Wednesday, April 29, 2015

parmesan lentil soup

Tonight I made one of my final "eat through the kitchen" meals.  I'm about ready to say the challenge is done.  Mainly because I haven't bought meat in a month and half and all I have left is a ham.  My appetite and pallet is screaming for beef and I'm going to give in this weekend. I'm also out of pasta sauce, ingredients to make pasta sauce, and some other items.  Last night's dinner was mini tortilla pizzas:  BBQ chicken and pepperoni.

The following recipe, which isn't my own, was made using ingredients I had on hand.  The only thing I had to buy was the Parmesan rind, which was inexpensive.

It was easy to make and it tasted good.  It was more like a stew, though.  Very thick.  I added another cup of water and that helped a little bit.  Not sure why it was so thick, since I followed the directions to the letter.  The picture in the original recipe shows a thinner soup.

If you don't eat pasta as a post-op, just scoop around it.  I don't eat pasta anymore, so that's what I did.

Parmesan Lentil Soup

Serves 6

Recipe by Carlene Thomas, RDN, LD (Link to recipe)
Adapted from The Best Vegetarian Recipes by Martha Rose Shulman


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small white onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped into rounds
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 14-ounce can tomatoes with juice, seeded and chopped (or 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes)
4 cups chicken stock
4 cups water
1½ cup lentils
1 chunk Parmesan rind
1 bay leaf
Black pepper
½ cup small pasta
Garnishes: lemon thyme, grated Parmesan (optional, I didn't use the thyme)


  1. Over medium heat in a large pot, add onion, carrot and garlic with oil. Cook and stir until everything is tender for about five minutes.
  2. Add in tomatoes, turn heat to medium and bring to a simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in the lentils with chicken stock and water. Bring to a boil.
  4. Add Parmesan rind and bay leaf and reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Add salt and cook for another 15 to 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
  6. Add pasta and cook until pasta is done.
  7. Top with more cheese, black pepper, salt and lemon thyme. (Optional)

Sunday, April 26, 2015

a new kitty in the house

It's official:  this little lady is ours!  We signed the adoption papers yesterday.

Her name is Leia and she's about two years old.  She came to the Stratford Cat Project with her brother in 2013; she and her brother were found next to a dumpster as kittens.  Due to her rough start in the world, she has a bit of a food obsession.  Although, it's not as bad as it used to be.  What that means is that she hangs around during our mealtimes much more than the normal cat does. And she occasionally steals the butter if it's not covered properly. Pork rinds, too.  She was overlooked by potential adopters because of her obsession with food and her initial shyness.  Actually, one family adopted her and then returned her after two days because she was so shy. Come on! Two days?!  Guess they didn't want to deal with letting her get acclimated.

We recently lost one of our cats, Riley, very suddenly and were looking for another cat.  We decided we would foster Leia and see how it goes.  The first week was tough since she pretty much stayed under the bed and seemed very scared; I was skeptical.  But eventually she opened up.  It took her a good two weeks to really get comfortable with hanging around the house.  And now she's just a peach and totally at home, especially when it's the humans' bedtime.

Her favorite pastime is to sit on the recycling bin in the kitchen and watch while I cook or do the dishes. Sometimes she likes to "help," which really means that she's on the counter in front of me while I'm trying to reach around her to wash the dishes.

We're so happy to have her.  Welcome to the family, Leia!

Leia, the ladybug hunter.


 Here's her favorite spot.

This is how she "helps" with the dishes.

Friday, April 24, 2015

homemade marinara sauce

I made homemade marinara sauce a couple weeks ago and just haven't had time to post it.  I made this sauce because I didn't have any pasta sauce, but knew I most likely had all the ingredients for a simple homemade sauce.  Also, it keeps in line with my Eat Through the Kitchen Challenge (still going!).  I found this recipe on on the internet (The Frugal Cafe).

It was pretty easy and it used up all the canned tomatoes I had on hand.  It tasted really good, also. The recipe calls for pureeing, but I couldn't be bothered with that.  Instead I broke up the stewed tomatoes while they were cooking.  The result was a very chunky sauce.  I threw in some Italian sausages after partially frying them.  They finsihed cooking in the sauce.

Homemade Marinara Sauce

1 T. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed
1 sm. onion, diced
1 sm. green or sweet pepper, diced
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tsp dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
1 tsp. dried fennel seeds
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
Dash black pepper


  1. In a large saucepan, sauté garlic and onion in olive oil on low heat until onion is tender.
  2. Stir all remaining ingredients in with sautéd mixture; heat just to boiling; then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  3. Optional:  Carefully purée the hot sauce in in a food processor or a blender. (I didn't puree mine.)

Friday, April 17, 2015

eat through the kitchen progress

I think I've finally hit the wall when it comes to eating chicken.  I'm so tired of chicken.  And guess what I still have in the freezer?  Chicken!  It's what I have with me for lunch today, too.  I'm seriously considering running out for a salad.

I'm defrosting ground turkey at the moment, which I plan to use for stuffed peppers either tonight or tomorrow night.  Normally when I make stuffed peppers I use ground beef and beef flavored Rice-a-Roni, but I made a huge batch of my seasoned brown rice a couple weeks ago and froze half of it.  And since I have only ground turkey, I figure the two will go well together for a batch of stuffed peppers.

It's going well for the most part, but I'm starting to run out of pantry items, like pasta sauce.  I made a batch of homemade sauce last week, but that used up the last of the canned tomatoes I had.  I still have lots of lentils and also some wheat berries, so I'll have to get creative with those.  Especially wheat berries; I've never cooked with them before.

I feel like I've saved some money.  I haven't tracked it, but I'm no longer shopping every single week and coming out with 10 bags of nothing.  I go to the store, but it's usually just to grab a few things, like yogurt, lunchmeat, milk and eggs.

I'm looking forward to the day when I finish up what's in the freezer and can finally buy some beef, but has anyone seen the price of beef lately?  Ridiculous!  I'm sure I'll buy some anyway, though.  I'm really missing it right now, but I refuse to buy it until I've eaten all the other meat.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

crunchy roasted chickpeas

This weekend I tried my hand at making roasted chickpeas.  I figured it would be a good snack, something different. I happened to come across a recipe by Alton Brown and thought I'd give it a try.

I really wanted to like these.  I followed the recipe; however, the chickpeas lacked flavor and many of them were teeth-breakingly crunchy. I love Alton Brown and most of his recipes are awesome, but this one just didn't come out right.

The recipe calls for dried chickpeas, which are soaked overnight in red vinegar and kosher salt.  You then drain them, dress them with a mixture of red vinegar, dijon mustard, and olive oil.  Then you roast them at 400 degrees for an hour and then salt them.  They're supposed to be a take on salt and vinegar potato chips, but you use chickpeas instead.

After reading the comments, I decided to soak the dried chickpeas for a full 24 hours, rather than overnight like the recipe states.  Most people said they were way too crunchy so I figured 24 hours would help.  Nope.  The ones that were very dark brown were so crunchy I was afraid I'd crack my crown.  The ones that were golden brown were crunchy and just right.  Unfortunately, I just couldn't taste the vinegar.  I ended up tossing them.

If you want to try your hand at them, here's the link to the recipe. Crunchy Chickpeas

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes

Another Eat Through the Kitchen meal.  I didn't have to buy anything to make this.  I had a big bag of Ikea Swedish meatballs in the freezer; however, I ran out of the gravy packets and had to Google for a recipe for gravy.  I found one and it was good.  Very easy, too.

I made some mashed red potatoes (the last of the buy-one-get-one-free deal, so no waste!).  I made the potatoes with a masher instead of using the beaters and they were great.  I have to say, I make some awesome mashed potatoes.  I find the key is to add a good amount of salt and pepper.  I know, a lot of people don't or can't use salt when they cook, but I find this really makes a difference with mashed potatoes.  Sure, you can always salt them once they're on the plate, but I want mine to taste awesome and for people to think I just have the magic touch, :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

today's breakfast and lunch

Today's breakfast is Dannon Light & Fit Greek Yogurt, the only kind I like; it's lower in sugar and calories than all the rest.  Dry roasted peanuts were mixed in, of course.

Lunch was turkey and Swiss roll-ups with some Boar's Head Chipotle Gourmaise (love this stuff, but it's got a kick!).

Snack was celery and hummus, a new favorite.  It satisfies my urge for a crunchy snack.

Monday, April 13, 2015

still eating chicken!

Nope, I'm not out of chicken yet.  I've been trying to eat through the kitchen for a month or so and I've still got at least two more family packs of boneless chicken breast, plus boneless thighs.  Sorry, Bob, you're gonna be eating it for awhile.

I made this on the grill and simply added some seasoned salt.  I love seasoned salt!  It tastes great and makes people think I actually put some effort into cooking.  Just shake it on before cooking and that's it. I made some green beans and gave Bob some rice with it.

This is about 3.5 ounces of chicken and a scant 1/4 cup of beans.  I finished it all except two bites of chicken.

I got another two lunches out of it, my friend had a piece, and Bob took some for lunch.  It stretched pretty far.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

tea time

Lately I've been trying to find new things to try; the post-op diet can get a little routine sometimes:  eat breakfast, drink a ton of water, pee, eat lunch, pee, drink a ton of water, pee, drink some more water, pee, pee, pee, eat dinner, pee, drink a ton of water, pee, get up during the night to get the picture.

Now that I'm back on track, I want to stay there. I find that I struggle at work mostly.  It just seems like such a long day at my desk and I keep wanting to eat all my snacks by 10:00 am.  Not because I'm hungry, but because I want something to break up the monotony of work and drinking water all day long.  One thing I've found that helps me through the workday is to add in a couple cups of flavored tea throughout the day.  It gives me something to do (walking to the cafeteria to get the hot water) and I get to enjoy something other than plain old water.  There are virtually no calories, no sugar, and very little caffeine.  Also, it makes me feel like I'm having a treat.

I've been trying different teas in search of one that just does it for me; that's the only way I can explain it.  I'm finding that many flavored teas smell great while brewing, but they just don't taste the way they smell.  And that's disappointing, especially in the case of the chocolate mint tea (below). Gets expensive, too, and money is tight right now.

I've tried several different ones:

  • Harney & Sons Chocolate Mint:  This smelled delicious, like Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies, but I didn't taste the chocolate in the tea, just mint.  I'd buy it again, though.  Even if it's just to make my office smell like chocolate mint. 
  • Harney & Sons Vanilla Comoro:  again, smelled delicious, but I didn't really taste any vanilla at all.  And I was surprised at how much it tasted like black tea.  I wouldn't get this one again.
  • Twinings Pure Peppermint: with this one I was trying to find a substitute for Trader's Joe peppermint tea that I'd had years ago and loved.  This fell short.  It's a decent stand-in, but not overly minty.
  • Twinings Irish Breakfast:  Because I'm Irish.  This is good, and I like the deep copper color.  I may buy it again if I'm in the mood for it.
  • Trader Joe's Peppermint:  There's a Trader Joe's on my way home from work so I decided to stop and see if they had the delicious tea I remember.  It was pretty good, better than Twinings, but I still feel like it could use a bit more mint flavor.  
  • London Fruit & Herb Co. Strawberry & Vanilla Fool:  I bought this the other night at Ocean State Job Lot for $2.29.  I was apprehensive; I've never tried fruit teas before.  I was very surprised at the strong strawberry flavor.  I didn't taste much vanilla, but I still enjoyed it.  It actualled tasted like strawberries and not black tea with a hint of strawberry.  I could easily make this into an iced tea and be very happy with it. Plus, look at the pretty color! (below)  I added only 1 packet of Nutrasweet and nothing else.
So, anyone have any suggestions for me for teas to try?  I got some good suggestions from friends, but anything you have for me is welcomed. Just post a comment.

I think the ladybug in the background matches the color of the tea perfectly!  We have swarms of these things right now.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

monday's breakfast and lunch

I'm late in publishing this one.  I had this on Monday.

Breakfast was Dannon Light & Fit Greek Yogurt, as usual.  I omitted the peanuts this time in an effort to save calories.

In the spirit of eating through the kitchen, I brought my leftover grilled chicken for lunch.

Snack were celery and hummus, and a hard-boiled egg.

perfectly poached eggs

Guess what?  I don't know everything.  No, really, I don't.  It's shocking, I know.  All these years I thought the right way to poach an egg was to crack it into a saucepan of simmering water and just hope for the best.  I'd crack and egg into the pan and gradually the whites just kind of dissipated and I was left with a runny yolk surrounded by just a tiny bit of raggedy white. Meanwhile the water looked very cloudy, filled with bits of white that should have been around the yolk. They always tasted good, but they looked like a science project gone wrong.

This morning I had trouble trying to figure out what to have for breakfast.  Today was a rare day when I had absolutely nothing at all planned, and nothing I had to do.  I felt kind of lost, actually.  I searched through the usual blogs I read to see if anything popped out at me.  A couple things did, but of course I didn't have the ingredients. I then resigned myself to an egg omelet, or scrambled eggs, or.....I just couldn't decide.  Then it occurred to me I could make poached eggs; however, my poached eggs always looked so sad.  But then I remember the cookbook I got for Christmas and decided, what the hell?  I'll try it.

So, today I decided to try making poached eggs from a cookbook, How Cooking Works (I love this book!).  I don't always use cookbooks; I like to think I know how to cook and a cookbook is just for the really complicated things, or to find something different to cook.  Well, I've realized that while I do know how to cook in general, either by watching my mom or sisters cook; or watching the Food Network; or using cookbooks, the internet, and magazines; or just plain old trial and error, there are some basics that I haven't quite mastered.

I put the cookbook on the stove right next to me so I can carefully follow the directions - I tend to just read through it once and not follow as closely as I should.  I agonized a bit over the right pan to use, since the directions say to use a frying pan and fill it with about 2 to 3 inches of water.  Frying pans don't seem that deep, so I almost pulled out a saucepan, but then I decided to just use the frying pan and not over think it.  I filled it almost to the top with water.  Then it was time to add 1 TB of vinegar. This is one reason I've always resisted making poached eggs the correct way; I was always worried I'd taste the vinegar.  I opened the cabinet and realized, as usual, I didn't have any white vinegar.  I was determined to make these eggs, so I added some apple cider vinegar.  I figured if the vinegar could be detected, at least it would taste like apples.  I boiled the water, and then turned it down to simmer.  I then cracked an egg into a 1/2 cup measuring cup (that's what the recipe says to, which helps contain the white), brought the cup down into the water, and then slid the egg out of the cup into the water.  Guess what??  The white stayed in place!  It didn't start making a beeline for the sides of the pan like usual.  I did the same with the second egg.  I then started spooning the water over the tops of the eggs - you have to, otherwise the yolk won't cook on the top.  In about 5 minutes I had two perfectly poached eggs and the whites were intact.  I only lost a tiny piece of one white, which was negligible. I used a slotted spoon to fish them out and put them into a bowl.  You can put them on a paper towel first if you're worried about getting water on your plate, but I didn't.

They tasted great, the yolks were thick and runny, and the whites were firm, but tender.  I didn't taste any vinegar at all.  I will definitely be making more poached eggs!  And it's a perfect post-op breakfast:  fast, goes down easy, nice and warm, and lots of protein.

Here's how to poach an egg (summarized from How Cooking Works).  If you need a true step-by-step, go to The Kitchn; it's the same method.

Perfectly Poached Eggs

You'll need some eggs (fresher is better to avoid the whites running away from you in the pan), a frying pan, water, some white vinegar (or a mild vinegar if you don't have white), a 1/2 cup measuring cup or small bowl, a slotted spoon, and salt and pepper.


  1. Fill the frying pan with about 2 to 3 inches of water (about 3/4 full depending on your pan depth) with water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and let the water simmer. You should see bubbles coming up to the surface, but it won't be a rolling boil.  
  2. Crack the egg into a small measuring cup or small bowl.
  3. Add 1 TB vinegar to the water.  This helps keep the white together.  It's optional, though.  If you're a pro at making poached eggs, you probably won't need to do this.
  4. Use the measuring cup to lower the egg into the water and then tip it out into the water. Make sure the water is at a bare simmer.
  5. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, spooning simmering water over the tops of the yolks.  If your pan is deeper, you probably won't need to do this.   Note:  As an alternative, you can cover the pan, remove from the heat, and let the eggs sit for 8 minutes.
  6. Remove the egg from the pan with a slotted spoon.  
  7. You can put the egg on some paper towel to drain if you want to, but it's optional. I'd say if you're going to put it on a sandwich or salad, drain it.  if it's just going in a bowl or on a plate, you can skip it.
  8. Season with salt and pepper.

See?! The whites are staying just where they should.

Don't they look gorgeous?!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

quest bar: s'mores

A coworker of mine gave me a bunch of the new S'mores Quest bars (yay!!).  She decided she wasn't overly thrilled with them.  Sure, I'll take FREE Quest bars!!  I don't eat them very often, mainly because they're delicious and I'd eat them all day if I could, but I like to have one once in awhile.

I really liked this bar.  It's not as delicious as their Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavor, but it was pretty good.  Obviously it's not as chocolatey as a real s'more, and it doesn't have melted, gooey marshmallow, but I could definitely taste chocolate and graham crackers.  There were little bits of marshmallow in there, too.  The only thing I didn't care for what that they were a bit messy.  Because of the graham cracker crumbs, it tended to shed some crumbs on my desk at work.  Not overly crumbly though.

I would definitely buy these again.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

food diary: 04/07/15

Here's yesterday's log.  It was easier to resist popping bits of food into my mouth while making dinner, lunch, and prepping other food; it was a good day.  As a reward, the scale has gone down a pound today!!


Dannon - Greek Light and Fit Blueberry Yogurt (150g), 1 container (150g)809g0g12g10mg45mg7g0g

4 oz Chicken Breast - Chicken Breast - Grilled, 3.75 oz1400g3g23g61mg38mg0g0g
Eggs - Hard-boiled (whole egg), 1 large781g5g6g212mg62mg1g0g

Joseph's Flax Oat Bran & Whole Wheat Pita Bread - Pita Pocket, 1 pita (28.3g/1.oz.608g2g6g0mg300mg0g4g
Contadina - Pizza Sauce (Squeeze Bottle), 1/8 cup (63g)153g0g1g0mg170mg2g1g
Sargento - Whole Milk Mozzarella Cheese, 2 oz1802g14g12g40mg420mg2g0g
Pepperoni Original - Pepperoni Original, 0.13 oz.160g2g1g3mg61mg0g0g

Cedar's - Original Hummus [gl], 4 TBS (14 g)12010g6g4g0mg208mg4g2g
Any Fresh - Celery (Raw), 2.5 oz (29g)3810g0g3g0mg188mg0g5g
Pure Protein High Protein Bar - Greek Yogurt Style Coating Blueberry, 1 bar (50g)19019g5g20g15mg115mg4g2g
Mission - Chicharrones (Pork Rinds) - Plain, 3/4 oz. (14g)1200g8g14g30mg405mg0g0g
Crystal Farms - Pepper Jack Cheese, 0.13 ounce140g1g1g3mg26mg0g0g


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

food diary: 04/06/15

Here's a picture of my day yesterday. I'm using My Fitness Pal to track my food. I'm aiming for 1,100 calories per day and at least 80g of protein.  I went over my calorie allowance yesterday, but I'm OK with that since I just recently started tracking again.  In just a few days, I've realized that it's really important to track my food.  Actually, anyone looking to lose weight should track it, especially a post-op; you just don't know how much you're eating unless you write it down.  It's so easy to say, "I know what I'm supposed to eat and how much. I know what a portion looks like. My new, smaller stomach will tell me when I've had enough."  We think we know what we're eating and how much, but we often underestimate and end up eat a lot more calories without realizing it.  I had no idea how much adding peanuts to my morning yogurt was affecting my calorie intake.  I thought I was adding an ounce, 160 calories, but once I started measuring I quickly realized I was adding AT LEAST two ounces, or 320 calories (!), to an 80 calorie yogurt!  Not to mention all those times I pop a piece of cheese in my mouth while I'm preparing my lunch or cutting up the cheese blocks.  Big eye opener!

Note:  Some food descriptions might look a little weird.  I'm using whatever the program gives me, rather than creating custom foods.

April 6, 2015

Dannon - Greek Light and Fit Blueberry Yogurt (150g), 1 container (150g)809g0g12g10mg45mg7g0g
Eggs - Hard-boiled (whole egg), 2 large1551g11g13g424mg124mg1g0g
Crystal Farms - Pepperjack Cheese, 1 oz1101g9g6g30mg200mg0g0g
Generic - Chicken Breast, Grilled - Homemade, 3 oz1380g3g27g72mg63mg0g0g
Green Beens - Cut Green Beans, 1 ounce51g0g0g0mg4mg0g0g
Crystal Farms - Pepperjack Cheese, 1 oz1101g9g6g30mg200mg0g0g
Any Fresh - Celery (Raw), 2.5 oz (29g)3810g0g3g0mg188mg0g5g
Cedar's - Original Hummus [gl], 4 TBS (14 g)12010g6g4g0mg208mg4g2g
Eas - 100% Whey Protein (Vanilla), 2 Scoops (36g)1507g2g26g80mg150mg2g0g
Fairlife - Skim Milk, 1 cup Cooked806g0g13g5mg120mg6g0g
Mission - Chicharrones (Pork Rinds) - Plain, 1/2 oz. (14g)800g5g9g20mg270mg0g0g
Giant - Garlick Bread Stick, 1 stick15021g4g3g0mg280mg3g1g

Monday, April 6, 2015

today's lunch

Surprise, surprise:  two hard boiled eggs. Sometimes I think Easter is the best time of year because of the abundance of hard boiled eggs. Not that I can't make them anytime,  but they seem better when someone else makes them. That way I'm not at fault if peeling the egg is like scraping crazy glue off the floor. And I'm so happy that they no longer bother my stomach. When I was early out from surgery I could eat them, but my stomach would bother me a little. No problem now! 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

cornmeal fennel cookies

Yes, I know.  That sounds like an odd combination for a cookie, but I wanted to try something different.  And I wanted to use up some more ingredients in the spirit of my Eat Through the Kitchen Challenge:  fennel seed and cornmeal.

Awhile back I cleaned out my spices.  I tossed all the old ones, which were really outdated, and bought new ones to take their place.  I also added some ones I've never used before.  Since I buy spices at the dollar store usually, or buy the Badia brand (in the Spanish food isle at the store) ,I didn't have to spend any significant money to replenish my stock.  Well, somehow I ended up with two containers of fennel seed.  I have no idea why I bought fennel seed since I have no clue what it's used for; however, I recently discovered it's used in sausage making.

I also had a bag of cornmeal haunting the cabinet.  Not sure why I bought that, either.  I'm sure there was a recipe I wanted to try at some point so I bought it.  (This is why I'm doing my Eat Through the Kitchen Challenge!)

I went in search of a recipe using fennel seed and this is the one I found. Since it used cornmeal, too, all the better.  The recipe I found was actually reviewed by someone on The Kitchn website.  They said that the recipe they tried needed some added milk, because the dough wouldn't bind together.  So, I followed the recipe and added the milk.  It also called for the fennel seed to be coarsely ground, which means using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder.  I was at my dad's house this weekend for Easter and was able to borrow my mom's mortar and pestle.

I made the recipe and included 3/4 cup of milk after mixing the dry ingredients into the dough.  I then chilled the dough, but only for about an hour and half since I had to get them finished to take them somewhere. The result was that they spread quite a bit. Next time I make this I will chill the dough for much longer.

I have to admit I was skeptical, but they tasted good.  They have a nice fennel flavor, just a hint of sweetness, and a bit of a crunchy texture inside because of the cornmeal, while still being chewy.  I would make these again.

Here's the recipe I used.  I added 3/4 cup of milk before chilling the dough:  Cornmeal Fennel Cookies
Here's the review of the recipe by The Kitchn:  Review

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

struggling to get back on track

You've probably noticed that I haven't posted any weight loss in a long time.  That's because I'm at a standstill at the moment and have been for at least 5 months.  I'm not gaining, but I'm not losing either.  And that's my own fault.  I've been snacking and grazing.  A lot.

I was really strict with my diet for quite awhile.  Then I took the wrong job, a job I hated.  I was good for the first couple months, but after that it was downhill. I was so miserable at that place and depressed because I couldn't find another job fast enough.  My desk was very close to the kitchen and people would constantly bring food in. So, whenever I was procrastinating on something, either because it was boring or I was just miserable and didn't want to do it, I would wander into the kitchen and grab a few bites of whatever was there.  It started out as a couple trips a day:  a Munchkin here, two crackers there. But that quickly became a trip to the kitchen six, seven, eight times a day.  It got to where I was never actually, truly hungry while I was at work, because I was grazing all day.  And then, eventually, it continued on at home.  While it's true I can no longer sit down and eat two cheeseburgers at a time, it doesn't mean I can't eat the equivalent over the course of a few hours; I'm only limited in quantity at one sitting.

And I don't even want to talk about the Girl Scout Cookies....

So, I've been trying to get back on track. 

First challenge:  not buying things I can't control myself with.  I've told myself to stop buying things I know I have willpower over, like Chex Mix.  It's really tough to break the habit of buying snacks.  I went to the store the other day and I really had to talk to myself (in my head) while I was shopping, telling myself, "Don't by that.  You don't need it.  You know you have no control over it."  And of course the other part of my was saying, "Oh, just buy it.  Just eat it in moderation.  You'll be fine."  Nope.  I've tried that MANY times and I don't have the control to eat it in moderation; therefore, I'm not going to buy it.  I walked out of the store with no snacks for myself except some pork rinds.  I see pork rinds as being OK, because they have a lot of protein, no carbs, and just a few fill me up. 

Second challenge:  weighing, measuring and tracking my food.  I used to be religious about that, but then that other job happened and I slacked off.  Plus, when the weight just melts off effortlessly, it's easy to feel like you don't need to follow the rules, or you can break them once in awhile.  That leads to a plateau or even weight gain.  Well, I packed my food yesterday (I take breakfast and lunch to work), just like I do every weekday.  I packed the right foods. I measured and weighed. I even tracked it in My Fitness Pal!  I did great while I was at work.  But then I came home.  I was good while cooking dinner. I didn't sample anything; however, I really had to restrain myself big time.  So many times I caught myself getting ready to reach for something, especially when I was chopping up my cheese for the week.  But then I sat down to watch TV and decided to have some chips and queso dip.  I checked My Fitness Pal and it's amazing how fast the calories add up!!  But that enabled me to see where my problems are:  it's the snacking.  A little here, a little there.  Doesn't seem like much, but it does add up.  And that's why I'm not losing.

So, today I packed my lunch again.  I cut back on the portion of pork rinds (didn't realize I packed TWO portions' worth yesterday).  I also cut down on the cheese I used for lunch meat rollups.  I had a breakfast meeting today and they served bagels, scones, fruit, etc.  I didn't touch a thing...until it was over and they asked if we wanted to take anything back to our desks.  Big mistake.  I ended up with a bagel (my kryptonite) and a mini scone.  So, that derailed my calorie intake for the day.  Yes, I tracked it, but I HATED having to confess to my digital calorie-keeper that I had screwed it up already, and it wasn't even 9:30 am. 

I shall try again tomorrow. 

Weight loss surgery is great and it works, but we have to be very vigilant about making sure we don't let old habits resurface and that we don't let emotions drive us into creating new bad habits.