Good Reads

TGIF!

I went on a $10 shopping spree after work today and came home with a new pair of work pants, a bottle of hot sauce, 2 bars of deodorant soap, and 2 new library books.

The pants are being saved for when 10 pounds disappears on me (I’ve already eliminated 4ish from buying a nice new notebook at TJ Maxx and keeping track of my daily eats).

The hot sauce and deodorant soap are part of my latest anti-deer strategy. Not sure if I mentioned it, but the deer who disappeared for the past few months have returned, only to devour every single leaf from my 9 successful sweet potato plants. Ahhh!

The library books are for me to read and stay cool inside this weekend!

I’m currently reading Sophie Kinsella’s latest: “Twenties Girl”. It’s the kind of book that you finish and worry that you’ve slowly lost brain cells (aka chick lit), but I feel like I owe it to Miss Kinsella, since I’ve read all her other books. Plus, really, sometimes those books are good for you. Kind of like a literary detox. No thinking needed, just a nice entertaining break. I will note, though, the Shopaholic series was her best writing. And no, I never saw the movie. Don’t want it to ruin the books for me.

My next batch (wait.. 2 isn’t a batch) couple of books I picked up today are for the foodies out there.

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The Art of Eating in: How I Learned to Stop Spending and Love the Stove, by Cathy Erway, is based on the successful blog Not Eating Out in New York. It seems like if you can write a blog about some big crazy project of yours, and get lots of readers, that a book deal is the next step. Anyway, I’m curious to read it, since eating out is one of my bigger expense categories. At least it was until I moved out to the country by myself, haha. But my weekends back in Music City with The Boy are certainly filled with food expenses. Maybe HE needs to read the book :)

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The Butcher and the Vegetarian, by Tara Austen Weaver, is a book about the food writer’s journey with meat-eating (and meat-avoiding) and how she deals with it. I’m always interested in reading about the philosophies and mindsets behind other vegetarians.

Any book recommendations from you?

Saturday Happenings

Good evening!

We’ve had a good Saturday so far. I was quite surprised to sleep until 9am this morning! The Knoxville Farmers Market opened at 9, but by the time we got ready, out the door and drove into knoxville (~30-40 minutes) it was a little after 11.

The market was actually very quiet today – probably due to the cool weather (60ish) and the mass quantities of people making their way to Neyland Stadium for the game that was about the start. I only had $5 in cash, so we weren’t able to pick up much:

  • crown of broccoli
  • a few heirloom tomatoes
  • a couple of yellow squash

There were some really interesting looking stalls: homemade soaps, dog treats/food, a cupcake stand (will be back for a review!!), and one from a local bakery. Still haven’t been able to find super low prices at farmers markets, but we press on. The market here runs through Thanksgiving, so hopefully I can make another trip at some point.

Next was a trip to Sam’s Club, which I haven’t visited in at least a year. I stocked up on a few of my food staples in bulk: Arnold’s Sandwich Thins, Stacy’s Pita Chips, Mini Babybells, Quaker Oatmeal Squares. I also finally gave into the hype and bought the 2010 edition of “Eat This, Not That.

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I guess every RD should have a copy in her arsenal. If it will fit in my lab coat pocket, I might use it with patients. Visuals certainly are more effective than just listening to my voice say “No fried foods…. eat plenty of fruits and vegetables… try to get rid of sugary drinks”. I must sound like a broken record sometimes!

I really do wish that Mr Zinczenko found an RD to work with him on this book, especially after it’s become so popular and he’s written so many books to follow it. He means well, and it’s a simple, easy-to-read book, but I can’t agree with everything he says.

This lunch was a plate of baked scoops with salsa and leftover refried beans. Yum yum. Dinner for tonight will be some more of our favorite mock crab cakes, with a side of seasoned black beans/corn salsa. Yum!

I also picked up a pair of slippers from Target this afternoon. Priced at $5.99, I was ecstatic when they rang up $1.48!! Gotta love Target.

Pretty pumped about getting the coupons tomorrow. Super nerd, I know. I’m also hoping to get up early and a workout in at the gym before the rest of the day gets away from me. AND…. we signed up for Dish TV today, so Monday will bring me 100 channels (92 more than we have now!) and a DVR!!! :)

Recent adventures

Hello there!

What a gross afternoon. Well, actually it’s been quite nice for most of it, only there’s currently a strong line of storms getting way to move through. I can even hear the tornado sirens. I had my sliding door to my balcony open so I could hear the birdies in the trees, only then it was replaced by vicious wind and siren sounds. So now I’m wrapped in a blanket, on my bed, blogging and then planning on catching up on my TV shows. I’ve almost completely caught up on The Office, so my focus today will be Brothers and Sisters, and then eventually get around to House. Ugh. Why is it so hard to follow 3 shows? That’s all I watch! 

So… I have a few adventures to report. Yesterday, my friend and I volunteered at the Nashville Public Library for storytime. Since March is National Nutrition Month, we got to read books about vegetables and eating/food to the little kiddies. It was enjoyable – I haven’t spent time with little kids in so long! A few of our favorites were:

And can I just say that I think the downtown, main library in Nashville is one of, if not THE, most beautiful public libraries I have ever been in!? I just love it. It’s so big and grand, I feel like I’m in an old, famous European museum. There’s multiple floors, and a cute little courtyard area outside that I can’t wait to go sit in with a good book to read. 

After leaving the library, we drove through Germantown, an area that definitely deserves more of our time and exploration. Last weekend we explored East Nashville on foot and had fun with that. So anyway, in Germantown, with our never ending sweet teeth, we found the Cupcake Collection, a gorgeous little cupcake bakery on 6th Avenue. Tucked into a little house, the cupcakes were, in our opinions, superior to the diabetic coma-inducing monster sized cupcakes over at GiGi’s. The cupcakes are smaller (read: normal sized), better quality, and the frosting is much more doable. GiGi’s makes you feel sick after you finish one, and they’re not even that good!

Anyway, we ate our way through several cupcakes, and approved of each: carrot cake, wedding cake, red velvet, and ‘blackout’ (which is a chocolate cupcake filled with mousse and topped with cookie crumbs… delish!).

Today’s find was the Davis Kidd bookstore in the Green Hills mall. I’ve only been in there once before, to buy Nashville postcards, but didn’t realize how extensive of a store it was! I spent over 2 hours in there toady with a friend, and was able to leave with only 2 books from the bargain books table (hey, it’s all a poor intern can afford… otherwise I would’ve bought many a book). I picked up a copy of Chocolat, which I’ve been meaning to re-read for the past year of so, but couldn’t find my copy at home. I also got Blessed Unrest, which is a New York Times bestseller tracing the environmental/social justice movement. It looks pretty interesting!

Of course… so many other books that caught my eye and wanted to come home with me. In particular, I curled up on a couch and read numerous chapters of Molly Wizenberg’s book “A Homemade Life”. I’ve been reading Molly’s blog, Orangette, for a while now, and have loved how she translated the stories of growing up and family recipes into the book! Of course, I couldn’t shell out the $25 to buy it, but I envision future trips to the bookstore to read more…. haha

Oh look, the storm has past. Perfect timing! Now I guess I better start working on dinner. Black beans are being featured tonight; I’m going to re-attempt making a black bean burger. I can’t decide whether to use this recipe or this one, but either way, hopefully it’ll turn out wonderfully. I’m also going to make a batch of “Cowboy Caviar“, also known as black bean and corn salsa to have in the fridge. All this black bean cooking is making me hungry. Better get in the kitchen!

Spring is here at long last!

I have so enjoyed the beautiful weather we’ve been blessed with in the past few days. Not quite so excited to get the power bill today and see a record-breaking amount for the month of January…. but that was a very frigid month requiring non-stop heating, so I suppose I can understand. But now that I’ve been able to leave the building without a coat for several days, I’m loving it! 

Rotations began this week. No more clinical stuff, I’m now in the other track, which we lovingly call “MBC land” – short for management, business and community rotations. This week is focused on patient services in the hospital’s foodservice department. Even though I expected to hate foodservice stuff, we’re doing more managerial type activities. So instead of cooking/delivering the meal trays, we’re investigating why delivery times are slow, why certain items receive more complaints than others, help keep staff updated on regulations, etc. Tomorrow, for instance, I’m teaching a few inservices on Joint Commission, since Vanderbilt is due at any moment for a surprise visit. We came up with a spin on “Where’s Waldo?” and have “Where’s JC?”, emphasizing that they will come unannounced, and may be anywhere in the hospital. Of course, being in the south, we’ll have to put in the disclaimer that no, we’re not talking about Jesus Christ, but the Joint Commission. haha. But who knows, maybe Jesus likes red striped sweaters too?

I’ve finally had some more time to get back to reading… which has been long overdue. I have only a few chapters left in ‘Holy Cow’ – an enjoyable travel narrative about an Australian journalist’s move to India and her experience with the culture, religion and lifestyle. I have been looking forward to taking the shuttle to work in the morning so I can have a few minutes to read (with no computer/internet/work to distract me). However, yesterday morning I get settled into my seat, only to find an Indian couple sitting across from me. I immediately felt self-conscious, but desparately wanted to read my book, so I pulled it out discretely and laid it on my lap (to avoid flashing the colorful and provoking cover). After finishing the chapter, I put it back in my bag. When I looked up, the couple was grinning at me. The man said “Can I see the book that you’re reading? What is it about?” I pulled it out slowly, handed it to him, and explained “Oh, it’s just about an Australian woman’s travel to India”. I didn’t know if it offended them or simply intrigued them. The two of them closely inspected the book and read the blurb on the back, then smiled and handed it back to me. “Do you like this kind of book?” he asked me. Again, not knowing what to say and not wanting to upset anyone, I stayed safe with “Yeah, it’s pretty interesting…”. 

Luckily, they were not on the bus this morning, so I read in peace. I’m hoping to finish it tonight. The next books on my list are:

  • Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore
  • Epilogue: A Memoir by Anne Roiphe
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald (I just have to read it now after seeing the movie!)
  • The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks (I know….)

And a quick reminder for all you readers out there that I’m still raising money to help fight blood cancer!! My half marathon training is going well, and on April 25th I’ll complete my second half-marathon on behalf of cancer patients, victims, and survivors. Visiting the pediatric oncology floor today, I saw a stack of coloring books that LLS puts out about “My Stem Cell Transplant” and was reminded of the great work that they do. Please join me in finding a cure! So far, I’ve raised over $300, but my personal goal is $1,000. Any amount you can give, no matter how small, will help! LLS is such a good organization to give to, over 75% of all donations go straight to research and patient services, and I can tell you that the funds raised by Team in Training have made a huge impact on the survival rates of many types of cancer. So thank you in advance for your support :)

Things to get excited about

I’ve had a pretty happy day today. A cold (relatively, it is Houston afterall… so 40s has seemed frigid) and drizzly day, made for a good “stay home and get things done” day. I managed to conquer piles of dirty clothes and dishes and attack the ever growing t0-do list. My parents and I hit Walgreens, where we found great deals on Christmas stuff on clearance (can’t beat 75% off!) and other sale items. We’re pretty amazing when it comes to coupons and buy-one-get-one-free offers. haha

My sister had me drive her to both Barnes & Noble and Borders to find a birthday gift for one of her friends. I really love those stores and could spend all day wandering around them! I bought the January issue of Oprah’s magazine, hopefully to inspire myself to get my rear back in gear for the new year and stop gaining weight (!). Browsing a shelf of new books, my eyes lit up (and I’m pretty sure I let out a small scream) when I saw Mark Bittman’s name on a hardback non-cookbook. Yes, Bittman has written another book, this one is called “Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating”. It looks a lot like the lecture of his I watched that talked about food and agriculture’s role in global warming, and how we can change our diet to help the planet. I highly recommend watching the lecture – you’ll learn a lot! Anyway, I am a huge fan of Mark Bittman – his “How to Cook Everything” has become my food go-to authority (and I have the vegetarian edition too!), and I read his blog regularly. When I saw this book on the shelf I knew I had to have it. Plus, Santa so thoughtfully gave me a Borders gift card in my stocking, so how could I say no? I’ll give you an update when I finish the book. 

Postcrossing is my new exciting obsession. It’s a website that allows you to send and receive postcards from people all over the world. It’s free to join, and for every postcard that you send to someone, your address is sent out to another postcrosser around the world. So far, I have 2 addresses to write to: a young Swiss guy who lives in Finland, and a 26 year old woman in Ohio. I’m so excited to get these cards sent out so I can receive my own from someone. I don’t know that I’ve ever bought postcards here in my own hometown before though, where does one even go to get them? I may as well invest in bulk postcards, since I’ll be sending out a bunch overtime. My Finnish pal is #48 in Finland for the amount of postcards sent – he’s mailed out over 400! Interestingly enough, more postcards have been sent from Finland than any other country. I haven’t investigated this matter enough to know if the project started there, or if Finnish people are just really into postcard writing….

And my third thing to get excited about (I know… so much excitement for one post!) is In2Books, a group that allows adults to mentor elementary-school children through the internet as they read books together. Volunteering is definitely one of my goals for 2009 – that is, to do more volunteer projects than I have been doing lately, and this sounds like something I’d love. I’ve signed up and paid for my background check, and now have to wait until I am matched up with a pen pal. Then, I’ll be reading the book(s) that my pen pal is reading in school, and corresponding with him/her about the books. The classes that participate in the program said it really motivates the kids to read and increases their interest, knowing that they will be conversing with their mentor. We become somewhat of role models to them… how exciting :) Some little kid is going to have an RD2B as their mentor… maybe we’ll have a food book to read? haha. I can’t even remember too much about what I read in 3rd-5th grade, probably animal books, that was always popular. 

That’s all my exciting news for tonight! Now, back to my chai tea and kakuro puzzles :)