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!

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!

(Not So) Split Pea Soup

This morning was another late morning. Even though I rolled out of bed in my footie pajamas, it didn’t deter me from making a cheeseburger inspired breakfast and began today’s recipe. I tried to think of all the things I love on a burger that I could incorporate into eggs. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t figure out how to use pickles. None the less, I used my egg form to create the pattie shape. I threw in two tablespoons of Morning Star soy crumbles for the beef, chopped onion, spinach for the lettuce, and mushrooms. After the bottom formed, I added some water to the surrounding pan and  covered it to steam the eggs through. I finished off the egg with some shredded fat free cheddar cheese and drizzle of ketchup. Mission accomplished! Oh yeah, it;s National Cheeseburger Day…

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It was another day with minimal motivation, and minimal appetite. I eventually ate a big bowl of watermelon, followed by rice cake smeared with smashed raspberries. Have you ever looked at mashed raspberries. They’re beautiful!

I finally found a little motivation. I set small goals, like vacuum the living room and do 25 push-ups, vacuum the kitchen and do 25 crunches. I tried to tidy up the house and clean up so that when mom got home from work, she would be surprised to see a clean house and big pot of soup for her birthday.

When mom called to tell me she had to work late, my motivation went out the door and I had to think of something to eat to hold me over until we could enjoy her birthday dinner together. The winner was to finish the head of romaine lettuce and top it with salsa (you know I’m a salsa freak).

Yesterday, Barry brought me one of my favorite candies and I am so incredibly proud of myself! I used to not be able to control myself around a bog of Peanut M&Ms. I had 6 yesterday. Not even at one sitting, but throughout the night! I was so incredibly proud of my self control! This means I’m on the right track!

By the time mom got home, the carpets were vacuumed and shampooed, the stove, toaster over, and refrigerator were scrubbed cleaned, the kitchen floor as swept, and the counters were cleaned. I love that the first thing she said as she walked in the house was, “Who cleaned the glass door? I can see through it!”

WP_003933Split Pea Soup kind of has a bad rap. My mom and I love the stuff! Linda Blair, on the other hand, has probably been scarred for life. Others, I think, just like scrapple, simply are turned off by its appearance or concept.

My mommom is pretty well-known for her Split Pea Soup, so I gave it a whirl. Its also a great way to utilize that left over bone from Easter’s spiral ham! (By the way, this is a 2-day prep soup).

As hard as I tried, I just felt like a failure at this soup, but with a few alterations, mom and I filled up on two bowls each of this stuff!

Split Pea Soup

WP_003935makes 16 servings

  • 2 lbs dry, bagged peas
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely shopped
  • 1 ham bone
  • 1 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 oz ham, or low sodium lunch meat ham
  • 1/2 cup Brummel and Brown, or another light spread
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • fat free shredded mozzarella cheese (optional) topping

WP_003946 WP_003949Soak the dried peas in 4 gallons of water over night. The next day, skim any residue off the top. Add the bay leaf, onion, and ham bone and cook on low. Begin by stirring occasionally and skimming residue, fat, and pea skins off the top. As the peas continue to cook, stir more frequently, and continue to skim. Alternate 20 minutes of boiling with 45 minutes of low heat for the next 6 hours.

Use the back of a spoon to check how cooked the peas are. If the peas mash easily against the side of the pot, add the carrots and continue to cook on low. When all of the peas begin to break down, remove the ham bone. If there is any meat on the ham bone, feel free to pull off the bone. If using lunch meat, dice the honey ham and briefly toss in a skillet to brown the edges. Set the ham aside. Remove the bay leaf and add the salt and pepper.

My grandmother stressed to me the importance of waiting until the very end to season the soup, and I don’t argue with this matriarch!

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Grandmom mashes the entire pot by hand. I am not so patient, and used one of those new-fangled food processors to speed the process along. Using a slotted spoon, spoon 2 cups of peas to 1/2 cup broth in a food processor and whirl away. Set this aside and continue this process with the rest of the peas. Once the peas have been blended, add them back to the broth, along with the ham. Bring to a boil and continue to boil with a partially covered pot for about 45 minutes.

Turn off the heat reserve 4 cups of broth. Carefully pour out the soup into a large colander. Quickly transfer the strained vegetables into a large bowl, and stir in the garlic powder and buttery spread. Next, stir in the reserved broth.

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WP_003955Serve it up and sprinkle with a little shredded mozzarella, if you’d like.

The rest of the night was spent with my mama. I made her our all-time favorite drink: a  Amaretto Di Saronno and gingerale with maraschino cherries. Mom went to the store and come home with movie theatre boxes of candy. Oh man! I was digging the Red Hots! I forgot how darn good those were! And, of course, two Butterfinger Bites were had. While mom drank her drink, I threw a scoop of Vanilla Maple Arctic Zero in with a diet root beer for a simple float.

Happy Birthday, Mama!

Manic Mind

Last night was finished off with a Lil’ Drum so I could get my ice cream fix.

Today, is National Apple Dumpling Day. In honor of such a decant sounding dessert, I attempted to make a decadent shake bowl . And it worked! BooYah!

Apple Dumpling Shake BowlWP_003930

  • 1/2 an apple, chopped (frozen preferably)
  • 1/4 cup frozen cranberries (microwaved for 30 seconds)
  • 1 tsp sugar free fat free vanilla pudding mix
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp guar gum
  • 3/8 tsp xanthum
  • water
  • ice

I topped it with some Fiber One bran cereal for crunch!

My belly has been bothering me all day! and my appetite has been minimal. I did manage to do some snacking on a rice cake and roasted red peppers.

I became a bit manic early this afternoon and began to use up the last of the green beans from yesterday’s discount snack attack! I tried my hand at Hungry Girl’s Oat-Standing Veggie Patties. They weren’t quite to my liking, so I ampted up the flavor with scallions, teriyaki sauce, ginger, and garlic. Once I formed the burgers, I kept them in the fridge until I was ready to eat.

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I finished up the last of some miscellaneous veggies from the refrigerator: bok choy, bamboo shoots, baby carrots, scallions, bell peppers, and broccoli slaw. After my first batch of veggies, I made another since it was just so good! All of the stir-fried vegetables were cooked in teriyaki sauce, kung pao sauce, and chili garlic sauce  for a kick!

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WP_003942I finished off the night with a bowl of Vanilla Maple Arctic Zero sprinkled with pumpkin pie spice and SF DaVinci pumpkin pie spice syrup. I finished the bowl with some praline pieces!

My stomach started to feel much better as the night went on. As much as I wanted to head to Zumba, tonight, I just couldn’t get there. I think I’m in a workout rut. I haven’t felt like doing much besides cooking and working.

I can’t dwell on my lack of exercise, but I can capitalize on what I can do, like clean up my cluttered bed room, and I’ve been creating variations of today’s veggie patties all day! There are just soooo many possibilities!

I’ve also been thoroughly enjoying the last few days with my mom. I’ve noticed a huge correlation between my mental health and eating habits and my relationship with my mom. Did you ever realize that when things between my mom and me are rough, my eating habits get totally out of whack?

Anyway, tomorrow is mom’s birthday and I have a special birthday treat for her. The recipe I am making takes two days to make. The first day is a pour and forget it day, but the second day requires a bit of attention. This recipe is a coveted one in the Higgin’s household. Its one of those recipes that my grandmother makes once every few years, and the family stocks up and freezes it to have. Here’s where I might lose you: Split Pea Soup.

I’ve never made it before, but I’m a big fan and I’m praying I can do it some justice.