Weekend wrap-up

I had a dream about the little town on Long Island I grew up in. Every now and then I will have a dream and it will be more way more vivid then normal dreams. I woke up and for a second felt like it was real. Does anyone else have those? It's usually nights when I have gone to bed with a hideous migraine which is what happened Friday night. Anyway... it was nice like I went on a vacation without the hassle of packing (much easier now that I wear skinnier clothing but still), airport security (3 oz?!? quart size baggie?!? for this Product Diva not possible), and flying (pass me the Xanax).

Woke up feeling better and most of Saturday I spent doing yard work and absolutely nothing else exciting. Oohhh I did see a preview for "Becoming Jane"

If you've read my blog for any length of time you know I am a Jane Austen freak. I own leather bound versions of her books and every movie adaptation ever made. My family who does not share my love (despite their full or 1/2 British heritage) proves their disinterest by falling a sleep within 10 minutes of any film. Persuasion is my favorite in case you were wondering.

Saturday night I BBQ'd Chicken Kabobs and we enjoyed dinner outside on the patio. It's really been a pretty bearable summer so far (knock on something) or heck maybe it's just because there's -134 pounds less of me this Summer.

Sunday I started a huge photo organizing project which has been long overdue. It will take a week (at least) but will be worth it when it's done. It always made me nervous that our pictures were so disorganized. I mean you never know when you might have to evacuate and what do you grab first when you don't have a system. So we are creating a system. I'm trying to employ some of the techniques I've learned watching neat. I love that show. It's really helped me clear my clutter.

Here's some good stuff from the neat website:

When shopping, use these 5 questions to guide your purchases - you can prevent yourself from acquiring unnecessary items that have a high potential to turn into clutter.

1. Do I really need this?
2. Do I have somewhere to store it?
3. Do I already have something like this?
4. Am I buying it just because it’s on sale?
5. Is it something I've been interested in for a long time, or am I buying on impulse?

While this is all very good advice it of course does NOT apply to purses.

I made Pesto Chicken and Veggies for dinner which is one of my absolute favorite weight loss surgery adapted meals. I actually used to make this dish with pasta pre-op and seriously I do not miss the pasta one bit... what a ton of unnecessary carbs and calories I added. When you want an Italian food fix make this dish you will not be sorry.

Here's the finished product:

Shelly's Pesto Chicken & Veggies

1/2 yellow onion, diced
4-5 crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 boneless, skinless breasts, sliced into strips
1 cup yellow summer squash, sliced
1 cup zucchini, sliced
artichoke hearts, 1/2 of a 13.75 oz. can (non-marinated type), chopped
4 Tablespoons pesto sauce (I use the refrigerated Trader Joe's or Buitoni)
1/4 Cup chicken broth
olive oil
For marinade: 1/4 cup Italian dressing

Marinate chicken in Italian Dressing for at least 4 hours in refrigerator. Discard excess marinade. Saute the onion till slightly golden in a touch of butter and olive oil. Remove from pan, set aside. Drain chicken from marinade but do not rinse. Saute marinated chicken till golden. Remove from pan. Add mushrooms, squash, and zucchini and steam saute till fork tender. Add chicken and onions back to pan. Add artichoke hearts and pesto sauce and stir till coated. Add broth and heat through stirring occasionally about 3 minutes. Serve.

Highlights of the weekend:

* It's been fun looking at old pictures. I'll scan some and share soon.

* I thought I needed a new blender but I just took it all apart and put it back together and it's crushing ice much better now. I think it was just off kilter. I love my Beehive Chrome Oster. I'm glad we don't have to part company yet.

* Bought two cute tops on clearance at Ann Taylor Loft so I have some clothes that fit again. Yeah!

Listening to: "The Adventure" Angels & Airwaves

Bariatric Surgery Friendly Trader Joe's Shopping List: I heart Trader Joe's

I could never live in a town that doesn't have a Trader Joe's. I buy too many things at this store and I can't imagine life without them. I heart Trader Joe's.

These are some of the things I pick up on a regular basis:

Food Shopping Weight Loss Surgery RNY VSG

Everything But the Bagel Spice! Trust Me! (on everything)
Onion Salt (it's not salty) Trust Me Again! (great for yogurt dips)
Rice Cauliflower Stir Fry Mix (freezer section)
Oven Baked Cheese Bites
Cheese section (especially Goat cheese with herbs, fresh Mozzarella - mini fresh mozzarella balls for bean salad, Rosemary Asiago, Burrata, Whole Milk Ricotta, Baby Brie)
Pesto (refrigerated section)
Fage Yogurt (refrigerated section)
Arctic Char (frozen)
Crab Stuffed Flounder (frozen)
Frozen Fruits (for protein smoothies especially the organic blueberries (my fav), mango chunks, cherries, mixed berries)
Frozen Veggies (spinach, peas, broccoli, grilled corn, riced cauliflower)
Fresh Veggies (avocado, basil, crimini mushrooms, zucchini)
Nuts (cashews, Marcona almonds, raw almonds, sliced toasted almonds, pecans - my fav)
Giant Raisins (three types in one bag)
Fresh Salsa (refrigerated section)
Vitamin Section (a great sublingual b-12, chewable C)
Canned Artichokes (not in oil)
Organic Pumpkin (canned)
Hummus (refrigerated section)
Cilantro Yogurt Dip (refrigerated section)
Ground Buffalo Steak Burgers (see my review)
Tofutti Cuties (Soy Ice Cream Bars 1/2 of this tiny bar is a scary good once and a while treat)
Sicilian Olive Oil (best price)
Butter (best price)
Wasabi Mayonnaise
Chicken Chile Verde (frozen - not to eat on its own I use as a base for Chicken Tortilla Soup)
Spinach Artichoke Dip (frozen)
Coffee (New Mexican Pinon), Cold Brew Concentrate
Tea (Honeybush and Rooibos)
Mushroom Asiago Chicken Sausage
McCann's Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal
Chicken Lime Burgers (frozen)
Chicken Patties 4 cheese, spinach & artichoke (refrigerated)
Bruschetta Sauce (jarred)
Almond Meal/Flour
Chicken Patties with 4 cheese, Spinach & Artichoke (refrigerated section)
Chicken Breakfast Sausage (uncooked)
Cooked Lentils, Favas (refrigerated section)
Thai Style Soy Ginger Carrots
Langostino Lobster Meat
Frozen Crab Meat
Bratwurst (refrigerator section)
Just Sauce Turkey Bolognese (frozen)
Pumpkin Soup (seasonal)
Chicken Asada/Fajitas (refrigerated section)
Broccoli Kale Chicken Salad, Greek Salad, Citrus Chicken Salad (refrigerated section)
Red Quinoa
Chia Seeds
Powercrunch, some Quest Bars
Freeze Dried Fruit (fun addition to protein shakes)
Frozen and Fresh Riced Cauliflower

Trader Joe's Graveyard (Bring 'em back. Please and thank you)
Peanut Flour (sadly discontinued)
Garlic, Olive Oil & Feta Soy Crisps (sadly discontinued)

My Weight Loss Surgery Pantry Essentials
My Liquid Stage Shopping List 
My Pureed Food Shopping List

Life's a beach

I was inspired by the postings of a fellow purse-o-holic to make a tote with a beachy theme. Here's my effort:

And packed with my beach essentials...

a magazine, water, sunscreen, a vintage sheet to sit on, sunglasses and tucked in their somewhere is a snack... Mmmm Sabritas Lime and Salt Peanuts which are hard to find so whenever I spot them I buy them up.

What's everyone doing this weekend?


Just finished. We've nicknamed this the Smarty Pants Bag. This is my absolute favorite tote we have made so far. I have a thing for retro owls. I just know I will reach for this one all the time.

Summer Squash

I turned the squash I bought at the Farmer's Market this weekend into a Summer Squash Casserole. Yum! A total comfort food dish.

Shelly's Summer Squash Casserole

3 cups sliced yellow summer squash or zucchini (or combo)
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 green onion, chopped (1 tablespoon chives)
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoon melted butter, divided use
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
4 tablespoons shredded Italian Blend cheese (mozzarella, fontina, etc.)
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan
2 Tablespoons Italian dry bread crumbs

Saute the squash and onion till it just gets a little color and slightly tender. Add green onions. Combine sour cream, 1 T of the melted butter, cheese, egg, salt, and seasonings. Off the heat. Fold into cooked squash. Turn into buttered casserole. Combine other Tablespoon of melted butter, bread crumbs, and Parmesan. Sprinkle over top of casserole. Bake at 350 degrees about 25 - 30 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

New! Carrot Cake Protein Shake

I was jonesing for Carrot Cake today so I decided to attempt to create a Carrot Cake Protein Shake. I was a little leary taking the first sip but you know it was pretty darn good! It's been added to the My Favorite Protein Shake Recipes page and here's some info about the nutritional value of carrots.


Favorite Quick Meals - Summer Edition

Honey Mustard Chicken Salad

2 cups cooked and cubed chicken breast meat (rotisserie leftovers are great)
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
3 stalks celery, sliced
1-2 green onions, diced
1 large apple, chopped (or 1/4 cup raisins, or 1/2 cup grapes)

1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 Tbs. honey
1 Tbs. cider vinegar

In a mixing bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise and mustard. Blend thoroughly using a whisk. Slowly pour in the honey and vinegar, continue mixing until smooth and well combined. Mix salad ingredients together add dressing to desired moisture. May have some dressing leftover.

Check my archives for more chicken salad recipes:

Dilly Chicken Salad
Curry Chicken Salad
Mexican Chicken Salad

Nicoise salad

Lightly steam haricot verts (baby green beans). Arrange on a plate with chickpeas, good canned tuna, hard boiled egg, lettuce, sliced cucumber and tomato. Dress with oil and vinegar.

Onion & Parmesan Omelette

Parmesan Cheese

Saute onion till golden. Beat eggs with grated parmesan. Pour over onions. Cook till golden on bottom. Flip cook a minute more. Grate more parmesan on top.

Fast Chile Rellenos

Whole Green Chilies, Canned
Cheese (Monterey Jack or Colby Jack)

Drain canned whole green chilies. Make a slit in each and insert a piece of cheese. Dredge in egg and flour and fry in a skillet, slit side up, until cheese melts. Great served with eggs.

Cold Cut Roll-ups

Roast Beef & Swiss with a pickle spear in the middle or a smear of wasabi mayonnaise or Turkey rolled around a mozzarella cheese stick.

Green Eggs & Ham

Pesto sauce
Ham, diced

Scramble the eggs with the pesto (to taste) and diced ham.

Salsa Fish

1 or 2 fillets of Tilapia or Cod
Fresh salsa the kind you have to keep refrigerated at all times
foil (I use heavy duty for sturdiness)

Place fish on large sheet of foil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spoon enough salsa to cover the fish. Fold foil into a packet. Use fork or knife to poke some holes on TOP of packet. Bake at 400F for 8 or so minutes until fish flesh is white and meat flakes. CAREFULLY open packet. Enjoy!

Cannelini salad

1 can Cannelini beans, drained
1 can Italian Tuna (packed in olive oil, drained)
1 quart of grape tomatoes washed and halved
1 small red onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
kalamata olives, pitted & halved
Greek feta cheese, coarsely chopped
Several twists of freshly ground black pepper and
kosher salt


Whisk together 3 parts balsamic vinegar to 1 part good olive oil with fresh, coarsely chopped dill and a bit of parsley

Combine dressing with ingredients can also be made with leftover grilled boneless, skinless chicken breast instead of tuna. You can make this in advance it tastes even better the next day. Can also be served in a wrap.

Bacon wrapped Scallops

Wrap sea scallops with a slice of bacon and skewer three or four together. BBQ for a few minutes per side. Optional: Baste at the last minute with a little Hoisin (Chinese BBQ Sauce)

Shelly's Pesto Chicken & Veggies

1/2 yellow onion, diced
4-5 crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 boneless, skinless breasts, sliced into strips
1 cup yellow summer squash, sliced
1 cup zucchini, sliced
artichoke hearts, 1/2 of a 13.75 oz. can (non-marinated type), chopped
4 Tablespoons pesto sauce (I use the refrigerated Trader Joe's or Buitoni)
1/4 Cup chicken broth
olive oil
For marinade: 1/4 cup Italian dressing

Marinate chicken in Italian Dressing for at least 4 hours in refrigerator. Discard excess marinade. Saute the onion till slightly golden in a touch of butter and olive oil. Remove from pan, set aside. Drain chicken from marinade but do not rinse. Saute marinated chicken till golden. Remove from pan. Add mushrooms, squash, and zucchini and steam saute till fork tender. Add chicken and onions back to pan. Add artichoke hearts and pesto sauce and stir till coated. Add broth and heat through stirring occasionally about 3 minutes. Serve.

Chicken Saltimbocca

6 (3-ounce) chicken cutlets, pounded to evenly flatten
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 paper-thin slices prosciutto
1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 (14-ounce) can chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Place the chicken cutlets flat on the work surface. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Lay 1 slice of prosciutto atop each chicken cutlet. Squeeze the frozen spinach to remove the excess water. Season the spinach with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, toss the spinach with 1 tablespoon of oil to coat.

Arrange an even, thin layer of spinach atop the prosciutto slices. Sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over each. Beginning at the short tapered end, roll up and secure with a toothpick.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy large skillet over high heat. Add the chicken and cook just until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Add the chicken broth and lemon juice, and scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium. Cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter. Simmer the cooking liquid over high heat until it is reduced to about 2/3 cup, about 5 minutes. Season the cooking liquid with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove toothpicks from the chicken. Drizzle the reduced cooking liquid over the chicken and serve immediately.

Farmer's Market

I worked last night errr this morning whatever you want to call it. So I'm functioning on not much sleep. Thank God for coffee. I had a great day though. I'm branching out from my skewering duty (although I did PLENTY of that). So happy wedding couple I hope you are enjoying my handiwork. Driving home I stopped at Starbucks ordered my usual Tall SF Cinnamon Dolce Soy Latte with no whippage and killed time before the Farmer's Market opened. I love our little Farmer's Market. Tons of organic produce and they always give you samples. You learn so much too. The farmers and vendors are always willing to share a recipe or some neat info. I bought a big basket of yellow squash so watch for some squash creations this week, some absolutely gorgeous nectarines and a loaf of Honey Whole Wheat bread for my Mom. I treat her to carbs since I'm carb-o-phobic. After I walked the FM I made a stop at TJ Maxx where I bought two cute pairs of pants (Size 10) and 2 shirts (Size L). I left in giddy amazement... size 10 and Large from a tight size 26/28 just 13 months ago. Woot Woot. I came home and crashed for a while. Well first we ate the lunch I brought home from a FM food vendor Turkish Beef Patties (a highly seasoned absolutely fabulous burger). Mom ate hers on her new bread and I had mine dipped in Cilantro Yogurt Sauce with a tomato salad. In a few I'll be BBQing Chicken Kabobs and making some Cauliflower.

Tonight's dinner food porn pic

Pics from the Farmer's Market:

The nectarines.

The stand that made my lunch.

Highlights of the day:

* Yummy fruit and veggie samples at the Farmer's Market
* New clothes
* I got out of TJ Maxx without buying another purse. This is a big accomplishment.

Listening to: "Chilcock" Stanton Moore

An Apple A Day

I better get the apple recipes ready. There's two more trees like this one.

The Egg Foo Young Experiment

I had Bean Sprouts in the fridge I needed to use so yesterday I attempted the great Egg Foo Young Experiment. Not authentic I'm soooo sure... I am after all 1/2 Sicilian, 1/2 Brit but it was yummy.

Shelly's Chicken Egg Foo Young

1 1/2 cups Bean Sprouts
2 Green Onions, chopped
1 Yellow Onion, chopped
1 cup diced cooked Chicken
3 Eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon Corn Starch
1 cup Chicken Broth
3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce

Saute bean sprouts in a T of olive oil till they just give a bit. About 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. Saute both onions till golden. Add bean sprouts back to pan. Add diced chicken. Spread around so chicken is distributed around the pan evenly. Pour beaten eggs over. Cook till golden on bottom. Flip and cook 2 minutes more. Remove from pan and keep warm while you prepare the sauce. Mix cornstarch, chicken broth and soy sauce together pour into pan. Heat till thickened. Pour over egg foo young. Serves 4.

Verdict: Tasty

Changes for next time: Maybe I'll try broiling the top (like a frittata) instead of flipping it. I also may try making it with beef or shrimp. I could add a few peas or sauteed mushrooms but if I did I'd need another egg.

Currently obsessing on:

Reading blogs and writing in this one
Uncommon Goods (where I want to buy lots of stuff especially their embroidered pillows and apron)
Homegrown Tomatoes
Eggs (especially Onion & Parmesan Omelettes)
Demeter Fragrances (I wish Sephora wasn't so damn far away)
Watching concert videos and other random crap on Youtube
Researching plastic surgeons
My two crazy cats
Baron's Marketplace (My favorite market)
Food porn
Chatting with friends
Starbucks Tall Sugar Free Cinnamon Dolce Soy Lattes (with no whipped cream)
TJ Maxx (I love this store! I got the cutest pair of Lucky Jeans for $30 in get this... Size 10)
Going to NY
Magazines (I can't commit to a book)
My latest cooking contest entry
Making tote bags (You can never have enough purses)
80's Rock

My cowgirl bag

I have another tote bag project to share.

Weight loss surgery in Mexico and Dr. A

You know my surgeon down in Mexico Dr. A lost a patient the other day. Apparently her family is going to their local newspapers and TV and bashing Dr. A and having weight loss surgery in Mexico. I am so sad this young woman died but through reading the accounts of it she did not follow the protocol Dr. A sets forth and left his care days earlier than what is required. I was in Mexico 9 days and during those 9 days (3 days in the hospital then 6 in Dr. A's designated apartment, 4 days of which you are visited by a private nurse who takes your vitals, cleans your drainage bag, helps you shower, cleans and rebandages your incision) I saw the Dr and/or several members of his nursing staff and family everyday. Nothing in their story is close to what I experienced (or others who have been blessed with finding Dr. A.) I believe their sadness and loss is causing them to look for someone to blame and so they are taking aim at the Dr. and going out of the country for surgery. I think they will come to realize that it was obesity that took their loved one.

Having your stomach dissected and intestines rerouted is a big deal whether you have it done in the States, Canada, Europe, or Mexico. Yes, you could die. 1 in 200 die. So chances are you won't but it is still a risk. There are good and bad surgeons in every country. Do your research! Here's an excerpt from My Story: "I also made peace with the fact that I could die. I just figured I was a ticking time bomb that was eventually going to die from one of the many co-morbidities I had and frankly even when I was living fat I was "dead" because I wasn't making the most of my time on earth. I was trapped. So I made peace with the fact that if God wanted to take me he would and that was that. I'd rather die fighting for life then passively kill myself which is what I was doing. Don't be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin."

Tonight's dinner and a product review

I went to Trader Joe's yesterday and I spotted these Ground Buffalo Steak Burgers in the freezer case. I BBQ'd a couple tonight.

Verdict: pretty tasty for a "frozen burger" and with 43 g. of protein per patty! I will be getting them again. These are NOT the pre-cooked version (I guess they have those too) they are cooked from raw. Caution: buffalo is very low in fat so be careful not to overcook them. I ate 3/4 of one with a little Tomato and Onion Gratin.

Here's some food porn and the gratin recipe. Enjoy.

Shelly's Tomato & Onion Gratin

4-5 large tomatoes, peeled and sliced
1 yellow onion, sliced
10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green onion
2 cups grated Italian Cheese (mozzarella fontina blend)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Blanch and de-skin tomatoes. Place the skinless tomatoes in a colander in the sink in 1 layer. Lightly sprinkle with kosher salt and allow to drain for 10 minutes. Saute yellow onion till golden. Toss tomato slices, basil, and sauteed onion together and pour into a greased baking dish. Season with a little more salt and pepper. Combine the grated cheeses, chopped green onion and mayonnaise together. Spread mixture on top of the tomatoes and bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Note: May bubble over a bit so place a cookie sheet under pie dish. To serve, cut into slices and serve warm. FYI: This is also great served at brunch with eggs.

Weigh-in day

It's Tuesday. My weigh-in day. I weigh once a week. I'm not a strong enough person to watch the daily fluctuations of the scale without freaking out so weighing once a week gives me happy new most weeks. It keeps me in a better frame of mind. I lost -3 lbs this week. So as of today I've lost -132 pounds in almost 13 months. I've lost a person! Woo Hoo! Now I figure I have at least 10 lbs of fat/skin to get lopped off my belly and arms and then of course we'll have to add a couple of pounds of silicon to make "the girls" perky. More scars. So in clothes I'll look hot but naked... a total Franken Barbie.

Kylie's story

Bigs hugs and a shout out to my pal Kylie! Her weight loss journey was featured on NBC 11 (Northern California)

Kylie's Story

Check it out!

Who am I?

I went to the supermarket today to pick up a few things and as I was leaving I tossed a copy of this free local monthly magazine in my bag. I got home, put away groceries, made a cup of tea, sat down and flipped open the magazine to AHHHHHHH! a fat picture of ME!?! My ex boss was being featured in a two page spread and on page 2 was the group shot from our Business of the Year banquet last year.

Is this weird??? I look at that pic (and others of a pre-op me) and it feels like I'm looking at someone else. I feel completely disconnected from her. So much so that I almost want to have a do-over and take all new pictures throughout the years because that "fat, old, Italian woman" in all my family photos is NOT me. Obviously, I DO know it's me. I'm not psycho but I just FEEL like a completely different person. Now I'm completely disconnected from her but the not quite fully connected to the person I see in the mirror each morning either. It's not even about the "physical changes" this is a head thing.

So then surfing I find this:

After gastric bypass surgery: Possible problems

"Your body image changes as your body goes through such a rapid and drastic change. You tend to lose a sense of self. You can actually go through an identity crisis. You may not recognize yourself. You may feel like you are walking around in someone else's body. Please remember that it will take some time getting used to the new you. Counseling may help you during these times of uncertainty."

So I am apparently suffering from a post-op identity crisis and I need a shrink. Good to know. Oh and no offense to fat, old Italian women. Io sono voi. I got much love for you.


I made Chicken Chop Suey tonight. It was yum. Lots of chopping and lots of steps and yeah I guess I could have just ordered Chinese take-out but I had fun making it. Here's your daily dose of food porn:

Shelly's Chicken Chop Suey

2 eggs, scrambled
2 or 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into 1" chunks
1/2 large onion, sliced
2 or 3 green onions, sliced into 1" sections
2 stalks celery, sliced on an angle
3-4 mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup shredded carrot
2 cups bean sprouts
1 can baby corn
3 to 4 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon Maggi Seasoning
1 Tablespoon Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon corn starch
salt & pepper to taste
canola oil

Heat wok, add oil, and scramble eggs. Remove and set aside. Add a little more oil and add chicken. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink. Remove chicken from wok and if needed add a little more oil. Add the bean sprouts, carrot, baby corn and celery. Stir fry over high heat about 5 minutes. Remove from pan set aside. Stir fry onions, garlic and mushrooms till golden. Add all the veggies, chicken and any juices and egg back into the wok season with soy sauce, Maggi and rice wine vinegar. Dissolve a teaspoon of corn starch in about 1/2 cup of chicken broth and add to Chop Suey to thicken. Simmer till heated through and gravy has formed.

Highlights of the day:

* It was much cooler as we sat and had dinner on the patio
* My order of Crunchy Cheese arrived
* I figured out a button on my camera... ummm yeah I uhhh read the manual.

Listening to: "Smile Like You Mean It" The Killers

Very Cool Product Alert

If you haven't bought these yet you need to:

Foster Farms Turkey Meatballs 18 g. protein in 3 mini meatballs.

I get them at Costco in a big bag in the freezer section. I've seen them at the local supermarkets too Albertson's, Winco, etc. They have two flavors Homestyle (super terrific excellent) and Italian (good for dropping in a pot of minestrone)

When I don't feel like cooking this is my go-to meal. Take a bottle of Rao's Tomato Basil Sauce (expensive but the only bottled sauce this picky Sicilian will use) drop a couple of Foster Farms Homestyle Turkey Meatballs in and simmer till warmed through. Grate Parmesan liberally over top and viola. Quick, easy and packed with protein! I eat them with steamed or grilled veggies.

I have also simmered them in Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce (yum but careful not to eat too much BBQ sauce if you dump easy) and served them with cole slaw. I've also made a version of swedish meatballs served on steamed cabbage.

Buy them.

Fat Fighters

Read this in this month's Fitness Magazine thought I'd share:

44 Super Foods That Fight Fat

NUTS AND SEEDS: (raw, unsalted) Almonds, Flaxseeds, Sesame seeds, Walnuts

FRUIT: Apples, Blueberries, Cherries, Grapefruit, Oranges, Pomegranates

BEVERAGES: (unsweetened) Blueberry juice, Cherry juice, Green tea, Pomegranate juice, Vegetable juice

VEGETABLES: Arugula, Bell peppers, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Leeks, Onions, Romaine lettuce, Scallions, Shiitake mushrooms, Spinach, Tomatoes

HERBS AND SPICES: Basil, Black pepper, Cardamom, Chives, Cilantro, Cinnamon, Cloves, Garlic, Ginger, Parsley, Turmeric

FISH: Flounder, Salmon, Sole, Tilapia

OTHER: Egg whites, Yogurt (plain, nonfat)

and woo hoo what I'm cooking tonight is on the list:

Parmesan Tilapia

You can use this topping on any white fish. It's so simple and good.

1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
2 lbs tilapia fillets
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease baking pan. In small bowl, mix together the cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice, basil, onion powder, salt and pepper. Arrange fillets in a single layer in prepared pan. Bake for 20 - 30 minutes until done and flaky. Remove fillets from oven and cover them with the cheese mixture on top side. Place under broiler for 2 minutes or until the topping is browned. Be careful not to overcook the fish. 8 servings.

Here's a couple from the archives that are on the list too:

Spinach Gratin
Tzatiki Sauce
Shelly's Meatball Minestrone


WARNING: If cyber cupcakes are an emotional eating trigger for you hit your browser's back button immediately. My latest craft project is sure to have you crashing your car through your local bakery window.

After having gastric bypass surgery in June 2006 I can't eat sweets but I can accessorize with them. I call these three tote bags the Cupcake Series.

Chocolate, Vanilla and Strawberry complete with sprinkles and a cherry.

BTW the lining is cute satin sleep shorts that I never got to wear before they were too big.

What's cooking?

One of my favorite threads over at OH is the daily menu thread. On the main message board Charlie does it now. Look for it.

It's fun to see how everyone eats as a post-op and I believe it's inspirational to pre-ops because they can see that after surgery you are not doomed to a life of cottage cheese and protein drinks. The general thought of those that haven't had weight loss surgery is that our days of "good food" are over. Heck I had a ton of last suppers before surgery and I have to laugh now because 90% of the stuff I had for my "last suppers" I can still eat. 5% I can eat if I adapt it and 5% was pure shit that no one should eat ever.

I thought every now and then I'd do an eating day in my post-op life with some pictures and recipes. So here we go...

For breakfast this morning I made a Vanilla Spice Protein Smoothie. I sat outside and drank it on the patio. I've started to put my smoothies in a pretty glass like I'm having a cocktail. This one is so yummy and reminds me of egg nog. I put an extra dash of nutmeg on top. Yum!

Here's the recipe:

Vanilla Spice Protein Shake

4 oz. Silk Spice Soy milk
4 oz. water
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
Dash Cinnamon
Dash Nutmeg
2-3 ice cubes

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

For lunch I had a sliced Avocado and an Onion and Parmesan Omelette YES!?! I am still on an egg kick.

Dinner will be leftover Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole from yesterday. This is the ultimate comfort food. So yummy. Seriously everyone that has this loves it. Of course I had yet another tomato salad with it.

Here's the recipe:

Shelly's Poppy Seed Chicken

1 cup chopped broccoli, steamed
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 zucchinis, chopped
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced into 1" pieces
1/2 cup sour cream
1 can of cream of chicken soup
salt & pepper to taste
10 Ritz crackers
poppy seeds

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

I had a couple of snacks too: The cherries are great right now. That's something that has changed post gastric bypass. I totally love fruit. Pre-op I never ate fruit.

You must try these Oh Yeah! Vanilla Peanut Butter Protein Wafers. Think Nutty Bars. You know the ones that evil temptress Little Debbie makes.

So that's it... an eating day in my life.

I'm trapped in my house today. 2 days ago we had signs put up around my neighborhood and a notice on the door that today we couldn't park on the street as they were going to re-pave. We could choose to park over on the next block. I decided I would park in the driveway and just become a house arrest prisoner for the day. I figured why not if Paris Hilton can do it so can I. Yesterday I hit the store for eggs, soy milk and trashy magazines so I had my staples.

Highlights of the day:

* While drinking my Vanilla Spice Protein Drink on the patio this morning I read a great article in this free magazine I picked up at the health food store. It had the coolest vitamin and mineral chart in it. Oodles of cool info. I will attempt to scan it in to my computer and share.

* It is an absolutely gorgeous day. 88 degrees. Sunny and Breezy.

* Feeding a chunk of Parmesan cheese to my cheese-o-holic cat who almost bit my finger off for it.

Listening to: "Trapped" Bruce Springsteen

8 Weird Things About Me Meme

1. At any given time I have at LEAST 10 different cheeses in my refrigerator.

Currently (and I think I missed a few)

2. I am prone to light & odor induced migraines. So I always have sunglasses with me even on gray days and they are usually on top of my head.

3. When I was a child I played with lion cubs.

4. I collect cookbooks and cooking gadgets obsessively.

5. I am seriously considering changing my name officially but I'm too lazy to figure out the process.

6. I met Mr. Rogers.

7. Gross one: I had my top lip ripped off and reattached (powers of plastic surgery).

8. I had weight loss surgery alone in a foreign country.

Tag one: Annoying Lizard

10 Solutions to Stress

I'm always interested in ways to reduce stress.

1. Lean on other people. Studies of both animals and humans show that social contact can help tone down the body's physical response to stress. It can even boost immunity. So cultivate a network of people you can turn to. Share what's bothering you with a friend and ask for some helpful advice. Avoid people who always need something without giving back or who are constantly moody or depressed.

2. De-clutter your world. Stop hoarding old magazines, and throw away those old receipts and tax returns you no longer need. Clutter-free surroundings will help prevent the frustration of not being able to find something you need, and give you the reassuring knowledge that everything's in its place.

3. Eliminate last-minute rushes. Leave the house 15 minutes early for appointments, set up a system for paying your bills (ask your bank about automatic bill paying), refill your prescriptions a week ahead of time, and stock up on birthday cards whenever you see ones you like. A little advance planning can spare you a lot of headaches.

Here's two neat resources:

Menu Planning Worksheet

Greeting Card Calendar

4. Keep your journal. Reflect on your day, your emotions, and your personal goals. Include everything that stresses you, so you can start to recognize patterns and take appropriate action. Writing is also a great way to relax and put things into perspective.

5. Get organized. Set aside a place for bills, paperwork, letters. Store items you use most often in accessible places. Spend five minutes straightening your office or main living area at the end of the day. Keep a long-range calendar and a short-range to-do list. Check off items as you finish them.

6. Get a massage. Massage not only relaxes tense muscles, it decreases the level of stress hormones in the bloodstream and stimulates the release of serotonin, a brain chemical associated with relaxation and a feeling of well-being. Studies show that massage can even lower your heart rate and blood pressure.

7. Chop your to-do list in half. Most of us set the bar too high. After you've written your to-do list, decide what's most important to you in the long run, then cut the list in half. If you can't eliminate certain tasks, try to have someone else do them. For instance, hire a neighborhood teenager to do the yard work, or skip cooking and order in.

8. Carve time for yourself. Give higher priority to your "relax and renewal" time. Include it in your schedule at least every other day. If you have to cut out an activity to make time for your hobby or a warm bath. Or spend some time alone reading or listening to music you love.

9. Avoid crowds. Schedule your commute to avoid traffic, go for lunch 15 minutes before the usual rush, make Thursday, not Saturday, your night out, shop for groceries on a weeknight, and order your clothes and prescription drugs through the mail.

10. Laugh a little. When you laugh, you send chemicals called endorphins to your brain that ease pain and enhance your feeling of well-being. Laughter also stimulates the heart, lungs, and muscles and boosts your resistance to infection. If you laugh for 20 seconds, your body gets the same amount of beneficial oxygen as it does in three minutes of aerobic exercise. Plus, it's nearly impossible to stay tense while you're laughing. Find cartoons, videos, TV shows, writers, and comics that make you laugh. Share jokes with friends over email.


Just added a couple of new protein shake recipes to the my favorite protein shake recipes page. I'm especially loving the Vanilla Spice and the Chocolate Almond.


This weekend

Spent Friday and most of Saturday in San Diego. A friend came into town so a group of ladies I've met through OH got together and did the tourist thing. Fun was had at the Seaport Village Hat Shop!

OK I so am going back to buy this green cowboy hat which perfectly matched my outfit (above) and looks super cute!

A weekend Wow moment: I bought a new hoodie. When I was a student at SDSU I bought a hoodie in size 2x (the biggest size they had) it didn't fit but I wanted one because "maybe one day it would fit" and it was a memory of my years there. Well it finally did fit (Thank God for this surgery) and I used it all this winter when I walked around the lake. That hoodie is HUGE on me now and needs to be retired. Oh yeah!!! So while I was on campus this weekend I bought a new hoodie in size Large which is get this... a bit big on me but when my boobies are in place again I think it'll be just right! So woooo hoooo!

Last night we went to see "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" It was soooo good! I could see that show over and over (I have seen it 3 times) This performance was even better than the last time I saw it and I thought that was the best version I'd ever seen. It was a fun night but I was wiped when I got home.

I slept in this morning and then got up and made a yummy Berry Protein Shake, worked on my latest craft project, answered emails, listened to music and surfed the net. I love Sundays like this! I'm going for a walk before I make dinner. Tonight's menu is BBQ'd Greek Chicken and Zucchini from the garden sauteed with Onions and Mushrooms and (of course) a Tomato Salad.

I'm still on an egg and tomato kick. Had both several times this weekend. Eggs = lots of biotin so my hair is loving life. It was so hard losing hair after surgery (I lost huge clumps for 2 months) I do have to say my hair now is healthier than it's ever been and crazy curly.

Highlights of the weekend:

* The San Diego Trolley system is a pleasant way to travel (the San Diego Bus System leaves something to be desired)
* Visiting with friends ;)
* Working on our tote bags OMG!?! they are coming out so cute. I'll post pics soon.

Holiday wrap-up

Hope everyone had a spectacular 4th of July! I had a great one. Well shoot anything beats last 4th of July. I was two weeks post-op eating mashed carrots and smelling everyone's BBQ smoke in the neighborhood. I was smack dab in the "what the hell did I do to myself" phase. When you are newly post-op and eating a tablespoon of mush like a baby you can't imagine that life is ever going to be "normal" again. What I now realize is what I was doing pre-op wasn't normal. I would go all day on Venti Carmel Macchiatos and then eat enough dinner for 4 people. There's nothing normal about that. I needed to train my body and mind for a new "normal." It takes time and trial and error. Fast forward a year later: -129 pounds, feeling awesome, and getting full on my (sensible portion) BBQ dinner. I had filet mignon topped with mushrooms, 1/2 a grilled corn, and a sliced tomato from the garden.

After dinner I worked for a bit and then went out and caught the local fireworks display. We have a great view from our backyard. This is the second house I've lived in with an awesome view of fireworks. It's nice not battling crowds. When we came inside Rose my cat was spooked from the snap, crackle, popping and so I spent some time calming her down. Pets don't like the 4th of July. She's still weirded out today and carrying around her "baby" everywhere (a stuffed gray cat).

Today is my Mom's birthday. We did nothing. By choice. We were going to go get our favorite crab legs but lunch turned into dinner and dinner turned into Sunday. We are into doing nothing today and sometimes those days are the best. Happy Birthday Mom!

Highlights of the day:

* Watching the "Pops goes the 4th" Boston Pops show (it's tradition)
* Baron's has yummy filet mignons. Reminder get those again well worth the $$
* My 2 hour conversation with Barb and talk of my next trip to NY. Barb and I need to hangout one last time at her house before her parents sell it :( and I need to deal with some "unfinished business" I have there.

Listening to: "Stone in Love" Journey

Summer Fun Quiz

Favorite summer song: "Boys of Summer" Don Henley
Picnic or BBQ food: Grilled Corn on the Cob
Favorite summer activity: Reading magazines on the beach
Favorite summer footwear: Flip Flops
Earliest childhood summer memory: Building sand castles on Cupsogue Beach on LI (born & raised LIer)
Favorite summer drink: Iced Tea
Worst thing about summer: Bugs, Electric Bills
Sun hater or sun worshipper: Worshipper
Sand or grass: Sand
All-time favorite bathing suit: A little blue bikini when I was 5 years old (my last one LOL)
Summer movie: Dirty Dancing
Cup or cone: Cone in a cup (safety first)
Gas or charcoal: Gas (only because it's easy to clean)
Did your parents send you to camp? Nope
Name one of your summer jobs? Carousel operator