Last week Mr. H took a break from compiling the news, which meant that I took a break as well. Baking is one of my hobbies, so I used the free time to turn out a couple of “oldie but goodie” recipes. I’ve been making one of them since I was in junior high school but hadn’t done it in a couple of years and it was a nice treat. I find working in the kitchen to be therapeutic. The steady rhythm of knife work and the stress-relieving properties of making pastry are good reminders of getting back to the basics.
I’ve been doing more traveling lately than usual, so the downtime this week was much appreciated. The perfect storm of my specialty society meeting, a tech conference, and MGMA hit entirely too close together. Although tiring, the upshot of hitting three meetings in two months was being able to see (actually in person!) a lot of people that I typically only interact with in the virtual world. In this age of emerging communications tools, I think that the concept of friendship has evolved as well.
Although I have plenty of local friends, some of my best friends are those that I may only see once or twice a year. It’s easy to stay close when you’re only a few keystrokes and a mouse click away. The things you previously had to wait to hear in the annual Christmas letter are now presented real time via Facebook. When you meet in person, it’s almost like no time has passed since your last get-together and that is a wonderful thing.
I find that I’m closer to work friends because we interact through social media. Although I don’t like my News Feed clogged with pictures of what people ate for lunch or which beer they’re drinking tonight, I enjoy seeing what colleagues are up to when they’re not at work and seeing their children grow up. I’m thankful to be able to keep in touch with people who have moved on to new challenges or to other parts of the country.
Our HIStalk readers provided some extra special Thanksgiving moments by reaching out to say how much they appreciate our team. Sometimes it still seems a little unreal that we do this every week – IT workers by day, bloggers by night. It’s good to hear that you think we’re making a difference.
My favorite e-mail of the week was one asking me for a favorite Christmas punch recipe, and I’m excited to be thought of as the Martha Stewart of the health IT world. Let’s face it, I’ll never keep up with Inga as the fashionista, so I’ll settle for being the happy homemaker.
Since Thanksgiving seems to be the official start of the holiday office party season, I offer up Dr. Jayne’s Holiday Recipe Guide. Having spent most of my career in non-profit healthcare, I’m used to partying in the potluck style. Since HIStalk is your virtual water cooler for IT news and gossip, we’re happy to be part of your office potluck as well. Choosing something from the list below will allow you to avoid another year of shame after being labeled as “that guy who brought the case of White Castle Hamburgers.”
Best made in a small crock pot on your desk since I’ve never worked in an office that has an oven.
Super-lazy cheese and crackers (perfect for purchasing on the way to work)
Unwrap a block of Neufchatel cheese (might be labeled as “light cream cheese”) and place on a rimmed serving dish. Pour Bronco Bob’s Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce liberally over the cream cheese and around the dish. Serve with Wheat Thins or similar crackers.
Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs
(thanks to Mr. Z. – and I totally appreciate the notes on how you actually make them vs. what the recipe says)
2 pounds lean ground beef
1 cup cornflake crumbs
1/3 cup finely chopped parsley
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ teaspoon pepper
garlic powder to taste
1/3 cup catsup
2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions and soy sauce
Thoroughly mix all ingredients. Roll into balls (about 1 to 1 ½ inches). Bake on cookie sheet at 500 degrees. It says five minutes, I think I do about seven. They are great as is for spaghetti.
1 can whole cranberry sauce
1 12 oz bottle tomato based chili sauce
1 tablespoon each brown sugar and lemon juice
Warm in pot, drop in meatballs. I make my meatballs ahead of time and nuke them on medium to bring to room temp and drop in.
It’s a little tricky to make without it cracking, but it looks (and tastes) like a million bucks. And yes, a seventh grader can make it.
Insanely Good Chocolate Cake
It goes by a variety of names and with subtle variations.
Bake a dark chocolate cake in a 9×13 pan according to package directions. Before it cools, poke holes all over the cake (using a serving fork or a bamboo skewer) and pour on a 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk, then pour on an 8 oz jar of caramel topping. Refrigerate overnight. Immediately before serving, cover with whipped topping and sprinkle with crushed Heath bars.
Martha Stewart Style and not for the office party, unless your office lets you have vodka.
Good for when you have to throw an office baby shower, too.
Place ½ gallon of sherbet in a punch bowl – I like raspberry personally. Slowly pour over 1 liter ginger ale and ½ liter of Fresca or Sun Drop. You can change the colors by changing the sherbet, but know that rainbow sherbet turns an unappealing color if you try to use it.
If you have favorite office party recipes, be sure to share. I’m always looking for something new and delicious. See you around the water cooler and in the buffet line.