Wednesday, July 29, 2015

And Just Like That, It's Over

     Yesterday was my final day of preceptorship.  Preceptorship was the last leg of this long, arduous journey to obtain a BSN.  All that's left to graduate is turning in my paperwork to my instructor, and then I will be set to graduate in two weeks.  I think I'm in a state of disbelief.  It didn't feel real on the way home last night.  It took hearing my mom on the phone saying again and again, "You did it. You're done" before it began to sink in a bit. 
     Although Nursing school seemed to drag on and on indefinitely with new hoops to jump at every corner, now that it's moving to the rear view  mirror it seems like it was too short.  I'm going to be responsible for lives soon.  I will be an advocate, an educator, and a safeguard for my patients.  That's a lot of responsibility, and I'm going to be honest and say that I wonder if I'm ready.  My preceptor, who is an amazing woman, and an equally wonderful nurse told me that she felt that way too when she started.  Maybe that's a good thing.  I don't ever want to take my job lightly.  I don't want to ever become flippant about a patient's wellbeing.  I want to be a good nurse.  No.  I want to be an amazing nurse who makes a difference in people's lives.  I want to be the kind of nurse that people remember.  Not necessarily my name or even my face, but I want them to remember that I cared, that I helped them, and that I was their rock to lean on.  That may sound cheesy, but every word is true. 
     I'm hesitant to put too much here, but I am looking forward to the future with great enthusiasm at my prospects.  Once I pass NCLEX (and I will pass!) I'll be looking for doors to open where I never expected them to be.  I hope that as I close this chapter and begin the next one God will guide me to where He needs me, since He knows where my heart lies.  I will definitely be keeping y'all updated as I move through this next stage of life with joy and enthusiasm. 
 A rare selfie before my last day.
     It seems a bit out of place to tack on a recipe at the end of this blog entry, but then again, it would feel wrong not to. So here you are, an easy recipe for any weeknight that's also not terrible for you. 

Balsamic Chicken and Veggies

1/4 cup Italian salad dressing
3 TBS balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 TBS honey
1 1/4 lbs chicken breast tenderloins
2 TBS olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb fresh asparagus, trimmed and chopped into 2 inch pieces
1 1/2 cup matchstick carrots
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

In a mixing bowl, mix together salad dressing, balsamic vinegar, and honey. Set aside. Heat olive oil in a skillet over mediun heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Place in the skillet, and cook 3-4 minutes per side until cooked through. Add half of the dressing mixture to skillet, and turn the chicken to coat. Transfer chicken to a serving platter, leaving the sauce in the skillet. Add the aspargus and carrots to the skillet, and season as desired with salt and pepper.  Stir frequently, cooking until tender, or about 4 minutes. Transfer veggies to serving plattet. Add remaining dressing mixture and tomatoes to the skillet, and cook for about a minute. Return chicken and veggies to the skillet and toss to coat. Serve warm. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Race You to the Castle

     My poor little neglected blog needs a bit of an update.  I've been busily finishing out the last bit of Nursing school, and as a result I've been adjusting to the life of a "real nurse".  The schedule is not the typical 9-5 I've been used to, with twelve  hour days 3-4 times a week, and it's taken some getting used to.  Poor J has had a time trying to navigate this blog for various recipes, and I've had one too many nights where I've come home to a disaster in the kitchen with a note on the table saying, "The kitchen's a mess; don't judge me".  It's all a learning experience though, and I think we will make it out of nursing school alive after all... I hope.

     In my down time I've still been cooking as always, and of course I have a recipe in store for y'all, but in the meantime I am super excited to announce that my sister and I will be participating in the  2016 Glass Slipper Challenge :-D  This is a runDisney event that consists of the Disney Princess Enchanted 10K and the Disney Princess Half Marathon.  Ultimately it's a Disney fanatic/insane runner's dream come true, and I'm going !    

     This is coming at a good time because the heat has me needing some motivation to run.  I've recently begun a weight training program by Jamie Eason, but I miss running.  With school ending soon, I'll have fewer excuses to not get out there.  Now I get to have fun picking which princess I want to be for a day :-)  

     Now I think I owe y'all at least two recipes since this poor blog has been so neglected lately. 

Baked Oatmeal
Adapted from The 36th Avenue

3 cups old fashioned oats  

1½ cups brown sugar 
5½ cups milk 
½ cup peanut butter 
3 eggs, beaten 
1 cup walnuts 
1 cup dark chocolate chips 

In a large pot, combine oats, milk, brown sugar, peanut butter, and eggs. Mix well and simmer over medium heat, stirring regularly, 20 minutes or until thickened. Once mixture is thick, stir in raisins. Pour into greased 9x13 inch pan and top with chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until oatmeal is set. Let stand 5 minutes. Serve warm; top with milk or additional brown sugar if desired.

This made for a yummy breakfast for dinner meal.  That is, for everyone except Monkey, who has found peanut butter personally offensive for some reason.  Oh well, you can't please everyone.  This next one had a much better reception from all parties.   

Ginger Chicken Stir-Fry with Asparagus 

  • 1 1/4 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, diced into 1-inch pieces

    • 4 1/2 tsp canola oil, divided
    • 1 lb asparagus, end portions trimmed and remainder diced into 1 1/2-inch pieces
    • 1 small yellow onion, sliced into thin strips
    • 8 oz button mushrooms, sliced*
    • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, then more for garnish if desired
    • 1 Tbsp peeled and finely grated fresh ginger 
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
    • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    • In a 12-inch non-stick wok (or large and deep non-stick skillet), heat 1 1/2 tsp canola oil over moderately high heat. Once oil is hot, add diced chicken and season lightly with salt and pepper. Sauté until cooked through, tossing occasionally, about 6 to 7 minutes. Pour chicken onto a large plate and set aside.
    • Return wok to burner, reduce to medium-high heat, add remaining 1 Tbsp canola oil. Once oil is hot, add asparagus, yellow onion and mushrooms, and red pepper flakes and sauté until tender-crisp, about 4 - 5 minutes, adding in garlic and ginger during the last 1 minute of sautéing. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl (or in a 2-cup liquid measuring cup) whisk together chicken broth, soy sauce, honey and cornstarch until well blended. 
    • Pour chicken broth mixture into skillet with veggies, season with salt and pepper to taste, and bring mixture to a light boil, stirring constantly. Allow mixture to gently boil, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 1 1/2 minutes. Toss chicken into mixture and serve warm over white or brown rice, sprinkled with additional red pepper flakes if desired (note that this is best served immediately as the liquids from the veggies will begin to break down and thin the sauce).