Tuesday, September 30, 2014

today's breakfast and lunch

I've been eating more lunch meat lately.  I've discovered that meat containing nitrates bothers my stomach, so I've been buying the Applegate Farms brand.  It's good, but it's not cheap.  That doesn't matter much, though, because one package gives me about 3 meals.

However, after having lunch meat quite a bit over the last few weeks, I've decided that it doesn't really appeal to me the way it used to (many old favorites don't appeal to me anymore).  Maybe because I'm not eating bologna, which I love, or maybe because its rolled up with cheese and it's not on bread or a roll.  Just as well, I guess, since lunch meat tends to be pretty salty.

So, today for lunch I had Applegate Farms uncured ham rolled up with Pepper jack cheese, some pineapple, and some cheese.  For breakfast it was Greek yogurt with peanuts mixed in.

Monday, September 29, 2014

today's breakfast and lunch

Bob and I took our first trip to Stew Leonard's the other night.  We've been to Stew's before, but not to this location.  We now live within 10 minutes of one!  : )  The purpose was to get some dinner from the hot bar, but of course we ended up buying a bunch of stuff.  Not junk food like we used to buy, but definitely nothing that falls into the "needs" category.

One of the things I got from the hot bar was BBQ pulled pork.  Yummy!  That's what I brought for lunch today.  I added some crackers on the side.

I also bought some fresh pineapple, which was also yummy.  I've decided to start adding some fruit, although I find that the fruits I used to like just don't appeal all that much to me anymore.  It's a texture thing.

I had a Greek yogurt (not shown) with peanuts mixed in for breakfast, as usual.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

german beer cheese--need i say more??

I've been trying to figure out what to do with all the leftover extra sharp cheese from my house warming party.  We ate the rest of the cheese that was left, but we just couldn't finish the cheddar.

Unless you're someone who really has a love for extra sharp cheddar, it's tough to find a use for it.  But I did!  I was flipping through an issue of Taste of Home and found a recipe for German Beer Cheese Spread. It looked pretty easy and I had all the ingredients (for once!), so I decided to make it.

I had this once at our favorite German place, the East Side Restaurant, but then they stopped making it for some reason.  I loved it.  It had a strong, sharp cheddar taste with a hint of beer. I hate beer, but I like it when it's used for cooking.

This was very quick and easy.  In fact, I made this while cooking the shells for stuffed shells.  The timer was set for 14 minute and that's about how long it took.  And that's only because I didn't have everything ready to go.  I had to measure the ingredients and mince up some fresh garlic.  If I had it all ready to go it would have taken maybe 5 or 6 minutes to do this.

This recipe made A LOT!  If you're having a party, great.  But if you're going to keep this in the fridge for snacking, you and whoever else is there had better really like German beer cheese.

How did it taste?  Very strong because of the extra sharp cheddar.  And it had a lot of beer flavor, which surprised me.  Many times when a recipe calls for alcohol it's not really discernible in the flavor.  But the beer definitely came through in this.

Here's the recipe if you want to try it:  German Beer Cheese Spread

Note:  I used Yuengling Premium beer because that's what we had on hand.  Bob LOVES Yuengling.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


One of the things I love about living in the new house is that my neighbors four houses down grow their own veggies and set up a form stand on the weekends.   They have their own green houses and a big garden.  If you're ever up this way check them out.  Here's a link to their website:  Atkins Barnes Farm and Homestead.  And here's a link to their Facebook page:  Atkins Barnes Farm and Homestead.

I'm not big on veggies and neither is Bob.  I always have good intentions when I buy veggies.  (The road to Hell is paved with good intentions, right?)  I see them in the store and it makes me want to go home, whip out all the pots and pans, drizzle olive oil everywhere, and start cooking my heart out. While pushing my cart I have visions of gorgeous veggies transformed into delicious dishes that we just can't get enough of.  (This is especially true at Whole Foods.  Their produce section is a food porn addict's fantasy with all those bright, gleaming veggies!) But the reality is this:  I get way too ambitious.  I buy too many varieties, I bring them home, wash them, and they sit in the fridge or on the counter until I'm forced to either cook them all or throw them away.  Every time I walk in the kitchen or open the fridge I see them sitting there, just waiting for me to do something with them.  I then proceed to get what I went in there for while trying not to make eye contact with the peppers or broccoli, then close the fridge and go about my business, as if the veggies didn't exist.  It's a sad existence for them, really, and they'd be better off going home with someone else.

Well, now that I have a farm stand four houses down from me, I can buy just a little to try and not feel like I have to make the most of my shopping trip.  And the bonus is getting to know my neighbors and seeing their old house; it was built in 1730, which is five years old than ours.  Also, the samples.  Oh, the yummy samples.   This morning it was grilled cheese and Swiss chard on ciabatta bread.  Last week it was Swiss chard with chorizo sausage on mini toasts and a few other things.

This is what I bought this morning and it only cost me $5.00.  Lettuce, 2 heirloom tomatoes, 4 shallots, garlic, and a cucumber.  I'm a raw tomato hater so I'll need to figure out what to use them for.  I'm thinking of stuffing them and then baking them.  Anyone have any other ideas?

turkey medallions with carrots and rice

This was last night's dinner.  Turkey medallions wrapped in bacon (from Aldi), fresh carrots, and beef flavored Rice-a-Roni.  I know, it should have been chicken flavored, but that's what I had in the house.

I've never been a big fan of these turkey medallions.  Even though they're wrapped in bacon, I always found them a bit bland.  But I guess turkey is naturally bland anyway. I decided to sprinkle some of my Borsari Seasoned Salt on them before putting them on the grill.  That made all the difference!  So much better.

I added some fresh carrots, which I steamed in the microwave, and made some Rice-a-Roni.  I've really missed Rice-a-Roni so it was nice to have a few bites.

I finished most of the plate.  If I had to guess, I'd say the turkey was about 3 ounces cooked.

Friday, September 26, 2014

crystal light liquid

As a bariatric surgery patient, I need to drink a lot of water and plain water gets pretty boring. I'm always looking for new sugar free drink mixes.

Everyone seems to rave about liquid flavorings like Mio and others, so I decided to try some. I bought the Crystal Light brand, Strawberry Lemonade flavor. No particular reason other than that's what was in the store I was at.

I don't see what the fuss it about, other than the convenience of flavoring one glass or bottle of water at a time.  I found it difficult to find the right amount of flavoring to add. First time I underestimated.  Then I overestimated the second time and it was very sweet. Third time seemed ok, but it's tough to get it right and make it consistent. The flavor was pretty good once I got it right, though.

I probably wouldn't buy this again. Not the particular brand, but liquid flavoring in general.

stuffed pepper soup

This was Bob's dinner the other night.  I'm not a fan of stuffed peppers, so I refrained from eating it.  He said it was good, but it didn't taste too much like stuffed peppers.

I'm thinking next time I'll add a mix of sausage and ground beef, and maybe used the canned diced tomatoes that have onion and garlic added.  I might also replace the water with beef broth.  Finally, I think I would make sure the beef it very lean.  We used 85% lean and it was kind of greasy on top.  I had to skim the grease.  However, it could be that we didn't drain the cooked beef well enough.

It was really easy to make and took about an hour from start to finish.

I got the recipe from Taste of Home.  Find it here:  Stuffed Pepper Soup.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

tbt: looking back, while moving forward

Here it is.  The shocking picture I promised earlier in the week.  But first, let's look at where I started.

Bermuda, September, 2013.  Almost couldn't find a life vest to fit me.

Bermuda, September, 2013

At my cousin's house in PA.  December, 2013.. Two weeks before surgery.

And here I am now.  Down 125 pounds.  I can fit my body into one pant leg.  (Note:  These are denim, not stretchy leggings.)  Amazing!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

another amazing sunset

This is what I get to see almost every night at the new house.  I just love it.  I feel good in my skin in this house.  Know the feeling?

Monday, September 22, 2014

breakfast pizza

I think I'm finally feeling a little more settled in the house.  That means I'll be cooking more, especially breakfast on the weekends.  I've missed that.

Yesterday I made a breakfast pizza.  It's just a small flour tortilla, one scrambled egg, a crumbled Morning Star Farms Hot & Spicy Veggie Sausage Patty, and a slice of pepper jack cheese.  I put it in the toaster oven and voila!

It was yummy, but still can't finish the whole thing.  Close, though.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

updated stats!

I'm now down 124 pounds!  So, this makes my current weight....yes, I'm gonna do it!...drum roll please...


That's less than I weighed when I was 16 and I'm now 39.

If you're trying to do the math, yes, I started at 343.

Three pounds lost in the last couple weeks is not bad considering the crappy diet I've been eating, plus the house warming party I had last weekend.  Guess I worked it all off trying to get ready for the party.

It's time to go through all my clothes again since my size 18 capris are getting loose.  Plus, I realized I have no winter clothes.  None.  At all.  Just a down parka.  Can't wear just that, though.  I mean, I guess I could if I were living in a nudist colony and it was winter time.  I do have snow boots and warm gloves...

Saturday, September 20, 2014

hot and spicy!

I bought this trail mix at Staples yesterday. I'm a sucker for the snacks they have near the registers. Actually,  I'm a sucker for any container that says "trail mix." I just can't resist.

This mix is a combination of toasted corn, peanuts, sesame sticks, chili rice crackers,  chili lemon sticks, and pumpkin seeds. It's all covered in a spicy kind of southwest seasoning. I don't know what brand it is since there's nothing on the package.  The nutritional info isn't too bad:  1/2 cup contains 150 calories, 9g fat, 14g carbs, and 5g protein.

I really liked this. I will warn you that it's very spicy and hot! If you can't handle hot salsa, you won't be able to handle this.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

caramel apple pie for breakfast

I had to make a yogurt run last night. I ran out last week and, boy, have I missed having it for breakfast.  Never thought I'd say that. All week I ate letlftover cheese and crackers. Boring and just not right.

Dannon came out with a limited edition Greek yogurt flavor: Caramel Apple Pie.  I'm not much of a caramel apple fan so I almost didn't buy it, but then I said what the heck, might as well try it. Besides, the Stop and Shop near me didn't have much variety. I noticed Oikos had a pumpkin spice flavor, but the calories were double and so was the sugar. No, thanks!

This was delicious.  Tasted just like caramel apple pie. It had chunks of apple, too. My only complaint is that it wasn't as thick as their other Greek yogurt flavors. It was more like their regular yogurts.

I added peanuts, of course. Just can't eat yogurt without something mixed in. I guess it makes me feel like I'm eating something a little more substantial.

Monday, September 15, 2014

today's breakfast and lunch

Today's box features some of my house warming party leftovers. A barbecued chicken thigh and cheese, pepperoni and crackers. Then I had some turkey sausage links and some peanuts. A weird breakfast, but I'm out of yogurt.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

house warming party...done!

We had our house warming party yesterday.  It was a great time, with great food and company.  Lots of work, though.

Seems like I haven't done anything these past few weeks except work in the house.  So much to do with unpacking a few more boxes, trying to find a bathroom cabinet I actually like and can afford (found an unfinished wood night stand at Ikea and painted white:  $35.00), cleaning, organizing, washing bed linens, buying new bed linens for twin beds, buying the food, etc., etc., etc,.  All I can say is, thankfully I lost a lot of weight.  Otherwise, I'd be half dead right now.  It's been go, go, go for weeks and I was able to keep on going until around 11:30 PM almost every night.

Yesterday was pretty busy, of course, with having to cook and set up.  But now it's all over and I can REST!!! :)  And that's what I'm doing today.  Don't get me wrong, I'm cleaning up yesterday's mess, but it's more rest than work getting done.

Now, on to planning the next get-together...

Friday, September 12, 2014

today's breakfast and lunch

Looks like a ton of food!  I bought some granola the other night and I can't wait to try it.  Granola has a lot of calories so I try not to buy it very often, but I couldn't resist this time.

Top:  Dannon Light & Fit Greek yogurt, strawberry-banana
Large pink rectangle:  Store-bought grilled chicken breast pieces
Blue square:  dill pickles
Crinkle cup:  granola!
Yellow square:  Muenster cheese
Pink square:  dry-roasted peanuts

Thursday, September 11, 2014

week in review

I've had some ups and downs this week.  It's still too early, though, to render it terrible.  We'll see what today and tomorrow brings.

  • I was rejected for two positions I applied for, but another came up that seems to be a great fit.  I'm going to apply for that one today.
  • We got our well water test results back and our water is bacteria-free!  Bob installed a UV filtration system because we're unable to locate the well.  But after buying a new pressure tank ($1500) and a UV system ($700), it seems our well pump is bad.  The water is cycling on and off.  Since we can't find the well, that means either having to excavate to find it and paying thousands of dollars up-front, or moving to city water and paying thousands of dollars over five years.  Hmmm....
  • My computer screen seems to be dying.  The screen is purple.  I love purple, but c'mon.  These LCD computer screens are crap.  I've been through three in the last four years.
  • The other night I left my breakfast and lunch on the counter overnight, which meant no prepared food for work yesterday.  Had to buy lunch.
  • I dropped part of my breakfast on the floor and had to start over again.
  • And now it seems the cat has closed himself in the closet.  
What's good about this week?  I'm having a big cookout this weekend with friends and family. So, it can't be a terrible week, right?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

today's lunch

I had to rush out of the house today so I didn't have time to grab anything other than a frozen dinner. This one is Weight Watchers broccoli and cheddar cheese.  I used to eat this all the time when I was dieting. Not so thrilling nowadays, but it fills the void.

Monday, September 8, 2014

feeling great

This is just a quick a quick post to say how great I'm feeling. I don't usually realize how far I've come, but this weekend I had a chance to see exactly how far I've progressed since losing the weight.

On Saturday I started my day at 6 am and made nine (nine!!) stops before coming home at 2 pm. Unreal! And I wasn't even tired. Before I lost the weight I would have been ready to go home after the third stop and probably would have been watching TV the rest of the day. Nope. I kept going when I came home.  Sunday was less busy, but I still made a few stops in the morning and had plenty of energy to spare. It felt great, like I checked off my whole to-do list.

Another glimpse of my progress come today. I went to the doctor and my blood pressure is down to 112 over 68. It's never been that low!  Before surgery it was usually around 140 over 90.

Ahhhh I love it!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

today's breakfast and lunch

I finally made a batch of egg cups!  This is the first time I baked in my new house.  It was a challenge at first; I have a tiny kitchen.  But I managed.  Now I've got egg cups for the week and I'm very happy.  I was getting a little bored of Greek yogurt with peanuts mixed in.

Small pink rectangle, snack:  1 oz. dry roasted peanuts (I measured!)
Large purple rectangle, lunch:  1/2 cup seafood salad from Price Chopper
Small pink rectangle, lunch:  Keebler Townhouse crackers (regular, not fat-free or reduced fat)
Large pink rectangle, breakfast:  Herbed goat cheese and sausage egg cups

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

crystal light: concord grape

For the last few months I've been using Crystal Light to help me get all my water in.  As a post-op, it's especially important that I drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.  Dehydration can happen easily.  It was a real struggle trying to drink all that water so I started using Crystal Light.  I mix it up in the morning at work and keep a carafe in the fridge there.  I make one everyday and drink most of it.  At home I use the single-serve packets and put one in a bottle of water.  I try not to exceed 5 glasses of it per day due to the aspartame, although just about everything will kill us nowadays.  I checked with my nutritionist and she's OK with it.  That's been tough to limit consumption lately, though, because they came out with a new flavor:  Concord Grape.

This new flavor is so good!  It reminds me of when I was a kid and used to drink grape Kool Aid, though it's definitely not so sweet.   It doesn't seem to have any kind of after taste, either.

They also have Wild Strawberry now, but it's only in the single-serve packets and it has caffeine.  I'm not supposed to have too much caffeine since that can cause dehydration and the gitters.  I do have it once in awhile, though.  It's got a pretty intense flavor and it's a bit sweet, but I love the strawberry flavor.  makes me feel like I'm drinking a strawberry soda, which I long for every once in awhile.

Other flavors I live on include Lemonade and Iced Tea.  I used to drink pink lemonade, but ever since the surgery I seem to have lost my taste for it.  Another good one is Market Pantry (Target brand) Strawberry Lemonade.

Monday, September 1, 2014

cute little max

The cats like to hang out in strange places in this new house.  Usually it's on the fireplace hearth or on top of the radiator cover in the front hall, which is about 4 feet tall.  That's fine with me; they don't lay on the kitchen counters anymore.  Max seems to like to sit on the fireplace insert in the dining room.

raspberry protein shake

A couple weeks ago I ran out of my favorite ready-to-drink protein shakes, Premier Protein.  I drink one on the way to work everyday since my commute is now 45 minutes.  By the time I finish it and get myself to my desk at work, about 30 minutes has passed, which means I can sit down and eat my breakfast right away. (I'm not supposed to drink within 30 minutes of eating, before or after).  I was going to run right to BJ's to get more, but then realized I have three bags of protein powder mix in the cabinet.  I haven't used the powder much at all since surgery.  Mainly because they mix up very thick and I just haven't been in the mood for a milkshake-consistency protein shake.  Plus, I've just been lazy.  But I decided to change that.  I bought myself a nice BPA-free plastic cup with a straw, I portioned out some ingredients to keep in the freezer, and I unpacked my little mini blender.

Last week I made the standard chocolate shake and added some PB2.  Tasted like peanut butter cups. Yummy!  I lived on these during my two-week pre-op diet in December.  Then I made a strawberry shake, nothing added but skim milk and water.  Then I tried a chocolate shake with frozen cherries and Sugar-Free Torani Black Cherry Syrup.  It was good, but I couldn't really taste a lot of chocolate, nor could I taste the cherries too much.  I'll have to tweak it.  Maybe add some cocoa powder and more cherry syrup.

This morning I had no motivation whatsoever.  I was going to get up, get stuff done, rule the world, etc.  But it just didn't happen.  So, after a few hours of surfing the 'net, I decided I could at least get up out of the chair and make breakfast.  That's not hard and doesn't require much motivation.  Then I got into the kitchen and didn't feel like cooking, so I decided to make a shake.  My first thought was the old standby:  chocolate with PB2.  But then I saw the bags of strawberry and vanilla and realized they've been neglected.  I decided to use the vanilla, although I don't really care for plain vanilla.  I started looking through my syrups and saw the raspberry.  Then I remembered I had frozen raspberries.  So, a raspberry shake it was.

This came out really good.  Delicious, actually.  Strong raspberry flavor, nice and thick, and I can taste the creamy vanilla underneath.  Recipe below the picture.

Raspberry Protein Shake

6 oz. cold water
2 oz. fat-free milk (I use Simply Smart by Hood)
2 scoops vanilla protein powder, or whatever your protein container calls for (I use Bariatric Advantage)
2 ice cubes
1 tsp Sugar-Free Torani Black Raspberry Syrup
1/2 cup frozen raspberries

If you're using a Bullet Blender, Ninja, etc., put the ingredients into the cup in the order listed above.  Blend until smooth.  If you're using a standard blender, reverse the order and blend until smooth.