tofu salad



The most massive banana ever.  At the perfect state of ripeness.


A work breakfast (flaxy oatmeal) that I didn’t end up eating because I got cafeteria french toast instead.  GAHHHHH!!!  Why can’t I quit you!!!


Quinoa, roasted veggies, and nooch up the yin yang.


Greens, roasted veggies, hardboiled eggs, and avocado.  Again, I nooch-ed it up post-photo.


Curry tofu.  It’s vegan, it’s FODMAPs free, and it’s in the book

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SodaStream water with lemons from the neighbors tree.  Yes, I put a whole lemon in my water.  And I smashed it up and drank it without the hint of a pucker.  Kyle watched on in horror. 


The closest I’ve come to the standard American diet in years.  Seitan “steak” with “cheesy” mashed potatoes.

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With Bragg’s liquid aminos as gravy.


Thanksgiving in June?  Kinda.


Chocolate that Kyle bought me as a surprise when I returned from my Sabra Adventure.  Only he has eaten more of it than I have. 


I’m back on pancakes.

Nurse out of water

Ordinarily I don’t mind floating, but today I was SO not in the mood for it.  Fish out of water x 12 hours…blah.


Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s nice to spend a day with a different patient population – like sampling yogurt, you get a small taste without having to commit.  But I also love routine (who doesn’t?) and after working yesterday, I was looking forward to having the familiarity that comes with a second shift in a row.  Even when patients are busy I’m still able to get a sense of rhythm by day two.  There’s a comfort level.  An ease.  More than knowing what meds are on deck or how their blood pressure changes over the course of the day, I know what schedules the patients like with dressing changes, respiratory treatments, meals, physical therapy, sleeping, seeing family, etc.  (those sidebar details that make the day run more smoothly).  So yeah, even if my patients are on the heavier side, I still prefer returning to the same ones because I know them.


The worst part about floating is how isolating it can feel.

I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t know where anything was, I didn’t know how the unit did things…I was constantly asking questions for the simplest things.  Sometimes I felt like more of a nuisance than anything else.  At least the people there were nice.


The wild card was the fact that DHS was visiting.  I knew they were checking out the hospital because they were on my unit yesterday.  Even though the audit was a surprise it wasn’t that big of a deal.  We cross our t’s and dot our i’s already.  At my previous hospital, the prep for JCAHO and other accrediting agencies was a huge process effing ordeal.  But that’s probably because we were cutting corners for the other 10 months of the year.  Such a pain.  Where I work now is world class.  Top notch.  We don’t have to do anything differently when certain higher-ups pop in because we are already 100% complaint with the policies.  It feels awesome.  Can you tell how proud I am of where I work?

That said, it’s an entirely different feeling when you’re on a foreign floor, working with foreign people, with a foreign patient population.

How about I just ask a million questions and page the doctor with abnormal signs/symptoms.  No?  That’s not the protocol?

Ok, ok, I’m being semi-dramatic.  They didn’t even visit the unit I was floating to.  Thank God.

Mostly I just medicated for pain again and again and again.  I have never missed computerized charting so much!  Since I’m a newer spoiled nurse, I was still sucking my thumb back in the dark ages of paper charting.  It seems so ancient!  It took me half the shift just figuring it all out.  And the OR pharmacy isn’t exactly keen on delivering IVs either.  🙁

And yet, all these issues were nothing compared to my growling tiger hidden dragon appetite.  I am so glad I ate my breakfast in the car before work because I didn’t even get a sip of water, let alone coffee or breakfast, until 11 o’clock.  I cannot run on oxygen alone.  This girl needs her carbs!


I was up at 4:45 am for meditation exercises.  I’ve been doing them in the morning before work instead of exercise nowadays.  It’s good for me – helps me relax and focus my energy on the positive (because my mega type A persona needs all the zen it can get).  On the way to work I listened to massage room music (this cd for anyone interested) and then enjoyed my bowl of oats in the hospital parking lot.


Oats, coconut flour, chai tea, stevia.

Points worth noting:

  • chai tea and coconut are a really great pairing
  • I steep the tea for the oats with a used tea bag (that way the flavor isn’t crazy strong, but still very present)
  • coconut flour makes oats super thick and cake batter like (as you can see above)



Thank goodness I ate early (I usually just have a little snack before work and eat my packed breakfast between 9-10), but you can’t do that when you don’t know where the break room is and the DHS is watching you like a hawk.

So that’s all I had until 11, at which point I finished my coffee (finally) and had maple glazed pecans. 

Originally I was supposed to go for my lunch at 1200, but I think they felt bad for me and gave me a 1:30 lunch instead.  Because really, who wants to eat breakfast at 11 and lunch at 12?  That’s just silly.  Pity scheduling is fine with me.


Lunch was a tofu scramble with firm ‘fu, spinach, cherry tomatoes, turmeric, ground mustard, tamari, lemon juice, cumin, and paprika.


I crushed the Mixt Bag (vegan, gluten free) tortilla chips over it and scooped them onto the bread for an open-faced sandwich style meal.

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And if you’re wondering about the cooking process, I just drained the tofu (without pressing it), added it to a sprayed pan with tomatoes, and crushed it as it cooked.  I added the spices and spinach later, which took no time to wilt.

Turmeric is my new fave spice.

And these are my new fave chips.


Salty enough to make my sodium seeking taste buds happy, but not too salty to make me need ACE inhibitors.


Extras: carrots, candied ginger, calcium (dark chocolate).

I found the break room after lunch but it didn’t do me much good at that point.  It was far far away from the unit and locked with a code I never learned.  Not exactly conducive to snacking on the job.

My drive home was so so sweet.


And I have no clue how, but dinner was abnormally inspired.

*Wow.  This post has some grade A professional whining going on.  Sorry for subjecting you all to my complaints.


My camera battery died before I could get a picture of the finished product…but it was a good one.


I marinated some tofu in a mix of soy sauce, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes for a few days…

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Which produced a really flavorful end product without any work at all!  Seriously, I poured the stuff (unmeasured) into a tupperware, added the slabs of tofu and forgot about them.


For the fastest sammie prep ever, I spread hummus on one slice, and mashed the tofu up on the other.  Threw some spinach in between and wham, bam, thank you sam(mie)! 


Dinner served.  And it was delicious.  I hate to admit this, but the hummus wasn’t even necessary (blasphemy!) because of the tofu’s fantastic flavor. 

The only thing is that next time I may try firm tofu.  I’m curious to see if the marinade will penetrate as well.  I think it will be less spread-like and thus more portable.

Any super simple marinades you want to share??

It would be nice, if you made me rice.

The above line is from a poem written by my adorable husband.  I may have to show it to you later.  :) 

Since I am on night shift this week, I slept in ‘til noon, enjoyed a late breakfaat, and watched tv until 5:00 rolled around.


Part one of my breakfast brunch was a nectarine.  It was another watery not-so-sweet piece of fruit.  Dude.  I am so bummed about these lame nectarines.  From now on I’m buying stone fruit at the farmer’s market ONLY.


The second part of meal number one was coconut oats topped in banana slices.


  • 1/2 cup whole rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 2 tbsp ground Salba (or chia seeds)
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • 3-4 drops NuNaturals liquid vanilla stevia

I added the boiling water to the oats, coconut flour, and Salba and let it sit for a while.  Once the oats and flour had cooked a bit and the Salba gelled up, I mixed in the raisins and stevia and added it to the fridge to chill overnight. 


In the morning I topped it with banana slices and a scoop of coconut peanut butter.  It was like a thick cakey pudding.  And even though I hate using the “m” word, it was that too.  I need an alternate word choice…every synonym sounds equally dirty. 


Before I hit the road I packed my work dinner and snacks.  I also had a quick meal.  Toast and eggless egg salad (x2).  And a bowl of green grapes

It was pretty hot outside, so I left a little bit early to allow myself time to clean up after biking to the hospital. 


The basis of my salad was sesame sticks.  There may have been some veggies and seitan under there somewhere. 


I had hummus and bread a la mode.  And the rest of the usual snacks were on standby in my locker


I had a relatively decent night.  One crazy patient was evened out by two less crazy patients.  As I rode my bike home, all I could think about was bed…


And then I saw Kyle’s note asking me to make him rice before I went to work the next day.  It doesn’t get cuter than this folks. 

How about s’more

After Saturday’s nightcap, Kyle and I found ourselves sucked into an A&E marathon.  Has anyone else ever seen The First 48?  Because we had finished our Netflix-ed Dexter DVDs the previous night (and didn’t want to pay $11.99 for the Hyatt’s On-Demand films) our TV options were limited.  Turns out The First 48 is a really good show…so good in fact, that we’ve now seen the entire first season.  😉


Anyway, Sunday started the same as Saturday (plus football).  Coffee, pool lounging, gym time, and eventually lunch.


We couldn’t help ourselves…and so we headed back to Native FoodsAgain.

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Kyle ordered the Seitan Chimichurri Fajitas, which came with brown rice, black beans, guacamole and the usual goodies, in addition to seitan sautéed with onions, peppers, and drizzled with a chimichurri sauce.


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He also got a small salad with his meal.

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His plate was clean at the end of the meal.  I tihnk his only complaint was that the tortillas weren’t able to hold up to the challenge of being stuffed with everything.


After going back and forth forever, I finally decided on the Greek Gyro bowl.

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It had thinly sliced peppered seitan sautéed with shallots on organic quinoa, steamed vegetables, organic greens, with a lemon garlic sauce and hummus. And it was served with grilled flatbread on the side.

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Quinoa, kale, seitan & hummus…all the ingredients for an Elise favorite.




To be honest, I liked it, but didn’t love it.


I just couldn’t help but think I should have ordered something I couldn’t have made on my own.  I should have ordered a sammie or burger again since the Scorpion burger from the previous day was pretty epic.  Oh well.  At least now I know for future trips (and there will be many) to the Westwood location of Native Foods.

Aside from the simplicity of the dish, it was a bit too lemony for me, but I still enjoyed the seitan very much.  I can’t seem to get enough of the stuff lately!

After digesting and getting some goodies for the road, Kyle and I (sadly) said goodbye to Palm Springs and headed back to LA LA land.


Truly, this photo could be either Palm Springs or Santa Monica.


But the rocky, non-green, desert mountains were definitely a new sighting for me.  I’m used to lush, green rolling hills, not dry, brown ones.  It was so weird, I was taking pictures left and right.

We made it home in 2 hours flat.  Knowing I had a lot of prepping to do for the work week, I cut myself some slack and got WF for dinner (while stocking up on grocery essentials for work lunches).


Salad bar smorgasbord.


Eggless egg salad, red quinoa, chickpeas, shredded veg, lentil salad, kamut blend, veggies, edamame, Israeli couscous…and who knows what else.



Of course there was a lack of carb-age which I remedied with Alvarado Street sprouted bread and hummus.




Quiz:  What do you do when you receive a bucket of vegan marshmallow fluff in the mail?


First, you make sure to get dark chocolate at the store.



Then, you make a vegan s’more.  🙂


One layer Lindt extra dark 85% cocoa chocolate topped with Suzanne’s ricemellow creme.

Yum Yum Yum Yummmm…


The best part about this vegan marshmallow alternative is how identical it tastes to real marshmallows!  And the best part is, it’s vegan, gluten free, and doesn’t have any GMOs.  Plus, there’s no refined sugars, corn sweeteners, cane sweeteners, preservatives, artificial additives, fat, or cholesterol.

Trust me, my next grocery list will definitely have graham crackers on it.


In the meantime, I’ll pretend it’s not 80 degrees outside and cuddle up with a warm mug of cocoa.