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.

Be Sure To Drink Your Ovaltine

Today is National Dessert Day. It is also National Chocolate Covered Insect Day. I think I’ll refrain from the latter and begin my day with a classic dessert-inspired shake bowl:

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  • 1 scoop Chocolate protein
  • 3 Tbsp Chocolate Malt
  • 1 Tbsp SF Creme de Menthe
  • water
  • ice
  • xanthum and guar (optional)

I topped this with one of my favorite shake bowl toppings: Gnu Espresso Chip bar!

Since Ovaltine was a feature in breakfast, I just couldn’t help myself:

 

I kept thinking about what the heck chocolate covered insects would taste like. I remember my mom said that when she was a kid she accidentally tried chocolate covered ants. And they were good, apparently!!! Light bulb! I remembered theres a dessert called Grasshopper Pie, though I’ve never actually had it.

Grasshopper Shake:

  • 1 scoop Chocolate protein
  • 1 Tbsp SF Creme de Menthe
  • 1 Tbsp SF fat free White Chocolate pudding mix
  • spinach
  • water
  • ice
  • guar and xanthum (optional)

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I topped this bowl with Kashi cereal and my latest addiction, Goldfish. My friend told me about French Toast Gold fish Grahams. I would have loved to top this bowl with one of the chocolate varieties. So, some SF chocolate syrup sufficed.

With the mass quantity of ice in my body, I spent the rest of the day curled under a blanket until Zumba! Zumba, Zumba, Zumba! Since my mom keeps backing out of going with me, Barry was kind enough to offer to go with me the next time I went. I was so surprised when he actually came! Like, I thought he was just saying it to be nice.

He was a trooper. By the end of the class he was tired, hungry, and sweaty. “Every muscle in my legs hurt, but they’ve never felt better.” To me, thats a compliment!

With all this talk of Zumba, I found this article both interesting and helpful: Best Shoes for Your Workout.

Following class, we headed to Wawa. We were both hungry but not. The shopping center around the Wawa also contains a Buffalo Wild Wings, Barry’s favorite restaurant, not mine. But the longer we were in the parking lot, the more we could smell food, and the more we wanted something. Barry grabbed a meal from Wawa… I may have stole his apples. Upon arriving home, Barry introduced me to Buffalo Cheddar Popcorn. Usually, buffalo flavored foods are over powering, taste gross, or don’t taste anything like buffalo, like Buffalo Wing Pretzel Crisps… disappointment. But this popcorn was soooo good! It had the perfect amount of kick. I had to grab a drink after a handful but I wanted more! Good find, Barry!

Family Dinner

For my birthday, I wanted a family dinner full of laughs and enjoyment. I didnt get that but I did tonight! Barry’s mom asked if her and his dad could take up out to dinner to celebrate my graduation from nursing school. With my binge the other night, I almost didn’t want to go. Sammy, you are a human! You need to be able eat out with family like a normal person! I graciously acceptabed the invitation, and was even more excited to find out that Barry’s sister and husband were joining us, too, to celebrate her news of her first preganancy!

My morning began with a mild dispute between mom and me as she backed out of Zumba class. Again! I used that frustration in class and shook my booty. I thought this class would be a bit easier since it was half cardio and half toning. I was wrong! Wow! After class, my tush was sore! Sitting down was a task, but I felt great after class, covered in sweat!

I immediately downed a bottle of water to hold me over until I got home. Since I just got a new shipment of Herbalife in, I couldn’t wait to break into the Dutch Chocolate shake mix! I made a sort of PB&J-esque bowl:

  • WP_0041271 scoop chocolate protein
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 Tbsp Chocolate PB2
  • 2 Tbsp SF blueberry syrup
  • xanthum, guar, and handful of spinach (optional)
  • water
  • ice

I topped the bowl with freeze-dried blueberries and some Kashi Go-Lean cereal. Awesome and filling!

Mom and I apologized for our harsh words from the morning and spent the afternoon together. After my shower, I headed to Barry’s to help put a desk together that my dad sold him! Its seriously nice! They are having a huge sale right now! Check them out and ask for Tom Bundo. Before (a hot mess)  and After (a big boy desk):

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My dad has ton of hook ups on computer chairs, which will be the next thing replaced! 25 bucks for a plush computer chair with lumbar support? Sign me up!

We then met his family at the  local Applebees. We ordered two trays of the Ultimate Trios for apps as we waited for our meals. I ordered the Grilled Jalapeno-Lime Shrimp and substituted a side of broccoli for the rice. Everything was yummy, as always, and since Barry’s parents don’t used the lettuce, tomato, and onions on their burgers, I snatched them up and made shrimp lettuce wraps. I asked the waitress to amp up the heat on the seasoning. I don’t know why they market it as spicy…

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I spent the next few hours with Barry before heading home. My eating was fantastic and I sat in bed and enjoyed the utter guiltless-ness of Arctic Zero!

Welcoming Fall

Last night, I noticed something. Most of my calories are eaten after 5pm, but I can’t quite figure out why. Am I hungry? Am I anxious or nervous? Am I bored? I’m not quite sure. For instance, despite my delicious veggies, and a bowl of grapes, I found myself snacking on goldfish. Not that I ate anything terrible for me, but just the point. Why do I eat more at night?

Speaking of snacking… I have got to tell you about this new cereal I bought yesterday. It was super on sale and it took serious self control to not just sit on the couch with my hand in the box. Apparently, Raisin Bran has two new styles out: Omega 3 with Flaxseed, and Cinnamon Almond. The serving size was bigger in the Cinnamon Almond and I, technically, bought it for dad. Well, it didn’t make to dad’s house, yet. Heck, its lucky it made it home from the store. It was like Special K Vanilla Almond and Raisin Bran Crunch combined into a magical cereal!

I ended my night and began my morning trying to decide between a bowl of the new cereal or a shake for breakfast. I opted for the shake to ring in the first day of Fall.

WP_004011Before my shake, I threw a turnkey into the oven. After last weeks turkey sandwich-made-salad, and dad relentless requests, I threw a whole turkey into the oven. My secrets to a juicy, tender, and evenly cooked turkey? Use a turkey bag and bake the turkey up-side-down (as in breast facing the bottom of the pan). Another turkey trick is to always keep empty jars on hand. Don’t throw out those old salsa jars. Keep them for easy disposal of grease. It never ceases to amaze me how much fat comes off a turkey, even when I remove excess fat before baking!

Breakfast was a pumpkin pie shake! It was so yummy, and, surprisingly, the banana makes it. I made one for Frank and my dad! Thanks for the recipe, Julie. I followed it up with a Caramel Vanilla Cream K cup, spiked with SF white chocolate syrup.

WP_004003After breakfast and some bill paying, I welcomed the new season once more with a zip up and my  boots! Boot season is among us, people! I’m not a particular fan of cold weather, but I love boots! Frank and I headed out for a few errands, and I got two more things to welcome the sudden change of temperature: 2 new sport bras and a pair of fitted long workout pants!WP_004013

Arriving home was splendid! The smell of the roasting turkey hit us like a wall as we opened the door. Frank and I made ourselves some lunch and basked in the turkey aroma! I made a bowl of broccoli soup, topped with goldfish, and Frank heated up a Healthy Choice frozen meal.

WP_004007To kill some time, I prepared the ingredients for my dinner and future lunches. Cranberry sauce is not that popular of an item in this house, so when I do open a can, I freeze whats left, by the tablespoon. I took out 2 Tbsp of the jellied cranberry sauce out of the freezer and, when defrosted, mixed it with 1 Tbsp light mayo. As the flavors blended, I chopped up celery and scallions, and mixed it with mayo, black pepper, and a bit of garlic powder. All that was left was for the turkey to finish!

It finished just in time for dad to come over! Baked to perfection! The best part about being the one who cleans the turkey, is being the taste tester! After I cleaned and divided the turkey, I put some aside for dad, some aside for chili, and some in the celery, scallion, and mayo mix from earlier. Following dad’s departure, I chopped a bunch of iceberg lettuce, tore up turkey, and tore apart 1/2 slice of wheat bread. I drizzled half of my cranberry/mayo mix over top and dug in! Oh my gosh it was just like a Bobbie!

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Something came over me. I went into a frenzy! I ate a cucumber and grapes to chill out. I just had to get out of the house, before I ate any more. I had called dad to see how he was feeling (his knee had been bothering him), and told him about my salad. He exclaimed how awesome it sounded and I offered to come over and make one for him. I think he liked that idea.

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WP_004012I was beginning to feel to turkey’s tryptophan kicking in and debated not going to Zumba. After feeling so manic, I needed to go! I arrived at Zumba decked out in my new gear, ready to go. Wouldn’t you know the sound system was acting up! Come one, universe, really?! After talking, standing around, goofing off, and making phone calls, we were finally patched, and Alex, the instructor, lead half a class and gave us all a free class. Yay! I came home, feeling a bit better, and went to town on some cucumber and salsa to get my crunch and nervous energy out of my system.

After a shower, a few phone calls, and the season premier of “How I Met Your Mother,” I am ready for some chill time.

We All Scream!

Today, I had a plan.

I’ve actually been looking forward to this plan for a few days now.

Yesterday, was National Ice Cream Day, at least that’s what I have written down in my planner. Any way, since I was working and could not properly celebrate, I decided a few days ago that I would celebrate on Monday with the good stuff… the fresh stuff… the homemade stuff… the Woodside Farm Creamery stuff!

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The forecast called for a gloomy day, but I didn’t care. As long as I had a hot coffee and some delicious ridiculously amazing ice cream, I was a happy camper.

Barry and I stayed in until about 1130am, when we headed out to Brew Ha Ha! I wanted him to try my favorite drink, so I preceded to order him “a tall and skinny brew ha ha latte” and “a short sugar free white chocolate latte” for myself. We spent the next hour walking up and down Main Street, Newark, moseying in and out stores.

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We met dad at Woodside around 130pm. I spent the first few minutes sampling flavors. They have so many flavors its hard to choose! They have a bunch of flavors that are always there, then they have flip flop flavors which pop up throughout the season, and lastly, they have the one and done flavors! These are killer! These flavors are once a summer and you never know when or what it will be.

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Last night, I kept staring at their menu trying to decide which ones to sample and which to get, and which ones I was going to try to coerce Barry into getting so I could try, and which toppings. Oh, and do I want a cone or a cup, or a cone cup?

I love this place! I make it a point to go at least once  a summer! Even last year, during the height of my eating disorder, I made sure to go. I took like 3 bites, but I still made the effort to go! Its sad, but I wish I could eat here everyday! My dad made a point to acknowledge that I finished first. He attributes it to me not having it very often, but I’d like to think its because I had less than them… the latter probably isn’t true, but it makes me feel better.

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Barry got a scoop of Black Raspberry and a scoop of Dirt (chocolate with crushed oreos and gummy worms) in a cone bowl. After sampling about 5 flavors, I decided on half a scoop of the NSA Black Raspberry and the Peanut Butter & Jelly, with my favorite ice cream topping of wet walnuts and a coffee! What a yummy combination! Dad got the One- And-Done flavor of Jamaican Me Crazy (coconut ice cream with swirls of caramel and loaded with chocolate chips). I suggested dad get a pretzel cone to go with a salted caramel take on the treat. We all thoroughly enjoyed our time at the farm and we sat outside, despite the clouds, at one of the many picnic tables. I kept staring at the cows thinking, wow, you make good ice cream!

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After departing and a quick trip to the grocery store, I headed home. By this time, it was dinner time and Frank and I split a can of Reduced Sodium Chicken Gumbo. It was pretty fantastic! Way to go, Progresso! It was probably one of the best Progresso soups I’ve had. While eating this delicious cup of soup, Barry called me. Hes been my hawk eye online checking to see any news from my NCLEX exam.

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I guess the status changed because he called to tell me the news and I actually hung up on him from screaming and jumping up and down! With all these endorphines flowing, I got my butt to Zumba! The class went by incredibly fast! After class, some girls approached me and recommended I take the instructor course! What a compliment! Especially from strangers. I guess I’m doing something right.

Mom’s letting a very old family friend stay with us for a few days who has been having some personal issues. I came home to a my mom and her walking in the house with plastic bags and a box, yes, a box, of food! They had returned WP_003585 (1)home with chicken parm, pasta, meatballs, sausage, antipasto, brownies, and kind sized candy bars! Are you kidding me??

I downed 2 bottles of water in an effort to remind my body I was not hungry. I picked at the cherry tomatoes and romaine from the side salad, but I found myself sinking back into the old Chew and Spit routine of biting a piece of chocolate and then spitting it out, just to feel like I had it. I gathered myself and thought of the best thing for a non-hungry, eating disorder recoverer to have. I took my own cue from a few nights ago and popped a 100 calorie bag of popcorn and topped it with a Splenda packet and cinnamon.

I headed to bed  frustrated that I ate more that I wanted to, today, but proud that I chose a smart snack. All I can say is TGFZ!

Thank God for Zumba!

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

Out of Bed, Sleepy Head

I’ve got anxiety, yes I do! I’ve got nerves, how bout you?

Have you ever met someone who has the ability to walk into a room and change the entire mood? I compare it to ancient Native American … they would not look into mirrors or take pictures at the risk of having their soul taken from them. Its kind of like that… This person walks into the room and I feel like my soul gets sucked out of me. I know that this feeling is something I allow to happen and that I allow this person to affect me this way.

With a heavy chest, I grabbed a sugar free chocolate pudding and topped it with multigrain Cheerios and pralines and headed to my room to write and to separate myself for the trigger to my anxiety. I did feel a little silly eating this, since I just had a bowl of Arctic Zero before Barry left, but it was satisfying and a call with my grandmother finished up my night with a smile.

WP_003339I needed caffeine, protein, and stay power when I woke, this morning. After struggling at 11am to even roll out of bed, I gave a chance to a unique sounding yogurt: Alpina Revive Honey nonfat Greek Yogurt with Chai Spiced granola, and crawled back into bed with it and a mug of eggnog coffee. I’m usually not a fan of honey yogurt but this was very good, not sweet but not tart. I think the best part of the granola was the pistachio and hemp pieces and the combination of spices. Every now and then, I’d bite into a piece of crystallized ginger, which would take me by surprise. I probably could have done without that, or at least maybe smaller piece, but overall, I was pleased.

It took a lot to get me out of bed, finally. I curled into a ball under the covers on the couch. Hugging my knees to my chest for hours with absolutely  no drive to do anything. I did not have an appetite, in fact, I actually felt sick to my stomach (not from the yogurt).

After conversing with my girlfriend Maggie, I broke our plans to go to Zumba (which probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do). I need Zumba! With these late, restless nights, late night mangia, NCLEX paranoia, and just overall drama at home, I was in desperate need of some nervous energy-burning cardio. She knew something was up and came to visit me after she got off work. I broke into the last bottle of wine from trip to San Jose…

After watching a cooking show with some spectacular grilled cheeses, I really got in the mood for one! But after being in a ball for a few hours, and after a glass of wine, my nervous belly ache went away and hunger kicked in! Dinner was half a roast beef, swizz, and tomato grilled cheese with spicy brown horseradish mustard on Multigrain Fiber One bread. I’ve been thinking about KFC slaw for days, now, and with wine brain, Frank and I hopped in the car to get him a pot pie, my little brother some fried chicken, and me, cole slaw! I may still have been intoxicated in the car when I flipped myself over and asked Frank if this was illegal.

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Mom arrived home and I told her how the tension was affecting me. Things got pushed aside as we watched Chopped and enjoyed a bowl of Arctic Zero topped with Kashi and jimmies. That just wasn’t good enough. Continuing with drunken hunger and energy, I grabbed a sweet, nutty, crunchy fix: Lil Drums Vanilla with Caramel Sauce, topped with peanuts. I love these things!!!

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The night continued with well mannered conversation and shared favorites with salsa: Extra Dark Sourdough pretzels (why must they be so good?), sliced bell peppers, and deseeded cucumbers.

Back on Track

My last post was a bit all over the place. It was very manic-depressive. I’m sorry about that… like I said, “PMS… What a bitch!” Darn mood swings…

Set backs happen. How will I deal with it?

Listening to my body cues

“Theres scrapple in the fridge,” dad said to me as he left for work. I spent the night at dad house, last night, to complete our awesome DDDD (Daddy-Daughter Date Day). I wasn’t sure if I was hungry this morning, so I made a big cup of coffee to see if I was actually hungry or just thirsty. My large mug did a great job of curbing my appetite! I enjoyed the french vanilla coffee, while catching up on Spice Goddess. I love that show! Bal is really pleasant and bubbly and passionate about her native spices and traditions! Plus, I’ve really been interested in Indian cooking techniques, foods, and spices, and found a few things she made that I can’t wait to try my hands at!

Resuming my normal meals

Following the show and ignoring my inner scrapple-lover, I headed back to my mom’s house, where I enjoyed a refreshing Banana Cream Dannon Light & Fit Greek yogurt Blend, sprinkled with 1/2 tsp Chocolate PB2, and about 6 broken fat free pretzel sticks. I enjoyed the sweet and salty crunch that my PMS craves, and loved that it was filling and healthy.

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For a mid-day snack, a 90 calorie Fiber One Lemon bar did the trick, as did a mug of peppermint tea.

WP_003195Today it National Hot Dog Day! I’m a little excited about this because I’ve really been wanting hot dogs and baked beans! Ironically, I had planned on taking this as a meal to work tomorrow night, but no sense in denying this “holiday”! I pulled out a Hebrew National 97% fat free frank and a small can of fat free baked beans and ate mine in a bowl topped with chopped onion.

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Go to Zumba

Following dinner, I had a bit of unsweetened applesauce and met my girlfriend, Maggie, at Zumba. I did not attend Zumba at all last week, and it makes me feel lost. I need it in my life. I also enjoy leading Zumba, as I did a few dances tonight. I love to look at their faces and I love knowing that my enthusiasm can power them through a workout, too!

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It was one humid hour, tonight! The AC is broke! We were drenched in sweat after the first dance. We looked like steamed lobsters by the end of the class. But, boy, were we feeling great!

Surround myself with positivety

Why else is today special? Not just because its National Hot Dog Day… Not just because its National Vanilla Ice Cream Day…. But because its Frank’s 56th Birthday! Before I left for Zumba, I whipped up a cake mug for him! Yay, Hungry-girl, for teaching me about cake mugs! I made a Raspberry Chocolate Chip Cake mug (recipe below).

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Zumba releases endorphins, which makes me happy. As does being with my friends. After sweating it out, I met Barry to do a little grocery shopping for the house, took a shower, and am currently in the midst of attempting some sleep. Surround yourself with positive people, places, events, and you’ll be positive too! Things just start to fall into place.

I typically do not eat after Zumba, but PMS was rearing its head. The entire trip to ShopRite I was thinking about peanut M&Ms. I resisted. We swung by 7 Eleven on the way home to down another bottle of water and while I was there, a light bulb went off! Special K Chocolatey Pretzel cereal bar! 90 calories, salty, sweet, crunchy…. Perfect!

Raspberry Chip Cake Mug

3 Tbsp yellow moist cake mix

1 Tbsp liquid egg substitute

1 1/2 Tbsp water

1/2 Tbsp Nestle mini semi-sweet morsels, or semi-sweet morsels, chopped

5 raspberries, sliced in half

2 Tbsp fat free Cool Whip, thawed

1/2 tsp sugar free, fat free Chocolate pudding mix

Combine everything except cool whip and pudding mix, and mix well. Spray mug or ramekin with nonstick cooking spray and pour cake mix in. Microwave for 1 minute and 15 seconds, or so*. Allow mug to cool, as it will be hot! Meanwhile, combine cool whip and pudding mix. Spread over cooled cake mug and enjoy!

*Microwaving chocolate chips is tricky business, as they tend to burn.

Calories: 179,  Fat: 3.1g, Sat. Fat: 1.9g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 270mg, Carbs: 35.2g, Fiber: 0g, Sugar: 18.9g, Protein: 3g

Idea: White Chocolate Chips, instead!

Happy Birthday, Frank!

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Lost Dog

This morning did NOT start the way I had intended. I planned on waking up, having an apple and PB, a cup of coffee, maybe a dip in the pool before heading back home from Barry’s house. Instead, I received a phone call from Frank saying that he can’t find Beauty! Barry and I jumped up, got dressed and bolted onto the highway to get to my parents house.

Has your pet ever gotten out?

It is absolutely the worst feeling! Beauty, my baby, who I’ve had since I was 6 and she was just 3 weeks old… My 15 year old baby… out in this 98 degree weather…. Is she okay? She needs water! Its too hot out here for her! Where is she? God, please bring her back to me. Please let her be okay!

Tears and sweat streaming down my face as Barry, dad, Frank, my neighbor, and I scoured the neighborhood….

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she digs her baths

I was beginning to loose hope as my anxiety and fatigue and dehydration worsened. At last, Barry called my phone and I expected to hear that she was no where to be found. “I’ve got her.” Oh, thank, God!! I ran down the road, back to my car and drove to pick her up. A neighbor put her in the house so she could cool off and had called the ASPCA, since my mom had removed Beauty’s collar. I could not thank the man enough for watching out for her.

I picked her up, thanked the man, profusely, and kissed her, repeatedly, as I carried her to the car. I thought it was funny that he compliment how clean she was…  She loves a good bath!

Exhausted, I grabbed everyone tall glasses of cold beverages, and whipped up pancakes to thank the guys for their help. I, on the other hand, found myself, nibbling on random items… a slice of pineapple, some cantaloupe, a few pieces of cereal, a glass of milk…

Once I ate a cookie, I knew I was emotionally eating. I diverted my attention to job search, going into the yard to weed the garden, studying for the boards, blogging, painting my nails… Anything to take my mind off eating and anything to keep me from feeling guilty…

By the way, Beauty is a bit tuckered out and is currently passed out right in front of the air conditioner vent.

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Once my emotions settled down, and I spent about two hours sending out resumes, I still found myself trying to nibble. I drank a glass of water and began to cook dinner. When I was at the farmers market the other day, I picked up two heads of bok choy. I eat the heck out of this stuff at Chinese restaurants and wanted to try my hand at it. I cut to base and gave the stalks a good rinse, and tossed then, along with a cup of quartered mushrooms and 1 1/2 cups of frozen broccoli florets into a skillet. I poured about 1/4 cup of water and 2 Tbsp of left over garlic sauce on top, covered it and let the vegetables steam over medium-low heat. I debated adding shrimp, which would have been spectacular, but kept it veggie style and dug in with my chop sticks! Delicious! I’m so making this again! And it was sooooo simple!

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By the way, bok choy is seen in many Asian dishes and is in the cabbage family. Here is some more info on the crunchy, cancer-fighting, weightloss veggie!

WP_003124Following dinner, I sugar free fruit cup and spoonful of cottage cheese became dessert.

I also owe, you, readers, an apology. Aside from Zumba, I have not been working out much. The heat, here, has been pretty intense, and I’ve been getting lightheaded a lot lately. I know its not a super excuse from drifting away from fitness posts, but I hope you can forgive me and still find the blog enjoyable and helpful.

I know…

While the guys BBQ’d burgers and dogs and made mac n cheese for dinner last night, I steamed a big bag of California blend frozen veggies, seasoned with garlic, basil, and a drizzle of light Italian dressing. “Is that good?” Barry asks. “Try it.” “Wow, that is good!” “I know….”   🙂

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We fell asleep watching Part 1 of the Half Blood Prince, last night, and awoke with a serious coffee craving. The coffee really hit the spot today. Barry and I split a Cinnamon Raisin English muffin, dipped in sugar free syrup.

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The heat has been pretty intense lately and it really got to me today. I had every intention of going to Zumba, but every time I stood, I got light headed. I tried to drink a lot of water today, but still had to blow off class.

Mid-morning, I got a crazy hankering for grilled zucchini. Dad and I headed to the farmers market. My belly was growling something fierce and I opted for some seaweed salt. Dad ans I are addicted to the stuff! I may have tapped into this container while still shopping.

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Also making an appearance this afternoon was a new KIND bar: Dark Chocolate Chili Almond.

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Dad described it really well as, “nondescript.” After having Chilies and Cherries in Dark Chocolate  by Chocolove and really catching that bite, I expected more from this bar… more of a spice or a kick.

When we got home, I lit up the grill and grilled hot dogs for the guys and zucchini for me.

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zucchini boats

Slice the zucchini in half, lengthwise. Using a spoon, deseed the vegetable to create a boat.

Spray the exposed zucchini with nonstick cooking spray and place down on the grill, so the green is facing up. Grill over medium-high heat until grill lines are evident and water has clearly been drawn out of the vegetable, approximately 15 minutes. (This may take longer depending on how well you want the zucchini cooked.) Flip the zucchini over and lightly brush with pesto, or red sauce, and sprinkle with black pepper.

Top with desired toppings.I topped mine with sliced tomatoes, turkey pepperoni, and fat free shredded mozzarella, granulated garlic and crushed red pepper flakes!

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Grill for another 10 minutes or so, or until the desired wellness of the vegetable.

“Is that good? Dad asked. “Try it.” “Wow! That’s better than I thought!” “I know…”   🙂

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Later this evening dad called me to tell me how he was still impressed with how tasty the grilled zucchini was!

I picked up a peach at the market, earlier, in honor of National Peach Ice Cream Day. Taking a cue from Hungry-girl, I sliced the peach in half, sprayed the exposed fruit, and grilled it skin side up. Still warm, with well defined grill marks, about 13 minutes on medium high heat, I served it with a scoop of Breyers Vanilla Carb Smart Ice Cream!

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Since I wasn’t going to Zumba, I sat on the porch with some fresh brewed iced tea and studied for the boards.

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I was very content, hunger-wise, for the majority of the day.Right until around 9pm… I did some snacking to figure out jut what I was looking for… the winner? Pineapple!

My accomplishment of the day: single handedly eating a whole pineapple!

I sliced up a pineapple after dinner, and throughout the night, I kept stealing slices of it. It was the best pineapple I’ve had all season! Is it bad to eat a whole pineapple in 1 day? I’m not sure, but I’d rather eat that than ice cream or cookies. (I did eat a few cookies, today, though…)   :/

And now? Well, I can’t sleep. I think all that pineapple gave me a sugar high! So until I start fading, its blog fun and Rugrats reruns on late night TV.