micro[wave]managing

Right now, I’m living in a hotel. Not too shabby…

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I’m doing my outpatient medicine rotation in a northern suburb, and the hospital up here has very graciously provided us with housing so that we don’t have to make a 1.5+ hour commute each way. I feel like I’m stuck halfway between vacation and real life: enjoying the “rainkissed leaves” scented lotion, free cookies and coffee in the lobby, and cable TV, but still facing the realities of studying, working, and waking up early.

While there are lots of great restaurants within a short distance from the hotel, my budgetary and time constraints don’t exactly allow me to be eating out every night. Lucky for me, my room is equipped with this lovely little kitchenette (aka a mini fridge and microwave). I’ve secretly been looking forward to challenging myself to “cooking” in this little space since I found out I’d be coming up here back in June. During my first two years of college, I basically earned a minor in Dorm Room Culinary Arts, so reverting back to the good old days of making do with a few inches of counter space, a tiny cutting board, a mini knife, and a small yet mighty microwave was alluringly nostalgic.

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These past two weeks, I’ve been capitalizing on the extreme microwave-ability my all-time favorite food, the sweet potato. A quick rinse in the bathroom sink, a couple of knife pricks in the skin, and a click of the POTATO button and voila!—an instant, vitamin-rich, and filling canvas for whatever your heart desires. For me, that’s been some microwave steamed kale (bought pre-washed and cut, sprinkled with a splash of water, and microwaved for 1 minute), bean salsa (both purchased and homemade), avocado chunks, and a dollop of Greek yogurt or a sprinkle of feta cheese. Delicious, nutritious, satisfying, and all wrought from this humble little space.

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I only have a few more days left here, but I’m hoping that future rotations will land me back soon for a welcome change of pace and a healthy bit of a culinary challenge.

So, no real recipe here, just my vote of confidence that you too will be able to make the most of any downsized kitchen space you encounter. And my biggest tip if you find yourself in a similar situation: bring your favorite plate/bowl/silverware from home and a little dish soap and sponge. It makes all the difference in making for homier mealtimes.

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