Caffeine and Cookies

Sometimes your trip is longer than expected. Also, caffeine can keep you awake.

My parents were big believers in long car trips when we were kids (I’ve been to 45 states so far). My one and only flight was to California in 8th grade, and that was only because we had one week and you can’t exactly drive to California and back from Michigan in that time frame.

That’s why here we were, driving from Michigan to Yellowstone National Park when I was between 10th and 11th grade. It was our last day of driving, and my father thought that it wouldn’t be that bad, since we just had to drive across Wyoming. We were in Ely and had just stopped for both ice cream (my mom and me) and tacos (my dad and brothers). And, somehow, we ended up with a 64-oz Mountain Dew.It was approaching dusk and we were leaving town for the rest of the drive. We were traveling in a full-sized Ford Econoline van with a pop-up trailer attached to the back.

At that moment we noticed the deer running along the side of our car. And that deer then decided to turn in front of our car.

There was quite a bit of shock afterwards, since my family had never hit a deer before (which actually was an amazing feat with how many trips we had to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula). Somehow, our car and everyone in it were fine, so we got back on the road.

I then was placed in the front seat and put on “deer duty” to spot any animals that could possibly run in front of our car. I also was given the 64-oz Mountain Dew to make sure I stay awake.

At this point, I should probably mention that I had never had caffeine before in my life. Ever.

Needless to stay, I was wide awake and wouldn’t shut up for the next 9 hours while my dad drove and my brothers and mother slept. From reports, I was barely making sense at some points. And I was singing and dancing along to country music while strapped in with a seatbelt. I also was jumping into air (or as far as I could jump while in a seatbelt) whenever I saw something that *could* be an animal that might run into our car.

My father maintains that I wasn’t *that* annoying. I’m convinced he’s just trying to be nice.

P.S. Personally, I wasn’t that big on Yellowstone- it was too touristy. However, Glacier National Park in Montana was infinitely nicer.

Caffeinated Chocolate Pecan Balls

eat these to stay awake


  • 2 sticks softened butter (feel free to do this in the microwave if necessary)
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 and 3/4 c flour
  • 1/4 c cocoa powder (make sure it’s unsweetened)
  • 1 tbsp instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 c chopped pecans
  • Cooking spray


  1. Mix together butter, sugar, and vanilla in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add in the rest of the ingredients and stir until combined. Pat down, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Coat cookie sheet with cooking spray.
  5. While oven is preheating, remove cookie dough from the fridge. Roll dough into teaspoon-sized balls. Place onto cookie sheet 2 inches apart.
  6. Bake cookies in batches for 12-15 minutes or until the cookies just feel firm. Let cool and serve.

Art Museums and Chicken Salads

There are things that you just don’t want to know about your teachers. You especially don’t want to see them.

French was my foreign language of choice (I also couldn’t take Spanish because I have no ability to roll my R’s, and that was a requirement at my school to take Spanish). However, due to a number of wacky circumstances, I had 8 different French teachers in 5.5 years of taking French, all of whom liked to start over at the very beginning. That essentially means that I still excel at conjugating verbs, but that’s about the extent of my skill set. (I can read some things in romance languages, though).

Okay, back from my tangent.

In high school, our teacher decided that we should take a trip to the DIA, since they were having an exhibit of French painters. We obviously all decided to go, since this was a full-day field trip and what high schooler doesn’t want to skip out on the rest of their classes?

That morning, we all hopped on the bus for our hour long trip to Detroit. To our surprise, our French teacher decided to bring her husband along on our trip.

Now, I should take a quick moment to state that my French teacher was a very socially awkward women in her mid-60s, and that her husband was a very round and also very socially awkward man in his mid-60s.

We got to the museum without any issues and spent the next few hours wandering around looking at art. However, it was soon time to move on to the next attraction, and our French teacher and her husband were nowhere to be found.

That is, until someone went and used the restroom. And reported hearing weird noises and two pairs of shoes in a stall.

We thus were all waiting outside the men’s room when my teacher’s husband, and then my teacher, emerged.

French class was very awkward for the rest of the year.

Socially Appropriate Chicken Salad

always appropriate for any occasion


  • 2 c chicken, shredded
  • 1 rib celery, diced
  • 1/4 c walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 c dried cranberries
  • 1/4 c fat free greek yogurt
  • 1/4 c light mayonnaise
  • 1/4 c fat free sour cream
  • 1 tbsp tarragon
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  1. Mix together greek yogurt, mayonnaise, sour cream, and tarragon.
  2. Add in chicken, celery, walnuts, and dried cranberries. If mixture is too thick, thin out with some skim milk.
  3. Salt and pepper to taste.

Party Favors and Pizzas

What happens at a bachelorette party, should stay at a bachelorette party. Especially the party favors.

Since I’ll soon be moving to start my residency, I’m in the process of crossing a number of things off my bucket list. Because this is me we’re talking about, most of that involves eating food from some of our local restaurants.

On this particular day, I was quite exhausted (I’m still a bit worn out post-surgery) and decided that I’d cross one food off the list by ordering pizza. Now, to be honest I was more ordering pizza as an excuse to order breadsticks, but I can’t be faulted for that.

Anyway, my food finally came and I answered the door to the delivery guy, a man probably in his 60s. He was quite nice and polite at first. However, I had to set down my pizza in order to sign the receipt, giving the delivery man a view of my entire apartment.

He then got quite awkward, glared at me, yanked the receipt away from me after I signed it, and didn’t even respond to my polite “Have a nice day!”

For the life of me, I couldn’t at first figure out what had happened. My apartment was quite clean and I thought I looked rather presentable myself.

Then, I looked at the table that had been moved to right by my front door, and I realized what happened.

My delivery man was obviously put off by the large, hot pink penis straw (or “Sippy Dick,” as the bachelorette had called them) that was the only thing that was sitting on that table.

And yes, I had not noticed the presence of the penis straw on my table for 3 days…don’t ask me how that happened.

Eliminate Awkward Moments Pizza Margherita

if only I had just made my own pizza…


  • Pizza dough for 1 pizza (I normally use the Cuisinart recipe since that’s what I have, but any uncooked pizza dough from the store will do)- make sure you leave this on the counter for 20-30 minutes to come to room temperature.
  • Olive oil spray
  • 3 tbsp pesto
  • 1 medium tomato or 3 campari tomatoes, sliced thinly
  • 3-4 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • Garlic salt
  • Pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Spray pizza pan with olive oil. Take pizza dough and spread out on the pan. If it’s not stretching, give it a few minutes and try again.
  3. Spray pizza dough with olive oil (this will help the crust brown). Spread pesto over the crust up to 1in from the edge.
  4. Artfully arrange the tomato and mozzarella slices. Sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper.
  5. Bake for 14-18 minutes or until crust is crispy. Remove from oven, cut into slices, and serve.

P.S. I graduated from medical school yesterday- I am now officially an M.D.!

Post-Call and Sweet Potato Fries

Medicine makes you tired. Sometimes, too tired.

Back in the day before work hour restrictions (or, in other words, two years ago), all medical students and residents did “call” shifts. To make a long story short, you’d show up for work at 6:30am, stay that entire day and overnight admitting patients, and then complete “post-call rounds” before finally going home. Theoretically, you were limited to being at the hospital for 30 hours. Nowadays, first-year residents are limited to 16 hour shifts and second year residents to 24 hour shifts, so this call system has been replaced by a day shift/night shift system in most places.

However, that isn’t the point of this story. In this case, I was on my pediatrics rotation, had an extremely brutal night with many very sick patients, and at this point had been awake for approximately 32 hours.

I needed to sleep. But first, I needed to eat something (since you don’t eat OR sleep very much on busy nights).

And the only thing I wanted was fries from a place with golden arches. Now, i don’t eat that much fast food, but I was entirely too tired to cook, and I knew that the only thing I had in my fridge that could be readily eaten was yogurt, and that just wasn’t going to cut it.

So I hopped in my car in pursuit of french fries. I ordered at the screen and then had a conversation with the women working the cash register at the first window over the unique design on my credit card.

It wasn’t until I was pulling into the driveway of my apartment complex that I realized that I forgot to stop at the second window to actually pick up my fries.

I then went straight to bed. I obviously was not safe for the road.

I also avoided that fast food restaurant for a while in case they remembered me based on my credit card.

Cook in Your Sleep Sweet Potato Fries

I could cook these while exhausted. However, it’s probably wiser to have someone else cook for you. Don’t want to burn the house down.


  • 1 large sweet potato (serves 2-3 people)
  • Olive oil spray
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Nutmeg
  • Ginger


  1. Peel sweet potato and cut into fry-size pieces. Place into a large bowl and fill with cold water. Let soak for 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Drain sweet potatoes and dry off with a paper towel.
  3. Cover cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray that with olive oil. Place potatoes on pan and spread out in a flat layer. Spray with olive oil. Sprinkle potatoes with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and ginger. Toss to coat on all sides.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, shaking pan to toss once halfway through, until potatoes begin to brown.

I prefer mine with ketchup, but eat however you like.

Breast Exams and Blackberry Scones

Remember my awkward classmate from my last post?

During your first and second years of medical school, you work with standardized patients who help teach you how to complete a variety of physical exams. These people are paid fairly well for all of the basic exams (heart, lungs, abdomen, et cetera). However, the people that get paid the best are those that are willing to teach the male and female anatomy exams to medical students.

For these exams, you learn how to complete them with a partner. And my partner just happened to be a very sheltered and awkward classmate.

In particular, he had never, to my knowledge, had a girlfriend. And, if I was a betting women, I would put a great bit of money on him never having seen a woman before in a state where she was not fully clothed.

Did I mention that he was my partner for the female anatomy exam?

We walked into the room, and our patient instructor at that point still had her gown covering her. However, she then told us that she wanted us to be “comfortable with the human body,” so she proceed to drop the front of her gown and sit there with her breasts exposed while talking to us about women’s health and the exam before demonstrating everything that we had to do.

She obviously was quite perceptive, since I have never seen someone look so incredibly uncomfortable before in my life. All of the color washed out of his face.

And all of that was before we had to demonstrate our knowledge by performing the exam.

Perfect Shape Blackberry Scones

you won’t want a store-bought scone again


  • 3 c flour
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 3/4 cold butter, cubed
  • 1 c buttermilk or sour milk (mix 1 tbsp lemon juice with enough skim milk to make 1 c and let sit for 5 minutes)
  • 6 oz blackberries
  • Skim milk
  • Powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and orange zest.
  3. Cut in butter (like making pie dough) until you have pea-sized crumbles.
  4. Stir in blackberries and then buttermilk or sour milk. If you’d like the nice purple color, mix this with your hands so the blackberries smush a little. Mixture should be lumpy.
  5. Using a tablespoon, place large spoonfuls on a greased cookie sheet 2 inches apart (you’ll get about 12-16) and bake for 15-18 minutes. Remove and let cool.
  6. Mix together skim milk and powdered sugar to make enough frosting to drizzle 1 tbsp onto each scone.

Sore Throats and Spicy Pizzas

Medicine has a learning curve. Some people just take longer to catch on.

My very first rotation of my third year of medical school was family medicine. At this point, we’re probably the smartest that we will ever be in regards to biochemical processes that cause any disease to happen or any medication to work, because we have just taken Step 1….or, in other words, the worst exam anyone ever has to take in his or her life. Step 1 is easily 100 times worse than the MCAT, which is the exam you have to take to apply to medical school.

However, though we are the smartest book-wise at this moment, we have never seen a real patient before in our lives (I’m not counting any of the standardized patients who teach us how to do physical exams)…and have not, in many cases, performed a variety of medical procedures.

Which is what led to the incident in question.

As I said, I was on my family medicine rotation at a small town and was there with one of my classmates. Now, this classmate (who will be featured in a later post) could be described as quite eager but also quite awkward. And that might be the biggest understatement of this particular post.

Anyway, my classmate on this particular day came running into the clinic room to excitedly announce that his patient had a sore throat and needed a strep test. And, since this clinic was quite busy (all 4 physicians there had 2 patients booked every 15 minutes…they had 2 coworkers out on medical leave and thus were having to pick up all of their patients), and since I had performed multiple strep tests at this point, they sent me in with my classmate to provide instructions.

Now, many of us have had a strep test before. but for those of you that haven’t, what essentially happens is that one needs to swab the back of one’s throat with an elongated q-tip and stick it in a liquid that shows quickly if a patient does or does not have strep throat.

I walked into the exam room as my classmate was approaching the patient…but not with the correct swab.

I saw the patient’s eyes begin bugging out, so I quickly stepped over, grabbed the correct swab, and said, “I think that we can use a smaller swab than that, don’t you?”

What kind of swab had he grabbed, you ask? A huge swab (think of a giant cotton ball at the end of a long q-tip) that is only supposed to be used when doing a pelvic exam to clean off the cervix.

That woman had no idea how close she came to a REALLY unpleasant experience.

Kill the Sickness Spicy BBQ Chicken Pizza

the spice will kill whatever ails you


  • Pizza dough for 1 pizza (I normally use the Cuisinart recipe since that’s what I have, but any uncooked pizza dough from the store will do)- make sure you leave this on the counter for 20-30 minutes to come to room temperature.
  • 1 c spicy pulled chicken (or see note below)
  • Olive oil spray
  • 2 tbsp light ranch dressing
  • 2 tbsp barbeque sauce
  • 1 c 2% shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tbsp parsley


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spray pizza pan with olive oil. Take pizza dough and spread out on pan. If the dough doesn’t appear to be stretching, let it rest for a few minutes, then try again.
  3. Spread ranch dressing and barbeque sauce onto the pizza dough. Top with cheddar cheese, then the pulled chicken and bell pepper. Sprinkle with garlic salt.
  4. Bake for 14-18 minutes or until crust is crispy. Remove from oven and sprinkle with parsley. Cut into slices and serve. If desired, top with a bit of cole slaw.

Note: If you don’t have any spicy pulled chicken on hand, make a quick version- mix together 1/8 c sriracha and 1/8 c barbeque sauce and stir in 1 c shredded chicken. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes so the flavors can get into the chicken.