Cauliflower Fried “Rice”

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For no good reason I’ve never been a huge cauliflower fan. However, I could probably say that about a lot of vegetables. While growing up it seemed I was always changing the top 2 vegetables I disliked the most!  I find that humorous since I was recently a devout vegetarian for 2 years.  Needless to say, during that time I riddled my diet with new vegetables regularly.  Some were completely new and unheard of (to me), and some were as simple as cauliflower.

So with that said, I’ve seen various renditions of  “cauliflower fried rice” recipes floating around Facebook and Pinterest for sometime now.  A friend encouraged me to make it, or perhaps test the waters, to see just how outlandish and weird this dish really was.  I am happy to report that not only is it super easy to make, it’s extremely tasty and satisfying!

It will be a perfect dish to make with random leftovers and lonely vegetables that need a purpose in life.  I say this in confidence because this is exactly what I did!

1T olive oil

1/2 onion (chopped)

4 garlic cloves (chopped)

Veggies (carrots/peas/broccoli/etc)

3c cauliflower (chopped finely in food processor)

4 egg whites (or 2 eggs)

3T soy sauce

Chicken (cooked-chopped-substitute any protein)

Kale (2-3 lonely stalks)

1) Chop the onion and garlic and sauté them in the olive oil, when they’re soft, add your veggies (fresh or frozen).

2) While the veggies are cooking, chop up the cauliflower.  I had to do this in small batches and there was still always a straggler or two that had to join the next batch.

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3) Now add the cauliflower, eggs and soy sauce.  It will cook for about 10-15 minutes.  I thought things looked kinda soupy for a while but that resolved completely.

4) Once things are pretty much done I added some leftover chicken my husband grilled last night.  I chopped that up along with some random kale leaves and continued cooking it until heated through.

5) Nom Nom Nom.

Nursing Notes: The High School Sweethearts

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You never know what’s going to roll through the front doors of the ER.  But just about once a shift you see a face that makes you drop everything you’re doing, if not, that person was going to die.

Today I saw that face.  It was pale and gaunt.  Death was knocking at his door…and looked like it’d been knocking for a while.  He was lifted from his chair and set on a gurney.  His breaths were few and his heart rate was dropping.  He was dying.

His body ravaged with cancer there were no heroic measures to be taken.  We gave him more oxygen.   A simple mask filled and placed over his mouth.

We wait.

His lover waits.  Her eyes were filled with a love and sadness you just don’t see everyday.  My heart broke for her.   For this was a man losing a fight and she has been by his side for every moment of his success and failure.

My heart broke for him.  His body, now a shell of the man he once was.  Unable to hold this woman, and take care of her like any man in love would want to do.

It was only a little oxygen.  Placed in a meager attempt to provide some comfort.  I didn’t expect to see his blood pressure rise and heart race.  The little color he had returned to his cheeks.  I did practically nothing, but for right now, he was no longer dying.

He responds to her voice.  His crystal blue eyes, shining with a renewed chance at life.  Her happiness rolled down her cheeks and radiated with a smile you couldn’t help but return.

Later, from across the room, she caught my attention.  She glanced at his monitor, at him, and then back at me.  Her happy smile wasn’t just hers, it was for him too.  I gave her a wink, because in that moment I knew we understood each other completely.

This man is dying.  But not today.  She could love him just a little bit longer.  High school sweet hearts, together, just a little bit longer.

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Nursing Notes: Saving Lives

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“You save any lives today?” and  “She was busy saving lives all day.” are comments made on the regular when I meet up with friends after a long shift. Here’s a little known secret of mine…I’ve been a nurse for over 10 years and I still don’t really know what to say to that.  Most of the time I just come home tired and hungry…anxious for a hot shower and a fat glass of wine.
Today however, was an exception to the rule. Today, I left work feeling like I really saved a life…that WE saved a life.  My coworkers and I dominated the ER today and we brought a man back from the dead.  My prayer tonight is that he will survive today’s events with not only life, but capable of the quality of life he deserves.

Budget Friendly Bathroom Renovation

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This is it… Bathroom Reno number one is done!  I say number one because the master bathroom trails closely behind in second place.  Eric and I are not strangers to DIY home improvement projects but this was the biggest one for us thus far.

We started this whole process by checking out show rooms, open houses, and magazines just to figure out what we liked. (The DIY Network was on 24/7 for a while too.)

Then we were on the hunt for what we could afford.  We frequented Home Depot and Lowes so much we practically knew the employees by name!  We are our own demolition crew in addition to the interior designers so this adds to our savings. As much as I’d like to save more money by doing the installation ourselves my nursing and Eric’s banking expertise would not get us very far in this arena.  So, we pride ourselves in knowing when to draw the line.  Hiring professionals to get the work done in a timely manner is the icing on the cake to seeing our vision come together.

Here’s what it looked like BEFORE…150957_10200353875316439_1616158085_n

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And AFTER!

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This vanity is 3-4 inches higher than the one we removed.  No more back-breaking face washing for us!  IMG_4859

We also had the shower head raised so my 6’5 husband can finally wash above his shoulders.  According to him, that alone was worth every penny spent!

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A small little splurge was adding a light over the tub.  I tried to take some pictures that capture the new, soft, ambient lighting.

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By tiling the shower walls all the way up to the ceiling we made our little bathroom look so much bigger.46450_10200353858076008_1651305896_n

For future projects we learned two big lessons:

One, know exactly how your plumbing is configured so you don’t have to spend extra time and money adjusting it because you bought a cabinet with drawers on the wrong side.

Two, check all your new appliances and fixtures, etc BEFORE they’re installed and/or grouted into place.  We didn’t peel the clear plastic off our new tub and inspect every square inch of it before it was installed and upon project completion we found damage.  Who knows how or when it happened.  Was it there when we bought it, or did it happen during construction?  It was a sad, gut wrenching surprise that again required more money to fix.

However… Despite any and all errors, Eric and I have a lot to be thankful for and we are VERY happy with our new bathroom.  I hope sharing inspires you to take charge and design your bathroom exactly the way you want, while keeping to what your wallet wants as well.

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12 Months of Acupuncture

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Gymnastics my friends is not a back friendly sport. Sadly, I remember my first real back pains starting somewhere between my sophomore and junior year of high school. And subsequently, for the past 15 years, I’ve been keeping the chiropractors from Chicago to San Diego in business. However, all good things must come to an end, and for me, chiropractic care was not going to be enough on its own any longer.

So, I added massage, and of course I never got them frequent enough. I’d be a twisted, mangled mess before I’d slow down long enough to even schedule one. They’re expensive and time-consuming. Plus, now I needed to schedule my massage before my chiropractor appoint so I could maximize the back, cracking benefit of the treatment.

You can see how this process could get exhausting.  And it did.  I needed something else, because at this point, I was taping heat packs to my back and popping Ibuprofen like vitamins.

Before I turned to acupuncture, I took one final swing in western medicine and completed about 2-3 months of physical therapy. It helped me become more aware of my posture, but I could clearly see that it was not going to be my saving grace.

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Finally, what is this, my fourth intervention?… I relinquished myself to acupuncture.  And for the first time in months, if not years, I started to experience improvement.  I gave it 100% too.  I quit caffeine, started taking “herbs” and quit my night shift job.  All of which were suggested to help my body heal.

Like any good nurse I maintained a regular pattern of acupuncture and chiropractic visits until I thought I was better. Then I allowed myself to fall back into my same habits.  Work out too hard, lift a heavy patient, wear crappy shoes, drink too much coffee… you get the picture. I know, living on the wild side.

But, I do learn from my mistakes.  As my pains returned I’ve been able to pin point what activities may have been the culprits and make changes.  I am continually challenged with taking my herbs regularly, as they are not the least bit tasty, but I’m getting better. I stick to a minimal caffeine allowance with mild amounts of decaf coffee and infrequent chocolate.  I am changing my lifestyle for the healthier and my back pains are subsiding.

Even though I can’t tell you when my back pains finally surrendered to my relentless fight, I can tell you they are gone. And because I am all the wiser from my previous ignorance, I know they are not far away.

This is why I will continue with my acupuncture treatments.  They are helping my body balance itself and I would be doing it an injustice to just stop.  My challenge for 2014 is, “12 Months of Acupuncture”.  One appointment every month and my continued attempt with daily herbs. Today was my February appointment and it’s hard to explain how great I felt when I walked back out into my life.