Eggplant Pie

It was nice to sleep in yesterday and not have anything to do! I spent all day studying for the NCLEX, filling myself with brain food, like Saturn peaches, sugar free chocolate pudding, and a delicious dinner! (recipe to follow) My family has really been lucking out these past few weeks. Since I’ve found an outlet in cooking, my family has been eating really well. During my studying, I reward myself with breaks to cook, or prep to cook. Yesterday the result was baking Strawberry Muffins, and Eggplant Pie. Both were so good! Frank, my biggest critic, said the muffins were very good and the Eggplant Pie was,”Outstanding!” Having the word “outstanding” come from him was definitely a treat!

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The muffins came in handy when I woke up this morning to find a tray of donuts on the table from an apparent late night craving they had while out on the town… To resist the urge, I warmed up a strawberry muffin, sliced it in half, and added to the already gooey strawberries inside it with some sugar free strawberry preserves. Take that, donut!

After dinner, and along day of brain overload, I rewarded myself with Zumba. Unfortunately, my booty shaking was cut short when a girl got light headed and fainted. I ran to help her. Behind me, I hear my girlfriend yell,”It’s okay! She’s a nurse!” It was thrilling hearing someone yell that so close to my exam!

WP_003511Following Zumba, I got really hungry. Thank goodness Zumba is early on Monday nights and I went home to enjoy an Orange Cream Dannon Light & Fit Greek, with cheerios for crunch. I got antsy and wound up finishing a head of romain with salsa, filling up on water. I’m such a bunny rabbit…

I headed to bed with a mug of chamomile tea and fell asleep in NCLEX-mode.

After Sunday’s adventure at the Ren Faire, and my brief time at Zumba, last night, my calves we starting to feel it today. I began the WP_003512gloomy day with my normal routine of a shake. Since my vanilla protein powder has been replaced, I began with an Apple Eggnog Shake:

  • 2 scoops Vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 md fuji apple, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp sugar free Eggnog Da Vinci syrup
  • spinkle apple pie spice
  • water
  • ice

A total winner that Barry didn’t think would work! I made Frank a very bright Watermelon Shake.

Today was so gloomy that my dad’s boss told him not to come to work because there was so much flooding! It was also gloomy in my kitchen when my spare Magic Bullet bit the dust. I’m glad I had my smoothie maker to fill in.

Before heading to work, I filled up on some watermelon and I’ve really been digging the beet scene lately. I actually made another beet salad for dinner tonight, for work. I even used some Fakin’ Bacon Tempeh! And what goes well with bacon? Bleu Cheese! I steamed together sliced onion, chopped tempeh, sliced petite carrots, and chopped, sliced beets and served it over a bed of spinach, topped with crumbled reduced fat bleu cheese. The warmth from the vegetables warmed up the cheese and this salad was “no dressing required!” I’ve been trying to talk dad into trying beets, but I haven’t quite gotten there. Maybe I’ll sneak it into something one day. What can I say? You can’t beat beets!

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Usually, being clerk at work makes me want to eat. Not because I’m hungry or burning calories, but because I’m bored. Tonight was great because I ate my delicious salad for dinner, and had some grahams and PB for a snack! Plus, with studying and all the paperwork at the desk, I kept busy!I’m serious! As soon at 7pm hit, this place went crazy, like full moon crazy! Eureka!

I picked up a pack of sliced eggplant from the farmers market last week and wanted to use it up before it began to turn. My intent was to make an eggplant parm pizza, but then this brain of mine began to crank some gears and this little beauty was born. Its like if eggplant parmesean and spaghetti pie had a baby…

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Serves 4

1 large eggplant, sliced 1/8in
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2/3 cup bell pepper, chopped
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 cup fat free ricotta
1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 pkg Fettuccine Tofu Shirataki noodles
3/4 cup fat free shredded mozzarella, divided
4oz 96% lean ground beef
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh spinach, packed (25g)
1 Tbsp reduced fat grated Parmesan

Peeling the eggplant is your preference. Over high heat, in a skillet, cook slices of eggplant until they begin to shrivel from the water loss, flipping to ensure both sides cook. Transfer to a paper towel while cooking the remaining slices of eggplant. While eggplant is still pliable, lay the eggplant strategically in a sprayed 9in pie pan to create a pseudo-pie crust (about 7 slices). Sprinkle the bottom on the pan with 1/4 cup of mozzarella.

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Empty the noodles into a colander, rinse, and snip through the noodles with scissors, as these these noodles can be pretty long. In the hot pan, after the eggplant has been cooked and removed, briefly toss the noodles in the pan, tossing constantly to remove excess fluid, and return to the colander.

Spray skillet with non stick cooking spray and briefly cook down onions, garlic, and bell pepper, until onions are
mildly translucent. Transfer warm vegetables into a bowl with uncooked mushrooms, ricotta, spices, and egg. Then add the noodles to the ricotta mix. Transfer into eggplant crust and distribute evenly.

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Brown the ground beef. Once crumbled and browned, add the can of diced tomatoes. Stir together and top over the noodles in the crust. Sprinkle a pinch on mozzarella and the grated cheese. Add the chopped spinach and cover with the remaining eggplant (about 5 slices). Top with remained shredded mozzarella and bake in a preheat oven  at 350 F for 15-20 minutes.

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Slice and enjoy!

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Nutrition (1/4 recipe):

Calories: 149, Fat: 0.8g, Sat. Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 22.5mg, Sodium: 294mg, Carbs: 15.8g, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 4.7g, Protein: 16.8g

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Shout Outs

Shout Out to my mama:

I finished up my Zumba class, last night, and found a voicemail on my cell from my mom, raving about the meatloaf! About 9 years ago, my mom had the gastric bypass surgery and ever since, she has had a difficult time holding pretty much any real food down. Its amazing, really. You would think her body would crave protein, but the only foods that settle are things like chips and pizza. Its pretty bizzare.

So one of my nutrition goals is to cook food that my mom will and can eat. She devoured last night’s Honey Mustard Crusted Poultry Loaf! I think the trick with her is lean protein. When I cook soy products for her, she enjoys it. Last nights meatloaf was super lean!

Then, she began to tell me how much mashed potato she ate! She couldn’t believe it, either, that is was cauliflower!

At this time I was in the Walgreens, grabbing a bottle of water, crying in the middle of the story. I felt like such a goof, but I had never heard my mom talk about my cooking like this!

I also mentioned I dropped dinner off to Barry at work, last night, and he sent me this:

“Dinner was excellent hun. It was finished before you text me. Superb!”

The time that elapsed between me dropping it off and texting him was under 15 minutes! Haha! I think he was just hungry! Haha!

Shout Out to all you carb-counting, comfort food loving followers! This is for you!

Garlic Mashed Cauli-TatersWP_003265

  • 1 medium cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 tsp minced garlic*
  • 2 tsp Brummel and Brown light butter spread
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp low fat original creamer
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • sour cream, fat free cheddar, real lean bacon crumbles (optional)

In a microwavable bowl, add a splash of water, about 1/4 cup, and the cauliflower, cover with with plastic wrap, and microwave for 9 minutes. Carefully, spoon the cauliflower into a food processor and add all the other ingredients. Whip it up and occasionally vent the processor to relieve the steam pressure.

WP_003266Top with what ever you’d like!

*If resources and time allows, roast the garlic before adding it to the mix.

MMMM! For a carb-lover, such as myself, I was in heaven with its garlicy, creamy, potato faker goodness!

Shout Out to my girl, Alex!

Every week, you read about my time at Zumba. Well, now its time to meet the girl behind it all! Alex kicks some serious Zumba ass and I love her classes. She incorporates, not only Latin-style dances, but Indian and hip-hop. Having such a variety of styles, music, and Alex’s personality, keeps me coming back every week!

I asked her after class if I could share her Facebook page with you, so if you’re in the area, look her up, and come join the party!

After dinner, last night, I suited up and headed to Zumba. You know I’m about to go hard when the pink pre-wrap headband  comes out!

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Zumba with Alex always send me home hyped with energy and good vibes, and I sleep like a rock!

WP_003277And Alex must have worked me hard, too, because I was hungry when I got home! Yay, for Special K Chocolatey Strawberry 90 calorie cereal bars!

throwback to sophomore homecoming 2006

On the Food Front:

Shout out to my Sista from Anotha Mista (literally):

Caterina is my step-sister, Frank’s daughter. I recently found out that she began cooking. Growing up, I was always the one in the kitchen, but now, Cat has her own recipe blog with wordpress.com. Enjoy!

Soon enough, we will be teaming up for a “Sisters Who Cook” post. Keep an eye out!

As I laid in bed, last night, my tummy began to growl and I snack on a handful of pretzel sticks, which was quickly followed by a mild tummy ache. Maybe it was the duck tongue on the episode of Chopped I was watching. Either way, I tried my best to settle both my belly and my mind…

Yesterday, Barry bought me Kashi’s new cereal: Heart to Heart Nutty Chia Flax! This, topped with flax milk and a handful of freeze dried strawberries, hit my breakfast tooth, this morning. Its like cheerios with a sweetness with flax and chis seeds stuck to each “O”!

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After a late night and a very early morning, thanks to my brothers alarm buzzing for 40 minutes, I laid back down to see if a mid morning nap could happen. It didn’t, but I did give me the motivation to get myself up and going. I got changed, and took advantage of the nice breeze and went for a nice brisk 2 mile walk up to the store, where I, of course, took advantage of the discount produce!

Shorty after arriving home, I wrapped three dill pickles in some lean turkey lunch meat to replenish my sodium electrolytes. My walk made me feel a little less guilty about sitting on my tush for the next hour studying.

The tummy began to grumble, again, about 2 hours later, to which I responded with POPCORNERS (its terrible how good these are). I, then, realized a better, crunchier, more refreshing option! I felt like a genius! Celery!

WP_003278This leads me to admitting a very serious problem: My name is Sammy Bundo, and I am a salsa addict.

Yes, we know I’m a dancing fool, but I am referring to salsa of the chunky variety, especially the homemade stuff! “How filling and refreshing and yummy was my celery and salsa,” you ask? Yummy enough to account for majority of the missing salsa from this jar! New favorite health snack! 

Lunch time was not the last appearance of salsa for the day. After dinner, snacky Sammy kicked in and nibbling ensued. I introduced dad to the snack, and he couldn’t believe was good it was! We wound up finishing the celery and a bell pepper, that we used for dipping. The jar is almost empty! I’m serious when I say try this combo! It feels like your chewing and chewing and its sooooo good!

So, Tuesday was meatloaf, and potatoes, and tonight’s comfort food was pasta! Dad and I are both suckers for scallops, so when I came across this at Trader Joes, I scooped it up!

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Saucy Scallops with Mushrooms in an Emmental Cheese sauce! I didn’t know what emmental cheese was, but I was sold! (Emmental cheese is a swiss cheese, by the way).

I threw this in the skillet with salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, additional mushrooms and peas, and reduced fat Parmesan.

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MMM! The sweet peas and scallops with the earthy tones of the mushrooms was absolutely delicious with the creamy white white cheese sauce! While pops prefers pasta, I topped a bowl of Fettuccine Tofu Shirataki Noodles with the saucy mix, and served both up with a glass of wine that I had gotten on my trip to San Jose and some garlic toast.

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WP_003279The wine was a Rose wine from Napa Valley, CA called Ménage à Trois. It was a complete combination of sweet and dry and refreshing and tart! Perfect for what a rose should be! We actually finished the bottle of wine, which is probably why I had the munchies. The wine was delicious! I’m going to keep an eye out for it on the east coast.

Continuing our guilt-free snacky adventure as we watched our Redbox movie, Flight, I serve up a big bowl of the Chocolate Peanut Butter Arctic Zero, sprinkled with Chocolate PB2, multigrain cheerios, for crunch, and jimmies!

The remainder of this night, I plan on sleeping, hopefully, and studying away.

Big news: I scheduled the date, time and location of my NCLEX exam! I had a hard time clicking ‘confirm,’ I was so scared! I can do this… maybe the munchies were wine induced and nerve-related… who knows, but please keep me in my prayers!

Tuna Casserole

I couldn’t decide if I should sleep today or not. Taking naps usually keeps me up later that night and with clinical bright and early tomorrow morning, I did not want to have issues sleeping. I was going to finish Friday’s run after work today as I headed to Church. It rained the other day, and temperatures have really dropped, here in Wilmington. Life had other plans for me. I apparently locked me keys in my car last night, and didn’t realize it! Yay for work having security jimmy into my car! After standing in the cold, I was wide awake and decided to treat myself to some Brew Ha Ha (despite the three cups of coffee I had had over night). I got my favorite: The Brew Ha Ha! Latte! Raspberry…. mocha… espresso! I got them to use the sugar free syrups and skim milk (and nix on the whipped cream), and it was a nice way to reward myself on my good eating. (I always love a little cinnamon on top!

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The remainder of the morning was spent with my nose in my laptop. Not working on the blog, unfortunately  but trying to finish up some projects. I’m a fan of Tuna Helper, and especially tuna melts, but I have never had Tuna Casserole. I feel like hot tuna has a bad rep…

I ask my stepdad if he liked tuna casserole, and he was super excited! I’ll take that as a yes. For the next few days, he kept asking if I had the ingredients to make it. I thought it was nice of him to see if I needed anything. Now, its annoying. “Well I make it this way… what kind of noodles are you using?” “Do you have enough soup? Noodles get really dry as leftovers…” “What are you using for the crunchy top. Its gotta have the crunchy top.”

Are you cooking? No? Okay, then shoosh! Geez!

For dinner, I made Rockin’ Tuna Noodle Casserole using HungryGirl’s recipe. I dare not tell my family the ingredients I use, such as tofu shirataki noodles, because then I have to hear flack about it. Like, hello, you didn’t notice the difference until I just told you. Stop talking and keep eating! (Wow, I’m a little feisty today. Must be the sleep deprivation.)

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Any way…

I added Bundo’d this baby by using two 5 oz cans of tuna fish, a bunch of chopped mushrooms, and a small, sauteed chopped onion and garlic. This turned out really good and a big hit among the shirataki skeptics! Just follow the HG recipe but add the shrooms, onion, and garlic. I found that a sprinkle of black pepper, garlic powder, and a pinch of salt did the trick! Steamed broccoli was the perfect partner!

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This creamy dish was followed by melon and cottage cheese for dessert!

As of now, I have officially been awake over 24 hours, and I am starting to feel it. I am going to try to watch some lecture, but I’m not making any promises. I hope you all have had a great weekend, and cheers to a new week! (Psst… did you know that exactly one month from month, I’ll be a college graduate?!)

 

PS. The 100th post is coming up! Any suggestions or requests?

(Not) Down with the Sickness

Did you know March is National Noodle Month? Neither did I.. but it worked out that I brought a noodle dish for dinner last night. Last night I brought Smart Ones Shrimp Marinara and bulked it up with some Fettucine Tofu Shiritaki Noodles and broccoli. I’m glad I spiced it up a bit. The shrimp was a little chewy, also. I don’t see myself getting this one again…

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Eating was pretty decent last night, thank God! I got all my work done so quickly that in my down time I watched a lecture! Woo Hoo!

I have sooo much work to do this weekend! I need to kick some serious butt.

Today came with sleep deprivation, stress, but uber excitement! I was watching my goddaughter today! It has been so long since I’ve seen her and she got to play with all her Christmas presents over here!

Before I picked her up, I made dad and myself a cup of coffee. I also whipped up last night’s smoothie for dad, while I enjoyed a little sweeter Apple Crunch shake:WP_001432

1/2 frozen apple, cubed

1Tbsp toffee bits

1 scoop Herbalife Vanilla PDM

1 scoop Herbalife Vanilla Formula 1

1 Tbsp sugar free Vanilla pudding mix

ice

water

1/8 tsp xanthum

I loved having Kinley over! She is so smart! She shocked me when she grabbed a coaster and put her cup on it, or at lunch when she out her napkin on her lap! She only a year and a half! My baby girl is a genius!

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Isn’t she beautiful?

But I have to say, I felt exhaustion kick in around 11am. Luckily, mom said she would watch Kinley while I took a power nap! I haven’t seen my mom with this much energy in a long time! I woke up with a bit of a scratch throat. Oh no! I can not be getting sick! I immediately brewed up some ginger and lemon tea and shot back a glass of Airborne. It was only a matter of time until the stress of the past few weeks, plus working with kids with respiratory illnesses, caught up with me. Fingers crossed- I’ve nipped this in the bud!

Right as we arrived back at Kinley’s house, she was passed out! And I had worked up quite an appetite! Frank, my step dad, called while I was out at the supermarket picking up a few things and asked if I wanted Chinese food. I LOVE Chinese food! On the occasion  I’ll make it from scratch, but I had been wanted Chinese food for the past few weeks, and, hey, he was treating! I opted for one of my favorite and more health conscious choices: Steamed Vegetables with Shrimp, and a side of garlic sauce! This meal NEVER disappoints! I love the sweet and spicy bite of the garlic sauce, the protein from the shrimp (no meat of Fridays), and the fresh, crisp, crunch of the veggies. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, “I just don’t know how these places get their veggies so perfectly steamed!” (My stepdad always gets the ribs, so I had to sneak in one of those!)

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The immediate dessert was, duh, a fortune cookie. Later, it was a salty sweet favorite: 94% fat free Kettle Corn popcorn and nutella drizzle!

The remainder of the evening is going to be spent ATTEMPTING to watch renal failure lectures, without falling asleep (I’m in desperate need of solid sleep!) and winding down with some chamomile and honey tea.