Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Who I'm voting for...

No, not for President... for American Idol silly!



Yum.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Casserole under the electric stars

I made a casserole tonight. A variation of my Chicken Dijon Casserole. I didn't have zucchini so I added more mushrooms and I used leftover chicken from the roast chicken I made for dinner last night (which is also seasoned with thyme so it was perfect). It was a great use for leftover chicken. The sauce kept everything moist. I will definitely do this again.


Shelly's Chicken Dijon Casserole (Mushroom Version)

1 1/2 cups cooked Chicken, cubed
1 Yellow Onion, diced
3 Green Onions, diced
1 cup fresh Mushrooms, quartered
2 cloves Garlic, diced
1/2 teaspoon dried Thyme
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
a few twists of Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Butter
2 Tablespoons Flour
1 cup Chicken Broth
1/2 cup Sour Cream
2 Tablespoon Dijon-style mustard (I use Grey Poupon)
1 cup cooked Broccoli, chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
1/4 cup Italian Shredded Cheese Blend (I use a 4 cheese blend mozzarella, fontina, asiago, parmesan)
Olive oil

Saute onions and mushrooms till golden. Add garlic cook 1 minute more. Add seasonings. Make a well in the center of the pan. Add butter and flour. Cook 1 minute. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add sour cream and mustard, stir all together. Stir in Parmesan. Add chicken and broccoli and stir to coat. Pour into a Pyrex casserole dish top with shredded cheese. Bake for 30 minutes till bubbly.


I ran errands today and went to appointments all boring and definitely not blogworthy but damn if I didn't forget one of the things on my list to pick up... another set of twinkle lights. I think I'm getting old. I swear if it's not written down it is doomed. I currently have 5 post-its stuck to my computer... stuff I need to do, email, ideas for recipes, songs to download, etc. If a breeze carried my post-its off I'd be screwed. Speaking of? Have you seen this? How men use post-its. Looks like if a breeze carried this guy's post-it away he wouldn't be screwed ;) anymore at least.

Anyway... I strung commercial twinkle lights under my metal gazebo thingee the other night and I need one more strand to complete the project but of course I came home never stopping at Lowe's. I love my "electric stars." We eat dinner outside a lot and I love to go out there after work and just meditate. It's nice to not have the blaring flood lights on. I'm sure it's more cost efficient too.

Here's a pic of my incomplete project:



Highlights of the day:

* I got tons of things accomplished (despite forgetting Lowes.)

* Nasonex seems to be working at keeping my allergy attacks bearable. The other day I thought I was going to gouge my eyes out.

* 27 Dresses came out on DVD. I heart my Romantic Comedies.

Listening to: Better than Ezra "Breathless"

Monday, April 28, 2008

5 Things

Five things on my To-Do list today:

Plant heirloom tomato plant I bought this weekend at the Farmer's Market.
Bake experimental protein cookie batch number 4.
Find someone to eat batches 1-3 ;)
Survive the 95 degree heat (yes that's not a typo 95!!)
Make my Italian Bean Salad.


Three of my bad habits: (I thought this was a 5 thing?)

Mouth like a Sicilian chick from New York.
I put the Pro in Procrastination.
I get easily annoyed.

Five places I’ve lived:

New York.
California.
In the state of denial.
By my wits.
On the edge.

Five jobs I’ve had:

Carousel Operator.
Political Lobbyist.
Curriculum Director of a Child Care Center/Private School.
Support Staff for Obesityhelp.com.
Caterer.

Five books I’ve recently read:

Probably a cookbook (I collect them.)



Five people or communities I’m going to tag:

Anyone who has time to kill and the inclination.

Tagged by Melting Mama (read her blog it rocks)

Yummy find: Comfort Bars

Went to my local organic market with my pal Becky the other day and picked up one of these bars. They come in three flavors: Italian Chocolate Orange Almond, Italian Chocolate Vanilla Almond, White Chocolate Cherry Chip. Italian what? Right there you knew I had to try them. I tried it that night. The next morning I went back got all the flavors and ordered a box.

Wow! Seriously yummy. I'm loving them.

The WC Cherry Chip tastes like ice cream and the Italian Chocolate Orange and Vanilla Almond remind me of the Italian almond nougat candy I ate as a kid (Torrone). Sooooo good. Besides being tasty they are really filling and keep you satisfied for a long time.

Here's the scoop...

Comfort Bar's have 15g of lactose free protein
180 calories (low fat, low sodium)
No artificial sweeteners/No sugar alcohols
Sweetened with organic agave (lower Glycemic Index than honey or sugar)
No gluten, no wheat
No trans fats
No palm kernel oil, no glycerin
5g of inulin fiber which creates more healthy flora (aids in digestion)
6% of your daily iron
Kosher

The creator is a very cool Italian chick named Gina who has been in the health food industry for over 20 years and she believes in quality. You can tell because these rock. They aren't made with cheap ingredients (imported fair trade chocolate, real fruit, quality protein) so the price per bar reflects that at around $2.50 but you get what you pay for. This doesn't taste like a 99 cent bar. You know what I'm saying.

Check out the comfort bar site to find retailers in your area.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Funkytown

I have been in a funk for the past few weeks. Not a good James Brown, George Clinton funk either... a nothing sounds good, blah, depressing songs on repeat sort of funk.

I've been feeling like I want "something" but seriously if you asked me what I wouldn't even know. New career, new location, a relationship, dessert... who knows?! Then I read something the other day and I thought crap I sooooo do this and I NEED TO STOP...

When your "There" has become a "Here" you will simply obtain another "There" that will again look better than "Here."
Hmmmm there is a lesson in that... maybe I need to just enjoy the here and now. Stop and smell the roses or Starbuck's or whatever...

How zen.

I'll tell you the hardest part of this weight loss surgery journey has been the emotional side. Getting your guts rearranged, learning new ways of eating, making lifestyle changes, exercising... those were the easy parts (for me at least.)

It's the coming to the realization that not everything that was shitty in my life was because I was fat that has been hard. Pre-op I used to say, "If only I wasn't fat..." or "When I lose the weight life will be..." Guess what? I'm "There" and slapped with the sad realization that losing the weight was not a cure-all. Don't get me wrong it cured a lot but not all.

OK have at it... what do I need??? therapy, drugs, some good sex (bonus points for readers that suggest this), a vacation that doesn't include stitches, to stop my angsty whining???

I really do try and enjoy the "Here." I have a great here. I am blessed but sometimes those damn "There" thoughts creep in and funkify me. Time to go to the beach I think.

This would be the rambling part of "The World According to Eggface - Recipes and Rambling of a Former Fat Chick."

Welcome to my world.



Highlights of the weekend:

* Went to the Farmer's Market and got oodles of good stuff.

* I just came in from stringing twinkle lights on my metal gazebo thingee outside so I'm going to BBQ tonight under the "stars"

* Experimented a lot in the kitchen and took lots of food porn.

Listening to: Something depressing on repeat ;) No really.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday Night Pizza Porn


Sausage & Ricotta Tortilla Pizza

Mission Carb Balance Whole Wheat Fajita Size Tortilla topped with marinara mixed with a teaspoon of pesto, provolone, ricotta, sliced Italian sausage, Italian seasoning and a liberal snowfall of parmesan.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Chocolate Coconut "Ricottage" Pancakes

These are crazy good and much deserved after the horrible night I had... once again I slacked on my water intake and paid the price by spending the night in the fetal position writhing in pain on my bathroom floor with a kidney stone attack.

Post-ops: Drink your water it's not an option!

Thank God for leftover pain meds because that was the only thing that saved me from a very expensive ER trip. Needlesstosay, I am pounding water today and I vow once again to do better. I know I've said that before. In the warm weather I do much better with water but when it's chilly. Ugghh. It's hard.

I'm taking it slow today. I'm still hurting and have a gnarly migraine.

Anyway... enjoy the pancakes and drink your water.


Shelly's Chocolate Coconut Pancakes

1/4 cup Ricotta Cheese (I used whole milk ricotta)
1/4 cup Cottage Cheese (I used pre-mixed Pineapple Cottage Cheese)
1 Egg
3 Tablespoons Whole Wheat Flour (I use Arrowhead Mills Multigrain Pancake Mix)
1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Chocolate Pudding Mix, dry
1 Tablespoon (plus 1 Tablespoon for sprinkling) Unsweetened Coconut, toasted

Toast unsweetened coconut in a 350 oven for a few minutes stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Whiz ingredients in mini food processor. Spray pan with non-stick spray. Cook on low till golden, add an additional sprinkle of toasted cocounut, flip. Cook till done. Serve each pancake with a drizzle of SF Maple Syrup (I use Cary's). Makes 4 small pancakes (pictured) or 8 silver dollar size.

You can add a drop of SF Almond Torani Syrup or almond extract to make them "Almond Joy" Pancakes or top them with sliced bananas to make "Chocolate Monkey" Pancakes. Yum.

These 1/2 cottage cheese, 1/2 ricotta pancakes are my new favorite way to make pancakes. My pal Doris (Darsi at OH) came up with a great name for them "Ricottage Pancakes." Thank you because 1/2 cottage and 1/2 ricotta was a mouthful.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Stuffed Pizza Bites

A combination of two past bite incarnations Pizza Bite meets Bruschetta Bite. That sounds like one of those Japanese creature movies. Godzilla meets Mothra or whatever. Seriously, I know I have said this before but these might be my favorite version of these little suckers.


Shelly's Stuffed Pizza Bites

1/2 Yellow Onion, diced
3 Green Onions, diced
4 Mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Butter
12 thin slices Pepperoni, diced (I used Boar's Head)
1 Tablespoon Fresh Basil, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
a few twists of Black Pepper
5 Eggs, beaten
1/2 cup Bruschetta Sauce, drained of excess liquid (I used Trader Joe's but Contadina & Buitoni make one too - find in the fresh pasta section)
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
Small fresh Mozzarella balls (nickle size, halfed)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Saute onions in butter till golden. Add mushrooms and garlic and saute 1 minute more. Set aside to cool. Mix all ingredients together (except mozzarella balls.) Be sure veggie mixture has cooled slightly before adding to egg mixture. Spoon (I use a small ice cream scoop) into a lightly greased mini muffin tin (I use a drop of olive oil on a paper towel to swipe each muffin hole.) Insert 1/2 small fresh mozzarella ball in the middle of each bite. Bake for 30 minutes. Makes 24.

Serving suggestion: Serve with a green salad or a scoop of Shelly's Italian Bean Salad for a great light Italian themed meal. They make a great weight loss surgery friendly meal or party appetizer. Very kid friendly too.




Looking for more bites? I have like 47 versions ;)
Use the Eggface Search Engine <--- under my Before and After picture.
Type in keyword: Bites

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Great start

What an awesome way to start Earth Day. It's an adaptation of my Best Breakfast Ever. Instead of grated apple I used some of the gorgeous berries I bought at the Farmer's Market this weekend.

Shopping at a Farmer's Market is a great way to celebrate Earth Day all year by supporting local growers and producers of food and products. Click on the Farmer's Market link above for more reasons why FM's rock and to find one in your area.


Shelly's Berry Oatmeal

1 cup Oatmeal (McCann's Steel Cut Quick Cook Irish Oatmeal accept no substitute)
2 1/3 cups Water
Pinch of Salt
1/4 cup Fresh Berries (I used a combo of raspberries and blueberries)
1/3 cup Milk (I use vanilla soy milk)
1/2 teaspoon Butter

Splash Vanilla Soymilk
Drizzle SF Maple Syrup
Strawberries, Sliced

Combine the oatmeal, water and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add berries. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the milk and butter. Stir well and cook for 1 minute. Serve immediately with a drizzle of SF maple syrup, some sliced strawberries and little more milk. I use Cary's Sugar Free Maple Syrup.



Some more ways to celebrate Earth Day:

Plant a tree!
Carry a cloth bag when grocery shopping.
Avoid items that come in lots of packaging.
Buy a reusable drink container and don't use disposable plates or cutlery.
Learn about product exchange communities like Freecycle.org
Ride a bicycle or walk to work or to run errands.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Birthday Pie

I think I've mentioned my childhood neighbor Mrs. B before... she was my inspiration to start entering cooking contests.

When I was a kid I remember being her guinea pig and taste testing different versions of the same recipe and I would have to give my opinion in detail as to why I preferred one over the other. She is an awesome cook. She won contests all the time and back then the prizes were stoves and refrigerators so her garage was literally full of new appliances. She put ads in the paper, sold them and used the money to go on exotic vacations. She's a character. 81 years old and going strong.

Anyway, I didn't really like birthday cake as a kid. What a really wanted each year was a Mrs. B's coconut cream pie. It was the bomb. So she'd make me that each year and I'd get a meatball pizza from Brother's Four. Sheer kid heaven.

(left to right) Mrs. B., my Dad, and me (9 years old) licking the candles stuck in my Coconut Cream Birthday Pie


The other day I had this incredible craving for coconut cream pie... alas Jello does not make a SF coconut cream version. I decided to make my own. This rocks! Not quite Mrs. B's pie but a pretty good alternative.

Shelly's Coconut Cream Pie Pudding

1 Vanilla Sugar Free Pudding Cup
1 teaspoon Sugar Free Coconut Torani Syrup
1 Tablespoon Unsweetened Coconut, toasted

Toast unsweetened coconut (available at health food stores, organic markets or online) on a cookie sheet in a 350 oven for a few minutes till golden stirring every minute or so. Set aside to cool. Store cooled, extra coconut in a Tupperware. Unsweetened coconut tastes so much better and waaaaay more coco-nutty then that sweetened shredded stuff we are used to.

Mix SF syrup and toasted coconut into pudding cup. Empty into a glass parfait dish and sprinkle with additional toasted coconut. I sometimes sprinkle a few walnuts on top. If you want to be really good you could throw a spoon of vanilla protein powder in.

Voila. An easy, super yummy (and for me nostalgic) weight loss surgery friendly dessert.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

In the mood for dessert

It was my usual Saturday. I hit the Farmer's Market and scored some awesome fresh fruits and veggies. It should be a fun cooking week. I bought leeks, garlic, onions, spinach, a cauliflower, some baby bok choy, sugar snap peas, all the berries were stellar so I loaded up on those and a few gorgeous Pink Lady apples. Then I stopped at Winco and bought more ricotta cheese so expect a few more incarnations of those 1/2 and 1/2 pancakes from yesterday.

I came home and made a batch of these for dessert.


Shelly's Baked Strawberry Apple Crumb with Caramel Drizzle

2 small Apples, chopped
4-5 Big Ripe Strawberries, diced
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Torani Syrup

Topping
1/3 cup Raw Almonds
1/3 cup Steel Cut Oats
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Torani Syrup
1 Tablespoon Almond Butter
1 Tablespoon Cold Butter

Caramel Drizzle (optional)
Smucker's makes a SF Caramel Sauce

Peel and chop apples. Toss with strawberries, SF syrup and cinnamon and fill 4-4 oz. ramekins. Set aside.

Whiz almonds in a mini food processor till fine. Add the rest of the ingredients and whiz again till thoroughly mixed. Sprinkle clumps of the topping equally over each ramekin of fruit. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until golden.

Drizzle caramel sauce over cooling crumbs. Serve hot or cold. I prefer them cold.


Seriously NO ONE who has eaten one of these can tell there is no added sugar and no white flour.

Another weight loss surgery friendly apple dessert:

Shelly's Caramel Apple Ricotta Custard

Friday, April 18, 2008

In my garden: the first roses of 2008

The 90 degree weather we had this week woke up the roses...




Tropical Pancakes

I made a batch of pancakes this morning. This time I used half ricotta and half cottage cheese and I think it's the perfect combo.

Ricotta pancakes = dense
Cottage cheese pancakes = crepe-like
The combo of the two = just right

I loved the combo of flavors orange, lemon, pineapple and coconut. Very tropical.


Shelly's Tropical Pancakes

1/4 cup Ricotta Cheese (I used whole milk ricotta)
1/4 cup Cottage Cheese (I used pre-mixed Pineapple Cottage Cheese)
1 Egg
3 Tablespoons Whole Wheat Flour (I use Arrowhead Mills Multigrain Pancake Mix)
1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Lemon Pudding Mix, dry
1 Tablespoon (plus 1 Tablespoon for sprinkling) Unsweetened Coconut, toasted

Topping
1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Orange Marmalade (I use Smucker's Simply Fruit), nuked

Whiz in mini food processor. Spray pan with non-stick spray. Cook on low till golden, sprinkle with additional toasted coconut, flip. Cook till done. Nuke SF Orange Marmalade for 25 seconds so it drizzles well. Serve each pancake with a drizzle of warmed marmalade. Makes 4 small pancakes (pictured) or 8 silver dollar size.


I toasted the unsweetened coconut (available at health food stores, organic markets or online) on a cookie sheet in a 350 oven for a few minutes till golden stirring every minute or so. Store extra coconut in a tupperware.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Pastaless 'cause that's how I roll

Dinner last night... soooo good. Pre-op I would have made something like this and served it on top of a pile of pasta. So not needed and better than that... not missed! This is all the "good stuff" from the top of a yummy pasta dish without the filler. Trust me, make it.


Shelly's Basil Primavera Casserole

1 cup Chicken, boneless, skinless breasts diced 1" cubes
1 yellow Onion, diced
3 green Onions, diced
4-5 fresh Mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves Garlic, diced
3-4 baby Zucchinis, sliced
1 Tablespoon Fresh Basil, chopped
2 Tablespoons Store bought Pesto Sauce
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
a few twists of Black Pepper
1 - 13.75 oz can Artichoke Hearts, non marinated, diced
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
2 Tablespoons Flour
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 cup Chicken Broth
1/4 cup Shredded Italian 4 Cheese Blend
Oil/butter for sauteing

Saute chicken till golden. Set aside. Saute onions and mushrooms till golden. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add zucchini, turn to low heat and cover for 5 minutes. Stirring once or twice. Add artichoke hearts, seasonings, parmesan and chicken and stir to combine.

Make a well add butter and flour and cook for 1 minute. Add broth. When thickened and bubbly pour into a Pyrex casserole dish. Top with shredded cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until golden.

Who needs pasta?! More Eggface pasta-less alternatives:

Shelly's Grilled Veggie Lasagna
Shelly's Pesto Chicken and Veggies
Shelly's Chicken Cacciatore with Beans
Shelly's Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bruschetta Bites with a surprise

A blog reader asked me to make a "bites" version with a "surprise in the middle" so per her request this is what I came up with. These are soooo good. They reminded me of those "stuffed crust" pizzas.

I served the bites with a variation on my Italian Bean Salad. I was out of tomatoes so I added sliced Sicilian and Kalamata olives instead.


Shelly's Bruschetta Bites

5 Green Onions, diced
1/2 Yellow Onion, diced
2 cloves of Garlic, diced
1 teaspoon Butter
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
a few twists of Black Pepper
1/2 cup Bruschetta Sauce, drained of excess liquid (I used Trader Joe's but Contadina & Buitoni make one too - find in the fresh pasta section)
5 Eggs, beaten
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
1 Tablespoon fresh Basil, chopped
Small fresh Mozzarella balls (nickle size)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Saute onions in butter till golden. Add garlic cook 1 minute more. Set aside to cool.

Mix all ingredients together. Be sure veggie mixture has cooled slightly before adding to egg mixture. Spoon (I use a small ice cream scoop) into a lightly greased mini muffin tin.

I made half the batch with a surprise middle by inserting 1 small fresh mozzarella ball in the middle. Bake for 30 minutes. Makes 24.




Other Eggface "Bites" (think crustless quiches):

Shelly's Beef Fiesta Bites
Shelly's Italian Crab Bites
Shelly's Breakfast Bites
Shelly's Pizza Bites
Shelly's Bacon & Swiss Bites

Shelly's Spinach & Feta Bites (vegetarian)
Shelly's Artichoke Florentine Bites (vegetarian)
Shelly's Zucchini Bites (vegetarian)
Shelly's Mushroom Bites (vegetarian)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ricotta works too!

These totally reminded me of something my Sicilian grandmother made...


Shelly's Ricotta Cheese Lemon Pancakes with Orange Marmalade

1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese (I used whole milk ricotta)
1 Egg
3 Tablespoons Whole Wheat Flour (I use Arrowhead Mills Multigrain Pancake Mix)
1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Lemon Pudding Mix, dry
1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Orange Marmalade (I use Smucker's Simply Fruit), nuked

Whiz in mini food processor. Spray pan with non-stick spray. Cook on low till golden, flip. Cook till done. Nuke SF Orange Marmalade for 25 seconds so it drizzles well. Serve each pancake with a drizzle of warmed marmalade. Makes 4 small pancakes (pictured) or 8 silver dollar size.

Differences from the cottage cheese version:

Tastes different (denser) - both are yummy
Ricotta pancakes are sturdier and easier to flip
No bubbles appear on ricotta version so easy to burn if you don't watch


Me and my Sicilian Grandmother.
I'm styling some pretty groovy 1970's pants.

Monday, April 14, 2008

New! Strawberry Mango Protein Smoothie

When the weather gets hot I really crave these frosty protein smoothies.


Shelly's Strawberry Mango Protein Smoothie

8 oz. water or 4 oz. soy milk/4 oz. water
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1/4 cup frozen mango chunks
3 whole strawberries

Place water in the blender first, then powder, then additions. Blend on low then high till well blended.

More of My Favorite Protein Shake Recipes and here's some protein tips for those of you who are having problems with shakes.

Can't finish your shake? Make some of these yummy protein popsicles.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Crab Stuffed Mushroom Bake

So I had every intention of making my Crab Stuffed Mushrooms but when I looked at my mushrooms they were slightly smaller than I like for stuffing so I decided to turn the individual stuffed mushrooms recipe into a "bake."

I scooped it and served it like a casserole with a salad but for non-ops it would be killer smeared on toasted Italian bread (like a Mushroom Bruschetta) and toss it in the food processor and it would be very tasty during the soft/pureed stage. I was always looking for savory things during that stage. There is only so much flipping sugar free pudding a person can consume.


Shelly's Crab Stuffed Mushroom Bake

3 cups Fresh Mushrooms, diced (I used a combo of White & Crimini)
1 small Yellow Onion, chopped fine
2 Green Onions, diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 6 oz. can Crab Meat, drained
1/3 cup Mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon Prepared Horseradish
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons Italian Blend Cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Italian Style Dry Breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
a few twists of Black Pepper

Cook onions till golden. Add the garlic and chopped mushrooms. Saute about 3 minutes till mushrooms go limp. Set aside and allow to cool.


Mix crab, mayonnaise, horseradish, cheeses (less 2 Tablespoons), bread crumbs, and seasoning. Mix cooled veggies in. Stir till well combined. Spoon into a Pyrex casserole dish. Sprinkle with reserved cheese and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.


I served the Crab Stuffed Mushroom Bake with a baby spinach salad with dried cranberries, sliced almonds, and a balsamic vinaigrette. It was super yummy and since it was 93 degrees (yeah 93 that's no typo, supposed to be hotter manana) we ate it outside on the patio. I really need to get out there and give some love to the patio... you know hose off the tables and chairs and sweep cobwebs and all that. Make it all puuuurty for the summer. Ehh, add it to the list.

Edited to add: I wrote this entry yesterday. It was hotter today... 95! and well you all know how I spent my day and it wasn't cleaning the patio so it's leftover casserole tonight on the still dirty patio ;)

I will never learn.

I should have applied sunscreen. Rock Lobster down down down.

Despite my current painful condition it was a fun day. Crashing waves, good tunes, tasty snacks, fun exercise, fed the squirrels despite the new fancy sign saying it's against the law. Yeah. whatever. I'm a rebel.

Here's some photos...




It was 95 and breezy hence the wilder than usual wild mane.

Procrastination

Yes. I need to do my taxes. Yes. I am aware it is April 13th. Yes. I need to plant the garden, clean the patio, get rid of this clutter surrounding my desk, answer a bunch of emails and phone calls, pay some bills, run a bunch of errands and about 20 other random things on my ever growing list.

So what am I doing today...

I am going to the beach. Hello I'm Eggface, the Princess of Procrastination.

My Ipod is charged, a stack of magazines thrown in a bag, I've got snacks. I'm going to stare at the beautiful Pacific Ocean and contemplate life.

Because life is short.


P.S. Come back tonight I have some yummy food porn I'm putting up

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Healthy Breakfast Recipes: Strawberry Cheesecake Pancakes

I bought the most wonderful strawberries at the Farmer's Market this morning. I made these pancakes yesterday with store bought strawberries. Last Saturday I was in Mexico getting my stitches removed so I missed out getting my super fresh produce at the Farmer's Market. The pancakes were super yummy but I'm sure they would be unbelievable with little gems I bought today. I may have to make these again tonight for dessert or maybe for Sunday morning breakfast.

Low Carb Fitness Health Weight Loss Bariatric Surgery WLS VSG RNY

Shelly's Strawberry Cheesecake Cottage Cheese Pancakes

1/2 cup Cottage Cheese (I use pre-mixed cottage cheese with pineapple)
1 Egg
3 Tablespoons Multigrain Pancake Mix
1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Cheesecake Pudding Mix, dry
4 Red Ripe Strawberries, Sliced
1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Strawberry Jam (I used Smucker's Simply Fruit), warmed

Whiz in mini food processor. Spray pan with non-stick spray. Cook on low till bubbles appear, press a slice of strawberry into each pancake, flip. Cook till done. Serve each pancake with a drizzle of SF Strawberry Jam that has been warmed for 30 seconds in the microwave. Makes 4 small pancakes (pictured) or 8 silver dollar size.

These are very tender pancakes so smaller is better for flipping. They won't get any style points but they taste yummy.

Not into strawberries? Try one of my other pancake variations (including a savory pancake):

Shelly's Cottage Cheese Lemon Pancakes with Orange Marmalade
Shelly's Leprechaun Pancakes
Shelly's Banana Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Sliced Strawberries
Shelly's Potato-less Potato Pancakes (savory)
Shelly's Blueberry Pineapple Cottage Cheese Pancakes
Shelly's Chocolate Monkey Pancakes
Shelly's White Chocolate Raspberry Cottage Cheese Pancakes
Shelly's Caramel Apple Cottage Cheese Pancakes

More Eggface Pancakes

It was a beautiful morning for the market. I picked up a few heirloom tomato plants, onions, garlic, zucchini, raspberries, blueberries, the awesome strawberries and a loaf of Austrian fruit bread for my Mum. If you click on the Farmer's Market link in this post you can search by zip code for a FM in your area. I highly recommend it. You'd be amazed at the difference in taste.

So the plan was to do some planting today but the wind is really kicking up and I feel like crap so I'll procrastinate that till tomorrow and today will be spent curled up with a heating pad catching up on my 3 taped episodes of "The Hills" (my guilty pleasure.)

Of course the day wouldn't be complete without a little fun in the kitchen. I'm making a batch of my Crab Stuffed Mushrooms for dinner. Yum. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Discontinued. Whatever.

So a few weeks ago Starbuck's announced that they were axing all of their breakfast sandwiches including my beloved Breakfast Wrap - the spinach, egg, feta cheese, and roasted tomatoes on a whole wheat tortilla. It was a reasonable 240 calories with 13 g. protein. ($3.25) I liked it because any city I traveled to in America had a Starbuck's so I always knew there was a cheap, tasty source of quick protein. Apparently the scent of the breakfast sandwiches interfered with the coffee aroma. CEO's of major companies make me laugh. I picture a bunch of old men sitting around a board room table arguing over the competing smell of a breakfast sandwich. Dude, your companies issues aren't about how your store smells it's that you charge $4 for a cup of coffee in a tanked economy.

My local Starbuck's still has a few of my wraps and will be apparently selling them until the supply runs out but it's only a matter of time before my Saturday morning after the Farmer's Market treat goes the way of the dodo. So I decided I would try and recreate the wrap at home.

Well all is right with the world again because the one I made the other morning is sooooo much better than Starbucks. Proving once again homemade is always best!

To jog your memory here's the Starbuck's version.

and here's mine...


Shelly's Starbuck's Breakfast Wrap (but Better)

12 Fresh Spinach Leaves, torn
2 Eggs, beaten
2 Fresh Mushrooms (sliced)
2 Tablespoons Feta Cheese, Crumbled
2 Tablespoons Trader Joe's Bruschetta Sauce (jarred)
Mission Carb Balance Whole Wheat Fajita Size Tortillas
Butter

Saute spinach and mushrooms in butter. Add beaten eggs. Scramble till not quite done. Spoon onto tortillas. Top with feta and Trader Joe's bruschetta sauce (I believe Contadina and Buitoni make a version too). Roll tortilla up. Place on George Foreman Grill (or Panini Grill) that has been sprayed with some non-stick spray or wiped with butter. Place lid down and cook for 5 minutes or until golden. Makes 2 Wraps.



Note: It's not your imagination the Starbuck's version does not have mushrooms but I heart them so in mine there is fungus! Feel free to remove.


While we are on the subject of Starbucks...

What does your Starbuck's order say about you???

Consult the Starbuck's Oracle.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Mushroom Bites

I made these last night for dinner. I love this combo of mushrooms, thyme and gruyere. If you can't find gruyere you can substitute swiss cheese. These were so good but seriously you can toss pretty much anything into these bites. I haven't had a failure yet.

They are one of my favorite post weight loss surgery meals with a scoop of my Italian Bean Salad. If you aren't into "fungus" check out my other bites below.


Shelly's Mushroom Bites

5 Green Onions, diced
8 Mushrooms, diced (I used a combo of Crimini and White)
1 teaspoon Butter
1/2 teaspoon dried Thyme
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
a few twists of Black Pepper
1/3 cup Tomato, diced (I used S&W canned, drained)
5 Eggs, beaten
1/2 cup Gruyere, shredded (If you can't find Gruyere substitute Swiss)
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated

Preheat oven to 350 F. Saute onions and mushrooms in butter till golden. Set aside to cool.

Mix all ingredients together. Be sure veggie mixture has cooled slightly before adding to egg mixture. Spoon (I use a small ice cream scoop) into a lightly greased mini muffin tin. Bake for 30 minutes or until centers are firm. Makes 24.


Serve as a weight loss surgery friendly appetizer, light meal with a salad, or breakfast. These particular bites are great if you have vegetarian friends coming over.

Other Eggface "Bites" (think crustless quiches):

Shelly's Beef Fiesta Bites
Shelly's Italian Crab Bites
Shelly's Breakfast Bites
Shelly's Pizza Bites
Shelly's Bacon & Swiss Bites

Shelly's Spinach & Feta Bites (vegetarian)
Shelly's Artichoke Florentine Bites (vegetarian)
Shelly's Zucchini Bites (vegetarian)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Caramel Apple Pancakes

OK I think I found my favorite version of these suckers. It's all about nostalgia man. When I was little and shoot through my college years whenever I had friend's spend the night my Mom would wake us up with a batch of apple pancakes. There's something about warm apple and maple syrup. Bonus: it makes the house smell yummy too! Hope you enjoy them.


Shelly's Caramel Apple Cottage Cheese Pancakes

1/2 cup Cottage Cheese (I use pre-mixed cottage cheese with pineapple)
1 Egg
3 Tablespoons Whole Wheat Flour (I use Arrowhead Mills Multigrain Pancake Mix)
1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Butterscotch Pudding Mix, dry
1/2 Small Apple, sliced very thin
Sugar Free Maple Syrup

Whiz in mini food processor. Spray pan with non-stick spray. Cook on low till bubbles appear, press very thin slices of apple into each pancake, flip. Cook till done. Serve each pancake with a drizzle of SF Maple Syrup (I use Cary's) Makes 4 small pancakes (pictured) or 8 silver dollar size.

These are very tender pancakes so smaller is better for flipping. They won't get any style points but they taste yummy.

You'll flip for these other Eggface Pancake creations:

Shelly's Cottage Cheese Lemon Pancakes with Orange Marmalade
Shelly's Leprechaun Pancakes
Shelly's Banana Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Sliced Strawberries
Shelly's Potato-less Potato Pancakes
Shelly's Blueberry Pineapple Cottage Cheese Pancakes
Shelly's Chocolate Monkey Pancakes
Shelly's White Chocolate Raspberry Cottage Cheese Pancakes

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Leftovers rock & a HUGE WOW

Mini Mexican Meatloaf leftovers transformed...


Shelly's Mexican Meatloaf Minestrone

1 Yellow Onion, chopped
3 Green Onions, diced
3 small Leeks, chopped (white and light green parts only)
2 cloves of Garlic, Minced
4 small Zucchini (or Yellow Squash or combo), sliced
1 - 15 oz. can Black Beans, drained
1 - 14.5 oz. can Chopped Tomatoes, with liquid
3 cups Chicken Broth
3 Leftover Mini Mexican Meatloaves, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
a few twists of Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Fresh Cilantro, chopped
Olive Oil
Butter

To garnish:
Sliced Avocado
Crumbled Cotija Cheese or Casero (Queso Fresco) Cheese cubes

Saute onions and leeks in a combo of oil & butter till golden in a large lidded stock pot. Add zucchini and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes. Add crumbled meatloaf, tomatoes, broth, beans, salt & pepper. Simmer on low with lid on for 30 minutes. In the last 5 minutes add chopped cilantro. Garnish with avocado and cheese.


OK my HUGE WOW... My weekly weigh-in day is Tuesday which was my original RNY surgery day. I am no longer trying to lose just hold on to what I've accomplished so I still weigh in and chart once a week. It's about staying on track... pre-op I stayed away from the scale for too many years not wanting to confirm the numbers. I don't obsess on the number I see I just like to keep on the ball. Anyway, this week I lost 2 pounds. I did a ton of walking in Mexico so I wasn't surprised. My Mum weighs in each week too and she gained 2 pounds. She had a carby week there was a sale on her favorite muffins at the market. So for once in my life...

We are the exact same weight!

When I was heavy people would assume my parents were heavy and I would say, "Oh no my Mom is skinny" So it is beyond cool to be the same size as my "skinny Mum." She's super active and has the metabolism of a 14 year old boy (I did not inherit this, dammit) and will drop her 2 added pounds by tomorrow morning but for today ;) we are the same. I'm not her "big girl" or her "heavy daughter." None of which she ever called me but friends and family would label me. It's nice to just be her daughter.

Just when you think the WOW's are over. I am blessed with another.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Pancakes for Breakfast: White Chocolate Raspberry

A day that starts with pancakes is always a good day. Here's a healthy breakfast recipe that would be great in soft food stage as they are super tender/soft and protein packed...

Weight Loss Surgery Soft Foods Protein Recipes Cooking Menus Gastric Bypass VSG WLS RNY Sleeve
Shelly's White Chocolate Raspberry Cottage Cheese Pancakes

1/2 cup Cottage Cheese (I use pre-mixed cottage cheese with pineapple)
1 Egg
3 Tablespoons Multigrain Pancake Mix
1 Tablespoon Sugar Free White Chocolate Pudding Mix, dry
12-15 Fresh Raspberries
1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Raspberry Jam (I use Smucker's Simply Fruit), nuked

Whiz in mini food processor. Spray pan with nonstick spray. Cook on low till bubbles appear, press 2 halved raspberries into each pancake, flip. Cook till done. Nuke SF Raspberry Jam for 25 seconds so it drizzles well. Serve each pancake with a drizzle of warmed jam and more fresh raspberries. Makes 4 small pancakes (pictured) or 8 silver dollar size.

These are very tender pancakes so smaller is better for flipping. They won't get any style points but they taste yummy. You could also do 1/2 cottage cheese, 1/2 ricotta cheese or all ricotta cheese (a little firmer)

You'll flip for these other Eggface Pancake creations:

Shelly's Cottage Cheese Lemon Pancakes with Orange Marmalade
Shelly's Leprechaun Pancakes
Shelly's Banana Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Sliced Strawberries
Shelly's Potato-less Potato Pancakes
Shelly's Blueberry Pineapple Cottage Cheese Pancakes
Shelly's Chocolate Monkey Pancakes

More Eggface Pancakes

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Back from Mexico and Mexican Inspired Mini Meatloaf

I'm back from my 13 hour adventure. Yesterday I left at 5AM. I had a 10 o'clock post-op check-up and stitch removal. I literally ran across the border, jumped in a cab and made it to the clinic with 2 minutes to spare. Whew.

I AM STITCH FREE. Woo Hoo!

Dr. Quiroz says I'm still real swollen but "looking good" so that's good. They are really bruised (yellow) and they hurt like a you-know-what. My boobs hurt the worst last round too. Apparently my boobs don't take to kindly to having their nipples removed and sewn back on twice. Owww.

I had a consult regarding my inner thighs. I actually met another of Dr. Q's patients and saw her thigh scars. That was helpful and much better than pictures. It will be awhile before I can a.) afford it and b.) have the desire to be sliced open again. Hmmm... does one ever have this desire??? Well OK, here's a better b.) till I get so sick of looking at my elephant skin wrinkled thighs that I am willing to endure the pain again.

I love Mexico. Despite having to stand in line for 2 1/2 hours to cross back into the US (I only do this when I'm healthy newly post-op I get a driver to take me back over) I was thoroughly entertained by the sites, sounds and smells (both good and bad). Some highlights were the Mariachi's that serenaded the line for coins and the smell of fresh made churros cinnamon donuts bubbling away in oil (no I don't indulge but the yummy sniffs are free.)

Cooking Street Vendors Tijuana
Oh yeah I had a mini wow moment at the border... the Border Agent took a double take at my passport photo and said, "Wow, what did you do?" I said, "I went to Ensenada and had gastric bypass surgery. That's 147 pounds heavier" He said, "You look incredible. You need to get a new passport now." I said, "Thanks. It expires next year I was trying to hold out." He laughed.

So in honor of my love of Mexico I made a mini Mexican meatloaf. Hope you like it.

Shelly's Mexican Mini Meatloaf

1 1/2-1 3/4 pounds Ground Beef
1/4 cup Italian Style Dry Breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Milk
1/2 cup Mexican Cheese, shredded (I used a combo of Co-Jack and Asadero Cheese)
2 Eggs, beaten
1 Yellow Onion, diced
3 Green Onions, diced
2 cloves Garlic, diced
1 can (4 oz.) Mild Green Chilis (I used Ortega), diced
3 oz. Carrot, shredded
1 teaspoon Southwest Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
2 Tablespoons fresh Cilantro, chopped
a few twists Black Pepper

Saute onions till golden. Add garlic and green chilis cook 1 minute. Set aside to cool. Soak breadcrumbs in milk for 1 minute. Beat eggs. Add eggs and soaked breadcrumbs to ground beef. Add cooled veggies, carrots, seasonings, cheese. Mix till combined. Divide into 8 equal mounds. Form into mini meatloaves.

Low Carb Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve VSG RNY Food Recipes Menu Cooking
If you have this super groovy pan like me use it. Bake for 45 minutes in a 350 oven.

Low Carb Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve VSG RNY Food Recipes Menu Cooking
I served the mini meatloaf with a side of sauteed zucchini, yellow squash & mushrooms and a dollop of a dipping sauce that I made with Fage Greek Yogurt.

Shelly's Spicy Yogurt Dipping Sauce

1/2 cup Fage Greek Yogurt (I buy the 2%)
2 Tablespoons Taco Seasoning Powder (the kind in the envelope)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
a few twists of Black Pepper.

Mix together and let sit for a few minutes in the fridge. Great dip for beef, fish, chicken, or veggies.

I get a lot of questions about how I use leftovers. This recipe is a good example of what I do... it makes 8 mini loaves so after 1 dinner and 1 lunch from it for the family I crumbled up the three remaining and froze them and am going to drop them into a pot of Mexican Minestrone later this week. I'll post the FP (food porn) for sure.