Sunday, May 30, 2010

I Will Survive

FINALLY....a free moment to catch you up to speed. I started Physician Assistant graduate school  two weeks ago and I have been on the go every minute since. The program is tough, but I'm managing just fine. It is a LOT more studying than I have ever done for anything, but it makes the days go by really fast. I busted my butt the whole first week (and weekend) studying for my first exam; it was on Tuesday of this last week, and it was in anatomy, my hardest class by far. I earned at 89%, equal to the class average. It was nice to see I was on par with my classmates and that all my hard work paid off. Now I know what I have to do for the rest of the tests....lots of butt busting ahead.

I have also managed to make a lot of new friends and have some fun during the last two weeks as well. I really like all of my classmates; no one seems to be hard to get along with or unlikeable. Everyone is very friendly and outgoing. We have already gone on a tubing trip, organized a BBQ and attended another and played several games of beach volleyball. I have met several girls who I really enjoy spending time/studying with, but have made pretty close friendships (already!) with a girl named Keri and a girl named Bryanna. Bryanna lives across the parking lot from me, which makes it super easy to get together and study. Also, we have decided that to do a little stress busting; we are going to train for a 5K that we will run in July or August. I'm so excited! I am not a runner...AT ALL...but I found a cool web site that is a training plan called "couch to 5K"; it trains you slowly and is meant for people who are not used to running. Keri and I met at our first orientation and have really hit it off. It is nice to have a friend in the program who knows exactly how you feel. We have been doing a lot of studying/work on projects lately, so we took a road trip to the west side of the state today to relax and enjoy the sun. The beach was GORGEOUS, but we are both a little crispy around the edges.

Even with all this school and my recent activities, I have still found time to do some experimenting in the kitchen....I have three yummy new recipes to share!

Chicken Calzone
Dough for 1 pizza
6 chicken breast tenders, cooked and chopped
1 cup Colby Jack cheese

Tomato sauce:
1 small can Hunt's tomato sauce
1 tomato, diced
2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
1 tbs fresh sweet basil, chopped
1/4 chopped red onion
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt/pepper to taste
Saute onions in butter in a medium sauce pan. Add all other ingredients and simmer for 1 hour on low heat.

Spread dough out on pizza pan . Pour sauce on 1/2 of the circle of dough, leaving 1/2 inch around the outer edge. Place chicken and cheese on top of the sauce. Fold the dough over the filled half and crimp edges shut. Brush top of dough with olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown, about 25 minutes.

TOO Cheese Burger (Tomato, Oregano, Onion)
1/4 lb lean hamburger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 cup shredded cheese
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
1 tbs red onion, chopped
1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped

Blend all ingredients into meat with hands. Form into a patty and place on grill. Cook to desired done-ness.

For toppings, I suggest spinach, mayo and honey mustard to give a slightly sweet zing. You don't need much...the burger has a ton of flavor!

Egg-cellent Breakfast Bun
1 egg
1/4 cup shredded cheese
2 slices Roasted turkey (lunch meat)
1/4 cup spinach
1 tomato, sliced
Whole wheat bun, toasted

Fry the egg until cooked through and yoke is hard. At the same time, brown the turkey in a little bit of butter. Spread mayo on the toasted bun and layer with turkey, spinach and tomato. Shut off heat to pan and cover egg with cheese, allowing to melt. Place egg on bun.

With all this food, it's a good thing I'm going to be doing all that running!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bon Appetit!

MMM Food post! I've been doing all kinds of cooking in the new place and wanted to share the goods...well, at least pictures of the goods. First up, we have stuffed pecan chicken that I made for a dinner with my parents.

Stuffed Pecan Chicken
Chicken Breasts, hammered flat
1 pkg Pre-Cooked Bacon, chopped
10 Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp. Onion Grass, chopped
1 tsp. Fresh Basil, Chopped
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup Pecans, chopped
1 cup Pecans, crushed

Mix together tomatoes, herbs, and bacon.
Add olive oil, parmesan cheese and chopped pecans.
Spoon a thin layer of mixture on flattened chicken breast and begin rolling. Secure chicken with toothpicks and place in a greased, glass baking dish. Repeat with each piece of chicken. Drizzle chicken lightly with more olive oil and cover with crushed pecans.
And we can't forget dessert... Blueberry Sorbet!

Blueberry Sorbet
2 cups Frozen Blueberries
3/4 cup Water
1/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
2 tsp Splenda

Place berries and water in blender. Blend until smooth. Add cream and Splenda, and blend until well combined. Scoop into bowls and place in freezer until hardened. Remove and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Tonight, I felt like making pizza, from scratch. I even made the dough...yummy!

Pizza Dough (from Food Magizine)
3 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/3 cup warm water
1 tbs sugar
1 packet yeast
3 tbs olive oil

Whisk flour and salt. Create a well and pour in warm water, sugar and yeast. When foaming, add olive oil and knead dough until smooth. Brush dough with a little more olive oil and then place in a dish and cover for an hour and 30 minutes. Dough will double in size within that time. Split dough in half. Recipe yields enough dough for two pizzas.

I made two pizzas: Pepperoni and Peppers and a Spinach and Artichoke  Stuffed-Crust Pizza.

Pepperoni and Peppers
1 cup pizza sauce
1 cup green peppers
1 cup banana peppers
2 cups colby jack cheese

Spread dough out on a pizza pan. Spread sauce out on dough leaving one inch of space all the way around. Place pepperoni over top of sauce. Layer with peppers. Cover with cheese. Brush dough edges with olive oil and bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is browned.

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed-Crust Pizza
8 Mozzarella cheese sticks
1 cup spinach
1 can quartered artichokes, drained
1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
2 tbs butter
4 tbs cream cheese
1 tbs heavy cream
1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped

Spread dough out onto pan. Place cheese sticks along edge of the dough. Fold the dough over the cheese and seal the edges down. For the sauce, saute onions and oregano in butter. Add cream cheese and allow to melt. Whisk in heavy cream. Spread sauce over dough. Place a layer of shredded parmesan cheese over the sauce. Cover parmesan cheese with a layer of artichokes and then a layer of spinach. Cover with a layer of mozzarella cheese. Brush dough edges with olive oil and bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is lightly browned.

And my favorite compliment to any meal...

As Promised...

View from the front door...
Looking down the stairs, back at the door (notice the cute curtain Mom made)...
Bedroom, looking left from the door
Looking right....
Straight ahead...
Top of the stair landing looking left into the living room...
Other end of the living room, looking back toward the landing...
Dining room from the living room...
Looking into the kitchen from the dining room...
Home sweet home!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Blooms from Behind

In Full Bloom

Bigger and Better

What a whirlwind month! Blogging has taken a back seat to cleaning, packing, unpacking and organizing, but things have finally calmed down enough to catch up. I finished working on the 27th of April and can’t even explain how happy I am to be done. I enjoyed working with my patients, but was pretty burned out. A full time schedule in that line of work really drains me and makes me enjoy going to work each day less and less. I appreciate the experience that I gained while working these past few months, but it was time for me to move on to bigger and better things.

And speaking of moving on, I have moved into my new apartment with Deirdre. I cleaned up and hauled all my crap across town with lots, and lots, and LOTS of help from Mom, Dad, Michael and one of his friends….I owe a lot of people “thank-you” dinner. We got everything moved in on Friday and by Friday night, I had everything unpacked and organized; I hate going to sleep with all that mess looming over my head. I was a little worried about the apartment to begin with; I wasn’t sure I was happy with the space. It is smaller than my last apartment and not as nice, but it is also about 500 dollars a month less in rent and utilities. However, after unpacking and decorating the space, I have really fallen in love with our place. Indy didn’t like the move to begin with, but we are both slowly adjusting.

Deirdre moved her things in on Sunday and we have been enjoying the apartment and each other’s company this past week. She and I lived together during undergrad at Ferris and got along very well, so I hope this year will be similar. We have invited several friends over for a “housewarming” BBQ tomorrow and I can’t wait for everyone to see the new place!

Pictures will be up soon, I promise!