Monthly Archives: October 2013

Pumpkin Beef & Chicken Chili

Monika and I decided to do a sort of pumpkin-themed dinner after one of our quizzes last week! As luck would have it, I happened upon the cutest crockpot in the world a couple weeks ago, and it was on sale for <$20! Needless to say (after reading some reviews online), I brought it home with me.

Ain’t it adorable!?

I was originally going to try to recreate one of my favorite food truck of all time because I really miss their food, but driving 9 hours to visit a food truck is hardly reasonable when I’m supposed to be in school to learn to save lives. In any case, I unfortunately ran out of turkey when I made the Thai Turkey Zucchini Meatballs, so I figured I should just use up the ingredients I already had before I went and spent more money. The recipe for this was adapted from here!

Pumpkin Beef & Chicken Chili
Nutritional Info: (makes 16 [big] servings) 152 cal, 14g CHO’s, 6g fat, 13g protein, 4g fiber, 514mg sodium per serving!

-1 tbsp EVOO
-1 lb. lean ground beef (91%)
-8 chicken hot dogs, diced
-1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes w/ garlic + onion
-1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes w/ no salt
-1 15 oz. can chili beans
-1 15 oz. can black beans
-1 15.5 oz can pumpkin
-freshly ground black pepper
-1 tbsp brown sugar
-cayenne pepper
-ground ginger
-ground cloves
-ground nutmeg

1) Heat EVOO in a large skillet over medium heat and brown the beef, stirring often until crumbly and no longer pink. Drain + discard any fat.
2) Dice up the chicken hot dogs.
2) Transfer beef + chicken to the crockpot and stir in the diced tomatoes, pumpkin, chili beans, black beans, brown sugar and all spices. Set cooker to “Low,” cover and cook for at least 3 hours.


test days

We took a really horrible neuro exam the other day that left most of us in depression.

I had dinner with Monika at When Pigs Fly (probably one of my favorite restaurants here :D ). We quizzed each other in neuro and managed to learn everything we needed to about the basal ganglia, dyskinesias and ataxias.

Here are a couple notes, in case you ever want to know a tiny bit more about any of that goodness:

Deep Cerebellar Nuclei (“Don’t Eat Greasy Food”)

  • Dentate
    • Largest + receives projections from lateral cerebellar hemispheres
  • Emboliform + Globose
    • Receive input from intermediate part of cerebellar hemispheres
    • Collectively known as the interposed nuclei; they’re the inner part of the “sandwich,” so they’re associated with the intermediate hemispheres!
  • Fastigial*
    • Receives input from vermis + small input from flocculonodular lobe

*Reminds me of the vermiform appendix, which is a vestigial organ, which sounds kinda like fastigial?


  • Truncal
    • Lesions confined to cerebellar varmis + affect mainly medial motor systems
    • Pts w/ lesions of vermis have a wide-based, unsteady drunk-like gait
  • Appendicular
    • Lesions in intermediate + lateral cerebellar hemispheres + affect lateral motor systems
    • Ataxia on movement of extremities (e.g. finger-nose-finger test)
  • Sensory
    • Occurs when dorsal column/medial lemniscal pathway disrupted
      • Loss of joint position sense
      • Overshooting limb movements, wide-based unsteady gait (~cerebellar lesion)
        • Impaired joint position sense
        • Ataxia worse when eyes are closed or in the dark

Beef brisket special w/ steamed kale, a baked sweet potato with cinnamon, horseradish sauce, and a roll.

I got to school super-early the next morning to stake out our usual room so Mike and I could have a mass study-quizzing session. Other than when we had to go into lab, we stayed there for pretty much the entire day. Our lives are really exciting as med students. Sean kidnapped me afterward to make us protein smoothies and deposited us back into our study-home (the catacombs). I came back to find that Mike had come back and left me a message.

He tried to be all sneaky/call my phone so he could get onto it and change my background into a picture of himself, but failed miserably because he didn’t know my passcode. He was a little upset.

We got free breakfast before our exam the next morning, so that was a ray of sunshine in an otherwise dreary morning…

I love the spouse/significant other club. They make/feed us breakfast on exam days. <3

…because despite all the above awesomeness, the exam was horribly demoralizing and I spiraled into a mild depression, so I went to the dog shelter and took several of them on walks to cheer myself up and give em’ some exercise. I had dinner with my study buddies, hung out at their place for a while and ran off to the bike shop to hand out bags to the pre-registered runners for the Zombie Run. Another girl in my class was helping out and we talked whenever there was a lull; I’ve never really interacted with her much, but she’s super nice, so it was cool that I got to know her. She said she thought she might have synesthesia in the sense that she associates different people with animals. To her, I’m apparently a cat!

Tis only fitting, because look at this:

It was impossible to be depressed after this. <3

She looks so content. :]

She brought that up only because a long time ago (she has really good memory o_o), she overheard me saying that someone told me I had a “pouty face” (or that my concentration looked really unhappy) and I responded with, “I can’t help the way my face looks! That’s the way I was born! D:” just to be snarky.

Chocolate Raspberry Protein Smoothie

There were other fruits in here, but the raspberries and chocolate really took over. It tasted like an awesome dessert! :] Basically my morning meal replacement/energizer for before I took a quiz. I needed something super fast and easy. :P

Chocolate Raspberry Protein Smoothie
Nutritional Info: 380 cal, 49 g CHO’s, 9g fats, 32g protein, 12g fiber, 270mg sodium!

-1 cup Almond, Cashew & Hazelnut Drink (Dream Blends)
-8 pieces frozen mango chunks (Trader Joe’s)
-1 small handful of frozen blueberries
-15 frozen raspberries (Trader Joe’s)
-1/2 banana
-1 tsp chia seeds
-1 tsp raw, shelled hemp seeds
-1 scoop 100% whey concentrated + isolated chocolate whey protein
-1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk

1) Blend everything together and enjoy!

I had some left over, so I put banana slices in it for a mid-day snack!

communications lab

I think the only thing worse than having to watch a recording of yourself in a clinical encounter with a standardized patient failing at life is when you have to watch said failures with a preceptor and two fellow students.

For the record, I especially hate watching videos of me where I’m talking or hearing recordings of myself because I think I sound like I’m 5. :[ Dr. Miller assured me that what I sound like to myself isn’t what I sound like to everyone else because of the way your own voice resonates in your skull and such, but…if that’s the case, does that mean I really do sound like a 5 year old child!? ;_;

At least it was very much an equal-opportunity process. We all got to watch each other perform our awkward patient exams.

On the plus side, as I did mention, we got Dr. Miller as our preceptor and she is by far my absolute favorite because she’s the bee’s knees (aka never makes you feel stupid when you make mistakes/forget things).

My feedback ranged from “Marginal/Needs Improvement” to “Very Effective.” I don’t think they’re allowed to give “Exemplary” to anyone because there’s always room for improvement, but that might just be me trying to make myself feel better. (Kidding. They claim that no one ever gets “exemplary.”) My “marginal” ones were mainly due to the fact that I spent way too much time talking to the patient and nowhere close to enough time for the actual exam, so my closing statements were pretty crappy (or just nonexistent, because anything you say after the timer runs out doesn’t count).

My two standardized patients’ specific comments were:

  • “Too timid”
  • “Very pleasant and easy to talk to”
  • “Ran out of time, will need to speed up”

We’re going to be the first class that gets to type our SOAP notes for our boards for Step 2 (PE). Luckily, I have a hell of a lot of experience with typing quickly due to the fact that I was responsible for typing up my brother’s homework assignments back in the day (elementary school).

(I’m not kidding. My dad would seriously tell me to do this to help my brother out when I could instead have been sleeping and growing a couple more inches. Firstborn sons. <_<)

At least it’s proved to be useful? My friend finds my typing ability amazing and says I’m “basically only limited by the speed of [your] thoughts.” His theory is that this is how I’m able to accomplish so many other things while still getting fairly decent grades (other than that last neuro test). I like to chalk it up to the fact that I’ve had so much practice with balancing a billion things in undergrad, but I’m sure it helps, especially in this case. We have 14 minutes for the patient interview/encounter and 9 minutes to write the SOAP note.

Currently, my biggest problem is getting to the assessment/plan, since there’s so much to talk through in just the subjective part, and I unfortunately blank out by the time I get to the assessment. I definitely need to work on streamlining that process so I have more time to do the actual exam, but…at least it’s unlikely that my patients will ever feel like I don’t care about them!?


  • Since we’re supposed to wash our hands in front of them and it’s pretty much been ingrained in us that it’s bad to ask them about their chief complaint while our back’s turned, talk about the weather! How was their drive there? Know anything about their life? Kids? Pets? Ask about that! Is it almost weekend? What are their plans? Is it the beginning of the week? How was their weekend?
  • Use the alcohol hand sanitizer from now on. It’s so much faster. D:


  • Maybe ask a little less in depth? :'( But what if I miss something crucial?!


  • …Just work on everything to do with this. :/


  • Think faster. :[


  • Make sure you summarize what you think it might be, the plan of action, and ask if they have any questions/other concerns.


  • Hopefully, if I fix all of the above, this will actually count as “existent.”

Thai Turkey Zucchini Meatballs

This recipe was adapted from here, mainly because I live out in the boonies and don’t have access to a lot of what would be considered “ethnic” ingredients. The closest one is 1.5 hours away in the next state, so I do what I can. :o The tomato paste was subbed simply because I forgot to buy it on my way back from school. :x The sauce would probably be a lot less liquidy if I’d used that instead, but I put it over brown rice/spaghetti squash “pasta,” so it worked out! ;)

It took me a lot longer than 30 minutes, but I was also baking some chicken + spaghetti squash, washing dishes and rearranging my fridge.

Thai Turkey Zucchini Meatballs
Nutritional Info: 703 cal, 22g CHO’s, 13g fat, 116g protein, 7g fiber, 1752mg sodium!
(The recipe made 35, so a single meatball = 20 cal, 1g CHO, <1g fat, 3g protein and 50mg sodium.)


Pictured with a variety of steamed vegetables + a serving of brown rice!

-1 lb extra lean ground turkey
-2 cups zucchini, grated
-3.5 oz (1 container) oyster mushrooms, diced
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-2 heaping tbsp fresh basil, minced
-2 tbsp unsweetened coconut milk
-1 tsp fish sauce
-1 tsp panang curry paste
-2 tsp coconut oil
-cayenne pepper
-ground ginger

-1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
-3 tbsp cacciatore sauce (it was the only tomato-based sauce-like substance I could find in my apartment)
-1 tbsp panang curry paste
1 tsp fish sauce

1) In a medium bowl, combine ingredients for meatballs and mix thoroughly with your hands. Spoon heaping 1 tbsp’s of mixture and roll them between your hands to form a ball. Lay on a cutting board and set aside.
2) Whisk together sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
3) Preheat a large skillet on high and add a little coconut oil. Add meatballs and cook until brown, for about 2-3 minutes. (No need to cook the meatballs through!) Add the sauce, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered.
4) Garnish with cilantro/green onions if you have any. If not, serve over brown rice or spaghetti squash “pasta!”

Refrigerate covered for up to 3 days. These can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months! :]

Cookin’ away at midnight!

This is the one with spaghetti squash! I made a tupperware for my friend and one for me. The rest are chillin’ at home and waiting to be consumed over the weekend.