Laptop Lunch

Took my super cool bento box lunch to my favorite park today. The park I go to has free wifi so I can get my work done (or occasionally avoid work) and still enjoy the beauty of the day.

More local parks and public places need to offer free wifi access. I'm lucky to have one near my house. If you are a California blog reader here's a list of our state parks with free wifi access. You can also log on free at any of our public libraries. Here's a great resource I use to find retail locations with free wifi (all states.) You may have to purchase some coffee so not completely free but close.

The day was beautiful 84°F sunny, blue skies, cool breeze, I got a lot accomplished and lunch was delicious...

Blue Box (top left): Cucumber, Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Salad
Orange Box (top right): Shelly's Almond Joy Cannoli Pudding
Pink Box (bottom left): Meatballs in Tomato Basil Marinara
Green Box (bottom right): Shelly's Fall Spice Protein Donuts

Shelly's Almond Joy Cannoli Pudding

1/4 cup Ricotta Cheese
1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Coconut Torani Syrup
2 Tablespoons Chocolate Protein Powder
a sprinkle of Unsweetened Toasted Coconut

Mix together ricotta, sugar free syrup (any flavor would be yummy) & protein together till well combined. Top with a sprinkle of toasted coconut.

Oh one more thing about free wifi... Starbucks offers it too. You just need to have a registered Starbucks Gift Card or Gold Card (do this online) and maintain a balance of $5. This week you'll also get a free cup of coffee with your wifi. October 2-5 during the VIA Taste Challenge. You’ll taste the Colombia Starbucks VIA & the fresh-brewed Pike Place Roast & be asked to guess which is which. Whether or not you can taste the difference, you’ll score a coupon for a free Tall brewed coffee on your next visit. I tasted VIA several months ago when they were mailing out samples. I used it in this yummy dessert. It's yummy in protein shakes too.

Coffee & Donuts - Sugar Free Desserts

Happy National Coffee Day! Seriously it is... Google it. It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood too *cue Mister Rogers theme* It actually feels like Fall. 80°F high, 59°F low. I took full advantage of the cooler temps and baked. What goes better with coffee than donuts? Just ask Homer Simpson.

Doughnuts Protein Powder Recipes Weight Loss Surgery Bariatric Cooking Menus Sugarfree Diabetes RNY WLS VSG
Shelly's Mini Fall Spice Protein Donuts

1 cup Almond Flour (aka Almond Meal) (Trader Joe's, health food stores, online or make your own)
1/2 cup Protein Powder (I used a Cookies & Cream Whey Isolate)
1/2 cup Multigrain Pancake Mix
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Coconut
1 Egg, beaten
3 Tablespoons Sugar Free Torani Syrup (I used SF Vanilla)
3 Tablespoons Pumpkin Puree (not pie filling)
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
1/4 cup Water
Super Groovy Mini Donut Pan

Preheat oven to 325. Mix all ingredients till well combined.

WLS RNY VSG RecipesSpray Mini Donut Pan with Pam. Fill 1/2 full with batter (batter is the consistency of brownie batter).

Diabetic Weight Loss Surgery Low Carb CookingBake 8 minutes.

Sugarfree Healthy DessertsRemove from pan and cool on wire rack.

Healthy Desserts Weight Loss Surgery Protein Powder Recipes
Sugarfree NSA Weight Loss Surgery Bariatric Cooking BlogDonut Glaze

4 Mini Sugar Free Chocolate Bars (or milk, dark or white chocolate)
1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Torani Syrup (I used SF Vanilla)

Nuke for 30 seconds or so till melted. Stir to combine. Coats 12 donuts.

For colored/flavored frosting: combine SF white chocolate & 3 drops or so of food coloring, SF Syrup and nuke for 30 seconds or so till melted. Stir to combine. This time I mixed a little pumpkin puree in the white chocolate too and coated a few with that.

Dip cooled donuts into chocolate glaze and then into optional toppings.

Topping Ideas:

Toasted Unsweetened Coconut
Crushed Nuts (Peanuts, Hazelnuts, Almonds)
Crushed SF Cookies
Crushed SF Candy (SF Candy Canes, SF Malted Milk Balls)

Weight Loss Surgery Bariatric VSG RNY WLS Food MenusSpeaking of Coffee. I bought one of those Keurig K Cup Coffee Machines the other day. I've been having fun taste testing the different varieties.

My current favorite is the Pumpkin coffee which I used to make my Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte. Soooo good. The teas are yummy too. My evening ritual is a cup of the African Rooibos.

Chocolate Donuts more your style. Here's my original version.

Repurposing revisited

Repurposing: Transforming leftovers into something equally as yummy. The goal is for them to taste & look so completely different you don't realize you are having leftovers.

Here's the latest example of repurposing. Yesterday's dinner leftovers became this super yummy Tortilla Pizza for lunch...

Shelly's BBQ Steak Tortilla Pizza - Mission Carb Balance Whole Wheat Fajita Size Tortilla topped with BBQ Sauce, leftover sliced Beef Kabob and Grilled Zucchini, Mozzarella Cheese, a sprinkle of Parmesan and Steak Seasoning.

More about Repurposing

*** Heads up on a great event coming up *** Toms Farm's, Corona, CA - November 7th. This is one of my favorite events each year. It's my Mum's favorite too. Here's a pic of us from last year.

The day consists of hanging out with old and new friends, a support group meeting, a protein exchange (one post-ops monkey's ass is another's tasty treat), a clothing exchange (any remaining clothing gets sent to a local shelter), lunch in one of the tasty restaurants, shopping in the gourmet cheese shop, veggie stand, or furniture/gift store. Tom's Farms web site. Organizers web site. It's a free event but donations are being accepted for the space rental.

It's an all day thing starts at 9AM. Bring your family, kids... it's a lot of fun. If you are close enough to come. Please do.

Stuffing -ish

On Thursday for the Grey's Anatomy Season Premier I made McSteamy-ed Crab Legs for dinner. Those of you that watch the show will get how much of a total goober I am *waves the goober flag proudly*

This is what I did with the leftover crab the next day. It is seriously very stuffing-ish... seriously.

Shelly's Crab, Corn & Artichoke "Stuffing"

3 Artichoke Hearts (water packed, drained)
1 Yellow Onion, diced
4 Green Onions, diced
1 (4 oz.) jar Pimentos, drained
1 (14 oz.) can Creamed Corn
1 cup Crab Meat (great for leftovers or use drained canned crab)
1/3 cup Pancake Mix (I use this)
1/4 cup Ricotta Cheese
2 Eggs, beaten
1 Tablespoon Fresh Basil, snipped
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
a few twists of Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Parmesan Cheese

In a mini food processor whiz artichoke hearts till smooth. Set aside. Saute onions till golden. Add pimentos and artichoke puree and cook 1 minute. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl combine all remaining ingredients (except Parmesan cheese) add cooled veggie mixture. Mix till combined. Spoon into 8 ramekins.

Sprinkle tops with Parmesan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. They reheat great in the microwave too. So can be made ahead.

It made a great side with BBQ'd Steak Kabobs and Grilled Zucchini.

Bariatric Surgery Friendly Salads and Cold Eats

It's been soooo hot I've been doing a lot of salads for lunch. When it's 102°F the last thing you want to do is eat hot foods or turn on any appliance that has the potential to heat the house... and though I heart my Protein Ice Cream sometimes you want something savory.

Here's a couple of yummy salads I had this week...

Shelly's Italian Chef Salad

Romaine Lettuce
Turkey Cold Cut, sliced
Genoa Salami, sliced
Cucumber, sliced
Cherry Tomatoes, halved
Ricotta Salata, Parmesan or Mozzarella Cheese
a dollop of Shelly's Tomato Basil Yogurt Dressing

Shelly's Tomato Basil Yogurt Dressing

3 oz. Fage Greek Yogurt (I use 2%, they have 0%)
1 Tablespoon Mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon Parmesan, grated
1 Plum Tomato
2 Tablespoons Fresh Basil
1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
Kosher Salt to taste
a few twists of Black Pepper

Whiz in a mini food processor (A post-op MUST HAVE) till smooth. Refrigerate any unused portion. Makes enough for several salads. This is also a great dip for chicken, fish, beef, veggies.

and one I put in my super cool bento box and took to the park...

Pink Box (top left): Green Salad w/ Cold Salmon (great for leftovers)
Green Box (top right): Salami Chips
Blue Box (bottom left): Shelly's Ricotta & Apple Compote
Orange Box (bottom right): Baby Bel Cheese (little blue container) Shelly's Herbalicious Dressing for salad
Along side: Peach Green Tea Stick

Other Eggface Salad Recipes:
Shelly's Tropical Chicken Salad
Shelly's Chutney Chicken Salad
Shelly's BLT Chicken Salad
Shelly's Italian Chicken Salad
Shelly's Pimento Chicken Salad
Shelly's Italian Bean Salad
Shelly's Greek Bean Salad
Shelly's Shell-less Taco Salad
Shelly's Fish Taco Salad
Shelly's Jazzy New Orleans Muffaletta Salad

Prescription Chocolate

Grey's Anatomy returned last night with 2 hours of death and funerals + I'm PMSing = me needing CHOCOLATE.

This super yummy dessert came together in less than 10 minutes and was just what the Dr. ordered...

Shelly's Chocolate Malt Trifle

1/2 a Shelly's 5 Minute Chocolate Malt Protein Cake
1/2 cup Sugar Free Chocolate Pudding (prepared)
1 Tablespoon Chocolate Protein Powder
1 Tablespoon Malted Milk Powder (No Sugar Added kind)
Sugar Free Land o Lakes Whipped Cream

Prepare 5 Minute Chocolate Malt Protein Cake. Allow to cool. Slice in 1/2 and cube. Prepare pudding per package instructions. Mix in protein and malt powder. Spoon 1/2 of pudding in bottom of 2 trifle/parfait glasses top with cake cubes, remaining pudding and a squirt of SF Whipped Cream.

Shelly's 5 Minute Chocolate Malt Protein Cake

1 Egg, beaten
3 Tablespoons Milk
2 Tablespoons Sugar Free Vanilla Torani Syrup (on sale now)
2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
3 Tablespoons Multigrain Pancake Mix (I use this)
1 Tablespoon Unsweetened Cocoa
1 Tablespoon Malted Milk Powder
1 scoop Chocolate Protein Powder
Pinch salt
1 - 2 cup Measuring Cup or Microwave Safe Mug

In a measuring cup or microwave safe mug, Mix egg, milk, syrup and oil and combine thoroughly. In a separate bowl, mix pancake mix, cocoa, malt, protein powder and salt. Tip dry into wet and stir till combined. Nuke in microwave for 2 minutes (my microwave is getting old and needs 20 seconds added now.) Let it sit for three or so minutes (it pulls away from the sides) before tipping the cake onto a plate. Yields 4-5 slices.

Other Eggface Chocolate fixes:
Shelly's Mini Chocolate Protein Donuts
Shelly's Brownie Protein Ice Cream
Shelly's Chocolate Coconut Cookie Protein Ice Cream
Shelly's Chocolate Monkey Protein Souffle
Shelly's Espresso Protein Truffles
Shelly's Tiramisu Protein Shake
Shelly's 5 Minute Black Forest Protein Cake

Are you nuts?

Nuts are full of protein, vitamins, and yes FAT. Here's my (not a nutritionist just another post-op trying to make my way in the world) thoughts on Fat...

Our bodies need fat. It just needs to be consumed in moderation and selected wisely. There are definitely good fats (nuts, avocados, salmon...) and bad fats (trans fats found in some packaged foods, french fries, chips...) Good fats aid in digestion, deliver fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K), are great for skin, hair and nails, among other things. Bad fats well... they are just... bad.

Also fat = flavor. I eat yummy lip-smacking foods that contain fat in moderation and I'm happily satisfied with my portion. If I ate some non-fat icky-ness I'd be disappointed and longingly looking for my next meal. Don't be fooled either they take out the fat & add some equally bad-for-you ingredient something I'm sure will be the cause of a 3rd eye in lab rats 10 years from now.

With all things moderation is key. I try & limit my fats to 25% of my daily intake (50% protein, 25% complex carbs and 25% good fats.)

Here's one of the yummy ways I get my good fats. Mmmm a tablespoon of homemade nut butter and a sliced apple is one of my favorite afternoon snacks. I get my nut fix without reaching into a big bag of them which is always dangerous.

Shelly's Homemade Nut Butter

1 Tablespoon Raw Almonds
1 Tablespoon Raw Cashews
1 Tablespoon Brazil Nuts
1 Tablespoon Pecans
1 Tablespoon Macadamias
1 Tablespoon Pistachios
1 teaspoon Sunflower Kernels
1 teaspoon Flax Seeds
1 Tablespoon Almond Butter (any will do)
1 Tablespoon Peanut Butter (any will do)
1 Tablespoon Oil (Canola, Olive, Organic Coconut, all would work fine)

Whiz everything in a mini food processor till smooth & spreadable.

Great to spread on apple slices, apple cinnamon soy crisps or stirred into oatmeal. Makes a ton enough for several apples. Refrigerate unused portion.

You can make flavored nut butters by mixing in a dash of cinnamon, vanilla or any of the SF Torani Syrups (SF Strawberry or Raspberry Torani mixed in is yummy... like a PB&J) It's fun to make 1/2 the batch plain and half flavored.

Pistachio Protein Ice Cream Cake

Bring on the heat Mother Nature 'cause today I am prepared for you...

Shelly's Pistachio Protein Ice Cream Cake

You need:
Stainless Food Ring
Protein Ice Cream
Sugar Free Cookies (I used these)
Sugar Free Torani Syrup

Amounts will vary based on how big a cake you make.

Crush Sugar Free Cookies (I used Sugar Free Pecan Shortbread ones) and add enough SF Syrup (I used SF Vanilla) to make it clump. I needed about 8 cookies and 1 Tablespoon of Syrup. Place food ring on a plate. Fill base with cookie mixture and press to cover bottom (about 1/2 to 1 inch high) I'm thinking protein bars would work for the base too.

Fill with Pistachio Protein Ice Cream you get right out of the ice cream machine (soft serve stage)

Cover with plastic wrap and freeze till hard.

Unmold. I used a warm (nuked 20 seconds) damp dish towel to warm sides and the ring just lifts off.

Decorate if desired. I topped with Sugar Free Land o Lakes Whipped Cream. My cake makes 4 BIG wedges. Great for a post-op weight loss surgery birthday celebration or when when triple digit temps won't let up ;)

Fall Breakfast

Picked the remaining apples off my tree yesterday before the triple digit temperatures dehydrate them right on the branch. I made an apple compote.

Peel and slice apples. Add a couple of tablespoons of pecans and walnuts, black and golden raisins, Sugar Free Vanilla Torani Syrup (about 1 T for every 4 apples), a few dashes of cinnamon. Cover and cook till the apples are fork tender. Stirring occasionally. Cool and refrigerate. Great topping for yogurt, custard, pudding, oatmeal, protein cakes slices, protein ice cream.

For breakfast I had a dollop of Ricotta Cheese and yummy Apple Compote. You can sweeten the ricotta with a teaspoon or so of Sugar Free Torani (SF Vanilla, Caramel or Brown Sugar Cinnamon is yummy) but my apples were nice and sweet so I didn't.

It may not feel like Fall outside yet but this was the perfect first day of Fall breakfast. Dreaming of colorful leaves, cinnamon and pumpkins, crisp starry nights, cozy sweaters... hmmm maybe there's hunky dude in the the dream too.

Plan to beat the heat - Bento Lunch

I ate lunch & snacks outside on the patio yesterday afternoon. Spent almost the whole afternoon outside just trying to enjoy the outdoors while I can. I worked on the computer and picked the remaining apples off the tree before this week's record heat dehydrates them on the branch.

I've been trying to think of cool indoor things to do. Mall walking is great exercise when the heat gets too bad to walk outside. Just leave your purse in the car trunk or it could be an expensive walk ;) I'm going to hit the cheapy (2nd run) movie theater and maybe the library. Gotta love free AC.

I'll be cooking early in the morning or after dark so the oven doesn't heat the house up. The rest of the day will be cold foods: bean salads, chicken salads, salad salads, protein ice cream, shakes and smoothies.

My super cool bento lunch...

Weight Loss Surgery Bariatric Menus Breakfast Lunch Dinner RNY Gastric Bypass VSG Sleeve
Blue Box (top left): Sliced Apples with a spritz of fresh lemon juice
Orange Box (top right): Shelly's Pumpkin Protein Pudding
Pink Box (bottom left): Shelly's Savory Pesto Pancakes
Green Box (bottom right): Shelly's Italian Tomato Salsa
Along side: Mozzarella Cheesestick

Shelly's Pumpkin Protein Pudding

1/2 cup Sugar Free Vanilla Instant Pudding, prepared
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Protein Powder
1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Torani Syrup (I used SF Caramel)
2 Tablespoons Pumpkin Puree (not pie filling)
dash of Pumpkin Pie Spice

Prepare pudding according to package instructions. I make it in my blender ball shaker. Add protein, pumpkin and syrup. Shake. Refrigerate for about 5 minutes to firm up. Top with sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice. Great for dipping apple slices.

Pumpkin Spice

I was lamenting over Starbuck's not carrying Sugar Free Pumpkin Syrup and not being able to have my beloved Fall treat the other night when I thought ehhh who needs Bux. I'll make my own and like anything homemade it's waaaay better...

Shelly's Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte

About 6 oz. of Strong Brewed Coffee or Espresso (I used this)
2 oz. or so of Milk (I use Vanilla Soy)
2 Tablespoons canned Pumpkin Puree (not pie filling)
2 Tablespoons Sugar Free Vanilla Torani Syrup (on sale now)
Land o Lakes Sugar Free Whipped Cream
dash of Pumpkin Pie Spice

Mix puree & syrup together till well combined. Brew coffee (I used a short K-cup draw but cold brew would work or just double strength coffee) pour over ice. Pour in puree mixture hold back enough for drizzling over top. Add Milk. Top with Whipped Cream, a dash of pumpkin pie spice and the remaining drizzle of pumpkin mixture.

Davinci makes a Sugar Free Pumpkin syrup but errr it's more like a spice than pumpkin frankly I couldn't tell it was pumpkin at all. This puree and SF Vanilla syrup combo is so much better and you get the added yummy benefits of the pumpkin (Vitamin A, beta carotene, potassium,...)

High temps this coming week are supposed to reach 107°F. No, that wasn't a typo. Kill me now. You know I'm going to be downing these Iced Pumpkin Spice Lattes and cranking out the Protein Ice Cream to survive.

Anyone in a cold area have room on their couch for me?

Savory Pesto Pancakes

Got back from the Farmer's Market and a nice walk this morning and made this super yummy breakfast. If you like potato pancakes (latkes) you will love these...

Shelly's Savory Pesto Pancakes

1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese
1 Egg
3 Tablespoons Pancake Mix (I use this)
1 Tablespoon storebought Pesto Sauce (in the fresh pasta section)
1 Tablespoon Parmesan Cheese, grated
1/4 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
a few twists of Black Pepper

Whiz all ingredients in a mini food processor (a post-op MUST HAVE) Spray pan with non-stick spray. Cook on low till golden, flip and flatten. Cook till golden. Serve with Shelly's Italian Salsa. Makes 8 silver dollar size.

I used whole milk ricotta if you use part skim. Drain through a sieve lined with a coffee filter for several hours or overnight in the fridge.

These pancakes can be made ahead and reheated. I had them for breakfast but they would be a great side dish or lunch with a little green salad. They are soft & loaded with yummy protein so early post weight loss surgery people should have no trouble with them.

Shelly's Italian Tomato Salsa

1/2 cup Cherry Tomatoes, halved
2 Tablespoons storebought Bruschetta Sauce (in the fresh pasta section)
1 Tablespoon Fresh Basil, snipped
dash of Kosher Salt
a few twists of Black Pepper

Mix together. Serve with Shelly's Savory Pesto Pancakes. Also great on grilled Fish.

Some of the yummy things from the market today...

Can't wait to do something with all those little eggplants. I also (not pictured) bought cucumbers, Maui onions, green onions, cauliflower and apples.

Oh you guys have to check this out. Libby one of the winners of the last giveaway. Made a great blog post the day she received her prize. Reminds me of that old MTV commercial "people really do win" on The World According to Eggface :)

Drum roll...

Thank you for the wonderful response to the latest Eggface/Building Blocks Vitamins swag giveaway.

The random generator has selected:

Congratulations!!! You are the winner of a 30 day supply of Building Blocks Vitamins. Check your mail.

Thanks to Building Blocks Vitamins for co-sponsoring this swag giveaway.

For Free Samples of Building Blocks Vitamins click here. Please tell them Eggface sent you in the additional comments section ;)

I can't stress how important it is to take your vitamins post-op. If you are not taking vits regularly... do me a favor and google Vitamin B12 or Iron Deficiency. Read some of those symptoms. Not good. Take your vitamins!

Are you a business that wants to sponsor an Eggface swag giveaway? Contact Michelle at Hoping to do a few swag giveaways a month. So keeping watching.

Thanks for playing everyone.

Two Paws Up for Pumpkin Spice Microwave Protein Cake

Had to work near the beach the other day so I brought my lunch and some snacks in my super cool bento box. I sat on the beach, watched the waves crash and shared my meal with a squirrel. He really loved my cashews and pumpkin spice protein cake. Word of warning sharing your lunch with wildlife can be dangerous. Thankfully this time it went well.

Here's what my fuzzy friend and I ate...

Bariatric healthy eating food recipes cooking blog
Pink Box (top left): Tuna Cup & Carrots & Celery
Green Box (top right): Salami Chips
Blue Box (bottom left): Babybel Cheese and (in blue silicone cup) Cashews
Orange Box (bottom right): Shelly's 5 Minute Pumpkin Spice Protein Cake stars
Along side: Peach Green Tea stick

Shelly's 5 Minute Pumpkin Spice Protein Cake

1 Egg, beaten
3 Tablespoons Milk
2 Tablespoons Sugar Free Caramel Torani Syrup
2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
2 Tablespoons Pumpkin Puree (not pie filling)
3 Tablespoons Multigrain Pancake Mix
2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Coconut
several dashes of Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
Pinch salt
1 - 2 cup Measuring Cup or Microwave Safe Mug

In a measuring cup or microwave safe mug, Mix egg, milk, syrup, pumpkin and oil and combine thoroughly. In a separate bowl, mix pancake mix, coconut, spice, protein powder and salt. Tip dry into wet and stir till combined. Nuke in microwave for 2 minutes (my microwave is getting old and needs 20 seconds added now.)

Fall Weight Loss Surgery Gastric Bypass Sleeve Diabetic Recipe Desserts Let it sit for three or so minutes (it pulls away from the sides) before tipping the cake onto a plate. Yields 4-5 slices. Great served with No Sugar Added Homemade Whipped Cream w/ a dash of cinnamon on top.

Healthy Desserts Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Diet Fitness Diabetes Low Carb CookingMore Eggface 5 Minute Cakes

Italian Food & the Beach

Two of my favorite things. Work took me close to the beach today so after the icky "stuff" was done I grabbed a latte and watched the waves crash for a few hours. There is no better therapy. It was a beautiful day. Cloudy and not too hot.

I came home and made some Italian comfort food. This came together in minutes but tasted like it took hours. A cross between Eggplant Parmesan and Lasagna but pastaless of course ;) Layers of Eggplant, Meatballs, Cheese... super yummy.

Shelly's Eggplant and Meatball Bake

1 Eggplant, sliced
1 cup Tomato Sauce (I used that homemade sauce I made the other day)
6 Meatballs, sliced (I used Foster Farms Turkey Meatballs)
1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese
2 Tablespoon Parmesan
1 Egg, beaten
2 Tablespoons Fresh Basil, snipped
1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
a few twists of Black Pepper
1/3 cup Mozzarella, shredded
about a Tablespoon of Olive Oil for grilling

Brush eggplant slices with olive oil and BBQ for a few minutes on each side. Layer 1/2 the eggplant in a Pyrex casserole dish. Spoon 1/2 a cup of the tomato sauce over eggplant slices, arrange sliced meatball over sauce.

In a small bowl combine ricotta, Parmesan, egg, basil and seasonings.

Spoon over meatball layer. Top with remaining 1/2 of grilled eggplant.

Spoon remaining tomato sauce over and sprinkle with mozzarella. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes till bubbly and golden.

Some pics from my afternoon at the beach...

I shared my super cool bento box snacks with this fuzzy guy

Err well I really didn't you know examine "things" so it quite possibly was a girl. Whatever it was it gave my snacks two paws up.

Italian Grandma Stuff

The temperature did a little nose dive today. 79° was the high. A little taste of Fall. I took advantage and made a Fall-y soup. Glad I did because I listened to the weather report tonight and apparently it isn't going to last. Triple digits will be back by the weekend.

This is one of those warm yummy reminds you of Grandma soups. It's a great recipe when you want to clean out the veggie bin. I used zucchini, spinach, corn and lentils but peas, green beans, cannellini beans would be great too.

Shelly's Italian Grandma Soup

1 Yellow Onion, diced
2 cups Zucchini, chopped (I used a variety of summer squash)
1/2 lb. Ground Beef
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 cup Cooked Lentils (I used Trader Joe's Precooked)
4 cups Chicken Stock
1 cup Good Tomato Sauce (I used some homemade I made the other day)
1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
1/2 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1 cup Spinach (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup Corn Kernels
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
a few twists of Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Parmesan

More Parmesan or Ricotta Salata grated on top

Saute onions and zucchini till golden. Add ground beef and saute till no pink is seen. Add garlic cook 1 minute more. Add remaining ingredients (except Parmesan) and simmer covered for 45 minutes. Add 1 Tablespoon Parmesan in last minutes of cooking. Serve with a little cheese grated on top.

My neighbor knocked on my door Sunday and surprised me with a huge bag of tomatoes. I mean huge like 10 lbs of the suckers. Her sister's garden was in overdrive and so she was passing on the bounty. When you have that many tomatoes at one time the only solution is to make sauce. My Sicilian Grandma would have been proud. I spent Sunday up to my eyeballs in sauce making.

Old School Grandma Sauce Making 101:

Step 1: Wash tomatoes and cook uncovered until the tomatoes are very soft and separate from the skins. Stir occasionally so they don't stick to bottom of pot.

Step 2: Pour the tomatoes into a food mill placed over a large bowl. Turn and press. This will separate the sweet good stuff from the bitter seeds and skins.

Step 3: Saute onions till golden. Add garlic. Add to tomatoes. Now it's optional stuff... in this batch I added carrot and grilled zucchini that was whizzed in a mini food processor (for sweetness) and fresh basil. You can add sweet red peppers, olives, cooked sausage, hunks of pork or beef, lots of choices. Simmer till desired thickness is achieved.

You can freeze or can at this point. I froze three huge containers, used some for the soup above and some for lunch on this yummy Tortilla Pizza...

Shelly's Salami & Four Cheese Tortilla Pizza - Mission Brand Carb Balance Whole Wheat Fajita Size Tortilla topped with Homemade Sauce, Genoa Salami, Ricotta cheese, Mozzarella cheese, Ricotta Salata, Parmesan and a sprinkle of Italian Seasoning

Some Eggface Favorite Soups:

Shelly's Chinese New Year Meatball Soup
Shelly's Italian Beef & Bean Soup
Shelly's Cannelini Bean Soup
Shelly's Black Bean Soup
Shelly's Chili Cheese Soup
Shelly's Cannellini Artichoke Soup
Shelly's Broccoli Cheese Soup
Shelly's Beef & Black Bean Crockpot Stew