Sunday, August 30, 2009

In times of famine...

Dan and I have been overall pretty disappointed with our somewhat lack of a church home here in New England--little fellowship, no outside teaching, and the predicament of where to take our tithes. Some of it is the product of a too-busy schedule with work and school (not to mention bouncing all over the country this year!) and some of it is a lack of the "good ol' southern hospitality" at the church we had been attending. Well, as with any disappointment, I've been through the hurt-phase, then the mad-phase, and now I'm at the make-the-best-of-it-phase.

On fellowship, I think I'm feeling my tank running low on good fellowship a bit more acutely. Honestly, it must have something to do with being a woman and needing to have a good chat with a Christian girlfriend over a cup of coffee. :) Soooo....thank goodness for good conversations with friends--and weekend minutes!

Dan and I are still figuring out what we'll be doing with our tithes. We've tossed around the idea of giving to a mission ministry instead, and our beloved Sychar recently crossed my mind....we'll have to see!

To make up for our lack of outside teaching, Dan and I have been watching sermons at home on Sunday mornings and we started a series on the Song of Solomon called "The Peasant Princess" with Mark Driscoll. I'd have to say that I love about 99% of it, but as with everything, there will be something that you disagree with. My something hit on the second episode and was concerning stay-at-home moms vs. dads. I might make another post on that, but I want this to be a cheerful post. So, check out the series, have a discerning ear, and do some sifting from the chaff. All in all, it's been a blessing to Dan and I and we've enjoyed it fully--especially in what has been somewhat of a spiritual desert for us. And the things that we disagreed with became great conversation material! Another good reason for it to be at home--pause buttons! :)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Lovely Dinner

Well, I got a little carried away with my most recent cooking--so I turned it into date night for Dan and I instead! I even pulled out some fancy glasses with grape juice for fun!

The Menu:

Italian Marinated Steak
Oven-Roasted Potatoes with Thyme
Buttered Corn
and Lemon-Raspberry Tiramisu
Result: Happy Husband :)
Recipes below...Enjoy!
Italian Marinated Steak
1 c. Italian Dressing
3 Tbsp. Parmesan Cheese (grated)
3 tsp. Dried Basil (crushed)
1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper
2-4 boneless sirloin or top round steaks

Place steaks in a glass dish or plastic bag. In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients and pour 3/4 c. over the steak, reserving 1/4 c. for basting on the grill. Marinate 3-24 hours. Grill or broil steak, turning once, and brushing frequently with reserved marinade.

Oven Roasted Potatoes with Thyme
4 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 tsp. black pepper (freshly ground)
1 tsp. salt
5-6 medium-sized potatoes (chunked)
1 tsp. thyme or rosemary (we prefer Thyme)

Preheat oven to 500 degrees and place olive oil, pepper, and salt in dish. Heat oil in oven for about 3 minutes. Add potatoes and thyme and stir to coat with oil. Cover with foil and return to oven for about 30 minutes. Remove foil and cook another 5 minutes or until desired crispiness.

Lemon-Raspberry Tiramisu

2 8-oz. packages of cream cheese (softened)
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 c. water
1 pkg. lemon-flavored gelatin (4-serving size)
2 c. whipped topping (thawed)
1/2 c. red raspberry preserves
1/4 c. water
2 tspb. marsala cooking wine
2 pkgs. lady fingers (3 oz. each)
1 pt. fresh raspberries or frozen unsweetend raspberries (thawed)

1. Combine cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat with mixer at high speed until smooth. Combine 1/3 c. water and gelatin in a bowl and microwave until water is boiling and gelatin is dissolved. Cool slightly and add to cream cheese mix. Beat 1 minute. Add whipped topping and beat 1 minute more.
2. Whisk together preserves, 1/4 water, and marsala in small bowl until well-blended. Reserve 2 Tbsp. Spread 1/3 c. over bottom of 11"x7"
baking dish. Layer half of the lady fingers in the pan, spread half of cheese mixture over lady fingers. Sprinkle 1 c. of raspberries over cheese mix. Layer remaining ladyfingers, top with remaining preserves mixture, then remaining cheese mixture.
3. Cover, refridgerate at least 2 hours. Drizzle reserved 2 Tbsp of preserves over cake and sprinkle with remaining raspberries. Enjoy

Friday, August 28, 2009

Chocolate Almond Biscotti

These were decently easy to make and are wonderful with coffee--or milk for the non-coffee drinkers out there (yes, at least two of them exist and they got married to boot!).

Chocolate Almond Biscotti
1 package Chocolate Cake Mix
1 c. flour
1/2 c. butter or margarine, melted
2 eggs
1 tsp. almond extract
1/2 c. chopped almonds
White or Dark Chocolate, melted (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease 2 baking sheets or line with parchment paper.
2. Combine cake mix, flour, butter, eggs, and almond extract in large bowl. Beat at low speed with electric mixer until well blended, stir in almonds. Divide dough in half. Shape into two 12x2 in logs, place logs onto sheets.
3. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove logs from oven, and let cool 15 minutes. Slice into 1/2 in slices, arrange on baking sheet and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove to cooling racks to cool completely.
4. Dip end of each biscotti in melted chocolate, if desired. Allow to set then store in air-tight container.

To be honest, these were really good, but a bit on the crumbly side. I'm thinking that they might need an additional egg to bind them together, but then I'm also wondering if it had anything to do with the fact that we used duck eggs (a gift from Dan's boss)....hmmm...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

For you Ron Paul fans out there....Enjoy :)

So, Dan and I were doing random websurfing and found a funny site. It reminds me a lot of failblog.com, but with a political twist. For all you Ron Paul fans out there--enjoy! Speaking of which, Dan and I have been wanting to read up more on alternative political parties--we need an Option C!!!

funny pictures
more funny pictures

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Chicken Marsala

1 Tbsp Butter
2 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved
1 c. sliced carrots (opt)
1 c. sliced fresh mushrooms (opt)
1/2 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. Marsala cooking wine
2 Tbsp. flour
Pepper
Parsley flakes

1. Melt butter in skillet and add chicken, cooking 5 minutes. Turn chicken over, add veggies, broth, and cooking wine.
2. Bring to boil and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, until juices run clear.
3. Remove chicken, add flour, pepper, and parsley to juices. Whisk together until sauce thickens. Serve over pasta.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A visit and a recipe


Well, the family from New York has been in town, visiting on their way to Harvard to drop Keren off for college. Today, we went to the Portland Headlight, which was very fun and had quite the waves, compliments of Hurricane Bill. It definitely made for some exciting tide-pool wading! :)

And for dinner, we made a family favorite of mine. Originally, we made this with pork chops, but I decided to try chicken breast this time and it was definitely yummy! An easy dinner that can be readily doubled with little trouble for larger crowd dinner! :) Sorry for no pictures this time--it got dished up and eaten before I had a chance to snap a pretty picture.

Pork Chops (or Chicken Breasts) and Stuffing

6-8 Pork Chops/Chicken Breasts (lg.)
1 package stuffing mix
1 can cream of mushroom soup
milk

1. Lay the meat in the bottom of 9x13 baking dish. Prepare the stuffing per the instructions on the box. Spoon the stuffing in large dollops on the meat.
2. In a separate bowl whisk together the cream of mushroom soup with half a can of milk. Gently pour over stuffing and meat.
3. Cover with tin foil and cook at 350 for about an hour.
4. Serve over rice or mashed potatoes, spooning the extra stuffing and such as gravy.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Steak San Marino

Ok, time to catch up...I'm not keeping with my daily recipe, haha. Tonight Dan and I had Steak San Marino. It was REALLY easy--slow cooker and with the heat wave that Maine's been having, it certainly feels like the slow cooker did a lot less to raise the temperature in our apartment as opposed to the stove or oven! Plus, I was able to toss everything in the crock-pot before work in about 10 minutes, so dinner prep only took me about 15 minutes tonight!

Steak San Marino
1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black peper
1 beef round steak (1.5 lbs) cut into 4 pieces or equivalent
1 can (8 oz. tomato sauce)
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
Hot cooked rice

1. Combine flour, salt, and pepper and coat steak in mix. Place in slow cooker. Combine tomato sauce, carrots, onion, celery, Italian seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, and bay leaf in a small bowl. Pour over steak.
2. Cover, cook on LOW for 8-10 hours or on HIGH for 4-5 hours.
3. Remove bay leaf and serve steaks and sauce over rice.

Now, if you haven't noticed yet, I tend to cheat and/or use what I have on hand. I didn't have any carrots, so I omitted them. And since I was in a hurry, I used dried onion flakes, and basil, oregano for the Italian seasoning. It still came out wonderfully! :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tuscan White Bean Crostini

Tuscan White Bean Crostini

2 cans white beans (e.g. Great Northern or cannellini) drained and rinsed.
1/2 lg. red bell pepper, finely chopped.
1/3 c. finely chopped onion
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. black pepper
18 slices French break, approx. 1/4" thick

1. Combine beans, bell pepper, and onion in a larger bowl. (I used green pepper since it was what I had on hand.)
2. Whisk together vinegar, parley, oil, garlic, oregano, and black pepper in small bowel. (I used all dried herbs). Pour over bean mix and toss to coat. Cover, refridgerate 2 hrs. or overnight.
3. Broil bread slices until lightly toasted.
4. Top each toasted bread slice with bean mix. I also added a slice of tomato to these--nice and cool dinner on a humid summer evening.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

And If I wasn't already convinced

Well, to be fair, I told my requestor of egg donation that I'd think about it, look into it and let her know. Well, Dan and I were already thinking "no" but what I found from Standford only FURTHER solidified my thinking... Not to knock donating eggs or anything, but it requires a special person--and I know that's not me!

I would have to go through three phases of HORMONE treatment--one of which would basically induce menopause. Now I don't know about you, but I'm really looking forward to being another 25+ years from experiencing that loveliness. Twenty-three is just toooooooo young to be having "hot flashes, mood swings, and dryness...."

After I go through menopause and it's DAILY injections of hormones (that's right, I get to be stuck with a needle on a daily basis--be sure to move injection sites to decrease bruising!), I go through a phase that would cause me to make mega quantities of eggs---and by the way, your chances of getting pregnant during this time frame are so high, that most places require that you get rid of your husband for like 6 weeks until this is all said and done, or else you're basically guaranteed to have your own little one on the way and you won't be eligible for the surgery to remove your eggs for donation. And when I AM ready to donate, I'll be getting some very unpleasantly located DAILY ultrasounds and blood work--again with the daily needles.

Then, the surgery....I could have structural damage to my own parts and pieces, not to mention potentially skewering my bladder or intestines or something. And I could get an infected ovary, and/or cause it to stop working and potentially be infertile.

Then the whole process can cause Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS, as I learned). It is "a serious complication marked by chest and abdominal fluid buildup and cystic enlargement of the ovaries that can cause permanent injury and even death." And there's a 1:100 to 1:10 chance that I could get it, depending on what study you look at. And it includes the possibility of dehydration, blood clotting disorders, and kidney damage. Now, I know that that's a wide variation, but still, I don't like 1:100. Also, there's possibly a chance of increasing my risk of ovarian cancer.

So, let's summarize...
1. Definitely MENOPAUSE = No!
2. Daily shots, bloodwork, and ultra sounds for 6-8 weeks = No!
3. Getting rid of Dan for the majority of the 6 weeks = No!
4. Potential damage and infertility = No!
5. Permanent injury/death from OHSS = No!
6. Possible dehydration, clots, and kidney damage = No!
7. Possibly increasing my risk of CANCER = No!

As if I needed more reasons to NOT be an egg donor.....

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Chicken Salad

One of Dan and my personal favorites! It was one of our wedding foods and was a hit. Oddly enough, I think that we both remember the food from our wedding the best of most of the rest of the day, haha.

Chicken Salad

2 cans chicken breast, drained and shredded.
1 1/2 c. red seedless grapes, halved.
1/4 c. slivered/sliced almonds.
1 stalk celery, sliced thinly. (opt.)
Mayo

Basically, all the ingredients can be adjusted to taste. Dan and I like our grapes, so we just keep tossing them in. Add enough mayo to bind it all together. Serve on rolls or croissants--our favorite. A great summertime treat!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Zucchini Pizza Bites

The recipes are coming! The recipes are coming!

After three long months away from home and really uable to do any experimenting in the domestic world, I'm back with a vengeance! My new recipe book has had all things non-expensive and/or interesting picked out of it and organized into yummy food for about the next three weeks! Tonight was Zucchini Pizza Bites and Chicken Marsala. Although I have some good pics of the marsala, I think I'm going to have to wait to post that one since it didn't come out quite as I had hope. Yes, still edible and yummy, but the sauce just didn't thicken like I wanted it to. We'll save that for later...

Zucchini Pizza Bites

2 small zucchini, trimmed and diagonally cut into slices
1/4 lb of chorizo sausage (I used hot Italian sausage) removed from casing, browned and crumbled, and drained.
1/3 c. spaghetti sauce or similar
6 Tbsp. shredded mozzarella cheese.

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place zucchini slices on cookie dish.
  2. Spoon small amounts of spaghetti sauce on the slices and top with a little of the sausage.
  3. Sprinkle some cheese on each slice and bake for 10 minutes or until cheese melts.
Dan was skeptical at first, but they quickly disappeared after that first bite. :)

Rotation Reflections

Well, here I am--HOME! Finally! The past two rotations have been great experiences, though at times a bit on the rocky side. Dan and I have driven all over the East Coast and spent 3 months away from home--not to mention away from each other. These next two rotation will keep me here in Maine, so it will be a nice reprieve from all the living out of a suitcase and eating cafeteria food.

There are many things that I miss about being in my own home. First of all is Dan, of course. Also, as much as it gets the bad rap, I do miss all the house-keeping cooking and cleaning. I like being on my own schedule and cooking is an escape from the books and studying and medicine that I'm inundated with on a daily basis. Plus, it's much less expensive and although Dan and I have been wonderfully blessed by not having to pay any additional housing costs these past few months, buying prepared food is an expensive business and it's really not all that great for you! In our travels, we did find an Italian Cookbook, so it's going to be Little Italy at our house the next few days for sure!

My end of rotation exam needs to be completed by Sunday, so around my studying, I'll be cleaning, cooking, and de-cluttering my house. I can't believe how much STUFF we've accumulated and how much of it you can live without! Especially with Dan and I looking to move to Kentucky and live in a 5th wheel for a while, I know that I'm going to have to be stingy with purchases and scrutinize everything and get rid of a little bit more of the extra fluff we have so it's not an over-whelming project when we DO finally move!

Just 9 more moths....just 9 more months...just 9 more months...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

So, about that being an egg donor...

Not that it was a very long discussion, but Dan and I are both set with a "no" answer about my being an egg donor. Now, don't get me wrong, I think it would be a wonderful thing to have had a hand in helping a family have a child, but it's just not something that Dan and I are looking to do, for multiple reasons.

1. My personal views are anti-abortion. I have family members and friends who either have been premies themselves or have had children who are premies. Modern medicine has been wrong in the past and as it continues to advance, the little lives that are saved when they leave mom too soon are becoming younger and younger and younger. Many children who were born at 27 weeks have not only survived, but thrived...as our understanding increases, I wouldn't be surprised to see that age pushed further and further back, even past the "legal" abortion gestational age. So in my view life begins at conception. IVF and egg-donors will "conceive" a number of children in petri dishes and only implant one in the womb. So, I would consider myself a hypocrite as "aborting" the other "unused" fetus and disposing of them to be no different than a very early abortion. **

2. Dan and I are still very new in our marriage and kids haven't been an option for US yet. Being an egg donor is an invasive procedure that will require surgery and can potentially leave behind damage that would cause me to be infertile. If I were to be unable to conceive later on down the road, I would always wonder if I did it to myself. It might be a bit selfish, but Dan and I feel that we've both made choices that have protected us and our future family. I don't want to go through an unnecessary risk that might jeapordize OUR family.

3. I'm in PA school. Going through all of the testing and whatnot is a long process and by the time life settles down enough for all that, honestly, the woman that asked me really should already have found a donor and moved on with her life. Her clock is ticking and I don't want to be holding her up.

So, anyway, I'll be doing more reading later on down the road in the next week. It should be interesting reading and something that I'm sure will come up in my practice at some point or another.
**That being said, I realize that this is a controversial issue. My mind is set and I won't be swayed. I welcome discussion, but I also reserve the right to agree to disagree and moderate any comments that this might spark. The point of this post is to just discuss some of the reasons Dan and I aren't looking to donate eggs, not get into a discussion as to abortion.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

*cough*choke-on-soda* try not to die on said soda...*

Ok, so it wasn't quite that dramatic of a scene in my life, but for sure I have been asked the single most odd question of my entire life. There have been many questions asked, and many more that have been life changing--"Will you marry me?" being probably the biggest. :)

But no, THIS question...THIS question, during the course of my entire life and despite knowing that I will likely live another half-century or more and all the interesting things that will happen in that time span, THIS question will be THE single most interesting, odd, out-of-the-blue question of my life....drum-roll please....
"Would you consider being an egg donor for my husband and I?"
Not to leave you hanging or to drop that bomb, but this is going to be a short post because dinner and a paper are calling my name tonight. However, I'll be posting more tomorrow as to Dan and my reaction to this query...long post incoming, haha.

It certainly reminds me of the Dr. Seuss book..."Oh the places you'll go...Oh the people you'll meet." Life can be so interesting sometimes.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Live and Times of the Rich and Famous...

Well, now that it's all over the news, I don't have to worry about being in violation of HIPPA. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am working at THE Cape Cod Hospital where Eunice Schriver, from the Kennedy clan, is. AND one of my fellow students just walked a family member to the lobby literally 10 minutes ago! AND The Gubernator was here late last week. This is the one time that it's sorta cool to be living out here on the Cape and makes up for the traffic and the higher cost of living... :)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Our own personal beach-house for the weekend :)


This weekend has been lovely. My great aunt and uncle have been out of town, so Dan and I have had a beach-house all to ourselves this weekend. Swims at the beach, hor'de'ovres, chicken salad croissants, movies at the mall, and lots of relaxing. Ahhh.... Now just one more week to go and we'll both be HOME!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Google--Look out Windows!

Well, I was very excited to find out about my Google Documents feature on my Gmail the other day. I noticed it a while ago when I tried to send myself documents to print out later, but I just ignored it, thinking it was just a viewing function. Well, I accidentally pressed it the other day and found that Google has now made a document viewing and editing portion of your Google account...so with one log-in, you have all of your personal...
  • e-mail,
  • documents
  • spreadsheets
  • pictures
  • calendar
  • maps
  • blog(s)
It's definitely coming in VERY handy when I'm moving all over the place and trying to print out things for school and never know if I've changed something and updated my "home" document stored on my laptop. Plus, it's always available to me online, even if my computer decides to crash or something--and I can share it with people and work on it via the internet, from two different computers!

Woot!

So I'd just like to say how EXCITED I am that Dan's coming to see me here on the Cape! It's been a VERY long 4 weeks and a particularly busy and stressful week, so it's definitely somethign to look forward to after my hectic, hectic day. Right now I have a few moments of peace and quiet, waiting on my next case....it needs to be 6 already!

I love you, Dan!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Renting, oh how I hate thee...

With it being August 1st yesterday, I wrote out yet another check for rent. Now, don't get me wrong, I very much like our apartment, our land-lord is great, and it's been a perfect location for Dan and I. However, it gets my gall to know that we flushing $18,000 down the drain over the two years we'll be in Maine on a ONE BEDROOM APARTMENT. And we're never going to see a penny back of that--ever. No equity, not even positive scores on our credit report for on-time payments....nothing. However, I am VERY excited that I only have to write that check 9 more times! And I refuse to ever rent ever, ever again!

Now, how can Dan and I expect to do that with moving 1,100 miles to Kentucky, being in full-swing of rotations and never having a break long enough in which to find a house, much less make an offer and close and all that loveliness? Well, our wonderful friends have bought a piece of land and have decided to live in a very large camper for about a year--and have offered the same to us! :)

So, as of June 2010, Dan and I will be buying a trailer for about $4,000--which we will OWN, and will have intrinsic value and can be resold if we want to. And basically pay water and electricity hook-up costs and "parking"--none of which I see as paying rent. It's a mutual blessing for both us, not to mention being neighbors to some of my favorite people! :)

And sorry, Dan, but no drooling. We can't afford a classic car to haul our camper with, haha. ;)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Man, I feel like I'm having a baby...

Ok, I know that would probably cause a bit of a stir, so to clarify, no I am not having a baby. I just started getting myself organized to begin studying for my boards--which are just about 9 months away! I can't believe that I'm really starting to hit the home stretch, and with all that I need to accomplish still between now and then, I know that I really should start studying. Only about 400 or 500 diseases to know between now and then....ug. Plus the test costs $425 to take and they have a ton on stipulations as to how many times you can take it in a year and whatnot. Sooo...

Here goes nothing....