nursing.

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I am in this super weird place in my life right now, so maybe writing it all out will be somewhat therapeutic for me. I went to University at Buffalo and graduated with a degree that I don’t even use. I’m sure that’s VERY unheard of for us millennials right? Can you sense the sarcasm? Currently, I work at a desk but daydream of wearing scrubs to work and making a difference in patients lives.

In my last year of college, one of my friends had a business with her mom and asked if I would help out. It was working as a home aide to elderly people. The job required flexible hours, going to peoples homes and helping out with whatever they needed. Oh, and it paid cash. I used to babysit in high school, so how much harder could this be? I said yes.

Little did I know that this job would change my life. I was finishing up a bachelors degree while not knowing what I was going to do when I graduated. For all I knew, I was going to end up flipping burgers or working at a car rental company. The irony is real.

Of course, it was not all peaches and cream. Some of the people I had to deal with were not the easiest. Somehow I always got through it and ended my day knowing I was doing good. I learned A LOT about health care and the elderly. There is WAY more for me to learn but this was the job that dipped my toe in the water.

Then I met Ken. This man was such a blessing in my life. I am not sure if I would have any direction if it wasn’t for him and his amazing family. I met him when he was living in an independent living facility. I would come to his apartment in the morning to help him get ready for the day and at night to get ready for bed. I would spend a few hours with him each time, going for walks, getting ice cream, or even just going for a ride in the car. Boy, did he love a ride in the car. Especially if you got some Patsy Cline going. He wanted me to let him drive SO bad.

Did I mention that he had dementia? He handled it so well too. He always had a smile on his face. He would get frustrated sometimes but it wasn’t very often. His soul was a “go with the flow” type. I think this is why we got along so well. He would tell me stories all the time, whether they were fictional or a part of his past, I won’t ever know but we had some great conversation.

When he moved into assisted living because his dementia progressed, his family let me come with (they asked me to come and spend some time with him a few times a week but as far as I’m concerned it was my pleasure). I would come and take him to church every other Sunday, take him for walks by the river to see the boats and on some occasions, I would take him over to my house to bake. Ok, so my roommates and I would do all the baking but he gobbled up the apple cobbler and enjoyed a WWII documentary on Netflix.

He was the best.

I try not to be nieve, I know that all healthcare experiences are not going to be like my experience with Ken. However, he is the reason I learned how to feel fulfilled at the end of the day. I come home every night after working my desk job and feel like there is so much more to life that I am missing out on. I know there is more happiness for me out there and these experiences helped me realize this.

Thank you, Ken. The moment I saw you, I told my friend’s mom that I was going to fall in love with you. I knew it from day one. You taught me so much about life in such a small amount of time. 

This was when I was certain that I needed to be in healthcare. Who knows if I will be working in a hospital one day or in some kind of non-traditional role as a nurse (the non-traditional sounds more like me, don’t you think?) but I am open to all possibilities. I am currently working a full-time job and taking life class by class to get my pre-requisites done so I can apply into a nursing program. I’ll be finishing those soon!

I seem to have this pattern in my life and I really am just not sure if it will ever go away. I always seem to do things in a backward way. I apparently just love to “fail forward” as my mom likes to tell me. Changing what I wanted to do with my life right as I was finishing up my bachelors is SO like me.

I’ll be a nurse one day. If that means it takes me until I’m 80 or if I have to fight tooth and nail. Ok, I am totally dramatic, but you get the point. I will face what is ahead of me to reach my dreams, whatever those obstacles may be.

 


self-image​.

Ok, so this is a hard topic. Most people have their own demons to battle when it comes to self-image, so why not make a post about it?

We are all human. Ever hear that girl you think is “perfect”, you know the girl you compare yourself to, complain about something you think makes her gorgeous? You know, the beautiful curly hair she wishes was straight or dimple on her cheek she wishes wasn’t there? All of us and I mean ALL of us are guilty.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I dislike myself because of my weight. My whole life I have been shopping in the plus size section. Well, I am here for a change. I don’t aspire to be a size 2 but I do aspire to LOVE MYSELF. 

I am so psycho that a few months ago I made the background on my phone “selfies” of myself from 2 years ago when I was at a much more likable weight. The reason behind this is so that multiple times a day I will see my pictures and fat shame myself. Maybe I won’t eat as much? Maybe I’ll go walk a lap around the building? I don’t know.

circa 2015

How stupid.

How could I think like that? It is so UN-healthy for my mental health.

So, anyways last weekend I changed my background to a more recent picture of me. Even though I am on this quest to get healthy and lose weight, I am also on a quest to love myself as previously stated. Whether that means loving myself at 500lbs or 100lbs. Okay, that’s a bit extreme but you get the point.

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I started wearing eyeliner to work. Yes, eyeliner. It is something that makes me feel good about myself. I have been trying to do more things that make me happy. Big or small. It’s time for ME. Oh, and I bought some new underwear. I have a little extra pep in my step and my life is just THAT much more put together when I have new underwear. Just me? Ok, moving on.

Today I saw something that said “she let herself go” and then said “NO. she let herself relax, she let herself eat, she let herself love, she let herself enjoy, she let herself open her mind, she let herself live and she let herself be”

That totally inspired this post. Remeber this. Don’t let anyone tell you that you “let yourself go”. Life is all about changes, good or bad. It is all about the journey.

I don’t ever want to look back at pictures and think “ew”. I know, that is a pretty big task. I mean I used to wear hot pink velour pants with a black turtleneck in high school. How I still had friends is a mystery. I want to get to a place where I look at my old pictures and think about how I am a beautiful person no matter what I look like.

Maybe I am being dramatic here because I do know that I am a beautiful person. I have amazing people in my life that love to tell me that all the time. I just need to be more confident and this is where I am starting. With a little positivity and a growing sense of self-awareness. 💕

 

 


low-carb chicken parm.

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This is a chicken parm with no bread crumbs or frying oil.

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INGREDIENTS:

  • fresh mozzarela
  • 1T fresh parsley
  • 4-5 fresh basil leafs
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 4 peppercorns & salt to taste
  • 1 small sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup almond flour/meal
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 20oz cans of tomato sauce
  • 1t dried Italian seasoning
  • 1t dried basil
  • 1t dried parsley
  • 4 zucchini
  • 1T Ghee
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2t garlic powder
  • 1/2t onion powder

First off you need the “breadcrumb” mix. Place 1 clove of fresh garlic, 4 fresh basil leaves, fresh parsley, peppercorns and salt into your Mortar and Pestle. Mix/crush everything until it has made a kind of paste.

Next place the mixture you just made in a bowl with almond flour, coconut flour, and parmesan cheese.

Mix eggs in a bowl.

Take both chicken breasts and place in a large plastic baggie. Then tenderize the meat with this Meat Tenderizer.

Dip the chicken in egg then coat with “breadcrumbs”.

Place in air fryer and cook on 400 for 20 min. At the 10 min marker flip the chicken. Flipping them halfway through the 20 min will make sure both sides are crunchy.

EASY MARINARA SAUCE
Dice up small onion and place in pan with some olive oil. Dice up a clove of garlic and place in pan until both are translucent. Once cooked put both cans of sauce in the pan. Add in all dried spices (Italian, basil, parsley). If you want this to be a little creamy, you can add in 1/4 cup of almond or coconut milk (I will usually do this depending on what mood I’m in). 

While the chicken and the sauce is cooking, spiralize the squash. I will throw these in a pan with some olive oil, garlic powder and onion powder. How long you cook these are personal preference. I like mine with a little crunch still which is why I saved this step for last.

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Once the chicken is all cooked, spoon a little bit of sauce over each piece, place 2 slices of the fresh mozzarella on top with some sliced basil. Place back in the air fryer and watch closely until the cheese is melted.

Plate with some “Zoodles” and Enjoy!

***if you do not have an air fryer the chicken can most definitely be baked in the oven!***


spaghetti squash carbonara.

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This is my go-to order when I get Italian food. There is this place in Rochester that makes a drool-worthy carbonara. I can never live up to it but I can try, right. here is my take on a low carb carbonara. Say that 3 times fast!

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 small/medium spaghetti squash
  • 1 package pancetta
  • 1 small sweet onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1T tapioca starch (for thickening)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1T parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 large eggs

side note: A lot of carbonaras have peas in it. I am just not a fan, so definitely add them if you like peas!

First off cut both spaghetti squash lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and place on a cookie sheet face up (I like to season mine with a little garlic powder, onion powder, and olive oil before placing in the oven). Place in the oven at 425 degrees for 30 min. Then check with a fork to see if the strands scrape out of the squash easily. If they are still hard, place back in the oven for 5-minute increments.

While the squash is cooking put pancetta in the pan and cook until crispy. Once the pancetta is nice and crispy put the onion and garlic in the same pan. Cook until the onion is translucent.

In a bowl, combine the egg, cheese, and parsley. Mix with a fork (it will make a kind of paste).

When the squash is done, scrape it out and place in the pan. Add the egg mixture and almond milk to the pan. Cook on medium heat and make sure the egg mixture is fully cooked. Add the tapioca starch to thicken (this is a substitute for cornstarch).

Enjoy!

 


low-carb creamy Mexican​ soup.

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Different variations of Mexican soup are my some of my boyfriend’s favorite dinners. Here is my favorite one thus far.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1lb Italian sausage (I usually use “hot” because it adds some extra spice)
  • 1lb ground beef
  • 3T taco seasoning (low sodium)
  • 2 cans of RO*TEL 
  • 1t adobo
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 small sweet onion (chopped)
  • 2 32oz low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 brick of cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk
  • handfull of cilantro

Brown the Italian sausage and ground beef. Place in crock pot.

place remaining ingredients into the crockpot. Cook on high for 4 hours.

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Enjoy!

 


beef and broccoli​.

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Craving take out? This is a super simple take on beef and broccoli.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1lb stir-fry beef
  • 1t fresh ginger or 1t ground
  • 1/2t garlic powder
  • 3-4 cups of broccoli florets
  • 1 onion (cut in wedges)
  • 1/3 cup of coconut aminos
  • 2T brown sugar substitute (I use Sukrin Gold )
  • 3T tapioca starch
  • 4 zucchini(i  (spiralized)

Take a gallon baggie and put beef, 2T of the starch, and garlic powder into the baggie. Shake up so that all of the meat is coated. Put a little oil in the pan before putting meat in. I personally do not like it when my meat is overcooked so I’ll just brown the meat and then remove from pan.

Put onion and broccoli into the pan and simmer until both are cooked to your liking. Broccoli will cook down and make space for the meat. Put meat back in the pan. Add the ginger, coconut aminos, brown sugar and 1T tapioca starch.

Spiralize your zucchini. I have the Veggetti. A little olive oil in the pan with some salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat until the spirals are cooked to your liking. The longer they cook the softer the noodles will be. I like mine a little bit undercooked so that they still have a crunch. Don’t take your eyes off of these because they cook quick!

Enjoy!


air fryer chicken wings.

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pictured with celery and dairy-free ranch

Let me start this one by saying that I am utterly obsessed with my air fryer. Basically what I mean by that is, everyone in my life wants me to shut up about it already. Talking to the girls at work goes something like this: “Em, what are you having for dinner?” “oh, just chicken wings for the 3rd time this week”.

Ill also give you a little mini-review about my air fryer. Listen, noting is going to be as good as deep fried. It’s plain and simple. However, this air fryer makes your food much much crispier than baking things in the oven. If you are like me, the crunch is everything. The chicken wings come out nice and crispy. Same with chicken tenders and fries (which are the only things I’ve made thus far). 

INGREDIENTS:

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Thats it. I usually just throw all the wings in a baggie (or bowl) and mix with olive oil, garlic and onion powder. Shake the bag and throw them in the air fryer. Ill set mine on the chicken setting  (400 degrees) then cook for about 15 min and flip them. Put them back in for another 10.

This is a great way to eat some wings you’re craving without all the oil.

Enjoy!