Indulgent Weekend

After my solid nap and trip with dad to the grocery store, Frank called and offered to buy dinner. I seriously debated saying “no” but I can’t go wrong with steamed shrimp and vegetables. To help me out, dad and I split my Hot&Sour soup and my shrimp and vegetables. I ate the soup and steamed up some more veggies and saved the shrimp and vegetables for my night shift. After a nice dinner and some bill paying, I tiredly went to the couch to attempt a power nap before work. I did not get a power nap, but I got out a good cry. Last night’s episode of Glee had me balling my eyes out from the second it started. I think I cried even harder because, in all honesty, its been a pretty emotional week. I think Glee just provided me the outlet.

I can’t help but dwell on lacking a position as a nurse. I think I’m the only one I know that has not gotten hired, yet. I just don’t understand. Dad says its because I’m so used to exceeding at everything I put my mind to, that this is new concept to me. I guess he’s got a point. Since I’ve been dwelling, I can’t help but think I’ve not only let myself down, but my family… my grandparents, in particular.

I need to stop this self-pity crap! Let’s move onto the goods…

I always call work before arriving for an 11pm shift. The night shift nurses come on at 7pm and I like to see if anyone needs anything on my way in. My girlfriend, Natasha, a major support person throughout my recovery, asked if I would grab her a coffee. No prob! Easy peasy! I though I was clever, at home, before leaving as I brewed my coffee with SF french vanilla creamer and a splash of SF Pumpkin Pie syrup. Natasha is a genius! “A 16oz pumpkin coffee with Irish cream and 2 Splenda.” After I gave it a try, I felt defeated, but in a good way… This was sooooo good! My coffee had been out-done. I can’t wait to grab another!

WP_004169The weather continued to be dreary, rainy, dark, and terrible… all in time for my alternator to die! Frank was kind enough to take me to my dads at 10pm, and my dad was kind enough to lend me the truck to take to work. Thanks, guys!

Despite the miserable weather and hour-long Glee cry fest, with my adorable cuddle-buddy, I came to work in a great mood! In fact, my shift began with a fun size M&M and  a Dum Dum sucker. I was expecting to be on the floor tonight, but, alas, I would spend my final night shift of my four day span in my 1:1. My patient decided  that they wanted to stay up all night. Once your patient falls asleep on night shift, you kind of want to fall asleep, too; so I was kind of okay with that, and we began our 8 hours together with a game of Phase 10.  I made a solid point to remain standing and walking around, despite being in a single room. I took a bathroom run every 2 hours or so, refilled my water bottle frequently, and even read my book and charted while standing. I think having all the lights in the room on helped , too.

When I was relieved for my break, I went down to caf to scope out the goods. There wasn’t really much in the way of what I would consider “goods.” Nonetheless, I hit up the salad bar, grabbing an assortment of vegetables, like bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, and beets. The snack machine also caught my eye with Smartfoods Cinnamon  Brown Sugar popped chips. 100  calories for the whole bag? I’ll give it a shot…

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They weren’t great, but they weren’t terrible, either. Instead, I completed my vegetables with a miso soup packet, and later snacked on some white cheddar popcorn. ( I guess it was a Smartfoods kind of shift). Oh yeah, there was a snack size snickers in there, too… Damn bag of chocolate. As Barry says, “Chocolate makes the world go round.” My reply, “Chocolate, too, makes my belly go round.”

It was quite a fiberful and satisfying meal and I, then, returned my patient’s room. When I’m in 1:1s, I notice my posture sucks, so I made a conscious effort to try to use my core muscles to both sit and stand tall. The result was a sore pack for most of my shift. I’m glad I was standing most of the night so I could continually twist and stretch to try to relieve some pain.

After a quick powernap at dad’s he drove me to Barry’s on his way to work. We have some errands to run to get ready for the weekend ahead of us.

This weekend is going to be a doozy and all this past week I’ve been preparing myself for it. In fact, next week will probably be part of the recovery process.

Tomorrow, one of my best friend from nursing school is getting married and I could not be more happy for her!

The following day is Vendemmia (which I’m thinking might be postponed due to this terrible weather Wilmington is having)!

Oddly enough, since I’ve been stressing about calories in preparation for these events, I’ve actually eaten close to 1000 calories everyday.  I really don’t know how I feel about that…

Today is National Sausage Pizza Day. Dad and I happened to find Al Fresco Chicken Sausage on sale at the store last week and I came up with the idea to combine the best of two pizzas…

Buffalo Sausage Pizza

The Crust:WP_004183

  • 1 md to lg head of cauliflower, chopped
  • 3/4 cup fat free shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp parsley
  • 1/2 Tbsp corn meal

The Toppings:

  • 1/2 cup onion, thinly sliced
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 2 Laughing Cow Light Blue Cheese Wedges, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, granulatedWP_004181
  • 1 Tbsp ranch dressing mix
  • 3 Tbsp OIKOS plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup fat free shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 Al Fresco Buffalo-style  Chicken Sausage burgers
  • 4-5 tsp hot sauce, or tobasco/pepper sauce, divided, plus more for taste, if desired
  • 1/2 tsp oregano, dried
  • 2 Tbsp reduced fat crumbled blue cheese

Preheat the oven at 400 F. Steam the chopped cauliflower. Drain and transfer to the food processor and briefly pulse the cauliflower until it is riced. Combine the warm riced cauliflower with the shredded mozzarella, liquid egg, and spices. Sprinkle a heated pizza stone or pizza pan with the cornmeal and spread the cauliflower dough evenly over top to form the crust. Bake for 20 minutes.

While the crust is baking, add the onion to a small pan, sprayed with non stick cooking spray, and cover, remaining on a low heat, tossing occasionally. Sprinkle with pepper, to taste. In another small skillet, sprayed, add the patties. Break up the patties using two spatulas, and cook over medium heat just enough to begin browning. Drain the meat, and place in a bowl. Toss the slightly browned meat with 1 tsp hot sauce, and set aside.

Remove the set crust and reduce oven temperature to 350 F. Using a spatula, slide around the crust to ensure it is not sticking to the stone. In a small cup, stir the cheese wedges, garlic, ranch, red pepper flakes, 1 tsp hot sauce, and yogurt together, until smooth. Spread the mixture over the hot, baked crust, followed by the caramelized onions. Further chop the shredded mozzarella and top the pizza. Finally, add the seasoned ground chicken. Pour any remaining hot sauce from the bowl over the top and sprinkle with oregano.

Bake for 8 minutes, turn the pizza 180 degrees, top with crumbled blue cheese, and additional 2 tsp of hot sauce. Return to the oven for another 8 minutes, slice, and serve.

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Nutritional Facts: (1/8 pizza)

Calories: 104, Fat: 2g, Sat. Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 5mg, Sodium: 621mg, Carbs: 8g, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Protein: 12g

I served the pizza with a tray of celery sticks and baby carrots on the side. I made a quick dipping sauce using 1 LC Blue wedge, lots of hot sauce, 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, 1 tsp ranch mix, some red pepper flakes, and 2 Tbsp of a light blue cheese dressing (like Walden Farms).

The night was completed with some marble cake our neighbor gave us. Oh my gosh, the frosting was amazing! Tempting! Fudgey! Decadent! Thats what kept us going back for nibbles.

I am completing the rest of the night with my mom and a movie!

Cleaning Out My Addiction

I was able to squeeze in about 4 hour of sleep before being woken up by some family quarreling outside my bedroom door. I was pretty nervous that this shift was going to be a long one. I wasn’t sure what today would have in store for me either. If you recall, the last night shift I worked went great and went to hell when I got home.

Some days coffee really hits the spot. Before heading off for night shift last night, I brewed a mug of Chocolate Cherry coffee and added a splash of sugar free Kahlua flavored syrup. Delicious!

I arrived at work to find that I was, again, on a 1:1. Okay, this is looking a lot like last Friday night…

After reading a few chapters of a book I brought, it was lunch time. A nice filling helping of Bundo Broccoli Salad, with slices of apples and cucumbers and PB on the side. I was very full at the end of this meal and prayed that this recognition of fullness would last for the remainder of my shift. And it did! It was a water-filled, fiberful meal!

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I was freezing upon returning to my 1:1 and was so thankful for the hot green tea I had just brewed! I’ve noticed a mildly sore throat the WP_003867last two days, and I’m positive its from the Fall allergies and crazy weather fluctuations. I’ve been trying to stay proactive in the fight buy drinking hot green tea. I managed to get a few chapter read, however, and finalize a project I’ve been working on.

I had a sense that today, too, would be a long one. After getting done work at 7am, I wanted to attend a forum at 730, since it had to do with a large number of my patient population on my unit. My plan was to go home afterwards and whip up a shake.

WP_003869I have been wanting to make a Key Lime smoothie for a while now, but I wasn’t about to pass up National Chocolate Milkshake Day! On my way out of my meeting, I saw someone had brought in a huge bag of Halloween candy… Snickers of all things! I was so proud of myself for ignoring it, but when I arrived home, I attempted a Snickers shake for breakfast. It definitely did not taste like a snickers, but it was very filling and I went with it. In fact, I came back to finish it while working on dad’s birthday surprise. I wound up adding it my mug a coffee to create a mocha latte of sorts. Frank had requested a Pina Colada shake, and I have to say, it was one of the best I’ve made. But, alas, it still was NOT bedtime! It was bake time. For the past few weeks, I’ve been working on a recipe for dad’s birthday. Today was the day I finally got to put my creative juice into fruition. I was praying for success and thats what I got! Thank you, God! The house smelled heavenly an I got to use one of my favorite fall ingredient!

WP_003870Around 1pm, I snacked on some dry cereal and sparkling water. Something did not sit right and I actually got sick! I’m always keeping it interesting, aren’t I?

Since I had time at work, I decide to go through my phone. I had so many  favorites that I had created when I was in the height of my illness. I went through, deleting so many things. Why did I save that? I’m never going to cook that. Oh that sound good! I did the same thing when I got home and began weeding through my recipe binders, throwing out useless recipes and things I knew would never be made. I was hoping this might help refocus some of my attention and inspire some healthy meals to come.

Seaside Temptations

Kohrs Bros. Custard. Sawmill Pizza. Midway sausage, peppers, and onions.

These are things I crave every summer, only to be gotten at Seaside Heights, NJ.

The day began seriously early as Barry and I left the house around 5am, him for work and me for the shore.

Last night, I made a ton peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, using a variety of different jams and breads.

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This morning, before leaving to meet my cousins in Philly, I packed us up water and watermelon…

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All the sandwiches, carrot sticks, celery sticks, crackers, and pretzels to keep the 7 of us going.

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Once I arrived in Philly, we loaded the truck up with our crab cages and took a quick pit stop to Dunkin Donuts, where I grabbed a small sugar free caramel iced coffee and an egg white turkey sausage wake-up wrap.

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The drive up to seaside was filled with uncertainty, as it rained on and off. The drive into Seaside was quite different than normal. In the distance, growing up, I could always see the ferris wheel. This time… Nothing.

We arrived to Dock Outfitters. This is the first place I ever went crabbing and the first time I was ever on a boat. It was a tradition that poppop took everyone crabbing here. My cousin, Eddie, and I have so many memories of growing up in Seaside. We were greeted at the dock by some ominous clouds that quickly followed with some serious rain.

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The little girls were really into trying to learn the tricks of crabbing from Eddie and me. After grabbing hot chocolate for the little ones and and a coffee for myself to warm us up, the girls headed back to the car to warm up and dry off a bit.

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We packed things up around 11, when the lightening was supposed to hit (which it never did), and drove a few minutes into the borough of seaside to hit the boardwalk.

It was bizarre. My childhood memories destroyed and washed away by Hurricane Sandy. We drove around checking out all the damage and watched the construction workers clearing away debris and rebuilding the boardwalk.

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I was so happy to see that a few places still remained. The Sawmill was still there, with their massive 27 in pizzas! Yes, this slice is bigger than my head…

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Midway was rebuilt, and the Kohrs stands were still running. And I would have been devastated if Jimmy’s Breakfast was gone. Jimmy’s has been a family tradition since they opened. My grandparents would take us here for breakfast every morning.

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No rides remained, and half of the Carousel Arcade was wiped out! I was thankful that some of the old rides were salvaged. The chuck wagon  and the space ship were rides that have been around for over 35 years! I’m glad that the kids of this generation will get to love them as much as I do.

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Eddie took Cindy and the kids onto the beach. The sand had been so eroded, there was a wall of sand they had to climb to get back to the boardwalk. The water was much too cold for me!

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I really enjoyed walking the boardwalk with Eddie and his family. It was like old times, again, like when we were kids… Eddie and me  🙂

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As we continued to venture the boardwalk, it was sad, but still wonderful to see the new and old shops opening up and seeing all the hard work people were putting into “restoring the shore.”

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We found a small place called something similar to “We Fry Everything.” What it should have been called was “Danger, Sammy Bundo!” or “Sammy’s Fortress of Food Induced Panic Attacks!” I’ve had fried oreos before, we know how I love oreos… but fried kit kats! Nutter Butters! Cannolis! Reese and banana sandwiches!

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Oh, my goodness! I died of a deep fried sugar coma just thinking about its potential mouthwatering indulgence!

Eddie actually got a deep fried snickers, which him and his buddy loved!

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Despite all of the spectacular treats on the boardwalk, I was having a bit of a rough time eating. I could only bring myself to eat the half PB&J and baggy of celery I packed. I opened up to mom and dad when I got back home about having a hard time eating and made sure I ate… well I went to town on a bag of carrot sticks… like a lot of baby carrots! Haha! Better than nothing, I guess.

We headed back to the dock as the sun came out and as high tide approached to finish our day together. We only wound up catching about 15 crabs or so, but I loved watching the girls trying to learn the ropes from Eddie. Eddie and I decided that this has to become a tradition for us!

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To learn more about Restore the Shore, visit the website.

Sista from Anotha Mista

I heard from Meaghen the other day and she got her package. Now it’s time to share it with you.

In this package I included the following:

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I added a lot more after I took this picture

Mocha Chip Balance bar- Chewy and sweet with a mild mocha flavor in the chocolate chips. Every time I enjoy some coffee-like anything, I think of Meaghan. That being said…

Dunkin Donuts Mocha Mint Ground Coffee

Primal’s Vegan Teriyaki Jerky, made from seitan- dad and I enjoy jerky as protein snack every now and then, and I got him to try this. Its a little softer than most jerky.

Walnana Cookie Muffins– it seemed only fair since she sent me the walnut butter used in making these little bites of heaven.

Unreal Candy– candy unjunked. I sent her the snickers, PB cup, and peanut M&M versions. Unreal does not use anything artificial. Even the coloring is derived from beets and tumeric and other vegetables and spices.

Coconut Peanut Butter by Earth Balance- I thought I grabbed her chunky, which is what I got hooked on, but, apparently, I grabbed creamy. Coconut can really make or break an item, but I gave it a shot. This nut butter uses coconut oil, rather than peanut oil. The coconut flavor is so mild, but adds just a pop of pizzazz.

Chia Seed cookie- its like a sugar cookie, but, gosh, it melts in your mouth!

Sunflower Thumbprint cookies- raw, and made with sunflower seed butter and preserves! Both cookies I got at the co-op and are locally made, but for the occasional special treat, totally worth the money!

White Chocolate Dipped Mixed Nut bar by Think Thin Crunch- crunchy and perfectly sweet! And while we are on the subject of white chocolate, the last item included was…

CRACK! In the form of The Fresh Market’s White Chocolate Crunch mix (which she got me addicted to).