Behold! Banana Bread

For as much as I love to bake, there has been one item that never seems to turn out the way I want, and it’s name…. Banana Bread.

I’ve tried tons of recipes, with minor tweaks to fit my lifestyle, and they have all been less than par.

Can’t a girl just get herself some banana bread where she tastes more banana than refined sugar?!

I took a leap and tried a recipe a bit outside of my comfort zone, making my adjustments, and I’m never going back.

Banana Love Boat

Adapted from FatGirlTrappedInASkinnyBody
Serves 16
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2/3 cup granulated Splenda
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar or white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Splenda brown sugar (or ¼ light brown sugar)
  • 4 egg whites16522258_10158176838340228_2136179329_o
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mashed banana (about 3 medium bananas)
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (unless using another flavor profile)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease, or non-stick cooking spray (I love Baker’s Joy), a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan* and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the applesauce, Splenda and sugar. Add the egg whites, one at a time, beating after each addition, and then the vanilla and almond extract.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture, alternating with mashed banana and coconut milk.

Mix until just combined. Stir in the flaked coconut. Pour the batter to the prepared baking pan.

Bake for 45min to 1 hour and 15 minutes, when a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, depending on your oven, elevation, and type of pans used.

Let completely cool before slicing.

*OR 4 mini loaf pans (45min) OR bundt pan (45min) OR muffins (45min)

Nutrition (1/16): (does not include add-ins)

Calories: 129, Fat: 2.6g, Sat. Fat: 2.3g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 138.3mg, Carbs: 23.6g, Fiber: 1.5g, Sugars: 7.1g, Protein: 3g

The shredded coconut added this extra texture not typically found in banana bread (and I’m a texture girl). But I think its the coconut milk that really adds that extra umph of richness and flavor.

Since the first batch six months or so ago, I have continued to utilize this recipe to make tons of flavor profiles: peanut butter chocolate cinnamon chip, pumpkin spice butterscotch, Chinese 5 Spice, and even lavender. Yes, lavender! (You all know I need as much help in the “chill” department as I can get).

The photo above is a 50/50 bread of peanut butter chocolate cinnamon chip and pumpkin spice butterscotch, I omitted the original cinnamon in the recipe, above, and divided the batter in two.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cinnamon Chip20170205_152113

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp peanut butter baking chips
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon baking chips
  • 1 Tbsp mini semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Add the following to the above nutritional facts: Calories: 47, Fat: 2.1g, Sat. Fat: 1.5g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 14.1mg, Carbs: 6g, Fiber: 0.3g, Sugars: 5.3g, Protein: 0.8g

Pumpkin Spice Butterscotch20170205_151222

  • 1 1/5 Tbsp pumpkin spice baking morsels
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp butterscotch baking morsels
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp toffee bits (also in the baking section)
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice

Add the following to the above nutritional facts: Calories: 51, Fat: 2.5g, Sat. Fat: 1.7g, Cholesterol: 0.9mg, Sodium: 12.3mg, Carbs: 6.9g, Fiber: 0g, Sugars: 4.9g, Protein: 0g

Using a chopping knife, chop through the baking chips/morsels (they start to look more like shavings).* Add them, along with the spice, to their appropriate bowls. Fold them into the batter, pour it into the prepared pan and bake.

*I like this method because I get flavor in every bite rather than just those with a whole morsel in it.

**Keep in mind these measurements are for half of the batter. If you choose to make the entire banana bread one flavor profile, please double the measurements.**

More recently, I made Strawberry Banana Muffins, and, yes, they taste as good as they sound.

I am ahead of my assignments at the moment, so I want to take what time I can to check in with everyone. This blog has been such a staple in my recovery process. There is no way I am forgetting about it or you.

Look for follow-up posts with the recipes to make more of those flavor combos I mentioned above.

God Bless and thank you for always welcoming me back!

 

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Two In One

I really could go on and on about my love of different fruits. Today is National Blueberry Pie Day so I wanted to do something with blueberries to celebrate. Ever since Barry and I started dating, my love of all things blueberries keeps growing. One thing that hasn’t changed is my love of bananas, as you well remember Walnana!

You know when you but fruit, thinking it will be gone in no time, and suddenly realize “Oh darn! Its mushy”? Well, thats what was happening with the bowl of bananas on the counter. Almost completely black! Which, of course is perfect for baking!

Blueberry Banana Muffins!

make 16 cupcakes (12 muffins)

  • 1 cup mashed bananaWP_005748
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp sugar free syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1/2 cup flax milk
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup granulated Splenda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 to 2 Tbsp chia seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine the bananas through Splenda. In a separate bowl, combine cinnamon through oats. Fold in the blueberries and optional chia seeds. Divide amongst lined cupcake or muffin tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the centers come out clean.

Allow the muffins to cool for at least 10 minutes and dig in.

Nutrition (1/16 with 1/2Tbsp chia):

Calories: 74, Fat: 0.5g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 162mg, Carbs: 15.7g, Fiber: 1.7g, Sugar: 2.5g, Protein: 1.9g

WP_005744 WP_005748

You will not regret the aromas that travel throughout your home! Heavenly!

For the sake of the blog, I cut each muffin in half, and experimented with toppings. So far, I can vouch for plain muffin, sweetened cream cheese (fat free cream cheese with a sprinkle of Splenda, smashed banana, and, of course, nut butter!

Protein Pancakes Two Ways

While picking up some things at the farmers market, in preparation for Thanksgiving, I ask Barry what kind of fruit he wanted in our pancakes, since his initial craving for raspberries was no longer an option. (They were out of raspberries.) “Blackberry,” he said. I’m not usually a fan of blackberries, but I gave in since Barry wanted them and thought of a way to incorporate the fruit into brunch.

Since I use cottage cheese in my pancakes, I thought about the time I made blueberry lemon ricotta pancakes and how delicious they turned out! I threw a bag of lemons in the cart and when we got home, I got to work. The pancakes I made for Frank and Barry, a little heartier and stick to your ribs kind, were based off Julie’s Banana Bread Protein Pancakes.

Blackberry Lemon Oat Protein Pancakes

serves 2WP_004686

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup blackberries
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 packets Splenda

Blend all ingredients in a food processor, until completely smooth, about 5 minutes. Pour the batter on a skillet, sprayed with non-stick spray, over medium heat, and pour batter by the 2 Tbsp, and cook accordingly.

Nutrition: (1/2 recipe)

Calories: 256, Fat: 3.4g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 4.5mg, Sodium: 362.5mg, Carbs: 36g, Fiber: 6.7g, Sugar: 3.4g, Protein: 20g

This recipe made lots of pancakes and were quite filling, as Frank and Barry left three on the serving plate.

The ones I made for myself were based off my Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Pancakes. I little softer and lighter, but every bit as delicious.

Blackberry Lemon Protein Pancakes

serves 1

  • 1 scoop vanilla  prWP_004688otein
  • 2 Tbsp cottage cheese, fat free (about 80 calories per 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup blackberries
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1 packet Splenda
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Nutrition:

Calories: 88, Fat: 1.1g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 1.5mg, Sodium: 264.5mg, Carbs: 8.8g, Fiber: 1.2g, Sugar: 4.5g, Protein: 10g

I liked the texture the blackberry seeds gave the pancakes. I really loved the occasional sweet, but tart, bite of lemon zest!

WP_004687 WP_004690

No one needed any butter for these babies. Frank ate his plain, in fact! Barry and I did a smidge of a drizzle of SF syrup.

And we were super full! Plus, I adore the purple hue!!!

Chocolate and Vanilla Cake Walk Into A Bar…

Monday

I spent the entire, and I do mean entire, day in bed! Barry and I both have night shift and neither one of us felt a real reason to get up.  In fact my “breakfast” was a sugar free oreo and a spoonful of Barry’s grandmother’s homemade apple sauce! And that’s just because Barry had them in the room! Haha!

I arrived back home, after picking up dinner for the family, and jumped in the shower. I got out just in time to whip up a shake and enjoy dinner with the family before heading to work. While the family ate their Wendy’s, I made a bowl. Frappe Away I said to myself.

Today is National Frappe Day. What the heck is a frappe? I googled and found out it is typically a coffee and ice cream based drink. Well, no ice cream went into the blender, but Cafe Latte protein powder did. Between Barry and my girlfriend, Rebecca, both of whom call me “Pumpkin,” were partial inspirations for the end result of my meal. Since I, unfortunately, did not have any open cans of pumpkin, I substituted the fiber with a handful of frozen apples. Did you know October is National Apple Month? (I know… I’m a pillar of useless knowledge…)

Pumpkin Frapp-AwayWP_004150

The crunchy and nutty topper for this bowl was unsalted, hulled pumpkin seeds and Kashi Go Lean cereal.

I headed off to work to find out I was being pulled to another unit, a unit I have never been to before. Its always slightly nerve-racking being pulled to another unit. What are the nurses like there? Whats the acuity of the patients? Am I on the floor or a 1:1? How long will I be on the unit for?

Luckily, none of these things were a problem, tonight. In fact, the nurses were welcoming, sociable, and helpful, and my 11 patients were of managable acuity! I actually was pulled for the complete 12 hours of my shift.

Tuesday

I met with my girlfriend and co-worker, Amy, a little after 1am and we went to the caf, where I grabbed some raw vegetables from the salad bar. Rather than crushing saltines into my Wendy’s chili, I dipped these vegetables. Genius! The Wendy’s near my house was recently rebuilt and opened last week. I have been craving chili ever since. I was floored when I checked the website to find a small chili was 180 calories! I expected a small container, but was content with being able to get a chili, in the first place. When I asked the woman if she gave me the right size, she compared it to the large and I was floored, once again! Score!

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I was one happy camper as I emptied the chili hot sauce packets into my cup and dug in.

WP_004153We’ve been Boo-ed!” Huh? Apparently, theres this game going on around the hospital where units make bags of candies, and sneak them into unit’s break rooms then the game continues. Damn, Butterfingers get me every time! Luckily, I was one and done! Yay, Sammy!

My sleep was cut short today as I was awoken by a call from my manger with some not so pleasant news (more to come on that matter). There was no way I could get back to sleep and, in fact, I was up for the rest of the day before coming back to work. My breakfast? Corn chips and a Babyruth.

All day I wanted to eat, although I knew I wasn’t hungry. But then, I began feeling an emptiness in my stomach, so I ate. It turned out that emptiness was actually part of my emotions. To try to counter act this feeling, it was a two shake day.

I’m sort of childishly excited for today’s food-iday: National Fluffernutter Day! I kept swaying back and forth between making a shake or a sandwich to celebrate. I was never a fan of fluff as a kid. Well, maybe thats not the way to put it. We just never bought it. Same thing with Nutella. We never bought it so I never really developed a taste for it until I tried my little brother’s nutella one day. Same goes for the Fluff. I remember, last year during my refeeding, I would dip Nilla wafers into fluff. Sometimes, I would grab a spoonful of PB and then dip into the Fluff jar. If I wanted something extra sweet, I’d do a nutella and fluff combo!

Anyway, I decided I would feel more satisfied with a bowl:

FluffernutterWP_004154

  • 1 scoop of Chocolate OR Vanilla shake mix
  • 1 Tbsp fluff
  • 1 tsp peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Chocolate PB2
  • xanthum and guar, optional

To substitute for the bread, I topped the sweet bowl with Fiber One bran cereal. (Its pretty shade of green is from added spinach).

A bit after, I realized my anxiety was manifesting itself. Rather than NOT eating, I WAS eating. Luckily, I recognized it, and preoccupied myself with mopping the floor and going through clothes to donate. When dinner time arrived, and heavy eyelids began, I  whipped up another bowl to hold me over until it was time to eat at work.

Salted CaramelWP_004155

  • 1 scoop Chocolate protein
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Chocolate PB2
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp SF caramel syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • 20 fat free pretzel sticks, broken

It totally hit the spot and I loved the salty sweet crunch that I constantly crave.

I was on the floor for the first four hours of my 12 hour shift. My 1:1 patient was supposed to be going home tomorrow, so I wanted to spend some time with then before they left.

Wednesday

After a breezy first four, my time ended abruptly with assisting to de-escalate an upset parent and assist a nurse with removing an IV. I felt great when I was able to help the mother stop crying and make her laugh.

When I got into my patient’s room, the patient was super excited that I’d be spending the rest of the shift with them. I, then ,found out my patient’s discharge date had been pushed back to Friday. That means I get two more shifts to see them.

After the snack I had done earlier in the day, I packed a light meal for work. Plus, my nerves were still so wrecked that I didn’t have much of an appetite. But boy, oh, boy, was I in for a rude awakening.

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Yeah!

As if I wasn’t stressed enough, and manifesting it with body hating, I had that Cajun Trail Mix and all of this candy in my face! The nurses agreed that I deserved to have day a candy. Its funny how I eat candy when I’m spazzed. I’m stress eating, but body conscience. I take a bite out of piece and throw it away. Bizarre. Nonetheless, the nibbles did not stop me from hating myself as I returned to the 1:1 after eating some leftover eggplant parm frittata around 3am.

WP_004159Deb brought this in, too! Candy Corn M &M! What a combo! These candy pieces are bigger that the typical chocolates and made with white chocolate instead. Addicting. While trying to find a link to these M&Ms for you, I found these! I’ve never seen these. Ever! Is it for real? Does anyone know? My jaw almost hit the floor and I’m enveloped in curiousity! I returned to my patient’s room, after some well-deserved ranting, and counted down until 7am when I could leave.

Full or body hating guilt and a dwindling self worth, I tried to keep my mind occupied by blogging and reading.

I must admit that I was, finally, able to finish a book that I wanted to read. Its been years since I’ve been able to read a book for fun.

After work, I couldn’t wait to hit my bed. Today, on a day when I actually feel tired after work, I had to stay up to take my uncle to a doctors appointment. His procedure required sedation and he, therefore, needed a ride to and from.

WP_004160Luckily, it didn’t take very long and I killed some time at Wawa grabbing a coffee and a packet of apples to hold me over. Upon arriving home, I snagged a few pretzel sticks and almonds and curled up into a ball to awake about 5 hours late! Victory! I had finally slept!

Once awake, I hopped in the shower and assisted Frank with making my little brother dinner, while also sending out countless resumes! Last night, I was reading up on detox soups, many of which contained beets and ginger. I figured I could work with that and wound up creating what tasted better than Red Velvet Cake!

Better Than Red Velvet Cake ShakeWP_004161

  • 1 scoop chocolate protein
  • 1/2 small beet, peeled, sliced thinly and microwaved for 3 minutes
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/3 cup frozen pitted cherries
  • 1/2 Tbsp sugar free fat free cheesecake OR white chocolate pudding mix
  • splash of SF chocolate syrup, for added sweetness
  • xanthum and guar (optional)

I’ve never like Red Velvet Cake. It was always one of those sweets thatI didn’t understand. Its like if chocolate and vanilla cake had a baby and the baby couldn’t decide what it wanted to be when it grew up…

Once the fruits and vegetables were blended, the color reminded me of the cake, and rather than going full on “detox,” I went with the inspiration. I topped my bowl with broken pretzel sticks and chia seeds.

With the remaining half beet, I repeated the slicing, and combined it with sliced baby carrots, a chopped cherry pepper, onions, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes into a Tupperware all to be, later, used to top a bed of chopped romaine and reduced fat blue cheese crumbles. It’s National Moldy Cheese Day, hence the moldy cheese in my salad… Once arriving at work, I was greeted with this:

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“Happy Pediatric Nurse’s Week from Bayada Health!” Thanks Bayada. Start my shift with an oatmeal cookie and some M&Ms? Don’t mind if I do. One and done, baby! I was a happy camper, once again, with my self control, and felt no guilt about this treat!

Thursday

I spent my shift much like I did the night before; the first 4 hours on the floor and the last 8 in my 1:1. Before falling asleep, my patient asked if I would care to watch a movie with them. And so we laughed until the movie ended. Around 2 am I was relieved from my post to eat. I warmed the previously prepared vegetables in the microwave and tossed them with the romaine and blue cheese. I love how the warm veggies melt the blue cheese, and their juices combine to create a dressing for the salad! Its a salad with which I’ve never been disappointed! Following my meal, I snagged a mini Twix from the abbondanza supply of candy, and another half a cookie, sealing the deal with a cup of hot coffee.

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I always take time at the hospital as a learning opportunity and asked the nurse if she could explain to me the difference between “covering” for carbs and “correcting” with insulin. I was so pleased to discover that I had already had a solid understanding of how to do so, and worked with the nurse making up a few examples to ensure I had a firm grasp on the subject. Woo Hoo!

I returned to the room of the 1:1 and spent my remain hours charting on my patient, scouring the web for pediatric nursing positions, working on Be Well Bundo, stretching, and reading another book.

Following work, I drug myself to, yet another, morning appointment, but not before grabbing a bite. Who would think that soup would be the breakfast of choice? On this cold morning, it was all I could think about. I heated up a cup of Progresso’s Chicken and Barley (I’m a sucker for barley), topped with a bran crackers, and warmed myself up.

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This time, the appointment required manual labor and as I left the hospital, I prayed the rain would hold off until my task was complete. We are fortunate enough to have a home with a fireplace, my favorite feature of the house. I am planted in front of it throughout the fall and winter months. I’m surprised the floor isn’t indented with my butt print, by now. We were, also, fortunate enough to have been connected with the city to receive free wood. As the city chops trees, the lumbar is piled at a local park on the east side. If you schedule an appointment and complete the labor, yourself, you can take a truckload of FREE wood each month. We took full advantage of it, last year, and I wanted an early start, this year. I took the first available appointment and Frank and I headed over, bundled up, tiredly fighting the weather in a battle of time.

The forecast for the next four days is nothing but cold rain. Oh, joy! According to the weather tracker on my phone, between 7 to 9 there was a decreased chance of rain. Our appointment was for 830. As we pulled up, it was chilly and lightly raining. We loaded up the bed of the truck and by the time I got home, I was dead to the world and it began raining harder.

I stumbled into the house, eyes barely open, and made a B line to the couch where there was an inviting  comforter calling my name. With hoodie up and slipper socks on, I was out in a matter of seconds, contacts in and all (not smart by the way… crazy dry eyes).

I woke around 330pm, or so, trying to go back to sleep. No luck. And here I am. Catching you up on the haps.

I Will

My night concluded with a cup of grapes and X-Men, and I awoke with a feeling of contentment and thanks.

I don’t think anyone will forget where they were when the attacks happened. I know that day is etched in my memory. I’ve been seeing these “I will…” commercials about things that people are doing to honor and remember 9/11.

We were all affected by that day in 2001. Here is what I’m doing to honor and remember September 11 2001:

  • WP_003826 Make a Red, White, and Blue shake.

1 scoop vanilla protein
handful blueberries
handful raspberries
1 Tbsp sugar free fat free White Chocolate pudding mix
water
ice

(I added a banana to Franks instead of the pudding mix).

  • Pray and be thankful for all the service men and woman.
  • Be a steward for God’s creations.
  • Care and serve for others through my career and my everyday life.
  • Value myself.
  • Call my family more often.WP_003827
  • End my conversations and every night with “I love you.”
  • Always put forth my best.
  • Donate blood.

These are just a few things that I could think of this morning.

WP_003863After topping my bowl with ground flax, Frank and I headed out for a bike ride. We are desperately trying to increase our time on our bikes, but it blows my mind how tired I get after just a few laps around the block. We then ran to Walmart with the intent to pick up Degreaser to scrub the drive. The sun was beating down hard and the darn pressure washer wouldn’t start! I give Frank a lot of credit… He was determined, but unfortunately, after so much time, you’re exhausted!

I came to a realization, today, while trying to help Frank: I’m getting weaker. I’m tired and when I stand, my vision blurs and I get light-headed.  I don’t think its just because I’m  tired… I’ve noticed my complete lack of an appetite and minimal caloric intake. I feel like I’m refeeding, again. I know I’m not hungry, but I need to eat. I think my stomach has shrunk, again, which could also be contributing. I called dad after realizing this, about 3 1/2 hours after finishing my shake.

I finished the last of my Chicken Steak-Umms for Frank and myself, by throwing in sauteed bell peppers, onions. and garlic. To make it even better, I added roasted red peppers! I finished the steaks by tossing in eggs and a little cheese! It was delicious!

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Now, I am desperately trying to stay awake for a staff meeting that I can call in for. Then, its nap time!

Its the Little Things

Last night, was another sleepless and restless night. I don’t know if it was from my minor binge or if its because I had coffee later in the day, or if its because my mom and I are still on the rocks. Either way, I laid in bed for hours last night, just thinking about my upcoming day trip to seaside tomorrow… stressing about what I’m going to eat.

WP_003140I know I get excited over really trivial things, but yesterday my new scale came! I’m not sure if I shared with you that my food scale died on me last week. To test it, I put a baby carrot on it and it said it weighed like 805g! I don’t think so! After a trial of changing batteries, ensuring I was using a level surface, and weighing a bunch of random items, I had to accept that the scale was no longer working. RIP scale. You have been good to me. I ordered a new scale off cooking.com and lucked out when I saw it was on sale! Yesterday, a brown box arrived with a cooking.com sticker. “It’s here!!!” According to Barry, my excitement was quite amusing! I was so excited to actually see how many Popcorners actually equaled an ounce!

Yesterdays free sample from the pet store was an item I had never seen. I thought, initially it was a dog treat, but after further reading, it turned out to be actual dog food… freeze-dried dog food! Beauty loved it! The product is called Stella & Chewy’s. Beauty had the Stella’s Super Beef Dinner. They also make cat food, which I’ll have to try for Bunny. What I really liked about this product was that the first 6 ingredients actually were BEEF, followed by real ingredients like spinach, beets, pumpkin seeds, and cranberries. There are also frozen products and pet treats, as well as a nifty calculator to determine how much food your dog or cat will require based on weight, activity level, and type of food. To add to the already cool concept of freeze-dried pet food, Stella & Chewy’s donates a portion of their profits to no-kill shelters and animal rescues!

*Please know that this review is NOT sponsored my Stella & Chewy’s in any way.

WP_003137As I told you yesterday, I like fruit in my shakes, and I cannot lie! I used my new scale to weigh out everything today! First, was the banana for my Blueberry Banana Latte shake.

1/2  frozen banana

1 scoop Herbalife Cafe Latte mix

2 Tbsp Da Vinci sugar free Blueberry syrup

(1/4 tsp xanthum, optional)

Frank’s shake turned out super delicious! I threw a bunch of frozen cantaloupe and some frozen mango in with vanilla shake mix!

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Tomorrow, I am taking dad to the shore, so the last few days, I’ve been trying to eat right since boardwalk food isn’t exactly known to be the healthiest… especially not  the stuff that I want to eat like pizza, sausage, and custard! (Not all together, but you know…)

Although the little binges do not help, my eating has been decent otherwise. My diet has been full of fruits and veggies lately, too! One of the many pros of warm weather is fresh produce!

I was back at work tonight. Dinner was simple and in the form of a hot pocket-esque burrito: Amy’s Tofu Scramble in a Pocket Sandwich. My past experience with tofu scrambles is that they require a decent amount of seasoning, so just in case, I brought some chili powder and crushed red pepper flakes to work with me.

WP_003139After last night’s snack attack, I wanted to be prepared, so I also sliced half a bell pepper and brought it to work with some Walden Farms dressing for dipping.

Now let me tell you what really happened… Obviously, I typed up my dinner before leaving for work. I arrived at work only to find out that our census on the unit had recently dropped. Okay, I guess either Katie or myself will get pulled to another unit. Then, I found out that the entire hospital had a low census and neither one of us was needed. One of us was being sent home. Since Katie was driving from Pennsylvania, and I knew she would be arriving shortly, I surprised myself when I offered to go home. I only live about 20 minutes away and I took it as a sign from God to study for the boards, and protect myself from the cupcakes in the break room. It also gave me the opportunity to talk things out with mom…

I decided to head back to the pet store to grab Beauty a bag of the new dog food, see what all the hype was about with this Blue Buffalo stuff, and grab Bunny a sample of Stella & Chewy’s to try.

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The cat enjoyed her Heavenly Herring and Tuna, and Beauty scarfed down her small can of Wellness, as she always does. I like Wellness food for her because like Stella & Chewy’s the first ingredients actually are meat! In the past, Beauty has really enjoyed the Turkey & Sweet Potato and the Venison & Sweet Potato. This morning, I mixed half of the small can of Duck & Sweet Potato with her dry food. On this visit, I grabbed the Lamb & Sweet Potato, as well as S&C’s Duck, Duck, Goose freeze-dried patties. As for Bunny, I recently tried him with Wellness food, and he, too, ate his bowl clean. The canned cat food happened to be on sale (woot, woot)! I’ll let you know about the Blue Buffalo. I definitely would agree that the dry food is too expensive!

It amazes me some of the food combinations that companies have for animals. I don’t believe in spending a fortune on pet food, but I do believe that my animals are my family and should be treated as such. I’m glad that there are companies that feel the same, and create foods to nourish our babies!

I came home and devoured my sliced bell pepper! I was so hungry. Barry stopped by before he headed off to work, and Frank and I began to assemble our dinners. Since I was home, we sprinkled a salmon fillet with some adobo and baked it in the toaster over. We both created a spring mix salad, mine with peppers, carrots, and onions, a piece of the salmon fillet, and a drizzle of fat free Honey Dijon. Frank kicked it Ceasar-style.

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Meanwhile, work called to bring me in at 7pm. I was not too apt to drive back to work since I had just arrived back home from there. After a discussion with the supervisor, we worked things out and I was able to stay home for the night. Now, I can go to bed early to prepare for tomorrow, do some laundry, study, and relax, plus I already picked up extra shifts for the week! I’m thankful things worked out!

Still a bit hungry, I indulged in some cantaloupe and pretzel sticks! Yeah… now that I type it out, thats a weird combination…

You can’t feel too bad about eating too much fruit… I’d rather eat that than junk food…

You know that feeling you get when you check Facebook, and you have a new friend request, or when someone invites you to an event, or when you get a new follower on Tumblr. I had that feeling waking up this morning. I received two emails from wordpress.com, the host site of Be Well Bundo. One stated that a person liked “Everyone Needs Cheerleaders” and the other, that I had gotten a new follower. Naturally, I get curious about these people and return the favor of checking out their blogs. Both people were using blogging to help cope with their eating disorders, one with anorexia, and the other with bingeing and bulimia.

I read through some of their posts, recognizing their feelings and sentiments, remembering being in those similar situations, trying to find ways out. Its the little things like that, that make me smile. Knowing that through our blogs, we not only help each other, but ourselves. We have outlets, validation of our feelings, knowing we are not alone, and most importantly, making new friends and contacts to be our cheerleaders in the fight.

Its the little things like that…

I’m a Nurse, but what do I know?

I a so tired of having an upset stomach! I left work early last night around 3am. When I arrive home I snacked on bread and pretzel sticks in the hopes of absorbing any acid that could be irritating my stomach. For the past few days, saltines and diet ginger ale have been m best friends. But its just unnatural for this to be a diet for 3 days straight.

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I curled in bed and had the hardest time falling asleep. I finally fell asleep in the fetal position, with my behind up in the air and my face in the pillow, around 5:15am, I believe. I slept until about 9am and enjoyed a small fuji apple. In fact, the apple hit the spot so well I ate another for dessert later in the night. After my apple, I whipped up a bunch of shakes! For Frank and James, a filling Banana and Nutella shake for their fishing trip; for dad, a Cherry Cheesecake Shake for is drive to work!

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I walked down to the Dunkin Donuts for Customer Appreciation Day, and got a free medium iced coffee. It was just what I needed to start the sunny day! With a little caffeine and an apple in my belly, I was motivated to start my day! I went for about a 3mile walk to the store to pick up a few items. On the shopping list was PopTarts. I never buy PopTarts, but a little birdie, named Barry, told me about the new ones filled with peanut butter. Did you really think I could resist this?

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They were great! My one problem with PopTarts, not just this particular flavor, but all of them: the CALORIES! 200 calories per pastry. Hello! There are two pastries per pack! Do think people only eat one? PopTarts are delicious! Come on! Nonetheless, both of the Chocolate Peanut Butter PopTarts found their way into my stomach throughout the day.

To off set the sugars, I snagged the last BBQ chicken thigh left over from the guys dinner last night, shredded it up, and tossed it with roasted bell peppers and cauliflower.

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Midway through the day, the stomach aches started back up. Before I knew it, I was back to the saltines. In the last two days, I’ve eaten two sleeves of saltines! Oh yeah, then I got sick. Yay. :/

After lying on the couch for a little bit, a craving hit me that I had last night: a calzone, panzarotti, or stromboli. I just wanted something related to pizza, but not pizza. I think its because everyone on Facebook keeps talking about the Festa (the Italian Festival) around the corner from my house. I mentioned it to Frank, and a small ham and spinach calzone arrived about 45minutes later. We split it four ways, and my stomach felt mysteriously better.

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Wait a second…. saltine and ginger ale = stomach ache. Cheese, ham, dough, and grease= feel better?

Hmmm…. Interesting… I’m a nurse, but what do I know???

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.

Copy Cat

I started my testing morning as I typically do, with a bowl of oatmeal. Using package oatmeal is super easy on test mornings. I decided on Very Berry oatmeal by Better Oats. I find this oatmeal to be rather sweet, so I cut it down by adding some nut butter and ground flax. This brand of oatmeal already has flax seed, but a little more won’t hurt me. This morning, I used the soy nut butter. I figured the oatmeal would mask its interesting flavor. I was right, and this breakfast kept me very full. It was paired with a cup of coffee.

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After the exam, I hit the gym. As I began my warm-up on the elliptical, I checked my email. I did not really have an idea of what I wanted to do today so it worked out that I was greeted with an email from Julie, pbfingers. The idea of spending a little extra time on the elliptical appealed to me so I stayed on, like she did today, and completed her Upper Body Super Set. (Since our small school gym does not have a barbell, I used the bend for the chest presses.) There was a girl at the gym who wanted to work on her arms so I invited her to join me. Time goes by sooooo much faster when someone else is with you!

Post workout, I arrived home to enjoy a banana and finish some homework. I also steamed a very petite bowl of baby carrots.

Nap time! Literally.. thats all I got was a nap. I only slept for about 2 hours, so it looks like tonight will be a caffeined night shift. Therefore, I got my booty up, took a shower and made a shake and some coffee.

Back in January, Julie posted an energizing smoothie that caught my attention. I made a mental note to use my frozen mango for this… well, apparently I stuck that mental note way too far in the back of my head, because I just now remembered it. I figured this would be the perfect pick me up for night shift!

Here’s my take on her creative genius:WP_001421

  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 1 Dannon Light and Fit Strawberry Greek yogurt
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • a handful fresh kale
  • ice and water

Woah Mama! This was delicious! I had to control myself. Plus, it was super filling. It also turned out nice and thick and ate it with a spoon out of my tumbler. I called dad up, as I slurpped away at this tumbler full of yum, and told him that he was going to get one for breakfast tomorrow! He could not refuse!

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I’m In Love

Its official. I’m in love… with a little boy I’ve been caring for at my clinical site. Some of the children at this site are up for adoption. I would take him home in a heartbeat! In fact, the nurse said that he could totally pass for my son, and when his family came to visit, I said “come on, lets go see your mommy!” He ran to me! Ugh! Every time  his family held him, he cried and reached for me! Hes melting my heart.

If only…..  ❤

Since today is a long day, I wanted to start my day with some caffeination. A started another chilly morning with a shake. When I use this liquid, I don’t like the icey consistency  that it makes, so I add guar gum to smooth it out:

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1/2 half frozen banana

1/8 tsp guar gum

This kept me going for the morning, as did a cup of hot green tea. Lunch was welcomed this afternoon: A salad, carrots, onions, green peppers, topped with chicken, sunflower seeds and sugar free honey mustard dressing! I love this line by Maple Grove Farms! Their sugar free balsamic vinaigrette is to die for!

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After clinical post conference, I hit the gym and completed a workout. I drew this up during some free time in clinical.WP_001404

It began and ended with 5 minutes on the elliptical, riding backwards. A 20 minute interval treadmill workout was samwiched in between two strength circuits. The progression of events look something like this:

Elliptical– 5min- 11 resistance (backwards)

Strength

Sitting Crunch 53 lbs 60 reps
Chest Press 25 lbs 60 reps
Leg Adductor 50 lbs 60 reps
Double Crunches   25 crunches
Bicycle Crunches   25 crunches
Tricep Extensions 30 lbs 60 reps

(I could really feel the burn in my arms and legs!)

Treadmill

Minutes

Speed

Incline

1-4

4

8

4-8

4

12

8-10

6.5

1

10-12

7

1

12-15

4

8

15-17

6.5

2

17-20

4

8

(I love the incline! Just like last time, as soon as I hit the 6 minute mark, sweat started pouring down!)

Repeat Strength

Elliptical– 5min- 11 resistance (backwards)

On my way to rehearsal, I tried a new Fage 0%: Apple Cinnamon Raisin. Of course, flax accompanied this to play off the autumn tone of the yogurt fruits.

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My eating was fantaabulous today! I was so proud of myself! Until the munch set it. I didn’t have anything else to eat so I stopped by Rite Aid. My favorite candy was on sale for 88 cents! Its normally almost 4 dollars!

That was my mistake. I went to town on some sugar free Russell Stover’s candy and finished off a bag of Teddy Grahams. Grrrrrrrr!!!!

Other than this binge, today was great! I’m really starting to feel like the nurse I want to be!