Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween WIAW


Happy Halloween!

Sadly, I have some studying to do (stupid embryology exam tomorrow) so this will be brief.  The day’s eats in pictures (and maybe a few words).

Spooky Snacks and Healthy Halloween Treats

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1) Yogurt mess in the morning post elliptical workout.
2) Snack apple.
3) Homemade protein bar.
4) “Hard-baked” eggs.  Seriously, 325* for 25 minutes and I had the perfect, no green, yolks without all the hassle!!
5) Dinner of egg salad sandwich with carrots, celery, and peanut butter to dip.
6) The last bits of some mint chocolate chip Arctic Zero topped with chocolate syrup, coco puffs, and Trader Joe’s chocolate and coffee grinder.

Kind of feels silly to not have any candy on Halloween.  Oh well, it’s probably for the best.  My waistline thanks me.  Now, I’m going to cuddle up on the couch and study some terms and processes and such.  Basically anything that is happening inside the body (how your gut forms, your lungs mature, your bits and bobs develop…) is fair game tomorrow.  Oi!  Have a great night.  I know I will in my orange fuzzy socks courtesy of the Reprogenetics booth at the NSGC conference.  They are so warm!

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Questions: Ever tried Arctic Zero ice cream?
What did you dress up as for Halloween?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

NSGC Conference

This past week I spent some time among my kind: genetic counselors!  Our national society holds an annual education conference every year and as second year students, we are encouraged to attend.  It is considered to be a place to learn, network, and even potentially interview.  It was a whirlwind couple of days!  On Wednesday, we landed in Boston and found our rooms on the 36th (that’s right, 36th!!) floor.

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What a view, huh?  The first night there was a welcome reception in the exhibitor’s suite.  We were given “passports” which we had to get stamped by all the exhibitor participants.

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All of them had booths with swag and informational materials so when you visited each company they would chat with you, give you more papers than you could handle, and put some ink on your card.  When you finished all seeing all the people, you got to turn in your “passport” for a chance to win one of several prizes including iPads, Kindle Fires, and plenty of Amazon gift cards.  Neat idea huh?

After the reception we were al fairly tired so to bed we went.  Good thing too because the next day started at 6am.  There was a sponsored breakfast session on non-invasive prenatal testing (which I kind of talked briefly about here) which featured ham, cheese, and egg croissants, fruit, yogurt parfaits, danishes, and pastries.  Good presentation, good food.  The rest of the day was all sorts of educational.  Sessions on psychosocial issues of cancer susceptibility, pan-ethnic expanded carrier screening, the possibility of a clinical doctorate in our field, more non-invasive prenatal testing, panel testing, and infertility.  Lots of awesome information.

Besides the craziness of educational sessions, there were receptions and parties too.  If you remember my Myriad experience, you’ll know they were pretty awesome and even invited all of us to their Thursday night reception.  There were heavy appetizers (including a stellar baked brie!) and a nice cake based dessert table.  There was also an open bar.  Hours of mingling and chit-chatting later, I hit the bed beyond tired.  There was also a party on Friday night put on by Ambry.  They rented out a restaurant and had an open bar and appetizers as well.  I had a great time catching up with friends from other genetic counseling programs and we even made a flipbook thanks to the photo booth!

Eats from the weekend included all sorts of things including a lot I didn’t have the courage to take pictures of.  There was something mildly “wrong” about whipping out my iPhone in the middle of an educational session at seven in the morning to take a picture of my plate.  When I did get snapshots of was pretty stellar though: a peanut butter, plantain, dulce de leche, and almond open faced sandwich, a Chambord margarita, some great raspberry beer, and really tasty chips.

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After getting home last night, I am wiped.  I will say though that I’m a bit sad that I can’t spend today doing absolutely nothing.  Instead, I have a baking appointment in the early afternoon and I should spend the whole evening studying for the embryology exam.  Blah.  Coming back to reality is always a drag but I had a great time at the conference so it’s all a fair trade on some level.  Hope you all are having a stellar weekend!

Questions: How do you detox from being away at conferences?
What’s the best and/or worst part of coming home from a trip?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Chocolate Zucchini Protein Bars

As promised, I wanted to share with you all the greatness of my recent chocolate zucchini protein bars.  They are really great afternoon snacks and much less expensive than store bought bars.  I actually took the time to do the cost analysis this time, as opposed to my first batch, and they came out to be only $0.38 a piece.  How’s that for super cool?

Chocolate Zucchini Protein Bars
Modified from this recipe.

Super yummy homemade protein bars that sort of taste like zucchini bread.  Makes one 8x8 pan, 10 or 12 bars depending on how knife happy you get!  With my ingredients they are 100 calories a piece, 8g of protein per bar for 10 pieces in the recipe.

4 eggs
3/4 cup mashed banana
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup chocolate protein powder
1/4 cup ground or milled flax seed
4 tbsp cup-for-cup Stevia
2 tbsp dark cocoa powder
2 tsp maca powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp gluten-free baking soda (double if using this product)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup finely grated zucchini, as dried as possible with towels

How to:
1. Preheat the oven to 375*.
2. Mix the first three ingredients (the wet ones) together.
3. Sift the dry ingredients together (minus the zucchini).
4. Add dry to wet and mix well.  Fold in zucchini and let sit for 2 minutes.
5. Prepare an 8x8 brownie pan with foil and cooking spray.  Fill with batter and gently spread evenly.
6. Bake for 25 minutes. Mine were slightly moist still so I added another two minutes.  Keep in mind that zucchini typically carries a lot of moisture so it will continue to give wetness to the batter even after you take out the bars.
7. Let cool for 10 minutes then portion the bars.  I wrapped mine in foil so they are grab and go-able from the fridge.

I hope you enjoy this homemade alternative to store bought bars.  I know that ever since I’ve gotten to making my own I really enjoy them.  I admit I’d like to figure out how to get a nice crispy texture but I’m not quite sure how to do that.  These guys have a bit of a cake-y or bread-like texture but they’re still perfectly delicious and filling.

Questions: What flavor protein bars would you like to try?
What do think about putting veggies in protein bars?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Art of Waiting

Spooky Snacks and Healthy Halloween Treats

Boy, it's been so long since I have done a What I Ate Wednesday post!!  To be honest, I actually had to remind myself to take pictures before I ate.  In the end though, I did, so here we go –>

Breakfast was on the go because I had to be at GI Malignancy Tumor Board at 7am which meant I had to leave my apartment at 6:15am.  I was not super happy about it but my liquid breakfast got me going.  I do love smoothies when I’m on the go.


Thankfully I have a rock solid stomach most of the time because we spent the whole morning talking about mucinous tumors and metastatic disease in 30-year-olds.  Seriously, the idea is enough to make sick some days.  It is just so hard to think that there are “healthy” individuals who do everything right: exercise, eat well, see their doctors as regularly as they should, and they STILL get blindsided by cancer.  I can’t even deal.  I just can’t.  Anyways, by about 9:30 I was hungry again.  This seemed early but then I realized that it had already been three hours since I last ate.  To calm my tummy I whipped out a homemade chocolate zucchini protein bar (I’ll try and get the recipe up sometime!).

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This baby did the trick for another three and a half hours as I corrected patient letters and worked on formatting my graduate project for journal submission.  On my way home I did some quick shopping errands.  I needed to grab the ingredients necessary to make some party food for Saturday!  Can’t wait to hang out with friends, get dressed up, enjoy some great eats, and socialize.  When I got back from errands it was a bit past lunch time and I was getting hungry.  I made myself a goat cheese, cherry jam, and almond butter grilled sandwich with a side of pretzels, snappea crisps, and an apple.

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I spent the entire afternoon working on formatting which seriously annoyed me.  Sometimes I think the worst part wasn’t writing the article, it is having to format it properly.  Getting all the punctuation properly done, and the spacing perfect, and the font right.  Oi.  I’m over it.  But thankfully I made really great progress!  By five I was ready for dinner but I decided to do some Jillian Michaels yoga.  I get started NROLFW Stage Two and the squat/lunge heavy workouts are making me real sore.  The stretching of yoga was well worth it.  Dinner after consisted of a bowl of split pea soup (thanks to the crock pot, can’t beat it) and some salsa with multigrain crackers.

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I know split pea soup doesn’t always look the best but it seriously sticks to your ribs.  In that one awesome bowl there is close to 20g of protein.  How sweet is that?  Oh yea, and speaking of sweet, I treated myself to some INCREDIBLE chocolate for dessert.

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If you like sea salt caramel and dark chocolate you need to jump on this train, fast.  The sultriness of this dessert managed to keep my mind occupied for all of five minutes.  Sadly I really needed more distraction.  You see, I’m waiting for a really important phone call, and sadly it hasn’t come yet.  It is an exercise in patience.  I get that.  But if we’re being real, I am an awful artist when it comes to the art of waiting.  I mean it’s not like I can do anything to make the phone ring quicker but a girl can dream right?  Let’s just hope I get the call soon.  I’m dying over here!

Questions: How do you distract yourself when you’re waiting for something big?
What’s your favorite flavor to combine with chocolate?

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Hello everyone.  I know it’s been a while but patients come first.  And seriously, by the time I get home at the end of the day and get food in my belly, I am beat.  Then the night begins and I do homework until I crash in bed around 10p.  Anyways, tonight I happened to get some stuff done early and I thought to myself, I should blog.  So here I am, about to tell you all about weekend my daddy came to visit (and work in the city).

Last weekend, my dad came in last Sunday and we spent the day eating burgers and watching the Redskins put up a decent fight.  They lost sadly (however they won TODAY!!) and dad and I walked back to his hotel where we caught the tail end of the Colts game on TV.  That one ended with a bang.  Later we went for dinner at a super, duper fancy restaurant.  I seriously wanted to take pictures but that would have been really tacky in such a nice white-glove service establishment.  So, as you can imagine, I opted not to take photos.  I can tell you though that dad and I split a great bottle of red wine and had a good time devouring the artisan bread basket.  I ended up ordering two sides to make a meal for myself: lobster macaroni and cheese along with oven roasted mushrooms (four or five varieties).  Dad had a stellar piece of salmon.  We were impressed.  When the bill was brought, the waiter gave him his calling card.  How swank!  They do it so if you liked the server you can come back and use the card to ask for that server again.  Interesting, huh?

My dad stayed until Tuesday so on Monday, since Jack was around for the weekend (his dad came into town too!), the three of us went to dinner at a new place on the south-ish side of the city.  We started off with crab cakes for the table.  Dad didn’t have lunch and was pretty hungry plus we’re not ones to pass up crab cakes, ever.

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These babies were on the small side size-wise but on the big side flavor-wise.  Plus, the cakes were nice and flaky, lots of crab.  The spiced lemon aioli on the plate was scrumptious too.  Next up were salads.  Dad had the spinach salad with warm bacon dressing and Jack and I split the salad named for the joint.  It had candied asparagus, walnuts, goat cheese, cranberries, and spring mix.  It was so good.

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EntrĂ©e wise, dad had the filet mignon meatloaf (yes, you read that right) with pistachio and white cheddar potato puree.  Jack ordered the candied walnut crusted tilapia and I had the Chilean sea bass with pears and brie bread pudding in a sweet corn broth.

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It was so good.  The fish practically fell apart.  I had trouble spearing it with my fork actually it was so tender!  The broth was sweet and complimented the fish well.  Also, oh man, bread pudding.  Seriously awesome!  I loved the whole dish.  When the waitress came around to ask if we wanted dessert, dad declined but I wanted to hear the options.  We chose a chocolate peanut butter lava cake topped with cinnamon ice cream.

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We broke this sucker open and outflowed the peanut buttery goodness.  This plate lasted all of five seconds.  Dad even had a few bites…Mr. No Dessert, yea sure.  I enjoyed every bite though.  Too bad there is no place around here to get straight cinnamon ice cream.  That stuff was delish.  You know what else is delicious?  The chocolate peanut butter ice cream cupcake I had on Friday night when David and I went out for a “catch-me-up-on-your-life” dinner and walk-about-the-town.

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The peanut butter ice cream with pb cups is mixed in house and then added to a little chocolate covered piece of chocolate cake.  The chocolate shell on the bottom had an awesome texture that I really dug.  I could have eaten a whole three more.  The restaurant had several flavors too so I would never get bored.  =P

Questions: What’s your favorite way to spend time with your dad?
What NFL team do you root for?

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Early Morning

So it’s early…

And I got up to start working on some homework while Jack is still asleep…


I guess I should do that…

I’ll admit though, that I feel bad for not having the time to blog lately.  School and clinic have been crazy.  My time is so limited.  And when I finally do get a moment to rest I’m usually in bed, already ten minutes to sleep.

So, in short, I’m sorry for not blogging more.  I think I might have to concede that I might not be able to blog more than twice-ish a week, and that will probably be on weekend when I have a few more minutes to myself.  I hope that’s okay and I hope you understand.

Anyways, enough with the sad stuff, today is a race day, specifically Wine at the Line race day!  Remember last year?  Yea, well it’s about to be a repeat.  This year Joshua and I are tackling the race again and we’re looking forward to those glasses of wine at the end.  Also awesome, Jack’s dad is in town this weekend so he’ll be around to cheer us on.  The more, the merrier!

I’ll try and post some pictures of the race later on tomorrow.  Until then, I’m going to study and patient prep and get ready to race.  I hope everyone’s day is fantastic!

Question: Who is your favorite cheerleader during a race?

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