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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Our New Deacons

It was all about the Barry’s and berries, today.

It began with a stop at 7-Eleven to grab coffee and a light breakfast. I spiked my coffee with my sugar free blueberry Torani, before heading to Barry’s. Look, His and Hers blueberry breakfast! Barry loved blueberry poptarts so I liked that I was able to enjoy my version of poptarts with him with the blueberry Special K Crisps.

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Today was a day of celebration for our diocese! I am so happy to say that our friend, Barry, was ordained, along with 8 others, as a Deacon. It has been a 5 year journey for him and his family. Its such as admirable dedication he has made to our community. I know that he has gone away for for retreats every month for the past 5 years, working for this.

Barry is not only a family friend, but also the owner of the company my dad works for. While dad manded the fort at the business, Barry, my Barry, and I represented the family at the ordination. We arrived at St. Margaret of Scotland Church, and after giving hugs and kisses to familiar faces, we took our seats.

The ceremony lasted about an hour and a half. He began with his family, garbed normally. Throughout the mass, we witnessed Barry promise to the Church and be sworn in as a Deacon.

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We watched the Bishop lay his hands on each candidate, swear them in, and provide them with their own Book of Gospels.

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We watched the priest of each candidates home parish, along with the candidates wives, help to dawn them with their stoles and dalmatics. It was a lovely ceremony!

WP_003654I ran into my parish’s priest, who is also the Chancellor of the Diocese, and was one of the selected few to provide Communion to the congregation. I also saw my old grade school principal, my parish’s deacon and wife. My favorite person that I ran into, today, was Dora. When I saw her, I immediately began to tear up. I hadn’t seen Dora in about 5 years. Dora was one of my grandmother’s best friends, one of the “Club Girls” as they were called. Every Thursday, the girls would get together with their bags of pennies and play Pokeno and Uno, and eat jello and pie, and various fruits and sweets. I loved catching up with her!

WP_003655After the mass, their was a gathering at the Church’s school, but Deacon Barry’s family invited us to attend the luncheon they were having at a local Italian restaurant. The reservations were not until 2pm, and Barry and I decided to kill an hour at the farmer’s market. This place is a dangerous place for foodies! The Amish section is full of sweets, pastries, meats, sausage, and all around deliciousness! Before leaving, I needed to introduce Barry to one of the oddest, savory, and sweet desserts I have ever had. There is a Mexican ice cream shop in the market that sells Cheese ice cream. You read that right. CHEESE ice cream! It smooth and creamy, a little chunky from the cheese, like cottage cheese curds, and so buttery in your mouth! We both just wanted a bite since we were heading out to lunch, but its a when-in-Rome kind of thing.

We arrived at Cucina di Napoli and were greeted by Deacon Barry and his family. We sat down to a table full of apps: Bruschetta, mussels in white wine, sauteed broccoli and spinach, mozzarella sticks and fried calamari, and chopped antipasto salad. Dad met us there after he locked up the shop, and we enjoyed socializing with everyone. I was pretty pleased with my eating! I stayed clear of the bread and butter, ate lots of lettuce and tomatoes, enjoyed some mussels, and broccoli, and avoided the fried foods. Thats a lie. I ate 1 fried calamari to apease my dad. Barry and I were both dragging, despite our coffee earlier in the day.

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Barry and I parted ways until he picked me up to attend a BBQ. Barry has kept in contact with one of his old teachers from high school who throws a pretty bitchin pool party every year. It was such a nice time! Barry and I both had a few drinks and I was so pleased with my eating! I chose wisely. I knew there was going to hot dogs, and not my 94% fat free ones. Rather than eating it plain or on a roll, I grabbed a leaf of romaine, spread it with a little black bean hummus, and topped it with corn salad. It was delicious!

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??????????????I stayed clear of the ridiculously gooey, chocolate chunk brownies, but I did take a bite if the PBJ mini cupcakes. I was so proud of myself that I filled up romaine and didn’t let the temptations get to me. I met some of Barry’s friends from high school and when I met Kevin, I saw a side of Barry I had never seen before! A complete and total BROMANCE!

Towards the end of the night, as we were heading out, the homemade moonshine and karaoke came out. One of the moonshines was peach and the other was apple. I’ve had homemade shine before, and it was rough, but the apple smelled like an apple pie! Both were delicious.

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The night ended with Barry and I falling asleep to a little Twilight Zone!

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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Happy 4th!

Happy 4th of July, everyone!

I spent the majority of my day at work. Unfortunately, no matter the holiday, there are always sick little ones. My morning began with a mug of Chocolate Cherry coffee that I got while at the Denver airport back in April. Sometimes coffee really just hits the spot. 

After completing my first set of rounds and bathing a few babies, I sat down to one of my favorites: nonfat coffee yogurt. I wanted something to crunch this morning, so rather than eating graham crackers, like usual, I sliced up an apple and dipped it into my yogurt. A surprisingly excellent combo!

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I attempted to keep busy the remainder of my shift, and while most of the girls ordered hoagies for lunch, I enjoyed a bowl of watermelon to hold me over until the end of my shift. 

I decided I wanted to grill some steaks for the holiday and enjoyed a very appropriate holiday meal with my guys (dad, Frank, and Barry): steaks, corn on the cob, macaroni salad, salsa,pretzels, and chips, and watermelon. YUM!

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To complete the meal with a red, white, and blue theme I mashed 1/2 cup blueberries in 1/2 cup fat free cool whip and dolloped it into four dessert shells. I topped each one with sliced strawberries.

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One of my favorite things to do on the fourth isn’t what you’d think. I’ve mentioned my dorky obsession with the Twilight Zone before, and every year on July 4th and New Years, ScyFy channel plays a marathon! I’m officially glued to my TV those days! 

After Barry left for work, I watch some Zone until 830pm. I headed over to Barry’s work, where he gave me a tour of the site.

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We eventually found our way to the roof of one of the buildings, where we stood and watched the fireworks. It was quite neat, actually. You could see multiple firework shows in various parts of the county all from this one roof!

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What are your favorite Twilight Zone episodes? 

I love “To Serve Man,” and “Night of the Meek.” I  really could make a whole list of my favorites!

What are your Fourth of July memories and traditions?

I can remember when I was younger, my mom and dad used to pack up a picnic basket with snacks. We would go to the soccer field a few blocks away, lay out the big red blanket, and eat hot dogs. 

Thanks to all the vets and active military! Its because of you that we are able to live safely and comfortable everyday!

Summer Flavors

This morning began with my stomach feeling well and an excitement to utilize some fresh fruit from the fridge! I made Frank a Berry Colada Smoothie

frozen mixed berries

OIKOS Toasted Coconut Vanilla Greek yogurt

2 Tbsp Torani sugar free coconut syrup

Me? I grabbed some cantaloupe from the refrigerator for a Peach-Loupe Shake:

cantaloupe

1 scoop Vanilla protein powder

1/2 cup Bai 5 Panama Peach

3g (1 serving) sugar free Peach jello mix

xanthum and guar

water

ice

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It was so filling and refreshing! 

Frank went with me to run some errands. Beauty was in need of dog food and Walmart is the ONLY place I can find Dannon Light and Fit Greek Blends Toasted Coconut Vanilla! They only had 2 left, which I quickly snatched up! Its so hard to find the Greek Blends

Once we arrived home, I made a batch of tuna fish, which Frank really enjoyed! He loved the Greek yogurt, cucumber, and dill combination. He ate it on wheat saltines, while I served mine on Suzies Corn, Quinoa, and Sesame Puffed ThinCakes

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The remainder of my day was a pretty lazy one. I just kept counting down until Zumba! Thank goodness it was a 6pm, and not a 7pm, class tonight. I made a cup of coffee around 3pm in the hopes it was give me a boost. No luck. An afternoon nap, maybe? I usually refuse naps because  I’m notorious for not sleeping later that night. I attempted a nap, but it just didn’t help.

It was definitely the sleepiest Zumba class I’ve ever done! Half way through class, my belly was growling. I drank water but I guess it was legit hunger. I walked in the house after class around 715pm to Frank grilling BBQ pork chops and homemade brown pilaf with sun-dried tomatoes, corn, and capers! Heavenly! 

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I Skyped with Barry a bit and I’m looking forward to relaxing in bed the rest of the night. 

This sleepy head is signing off! 

What do you do when you need to get motivated for a workout? Nap? Coffee? 5 Hour Energy? Music?

Its Official

Its officially allergy season. Delaware has had a high pollen count for the last few days and this nose has been-a-sniffling.

So, I mentioned that last week a had a blind date and that we wanted to go out again. Little did I know, that our next date would be so soon. We metfor lunch on Wednesday and talked for about two hours straight. Without awkward silence! (This is a real special event for me because I am quite awkward and silence tends to follow when I talk with guys).

Anyway, the lunch date went well, and I was invited back to his house by the girl who introduced us. I spent a few hours there, met his friends and then was invited for a BBQ on Thursday.
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I picked up his favorite beer, as well as some skinny drinks for me (I love Master of Mixes Lite line!!!), and helped with the BBQ. It was day 3 and already the house mates were calling when we were going to get married. HAHA! Crazy!

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It was so nice! We sat around a bonfire, just talking. I felt like I was already accepted into this family they already had. Amazingly, we stayed up until 2am talking! 2am!! I felt terrible since he had to be up at 4am to go to work. (I won’t talk about his vocation, just yet).

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Besides allergy season, we, too, are official. He officially asked me be exclusive! (I’m screaming like a little girl inside!)

He is away this weekend from work and I’ve never been with someone who texts me in the morning and calls me at night. Its so nice. Its so different from what I’m used to. This guy is so different. I keep telling him, “There has to be something wrong with you.” He just laughs at me. He is a real gentleman. I’m still kind of in shock at how things worked out and how quickly we clicked. He keeps saying, “I just keep waiting to wake up.” Its true though. Its surreal. All I know is that I’m really happy!

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My dad reads my blog, so I know this probably mad awkward for him to read, but I am really happy. I feel like my dad thinks this a phase, of maybe hes just in denial that his daughter is growing up.

Maggie’s 22nd!

I had an appointment this morning to get my eyebrows done, so I decided to got for a run to the salon, about half way home, I started getting this uncomfortable pain in my back and stopped running because it was so uncomfortable. What’s up with that?

I felt kinda crappy and lazy about not finishing my run. I find, that with running, its not the running thats the hump, although some runs I just feel beat, it getting started. Once I get running I just want to keep going. I love those days when I don’t have work, or homework, and I can just run and walk and wander all around city. That’s my favorite! And before I know it, I’ve been out for hours, walking for miles! I can’t wait until I get those days back!
I get a lot of grief from people because I go to so many stores to get my groceries. Today, I went to the store and two of the main things I went there for, they didn’t have. Grrr.

After an afternoon of working on a project for school, dad and I met up with a girlfriend of mine, that I have known since I was four years old, for her birthday, at Applebees. I got the bar tender to make me a skinny margarita,  while Maggie got a Raspberry Long Island Iced Tea. Happy Hour at Applebees just wouldn’t be complete without apps: Mozzarella sticks and Boneless Buffalo Wings. I also got a Chocolate Cake Shot for Maggie. Hello, chocolate cake… birthday… duh!

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After this, I headed to dads house for dinner. Dad really enjoys the ease of Lloyd’s BBQ containers. Tonight we had the BBQ beef that served with collard greens. I live green! I found that when I but them seasoned and in a can, they are really salty. I tried my hand at seasoning greens tonight and it was a success! I simply sprinkled frozen greens with minced garlic( its National Garlic Day, by the way) , season salt, and red proper flakes. Dad wanted a sandwich, but I created a bowl. I topped both with a bit of Cole slaw mix for added crunch.

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To finish our night we rented Taken 2 from the Redbox. ( I love Liam Neeson!) what I live about the second movie * spoiler* is that daughter kicks butt! I like to think that if I were in that situation, id be that bad ass daughter taking on the terrorists to save my family.

Speaking about bad ass and terrorists we finally have some closure from the Boston Bombings. They caught the the last suspect. Way to go Bad Ass Boston PD!

Heavenly Honey Nut

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

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

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

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

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Gardein Barbecue Riblets (prepare according to package directions)

Slice of onion

pickles (optional)

Light hamburger bun (toasted)

Stack and enjoy!

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

 

Way better than McDonalds!

Way better than McDonalds!

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

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

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

Got to Admit its Getting Better

Happy “Monday”! I know its Tuesday, but like I said, I’m starting this week over!  Today started bright and early with clinical. My morning kick off began with a quick stretch and 20 minute workout to wake me up and get my blood pumping. I can’t really do more than that on clinical mornings or I’d have to wake up at 0330 and I’d probably be pooped by 1600. While I waited for the clinical day to start I snacked on a  Chocolate Chip Corazona oatmeal square, which I made last until lunch time. (I haven’t been able to find the Almond Brownie or the White Macadamia nut, so if you find them, holla at ya girl!)

 Wow! Its chocolately delicious!

Wow! Its chocolately delicious!

This company offers other products, such as tortilla chips and other oatmeal bars in a variety of flavors! This company prides itself on heart health, hence the name. Each serving is designed to help lower cholesterol using natural plant sterols. This oatmeal bar, for example, is equivalent to 36 bananas, or 61 tomatoes, or 30 apples, of “cholesterol-lowering power.”

Lunch was, what we call, a Tun-Egg sandwich.Its nothing fancy… just tuna and egg salad mixed together. A lot of people think this sounds weird, but I think its the best of both worlds. I ate these with some grapes I picked up at Wholefoods.

Oh, the lunch of a nursing student

Oh, the lunch of a nursing student

Tonight I went with my uncle to the UD girls basketball game! I love basketball! I’ve been playing since third grade, so whenever my schedule and wallet allows, I love to attend the girl’s games. We rock! We won! What’s funny is that I used to play against some of these girls growing up, playing basketball!

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Today was a really good day. I DID go over what I wanted to eat, but I did much better today than yesterday. That’s the important part- that I improve everyday. And when I fall, I get right back up! My patient, today, was so sweet and one of the most complicated patients I’ve ever cared for. I learned so much! He had so much going on, yet he had a wonderful attitude. Really inspiring! I have to say, though, one of the highlights of my day was dinner. So simple, yet so filling and delicious! I started by spraying a pan with some non stick spray and throwing on some cauliflower florets and baby carrots. I sprinkled garlic powder over top and gave them a toss. They baked at 400 F in the toaster oven for about 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, I threw a small chicken breast in a skillet, sprinkle with garlic powder and minced onion. I chopped it up once it was cooked through. I threw the warm roasted veggies and chopped chicken over a bowl of spinach. When I visited Meaghan in NY back in December, we picked up this homemade BBQ sauce this tempeh guru makes; so I drizzled 2 tsp of the BBQ sauce over top! I bet I’d really enjoy this with salmon, too!

And now, I’m sleepy. I completed another 20 minute workout before laying down. Another busy day tomorrow and then night shift…