What Time Is It?

Hey Kids! Do you know what time it is?????

Thats right! Happy Peanut Butter and Jelly Day!!!

You know if its a holiday involving any nut butter, I’ll know about it! A classic side kick to peanut butter is jelly, of course, and one of my favorite collections of such items is Polaner’s Sugar Free with Fiber collection! Well, recently, I’ve gotten on the mason jar bandwagon, and since doing so, have wanted to make  my own jam. Pops brought home a big container of blueberries and JAM, I mean, “BAM!” Don’t have a canner? No worries… Neither do I.

No Sugar Added Blueberry Jam

makes 16oz (approx. 32 Tablespoons

  • 2 cups blueberries or strawberries
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice (zest would probably be a nice addition, as well)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp No Sugar Needed Pectin
  • 1/3 cup granulated Splenda

Mash blueberries to your preferred consistency. (I like chunks remaining, just makes it a bit more textured.) Transfer mashed blueberries to a medium pot with the water. Sprinkle with Splenda and pectin. Turn heat to medium high. Continue to stir constantly and you bring the mixture to a boil for 1 minute. Thats it!

Remove the pot from the heat, transfer mixture to clean jar(s). To seal jar(s), tighten the lids to a finger-tightness. If you have a canner, now is the time to use it… If not? Follow along:

In a large pot, place the sealed jars, and fill the pot with enough water to cover the top(s) of the jar(s). Bring to a boil. Check on the jar(s) every few minutes. Use a utensil to poke the center of the lid(s). If the lid dips when pressure is applied, continue to boil, rechecking the lid(s) every few minutes. Once the lid(s) are solid and no longer “pop,” turn off the heat, and carefully remove the jar(s), using tongs, and allow the jar(s) to cool at room temp. Then you can refrigerate.

WP_007966

Go Ahead… SCHMEAR IT!!!

Nutrition (per tablespoon):

Calories:9, Fat: 0g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 0mg, Carbs: 1g, Fiber: 0g, Sugars: 1g, Protein: 0g

Fun Fact: What the heck is the difference between jelly, jam, and preserves??

The difference between them comes in the form that the fruit takes.

  • In jelly, the fruit comes in the form of fruit juice.

  • In jam, the fruit comes in the form of fruit pulp or crushed fruit (and is less stiff than jelly as a result).

  • In preserves, the fruit comes in the form of chunks in a syrup or a jam.

Thank you, howstuffworks.com!

A Blue Goat?

If you weren’t sure, I am a huge Triple D fan! Barry and I were watching one night and I was so intrigued when I saw one chef make a pie using goat cheese and blueberries… Does that even go together? Oh yeah, and there was basil in it, too!

minion

I know, right?

Anyway, I was super intrigued and immediately had to play with the concept. As I googled, I was lucky enough to find the recipe on foodnetwork.com! The owner of 3 Sister’s Cafe, on my “Too Visit and Eat” List, gave their recipe! Thanks, Moira Sommers, for the recipe and inspiration!

After review, I did my normal brainstorming and created my version: A calorie, fat, and sugar slashing torte-like pie that can be eaten as breakfast, brunch, or dessert. I warn you, though, its pretty damn delicious!

Basil and Blue Goat Torte

serves 12

Crust:

  • 1 cup Fiber One bran cereal
  • 2 sheets (8 crackers) cinnamon graham crackers, low fat
  • 3 Tbsp Splenda, granulated
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • zest of 1 lemonWP_005579
  • 1/4 cup soft buttery spread, like Blue Bonnet Light
  • 2-3 Tbsp water

Filling:

  • 1/2 cup Chavrie sweet basil goat cheese*
  • 1/2 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1/4 cup Splenda Brown Sugar
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • pinch salt
  • 1 Tbsp basil, fresh, finely chopped*
  • 5 cups blueberries

Streusel:

  • 1/2 cup almonds, whole
  • 1/4 cup Splenda, granulated
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp, plus 1/2 tsp unsweetened applesauce

* If unable to find goat cheese with basil, simply use plain chavrie and add an extra tablespoon if chopped basil.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine cereal, graham crackers, Splenda, cinnamon, and 1/2 the lemon zest in a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients are a crumb consistency. Melt the butter spread. Add 2 Tbsp water to butter (add extra tablespoon of water, if needed), and pour butter mixture onto crumbs. Using your hands, combine the mixture and press onto a ceramic torte dish, that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Once the crust has been pressed, bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the goat cheese, yogurt, liquid egg substitute, Splenda brown sugar, salt, the remaining lemon zest, and flour. Once combined, fold in the basil and blueberries.Set aside until crust has baked. Once the crust has baked, transfer the blueberry cream into the crust. Side aside while making the topping.

WP_005576 WP_005580

Place the whole almonds in the food processor and pulse until the almonds have crumbled, but not the point of utter pulverization. Combine the remaining streusel ingredients. Using your fingers, sprinkle the topping over the settled pie. Don’t be afraid to get your fingers dirty and evenly spread the topping. Return the pie to the oven and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Turn the pie 180 degrees and bake for another 10-12 minutes.

Allow the pie to cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting.

WP_005581 WP_005589

As I took my first bight, my mom couldn’t take her eyes off me. Words began to stumble out, as I continued to put more of this dish in my mouth. MMMMM, savory, tart, sweet, delicious, MMMM… “What is wrong with you?” Oh man! It’s just so good!

I was dazzled by its beauty! The way the yogurt and goat cheese firmed up marbled the pie through the blueberries! And the crust and the almond streusel that sandwiched that tart torte! Oh man! Just, wow!

WP_005590

Nutrition: (per slice, 1/12 recipe)

Calories: 154, Fat: 5.7g, Sat. Fat: 1.4g, Cholesterol: 7.1mg, Sodium: 116g, Carbs: 23.4g, Fiber: 4.8g, Sugar: 11.5g, Protein: 4.5g

I hope you all enjoy as much I do!

Bursting Berries

Probably one of my things about cooking with fresh berries is when they are heated. They BURST! Today is National Blueberry Pancake Day! Rather than sharing another pancake recipe, I wanted to share a recipes bursting with the blue stuff!

I found a huge tray of blueberries on the discount produce rack and snatched them up! At first, I made Hungry-girl’s Blueberry scones, but the end result reminded me of baked blueberry oatmeal fritters… Nothing wrong with that…

WP_005219 WP_005220

Well I couldn’t sleep that night, and decided to utilize the remaining berries to play around with scones. My brain wouldn’t stop coming up with proportions for ingredients until I got up to bake! The end result was beautiful and tempting! After two attempts, and the improving results, I gave it the “third times the charm.” Yum! But, nonetheless, there was still improvements to be made and on the four shot, I fell in love!

WP_005221

Bursting Blueberry Scones

makes 6 scones

  • 2 1/2 Tbsp light buttery spread, like Blue Bonnet light
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup Heart Smart BisquickWP_005233
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp Splenda Brown Sugar, divided
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 packet Splenda
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar free French Vanilla powdered coffee creamer, more if desired
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 2 Tbsp flax milk
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup blueberries

Spread the buttery spread on a piece of wax or parchment paper to a 1/4 in thickness and freeze for 2 hours, at minimum.

Preheat the oven to 400 F. In a bowl, combine the oats, pastry flour, Bisquick, 1 Tbsp Splenda brown sugar, cinnamon, Splenda packet, baking powder, and salt. In a separate, small bowl or cup, whisk the vanilla, powdered creamer, milk, and egg substitute until powdered creamer has completely dissolved.

Using a fork, break up the frozen butter into smaller pieces and quickly and thoroughly mash butter into the flour mix, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the applesauce, and whisked milk mix. Fold in the blueberries.

Transfer the dough to a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Form into a circle, about 7 inches in diameter and flatten the top. Bake for 5 minutes and remove from the oven. Using a large, sharp knife, slice the pastry into 6 sections. Sprinkle the last 1 tsp of Splenda brown sugar over the top of the crusty dough. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, slice along the previous cuts, and let cool.

WP_005232

Nutrition: 1 scone (1/6 recipe)

Calories: 135, Fat: 3.5g, sat. Fat: 0.8g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 202mg, Carbs: 23.6g, Fiber: 2.1g, Sugar: 4.6g, Protein: 2.4g

Enjoy! If your feeling adventurous, top it with a glaze!

I loved pulling the scones out of the oven and seeing the skin of the blueberries thinning, fighting back, not to explode the berry goodness everywhere. I found myself sneaking warm blueberries off the scones! No, Sammy, if you eat out all the blueberries, they would be blueberry scones, anymore! They were packed solid with blueberries! Plus, the little sweetness from the brown sugar crust just accentuated the berries!

Benefits of Blueberries:

  • They contain more antioxidants than any other fruit, and are also good sources of vitamins A and C, calcium, potassium, iron, and magnesium.
  • 1 cup of blueberries contains 5g Fiber.
  • The pterostilbene in blueberries enhance immune function when combined with vitamin D, according to a study by Oregon State University.
  • “Blueberries contain plant pigments called anthocyanins, and these compounds have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, according to a study published in the April 14, 2010, “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.” These anthocyanins also help increase brain signals and memory function.” ~Livestrong.com
  • Also helps fight depression!

I Will

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WP_003865

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

Refrain Running

Last night, dad and I watched another Redbox called Not Fade Away. I picked it because it was about music and it had James Gandolfini in it. I dug the music but the movie, itself, was so-so.

WP_003301

Also making an appearance was the Chocolate Peanut Butter Arctic Zero with fat free whipped cream, jimmies, broken fat free pretzel sticks for a salty crunch, and a sprinkle of  Chocolate PB2. I love that I can eat this and not have an anxiety attack about it! Arctic Zero, you are a blessing to all those in eating disorder recovery!

After dropping Barry’s dinner off to him at work, I arrived home not being able to take my eyes off the last fuji apple. I sliced it up and enjoyed the slices with Be Well Nutella sandwiched between them.

Utter Frustration

Despite all my yawning and being in bed by 10, I did nothing all night, but lay there- completely awake! I tried counting sheep, deep breathing, stretching, and even massaging pressure points to relax. Nothing worked! I was too tired to study, too tired to talk or open my eyes… I was so frustrated I wanted to scream! But I was too tired for that too.

Eventually I gave in and whipped out a pad if paper and worked on a few new recipes. By 4 am, my belly was growling! I tried to ignore it but now I know what time my food is digested by and why I’m hungry in the morning.

I mosied into the kitchen. My immediate reaction was to head to the MagicBullet, but since it was 4am, I thought that might be a bit inconsiderate to others actually sleeping! I grabbed a granola bar, which I enjoyed. But suddenly, I was hit with eating disorder anxiety. Just peachy!

I hate laying down after eating, but I became overwhelmed with fatigue after eating my Kashi and passed out until being awoken 3 hours later by a serious of noises. First, Bunny was meowing incessantly, so I got up, made sure he had food and fell back asleep… briefly, that is, until I was awoke by a claw scratching at my foot…

Next came a wake up call… apparently my little brother over slept and Frank was yelling to his room  to get up! Well, I’m up!

I text dad to see if he wanted to take a shake to work so I threw half a banana in with a  scoop of almond butter and Be Well Nutella, and 2 scoops of Herbalife Cafe Latte. Very tasty!

Around 11am, I whipped up brunch for Frank and myself. Franks shake included Cafe Latte Shake mix, chocolate shake mix, Be Well Nutella, Almond Butter, and sugar free Torani coconut syrup to make a Pseudo-Almond Joy.

After Barry’s fascination with the Blueberry cheesecake shake from our Denny’s Breakfast menu, I was in the mood for a cheesecake shake, myself. Returning to the good ol’ shakes, I threw together a coffee and a Mixed Berry Cheesecake:WP_003304

  • 1 Tbsp sugar free fat free Cheesecake pudding mix
  • 1 scoop vanilla shake mix
  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup Welch’s Antioxidant frozen Mixed Berry Blend

WP_003305I like to add fat free graham crackers to my cheesecake shakes, but this morning I added about 1/4 cup multigrain Cheerios on top to give me a crunchy aspect. It worked out great! I always feel so much more satiated when I eat my shakes with a spoon… its probably all in my head…

In an ultimate procrastination mood, I did a few things around the house. I finally decided to call work and see what the unit looked like and was told I would be on the desk. Well, after my mini anxiety about the granola bar, and the recent knowledge that I would be sitting for 8 hours, I decided I needed to feel somewhat accomplished.

Frank found an old picture of his dad and some family friends. The edges were starting to brown and get tattered-looking, so I grabbed the picture and took a little brisk walk, about 1 mile round trip, got a copy and enhancement made, and returned with it framed. He really liked it!

I’m always happy when I can make others smile:)

FYI: August 1st began National Sandwich Month. I’m kicking it off with a left over meatloaf sandwich! Holla! I grabbed the last slice of Honey Mustard Crusted Poultryloaf, threw it on a slice of multigrain with BBQ sauce, and headed to work with my NCLEX book in hand. I must say, the loaf was even better the next day!

As I arrived at work, I stopped by the caf to grab a drink, only to be greated my blueberry pies. Proud that I kept I walking, I came onto my unit to find a pile of temptation in the break room…

WP_003307

Look away! While at the desk, I could only think of the mini blueberry scone… I cut a little piece off and walked away. Thank God! My plan was to drink lots of fluid and chew gum to keep my mind off the thought of a pastry! I ran to the caf to grab dinner for some busy nurses and grabbed some cucumbers and the like, along with a SF chocolate pudding. I love chocolate pudding with crumbled grahams! So far so good.

WP_003308

One of the girls had brought peppers and cherry tomatoes in from her garden so I grabbed a few tomatoes to snack on. Finding some salsa, I decided to snack on the peppers. They looked like habeneros…

I guess I was feeling pretty ballsy or that the salsa what act as a coolant, because I bit into that thing like a champ. HOT PEPPER!!! I had to grab a drink and blow my nose… not ssuch a smart decision on my part.

With my good intake for the day, I cut a 1/4 of one of the Devils Food Crumb donuts as a chocolate treat. Damn it, Entenmanns! Why do the crumbs taste so good?!!?

I’m a really crumby person…

I have a problem with crumbs! Like I’ll be that weird person that eats thecrumbs left in the donut box, just so I can feel like I ate a donut…. Despite, still being 500 calories under what I alot myself, I still was having major calorie anxiety!

I wish I could figure out why? Is there something else manifesting itself as calorie anxiety? Am I nervous about the upcoming NCLEX? Is that why I’m not sleeping? What is going on with me?

Refrain Running

Not, refrain from running! Refrain Running. Music is very important to me. In fact, one of my first memories with my dad is him singing (he is a fantastic singer, by the way) and dancing with me. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a refrain is a part of a song, like the chorus… the part that gets repeated in between the verses…

On my brief, but most needed, run yesterday, I came up with the term “Refrain Running.” I know the right music sets the tone for my workouts. For instance, I have a difficult time running to slower songs, but some up beat songs have an off beat which throws off the sequence of my run. It sounds silly, but its true! Like Thrift Shop by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.. Ilove that song, it pumps me up, but I have a hard time running to it because the beat makes me want to strut down the street like I’m cool or something. Haha!

Anyway, with this in mind, I noticed that I run during certain parts of songs, and power walk during other parts, creating a great interval routine! Here are some songs I realized work well with this concept:

  • Pitbulll- Hotel Room Service
  • Rooney- When Did Your Heart Go Missing
  • Adam Lambert- If I Had You
  • Ludacris ft. Pharrell– Money Maker

I’ll add to this list as I come across these songs, but its a great way to coordinate intervals into running without using a distance tracker or an app.

Lastly,

WP_003306I have noticed that my hair has gotten so much thicker! And with my new hair growth, new bangs, well, fuller bangs! My mom was a hairdresser so I’m relatively savy on trimming my bangs, so snip, snip, and viola! I Love it!

This lead me to this thought:

With new health, comes new hair!