Friday, May 31, 2013

By popular demand...

...some documentation that Walter is coping well with the move.

You'll see him here relaxing in some packing material, sleeping in his bed, and creating an impromptu bed out of a trash bag filled with random stuff. I think he's adjusting just fine.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A fond farewell

Cross-posed on Dose of Reality

I’m writing this now from San Francisco, sitting on an air mattress in my new apartment, with the dog curled in a packing blanket that I also used as a comforter last night. We’ve spent the past four days traveling across the country to arrive in our new home. Some highlights from our trip:
  • Our route took us through Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California. This totaled 2,358 miles over 35 hours of driving time.
  • The cats were supposed to be constrained by a pet barrier to the back few feet of the minivan we rented to make this journey. They figured out how to climb over it within minutes, and spent the remainder of the trip free-ranging throughout the van, in particular enjoying cuddling in Walter’s bed. You can see the barrier standing uselessly in the background of the photo...

  • We stopped in Des Moines, IA on the first night to see my grandmother (and accept her generous hospitality, having invited me, Mike, Lynn, the cats, and the dog to stay with her). I hadn’t seen her in years, and it was wonderful to catch up.
  • There are Whole Foods stores approximately every 9 hours along I-80. Lynn did a pretty incredible job finding places for us to eat along the way that would accommodate our various needs for tasty vegetarian and gluten-free food.
  • We had one pretty remarkable Google snafu that led us to an interesting off-roading experience in the minivan. We ultimately found the relaxing State Recreation Area we’d been looking for (about 12 miles up the highway), but only after about 40 minutes of harrowing round-trip craziness and then an easy jaunt down the interstate. We actually passed several ATVs, who looked at us with a level of incredulity I had not previously experienced.
The beautiful two-track road...
The van after our adventure...
For those of you who have been following me on the Dose of Reality site, thank you for your lovely support throughout the past eight years. I hope you’ll consider adding this link to your favorites, and continue to follow me through residency. For the rest of you, stay tuned for the further adventures of one Dr. Andrea in SF…

Monday, May 13, 2013

Recipes for a move

The moving truck is coming in a week, and we’re leaving in twelve days, and I’m trying to clear out the fridge, freezer, and pantry. I’m also trying not to waste food, and to enjoy the last few days of cooking in my current kitchen which, although inferior, is nonetheless much larger than the kitchen in San Francisco. This has meant several things:

  1. Making muffins. I am not particularly creative with frozen fruit, but it is delicious in muffins. Similarly, canned pumpkin. I love it in pies, and soups too, but one of those things takes a lot more doing than muffins, and the other just seems out of season.
  2. Cooking beans. My slowcooker has been working overtime to cook the volumes of dried beans that I don’t want to move with me. Right now, I’ve got navy beans cooked and sitting in the fridge, ready to become baked beans, and dried peas ready to stand in for split split peas cooking now. I didn’t think I’d have anything positive to say about the terrible spell of cold weather we’ve just started, but at least I can make split pea soup!

Here are some recipes for your enjoyment…

Pumpkin Muffins
Adapted from Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything

2 1/2 c flour
1/2 c corn meal (You can use flour for this if you prefer.)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1 pinch cloves
1 pinch nutmeg
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1/4 c melted butter
1 1/4 c milk
1-2 c pumpkin (I often err on the side of more pumpkin.)

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter/oil muffin tin, or use silicon muffin cups, with which I am now obsessed. Combine all dry ingredients. Beat the egg with the butter and milk. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, including the pumpkin. Combine the ingredients quickly, stirring and folding rather than beating, and stopping as soon as all the dry ingredients are moistened. The batter should still be lumpy. Pour into the muffin tins, and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry. This is about 20 minutes.

Split Pea Soup
Adapted, but not yet tested, from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything

2 cups green split peas, washed and picked over
6 cups vegetable stock or water
2-3 carrots, cut into 1-inch sections
1 medium onion, minced
1/2 cup rice
Salt and pepper to taste
Croutons of some kind

Combine the peas, rice and stock in a large deep saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, turn the heat to low, cover partially, and cook until the peas are very, very soft. Alternately, put these things in a slow cooker and let them cook unattended for a long time. Either way, add the onion about halfway through the cooking time. Mash the cooked peas with a fork, food mill, or immersion blender, and add stock or water if necessary to get the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper, and serve with croutons.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Someday came so quickly…

I started blogging here just over eight years ago as I was preparing to start medical school, and started blogging for the medical school shortly thereafter. I named the blog for a nickname, Dre, after some good laughs that I would ultimately be Dr. Dre. I didn’t know at that point that I would ultimately be accepted into the MD/PhD program, and that someday I would be Dr. Dr. Dre, if that were really a title that anyone used. As of Friday, and for another ten days, however, I am writing to you as Dr. Dre! Someday is here! My PhD was conferred on 5/3, and the medical school graduation is not until the 17th. I think I’ll plan to keep the title of my blog until I’m as well-recognized as my namesake, Dr. Dre…

Ruti and I after the hooding ceremony!