Thursday Born

The everyday life of a psychiatry resident (who was born on a Thursday).

Archive for the ‘Making Things’ Category

First French Toast!

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Upsides to being sick while on vacation? (I’m mostly recovered from the stomach flu, but my boyfriend has a cold now). Instead of spending our time socializing, we’ve been able to catch up completely on The Walking Dead, I’ve finally watched Toy Story, and I’ve also finally made French toast! This is the “recipe” I used, and it is perhaps the best recipe I’ve ever read. Highly recommend reading!

The downside? I didn’t have enough of an appetite to finish or truly enjoy my French toast, delicious though it seemed to be. :(

Written by Aba

December 30, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Small Indulgences

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One slice soft wheat bread, 1.5 slices of bacon, some sliced turkey, and one whole avocado (not all of it made it into the sandwich, but all ot if made it into my stomach). Mayo and a wedge of laughing cow cheese on the bread, a bit of truffle salt on the avocado. Absolutely fantastically marvelously delicious. Avocado is by far one of my favorite… fruit type things. I wish I’d taken a better picture, but honestly I’m impressed I got myself to stop eating and take a picture in the first place.


This is what happens when I:

1) Buy avocados on a whim (they cost so much in the US but they’re so good!)

2) Am feeling particularly hungry and indulgent

3) Am not entirely exhausted from being in the hospital

4) Have cooked bacon in the freezer (leftover from my bacon-kale frittata) and turkey in the fridge (bought, but not eaten, by my boyfriend when he visited, so now it’s mine).

5) Actually have bread

And now I need to not curl up in bed for a post-food coma nap, but find an interesting article on pancreatitis to present to my team tomorrow morning.

Written by Aba

May 15, 2012 at 5:32 pm


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I have a moderately intimidating To-Do List of home chores and school assignments that I really need to/want to complete today. This bacon, kale and onion frittata was not the highest item on my list (ugh, required online EKG quiz due tomorrow), but it’s by far the tastiest, and it’s much easier to think on a happily full stomach.

I’d post a recipe, except I made it up. And you can too! The basic idea behind a frittata seems to be “saute the vegetables/meat/etc, beat the eggs, add the eggs and cook on the stove briefly, add cheese if desired, then bake in a 350F oven for ~30 minutes). It tastes very good hot, and I’m hoping it will taste good cold too.

Written by Aba

March 25, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Posted in Cooking, Making Things

Turkey Success!

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My turkey turned out well yesterday! A never frozen bird, a bit more expensive than the other two I’ve cooked in the past, but quite tasty, and I appreciated skipping the hassle of thawing (since I inevitably buy my Turkey the day before Thanksgiving).

Written by Aba

November 25, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Posted in Cooking, Making Things


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9 days till Step 1.

15 days till Third Year Orientation.

And 4 months till my 25th Birthday. I haven’t felt weird about an upcoming birthday in years, but for some reason the idea of being twenty-five soon feels significant.

I’d be reflecting a lot more on all of this, except right now I’ve got my study blinders on and I’m focusing on this exam. I’m also doing my best to forget that this exam is only part 1 of a 3 part (really, four part) process.

I did finally get a monitor though! (lower left corner = arm warmers, because my hands get cold. Also, yes, I’m using my laptop as my keyboard).

Ahmet’s boss had an old monitor that he had no intention of ever using again so he gave it to us, as in, we’re not borrowing it; we own it now. It’s very large for only being a 20″ screen, but the quality is more than good enough for what I need, and it was free! In return, I gave his boss some of these:

I made vanilla meringues and chocolate mousse from scratch a week ago. As a study/social break, Ahmet and I went over to the home of a married couple we recently met and had dinner, and played with their two  absolutely adorable pekingese/poodle mixes. They’ve made Ahmet, who’s normally a cat person, feel more open to the idea of owning dogs someday.

Meringues are wonderfully easy to make, except I advise only making them if you have some sort of an electric mixer… I made these entirely by hand and it took me about an hour to whip them stiff enough. Ahmet came home toward the end and helped out and even with both of us taking turns, we were worried that we were going to have to declare the meringues a failure.

And now back to studying!

Written by Aba

June 2, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Tiny happy moments

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So I’ve continued to be ridiculously busy. And every time I’ve had something I wanted to blog about, that something leaves me too drained to write about it, or something else comes up right after. I also haven’t been cooking or making things much lately either. This is what passes for cooking these days:

Eggs are my latest exam week staple. Two fried eggs and an avocado,  topping a serving of a Trader Joe’s microwavable gnocci. Tasty and easy to throw together.

And so yeah, this is my exam week, but I’m done with the most difficult exam (Infectious Diseases, which was this morning), and I’m also done with Rheumatology, so I just have Pediatrics tomorrow, and then I get a week off for Spring break! Excitement!

I have to say that I rather appreciate my med school spring breaks being later than my high school and college spring breaks, because it’s actually, well, spring, right now. Sort of. Barely a week and a half ago, it snowed. Not a light flurry, but snow that was actually on the ground when I woke up! And then just a day or two later, it was in the 70s! Beautiful weather that I didn’t get to take advantage of because I’ve been busy studying. And so goes today. It’s beautiful, it’s sunny, it’s my anniversary with my boyfriend, but I had an Infectious Diseases exam and I have another exam tomorrow.

But walking home today, I saw something that I’ve decided to interpret as life saying sorry for yet another beautiful day that I’ll be spending indoors studying, yet another anniversary I’ll be spending apart from my boyfriend.

Don’t know why it’s there or who put it there, but it made me smile. :)

Written by Aba

March 23, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Posted in Cooking, Medical School

Candy Time!

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I was talking to my friend Amrita about hoping that crushed candy canes are in stock in the grocery stores this year, and she was kind of appalled that I’d buy pre-crushed candy canes. A few weeks later, my friend Joe comes back from Atlanta and what does he have with him? A pretty mason jar of candy canes that she crushed for me!

And appropriate timing. I don’t really have anyone in particular I wanted to make candy for this year, but I still wanted to make a batch before I really buckled down to study for my upcoming exams. I think I might try to make candy more often (ie, more than once a year), because watching it transition from stage to stage is cool and makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something really sciencey and fancy. This year, I made some toffee and some peppermint brittle. I might make a tiny batch of peppermint bark later.

Either I read my thermometer wrong, my thermometer’s inaccurate, or the given temperature was too low. I think the it needed 30s to1min longer, to get to the proper candy stage. Instead it’s in a weird stage where it’s crunchy and yet still chewy. Thankfully, it still tastes wonderful. :) ( I need to figure out if there’s a setting to leave smilies as punctuation, instead of turning them into images).

The peppermint brittle is interesting, and tastes like hard butterscotch candy with candy cane pieces. In other words, it’s really good! In the future, I might decrease the salt a tiny bit, and try to spread it even thinner. And maybe add more mint extract.

But all in all, the recipes turned out well! Now to figure out what to do with all of it…

Written by Aba

December 8, 2010 at 8:42 pm

Thanksgiving Recap

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Thanksgiving was a welcome mid-block break, but coming back has very much a “hitting the ground running” feeling. I wrote this post on the plane ride back and only now am finding the time to edit it, add a few pictures and post it. There’s less than two weeks till exams start again (The Friday after next!), which means I spent a good deal of my Thanksgiving break curled up on a bean bag chair with a small ikea desk and my laptop, catching up on lectures. I’m returning more caught up than I left, which is good, but it will take continued effort to stay this way.
It was unexpectedly cold in Seattle, and it snowed! Likely the most snow Seattle will see at once all winter. And yes, it’s true; the city does shut down at the slightest bit of snow/ice because they really aren’t prepared for it and the roads get very dangerous (see this video for evidence of cars, and two busses, sliding down a hill because of the ice). It was beautiful though, and my first snow of the season.
Last Thanksgiving was a lot of fun; my boyfriend visited, and as it was his first time in my city there was sight-seeing to be done. And as it was my and my roommate’s first time properly settled in an apartment, there was a lot of shopping (mostly furniture and electronics, a few clothes). There was also a lot of cooking. Even though it was a small four person dinner, we had a full spread of homecooked items: a turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, bread rolls, pecan pie and pumpkin pie. This year I visited Ahmet, and we kept things very low-key. All Black Friday shopping happened online (I personally didn’t do any; last year’s buys should last me at least a few more years), and Thanksgiving involved very little cooking.
Having proven, twice, that I am capable of cooking an entire Turkey, this year I settled for buying turkey cutlets. They were far more pricey per pound than an entire Turkey, but much quicker to defrost and bake. I ended up over-baking them (followed the timing I read online instead of checking up on them myself) but they still tasted fine with the gravy (which I did make from scratch) and I’ve had drier meat from a whole bird before. Everything else was pre-prepared. Trader Joe’s stuffing, mashed potatoes (I’m a bit embarassed about this one but I just didn’t have it in me to do it myself), cranberry sauce, sweet potatoe fries (which I tossed in brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg before baking), and pumpkin souffles (a lovely lighter ending to our meal than pumpkin pie). Everything turned out better than I expected for a pre-made Thanksgiving Dinner. :)
We did have a “real” dinner on Friday though, which was really nice because it’s been three years since I’ve been in someone’s home for Thanksgiving, and it was Ahmet’s first time. There were even kids, complete with a kids table/adults table separation! Homemade whipped cream is delicious, by the way.
Other than all the studying, I also made pizza for the first time. Again, lots of Trader Joe’s shortcuts: pre-sliced meat, premade tomato sauce, pre-shredded cheeze, and premade dough. Still cheaper than buying pizza, and maybe still healthier than a restaurant pizza (note to self: be careful who you let add the cheese). It had portabella mushrooms on it in addition to the meat, and I would’ve added some broccoli or spinach or asparagus but I don’t the three young men I was going to be eating it with were rather ambivalent (if not actually opposed) to the idea. Anyway, it was really good! And really quick. I’m always on the lookout for ways to cut corners while keeping things healthy, since as much as I have fun cooking, it’s more a hobby than something I want to (or will have time to) do several times a day to keep myself alive and healthy.
I’m thankful that I had a Thanksgiving break at all (who knows what it’ll be like next year), and I’m thankful for my family and my friends and my boyfriend, for my noisy, territorial parrot, for having gotten into and doing pretty well in medical school, and for being alive and well in the first place. Life’s been good to me lately. I can complain (who can’t?), but I shouldn’t, because the things to be grateful for far, far outweigh the things to whinge about.

Written by Aba

December 1, 2010 at 11:56 pm

Bottled Mead!

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I finally got around to bottling my first two gallons of mead! These are the sum of the sterile, properly bottled ones that should be safe to store indefinitely (but I think I will encourage them to be drunk soon because I don’t think this recipe really improves much with age and I let it get exposed to air quite a bit as I was siphoning them into the bottles). I also really underfilled one of the bottles, but that one’s going home with me for Christmas so it will be opened soon. There’s two more of the smaller bottles (200ml) and a small 4oz nalgene container in the fridge, that were not bottled under sterile conditions and should be consumed really soon.

It was a very messy and sticky process, and I think I need to invest in an auto-filler. I’m not sure how people manage to actually pinch off the tube between bottles by hand, because the best I could do was sort of slow the flow, but not stop it. Still, I have to report that this recipe is amazing and while I do still intend to try at least a third recipe (there’s a second one still finishing up in my pantry), I think this will be my go-to recipe. It’s just so easy and it tastes so good. I might try little variations, but I don’t really have the time to seriously get into brewing anyway, especially recipes that need much more rigid handling.

I’m in love with my bottle capper though. There’s something nifty about being able to cap bottles just like the ones you buy in the store! I can cap any bottle that takes a standard bottle cap (so not the twist off bottles). I decided not to invest in a corker, and instead bought some fancy “Zork” corks that you just push (or hammer) into the wine bottle. They’re also easier to open than normal corks (hilarious commercial about this), and they turn into a wine stopper once the seal has been removed. They’re definitely more expensive than real corks, but for the volume of mead I plan to make, I think these are a reasonable investment.

Owning a capper kind of makes me want to try making beer, except I still only vaguely like beer. I have the yeast to try making hard cider though, and I’ll probably do that after Christmas break. Hard cider is a very simple process of add yeast to apple cider, wait ten days, then drink your hard cider.

Written by Aba

November 19, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Posted in Brewing, Making Things

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Third Block! – GI, Endo & Derm

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And so begins our third block! My collection of course books is growing quite rapidly…

This block, at only 4.5 weeks long but only a little smaller than last block, has been fairly intense.  Very long days of lecture, which has made keeping up difficult (I just finished last week, but there’s enough time left tonight that I might be able to catch up through today if I focus). I really like the material of this block, so far. I guess I find Crohn’s Disease and Diabetes more interesting than Pneumonia and Myocardial Infarctions. All of my grades but Cardio from last block are in, and I’m happy with them, especially if the second years really thought that it, the CPR block , was the hardest of the six. I can do this! I haven’t been as good about reading First Aid (the main Step 1 review book that most people at least start with) after I finish each topic as I meant to be. I still haven’t read the Renal and Pulmonary sections, but I have a flight coming up for Thanksgiving and when’s a better time to catch up on some reading than when there’s little else to do? Reading the Cardio section didn’t send me into a panic though, so I’m feeling good about the correlation between what they teach us in school, and what I need to know for the test. I’m not very interested in any of the competitive specialties so I’m not aiming for an astonishingly high score, but I want it to be good enough to feel like I have options when it comes to applying for my residencies. Who knows where I’ll want to be for those 3-7 or more years, but I’d like to have a good shot at getting in wherever it is.

After my exams but before this block began, I had a chance to make some cheese fondue. This was only the fourth time I’ve had it (and all times it’s been home-made), and it was just as delicious as the other times, if not even better. I’ve always used Gruyere and Emmenthaler, but this time I used Jarlsberg instead of the Emmenthaler, and I cut the wine in half and substituted in some chicken stock. We had are it with bread and apples, with some spinach on the side.

But once the block started, it meant meals were going to be less fancy and more centered on “how quickly can I make it and how many nutrients can I pack into it?” Which leads to meals like black beans (canned), and sweet potato (microwaved) on a tortilla (this one was corn), with some cheese and salsa. Very quick to throw together, and one can of beans and one decent sized sweet potato means enough leftovers for 3-4 more meals. Guess what I ate for dinner/lunch most of last week? Sorry about the bad picture. Not the prettiest meal to photograph in the first place, and I’m not always good about turning on enough lights in my room before I take my pictures.

But sometimes, you need to find the time to indulge a little bit. I made a fish soup about two months ago that unintentionally was very close to a Ghanaian dish called Light Soup. It was very good, but I had meant to make something a little creamier and less acidic. Then my roommate made a simple thai coconut soup and I decided to see if coconut milk would give me the consistency and flavor profile I was looking for.  Finally, this past Sunday, I got around to trying this idea. I used this recipe for inspiration, but I cooked my vegetables for a while first, then added the liquids, and then I let it cook until the vegetables were soft. At the end, I added the fish, let it sit for five minutes, and voila! Delicious, wonderful, thai coconut and lemongrass soup! I remember the first time I had a soup like this, and I fell in love with it. Except then I only had it maybe three more times. Well, now I can make it myself! And it’s so easy! Honestly, I prefer it on its own, but my classmate-neighbors overcooked some noodles and didn’t want to eat them, so I’ve been working my way through them.

I confess, it’s still not quite what I was looking for, but it was a happy misstep because I love this soup! Next time I will try making something closer to the first batch, but decreasing the presence of tomato and adding either skinned  zucchini or eggplant, as my mother suggested (I might throw in the skins separately though, because why waste perfectly edible vegetable matter that my diet really needs?). Anyway, I really recommended making a variation of this Thai version. You can make it really quickly like the original recipe, or you can do what I do and let things simmer longer so you can get some other errands done until you get hungry enough and can invite your neighbor-classmates over for lunch.

My ingredient list:

~3/4 of 1 huge yellow onion
~1 cup of carrots
~ 1 tomato
1 container of button mushrooms
1 19oz can of Coconut Milk that specifically said “For Cooking” on the can.
16oz frozen but then defrosted Perch, w/skins (which I did not bother removing).
2 shrimp bouillon cubes
1 fish bouillon cube
~ 2 cans of water (ie, I used the coconut soup can to pour in the water; at some point I decided it was too thin and let it boil off for a bit. I’d say start with a 1:1 ratio, then thin as desired)
~ 1 tablespoon of garlic paste
The leftover ginger I had in the fridge which looked to be close to two tablespoons
My best guess at two tablespoons of lemongrass (don’t chop it up like I did; it’s touch to chew so you want to remove it before you serve)
1 cup and a bit more of frozen chopped red, yellow and green peppers from Trader Joe’s
Handsqueezed juice of 1 lime
Zest of about half of half of 1 lime.
Some extra salt and a bit of black pepper to taste at the end.
When I remember, fresh cilantro leaves right before serving.

Written by Aba

November 15, 2010 at 11:37 pm

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