Monday, November 30, 2009

Chickity China the Chinese Chicken

I packed my lunch for today, last night as usual. I generally am much healthier when I come with prepared food, because if I wait and allow myself to chose food at the time I am hungry, it rarely ends with a very nutritious outcome.

I had packed myself some Trader Joe's nonfat plain yogurt mixed with defrosted frozen pineapple and cherries from Trader Joes. It was a very tasty combination. I think those are my two favorite fruits. I ate that for breakfast before my first lab.

For lunch I brought my norm: salad.

This salad was looking pretty spectacular too. It included:

1 small head romaine lettuce
hot banana peppers
frozen carrots
water chestnuts
sunflower seeds
honey roasted sesame sticks

Though this sounded very good... it did not seem like it would be completely satisfying. I had left BU between labs to go to a doctors appointment and was tempted by the Chinese Lunch Specials at the Beijing Cafe. ... Say what you will, but I find their food to be very good, and their service is quick, though not always very friendly. They have recieved some bad reviews in regards to the cleanliness,... but... I still go there for better or for worse.

I decided on the General Gua's Chicken Lunch special (basically generals chicken and steamed white rice.) This was the first time I purchased meat all by myself. The last piece of meat I actually ate before becoming a vegetarian had been general's chicken, so it seemed fitting. I had actually been a vegetarian for about 2 months, but kept having the most absurd cravings for Chinese chicken, so I got an order, and then resumed my vegetarianism.

Beijing Cafe has really good, and interestingly textured vegetarian general gua's chicken, which I highly recommend, unfortunately they do not offer this on the lunch specials. They do have general gua's tofu, which is pretty good, but not quite as satisfyingly crunchy.

The lunch special was a little boring looking and lacking in the veggie department, so I decided to compromise and combine the best of both worlds by mixing my Chinese take out with my salad.

I also used a little duck sauce as a "salad dressing"

and of course, no Asian meal would be complete without a fortune cookie!

I think I have gotten this fortune like 50 times throughout my life. I hate to disappoint you little fortune cookie, but I still have never gone further west than Pennsylvanian!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Satisfying a Sweet Craving

"I have had an absurd craving for maple syrup for a good week now," I confessed.
"Why don't you put it in oatmeal?" Jessica suggested,

... and this is one of the many reasons why I love her: for her brilliant ideas.

I refused to buy or make pancakes or waffles, because they are just one of those foods that I cannot eat in moderation no matter how hard I try. Furthermore, my binge eating has been particularily bad lately. I blame it partially on the change of season and over all depression setting in.

I generally love oatmeal, but lately I haven't had it. I have been on a fruit and yogurt kick for breakfast for quite a while now.

This was partially because during the summer I wanted something cold. Also, now that I have been working pretty much every day its easiest for me to bring something I can pack up and bring along with me. I have had some bad experiences trying to travel with oatmeal, plus it requires heating it up.

I do keep oatmeal in my locker at work though, for a convenient. healthy meal when I do not have time or motivation to bring something with me.

So today, I decided to finally conquer my syrup craving! I cooked up a bowl of oats, then added in pancake syrup and cinnamon.

Success! I got a nice serving of warm, wholesome whole grains in, and I kicked my craving, finally, without even having to bust out the pancakes which I would have inevitably regretted.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Yuck, Peas!

Today in my salad I decided to add some peas. I hadn't had peas in quite a while, and my, oh, my were they tasty!

Growing up, my older sister, Tara, HATED peas vehemently. She actually hated most vegetables, and still doesn't eat very many other when I am there to force her.

Being the younger sister, however, I wanted to be just like my older sister, so I used to complain how much I hated peas too, despite the fact that I actually liked them.

Its a good thing I finally decided to stop trying to be like my older sister, or I certainly would not have wound up in the field I am currently in and Loving!

Plus she's kind of a weirdo anyway...

Here she is trying to be a lobster, using bread sticks in a fancy restaurant:

We Doherty Girls, We keep it classy.

So what are you waiting for, go out and try out some long-lost-love of a vegetable!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How do you have time to blog??

I am chronically complaining that I have no time. Clearly the truth is I have 24 hours in a day just like everyone else, I just need to learn to manipulate my schedule a lil better.

My current Schedule includes:

* Massachusetts General Hospital ~ 20 hours/ week
* Boston University Teaching Assistant ~ 20 hours/ week
* St. Elizabeth's Per Diem ~20-40 hours/ week
* Caritas Carney Hospital 5 hrs/ week (plus annoyingly long commute)

* Class Not as much time as I should be spending on it!

I have also learned that all work and no play really does make Johnny (erm, Jamie) a dull girl. During my undergrad I started off as Pre-med... lets just say "pre-med weed out classes" have their purpose, and I was definitely weeded out. Consequently my GPA was pretty abysmal Freshman year, and every year after that was basically struggling to bring it up. I unfortunately focused so much on school work and not enough on the rest of life.

I am back to trying to create a balance between school, work, playtime, me time, and the ever-important sleep that I frequently neglect.

Usually when I get busy things get eliminated in this order:
1. Working out
2. Sleep
3. Going Out
4. Showering
5. work/school work
6. Eating....
I somehow always make time for eating, whenever I am really busy or struggling financially my parents always ask if I am eating ok, I inform them that is one of my top priorities and it tends not to get cut out... I can do without a lot but we all have out little luxuries. I may not cook persay, but I'll take the time to eat something.

I've also come to realize- I can't do work ALL the time, no matter how I try. I always feel guilty if I am not at least attempting to do something productive. At any given time I can usually be found with something I need to do (for instance, last Friday I went out with my Labs quizzes to grade in case I had time on the train... )

But really - somethings require more mental energy than is available in a short period of time such as on your commute or when I want to multitask at work during my lunch break...

I have started taking the Metro when I go on the T, because that tiny bit of news may be just as valuable as that one paper I wind up half-heartedly grading, and when I have a spare 5 minutes at work, or before bed, I write blogs rather than logging onto Blackboard and trying to work on a homework assignment that I really need to just sit down and do when I have an hour to dedicate to it.

Life is all about balance. And I am working to reprioritize and reorganize myself. So, despite my "lack of time", I hope to continue to take a little bit of time out of my day for myself, such as through blogging, and making time for friends and family <3

Here's my current lil "family", Dan, Sookie and myself

Eclectic Edibles!

Based on my post a few days ago, I realized I could probably write an entire blog about salads, however, upon further consideration I realize I put so many various things in them they basically all wind up looking like a jumbled mess of vegetables and consequently all looking the same.

Nonetheless, I set off for lunch to make off a phenomenal salad.

I started by cooking the plantains J. gave me the other day, as at least one of them was looking sufficiently black and overly ripe.

I decided to fry them in a frying pan with a little vegetable oil, I got a bit distracted by doing dishes and they wound up rather burnt, but still tasty.

I also bought some bok choy recently so I steamed that.

Into the salad went:
Broccoli Slaw
Romaine Lettuce
Bok Choy
frozen carrots (defrosted)
frozen corn
snap peas
a couple raisins
pumpkin seeds
hot banana peppers
tiny bit of shredded cheddar cheese
rice vinegar

And the finished product:

and to pair with the salad I had a lovely cup of coffee, with soymilk and splenda, which admittedly was not the best combination with the salad, but it sure did hit the spot ;)

What's your favorite salad topping/ type of salad??

Monday, November 23, 2009

Breakfast for Dinner

Generally for I try to start off my day on a healthy note, with fruit and nonfat yogurt, or with some oatmeal with nutbutters or my favorite, pumpkin.

That being said, I do love classic breakfast foods: pancakes, french toast, eggs, omelets, toast, homefries. All delicious. Furthermore, being born and raised in good old Worcester, MA, I have spent absurd amounts of time, especially at odd hours of the night at a variety of diners.

If I have learned nothing else in life from my hometown, I have learned, there is no bad time for breakfast! And today was a day I felt the need to utilize that life lesson.

After work I cooked up some home fried potatoes with a bit of paprika, ground black pepper and a garlic and onion seasoning. I also made 2 eggs over easy, sprinkled with a little bit of cheddar cheese, and a slice of whole wheat toast with some margarine.

I recently purchased some Frank's Buffalo Sauce, so I used that on my potatoes and eggs along with a nice serving of ketchup.

I give the RedHot wings sauce an A+ review. Very tasty, a nice kick but not so spicy that you cannot enjoy the taste.

now don't forget the most important meal of the day, no matter what time you eat it :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Naturally Sweet

(I admit I wrote this Tuesday, which is why some things, such as the weather, do not make sense haha)

My car still won't start (I need a new battery), and I had to be at St. Elizabeth's for 6 am this morning. J. was nice enough to give me a ride at 5:30 a.m. so that I didn't have to bike there, which was VERY MUCH appreciated especially after noting the thick layer of frost that was present this morning.

Since I was driven to work, afterwards I had to take good ole Boston Public Transportation home, I JUST missed the bus I was trying to get, so I wound up walking a couple of miles (which was good, and maybe I can partially justify my constantly skipping the gym lately?), then I hopped on a bus that took me to Central Square.

Being in the area, and being in need of flour after my cookie making Monday, I stopped into the Harvest Co op. I picked up some whole wheat pastry flour, raisins, and sesame sticks (coming to a salad soon??)

While at the Co op I also recalled a recent conversation with Annabelle, and she told me you can get stevia from the bulk section at the coop, which makes it ideal for giving it a try, since I was hesitant to purchase a whole package of it for like $8 and discover I disliked it.

Stevia is the "new" big sweetener. Elizabeth is constantly talking about it, and at work I have been analyzing more and more food records with people using stevia. There are even stevia sweetened sodas now (I love how junk food products think if they add something natural they are suddenly healthy, but that's a rant for another day...)

Stevia is a natural sweetener made from the leaves of the stevia plant. I'm not going to go too in detail about stevia, since I feel like everyone that reads my blog knows significantly more about it than I do.

At any rate, I decided to give it a try. I purchased 0.06# of the herb, for just over a dollar, - not too harsh of an investment.

When I got home, I decided to have some in a cup of tea. I chose a basic black tea so that I could really get a sense for what stevia tastes like.

It looked a bit more frothy than usual, and there was a definite green tinge in the foam, but as I always say, I've never met anything green that I didn't like (yet)!

I think the excess foam/ powderiness is partially due to the fact that I've recently switched over to using powdered soymilk in coffee and tea etc (basically because it's a lot lighter to carry home than whole soymilk haha).

Sooks was also very interested in this new sweetener and hesitantly inspected the situation.

Stevia wasn't as sweet as I was expecting, but I used it very sparingly since I was a bit nervous from I've heard all these stats that it is like 200x sweeter than sugar, and a serving size I read on one package was 1/40th teaspoon.

It tasted pretty good, and made my tea an adequate sweetness. There was a lot of residue left over from the stevia, and it left me with a bit of a powdery taste in my mouth.

I know this green kind is the more "raw" less refined version, so perhaps the more refined ones have less excess particals to cause this build up and powdery taste.

I'll have to give this sweetener a try in other settings, and perhaps not in the presence of powdered soymilk and see how it fares.

As for now, Sookie and I Signing out!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

An Ominvores Adventures

As my three readers probably know,

I have decided to leap (er, baby step) back into omnivorism after my 7 or so years of vegetarianism.

The reason: basically I realize I am often an unhealthy vegetarian. Especially when I am at home, and at the end of December, I am moving back to Worcester. Most of my Worcester friends are the complete opposite of my Boston friends in that they are horribly unhealthy and could care less about nutrition, health, animal rights and environmentalism: all of my main reasons for being a vegetarian. They love chain restaurants: TGI Fridays, Unos, Friendly's etc. Unfortunately, I often wind up with the option of grilled cheese with french fries, or a horribly bland side salad. I know there are ways to tweak orders, which I do a lot, but half the times they wind up coming out messed up, and I hate paying the majority of the check for the meat I didn't get.

So, I realize, I would probably be healthier if I just had the salad with grilled chicken instead.

Furthermore, I love food. I do not per say want to limit myself.

One of the main reasons I became a vegetarian was because of animal rights, which for some reason or another lately just has not been getting my goat as much as usual. I do not know why. I will probably have a revelation in a couple of months and feel absolutely appalled about the fact that I have regressed back to eating animals, but until then, I'm giving them a second try.

So far I have been taking my adventure back into the world of meat eating slowly.
I started off eating approximately an ounce of chicken on a salad that I split with my sister. I have since eaten at "Wings over Somerville" with some of my guy friends, which again I split a meal.

This past week, J and I tried out Temple on Mass Ave in cambridge.

I mentioned that I thought the appetizer called "Figs in a Blanket" (Buttermilk Blue Cheese Stuffed Black Figs, Wrapped in Bacon, Balsamic Syrup, Creamy Cider Blue Sauce) had an adorable name. He decided to order them despite the fact that I said I would not be joining in that.

I decided to try half of one anyway. I will say, most of it was quite good, the blue cheese, fig and balsamic vinegar was very delectable. however, EWWWW BACON!! Despite being at a relatively fancy restaruant, I had spit it out. It was pure fat in my mouth. If you like bacon, this would be a great appetizer to try.

Other than the bacon experience, Temple had a very nice decor, our waiter was very friendly and J got a burger that he said was delicious, and they had very good french fries which I sampled.
I got the Frisse and Pear Salad: Honey-Walnut Vinaigrette, Truffled Mascarpone Crostini, it was Ok. They do offer sparkling or still water, and serve it with a lime which was pretty fancy and quite tasty. The prices were pretty high, which is partially why I just went with a salad- not that I do not generally love salads, but the options looked pretty good.

We didn't try any drinks, save the sparkling water, so I can't comment on that, but overall, not a bad place.

I shall keep you all posted on any more exciting meat eating adventures, and for now I shall steer clear of bacon!

Friday, November 20, 2009

If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life.....

Being obsessed with food, I have often pondered the question, if I had to eat one food for the rest of my life, what would it be?

My answer: Salad. Ok, I know, it's kind of cheating since salad by definition is a combination of many foods, but I figure in order to get a nutritionally sound diet in you need something that will give you a nice combination of foods. Afterall, if someone said they would eat cheeseburgers for the rest of their life, they are still getting bread, meat, cheese, and possibly condiments and some veggies so I think salad should count.

I just love the diversity of them. You can basically throw anything together and call it salad. What I do not like (much) is those "side salads" you get at restaurants that generally include: iceberg lettuce, tomato, cucumber and onion. Iceberg lettuce is just so un-fulfilling, I hate raw onion, and tomato and cucumber are just kind of meh in my opinion.

Not to toot my own horn, but I make pretty awesome salads. I think its partially due to the fact that I mix all of my foods together in general, so basically salad making is what I do with everything else, it is just more socially acceptable.

Tonight's salad began with a bed of baby spinach

and Trader Joe's broccoli slaw.

I then added in my left overs from yesterday, including the yuca, peppers, broccoli and tofu. I also had a little bit of random mashed sweet potato.

I'm not usually a big olive person, but today at the grocery store these deli style olives were tempting me, so I decided to splurge on them. The verdict: there is a reason I'm not much of an olive person, but, they're not terrible. And they were one more thing to add to the salad!

I also usually do not bother with salad dressing since I add so many wet ingredients, and then I usually just add some vinegar if it needs something else, but another impulse buy occurred today, so I threw it on too:
I also added in: kidney beans, raisins, pumpkin seeds, a bit of rice vinegar, and salsa. Mix it all together and finished product:

Sookie likes salad too!

So, What would your one food be??

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Produce Presents!

A friend of mine works at Tropical Foods in Roxbury, which is basically a wholesale specialty store for mainly Latin and African foods. The other day he brought me presents from there, including:
A Yuca

Some Plantains,

and Pizza Wine (legit that's the name... apparently wine that goes well with pizza)!

I had never tried yucca before, but I have been curious to give it a try, so when it happens to be delivered to my kitchen I had no further excuses! I knew Elizabeth had tried it before and blogged about it, with a poor review, however, through talking to fans of yuca it but perhaps the prep was the problem. According to J. you have to cook it with lots of butter, salt, pepper and garlic (which is the Cuban way of cooking the plant)--- which clearly is not the way we nutrition people think to cook a veggie! But i figured for my first yuca experience I might as well go all out.

So: I peel, cut and boiled the root for about 20 minutes. Then I mixed in some Smart Balance Light (which I am not a huge fan of, but it happened to be in my refrigerator.), some salt, pepper and garlic.

The result = Nomnomnom! Delicious. It was very similar to a potato, though it had a slightly more starchy texture. I was afraid I hadn't cooked it long enough because it had areas that were more white and powdery looking than others, but it all tasted good and was tender. I think I went a little heavy on the garlic, but that could easily be adjusted.

Along with my yuca, I baked up some frozen broccoli and mixed peppers, along with some extra firm tofu. I drizzled balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and a bit of salt and pepper on them. I will have to thank Jessica for the idea of baked broccoli with balsamic vinegar.

Overall a phenomenal, easy to make meal.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Practive makes perfect...

I've mentioned this lab before in a previous post, but it has come around again this semester: Thermoregulation.

One of the down sides is that I have to take students blood (just a little finger prick), but despite my masochistic tendencies I dislike causing others pain, so I really want to make sure I know what I am doing before having to stab a student. Consequently, I practice on myself several times.

First I practiced testing blood glucose (mine was 94 on Monday after eating excessive amounts of rice and pumpkin cookies, thank you insulin and insulin receptors, keep up the good work!)

Then I tested my hematocrit levels by collecting some blood and centrifuging it. When centrifuged, the red blood cells and the plasma separate, like so:

When you get more dehydrated, the plasma (the pinkish colored part) decreases in relationship to the red blood cells (dark red section). This is called hemoconcentration. Some athletes use this to their advantage through the process of "blood doping" by injecting themselves with red blood cells to increase the percentage of red blood cells (RBCs) to total blood volume, thus having more RBCs to carry oxygen to cells/pick up waste as they exercise. This is illegal in professional sports.

I personally love centrifuging my blood (weird?) because as I frequently mention, I am chronically dehydrated. After my kidney infection I have been REALLy trying to stay hydrated, so I was quite excited to see that my plasma volume was actually greater than my RBC volume (which I guess would be bad if I was an athlete, but at least I am not dehyrdated!)

Another reason I always practice on myself before hand is that I am an excellent bleeder. My body loves to bleed. I could just bleed and bleed all day if I let myself- which can be a negative quality- but is convenient for having blood drawn, and for demonstrating hemoconcentration to my class! This is especially good because most people, in my experience, are not good bleeders, and I always have difficult getting an adequate sample from students.

At any rate, My fingers really hurt from my multiple pricks, so I shall stop typing, but go drink some water and increase your plasma volume!

Semester 1 Internship Down!

This past Tuesday was the last day of my internship for this semester. I had been interning at Caritas Carney in Dorchester, working in outpatient counseling.

Overall, it was a great experience. I had previously done most of the work I done at my internship through school or other jobs, but practice makes perfect. Also, my preceptor was AMAZING. She is just one of the nicest women, and was constantly full of great advise. Since I was about the same age as her kids she seemed to form kind of a maternal bond and kept giving me words of encouragement and advice for the future.

Since I was leaving, I wrote her a Thank You card and decided to make some Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies!

I basically used this recipe from (check out the link):

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • y f1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


  1. Combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir in. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
  2. Add vanilla, chocolate chips and nuts.
  3. Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly brown and firm.
I did not add the walnuts, and used less chocolate chips. I also used a about 1/2 white unbleached flour, and half whole wheat pastry flour.

I usually never measure ingredients, and I generally barely follow recipes. but since these were a present, I followed more carefully to ensure they came out good.

I packed up about 20 cookies for my preceptor and kept a few for Dan and myself (have to taste test them!)

Despite decreasing the chocolate chips - they were still a little too chocolatey. I generally love chocolate, but these were just a bit too squishy.

Also, they were a little bland for a pumpkin pastry product. If I were to make them again I would add more cinnamon and some pumpkin pie spice. They were very soft and tasty. THey also weren't very pumpkiny tasting despite having a whole can of pumpkin (they were very orange, but I think the excess chocolate drowned out the pumpkin) so these would be a good option if you were just trying to sneak in a vegetable but were not persay that interested in a pumpkiny taste. I personally love pumpkin, so in my opinion I would want to taste it a little more.

Sookie as usual was being very helpful in the process. She had a fun time trying to play with one cookie as a hockey puck, so I tried to catch her in action. The first time she got her head in the way :

And then she decided to look up just as the flash was going off.

I need to work on my photography skills, and she clearly needs to work on her modeling.