Sweet November

So, I can’t help but notice that last month, I had the fewest posts of any month all year.  Last month was a very tough month for my whole family, and what with being in and out of Georgia most of the month, it didn’t leave too much time to write!  I will say this: those wonderful Southern ladies can cook!  There was a fabulous chocolate cake with chocolate fudge icing that I was told was “world famous-” let me tell you, if it isn’t world famous- it SHOULD be.  The cake itself was so velvety, and the icing was to die for!!

And there is a family friend named Clara, who made an incredible chocolate chip pound cake- and she brought it over fresh and warm out of the oven!  We spoke for a few minutes, and we said our goodbyes- and then I ran- not walked, RAN- to get a piece of that warm cake!!  It was completely delicious!  My hubby and my younger brother and I each took a couple of pieces on the road while we ran our errands.

And then, there was a pineapple cake with caramel-coconut-pecan frosting (like the one on a German Chocolate Cake).  Stellar.  Seriously.

But, to be honest, I haven’t felt like cooking or even eating much since we got back.  And my sleep is completely messed up- we got back Thursday morning at 3:30 AM, then I had to be at work at 7 AM for a full 28 hour call day.  Friday, I was post-call and slept during the day.  Saturday, I was on a 24 hour call again.  Sunday, I was post-call again.  So my sleep cycles have been nuts.  Because they’d been so messed up- I went to sleep last night at 9PM and woke at 2:45AM, raring to go for my day!!  As much as I begged and pleaded with my own brain to please just SHUT UP, I could not force myself back to sleep.  So, I’ve decided to try some warm milk before bed tonight.  And if that doesn’t work, I’m gonna get some melatonin (it worked for me in high school when I had this problem.  It’s from too much stress).

Like I said in my recent post, though, I did start taking some Vitamin D3 to help out with my self-diagnosed Seasonal Affective Disorder.  The thought is, when people don’t see the sun in the wintertime, they lack Vitamin D and can get really depressed in the winter (hello, right here!!).  Interestingly enough, neurologists have seen a link also between decreased sunlight and more patients with Multiple Sclerosis, so some neurologists recommend taking Vitamin D3 to help ward off MS.  And, of course, Vitamin D3 is crucial in preventing osteoporosis.  So there are lots of reasons for me to take some Vitamin D3.  We’ll see.

Finally, for the first time in weeks, I made dinner!!  I made Linguine with Caramelized Onions and Braised Shitake Mushrooms (Delicious and Weeknight Easy).  Luckily, they are now carrying greek yogurt and cheese sticks at work.

Today, Handsome and I joined a Gym!  It’s the nice one in town.  They have awesome classes, tons of machines in good working order, fresh towels for you, plenty of super clean showers, a spa with a stealth entrance for women, separate hot tubs/saunas for men and women, and is complete with personal training, nutritionists, therapists, 3 pools (including a therapy bubble tub).  It’s my old med school’s gym- and it’s incredible.  It turns a workout into a luxurious, relaxing experience!  We worked out there for the first time since we graduated- and I was reminded how motivating it can be to work out in a place so nice, clean, and relaxing.  Not to mention, I melted my stress away with 10 minutes in the hot tub!  🙂  Here’s to the start to a hopefully much better month!

Linguine with Caramelized Onions and Braised Mushrooms
Serves 4

4 servings of Whole Wheat Linguine (I subbed in Buckwheat Soba Noodles- they worked well), cooked, drained
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1/3 c. red wine
1 1/2- 2 cups water or chicken stock
1 pound sliced shitake mushrooms, clean and dry
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 can of cream of mushroom soup
Parmesan Cheese (shredded is my fave)
salt + pepper to taste

In a Saucier pan (or a large pot), pour in the oil and heat over medium heat.  Add onions to warm oil and brown the onions.  Deglaze the pan with the red wine (scrape up every last bit of browned deliciousness!).  Simmer until most of wine is gone, then add water/stock, 1/3 cup at a time, and let it simmer until most of it has also evaporated.  In the end, you want browned, saucy (but not watery), caramelized onions.  Add mushrooms and garlic and braise for 8 minutes.  Stir in the cream of mushroom soup (may resemble an alfredo sauce), and add the pre-cooked noodles, tossing well to coat.  Serve with a little shredded Parmesan on top, and season with salt & pepper to taste!

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