What a year!

The great thing about blogging is that you can look back at your entries from the same time last year and see how far you've come. Yeah soooo the bad thing about blogging is that you can look back at your entries from the same time last year and see how far you've come. ;)

I don't make resolutions. I just make lists of things I would like to see happen. Looking back at last year's list only 1 of the 3 happened. I could get all depressed and negative about this or I could just start this year's list with those items and move forward...

Things I'm hoping happen in 2008:

* Find inner peace and happiness ("Be more chill")
* Find my true love (soft spoken, quirky, loyal, smart, funny man are you out there?)
* Continue to live a healthy lifestyle
* Be a better person (anger less, smile more, help more, it's all about the Karma, baby.)

My 2007 item accomplished: healthier and cuter :) Thanks to a Dr. Q and a little nip & tuck.

Happy New Year to my cyber pals and those of you I have the pleasure of having in my real world.

May your 2008 be one of the best year's of your life!

Here's what I'm doing tonight...

Watching Dick Clark and snacking on some weight loss surgery friendly party snacks.

Veggies (Cukes, Tomatoes, Broccoli, Carrots, Celery) & Dips (Ranch Dip and Eggplant Spread)
Cold Cut Roll-ups (Chicken and Cheddar and Chicken and Swiss, Prosciutto, Mozzarella, and Basil)
Pesto Parmesan Peanuts and Sun Dried Tomato Ranch Peanuts

A glass of Almond Champagne

Ohhh and 12 Raisins... toss them in your mouth at the stroke of midnight. For every raisin that you get in your mouth that will be one month of good luck in the coming year. I practiced this yesterday. First raisin score right in the mouth, second raisin bam right in my eye. What does that mean?!?! LOL.

Hoping for a better outcome tonight.

My Saturday

I went to the Farmer's Market today and got stocked up on fresh veggies. I love walking around the market. It always inspires me. The farmer's tell you about their products and cool ways to prepare them. I love the Garlic Guy, this long haired hippie dude who is seriously passionate about garlic. I mean seriously passionate. You can just see him glow when he talks about the different varieties and dishes he's made with them. You never see that kind of passion from the produce guy at the supermarket. That's the secret to life. Find something that makes you glow... and if you can get paid for it too that's all the better.

After the market I took Mum to breakfast. Well Starbuck's. I had one of those Egg, Feta, Spinach Whole Wheat Wraps and my usual Tall SF Cinnamon Dolce Soy Latte with no whippage. Then I went and got a pedicure and manicure. Soooooo needed. My feet looked like hell. I live in flip flops and my heels pay the price. So now my friends in New York don't have to be scared if I take of my shoes.

I finally got home. I put all the goodies from the FM away... fresh spinach, heirloom garlic, onions, brussel sprouts, persimmons, pears and a loaf of Cinnamon Raisin Nut bread for my Mom. I watched "Under the Tuscan Sun" again for like the 15th time. I heart that movie. Every time I turn on the TV lately it's either Moonstruck, Forrest Gump or that. I surfed the net for awhile and then went outside to make dinner. It was chilly out tonight. Ummm but not as chilly as it will be in NY. I looked at LI's 10 day forecast and one day it said Low 22 degrees OMG!?! I hope those Uggs I bought do the job.

Anyway I sat outside in the chilly 55 degrees, watched the sunset and BBQ'd Shrimp Scampi Skewers. Yum. I served them with TJ's Roasted Corn (frozen section) which I made elote style by adding a teaspoon of mayo and tons of crumbled Cotija Cheese. I know it sounds strange but trust me it is awesome. Try it.

Highlights of the day:

* My feet feel heavenly.

* Mmmm this yummy cup of coffee I am sipping on as I type this. When was I was at Starbuck's I stocked up on my favorite SF Cinnamon Dolce Syrup for home. They sell the syrups BTW you just have to ask at the counter.

* Dinner was tasty. Easy and tasty. What could be better?

Listening to: "Keep Holding On" Avril Lavigne

Beach snack

I made a batch of this on Christmas Day for our annual beach picnic.

Shelly's Italian Cracker Jack

1 bag Orville Redenbacher Smart Pop 100 calorie (mini bag)
3 Tablespoons Parmesan Pesto Peanuts
2 Tablespoons freshly Grated Parmesan

Pop popcorn as directed. While warm add cheese and nuts. I divided the mixture into 2 brown paper lunch bags. I stapled them shut, gave them a good shake and took them to the beach.

Here are the peanuts I used:

I've also used the Sun-Dried Tomato Ranch flavor. They both rock!

My thoughts on popcorn post-op.

Christmas Day at the Beach

See I'm not the only one who goes to the beach Christmas Day...

It was a beautiful day (65 degrees). The Broomstick Surfer was there. We listened to Christmas tunes on the car radio. Watched little kids dig big holes and people attempt to fly kites. I breathed deeply and watched the crashing waves of the mighty blue Pacific. An awesome day. Oh we ate snacks too: Curry Chicken Salad. I make a change in the original recipe. I've been doing 1/2 mayo, 1/2 Fage lately. It's lighter, the yogurt gives it a nice zing, and Fage is great protein. I made little bags of Popcorn with Parmesan & Basil Pesto Peanuts (I'm calling it Shelly's Italian Cracker Jack), and for dessert a couple of Sugar Free Chick-O-Stick Nuggets and Coffee with Almond Roca Sugar Free Syrup. Yum.

I'm still hurting with a migraine from hell. I just took a leftover Mexican pain pill (Tramadol). Let us see if it touches it.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Old School Candy

Sugar Free Chick-O-Stick Nuggets

Remember these? Butterfinger-esque crunchy peanut butter and toasted coconut candies. They were long cigar like sticks. They come in a Sugar Free version (nugget size) and they taste just like I remember the originals. I found them in bulk at my local supermarket but if you can't find them locally the company that makes them has an online store.

Here's the Nut facts on them:

Serving Size 3 pieces (18g)
Calories 50 Calories
Total Fat 2.5g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 35mg
Total Carbohydrate 14g
Sugars 0g
Sugar Alcohols 10g
Protein 1g

Sweeteners: Acesulfame Potassium and sucralose (SPLENDA Brand)

Merry Christmas - Postponed

Eggface Christmas Tree 2007

Merry Christmas friends!

I believe people come into your life for a reason and I'm glad we crossed life paths this year.

I hope Santa brings you your heart's desire and that 2008 is the beginning of the best years of your life!

With many cyber hugs,
~Michelle (Eggface)

Today we go to the beach. I so need it today. Longtime readers of Eggface know the beach is my refuge, my zen zone. I need some zen after yesterday. A normal Christmas Eve at the house of Eggface consists of oodles of cooking, music and fun. We celebrate the Feast of the 7 Fishes an all seafood feast.

I had just started the feast preparations when I logged on the Internet to check the shipping status of my hideously expensive laptop that was due to arrive yesterday. It said: delivered. Ummm nope. I looked at the signature because one was required and someone named Wendy had signed. No Wendy here. No Wendy neighbors. I call. Well almost 6 hours later (45 minutes on hold at one point, at least 20 "let me transfer you," lots of we will call you back in 1 hour which never happened, visits to my neighbors) a night supervisor tells me "yeah ummm the independent courier probably took it we have problems with those guys all the time" Seriously that's what he said?!?! oh and "Call Dell that's all you can do" which of course was closed for the holiday. I had thrown our feast in the freezer when I realized this would be an all day issue. So we made a Tortilla Pizza and called it a day.

I have a migraine but we are going to the beach. I am determined to have a better day today. I'm sipping a yummy cup of coffee and watching The Yule Log. Oh my Christmas wish is that DHL shipping goes out of business well that and Peace on Earth!

Chicken Pesto Tortilla Pizza

Leftover Chicken (shredded), Provolone, Pesto Sauce, Italian Seasoning, and a liberal sprinkling of Parmesan. I use Mission Brand Carb Balance Whole Wheat 6" Fajita Size Tortillas.

Haven't made a Tortilla Pizza yet? Here's the 411.

This was a great way to use up leftover chicken. 2 wedges and I was a stuffed piggy. Sooooo good. This would be a great appetizer for game night. I'm gonna try BBQ Chicken version next time.

Breakfast Tostada

Shelly's Breakfast Tostada

Take a Mission Brand Carb Balance Whole Wheat 6" Fajita Size Tortillas and top with scrambled egg with sauteed green onions and shredded cheese.

Saute chopped green onions in a little butter, oil or non-stick cooking spray till golden. Add beaten eggs. Scramble till almost done but still wet. Spoon egg onto tortillas that have been placed on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Sprinkle cheese on top. Give it a twist of freshly ground pepper. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes.

Before eating I gave it a couple of dashes of Cholula Hot Sauce for a little kick. You could use salsa or picante sauce. I'm going to make a version of this with refried beans smeared on the tortilla first. Mmmm or I'll change up the veggies (mushrooms, onion, diced zucchini) or the cheese maybe Feta for a Greek twist. The possibilities are endless. I'll let you know how they come out.

Meatballs 2 ways

My easy "I don't feel like cooking meal" usually starts out with Foster Farms Turkey Meatballs. Three meatballs are 18 g. protein.

Last night I used them in Meatballs Stroganoff and the day before they were the topping on a Tortilla Pizza. Yes, my homemade meatballs are 10x better but those are time consuming. These are quick, easy, tasty. Try them.


Shelly's Meatballs Stroganoff

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 Yellow Onion, diced
2 Green Onions, chopped
8 ounces fresh Mushrooms (preferably crimini), sliced
2 tablespoons Flour
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 1/2 cup Beef or Mushroom Broth,
2 Tablespoon flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon Dry Onion Soup Mix
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste.
1/2 cup Sour Cream

8-10 Turkey (or Beef Meatballs), cooked

Saute onions and mushrooms in olive oil till golden. Add butter and flour. Cook for 1 minute. Add broth, dry soup mix, salt & pepper. Bring to boil. Stir in sour cream and parsley. Drop cooked meatballs in sauce. Stir to coat and heat through.

Serve on top a bed of Cabbage (I boil it then lightly fry it till golden)


Meatball Tortilla Pizza topped with turkey meatballs, marinara, provolone, parmesan and Italian seasonings.

Holiday Fun Websites

After you have elfed yourself check out these other holiday cyber spots.

Create a snowflake I heart this.

Go play Christmasville

Forget to pick up gift tags?!? These by the Angry Chicken are hilarious.

For those with little ones:

Norad tracks Santa The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) tracks Santa's travels Christmas Eve. If you have kids this is a must click Christmas Eve. "Look Santa is on his way (the government says so) better go to bed!"

Holiday coloring pages Printable coloring pages.

All about Christmas traditions aka answers to all their questions.

You've come a long way baby...

I was just talking with a pal on OH and I realized it was the 18 month anniversary of my RNY today. Wow! 18 months and a day ago I was alone in an apartment in Ensenada, Mexico. I was afraid. I was afraid of dying (what would the people I left behind do), afraid of getting my guts rearranged (did it have to come to this?), afraid of losing "good food" and favorite dishes (my old friends), afraid of all that comes with weight loss surgery (puking, dumping, foamies, hair loss, all the horror stories). I was afraid but I felt that having weight loss surgery was my only hope and chance at a real life. I might die. True, but I was killing myself already. I had the meds (8 of them) and labs (high BP, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, GERD) to prove it. I wasn't really living "fat." My life was passing by and I was on the sidelines because I couldn't fit, I needed to sit down, I hurt, I was tired. I was committing suicide slowly by knife and fork. I needed to make a change. I needed a do-over. A second chance. I remember saying to myself well this is it. There is no turning back now.

I'm happy to say that most of the things I feared sitting in that apartment the night before my surgery were not nearly as bad as I thought they would be or never happened and then there were a few fears that came along I never even thought of (body image stuff and fear of failure.) So for those pre-ops reading this... I've been there, done that and have the 4X t-shirt to prove it and now... the medium one and the medium one and the LIFE that comes with it was worth it all (a couple of dumping episodes, 2 pukes, a few foamies, a couple of foods getting stuck, sleeping on my back for awhile, many many smelly farts, strange pains, the blues, a little weakness, trial & error eating, temporary hair loss, loose skin and now plastics... all of it)

Today is my 18 month anniversary and I am full of joy! For those of you about to begin this incredible journey I wish that for you. Oh and about losing "good food" ummm was I ever wrong.

You'll flip for them

When you are jonesing for a short stack at your local greasy spoon make one of these instead. Yum!

Cottage Cheese Pancakes (with a tropical twist)

1/2 cup Cottage Cheese (I used cottage cheese with pineapple)
1 Egg
2 Tablespoons Whole Wheat Flour (I used Arrowhead Mills Multigrain Pancake Mix)

Whiz in mini food processor. Spray pan with non-stick spray. Cook on low till bubbles appear, flip. Cook till done. Serve with 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 great. Oodles of protein too.

Single like me? a must read.

Here's an excerpt.

Buy the book. It knocked some sense into me.

They are making a movie based on this book that sounds like it is going to be great.

Italian night

Yesterday during my cooking marathon. I roasted an extra eggplant, a red onion, and a red pepper and made a batch of my favorite Roasted Eggplant Spread. I used it last night in this version of Chicken and Eggplant Parmesan.

Shelly's Chicken and Eggplant Parmesan

2 boneless skinless Chicken Breasts, sliced in half and pounded out (so you end up with four pieces)
2 Tablespoons Flour
1 teaspoon Marjoram
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
a few twists of freshly ground black pepper
1 batch of Roasted Eggplant Spread (reserve 1/2 cup*)
1/2 cup Italian Blend Cheese, shredded
Olive Oil

Mix flour and seasonings together. Lightly dredge pounded breasts in seasoned flour. Saute in olive oil (about a Tablespoon) until golden on both sides. Place 2 breasts in baking dish. Top with 1/2 the Roasted Eggplant Spread. Place the other 2 breasts on top. Top those with the remaining spread. Top with cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

*the reserved 1/2 cup of Eggplant Spread is going to be used tonight as a topping on a couple of Tortilla Pizzas.

Here it is and it was awesome!

Topped with the remaining Roasted Eggplant Spread, Provolone, Parmesan, and Italian Seasoning.

It was nice dinner was so easy. The days go so fast lately. I feel like such a slacker friend. If I owe you an email, PM or call. I apologize. I'll be more like myself after the holidays and my trip to NY. Today I spent my day on line at the post office. Errr could they not sell European stamps in the machine.

Hey I thought I would share a few WOW moments I have had recently. I went to the DMV (another all day affair) to renew my DL and for the first time in my life I didn't BS on the weight.

I tried on coats last night. My hooded sweatshirt just isn't cutting it and I'm starting to freeze my toosh off. I have been looking at freezing as good practice (acclimatizing) for NY but really I needed a buy a coat. I bought a pea coat in my favorite color green. Wanna See? Anyway... the WOW was that I had so many choices. I remember have 2 or 3 choices if I was lucky at Lane Bryant or Avenue and settling for something I was not really pleased with because hell at least it fit. I was thoroughly jazzed with the coat I just bought.

Highlights of the day:

* Cards done. I'm not sending many paper ones out this year. So if you don't get one expect a digital greeting. I'm being a cheap environmentalist.

* Excellent dreams last night. I'm dreaming more since I've been sleeping in my bed. I must be entering REM sleep more.

* I cleaned my desk finally. It was getting scary. Which led to me cleaning the den. Well the organizing bug hit me and when it hits me and it's rare I like to take advantage of it. I tackled the hall closet. The result is I have oodles of things to donate. I spent most of the morning sorting through clothes and things. I need to bag them up and get them over to the thrift. I'm celebrating Boxing Day early this year.

Listening to: Ingrid Michaelson "The Way I Am" I love this song. You've heard it in an Old Navy commercial.

Stress is bad m'kay.

I read this article about stress and weight gain the other day...

The link between stress and weight gain is much stronger than originally thought. New research suggests an actual physiological reason that people under stress tend to gain weight. A recent study by Georgetown University Medical Center showed that mice under stress gain extra weight even if their calorie intake doesn’t go up. The study’s senior author, Dr. Zofia Zukowska, says: “By three months, they became twice as obese as mice without stress, even when they ate the same amount of food. Stress seems to release a chemical reaction that triggers fat cells to grow and multiply in number.”

To make matters worse, the extra pounds caused by stress tend to be stored around the belly. Though they aren’t yet sure of the precise reasons for this, Dr. Zukowska says, “Researchers suspect that stress and diet stimulate an enzyme present in particularly high amounts in the abdominal fat.” This is the most dangerous place for fat to end up in people, since it increases the risk of heart disease, hypertension and diabetes.

Scary huh?!? As if we didn't already know this... fat mice have proven it. <:3 )~~

I don't make New Year's resolutions but I do make a list of things I hope happen in the coming year and one of mine this year is to be more chill. I get wound up and worry about stuff I rarely can fix or control. I'm a snowball thinker... that is I start with this little snowball size thought and roll it over and over in my mind until I have an avalanche o' crap. This ends in 2008.

Here's some tips for those of you that want to join me...

Top Ten Tips for Reducing Holiday Stress

1. Create realistic expectations -- don't try to make this the perfect holiday. Leave that to Martha flippin Stewart.

2. Learn to say "no" to extra obligations that might stress you out. The world won't come to an end if you don't go to that holiday party or event.

3. Take short relaxation breaks to let go of tension. I hide in the bathroom. No one questions post weight loss surgery people about being in the bathroom.

4. Get involved in a volunteer activity where you help others.

5. Tap into your natural creativity and create a hand-made gift.

6. Eat and drink sensibly, and get plenty of exercise and sleep.

7. Practice being a peacemaker if family squabbles erupt.

8. Balance your spending of time and money to improve the quality of your life. Remember: the greatest gift you can ever give someone is your time.

9. Create a new holiday tradition that builds connections among your family and friends. Since my father passed away we go to the beach every Christmas.

10. Reflect on the deeper meaning and spirit of the holidays for you personally, for your family, and for humanity and the world.

52 Proven Stress Relievers

10 Solutions to Stress

If you do eat under stress at least eat some of these...

Stress reducing foods:

Asparagus - This green veggie is high in folic acid, which can help stabilize your mood.

Beef - Beef contains high levels of zinc, iron, and B vitamins, which are also known to help stabilize your mood.

Spinach - The magnesium can help relieve migraines and reduce fatigue, alleviating stress and leaving you more relaxed.

Oatmeal - The carbs in oatmeal release serotonin the chemical messenger in the brain that makes you feel good and happy. And the fiber in it can help fill you up also a good feeling.

Cottage Cheese and Fruit - Cottage cheese is high in protein and calcium. Foods with high protein content that aren’t loaded with sugar won’t cause a spike in blood sugar and will keep you satiated for a longer time.

Almonds - Looking for something you can really dig your teeth into when you’re stressed? Try crunching on almonds to get some aggression out. A good source of Vitamin B2 and E, as well as magnesium and zinc, almonds are high in fat, but most of the fat is unsaturated. Almonds have been shown to fight the free radicals associated with stress, and in particular, those free radicals that cause heart disease.

Blueberries - Very rich in antioxidants, blueberries offer a high-fiber, low-calorie fruit option that is also rich in stress-fighting vitamin C. Try them with cottage cheese or as a snack on their own.

Tuna - A great lunch option, tuna is high in stress-fighting vitamins B6 and B12. Tuna is also a good low-fat protein source.

If all else fails...

In the kitchen

I made an experimental casserole tonight for dinner basically a modified version of my Chicken and Artichoke Bake. I picked up two eggplants yesterday at the Farmer's Market so I thought I'd use them at the peak of freshness. I was procrastinating writing out my Christmas cards so I cooked up a storm instead.

Shelly's Chicken, Eggplant and Artichoke Bake

1 Eggplant, Diced & Roasted
1 Yellow Onion, chopped
8 Mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 boneless skinless Chicken Breasts, sliced into 1" pieces
1/2 can (13.75 oz.) Artichoke Hearts (non-marinated), chopped
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon Prepared Horseradish
1 cup (plus two tablespoons) Italian Blend Cheese, divided use
2 Tablespoon Italian dry Bread Crumbs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss eggplant with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in oven for 45 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking time. Set aside.

Reduce oven to 350 degrees. Saute onions and mushrooms till golden. Add garlic and seasonings and cook 1 minute more. Remove from pan. Saute chicken until golden and cooked through. Add onions and mushrooms back to pan. Mix roasted eggplant, artichokes, mayo, horseradish, and cheese together combine with onions and chicken mixture. Pour into a casserole dish. Mix bread crumbs and 2 Tablespoons of shredded cheese together and sprinkle evenly on top. Bake 30-35 minutes till golden.

While I was roasting the eggplant also roasted another eggplant, some red pepper, and red onion and whipped up a batch of Roasted Eggplant Spread. This is one of the best dips you will ever eat. It sounds like a lot of work but seriously if you own a food processor. It comes together in seconds. It is the first thing to go at parties and potlucks.

Generally, I have it with soy crisps (Trader Joe's Garlic Feta & Olive Oil flavor rocks) or veggies or if you eat pita chips or crackers. It can also be used as a spread on grilled crusty bread (as a bruschetta topping), stirred in pasta as a sauce (thin with a little marinara or olive oil), used as a spread on wraps or sandwiches. Tomorrow I am topping chicken breasts with it. If there are leftovers I'm going to spread it on a Tortilla Pizza.

Roasted Eggplant Spread

1 medium eggplant, peeled
2 red bell peppers, seeded
1 red onion, peeled
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the eggplant, bell pepper, and onion into 1-inch cubes. Toss them in a large bowl with the garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread them on a baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are lightly browned and soft, tossing once during cooking. Cool slightly. Place the vegetables in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the tomato paste, and pulse 3 or 4 times to blend. Taste for salt and pepper.

Here's some more weight loss surgery friendly party suggestions:
Party Like a Rock Star Part 1 (the food)
Party Like a Rock Star Part 2 (drinks, desserts, tips)

Highlights of the day:

* Mmmm the smell of roasted veggies in the house.

* I woke up in my own bed. Finally. I tried last week but I couldn't do it. My bed is super high. It hurt to get in and out. I've been on the much lower den couch since I came home from Mexico. Yeah one more step toward back to normal.

* Listening to music right now with a yummy cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee.

Listening to: "Promise" Eve 6

Soup's on again: Italian Beef and Bean

I've been worried about a friend and my worry translated into making myself a comforting pot of soup. I know bad, bad, bad seeking comfort in food but hey it was soup not a donut right? This is a total Grandma soup. Grandma Soup = warm, comforting, full of flavor, lots going on (aka everything but the kitchen sink). I hope you enjoy it.

I used a combo of cannelini beans and a can of Tuscan Bean Medley which is a combo of cannellini beans and chestnut limas (Trader Joe's). If you don't have a TJ's near you could certainly just use all cannelini. I topped the soup with my favorite Italian cheese ever. It's actually Sicilian like me if you want to get specific. It's called Ricotta Salata. It's basically regular Ricotta cheese that has been dried with salt (think the Italian version of Feta cheese). My friends back East will have no problems locating this but us left coasters will have a little more difficulty. Try and find some. It's worth it. I promise. A good Italian food store will carry it. If they don't, they are NOT a good Italian food store. BTW.

Weight Loss Surgery Bariatric RNY VSG WLS Cooking Food Blog

Shelly's Italian Beef & Bean Soup

1 lb. Ground Beef (or Turkey)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 large Onion, chopped
2 Green Onions, chopped
2 cloves of Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning (Oregano, Basil, Marjoram)
2 15 oz cans of beans (I used a combo of cannelini and a Tuscan Bean Medley)
3 cups Beef Stock or Broth
1/2 cup Tomato Sauce
1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
1 cup frozen (or fresh) Spinach
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground Pepper
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
3 ounces Ricotta Salata, crumbled (or use Parmesan)

Brown ground beef and drain any fats. Remove from pan and set aside. Saute onions in butter/oil and cook until golden about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and Italian seasonings and stir to coat the onions. Let cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly so the seasonings will not burn. Add the beef, beans, stock, tomato sauce, paste and spinach. Add salt and pepper. Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer gently, about 1/2 hour. Stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan.

Garnish with crumbled Ricotta Salata (note: this is not the ricotta used in lasagna it is a harder/salty cheese) or shaved Parmesan. This makes a lot of soup. You can certainly half the recipe but it freezes well or keeps in the fridge for a few days.

Update on me...

I haven't updated my plastics recovery in awhile... I'm 8 weeks out from a Lower Body Lift, Breast Lift and Augmentation and Arm Lift. Week 6 was a huge turning point for me. I felt like a completely different person. I have more stamina and the swelling has gone waaaaaay down. I still get puffy at the end of the day on one side of my Lower Body Lift scar but not too bad. I'm sleeping with my binder on. It helps. I get random sharp pains which I'm told are nerve endings coming back. Whoa! they catch you by surprise and some take your breath away. The scars itch so bad sometimes I want throw myself off a cliff but I know that's a good healing sign. Overall, I'm amazed at how good I am after all that work only 8 weeks ago.

I already mentioned all the health issues that led me to get plastics have been resolved and now I'm really loving the physical results. I have a flat belly. I have better boobs then I had when I was 16! My arms well... I traded batwings for scary scars but hey you can't win them all. The scars will fade I'm sure but I'm still not comfortable with them. Yet. I'm working on it. This is an amazing physical journey but do not underestimate the emotional journey. Long after the scale reaches your magic number you will be dealing with your head.

Listening to: "Ghost in you" The Psychedelic Furs

Party like a rock star (post WLS style) 2

It's the holiday season and just because we had weight loss surgery doesn't mean yummy party foods are off limits. Here's some weight loss surgery friendly party foods so good your guests will never know.

A few weeks ago I posted an entry entitled: Party like a rock star (post WLS style) with some of my favorite post weight loss surgery party foods.

Part 2: In this post I'll cover sweet treats, some drink ideas, and other post weight loss surgery party tips.

As always check with your medical posse: what is OK on my plan may be off limits on yours.


Fruit Skewers with Shelly's Coconut Lime Dipping Sauce

4 ounces Fage yogurt
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Coconut Torani Syrup
1 teaspoon lime zest

Pineapple chunks
Red and Green grapes
Melon chunks
Asian Pears
Star Fruit

Wooden skewers

In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, lime juice, syrup and lime zest. Cover and refrigerate until needed. Thread fruit onto the skewer. Repeat until the fruit is gone. Serve with dipping sauce.

If you want a more sit down dessert rather than a buffet style there's always my Strawberry Ricotta Parfait

For those needing a chocolate fix...

Shelly's La Dolce Vita Parfaits Ricotta Cheese blended with Starbuck's SF Cinnamon Dolce Syrup or SF Maple Syrup alternated with SF Chocolate Pudding (I cheated and emptied pudding cups Shhh!) Spoon into parfait dishes and top with a grating of SF Chocolate.


Alcohol: I have difficulty justifying the empty calories in booze but I am Italian so every now and then I have to have a little vino. Beware of the effects of alcohol as a post-op. Here's a good article on it. We are cheap dates so be careful who you have a drink with and definitely do not drive.

Here's the calorie count in the most common wines:

Wine (per 4 fl oz) Calories

Beaujolais 95
Bordeaux, red 95
Burgundy, red 95
Burgundy, white 90
Cabernet Sauvignon 90
Chablis 85
Champagne, dry 105
Champagne, pink 100
Chardonnay 90
Chianti 100
Madeira 160
Marsala 80
Merlot 95
Muscatel 160
Pinot Grigio 80 (my poison of choice)
Port, ruby 185
Port, white 170
Reisling 90
Rhone 95
Rose 95
Sangria 115
Sauterne 115
Sauvignon Blanc 80
Zinfandel, red 90
Zinfandel, white 80

For your New Year's toast try: Champagne with Chambord (4 ounces champagne, 1 ounce Chambord) = 159 calories

Non-alcoholic: Homemade Lattes - Here's a great how to video. It's easy!

Sugar Free Steamer (a latte minus the espresso) - 1 Tablespoon Sugar Free syrup (Your choice of flavors - I use these), 8 oz. (1 cup) milk - I use soy. Steam syrup and milk together.

Sugar Free Peppermint Cocoa - SF Hot Cocoa Powder, 1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Peppermint Torani Syrup. Pour syrup in cup and mix cocoa as directed by package.

Eggnog - Try this alternative

Holiday Tips:

Holiday gatherings often lead to overeating. It's important to have a plan to keep things under control. Start your day with a small meal that includes protein. You will be less hungry when you have a protein dense meal in you and since a lot of holiday parties are carb and fat fests you will already have a good start on your daily protein count.

Think before you eat. Be mindful. Select foods carefully. What foods do you really want to eat, which ones you will just sample and which ones you will skip.

As much as you can, stay with your regular exercise program. Schedule your workout time like an important appointment you must keep.

Watch Charlie Brown’s Christmas special, but don’t just sit in front of the television through the holidays. Take your children out to see the Christmas lights, take a walk in the snow (or in my case the beach), get out, do something! Take your kids outside to throw the frisbee or spend the family time playing tag or flag football. Turn on some fun Christmas music and boogie in your living room.

The most important tip is to enjoy the celebration. Spend time visiting and enjoying your family and friends. The best gift you can ever give someone is yourself and your time. Try and find out one new thing about each person at the gathering. Take the focus off the food.

Play Name That Tune

Your guests play individually or in teams to be the first to identify a song. Use a bell or a buzzer to announce that your team wants to identify the tune, but you'd better be right — you'll face penalty points for wrong answers. Whoever racks up the most points wins. A CD of song samples can be prepared ahead. Be sure to include music for all ages.

Start a Family Tree

Family gatherings make for an excellent opportunity to get a family tree started. Ask your guests to do a little digging and bring to the gathering one or two family facts — birthplaces and birth dates of grandparents, great-grandparents, wedding dates and so on — and share them at the table after dinner.

Create a Scavenger Hunt

Break up your guests into two teams. Create a list of objects that your teams will need to find. Don't restrict the list to objects your guests can find only in the house. Weather permitting, send them out into the yard for heart shaped rocks, oak leaves, pinecones. Make sure part of the list is open-ended enough to allow for various interpretations. The team that returns with a completed list first doesn't have to help with the dishes!

Kids Stuff: with childhood obesity on the rise kids need to take the focus off the food too.

Make Pinecone Birdfeeders

Peanut butter
Heavy twine
Craft sticks

The children will use craft sticks to spread peanut butter over the pinecones; then roll in the birdseed to coat. Show your children how to tie a piece of twine to the base or top of the cone and help them find a spot outside to hang them.

Make a batch of Shelly's Peppermint Playdough

3 cups Flour
1 cup Salt
1 Tablespoon Peppermint extract
1 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
3 cups Boiling Water
4 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
Couple of drops of Red or Green Food Coloring

Mix all dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl then add boiling water. Add oil, extract and coloring and mix. Knead when cool enough to handle until smooth dough. It smells awesome too.

A batch of this with some cookie cutters, a garlic press, a rolling pin, pipe cleaners, buttons, beads, etc. Have the kids create their elf, name them and then put them on display for the party goers to admire.

Have a wonderful holiday friends!
~Michelle (aka Eggface)

Pizza Porn Fix

If you haven't made one of these yet you need to. Here's how: Tortilla Pizza.

Some of my latest Pizza Porn:

Pesto, Salami, Mozzarella, Provolone, Ricotta and Italian Seasoning

Sauteed Mushrooms and Onions, Ricotta, Provolone, and Pesto

Prosciutto, Mozzarella, Basil, Pesto, Provolone, Italian Seasoning

Mushroom, Ricotta, Pesto, Sun Dried Tomato and Italian Seasoning

Salami, Mozzarella, Pesto, Provolone and Italian Seasoning

I use Mission Brand Carb Balance Whole Wheat 6" Fajita Size Tortillas.

Viva Mexico

Jonesing for Mexican food I decided to experiment with one of my past recipes and create something new. For those of you who remember my Mexican Lasagna this is a similar flavor profile but I think this one is even better. It's my new favorite casserole. I hope you enjoy it.

Shelly's Tortilla-less Enchilada Casserole

2 boneless skinless Chicken Breasts, boiled and chopped (or leftover rotisserie)
1 teaspoon Southwest Seasoning (cumin, oregano, cayenne)
1/2 cup Corn kernels (I used leftover frozen, cooked)
1 Cup Mexican Blend Cheese, divided use
1 yellow Onion, chopped
2 green Onions, chopped
8 medium Mushrooms, sliced
1 - 4 oz. can whole Mild Green Chilis, seeded and chopped (I used the Ortega brand)
2 Tablespoons Flour
1 Tablespoon Butter
3/4 Cup Chicken Broth
1/2 Cup Sour Cream

Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter, saute onions and mushrooms till golden. Divide into 1/2 and set 1/2 a side. To the 1/2 onions/mushroom mixture remaining in the pan add flour, and stir well. Add broth, cook till thickened. Stir in sour cream. Set aside.

Mix the shredded cooked chicken, the 1/2 onions & mushroom mixture, corn, mild green chilis, the seasoning and 1/2 cup of Mexican shredded cheese together. Pour chicken mixture into a casserole. Pour sauce over top and sprinkle with the other 1/2 cup of cheese. Bake for 35-40 minutes till golden and bubbly.

Edited to add: If you aren't allowed corn replace with black beans (canned, drained) or peas or just eliminate.

If you are looking for more weight loss surgery friendly Mexican dishes follow the Mexican Lasagna link above. This 1/2 Sicilian, 1/2 British girl has a special affinity for all things Mexican since going down to Mexico for my RNY and now my plastic surgery has given me a second chance at life.

Necessity is the mother of invention

My Mom is a carb addict. It's ok though as she has the metabolism of a 16 year old boy. I did not inherit her metabolism. Anyway... she ate all the Ritz crackers that I normally use to top casseroles. 10 Ritz crumbled over an entire casserole is even OK in my carb-o-phobic handbook ;) So faced with a casserole and no topping (and a toppingless casserole is just too sad) I grabbed a couple of packets of Crunchy Cheese (a rockin low carb snack I eat, 1 carb per packet) and crumbled those on top. Viola. Killer crunchy topping, low in carbs and added protein too.

Crunchy Chicken Casserole

1 cup Chopped Broccoli, steamed
1/2 Yellow Onion, chopped
2 Green Onions, chopped
2 boneless skinless Chicken Breasts, sliced into 1" pieces
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/2 cup Frozen Peas
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1 can of Cream of Chicken Soup (undiluted)
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 - 1.5 oz bags of Crunchy Cheese
1 Tablespoon Butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Steam broccoli and set aside. Saute onions till golden. Remove from pan. Saute chicken until golden and cooked through. Add broccoli and onions back to pan. Mix sour cream and cream of chicken soup together and pour over. Add peas, Italian seasoning, salt & pepper to taste. Stir to coat. Pour into a casserole dish. Crumble crunchy cheese in a ziplock baggie and sprinkle mixture over the top of casserole. Melt 1 Tablespoon of butter in the microwave. Drizzle melted butter evenly over topping. Bake 30 minutes, until golden brown.

A Hanukkah story and yummy product alert

Yummy and exactly like the full sugar version. These would sooooo pass the kid detector.

Speaking of kid detector. I was the best. You couldn't get anything past me. I will share a very fitting story also given the fact that my Jewish friends are celebrating Hanukkah this week.

When I was little this time of year and again at Passover milk products used to get a special stamp that said "Kosher." Now they just use a letter k in a circle or something like that but years ago they used to actually ink stamp the milk carton just under the carton flap.

Somehow I got it into my head that some Rabbi (AKA long bearded man) was standing over my vat of milk and potentially dropping beard hairs or maybe even spitting when he talked. I was a seriously germophobic kid and I was just not having any of that!

I refused to drink any milk that had the kosher stamp on it. Try and find a carton of milk in the state of NY without a Kosher stamp. My Mom had to sneak the milk in the house and try and rub the mark off without me seeing. Sometimes she was successful but sometimes if you tilted the carton just right I would see the faint marking and throw a huge hissy fit and refuse to drink it. I might have missed my calling in the CSI field.

Eventually they got through to me that the Rabbi came and blessed the processing plant and wasn't dropping human body bits into my individual vat.

Happy Hanukkah to all celebrating. I'm sorry about the misunderstanding.

Anyway, back to the candy. These Sugar Free Jolly Ranchers are great.

Serving Size 4 pieces
Calories 35.

A few thoughts on eating sugar free candy:

If candy was a trigger food for you then I probably would avoid.

They have calories so factor that in.

They generally are sweetened with sugar alcohols and some of those may cause distress in some people. They usally warn you on the bag that consuming more than a few may have a laxative effect... so don't get crazy ;) and suck the whole bag or you know where you will be spending the day...

Ohhh I also wouldn't swallow them whole ;)

Oh and BTW Jolly Ranchers are not Kosher. Go figure.


Martha Stewart watch out... you've got nothing on my Mom and I. We made ornaments again this year.

It all started with the kitties we made last year

then of course we needed my Bird (died this year I had him 21 years)

I love gingerbread people

a few food porn ornaments

and my famous owls

Quick and Easy Soup Recipes: Cannellini Bean Soup Mangiafagiole

I am on a bean kick. I made a really yummy Cannellini Bean Soup tonight. It was rich and creamy although there is no cream added. I topped it with a dollop of pesto sauce and grated parmesan. Mmmmm. It was total Northern Italy. I could picture eating this in Tuscany staring at the sunflower covered hills with Andrea Bocelli singing in the distance. Yeah I think I've seen "Under the Tuscan Sun" one to many times. At any rate Buon Appetito! I hope you enjoy this as much as I am...

Quick Easy Budget Canned Beans
Shelly's Cannellini Bean Soup

1 Leek (Light Green and White Parts), chopped
1 large Yellow Onion
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried Basil
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground Pepper
2 15 oz cans of Cannellini Beans, drained
3 cups Chicken Broth
1 teaspoon Tomato Paste

Grated Parmesan Cheese
Pesto Sauce

Saute leeks and onions till golden about 10 minutes. Add garlic, basil, salt & pepper and cook 1 minute. Add beans, broth and tomato paste. Whiz with an immersion blender or in batches in a regular blender. Simmer on low with a lid on for 15 minutes. Serve with a dollop of pesto and shavings of parmesan cheese.

I'm going home...

Long Island in January.