From Buns to Cookies

He likes big buns and he cannot lie!

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When I found this recipe, I was immediately intrigued. As I rummaged through my baking supplies, I found the one cookie mix I did not have was sugar. Hmmm… snickerdoodles have cinnamon and sugar… this could work… 

Cinnabon CookiesWP_004846

  • 1 pouch (17.5 oz.) Betty Crocker Snickerdoodle Cookie mix
  • 1/2 cup light buttery spread, like Brummel and Brown, room temp
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour, for dusting
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1 Tbsp. light buttery spread, melted
  • 2 Tbsp granulated Splenda
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Flax milk
In medium bowl, stir cookie mix (cinnamon sugar packet included), buttery spread, ap flour, and egg until dough forms.On a floured surface, roll dough to about ¼-inch thickness.Brush with melted butter.In a small bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over dough.Begin to roll up dough, starting at the long side. If the dough tears at all, do not worry. This dough is very forgiving. Just pinch it back together, it will still bake up nicely.Cut dough log in half. Wrap in plastic wrap and pop dough in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes (until firm – not hard).
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Preheat oven to 375F degrees. Cover your baking sheet with parchment paper. Take dough out of freezer and begin cutting into coins to your desired width. Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly golden brown. Cool for about 2 minutes, remove from cookie sheet to cooling racks to cool completely.
In a small bowl, mix powdered sugar and milk until smooth. Using a basting brush, paint the glaze over the cookies.
You might be wondering what dad’s opinion of these cookies are… May I present the following text:
“The cinnamon bun cookies may be the best cookies I’ve ever had.”

Cheater Cheater, Pumpkin Eater

After trying Hungry Girls recipe for Gingerbread cookies, and utilizing prepared cookie mix another recipe last week, I am really digging, what I affectionately call, “Cheater Cookies.”

With today being National Bake Cookies Day, have at it!

WP_004945Cheater Chip Cookies

makes 28 cookies

  • 1 snack size (7.5 oz) package Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Cookie mix
  • 2 Tbsp rolled oats
  • 2 Tbsp  cup pure pumpkin
  •  2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp Splenda Brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 to 375 F.  Place the rolled oats in a food processor and allow the oats to be finely shredded, about 2 1/2 minutes in the processor. Meanwhile, sift the prepared cookie mix into a large bowl, reserving the chocolate chips. Add all the remaining ingredients, including oats, excluding reserved chips.

Place the chocolate chips in the processor and briefly chop the chips, about 10 to 15 seconds in the processor. Add the chocolate shreds to the batter and fold in.

Using a 1/2 Tbsp measuring spoon, spoon the dough onto parchment paper- lined baking pans and bake about 9 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack and just try to resist.

These were delicious!!! I’m warning you, though, its hard to stop eating them. The day I baked them, I ate like 6! These are probably in my top 3 faves from this year’s baking!

While baking, Frank said, “I want sugar cookies.” He had the pouty lip and everything!

I cheated, again, with Betty Crocker’s Sugar Cookie mix…

Sugar CheatersWP_004943

  • 1  (17.5 oz) bag Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie mix
  • 1/4 cup, plus 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp light buttery spread, like Blue Bonnet Light
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • jimmies or sprinkles, if desired

Preheat oven t0 375 F. Thoroughly combine all ingredients and divided among parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. If desired, top with jimmies/sprinkles. Bake for 9 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack and dig in! 

For other Cheater Cookies, check out December 17th’s Maple specials

Oh Snap!

Since I start my new job today, I decided to try to get as much baking done last week as I could. Are you ready for some cookie recipes??? Beacue today’s post has three! Yes, THREE!

Last year, dad and I tried our hands at gingerbread cookies. We used Hungry Girls recipe and loved it! I have a weakness for ginger snaps, AKA spiced wafers. These cookies utilize molasses, which I don’t have a need for. In an effort to make ginger snaps, I tweaked HG’s recipe to have a pseudo-ginger snap recipe. Dad and I were quite pleased with the results.

ThinGerbreadSnap CookiesWP_004872

  • 1 14.5 oz pkg Betty Crocker Gingerbread cookie mix
  • 1 cup Fiber One bran cereal
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3 packets Splenda
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup pure pumpkin
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 3T Tbsp sugar free pancake syrup
  • 3 Tbsp whole wheat flour, divided, for dusting

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a food processor, grind Fiber One to an ultra fine consistency. Transfer crumbs to a medium bowl, along with spices, Splenda, baking powder, and cookie mix. Set aside.

In a separate small bowl, combine pumpkin with water and syrup. Mix well and fold into dry ingredients. Combine thoroughly. It may take a bit of elbow grease, which is why I like to use the kitchen aide. Once combined, use hands to knead dough into two balls. Working in manageable batches, sparingly use the flour to dust the dough, rolling pin, and flat surface, and roll the dough to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness.

Depending on the size of the cookie cutters, you’ll probably have to re-roll the trimmings for more cookies.) Transfer cookies to the baking sheets and bake 10 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.

Once fully cooked, either dig in, decorate, of both!

I colored two tablespoons of cream cheese frosting (my fave) with green coloring and decorated my cookies. I only used about half the icing.

I had some very snappy dressing teddy bears, as well as a Beary Gates, cousin to Bill Gates, Dr. Bones, and Spock, as well as business men and nurses and doctors.

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Yes, I’m well aware of how weird I am… But you’ll thank me when you bite into these cookies!

This is one of my favorite recipes this holiday season!

Yesterday, I realized I had a bag of Betty Crocker Pumpkin Spice Cookie mix, so I decided to experiment… And hence, the following two recipes were created and eaten!

Pumpkin GingersnapsWP_004947

makes 28 cookies

  • 1 bag Betty Crocker Pumpkin Spice Cookie mix
  • 1 packet Splenda
  • 1 Tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup pure pumpkin
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp sugar free pancake syrup
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute

Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine all the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients, one at a time.

Using a 1/2 Tbsp, scoop the batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes and transfer to cooling rack.

The smell of the ginger is fantastic when you pop open the oven door!

Pumpkin Butter CookiesWP_004949

makes 26 cookies

  • 1 bag Betty Crocker Pumpkin Spice Cookie mix
  • 2 Tbsp pure pumpkin
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp sugar free pancake syrup
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute

Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine the wet ingredients and the PB until thoroughly blended. Add the dry ingredients and mix well.

Using a 1/2 Tbsp, scoop the batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes and transfer to a cooling rack.

Inspired By A Cake

Sunday night, the 15th, was my final shift at the Pediatric Hospital. I will be starting a new chapter of my life tomorrow as a Registered Nurse… a paid RN, that is! The wonderful people I work with through me a going away party packed with goodies. The first thing that caught my eye when I walked into the room, was the bowl of shrimp! “Oh my gosh, who the heck brought shrimp?”

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Kim answered… “I know you love it…” But its expensive woman! She just blew me off and told me to enjoy. Kim, also baked a cake and brownies. Other things on the menu included pizza, chips, salsa, fruit salad, and veggies. Even the color of the decorations were “ME” to a T! They presented me with a card and a gift certificate, and I must say that my entire shift was spent choking back tears.

The cake was dynamite! I had never had a Creamsicle cake before! And the frosting (I am not a frosting girl) I could have eaten by the spoonful! Ask Kim for the recipe for the icing and the following conversation took place:

Kim: You don’t want to know… It’ll kill YOU... (everyone chuckled as she emphasized me, in particular)

Me: No, tell me.. Its fantastic!

Kim: Crisco… (everyone burst out in laughter)

She proceeded to tell me the ingredients and I requested the proportions. However I have been sworn to secrecy (Sorry, bloggers).

I went to town! I still can’t believe the mass quantity of food I ate!

When I woke this morning… I felt the need to try to burn off some of my over indulgence from the party and went for a run. Stupid Sammy didn’t check to see that it was 30 F outside… Only after I arrived at the store did I realize how tight my lungs were… I should have kept that damn albuterol inhaler I thought to myself…

Upon arriving home, and with the cake still on my mind,  I was inspired to make pancakes:

Creamsicle Protein PancakesWP_004940

serves 1

  • 1 scoop vanilla protein
  • 1 tsp sugar free Orange jello mix
  • 2 Tbsp cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp water

Blend in a food processor until completely smooth. Spoon onto a sprayed griddle pan over medium heat and flip and cook accordingly…

I topped the pancakes with 1/2 Tbsp fluff. The fluff melted, add the perfect sweetness and was like the icing on my (pan)cakes!

After a complete afternoon of manic baking… shocker… I was hungry and refused to wait any longer for someone to get home to decide dinner…

With some pumpkin remaining from cooking, and with today being National Chocolate Covered Anything Day.. I opted for yet another protein pancake.

Chocolate Pumpkin PancakesWP_004948

serves 1

  • 1 scoop Chocolate protein
  • 2 Tbsp pure pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1 packet Splenda
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Blend in a food processor until smooth and spoon to a sprayed griddle over medium heat. Flip and cook accordingly.

I just drizzled syrup over mine and chowed down!

I then went to some much needed ZUUMBA!

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.

Salted CaramelWP_004155

  • 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.

Birthday Workday

Monday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday

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

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

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

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

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

Morning Surprises!

Today is the first day in a few that I haven’t gotten sick and still felt comfortable with my eating. Yesterday, after my trip to Philly to bury a copy of my diploma to my grandfather, I kind of had some issues. I always swing by Wholefoods on my way home, and the bakery is to die for. Down the hatch some cookies went and, bam, here came the break down!

I received some bad news late last night of the passing of a family friend. It was so sudden! I just saw him a few weeks ago and he said, “I’ll see you on the 22nd at the graduation party!” RIP. You’ll be missed.

This upset my stomach and I attempted some crackers to settle it. No luck. I fell asleep curled in a ball feeling miserable.

This morning, although my stomach was slightly uncomfortable, I proceeded to make a shake. Frank knows I love making shakes, so he always ask me to make his. This not only boosts my self esteem, somehow, but also helps me cope.

When I’m stressed, I cook. I’ll expand more on that in a second.

Frank got a shake that did not look super attractive, but was yummy and full of vitamins: Mixed berries, banana, spinach, and chocolate protein mix.

A month or so ago, I decided to dip my strawberries in OIKOS Toasted Coconut Greek yogurt to make a strawberry colada of sorts. It was a success. The other day, I found Dannon Light and Fit Greek Toasted Coconut and imediatly snatched it up! I threw that with some strawberries in the Magic Bullet, along with xanthum, spinach, ice and water to create smoothie bowl. The bowl was topped with chia seeds, and paired with a cup o’ joe!

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It was a dreary day here, but I did not want to waste the day. Frank, James, and I decided to run so errands to pick up some things for the graduation party. While we were out, we treated ourselves to Serpes. They were just pulling out tomato pie out of the ovens! And of course, I needed to grab one of my favorite cookies from them. Its like a shortbread thumbprint with a dollop of peanut butter. The cookie is covered in a thin layer of chocolate and finished with shaved almonds! Heavenly! I’m determined to make a healthy version of this delicious cookie!

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While out shopping, I picked up some ingredients, went to the kitchen and made my own tomato pie! MMMMM! It was a winner! This is definitely something I will be making for my grad party as an appetizer. I was really surprised how good the sauce turned out!

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With some left over dough and sauce, I opted to make some garlic knots!

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You would think with all this baking, I would have had a bad eating day. NOPE! In fact, for dinner, I roasted some brussel sprouts, and covered it in  mushrooms and Trader Joe’s Creamy Corn and Red Pepper Chowder! Delicious!

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I couldn’t believe how slow it felt time was moving today. Luckily I was able to keep semi busy.

Oh, and I forgot the surprise of the day!

Frank woke me up around 8 this morning. “Sammy! Samantha, theres flowers at the door.” I stumbled, confused, out of bed to see what he meant. A man was on the porch with a vase of pink roses and lillies! Barry is away at camp, still, and surprised me with these beautiful flowers! I was shocked! A great way to start my day!

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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).

Chicken Garam Masala: Crock Pot Recipe #5

Listen up, Butter Lovers!

First things, first: Happy National Peanut Butter Day! What a marvelously delicious way to start your day… with Peanut Butter!

Since its a bit out of the way, Mom and I decided that it would be a good day to visit some of the natural food stores around here so I could finish picking up a few things to include in Meaghan’s care package back to New York.
I can’t tell you what’s it there just yet. I can’t ruin the surprise for her… But as soon as she gets it, you’ll get it.

some Wholefoods sweet treats

some Wholefoods sweet treats

One of my favorite things about Wholefoods is the bakery. By now, you all know I have a serious baked goods problem… As in, I can’t get enough of them. Whenever I visit a Wholefoods, I always hit up the bakery. Since I don’t have any vegan products at home, I especially enjoy getting the vegan cookies and muffins. Today, was no different. I celebrated National Peanut Butter Day by enjoying a peanut butter sandwich cookie! My mom went a little crazy at the dessert counter, though. But it made for a great treat after tonight’s crock pot dinner.

mmmmmmm

mmmmmmm

I love PB!

I love PB!

Wholefoods Bakery <3

Wholefoods Bakery ❤

We also stopped by The Fresh Market. You know how at the supermarket, theres a bit or organic, gluten-free, etc items thrown in the mix? Well, thats the way The Fresh Market is, but inverse. My favorite part of this place is the trail mix bar! They have this White Chocolate Crunch mix that Meaghan got me hooked on and its ADDICTING!

Trail Mix!!

Trail Mix!!

They are also known for there many flavors of coffees. Did I mention theres an old fashioned candy bar?

Candy!!

Candy!!

Coffee!

Coffee!

We also picked up this amazingly yummy fruit salad, that I enjoyed with some cottage cheese.

so fresh!

so fresh!

And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for… Tonight’s Crock Pot Dinner!!
Tonight’s dinner is a recipe Julie used for her part of the Crock Pot Challenge: Chicken Garam Masala. The recipe calls for chicken thighs, of which I did not have in the freezer. To take its place, I used some drumsticks. I removed its skins and figured since it still had a bone, like the thighs, it would make do.
I think I’d like to try this with chicken breast, as well; and maybe enjoy it with some naan. I’m a huge fan of chickpeas, so when I came across this recipe, I was more than excited to to give it a shot. Plus, I’ve never had cooked garbanzo beans and have recently found a little fascination with Indian cuisine after a date I went on.

If you didn’t know, garam masala is a typical Indian spice that,in Hindu, translates to “hot spices.” Its a blend of spices including, cardamom, cumin, cloves, black and white pepper, and cinnamon. So without further ado… Ladies and gentlemen…Chicken Garam Masala!!!

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Serves 4

4 chicken thighs (or drumsticks), skinless
2 (15oz) cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained

1 large onion, chopped

2 cups cauliflower florets
1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes

2 1/2 tsp garam masala

fresh cilantro, or 1 to 1 1/2 tsp dried cilantro

Dollop non fat Greek yogurt or sour cream, garnish (optional)

Combined everything, except the cilantro and sour cream, in the crock pot and give it a  toss. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. After plating, garnish with cilantro (and greek yogurt or sour cream).

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I was shocked by how much each portion received  It makes about 5 cups of of the chickpea mixture. This was a really filling recipe and the chicken was fall-off-the-bone moist! I think it was definitely lacking something… maybe a bit more garam masala? red pepper flakes? If you play around with this recipe, fill us in on the comments portion, below.

Nutrition Facts, per 1 heaping cup of chicken mixture:

Calories: 238     Fat: 2.9g     Sat Fat: 0g     Cholesterol: 0mg     Sodium: 840.3mg     Carbs: 48.1g     Fiber: 15.6g     Sugars: 8.4g     Protein: 12.4g      (A 4oz skinless chicken drumstick is around 130 cal with 13g protein

Wow! 15.6g fiber, 25g protein?! No wonder I’m so full!

While we are discussing chickpeas… Did you know there are bars made from these beans? I came across this while visiting Meaghan in New York. The bars are called “The Good Bean.” They’re marked as “Fruit and No-Nut” bars. The first bar I tried was Chocolate Berry, followed by Trail Mix, then Apricot Coconut. I enjoyed how different they were from other bars. Not crispy or crunchy, but not soft like a Larabar. I did not care for the Apricot Coconut. It did not have any defining flavors, nor any sweetness as you would expect. The Trail mix bar contains dried cranberries for tartness and pumpkin seeds for a bite. Its held together with brown rice syrup, which gives a little sweetness. The Chocolate Berry has a combinations of dried blueberries, cherries, and cranberries, and sweet chocolate. It made me feel like I was getting a little treat without the bad fats and sugars ans uber chocolatey-ness. I enjoy them as a nice change of pace, especially since I can’t find them except for in WholeFoods.

right next to the Kind bars! one stop shopping!

right next to the Kind bars! one stop shopping!

Hope you all had a wonderful day! Heres a recipe that combines two stars of today: Roasted Peanut Butter Chickpeas!

Going Bananas with Snow Mieser

Early bird catches the worm? More like, early bird requires an afternoon nap. When I left the house this  morning, it was 19 degrees F outside and there was a coating of snow! BRRRRR! Glad I brought some hot tea with me. My mom was so sweet! She got up before me and started my car so it would be warmed up for me! Thanks, mom! Mr. SnowMieser needs to take a chill pill.

Mondays and Tuesdays are tricky for me. I have to be at my clinical site by 0645 and I’m there until about 1330. We get  a lunch break, but until then, theres not much time to eat. These are the days I tend to bring my bars, so I can snag a bite on a “bathroom break.” I also tend to bake bite size/ snack size muffins and things that I can nibble on throughout my morning.
Thats what I did today. Yesterday, I took advantage of my new Walnut butter and adapted a recipe from Julie and made these babies:

ImageOatmeal Banana Nut Butter Cookies! Julie’s recipe used PB, but I wanted to incorporate my new nut butter! And, duh, banana and walnut? Wal-nana! Always a winning combo!
Since Walnuts, and Walnut butter aren’t super flavorful like peanut butter, I did a 1:1 mix and voila!

Oatmeal Walnana Muffin Cookies
makes about 4 dozen

2 ripe bananas, mashedImage

2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp creamy peanut butter

2 Tbsp plus 2tsp Artisana Walnut Butter
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup Splenda brown sugar
3 Tbsp liquid egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray or use a mini muffin tin.
Mix bananas, nut butters, apple sauce and Splenda together. Add egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Slowly add the oat mixture into the banana mixture until everything is combined. Place spoonfuls of dough on the cookie sheet or into the tins and bake for approximately 10 – 12 minutes.
ImageNutrition for 48 cookies: 1 cookie:
Calories: 43
Fat: 1.3g
Sat. Fat: 0.1g
Cholesterol: 5.2mg
Sodium: 55.2mg
Carbs: 6g
Fiber: 0.6g
Sugar: 1.4g
Protein: 1.1g
This batch gave me around 52 pop-ables. This recipe also gave me the opportunity to use my new cookie scoop that I got myself for Christmas, too! I get excited over the weirdest things, don’t I? haha
They turned out better than I expected! The banana flavor shown brightly and the nut butters were complimentary, not overbearing, as some nut butters can be! I can’t wait to try other nut butters! But, oh man, were they good!I got out of clinical early today and decided to bring dad some lunch at work. I stopped by ImageClaymont Steak Shoppe (known for their cheesesteaks) and picked him up some lunch! This thing was huge! I dressed it Philly style: fried onions, mushrooms, and wiz. For lunch, I packed Banana Chobani flip and Multigrain PB Cheerios and Chocolate Fiber One 80.
What can I say? “So nice, I ate it twice!” But don’t get me wrong, I definitely helped dad finish that steak. 😉
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And to add to out filling lunch: Chia Seed Cookies!
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These cookies were like sugar cookies that melted in your mouth! I love Newark Natural Foods (the “co-op” as we call it)! I always get amazing baked goods from them!
I also picked up a new addition to the Bundo Nut Butter Family:
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When I got home, I welcomed the almond butter by spreading it on one of the walnana nuggets! MMM!
While we are on the subject of bananas, still, have you ever had Larabar’s Banana Bread? You know I have a freakish obsession for bars, so I’ve decided to start a bars files on the page reviewing some bars.
The Banana Bread wasn’t what I expected. I has an almost burnt taste? Yeah, I guess thats the word…
What I like about Larabars, is what I like to call “pure.” There is nothing artificial in the bars and most of them are quite delicious! As for the Banana Bread, I’ll pass. The Bananas Foster Uber Bar is a little better and a lot nuttier. Its difficult to include banana into bars, unless its baked in. A lot of bars containing banana, use banana chips, which, in my opinion, take away some of that natural sweetness that attracts me to the fruit. I’ll keep on trying banana bars, but as of now, they’re not my first choice.
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I’m super stoked to try Thursday’s crock pot meal! Dad and I grabbed the last of the ingredients today! I stopped by the co-op in Newark to pick up some garam masala and Good Karma Flax  Milk.
Lots of studying to do tonight. With all this work in my life, I’m going to go bananas!