Going Orange

After waking up, I debated starting my day with a run, since Barry and I will be indulging in some Tony Luke’s later tonight. Somehow the concept of protein pancakes popped in my head, which, apparently, to priority over running. Then I remembered the bit of pumpkin I had left over from Saturday’s Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns! Never EVER throw away left over pumpkin!!!

Pumpkin Pie Protein Pancakes

serves 1WP_004445

  • 1 scoop Vanilla protein powder
  • 2 Tbsp pure pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute OR 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Whip together and cook away!

My kitchen smelled A-MAZ-ING! I topped mine with a little sugar free syrup and a sprinkle more of pumpkin pie spice and paired the plate with a mug of Butter Pecan coffee.

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So since I planned on doing a lot of work on the computer this morning and the modem died on me, my motivation to get outside kicked back in. What a beautiful day! I was surprised to walk outside to a sunny day of 57 degrees! I walked all over the city, first to ship a little something to Meaghen, then to the dollar store, and since I was out and about, over to my uncles to see how he was feeling. I took my time strolling home, and even though I didn’t do much running, I was able to get in

Barry came over after work, and after whipping him up something to eat, he laid down a bit to prepare for our night! Beauty needed a nap, too! She found comfort in my pile of laundry and could barely keep her eyes open, let alone her head up!

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Tonight was date night! Barry and I took our friends, Mike and Lauren, to the Flyers/ Ducks game for Mike’s birthday! On the way, we swung by Tony Luke’s to try to keep with tradition. While Lauren and Mike kept it simple with cheese steaks, Barry and I split the Chicken Steak Italian. I was definitely caught off guard. I was expecting a Steak-Umms-style steak, but it was way better! It was actual chicken breast, cut and laid in a roll topped with provolone and your choice of broccoli rabe or spinach. We opted for  the rabe and requested mushrooms, as well. We also ordered an order of chipotle BBQ fries, which were rather disappointing. We expected a yummy sauce, but it was actually a seasoning, similar to Old Bay.

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We rushed over the game to see the Flyers doing really well for the first 2 1/2 periods! We might actually pull through on this one! Nope! But at least Lauren and I numbed our pain with froyo and a mountain of mint chocolate chip and cookies and creme ice cream!

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Chocolate!!!

I love you! I hate you! I love you! I want you! I love you! It’s Chocolate!!!!

Thats my take on the Beggin’ Strips pup…

Today is National Chocolate Day! Barry came over after work this morning and we didn’t wake up until 1:20pm!! Since I knew I wouldn’t get a chance to celebrate National Oatmeal Day, tomorrow, Barry and I enjoyed both occasions with Chocolate Oatmeal!

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  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 packets Splenda (to your liking)
  • splash of vanilla extract

I topped one with a spoonful of Sprouted Almond and Chia Seed Almond Butter. I haven’t had oatmeal in the longest time, solely because some sick part of my mind still tells me how bad carbs are! Silly, I know, but I was really happy to have both oatmeal and chocolate in my life, this morning!

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After breakfast, I received a phone call regarding my application for my Pennsylvania nursing license, and it kicked off a frenzy of errands  and hectic paperwork! Luckily, we got everything completed and Barry was so determined to get everything finalized, he overnighted my paperwork to the Harrisburg office! (That’s why hes my boyfriend!)

We finally, had just enough time to actually do the one thing we had planned for today: carve a pumpkin! Neither one of us has carved a pumpkin in years, so this was interesting… The other night, when I worked a double, I had some time to do a little sketching and came up with some carving ideas: I’ve got both of them here so feel free to enlarge and print out for your own pumpkins!

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We are Philly fans… What gave it away?

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WP_004438We speedily carved out a Flyers-themed pumpkin, before I was off to shake my booty at Zumba! What a great class! Alex had a few dances that were new to me, which kept my attention. Before the cool-down, Alex brought me on stage to help lead two of my favorite dances. Leading the group makes push so much harder. I feed off their energy, Alex’s and my own! I came home to an old school unattractive chocolate and spinach bowl, and hung out with pops!

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To wrap up my night, Dad came over for some daddy-daughter pumpkin carving and hot chocolate! The sketch I made for this pumpkin was definitely more challenging, but the end result was, excuse me, Hella Bitchin and Crazy Wicked!

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What a great way to kick off my week!

Pumpkin Pie for Breakfast

During the crock pot challenge, I made crock pot Pumpkin Sticky Buns! Based off of that recipe, here is the perfect October breakfast for those brisk Fall mornings.

I just can’t get enough of pumpkin! Especiallyon National Pumpkin Day!

Pumpkin Pie Cinnamon Buns

makes 12 buns

The Dough:

  • 2 cup plus 1 Tbsp milk of choice (I used unsweetened flax milk)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 packet dry, active yeast (to help activate the yeast)
  • 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated Splenda
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup Libby’s pure pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce

The Filling:

  • 3/4 cup pure pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup granulated Splenda
  • 2 Tbsp sugar-free pancake syrup
  • 1 Tbsp Splenda brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
Glaze Ingredients:
  • 3 Tbsp sugar free pancake syrup
  • 1 Tbsp granulated Splenda
  • 1/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 Tbsp pecans
  • 1 Tbsp hulled, unsalted pumpkin seeds
Warm milk and water in a bowl in the microwave for about 45 seconds. Let it sit for a few minutes. You want the liquids warm, not hot. Sprinkle the sugar into the liquid, followed by the packet of yeast. Set aside and allow mixture to bubble and foam.
Sift the flours, baking powder, Splenda, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice into a large bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, warm the applesauce and pumpkin in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds. Stir the vanilla into the warmed mix, then stir this to the milk and yeast bowl. Pour the bowl of liquid ingredients into thelarge bowl of dry, and together to form a dowl. The dough will be moist and tacky. Cover the ball of dough with a towel and set in a warm place to rise for 20 minutes. (My trick: microwave an empty microwave for a minute, then place the covered bowl in the microwave to sit.)
While the dough is rising, stir together the filling ingredients and set aside. You can also chop the pecans and pumpkin seeds and tossed them together, and set aside. When the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 325 F. Sprinkle 1Tbsp of all-purpose flour over the ball. Sprinkle another 1 Tbsp over the clean, flat surface on which you will be rolling the dough. Flip the ball of dough onto the floured surface and sprinkle another 1 Tbsp of flour on top. Use your hands to press out the dough. Flour the dough in 1/2 Tbsp increments, as needed. Flip the dough over, after its been pressed with your fingers, sprinkle with flour and roll it out into a large rectangle.
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Using a spoon or basting brush, brushthe filling ingredients to every edge. (I suggest brushing onto the table to make sure every piece is coated!) With finger tips, carefully roll the dough into a long log. Using a non-serrated knife, cut the log into 12 equal portions, cleaning the blade after each slice. Carefully transfer the 12 rolls into a baking dish, sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  (For really large buns, cover and return the buns to a warm place for another 30 minutes. For regular sized, bake now.) Top the rolls with chopped pecan and pumpkin seed blend and bake for 25 to 28 minutes.
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While baking, stir together the remaining glaze ingredients. Once baked, drizzle the glaze over the buns and serve.
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When I opened the oven, it smelled like a pumpkin pie was baking! After the buns were glazed, I sat down to a cup of Tiramisu coffee (one of the new coffees I bought yesterday) to which I added SF Italian Sweet Cream creamer. What a combo! The creamer totally picked up the sweet notes of the coffee! I pulled apart the first piece of pumpkin bun to see a beautiful orange filling, and warm moist dough. I love that contrast of the firm outer shell with the soft inner layer of sticky buns!
Mom said it was just the right sweetness! My only critique is to make a thicker glaze…
I stared brain storming toppings… Obviously, nuts are a no-brainer, but what about crumbled bacon? Sounds like I might have to make these again in the near future!
Nutrition: per bun
Calories: 151, Fat: 1g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 278mg, Carbs: 30, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 1, Protein: 4g

Hot &Sour

Its always the nights you want to sleep that you just can’t! Last night, I woke up at 1am and couldn’t get back to sleep until close to 4am, only to have my alarm go off at 6am! Yay!

I had a pretty well-thought out day. Mom threw me for a loop and crawled in my bed and began to tickle me until I got up. She was in rare form, this morning, but it brought me back to when I was in grade school and she would get me up in the mornings. She started my day off with laughs and smiles, the best way to begin a Friday morning!

WP_004383After a shower and a cup of hot Blueberry Green tea, I went to Fresh Thymes. They are a local corner shop that serves gluten free, locally grown, vegan, etc… They are pretty unique in Wilmington! One of a kind. Anyway, I always want to go on Friday mornings, but I never can. I was super excited that I was up so early and headed over to grab the Friday morning specialty of Banana Fosters coffee! Oh goodness! It was utterly spectacular! No wonder they have it every Friday1378269_10153413357570228_1775508397_n

Following my pit-stop, I headed off to a job interview… Even though it was cold this morning (as in 30-something degrees) I just love Fall fashion, scents, and tastes. Boots, scarves, and beanies is my Fall and Winter motto, which was exactly what I rocked, today. Having that amazing coffee, made it my Friday morning even better!

In my opinion, the interview went excellently! Bonus: it was only 7 miles away from two of my favorite stores, so of course I headed over The Fresh Market after my interview! I heard about Peanut Butter cup coffee and was disappointed when they didn’t have it. Oh well, there are plenty other specialties to grab. From the coffee bean bins I snagged Caramel Macchiato, Tiramisu, Amaretto Almond, and Molten Chocolate coffee beans. I can not wait to try these tomorrow morning!

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I also grabbed a few treats for Barry, like the white chocolate CRACK, I mean Crunch, and Blueberry yogurt covered pretzels. When I saw a glass bottle with grape soda, I knew he would love that, too! I snagged a few chocolate covered pretzel balls while I was there for Barry, dad, and myself to try. These were bacon and while chocolate covered pretzel balls. None of us really knew what to think of them… Interesting…

WP_004405 (1)I decided to, also, grab Meaghen a few “I miss you” treats. I grabbed a little bag of the white chocolate crunch and a container of pumpkin spice almonds! I know she’ll love it!

By this time, my belly was telling me it was time to eat. I met up with Barry and we headed over to SaladWorks. I am always amazed at filling these salads are! Today was Spring mix, white beans, roasted red peppers, corn bean blend, onions, and tomatoes, with Fat Free Balsamic Vinaigrette. Yummers! The boyfriend got the Buffalo Chicken salad. He’s a sucker for buffalo chicken!

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We walked around the mall for a few hours and by the time I got home, I could not believe how late it was! A while back, I found a carton of a new broth by Swanson and picked it up. To warm dad and I up, I made a delicious soup for a chilly night!

Short Cut Hot & Sour Soup

makes 6 cups

  • 1 cup cold waterWP_004400
  • 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tsp sirracha
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 packet Splenda
  • 3 oz boneless pork chop, thinly sliced (about 1/4 in strips)
  • 2 cups mushrooms, various sizes, sliced and chopped
  • 1/2 14oz block firm tofu, diced
  • 1 box Swanson’s Chinese Hot & Sour flavor infused broth
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup, sliced bambooo shoots, packed, juliened
  • 1/2 cup water chestnuts, sliced
  • 1/4 cup scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute

Whisk 1 cup water with vinegar, sirracha, sesame oil, soy sauce, and Splenda. Add the sliced pork to the marinade and allow to soak while preparing the remaining ingredients. Now is a good time to slice the bamboo shoots into twos and threes (so they are in thin strips) and slice and cube the mushrooms. Spray a 2 qt pot with non stick stray and cook the pork slices over medium heat. Set the marinade aside. When the pork is not longer pink, add the mushrooms and tofu. Cover and simmer on low for 3 minutes, until the mushrooms begin to soften.

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Add the boxed, pre-made broth to the pot and bring to a boil. Whisk the cornstarch into the first marinade (the one the pork was in). Once boiling, add the bamboo and water chestnuts. Bring to another boil, and stir in cornstarch mix. Bring the soup to one last boil and add the scallions and liquid egg substitute.

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WP_004403Turn off heat and serve. You can add more sirracha and vinegar to play with the hot and sour aspects of the soup.

Dad loved it! “Oh my God!” What? “Oh my God!” Dad, whats wrong?!? “That soup is so good!”

He scared me! I thought something was wrong! At least he liked!

3 In A Row

Double Blending (Monday)

I spent the night at Barry’s last night, since we both work night shift tonight. We began our day with some laundry and household chores. After Saturday’s Pumpkin Pie PopTart/Sammy Hot Cocoa Combo, Barry was pretty excited to try it. I made it for him and I thought he was going to melt at the kitchen table. He loved it!

After some dillydallying, my stomach was growling and I was craving a shake! We hit the farmers market to snag a few necessities for some upcoming recipes, and headed back to mi casa. So, today is National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day AND National Caramel Apple Day. I tried a Caramel Apple Bowl:WP_004368

  • 1 scoop vanilla protein
  • 1/2 apple, chopped and frozen
  • 1 Tbsp SF FF butterscotch pudding
  • 1/2 Tbsp SF caramel syrup
  • water
  • ice
  • spinach (optional)
  • xanthum and guar (optional)

As I ate my sweet bowl, Barry found out that he did not have to work. By this time, I needed to try to lay down for a cat nap. Barry and I laid down, but no matter how hard I tried, I could not fall asleep! In fact, my belly would not stop talking to me! Eventually, around 6 or 7, I got my butt up and had to eat! Now, it was time for that pumpkin cheesecake. Since I didn’t have any canned pumpkin open, I improvised with combining vanilla protein powder, 2 Tbsp SF pumpkin spice syrup, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 1 Tbsp SF FF cheesecake pudding mix, water, ice, xanthum and guar.

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I was pretty stuffed. With this full tummy, I sent out a few more resumes, and attempted another nap with an hour and a half to spare. My brain would not stop. Food, calories, recipes, calories, work, snacks… Just non-stop…

I was fed up, got up, made some spectacularly delicious coffee, which I drank as I sent out resumes.

Sometimes You Feel Like A Nut (Tuesday)

Work went well. It really picked up around 4am! Around 2am, though, I did my usual routine of hitting up the salad bar. My array of vegetables was paired with half a tray of Lightlife’s Penne Primavera. This was my first of the this brand, and I must say it was worth the money.

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Most frozen meals greatly lack in pretty much every aspect. This was full of vegetables, pasta, and super cheezy! I divided the tray into two containers and added chopped broccoli and additional sauce to each. I brought one with me for dinner, and saved the other for when I work my Wednesday into Thursday.

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Upon arriving home, I quickly toasted up some cinnamon raisin bread, and topped it with Be Well Bundo’s simplest recipe yet for Barry. If you recall, the morning of Vendemmia, Barry and I stopped by Wawa and he ordered a cinnamon raisin bagel with mixed berry cream cheese. I fell in love with the teaser taste I took from his breakfast. With this being Barry’s favorite cream cheese, I told him what I thought I needed to replicate the spread and he went out and got it. We wound up cutting over 100 calories from the original stuff!

WP_004369Mixed Barry (Berry) Cream Cheese

makes 13 servings

1 serving- 2Tbsp

  • 1 1/4 cup frozen mixed berries (favoring the blueberries and blackberries)
  • 3 packets Splenda
  • 1 8oz tub non fat cream cheese

Microwave 1 cup of mixed berries on the defrost setting for 35 seconds. Place this, the remaining frozen berries, Spenda, and cream cheese in a food processor and blend, until there are few chunks of berries. Refigerate to thicken and enjoy!

Nutrition: per 2 Tbsp

Calories: 26, Fat: 0 g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 3.1mg, Sodium: 123mg, Carbs: 3.5g, Fiber: 0.6g, Sugar: 2g, Protein: 2.6g

WP_004371As delicious as this stuff was, I couldn’t wait to share it with dad! I made another cinnamon raisin/cream cheese sandwich, this time for dad. He picked up this, along with a coffee (like a restaurant… Bundo’s Breakfast), and I went to sleep. Ten minutes late, I got a phone call raving about how delicious it was! Although I’m always delighted when my dad approves of a new recipe, fatigue was too overwhelming. I smiled, thanked him, and feel asleep with my cell phone on my cheek..

Thank God I was able to sleep, today!

I was on the floor for the entire 12 hours, which I always like. Upon waking up this afternoon, I remembered a couple dreams: two of them were recipes and one left me… I’m not sure of the word… All I know is that I woke up wanting to cry and I have had trouble shaking this funk.

Today is National Nut Day. With a 12hour shift ahead of me, I knew I’d need caffeine and fuel. I’ve been trying to use up this almond butter, that I’m not a particular fan of, and throw a bit of that in the blender along with cafe latte shake mix and half frozen banana.

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Even though I got some sleep, I was still tired and made a Bubba Gulp of coffee. It was pretty delicious. I drank the entire thing, while sending out resumes, waiting until it was time to leave for work, and updating this post.

Creamy Dreams

Dinner last night was, as always, accompanied by a platter from the salad bar. With all the jazz with this cream cheese, I brought some to work on and spread it over a toasted cinnamon raisin breakfast thin by Thomas. Yum!

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Deb, the Temptress of Treats, once again brought that Cajun Trail Mix from Walmart. Ugh! I just can’t get enough of it! Even with that bit of snackage, I was still pleased with my eating.

My shift was nothing too exciting. I did, however, leave work this morning with a hakering for coffee and a growling stomach. I remembered my friend Brittany gave me a Double Chocolate Chunk Rice Krispie treat (100 calories), last night, and figured that should hold me over until I wake up.

I  drove the 7Eleven after work. No decaf! I walked next door to the gas station. No decaf! What is this world coming to? I’m almost happy that neither had the coffee because I started feeling some anxiety about the chocolate cereal bar. I called my dad, left my car at the 7Eleven and took a 4 block walk to another 7 Eleven and called my dad to try to talk myself through this.

Talking with dad really helped. I headed home, coffee in hand, ready for bed. I crashed! I kept waking up, though, and eventually, around 1240 pm, I got up. Barry and Frank were talking about computers, of which is all Greek to me, so I whipped up a protein bowl. Today is both National Banana Cream Pie and National Boston Cream Pie Day. I already know how to make a Banana Cream Pie shake, so I accepted the challange of creating a Boston Cream Pie. I looked up some cake recipes and think I figured it out. It even has a pretend ganash!

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  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 to 1 1/2 Tbsp SF FF vanilla pudding mix
  • 1/2 packet Splenda
  • 1 tsp SF French Vanilla powdered coffee creamer
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • water
  • ice
  • 1/4 tsp xanthum
  • 1/8 tsp guar
  • 2 Tbsp SF chocolate syrup, divided (like for chocolate milk)
  • 2 Tbsp FF Cool Whip

Blend vanilla protein through guar. Meanwhile, stir together cool whip with 1 Tbsp chocolate syrup. Pour blended shake into a bowl and drizzle with chocolate cool whip. Top the bowl by drizzling the remaining 1 Tbsp chocolate syrup.

To add to a cake-y texture, I crumbled a bit of an Espresso Chip Gnu bar over top. It must have been good because I enjoyed it, and after one taste Barry attempted to walk out of the kitchen with my lunch in hand.

I gave the pup a bath and continued to try to sleep. While Barry was with me, I felt fine. Nothing was bothering me. As soon as he left, I went manic. Frank was cooking dinner, so I sat down, steamed up a bowl of vegetables, and then another. Then, I wanted to eat everything.

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When my mania kicks in, I feel possessed! I ate a bunch of trail mix, goldfish…

Good Ideas with Daddy

Once again, I woke up with a recipe in my head. Dad, too, woke up with a breakfast in mind. We combined our ideas and it was fantastic!

I prepped everything at my house and walked to my dads to start our Sunday. By the way, “Get Ready” by the Rare Earth is a great power walking song.

Dad bought these Honey Ham steaks off the managers rack for like 69 cents and really wanted that with eggs. That sounded pretty darn tasty to me and I knew this concoction in my head would play perfectly with the sweet and salty ham.

Blondie Protein PancakesWP_004361

  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 2 eggs whites, or 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1/2 Tbsp SF FF Butterscotch pudding mix
  • 1/2 Tbsp PB2, or 1 tsp creamy PB
  • 2 Tbsp cottage cheese
  • splash of water
  • 1 tsp Toffee bits (optional)

Blend all, except bits, in a food processor until smooth. The PB and pudding makes this batter a bit thick, so I recommend a splash of water. Spray a heated and sprayed skillet. Fold in toffee bits if desired,  and dollop the batter and use the back of the spoon to spread batter.

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In my opinion, these dollar stacks did not need butter or syrup. I drizzled the slightest bit of SF syrup over it. Just like I expected, the salty sweet honey ham paired perfectly with the salty sweet butterscotch and peanut butter!

Breakfast was packed with protein and deliciousness, and was completed with a mug of coffee.

Following breakfast, I dove into household chores, like laundry, flipping the mattress, changing the bed linens, and over all, house cleaning. We then ran a few errands, while listening to the Eagles/Dallas game on the radio. Upon arriving back home, I had a bit of a chill. Its a beautiful sunny day, but still breezy. I really don’t know I’m complaining about a little 10 mph wind, when yesterday I had 120 mph wind whipping at me body…

Either way, another daddy-daughter combo idea came into fruition. “Have you had those pumpkin pie pop tarts, yet?” dad asked. Nope. “Why don’t you throw one in the toaster to hold us over until dinner.” Hey, want to split a mug of hot chocolate? “Sure.”

Two words: Good Ideas!

The pairing of the warm, toasted poptart, which actually did taste like pumpkin pie, and the warmth of my special hot chocolate was absolutely perfect to warm us both up! I mean, it sounds so simple but I’m still impressed. Haha!

After watching a terrible Eagles performance and finishing up a bunch of cleaning, dad had another good idea. I say its a good idea because I’ve been craving sushi! He had been craving the Chinese Buffet. And, after all, it is International Foods Week. Mexican yesterday, Asian today. We met Barry for dinner at the Hibachi Grill and Buffet. Sunday dinner is the best time to go because they amp up the seafood selection! I loaded up on sashimi and vegetables! I hit up the raw bar and I hit it hard! Mussels, tuna, salmon… and then green beans, shrimp, mushrooms, spinach and such from the hot plates.

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I was starving and, oh, so, happy, with our decision to some out to the buffet! MMM I was in veggie and sushi heaven… times 3!

 

The Bucket List

Today was all about thrills. After I saw the movie “The Bucket List,” like most people, I immediately started thinking of things I want to do before my time comes. Some items are extravagant, others are simple. Some cost a lot, others are free. Some I have completed, others still require time.

The more I thought about this list, the more lists I started forming. Now I have a notebook full of lists: Restaurants to Eat At, Books to Read, States to Visit, Countries to Visit… My list of lists is endless and ever-growing!

I wanted to sing the National Anthem at a Blue Rocks game (Wilmington’s minor league baseball team). I did that a little out of high school.

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I graduated college! I did that this past May!

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I wanted to fly in a plane. Three years ago, not only did I take my first flight, but I flew across the country to Seattle, WA for a Phi Theta Kappa Convention!

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Today, I not only was in a plane, but I jumped out of it! That’s right!  I crossed “skydiving” off my Bucket List. I could not believe I went through with it! Barry did it, too! I couldn’t believe it! My mom started crying as we boarded the plane. It was freezing! Oddly enough, I wasn’t thinking “Oh my gosh! Am I crazy? I can’t wait to get back on land.” I was thinking, “Oh my gosh its freaking freezing up here! I can’t wait to get in the car to warm up!” Hahah! Looking back on it, I don’t think I was ever scared, just full of excitement and adrenaline!

DSCN0524After an hour drive to Free Fall Adventures, endless initially of paperwork and saying that we won’t sue, we were briefed by an instructor with an incredibly thick New Zealand accent. Next, we met the instructors we would be flying with. This is Brian… He reminds me a Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen) from NCIS:LA… He took great care of me! Plus, he was super attractive! Good a girl ask for more? Haha!

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After about a 15 minute accent into the sky, we shuffled our way to the door of the plane and out we went. There was no turning back! The view still plays back in my head like a movie. It was so surreal! We descended 2 1/2 miles to the ground. The wind whipping at my face. At one point, after we first jumped, I opened my mouth to “woo hoo” and I don’t actually know if anything came out! “Oh my gosh! I’m falling! WP_004350I’m flying! Lord, keep us safe!” When we reached a certain altitude, Brian pulled the cord and the parachute deployed. After a brief delay and upward tug, we were floating.

It was so peaceful and tranquil. I could see Atlantic City on one side and Philadelphia on the other. Brian and I had a normal conversation on our way down. He even asked if I wanted to to steer the chute. “Nope! I’m fine! Thanks, though!”

When we landed, I kind of messed things up and fell to my knees like a dork, but at least I didn’t face-plant! Once we were unhooked from each other, I had to give him a hug! Then, I thanked God for a safe landing! I reunited with Barry, and then with my tearful mom, who would not let go of me!

Here’s the video of us coming in for a landing. Barry’s chute is the one that looks like a German flag. His instructor was from Germany and before we boarded the plan gave Barry the best advice:

Range (the instructor):Is this your first jump?

Barry: Yeah.

Range: Can I give you some advice? Don’t F*** this up.

We started laughing our butts off! Brian and I are the last pair to land.

Other things still on my list are marriage, children, and Master’s degree.

What’s on your Bucket List?

Following our adrenaline rush, we met up with dad for a “We’re Alive” dinner at my favorite Mexican restaurant, El Jefe. I greeted dad with a chest bump and a big hug! We sat down to chorizo con queso and 3 orders of cebollitas (my favorite). The four of us, then, dug into El Molcajete Estilo, AKA “El Jefe! This is the molten rock bowl filled with a hot reed sauce, chicken breast, steak, queso fesco, cebollitas, and jalepenos (we asked for extra), served with a side of salad, rice, and refried beans, along with four warm tortillas.

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MMMMM! I love Mexican food!

It was a great day! Currently, I’m catching up on blogging, uploading videos and photos, sending resumes, and chowing on some celery!

Oh yeah, on our way to New Jersey, we drove past the Weinermobile!!!

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Hope that made you smile as much as it did me!

Tools at Walmart and Shopping Fun

I wound up crashing on the couch last night, but I crashed hard. I guess I needed it. I woke up with a plan for my morning and I stuck with it. I offered dad a Red Velvet Cake Shake. “If I’m going to have a shake, I don’t think I’m in the mood for Red Velvet.” Well, whatchya want, pops? “Are you able to make a Banana Creme Pie?” OK, see you in 10!

Banana Creme Pie

  • 1-2 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 Tbsp SF FF Banana Cream pudding mix
  • 1 Tbsp crushed graham crackers

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Dad said it was the best shake I’ve made him! Dad was double-fisting this morning with his shake and a mug of coffee.

Before I lost my motivation, I cut my conversation with dad short, suited up, and ventured into the beautiful breeze in Wilmington, this morning, and did a little refrain running for about 2 and 3/4 mile. My destination was to the ACME. They were having a big dollar sale on celery, mushrooms, and assorted produce, and wanted to stock up.

I took my sweet ole time in the store and found some interesting items. I was picture snapping machine:

Oh no! Which to choose? I was a good girl and maintained my self control.

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Interesting… convenient… but how spoiled are we that we need flat marshmallows?

Shut the front door! My jaw dropped!

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The tiny pepperoni! I had to laugh and just imagined myself giving those out to trick-or-treaters. The poptarts? Both my dad and Barry insisted on the purchase. I have not tried them yet. And the cookies? I’m waiting for an oreo surround by chocolate chip cookies… then I’ll faint into a cookie wonderland.

Speaking of cookies, I found this link that I thought was really interesting! It all makes sense, now! No wonder I love oreos!

Oreos and Cocaine

Frank picked me up at the store and we hit Walmart for a few final items. When walking out of the store, I could not believe my eyes! Not about food, but about the complete tool that was parked next to us. Who the heck makes these stickers, let alone has the audacity to put them on their car. Unexceptable in my book!

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Tools at Walmart: I’m going to guess you graduated the bottom of your high school class, spend most of your time looking at yourself, work at McD, have the IQ of that pile of dog waste on the lawn, and probably aren’t the the prettiest sight, yourself…

Okay, off my pedestal. Despite this butthead, I was still in a great mood. I decided to switch up my post-jog routine. Instead of a shake, I remembered Julie’s protein pancakes and made the following:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein PancakesWP_004336

  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 Tbsp cottage cheese
  • 1/2 Tbsp Chocolate PB2

Blend in food processor until smooth.

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I topped mine with SF Strawberry preserves and loved every bite!

My day continued to be great when Barry called and asked if I wanted to meet up with his mom and sister. Katie is pregnant and was maternity shopping. As she was trying on mommy-to-be jeans, I wandered around the maternity. First, I through a shirt at her. Its Eagles… what did you expect? Next, a small selection of Luna bars caught my eye. As my eyes traveled along the shelving, another variety of bars caught my attention: Belly Bar Boost. First of all, how cute is that name? With my protein bar impulse, I wanted to grab one, but I have no need for it! (You hear that dad? I don’t need it!) Anyway, still full of curiosity, I checked them out and couldn’t help but smile at the names of the flavors: Baby Needs Chocolate, Lemon Lovey, S’More to Love, and Berry Nutty Cravings. I think its awesome that these pre-natal nutrition bars were made for the mommy-on-the-go!

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Then, Mrs. Preggers, as Barry calls his sister, began with the cravings… “I want froyo. Let’s get frozen yogurt.”

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You can tell who’s bowl each belongs to.

To end this day, Barry and I headed back to my place and caught up on some episodes of Chicago Fire. Thank you, OnDemand. Since my dinner was left-over from the night before, I heated up my spaghetti and microwaved a frozen meal for Barry. Both were yummy. What a great way to start my weekend!

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After tomorrow’s planned event, I hope theres a post for you tomorrow night.

Veggies and Vitamins

Wednesday

Since I could not squeeze in my cat nap, I took my (lack of) energy into the kitchen, along with my laptop, and channeled my racing mind into something constructive. I spent about 45 minutes sending out resumes before whipping up a fiberful and filling shake bowl, that kept me full for countless hours! It was just what I needed to power my 12 hour night shift.

Carrot Cake Protein Shake

(adapted from CCK’s Milkshake)WP_004311

  • 3 oz carrot, chopped and steamed
  • 1 frozen, very ripe banana (if not very ripe, use the frozen banana trick)
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 tsp Splenda brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • slightest pinch of salt
  • 1-2 packets Splenda, added sweetness, if desired
  • water, or milk (for richer taste)
  • ice
  • guar and xanthum (optional)

I was going to top the bowl with raisins and chopped walnuts. Sound delicious, right? Instead, I crumbled a quarter of a Cinnamon Raisin Gnu bar (Gnu makes a carrot cake bar, but I’m not a real fan of it). The bowl serious hit the spot and I wasn’t hungry for almost 8 hours!

Hard At Work

Hard At Work

My shift began a little rocky. Not because I had a tough assignment, just because I was still in a funk, dwelling over the missed job.  After getting my head back on straight, the night went great.

I brought the last piece of Eggplant Parm Frittata and topped it with Chipotle salsa. I brought a bundle of celery  sticks for snacking, and loaded up on raw veggies from the caf. I even had a bite of a butterfinger cake one of the nurse made. (Come on… did you really expect me to pass up anything with the word “butterfinger” in it?) But it only added to my  pride when I was one little sliver and done for the night! It was just enough to satisfy my sweet tooth and to say I had some!

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Later in the night, I required something… I wasn’t hungry, but I couldn’t stop thinking about eating something. Rather than hitting up that cake in the fridge, I grabbed a dum dum sucker from the basket and few Teddy Grahams, and was completely unphased!

WP_004317On my drive home, all I wanted was stewed tomatoes. I know it sounds odd, but I could just burst waiting to get my hands on that can! Upon arriving home, there were no cans of stewed tomatoes. I could have sworn I had a can! Diced? NO! Crushed? No. Fire Roasted? Gah! Where are my stewed tomatoes? Alas, I pulled a pepper out of the refrigerator and bit into it like an apple, in disappointment and defeat. I went with the flow and here I am. I just finished my shift up and am blogging away, dipping bell pepper and romaine into one of my favorite brands of sauce, Rising Moon Organics!

Hopefully, looking at a computer screen will tire me out so I can catch some Zs before tonight’s shift!

Thursday

With the success of yesterday’s Carrot Cake shake, I decided to make it for dad, today! After his first swing he said, “Hey, thats pretty good!” Following another gulp, “Cinnamon… mmmm… and I can’t taste the carrots! ” Dad doesn’t like cooked carrots… at all… same as beets… so I love when I get those veggies and vitamins in him! Later, I received a text from dad, “Damn good shake.” I think he liked it!

I had a few beets left in the fridge and definitely wanted to utilize them before they started to go bad.

Beet Berry Burst ShakeWP_004321

  • 1 scoop vanilla protein shake
  • 1/2 beet, peeled, chopped, and steamed
  • frozen mixed berries and fruit
  • 1/2 tsp SF orange jello powder
  • 1 packet Splenda
  • cinnamon

I wasn’t hungry but, then again, I haven’t been hungry for two days, now. I needed to eat just to try to maintain normalcy. I topped it with pretzel sticks, shredded coconut… I was so indecisive. I wound up topping it with PB2, goldfish… I just couldn’t make up my mind. Probably because I wasn’t really hungry.

I got two call backs, today, for jobs. Guess what? I didn’t qualify because I don’t have experience! It so frustrating! I was getting really down on myself. I tried to channel my feelings into a brisk walk. When I arrived at Wawa, I grabbed a coffee

Since the jar of sauce was open, and today being National Pasta Day, I drained a bag of Tofu Shirataki Spaghetti, chopped up a bunch of spinach, and topped the lot with Garlic and Chantrelle Mushroom Pasta Sauce, and bit of Chipotle salsa for a bite! However, my body had other plans. My stomach started bothering me and I felt so out of it. Well, my dinner turned into rice cakes and crackers. I guess I have dinner for tomorrow.

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Tommy Bundo Cooks: One-Pan Bachelor Meal

Today, Frank surprised me with changing out my broken alternator and Sasha Fierce is running like a champ! By the way, Sasha Fierce is my car…

Following the return of my core part, and receiving that beautiful refund, I headed home to whip up breakfast. I made Frank and Barry french toast, while I whipped up a shake bowl:

  • WP_004300cantaloupe
  • 1 Tbsp SF fat free Banana Cream pudding mix
  • 1 Tbsp SF Blueberry syrup
  • xanthum and guar (optional)

So refreshing and tasty, but I desperately needed a mug of something warm to defrost my satisfied body.

Today’s recipe is brought to you my Tommy Bundo, AKA my pops!

My girlfriend, Maggie, loves this recipe, as do I. What I love about it, is that it has just the right amount of kick! Its also a great meal for those single guys! It uses only one pan and takes less than an hour. Take notes, bachelors. Use this recipe to impress the ladies!

Kicken Cacciatore

serves about 8

  • 1 1/2 lb chicken breast
  • 2 /14 tsp black pepper???????!
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 Tbsp EVOO
  • 1 3/4 cup onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1 6.5 oz can mushroom slices and pieces, drained
  • 3 cup canned crushed tomatoes and basil

Fillet the chicken breast (about 9 fillets, or so). Season both sides with the black pepper and thyme. In a large skillet, heat the EVOO over medium-high heat. Add the chicken fillets to the pan. Cook both sides, just until there is no visible pink. Then remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic to the skillet, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the onions and peppers soften. Stir in the Italian seasoning, basil, flakes, and onion powder. Lay the cooked chicken over the vegetables, along with any juices from the sitting chicken left on the plate. Cover the chicken with mushrooms, followed by the seasoned tomatoes. Cover and simmer on low for 15-20 minutes, occasionally spooning the liquid over the chicken. Remove the lid and let sit for 5 minutes, over lowest heat, then serve.

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Chicken Cacciatore is served many ways. My dad recalls my Nonna making a small side of mashed potatoes. Dad ate his with spaghetti. You can also eat it, as is. I like it like that of with a side of steamed vegetables! We paired this delicious meal with a crisp and refreshing romaine salad and a glass of red blessington wine from a local winery.

WP_004308To seal the deal, I pulled out 2 Andes mints after dinner, like they do at Olive Garden. Haha.

Dad and I have spent the rest of the night watching TV, laughing, and snacking on various crackers. They aren’t kidding when they say “Hot” salsa!