Author Archives: rosabrey

About rosabrey

writer, educator, student, gardener, dog mom, runner, hiker, biker, lover, physician assistant student.

Operation: Physician Assistant

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Sometimes my Physician Assistant aspirations feel very far away. When I’m sitting in my office thinking about what the next five years will be like (5 years! It will be 5 years before I’m in any kind of career-type job again! That’s so intimidating!) it’s hard to picture what my day to day life will be like. I’ll be a student in Montana for awhile, then I’ll work somewhere for awhile, then I’ll (hopefully) be admitted to PA school somewhere. The unknowns that used to excite me now make me pretty uneasy. But things are finally starting to move here. After beginning the planning process in June – I got my acceptance to my pre-req program in Bozeman last month, and I recently started a CNA program here in Colorado so that when I start school (time permitting) I can also start to build up my clinical hours (most programs require at least 1000).

Starting yesterday, my normal day looks like this:

6:30 – wake up, feed dogs, shower, make breakfast and lunch

7:45 – go to work

4:00 – go home, eat dinner, let dogs out

4:45 – go to school

9:30 – get home from school, study

12:00 – go to bed

This is the most restrictive schedule I’ve ever been on – hardly any time in the day to much other than work, school, eat and study. As a result, I’ve become very reliant on my slow cooker. Seriously, when I have 45 min between getting home and leaving for school, I need dinner to be easy. So a few nights ago I threw a couple chicken breasts in with a can of beer, some salt, pepper and oregano. It isn’t the most delicious chicken I’ve ever had, but it’s been great on top of salads for lunch this week. Earlier last weekend I made some slow cooker Chicken Tikka Masala from Eat, Live, Run which was so delicious that I didn’t have time to take a picture of it before it all disappeared. But I wholeheartedly recommend Jenna’s recipe. (She also has a great book review up right now that I’m interested to check out.)

Our supplies on these meals were running low though, so this morning I got up to make Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup. I found the recipe on Pinterest, but it originally comes from Daily Mothering. I chopped up some carrots, celery, leeks (which I substituted for the onions), threw some chicken breasts on top, sprinkled with salt, pepper and basil, and drizzled with a 1/2 cup of white wine.

chicken noodle soup

And then I walked away. I went to a doctor’s appointment, and then to work. When I get home tonight, I’ll pull the chicken out and tear it apart with a fork. I’ll dump the veggies and any juice into a stock pot with about 8 cups of stock, add some egg noodles, simmer for 10 min, add the chicken and then eat dinner! I can tell, during this time of crazy schedules and little free time, that my slow cooker and I are going to be very, very good friends.  Anyone have any must-try slow cooker recipes?

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And then a month went by…

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Sorry about that! I went home for about 10 days for Christmas. My parents sold their house recently and are living in a 550 square foot cabin on our friend’s farm, so internetting and blogging was not really gonna happen. But it was a great break from reality – fun to be home spending every waking (and non!) with my family. We skied, baked, watched movies, ate (a lot!), went to a play and generally enjoyed living out of town. and on the night before Christmas eve, my sister got engaged! Her boyfriend (now fiance) was visiting for a week before Christmas and he popped the question the night before he left! So excited to start planning her wedding!

Here are some photos from my time at home:

blackmore

Mt Blackmore from our Christmas tree hunt.

The Elephant Spring in Yellowstone.

The Elephant Spring in Yellowstone.

Bull elk staring us down.

Bull elk staring us down in Yellowstone.

The Christmas Spiders that are hung up in downtown Bozeman every year.

The Christmas Spiders that are hung up in downtown Bozeman every year.

huston dogs

The three dogs we were taking care of on the farm.

And then I flew to California to meet up with Kyle and his familiy in June Lake. Here I got to reunite with Jewell, visit some of my favorite places from a past life (www.bigwidewesternworld.blogspot.com) and have an exciting outing of my own!

My happy dog and I when we were reunited!

My happy dog and I when we were reunited!

We went of an a skiing adventure but Kyle's boots and bindings didn't fit together :(

We went of an a skiing adventure but Kyle’s boots and bindings didn’t fit together 😦

Kyle at the sand tufa - some of the coolest geologic formations I've ever seen!

Kyle at the sand tufa – some of the coolest geologic formations I’ve ever seen!

Down at the lake's edge...I had no idea what was coming...

Down at the lake’s edge…I had no idea what was coming…

We're engaged!

We’re engaged!

Carson Peak from the front yard.

Carson Peak from the front yard.

Deserted ski resort.

Deserted ski resort. We skinned up to the top!

Looking downhill to Mono Lake.

Looking downhill to Mono Lake. A gorgeous day for a ski!

Pub crawl shirts - June Lake The Lost Season.

Pub crawl shirts – June Lake The Lost Season.

An attempt.

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I’ve been reading a lot of this blog lately and really enjoying Jenna’s adventures in cooking and exploring California. She recently posted a recipe that, as a mint chocolate lover, simply had to try. Of course, mine didn’t turn out nearly as pretty as hers (she did go to culinary school after all) but I’m excited to see how it tastes at my work Christmas party tomorrow. Here’s my attempt at Mint Chocolate Candy Cane Cake

Unfortunately, our entire town is out of peppermint extract, so I melted down a candy cane instead. It worked, but it certainly isn't perfect.

Here's the final product. Like I said, Jenna's is way prettier than mine, but I think it's going to taste good!

Posted using Tinydesk blog app

We’re running a half marathon!

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I’ve never really been much of a runner. I played volleyball in college and was always pretty good at the short, explosive movements it requires. But when it comes to running, I have a tendency to get bored fast and just quit. For those of you that have followed my past blogs, you know that running is something I dabble with here and there, and for awhile back in 2010 I seriously considered training for a half marathon. I was living in rural eastern California at the time, and the opportunities were limited so it never happened.

Finally, this fall, Kyle and I decided to sign up for Moab/Canyonlands Half Marathon! Check out their website, I think there are still some spots available.  So on March 16, 2013, we’ll run 13.1 miles along the prettiest road I know. Seriously, has anyone out there been to Moab? Driven the River Road (Hwy 128)? Check out these photos:

This one is from the highway looking southeast back toward the La Sal Mountains.

La_Sal_Mtns._from_Hwy_128_near_Moab_UT

This is why they call it the River Road:

river road

Some of the crazy/beautiful landforms that make this one of the most scenic drives in America. This is looking back at Castle Valley – I think this formation is called A Priest and the Nuns.

castle valley

Needless to say, we’re pretty excited to be running our first half marathon on one of prettiest roads in the country. It’s a gentle downhill grade along the Colorado River so it shouldn’t be too hard. Anyone else out there running this in 2013?

I’m in!

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accepted

Ever since I started thinking about going back to school, I’ve slowly been chipping away at the never-ending list of things I need to do to make this all happen in a timely (5 year) fashion. Here’s the break down of my time line if everything goes perfectly:

July 2012 – May 2013: Volunteer at hospital in Grand Junction

August 2012 – December 2012: online math class

October 2012: Apply for program at Montana State

January 2013: CNA class at Western Colorado Community College

May 2013 – Auguest 2014: Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical certificate program at Montana State while working part-time at a hospital or nursing facility.

August 2014 – June 2015: Travel and work with Kyle.

June 2015-September 2017: PA school.

While it’s fun to think about, it has all been pretty intangible up until now…because on Friday I GOT MY ACCEPTANCE LETTER TO MSU!!! This time next year, I’ll (probably be miserable because I’ll be in the middle of finals) be living in Bozeman and be almost halfway through my pre-reqs for PA school! How exciting is that?! Here are a couple photos from the gorgeous MSU campus:

I can’t remember what this building is called, but it’s one of the classic old buildings on the main quad area of the campus. I think it’s mostly for registration and advising…

mccall hall

This is the brand new, super fancy chemistry and biochemistry building. I’ll be spending plenty of time in here for OChem, Biochem and other classes.

chem and biochem

And here is a shot of the welcome sign as you come into town. Isn’t it pretty?

downtown bozemanMSU photo by Kelly Gorham.

I can’t express my excitement at having this incredible opportunity to move back to my hometown to begin pursuing my dreams. It’s funny, in college you coudn’t have paid me enough money to take the classes that I’ll be burying myself in during the next two years. But now that I have some perspective on the world outside the classroom, I can’t wait to dive in to these classes. I’m so glad I decided to take a break between undergrad and post-grad education because now I know what I really want, and I know how important it is to focus and take advantage of every opportunity. This time I’ll be more than just a student, I’ll be an active participant in my education. Bozeman, here I come (in 4 months…)!

Adventures in cooking.

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Sometimes all I can think about is cooking. Trying new recipes, making the old familiar recipes that make me think of home, puttering around our kitchen mincing garlic and simmering tomato sauce and stirring batter. For some reason, that’s happening right now. I can’t get enough of reading cooking blogs, looking at new recipes and hanging out in the kitchen. Maybe it’s because it gets dark at 5:00 and it seems like that’s all there is to do all evening. Maybe it’s because we’re taking a break from Paleo so the recipe world has opened up. Maybe it’s the instinctual need to eat more during winter. I don’t know what it is, but the last few weeks have been fun!

A friend of mine from college has a really beautiful blog at ellensnorthwest.com. She works at a fancy Seattle restaurant, has fabulous taste in food and drink, and takes wonderful photos (of food, but other things too). On a recent perusal of her blog, I found a reference to Eat, Live, Run. I, just last week, brought Jenna’s book White Jacket Required home from the library and have been constantly poring over her recipes since (which may or may not have something to do with this move away from Paleo…) How did I not know about this blog before? Holy buckets, Jenna and her culinary adventures are amazing! After spending a few hours (!!!) on her blog yesterday, I found a recipe which was really intriguing to me – mostly because it sounded so weird! So when I got home from work last night, I decided to make her Olive Oil Cake. She describes it as the cake she takes to every get-together because it’s so easy and delicious, and she was right! While I don’t have a KitchenAid mixer, I found my hand mixer to be perfectly acceptable at beating the eggs and sugar to make this light, deliciously citrusy cake.

Here it is just out of the oven with an uneven dusting of powdered sugar on the top. And here is the piece I ate immediately after. It was delicious!

whole cake

piece of cake

This morning, because I was feeling particularly industrious, I got up a little early and put together this awesome looking Crock Pot Chicken Chili recipe that I found on Pinterest, but that originally comes from The Comfort of Cooking. Is it just me, or does raw chicken always look gross? A small price to pay for having yummy chili ready to eat when I get home from work!

raw chicken chili

Anyone else out there cooking up a storm lately? Any fun recipes to share? Happy December everyone!

Update: here is what dinner looks like! I’m pretty excited about it!

chili

*GASP* I don’t love Paleo *GASP*

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There it is: the simple truth. Kyle and I, for about 2.5 months, have been dabbling with the Paleo diet. This is not to say that we eat strictly Paleo at every meal BY ANY MEANS. Rather, our strategy has been to grocery shop Paleo and thus eat Paleo at home (with the exception of beer for him) and splurge on weekends or when we’re eating at someone else’s house. While I can absolutely get on board with the general idea of the Paleo diet (plus it was a fun new challenge to try cooking in a new way) I honestly just think it’s too hard, too restrictive to keep up in any kind of routine way. Sometimes I don’t have time to cook an egg at breakfast. Honestly, sometimes I just don’t want an egg at breakfast. On days when I’m in a rush, it’d be nice to throw together a quick sandwich on the go than have to make a salad and box up last night’s leftovers.

It’s funny that I’m even saying this because I’ve never been a carbs person. I don’t like bread that much, I almost never eat rice and the only dairy I usually consume is cheese. But the convenience factor is hard to deny. And I’m all about convenience right now when I’m working 40 hrs/week, playing in three volleyball leagues, taking an online class and trying to also have some unscheduled fun.

I want to appreciate food again, not pick it apart. I want to not feel  like every meal is a production, and I want to be able to make big production meals without poring over the ingredients list first. So I’m taking a break from Paleo. I’ll let you know how it goes!

In an effort to make this post a little less text heavy, I tried to find an image that did something other than pile praises on the Paleo diet. THEY DON’T EXIST. I googled “Paleo hater” “Dislike paleo diet” “Negative paleo” and other things. Apparently people everywhere completely adore the Paleo diet and I’m an anomoly. So instead, here are some really cute puppies!

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