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!

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!

Pink Pancakes!

As a female, I love pink. The color just makes me smile. As an Italian, Irish, Polish, and German, I love carbs! As a Bundo, I love breakfast. As a health nut, I love fruits and vegetables.

All of that being said, these pancakes are right up my ally.

My skeptical family asked why the the pancakes were red. I told them I pureed some blueberries into the batter. They believed me… (feel free to puree some blueberries into the batter, though). The pink is from pureed beets!

Are you still with me? Okay, good! I thought I may have lost you there.

My dad freaked when I told him there were beets in these! “What would pocess you to do that?” he kept exclamining! Well, guess what! You ate a ton of these silver dollar pancakes and said how berry flavored they were. So “Ha” to you, sir!

Blueberry (and Beet) Pancakes

make 29-30 silver dollar pancakes

Wet Ingredients:

  •  2 md-lg beets (enough to make 3/4 packed cups, pureed)
  • 1/3 cup OIKOS plain yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 1/4 cup flax milk
  • 1/2 cup water, or milk
  • 1/4  cup liquid egg substitute
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 1/5 Tbsp Splenda brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 packets Splenda
  • 1 cup blueberries, or more

Roast the beets. (This may take a while. I roasted mine the night before). Dice and puree the beets in a food processor until smooth.

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Beat the wet ingredients. Sift the dry ingredients (excluding the blueberries) into the wets ingredients and whisk. Fold in the blueberries. Its pretty, huh?

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Scoop 2 Tbsp, or an 1/8 cup, onto a skillet over medium heat, that has been sprayed with non stick spray. Once the bottoms are firm and the pancakes “pouf,” give them a flip.

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You know how to make pancakes…

To about half the batch, I added white chocolate chips to since the day I made them was National White Chocolate Day. I topped mine with my copycat Panera cream cheese.

Shout Outs: I was trying to figure out what else I could do with beets besides put them in my salads. Turning to Dr. Google, I came across a bunch of posts and adapted one specific recipe to make mine. Thanks, fellowbeet lover!

Happy National Pancake Day!

I’d Rather Go Green than Be Blue

After a wonderful birthday party, last night, Barry and I came home. While he mowed the lawn, I unloaded some bags and really got in the mood for something. I’ve said it before… Trail mix can be mighty dangerous! I grabbed a handful of mix and a  big spoonful of Edy’s slow Churned to satisfy this sweet crunch tooth. Unfortunately, I kept nibbling on the trail mix (I love the nuts and raisins so much). It wasn’t like a binge, and it wasn’t like a I couldn’t use calories. If it weren’t for the trail mix I would not have gone over 600 calories, today. This did not stop my guilt and after walking outside to vent to Barry, I went to the bathroom for a small purge. Stupid, I know, and unnecessary.

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After and interesting attempt at making some not very attractive, homemade Blueberry PopTarts (I’m sure we’ll get it next time! ), and splitting a banana, Barry and I headed back off to bed, as we both have night shift tonight.

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It was a pretty scatter-brained afternoon for me. I forgot my phone at Barry’s and, of course, when I got back to the house, I couldn’t remember the security code, so the alarm went off! On my way home, I began an anxiety attack. I arrived home just in time for Frank to help talk me down. “I can’t eat! I can’t eat!” I kept yelling between hyperventilations.

I did what I do best and cooked. Well, its not so much cooking, as assembling, and playing with measurements, but however you look at it, I made a pretty mean broccoli salad.

Bundo Broccoli Salad

makes 4 large servings

  • 2 boxes 45 calorie raisins, by SunMaid (or 90 calories of raisins)
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fat free shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup OIKOs plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup Hellmans light mayo
  • 2 to 2 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper, more to taste
  • 1 packet Splenda
  • 2 Tbsp roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 2 Tbsp real bacon crumbles, like Oscar Mayer
  • 12 oz bag fresh brocolli florets
  • 1.5 oz broccoli slaw

Chop raisins, shredded cheddar, and onions. Combine with yogurt, mayo, Splenda, vinegar, pepper, sunflower seeds, and bacon. Pour over top broccoli and slaw and thoroughly mix.  Add pepper to taste, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Nutrition:

Calories: 148, Fat: 6.7g, Sat. Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 4.1mg, Sodium: 282mg, Carbs: 14.8g, Fiber: 3.6g, Sugar: 9g, Protein: 8.1g

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After a quick taste test, my nerves were calmed a bit and made the decision that I needed to eat. I whipped up a Sam-Rock Shake, for something low-cal and filling. Its going to be a rather green night, but I’d rather go green with health than blue with depression. To top off the night, I spilled a mug of hot tea on myself. Just great!

Before leaving work and before my mom’s boyfriend, if that what you’d call him, came over, I told her we needed to talk! She’s been acting like nothing ever happend. You know we’re not okay, right? She has been trying to make plans with me, but I’m just waiting for her to back out at the last minute. Don’t think because we spend a few hours together tomorrow that nothing happened this week. She kept responding with “I know… I understand…” No! You don’t understand! You have never had to experience with your mother what I have with you, It hurts and its NOT okay!

We ended the conversation on a good note and I pray it didn’t just go in one ear and out of the other. We supposedly have plans for tomorrow…

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).

OIKOS Smoothies Morning

I was sent a recipe for a South Beach Mango Lassi a week or so ago, and with my recent obsession with Indian food, I was more then apt to try it.  Lassies are a traditional yogurt-based drink that you will find on any Indian restaurant menu.

I whipped out a plain OIKOS and told Frank I was making a smoothie, to which he replied, “Will you make me one, too? I just bought yogurt.”

I typically like to add a scoop of protein to my smoothies for staying power, but since I’m out of vanilla, I had to stick with the God gave me.

Frank has been wanting me to make him a Key Lime shake for a while, now and since he had OIKOS Key Lime Greek yogurt, thats what I whipped up. (By the way, if you’ve never had Greek yogurt, this is the stuff to suck you in!)

Key Lime Smoothie/Shake1 5.3oz OIKOS Key Lime Greek yogurt

1 tsp sugar free lime jello mix

ice

1/3 cup milk

water

protein, optional

Combine and blend!

Mango Lassi Smoothie3/4 cup frozen mango

1 5.3oz plain OIKOS Greek yogurt

1 Tbsp granulated Splenda

ice

water

pinch of cardamom

Blend away!

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I planned on taking a walk to the supermarket to pick up some ingredients for some recipes, but as I currently type this post on the pouch, thunder and rain has set in. Change of plans, I guess.

Warning: Gross Alert! 

Before the wind picked up and retiring from the porch, I was typing away, when out of the corner of my eye pounces Bunny. In mid-air, this crazy cat caught a bird! Are you kidding me?

I couldn’t believe it! I was stunned and mortified, and disgusted, and for some awful reason, I could not look away! I called Barry and told him what happened. Only one word found its way out of my mouth, “Ewwwwww.”

“Can you say anything else?” he asked. “Ehhhhhhhhhh.”

I was disturbed. The image is scared in my head as Bunny chomped away at the poor birdie.

Later today…

It really came down today, so I went to the store to pick up the last few things I needed for this weeks recipes! Something was on my mind today, I don’t know exactly what, put something we definitely there. To keep myself busy, I decided to, can you guess, did a little cooking. Stay Tuned!

WP_003251Barry came over after work and I left terrible that I didn’t go to his place tonight. Barry leaves this weekend for army duty and he and I both work this week, so our time is pretty limited together. I was in a funk, with a knotted stomach, and a little dizzy.

After Barry headed home, mom and I ran to Wawa to grab a little gingie (ginger ale), and i finally found it! Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper! I finally got my fix. Knowing I needed something in my tummy, mom and I split a can of Campbell’s Chunky Split Pea & Ham soup.

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With a little salt and pepper, this stuff was delicious! It was probably the best canned split pea I’ve ever had. There were big chunks of potato and carrots, and ham! Not little pieces of ham… big chunks of ham! And it was filling!

Dork-ing It Up

I mentioned, yesterday, how important it is to surround yourself with positive vibes. Last night, I did just that. I typed up last night’s post while getting ready for bed, however the whole “going to bed” thing didn’t really happen.

Barry and I decided to stay up since neither one of us had anything to do in the morning, and that way we could sleep late.

I really enjoyed last night. We stayed up, playing Phase 10 and watching “Chopped” on Food Network until about 1am. We were googling exotic foods and talking about NASA and space travel…

It was a plain, simple night in and I loved it!

We awoke around 11am, today, and desperately tried falling back asleep. No such luck. So up we went to fix some coffee and enjoy our respective yogurts. I had the the Dannon Light & Fit Blueberry Greek and he experience Greek yogurt for the first time with OIKOS Blackberry. I also broke off a piece of a Gnu Brownie bar to give me a PMS chocolate-fix.

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We continued to dork it up after breakfast while watching an episode of “Star Trek: Next Generation” and the final “Lord of the Rings” movie. Yes, I’m aware how exciting we are, but after my freak out on Monday night, surrounding myself with positive people and events really made a difference.

I ran a few errands on my way home and grabbed another Special K cereal bar, Red berries, for a mid-day snack to hold me over until my shake, which I will make before heading to work. I also managed to pick up these little cuties from Five Below!

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Unfortunately, today is another day of belly bloat. Super uncomfortable! When I get bloated, I’m never really sure if I’m hungry or not, so I’ve been trying to keep hydrated. If I keep drinking and still feel hungry, I’ll eat, but as of right now, I feel like a bowl full of jelly. HAHA

In the world of animals, I told you I’d get back to you about the Blue Buffalo I got for the kids. Beauty scarfs Wellness, like devours it. She kind of sniffed the Blue Buffalo and walked away. She eventually ate it, but I’ll save some money and stick with the Wellness brand.

In the world of bars, I had a Maple Glazed Pecan and Sea Salt KIND bar. How good does that sound?! I wasn’t sure after my first bite, but after my second I began to pick out the maple notes, then the mild saltiness. Its nice low GI treat with 6g protein and 5g fiber.

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In the world of recipes, to keep myself busy before, I made a very anticipated recipe: Homemade Nutella! You know I’m addicted to the stuff, so based off Katie’s Healthy Nutella recipe, I created a virtually sugar free, low fat, low carb chocolate hazelnut spread. I dig it!

The day I took Barry to Wholefoods, we picked up a bag of hazelnuts to make this, but life got in the way and I decided today was the day! Sorry, Barry, I just couldn’t wait any longer!

Be Well NutellaWP_003208

  • 2 level cups raw hazelnuts (240g)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar free maple syrup
  • 2 packets Splenda
  • 1 Tbsp sugar free chocolate syrup
  • 1/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice (I used unsweetened Flax milk)

Roast the hazelnuts for about 9 minutes 400 F. Rub them together in a paper towel to get the skins off. Be careful, as the nuts are pretty hot. In a food processor (I used the MagicBullet) blend the nuts until they begin to be ground very fine, almost nut butter-like, Add all other ingredients, adding 1 at a time and blending. Continue to blend until it’s smooth!

The Bullet was not the easiest thing to use for this, but my food processor at this house is a hand crank, and that just was not happening. I alternated between adding wet and dry ingredients between blending. Because the Bullet isn’t exactly full of space, I removed some of the ingredients and blended in small batched to ensure it was well mixed and smooth.

WP_003209Depending on your taste buds, play around with the sweetness and chocolate decadence.

Next time I make it, I’d like to try Hershey Dark Cocoa!

It made enough to refill my old Nutella jar, plus some! Yum!

Let us compare the chocolate hazelnut spreads that have appeared on Be Well Bundo , shall we?

 per 2 level Tablespoons Nutella (original) Hazelnut Spread GO-LO Sugar Free Be Well Nutella
Calories 200 160 130 122
From Fat 110 80 110 **
Fat 12g 9g 13g 10.7g
Sat. Fat 4g 4g 4g 0.1g
Cholesterol 0mg 0mg 0mg 0mg
Sodium 15mg 10mg 5mg 18.3mg
Carbs 21g 20g 17g 5g
Fiber 1g 0g 11g 2.1g
Sugar 21g 19g 0g* 0.9g
Protein 2g 1g 1g 2g
Vit A 0% 0% 0% 0.3%
Vit C 0% 0% 0% 2.2%
Calcium 4% 8% 0% 1.3%
Iron 4% 4% 4% 3.5%
*contains erythritol**not calculated by MyFitnessPal

Because this recipe contains milk, I would recommend to refrigerate it. Plus, the cold will help make it nice and thick.

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WP_003211In the world of work, I am working a 12. I threw together a shake using a bit of the nutella and some random frozen fruit with protein mix…nothing to write home about. I also made a mug of coffee to take with me. I totally forgot I had this 12 Coffees of Christmas box in the cupboard. I found it while digging out the ingredients for today’s nutella and butter pecan coffee sounded too good to pass up. It smelled amazing!

WP_003212Although I kept busy, time was not passing as quickly as I had hoped. I encountered a tempting blueberry muffin that everyone was snacking on. I had not had one in a long time at treated myself to the quarter that looked like it had the most blueberries! PMS loved the sweet blueberry muffin and after grabbing a soda for my patient, it also decided it wanted a Dr. Pepper. Not just any Dr. Pepper, but a Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper. I was off to the vending machine only to discover Cherry Cola and Diet Dr. Pepper! Darn it! 23 flavors it is…

Around 230am, I hit the wall! I got so tired and bolted to the caf for some coffee. The bad thing about night shift is that your body is not used to being awake, and therefore, gets those crazy late night snack urges, like oreos! Snacking smart, I packed a sliced bell pepper! I just love that crisp and sweet bite from those things! But those oreos are not easy to resist. I also packed a tempeh salad using spring mix, baby carrots, tomatoes, onions, bell pepper, beets, and fakin’ bacon tempeh. Hmmm bacon… yup, Walden Farms Blue Cheese dressing it is!

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It was a  really satisfying salad! I could have kept on eating it (ya know, if I didn’t already eat it all)!

Summer Flavors

This morning began with my stomach feeling well and an excitement to utilize some fresh fruit from the fridge! I made Frank a Berry Colada Smoothie

frozen mixed berries

OIKOS Toasted Coconut Vanilla Greek yogurt

2 Tbsp Torani sugar free coconut syrup

Me? I grabbed some cantaloupe from the refrigerator for a Peach-Loupe Shake:

cantaloupe

1 scoop Vanilla protein powder

1/2 cup Bai 5 Panama Peach

3g (1 serving) sugar free Peach jello mix

xanthum and guar

water

ice

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It was so filling and refreshing! 

Frank went with me to run some errands. Beauty was in need of dog food and Walmart is the ONLY place I can find Dannon Light and Fit Greek Blends Toasted Coconut Vanilla! They only had 2 left, which I quickly snatched up! Its so hard to find the Greek Blends

Once we arrived home, I made a batch of tuna fish, which Frank really enjoyed! He loved the Greek yogurt, cucumber, and dill combination. He ate it on wheat saltines, while I served mine on Suzies Corn, Quinoa, and Sesame Puffed ThinCakes

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The remainder of my day was a pretty lazy one. I just kept counting down until Zumba! Thank goodness it was a 6pm, and not a 7pm, class tonight. I made a cup of coffee around 3pm in the hopes it was give me a boost. No luck. An afternoon nap, maybe? I usually refuse naps because  I’m notorious for not sleeping later that night. I attempted a nap, but it just didn’t help.

It was definitely the sleepiest Zumba class I’ve ever done! Half way through class, my belly was growling. I drank water but I guess it was legit hunger. I walked in the house after class around 715pm to Frank grilling BBQ pork chops and homemade brown pilaf with sun-dried tomatoes, corn, and capers! Heavenly! 

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I Skyped with Barry a bit and I’m looking forward to relaxing in bed the rest of the night. 

This sleepy head is signing off! 

What do you do when you need to get motivated for a workout? Nap? Coffee? 5 Hour Energy? Music?

Granola Day

While thinking about what to pack for night shift, I was suddenly struck with a desire to have a bagel sandwich. I packed an everything bagel thin, which I toasted at work and topped with spicy brown mustard, lettuce, onion, and a few slices of chicken lunch meat. To join the party, I sliced a small red bell pepper and dipped it into Walden Farms Creamy Bacon Ranch dressing! A handful of caramel popcorn was my treat if the night.

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I managed to squeeze in about a 2 hour nap when I got home from work. Once I woke up, my tummy was yelling, “Feed me!” Yogurt was my fancy. I topped a Stonyfield Super Fruit Greek yogurt with a tablespoon if sunflower seeds. This was my first time trying this yogurt and I was surprised by how sweet it was. The sunflower seeds really helped mellow the flavor and give a nutty accent.

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I spent the remainder of the day trying to tidy up the house, and my car, which was very much needed, as well as run a few errands. I also managed to whip up a few batches of granola. I really love granola but it is so easy to over eat it! I got my mom pretty hooked on a granola I picked up, which I was not particularly impressed with. I made Mom a small batch and then proceeded to do a little experiment. I made Barry some blueberry granola!

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Lunch was some delicious baby carrots and cauliflower drizzled with a bit a warm garlic sauce. It was just what I needed to keep me going.

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Dinner was a surprise. I wasn’t exceptionally hungry so I decided for the ol’ standby of cottage cheese and raspberries. “Danger, Will Robinson!” I only had two tablespoons left! Cottage cheese turned into yogurt. Yeah, yogurt twice in a day…

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I topped a plain OIKOS Greek with a splenda packet, a handful of raspberries and some freshly made  granola. It was so filling! For fresh! It was delicious!

I’m pretty pleased with my eating today. I pray that it gets better every day!

Ode to Kathleen and Drinks Before Noon

I can honestly say, that even as a college student, I have never once drank before noon.

This week started off with excitement: the LAST two days of clinical of nursing school!

Mondays features were coffee and cafe… I saw OIKOS Cafe Latte Greek Yogurt, and I was curious. But I really liked it! It was smooth ans creamy with a mild coffee flavor, not espresso like I was expecting.

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Monday was miserable! It was pouring and gloomy. The best way to combat one of these days is with some soup: Lentil soup with some grilled ham and cheese! I still can’t find affordable raspberries, so I improvised for dessert to get my kick: Breakstone’s Raspberry Cottage Cheese Double, sprinkled with cocoa powder.

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Now, onto Tuesday!

This is it! Its so surreal! I finished all my paperwork and projects, and this is the day. The LAST day of clinical as a nursing student! I was very attached to two of my patients and both they and I were said that I was leaving. I feel like I will visit them, though. I was actually contemplating applying for a job at this facility. I work with kids, but maybe my calling is to be with fragile patients. I’m not quite sure if a nursing home is the right start for a career for me, though.

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After we were finished on the unit, I hugged my patients, and met up with friends at Border Cafe, as we had done a few weeks earlier. I learned, today, that I really am a light weight. One rum and coke and I was toast! And it wasn’t even noon yet! Oh boy!

After I sobered up I headed home to prep tonight’s dinner.

Kathleen is a nurse that I work with. She also happens to be a Kappan alumnus (referring to Phi Theta Kappa). Anyway, Kathleen and I have a lot in common. She has been very supportive of me throughout my entire illness and recovery, as well as a cheerleader for my continued education. One thing Kathleen and I have consistently found in common is our love of food, especially ethnic foods!  Although Kathleen and I usually talk about sushi and Indian food, I’m dedicating today’s recipe to her, as Kathleen is a vegetarian, and newcomer to the blog, and today’s recipe uses tofu.

I’ve made this recipe before and loved it! Now, for a little tweeking.

Tofu and Eggplant Stir-fryWP_002264

serves 4

Sauce: (you will be making this recipe three times)

1 tsp. cornstarch

1/4 cup cold water
1 tbsp. reduced-sodium/lite soy sauce
2 tsp. sweet Asian chili sauce
1 no-calorie sweetener packet (like Splenda or Truvia)
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Meat:

1 large peeled eggplant cut into 1″ cubes
1 (14oz) package lite firm tofu

2 tsp. minced garlic

Vegetables:

1 md. onion, cut into thirds and then quartered

2 bell pepper

4 cups frozen broccoli

3 oz baby carrots

6 button mushrooms, quartered

Combine all ingredients for the sauce except the cornstarch and set aside. Drain the water from the tofu and slice into 8 slices. Lay the slices between a towel, and weigh the tofu and towel down with a pan (I used a nursing text book). Allow the tofu to sit for 30 minutes and for the towel to absorb the excess moisture.

Spray a pan with nonstick cooking spray and “dry-fry” the tofu (AKA brown the tofu), pressing with a spatula occasionally to remove excess liquid. Once one side is toasty brown, flip and press the tofu again. When browned, remove from heat and let cool. When cool, cut each slice into 6 pieces. Place cubed tofu in a resealable baggie and pour in the sauce. Allow to marinate at room temperature, turning the tofu occasionally. (The longer the tofu has to marinade, the more flavor it will pick up. I marinated mine for about 4 hours).

Meanwhile, roughly chop vegetables into large pieces and cube the eggplant. After marinating the tofu for a while, its time to cook.

Spray a wok or large skillet with non stick spray, and on medium high heat, add the cubed the eggplant. Toss every so often to brown the sides and until the eggplant becomes fragrant. Add the minced garlic and empty the contents of the sealed marinating bag (tofu and marinade) into the skillet. Meanwhile, steam the vegetables as you would prefer to do so. (I used the stove).

Make two batches of the sauce. Combine the water and cornstarch and stir until dissolved. Add the remaining sauce ingredients. (Remember to make two batches). Toss the eggplant and tofu and pour one completed batch pf sauce over the “meat” and toss. Lower the heat to medium/ medium-low. Add the last batch of sauce, toss, and allow to thicken.

Toss all ingredients together and enjoy!

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cube up the eggplant

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press and dry-fry the tofu

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cool and cut the tofu

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marinate

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rice boiling, vegetables steaming, and “meat” cooking

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Reading this recipe back, it sound a lot more complicated than it actually is. I promise!

I love the sweet and spicy notes of this meal! Plus, I got dad to eat tofu! (Another added bonus: each serving is around 200 calories). I served dads meal over brown rice and mine over the remaining bag of Miracle Rice. I also made a samosa salad with a thinly sliced cucumber, some onion, and a tablespoon of seasoned rice vinegar.