In which it’s beginning to feel like Thanksgiving

How is it mostly through November already? When planning things I’ve felt like Thanksgiving has been a moving target and now all of a sudden its snuck up on me and will be here next.week. Bring on the sweet potatoes, cranberry apple casserole and heaping loads of ham and tryptophan! I can tell it’s close, my heart is constantly swelling with gratitude and happiness.

A brief update:

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I’ve been on my cardiology rotation at SCH. So thankful there are heart docs out there because every time they asked me if I could hear the murmur I just kind of had to nod, smile and trust their judgement that it was there. I’ll stick with things I can see (like teeth), thank you.

We had some sunshine! And it's projected to go through the weekend!

We had some sunshine! And it’s projected to go through the weekend! But seriously, this fall hasn’t been as bad as last year and I’m very thankful for that (but it still doesn’t stop me from wanting to snap a picture of it though).

I wandered over to the main section of UW's campus for a talk by the esteemed Amy Cuddy. Her TED talk is here and it's worth a listen: http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are.html

I wandered over to the main section of UW’s campus for a talk by the esteemed Amy Cuddy. Her TED talk is here and it’s worth a listen: http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are.html

Suzzallo library on main campus makes me homesick for a certain Gothic Wonderland

Suzzallo library on main campus makes me simultaneously homesick and warmed my heart for reminding me about a certain Gothic Wonderland. Also Duke football is AMAZING!

This season is one of my favorite. Good food. Gratefulness. Fall smells. It’s just delicious. My dear mother instilled a solid sense of civic mindedness in us and since I can remember I’ve loved having opportunities to volunteer. My schedule recently hasn’t allowed me the flexibility to go exotic places or take part in large scale projects, but that’s the nice thing about giving, it can be done very well in your own backyard in very small amounts. You could argue that that just may be the best kind of volunteering.

Screen Shot 2013-11-21 at 12.08.23 AMI joined the Junior League of Seattle this year as a Provisional and so far the experience has an amazing outlet for me. My mom was in Junior League in Knoxville once upon a time and I have cousins in the Memphis league. Far from being the petty organization portrayed in The Help, for me, it’s the perfect combination of fellowship with wonderful women and easy packaged opportunities to do good. On Saturday I helped out with a work crew at Green Plate Special installing their new garden space in Rainier Valley Seattle. They’re an organization that specializes in curriculum based food growing and cooking skills for middle schoolers. My public health heart just swooned.

Freshly dug carrots

Freshly dug carrots

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They’ve just moved to a fantastic new facility. We helped disassemble parts of the old garden and set up the new (pictured here

Seeds ready for planting.

Seeds ready for planting.

They asked us to do a crazy picture.. and um, this is what we came up with.

They asked us to do a crazy picture.. and um, this is what we came up with.

Also, sadly without pictures because I’m a dunce and forgot; Jeff and I got to catch up with our friend Rebecca Fairchild while she was in Seattle for work. On Friday we took her to one of my favorite places in Belltown, Local 360, and got a chance to reminisce about the 10 or so odd years it’s been since we were all freshman together in Bassett. Thanks for a fun evening Rebecca! And it was nice to meet your sweet friend Jen too! So because I sucked and didn’t get pictures, here’s some throwbacks:

Rebecca, Kuppy and I senior year at Duke

Rebecca, Kuppy and I senior year at Duke

Rebecca and I top row left, freshman dorm powderpuff football

Rebecca and I top row left, freshman dorm powderpuff football

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In which it’s (my favorite) month of Thanks

Some people love the Fourth of July for her fireworks and hotdogs. Some people can’t stand a year without the cold kiss of snowflakes, a Christmas tree and hot chocolate. Others need the sugar rushes of Halloween and Easter.

Me? I can’t love Thanksgiving enough. It’s all the best parts of Christmas (great food and good football) with none of the drama (what do I buy and for whom?). I can totally get behind a holiday that exists with the sole purpose of celebrating the joyful things in life, no matter how small, and commemorates the moment by eating a large delicious meal. Best. Holiday. Ever.

Goodbye October, welcome November. I can’t say November is my absolute favorite – every month (except August) has it’s high highs, but it falls in the glorious spectrum of Autumn which is a pretty great season.

I fully realize that thankfulness is a quality I need to exercise more throughout the year. Today though I want to say I’m thankful for Jeff and his willingness to not only move across a continent for me, but put up with my daily quirks and embrace them. I could never have imagined a better teammate.

Fall is lovely, isn’t it?

In which the rains have come

We’ve been so lucky and our luck has held while waiting it out, but the gorgeous blue October skies have finally given way to this view off our balcony:

I knew deep down it was coming.. but ugh. Time to start shopping for a sun lamp!

In good news the Northwest foliage is gorgeous:

And makes for some great weather to warm curry deliciousness:

Trader Joe’s: Brown jasmine rice + green curry simmer sauce + shrimpy shrimps = YUM!

And doesn’t make me mind curling up on the couch and be on call (aka babysitting the pager):

I have an unhealthy fear that the pager is going to go off when I’m in the shower. It not usually a standard toiletry.

 

I noticed today my tan lines from North Carolina have already faded, so guess it’s time to fully embrace the Pacific paleness. Oh summer and sunshine – I’ll miss thee!

 

In which I make foods that start with P

For my second meal planning menu attempt: Spinach and Onion Pizza. It was easy, wholesome and a vegetarian dish my carnivorous other half liked.

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces refrigerated fresh pizza dough
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil, divided
  • 2 cups vertically sliced onion (about 1/2 large)
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 28.5oz can of whole tomatoes, well drained and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/3 cup)
  • 4 ounces fresh baby spinach

Preparation

1. Remove dough from refrigerator. Let stand at room temperature, covered, 30 minutes.

2. Place a heavy baking sheet in oven. Preheat oven to 500° (keep baking sheet in oven as it preheats).

3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion; cook 4 minutes or until softened, stirring frequently. Remove onion from pan. Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add tomatoes, 1 tablespoon oregano, pepper, and salt; cook 4 minutes or until most of liquid evaporates, stirring mixture occasionally.

4. Roll dough into a 13-inch circle on a lightly floured surface; pierce entire surface liberally with a fork. Carefully place dough on preheated baking sheet. Spread tomato mixture evenly over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Top with onion and cheeses. Bake at 500° for 12 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is lightly browned.

5. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add spinach; sauté 2 minutes or until spinach wilts. Top pizza with remaining 1 tablespoon oregano and spinach. Cut into 8 slices.

Served best with a side of DVR’d TV shows

Despite Seattle’s reputation for non-stop rain we have been very lucky this fall. So far the grey-ness is being held at bay and we’re enjoying clear skies and temperatures in the 60’s. The leaves are starting to change and you can smell the crispness in the air. That fresh scent goes great with a side of pumpkins so I brought out the ice cream maker my mom gave us as a wedding gift and made some frozen pumpkin yogurt. Recipe stolen from here.

Ingredients:
1 cup fat free vanilla Greek yogurt
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 T sugar
1 t pumpkin pie spice

Directions:
1.    Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and stir until thoroughly mixed.
2.    Put the entire mixture into an ice cream freezer/maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze any leftovers in an airtight container.

Yields 4 (1/2 cup) servings.
Nutrition Information per ½ cup serving from myfitnesspal.com: 89 calories, 16 g carbs, 0 g fat, 7 g protein, 3 g fiber

I made the mistake of getting plain Greek yogurt instead of vanilla so I just added some vanilla extract to taste instead. It’s quite tangy – maybe more pumpkin than pumpkin pie? Its refreshing and quenches the pumpkin craving I’ve been having since those pumpkin macaroons.