Married to Medicine

Married to Medicine

Friday, November 18, 2011

Moonlighting Blues & The Best Soup Ever

Before I get into this AMAZING soup, a bit about our lives.  For one thing, I get way more hits that way (apparently I wasn't meant for food blogging) and for another, I do mean to document our lives for my children and other medical spouses.


My husband's moonlighting paperwork finally went through and that means he can start picking up shifts where he'll actually get paid as a doctor.  Only problem is he's still working as a resident!  His "senior resident" year was supposed to be a cakewalk but the ACGME passed a new rule this year that limits hospital shifts to 16 hours.  To compare, my husband often worked 30+ hours on his shifts as an intern.  So... someone has to pick up that slack.  And whereas at my dad's hospital they're turning to NP's (nurse practitioners), MGH knows it has an even cheaper labor source in its senior residents - heck, they're salaried so it's a FREE one!  So weekends my husband should have had off, and evenings he should have been home... he's working for *you*, MGH interns.  Enjoy your sleep!  Oh and be warned... if you're counting on moonlighting money, like we were... well, it's not so easy to find the time for it.

If you're wondering whether this is depressing, um, no, it's AWESOME!  Not.  This was supposed to be "the good year" and basically he'll now either work his days off or if we're "lucky" he'll moonlight them.  So sad, especially for Matthew.  I do some full-day baby-sitting and I've been lucky to do a little legal work from home recently, but living in Boston on a resident's salary with $1400/month student loan payments and a baby ... doesn't actually add up, people.  We're out of the money I saved lawyering and that means we need [significant] cash.  And as a friend once put it, my husband and I "don't have any fat to trim."  We're already living in extreme frugality.  (and *please* don't ask me "whether I've considered" going back to work ... it's a little insulting, frankly; if I thought that was a good choice for us right now I'd obviously already have done it).

What a rant!  Clearly my Italian side doesn't permit unlimited Pollyanna-ism and when even my husband's Scandinavian stoicism has devolved into cynicism, the only cheery disposition to be found chez nous is the baby's.  Thank God for him!

Anyway, my husband will be working Thanksgiving AND Christmas.  Woot.  Thanksgiving for free - allllll weekend - and moonlighting all Christmas.  No family in the area.  I don't think I can convey to those of you whose spouses have holidays off how depressing it is to face them alone, with a baby.  Everything is closed and everyone else is having those moments that life is all about, but you're just trying to figure out how to fill the time until the stores open again the next day and you can be excited for some grocery trip and seeing other kids at the park again.  In June my husband will start fellowship, where the first 1.5 years are supposed to be pretty bad.  So basically we're both looking forward to January of 2014, when my husband will be in the lab and things will finally be normal (if we can remember what normal is by then... and if they're actually normal...).  Sigh.  But as I told my own doctor, there are starving people in Africa.  Hmmm.  She still wants me to get therapy.  Her husband did the same programs, by the way...

On a brighter note, my brother's wife Adora (aptly named - we ADORE this girl) urged me to try this soup last year and I have to say she found a MAJOR gem.  Be sure you use good ingredients - sweet ripe pears and fresh ginger - or it won't turn out to be perfection.  But please, give this a whirl.  It's heart-healthy too (with substitutions) so I'll have to double post it on my HeartHealthyFoodie blog.  And it's actually fairly easy - if you double the recipe, you'll have a healthy veggie side dish with no cooking for many meals to come.

Curried Butternut Squash and Pear Soup

Finished Product.

1 butternut or acorn squash
3 tbsp butter (heart healthy:  substitute Smart Balance Sticks)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tsp fresh minced ginger root (all produce sections have)
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp salt
4 cups chicken broth
2 Bartlett Pears, cored and diced (okay to leave peel on)
                                                                                      1/2 cup cream (heart healthy:  substitute milk)

(1) Roast the squash by slicing in half and removing seeds, and placing flat side down on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil.  Roast in 375 degree oven for 45 minutes.  When done, remove pulp from peel and set aside for later use.

Acorn squash before roasting. But go for butternut squash if you can find it.
(2) Melt butter in large soup pot.  Stir in onion, garlic, ginger, curry powder, salt, and saute until onion is soft. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Add pear and squash and simmer until pear is soft (about 30 mins).

Peeling and mincing the ginger root.
Sauteeing butter, onion, garlic, ginger, curry, salt.
Core the pear.
Easy pear dicing.
SO easy.  Scoop up with spatula and add to soup.
(3) Here's the labor of this recipe:  If you don't have an immersion blender, you need to transfer the soup to a food processor or blender in batches and blend until soup is pureed.  I highly recommend getting an immersion blender though.  They're not very expensive and they can pay for themselves easily when you use them to make your own baby food.

Immersion blender.  Perfect for making your own baby food - or heart healthy smoothies.  $28 on Amazon, makes a great gift.
(4) Return soup to pot.  Stir in cream (or milk).  Reheat.  I like to serve with a dollup of low-fat sour cream in the middle.  So fancy right?

Double batch, baby.  It freezes perfectly in any container.

Enjoy :)