We All Scream!

Today, I had a plan.

I’ve actually been looking forward to this plan for a few days now.

Yesterday, was National Ice Cream Day, at least that’s what I have written down in my planner. Any way, since I was working and could not properly celebrate, I decided a few days ago that I would celebrate on Monday with the good stuff… the fresh stuff… the homemade stuff… the Woodside Farm Creamery stuff!

WP_003579

The forecast called for a gloomy day, but I didn’t care. As long as I had a hot coffee and some delicious ridiculously amazing ice cream, I was a happy camper.

Barry and I stayed in until about 1130am, when we headed out to Brew Ha Ha! I wanted him to try my favorite drink, so I preceded to order him “a tall and skinny brew ha ha latte” and “a short sugar free white chocolate latte” for myself. We spent the next hour walking up and down Main Street, Newark, moseying in and out stores.

WP_003578

We met dad at Woodside around 130pm. I spent the first few minutes sampling flavors. They have so many flavors its hard to choose! They have a bunch of flavors that are always there, then they have flip flop flavors which pop up throughout the season, and lastly, they have the one and done flavors! These are killer! These flavors are once a summer and you never know when or what it will be.

WP_003580

Last night, I kept staring at their menu trying to decide which ones to sample and which to get, and which ones I was going to try to coerce Barry into getting so I could try, and which toppings. Oh, and do I want a cone or a cup, or a cone cup?

I love this place! I make it a point to go at least once  a summer! Even last year, during the height of my eating disorder, I made sure to go. I took like 3 bites, but I still made the effort to go! Its sad, but I wish I could eat here everyday! My dad made a point to acknowledge that I finished first. He attributes it to me not having it very often, but I’d like to think its because I had less than them… the latter probably isn’t true, but it makes me feel better.

WP_003581 WP_003582

WP_003583

Barry got a scoop of Black Raspberry and a scoop of Dirt (chocolate with crushed oreos and gummy worms) in a cone bowl. After sampling about 5 flavors, I decided on half a scoop of the NSA Black Raspberry and the Peanut Butter & Jelly, with my favorite ice cream topping of wet walnuts and a coffee! What a yummy combination! Dad got the One- And-Done flavor of Jamaican Me Crazy (coconut ice cream with swirls of caramel and loaded with chocolate chips). I suggested dad get a pretzel cone to go with a salted caramel take on the treat. We all thoroughly enjoyed our time at the farm and we sat outside, despite the clouds, at one of the many picnic tables. I kept staring at the cows thinking, wow, you make good ice cream!

WP_003579

After departing and a quick trip to the grocery store, I headed home. By this time, it was dinner time and Frank and I split a can of Reduced Sodium Chicken Gumbo. It was pretty fantastic! Way to go, Progresso! It was probably one of the best Progresso soups I’ve had. While eating this delicious cup of soup, Barry called me. Hes been my hawk eye online checking to see any news from my NCLEX exam.

WP_003584

I guess the status changed because he called to tell me the news and I actually hung up on him from screaming and jumping up and down! With all these endorphines flowing, I got my butt to Zumba! The class went by incredibly fast! After class, some girls approached me and recommended I take the instructor course! What a compliment! Especially from strangers. I guess I’m doing something right.

Mom’s letting a very old family friend stay with us for a few days who has been having some personal issues. I came home to a my mom and her walking in the house with plastic bags and a box, yes, a box, of food! They had returned WP_003585 (1)home with chicken parm, pasta, meatballs, sausage, antipasto, brownies, and kind sized candy bars! Are you kidding me??

I downed 2 bottles of water in an effort to remind my body I was not hungry. I picked at the cherry tomatoes and romaine from the side salad, but I found myself sinking back into the old Chew and Spit routine of biting a piece of chocolate and then spitting it out, just to feel like I had it. I gathered myself and thought of the best thing for a non-hungry, eating disorder recoverer to have. I took my own cue from a few nights ago and popped a 100 calorie bag of popcorn and topped it with a Splenda packet and cinnamon.

I headed to bed  frustrated that I ate more that I wanted to, today, but proud that I chose a smart snack. All I can say is TGFZ!

Thank God for Zumba!

Its Almost Here

Wednesday

Food and Emotions

As proud as I was of my eating last night at work, one thing was on my mind when I left: those donuts from the morning. I decided that slicing a quarter would be a nice treat. Although it didn’t do the trick like I thought it would, it put a sweet tooth in me that needed to be satisfied. I traveled around the kitchen biting into crackers, cheerios, Reese pieces… Anything with a salty sweet crunch. I realized it was anxiety, not hunger. I wish I would have realized it earlier but at least I realized it, and still did not go over my calorie allotment.

I’m finding the closer my exam gets, the more anxious eating I want to do but the more calorie paranoid I get. Yeah… A catch 22 kind of thing. I really am quite nervous for my exam. Just scheduling it made me nauseous and now that everyone has been passing, I have this nightmare that I’m going to be the one that fails.

I have faith in myself. Most importantly, I have faith in the Lord. I know the Lord wants me to be a nurse, to care for His children. I have trial through so much during nursing school, at work, home, and school, and there is no doubt in my mind that I shouldn’t pass. God will guide me.

Start back on track at the next meal.

WP_003387With today being National Creamsicle Day, I honored it by making a Creamsicle Shake using half a packet of Betty Lou’s Low Glycemic Orange Cream powder, water, ice, 1/2 tsp SF orange jello, and 1/4 tsp xanthum. Yum!

Before laying down, in an attempt to sleep before work, I ate a big bowl of watermelon to fill me up!

I’m packing  a Smart Ones Chicken Marsala for my night shift meal to see if it can compare to my beloved Lean Cuisine version.

At this point, in the studying game, I have officially killed two highlighters and am working on #3. I couldn’ t sleep because all I could think about was the exam. I am literally sick to my stomach over this thing. I’m have chest pain and I just want to cry from this nervousness!

Thursday

Although everyone’s meals smelled delicious, my stomach was too upset to enjoy my intended Smart Ones meal. I opted for my emergency soup with saltines. I saved some celery sticks and PB2 for a later snack. The shift went rather quickly as a I spent all my down time studying for the upcoming exam.

WP_003516

Upon arriving home this morning, I was definitely hungry. Since the temperature serious dropped this morning, I opted for something warm. I came across this by accident, one day, I brewed coffee in the Keurig and mixed it with an Atkins Mixed Berry shake.

WP_003518

The box was kind of banged up and I wanted to use it soon, so I took advantage of this cool morning. While sipping on this, I channeled my nervous energy into baking. I was inspired by my Strawberry muffins, the other day, to make a different type of muffin. I, of course, I had to try them out.

WP_003525

Take One wasn’t bad. I think I know what alterations I need to make to satisfy your and my muffin craving.

After studying the day away, after being told I should take the day off, I finally fell asleep for a brief hour or so. Upon waking up, although my anxiety had messed with me to the point of losing my appetite, I wanted to keep with my plans for dinner.

Pistachio and Honey Mustard Crusted SalmonWP_003527

serves 4

  • 2 Tbsp Honey Mustard sauce, or mustard of choice
  • 2 tsp non fat sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp Braggs Liquid Aminos, or reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • half 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • half 1/8 tsp dill
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, in shell (15g out of shell)
  • 4 4oz salmon fillets

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine mustard through spices and mix well. Set aside. Remove the pistachios from the shells and chop. Place the salmon fillets, skin side down, on a baking sheet covered in foil and sprayed with non stick cooking spray. Divide the mustard mix over the salmon fillets and top with chopped pistachios. Bake uncovered for about 8 minutes-10 minutes, until salmons center is opaque.

I served mine with a side of spinach, onion, and mustard, like a pseudo-salad,

After a cinnamon covered almond, I came up with the idea of topping a 100 calorie bag of kettle corn with cinnamon and a packet of Splenda. Kind of genius!

WP_003529

Friday

Recipe for Success

I woke up in the right mindset. I called my Alarm the “Alarm of Success.” I began the day as I do all exam days: with Dunkin and oatmeal. I took a brief jog to the Dunkin to burn off some nervous energy, grabbed my coffee, and like always, I grabbed dad one and a toasted everything bagel with cream cheese. I even got my little brother a little something.

WP_003530

I sat down at the kitchen table and stuck with tradition. Dad came over to give me good luck hugs and to enjoy a bit of breakfast. I made sure to take a nibble of the bagel, like I always did. I knew I needed to stop studying! I brought Barry lunch at work and killed some time there. As he walked me back to my car, I could feel a panic attack setting in.

I sat in the car trying to breath and divert my attention elsewhere. I checked my email, and it was just what I needed! It was from my manager. Usually I cringe when I get emails from him (you never know whats in store):

gianna

“I’m gonna be a nurse! I’m a nurse!” I shouted this in the car as I drove away from Barry’s work!

I headed home, called my grandma for some calming words of wisdom and inspiration, and headed off to the exam. I sat in the car, music playing, singing loudly in the parking lot, and enjoying my sugar free mint pattie, as I always do, pre exam.

WP_003531

This thing was more intense than nursing school exams. I was only allowed my ID and ATT card. They asked me to remove my necklace, but wrote a note that I kept it on since it was a cross. I removed my watch and hair ties off my wrist and locked them in a provided locker. They even noted any visible tattoos! It was intense. Now, I play the waiting game. The nauseous waiting game causing me nervous snacking and more anxiety! The nauseous waiting game causing me nervous snacking and more anxiety and body issues! Yeah… its like that.

Eggplant Pie

It was nice to sleep in yesterday and not have anything to do! I spent all day studying for the NCLEX, filling myself with brain food, like Saturn peaches, sugar free chocolate pudding, and a delicious dinner! (recipe to follow) My family has really been lucking out these past few weeks. Since I’ve found an outlet in cooking, my family has been eating really well. During my studying, I reward myself with breaks to cook, or prep to cook. Yesterday the result was baking Strawberry Muffins, and Eggplant Pie. Both were so good! Frank, my biggest critic, said the muffins were very good and the Eggplant Pie was,”Outstanding!” Having the word “outstanding” come from him was definitely a treat!

WP_003503 WP_003504

The muffins came in handy when I woke up this morning to find a tray of donuts on the table from an apparent late night craving they had while out on the town… To resist the urge, I warmed up a strawberry muffin, sliced it in half, and added to the already gooey strawberries inside it with some sugar free strawberry preserves. Take that, donut!

After dinner, and along day of brain overload, I rewarded myself with Zumba. Unfortunately, my booty shaking was cut short when a girl got light headed and fainted. I ran to help her. Behind me, I hear my girlfriend yell,”It’s okay! She’s a nurse!” It was thrilling hearing someone yell that so close to my exam!

WP_003511Following Zumba, I got really hungry. Thank goodness Zumba is early on Monday nights and I went home to enjoy an Orange Cream Dannon Light & Fit Greek, with cheerios for crunch. I got antsy and wound up finishing a head of romain with salsa, filling up on water. I’m such a bunny rabbit…

I headed to bed with a mug of chamomile tea and fell asleep in NCLEX-mode.

After Sunday’s adventure at the Ren Faire, and my brief time at Zumba, last night, my calves we starting to feel it today. I began the WP_003512gloomy day with my normal routine of a shake. Since my vanilla protein powder has been replaced, I began with an Apple Eggnog Shake:

  • 2 scoops Vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 md fuji apple, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp sugar free Eggnog Da Vinci syrup
  • spinkle apple pie spice
  • water
  • ice

A total winner that Barry didn’t think would work! I made Frank a very bright Watermelon Shake.

Today was so gloomy that my dad’s boss told him not to come to work because there was so much flooding! It was also gloomy in my kitchen when my spare Magic Bullet bit the dust. I’m glad I had my smoothie maker to fill in.

Before heading to work, I filled up on some watermelon and I’ve really been digging the beet scene lately. I actually made another beet salad for dinner tonight, for work. I even used some Fakin’ Bacon Tempeh! And what goes well with bacon? Bleu Cheese! I steamed together sliced onion, chopped tempeh, sliced petite carrots, and chopped, sliced beets and served it over a bed of spinach, topped with crumbled reduced fat bleu cheese. The warmth from the vegetables warmed up the cheese and this salad was “no dressing required!” I’ve been trying to talk dad into trying beets, but I haven’t quite gotten there. Maybe I’ll sneak it into something one day. What can I say? You can’t beat beets!

WP_003513

Usually, being clerk at work makes me want to eat. Not because I’m hungry or burning calories, but because I’m bored. Tonight was great because I ate my delicious salad for dinner, and had some grahams and PB for a snack! Plus, with studying and all the paperwork at the desk, I kept busy!I’m serious! As soon at 7pm hit, this place went crazy, like full moon crazy! Eureka!

I picked up a pack of sliced eggplant from the farmers market last week and wanted to use it up before it began to turn. My intent was to make an eggplant parm pizza, but then this brain of mine began to crank some gears and this little beauty was born. Its like if eggplant parmesean and spaghetti pie had a baby…

Eggplant PieWP_003507

Serves 4

1 large eggplant, sliced 1/8in
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2/3 cup bell pepper, chopped
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 cup fat free ricotta
1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 pkg Fettuccine Tofu Shirataki noodles
3/4 cup fat free shredded mozzarella, divided
4oz 96% lean ground beef
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh spinach, packed (25g)
1 Tbsp reduced fat grated Parmesan

Peeling the eggplant is your preference. Over high heat, in a skillet, cook slices of eggplant until they begin to shrivel from the water loss, flipping to ensure both sides cook. Transfer to a paper towel while cooking the remaining slices of eggplant. While eggplant is still pliable, lay the eggplant strategically in a sprayed 9in pie pan to create a pseudo-pie crust (about 7 slices). Sprinkle the bottom on the pan with 1/4 cup of mozzarella.

WP_003492 WP_003493 WP_003496

Empty the noodles into a colander, rinse, and snip through the noodles with scissors, as these these noodles can be pretty long. In the hot pan, after the eggplant has been cooked and removed, briefly toss the noodles in the pan, tossing constantly to remove excess fluid, and return to the colander.

Spray skillet with non stick cooking spray and briefly cook down onions, garlic, and bell pepper, until onions are
mildly translucent. Transfer warm vegetables into a bowl with uncooked mushrooms, ricotta, spices, and egg. Then add the noodles to the ricotta mix. Transfer into eggplant crust and distribute evenly.

WP_003497

Brown the ground beef. Once crumbled and browned, add the can of diced tomatoes. Stir together and top over the noodles in the crust. Sprinkle a pinch on mozzarella and the grated cheese. Add the chopped spinach and cover with the remaining eggplant (about 5 slices). Top with remained shredded mozzarella and bake in a preheat oven  at 350 F for 15-20 minutes.

WP_003498 WP_003499 WP_003501 WP_003502

 

Slice and enjoy!

WP_003508 WP_003510

Nutrition (1/4 recipe):

Calories: 149, Fat: 0.8g, Sat. Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 22.5mg, Sodium: 294mg, Carbs: 15.8g, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 4.7g, Protein: 16.8g

Shout Outs

Shout Out to my mama:

I finished up my Zumba class, last night, and found a voicemail on my cell from my mom, raving about the meatloaf! About 9 years ago, my mom had the gastric bypass surgery and ever since, she has had a difficult time holding pretty much any real food down. Its amazing, really. You would think her body would crave protein, but the only foods that settle are things like chips and pizza. Its pretty bizzare.

So one of my nutrition goals is to cook food that my mom will and can eat. She devoured last night’s Honey Mustard Crusted Poultry Loaf! I think the trick with her is lean protein. When I cook soy products for her, she enjoys it. Last nights meatloaf was super lean!

Then, she began to tell me how much mashed potato she ate! She couldn’t believe it, either, that is was cauliflower!

At this time I was in the Walgreens, grabbing a bottle of water, crying in the middle of the story. I felt like such a goof, but I had never heard my mom talk about my cooking like this!

I also mentioned I dropped dinner off to Barry at work, last night, and he sent me this:

“Dinner was excellent hun. It was finished before you text me. Superb!”

The time that elapsed between me dropping it off and texting him was under 15 minutes! Haha! I think he was just hungry! Haha!

Shout Out to all you carb-counting, comfort food loving followers! This is for you!

Garlic Mashed Cauli-TatersWP_003265

  • 1 medium cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 tsp minced garlic*
  • 2 tsp Brummel and Brown light butter spread
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp low fat original creamer
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • sour cream, fat free cheddar, real lean bacon crumbles (optional)

In a microwavable bowl, add a splash of water, about 1/4 cup, and the cauliflower, cover with with plastic wrap, and microwave for 9 minutes. Carefully, spoon the cauliflower into a food processor and add all the other ingredients. Whip it up and occasionally vent the processor to relieve the steam pressure.

WP_003266Top with what ever you’d like!

*If resources and time allows, roast the garlic before adding it to the mix.

MMMM! For a carb-lover, such as myself, I was in heaven with its garlicy, creamy, potato faker goodness!

Shout Out to my girl, Alex!

Every week, you read about my time at Zumba. Well, now its time to meet the girl behind it all! Alex kicks some serious Zumba ass and I love her classes. She incorporates, not only Latin-style dances, but Indian and hip-hop. Having such a variety of styles, music, and Alex’s personality, keeps me coming back every week!

I asked her after class if I could share her Facebook page with you, so if you’re in the area, look her up, and come join the party!

After dinner, last night, I suited up and headed to Zumba. You know I’m about to go hard when the pink pre-wrap headband  comes out!

WP_003271 WP_003272

Zumba with Alex always send me home hyped with energy and good vibes, and I sleep like a rock!

WP_003277And Alex must have worked me hard, too, because I was hungry when I got home! Yay, for Special K Chocolatey Strawberry 90 calorie cereal bars!

throwback to sophomore homecoming 2006

On the Food Front:

Shout out to my Sista from Anotha Mista (literally):

Caterina is my step-sister, Frank’s daughter. I recently found out that she began cooking. Growing up, I was always the one in the kitchen, but now, Cat has her own recipe blog with wordpress.com. Enjoy!

Soon enough, we will be teaming up for a “Sisters Who Cook” post. Keep an eye out!

As I laid in bed, last night, my tummy began to growl and I snack on a handful of pretzel sticks, which was quickly followed by a mild tummy ache. Maybe it was the duck tongue on the episode of Chopped I was watching. Either way, I tried my best to settle both my belly and my mind…

Yesterday, Barry bought me Kashi’s new cereal: Heart to Heart Nutty Chia Flax! This, topped with flax milk and a handful of freeze dried strawberries, hit my breakfast tooth, this morning. Its like cheerios with a sweetness with flax and chis seeds stuck to each “O”!

WP_003273

After a late night and a very early morning, thanks to my brothers alarm buzzing for 40 minutes, I laid back down to see if a mid morning nap could happen. It didn’t, but I did give me the motivation to get myself up and going. I got changed, and took advantage of the nice breeze and went for a nice brisk 2 mile walk up to the store, where I, of course, took advantage of the discount produce!

Shorty after arriving home, I wrapped three dill pickles in some lean turkey lunch meat to replenish my sodium electrolytes. My walk made me feel a little less guilty about sitting on my tush for the next hour studying.

The tummy began to grumble, again, about 2 hours later, to which I responded with POPCORNERS (its terrible how good these are). I, then, realized a better, crunchier, more refreshing option! I felt like a genius! Celery!

WP_003278This leads me to admitting a very serious problem: My name is Sammy Bundo, and I am a salsa addict.

Yes, we know I’m a dancing fool, but I am referring to salsa of the chunky variety, especially the homemade stuff! “How filling and refreshing and yummy was my celery and salsa,” you ask? Yummy enough to account for majority of the missing salsa from this jar! New favorite health snack! 

Lunch time was not the last appearance of salsa for the day. After dinner, snacky Sammy kicked in and nibbling ensued. I introduced dad to the snack, and he couldn’t believe was good it was! We wound up finishing the celery and a bell pepper, that we used for dipping. The jar is almost empty! I’m serious when I say try this combo! It feels like your chewing and chewing and its sooooo good!

So, Tuesday was meatloaf, and potatoes, and tonight’s comfort food was pasta! Dad and I are both suckers for scallops, so when I came across this at Trader Joes, I scooped it up!

WP_003280

Saucy Scallops with Mushrooms in an Emmental Cheese sauce! I didn’t know what emmental cheese was, but I was sold! (Emmental cheese is a swiss cheese, by the way).

I threw this in the skillet with salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, additional mushrooms and peas, and reduced fat Parmesan.

WP_003281

MMM! The sweet peas and scallops with the earthy tones of the mushrooms was absolutely delicious with the creamy white white cheese sauce! While pops prefers pasta, I topped a bowl of Fettuccine Tofu Shirataki Noodles with the saucy mix, and served both up with a glass of wine that I had gotten on my trip to San Jose and some garlic toast.

WP_003283

WP_003279The wine was a Rose wine from Napa Valley, CA called Ménage à Trois. It was a complete combination of sweet and dry and refreshing and tart! Perfect for what a rose should be! We actually finished the bottle of wine, which is probably why I had the munchies. The wine was delicious! I’m going to keep an eye out for it on the east coast.

Continuing our guilt-free snacky adventure as we watched our Redbox movie, Flight, I serve up a big bowl of the Chocolate Peanut Butter Arctic Zero, sprinkled with Chocolate PB2, multigrain cheerios, for crunch, and jimmies!

The remainder of this night, I plan on sleeping, hopefully, and studying away.

Big news: I scheduled the date, time and location of my NCLEX exam! I had a hard time clicking ‘confirm,’ I was so scared! I can do this… maybe the munchies were wine induced and nerve-related… who knows, but please keep me in my prayers!

Being Average

Today was an early morning as I took the HESI exam. The HESI exam is a practice exam for the NCLEX and gives your rationales as to why the answer you chose was wrong. (Very beneficial.) I didn’t do terrible, I scored average, but average is not what I strive for. Therefore, I took notes on the areas I need to improve on and plan on spending some time each day reviewing practice problems.

“Being normal is vastly over-rated.”

I always remembered this quote from Disney’s Halloweentown. (I used to be obsessed with this movie.) I’ve always wanted to be that innovated, that girl that had her own fashion or started a trend. Instead, I apply it to the area of my life I know I can be anything but normal… my academics. I’ve always been an above average student. When I have a goal, such as passing my NCLEX with flying colors, I dedicate myself to it, give it my all.

Whether I’m running, studying, cooking… I am always striving for my best. When I lost weight, I wanted to be normal… the truth is, in some aspects of life, there is NO NORMAL. Body type is one of them. Did you know the average size of woman in the US is a size 12?

I guess, in some round about way, I’m saying, “What’s the point of being normal, when it feels so much better when you go beyond?”

After the HESI, we met for the graduate luncheon that the SNA (Student Nurse Association) put together in the gym. Mexican theme. They did a pretty decent job, too! I stayed away from the taco shells and nachos, and went for the pulled chicken, lettuce, pico de gallo, and refried beans (I don’t know why, but I love this stuff).

WP_002351

Following this, was a few peanut M&Ms and tiny sliver of a cake they provided for us.

WP_002354

I didn’t have much of an appetite for awhile, but I had plenty of time to kill before work. I headed to the ACME to mosey around and grabbed a pint of strawberries.

Dinner was a bit strange. I tried out a new bar today. I left it in the car, and the coating melted so it was bit messy to eat. But hey, I wont complain about using a spoon to eat of protein bar or about the melted peanut butter coating that I dipped my strawberries in. HAHA I know I’m a bit odd sometimes, but I make it work…

WP_002357

So the bar… I’ve had a few bars by Pure Protein, with mixed feelings overall. This bar surprised me though. The Peanut Marshmallow Eclipse bar was a chewy and filling bar covered with a peanut butter coating. It really hit the peanut butter sweet spot. The only downside to this bar is the complete lack of fiber, but the 19g of protein keeps you crazy satisfied. The low sugar count is also a nice touch.

Do you have any recommendations on what to use to study for the NCLEX?