I Will

My night concluded with a cup of grapes and X-Men, and I awoke with a feeling of contentment and thanks.

I don’t think anyone will forget where they were when the attacks happened. I know that day is etched in my memory. I’ve been seeing these “I will…” commercials about things that people are doing to honor and remember 9/11.

We were all affected by that day in 2001. Here is what I’m doing to honor and remember September 11 2001:

  • WP_003826 Make a Red, White, and Blue shake.

1 scoop vanilla protein
handful blueberries
handful raspberries
1 Tbsp sugar free fat free White Chocolate pudding mix
water
ice

(I added a banana to Franks instead of the pudding mix).

  • Pray and be thankful for all the service men and woman.
  • Be a steward for God’s creations.
  • Care and serve for others through my career and my everyday life.
  • Value myself.
  • Call my family more often.WP_003827
  • End my conversations and every night with “I love you.”
  • Always put forth my best.
  • Donate blood.

These are just a few things that I could think of this morning.

WP_003863After topping my bowl with ground flax, Frank and I headed out for a bike ride. We are desperately trying to increase our time on our bikes, but it blows my mind how tired I get after just a few laps around the block. We then ran to Walmart with the intent to pick up Degreaser to scrub the drive. The sun was beating down hard and the darn pressure washer wouldn’t start! I give Frank a lot of credit… He was determined, but unfortunately, after so much time, you’re exhausted!

I came to a realization, today, while trying to help Frank: I’m getting weaker. I’m tired and when I stand, my vision blurs and I get light-headed.  I don’t think its just because I’m  tired… I’ve noticed my complete lack of an appetite and minimal caloric intake. I feel like I’m refeeding, again. I know I’m not hungry, but I need to eat. I think my stomach has shrunk, again, which could also be contributing. I called dad after realizing this, about 3 1/2 hours after finishing my shake.

I finished the last of my Chicken Steak-Umms for Frank and myself, by throwing in sauteed bell peppers, onions. and garlic. To make it even better, I added roasted red peppers! I finished the steaks by tossing in eggs and a little cheese! It was delicious!

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Now, I am desperately trying to stay awake for a staff meeting that I can call in for. Then, its nap time!

Long Awaited

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bakeri Bake-Off

Yesterday, I mentioned I made one of my favorite breakfast/dessert recipes. I can’t wait to share it with you.

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When I visited Meaghen, back in December, she took me to this quaint coffee shop called Bakeri. It was small, everyone was incredibly friendly and you can watch the food being made right in front of you. They had scones, muffins, cookies, quiche, brownies, focaccia, sandwiches, and so much more! My first morning in Brooklyn I enjoyed some sort of caffeine that I let the expert order for me, a snicker doodle and lavender bar, and a delicious coffee cake!

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The back yard

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such a tiny shop

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the inspiring breakfast

This recipe is a great way to use up that fruit thats turning a little quicker than you want it to. I’m pretty proud of this recipe, too! Baking is not for everyone, its a real science and this is the first baked dish that I measured out and created solely on my own.

Apple-Cranberry-Pear Walnut Coffee CakeWP_001250

serves 12

2 very ripe pears

2 medium very ripe apples

1 1/4 cup fat free sour cream

1/2 cup finely diced walnuts

1 Tbsp Brummel and Brown Yogurt spread, or butter

1 cup granulated Splenda

1/2 liquid egg whites

2 cups Presto self-rising cake flour, measure after sifting

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup whole frozen cranberries

Streusel:

1/4 cup Splenda brown sugar

1/4 cup whole wheat flourWP_001252

1/3 cup Fiber One bran cereal, measure then pulse in processor until fine

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce

1/2 Tbsp ground flax (optional)

1 Tbsp granulated Splenda

Combine sour cream through baking soda. Dough will be thick. Stir in the cranberries. Spoon a little less than half in a 9 x 9 baking dish that has been sprayed with some non stick spray. Spread the thick mixture evenly over the bottom with a spoon and ensure it reaches the corners. Let this layer settle, while roughly peeling, coring, and thinly slicing the apples and pears. Spread two-thirds of the sliced fruit over the settled layer of dough. Pour the remaining dough over top and spread evenly. Top with the remained fruit and pat fruit into dough with fingers.

Combine the ingredients for the streusel (brown sugar through flax) in a bowl and mix well. Using you hand, sprinkle to sticky mixture over the cake. Sprinkle the white Splenda evenly over top.

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20-25 min at 350 F. Uncover and lightly pat down the streusel and bake for another 20-25 min.

Cut into 12 squares while still warm and enjoy!

WP_001257Facts:   1 serving (1/12 recipe)

Calories: 225

Fat: 3.3g

Sat. Fat: 0g

Cholesterol: 0mg

Sodium: 368 mg

Carbs: 40.8g

Fiber: 3.9g

Sugar: 9.4g

I love how the tartness of the cranberries pairs with the sweetness and earthiness of the apples and pears! Its the perfect amount of sweet! This can be eaten room temp or warmed up. (I like slicing a piece in half, warming it in the microwave,  and adding a side of vanilla ice cream to make it a dessert!)

If you are ever in Brooklyn, I suggest Bakeri! Its quaint and cozy, friendly, and all their food is made with love! I can’t wait to go back!

Today, I was supposed to meet up with Katie, my sponsor to work out… but tell that to my car…

WP_001261So I wound up making breakfast with some leftover hot Italian turkey sausage, sun-dried tomatoes, onions, and   peppers. I topped the eggwhites with a bit of fat free shredded mozzarella. Mom really enjoyed it, and so did I!

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After some more procrastination, I finally got myself to sit down and watch a bit of a  lecture.

PS. Bakeri’s cookies are to die for! Salted chocolate and cherries!

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Enjoy your Saturday!

Like a Skyscraper

Today’s Anthem:

I went to sleep late last night, but I woke up around 0830 with a feeling of renewal! Like anything was possible.

Running and music used to be outlets when I was healthy. So I laced up my sneaks, popped on some music and downloaded to couch to 5K app on my phone. I knew that this was what I needed! I opened the from door,and its raining. I looked up, said “Really?! Rain?!”

This was my cue to stick it to the universe. Half way through the run, Skyscraper came on my phone and I felt empowered. I typically don’t care to run to slower songs because it slows me down, but WOW! Today, this song was just what I needed. Demi and I are close in age and have both struggled through depression and eating disorders. I think this song is supposed to be about the media, or applied to a lover, but today, I was talking to myself, this disease. It keeps trying to tear me down. “I will be rising from the ground like a skyscraper.”

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The 5 miles felt great!

As I ran back toward my house, the rain starting becoming a bit ice-like, getting ready for the Noreaster.

I was excite for breakfast. I poured a glass of Aloe and ate a Kashi 7 Grain waffle, with 1/2 T Brummel and Brown’s Yogurt Spread and 1/2 T of the most delicious Blueberry Jam of all time! This stuff is from Maine. My girlfriend Maggie goes there every year with her family and they bring this stuff back by the case-load!

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Yeah… its just that good!

After my run, I could tell today was going to be a good day!

I ran to the store today because I finished the last of the water the other day. I try not to use plastic bottles, but I’ve had to the last few days. Can lifting 3 five gallon jugs of water count as my strength training for the day? Just kidding.

I did a little tidying up around the house and sat down next to the fireplace to start watching a lecture. No success. This turned into nap time.

Next thing I knew, my dad was ringing the doorbell for dinner. I made a roasted vegetable and spinach salad. I did like last time and sprayed some cauliflower florets, baby carrots, and mushrooms with cooking  spray and tossed in some garlic powder and basil. I baked these in the toaster oven at 400 until the carrots start to dry out and the the cauliflower gets a mildly golden crust. Then I topped the warm veggies over a bed of spinach and drizzled some of the BBQ sauce for NY over it. To finish this beaut off, a sliced some onion and sprinkled some chia seeds.

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To complete the meal, I baked a VitaPizza, pepperoni supreme style. (I prefer the tomato and cheese one better). Yum!

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I’m really glad dad liked the salad because he most def is not a fan of cauliflower.

Then, the most amazing thing happened. The doorbell rang and there stood a man with a box of food. I looked at him, confused. It was Joe Reda, the district representative. He knows we are having some financial troubles, as most families are these days, and he and his wife brought us staple foods, like pasta, cereal, milk… I was floored. I did not know what to say. With everything we hear about the world, its hard to believe that there are still generous and chivalrous human beings out there.

Thank you, Reda Family! You’ll never know how grateful we are! God Bless You!

After the Reda’s left, dad and I dug into a fruit salad and some cottage cheese!

MMMMM

MMMMM

Chicken Garam Masala: Crock Pot Recipe #5

Listen up, Butter Lovers!

First things, first: Happy National Peanut Butter Day! What a marvelously delicious way to start your day… with Peanut Butter!

Since its a bit out of the way, Mom and I decided that it would be a good day to visit some of the natural food stores around here so I could finish picking up a few things to include in Meaghan’s care package back to New York.
I can’t tell you what’s it there just yet. I can’t ruin the surprise for her… But as soon as she gets it, you’ll get it.

some Wholefoods sweet treats

some Wholefoods sweet treats

One of my favorite things about Wholefoods is the bakery. By now, you all know I have a serious baked goods problem… As in, I can’t get enough of them. Whenever I visit a Wholefoods, I always hit up the bakery. Since I don’t have any vegan products at home, I especially enjoy getting the vegan cookies and muffins. Today, was no different. I celebrated National Peanut Butter Day by enjoying a peanut butter sandwich cookie! My mom went a little crazy at the dessert counter, though. But it made for a great treat after tonight’s crock pot dinner.

mmmmmmm

mmmmmmm

I love PB!

I love PB!

Wholefoods Bakery <3

Wholefoods Bakery ❤

We also stopped by The Fresh Market. You know how at the supermarket, theres a bit or organic, gluten-free, etc items thrown in the mix? Well, thats the way The Fresh Market is, but inverse. My favorite part of this place is the trail mix bar! They have this White Chocolate Crunch mix that Meaghan got me hooked on and its ADDICTING!

Trail Mix!!

Trail Mix!!

They are also known for there many flavors of coffees. Did I mention theres an old fashioned candy bar?

Candy!!

Candy!!

Coffee!

Coffee!

We also picked up this amazingly yummy fruit salad, that I enjoyed with some cottage cheese.

so fresh!

so fresh!

And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for… Tonight’s Crock Pot Dinner!!
Tonight’s dinner is a recipe Julie used for her part of the Crock Pot Challenge: Chicken Garam Masala. The recipe calls for chicken thighs, of which I did not have in the freezer. To take its place, I used some drumsticks. I removed its skins and figured since it still had a bone, like the thighs, it would make do.
I think I’d like to try this with chicken breast, as well; and maybe enjoy it with some naan. I’m a huge fan of chickpeas, so when I came across this recipe, I was more than excited to to give it a shot. Plus, I’ve never had cooked garbanzo beans and have recently found a little fascination with Indian cuisine after a date I went on.

If you didn’t know, garam masala is a typical Indian spice that,in Hindu, translates to “hot spices.” Its a blend of spices including, cardamom, cumin, cloves, black and white pepper, and cinnamon. So without further ado… Ladies and gentlemen…Chicken Garam Masala!!!

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Serves 4

4 chicken thighs (or drumsticks), skinless
2 (15oz) cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained

1 large onion, chopped

2 cups cauliflower florets
1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes

2 1/2 tsp garam masala

fresh cilantro, or 1 to 1 1/2 tsp dried cilantro

Dollop non fat Greek yogurt or sour cream, garnish (optional)

Combined everything, except the cilantro and sour cream, in the crock pot and give it a  toss. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. After plating, garnish with cilantro (and greek yogurt or sour cream).

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I was shocked by how much each portion received  It makes about 5 cups of of the chickpea mixture. This was a really filling recipe and the chicken was fall-off-the-bone moist! I think it was definitely lacking something… maybe a bit more garam masala? red pepper flakes? If you play around with this recipe, fill us in on the comments portion, below.

Nutrition Facts, per 1 heaping cup of chicken mixture:

Calories: 238     Fat: 2.9g     Sat Fat: 0g     Cholesterol: 0mg     Sodium: 840.3mg     Carbs: 48.1g     Fiber: 15.6g     Sugars: 8.4g     Protein: 12.4g      (A 4oz skinless chicken drumstick is around 130 cal with 13g protein

Wow! 15.6g fiber, 25g protein?! No wonder I’m so full!

While we are discussing chickpeas… Did you know there are bars made from these beans? I came across this while visiting Meaghan in New York. The bars are called “The Good Bean.” They’re marked as “Fruit and No-Nut” bars. The first bar I tried was Chocolate Berry, followed by Trail Mix, then Apricot Coconut. I enjoyed how different they were from other bars. Not crispy or crunchy, but not soft like a Larabar. I did not care for the Apricot Coconut. It did not have any defining flavors, nor any sweetness as you would expect. The Trail mix bar contains dried cranberries for tartness and pumpkin seeds for a bite. Its held together with brown rice syrup, which gives a little sweetness. The Chocolate Berry has a combinations of dried blueberries, cherries, and cranberries, and sweet chocolate. It made me feel like I was getting a little treat without the bad fats and sugars ans uber chocolatey-ness. I enjoy them as a nice change of pace, especially since I can’t find them except for in WholeFoods.

right next to the Kind bars! one stop shopping!

right next to the Kind bars! one stop shopping!

Hope you all had a wonderful day! Heres a recipe that combines two stars of today: Roasted Peanut Butter Chickpeas!