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!

Nutella with Raspberries

WP_003704Wednesday 8/28

As Barry headed off to work, I slept in for a bit until getting up to meet Frank at the farmers market at 9am. Breakfast was small and quick, as I was still shockingly full from last night. A Creme Brulee sugar free rice pudding and large glass of sparkling water sufficed.

We ran a few errands, and just as we were loading up the the truck at the last stop, the cloudy sky opened up and poured! It poured for hours! When we got home and unloaded, I headed to bed for night shift and when I woke up from my 3 hour nap,it was still pouring! In fact, it stopped just long enough for me to run the recycling and trashcans out and get to my car for work. 5 minutes after being in the car, it started pouring, again! Then, on my way from the parking garage, as I made a run for it, I saw the creek was almost to the top! Talk about rain!

The smell of Frank’s cooking is what woke me up this afternoon! I love his stir fry, so while I sat down to my snack, I stole some veggies and shrimp from the skillet. Hey, I had to make sure it wasn’t poisonous!

Frank and my dad had voiced some concerns the last few days. My dad mentioned that it looked like I was loosing weight, again, and he wasn’t pleased. This afternoon, Frank talked to me over my yogurt, as said he was worried about me. “You look on the pale side, and your WP_003705soft spoken. You’re starting to worry me. I’m not used to you being so quiet. You’re usually so boystrous.” He’s right, though, I haven’t felt myself the last few days. In fact, I’ve been doing nothing, but stressing about food! Maybe its because I was surrounded by food all weekend, and this was my way of feeling in control? I’m not quite sure, but its nice to know that I have my dads and Barry there for me.

Backing up to the yogurt. It was like a was fiending for caffeine! I had a bowl of light coffee yogurt, and crumbled half a Gnu Espresso Chip bar on top. Yum! I was definitely digging it and it really filled me up.

After changing my meals about 6 times, today, I decided to pack things that I could burn off over my shift: Be Well Nutella on toast with raspberries, steamed broccoli and petite carrots and celery sticks.

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I was clerking for the first 4 hours of my shift and as usual, my 10pm hunger was kicking in. I tried desperately to ignore it, but one of the guys, here, kept talking about how he wanted to get a Baconator! Oh man! Yes, please! That was it. I grabbed a pack of graham crackers and ate them with a bit of PB to keep me going until my 2 am lunch break. I have to say that as soon as I swallowed the last bit, I immediately began a guilt trip on myself!

The reminder of the shift was spent on the floor. The nutella and raspberries are great, by the way!

Eggplant Pie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eggplant PieWP_003507

Serves 4

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

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

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

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

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

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Slice and enjoy!

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Nutrition (1/4 recipe):

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

Chocolate Rain

Today began early with working day shift. I woke to a gloomy Friday morning, much like most of the east coast. Once I arrived at work and received my assignment, I made a mug of coffee (thank you, Mr. Keurig) and grabbed my breakfast.

WP_002566It has taken this paranoid mind of mine a while to come around to trying this mornings breakfast. I have heard rave reviews about this yogurt from everyone I’ve spoken to about it, but thought 230 calories was a bit much for yogurt. Nonetheless, I finally tried out Chobani flip Almond Coco Loco. This was actual coconut yogurt with actual shredded coconut in it! So sweet! The add-ins were shaved dark chocolate and almond slices. It was quite the rich breakfast, but very filling.

As I entered the break room, I was greeted by sourdough pretzels, red velvet iced sugar cookies, Hershey kisses and Italian chocolates. One of the girls on night shift was raving about this Italian chocolate called Baci so I made a point to grab one. Wow! Smooth velvety chocolate, draped over chopped hazelnuts!

I must admit that my eating was not ideal today. I offered to work overtime to help out the unit, so my dinner wound up being sourdough pretzels and dark chocolate Hershey kisses. Dessert, was a red velvet cookie. I don’t even like red velvet, but there is something about these cooked that get me every time. Yes, I know, I am the pillar of health.WP_002567

Cautiously battling the rain home, I passed a family of geese. It reminded me of how even during these miserable days, there is always something beautiful. Always something magical. Always something to make you smile. The weather was miserable, but the baby geese followed their mom and it reminded me how excited I was to spend the evening with my mom and how thankful I am that her and I battled our addictions and illnesses together and how much stronger a relationship we have now.

On the way home, my body craved more chocolate… veggies. Luckily, there was no guessing what I wanted. A small order if steamed veggies with garlic sauce, no rice, and a small hot and sour soup. Finally, some actual nutrients!

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PS. Do you remember that song “Chocolate Rain?”

Buonanotte

Yesterday was a really special day for the Bundos!

All start from the beginning..

I headed off to night shift Thursday night. I totally forgot that it was Kristina’s baby shower! By frozen meal went into the freezer and I went to town on the veggie platter! Debs husband also made this salad that I fo to town on! I don’t know the proportins but its imitation crab, purple onions, sliced mushrooms, buyer, old bay, salt and pepper. It sounds so simple for such a yummy dish! I also treated myself to some funfetti cake.

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When I got home from work, I had every intention of doing to mass. I figured this would be a great opportunity to get in a run. As I got two blocks away from home, the rain started. Its funny… Sometimes the rain makes me feel totally unmotivated. But other times, like yesterday it makes running fun! I ran to Church, and waited outside only to find out there was no mass this morning! On my rainy jog home, I stopped by the cemetery. By the time I got home, I was soaked. But I didn’t really care. I crawled into bed and was out till about 3pm.

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Dad came over for dinner, Friday night, and watched this past Thursday’s episode of Glee. It doesn’t typically watch it, but what a great episode!! I started having flashbacks to Degrassi! I occasionally like to have pizza night, and I’ve reply been getting into Amy’s pizzas as well Kashi! Last night, we had Amy’s Spinach Pizza, to which I added onions and red bell pepper! Sprinkled with a bit or granulated garlic and crushed red pepper flakes… Mmmmmm!

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We had an appointment for 630pm but she asked if we could come back later, as she was running behind. To kill some time, dad and I went to a social club we both belong to. I enjoyed a girlie drink of diet sierra must and citron vodka, while dad got his beer and cherry brandy.

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While at the club, I received a phone call from my mom saying Beauty got out and she couldn’t find her! Needless to say, my heart dropped into my stomach! As I pulled into the neighborhood, I found the pup sniffing around some yards. Thank, God I found her so quickly! She got out in the middle of the night once and it took a food 2 hours to find her. With Beauty safe and sound, and my heart rate finally returning back to a normal speed, dad and I headed back out.

At 840, we arrived back at our appointment. We left with these:

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Wonder Twin Powers, Activate!

Music has always been a connection between my dad and I, through good times and bad, and I’m so glad we were able to get these treble clefs on our wrists together! I couldn’t believe he actually did it! I was shocked! I think I still am shocked!

I also left with this on my left ribs:

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Buonanotte means “goodnight” in Italian; but it has many meanings to me. It was my grandmothers maiden name, the first word she ever taught me in Italian, and the words that my dad whispered to her when she passed away in 2008. This tattoo has been years in the making, and I’m honored to wear her name so close to my heart.

When It Rains, It Pours

No, really… Its pouring outside…

Even though I went to sleep around 8pm last night, I woke up feeling really uncomfortable and immediately got sick. I decided I was to tough it out, since I did no want to miss any clinical. While at clinical, I got sick and got really flush and the nurse sent me home. I was so disappointed because this nurse was going to have me administer medications and respiratory treatments!

I headed home and crashed for a few hours. When I woke up, I still felt gross. I finally smacked on some apple that i had packed for lunch to see how that felt. The remainder of the day was mostly carby foods. They just made me feel better… Like crackers, bread, and popcorn.

And once again, no gym for Sammy! Grrrr! I have class in the morning so I hope I can get to the gym after class.

Tomorrow will be another weird scheduled day…

Just like last Saturday, I will be working a 12 but this time, on night shift…
I’m hoping to get some reading done for school…

Tonight, I also decided on what crock pot meals I will be making this weekend to close up the crock pot challenge! I’m so excited!