Bacon Bum

Following my rule, I got back on track at my next meal, meaning yesterday’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner. After the 11pm snack attack, last night, I really felt down. Since I was sitting all night at work, and only came home to eat and sleep, I tried talking to my dad, but I understand that he is tired of my anxiety and body issues. Heck, I’m tired of it! I need to stay focused and not let my emotions get the best of me. Plus, I need to listen to my body, my needs…

I was disappointed when I woke, this morning, because I was hoping to work out some of last night’s crazy at Church. I woke up at 11am since my crazy kept me up for a little while last night. I wanted to start the day right, so I told Nurse Sammy to get out of bed and begin the day with a healthy meal. I know you probably thought yesterday’s breakfast was odd, but this one might freak you out, too.

This morning, in an effort to eat my beets in a way not involving a salad, I chopped the slices, along with some onion, cooked them and threw them in some eggs with spinach, Canadian bacon, and crumbled feta. Half an English muffin added some bulk to breakfast. I guess that’s still pretty similar to a salad… Oh, and a coffee! Coffee was there, too!

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Haha Egg-Beet-ers!! Get it?

I returned to work this afternoon, back in my one to one. I didn’t mind, but that coffee from a few hours before still had not kicked in. Even my pre-work shower couldn’t wake me up! I thought I was going to fall asleep in the shower. Luckily, the bit of caffeine in a Diet Cherry Coke helped keep me up.

With the unit having a one to one, I didn’t know what the night had in store for me, activity-wise. I packed dinner with caution in the form of low cal, low carb. I took the opportunity to try out my new Walden Farms Alfredo sauce, and served it over spinach, Fakin’ Bacon Tempeh, and tofu shirataki macaroni  noodles. I needed to season the sauce with garlic and oregano and parmesean cheese, but dinner turned out very well! I also had an apple sauce and graham crackers to keep me satisfied for the remained of the evening.

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I was incredibly satisfied with dinner and returned to my patient. I always love when I can see a big change in my patients! Their disposition and appetite  had both improved since yesterday! The family seems to be in good spirits as well and we spent much of the shift laughing and exchanging funny stories.

Working 1:1

Most 1:1s that I offer to work are usually all 1:1s for the same reason. I especially like to sit with the pre-teen and teenage girls. I feel like it helps that I am closer to their age than most of the doctors and nurses, and that helps them open up to me. When I work evening or night shifts with 1:1s and I develop a report with the them, I like to leave them inspirational notes to wake up to. For my patient, tonight, I did the same. I ended the letter with a quote that I really like. It always makes me smile and I find myself repeating it:

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”

― Kathryn StockettThe Help

 

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…

Eggplant PieWP_003507

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

Low Fat Mac

Every kid loves mac n cheese. Even as an adult, its hard to resist the carby, gooey, cheesy goodness. Of course, as an adult, I’ve now expanded my mac n cheese horizons with stewed tomatoes, tuna fish, various vegetables, different cheeses, or splurges like Valanni’s crab and lobster macaroni and cheese.

Its pretty difficult to find a mac n cheese that gives you all the bang for your calorie buck. When I’m really jonesing for it, I go with Fiber Gourmet’s Light Mac-mmm-Cheese.

Have you ever had the shells? The white cheddar? The shapes and cartoon characters? Blue cheese? Whats your favorite mac n’ cheese? Are you a Velveeta person or Kraft? Have you tried any flavors by Betty Crocker, like pizza or grilled cheese? Have you ever had mac and cheese pizza? What about mac n cheese  burger? How do you make your mac? 

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Macaroni and cheese is such a staple food in America, we are literally surrounded by it! The guys at Barry’s house go through it like its water and they frequently visit a local restaurant that only makes mac n cheese!

I’ve been on a mission to create a mac and cheese recipe, but upon googling, I found so many different ways to make it! Cottage cheese, evaporated milk, cream, half and half, mustard, bread crumbs, bake, stove top, types of cheese, sour cream, cream cheese…. I mean, how does one choose?

I was sent this low fat recipe and could not wait the try it!  (but we will get there in a second)…

I still remember how cool I thought EZ-Mac was when it first came out when I as a kid!

So, this comfort food-filled week was packed with meatloaf, garlic mashed potatoes, guiltless ice cream, and now, to wrap it up… can you guess?

This morning began in a dark room. Its 930am, why is it so dark in here? Holy smokes, its raining its butt off! It rained for hours, non stop this morning! To pass the time, I whipped up coffee and breakfast for the guys and me. I wanted to use the Fakin Bacon tempeh before it went bad, and thought, bacon is a breakfast food… this could work…

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I chopped up tomato, mushrooms, and onion, as well as the Fakin Bacon tempeh and whipped up and an omelette with swiss for Frank, and mozzarella for me. It was great with some hot sauce on top!

I decided to be a nice big sister, and Dom, my youngest brother, seemed super excited about the idea of a big breakfast sandwich! I threw some ham lunch meat and veggies in the skillet and served it up with cheddar on toast!

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Since it was pouring, I sat at the kitchen table and studied away. I guess I’ve been studying hard because I killed a highlighter. (Yay, for dad who sells them… I’ll never need office supplies).

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After a bunch of studying, my brain needed a break! After about an hour of serious procrastination on the computer, I needed to get out of this house! Thank God it stopped raining and I went for a quick 1 mile jog to clear my head and then resumed studying.

Dad came over after work and helped whip together our take on the recipe for tonight’s dinner:

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serves 8

  • 3/4 cup(s) milk, fat-free evaporated
  • 1 cup Lactaid cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup fat free ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup fat free shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1//8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp reduced fat grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 12oz box Ronzoni Smart Taste elbows,cooked
  • 1 8oz Macaroni Tofu Shirataki Noodles *

WP_003291Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat the evaporated milk in a saucepan over low heat. Add the cheeses until they melt, stirring constantly. Stir in the nutmeg, pepper, and salt. Remove the cheese sauce from the heat. Add the cooked pasta to the cheese sauce and mix well.

Pour the mixture into a 2-quart casserole dish that has been sprayed with non stick cooking spray. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake the casserole for 15 minutes until the top is browned.

Top with what ever you’d like~ tomatoes, tuna, peas, more cheese, mustard (Barry puts ketchup on his, I don’t get it, but then again, I have some odd taste buds, too)!

*Since the recipe called for 1 lb of pasta, and the box only comes in 12oz, I improvised with the low cal, low carb option.

I decided to kick things up and made a toppings bar: WP_003293

  • diced tomatoes
  • sauteed bell pepper
  • sauteed onions
  • Morning Star ground soy crumbles, or ground beef, seasoned with taco seasoning
  • can of tuna fish seasoned with old bay
  • steamed green peas

Wow! I was so paranoid about the outcome of this dish! There are just so many different seasoning and ingredients, I did not know what I should season this with! The above recipe is a perfect mac and cheese for the simple soul and the best to dress up! Its not an abundantly creamy like a Kraft mac, but I loved the homemade taste and consistency!

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I topped mine with a bit of everything, except the crumbles ( I saved that for the men). The veggies the bowl so colorful and added so much flavor!

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To make this recipe even more meaningful to me, my mom informed me that Macaroni and Cheese was one of my grandpop’s favorite dishes! Today marks 8 years ago that he passed away. This is for you, poppop! I hope you would have liked this dish as much as we did!  We miss you and we love you!