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):

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“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.

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Candy Bars

This morning I decided to cook breakfast for everyone at Barry’s house. When I say “everyone” I refer to Barry, his two house mates, my girlfriend Maggie, another housemate’s girlfriend, and myself. Barry’s favorite breakfast food is pancakes, and his favorite fruit is Blueberries. Therefore, blueberry pancakes it was!

I mixed my normal complete pancake mix, spiked with some vanilla extract and cinnamon. After dividing the badder on the skillet, I sprinkled in handfuls of blueberries. I had a banana, so I sliced some up and threw some slices in some pancakes.

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Banana blueberry pancakes topped with blueberry syrup! Heck Yes!

We went food shopping for the guys house and obviously got a little carries away.

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In the bright side, I finally found raspberries! As soon as I walked in the house, I threw a handful in some cottage cheese, and topped it with cocoa powder and Splenda! (Its even better with chia seeds.) I have jonesing for this!

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Delicious!

I wasn’t super hungry for dinner, so I tried Fage’s Pineapple Fruyotopped with chia seeds. I really enjoyed the big chunks of pineapple!

In other catching up details, last weekend was quite busy. I participated in the NAMI Walk on Saturday and my little cousin received her First Holy Communion!

NAMI stands for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Battling depression, and having developed a sweet spot for the mentally ill during my Psych rotation, I really wanted to participate in this walk. A classmate of mine, Dave, jogged with me. Unfortunately, this walk was during the height of my allergy induced stuffiness. “Dave! Slow down! I need to blow my nose!”

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Olivia, looking too cute, received her first Eucharist, the second sacrament in the Roman Catholic religion! I was very proud of her!

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I asked dad to take a picture of us… Needless to say, I don’t think he has the steadiest hand. (Haha! Sorry, dad.)

So, you are probably wondering why the title of the post is “Candy Bars,” yet not once have I mentioned a single piece of chocolatey guilt… Time for some reviews! The two bars that I will be reviewing today, remind me of two of my favorite candies! The first is the Chocolate Caramel Cluster Zone bar; the other, the Chocolate Hazelnut Atkins bar.

I bit into the Chocolate Caramel Cluster bar on my way to work one night and was surprised at the presence of actual caramel! A Baby Ruth candy bar is nougat, peanuts, and caramel covered by chocolate, and thats exactly what I tasted when I bit into this bar! Its time for a side-by-side comparison, shall we?

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Chocolate Caramel Cluster (50g) Baby Ruth (60g)
210 cal 280 cal
4g sat fat 8g sat fat
25g carb 39g carbs
2g fiber 1g fiber
18g sugar 33g sugar
14g protein 4g protein

Not to mention all the vitamins and minerals you’re getting in the nutrition bars!

Now, onto Atkins! I remember that I had this bar before, but could not recall my opinion. When I came a cross it, again, I snatched it up. Hazelnuts are a pretty mild-flavored nut. After my first bite, I savored the bar, thinking I had tasted this before… but I wasn’t referring to the bar… It tasted like Ferrero Rocher! I love biting into those wafer bars to find a creamy chocolate with a hazelnut center!

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Chocolate Hazelnut (40g) Ferraro Rocher (3 balls)
180 cal 220 cal
4g sat fat 5g sat fat
18g carb 17g carbs
7g fiber 1g fiber
1g sugar 15g sugar
6g protein 3g protein

*Don’t forget: Atkins bars use sugar alcohols to limit the net carbs.

Simple Days and Giant Strawberries

Eating was simple today.

The first half of the day amounted to about 4 net carbs. HAHA

During break, today, in clinical, I sat down to a cup of coffee and an a Blueberry Almond Atkins Baked Square. I liked how filling it was and the big chunks of almonds and blueberries in every bite! The drizzle of icing was a nice sweet touch, as well.

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Not having something to drink after clinical, I enjoyed my emergency lunch that I always keep in the car: Atkins Wild Berry Day Break Shake.

Dinner was far too simple, as it was a bowl of Campbell’s Chunky Healthy Request Grilled Chicken and Sausage Gumbo with some Brown Rice Sweet Tomato Basil Triscuits.

The highlight, or should I say shocker, of the day was the strawberries! I went to the store on my way home to grab strawberries, which I saw were on sale. I couldn’t believe how big these babies were! I bought two pints.  I had to! I couldn’t pass it up!

Check it out! Its the size of my palm! And, boy, it was good!

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I have so many strawberries in my tummy right now!

So like I said, a pretty simple day.

But what is NOT so simple, is the paperwork due by next week! It feels like all I do is sit in front of my laptop!

On the bright side, I submitted my first job application for a nursing position! Wish me luck!

Heres a little picture I acquired during my geriatric rotation that I found humorous:

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Some Things Have to Be Made More Than Once

Some things NEED to be made over and over again… and tonight’s dinner is one of this things. I love roasting veggies and tossing them over some greens! Tonight was cauliflower, carrots, and broccoli roasted with garlic powder and basil over spinach. I wound up throwing in some purple onion, left over chicken, and fat free Thousand Island dressing to top it off! I Never get tired of this meal!

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This morning, I rolled out of bed at the time I normally am leaving the house.. Yeah…. someone was sleepy!

Not having any time for anything, I snagged a banana and ran out the door. Today, I started my new rotation on a respiratory unit, where majority of the patients are trached and vented. My instructor is great! She said, “I have five more days with you until you are out on your own.” It hit me. I AM GOING TO BE A NURSE! She is giving us so much independence and it makes me feel so competent and confident in my skills! What an amazing feeling!

WP_001585With my lack of breakfast, I’m glad the inner girl-scout in me is always prepared. I keep an Atkins shake in my car, which was perfect to hold me over while I ran a few errand after leaving the hospital. But when I got home, I got right down to business on tossing some discount produce in the oven! I was a beast today! With my bargain shopper-ness I saved like 40 bucks on my groceries! Woo Hoo!WP_001586

I’m in a bit of a funk today, maybe from the lack of sleep, so I’m retiring early tonight, and catching up on some lectures…

Summertime Blues

One of my absolute favorite things about the summer is the fresh produce, and among this produce, Blueberries.

Oddly enough, I love blueberry everything, but I’m not a huge fan of blueberries, straight up. Blueberries are considered  a super fruit so I love incorporating them into things like blueberry muffins, blueberry banana shakes, cottage cheese, and don’t even get me started on the blueberry preserves my girlfriend brings me back from Bar Harbor! Wowza!

Some Blueberry bars that have made it into my tummy include:

Atkins Blueberry Almond Baked Square

I’m a big fan of tasty and filling snacks with so few calories and carbs! This square has real blueberries and chunks of almonds in every bite! The added drizzle of icing on top is just the sweet tip to tie to square together!

BelVita Blueberry Biscuits

I was always skeptical of the BelVita line. I mean, could they really be that filling? Would this really hold me over? I decided to give it a try after seeing them on sale at the 7-Eleven. I got the Blueberry flavor and, boy, was sure wrong! I was amazed at how much blueberry was in the breakfast biscuits. Not only are their blueberry pieces  the flavor radiates throughout the crackers. They are more like cookies, actually. And, hey, who doesn’t like cookies for breakfast?

Clif Bar Blueberry Crisp

I particularly enjoy this bar as morning meal. The blueberries really shine in this bar. Its filling from the organic oats, and powers you with the organic dates and blueberries. As soon as you tear into the package, you get hit with this unbelievable fruity aroma! The whole bar is swirled with blue, so each bite gives you that mildly sweet and chewy satisfaction. I really enjoy this bar and its great on my super busy days!

Check out the Blueberry Cobbler from Gnu Foods!

KIND Blueberry Pecan+ Fiber

Pecans can be a pretty tasteless nut by itself. I enjoy this bar, but I do wish the blueberry shown through a bit more. But, lets be honest.. you know I’ll eat it… hello, Fiber!

KIND Pomegranate Blueberry Pistachio +AntioxidantsWP_000988

I like the unique flavor the pistachios add to this bar, however, I do wish the fruit would shine through more. But, KIND can never get rid of me. I love them all! The mass amounts of vitamins in this bar helps, too!

WP_001063Larabar’s Blueberry Muffin

I made a note to try this bar twice. I’ll admit, I liked it even better the second time around. There are big pieces of dried blueberries which add texture and tartness, but the flavor is mild enough to not overwhelm your taste buds like some blueberry flavored  items.

Blueberry Bliss Luna BarWP_000989

An amazing breakfast! Its crisp like all Lunas but topped with a blueberry puree to give is some sweetness! MMMM One of my favorites!

Vanilla Blueberry Luna Fiber Bar

Speaking of Luna, once you bite into this one, you’ll never look at another baked, fruit filled bar, again. Eat your heart out, Nutri-Grain!