I've been away, mentally, for the last couple of months.
I've discovered the funny thing that no one tells you - that figuring out your first job after training will be acutely stressful and emotionally trying. Well not exactly - of course I knew it would be stressful, but the magnitude was unexpected. In retrospect, I should have seen it coming. The lengthy on-ramp to a career in medicine allows you to have tunnel vision, to some extent. For the longest time, the next step ahead of you is rather obvious - med school, residency, fellowship.
One day, somewhere in your last year of fellowship, you realize that you've just about arrived at a yawning chasm - there is no obvious next step, and you really have to decide what you're going to do with your life. Ok - perhaps a little bit dramatic, but needless to say, you can't have everything, and choosing your first job calls into question what's important to you, and where you really want to be going (personally and professionally). You know, the Big Life Questions that you must answer for yourself, as honestly as possible.
Let's just say, you will miss the match.
This decision making process, although difficult, is something I'm glad that we went through. It reaffirmed our priorities and refined our plans for the next several years. I also met some wonderful people.
For a representation of the experience, I'll just share this photo of a hemlock maze from a sculpture garden in Windsor, VT, aptly named the Path of Life. The maze represents the beginning of childhood and exploration.
And a special thanks to Braeburn Siberians for allowing us to spend an afternoon with an incredible team of huskies!
I am deeply thankful for my friends, family, and mentors who have helped me so much in this process. Thanks for reading.
I love bananas. For that reason, the hardest part about making banana bread is simply having any leftover overripe bananas (breakfast is frequently a banana with a peanut butter schmear). On the rare occasion that I do have overripe bananas sitting around, they go into banana bread. I'm not sure there's anything better than the smell of warm banana bread studded with walnuts - there's a reason why it's a classic, for sure. One of my favorite things is making banana bread when I'm visiting Mom over the holidays - she always has some old bananas lying around. I'm also a big proponent of not wasting food, and nothing is better than taking some ugly ol' bananas and transforming them into a delicious quick bread. Quick bread is the only way to go. Because I'm not sitting around waiting for dough to rise. Just...no. Not ever (sadly, this is the only thing standing between me and cinnamon buns).
This banana bread is lightened up a little bit, with greek yogurt substituted in for half of the butter. I also used a half/half mixture of whole wheat and white flour. You can enjoy this banana bread however you want - plain, in sandwich form, with peanut butter, jam....maybe nutella.... It doesn't really matter; it's delicious no matter how you cut it.
Makes one 9x5 loaf
4 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup greek yogurt (2%)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten
3 large overripe bananas, smashed (the browner the better)
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup white flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Combine all ingredients except flour and walnuts. Stir until well-combined
3. Add flour to wet ingredients, gently stir in until just combined. Do not over-mix
4. Pour batter into an oiled 9x5 loaf pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean
Since Christmas, the temperature has dropped back to seasonally appropriate face-numbing cold. We had a wonderful Christmas in New York, with lots and lots of delicious everything (thx K/JB!) I stumbled across this chicken soup recipe when Zite offered me "The Most Important Recipes You Should Master Before You Turn 30". I'm not sure how you decide what recipes you need to have under your belt by age X, but nonetheless, I was intrigued. Perusing the list, some recipes were less exciting (Potatoes Dauphinoise?), some more (I'm looking at you, Beef Bourguignon).
I settled on a tried and true standard; a chicken soup that just looked too good to pass up. I mean, chicken soup is not really exciting, but it's the food equivalent to your best pair of sweatpants. Plus my previous soup attempts have generally proved disappointing (mostly chili, mostly blah), so I thought it was time to attempt another hearty winter soup. I'm glad I tried again. I love this recipe because of its zest - the chicken is ever so slightly spicy, and the dill and lemon juice really brighten everything up. I modified the original recipe, cooking the chicken stovetop instead of roasting it, and cutting back the sodium. I also used dried dill. If you want to warm your belly and soul, don't miss this soup!
Chicken Noodle & Dill Soup
1 lb skinless boneless chicken breast tenders
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp black pepper
1 large onion, diced
3 large carrots, sliced
3 large stalks celery, chopped
5 tsp garlic, minced
Two 14-oz cans of chicken stock (1 sodium reduced, 1 regular)
4 cups water
2 cups pasta (I used fusilli)
Juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup dried dill (or fresh dill to your taste)
1. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat (4). Prepare onion, carrot, and celery
2. Add onion, carrot, and celery to heated oil and cook for 8-9 minutes stirring occasionally
3. While vegetables cook, mix garlic, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, oregano, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Gently coat chicken breast pieces with the spices
4. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a medium sized pan, over medium heat (4). Cook chicken breast for ~5-7 minutes, or until done, depending on the thickness. Allow chicken to brown slightly before flipping; this will develop the flavor more
4. Return to the vegetables. Add garlic, and cook for 1 minute. Add chicken stock and water, then turn to high heat and let soup come to a boil.
5. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low, and stir in pasta. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until pasta is al dente. While pasta cooks, shred the chicken.
6. Combine lemon juice, dill, and cooked chicken with the soup. Adjust seasonings to taste, and enjoy immediately