Don’t Know Until You Try

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

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

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

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

Chicken Apple Soup

Inspired by Wholefoods

Makes 8- 1 cup servings20151210_175427 (2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Nutrition (1/8 of recipe):

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

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

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

Fiesta with a Naked Face

I really upset my stomach last night, following my purge, and arriving home, I snack on a rice cake with PB2 to absorb some of the acid. Frank came into to my room to talk, and to see how I was feeling. Even with the final rice cake of the night, I was still slightly less than 600 calories.

Today was a much better day. I made sure of it!

I knew I needed to pick a few thing s up from the grocery store, and was better way to get there, but to jog. With a bit of refrain running, and some extreme muggy weather, I made the 1 1/2 mile hike. Refrain running has become such a great outlet, even if I’m not really in the mood to run. Plus its technically interval work!

Heres a quick run down on the benefits of interval training: Burn More Calories Walking

WP_003739On my sweaty walk home, the weather started to play some games. The last 5-10 minutes home it began to rain. I arrived home, hungry and wet! Thank you air conditioned house for making put a hoodie on in 85 degree weather! Haha!

Anyway, breakfast soon followed with Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Shakes for Frank and myself. As always, I added spinach, xanthum, and guar to make a grey blob in a bowl! It hit the spot, and then I was off to Barrys.

We went right to work painting the living the room! The guys of the house did a great job picking out colors! I must say, I did not know they had it in them. I can not wait for tomorrow for when the much needed new furniture comes! The color change, makes this room some much more inviting, already.

Before garbing up for painting, I threw two chicken breasts, from some very well-endowed chickens into the crock pot for a recipe which has been featured before. Even though I added more chicken, the 1 packet of taco seasoning and 1 1/2 cups of salsa still sufficed. We even added some crushed read pepper flakes!

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As Barry’s friend Kevin arrived, and my best  friend, Maggie came over, we had a fiesta taco bar. I set up a buffet of nonfat sour cream, fat free shredded cheddar, chopped romaine, toasted taco shells, salsa, whole kernel corn, and  a bunch of cebollitas! We decided to move dinner to the deck and throw in some Corona Light’s to finish the meal!

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As we ate dinner, Maggie asked, did you take your nose ring out? Oh no! Where’d it go? Now my face feels naked! Yay, for dad who said he’d grab them for me on his way to work, tomorrow!

It was interesting to see how divided the table was. The guys ate the tacos, and the girls went with salads. The sour cream mixing with the warm sauce from the chicken created the perfect dressing! And I loved the crisp sweetness the steamed corn added!

WP_003743We finished the night with some Guitar Hero and Wii Bowling. Wii Bowling is about the only electronic game I’m coordinated enough for.

Crock Pot Challenge Recap

As you know, Julie put out a challenge beginning January 11th until the end of February to complete 10 new crock pot recipes!

This challenge was something I fully excepted and enjoyed!

You can find all of these recipes in the links below or on the side bar.

Tamale Pie

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Mexican Chicken (my favorite)

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Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns

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Roasted Vegetables

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Beef Stew

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Chicken Garam Masala

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Apple Cinnamon Oats

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Chili Jamb

White Turkey Chili

Venison (the recipe that started it all)

Also check out Julie’s recap here for more recipes!

I hope you play around with your crack pot and share with us in the comments below!

Tamale Pie: Crock Pot Recipe #10

Yay! We did it! 10 new crock pot recipes before the end of February!

Dad seemed super excited about this one! He actually found this recipe.

Southwestern Tamale PieWP_001292

serves 8

Filling Ingredients:

1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb lean ground turkey

3 Tablespoons chili seasoning
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) stewed tomatoes, cut-up
1 can (14 1/2 ounces)  beans , drained and rinsed (1/3 dry beans, then partiallycooked)
1 can (4 ounces) chopped fire-roasted green chiles
1/2 cup water
Cornbread Topping Ingredients:

1 box (8 1/2 ounces) corn muffin mix
1 cup fat free shredded Cheddar cheese
Directions:

Brown ground meat in large skillet on medium-high heat; drain.Place ground beef in slow cooker. Add chili seasoning, onion powder, stewed tomatoes, beans, chiles and water. Mix all ingredients well.Cover and cook 8 hours on low.

Then prepare the cornbread topping. Increase the heat setting to high. Prepare corn muffin batter as directed on package. Drop batter by spoonfuls on top of filling in slow cooker. Cover. Cook 30 minutes longer or until toothpick inserted into center of cornbread topping comes out clean. Turn off slow cooker. Sprinkle cornbread topping with cheddar cheese,  cover for 5 minutes longer until cheese begins to melt.

I browned the ground beef last night, so this morning I could just dump everything in the crock and skidaddle off to clinical.

Mom and dad both enjoyed this. I needed to add hot sauce.  Next time, I think I’ll add another can of chiles. It must have been good though, because I’ve never seen my mom eat so fast and ask for seconds!

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After clinical, I planned on stopping by campus on my way home to take advantage of their gym… well, with all the construction, I missed the exit… Therefore, I decided to tackle another day of Couch to 5K. The pace picked up on this one with longer intervals of running!

Although the day started off great, it ended miserably. This eating disorder reared its ugly head, again. Its amazing what the min can do. I actually ate and ate with the intention of purging. I so I purged.

I can’t figure out why this is still happening. I’m spiraling down and I feel like I’m falling deeper. I try so hard to remember mantras to keep my head up but theres always that other voice in my head, reminding me how much I’ve failed myself. This is all so new to me.

Double the Crock Pots, Double the Fun: Mexican Chicken: Crock Pot Recipe #9

This is so funny! I’ve never had dueling crock pots before!

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This is the easiest of all the crock pot recipes of this challenge. Since breakfast was  a bit more involved, I’m  glad this was a simple one. And just like the roasted vegetables, the possibilities are endless!

Mexican Chicken

serves 4

12 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 jar salsa, or 1 1/2 cups

1 packet low sodium Taco Seasoning

Remove the fat from the breast and lay in the crock pot. In a bowl, combine the salsa and taco seasoning. Pour over top of the chicken, cover, and cook on low. When ready, remove from crock pot, shred with two forks, and place back into crock pot until its time to be served.

Is that simple or what?!

I used a jar of Southwest Black Bean and White Corn salsa. Dad really wanted soft tacos, but I couldn’t help but create a salad with mixed greens, shredded chicken, fat free shredded cheddar,  and a few Guiltless Gourmet Spicy Black Bean tortilla chips.  I stuck with the mexi- theme and combined some avocado with some fat free sour cream and cilantro for a dressing!

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Rave Reviews! Dad went back for seconds! (so did I).

I’ve been in a kind of freak out mode! I have some dresses that do not fit me anymore! Ugh! This is the worst feeling a girl with an eating disorder can have! Situations like these really make a girl want to relapse. The worse part, is that I have to energy or motivation to get moving! The weather has been super crap-tastic lately, so I have not been able to go running and the house just looks so dark and gloomy without any sunlight. Thank God today was a nice day! It was the first day in a while I could walk outside without gloves and a scarf.

I’m hoping this dress incident can snap me back to normal eating habits!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns: Crock Pot Recipe #8

I could not resist when I found this on a vegan recipe page!

I prepared everything this morning and headed to Church. (Yes, I woke up early on my day off). When I arrived home, after a run, the smell of fall spices was in the air!

I prepared them Sammy style, but check the original recipe for the vegan way.

Ingredients:
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated Splenda
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup unsweetened flax milk
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup Libby’s pure pumpkin
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 Flaxseed egg (1 TBS flaxseed to 1 1/2 TBS warm water, let it sit for 5 minutes)
1/4 tsp sugar (to help activate the yeast)
Filling Ingredients:
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp Splenda brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp ground gloves
Icing Ingredients:
4 oz fat free cream cheese, soft
2 1/2 Tbsp granulated Splenda
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Directions:
Prepare flaxseed egg. Combine flour, sugar and yeast in a large bowl. Fold in milk, water, pumpkin, flaxseed egg and applesauce into dry ingredients. Form into a ball and let it sit in bowl, covered with a towel, for 30-45 minutes. Roll the dough into a rectangle on a lightly floured surface.
Mix together filling and brush the dough with it.
Roll the rectangle long side to long side and pinch the ends to seal. Slice the log into 12 to 14 rolls.
Place in wide and very well sprayed crock pot and cook on high for 60-90 minutes. Use a toothpick to determine if fully cooked.
Mix up icing and pour over hot rolls. Top with pecans, walnuts, raisins, or what ever you’d like.
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I went for a quick run to knock out another day of Couch to 5K. I’m hoping that this helps fuel me for a productive day.
Dad came over after Church to enjoy these sticky buns and a cup of coffee!
The Verdict: the consistency of the buns were perfect and I could not believe how much the buns grew; however, there was too much clove for the tastes of this family, and not enough sweetness. This recipe has tremendous potential and dad and I are excited to play around with it. (Dad is like a little kid when he bakes… he loves cookie cutters!)
I sprinkled a bit of Splenda over top to help add some sweetness.WP_001277
Don’t get me wrong, these things are most definitely edible, but they need some work.
When I was ready to roll the dough, I searched high and low for the rolling pin. Then I remembered I left it at my dads house…
So I laid down some plastic wrap over the dough and improvised.
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Thank you, Libby!

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:

handful of kaleWP_001227

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!

When It Rains, It Pours

No, really… Its pouring outside…

Even though I went to sleep around 8pm last night, I woke up feeling really uncomfortable and immediately got sick. I decided I was to tough it out, since I did no want to miss any clinical. While at clinical, I got sick and got really flush and the nurse sent me home. I was so disappointed because this nurse was going to have me administer medications and respiratory treatments!

I headed home and crashed for a few hours. When I woke up, I still felt gross. I finally smacked on some apple that i had packed for lunch to see how that felt. The remainder of the day was mostly carby foods. They just made me feel better… Like crackers, bread, and popcorn.

And once again, no gym for Sammy! Grrrr! I have class in the morning so I hope I can get to the gym after class.

Tomorrow will be another weird scheduled day…

Just like last Saturday, I will be working a 12 but this time, on night shift…
I’m hoping to get some reading done for school…

Tonight, I also decided on what crock pot meals I will be making this weekend to close up the crock pot challenge! I’m so excited!

Like Its My Job

One thing that drives me crazy about getting off work at 11pm is that I’m typically asleep at that time. By the time I get home, my belly is growling. Last night, I tapped into the Reduced Fat Cheez-Its like it was my job!

Ugh! I can’t win!

Since I went to sleep late, getting up early for clinical was not exactly easy. I hit that snooze alarm like it was my job! Today has been pretty good though! I started my new rotation and I love it! Its just like being at work, surround by all these little kiddos! I even got to suction a trach today!

Before I left for clinical, I popped an Apple Crumb VitaTop into the toaster oven, and topped it with some PB2.

I packed myself a roast beef and swiss sandwich with some baby carrots for work. The dijonaise really made the samwich! I started driving to school to use the gym, but just kept yawning. I decided against the gym today and I’d do a workout at home. WP_001218

When I got home I enjoyed some almond butter and apple. This is probably one of my favorite snacks!

Dinner was so simple! Left over soup. It was the Progresso High Fiber Chicken Tuscany. It was really filling!

I needed to pick up some staples for the kitchen, plus, if you haven’t noticed, I’ve been slacking on the crock pot recipes and the end of the month is right around the corner.

Warning: Crock Pot recipes will be taking over this blog!

Anyway, dad and I headed to the grocery store and it gave me a brain break from studying.

The workout never did happen, by the way… You know what did happen? Cereal snacking… like it was my job! Since I have practice for a show I’m in tomorrow, I won’t be home all day, which means my butt is working out!!!

 

Beef Stew: Crock Pot Recipe #6

I got everything ready for tonight’s crock pot dinner, then left mi casa. Breakfast was on-the-go this morning as I was on my way to the hospital to gather information on some patients for clinical this week. I stopped by 7-Eleven a grabbed a small coffee, with a shot of sugar free hazelnut syrup, and a protein bar. It was definitely filling, with just the right amount of toffee and chocolate.

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Toffee Chocolate Chip Harvest Power Bar

This week, my instructor chose me to be Clinical Manager. This is kind of my opportunity to take the management roll of Charge Nurse. I assigned two patients to each of my two classmates.

In the hallway, there was an older couple holding hands. I overheard one of the nurses asking how long these two patients had been married… 76 years! WOW! And still so in love! This gives me so much hope that marriages can last! It was a beautiful sight.

After I got home, I completed Day 2 of my Couch to 5K challenge. 3.3 miles feels great! It is so needed for this girls mental health!

My mom’s beef stew is pretty Plain Jane, but always a stick to ribs mouthful of yummy!

After making it with her for the past 20 years, I wanted to see if I could add a Sammy flare.

Typically, mom uses a whole bag of potatoes. I wanted to cut down on the white starchy carbs, so I substitute a few baby red potatoes and some cuber butternut squash. I don’t see why sweet potato wouldn’t work, as well. I like my stews full of veggies so theres a lot of carrots.

There are very few ingredients to my mom’s recipe, but it makes for a winner.

Bundo Crock Pot Beef StewImage

(serves 5)

1 lb london broil, fat trimmed, cubed

4 large carrot sticks, cut into discs

4-5 baby red potatoes, washed, roughly peeled, cut into fours

1/2 to 1 cup butternut squash, cubed (found in produce department)

2 cloves garlic, minced

black pepper, to taste

1 (28oz) jar fat free beef gravy

1/4 cup powdered brown gravy mix

2 1/2 cup water

Spray a skillet with nonstick cooking spray and toss in cubed meat for a quick sear. Remove meat and set aside. In the same skillet, empty gravy in skillet and whisk in the dry gravy mix. Fill the jar with the water, swirl and empty into skillet. Simmer until power is dissolved. Pour into crock pot.

Spray skillet again and add the potato wedges and squash cubes. Brown the outsides, especially the squash since this will dissolve easily in the stew.

Add all the ingredients into the crock pot, give it a light stir, cover, and cook on low.

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Nutrition: (1/5 of recipe)

Calories: 253

Total Fat: 8.5g

Sat. Fat: 2g

Cholesterol: 60.4mg

Carbs: 18.6g

Fiber: 1.5g

Sugar: 3.4g

Protein: 22.9g

         

Mom makes Bisquick dumplings to serve on top, which makes this even heartier. I just topped mine with some gold fish crackers. The expert, my mama’s, review? “Excellent!” Woo hoo!

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I spent my Sunday night watching lectures. During one of my study breaks, I completed Julie’s Super Sweaty Ab Workout. This must have done me in because for the rest of the night I had the munchies. Nothing seemed to do the trick. Even drinking water wasn’t helping. I took out some celery sticks, as a debated packing them for lunch tomorrow, and it hit me. Celery and PB, the perfect crunchy snack! Why didn’t think of it before?! Its elementary! No, really… it used to eat this all the time in elementary school…

I feel so silly that I did all that snacking only to remember the best snack of all!

I have an incredibly busy day tomorrow, so hopefully I burn off some off some of this snack attack.

Good Night!