Tofutti!

My week began with a food mishaps. I woke up and the only thing on my mind was mac n cheese. I had an Easy-Mac-style bowl bowl of low-carb mac n cheese I ordered offline. One bite and Beauty got the bowl. Unfortunately, Beauty wouldn’t even eat it. Ha! I began to think, and a light bulb went off! I have instant grits! Oh and I have apple butter!

So, I originally tried grits for the first time when I was about 10 years old and my mom’s boyfriend at the time took us out for breakfast. Grits were totally new to me. I really wasn’t a fan until my mom asked for apple butter for her biscuit. I tried the apple butter the Cracker Barrel that the waitress brought and it was sweet and even better on the warm biscuit. With this in mind, I placed a bit on my spoon and then tried  the grits once more, and ever since then grits and apple butter go hand and mouth in my mind. Get it? Like hand and hand? 

Okay, after that drawn out story… you can guess what was for breakfast:

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I debated having a can of soup for lunch. Once I heated up this soup that I’ve never had before by a brand that I’ve never tried and it, too, went right into Beauty’s bowl. This, too, Beauty turned her nose up to. I grabbed some crackers and PB to hold me over and the went to Zumba, as I usually do on Monday evenings. I came home with a growling stomach, with every intention of making a shake. After experiencing this first evening of the Fall chill, a shake was the furthest from my mind. I rushed home to warm up and steamed up a Green Giant box of green beans and almonds (one of my absolute favorites), followed by some more steamed vegetables. My food plans didn’t work out the way I planned, but it makes me happy that I made things work.

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I changed the sheets on my bed to flannel ones, took a hot shower, and snuggled up under the fresh covers in my toasty pajamas and crashed. I sent this picture to my parents because it reminded me of my childhood anthem:

Tuesday was a relatively early morning of giving. I headed off to the Blood Bank to donate blood. I try to do so as often as I can.

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After running a bunch of errands, I was super hungry when I got home. I was so tempted  to pick up a donut for National Donut Day, but all I could think about was a Boston Cream Pie protein bowl! Bring it! I topped it with some crumble Gnu Espresso Chip! Then some fresh raspberries! Delicious!

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I went off the work around 3pm and , like I’ve said before, being clerk for the evening is hit or miss. Wow!  I don’t think that in the two and a half years I have been at the hospital, I have EVER been as busy on the desk as we were Tuesday! It was nuts!

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Luckily, I had some savory pumpkin quiche and roasted veggies to power me through the shift, and a chips ahoy cookie for a treat. I headed to Barry’s after work, having a heck of a time kicking a headache and belly ache. I even woke up Wednesday still feeling a bit out of sorts.

WP_004507To get out of a funk, Barry and I headed off to the mall, again. We have been to the mall so much, lately. Last week, we got hooked on a store called Teavana! Barry has been dying to go back since last week. We went back and grabbed a few flavors to take home and a brew to walk around the mall with. I never thought that I would drink hot tea without sweetener, but Teavana proved me wrong.  Last week, I had one that smelled like hot oatmeal, and this trip I combined Zingiber Ginger Coconut and CocoCaramel Sea Salt to make a tea that smelled like an almond cookie fresh out of the oven! Last week, we picked up White Chocolate Peppermint Tea! It smells fantastic and tastes like holiday! Ahh! Its magical!

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WP_004509Before heading home to make lunch (steamed veggies for me and mac n cheese topped with steak-umms for Barry), I came across a few awesome and intriguing coffees. Hot Buttered Rum? Mhmm… Tiramisu? Duh! Candy Corn? Uhhh…….

Has anyone had that??? Fill a sista in!

WP_004511I took a nap at Barry’s to try to rid of my headache, only to be woken up by a car alarm 3 hours later. On my way home, I stopped by the local Payless store to pick up an order. I had a birthday coupon and ordered a Christmas present my parents will be giving me (some new work shoes), along with a new pair of kicks. With the coupon and BOGO special, I would up paying a little over 10 bucks for these cross trainers! Sweet! I couldn’t wait to break them in!

I killed time before work by sending out more resumes and experimenting with SF syrups. I added white chocolate and creme de menthe to my hot chocolate/coffee mocha, and it was awesome! I attempted to catch a few Zzzs before my night shift, but not even this cuddle buddy could shut my brain down for a nap!

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WP_004516I headed off to work a little anxious about food and finding a job, but like always, work put me in a better mind set. I finished off the very last bowl of Hot and Sour Soup. I must make this, again! Soon! The caf surprised me, also, when they switched up the veggie options. Last night, there were radishes and asparagus! I was a happy camper. Two dum-dum suckers and a coffee also helped power me through my shift.

I must say that the highlight of my shift was at 0500, when one of the nurses asked me if I would mind drawing her labs. One stick and I was in! Sweet! I’m always asking if they have labs they want me to do so I was stoked when she asked me! I was even more excited when I kicked butt on the lab draw!

I came home from work knowing I was hungry and actually eating like a normal person! Yay! While I whipped up a 2 egg white omelet with hot salsa, I snacked on a handful of waffle pretzels and a tsp of the best peanut butter, Peter Pan’s Crunchy peanut butter. Never, ever, have a found another PB with soooo many peanuts! Ahh, its delicious! Once dad woke up, I brewed us some coffee and whipped him up a Higgins breakfast classic.

My grandmother, my mom’s mom, makes stuffing loaves every Thanksgiving, and give everyone in the family one to take home. The next morning, Black Friday, we slice up the stuffing, fry it, put a slice of cheese on it and top it with an egg over-easy. I took out two slices from the freezer, and fried one up for dad, and topped it with scrambled egg whites, fat free cheese, and hot sauce.

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WP_004524After dad left for work, Barry came over, and I whipped him up a similar dish with two eggs, over-easy. I spent the rest of the day waiting at my dads place for a package from DaVinci (you know I love my SF syrups). After a can of green beans and onions, I headed back to moms, battling the rain.

I spent the remainder of my afternoon sending out resumes. I’ll tell you… job hunting is a job in and of itself. Its really a bummer, too, because I’m fully in love with my job and the company I work for, but I need to use this license that I’ve worked so hard to obtain.

I started not to feel so great so I grabbed a shower and dad picked me up to run to the store. Ginger ale to the rescue! When we got back, I found out dad had not eaten since the breakfast I had made him. With the remaining tofu, left in the fridge from the Hot and Sour Soup, I whipped up the following based off a recipe I saw on Everyday Health.

Spicy Peanut Tofu Stir-fry

based off Tofu With Peanut-Ginger SauceWP_004527

serves 2

  • 2 1/2 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp Better n’ Butter, low sodium
  • 1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp soy sauce, low sodium
  • 1 tsp sugar free pancake syrup
  • 1/4 tsp ground, dry ginger
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp sriracha, more if desired
  • 7 oz  firm tofu
  • 1 12oz bag frozen stir-fry vegetable blend
  • 2-3 cups spinach
  • 1 cup mushrooms, largely chopped
  • 1/4 in slice onion, chopped

Whisk together the water, peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, syrup, ginger, garlic, and sriracha. Set aside.

Drain the tofu, and slice into 8 slices. Place on paper towels and pat dry. Continue to change out paper towels to remove moisture, about 4 paper towels.

On medium-high heat, spray a skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Break the slices of tofu into about 6 pieces each and lay in the pan in a single layer. Allow the pieces to turn golden brown on the bottom, then toss and brown the other side. Meanwhile, microwave the frozen veggie blend for 4 minutes.

Once both sides have turned golden brown, add spinach, onion, and mushrooms. Carefully transfer the microwaved vegetables into the skillet, and toss with previous veggie and tofu mix. Pour the previously-made peanut sauce over top, toss the contents of the skillet, and lower the heat to medium low.

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Serve as is or over brown rice, like dad did.

“I’d eat that, again.” Can I quote you on that? That you want to eat tofu, again? “Oh yeah!”

Ladies and gentleman, dad wants to eat more tofu!

I loved this dish! It had the mild saltiness from the peanut butter and soy sauce, and the slightest kick from the siracha! MMM! I actually grabbed some bell pepper slices and lapped up the sauce left at the bottom of the dish. It was just that yummy!

After my mom had her gastric bypass surgery, she has had a  hard time digesting meats. Throughout my cooking, I’ve found that soy products, like tofu, are the only things that don’t upset her stomach. She was eating her meal chanting, “Tofutti!!!! Tofutti!!!”

I guess that means she likes it!

This Thursday evening is ending with a mug of hot decaf mocha, with SF pumpkin spice syrup, and a ginger snap.

Tempted by Tempeh

This morning, since it was Barry’s first morning back, it was a blueberry pancake morning. The special guest star? Bar Harbor Wild Blueberry Preserves!

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I was pretty excited when I find these easy to make complete Easy Packs by Hungry Jack. Its the perfect size for a few people and they had Blueberry Wheat! Even better. Not having blueberries in the house, I warmed up a few tablespoons of the preserves and drizzled the newly formed syrup over the poured batter. Aside from the last three pancakes getting a little toasty, they were a hit. Barry, being the blueberry king that he is, doused his plate with blueberry syrup, as well. To finish the meal with some protein, eggs. Over easy for me and medium for him.

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We kicked off his first day back with a date at the shooting range, followed by a ton of errands! I introduced Barry to Wholefoods today! I love when I take people there for the first time. Its like they are little kids! Barry fell in love with bakery, as most people do. He wanted to buy one of everything! He left with a brownie cheesecake muffin and a cookies n cream cupcake. I was a good girl. We all know how I get around sweets…

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Its so funny! He’s already planning our next trip to Wholefoods, including having lunch there. He was in love the meats department. I don’t think he believed me when I told him how beautiful the meats were. He would up spending a few bucks on meats, as well.

After continuing with errands, we headed home. I read in a magazine that the calcium in frozen yogurt helps relieve cramps. Best excuse ever to take your boyfriend out for froyo!

Barry definitely has a sweet tooth for similar tastes as myself… Chocolate and peanut butter. He opted for the cheesecake froyo at Yogurt City topped with chocolate, caramel, Reese cups, chocolate jimmies, blueberries and bananas. I went with the no sugar added strawberry yogurt topped with kiwi, mango, strawberries, and sliced almonds! I do believe I am developing quite a skill for froyo perfection!

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We headed back to the house after about 5 hours of being out while at Wholefoods, we picked up a tempeh that I have never seen before: Fakin Bacon smoky tempeh by Lightlife. While cooking it, the kitchen actually did begin to smell like bacon. I also roasted some bell peppers, sliced baby carrots, onion, tomato, and cauliflower seasoned with garlic and basil. Topping a bed of spinach, I think this was the healthiest meal Barry had had in a long time! Plus, he had never had tempeh before. ( We all know I’m addicted to the stuff.) I always enjoy a roasted veggie and tempeh salad drizzled with BBQ sauce, and today was no different. Also, while at Wholefoods, we picked up Annie’s Organic Hot Chipotle BBQ sauce, since we both have a love for sweet and spicy. It had much more of a kick than either one of us expected, and our lips were tingling a good while after eating our salads. I can’t wait to BBQ some chicken breast with this stuff!

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We wrapped up our evening with oreos and PB, and some hockey. It was a nice day spent with the boyfriend. Tomorrow… road trip.

Steak and Eggs and Tempeh

ImageStudying has ruled the last few days. Yesterday started with a delicious shake that kept me going and full for hours.

2 scoop Chocolate protein powder

Cherry Dannon Light and Fit Greek Yogurt

bunch of spinach

ice

water

I can’t believe how good it was. I’ve made this before, but it was exceptionally delicious today.

The reminder of my day was spent at the kitchen table. studying. pulling my hair out.

I always like to eat a protein filled meal the night before an exam, so I invited dad over for steak and eggs. I feel breakfast foods should be eaten any time of the day!

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I seasoned some london broil with montreal steak seasoning and pan-fried it. Then I combined 1/4 cup egg beaters and 1 egg, and while in the pan, fold in a slice of Bordens fat free PepperJack cheese. Slice up the meat. Top a toasted english muffin with the eggs and meat. Lastly, I sauteed some onions, peppers, and garlic for garnish.

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Dad ate a sandwich, while I kicked it topless… that doesn’t sound right…

I followed dinner with some more food: apple, cinnamon, and cottage cheese

This test day began with Raisin and Spice oatmeal and some Dunkin Donut coffee.

I studied all morning, treating my stressed out self to a chocolate chip cookie before the exam.

I managed to pull out a B! Woah! That exam actually gave me a stomach ache!

To take my mind off things, mom asked me to dye her hair. Its nice to have a mom who was a cosmetologist  I’ve never had to pay for a hair cut or dye, and shes been teaching me!

Dinner, tonight, was delicious as well! Tempeh is one of my favorite salad toppers, as are roasted vegetables. Roasted artichoke hearts, onions, carrots, and Sesame Garlic Tempeh tickled my fancy this evening and I did not regret it! Wow-zah! MMMM Good!

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My girlfriend, Meaghen, got me hooked on tempeh when I was in New York with Barry’s Tempeh! Ever since, I’ve had tons of tempeh recipes in the making in my head. I can’t wait to make them and share them with you!

Cottage cheese and apples made another appearance as dessert. I’ve been doing a lot of stress eating the last few days, but I’ve recognized it each night, which I’m happy about and have been able to stop.

I remember, now, that this is how I gained so much weight in the first place; not just stress eating, but eating when I’m not hungry, or just because the food is there.

But, alas, although the exam is over, this semester is not. I have two projects and two exams to complete for the big G-Day (graduation)!

Some Things Have to Be Made More Than Once

Some things NEED to be made over and over again… and tonight’s dinner is one of this things. I love roasting veggies and tossing them over some greens! Tonight was cauliflower, carrots, and broccoli roasted with garlic powder and basil over spinach. I wound up throwing in some purple onion, left over chicken, and fat free Thousand Island dressing to top it off! I Never get tired of this meal!

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This morning, I rolled out of bed at the time I normally am leaving the house.. Yeah…. someone was sleepy!

Not having any time for anything, I snagged a banana and ran out the door. Today, I started my new rotation on a respiratory unit, where majority of the patients are trached and vented. My instructor is great! She said, “I have five more days with you until you are out on your own.” It hit me. I AM GOING TO BE A NURSE! She is giving us so much independence and it makes me feel so competent and confident in my skills! What an amazing feeling!

WP_001585With my lack of breakfast, I’m glad the inner girl-scout in me is always prepared. I keep an Atkins shake in my car, which was perfect to hold me over while I ran a few errand after leaving the hospital. But when I got home, I got right down to business on tossing some discount produce in the oven! I was a beast today! With my bargain shopper-ness I saved like 40 bucks on my groceries! Woo Hoo!WP_001586

I’m in a bit of a funk today, maybe from the lack of sleep, so I’m retiring early tonight, and catching up on some lectures…