Free Range Nurse

Cooking therapy from a former travel nurse

Care To Do The Blog Hop January 29, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — freerangenurse @ 5:29 pm

While scanning the blogosphere today, I came across an interesting idea. It reminded me of the 25 questions post on facebook where you list 25 random things about yourself and then tag 25 friends to do the same. Instead, the task at hand is to answer five questions. I found the post on blog I just discovered today called Five Crooked Halos.  Seems easy enough and since I have been feeling lousy with allergies and haven’t baked/cooked anything new or fun and therefor have nothing to write today, I thought this would make a good filler post.  Here goes:

1. Would you ever vacation alone?

2. Do you drive the speed limit?

3. Why did you start blogging/following blogs?

4. Where do you shop for yourself?

5. What was the first song you danced to with your spouse at your wedding…or…what song would you like to dance or have danced to?

And the answers are: (more…)


Well, I don’t *hate* it… January 27, 2010

Filed under: beef,dinner — freerangenurse @ 12:01 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Long before I started this blog, I would post pictures or leave status updates on facebook about what I was cooking.  I guess I left so many that people started thinking I knew what I was doing and started asking me for recipes.  One day, I got a message in my inbox from a friend who was in her third trimester of pregnancy and was craving meat.  Specifically, she requested a recipe for meat loaf.  She said she just knew I’d have a good one.  Did I mention I am a nurse in a NICU and I have experience dealing with pregnant women and postpartum women?  I know enough not to mess with one!  I didn’t have the heart to tell her I don’t like meat loaf, therefor I don’t have a recipe that I’ve tried for meat loaf.  I lied.  I’m sorry, Amy, but you were in a delicate state.  Your baby wanted meat, and I wanted to give your baby what it wanted.  It’s in my nature, it’s what I do.  I wrote back to Amy and sent her a recipe that I found in a cookbook that I love along with modifications I would make if I were going to make it.  She wrote back, excitedly saying, “Girrrrl, now that’s what I’m talking about!”  I crossed my fingers and hoped she liked the results. (more…)


Braised Short Rib Heaven January 25, 2010

When winter comes around, I always seem to have a craving for meals of substance.  Stews, casseroles, braised meat.  It doesn’t even matter that this is Texas and winter sometimes means it is 75 degrees outside.  I think it must be some throwback survival instinct.  The need to bulk up to survive the winter, only…I so don’t need to bulk up.  Lately I have been craving braised short ribs.  Slow cooked all day, rich beefy sauce, mashed potatoes and rolls.  I saw three different recipes that I wanted to try.  One was from Pioneer woman, one from David Lebovitz and one from Tom Colicchio.  I went to the store and purchased the ingredients to make all three, but instead, combined elements from each.  The result was just what I craved. (more…)


Cross-Cultural Treats and the Bastardization Thereof January 21, 2010

Filed under: dessert — freerangenurse @ 5:06 pm

The first time I had turon was about two years ago, in Denver, during the Dragon Boat Festival.  I fell in love.  Okay, I know, I do that a lot.  The crispy wrapper, the soft banana, the caramelized sugar…<sigh> what’s not to love?  Pair it with cinnamon ice cream and whoa boy!

I asked my friend, Susan (who is Filipino) if she knew how to make them and could she possibly give me the recipe.  Can I take a moment to tell you I love Susan, too?  Not only did she give me the recipe, she went to the Asian grocery and picked up everything I would need and delivered it to me!

Weeks passed and Susan kept asking me if I’d made the turon.  I told her I hadn’t and had already thrown out the plantains, which were beyond ripe and rotting in a landfill somewhere, but that I would buy more and make them next chance I got.  More weeks past, more plantains joined the landfill.  It just seems I could never coordinate my time off with the plantain’s ripeness, or I’d forget (okay, it was always the latter).  Sometimes I would have every intention, but because plantains look horrible when ripe, my husband would throw them out. (more…)


I Scream, You Scream…

Filed under: dessert — freerangenurse @ 3:37 pm

About a year ago, I was desperately trying to find cinnamon ice cream to go with a recipe I was making.  I don’t remember which recipe, but I never did find that cinnamon ice cream.  I never thought it would be so difficult to find.  I ended up with brown sugar ice cream, but it just wasn’t the same.  David Lebovitz has come along and solved my problem with his recipe for cinnamon ice cream and now I can make it whenever I want along with many other delicious flavors from his Perfect Scoop cookbook.  What I like most about his recipes is that he doesn’t seem to use as much sugar as some.  I don’t like my ice cream overly sweet and so far, I have come out with a perfect scoop every time.  I am making turon, a delicious treat from the Philippines made with plantain bananas, brown sugar and jack fruit fried up in a crispy spring roll wrapper.  Cinnamon ice cream just seems like a perfect accompaniment. (more…)


Mimi, The Neurotic January 20, 2010

Filed under: family — freerangenurse @ 4:47 pm

It’s about time I introduce you to Mimi, our much loved two-year-old Jack Russell Terrier.

Mimi joined our family last June after a chance viewing on Craigslist.  We were in the market for an animal, but we had already agreed that we’d get a cat since they are more independent than dogs and if we were to leave the house for a day, we wouldn’t have to worry about finding someone to let the dog out.  As I was scanning the listings, one caught my eye.  It wasn’t a cat listing, but one for a Jack Russell.  I clicked it just to see the picture and found this face staring back at me.

I don’t think we looked at a single cat posting.  We emailed the owner and made an appointment to go see her.  It was love at first site!  We took her home and have just fallen more in love with her and her antics every day.  My husband calls her Mini (like a Mini Cooper, because she is little and fast), which is funny because that was her original name with a different spelling.  I liked the name Mimi, because I had just seen Rent and wanted her to have a Broadway name. (more…)


Addiction January 19, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — freerangenurse @ 2:13 pm

Those of you who know me, or at least know my Facebook status updates, know I love dairy, but also know my gallbladder doesn’t.  My love affair with dairy started years ago.  My mother used to call me “rat” as in, the rat got to the cheese again, or we must have a little rat in the kitchen.  I could eat cheese by the pound and went through milk by the gallon (which is probably how most people go through it, because it is sold that way).  Dairy products used to love me back.

About three years ago, while on a travel assignment in California, I was working the night shift and had eaten a salad with ranch dressing.  About an hour later, I began having severe pain in my upper abdomen/lower chest area (epigastric pain, to be precise).  I thought I was going to explode like that guy in the Alien movie, you know when the baby alien comes tearing out of his body.  I ran to the bathroom thinking the explosion might choose a pre-existing exit, but then worried that I might die in the bathroom and no one would find me.  I went back into the unit, doubled over, pale, sweating and shaking, to ask the charge nurse to take me down to the ER because I was sure I was having a heart attack.  I dialed my home number on my cellphone and handed it to one of my coworkers asking her between pants, to tell my husband that I was dying and that I loved him.  My husband answered the phone and thinking I was playing a joke on him, kept telling my coworker, “John who?  This is Billy Bob.  I don’t have a wife.”  I grabbed the phone and screamed, “She’s f**king serious!  Shut up and listen!” (more…)


Who You Callin’ Chicken? January 16, 2010

Filed under: chicken,dinner — freerangenurse @ 2:19 pm

If there is a dinner that epitomizes home cooking, it is oven roasted chicken and potatoes.  I am pretty sure it’s a classic.  If it isn’t in your household, it may be time to make it so with this recipe.  I got this gem from Jean Georges Vongerichten via the Martha Stewart Show.  Jean Georges is a Michelin star rated restauranteur/chef.  That doesn’t mean a whole heck of a lot to us mortals who don’t get out regularly to graze on $300 meals on a regular basis, but this man definitely knows his way around a chicken!  This recipe proves that sometimes the simplest recipes can yield the most delicious results.  It has quickly become a regular around these parts, and I’m sure if you try it, you’ll love it, too. (more…)


Murphy’s Law of Teriyaki Steak January 8, 2010

Filed under: beef,dinner — freerangenurse @ 12:24 pm

Sometimes, when you’re pressed for time and you need everything to go right, it just….doesn’t.  That was the case Monday.  I had worked Sunday night, which meant sleeping was on the agenda for Monday day.  First, I had to go to the store and get the ingredients for the recipes scheduled for Monday and Tuesday night’s dinners.  After working 12 hours overnight, I went to Whole Foods and waited around for half an hour for them to open.  I wandered sleepily through the store picking up freshly ground meats, ripe produce and baked breads needed for these recipes.  Once home, I put everything away and finally hauled my over-tired body to bed. (more…)


Rao’s Meatballs January 6, 2010

Filed under: beef,dinner,pasta — freerangenurse @ 6:09 pm

This is the recipe that started me cooking again.  Seriously the best, most tender, flavorful meatballs I’ve ever had.  Sure you’ll need to buy every animal on the ranch to go in them, but it is well worth it!  The marinara recipe is also from Rao’s cookbook and tastes like sunshine, light and fresh.  I think a red wine sauce would also be fabulous, but I like the savory meatballs paired with a light sauce.

First up, your ingredients list: