Good Days

I have picked up quite a few shifts at my new job and today I realized I am finally getting the hang of things!

At first, I was constantly behind and never even got a chance to eat! Today, however, was completely different! I ate breakfast, lunch, got done everything I needed to do, not only on time, but early! Plus I went to Zumba! It was a really good day today!

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Backing up a bit, I just had to share some pictures with you. On National Spaghetti Day, January 4th , I whipped up some gravy, with a side of steamed broccolini, onion, and roasted red pepper. It was a beautiful and delicious meal!

On my pay day, I took Barry out to breakfast and treated him to the “Ich Liebe Dich” Omlete! It was massive and tasty! I, of course, ordered my banana fosters coffee to pair. The omelet was stuffed with sausage, smoked cheddar, sauerkraut, onion, and bell pepper, topped with a dollop of guacamole, with a side of toasted sourdough, apple butter, and fruit. And “just because,” we ordered the Vegan Peanut Butter Fudge Pudding Cake! Talk about dense and rich, and we couldn’t get enough! It was quite the combination of ingredients to make our Friday breakfast!

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That Saturday, the family celebrated the Bar Mitzfah of Frank’s nephew. It was the first Jewish celebration I had attended actually in Temple. The cantor had a a fantastic voice. I wanted him to serenade me with Frank Sinatra music. Haha! The Rabii took me by surprise, as she was female! I did not know that females could be Rabbis. It was definitely a new experience, as I tried to sing the hymns and and follow along.

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Following the two hour ceremony, we drove about 10 minutes to the luncheon, that was more like an afternoon of food! It was like a 4 course meal! It began with appetizers of fried calamari, eggplant rollatini, and mozzarella rolls stuffed with prosciutto and roasted red peppers. the Eggplant was my favorite!

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This was followed by salad and penne a la vodka! I kept picking out the peas! It was delicious!

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The waitress took our orders. James, one of my brothers, and I could not decide between the chicken and the bass so we decided to split! I ordered the chicken piccatta with double veggies, and James got the Chilean Sea Bass. The bass was perfectly cooked and I loved the lemon of the piccata sauce!

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Dinner, as if that was not enough, was followed by an array of cookies, pastries, and the above cake, which was spectacular! I am not an icing girl, but I would have licked the cake clean! Despite a day filled with food, I was incredibley proud of my self control, portions sizes, and overall eating!

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Mozel Tov, Evan!

FYI: This is how excited I get for Zumba!

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Magical Meat?

Last night, I cried to my parents. I cried because everything I eat haunts me. It doesn’t matter what I eat… rice cake, vegetables… Honestly, thats all I’ve really eaten the past few days.

I’ve worked night shift the last two nights, and between the two shifts, I managed to eat a ton of raw veggies from the salad bar and 1, yes, one, complete Amy’s frozen meal. In all honesty, 240 calories of vegetables and protein, is good for a frozen entree. Amy’s Black Bean and Cheese Enchilada meal hit the spot. It had a combination of my favorite foods: beans, rice, cheese, and vegetables!

In fact, Frank has been making pilaf dishes all week long and I keep stealing nibbles out of the pot. I feel so guilty when I eat carbs like rice, beans, ans quinoa because I just want to eat it all! I miss it!

I cried to  my dad on the phone about how I longed to bite into a sandwich, a burger, something with meat! Again, I barely eat meat because of calories. I snack so much and I’m so insatiable and have so much anxiety, that I just snack. And that’s how I get into calorie trouble.

Whats worse, is that when I get this way, and get in these funks…

I want to eat everything, but I hate myself no matter what I eat.

I isolate myself.

And everyone who tries to help me, even the ones who I ask for their help, become my enemies. Especially my dad. I know they can’t stand this mind game of mine, but I don’t like it either. I don’t want to go through what I went through this time last year. NO WAY!

After work, this morning, I felt like life was on my side. The weather this week has been bitter cold and today was perfect November running weather! Thank you, God! I was pumped. I did some Refrain Running to drop off my rent and then down to Fresh Thymes.

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I really love making this part of my Friday routine! Starting my weekend with a run, today was about 2.1 miles, Bananas Foster coffee, and good company in a mellow corner cafe, puts me into a wonderful mindset!

I love buying my dad breakfast from the ladies at Fresh Thyme, too! Today, I ordered dad “The Epitome of Fabulosity with Vegan Sausage.” Dad really enjoyed the vegan sausage, red onion, and garlic and chive Lancaster cheddar on sprouted grain English muffin! I think he really enjoys the corner shop and Friday coffee tradition, as well. I adored the sprouted grain english muffin!

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After arriving back home, I headed off to my Vagina Monologue auditions, and followed it up with some strolling on Main Street in Downtown Newark. Being in such a good mood, I asked dad if he wanted to go out for dinner. It was also meant as a bit of a peace offering. Last night, dad and I quarreled, repeatedly, about food.

WP_004659Dad has had a gift card to Famous Daves for months. And for all of those months, I’ve been putting it off. I didn’t actually wind up eating until about 1230pm, when I surprised dad at work. He had a packet of Cup-A-Soups, which was only 50 calories, and some salsa, which I added to the soup. Even after the soup, I was still hungry!

I used all my self-control to push away the urge to eat anything else, knowing dad, Barry, and I would be eating at Famous Dave’s (not exactly the golden standard for healthy eating).

I planned ahead, and dad was so pleased that we were finally at the restaurant,  that he let me order something small and nibble off his and Barry’s meals. Since we had the gift card, dad ordered “Traditional Chicken Wings and “Burnt Ends as the starter. I had two wings and a few nuggets of meat. We all love trying to out-spice each other with the assortments of sauces!

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I ordered a cup of Dave’s Famous Chili and a side of “Firecracker Green Beans” (neither of which were exceptionally noteworthy). Barry ordered “The Manhandler,” which was actually much better sounding than it was. (The Hell-Fire Pickles were pretty darn awesome, though!) Dad, on the other hand, ordered a monster of a burger. I took one bite, and I felt like I could breath. Suddenly, the BBQ sauce on face and the crumbs on the plate, magically took away  my anxiety, for those brief moments of burger bliss.

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Barry had to leave dinner early for work, and when I returned to my dad, at the table, he told me how proud he was of me. I know I’m a “Daddy’s Girl,” but I do everything and anything to make him happy. It kills me, it physically hurts my heart, when I hurt him. I know that every time I let this eating disorder creep back up and take control, it hurts him.

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Seeing him smile at me, taking a picture of me with this mammoth of a burger, feeling this positive energy radiating off my dad… it is an amazing feeling! “Please, babe.. take one more bite…” No, I’m good, dad… “Please? For me…”

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I savored every second of this bite, focusing on every flavor and texture of “The Ultimate Brisket Burger”: the crisp and salty jalapeno bacon, the melted sharp American cheese, the juicy beef of the burger melting in my mouth, and the sweet, tangy sauce coating the pulled pork, all between the crumbling corn bread bun.

Oh my gosh… this post sounds like food porn…

It’s Bacon… Brunch!

Today’s brunch features yesterday’s chicken soup, and a recipe I found on Wholefoods.com, that I immediately knew I needed to make!

I woke up nice and early to get the soup back on the stove and  and the bread in the oven, only to find Frank had used the last of the grated Parm! He was a good sport, though, and quickly ran out to the store to pick some up.

Bacon Bread

altered from Wholefoods

makes 24 thin slices

  • 8 slices turkey bacon, choppedWP_004611
  • 1 3/4 cup organic 100% whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup finely chopped baby kale
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat grated Parmesean cheese
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp ground thyme
  • 1/3 cup flax milk
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup liquid egg substitute

Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray a 9-x5-inch loaf pan, heavily, with non stick cooking spray; set aside. Cook chopped bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat until just crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer bacon to a medium bowl, and add flour, greens, cheese, baking powder, salt, pepper, and thyme. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, oil, applesauce, and eggs. Add flour mixture and fold together just until combined. Transfer to prepared pan and bake until cooked through, 30 to 35 minutes.

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Set aside to cool and settle until warm. Flip the loaf from the pan and carefully slice.

Nutrition: (per slice, 1/24 recipe)

Calories: 54, Fat: 1.3g, Sat. Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 4.6mg, Sodium: 140.2mg, Carbs: 7.7g, Fiber: 0.8g, Sugar: 0.2g, Protein: 2.8g

The soup and bread combo was a hit and almost everyone had seconds! I was lucky to have both my little brothers over for brunch, today, and they went to town on the bread. Wholefoods recommended serving the tea bread with fig jam, I figured the apple butter in the refrigerator would suffice.

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The next time, I’d like to try a little liquid smoke or something to add a little flavor to the turkey bacon…

Following brunch, dad and I squeezed in a catch before the Eagles/Redskins game! Go EAGLES!!! We won!

Around dinner time, I got smacked with a hanckering! Ever since dad and I split “The Julian” from Fresh Thymes, I’ve been thinking about sauerkraut. And with Frank making black beans and rice the other night, I wanted beans. I would up creating an odd quesadilla that hit the spot!

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I threw fat free refried beans, sauerkraut, fat free shredded cheddar cheese, and salsa on a sun-dried tomato wrap! I topped it with chili powder and hot sauce!

In Bulk

I had three goals today, all of which I accomplished!

  • Exercise
  • Make soup
  • Make today better than yesterday

I woke up and began making today’s recipe. I figured that it could simmer while I went to my Zumba toning class. I arrived at Zumba toning only to find out it had been cancelled! I guess thats what happens when you don’t check your facebook…

Nonetheless, I was determined to be active! As I drove home, I thought of what I could do and the chores I needed to do. Well, I need to pick up flour for tomorrow’s recipe… I decided to take the opportunity to continue to train for a 5K and ran 2.6 miles down to The Riverfront, where the ShopRite is. I always enjoy mixing up my running trails. Its like 5 Gum.. It “stimulates” my senses! Haha. I just enjoy the different scenery, smells, people….

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I was so proud of myself for making it there in 35 minutes, as opposed to the navigators estimate of 58! Yay for Refrain Running!

Frank picked me up and I treated him to a breakfast of “The Kim” from Fresh Thymes (bagel, cream cheese, onion, tomato, and lox), and grabbed a cinnamon coffee for myself. When I arrived back home, I whipped up a Black Forrest bowl, topped with Gnu’s Espresso Chip, and spent some time sending out resumes, and checking my email.

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  • 1/4 cup frozen cherries
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Splenda packet
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp rum extract

It was just what I needed to fuel my day even further! Suddenly, I was Suzy Homemaker! I did tons of work! I began vacuuming and suddenly I realized this kitchen floor needs to be cleaned. I got on my hands and knees and began to scrub away. We have a textured floor and so much dirt gets stuck. Such a pain in the butt! Then, the old girl, Beauty, peed on the carpet. Poor baby. After I used the carpet cleaning machine to clean up the pup’s mess, decided the carpet could use a one over, too! Next thing I knew, the carpet was scrubbed and smelling good!

WP_004608It was also a good today because I had a lunch, a dinner, and a snack! Yes! Normalcy!

Dinner was a chicken cheese steak with onions, ketchup, and cheddar! The day flew by! I couldn’t believe how quickly it went! I ate like a real person, kept busy, got shopping done, cleaned the floors, did some laundry, and cooked one heck of a brunch for tomorrow!

In my opinion, cold weather has the best food! Sure I love fruits and veggies fresh from the garden, but I love chilies, soups, dumplings, turkey, pumpkin, and, hello, Christmas cookies! This is one of those recipes that means Jack Frost is in the air! Its a set and forget recipe, minus the crock pot, that yields beaucoup (boo-koo) amounts of soup! This family has no clue how to cook for a family… we cook for an army! We freeze this stuff and eat it year-round, but its usually gone by March… I use a 32 cm pot, about a 2-3 gallon pot, with lid.

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Chicken and Barley (Noodle) Soup??????????????

  • 10 chicken thighs
  • 2 cups carrots, chopped
  • celery, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp dried pot herb*
  • 2 cups uncooked barley
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper, to taste
  • abobo, to amp up the flavor, if necessary**

Place chicken, water (to the top, about 40 cups) , carrots, celery, and pot herb*, cover, and simmer over lowest heat for 3 hours. In the meantime, bring a pot of water to a boil and add barley. Boil the barley, skimming off the starch as it forms, for about 8 minutes. Drain and rinse the barley, return to the pot with water, bring to a boil, again. Skim off the starch, boil for another 8 minutes, rinse and drain, until the water is clear.

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After 3 hours, the chicken will begin to float to the top of the pot, as will fat and marrow byproducts. With tongs, remove the chicken thighs and set aside, allowing to cool. While the thighs are cooling, add ketchup, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Remove the skin and bones from the thighs, and discard. Shred the chicken with your fingers, removing any fat or grissel. Return the shredded chicken to the pot, as well as the drained barley, recover and allow it to simmer for another 2 hours.

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Your heart and waistline will thank you.

Your heart and waistline will thank you.

Optional, but highly recommended: Working in batches, spoon the soup into containers and refrigerate. This allows grease and fats to float to the top and solidify, so it can be removed. This may take a few hours, I recommend letting sit over night. Skim the fat off the top and discard. Return all skimmed containers back to the pot, cover, and heat through.

If you are a noodle person, boil some pasta, we use farfelle (AKA bow tie). Once al dente, drain and rinse the pasta and divide amongst the bowls. It can also be served, as is! Ladle the soup on top, and finish with a sprinkle of reduced fat grated Parm!

WP_004702*Pot herb: Pot herb is, technically, any green grown for the use of its leaves, including kale, collards, parsley, ect. Typically, mom and I use fresh pot herb, which is hard to find, but some grocery store have it in the produce department. If using fresh, place in a paper bag over night before using. Snip off most  of the pepper, with just a piece of the pepper still in tact, and throw the whole thing in there! If using dry, place two tablespoons in a cheese cloth and create a spice ball, and throw the whole thing in!WP_004607

**Abodo: The broth in this recipe is from scratch and sometimes the chicken flavor may not shine through. If this is the case, sprinkle some adobo in, to taste. It brings out all the flavors in the soup!

Sorry bloggers! Its a huge vat and goes pretty quickly! A rough estimate would be around 135 calories per serving. Even without the noodles, its keeps you seriously full!

Slacker Blogger

Brisk Awakenings

After dinner, Tuesday night, I was a bit manic. I decided the best thing to do would be to go to bed. Thank goodness I did because at 1220am I got a phone call from work.

“Hey, are you okay?”

Yeah. Is everything alright?

“You were on the schedule for 11p-7a and its not likeyou to not show. We were getting worried about you.”

I didn’t have that in my schedule and I felt terrible! I made to work in under 40 minutes! I have NEVER done that before and felt just awful about leaving my team hanging!

WP_004579While I made a mug of coffee, I began stressing about food.Oh man, I already ate, but I can’t go through my shift without eating… Dad suggested a salad! Genius! I quickly tossed carrots, spinach and a cherry pepper in a container and ran off to work.

If the coffee didn’t wake me up the bitter cold of midnight did! Brrr, baby!

At 3am, we sat down to eat, and I added mushrooms, onions, and beets from the caf to round out my salad. I got to try out my new salad dressing, too! Walden Farms put out a few new dressings and the idea if a Balsamic Pear sounded spectacular! It really was good! It was probably the sweetest salad dressing I’ve ever had, so I did not need a lot of it!

I’ve worked three night shift this week. Some other featured meals of the week were Three-Shroom soup, which I made after work one morning, protein hot chocolate, and To-Go Tuna.

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On a side note, I’ve never had this tuna before, and, frankly, I was a bit skeptical. Pre-packaged tuna salad?? I couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed the 90 calorie pack! I mixed it with BBQ sauce and honey mustard, and served it over some veggies from the caf.

WP_004590After my final 12 hour shift of the week, I finally figured it out! I need to keep a 100 calorie pack with me for that 5am hungry strike! I couldn’t shake how hungry I was, no matter how much water I drank. Luckily, Brittany came to the rescue with Special K. Note to self: get 100 calorie pack for work!

Slacker

WP_004591I hate when I don’t blog! The last few days have been filled with food paranoia! In fact, when I woke up from a nap, after work this morning, I grabbed pretzel sticks and peanut butter, and started feeling the heavy chest. Despite being so tired, I couldn’t be home. I was thankful my iPod was in the car. Since it was Friday, and my Friday Tradition of Banana’s Foster coffee has been setting me for a good weekend, I took a round about way with some Refrain Running to Fresh Thymes to complete a total of 2.5 miles! I sat at Fresh Thymes chatting with the girls, sipping my coffee, reading some local mags, and jotting down things on a napkin to shut my busy brain up.

I have also found myself rediscovering my love of PB&J! Weather on crackers, toast, applesauce, rice cake… heck I dipped a grape in my Better n Butter! If thats not the epitome and PB&J!

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To make up for my blogging laziness, heres a new soup recipe to keep you toasty this winter! I based most of this off a South Beach Recipe.

Three-Shroom Soup

makes 4 cups

  • 1/4 ounce mushrooms, porcini, dried (about 1/3 cup)WP_004597
  • 3 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 8 ounces baby portabello mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 20 ounces cauliflower, florets, frozen or fresh and steamed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppercorns, black, freshly ground
  • 4 tablespoon non fat sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  •  1/8 to 1/4 tsp thyme, to taste
  • 1 4oz can of mushroom stems and pieces
  • 1 tsp parsley

In a small saucepan, bring the porcini mushrooms and 1/2 cup of the broth to a simmer over high heat. Remove from the heat and set aside. Spray a medium nonstick saucepan with non stick cooking spray, add the baby bellas, onion, and garlic, and cover over low heat. Cook/steam the vegetables, stirring often, until softened. Meanwhile, place the frozen cauliflower in a strainer and allow it to thaw, OR if using fresh, mildly steam in the microwave and drain excess water.

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Add the remaining 3 cups broth to the soup. Drain the porcini in a strainer held over the saucepan so the soaking liquid is added to the soup. Add the cauliflower, salt, pepper, and thyme, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 minute to heat the cauliflower through.

Meanwhile, cut the porcini into slivers, and then roughly chop. Transfer the hot soup in batches to a blender or food processor, and purée until smooth. After the first blending, add the sour cream, nutmeg and chopped porcini mushroom to the processor. While the soup is blending, drain the can of mushroom pieces and roughly chop. Return the incredibly pulverized and smooth soup back to the pot, over medium-low heat, and add the drained, chopped mushrooms and parsley.

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Heat the soup through and serve. Dad simply added salt and pepper, to taste, and asked for more, while Barry paired his bowl with a few shots of hot sauce and a grilled ham and cheese.

Good Feeling Friday

Today was an all around feel good day, right from the very start!

Sometimes the hardest part if working out or going for a run, is actually getting out of bed. It is most definitely November in Delaware and my body knew it. My alarm went off at 730 and it took almost 20 minutes to convince my body to get out of bed. It was so toasty and warm!

WP_004530I finally threw the covers off and ran to my robe. I suited up in pink and black, this morning, and layered up with leggings and tights, as well as gloves and a head band. I knew that preparing for the chill would keep me more motivated. The one negative? My running pants stayed up but the rights underneath kept sliding down… Ha!

At least I was warm. I used my iPod to complete about 2 miles of refrain running to grab some coffee. 2 miles for coffee, Sammy? That must be some good coffee! Oh it is! For the past 3 weeks, I have made it to Fresh Thymes on Friday mornings for their banana fosters coffee! While there, chatting with Jenn and Steph, the fab chicks that run the cute corner cafe, I gave dad a call and he met me for breakfast and coffee.

After browsing the menu, it was hard to decide what to get! Everything sounded amazing! We decided on “The Julian.” I may have been a bit sneaky in this selection. Dad didn’t bring in his glasses and couldn’t read the print and he asked me to read what was in the wrap. I may have just said “sausage” rather than “seitan sausage.” Whoops!

None the less, we ordered “The Julian,” and chatted up the ladies, while sipping on our coffees. The smell of our food cooking was fantastic, and I kept peaking over at the griddle to check out what was awaiting us! The wrap was huge! Thank goodness we split it! Served with a slice of apple and tabbouleh salad, we dug into our breakfast of seitan sausage, sauerkraut, apples, onion, spinach, and spices. Delicious!

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After dad raved about the wrap, I announced, “Ladies and gentleman, my father has eaten tofu and seitan in less than 24 hours!!!” which got some smiles and chuckles from the hungry breakfast folk.

I was stuffed for a long time after my half wrap! My day was kicked off with tons of good feelings! I was full and knew it! I had breakfast with my dad! Dad had eaten two healthy meals in less than 24 hours! I had accomplish 2 miles in November! I couldn’t wait to see what the rest of the day would bring!

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Dad drove me home, after breakfast, and I immediately began to tidy up. Another thing to make me feel accomplished! I met up with Barry at the Farmers Market, where I picked up a bunch of goodies. After the radishes the other night at work I picked up a pack of radishes for snacking, which I pretty much finished off by the end of the night. I also picked up a bunch of orange and red bell peppers!  Throughout my shopping, I picked up a few things for Beauty! Yes, Rachel Ray, apparently, makes dog food, and, yes, that is doggie ice cream, both of which, Beauty loved! What a spoiled little pup!

WP_004535It was a day of smart snacking and tasty treats. Frank, for dinner, whipped up pasta and seafood sauce! How could I resist? I heated up a package of Tofu Shirataki noodles and topped it with the sauce! MMMM! I sliced up a bell pepper and used that to pick up the remained gravy at the bottom of the bowl!

The night is closing with some hot chocolate and ginger snaps- shocker!