(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!

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

Happy 4th!

Happy 4th of July, everyone!

I spent the majority of my day at work. Unfortunately, no matter the holiday, there are always sick little ones. My morning began with a mug of Chocolate Cherry coffee that I got while at the Denver airport back in April. Sometimes coffee really just hits the spot. 

After completing my first set of rounds and bathing a few babies, I sat down to one of my favorites: nonfat coffee yogurt. I wanted something to crunch this morning, so rather than eating graham crackers, like usual, I sliced up an apple and dipped it into my yogurt. A surprisingly excellent combo!

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I attempted to keep busy the remainder of my shift, and while most of the girls ordered hoagies for lunch, I enjoyed a bowl of watermelon to hold me over until the end of my shift. 

I decided I wanted to grill some steaks for the holiday and enjoyed a very appropriate holiday meal with my guys (dad, Frank, and Barry): steaks, corn on the cob, macaroni salad, salsa,pretzels, and chips, and watermelon. YUM!

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To complete the meal with a red, white, and blue theme I mashed 1/2 cup blueberries in 1/2 cup fat free cool whip and dolloped it into four dessert shells. I topped each one with sliced strawberries.

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One of my favorite things to do on the fourth isn’t what you’d think. I’ve mentioned my dorky obsession with the Twilight Zone before, and every year on July 4th and New Years, ScyFy channel plays a marathon! I’m officially glued to my TV those days! 

After Barry left for work, I watch some Zone until 830pm. I headed over to Barry’s work, where he gave me a tour of the site.

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We eventually found our way to the roof of one of the buildings, where we stood and watched the fireworks. It was quite neat, actually. You could see multiple firework shows in various parts of the county all from this one roof!

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What are your favorite Twilight Zone episodes? 

I love “To Serve Man,” and “Night of the Meek.” I  really could make a whole list of my favorites!

What are your Fourth of July memories and traditions?

I can remember when I was younger, my mom and dad used to pack up a picnic basket with snacks. We would go to the soccer field a few blocks away, lay out the big red blanket, and eat hot dogs. 

Thanks to all the vets and active military! Its because of you that we are able to live safely and comfortable everyday!

Lunch with My Guys

The nice thing about watermelon is… well…. everything! I made sure to buy plenty of watermelon for my graduation party. Three, in fact!

Since I had so much left over….

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I tossed it into some shakes this morning. I have made shakes with watermelon before. One of my favorites to make with this fruit it with cantaloupe! Any who….WP_002853

2 scoops vanilla protein powder

1 cup or more of frozen and fresh watermelon

1/2 cup milk

water

ice

Simple enough to make a refreshing, summery, thirst quenching shake! I whipped Frank and I up, each, a shke, and then called my dad to make him one on his way to work.

Its amazing that there is still so much house work to do, but after three days of kicking butt for this party, I’m still exhausted! I managed to be semi-productive for the remainder of the morning. ( I am working on a new recipe for you!)

Frank offered to treated for lunch, and I’m not one to turn down sushi! We headed to the Hibachi lunch buffet, where we met up with dad and Barry. I stared to feel a little bad for Barry… being cornered by both my dads…

I immediately hit the sushi bar! This was the first buffet I have been to in over a year. I remembered Skinnygirl’s mantra; “Taste everything, eat nothing.”

I grabbed a few pieces of my favorite rolls and then added veggies like green beans, broccoli, bok choy, mushrooms and eggplant. Only some shrimp made it on my plate.

Plate 1- A few bits of my favorites!

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Round 2- a little more protein- I dissected the sushi and just ate the fish and cucumber. (That weird thing that looks like a slug is eggplant, by the way.)

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Final stop- more veggies! I can’t feel guilty about veggies!

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After lunch, Barry came back to the house to kill some time before work, which is actually around the corner. After he left, I was still full but began some body hating. I refused to let this take me over, and headed off to Zumba! It was a sweaty class and I loved it! And I came home feeling great!

As well left the buffet, I had to take this picture. It gave me quite the chuckle.

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