Pistachios.

Last night, I could not fall asleep when I got home. A bit manic, I got a jump start on 2 recipes I was planning on making this morning. Instead I made them at 1am this morning! While the cake was in the oven, I assembled chicken cordon bleu (recipe on Monday’s post).

I will never forget the first time I fell in love with pistachio… not the nuts, but everything else. It was highschool and my girlfriend, Leah, brought in Pistachio Chocolate Chip cake for one of our friend’s birthday. I was a bit skeptical but after the first crumb touched my tongue, I was sunk. It was loaded with chocolate chips and smothered with chocolate icing! I, then, tried pistachio pudding, pistachio ice cream, and so on… Heck, I even made shakes!

I asked her for the recipe and its probably one of the easiest cake recipes. But just because its easy doesn’t mean it isn’t good… its fantastic! I remember huge chunks of chocolate scattered in the green cake, all pulled together with chocolate icing. Here is my take on her recipe.

Pistachio Chip CakeWP_004556

makes 24 slices

  • 1 box fat free, sugar free Pistachio pudding mix
  • 1 box sugar free, non butter, yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup liguid egg substitute
  • 1 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 cup non fat sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (more, if desired)
  • 1/4 cup sugar free chocolate syrup OR Chocolate icing

WP_004545Preheat the oven to 350 F. Blend the cake and pudding mix. In a separate bowl, whisk the applesauce, egg, extract, and sour cream. Add the wet to the dry and mix well. Whisk in the mini semi sweets. Transfer the dense batter into a well sprayed bundt pan. Using the back of a spoon or spatula, spread the batter into one even level. Bake for 45 min.

Removed from the oven and let rest for about 8 minutes. Flip the cake onto a plate, and allow the cake to cool. Once the cake has cooled and has been removed from the bundt pan, drizzle the top with your syrup or icing.

Nutrition (per 1/24, 1 slice):

Calories: 81, Fat: 1.8g, Sat. Fat: 0.6g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 228mg, Carbs: 17.4g, Fiber: 0.5g, Sugar: 1.6g, Protein: 1.9g

Thanks for the original recipe, Leah! I hope this one does you justice! I wish these pictures could show the beautiful green color of the cake! Its so elegant. The texture of the cake is a little less dense than a pound cake and the chocolate adds so much creaminess!

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I sliced a slice, drizzled a little more SF chocolate syrup for garnish, and enjoyed it with a mug of coffee!

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I started thinking, after I sliced it up, about adding chopped pistachios into the batter the next time, or using it as a garnish over top the chocolate syrup! Oh the possibilities!

My mother, the picky eater that she is, actually went back for seconds! I, then , packed up a bit for Amy, at work, my Aunt, for her birthday, and my mommom, for her sweet tooth.

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My mid-morning, sort of lunch time snack, was a sliced bell pepper, wrapped in honey ham, with salsa. Yums!

I was pretty hungry early on in my shift, soI ran down stairs to grab another 32 oz cup and a few snackables from the caf. At soon as 5pm hit, I was back downstairs for the grill to be on and grabbed the steamed mixed veggies, a container of shredded carrots, broccoli, onions, zucchini, and green beans, which I sprinkled with old bay.

A patient’s family ahd brought in Dunkin Donuts, and another family, Philly Pretzel Factory. I’m really not a donut girl, but bread, I would eat all day, if I could. I ate 1/4, a quarter, of a pretzel and could feel some anxiety creeping up. I was comfortable. I didn’t over eat. I was, luckily, able to talk myself down.

That was the trick and it held me over until close to 9pm, when I finished the last slice of Savory Pumpkin Quiche. It was pretty good with BBQ sauce.

The closer 11pm came, the more tired I felt, and the more heavy my chest was feeling. This anxiety stuff sucks! Nonetheless, it was another good shift, where I kept busy, and my mind focused on work.

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!

Dreams Come True

After chewing Extra Key Lime Pie sugar free gum, and slurping on the sugar free Key Lime Creme Slurpee, I needed to come up with a recipe for a real one! I did a lot of investigating on this classic treat, because I’ve never actually had it!

Getting a crust for this bad boy, was no worry, but the filling… thats where I hit a wall. In my head, my sister is the Key Lime Pie Guru, and uses condensed milk. Other recipes use whipped cream, yogurts, cream cheese, egg, and cornstarch, to name a few ingredients. Now, where should I begin?

The topping was inspired by these meringues.

Sublime Key Lime Bundo PieWP_003365

serves 8

The Crust:

  • 1 cup Fiber One Original bran cereal
  • 2 sheets (8 crackers) low-fat honey graham crackers (thats 4 squares)
  • 3 tbsp. granulated Splenda
  • 1/4 cup Brummel & Brown yogurt spread, or another light butter spread
  • 2 Tbsp water

The Filling:

  • 1/4 tsp lime zest
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 limes, at least (1/4 cup juice needed)
  • 1 4 serving box sugar free, fat free lime jello mix
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 3/4 cup OIKOs plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/4 cup fat free Cool Whip, thawed

The Topping:

  • 1/2 cup fat free cool whip, thawed
  • 1 Tbsp sugar free fat free white chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 Tbsp shredded coconut (all I had was sweetened), toasted
  • 3/4 tsp lime zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Begin the filling by juicing two limes to produce  about 1/4 cup, and combine with 1/2 cup water, and   1/4 tsp lime zest in a small pot, over medium heat, with box of gelatin. Stir until completely dissolved and transfer pot into ice bath. Continue to stir to release heat. Gradually fold into yogurt and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, giving it the occasional stir.

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WP_003366Combine butter with water and microwave until just melted. Place cereal and graham crackers in a food processor and grind. Transfer to a bowl, and add Splenda. Add the melted watered butter to the bowl of sweetened crumbs and mix thoroughly. Spray a pie pan heavily with nonstick spray and evenly distribute the crust mixture along the bottom and sides of the pie pan. Press firmly to form the crust. Bake for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

While the crust is in the oven and the filling is setting, combine Cool Whip and white chocolate pudding mix in a bowl. Transfer mix into a zip lock plastic bag or piping bag and refrigerate.

Once lime mix has cooled, whisk in the Cool Whip until the congealed yogurt and whipped cream are one thick, smooth filling. Pour into cooled crust and use the back of a spoon or spatula to evenly spread. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Spray a skillet with nonstick spray and toast the coconut over medium heat, tossing continuously. (The aroma, alone, is enough to put you on cloud 9). Set aside to cool.

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Pipe the sweet white chocolate Cool Whip onto cooled and settled pie and garnish with lime zest and toasted coconut. Slice and enjoy!

But, Sammy! Theres so much topping left! What should I do? Either keep on decorating of take my lead and eat it with a spoon and fruit!

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Nutrition (1 slice, 1/8 of the pie):

Calories: 106, Fat: 3.1g, Sat. Fat: 0.7g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 175mg, Carbs: 17.3g, Fiber: 2.4g, Sugar: 3.5g, Protein: 3.1g

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This pie was so light and tart! It is the perfect summer treat! Everyone enjoyed it… Well, they must have because it went pretty quickly!

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I was really excited about Frank enjoying it. He is usually my brutal critic, which I appreciate (and despise). He said I didn’t need to change anything! Yay! I am particularly proud of this recipes for two reasons.

1. I have only had 1 bite of Key Lime Pie before in my life.

2. I had a dream, jumped out of bed, wrote down what I had dreamed about, and that dream turned into this pie! (I guess my mind is still working when I sleep).