Slaw-Bean-Joes!

Its the Can-Can Sale at Shop-Rite! That means Manwich is 88 cents per can! The Bundo’s love this versatile sauce! I was really jonesing for Sloppy Joes but didn’t want to deal with cooking meat. Hmmm beans are good meat alternative…. OH snap! Its January 6th! Its National Bean Day!

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serves 4

  • 1 cup low/no sodium red beans
  • 1 12oz bag Broccoli Slaw
  • 1 cup Manwich
  • chili powder, to taste

Spray a large skillet with non-stick cooking spray. On medium-high heat, add the bag of broccoli slaw and cover. Steam the broccoli slaw for about 5 minutes. Give it a toss. Add the remaining ingredients, stir, and recover. Lower the heat to medium low and allow it to cook for 10 minutes.

Eat it as is or serve it on a light bun!

I was shocked for two reasons:

  • It was soooooo filling, provided great staying power, and so good, I wanted more!
  • Dad LOVED it!!! In fact, he couldn’t wait for me to post and share this simple recipe! “I wonder if this is vegan?” he said. Yes, my father said the word “vegan!”

What a great option for a Meatless Monday!

Birthday Workday

Monday

Today was an early day that began with cookies! Tomorrow is National Homemade Cookie Day and I wanted to celebrate both that and my birthday with cookies!

With my love of pink, I knew I would incorporate the color somewhere! And, hey, lets throw some fruit (maraschino cherries) in there, too !

My mom recommended using a shortbread cookie base to make Pretty in Pink cookies. I used a whole wheat shortbread recipe I found, but wasn’t quite a fan of the results, although Frank liked them and they tasted better the longer they sat. I think I know what to do better next time, though, to make these white chocolate and cherry pinwheels perfect.

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I got kind of manic and felt the need to make a different cookie. I remembered that I had grabbed an emergency box of Pillsbury Pink Lemonade cookie mix when it was on the discount rack. I could make this pink thing work, still! I mixed the entire box with 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce, 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute, and a splash of water.

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Utilizing my cookie scoop (I love this thing), I placed dollops of half scoops on parchment paper and baked them. To finish the deal, I finely chopped 2 Tbsp of white chocolate chips and melted them in the microwave, along with about 2 tsp of SF raspberry syrup, stirring every 20 seconds or so until the chocolate and raspberry were one. I, then, used a basting brush and coated the top of the cooling cookies and quickly followed up with a sprinkle of pink sugar crystals. Yum!

To hold me over until my nap, Frank inspired me with his cream of wheat. It sounds odd (but I’m odd), but I like warmed cereal. I poured a bowl of Kashi Go Lean, which really doesn’t have a flavor, in a bowl with a tablespoon of strawberry sugar free preserves and half a packet of Splenda. After microwaving the bowl, I enjoyed this warm and filling oatmeal/cream of wheat wannabe. Just what I needed.

By the time this manic cookie craze was over, it was almost 2pm and I had not slept for my shift! Okay, go to sleep. I’m not sure if I actually fell asleep, or if I just entered into LaLa Land, before receiving a phone call with the hospital’s number on it. Oh man, did I get cancelled for tonight?

Actually, it was the call I have been waiting for and stressing over. I have an interview for a nursing position on my unit! I am praying that I get this position. This unit, these kids, this hospital, this team… there isn’t another place I could imagine working! After a few phone calls, and  lots of prayers and deep breaths I was able to get back to sleep, briefly. Next thing I knew, my alarm was going off and I felt behind.

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I took a quick shower, grabbed a shake, coffee, and green tea, grabbed my food for dinner, plated cookies for work, and darted out the door. I didn’t know if I would make it! I had so much to carry! Needless to say, I had to run back in the house because I forgot part of my meal, and my Bubba Keg of coffee tipped over in my bag and when I got to work, I dabbed my cucumber in the hopes of salvaging them from the coffee that had spilled (they were salvaged, by the way).

Tuesday

Things went much smoother when I got to work. I was pleased to arrive at work to found out I was on the floor for the first 8 of my 12 hours. I was working with some of my favorite nurses, which always makes the night better!

Around 2am, we sat down for food. I kept it simple, but, boy, was it good! I had eaten my cucumber earlier in the evening, and no sat down to a Campbell’s Chicken and Stars Soup-on-the-Go. Rather than grabbing saltines, I steamed broccoli slaw and thats the way I’m going from now on! I couldn’t have asked for a crisper, satisfying meal this morning. We sat around nibbling on Tostitos and salsa, as well as the cookie platter and a pumpkin roll. I was in control of my eating! It was great!

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At 0300, I relieved the other Aide in the 1:1 and spent the remainder of my shift there. I took advantage of this opportunity and completed some mandatory training for work! I’, pretty stoked about that because I finished most of it and can probably knock out the rest on my next night shift.

The more I work, the more I love my unit and the people I work with, the more questions I ask, the more I start thinking like a nurse, and the more I can’t imagine working anywhere else! Great way to bring in my birthday!

Hopefully I can get some sleep to refresh myself for a family dinner tonight! Recipes to come!

Dangerous Cream Cheese

I slept. Boy, did I sleep! I fell asleep on the couch, like mid-conversation with my mom. Talk about a food coma.

I never plugged my cell in and it died, and therefore, no alarm for Sammy. I stirred a bit when I heard mom in the living room and asked her what time it was. “Ten of 11,” she said. What? I need to make breakfast! Dad’s coming over! “I called and told him you were sleeping.” Just as I reached for the phone to tell dad to come over, he was calling me! ESP! Yup, I’m up! I making pancakes! Get over here! 

I just have to say it. I was a culinary queen, today!

I prepped part of the pancakes last night before crashing. The pancakes were a hit and no one knew that there was a secret ingredient. This week hosts National Pancake Day, so I’ll share today’s beautiful pancakes with you then! Since today happens to be National White Chocolate Day, I added some white chocolate chips to a little less than half of the pancakes for Frank, my dad, and my little brother, Dom. Everyone enjoyed breakfast, even my picky mother! We all had our own cups of coffee, and since no white chocolate was in my pancakes, I made sure a little SF white chocolate syrup made it into my coffee mug.

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I was inspired, while cooking pancakes, this morning. I kept thinking about that yummy Panera Honey Walnut Cream Cheese! I kept thinking how good it would taste on blueberry pancakes. I had half an 8oz container of fat free cream cheese in the fridge and went from there.

Advisory: This is the most dangerous and ridiculously delicious cream cheese you will ever eat.

Healthy Panera Sweet Walnut Cream Cheese

makes 16 Tablespoons

  • 1 8oz container non fat cream cheese
  • 2 Tbsp sugar free pancake syrup
  • 2 packets Splenda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp diced walnuts

Combine all ingredients together until smooth and enjoy!

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Needless to say, I topped my pancakes with my cream cheese!

I asked my mom to test it, since she loves the original stuff. “If I didn’t know better, I would swear it was directly from Panera.” “That’s damn good,” dad said at the dining room table. “Frank, try this!” Its always a pleasure to here compliments like that!

Following breakfast, my godfather and cousin swung by for a quick visit and then dad and I were off to the park. We decided to take the pup with us for a little fresh air. It was brief but an absolute fun filled morning with my dad, shooting hoops. I love getting Beauty out in the fresh air! She always crashes when we get home, but when shes out, she really enjoys herself. And I got some great pictures of her today! I think dad just liked our trip to the park because he beat me in a game of Horse- only by ONE, though!

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Frank and I ran some errands today, and by the time we got home, we were both chomping on the grapes in the car. Neither of had eaten since brunch, and with the sun dried tomato wraps I just bought, a felt a wrap was the way to go. Frank said he had some chicken breast and then we decided to add some shrimp. Oh man! Frank, mom, Dom, and myself loved these wraps. I through the sliced chicken breast and shrimp, about 4 1/2 oz of each, in to a skillet and then topped it with the following and covered it, only tossing it a few times:

  • WP_0039971 1/2 oz broccoli slaw
  • 3 oz spinach,
  • 1 oz sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp adobo seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp oregano

After dividing the mixture among 3 wraps, I topped each with a little fat free shredded cheddar, 1 oz a roasted red peppers (each wrap), and a leaf of ice berg lettuce. I served them with sliced cucumbers for a side dish. Frank kept saying how much he enjoyed it, and he could have eaten another.

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WP_004002I must also admit that I created a monster, this morning. I went with an after dinner snack of celery and cucumbers. I always heard how celery and cream cheese went so well together. Well, I have never enjoyed this combo, but having made my Healthy Panera copy-cat, I get the combo another try.

THIS STUFF MUST GO ON EVERYTHING!

Its a winner!

In Bloom

I tried my best to stay in bed for as long as possible. I still felt body conscious and was trying to avoid breakfast. After getting some sense to myself, I excitedly took out my new shake mix that arrived in the mail yesterday: Herbalife Cafe Latte.

Frank’s Chocolate Walnana Latte shake consisted of:

a banana

1 scoop chocolate protein mix

1 scoop of cafe latte protein mix

a dollop of walnut butter

water

ice

Since I’ve been digging the peanut butter scene lately, I made a PB Cafe:

1 scoop cafe latte

1 Tbsp Chocolate PB2

1 Tbsp Torani sugar free Irish Cream

1/4 tsp xanthum

water

ice

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After trying to tidy up around the house, body hating set it in. I am was so frustrated! I curled up in a ball and allowed fatigue to overwhelm me. Talking things out with my mom and taking a shower helped a bit. Still sleepy, I made a caramel iced coffee. (Thank you, Torani, for your sugar free goodness!)

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I prepared my dinner, still being body conscious, and went with my classic stand-by: eggs! I love the simplicity, healthfulness, and ease of tossing some veggies and salsa in a tubberware and microwaving it! And its always delicious! Tonight, I must say, really hit the spot!

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My energy level picked up after my bit of protein and veggies, and although I was asked to work overtime tonight, I can’t wait to head home, and head to bed!

PS. One thing that really made me smile today was walking outside to see my lilies had bloomed!

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A Small Feat

It never ceases to amaze me the difference a run can make. Ever a brisk walk changes my entire attitude! Yesterday, I was so proud of myself with my eating habits, but started to get a serious stomach ache around 3pm. What the heck? Is that what I get for eating right? A belly ache?! I was able to fall asleep for a short nap, only to wake up, getting sick! Yuck! What a party pooper!

I wanted to eat but every time I nibbled on something, my body just told me “no.” Maybe some ginger ale, I thought. I got myself together and took a walk down to the 7-Eleven. I figured moving around might just help. On my way home, with a diet ginger ale in hand, I figured it out. Soup! That’s what I want. I called the Chinese restaurant down the road and walked over to pick up a small Hot and Sour Soup. Was this smart? Hot and sour with an upset belly? I guess I’ll find out. I sat down with my soup and a sleeve of saltines. It worked like magic! But, before I knew it, the sleeve of saltines was no more! Yeah, the whole sleeve! But I sure felt better!

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I called my dad before heading to sleep last night to ease some mild anxiety I was having after eating the darn saltines. When I woke this morning, I had every intention of being productive. We are supposed to be expecting some big storm this week, but the weather was gorgeous! Still feeling a little guilt, I got changed, and took a swift walk to the local post office to ship a small package to Meaghen, in New York. On my way home, I stopped by the bank. It was game time. With nothing to carry, the sun out, and a cool breeze, I ran home. Although it may seem small, I ran a mile without stopping! For me, this is quite an accomplishment. With each step closer to home, my smile grew! Like I said, it just never ceases to amaze my what a difference even the shortest run can make!

After catching my breath, I made a Strawberry Kiwi Protein Shake.WP_002641 WP_002642

1 scoop Vanilla protein powder
1 kiwi
1 oz frozen strawberries
water
ice

I loved the texture the kiwi seeds gave the shake. (Warning: kiwi seeds can get stuck in your teeth :p)

I followed this up by completing some chores around the house and some paper work for my nursing license.

I called work to offer my time in any spaces in the schedule. Well, guess what? One of the girls called out sick, so I picked up a 12 hours shift! Immediate nap time!

I woke up ready to go! Since June 12th in National Peanut Butter Cookie day, I wanted to make something along those lines. This was my attempt at a PB Cookie-esque Shake:WP_002643

1 scoop Chocolate protein powder
1 Tbsp. Better n’ Peanut Butter (low sodium)
1 oz frozen chopped apple
a few dashes apple pie spice
a few raisins

It wasn’t too shabby! Once I got to work, a saw a slice of strawberry shortcake, that had definitely been picked on by the girls. But they missed the best part: the strawberry on top! YUM!

I found a big salad from a party from earlier left over for the night shift folks to eat. It was Season’s Chopped Salad with grilled chicken (iceberg, gorganzola, bacon, tomato, black olives, green peppers, hard boiled eggs), one of my favorites! My old job was addicted to Seasons and I ate this salad at least twice a week! So with a nice helping of that with the house balsamic, and a bowl of broccoli slaw, salsa, and microwaved egg whites, I was full of nutritionally dense, guilt free protein!

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Like I said, a nice run, even a brief one can really set your day up for success!

“Thats okay. I make Lamb”

Today is Ash Wednesday. I like to go to Church as a family, so I waited until my dad got home from work to attend mass to receive Ashes. I love my Church. It does not matter what time of the year it is, it is always beautiful. And a few years ago, we got a new Priest and he was there for me throughout my recovery. The congregation is a great group, always looking out for one another. Did I mention I love my Church?

Breakfast was new to me: Chobani’s Passion Fruit low fat Greek yogurt with seed.

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I headed to campus to attend SIPN ( I forget what it stand for).

“What do you mean you don’t eat no meat? Thats okay. I make lamb.” ~My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Since we don’t eat meat on Ash Wednesday or on Fridays during lent, I was pretty excited to try out my new Amy’s Bowl. I had heard this bowl was pretty great and I love teriyaki, so I said bring it on! Amy’s Teriyaki Bowl contains brown rice, firm tofu, and carrots, water chestnuts, and broccoli. To spread this dish into two servings, I added Green Giant Teriyaki vegetables, along with the remaining broccoli slaw I had in the refrigerator.

It was super delicious and simple!

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Plus, I got dad to eat tofu!

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I’ve been studying all day with the exception of 2 hours (1 of exercising and 1 of Church). Despite all of my studying, I still don’t feel like I know it all. I think maybe a good sleep and a cramp in the AM is what I need.

I like to snack when I’m studying… I think its nervous energy. I popped a 100 calorie popcorn. I learned that I should not be aloud to pop popcorn because it was  completely burnt. I tried to salvage it by whipping up some Chocolate PB2.  It turned out half decent, but it just wasn’t enough to cover the burnt. So Beauty got the popcorn. After hitting the cupboard and doing some mindless snacking, I finally found the perfect snack.

crunchy Sunbutter and fat free pretzel sticks

crunchy Sunbutter and fat free pretzel sticks

Some dry Kashi Berry Blossom cereal.

Wish me luck.

Back in Business (Jan 13, 2013)

Last night was my first night back. I swear I was more nervous returning to work than I was the first day I started. Everyone was so welcoming and complemented me on my progress, ie. weight gain. I happy as I was, constantly being reminded of how much weight I gained was a bit like poking me in the rib with a stick.

I started back on the desk to ease my way back in, and it was like I never left!
I ate dinner with the other Aide, Claire, and enjoyed my first ever Lean Cuisine meal, Lemongrass Chicken. The broccoli slaw was just what it needed. (I’m a sucker for veggies!) I was afraid that the lemongrass would be too strong of a flavor for the TV dinner, but I think the slaw helped distribute the sauce really well.

(Not specific to Lean Cuisine, but have you ever realized that the meat in frozen dinners never actually looks like the meat that its supposed to be? Like the Salisbury steak looks like some baby food glued together with some gravy, and the chicken looks like rubber? Just an observation…)

I saw a parent of one of the patients grab coffee and peanut M&Ms. I was craving that till the end of my shift. I darted to the vending machine to snag some, but then faced a dilemma. I had a ten dollar bill, a one dollar bill, a quarter and a dime. Which to choose: the Fiber One Chocolate Brownie or the Peanut M&Ms??? To be a good girl, I put in my dollar bill, quarter, and dime, and enjoyed the brownie, to which I topped, with some hospital-sized Peanut Butter. (If you didn’t know this PB pretty much goes with everything!)

Ahh! The make-shift hospital delight…

Still jonesing for those M&Ms, and being so proud of my eating habits, I stopped by 7Eleven on my way home, where I also indulged in some Butterfinger Bites.
I started going to town! Luckily, I caught myself and stopped the midless eating. It was too late of course because the calories had already been swallowed…
The star of this little sugar rush was Cracker Jacks Cracker Jack’D:

The PB and Chocolate mix! Heaven!

I was tired when I got home, especially after my sugar binge… I put on my hula hooping song, “Don’t Stop the Party”by Pitbull, which, of course, drove my dad crazy (yes, hula-hooping is very therapeutic)! I followed up with some more Pitbull, “Culo,” and finished with PSY. Then I crashed around 0130.

I set my alarm for Church this morning, but it was just not happening! I woke around 1030 feeling guilty about my binge so I went for a quickie walk/run. When I got back, dad had scrapple in the frying pan. For those of you who don’t know what scrapple is…let me explain its porky-loafy goodness…

Scrapple is basically what it sounds like… the scraps of the pig that don’t get used, mixed with cormeal and spices. This morning we used the lean beef scrapple by Hatfeild

To balance this, I through some of it into an egg white omelette stuffed with bell peppers, onions, and spinach, a bit of shredded fat free mozzarella (dad wanted sharp cheddar). And like with most things, hot sauce was the dressing! Half way through, I realized I forgot the mushrooms! I told you I’m a sucker for veggies!

 

Dad got the same thing, but platter style.

If you’ve never tried scrapple, I recommend it. Just make sure you get it theright way, crispy outside and soft inside. Diners in my area, Jersey, and Philly are primo! Sometimes, you get lucky enough and the diner makes their own!

Its been pretty icky here, in Wilmington.

The news says its one of the warmest winters we’ve had in years…. GLOBAL WARMING, people!!! Be a tree hugger!

Okay… off my pedestal….

I’m back at work tonight and I got here quick. There was hardly anyone on the road. I can’t blame them though, its pretty foggy…

On the menu tonight is Amy’s Light and Lean Polenta and Swiss Chard… Of course, I’m addingMann’s Broccoli Slaw.

Hope Springs (Jan 12, 2013)

Hope Springs” was not what I expected. I thought it was supposed to be sort of a comedy. It was much more serious. Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones play a married couple who have lost their spark. Streep’s character pays for a couples counseling getaway, where they meet Steve Carrell, the marriage counselor. Tommy still delivers his dry humor, which I love so much, and Meryl, as always is purely fabulous!
Since Meryl and Tommy are two of my favorite actors, some of the scenes were a bit awkward for me to watch ie. the oral sex scene…
Yeah… thats a visual of those two I never thought I’d see…

Overall, the movie was outstanding! I’m not going to tell you anymore because I don’t want to ruin it for you. I think this is a movie which older couples would benefit from watching.

I finished off my night, lying in bed with my cat, Bunny, and dog, Beauty, watching “Finding Nemo.” I don’t care how old you are, you are NEVER too old for “Nemo.”

I had a pretty rough time sleep last night. I couldn’t get my brain to shut down. I think its because I’m a little nervous about going back to work today, since I’ve been out on medical leave for the past 6 weeks.

I woke up later than planned this morning, around 10:15am. I immediately laced up my sneaks and took a jog to the Walgreens to return “Hope Springs” to the RedBox.

When I got home I was really in the mood for french toast. I’m big a fan of stuffed french toast. Usually, I use ricotta, but today I wanted to try something new. I used a slice of Pepperidge Farm 7 Grain Carb Style bread, which I sliced in half. One one side, I placed about an ounce of sliced apple; on the other half, a tablespoon and a half of Lactaid Low Fat Cottage Cheese (I’m not lactose intolerant, but I’m in love with the creaminess of this brand! Theres no other like it!). I topped the cheese with half a packet of Nevella (just like Splenda, but with probiotics) and some apple pie spice.

I used 2 tablespoons of liquid egg whites to form the coating and into the pan it went. The trick to any stuffed french toast is to ensure that the edges are well  coated so that the goodness is sealed in! Using cottage cheese made this a little difficult… and messy… but still oh so good! I finished it off by sprinkling the remainder of the sweetener over top.

It turned out a bit like a grilled cheese  🙂

Cottage Apple Stuffed French Toast
1 slice bread, sliced in half for form two slices
1 1/2 T cottage cheese
1 packet sweetener, divided
1 oz apple, sliced
apple pie spice
2T liquid egg whites

The remainder of my day is going to be spent burning off some nervous energy, then its off to work…

 I wanted to keep things simple for dinner at the hospital tonight so I opted for Lean Cuisine’s Lemon Grass Chicken. I bulked it up with some Mann’s Broccoli Slaw.

Wish me luck!