Adventures in the OR

Waking up at 5am in order to make it to the OR in time is really hard! Especially when you get there in time and realize you have to wait for the patient to be prepped and what it really means is that you could've slept another hour more. FML.

I've seen more laparoscopic cholecystectomy than I care for, and the one surgery I saw that I liked the most, was not even part of my program: an awake craneotomy to remove a glioblastoma multiforme. Fancy words for saying that they open the skull, expose the brain and take out the tumor. All the while, you are awake.

And what a wonder it was walking in there, seeing the brain exposed in all its glory and what fascinated me the most was how the brain was moving in the skull, full of blood pumping through it and full of life. It seemed almost alien like, almost as if it wasn't really happening. And, it completely knocked the breath out of me. The patient was talking as if nothing was happening and I stood there, completely mesmerized, unable to move, to say anything, to think anything! Here was the command center, the brain, in all its glory and we were messing around with it, to save someone's life.

Who wants to go back to taking out gallbladders after this?


Sugar Free Marzipan Walnut Blondies

Ok, so the name may or may not be a bit of a misnomer. I am sure this is not entirely sugar free, so you have been warned! But, it is as sugar free as it can possibly be and retain the desired consistency. I guess there are other ways of making this involving garbanzo beans and sweetened with agave or God-knows-what... but I don't know any of these methods and I probably can't find any of those ingredients anywhere in this small island. But, here it goes... 

"Sugar Free" Marzipan Walnut Blondies

1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup Splenda Blend brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips, 1/4 cup reserved
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, 1/4 cup reserved
2 oz. marzipan

Preheat: 350F. 
Line: 8x8 pan with parchment paper
Beat the butter, marzipan and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Add the sugar and salt and continue whisking until it’s fluffy. Then pour in half of the cup of flour, whisk and then pour in the remaining flour. Add the walnuts and chocolate chips and combine them together until they look like basically cookie dough.

After it is all combined, pour it into the pan that is already lined with the parchment paper and then finally sprinkle on top the reserved walnuts and chocolate chips and press them down on the dough. 

Bake: 25 min or until done. I like them a bit gooey so I take them out before they are completely done and let them cook in their own heat. Yummy. I would tell you to let them cool but you know and I know that you can’t really wait for that. But I guess you should do so and then lift the blondies up by the parchment paper. 

I think that they are best served warm with a big ball of ice cream. =D 

I adapted the recipe from here.


Pecan Pie Bars

I like Pecan Pie everything, and I decided this time to try Pecan Pie Bars for the first time, I mean, it's a no-brainer if you like Pecan Pies. This is using a shortbread crust, maybe I will switch it up next time for something else. I don't know why but maybe the butter I used was the light version and it was more like a cracker. Also, what I like about Pecan Pie is the filling and here it's distributed in a 13 x 9 pan so that means less filling per bite. It was kinda sad, but at the same time it was not so heavy on the sugar. My parents really liked it. Next time I think I will double on the filling portions because I want a more "pie" feel to it. They were good though! A couple of notes though, get a good vanilla. All I had at my parent's place was this vanilla from Costco and it's kinda alcohol-y and I prefer the vanilla from the Dominican Republic. I need MOAR! Use real butter, don't be like me, and I ran out of butter for the filling so I used a vegetable spread and I think that altered the taste too. I may be nitpicking though. 

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 stick butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups pecans
3 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons of melted butter
1 cup corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt 

Preheat: 350F
Grease: 13 x 9 inch pan 
Crust: With pastry cutter or a fork, cut butter, sugar, flour, salt and vanilla extract until crumbly and pea sized pieces. Press into baking pan and bake for 15 min until light brown.
Filling: Whisk corn syrup, sugar, salt and vanilla extract until combined. Add the eggs and the melted butter and mix thoroughly. Finally stir in the pecans and pour evenly over the crust after it has cooled for a few minutes. 
Bake: 30 to 40 min until set. 
Allow to cool completely (or don’t, like I did and ate like half of it still warm!), cut into bars and gobble. :)


Apartment Ideas

So, as you've been seeing in the past posts, I'm slowly but surely making my apartment a nicer one. I lived here for a long time (like 5 years or more) and I never did anything to it! I never painted or anything and when I came back and saw that the people after me did in fact decorate to their liking, I sort of lost my fear of decorating and dove right in. 

Here are some of the ideas I have found on the internet that I want to incorporate to my apartment somehow, the rest of the ideas can be found on my Pinterest board here.


My Apartment pt II

Little by little, I've been doing some work to my apartment. I hated the yellow color in my kitchen and now I've grown used to it! Actually I got a rug for my living room that turned out to be a bit smaller than my coffee table so I put it close to the entrance and it's matching perfectly that yellow. So, it turned out to be a bit more cohesive than I planned for. I also got this corkboard/blackboard/whiteboard thingy with space for pictures and I need to get myself some pictures to put in it + I need to get myself some hooks to hang it. Command hooks do NOTHING here. They can't stand the humidity and they all end up falling. Don't waste your money! :P Anyways, I really like my new desk area and my vanity area. =D love love love.