Tofutti!

My week began with a food mishaps. I woke up and the only thing on my mind was mac n cheese. I had an Easy-Mac-style bowl bowl of low-carb mac n cheese I ordered offline. One bite and Beauty got the bowl. Unfortunately, Beauty wouldn’t even eat it. Ha! I began to think, and a light bulb went off! I have instant grits! Oh and I have apple butter!

So, I originally tried grits for the first time when I was about 10 years old and my mom’s boyfriend at the time took us out for breakfast. Grits were totally new to me. I really wasn’t a fan until my mom asked for apple butter for her biscuit. I tried the apple butter the Cracker Barrel that the waitress brought and it was sweet and even better on the warm biscuit. With this in mind, I placed a bit on my spoon and then tried  the grits once more, and ever since then grits and apple butter go hand and mouth in my mind. Get it? Like hand and hand? 

Okay, after that drawn out story… you can guess what was for breakfast:

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I debated having a can of soup for lunch. Once I heated up this soup that I’ve never had before by a brand that I’ve never tried and it, too, went right into Beauty’s bowl. This, too, Beauty turned her nose up to. I grabbed some crackers and PB to hold me over and the went to Zumba, as I usually do on Monday evenings. I came home with a growling stomach, with every intention of making a shake. After experiencing this first evening of the Fall chill, a shake was the furthest from my mind. I rushed home to warm up and steamed up a Green Giant box of green beans and almonds (one of my absolute favorites), followed by some more steamed vegetables. My food plans didn’t work out the way I planned, but it makes me happy that I made things work.

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I changed the sheets on my bed to flannel ones, took a hot shower, and snuggled up under the fresh covers in my toasty pajamas and crashed. I sent this picture to my parents because it reminded me of my childhood anthem:

Tuesday was a relatively early morning of giving. I headed off to the Blood Bank to donate blood. I try to do so as often as I can.

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After running a bunch of errands, I was super hungry when I got home. I was so tempted  to pick up a donut for National Donut Day, but all I could think about was a Boston Cream Pie protein bowl! Bring it! I topped it with some crumble Gnu Espresso Chip! Then some fresh raspberries! Delicious!

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I went off the work around 3pm and , like I’ve said before, being clerk for the evening is hit or miss. Wow!  I don’t think that in the two and a half years I have been at the hospital, I have EVER been as busy on the desk as we were Tuesday! It was nuts!

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Luckily, I had some savory pumpkin quiche and roasted veggies to power me through the shift, and a chips ahoy cookie for a treat. I headed to Barry’s after work, having a heck of a time kicking a headache and belly ache. I even woke up Wednesday still feeling a bit out of sorts.

WP_004507To get out of a funk, Barry and I headed off to the mall, again. We have been to the mall so much, lately. Last week, we got hooked on a store called Teavana! Barry has been dying to go back since last week. We went back and grabbed a few flavors to take home and a brew to walk around the mall with. I never thought that I would drink hot tea without sweetener, but Teavana proved me wrong.  Last week, I had one that smelled like hot oatmeal, and this trip I combined Zingiber Ginger Coconut and CocoCaramel Sea Salt to make a tea that smelled like an almond cookie fresh out of the oven! Last week, we picked up White Chocolate Peppermint Tea! It smells fantastic and tastes like holiday! Ahh! Its magical!

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WP_004509Before heading home to make lunch (steamed veggies for me and mac n cheese topped with steak-umms for Barry), I came across a few awesome and intriguing coffees. Hot Buttered Rum? Mhmm… Tiramisu? Duh! Candy Corn? Uhhh…….

Has anyone had that??? Fill a sista in!

WP_004511I took a nap at Barry’s to try to rid of my headache, only to be woken up by a car alarm 3 hours later. On my way home, I stopped by the local Payless store to pick up an order. I had a birthday coupon and ordered a Christmas present my parents will be giving me (some new work shoes), along with a new pair of kicks. With the coupon and BOGO special, I would up paying a little over 10 bucks for these cross trainers! Sweet! I couldn’t wait to break them in!

I killed time before work by sending out more resumes and experimenting with SF syrups. I added white chocolate and creme de menthe to my hot chocolate/coffee mocha, and it was awesome! I attempted to catch a few Zzzs before my night shift, but not even this cuddle buddy could shut my brain down for a nap!

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WP_004516I headed off to work a little anxious about food and finding a job, but like always, work put me in a better mind set. I finished off the very last bowl of Hot and Sour Soup. I must make this, again! Soon! The caf surprised me, also, when they switched up the veggie options. Last night, there were radishes and asparagus! I was a happy camper. Two dum-dum suckers and a coffee also helped power me through my shift.

I must say that the highlight of my shift was at 0500, when one of the nurses asked me if I would mind drawing her labs. One stick and I was in! Sweet! I’m always asking if they have labs they want me to do so I was stoked when she asked me! I was even more excited when I kicked butt on the lab draw!

I came home from work knowing I was hungry and actually eating like a normal person! Yay! While I whipped up a 2 egg white omelet with hot salsa, I snacked on a handful of waffle pretzels and a tsp of the best peanut butter, Peter Pan’s Crunchy peanut butter. Never, ever, have a found another PB with soooo many peanuts! Ahh, its delicious! Once dad woke up, I brewed us some coffee and whipped him up a Higgins breakfast classic.

My grandmother, my mom’s mom, makes stuffing loaves every Thanksgiving, and give everyone in the family one to take home. The next morning, Black Friday, we slice up the stuffing, fry it, put a slice of cheese on it and top it with an egg over-easy. I took out two slices from the freezer, and fried one up for dad, and topped it with scrambled egg whites, fat free cheese, and hot sauce.

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WP_004524After dad left for work, Barry came over, and I whipped him up a similar dish with two eggs, over-easy. I spent the rest of the day waiting at my dads place for a package from DaVinci (you know I love my SF syrups). After a can of green beans and onions, I headed back to moms, battling the rain.

I spent the remainder of my afternoon sending out resumes. I’ll tell you… job hunting is a job in and of itself. Its really a bummer, too, because I’m fully in love with my job and the company I work for, but I need to use this license that I’ve worked so hard to obtain.

I started not to feel so great so I grabbed a shower and dad picked me up to run to the store. Ginger ale to the rescue! When we got back, I found out dad had not eaten since the breakfast I had made him. With the remaining tofu, left in the fridge from the Hot and Sour Soup, I whipped up the following based off a recipe I saw on Everyday Health.

Spicy Peanut Tofu Stir-fry

based off Tofu With Peanut-Ginger SauceWP_004527

serves 2

  • 2 1/2 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp Better n’ Butter, low sodium
  • 1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp soy sauce, low sodium
  • 1 tsp sugar free pancake syrup
  • 1/4 tsp ground, dry ginger
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp sriracha, more if desired
  • 7 oz  firm tofu
  • 1 12oz bag frozen stir-fry vegetable blend
  • 2-3 cups spinach
  • 1 cup mushrooms, largely chopped
  • 1/4 in slice onion, chopped

Whisk together the water, peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, syrup, ginger, garlic, and sriracha. Set aside.

Drain the tofu, and slice into 8 slices. Place on paper towels and pat dry. Continue to change out paper towels to remove moisture, about 4 paper towels.

On medium-high heat, spray a skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Break the slices of tofu into about 6 pieces each and lay in the pan in a single layer. Allow the pieces to turn golden brown on the bottom, then toss and brown the other side. Meanwhile, microwave the frozen veggie blend for 4 minutes.

Once both sides have turned golden brown, add spinach, onion, and mushrooms. Carefully transfer the microwaved vegetables into the skillet, and toss with previous veggie and tofu mix. Pour the previously-made peanut sauce over top, toss the contents of the skillet, and lower the heat to medium low.

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Serve as is or over brown rice, like dad did.

“I’d eat that, again.” Can I quote you on that? That you want to eat tofu, again? “Oh yeah!”

Ladies and gentleman, dad wants to eat more tofu!

I loved this dish! It had the mild saltiness from the peanut butter and soy sauce, and the slightest kick from the siracha! MMM! I actually grabbed some bell pepper slices and lapped up the sauce left at the bottom of the dish. It was just that yummy!

After my mom had her gastric bypass surgery, she has had a  hard time digesting meats. Throughout my cooking, I’ve found that soy products, like tofu, are the only things that don’t upset her stomach. She was eating her meal chanting, “Tofutti!!!! Tofutti!!!”

I guess that means she likes it!

This Thursday evening is ending with a mug of hot decaf mocha, with SF pumpkin spice syrup, and a ginger snap.

Date Week

By some stroke of luck, Barry and I actually had like 9 days off… Together! For the past week or so, we had been working opposite schedules so we wanted to take advantage of the vacation.

The Philadelphia Zoo

Monday, July 15, we began the week with some monkeying around. Seriously, I love the primates at the zoo! We arrived at the Philadelphia Zoo around 11am or so to begin our wickedly humid day. I felt like I was 5 again! The entire drive to zoo, I was singing, “We’re going to the zoo! We’re going to the zoo!”

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Barry was starting to get a bit hungry, so we made a pit stop to the nearest kiosk and he ordered chicken finger n fries. I love this picture, mid-chew!

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Yeah, Barry, it is hot! Right out of the fryer! Barry and I both have little things that get us oddly enthused, especially when it comes to food. So when he saw the blend-your-own-ICEE wall, he needed to get one!

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Seaside

Tuesday began around 9am, with the Dunkin Donut breakfast sandwich for Barry. We spent the next 2 hours driving until we reached my favorite place in the world: Seaside Heights. I love being able to share this place with others. Although the hurricane wiped out all the rides, just being there and walking the boardwalk was a nice time!

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I introduced him to Kohrs Bros. Orange Cream, with jimmies, or course.

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Last week, I mentioned that place that fries everything so Barry got deep fried Reeses, and a deep fried cannoli to appease me. Not impressed….

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WP_003086He was reunited with Sawmill Pizza! MMMMM Buffalo chicken pizza and a beer! And I took him to few of my favorite games, like Shoot the Geek (its a paintball game that dad and I are obsessed with), the old carousel, and a few super ancient games, like Bimbo. And lastly, delving into his sweet tooth a bit more, I introduced him to Berkeley’s fudge!

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Valanni?

Thursday, begin in my house with one of my favorite shakes: White Chocolate Pear, inspired by Harry and David’s Chocolate covered pear collection. I made dad and Frank shakes, too.

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Rather than going back to Valanni as planned, I suggested we stay home, to save money (and calories), and cook. To stick with the Valanni theme, I tried my hands at those delicious Brussels sprouts! I found a recipe for Roasted Balsamic Brussel Sprout and Toasted Walnuts and used that as my base.

WP_003112After buying a pound of fresh brussel sprouts and cutting them into quarters, I sprinkled black pepper, a touch of salt and granulated garlic, and 2 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar over them, shook them up, and let them sit. Meanwhile, I chopped 2 Tbsp of slivered almonds, and finely diced half a large granny smith apple. (The other half found its way into my tummy.)

I sprayed a baking sheet with non stick spray, emptied the sprouts on it and baked them uncovered for 20 minutes, tossing occasionally, at 375 F. Sprinkle the chopped almonds over top and bake for another 5 minutes. Removed from the oven and toss with the apple.

While these were baking, I marinated some chicken breast in Annie’s Hot Chipotle BBQ Sauce and threw them on the grill.

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Although the sprouts weren’t like the ones at the restaurant, I still enjoyed them. I, did, however, learn a few things in the process of making these:

  • fresh brussel sprouts take much longer to roast than frozen ones
  • Valanni must dowse the sprouts in balsamic vinegar, because the sprouts that were well coated tasted the closest to the originals
  • try and try again… Since I know I’m on the right track, it only gives me more incentive to try to get this down!

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Harry Potter

Every night for the past week, Barry and I have watched a Harry Potter movie. Needless to say, when Barry found this shirt at the zoo, I just couldn’t stop laughing!

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I also truly love this glass! It took everything in me not to buy it! If you have to, click on the picture to enlarge it. Its hilarious!

To finish off Date Week, we watch Deathly Hollows Part 2, and each enjoyed a bowl of Edy’s Slow Churned Caramel Praline Crunch Yogurt Blend, topped with jimmies! We’ve been having a debate, since Seaside, as to call them sprinkles or jimmies…. Its okay, I know the truth… Jimmies (wink).

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Sometimes You Feel Like A Nut

Despite attending Zumba last night, which always exhausts me the next morning, I had no problem rising with the sun when I was asked to pick up a 12 hour day shift for today, which I gladly excepted. I took this opportunity to try the new SmartOnes oatmeal! The Peaches and Cream was delicious! I am so used to Peaches n’ Cream oatmeal being soooooo sweet! This was perfect! Between this, a banana, and a mug of coffee, I was satisfied until lunch.

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Lunch was refreshing and crunchy: strips of cucumbers and baby carrots with a bit of fat free dressing. I just love crudites!

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Work went well and I kept busy. My eating was fantastic and I was so proud of myself. Dinner was my favorite Lean Cuisine, Chicken Marsala. I just love the risotto and adding the extra mushrooms makes this dish fantastic!

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When I got home around 730pm, I was getting hungry again. I ate a bunch of cantaloupe. That wasn’t quite satisfying to my taste buds, so nibbling followed. Surprisingly, what did the trick was a can of almonds I found.

Come on… you know it wouldn’t be that simple… dipped in nutella, of course!

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“Sometimes you feel like a nut!” Get it? Almonds, hazelnuts, nutella????

Although I ate more than I wanted to when I came home, the day over all, was good eating day!

Sweat It Out

Bet you thought this would include some awesome workout, huh? On the contrary…

The worst part about feeling under the weather, is my absolute lack of motivation! I don’t want want to stay awake or work on my projects, let alone work out. So the rest of the night was spent attempting to finish up some of this school work!

While on the phone with pops last night, I asked for him to decided today breakfast shake… He seemed adamant about cherries. So I took out a Dannon Light and Fit Cherry Greek yogurt. On a side note, I like to buy yogurt when its really cheap and freeze it. I use these in my shakes.. it adds to the thickness of the shake, like using ice cream… Anyway, the following went into the bullet:

1 Dannon Light and Fit Cherry Greek yogurtWP_001496

1 oz frozen cherries

1 scoop Herbalife Vanilla Formula 1

handful of raw, unsalted almonds

handful of kale

ice

I was going to use my almond butter, but when digging in the freezer for the yogurt, I saw this out of the corner of my eye… it had to be done…

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I spent my day with dad at his office. I knew I’d get work done if I was not home. It was a nice day seeing dad in action. To help nurse this… whatever congestion thing is going on with me… dad pulled out this nifty Cup of Soup instant soup packet. As much as I’m not a fan of these because of sodium content, it was just what I needed! That and another mug of hot tea!

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A little school work was completed but mostly I watched Hallmark movies and ate Chinese food. Yes, we ordered out again. Frank was so impressed with my dinner last night that he wanted it for himself tonight. So he ordered that and I ordered the veggies with chicken. Woah baby, that was a lot of chicken! There’s just something about eating all those veggies and protein that just makes ya feel good! Mmmm I also ate a big bowl of hot and sour soup, my favorite Chinese soup to help me feel better. I think it worked since half way through it, I took off my robe from sweating! That’s the way I like it!
Hot and sour soup has always been of of those foods I’d love to make but never got around to doing.

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