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Pick the right ingredients for a successful practice


Pasta and olive oil: all you need-a successful veterinary practice relies on a few key ingredients.

I like to cook. Something about chopping, measuring, timing, and tasting is very Zenlike for me—I can spend a perfectly happy Saturday afternoon making a 20-ingredient soup. Besides reading and writing, cooking is probably the activity I enjoy the most. And since I do those first two things for my job, they're not really hobbies.

Lately, like many of you, I'm sure, I've been trying to be more financially responsible (I'm going to slay that credit card balance or die trying), which means cooking at home more, eating out less.

The thing that usually derails my plans, however, is that I hate grocery shopping. Meandering down the aisles with an increasingly heavy cart, navigating around the other shoppers, deciding between this brand and that brand, retracing my steps for that item I forgot—and then of course can't find—it's all so exhausting. So I don't go. Which means I don't cook. Which means I eat out more than I should.

A big part of the answer to my dilemma, of course, is a well-stocked pantry. Keep a few key ingredients on hand and you can whip up a meal quickly and with minimal effort—most importantly, without a trip to the store. For example, here's a recipe I make regularly with things I make it a point to keep handy:

1 box pasta, cooked

2-3 cloves garlic, chopped and simmered in 2 T. olive oil

¼ c. shredded parmesan

1 c. frozen vegetables, heated through

6 kalamata olives, chopped

1 can of tuna, drained

Salt and pepper to taste

Italian herbs (basil, oregano, and parsley) to taste

Squeeze of lemon juice

Combine all and serve.

I've whipped this concoction together on more than one occasion when I had unexpected company, and it always goes over well. Some of the same principles apply to successful veterinary practice. If you keep tabs on a handful of key indicators in your financial pantry, and replenish any that seem to be getting dangerously low, you'll be prepared to meet any challenge that drops by like an uninvited guest—a recession, for example.

So let Veterinary Economics board member Dr. Ernest Ward be your practice's top chef—see "4 Staples of a Healthy Practice" in Related Links below. If you measure your ingredients just right, healthy finances are sure to be on the menu.

So, what's for dinner tonight?

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