Hey, I’m still interested, have you changed your mind?”

“Hey, just wanted to say hi again! Really would love to see you!”

Two months went by. The emails kept coming. I blocked his emails on the online dating website. I blocked his profile name. He changed his profile name and continued emailing. I blocked that but he just did it again.

Thankfully he continually made me a favorite and didn’t change his profile picture, so I at least was able to block him on a fairly quick basis and slightly decrease the annoyance.

I can’t imagine what he would have done if he had my phone number or last name.

Stay the Course Oven Pancake

002

this is one case where persistence and waiting are okay with me

Ingredients

  •  3 tbsp butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 c skim milk
  • 1/2 c flour (fluff up flour before measuring)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Fresh fruit
  • Jam or Jelly
  • Powdered sugar

How-t0

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place butter in 10-in oven-safe nonstick frying pan. Place in oven until butter melts (approximately 3-4 minutes).
  3. While butter is melting, beat eggs by hand until they just start to lighten (about 1 minute). Add in milk and beat again until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
  5. While whisking eggs, add flour mixture until mixture is smooth.
  6. Once butter has melted, remove pan from oven. Pour batter into center. Place pan back in the oven.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes until pancake browns and grows up the side (see picture). DO NOT OPEN OVEN DOOR FOR FIRST 20 MINUTES (and preferably the first 25). Wait at least 20 minutes to open oven to check and see if the center is set and browning (if you open it earlier, the pancake won’t rise properly).
  8. While baking, heat jam or jelly 30 seconds-1 minute in the microwave until warm. Add in fruit.
  9. When brown, remove pancake from oven. Add fresh fruit and jam/jelly mixture to center. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Serves 2

Middle Children and Collard Greens

There’s telling stories about your family, and then there’s just excessive complaining to a complete stranger.

I was on yet another date from online dating. To start, I should have know that this date would be awkward, purely based on text messages. Most normal people don’t start complaining to a complete stranger, especially by text. However, the rest of them had seemed funny, so I wrote it off as maybe him just having a bad day.

I really should have listened to my gut.

I arrived at the date location a few minutes early (I can’t help myself- my dad is ALWAYS late, so I always arrive early. Always.). My date of course was a few minutes late (but not as late as a previous encounter).

And that is when the complaining started.

Over the next hour and a half (I literally darted out of there as soon as humanly possible), he complained about

  • that it was raining which of course made him late because someone MUST have stolen his umbrella and then put it back in the closet where he wouldn’t be able to find it
  • that he was sore because he ran earlier to train for a marathon, and he HAD to run a marathon since his little brother did, and of course he had to run faster than him to prove that he was the better brother (phrase actually used)
  • that the weather in Chicago was colder than the south
  • that he was the middle child and therefore his family would never love him as much as his older or younger brother (another phrase actually used)
  • that he liked the restaurant and came there often, but really he only liked one thing on the menu, and only if a particular cook had made it

He complained about more things, but to be totally honest I gave up really listening after the first 15 minutes and watched the baseball game above the bar instead, with occasionally throwing in comments I remember from my psych rotation (you know, when I wasn’t dealing with awkward psychiatrists one and two).

Date: Complain, complain, complain, complain.

Me: Sounds like that must be difficult for you.

Date: Yeah it definitely is because of complain complain complain…

Me: Have you tried talking to anyone about this?

Date: Well I saw a psychiatrist plenty of times but they just didn’t understand me because complain complain complain…

I’m almost convinced that someone else had written the amusing text messages or emails he had sent.

Low Maintenance Collard Greens

Crock Pot Collards

nothing to complain about here

Ingredients

  • 1 ham bone (perfect use of the leftovers from your holiday ham)
  • 2 bunches collard greens (I had approximately 2-3 lbs)
  • 1 tsp chicken bouillon
  • 3 c chicken broth
  • 1/2 c apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • Pepper jelly (optional)

How-to

  1. In a large crock pot, mix together chicken bouillon, chicken broth, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add in ham bone.
  2. Wash collard greens very well in cold water. Remove tough stems. Cut into small pieces (or tear by hand, which I did).
  3. Place greens into broth in crock pot.
  4. Cook on low for 8-9 hours, stirring occasionally, until at desired doneness.
  5. Top with pepper jelly or pepper sauce, if desired.

Mishearings, Part 2, and Chocolate Cutouts

While as a doctor I don’t find hearing loss funny, it can lead to some hilarious stories.

My mother is deaf in one ear from having her eardrum blown out when I was a kid (she’ll tell you that it’s quite painful). Because of this, we’ve always had to make sure to speak up and talk on her “good side.”

We also need to make sure that we speak clearly.

We were driving to a church ice cream social when we were younger, and we were all listing off what kind of ice cream we wanted to have.

Me: I want Mackinac Island Fudge.

Dad (while pulling into the church parking lot): I just want ice cream!

Brother #1: I want cookies and cream!

Mom (whipping her head around and yelling in a stern voice): How DARE you say that??? We’re at church!!!

The rest of my family exchanged confused looks.

Dad: Honey, why is it bad that he wants cookies and cream ice cream?

My mother then burst out laughing and it was a few minutes later before she caught her breath enough to tell us…(while we all still looked on confused)…

“Oh goodness, I thought he said herpes and cream! You can’t talk about herpes at church!”

To this day, cookies and cream has never been known by its actual name…nor has anyone in my family eaten it since.

No Mistakes Chocolate Cutouts

Chocolate Cutouts

perfect if you decide to combine with cream…for ice cream sandwiches ;)

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 c cocoa powder
  • 3 c flour, plus additional for rolling
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

How-to

  1. Cream together butter and sugars in a stand mixture. Add in vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until combined after each one.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together cocoa powder, flour, salt, and baking powder. With mixer on, slowly add in dry ingredients until well combined.
  3. Refridgerate dough at least 1 hour (overnight is best).
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Flour surface and rolling pin. Using a ruler (this helps, I promise!), roll out dough until 1/4 in thick and use a cookie cutter to cut into shapes.
  6. Place cookies into greased cookie sheets. Bake for 8-9 minutes (it’s really easy to overcook these, so it’s best to undershoot and then try them after they cool for about 5 minutes to see if they’re at your desired softness…personally I don’t like my cutout cookies too hard!).

And now, for a break from the usual…

…I’ve been nominated in the 2012 FriendsEat Best Blogger Awards in the Best Recipe Blog category!

Screen Shot 2012-12-08 at 3.23.33 AM

Please visit the website and vote for me before December 17th! You can log into FriendsEat using your Facebook account.

Much love and happy holidays (and new post tomorrow!),

~megs~

Mishearings, Part 1, and Carrot Cake Jam

Sometimes my patients don’t exactly hear what I’m trying to tell them.

I had a patient that the previous night had been having a difficult time breathing, and thus I was in his room discussing his care with his nurse. He was lying there calmly sleeping (or so we thought) while we were talking to his wife.

Me: So we’ll keep him on this form of oxygen now and then switch him later?

Nurse: Yeah, I’ll switch him when my shift is done to rest him.

All of a sudden our we-thought-he-was-sleeping patient shot straight out of bed.

Patient (yelling): RECTUM? YOU AREN’T GETTING ANYWHERE NEAR MY RECTUM! NO MA’AM! NOT TODAY, NOT TOMORROW!!

(confused looks shared by everyone in the room)

Me: But sir, we said absolutely nothing about your rectum.

Patient: Yes you did! I heard you! You can’t trick me!

Me: Sir, we were talking about resting you by putting you back on some better oxygen. She said “rest him,” not “rectum.”

Patient: Oh. That makes more sense. But you still aren’t going anywhere near my rectum!!! I won’t allow it!

As promised, we went nowhere near his rectum during the rest of his hospital stay.

You Heard Me Correctly Carrot Cake Jam

Carrot Cake Jam

no misunderstandings with this one

Ingredients

  • 1 lb carrots, peeled
  • 2 pears, peeled and sliced
  • 1 inch thick round fresh pineapple, rind and core removed and cut into large cubes
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1/2 tsp fresh nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1 c water
  • 1 package powdered pectin
  • 6 1/2 c sugar

How-to

  1. Dice carrots in food processor until just barely larger than your desired consistency. Add pears and pineapple and pulse until those are in small chunks.
  2. In a large pot, dump in carrot, pear, and pineapple mixture. Add in lemon juice, spices, and water.
  3. Prepare water bath canner with six pint jars, rings, and lids.
  4. Bring jam mixture to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook for 15-20 minutes or until fruits and carrots soften and start to release their juices.
  5. Turn off heat and stir in powdered pectin. Turn heat back on and bring to full boil.
  6. Add sugar and bring back again to full boil. Cook for 1 minute, then turn off heat.
  7. Ladle jam into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch at the top. Wipe off rims then place on lids and rings.
  8. Place jars in water bath canner, bring water back to a boil, and process for 10 minutes.
  9. Remove jars and let cool for 12-24 hours. If jars not sealed within 24 hours, place in fridge and eat within a week.

P.S. This makes excellent holiday gifts!

P.P.S. If desired, you can stir 1/4 c nuts and 1/4 raisins into the jam mixture at the beginning of cooking.

Holiday Music and Mojito Jelly

I don’t care if you think someone is old- you never say it to their face.

It was last year and I was doing some holiday shopping in my favorite shoe department. Now, I’m a big fan of holiday music. And the holidays in genera. I do at least wait to start playing holiday music until after Thanksgiving, but my tree might go up beforehand (but my excuse is that I work too much and sometimes that’s the only time I have to set everything up).

So here I was, waiting in line, when one of my favorite Christmas songs came on- “This Christmas” by 98 degrees.

In front of me in line were a preteen girl and her mother.

Preteen: Who is this?

Me (attempting to be helpful): It’s 98 Degrees. I remember buying this album when it came out.

Preteen(in a shocked voice): God, you must be OLD.

I stood there looking dumbfounded. I should probably also tell you that I’m 26 now and definitely not old, not even to a preteen. At least, I didn’t think I was.

Preteen’s Mother (appalled): Honey, you NEVER tell anyone that they’re old! Especially a woman! She’s younger than me!! Never! Apologise now!

Preteen (in a blase voice): Sorry, I guess.

Let me tell you, that was an awkward wait in line until we finally all checked out.

P.S. My grandfather has a rule that you can never call someone old unless they are at least 5 years older than his current age, and since he’s currently in his mid 80s, that means you’re not old until you’re in your 90s. Otherwise, you’re just “older.”

Respect Your Elders Mojito Jelly

Mojito Jelly

I may not be old, but I’m old enough to drink legally

Ingredients

  • 2 c mint
  • 7 c water
  • 1 c light rum
  • 1 box powdered pectin
  • 4 c white sugar
  • 1 c lime juice
  • Green food coloring

How-to

  1. Prep water bath canner and 8 pint jars with lids and rings (you might not need this many, but it’s always best to be prepared!).
  2. Crush mint leaves to release juices (bring out your mixed drink supplies or just use the end of a wooden spoon).
  3. Add mint leaves, water, and light rum to large pot. Bring to a boil and let cook until liquid has reduced to four cups (so half).
  4. Turn off heat. Using a skimmer, remove the mint leaves from the liquid. Add 2-3 drops green food coloring if desired.
  5. Add pectin and stir until dissolved.
  6. Add sugar and lime juice. Bring back to a boil and cook for 1 minute.
  7. Ladle jelly into hot jars. Wipe off tops and place on lids. Place into water bath canner and place in jars. Bring water back to a boil (make sure the bubbles are coming from the bottom of the pot and not from the jars themself releasing air). Process for 5 minutes.
  8. Let stand for 12-24 hours or until jelly sets.

This makes an excellent Christmas gift!

Medicine and Pink Sangria

If you’re going to date me, you at least have to think my job is needed.

I was on a date with another guy from my online dating stint. The first date had gone quite well- met up for coffee and pie, good conversation happened, and then we agreed to a second date. I told amusing stories about my work, and he told funny stories about some of the things he dealt with (he had previously lived in a far more rural area before moving to the big city).

It was on the second date where things went wrong.

We met up at a bar for drinks and were at the point where we started talking about our families.

Date: So my dad works in alternative medicine…my family doesn’t believe in modern medicine.

I might have nearly choked on my beer at that statement.

Me: Nothing? Not one bit?

Date: Nope. No medications ever. We don’t see doctors. The dentist is fine, though. Gotta take care of your teeth.

Me (shocked): You do remember I’m a doctor, right? In particular an anesthesiologist? Where I use drugs all the time to put people to sleep for surgery?

Date: Oh, I thought that maybe you just didn’t use medications. Can’t you use alternative methods for all of that?

Now, don’t get me wrong- I use meditation and deep breathing with my patients all the time. I’m a big proponent But I also give them medications.

Shockingly, I did not see him again.

Alternative Strategies Pink Sangria

in case you want to go ahead and medicate yourself

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle rose wine
  • 1/2 c vodka
  • 1/4 c raspberry liquour
  • 2 lemons, sliced thin
  • 1/2 raspberries or blackberries
  • 2-3 c light pink or raspberry lemonade
  • 1-2 c soda water

How-to

  1. In a large pitcher, pour in rose wine,  vodka, liquour, and lemonade (start with 2 c).
  2. Add lemon slices and berries. Taste (you might need to add additional lemonade).
  3. Place in fridge and let sit overnight.
  4. Before serving, stir and add soda water to achieve however many bubbles you’d prefer. (I normally start with 1 c and go up from there.)