Friday, February 28, 2014

takeout tonight...

Tonight's dinner was chicken and broccoli from the local Chinese place.  I skipped the white rice; I'll save it to make fried rice for Bob next week.  This portion is about 1/5 of the meal I received.  It looks like a bigger portion, but I used a small salad plate.  It's so nice to spend $5.25 on a small order of chicken and broccoli and know I'll get about 5 meals out of it for myself, plus the makings of another meal with the rice for Bob. I'm such a cheap date nowadays.

life lately...

I figured I'd talk about a few other things going on, other than my weight loss.

Bob and I are starting to think about looking for a new house.  We're getting really tired of our current location and need more space.  We've been in our current house for 17 years.  We bought it right after we got married.  We got it cheap due to it being a foreclosure and it needed work.  We're on a dead end, but we're surrounded by a few small businesses and a couple houses.

The business that's at the end of the dead end is getting to be a nuisance.  They make artisan pasta and now that they've bumped up production, their crew is there almost 24/7; liquid nitrogen deliveries are coming at all hours, sometimes at 6 AM and others close to 10:30 PM, which are really noisy; and many of their workers are completely disrespectful of the fact that people live on the street.  They speed up and down the street, blast car stereos, and carry on outside during their breaks in the summertime. We lost power one morning so the AC went off.  (That's what drowns out any noise we might hear since the bedroom faces the street.)  They were all out in the parking lot screaming and hollering, having a good ole time, blasting their Spanish music.  It was 7 AM!  On a Saturday!  I got up, went downstairs, threw open the front door and started yelling at them to keep it down because it's 7 AM on Saturday and people are trying to sleep.  At first they acted like they didn't understand me.  Then I said, "this is me being NICE!"  They finally turned the music off and quieted down.

So we're going to start house hunting.  Since he works in Danbury and I'm in Bridgeport, anything in between is fair game.  We want space, both in terms of square footage and acreage.  I have a big family and it would be nice to host parties and picnics and have the room to accommodate everyone.  All Bob wants is a garage.  I'm a little more discriminating. LOL

Speaking about new work life is rough.  Not the place or the people or even the job.  After a couple weeks I've realized that I made a huge mistake and should have chosen the other job opportunity. Even though I thought I wanted to go this direction, I didn't realize until I was in the new job that it's not the direction I want to  go.  I even went to visit the psychologist who did my pre-surgery evaluation, just to get a completely objective opinion.  She agreed that I should pursue the other job and feels I made the "safe" choice between the two.  She said that eventually I will become frustrated and return to my old eating habits. After thinking about it I realized she's right.  She said after spending so many years in one place there's bound to be a "rebound relationship" with the first job that I take, and that I should give myself a pass on this. So, I emailed the other place and I'm waiting to hear back.  Let's hope.

Random kitty pic for you.  Leo got a lion's cut a few weeks ago.  The kittens try to play with the pom pom on his tail and I can tell he's embarrassed.




Thursday, February 27, 2014

i tried a brownie...

Yesterday I talked about the potluck breakfast that my coworkers set up for someone's birthday.  I was good and stayed away from it all.  I took home a piece of broccoli casserole for dinner and that was it.  I came in today and they had put out the leftover muffins and brownies.  At lunchtime, I decided I would treat myself to a very small slice of a brownie.  I would say it was 1/2 inch wide and an inch long.  It was so delicious and incredibly fudgey.  It went down fine, but about 3 minutes later I felt a little queasy.  I continued on with my lunch and I felt fine after about 5 minutes.  Later in the afternoon I was feeling my work ADD kick in and decided to have another slice. Again, I felt queasy and this time it sat like a rock in my stomach. Lesson learned.  It's too soon for that stuff.  I'm actually glad I didn't feel good afterwards.  It will serve as a deterrent in the future.  I'm starting to feel a little "head hunger" lately, and I really dread when it comes back in full force.  I'll have to learn to distinguish head hunger from stomach hunger.  Not easy to do sometimes.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


I've developed a routine at work:  I come in, boot my computer, go hang up my coat, unpack my bag, go make my high protein hot chocolate (can't seem to get up at 6 am anymore in order to make it at home), and then sit at my desk, drinking hot chocolate and checking my email.  About 45 minutes later I eat my breakfast.

I go into the kitchen to make my hot chocolate and I see an insulated casserole carrier, a big jug of pancake syrup, and all the plates and utensils set up.  No big deal.  I go back to my desk and enjoy my cinnamon hot chocolate.

When it's time to go heat up my breakfast, I see a few of the women have set up a potluck breakfast and the table is now full of food. (The rice crackers I brought in to share had been relegated to the empty table, all by themselves.)  There were fresh sticky buns, broccoli and cheese casserole, fresh fruit, big muffins, small muffins, mini cinnamon swirls, Dunkin' Donuts coffee and OJ.  It smelled heavenly.  Especially because they were heating the sticky buns in the microwave.

Apparently it was a coworker's birthday today.  I wished her happy birthday and ducked out of the kitchen. I let them know why I wasn't going to eat (I'm very open about my surgery).  Everything smelled delicious, but I sat at my desk and enjoyed my egg bites; it didn't bother me at all.  Later on I ducked back in and snagged a piece of the broccoli casserole for tonight's dinner.  It was delicious!

Later in the day it was round two:  Chocolate Bomb cake and brownies.  Again, I avoided the kitchen and didn't touch any of it.  I made a cup of raspberry hot chocolate and enjoyed it.  It crossed my mind to grab a small brownie, but I don't want to get into my old habits.

Speaking of temptations, I have found a new trigger food:  honey roasted sesame sticks.  They generally come in the Chinese rice cracker mix and they're delicious.  I bought some at the local health food store and that was a mistake.  I've noticed that when I eat any kind of item high is carbs, like crackers, my weight loss slows down.  I want to take advantage of the next year as much as possible, so I will need to limit my crackers.  The first year after gastric bypass is when we get the most weight loss with the least amount of effort.  Sounds good to me!

today's breakfast and lunch...

I'm finally being different today.  Although I love the protein kick I get from Greek yogurt and granola, I want to start eating some different foods.  I don't want to get used to eating just soft or "slider" foods all the time. Sure, they're easy to throw together and to digest, but they won't help my stomach get used to regular foods like meat, salad, etc.

For breakfast I'm going to eat my loaded egg bites.  I had some yesterday.  They're very filling and seem to have a lot of staying power.  For lunch I'm having low sodium ham.  It's not Boar's Head brand, but it will do.  I find I much prefer low sodium ham nowadays.  It seems to have more ham flavor and doesn't have as much water in it.  I'm having some muenster cheese with it.  (For some reason I always think "monster cheese."  I'm weird.)  My mom was a big fan of muenster cheese and I could never understand why.  Back then I didn't like it (not that I actually ever tried it until a few years ago), but now I love it.  Especially paired with some red seedless grapes.  The sweetness of the grapes and the slight saltiness of the cheese really complement one another.

So, here's today's menu, minus dinner, which I haven't figured out yet.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

my two-month follow up...

Yesterday I had my two-month follow-up with the bariatric doctor.  We reviewed my blood work and all is well.  I'm a little low on vitamin A and B12, but that's apparently normal for the first year post-op.  I'm going to buy new vitamins when I run out of the ones I have now.  The new ones contain everything I need except the extra calcium.  Anything that allows me to take less supplements is a good thing.

I've lost 15 pounds since my last appointment a month ago, for a grand total of...61.2 lbs!  I'm almost halfway to my goal.  I'm not shrinking out of any of my clothes yet, which is kind of a blessing at the moment, but my shirts are definitely getting bigger on me and are hanging better.  I don't notice any difference in my pants yet.

So, how do I feel physically?  Before surgery I always felt like I was wearing a big down parka with layers of clothing underneath and a scarf around my neck, if that makes sense.  Just imagine how it feels having all that clothing on.  The scarf is snug against your neck.  (Or imagine a turtleneck  Whichever one you hate most.  I hate both.) You can't move as well as when you're dressed normally.  Moving is an effort.  You're hot all the time because of all those layers.  If it helps, picture Randy in that movie A Christmas Story getting ready for school everyday.  Since the surgery, I feel as though I've shed my big down parka and my scarf (or turtleneck). And maybe one layer.  I'm not hot all the time anymore.  I have more energy.  I can move better and actually want to move.  And my knees don't bother me anymore.

Emotionally, I feel fine.  I didn't go through all the emotions I was told I would probably go through. Apparently, this surgery can really mess with the hormones and make people very emotional, kind of like PMSing all the time.  Lots of people say they put off making any life-changing decisions in the first year after surgery, because of how irrational it can make one feel.  Maybe I'm OK, because I kind of just said to myself, "This is my new life now.  End of story."  And I don't think about it.

Do I mourn food?  Not really. Do I mourn the experience of enjoying food?  Yes!  More on that later in the week.

Monday, February 24, 2014

my little bailey boo...

"Monday is over!"

loaded egg bites...

Here's the pictures of the egg bites I made yesterday.  I got the recipe from a blog I follow, The World According to Eggface. They're so simple and they're only 28 calories a piece.  I made the Loaded Egg Bites recipe.  It's eggs, scallions, bacon (or bacon bits), dry Ranch dressing mix, cheddar cheese, and some salt and pepper.  They were pretty good, although next time I'll use more flavorful cheese like maybe the Mexican blend.  The recipe makes 24 mini muffin-sized bites.  I was able to eat 4 of them.

The base is eggs and then you pretty much just add whatever you want.  The possibilities are endless.  I'm already thinking about trying to make them with goat cheese and onion jam.  I'll have to figure it out and then do a test run.  

Here's the recipe I followed:  Loaded Egg Bites

Here's some pictures of the process:

Sunday, February 23, 2014

today's lunch...

Today's lunch was a Dannon Light & Fit Greek vanilla yogurt with some granola sprinkled on top. While grocery shopping today, I found some protein enriched granola and figured I'd give it a try.  It's Nature Valley Protein Crunchy Granola, Oats 'n' Chocolate flavor.  It's pretty good, although I wish it had more chocolate in it.  One serving has 10g of protein.  If I was eating it by itself I would be able to eat a whole serving.  But, because I put it on top of yogurt, I opted for about a third of the serving size.  Plus it has sugar, and so does the yogurt; I didn't want to tempt the WLS gods by eating too much sugar.

today's plan...

I've decided it's time to start trying some new recipes.  My daily breakfast since returning to work is either Dannon Light & Fit Greek yogurt or Breakstone's Cottage Cheese Doubles along with a string cheese stick. Before I went back to work I was having a scrambled egg most days, but I need something I can eat at work that doesn't stink up the office and doesn't turn to rubber.  I'd love to eat at home, but in order to have time to drink my protein hot chocolate, wait a half hour to eat, take a shower, etc., I'd have to get up by 6 am at the latest.  I know that's easy for many people, but it's tough for me.  I tend to hit the snooze button a lot.  I don't really want to have protein shakes for breakfast so in order to help me have some variety in my diet I'm going to make some egg bites and individual frozen oatmeal discs.  I want to try making ricotta pancakes also.  I just bought some low carb baking mix I want to try.  Later on I'll post pictures of the recipes I make today.

Time to go grocery shopping since I have no eggs, no yogurt, no cottage cheese, no cheese...LOL.  I'm not in the mood to shop today, though.  I ache from helping clean at the cat project yesterday.  A few times a year we do a spring cleaning.  Everything gets wiped down, all beds and blankets washed, rug shampooed, cat trees cleaned, litter boxes replaced, etc.  We did it last during the summer before my surgery and it was awful for me.  I was sweating like a pig and had to sit most of the time because I was so tired and out of breath.  I didn't want to move.  Not this time, I'm happy to report.  I was on my feet for most of the three and a half hours and wasn't tired when I was done.  No sweating either.  But I'm paying for it today with aches and pains.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

tonight's dinner...

Tonight for Bob's dinner I decided to make a casserole using a can of Pillsbury biscuits I had in the fridge.  It's been kicking around for awhile and needed to use it before it expires.  I found a recipe on their website for a hot dog and beans casserole, which is topped with biscuits.  Not very healthy, but it was the one recipe for which I had all the ingredients.

Here's the recipe I followed:  Hot Dog and Beans Casserole
(Note:  I subbed barbecue sauce for the ketchup.  I do that with meatloaf, too.  We prefer the taste of barbecue sauce.)

For my own dinner I made a Gorton's grilled Haddock fillet, which I was able to finish in it's entirety.  I baked my fish in the oven using my special little baking dish I bought at Pier 1 when I visited my cousin in December.  I also bought a bunch of small bowls for myself.  I figured that would help me not to over serve myself and to feel like I have a full dish.

I was going to have some of the casserole I made, but thinking about the sugar content (brown sugar, barbecue sauce, and pork and beans) and the hot dogs made me decide against it.  I don't seem to be sensitive to sugar post-op, but I don't want to really test it too much at this point.  For anyone who doesn't know, too much sugar could cause me to go into dumping syndrome.  What that means is that if eat too much sugar and it dumps into my intestines too quickly, I could get the sweats, dizziness, nausea, etc., and it can last for hours.  About 30% of gastric bypass patients are sensitive to sugar like this.

So here's Bob's dinner.  Nice big baking pan of beans, biscuits, and hot dogs.  *sigh*

And here's mine.  A tiny little baking dish with a 3 oz. fish fillet (about 2.5 oz. once it's cooked).

Thursday, February 20, 2014

dinner tonight...

Tonight was my first time having fast food since my surgery two months ago.  Hubby got a chili dog and fries. I got some chicken nuggets.  Before anyone cries out, "No!  Step away from the Micky D's bag!", I didn't go to McDonald's.  I went to Duchess.  Yes, Duchess is a fast food restaurant, but they use real chicken in their sandwiches and nuggets. Same with the fish.  And they don't drown stuff in batter.  The nuggets weren't those chopped, minced, pressed, formed thingies.  They were real, whole pieces of chicken breast with a very light coating of flour and that's about it. Nothing but real chicken.  I stole a few fries from Bob in exchange for some nuggets.  (I can't eat a whole 9 piece order so he got the leftovers, which was more than half of the order).  I ordered a side of Caesar dressing for dipping.  I like the dipping sauces they have at Duchess, but there's just something about Caesar dressing.  I like using blue cheese dressing, too.  Actually, I like just about anything I can use to dip chicken nuggets.  And croutons.  Er, more about croutons and my other triggers foods some other day...

So, here it is.  My fast food feast.  It was good, but not as good as I remember it tasting prior to surgery. That's a good thing.

making progress...

I'm happy to report I am down two shirt sizes!

As you know, I recently started a new job.  I've been getting by with my old work clothes, because I absolutely refused to spend any money on clothing that won't fit me in another few months.  Not to mention how much money I've spent over the years buying clothes that looked good in the store, but looked terrible when I got home.  (Yes, I'm bad about returning stuff.  Let's not go there.)  Or things I bought that were passable or good enough, but made me feel dumpy or old.  This weekend I went to the store to return a sweater I bought for a dinner I wasn't able to attend. While there I decided to see what they had on clearance and found several dress shirts on the cheap.  (Just gotta say it's totally ridiculous how much these plus size clothing stores charge!)  So, not only did I spend less than $15.00 each, the shirts were two sizes smaller than normal!

About a year ago I packed up all my clothes from when I lost 80 lbs on Medifast.  (I did Medifast from December 2009 through about September 2010.)  When I was done I couldn't believe I had 5 tote boxes full of almost-new clothing.  Mostly summer stuff.   So, when summer comes I will be all set for clothes - provided I am down another 50 lbs by then.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

dinner tonight....

Dinner tonight was nothing special:  pulled BBQ pork from Whole Foods.  I would have liked to have it on a nice toasty potato roll like Bob did, but I have to severely limit that stuff.  The past week or so I've gotten into the UTZ Pub Mix and I've noticed the scale has stopped moving.  I'm not overeating in terms of calories (almost impossible at this stage), but I'm eating more carbs and that can stall the weight loss.  For the past couple days I kept my hands out of the pub mix and I was rewarded with a loss of .4 lbs.  Not much, but something.  I am going to stick to the plan 100%, because I'm determined to break the 60 lb mark by next Monday, which is my two-month follow-up appointment with the surgeon.  It seems as though surgery was many months ago, but it's only been two months.

So, here's my dinner tonight.  Yummy pulled BBQ pork.  This is about 2 oz.

Monday, February 17, 2014

products i want...

I decided to start a "wish list" of items that I want to buy for myself someday.  Someday when my stomach can hold more than 2 ounces, or I've dropped a good portion of my weight or I just want to treat myself.

  • Blaack Onion Jam from Beekman 1802:  Any onion jam lovers?  I LOVE it!  To me, there's nothing better than a panini made with slices of crusty bread, slathered with goat cheese and onion jam. I also enjoy onion jam that contains roasted garlic.  When I went to Bermuda last year I brought back a jar of onion jam marmalade.  Quite a strong taste, but still yummy.  Unfortunately, pretty much any kind of jam has a lot of sugar.  It doesn't seem as though I'm sensitive to sugar like some other WLS patients, but I don't want to push it.  And why eat it if I can't have it the way I like it?  When I'm further out from surgery, this is the jam I want to try.   By the way, any Amazing Race fans?  These guys won the Amazing Race a couple years ago.
  • Bento Lunchbox Kit from Laptop Lunches:  I think this will really come in handy when I'm able to eat more food.  I can carry everything I need for the workday in one box without a million little containers clunking around in my bag.  I like the black box, but I wish the inner containers and bag were purple.
  • Silpat Silicone Baking Mats:  I want these very badly.  I don't need to wait until I lose the weight, but I probably will wait until Christmas time.  Maybe a certain husband of mine will see this and put it on the list. ;)  Right now I use parchment paper for baking and I love it.  Cookies come out perfect every time and nothing seems to stick.  But it would be nice not to have to keep buying parchment paper. The Silpat mats can be used over and over again.  *Hint*||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_--_-

  • Chef Leppard Apron:  Anyone who knows me knows why I would want this apron.  Def Leppard is my all time favorite band.  I've gone to Canada, Las Vegas, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, New York, and Ohio to see these guys on stage.  I once saw them three times in one three-day weekend. And my license plate is personalized.  Now, that's LOVE!  This apron comes from MegaChef, a website that sells rock 'n' roll themed cooking products.

  • Simon's Cat Mug:  I absolutely love Simon's Cat.  If you've never seen the short films, go here and check them out.  Cat owners will appreciate them and see the humor.  If I had to pick a favorite, it would probably be "Cat Man Do."

Sunday, February 16, 2014

today's menu...

Today I hit about 750 calories and about 69g protein.  Right on target.


For breakfast today I decided to be a little different.  As stated in yesterday's post, I made a trip to Whole Foods.  While I was there I picked up some roasted chicken breast from the hot bar.  (This time I stayed away from the roasted chicken thighs, which were too oily.)  Now that I eat so little, it just seems a lot easier to pick up foods that are already prepared, especially if it's something Bob won't eat, like bone-in chicken. Plus the grill is out of propane and I'd have to shovel my way to it.  So, I bought one chicken breast with the wing attached and that will give me about 4 meals.  I ate some for dinner last night and when I entered it into my tracking program I noticed that 2.25 oz packs a whopping 19.6g of protein!  For breakfast I decided to make a chunky chicken salad with 2.25 oz chicken breast, 2 TB light mayo (I only use Hellman's), a few dried cranberries, and salt and pepper.  I felt kinda weird eating chicken for breakfast.  It felt wrong somehow and goes against everything I've ever known.  But then I figured I've eaten breakfast for dinner many times.  Whats the difference?  At least it helped me get a jump start on my protein for the day. The kitties got some of the chicken breast, too.


Lunch was in the car today:  a pepperjack cheese stick and a bag of protein chips.  I decided to run to the clothing store to return a shirt I'd bought before surgery. I bought it for the SCP volunteer dinner, but didn't get to wear it.  I couldn't go to the dinner, because I was having "issues" with the liver flush diet I was on in preparation for my surgery.  It's now two sizes too big so I won't be wearing it.  I used my credit to buy a few shirts on clearance.  It kills me to buy any clothing right now, but I'm running out of clothes for work.  I walked out with four shirts and 6 pairs of pantyhose for $55.00 so I was pretty happy.


Tonight's dinner was meatloaf.  I use the recipe on the Lipton Onion Soup Mix box.  I replace the ketchup with barbecue sauce.  I also paint the outside of the meatloaf with barbecue sauce and, when it's just about done baking, I add some cheddar on top.  I can hear my arteries clogging now.  I also made Hasselback potatoes.    So, my dinner was 2.25 oz meatloaf and three slices of one potato (one slice didn't make it onto the plate :) ).


Before breakfast I had my usual Bariwise high protein hot chocolate and for a snack later on I had a 1 oz piece of cheese.  I drank lots of water in between.

lazy sunday morning...

This morning I decided to stay in bed for an extra half hour and had the honor of Max's company.  He likes to snuggle under the covers sometimes.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

some funny stuff...

I was browsing through the blogs I read and came across something I just had to share.  Apparently Martha Stewart tweets pictures of her food on Twitter and some of them look like something my cats dragged in from outside or regurgitated, or both.  You might want to wait until your food has settled before you look at this link.

From The Kitchn: Martha Stewart Takes Unappealing Food Photos Just Like Everyone Else

Here's another link I thought was amusing.  You have to scroll down a bit once you get to the website.  Read the captions under the pictures; it's pretty funny.  I may not be into cooking that much, but at least my meals don't look like the ones in these pictures.

Dimly Lit Meals For One

And this one, because, well, it's cats.  'Nuff said.  Multiple pages of funny stuff on this site.

Cat Shaming

breakfast today...

Ah!  The weekend again.  I've had it easy at work over the last two weeks with only about 5 full days because of snow closings, a delayed opening and a day off.  I still look forward to the weekend, though. And, best of all, it's a three-day weekend for me:  bank holiday on Monday. :)

This morning I helped out at the Stratford Cat Project.  I cleaned the main foster home and then transported some kitties to the adoption event in Fairfield. Hopefully they'll find their forever homes today.  Now that I need time in the morning to have some hot chocolate and eat something, I have to get up a lot earlier than I used to.  (I used to just order out at work all the time.  All.The.Time.) I need about a half hour to drink the hot chocolate, then I wait a half hour, then eat breakfast, which is another 20 minutes or so.  So with this new lifestyle I usually need an additional hour and a half in the morning.  Being that I'm still adjusting to having to be to work by 8 AM, I don't usually have time to eat at home so I bring breakfast to work with me and just east at my desk.  Today was no different.  I had time for hot chocolate and that was it.  I meant to bring some string cheese sticks with me to eat in the car in between cleaning and transport, but, of course, I forgot. So, a bottle of water from my trunk helped keep me satisfied. (I LOVE that water fills me now.)

After I was done with transporting I walked over to Whole Foods to browse.  That's one reason why I sign up for the Fairfield adoptions - so I can have an excuse to go to Whole Foods.  Yes, they are ridiculously expensive on many items, but they have a great selection and everything is so fresh.  And I can often find items I can't find in other stores.  I stay away from the meat sections because it's just so overpriced.  Yes, it's organic, grass-fed, and whatever else, but I refuse to pay $21.37 for a small pre-marinated steak.  Yes! - $21.37 for ONE steak.  And it was small, too.  If I'm paying that much for a steak, someone better cook it for me and deliver it to my door wearing a tuxedo and toting a cute kitten.  Anyway, I stick to the hot foods, prepared foods, snacks, and the bakery.  Sometimes I visit the cheese section, but I could go wild over there so I tend to stay away.  Today, however, they had cheese samples out near the olive bar.  Lunch is served! I stopped and grabbed three of the biggest cheese cubes.  They also had fancy crackers and a bowl of roasted garlic and onion jam (my favorite choice for goat cheese paninis).  I grabbed one cracker and put some jam on it, then strolled around the store while I munched on it.  That's all I needed; I was full.  It was nice to know that I can grab a few samples and be satisfied.

If anyone is local and is interested in supporting the Stratford Cat Project, we're having a Dine for the Cause fundraiser this coming Thursday.  See below for details.  Just click on the pictures to make them bigger.  In addition to the website link above, you can find us here, also:  SCP Facebook Page

Here's a coupon that you can print out and bring with you.  Very important:  You need this coupon in order for SCP to receive the donation.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Calcet Creamy Bites review...

Life after gastric bypass surgery involves taking vitamins and supplements daily for the rest of one's life. Because the surgery creates malabsorption by bypassing part of the small intestine, my body isn't able to absorb all the vitamins and minerals from the foods I eat.  So, I have to supplement that:  two multivitamins, three calcium citrates, and one vitamin D3.  Everyday.  For the rest of my life.  This early out from surgery I have to use chewables, which is fine with me because most of them taste like candy and I always hated swallowing those gigantic horse pills.

There are two types of calcium:  carbonate and citrate.  Carbonate is most common and is less expensive, but requires stomach acid to dissolve and absorb it.  Citrate is more expensive, but doesn't need stomach acid to dissolve and be absorbed.  Gastric bypass patients have to take calcium citrate because our new stomach doesn't produce any stomach acid.

I decided before surgery that for my calcium I would take Calcet Creamy Bites, which are citrate.  I buy the Chocolate Fudge flavor, but they also have Lemon Cream. They are so delicious!  It makes me feel as though I'm eating brownies.  Since I'm not supposed to be eating sweets, I figured this will satisfy my sweet tooth and make me feel like I'm having dessert.  And I get to have three of them a day. :)  I look forward to these and make sure they last a few bites.

Here's the link if you want to check them out:  Calcet Creamy Bites

By the way, this is purely my own opinion and I'm not paid by the company that makes the product.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

before and after pics...

As of today I have lost a total of 55.4 pounds.  I'm feeling good, I have more energy, my clothes fit much better (I don't feel like a sausage in a tight casing), and I don't have to worry about fitting into the booth when I go out to eat.

I can't post my actual "before" pictures because all I have on is my bra and underwear.  I'll write a public blog and post photos, but I'm not posting pics of me in my skivvies. No one wants to see that.

Here I am very close to my heaviest.  This is from my cruise to Bermuda in September with my sisters.  I was about 15 pounds less than my starting weight before surgery.

Here's my current pic.  Bob took it today when I got home from work.  Ignore the sneaks.

Monday, February 10, 2014

it's our anniversary...

Today is my 18th wedding anniversary.  Hard to believe Bob and I have been together for almost 24 years. Time really flies when you're having fun.  It seems like yesterday when he and his friend drove up to my friend's house and picked us up. It was a blind date for us.  And we weren't even supposed to meet.  He was supposed to meet another girl who backed out at the last minute.  Good thing for me!

None of us were the kind of people to go on a "date".  A date for us consisted of driving around for awhile, listening to music, and drinking.  (Yes, drinking.  Bob was legal, after all.) Then we would go back to Bob's house, listen to music, talk and drink. We hung out behind his house a lot.  Same routine most of  the time. We ate at the diner or Duchess a lot, too.  Eventually we moved in together and then got married.  Then we bought the house and the rest is history.

I think part of what's kept us together so long is that we trust each other.  And something else we believe helps is that we aren't joined at the hip.  He goes camping a few times during the summer, I take trips with my sisters, go to Def Leppard concert road trips, or go visit my dad.  There are a few people we know that don't comprehend that at all.  It's a foreign concept and they can't believe that Bob "lets" me go away without him. Yeah, no one "lets" me do anything.  I do what I want to do.  So anyway, we stay out of each other's hair and that helps minimize bickering and stuff.

It's been a great life together so far.  He treats me right; he helps around the house (more than me sometimes); he fixes things, usually the right way the first time; he supports me in whatever I do; and he's always there for me.  When I think about "home", I think about him, not the house or town I live in.

So, happy anniversary, dear!  I love you!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

my first week back at work...

Sorry I haven't written for a few days.  I've been busy getting back into the swing of the work routine.  I've officially completed my first week.  Although, I didn't start until Tuesday and Wednesday was a snow day so it was only three days.

I think the toughest part of going back to work is getting my body used to getting up earlier and going to bed earlier.  It used to be that I would start the process of getting ready for bed around 10 PM and would get up in the morning around 7:15 AM (although I usually pushed that to 7:30 or 7:40 most mornings, even though I naturally woke up around 7).  By the time my first day of work rolled around I was getting into bed around midnight and then reading in bed for a bit.  Then I would wake up around 8 AM, sometimes 8:30. Boy, was it tough last week having to be up by 6 AM!  Really, I could get up around 6:45 AM and be at work by 8 AM, but with my new lifestyle I need to allow some time to prepare the tummy for food.  I think in time I will be OK to eat shortly after I get up, but for now I need about 45 minutes to prepare it.  And by "prepare" I mean settle it with some high protein hot chocolate.  I wake up extremely hungry and the hot chocolate takes the edge off my hunger and gets me ready to want to eat.

I find getting in all my water and vitamins is so much easier now that I'm working.  I use one of their 12 oz. paper coffee cups and drink 4 of those throughout the day.  That gives me my 1.5 liters of fluids for the day before 5 PM, which means anything after that is just gravy.  I keep the vitamins on my desk so I remember to take them.

Breakfast and lunch have been easy.  They gave me an awesome lunch bag that includes a water bottle so I toss in my cheese sticks, yogurt, and my lunch for the day.  I also brought in a bunch of stuff from home to keep in my cube in the event I forget my lunch:  protein bars, cashews (tummy isn't too sure about these yet), and Crystal Light.  They have a toaster oven in the kitchen, which I'm pretty psyched about.  I can bring in my cauliflower crust pizza and toast it nice and crisp.

So, the job itself?  I think I will like it.  I'm now more of a worker bee than a manager like I used to be and I'm finding it difficult to adjust to that mentally.  I don't mind reporting to someone, but I guess I feel stifled somehow.  I don't know.  This weekend I've been plagued with doubts as to whether this is the job for me, whether I should call the other bank that is dying to recruit me.  The other bank had a job for me that would have me working on all sorts of high level projects and I'd be on my own pretty much. The downside is the commute.  Actually, not the commute itself, but getting from the train station to the bank.  It's just a pain.  I know I need to give this job a fair shot, though.  It wouldn't be fair to anyone, including myself.  What if I quit and go to the other bank and I hate it?  Then I'd be trapped.  I was at my last job for 17 years so this is likely why I'm doubting myself.  On the upside, I get out at 5 PM and don't have to work a minute later. Plus, I'm non-exempt so I'll be paid overtime if I work over 40 hours.

To come later this week:

  • before and after pictures!  I've lost some more weight, which I'll reveal when I post the pics. :)
  • it's my wedding anniversary tomorrow!  18 years married and almost 24 years together.
  • a review of Calcet Creamy Bites.  This is my calcium of choice and the bites are delicious.
  • whatever else I decide to write.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

cauliflower pizza crust complete...

So I made pizza with the cauliflower crust last night.  It was actually very good.  It was easy to make, although microwaving the grated cauliflower made the house stink.  I am very glad I made the crust thin. Otherwise I think it would have been too cauliflower-tasting to me and it might have fallen apart.  It didn't taste like pizza crust, necessarily.  I'd say it tasted like an Italian crust, if that makes sense.  It had oregano, basil and garlic powder.  If I make it again I think I might cut down on the amount of oregano.  The taste lingered for awhile.  I didn't use pizza sauce, because I didn't have any.  Same with the almond meal the recipe calls for (although it's optional).  Overall I enjoyed this and would make it again.

Here's the recipe I used:  Cauliflower Pizza Crust Recipe

Ingredients assembled.  Cauliflower has already been pulsed in the food processor and 
then cooked in the microwave.

Before pre-banking the crust.

After pre-baking, before final baking.

Finished product.

Voila!  I wasn't able to finish this portion.  I ate the bigger slice and about half of the smaller one.  
I froze the rest since Bob won't try it.  It's a veggie and might kill him.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

cauliflower pizza crust in process...

Tonight I'm trying my hand at making cauliflower pizza crust.  Since I'm not supposed to be eating bread and all that, I figured this would be a good alternative. I found a recipe that seems to have a lot of good reviews so I'm hoping for the best.  I'm only about halfway through at the moment.  The first step is to grate the cauliflower.  Nope, went in the food processor.  I don't grate unless the end product would be compromised by not doing it.  I then I had to zap it in the microwave and wait for it to cool.  That's what I'm waiting for now.  I have a few Yankee Candles burning to snuff out the unpleasant stench of cauliflower.  I'll let you know how it goes...

a little project...

I decided my kitties needed blankets for their beds.  I found instructions online for making a no-sew fleece blanket.  Normally I buy them from the local cat rescue, but I needed 6 of them and I was unemployed at the time.  Cheaper to do myself.

So here are some pictures of my project and my helper, Max.  He tried to drag the blanket away more than once.  And forget the tape measure! Basically all you do is cut two pieces of fleece the same size, put them back to back, cut the fringe, and then tie the fringes together.  Voila!  A kitty blanket.  My cats love them. My friend's cats love them, too.

If anyone here is local and wants to purchase a blanket like this, just visit one of the public adoptions held by the Stratford Cat Project.  Click on the link for adoption dates and locations.  The blankets we sell are about 24" x 30" and are $10.00 each.  Made by one of our volunteers, machine washable, cat tested, and cat approved. :)  And hers look better than mine.

Finished product.  This is a small one, about 18" X 18". 

Thelma enjoying the new blanket.  Max lost interest once it was completed.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

first day back to work...

I don't have much to write tonight, other than I'm tired.  Today was my first day at my new job.  I dropped Leo off at the vet, drove to HR in New Canaan where I filled out a mountain of paperwork, drove to Norwalk for my mandatory drug test, and then down to Bridgeport to my office.  I met about 17 people today and remember maybe four names.  (I guess that's not too bad.)  Met with my manager; read even more stuff; got my computer, email and voice mail up and running; fought with my desk for a bit trying to lock it; then went home.

So, what are the pros?  An hour for lunch (an hour!).  Nice kitchen with a toaster oven, among other things. Water cooler.  And the best of all?  It was QUIET!  It's kind of a heads-down atmosphere.  Not much chit chat at all, which is fine by me.

The cons?  Parking lot gets full fast and it's a bit of a walk.  I've done that walk before and it's brutal in the winter.  No wifi, which means I can't use the iPad during lunch.  No big deal; I have my phone.  I'm in a cubicle; no more office.  A cube neighbor who likes to bang on her desk a lot.  Not sure what all the commotion is about.

I like it though.  It seems like a nice place and the people seem nice, too.

Monday, February 3, 2014

tonight's dinner: mac and cheese...

Tonight I made my stove-top mac and cheese recipe.  I followed a recipe, but instead of using 8 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese, I used cheese ends I bought at the deli.  I think it tastes more interesting that way. You never know what kind of cheeses are in those packages.  It's usually a mix of American, Swiss, and Provolone with it being probably 80% American.  Once in awhile I get lucky and find a slice of smoked Gouda or pepper jack. It's like hitting the cheese jackpot.  I was thrilled to find a piece of pepper jack this time - until I tasted it.  My mouth was on fire and my new stomach wasn't thrilled with it.  Normally I like the heat, but I find my tastes are changing a little bit. So anyway, I decided to bake it when I was done cooking it on the stove.  I added a crumb topping to make it nice and crunchy.  I just threw two English muffins in the food chopper and made bread crumbs.  Then I added shredded Parmesan cheese (about 3/4 cup) and olive oil (about 3 TB) and then tossed it together. You can use grated Parm or really any kind of cheese you want. Doesn't matter.  Just don't add too much, otherwise you'll end up with a gooey topping.

Now, I know I'm supposed to stay away from pasta and bread, but this lifestyle is exactly that:  for the rest of my life.  This is really the first pasta I've had since surgery so I'm not going to feel bad about it.  As long as I severely limit it, I'll be fine.  Actually, the new stomach isn't liking it too much.  It feels heavy and I feel tired and sluggish after eating it.  The way I used to feel after I scarfed down a huge meal.  I don't like feeling like this anymore.  I don't know how I did this to myself three to four times a day, everyday, before surgery.

Here's the recipe I follow for mac and cheese:  Stove-top Mac and Cheese

something new: cauliflower fried rice...

I made a new recipe for dinner last night:   cauliflower fried rice.  Yes, cauliflower.  And you know what? It was delicious.  I think it was the coconut oil used to saute the onions and garlic.  I love anything coconut.  I even got Bob to try it!  He ate a whole plate.  He said "it wasn't as disgusting as [he] thought it would be." I'll take it.  It's cauliflower.  He's a burgers-and-dogs guy.  So, what can I expect really?

I've been wanting to try some new recipes, but I wanted to wait until my stomach was a little stronger.  As it was, my stomach was slightly unsure of this new food at first, but I was OK.   I ate my whole dish, which was about 2.5 ounces.  The only change I made to this recipe was that I used frozen salad shrimp instead of larger fresh shrimp.  That was simply because it was what I had on-hand.  I thought I had a bag of large raw shrimp in the freezer, but I must have used it up.  Or I was dreaming.  Oh, and I used the frozen peas and carrots mix rather than frozen peas and fresh carrots.  Again, that's what I had on-hand.  And I don't think it would have made a difference anyway.  It cuts out the work of peeling and chopping carrots.

Overall this was a pretty easy and fast recipe.  Once you start cooking it, be prepared to eat in about 15 minutes.  Here's the recipe if anyone wants to try it:  Cauliflower Fried Rice

Sunday, February 2, 2014

bariwise hot chocolate...

Everyday I start my morning with BariWise Hot Chocolate.  It's 80 calories, 1g fat, 2g sugar, 3g carbs, and 15g (!) of protein.  They have lots of flavors:  chocolate, chocolate with marshmallows, Irish cream, mocha, amaretto, raspberry, mint, and cinnamon.  It comes 7 envelopes in a box and the cost is about $12.50.

I LOVE this stuff!  It doesn't have that nasty protein taste like many high protein drinks.  I've tried mint, cinnamon, and chocolate.  Cinnamon is my favorite. The chocolate flavor tastes just like regular hot chocolate.  I like the mint, but I probably wouldn't buy it again.  This one did have a bit of a protein taste. Not overpowering, but it seemed like the mint was a cover-up that didn't really work.  But everyone has different taste buds.  What doesn't work for me will be just fine for someone else.  It mixes up pretty good, too, although there are sometimes a few small lumps.  Just break it up with your spoon.  But it's definitely not the nasty clumping that can sometimes happen with other high protein drink mixes.

You can buy it here:  Diet Direct or Bariatric Choice.  They're always running sales so many times I can get it for around $10.00 a box.  They have a referral program, too, where if you refer a friend and they make a purchase, you get $20.00 credit and they get $20.00 off their order.

Note:  The protein in this product isn't whey or soy isolate, which is supposed to be the best source for WLS patients, so don't depend on this for most of your protein.  It's just a good way to get a easy protein boost.

The mug is my own. :)

weight watchers smoked flavor string cheese...

I bought this string cheese a couple weeks ago.  It's Weight Watchers Smoked Flavor String Cheese.  It has 50 calories, 2.5g fat and 6g of protein and it's a good on-the-go snack/meal.  For those of you following the Weight Watchers plan, it's only 1 Point.

Since I've been eating mostly light mozzarella string cheese or colby jack cheese sticks, I was excited to try a different flavor of cheese.  It was OK, not great.  The smoke flavor tasted kind of fake, but I guess that's to be expected in a low fat product that isn't a natural smoked cheese.  The texture didn't seem as soft as other string cheeses, either.  I ate it right from the fridge, so letting it get to room temperature may help this a little.

I'll finish the package, but I likely wouldn't buy this one again.  I'll probably look for a smoked gouda.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

some cuteness...

Yes, I love my cats and I take lots of pictures of them.  Leo is going for a lion's cut on Tuesday so I'll be sure to post a picture.  But you're not allowed to make fun of him!

Here's Bailey.  He finally sat still for a few minutes so I could snap a couple pictures.

Here's one of Max and Bailey napping.  
Bailey was pretty much dead to the world.

dinner out tonight...

Today Bob and I decided to take a run to Ikea.  (Why did I wait until afternoon when everyone and their mother's brother's uncle was there??)  My pantry cabinet is out of control with all the stuff I need post-surgery:  protein shakes, vitamins, calcium, unflavored protein powder, sugar free Torani syrups, etc. Bob's snacks are sharing the same cabinet so it's tough to grab something without it all falling out.  I really want some sort of pull-out drawers or something so I can organize it better and be able to get to everything.  Ikea had some awesome pantry cabinets, but since I haven't been working for a couple months, I don't want to spend that kind of money right now.  We then decided on buying just the drawers and installing them in the cabinets we have.  Ultimately, we left with nothing, though.  I want to think more about what I really need.  I checked out some things at Lowe's, but they were too expensive.

We went out to dinner on our way home.  We went to the Wood-n-Tap in Orange.  I love their food, but obviously I can no longer make any kind of dent in a big platter of their nachos.  I wanted to order the Maine crab dip appetizer, but decided all the cream and butter might not sit well and didn't want to risk getting sick or anything while I was out.  I could have ordered a chicken dinner and just packed the rest up to take home, but I just couldn't justify spending $15.00 on something that would take me a week to eat or might just get tossed out.  So, I settled on the soup of the day.  I chose the mushroom stout and it was delicious! Very creamy and strong flavor from the stout.  I loved that the majority of the mushrooms were ground up.  I didn't have to chew anything.  I had some water with it.  I'm not supposed to drink with my meals, but considering soup slides through my stomach pretty fast I didn't see it as a big deal.  As long as I don't make a habit of it.  I ate about four of Bob's french fries, too. They were the skinny ones.  It was a good dinner, but I need to get over feeling as though I'm a freak when I'm at a restaurant.  I guess I just feel weird sitting there with a little bowl of soup and some water while Bob is chowing down on a huge plate of sliders.  This was only my second trip out for a meal since surgery so I'm sure I'll get used to it in time.