Wednesday, October 31, 2007

just one of those weeks

recap of this week (i.e. my excuse fot not having a WIUP post for you all)

sunday night I couldn't sleep, fear of impending doom; monday my patient died (doom confrimed); monday night couldn't figure out how to undo my apartment lock; tuesday another patient died; last night after work and then going out with friends i broke down and paid to take a cab at midnight; today is halloween, it's my only day off this week, my trainer kicked my butt today- I hurt in places I didn;t know possible;I have to go to a dreadful 3 hour residency meeting tomorrow hosted by a man who's enligh is hard to understand and whose sense of humor is not my taste; I have to work on my birthday, my friends are out of town, my roomate is out of town, my family isn't here.

sorry to be down and out, it's just one of those weeks.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


They say that smell has the strongest connection to triggering memories. I am not a huge fan of perfumes (most of them are so flowery and remind me old ladies) but there are a few scents that send me back down memory lane…

1. apples (candles, air freshener, pies, etc)- growing up in New England. The scent of apples reminds me of the onset of fall, when the air becomes crisp, the days grow shorter, the leaves change colors-fall to the ground-and crunch under foot when you walk over them.

2. Gin- Christmas. Gin tastes like Christmas trees smell (do you know what I mean?) If I close my eyes and take a sip of Gin, I am sitting on the floor, next to the dazzling tree on Christmas morning, eagerly waiting to open all the packages from “Sanata.”

3. Tide Laundry Detergent- a summer day. My mom used to use Tide (before it began bothering my skin) to wash our clothes. She would hang the clothes up on the clothesline outside (although my dad thought this practice was SO tacky and that our neighbors didn’t need to see our laundry, dirty or not!). There was nothing like pulling on a shirt that smelled as fresh as a summer day!

4. Charcoal grill- Cape Cod. Growing up we always went ‘down the cape’. Our summer vacation house didn’t have a gas grill, so we always went old school, and used charcoal. Now, no matter where I go, even if it’s the dead of winter or driving through the inner city, the slightest whiff of charcoal reminds me of Sessler summer’s spent down the Cape.

5. White Musk- Mrs. Gratton, the elementary school nurse. It wasn’t even like I went to the school nurse a lot, but her scent just stuck with me. Hey, maybe in some secret sublinaml smell kind of way, she is my inspiration for choice of profession.

6. Blueberry- my old neighbor. She moved away when I was 11, but her mom always used to burn a blueberry candle and it was the first thting you could smell when you walked throught the door.

7.Coppertone suncreen- summers, down the cape, sand stuck in every oriface of my body

8. Leather- my car, "The Virgy"...she may have been 10 years old when I got her, but she still smelled of fresh off the lot leather

9. Abercrombie and Fitch Woods cologne- my first real boyfriend, my first real......okay, TMI, sorry

10. Degree Body Wash- my college boyfriend, you could smell him showering in the hallway, and sneaking up behind for a surprise snuggle/kiss/hug (whatever was appropraite for setting) *side note- I'm not real comfortable with PDA

Hope this post prompted someof your smell-o-ries and stroll dowm memory lane.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Friday Five

5, 4, 3, 2, 1...
Name five favorite movies.
-10 things I hate About YOu
-Beauty and the Beast
-The Bourne Trilogy
-Breakfast at Tiffanys
-Wedding Crashers

Name four areas of interest you became interested in after you were done with your formal education.
-training for a triathalon
-volunteering with the homeless
-vegan cooking/baking
-boycotting public transportation (no, I'm serious! refer to href="" target="new">this post)

Name three things you would change about this world.'s really not necessary
- efficency of public transportation, actaully the lack there of
-societal class divide

Name two of your favorite childhood toys.
-cabbage patch dolls/diaper bag/stroller/etc
-cash register/play money/blank 'checks' aka bank deposit slips

Name one person you could be handcuffed to for a full day.

-Joshua Jackson (I've had a crush on him since his Mighty Ducks days!!)

W.I.U.W., week # 6

I think that next week I am going to post sweet treats and desserts...let me know if you have any random ingredients lying around that you want to create something out of and/or clean out the pantry!

Sesame Vegetables

2 teaspoons toasted Sesame Oil
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups Brussel sprouts, halved
2 cups sliced Bok Choy, white stalks included
2 medium carrots
8oz mushrooms (any type will work, but sliced baby portabellas or white button are the best)
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Combine toasted Sesame Oil, caraway seed, salt and pepper in a small bowl and set aside. Fill a large saucepan with 1" water and insert a steamer basket. Place the brussel sprouts and carrots in a steamer basket and bring water to a boil, cover, reduce heat to medium and steam for 10 minutes. Add Bok Choy and mushrooms and steam onther 5 minutes, or until brussel sprouts are cooked to your desired tenderness. Carefully remove vegetables from pot and place in serving bowl. Pour oil mixture over veggies and toss gently to coat. Serve immediately.

Pumpkin, Walnut, Orange "ravioli"

1/2 cup chopped California walnuts

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 (15 oz) can solid-pack pumpkin

1/4 cup thawed, frozen orange juice concentrate, divided

2 Tbsp chopped fresh sage, divided

1 salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

8 extra-wide (10-inch) lasagna noodles

1 cup canned fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 cup finely shredded Swiss chard

Heat walnuts in a dry skillet over medium-high heat 1 to 2 minutes until walnuts are slightly toasted. Set aside and reserve.

Coat a 12-inch nonstick skillet with vegetable cooking spray and set over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add pumpkin, 2 tablespoons of the orange juice concentrate, 1 tablespoon of the sage and 6 tablespoons of the walnuts; stir and heat through. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside; keep warm.

Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions; drain well. Cut each noodle into 3 equal-sized rectangles. Set aside; keep warm.

To make the sauce, in a small saucepan over medium heat combine broth, chard and the remaining 2 tablespoons concentrate and 1 tablespoon sage. Set aside; keep warm.

To assemble ravioli, for each serving place 3 noodle pieces on a dinner plate; top each with 2 1/2 tablespoons of the pumpkin mixture. Cover each with another noodle piece. Drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons walnuts, dividing equally.

Low-Fat Carrot Cake
2 eggs

2 egg whites

2 cup flour

2 cup sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 cup pureed figs or prunes (baby food jars)

2 cup peeled and grated carrots

1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple (reserve juice)

1 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup powdered sugar, for glaze

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

In a small mixing bowl, lightly beat together eggs and egg whites. Into a separate large mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Stir in the egg mixture into flour mixture.

Add pureed figs, beaten eggs, carrots, pineapple, raisins, and nuts. Stir until blended.

Turn mixture into a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan that has been sprayed with nonstick vegetable spray. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes.

While cake cools, blend powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons of reserved pineapple juice. Drizzle over cake.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

How the Other Half Lives

Did you ever find yourself wondering what someone else’s life is like? What goes on in a day in the life of the rich, the poor, the doctors, the artists, the librarians, and the store clerks? Thankfully, most of us are blessed with lives that aren’t that bad. Yes, maybe we have good days and bad days and really bad days too, but for the most part we can go to sleep at night with a roof over our head and people who love and care about us.
Over the past week, I have found myself in a few situations, giving me a glimpse of life outside of “my world.”

Despite the fact that I have an Ivy League education and a well paying job, I still babysit. I don’t need the money, but I love getting to hang with kids, channel my creativity, and take a break for the seriousness of my *real* job. When I moved to NY, really missing J & R, I found a new babysitting gig on craigslist. Yes, it sounds a little sketchy, but I provided a page of references and went and interviewed the family. It was important that I felt comfortable with them too! But I digress.

So I have been sitting for this new family for about 2 months. I go once or twice a week for four or five hours. Last Thursday, I was meeting Mrs. R to pick up baseball boy at the park and then go home to get princess girl. When I got to the park, Mrs. R was talking with two other moms. I walked up and Mrs. R introduced me as, “Kelly, our babysitter”. The two moms did not stop their conversation to acknowledge my presence or even flash a weak smile. Instead, they blew me off like I was some second class citizen who was ‘just a babysitter.” Mrs. R (clearly feeling awkward now) invited me to sit down and asked me a question about her back. (She had pulled a rib two days previous and wanted my “expert” opinion.) The two women, upon hearing “Well, you’re a nurse, what do you think?” immediately stopped their conversation and looked over at me. They said, “You’re a nurse? I thought you were a babysitter?” Trying to hard not to give them a dirty look replied, “Yes, I am a nurse. I graduated in May from the University of Pennsylvania. I’ve always babysat. I just enjoy the change of pace from my job.”
Again, looking at me like I had 10 heads, they said, “Wait,. So you went to Penn, you are a nurse, and you do this for fun?” Mrs. R said, “Yeah, Aren’t I lucky! She’s a little over qualified to babysit my kids!”

I couldn’t believe this! These women were unbelievable. They really thought that I was just some schmuck with no education who HAD to babysit. Interesting how once they learned a little bit about me that they were a little bit warmer…as if we suddenly had something to talk about. In all honesty, these women should be worshiping the people who watch their kids EVERY day. The “help” is taking care of their most precious loves. I was so disgusted. However, this was also the very first time I realized what it was like to be thought of us an outsider, a second-class citizen. Honestly, it was awful.

Okay, so that’s one end of the spectrum, but I also experienced what its’ like to have more money than God.

My mom was in town this past weekend and my roommate was running an event for work out of a very swanky hotel on Park Avenue this weekend. She runs these events a lot, and they always are out to business dinners, making high society connections, rubbing elbows with the rich and famous of Hollywood….okay, you get the picture.
So my weekend of high society began with a movie screening, VIP tickets, reserved seats, and no lines! No waiting! Private cars to and from the event! Then there were dinner and rinks in the hotel library. I was drinking $25 glasses of wine, $20 cocktails (NEVER did the cups run dry or have a chance to get warm!), eating $60 seafood cocktails-shrimp, lobster, caviar, etc. Our server learned our name (well he already knew my roommate from her routine work related events there) and when my mom started having hot flashes from the excessive amounts of alcohol that we were drinking (sorry, if that’s TMI!) he went and turned on the air conditioning and adjusted the vent near our private corner both so that it would blow directly on her. He heard that my mom was only in town for the weekend, so he packed her a bag of treats and bottles of mineral and sparkling water “on the house.” So that’s how life is when your dinner/drink tab is $500 for 4 people. Geez, I’ve been missing out!

And then one of the rooms that had been booked for the event was available, so my roommate offered to give it to my mom. Neither my roommate not I wanted to stay there, so my mom got PAMPERED! The room she stayed in costs $675/night. This place was decked out! She had a king size bed with 1000 thread count sheets, a luxuriously plush bathrobe, a fully stocked mini bar, hot towel service, room service, a fully functioning jet-spa tub, a wide flat screen 50 inch plasma television, etc. Let’s just say that my mom was in heaven. She flopped back on the bed like they do in the movies, she rolled around on the sheets, and she brushed the robe against her cheeks! Ahh, the ”texture” of luxury!
In the morning she got a call asking her if she wanted breakfast brought to the room! Seriously, I don’ t think the woman has ever been more pampered. She revealed to me when I met her later in the morning that she stayed up until 2 in the morning propped up on her 5 down pillows watching movies and taking a luxurious bath, and relaxing; she didn’t wake up until 8:30am! (This coming from the woman who is usually in bed by 10pm and is wide awake at 5 am, following an awful nights sleep totaling less than 4 true hours sleep, interrupted by hot flashes.)

When we were leaving the hotel, our bags were carried, everyone held the doors for us, and everyone had a smile on their face, and was willing to go to the ends of the earth to make you comfortable! It’s funny how differently you get treated when you ‘have money’ (or are assumed to have it!!!)

So that’s my story in a nutshell.- my glimpse of life on both sides of the tracks. I’m not going to lie, the life of luxury is amazing and life as a second-class citizen sucks, but in the end I think I’m happy being me. I have the best of both worlds. I live comfortably and have loving family and friends.

So do me a favor, next time you are out and see a homeless person, realize that you are only a few paychecks away from that yourself but don’t forget that you could also be one lottery ticket away from luxury! Live in the moment and

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

W.I.U.W., week #5

All of this weeks recipes are vegan friendly. I have listed all of the necessary substitutions


6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder (aluminun free)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons flour

-Butter and flour an 11x7-inch baking pan.
-Heat oven to 350°.
-In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with brown sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 2 eggs until light and creamy. Beat in pumpkin puree.
-In another bowl, combine 1 cup of flour with baking powder, soda, salt, and spices.
-slowly beat into the first mixture until well blended. Spread in prepared baking pan.
-In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, 1 egg, confectioners' sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 2 tablespoons flour. Beat for 1 to 2 minutes, until smooth and creamy.
-Spoon onto the pumpkin batter.
-Using a small narrow spatula or butter knife, swirl the cream cheese batter into the pumpkin batter.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

*I m made a vegan version of these, using Tofrutti ‘Better than Cream Cheese’ and egg substitute, and soy margarine in place of the butter→ if using margarine, don’t melt, instead leave at room temperature and use once very soft.

1 cup quinoa
1/2 cup sliced blanched almonds
1 veggie cube
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/2 tsp salt
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup dried cranberries

-Soak the quinoa 1/2 - 1 hour in cold water
-Rinse very thoroughly in water several times. For each rinse, pour off most of the water and finish draining through a large fine mesh strainer
-Shake dry in the strainer
-On medium heat, stir and toast the sliced almonds until golden
-Remove from pan
-Stir and toast the quinoa until dry and turning color
-Transfer toasted quinoa, toasted almonds, and cranberries to 2 qt saucepan
-Add boiling water, veggie cube, salt, bay leaf and cinnamon stick
-Bring back to boil
-Cover, turn the heat to simmer, cook for 20 minutes
-Remove from heat and allow to sit five minutes with lid on
-Fluff gently with a fork and serve.

Mango-Radish Salsa
-3 cups diced mango (about 2 large)

-1/4 cup chopped cilantro

-1 tablespoon lime juice 

-Pinch of salt

-1 cup diced radishes (about 1 bunch)

1. Toss mangoes, cilantro, lime juice and salt in a bowl. 

2. Stir in radishes just before serving.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

my tale of tumultuous travel

Let me preface this entry with this: if you do nothing else while reading the following entry, just laugh. I am not looking for pity, or sorrow. The following sequence of events were just so absurd that all you can do is laugh. Now READ ON!!

My plan for this past weekend was to return to Philly to see my friends and celebrate R’s 4th birthday. I hadn’t seen my friends or the L’s since July.

As I began making plans and arrangements to meet up with my friends, I soon discovered that this past weekend was Fall Break, meaning that most of them were not around. In fact, most of them came to NYC for a visit. Oh well, I though. I’ll just come home Saturday night (late) and meet up with them. Nothing in the Big Apple ever really starts before 10:30 p.m. anyway!

Back to the drama…

Friday: I suck it up and pay the money to take Amtrak. Yes, I could have taken NJ TRANSIT and then transferred to SEPTA but I had a good book that I wanted to read and plus I love the luxury of having a bathroom (in case I need it!)

2:12 p.m.- I depart NY PENN Station with my warm up of Dunkin Donuts coffee (oh, I hadn’t had a nice warm cup of CAFFEINATED coffee in at least 2 weeks!)

3:30 p.m.- Arrive at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia; I call the L’s to see what they are doing. R & J are napping so I figured I’d just take the R3 out to the suburbs.
I quickly make my way to the local trains and see the ONLY sign for the R3- West Trenton. Sweet! It leaves at 3:50. Bummer! Look at the line to use a credit card to buy the ticket. Whatever, I’ll take cash from the ATM and buy the ticket on board. OUCH! A $2.50 surcharge. Oh well, at least I will be on the train in a few minutes.

- I hop on the train and sit down. The conductor comes over and asks me, “where to?” “S*More,” I say. “Umm, Ma’am (ugh, I HATE that term) you are heading the wrong direction.” “Great. I guess I’ll just get off and go back????”
I get off at the next stop and then wait for the next train heading in the other direction.

- I get on the correct train and we pull away toward my destination.

- The train stops at Clifton. And by stop I mean, STOPS, as in not going anywhere. After 10 minutes they make an announcement that there was a car accident on the tracks and that there was damage, but that the engineers were looking into it and that we would be on our way in 30-60 minutes. I called the L’s, just to check in, and we agreed to stay in communication.

- conductor announces that it will be 2 hours (approximately) before we move. By this point the caffeine (which I am no longer accustomed to) is working on my kidneys and I have to pee, SO BADLY! I hear some woman on the train say that we are right off of Baltimore Pike. I think, “Hey, I know where I am. I’ll just walk to the L’s. I can get there just as fast as if I have to sit and wait here for the train to move.”
*side note- I have a large suitcase on wheels, I shopping bag full of presents, am wearing a dress, and a new pair of shoes. However, I must put in a plug for these shoes. They are the GEOX ones…the new line of Cole Haan with Nike Technology! AMAZINGLY comfortable.

- I am off the train and walking. I continue to walk for about 4 miles and I finally arrive at the L’s. Thank god for my IPOD and the GEOX shoes, otherwise the trip would have been a lot less tolerable.

6:38- I arrive at the L’s and am greatly warmly by T &O and also get a huge smile and hug from J. Many of R’s friends and parents are there. It’s lovely to see everyone; however, I am ever so content to just sit in the chair and veg out.

The party winds down and I get to have some play time with the boys. R and J were both fascinated with the balloons, but were getting a little rambunctious with them. Thus, I tied up the strings. However, I told R that if we leave them in the exact same place, that when we come down in the morning the balloons will be “down” because they loose air and begin to sink.

Flash forward to Saturday morning.

- I awake, after having slept like a rock, and hear a loud, “bah bom, bom, bom, bom.” I hear R saying, “Look Nurse Miss Kelly. They are down. They are down. Look! Look!.” Before I opened the door, I was thinking, “What is down? Your pants? ( No, I’m not a pervert! But R is enjoying the new freedom of being potty trained!). Alas, I opened the door and see R shaking the ballons. Oh, silly me! Of course that’s ‘what’s down’…the balloons…just like I promised the night before.

We spent a lovely day at the soccer fields, the local Presbyterian Church’s fall fair, pplayin in the yard, and making some meals for the week.. I ended up getting in touch with my friends who informed me that they had a reservation for 9pm at a restaurant in Murray Hill. Excellent! I though. I booked the Amtrak train for 7:10 and knew that I would be back in plenty of time to meet up with them. However, because I needed to take the R3 back to 30th Street and it only runs on the 31’s, I left S*More at 5:31…figuring that I could maybe get on an earlier Amtrak train.
Thankfully the R3 ride was quick and uneventful. I got the 30th Street and walked up to the Amtrak ticket window. There was no line…WOW! I walked right up and found out that for $15 (more)I could get on the 6:11train to NYC. Again, I suck it up and pay the money. I board the train and settle down into my seat.

- the train comes to a screeching halt and all the lights go out and so does the air-conditioning.
The entire train just sits there, wondering WHAT is going on.

- the conductor finally arrives in our car and says that the train has broken down and that we have lost al power. He said that the engineer was trying to work on the problem, but that they weren’t sure if they could fix it.

- We get another announcement that there was a train leaving 30th Street in 20 minutes that would arrive and transfer to (oh yeah, that was my orginal-$15 less- train reservation).

7:45- the train finally arrives (so much for 20 minutes) and we begin to transfer. Oh no wait, we attempted to transfer except that we were mid track and the trains didn’t actually line up, so we had to pass out luggage across then jump making sure not to touch both trains at the same time. **side note- I am a young, fit, 20 something year old who had trouble with this, never mind the overweight and elderly people who were also aboard.**

- We finally leave Philadelphia. However, there are now 2 trains worth of people on 1 train that was a car shorter than usual and also didn’t have a refreshment car. People were grouchy! I could have gone for a beer, but I was happy to just have a seat. However, I cannot forget to mention the detail that I got stuck sitting next to “the farter”. I’m sorry, I know that isn’t politically correct, but this person was finishing off a bean burrito when they sat down next to me and let’s just say that it kicked into gear about 10 minutes into the trip. Thank god my job as a nurse has pretty much made my immune to HORRIFIC smells.

- Arrive at NY Penn Station. Make a beeline for the subway.

- Speed through the gates to take the E-train. Only to see the sign that says, “Oct. 13-14th NO E TRAIN SERVICE FROM THIS STATION”
SHIT!!!!!!!!!!! Okay, so I now I walk back outside the turn style (1 wasted Metrocard trip) and talk to the man at the ticket counter. I tell him that I need to get on the 6 train uptown. He looks at me like I have 10 heads. He then tells me to take the next train from this location to 42nd street, then take the F train to times square, then get on the E train uptown from there to 51st street and then transfer to the 6 train.
Oh well, I refused to shell out $25 to take a cab (plus I had no cash left) so I asked the man, “well how do I get back though the gate?” TO which he replied, “Swipe your card again.” UGHHHH, I couldn’t even get a free walk back through the gate.

10:30- I am on the F-train.

- I am at 42nd street and walk fro what seems like miles underground to transfer to the times square shuttle.

10:38- I get on the shuttle and ask the man next to me if I am headed the right way. “No English” is his reply. Great,! Congratulations! Welcome to America!!
I have a bad feeling in my stomach so I get off. No one seems to know if I am headed the right way, so I walk up the steps to ask the people at the service window. But wait! There are no service people and I am now outside, standing in Bryant Park (42nd and 6th).
(Excuse my French here, but WHAT THE FU*K?!?!?!?!) I am so pissed. I say, “That’s it! I’m walking home!” For the record, I lives 35 blocks and 5 avenues from there.)
I whip out my phone and call my mom….I just needed someone to listen to me vent. And vent I did. I had my mother in stitches laughing with the series of transportation terror that occurred in the previous 24 hours. However, I made excellent time (and got in a mini workout for the day….okay with me, seeing as I didn’t get to run in the morning).
I ended up missing dinner with my friends but I guess ot worked out because I sort of forgot about the fact that I still needed to change and drop off my luggage.

So that is my tale of tumultuous travel.


FYI- I did have a lovely 24 hours in Philly with the L’s and enjoyed catching up with my friends today.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Whip It Up Wednesdays, Week #4

As a tribute to my New England Heritage, and my current nostalgia for home, this week's recipes are all about APPLES!!!
Happy Fall Everyone and Enjoy!!


4 large baking apples

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup apple juice
1/3 cup dried currants or dates or large raisins

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

Large pinch ground cloves

Large pinch ground cinnamon

(walnuts are optional, but add a nice little crunch to the dish!)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Core apples, remove seeds, peel away a bit of skin, and stuff with currants. Set in oven-proof baking dish. Combine lemon and apple juice with spices and maple syrup and pour over apples. Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes, basting often. Serve warm.


4-6 red baking apples, cored, sliced in thin wedges (leave mostly unpeeled)

1 cup apple juice

Pinch ground anise seeds

Pinch ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups cooked rice (preferably brown Basmati)

Place all ingredients but vanilla and rice in a 3-quart pot. Simmer uncovered (stir a few times) for about 20 minutes or until apple wedges are soft. Remove from heat and let stand a few minutes. Stir in vanilla. Pour over rice and serve

 by Linda Quinn, MS, RD

2 Empire apples cored and quartered 
1 large winter Squash (2 ½ pounds) cut into 2 inch pieces 
2 medium onions, peeled and quartered 
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Dinosaur Cajun Rub to taste 
4-5 cups Vegetable broth
Preheat oven to 400 F
In large roasting pan, toss squash onions, garlic and apples with the oil to coat. Season well with salt and Rub. Roast, stirring every 10 minutes until vegetables are fork tender and lightly browned, about 30 minutes.
Put half the vegetables with 2 cups stock in a food processor and puree to smooth. Take the other half and combine with 2 more cups of broth. Return puree mixture to the pot. If the soup is too thick, add more broth.
Serve with a dollop of Pesto on top.


1 Empire Apple, cored and peeled cut in 6 pieces 
1 (5-oz) piece salmon fillet with skin 
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for drizzling 
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted in toaster oven 
2 cups salad greens
1/4 cup red wine vinegar 
3 tablespoons water
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil Good Seasons mix (use half envelope)
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Rub salmon all over with 1 teaspoon oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast, skin side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet in upper third of oven until fish is just cooked through, about 12 minutes. At the same time roast apples with 1 teaspoon olive oil drizzle. (12 minutes)
Cut salmon in half crosswise, then lift flesh from skin with a metal spatula and transfer to a plate. Discard skin, then drizzle salmon with oil and sprinkle with herbs. Arrange lettuce with pumpkin seeds, sliced apples and chunked salmon.
Drizzle with dressing.


1 whole pork tenderloin, about 1 pound
2 medium New York Cortland or Empire apples,
cored and sliced in rounds 3/8-inch thick
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
6 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter
In shallow dish marinate the pork in olive oil, vinegar and sage for 30 minutes. Heat oven to 450 degrees F. (or prepare a medium hot fire in covered kettle-style grill).
Remove pork from marinade, season with salt and black pepper to taste and place in shallow roasting pan; roast for 15-20 minutes, until internal temperature (measured with a meat thermometer) reads 150 degrees F. (if grilling, grill directly over medium-hot fire, turning to brown evenly, for 15 minutes).
Let pork rest while sautéing apples: In a shallow bowl, dip apple slices into brown sugar, pressing to adhere sugar to apple surface. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; cook apple slices for 2-3 minutes on each side until soft and golden.
Serve sliced tenderloin with apples.
Makes 4 servings

I See London; I See France; Where are my underpants?!?!

I should have known it was going to be one of those days when I fell asleep only 1 hour before my alarm was set to go off.

4:40 am- It's raining, so much for my morning run. I throw my gym clothes in my work clothes (oh the lovely and oh so flattering blue scrubs) bag and head to the gym instead.

5am- Greet the typical morning gyn crowd; begin my workout.

6:55am- grab towl and hang it on the hook outside the shower

6:58am (yes, I am a record breaking shower taker)- reach out of the shower and notice that my towel gone, but that the elady next to me took mine becuase her's was on the scuzzy floor. GREAT!!!

6:59am- sprint across the locker roomn (bare NAKED) and get another towel AND give the weazel who took my towel a dirty look

7:00am- open my gym bag and pull out my clothes....minus the underwear. GREAT! A commando day? No way! Wearing my therapeutic compression stalkings without underwear equals a NO NO!
What to do?
Clearly I can't weat dirty ones.
Okay, stay calm.....think....OKAY!
Grab the mini bottle of detergent out of my bag (hey, I hate stains); go into the handicapped bathroom stall and wash the underwear in the sink; wring it out; use the hairdryer to dry it (trying not to look suspicious.
(Just for the visual, I'm wearing my sports bra to hold up my towel)
Undies dry!
Undies on! Therapeutic stalkings on! Scrubs on! Antifrizz serum in hair; teeth brushed!
7:18: out the door and off to work!
7:24: arrive at work, waiting for the elevator, rumbling through my bag to look for my watch. Wait! What's that that just fell out of my bag onto the lobby floor? YUP, the underwear that I SWORE I couldn't find 20 minutes earlier.

okay, that's my story for the day.

Friday, October 05, 2007

About Morals, or Lack There of

I’m not sure if any of you saw this:

Published: October 5, 2007
Filed at 6:19 p.m. ET
NEW YORK (AP) -- A homeless man was critically injured Friday after he was set on fire outside a church where he had bedded down for the night.
Police were searching for three teenage boys in what homeless advocates say was one of the most severe and senseless attacks on a homeless victim in recent memory.
''I haven't heard of an incident like this in many years in New York,'' said Mary Brosnahan, executive director of the Coalition for the Homeless.
The torching of Felix Najera, 49, bewildered and stunned residents around Bethany Christian Church in upper Manhattan's East Harlem. The victim was a heavy drinker who would bum cigarettes from passers-by but otherwise was a harmless fixture.
''It's a shame,'' said Gary Williams. ''He doesn't bother anybody.''
Najera was sleeping on a cardboard box outside the church shortly after midnight when the teens accosted him. One pulled out a lighter and set his pant leg on fire while another went through his pockets, police said.
Investigators found no evidence he was doused with a flammable liquid, as originally suspected. When the victim stood up, the flames spread across his body, and the teens fled on foot, police said.
Najera was taken to the hospital in critical condition with burns covering 75 percent of his body, including his face, chest and stomach.
Other parts of the nation have seen recent spates of violence aimed at homeless people -- what some homeless advocates see as part of national trend.
In Cleveland, at least six homeless people were attacked during the first half of the year, including one person who was killed. A social worker claimed that bands of men carrying baseball bats and pipes were confronting homeless people on the street.
Last year, Florida had the highest number of extreme attacks -- 48 -- of any state, according to one report. The same report documented 142 attacks last year nationwide, 20 of which resulted in deaths -- a 65 percent increase from 2005.
Police say many of the attacks involve robbery. But homeless advocates -- noting that the vast majority of attackers are male and under the age of 25 -- believe the main motive is pure aggression.
In most cases, it's ''kids saying they were out trying to get some kicks,'' Brosnahan said.

on the news today, but it was headline news here, and rightly so!
It has been a long time since I was so horrified, disgusted, and appalled with the behavior of other individuals.

Where are the morals in today’s society? How could anyone ever think that it was acceptable to set someone else on fire? Reporters are speculating that this may have been done as an act of racist hate, the societal hierarchy, etc…..but I don’t care, it’s just plain wrong.

This is why family dinners are important, why little kids need to go to preschool and learn how to socialize with other children, why it’s okay for little boys to play house and for little girls to dig in the dirt and play with cars. Children need to have their minds stimulated, learn how to enjoy a good book, recognize that it’s okay to have a ‘day off’ of the social calendar! Kids need to be content with entertaining themselves; Know how to find fun in the simple things, and NOT feel the need to resort to torturing the innocent for a little bit of pleasure.

I guess this really rips at my heart because of nursing specialty. I’ll et you draw your own conclusions about where this man is being cared for….think about where I work.

He has greater than 70% burns to his body.
He has no family support.
He has no home.
He was the victim of unprovoked hate.
He’s got a hospital staff that cares and right now, that’s about all that can be offered.

So if you could all do me a favor and keep this man in your thoughts and prayers, I would be truly grateful.

Give your loved ones an extra big hug tonight, be thankful for the warm bed that you have, and say a prayer that someday morals will find their way back into society.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

It's Called Growing Up, NOT Growing Away

Last night, while I lie awake with a million thoughts running through my head, I decided that I would On0Demand a movie (nothing good was on at 2am). So after scanning my choices I decided upon, “Because I said SO”

Although the movie was predictable and stereotypical, there was a scene in the middle of the movie that struck a cord within me.

Diane Keaton (the over protective mother of three, 25+ year old daughters) said, “But when do stop taking care of you? Am I just supposed to let you go and fall flat on your face when you are heading down the wrong path? Oh okay, congratulations on screwing up the rest of your life?”

It really got me thinking.
Actually, I found myself talking in circles.

Do your parents ever stop being your parents? Eventually, they must loosen the belt strap, but when does the relationship change? I sort of satisfied myself with the answer that, parents never stop being parents, but the relationship changes. I guess the conversation changes from parents reminding kids to, “tie your shoes”, “put your homework in your backpack,” “wash your hands before dinner,”, “clean your room”, etc. to things such as, “Did you pay your rent?”, “Did you call to schedule your physical?”, “Did you enroll in benefits?”

However, some things never change. There should always be, “I love yous ”, “Just wanted to check in on you”, “How was your day?”, etc. Conversations topics may be more sophisticated, topics more sensitive, but in my mind there should always be that parental hierarchy.

It used to drive me crazy when my friend's parents acted like their best friend. When I got together with my friends, I wanted to hang out with them, not them plus their mom. Also, when the parent is the child’s best friend, who do they go to for guidance? Certain situations in life require the advice/opinion of the expert (or at least more experienced).

I’m not going to deny it, I hated when I got grounded, was told that I couldn’t do something, or told that my curfew would not be extended; however, one of the greatest gifts that my parents gave me was their trust and patience and fairness. Yes, maybe I earned these privileges, but I always knew that I could go to them. From the time that I was middle school, and the pressures of drinking and reckless behavior emerged, my parents were always there for me. They made it VERY clear that they would not approve of such acts, but that if I did “mess up” and came to them first that they would be fair (i.e. if I was out at a party and made the poor decision to drink, that if I called and jus said, “Please come get me” –no matter what time it was, that the consequences would be a lot less severe than if I made alternative arrangements, lied about where I was going/how I got home, etc).

Although I mentioned above that I don’t think parents and children should be best friends, I do think that they should be friends, close ones. I consider my mom one of my greatest confidants. I know that I can go to her with anything and that she will listen. She may not always agree, but she lets me speak my mind. For that, I am eternally grateful.

From about the 10th grade on, I had a really hard time socially. I was such a people please, that I left people walk all over me, I didn’t stand up for myself, and my self esteem was in the toilet. I hated conflict and would thus suppress my views and opinions simply to avoid an argument. However, once I left for college, I soon learned to listen to what my mom and dad had been telling me all along. It’s okay for people to have differences in opinions…that’s what makes for great conversation, what makes people unique, what keeps the world from being seen in only black and white.
(sorry, that last paragraph was very tangential).

Back to my main point: when do parents stop being parents? Honestly, I don’t think they ever do. I think that the relationship changes. The partners in the relationship begin to relate on a different level, focus on different aspects of life, shift their focus on what is important.

Think about it..

When I was 18, my family went on a vacation to Aruba; I was legal to drink. My dad and I entered a tequila shot contest- we won. (No joke!) From that point on, drinking was an acceptable topic between my dad and I. Although they didn’t openly approve of my drinking in public, wine at the holidays, or a beer at a summer event, was a little less taboo.
When I was 17 horrendous menstrual problems resulted in my going on the birth control pill; from that point on, women’s health issues and safe sexual habits were a more open (but still a little awkward) discussion between me and my mom.
I think you get my point.
This topic could fill volumes and volumes of books. Everyone had a different view on the matter, but I guess that’s what makes it so interesting.

I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the relationship that I have with my parents. So I leave you with this…think about your relationships with your parents, and with your parents. Yes, maybe you sometimes find yourself thinking, “:Oh my god, I’m turning into my mother/father” but maybe that’s not a bad thing. You turned out okay, didn’t you? Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion, but don’t be quick to stomp all over your children’s. Remember what it was like to be in their shoes and recognize that life is a jounrey we must make. A journey that is a lot less scary when you know you have some support.

**note **: If you have been touched by tragedy and no longer have your parents and/or child, don’t think this doesn’t apply to you. Relationships, of all lengths, occur for a reason. Take the good and the bad and use it to shape the future..

If you feel that you had a horrible experience, don’t forget that either. Why not speak about, write about, and maybe you can help educate others how to cope better .