Lenten Promises

ashAsh Wednesday is here. Sure, most people think of today as one or more of the following:

  • people get that cross on their forehead made of burnt palm
  • start of the Easter season
  • start of the Lenten Season
  • no meat of Fridays

In actuality, it begins a 40 day period of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. It mirrors the time that Jesus Christ spent in the desert, fasting and reflecting, being tempted by sin, Satan to be more precise. As a child, we are told that during this period, we should give something up. My childhood priest would pick a different class every year to watch over his stash of bubble gum. As I entered middle school, I began giving up things I thought would help me lose weight, like soda and chips. In more recent years, I’ve gotten my dad to participate. While I still can’t get him to stop smoking, he does give up his favorite drink of cherry brandy.

Side Note: You’ve mastered giving up cherry brandy! Pick something more challenging!!!

Within the past couple years, my view of Lent has changed. A few years ago, after my mom got clean from a prescription drug addiction, I talked to my priest and asked if my Lenten Promise had to mean I would be giving something up… If I could try to improve my relationship with my mother, instead. That’s when I began to see the true meaning of a Lenten Promise. I really liked how Father put it tonight at mass, “Hey, we’re all sinners! But that does not mean we are to be ruled by sin.” Father Hurley’s homily, as always, made me examine my life.

So here’s my conclusion on Lent:

This is the time we not only repent, but also “refocus” our attention, as Father put it. Lenten Promises are not about giving something up. It’s a time we focus on on how we can live more like Christ, how we can live in a way that reflects God and his message. (But if you ask me, we should be doing this self-examination thing way ,ore often than just Lent.)

This years Lenten Promise:

This year, my goal is to refrain from self injurious behavior. In this term, I include binge eating, purging, and cutting. God would not want me to hurt myself. God created us in His image. When I hurt myself, I’m really hurting God.

Easter Sunday

Happy Easter, everyone!

This morning began with Easter mass, one of my favorite masses of the year. I love seeing a packed Church, all the little kids in their Easter outfits, and reuniting with people I haven’t seen in years (like kids I went to grade school with, and people my dad when to grade school with! Yeah, its a pretty tight congregation)!

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The beautiful altar. I belong to the most beautiful Church I’ve ever seen!

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One of my best friends, Paul.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After stopping by the cemetery, I headed home to prepare Easter breakfast. I found a recipe for Carrot Cake Waffles a while back and immediately knew that  I had to make these today! Using Katie’s recipe, I adapted them to be whole wheat and low fat waffles. I also made a cream cheese drizzle to go on top (whats carrot cake without cream cheese frosting?), and accented the dish with some crushed walnuts. I hope you enjoy!

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makes 8-10 waffles

Waffles:

3/4 cup Heart Smart Bisquick

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

2/3 cup shredded carrots

1 cup flax milk (milk of your choice)

2 Tbsp sugar free syrup

2 Tbsp unsweetened apple sauce

1 1/4 tsp cinnamon

2  1/2 tsp vanilla extractWP_001723

Cream Cheese Drizzle:

1/4 cup fat free cream cheese, room temp

4 Splenda packets

1/4 cup flax milk

1 tsp confectionery sugar (I use Ideal brand)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Combine all the waffle ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Heat your waffle iron and heavily coat with non-stick cooking spray. Pour 3/4 to 1 cup of batter on heated and sprayed waffle iron. (You can add more milk if you want to thin out the batter). Cook until your liking. Whisk all ingredients for cream cheese frosting together. Drizzle frosting over waffles and top with shopped walnuts.

After some operator difficulties, they were beautiful! I loved the coloring of these waffles and the bit of natural sweetness that carrots release when they are cooked. I really enjoyed these and cant wait to make them again. The drizzle was just sweet enough to really play off the carrots. I served these with some super quick and easy Banquet Brown n’ Serve Maple Sausage Patties. The maple sweetness accented the syrup in the waffles!

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Using the ingredients above, each waffle only contains about 80 calories or so! And you get a some vegetables early in the day!

I bet these would be pretty spectacular Belgium waffles, too!

With it being the end of Lent, I took a nibble of a protein bar today while dad got back his chocolate! We both messed up once on Lenten promises, which I think is pretty good.

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A typical Easter dinner in the Bundo house is a bake spiral ham, fingerling potatoes, cabbage and green beans. This year, I will be working. Frank surprised me and baked a ham just in time for me to take some to work. To substitute for the cabbage, I brought some brussel sprouts. I think I’m the only person in my house who loves these little balls of leafy goodness! I finished this meal with an Easter brownie!

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It doesn’t look too appetizing in this picture, but it most certainly was!

I thought I'd try bring the Easter Bunny to work

I thought I’d try bring the Easter Bunny to work (looks more like a cat)

As arrived home after a busy shift, I had two feelings: sleepiness and a hankering for ham. I entered to kitchen to find 1 left over waffle from this morning. I folded this in half and laid a few slices of spiral ham while some lemon tea brewed! A great way to end my Easter night!

As I drove to work and reflected on the day, I started remembering some Easter memories from my childhood. The one I can see most clearly is when I was about 9 years old. My mom said, “What else did the Easter Bunny bring you? Whats behind the picture?” The picture she was refering to was one of those RoseArt velvet coloring pictures… anyway… I peak around the back of the picture to find two rectangular papers. As I read the tickets to myself, it clicked and I began jumping up and down. “What is it?” my mom said. “I GOT BACKSTREET BOY TICKETS!!!!”

HAHAH yes, I was a BSB junkie back in the day and BSB was my first concert! What are some of your favorite Easter memories?

Climb Back On

Last night, still feeling a bit depressed, mom and I went to town on some munchies! Oh boy…

After, some self loathing… this, ironically, appeared on my facebook feed:

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This was the inspiration I needed. My next meal, which happened to be the next day, was back on track. Julie is always talking about this Butter Pecan hot cereal. I finally found it on my new favorite website the other day, netrition.com. It was the fastest shipping I’ve ever had with any company! It came yesterday, along with a few other items that you will see used on the blog. And you can NOT beat the prices on this site.

Back to breakfast… Sensato High Fiber Butter Pecan hot cereal. I was expecting a little sweeter, but with a sprinkle of Splenda, and a sliced apple for dipping, it turned out pretty good and very filling! I’d really like to try the Vanilla Almond. If you’ve tried it, fill us in!

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After a sleepy morning, I cut up a cantaloupe to enjoy before I leave for California in a few days. I like to freeze this melon for a refreshing shake! Fresh lope is also delicious with frozen vanilla yogurt!

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I spent the remainder of this beautiful day sleeping. It figures… but I needed the sleep!

I headed off to work for a busy shift. One of the parents brought in brownies… oh boy.. but like my dad tells me, “It okay to treat your self.” I had this for dessert along with a few mini snickers. But the real surprise of tonight was dinner. I never have high hopes for frozen dinners, but Smart One Spicy Szechuan Style Vegetable and Chicken was pretty darn good. If I would have remembered to bring my spicy Asian garlic sauce, it would have been awesome! I bulked it up with a serving of tofu shirataki noodles and some frozen stir-fry vegetables. As a snack I grabbed some celery and carrots from the caf.

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Tomorrow is Easter Sunday. This is the one day a year I can get both my parents to mass! After mass, I’ll be trying out a new breakfast recipes! Stay tuned.

Eggs and Doctor’s Day

Prepare yourself for a recap of the last day and half, complete with a crazy amount of pictures.

Wednesday night, I ate some homemade wonton soup I found in the freezer. Yum!

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It was an easy shift since I was placed in a 1:1. Although I did not have any school stuff with me to pass the time, I spent my night researching downtown San Jose and eateries to better prepare myself for next week’s trip. I found a variety of places including Indian, sushi and vegan!

Arriving home, I made a cup of decaf tea and sleepily waited for my uncle to drop of some much anticipated cookies. Ever since my grandmother passed away, he has turned into “Barry Crocker.” His specialty is ricotta cookies. I love his ricotta cookies! The texture is so unique! He typically makes Lemon Ricotta Cookies that I devour every time! I mean, these cookies go fast! Everyone wants them! He called me and said he would drop off his latest creation: Chocolate Chip Ricotta Cookies! They looked like chocolate chip scones, but wow! They had the same texture as before, but no with a chocolate treat. One word: Addicting!

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I’ll talk to him and see if he’ll share his secrets with us!

After a brief nap, I woke with one focus. As promised, I used those strawberries in a shake: Chocolate Covered Strawberry:WP_001672

2 scoops Chocolate protein powder

1 Tbsp unsweetened Cocoa powder

strawberries

handful of spinach

1/4 tsp xanthum

water

ice

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I spent the remainder of my afternoon taking a brisk walk to the supermarket for some few essentials for the weekend, then tidying up the house, and doing a bit of ab work.

Before I left the house, mom really wanted to make some popcorn. Last year, when I was in Nashville, TN for the International Convention, I picked this up. I though the novelty of it was too cool! Its a cob of corn… to make popcorn! You just slide this, what looks like Halloween corn, into the provided bag, fold the bags edge closed, and pop away!

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I arrived on night shift apt! I don’t know why… this energy, though, helped power me through a night of 10 patients! I was greeted on the unit by these little dudes:

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I forgot we had an egg decorating contest to help raise money for the asthma foundation. In first place, was Angry Birds.

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I had one of the best night shift meals in a while! I told you that falafel dip was going to be a Bundo house staple, and I meant it. I mixed the remaining dip left over from the falafel with some tuna fish. I laid this on a bed of spinach, along with tomato and onion and wrapped in an Everything tortilla! At work, I lucked out and found some roasted red peppers on the salad bar and threw those on there, too! To join the party… some celery and carrot sticks with reduced fat Ranch dressing and a fresh and crunchy bean salad, also from the salad bar. Dessert was a Fiber One brownie!

It figures that the one day I mess up on eating meat, it would be the morning of Good Friday! Ugh! My girlfriend and I split some chicken fingers! I haven’t eaten them in ages!

During this shift we also decorated for our unit’s Doctor’s Day. Our night shift crew prepared everything for breakfast while today;s day shift staff will set up lunch. We had bags of Quaker Quakes, Fage yogurt, coffee, fruit… etc.

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But the niftiest of all was the cake! We filled empty sterile syringes with red icing and med cups with M&Ms:

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I headed home in fun because I ate a bit more than I had wanted. After chatting with mom for about an hour, I started to feel a hungry stomach (which kind of cheered me up slightly knowing that I recognized what my body wanted). Before heading to bed, I pulled out OIKOS Pomegranate Greek yogurt and topped it with chia. MMMM I forgot how much I liked this one! (And my Scooby Doo spoon from the bottom of the Rice Krispies box, to embrace some childhood).

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I was able to get about 2 hours of sleep before I woke up. I guess I turned off the alarm I had set for Church, but I still woke up on time. I guess the Big Guy really wanted me there! This is something I look forward to every Good Friday. (Today is Good Friday, by the way… the day Christ die on the cross.) Every Friday during Lent we celebrate what is known to Catholics as the Stations of the Cross, marking key points leading up the the crucifiction. On Good Friday, the congregation meets a few blocks away and processes towards Church with a large wooden cross. We pause at intervals to read the stations, and as we process we sing hymns. I love the unifying feeling of this event and the fact that we take time to reflect on our lives, faith, each other, and our blessings.  I am a lector at my Church as read a station every year. This year, I also acted as song leader, leading the congregation in the hymns between stations. I wanted to be more involved this year, and I helped carry the cross in between two stations. I had three favorite parts about today’s procession: 1) all the new faces, 2) it was my mom’s first time attending, and 3)even the little kids got involved this year!

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Afterwards, I whipped up a new recipe that I guarantee you will see again on this blog! My mom and I love eggplant. I eat mine in any way but fried, and my mom ONLY eats hers fried, therefore, I am always looking for healthy eggplant recipes to snag my mom from the dark side. I used Hungry Girl’s recipe for an eggplant stir-fry and let me tell ya, I was impressed! I find with some of her recipes, that theres a potential for bland-ness or that I need to acquire the taste, but not with this one! And an added bonus what how absolutely easy it was!

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To top it off and add some different textures, I steamed up some frozen stir-fry vegetables. I can’t wait to try this with tofu! I’ve had a decent amount of requests from readers about tofu recipes, so this is a contender.

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MMMM! It was everything you’d expect! Sweet and sticky and just a little kick!

I had gotten a coupon for Payless Shoes for 20% off my purchase  and since I’m going to be hitting California soon, I thought I could use a nice pair of black staple pumps. After playing around with some shoe indulgence and a fashion shoe (haha puns!), I decided on a comfy pair of peep-toes.

My absolute favorite!

My absolute favorite!

Feeling like a superstar!

Feeling like a superstar!

The winner

The winner