Pin-tresting

Apples and cheese are a classic fondue pairing. So on Pintrest, it really doesn’t surprise me that there are so many apple-cheddar pies. Some put the cheese in the crust, others in the pie, and others on top. And it didn’t just stop at cheddar and pie. There was Brie, and gallettes, and hand pies, soups, and dips.

You all know my experimentality and how much I adore playing in the kitchen. Needless to say, Pintrest got my gears turning… Some food combos just taste odd together, like this grapefruit protein shake I made one time (not a good post, Pintrest)… But lets face it… bacon goes with EVERYTHING!

Apple-Cheddar-Bacon Pie

serves 8

  • 11 slices thin slice turkey bacon (2 slice for 35 calories)
  • 3 apples (enough to yield 4 cups)
  • 1 medium onion (about 2 1/2 in diameter), finely diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, finely choppedWP_008337
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 tsp ground sage
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp thyme, to taste
  • 1/2 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Splenda Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp granulated Splenda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, apple pie spice, or pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cup fat free shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup Fiber One bran cereal
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • salt and pepper, to top

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 9-in pie pan with nonstick cooking spray and weave 8 slices of turkey bacon. Line the last three slices of bacon around the walls of the pie pan to create the crust. I found that making a little tear in the middle of those three slices helps keep the bacon from rolling down the sides of the pan. Bake for 20 min.

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In the meantime, core and thinly slice the apples. Then, cut your slices in half and measure 4 cups. Combine the apples, celery, and onion in a large skillet on medium heat with 1/2 cup of water. Cover with a lid for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and sprinkle with thyme, sage, garlic, Splendas, cinnamon, salt, pepper, vanilla, and lemon juice. Toss the mixture. Whisk the cornstarch with cold water until dissolved and pour over apple mix. Recover with the lid until bacon crust finishes baking.

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Meanwhile, in a food processor, chop 3/4 cup shredded cheddar. Set aside. Next, process the cereal until extremely fine. Add the remaining 3/4 cup cheddar to the processor, and blend until evenly distributed.

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Stir just the processed cheese into the apple mix, and transfer mix to the baked bacon, spreading the cheesy blend evenly over crust. Return to the 350 F oven for 15 minutes.

Lastly, add the unsweetened applesauce to the processor of cheese and Fiber One crumbs and blend until a crumble is created. Get messy, and use your hands to crumble on top of the warm pie. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and return to the oven for a final 25 minutes. Let it cool for about 10 minutes, while you make the optional sauce.

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What really is the icing on the pie is this sweetened thyme yogurt sauce!

Thyme Yogurt Sauce

  • 1/4 cup plain non fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar free syrup
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme

Blend and dollop!

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Rather than sticking with the sweet/tart, salty feel, I wanted something a little more savory. I was really impressed that the bacon crust stayed perfectly together when the pie was sliced. I was  even more impressed by the the afterthought of dressing up some yogurt. Thank goodness for that afterthought, too, because it tied all the sweet and savory flavors if the pie together.

Nutrition: (1/8 of pie and 1/2 Tbsp sauce)

Calories:119, Fat: 2g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 14mg, Sodium: 391mg, Carbs: 17g, Fiber: 3g, Sugars: 9g, Protein: 10g

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I would imagine that this could also be served with an over-easy egg, where the yolk would act as the yogurt sauce.

I’ve sort of rediscovered my love for apples recently so you may see another apple pie riff sooner that you think.

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Blueberry Waffles

My mom and I have a bit of a love for blueberries, but my mom is especially obsessed with Eggo Blueberry Waffles.

I based this recipe off my Easter Carrot Cake Waffles.

My mom was so excited when I told her last night that I wanted to make waffles in the morning, and not the frozen kind! She turned into me! She started coming up with all these different pairings and toppings and ideas. I was so proud! Haha!

I hope you enjoy!

Blueberry Waffles

makes 12 wafflesWP_007610

  • 3/4 cup Bisquick (Heart Smart, if you have it)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Splenda brown sugar blend
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup flax milk (milk of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup sugar free syrup, plus 1 Tbsp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Warm up the waffle iron and ensure it is coated heavily by non stick cooking spray. Combine the dry ingredients. Place the frozen blueberries in the microwave for 15 sec, just enough to start to thaw. Transfer the blueberries to a food processor immediately and give it a few pulses (just enough to break the berries, but not puree them). Whisk the milk, sugar free syrup, and vanilla into the dry ingredients, followed by the pulse blueberries. Using a 3/4 cup measuring cup, pour the batter directly on the center of your well-coated waffle iron. Close the lid and cook to your liking. Repeat the spooning of the batter two more times, ensuring the iron is coated in between each application.

Nutrition: 1 waffle

Calories:56, Fat: 1.3g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 158mg, Carbs: 10g, Fiber: 0.8g, Sugars: 0.7g, Protein: 1.2g

Mom had the idea to top our waffles with an egg over easy. I was game. We drizzled just a bit of our syrup over top the finished product and it created just the right about of sweet to balance that savory yolk! And the flavor of blueberry was scattered all throughout the waffles!

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After mom and our devoured these waffles, I started thinking how light they would have tasted with some lemon zest or how much of a treat they would be with some white chocolate chips! My mom yelled into the kitchen, “Now we need ice cream to sandwich between them!” When my mom likes my food, its a success!

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The waffles wound up being our lunch, as well. But this time, I spread a ripe banana all over it!

Refreshing Shake

So who’s ready for the first protein shake recipe of the year????

I’ve made shakes since the new year but, wow, was this one blog worthy! So much so, that I dropped everything I was doing to write this up!

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Outside the original Starbucks! Best Caramel Macchiato ever!

I was watching Unique Sweets, last night, and they highlighted a cheesecake business, The Confectional, located in Pike Market! I love Pike Market! I spent a week in Seattle a few years ago with Phi Theta Kappa at my first International Convention! Every morning, I walked down to the Market to get fresh produce.

Anyway, they mentioned this lemon white chocolate cheesecake and the gears started to turn… Dang, that sounds good…

Lemon White Chocolate CheesecakeWP_007575

  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp cheesecake pudding mix, sugar free, fat free
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar free white chocolate syrup
  • 1 scoop protein powder (I used cookies n’ cream)
  • Ice
  • Water
  • 1/4 tsp xanthum gum (optional)

Blend everything and enjoy! Top with a sprinkling of cinnamon, if desired.

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I topped mine with some cinnamon and Fiber One bran cereal to complete that cheesecake feel! I loved it! It was refreshing and unbelievably fragrant!

I started thinking about the many ways you could make this using any combination of the following:

  • lemon pudding mix, sugar free, fat free
  • white chocolate pudding mix, sugar free fat free
  • lemon syrup, sugar free

Let me know how yours turn out!

 

Oh Snap!

Since I start my new job today, I decided to try to get as much baking done last week as I could. Are you ready for some cookie recipes??? Beacue today’s post has three! Yes, THREE!

Last year, dad and I tried our hands at gingerbread cookies. We used Hungry Girls recipe and loved it! I have a weakness for ginger snaps, AKA spiced wafers. These cookies utilize molasses, which I don’t have a need for. In an effort to make ginger snaps, I tweaked HG’s recipe to have a pseudo-ginger snap recipe. Dad and I were quite pleased with the results.

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  • 1 14.5 oz pkg Betty Crocker Gingerbread cookie mix
  • 1 cup Fiber One bran cereal
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3 packets Splenda
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup pure pumpkin
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 3T Tbsp sugar free pancake syrup
  • 3 Tbsp whole wheat flour, divided, for dusting

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a food processor, grind Fiber One to an ultra fine consistency. Transfer crumbs to a medium bowl, along with spices, Splenda, baking powder, and cookie mix. Set aside.

In a separate small bowl, combine pumpkin with water and syrup. Mix well and fold into dry ingredients. Combine thoroughly. It may take a bit of elbow grease, which is why I like to use the kitchen aide. Once combined, use hands to knead dough into two balls. Working in manageable batches, sparingly use the flour to dust the dough, rolling pin, and flat surface, and roll the dough to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness.

Depending on the size of the cookie cutters, you’ll probably have to re-roll the trimmings for more cookies.) Transfer cookies to the baking sheets and bake 10 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.

Once fully cooked, either dig in, decorate, of both!

I colored two tablespoons of cream cheese frosting (my fave) with green coloring and decorated my cookies. I only used about half the icing.

I had some very snappy dressing teddy bears, as well as a Beary Gates, cousin to Bill Gates, Dr. Bones, and Spock, as well as business men and nurses and doctors.

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Yes, I’m well aware of how weird I am… But you’ll thank me when you bite into these cookies!

This is one of my favorite recipes this holiday season!

Yesterday, I realized I had a bag of Betty Crocker Pumpkin Spice Cookie mix, so I decided to experiment… And hence, the following two recipes were created and eaten!

Pumpkin GingersnapsWP_004947

makes 28 cookies

  • 1 bag Betty Crocker Pumpkin Spice Cookie mix
  • 1 packet Splenda
  • 1 Tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup pure pumpkin
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp sugar free pancake syrup
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute

Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine all the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients, one at a time.

Using a 1/2 Tbsp, scoop the batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes and transfer to cooling rack.

The smell of the ginger is fantastic when you pop open the oven door!

Pumpkin Butter CookiesWP_004949

makes 26 cookies

  • 1 bag Betty Crocker Pumpkin Spice Cookie mix
  • 2 Tbsp pure pumpkin
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp sugar free pancake syrup
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute

Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine the wet ingredients and the PB until thoroughly blended. Add the dry ingredients and mix well.

Using a 1/2 Tbsp, scoop the batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes and transfer to a cooling rack.

Bundo Bleus

Monday, yesterday, began with a adrenaline. I had planned on an early morning, to cook today’s featured recipe and bring it up to Philly. The alarm never went off, and I woke up to Barry, telling me it was 9am. WHAT?! I jumped out of bed and ran downstairs to toss the dish in the oven and get ready for our day in Philly.

The following is a recipe that gets filed away under comfort food. Its a recipe, that is a specialty of my moms, that I’ve minimally altered to cut some fat and calories. I grew up falling in love with this meal and have great memories of being my mom’s sous chef.

Not only is this a favorite of mine, its a favorite of my Aunt Chrissy’s. My mom and I would bake a batch for her birthday every year and for the past few years, I’ve continued the tradition, each year playing around with recipe.

Bundo Cordon Bleu

makes about 18 rolls

  • 1 box chicken stuffingWP_004554
  • 5 Tbsp Sugar free pancake syrup, (OR 3 Tbsp honey, or agave (or a combo)), divided
  • 2 lbs chicken breast
  • 2 cans 98% fat free Cream of Chicken condensed soup
  • 6 slices 96% fat free honey ham (around 60 cal per serving)
  • 5 slices thin-sliced provolone cheese (around 40 calories per slice, like Sargento)
  • 6 slices fat free sharp, cheddar, or American cheese (around 30 calories per slice)

Boil 1 1/2 cups of water in a pot. Once boiling, add 1 Tbsp sugar free syrup, followed by the box of stuffing mix. Turn off the heat and partially cover pot with a lid, to vent. In the meantime, carefully filet the chicken breast into thin slices, about 18 filets total. Set aside. In a bowl, empty the two cans of cream of chicken and 3 Tbsp of syrup. Set aside. Slice the provolone into 4 quarters, each slice, the sharp cheese into 6 slices, per slices, and the ham into 3 or 6 slices, per slice.

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Scoop 1/2 cup of the sweetened, condensed soup into the bottom of a 13 x 9 pyrex, and evenly coat its bottom. Lay a chicken filet out. (If necessary, to allow more surface area, place the breast under a piece of clear wrap and pound with a meat mallet). Do this to each chicken fillet. WP_004547 Preheat the oven to 350 F. Fill each fillet by laying one quarter of provolone, two slices sharp cheese, and one to two slices of ham, depending on how it was sliced). Scoop 1 Tbsp of the sweetened stuffing on one side of the chicken and roll the breast closed. Place this roll on the thin layer of soup in the pyrex. Repeat this filling and rolling process with each chicken fillet, rolling tightly, and placing them snug in the dish. WP_004549 WP_004550

You may have stray pieces of chicken. Chop these up and stir into soup mix. After all the rolls have been made, evenly coat the rolled breasted with the entire bowl of chicken soup. Lastly, crumble 1/4 cup of the prepared stuffing over the entire dish (which will crisp while baking).

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Cover the pyrex tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, rotate the dish 180 degrees and bake uncovered for an additional 20 minutes. Allow the dish to rest for 15 minutes. WP_004565 You will have about 1/2 cup remaining of stuffing. I find that dads are a great way to rid of this. WP_004574

Nutrition: (per roll, 1/18 recipe) Calories: 124, Fat: 3.4g, Sat. Fat: 0.6g, Cholesterol: 82mg, Sodium: 530mg, Carbs: 8.9g, Fiber: 0.9g, Sugar: 1.1g, Protein: 14.5g

Its almost too hard to resist when you pull it out of the oven. Somehow, I pulled myself together and refrained myself, so I could eat it for tonight’s, Tuesday’s, dinner. As odd as it sounds, this stuff is even BETTER as leftovers! I can’t believe my mom has actually given me permission to share this recipe! Grant it, its my version, but her recipe is coveted; I mean lock and key!

Our Veteran’s Day, Monday, adventures consisted of a trip to the cemetery with my grandmother to give my hero, my vet, my poppop, a copy of my nursing license! After spending some time with mommom, Barry and I hit a few health food stores, since I was in a weird mood and really did not want to go home. While we were out, we found these adorable apples, called Lady Apples! How cute!

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I invited Barry and dad over for dinner, prepared some stuffing, as well as cut green beans and onions. We sat down and ate dinner, while watching a movie. “Dinner and a movie?” dad asked. “This was a pleasant surprise!” I have to warn you, folks, that this recipe is addicting! There is NO WAY you can eat just one roll! We all went back for seconds! Yes, even I grabbed another! When the lights came back on, dad cracked me up! “Oh, I missed some!” and her began to eat what was left on the bowl. “That was plate-lickin’ good, Bunch!” (Dad calls me “Bunch.”)

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There ya have it! Its “Plate-lickin’ Good!”

Pistachios.

Last night, I could not fall asleep when I got home. A bit manic, I got a jump start on 2 recipes I was planning on making this morning. Instead I made them at 1am this morning! While the cake was in the oven, I assembled chicken cordon bleu (recipe on Monday’s post).

I will never forget the first time I fell in love with pistachio… not the nuts, but everything else. It was highschool and my girlfriend, Leah, brought in Pistachio Chocolate Chip cake for one of our friend’s birthday. I was a bit skeptical but after the first crumb touched my tongue, I was sunk. It was loaded with chocolate chips and smothered with chocolate icing! I, then, tried pistachio pudding, pistachio ice cream, and so on… Heck, I even made shakes!

I asked her for the recipe and its probably one of the easiest cake recipes. But just because its easy doesn’t mean it isn’t good… its fantastic! I remember huge chunks of chocolate scattered in the green cake, all pulled together with chocolate icing. Here is my take on her recipe.

Pistachio Chip CakeWP_004556

makes 24 slices

  • 1 box fat free, sugar free Pistachio pudding mix
  • 1 box sugar free, non butter, yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup liguid egg substitute
  • 1 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 cup non fat sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (more, if desired)
  • 1/4 cup sugar free chocolate syrup OR Chocolate icing

WP_004545Preheat the oven to 350 F. Blend the cake and pudding mix. In a separate bowl, whisk the applesauce, egg, extract, and sour cream. Add the wet to the dry and mix well. Whisk in the mini semi sweets. Transfer the dense batter into a well sprayed bundt pan. Using the back of a spoon or spatula, spread the batter into one even level. Bake for 45 min.

Removed from the oven and let rest for about 8 minutes. Flip the cake onto a plate, and allow the cake to cool. Once the cake has cooled and has been removed from the bundt pan, drizzle the top with your syrup or icing.

Nutrition (per 1/24, 1 slice):

Calories: 81, Fat: 1.8g, Sat. Fat: 0.6g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 228mg, Carbs: 17.4g, Fiber: 0.5g, Sugar: 1.6g, Protein: 1.9g

Thanks for the original recipe, Leah! I hope this one does you justice! I wish these pictures could show the beautiful green color of the cake! Its so elegant. The texture of the cake is a little less dense than a pound cake and the chocolate adds so much creaminess!

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I sliced a slice, drizzled a little more SF chocolate syrup for garnish, and enjoyed it with a mug of coffee!

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I started thinking, after I sliced it up, about adding chopped pistachios into the batter the next time, or using it as a garnish over top the chocolate syrup! Oh the possibilities!

My mother, the picky eater that she is, actually went back for seconds! I, then , packed up a bit for Amy, at work, my Aunt, for her birthday, and my mommom, for her sweet tooth.

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My mid-morning, sort of lunch time snack, was a sliced bell pepper, wrapped in honey ham, with salsa. Yums!

I was pretty hungry early on in my shift, soI ran down stairs to grab another 32 oz cup and a few snackables from the caf. At soon as 5pm hit, I was back downstairs for the grill to be on and grabbed the steamed mixed veggies, a container of shredded carrots, broccoli, onions, zucchini, and green beans, which I sprinkled with old bay.

A patient’s family ahd brought in Dunkin Donuts, and another family, Philly Pretzel Factory. I’m really not a donut girl, but bread, I would eat all day, if I could. I ate 1/4, a quarter, of a pretzel and could feel some anxiety creeping up. I was comfortable. I didn’t over eat. I was, luckily, able to talk myself down.

That was the trick and it held me over until close to 9pm, when I finished the last slice of Savory Pumpkin Quiche. It was pretty good with BBQ sauce.

The closer 11pm came, the more tired I felt, and the more heavy my chest was feeling. This anxiety stuff sucks! Nonetheless, it was another good shift, where I kept busy, and my mind focused on work.

Emotion-Coaster

It was rather a rollercoaster of a day. It started out great, then got bad, then it got better, and then it was just okay.

Before I get into that, I have to share with you some of my mad scientist brain. My hot chocolate did not quite satisfy my sweet tooth last night. I popped a mini bag of popcorn, for crunch, drizzled a bit of SF chocolate syrup, for the sweet, and a handful of raspberries for juice and tartness! Sounds crazy but it was pretty awesome and did the trick!

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I got up to make dad breakfast before he headed off to work. Today is National Scrapple Day, so I made his favorite: scrapple, egg whites, and cheese on a toasted everything bagelthin with hot sauce!

After a mug of coffee and some resume sending, I thought scrapple sounded great! How dare I, a Delawarean, not celebrate National Scrapple Day?! Right as I was about to toss a slice of toast in the toaster oven, it hit me! While picking out my bell peppers, yesterday, at the farmers market, a woman mention stuffed peppers. I could totally make a breakfast stuffed pepper! I could stuff it with anything! Its genius! (If you want stuffed peppers for dinner, try out my Quinoa Stuffed Peppers!)

Breakfast Stuffed PeppersWP_004540

serves 2

  • 1 medium bell pepper, sliced in half
  • 1/2 cup liquid egg substitute, divided
  • 2 oz scrapple (or meat of choice), divided
  • hot sauce (or condiment of choice)
  • cheese (optional)

Spray a pan with non stick cooking spray, and lay the pepper halves, boat style, and bake at 350 F for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, brown 1 oz of scrapple, or meat of choice. Once browned, roughly dice the meat, spray the pan with non stick cooking spray and pour 1/4 cup egg over top. Top egg with condiment (and cheese). Quickly, fold the eggs over to just barely cook. Transfer the egg mix into a pepper half. Repeat with the remaining meat, eggs, and pepper. Bake at 350 F for another 15 minutes.

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I sprinkled mine with reduced fat grated parm! MMMMM!

It really was a great idea! A few hours later, I knew I needed to get food in my stomach before work. There was no way I could run my shift with some little calories in my system. Some peanut butter and pretzel sticks later? An anxiety attack!

Not only was I frustrated, for some reason, about eating lunch, I was frustrated with myself for this stupid anxiety attack! I had been doing so well! Why now? Darn it!!!!

I pulled myself together, enough, to get ready for work. My thinking was Sammy, if your at work, your moving, which means you’re burning calories…

As always, work pulled me out of my funk and I threw myself into my patients. I kept myself busy until, my stomach told me it was time to eat. Amy and I headed down to the caf and I was pleased to find steamed broccoli on the menu. I dug into some steamed broccoli, sprinkled with Old Bay, and raw mushrooms and baby corn. I grabbed the plum for mom.

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WP_004543Around 830, I sat down, once more, to the last slice of Sweet Pumpkin Quiche, which I topped with toasted coconut and raisins! I felt a little leery about eating, but I knew that it was best for me! How can I take care of my patients and set an example if I’m not healthy and taking care of myself? 

I had to have been the most hydrated I have ever been, tonight! Early in my shift, I grabbed a 32 oz cup so I could refill it throughout the night. I drank FOUR of these! FOUR!

Tofutti!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spicy Peanut Tofu Stir-fry

based off Tofu With Peanut-Ginger SauceWP_004527

serves 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ladies and gentleman, dad wants to eat more tofu!

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

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

I guess that means she likes it!

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

Savory and Sweet Sunday

Since this is my weekend off from work, its another Brunch Sunday with the family. Barry and I woke up and headed over to my moms house.

I had planned on making Hungry-Girl’s Crustless Pumpkin Quiche Supreme. I though about it, and realized I needed to make two pans. So rather than two of the same, I played around in the kitchen to create a  Sweet Pumpkin Quiche to match HG’s savory one!

Sweet Pumpkin Quiche

makes 8 slices

  • 4 Laughing Cow Light Swiss Cream Cheese wedges, room temperature
  • 1/8 tsp ground gingerWP_004486
  • 1 1/2 tsp Splenda brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Splenda packets
  • 1 15oz can pure pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup frozen whole cranberries
  • 1 Tbsp chopped pecans
  • 1 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar free pancake syrup

Preheat the oven to 350 F. In the meantime, break up the cream cheese wedges and use the back of a spoon to smooth it out. Add the Splendas, spices, and vanilla. Once combined, mix in the pumpkin. Fold in the cranberries, then mix in the eggs.

Spray a 9-in pie pan with non stick cooking spray. Pour the pumpkin mixture in the pie pan and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, and evenly coat the top with syrup. Place back in the oven and continue to bake for another 30 minutes. Move the pan to the broiler and broil for about 10 minutes, until the top begins to brown and caramelize. Remove from the oven and allow the quiche to sit for a few minutes before slicing into it.

It was like breakfast pumpkin pie!!!

MMM Savory and Sweet!

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I put syrup out on the table, but I don’t think it needed a darn thing! I served breakfast up with some breakfast potatoes with garlic, onions, peppers, and spices (sort of like a Potatoes O’Brien).

Brunch was a hot according to my panel! I guess its time to formally introduce you to the panel:

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My dad, Tom, Frank, my step-dad, Dom, one of my little brothers, and Barry, my boo 🙂

They all have different taste preferences, except my dad and Barry… they put hot sauce on everything!

The Sunday got even better, when Barry joined dad and I for a post-brunch catch! Luckily, I had an extra glove!

The day was a typical Sunday. Barry and I watched a movie. Since the weather was chilly, Barry and I were in the mood for chili! While he ran to the closest Wendy’s for chili, while I browned up some 97%  fat free hot dogs, and onions. I snuck a soy dog on Barry’s plate and he really enjoyed it!

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The evening was finished up with some job hunting, hot mocha, gingersnaps, and the Eagles/Raiders game!

I love Sundays!

Pumpkin Pie for Breakfast

During the crock pot challenge, I made crock pot Pumpkin Sticky Buns! Based off of that recipe, here is the perfect October breakfast for those brisk Fall mornings.

I just can’t get enough of pumpkin! Especiallyon National Pumpkin Day!

Pumpkin Pie Cinnamon Buns

makes 12 buns

The Dough:

  • 2 cup plus 1 Tbsp milk of choice (I used unsweetened flax milk)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 packet dry, active yeast (to help activate the yeast)
  • 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated Splenda
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup Libby’s pure pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce

The Filling:

  • 3/4 cup pure pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup granulated Splenda
  • 2 Tbsp sugar-free pancake syrup
  • 1 Tbsp Splenda brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
Glaze Ingredients:
  • 3 Tbsp sugar free pancake syrup
  • 1 Tbsp granulated Splenda
  • 1/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 Tbsp pecans
  • 1 Tbsp hulled, unsalted pumpkin seeds
Warm milk and water in a bowl in the microwave for about 45 seconds. Let it sit for a few minutes. You want the liquids warm, not hot. Sprinkle the sugar into the liquid, followed by the packet of yeast. Set aside and allow mixture to bubble and foam.
Sift the flours, baking powder, Splenda, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice into a large bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, warm the applesauce and pumpkin in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds. Stir the vanilla into the warmed mix, then stir this to the milk and yeast bowl. Pour the bowl of liquid ingredients into thelarge bowl of dry, and together to form a dowl. The dough will be moist and tacky. Cover the ball of dough with a towel and set in a warm place to rise for 20 minutes. (My trick: microwave an empty microwave for a minute, then place the covered bowl in the microwave to sit.)
While the dough is rising, stir together the filling ingredients and set aside. You can also chop the pecans and pumpkin seeds and tossed them together, and set aside. When the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 325 F. Sprinkle 1Tbsp of all-purpose flour over the ball. Sprinkle another 1 Tbsp over the clean, flat surface on which you will be rolling the dough. Flip the ball of dough onto the floured surface and sprinkle another 1 Tbsp of flour on top. Use your hands to press out the dough. Flour the dough in 1/2 Tbsp increments, as needed. Flip the dough over, after its been pressed with your fingers, sprinkle with flour and roll it out into a large rectangle.
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Using a spoon or basting brush, brushthe filling ingredients to every edge. (I suggest brushing onto the table to make sure every piece is coated!) With finger tips, carefully roll the dough into a long log. Using a non-serrated knife, cut the log into 12 equal portions, cleaning the blade after each slice. Carefully transfer the 12 rolls into a baking dish, sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  (For really large buns, cover and return the buns to a warm place for another 30 minutes. For regular sized, bake now.) Top the rolls with chopped pecan and pumpkin seed blend and bake for 25 to 28 minutes.
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While baking, stir together the remaining glaze ingredients. Once baked, drizzle the glaze over the buns and serve.
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When I opened the oven, it smelled like a pumpkin pie was baking! After the buns were glazed, I sat down to a cup of Tiramisu coffee (one of the new coffees I bought yesterday) to which I added SF Italian Sweet Cream creamer. What a combo! The creamer totally picked up the sweet notes of the coffee! I pulled apart the first piece of pumpkin bun to see a beautiful orange filling, and warm moist dough. I love that contrast of the firm outer shell with the soft inner layer of sticky buns!
Mom said it was just the right sweetness! My only critique is to make a thicker glaze…
I stared brain storming toppings… Obviously, nuts are a no-brainer, but what about crumbled bacon? Sounds like I might have to make these again in the near future!
Nutrition: per bun
Calories: 151, Fat: 1g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 278mg, Carbs: 30, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 1, Protein: 4g