I'll be honest, the beginning of the week felt kinda awful. We were welcomed back to school with an exam that I wasn't really prepared for (which is my fault completely, but moving on). And then Tuesday night I was having the hardest time focusing. I think it was partly because of the long weekend. I got too comfortable with the extra "free" time, but really, no time lately has been all that free. I think mostly it is because I'm tired, maybe a little physically and definitely a little mentally.
I talked to my dad that night over the phone. Whenever you feel a little down about medical school, there is truly no one better to turn to than your parents. Parents are patient, and they love you unconditionally. But they also know when to tell you to suck it up and be strong. Dad told me to think of myself as a soldier, already in battle. I can't just back out of it now, and I've got to finish the fight with all my effort. School is a hell of a battle sometimes, but we can definitely get through it.
Yesterday I got to bake my first ever batch of granola with one of the strongest medical school "soldiers" I know, Audrey. Audrey has a ton of spunk, and she always makes sure that everyone feels important. Her message to other students? That we are all special. We are all going to be great doctors. Hearing that out loud does wonders, and I'm glad she passes on this message because we all need to hear it once in a while.
So interviewing her was a blast, of course. Before the interview though, I should talk about how delicious this granola is. Granola filled with cashews, sunflower seeds, dried cherries and chocolate chips. Spiced with cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg and toasted to crunchy perfection. The addition of a couple egg whites helped this granola make nice clumps that are easy to scoop up. There's a little savoriness from the salt to prevent the granola from becoming too sweet. Rather than making the title of this post super long (I was seriously considering "cashew cherry chocolate chip cinnamon granola," which would have been awesome in terms of alliteration, but obnoxious in terms of everything else), Audrey and I decided to call this stress free granola, because it literally took 5 minutes to mix together and 40 minutes of down time while it baked up in the oven and made the apartment smell like cinnamon-y goodness. The stress free part makes it extra delicious too, if you ask me.
An interview with Audrey:
Where are you from, and where did you go for undergrad?
I'm from Carmel, Indiana, and I went to Purdue for undergrad. And I loved it.
What do you like to do to relax from medical school?
Hmm... Well it used to be Netflix but I gave that up for boards so now, I like to work out, that's been a really good stress reliever. And sometimes draw a little bit. And also I've been writing a little bit, like little poems! I actually talked to Mike/Pete about it and sometimes if I find myself in a weird mood, it really helps me out. It's a good way to get it out of your system.
So you say you draw?
A little. I draw just mandalas, I've just done a handful of them. But I really like them. Anyone can do them. It's like a form of meditation, just drawing and clearing your mind. It's usually just like printer paper with crayons or colored pencils, so it's easy too.
What's the worst thing about medical school?
Man , that's funny that I can't answer it right away. That's probably a good thing, right? I guess overall it's just like no matter what you do you have to make sacrifices and it just sucks that I have to do that sometimes. Like I don't see my family as much as I should, or see my best friend.
What's the best thing about medical school?
Easily the people, easily. It's just so nice to be in an environment where everyone else has a similar goal as you, and that goal is to be able to help others. There's no way you cannot get help if you need it. It's a very inspirational group of people.
Tell me a fun fact about yourself!
Ohhh... I'm a ginger? I don't know! I feel like that almost defines me sometimes.
Can you elaborate?
Well like I've been 5' 9 and 3/4" - I don't like to say 5'10" because I feel like I'm cheating, but basically tall - my whole life, and I've had red hair, so I've always been kind of one to stand out, even when I don't necessarily want to be the center of attention. But it's easy to spot me, so I guess I've kind of had to learn to be more comfortable sticking out. Also my family is tall, and my sister has red hair too, so I didn't even know I was different in the first place until like later on. My family must look like giants walking into a place, I've never realized that *laughs*
Finally, what is your favorite dessert?
Ooo... um, warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream. Which I never have, but when I do, it's awesome. When I was little I wouldn't do birthday cakes, I would actually have pies!
Audrey, thanks so much for gracing the apartment with your bright and happy face! I'm so happy we got to hang out even for just a little bit, and baking with you was a blast.
The stress free recipe is below, although this was so simple that you can modify the recipe to your liking, it's more of a guide than a step by step recipe! We encourage creativity in the Nommable kitchen.
Stress free granola
4 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 1/2 cups cashews, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 egg whites
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 325 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix together the oats, seeds, nuts, spices, and salt. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the honey, brown sugar, oil, and egg whites. Add the honey mixture to the oats mixture and stir until all of the oats are coated.
Dump the granola mixture onto the baking sheet and spread evenly. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Take out the granola and stir and then place it back into the oven for another 25 minutes. Wait for granola to cool, then break up the granola into pieces however large or small you'd like!
Once completely cool, add the cherries and chocolate chips - don't add when warm or else you'll get melted chocolate all over (but is that really such a bad thing?)
Enjoy with some nice cold milk or sprinkle it on top of your yogurt.
Like I said, there are many ways you can enjoy granola! Just add whatever mix ins you like. Get creative in your kitchen space! :)