Loca

After dinner, with Barry and dad, Friday night, I went back to dads for bit, before the father and I headed out to the DAP to celebrate the retirement of a buddy of his. Gerry is a retired Detective and his buddies at the DAP honored him with a shadow box. After a few speeches, they presented the shadow box and Gerry followed it up with a heartfelt and humorous speech of his own.

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Congratulations, Gerry, on your retirement and thank you for your many years of service!

After an hour or so of socializing, dad and I headed home to complete our DDDNight with some Twilight Zone, celery, and salsa.

I woke up the next morning and cooked dad a breakfast sandwich with egg whites, bacon and coleslaw mix to take to work. Hot sauce was included, and he enjoyed the different crunch. While dad was at work, I made a platter for myself along with some mocha, before heading to my mom’s place.

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And, boy, was that an adventure!

So here is how loopy my OCD makes me:

Today is National Cashew Day so I planned on topping a shake bowl with honey roasted cashews. Mom took the cashews to work, but I wasn’t aware of that until after I made the shake. She wasn’t answering me when I asked her about the nuts, and everytime I said something, she couldn’t here me and everything stupidly snowballed into an axiety attack. I was so nervous that with my intention foiled, I would go on a snack session! Before I knew it, I got ansy and when my anxiety gets really bad, my wrist starts to move. Not like a twitch, just a nervous, anxious movement. As I stood there, with my eyes closed, in the kitchen, trying to breath and center and talk myself down, my mom came in to repremand me on my attitude. I asked her, “Please, mom, not right now,” but she continued. (Thats a problem with the women in my family… we ALL like to have the last word! ) Things blew up, mom stormed out, and I collapsed in toa ball on the kitchen floor, crying in a panic attack.

After calming, and controlling my wrist, I went to my moms room to apologize for my behavior. It scares me often I let this eating disorder control me and how much it changes my personality when it rears is stupid, dumb, paranoid head!

Things are much better with mom and I, now. Thank, God!

I gathered myself and made a Pina Colada bowl and topped it with Kashi Go Lean cereal and a few crush cinnamon sugar Grammy Crisps. Delicious! Plus, I threw some spinach in there for some added nutrients!

Pina Colada Protein ShakeWP_004673

  • 1 -2 scoop vanilla protein
  • half frozen banana
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup frozen pineapple
  • water
  • ice
  • handful of spinach (optional)
  • zanthum and guar (optional)

Yeah, baby! Delicious! Considering its 40 F outside, I made the last of my Pumpkin Spice Brulee tea from Teavana, to warm up, and channeled my emotions into tidying up my bedroom (“much needed” is an understatement) and doing some laundry.

I then packed up and headed off to work. I felt exhausted the entire drive and the complete walk up to my unit, but as always, work has a way of making me clear. My fatigue was gone and I was pulled to the oncology unit for the evening. Break was a big platter of broccoli and carrots, topped with old bay, and the last of my chicken and barley soup. I even had grahms and applesauce as a snack!

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Thank God, this night turned around!

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In Bulk

I had three goals today, all of which I accomplished!

  • Exercise
  • Make soup
  • Make today better than yesterday

I woke up and began making today’s recipe. I figured that it could simmer while I went to my Zumba toning class. I arrived at Zumba toning only to find out it had been cancelled! I guess thats what happens when you don’t check your facebook…

Nonetheless, I was determined to be active! As I drove home, I thought of what I could do and the chores I needed to do. Well, I need to pick up flour for tomorrow’s recipe… I decided to take the opportunity to continue to train for a 5K and ran 2.6 miles down to The Riverfront, where the ShopRite is. I always enjoy mixing up my running trails. Its like 5 Gum.. It “stimulates” my senses! Haha. I just enjoy the different scenery, smells, people….

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I was so proud of myself for making it there in 35 minutes, as opposed to the navigators estimate of 58! Yay for Refrain Running!

Frank picked me up and I treated him to a breakfast of “The Kim” from Fresh Thymes (bagel, cream cheese, onion, tomato, and lox), and grabbed a cinnamon coffee for myself. When I arrived back home, I whipped up a Black Forrest bowl, topped with Gnu’s Espresso Chip, and spent some time sending out resumes, and checking my email.

  • 1 scoop chocolate proteinWP_004603
  • 1/4 cup frozen cherries
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Splenda packet
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp rum extract

It was just what I needed to fuel my day even further! Suddenly, I was Suzy Homemaker! I did tons of work! I began vacuuming and suddenly I realized this kitchen floor needs to be cleaned. I got on my hands and knees and began to scrub away. We have a textured floor and so much dirt gets stuck. Such a pain in the butt! Then, the old girl, Beauty, peed on the carpet. Poor baby. After I used the carpet cleaning machine to clean up the pup’s mess, decided the carpet could use a one over, too! Next thing I knew, the carpet was scrubbed and smelling good!

WP_004608It was also a good today because I had a lunch, a dinner, and a snack! Yes! Normalcy!

Dinner was a chicken cheese steak with onions, ketchup, and cheddar! The day flew by! I couldn’t believe how quickly it went! I ate like a real person, kept busy, got shopping done, cleaned the floors, did some laundry, and cooked one heck of a brunch for tomorrow!

In my opinion, cold weather has the best food! Sure I love fruits and veggies fresh from the garden, but I love chilies, soups, dumplings, turkey, pumpkin, and, hello, Christmas cookies! This is one of those recipes that means Jack Frost is in the air! Its a set and forget recipe, minus the crock pot, that yields beaucoup (boo-koo) amounts of soup! This family has no clue how to cook for a family… we cook for an army! We freeze this stuff and eat it year-round, but its usually gone by March… I use a 32 cm pot, about a 2-3 gallon pot, with lid.

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Chicken and Barley (Noodle) Soup??????????????

  • 10 chicken thighs
  • 2 cups carrots, chopped
  • celery, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp dried pot herb*
  • 2 cups uncooked barley
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper, to taste
  • abobo, to amp up the flavor, if necessary**

Place chicken, water (to the top, about 40 cups) , carrots, celery, and pot herb*, cover, and simmer over lowest heat for 3 hours. In the meantime, bring a pot of water to a boil and add barley. Boil the barley, skimming off the starch as it forms, for about 8 minutes. Drain and rinse the barley, return to the pot with water, bring to a boil, again. Skim off the starch, boil for another 8 minutes, rinse and drain, until the water is clear.

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After 3 hours, the chicken will begin to float to the top of the pot, as will fat and marrow byproducts. With tongs, remove the chicken thighs and set aside, allowing to cool. While the thighs are cooling, add ketchup, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Remove the skin and bones from the thighs, and discard. Shred the chicken with your fingers, removing any fat or grissel. Return the shredded chicken to the pot, as well as the drained barley, recover and allow it to simmer for another 2 hours.

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Your heart and waistline will thank you.

Your heart and waistline will thank you.

Optional, but highly recommended: Working in batches, spoon the soup into containers and refrigerate. This allows grease and fats to float to the top and solidify, so it can be removed. This may take a few hours, I recommend letting sit over night. Skim the fat off the top and discard. Return all skimmed containers back to the pot, cover, and heat through.

If you are a noodle person, boil some pasta, we use farfelle (AKA bow tie). Once al dente, drain and rinse the pasta and divide amongst the bowls. It can also be served, as is! Ladle the soup on top, and finish with a sprinkle of reduced fat grated Parm!

WP_004702*Pot herb: Pot herb is, technically, any green grown for the use of its leaves, including kale, collards, parsley, ect. Typically, mom and I use fresh pot herb, which is hard to find, but some grocery store have it in the produce department. If using fresh, place in a paper bag over night before using. Snip off most  of the pepper, with just a piece of the pepper still in tact, and throw the whole thing in there! If using dry, place two tablespoons in a cheese cloth and create a spice ball, and throw the whole thing in!WP_004607

**Abodo: The broth in this recipe is from scratch and sometimes the chicken flavor may not shine through. If this is the case, sprinkle some adobo in, to taste. It brings out all the flavors in the soup!

Sorry bloggers! Its a huge vat and goes pretty quickly! A rough estimate would be around 135 calories per serving. Even without the noodles, its keeps you seriously full!

Veggies and Vitamins

Wednesday

Since I could not squeeze in my cat nap, I took my (lack of) energy into the kitchen, along with my laptop, and channeled my racing mind into something constructive. I spent about 45 minutes sending out resumes before whipping up a fiberful and filling shake bowl, that kept me full for countless hours! It was just what I needed to power my 12 hour night shift.

Carrot Cake Protein Shake

(adapted from CCK’s Milkshake)WP_004311

  • 3 oz carrot, chopped and steamed
  • 1 frozen, very ripe banana (if not very ripe, use the frozen banana trick)
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 tsp Splenda brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • slightest pinch of salt
  • 1-2 packets Splenda, added sweetness, if desired
  • water, or milk (for richer taste)
  • ice
  • guar and xanthum (optional)

I was going to top the bowl with raisins and chopped walnuts. Sound delicious, right? Instead, I crumbled a quarter of a Cinnamon Raisin Gnu bar (Gnu makes a carrot cake bar, but I’m not a real fan of it). The bowl serious hit the spot and I wasn’t hungry for almost 8 hours!

Hard At Work

Hard At Work

My shift began a little rocky. Not because I had a tough assignment, just because I was still in a funk, dwelling over the missed job.  After getting my head back on straight, the night went great.

I brought the last piece of Eggplant Parm Frittata and topped it with Chipotle salsa. I brought a bundle of celery  sticks for snacking, and loaded up on raw veggies from the caf. I even had a bite of a butterfinger cake one of the nurse made. (Come on… did you really expect me to pass up anything with the word “butterfinger” in it?) But it only added to my  pride when I was one little sliver and done for the night! It was just enough to satisfy my sweet tooth and to say I had some!

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Later in the night, I required something… I wasn’t hungry, but I couldn’t stop thinking about eating something. Rather than hitting up that cake in the fridge, I grabbed a dum dum sucker from the basket and few Teddy Grahams, and was completely unphased!

WP_004317On my drive home, all I wanted was stewed tomatoes. I know it sounds odd, but I could just burst waiting to get my hands on that can! Upon arriving home, there were no cans of stewed tomatoes. I could have sworn I had a can! Diced? NO! Crushed? No. Fire Roasted? Gah! Where are my stewed tomatoes? Alas, I pulled a pepper out of the refrigerator and bit into it like an apple, in disappointment and defeat. I went with the flow and here I am. I just finished my shift up and am blogging away, dipping bell pepper and romaine into one of my favorite brands of sauce, Rising Moon Organics!

Hopefully, looking at a computer screen will tire me out so I can catch some Zs before tonight’s shift!

Thursday

With the success of yesterday’s Carrot Cake shake, I decided to make it for dad, today! After his first swing he said, “Hey, thats pretty good!” Following another gulp, “Cinnamon… mmmm… and I can’t taste the carrots! ” Dad doesn’t like cooked carrots… at all… same as beets… so I love when I get those veggies and vitamins in him! Later, I received a text from dad, “Damn good shake.” I think he liked it!

I had a few beets left in the fridge and definitely wanted to utilize them before they started to go bad.

Beet Berry Burst ShakeWP_004321

  • 1 scoop vanilla protein shake
  • 1/2 beet, peeled, chopped, and steamed
  • frozen mixed berries and fruit
  • 1/2 tsp SF orange jello powder
  • 1 packet Splenda
  • cinnamon

I wasn’t hungry but, then again, I haven’t been hungry for two days, now. I needed to eat just to try to maintain normalcy. I topped it with pretzel sticks, shredded coconut… I was so indecisive. I wound up topping it with PB2, goldfish… I just couldn’t make up my mind. Probably because I wasn’t really hungry.

I got two call backs, today, for jobs. Guess what? I didn’t qualify because I don’t have experience! It so frustrating! I was getting really down on myself. I tried to channel my feelings into a brisk walk. When I arrived at Wawa, I grabbed a coffee

Since the jar of sauce was open, and today being National Pasta Day, I drained a bag of Tofu Shirataki Spaghetti, chopped up a bunch of spinach, and topped the lot with Garlic and Chantrelle Mushroom Pasta Sauce, and bit of Chipotle salsa for a bite! However, my body had other plans. My stomach started bothering me and I felt so out of it. Well, my dinner turned into rice cakes and crackers. I guess I have dinner for tomorrow.

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Tommy Bundo Cooks: One-Pan Bachelor Meal

Today, Frank surprised me with changing out my broken alternator and Sasha Fierce is running like a champ! By the way, Sasha Fierce is my car…

Following the return of my core part, and receiving that beautiful refund, I headed home to whip up breakfast. I made Frank and Barry french toast, while I whipped up a shake bowl:

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  • 1 Tbsp SF fat free Banana Cream pudding mix
  • 1 Tbsp SF Blueberry syrup
  • xanthum and guar (optional)

So refreshing and tasty, but I desperately needed a mug of something warm to defrost my satisfied body.

Today’s recipe is brought to you my Tommy Bundo, AKA my pops!

My girlfriend, Maggie, loves this recipe, as do I. What I love about it, is that it has just the right amount of kick! Its also a great meal for those single guys! It uses only one pan and takes less than an hour. Take notes, bachelors. Use this recipe to impress the ladies!

Kicken Cacciatore

serves about 8

  • 1 1/2 lb chicken breast
  • 2 /14 tsp black pepper???????!
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 Tbsp EVOO
  • 1 3/4 cup onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1 6.5 oz can mushroom slices and pieces, drained
  • 3 cup canned crushed tomatoes and basil

Fillet the chicken breast (about 9 fillets, or so). Season both sides with the black pepper and thyme. In a large skillet, heat the EVOO over medium-high heat. Add the chicken fillets to the pan. Cook both sides, just until there is no visible pink. Then remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic to the skillet, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the onions and peppers soften. Stir in the Italian seasoning, basil, flakes, and onion powder. Lay the cooked chicken over the vegetables, along with any juices from the sitting chicken left on the plate. Cover the chicken with mushrooms, followed by the seasoned tomatoes. Cover and simmer on low for 15-20 minutes, occasionally spooning the liquid over the chicken. Remove the lid and let sit for 5 minutes, over lowest heat, then serve.

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Chicken Cacciatore is served many ways. My dad recalls my Nonna making a small side of mashed potatoes. Dad ate his with spaghetti. You can also eat it, as is. I like it like that of with a side of steamed vegetables! We paired this delicious meal with a crisp and refreshing romaine salad and a glass of red blessington wine from a local winery.

WP_004308To seal the deal, I pulled out 2 Andes mints after dinner, like they do at Olive Garden. Haha.

Dad and I have spent the rest of the night watching TV, laughing, and snacking on various crackers. They aren’t kidding when they say “Hot” salsa!

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…)

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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.

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  • 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.

Family Dinner

For my birthday, I wanted a family dinner full of laughs and enjoyment. I didnt get that but I did tonight! Barry’s mom asked if her and his dad could take up out to dinner to celebrate my graduation from nursing school. With my binge the other night, I almost didn’t want to go. Sammy, you are a human! You need to be able eat out with family like a normal person! I graciously acceptabed the invitation, and was even more excited to find out that Barry’s sister and husband were joining us, too, to celebrate her news of her first preganancy!

My morning began with a mild dispute between mom and me as she backed out of Zumba class. Again! I used that frustration in class and shook my booty. I thought this class would be a bit easier since it was half cardio and half toning. I was wrong! Wow! After class, my tush was sore! Sitting down was a task, but I felt great after class, covered in sweat!

I immediately downed a bottle of water to hold me over until I got home. Since I just got a new shipment of Herbalife in, I couldn’t wait to break into the Dutch Chocolate shake mix! I made a sort of PB&J-esque bowl:

  • WP_0041271 scoop chocolate protein
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 Tbsp Chocolate PB2
  • 2 Tbsp SF blueberry syrup
  • xanthum, guar, and handful of spinach (optional)
  • water
  • ice

I topped the bowl with freeze-dried blueberries and some Kashi Go-Lean cereal. Awesome and filling!

Mom and I apologized for our harsh words from the morning and spent the afternoon together. After my shower, I headed to Barry’s to help put a desk together that my dad sold him! Its seriously nice! They are having a huge sale right now! Check them out and ask for Tom Bundo. Before (a hot mess)  and After (a big boy desk):

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My dad has ton of hook ups on computer chairs, which will be the next thing replaced! 25 bucks for a plush computer chair with lumbar support? Sign me up!

We then met his family at the  local Applebees. We ordered two trays of the Ultimate Trios for apps as we waited for our meals. I ordered the Grilled Jalapeno-Lime Shrimp and substituted a side of broccoli for the rice. Everything was yummy, as always, and since Barry’s parents don’t used the lettuce, tomato, and onions on their burgers, I snatched them up and made shrimp lettuce wraps. I asked the waitress to amp up the heat on the seasoning. I don’t know why they market it as spicy…

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I spent the next few hours with Barry before heading home. My eating was fantastic and I sat in bed and enjoyed the utter guiltless-ness of Arctic Zero!

Patient Birthdays

Saturday

Today, a very dear patient of mine celebrated their birthday with us at the hospital. Unfortunately, I have celebrated many patient birthdays in the hospital. At least, they are surrounded by people who love them!

This evening, my patient had loads of cupcakes that their family had brought in. I couldn’t leave the room without grabbing one. I decided to ask Amy if she would split them with me.

This is always a trouble, when patients and families give you food. You hate to say, “no,” so you take it. Even when you do say, “no,” they continue to insist, and you take it anyway. My eating had been great all day so I felt little,but some, guilt about splitting cupcakes with my one of my girlfriends for a patient who means so much to me.

It was a nice sweet treat that worried me about spiraling into a cupcake frenzy. Both were vanilla cupcakes, one from a bakery around their home, with cream cheese frosting, and the other, a homemade one with cookies n’ cream icing. With my love of oreos, I snagged the cookies n’ cream cupcake and called dibs on the mini oreo topping it! Yum!

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Backing up bit, breakfast was a smoothie bowl. Today is National Strawberry Cream. I feel like its kind of an incompletely titled holiday but nonetheless:

Strawberry Cream Protein Smoothie

  • 1 strawberry yogurt
  • 1/2 to 1 scoop vanilla protein
  • frozen strawberries
  • guar and xnathum
  • water
  • ice

I topped mine with Special K Protein cereal for crunch, at first. But then, I realized that freeze-dried strawberries were an awesome topping, too!

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Dinner was a bowl of soup, topped with salsa, and a side of celery sticks for snacking. The meal was paired with half an oreo cupcake!

I’m usually not a fan of clerking, but tonight was great because we had tons of discharges and I kept busy for majority of the night!

Sunday

With another shift of work ahead of me, I enjoyed  a yummy coffee protein bowl in honor of National Coffee Day! I actually was a coffee fiend, ironically, all day!

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The shake was a blend of Cafe Latte mix, spinach, fresh raspberries, CPB2, and SF raspberry and Kahlua syrups. To top it off, I crumbled a quarter of a Gnu Espresso Chip bar (I’m so bummed this flavor is discontinued). I love having that ability to chew, not just drink my shakes. Plus, it makes the shake so much more filling and is also a combo of chocolate and coffee.

I grabbed a cup of coffee before work, and headed off to my unit. It was another great night on the unit. It was another night of filling (Not So) soup and celery sticks. With this experimentality of mine, I tried adding a little honey mustard and BBQ sauce from the caf. It actually gave the soup a really nice flavor- almost a southwestern inspiration.

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Right before dinner, I was surprised how bad I wanted another cup of coffee. Its amazing how tastes change as you age. I was never a coffee drinker until high school- hot tea was always my thing. The only time I would drink coffee was to feel like my dad. Now, I actually am a coffee addict!

I can still remember my parents ordering a cheesesteak with friend onions, and sitting there trying to pick out all the little slivers with my fingers. Or picking off the onions and peppers off a sausage sandwich. Or Thursday Wing nights, when dad would bring home hot wings, I would wash off the sauce before eating them. Now, it seems like every day is started with a cup of the good stuff, almost every meal had peppers or onions, and hot sauce is always my go-to condiment!

They say our bodies change about every 7 years… maybe thats the reason our taste buds change, too!

WP_004058Speaking of changing tastes, I never thought I’d enjoy Cajun Trail Mix. I mean. everyone loves trail mix, but Deb, one of our nurses, brought this bag of trail mix in. I was getting hungry and gave it a try. Those butter roasted peanuts make it! That salty, sweet and crunchy combination of all the ingredients makes this stuff hard to resist!

Getting home, and having worked on the floor for my shift, I was surprised by how hungry I was. I actually would up eating a whole head of romaine lettuce! (I’m like a rabbit.) Some fabulous Rainbow Goldfish joined the party, too.

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I can feel the wave of exhaustion rushing over me and I am hoping to have a relatively early start tomorrow. With that, I say goodnight!

Chili(y)

I went to Barry’s after work yesterday morning and immediately crashed! I couldn’t believe how tired I was. I actually slept! For like 5 hours! I woke up and it was 130 in the afternoon! Barry and I headed over to the Newark Co-op so I could pick up a few things. Hes been teaching me how to drive stick shift, so I got to drive. I think each time I drive, I’m getting better! We made it in one piece to the co-op and I found these babies!

If you recall, my first experience with POPCORNERS was addicting. I saw them on the shelves and directly below them, the words “Whole Grain.” Then came the words, “Memphis BBQ.” I thought about resisting and decided against it. Pretty darn hungry, Barry and I got in the car and dug in! Wow! Once again, POPCORNERS has me hooked!

Most of my evening was what I would consider insatiable! Once I got home, I made myself a large steamed vegetable and roast turkey salad. I microwaved bell peppers, onions, artichoke hearts, and turkey, and added them to a bunch of chopped iceberg. I finished it off with diced cucumbers and dill pickles, crushed red pepper flakes, salsa, and SF Balsamic Vinaigrette.

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Despite such a scrumptious salad, I still felt unsatisfied. I found myself nibbling. Ugh! I hate that “N” word! It really gets to me. I just felt insatiable.

Earlier in the day, every time I ate or drank, even water, I would get a sharp pain in my abdomen. Barry thinks because it hurt to eat earlier that maybe I really was hungry. I mean, it makes sense. I eventually steamed a bag of Italian blend vegetables and topped it with Walden Farms Alfredo and some spices. That helped. But my sweet tooth was not silenced!

I kept nibbling on Fiber One 80 Chocolate, celery and salsa… nothing was doing it. It was driving me crazy that I could not be satisfied. Sitting for 12 hours last night didn’t exactly help my calorie paranoia. Ahah! Pumpkin Ice Cream! After a bowl of Edy’s Slow Churned Pumpkin Ice Cream topped with Kashi Nutty Chia Flax cereal was quite satisfying.

My eating renegade ended with more sliced bell pepper and salsa. Whatever satisfies my crunch crave.

I would venture to say that salsa is probably the most used condiment in this house. I’ve actually gotten my dad pretty hooked on the stuff, too.

I spent the evening cuddled up with Beauty on the couch, struggling to stay awake for the season premiere of Glee.

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Isn’t she cute? Rub my belly, Please, please rub my belly?!?!?

I’m so glad I made it to Glee because the entire episode was The Beatles- my favorite band of all time! The music of The Beatles kept me wide awake until the end of the episode!  I crashed as soon as I saw coming attractions for next week.

I planned on accomplishing a few things when I woke up and I managed to do most of them!

Fall has been hitting hard around here, especially early AM and late PM. Before the it gets too cold and I have absolutely NO motivation to go outside, I grabbed a run and found two more great Refrain Running songs to the add to the playlist: See You Go by 3 Oh! 3 and Crazy Bitch by Buckcherry. By the time the Buckcherry song was over, I hadn’t stopped running, I was ampt, singing outloud, and completely out of breath! But I loved it!

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I ran about 2.5 miles and was pretty tired. I haven’t run in a while! When I got home, I got everything ready for my Crock Pot White Turkey Chili. I wanted to wait until October, National Chili Month, to make chili, but with the last bit of the turkey in the fridge, I figured it would be nice way to warm us up!

After the chili got started, I whipped up a shake bowl- a Four Chocolate Shake! So today is National Chocolate Milk Day, so I made a chocolate shake for dad and myself. He took his to work, and I enjoyed mine at home.

Four Chocolate ShakeWP_004040

  • 1 scoop chocolate protein
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp Chocolate PB2
  • 1 Tbsp SF White Chocolate syrup
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • handful of spinach
  • guar gum
  • water
  • ice

It was a weird color that was perfectly thickened. I had a bit of a Gnu Espresso Chip bar left, and I crumbled that on top so I had something to chew, plus it has espresso in it! Wow! I really enjoyed my breakfast.

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Frank was outside working on his car and I asked if I could help. I honestly love to learn! I wish I could have a career as a Professional Student! It doesn’t really matter what it is, but I have a constant thirst for knowledge. I was very excited when Frank said I could help. Today, I got my hands really dirty! He taught me how to rotate the tires and change the brake pads! I loved it and really it tired my arms out.

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I offered Frank some comic relief as I tried to help. At one point, while trying to loosen the caliper, I lost the grip on my socket wrench and went rolling back on my butt and then my back. I looked like a turtle lying on my back! I couldn’t stop laughing. Another time, Frank recommended I stand on the braker bar to help loosen a lug nut, so I did. Guess what? It went nowhere and I stood on the bar elevated above the tire like I was Queen of the Grease Balls! haha Everyone… my neighbor, the mailman, my dad… everyone has deemed my new nickname as “Grease Monkey.”

I wasn’t really hungry until dinner. I called dad and we both agreed we were starving! Dinner did not disappoint! So yummy with a bit of a kick, topped with a little shredded cheddar! It was served with grilled cheeses on the side, each one unique.

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Franks was provolone tomato, and turkey salad, Dad’s was Honey Mustard, a smidge of turkey salad, roasted red peppers, half provolone and half American. Mine was simply horseradish mustard, roasted red peppers, and American. I was shocked by how full we were! I was stuffed and content until close to 930pm.

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After dinner, Dad and I got a Redbox rental of “Stand Up Guys.” It was great! know these actors, their past films, their age, and the story line made it so entertaining!

We returned the movie and I ran into my elderly neighbor. He always asks me to pick out new ice creams for him and he always loves my choices. Tonight, we got Phish Food and Chubby Hubby. Finally! I get to try Chubby Hubby! I made sure that my one bite I allowed myself had the giant chocolate covered pretzel! I’m content with my bite and have no guilt! Plus this Chubby Hubby thing is finally out of my system.

But this did put me in quite the ice cream mood. After a tablespoon of my Edy’s Pumpkin, I decided that I wanted chocolate and a cone and a Lil’ Drum was the winner. I love these things. After a mild bought of nibbling (stupid nibbling), I settled down with some filling romaine and salsa. Nice and satisfied, guilt free, and feeling like I had a good day!

Enjoy your Friday night! I’m spending mine with mom and Beauty…

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.

Blueberry LemonWP_004030

  • 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!

Welcoming Fall

Last night, I noticed something. Most of my calories are eaten after 5pm, but I can’t quite figure out why. Am I hungry? Am I anxious or nervous? Am I bored? I’m not quite sure. For instance, despite my delicious veggies, and a bowl of grapes, I found myself snacking on goldfish. Not that I ate anything terrible for me, but just the point. Why do I eat more at night?

Speaking of snacking… I have got to tell you about this new cereal I bought yesterday. It was super on sale and it took serious self control to not just sit on the couch with my hand in the box. Apparently, Raisin Bran has two new styles out: Omega 3 with Flaxseed, and Cinnamon Almond. The serving size was bigger in the Cinnamon Almond and I, technically, bought it for dad. Well, it didn’t make to dad’s house, yet. Heck, its lucky it made it home from the store. It was like Special K Vanilla Almond and Raisin Bran Crunch combined into a magical cereal!

I ended my night and began my morning trying to decide between a bowl of the new cereal or a shake for breakfast. I opted for the shake to ring in the first day of Fall.

WP_004011Before my shake, I threw a turnkey into the oven. After last weeks turkey sandwich-made-salad, and dad relentless requests, I threw a whole turkey into the oven. My secrets to a juicy, tender, and evenly cooked turkey? Use a turkey bag and bake the turkey up-side-down (as in breast facing the bottom of the pan). Another turkey trick is to always keep empty jars on hand. Don’t throw out those old salsa jars. Keep them for easy disposal of grease. It never ceases to amaze me how much fat comes off a turkey, even when I remove excess fat before baking!

Breakfast was a pumpkin pie shake! It was so yummy, and, surprisingly, the banana makes it. I made one for Frank and my dad! Thanks for the recipe, Julie. I followed it up with a Caramel Vanilla Cream K cup, spiked with SF white chocolate syrup.

WP_004003After breakfast and some bill paying, I welcomed the new season once more with a zip up and my  boots! Boot season is among us, people! I’m not a particular fan of cold weather, but I love boots! Frank and I headed out for a few errands, and I got two more things to welcome the sudden change of temperature: 2 new sport bras and a pair of fitted long workout pants!WP_004013

Arriving home was splendid! The smell of the roasting turkey hit us like a wall as we opened the door. Frank and I made ourselves some lunch and basked in the turkey aroma! I made a bowl of broccoli soup, topped with goldfish, and Frank heated up a Healthy Choice frozen meal.

WP_004007To kill some time, I prepared the ingredients for my dinner and future lunches. Cranberry sauce is not that popular of an item in this house, so when I do open a can, I freeze whats left, by the tablespoon. I took out 2 Tbsp of the jellied cranberry sauce out of the freezer and, when defrosted, mixed it with 1 Tbsp light mayo. As the flavors blended, I chopped up celery and scallions, and mixed it with mayo, black pepper, and a bit of garlic powder. All that was left was for the turkey to finish!

It finished just in time for dad to come over! Baked to perfection! The best part about being the one who cleans the turkey, is being the taste tester! After I cleaned and divided the turkey, I put some aside for dad, some aside for chili, and some in the celery, scallion, and mayo mix from earlier. Following dad’s departure, I chopped a bunch of iceberg lettuce, tore up turkey, and tore apart 1/2 slice of wheat bread. I drizzled half of my cranberry/mayo mix over top and dug in! Oh my gosh it was just like a Bobbie!

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Something came over me. I went into a frenzy! I ate a cucumber and grapes to chill out. I just had to get out of the house, before I ate any more. I had called dad to see how he was feeling (his knee had been bothering him), and told him about my salad. He exclaimed how awesome it sounded and I offered to come over and make one for him. I think he liked that idea.

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WP_004012I was beginning to feel to turkey’s tryptophan kicking in and debated not going to Zumba. After feeling so manic, I needed to go! I arrived at Zumba decked out in my new gear, ready to go. Wouldn’t you know the sound system was acting up! Come one, universe, really?! After talking, standing around, goofing off, and making phone calls, we were finally patched, and Alex, the instructor, lead half a class and gave us all a free class. Yay! I came home, feeling a bit better, and went to town on some cucumber and salsa to get my crunch and nervous energy out of my system.

After a shower, a few phone calls, and the season premier of “How I Met Your Mother,” I am ready for some chill time.