It’s Time to Register for #YWM2020VIRTUAL

Every year for the past 7 years people have gathered together from all over the country to get evidence-based strategies for individuals impacted by excess weight and obesity. Real deal education and tools, free from scams and BS from world-renowned experts in their field. The Obesity Action Coalition (OAC)'s Your Weight Matters National Convention is truly an awesome event and I NEVER miss it. For those of you who have had the opportunity to attend it really is an amazing experience and post-pandemic when we are able to travel the country again and hug new friends I highly recommend it. 


While we can't gather in person this year, this July the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) has taken some of the great education and support you'd find at the events and is bringing it to everyone that wants to get a taste of what this OAC event is all about. We've created a FREE (yes, FREE) series of educational events that you can attend all from the comfort and safety of your home with YWM2020Virtual!

If you want to learn more about your health, weight, weight loss, nutrition, fitness, emotional health, and wellness make plans to spend a few days with us in July.


Here are just some of the educational topics and speakers:

• Thinking Differently about Your Weight – by Scott Kahan, MD, MPH
• Why is it So Hard to Lose Weight and Keep it off? – by Kevin Hall, PhD
• Become a Food BOSS: Manage Stress Eating, Beat Food Boredom, and Learn How to Feel in Charge – by Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, CSSD, LDN
• Adapting to a Changed World: Adding to Your Mental Health Toolbox – by Paul Davidson, PhD; and Merrill Littleberry, LCSW, LCDC, CCM, CI-CPT

Event Schedule:

Event 1: Saturday, July 11
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm EST/10:00 am – 12:00 pm PST
Event 2: Saturday, July 18
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm EST/10:00 am – 12:00 pm PST
Event 3: Saturday, July 25 and Sunday, July 26
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm EST/10:00 am – 1:00 pm PST

Did I mention... it's FREE!! Register to attend and learn more about the schedule and programming: www.YWMConvention.com

Chat about the event online using the official #YWM2020Virtual hashtag.

Hope to “see you” there!
Shelly

Stay at Home Cooking: Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

As I write this most of the world is under stay at home orders to avoid spreading the coronavirus. We're only going out for essentials like food or medicine but even then I'm going to try and avoid it if possible. I had a pretty good food supply in the freezer and pantry so I've been cooking up some tasty meals so far... we'll see what happens in a couple of weeks it might be another story. I do have a couple of mysterious packages in the back of the freezer it might come to using those. Well... we could have a contest to guess what it is. LOL.

Last night's quarantine kitchen meal was a layered Spaghetti Squash Lasagna type situation. It was delicious and I'm looking forward to lunch leftovers. I'll try and post a few ideas in case people need some inspiration. You can also check out my Pinterest page.

Bariatric Healthy Dinner Ideas Coronavirus Cooking Quarantine

Shelly's Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

1 Spaghetti Squash, cooked
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon Oregano

3/4 to 1 cup Tomato Sauce (I used storebought Rao's Tomato Basil)

1 cup Ricotta Cheese (I used whole milk)
1 Egg, beaten
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
1 teaspoon Oregano
1 teaspoon Basil
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
a few twists of Black Pepper

1/4 cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded

Half and deseed the spaghetti squash. OVEN: Place open end down on a Pyrex baking dish, pour 1/4 cup of water in dish. Cover with foil. Bake in a 400-degree oven for about 40 minutes or MICROWAVE: Place open end down on a Pyrex baking dish, pour 1/4 cup of water in dish and microwave for 15 minutes or so. You want a fork to insert easily. Allow to cool slightly. Use two forks to shred the flesh of the cooked squash into "spaghetti." Add salt and pepper to taste, 1/2 teaspoon of oregano. Spread evenly in a deep-dish pie plate or casserole dish.

Spread tomato sauce on top evenly. Mix together remaining ingredients (except Mozzarella) till well combined and spread evenly over the tomato sauce layer. Top with Mozzarella. Place in a 400-degree oven for 30 minutes. I broil the top for about 2 minutes more to get little golden brown cheese spots.

Bariatric Cooking Food WLS

Hope you and everyone you love is healthy and stays that way. Chat soon.

Winter Issue of Weight Matters Magazine

One of the perks of Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) Premium Access Membership is receiving hard copies of the Weight Matters Magazine mailed to your home. It's an awesome publication always jam-packed with great articles about health, weight, nutrition, emotional wellness, stories about real people and OAC community members making a difference. I love it when I open the mailbox and the latest issue has arrived. I highly recommend upgrading to receive the magazine as well as some other great benefits, like early registration for OAC's annual convention (BTW that's open now.)


Kids Korner Article Children Activities Recipes Eggface Michelle Shelly Vicari

If you already receive the magazine, turn to page 32 in the Winter issue. I had the privilege of writing the issue's Kids Korner article. For those of you that don't know, Early Childhood Education is my first love and I enjoyed tapping into that part of my world by sharing some fun family activities to combat winter boredom. If you have kiddos in your life, I hope you and your family enjoy the ideas and recipes presented... and if you do... I'd love love love to hear about it!

Oh, and please do me a favor, after you are finished reading your magazine. Drop it off somewhere in your neighborhood (coffee shop, hair salon, doctor's office, some waiting room somewhere in America, etc.) so someone else can benefit from the great information and learn about the OAC. It's one of my favorite, super easy ways to take #OACAction to help further the mission of the OAC.

Learn more.

Homemade Hummus Recipe (Plus Healthy Tips & Variations)

Once you make hummus at home you'll never go back to store-bought. Making hummus is super easy and tastes better than anything store-bought plus you know exactly what's in it, no mysterious, long, chemical-sounding ingredients. Below is my basic healthier hummus recipe and a ton of ways you can change that basic recipe up. Plus low carb dippers ideas and a few suggestions for any leftover hummus you might have. Leftover hummus! What's that? Don't count on it... maybe just make some extra.

Eggface Recipes Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss RNY VSG WLS Food Meals Cooking

Basic Healthier Hummus 

1 (15 oz. can) Chickpeas (aka Cece, Garbanzo Beans), rinsed and drained
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil (you can omit and use more water)
2 Tablespoons Tahini  (Sesame Paste)
juice of 1/2 a Large Lemon
1/4 cup Water
2 cloves of Garlic, peeled
Salt to taste

Blend all ingredients in a mini food processor to desired smoothness. Scraping down sides with a small spatula to make sure everything gets processed. This recipe serves 3-4 people a nice sized dollop. You can double the batch. Lasts several days in the fridge.

Cook notes: I prefer a little texture to my hummus but for super creamy hummus fans microwave the chickpeas for 3 minutes before blending them. Find Tahini in middle eastern markets, kosher food sections, sometimes near peanut butter in regular markets. I buy mine at Trader Joe's it's near the dressings. You can't leave the Tahini out it's what makes hummus, hummus.

Eggface Recipes Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss RNY VSG WLS Food Meals Cooking

Change it up:
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus: Omit Olive Oil and add 1-2 Roasted Red Peppers (jarred)
Black Olive Hummus: Add 6 pitted, Kalamata Olives or a Tablespoon of Olive Tapenade
Roasted Garlic Hummus: Roast the Garlic (instructions) first and add to taste
Pesto Hummus: Omit Olive Oil and add 1 Tablespoon Storebought Pesto Sauce
Cilantro & Cumin Hummus: Add a Tablespoon of fresh Cilantro and a dash of Cumin
Eggplant Hummus: Omit Olive Oil and 1/4 cup of Roasted Eggplant Cubes
Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus: Omit Olive Oil and add 1 Tablespoon Storebought Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Sauce
White Bean Hummus: Swap rinsed and drained Cannelini Beans for Chickpeas
Black Bean Hummus: Swap rinsed and drained Black Beans for Chickpeas

Eggface Recipes Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss RNY VSG WLS Food Meals Cooking

Toppings:
Toasted Crushed Nuts (Pine Nuts or Pistachios are great)
Everything Bagel Spice
Zaatar
Crushed Whisps or Parm Crisps
Crumbled Feta Cheese
Olive Tapenade

Eggface Recipes Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss RNY VSG WLS Food Meals Cooking

Eggface Recipes Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss RNY VSG WLS Food Meals Cooking Low Carb

Dippers:
Carrots
Celery
Bell peppers
Cucumber
Cherry Tomatoes
Grilled Chicken or Beef Skewers
Cold Cut Roll-ups or Skewers
Grilled Shrimp
Whisps or Parm Crisps

Eggface Recipes Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss RNY VSG WLS Food Meals Cooking Low Carb

Ways to use leftover hummus... mix it in deviled eggs, jazz up roasted cauliflower, make this award-winning Greek Hummus Rounds appetizer or bump up the protein and make a little leftover go a long way by mixing equal parts of hummus and Greek yogurt together.

Eggface Recipes Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss RNY VSG WLS Food Meals Cooking

Eggface Recipes Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss RNY VSG WLS Food Meals Cooking

Cauliflower Cheese Egg Bites (Trader Joe's Copy Cat Egg Frittata Recipe)

Trader Joe's plays great music... at least my store does. It's usually 80's or 90's songs that I haven't heard in forever but still somehow remember every word to. That's a life mystery right there... why is it I can recall every lyric to a 30-year-old song playing in the store but have trouble remembering things I'm supposed to buy without a shopping list?! True confession: I have actually taken another turn around the store even though I've done my shopping in order to finish a particularly great song all while trying to restrain myself (sometimes unsuccessfully) from breaking out in song.

The other day as I was holding back bursting into a rousing rendition of a Duran Duran hit. I spotted this product in the frozen section: Trader Joe's Egg Frittata with Swiss Cheese and Cauliflower. I scanned the protein-packed ingredient list and ooooh cool it looked like something that would work on my plan. I tossed a box in my cart. They were $2.99 for a pack of 2 teacup saucer-sized frittatas. 12 grams of protein and just 5 grams of carbs per frittata. They were super convenient (you just heat in the microwave from frozen) and tasty. Perfect breakfast on-the-go or add a veggie or salad for lunch or dinner.

Copy Cat Knock Off Recipe Low Carb Protein Keto Bariatric Recipes

As I was eating them I thought I really need to try and recreate these...  they are super similar to the Egg Bites I make. I scribbled down the basic ingredient list before I tossed the box out... eggs, onions, cauliflower, swiss cheese, chives and a week later I experimented and came up with this copy cat, knock-off version. They were pretty darn close, super yummy and will be on permanent rotation at my house.

Eggface Egg Bites Protein Low Carb Keto Bariatric Recipes

Shelly's Cauliflower Cheese Egg Bites

1 (10 oz.) Frozen Package Riced Cauliflower (I used Birds Eye Steamfresh Cauliflower with Italian Cheese added*)
1 Yellow Onion, diced
5 Eggs, beaten
1/3 cup Shredded Gruyere Cheese (Swiss will work too)
3 Green Onions, diced (I didn't have chives)
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
a few twists of Black Pepper

Cook Riced Cauliflower per bag instructions. Empty into a mesh strainer. Set aside to allow to drain and cool. I used Italian Cheese seasoned riced cauliflower *If you use plain I'd add a Tablespoon or 2 of grated Parmesan Cheese. Saute yellow onion till golden. Set aside to cool slightly.

Preheat oven to 350.

Eggface Egg Bites Protein Low Carb Keto Bariatric Recipes

Mix all ingredients together. Spoon into a lightly greased (Pam non-stick spray works great for this) mini muffin tin.

Eggface Egg Bites Protein Low Carb Keto Bariatric Recipes

Bake for 30 minutes at 350. Let them cool a few moments they pull away and pop right out. Makes 24. Keep in fridge for several days, they reheat great in the microwave or toaster oven... or freeze.

Eggface Egg Bites Protein Low Carb Keto Bariatric Recipes

Whether you try the storebought version or my copy cat recipe I hope you enjoy them. Let me know what you think.


Heads Up: Six Factors to Fit Book and Giveaway!

For those of you that read the blog regularly or follow me on my social media pages you know, I have the honor of serving on the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) National Board of Directors. The OAC is a non-profit group dedicated to educating, supporting and advocating for people with obesity. Learn more and become a part of the OAC Community. The work the OAC does is guided by a National Board of Directors made up of people who are affected by obesity or who love or care for people who are affected. The knowledge and passion of the leadership of the OAC leave me in awe and gratefulness that I have had the opportunity to learn from and get to know some amazing people.

One of those amazing people is world-renowned weight management expert, Dr. Robert Kushner. Read more about Dr. Kushner. Many of you know Dr. Kushner and his co-author and wife Nancy Kushner, MSN, RN from OAC's annual Your Weight Matters (YWM) National Convention from his presentations and in the evening as the best dancers on the dance floor. He and his wife Nancy, with the help of another past speaker at YWM, Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN just published a book I want to let you know about called: Six Factors to Fit. FYI This is not a sponsored post. I just trust this trio implicitly and want to share the book to hopefully help you cut through the diet scams and noise we all face every damn January.

Weight Loss Health Personalized Weight Management

Now you'll find this book in the diet and weight loss section of a bookstore but this is not a diet book. I really think it needs the tagline "the un-diet book" because unlike most diet books that give you generic weight loss advice forcing everyone to conform to a set of behaviors and regimes, Six Factors to Fit starts with helping you identify the barriers to managing weight that are unique to YOU and YOUR LIFE. Listen, if you are like me you have been on a zillion diets and forced yourself to suffer through a few weeks or months of a program only to have real-life throw you off track. Identifying what YOUR real-life barriers are coupled with practical tools to help you with those personal challenges will make a real and lasting difference in your life and ultimately your health and weight.

I highly recommend adding Six Factors to Fit to your reading list. I also encourage you to attend this year's Your Weight Matters Convention. You'll get to meet Dr. Kushner (he's one of the key folks that designs the educational programming for the weekend) and Nancy and if you have read the book I'm sure they'd love to chat with you about it and the impact it's having in your life.

Order a copy.
Try to win a copy of the book over on my Twitter account

Giveaway ends Sunday, January 12th, 11:59 PM Pacific, US Mailing Address Only, Odds of winning dependant on the number of entries. See the tweet for entry details. Good Luck! 



Christmas Joys: Sugar Free Italian Ricotta Cookie Recipe

Happy Holidays to all! Wishing you a lovely day with loved ones. To those who might be having a tough time for whatever reason, sending you a cyber hug, you are not alone. A couple of Christmases ago I had some drama and it was definitely not a jolly time in my world. I understand the internal battle between "faking it till you make it" and collapsing in a heap. I think the answer is something in-between.

Special note for my fellow post-bariatric surgery pals: it's not part of the glossy post-op life brochures but the truth is there is a slight increase in both alcoholism and suicide rates of post-op bariatric patients. I am not saying this to scare people but as a PSA public service announcement and something to be aware of. So if you or someone you love is struggling reach out for help. Emergency help: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) offers free, confidential crisis counseling 24/7. If you prefer text the Crisis Text Line is the free, nationwide, 24/7 text message service for people in crisis. Text HOME to 741741 in the US. Psychologists or psychiatrists are among the many healthcare professionals you can find (search by zip code) on obesitycareproviders.com and I encourage you to find a supportive community: check out the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) Community.

Post-Bariatric Surgery Money Saving Tips
Tips for Reducing Stress
Post-Bariatric Surgery Holiday Survival Tips
Healthy and Easy Holiday Party Recipes

One thing that especially helps me is helping others... making blessing bags, answering fellow post-op bariatric pals questions on the OAC Community forum, or getting involved in advocacy by visiting the OAC Action Center and taking action to try and make a small difference in the world. I'd love for you to join me in any of those.

I'll also share a few joyful holiday scenes from my world. Our Tree...

The World According to Eggface Cooking Post Weight Loss Surgery

I love my little Christmas tree of memories. Every ornament tells a story. It's like old pals visiting each year when I open the boxes. Speaking of ornaments... does anyone else have a spider ornament on their tree? When people see ours I am always asked about it. Did I forget to put away some Halloween ornament or something? It's actually based on a Ukrainian folk story of where tinsel originated. I'm 1/2 Brit and 1/2 Sicilian but I love stuff like this... basically, the story goes... a family had no money for decorations for their Christmas tree and while the children were sleeping, all the spiders in the house spun webs of silver around its branches. When the family awoke Christmas morning, the tree was sparkling with silver webs. A magical gift! So that's why I have a spider ornament.

I seem to add one ornament a year but I have to say this might be the last year I do that or I might have to move up a tree size. This year, I added a globe because I spent a lot of the last 2 years traveling on behalf of the OAC as I served as chair of the National Board of Directors and meeting new friends and fellow patient advocates around the world. I will always remember this time, new friends and those trips when I hang it each year.

I also cooked a bit (this is a cooking blog after all.) I made a batch of Christmasy Italian Ricotta Cookies. These are sugar-free so my fellow bariatric pals should give them a try.

Sugar Free WLS Gastric Bypass Sleeve VSG RNY Cooking Keto Low Carb Protein

Shelly's Sugar-Free Italian Ricotta Cookies

1 cup Almond Flour (blanched, not meal)
2 Tablespoons Coconut Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/8 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/4 cup Butter, softened
1/4 cup Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese, drained
1/4 cup Swerve, Granular (erythritol)
1 Large Egg, beaten
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

The night before: drain the ricotta cheese. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a small bowl, add the ricotta, spread the ricotta into an even layer. Loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator. Let the ricotta cheese strain at least 6-8 hours. Discard the liquid that drains.

Preheat oven to 325. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix together the almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, and salt. Cream softened butter and the drained ricotta with the Swerve until well combined. Mix in the egg and vanilla extract. Add dry ingredients and mix until the dough comes together.

Roll the dough into 1 to 1-1/2 inch balls and place 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Press the balls down with the palm of your hand to about 1/2 inch thick.

They puff a bit but don't spread much. Bake 25 minutes, until just barely beginning to firm up and are lightly golden on the bottom. Look for golden edges. Remove and let cool on the pan. They are too soft to handle when they first come out of the oven but will firm more as they cool. Makes 16-20 cookies. They are great plain but you could drizzle them with melted sugar-free chocolate or the traditional lemon glaze and sprinkle with nonpareils.

Glaze:
3 Tablespoons Swerve, Confectioners
1 Tablespoon Milk, any
1/8 teaspoon Lemon Extract
Holiday Nonpareils (optional)

Cooks Notes: That drained Ricotta Cheese is also super yummy as a savory spread on cucumber slices with a sprinkle of Bagel Spice or Italian Seasoning. So make a little extra. This cookie recipe is sweetened with erythritol (the brand I used is Swerve) which tastes sweet and acts similar to sugar in recipes, no calories or net carbs and works in my plan. You could use sugar but watch the cooking time as the real deal browns quicker.

It's raining here... so we're staying close to home, we have some holiday movies to watch and tidbits (cheeses, meats, dips, etc) to eat. Yesterday, we had a great seafood feast as part of the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a Sicilian Christmas Eve tradition. We had 4 fishes, not 7 this year but they were delicious and very bariatric surgery friendly: Grilled Scallops, Shrimp Scampi, Red & Green Shrimp Cocktail, and a new stuffed mushroom recipe with Crab. It was soooo good. I'll be sure to share it soon on the blog.

I hope everyone has a great day and the year ahead is filled with many joyful moments.

Easy Dinner Idea: Pizza Stuffed Mushrooms

These low carb, protein-packed Pizza Stuffed Mushrooms will satisfy your pizza craving without carby crusty. Your non-bariatric surgery friends and family will love these too. Hello?! Gooey, warm and melty cheese, what's not to love?!



Shelly's Pizza Stuffed Mushrooms

12 Large Mushrooms
1 cup Ricotta Cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
1 teaspoon Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
a few twists of Black Pepper to taste
1/4 cup Tomato Sauce
1/4 cup Mozarella, shredded
1/8 cup mini Pepperoni Slices (*optional)

Clean and carefully remove the stem from each mushroom cap (save for soup) place in a lightly oiled baking pan in a 350 oven for 15 minutes. Remove for oven and carefully (hot) empty mushroom juices that have expelled from the mushrooms. Set mushrooms aside while you make the filling. Blend ricotta, parmesan, and seasonings together till well combined.


Fill each partially cooked mushroom cap with ricotta filling mixture. Top with a tablespoon of tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella, and optional mini pepperoni or another topping of your choice (sliced black olives and cooked crumbled sausage are great too.) Bake for additional 15 minutes.


Perfect just as they are or with a little green salad or on top of zucchini noodles for lunch or dinner. They reheat in the microwave well too... and I may have done that for breakfast the next day. Shhh, don't tell anyone.

Hope you enjoy them.