When You Love a Foodie

If I do anything right, its Christmas. Even the pets get goodies!

Get it? Doggie Bags!

As a foodie, I am one of the easiest and hardest to shop for. Cutlery, funky new restaurant, appliances… Does she already have that? Does she need one of those? That’s HOW MUCH?!?!

Easy, but possible expensive…

But I must have been good this year, because Santa brought me more than I had wished!

Christmas Eve

So about how I woke at 1pm….

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He’s 21!

If you’ve had my baking, you’d know that brownies have never been my forte.  “Just use a box mix.” I did… “Oh.” Thats usually how that goes. But I did a little investigating and whipped up some banging brownies! And made an assortment for every taste preference: peppermint, salted caramel pretzel, turtle (caramel, coconut, and pecans), peanut butter, cheesecake, and M&M (for my little cuz, who just turned 21… hes getting so big!)

I even made a chocolate cream cheese icing… thats right, Chocolate. Cream Cheese.

So yeah, a cup of coffee, lots of brownies, and oh snap its 4pm! I hurried up, threw everything in the fridge, jumped in the shower, loaded my car, and in typical Christmas Eve fashion, I headed to Philly to see the family!

Grandmom was pretty darn sick earlier this and it took a decent toll on her

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Who said you could grow up?

energy, so rather than a family gathering at her house, Aunt Chrissy hosted. Some family happened to be standing outside when I pulled up and parked. Its dark out, but I see a man walking towards me… sneakers, basketball shorts, polo, a watch, swag…

OMG! Its my little cousin! When did this happen!?! What did high school do to you?! Where’s my little David?!? 

I just couldn’t stop. Its not like I don’t see him. I almost was tearing up at how grown him and his sister had gotten.

20151224_194630Before greeting the rest of the family, I b-lined right to my Grandmom, who despite not being up to host, did not stop her from being a drink in the hole. I love when she drinks! Its hysterical!

At least we stuck with the tradition of keilbasa and sauerkraut, roasted beef, and meatballs! And Aunt Cathy, the other foodie in the family, made these bacon wrapped stuffing bites that I literally could have eaten for the rest of my life!! Needless to say, recipe obtained. 20151224_201518

After catching up, I headed to the next Philly stop, Aunt Linda’s house, where I caught up with more family, and got to see this little elf:

This is Damian, my new little cousin, celebrating his first Christmas!

Although my Christmas Eve in Philly was much shorter than usual, and as much as my family may but heads, I love seeing them!

Next stop, Oxford. After another hour of driving, I arrived and my destination for the night, where we fell asleep watching movies on the couch. Ahh relaxing!

Christmas Day

20151225_135212After exchanging a few small gifts with my friend, I headed home to mom’s house.

I drove home, smiling ear to ear, anticipating a wonderful day ahead. Getting home was no treat as mom was NOT, I repeat, NOT in a good mood. So within 15 minutes of walking in the door, playing Santa and bringing out the gifts I had gotten her, I was in my bedroom crying on the phone to my dad. Yup, it went that well!

20151225_134107I literally wanted to crash for the rest of the day. No family dinner. No presents. Just sleep. Luckily dad talked me out of it, but not before I let that twisted disease talk me into a baby purge.

While attempting to recover and pull my head out of my ass, I carried any presents labeled for me into my room, sat down on the floor and celebrated Christmas by myself. I was aware of the convection oven my parents had gotten me, mostly because I ordered it, but when there was another large box next to it, never did I imagine it would be a Guy Fieri pots and pans set! In red! To match my microwave!

I run up to my moms room, mildly fearful of her disposition, and jumped on her to give her hugs and thanks for such a surprise!

I resumed gift opening, alone, to reveal a new coffee maker (the angry keurig is on its last legs) from my godmother. I sprang to my kitchen where the angry keurig lives, swiped it off the table, cleaned up the surrounding area and set up both the Hamilton Beach and the convection oven. I, then, found myself singing “Isn’t She Lovely” to my new appliances… I know, I’m not right in the head…

With mom still in her room, I quickly loaded my car like Santa loads his sleigh and zoomed over to pops house, around noon. Dad and I split our 20151225_130353pot of coffee, as usual, and began the gifting!

My parents have always kept the tradition of funny gift tags, and some years they really crack me up. Like the label on the whisk dad got me:

The best gift of all is the gift of song. As I’ve written countless times, my dad is the one who taught me to appreciate music. When I was little, he would sing John Lennon’s “Beautiful Boy,” to me as a lullaby, but making the appropriate changes of pronouns. I’ve always told my dad that when I got married, I wanted the Father-daughter dance to be the version he would sing to me. So he pulls out his phone and begins to play a recording of him singing “Beautiful Girl.” My day had been made. Oh, and this necklace set!

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After laughs, coffee, and a serenade, it was once again time to head out. We swung by my moms house where all the food I had prepared was, ans dad helped me load up. I assembled a tray of assorted brownies, and grabbed the crockpot filled with turkey meatballs and turkey sausage, and get this, sauce I made from my friend’s vegetable garden!

We arrived at my godfather’s house, where the men drank and the women cooked. Typical Italians. Mangia!

Dad was watching “Night at the Museum 3,” the night before and he 20151225_132543.jpgalmost pees himself because of this one line between Lancelot and Hugh Jackman. “Huge Ackman?! That doesn’t even sound like a real name!” (or something like that). So not only did Huge Ackman give me a gift, the gift of laughter carried over into dinner. The joke literally ran all through dinner, through dessert, through presents, and pictures, all the way until we left. My cousin RJ says to his brother, Kyle, “Come on, Huge Jackass.” Oh my goodness! I can’t even explain the reaction of a room full of Italians 3 bottles of wine deep…

Saturday

Its brunch time! So how in the world do I have a hang over from two glasses of wine?! Have no fear, the new coffee pot is here!

20151226_115531 (2)Excedrin, check!

Coffee, check!

New shirt, check!

Feeling cute, check!

I met up with dad, right before he had to head to work, at Penny’s house. Abundanza!!! Seafood, salad, cookies, and a million laughs!

In such a great mood, I ran a bunch of errands before attending 5 o’clock mass, and catching up with old friends.

Mass was followed by meeting up with dad at the D.A.P. and saying “Happy Holidays” to the fellas; then headed to a friend’s bar just in time for Drag Queen Bingo!

Even if Christmas day had a rough start, the holiday wrapper up quite nicely. Sunday, I utilized my new drill bit set to help me DIY a new counter top to display the new appliances. So its been a pretty productive weekend!

Fluff Brownies

serves 32 each tray/ 64 total

  • 1 box Devil’s Food cake mix
  • 1 box Dark Fudge brownie mix
  • 2 15oz cans pure pumpkin
  • 2/3 cup brewed coffee
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 375F. Combine all the ingredients well and transfer to two 9 by 13 baking dishes, sprayed well with non stick cooking spray. Bake for 40min.

Nutrition (1/64 of recipe):

Calories:70, Fat: 0g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 76mg, Carbs: 12g, Fiber: 0g, Sugars: 3g, Protein: 1g

Variations:

  • Cheesecake: 8oz fat free cream cheese, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 2 Tbsp granulated Splenda, 1/4 cup confectioners sugar (Swirl into batter)
  • Peppermint: 1 tsp peppermint extract into the batter, top with chocolate cream cheese icing and crushed sugar free peppermint
  • Salted Caramel Pretzel: top with Marzetti’s fat free caramel dip and crushed salted pretzels
  • Turtle: top with Marzetti’s fat free caramel dip, chopped pecans, and unsweetened coconut flakes

Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing

  • 8oz fat free cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp granulated Splenda
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar

Blend until smooth.

Happy Holidays from the Bundos!

 

The Caramel Custard Experience

Thursday

I had a tricky time sleeping last night… just too much nervous energy and making mental notes of things to say in my interview.

Today was the day I have been looking ofrward to for over 2 years: interviewing for a nursing position on my unit. There were so many candidates! I believe there are 12 people interviewing for 2 positions! Talk about pressure!

I woke up before my alarm went off and took the early rising as a sign to be productive. I turned on OnDemand and completed a few 10 minute workouts, and followed it with some hula hooping. I felt energized, and get showered and stressed for my interview with a clear mind. The nerves did not kick in until I walked into the conference room, where I was greeted by 7 familiar faces: my 2 managers, the head CNA, and 4 nurses. I don’t think I stopped smiling the entire time! I bet I looked like a complete idiot! I couldn’t help it! Not only was getting this interview like a dream, but I felt great about my interview! I walked out feeling calm and confident. I pray that this is sign of good news to come!

Please keep me in your prayers.

Arriving home, I was surprised how hungry I was, despite my late night nervous eating, I whipped up a shake. Today is National Caramel Custard Day. I recalled a Hungry Girl recipe for quick caramel custard, but I thought of one myself to experiment with. My final decision was to make both and decide which one I liked best. I opted for the experiment for breakfast and assumed it would keep me full until my next meal, and that the unusal ingredient was add a different texture to the shake bowl.

  • 1/2 to 1 scoop vanilla proteinWP_004113
  • 1 sugar free Creme Brulee rice pudding cup
  • 2 tsp SF caramel syrup
  • water
  • ice
  • few dashes of cinnamon
  • Spinach and xanthum, optional

I was right! It kept me full until I later woke up from a nap to head off to work! I expected the rice in the rice pudding to add a thicker consistancy, but it actually just blened with everything else. I quite enjoyed it.

I was soo thankful to have slept this afternoon! I woke up feeling refreshed and pleased that my hair and makeup still looked great. Don’t you love when that happens? Especially if you wake up that way! It was time for the Hungry-girl version:

  • 1/2 to 1 scoop vanilla proteinWP_004117
  • 1/2 cup OIKOS non fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp SF caramel syrup
  • 1 Splenda packet
  • water
  • ice
  • few dashes of cinnamon
  • spinach and xanthum, optional

This one felt a little lighter, but I had to add sooo much xanthum to thicken it. Both were tasty! The rice pudding-based bowl was a bit thicker and sweeter, while the HG bowl had that Greek yogurt smoothie tartness.

WP_004118I thought the protein from the yogurt would keep me super full but after my rounds at work, I scarfed a Granny Smith! It was delicious, tart, and hit the spot! I also brought my Bubba Keg again, filled with coffee. I fell in love with a new sugar free creamer from Coffee Mate. The name “Italian Sweet Creme” caught my eye and when I read the nutrition label and saw it was on sale, it was a done deal! I haven’t regretted my decision! It soooo good!

So, fellow foodies, which do think would taste better? Try them out and and let me know!

Friday

WP_004115I was on the floor for the first 4 hours of my shift and spent the remaining 8 in the 1:1. Around 3am or so, I was happy to step out of the room to eat. I was pretty hungry! Either that, or I was really looking forward to my meal! I actually ate a meal of 250 calories! Thats a pretty big accomplishment for me on a night shift! I had packed a romaine salad and including a bunch of different add-ins: chopped pickles, cucumbers, onions, baby carrots, some roasted and unsalted sunflower seeds, bacon crumbles, and dried fruit. The dried fruit was something I forgot I had! It was a Raw Superfruit Mix by  Extreme Health USA. Before buying this blend, I had no idea some of these berries existed: mulberries, sweet and tart golden berries, goji berries, and blueberries. To finish off the salad, I warmed up the Tostito’s Cantina Chipotle Salsa. It was spectacular! I wanted something else throughout the remainder of my shift and ate a knock-off Apple Cinnamon Nutri-grain bar. I typically, don’t find these satisfying, but the mix up from my normal snacks made it pretty enjoyable.

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The killer of my shift was working with some of the nurses that I interviewed with earlier in the day. They were completely stone-walling me!  A hint!  Anything! Throw me a bone!

Out of Bed, Sleepy Head

I’ve got anxiety, yes I do! I’ve got nerves, how bout you?

Have you ever met someone who has the ability to walk into a room and change the entire mood? I compare it to ancient Native American … they would not look into mirrors or take pictures at the risk of having their soul taken from them. Its kind of like that… This person walks into the room and I feel like my soul gets sucked out of me. I know that this feeling is something I allow to happen and that I allow this person to affect me this way.

With a heavy chest, I grabbed a sugar free chocolate pudding and topped it with multigrain Cheerios and pralines and headed to my room to write and to separate myself for the trigger to my anxiety. I did feel a little silly eating this, since I just had a bowl of Arctic Zero before Barry left, but it was satisfying and a call with my grandmother finished up my night with a smile.

WP_003339I needed caffeine, protein, and stay power when I woke, this morning. After struggling at 11am to even roll out of bed, I gave a chance to a unique sounding yogurt: Alpina Revive Honey nonfat Greek Yogurt with Chai Spiced granola, and crawled back into bed with it and a mug of eggnog coffee. I’m usually not a fan of honey yogurt but this was very good, not sweet but not tart. I think the best part of the granola was the pistachio and hemp pieces and the combination of spices. Every now and then, I’d bite into a piece of crystallized ginger, which would take me by surprise. I probably could have done without that, or at least maybe smaller piece, but overall, I was pleased.

It took a lot to get me out of bed, finally. I curled into a ball under the covers on the couch. Hugging my knees to my chest for hours with absolutely  no drive to do anything. I did not have an appetite, in fact, I actually felt sick to my stomach (not from the yogurt).

After conversing with my girlfriend Maggie, I broke our plans to go to Zumba (which probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do). I need Zumba! With these late, restless nights, late night mangia, NCLEX paranoia, and just overall drama at home, I was in desperate need of some nervous energy-burning cardio. She knew something was up and came to visit me after she got off work. I broke into the last bottle of wine from trip to San Jose…

After watching a cooking show with some spectacular grilled cheeses, I really got in the mood for one! But after being in a ball for a few hours, and after a glass of wine, my nervous belly ache went away and hunger kicked in! Dinner was half a roast beef, swizz, and tomato grilled cheese with spicy brown horseradish mustard on Multigrain Fiber One bread. I’ve been thinking about KFC slaw for days, now, and with wine brain, Frank and I hopped in the car to get him a pot pie, my little brother some fried chicken, and me, cole slaw! I may still have been intoxicated in the car when I flipped myself over and asked Frank if this was illegal.

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Mom arrived home and I told her how the tension was affecting me. Things got pushed aside as we watched Chopped and enjoyed a bowl of Arctic Zero topped with Kashi and jimmies. That just wasn’t good enough. Continuing with drunken hunger and energy, I grabbed a sweet, nutty, crunchy fix: Lil Drums Vanilla with Caramel Sauce, topped with peanuts. I love these things!!!

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The night continued with well mannered conversation and shared favorites with salsa: Extra Dark Sourdough pretzels (why must they be so good?), sliced bell peppers, and deseeded cucumbers.

Never Too Old for Animal Crackers

After yesterday mornings excitment, I enjoyed sleeping in this morning.

Last night, Barry came over during his lunch break from night shift, around 9pm. I greeted him with a chicken sandwich, from the left over chicken we grilled the other day, a tray of broccoli and cheese, a chocolate chip cookie and a chocolate cheesecake for work, that mom had had picked up from Wholefoods.

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After Barry left, and some studying, I laid in bed for about 2 hours tossing and turning. As tired as I was, I just could not fall asleep. I think that having a disagreement with my mom, yesterday, on top of Beaut getting out, really ampted up my anxiety. I felt similar to when I was really sick… I would lay in bed, up until all hours of the night, planning my meals for the week, stressing about calories… planning my every move for the coming days.

Finally, I fell asleep!

This morning began with a shake for Frank and myself. The tricky thing about cafe latte flavored shake powders is that besides bananas, flavoring syrups are typically used to flavor them. But I like fruit in my shakes, darn it!

I used to work in a nutrition store, and a really popular shake was the Carmel Latte shake. Wanting fruit plus a little pick me up, I experimented with a Caramel Apple Latte shake.

  • half a fuji apple (about 3/4 cup), chopped, preferrably frozen
  • 1 Tbsp sugar free caramel Torani syrup
  • 1 scoop Herbalife Cafe Latte powder
  • (1/4 tsp xanthum, optional)

Not to shabby…

After Beauty’s escapades, yesterday, and some time to kill before work, I ran to the pet store to get a new name and address tag for her. It was a toss up between a pink heart and and Eagles tag. While she went to pull out the pink heart, she found a pink heart with the Eagles logo on it! Score! I think Beauty has learned her lesson, though, at least for now, because she has been a sleepy pup since she came home. While at the pet store, I also snagged her one of her favorite canned foods, as well as a free sample.

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I felt so silly while on my way to work, today. Its 95 degrees outside and I’m in a long sleeve shirt… in a car without AC…

I swung by Dunkin for an iced coffee on my way to help cool me off. (I wear longsleeved shirts to work because its always cold!!!!) It was much needed!

I arrived at work a bit early, which gave me time to cool off and grab my assignment for the night. I was in a 1:1. That shake this morning really filled me up! I didn’t have much of an appetite at all today! I finished up the left over brussel sprouts from the other night (lightly drizzled with yellow and honey mustard), and celery sticks and peanut butter for snacking. Around 6pm, when I took my dinner, I was very hungry! Luckily, I spotted animal crackers! I don’t care how old you are, but you are never too old for animal crackers!

I was surprised by how hungry I was, but I hadn’t been very hungry since my shake, so I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised. The important part, is that I recognized that I was full and I stopped eating before I lost control. Recovering from binge eating, just like anorexia or bulimia, has no boundaries. Eating disorders can strike anytime, anywhere.

Once my shift ended, I came home and snacked on some Fiber One 80 Chocolate cereal, but soon found myself nibbling on many items. I finally tasted that kick from the KIND Dark Chocolate Chili Almond. After realizing that I was beginning to have a mild binge, I quickly jumped to a warm glass of flax milk and began this post.