Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Weekend Bliss

First Blogger Fail = writing this complete post yesterday, pushing publish, and losing the whole thing.  Let's try this again.

How can it possibly be Monday already?  In a mere 53 minutes I'll be back to work and enjoying all the fun and excitement that the trauma service adds to my life.  Don't you sense my excitement?!  Maybe not??  I really have enjoyed residency, but let's just say I will be VERY happy to leave the trauma service and start a month of orthopaedics on Thursday.

This weekend has been absolutely perfect!  My parents arrived Friday to spend the weekend in Charlotte.  I haven't seen them since I started residency 2 months ago, so we were very happily reunited.  And look who came along for the ride - BAILEY!
I receive weekly emails from my running partner and bed buddy, but I missed her crazy personality and anxiously awaited her arrival.  She had been resting up all week in preparation for our reunion.

Friday night we had a lazy evening around my house.  Mom had recently made a delicious roasted vegetable marinara sauce and homemade meatballs and brought a pot all the way to Charlotte to share with me.  The sauce was incredibly flavorful and the meatballs tender and savory.  There's nothing better than Mom's home-cooked meals!  Together with pasta, a salad, and garlic bread, it was the perfect meal.  After a walk thru the park, we planted ourselves on the couch and enjoyed watching The Social Network.  Fudgy-Wudgy Raspberry Brownies provided the perfect sweet note to end the evening.  I loosely followed the recipe in Veganomicon and they were pretty darn good!  Evidently between my exhaustion and hunger I completely forgot to take any pictures for your enjoyment.

Saturday morning started with a long night's slumber.  Sleeping until 8am is pretty incredible after endless days of 4am alarm clocks.  The Today Show was enjoyed with a perfect cup of coffee.  Got to love the simple pleasures in life!

After yogurt parfaits for breakfast, we headed out to the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market.  I've heard great things about this market, but had yet to experience it first hand.  I'll definitely be back!  Great selection, great prices, and yummy samples!

We took full advantage of the beautiful weather and spent the afternoon wandering through the beautiful tree-lined streets of Myers Park, enjoying lunch at Cantina 1511, and running in Freedom Park.  Back at home, Dad put on his handy-man hat and tackled several projects.  I now have functioning door locks that don't require a wrestling match to lock and unlock.  What would I do without you, Dad?  You always have a solution for life's problems.  Plus, I now have a completed bonus room that houses all of my swim, bike and run gear and memorabilia.
We capped a great day off with dinner at Mimosa Grill.  And despite the large meal, we might just have made a little extra room for another Fudgy Wudgy Brownie!

Sunday brought another wonderfully lazy morning.  Breakfast featured multi-grain morning glory muffins + scrambled eggs + oranges.  The rest of the day included shopping for patio furniture (disappointingly unsuccessful), office furniture (finally found the perfect thing!), and groceries (have I mentioned my love for EarthFare?).  Before we new it the entire day had passed, and Mom and Dad had to make their way back to Atlanta.  It was a fantastic visit, and I can't wait to see them again in October!

Since I start night float tonight, I enjoyed yet another sleep-in morning today.  Three days in a row of sleeping until 8am - I could get used to that!!  And I could also get used to this pancake breakfast.

Then I headed out for an 8 mile run.  Never before has 8 miles felt so long!  My work schedule has definitely negatively impacted my fitness.  The rest of the day has been pretty uneventful - assembling office furniture, yoga, lunch featuring Mom's marinara, and a long afternoon nap.

And now the weekend has come to an end.  I was in desperate need of a few days off to catch up on life, and this weekend provided exactly that.  So glad I could spend the weekend with those I love soaking up the beautiful weather and enjoying Charlotte!  I feel refreshed, energized, and ready to tackle the last 3 nights of trauma!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mimosa Grill

What a fantastic weekend it has been!  I'll be back with a weekend wrap-up, but first, I wanted to share with you a delicious dinner from Saturday night.  Since moving to Charlotte, I've been eager to try so many of the fantastic restaurants I've read about.  Unfortunately, many of them don't quite fit the "resident-in-major-debt-with-a-very-small-salary" budget.  Fortunately, my parents were in town for the weekend, so it was the perfect opportunity to enjoy a special meal.  After some intense research and menu comparisons, we selected Mimosa Grill in Uptown.

Mimosa Grill features "global cuisine with a unique southern twist."  The restaurant prides itself on the "farm to fork" concept and is "dedicated to artisans, farmers, and craftsmen whose passion for food creates the finest ingredients possible.

Little did we know, the Charlotte Pride Festival was going on this weekend, and it just so happened to be occurring in the street directly in front of the restaurant.  I'll leave the visuals to your imagination, but let's just say it wasn't the quiet and peaceful ambiance I had envisioned for the evening.

After our waiter rattled off a few specials, we selected the "Trio of Appetizers" to begin our meal.  It included Carolina Lump Crabcakes with Crispy Fingerling Chips and Grilled Red Onion Salad, Pan Roasted PEI Mussels, and  Stuffed Georgia Hushpuppies with Rock Shrimp, Crawfish, and Creamed Leeks.  Based on the description, we assumed it would be a small sample size portion of each appetizer.  Needless to say, we were a bit shocked when this arrived at our table!  All three dishes were delicious and a great start to our meal.

For our main courses, we elected to combine salads and small plates rather than order a traditional entree.  

Dad's Selections:  South Carolina Mixed Greens Salad + Low Country Shrimp and Grits
Compared to the other dishes, this was very disappointing.  Rather than shrimp and grits highlighting the dish, it was instead a pile of peppers, greens, and  overpowering sauce with 3 tiny shrimp and a spoonful of grits.
Mom's Selections:  Hydrocress and Strawberry Salad + Fennel Sausage and Fresh Ricotta Pizza
Absolutely delicious!.  Perfectly seasoned sausage (without the normal greasiness that I despise), creamy ricotta, and flavorful tomato sauce.
My Selections:  Seafood Gumbo + Roasted Wild Mushrooms
Very tasty soup and chock full of seafood.  Unfortunately, it was insanely rich and I only ate  a few spoonfuls before opting to save the rest for an easy microwaved meal later in the week.
The sauteed mushrooms were seasoned with garlic, shallots, rosemary, and thyme.    I'd consider this side dish to be only average.  While tasty, for $9 I expected a mix of wild mushrooms rather than purely plain jane white button mushrooms.
The service overall was good.  The courses were well spaced and food arrived promptly, yet without feeling rushed.  Our server, however, left something to be desired.  His specials "speech" seemed forcibly memorized and he never once made eye contact with us, choosing instead to talk towards the ceiling.

So, do you want the final verdict?  A unique menu with many highlights and a couple low-lights. I'd definitely be back for the flatbread pizza, and  would be interested in trying several other items on the menu that sounded tasty. However, despite many of the glowing reviews I read, I'm not so sure I'd agree that it's one of Charlotte's best restaurants.  The Cowfish and 131 Main still hold that spot in my belly!

Overall a delicious meal that we all enjoyed!  Thanks Mom and Dad for treating me! 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Nocturnal Eats

Working nights does some crazy things to one's appetite!  I'm half-way thru my stretch of 4 nights, and my stomach is completely confused as to when it is hungry and which particular meal is appropriate.  I've always looked forward to the next meal and rarely find myself NOT hungry.  On nights, though, I never really feel hungry and have to remind myself to eat something nutritious.  Fortunately, our hospital cafeteria is open 24 hours a day and has a decent selection of options even in the late night and early morning hours.  Here's a look at the past 24 hours of eats.

8am - kashi cereal, melon
     [ very unsuccessful attempt to get some quality sleep in the brightness of day ]
4pm - banana with peanut butter
7pm - hummus and veggie wrap
11pm - few chocolate squares (self-medicating my hatred of the pager)

12:30am - baked fish, quinoa, tilapia
3:30am - fig newtons
7am - yogurt, kashi cereal, berries, decaf coffee

Looking forward to getting back to days and finding my appetite again!  Until then, let the vampire hours continue.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Multi-Grain Chia Seed Pancakes

I hope you were drooling over the pancakes I posted last week.  If not, you really should be.  They were that good!  I'm not a big fan of following recipes to a tee, so this is a combination of several recipes that I customized as I saw fit.  Enjoy!

Multi-Grain Chia Seed Pancakes with Banana and Maple Peanut Butter Syrup

Pancake Ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup oats (texture is best if you pulse them in a food processor a few times)
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 3/4 cups milk
2 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp flax seeds
Juice of 1/2 of a lemon
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder 

Syrup Ingredients:
1 part natural peanut butter
1 part maple syrup

1.  Combine milk, chia seeds, and flax seeds.  Allow this to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.  The mixture will thicken slightly.
2.  Combine flours, oats, cornmeal, cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder.  Mix well.
3.  Add honey and lemon juice to the milk mixture.
4.  Gently fold wet ingredients into dry.  Do not overmix.  If the mixture seems too thick, add milk to reach your desired consistency.
5.  Pour 1/3 cup mix onto a griddle heated to 375 degrees.  Cook approximately 2 minutes per side or until bubbling around the edges.
6.  For the syrup, combine equal parts peanut butter and syrup.  Heat on medium power in the microwave for approximately 30 seconds.  Stir to combine.
7.  Top your hot-off-the-griddle pancakes with sliced banana and peanut butter syrup.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Catching Up On Life

Today was my first day off in 26 days.  Needless to say, I've pretty much been living at the hospital.

It's amazing how long a to-do list can become when you've been too busy to deal with normal things for nearly 4 weeks.  While I was determined to make progress on the list, I also wanted to soak up the day and enjoy some sleep and relaxation as well.  Aside from the fact that the day passed way too quickly, it was a great day!

Sleep was a priority!  Sleeping until 7:45am (3.5 hours later than usual) never felt so good!
Multi-grain Chia Seed Pancakes with Banana and Maple Peanut Butter Syrup
(recipe to follow)
Perfect Lazy Morning = a cup of tea, pancake breakfast, and lounging in pjs watching The Today Show
Long run past the Myers Park mansions.
It might be the middle of August, but it was a beautiful 79 degrees this morning.
Afternoon nourishment:  Salmon salad, crackers with herb cheese, hydration, and a good book.
Now if only I could have kept my eyes open long enough to get past page 1.
Oh well, I've never regretted a nap!
At home, the grocery situation was getting to be pretty pathetic.  As residents, the hospital provides all of our meals.  The food is surprisingly good and there is typically a wide variety of options.  As a result, I eat breakfast and lunch there each day.  As of late, my hours have been on the long side, and so I've been frequenting the cafeteria for dinner as well.

For the first time in 2 weeks, I was actually in need of some food to cook for myself at home.  My refrigerator contained a variety of condiments, rice milk, a single container of yogurt, flax seeds, spinach, and an apple.  Not exactly dinner worthy.  I must say I was very excited to make a trip to the grocery store!  I love the process of wandering the isles and finding great deals, and have been known to frequent the store a couple times each week.  Can you believe I hadn't been to the grocery store in 3 weeks!?!

Tonight's meal was compliments of one of my favorite cookbooks:
Do yourself a favor and add this book to your collection ASAP!

Looks delicious, right?
My version.  Lots of prep work, but incredibly delicious!  My favorite tofu dish I've created.
No better way to end a perfect day!
Salted caramel froyo with waffle cone pieces, caramel, raspberries, and dark chocolate chips.
And now I'm off to bed.  Does my perfect day really have to end??  Back to the trauma bay in the morning.

Monday, August 1, 2011


1 month down, 59 to go.  I bid farewell to the pediatric surgery service last night and officially marked the end of my first month of residency - 1.67% of a five year program is behind me.  Month one flew by!  The 59 months ahead of me seems a little daunting though, so I think I'll just focus on completing month one rather than on the long road ahead!

Tonight I start on the trauma service!  I've always enjoyed my trauma rotations in the past.  There's a degree of excitement that come with each unknown patient and scenario that rolls in the emergency room doors and I enjoy the fast pace and constantly changing circumstances.

With the new hours regulations for interns, my schedule for the month is a crazy mix of nights (7pm - 9am), regular days (6am - 5pm), and long days (6am - 8pm).  For those of you who don't know, the bigwigs who create the rules for medical education initiated a new set of work hour regulations for first year residents beginning July 2011.

-  Maximum daily work hours = 16
-  Minimum hours between shifts (8 = required, 10 = recommended)
-  Maximum number of hours per week = 80
-  Average number of days off per week = 1

Therefore, the standard 30 hour work day is a thing of the past and programs have had to retool and get creative to both meet the regulations and maintain superior patient care.  There are certainly growing pains associated with the new system - more hand-offs in patient care and discontinuity between day and night shifts.  All of us interns have heard plenty of jokes about being weak, needing our "naptime", and having it so easy compared to all of the residents who came before us.  I'm still not quite sure what part of working 80 hours a week is easy, but I'm trying to just go with the flow.  Somebody has to be the guinea pigs, and our intern class is just lucky enough to be the chosen few.

31 days down, 1794 days to go!