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.
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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 ūüėČ

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~

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!

Holiday Dinners and Hot Pepper Jam

Things that your family find normal may be weird to others.

My mom’s cousin has schizophrenia.¬† For those of you that don’t know, people with schizophrenia can have visual, auditory, and paranoid hallucinations.

In his case, he regularly had intellectual conversations with the devil.

Since he always had these chats, this wasn’t something that ever bothered us. (It’s not like the devil was ever telling him to do anything bad- they apparently just discussed politics and philosophy. And he never turned his head in normal conversation to ask the devil’s opinion.¬† I guess these were one-on-one chats.)

However, it’s a bit different for people who aren’t used to this.

My family had a bunch of our elderly neighbors over that year for some holiday dinner. Before we knew it, my very conservative neighbor from down the street had sat down next to my mother’s cousin in preparation for the meal.

He looked over at my normally very talkative neighbor and said, as he went to take his first bite of the meal,

“So I was talking to the devil about politics the other day. What did you talk about with the devil the last time you talked to him?”

I’m actually surprised my neighbor didn’t head home right then and there after he finished choking. He was, however, absolutely silent for the rest of the meal and dragged his wife home the second the pie was served.

Devilish Hot Pepper Jam

feel free to discuss with Satan

Ingredients

  • 12 oz jalapenos, halved and seeded
  • 12 oz red and jelly peppers, halved and seeded
  • 2 c cider vinegar
  • 6 c granulated sugar
  • 2 pouches liquid pectin

How-to

  1. Prep water bath, cans, and lids. (Place clean, empty jars into the largest pot you have. Add enough water so that the water comes over the top of the empty jars at least 1 inch. Bring water to a boil using a lid.)
  2. In a food processor, chop peppers finely with 1 c cider vinegar. (Don’t process all the way until smooth- small pieces look better!)
  3. In a large pot, add peppers slurry with the rest of the vinegar and the sugar. Bring to a boil for 10 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Add liquid pectin quickly.
  5. Bring back to a boil and cook for 1 additional minute.
  6. Remove from heat and skim foam.
  7. Ladle jam into hot jars (this makes about 5-6 half-pint jars, but always prep an extra in case you need it!) leaving 1/4 in headspace.
  8. Wipe rims, place on lids, and secure with bands.
  9. Place jars in the canner. Bring water back to a boil and process (boil) for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and remove lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars.
  10. Let jam jars cool 1 hour, test to make sure seal has happened (it might take longer than 1 hour!), and don’t move until the next day so it sets properly.

This is delicious on crackers or bagels with cream cheese or in brie en croute.

If you want this spicier, use only jalapenos and none of the regular peppers. You can also make this clear and strain out the peppers.

Fireworks and Cobbler

Discovering new allergies is never a fun experience.

Now, I am a person known for having interesting allergies. Pool chemicals make me look like I’m still wearing my bathing suit for hours after I’ve taken it off (if I don’t pre-dose with benadryl and shower immediately afterwards, that is). The adhesive from cardiac monitors made me look like I had lyme disease on my chest and abdomen for a week after surgery. Eating blue cheese can land me in the hospital with my entire GI system waging war. Hyacinths, my grandmother’s favorite flower, at her funeral made me appear to be sobbing uncontrollably for the entire day.

And yet somehow I’m not allergic to the average things. Go figure.

It was the Fourth of July and I was in living in Phoenix at the time. At Tempe Town Lake (which I might add isn’t even a lake at all, but essentially a man-made channel that brings water all around the Phoenix metro area), they would do a 45 minute fireworks show to celebrate our nation.

Since I was only living in Phoenix for 3-4 months in a furnished condo, I didn’t have anything that even mildly resembled a picnic blanket to lie on while watching fireworks. So, my ex and I headed down there, figuring we would just sit on the grass.

When the fireworks started, we realized that lying down on the grass was a better idea. About halfway through the show, I realized that my back was really starting to itch. At first I thought it was maybe just a bug crawling on me (after all, we were lying on the grass), or maybe it just was that the dry grass (come one, this was grass in Phoenix) was just scratching me.

Upon getting home. I went to wash my face in the bathroom. I then, after turning, saw my back and gasped.

I was allergic to grass. My entire back from my head to my toe (beside the parts covered by clothes) was a mass of angry hives that had started to blister.

Needless to say, in summer I’m always wearing sandals unless I’m at the beach. And I always bring a chair or a picnic blanket.

Hive Free Mixed Berry Oatmeal Cookie Cobbler

well, unless you’re my ex…he was allergic to fruit

Ingredients

  • 1 c packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c whole-wheat flour
  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 10 c fresh fruit, or enough to fill up a 9×13 baking dish halfway (I used a container of strawberries and 2-3 pints of blueberries, but feel free to use whatever you’d like…I’ve made this before with cherries, peaches, etc…anything on sale that you can throw in the oven is delicious!!!)
  • 1/3 c granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

How-to

  1. In a large bowl (or stand mixer), cream together the sugar and butter. Add the vanilla and egg. Mix in the flour, rolled oats, baking powder, and salt. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes (but a few hours works fine, too!).
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Fill a 9×13 in glass baking dish with fruit (it should come up about halfway). Sprinkle fruit with granulated sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice.
  4. Scoop cookie mixture on top of the fresh fruit. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the cookie dough looks lightly browned.
  5. Let cool for at least 10-15 minutes for fruit juices to set and serve.

This is also pretty healthy, too!

 

Porn and Peppermints

With holidays, come gifts.¬† And, inevitably, there is always the worst gift you’ve ever received…

porn.

And it gets so much worse than that.

To start, I’ve dated my fair share of former Catholic altar boys.¬† It’s never on purpose- I just always find out by the third or fourth date that they used to be Catholic altar boys.¬† It at least isn’t as bad as my habit of dating guys whose name normally has 4 letters and usually starts with J…or with middle names of “Michael.”

Anyway, so I was dating this guy.  And this guy was a formerly repressed altar boy who thought that porn was the pinnacle of sexiest things you could ever buy a girl, which I later learned.

Oh did I mention I ended up paying for this as well?

I should have known this was a bad idea from the start.¬† My birthday, per tradition, always sucks on the actual day. Without fail. So earlier that day, the guy I was dating asked me to borrow $20 since he had to go somewhere that took only cash (not uncommon in my college town).¬† He then said he had a “surprise” for me for my birthday.

He took me to the store off campus that sold the largest variety of DVD and VHS porn (it was also the only store that sold porn within a hundred miles, unless you want to count the ability to buy Playboy at Walmart). And this was early 90s style porn, according to the date on the back of the DVD.  Which he had already picked out. And then used the $20 in cash I had let him borrow earlier to paid for it.  And he was so proud of himself for his brilliant idea.

Needless to say, I didn’t keep that “birthday gift.”

Anyway, if you’re looking for a last-minute gift for the holidays (and don’t want to make the same mistake), I suggest you make the following…

Better than a Gift of Porn Peppermint Bark

Ingredients

  • 1 12 oz bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 package of 12 candy canes (or 6 oz peppermint candies)
  • 1 12 oz package white coating chocolate

How-to

  1. Cover 2 half-sheet pans (your average cookie sheet pans for those non-bakers) in either aluminum foil or parchment paper (whichever you happen to have on hand)
  2. Unwrap the candy canes or peppermint candies. Place into a ziplock baggie and place underneath a towel. Using either a rolling pin or frying pan, get out all of your aggression over bad gifts by beating the candy into small bits (you’ll have a lot of dust but that’s okay!).
  3. Dump the chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and toss into the microwave, microwaving for 20 seconds at a time until the chocolate appears to be just melting (normally takes ~1 min in my microwave)
  4. Stir the chocolate chips until smooth, and then evenly divide the chocolate between the two sheet pans and spread thin.
  5. Break up the white melting chocolate into a separate bowl and microwave again for 20 second intervals until just melting (like before), then stir until smooth.
  6. Mix in the candy with the white chocolate, then divide up the white chocolate-peppermint mixture by spoonfuls onto each baking sheet.
  7. Using a knife, swirl the white and semi-sweet chocolate, then tap the pans on a countertop to settle.
  8. Place both sheets into a fridge under the chocolate sets, then break up into pieces and package into decorative bags or boxes.