Indulgent Weekend

After my solid nap and trip with dad to the grocery store, Frank called and offered to buy dinner. I seriously debated saying “no” but I can’t go wrong with steamed shrimp and vegetables. To help me out, dad and I split my Hot&Sour soup and my shrimp and vegetables. I ate the soup and steamed up some more veggies and saved the shrimp and vegetables for my night shift. After a nice dinner and some bill paying, I tiredly went to the couch to attempt a power nap before work. I did not get a power nap, but I got out a good cry. Last night’s episode of Glee had me balling my eyes out from the second it started. I think I cried even harder because, in all honesty, its been a pretty emotional week. I think Glee just provided me the outlet.

I can’t help but dwell on lacking a position as a nurse. I think I’m the only one I know that has not gotten hired, yet. I just don’t understand. Dad says its because I’m so used to exceeding at everything I put my mind to, that this is new concept to me. I guess he’s got a point. Since I’ve been dwelling, I can’t help but think I’ve not only let myself down, but my family… my grandparents, in particular.

I need to stop this self-pity crap! Let’s move onto the goods…

I always call work before arriving for an 11pm shift. The night shift nurses come on at 7pm and I like to see if anyone needs anything on my way in. My girlfriend, Natasha, a major support person throughout my recovery, asked if I would grab her a coffee. No prob! Easy peasy! I though I was clever, at home, before leaving as I brewed my coffee with SF french vanilla creamer and a splash of SF Pumpkin Pie syrup. Natasha is a genius! “A 16oz pumpkin coffee with Irish cream and 2 Splenda.” After I gave it a try, I felt defeated, but in a good way… This was sooooo good! My coffee had been out-done. I can’t wait to grab another!

WP_004169The weather continued to be dreary, rainy, dark, and terrible… all in time for my alternator to die! Frank was kind enough to take me to my dads at 10pm, and my dad was kind enough to lend me the truck to take to work. Thanks, guys!

Despite the miserable weather and hour-long Glee cry fest, with my adorable cuddle-buddy, I came to work in a great mood! In fact, my shift began with a fun size M&M and  a Dum Dum sucker. I was expecting to be on the floor tonight, but, alas, I would spend my final night shift of my four day span in my 1:1. My patient decided  that they wanted to stay up all night. Once your patient falls asleep on night shift, you kind of want to fall asleep, too; so I was kind of okay with that, and we began our 8 hours together with a game of Phase 10.  I made a solid point to remain standing and walking around, despite being in a single room. I took a bathroom run every 2 hours or so, refilled my water bottle frequently, and even read my book and charted while standing. I think having all the lights in the room on helped , too.

When I was relieved for my break, I went down to caf to scope out the goods. There wasn’t really much in the way of what I would consider “goods.” Nonetheless, I hit up the salad bar, grabbing an assortment of vegetables, like bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, and beets. The snack machine also caught my eye with Smartfoods Cinnamon  Brown Sugar popped chips. 100  calories for the whole bag? I’ll give it a shot…

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They weren’t great, but they weren’t terrible, either. Instead, I completed my vegetables with a miso soup packet, and later snacked on some white cheddar popcorn. ( I guess it was a Smartfoods kind of shift). Oh yeah, there was a snack size snickers in there, too… Damn bag of chocolate. As Barry says, “Chocolate makes the world go round.” My reply, “Chocolate, too, makes my belly go round.”

It was quite a fiberful and satisfying meal and I, then, returned my patient’s room. When I’m in 1:1s, I notice my posture sucks, so I made a conscious effort to try to use my core muscles to both sit and stand tall. The result was a sore pack for most of my shift. I’m glad I was standing most of the night so I could continually twist and stretch to try to relieve some pain.

After a quick powernap at dad’s he drove me to Barry’s on his way to work. We have some errands to run to get ready for the weekend ahead of us.

This weekend is going to be a doozy and all this past week I’ve been preparing myself for it. In fact, next week will probably be part of the recovery process.

Tomorrow, one of my best friend from nursing school is getting married and I could not be more happy for her!

The following day is Vendemmia (which I’m thinking might be postponed due to this terrible weather Wilmington is having)!

Oddly enough, since I’ve been stressing about calories in preparation for these events, I’ve actually eaten close to 1000 calories everyday.  I really don’t know how I feel about that…

Today is National Sausage Pizza Day. Dad and I happened to find Al Fresco Chicken Sausage on sale at the store last week and I came up with the idea to combine the best of two pizzas…

Buffalo Sausage Pizza

The Crust:WP_004183

  • 1 md to lg head of cauliflower, chopped
  • 3/4 cup fat free shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp parsley
  • 1/2 Tbsp corn meal

The Toppings:

  • 1/2 cup onion, thinly sliced
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 2 Laughing Cow Light Blue Cheese Wedges, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, granulatedWP_004181
  • 1 Tbsp ranch dressing mix
  • 3 Tbsp OIKOS plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup fat free shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 Al Fresco Buffalo-style  Chicken Sausage burgers
  • 4-5 tsp hot sauce, or tobasco/pepper sauce, divided, plus more for taste, if desired
  • 1/2 tsp oregano, dried
  • 2 Tbsp reduced fat crumbled blue cheese

Preheat the oven at 400 F. Steam the chopped cauliflower. Drain and transfer to the food processor and briefly pulse the cauliflower until it is riced. Combine the warm riced cauliflower with the shredded mozzarella, liquid egg, and spices. Sprinkle a heated pizza stone or pizza pan with the cornmeal and spread the cauliflower dough evenly over top to form the crust. Bake for 20 minutes.

While the crust is baking, add the onion to a small pan, sprayed with non stick cooking spray, and cover, remaining on a low heat, tossing occasionally. Sprinkle with pepper, to taste. In another small skillet, sprayed, add the patties. Break up the patties using two spatulas, and cook over medium heat just enough to begin browning. Drain the meat, and place in a bowl. Toss the slightly browned meat with 1 tsp hot sauce, and set aside.

Remove the set crust and reduce oven temperature to 350 F. Using a spatula, slide around the crust to ensure it is not sticking to the stone. In a small cup, stir the cheese wedges, garlic, ranch, red pepper flakes, 1 tsp hot sauce, and yogurt together, until smooth. Spread the mixture over the hot, baked crust, followed by the caramelized onions. Further chop the shredded mozzarella and top the pizza. Finally, add the seasoned ground chicken. Pour any remaining hot sauce from the bowl over the top and sprinkle with oregano.

Bake for 8 minutes, turn the pizza 180 degrees, top with crumbled blue cheese, and additional 2 tsp of hot sauce. Return to the oven for another 8 minutes, slice, and serve.

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Nutritional Facts: (1/8 pizza)

Calories: 104, Fat: 2g, Sat. Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 5mg, Sodium: 621mg, Carbs: 8g, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Protein: 12g

I served the pizza with a tray of celery sticks and baby carrots on the side. I made a quick dipping sauce using 1 LC Blue wedge, lots of hot sauce, 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, 1 tsp ranch mix, some red pepper flakes, and 2 Tbsp of a light blue cheese dressing (like Walden Farms).

The night was completed with some marble cake our neighbor gave us. Oh my gosh, the frosting was amazing! Tempting! Fudgey! Decadent! Thats what kept us going back for nibbles.

I am completing the rest of the night with my mom and a movie!

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…)

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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:

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  • 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.

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