Don’t Know Until You Try

Anise… licorice  … none of that ever sounded appetizing to me, probably because the taste of black licorice thoroughly sceeved me out. Then, I started hearing about the vegetable called fennel. Being the Dego that I am, I payed attention since it was being used in so many Italian dishes. But then, I started hearing the “licorice ” to describe it. Needless to say, I’ve avoided  this vegetable for, let’s say 24 years.Molly Napolitano » Super Delicious Leek & Fennel Shrimp

Alright, Mario Batali, after countless episodes of The Chew, you have persuaded me to give it a shot.

I found a chicken and apple soup recipe that called toasted fennel seeds. After a little research I found the conversation from seeds to vegetable, and I’m glad I did because I believe it definitely bulks up the soup. This was also my first time pulling apples into a soup, which I was nervous would make it too sweet. I believe that by playing with the combination of spices off sets the sweetness that the apples contribute. The last minute add-in was a small can of sliced carrots, for some color and a little more natural sweetness. This first batch went so quickly, I used raw carrots the next round (see note in recipe).

If you are anything like me, and are completely clueless about fennel prep, I found this great tutorial here. I had no idea there was a hard fibrous center to core out.

Chicken Apple Soup

Inspired by Wholefoods

Makes 8- 1 cup servings20151210_175427 (2)

  • 4 cups reduced fat, lower sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 lb chicken breast, boneless, skinless
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced into coins, OR a small can of sliced*
  • 1/2 lb (8oz) turnip
  • 2 medium gala apples
  • 1 medium to large onion
  • 1 bulb fennel
  • 2 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp ground sage

Preheat the oven to 425 F while you prep. Place chicken breast in a soup pot along with chicken broth, water, cumin, salt, pepper, and bay leaves. Cover with a lid and keep over low heat.

*If using raw carrots, place in the pot, now, as well.

Peel the turnips, cut in half and each half into thirds. This will help you differentiate between the difference veggies. Next, peel and core the apples, cut into quarters,  and the quarters into more bite sized pieces. Peel the onion, trim the ends, cut into quarters, and the quarters into thirds. You don’t need to separate the rings of the onions prior to roasting. Lastly, following the instructions in the link above, cut about an inch above the bulb, then cut off the base. Cut down its center, and remove the tough outer layer, as well as the triangle-shaped core in each half of the bulb. Slice what remains to a size of your liking.

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Line a 9 by 13 Pyrex with parchment and transfer your prepped fruit and veggies. Sprinkle the garlic powder and sage over the fruit and veg and give them a good toss with your hands. Pour about 3/4 cup of water to the dish, cover with foil and roast in the oven about 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, remove the foil from the Pyrex and carefully pick out the turnips (this is where the different sized turnip will help you), while giving the remaining fruit and vegetables a toss. Once the turnip has been removed,  return the Pyrex to the oven, uncovered, for an additional 15 minutes.

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Transfer the roasted turnips into a food processor and begin to puree. Feel free the add a bit of the broth to help get things moving. Transfer puree to pot of broth and and chicken.

When your fruit and veg have finished the last bit of the roast, transfer everything from the pryex into your soup pot, scraping any seasoning and 20151209_191159whatnot off the parchment.

*If using canned, sliced carrots, add those now.

 

Remove the chicken breast to a separate bowl or plate, and use the two-fork technique to shred the chicken. Transfer the shredded chicken back into the pot, cover, and allow to simmer for another 40 minutes, or longer if you’d like. Salt and pepper to taste.

If you reserved any of the fronds of the fennel, top your soup with it before serving; parsley does wonders, as well. And don’t forget those oyster crackers (yeah, they’re kind of my thing, now).

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The original recipe called for a crockpot, but a low simmer, covered pot did me just fine. And I think I’d have to say that this soup tastes even better the next day, as all the flavors really enhance and marry!

Nutrition (1/8 of recipe):

Calories:119, Fat: 2g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 28mg, Sodium: 807mg, Carbs: 14g, Fiber: 4g, Sugars: 9g, Protein: 13g

The end result? Fennel is officially a staple on my grocery list. And I threw out that 1-cup per serving jib-jab. A double serving in each bowl, please! Oh, and the aroma! The smell in the air was enough to cue your salivary glands! As soon as I entered the kitchen its fragrance wrapped around me with a come hither sensation!

Whats your food freaker? I’m still not touching sardines! Leave your comment below!

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Smells Like Curry

With the leftover eggplant from the Eggplant Barley Risotto, I felt compelled to play with Indian spices. Have you cooked with curry powder? The smell, alone, drives me crazy and I can’t wait to dig in! Then it colors the remaining ingredients with such a beautiful golden orange! Oh man, I’m making myself hungry, again!

Curry Chicken and Veggies

serves 2

  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 cup green bell pepper, chunks
  • 1 cup onion, chunks
  • 5 oz chicken breast, boneless and skinless, cubed into 1/2 in cubes
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas, reduced sodium
  • 3 cup eggplant, skin on, chunks
  • 3/4 tsp dried ginger
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat, reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

In a large skillet, sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, over medium heat, add the garlic, chopped onion, and green pepper. Cover to steam vegetables, until onion begins the become translucent. Add the remaining ingredients. Stir thoroughly, raise the heat to medium-high, and recover. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes.

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This was such an easy, one pot meal! Gotta love it!

It’s Bacon… Brunch!

Today’s brunch features yesterday’s chicken soup, and a recipe I found on Wholefoods.com, that I immediately knew I needed to make!

I woke up nice and early to get the soup back on the stove and  and the bread in the oven, only to find Frank had used the last of the grated Parm! He was a good sport, though, and quickly ran out to the store to pick some up.

Bacon Bread

altered from Wholefoods

makes 24 thin slices

  • 8 slices turkey bacon, choppedWP_004611
  • 1 3/4 cup organic 100% whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup finely chopped baby kale
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat grated Parmesean cheese
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp ground thyme
  • 1/3 cup flax milk
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup liquid egg substitute

Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray a 9-x5-inch loaf pan, heavily, with non stick cooking spray; set aside. Cook chopped bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat until just crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer bacon to a medium bowl, and add flour, greens, cheese, baking powder, salt, pepper, and thyme. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, oil, applesauce, and eggs. Add flour mixture and fold together just until combined. Transfer to prepared pan and bake until cooked through, 30 to 35 minutes.

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Set aside to cool and settle until warm. Flip the loaf from the pan and carefully slice.

Nutrition: (per slice, 1/24 recipe)

Calories: 54, Fat: 1.3g, Sat. Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 4.6mg, Sodium: 140.2mg, Carbs: 7.7g, Fiber: 0.8g, Sugar: 0.2g, Protein: 2.8g

The soup and bread combo was a hit and almost everyone had seconds! I was lucky to have both my little brothers over for brunch, today, and they went to town on the bread. Wholefoods recommended serving the tea bread with fig jam, I figured the apple butter in the refrigerator would suffice.

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The next time, I’d like to try a little liquid smoke or something to add a little flavor to the turkey bacon…

Following brunch, dad and I squeezed in a catch before the Eagles/Redskins game! Go EAGLES!!! We won!

Around dinner time, I got smacked with a hanckering! Ever since dad and I split “The Julian” from Fresh Thymes, I’ve been thinking about sauerkraut. And with Frank making black beans and rice the other night, I wanted beans. I would up creating an odd quesadilla that hit the spot!

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I threw fat free refried beans, sauerkraut, fat free shredded cheddar cheese, and salsa on a sun-dried tomato wrap! I topped it with chili powder and hot sauce!

Tommy Bundo Cooks: One-Pan Bachelor Meal

Today, Frank surprised me with changing out my broken alternator and Sasha Fierce is running like a champ! By the way, Sasha Fierce is my car…

Following the return of my core part, and receiving that beautiful refund, I headed home to whip up breakfast. I made Frank and Barry french toast, while I whipped up a shake bowl:

  • WP_004300cantaloupe
  • 1 Tbsp SF fat free Banana Cream pudding mix
  • 1 Tbsp SF Blueberry syrup
  • xanthum and guar (optional)

So refreshing and tasty, but I desperately needed a mug of something warm to defrost my satisfied body.

Today’s recipe is brought to you my Tommy Bundo, AKA my pops!

My girlfriend, Maggie, loves this recipe, as do I. What I love about it, is that it has just the right amount of kick! Its also a great meal for those single guys! It uses only one pan and takes less than an hour. Take notes, bachelors. Use this recipe to impress the ladies!

Kicken Cacciatore

serves about 8

  • 1 1/2 lb chicken breast
  • 2 /14 tsp black pepper???????!
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 Tbsp EVOO
  • 1 3/4 cup onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1 6.5 oz can mushroom slices and pieces, drained
  • 3 cup canned crushed tomatoes and basil

Fillet the chicken breast (about 9 fillets, or so). Season both sides with the black pepper and thyme. In a large skillet, heat the EVOO over medium-high heat. Add the chicken fillets to the pan. Cook both sides, just until there is no visible pink. Then remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic to the skillet, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the onions and peppers soften. Stir in the Italian seasoning, basil, flakes, and onion powder. Lay the cooked chicken over the vegetables, along with any juices from the sitting chicken left on the plate. Cover the chicken with mushrooms, followed by the seasoned tomatoes. Cover and simmer on low for 15-20 minutes, occasionally spooning the liquid over the chicken. Remove the lid and let sit for 5 minutes, over lowest heat, then serve.

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Chicken Cacciatore is served many ways. My dad recalls my Nonna making a small side of mashed potatoes. Dad ate his with spaghetti. You can also eat it, as is. I like it like that of with a side of steamed vegetables! We paired this delicious meal with a crisp and refreshing romaine salad and a glass of red blessington wine from a local winery.

WP_004308To seal the deal, I pulled out 2 Andes mints after dinner, like they do at Olive Garden. Haha.

Dad and I have spent the rest of the night watching TV, laughing, and snacking on various crackers. They aren’t kidding when they say “Hot” salsa!

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!

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!

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

Nurse Cake

WP_003707As my night shift was coming to an end, my stomach began to growl around 5am. I ignored this feeling the best I could. Around 530, I caved to a sugar free fruit cup. So sue me. A 45 calorie, sugar free fruit cup is whats going to upset me? This is ridiculous.

Around 6am, some nurses began to feel the hunger. Some toast english muffins, other trail mix, but it helps me to know that I am not the only one that gets thst end of shift hunger, and it makes me feel even better to know that I made a light and wise choice of food.

Arriving home about 2 and half hours later, the 45 calorie fruit cup had worn off. I snacked on half a slice of the left over Chicken Cheesesteak Pizza, another 45 calories. How can I hate myself for that? Its like I ate a 90 calorie snack bar, but instead of it being cereal and granola based, it was fruit and veggies! Get with the program, Sammy!

I stood in the shower, praying, deep breathing, almost like I was trying to wash the eating disorder and anxiety away. I finally laid down and slept until about 4pm, Thursday (8/29)

WP_003710I woke knowing I needed to eat despite my current feelings about my body. I went with a Dannon Light&Fit Greek Key Lime yogurt and topped it with some Special K Protein cereal. Although the cereal didn’t add loads of pizzazz of flavor to the yogurt, I enjoyed the crunch and texture, and the added feeling of being full. I paired it with a large glass of sparkling water.

The remaining afternoon was spent wallowing in my own depression, laying on the couch, curled under a blanket, until Barry came over after he was done work. He spent a few hours with Frank and me watching movies. I know it wasn’t the way he hoped to spend his evening, but it was nice to have the moral support.

My dad expressed some more concern about me today. I can’t help the way I feel. The last 3 days, I have not eaten more than 600 calories. Frank suggested this could be a reason why I’ve been so tired lately. I was in the bathroom and looked at myself. All I could see, at first, was my stomach. I kept poking at at it like it was somehow pop like a balloon and deflate. I went to the scale that read 131 lbs. I like that number. I went back to the mirror to figure out why the number just didn’t seem match the body. I stared long and hard and realized that my face was beginning to thin out, again.

With an annoying headache, which I suspected to be from low blood sugar, I stir-fried some bok choy and mushrooms in 1/2 Tbsp of low sodium teriyaki sauce,1 tsp chili garlic sauce, and a splash of water. It was filling and helped rid of my headache, which was definitely what I needed before going to work.

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I headed to work, coffee in hand, still feeling like I was dragging. Its funny how as soon as I walk onto the unit, I change. I’m so lucky that I am one of those blessed people that loves their job and the people they work with! Speaking of which…

These ladies I work on night shift with completely took me by surprise! After finishing the first rounds of my 8 hour shift, I went to the break room to grab a drink. As I opened the door, the nurses were setting up a party… for Heather and me in honor of us passing our boards!

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The first thing I saw was the cake and covered my instant terror with a smile, saying, “You guys are so sweet!” They even got gluten free goodies for Heather! But then, I saw the veggie platter and salsa and fruit bowl. Heather mentioned that she could tell I had lost weight and that she was worried about me. Heather is one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met. I would love if Heather and I both got the newly available nursing positions for our unit.

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WP_003717After finishing up some rounds, I decided theres no harm in enjoying fruits and vegetable. An the the veggies with salsa! MMM so garliky! I continued to snack on the goods all night and even had the hot and sour soup I brought with me. I was stuffed by 3 am and stayed that way! I felt great! Like I had been revitalized! Suddenly, although I was full, I felt invigorated and was on a roll at work! I love that Heather was so honest with me. You know what? I even had a bite of cake. I’m not a cake fan, but ShopRite done good! The night shift crew put a good hurtin on the cake and fruit!

The shift ended strong and confidently and I cant wait to hit the sheets!

One Slice Wit Wiz

Today began with a plan: Refrain Run to the store, grab cat food, swing by the garage and grab my bike, put air in the tire, ride it home and enjoy a shake. Things went just as planned, except for the fact that I left the key to the garage at home. Yay, for Frank being awake because he ran it over to me. It inspired him and he proposed that he grab his bike and we ride together! After walking our deflated bikes to the gas station, we rode them home.

I forgot the muscle groups biking works. My quads hated me! It was so great to see Frank on a bike! He was smiling, and really enjoying himself! This brief little bike ride set us up for a great day of decisions!

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While I prepared our shakes, Frank brewed some coffee. I made Frank a Banana Blondie shake, which is just the Blondie recipe with a banana, and a Butterfinger shake bowl for me, which is a Blondie shake with chocolate protein mix, rather than vanilla. I threw a handful of spinach in mine for a little added vitamins.

After some conversation and mild house chores, and preparation for tonight’s dinner, Frank and I sat down to lunch. A yummy salad! I threw my random, last piece of tempeh from the fridge, the last of the olives, and sliced the last of the onion to make my light lunch. The picture kind of looks like a face…

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I don’t know about you, but I LOVE a good cheesesteak! What  I don’t love is the typical carbs, fat, and excessive calories that go with it. With my new Chicken Steak-Umms screaming my name from the freezer, this was created!

Chicken Cheesesteak Pizza

serves 4-8

The Crust:

  • 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

WP_003692The Topping:

  • 1 md bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 md onion, sliced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 4 slices Chicken Steak-Umm
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp fat free shredded cheddar cheese

The Wiz:

  • 2 Tbsp non fat sour cream
  • 2 slices fat free cheddar 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.

Spray a pan well with non stick cooking spray. Add the sliced peppers, cover with a lid, and allow to cook for 9 minutes on the lowest heat. Add the sliced onions, minced garlic, chopped mushrooms, and black pepper, recover, and maintaining the lowest heat setting, allow the vegetables to cook down for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

WP_003693Sprinkle 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, remove the steamed vegetables and give them a rough chop. In the pan used to make the vegetables, tear the chicken Steak-Umm slices, season with pepper, and cook. Get your hands messy and toss the chopped vegetables and chicken together.

WP_003694By this time the crust should be done. Remove the crust from the oven. Using a spatula, ensure the crust is not sticking. Sprinkle the shredded cheddar on the hot crust. Then, top with the vegetables and chicken steak mix. Return to the oven for an additional 10 to 12 minutes.

Remove from the oven. In a microwaveable cup, break the slices of cheese and sour cream. Microwave for 30 seconds, stirring every 7 seconds or so. Drizzle the wiz over the pizza, slice, and serve!

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We ate dinner with big refreshing salads. Dad topped his slices with crushed red pepper flakes. Dinner with my daddies!

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Haha! I told my dad that dinner would be ready as soon as I “drizzle my wiz.” He said, “Okay, Snoop. Drizzle your wizzle, dog.” Hahah!

To end the night, Frank and I sat on the porch and enjoyed a sugar free Cherry Popsicle for National Cherry Popsicle Day!

Its early to bed, for me tonight. I am quite sleepy. See you in the AM.

Meatloaf Mania

This morning began with a girl jumping on top of me, tickling me and asking me out for breakfast. After some coaxing, Maggie, her boyfriend, Barry and I headed off to Denny’s. I haven’t been to a Denny’s in probably 10 years so I looked up the menu on the drive. The most amazing pancake breakfast off the Fit Fare menu caught my eye, leaving me craving this meal: Banana Pecan Pancake Breakfast!

“Glazed pecans cooked into two hearty wheat pancakes and topped with fresh banana slices. Served with two scrambled egg whites, two strips of turkey bacon and a side of warm syrup. Fit Fare® Lean: Under 15g of fat. Fit Fare® Fiber: Over 8g of fiber.”

What a surprise when I clicked the nutritional facts and found this so-called “fit” menu item was 750 calories! 750 calories is NOT fit, Denny’s!  I knew it was too good to be true! But at least I can make them at home 😀

In the end, after endless time spent weighing my options, I decided on the Fit Fare Omelette, minus the cheese.

“Egg white omelette with spinach, mushrooms, freshly made pico de gallo and shredded Cheddar cheese. Served with two slices of turkey bacon and seasonal fruit as your side choices. Fit Fare® Light: Under 550 calories. Fit Fare® Protein: Over 20g of protein.”

Barry made his own pancakes, Blueberry banana, with a side of eggs, hash browns, and bacon.

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Marie’s Meatloaf. How can I describe mom’s meatloaf?

More More More! Give me! I’ll fight you for it! Get back! I’ve got a fork and I’m not afraid to use it! 

Yeah, something like that…

My mom makes the best meatloaf I have ever had (mmmm, especially the butts, of the ends, of the loaf), so the last time she made it, I plugged it into MyFitnessPal… full fat block cheddar cheese, 85/15 beef, bread crumbs…

Needless to say, I needed to try my hand at it. I’ve recreated mom’s loaf using extra lean beef and it still rocked. Sunday, I recreated it using a ground poultry blend, fat free cheese and Fiber One cereal bread crumbs.

The magical thing about meatloaf is that the possibilities are endless! In the past, I’ve thrown in vegetables, sauces, meats… literally, anything my kitchen had…

The cool thing about my mom’s meatloaf: no condiments required. All the flavor is in the loaf!

Basic Bundo Poultry Loaf

serves 8

  • 1 lb 98% fat free ground chicken
  • 1 lb 93 % fat free ground turkey
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp onion soup mix
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp Shake n Bake BBQ glaze, powder
  • 2 Tbsp Fiber One Original bran cereal
  • 1/4 cup fat free shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 325 . Using a Magic Bullet, or other processor, grind the cereal until fine. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Shape loaf.

Either store in the freezer, wrapped in plastic wrap and foil, or bake.

To bake, wrap in foil, and puncture holes at the bottom to allow for fat drainage. Bake for 1 hour. Carefully open the foil and expose the loaf and return to the over to bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

Nutrition per 4oz serving:

Calories: 172, Fat: 5.6g, Sat. Fat: 1.2g, Cholesterol: 78.1mg, Sodium: 412.2mg, Carbs: 5.7g, Fiber: 0.8g, Sugar: 1.9g Protein: 24.5g

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The Basics

Mustard Crusted Bundo Poultry Loaf

serves 8

  • 1 lb 98% fat free ground chicken
  • 1 lb 93 % fat free ground turkey
  • 3 Tbsp onion soup mix
  • 2 Tbsp Fiber One Original bran cereal
  • 1/4 cup fat free shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 Tbsp Bundo Honey Mustard Sauce, separated, plus more, if wanted
  • salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Using a Magic Bullet, or other processor, grind the cereal until fine. Combine all ingredients, and only 1 Tbsp honey mustard, in a bowl. Shape loaf. Once shaped, brush 2 Tbsp honey mustard sauce over all sides of the loaf. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze, with a wrapping of foil, until ready to bake.

To bake, wrap in foil, and puncture holes at the bottom to allow for fat drainage. Bake for 1 hour. Carefully open the foil and expose the loaf. Brush the last 1 Tbsp pf honey mustard and return to the over to bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, until golden brown, at 360 F.

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Something to remember: ground turkey, and especially ground chicken, will not brown like ground beef!

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Nutrition per 4oz serving:

Calories: 177, Fat: 5.6g, Sat. Fat: 1.5g, Cholesterol: 75mg, Sodium: 25mg, Carbs: 4.5g, Fiber: 0.8g, Sugars: 2.8g

After slicing up the meatloaf, I decided to brown the sides of the slices in a pan and a brush more of honey mustard! I just love that sweet and spicy mustard!

After steaming up some broccoli and topping that with garlic, I threw another surprise on the kitchen table! People were raving about how yummy the garlic mashed potatoes were, which I topped with fat free cheddar an some real bacon crumbles! My dad couldn’t believe it when I told him it was cauliflower!

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Garlic Mashed Cauli

With the leftovers, I packed up dinner for when mom gets home from work, and since Barry is working night shift, I made a meal for him. I also made dad a meatloaf sandwich for lunch tomorrow with Bundo Honey Mustard Sauce and BBQ sauce! Can you say, “drool-worthy?”

I just thought about how good these loaves would be with a fat free Monterrey or Pepper Jack…

MMMMM….. See meatloaf is magical! You can dream it into anything!

I’m a Nurse, but what do I know?

I a so tired of having an upset stomach! I left work early last night around 3am. When I arrive home I snacked on bread and pretzel sticks in the hopes of absorbing any acid that could be irritating my stomach. For the past few days, saltines and diet ginger ale have been m best friends. But its just unnatural for this to be a diet for 3 days straight.

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I curled in bed and had the hardest time falling asleep. I finally fell asleep in the fetal position, with my behind up in the air and my face in the pillow, around 5:15am, I believe. I slept until about 9am and enjoyed a small fuji apple. In fact, the apple hit the spot so well I ate another for dessert later in the night. After my apple, I whipped up a bunch of shakes! For Frank and James, a filling Banana and Nutella shake for their fishing trip; for dad, a Cherry Cheesecake Shake for is drive to work!

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I walked down to the Dunkin Donuts for Customer Appreciation Day, and got a free medium iced coffee. It was just what I needed to start the sunny day! With a little caffeine and an apple in my belly, I was motivated to start my day! I went for about a 3mile walk to the store to pick up a few items. On the shopping list was PopTarts. I never buy PopTarts, but a little birdie, named Barry, told me about the new ones filled with peanut butter. Did you really think I could resist this?

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They were great! My one problem with PopTarts, not just this particular flavor, but all of them: the CALORIES! 200 calories per pastry. Hello! There are two pastries per pack! Do think people only eat one? PopTarts are delicious! Come on! Nonetheless, both of the Chocolate Peanut Butter PopTarts found their way into my stomach throughout the day.

To off set the sugars, I snagged the last BBQ chicken thigh left over from the guys dinner last night, shredded it up, and tossed it with roasted bell peppers and cauliflower.

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Midway through the day, the stomach aches started back up. Before I knew it, I was back to the saltines. In the last two days, I’ve eaten two sleeves of saltines! Oh yeah, then I got sick. Yay. :/

After lying on the couch for a little bit, a craving hit me that I had last night: a calzone, panzarotti, or stromboli. I just wanted something related to pizza, but not pizza. I think its because everyone on Facebook keeps talking about the Festa (the Italian Festival) around the corner from my house. I mentioned it to Frank, and a small ham and spinach calzone arrived about 45minutes later. We split it four ways, and my stomach felt mysteriously better.

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Wait a second…. saltine and ginger ale = stomach ache. Cheese, ham, dough, and grease= feel better?

Hmmm…. Interesting… I’m a nurse, but what do I know???