Pumpkin, meet Butter Cake

Hello!

I’ve missed you all sooooooo much!

45 hr of work+ nursing school = when the heck do I get to blog?

I have finished up another semester of working towards my BSN, and am on Winter Break. Alleluia! But despite that equation of little sleep, a girls still gotta eat, right? So no worries, my blog family. I’m still a cooking machine!

Last year, I brought bourbon-spiked sweet potato casserole to the table. This year, I’m still keeping it orange.

There is a bakery I grew up on in Philly called Stock’s Bakery. The sticky buns, danishes, and donuts are massive. Every Easter, Grandmom gets pound cake for everyone.

But… on special occasions, we get butter cake. Not like Betty Crocker butter cake… BUTTER CAKE!

How in the world can I make this decedent, guilty pleasure? I’ve asked the universe since I was a wee one.

When I was younger, Stock’s would sell out of butter by noon. If we remembered, we would call and reserve it. It is nothing fancy to look at:

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All Photo Credit: Stock’s Bakery Facebook

 

Off-white, cracked surface, in a shallow metal tin, wrapped in wax paper. The End.

Then you cut into it, and as you remove your knife from the pan, you watch this gooey, creamy filling mask the metal of the cutlery. This thin square you have just cut is melt-in-your-mouth heaven!

Oh my goodness, I think I’m drooling on my keyboard.. Oops!

Then, last year, on one of my Cooking Channel binders, I saw Bobby Deen make a lighter version of his Mama’s Gooey Butter Cake. Game on, Bobby, game on. After reviewing his recipe, I cut it back a bit more using applesauce, liquid egg substitute, and a reduced fat cream cheese. (I can’t believe cream cheese is the secret!) But then October hit.

It’s Pumpkin Season!!!

Then November rolled around, and suddenly, it’s Thanksgiving! The family has been in a funk over the past year, and getting even funkier, but with my own apartment, now, and a dad and an uncle so close to me, it was my turn to have my very first thanksgiving!

On the Menu:

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NOT sharing

 

  • Rosemary and apricot glazed turkey breast
  • Bourbon-Spiked Sweet Potato Casserole
  • Roasted Thyme and Lemon Veggies
  • Cranberry sauce made from scratch
  • The last of the beloved Grandmom Thanksgiving Stuffing from the freezer
  • Turkey gravy
  • Spinach Roll (A Wilmington institution, Serpe’s Bakery, caught fire last year and had to close. They reopened and we had to get a slice of tomato pie. While there, Dad mentioned how difficult it must be to make their spinach and pepperoni rolls. I accepted the challenge. I think he knew I would, that sneaky old man!)

But it isn’t quite Turkey Day without…

Turkey… duh..

No, dessert!

With pumpkin on the brain, the warming scent of cinnamon air that fills the season, and a partial (very large) can of pumpkin in the fridge, the gears began-a-turning…

When I made Bobby’s cake, the “crust” was much thicker than Stock’s. Ok, let’s cut that back. Flavor was there, but… Ok, let’s “Fall” this thing up!

 Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

10-16 slices

The Cake

  • ½ package of carrot cake or spice cake- cake mix
  • ¼ cup milk of choice
  • 1 tsp lemon juicepump
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce, maybe pumpkin

The Gooey

  • 8oz fat free cream cheese, room temp
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin, NOT pie filling
  • ¼ cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp light buttery spread (like Blue Bonnet light, or Country Crock light)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ¾ cup powdered/confectioners sugar

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Mix all cake ingredients well. Transfer to a 9 inch pie pan or square pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Beat the filling ingredients, slowly incorporating the powdered sugar. Pour over the cake batter and smooth the surface.

Bake 30-35 minutes, and allow it to rest and cool.

 

Optional: Drizzle with melted white chocolate. Why? Just because.

Nutrition (1/16):

Calories: 100, Fat: 1g, Sat. Fat: 0.4g, Cholesterol: 2.2mg, Sodium: 192.6mg, Carbs: 19.8g, Fiber: 0.7g, Sugars: 12.8g, Protein: 3g

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It is a rich cake, so with a bit of whipped cream, 1/16 is quite guiltlessly satisfying. But be my guest to cut a bigger piece… You’ll want to! 

Daniel was invited to a co-worker’s house at his new base, for which I was very thankful. I think he was super excited, too, because he baked three pies to take with him! Yeah, he bakes! Crazy, right?!

So after some good company, yummy food, a glass of wine, and a slice of Fall heaven, it was time to relax.

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The following day, I was back in the kitchen! I baked ALL day! I may or may not have raided the discount rack at the farmers market and bought like 20lb of apples….

You’d think after baking 2 apple pies, 3 batches of cookies, and about 10lb of apples worth of applesauce, I’d be exhausted, right?

I could not pass up the invitation to catch up with my friends at Tim and Tori’s house! I went to high school with both of them, and now they are engaged! Timmy was my first crush in high school and Tori is one of my bridesmaids.

I walked into Timmy and Tori’s house to see a kitchen of my high school crushes! Some of them I haven’t seen since high school graduation! It was like we never parted! Hugs and laughs the whole night! It was absolutely fantastic and just what I needed to break away from the stress, monotony, and isolation of being a working student.

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I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving, surrounded by love and laughs!

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Cheater Cheater, Pumpkin Eater

After trying Hungry Girls recipe for Gingerbread cookies, and utilizing prepared cookie mix another recipe last week, I am really digging, what I affectionately call, “Cheater Cookies.”

With today being National Bake Cookies Day, have at it!

WP_004945Cheater Chip Cookies

makes 28 cookies

  • 1 snack size (7.5 oz) package Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Cookie mix
  • 2 Tbsp rolled oats
  • 2 Tbsp  cup pure pumpkin
  •  2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp Splenda Brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 to 375 F.  Place the rolled oats in a food processor and allow the oats to be finely shredded, about 2 1/2 minutes in the processor. Meanwhile, sift the prepared cookie mix into a large bowl, reserving the chocolate chips. Add all the remaining ingredients, including oats, excluding reserved chips.

Place the chocolate chips in the processor and briefly chop the chips, about 10 to 15 seconds in the processor. Add the chocolate shreds to the batter and fold in.

Using a 1/2 Tbsp measuring spoon, spoon the dough onto parchment paper- lined baking pans and bake about 9 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack and just try to resist.

These were delicious!!! I’m warning you, though, its hard to stop eating them. The day I baked them, I ate like 6! These are probably in my top 3 faves from this year’s baking!

While baking, Frank said, “I want sugar cookies.” He had the pouty lip and everything!

I cheated, again, with Betty Crocker’s Sugar Cookie mix…

Sugar CheatersWP_004943

  • 1  (17.5 oz) bag Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie mix
  • 1/4 cup, plus 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp light buttery spread, like Blue Bonnet Light
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • jimmies or sprinkles, if desired

Preheat oven t0 375 F. Thoroughly combine all ingredients and divided among parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. If desired, top with jimmies/sprinkles. Bake for 9 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack and dig in! 

For other Cheater Cookies, check out December 17th’s Maple specials

Oh Snap!

Since I start my new job today, I decided to try to get as much baking done last week as I could. Are you ready for some cookie recipes??? Beacue today’s post has three! Yes, THREE!

Last year, dad and I tried our hands at gingerbread cookies. We used Hungry Girls recipe and loved it! I have a weakness for ginger snaps, AKA spiced wafers. These cookies utilize molasses, which I don’t have a need for. In an effort to make ginger snaps, I tweaked HG’s recipe to have a pseudo-ginger snap recipe. Dad and I were quite pleased with the results.

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  • 1 14.5 oz pkg Betty Crocker Gingerbread cookie mix
  • 1 cup Fiber One bran cereal
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3 packets Splenda
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup pure pumpkin
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 3T Tbsp sugar free pancake syrup
  • 3 Tbsp whole wheat flour, divided, for dusting

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a food processor, grind Fiber One to an ultra fine consistency. Transfer crumbs to a medium bowl, along with spices, Splenda, baking powder, and cookie mix. Set aside.

In a separate small bowl, combine pumpkin with water and syrup. Mix well and fold into dry ingredients. Combine thoroughly. It may take a bit of elbow grease, which is why I like to use the kitchen aide. Once combined, use hands to knead dough into two balls. Working in manageable batches, sparingly use the flour to dust the dough, rolling pin, and flat surface, and roll the dough to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness.

Depending on the size of the cookie cutters, you’ll probably have to re-roll the trimmings for more cookies.) Transfer cookies to the baking sheets and bake 10 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.

Once fully cooked, either dig in, decorate, of both!

I colored two tablespoons of cream cheese frosting (my fave) with green coloring and decorated my cookies. I only used about half the icing.

I had some very snappy dressing teddy bears, as well as a Beary Gates, cousin to Bill Gates, Dr. Bones, and Spock, as well as business men and nurses and doctors.

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Yes, I’m well aware of how weird I am… But you’ll thank me when you bite into these cookies!

This is one of my favorite recipes this holiday season!

Yesterday, I realized I had a bag of Betty Crocker Pumpkin Spice Cookie mix, so I decided to experiment… And hence, the following two recipes were created and eaten!

Pumpkin GingersnapsWP_004947

makes 28 cookies

  • 1 bag Betty Crocker Pumpkin Spice Cookie mix
  • 1 packet Splenda
  • 1 Tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup pure pumpkin
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp sugar free pancake syrup
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute

Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine all the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients, one at a time.

Using a 1/2 Tbsp, scoop the batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes and transfer to cooling rack.

The smell of the ginger is fantastic when you pop open the oven door!

Pumpkin Butter CookiesWP_004949

makes 26 cookies

  • 1 bag Betty Crocker Pumpkin Spice Cookie mix
  • 2 Tbsp pure pumpkin
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp sugar free pancake syrup
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute

Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine the wet ingredients and the PB until thoroughly blended. Add the dry ingredients and mix well.

Using a 1/2 Tbsp, scoop the batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes and transfer to a cooling rack.

Inspired By A Cake

Sunday night, the 15th, was my final shift at the Pediatric Hospital. I will be starting a new chapter of my life tomorrow as a Registered Nurse… a paid RN, that is! The wonderful people I work with through me a going away party packed with goodies. The first thing that caught my eye when I walked into the room, was the bowl of shrimp! “Oh my gosh, who the heck brought shrimp?”

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Kim answered… “I know you love it…” But its expensive woman! She just blew me off and told me to enjoy. Kim, also baked a cake and brownies. Other things on the menu included pizza, chips, salsa, fruit salad, and veggies. Even the color of the decorations were “ME” to a T! They presented me with a card and a gift certificate, and I must say that my entire shift was spent choking back tears.

The cake was dynamite! I had never had a Creamsicle cake before! And the frosting (I am not a frosting girl) I could have eaten by the spoonful! Ask Kim for the recipe for the icing and the following conversation took place:

Kim: You don’t want to know… It’ll kill YOU... (everyone chuckled as she emphasized me, in particular)

Me: No, tell me.. Its fantastic!

Kim: Crisco… (everyone burst out in laughter)

She proceeded to tell me the ingredients and I requested the proportions. However I have been sworn to secrecy (Sorry, bloggers).

I went to town! I still can’t believe the mass quantity of food I ate!

When I woke this morning… I felt the need to try to burn off some of my over indulgence from the party and went for a run. Stupid Sammy didn’t check to see that it was 30 F outside… Only after I arrived at the store did I realize how tight my lungs were… I should have kept that damn albuterol inhaler I thought to myself…

Upon arriving home, and with the cake still on my mind,  I was inspired to make pancakes:

Creamsicle Protein PancakesWP_004940

serves 1

  • 1 scoop vanilla protein
  • 1 tsp sugar free Orange jello mix
  • 2 Tbsp cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp water

Blend in a food processor until completely smooth. Spoon onto a sprayed griddle pan over medium heat and flip and cook accordingly…

I topped the pancakes with 1/2 Tbsp fluff. The fluff melted, add the perfect sweetness and was like the icing on my (pan)cakes!

After a complete afternoon of manic baking… shocker… I was hungry and refused to wait any longer for someone to get home to decide dinner…

With some pumpkin remaining from cooking, and with today being National Chocolate Covered Anything Day.. I opted for yet another protein pancake.

Chocolate Pumpkin PancakesWP_004948

serves 1

  • 1 scoop Chocolate protein
  • 2 Tbsp pure pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1 packet Splenda
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Blend in a food processor until smooth and spoon to a sprayed griddle over medium heat. Flip and cook accordingly.

I just drizzled syrup over mine and chowed down!

I then went to some much needed ZUUMBA!

Emotion-Coaster

It was rather a rollercoaster of a day. It started out great, then got bad, then it got better, and then it was just okay.

Before I get into that, I have to share with you some of my mad scientist brain. My hot chocolate did not quite satisfy my sweet tooth last night. I popped a mini bag of popcorn, for crunch, drizzled a bit of SF chocolate syrup, for the sweet, and a handful of raspberries for juice and tartness! Sounds crazy but it was pretty awesome and did the trick!

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I got up to make dad breakfast before he headed off to work. Today is National Scrapple Day, so I made his favorite: scrapple, egg whites, and cheese on a toasted everything bagelthin with hot sauce!

After a mug of coffee and some resume sending, I thought scrapple sounded great! How dare I, a Delawarean, not celebrate National Scrapple Day?! Right as I was about to toss a slice of toast in the toaster oven, it hit me! While picking out my bell peppers, yesterday, at the farmers market, a woman mention stuffed peppers. I could totally make a breakfast stuffed pepper! I could stuff it with anything! Its genius! (If you want stuffed peppers for dinner, try out my Quinoa Stuffed Peppers!)

Breakfast Stuffed PeppersWP_004540

serves 2

  • 1 medium bell pepper, sliced in half
  • 1/2 cup liquid egg substitute, divided
  • 2 oz scrapple (or meat of choice), divided
  • hot sauce (or condiment of choice)
  • cheese (optional)

Spray a pan with non stick cooking spray, and lay the pepper halves, boat style, and bake at 350 F for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, brown 1 oz of scrapple, or meat of choice. Once browned, roughly dice the meat, spray the pan with non stick cooking spray and pour 1/4 cup egg over top. Top egg with condiment (and cheese). Quickly, fold the eggs over to just barely cook. Transfer the egg mix into a pepper half. Repeat with the remaining meat, eggs, and pepper. Bake at 350 F for another 15 minutes.

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I sprinkled mine with reduced fat grated parm! MMMMM!

It really was a great idea! A few hours later, I knew I needed to get food in my stomach before work. There was no way I could run my shift with some little calories in my system. Some peanut butter and pretzel sticks later? An anxiety attack!

Not only was I frustrated, for some reason, about eating lunch, I was frustrated with myself for this stupid anxiety attack! I had been doing so well! Why now? Darn it!!!!

I pulled myself together, enough, to get ready for work. My thinking was Sammy, if your at work, your moving, which means you’re burning calories…

As always, work pulled me out of my funk and I threw myself into my patients. I kept myself busy until, my stomach told me it was time to eat. Amy and I headed down to the caf and I was pleased to find steamed broccoli on the menu. I dug into some steamed broccoli, sprinkled with Old Bay, and raw mushrooms and baby corn. I grabbed the plum for mom.

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WP_004543Around 830, I sat down, once more, to the last slice of Sweet Pumpkin Quiche, which I topped with toasted coconut and raisins! I felt a little leery about eating, but I knew that it was best for me! How can I take care of my patients and set an example if I’m not healthy and taking care of myself? 

I had to have been the most hydrated I have ever been, tonight! Early in my shift, I grabbed a 32 oz cup so I could refill it throughout the night. I drank FOUR of these! FOUR!

Savory and Sweet Sunday

Since this is my weekend off from work, its another Brunch Sunday with the family. Barry and I woke up and headed over to my moms house.

I had planned on making Hungry-Girl’s Crustless Pumpkin Quiche Supreme. I though about it, and realized I needed to make two pans. So rather than two of the same, I played around in the kitchen to create a  Sweet Pumpkin Quiche to match HG’s savory one!

Sweet Pumpkin Quiche

makes 8 slices

  • 4 Laughing Cow Light Swiss Cream Cheese wedges, room temperature
  • 1/8 tsp ground gingerWP_004486
  • 1 1/2 tsp Splenda brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Splenda packets
  • 1 15oz can pure pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup frozen whole cranberries
  • 1 Tbsp chopped pecans
  • 1 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar free pancake syrup

Preheat the oven to 350 F. In the meantime, break up the cream cheese wedges and use the back of a spoon to smooth it out. Add the Splendas, spices, and vanilla. Once combined, mix in the pumpkin. Fold in the cranberries, then mix in the eggs.

Spray a 9-in pie pan with non stick cooking spray. Pour the pumpkin mixture in the pie pan and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, and evenly coat the top with syrup. Place back in the oven and continue to bake for another 30 minutes. Move the pan to the broiler and broil for about 10 minutes, until the top begins to brown and caramelize. Remove from the oven and allow the quiche to sit for a few minutes before slicing into it.

It was like breakfast pumpkin pie!!!

MMM Savory and Sweet!

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I put syrup out on the table, but I don’t think it needed a darn thing! I served breakfast up with some breakfast potatoes with garlic, onions, peppers, and spices (sort of like a Potatoes O’Brien).

Brunch was a hot according to my panel! I guess its time to formally introduce you to the panel:

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My dad, Tom, Frank, my step-dad, Dom, one of my little brothers, and Barry, my boo 🙂

They all have different taste preferences, except my dad and Barry… they put hot sauce on everything!

The Sunday got even better, when Barry joined dad and I for a post-brunch catch! Luckily, I had an extra glove!

The day was a typical Sunday. Barry and I watched a movie. Since the weather was chilly, Barry and I were in the mood for chili! While he ran to the closest Wendy’s for chili, while I browned up some 97%  fat free hot dogs, and onions. I snuck a soy dog on Barry’s plate and he really enjoyed it!

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The evening was finished up with some job hunting, hot mocha, gingersnaps, and the Eagles/Raiders game!

I love Sundays!

Pumpkin Pie for Breakfast

During the crock pot challenge, I made crock pot Pumpkin Sticky Buns! Based off of that recipe, here is the perfect October breakfast for those brisk Fall mornings.

I just can’t get enough of pumpkin! Especiallyon National Pumpkin Day!

Pumpkin Pie Cinnamon Buns

makes 12 buns

The Dough:

  • 2 cup plus 1 Tbsp milk of choice (I used unsweetened flax milk)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 packet dry, active yeast (to help activate the yeast)
  • 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated Splenda
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup Libby’s pure pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce

The Filling:

  • 3/4 cup pure pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup granulated Splenda
  • 2 Tbsp sugar-free pancake syrup
  • 1 Tbsp Splenda brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
Glaze Ingredients:
  • 3 Tbsp sugar free pancake syrup
  • 1 Tbsp granulated Splenda
  • 1/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 Tbsp pecans
  • 1 Tbsp hulled, unsalted pumpkin seeds
Warm milk and water in a bowl in the microwave for about 45 seconds. Let it sit for a few minutes. You want the liquids warm, not hot. Sprinkle the sugar into the liquid, followed by the packet of yeast. Set aside and allow mixture to bubble and foam.
Sift the flours, baking powder, Splenda, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice into a large bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, warm the applesauce and pumpkin in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds. Stir the vanilla into the warmed mix, then stir this to the milk and yeast bowl. Pour the bowl of liquid ingredients into thelarge bowl of dry, and together to form a dowl. The dough will be moist and tacky. Cover the ball of dough with a towel and set in a warm place to rise for 20 minutes. (My trick: microwave an empty microwave for a minute, then place the covered bowl in the microwave to sit.)
While the dough is rising, stir together the filling ingredients and set aside. You can also chop the pecans and pumpkin seeds and tossed them together, and set aside. When the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 325 F. Sprinkle 1Tbsp of all-purpose flour over the ball. Sprinkle another 1 Tbsp over the clean, flat surface on which you will be rolling the dough. Flip the ball of dough onto the floured surface and sprinkle another 1 Tbsp of flour on top. Use your hands to press out the dough. Flour the dough in 1/2 Tbsp increments, as needed. Flip the dough over, after its been pressed with your fingers, sprinkle with flour and roll it out into a large rectangle.
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Using a spoon or basting brush, brushthe filling ingredients to every edge. (I suggest brushing onto the table to make sure every piece is coated!) With finger tips, carefully roll the dough into a long log. Using a non-serrated knife, cut the log into 12 equal portions, cleaning the blade after each slice. Carefully transfer the 12 rolls into a baking dish, sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  (For really large buns, cover and return the buns to a warm place for another 30 minutes. For regular sized, bake now.) Top the rolls with chopped pecan and pumpkin seed blend and bake for 25 to 28 minutes.
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While baking, stir together the remaining glaze ingredients. Once baked, drizzle the glaze over the buns and serve.
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When I opened the oven, it smelled like a pumpkin pie was baking! After the buns were glazed, I sat down to a cup of Tiramisu coffee (one of the new coffees I bought yesterday) to which I added SF Italian Sweet Cream creamer. What a combo! The creamer totally picked up the sweet notes of the coffee! I pulled apart the first piece of pumpkin bun to see a beautiful orange filling, and warm moist dough. I love that contrast of the firm outer shell with the soft inner layer of sticky buns!
Mom said it was just the right sweetness! My only critique is to make a thicker glaze…
I stared brain storming toppings… Obviously, nuts are a no-brainer, but what about crumbled bacon? Sounds like I might have to make these again in the near future!
Nutrition: per bun
Calories: 151, Fat: 1g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 278mg, Carbs: 30, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 1, Protein: 4g

Good Ideas with Daddy

Once again, I woke up with a recipe in my head. Dad, too, woke up with a breakfast in mind. We combined our ideas and it was fantastic!

I prepped everything at my house and walked to my dads to start our Sunday. By the way, “Get Ready” by the Rare Earth is a great power walking song.

Dad bought these Honey Ham steaks off the managers rack for like 69 cents and really wanted that with eggs. That sounded pretty darn tasty to me and I knew this concoction in my head would play perfectly with the sweet and salty ham.

Blondie Protein PancakesWP_004361

  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 2 eggs whites, or 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1/2 Tbsp SF FF Butterscotch pudding mix
  • 1/2 Tbsp PB2, or 1 tsp creamy PB
  • 2 Tbsp cottage cheese
  • splash of water
  • 1 tsp Toffee bits (optional)

Blend all, except bits, in a food processor until smooth. The PB and pudding makes this batter a bit thick, so I recommend a splash of water. Spray a heated and sprayed skillet. Fold in toffee bits if desired,  and dollop the batter and use the back of the spoon to spread batter.

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In my opinion, these dollar stacks did not need butter or syrup. I drizzled the slightest bit of SF syrup over it. Just like I expected, the salty sweet honey ham paired perfectly with the salty sweet butterscotch and peanut butter!

Breakfast was packed with protein and deliciousness, and was completed with a mug of coffee.

Following breakfast, I dove into household chores, like laundry, flipping the mattress, changing the bed linens, and over all, house cleaning. We then ran a few errands, while listening to the Eagles/Dallas game on the radio. Upon arriving back home, I had a bit of a chill. Its a beautiful sunny day, but still breezy. I really don’t know I’m complaining about a little 10 mph wind, when yesterday I had 120 mph wind whipping at me body…

Either way, another daddy-daughter combo idea came into fruition. “Have you had those pumpkin pie pop tarts, yet?” dad asked. Nope. “Why don’t you throw one in the toaster to hold us over until dinner.” Hey, want to split a mug of hot chocolate? “Sure.”

Two words: Good Ideas!

The pairing of the warm, toasted poptart, which actually did taste like pumpkin pie, and the warmth of my special hot chocolate was absolutely perfect to warm us both up! I mean, it sounds so simple but I’m still impressed. Haha!

After watching a terrible Eagles performance and finishing up a bunch of cleaning, dad had another good idea. I say its a good idea because I’ve been craving sushi! He had been craving the Chinese Buffet. And, after all, it is International Foods Week. Mexican yesterday, Asian today. We met Barry for dinner at the Hibachi Grill and Buffet. Sunday dinner is the best time to go because they amp up the seafood selection! I loaded up on sashimi and vegetables! I hit up the raw bar and I hit it hard! Mussels, tuna, salmon… and then green beans, shrimp, mushrooms, spinach and such from the hot plates.

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I was starving and, oh, so, happy, with our decision to some out to the buffet! MMM I was in veggie and sushi heaven… times 3!

 

Chocolate and Vanilla Cake Walk Into A Bar…

Monday

I spent the entire, and I do mean entire, day in bed! Barry and I both have night shift and neither one of us felt a real reason to get up.  In fact my “breakfast” was a sugar free oreo and a spoonful of Barry’s grandmother’s homemade apple sauce! And that’s just because Barry had them in the room! Haha!

I arrived back home, after picking up dinner for the family, and jumped in the shower. I got out just in time to whip up a shake and enjoy dinner with the family before heading to work. While the family ate their Wendy’s, I made a bowl. Frappe Away I said to myself.

Today is National Frappe Day. What the heck is a frappe? I googled and found out it is typically a coffee and ice cream based drink. Well, no ice cream went into the blender, but Cafe Latte protein powder did. Between Barry and my girlfriend, Rebecca, both of whom call me “Pumpkin,” were partial inspirations for the end result of my meal. Since I, unfortunately, did not have any open cans of pumpkin, I substituted the fiber with a handful of frozen apples. Did you know October is National Apple Month? (I know… I’m a pillar of useless knowledge…)

Pumpkin Frapp-AwayWP_004150

The crunchy and nutty topper for this bowl was unsalted, hulled pumpkin seeds and Kashi Go Lean cereal.

I headed off to work to find out I was being pulled to another unit, a unit I have never been to before. Its always slightly nerve-racking being pulled to another unit. What are the nurses like there? Whats the acuity of the patients? Am I on the floor or a 1:1? How long will I be on the unit for?

Luckily, none of these things were a problem, tonight. In fact, the nurses were welcoming, sociable, and helpful, and my 11 patients were of managable acuity! I actually was pulled for the complete 12 hours of my shift.

Tuesday

I met with my girlfriend and co-worker, Amy, a little after 1am and we went to the caf, where I grabbed some raw vegetables from the salad bar. Rather than crushing saltines into my Wendy’s chili, I dipped these vegetables. Genius! The Wendy’s near my house was recently rebuilt and opened last week. I have been craving chili ever since. I was floored when I checked the website to find a small chili was 180 calories! I expected a small container, but was content with being able to get a chili, in the first place. When I asked the woman if she gave me the right size, she compared it to the large and I was floored, once again! Score!

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I was one happy camper as I emptied the chili hot sauce packets into my cup and dug in.

WP_004153We’ve been Boo-ed!” Huh? Apparently, theres this game going on around the hospital where units make bags of candies, and sneak them into unit’s break rooms then the game continues. Damn, Butterfingers get me every time! Luckily, I was one and done! Yay, Sammy!

My sleep was cut short today as I was awoken by a call from my manger with some not so pleasant news (more to come on that matter). There was no way I could get back to sleep and, in fact, I was up for the rest of the day before coming back to work. My breakfast? Corn chips and a Babyruth.

All day I wanted to eat, although I knew I wasn’t hungry. But then, I began feeling an emptiness in my stomach, so I ate. It turned out that emptiness was actually part of my emotions. To try to counter act this feeling, it was a two shake day.

I’m sort of childishly excited for today’s food-iday: National Fluffernutter Day! I kept swaying back and forth between making a shake or a sandwich to celebrate. I was never a fan of fluff as a kid. Well, maybe thats not the way to put it. We just never bought it. Same thing with Nutella. We never bought it so I never really developed a taste for it until I tried my little brother’s nutella one day. Same goes for the Fluff. I remember, last year during my refeeding, I would dip Nilla wafers into fluff. Sometimes, I would grab a spoonful of PB and then dip into the Fluff jar. If I wanted something extra sweet, I’d do a nutella and fluff combo!

Anyway, I decided I would feel more satisfied with a bowl:

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  • 1 scoop of Chocolate OR Vanilla shake mix
  • 1 Tbsp fluff
  • 1 tsp peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Chocolate PB2
  • xanthum and guar, optional

To substitute for the bread, I topped the sweet bowl with Fiber One bran cereal. (Its pretty shade of green is from added spinach).

A bit after, I realized my anxiety was manifesting itself. Rather than NOT eating, I WAS eating. Luckily, I recognized it, and preoccupied myself with mopping the floor and going through clothes to donate. When dinner time arrived, and heavy eyelids began, I  whipped up another bowl to hold me over until it was time to eat at work.

Salted CaramelWP_004155

  • 1 scoop Chocolate protein
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Chocolate PB2
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp SF caramel syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • 20 fat free pretzel sticks, broken

It totally hit the spot and I loved the salty sweet crunch that I constantly crave.

I was on the floor for the first four hours of my 12 hour shift. My 1:1 patient was supposed to be going home tomorrow, so I wanted to spend some time with then before they left.

Wednesday

After a breezy first four, my time ended abruptly with assisting to de-escalate an upset parent and assist a nurse with removing an IV. I felt great when I was able to help the mother stop crying and make her laugh.

When I got into my patient’s room, the patient was super excited that I’d be spending the rest of the shift with them. I, then ,found out my patient’s discharge date had been pushed back to Friday. That means I get two more shifts to see them.

After the snack I had done earlier in the day, I packed a light meal for work. Plus, my nerves were still so wrecked that I didn’t have much of an appetite. But boy, oh, boy, was I in for a rude awakening.

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Yeah!

As if I wasn’t stressed enough, and manifesting it with body hating, I had that Cajun Trail Mix and all of this candy in my face! The nurses agreed that I deserved to have day a candy. Its funny how I eat candy when I’m spazzed. I’m stress eating, but body conscience. I take a bite out of piece and throw it away. Bizarre. Nonetheless, the nibbles did not stop me from hating myself as I returned to the 1:1 after eating some leftover eggplant parm frittata around 3am.

WP_004159Deb brought this in, too! Candy Corn M &M! What a combo! These candy pieces are bigger that the typical chocolates and made with white chocolate instead. Addicting. While trying to find a link to these M&Ms for you, I found these! I’ve never seen these. Ever! Is it for real? Does anyone know? My jaw almost hit the floor and I’m enveloped in curiousity! I returned to my patient’s room, after some well-deserved ranting, and counted down until 7am when I could leave.

Full or body hating guilt and a dwindling self worth, I tried to keep my mind occupied by blogging and reading.

I must admit that I was, finally, able to finish a book that I wanted to read. Its been years since I’ve been able to read a book for fun.

After work, I couldn’t wait to hit my bed. Today, on a day when I actually feel tired after work, I had to stay up to take my uncle to a doctors appointment. His procedure required sedation and he, therefore, needed a ride to and from.

WP_004160Luckily, it didn’t take very long and I killed some time at Wawa grabbing a coffee and a packet of apples to hold me over. Upon arriving home, I snagged a few pretzel sticks and almonds and curled up into a ball to awake about 5 hours late! Victory! I had finally slept!

Once awake, I hopped in the shower and assisted Frank with making my little brother dinner, while also sending out countless resumes! Last night, I was reading up on detox soups, many of which contained beets and ginger. I figured I could work with that and wound up creating what tasted better than Red Velvet Cake!

Better Than Red Velvet Cake ShakeWP_004161

  • 1 scoop chocolate protein
  • 1/2 small beet, peeled, sliced thinly and microwaved for 3 minutes
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/3 cup frozen pitted cherries
  • 1/2 Tbsp sugar free fat free cheesecake OR white chocolate pudding mix
  • splash of SF chocolate syrup, for added sweetness
  • xanthum and guar (optional)

I’ve never like Red Velvet Cake. It was always one of those sweets thatI didn’t understand. Its like if chocolate and vanilla cake had a baby and the baby couldn’t decide what it wanted to be when it grew up…

Once the fruits and vegetables were blended, the color reminded me of the cake, and rather than going full on “detox,” I went with the inspiration. I topped my bowl with broken pretzel sticks and chia seeds.

With the remaining half beet, I repeated the slicing, and combined it with sliced baby carrots, a chopped cherry pepper, onions, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes into a Tupperware all to be, later, used to top a bed of chopped romaine and reduced fat blue cheese crumbles. It’s National Moldy Cheese Day, hence the moldy cheese in my salad… Once arriving at work, I was greeted with this:

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“Happy Pediatric Nurse’s Week from Bayada Health!” Thanks Bayada. Start my shift with an oatmeal cookie and some M&Ms? Don’t mind if I do. One and done, baby! I was a happy camper, once again, with my self control, and felt no guilt about this treat!

Thursday

I spent my shift much like I did the night before; the first 4 hours on the floor and the last 8 in my 1:1. Before falling asleep, my patient asked if I would care to watch a movie with them. And so we laughed until the movie ended. Around 2 am I was relieved from my post to eat. I warmed the previously prepared vegetables in the microwave and tossed them with the romaine and blue cheese. I love how the warm veggies melt the blue cheese, and their juices combine to create a dressing for the salad! Its a salad with which I’ve never been disappointed! Following my meal, I snagged a mini Twix from the abbondanza supply of candy, and another half a cookie, sealing the deal with a cup of hot coffee.

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I always take time at the hospital as a learning opportunity and asked the nurse if she could explain to me the difference between “covering” for carbs and “correcting” with insulin. I was so pleased to discover that I had already had a solid understanding of how to do so, and worked with the nurse making up a few examples to ensure I had a firm grasp on the subject. Woo Hoo!

I returned to the room of the 1:1 and spent my remain hours charting on my patient, scouring the web for pediatric nursing positions, working on Be Well Bundo, stretching, and reading another book.

Following work, I drug myself to, yet another, morning appointment, but not before grabbing a bite. Who would think that soup would be the breakfast of choice? On this cold morning, it was all I could think about. I heated up a cup of Progresso’s Chicken and Barley (I’m a sucker for barley), topped with a bran crackers, and warmed myself up.

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This time, the appointment required manual labor and as I left the hospital, I prayed the rain would hold off until my task was complete. We are fortunate enough to have a home with a fireplace, my favorite feature of the house. I am planted in front of it throughout the fall and winter months. I’m surprised the floor isn’t indented with my butt print, by now. We were, also, fortunate enough to have been connected with the city to receive free wood. As the city chops trees, the lumbar is piled at a local park on the east side. If you schedule an appointment and complete the labor, yourself, you can take a truckload of FREE wood each month. We took full advantage of it, last year, and I wanted an early start, this year. I took the first available appointment and Frank and I headed over, bundled up, tiredly fighting the weather in a battle of time.

The forecast for the next four days is nothing but cold rain. Oh, joy! According to the weather tracker on my phone, between 7 to 9 there was a decreased chance of rain. Our appointment was for 830. As we pulled up, it was chilly and lightly raining. We loaded up the bed of the truck and by the time I got home, I was dead to the world and it began raining harder.

I stumbled into the house, eyes barely open, and made a B line to the couch where there was an inviting  comforter calling my name. With hoodie up and slipper socks on, I was out in a matter of seconds, contacts in and all (not smart by the way… crazy dry eyes).

I woke around 330pm, or so, trying to go back to sleep. No luck. And here I am. Catching you up on the haps.

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Today has been a filling day! As always on Wednesday mornings, I woke up and made a shake to start off my day, give me some brain power for a study session and an energy boost for a post study workout!

I had some pumpkin left over in the fridge so I used some of that in this morning’s smoothie. Between the protein from the yogurt and the fiber from the pumpkin, I was stuffed for hours!WP_001663

3/8 cup (or 1/4c plus 2 Tbls) canned pure pumpkin

6oz Honey Greek yogurt

handful of spinach

1 Splenda packet

a couple dashes of pumpkin pie spice

water

ice

After an informative study session, I NEEDED to hit the gym! Being sick puts a major damper on working out, and I needed to get my mojo back. (Plus, I figured it would tire me out so I could sleep this afternoon before night shift). I used my Couch to 5K app to create today’s treadmill routine, followed by some core and lower back work.

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I good workout to me is one where I leave the gym drenched in sweat and a smile on my face! And today was one of these days!

When I got to my dads I got crazy hungry, and dad just happens to have Super Chunky Peanut Butter. A spoonful down the hatch!

Dad asked if I wanted to take a quick visit to the store. Ladies and gentlemen… the reason why I love discount produce oh so much:

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$1.97 for all of these ginormous strawberries! I went to town! Oh boy, are you all going to love this treat: cottage cheese, nutella, and fresh strawberries! Protein… fruit…. so full! So yummy!

Forget those frozen berries in the freezer! These are going into a shake tomorrow for sure!