Veggies and Vitamins

Wednesday

Since I could not squeeze in my cat nap, I took my (lack of) energy into the kitchen, along with my laptop, and channeled my racing mind into something constructive. I spent about 45 minutes sending out resumes before whipping up a fiberful and filling shake bowl, that kept me full for countless hours! It was just what I needed to power my 12 hour night shift.

Carrot Cake Protein Shake

(adapted from CCK’s Milkshake)WP_004311

  • 3 oz carrot, chopped and steamed
  • 1 frozen, very ripe banana (if not very ripe, use the frozen banana trick)
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 tsp Splenda brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • slightest pinch of salt
  • 1-2 packets Splenda, added sweetness, if desired
  • water, or milk (for richer taste)
  • ice
  • guar and xanthum (optional)

I was going to top the bowl with raisins and chopped walnuts. Sound delicious, right? Instead, I crumbled a quarter of a Cinnamon Raisin Gnu bar (Gnu makes a carrot cake bar, but I’m not a real fan of it). The bowl serious hit the spot and I wasn’t hungry for almost 8 hours!

Hard At Work

Hard At Work

My shift began a little rocky. Not because I had a tough assignment, just because I was still in a funk, dwelling over the missed job.  After getting my head back on straight, the night went great.

I brought the last piece of Eggplant Parm Frittata and topped it with Chipotle salsa. I brought a bundle of celery  sticks for snacking, and loaded up on raw veggies from the caf. I even had a bite of a butterfinger cake one of the nurse made. (Come on… did you really expect me to pass up anything with the word “butterfinger” in it?) But it only added to my  pride when I was one little sliver and done for the night! It was just enough to satisfy my sweet tooth and to say I had some!

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Later in the night, I required something… I wasn’t hungry, but I couldn’t stop thinking about eating something. Rather than hitting up that cake in the fridge, I grabbed a dum dum sucker from the basket and few Teddy Grahams, and was completely unphased!

WP_004317On my drive home, all I wanted was stewed tomatoes. I know it sounds odd, but I could just burst waiting to get my hands on that can! Upon arriving home, there were no cans of stewed tomatoes. I could have sworn I had a can! Diced? NO! Crushed? No. Fire Roasted? Gah! Where are my stewed tomatoes? Alas, I pulled a pepper out of the refrigerator and bit into it like an apple, in disappointment and defeat. I went with the flow and here I am. I just finished my shift up and am blogging away, dipping bell pepper and romaine into one of my favorite brands of sauce, Rising Moon Organics!

Hopefully, looking at a computer screen will tire me out so I can catch some Zs before tonight’s shift!

Thursday

With the success of yesterday’s Carrot Cake shake, I decided to make it for dad, today! After his first swing he said, “Hey, thats pretty good!” Following another gulp, “Cinnamon… mmmm… and I can’t taste the carrots! ” Dad doesn’t like cooked carrots… at all… same as beets… so I love when I get those veggies and vitamins in him! Later, I received a text from dad, “Damn good shake.” I think he liked it!

I had a few beets left in the fridge and definitely wanted to utilize them before they started to go bad.

Beet Berry Burst ShakeWP_004321

  • 1 scoop vanilla protein shake
  • 1/2 beet, peeled, chopped, and steamed
  • frozen mixed berries and fruit
  • 1/2 tsp SF orange jello powder
  • 1 packet Splenda
  • cinnamon

I wasn’t hungry but, then again, I haven’t been hungry for two days, now. I needed to eat just to try to maintain normalcy. I topped it with pretzel sticks, shredded coconut… I was so indecisive. I wound up topping it with PB2, goldfish… I just couldn’t make up my mind. Probably because I wasn’t really hungry.

I got two call backs, today, for jobs. Guess what? I didn’t qualify because I don’t have experience! It so frustrating! I was getting really down on myself. I tried to channel my feelings into a brisk walk. When I arrived at Wawa, I grabbed a coffee

Since the jar of sauce was open, and today being National Pasta Day, I drained a bag of Tofu Shirataki Spaghetti, chopped up a bunch of spinach, and topped the lot with Garlic and Chantrelle Mushroom Pasta Sauce, and bit of Chipotle salsa for a bite! However, my body had other plans. My stomach started bothering me and I felt so out of it. Well, my dinner turned into rice cakes and crackers. I guess I have dinner for tomorrow.

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Name Change

I am no longer Sammy Bundo. I am Sammy Bundo, R.N.!

Wednesday

This morning (Aug. 21, 2013) began with a phone call from Barry.

“I have question for you.”

I have one for you. Why are you up? (He just finished night shift)

“I had to pee, but it this Samantha [Bundo], Registered Nurse, License Number L1…….?”

What?! No!

“Yes!”

No!

My official license had been issued and posted on the State’s registry! I began screaming, smiling ear to ear! I called my parents and whipped up two shakes! For me, a Mixed Berry Colada. I’ve really been digging  my sugar free Coconut Torani. Yesterday was National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day and I was curious to see if I could make a Pecan Pie Shake:

  • 2 scoops chocolate protein mixWP_003603 WP_003604
  • 1/2 md apple, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp chopped pecans
  • 2 Tbsp sugar free pancake syrup
  • water
  • ice

Frank was really into it!

As we sipped our shakes, I called my managers at work to share the news! But, boy, did they have news for me! There is a very strong possibility that he has a job opening up on my unit for me! I am beyond excited! With all this adrenaline running, I could not fall asleep to rest for my 12 hour shift, tonight!

I laid in bed for like 4 hours before giving up and preparing a celebratory dinner! Frank had mentioned earlier in the week that he wanted Chinese food. I talked him out of the temptation and promised to make homemade for him later in the week. What better day to have a quick, and wonderfully indulgent meal, than in honor of a celebration?

Barry arrived at the house around 430pm with a nice little surprise, and my parents quickly followed behind him from work.

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I follow the Hungry Girl recipe to the T except for the egg and flour coating. Since I don’t, typically keep scallions in the house, I substitute them with chopped onion, and I always make sure to include the chopped onion and 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes to the sauce as it cooks and thickens. As for the coating, I find that 1/4 cup of liquid egg substitute  and 2 1/2 Tbsp whole wheat flour suffices for 1 1/4lb (20oz) of cut chicken breast.

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With the bit of mixed vegetables left over from the Chicken Pot Pie, I made a make-shift fried rice, I cooked 1 cup of brown rice and allowed it to cool. I added the rice to a skillet, along with soy sauce, sesame oil, ground ginger and garlic, left over vegetables, chopped onion and mushrooms. Lastly, I added the remaining egg from the drained chicken breast to the mix. To finish off the meal, I steamed broccoli and garlic.

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We finished socializing at dinner just in time for dad to walk me to my car and see Sammy Bundo, RN, off to work.

When I arrived at work, everyone was congratulating me. It turns out the managers had posted signs around our unit! They did a great job of killing the spelling of my last name, but its the thought that counts!

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I am finishing up my can of beets, finally, with another salad of onion, bacon tempeh, carrots, and Walden Farms Bleu Cheese dressing. A rice pudding came with, as an inevitable emergency end of shift snack. The end of shift snack actually became my 4-hours-in snack, while grahams became the end-of-shift snack.

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Thursday

WP_003614I spent my first 4 hours in my 1:1 from the other night, and the remainder of the night on the floor. The night felt like it was dragging. I was sleepy and cramping, and it felt like my coffees were switched with the decaf stuff! When 7 am came around, I was ready to roll! I stopped for an actual decaf and passed out on the couch. I felt bad because I was going to meet Barry at his house, but apparently my body had other plans.

I woke around 1pm to get something in my stomach. Since today is National Eat a Peach Day, and I didn’t have an actual peach, I had an Activia Greek Peach Orchard yogurt topped with sunflower seeds, and reheated what was left of the mornings decaf. I love the earthy, nuttiness the seeds add to yogurt!

I fell back asleep to wake around 5 pm. I didn’t have much of an appetite but my stomach was tossing from a menstrual migraine. I haven’t had one of these in years and i felt my forehead was bulging. I explained it to Barry like this:

steinYou know how Frankenstein has that big forehead, like with the protruding eyebrow looking things?

Yeah?

Its like that… like my forehead is taking over my head.

Your forehead feels like Frankenstein? Well, I’ve never heard a headache described quite like that before…

I wound up calling out of the shift that I had picked up. I toasted an cinnamon raisin breakfast thin, and spread it with cream cheese and sugar free blueberry preserves. I added chopped celery to one side, for crunch, and a slice of Canadian bacon, for salty protein, on the other. I ate it like a sandwich and it was delicious!

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As the night went on, the headache went awake, and my appetite, and cravings returned. I went with another Lil’ Drum to satisfy the crunchy sweet, and a side of pretzel sticks for the crunchy salty. I spent the remainder of the night watching Four Weddings. (I love this show!)

Bacon Bum

Following my rule, I got back on track at my next meal, meaning yesterday’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner. After the 11pm snack attack, last night, I really felt down. Since I was sitting all night at work, and only came home to eat and sleep, I tried talking to my dad, but I understand that he is tired of my anxiety and body issues. Heck, I’m tired of it! I need to stay focused and not let my emotions get the best of me. Plus, I need to listen to my body, my needs…

I was disappointed when I woke, this morning, because I was hoping to work out some of last night’s crazy at Church. I woke up at 11am since my crazy kept me up for a little while last night. I wanted to start the day right, so I told Nurse Sammy to get out of bed and begin the day with a healthy meal. I know you probably thought yesterday’s breakfast was odd, but this one might freak you out, too.

This morning, in an effort to eat my beets in a way not involving a salad, I chopped the slices, along with some onion, cooked them and threw them in some eggs with spinach, Canadian bacon, and crumbled feta. Half an English muffin added some bulk to breakfast. I guess that’s still pretty similar to a salad… Oh, and a coffee! Coffee was there, too!

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Haha Egg-Beet-ers!! Get it?

I returned to work this afternoon, back in my one to one. I didn’t mind, but that coffee from a few hours before still had not kicked in. Even my pre-work shower couldn’t wake me up! I thought I was going to fall asleep in the shower. Luckily, the bit of caffeine in a Diet Cherry Coke helped keep me up.

With the unit having a one to one, I didn’t know what the night had in store for me, activity-wise. I packed dinner with caution in the form of low cal, low carb. I took the opportunity to try out my new Walden Farms Alfredo sauce, and served it over spinach, Fakin’ Bacon Tempeh, and tofu shirataki macaroni  noodles. I needed to season the sauce with garlic and oregano and parmesean cheese, but dinner turned out very well! I also had an apple sauce and graham crackers to keep me satisfied for the remained of the evening.

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I was incredibly satisfied with dinner and returned to my patient. I always love when I can see a big change in my patients! Their disposition and appetite  had both improved since yesterday! The family seems to be in good spirits as well and we spent much of the shift laughing and exchanging funny stories.

Working 1:1

Most 1:1s that I offer to work are usually all 1:1s for the same reason. I especially like to sit with the pre-teen and teenage girls. I feel like it helps that I am closer to their age than most of the doctors and nurses, and that helps them open up to me. When I work evening or night shifts with 1:1s and I develop a report with the them, I like to leave them inspirational notes to wake up to. For my patient, tonight, I did the same. I ended the letter with a quote that I really like. It always makes me smile and I find myself repeating it:

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”

― Kathryn StockettThe Help

 

Eggplant Pie

It was nice to sleep in yesterday and not have anything to do! I spent all day studying for the NCLEX, filling myself with brain food, like Saturn peaches, sugar free chocolate pudding, and a delicious dinner! (recipe to follow) My family has really been lucking out these past few weeks. Since I’ve found an outlet in cooking, my family has been eating really well. During my studying, I reward myself with breaks to cook, or prep to cook. Yesterday the result was baking Strawberry Muffins, and Eggplant Pie. Both were so good! Frank, my biggest critic, said the muffins were very good and the Eggplant Pie was,”Outstanding!” Having the word “outstanding” come from him was definitely a treat!

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The muffins came in handy when I woke up this morning to find a tray of donuts on the table from an apparent late night craving they had while out on the town… To resist the urge, I warmed up a strawberry muffin, sliced it in half, and added to the already gooey strawberries inside it with some sugar free strawberry preserves. Take that, donut!

After dinner, and along day of brain overload, I rewarded myself with Zumba. Unfortunately, my booty shaking was cut short when a girl got light headed and fainted. I ran to help her. Behind me, I hear my girlfriend yell,”It’s okay! She’s a nurse!” It was thrilling hearing someone yell that so close to my exam!

WP_003511Following Zumba, I got really hungry. Thank goodness Zumba is early on Monday nights and I went home to enjoy an Orange Cream Dannon Light & Fit Greek, with cheerios for crunch. I got antsy and wound up finishing a head of romain with salsa, filling up on water. I’m such a bunny rabbit…

I headed to bed with a mug of chamomile tea and fell asleep in NCLEX-mode.

After Sunday’s adventure at the Ren Faire, and my brief time at Zumba, last night, my calves we starting to feel it today. I began the WP_003512gloomy day with my normal routine of a shake. Since my vanilla protein powder has been replaced, I began with an Apple Eggnog Shake:

  • 2 scoops Vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 md fuji apple, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp sugar free Eggnog Da Vinci syrup
  • spinkle apple pie spice
  • water
  • ice

A total winner that Barry didn’t think would work! I made Frank a very bright Watermelon Shake.

Today was so gloomy that my dad’s boss told him not to come to work because there was so much flooding! It was also gloomy in my kitchen when my spare Magic Bullet bit the dust. I’m glad I had my smoothie maker to fill in.

Before heading to work, I filled up on some watermelon and I’ve really been digging the beet scene lately. I actually made another beet salad for dinner tonight, for work. I even used some Fakin’ Bacon Tempeh! And what goes well with bacon? Bleu Cheese! I steamed together sliced onion, chopped tempeh, sliced petite carrots, and chopped, sliced beets and served it over a bed of spinach, topped with crumbled reduced fat bleu cheese. The warmth from the vegetables warmed up the cheese and this salad was “no dressing required!” I’ve been trying to talk dad into trying beets, but I haven’t quite gotten there. Maybe I’ll sneak it into something one day. What can I say? You can’t beat beets!

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Usually, being clerk at work makes me want to eat. Not because I’m hungry or burning calories, but because I’m bored. Tonight was great because I ate my delicious salad for dinner, and had some grahams and PB for a snack! Plus, with studying and all the paperwork at the desk, I kept busy!I’m serious! As soon at 7pm hit, this place went crazy, like full moon crazy! Eureka!

I picked up a pack of sliced eggplant from the farmers market last week and wanted to use it up before it began to turn. My intent was to make an eggplant parm pizza, but then this brain of mine began to crank some gears and this little beauty was born. Its like if eggplant parmesean and spaghetti pie had a baby…

Eggplant PieWP_003507

Serves 4

1 large eggplant, sliced 1/8in
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2/3 cup bell pepper, chopped
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 cup fat free ricotta
1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 pkg Fettuccine Tofu Shirataki noodles
3/4 cup fat free shredded mozzarella, divided
4oz 96% lean ground beef
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh spinach, packed (25g)
1 Tbsp reduced fat grated Parmesan

Peeling the eggplant is your preference. Over high heat, in a skillet, cook slices of eggplant until they begin to shrivel from the water loss, flipping to ensure both sides cook. Transfer to a paper towel while cooking the remaining slices of eggplant. While eggplant is still pliable, lay the eggplant strategically in a sprayed 9in pie pan to create a pseudo-pie crust (about 7 slices). Sprinkle the bottom on the pan with 1/4 cup of mozzarella.

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Empty the noodles into a colander, rinse, and snip through the noodles with scissors, as these these noodles can be pretty long. In the hot pan, after the eggplant has been cooked and removed, briefly toss the noodles in the pan, tossing constantly to remove excess fluid, and return to the colander.

Spray skillet with non stick cooking spray and briefly cook down onions, garlic, and bell pepper, until onions are
mildly translucent. Transfer warm vegetables into a bowl with uncooked mushrooms, ricotta, spices, and egg. Then add the noodles to the ricotta mix. Transfer into eggplant crust and distribute evenly.

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Brown the ground beef. Once crumbled and browned, add the can of diced tomatoes. Stir together and top over the noodles in the crust. Sprinkle a pinch on mozzarella and the grated cheese. Add the chopped spinach and cover with the remaining eggplant (about 5 slices). Top with remained shredded mozzarella and bake in a preheat oven  at 350 F for 15-20 minutes.

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Slice and enjoy!

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Nutrition (1/4 recipe):

Calories: 149, Fat: 0.8g, Sat. Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 22.5mg, Sodium: 294mg, Carbs: 15.8g, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 4.7g, Protein: 16.8g

Krispy Kreme First

When the going gets tough, the tough gets Reese Pieces.

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I’m a pretty strong person, but I still felt that things were unresolved. I was laying in bed, having trouble falling asleep, and decided I needed something popable: Reese Pieces. These may have been left over from Easter, as you probably guessed from the carrot shaped bag.

Prior to the Easter throw back, I began to feel down on myself about not going to Zumba and still eating. Silly, I know. Especially since I was technically, still  under my allotted calories.

I find it ironic:

WP_003346Food is a major contributor to my anxiety, but cooking levels me out. So thats exactly what I did. I called my elderly neighbor to see if he would like Chicken Marsala for dinner tomorrow night. (He eats all of his meals out at the same restaurant). One thing I love about cooking for him, is that he needs to gain weight, so it allows me to whip out my inner fat girl chef. I whipped up bacon cheddar mashed potatoes and plated the chicken breast over top.

I also prepped my dinner for night shift for tonight (recipe below).

Important Errands:

Yesterday, in my state of blah, I wanted to feel like I could potentially make myself useful. I sent out a few resumes, studied for the NCLEX, and, lastly, filled out the application to a job I’ve wanted for a long time. (Say some prayers.) This morning, after showering and getting myself pertty, I hand delivered my application and resume. I followed this up with spending entirely too much money at Walmart!

Good Eats:

WP_003357Fuel for the morning was half a Skinngygirl On the Go Bar. How can you go wrong with Dark Chocolate Multigrain Pretzel? It wasn’t too shabby. In my opinion, like the other Skinnygirl bar I tried, it contains a decent amount of sugar.

After the Walmart adventure, I settled into bed for a nap before work. This brain of mine was working hard, and I jumped out of bed to grab pen and paper about an hour or so into my nap! I had dreamt up 2 recipes and had to write them down before I forgot them! The best part is that I think these are actually do-able recipes! I can’t wait to give them a shot!

WP_003354Smart eating is a necessity after these anxiety munchies, so with big fresh peaches in the house, but a lack of vanilla shake mix, I made a Peach Melba Protein Smoothie.

  • 1 half peach, chopped, with skin
  • 1  Dannon Light and Fit Raspberry Greek yogurt
  • water
  • ice

This was probably one of the tastiest I’ve made in a while! It was delicious and filling! It kept me full for a few hours, but my tummy started rumbling and I cracked into a sugar free Creme Brulee rice pudding, topped with cinnamon, of course. It was a tad bit sweeter than the normal stuff, but not too different other than that.

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In the Walmart splurge, I picked up the Vanilla Biscotti K Cups for work and mixed it with sugar free french vanilla creamer. Its a good combo, if you were wondering.

Once I arrived at work, I got into a conversation about Krispy Kreme. They could not believe I have never had one! God Bless this mom when she told me I was a twig and could eat 6 of them! She told me I wasn’t leaving the room until I took one with me. I took my pick and and the one with the pretzel topping looked the most appetizing! I cut 1/8, yes, an eighth, of the Caramel Chocolate Pretzel donut to try and trashed the rest. This was my first and last experience with Krispy Kreme. The donut was filled with chocolate and topped with crushed pretzels. I’m actually glad I wasn’t a fan, once I saw the calorie count on the bad boy. But at least now I can say, I’ve had one.

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I never thought I’d say this, but I’ve really been digging beets. Thats why, instead of my normal salad for last night 12 hour shift, I tossed together spinach, canned, sliced beets, sliced baby carrots, onions, and crumbled fat free feta for an all-star salad!

Orange Balsamic Beet Salad

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  • 1/4 cup beets, canned, sliced, drained
  • 1 oz baby carrots, slivered, divided
  • 1 slice onion, divided
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp light orange juice
  • black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp sugar free Balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1/2 oz fat free crumbled feta

Over medium-low heat, cover the beets, with pepper, carrots, half the sliced onions, half the slivered carrots, all the orange juice and dressing. Allow the veggies to steam and cook in a covered skillet until the juices have dissolved. Uncover, turn off heat, and allow to cool, while chopping spinach. Spoon beet mix over spinach and top with crumbled feta.

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I grabbed some balsamic vinegar to top my salad with from the caf and wound up spilling a bunch on my hand. Its hours later and I can still smell it! The good new, though, is that the salad hardly needed anything since the beets were so full of flavor! Yum!

After a busy night of crying babies and glucose monitoring, I was pulled to sit for the last four hours of my shift. I was pretty pleased since I had worked 8 hours and hadn’t had the time to even glance at my NCLEX book! I spent the last four attempting to study and review and resist blogging! (I just can’t help myself!)