Tag Archive | LASIK surgery

7/25/16 (Caution: This might get ranty.)

So today started out as planned: I woke up at 6:30 and then started baking the cookies (although I do still have some batter left–I only baked enough to fill up the gift basket since that’s all I had time for). The visual set-up was all ready to go. I just needed to stack the cookies once they were finished (after a couple minutes’ cool-down period) and label all of them using notecards and tape. I tied it up with the ribbon and then we were ready to go. Stacking was pretty easy, too, except for the CocoNutella. The cookies spread out farther than I’d imagined, so I had to shove in three of them vertically and then managed to get seven more horizontally. It sort of bothered me, but hey: you do what you can with the time you’ve got. (I just hope they didn’t stick together too much because they didn’t cool down long enough.)

Before I get to the ranty part, here’s what the entire thing looked like in the end: 

Well, that’s the best I could do. 

So when I got to the place, of course, everybody was very polite. They were the exact same faces I’d seen the first three times I’d been there. When I explained to them that I felt guilty, probably being their worst patient ever and that I wanted to bake the cookies that I’d made this morning, they were very sympathetic. All I got was gratitude and one of the receptionists had her hands on her heart and said, “Aww, that’s so sweet.” Honestly, I hadn’t really felt that kind of warmth before, doing something genuinely selfless (okay, it sounds bad, but how can I not explain how that feels without sounding like I did it to look good?). I even almost considered going back there for my next attempt at LASI (if I could just convince the surgeon to let me have one earbud in to listen to music and let me be in my own world as he does his job).

Almost. 

One of the assistants, whom I had been with during each of my visits, said–and I know she probably didn’t mean anything by it because they all really wanted me to get what I want, which was to be independent from glasses (after 17 freaking years)–“Maybe you could see a therapist about it and that could solve the issue.” I know what she meant: going to therapy means having to find the psychological root of a problem that causes someone to live a so-called “abnormal” life.  

However, that also implies that I’m the one with the problem, not them. As if their way of doing things was flawless. They believed that the only person at fault was me, for being overly sensitive when something is about to touch my eye. Same mentality with the drugs: Valium always seems to be the answer for them. “Maybe we should give her just a little more Valium and fifteen minutes for it to take effect.” The only effects I felt were loopiness and drowsiness, hence the post-visit naps. They would have been way more useful when I was under the machine. 

The receptionist also suggested something about Valium after the therapy comment, which further proves that they really do believe the issue was with me, not them. That it was my own mentality which caused my anxiety. I say that I’m anxious, but only because that’s what all introverts say. I’m not usually that way because I don’t always find myself under a machine that I know is going to open up my eyeballs. They’re saying that I have some sort of mental deficit that kept me from staying calm underneath that machine. When you suggest that someone should go to a therapist, you’re implying that they need extra help. I’m not saying that therapy is a bad thing; it’s an amazing experience, I’m sure, to make those breakthroughs in order to improve the patient’s well-being, except it’s like asking an obese woman how far along she is.

Normally, I wouldn’t complain like this about a place of business, but I know that other LASIK surgeons play music during the procedure. I read a comment online about a different place where they specifically asked the patient what kind of music they like to listen to and play it over the speakers during the procedure. That’s why I can’t help but wonder why I couldn’t do that either, because music definitely sends me to my own little world, especially show tunes because there’s an actual storyline that the soundtrack follows. 

Hehe, maybe I should’ve just had them play “Next to Normal”. If you don’t know what that is, it’s one of my favorite Broadway musicals about mental illness and how drugs don’t work. That psychotherapy is all guesswork and they prescribe medicine anyway, making adjustments…to only the medicine and just hope it works. Spoiler alert: she leaves her family to stay with her parents, leaving her husband and daughter to pick up the pieces.

I suppose what went on in my mind as they were talking about therapy and even more Valium, was, “Hell no, did she really just say that?” When you first see the word “therapy”, you probably think of crazy people, and I know that therapy isn’t like that most of the time. The illnesses that they deal with aren’t as visible to the naked eye (yes, I just said that) as a patient from a medical hospital would suffer. 

Well, you probably see where I’m getting at: if I truly needed psychiatric help, I would have made a scene, but I’m not like that. I’m too introverted for that type of confrontation. I just shrugged and said maybe because that’s what the world needs more of: ignoring condescending behavior, so the friendliness can continue and you would not have to see their faces. Ever again. 

Okay, rant over. The rest of the day, I actually spent doing arts and crafts stuff, which was pretty fun, and I know this has nothing to do with cooking, but if you don’t mind reading about it, then please continue! I always wanted to make a chew toy for my dog, and since he was getting groomed and there was a Michael’s next door, I figured I might as well get some fabric (which was actually cheap enough for me to pay out of my own pocket ūüėČ ). 

Going into this, I had no clue what I wanted to make as far as the creature or item went, so I went with the standard human figure. Then, as I was on the hunt for designs, I realized that it would probably look more like a voodoo doll. That’s when I considered just keeping it myself for one of those needle placement things you put in your sewing kit. 

I remembered in home ec (which they apparently don’t teach anymore?), that if you’re going to stuff something, you need to sew it up outside-in first. Then flip it right for the thread not to show. Then you can add the stuffing. Well, since I didn’t know what I wanted to make, I didn’t consider what I’d use for stuffing, so I decided that it would be best to wait till I cross that bridge to get cotton balls. ((According to my mom, you don’t use those as stuffing, but…where else am I gonna get it without having to completely maul another stuffed animal that we already own?) 

These were the choices I decided to go with.

And this is what came out. I know. Horrifying, right? 
But then I decided to add legs… Will you please close them, dear? It’s not polite.

I got these from the pet store where my dog got groomed and thought it’d look cute on the new toy. Still not sure how or if I want to do that. 

And was he interested? Evidently not, so that was three hours and $13 well spent. 

Oh wait…He likes it! Sorta…

Oh, and I also got this red velvet fabric and just knew I had to have it, even though I had zero clue what I wanted to do with it (although that was mostly because it was the last one). So I can make the cake (sorta), now let’s see what I can make of actual red velvet. I’m probably going to make two pillows. I’ve at least made those before, so I can’t go wrong there. 

I even considered making a dress out of that because it IS long enough for me to wear, but a voice in my head said, “One step at a time, hon.” To which I replied, “Good call. Pillows it is.” (Or is it grammatically “pillows they are”?)

Anyways, I know most of my artwork today had to do with crafts, but it’s still a way for me to be creative. This whole gift thing makes me really want to go into the business of baking or making things that people will want to give with sentimental messages on them: thanks, congratulations, grieving loved ones, birthdays… At first, I decided on culinary school, which I still plan on doing, but how do I have so many options now?! I can finally do something creative that I’m actually good at in a way that I can also make money!

Which reminds me: last night, my friend, who is obsessed with Starbucks, gave me some suggestions on the banana-cinnamon cooki names, since I was struggling with. So I ended up with “Cinnana Macchiato”. How adorable is that? 

And CRAP!!! Yesterday, I forgot to say something! It’s too late now, but I’ll bring it up anyway: so you know how I was prepping the batter yesterday so I could bake it today? Well,  yesterday, I was going to say, “while I did all the prep for today, as Shang said in Mulan, ‘Tomorrow, the REAL work begins.'” Yeah, means nothing now…

Well, break an egg!

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7/24/16

Today, I worried about getting started on the batter process. I was going to just make it once, but then screwed up and put the chocolate chips in before adding the powdery mixture to the egg mixture. The plan was to just create half a batch of chocolate chip cookies and then two quarters of the other two flavors. I’m new at this, so screw-ups happen. Could’ve been worse, I know that. 

I also figured out how to package it. Mom let me dig through the Christmas wrapping stuff and I found a huge, red bag. It was more like two large red rectangles glued together, but it was big and transparent. A little too big, actually. It was more like a garbage bag, so I cut off a few inches, but then, when I wrapped it over the cups, there were two extra flaps created by the extra lining of the glued portion. I cut off both corners and then taped them together, which helped a lot. In the end, it looked like this: 

And then just stick the card inside. 

I also drafted the message, so that’s done. I think it’s pretty good, so I’ll probably write it out tonight. 

My mom is taking me to the center tomorrow morning after we drop off my dog at the groomer’s. That way, they can snack on it the entire day. Talk about how I’m the patient who kept twitching and moving under the machine. I would have to wake up at around 6AM though since the doggy appointment is at 8:30AM.

Oh, and maybe my making the second batch might be a blessing in disguise: it takes multiple attempts to try to get the perfect cookie, especially when you’re experimenting with ingredients you’ve never tried. I mean, I’ve never baked with Nutella before. What if it takes a little longer for the cookies to be ready because of them? 

So tomorrow, I also need to complete the titles of these punny desserts: lots of ChocoLATTE chip cookies, CocoNutellas, and CinNANA’s? No. I think too much of grandmas. Bannamon. Cinnana–I keep wanting to say Cinnanagram, but how is that connected to coffee? Doesn’t have to be Starbucks; just coffee-related. Banana Frappacinnamo? Too wordy, man. Too wordy. Cinnanacchiato? Cinnabacchiato? Banana Cinnacchiato? I might go with that one. 

To sum it all up, serving in a small gift basket–or rather cup holder–will be ChocoLATTE chip cookies, CocoNutellas, and Banana Cinnacchiatos. On the labels, I will mark what specific ingredients are on it as well, in case there are serious allergies. After that, I think I’m all set! There will definitely be extras, so I can pick out the prettiest ones and stack them in each cup. It’s a relief knowing that I don’t have to worry about that OCD numbering nonsense. Unless… What if I can’t fit an even number of cookies in each cup? What will I do then? I can’t just put in a different amount each time! Just kidding. Not that big a deal. I mean, I’ll still add an even number of cookies in each cup and make sure that all the quantities match, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world. If I have to take one out, then more for us!

I know I should probably add my experience with the cooking process from today, but it’s already 10:25PM, so I want to get started on sleep. 

Well, good night! And if anyone has a better coffee pun for the banana-cinnamon one, please tell me!

Break an egg, everyone!

Update: Cinnana Macchiato

7/22/16

As I mentioned yesterday, I want to bake cookies for the people at the LASIK center I went to. I don’t usually do good deeds like this, but I figured I was probably their worst patient ever so it’s less a nice gesture, but rather an emotional debt. Last night, I made a short list of ideas: coconut shavings, raisins, Nutella, banana bits w/ cinnamon, all without chocolate chips; and cinnamon and coffee with them. Then, I narrowed it down to what’s more practical.

In the end, I decided on using coconut shavings, Nutella, and the banana/cinnamon, which are all experimental since I won’t be using a recipe except to make the batter. Since I have minor OCD symptoms, I must make four flavors, so I’ll also make the regular chocolate chip cookies in the process. Might give them more of those in case they aren’t fans of the other ones.

I was told they aren’t open today, but I wasn’t planning on doing it anyway; instead, I want to spend all day Sunday doing it and then deliver them first thing Monday morning. That way they have all day to devour them. The only reason why I wanted to do different flavors was in case some of them are allergic to chocolate or didn’t like it for some issue crazier than what I put them through. I feel as if making oatmeal cookies instead, especially for the banana ones, would make more sense, but I still just want to try it out.

Also, because all of them varied by size and shapes yesterday, I think I should roll the dough and then flatten it before placing it on the parchment paper for baking. That way I get the cookies I want, or at least tried to get them.

Because most of these cookies are experimental, I would have to eat one cookie from each batch, which would make the numbers either 11 or 4, but I might save some dough for later. Actually, I don’t mind 4. That’s my favorite number. Although I suppose it has less to do with what I want, but how many would fit in the container. I’m planning on getting a big plastic box from the store and then use that so they don’t have to worry about giving it back. Then place all of them on parchment paper and stack them, maybe by flavor, but I don’t want them to have to dig through cookies they might be allergic to. Maybe have a separator and have all four flavors in each square… I’m imagining a box where I can fit them four-by-four. As far as the separator is concerned, I have no clue what to use. I’m picturing plastic or foam. Or perhaps I can use more parchment paper and fold it multiple ways for it to fit.

Yeah, this is going to take all day.

As usual, I am open to suggestions! Either on types of cookies, ways to package it and separate them, anything.

Break an egg, fellas!

7/21/16: Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies!

This morning, I had a second attempt at the LASIK surgery. I was SO close. After the second try today, I was under the machine. I don’t even think I budged. The suction just didn’t take and my eyeball was swollen again, so we couldn’t continue. That’s when the doctor said we should wait a few months, so I’m just frustrated with the whole thing.

Once I woke up from my Valium-induced nap, after sobbing for a few minutes (which I don’t usually do), I felt the urge to bake something chocolate-y. In my mind, I pictured a chocolate cake, but I think that’s because I’ve been binging on Private Practice and in the first few episodes, Dell Parker, the hottie receptionist, kept baking chocolate cakes. Well, actually, it was his grandmother’s baking, but he claimed it was his because he wanted to win over his boss.

I scrolled through the new “Food Network” app (I volunteered to try out their beta app and provide my opinions¬†to a survey) and didn’t really find any chocolate recipes that sounded appealing. That is, except the Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. It was perfect: the recipe was easy, we had most of the ingredients, exactly the comfort food I needed to get my mind off of self-deprecation.

One of the ingredients I needed from the store (which my mother had to drive me to since I wasn’t out of the woods just yet from the multiple doses of Valium) was the chocolate chips. I chose the Nestl√© Toll House bag and all I kept thinking was the¬†Friends episode where Monica spends a few days working hard, trying to figure out the chocolate chip cookie recipe that Phoebe’s grandmother made. Since the recipe was lost in a fire, Monica had to use her culinary skills to figure out what was in it. Then, in the end, when she’s exhausted and just gives up, Phoebe says that her grandmother got it from her friend in France¬†named “Nestl√© Toulouse”. Then, Monica says, “NESTL√Č TOLL HOUSE?!” and then flings a bag of chocolate chips at her to see if that’s the recipe. Then, Phoebe stands up excitedly and says, “YES!!!” It was hilarious, but Monica saying, “Nestl√© Toll House” was always on my mind, so that brought me even more joy in my therapeutic baking.

Anyways, as I said before, it was a simple recipe. Once the chips were mixed into the batter, I used a baking spatula to stir them in and realized the recipe says to mix by hand. Whoops, but who cares? The job is done without harming the beautiful chocolate chips.

The struggle is really in placing each chunk on the trays. Whatever the lump looks like determines how it looks in the end. I wanted soft, flat cookies. While they were all soft, some of them were slightly crispy on the bottom, which I thought was due to the placement in the oven. There are two racks set at the center and bottom. I tested out this theory, since it was either because of the placement or the amount of cookies per tray. We have one that can fit 12 and one with six.

First batch: IMG_3598.JPGIMG_3599.JPG

So this is how I placed them in the oven: 12 over 6. The 6 was the one that had the crispy bottom, but it was still soft. This is how it looked on a plate: IMG_3589.JPGI know. Yum, right? I tasted one cookie from each tray to check the difference.

Second batch: IMG_3604.JPGIMG_3600.JPGSix over 12 this time. I forget which bottom was crispier, but I recall my conclusion was that the number of cookies per tray impacted it, not the placement.

Check out the blood of brown sugar spewing from the bottom-right one in the 3-by-2. I know there was a clump of brown sugar that refused to separate while mixing in the brown sugar. I thought I solved it during while the mixer did its thing, but apparently not. I think the chunk got smaller though. I ate that cookie since it was the ugliest one and had the brown sugar clump. I can’t describe the taste of the baked brown sugar, but maybe…metallic? Either way, it was the brown sugar and did not taste good.

Here’s the plate for the second batch:¬†IMG_3595.JPG

Final batch was leftovers. Maybe I should’ve just kept it as cookie dough for snacking, but figured I had enough for a 3-by-2:¬†IMG_3603.JPGThis was the one I shared mostly with the dogs since there were so little chocolate chips left. They’re dogs, so you know that by the time that cooked batter touched their mouths, it was omnomnom time.

IMG_3597.JPGAaaaand this is the plate with the leftover batter. Almost not worth posting, since it’s not in a heap of chocolate-y goodness, but…consistency.

My dad and I each tried one from this batter, hence there are four instead of six. Since there were just those six left, I wanted to stop at 11 minutes instead of 12, but I think I could sense its undercookedness. So I suppose as far as the amount of baking goes, the timing doesn’t matter? (Shrugs.) That’s what I’m getting out of it.

So I’d say that as far as the therapeutic baking went, it was a success. I feel a lot better. Normal, at least, which means I couldn’t cry even if I tried to. My old self would have turned¬†to music or writing to feel better, but after writing a pretty fair Yelp review about the LASIK place, I decided it wasn’t enough. (I mean, I didn’t rant–I said that the employees were amazing and the struggle was all on my end and provided suggestions for future patients who have the same issues as I do. Fair enough, right?) I felt a magnet¬†pull inside me to go to the kitchen and bake something with chocolate. So I did. And I feel much better. And that’s all that matters, because that was the point.

That’s what got me thinking though: is this why girls always want chocolate when they get their periods? I’ve never had the craving for it. Maybe I only need it when I’m down.

Believe it or not: I’ve never tried raw cookie dough. I’ve heard it was delicious, but always thought it was weird because if it’s raw, doesn’t that mean it’s disgusting? I tried it though and it was just heavenly. Is it weird to think that the cookie dough tastes nothing like when it’s actually cooked though? Maybe the texture alters the taste a bit.

While finishing up, I was considering making a better batch for the people at the LASIK center. I mean, they really were polite and trying to make my experience easier. Hmm…maybe I will. Their place of business is fairly close to my culinary school (which I haven’t started yet). Maybe if I make a few alterations like adding cinnamon or something.

One last thing that has nothing to do with today’s experience: should I have my own sign-off? Julia Child ended her shows with “Bon App√©tit” (according to “Julie & Julia” anyway). ¬†What should I finish with? I watch a lot of Gordon Ramsay shows so, like…”SHUT IT DOWN!” or…”This steak is so raw that I can tip it!”? Just kidding.

I graduated with a theatre degree, so we said “break a leg” a lot. Well, I read online about suggestions that chefs can say in order to say good luck: “Break an egg”? That’s cute. Fits me because I was in theatre and I’m also a playwright. Whoever thought of this, I hope you don’t mind, but…

Break an egg!

7/17/16

So today turned out to include a crappy morning. I was supposed to have LASIK surgery today, but my nerves got in the way too often. (If anyone out there has ANY advice on that, my problem was I thought too much, so I could really use the help.) I felt horrible as we walked out of the building and the loopiness had finally just hit me as we went out for lunch. I think people thought I was drunk because my dad kept a good grip of my arm.

Anyways, after the Valium-induced nap, I needed to reboot my self-esteem so I found some leftover penne because we store random pasta in the pantry. Well, I think my specialty will be Italian food because I just put stuff together for pasta. I used all the penne we have, which totaled one perfect pound (3/4 wheat penne, 1/4 regular). We had tomato basil soup (from when I freaked out about when I made it from scratch and bought from the store as a backup), which I didn’t know I could use as pasta sauce, but my mom said it was okay to use.

I used a random recipe, but just as a reference as to which ingredients I might need for the standard pasta dish. I think it was pretty good, so here’s my (hopefully original) recipe, called “Ginny’s Pretty Penne”:

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 turns of olive oil (or just make an “e”)
  • 1/2 red onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 mini red peppers, chopped
  • One 19-oz. Progresso Vegetable Classics Tomato Basil Soup Can
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 handful parsley, chopped
  • 2 to 4 string cheeses, grated (for serving)
  • 1 pound penne pasta

Instructions

  1. Add olive oil in cast-iron skillet on high.
  2. Add onion, garlic, and peppers; lower heat to medium. Mix.
  3. After it browns a little bit, add soup. Stir. Add salt and pepper. Set aside on low heat.
  4. Boil pasta in salted water. Once almost 100% soft, drain and add to tomato soup mixture.
  5. Reset heat on medium-high and mix. Sprinkle parsley and stir. IMG_3560IMG_3561
  6. Serve hot and individually add a blanket of cheese on top (as requested by gourmands). IMG_3562

I predict that this serves 4 to 6 people. I was going to name it “Ginny’s First (Hopefully Original) Penne Recipe”, but I actually did have a first hopefully original recipe posted before. It was the one with the cavatappi.

When I chopped the onions, my mom thought it would’ve been better to mince them, so I just minced them with the garlic. I was going to go with 1 whole onion and 4 cloves of garlic, but it was way too much, so I decided to half that.

I think it could’ve used more peppers though. Doubled at least.

I know that saying “handful of parsley” isn’t really helpful, especially since I have tiny hands, but I just figured it’s the fresh green ingredient, so it doesn’t matter if you over- or under-do it. Personally, I don’t think it added to the taste, but that probably just means my palate isn’t too good yet. I just wanted the greens to make it look pretty. (Hehe, I guess that means it’s the “pretty” in the “Pretty Penne”.)

As for the string cheese, it doesn’t matter what type of cheese. Dad wanted mozzarella, but we didn’t have that. We had lots of string cheese though, so I had to substitute.

Students, I grant you permission to try this out for yourselves! If something goes wrong or you have any questions, feel free to comment!