Happy Halloween Everyone!

A vampire bat came flapping in from the night covered in fresh blood and parked himself on the roof of the cave to get some sleep.

Pretty soon all the other bats smelled the blood and began hassling him about where he got it. He told them to go away and let him get some sleep but they persisted until finally he gave in.

"OK, follow me" he said and flew out of the cave with hundreds of bats behind him. Down through the valley they went, across a river and into a forest full of trees.

Finally he slowed down and all the other bats excitedly milled around him.

"Now, do you see that tree over there?" he asked.

"Yes, Yes, Yes!" the bats all screamed in a frenzy.

"Good" said the bat, "Because I sure as hell didn't!"

Shelly's SF Pumpkin Fluff

1 cup canned pumpkin (not pie mix)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup milk
1 cup FF cool whip
1 package SF instant vanilla pudding mix (dry)

Mix together pumpkin, spice and milk until well blended. Add pudding mix and beat by hand 2 minutes. Fold in cool whip. Refrigerate. Spoon into parfait glasses and top with another dollop of cool whip. Makes 4 parfaits.

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie or Popsicle

8 oz. water or 4 oz. soy milk/4 oz. water
1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
1/4 cup canned pumpkin (chilled)
Dash of pumpkin pie spice

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

Here's some more Halloween tips and recipes

Remember: eat four "bite size" candy bars and you've consumed approximately 320 calories. Not worth it! Go grab a cheese stick or some other protein snack... Mmmmm cheesestick dipped in warm marinara.

Have a great night. Be safe!

Update on me

Yeah that's about how I feel. Got back late last night from another trip South of the Border (Cosmed Clinic). I had my check-up was supposed to have my drains removed but they conveniently fell out Sunday. Well one fell out and so I had to help the other one. JP drains act on suction and with one tube hanging the other was no longer doing it's thing. It felt weird pulling it out but it didn't hurt at all.

So Dr. Q checked me out and said everything looked good and normal. I'm really swollen still and have been worried about that. I mean my thighs are HUGE. He said it's trapped water and my body will give it up when it is ready. Till then I'm staying off the scale. I don't want to get depressed. I asked him if my swelling was the worst he had every seen and he said it wasn't... some dude from NY beat me out and he thankfully shrunk to normal... eventually. I'm to sleep with my feet up and walk less for awhile. He drained some of the liquid gathering at my elbow. It was clear water. I thought it would be gross and yellow but it was like clear rain pouring out of my elbow. Bizarre. He said it might return (I think it is already) but like the water in the rest of my body would eventually go away.

I was cleared for a shower. Thank God. I'm taking one today and I have some special moisturizer to apply to my incisions after. Applying that should take me hours. There isn't a part of my body that doesn't have an incision. I don't need a Halloween costume that is for sure.

I basically feel like I've been hit by a train but everyday less passengers are on the train. The worst now is itchy scabs that my clothing keeps pulling on and making bleed. Ouch.

It's so nice to have my boobs back in place and have cleavage again. My arms look great in a shirt. They are narrow and don't swing anymore. I even see a little developed muscle. I was so worried about the arm lift and it was by far the least painful of the three procedures. The bottom half of my body is looking better each day. Once the swelling goes down I'm sure it will be great. It's strange having a lap again lemme tell ya. I have noticed a few of the health issues I had have resolved... mid back pain, trouble peeing. So that's a good thing.

I hope by Christmas I will start feeling back to normal. I'll keep you updated.

That's about it. Oh I did stay at the Hotel Lucerna when I went down this time and OMG I loved it. What a great place and literally 1 block from Cosmed. The staff was wonderful. The food was great. The Tortilla Soup was to die for! I think I would have preferred hanging out here and getting a Cosmed nurse to visit versus the recovery house I stayed in last week. I did meet some wonderful people at the house though (Hi William, Ilene, and Vickie) but if I did it again I would choose hanging out with a magazine and a smoothie on a poolside chaise at the Lucerna. It basically would work out to be the same price. If you are headed down email me and I'll give you my pros and cons of each and you can decide for yourself. Everyone is different.

Here's a list of things I found useful while in Mexico for plastic surgery:

* Lip Balm or Vaseline - my lips and mouth area were very dry and chapped I think it's the oxygen mask
* Bath robe or button up nightshirt or zipper sweatshirt - if you have your boobs or arms done this is a must you can't pull over tops for awhile.
* Very large stretchy t-shirt or tank - large enough to pull over and go under binder
* Slip on slippers or flip flops
* Hairbrush & scrunchees - you will be so thankful for these in the morning
* Loose fitting soft drawstring pants in a size larger than you went in
* Pain meds - I brought my own Vicodin. In Mexico they don't have very strong pain medicine. They don't have rehab clinics (sorry Lindsey Lohan) like we do so they limit what they make readily available. I used my Vicodin for the first week and then switched to the milder Ultram they gave me (called Sinergix in Mexico). Ultram is good stuff but wouldn't have cut it those first few days.
* Tylenol - for between pain meds
* Stool softener - I didn't have a BM for 5 days this was a blessing (TY William)
* Cough drops or hard candies - believe me you don't want to cough
* Bottled water
* Protein snacks - bars, crunchy cheese, almonds, drinks
* Hand lotion - I was seriously dry
* Wash clothes and baby wipes - you can't shower so these were wonderful and refreshing
* Plenty of $1, $5, and $10 US bills (no need to change money) every cab in TJ is $5 if you pay more you are being swindled
* Calling card that works in Mexico or add a plan to your cellphone for making calls inside Mexico. I have ATT/Cingular and it was $5 added to my bill which got me 50 cent text messages and 59 cents a minute calls. Yeah still hideously expensive but better than without the plan trust me.
* Ipod passed the time.
* Magazines

If you stay at the Hotel Lucerna:

* Powdered coffee creamer - you only get a few packets
* Tea Bags
* $1 bills for tips
* Pen knife or keep a room service knife - every evening they bring a basket of fruit (apples, banana, pears)
* Bottled water (it's $1 a bottle after the 2 room freebies) and maybe stuff to add to it crystal light or tea.

Back in the saddle

Well now I feel like I'm getting back to normal. I cooked a little last night. Thought I'd share my latest weight loss surgery friendly recipe experiment. It was really good and very low carb for those watching those. I served it with peas which went really well. A little salad might be a nice side with it but my battery had run low by then and frozen peas were all I could muster.

Plastic surgery kicks your butt lemme tell ya. For most of the day I feel like I was run over, backed up on and run over again. RNY was nothing like this. I feel a bit better each day but it really is baby steps.

Shelly's Chicken and Artichoke Bake

1 cup Leeks, chopped
1/2 Yellow Onion, chopped
2 Green Onions, chopped
4-5 Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 boneless skinless Chicken Breasts, sliced into 1" pieces
1 can (13.75 oz.) Artichoke Hearts (non-marinated), chopped
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1 cup (plus two tablespoons) Italian Blend Cheese, divided use
1 Tablespoon Italian dry Bread Crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute onions and leeks till golden. Add mushrooms 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 artichokes, mayo, cheese, bread crumbs together combine with onions and chicken mixture. Pour into a casserole dish. Sprinkle with 2 Tablespoons of Shredded Cheese. Bake 30 minutes.

I had to share this...

I've been wearing the binder the hospital put on me every day and night since I got home. I've been really swollen... I mean really swollen like fatter thighs then when I was 295 pounds swollen. That started Day 4 and totally freaked me out. BTW. Every morning I would wake up and they would be less swollen but within a few minutes poof Stay Puft Marshmallow again. Finally last night I tore off the binder they gave me and switched to the binder I had when I had RNY... umm woke up this morning to thighs 1/2 the size and going down by the minute. I was strangling myself from the waist down.

I'm feeling a little better each day. I had a lot done at once so I realize it'll be a slow road till I feel "normal" again but today was better than yesterday so woo hoo!

I actually cooked today. I'll post some FP tomorrow.

Highlights of the day:

* Hurts less

* Mmmm Tortilla Pizza for lunch

* My arms look narrow in my sweatshirt

Listening to: "Rio" Duran Duran

Trick or Treat?

Here's The World According to Eggface's small effort to help the childhood obesity crisis. Hope you or someone you know find these ideas useful:

Forget the candy. Stay home and have a Halloween Party

Make Tortilla Pizza "Monster Faces"

Bob for Apples

Carve Pumpkins

Roast Pumpkin Seeds

1 1/3 cups Pumpkin Seeds, cleaned and rinsed
2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Combine the pumpkin seeds with the garlic powder, salt and black pepper on prepared baking sheet and toss to combine. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until seeds are crispy and light golden brown. Remove from the oven and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon to release any seeds that have stuck to the baking sheet, and cool completely before serving. Roasted seeds will keep in an airtight storage container for up to 1 week.

Make Deviled Egg Spiders

Make Shelly's Pumpkin Spice Playdough

3 cups Flour
1 cup Salt
2 Tablespoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
3 cups Boiling Water
4 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
Couple of drops of Red and Yellow Food Coloring

Mix all dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl then add boiling water. Add oil 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. and you've got your own monster making factory.

Read a Spooky Story

Put on Michael Jackson's Thriller and dance

Candy alternatives to give out to trick or treaters

• Pencils
• Bracelets
• Coins
• Bubbles
• Playdough
• Magnets
• Figurines
• Maze games
• Kazoos
• Key chains
• Whistles
• Trading cards
• Stickers
• Toy cars
• Coloring books
• Crayons
• Yo-yos
• Mini Notebooks
• Rubber Hi-bouncing balls
• Plastic Animals and Insects
• Frozen Yogurt Single Scoop Coupons
• Healthy snacks (mini bags of popcorn, nuts, fruit mix, factory sealed of course)

www.orientaltrading.com has some great stuff

Trick-Or-Treating With a Cause

Use Halloween to teach your kids about helping other kids. UNICEF sponsors a "Trick-Or-Treat for UNICEF" program where trick-or-treaters collect change instead of candy. The money raised goes to UNICEF's worldwide aid programs. You can get collection boxes at local Pier 1 Imports and Hallmark stores or through their web site, www.unicefusa.org.

Also through its "Coins That Count Donation Program," Coinstar coin-counting machines, allow kids to contribute to organizations like the World Wildlife Fund and the American Red Cross. Kids can take their change to a Coinstar machine (find one in your area at www.coinstar.com) donations are made when coins are deposited or get your cash and donate to a cause you hold near and dear. Kids might like to donate to the zoo or animal shelter.

Just an FYI: eat four "bite size" candy bars and you've consumed approximately 320 calories.

October is National Popcorn Month

Some Dr.'s are anti popcorn but it's OK on my plan. I have it a couple of times a month and definitely at the movies ;) I was cleared for all foods as tolerated at 8 weeks but I did hold out till about 4 months for popcorn. As always heed the advice of your medical posse.

Popcorn facts:

Popcorn is a whole grain.

Popcorn is a good source of fiber.

Air-popped popcorn has only 31 calories per cup. Oil-popped is only 55 per cup.

Corn is one of the world's healthiest foods

Looking to spice up your popcorn?

Garlic powder
Parmesan cheese
Dry taco seasoning mix
Greek Seasoning
Dry ranch-style seasoning mix
Lemon pepper
Crushed rosemary
Summer savory

My favorite is Parmesan cheese, Garlic powder, and Oregano.

I buy the Orville Redenbacher Smart Pop 100 calorie mini bags. One bag has 100 calories, 2 grams of fat, 4 grams of dietary fiber, and 3 grams of protein.

D is for...

Fat Chick version

D is for Dating - As a fat girl I went on a double date with a guy I really liked. Miniature golf, air hockey, video game type place with food and drink. He suddenly gets the idea that we all should go on the bumper boats (boats in a little fake lake). My eyes quickly scan for the weight restrictions: limit 250 pounds. Tilt.

I suddenly get a headache and "need to sit this one out." He questions, "you didn't have a headache a few minutes ago?" I insist it came on suddenly. He pushes, "Come on it'll be fun" I sharply say, "No." I sit on a park bench and watch my date have fun with the other couple. I have to keep up the fake headache which spoils the night and deep down I think they must know the real reason. I would have sunk the boat.

I should note that on this date I had already just barely squeezed myself into the back seat of the car, couldn't clip the seat belt and feared the little read light on the dashboard would announce this to the group, managed to get through dinner in a booth with a table giving me the Heimlich maneuver and walked by countless groups of teenagers in fear that one would make comments.

FYI We broke up soon after.

I believe in destiny and soulmates so I know this was all in the plan but still...

Post Gastric Bypass version

D is for Dating - Who knows?!? I haven't been on one yet.

I'll leave this space reserved to add the details ;)

UPDATE: Oh I need to update this area one of these days... been on a few. Let's just say this... I'm still single and probably will be for life (happily) ;)

If you are wondering what this entry is all about catch up here.

It lives!

Hey everyone! Well I'm back in a fashion with tons of stories to tell but not enough umpff yet to do them justice...

A brief summary: I had the works (I don't recommmend doing it all at once talk about feeling like a train wreck) Lower Body Lift (very very swollen think Stay Puft Marshmallow Man), BL/BA (I'm happy to see those girls again), and Arm Lift (not nearly as bad as I thought it would be). This LBL is intense!!! Franken Barbie is an understandment OMG!?! and I have some fluid gathering at one elbow ewww.

Quick story: I ask my Dr. on my post surgery follow-up appointment about the swelling and he tells me "it's normal and will eventually go down" and then I ask "Well Dr. is there a better sitting or sleeping position that would be less painful and better for the swelling?" His answer: "Michelle with the amount of work you had done the only good position for you would be on your face, sorry." LOL.

I had a longer than normal ride home due to the wildfires so a 1-1/2 hour ride became a 5 hour trip as every freeway, street, and darn bike path was closed. I'm wiped today but happy to be home to finish healing. My prayers go to all my local friends that are displaced. I'm luckily just north of one of the big ones and south of another so aside from lots of smoke and ash we are just fine.

Thank you so much for all the prayers, emails, PM's, text and phone messages I am so blessed to have you all in my life. It kept me going in those what the hell did I do to my body moments and I had a few... I may not get to respond for awhile but I have read them all. Thank you.

Please excuse the spotty blogging in the next couple of weeks... I will attempt to do a post everyday or two. I have tons to share about the experience. For those who hang out for recipes I'll be posting a few of those too...

I actually did make myself the Best Breakfast Ever this morning so I'm sure I won't be out of the kitchen for long.

Michelle (Eggface)

Highlights of the week:

* Living

* I can wipe my own butt

* Awesome support of family and friends

* Did I mention that I can wipe my own butt?

Listening to: "Three Little Birds" Bob Marley & The Wailers

Franken Barbie

I'm off to get carved up like a turkey on Thanksgiving Day. While I'm enjoying my morphine drip feel free to browse the Eggface archives and quick links on the left side of the page.

Have a nice weekend everyone. I'll post all the gory details as soon as I am able.

If you are believer please say a little prayer (or swing a chicken whatever your thing is.) Thanks.


With all our senses

It's important we experience and enjoy the season with all our senses (not just taste)

1) Smell: Our strongest sense and memory trigger.

Your Grandfather's pipe (they leave :( us too quickly)
Mom's perfume
Children just bathed and ready for bed (nothing like a freshly bathed baby)
Burning scented candles (loving these right now)
The smell of a pile of leaves
Pine wreaths
The air after a rain
Vick's Vapor Rub (totally triggers childhood memories for me)

2) Hear:

Voices of loved ones
Listening to the howling wind or rain
The crunch of leaves under your feet
Children's excited voices
Trick or treaters calling, football cheers, carolers
The Salvation Army bell ringers
Your family "nagging" each other (Instead of getting agitated learn to enjoy this)

Halloween 1982

3.) Feel:

Hugs of loved ones
Flannel sheets and warm blankets
Fuzzy hats and scarves
Crisp morning air
A scented lotion (my favorite is the Pear one)
Warmth of a fire in the fireplace (Any of my NY pals remember the Yule Log on TV?)

4) See:

Trees changing color and losing their leaves
Clear starry skies
Cool cloud formations after a storm
Smiling faces
Glowing candles
Your breath on a cold day (Doesn't happen that much in So Cal I love it when it does)

5) Taste:

Healthy foods in sensible portions
Fresh fall veggies
Cooking with herbs
Sweet apples (smeared with Justin's Maple Almond Butter)
Warm tea
Lip balm (if I was on Survivor this would be my luxury item)

Protein Shake Tips: Icky Brown Gack

For those who hate their protein shakes here's some tips:

Keep sampling different types you are bound to hit on one you can tolerate eventually. It took me 8 months but I found one I love. I would so suggest getting sample sizes that way you can try a few without spending a bunch on a big tub and finding out you hate it.

Some sites that sell sample sizes or travel packets. E-mail some of the protein companies directly and request freebies (mention you are a bariatric patient) I've scored some this way too. When you are in stores like the Vitamin Shoppe or GNC ask for samples. I found some of my favorite this way. The girl at GNC mixed me a shake in the store. Go to events like Your Weight Matters National Convention and OH they have exhibitors that give out samples.

You can try the protein I use: JE Lean Body for Her, Celebrate Protein 20, Celebrate Vitamins ENS, Chike Nutrition, Oh Yeah RTD, Premier Protein RTD, Syntrax Nectar Sweets, etc. Shake and smoothie recipes I make are in My Favorite Protein Shake Recipe page but...

I have found protein to be such an individual thing. In the beginning I would have people tell me "Try my protein it's soooo good" I would race out to the store and buy it. I'd mix up a shake and just know if so & so loved it this one will be "the one" well it wasn't the one. In fact, some of the protein supplements people said were sooooo yummy I thought tasted like a monkey's ass.

Try making your shakes with water versus milk or 1/2 milk 1/2 water or switching to lactaid milk or soy. If you are having trouble it might be a lactose/milk intolerance. I'm a soy or water girl. Milk is a ticket to rolling around on the floor with cramps and pain for me. Switching to soy made a world of difference. Test a few different options.

Get creative and add stuff to your shakes: SF Syrups, fruit, spices, sugar free pudding mix. See my favorite protein shake & smoothie recipes page for more ideas.

Get a sippy cup or one of those travel mugs with a lid so you don't have to smell it as you are drinking. The smell always got to me first. I use this and I love it or I use a shaker bottle I can run errands and take my shake along. It's great for traveling post-op too.

Disguise it. In the beginning I hid protein in sugar free pudding, SF cocoa, thinned cream of wheat, yogurt, coffee, oatmeal, soup, applesauce. Shoot whatever you can. There are unflavored protein powders but unfortunately unflavored does not mean tasteless it means without a flavor like chocolate or vanilla so it's useful for hiding in soup.

If all else fails better aim for foods high in protein. I ate chicken for breakfast in the beginning to avoid drinking some of the shakes. Be sure to get your protein in though because hair need protein and burning fat requires fuel. Your body needs protein and the quicker you get to your Dr. recommended amount the better.

These are some of my protein go-to's:

crab legs
lump crab
smoked albacore
smoked salmon
fresh salmon
turkey mignon (bacon-wrapped turkey)
turkey meatballs (Foster Farms frozen 18 g. of protein for 3 balls)
ground turkey
low sodium cold cuts
pouches of tuna, crab
Greek yogurt
peanuts & almonds
protein powder

Still on liquids? Here's some ideas.
Still on pureed? Here's some ideas.

7 Protein Packed Grab and Go Breakfast Ideas
10 Favorite Protein Sources

But ultimately... read this message that set me straight. Warning it's tough love.

Suck this!

When everyone is eating caramel apples this Halloween suck on one of these. OMG! these taste just like that creamy caramel that coats the dipped apples. They are 30 calories a piece so don't suck twelve or you might as well have had the caramel apple. Here's a 55 cent off coupon I found for them too. Not that I'm enabling or anything ;)

What made you fat?

Baby Eggface

Here is my answer:

A very important question. I believe knowing this answer helps us to not go back there.

My story... the bullet point version:

* Overeating simple carbs (bread, pasta, rice)

* Poor eating habits (all day survival on Venti Double Caramel Macchiatos, come home and eat for four then crash... rinse and repeat)

* Dislike of exercise and sweating (and eventually comorbidities that made it dangerous)

* Italian family = food is love

* Wartime mentality old school parents = clean your plate, no waste (after 18 it was all me)

* Fat genes (I'm assuming this one) but Pop was fat and died at 67 from it.

Happy World Egg Day!

The second Friday of October is World Egg Day. Hello!?! you so know I had to celebrate this. So in honor of World Egg Day we're having breakfast for dinner tonight.

Scrambled Eggs With Pesto and Ricotta

1/2 tablespoon Butter
3 large Eggs
Pinch of Kosher Salt
Freshly ground Black Pepper
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
1 heaping tablespoon Pesto, more to taste (I use Trader Joe's or Buitoni)
3 tablespoons Ricotta cheese, broken up into clumps.

Over medium-high heat, melt butter in a non stick skillet. Beat eggs with salt, pepper and parmesan cheese. Pour eggs into pan. Using a heat-proof rubber spatula, stir eggs constantly until very loosely set and slightly runnier than you like them. Drizzle pesto on eggs. Give eggs a few more gentle stirs enough to finish cooking them and to distribute pesto in dark green streaks. Scatter ricotta on eggs and drizzle with more pesto if desired. Serve at once. Obviously this is for more than one person ;)

Links to other Eggface egg favorites:

Shelly's Egg Foo Young
Shelly's Beef Fiesta Bites
Onion & Parmesan Omelette

And one for Halloween I am so doing...

Deviled Egg Spiders

Slice a black olive in half lengthwise which becomes the body. Then cut the other half crosswise into thin slices to form the creepy legs.

Egg Recipes Low Carb Protein Packed Recipes

Eggs are notoriously difficult for the early post-op. What is odd is so many Dr.'s have them on their food plans really early.

I was able to eat them in the beginning but only if they were covered in something wet. So I made a cheese sauce (like for homemade mac & cheese) and poured it over. The eggs slid down and I got the added protein from the milk and cheese.

I did really well with Egg Salad because of the moisture level from the mayonnaise but some people have trouble. Probably those rubbery whites so maybe at first try using just the yolks or whiz it up in this awesome gadget which I used every day in the beginning and still use several times a week. I added things like wasabi mayo, mustard, curry, and dill to change up the flavor.

Eggs are one of the world's healthiest foods.

It was pizza night!

Mission Brand Carb Balance Whole Wheat 6" Fajita Size Tortilla, Pesto Sauce, Provolone Cheese, Sauteed Mushrooms, Fresh Basil, Italian Seasoning, Parmesan.

Directions: Place the tortilla on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Top with toppings. Bake at 375 degree oven for 8-10 minutes till the tortilla is crisp and the toppings are bubbly.

More Pizza Porn.

Cooking experiment version 3.0

I love to take a recipe and add or subtract ingredients to come up with new creations. Sometimes these experiments work and sometimes well not so much ;) Thankfully last night it worked. Here's the evolution of this recipe: First it was Greek Moussaka, then British Shepherd's Pie and last night's version had a Southwest vibe going on with the addition of mild green chilis, cumin, corn & black beans.

It was super yummy. I ate my portion on its own but for others with more room maybe add a side salad. Leftovers heat up great. I had them today for lunch too :)

Shelly's Southwest Shepherd's Pie (without potatoes)

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Large Onion, chopped
2 Green Onions, diced
1 pound Ground Beef
3/4 cup purchased Salsa
1 teaspoon ground Cumin
1 cup frozen Corn, thawed
1 can Black Beans, drained
Salt & Pepper to taste

1 large Egg
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Flour
1 cup Milk
4 ounces Cream Cheese
1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese
2 Mild Green Chilis, diced (I use canned Ortega)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Heat oil in skillet and saute onions till golden. Remove and set aside. Saute ground beef and cook till no pink is seen. Drain any fats. Add onions back, salsa, cumin, salt & pepper, corn and beans. Cook for 1 minute. Pour into casserole dish.

In a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg and set aside. In a small saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking often, until the mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in the milk and cook until thickened. Lower the heat to low and stir in the cream cheese, ricotta and diced green chilis. Salt and pepper to taste. Whisk a spoon of the cheese sauce into the reserved eggs until smooth. Whisk the egg mixture into the cheese sauce in the saucepan. Pour the sauce over the meat in the baking dish. Bake until the top is lightly browned. 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting.

Beans and snowballs

Last night I made a yummy alteration on my Chicken Cacciatore dish. In an effort to boost up my protein intake a bit in preparation for getting carved up like a Thanksgiving turkey I added cannelini beans. OMG!? I think I will make it this way from now on. The cannelini beans soak up all the yummy flavors of the sauce and roasted vegetables. Sooooo good!

Here's the recipe and FP:

Shelly's Chicken Cacciatore with Beans

1 Red Onion, chopped
1 Yellow Onion, chopped
2 Red Peppers, chopped
Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper
7-8 Chicken breast tenders cut into 1" piece, marinated in a T or so of Italian Dressing for 4 hours (at least)
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
1 can Diced Tomatoes (14.5 oz S&W brand is my fav)
1 can Cannelini Beans (14.5 oz. can), drained

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss onions and pepper with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in oven for 50 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking time. Saute chicken that has been marinated till golden. Add Italian Seasoning and garlic. Add diced tomatoes and beans. Add roasted vegetables with all juices. Simmer till warmed through about 5-7 minutes. Serve with a snowfall of good parmesan cheese.

It was Columbus Day so I figured a little Italian fix was needed. Seriously who needs pasta with a dish like this?

Errr. I hate having so much time before my surgery. I'm a total snowball thinker. I start off with a little thought and roll it over in my mind till it's an avalanche o' shit. I just want to get it over with. I'm a swig it down kinda girl. So I've been sleeping like crap. It's always the what if's...

I have a lot to do. So I just need to focus on that. I need to pick up some supplies and do some house chores I know I won't be able to do for awhile. I'm also going to cook a few extra dishes this week and freeze them so I'll have it easy when I get back. Buy some sweats with a drawstring waist. Hair and pedicure fun stuff like that. FOCUS! **End self pep talk**

Highlights of the day:

* Experimenting for dinner tonight. I love to experiment. If it's a winner you'll hear about it.

* Haircut today. Finally found a stylist who gets it. Short, sassy, wash & go.

* Starbuck's run... it's the little things. Hot SF Cinnamon Dolce Soy Lattes on a crisp Fall day. Mmmmm.

Listening to: "New Shoes" Paolo Nutini.


I want to give you the 411 on a few yummy products. Two my pal Sarah hooked me on (she's my PB pusher) and one I've been loving for awhile.

Peanut Butter & Co.
You will think you have died and gone to heaven when you eat a spoonful of this stuff. The Cinnamon Raisin Swirl is my favorite. Awesome!

Other flavors: Smooth Operator, Crunch Time, White Chocolate Wonderful, Dark Chocolate Dreams, The Heat is On, Cinnamon Raisin Swirl.

PB Loco Peanut Butter
Comes in a ton of flavors: CoCoBanana, Asian Curry Spice, Dark Chocolate Duo, Raspberry White Chocolate, Sun-Dried Tomato, Creamy White Chocolate, European Cafe Mocha, Raspberry Dark Chocolate, Sumatra Cinnamon and Raisin, the classics Crunch & Creamy and Jungle Banana.

I'm loving the Jungle Banana. If Elvis was alive this would be his choice.

Justin's Nut Butters

I've been enjoying these for months. Try the Maple Almond or Honey Almond smeared on a sliced apple. I especially love that they have little individual packets which are great for traveling or taking to work. One packet does me twice.

Other Justin's products: Maple Almond Butter, Honey Almond Butter, Classic Almond Butter, Organic Honey Peanut Butter, Organic Cinnamon Peanut Butter, Organic Classic Peanut Butter.

Things to smear these on besides bread: your finger, a spoon, apple, celery, carrots, a Mission Brand Carb Balance Whole Wheat 6" Fajita Size Tortilla, Genisoy Apple Cinnamon Soy Crisps.

Almonds and Peanuts are two of the world's healthiest foods.

The Eight Most Fattening Foods of Fall

The Eight Most Fattening Foods of Fall with added Eggface commentary and weight loss surgery friendly suggested alternatives.

1. Halloween candy - With all the bowls and bags of bite-size treats around the house, it's all too tempting to steal a few. But those tiny chocolate bars are more of a trick than a treat. Eat just four "bite size" bars and you're up to 320 calories. Twenty pieces of candy corn will cost you 100 calories, and just 25 jelly beans add up to 140 calories.

There are tons of SF Chocolate choices out there if you need a fix but beware most are full of sugar alcohols that may cause dumping in RNY-ers and most are pretty high carb too. If candy was your thing pre-op I would probably avoid these... like an alcoholic going to a winery what's the point?

Tip: From now on buy candy you hate for the trick-or-treaters.

Step away from the candy dish. Here's my list of 50 things to do instead of snacking.

2. Mashed potatoes - They are the quintessential comfort food for fall. But watch out before taking seconds: weighed down with milk and butter, mashed potatoes usually have about 200 calories in a half-cup serving.

I stay away from them. They go down too easy. I will do a small sweet potato. Yum. Those scream fall to me.

You can pull the old Atkins trick and mash up cauliflower or I just made a Shepherd's Pie a few weeks ago with a faux potato protein rich topping.

3. Venti Pumpkin Spice Latte - Starbucks drinks are notoriously high in calories, and their autumn special is no exception. The Venti Pumpkin Spice Latte weighs in at 510 calories and 20 grams of fat.

Wow. I loved these pre-op. I drank Caramel Macchiato all year till those yummy Pumpkin Spice Lattes came out then I drank those till it was time for my Christmas Gingerbread Lattes and then back to the Macchiatos. Scary.

So here are my sub suggestions: Davinci makes a Sugar Free Pumpkin Pie Syrup which can be added to a regular latte or plain coffee at home. I also make a killer Pumpkin Spice Protein Shake and Pumpkin Spice Protein Popsicles that are good for you and yummy. At Starbucks I've just been getting the Sugar Free Cinnamon Dolce Soy Lattes and sprinkling on a dash of nutmeg at the milk bar. BTW (got this tidbit from my pal Kylie) Sugar Free Gingerbread Syrup is coming to Starbuck's in November. Woo Hoo!

Here's my WLS Post-op Starbuck's Survival Guide.

4. Apple pie - A Thanksgiving dinner is never complete without a slice of apple pie. But with more than 400 calories and 20 grams of fat, this might be one dessert you shouldn't be saving room for. Add a scoop of ice cream (who doesn't?) and you're up to 530 calories. It might just be enough to last you until next fall.

Every night for the past few months I have been eating a sliced Apple with Justin's Almond Butter on it. This beats Apple Pie hands down but if you are jonesing on the warm apple vibe try making one of these:

Using an apple corer, or sharp knife, core the apples. Spoon almond butter or peanut butter into the center and top with raisins, granola, and/or unsweetened coconut. Place apples in a baking pan, and sprinkle apples with cinnamon and nutmeg. Dot with butter. Bake at 375 degrees for 1/2 hour.

5. Cider - Who doesn't love a cup of warm cider? You might not want to skip this traditional treat altogether, but with a sugar-laden 200 calories in 16 ounces, the sweet drink should probably be considered a dessert substitute rather than a beverage.

Alpine makes an SF powdered cider mix (1 packet, 15 calories, 0 grams fat, 4 grams carbohydrates, 0 grams protein, 0 grams sugar, 0 grams fiber) which is tasty with a Tablespoon of Sugar Free Torani Caramel Syrup in it. Though I would probably just opt for one of the apples above. Why miss out on all the goodness (fiber, nutrients) of the actual fruit?

6. Stuffing - At 358 calories and 18 grams of fat per cup, there's a reason they call it stuffing. The high-carb turkey companion may be appearing on lots of menus this fall, not to mention its starring role on Thanksgiving Day, but take it easy if you're trying to keep the fall weight gain to a minimum.

This one was a big one for me. Thanksgiving is cornbread stuffing. Well here's what happened last year when I decided Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same without it. Yeah it definitely wasn't the same. Your mileage may vary but consider yourself warned. Watch the blog in mid November for some Thanksgiving menu adaptations along with the actual Eggface family menu.

7. Candy apple - An apple alone is a pretty healthy fall fruit somewhere in the 60-100 calorie range. Coat it in caramel, however, and you have quite a different story. A large candy apple with caramel usually weighs in around 540 calories. Avoiding this autumn treat will be a boon for your dental bills and your figure.

Why would you do this to a perfectly good apple. Plus anyone over the age of 10 looks like a goof eating one. Style points = 0.

8. Turducken - This combo wonderbird is a trendy entree you might want to forgo. It contains turkey, duck and chicken wrapped together for a new twist on the usual Thanksgiving meal. In terms of your diet, that twist may be for the worse: one serving of Turducken has 749 calories and 34.5 grams of fat. Try limiting yourself to one bird and skip the crispy skin. A three-ounce serving of skinless turkey has 130 calories.

This monstrosity is just too weird for words. Shove a chicken in your turkey shove a duck in the chicken and bake. Bizarre. You know this was made up by some slightly unbalanced chef somewhere who couldn't make up his mind what to have on Thanksgiving and his refill had run out.

Best. Breakfast. Ever.

This is a warm and wonderful breakfast for chilly mornings. The grated apple is the magic. I put a drizzle of SF maple syrup on top. Yum. It's like a warm Grandma hug.

Shelly's Oatmeal with Grated Apple

1 cup oatmeal (McCann's Steel Cut Quick Cook Irish Oatmeal accept no substitute)
2 1/3 cups water
Pinch of salt
1 medium apple, coarsely grated
1/3 cup milk (I use vanilla soy milk)
1/2 teaspoon butter

Combine the oatmeal, water and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add the grated apple and 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 and little more milk. I use Cary's Sugar Free Maple Syrup.

Oatmeal is one of the world's healthiest foods.

I had a headache today and this totally hit the spot.

Another pasta-less pasta dish

OMG!?! I made an awesome pasta-less pasta dish Thursday night. You know all the good topping type things from a yummy pasta dish without the simple carbs. I basically adapted my Pesto Chicken & Veggies recipe for the things I had on hand. Hope you like it.

Shelly's Sun Dried Tomato & Artichoke Chicken

1/2 yellow Onion, diced
2 boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts, sliced into strips
1 cup yellow Summer Squash, sliced
1 cup Zucchini, sliced
1 can Artichoke Hearts, 13.75 oz. can (non-marinated type), chopped
2 Tablespoons Sun Dried Tomatoes, packed in oil, drained, diced.
2 Tablespoons Pesto Sauce (I use the refrigerated Trader Joe's or Buitoni)
1/4 cup Alfredo Sauce (jarred)
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 squash, zucchini and steam saute till fork tender. Add chicken and onions back to pan. Add artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, pesto sauce and alfredo. Stir till combined. Heat through. Serve.

I spent the morning as usual at the Farmer's Market but today we lucked out and they were holding a Quilt Show. There were hundreds of quilts hanging from all the buildings down the main drag. We walked the length and back and here are some of my favorites:

Above: I've been wanting to make a tea pot tote bag. I just got my inspiration.

I'm going to mow the lawn now. How fun.

BBQing Shrimp & Scallop Skewers tonight. Whatcha having?

Not ok but will be ;)

I never planned on having plastic surgery. I really thought I would be OK with whatever I was left with after losing the weight but I'm not. I'm not OK physically and I'm not OK mentally with it. I'm not OK with the pain in the middle of my back from my boobs and panni pulling me down. I'm not OK with having trouble peeing from the weight of my panni on my bladder and the resulting UTI's this causes. I'm not OK with having lost -142 pounds and still feeling like a fat chick when I look in the mirror. I don't really want to "get naked" in this skin. I'm soooo not OK with that ;)

So October 18th I'm officially becoming a Franken Barbie.

I am scheduled for a Lower Body Lift (anchor cut/fleur-de-lis) with Fat Grafting, a Breast Lift and Augmentation, and an Arm Lift. Anyone that knows PS knows this is a heck of a lot to have done at once and my surgeon said he will forsake the Arm Lift for another time if he is not able to complete it in a safe time frame.

I'd be lying if I didn't tell you I was nervous and a little scared but I'm also excited to get this part of my journey underway.

Watch out Pizza Hut, Look out Papa John

Here's the promised FP of the Tortilla Pizza creations I have made this week.

I made that Chicken Carbonara Tortilla Pizza. I mentioned I would try the other day. I used a Mission Brand Carb Balance Whole Wheat 6" Fajita Size Tortilla, leftover chicken (it was leftover Chicken Marsala), a little alfredo sauce, a slice of provolone, sauteed mushrooms and pancetta and a liberal snowfall of parmesan. Pancetta is Italian bacon but you could definitely substitute regular cooked crumbled bacon. This is a seriously yummy way to transform chicken leftovers.

I also made a very Traditional Tomato & Basil version topped with tomato sauce, provolone, sliced tomato, Italian seasoning and fresh basil.

The other night I topped one with sliced turkey meatballs, tomato sauce, mozzarella, parmesan, Italian seasoning and fresh basil.

and here's the original creations.

Directions: Place the tortilla on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Top with toppings. Bake at 375 degree oven for 8-10 minutes till the tortilla is crisp and the toppings are bubbly.

These Tortilla Pizzas are very family friendly. A little former teacher hint: children will eat anything thing they have a hand in preparing. I had kids eating all sorts of things they made in my class and Mom's saying, "OMG she would never eat that if I gave it to her." It really was just because they took part in the process. How fun it would be to have the kids help brainstorm and prep different toppings (using new vocabulary: dice, saute, grate), design their own creative masterpiece (tomato eyes, olive nose, red pepper lips) then slice them up for a fraction lesson.

Work & Play

Bright and early this morning I headed out to help my friend (the caterer). I worked a few hours packing up 100's of corporate lunches and then took off and met my Mom. We decided to take advantage of this absolutely gorgeous day in Southern California and headed over to Quail Botanical Gardens. I love that place. Acres and acres to explore and every inch is filled with beautiful plants. If you are near San Diego and love gardens check it out.

Below: Actual Quail Garden Quails... say that 5 times fast.

After the gardens we went to the outlets. I am happy to note that I did not spend what I had just earned. I even went in the Coach store. Yeah me. I did buy a couple of things... a handheld milk frother at the cooking gadget store and some ginger wasabi sauce I'm going to try on some chicken or fish this week. Oh and I bought a small bag of SF Moose Munch from Harry & David. Looks yummy. I'll let you know how it is. I sooooo wanted a sweater jacket I tried on in Anne Klein but I'm holding off buying any clothes... right now I'm in a medium in most things, large in some but who knows after PS those perky knockers could change things ;)

We ended our day at the beach. My zen zone. Where we ate our picnic lunch (cold cut roll-ups, crunchy cheese, and dried fruit) and hung out reading magazines and listening to music for a few hours. I took a walk on the sand which is the best calf workout. I got some color but I've got the racoon eye thing going on... darn sunglasses.

I came home and threw together a Tortilla Pizza for dinner. Have you made one of these yet??? They are so quick and easy. 5 minutes prep, 10 minutes in the oven and viola dinner. I've made them like three times this week. I'll post some recent tortilla pizza food porn tomorrow to inspire you to make one of your own. Here's tonight's creation:

Meatball Tortilla Pizza

a Mission Brand Carb Balance Whole Wheat 6" Fajita Size Tortilla topped with Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella, Parmesan, sliced Turkey Meatballs, Italian Seasoning, Fresh Basil.

Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Top with toppings. Bake at 375 degree oven for 8-10 minutes till the tortilla is crisp and the toppings are bubbly.

Highlights of the day:

* Everything really but especially that I don't get winded walking up and down the hills at QG's or while power shopping the outlets. What a life change this RNY is.

* Staring at the beautiful blue Pacific Ocean. Heaven on earth.

* Decompressing from a lovely day, sipping a cup of tea, listening to music and sharing it all with you guys.

Listening to: "How Soon Is Now?" The Smiths. Awesome song.