The Breakfast of.. Surgeons?

I have not written much recently since life has been very busy (in a good way). After my brother’s wedding was my graduation from medical school and all the guests, fun and celebrating that goes along with that. I trekked to northeastern Pennsylvania and my hometown of Sweet Valley for Memorial Day, and Brandon and I made it to the beach, to Lancaster for a day in the pool with our friends, and to the outskirts of Philadelphia on some long bike rides. (And I have kept busy with a couple of side jobs, too!) But throughout this period of vacation, I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling of the reality that I was going to have to start residency. And that day is tomorrow.

Have you ever watched Gray’s Anatomy? The clueless looks on the interns’ faces when asked to do what seems like the simplest of tasks? Yup – that’s going to be me. Up before the sun everyday and limited time to do much of anything non-work related.

You may be asking yourself how I am going to connect this all to the act of mincing and dicing, and you’re also probably hoping that it will be the preparation of food and not the curing of surgical ailments. Here it is. I have learned that no place causes the maternal nag of “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” than the operating room. When waking up at 4am, lunch is a long way’s off, so something that is filling is also important. Consequences of not eating breakfast range from simple crankiness (since the gurgling down below just wont stop) to fainting INTO (or close to) a patient on the table. I am only a primary source for the former, but I am a secondary source of the latter many times over.

The problem is, I HATE most breakfast food. The thought of sitting down to a bowl of boxed cereal is enough to make me gag, toast is fine but not filling, and most mornings do not afford the luxury of making French Toast or sausage gravy and biscuits. The good news is, however, that I have found a breakfast that I actually like. It takes minimal prep time (beforehand) and even less the morning of. It’s tasty, has varied textures and flavors, and is healthy!

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I found this recipe for museli in Martha Stewart Living, and I fell in love. I have already written about how toasting nuts intesifies their flavor to that satisfying “golden brown taste” we all love. The nuts in this recipe are oven-toasted and end up being the perfect crunch in the morning.

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First, all the ingredients are mixed with a bit of olive oil to enhance their browning. Note that the coconut here is dried and unsweetened flakes, not the kind that end up on a German Chocolate Cake, which might itself sound like a good breakfast – having tried it, I assure you it’s a good idea until you’re hungry again in an hour.

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After the toasted museli is cooled and stored, all that needs to be done in the morning is pour some in a bowl and accessorize. I have found that a bit of thawed frozen fruit, a couple dollops of Greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey results in a perfect balance of tart, sweet, creamy and crunchy. After one bowl, I can successfully avoid hunger pangs or bad operating room etiquette all morning!

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Bon appétit.


TOASTED MUESLI (from Martha Stewart Living, May 2013)


  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup shelled pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup large unsweetened dried coconut flakes
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a bowl; mix well to coat.
  2. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and spread in an even layer.
  3. Bake, stirring once, until oats are lightly golden, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely.
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