Going Home and Blueberry Buckle

Sometimes, patients are really excited to go home.

You’d be surprised how many patients never want to leave the hospital. Some people actually like the food, others think that we’re more like a full-service hotel than a place for patient care, et cetera.

Other patients are more normal. And they want to leave.

We were rounding that morning on a patient that had been admitted the previous day. He was approximately in his forties, walking around the hospital room, while his wife sat on the couch.

Patient: So when can I go home?

Me: Well sir, it looks like we can send you home this morning. We just have to finish up the paperwork.

Patient: Well hurry up, since I want to get LAID!

* stunned looks on the faces of the medical team *

To her credit, his wife immediately whipped out her phone, called her sister, and informed her that they needed a ride ASAP.

They ran out the door five minutes later. And his discharge instructions did recommend exercise.

Afterglow Blueberry Buckle

blueberry bucklethe perfect after-bang breakfast

Ingredients (buckle)

  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 c vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c skim milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 c white flour
  • 1 c whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 c blueberries (if using frozen, don’t thaw first!)
  • White sugar for dusting
  • Cooking spray

Ingredients (sauce)

  • 2  1/2 c blueberries
  • 2/3 c sugar
  • Zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 c water, plus 1/2 c for later
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch

How-to

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Spray two loaf pans with cooking spray.
  3. In a bowl, mix together flours, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Stir in blueberries so they are all covered with the mixture (this will help them not sink to the bottom of the cake). Set aside.
  4. In another bowl, mix together sugar and vegetable oil. Add in the egg and stir until the mixture just starts to lighten. Stir in the milk and vanilla.
  5. Fold in the dry ingredients with the blueberries in an attempt to keep most of the blueberries whole (some of them will get smushed in the mixing process, but that’s okay!).
  6. Divide mixture between the two loaf pans.
  7. Sprinkle the top of each loaf with cinnamon and white sugar.
  8. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (besides parts of blueberries, of course). Let cool for 10-20 minutes before slicing.
  9. While the buckle is baking (or while it is cooling, if you took a recreational break), dump the blueberries, water, lemon juice, and sugar into a medium saucepan. Turn heat to medium high and cook for approximately 10 minutes (you want some of the blueberries to pop, but others to still be a bit whole. It will be boiling. And it might splatter, so wear an apron).
  10. Mix together the remaining 1/2 c cold water with the cornstarch. Stir this mixture into the saucepan. Cook for an additional minute or until desired thickness. (no pun intended)
  11. Let sauce cool for 3-5 minutes, then spoon it onto the buckle. Enjoy!

ICUs and Mini Tacos

Some behavior is hospital appropriate. Other behavior is not.

When you’re in the hospital, I expect you to be physically sick. You’re coughing. You’re vomiting, You’re in a ton of pain. You’re having high fevers. You’re having a heart attack. You’re undergoing surgery. The list goes on and on for what symptoms I’m expecting you to have when you present as a patient on a non-psychiatric floor.

And as I said, there are some things I don’t expect you to do.

We had a younger guy admitted to the ICU back when I was in medical school. Now, most ICUs (or intensive care units, for the non-medical peeps out there) are for the very sickest patients. They’re about the least private place in the hospital, with many of them (including the one at our hospital) have entirely glass walls, so that you can always see into the room.

Which didn’t stop this particular patient. When he first was admitted, he kept leering at most of the female doctors and nurses. We all just thought he was a bit of a creep, but we certainly didn’t expect what happened next.

We were about to start rounding in the morning when one of our residents ran into the workroom.

Resident: Oh my god! Ewww! Yuck!!! Why would you do that???

Rest of the Medical Staff: What? What happened?

Resident: Mister So-and-So was jacking off when I walked into the room! And he didn’t stop! I had to bring someone else in there to tell him it wasn’t appropriate! Thank god I couldn’t see anything!

Needless to say, rounds that morning included lecturing the patient on keeping it in pants (or in his case, under his hospital gown).

Party Appropriate Mini Pork Tacos

Mini Pulled Pork Tacosit’s always appropriate to whip these out

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pork tenderloin
  • 1 c black bean and corn salsa
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced into small pieces
  • 1 onion, diced into small pieces
  • 24 wonton wrappers (square and circular both work)
  • 1 c shredded 2% mexican cheese blend
  • Optional toppings: sour cream, black olives, lettuce, diced tomatoes

How-to

  1. In a slow cooker, mix together salsa, garlic, jalapeno, and onion. Add in pork.
  2. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 6 hours. Shred pork and add back to salsa mixture.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Place wonton wrappers into a mini muffin tin. (If you don’t want to use the pork, start at this step with 1 lb cooked meat, warmed, or 1 can black beans, also heated.)
  5. Evenly divide meat between the wonton wrappers.
  6. Evenly divide cheese between wonton wrappers.
  7. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until cheese is melted and wonton wrappers are beginning to brown.
  8. Remove from mini muffin tin and serve. Allow guests to put on their own toppings!

Perfect for your Superbowl party!

P.S. Do you want a yummy box of treats hand delivered to your door each week? Using this link (http://www.graze.com/us/p/QPKLN96), you can try Graze and your first box is even free! They’ll deliver a box of healthy snacks to your door each week (your other boxes are just $5 each, and that includes shipping, plus you can cancel at any time!). And no, I’m not being sponsored by Graze- I just thought it was a fabulous opportunity and wanted to share it with my readers!

Shaking Walls and Spaghetti Carbonara

My roommate and I in college had really noisy neighbors. But not in the way you’re assuming.

We had previously had an empty room located next to us, but in the span of a month, we had two new neighbors. For the first few days, we heard them moving all the furniture around and getting set up.

It was possibly a week later and my roommate and I were studying. Then we began hearing a noise we didn’t expect. It sounded like something was continually hitting the wall in between our two rooms.

KS: What’s that?

Me: Not sure. Maybe they’re rearranging furniture again?

And then we heard a noise that both of us could recognize: the sound of a female moaning.

KS (whose bed and desk were pushed right up to the shared wall): Oh god. It’s the bed hitting the wall.

It was later that week when the bed really hit the wall, so to speak. I had been asleep, until I got woken up by my roommate, who was out of bed and sitting in the chair below.

In my just abruptly woken state, it took me a few minutes to realize that the neighbors were moaning loudly and knocking the bed into the wall again…and they were using such force that my roommate’s bed was moving, too.

Our solution? Hit the wall back and yell at them. (I never said it was mature)

The rabbits eventually got bored with each other or switched to his room, but not before we kindly shoved condoms under the door (our school gave them out for free- but they were in red, yellow, and green- the colors of a stoplight, how fitting!) along with a guide on safe sex.

After all, we were just looking out for their health. ;)

College Cooking Spaghetti Carbonara

even a college kid could make this

Ingredients

  • 1/4 box spaghetti
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 c parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • Salt
  • Pepper

How-to

  1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
  2. While spaghetti is cooking, mix together egg, parmesan, milk, parsley, and garlic powder.
  3. Drain spaghetti and return to pan. Pour in mixture and stir so it coats all the spaghetti. The warm spaghetti will cook the egg yolk, but if you’re concerned, do this over very low heat for 30 seconds. Salt and pepper to taste.

Note: I realize this is missing pancetta, but I couldn’t get that in college. I suppose you could add in bacon bits if you’re a resourceful college kid. ;)

Sex after Surgery and Spinach Pesto

Even health professionals get sick. And we hate going to the doctor even more than you do.

To make a long story short, I have to have surgery in less than 10 days. And because of that, I have to endure the pre-op clinic visit. The big purpose of that visit is to get all your bloodwork done, see if you need to see any other doctors, make sure you can have anesthesia, and then finally to tell you everything you’re not allowed to do before and after having surgery.

The last part being the most fun, of course.

So here I was, sitting in the doctor’s office with a well-intentioned, very intelligent, older nurse practitioner. The first part went easy- I just had to have anesthesia two weeks ago for some procedures so there were no issues there. It took a bit of time to edit my allergies- I discovered during those same procedures that apparently I’m allergic to the adhesive for the heart electrode monitors (I looked like I had lyme disease because of hives for 4 days all over my chest and abdomen- sexy…not).

Then, surprise!

Me: Wait, it says here that I’m not allowed to COOK for 2 weeks?

NP: Yup. Pots and pans are too heavy for you to lift. It’s minimum 7 days but possibly up to 21. Remember, you can’t lift anything heavier than half a gallon of milk.

Me: But I can’t COOK?

NP: Correct, but the biggest thing is that you’re not allowed to have sex for 2 weeks. And I mean any of kind of sex. You can’t have oral sex, vaginal sex, or anal sex. You aren’t allowed to use a vibrator. You can’t use a dildo. You can’t use your hands or use someone else’s hands. You can’t have foreplay. You can’t…

Me: Excuse me?

NP (looks up from her list): Yes?

Me: Look, it’s on my form that I’m single and there’s no chance I could be pregnant. I haven’t even had a DATE since January. The chances of me meeting someone and deciding that I’m going to sleep with him in the next month are probably as close to zero as they could be. I have a COOKING BLOG. Me not being able to cook is much more upsetting that you informing me that my recent celibacy is going to have to last at least another month for medical reasons.

NP: Okay. You know you can’t bake, either.

(don’t worry, dear readers-I’ve since been stockpiling posts so I don’t have to disappear from the blogosphere for 7-21 days)

Surgery Approved Spinach and Walnut Pesto

I can at least lift this jar out of my fridge. Shown here with Trader Joe’s Goat Cheese and Sundried Tomato Ravioli (which I am not allowed to cook post-op)

Ingredients

  • 3 c fresh spinach, washed and drained
  • 1/3 c walnuts
  • 1/4 c parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

How-to

  1. In a food processor (I did this in my Cuisinart 7 C food processor), add the spinach, walnuts, parmesan, and lemon juice.
  2. Start the food processor and drizzle in olive oil into the feed tube until you reach your desired consistency (I used 1/4 c). Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Serve on practically anything. To store, place in small jars and leave room at the top. Cover with a thin layer of olive oil (this will help your pesto stay green). You can also put this into ice cube trays (again, covering with a small layer of olive oil), freeze, then pop those cubes out and store them all together in a freezer-safe bag. That way you can defrost one at a time in your fridge.

Horny Old Ladies and Mashed Potatoes

In medicine, you always have some crazy patients.

I was doing my emergency medicine rotation at a private hospital in the Detroit area.  Our patient population was this mix of people with a lot of money and residents of Detroit that didn’t want to go to any of the inner city hospitals.

I picked up the next chart to see that I would be seeing a lady who had been sent to the ED with high blood pressure. I made my way over to her hallway bed- the place was packed, which is normal for night, so the majority of our beds line the hallways.

In taking a history, you run through a number of questions…what brings you here? when did this start? how are you feeling now?

My patient was an African-American woman who was much closer to 100 than she was to 50, decked out in a leopard-print suit and had her red hat lying on the bed next to her. Her daughter, who was much closer to 50, was sitting in the chair next to her. She was a bit hard of hearing, which meant that she answered every question very loudly.

And then, I hit the fated question: “Ma’am, are you in any pain right now?”

Patient (in a loud purr): Oh honey, I have a pain between my legs that only a man or toy can fix.  Unfortunately my husband passed away so I’m stuck resorting to batteries.

Daughter: Oh mom, this nice lady here doesn’t want to know about your sex life. Just answer the question.

I’ll admit two things:

  1. I burst out laughing in the middle of the ED- I just couldn’t help myself. Thankfully they laughed along with me, along with everyone who overheard.
  2. She went home in great health a few hours later.

Satisfying Alternative Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs small red-skin potatoes (about half a 5 lb bag), not peeled and chopped into small pieces (feel free to use whatever potato you have on hand- I just prefer red skin or yukon gold)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced (can use more if you like)
  • 2 tbsp light butter
  • 1/3 c skim milk
  • 1/4 c fat-free sour cream
  • 1/4 c fat-free greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tbsp chives, chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper

How-to

  1. Place potatoes into a 2 qt saucepan and cover with cold salted (normally 1/2 tsp) water. Cover and place over medium heat. Remove cover when boiling and continue for approximately 15-20 minutes until potatoes are easily pierced by a fork.
  2. Drain potatoes (do not rinse), add butter and garlic to pan, and cover for approximately 5 minutes.
  3. Mash potatoes, butter, and garlic together.  (Don’t have a potato masher? Me either!  I always use a whisk- my grandfather’s trick.)
  4. Stir in skim milk, sour cream, greek yogurt, and garlic powder and continue mashing until potatoes reach your desired consistency (feel free to add more skim milk if necessary).
  5. Add chives and salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Serves 4-6 normal adults or 3 of Irish-Polish heritage ;)

Talking and Sandwiches

Some people talk.  Some people talk a lot.  And other people talk at inappropriate times.

A truly memorable experience, and not in a good way, was the Detailed Talker.

This guy had a running commentary to everything he did the second he started kissing you.  “Oh baby [and to start, I HATE being called baby], I’m going to do this to you now.  And then I’m going to do this.  And after that this is going to happen. I’m going to treat you so right because I’m so awesome at all of this.”

During this one-sided conversation, where I was told how great this guy thought he was at the things he was doing and about to do, all I could think was “SHUT. UP.”

Now, don’t get me wrong, some talking is good, but TOO MUCH talking makes me want to scream. And not in a good way. Plus it’s great that you have self-confidence in what you do, but let ME tell you if it’s good- I don’t want you to tell me it’s going to be good (which even more disappointingly, it wasn’t).

Do I even need to say that it only took one detailed talking experience for me to know there wouldn’t be another?

Keep Them Quiet Tomato-Turkey Panini

Ingredients (makes 2 sandwiches)

  • 2 tbsp light olive-oil mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 regular Roma tomato, thinly sliced
  • 4 slices turkey breast
  • 4 slices french bread
  • 1 oz mozzarella, shredded (optional)
  • Cooking spray (preferably olive oil in a spray bottle)

How-to

  1. Mix together mayonnaise, parmesan, garlic powder, parsley, and pepper and spread on bread.
  2. On top of the cheese mixture, place 2 slices turkey breast and half of the tomato slices. Top with half of the mozzarella and the other piece of bread. Repeat for the other sandwich.
  3. Spray each sandwich on both sides with a quick squirt of cooking spray (I prefer olive oil in a spray bottle but feel free to use whatever you have)
  4. Place both sandwiches in a preheated panini maker or a fry pan over medium heat. If using a fry pan, start with the tomato side down.  Cook until the bread is golden brown (normally 3-5 minutes in a panini maker, or 2-3 minutes per side on a fry pan).  For the fry-pan version, weigh down the sandwiches with another pan topped with a can of vegetables to achieve a more panini-style sandwich.

Lipstick and Lasagna

I dated this Italian guy for a bit…very polite, good sense of humor, extremely nice…if anything, I couldn’t figure out why he was still single.

Then we finally hooked up, and I immediately understood why.

First off, I’m going to give you the mental image of a lipstick case, and I really don’t think I need to add any more details.  Secondly, if you’re cursed with that one normally finds a way to compensate, and he hadn’t.  It was HORRIBLE.  Remember when you first started hooking up and thought that everything was great, but then you realized that there was good and bad?  This guy hadn’t progressed beyond that first stage yet, and considering that he was older than me, he definitely should have.  Or at least you would have expected him to.

I then was put in the awkward situation where I had to end it with the guy without him realizing the reason why (yes, the entire experience was that horrible).  I’ll admit I totally did the “guy method”…just started contacting him less and less until it ended…which actually worked wonderfully (no wonder people use it!).

I still can’t see a lipstick case without it bringing back bad memories…

Always Satisfying Vegetable Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 1 regular sized eggplant
  • Olive oil spray and olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 box whole-wheat lasagna noodles
  • 6 c tomato sauce (homemade or use 2 regular jars)
  • 16 oz container part-skim ricotta
  • 16 oz fat-free cottage cheese
  • 3 tbsp pesto
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 egg
  • 12 oz part-skim mozzarella, shredded or sliced
  • Parsley (optional)

How-to

  1. Cook lasagna noodles according to package instructions (you probably won’t use the entire box), drain, then toss with 1 tsp olive oil to prevent sticking.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and coat 2 cookie sheet pans with olive oil spray (buy a small spray bottle just for olive oil, or buy olive oil cooking spray at the store).
  3. Slice eggplant 1/4 in thick and lay on cookie sheets, then sprinkle with salt and pepper and spray tops with olive oil.
  4. Roast eggplant for 15 minutes or until golden brown, spraying again with olive oil halfway through.
  5. Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. In a bowl, mix together ricotta, cottage cheese, pesto, garlic salt, garlic powder, oregano, pepper, and egg until well-combined.
  7. Place one layer lasagna noodles in the bottom of the pan. Top with 1/3 sauce, 1/2 ricotta mixture, all of the roasted eggplant, and 1/3 of the mozzarella.
  8. Top with another layer of lasagna noodles, followed by 1/3 sauce, the rest of the ricotta, and 1/3 mozzarella.
  9. Top with a final layer of noodles, the rest of the tomato sauce, and the rest of the mozzarella.  Sprinkle parsley on top for color.
  10. Cover with aluminum foil and cook for 30 minutes.
  11. Remove aluminum foil and place lasagna back into the oven for an additional 10 minutes uncovered for cheese to melt and brown.

Feel free to substitute as you wish…perhaps using 1 lb zucchini (roasted in the same manner) or 2 c drained, cooked spinach in place of the eggplant, meat sauce in place of regular tomato, et cetera!