Friday, July 22, 2011

Yes, I Know, It's Friday

As I went about my day today - 4am alarm clock, gym, hospital, drive home, dinner - one particular thing became the recurring theme.  Can you guess what it might be?  If you guessed "It's Friday!" than you are exactly right.  It seemed as though nearly every person I passed was making mention to myself or another person about how happy they were that it was Friday and the weekend was in sight.  No early alarm clocks, no work, no responsibilities.  Everyone seemed to be rejoicing in the end of the work week.

I can't help but consider that this "end of the week" mentality is actually quite ignorant.  Sure, the majority of Americans work a very tidy schedule - Monday thru Friday, 8am-5pm.  However, there remains a huge group of people who continue to have work obligations and responsibilities after 5pm and on Saturdays and Sundays.  I'm not suggesting we stop rejoicing in the feeling of accomplishment that comes with surviving another week of work.  Instead, next week when you're doing your "It's Friday" dance, perhaps you might stop and give thanks for all of the people work Saturday and Sunday just like it's another Monday.

And yes, I'm working this weekend.  And next weekend.  And the weekend after that.  In fact, my next weekend off is August 27.  But I'm not writing this post because I am bitter or frustrated.  I'm loving my job and feel fortunate that I have the opportunity to have a positive impact on people's lives when they are facing challenges.

I, too, have been guilty of focusing on Fridays and simply going through the motions to get through the week.  After giving this post some thought, I hope you'll join me in taking a new and refreshing approach to the days of the week.  Enjoy each and every day and cherish it like it's your last.  Don't stop enjoying your days of rest and relaxation - just realize that your Saturday is someone else's Monday.  Life is far too short to rush away Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.  Try celebrating each and everyday as if it's a Friday!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Weekend Eats

What a fantastic weekend!  Now that residency has started, Saturday and Sunday no longer automatically equal rest and relaxation.  In fact, I'll likely be working at least half of all weekends for the next 5 years.  After being on call last weekend, I was anxiously awaiting a glorious couple of days all to myself.

In addition to sleeping in, conquering a HUGE to-do list, enjoying some much needed swimming/biking/running, and watching World Cup Soccer, I feasted on some delicious eats.

Mustard-coated Wild Sockeye Salmon, Sweet Potato Chunks, Home-grown Tomato, and Broccoli

Whole-Wheat Blueberry Lemon Pancakes with Peanut Butter, Bananas, and Cinnamon
I would argue that there is no better weekend breakfast!

Kitchen Sink Salad (spinach, tomato, pepper, cuke, raisins, garbanzo beans, balsamic vinegar, nutritional yeast)
and Watermelon

Wild Sockeye Salmon, Cinnamon-dusted Sweet Potato, and Green Beans

Over medium eggs, English Muffin, and Peach

Basil Hummus (homemade) and Tomato Sandwich, Carrots and Bell Pepper with Chipotle Dip, Watermelon
This is my new favorite sandwich creation!

Barbeque Seared Tofu and Quinoa Salad over Sauteed Swiss Chard
I made lots and already looking forward to enjoying it for several days this week.
Yum, yum, yum - so delicious!  And on that note, I think the weekend needs a sweet ending.  The ice cream is calling my name from the freezer!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Welcome Home

I've been calling Charlotte home for 5 weeks now.  The house-hunting process was quite lengthy and it took considerable thought to sort through the pros and cons of house vs condo vs townhouse, rent vs buy, and across the street from work vs a short drive.  Ultimately, I selected a townhome in the Southpark area of Charlotte.  It's a great location - just 4 miles to work, less than a mile from the YMCA, 1 mile to the mall, 2 miles to Earth Fare and Harris Teeter (and Whole Foods - coming Summer 2012!!!), and lots of nearby restaurants.  Best of all, I can walk right out my front door and run or bike to my heart's content.  

Furnishing the house is a work in progress, but it's gradually feeling more and more like "home."  Here's a photo tour as it appears today after a good couple hours of cleaning.

Living Room - complete with a gas log fireplace.
Perfect corner for my bike
Great memories in print - Emory Concerts and Family Portraits

Plenty of space to whip up creative dishes

Hallway between kitchen, bathroom, and staircase
Up we go . . . 
Guest Bedroom

Master bedroom.  Love my new furniture!

Master Bath
And that's a brief look at my new home.  There's plenty of room for guests - visitors are welcome anytime!

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Week In Pictures

Lesson 1:   Freshly cleaned and ironed LONG white coat = lots of responsibility  
Lesson 2:  A very long awaited paycheck makes me and my bank account VERY happy!
Lesson 3:  If you make a big enough pot of pasta, you can have a gourmet meal every night for an entire week and it requires just 2 minutes in the microwave.
Lesson 4:  A body in motion stays in motion.  A sleep deprived body, however, refuses to move once allowed to become idle.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Doctored Up

Since I had the weekend off, I planned to make a nice dinner tonight.  My goal was to make a dish with plenty of leftovers so that dinner prep during the week requires only a few minutes in the microwave.  Perfect for maximizing the couple of hours I have to enjoy after work!  Are you a leftovers person?  I love them, but I'm surprised how many people absolute refuse to eat anything that wasn't cooked that same day.

I've been craving pasta and had some veggies on hand that needed to be used, so I hit the kitchen ready to be creative.  I already had a bottle of pasta sauce in the pantry, so rather than make the entire meal from scratch, I doctored up the jarred sauce.  I combined my veggies (onion, garlic, bell pepper, mushrooms, and spinach), protein (in the form of navy beans), and jarred sauce (Bertoli Portabella Mushroom).  I served the sauce over Barilla Plus pasta and topped it with nutritional yeast (so glad I finally tried this!) and fresh basil.  Delish!

It came together in less than 30 minutes and tasted delicious.  It certainly wasn't Mom's amazing roasted vegetable spaghetti sauce, but it's a good substitute when short on time.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Easy and Delicious

I recently had the opportunity to try a frozen entree from a new company, Organic Bistro.  The concept behind the company is simple, and I was very impressed by their dedication to producing meals that allow us to eat better and feel well.  Organic Bistro describes their meals in the following way:

"Every single-serving frozen meal is balanced with the best sources of lean protein, fiber-rich whole grains, plentiful vegetables and healthy fats.  Our wholesome ingredients  keep their flavor because they’re unprocessed.  So our recipes taste great without added salt and artificial flavors."  

Their product line includes Bistro Meals and Bistro Bowls.  All are balanced, sustainable, low-glycemic index, complete, gluten-free, creative, and full of real foods.  

I selected the Asian Style Coconut Lemongrass with Chicken Bowl.

The ingredient list is quite impressive and notably lacks all of the preservatives and artificial ingredients found in the majority of frozen entrees.

My only concern with this meal was how filling it would be for dinner.  given that the entire meal is only 260 calories, I expected a very small portion.  After cooking, however, I was pleasantly surprised with the generous serving of food.

The verdict - DELICIOUS!  This is by far the best frozen meal I've ever eaten.  The chicken has the texture of real breast meat chicken, the vegetables are crisp and tender, the rice/quinoa mix hearty, and the sauce light and flavorful.  Paired together with a salad, it was filling and satisfying for dinner.  For those of you with hectic lives that don't always leave time for preparing an extensive meal, I'd HIGHLY recommend Organic Bistro!!  The Sesame Ginger Wild Salmon Bowl is already waiting in my freezer to try soon!