Ten Gallon Hat Winery

I finally went to my first winery! After attending multiple wine festivals and tastings, I finally went to a winery. My friend got me a gift certificate to Ten Gallon Hat Winery, and before I knew it, its expiration date was quickly approaching. Unfortunately, she was not able to go with me, but dad was happy, and more than willing, to substitute.

So, February 10th, after work and running some errands, we drove about 15 minutes over the DE/PA line to Ten Gallon Hat Winery. Its pretty well hidden. Despite how small the building looks on the outside, its a spacious beauty on the inside. Dad and I walked down the steps to a room with a bar and a bunch of high top tables. Each table and corner bar supplied with mini saltine and chocolate chip morsels, to compliment the wine.

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We were given a list, with a descriptions of each wine, and a pencil to check off our choices. We were able to each choose six wines to sample, so between the two of us, we covered the 13 options. While dad was more set on the reds, I was counting down to the fruit wines.

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First came the reds:V__DAE2

  • Merlot- This was so-so. Its pretty hard to mess up a merlot.
  • Zinfandel- I’ve had white merlot, but never a red zin. It was sort of dry like a zin, but with a deep flavor typical of a red.
  • Barbera- This, in my opinion, was the best red. Cedar was the scent that stood out to me. I don’t mean it was like sipping on bark. It was mellow and there was something calming about drinking this wine.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon- Dad’s a cab guy, so he was looking forward to this one, and wasn’t disappointed. He rated this as his highest ranking of the red and whites.

Followed by the whites: Admittedly, neither dad nor myself are much fans of white wines.V__55CE

  • Chardonnay- It just sounds so fancy, doesn’t it? But, unfortunately, it was much too dry for my liking.
  • Pinot Grigio, AKA “The Sheriff’s Daughter”- Based on the description, I expected a citrus and fruity wine with a bit of a dry bite. But, alas, still not my fancy…
  • Riesling, AKA “The Preacher’s Daughter”- We had finally hit a white wine that tickled my fancy with its mild sweetness.
  • Moscato, AKA “The Farmer’s Daughter”- I’m not a moscato chick, typically. But this and Riesling were the best whites, in my opinion.

And, lastly, the fruits:

  • Blackberry- This was a dark wine, deep with flavor, but no incredibly sweet. I feel like this would be a good wine for someone who is a Cabernet drinker…
  • Red Raspberry- This was the one I was looking forward to the most. After my girlfriend’s wedding two years ago, I fell in love V__08E7with raspberry wine. The bartender spooned some chocolate semi sweets on a napkin and poured us our wine. The first thing I noticed was the pieces of actual raspberries in the wine! Well, that’s a good sign… real fruit… I thought to myself. Dad thought this was the best of the fruit wines. Although, this was an enjoyable wine… what was up next, blew me away.
  • Cranberry- Although I enjoy cranberries and cranberry juice, I did not have high expectations for this wine. Its cranberries… I mentally prepared myself for a tart wine. Boy, was I wrong! After our first few sips, the bartender brought out a wedge of lime to squeeze into the glass. In a nutshell, I bought a whole bottle, and dad and I finished off 2/3 of the bottle that night. Wow, just wow! I can’t even explain how delicious this one is! It’s been months since we’ve had this wine, and I still rave about it!

The fruit wines stole the show for me!

As I talked with Sheryl, one of the bar tenders, I had mentioned I was curious about what was done with all the corks. She filled a whole bag with corks for me to take with me. (I have one of those iron cork holders to hang on my wall and in need of more corks.) Dad and I headed back up the steps to the entertainment room, where were heard music playing. With our wine glasses and an uncorked bottle in hand, dad found us a seat, and I ordered a bowl of Lobster Bisque and a cheesecake.

I had just gotten my first pay check from my new job and was too excited to celebrate with dad. With all the endorphin flowing, I introduced myself to the musician playing, Matt Santry, and offered to get him a glass of wine, while dad and waited for out order.

Matt sat down with dad and I, and the three of us, sipping our wines, discussed music, life, performing, wine, and more. It was pretty cool. My dad must have liked the guy because suddenly dad became my wing man, trying to find out all sorts of information about Matt’s relationship status, past, and so on! I have to say it was pretty cool and quite the bonding moment for pops and I. (But, sorry ladies, Matt’s engaged.)

As Matt  took the stage, our food arrived. The bisque was served with a few homemade croutons. The cheesecake elegantly served with a pool of raspberry syrup and a white chocolate swizzle.

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We left the winery in a great mood and a bit of cranberry wine left. Guess who’s got limes in the fridge, now? This chick!!!

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Salud!

Clementine Bakery

If there isn’t a Flyer’s game on, you can pretty much guarantee that either FoodNetwork or Cooking Channel is on our TV. The other night, while watching Unique Sweets, one of the most mouth-watering-induced shows on television, a cake really caught my eye, and ironically, I had all the ingredients in my kitchen. The episode featured a vegan bakery in New York called Clementine Bakery. Everything she bakes has fruit… but I never would have thought about baking grapefruit… Having just gotten two perfectly ripe grapefruit, I felt it was a sign to try my hand at her raspberry and grapefruit bread with glaze. I love the concept of baking with another citrus fruit, besides lemon!

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My first attempt was in a loaf, just as the bakery makes it. No matter what I tried, I couldn’t get the center to cook through, though that did not take away from the flavor.  I blanked on everything that the Clementine baker used besides grapefruit, raspberries,a glaze, oh, and that fact that its vegan. My goal was for it to resemble the density of pound cake… Come to think of it, I’ve never made a pound cake… Anyway… it turned into a loaf of beautiful colors an fresh tastes!

Raspberry Grapefruit Bread

makes 12

Batter:

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, plus 1 Tbsp
  • 1 cup all purpose flourWP_005771
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup Splenda brown sugar
  • 1 cup Splenda, granulated
  • 1/3 cup light buttery spread (like Brummel and Brown)
  • 2/3 cup applesauce, unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 3/4 cup grapefruit sections, about 1 large grapefruit, 1/4 cup juice reserved
  • 1 cup raspberries

Glaze:

  • 1 tsp confectioners sugar
  • 2 tsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp Splenda, granulated

Preheat oven to 375 to 400 F. Sift together flours, salt, cinnamon, baking soda and powder. Stir in the Splenda blends. In a separate bowl, blend the applesauce, buttery spread, vanilla, almond, and liquid eggs. Add the drained sectioned grapefruit and raspberries to the wet bowl. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. (I added a tablespoon of the grapefruit juice to the batter just for a taste.) Transfer batter to a bread pan sprayed with non stick cooking spray. Bake for 40 minutes.

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Combine the glaze ingredients and brush the top of the loaf. Rotate to pan 45 degrees and continue baking for an additional 20 minutes. Allow the loaf to cool before removing it from the pan to slice.

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If I would have had extra raspberries, I would have loved to make a raspberry glaze!

Serving Suggestion: After the loaf has cooled and been sliced, toast the slice. Dad and Barry both enjoyed it with a variety of toppings… peanut butter, cream cheese, butter, sugar-free jam, etc.

Nutrition (per slice):

Calories: 150, Fat: 2.1g, Sat. Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 212mg, Carbs: 27g, Fiber: 0.4g, Sugars: 7g, Protein: 4g

I was really impressed by Barry’s flavor palate. He told me how the different fruit flavors shown through more depending on the temperature of the bread. Way t use that palate, Barry!

On a side note:

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy!

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Night After Night Shifts

Tuesday

I tried to begin today early. Frank and I began chit chatting and spent the morning together. We both had some delicious coffee, but the entire morning was spend in the kitchen! It was very productive and although the recipe I was working on took about a total of three hours, from start to finish, the final result was well worth it. I cannot wait to share it with you, next week. I am also incredibly excited about a Be Well Bundo first! We, Frank and I, filmed the first video tutorial for the website! It turned out great and that, also, will be posted next week!

WP_004025My appetite will minimal today, as was Franks. Neither one of us ate anything until dinner time. I laid down around 2 pm in an attempt to catch some ZZZss before my shift at 11 pm. Unfortunately, two hours of sleep was all that I obtained. My dad started getting on my case about my calories and I hate it! I’ve been trying to listen to my body and eat when I was hungry. I decided to eat a Raspberry Greek Dannon Light & Fit and topped it with Fiber One 80 Chocolate cereal and chia seeds. This wasn’t good enough for dad. I tried to explain to him that I had my entire shift ahead of me to eat! I am already hard on myself about calories, so when others get on my case , I  get even more paranoid.

Before heading to work, I had some roasted red peppers, garlic, and cucmbers on a rice cake. One thing that put me in a good mood was the delicious coffee I brewed before leaving for work. It was a Vanilla Caramel Creme K cup, with SF french vanilla creamer and a splash of SF caramel syrup! Wow! Delicious!

Wednesday

WP_004026My shift went great! I kept busy and got to care for some great little kiddos. I also got to care for one of the most beautiful babies I’ve ever seen! And so well behaved! Dinner was half a Smart One Tuna Noodle Gratin. Honestly, even if I had eaten the whole thing, it would be pretty tasty for 220 calories. Rather I split it up and added a little broccoli. Once at work, I topped it with salsa since it was a little dried out by the time I reheated it, and paired it with celery sticks.

My food paranoia has definitely carried over into today. When I arrived home from work, this morning, I was starving. After all, the last time I ate was 230am, and it was, now, 730. I whipped up an egg, and put it on a slice of wheat toast, spread with my copy-cat Panera cream cheese. Its was tasty and I scarfed it! I was starving!

WP_004027With Frank being awake, we ran a few errands to pick up necessities for my little brother. When we arrived back home about three hours later and I needed to sleep! My manager asked it I could work a 12, tonight, since we had a patient that required a 1:1. I was hungry. At least I thought I was. I need to be okay with eating. I took out the turkey salad I made the other day and combined it with salsa. I placed it on a rice cake and had a side of cucumbers. It was delicious! But as soon as I finished, I went to sick girl mode. Oh my gosh! 200 calories! Really, Sammy? 200 is perfect for a small meal. Its lean meat, with light mayo, on an unsalted rice cake! How much healthier can you get?

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I laid down, took deep breaths and prayed. Sometimes, that all I can do. Thanks to the turkey, my stress, and my previous night shift, I actually slept! Thank, God! I slept for a solid 5 hours, or so! I woke up, knowing that if I didn’t get something in my system to hold me over until 230 break, I’d be tempted to snack all night! I made a mini shake. I wanted to use up my blueberries left over from Sunday’s pancakes, and wanted a flavor to refresh me and put me in a good mood. Just filling enough to do the trick.

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  • 1 scoop vanilla protein
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 Tbsp sugar free fat free Lemon pudding mix
  • 1/2 Tbsp SF blueberry flavoring syrup (for an extra pop)
  • 1/2 tsp ground flax
  • water
  • ice
  • 1/4 tsp xanthum

Just double the recipe for a full size. Double-fisting, I brewed some Kahlua flavored coffee. I’m glad I had my shake on the way to work because I was greeted with a box of Philly Pretzel Factory pretzels and the content feeling of satiety made it easier to resist the temptation of the doughy, salty carb.

Thursday

Last night, I ate the other half of my Smart Ones. Rather than topping it with salsa, I drizzled a little Walden Farms Creamy Bacon Ranch dressing on it. Hey, bacon… tuna… sounded good to me! Celery sticks accompanied the meal. I find it is so much easier to just bring the same thing two nights in a row. It saves time and I don’t have to think about food and calories. The Waldens didn’t quite give it enough pizzazz, so I added a bit of spicy brown mustard from the Philly Pretzel Factory to the mix.

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The refrigerator was rocking cold and my food got pushed all the way to the back. My food had gotten iced over. While I ate my warm tuna, I attempted to de-ice my celery sticks. It was rather interesting… frozen celery… I wouldn’t recommend it.

Typically, an Aide doesn’t sit in a 1:1 for 12 hours. It almost never happens. Well, last night was a first. I spent most of the night chatting with my patient, who likes to stay up late, and watching movies with them. By 4am, my tailbone was killing me. Since my patient was asleep, I brain stormed some recipes for my birthday. I think I just about have them down. As 7am rolled around, I was stoked to be able walk around. I mean, I walked around my patient’s room and stretched a bit but its not the same as actually being on the floor. If it weren’t for being so tired, I almost didn’t want to sit in my car to drive home.

You know its been a long night when you try to unlock your car door with the locker key attached to your ID badge, thats clipped to your hip. Its not even in the general area as my car keys… you know, those things in my other hand!

Oh, by the way, today is National Pancake Day! Do you know what that means? That means a new recipe for you all to try! I’ll be posting it soonly!

Pregnant Combinations

Friday

WP_003977I reluctantly woke up this morning after a wrong night of sleep. Oddly enough, I began my morning with my (Not So) Split Pea Soup. I topped it with broccoli slaw and FF shredded mozzarella. Yum!

I have one, and only one, problem with the show Cupcake Wars. Every time I finish an episode, I really want to eat. Today was no different. I went to the kitchen around lunch time, knowing I wanted something to eat, something to hold me over until 7pm, but not knowing in the slightest what I wanted. I wound up nibbling on a few things, trying to find my taste. The concept of nibbling really gets to me! As soon as ate, I immediately was swamped with a heavy chest and anxiety. Ok, breath, relax, your fine. I tried to clear my mind and fall asleep.

I, again, could not sleep. I kept waking up and tossing. I woke around 530pm, reviewed my resume and cover letter with my mom, and somehow felt incredibly behind.

WP_003978Today is National Punch Day! Not exactly a significant food holiday, but nonetheless, I began my shift with a punch-inspired shake and a coffee, flavored with SF raspberry and SF white chocolate syrups. We had a ton of cantaloupe in the fridge and it needed to be used. I also had a jello mix that I’ve never even touch and felt this would be the perfect opportunity for it!

  • 2 scoops Vanilla shake mix
  • cantaloupe
  • 1 tsp sugar free fat free Strawberry-Banana jello
  • water
  •  ice

My manager asked me to a work a 12 tonight, which I gladly accepted. I packed myself a bowl of Split Pea Soup from the other night for dinner. I sat on 1:1 for my first 8 hours of my shift. I was pretty happy once 4am came! I ate my soup and topped it with salsa and mozzarella! Total genius! The more I eat this soup, the more I love it and the more I realize how filling it is! And the beauty, is that it keeps me full!

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I must say, I was kicking some serious butt at work. I love when I feel completely on point!

Saturday

WP_003982I stopped by the supermarket to pick up a few things for some upcoming recipes. When I got home, I finished my celery sticks that I was too full to eat at work. It was pretty funny. My mom and I, ever since I was a kid, have loved snacking on scallions. I bit into one this morning that rocked my senses! It was so strong! My eyes were watering and my nose was running!

Despite not sleeping well yesterday, and being at work for 12 hours, I wasn’t tired when I got home. I started unloading the dishwasher, and prepping for tonights dinner and tomorrows breakfast. Soon enough, Frank was up and I whipped him up a smoothie. I, then, gave my dad a call, and requested a favor. I’ve been working on some “manly” shake recipes and dad was more than game to be my guinea pig!

WP_003983I debated making myself a shake for breakfast, as well, and thought I deserved a switch up. I toasted a low fat Nutri-Grain Eggo, smeared it with Chocolate PB2, and mashed raspberries! The remainder of my morning was not how I imagined it would be. I never did go to sleep. I anticipate a full on crash later tonight. Mom and I spent like 2 hours listening to music, as I danced around the room and hula hooped. I hula-ed so hard my abs started to get sore.

We slept the rest of the afternoon running errands. Food anxiety only struck once today. Mom had gone to Panera for iced tea and came out with a baguette and my favorite cream cheese ever: Honey Walnut! I decided it was okay to treat myself and tore off the butt of the loaf and dipped it into the cream cheese, and there we went. Oh boy!

The good news, is that after I went to mass, which was the anniversary mass for my grandmother’s death, I was feeling much better. I headed home and created a dinner only pregnant chicks and myself could enjoy. Mom really wanted mashed potatoes and creamed corn, which is one of my all time favorite food combos! I tricked mom and made a batch of my Garlic Cauli-Mash, and topped each bowl with creamed corn. Delicious. I paired my bowl with a spinach salad with chopped roasted red peppers, pickles, and cucumbers, topped with salsa. It sound gross! And it sounds like a crazy combo, but somehow the saltiness of each produce played off each other. This started a frenzy, but in a good way!

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I actually got to 900 calories today, not that I was counting or anything…

I reignited my adoration for creamed corn! Oh gosh! I just love that stuff! I haven’t had in in, geez, probably a year. The night was filled with mother-daughter time, celery, the most crisp and fresh bell pepper I’ve ever eaten, some crackers, salsa, Jax (a snack I haven’t had in ages), and lots more produce. By the time I realized that a food coma would be evident, I was sort of painfully full! At least I had a great night with my mom, she was pleased to see me enjoy eating, and I didn’t freak out.

Like I said, with a complete lack of sleep and a full stomach, only an episode of Star Trek is in my near future. Good night, everyone! I hope your Saturday was as enjoyable and mama-filled as mine!

Krispy Kreme First

When the going gets tough, the tough gets Reese Pieces.

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I’m a pretty strong person, but I still felt that things were unresolved. I was laying in bed, having trouble falling asleep, and decided I needed something popable: Reese Pieces. These may have been left over from Easter, as you probably guessed from the carrot shaped bag.

Prior to the Easter throw back, I began to feel down on myself about not going to Zumba and still eating. Silly, I know. Especially since I was technically, still  under my allotted calories.

I find it ironic:

WP_003346Food is a major contributor to my anxiety, but cooking levels me out. So thats exactly what I did. I called my elderly neighbor to see if he would like Chicken Marsala for dinner tomorrow night. (He eats all of his meals out at the same restaurant). One thing I love about cooking for him, is that he needs to gain weight, so it allows me to whip out my inner fat girl chef. I whipped up bacon cheddar mashed potatoes and plated the chicken breast over top.

I also prepped my dinner for night shift for tonight (recipe below).

Important Errands:

Yesterday, in my state of blah, I wanted to feel like I could potentially make myself useful. I sent out a few resumes, studied for the NCLEX, and, lastly, filled out the application to a job I’ve wanted for a long time. (Say some prayers.) This morning, after showering and getting myself pertty, I hand delivered my application and resume. I followed this up with spending entirely too much money at Walmart!

Good Eats:

WP_003357Fuel for the morning was half a Skinngygirl On the Go Bar. How can you go wrong with Dark Chocolate Multigrain Pretzel? It wasn’t too shabby. In my opinion, like the other Skinnygirl bar I tried, it contains a decent amount of sugar.

After the Walmart adventure, I settled into bed for a nap before work. This brain of mine was working hard, and I jumped out of bed to grab pen and paper about an hour or so into my nap! I had dreamt up 2 recipes and had to write them down before I forgot them! The best part is that I think these are actually do-able recipes! I can’t wait to give them a shot!

WP_003354Smart eating is a necessity after these anxiety munchies, so with big fresh peaches in the house, but a lack of vanilla shake mix, I made a Peach Melba Protein Smoothie.

  • 1 half peach, chopped, with skin
  • 1  Dannon Light and Fit Raspberry Greek yogurt
  • water
  • ice

This was probably one of the tastiest I’ve made in a while! It was delicious and filling! It kept me full for a few hours, but my tummy started rumbling and I cracked into a sugar free Creme Brulee rice pudding, topped with cinnamon, of course. It was a tad bit sweeter than the normal stuff, but not too different other than that.

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In the Walmart splurge, I picked up the Vanilla Biscotti K Cups for work and mixed it with sugar free french vanilla creamer. Its a good combo, if you were wondering.

Once I arrived at work, I got into a conversation about Krispy Kreme. They could not believe I have never had one! God Bless this mom when she told me I was a twig and could eat 6 of them! She told me I wasn’t leaving the room until I took one with me. I took my pick and and the one with the pretzel topping looked the most appetizing! I cut 1/8, yes, an eighth, of the Caramel Chocolate Pretzel donut to try and trashed the rest. This was my first and last experience with Krispy Kreme. The donut was filled with chocolate and topped with crushed pretzels. I’m actually glad I wasn’t a fan, once I saw the calorie count on the bad boy. But at least now I can say, I’ve had one.

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I never thought I’d say this, but I’ve really been digging beets. Thats why, instead of my normal salad for last night 12 hour shift, I tossed together spinach, canned, sliced beets, sliced baby carrots, onions, and crumbled fat free feta for an all-star salad!

Orange Balsamic Beet Salad

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  • 1/4 cup beets, canned, sliced, drained
  • 1 oz baby carrots, slivered, divided
  • 1 slice onion, divided
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp light orange juice
  • black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp sugar free Balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1/2 oz fat free crumbled feta

Over medium-low heat, cover the beets, with pepper, carrots, half the sliced onions, half the slivered carrots, all the orange juice and dressing. Allow the veggies to steam and cook in a covered skillet until the juices have dissolved. Uncover, turn off heat, and allow to cool, while chopping spinach. Spoon beet mix over spinach and top with crumbled feta.

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I grabbed some balsamic vinegar to top my salad with from the caf and wound up spilling a bunch on my hand. Its hours later and I can still smell it! The good new, though, is that the salad hardly needed anything since the beets were so full of flavor! Yum!

After a busy night of crying babies and glucose monitoring, I was pulled to sit for the last four hours of my shift. I was pretty pleased since I had worked 8 hours and hadn’t had the time to even glance at my NCLEX book! I spent the last four attempting to study and review and resist blogging! (I just can’t help myself!)

Back on Track

My last post was a bit all over the place. It was very manic-depressive. I’m sorry about that… like I said, “PMS… What a bitch!” Darn mood swings…

Set backs happen. How will I deal with it?

Listening to my body cues

“Theres scrapple in the fridge,” dad said to me as he left for work. I spent the night at dad house, last night, to complete our awesome DDDD (Daddy-Daughter Date Day). I wasn’t sure if I was hungry this morning, so I made a big cup of coffee to see if I was actually hungry or just thirsty. My large mug did a great job of curbing my appetite! I enjoyed the french vanilla coffee, while catching up on Spice Goddess. I love that show! Bal is really pleasant and bubbly and passionate about her native spices and traditions! Plus, I’ve really been interested in Indian cooking techniques, foods, and spices, and found a few things she made that I can’t wait to try my hands at!

Resuming my normal meals

Following the show and ignoring my inner scrapple-lover, I headed back to my mom’s house, where I enjoyed a refreshing Banana Cream Dannon Light & Fit Greek yogurt Blend, sprinkled with 1/2 tsp Chocolate PB2, and about 6 broken fat free pretzel sticks. I enjoyed the sweet and salty crunch that my PMS craves, and loved that it was filling and healthy.

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For a mid-day snack, a 90 calorie Fiber One Lemon bar did the trick, as did a mug of peppermint tea.

WP_003195Today it National Hot Dog Day! I’m a little excited about this because I’ve really been wanting hot dogs and baked beans! Ironically, I had planned on taking this as a meal to work tomorrow night, but no sense in denying this “holiday”! I pulled out a Hebrew National 97% fat free frank and a small can of fat free baked beans and ate mine in a bowl topped with chopped onion.

WP_003202Frank wanted it sandwich-style.

Go to Zumba

Following dinner, I had a bit of unsweetened applesauce and met my girlfriend, Maggie, at Zumba. I did not attend Zumba at all last week, and it makes me feel lost. I need it in my life. I also enjoy leading Zumba, as I did a few dances tonight. I love to look at their faces and I love knowing that my enthusiasm can power them through a workout, too!

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It was one humid hour, tonight! The AC is broke! We were drenched in sweat after the first dance. We looked like steamed lobsters by the end of the class. But, boy, were we feeling great!

Surround myself with positivety

Why else is today special? Not just because its National Hot Dog Day… Not just because its National Vanilla Ice Cream Day…. But because its Frank’s 56th Birthday! Before I left for Zumba, I whipped up a cake mug for him! Yay, Hungry-girl, for teaching me about cake mugs! I made a Raspberry Chocolate Chip Cake mug (recipe below).

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Zumba releases endorphins, which makes me happy. As does being with my friends. After sweating it out, I met Barry to do a little grocery shopping for the house, took a shower, and am currently in the midst of attempting some sleep. Surround yourself with positive people, places, events, and you’ll be positive too! Things just start to fall into place.

I typically do not eat after Zumba, but PMS was rearing its head. The entire trip to ShopRite I was thinking about peanut M&Ms. I resisted. We swung by 7 Eleven on the way home to down another bottle of water and while I was there, a light bulb went off! Special K Chocolatey Pretzel cereal bar! 90 calories, salty, sweet, crunchy…. Perfect!

Raspberry Chip Cake Mug

3 Tbsp yellow moist cake mix

1 Tbsp liquid egg substitute

1 1/2 Tbsp water

1/2 Tbsp Nestle mini semi-sweet morsels, or semi-sweet morsels, chopped

5 raspberries, sliced in half

2 Tbsp fat free Cool Whip, thawed

1/2 tsp sugar free, fat free Chocolate pudding mix

Combine everything except cool whip and pudding mix, and mix well. Spray mug or ramekin with nonstick cooking spray and pour cake mix in. Microwave for 1 minute and 15 seconds, or so*. Allow mug to cool, as it will be hot! Meanwhile, combine cool whip and pudding mix. Spread over cooled cake mug and enjoy!

*Microwaving chocolate chips is tricky business, as they tend to burn.

Calories: 179,  Fat: 3.1g, Sat. Fat: 1.9g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 270mg, Carbs: 35.2g, Fiber: 0g, Sugar: 18.9g, Protein: 3g

Idea: White Chocolate Chips, instead!

Happy Birthday, Frank!

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Late Night

After our midnight escapades, I skipped my morning Zumba class to sleep in. Barry and I got up around 1130am and quickly made some coffee. For some reason, it really was delicious today.

This cup of coffee was quickly followed by a drive home, a wardrobe change, and another cup of coffee. To perk me up and hold me over until dinner, I enjoyed a Raspberry Dannon Light & Fit Greek yogurt with chia seeds and a glass of aloe.

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It was hot today! Humid and hot! Luckily, I don’t have a working air conditioner in my car. Yay, 100 degree weather!

I was so sweaty when I got to work. I didn’t want to stroll in smelling like a wet dog. It was actually a relief to get out of my car and walk from the parking garage to the hospital. The breeze really helped!

I arrived at work and got pulled to another unit for the first 4 hours of the shift. I sat with a kid thatI have had in the past. It breaks my heart to see kids so frequently in this place.

I went back to my unit to work on the desk the remainder of my shift. Today gave me the oportunity to catch up on some writing and recipes for you guys!

The real highlight of the shift was dinner. The yogurt did an excellant job at holding me over.

When I went to visit Barry last month in New Jersey, I stopped by a Wegmans. I’ve seen the Garden Lites souffles before, but never this: Veggie Chili & Cornbread Melt.

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I heated this up tonight and topped it with some chili powder. I was, first, impressed by how appetizing it looked! Then the taste! The corn and corn bread was sweet, it was well seasoned… Wow! I was impressed! I’m glad I bought two boxes when I went to Wegmans. One was supposed to be for dad, but I don’t know if thats happening now. Hahah!

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It was awesome eating cornbread and chili for 200 calories and being satisfied! I would drive back to Jersey for this stuff!

Granola Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ode to Kathleen and Drinks Before Noon

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

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

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

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

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Now, onto Tuesday!

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

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

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

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

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

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serves 4

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

1 tsp. cornstarch

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

Meat:

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

2 tsp. minced garlic

Vegetables:

1 md. onion, cut into thirds and then quartered

2 bell pepper

4 cups frozen broccoli

3 oz baby carrots

6 button mushrooms, quartered

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

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

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

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

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

Toss all ingredients together and enjoy!

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cube up the eggplant

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press and dry-fry the tofu

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cool and cut the tofu

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marinate

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rice boiling, vegetables steaming, and “meat” cooking

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

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