Where Have You Been?

Sorry, folks! I can promise you that despite my lapse in posts, I have been keeping track of my creations. I am laying in bed, right now, and you guys are on my mind. So here is a recipe that has actually become a wicked stand by for a meal or a side dish, so much so that dad made me make another batch the same week!

It is quite simply, yet hearty. Its a bit sweet, but you can add some heat (of course, I did).

Beans and Greens

Make 7 (1/2 cup) servings

  • 4 cups chopped collard greens, ribs removed
  • ¾ cup chopped onion20160728_151116
  • ½ Tbsp minced garlic
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 ½ cup chopped button mushrooms
  • ½ cup honey BBQ sauce (40 cal per 2 Tbsp)
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • ¼ cup water
  • 15oz black beans, or any beans, drained and rinsed

Wisk together the tomato paste, BBQ sauce, and water. Set aside.

Combine greens, onions, garlic, water, salt and pepper (and optional red pepper flakes) in skillet, covered, over medium heat, for 10 minutes until greens wilt.

Add mushrooms, beans, and sauce to wilted greens. Recover the skillet and lower heat to low for about 5 minutes to warm the beans and sweat the mushrooms.

20160724_103454Grub as is or  add sausage, hot dogs, chicken, etc.

Per ½ cup:

Calories: 90, Fat: 0.4g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 246mg, Carbs: 18g, Fiber: 3.7g, Sugars: 6.5g, Protein: 4.4g

 

Where have you been, Sammy?

Well, I started an accelerated online program to get my next nursing degree. I am still working full time, I moved out of my moms (I really needed to, it became too toxic), a visited South Korea… Oh! and while I was there, this happened!

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Time to add wedding planning to the  To-Do List!

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Patient Birthdays

Saturday

Today, a very dear patient of mine celebrated their birthday with us at the hospital. Unfortunately, I have celebrated many patient birthdays in the hospital. At least, they are surrounded by people who love them!

This evening, my patient had loads of cupcakes that their family had brought in. I couldn’t leave the room without grabbing one. I decided to ask Amy if she would split them with me.

This is always a trouble, when patients and families give you food. You hate to say, “no,” so you take it. Even when you do say, “no,” they continue to insist, and you take it anyway. My eating had been great all day so I felt little,but some, guilt about splitting cupcakes with my one of my girlfriends for a patient who means so much to me.

It was a nice sweet treat that worried me about spiraling into a cupcake frenzy. Both were vanilla cupcakes, one from a bakery around their home, with cream cheese frosting, and the other, a homemade one with cookies n’ cream icing. With my love of oreos, I snagged the cookies n’ cream cupcake and called dibs on the mini oreo topping it! Yum!

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Backing up bit, breakfast was a smoothie bowl. Today is National Strawberry Cream. I feel like its kind of an incompletely titled holiday but nonetheless:

Strawberry Cream Protein Smoothie

  • 1 strawberry yogurt
  • 1/2 to 1 scoop vanilla protein
  • frozen strawberries
  • guar and xnathum
  • water
  • ice

I topped mine with Special K Protein cereal for crunch, at first. But then, I realized that freeze-dried strawberries were an awesome topping, too!

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Dinner was a bowl of soup, topped with salsa, and a side of celery sticks for snacking. The meal was paired with half an oreo cupcake!

I’m usually not a fan of clerking, but tonight was great because we had tons of discharges and I kept busy for majority of the night!

Sunday

With another shift of work ahead of me, I enjoyed  a yummy coffee protein bowl in honor of National Coffee Day! I actually was a coffee fiend, ironically, all day!

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The shake was a blend of Cafe Latte mix, spinach, fresh raspberries, CPB2, and SF raspberry and Kahlua syrups. To top it off, I crumbled a quarter of a Gnu Espresso Chip bar (I’m so bummed this flavor is discontinued). I love having that ability to chew, not just drink my shakes. Plus, it makes the shake so much more filling and is also a combo of chocolate and coffee.

I grabbed a cup of coffee before work, and headed off to my unit. It was another great night on the unit. It was another night of filling (Not So) soup and celery sticks. With this experimentality of mine, I tried adding a little honey mustard and BBQ sauce from the caf. It actually gave the soup a really nice flavor- almost a southwestern inspiration.

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Right before dinner, I was surprised how bad I wanted another cup of coffee. Its amazing how tastes change as you age. I was never a coffee drinker until high school- hot tea was always my thing. The only time I would drink coffee was to feel like my dad. Now, I actually am a coffee addict!

I can still remember my parents ordering a cheesesteak with friend onions, and sitting there trying to pick out all the little slivers with my fingers. Or picking off the onions and peppers off a sausage sandwich. Or Thursday Wing nights, when dad would bring home hot wings, I would wash off the sauce before eating them. Now, it seems like every day is started with a cup of the good stuff, almost every meal had peppers or onions, and hot sauce is always my go-to condiment!

They say our bodies change about every 7 years… maybe thats the reason our taste buds change, too!

WP_004058Speaking of changing tastes, I never thought I’d enjoy Cajun Trail Mix. I mean. everyone loves trail mix, but Deb, one of our nurses, brought this bag of trail mix in. I was getting hungry and gave it a try. Those butter roasted peanuts make it! That salty, sweet and crunchy combination of all the ingredients makes this stuff hard to resist!

Getting home, and having worked on the floor for my shift, I was surprised by how hungry I was. I actually would up eating a whole head of romaine lettuce! (I’m like a rabbit.) Some fabulous Rainbow Goldfish joined the party, too.

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I can feel the wave of exhaustion rushing over me and I am hoping to have a relatively early start tomorrow. With that, I say goodnight!

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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Tempted by Tempeh

This morning, since it was Barry’s first morning back, it was a blueberry pancake morning. The special guest star? Bar Harbor Wild Blueberry Preserves!

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I was pretty excited when I find these easy to make complete Easy Packs by Hungry Jack. Its the perfect size for a few people and they had Blueberry Wheat! Even better. Not having blueberries in the house, I warmed up a few tablespoons of the preserves and drizzled the newly formed syrup over the poured batter. Aside from the last three pancakes getting a little toasty, they were a hit. Barry, being the blueberry king that he is, doused his plate with blueberry syrup, as well. To finish the meal with some protein, eggs. Over easy for me and medium for him.

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We kicked off his first day back with a date at the shooting range, followed by a ton of errands! I introduced Barry to Wholefoods today! I love when I take people there for the first time. Its like they are little kids! Barry fell in love with bakery, as most people do. He wanted to buy one of everything! He left with a brownie cheesecake muffin and a cookies n cream cupcake. I was a good girl. We all know how I get around sweets…

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Its so funny! He’s already planning our next trip to Wholefoods, including having lunch there. He was in love the meats department. I don’t think he believed me when I told him how beautiful the meats were. He would up spending a few bucks on meats, as well.

After continuing with errands, we headed home. I read in a magazine that the calcium in frozen yogurt helps relieve cramps. Best excuse ever to take your boyfriend out for froyo!

Barry definitely has a sweet tooth for similar tastes as myself… Chocolate and peanut butter. He opted for the cheesecake froyo at Yogurt City topped with chocolate, caramel, Reese cups, chocolate jimmies, blueberries and bananas. I went with the no sugar added strawberry yogurt topped with kiwi, mango, strawberries, and sliced almonds! I do believe I am developing quite a skill for froyo perfection!

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We headed back to the house after about 5 hours of being out while at Wholefoods, we picked up a tempeh that I have never seen before: Fakin Bacon smoky tempeh by Lightlife. While cooking it, the kitchen actually did begin to smell like bacon. I also roasted some bell peppers, sliced baby carrots, onion, tomato, and cauliflower seasoned with garlic and basil. Topping a bed of spinach, I think this was the healthiest meal Barry had had in a long time! Plus, he had never had tempeh before. ( We all know I’m addicted to the stuff.) I always enjoy a roasted veggie and tempeh salad drizzled with BBQ sauce, and today was no different. Also, while at Wholefoods, we picked up Annie’s Organic Hot Chipotle BBQ sauce, since we both have a love for sweet and spicy. It had much more of a kick than either one of us expected, and our lips were tingling a good while after eating our salads. I can’t wait to BBQ some chicken breast with this stuff!

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We wrapped up our evening with oreos and PB, and some hockey. It was a nice day spent with the boyfriend. Tomorrow… road trip.

Like a Skyscraper

Today’s Anthem:

I went to sleep late last night, but I woke up around 0830 with a feeling of renewal! Like anything was possible.

Running and music used to be outlets when I was healthy. So I laced up my sneaks, popped on some music and downloaded to couch to 5K app on my phone. I knew that this was what I needed! I opened the from door,and its raining. I looked up, said “Really?! Rain?!”

This was my cue to stick it to the universe. Half way through the run, Skyscraper came on my phone and I felt empowered. I typically don’t care to run to slower songs because it slows me down, but WOW! Today, this song was just what I needed. Demi and I are close in age and have both struggled through depression and eating disorders. I think this song is supposed to be about the media, or applied to a lover, but today, I was talking to myself, this disease. It keeps trying to tear me down. “I will be rising from the ground like a skyscraper.”

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The 5 miles felt great!

As I ran back toward my house, the rain starting becoming a bit ice-like, getting ready for the Noreaster.

I was excite for breakfast. I poured a glass of Aloe and ate a Kashi 7 Grain waffle, with 1/2 T Brummel and Brown’s Yogurt Spread and 1/2 T of the most delicious Blueberry Jam of all time! This stuff is from Maine. My girlfriend Maggie goes there every year with her family and they bring this stuff back by the case-load!

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Yeah… its just that good!

After my run, I could tell today was going to be a good day!

I ran to the store today because I finished the last of the water the other day. I try not to use plastic bottles, but I’ve had to the last few days. Can lifting 3 five gallon jugs of water count as my strength training for the day? Just kidding.

I did a little tidying up around the house and sat down next to the fireplace to start watching a lecture. No success. This turned into nap time.

Next thing I knew, my dad was ringing the doorbell for dinner. I made a roasted vegetable and spinach salad. I did like last time and sprayed some cauliflower florets, baby carrots, and mushrooms with cooking  spray and tossed in some garlic powder and basil. I baked these in the toaster oven at 400 until the carrots start to dry out and the the cauliflower gets a mildly golden crust. Then I topped the warm veggies over a bed of spinach and drizzled some of the BBQ sauce for NY over it. To finish this beaut off, a sliced some onion and sprinkled some chia seeds.

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To complete the meal, I baked a VitaPizza, pepperoni supreme style. (I prefer the tomato and cheese one better). Yum!

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I’m really glad dad liked the salad because he most def is not a fan of cauliflower.

Then, the most amazing thing happened. The doorbell rang and there stood a man with a box of food. I looked at him, confused. It was Joe Reda, the district representative. He knows we are having some financial troubles, as most families are these days, and he and his wife brought us staple foods, like pasta, cereal, milk… I was floored. I did not know what to say. With everything we hear about the world, its hard to believe that there are still generous and chivalrous human beings out there.

Thank you, Reda Family! You’ll never know how grateful we are! God Bless You!

After the Reda’s left, dad and I dug into a fruit salad and some cottage cheese!

MMMMM

MMMMM

The Curve Ball

We all have our routines, whether its taking the kids to basketball practice, or Sunday clean up day. I am no different. My clinical schedule begins on Sunday. I wake up early and either head to Church then the hospital, or visa versa. My Sunday consists of paperwork and planning for the week. Monday morning is another early morning. This is when I set my tone for the week. I like to start with a quick morning work out to get my blood pumping and wake me up. Then its time to pack  my lunch for the day, take off my nail polish, take out my nose ring, and get my butt into gear. After clinical, the nose ringing goes back in and then its typically errand running, then home for some patient charting and lunch packing for Tuesday. Tuesday is another early morning, pretty much repeating Monday’s routine, except then I paint my nails (No jewelry or nail polish in the clinical setting). Today, I got thrown a curve ball.

It start like a normal day with my cup of hot tea and morning workout. I was ready for my day. Everything was going fine at the hospital and I started getting really hot. Cue to upset tummy. Bottom line, I got sent home for being sick. Boo! I fell into the bed as soon as I got in the house, and I was out like a light! The sleep was much needed, but still did not have much of an appetite. I knew my body needed some nutrients so I ate the lunch I had packed myself : a classic PB&J with some celery sticks. I made it on some high fiber whole wheat bread, with the new almond butter and some sugar free blackberry preserves (I wish I had my blueberry preserves that I left at dad to celebrate National Blueberry Pancake Day.)

Speaking of Peanut Butter and Jelly… Have your ever had this little beaut?

Just like the real deal... but nuttier!

Just like the real deal… but nuttier!

I was really excited when I first found Kind’s Fruit & Nut Peanut Butter & Strawberry bar a while back. With my first bite, I was immediately hooked and I snag it whenever I get the chance. It really does remind you of a nutty PB and Jelly. To make this bar even better, it has 7g protein and 4g fiber.

I had packed myself a Barre bar for my morning hold over, but since I did not get to eat it, I snacked on this throughout the res tof my day. I’ve had Barre bars before and did not care for them but this one wasn’t too bad. It has the consistancy of a Larabar. The flavor I had was called “ballerina.” This is their spirulina bar. Barre bars were created by two dancers to increase performance without feeling weighted down.

yeah, its green

yeah, its green

For it being a green bar, they did a nice job at covering up that green veggie flavor. I like the toasted coconut in this bar. I don’t think this would be my first choice for an energy bar, but its acceptable. The dates and agave add a mild sweetness. I think this is a bar that you’ll have to try and decide for yourself. I believe I need a take 2 on this one.

One reason why I say, don’t starve yourself, is because you bite the bullet later. Today for example, I did not eat all day until I felt comfortable to eat the PB&J. Then what happened? I was soooo hungry! I went for everything in the kitchen! No good!

With me, I’ve been biting the bullet hard lately! Since recovering from anorexia, my body is making up for lost time. I starved myself for long that now, just the thought of food can put me into a craze! This is not healthy either.

My week got started rocky, but I intended on throwing a curve ball back and reclaiming this week, for me! Tomorrow starts my week, and I’m powering forward with determination, education, and health!

I’m curling up in bed for the rest f the night to soothe this tummy ache with some chamomile tea. Good night!