PA school, SuperBowl, and Cooking

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The finished product

 

Hi!

I know it’s been a while. Currently, I am in Physician Assistant school. I started in October and am currently in my second quarter. Life has been mostly tunnel vision, as will be evidenced by my line of thinking as to why I will even be going to a SuperBowl party tonight. The classes I am taking right now are Clinical Assessment and Management I, Pharmacotherapeutics I, Medical Pathology and Genetics, and Clinical Laboratory Medicine. We have already finished three weeks in the quarter, and last week was already a stressful week. In addition, we have another stressful week coming up tomorrow: half of the class has OSLERs tomorrow, and the other half has them on Wednesday. (OSLERs are simulated patient experiences where we are given a chief complaint, and we need to do a full history and physical, order the right tests, come up with the right diagnosis, and prescribe the correct treatment.) On Tuesday, we have our first pharm exam, followed by a clinical lab medicine quiz on Wednesday, an independent study for public health that is the size of a paper due on Thursday, and a clinical lab medicine midterm on Friday.

So, my line of reasoning for going to a SuperBowl party tonight? First, I will get dinner at the party so I won’t have to worry about it. Second, it is being hosted by a classmate, and other classmates will be studying for the upcoming week, us being nerds and having no time, but still wanting to have a life. To bring something to the party, I decided to make monkey bread. So much of SuperBowl food is savory, so I wanted to make something sweet. I had seen Buzzfeed Tasty recipes for monkey bread and thought that the process wasn’t too involved.

I found the following recipe after going to the store and buying what I thought was everything I didn’t already have at home: http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a49722/apple-fritter-monkey-bread-recipe/ and made it with a few modifications: I only used half of the butter for the biscuit dough and only half of the cinnamon sugar that was specified. I also didn’t peel the apples because I could be using that time to make flashcards instead. The first mistake I made was not tossing the apples in a brown sugar mixture, and when I tried sprinkling brown sugar on the top layer of the apples in the bread pan, it settled on the biscuit dough instead. The second mistake I made was that I did not buy powdered sugar for the glaze. Having cooked before and knowing what flavors worked well, I decided to go out again to the store, purchase some cream cheese icing, and melting it in the microwave to use as a glaze instead. We’ll see how it turns out. It’s the thought that counts, right! As I’m a graduate student, I would love to have tips on how to save money and time cooking recipes. I’ve already learned some hacks, but I’d love to learn more!

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Update

Hello!

Life has been really busy. In August, I had finished organic chemistry and went on a camping trip in Shenandoah National Park with my parents and my boyfriend. It was my boyfriend’s first trip in a while, and he really enjoyed it. He had had some negative experiences in Boy Scouts, and I was glad that we got to spend time with my parents and re-introduce him to camping. Particular highlights of the trip included encountering deer near our campsite, hiking an easy mile of the Appalachian Trail, and listening to a ridge runner talk about her experiences hiking the Trail from both directions.

By the end of August, I had started taking medical terminology and abnormal psychology classes, and I am enjoying both. I also started precepting to be an Attendant in Charge at my rescue squad. I am excited about the possibilities of additional leadership and responsibilities. My boyfriend and I have also been taking more dance classes and practicing together. He is new to dancing, and I am not, but we are hoping to compete at some point together. Come September, I had gotten the opportunity to interview at a physician assistant school. Unfortunately, I did not get accepted, but the interview experience was a good experience overall.

Most of October was spent focused on schoolwork. On Halloween weekend, I attended a major ballroom competition called DC Dancesport Inferno without a partner. Most of my TBA experiences were great, especially since most of the time, my former partner, who had turned professional, was willing to step in as a last resort. The only negative experience I had was during the standard rounds, when I told my TBA person (not my former partner) that I couldn’t follow certain figures. He proceeded to lead them anyway. He also thought that he could alter my step length and frame within five minutes. Overall, I was pleased with my dancing despite my lack of consistent practice with or without a partner and despite lack of recalls. I also had some fun! I did get recalls and placed during a 3-person standard and smooth fun dance, though! It is still so inspiring to watch the more advanced dancers.

A few days later, my second nephew was born. So far, his temperament is unlike that of my first nephew. The newborn is a lot more quiet than the 3-year old nephew is. It made the second bris even more jarring than the first one because the baby went from quiet and context to wailing. Next up for me is finishing up my fall classes, interviewing for another PA school in December, and traveling to Israel on Birthright with my boyfriend! Hope everyone else is doing well!

So You Think You Can Dance

Hey readers!
I haven’t posted in a while because of family things and PA applications. Three days ago, I finally submitted my application, and I’m really excited about it. This post is about the show So You Think You Can Dance. For those unfamiliar with the show, it takes talented dancers and tasks them with dances in a variety of genres. I was unable to see the show when it aired last night because I was on call at the rescue squad. Most people wanted to watch Cops, but I got to see it this morning. Thankfully, I didn’t watch it last night because the results would have made me yell at the TV.
As a ballroom dancer, I keep getting frustrated with how the general public reacts to the genre. Because the top twenty did not have a night to showcase their own styles and immediately started competing, they were all put into their own styles in pairs last week. When I saw the videos last Thursday, I became fearful for the ballroom dancers. I had a feeling that they would be in the bottom this week.
Why, you ask? In the past, those who have done ballroom styles as their dance for the week tend to be in the bottom of the votes. I don’t know why the audience doesn’t connect to ballroom. It doesn’t have the emotional pull that contemporary or jazz does and doesn’t seem as overtly technical. It’s not as loud as hip hop. That is wrong, though. Ballroom may not have a specific story to it because it started out as a social form and not a technical form. However, each dance has its own character, and technique is incredibly difficult.
Unfortunately, my fears came to pass. Four out of the six ballroom dancers on the show were on the bottom this week, and two of them went home. And don’t even get me started on how the tappers or ballerinas aren’t going to be dancing their own genre again because it doesn’t happen during the regular show. A ballroom dancer hasn’t won the entire show since season 2. The audience needs to wake up and appreciate the ballroom dancers.

Memorial Day weekend trip with family

HI everyone!

I know it’s been a while since I’ve written. Taking organic chemistry and putting together applications for PA school will do that to me. For those interested in travel, I wanted to give a quick trip report on our trip into Abingdon, VA. My family and I stayed there to do the Virginia Creeper Trail. It’s a bike trail that starts at Whitetop Mountain, goes to Damascus, and ends in Abingdon.  We stayed at a place called A Tailor’s Lodging.

On our first day, we were fortunate enough to be in town on the one day of the year the city puts on the Plumb Alley Day.  It is a fair with lots of vendors.  Although most of the stations are personal yard sales, the proceeds go to charity.  That night, we saw a play at the Barter Theater called Educating Rita. It was a two-person show that was executed well. The next day, we biked the Creeper Trail in the morning. We were only able to get to Damascus, but the scenery was incredibly gorgeous. Parts of the trail intersect with the Appalachian Trail, and since it was the right time of year for thru-hikers to pass through this part of the trail, we saw a few of them.  The one caveat to the trail is that there are lots of rocks on it, and not everyone is safe when they pass you. However, I’d still highly recommend the trail.

The next day, we traveled to Grayson Highlands State Park, which offers several lovely hiking trails, some of which intersect the AT. We hiked the Twin Pinnacles Trail, which leads to the highest summit in the park.  The visibility was very far, and the views were amazing at the top. The trail is considered a moderate trail.

We went to two amazing restaurants on the trip: 128 Pecan and Wild Flour. We went to 128 Pecan for lunch and Wild Flour for breakfast. I had an amazing challah French toast platter.  Unfortunately, we were unable to go to any more restaurants because it was Memorial Day weekend. I have heard that there are many more incredible restaurants in Abingdon.

Catching Up

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Hi readers!

     It’s been a while since I’ve written.  A lot has happened in the past two weeks: my family has visited, I am applying to PA schools, I took my finals, my grandmother is switching living locations after a fall, and I got into a major car accident (all parties are fine).  I wanted to talk about the fun children’s activities and other activities that we did while my family was visiting in Richmond.  Everyone came down- one brother, his wife, and son from Philadelphia, and my other brother from Orlando.

     One of the fun activities that we all did with my nephew was go to the Children’s Museum.  Among the activities were water play, slides, a train ride, diner, veterinarian, story time, and fire truck.  Another fun activity for all ages was going to the Metro Richmond Zoo. The enclosures are large and well-suited to the animals.  Instead of categorizing the animals into areas, they were interspersed, which I happened to enjoy more.  The main draw was the cheetah exhibit. It is a rarity to breed cheetahs in captivity, and five of them were born.  Although I was able to see all five of them, one of them unfortunately died. The rest of the children’s activities were visiting the University of Richmond lake to walk around and watch the ducks and going to Deep Run Park to the playground. We also got to go to a farmer’s market. 

     In terms of restaurants, the entire family went to Q Barbecue. The hushpuppies there are amazing. The brother from Orlando, Mom, Dad, and I went to Buz and Ned’s, which was incredible.  For Sunday brunch, the entire group, including my grandmother, went to Selba.  The food, atmosphere, and portions were good as well as the service.

Great Passover and Year-round Recipe

I had to post this picture and the link to the recipe.

http://www.joyofkosher.com/recipes/baked-goat-cheese-with-ricotta-and-sweet-roasted-tomatoes/

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From Joy of Kosher’s website

I’m not a fan of goat cheese, but I loved this dish.  I guess it was the combination of ricotta and tomato as well that did it for me.  We were having company over, and she is a vegetarian.  I thought: vegetarian and Passover- what is my mom going to do, since I was at class when she arrived and could not help with the cooking.  The end product was this, although our presentation was not as good.

The reason I’m waxing poetic about this is because when you find a kosher for Passover recipe that you can imagine eating for the rest of the year with no modifications, then it is a good recipe.  Most kosher for Passover recipes, particularly those with matzah or matzah derivatives, are very dense and unappetizing for the rest of the year compared to their normal year-round preparations.  So, what I’m trying to say is, when you find a recipe like this, you hold on tightly to it! Enjoy!

Mindful eating

On Friday, I listened to a TED health talk about mindful eating. To see the talk, click on this website: http://www.ted.com/talks/sandra_aamodt_why_dieting_doesn_t_usually_work.  The concept of mindful eating is the concept that you only start eating when you are hungry and stop when you’re full.  Sounds like an easy concept, right? Wrong! (At least for me.) I really enjoy eating.  I love trying new combinations and different cultural cuisines (well, within certain parameters- no weird body parts, and no shellfish because I’m allergic).

If something tastes really good, especially if I’ve gone out to eat and paid for it, I want to just eat it all, no matter how full I feel.  Sometimes, I also feel hungry all the time, and I feel like I have to curb my hunger.  For a long time, I’ve constantly thought about food all day: What do I feel like eating? How long do I have to wait before it’s acceptable to eat something again? Am I eating the right things? Why do I feel hungry all of the time? If so, should I be constantly eating anyway? Why am I not feeling hungry at all? If so, should I force myself to eat anyway? This type of thinking drives me insane.

Sandra Aamodt says that the main reason diets don’t work is because when you’re not dieting, you binge on the forbidden food.  I am experiencing this right now because I am observing Passover.  Even though I do not usually eat lots of bread products, I am constantly craving them because it is forbidden to me right now.  I’m also craving the extra things that are forbidden during Passover, such as corn, beans, lentils, peas, rice, peanuts, and all of their by-products.  The concept that Aamodt is trying to push is to not feel guilty about occasionally eating the dessert.  She’s also not saying to not watch the quality of the food you’re eating.  The concept is to eat healthy, and the occasional dessert in moderation but to let your body dictate portion control.

She also says to eat without any distractions.  That component is difficult for me because when I eat alone, I tend to do things on my iPhone or occasionally read a book.  However, distractions  take your mind away from how hungry or full your body is feeling.  Aamodt also says that integrating these concepts takes a full year to achieve, and I now understand why.  So, in summary, I am trying to integrate these concepts into my own life.  I’m welcome to any thoughts.  Have any nutrition lifestyle changes worked for you.  Comment if you like!