Warm Bellies

Delaware is chilly and I need to warm up! Using Hungry-Girl’s idea, I whipped up this baby!

Brothy Chick n’ Dumplings

serves 8

Broth:

  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 3/4 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup carrots, choppedWP_005191
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 (14oz) cans reduced sodium, 98% fat free chicken broth
  • 12 oz chicken breast
  • 3 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground black Pepper
  • 1/8 plus 1/16 tsp Ground rosemary
  • 3/4 tsp Thyme
  • 2 cups peas, frozen or 2 cups cut green beans,frozen (optional)
  • 1 (10.75oz) can 98%fat free cream of chicken condensed soup

Dumplings:

  • 1 1/2 cups Bisquick Heart Smart
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground rosemary
  • 2/3 cup flax milk

WP_005185Spray to bottom of a large pot with non-stick cooking spray. Ad celery, carrots, onions, and garlic, over medium-high heat, and cover to sweat the vegetables, about 6 – 8 minutes. Stir the vegetables, add chicken broth, chicken breasts, mushrooms, salt, rosemary, thyme, pepper, bay leaf, and water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Remove chicken and transfer to a bowl. Re-cover the pot, and let contents continue to simmer. Meanwhile, use two forks to shred the chicken breast. Add shredded chicken to the pot. Stir in the can of condensed soup and, optional, frozen peas. Stir thoroughly and raise heat to medium low; return stew to a simmer.

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While the broth is forming, preheat oven to 350F, whisk dumpling ingredients, and dollop on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Dollop the batter onto the baking pan (I used a cookie scoop), to get a minimum of 16 dumplings. Bake for 5 minutes, then transfer to simmering pot. Recover the pot, and continue to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.

Scoop  1 1/2 cup, plus two dumplings into a bowl. I topped our bowls with a little grated cheese!

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It was just what I needed to both warm and fill me up! I won’t lie… I kept sneaking the leftovers for the rest of the night!

Oh Snap!

Since I start my new job today, I decided to try to get as much baking done last week as I could. Are you ready for some cookie recipes??? Beacue today’s post has three! Yes, THREE!

Last year, dad and I tried our hands at gingerbread cookies. We used Hungry Girls recipe and loved it! I have a weakness for ginger snaps, AKA spiced wafers. These cookies utilize molasses, which I don’t have a need for. In an effort to make ginger snaps, I tweaked HG’s recipe to have a pseudo-ginger snap recipe. Dad and I were quite pleased with the results.

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  • 1 14.5 oz pkg Betty Crocker Gingerbread cookie mix
  • 1 cup Fiber One bran cereal
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3 packets Splenda
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup pure pumpkin
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 3T Tbsp sugar free pancake syrup
  • 3 Tbsp whole wheat flour, divided, for dusting

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a food processor, grind Fiber One to an ultra fine consistency. Transfer crumbs to a medium bowl, along with spices, Splenda, baking powder, and cookie mix. Set aside.

In a separate small bowl, combine pumpkin with water and syrup. Mix well and fold into dry ingredients. Combine thoroughly. It may take a bit of elbow grease, which is why I like to use the kitchen aide. Once combined, use hands to knead dough into two balls. Working in manageable batches, sparingly use the flour to dust the dough, rolling pin, and flat surface, and roll the dough to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness.

Depending on the size of the cookie cutters, you’ll probably have to re-roll the trimmings for more cookies.) Transfer cookies to the baking sheets and bake 10 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.

Once fully cooked, either dig in, decorate, of both!

I colored two tablespoons of cream cheese frosting (my fave) with green coloring and decorated my cookies. I only used about half the icing.

I had some very snappy dressing teddy bears, as well as a Beary Gates, cousin to Bill Gates, Dr. Bones, and Spock, as well as business men and nurses and doctors.

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Yes, I’m well aware of how weird I am… But you’ll thank me when you bite into these cookies!

This is one of my favorite recipes this holiday season!

Yesterday, I realized I had a bag of Betty Crocker Pumpkin Spice Cookie mix, so I decided to experiment… And hence, the following two recipes were created and eaten!

Pumpkin GingersnapsWP_004947

makes 28 cookies

  • 1 bag Betty Crocker Pumpkin Spice Cookie mix
  • 1 packet Splenda
  • 1 Tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup pure pumpkin
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp sugar free pancake syrup
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute

Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine all the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients, one at a time.

Using a 1/2 Tbsp, scoop the batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes and transfer to cooling rack.

The smell of the ginger is fantastic when you pop open the oven door!

Pumpkin Butter CookiesWP_004949

makes 26 cookies

  • 1 bag Betty Crocker Pumpkin Spice Cookie mix
  • 2 Tbsp pure pumpkin
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp sugar free pancake syrup
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute

Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine the wet ingredients and the PB until thoroughly blended. Add the dry ingredients and mix well.

Using a 1/2 Tbsp, scoop the batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes and transfer to a cooling rack.

Savory and Sweet Sunday

Since this is my weekend off from work, its another Brunch Sunday with the family. Barry and I woke up and headed over to my moms house.

I had planned on making Hungry-Girl’s Crustless Pumpkin Quiche Supreme. I though about it, and realized I needed to make two pans. So rather than two of the same, I played around in the kitchen to create a  Sweet Pumpkin Quiche to match HG’s savory one!

Sweet Pumpkin Quiche

makes 8 slices

  • 4 Laughing Cow Light Swiss Cream Cheese wedges, room temperature
  • 1/8 tsp ground gingerWP_004486
  • 1 1/2 tsp Splenda brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Splenda packets
  • 1 15oz can pure pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup frozen whole cranberries
  • 1 Tbsp chopped pecans
  • 1 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar free pancake syrup

Preheat the oven to 350 F. In the meantime, break up the cream cheese wedges and use the back of a spoon to smooth it out. Add the Splendas, spices, and vanilla. Once combined, mix in the pumpkin. Fold in the cranberries, then mix in the eggs.

Spray a 9-in pie pan with non stick cooking spray. Pour the pumpkin mixture in the pie pan and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, and evenly coat the top with syrup. Place back in the oven and continue to bake for another 30 minutes. Move the pan to the broiler and broil for about 10 minutes, until the top begins to brown and caramelize. Remove from the oven and allow the quiche to sit for a few minutes before slicing into it.

It was like breakfast pumpkin pie!!!

MMM Savory and Sweet!

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I put syrup out on the table, but I don’t think it needed a darn thing! I served breakfast up with some breakfast potatoes with garlic, onions, peppers, and spices (sort of like a Potatoes O’Brien).

Brunch was a hot according to my panel! I guess its time to formally introduce you to the panel:

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My dad, Tom, Frank, my step-dad, Dom, one of my little brothers, and Barry, my boo 🙂

They all have different taste preferences, except my dad and Barry… they put hot sauce on everything!

The Sunday got even better, when Barry joined dad and I for a post-brunch catch! Luckily, I had an extra glove!

The day was a typical Sunday. Barry and I watched a movie. Since the weather was chilly, Barry and I were in the mood for chili! While he ran to the closest Wendy’s for chili, while I browned up some 97%  fat free hot dogs, and onions. I snuck a soy dog on Barry’s plate and he really enjoyed it!

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The evening was finished up with some job hunting, hot mocha, gingersnaps, and the Eagles/Raiders game!

I love Sundays!

The Caramel Custard Experience

Thursday

I had a tricky time sleeping last night… just too much nervous energy and making mental notes of things to say in my interview.

Today was the day I have been looking ofrward to for over 2 years: interviewing for a nursing position on my unit. There were so many candidates! I believe there are 12 people interviewing for 2 positions! Talk about pressure!

I woke up before my alarm went off and took the early rising as a sign to be productive. I turned on OnDemand and completed a few 10 minute workouts, and followed it with some hula hooping. I felt energized, and get showered and stressed for my interview with a clear mind. The nerves did not kick in until I walked into the conference room, where I was greeted by 7 familiar faces: my 2 managers, the head CNA, and 4 nurses. I don’t think I stopped smiling the entire time! I bet I looked like a complete idiot! I couldn’t help it! Not only was getting this interview like a dream, but I felt great about my interview! I walked out feeling calm and confident. I pray that this is sign of good news to come!

Please keep me in your prayers.

Arriving home, I was surprised how hungry I was, despite my late night nervous eating, I whipped up a shake. Today is National Caramel Custard Day. I recalled a Hungry Girl recipe for quick caramel custard, but I thought of one myself to experiment with. My final decision was to make both and decide which one I liked best. I opted for the experiment for breakfast and assumed it would keep me full until my next meal, and that the unusal ingredient was add a different texture to the shake bowl.

  • 1/2 to 1 scoop vanilla proteinWP_004113
  • 1 sugar free Creme Brulee rice pudding cup
  • 2 tsp SF caramel syrup
  • water
  • ice
  • few dashes of cinnamon
  • Spinach and xanthum, optional

I was right! It kept me full until I later woke up from a nap to head off to work! I expected the rice in the rice pudding to add a thicker consistancy, but it actually just blened with everything else. I quite enjoyed it.

I was soo thankful to have slept this afternoon! I woke up feeling refreshed and pleased that my hair and makeup still looked great. Don’t you love when that happens? Especially if you wake up that way! It was time for the Hungry-girl version:

  • 1/2 to 1 scoop vanilla proteinWP_004117
  • 1/2 cup OIKOS non fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp SF caramel syrup
  • 1 Splenda packet
  • water
  • ice
  • few dashes of cinnamon
  • spinach and xanthum, optional

This one felt a little lighter, but I had to add sooo much xanthum to thicken it. Both were tasty! The rice pudding-based bowl was a bit thicker and sweeter, while the HG bowl had that Greek yogurt smoothie tartness.

WP_004118I thought the protein from the yogurt would keep me super full but after my rounds at work, I scarfed a Granny Smith! It was delicious, tart, and hit the spot! I also brought my Bubba Keg again, filled with coffee. I fell in love with a new sugar free creamer from Coffee Mate. The name “Italian Sweet Creme” caught my eye and when I read the nutrition label and saw it was on sale, it was a done deal! I haven’t regretted my decision! It soooo good!

So, fellow foodies, which do think would taste better? Try them out and and let me know!

Friday

WP_004115I was on the floor for the first 4 hours of my shift and spent the remaining 8 in the 1:1. Around 3am or so, I was happy to step out of the room to eat. I was pretty hungry! Either that, or I was really looking forward to my meal! I actually ate a meal of 250 calories! Thats a pretty big accomplishment for me on a night shift! I had packed a romaine salad and including a bunch of different add-ins: chopped pickles, cucumbers, onions, baby carrots, some roasted and unsalted sunflower seeds, bacon crumbles, and dried fruit. The dried fruit was something I forgot I had! It was a Raw Superfruit Mix by  Extreme Health USA. Before buying this blend, I had no idea some of these berries existed: mulberries, sweet and tart golden berries, goji berries, and blueberries. To finish off the salad, I warmed up the Tostito’s Cantina Chipotle Salsa. It was spectacular! I wanted something else throughout the remainder of my shift and ate a knock-off Apple Cinnamon Nutri-grain bar. I typically, don’t find these satisfying, but the mix up from my normal snacks made it pretty enjoyable.

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The killer of my shift was working with some of the nurses that I interviewed with earlier in the day. They were completely stone-walling me!  A hint!  Anything! Throw me a bone!

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!

Sweet 16

Today is a most wonderful day for this family! Beauty is 16, today! Can you believe it? My beautiful beagle is sixteen years old!

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When I was turning 6, my uncle worked for a company that tested on animals. He rescued his dog and for my 6th birthday, grabbed me her half sister: The most beautiful pup I’ve ever seen! I got her when she was just 6 weeks old and I feel so blessed to have 16 years with her, now!  It seems surreal! We weren’t sure if she was going to make it to her 16th birthday with the health problems she was having earlier this year, but we were all wrong!

This was a big day in our house and I was prepared to celebrate!

Our day began with… uh, oh… where are the eggs? We opened the fridge and had to run out to the store so we could have our omelets this morning. My girlfriend Maggie was here so I made breakfast for the three of us, plus a sandwich for dad for work.

I browned up some turkey sausage links while I cooked Barry a jalapeno and spicy cheese egg, which I served with the sausage on toast. HE was ballsy enough to try out new ghost pepper hot sauce on the sandwich, too! For Maggie and myself, I used the the liquid egg substitute, salsa, spinach, and chopped turkey sausage with fat free cheese. She enjoyed hers with ketchup, and I with hot sauce. My breakfast was completed with a mug of coffee, while Barry’s ending with a glass of milk to cut some of the fiery hot sauce.

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After assembling a shopping list, and dropping off dad’s breakfast sandwich at his work, we ran our errands and arrived to see the birthday girl! She was sleeping, of course, but her loud mommy woke her with balloons and kisses!

By far, Beauty’s favorite treat is peanut butter! Duh! Isn’t it every ones? Every year, we typically get a coffee cake or sticky bun to celebrate, but this year, I made a peanut butter creme pie, compliments of Hungry Girl. It was delish! We all were in PB heaven.

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While this was firming up in the freezer, the birthday girl got to lick the spoon… and the bowl, while her mommy made dinner.

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Today, also happens to by National Cheese Pizza Day. I had left my scale at Barry’s and made this without weighing a simple thing, only measuring spoons, same with the salads that accompanied dinner and the PB Creme pie. This was a big step for me. So much so that I needed to take a walk while it was baking…

The pizza was one of the best I’ve made yet! The humans loved it and went back for seconds. The canine of the house was treated to a special meal, as well. I found in a health magazine a while back a recipe for heart healthy food patties for dogs. Both meals were cooking.

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WP_003760Salmon Patties for Pups

makes 8 cakes

  • 1 14.75 can salmon
  • 3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs, or panko
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

Combine the first three ingredients and form 8 patties. In a hot skillet, drizzle with half the olive oil and brown one side. Drizzle the remaining oil and flip patties until the other side is browned and patties are warmed through.

These can be frozen and refrigerated.

She, too, wanted seconds! Its her birthday, so, of course, she got them!

Cheese Pizza

serves 4-8WP_003761

The Crust:

  • 1 medium to large cauliflower, chopped
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 3/4 cup shredded fat free mozzarella, further chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 2 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp minced)
  • 1/2 Tbsp cornmeal

The Topping:

  • 1/4 cup fat free ricotta
  • basil, to taste
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp pizza sauce
  • 1 cup fat free shredded mozzarella
  • granulated garlic, to taste

Steam the cauliflower with 1/3 cup water in a microwave safe bowl covered with plastic wrap. Microwave about 9 minutes. Carefully transfer the steamed cauli into a food processor and blend until the cauliflower is a rice consistency. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of “riced” cauliflower. Mix that with egg, cheese and spices. The mixture will form a dough like consistency. Sprinkle the cornmeal over the hot pizza stone or pizza pan. Spread the dough on a hot pizza stone and bake for about 20 min at 400 F.

Check, using a spatula, that the crust is not sticking to the pan/stone. Allow the crust to slightly cool while you lower the temperature of the over to 350 F. Once slightly cooled, top the crust with an even spread of ricotta, and sprinkle that with basil. Next, spread the pizza sauce, and, finally, the shredded mozzarella. Sprinkle the granulated garlic over the top and bake at 350 F for about 8 minutes.

Slice and serve.

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After our pizza and salads, we digested while Beauty took her full belly to Nap Time Land.

We eventually got the pup up, lit the candles, sang Happy Birthday, and dug in! She was so cute as she kept trying to lick the pan. This picture looks like she is trying to blow out the candles!

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She seriously loved her pie! We could not top watching how much she enjoyed it!

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Happy Birthday, Babygirl!

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Name Change

I am no longer Sammy Bundo. I am Sammy Bundo, R.N.!

Wednesday

This morning (Aug. 21, 2013) began with a phone call from Barry.

“I have question for you.”

I have one for you. Why are you up? (He just finished night shift)

“I had to pee, but it this Samantha [Bundo], Registered Nurse, License Number L1…….?”

What?! No!

“Yes!”

No!

My official license had been issued and posted on the State’s registry! I began screaming, smiling ear to ear! I called my parents and whipped up two shakes! For me, a Mixed Berry Colada. I’ve really been digging  my sugar free Coconut Torani. Yesterday was National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day and I was curious to see if I could make a Pecan Pie Shake:

  • 2 scoops chocolate protein mixWP_003603 WP_003604
  • 1/2 md apple, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp chopped pecans
  • 2 Tbsp sugar free pancake syrup
  • water
  • ice

Frank was really into it!

As we sipped our shakes, I called my managers at work to share the news! But, boy, did they have news for me! There is a very strong possibility that he has a job opening up on my unit for me! I am beyond excited! With all this adrenaline running, I could not fall asleep to rest for my 12 hour shift, tonight!

I laid in bed for like 4 hours before giving up and preparing a celebratory dinner! Frank had mentioned earlier in the week that he wanted Chinese food. I talked him out of the temptation and promised to make homemade for him later in the week. What better day to have a quick, and wonderfully indulgent meal, than in honor of a celebration?

Barry arrived at the house around 430pm with a nice little surprise, and my parents quickly followed behind him from work.

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I follow the Hungry Girl recipe to the T except for the egg and flour coating. Since I don’t, typically keep scallions in the house, I substitute them with chopped onion, and I always make sure to include the chopped onion and 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes to the sauce as it cooks and thickens. As for the coating, I find that 1/4 cup of liquid egg substitute  and 2 1/2 Tbsp whole wheat flour suffices for 1 1/4lb (20oz) of cut chicken breast.

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With the bit of mixed vegetables left over from the Chicken Pot Pie, I made a make-shift fried rice, I cooked 1 cup of brown rice and allowed it to cool. I added the rice to a skillet, along with soy sauce, sesame oil, ground ginger and garlic, left over vegetables, chopped onion and mushrooms. Lastly, I added the remaining egg from the drained chicken breast to the mix. To finish off the meal, I steamed broccoli and garlic.

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We finished socializing at dinner just in time for dad to walk me to my car and see Sammy Bundo, RN, off to work.

When I arrived at work, everyone was congratulating me. It turns out the managers had posted signs around our unit! They did a great job of killing the spelling of my last name, but its the thought that counts!

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I am finishing up my can of beets, finally, with another salad of onion, bacon tempeh, carrots, and Walden Farms Bleu Cheese dressing. A rice pudding came with, as an inevitable emergency end of shift snack. The end of shift snack actually became my 4-hours-in snack, while grahams became the end-of-shift snack.

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Thursday

WP_003614I spent my first 4 hours in my 1:1 from the other night, and the remainder of the night on the floor. The night felt like it was dragging. I was sleepy and cramping, and it felt like my coffees were switched with the decaf stuff! When 7 am came around, I was ready to roll! I stopped for an actual decaf and passed out on the couch. I felt bad because I was going to meet Barry at his house, but apparently my body had other plans.

I woke around 1pm to get something in my stomach. Since today is National Eat a Peach Day, and I didn’t have an actual peach, I had an Activia Greek Peach Orchard yogurt topped with sunflower seeds, and reheated what was left of the mornings decaf. I love the earthy, nuttiness the seeds add to yogurt!

I fell back asleep to wake around 5 pm. I didn’t have much of an appetite but my stomach was tossing from a menstrual migraine. I haven’t had one of these in years and i felt my forehead was bulging. I explained it to Barry like this:

steinYou know how Frankenstein has that big forehead, like with the protruding eyebrow looking things?

Yeah?

Its like that… like my forehead is taking over my head.

Your forehead feels like Frankenstein? Well, I’ve never heard a headache described quite like that before…

I wound up calling out of the shift that I had picked up. I toasted an cinnamon raisin breakfast thin, and spread it with cream cheese and sugar free blueberry preserves. I added chopped celery to one side, for crunch, and a slice of Canadian bacon, for salty protein, on the other. I ate it like a sandwich and it was delicious!

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As the night went on, the headache went awake, and my appetite, and cravings returned. I went with another Lil’ Drum to satisfy the crunchy sweet, and a side of pretzel sticks for the crunchy salty. I spent the remainder of the night watching Four Weddings. (I love this show!)

Back on Track

My last post was a bit all over the place. It was very manic-depressive. I’m sorry about that… like I said, “PMS… What a bitch!” Darn mood swings…

Set backs happen. How will I deal with it?

Listening to my body cues

“Theres scrapple in the fridge,” dad said to me as he left for work. I spent the night at dad house, last night, to complete our awesome DDDD (Daddy-Daughter Date Day). I wasn’t sure if I was hungry this morning, so I made a big cup of coffee to see if I was actually hungry or just thirsty. My large mug did a great job of curbing my appetite! I enjoyed the french vanilla coffee, while catching up on Spice Goddess. I love that show! Bal is really pleasant and bubbly and passionate about her native spices and traditions! Plus, I’ve really been interested in Indian cooking techniques, foods, and spices, and found a few things she made that I can’t wait to try my hands at!

Resuming my normal meals

Following the show and ignoring my inner scrapple-lover, I headed back to my mom’s house, where I enjoyed a refreshing Banana Cream Dannon Light & Fit Greek yogurt Blend, sprinkled with 1/2 tsp Chocolate PB2, and about 6 broken fat free pretzel sticks. I enjoyed the sweet and salty crunch that my PMS craves, and loved that it was filling and healthy.

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For a mid-day snack, a 90 calorie Fiber One Lemon bar did the trick, as did a mug of peppermint tea.

WP_003195Today it National Hot Dog Day! I’m a little excited about this because I’ve really been wanting hot dogs and baked beans! Ironically, I had planned on taking this as a meal to work tomorrow night, but no sense in denying this “holiday”! I pulled out a Hebrew National 97% fat free frank and a small can of fat free baked beans and ate mine in a bowl topped with chopped onion.

WP_003202Frank wanted it sandwich-style.

Go to Zumba

Following dinner, I had a bit of unsweetened applesauce and met my girlfriend, Maggie, at Zumba. I did not attend Zumba at all last week, and it makes me feel lost. I need it in my life. I also enjoy leading Zumba, as I did a few dances tonight. I love to look at their faces and I love knowing that my enthusiasm can power them through a workout, too!

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It was one humid hour, tonight! The AC is broke! We were drenched in sweat after the first dance. We looked like steamed lobsters by the end of the class. But, boy, were we feeling great!

Surround myself with positivety

Why else is today special? Not just because its National Hot Dog Day… Not just because its National Vanilla Ice Cream Day…. But because its Frank’s 56th Birthday! Before I left for Zumba, I whipped up a cake mug for him! Yay, Hungry-girl, for teaching me about cake mugs! I made a Raspberry Chocolate Chip Cake mug (recipe below).

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Zumba releases endorphins, which makes me happy. As does being with my friends. After sweating it out, I met Barry to do a little grocery shopping for the house, took a shower, and am currently in the midst of attempting some sleep. Surround yourself with positive people, places, events, and you’ll be positive too! Things just start to fall into place.

I typically do not eat after Zumba, but PMS was rearing its head. The entire trip to ShopRite I was thinking about peanut M&Ms. I resisted. We swung by 7 Eleven on the way home to down another bottle of water and while I was there, a light bulb went off! Special K Chocolatey Pretzel cereal bar! 90 calories, salty, sweet, crunchy…. Perfect!

Raspberry Chip Cake Mug

3 Tbsp yellow moist cake mix

1 Tbsp liquid egg substitute

1 1/2 Tbsp water

1/2 Tbsp Nestle mini semi-sweet morsels, or semi-sweet morsels, chopped

5 raspberries, sliced in half

2 Tbsp fat free Cool Whip, thawed

1/2 tsp sugar free, fat free Chocolate pudding mix

Combine everything except cool whip and pudding mix, and mix well. Spray mug or ramekin with nonstick cooking spray and pour cake mix in. Microwave for 1 minute and 15 seconds, or so*. Allow mug to cool, as it will be hot! Meanwhile, combine cool whip and pudding mix. Spread over cooled cake mug and enjoy!

*Microwaving chocolate chips is tricky business, as they tend to burn.

Calories: 179,  Fat: 3.1g, Sat. Fat: 1.9g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 270mg, Carbs: 35.2g, Fiber: 0g, Sugar: 18.9g, Protein: 3g

Idea: White Chocolate Chips, instead!

Happy Birthday, Frank!

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Long Awaited

I’ve been working for 4 years, each year increasingly harder. I’ve battled eating disorders, lost and rekindled relationships,  traveled the country with Phi Theta Kappa, started this blog, and so much more! On May 22, 2013, all my hard work payed off and I graduated with my Nursing degree. Now comes the time to celebrate! The days leading up to the party were filled with excitement and a list of things to do! I have been cooking, cleaning , and preparing for 3 days straight! It all paid off! The food, the people, the environment… everything was a success!

I had a vision on my party, the OCD was kicking in, and it worked out just the way I wanted it to! Friends and family surprised me and brought deviled  and pickled eggs, cookies,  huge tray of broccoli rabe, and my grandma’s  yummy coleslaw to the party. I, on the other had, was a cooking machine! I laid out veggie platter with non-fat onion dip, POPCORNERs (delicious) and fat free pretzels with homemade black bean and corn salsa (recipe to come), and homemade honey mustard dip (always a hit at the Bundo parties). I also prepared two trays of tomato pie, Hungry-Girl’s I Can’t Believe Its Not Potato Salad (crazy good), my moms seafood macaroni salad (recipe to come), a simple garden salad, and a big fruit salad!

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I was even surprised by how much my brothers helped out, too! Dom was cleaning the house and preparing the yard, and James made lime seasoned tortilla chips for the salsa I had made.

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The day before the party, dad and came over, and together, we made some incredible food! Dad grilled 20 lbs of sausage on the grill, while I sliced up endless onions, peppers, and mushrooms, and minced a ton of garlic! I love cooking with color! As the sausage settled, I cubed up chicken breast, seasoned it, and seared it.

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The end results were 3 trays of Sausage, Peppers, and Onions, and 2 trays of Chicken Spezzato! All of it went!

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My Aunt Dona contributed her famous deviled eggs, grandma, her coleslaw, Aunt Chrissy, a small lunch meat platter, Penny, Spicy Thai Noodles, and Uncle Eddie, his famous Lemon Ricotta Cookies. Gwyn, a woman I used to work with at my old job, brought pickled eggs (the only pickled eggs I’ll eat) and 5 bottles of Spumante! She said she wanted something for everyone to toast with!

My Aunt Cathy, and godmother, the baker in the family, asked what type of cake I wanted. I love her carrot cake and her cream cheese frosting, but not everyone likes carrot cake. So what did she do? She made cake pops! Not like that ball of batter on a stick… These were like push pops! She arrived early for the party, and we assembles small cupcakes sandwiched with frosting and berries and jimmies (or sprinkles, as many call it). Chocolate, vanilla, carrot cake, strawberry! Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries! She went all out! They were delicious and the perfect size to touch that sweet tooth! She is crazy talented! (If you’re in the area and want her contact info, message me or leave a comment).

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My dad said a toast, thanking everyone for coming, for their support throughout all my highs and lows, and how proud he was of my accomplishments! Gwyn surprised ma n jumped up, stating she wanted to make a toast, as well. Her toast was more of a blessing, to have God guide me through my nursing practice to care for his children. It really meant a lot to  me!

The house was decorated with the typical graduation gear, as well as various shades of green, my school color, and a couple pictures from the past year.

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Drinks included various beers, water, sodas, and the occasional margarita. What really made me laugh was my grandma. She got pretty tipsy on the Spumante and was saying the funniest things! I had to help her to the car when she left! I was cracking up at some of the things! She also insisted that Barry ask me to marry him at the party! She apologized for being so wobbly as she walked explaining she had to take her meds differently today since she was going for blood work in the morning. She then explained she was going to get a mammogram done, exclaiming, “They want to play with the ol’ tits!” She and I stopped dead in our tracks, and just laughed! Shes a trip sometimes! When I called her this morning, she told me how much she loved the sparkling wine. She was in luck that I had 2 bottles left. I’m going to bring her one up on Friday.

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It was an amazing day, filled with special family and friend. My Uncle Eddie invited Harry, one of his friends from grade school, who I love! Hes a hoot. In fact, I go to his birthday party every year, and when we have reunions for our grade school, we jitterbug! I was shocked when he came. Another special guest was Mrs. Miller. Iv’e kept in contact with this woman for about 16 years. Why so long? Because she was my kindergarten teacher.

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The evening ended with a the neighbors and us socializing on the porch, sharing in stories and laughs.

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It was raining most of the day… but the porch and house sufficed. A lot of work went into this party, but it was most definitely worth it!