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!

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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”!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

Immediato’s Bistro

Last night, we celebrated my Uncle’s birthday at his favorite restaurant, Immediato’s Bistro.

                        

Jen and Tony used to be my neighbors and I babysat their two boys! It amazes me every time I see the boys how much they have grown! They moved down to Middletown a few years back and opened the bistro and hoagie shop! (great turkey sandwiches, by the way)

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Jen and Uncle Eddie

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Jen and Me

To celebrate, about 12 close family members joined us for dinner. Each table is welcomed with a basket of fresh ciabatta-like rolls and olive oil. Vinnie, Tony’s brother prepared bruschetta, broccoli rabe topped with freshly grated Locatelli, and chopped antipasto salad! One of my favorite thing about Immediato’s is that they are not cheap with the fresh garlic! I’m not typically impressed with bruschetta, but wow! I literally could have eaten a whole bowl by itself. In fact, the bruschetta went so fast, this half eaten plate was the only picture I could snag!

Bruschetta

Bruschetta

Antipasto

Antipasto

Broccoli Rabe

Broccoli Rabe

During dinner, the loud Italians were silent! Everyone was completely focused on theirs meals.

 

 

Among the entrees chosen were:
Farfelle Immediato

Chicken ala Tony (top) and Farfelle Immediato (bottom)

Chicken alla Tony (top) and Farfelle Immediato (bottom)

Chicken Marsala

Penne with Pesto and Meatballs

Linguini with Meat Sauce

Ravioli in Meat Sauce
Marsala Braised Short Ribs
and the birthday boy and one of my cousins got the

Chicken alla Tony.

Marsala Braised Short Rib

Marsala Braised Short Rib

My dad got the Farfelle, which I’ve gotten before, and loved it. Its not quite an alfredo, but the cream sauce is perfectly complimented by the peas and prosciutto. The braised short rib was something I would have never thought of getting, but our family-friend said that she had it earlier in the week and has been craving it ever since! Naturally, I had to try it. I had never seen gnocchi in anything other than your typical Italian gravies, but this was a like a Marsala-BBQ-y goodness! The beef was pull-apart, fall-apart amazing, and smothered with mushrooms and gnocchi. I believe we will be going back for my cousins birthday in a few weeks. This may be a contender for dinner that night.

The birthday boy isn’t a huge fan of asparagus, but who isn’t a fan of pasta, chicken, and crab meat… He graciously shared the asparagus , of the Chicken alla Tony,with my aunt and me. Perfectly steamed, perfectly crisp.
My meal of choice was actually an appetizer: Mussels White. You can make it a meal by adding a side of pasta. Like I said, they do not skimp on the garlic! My dad, whos not the biggest fan of mussels, couldn’t stop raving about how perfectly cooked this bowl full of  yummy was! And my godfather sweetly asked, “Hey Sammy, could… could I try one?” He was sold! The white wine sauce was fantastic! Once I finished the mussels, I kept scooping my fork in the broth and pulling up chunks of chopped garlic! Yum! To compliment the shellfish, I saved some of the broccoli rabe and ate them together.

Mangia

Mangia

My cousin, Kyle, apparently enjoyed his meal as well…
Yeah, its just THAT good!

Yeah, its just THAT good!

To add to the celebration, Immediato’s had a performer playing guitar and harmonica and singing beautiful Italian songs. My Uncle and dad really enjoyed themselves as they began some vino-induced singing of Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York!”
The Birthday Serenade

The Birthday Serenade

And now for the desserts! I think I may have gone up a pant size last night. I could not get enough of the desserts! Vinnie prepared a special birthday dessert for my Uncle, and I have to say, I was shocked, impressed, and in it for the long hull: Fried Gnocchi drizzled with cinnamon, sugar, and chocolate, with a center piece of cannoli filling and homemade pizzelles!They also brought out a cake with a candle, while the guitar player sang and played “Happy Birthday.” Kyle and I had no trouble tapping into that baby while Uncle Eddie enjoyed the Chocolate Truffle Cake!
Blowing out the candles!

Blowing out the candles!

There is a whole case of cookies, cannolis, eclairs, giant cream puffs and truffle cakes, and multi-layer cakes! My cousin, Kyle, and I went to town on the cookies!

MMMMMMM!

MMMMMMM! Birthday Surprise!

They have the best macaroons I’ve ever tasted; and being the chocolate lover that I am, I opted for the chocolate covered ones. Have you ever known me to turn down PB? I got an array of cookies from the case… Raspberry filled shortbread, PB, macaroons, and cheesecake filled.

Some cookies I HAD to bite into!

Some cookies I HAD to bite into!

To top off the night, we cheersed with a shot of my Uncle’s homemade lemon cello.

Salud!

Salud!

I also got my mom a slice of the tallest strawberry shortcake I’ve ever seen! Sorry mom, but I had to tap into that on the ride home.

Decorated with a wafer roll cookie...

Decorated with a wafer roll cookie and stuffed with strawberries and smooth creme!

Once I got home, it hit me light a lightening bolt! PB cookie+Raspberry shortbread= PBnJ! Genius! With my first bite of the PB cookie, I was hooked! It was not just a PB cookie, but a PB STUFFED cookie!

Now thats how a cookie should be!

Now thats how a cookie should be!

As always, it was a wonderful night at Immediato’s Bistro! If you’re in the area, I highly recommend swinging by Main Street for lunch or dinner, just don’t forget the dessert!
Thanks for a great night Jen, Tony, Vinnie, and the crew and Happy Birthday, Uncle Eddie, and many more!!