Where Have You Been?

Sorry, folks! I can promise you that despite my lapse in posts, I have been keeping track of my creations. I am laying in bed, right now, and you guys are on my mind. So here is a recipe that has actually become a wicked stand by for a meal or a side dish, so much so that dad made me make another batch the same week!

It is quite simply, yet hearty. Its a bit sweet, but you can add some heat (of course, I did).

Beans and Greens

Make 7 (1/2 cup) servings

  • 4 cups chopped collard greens, ribs removed
  • ¾ cup chopped onion20160728_151116
  • ½ Tbsp minced garlic
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 ½ cup chopped button mushrooms
  • ½ cup honey BBQ sauce (40 cal per 2 Tbsp)
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • ¼ cup water
  • 15oz black beans, or any beans, drained and rinsed

Wisk together the tomato paste, BBQ sauce, and water. Set aside.

Combine greens, onions, garlic, water, salt and pepper (and optional red pepper flakes) in skillet, covered, over medium heat, for 10 minutes until greens wilt.

Add mushrooms, beans, and sauce to wilted greens. Recover the skillet and lower heat to low for about 5 minutes to warm the beans and sweat the mushrooms.

20160724_103454Grub as is or  add sausage, hot dogs, chicken, etc.

Per ½ cup:

Calories: 90, Fat: 0.4g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 246mg, Carbs: 18g, Fiber: 3.7g, Sugars: 6.5g, Protein: 4.4g

 

Where have you been, Sammy?

Well, I started an accelerated online program to get my next nursing degree. I am still working full time, I moved out of my moms (I really needed to, it became too toxic), a visited South Korea… Oh! and while I was there, this happened!

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Time to add wedding planning to the  To-Do List!

Dear Anonymous

Finally the sunshine!
After weeks of rain and dreary weather the sun is shining.
It is finally short sleeves season.

As I drive down the major roadways of Wilmington, windows down and music up, something caught my attention.

“I Saw the Light” as they say- or rather the light showed me…

At just the right angle, the sunshine made clear to me, even the most faded of scars on my arms.

I have many scars- Some visible- Some faded- Some covered by clothing.

This is the time of year when short sleeves are welcomed back into our wardrobes. It is also the time that I typically am asked, with such naivety, “What did you do to your arm?” or, “What happened to your arm?”  Oh that’s old I usually say or just a scratch.

But the light, today, showed perfectly every scar I had left on my arms.

It took me back a second. I did a double take. I became silent.

At first I thought Well, Sammy, you might as well prepare yourself for the questions. It is that time of year. Then a voice inside my head…

-A voice that is typically not heard- One that is typically overpowered by the nagging voice of self-hatred-

You should be proud,” that voice said to me. “You survived. You’ve gone through a lot of shit in your life and you are still here. You are still pushing.

Once I stopped driving, I returned my gaze to my arms. I kept examining them, sometimes recalling the incident that triggered that scar. Many that I remembered healed without a scar. I recently confessed to my dad how long I’ve been cutting myself.

He was shocked. “I had no idea,” he said.

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Car in park, I couldn’t help but run my fingertips down my arm and count the scars. Five on my right arm. Twenty-seven on my left. The scars on my thighs are too numerous to count.

You can see them. I don’t pretend that others don’t notice. I know the looks and whispers.

Just remember, you– who snickers and mocks- we are not alone.  We are not “emo” or “goth” or “weirdos” or “attention whores.” We are humans. We have fought battles you couldn’t image. We know you see them. Ask about them is you want. Don’t turn away from us.


And, you- who is saddened, hurt, broken, numb- remember you are NOT alone. Those scars on your body- those are your battle scars. You are allowed to feel weak. You are not perfect. And, now, neither is your skin. You are human. You feel. You cope. That fact that you are still standing is proof you’re a fighter. You are one badass mofo. Look at the strong survivor that you are.

As I wrote in my personal monologue: “Perfect
The marks on my body,           I wear them with pride
They’re not a sign of weakness,          They’re proof I survived
That I thrive,          That I strive
To carry on,          Head held high

You are NOT alone. You ARE loved.

Pi Day

So I  guess its not technically a pie. I mean, “pie” has a pretty wide demographic referring to pizza to sweets to fruits to veg, to thin crust, to thick crust, to no crust, to lattice topped to topless… So screw it! I’m celebrating Pi Day!

Caprese Crustless Quiche

8 slices20160314_163031

  • 1 cup (about 5 oz) cherry tomatoes, diced
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic, divided
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1/2 cup flax milk (or your choice)
  • 10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1/2 cup packed basil leaves
  • 2 Tbsp reduced fat grated Parmesan
  • 2 Tbsp non fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup fat free shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Combine the diced tomatoes (I like to quarter the toms and then slice even more) with 1 Tbsp garlic, egg whites, milk and liquid egg substitute. Next combine basil leaves, Parm, yogurt, the other tablespoon of garlic,  and s and p in a food processor. Pulse to begin the combine. Squeeze as much liquid as you can from the thawed spinach. Place half of the drained spinach in the processor and blend until fully pulverized and incorporated.

Whisk the basil-spinach pesto into your egg and tomato mix. Spray a tart pan heavily with non stick cooking spray and transfer egg mixture. Sprinkle the remaining spinach over top the uncooked eggs followed by the mozzarella. Bake for 40 to 45 min, rotating 180 degrees half way through baking. Slice and enjoy.

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Nutrition (1/8 of recipe):

Calories:82, Fat: 0.6g, Sat. Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 2.9mg, Sodium: 386mg, Carbs: 7.4g, Fiber: 1.2g, Sugars: 3.3g, Protein: 9.8g

I sprinkled a bit more mozzarella on mine! Dad dolloped his with ricotta!

I don’t really know what differentiates a crustless quiche from a frittata ,but i don’t care as long as it tastes good. And if you’re new here or just haven’t figured it out, yes, I’m a fan of alliterations .

An FYI For Your BMI

Facebook. I love it. I have reconnected with so many childhood friends because of this site. And I’m talking grade school.I have been able to reunite, catch up, and rebuild the friendships that I once had with these people. Some, like Rosemary (a banging hair stylist) and Katie (a teacher and Arbonne guru), I’ve known since I was FOUR!

bwbrk

Yes, those are knee pads. (Elsmere Skating Rink for my 7th Birthday)

bwbkids

Yes, those are Pokemon cards at one my birthday sleepovers.

My girlfriend Cecilia, like many of my girlfriends, are focused on, not only living a healthy lifestyle herself, but helping others to do the same. There is power in numbers. There is a ton of research proving that those who diet and/or exercise together, actually make the most gains, well weight loss, that is.

This week, I decided to join Cecilia, along with a few other folks, on a Clean Eating Week Challenge. She had posted this in the FB group, and with my love of veggies and recent soup-making addiction, no doubt I was going to tackle this one with a few Be Well tweaks.

Detox Chicken Soup

Inspired by Chicken Detox Soup

serves 8 (1 1/2 cup each)

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 2 quarts (8 cups) chicken broth, low sodium/ low fat
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup frozen peas and carrots
  • 2 cups chopped celery, leaves included
  • 1 jalapeno, deseeded and minced
  • 4 tsp dried parsley or 1/4 cup fresh parsley*
  • 2 heaping Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh shredded ginger
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large sauce pot over medium heat, add the chopped onions, celery, ginger, and garlic, with 2 Tbsp water, and cover. Steam for 3-4 minutes. Then add the chicken breasts, broccoli, broth, apple cider vinegar, crushed red pepper, turmeric, salt, and pepper, and dried parsley* (if using).

Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the chicken. Add the peas and carrots and fresh parsley* (if using) to the pot. Continue to simmer, covered, while, shredding the chicken breasts with two forks. Add the shredded chicken back into the soup and grub.

Nutrition (1/8 of recipe):

Calories:103, Fat: 2g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 28mg, Sodium: 763mg, Carbs: 7g, Fiber: 2g, Sugars: 3g, Protein: 13g

Want to make it a clean Detox Chicken Noodle Soup? Spiralize some zucchini!!

Dad’s Response via text: What is this soup? Its delicious! We need to make a pot of this!

Sammy: Daddy, its a detox soup..

Dad: Its delicious.

What makes this soup soooooo detoxifying????

Onion: may lower blood pressure and limit cholesterol, as well as treat some digestive problems, while the extract can be used to reduce the appearance of scars and burns (1)

Broccoli:potassium promotes muscle growth, fiber and filling for dieters, lowers blood sugar, and Vit. K and calcium support bone growth (2)

Peas: low in fat, high protein and fiber, anti-inflammatory properties, decreases drastic insulin spike, and promotes healthy bones with Vit. K (3)

Carrots: Vit. A promotes vision, hair strength and growth, healthy skin, and assists the liver in flushing toxins (4)celery

Celery: high water content makes you hydrated and a good diet food, magnesium for good sleep, alkalines the body, Vit. A for eyes, and contains 2 pheromones that boost your arousal (Bow-chick-a-bow-wow) (5)

Side Note: Ever since I saw an episode of Good Eats on celery, I’ve been more observant to the flavors and uses of celery. Alton Brown noted multiple times how much flavor the leaves of celery contain, so I’ve made sure to always include them in my soups and stuffings.

Jalapeno: thermogenic, meaning it aides in fat and calorie burning, and reduces nasal congestion, in addition to its vitamins and antioxidants (6)

Parsley: not only for flavor and fragrance, but for a variety of skin and urinary tract repair (7)

Garlic: lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, and makes everything taste better (8)

Ginger: the mother of digestive aides and tummy soother, reduces symptoms of menstrual pain, and mild anti-inflammatory (9)

Apple Cider Vinegar: diabetic’s friend in that it has an almost anti-glycemic effect, blocking some digestion of starches (10)

Turmeric: anti-inflammatory and digestive aide (11)

Sources. See? I didn’t make that all up…

(1) http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-643-onion.aspx?activeIngredientId=643&activeIngredientName=onion&source=1

(2) http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/10-health-benefits-of-broccoli.html

(3) http://www.care2.com/greenliving/10-health-benefits-of-peas.html

(4) http://www.care2.com/greenliving/10-benefits-of-carrots.html

(5) http://www.care2.com/greenliving/11-super-health-benefits-in-just-1-celery-stalk.html

(6) http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/6-health-benefits-of-jalapenos.html

(7) http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-792-PARSLEY.aspx?activeIngredientId=792&activeIngredientName=PARSLEY

(8) http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-300-GARLIC.aspx?activeIngredientId=300&activeIngredientName=GARLIC

(9) http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-961-GINGER.aspx?activeIngredientId=961&activeIngredientName=GINGER

(10) http://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/apple-cider-vinegar-and-health?page=2

(11) http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-662-TURMERIC.aspx?activeIngredientId=662&activeIngredientName=TURMERIC

 

Does anyone else find the title to this post as humorous as I do?

 

Fun to Say

Some things are just fun to say, or at least try to say… like Conshohoken, Cuyahoga, Passyunk, or Copenhagen…I quite enjoyed saying Enchilada Frittata!

Green Enchilada Frittata

8 slices

  • 2 lb zucchini
  • 1 cup bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 1 cup Green Chile Enchilada Sauce, divided
  • 1/3 cup Greek plain Non-fat Yogurt
  • 1/3 cup Fat Free Shredded Cheddar
  • 1/2 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1/2 tsp Season All-Seasoned Salt
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder, topping

Preheat the oven to 350F. Using a spiralizer, spiralize the zucchini onto paper towels. Change the paper towels a few times to help rid the zucchini of excess water. Whisk together yogurt, cheddar, eggs, seasoned salt, red pepper flakes, chili powder, and granulated garlic, and 2/3 cup green enchilada sauce. Chop the bell pepper (green, if your want to stick with the theme), onion, and broccoli.

After a few rounds and changing paper towels, use kitchen shears to roughly cut through the spiralized veg, then toss in with your other bowl of vegetables. Evenly distribute the vegetables into a 9-inch pie pan, sprayed well with non-stick cooking spray. Pour the egg mixture over top and bake, uncovered, for approximately 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, and spread the remaining enchilada sauce over the top, followed by the chili powder, for topping. Return to the oven until fully cooked through, approximately another 10 minutes.

Wait about 5 minutes for the frittata to set before slicing.

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Nutrition (1/8 of recipe):

Calories:72, Fat: 1g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 1mg, Sodium: 316mg, Carbs: 10g, Fiber: 2g, Sugars: 5g, Protein: 6g

Golumpki Get Down

Did you know it is National Homemade Soup day? Did you know that my soups have been on point the past 2 months? Let’s post another… Shall we?

Golumpki Soup

inspired by Golumpki

serves 10

  • 14 cups cabbage (about 1 small to medium head, core removed
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 lb 99%lean ground turkey
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 8 oz white button mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried minced onion
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 Tbsp uncooked quinoa
  • 1 can Campbells condensed tomato soup
  • 1 3/4 cup favorite jarred tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cups beef broth, reduced fat or reduced sodium
  • 1 Tbsp ketchup

In a large soup pot, break up and brown the ground turkey. (No need to worry about draining, but there will hardly be anything to drain.) Add the cabbage, onion, s/p, and garlic to the pot, along with 1/2 cup water. Cover and steam the veg on low heat for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, give everything a good toss, and everything else to the pot. Cover again, and leave to simmer over low heat for 40 to 45 minutes.

Yup! It’s that easy!

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Nutrition (1/10 of recipe):

Calories:137, Fat: 1g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 28mg, Sodium: 582mg, Carbs: 19g, Fiber: 5g, Sugars: 11g, Protein: 15g

So gazpacho weirds me out a bit, and, frankly, I’ve never had one I actually liked, but this stuff… yeah… I’ll eat that cold!

Newsfeed Gold

Most of the time, you’re scrolling down your facebook feed, repost animal videos or ‘liking’ a status, or bitching about that damn snow plow creating a 5 foot wall so you can’t get to you car…

(yeah, we got our first big snow storm)

Sometimes, you stumble upon an excellent Buzzfeed vid… But I owe this one to TipHero…

Turkey & Swiss Pinwheels with Dijon Poppy Glaze

serves 820160123_170734

Inspired By TipHero

The Base:

  • 1 can refrigerated Pizza Dough
  • 1/2 lb deli smokeed turkey, thinly sliced
  • 10 slices fat free Swiss cheese

The Glaze:20160123_165258.jpg

  • 3 Tbsp light buttery spread
  • 1/2 Tbsp Splenda brown sugar blend
  • 1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 TBSP Dijonaisse
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp chia seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch baking dish with parchment paper. On a silicone mat or lightly floured cutting board, roll out your pizza dough until it’s about 12 x 18 inches.

Break your slices of cheese into quarters and evenly distribute on the dough. Then distribute the turkey.

Gently, but some-what tightly, roll up the dough. Cut the roll into eight equal slices and lay them in a baking dish.

In a bowl, combine the buttery spread, Splenda, worcestershire sauce, dijonaisse and poppy and chia seeds. Microwave 2- to 25 seconds. Stir until butter and sugar are completely melted. Spoon the glaze over the tops of the pinwheels. Bake for 25 minutes.

Bam, Baby!

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You’re Welcome.

Let’s make it a bit more lean by substituting turkey for ham, and add a bit of fiber but maintain the nuttiness but tossing some chia seeds in with the poppy seeds. We also were able to seriously cut back on the butter by using dijionaise.

The best part?

Of course the bubbly melted cheese! But, no! That;s just a bonus! The real shining star is this glaze! Oh my goodness! I want it on everything!!! Just sweet enough, just tangy enough!

Mom has a mild obsession with Pillsbury Buttery biscuits and she had two dough patties left that didn’t fit on her baking sheet. I wound up making her mini versions using her black forest ham. “I want your cheese,” she says. Usually when she refers to MY food, shes being sarcastic, but this time she wasn’t. “It’s fat free Swiss,” I replied. “What? Really! I don’t even like Swiss.” So there ya go, folks, trick your parents to better their health and expand their palate…

We Are…

Theres is not a day that goes by that I do not thank God for his blessings. I don’t just thank Him for family and friends and shelter, but for the strength that He gives me, the drive and determination that pushed me through school, and for the ever-growing, ever-opening heart that HE has given me.

When I see videos like this I can not help but thank God over and over and over again for blessing me to be one of the people that can make a difference in this hectic, scary world.

 

 

I LOVE what I do. It is NOT to be thanked or praised, but because we make a difference.
We are the shoulder for someone to cry on. We are the fighters that won’t stop fighting. We are here to help those who cant help themselves.

I LOVE what I do.

TortelliNO

There is this damn popular soup out there and it goes my many names but they have the same core ingredients: tortellini, sausage, onion, greens, and tomatoes.

I naturally wanted to but my own spin on it, make it a bit leaner, but still rock the flavor!

Chicken Sausage Tortelli(NO) Soup

serves 620160118_172415

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 3/4 tsp paprika
  • 3/4 to 1 tsp fennel seeds, chopped*
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 8oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup red wine
  • 8oz chicken breast, 1/4in cube **
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 15oz can diced Italian style tomatoes
  • 10 oz frozen spinach
  • 1/4 tsp salt

In a medium pot over medium high heat combine onions through red wine, with a splash of water, and cover with a lid. Let everything steam and reduce about 5 minutes.

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Add the cubed chicken, and remaining ingredients. Cover with a lid, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes until chicken is cooked.

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*Measure whole fennel seeds, and using a good chopping knife, chop up the fennel seeds. Use one hand to cup over the seeds as you chop because the particles of seeds will fly.

** Most easily done with a semi-thawed/partially defrosted cut of meat.

20160118_172403Nutrition (1/6 of recipe):

Calories:87, Fat: 1g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 815mg, Carbs: 14g, Fiber: 3g, Sugars: 7g, Protein: 4.6g

I don’t even miss the tortellini. I could probably throw in some tofu shirataki noodles or zucchini noodles, if I really wanted to, when I serve up the soup. The fennel seeds and paprika, mimic the flavors you would find in pork sausage. The brothy soup, in combination with the beautiful green spinach, really fills you up, without the carbs and calories of the tortellini, and the wine… well wine not?!

I topped my soup with some chickpeas/garbanzo beans that I toasted up in the oven, to sub for the crackers or croutons.

Buon Apetito!