Good Feeling Friday

Today was an all around feel good day, right from the very start!

Sometimes the hardest part if working out or going for a run, is actually getting out of bed. It is most definitely November in Delaware and my body knew it. My alarm went off at 730 and it took almost 20 minutes to convince my body to get out of bed. It was so toasty and warm!

WP_004530I finally threw the covers off and ran to my robe. I suited up in pink and black, this morning, and layered up with leggings and tights, as well as gloves and a head band. I knew that preparing for the chill would keep me more motivated. The one negative? My running pants stayed up but the rights underneath kept sliding down… Ha!

At least I was warm. I used my iPod to complete about 2 miles of refrain running to grab some coffee. 2 miles for coffee, Sammy? That must be some good coffee! Oh it is! For the past 3 weeks, I have made it to Fresh Thymes on Friday mornings for their banana fosters coffee! While there, chatting with Jenn and Steph, the fab chicks that run the cute corner cafe, I gave dad a call and he met me for breakfast and coffee.

After browsing the menu, it was hard to decide what to get! Everything sounded amazing! We decided on “The Julian.” I may have been a bit sneaky in this selection. Dad didn’t bring in his glasses and couldn’t read the print and he asked me to read what was in the wrap. I may have just said “sausage” rather than “seitan sausage.” Whoops!

None the less, we ordered “The Julian,” and chatted up the ladies, while sipping on our coffees. The smell of our food cooking was fantastic, and I kept peaking over at the griddle to check out what was awaiting us! The wrap was huge! Thank goodness we split it! Served with a slice of apple and tabbouleh salad, we dug into our breakfast of seitan sausage, sauerkraut, apples, onion, spinach, and spices. Delicious!

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After dad raved about the wrap, I announced, “Ladies and gentleman, my father has eaten tofu and seitan in less than 24 hours!!!” which got some smiles and chuckles from the hungry breakfast folk.

I was stuffed for a long time after my half wrap! My day was kicked off with tons of good feelings! I was full and knew it! I had breakfast with my dad! Dad had eaten two healthy meals in less than 24 hours! I had accomplish 2 miles in November! I couldn’t wait to see what the rest of the day would bring!

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Dad drove me home, after breakfast, and I immediately began to tidy up. Another thing to make me feel accomplished! I met up with Barry at the Farmers Market, where I picked up a bunch of goodies. After the radishes the other night at work I picked up a pack of radishes for snacking, which I pretty much finished off by the end of the night. I also picked up a bunch of orange and red bell peppers!  Throughout my shopping, I picked up a few things for Beauty! Yes, Rachel Ray, apparently, makes dog food, and, yes, that is doggie ice cream, both of which, Beauty loved! What a spoiled little pup!

WP_004535It was a day of smart snacking and tasty treats. Frank, for dinner, whipped up pasta and seafood sauce! How could I resist? I heated up a package of Tofu Shirataki noodles and topped it with the sauce! MMMM! I sliced up a bell pepper and used that to pick up the remained gravy at the bottom of the bowl!

The night is closing with some hot chocolate and ginger snaps- shocker!

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.

Ode to Kathleen and Drinks Before Noon

I can honestly say, that even as a college student, I have never once drank before noon.

This week started off with excitement: the LAST two days of clinical of nursing school!

Mondays features were coffee and cafe… I saw OIKOS Cafe Latte Greek Yogurt, and I was curious. But I really liked it! It was smooth ans creamy with a mild coffee flavor, not espresso like I was expecting.

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Monday was miserable! It was pouring and gloomy. The best way to combat one of these days is with some soup: Lentil soup with some grilled ham and cheese! I still can’t find affordable raspberries, so I improvised for dessert to get my kick: Breakstone’s Raspberry Cottage Cheese Double, sprinkled with cocoa powder.

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Now, onto Tuesday!

This is it! Its so surreal! I finished all my paperwork and projects, and this is the day. The LAST day of clinical as a nursing student! I was very attached to two of my patients and both they and I were said that I was leaving. I feel like I will visit them, though. I was actually contemplating applying for a job at this facility. I work with kids, but maybe my calling is to be with fragile patients. I’m not quite sure if a nursing home is the right start for a career for me, though.

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After we were finished on the unit, I hugged my patients, and met up with friends at Border Cafe, as we had done a few weeks earlier. I learned, today, that I really am a light weight. One rum and coke and I was toast! And it wasn’t even noon yet! Oh boy!

After I sobered up I headed home to prep tonight’s dinner.

Kathleen is a nurse that I work with. She also happens to be a Kappan alumnus (referring to Phi Theta Kappa). Anyway, Kathleen and I have a lot in common. She has been very supportive of me throughout my entire illness and recovery, as well as a cheerleader for my continued education. One thing Kathleen and I have consistently found in common is our love of food, especially ethnic foods!  Although Kathleen and I usually talk about sushi and Indian food, I’m dedicating today’s recipe to her, as Kathleen is a vegetarian, and newcomer to the blog, and today’s recipe uses tofu.

I’ve made this recipe before and loved it! Now, for a little tweeking.

Tofu and Eggplant Stir-fryWP_002264

serves 4

Sauce: (you will be making this recipe three times)

1 tsp. cornstarch

1/4 cup cold water
1 tbsp. reduced-sodium/lite soy sauce
2 tsp. sweet Asian chili sauce
1 no-calorie sweetener packet (like Splenda or Truvia)
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Meat:

1 large peeled eggplant cut into 1″ cubes
1 (14oz) package lite firm tofu

2 tsp. minced garlic

Vegetables:

1 md. onion, cut into thirds and then quartered

2 bell pepper

4 cups frozen broccoli

3 oz baby carrots

6 button mushrooms, quartered

Combine all ingredients for the sauce except the cornstarch and set aside. Drain the water from the tofu and slice into 8 slices. Lay the slices between a towel, and weigh the tofu and towel down with a pan (I used a nursing text book). Allow the tofu to sit for 30 minutes and for the towel to absorb the excess moisture.

Spray a pan with nonstick cooking spray and “dry-fry” the tofu (AKA brown the tofu), pressing with a spatula occasionally to remove excess liquid. Once one side is toasty brown, flip and press the tofu again. When browned, remove from heat and let cool. When cool, cut each slice into 6 pieces. Place cubed tofu in a resealable baggie and pour in the sauce. Allow to marinate at room temperature, turning the tofu occasionally. (The longer the tofu has to marinade, the more flavor it will pick up. I marinated mine for about 4 hours).

Meanwhile, roughly chop vegetables into large pieces and cube the eggplant. After marinating the tofu for a while, its time to cook.

Spray a wok or large skillet with non stick spray, and on medium high heat, add the cubed the eggplant. Toss every so often to brown the sides and until the eggplant becomes fragrant. Add the minced garlic and empty the contents of the sealed marinating bag (tofu and marinade) into the skillet. Meanwhile, steam the vegetables as you would prefer to do so. (I used the stove).

Make two batches of the sauce. Combine the water and cornstarch and stir until dissolved. Add the remaining sauce ingredients. (Remember to make two batches). Toss the eggplant and tofu and pour one completed batch pf sauce over the “meat” and toss. Lower the heat to medium/ medium-low. Add the last batch of sauce, toss, and allow to thicken.

Toss all ingredients together and enjoy!

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cube up the eggplant

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press and dry-fry the tofu

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cool and cut the tofu

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marinate

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rice boiling, vegetables steaming, and “meat” cooking

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Reading this recipe back, it sound a lot more complicated than it actually is. I promise!

I love the sweet and spicy notes of this meal! Plus, I got dad to eat tofu! (Another added bonus: each serving is around 200 calories). I served dads meal over brown rice and mine over the remaining bag of Miracle Rice. I also made a samosa salad with a thinly sliced cucumber, some onion, and a tablespoon of seasoned rice vinegar.

Good Karma

My alarm sounded at 545 pacific time. I hit the snooze alarm, and closed my eyes thinking about how long I had to before I needed to be ready to leave.

After hitting the second snooze alarm, I decided to take advantage of the early morning and took it as a sign to get motivated. I had just enough time to complete a 30 minute treadmill work out that looked like this:

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And I had ten minutes to spare to clean up and change in time for Church, grab a coffee and banana for the walk and be on my way.WP_001790

I like attending new Churches. I find that no Church, no mass is the same. Each priest, choir, altar presents differently. Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph was a large and beautiful Church. Rather than pews, the seats were circled around the altar. It was decorated with Lilly’s from the Easter season, and the priest gave a great homily!

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Afterwards, we wondered around downtown in an attempt to find something entertaining. I wanted to check out a vegan cafe, but it turns out they don’t open until 11. We wound up walking to Bijan Bakery. I ordered a mushroom and spinach quiche. The crust was flakey and buttery! I paired this with a raspberry pomegranate green tea that so unique. My taste buds went wild at the first sip!

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And look at all the beautiful treats!

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We continued to wander around the city. We had all woke up so early that it seemed so much later to us. Nothing was really open yet so we walked back towards the hotel. We split up, me heading to my room to work on some homework, and them going to the art museum.

It was time to head to the educational forums at the convention. I chose to attend “Leading with Ethics.” I’ve chosen my forums based on what I think will be useful in my career as a nurse. Nursing requires delegation and leadership, and ethics is always a controversy on the medical field. My overall summary of this session is : All ethics begin with self ethics. In order to be an ethical leader, I must first understand my own values and how to value others, and this will allow me to recognize how others would like to be treated. What is the intent of my actions? Am I bettering my community?

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After a busy afternoon of flag bearer practice, I ran to grab a quick bite. While planning for this trip, I found a restaurant called Good Karma Vegan Cafe. I hadn’t eaten since breakfast so I ran over to grab dinner. The place was very small, but had a very eclectic feel with great music playing! They served different types of beer, some organic. Their menu consisted of a rice or quinoa platters, burritos, desserts, and more. To get the experience I opted for a 3-dish platter. Rather that eating it with rice or quinoa, I asked for steamed vegetables. You create your dish by choosing one, two, or three items from their cold box, and they heat it up. I wanted to try things that I never had before so I chose the following:

  • Spicy Basil Tofu
  • Jamaican Tofu
  • PraRam

As she brought over my meal, I could not imagine finishing the whole thing. They are NOT sparing on the helpings. From the minute the first carrot touched my lips, I was sunk! I devoured every bit of this meal! The Spicy Basil Tofu contained was in mildly spicy sauce, while the Jamaican Tofu kicked it up just a bit, both dishes containing vegetables. I think the dish I was most surprised by was Pra Ram. I asked about this dish since I’ve never seen it before. Its a noodle dish with vegetables in a peanut coconut sauce. I typically stay away from all things containing coconut milk, but this seemed like an exception. Oh! My! Goodness! This was the first thing I finished off my plate! This a recipe I must make when I get home!

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After my meal, I went up to the girl behind the counter and raved about the meal. We don’t have anything like this at home and the food was spectacular! I raved about it all day. “Do you like baklava?” was her reply. “Yes.” “Here you go… on the house!” The baklava was how it should be: not drenched in honey, just sticky and sweet enough to feel like a treat!

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???????!After changing for the opening ceremonies, a representative from every state, or nation, went on stage and waved their flag. I was honored to represent Delaware, the third one called. By the time all the others were called, my arms were wearing out from waving the flag. (No need to work on my upper body today, haha).  At the ceremonies, our region won the the Distinguished Regional Officer Team Hallmark, and Regional Milestone Award!

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“Thats okay. I make Lamb”

Today is Ash Wednesday. I like to go to Church as a family, so I waited until my dad got home from work to attend mass to receive Ashes. I love my Church. It does not matter what time of the year it is, it is always beautiful. And a few years ago, we got a new Priest and he was there for me throughout my recovery. The congregation is a great group, always looking out for one another. Did I mention I love my Church?

Breakfast was new to me: Chobani’s Passion Fruit low fat Greek yogurt with seed.

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I headed to campus to attend SIPN ( I forget what it stand for).

“What do you mean you don’t eat no meat? Thats okay. I make lamb.” ~My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Since we don’t eat meat on Ash Wednesday or on Fridays during lent, I was pretty excited to try out my new Amy’s Bowl. I had heard this bowl was pretty great and I love teriyaki, so I said bring it on! Amy’s Teriyaki Bowl contains brown rice, firm tofu, and carrots, water chestnuts, and broccoli. To spread this dish into two servings, I added Green Giant Teriyaki vegetables, along with the remaining broccoli slaw I had in the refrigerator.

It was super delicious and simple!

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Plus, I got dad to eat tofu!

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I’ve been studying all day with the exception of 2 hours (1 of exercising and 1 of Church). Despite all of my studying, I still don’t feel like I know it all. I think maybe a good sleep and a cramp in the AM is what I need.

I like to snack when I’m studying… I think its nervous energy. I popped a 100 calorie popcorn. I learned that I should not be aloud to pop popcorn because it was  completely burnt. I tried to salvage it by whipping up some Chocolate PB2.  It turned out half decent, but it just wasn’t enough to cover the burnt. So Beauty got the popcorn. After hitting the cupboard and doing some mindless snacking, I finally found the perfect snack.

crunchy Sunbutter and fat free pretzel sticks

crunchy Sunbutter and fat free pretzel sticks

Some dry Kashi Berry Blossom cereal.

Wish me luck.