Sledding and Hot Chocolate

Not everyone views an injury as an injury.

Growing up, I had the coolest aunt. Technically, she was my great aunt, but since it was far too complicated for us to say “Great Aunt Marie,” we just called her Grammarie instead.

It was Christmas break as kids, and we had a terrific blizzard that dumped a ton of snow. We had driven a few hours north to eat some fried chicken, visit the largest Christmas store possible, and see my aunt, who conveniently lived right there.

My aunt was famous in her teeny little town for teaching the neighbor kids how to cross country sky, along with her legendary toboggan collection.

Which is how my aunt and I ended up going sledding at the local school while my parents were out shopping. My aunt even ever so nicely let me sit in the very front of the toboggan so I could see best (and have the most excitement). She then hopped on the back and away we went!

We were racing down the hill (which turned out to be a bit icy, so my aunt’s running start and jump onto the toboggan might not have been totally necessary) when all of a sudden, I got the sinking feeling that we weren’t going to stop. There was, however, something that was going to stop us: a fence at the bottom of the hill.

I realized too late that protecting my head was a wise idea, and instead bounced face-first into the wire fence. However, I didn’t seem to be hurt, so we continued sledding for the rest of the afternoon.

It wasn’t until we got back that I realized that something had happened.

Mom: Oh gosh! What happened to you?

Aunt: We hit the fence. She’s fine.

Mother: But she has the impression of the fence ACROSS HER FOREHEAD!

Aunt: Ehh, she’s a kid. It’s just a battle wound. She’ll be fine.

I might have walked around for the next few days with a bruise on my forehead in the shape of wire fence diamonds.

My parents might also have required parental supervision the next time my aunt took us sledding.

Accident Free Spicy Hot Chocolate

spicy hot chocolate

Hard to mess this up


  • 1 C nonfat powdered milk (this is normally 1 package in a box of this stuff)
  • 6 packets Sweet’N Low sugar substitute
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (can increase if you’d like it hotter!)
  • pinch salt
  • 6 oz hot water (per cup of hot chocolate)


  1. In a jar, combine powdered milk, sugar substitute, cocoa powder, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and salt.
  2. Cover jar and shake to combine.
  3. To make hot chocolate, add 1 1/2 tbs mix to 6 oz hot water (feel free to add more mix for a richer hot chocolate). Stir until combined and enjoy!
  4. If desired, serve in a mug with a spritz of whipped cream and a pinch of dry mix to make it look fancy.
  5. To make an adult version, use 5 oz water and 1 oz vanilla vodka.

This post is part of a DailyBuzz Food Tastemaker Program with Sweet’N Low


Anesthesia and Pulled Chicken

You know the joke about people who say embarrassing things after anesthesia?

I am one of those people.

Now, before you all panic, this does not happen to all people. This also doesn’t happen after all anesthesia- I’ve seen it happen mostly in those patients that just had those “conscious sedation” procedures such as colonoscopies and endoscopies. (A quick note- conscious sedation DOES NOT mean that you awake. It simply means that we don’t give you quit enough anesthesia to require us to stick a breathing tube down your throat.) We anesthesiologists and our fellow post-op and post-procedure extraordinaires do not take anything you take seriously when you are in the recovery period. That’s also why we give you a few minutes before we bring your families back.

Unfortunately for me, I am just too chatty for too long.

As part of my pre-surgical workup, I had to have a few of those “conscious sedation” procedures. My pre-op nurse was this older, crass gentleman who thought the best way to calm me down (hey, we get nervous, too! if anything, we get MORE nervous than you do, because we know everything that can go wrong!) was to tell me amusing stories.

In particular, he told me about a husband and wife who spent their time in pre-op trying to come up with the best way to describe just how small his penis and testicles were. Apparently the wife won by describing an exploration into her husband’s pants as trying to find some sort of small object (I unfortunately don’t remember what she said) in a large, dark basement.

I then was whisked off to the procedure suite, and the next thing I knew, I was in the recovery area with my friend sitting next to me.

I was also chatting away quite loudly, retelling the awkward husband and wife story that my pre-op nurse had told me. And then, I saw it- a glimmer of an expression on my friend’s face.

Me: I’m repeating myself, aren’t I?

She smirked and said, “Fourth time in a row for that story- not that I’m counting or anything.”

Me: And I’ve been talking in a loud voice, too, haven’t I?

Another smirk, and then, “You really don’t want to know the answer to that.”

Pre-and Post-Op Spicy Pulled Chicken

make this before your procedure, and it’ll be ready to eat once you get back!


  • 2 lbs chicken, frozen (I used boneless chicken breasts, but use whatever you like- just realize you’ll need to go up slightly on the weight of your chicken if you use bone-in)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 c honey barbeque sauce
  • 1/4 c sriracha
  • 1/4 c plain white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp worchestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp Adobo seasoning
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pepper


  1. In a crock pot, mix everything together but the chicken, and then place in the chicken pieces. Toss in the sauce.
  2. Cook for 2 hours on high or 4 hours on low.
  3. Remove chicken and use fork to shred. Return to sauce mixture and cook for an additional 30 minutes on high or 1 hr on low.

I think this is great on a toasted whole-wheat bun topped with coleslaw…or on a pizza (recipe to follow next week!)

P.S. Six days until I can cook again…not that I am counting or anything…

Mistake #4 and Enchiladas

To begin, this is a continuation of “Stalking for Cheesecake,” where I said I would eventually tell mistake #4.

Here it is.

At this point in time, the stalker in question has been showing up on a weekly basis for the past two months.  He had originally been calling and texting me multiple times, but I blocked his number.  Thankfully, his sobs were loud enough that I could hear them outside my window, and thus I was saved from the misfortune of buzzing someone in (you can’t always see who is standing at the door) and then opening the door to him man-sobbing.

That is, until mistake #4 happened.  First, it was raining outside, which drowned out the sobs.  Second, my friend was on her way over and I still buzzed the person in, even though I couldn’t see who was outside the door.

I then opened my apartment door to the sobbing stalker (aka SS) and sighed.

SS: So my grandfather just died…

Me: Oh, I’m sorry for your loss.

SS: Anyway, we were going through his house, and I found these wine bottle stoppers and thought they would be the perfect gift for you, so here they are. (SS then proceeds to hand me a package of vacuum wine bottle stoppers, still in the original faded packaging that appeared to be from the early 1990s)

Me: You brought me wine bottle stoppers from your DEAD GRANDFATHER’S HOUSE?

SS: Well yeah, I thought it was the perfect gift.

Now, I’m sorry, but I don’t think that most people want things like this from the deceased whom they have never met.  At least, I certainly didn’t.

The very positive part of this story is that after I informed him to leave my apartment, he finally stopped showing up sobbing after 2 months.

Go Away Stalker Healthier Enchiladas


  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 14 oz low-sodium chicken broth (make your own or use 1 can)
  • 2 14 oz cans fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 2 tbsp dark chocolate chips
  • 2 c protein (cooked shredded chicken or turkey, cooked and diced shrimp, or rinsed black beans) or 1 package frozen spinach, thawed and drained (or you could use 2 c any other roasted vegetable- zucchini, peppers, etc!)
  • 1 c fat-free sour cream
  • 1 1/2 reduced fat mexican blend cheeses
  • 2 cans diced green chilis (don’t drain)
  • 8 whole-wheat tortillas, burrito size (if you’d rather use corn, heat them so they don’t break when you fill them)
  • 1 c pepper jack cheese, grated
  • Cooking spray


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Saute garlic and onion in olive oil over medium heat until onion just becomes translucent.  Add in chicken broth, fire roasted tomatoes, and dark chocolate chips.
  3. Determine level of desired spiciness- I prefer dicing up the entire can of chipotle peppers (extra spicy), but feel free to just use 1 chipotle pepper diced and 1 tsp adobo sauce.
  4. Cook sauce while simmering for 15 minutes over medium heat.  Voila- homemade enchilada sauce!
  5. While sauce is cooking, mix together protein or vegetables, sour cream, mexican blend cheese, and green chilis with their liquid. Divide mixture up into 8 equal portions (feel free to just divide in mixing bowl).
  6. Spray lasagna pan or 9x13in baking dish with cooking spray.
  7. Place 1/8 filling mixture into middle of tortilla, roll, and place seam side down in baking dish. Repeat with the other tortillas.
  8. Pour enchilada sauce over tortillas and top with pepper jack cheese.
  9. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45-60 minutes or until bubbling (normally 60 minutes in my oven).  Remove foil and return to oven for 10 minutes while cheese browns.

Serves 8 (and makes great leftovers, too!)