Not Just For Breakfast (a.k.a. Passionfruit Mimosas)

If you haven’t seen a passionfruit before, they are dark purple and about the size/shape of an extra-large grade AA egg minus the tapered end. If you haven’t tasted them, they are tart, with a distinctive flavor like nothing else. They are akin to cilantro in that people generally feel strongly towards them, one way or the other. The wrinklier they get, the sweeter they are.

Before

Before

For a long time, I didn’t understand where they got their name. One hot summer in Taipei (as if there is another kind), I was cutting into one in the kitchen. The air conditioner was off and it was like being in a sweat lodge. As I pierced the skin, a jet of golden yellow fruit with its greenish-grey seeds shot out, like a liquid leopard pouncing onto the plate. I was probably fifteen and never-been kissed, but I blushed just the same. And that’s why I think they are called passionfruits.
After

After

But I digress. Passionfruits make for a great mimosa. To make one (or two), you’ll need:
  • one passionfruit
  • superfine sugar
  • prosecco or champagne
  • mango nectar (optional)
As above, let the passionfruit get wrinkly, empty the contents into a champagne glass or two (the fruit/juice:prosecco ratio in a mimosa is a personal choice). Add superfine sugar to taste (or skip the sugar and use a ~tablespoon of mango nectar instead, especially if you find the taste of passionfruit too pungent/tart). Top off with prosecco or champs. Cheers!
Every day should be a mimosa day!

Every day should be a mimosa day!

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Hit it Out of the Park

FML might be a bit dramatic, but the facepalm is real.

FML might be a bit dramatic, but the facepalm is real.

The moment you realize that your last relationship could be summed up by the 1993 hit:

Those Swedes are wise. Aha moment brought to you (me) by the umpteenth viewing of Pitch Perfect. The truth shall set you free!

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Perks and Perils

My mom texted for some advice during her preparation for her routine endoscopic procedure. My mom is the best kind of patient—she follows instructions to the letter, even when her personal medical counsel (a.k.a. me) advises otherwise. She had texted to ask if she could skip some of her cathartics because they had, well, been too cathartic. I told her it was okay to stop but she decided to only take half my advice and still take half of the prescribed medication for the next day. If I had a dollar for every time I have had to say to my mother, “Trust me. I’m a doctor” I would have as many dollar bills as a stripper during Spring Break. This is her follow-up text the next morning:

Finally! My turn to say...I told you so!!!

Finally! My turn to say…I told you so!!!

Love you Mom!

P.S. She got an A+ on her colonoscopy. #goodforanothertenyears

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Gentle Reminder

Sometimes, you just need a simple message to remind you of what’s important:

Food Lab, West Hollywood

Food Lab, West Hollywood

If you can do just these three things today, you’re ahead of the game. Happy Hump Day!

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Kind of a Big Deal

About 22 months ago, I asked my boss to take a week of sick leave because I wasn’t feeling quite well. In my own estimation and the opinion of other medical professionals, that sounded like enough time to get some good rest and back on track if not completely better. No one, least of all me, thought that I would so quickly fall down the rabbit hole. I wouldn’t return to work for several months and when I did, it would be part-time. During those first months back, this day seemed a pipe dream, if not completely ludicrous. I am so very grateful for my job, my boss and the higher-ups who supported me. I have been restored to good health for some time and have been intermittently working 40+ hours/week but due to scheduling, logistics, and contractual stipulations/obligations, today is officially my first day back working full-time. It feels a bit like the first day of school. I’m wearing a pretty dress. I made myself pancakes to celebrate. (I’d have a mimosa if I didn’t have to actually go to work). Though I have been around enough to no longer believe that “everything happens for a reason,” I do still believe that every experience, even the very unpleasant ones, add to your life. Whether by removing a layer of your naivety, showing you a strength you didn’t know you could muster, or revealing who really has your back when the chips are down, you are changed. Big hugs and thank yous to those who had faith in me when I had all but lost my own. And to the doubters, sorry to disappoint. I’m back. And I’m here to stay.

I can't wait to see this on Thursday. Photo courtesy of Universal Studios.

I can’t wait to see this on Thursday! Photo courtesy of Universal Studios.

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Roasted Beet Salad with Avocado and Honey Yogurt

In an effort to be healthier and eat more fruits and vegetables, I recently joined a CSA-box delivery program and started bringing my lunch to work. This recipe is making me looking forward to my lunch today: I had a salad at Cucina Enoteca recently that was so delicious yet simple that I jotted down the ingredients and attempted to re-create it at home.

The restaurant version has “lemony-roasted beets,” microbasil and pistachios. My version has “what I had on hand that was similar.” Since I cook with the Eyeball, Pinch and Taste method, all measurements are approximate.

No, this not all I am eating for lunch. Just the most photogenic part.

No, this is not all I am eating for lunch. This is just the healthiest most photogenic part.

Ingredients:

Makes one serving in no time at all.

1 medium-sized beet or 3-4 baby ones, roasted (you can roast them yourself or use Trader Joe’s roasted baby beets to save time)

microkale mix ( I love microgreens but frankly, they all taste pretty much the same to me)

2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt

drizzle of honey

half of a small avocado

coarsely chopped Marcona almonds

balsamic vinegar

Cut beet(s) and avocado in cubes and plate. Sprinkle microgreens around the cubes. Stir a drizzle of honey into the yogurt and add dollops in an arty fashion. Sprinkle with chopped almonds. Drizzle with a tiny bit of balsamic vinegar. Enjoy. Instead of yogurt, I would imagine that dollops of soft goat cheese would be quite tasty too.

Doctor’s note: Do not be alarmed if 4-6 hours later you are convinced that you are peeing blood. If you have back pain, fever or burning when you urinate, go to a clinic. If not, it’s called beeturia and is directionally proportional to the number of beets you’ve consumed and completely harmless. If this still frightens you, substitute golden beets instead. You’re welcome! :)

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Go Ahead, Make My Day

Still on my Bucket List of Places To See.

Still on my Bucket List of Places To See. Photo Courtesy of Grand Canyon NPS (W. Tyson Joye)

I’ve been a little MIA because my day job has been my day-into-night job this week. Despite being tired and my house looking like it was ransacked, it’s been a really good week. Even beyond the mundane frustrations of a large metropolitan hospital, some weeks I joke that I am just “staving off death” rather than “saving lives.” Yesterday, I was reminded that I didn’t take an oath to fix illness, but rather to try and alleviate suffering.  I was delivering the good news to a patient who had been eager to go home for several days; I had spent much of the week reassuring his worried wife (who herself apologized, “sorry, I’m so neurotic!”) and attempting to explain his condition-low salt levels in the blood, which in his case was, counterintuitively, due to an excess of free water in his blood. He was a chemistry teacher in his pre-illness life and despite my crude drawings on the dry erase board, we were getting nowhere until I channeled high school chemistry class: “there’s not enough solute for the amount of solvent.” Eureka!

As I was leaving his room, my patient said: “You are awesome. That’s the word I used when I saw the Grand Canyon for the first time when I was eighteen. Awesome.”

Wow, I told him, gesturing my hands like a balancing scale: me, Grand Canyon. Gentleman, pay attention: if that’s not a compliment, I don’t know what is. I told him that I will put that in my special mental shoebox that I dip into when work is frustrating, when patients or their families yell at me, when I haven’t peed or eaten because I am trying to work faster, for when I forget to be grateful that I get to do the work I do, even when anyone who works in a medical setting will tell you it is so incredibly not glamorous despite its media portrayal (no McDreamies or McSteamies here…though a cute murse did put his phone number in my coat pocket while we were squeezed in a supply closet once…but I digress).

It was one of the most original thank yous I have ever received, at work or otherwise. And it made my day. So if you have the chance today and feel a desire to thank anyone in your life for something, do it. It just might make their day. And yours. Happy Monday! :)

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Shake Your Latte Maker

During a recent hypoglycemic jaunt to Whole Foods, I came across a gadget I did not know I needed. Behold the Hario Latte Shaker: a simple plastic device that makes latte foam in about thirty seconds.

Fill to the line with ice cold milk.

Fill to the line with ice cold milk.

I mean, this is genius. I love low tech stuff…I am one of those odd birds who were upset when they got rid of Scantrons and scratch paper for Important Exams.

Shake for about 30 seconds. Ludacris tunes optional.

Shake. Ludacris tunes optional.

Easy to use. Easy to wash. And really kind of unbelievable. I prefer to use whole or two percent milk. Haven’t tried soy milk but almond milk didn’t really foam up. Shake for about 30-40 seconds or until you feel less liquid in one half of the shaker because it has become foam. Don’t shake too long or you might get butter, which sounds delicious, but probably not in your coffee:

Voila!

Voila!

Good morning and Happy Monday!

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Don’t Build your Own Glass Ceiling

Last weekend, I decided to run a 5k while on vacation in San Diego. I grew up there and knew the course would be pretty flat and a quick one. I was looking to PR. Not that it would be difficult because I do not run 5ks very often (prefer 10k and half-marathons) and my last time was 29:55, circa 2008. To commit, I told a few people I was aiming to run a 26:00 and under…because I knew that was pretty safe. I was pretty sure I could run an average of an 8:20ish mile for 3.1 miles.

Saturday AM, I’m running on adrenaline and Nespresso. I keep thinking about what my run coach/friend/ass-whooper O texted me: Don’t doubt yourself!!! At the end of the day it’s only 26 minutes of your life. I have a bad habit of holding back, even during workout runs.  It’s partly subconscious; am I worried that if I go out too fast, I might get tired/run out of gas and then what…God forbid…have to walk?! So this time I tried to just run as good as I felt, while glancing at my Garmin every 5 minutes or so rather than every 30 seconds. When I was coming around the bend and saw the finish line (and my dad standing there cheering me on), I knew I would make my goal. What I didn’t know then was that I ran an average 7:56/mi pace and won first in my age division! I couldn’t have been more excited. Ok, maybe my dad was more excited. It was an amazing start to a great day–which was followed by an afternoon spent at the beach and awesome dinner with my visiting BFF. I also learned a good lesson: don’t hold back, (applies to racing and, well, life in general): putting your whole self out there, even if you fail, is always gonna be a win. My new goal? Sub-24!

Race morning. In another lifetime, I was to be married at this spot. Life has a sense of humor, so it's probably best I do too!

Race morning. In another lifetime, I was to be married here. Life has a sense of humor, so it’s probably good that I do too :)

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Please Pardon this Brief Interruption for Cancer

Good Karma, Great Cause…Check it out!

only bad chi

I debated about whether I should post this–because it’s about the fundraising I’m doing for cancer, and everyone hates being asked for money, and I hate asking everyone for money, and I don’t know any of you personally and certainly don’t expect any of you to contribute–but then decided it couldn’t hurt, since it’s for a good cause and I have no expectations in posting it here, except maybe to at least spread awareness about leukemia and lymphoma, and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS)–(I’m also doing much more targeted fundraising with people I actually know–so lucky for you that I don’t know know you! :)) So please bear with me, or ignore me–totally fine either way!

My dear friend Vera Herbert asked me to join her fundraising team as she competes for LLS’s title of Woman of the Year, and how could I say no. First of all, you can’t say no to helping any…

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