Barley Babe

I have really been trying to embrace healthy carbs, lately, such as whole grains. I have always loved barley. I remember being a little kid and stealing the barley out of my moms chicken soup pot. I remember the chewy texture sucked me right in!

I was on an oatmeal kick, last year, and then heard of quinoa bowls. I made one for breakfast one morning and thought how great of an idea it was to switch out my oatmeal and top this grain with berries! Then I heard of breakfast barley bowls, which I, still, have yet to try! But, today, I bought a bag of barley and I’m ready to rock!

With an eggplant on the discount rack and a bag of cauliflower in the freezer, I was more than ready to try Julie’s barley risotto. I’ve always had risotto made with rice and I have heard that it is rather difficult to make. Bring it!

Heres my take:

Eggplant Barley Risotto

serves 4-6WP_005243

  • 2 1/2 cups cubed eggplant, skin on
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup barley
  • 3 cups fat free, low sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1 tsp to 1 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 Tbsp granulated garlic
  • 1 16oz bag cauliflower florets, frozen
  • 2 wedges Laughing Cow Light Swiss cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat grated Parmesan
  • s/p to taste

Heat the oven to 440 F. On a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, spread the eggplant and sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Roast int heat oven for about 8 minutes. While the eggplant is roasting, Add the onion and garlic to a large pot, cover, and simmer over medium heat, until the onions start to sweat.

Add the barley, along with 1 cup of broth. Bring to a boil. Add the eggplant and frozen cauliflower. Cover the pot, lower the heat to medium high. Stir the pot frequently. As the broth is absorbed, add another cup of broth. Once the last cup of broth is added, add the thyme and granulated garlic. Stir until spices have been disbursed.

Lastly, add the cheese wedges and stir. Turn off the heat. Sprinkle the parm in a little at a time, stirring constantly.

Each serving is 3/4 cup. If you’re really hungry, this dish can be divided into fours!

Damn I love barley! I’m already planning another barley dish! Stay tuned!

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 ūüôā

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!

Indulgent Weekend

After my solid nap and trip with dad to the grocery store, Frank called and offered to buy dinner. I seriously debated saying “no” but I can’t go wrong with steamed shrimp and vegetables. To help me out, dad and I split my Hot&Sour soup and my shrimp and vegetables. I ate the soup and steamed up some more veggies and saved the shrimp and vegetables for my night shift. After a nice dinner and some bill paying, I tiredly went to the couch to attempt a power nap before work. I did not get a power nap, but I got out a good cry. Last night’s episode of Glee had me balling my eyes out from the second it started. I think I cried even harder because, in all honesty, its been a pretty emotional week. I think Glee just provided me the outlet.

I can’t help but dwell on lacking a position as a nurse. I think I’m the only one I know that has not gotten hired, yet. I just don’t understand. Dad says its because I’m so used to exceeding at everything I put my mind to, that this is new concept to me. I guess he’s got a point. Since I’ve been dwelling, I can’t help but think I’ve not only let myself down, but my family… my grandparents, in particular.

I need to stop this self-pity crap! Let’s move onto the goods…

I always call work before arriving for an 11pm shift. The night shift nurses come on at 7pm and I like to see if anyone needs anything on my way in. My girlfriend, Natasha, a major support person throughout my recovery, asked if I would grab her a coffee. No prob! Easy peasy! I though I was clever, at home, before leaving as I brewed my coffee with SF french vanilla creamer and a splash of SF Pumpkin Pie syrup. Natasha is a genius! “A 16oz pumpkin coffee with Irish cream and 2 Splenda.” After I gave it a try, I felt defeated, but in a good way… This was sooooo good! My¬†coffee had been out-done.¬†I can’t wait to grab another!

WP_004169The weather continued to be dreary, rainy, dark, and terrible… all in time for my alternator to die! Frank was kind enough to take me to my dads at 10pm, and my dad was kind enough to lend me the truck to take to work. Thanks, guys!

Despite the miserable weather and hour-long Glee cry fest, with my adorable cuddle-buddy, I came to work in a great mood! In fact, my shift began with a fun size M&M and  a Dum Dum sucker. I was expecting to be on the floor tonight, but, alas, I would spend my final night shift of my four day span in my 1:1. My patient decided  that they wanted to stay up all night. Once your patient falls asleep on night shift, you kind of want to fall asleep, too; so I was kind of okay with that, and we began our 8 hours together with a game of Phase 10.  I made a solid point to remain standing and walking around, despite being in a single room. I took a bathroom run every 2 hours or so, refilled my water bottle frequently, and even read my book and charted while standing. I think having all the lights in the room on helped , too.

When I was relieved for my break, I went down to caf to scope out the goods. There wasn’t really much in the way of what I would consider “goods.” Nonetheless, I hit up the salad bar, grabbing an assortment of vegetables, like bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, and beets. The snack machine also caught my eye with Smartfoods Cinnamon¬† Brown Sugar popped chips. 100¬† calories for the whole bag? I’ll give it a shot…

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They weren’t great, but they weren’t terrible, either. Instead, I completed my vegetables with a miso soup packet, and later snacked on some white cheddar popcorn. ( I guess it was a Smartfoods kind of shift). Oh yeah, there was a snack size snickers in there, too… Damn bag of chocolate. As Barry says, “Chocolate makes the world go round.” My reply, “Chocolate, too, makes my belly go round.”

It was quite a fiberful and satisfying meal and I, then, returned my patient’s room. When I’m in 1:1s, I notice my posture sucks, so I made a conscious effort to try to use my core muscles to both sit and stand tall. The result was a sore pack for most of my shift. I’m glad I was standing most of the night so I could continually twist and stretch to try to relieve some pain.

After a quick powernap at dad’s he drove me to Barry’s on his way to work. We have some errands to run to get ready for the weekend ahead of us.

This weekend is going to be a doozy and all this past week I’ve been preparing myself for it. In fact, next week will probably be part of the recovery process.

Tomorrow, one of my best friend from nursing school is getting married and I could not be more happy for her!

The following day is Vendemmia (which I’m thinking might be postponed due to this terrible weather Wilmington is having)!

Oddly enough, since I’ve been stressing about calories in preparation¬†for these events, I’ve actually eaten close to 1000 calories everyday.¬† I really don’t know how I feel about that…

Today is National Sausage Pizza Day. Dad and I happened to find Al Fresco Chicken Sausage on sale at the store last week and I came up with the idea to combine the best of two pizzas…

Buffalo Sausage Pizza

The Crust:WP_004183

  • 1 md to lg head of cauliflower, chopped
  • 3/4 cup fat free shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp parsley
  • 1/2 Tbsp corn meal

The Toppings:

  • 1/2 cup¬†onion, thinly sliced
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 2 Laughing Cow Light¬†Blue Cheese Wedges, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, granulatedWP_004181
  • 1 Tbsp ranch dressing mix
  • 3 Tbsp¬†OIKOS plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup fat free shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 Al Fresco Buffalo-style ¬†Chicken Sausage burgers
  • 4-5 tsp hot sauce, or tobasco/pepper sauce, divided, plus more for taste, if desired
  • 1/2 tsp oregano, dried
  • 2 Tbsp reduced fat crumbled blue cheese

Preheat the oven at 400 F. Steam the chopped cauliflower. Drain and transfer to the food processor and briefly pulse the cauliflower until it is riced. Combine the warm riced cauliflower with the shredded mozzarella, liquid egg, and spices. Sprinkle a heated pizza stone or pizza pan with the cornmeal and spread the cauliflower dough evenly over top to form the crust. Bake for 20 minutes.

While the crust is baking, add the onion to a small pan, sprayed with non stick cooking spray, and cover, remaining on a low heat, tossing occasionally. Sprinkle with pepper, to taste. In another small skillet, sprayed, add the patties. Break up the patties using two spatulas, and cook over medium heat just enough to begin browning. Drain the meat, and place in a bowl. Toss the slightly browned meat with 1 tsp hot sauce, and set aside.

Remove the set crust and reduce oven temperature to 350 F. Using a spatula, slide around the crust to ensure it is not sticking to the stone. In a small cup, stir the cheese wedges, garlic, ranch, red pepper flakes, 1 tsp hot sauce, and yogurt together, until smooth. Spread the mixture over the hot, baked crust, followed by the caramelized onions. Further chop the shredded mozzarella and top the pizza. Finally, add the seasoned ground chicken. Pour any remaining hot sauce from the bowl over the top and sprinkle with oregano.

Bake for 8 minutes, turn the pizza 180 degrees, top with crumbled blue cheese, and additional 2 tsp of hot sauce. Return to the oven for another 8 minutes, slice, and serve.

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Nutritional Facts: (1/8 pizza)

Calories: 104, Fat: 2g, Sat. Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 5mg, Sodium: 621mg, Carbs: 8g, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Protein: 12g

I served the pizza with a tray of celery sticks and baby carrots on the side. I made a quick dipping sauce using 1 LC Blue wedge, lots of hot sauce, 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, 1 tsp ranch mix, some red pepper flakes, and 2 Tbsp of a light blue cheese dressing (like Walden Farms).

The night was completed with some marble cake our neighbor gave us. Oh my gosh, the frosting was amazing! Tempting! Fudgey! Decadent! Thats what kept us going back for nibbles.

I am completing the rest of the night with my mom and a movie!