Barbie Bungee Jumping and Tomatoes

Summers have always been my favorite time of year.

Granted, I was rarely home during summers as a kid (we were either in Jersey or on a camping/road trip- I’ve been to 45 states and we drove to most of them…). However, whenever I was home, I was normally joined at the hip with my best friend, who lived on the other side of the street plus one house away.

One day, she came up with a winning game- Barbie Bungee Jumping. We would tie a Barbie to a piece of yarn and throw her down the laundry chute, only to jerk the string at the end so she bounced back up.

I should probably note that neither one of us played with Barbies. Instead, we terrorized her younger half sister (I don’t know why she was always the target, but she was) and stole her Barbies instead.

I then came up with an even better addition- we should head over to my parents’ house to do this, since my parents had a second story porch deck- that way we could watch Barbie fall!

We then packed up the Barbies and the yarn and headed over to my house, grabbed my two younger brothers (who were often in on terrorizing her younger sister, too), and made multiple Barbies bungee jump for the next hour. I’m not sure why it was so enthralling to throw a Barbie over the porch railing and jerk the string up so she didn’t hit the ground, but it was. (I do promise that Barbies are the only thing that I have thrown with a chance of injury.)

A few days later, her sister noted that one of her Barbies had a leg that no longer seemed to fit quite right…and another with a broken beaded outfit.

There might have been some issues with the yarn breaking or coming untied mid-jump, causing Barbies to crash onto my neighbors’ driveway, but you never heard that from me. 😉

No Injury Required Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

I never ate tomatoes as a kid until my best friend made me eat them in middle school…raw with TONS of salt


  • 1 container grape tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic, whole
  • Olive oil spray
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Oregano


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place the  tomatoes and garlic cloves into an 8×8 in baking dish. Spray with olive oil, then toss with salt, pepper, and a sprinkling of oregano.
  3. Roast for 20-30 minutes or until tomatoes and garlic are nice and soft.

Serve as a side dish. Toss with pasta and chicken for an easy meal. Mix with ciligine mozzarella and some fresh basil for a different take on caprese salad.


Gardens and Brussels Sprouts

I wasn’t your average kid. Then again, you probably assumed that already.

Unlike most kids my age, I love vegetables (except tomatoes, weirdly enough). My parents had a garden behind the garage, and I would sneak out there and munch away. I was a regular rabbit.

According to my mom, I was about 2 years old at the time and it was the middle of summer. I was decked out in my favorite Tweety Bird bathing suit since I had just been having a grand ol’ time in the kiddie pool. I then had sneaked out to the garden.

My mother called my name to take a walk around the block to visit some neighbors, and I appeared by the side door with a huge handful of green beans. We then went on our visit (well, more like my mom talked to my neighbors while I ran around on front yards) and she couldn’t figure out how I constantly appeared to be eating green beans….the handful should have run out ages ago.

It wasn’t until we were heading back to the house that my mother noticed I looked a bit…different. Specifically, the front of my bathing suit looked pretty lumpy.

Mom: “Megan, where on earth are you getting all of these green beans?”

I proudly pulled forward the front of my bathing suit, which revealed my stash of practically a bushel of green beans that I had ever so cleverly decided to pack. AND a delightful rash all over my belly to go along with it (really, they should have seen my grass allergy coming YEARS ago).

While my parents were happy I liked vegetables, they did finally decide that they might need to watch me in the garden from now on.

Disappearing Roasted Brussels Sprouts

unfortunately these are NOT never-ending


  • 1 bag fresh brussels sprouts (I think it’s normally a 1-2 lb bag- approximately $2.99 when not on sale)
  • Olive oil spray
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Using a sharp knife, cut brussels sprouts in half. Remove any wilted or old outer leaves. Toss into an 8x8in glass baking dish (or whatever else you happen to have on hand).
  3. Coat liberally with olive oil spray.
  4. Salt and pepper liberally and dust with garlic powder.
  5. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until soft and golden brown on the outer leaves. You might need to spray additional times with olive oil so they don’t burn (I normally check every 10 minutes or so to make sure that doesn’t happen).

Missing Boobs and Salmon

There are some things it might be awkward to forget.

When I worked at Macy’s, I was on the price change team. I worked with a number of older retired ladies who were a bit crazy (and that’s putting it mildly).

My favorite was a Jewish woman in her 80s. She easily was the loudest, craziest, sassiest, most opinionated, and shortest of the bunch.

She also was the most forgetful.

One morning, we were working in the women’s bathing suit section marking items on sale and making displays (there’s actually an art to arranging bathing suits, if you could believe that). All of a sudden, my favorite woman let out a horrible yell, followed by the last thing I expected her to say…

“AHHHH! Oh my lord, did I forget my boob today?”

She then clutched her rather ample chest and sighed, “Oh, thank goodness, I DID remember it today.”

Turns out my favorite old lady was a 35 year breast cancer survivor who didn’t want a surgical impact and instead stuffed her bra every morning…but lately had been forgetting.

From that morning on, she would walk in proudly, puff up her chest, and go, “See, I remembered my boob today!”

Unforgettably Easy Salmon

I’m serious- it’s that easy and turns out perfectly every time


  • 1 lb salmon filet, skin on or skinless
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Parsley
  • Garlic powder
  • Powdered ginger


  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees (seriously).
  2. Rub the bottom side (or skin side if you’re using that) with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the salmon on  a baking sheet. Rub the top with olive oil, then sprinkle on salt, pepper, parsley, garlic, and ginger.
  4. Bake for 40-60 minutes. Do NOT open the oven door for the first 40 minutes. Depending on thickness (my filet was 1.5 inches), place back into the oven for 10 minutes at a time (you can turn the oven temp up to 250 for the last 20 minutes if necessary to compensate for opening the oven door.


If I’m Going to Hell, I’m Taking These Wings

If you’re going to tell me I’m going to hell, you have to expect me to fight back.

It was a hot June day and a bunch of us were about to go tubing on the river located by our apartments. I was already decked out in my stars and stripes bikini (nothing wrong with being patriotic, y’all) and gathering up my stuff when my doorbell rang.

Now I had thought that I was supposed to meet my friend at her house, but maybe she was coming to mine instead? I couldn’t see who was outside so I just buzzed the person in, then opened my door to the knock.

Standing in my doorway were two men of God, carrying pamphlets about their meeting over the world ending soon. And they did not have happy looks on their faces upon seeing me.

Me: Hi there, can I help you?

Man #1: We just wanted to come here to save you and let you know that the world will be ending.

Me: Well thank you very much, but as you can see, I’m about to head out.

Man #2: (while sneering) Well that’s fine if you want to continue to damn yourself to hell with your current behavior, but if you want to be saved you’ll stay and listen to us.

As I previously said, I don’t take too kindly to this.

Me: Excuse me, sir, but I was raised Catholic and the first lessons you learn are that 1) God loves everyone and 2) we aren’t supposed to judge our fellow man, because God alone will judge us after we leave this earth. Therefore I’m pretty sure you shouldn’t tell me I’m going to hell, since that will be His decision, wouldn’t it?

I’ve never seen jaws drop as far as I did that time.  I then politely said goodbye and shut my door.

I’m finally off their mailing list for their seminars on the world ending, too.

Sinfully Delicious Hot Wings

if I’m going to hell, these are coming with me


  • 1.5 lbs chicken wings, tips discarded and wings separated (or just buy drummettes, like I did)
  • 4 c water
  • 3 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • Olive oil spray
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cayenne
  • 4 tbsp beer jelly
  • 4 tbsp sriracha


  1. Mix together water, salt, white wine vinegar, and crushed red pepper flakes.
  2. Place chicken into a gallon size ziplock bag and pour mixture on top. Brine for at least 3 hours- I did mine overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
  4. Remove chicken from brining liquid and dry off with a paper towel. Place on a roasting pan with a rack, or onto a cookie sheet with an oven-safe cooling rack placed on top of it (you can just place in a roasting dish, but you’ll get crispier chicken this way).
  5. Spray chicken with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is starting to look crispy.
  6. Mix together beer jelly (I haven’t tried it, but you could also sub in another type of jelly- I’d probably recommend cherry for a good flavor profile) and sriracha. Remove wings from oven and brush mixture onto each wing. Return to oven for an additional 10 minutes.
  7. Let cool 5 minutes to give the coating a chance to set, then enjoy with your favorite dipping sauce (I prefer ranch).

By brining overnight with the crushed red pepper flakes and then coating in the sriracha, both the outside and the actual meat are spicy. If you like yours hotter, just use more sriracha and less beer jelly.

Almost Jobs and Beer Jelly

Once upon a time, I was hired as a gogo dancer.

Now, I should probably start off by stating that I have never taken a dance lesson in my life. Therefore, all of my dance skills come from theater or high school dances. That roughly translates into skills that are quite classy (waltz and swing) and the total opposite of classy (which means I’m quite good at dancing like a whore).

Those slutty dance skills led to me applying to be a gogo dancer during the summer between college and med school. I couldn’t find a job in Michigan, so I up and left and moved to Phoenix for three months and applied for pretty much any job out there.

That’s why I then applied to work as a gogo dancer. The place of course had a name that sounded like a stripclub, but was in fact quite a respectable lounge (I would have had to dance AND serve drinks and food, thank you very much).

Anyway, I passed the test (did you really think I didn’t have to demonstrate my dance skills? my ability to take drink and food orders? AND look good in tight black dresses?) and was hired. And then they told me the bad news:

I had to work every Tuesday through Saturday night from 6pm-4am. And I was never allowed to drink at work.

Let’s get one thing straight. This was my last summer of freedom before starting med school. I moved somewhere totally random. And I wanted to have FUN.

Which is why I promptly quit and decided to work at Macy’s instead.

On later reflection now, though, I wish I had kept the job. It would have made for an even better story.

Dance Inspiring Beer Jelly

you’ll want to make this ASAP since I use it in a ton of recipes to follow


  • 24 oz warm beer (I used Leinenkugel’s Honey Weiss and thus would recommend any good beer with a honey taste for this particular application)
  • 6 tbsp regular powdered pectin
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 3.5 c white sugar


  1. Open beer and dump it into a large bowl. Stir vigorously. Leave out overnight so it can get extra flat (I apologize for making your house smell like the remains of a frat party, but I promise it’s worth it).
  2. The next day, get out a large stockpot. Place jelly jars (you can have up to 40 oz of jelly, so use your desired jar size combination) on the bottom and fill with water. Bring to a boil.
  3. In a separate soup pot, mix together warm, hopefully now-flat beer, pectin, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil.
  4. Add in sugar. Return to a boil and cook for 1 minute (timer required).
  5. Turn off heat and let rest for approximately 5 minutes. For clear beer jelly, spoon off any foam. For bubbly beer jelly, don’t.
  6. In a small saucepan, boil jelly jar lids.
  7. Remove jelly jars from boiling pot. Continue to keep that water boiling. Dry off jelly jars with paper towels. Ladle in beer jelly and top with lids and rings. Wipe off jars.
  8. Place jars back into huge pot of boiling water and process (aka just let them hang out) for 10 minutes.
  9. Remove jars from boiling water, making sure that the top of the lid is sucked down and doesn’t pop back up when you press on it.

Guitar Players and Brownies

In high school, I was quite excited to go on a date with a certain boy. Sure, he was smart and attractive. He worked as a volunteer for children and old ladies. He had been a state champion in a number of sports.

None of those were the reasons though. There is one fact that got me more excited than anything else.

He played guitar.

And he told me that he was going to play a special song JUST FOR ME.

Now that was something to send my teenage heart a-fluttering.

I got dropped off at his house (I know, it’s quite the image of sexiness when you can’t get your license until you are nearly 21 years old, and thus you have to depend on the driving skills and vehicles of others to get anywhere) and waited as patiently as I could until he answered.

The acoustic masterpiece was set right by the door, and he picked it up shortly after I walked in (obviously there was a bit of business to be taken care of first). I sat down on the couch, thinking that I was about to be serenaded, or at very minimum whispered to in some attempt at pitch.

Oh boy, was I in for a treat.

He started playing and he was good. And then he started singing.  His song of choice?

Christian music. Specifically, a song about how you need to hold our savior holy until marriage.

I have never been so disappointed up until then in my LIFE. It was totally out of left field. Here this guy was putting on a rocker vibe, and apparently nothing was allowed to rock his world except the Holy Spirit. Now, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing- just don’t pretend to be otherwise!

I then had to pretend to nod appreciatively for the next hour during the longest concert of my life.

Worth Singing For Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

you could halve the recipe, but you’d regret it


  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 c plus 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 tsp + 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp gel red food coloring, or 1 tbsp liquid red food coloring
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • 4 + 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 16 oz softened Neuchâtel cheese
  • Cooking spray


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Coat a glass 13×9 in baking dish with cooking spray. (I prefer glass.)
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the melted butter, 2 c sugar, and 2 tsp vanilla.
  4. Slowly add in the cocoa powder and 1/4 tsp salt.
  5. Add in the red food coloring, increasing the amount if necessary to obtain your desired redness.  Mix in vinegar.
  6. Slightly beat 4 eggs and add to mixture.
  7. Add flour until just combined. Reserve 1/2 c batter and pour the rest into the baking dish.
  8. In another bowl, mix together the cream cheese, 1/2 c sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/4 tsp salt, and 2 eggs until well combined.
  9. Pour cream cheese mixture over the brownies and then dollop the remaining batter on top of that. Use a knife to swirl layers together.
  10. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  11. Let cool and serve.

Warning: these become even more fudgy and delicious if you store them in an airtight container overnight.

Suits and Soup

As a physician or physician-to-be, there are only a few occasions where you need to wear a suit. One of them happens to be interviewing.

Over the past few months, I’ve been interviewing for residency in anesthesia. Part of the deal is that you wear a suit, and another part is that you ALWAYS have a hospital tour.

On one particular interview, they took us around the Labor and Delivery floor (your friendly anesthesiologist puts in your epidural). There’s about 15 people walking around in dark colored suits (I like to mix things up and wear brown or grey pinstripe instead of black).

Naturally, there were some laboring mammas on the floor as we walked by (birth doesn’t stop for tours).   Most of the time, they don’t noticed groups of people walking by in the halls.

One mother, however, did. And she did not take it well.  She immediately began screaming, and not because of the pains of childbirth.


That was not exactly the effect we were looking for.

We then had to reassure her husband (she was quite inconsolable and still screaming and sobbing) that we were pretty much the farthest thing from lawyers, and then bring her doctor in to further confirm that we were only a bunch of medical students and that the baby was fine.

I really hope she doesn’t sue for emotional damages.

No Lawyers Required Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup

much better at melting snowmen than Campbell’s


  • Olive oil
  • 2 whole bulbs garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 lbs roma tomatoes
  • Garlic Powder
  • Dried Basil
  • 1 c carrots, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 32 oz low sodium chicken broth (can also use vegetable broth)
  • 4 tbsp cornstarch
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 2 c skim milk


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut off tops of whole bulbs of garlic to expose the tops of the cloves. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap in aluminum foil and roast in oven until soft for 35 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Reduce oven heat to 375 degrees. Quarter roma tomatoes and place in greased baking dish. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and dried basil. Drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 15-20 minutes until soft and slightly shrunken.
  3. In a large stockpot while tomatoes are roasting, coat bottom with 2 tbsp olive oil. Add in carrots and onions. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and 1 tbsp dried basil. Saute for 15 minutes or until carrots begin to soften.
  4. Mix cornstarch into broth and add to the saucepan. Add in the roasted garlic cloves (you can squeeze them out or use a fork), the roasted tomatoes, and tomato paste.
  5. Simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes or until carrots become tender, stirring occasionally.
  6. Using an immersion blender or a blender, puree soup until your desired consistency.
  7. Return soup to stockpot and add milk. Simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

This makes a lot of soup!  Feel free to serve with your favorite grilled cheese, garnish with shredded mozzarella or parmesan, or freeze for later use.