It's official, I'm a SOONER!!!

Today is my first official day as a student at the University of Oklahoma. Now I know you must be thinking that I live nowhere near Oklahoma so in the world am I a student there. Great question. The University of Oklahoma offeres degree programs through their Outreach division at many military bases (looked like mostly Air Force when I reviewed the list of sites) around the world. The program offered here is a MA in Human Relations, non-thesis track. I will have a 6 credit internship and then comps in order to graduate. The program is designed so you can start and finish at this base as most people are assigned here for 2 years.

This is not entirely an online school. The degree will appear as though I went there on campus and there will be nothing different about this transcript from a student who went in Oklahoma. So the program intrigued me. My background is nutrition, biology and public health, so this is branching out for me. This is more of a social sciences degree. At least public healtrh was taking me a little bit in this direction, otherwise everything is new to me.

Here is the idea. You register for classes that are offered on site or online. The base here has an education building so there are classrooms there. Most of the classes for the program you need to take on site. In my whole degree plan I only have one for online. So here is how it works. I have 3 classes this fall term. I have already done my pre-class work. Tonight is the first night of class, in the classroom, with the professor. Class runs Tuesday-Friday 6-9:30 pm and then Sat-Sun 8:30-4:30. So it is pretty intensive. The entire semester of classroom time is condensed into a week. Then there will be an assignment after the classroom time and this is submitted via email to the professor. Some classes you have one week, some have 3 weeks to submit the final paper or work. most classes have readings and papers due the first day of class so I have been working hard already.

If you are curious what a degree in human relations has to offer for course work here are the descritpions of my 3 courses this term. I have one in September, one in October and one in December.


This course is designed to help students understand, from a theoretical and empirical viewpoint, interpersonal relations. The course will be organized with the understanding that students have diverse goals. Some may be interested in providing human services in counseling or educational settings; others may be more interested in organizational and managerial matters. Still others may be taking the course for no other reason than to learn a little more about their own species. We will try to address all student needs by (a) discussing various theoretical accounts of how people relate to each other; (b) by looking at how people develop relationships and form groups; and (c) by examining how people influence each other. We will also consider (d) the role of culture in interpersonal relationships.


This course will provide a variety of tools and techniques to solve problems. This course covers problem solving models along with idea generating techniques. It explores the need to expand thinking abilities to combine both right and left brain approaches to develop innovative ideas and solutions to meet the challenges of a global economy. Creative team activities will give students an opportunity to apply the concepts, models and techniques.


The course will provide students with an overview of the extent and consequences of substance abuse in American society. More importantly, it will provide an overview of the state of intervention and prevention strategies and programs.
The course introduces students to various strategies, perspectives, methodologies, intervention/prevention designs and implementation protocols. Although not necessary, it is assumed students have some familiarity with substance abuse. We will discuss and critique various school, community, and social service institution-based prevention and intervention models over the life cycle from preschool to adult; in various settings (suburban, inner city, and rural); and with various populations (White, Afro-American, Hispanic and Native American). Some time will be focused on issues pertaining to women, high-risk families, and other special populations. In addition to speaking about their effort and effectiveness, some discussion will also be given to ethical and human subjects protection concerns and issues.

So you can see I will be busy but also enjoying some interesting classes. This I think will be beneficial as I want to continue to teach at the university level and probably continue counseling patients in a private practice setting. I am looking forward to this. It is really interesting how they have this program set up and I love that I get some freedom and flexibility and class is confined to one week. It is certainly a unique program.

Now onto some food. First up are the Berger cookies that arrived yesterday in a package from my dad (also got socks, soap and espresso ground coffee). These are so delicious. I will sadly say though that these are one of the last food items left on the planet that stills contains trans fat. Very sad, but there is 1 gram (holy cow, yes I said 1 g, cringe here please) of trans fat per cookie. But they remind me of home. You can only get these in the Baltimore area since they are made by a local baker. It is strange but they do now sell them at Sam's club in Baltimore.

My dad made sure to get a package with a far out expiration date so they won't go bad in the 10-14 days it would take to get here.

This is a cookie on the bottom with a glob of chocolate on the top. It is heavenly in taste.

Here is another close of the chocolate on top. Since these are considered a sometimes food, I freeze them. I left 4 cookies out for now, but the rest go in the freezer. When we want a special treat we will pull a couple out and let them thaw. When we moved from Vegas I still had a couple in my freezer.

Now on to last night's dinner. I have always been the busiest person I know so I do not usually cook. I never say I can't cook because in reality I can. I just don't cook. But since I work from home and I have more time (since I am home and can work while food is in the oven) I am getting better. Sometimes I do make things from scratch, but on occasion we will still have a frozen pizza or lean cuisine. The other night Ryan said to someone "She is a good cook" and I turned and seriously asked him "who?". yeah, then I felt silly, he was talking about me. But I never really think about me actually cooking so it was strange to hear, but very sweet.
So I want to thank all the other bloggers who have shared great recipes since I plan on giving some of them a try soon. Last night for dinner my cooking skills went somewhere in between a frozen dinner and a meal from scratch. This is what I prepared. Salmon (from a precooked package) with teriyaki sauce, garlic and olive oil couscous and green beans.
WARNING: This meal is extremely high in sodium. It contains about 1000-1200 mg sodium in the whole thing. That is about 50% of what you need for the day. This is a lot in one sitting, but if breakfast contains 25% of my allowance and lunch contains 25% of my allowance, I am still not exceeding guidelines for the day. My breakfast rarely has much sodium in it. There are a few other ways to cut back on some sodium from this dish:
I used the No Salt Added canned green beans in place of the regular canned. This took my sodium for the whole can from 1365 mg to 35 mg sodium. I did this because I knew the salmon and couscous were both high in sodium (again total meal with no added salt canned veggie was 1000-1200 mg).
Next way to cut back is in the sauce from the salmon. here you can see the teriyaki sauce is going everywhere on the tray. The majority of the sodium in this prepackaged food is in this sauce. When I serve it I will also leave some of the extra sauce in the pan. the salmon already has picked up a good flavor. It is because of this tip that I estimated my sodium for this meal at 1000-1200 (that's why I have a range).
And the last way this dish can get reduced sodium is to use less of the seasoning packet, which I did not do since I had a major emergency cooking this last night--my first package that I dumped into my boiling water had mold in it. I had to quickly dump everything out, wash the pan and then boil the water again so that the whole meal would be finished cooking at the same time. This is a tip I use when adding seasoning packets to food. A little can go a long way and all of the packet does not need to go in.
But if it is between a frozen dinner or something not balanced, I would pick this meal any day. There is a protein, starch and a veggie. To finish it off we had a blueberry frozen fruit pop (40 calories). The only food group missing at dinner was dairy, and we are out of milk and the commissary is not open on Monday's so that was a small obstacle. So as my cooking adventures take off I will certainly share photos from the messes and/or successes.

QUESTION: What foods remind you of your childhood? Do you have a favorite not quite frozen- not quite fresh meal that you prepare?


Anonymous said...

Congrats on being officially a student! That's very exciting, and the program sounds great!

The meal that reminds me most of my childhood is potato soup. It's a very old family recipe. Come to think of it, I haven't made it in ages... Don't even really remember how to make it. I'll have to ask my mom!

Unknown said...

i didn't realize that you would be able to do the masters program from the azores! that's great - and you won't have to go to Oklahoma :P

chow and chatter said...

sounds cool will keep you busy on the remote island lol

Gina; The Candid RD said...

Wow, your major sounds so very interesting!! Thanks so much for sharing what it's all about, and congrats on starting your first day!

I love that salmon in the pouch. I used to buy it a lot more often, but for some reason I sort of stopped. I always ate it cold...that's weird, I know. As for childhood memories, I would say homemade mac and cheese, and any mac and cheese really. I used to eat it a lot when I was a kid, but not as much anymore. Oh, and Lucky Charms were my cereal of choice! OF course, I had to mix them with Cheerios, as my mom insisted on some health in every breakfast :)

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