Patient Birthdays

Saturday

Today, a very dear patient of mine celebrated their birthday with us at the hospital. Unfortunately, I have celebrated many patient birthdays in the hospital. At least, they are surrounded by people who love them!

This evening, my patient had loads of cupcakes that their family had brought in. I couldn’t leave the room without grabbing one. I decided to ask Amy if she would split them with me.

This is always a trouble, when patients and families give you food. You hate to say, “no,” so you take it. Even when you do say, “no,” they continue to insist, and you take it anyway. My eating had been great all day so I felt little,but some, guilt about splitting cupcakes with my one of my girlfriends for a patient who means so much to me.

It was a nice sweet treat that worried me about spiraling into a cupcake frenzy. Both were vanilla cupcakes, one from a bakery around their home, with cream cheese frosting, and the other, a homemade one with cookies n’ cream icing. With my love of oreos, I snagged the cookies n’ cream cupcake and called dibs on the mini oreo topping it! Yum!

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Backing up bit, breakfast was a smoothie bowl. Today is National Strawberry Cream. I feel like its kind of an incompletely titled holiday but nonetheless:

Strawberry Cream Protein Smoothie

  • 1 strawberry yogurt
  • 1/2 to 1 scoop vanilla protein
  • frozen strawberries
  • guar and xnathum
  • water
  • ice

I topped mine with Special K Protein cereal for crunch, at first. But then, I realized that freeze-dried strawberries were an awesome topping, too!

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Dinner was a bowl of soup, topped with salsa, and a side of celery sticks for snacking. The meal was paired with half an oreo cupcake!

I’m usually not a fan of clerking, but tonight was great because we had tons of discharges and I kept busy for majority of the night!

Sunday

With another shift of work ahead of me, I enjoyed  a yummy coffee protein bowl in honor of National Coffee Day! I actually was a coffee fiend, ironically, all day!

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The shake was a blend of Cafe Latte mix, spinach, fresh raspberries, CPB2, and SF raspberry and Kahlua syrups. To top it off, I crumbled a quarter of a Gnu Espresso Chip bar (I’m so bummed this flavor is discontinued). I love having that ability to chew, not just drink my shakes. Plus, it makes the shake so much more filling and is also a combo of chocolate and coffee.

I grabbed a cup of coffee before work, and headed off to my unit. It was another great night on the unit. It was another night of filling (Not So) soup and celery sticks. With this experimentality of mine, I tried adding a little honey mustard and BBQ sauce from the caf. It actually gave the soup a really nice flavor- almost a southwestern inspiration.

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Right before dinner, I was surprised how bad I wanted another cup of coffee. Its amazing how tastes change as you age. I was never a coffee drinker until high school- hot tea was always my thing. The only time I would drink coffee was to feel like my dad. Now, I actually am a coffee addict!

I can still remember my parents ordering a cheesesteak with friend onions, and sitting there trying to pick out all the little slivers with my fingers. Or picking off the onions and peppers off a sausage sandwich. Or Thursday Wing nights, when dad would bring home hot wings, I would wash off the sauce before eating them. Now, it seems like every day is started with a cup of the good stuff, almost every meal had peppers or onions, and hot sauce is always my go-to condiment!

They say our bodies change about every 7 years… maybe thats the reason our taste buds change, too!

WP_004058Speaking of changing tastes, I never thought I’d enjoy Cajun Trail Mix. I mean. everyone loves trail mix, but Deb, one of our nurses, brought this bag of trail mix in. I was getting hungry and gave it a try. Those butter roasted peanuts make it! That salty, sweet and crunchy combination of all the ingredients makes this stuff hard to resist!

Getting home, and having worked on the floor for my shift, I was surprised by how hungry I was. I actually would up eating a whole head of romaine lettuce! (I’m like a rabbit.) Some fabulous Rainbow Goldfish joined the party, too.

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I can feel the wave of exhaustion rushing over me and I am hoping to have a relatively early start tomorrow. With that, I say goodnight!

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Chili(y)

I went to Barry’s after work yesterday morning and immediately crashed! I couldn’t believe how tired I was. I actually slept! For like 5 hours! I woke up and it was 130 in the afternoon! Barry and I headed over to the Newark Co-op so I could pick up a few things. Hes been teaching me how to drive stick shift, so I got to drive. I think each time I drive, I’m getting better! We made it in one piece to the co-op and I found these babies!

If you recall, my first experience with POPCORNERS was addicting. I saw them on the shelves and directly below them, the words “Whole Grain.” Then came the words, “Memphis BBQ.” I thought about resisting and decided against it. Pretty darn hungry, Barry and I got in the car and dug in! Wow! Once again, POPCORNERS has me hooked!

Most of my evening was what I would consider insatiable! Once I got home, I made myself a large steamed vegetable and roast turkey salad. I microwaved bell peppers, onions, artichoke hearts, and turkey, and added them to a bunch of chopped iceberg. I finished it off with diced cucumbers and dill pickles, crushed red pepper flakes, salsa, and SF Balsamic Vinaigrette.

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Despite such a scrumptious salad, I still felt unsatisfied. I found myself nibbling. Ugh! I hate that “N” word! It really gets to me. I just felt insatiable.

Earlier in the day, every time I ate or drank, even water, I would get a sharp pain in my abdomen. Barry thinks because it hurt to eat earlier that maybe I really was hungry. I mean, it makes sense. I eventually steamed a bag of Italian blend vegetables and topped it with Walden Farms Alfredo and some spices. That helped. But my sweet tooth was not silenced!

I kept nibbling on Fiber One 80 Chocolate, celery and salsa… nothing was doing it. It was driving me crazy that I could not be satisfied. Sitting for 12 hours last night didn’t exactly help my calorie paranoia. Ahah! Pumpkin Ice Cream! After a bowl of Edy’s Slow Churned Pumpkin Ice Cream topped with Kashi Nutty Chia Flax cereal was quite satisfying.

My eating renegade ended with more sliced bell pepper and salsa. Whatever satisfies my crunch crave.

I would venture to say that salsa is probably the most used condiment in this house. I’ve actually gotten my dad pretty hooked on the stuff, too.

I spent the evening cuddled up with Beauty on the couch, struggling to stay awake for the season premiere of Glee.

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Isn’t she cute? Rub my belly, Please, please rub my belly?!?!?

I’m so glad I made it to Glee because the entire episode was The Beatles- my favorite band of all time! The music of The Beatles kept me wide awake until the end of the episode!  I crashed as soon as I saw coming attractions for next week.

I planned on accomplishing a few things when I woke up and I managed to do most of them!

Fall has been hitting hard around here, especially early AM and late PM. Before the it gets too cold and I have absolutely NO motivation to go outside, I grabbed a run and found two more great Refrain Running songs to the add to the playlist: See You Go by 3 Oh! 3 and Crazy Bitch by Buckcherry. By the time the Buckcherry song was over, I hadn’t stopped running, I was ampt, singing outloud, and completely out of breath! But I loved it!

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I ran about 2.5 miles and was pretty tired. I haven’t run in a while! When I got home, I got everything ready for my Crock Pot White Turkey Chili. I wanted to wait until October, National Chili Month, to make chili, but with the last bit of the turkey in the fridge, I figured it would be nice way to warm us up!

After the chili got started, I whipped up a shake bowl- a Four Chocolate Shake! So today is National Chocolate Milk Day, so I made a chocolate shake for dad and myself. He took his to work, and I enjoyed mine at home.

Four Chocolate ShakeWP_004040

  • 1 scoop chocolate protein
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp Chocolate PB2
  • 1 Tbsp SF White Chocolate syrup
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • handful of spinach
  • guar gum
  • water
  • ice

It was a weird color that was perfectly thickened. I had a bit of a Gnu Espresso Chip bar left, and I crumbled that on top so I had something to chew, plus it has espresso in it! Wow! I really enjoyed my breakfast.

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Frank was outside working on his car and I asked if I could help. I honestly love to learn! I wish I could have a career as a Professional Student! It doesn’t really matter what it is, but I have a constant thirst for knowledge. I was very excited when Frank said I could help. Today, I got my hands really dirty! He taught me how to rotate the tires and change the brake pads! I loved it and really it tired my arms out.

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I offered Frank some comic relief as I tried to help. At one point, while trying to loosen the caliper, I lost the grip on my socket wrench and went rolling back on my butt and then my back. I looked like a turtle lying on my back! I couldn’t stop laughing. Another time, Frank recommended I stand on the braker bar to help loosen a lug nut, so I did. Guess what? It went nowhere and I stood on the bar elevated above the tire like I was Queen of the Grease Balls! haha Everyone… my neighbor, the mailman, my dad… everyone has deemed my new nickname as “Grease Monkey.”

I wasn’t really hungry until dinner. I called dad and we both agreed we were starving! Dinner did not disappoint! So yummy with a bit of a kick, topped with a little shredded cheddar! It was served with grilled cheeses on the side, each one unique.

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Franks was provolone tomato, and turkey salad, Dad’s was Honey Mustard, a smidge of turkey salad, roasted red peppers, half provolone and half American. Mine was simply horseradish mustard, roasted red peppers, and American. I was shocked by how full we were! I was stuffed and content until close to 930pm.

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After dinner, Dad and I got a Redbox rental of “Stand Up Guys.” It was great! know these actors, their past films, their age, and the story line made it so entertaining!

We returned the movie and I ran into my elderly neighbor. He always asks me to pick out new ice creams for him and he always loves my choices. Tonight, we got Phish Food and Chubby Hubby. Finally! I get to try Chubby Hubby! I made sure that my one bite I allowed myself had the giant chocolate covered pretzel! I’m content with my bite and have no guilt! Plus this Chubby Hubby thing is finally out of my system.

But this did put me in quite the ice cream mood. After a tablespoon of my Edy’s Pumpkin, I decided that I wanted chocolate and a cone and a Lil’ Drum was the winner. I love these things. After a mild bought of nibbling (stupid nibbling), I settled down with some filling romaine and salsa. Nice and satisfied, guilt free, and feeling like I had a good day!

Enjoy your Friday night! I’m spending mine with mom and Beauty…

Pink Pancakes!

As a female, I love pink. The color just makes me smile. As an Italian, Irish, Polish, and German, I love carbs! As a Bundo, I love breakfast. As a health nut, I love fruits and vegetables.

All of that being said, these pancakes are right up my ally.

My skeptical family asked why the the pancakes were red. I told them I pureed some blueberries into the batter. They believed me… (feel free to puree some blueberries into the batter, though). The pink is from pureed beets!

Are you still with me? Okay, good! I thought I may have lost you there.

My dad freaked when I told him there were beets in these! “What would pocess you to do that?” he kept exclamining! Well, guess what! You ate a ton of these silver dollar pancakes and said how berry flavored they were. So “Ha” to you, sir!

Blueberry (and Beet) Pancakes

make 29-30 silver dollar pancakes

Wet Ingredients:

  •  2 md-lg beets (enough to make 3/4 packed cups, pureed)
  • 1/3 cup OIKOS plain yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 1/4 cup flax milk
  • 1/2 cup water, or milk
  • 1/4  cup liquid egg substitute
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 1/5 Tbsp Splenda brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 packets Splenda
  • 1 cup blueberries, or more

Roast the beets. (This may take a while. I roasted mine the night before). Dice and puree the beets in a food processor until smooth.

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Beat the wet ingredients. Sift the dry ingredients (excluding the blueberries) into the wets ingredients and whisk. Fold in the blueberries. Its pretty, huh?

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Scoop 2 Tbsp, or an 1/8 cup, onto a skillet over medium heat, that has been sprayed with non stick spray. Once the bottoms are firm and the pancakes “pouf,” give them a flip.

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You know how to make pancakes…

To about half the batch, I added white chocolate chips to since the day I made them was National White Chocolate Day. I topped mine with my copycat Panera cream cheese.

Shout Outs: I was trying to figure out what else I could do with beets besides put them in my salads. Turning to Dr. Google, I came across a bunch of posts and adapted one specific recipe to make mine. Thanks, fellowbeet lover!

Happy National Pancake Day!

Night After Night Shifts

Tuesday

I tried to begin today early. Frank and I began chit chatting and spent the morning together. We both had some delicious coffee, but the entire morning was spend in the kitchen! It was very productive and although the recipe I was working on took about a total of three hours, from start to finish, the final result was well worth it. I cannot wait to share it with you, next week. I am also incredibly excited about a Be Well Bundo first! We, Frank and I, filmed the first video tutorial for the website! It turned out great and that, also, will be posted next week!

WP_004025My appetite will minimal today, as was Franks. Neither one of us ate anything until dinner time. I laid down around 2 pm in an attempt to catch some ZZZss before my shift at 11 pm. Unfortunately, two hours of sleep was all that I obtained. My dad started getting on my case about my calories and I hate it! I’ve been trying to listen to my body and eat when I was hungry. I decided to eat a Raspberry Greek Dannon Light & Fit and topped it with Fiber One 80 Chocolate cereal and chia seeds. This wasn’t good enough for dad. I tried to explain to him that I had my entire shift ahead of me to eat! I am already hard on myself about calories, so when others get on my case , I  get even more paranoid.

Before heading to work, I had some roasted red peppers, garlic, and cucmbers on a rice cake. One thing that put me in a good mood was the delicious coffee I brewed before leaving for work. It was a Vanilla Caramel Creme K cup, with SF french vanilla creamer and a splash of SF caramel syrup! Wow! Delicious!

Wednesday

WP_004026My shift went great! I kept busy and got to care for some great little kiddos. I also got to care for one of the most beautiful babies I’ve ever seen! And so well behaved! Dinner was half a Smart One Tuna Noodle Gratin. Honestly, even if I had eaten the whole thing, it would be pretty tasty for 220 calories. Rather I split it up and added a little broccoli. Once at work, I topped it with salsa since it was a little dried out by the time I reheated it, and paired it with celery sticks.

My food paranoia has definitely carried over into today. When I arrived home from work, this morning, I was starving. After all, the last time I ate was 230am, and it was, now, 730. I whipped up an egg, and put it on a slice of wheat toast, spread with my copy-cat Panera cream cheese. Its was tasty and I scarfed it! I was starving!

WP_004027With Frank being awake, we ran a few errands to pick up necessities for my little brother. When we arrived back home about three hours later and I needed to sleep! My manager asked it I could work a 12, tonight, since we had a patient that required a 1:1. I was hungry. At least I thought I was. I need to be okay with eating. I took out the turkey salad I made the other day and combined it with salsa. I placed it on a rice cake and had a side of cucumbers. It was delicious! But as soon as I finished, I went to sick girl mode. Oh my gosh! 200 calories! Really, Sammy? 200 is perfect for a small meal. Its lean meat, with light mayo, on an unsalted rice cake! How much healthier can you get?

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I laid down, took deep breaths and prayed. Sometimes, that all I can do. Thanks to the turkey, my stress, and my previous night shift, I actually slept! Thank, God! I slept for a solid 5 hours, or so! I woke up, knowing that if I didn’t get something in my system to hold me over until 230 break, I’d be tempted to snack all night! I made a mini shake. I wanted to use up my blueberries left over from Sunday’s pancakes, and wanted a flavor to refresh me and put me in a good mood. Just filling enough to do the trick.

Blueberry LemonWP_004030

  • 1 scoop vanilla protein
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 Tbsp sugar free fat free Lemon pudding mix
  • 1/2 Tbsp SF blueberry flavoring syrup (for an extra pop)
  • 1/2 tsp ground flax
  • water
  • ice
  • 1/4 tsp xanthum

Just double the recipe for a full size. Double-fisting, I brewed some Kahlua flavored coffee. I’m glad I had my shake on the way to work because I was greeted with a box of Philly Pretzel Factory pretzels and the content feeling of satiety made it easier to resist the temptation of the doughy, salty carb.

Thursday

Last night, I ate the other half of my Smart Ones. Rather than topping it with salsa, I drizzled a little Walden Farms Creamy Bacon Ranch dressing on it. Hey, bacon… tuna… sounded good to me! Celery sticks accompanied the meal. I find it is so much easier to just bring the same thing two nights in a row. It saves time and I don’t have to think about food and calories. The Waldens didn’t quite give it enough pizzazz, so I added a bit of spicy brown mustard from the Philly Pretzel Factory to the mix.

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The refrigerator was rocking cold and my food got pushed all the way to the back. My food had gotten iced over. While I ate my warm tuna, I attempted to de-ice my celery sticks. It was rather interesting… frozen celery… I wouldn’t recommend it.

Typically, an Aide doesn’t sit in a 1:1 for 12 hours. It almost never happens. Well, last night was a first. I spent most of the night chatting with my patient, who likes to stay up late, and watching movies with them. By 4am, my tailbone was killing me. Since my patient was asleep, I brain stormed some recipes for my birthday. I think I just about have them down. As 7am rolled around, I was stoked to be able walk around. I mean, I walked around my patient’s room and stretched a bit but its not the same as actually being on the floor. If it weren’t for being so tired, I almost didn’t want to sit in my car to drive home.

You know its been a long night when you try to unlock your car door with the locker key attached to your ID badge, thats clipped to your hip. Its not even in the general area as my car keys… you know, those things in my other hand!

Oh, by the way, today is National Pancake Day! Do you know what that means? That means a new recipe for you all to try! I’ll be posting it soonly!

Welcoming Fall

Last night, I noticed something. Most of my calories are eaten after 5pm, but I can’t quite figure out why. Am I hungry? Am I anxious or nervous? Am I bored? I’m not quite sure. For instance, despite my delicious veggies, and a bowl of grapes, I found myself snacking on goldfish. Not that I ate anything terrible for me, but just the point. Why do I eat more at night?

Speaking of snacking… I have got to tell you about this new cereal I bought yesterday. It was super on sale and it took serious self control to not just sit on the couch with my hand in the box. Apparently, Raisin Bran has two new styles out: Omega 3 with Flaxseed, and Cinnamon Almond. The serving size was bigger in the Cinnamon Almond and I, technically, bought it for dad. Well, it didn’t make to dad’s house, yet. Heck, its lucky it made it home from the store. It was like Special K Vanilla Almond and Raisin Bran Crunch combined into a magical cereal!

I ended my night and began my morning trying to decide between a bowl of the new cereal or a shake for breakfast. I opted for the shake to ring in the first day of Fall.

WP_004011Before my shake, I threw a turnkey into the oven. After last weeks turkey sandwich-made-salad, and dad relentless requests, I threw a whole turkey into the oven. My secrets to a juicy, tender, and evenly cooked turkey? Use a turkey bag and bake the turkey up-side-down (as in breast facing the bottom of the pan). Another turkey trick is to always keep empty jars on hand. Don’t throw out those old salsa jars. Keep them for easy disposal of grease. It never ceases to amaze me how much fat comes off a turkey, even when I remove excess fat before baking!

Breakfast was a pumpkin pie shake! It was so yummy, and, surprisingly, the banana makes it. I made one for Frank and my dad! Thanks for the recipe, Julie. I followed it up with a Caramel Vanilla Cream K cup, spiked with SF white chocolate syrup.

WP_004003After breakfast and some bill paying, I welcomed the new season once more with a zip up and my  boots! Boot season is among us, people! I’m not a particular fan of cold weather, but I love boots! Frank and I headed out for a few errands, and I got two more things to welcome the sudden change of temperature: 2 new sport bras and a pair of fitted long workout pants!WP_004013

Arriving home was splendid! The smell of the roasting turkey hit us like a wall as we opened the door. Frank and I made ourselves some lunch and basked in the turkey aroma! I made a bowl of broccoli soup, topped with goldfish, and Frank heated up a Healthy Choice frozen meal.

WP_004007To kill some time, I prepared the ingredients for my dinner and future lunches. Cranberry sauce is not that popular of an item in this house, so when I do open a can, I freeze whats left, by the tablespoon. I took out 2 Tbsp of the jellied cranberry sauce out of the freezer and, when defrosted, mixed it with 1 Tbsp light mayo. As the flavors blended, I chopped up celery and scallions, and mixed it with mayo, black pepper, and a bit of garlic powder. All that was left was for the turkey to finish!

It finished just in time for dad to come over! Baked to perfection! The best part about being the one who cleans the turkey, is being the taste tester! After I cleaned and divided the turkey, I put some aside for dad, some aside for chili, and some in the celery, scallion, and mayo mix from earlier. Following dad’s departure, I chopped a bunch of iceberg lettuce, tore up turkey, and tore apart 1/2 slice of wheat bread. I drizzled half of my cranberry/mayo mix over top and dug in! Oh my gosh it was just like a Bobbie!

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Something came over me. I went into a frenzy! I ate a cucumber and grapes to chill out. I just had to get out of the house, before I ate any more. I had called dad to see how he was feeling (his knee had been bothering him), and told him about my salad. He exclaimed how awesome it sounded and I offered to come over and make one for him. I think he liked that idea.

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WP_004012I was beginning to feel to turkey’s tryptophan kicking in and debated not going to Zumba. After feeling so manic, I needed to go! I arrived at Zumba decked out in my new gear, ready to go. Wouldn’t you know the sound system was acting up! Come one, universe, really?! After talking, standing around, goofing off, and making phone calls, we were finally patched, and Alex, the instructor, lead half a class and gave us all a free class. Yay! I came home, feeling a bit better, and went to town on some cucumber and salsa to get my crunch and nervous energy out of my system.

After a shower, a few phone calls, and the season premier of “How I Met Your Mother,” I am ready for some chill time.

Dangerous Cream Cheese

I slept. Boy, did I sleep! I fell asleep on the couch, like mid-conversation with my mom. Talk about a food coma.

I never plugged my cell in and it died, and therefore, no alarm for Sammy. I stirred a bit when I heard mom in the living room and asked her what time it was. “Ten of 11,” she said. What? I need to make breakfast! Dad’s coming over! “I called and told him you were sleeping.” Just as I reached for the phone to tell dad to come over, he was calling me! ESP! Yup, I’m up! I making pancakes! Get over here! 

I just have to say it. I was a culinary queen, today!

I prepped part of the pancakes last night before crashing. The pancakes were a hit and no one knew that there was a secret ingredient. This week hosts National Pancake Day, so I’ll share today’s beautiful pancakes with you then! Since today happens to be National White Chocolate Day, I added some white chocolate chips to a little less than half of the pancakes for Frank, my dad, and my little brother, Dom. Everyone enjoyed breakfast, even my picky mother! We all had our own cups of coffee, and since no white chocolate was in my pancakes, I made sure a little SF white chocolate syrup made it into my coffee mug.

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I was inspired, while cooking pancakes, this morning. I kept thinking about that yummy Panera Honey Walnut Cream Cheese! I kept thinking how good it would taste on blueberry pancakes. I had half an 8oz container of fat free cream cheese in the fridge and went from there.

Advisory: This is the most dangerous and ridiculously delicious cream cheese you will ever eat.

Healthy Panera Sweet Walnut Cream Cheese

makes 16 Tablespoons

  • 1 8oz container non fat cream cheese
  • 2 Tbsp sugar free pancake syrup
  • 2 packets Splenda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp diced walnuts

Combine all ingredients together until smooth and enjoy!

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Needless to say, I topped my pancakes with my cream cheese!

I asked my mom to test it, since she loves the original stuff. “If I didn’t know better, I would swear it was directly from Panera.” “That’s damn good,” dad said at the dining room table. “Frank, try this!” Its always a pleasure to here compliments like that!

Following breakfast, my godfather and cousin swung by for a quick visit and then dad and I were off to the park. We decided to take the pup with us for a little fresh air. It was brief but an absolute fun filled morning with my dad, shooting hoops. I love getting Beauty out in the fresh air! She always crashes when we get home, but when shes out, she really enjoys herself. And I got some great pictures of her today! I think dad just liked our trip to the park because he beat me in a game of Horse- only by ONE, though!

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Frank and I ran some errands today, and by the time we got home, we were both chomping on the grapes in the car. Neither of had eaten since brunch, and with the sun dried tomato wraps I just bought, a felt a wrap was the way to go. Frank said he had some chicken breast and then we decided to add some shrimp. Oh man! Frank, mom, Dom, and myself loved these wraps. I through the sliced chicken breast and shrimp, about 4 1/2 oz of each, in to a skillet and then topped it with the following and covered it, only tossing it a few times:

  • WP_0039971 1/2 oz broccoli slaw
  • 3 oz spinach,
  • 1 oz sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp adobo seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp oregano

After dividing the mixture among 3 wraps, I topped each with a little fat free shredded cheddar, 1 oz a roasted red peppers (each wrap), and a leaf of ice berg lettuce. I served them with sliced cucumbers for a side dish. Frank kept saying how much he enjoyed it, and he could have eaten another.

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WP_004002I must also admit that I created a monster, this morning. I went with an after dinner snack of celery and cucumbers. I always heard how celery and cream cheese went so well together. Well, I have never enjoyed this combo, but having made my Healthy Panera copy-cat, I get the combo another try.

THIS STUFF MUST GO ON EVERYTHING!

Its a winner!

Pregnant Combinations

Friday

WP_003977I reluctantly woke up this morning after a wrong night of sleep. Oddly enough, I began my morning with my (Not So) Split Pea Soup. I topped it with broccoli slaw and FF shredded mozzarella. Yum!

I have one, and only one, problem with the show Cupcake Wars. Every time I finish an episode, I really want to eat. Today was no different. I went to the kitchen around lunch time, knowing I wanted something to eat, something to hold me over until 7pm, but not knowing in the slightest what I wanted. I wound up nibbling on a few things, trying to find my taste. The concept of nibbling really gets to me! As soon as ate, I immediately was swamped with a heavy chest and anxiety. Ok, breath, relax, your fine. I tried to clear my mind and fall asleep.

I, again, could not sleep. I kept waking up and tossing. I woke around 530pm, reviewed my resume and cover letter with my mom, and somehow felt incredibly behind.

WP_003978Today is National Punch Day! Not exactly a significant food holiday, but nonetheless, I began my shift with a punch-inspired shake and a coffee, flavored with SF raspberry and SF white chocolate syrups. We had a ton of cantaloupe in the fridge and it needed to be used. I also had a jello mix that I’ve never even touch and felt this would be the perfect opportunity for it!

  • 2 scoops Vanilla shake mix
  • cantaloupe
  • 1 tsp sugar free fat free Strawberry-Banana jello
  • water
  •  ice

My manager asked me to a work a 12 tonight, which I gladly accepted. I packed myself a bowl of Split Pea Soup from the other night for dinner. I sat on 1:1 for my first 8 hours of my shift. I was pretty happy once 4am came! I ate my soup and topped it with salsa and mozzarella! Total genius! The more I eat this soup, the more I love it and the more I realize how filling it is! And the beauty, is that it keeps me full!

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I must say, I was kicking some serious butt at work. I love when I feel completely on point!

Saturday

WP_003982I stopped by the supermarket to pick up a few things for some upcoming recipes. When I got home, I finished my celery sticks that I was too full to eat at work. It was pretty funny. My mom and I, ever since I was a kid, have loved snacking on scallions. I bit into one this morning that rocked my senses! It was so strong! My eyes were watering and my nose was running!

Despite not sleeping well yesterday, and being at work for 12 hours, I wasn’t tired when I got home. I started unloading the dishwasher, and prepping for tonights dinner and tomorrows breakfast. Soon enough, Frank was up and I whipped him up a smoothie. I, then, gave my dad a call, and requested a favor. I’ve been working on some “manly” shake recipes and dad was more than game to be my guinea pig!

WP_003983I debated making myself a shake for breakfast, as well, and thought I deserved a switch up. I toasted a low fat Nutri-Grain Eggo, smeared it with Chocolate PB2, and mashed raspberries! The remainder of my morning was not how I imagined it would be. I never did go to sleep. I anticipate a full on crash later tonight. Mom and I spent like 2 hours listening to music, as I danced around the room and hula hooped. I hula-ed so hard my abs started to get sore.

We slept the rest of the afternoon running errands. Food anxiety only struck once today. Mom had gone to Panera for iced tea and came out with a baguette and my favorite cream cheese ever: Honey Walnut! I decided it was okay to treat myself and tore off the butt of the loaf and dipped it into the cream cheese, and there we went. Oh boy!

The good news, is that after I went to mass, which was the anniversary mass for my grandmother’s death, I was feeling much better. I headed home and created a dinner only pregnant chicks and myself could enjoy. Mom really wanted mashed potatoes and creamed corn, which is one of my all time favorite food combos! I tricked mom and made a batch of my Garlic Cauli-Mash, and topped each bowl with creamed corn. Delicious. I paired my bowl with a spinach salad with chopped roasted red peppers, pickles, and cucumbers, topped with salsa. It sound gross! And it sounds like a crazy combo, but somehow the saltiness of each produce played off each other. This started a frenzy, but in a good way!

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I actually got to 900 calories today, not that I was counting or anything…

I reignited my adoration for creamed corn! Oh gosh! I just love that stuff! I haven’t had in in, geez, probably a year. The night was filled with mother-daughter time, celery, the most crisp and fresh bell pepper I’ve ever eaten, some crackers, salsa, Jax (a snack I haven’t had in ages), and lots more produce. By the time I realized that a food coma would be evident, I was sort of painfully full! At least I had a great night with my mom, she was pleased to see me enjoy eating, and I didn’t freak out.

Like I said, with a complete lack of sleep and a full stomach, only an episode of Star Trek is in my near future. Good night, everyone! I hope your Saturday was as enjoyable and mama-filled as mine!

Ahoy, Foodies!

Today is National Butterscotch Pudding Day, so lets begin our Thursday with a little, shall we Mateys?

Sammy, what’s wrong with you? Why are you talking like that? Oh, because its also National Talk Like A Pirate Day. To avoid the scurvy, let add a little Vitamin C into our meals, today, too!

WP_003957Cinnabon Protein Bowl

  • 2 scoops cookies n cream protein (1 and 1 of chocolate and vanilla will do)
  • 1/2 Tbsp butter buds
  • 1/2 Tbsp sugar free fat free butterscotch pudding
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp chopped pecans
  • 1 tsp xanthum
  • water
  • ice

WP_003956My vitamin C came in the form of spinach, if you couldn’t tell by the green colored bowl. Oh, and I topped it with ground flax! I experimented with making this into a smoothie by substituting 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt for the vanilla shake mix and 1 tsp cocoa powder. I prefer the shake version better, but not bed.

Frank’s Ascorbic Acid was made with a ton of cantaloupe and half a banana.

I grabbed a shower, hoping that it would get me out of this lazy funk I’ve been. I felt like I was falling asleep in the shower, but after a good facial scrub, smoothie bowl, and a cup of caramel coffee, I felt a little more like myself. I threw on my sneakers and iPod and took a 2 mile walk. My fitness goal was not to go full on running, but rather work on form. It so easy to lean forward when power walking. Instead, I focused on keeping my shoulders back, and my abdominals tight. After a few blocks, you can really feel the muscles on your stomach, obliques, and shoulder muscles!

I felt even better coming home to a bottle of water and having enjoyed a brisk walk on a beautiful day!

WP_003958I made sure to set aside a solid hour and a half to send our resumes! But after that, I actually felt hungry! I had discussed the possibility of making seafood for dinner, with my dad, and he had put in the idea of a tuna melt. Simple! I mixed together a rather delicious tuna salad!

  • 1 can solid white albacore
  • 2 Tbsp light mayo
  • 1 oz roasted red pepper, chopped
  • 3 large black olives, chopped
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp reduced fat grated Parmesean
  • black pepper, taste

I ate mine just microwaved, and I made Frank a tuna melt! Not only was it tasty, but its colorful! Spectacular!

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After Frank and I ran a few errands, and a little tidying up was done, I got a hold of mom to see what her plans were for the night. I’m really in the mood for Saladworks, I said. “Do you want a turkey sandwich?” No, because then I’ll wind up eating it. “Well, I’m going to get one anyway. You can just eat the turkey.”

Thanks, mom! But it worked out really well! I ate half a Luna Carrot Cake bar to hold me over until dinner, and when it was time, I offered to pick it up. I power walked another half mile, and was pretty stoked that I ran the last block uphill! I ordered a turkey sandwich with extras pickles and onions, American cheese, lettuce, on rye bread, with sweet peppers on the side. Mom typically orders extra mayo. No way, woman! You can add your own mayo!

I took this….

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And transformed it into this….

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A delicious salad over spinach! And Beauty got the treat of rye bread and a slice of cheese.

WP_003967This was so good, that I made another small salad! Every time mom and I get a hoagie from Degnar’s Deli, we get into onion mode. They have the best onions! They are perfectly sliced, crisp, strong and mom and I always wind up slicing onions as a snack. To the second salad, went a whole cucumber, two sweetened gerkins, and a bunch of onion, all topped with salsa! Sooooo good! I thought the combination of pickles in my salad was odd until dad reminded me that they technically are the same thing… duh, Sammy.

This meal put me in quite a veggie mood, and I snacked on celery and sugar snap peas with salsa until mom and I met up with dad and Barry for the Eagles/Chiefs game.

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I stuck with my pirate theme and got Captain and Diet Pepsi. Barry got a little intoxicated! But on the bright side, I got to drive his car. (It’s a stick shift, and hes been teaching me.) But I drove home and didn’t stall! Woo Hoo! And Melissa, my favorite bartender made bacon mac n’ cheese, which was good sober-up food. She also let me play around with two new Pinnacle vodkas on the shelf. The first was Caramel Apple, but the one that grabbed my eye was the Pumpkin Pie! Yes, Pumpkin Pie vodka! We started thinking about things that you could drink it with. I suggested Rum Chata and it worked beautifully! Like a pumpkin egg nog!  Melissa, then, added a few drops of Bailey’s. It cut some of the alcohol bite, and I would have poured that shot right into a cup of coffee! MMMM!

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A Side Note:

Teresa mentioned to me that I used pigeon peas to make yesterday’s Split Pea Soup. I forgot to address why. Thanks, Teresa!

I grabbed the wrong bag of peas from the farmer’s market, but did not realize it until they had already been soaking overnight. I watch shows like Chopped, Cupcake Wars, and Iron Chef because I believe a great chef goes with the punches. I always challenge myself when I watch the shows to try to come up with what I would do if I was on the show. Therefore, once I realized my mistake, I rolled with it, and made it work!

(Not So) Split Pea Soup

This morning was another late morning. Even though I rolled out of bed in my footie pajamas, it didn’t deter me from making a cheeseburger inspired breakfast and began today’s recipe. I tried to think of all the things I love on a burger that I could incorporate into eggs. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t figure out how to use pickles. None the less, I used my egg form to create the pattie shape. I threw in two tablespoons of Morning Star soy crumbles for the beef, chopped onion, spinach for the lettuce, and mushrooms. After the bottom formed, I added some water to the surrounding pan and  covered it to steam the eggs through. I finished off the egg with some shredded fat free cheddar cheese and drizzle of ketchup. Mission accomplished! Oh yeah, it;s National Cheeseburger Day…

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It was another day with minimal motivation, and minimal appetite. I eventually ate a big bowl of watermelon, followed by rice cake smeared with smashed raspberries. Have you ever looked at mashed raspberries. They’re beautiful!

I finally found a little motivation. I set small goals, like vacuum the living room and do 25 push-ups, vacuum the kitchen and do 25 crunches. I tried to tidy up the house and clean up so that when mom got home from work, she would be surprised to see a clean house and big pot of soup for her birthday.

When mom called to tell me she had to work late, my motivation went out the door and I had to think of something to eat to hold me over until we could enjoy her birthday dinner together. The winner was to finish the head of romaine lettuce and top it with salsa (you know I’m a salsa freak).

Yesterday, Barry brought me one of my favorite candies and I am so incredibly proud of myself! I used to not be able to control myself around a bog of Peanut M&Ms. I had 6 yesterday. Not even at one sitting, but throughout the night! I was so incredibly proud of my self control! This means I’m on the right track!

By the time mom got home, the carpets were vacuumed and shampooed, the stove, toaster over, and refrigerator were scrubbed cleaned, the kitchen floor as swept, and the counters were cleaned. I love that the first thing she said as she walked in the house was, “Who cleaned the glass door? I can see through it!”

WP_003933Split Pea Soup kind of has a bad rap. My mom and I love the stuff! Linda Blair, on the other hand, has probably been scarred for life. Others, I think, just like scrapple, simply are turned off by its appearance or concept.

My mommom is pretty well-known for her Split Pea Soup, so I gave it a whirl. Its also a great way to utilize that left over bone from Easter’s spiral ham! (By the way, this is a 2-day prep soup).

As hard as I tried, I just felt like a failure at this soup, but with a few alterations, mom and I filled up on two bowls each of this stuff!

Split Pea Soup

WP_003935makes 16 servings

  • 2 lbs dry, bagged peas
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely shopped
  • 1 ham bone
  • 1 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 oz ham, or low sodium lunch meat ham
  • 1/2 cup Brummel and Brown, or another light spread
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • fat free shredded mozzarella cheese (optional) topping

WP_003946 WP_003949Soak the dried peas in 4 gallons of water over night. The next day, skim any residue off the top. Add the bay leaf, onion, and ham bone and cook on low. Begin by stirring occasionally and skimming residue, fat, and pea skins off the top. As the peas continue to cook, stir more frequently, and continue to skim. Alternate 20 minutes of boiling with 45 minutes of low heat for the next 6 hours.

Use the back of a spoon to check how cooked the peas are. If the peas mash easily against the side of the pot, add the carrots and continue to cook on low. When all of the peas begin to break down, remove the ham bone. If there is any meat on the ham bone, feel free to pull off the bone. If using lunch meat, dice the honey ham and briefly toss in a skillet to brown the edges. Set the ham aside. Remove the bay leaf and add the salt and pepper.

My grandmother stressed to me the importance of waiting until the very end to season the soup, and I don’t argue with this matriarch!

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Grandmom mashes the entire pot by hand. I am not so patient, and used one of those new-fangled food processors to speed the process along. Using a slotted spoon, spoon 2 cups of peas to 1/2 cup broth in a food processor and whirl away. Set this aside and continue this process with the rest of the peas. Once the peas have been blended, add them back to the broth, along with the ham. Bring to a boil and continue to boil with a partially covered pot for about 45 minutes.

Turn off the heat reserve 4 cups of broth. Carefully pour out the soup into a large colander. Quickly transfer the strained vegetables into a large bowl, and stir in the garlic powder and buttery spread. Next, stir in the reserved broth.

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WP_003955Serve it up and sprinkle with a little shredded mozzarella, if you’d like.

The rest of the night was spent with my mama. I made her our all-time favorite drink: a  Amaretto Di Saronno and gingerale with maraschino cherries. Mom went to the store and come home with movie theatre boxes of candy. Oh man! I was digging the Red Hots! I forgot how darn good those were! And, of course, two Butterfinger Bites were had. While mom drank her drink, I threw a scoop of Vanilla Maple Arctic Zero in with a diet root beer for a simple float.

Happy Birthday, Mama!

Manic Mind

Last night was finished off with a Lil’ Drum so I could get my ice cream fix.

Today, is National Apple Dumpling Day. In honor of such a decant sounding dessert, I attempted to make a decadent shake bowl . And it worked! BooYah!

Apple Dumpling Shake BowlWP_003930

  • 1/2 an apple, chopped (frozen preferably)
  • 1/4 cup frozen cranberries (microwaved for 30 seconds)
  • 1 tsp sugar free fat free vanilla pudding mix
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp guar gum
  • 3/8 tsp xanthum
  • water
  • ice

I topped it with some Fiber One bran cereal for crunch!

My belly has been bothering me all day! and my appetite has been minimal. I did manage to do some snacking on a rice cake and roasted red peppers.

I became a bit manic early this afternoon and began to use up the last of the green beans from yesterday’s discount snack attack! I tried my hand at Hungry Girl’s Oat-Standing Veggie Patties. They weren’t quite to my liking, so I ampted up the flavor with scallions, teriyaki sauce, ginger, and garlic. Once I formed the burgers, I kept them in the fridge until I was ready to eat.

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I finished up the last of some miscellaneous veggies from the refrigerator: bok choy, bamboo shoots, baby carrots, scallions, bell peppers, and broccoli slaw. After my first batch of veggies, I made another since it was just so good! All of the stir-fried vegetables were cooked in teriyaki sauce, kung pao sauce, and chili garlic sauce  for a kick!

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WP_003942I finished off the night with a bowl of Vanilla Maple Arctic Zero sprinkled with pumpkin pie spice and SF DaVinci pumpkin pie spice syrup. I finished the bowl with some praline pieces!

My stomach started to feel much better as the night went on. As much as I wanted to head to Zumba, tonight, I just couldn’t get there. I think I’m in a workout rut. I haven’t felt like doing much besides cooking and working.

I can’t dwell on my lack of exercise, but I can capitalize on what I can do, like clean up my cluttered bed room, and I’ve been creating variations of today’s veggie patties all day! There are just soooo many possibilities!

I’ve also been thoroughly enjoying the last few days with my mom. I’ve noticed a huge correlation between my mental health and eating habits and my relationship with my mom. Did you ever realize that when things between my mom and me are rough, my eating habits get totally out of whack?

Anyway, tomorrow is mom’s birthday and I have a special birthday treat for her. The recipe I am making takes two days to make. The first day is a pour and forget it day, but the second day requires a bit of attention. This recipe is a coveted one in the Higgin’s household. Its one of those recipes that my grandmother makes once every few years, and the family stocks up and freezes it to have. Here’s where I might lose you: Split Pea Soup.

I’ve never made it before, but I’m a big fan and I’m praying I can do it some justice.