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!

 

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Pumpkin Pie for Breakfast

During the crock pot challenge, I made crock pot Pumpkin Sticky Buns! Based off of that recipe, here is the perfect October breakfast for those brisk Fall mornings.

I just can’t get enough of pumpkin! Especiallyon National Pumpkin Day!

Pumpkin Pie Cinnamon Buns

makes 12 buns

The Dough:

  • 2 cup plus 1 Tbsp milk of choice (I used unsweetened flax milk)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 packet dry, active yeast (to help activate the yeast)
  • 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated Splenda
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup Libby’s pure pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce

The Filling:

  • 3/4 cup pure pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup granulated Splenda
  • 2 Tbsp sugar-free pancake syrup
  • 1 Tbsp Splenda brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
Glaze Ingredients:
  • 3 Tbsp sugar free pancake syrup
  • 1 Tbsp granulated Splenda
  • 1/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 Tbsp pecans
  • 1 Tbsp hulled, unsalted pumpkin seeds
Warm milk and water in a bowl in the microwave for about 45 seconds. Let it sit for a few minutes. You want the liquids warm, not hot. Sprinkle the sugar into the liquid, followed by the packet of yeast. Set aside and allow mixture to bubble and foam.
Sift the flours, baking powder, Splenda, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice into a large bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, warm the applesauce and pumpkin in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds. Stir the vanilla into the warmed mix, then stir this to the milk and yeast bowl. Pour the bowl of liquid ingredients into thelarge bowl of dry, and together to form a dowl. The dough will be moist and tacky. Cover the ball of dough with a towel and set in a warm place to rise for 20 minutes. (My trick: microwave an empty microwave for a minute, then place the covered bowl in the microwave to sit.)
While the dough is rising, stir together the filling ingredients and set aside. You can also chop the pecans and pumpkin seeds and tossed them together, and set aside. When the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 325 F. Sprinkle 1Tbsp of all-purpose flour over the ball. Sprinkle another 1 Tbsp over the clean, flat surface on which you will be rolling the dough. Flip the ball of dough onto the floured surface and sprinkle another 1 Tbsp of flour on top. Use your hands to press out the dough. Flour the dough in 1/2 Tbsp increments, as needed. Flip the dough over, after its been pressed with your fingers, sprinkle with flour and roll it out into a large rectangle.
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Using a spoon or basting brush, brushthe filling ingredients to every edge. (I suggest brushing onto the table to make sure every piece is coated!) With finger tips, carefully roll the dough into a long log. Using a non-serrated knife, cut the log into 12 equal portions, cleaning the blade after each slice. Carefully transfer the 12 rolls into a baking dish, sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  (For really large buns, cover and return the buns to a warm place for another 30 minutes. For regular sized, bake now.) Top the rolls with chopped pecan and pumpkin seed blend and bake for 25 to 28 minutes.
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While baking, stir together the remaining glaze ingredients. Once baked, drizzle the glaze over the buns and serve.
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When I opened the oven, it smelled like a pumpkin pie was baking! After the buns were glazed, I sat down to a cup of Tiramisu coffee (one of the new coffees I bought yesterday) to which I added SF Italian Sweet Cream creamer. What a combo! The creamer totally picked up the sweet notes of the coffee! I pulled apart the first piece of pumpkin bun to see a beautiful orange filling, and warm moist dough. I love that contrast of the firm outer shell with the soft inner layer of sticky buns!
Mom said it was just the right sweetness! My only critique is to make a thicker glaze…
I stared brain storming toppings… Obviously, nuts are a no-brainer, but what about crumbled bacon? Sounds like I might have to make these again in the near future!
Nutrition: per bun
Calories: 151, Fat: 1g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 278mg, Carbs: 30, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 1, Protein: 4g

Chocolate and Vanilla Cake Walk Into A Bar…

Monday

I spent the entire, and I do mean entire, day in bed! Barry and I both have night shift and neither one of us felt a real reason to get up.  In fact my “breakfast” was a sugar free oreo and a spoonful of Barry’s grandmother’s homemade apple sauce! And that’s just because Barry had them in the room! Haha!

I arrived back home, after picking up dinner for the family, and jumped in the shower. I got out just in time to whip up a shake and enjoy dinner with the family before heading to work. While the family ate their Wendy’s, I made a bowl. Frappe Away I said to myself.

Today is National Frappe Day. What the heck is a frappe? I googled and found out it is typically a coffee and ice cream based drink. Well, no ice cream went into the blender, but Cafe Latte protein powder did. Between Barry and my girlfriend, Rebecca, both of whom call me “Pumpkin,” were partial inspirations for the end result of my meal. Since I, unfortunately, did not have any open cans of pumpkin, I substituted the fiber with a handful of frozen apples. Did you know October is National Apple Month? (I know… I’m a pillar of useless knowledge…)

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The crunchy and nutty topper for this bowl was unsalted, hulled pumpkin seeds and Kashi Go Lean cereal.

I headed off to work to find out I was being pulled to another unit, a unit I have never been to before. Its always slightly nerve-racking being pulled to another unit. What are the nurses like there? Whats the acuity of the patients? Am I on the floor or a 1:1? How long will I be on the unit for?

Luckily, none of these things were a problem, tonight. In fact, the nurses were welcoming, sociable, and helpful, and my 11 patients were of managable acuity! I actually was pulled for the complete 12 hours of my shift.

Tuesday

I met with my girlfriend and co-worker, Amy, a little after 1am and we went to the caf, where I grabbed some raw vegetables from the salad bar. Rather than crushing saltines into my Wendy’s chili, I dipped these vegetables. Genius! The Wendy’s near my house was recently rebuilt and opened last week. I have been craving chili ever since. I was floored when I checked the website to find a small chili was 180 calories! I expected a small container, but was content with being able to get a chili, in the first place. When I asked the woman if she gave me the right size, she compared it to the large and I was floored, once again! Score!

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I was one happy camper as I emptied the chili hot sauce packets into my cup and dug in.

WP_004153We’ve been Boo-ed!” Huh? Apparently, theres this game going on around the hospital where units make bags of candies, and sneak them into unit’s break rooms then the game continues. Damn, Butterfingers get me every time! Luckily, I was one and done! Yay, Sammy!

My sleep was cut short today as I was awoken by a call from my manger with some not so pleasant news (more to come on that matter). There was no way I could get back to sleep and, in fact, I was up for the rest of the day before coming back to work. My breakfast? Corn chips and a Babyruth.

All day I wanted to eat, although I knew I wasn’t hungry. But then, I began feeling an emptiness in my stomach, so I ate. It turned out that emptiness was actually part of my emotions. To try to counter act this feeling, it was a two shake day.

I’m sort of childishly excited for today’s food-iday: National Fluffernutter Day! I kept swaying back and forth between making a shake or a sandwich to celebrate. I was never a fan of fluff as a kid. Well, maybe thats not the way to put it. We just never bought it. Same thing with Nutella. We never bought it so I never really developed a taste for it until I tried my little brother’s nutella one day. Same goes for the Fluff. I remember, last year during my refeeding, I would dip Nilla wafers into fluff. Sometimes, I would grab a spoonful of PB and then dip into the Fluff jar. If I wanted something extra sweet, I’d do a nutella and fluff combo!

Anyway, I decided I would feel more satisfied with a bowl:

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  • 1 scoop of Chocolate OR Vanilla shake mix
  • 1 Tbsp fluff
  • 1 tsp peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Chocolate PB2
  • xanthum and guar, optional

To substitute for the bread, I topped the sweet bowl with Fiber One bran cereal. (Its pretty shade of green is from added spinach).

A bit after, I realized my anxiety was manifesting itself. Rather than NOT eating, I WAS eating. Luckily, I recognized it, and preoccupied myself with mopping the floor and going through clothes to donate. When dinner time arrived, and heavy eyelids began, I  whipped up another bowl to hold me over until it was time to eat at work.

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  • 1 scoop Chocolate protein
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Chocolate PB2
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp SF caramel syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • 20 fat free pretzel sticks, broken

It totally hit the spot and I loved the salty sweet crunch that I constantly crave.

I was on the floor for the first four hours of my 12 hour shift. My 1:1 patient was supposed to be going home tomorrow, so I wanted to spend some time with then before they left.

Wednesday

After a breezy first four, my time ended abruptly with assisting to de-escalate an upset parent and assist a nurse with removing an IV. I felt great when I was able to help the mother stop crying and make her laugh.

When I got into my patient’s room, the patient was super excited that I’d be spending the rest of the shift with them. I, then ,found out my patient’s discharge date had been pushed back to Friday. That means I get two more shifts to see them.

After the snack I had done earlier in the day, I packed a light meal for work. Plus, my nerves were still so wrecked that I didn’t have much of an appetite. But boy, oh, boy, was I in for a rude awakening.

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Yeah!

As if I wasn’t stressed enough, and manifesting it with body hating, I had that Cajun Trail Mix and all of this candy in my face! The nurses agreed that I deserved to have day a candy. Its funny how I eat candy when I’m spazzed. I’m stress eating, but body conscience. I take a bite out of piece and throw it away. Bizarre. Nonetheless, the nibbles did not stop me from hating myself as I returned to the 1:1 after eating some leftover eggplant parm frittata around 3am.

WP_004159Deb brought this in, too! Candy Corn M &M! What a combo! These candy pieces are bigger that the typical chocolates and made with white chocolate instead. Addicting. While trying to find a link to these M&Ms for you, I found these! I’ve never seen these. Ever! Is it for real? Does anyone know? My jaw almost hit the floor and I’m enveloped in curiousity! I returned to my patient’s room, after some well-deserved ranting, and counted down until 7am when I could leave.

Full or body hating guilt and a dwindling self worth, I tried to keep my mind occupied by blogging and reading.

I must admit that I was, finally, able to finish a book that I wanted to read. Its been years since I’ve been able to read a book for fun.

After work, I couldn’t wait to hit my bed. Today, on a day when I actually feel tired after work, I had to stay up to take my uncle to a doctors appointment. His procedure required sedation and he, therefore, needed a ride to and from.

WP_004160Luckily, it didn’t take very long and I killed some time at Wawa grabbing a coffee and a packet of apples to hold me over. Upon arriving home, I snagged a few pretzel sticks and almonds and curled up into a ball to awake about 5 hours late! Victory! I had finally slept!

Once awake, I hopped in the shower and assisted Frank with making my little brother dinner, while also sending out countless resumes! Last night, I was reading up on detox soups, many of which contained beets and ginger. I figured I could work with that and wound up creating what tasted better than Red Velvet Cake!

Better Than Red Velvet Cake ShakeWP_004161

  • 1 scoop chocolate protein
  • 1/2 small beet, peeled, sliced thinly and microwaved for 3 minutes
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/3 cup frozen pitted cherries
  • 1/2 Tbsp sugar free fat free cheesecake OR white chocolate pudding mix
  • splash of SF chocolate syrup, for added sweetness
  • xanthum and guar (optional)

I’ve never like Red Velvet Cake. It was always one of those sweets thatI didn’t understand. Its like if chocolate and vanilla cake had a baby and the baby couldn’t decide what it wanted to be when it grew up…

Once the fruits and vegetables were blended, the color reminded me of the cake, and rather than going full on “detox,” I went with the inspiration. I topped my bowl with broken pretzel sticks and chia seeds.

With the remaining half beet, I repeated the slicing, and combined it with sliced baby carrots, a chopped cherry pepper, onions, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes into a Tupperware all to be, later, used to top a bed of chopped romaine and reduced fat blue cheese crumbles. It’s National Moldy Cheese Day, hence the moldy cheese in my salad… Once arriving at work, I was greeted with this:

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“Happy Pediatric Nurse’s Week from Bayada Health!” Thanks Bayada. Start my shift with an oatmeal cookie and some M&Ms? Don’t mind if I do. One and done, baby! I was a happy camper, once again, with my self control, and felt no guilt about this treat!

Thursday

I spent my shift much like I did the night before; the first 4 hours on the floor and the last 8 in my 1:1. Before falling asleep, my patient asked if I would care to watch a movie with them. And so we laughed until the movie ended. Around 2 am I was relieved from my post to eat. I warmed the previously prepared vegetables in the microwave and tossed them with the romaine and blue cheese. I love how the warm veggies melt the blue cheese, and their juices combine to create a dressing for the salad! Its a salad with which I’ve never been disappointed! Following my meal, I snagged a mini Twix from the abbondanza supply of candy, and another half a cookie, sealing the deal with a cup of hot coffee.

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I always take time at the hospital as a learning opportunity and asked the nurse if she could explain to me the difference between “covering” for carbs and “correcting” with insulin. I was so pleased to discover that I had already had a solid understanding of how to do so, and worked with the nurse making up a few examples to ensure I had a firm grasp on the subject. Woo Hoo!

I returned to the room of the 1:1 and spent my remain hours charting on my patient, scouring the web for pediatric nursing positions, working on Be Well Bundo, stretching, and reading another book.

Following work, I drug myself to, yet another, morning appointment, but not before grabbing a bite. Who would think that soup would be the breakfast of choice? On this cold morning, it was all I could think about. I heated up a cup of Progresso’s Chicken and Barley (I’m a sucker for barley), topped with a bran crackers, and warmed myself up.

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This time, the appointment required manual labor and as I left the hospital, I prayed the rain would hold off until my task was complete. We are fortunate enough to have a home with a fireplace, my favorite feature of the house. I am planted in front of it throughout the fall and winter months. I’m surprised the floor isn’t indented with my butt print, by now. We were, also, fortunate enough to have been connected with the city to receive free wood. As the city chops trees, the lumbar is piled at a local park on the east side. If you schedule an appointment and complete the labor, yourself, you can take a truckload of FREE wood each month. We took full advantage of it, last year, and I wanted an early start, this year. I took the first available appointment and Frank and I headed over, bundled up, tiredly fighting the weather in a battle of time.

The forecast for the next four days is nothing but cold rain. Oh, joy! According to the weather tracker on my phone, between 7 to 9 there was a decreased chance of rain. Our appointment was for 830. As we pulled up, it was chilly and lightly raining. We loaded up the bed of the truck and by the time I got home, I was dead to the world and it began raining harder.

I stumbled into the house, eyes barely open, and made a B line to the couch where there was an inviting  comforter calling my name. With hoodie up and slipper socks on, I was out in a matter of seconds, contacts in and all (not smart by the way… crazy dry eyes).

I woke around 330pm, or so, trying to go back to sleep. No luck. And here I am. Catching you up on the haps.

Patient Birthdays

Saturday

Today, a very dear patient of mine celebrated their birthday with us at the hospital. Unfortunately, I have celebrated many patient birthdays in the hospital. At least, they are surrounded by people who love them!

This evening, my patient had loads of cupcakes that their family had brought in. I couldn’t leave the room without grabbing one. I decided to ask Amy if she would split them with me.

This is always a trouble, when patients and families give you food. You hate to say, “no,” so you take it. Even when you do say, “no,” they continue to insist, and you take it anyway. My eating had been great all day so I felt little,but some, guilt about splitting cupcakes with my one of my girlfriends for a patient who means so much to me.

It was a nice sweet treat that worried me about spiraling into a cupcake frenzy. Both were vanilla cupcakes, one from a bakery around their home, with cream cheese frosting, and the other, a homemade one with cookies n’ cream icing. With my love of oreos, I snagged the cookies n’ cream cupcake and called dibs on the mini oreo topping it! Yum!

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Backing up bit, breakfast was a smoothie bowl. Today is National Strawberry Cream. I feel like its kind of an incompletely titled holiday but nonetheless:

Strawberry Cream Protein Smoothie

  • 1 strawberry yogurt
  • 1/2 to 1 scoop vanilla protein
  • frozen strawberries
  • guar and xnathum
  • water
  • ice

I topped mine with Special K Protein cereal for crunch, at first. But then, I realized that freeze-dried strawberries were an awesome topping, too!

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Dinner was a bowl of soup, topped with salsa, and a side of celery sticks for snacking. The meal was paired with half an oreo cupcake!

I’m usually not a fan of clerking, but tonight was great because we had tons of discharges and I kept busy for majority of the night!

Sunday

With another shift of work ahead of me, I enjoyed  a yummy coffee protein bowl in honor of National Coffee Day! I actually was a coffee fiend, ironically, all day!

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The shake was a blend of Cafe Latte mix, spinach, fresh raspberries, CPB2, and SF raspberry and Kahlua syrups. To top it off, I crumbled a quarter of a Gnu Espresso Chip bar (I’m so bummed this flavor is discontinued). I love having that ability to chew, not just drink my shakes. Plus, it makes the shake so much more filling and is also a combo of chocolate and coffee.

I grabbed a cup of coffee before work, and headed off to my unit. It was another great night on the unit. It was another night of filling (Not So) soup and celery sticks. With this experimentality of mine, I tried adding a little honey mustard and BBQ sauce from the caf. It actually gave the soup a really nice flavor- almost a southwestern inspiration.

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Right before dinner, I was surprised how bad I wanted another cup of coffee. Its amazing how tastes change as you age. I was never a coffee drinker until high school- hot tea was always my thing. The only time I would drink coffee was to feel like my dad. Now, I actually am a coffee addict!

I can still remember my parents ordering a cheesesteak with friend onions, and sitting there trying to pick out all the little slivers with my fingers. Or picking off the onions and peppers off a sausage sandwich. Or Thursday Wing nights, when dad would bring home hot wings, I would wash off the sauce before eating them. Now, it seems like every day is started with a cup of the good stuff, almost every meal had peppers or onions, and hot sauce is always my go-to condiment!

They say our bodies change about every 7 years… maybe thats the reason our taste buds change, too!

WP_004058Speaking of changing tastes, I never thought I’d enjoy Cajun Trail Mix. I mean. everyone loves trail mix, but Deb, one of our nurses, brought this bag of trail mix in. I was getting hungry and gave it a try. Those butter roasted peanuts make it! That salty, sweet and crunchy combination of all the ingredients makes this stuff hard to resist!

Getting home, and having worked on the floor for my shift, I was surprised by how hungry I was. I actually would up eating a whole head of romaine lettuce! (I’m like a rabbit.) Some fabulous Rainbow Goldfish joined the party, too.

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I can feel the wave of exhaustion rushing over me and I am hoping to have a relatively early start tomorrow. With that, I say goodnight!

Pink Pancakes!

As a female, I love pink. The color just makes me smile. As an Italian, Irish, Polish, and German, I love carbs! As a Bundo, I love breakfast. As a health nut, I love fruits and vegetables.

All of that being said, these pancakes are right up my ally.

My skeptical family asked why the the pancakes were red. I told them I pureed some blueberries into the batter. They believed me… (feel free to puree some blueberries into the batter, though). The pink is from pureed beets!

Are you still with me? Okay, good! I thought I may have lost you there.

My dad freaked when I told him there were beets in these! “What would pocess you to do that?” he kept exclamining! Well, guess what! You ate a ton of these silver dollar pancakes and said how berry flavored they were. So “Ha” to you, sir!

Blueberry (and Beet) Pancakes

make 29-30 silver dollar pancakes

Wet Ingredients:

  •  2 md-lg beets (enough to make 3/4 packed cups, pureed)
  • 1/3 cup OIKOS plain yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 1/4 cup flax milk
  • 1/2 cup water, or milk
  • 1/4  cup liquid egg substitute
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 1/5 Tbsp Splenda brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 packets Splenda
  • 1 cup blueberries, or more

Roast the beets. (This may take a while. I roasted mine the night before). Dice and puree the beets in a food processor until smooth.

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Beat the wet ingredients. Sift the dry ingredients (excluding the blueberries) into the wets ingredients and whisk. Fold in the blueberries. Its pretty, huh?

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Scoop 2 Tbsp, or an 1/8 cup, onto a skillet over medium heat, that has been sprayed with non stick spray. Once the bottoms are firm and the pancakes “pouf,” give them a flip.

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You know how to make pancakes…

To about half the batch, I added white chocolate chips to since the day I made them was National White Chocolate Day. I topped mine with my copycat Panera cream cheese.

Shout Outs: I was trying to figure out what else I could do with beets besides put them in my salads. Turning to Dr. Google, I came across a bunch of posts and adapted one specific recipe to make mine. Thanks, fellowbeet lover!

Happy National Pancake Day!

Our New Deacons

It was all about the Barry’s and berries, today.

It began with a stop at 7-Eleven to grab coffee and a light breakfast. I spiked my coffee with my sugar free blueberry Torani, before heading to Barry’s. Look, His and Hers blueberry breakfast! Barry loved blueberry poptarts so I liked that I was able to enjoy my version of poptarts with him with the blueberry Special K Crisps.

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Today was a day of celebration for our diocese! I am so happy to say that our friend, Barry, was ordained, along with 8 others, as a Deacon. It has been a 5 year journey for him and his family. Its such as admirable dedication he has made to our community. I know that he has gone away for for retreats every month for the past 5 years, working for this.

Barry is not only a family friend, but also the owner of the company my dad works for. While dad manded the fort at the business, Barry, my Barry, and I represented the family at the ordination. We arrived at St. Margaret of Scotland Church, and after giving hugs and kisses to familiar faces, we took our seats.

The ceremony lasted about an hour and a half. He began with his family, garbed normally. Throughout the mass, we witnessed Barry promise to the Church and be sworn in as a Deacon.

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We watched the Bishop lay his hands on each candidate, swear them in, and provide them with their own Book of Gospels.

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We watched the priest of each candidates home parish, along with the candidates wives, help to dawn them with their stoles and dalmatics. It was a lovely ceremony!

WP_003654I ran into my parish’s priest, who is also the Chancellor of the Diocese, and was one of the selected few to provide Communion to the congregation. I also saw my old grade school principal, my parish’s deacon and wife. My favorite person that I ran into, today, was Dora. When I saw her, I immediately began to tear up. I hadn’t seen Dora in about 5 years. Dora was one of my grandmother’s best friends, one of the “Club Girls” as they were called. Every Thursday, the girls would get together with their bags of pennies and play Pokeno and Uno, and eat jello and pie, and various fruits and sweets. I loved catching up with her!

WP_003655After the mass, their was a gathering at the Church’s school, but Deacon Barry’s family invited us to attend the luncheon they were having at a local Italian restaurant. The reservations were not until 2pm, and Barry and I decided to kill an hour at the farmer’s market. This place is a dangerous place for foodies! The Amish section is full of sweets, pastries, meats, sausage, and all around deliciousness! Before leaving, I needed to introduce Barry to one of the oddest, savory, and sweet desserts I have ever had. There is a Mexican ice cream shop in the market that sells Cheese ice cream. You read that right. CHEESE ice cream! It smooth and creamy, a little chunky from the cheese, like cottage cheese curds, and so buttery in your mouth! We both just wanted a bite since we were heading out to lunch, but its a when-in-Rome kind of thing.

We arrived at Cucina di Napoli and were greeted by Deacon Barry and his family. We sat down to a table full of apps: Bruschetta, mussels in white wine, sauteed broccoli and spinach, mozzarella sticks and fried calamari, and chopped antipasto salad. Dad met us there after he locked up the shop, and we enjoyed socializing with everyone. I was pretty pleased with my eating! I stayed clear of the bread and butter, ate lots of lettuce and tomatoes, enjoyed some mussels, and broccoli, and avoided the fried foods. Thats a lie. I ate 1 fried calamari to apease my dad. Barry and I were both dragging, despite our coffee earlier in the day.

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Barry and I parted ways until he picked me up to attend a BBQ. Barry has kept in contact with one of his old teachers from high school who throws a pretty bitchin pool party every year. It was such a nice time! Barry and I both had a few drinks and I was so pleased with my eating! I chose wisely. I knew there was going to hot dogs, and not my 94% fat free ones. Rather than eating it plain or on a roll, I grabbed a leaf of romaine, spread it with a little black bean hummus, and topped it with corn salad. It was delicious!

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??????????????I stayed clear of the ridiculously gooey, chocolate chunk brownies, but I did take a bite if the PBJ mini cupcakes. I was so proud of myself that I filled up romaine and didn’t let the temptations get to me. I met some of Barry’s friends from high school and when I met Kevin, I saw a side of Barry I had never seen before! A complete and total BROMANCE!

Towards the end of the night, as we were heading out, the homemade moonshine and karaoke came out. One of the moonshines was peach and the other was apple. I’ve had homemade shine before, and it was rough, but the apple smelled like an apple pie! Both were delicious.

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The night ended with Barry and I falling asleep to a little Twilight Zone!

Happy 4th!

Happy 4th of July, everyone!

I spent the majority of my day at work. Unfortunately, no matter the holiday, there are always sick little ones. My morning began with a mug of Chocolate Cherry coffee that I got while at the Denver airport back in April. Sometimes coffee really just hits the spot. 

After completing my first set of rounds and bathing a few babies, I sat down to one of my favorites: nonfat coffee yogurt. I wanted something to crunch this morning, so rather than eating graham crackers, like usual, I sliced up an apple and dipped it into my yogurt. A surprisingly excellent combo!

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I attempted to keep busy the remainder of my shift, and while most of the girls ordered hoagies for lunch, I enjoyed a bowl of watermelon to hold me over until the end of my shift. 

I decided I wanted to grill some steaks for the holiday and enjoyed a very appropriate holiday meal with my guys (dad, Frank, and Barry): steaks, corn on the cob, macaroni salad, salsa,pretzels, and chips, and watermelon. YUM!

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To complete the meal with a red, white, and blue theme I mashed 1/2 cup blueberries in 1/2 cup fat free cool whip and dolloped it into four dessert shells. I topped each one with sliced strawberries.

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One of my favorite things to do on the fourth isn’t what you’d think. I’ve mentioned my dorky obsession with the Twilight Zone before, and every year on July 4th and New Years, ScyFy channel plays a marathon! I’m officially glued to my TV those days! 

After Barry left for work, I watch some Zone until 830pm. I headed over to Barry’s work, where he gave me a tour of the site.

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We eventually found our way to the roof of one of the buildings, where we stood and watched the fireworks. It was quite neat, actually. You could see multiple firework shows in various parts of the county all from this one roof!

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What are your favorite Twilight Zone episodes? 

I love “To Serve Man,” and “Night of the Meek.” I  really could make a whole list of my favorites!

What are your Fourth of July memories and traditions?

I can remember when I was younger, my mom and dad used to pack up a picnic basket with snacks. We would go to the soccer field a few blocks away, lay out the big red blanket, and eat hot dogs. 

Thanks to all the vets and active military! Its because of you that we are able to live safely and comfortable everyday!

Night Shift and The Purple People Eater

Wednesday:

Another early morning. I had to finish some homework before heading to class. As I was working on the homework, I began  to think about the events of the next few days, and just how utterly sleep deprived I am going to be. (You’ll find out why.)

WP_001320Class was educational and then I had to go to a seminar. During class, I ate Dannon Light and Fit Greek Peach yogurt topped with some chis seeds. On my way to the seminar, I could feel some hungry starting to arise so I swung by Wawa. Thanks for the convenient snack packs, Wawa!WP_001321

I always have issues driving in Bear… I’m always getting lost! I found the location and we learned about stroke prevention. Our project is to conduct stroke assessments on members of our communities to evaluate their risk for a stroke.

I was starving when I got home, so I grabbed a quick bite and I’m headed to bed.

I am working night shift tonight, so I’m praying I’ll get some  sleep before then. Tomorrow night, I am attending a black and gold (ie. we wear black and gold). My girlfriends are in a sorority and I go every year, which is why I was freaking out about having a dress.

Thursday:

I was woken up by my mom and step dad last night. Must they always feel the need to talk outside my bedroom foot when I’m sleeping?
I like to start nightshift with a smoothie. All the protein and fresh fruit gives me an nice buzz to get me going. Yesterday, was National Strawberry Day, so i wanted to incorporate some in my shake. I must say, though, the blueberries took control of this one. “Mom, is it weird that I just named my smoothie ‘the purple people eater?'” “Yes.” “Thanks, mom.”

Into the bullet went:WP_001322
spinach,
frozen strawberries,
half a frozen banana,
fresh blueberries,

vanilla protein powder

raw cashew butter,

ice
When it was all mixed up, it was a purple “monster.”
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I’m pretty happy about my eating last night. Julie is always raving about Milk Chocolate Moose Munch,but last night was the first time I got to try it. Can you guess what I liked the most about it? The nuts, duh!!! I also snacked on baby carrots, these new Back to Nature Sweet Potato and Cinnamon crackers I’ve recently been obsessed with, and granny smith with Chocolate PB2 and graham crackers.

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Eight hours, three cups of coffee and a dark chocolate covered espresso bean, I kept busy most of the night and even caught up on some reading for school.

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Roasted Vegetables: Crock Pot Recipe #7

Wednesday:

I went to class this morning and while waiting, enjoyed a Muller Mousse Parfait. A girl I’m in clinical with loves these, so I gave it a try.

WP_001225I tried the peach passion fruit, figuring if I was going to try something, I might as well try the most exotic sounding. I topped it with both ground flax and chia, and it was delicious and filling! I only have one complaint: way too much sugar! Seriously, it had a whole days worth of sugar in it!

After this cardiac cram session, I hit the gym. I had a full workout planned but as I was doing it, I realized I was not going to be able to complete it, if I needed to get some sleep for night shift. I only worked out for an hour or so. I was so bummed when that I had to leave. Have you ever been so into your routine, you just didn’t want to stop. Seriously, even the shuffle on my iPod just kept giving me great songs to power up to!

I hit the sheets when I got home, unfortunately  only getting about 2 hours of sleep for my 12 hour shift. I made something that was LONG overdue: a shake. Iv’e been checking up on this blog I found and she made a shake that sounded delicious, so I gave it a go. The following was whipped up:

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handful of frozen, pitted dark cherries

1 scoop Herbalife Vanilla Formula 1

1 scoop Herbalife Vanilla PDM

half a frozen banana

1 Tbsp sugar free cheesecake pudding mix

and lots of ice!

Pretty darn tasty… Actually, dad asked me to make him one for Thursday morning!

WP_001228Thursday:

Over the course of the long night, I did some pretty wise snacking choices, suck as graham crackers, sugar free pudding, and 94% fat free popcorn. I have to same, though, my favorite meal of the night, was the Raisin and Spice Oatmeal. I stirred in a little PB, and mmmmmm good!WP_001231

After I got home, I started preparing the crock pot. Tonight’s recipe is in preparation for tomorrow’s dinner (I can’t wait!)

Once all the ingredients were in the crock, I sat down to finish some homework and enjoyed a nice bowl of Banana Nut and Peanut Butter Cheerios, a cup of Pumpkin Spice coffee with some sugar free french vanilla powdered creamer and a few dark chocolate covered espresso beans to keep me going for the day!

Katie loves crock pots too and I remembered a while back she posted about roasting vegetables in a crock pot. Being the sucker for veggies that I am, I starting thinking up ways to use these veggies. Over rice? with sausage? In a pita? The possibilities are endless! Needless to say, I hit up the discount produce shelf…

Roasted Crock Pot Veggies

2 bell pepper (I like using colors)WP_001233

3 cloves garlic, slivered

half an onion, sliced in rings

a few baby portabellos

1 large carrot stick, sliced into very thin coins

handful of sun-dried tomatoes, sliced thin

1 small eggplant, sliced to 1/4 in thick

spices, to taste

Prepare all the vegetables, adding or subtracting vegetable that you enjoy, and toss them in the crock pot. Season, cover, and cook.

The original recipe calls for oil, but instead, I just gave the top of the veggies a quick spray with some non-stick pray and few shot a liquid aminos. I couldn’t find my Italian seasoning in the cupboard, so I used some granulated garlic, black pepper, parsley, oregano, and basil, and gave it all a nice toss.

WP_001235Cover the pot and look on low, stirring occasionally.

During class, I was starting to sense some hunger creeping up on me. I looked around the room, and wouldn’t you know like four people were chopping on protein bars! AHHHH! I knew this would be tough!

When I got home from class, the house smelled like a warm garden… fresh veggies in the air! I hustled into the kitchen to give them a stir and a try. I was so happy with how they turned out! The carrots were just the right consistency  the onions became translucent  the peppers and mushrooms cooked down, the tomatoes got soft and sweet, the eggplant absorbing all the flavors…

I had some leftover turkey sausage to I put a little in a tortilla with some veggies and I was in heaven! This most definitely will be a meal another night.WP_001237

As for tonight’s dinner, I was jonesing for a Wendy’s Jr. Hamburger, and mom was really eyeing up the chili. My creation was a chili dipped burger! YUM! I snacked on some mixed fruit for dessert!

Over all, the last 24 hours was pretty decent with food… only a few minor binges.

After meeting up with Mike to finish our assignment, I tried to squeeze in a workout before being detained in nursing labs for 3 hours. I was able to squeeze in the following workout, based off of Julie’s Beat Boredom Interval Workout:

Weights:

Sitting Crunches 15reps 4 set 53 lbs
Tricep Extensions 15reps 4 sets 20 lbs
Sitting Crunches 15reps 4 sets 53 lbs

Elliptical:

0-10 min 11 resistance
10-1230 13
1230-15 14
15-20 11

Repeat Weights

Treadmill:

1-5 minutes 4.2 speed 8 incline
5-630 7 1
630-8 5 1
8-10 4.2 1

Now, I ready to crash, wake up refreshed, workout, watch some lectures, and cook you all a wonderful Friday Lenten dinner!Even though, I was totally sleep deprived, I did not want to leave. These last two days I’ve really been in the workout zone!

Sista from Anotha Mista

I heard from Meaghen the other day and she got her package. Now it’s time to share it with you.

In this package I included the following:

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I added a lot more after I took this picture

Mocha Chip Balance bar- Chewy and sweet with a mild mocha flavor in the chocolate chips. Every time I enjoy some coffee-like anything, I think of Meaghan. That being said…

Dunkin Donuts Mocha Mint Ground Coffee

Primal’s Vegan Teriyaki Jerky, made from seitan- dad and I enjoy jerky as protein snack every now and then, and I got him to try this. Its a little softer than most jerky.

Walnana Cookie Muffins– it seemed only fair since she sent me the walnut butter used in making these little bites of heaven.

Unreal Candy– candy unjunked. I sent her the snickers, PB cup, and peanut M&M versions. Unreal does not use anything artificial. Even the coloring is derived from beets and tumeric and other vegetables and spices.

Coconut Peanut Butter by Earth Balance- I thought I grabbed her chunky, which is what I got hooked on, but, apparently, I grabbed creamy. Coconut can really make or break an item, but I gave it a shot. This nut butter uses coconut oil, rather than peanut oil. The coconut flavor is so mild, but adds just a pop of pizzazz.

Chia Seed cookie- its like a sugar cookie, but, gosh, it melts in your mouth!

Sunflower Thumbprint cookies- raw, and made with sunflower seed butter and preserves! Both cookies I got at the co-op and are locally made, but for the occasional special treat, totally worth the money!

White Chocolate Dipped Mixed Nut bar by Think Thin Crunch- crunchy and perfectly sweet! And while we are on the subject of white chocolate, the last item included was…

CRACK! In the form of The Fresh Market’s White Chocolate Crunch mix (which she got me addicted to).