Hot Chocolate

Seriously, though, who doesn’t love hot chocolate? I mean, the whole concept of hot cocoa, next to the fire place, with cookies just screams Christmas!

December 12 was National Cocoa Day. I, therefore, made pancakes….

WP_004887Hot Chocolate Protein Pancakes

serves 1

  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1 packet hot chocolate, reduced calorie, diet or fat free
  • 2 Tbsp cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute, or 2 egg whites
  • dash cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Blend in a food processor until completely smooth. Spoon the batter onto a warm pan, over medium heat, sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Flip and cook accordingly.

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Marshmallows are a classic hot chocolate topper, so I tried adding a few mini marshmallows to the pancakes and found that the mallows melted when you flip them. SO, out came the fluff! I topped these chocolatey pancakes with some fluff, that melted over the cakes and added the perfect sweetness!

Heck! Hot Chocolate is so good, Tom Hanks sings a song about it!

Hope that made you smile ¬†ūüôā

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!

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.

Good Ideas with Daddy

Once again, I woke up with a recipe in my head. Dad, too, woke up with a breakfast in mind. We combined our ideas and it was fantastic!

I prepped everything at my house and walked to my dads to start our Sunday. By the way, “Get Ready” by the Rare Earth is a great power walking song.

Dad bought these Honey Ham steaks off the managers rack for like 69 cents and really wanted that with eggs. That sounded pretty darn tasty to me and I knew this concoction in my head would play perfectly with the sweet and salty ham.

Blondie Protein PancakesWP_004361

  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 2 eggs whites, or 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1/2 Tbsp SF FF Butterscotch pudding mix
  • 1/2 Tbsp PB2, or 1 tsp creamy PB
  • 2 Tbsp cottage cheese
  • splash of water
  • 1 tsp Toffee bits (optional)

Blend all, except bits, in a food processor until smooth. The PB and pudding makes this batter a bit thick, so I recommend a splash of water. Spray a heated and sprayed skillet. Fold in toffee bits if desired,  and dollop the batter and use the back of the spoon to spread batter.

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In my opinion, these dollar stacks did not need butter or syrup. I drizzled the slightest bit of SF syrup over it. Just like I expected, the salty sweet honey ham paired perfectly with the salty sweet butterscotch and peanut butter!

Breakfast was packed with protein and deliciousness, and was completed with a mug of coffee.

Following breakfast, I dove into household chores, like laundry, flipping the mattress, changing the bed linens, and over all, house cleaning. We then ran a few errands, while listening to the Eagles/Dallas game on the radio. Upon arriving back home, I had a bit of a chill. Its a beautiful sunny day, but still breezy. I really don’t know I’m complaining about a little 10 mph wind, when yesterday I had 120 mph wind whipping at me body…

Either way, another daddy-daughter combo idea came into fruition. “Have you had those pumpkin pie pop tarts, yet?” dad asked. Nope. “Why don’t you throw one in the toaster to hold us over until dinner.” Hey, want to split a mug of hot chocolate? “Sure.”

Two words: Good Ideas!

The pairing of the warm, toasted poptart, which actually did taste like pumpkin pie, and the warmth of my special hot chocolate was absolutely perfect to warm us both up! I mean, it sounds so simple but I’m still impressed. Haha!

After watching a terrible Eagles performance and finishing up a bunch of cleaning, dad had another good idea. I say its a good idea because I’ve been craving sushi! He had been craving the Chinese Buffet. And, after all, it is International Foods Week. Mexican yesterday, Asian today. We met Barry for dinner at the Hibachi Grill and Buffet. Sunday dinner is the best time to go because they amp up the seafood selection! I loaded up on sashimi and vegetables! I hit up the raw bar and I hit it hard! Mussels, tuna, salmon… and then green beans, shrimp, mushrooms, spinach and such from the hot plates.

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I was starving and, oh, so, happy, with our decision to some out to the buffet! MMM I was in veggie and sushi heaven… times 3!

 

Middle Names

The Highs and Lows, The Hots and Colds

With everything going on at home, I went back to my dads place after work, last night. On my way, dad called and asked for me to pick up Chinese. I agreed on the condition that he deseed a cucumber for me while I picked it up the food. I ordered the steamed veggies with chicken and a soup. Dad really loved the mix that I threw together for him, so much that we pulled out broccolini from the freezer and steamed them up. I was really proud of myself. I can’t feel bad about eating steamed vegetables. I was at my calories for the day. Okay, the fortune cookie out me over. Haha! To end on a sweet note, I made a mug of Diet Swiss Miss. Because I love you, readers so much, I’ll tell you my secret for irresistible hot chocolate… Cinnamon and vanilla extract.

With my belly full of veggie, not jelly, I ended the night with some daddy- daughter Monk time, as in we yawn and belch and attempt to watch the end of the episode.

The thing about eating disorders, depression, and just over female-ism is that you become almost plagued by highs and lows. I had a great night but as the night went on, anxiety  started to creep up.  I ignored it and fell asleep.

This morning, it wasn’t so easy to shun away. Sundays at dads usually begin with a nice omelet, meat, and coffee, but since I’ve had some late night splurges these last few days… Way to pray on my late night weakness, dad! (just kidding)

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It began with a toasted morning glory scone that I made a few month back ( they freeze pretty well) and a Dannon Light &Fit Toasted Coconut Vanilla Greek yogurt Blend,¬†and a mug of mocha.I love how the sweet coconut and carrots and earthy flax and figs¬†in my scone played off the sweet and tart¬†yogurt. The day began as normal for dad with scrapple, egg, and cheese sandwich, and a mug of coffee. The sandwich must have been pretty darn good because by the time I had toasted my scone and came to eat it, half of dad’s sandwich was already in his tummy. This was the only pic I was able to snap of it! Haha!

(Want to make a simple mocha? 1 packet of Diet Swiss Miss, stirred into a mug of hot coffee and 1 Splenda packet!)

I spent my morning at his place… but the pressure in my chest wasn’t going away. Before I left for work, I tried to be good, so I put a little PB on a slice of light rye. Stop freaking, Sammy! I headed off to work, knowing that what I packed for tonight was great, and praying no one was bringing in any treats!

WP_003322After finishing a bunch of work, my belly started to growl.¬† I switched it up a bit, tonight, with sugar free vanilla pudding, instead of chocolate, with grahams! (I know… I’m a rebel!) It hit the spot and held me over for the new few hours, while I was busy at work. Eventually, Claire pulled me out of busy¬†work to head down to the caf. I grabbed some condiments for dinner, a diet iced tea, and a decaf coffee, and headed back to my unit to finally enjoy my Amy ‘s Tofu Scramble Pocket for dinner!

WP_003323Since I have never had this before, I had no idea how it would take. While in the microwave, I sprinkled it with chili powder. (My history with tofu scrambles is that hot sauce and chili powder are necessary). A scoop of salsa? Hot sauce? Ketchup? Sweet and Sour Sauce? What is a girl to do? Try them all, duh!

I was surprised that I did not care for the hot sauce with this pocket, but the ketchup, the sweet and sour, and the salsa all were decent pairings. I really enjoyed this pocket and was surprised by how much I actually did like it! In fact, I told dad that I’m picking up another one when we go to Wholefoods, tomorrow!

I finished my late shift with a positive attitude, happy with my eating for the day. I headed to 7-11 to grab myself a sugar free Key Lime Creme Slurpee! Ya know, ironically, despite my love of all things Key Lime flavored, I’ve never actually had Key Lime Pie!

WP_003324I do believe I will have to make a Bundo Key Lime Pie… what do you think?

My Sunday is winding down now, even though its technically Monday morning, now. As I am laying in bed, finishing this post, I wanted something sweet and crunchy. I remembered that on my grocery store trips, yesterday, I found these awesome 110 calorie drumsticks called Lil’ Drums! Theres a bunch of different flavors, but I got the Cinnamunch: vanilla ice cream with a touch of caramel and cinnamon, a small sprinkling of pralines and caramel drizzle. It was awesome and the perfect size! No guilt, just a crunchy cone, and sweet treat! It even had the chocolate plug at the bottom of the cone! Awesome!

Want to talk about hot and cold? Now I’m drinking a mug of decaf hot green tea to relax. Either way, today started a little rocky, emotionally, and is ending well!

Middle Names

The other day, I got into a conversation with a woman in the caf about names. “I have a Samantha at home, too,” she says to me, “but you go by Sammy?” I replied jokingly, “Yeah, except when im in trouble, then my mom yells, ‘Samantha Marie’!” “Thats her name, too,” she said!

What a coincidinck! It got me thinking about names. Every year, they, I don’t know who ‘they’ are, but they release the baby names of the year. I know a lot of the older names or new aged names have been popular the last few like Aiden and Emma. But what about middle names? Growing up, I knew many girls with the middle name, Marie, and at work last night, the nurses and I were talking. A lot of them have Marie as their middle names, too!

Samantha Marie, Kimberly Marie, Kristina Marie, Jillian Marie, Claire Marie…

I got curious and according to ChaCha, the most common female middle name is Marie, and the male is Alan. I wasn’t to surprised by Marie, but Alan kind of threw me for a loop. I was expecting Matthew or Joseph, but not Alan!

What’s your middle name?