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! 

What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

A New Year Serenade for you:)  https://youtu.be/w-Syup6p88I

I found a ham in the freezer and decided to make that NYE dinner. So after some brainstorming, I concocted a glaze with my mom, with her not knowing there was hoisin in the mix. (I say that because she is very hesitant to try new things…) Then, I remembered this stuffing, or dressing as Emeril calls it, that a friend of mine had made. So now I have an Asian influenced ham and a Cajun stuffing. Casian! I thought I was so clever until trying to make a seasoning for the next side dish. Turns out there is already a culinary Cajun-Asian trend. wah-wah

Andioulle Cornbread Stuffing

Inspired by Emeril

serves 8 to 16

Cornbread

  • 1 8.5oz package cornbread mix, like Jiffy
  • 1 5.3 oz plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 6 Tbsp water, add 1 Tbsp more if needed
  • 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal20151231_173316
  • 1/4 cup  flour, ap or ww
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Mix-Ins

  • 1/2 teaspoons light butter spread
  • 1/2 pound andouille chicken sausage, slice length wise, then into 1/2in half-moons
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 1 cup chopped fennel
  • 1 cup chopped bell peppers
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 slices light-style bread, torn into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions/scallions
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 2 cups reduced fat reduced sodium chicken stock

Preheat the oven to 400F. Combine all the cornbread ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Transfer into an 8×8 baking dish either sprayed with non stick cooking spray or lined in parchment paper. Bake for 25 min. Remove and allow it to completely cool. Meanwhile, work in the rest of the recipe.

In a large skillet, cook the sausage, onions, celery, bell peppers, garlic, with the buttery spread and 2 Tbsp water. Cover with a lid and let them sweat for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl to cool.

When your cornbread has baked and cooled*, with your fingers, crumble the corn bread into the bowl, add bread, the green onions, parsley, and thyme, and mix well with your hands. Add the salt, pepper, cayenne, and egg substitute, and mix well with your hands. Add broth, 1/2 cup at a time, to moisten the dressing, being careful not to make it mushy.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Transfer to a 9×13 baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until heated through, about 25 minutes. Uncover and bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes

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*I typically make the cornbread the day before and crumble just before mixing. I tear the bread, as well, the day before, so it has time to become stale.

Nutrition (1/8 of recipe):

Calories:312, Fat: 9g, Sat. Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 40mg, Sodium: 1657mg, Carbs: 35g, Fiber: 5g, Sugars: 11g, Protein: 17g

Hoisin Ham Glaze

serves one 8lb ham20151231_172417.jpg

  • 1 can diet ginger ale*
  • 1/4 cup Hoisin sauce
  • 3 Tbsp sugar free maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp BBQ sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Splenda brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp mustard powder (Coleman’s is the best!)
  • 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes

*I have made like with diet cola, and it is still delicious. I just cut back on the hoisin by a tablespoon, as the cola already has a syrup-type heaviness.

Combine everything into a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer until it thickens to your liking. Than glaze away.

I like to use half for the first glaze, then re-glaze with the remaining towards the end of the bake, so to get the caramelized edges!

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I know greens are supposed to bring luck in the New Year, so I whipped out a bag of broccoli rabe from the freezer. (I know, Italian greens… We had a multi-cultural New Year!) I wound up trowing tons of garlic, julienned sweet peppers and onions, toasted sesame seeds, teriyaki and soy sauces, red pepper flakes, and come cajun seasoning into the mix. They went pretty quickly!

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What leftovers?

How do you bring in the New Year? Family Traditions? Superstitions?

Here’s a whole list of superstitious foods to bring in the New Year, compliments of Wholefoods, some of which I may actually do…

5 Foods To Serve For A Lucky New Year20151231_190902

Pork and Winter Greens…  check!

Of course, us Guidos, bring in the New Year with a shot of Homemade Sicilian Sunshine AKA Limoncello!

Salute!

 

 

 

When You Love a Foodie

If I do anything right, its Christmas. Even the pets get goodies!

Get it? Doggie Bags!

As a foodie, I am one of the easiest and hardest to shop for. Cutlery, funky new restaurant, appliances… Does she already have that? Does she need one of those? That’s HOW MUCH?!?!

Easy, but possible expensive…

But I must have been good this year, because Santa brought me more than I had wished!

Christmas Eve

So about how I woke at 1pm….

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He’s 21!

If you’ve had my baking, you’d know that brownies have never been my forte.  “Just use a box mix.” I did… “Oh.” Thats usually how that goes. But I did a little investigating and whipped up some banging brownies! And made an assortment for every taste preference: peppermint, salted caramel pretzel, turtle (caramel, coconut, and pecans), peanut butter, cheesecake, and M&M (for my little cuz, who just turned 21… hes getting so big!)

I even made a chocolate cream cheese icing… thats right, Chocolate. Cream Cheese.

So yeah, a cup of coffee, lots of brownies, and oh snap its 4pm! I hurried up, threw everything in the fridge, jumped in the shower, loaded my car, and in typical Christmas Eve fashion, I headed to Philly to see the family!

Grandmom was pretty darn sick earlier this and it took a decent toll on her

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Who said you could grow up?

energy, so rather than a family gathering at her house, Aunt Chrissy hosted. Some family happened to be standing outside when I pulled up and parked. Its dark out, but I see a man walking towards me… sneakers, basketball shorts, polo, a watch, swag…

OMG! Its my little cousin! When did this happen!?! What did high school do to you?! Where’s my little David?!? 

I just couldn’t stop. Its not like I don’t see him. I almost was tearing up at how grown him and his sister had gotten.

20151224_194630Before greeting the rest of the family, I b-lined right to my Grandmom, who despite not being up to host, did not stop her from being a drink in the hole. I love when she drinks! Its hysterical!

At least we stuck with the tradition of keilbasa and sauerkraut, roasted beef, and meatballs! And Aunt Cathy, the other foodie in the family, made these bacon wrapped stuffing bites that I literally could have eaten for the rest of my life!! Needless to say, recipe obtained. 20151224_201518

After catching up, I headed to the next Philly stop, Aunt Linda’s house, where I caught up with more family, and got to see this little elf:

This is Damian, my new little cousin, celebrating his first Christmas!

Although my Christmas Eve in Philly was much shorter than usual, and as much as my family may but heads, I love seeing them!

Next stop, Oxford. After another hour of driving, I arrived and my destination for the night, where we fell asleep watching movies on the couch. Ahh relaxing!

Christmas Day

20151225_135212After exchanging a few small gifts with my friend, I headed home to mom’s house.

I drove home, smiling ear to ear, anticipating a wonderful day ahead. Getting home was no treat as mom was NOT, I repeat, NOT in a good mood. So within 15 minutes of walking in the door, playing Santa and bringing out the gifts I had gotten her, I was in my bedroom crying on the phone to my dad. Yup, it went that well!

20151225_134107I literally wanted to crash for the rest of the day. No family dinner. No presents. Just sleep. Luckily dad talked me out of it, but not before I let that twisted disease talk me into a baby purge.

While attempting to recover and pull my head out of my ass, I carried any presents labeled for me into my room, sat down on the floor and celebrated Christmas by myself. I was aware of the convection oven my parents had gotten me, mostly because I ordered it, but when there was another large box next to it, never did I imagine it would be a Guy Fieri pots and pans set! In red! To match my microwave!

I run up to my moms room, mildly fearful of her disposition, and jumped on her to give her hugs and thanks for such a surprise!

I resumed gift opening, alone, to reveal a new coffee maker (the angry keurig is on its last legs) from my godmother. I sprang to my kitchen where the angry keurig lives, swiped it off the table, cleaned up the surrounding area and set up both the Hamilton Beach and the convection oven. I, then, found myself singing “Isn’t She Lovely” to my new appliances… I know, I’m not right in the head…

With mom still in her room, I quickly loaded my car like Santa loads his sleigh and zoomed over to pops house, around noon. Dad and I split our 20151225_130353pot of coffee, as usual, and began the gifting!

My parents have always kept the tradition of funny gift tags, and some years they really crack me up. Like the label on the whisk dad got me:

The best gift of all is the gift of song. As I’ve written countless times, my dad is the one who taught me to appreciate music. When I was little, he would sing John Lennon’s “Beautiful Boy,” to me as a lullaby, but making the appropriate changes of pronouns. I’ve always told my dad that when I got married, I wanted the Father-daughter dance to be the version he would sing to me. So he pulls out his phone and begins to play a recording of him singing “Beautiful Girl.” My day had been made. Oh, and this necklace set!

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After laughs, coffee, and a serenade, it was once again time to head out. We swung by my moms house where all the food I had prepared was, ans dad helped me load up. I assembled a tray of assorted brownies, and grabbed the crockpot filled with turkey meatballs and turkey sausage, and get this, sauce I made from my friend’s vegetable garden!

We arrived at my godfather’s house, where the men drank and the women cooked. Typical Italians. Mangia!

Dad was watching “Night at the Museum 3,” the night before and he 20151225_132543.jpgalmost pees himself because of this one line between Lancelot and Hugh Jackman. “Huge Ackman?! That doesn’t even sound like a real name!” (or something like that). So not only did Huge Ackman give me a gift, the gift of laughter carried over into dinner. The joke literally ran all through dinner, through dessert, through presents, and pictures, all the way until we left. My cousin RJ says to his brother, Kyle, “Come on, Huge Jackass.” Oh my goodness! I can’t even explain the reaction of a room full of Italians 3 bottles of wine deep…

Saturday

Its brunch time! So how in the world do I have a hang over from two glasses of wine?! Have no fear, the new coffee pot is here!

20151226_115531 (2)Excedrin, check!

Coffee, check!

New shirt, check!

Feeling cute, check!

I met up with dad, right before he had to head to work, at Penny’s house. Abundanza!!! Seafood, salad, cookies, and a million laughs!

In such a great mood, I ran a bunch of errands before attending 5 o’clock mass, and catching up with old friends.

Mass was followed by meeting up with dad at the D.A.P. and saying “Happy Holidays” to the fellas; then headed to a friend’s bar just in time for Drag Queen Bingo!

Even if Christmas day had a rough start, the holiday wrapper up quite nicely. Sunday, I utilized my new drill bit set to help me DIY a new counter top to display the new appliances. So its been a pretty productive weekend!

Fluff Brownies

serves 32 each tray/ 64 total

  • 1 box Devil’s Food cake mix
  • 1 box Dark Fudge brownie mix
  • 2 15oz cans pure pumpkin
  • 2/3 cup brewed coffee
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 375F. Combine all the ingredients well and transfer to two 9 by 13 baking dishes, sprayed well with non stick cooking spray. Bake for 40min.

Nutrition (1/64 of recipe):

Calories:70, Fat: 0g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 76mg, Carbs: 12g, Fiber: 0g, Sugars: 3g, Protein: 1g

Variations:

  • Cheesecake: 8oz fat free cream cheese, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 2 Tbsp granulated Splenda, 1/4 cup confectioners sugar (Swirl into batter)
  • Peppermint: 1 tsp peppermint extract into the batter, top with chocolate cream cheese icing and crushed sugar free peppermint
  • Salted Caramel Pretzel: top with Marzetti’s fat free caramel dip and crushed salted pretzels
  • Turtle: top with Marzetti’s fat free caramel dip, chopped pecans, and unsweetened coconut flakes

Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing

  • 8oz fat free cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp granulated Splenda
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar

Blend until smooth.

Happy Holidays from the Bundos!