Its Almost Here

Wednesday

Food and Emotions

As proud as I was of my eating last night at work, one thing was on my mind when I left: those donuts from the morning. I decided that slicing a quarter would be a nice treat. Although it didn’t do the trick like I thought it would, it put a sweet tooth in me that needed to be satisfied. I traveled around the kitchen biting into crackers, cheerios, Reese pieces… Anything with a salty sweet crunch. I realized it was anxiety, not hunger. I wish I would have realized it earlier but at least I realized it, and still did not go over my calorie allotment.

I’m finding the closer my exam gets, the more anxious eating I want to do but the more calorie paranoid I get. Yeah… A catch 22 kind of thing. I really am quite nervous for my exam. Just scheduling it made me nauseous and now that everyone has been passing, I have this nightmare that I’m going to be the one that fails.

I have faith in myself. Most importantly, I have faith in the Lord. I know the Lord wants me to be a nurse, to care for His children. I have trial through so much during nursing school, at work, home, and school, and there is no doubt in my mind that I shouldn’t pass. God will guide me.

Start back on track at the next meal.

WP_003387With today being National Creamsicle Day, I honored it by making a Creamsicle Shake using half a packet of Betty Lou’s Low Glycemic Orange Cream powder, water, ice, 1/2 tsp SF orange jello, and 1/4 tsp xanthum. Yum!

Before laying down, in an attempt to sleep before work, I ate a big bowl of watermelon to fill me up!

I’m packing  a Smart Ones Chicken Marsala for my night shift meal to see if it can compare to my beloved Lean Cuisine version.

At this point, in the studying game, I have officially killed two highlighters and am working on #3. I couldn’ t sleep because all I could think about was the exam. I am literally sick to my stomach over this thing. I’m have chest pain and I just want to cry from this nervousness!

Thursday

Although everyone’s meals smelled delicious, my stomach was too upset to enjoy my intended Smart Ones meal. I opted for my emergency soup with saltines. I saved some celery sticks and PB2 for a later snack. The shift went rather quickly as a I spent all my down time studying for the upcoming exam.

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Upon arriving home this morning, I was definitely hungry. Since the temperature serious dropped this morning, I opted for something warm. I came across this by accident, one day, I brewed coffee in the Keurig and mixed it with an Atkins Mixed Berry shake.

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The box was kind of banged up and I wanted to use it soon, so I took advantage of this cool morning. While sipping on this, I channeled my nervous energy into baking. I was inspired by my Strawberry muffins, the other day, to make a different type of muffin. I, of course, I had to try them out.

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Take One wasn’t bad. I think I know what alterations I need to make to satisfy your and my muffin craving.

After studying the day away, after being told I should take the day off, I finally fell asleep for a brief hour or so. Upon waking up, although my anxiety had messed with me to the point of losing my appetite, I wanted to keep with my plans for dinner.

Pistachio and Honey Mustard Crusted SalmonWP_003527

serves 4

  • 2 Tbsp Honey Mustard sauce, or mustard of choice
  • 2 tsp non fat sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp Braggs Liquid Aminos, or reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • half 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • half 1/8 tsp dill
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, in shell (15g out of shell)
  • 4 4oz salmon fillets

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine mustard through spices and mix well. Set aside. Remove the pistachios from the shells and chop. Place the salmon fillets, skin side down, on a baking sheet covered in foil and sprayed with non stick cooking spray. Divide the mustard mix over the salmon fillets and top with chopped pistachios. Bake uncovered for about 8 minutes-10 minutes, until salmons center is opaque.

I served mine with a side of spinach, onion, and mustard, like a pseudo-salad,

After a cinnamon covered almond, I came up with the idea of topping a 100 calorie bag of kettle corn with cinnamon and a packet of Splenda. Kind of genius!

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Friday

Recipe for Success

I woke up in the right mindset. I called my Alarm the “Alarm of Success.” I began the day as I do all exam days: with Dunkin and oatmeal. I took a brief jog to the Dunkin to burn off some nervous energy, grabbed my coffee, and like always, I grabbed dad one and a toasted everything bagel with cream cheese. I even got my little brother a little something.

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I sat down at the kitchen table and stuck with tradition. Dad came over to give me good luck hugs and to enjoy a bit of breakfast. I made sure to take a nibble of the bagel, like I always did. I knew I needed to stop studying! I brought Barry lunch at work and killed some time there. As he walked me back to my car, I could feel a panic attack setting in.

I sat in the car trying to breath and divert my attention elsewhere. I checked my email, and it was just what I needed! It was from my manager. Usually I cringe when I get emails from him (you never know whats in store):

gianna

“I’m gonna be a nurse! I’m a nurse!” I shouted this in the car as I drove away from Barry’s work!

I headed home, called my grandma for some calming words of wisdom and inspiration, and headed off to the exam. I sat in the car, music playing, singing loudly in the parking lot, and enjoying my sugar free mint pattie, as I always do, pre exam.

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This thing was more intense than nursing school exams. I was only allowed my ID and ATT card. They asked me to remove my necklace, but wrote a note that I kept it on since it was a cross. I removed my watch and hair ties off my wrist and locked them in a provided locker. They even noted any visible tattoos! It was intense. Now, I play the waiting game. The nauseous waiting game causing me nervous snacking and more anxiety! The nauseous waiting game causing me nervous snacking and more anxiety and body issues! Yeah… its like that.

Eggplant Pie

It was nice to sleep in yesterday and not have anything to do! I spent all day studying for the NCLEX, filling myself with brain food, like Saturn peaches, sugar free chocolate pudding, and a delicious dinner! (recipe to follow) My family has really been lucking out these past few weeks. Since I’ve found an outlet in cooking, my family has been eating really well. During my studying, I reward myself with breaks to cook, or prep to cook. Yesterday the result was baking Strawberry Muffins, and Eggplant Pie. Both were so good! Frank, my biggest critic, said the muffins were very good and the Eggplant Pie was,”Outstanding!” Having the word “outstanding” come from him was definitely a treat!

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The muffins came in handy when I woke up this morning to find a tray of donuts on the table from an apparent late night craving they had while out on the town… To resist the urge, I warmed up a strawberry muffin, sliced it in half, and added to the already gooey strawberries inside it with some sugar free strawberry preserves. Take that, donut!

After dinner, and along day of brain overload, I rewarded myself with Zumba. Unfortunately, my booty shaking was cut short when a girl got light headed and fainted. I ran to help her. Behind me, I hear my girlfriend yell,”It’s okay! She’s a nurse!” It was thrilling hearing someone yell that so close to my exam!

WP_003511Following Zumba, I got really hungry. Thank goodness Zumba is early on Monday nights and I went home to enjoy an Orange Cream Dannon Light & Fit Greek, with cheerios for crunch. I got antsy and wound up finishing a head of romain with salsa, filling up on water. I’m such a bunny rabbit…

I headed to bed with a mug of chamomile tea and fell asleep in NCLEX-mode.

After Sunday’s adventure at the Ren Faire, and my brief time at Zumba, last night, my calves we starting to feel it today. I began the WP_003512gloomy day with my normal routine of a shake. Since my vanilla protein powder has been replaced, I began with an Apple Eggnog Shake:

  • 2 scoops Vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 md fuji apple, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp sugar free Eggnog Da Vinci syrup
  • spinkle apple pie spice
  • water
  • ice

A total winner that Barry didn’t think would work! I made Frank a very bright Watermelon Shake.

Today was so gloomy that my dad’s boss told him not to come to work because there was so much flooding! It was also gloomy in my kitchen when my spare Magic Bullet bit the dust. I’m glad I had my smoothie maker to fill in.

Before heading to work, I filled up on some watermelon and I’ve really been digging the beet scene lately. I actually made another beet salad for dinner tonight, for work. I even used some Fakin’ Bacon Tempeh! And what goes well with bacon? Bleu Cheese! I steamed together sliced onion, chopped tempeh, sliced petite carrots, and chopped, sliced beets and served it over a bed of spinach, topped with crumbled reduced fat bleu cheese. The warmth from the vegetables warmed up the cheese and this salad was “no dressing required!” I’ve been trying to talk dad into trying beets, but I haven’t quite gotten there. Maybe I’ll sneak it into something one day. What can I say? You can’t beat beets!

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Usually, being clerk at work makes me want to eat. Not because I’m hungry or burning calories, but because I’m bored. Tonight was great because I ate my delicious salad for dinner, and had some grahams and PB for a snack! Plus, with studying and all the paperwork at the desk, I kept busy!I’m serious! As soon at 7pm hit, this place went crazy, like full moon crazy! Eureka!

I picked up a pack of sliced eggplant from the farmers market last week and wanted to use it up before it began to turn. My intent was to make an eggplant parm pizza, but then this brain of mine began to crank some gears and this little beauty was born. Its like if eggplant parmesean and spaghetti pie had a baby…

Eggplant PieWP_003507

Serves 4

1 large eggplant, sliced 1/8in
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2/3 cup bell pepper, chopped
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 cup fat free ricotta
1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 pkg Fettuccine Tofu Shirataki noodles
3/4 cup fat free shredded mozzarella, divided
4oz 96% lean ground beef
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh spinach, packed (25g)
1 Tbsp reduced fat grated Parmesan

Peeling the eggplant is your preference. Over high heat, in a skillet, cook slices of eggplant until they begin to shrivel from the water loss, flipping to ensure both sides cook. Transfer to a paper towel while cooking the remaining slices of eggplant. While eggplant is still pliable, lay the eggplant strategically in a sprayed 9in pie pan to create a pseudo-pie crust (about 7 slices). Sprinkle the bottom on the pan with 1/4 cup of mozzarella.

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Empty the noodles into a colander, rinse, and snip through the noodles with scissors, as these these noodles can be pretty long. In the hot pan, after the eggplant has been cooked and removed, briefly toss the noodles in the pan, tossing constantly to remove excess fluid, and return to the colander.

Spray skillet with non stick cooking spray and briefly cook down onions, garlic, and bell pepper, until onions are
mildly translucent. Transfer warm vegetables into a bowl with uncooked mushrooms, ricotta, spices, and egg. Then add the noodles to the ricotta mix. Transfer into eggplant crust and distribute evenly.

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Brown the ground beef. Once crumbled and browned, add the can of diced tomatoes. Stir together and top over the noodles in the crust. Sprinkle a pinch on mozzarella and the grated cheese. Add the chopped spinach and cover with the remaining eggplant (about 5 slices). Top with remained shredded mozzarella and bake in a preheat oven  at 350 F for 15-20 minutes.

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Slice and enjoy!

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Nutrition (1/4 recipe):

Calories: 149, Fat: 0.8g, Sat. Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 22.5mg, Sodium: 294mg, Carbs: 15.8g, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 4.7g, Protein: 16.8g

Out of Bed, Sleepy Head

I’ve got anxiety, yes I do! I’ve got nerves, how bout you?

Have you ever met someone who has the ability to walk into a room and change the entire mood? I compare it to ancient Native American … they would not look into mirrors or take pictures at the risk of having their soul taken from them. Its kind of like that… This person walks into the room and I feel like my soul gets sucked out of me. I know that this feeling is something I allow to happen and that I allow this person to affect me this way.

With a heavy chest, I grabbed a sugar free chocolate pudding and topped it with multigrain Cheerios and pralines and headed to my room to write and to separate myself for the trigger to my anxiety. I did feel a little silly eating this, since I just had a bowl of Arctic Zero before Barry left, but it was satisfying and a call with my grandmother finished up my night with a smile.

WP_003339I needed caffeine, protein, and stay power when I woke, this morning. After struggling at 11am to even roll out of bed, I gave a chance to a unique sounding yogurt: Alpina Revive Honey nonfat Greek Yogurt with Chai Spiced granola, and crawled back into bed with it and a mug of eggnog coffee. I’m usually not a fan of honey yogurt but this was very good, not sweet but not tart. I think the best part of the granola was the pistachio and hemp pieces and the combination of spices. Every now and then, I’d bite into a piece of crystallized ginger, which would take me by surprise. I probably could have done without that, or at least maybe smaller piece, but overall, I was pleased.

It took a lot to get me out of bed, finally. I curled into a ball under the covers on the couch. Hugging my knees to my chest for hours with absolutely  no drive to do anything. I did not have an appetite, in fact, I actually felt sick to my stomach (not from the yogurt).

After conversing with my girlfriend Maggie, I broke our plans to go to Zumba (which probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do). I need Zumba! With these late, restless nights, late night mangia, NCLEX paranoia, and just overall drama at home, I was in desperate need of some nervous energy-burning cardio. She knew something was up and came to visit me after she got off work. I broke into the last bottle of wine from trip to San Jose…

After watching a cooking show with some spectacular grilled cheeses, I really got in the mood for one! But after being in a ball for a few hours, and after a glass of wine, my nervous belly ache went away and hunger kicked in! Dinner was half a roast beef, swizz, and tomato grilled cheese with spicy brown horseradish mustard on Multigrain Fiber One bread. I’ve been thinking about KFC slaw for days, now, and with wine brain, Frank and I hopped in the car to get him a pot pie, my little brother some fried chicken, and me, cole slaw! I may still have been intoxicated in the car when I flipped myself over and asked Frank if this was illegal.

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Mom arrived home and I told her how the tension was affecting me. Things got pushed aside as we watched Chopped and enjoyed a bowl of Arctic Zero topped with Kashi and jimmies. That just wasn’t good enough. Continuing with drunken hunger and energy, I grabbed a sweet, nutty, crunchy fix: Lil Drums Vanilla with Caramel Sauce, topped with peanuts. I love these things!!!

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The night continued with well mannered conversation and shared favorites with salsa: Extra Dark Sourdough pretzels (why must they be so good?), sliced bell peppers, and deseeded cucumbers.

Refrain Running

Last night, dad and I watched another Redbox called Not Fade Away. I picked it because it was about music and it had James Gandolfini in it. I dug the music but the movie, itself, was so-so.

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Also making an appearance was the Chocolate Peanut Butter Arctic Zero with fat free whipped cream, jimmies, broken fat free pretzel sticks for a salty crunch, and a sprinkle of  Chocolate PB2. I love that I can eat this and not have an anxiety attack about it! Arctic Zero, you are a blessing to all those in eating disorder recovery!

After dropping Barry’s dinner off to him at work, I arrived home not being able to take my eyes off the last fuji apple. I sliced it up and enjoyed the slices with Be Well Nutella sandwiched between them.

Utter Frustration

Despite all my yawning and being in bed by 10, I did nothing all night, but lay there- completely awake! I tried counting sheep, deep breathing, stretching, and even massaging pressure points to relax. Nothing worked! I was too tired to study, too tired to talk or open my eyes… I was so frustrated I wanted to scream! But I was too tired for that too.

Eventually I gave in and whipped out a pad if paper and worked on a few new recipes. By 4 am, my belly was growling! I tried to ignore it but now I know what time my food is digested by and why I’m hungry in the morning.

I mosied into the kitchen. My immediate reaction was to head to the MagicBullet, but since it was 4am, I thought that might be a bit inconsiderate to others actually sleeping! I grabbed a granola bar, which I enjoyed. But suddenly, I was hit with eating disorder anxiety. Just peachy!

I hate laying down after eating, but I became overwhelmed with fatigue after eating my Kashi and passed out until being awoken 3 hours later by a serious of noises. First, Bunny was meowing incessantly, so I got up, made sure he had food and fell back asleep… briefly, that is, until I was awoke by a claw scratching at my foot…

Next came a wake up call… apparently my little brother over slept and Frank was yelling to his room  to get up! Well, I’m up!

I text dad to see if he wanted to take a shake to work so I threw half a banana in with a  scoop of almond butter and Be Well Nutella, and 2 scoops of Herbalife Cafe Latte. Very tasty!

Around 11am, I whipped up brunch for Frank and myself. Franks shake included Cafe Latte Shake mix, chocolate shake mix, Be Well Nutella, Almond Butter, and sugar free Torani coconut syrup to make a Pseudo-Almond Joy.

After Barry’s fascination with the Blueberry cheesecake shake from our Denny’s Breakfast menu, I was in the mood for a cheesecake shake, myself. Returning to the good ol’ shakes, I threw together a coffee and a Mixed Berry Cheesecake:WP_003304

  • 1 Tbsp sugar free fat free Cheesecake pudding mix
  • 1 scoop vanilla shake mix
  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup Welch’s Antioxidant frozen Mixed Berry Blend

WP_003305I like to add fat free graham crackers to my cheesecake shakes, but this morning I added about 1/4 cup multigrain Cheerios on top to give me a crunchy aspect. It worked out great! I always feel so much more satiated when I eat my shakes with a spoon… its probably all in my head…

In an ultimate procrastination mood, I did a few things around the house. I finally decided to call work and see what the unit looked like and was told I would be on the desk. Well, after my mini anxiety about the granola bar, and the recent knowledge that I would be sitting for 8 hours, I decided I needed to feel somewhat accomplished.

Frank found an old picture of his dad and some family friends. The edges were starting to brown and get tattered-looking, so I grabbed the picture and took a little brisk walk, about 1 mile round trip, got a copy and enhancement made, and returned with it framed. He really liked it!

I’m always happy when I can make others smile:)

FYI: August 1st began National Sandwich Month. I’m kicking it off with a left over meatloaf sandwich! Holla! I grabbed the last slice of Honey Mustard Crusted Poultryloaf, threw it on a slice of multigrain with BBQ sauce, and headed to work with my NCLEX book in hand. I must say, the loaf was even better the next day!

As I arrived at work, I stopped by the caf to grab a drink, only to be greated my blueberry pies. Proud that I kept I walking, I came onto my unit to find a pile of temptation in the break room…

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Look away! While at the desk, I could only think of the mini blueberry scone… I cut a little piece off and walked away. Thank God! My plan was to drink lots of fluid and chew gum to keep my mind off the thought of a pastry! I ran to the caf to grab dinner for some busy nurses and grabbed some cucumbers and the like, along with a SF chocolate pudding. I love chocolate pudding with crumbled grahams! So far so good.

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One of the girls had brought peppers and cherry tomatoes in from her garden so I grabbed a few tomatoes to snack on. Finding some salsa, I decided to snack on the peppers. They looked like habeneros…

I guess I was feeling pretty ballsy or that the salsa what act as a coolant, because I bit into that thing like a champ. HOT PEPPER!!! I had to grab a drink and blow my nose… not ssuch a smart decision on my part.

With my good intake for the day, I cut a 1/4 of one of the Devils Food Crumb donuts as a chocolate treat. Damn it, Entenmanns! Why do the crumbs taste so good?!!?

I’m a really crumby person…

I have a problem with crumbs! Like I’ll be that weird person that eats thecrumbs left in the donut box, just so I can feel like I ate a donut…. Despite, still being 500 calories under what I alot myself, I still was having major calorie anxiety!

I wish I could figure out why? Is there something else manifesting itself as calorie anxiety? Am I nervous about the upcoming NCLEX? Is that why I’m not sleeping? What is going on with me?

Refrain Running

Not, refrain from running! Refrain Running. Music is very important to me. In fact, one of my first memories with my dad is him singing (he is a fantastic singer, by the way) and dancing with me. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a refrain is a part of a song, like the chorus… the part that gets repeated in between the verses…

On my brief, but most needed, run yesterday, I came up with the term “Refrain Running.” I know the right music sets the tone for my workouts. For instance, I have a difficult time running to slower songs, but some up beat songs have an off beat which throws off the sequence of my run. It sounds silly, but its true! Like Thrift Shop by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.. Ilove that song, it pumps me up, but I have a hard time running to it because the beat makes me want to strut down the street like I’m cool or something. Haha!

Anyway, with this in mind, I noticed that I run during certain parts of songs, and power walk during other parts, creating a great interval routine! Here are some songs I realized work well with this concept:

  • Pitbulll- Hotel Room Service
  • Rooney- When Did Your Heart Go Missing
  • Adam Lambert- If I Had You
  • Ludacris ft. Pharrell– Money Maker

I’ll add to this list as I come across these songs, but its a great way to coordinate intervals into running without using a distance tracker or an app.

Lastly,

WP_003306I have noticed that my hair has gotten so much thicker! And with my new hair growth, new bangs, well, fuller bangs! My mom was a hairdresser so I’m relatively savy on trimming my bangs, so snip, snip, and viola! I Love it!

This lead me to this thought:

With new health, comes new hair! 

Shout Outs

Shout Out to my mama:

I finished up my Zumba class, last night, and found a voicemail on my cell from my mom, raving about the meatloaf! About 9 years ago, my mom had the gastric bypass surgery and ever since, she has had a difficult time holding pretty much any real food down. Its amazing, really. You would think her body would crave protein, but the only foods that settle are things like chips and pizza. Its pretty bizzare.

So one of my nutrition goals is to cook food that my mom will and can eat. She devoured last night’s Honey Mustard Crusted Poultry Loaf! I think the trick with her is lean protein. When I cook soy products for her, she enjoys it. Last nights meatloaf was super lean!

Then, she began to tell me how much mashed potato she ate! She couldn’t believe it, either, that is was cauliflower!

At this time I was in the Walgreens, grabbing a bottle of water, crying in the middle of the story. I felt like such a goof, but I had never heard my mom talk about my cooking like this!

I also mentioned I dropped dinner off to Barry at work, last night, and he sent me this:

“Dinner was excellent hun. It was finished before you text me. Superb!”

The time that elapsed between me dropping it off and texting him was under 15 minutes! Haha! I think he was just hungry! Haha!

Shout Out to all you carb-counting, comfort food loving followers! This is for you!

Garlic Mashed Cauli-TatersWP_003265

  • 1 medium cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 tsp minced garlic*
  • 2 tsp Brummel and Brown light butter spread
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp low fat original creamer
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • sour cream, fat free cheddar, real lean bacon crumbles (optional)

In a microwavable bowl, add a splash of water, about 1/4 cup, and the cauliflower, cover with with plastic wrap, and microwave for 9 minutes. Carefully, spoon the cauliflower into a food processor and add all the other ingredients. Whip it up and occasionally vent the processor to relieve the steam pressure.

WP_003266Top with what ever you’d like!

*If resources and time allows, roast the garlic before adding it to the mix.

MMMM! For a carb-lover, such as myself, I was in heaven with its garlicy, creamy, potato faker goodness!

Shout Out to my girl, Alex!

Every week, you read about my time at Zumba. Well, now its time to meet the girl behind it all! Alex kicks some serious Zumba ass and I love her classes. She incorporates, not only Latin-style dances, but Indian and hip-hop. Having such a variety of styles, music, and Alex’s personality, keeps me coming back every week!

I asked her after class if I could share her Facebook page with you, so if you’re in the area, look her up, and come join the party!

After dinner, last night, I suited up and headed to Zumba. You know I’m about to go hard when the pink pre-wrap headband  comes out!

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Zumba with Alex always send me home hyped with energy and good vibes, and I sleep like a rock!

WP_003277And Alex must have worked me hard, too, because I was hungry when I got home! Yay, for Special K Chocolatey Strawberry 90 calorie cereal bars!

throwback to sophomore homecoming 2006

On the Food Front:

Shout out to my Sista from Anotha Mista (literally):

Caterina is my step-sister, Frank’s daughter. I recently found out that she began cooking. Growing up, I was always the one in the kitchen, but now, Cat has her own recipe blog with wordpress.com. Enjoy!

Soon enough, we will be teaming up for a “Sisters Who Cook” post. Keep an eye out!

As I laid in bed, last night, my tummy began to growl and I snack on a handful of pretzel sticks, which was quickly followed by a mild tummy ache. Maybe it was the duck tongue on the episode of Chopped I was watching. Either way, I tried my best to settle both my belly and my mind…

Yesterday, Barry bought me Kashi’s new cereal: Heart to Heart Nutty Chia Flax! This, topped with flax milk and a handful of freeze dried strawberries, hit my breakfast tooth, this morning. Its like cheerios with a sweetness with flax and chis seeds stuck to each “O”!

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After a late night and a very early morning, thanks to my brothers alarm buzzing for 40 minutes, I laid back down to see if a mid morning nap could happen. It didn’t, but I did give me the motivation to get myself up and going. I got changed, and took advantage of the nice breeze and went for a nice brisk 2 mile walk up to the store, where I, of course, took advantage of the discount produce!

Shorty after arriving home, I wrapped three dill pickles in some lean turkey lunch meat to replenish my sodium electrolytes. My walk made me feel a little less guilty about sitting on my tush for the next hour studying.

The tummy began to grumble, again, about 2 hours later, to which I responded with POPCORNERS (its terrible how good these are). I, then, realized a better, crunchier, more refreshing option! I felt like a genius! Celery!

WP_003278This leads me to admitting a very serious problem: My name is Sammy Bundo, and I am a salsa addict.

Yes, we know I’m a dancing fool, but I am referring to salsa of the chunky variety, especially the homemade stuff! “How filling and refreshing and yummy was my celery and salsa,” you ask? Yummy enough to account for majority of the missing salsa from this jar! New favorite health snack! 

Lunch time was not the last appearance of salsa for the day. After dinner, snacky Sammy kicked in and nibbling ensued. I introduced dad to the snack, and he couldn’t believe was good it was! We wound up finishing the celery and a bell pepper, that we used for dipping. The jar is almost empty! I’m serious when I say try this combo! It feels like your chewing and chewing and its sooooo good!

So, Tuesday was meatloaf, and potatoes, and tonight’s comfort food was pasta! Dad and I are both suckers for scallops, so when I came across this at Trader Joes, I scooped it up!

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Saucy Scallops with Mushrooms in an Emmental Cheese sauce! I didn’t know what emmental cheese was, but I was sold! (Emmental cheese is a swiss cheese, by the way).

I threw this in the skillet with salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, additional mushrooms and peas, and reduced fat Parmesan.

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MMM! The sweet peas and scallops with the earthy tones of the mushrooms was absolutely delicious with the creamy white white cheese sauce! While pops prefers pasta, I topped a bowl of Fettuccine Tofu Shirataki Noodles with the saucy mix, and served both up with a glass of wine that I had gotten on my trip to San Jose and some garlic toast.

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WP_003279The wine was a Rose wine from Napa Valley, CA called Ménage à Trois. It was a complete combination of sweet and dry and refreshing and tart! Perfect for what a rose should be! We actually finished the bottle of wine, which is probably why I had the munchies. The wine was delicious! I’m going to keep an eye out for it on the east coast.

Continuing our guilt-free snacky adventure as we watched our Redbox movie, Flight, I serve up a big bowl of the Chocolate Peanut Butter Arctic Zero, sprinkled with Chocolate PB2, multigrain cheerios, for crunch, and jimmies!

The remainder of this night, I plan on sleeping, hopefully, and studying away.

Big news: I scheduled the date, time and location of my NCLEX exam! I had a hard time clicking ‘confirm,’ I was so scared! I can do this… maybe the munchies were wine induced and nerve-related… who knows, but please keep me in my prayers!

Memorial Day

Memorial Day was on a Monday this year, which meant no work for Dad! Instead, we took advantage of this beautiful day!

I had worked a 12 the night before and so Dad picked me up abit after 2pm. We headed to the park for some basketball! I’ve played basketball since third grade, and although I am far from an All Star, I love it!

It was a beautiful day, full of fun and laughter! Dad and I even managed to work up a bit of a sweat! After a few drills on the court, we each hydrated ourselves with a bottle of water, and drove around the city, exploring the nicer areas of the city and admiring the Brandywine River.  I figure that such a nice day, called for some further exploring and Daddy-Daughter time. I took Dad to what I had previously called The Secret Garden. Dad loved it! The last time I was there it was beautiful. This time, the flowers were in bloom, making the scene even more majestic. To further relay the essence of Spring time, baby bunnies were out to play! We finished our day with a trip to the grocery store and a snack.

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I picked up the Chobani Flip Vanilla Golden Crunch, vanilla Greek yogurt with corn flakes, oats, and pralines (the pralines are what sold me on this) . I have never been a fan of vanilla yogurt, but this was the best I’ve ever had. I added some extra crunch with some Multigrain Cheerios, and we finished our snacks with Watermelon.

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Speaking of Chobani, I finally tried some of the Chobani bites flavors. As much as I love fresh figs, I have not found a single fig yogurt that I have enjoyed, the Chobani bite Fig with Orange Zest is included. Although I coud differentiate the texture of the fig, I did not get much flavor from the fig or the zest, and was rather disappointed. On a higher note the Chobani bite Caramel with Pineapple Chunks was awesome! It was sweet with big chunks of pineapple evenly distributed in the cup, and is prefect for a guitless treat!

In other food news:

Over the course of the last blog-less weeks, I cooked Barry dinner! He had never eaten eggplant before, so I made him my favorite stir-fry and ampted it up with some chicken breast.

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I also made a super yummy and refreshing shake! I had always heard of the lemon and raspberry combination. I had a handful of raspberries that I wanted to use up and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to experiment. This tart, berry bursting shake filled me up, woke me up, and was over all a winner!

Lemon Raspberry ShakeWP_002479 (1)

1/3- 1/2 cup fresh raspberries

1/2 Tbsp sugar free Raspberry Torani syrup

1 Tbsp sugar free, fat free Lemon pudding mix

1/8 xanthum

water

ice

Another night, I knew  was going to be relatively sedentary at work, since I knew I would be working the 1:1. I opted for a protein dinner in the form of eggs. Yes, liquid egg substitute, like Egg Beaters, can be microwaved. I used 1/2 cup, and tossed it with a large handful of broccoli slaw, 2 Tbsp of shredded fat free cheddar cheese, and some hot sauce! I microwaved this baby, giving it a stir ever y 30 to 45 second or so until it was fully coked. Everyone kept entering the break room asking what smelled so good. They were so surprised when I told them it was eggs!

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I also Have been seriously utilizing Greek yogurt and cucumber. I salmon and dill salad, much like the Dill Chicken salas, but this time, added a chopped dill pickle and fat free Thousand Island dressing. I ate this at work over spring mix and sliced bell pepper. I have really been digging bell peppers lately. Not only do they have low glycemic index, but the also are very filling!

Dill Salmon SaladWP_002425       

serves 2

1 6oz plain non fat Greek yogurt

1 md cucumber, peeled and deseeded, chopped

1 tsp chopped or minced garlic

1 tsp dillWP_002483

2 Tbsp fat free Thousand Island dressingWP_002478

2 dill pickles chopped

a pinch of salt and pepper

1 5oz can salmon

Well, I guess that was a nice foodie recap of the last few weeks, plus it helped pass time on this not-so-busy night shift!

Speaking of foodie recaps, there are two things I must share with you. SmartOnes has oatmeal now! I’m a huge stickler for breakfast, and am I firm believer in this jump starting your metabolism, and setting you up for a productive day. The oatmeal comes in 3 classics flavors: Apples and Cinnamon, Maple and Brown Sugar, and Peaches and Cream. Also, KIND has released a few new flavors as well: Maple Glazed Pecan & Sea Salt and Dark Chocolate Chili Almond! I haven’t seen either products on shelves yet, but keep your eyes peeled, and comment with your opions on the new products!

Playing Catch Up

This rainy Tuesday morning (3/12) started out with a shake and hot tea. The Black and Muddy recipe calls for chocolate shake mix, coffee syrup, cappuccino mix, peanut butter, and chocolate pudding mix. I dumbed it down this morning:WP_001516

1 Cafe Latte Muscle Milk Light
2 Tbsp ChocolatePB2
1/2 Tbsp sugar free Chocolate pudding mix

I must say, it was very similar to the original and I got my chocolate fix early in the day.
Speaking of chocolate and peanut butter, I also got a fix with a 90 calorie chewy Fiber One bar! Mmmm! Chocolate and Peanut Butter… Is there any better combination?

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I wasn’t quite in the mood for a workout, but not working out all weekend was really starting to  get to my head. I figured this would be  good way to clear my head and prepare for endless studying! However, I feeling rather uninspired. Thank goodness for Courtney, who asked if I wanted to do today’s circuit. I asked if I could share it with you and without further ado…

Courtney’s Total Body Circuit: complete 1 minute of each, following the laps

4 laps around the gym (basketball court)run backwards

plank extensions

heel to the heavens, with exercise ball

360 degree shoulder raise

2 laps runningjumping jacksbicep curls with isometric hold, alternating sides

elbow to high knees

chest flies

 ↓  ↓
3 laps runningside shufflesquat press

mountain climbers

standing incline chest press

fast feet

1 lap running

1 lap walking

 

I’ll tell ya, out of everything in this, I felt the Heels to the Heavens burn the most! Intense! (Definitely use an exercise ball to feel this one!) By the end of this workout, I could could feel the sweat dripping down my nose! It was just what I needed today: something quick and something to burn!

After a much needed shower, I hit the caf to enjoy my dinner, a salad and post workout orange. The tempeh really stole the show on this one! Wowzah! It added so much flavor and texture to the salad!

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After a few hours of learning about traumatic brain injuries, I headed to practice. To hold me over I tried a new yogurt: Fage flip Orange Cinnamon. When I saw it, two things popped in my head a) must add flax, and b) I hope it doesn’t taste like potpourri. I know thats a weird thing to think, but its the first thing to pop in my head.. hello.. orange… cinnamon… fall… potpourri…

Anyway, I rather enjoyed it.

So I’ve been referring to “practice” for the past few weeks now, and I suppose that since this week is the big event, I should come clean…

I am in the Vagina Monologues! I saw them last year and felt so empowered, so invigorated . I needed to be part of this. Today was a dress rehearsal and I can not believe how fantastic it has come together!

PS. My eating was fan-freaking-tastic today! Not too much, not too little! Things are definitely turning around! Yay!

Friday:

Over the next few days, nothing but studying was endured. In fact, I could not make it to dress rehearsal for the Monologues and they almost cut my out of the show! I know, crazy, right.

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Test Day breakfast: Peaches and Cream Oatmeal with flax and a cup of tea

Sometimes in life, you need to make a judgement call. I stand by mine. As much as I love the show, my education comes first! Luckily, God blessed me with both! I passed my exam, and last night was opening night of the Monologues! It was a brutal exam and an excellent show! For the next few nights, I will be in the show! All the money we raise goes to Project Life Line, and organization aiding rape victims and those victim of sexual abuse or assault. It covers a wide variety of problems, and its an amazing feeling to know that I am helping bring awareness to such issues.

during intermission of opening night

during intermission of opening night

Have you ever had to make a judgement call? What was it? Did if have the desired outcome? 

or

What kind of events have you participated in that support projects you are passionate about?

After the show, I went straight to work… talk about dedication! Just kidding! Yay for 7-Eleven and the endless supply of coffee and mixed fruits!

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Since I ate “dinner” Friday morning, it was meat free. I love Amy’s meals for a meat free option! This morning I ate Amy’s Mexican Tamale Bowl. I WP_001545always add a decent amount chili powder and hot sauce to spice it up! I split a veggie omelette with a friend at work and made it like a huevos ranchero with the tamale pie! Genius!

As I came home from work this morning, I could not decided whether to hit the sack or indulge my growling belly. Belly it was and I dug into a big bowl or assorted cereals (Cheerios, Kix and the like) and a fruit salad!

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I have to say though, one of my favorite things I ate this week was called a Crazy Apple. They are apples that have been flavored. I tried out the Pomegranate Grape and couldn’t get enough. It wasn’t an overwhelming overly sweet grape flavor like I was afraid of. I can’t wait to try the Tropical flavor!

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Roasted Vegetables: Crock Pot Recipe #7

Wednesday:

I went to class this morning and while waiting, enjoyed a Muller Mousse Parfait. A girl I’m in clinical with loves these, so I gave it a try.

WP_001225I tried the peach passion fruit, figuring if I was going to try something, I might as well try the most exotic sounding. I topped it with both ground flax and chia, and it was delicious and filling! I only have one complaint: way too much sugar! Seriously, it had a whole days worth of sugar in it!

After this cardiac cram session, I hit the gym. I had a full workout planned but as I was doing it, I realized I was not going to be able to complete it, if I needed to get some sleep for night shift. I only worked out for an hour or so. I was so bummed when that I had to leave. Have you ever been so into your routine, you just didn’t want to stop. Seriously, even the shuffle on my iPod just kept giving me great songs to power up to!

I hit the sheets when I got home, unfortunately  only getting about 2 hours of sleep for my 12 hour shift. I made something that was LONG overdue: a shake. Iv’e been checking up on this blog I found and she made a shake that sounded delicious, so I gave it a go. The following was whipped up:

handful of kaleWP_001227

handful of frozen, pitted dark cherries

1 scoop Herbalife Vanilla Formula 1

1 scoop Herbalife Vanilla PDM

half a frozen banana

1 Tbsp sugar free cheesecake pudding mix

and lots of ice!

Pretty darn tasty… Actually, dad asked me to make him one for Thursday morning!

WP_001228Thursday:

Over the course of the long night, I did some pretty wise snacking choices, suck as graham crackers, sugar free pudding, and 94% fat free popcorn. I have to same, though, my favorite meal of the night, was the Raisin and Spice Oatmeal. I stirred in a little PB, and mmmmmm good!WP_001231

After I got home, I started preparing the crock pot. Tonight’s recipe is in preparation for tomorrow’s dinner (I can’t wait!)

Once all the ingredients were in the crock, I sat down to finish some homework and enjoyed a nice bowl of Banana Nut and Peanut Butter Cheerios, a cup of Pumpkin Spice coffee with some sugar free french vanilla powdered creamer and a few dark chocolate covered espresso beans to keep me going for the day!

Katie loves crock pots too and I remembered a while back she posted about roasting vegetables in a crock pot. Being the sucker for veggies that I am, I starting thinking up ways to use these veggies. Over rice? with sausage? In a pita? The possibilities are endless! Needless to say, I hit up the discount produce shelf…

Roasted Crock Pot Veggies

2 bell pepper (I like using colors)WP_001233

3 cloves garlic, slivered

half an onion, sliced in rings

a few baby portabellos

1 large carrot stick, sliced into very thin coins

handful of sun-dried tomatoes, sliced thin

1 small eggplant, sliced to 1/4 in thick

spices, to taste

Prepare all the vegetables, adding or subtracting vegetable that you enjoy, and toss them in the crock pot. Season, cover, and cook.

The original recipe calls for oil, but instead, I just gave the top of the veggies a quick spray with some non-stick pray and few shot a liquid aminos. I couldn’t find my Italian seasoning in the cupboard, so I used some granulated garlic, black pepper, parsley, oregano, and basil, and gave it all a nice toss.

WP_001235Cover the pot and look on low, stirring occasionally.

During class, I was starting to sense some hunger creeping up on me. I looked around the room, and wouldn’t you know like four people were chopping on protein bars! AHHHH! I knew this would be tough!

When I got home from class, the house smelled like a warm garden… fresh veggies in the air! I hustled into the kitchen to give them a stir and a try. I was so happy with how they turned out! The carrots were just the right consistency  the onions became translucent  the peppers and mushrooms cooked down, the tomatoes got soft and sweet, the eggplant absorbing all the flavors…

I had some leftover turkey sausage to I put a little in a tortilla with some veggies and I was in heaven! This most definitely will be a meal another night.WP_001237

As for tonight’s dinner, I was jonesing for a Wendy’s Jr. Hamburger, and mom was really eyeing up the chili. My creation was a chili dipped burger! YUM! I snacked on some mixed fruit for dessert!

Over all, the last 24 hours was pretty decent with food… only a few minor binges.

After meeting up with Mike to finish our assignment, I tried to squeeze in a workout before being detained in nursing labs for 3 hours. I was able to squeeze in the following workout, based off of Julie’s Beat Boredom Interval Workout:

Weights:

Sitting Crunches 15reps 4 set 53 lbs
Tricep Extensions 15reps 4 sets 20 lbs
Sitting Crunches 15reps 4 sets 53 lbs

Elliptical:

0-10 min 11 resistance
10-1230 13
1230-15 14
15-20 11

Repeat Weights

Treadmill:

1-5 minutes 4.2 speed 8 incline
5-630 7 1
630-8 5 1
8-10 4.2 1

Now, I ready to crash, wake up refreshed, workout, watch some lectures, and cook you all a wonderful Friday Lenten dinner!Even though, I was totally sleep deprived, I did not want to leave. These last two days I’ve really been in the workout zone!

The Secret Garden

WP_001162I opted for a later workout this today since I had to finish up some homework this morning. While I did so, I made myself a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch topped with some flax milk and half an apple. I enjoyed the crunchy sweetness so much, I ate it again for lunch! Yeah… It was that good!
One thing I love about Lent is it gives me even more of an excuse to eat peanut butter! I must definitely took advantage of this by snacking throughout the day in my many types of nut butters.

Today is Friday which means no meat for the Bundo bellies. I decided to continue with today’s nut butter theme for dinner with a grilled PB &J and a side of carrot sticks. Its sounds more like a lunch, but on high fiber bread, its a winner! WP_001206

My friend Mike text me to see if I wanted to meet up. So while I waited for him I went for a jog. Today was beautiful! The perfect day for a run! In fact, I completed 2 days worth of my Couch to 5K app! On my run, I passed this tall rock enclosure that I never really thought twice about. I read the plaque on the wall and learned that this privacy wall is actually a garden. As I approached this garden, I felt like a little girl discovering Narnia! It was old. The ground was laid with slates of rock with moss in between them. Huge cement stair cases… Broken windows that I later discovered to be an old green house… It was like The Secret Garden. Its amazing what right in your own backyard!

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Mike and I met at the park and the doggies had a play date. I’m glad he got me out of the house.

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Beauty decided today would be a good day to play in the mud. So the tired puppy, after walk, went right into the tub.

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Today was a good day, even food-wise!

Tonights snack? 100 calories bag of Kettle Corn drizzled with nutella!

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Heavenly Honey Nut

I started the day off with some yoga, then booked it to school. Clinical was crazy busy! I worked up quite an appetite. By 1100 I was starving and the Special K bar was not cutting it, so I ran down to the vending machines and grabbed a Nature Valley Sweet and Salty Almond bar! I love this thing! Its sweet and salty and theres an almond butter coating!

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I can’t believe the appetite I’ve had today. I ran to the cupboard when I got home and tapped into my new cereal: Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch!

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Oh my gosh! I went to chow town! I loved the variety of textures: cheerios, flakes and granola clusters and a hint of honey!

Dad came over for dinner tonight and I made one of his favorite treats: McRib. I do not like the real McRibs at all, but dad loves them! So I switched it up on him.

McMeatless RibWP_001065

Gardein Barbecue Riblets (prepare according to package directions)

Slice of onion

pickles (optional)

Light hamburger bun (toasted)

Stack and enjoy!

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WP_001066I figured you can’t have Mickey D’s without fries… I had some cubed butternut squash in the fridge so I sprayed a pan with some cooking spray, and tossed the cubes in basil, dried minced garlic and a touch of salt and baked them in the toaster oven on 400 until the desired crispness.

 

Way better than McDonalds!

Way better than McDonalds!

After dinner, pops and I headed out to pick a few things up from the store.

I’m disappointed in myself today. I started out really good today, pacing my foods and choosing wisely. As soon as I got home, this ravenous appetite over came me. I binged twice today; once when I got home from class, and once when I got home from shopping. I’m becoming more aware on my binges but I’m still aggravated and immensely frustrated!

I have my first exam on Thursday so I need to desperately  study! I’m hoping to crash early tonight and hit the books hard tomorrow.