The Simple Things Aren’t So Simple

The United States of America.

The Land of Endless Opportunity.

Education… Careers… A Home… Love…

“Ummm….What are things we take for granted?”

Whether an immigrant or a natural born citizen, growing up in the USA shapes a mind full of aspirations and the idea that anything is possible.

When I look around, I don’t see that anymore…

Every day this week, on the 12 Noon News, I have heard a headline covering a gun in a school, a college on lock down, a suspicious person being taken into custody from a high school… Its not about drive and opportunity, anymore. Now, you need to worry about safety, and if you will even make it to graduation day in one piece! I’m appalled!

I’ve written before about love, and what I look for in mate… so on and so forth… but it still seems that even the most basic of qualities is too hard much to ask.

I don’t ask for wealth, just employment.

I don’t ask for adoration, just love.

I don’t ask for age, experience, or monotony, but maturity and responsibility.

I don’t need the royal treatment, I’m not a princess.

I don’t need to be handled like a flower, I’m not that delicate.

I don’t ask for a caretaker, I can take care of myself.

Just the partner God made for me.

Love has changed. It has been confused with lust. It has been corrupted. It has been misunderstood as “What can you do for me?” Some people will “love you” (and I say that loosely), as much as they can use you. Once they stop benefiting from you, they move on. People will schmooze and woo you, just for a gain.

Every day this week, on the 12 Noon News, I have heard a headline covering a gun in a school, a college on lock down, a suspicious person being taken into custody from a high school… Its not about drive and opportunity, anymore. Now, you need to worry about safety, and if you will even make it to graduation day in one piece! I’m appalled!

Success is measured by the number of cars, homes, or pairs of shoes you own. Before that, success was working in a position you love.

Even the men and women who claim they want to make a difference in this country revert to mud slinging. They answer “What can you do for our country?” by telling us what they’re opponents will do wrong for this country. Do you think that responding to me like this makes me want to elect you? News flash…

Your job is acquired by who you know, rather than what you know.

What happened to drive? Hard work? I can’t imagine that social media and technology have brainwashed the society with instant gratification so much so that people just expect things to happen. That others should do the work, and you can just reap the benefits… Get a job, grow up, learn responsibility, discover independence (rolling a blunt all by yourself does NOT count), and learn what “accomplishment and pride feels like!

Keeping a roof over your head requires moving back in with your parents, because they, too, need help keeping a roof over their head.

Obtaining a degree is like entering a vicious circle. You want more money, so you want to go obtain a degree. But you can’t obtain that degree, because you don’t have the money to pay for schooling. So then you apply for financial aide or loan, while you work and go to school, spreading yourself thin between family, work, and school work, forgetting what a social life is, trying to provide shelter and security, potentially being indebted to the bank for your school loan, and most definitely pulling your hair out, crying alone in your room, putting on a strong a front so no one thinks your weak…

Feeling like your life, which you once saw as simple and manageable tasks, is spiraling…

All because you wanted to better your life and the life for your family.

What happened to us? What happened to US?

From Peds to Prisoners

And thus concludes my first two weeks of a working Registered Nurse!

My first day on the job was mostly paper work… My second day was much more exciting! My mornings flew by during med passes! Before I knew it, it was almost 1pm and my stomach was growling! I sat down and heated up some chili and was treated to some Hershey Kisses!

Before my shift ended, we received a call that two men would be brought to medical to be examined. I jumped right in and felt invigorated! I ended up completing assessments, wound care, and all the appropriate documentation! I loved it!

Although I found myself snacking much more than usual, I felt like I was still okay. Maybe its because my days were so long, maybe its because my cookies are sooooo yummy! I don’t know, but I definitely went through some cookies and celery… not together, ha!

So far I have worked day and evening shifts and will begin training on night shift in a little over a week. I really lucked out with the holiday schedule and was able to celebrate both Christmas Eve and Christmas day with my family!

I have found some major differences between working in a hospital and a prison. For instance, I used called my kiddos “hun.” I have to be really careful about that, now, but sometimes it still slips out. I have found that other workers do it, too, so I don’t feel too bad.

I have covered everything from med administration to diabetes checks to sick calls. I learned how to work an ECG machine, and I don’t think I have ever administered so much insulin in my life!

Each day is a learning experience. You would think that the hardest adjustment would be not having my cell phone with me, but one of the hardest adjustments I am having is not having a resident or doctor at my disposal. At the hospital, if I had a concern, I could just page the doc on that shift and they would come over. Now, I either have to refer them to the PA for the following business day, or call the on-call doc for verbal orders. I DO think it is pretty nifty that at this facility, it is in my scope of practice to order specific medication for a 5 day order! I feel bad sometimes, though, because I am limited to how much assistance I can provide them, since they ARE in lock up.

Another really difficult thing is to keep up a wall. People who enter the medical field, especially nurses, do it because they genuinely care, are compassionate, and want to help. Working in a prison, I can be courteous, but I need to keep up a wall to avoid developing a relationship in which I can be manipulated. Like a “friendly hard ass” demeanor, if you will. It is slightly worrisome because  I really DO NOT want to lose the part of me that I was able to display in pediatrics…

I still find it very difficult to not have my kids. I tear up about it every now and then, but I remember that this is only a temporary bypass until I get enough experience to venture back into pediatrics.

Lemon Cupcakes

Last night, my unit gathered, off the clock to say good-bye to Mike. He will be transitioning to another unit after the first of the year, so we gathered our rainy Saturday night at Timothy’s on the Riverfront.

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After arriving home, mom and I hit the cookies hard! I woke up feeling uneasy with guilt, but was determined to get back on track, and super thankful that my cookies don’t have as many calories as most home-baked cookies!

I rushed to Frank’s room with an idea to try to kick the scrooge out of my mom. “Let’s put up the tree!” For some reason, my parents were possessed and decided to buy a FAKE tree! Ba-Hum-bug! Thank goodness for my dad’s belief in REAL tress, which we get every year at his house. Frank and I rushed to the basement and quickly set up the tree. I bought some pine scented ornament thing to hang on the tree so it smells like Christmas.

Getting in a better mood and getting back on track, and loving to celebrate National Food Days, I made breakfast. Today is National Lemon Cupcake Day. Rather than making a shake, I opted for something a little more cupcake-esque. No, not a cupcake or a muffin, but pancakes!

Lemon Cupcake Protein Pancakes

serves 1WP_004930

  • 2 Tbsp cottage cheese
  • 1 Tbsp sugar free, fat free Lemon pudding mix
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 packet Splenda
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract

Blend it all in a food processor until smooth and scoop onto a sprayed griddle pan over medium heat. Cook and flip accordingly.

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They poofeed up sufficiently after I flipped them, before settling down. Still impressively floofy! Yes, floofy… its a word I use often. I topped mine with sugar free Blueberry preserves. MMM I love blueberry and lemon!

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Slacker Blogger

Brisk Awakenings

After dinner, Tuesday night, I was a bit manic. I decided the best thing to do would be to go to bed. Thank goodness I did because at 1220am I got a phone call from work.

“Hey, are you okay?”

Yeah. Is everything alright?

“You were on the schedule for 11p-7a and its not likeyou to not show. We were getting worried about you.”

I didn’t have that in my schedule and I felt terrible! I made to work in under 40 minutes! I have NEVER done that before and felt just awful about leaving my team hanging!

WP_004579While I made a mug of coffee, I began stressing about food.Oh man, I already ate, but I can’t go through my shift without eating… Dad suggested a salad! Genius! I quickly tossed carrots, spinach and a cherry pepper in a container and ran off to work.

If the coffee didn’t wake me up the bitter cold of midnight did! Brrr, baby!

At 3am, we sat down to eat, and I added mushrooms, onions, and beets from the caf to round out my salad. I got to try out my new salad dressing, too! Walden Farms put out a few new dressings and the idea if a Balsamic Pear sounded spectacular! It really was good! It was probably the sweetest salad dressing I’ve ever had, so I did not need a lot of it!

I’ve worked three night shift this week. Some other featured meals of the week were Three-Shroom soup, which I made after work one morning, protein hot chocolate, and To-Go Tuna.

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On a side note, I’ve never had this tuna before, and, frankly, I was a bit skeptical. Pre-packaged tuna salad?? I couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed the 90 calorie pack! I mixed it with BBQ sauce and honey mustard, and served it over some veggies from the caf.

WP_004590After my final 12 hour shift of the week, I finally figured it out! I need to keep a 100 calorie pack with me for that 5am hungry strike! I couldn’t shake how hungry I was, no matter how much water I drank. Luckily, Brittany came to the rescue with Special K. Note to self: get 100 calorie pack for work!

Slacker

WP_004591I hate when I don’t blog! The last few days have been filled with food paranoia! In fact, when I woke up from a nap, after work this morning, I grabbed pretzel sticks and peanut butter, and started feeling the heavy chest. Despite being so tired, I couldn’t be home. I was thankful my iPod was in the car. Since it was Friday, and my Friday Tradition of Banana’s Foster coffee has been setting me for a good weekend, I took a round about way with some Refrain Running to Fresh Thymes to complete a total of 2.5 miles! I sat at Fresh Thymes chatting with the girls, sipping my coffee, reading some local mags, and jotting down things on a napkin to shut my busy brain up.

I have also found myself rediscovering my love of PB&J! Weather on crackers, toast, applesauce, rice cake… heck I dipped a grape in my Better n Butter! If thats not the epitome and PB&J!

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To make up for my blogging laziness, heres a new soup recipe to keep you toasty this winter! I based most of this off a South Beach Recipe.

Three-Shroom Soup

makes 4 cups

  • 1/4 ounce mushrooms, porcini, dried (about 1/3 cup)WP_004597
  • 3 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 8 ounces baby portabello mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 20 ounces cauliflower, florets, frozen or fresh and steamed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppercorns, black, freshly ground
  • 4 tablespoon non fat sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  •  1/8 to 1/4 tsp thyme, to taste
  • 1 4oz can of mushroom stems and pieces
  • 1 tsp parsley

In a small saucepan, bring the porcini mushrooms and 1/2 cup of the broth to a simmer over high heat. Remove from the heat and set aside. Spray a medium nonstick saucepan with non stick cooking spray, add the baby bellas, onion, and garlic, and cover over low heat. Cook/steam the vegetables, stirring often, until softened. Meanwhile, place the frozen cauliflower in a strainer and allow it to thaw, OR if using fresh, mildly steam in the microwave and drain excess water.

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Add the remaining 3 cups broth to the soup. Drain the porcini in a strainer held over the saucepan so the soaking liquid is added to the soup. Add the cauliflower, salt, pepper, and thyme, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 minute to heat the cauliflower through.

Meanwhile, cut the porcini into slivers, and then roughly chop. Transfer the hot soup in batches to a blender or food processor, and purée until smooth. After the first blending, add the sour cream, nutmeg and chopped porcini mushroom to the processor. While the soup is blending, drain the can of mushroom pieces and roughly chop. Return the incredibly pulverized and smooth soup back to the pot, over medium-low heat, and add the drained, chopped mushrooms and parsley.

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Heat the soup through and serve. Dad simply added salt and pepper, to taste, and asked for more, while Barry paired his bowl with a few shots of hot sauce and a grilled ham and cheese.

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.

God’s Doors

“When one door closes, another one opens.”

Right? Right? I keep saying this to myself, but all I hear is crickets. My sleep was cut short on Tuesday by a phone call from my manager. Yes, the call I’ve been waiting for! I answered the phone with a smile on my face, only to end the conversation by choking back tears. Not tears of joy. Tears of dissapointment, hurt, defeat, confusion, sinicism, anger,and utter shock.

I didn’t get the job. The unit I have worked on for over 2 years has denied me the position as a Registered Nurse. After my inital cry and mildly-sorrow-numbing Babyruth, I called my parents, only to break out into tears, again.

What was I to do? Grant it, interviewing for this position did not stop me from applying elswhere, but after my interview, last week, I knew this position was mine! How could I have misjudged this?

I called my manger back after the inital conversation and requested advice for things I should improve on for my next interview. My request was followed by a snow cloud of, excuse me, bullshit. The further my manger went into an explaination, the more I and Frank, were convinced this was NOT his real reasons for denying me.

Unfortunatley, eating disorders are very real problems that can affect anyone. This time, last year, my job was being threatened by mine. In fact, my manger has asked me to resign, to which I refused. This current conversation with my manger had me fully convinced that the eating disorder played a key role in his decison.

I was happy for Heather, who got one of the positions. I knew she was a shoein! My happiness for her, did not outweigh my own disappointment, however. I spent the entire day on an emotion rollercoaster, reviewing the time since I came back from my FMLA… my interview, my work performance,  the interactions I’ve had between my team members, patients, and families… everything. No one… not me, my parents, my co-workers.. no one could figure out why they had made this decision.

To further feel beat down, I recieved an email congratulating the two candidates that had been offered the positions. As if the email didn’t rub it in enough, I was even more devestated when I read the other girl was actually a classmate of mine, who I had just graduated with.

How? How? How could this have happened?

It took everything in me to go to work that night. Not only was I physically tired from the lack of sleep, I was mentally drained and put down.  I almost called out. How was I supposed to face these people that just rejected me? I knew calling out would be unproffessional and immature, but as I began my walk from the parking garage to the hospital, I stopped dead in my tracks. I felt like the kid that peed her pants and no is reurning back to school for all the kids to laugh at her.

I had to call my dad, who gave me a pep talk as I made my way to my unit. Is it my unit, still? Is it a unit, now? What am I doing here? I tried my best to put on my big girl pants as I entered the closed unit. I was greeted with hugs, “awwws,” kind words, and “I’m sorry Sammy”s, as though someone had died.

I think in a way, I did. My spirit died. A piece of me had gone missing. I’m empty. Where do I belong, now, if not on this unit?

The team was wonderful, as they all lent me sympathy, and validated my feelings. What will I do without this team? This is my family.

I keep telling myself that I need to let God do His thing. He has a plan for me, and although the journey has been bumpy, and the road is looking pretty bleak, He has an ultimate plan for me. And where that takes me, I’ll find true pleasure and happiness.

No matter how many times I remind myself of this, the pain is still there. The dissapointment, and ever dwindling selft worth continues to daunt my thoughts.

Something will happen. Things will turn around. I wouldn’t have been through all that I”ve been through, to end here.

When God closes one door, He opens another.

Patient Birthdays

Saturday

Today, a very dear patient of mine celebrated their birthday with us at the hospital. Unfortunately, I have celebrated many patient birthdays in the hospital. At least, they are surrounded by people who love them!

This evening, my patient had loads of cupcakes that their family had brought in. I couldn’t leave the room without grabbing one. I decided to ask Amy if she would split them with me.

This is always a trouble, when patients and families give you food. You hate to say, “no,” so you take it. Even when you do say, “no,” they continue to insist, and you take it anyway. My eating had been great all day so I felt little,but some, guilt about splitting cupcakes with my one of my girlfriends for a patient who means so much to me.

It was a nice sweet treat that worried me about spiraling into a cupcake frenzy. Both were vanilla cupcakes, one from a bakery around their home, with cream cheese frosting, and the other, a homemade one with cookies n’ cream icing. With my love of oreos, I snagged the cookies n’ cream cupcake and called dibs on the mini oreo topping it! Yum!

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Backing up bit, breakfast was a smoothie bowl. Today is National Strawberry Cream. I feel like its kind of an incompletely titled holiday but nonetheless:

Strawberry Cream Protein Smoothie

  • 1 strawberry yogurt
  • 1/2 to 1 scoop vanilla protein
  • frozen strawberries
  • guar and xnathum
  • water
  • ice

I topped mine with Special K Protein cereal for crunch, at first. But then, I realized that freeze-dried strawberries were an awesome topping, too!

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Dinner was a bowl of soup, topped with salsa, and a side of celery sticks for snacking. The meal was paired with half an oreo cupcake!

I’m usually not a fan of clerking, but tonight was great because we had tons of discharges and I kept busy for majority of the night!

Sunday

With another shift of work ahead of me, I enjoyed  a yummy coffee protein bowl in honor of National Coffee Day! I actually was a coffee fiend, ironically, all day!

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The shake was a blend of Cafe Latte mix, spinach, fresh raspberries, CPB2, and SF raspberry and Kahlua syrups. To top it off, I crumbled a quarter of a Gnu Espresso Chip bar (I’m so bummed this flavor is discontinued). I love having that ability to chew, not just drink my shakes. Plus, it makes the shake so much more filling and is also a combo of chocolate and coffee.

I grabbed a cup of coffee before work, and headed off to my unit. It was another great night on the unit. It was another night of filling (Not So) soup and celery sticks. With this experimentality of mine, I tried adding a little honey mustard and BBQ sauce from the caf. It actually gave the soup a really nice flavor- almost a southwestern inspiration.

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Right before dinner, I was surprised how bad I wanted another cup of coffee. Its amazing how tastes change as you age. I was never a coffee drinker until high school- hot tea was always my thing. The only time I would drink coffee was to feel like my dad. Now, I actually am a coffee addict!

I can still remember my parents ordering a cheesesteak with friend onions, and sitting there trying to pick out all the little slivers with my fingers. Or picking off the onions and peppers off a sausage sandwich. Or Thursday Wing nights, when dad would bring home hot wings, I would wash off the sauce before eating them. Now, it seems like every day is started with a cup of the good stuff, almost every meal had peppers or onions, and hot sauce is always my go-to condiment!

They say our bodies change about every 7 years… maybe thats the reason our taste buds change, too!

WP_004058Speaking of changing tastes, I never thought I’d enjoy Cajun Trail Mix. I mean. everyone loves trail mix, but Deb, one of our nurses, brought this bag of trail mix in. I was getting hungry and gave it a try. Those butter roasted peanuts make it! That salty, sweet and crunchy combination of all the ingredients makes this stuff hard to resist!

Getting home, and having worked on the floor for my shift, I was surprised by how hungry I was. I actually would up eating a whole head of romaine lettuce! (I’m like a rabbit.) Some fabulous Rainbow Goldfish joined the party, too.

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I can feel the wave of exhaustion rushing over me and I am hoping to have a relatively early start tomorrow. With that, I say goodnight!

Night After Night Shifts

Tuesday

I tried to begin today early. Frank and I began chit chatting and spent the morning together. We both had some delicious coffee, but the entire morning was spend in the kitchen! It was very productive and although the recipe I was working on took about a total of three hours, from start to finish, the final result was well worth it. I cannot wait to share it with you, next week. I am also incredibly excited about a Be Well Bundo first! We, Frank and I, filmed the first video tutorial for the website! It turned out great and that, also, will be posted next week!

WP_004025My appetite will minimal today, as was Franks. Neither one of us ate anything until dinner time. I laid down around 2 pm in an attempt to catch some ZZZss before my shift at 11 pm. Unfortunately, two hours of sleep was all that I obtained. My dad started getting on my case about my calories and I hate it! I’ve been trying to listen to my body and eat when I was hungry. I decided to eat a Raspberry Greek Dannon Light & Fit and topped it with Fiber One 80 Chocolate cereal and chia seeds. This wasn’t good enough for dad. I tried to explain to him that I had my entire shift ahead of me to eat! I am already hard on myself about calories, so when others get on my case , I  get even more paranoid.

Before heading to work, I had some roasted red peppers, garlic, and cucmbers on a rice cake. One thing that put me in a good mood was the delicious coffee I brewed before leaving for work. It was a Vanilla Caramel Creme K cup, with SF french vanilla creamer and a splash of SF caramel syrup! Wow! Delicious!

Wednesday

WP_004026My shift went great! I kept busy and got to care for some great little kiddos. I also got to care for one of the most beautiful babies I’ve ever seen! And so well behaved! Dinner was half a Smart One Tuna Noodle Gratin. Honestly, even if I had eaten the whole thing, it would be pretty tasty for 220 calories. Rather I split it up and added a little broccoli. Once at work, I topped it with salsa since it was a little dried out by the time I reheated it, and paired it with celery sticks.

My food paranoia has definitely carried over into today. When I arrived home from work, this morning, I was starving. After all, the last time I ate was 230am, and it was, now, 730. I whipped up an egg, and put it on a slice of wheat toast, spread with my copy-cat Panera cream cheese. Its was tasty and I scarfed it! I was starving!

WP_004027With Frank being awake, we ran a few errands to pick up necessities for my little brother. When we arrived back home about three hours later and I needed to sleep! My manager asked it I could work a 12, tonight, since we had a patient that required a 1:1. I was hungry. At least I thought I was. I need to be okay with eating. I took out the turkey salad I made the other day and combined it with salsa. I placed it on a rice cake and had a side of cucumbers. It was delicious! But as soon as I finished, I went to sick girl mode. Oh my gosh! 200 calories! Really, Sammy? 200 is perfect for a small meal. Its lean meat, with light mayo, on an unsalted rice cake! How much healthier can you get?

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I laid down, took deep breaths and prayed. Sometimes, that all I can do. Thanks to the turkey, my stress, and my previous night shift, I actually slept! Thank, God! I slept for a solid 5 hours, or so! I woke up, knowing that if I didn’t get something in my system to hold me over until 230 break, I’d be tempted to snack all night! I made a mini shake. I wanted to use up my blueberries left over from Sunday’s pancakes, and wanted a flavor to refresh me and put me in a good mood. Just filling enough to do the trick.

Blueberry LemonWP_004030

  • 1 scoop vanilla protein
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 Tbsp sugar free fat free Lemon pudding mix
  • 1/2 Tbsp SF blueberry flavoring syrup (for an extra pop)
  • 1/2 tsp ground flax
  • water
  • ice
  • 1/4 tsp xanthum

Just double the recipe for a full size. Double-fisting, I brewed some Kahlua flavored coffee. I’m glad I had my shake on the way to work because I was greeted with a box of Philly Pretzel Factory pretzels and the content feeling of satiety made it easier to resist the temptation of the doughy, salty carb.

Thursday

Last night, I ate the other half of my Smart Ones. Rather than topping it with salsa, I drizzled a little Walden Farms Creamy Bacon Ranch dressing on it. Hey, bacon… tuna… sounded good to me! Celery sticks accompanied the meal. I find it is so much easier to just bring the same thing two nights in a row. It saves time and I don’t have to think about food and calories. The Waldens didn’t quite give it enough pizzazz, so I added a bit of spicy brown mustard from the Philly Pretzel Factory to the mix.

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The refrigerator was rocking cold and my food got pushed all the way to the back. My food had gotten iced over. While I ate my warm tuna, I attempted to de-ice my celery sticks. It was rather interesting… frozen celery… I wouldn’t recommend it.

Typically, an Aide doesn’t sit in a 1:1 for 12 hours. It almost never happens. Well, last night was a first. I spent most of the night chatting with my patient, who likes to stay up late, and watching movies with them. By 4am, my tailbone was killing me. Since my patient was asleep, I brain stormed some recipes for my birthday. I think I just about have them down. As 7am rolled around, I was stoked to be able walk around. I mean, I walked around my patient’s room and stretched a bit but its not the same as actually being on the floor. If it weren’t for being so tired, I almost didn’t want to sit in my car to drive home.

You know its been a long night when you try to unlock your car door with the locker key attached to your ID badge, thats clipped to your hip. Its not even in the general area as my car keys… you know, those things in my other hand!

Oh, by the way, today is National Pancake Day! Do you know what that means? That means a new recipe for you all to try! I’ll be posting it soonly!