When Life Gives You Lemons…

… make Limoncello! Or as I like to call it: Italian Moonshine

My Uncle has been making this stuff for a few years, now. I began my first batch on Black Friday 2014, hoping it would be done in time for New Years. And it was perfect! I don’t know what it was, but its the best I’ve ever had. Even Uncle Eddie left me the best voicemail telling me how fantastic my batch of his limoncello was. “I hope you wrote down everything you did, because I’d use that recipe.” That’s a huge compliment coming from my uncle. One that made me smile ear to ear!

LimoncelloWP_007777

(makes a small batch)

  • 750ml bottle grain alcohol (like Everclear)
  • 1/3 cup water, plus more
  • 1.4 lbs sugar
  • 10 lemon peels
  • large glass jar
  • plastic wrap or wax paper
  • food scale (optional, but helpful)

Shallowly  peel the lemons, ensuring not to include the pith (the white part of the peel). Place the peels into your large jar. Pour the grain alcohol a top the lemon peels. (Save the alcohol bottle!) Cover the jar opening with wax paper or plastic wrap, and seal the lid. Place this jar in a dark spot for at least 3 weeks. Turn the jar back and forth each day to mix the oils of the lemon peel into the grain alcohol.

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After 3 to 4 weeks of the peel steeping, strain the peels into a large pot. While the peels are draining, refill the saved grain alcohol bottle with water. Empty the water into another pot, in addition to 1/3 cup water. Weigh out 1.4 lbs of sugar, and add to the pot of plain water. Continually stirring, bring the pot with the sugar to a rolling boil, ensuring the sugar melts, creating a syrup. Let it slow bowl for 5 minutes. Remove this pot from the heat and allow it to cool completely.

Discard the drained lemon peels. Once the syrup has cooled, stir it into the lemon-infused grain alcohol. Transfer back to the large jar. Reseal with plastic wrap or wax paper and seal the lid. Place back into dark space for an additional 1 to 4 weeks, turning the jar back and forth each day.

WP_007506After the final week, transfer the completed limoncello into your empty grain alcohol and another* bottle. Place in the freezer to chill and enjoy.

(You can add more water before bottling if the grain alcohol is too strong for your liking).

*You can find empty bottles at Bed Bath and Beyond like these, in a variety of fluid capacities. Or recycle an old wine bottle, like I do. actually, empty Torani and DaVinci syrup bottles are useful to.

Salud! 

But then you’re left with a bunch of peeled lemons… so now would be a good time to make lemonade… And we did! Brett juiced all the lemons, while I was peeling the zests. We followed this recipe with a change of sweetener, and using 3 cups of water, for the most perfect lemonade! One thing I love about homemade lemonade is the pulp that sneakily makes its way through the juicer. Plus, you can make it as tart or as sweet as you like. After the finished lemonade was refrigerated, we brewed a gallon of tea… Home-brewed tea and fresh squeezed lemonade??? Best Arnold Palmers!

Tofutti!

My week began with a food mishaps. I woke up and the only thing on my mind was mac n cheese. I had an Easy-Mac-style bowl bowl of low-carb mac n cheese I ordered offline. One bite and Beauty got the bowl. Unfortunately, Beauty wouldn’t even eat it. Ha! I began to think, and a light bulb went off! I have instant grits! Oh and I have apple butter!

So, I originally tried grits for the first time when I was about 10 years old and my mom’s boyfriend at the time took us out for breakfast. Grits were totally new to me. I really wasn’t a fan until my mom asked for apple butter for her biscuit. I tried the apple butter the Cracker Barrel that the waitress brought and it was sweet and even better on the warm biscuit. With this in mind, I placed a bit on my spoon and then tried  the grits once more, and ever since then grits and apple butter go hand and mouth in my mind. Get it? Like hand and hand? 

Okay, after that drawn out story… you can guess what was for breakfast:

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I debated having a can of soup for lunch. Once I heated up this soup that I’ve never had before by a brand that I’ve never tried and it, too, went right into Beauty’s bowl. This, too, Beauty turned her nose up to. I grabbed some crackers and PB to hold me over and the went to Zumba, as I usually do on Monday evenings. I came home with a growling stomach, with every intention of making a shake. After experiencing this first evening of the Fall chill, a shake was the furthest from my mind. I rushed home to warm up and steamed up a Green Giant box of green beans and almonds (one of my absolute favorites), followed by some more steamed vegetables. My food plans didn’t work out the way I planned, but it makes me happy that I made things work.

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I changed the sheets on my bed to flannel ones, took a hot shower, and snuggled up under the fresh covers in my toasty pajamas and crashed. I sent this picture to my parents because it reminded me of my childhood anthem:

Tuesday was a relatively early morning of giving. I headed off to the Blood Bank to donate blood. I try to do so as often as I can.

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After running a bunch of errands, I was super hungry when I got home. I was so tempted  to pick up a donut for National Donut Day, but all I could think about was a Boston Cream Pie protein bowl! Bring it! I topped it with some crumble Gnu Espresso Chip! Then some fresh raspberries! Delicious!

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I went off the work around 3pm and , like I’ve said before, being clerk for the evening is hit or miss. Wow!  I don’t think that in the two and a half years I have been at the hospital, I have EVER been as busy on the desk as we were Tuesday! It was nuts!

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Luckily, I had some savory pumpkin quiche and roasted veggies to power me through the shift, and a chips ahoy cookie for a treat. I headed to Barry’s after work, having a heck of a time kicking a headache and belly ache. I even woke up Wednesday still feeling a bit out of sorts.

WP_004507To get out of a funk, Barry and I headed off to the mall, again. We have been to the mall so much, lately. Last week, we got hooked on a store called Teavana! Barry has been dying to go back since last week. We went back and grabbed a few flavors to take home and a brew to walk around the mall with. I never thought that I would drink hot tea without sweetener, but Teavana proved me wrong.  Last week, I had one that smelled like hot oatmeal, and this trip I combined Zingiber Ginger Coconut and CocoCaramel Sea Salt to make a tea that smelled like an almond cookie fresh out of the oven! Last week, we picked up White Chocolate Peppermint Tea! It smells fantastic and tastes like holiday! Ahh! Its magical!

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WP_004509Before heading home to make lunch (steamed veggies for me and mac n cheese topped with steak-umms for Barry), I came across a few awesome and intriguing coffees. Hot Buttered Rum? Mhmm… Tiramisu? Duh! Candy Corn? Uhhh…….

Has anyone had that??? Fill a sista in!

WP_004511I took a nap at Barry’s to try to rid of my headache, only to be woken up by a car alarm 3 hours later. On my way home, I stopped by the local Payless store to pick up an order. I had a birthday coupon and ordered a Christmas present my parents will be giving me (some new work shoes), along with a new pair of kicks. With the coupon and BOGO special, I would up paying a little over 10 bucks for these cross trainers! Sweet! I couldn’t wait to break them in!

I killed time before work by sending out more resumes and experimenting with SF syrups. I added white chocolate and creme de menthe to my hot chocolate/coffee mocha, and it was awesome! I attempted to catch a few Zzzs before my night shift, but not even this cuddle buddy could shut my brain down for a nap!

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WP_004516I headed off to work a little anxious about food and finding a job, but like always, work put me in a better mind set. I finished off the very last bowl of Hot and Sour Soup. I must make this, again! Soon! The caf surprised me, also, when they switched up the veggie options. Last night, there were radishes and asparagus! I was a happy camper. Two dum-dum suckers and a coffee also helped power me through my shift.

I must say that the highlight of my shift was at 0500, when one of the nurses asked me if I would mind drawing her labs. One stick and I was in! Sweet! I’m always asking if they have labs they want me to do so I was stoked when she asked me! I was even more excited when I kicked butt on the lab draw!

I came home from work knowing I was hungry and actually eating like a normal person! Yay! While I whipped up a 2 egg white omelet with hot salsa, I snacked on a handful of waffle pretzels and a tsp of the best peanut butter, Peter Pan’s Crunchy peanut butter. Never, ever, have a found another PB with soooo many peanuts! Ahh, its delicious! Once dad woke up, I brewed us some coffee and whipped him up a Higgins breakfast classic.

My grandmother, my mom’s mom, makes stuffing loaves every Thanksgiving, and give everyone in the family one to take home. The next morning, Black Friday, we slice up the stuffing, fry it, put a slice of cheese on it and top it with an egg over-easy. I took out two slices from the freezer, and fried one up for dad, and topped it with scrambled egg whites, fat free cheese, and hot sauce.

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WP_004524After dad left for work, Barry came over, and I whipped him up a similar dish with two eggs, over-easy. I spent the rest of the day waiting at my dads place for a package from DaVinci (you know I love my SF syrups). After a can of green beans and onions, I headed back to moms, battling the rain.

I spent the remainder of my afternoon sending out resumes. I’ll tell you… job hunting is a job in and of itself. Its really a bummer, too, because I’m fully in love with my job and the company I work for, but I need to use this license that I’ve worked so hard to obtain.

I started not to feel so great so I grabbed a shower and dad picked me up to run to the store. Ginger ale to the rescue! When we got back, I found out dad had not eaten since the breakfast I had made him. With the remaining tofu, left in the fridge from the Hot and Sour Soup, I whipped up the following based off a recipe I saw on Everyday Health.

Spicy Peanut Tofu Stir-fry

based off Tofu With Peanut-Ginger SauceWP_004527

serves 2

  • 2 1/2 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp Better n’ Butter, low sodium
  • 1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp soy sauce, low sodium
  • 1 tsp sugar free pancake syrup
  • 1/4 tsp ground, dry ginger
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp sriracha, more if desired
  • 7 oz  firm tofu
  • 1 12oz bag frozen stir-fry vegetable blend
  • 2-3 cups spinach
  • 1 cup mushrooms, largely chopped
  • 1/4 in slice onion, chopped

Whisk together the water, peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, syrup, ginger, garlic, and sriracha. Set aside.

Drain the tofu, and slice into 8 slices. Place on paper towels and pat dry. Continue to change out paper towels to remove moisture, about 4 paper towels.

On medium-high heat, spray a skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Break the slices of tofu into about 6 pieces each and lay in the pan in a single layer. Allow the pieces to turn golden brown on the bottom, then toss and brown the other side. Meanwhile, microwave the frozen veggie blend for 4 minutes.

Once both sides have turned golden brown, add spinach, onion, and mushrooms. Carefully transfer the microwaved vegetables into the skillet, and toss with previous veggie and tofu mix. Pour the previously-made peanut sauce over top, toss the contents of the skillet, and lower the heat to medium low.

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Serve as is or over brown rice, like dad did.

“I’d eat that, again.” Can I quote you on that? That you want to eat tofu, again? “Oh yeah!”

Ladies and gentleman, dad wants to eat more tofu!

I loved this dish! It had the mild saltiness from the peanut butter and soy sauce, and the slightest kick from the siracha! MMM! I actually grabbed some bell pepper slices and lapped up the sauce left at the bottom of the dish. It was just that yummy!

After my mom had her gastric bypass surgery, she has had a  hard time digesting meats. Throughout my cooking, I’ve found that soy products, like tofu, are the only things that don’t upset her stomach. She was eating her meal chanting, “Tofutti!!!! Tofutti!!!”

I guess that means she likes it!

This Thursday evening is ending with a mug of hot decaf mocha, with SF pumpkin spice syrup, and a ginger snap.

Be Sure To Drink Your Ovaltine

Today is National Dessert Day. It is also National Chocolate Covered Insect Day. I think I’ll refrain from the latter and begin my day with a classic dessert-inspired shake bowl:

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  • 1 scoop Chocolate protein
  • 3 Tbsp Chocolate Malt
  • 1 Tbsp SF Creme de Menthe
  • water
  • ice
  • xanthum and guar (optional)

I topped this with one of my favorite shake bowl toppings: Gnu Espresso Chip bar!

Since Ovaltine was a feature in breakfast, I just couldn’t help myself:

 

I kept thinking about what the heck chocolate covered insects would taste like. I remember my mom said that when she was a kid she accidentally tried chocolate covered ants. And they were good, apparently!!! Light bulb! I remembered theres a dessert called Grasshopper Pie, though I’ve never actually had it.

Grasshopper Shake:

  • 1 scoop Chocolate protein
  • 1 Tbsp SF Creme de Menthe
  • 1 Tbsp SF fat free White Chocolate pudding mix
  • spinach
  • water
  • ice
  • guar and xanthum (optional)

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I topped this bowl with Kashi cereal and my latest addiction, Goldfish. My friend told me about French Toast Gold fish Grahams. I would have loved to top this bowl with one of the chocolate varieties. So, some SF chocolate syrup sufficed.

With the mass quantity of ice in my body, I spent the rest of the day curled under a blanket until Zumba! Zumba, Zumba, Zumba! Since my mom keeps backing out of going with me, Barry was kind enough to offer to go with me the next time I went. I was so surprised when he actually came! Like, I thought he was just saying it to be nice.

He was a trooper. By the end of the class he was tired, hungry, and sweaty. “Every muscle in my legs hurt, but they’ve never felt better.” To me, thats a compliment!

With all this talk of Zumba, I found this article both interesting and helpful: Best Shoes for Your Workout.

Following class, we headed to Wawa. We were both hungry but not. The shopping center around the Wawa also contains a Buffalo Wild Wings, Barry’s favorite restaurant, not mine. But the longer we were in the parking lot, the more we could smell food, and the more we wanted something. Barry grabbed a meal from Wawa… I may have stole his apples. Upon arriving home, Barry introduced me to Buffalo Cheddar Popcorn. Usually, buffalo flavored foods are over powering, taste gross, or don’t taste anything like buffalo, like Buffalo Wing Pretzel Crisps… disappointment. But this popcorn was soooo good! It had the perfect amount of kick. I had to grab a drink after a handful but I wanted more! Good find, Barry!

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.

Manic Mind

Last night was finished off with a Lil’ Drum so I could get my ice cream fix.

Today, is National Apple Dumpling Day. In honor of such a decant sounding dessert, I attempted to make a decadent shake bowl . And it worked! BooYah!

Apple Dumpling Shake BowlWP_003930

  • 1/2 an apple, chopped (frozen preferably)
  • 1/4 cup frozen cranberries (microwaved for 30 seconds)
  • 1 tsp sugar free fat free vanilla pudding mix
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp guar gum
  • 3/8 tsp xanthum
  • water
  • ice

I topped it with some Fiber One bran cereal for crunch!

My belly has been bothering me all day! and my appetite has been minimal. I did manage to do some snacking on a rice cake and roasted red peppers.

I became a bit manic early this afternoon and began to use up the last of the green beans from yesterday’s discount snack attack! I tried my hand at Hungry Girl’s Oat-Standing Veggie Patties. They weren’t quite to my liking, so I ampted up the flavor with scallions, teriyaki sauce, ginger, and garlic. Once I formed the burgers, I kept them in the fridge until I was ready to eat.

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I finished up the last of some miscellaneous veggies from the refrigerator: bok choy, bamboo shoots, baby carrots, scallions, bell peppers, and broccoli slaw. After my first batch of veggies, I made another since it was just so good! All of the stir-fried vegetables were cooked in teriyaki sauce, kung pao sauce, and chili garlic sauce  for a kick!

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WP_003942I finished off the night with a bowl of Vanilla Maple Arctic Zero sprinkled with pumpkin pie spice and SF DaVinci pumpkin pie spice syrup. I finished the bowl with some praline pieces!

My stomach started to feel much better as the night went on. As much as I wanted to head to Zumba, tonight, I just couldn’t get there. I think I’m in a workout rut. I haven’t felt like doing much besides cooking and working.

I can’t dwell on my lack of exercise, but I can capitalize on what I can do, like clean up my cluttered bed room, and I’ve been creating variations of today’s veggie patties all day! There are just soooo many possibilities!

I’ve also been thoroughly enjoying the last few days with my mom. I’ve noticed a huge correlation between my mental health and eating habits and my relationship with my mom. Did you ever realize that when things between my mom and me are rough, my eating habits get totally out of whack?

Anyway, tomorrow is mom’s birthday and I have a special birthday treat for her. The recipe I am making takes two days to make. The first day is a pour and forget it day, but the second day requires a bit of attention. This recipe is a coveted one in the Higgin’s household. Its one of those recipes that my grandmother makes once every few years, and the family stocks up and freezes it to have. Here’s where I might lose you: Split Pea Soup.

I’ve never made it before, but I’m a big fan and I’m praying I can do it some justice.

Kung Pao Carmela

WP_003924I finished a small jar of roasted red peppers, left over from the Eggplant Parm, that I ate on a rice cake. I just loved roasted reds! I have to get another jar! With this pepper idea in my head, I grabbed a baggie of sliced bell peppers from the fridge, threw them in a pan with garlic and ate them with salsa. The smell woke Frank up. “Are you cooking steak?” No, peppers!

Veggies are fantastic! Its hard to feel guilty about eating tons of veggies, yet somehow I manage to do it….

I avoided the cake at work, worked my but off, and heck, I love peppers! Plus, I’m held over until my next meal which won’t be for at least 12 hours.

Today, I woke up early after a late night, for an 0845 appointment and then it was off to Reading! Barry was back from drill ( I haven’t seen him in a few days) and we decided to take today to visit his grandmother. She is such a sweetheart! We made some travel mugs full of coffee, and inspired by Dunkin, used our new White Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Spice SF syrups.

The weather was a bit off today… sort of overcast, kind of sunny, definitely breezy, and some rain in the occasional spots. I really don’t think mother nature knew what she was feeling, today.

WP_003925On our way up, we stopped at a light and I had to take a picture of this road sign. Ummmm… Gesundheit?!? It was like some one sneezed when they tried to name this road. I just thought it was humorous!

After visiting with his grandmother, we headed back to Delaware. We were both tired. Not even our coffees were doing the trick. By the time we arrived home, neither one of us had eaten anything. It was 3pm and I was unsure if I should eat of wait until dinner. I need to eat, it was my stomach was telling me. Just wait is what the rest of me was saying. I listened to my stomach. Since I planned on cooking Chinese food to dinner, V__6C11Barry and I hit our local take out. I ordered a pint of hot and sour soup and an order of steamed dumplings. The hot and sour soup is a favorite, as you know, and Frank loves the dumplings. As much as I love dumplings, I love the dipping sauce even more! I had a cup of soup and two dumplings, and I was stuffed! I was pretty shocked by how full I was, actually, so I was glad that dad didn’t arrive for dinner until about 530. Barry must have been starving as he downed his order of sweet and sour chicken.

Time to get a little serious…

Today is the 5 year anniversary of my Nonna passing away. I can’t believe its been 5 years already. I remember the entire day so clearly. I just can’t believe its been 5 years. In honor of mommom, I made her favorite Chinese food. On the rare occasion that she would order out, she would only get one 1 dish: “The one with the peanuts.” As much as I love Chinese food, I have never had Kung Pao Chicken, so seasoning this was a bit tricky for me, but it turned out great! It is definitely one I will make again. I whipped up a side of brown ginger rice, that I seasoned with garlic, soy sauce, and sesame oil. I had found a 2lb bag of green beans on the produce discount rack for 86 cents!!! Sweet! I cut a bunch of those up and threw them in the rice.

While I was cooking, dad and I were reminiscing about mommom. Every holiday that we have family gatherings, we watch two videos. The first is when she was attempting to speak Italian. We had been trying for so long to nail a take. Each time, she would forget what she was supposed to say, or mess something up, but this time was a beaut! She just stopped and we all started cracking up! Its hard to hear the voice, but just turn the sound up. I love hearing her laugh at the end of the video because its so damn hearty! It was so genuine! Dad cracks up every time we watch it. He turns into a little kid, rocking back and forth with laughter, breathing just enough to squeeze out the words, “Play it  again!”

WP_003927I call it Kung Pao Carmela because Carmela is my Nonna’s name. I based my recipe very closely to Hungry-girl’s recipe. I must say that my dish looked much more appetizing than hers.  Follow the Hungry-girl recipe except for the following alterations, and you have

Kung Pao Carmela:

  • substitute 1 tsp. red chili sauce with 1 Tbsp Spicy Hot Kung Pao sauce, and add 1/2 Tbsp chili garlic sauce.
  • add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes to the stir fry
  • substitute equal parts of sliced bamboo shoots for the water chestnuts

I served the meal in some left over take- out containers for some authenticity, along with the steamed dumplings.

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We spent the next hour talking about mommom with my mom and snacking on the bag of discount green beans. I think between the two of us, we had to have finished off 3/4 of  lb. They were so crisp and fresh. I was so full but just couldn’t stop crunching away. I didn’t really mind though, since I hadn’t eaten all day. We showed mom a video of mommom from her last Christmas. We had gotten my little cousin some guitar game and she was having so much fun fooling around with this thing! My uncle’s commentary is hilarious and I love hearing her laughing, seeing her smile and having a good time, and hearing her voice. My favorite parts of all is when you hear her talk. At one point, she says, “I don’t know what I’m doing, but I’m doing it!” And I love the end when she says, “I can play!”

Thanks for letting me share my memories with you! I miss you and love you, mommom!

Hectic Weekend

Saturday

Last night ended with a handful of grapes and a bunch of pretzel sticks with Honey Mustard Dip. I was able to get close to 900 calories in yesterday! It was because I listened intently to my body. I ate when I was hungry, and stopped when I felt full (although I could have ate that whole darn birthday pie, myself). After I reviewed what I ate for the day, I was happy with it. I didn’t eat too much of one thing, and I didn’t eat too little, but that damn number is still hauntingly and dauntingly eating away at me.

I thought about why I could be getting so paranoid. A few things came to mind:

  • Vendemmia (a big wine and food festival coming up)
  • my girlfriend’s wedding
  • Halloween candy
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas cookies

I need to be able to take these events like any other person. Just listen to myself. I know this eating disorder is something I will live with the rest of my life, but as long as there are more good days than bad, and supportive people to help get me through them, I can live with it.

Today is National Eat a Hoagie Day. Although it technically wasn’t a hoagie, I made a breakfast sandwich that was pretty tasty of eggs, Canadian bacon, hot sauce and cheddar on toast.

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A little bit later, to hold me over until work, was a bowl of Greek yogurt I i splashed some sugar free pumpkin pie spice syrup into and topped with sunflower seeds for a nutty taste. And it really did the trick!

WP_003916I couldn’t quite wait for dinner but needed something in my belly. My assignment was a bit wacky and out of the ordinary, tonight, so I decided to take advantage of a short break and enjoy a tart granny smith apple. About two hours later, I had my actual dinner.

Dinner tonight was a spinach salad topped with half a Lean Cuisine Greek-style Chicken Salad Creation (minus the croutons).

WP_003917I really liked the cucumber dill dressing that came with it! Ever since I started making dill salads I’ve started to develop a taste for the herb.

I was proud of myself. When I arrived at work, there was a bowl filled with Reese cup miniatures. I went the while shift ignoring them. 7 pm hit like a tornado and I was non stop! . When I finally got to sit down and breath, o decided a salty sweep piece of chocolate was well deserved.

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Sunday

After work, last night, dad wanted me to come over and I was surprised by how hungry I was when I left work. I went to dads house and we stayed up late snacking on veggies and salsa. We even ate half a jar of roasted red peppers! They are so tasty, plain or on a saltine. (Please excuse dad’s pile of mail… its a bachelor pad,,, what do you expect?)I even took a bite of a hoagie, and actual hoagie! It was delicious! I had the calories to spare, and I had a great time!

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The temperature seriously dropped, last night. I know I didn’t need to, but I totally put on the footie pajamas! Yes, I am an adult and adore footie pajamas!! Even my dad says how solidly I sleep when I’m in them. I love this picture dad snapped of me. Red handed with a bell pepper and a jar of salsa in my sock monkey footies! We stayed up, I don’t even know until what time, watching Monk. It used to be our Friday thing before I got sick, so I really enjoyed having that with my dad, again. Its another reminded how important my recovery is.

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The next thing I knew, it was noon, today, and my dad was waking me up. I went back to my mom’s house to grab my medication, and try to keep busy before work. I first made my Key Lime Pie protein smoothie bowl, that I’ve been craving. Instead of the usually flax or crumbled graham topping, I topped it with flax and Fiber One cereal. It was so delicious, especially paired with a coffee. I recently got a new shipment of sugar free syrups flavors and I’ve been trying them out. Today’s first mug of coffee was flavored with Pumpkin Pie Spice SF syrup, and Eggnog SF syrup. Wow!

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I ran out to the oriental market to pick up a few necessities and returned home a bit manic about eating last night at dads. I worked with my best outlet and cooked. Its not really “cooking” but I made my girlfriend a batch of the Sammy San Seaweed Salad.  I can’t wait for her to taste it! I made a final cup of joe for a pick me up before work, flavored with another new flavor, English Toffee SF syrup. I’m glad I went with a second cup of coffee, today, because work had plans to keep me busy.

WP_003923I arrived at work to a birthday cake, which I ignored the entire shift! Not like I would have had time to eat any. I barely had time to chart, let alone eat my dinner. A few animal crackers helped to finish through the night, but I could not believe how busy it was! Weekends at the hospital are usually slow! SSSSSSLLLLLOOOOOWWWWW! Its typically filled with discharges and few admissions, and a lot of coworker banter. This weekend, I was lucky if I could grab a drink or go to the bathroom. Even the nurses were feeling the heat!

I was actually kind of relieved when I had to sit 1:1 at 2030. I was finally able to chart, grab a drink, and just breath.

Eggplant Pie

It was nice to sleep in yesterday and not have anything to do! I spent all day studying for the NCLEX, filling myself with brain food, like Saturn peaches, sugar free chocolate pudding, and a delicious dinner! (recipe to follow) My family has really been lucking out these past few weeks. Since I’ve found an outlet in cooking, my family has been eating really well. During my studying, I reward myself with breaks to cook, or prep to cook. Yesterday the result was baking Strawberry Muffins, and Eggplant Pie. Both were so good! Frank, my biggest critic, said the muffins were very good and the Eggplant Pie was,”Outstanding!” Having the word “outstanding” come from him was definitely a treat!

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The muffins came in handy when I woke up this morning to find a tray of donuts on the table from an apparent late night craving they had while out on the town… To resist the urge, I warmed up a strawberry muffin, sliced it in half, and added to the already gooey strawberries inside it with some sugar free strawberry preserves. Take that, donut!

After dinner, and along day of brain overload, I rewarded myself with Zumba. Unfortunately, my booty shaking was cut short when a girl got light headed and fainted. I ran to help her. Behind me, I hear my girlfriend yell,”It’s okay! She’s a nurse!” It was thrilling hearing someone yell that so close to my exam!

WP_003511Following Zumba, I got really hungry. Thank goodness Zumba is early on Monday nights and I went home to enjoy an Orange Cream Dannon Light & Fit Greek, with cheerios for crunch. I got antsy and wound up finishing a head of romain with salsa, filling up on water. I’m such a bunny rabbit…

I headed to bed with a mug of chamomile tea and fell asleep in NCLEX-mode.

After Sunday’s adventure at the Ren Faire, and my brief time at Zumba, last night, my calves we starting to feel it today. I began the WP_003512gloomy day with my normal routine of a shake. Since my vanilla protein powder has been replaced, I began with an Apple Eggnog Shake:

  • 2 scoops Vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 md fuji apple, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp sugar free Eggnog Da Vinci syrup
  • spinkle apple pie spice
  • water
  • ice

A total winner that Barry didn’t think would work! I made Frank a very bright Watermelon Shake.

Today was so gloomy that my dad’s boss told him not to come to work because there was so much flooding! It was also gloomy in my kitchen when my spare Magic Bullet bit the dust. I’m glad I had my smoothie maker to fill in.

Before heading to work, I filled up on some watermelon and I’ve really been digging the beet scene lately. I actually made another beet salad for dinner tonight, for work. I even used some Fakin’ Bacon Tempeh! And what goes well with bacon? Bleu Cheese! I steamed together sliced onion, chopped tempeh, sliced petite carrots, and chopped, sliced beets and served it over a bed of spinach, topped with crumbled reduced fat bleu cheese. The warmth from the vegetables warmed up the cheese and this salad was “no dressing required!” I’ve been trying to talk dad into trying beets, but I haven’t quite gotten there. Maybe I’ll sneak it into something one day. What can I say? You can’t beat beets!

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Usually, being clerk at work makes me want to eat. Not because I’m hungry or burning calories, but because I’m bored. Tonight was great because I ate my delicious salad for dinner, and had some grahams and PB for a snack! Plus, with studying and all the paperwork at the desk, I kept busy!I’m serious! As soon at 7pm hit, this place went crazy, like full moon crazy! Eureka!

I picked up a pack of sliced eggplant from the farmers market last week and wanted to use it up before it began to turn. My intent was to make an eggplant parm pizza, but then this brain of mine began to crank some gears and this little beauty was born. Its like if eggplant parmesean and spaghetti pie had a baby…

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Serves 4

1 large eggplant, sliced 1/8in
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2/3 cup bell pepper, chopped
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 cup fat free ricotta
1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 pkg Fettuccine Tofu Shirataki noodles
3/4 cup fat free shredded mozzarella, divided
4oz 96% lean ground beef
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh spinach, packed (25g)
1 Tbsp reduced fat grated Parmesan

Peeling the eggplant is your preference. Over high heat, in a skillet, cook slices of eggplant until they begin to shrivel from the water loss, flipping to ensure both sides cook. Transfer to a paper towel while cooking the remaining slices of eggplant. While eggplant is still pliable, lay the eggplant strategically in a sprayed 9in pie pan to create a pseudo-pie crust (about 7 slices). Sprinkle the bottom on the pan with 1/4 cup of mozzarella.

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Empty the noodles into a colander, rinse, and snip through the noodles with scissors, as these these noodles can be pretty long. In the hot pan, after the eggplant has been cooked and removed, briefly toss the noodles in the pan, tossing constantly to remove excess fluid, and return to the colander.

Spray skillet with non stick cooking spray and briefly cook down onions, garlic, and bell pepper, until onions are
mildly translucent. Transfer warm vegetables into a bowl with uncooked mushrooms, ricotta, spices, and egg. Then add the noodles to the ricotta mix. Transfer into eggplant crust and distribute evenly.

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Brown the ground beef. Once crumbled and browned, add the can of diced tomatoes. Stir together and top over the noodles in the crust. Sprinkle a pinch on mozzarella and the grated cheese. Add the chopped spinach and cover with the remaining eggplant (about 5 slices). Top with remained shredded mozzarella and bake in a preheat oven  at 350 F for 15-20 minutes.

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Slice and enjoy!

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Nutrition (1/4 recipe):

Calories: 149, Fat: 0.8g, Sat. Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 22.5mg, Sodium: 294mg, Carbs: 15.8g, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 4.7g, Protein: 16.8g

Half Moon

I awoke this afternoon to more temptation. I feel like if you have support people, they won’t surround you with your trigger foods. My mom, although I know she cares, is not what I would call the most helpful in this aspect of my life. I woke to a bag of Taco Bell filled with Caramel Apple Empanadas. Every time I confront her about bringing these home, she always says she got me one. I hate that because she knows its a trigger food! Nonetheless, my lunch, which started as a Red Berries Special K bar dipped in Be Well Nutella, ended up in half an empanada down and a heavy chest full of anxiety.

Barry called me at work last night and asked for a lunch date, today, and I gladly accepted since its was to a place I’ve been wanting to go to: Half Moon in Kennett. Barry offered to postpone the date since I had a rough time at work, but I refuse to let these disorders disrupt my life all the time!

WP_003218Half Moon Restaurant and Saloon is a small place in the town of Kennett, about 20 minutes from my house. Barry and I drove past it! Whats nifty about this place is that it specializes in wild game meats. Each day is a different special.

I lucked out when I called the restaurant to find out the specials for today. Kangaroo burgers and Buffalo chili! I’ve had buffalo in the past, but I was most excited about the Kangaroo! Barry has been trying to get me to eat burgers (I’ve really wanted one since I haven’t eaten one in over a year). Kangaroo is the leanest cut of beef Half Moon offers (93 calories, 0.5g fat per 100g). All of the burgers are 6 oz portions, of which Barry and I split. We opted to split the Kangaroo burger, substitute the house made kettle chips for a salad, and split a bowl of the buffalo chili…

When in Rome!

WP_003214We strolled up West State Street and entered and narrow saloon. Greeted by a perky hostess, we were asked if we would like to be seated upstairs in the atrium-like setting or in the main dinning saloon. Since it was a temperate day with a nice breeze, we walked up the stairs to be greeted by another friendly face, Emily, who seated us and attentively served us. She was very patient with us, as I was so indecisive after viewing all of the specials! After questioning the waitress, there was no doubt about it… Chili and Burger special!

First up was Barry’s beer. This place is no joke when it comes to their alcohol. Theres a whole book full if specialty and imported beers and the wines are broken down into white and red, and then by place of origin. Barry tried Hop Devil. I’m not a beer drinker, but this was rather bitter in my opinion. We awaited a delicious salad on spring mix, with cucumbers, shredded carrots, and baby heirloom tomatoes, and side of Greek Goddess dressing. I love that they used heirlooms, since they are in season!

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My girlfriends told me how dry kangaroo meat was and suggested the elk. I’ve had elk and it reminds me a lot of roast beef. I had my heart set on the roo. They don’t cook the burger past medium rare, which is fine for us. I was surprised how moist the burger was, despite being so lean. It wasn’t sweet but it had a more mild flavor than a beef burger, and it was definitely a lot less dense. The burger is served on a kaiser-type bun with lettuce, tomato, purple onion, and a pickle spear. I ate mine topless, while Barry used my spare bun half for chili dipping.

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The Buffalo Chili was topped topped with jack cheese, It was a hearty chili with lots of meat and beans. I could not imagine eating this whole bowl by myself! I would have been stuffed! The tomato base was a mildly sweet and nutty, with a faint heat.

We really enjoyed the atmosphere of the atrium setting. We sat at rustic tables, surrounded by fresh air and potted plants. After chatting with out waitress, we decided we will most definitely be back for the Gator Gumbo! Apparently, its got a nice kick to it!

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We drove out of Kennett and into Hockessin to grab a bit of froyo from Berriyummi. Barry went to chocolate peanut butter heaven. I think it wound up being more like a hell for him in the long run. His chocolate and raspberry froyo was topped with cheesecake pieces, cookie dough, brownie bites, jimmies, peanut butter sauce, blueberries, hot fudge and loads of mashed peanut butter cups. By the end of it all, the peanut butter cups had formed rock sold balls of sweet and salty indulgence. From the little bite I took, I had my fill. I am honestly impressed by Barry’s sweet tooth! I had never seen so much reese in one bowl! I guess this was pretty fitting since its National Fudge Sundae Day.

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Mine was the typical sugar free vanilla with mango, raspberries and sliced almonds, with smidge of cheesecake crust.

After the creamy froyo, I had a hankering for coffee. When Barry and I arrived home, I made a mug of decaf with sugar free chocolate DaVinci syrup. With my sweet tooth in full swing, I remembered my Philly Swirl Sweet Delites. These are perfect size creamsicle bars that are sugar free and only 14 calories a piece! Talk about guilt free desserts!

I am spending the rest of the  night bonding with mom over “A Good Day to Die Hard,” and should be hitting the hay soon.

Happy Almost Friday!

Its the Little Things

Last night, was another sleepless and restless night. I don’t know if it was from my minor binge or if its because I had coffee later in the day, or if its because my mom and I are still on the rocks. Either way, I laid in bed for hours last night, just thinking about my upcoming day trip to seaside tomorrow… stressing about what I’m going to eat.

WP_003140I know I get excited over really trivial things, but yesterday my new scale came! I’m not sure if I shared with you that my food scale died on me last week. To test it, I put a baby carrot on it and it said it weighed like 805g! I don’t think so! After a trial of changing batteries, ensuring I was using a level surface, and weighing a bunch of random items, I had to accept that the scale was no longer working. RIP scale. You have been good to me. I ordered a new scale off cooking.com and lucked out when I saw it was on sale! Yesterday, a brown box arrived with a cooking.com sticker. “It’s here!!!” According to Barry, my excitement was quite amusing! I was so excited to actually see how many Popcorners actually equaled an ounce!

Yesterdays free sample from the pet store was an item I had never seen. I thought, initially it was a dog treat, but after further reading, it turned out to be actual dog food… freeze-dried dog food! Beauty loved it! The product is called Stella & Chewy’s. Beauty had the Stella’s Super Beef Dinner. They also make cat food, which I’ll have to try for Bunny. What I really liked about this product was that the first 6 ingredients actually were BEEF, followed by real ingredients like spinach, beets, pumpkin seeds, and cranberries. There are also frozen products and pet treats, as well as a nifty calculator to determine how much food your dog or cat will require based on weight, activity level, and type of food. To add to the already cool concept of freeze-dried pet food, Stella & Chewy’s donates a portion of their profits to no-kill shelters and animal rescues!

*Please know that this review is NOT sponsored my Stella & Chewy’s in any way.

WP_003137As I told you yesterday, I like fruit in my shakes, and I cannot lie! I used my new scale to weigh out everything today! First, was the banana for my Blueberry Banana Latte shake.

1/2  frozen banana

1 scoop Herbalife Cafe Latte mix

2 Tbsp Da Vinci sugar free Blueberry syrup

(1/4 tsp xanthum, optional)

Frank’s shake turned out super delicious! I threw a bunch of frozen cantaloupe and some frozen mango in with vanilla shake mix!

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Tomorrow, I am taking dad to the shore, so the last few days, I’ve been trying to eat right since boardwalk food isn’t exactly known to be the healthiest… especially not  the stuff that I want to eat like pizza, sausage, and custard! (Not all together, but you know…)

Although the little binges do not help, my eating has been decent otherwise. My diet has been full of fruits and veggies lately, too! One of the many pros of warm weather is fresh produce!

I was back at work tonight. Dinner was simple and in the form of a hot pocket-esque burrito: Amy’s Tofu Scramble in a Pocket Sandwich. My past experience with tofu scrambles is that they require a decent amount of seasoning, so just in case, I brought some chili powder and crushed red pepper flakes to work with me.

WP_003139After last night’s snack attack, I wanted to be prepared, so I also sliced half a bell pepper and brought it to work with some Walden Farms dressing for dipping.

Now let me tell you what really happened… Obviously, I typed up my dinner before leaving for work. I arrived at work only to find out that our census on the unit had recently dropped. Okay, I guess either Katie or myself will get pulled to another unit. Then, I found out that the entire hospital had a low census and neither one of us was needed. One of us was being sent home. Since Katie was driving from Pennsylvania, and I knew she would be arriving shortly, I surprised myself when I offered to go home. I only live about 20 minutes away and I took it as a sign from God to study for the boards, and protect myself from the cupcakes in the break room. It also gave me the opportunity to talk things out with mom…

I decided to head back to the pet store to grab Beauty a bag of the new dog food, see what all the hype was about with this Blue Buffalo stuff, and grab Bunny a sample of Stella & Chewy’s to try.

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The cat enjoyed her Heavenly Herring and Tuna, and Beauty scarfed down her small can of Wellness, as she always does. I like Wellness food for her because like Stella & Chewy’s the first ingredients actually are meat! In the past, Beauty has really enjoyed the Turkey & Sweet Potato and the Venison & Sweet Potato. This morning, I mixed half of the small can of Duck & Sweet Potato with her dry food. On this visit, I grabbed the Lamb & Sweet Potato, as well as S&C’s Duck, Duck, Goose freeze-dried patties. As for Bunny, I recently tried him with Wellness food, and he, too, ate his bowl clean. The canned cat food happened to be on sale (woot, woot)! I’ll let you know about the Blue Buffalo. I definitely would agree that the dry food is too expensive!

It amazes me some of the food combinations that companies have for animals. I don’t believe in spending a fortune on pet food, but I do believe that my animals are my family and should be treated as such. I’m glad that there are companies that feel the same, and create foods to nourish our babies!

I came home and devoured my sliced bell pepper! I was so hungry. Barry stopped by before he headed off to work, and Frank and I began to assemble our dinners. Since I was home, we sprinkled a salmon fillet with some adobo and baked it in the toaster over. We both created a spring mix salad, mine with peppers, carrots, and onions, a piece of the salmon fillet, and a drizzle of fat free Honey Dijon. Frank kicked it Ceasar-style.

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Meanwhile, work called to bring me in at 7pm. I was not too apt to drive back to work since I had just arrived back home from there. After a discussion with the supervisor, we worked things out and I was able to stay home for the night. Now, I can go to bed early to prepare for tomorrow, do some laundry, study, and relax, plus I already picked up extra shifts for the week! I’m thankful things worked out!

Still a bit hungry, I indulged in some cantaloupe and pretzel sticks! Yeah… now that I type it out, thats a weird combination…

You can’t feel too bad about eating too much fruit… I’d rather eat that than junk food…

You know that feeling you get when you check Facebook, and you have a new friend request, or when someone invites you to an event, or when you get a new follower on Tumblr. I had that feeling waking up this morning. I received two emails from wordpress.com, the host site of Be Well Bundo. One stated that a person liked “Everyone Needs Cheerleaders” and the other, that I had gotten a new follower. Naturally, I get curious about these people and return the favor of checking out their blogs. Both people were using blogging to help cope with their eating disorders, one with anorexia, and the other with bingeing and bulimia.

I read through some of their posts, recognizing their feelings and sentiments, remembering being in those similar situations, trying to find ways out. Its the little things like that, that make me smile. Knowing that through our blogs, we not only help each other, but ourselves. We have outlets, validation of our feelings, knowing we are not alone, and most importantly, making new friends and contacts to be our cheerleaders in the fight.

Its the little things like that…