Married to Medicine

Married to Medicine

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Addicted to cooking. No - it's a real problem.

Who's with me?  Anyone?  Because as I sit here 37 weeks pregnant and with a toddler to chase solo, including almost all evenings and most of the weekends (I asked Baby M yesterday if he knew who was coming to visit in two weeks and he said "Dada?!" - fellowship is in full swing) I am utterly exhausted and spent.  I literally feel like I might die of exhaustion, and certainly I could not survive another labor and delivery in my current state.  Not just because of the nonstop high-energy-toddler-boy chasing.  Not just because it's combined with end-stage pregnancy.  And not even because you can add to that alllllllllll of the housework (ALL).  But also because instead of just getting takeout and making simple meals during this physically intense time, I spent last night poaching chicken and making "Mulligatawny Stew" from scratch (hours on my feet, after a big grocery trip and hauling everything up).  I then spent this morning making banana pancakes - from scratch.  This afternoon, the plan is pumpkin bread to go with the stew...

Somebody... stop me!!!

Oh it crept up on me slowly but I saw it coming - I did.  My addiction started when I moved out to Boston to be an at-home parent.  I was still doing what I could to make extra money - nannying and some legal projects - but I found myself with way more time on my hands than I'd ever had as a full-time(+) practicing attorney.  Whereas "good food at home" in those days meant making a big pot of mom's spaghetti sauce to last us most of the week, it started taking on a bigger (and more demanding) meaning out East.

Shortly after I arrived in Boston (five months into Mark's residency) we found out that Mark's cholesterol was still high - in spite of our having cut out red meat and as much saturated fat as possible.  When his PCP made the call that he was too young for a statin, I started reading up on what else we could do to lower it.  Mark loves to run but had absolutely no time for exercise - in fellowship he gets about two-thirds of the sleep he should... during residency it was far worse.  So I started reading books about cholesterol and cookbooks on heart healthy cooking, and I started trying new recipes (and blogging about it).  To my surprise, it was really fun!  I soon found myself trying at least two new recipes a week, sometimes more.  Once his cholesterol was back within a "normal" range (I was THRILLED) I branched out a bit.  Then Pinterest came on the scene, with its beautiful pictures and easy clicking for new recipes...

Sounds great right?  Well, it is and it isn't (as maybe some of you know?).  We eat very well over here and the husband who used to assure me that finances would be fine "because we only really need peanut butter and jelly" won't touch a sandwich - even a ham sandwich - on the weekends.  It's great to tease him about how spoiled he is.  But the fact is that we're both spoiled.  Old recipes (unless amazing) don't sound appetizing at all.  Takeout is done rarely and is almost always disappointing, and prepared foods have no place in our lives.  Even going out to a restaurant (our FAVORITE) doesn't hold the appeal it once held.  Is this starting to sound crazy?  Because it is.  I know it is.

And all "good" things must come to an end.  I've known ever since I had Baby M that there was no way I'd be able to keep this up once I had a second baby and a husband who was still in the barely-present years of medical training.  I've known... and yet I've just figured I'd deal with it when the time came.  And it appears that the time is here :(  At my appointment today, my OB expressed concern over how exhausted I appeared and told me to get a mother's helper "even if it's just for a couple hours on the weekend."  She told me to "nap when he naps" (oops!  Ha) and since I clearly cannot do lots of food prep while he's awake (plus what about the cleaning?) I guess that Baby C is asserting herself from the womb, letting us know she's going to (rightfully) demand time, attention, and love.

So while I hope to continue the culinary exploration that has been my outlet and stress-reliever as a stay-at-home-practically-single-parent, I know that the time has come to retire it the back burner (no pun intended) in preparation for labor, delivery, recovery, and being a mom of two.  And I also know that as lost as I feel about that right now, it'll probably be a complete non-issue once I meet our newest family member and my heart is bursting at the seams for each of my two babies :)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

'Lis's Best-Ever Blueberry-Almond Snack Cake

Nope, that's not a typo or a new nickname for me!  'Lis is Mark's sister Melissa, and I've blogged about her amazing kitchen talents before.  I'm telling you, all five of Mark's siblings are just as driven as he is - they're all seemingly perfect and constantly doing various sorts of charitable work.  Credit my MIL who did an amazing job raising them! 

Anyway, I've tried many, many blueberry muffin and blueberry coffee-cake type recipes and there is just something about this one.  It's perfect.  The texture is perfect - light but substantial, with a finishing crunch if you sprinkle it with some raw or large-grained sugar before baking.  The flavor is perfect too - just sweet enough, with a hint of almond.  And it's so easy to throw together.  I've hardly been able to stop making it since I first started... and since it works just as well with raspberries, that's my most recent kick.  Anyway, here's the recipe:

Blueberry (or Raspberry) Snack Cake

6 tablespoons butter (3/4 stick), room temp
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg

1 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4-1/2 tsp almond extract (depends on your tastes)

Sugar for sprinkling (big grain if you can find it)

1/2 - 3/4 cup blueberries (or raspberries)

Heat oven to 350.  Butter and flour an 8x8 square pan (or a pie pan would also provide the right size).  In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  In a glass measuring cup, combine milk, vanilla, and almond extract.  In a medium bowl mix sugar and butter until blended; add egg, mix again.  Add the flour and milk mixtures, alternating until batter is smooth.  Spread batter evenly into pan and dot with berries.  Sprinkle with sugar.  Bake 35 minutes.

Just before baking.  Sorry - will have to update with a "baked" picture at a later time!