Being A Crybaby

This is me. Born into a new world, feeling small, scared and sometimes a little cranky (or maybe a lot cranky on certain occasions).

Just like a new baby.

Because after working at the hospital for 10 years, I’ve yet again become a “brand new employee”. Well, not technically, but this is what it feels like. Due to a very extensive damage that the hospital building sustained from to the hurricane Sandy, it will take about a year until everything is repaired and running again. To say that it’s extremely sad, scary and disrupting to all of the hospital workers is an understatement, but then comparing to how many people lost their homes, jobs or even lives, it becomes minor, so I’ll just have to deal with it and stop being a crybaby. That’s the perk of having a federal job, they are stuck with us, but during such times, still having a job is definitely a blessing. Not that we’re all just sitting blowing smoke up the ceiling, we’re very busy, the need for medical, mental health and social services triples during the times of disasters, so the work load has increased significantly, but then again, I can be a crybaby about it, or I can take a diaper off and learn how to deal with this new situation (and also hope that there will be an end, even if long, to this tunnel).

And the road will surely be quite “interesting”. The hospital in Brooklyn where most of the Manhattan workers were relocated is smaller and now over-packed with patients and staff, there is a shortage of everything, patient beds, staff offices and sometimes patience and understanding. Let’s just say that this crisis work situation did not enhance certain Brooklyn staff’s personal and professional qualities, they are not always gracious hosts and make the adjustment of both Manhattan and Brooklyn employees more difficult. Even though we belong to the same system, a lot, if not most, of the processes of how the Brooklyn hospital is run and how most of medical and other services are delivered is different, so we’re all “fresh Manhattan meat” now open to criticism, not always deserved, especially in this “war-zone like” hospital atmosphere.

But again, time for me to take the diaper off and the pacifier out and leave the babyhood behind!

What’s Cooking This Week

The new work environment now presents a new challenge that is only unique for me. The hospital is in a very isolated place, next to an army base from one side and a golf course from the other one, there are no stores, restaurants, or really anything else, within a walking distance. Hospital cafeteria is always out of the question (either in Brooklyn or Manhattan) as all food is commercially packed/prepared and surely full of gluten, dairy, soy and a million of chemicals that I simply don’t ingest. Back in the city, I had 3 food places within blocks from the hospital where I can get safe and nutritious lunches, plus an office stuffed with gluten free snacks in case I’m too busy to get outside. My plan has always been to make home lunches for 2-3 days and get outside food the rest of the times, just to mix things up and not having to make extra meals if I’m done late after my private practice. Now I need to make a new plan as I have to bring breakfast, lunch and snacks with me every day, no matter what.  Stopping here to be a crybaby for a minute 🙁 .

This is my new reality for the next year or however long it takes for us to go back. I’m not a huge fan of frozen meals, but I’ll have to rely on them now during the days when I’m short on time to make lunch ahead. From now on, when I’m cooking something that would freeze well, 1 or 2 servings will go in the freezer. This dish was delicious fresh out of the oven and would still taste good when defrosted for one of your busy days.

Roasted Brussels, Butternut and Carrots

2 cups of cut butternut squash

1 container/bag of Brussel sprouts

1/2 bag of baby carrots

1 tspoon each: basil, oregano, paprika

salt, pepper, olive oil

Remove outer leaves from brussels, cut the stems and then cut them in half lengthwise. Cut baby carrots lengthwise too and butternut into smaller pieces.

In a roasting pan, combine everything with salt and spices and drizzle with olive oil. Roast at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until the knife can run through the brussels.

Use as a side dish for meat or poultry dishes, or for a hearty vegetarian lunch, serve over herbed rice.