Tuesday, July 25, 2017

FlapJacked Mighty Muffin with Probiotics

So, I saw this in Walmart this weekend and decided I needed to try it.

I was standing in front of the protein bars struggling with whether I should buy some or not. They're good for after my workout, but I tend to eat them like candy bars and they rarely make it until after my workout. I've come to the realization that it's just one of those things I can't keep in the house anymore.

Anyway, I spotted these protein muffin mixes. It's a muffin that you mix with water and microwave, all within its own container. They looked interesting and I liked the idea of a muffin in its own container that I could microwave at any time. I checked the nutritional information and saw that it has only 7 grams of sugar, which isn't bad. The calories are a bit high at 220, but it has 20 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber. The cost, if I remember correctly, was $2.39. That's about the same as a Quest protein bar. There were a couple different flavors:  Chocolate Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter, S'mores, and Double Chocolate. I bought the Double Chocolate flavor.

I have to admit that I wasn't able to save the muffin for when I was actually hungry or wanting something sweet. (I'm not a delayed gratification-type girl; I want it now!) I opened it up and stirred the mix around. I noticed there were some nice chunks of chocolate in it. I mixed in 1/4 cup of water and stirred with a fork until smooth. I then stuck it in the microwave uncovered. I started at 35 seconds, since I couldn't find the wattage on my microwave. It wasn't quite done, so I stuck it in for another 22 seconds.

This is what came out. It looks a bit inconsistent, but it was cooked all the way through. I ate it with a fork. Mainly because I didn't want to wait for it to cool and didn't want to burn my fingers. As far as texture, I wouldn't call this a muffin. It's more like cake. There were melted bits of chocolate in it and it tasted like warm chocolate cake. It was pretty good.  It was very filling and definitely would satisfy me if I was wanting dessert.

If you want to read up on them, there's the website:  https://www.flapjacked.com/collections/mighty-muffins

Saturday, July 22, 2017

fried cauliflower rice with bean sprouts and edamame

This recipe came about because I had several ingredients in the freezer to use up:  riced cauliflower and edamame, both from Trader Joe's coincidentally. (I seem to find myself in this predicament quite often...) I had also bought a bag of bean sprouts at the store that I needed to use up.

I just have to say that the riced cauliflower at Trader Joe's is super convenient and inexpensive. I recently read an article that talks about Trader Joe's implementing a limit on the number of bags of this stuff people can buy. Scary! It's not nationwide, but of course it applies to my state.

I also have to say that I love Trader Joe's.  They have a lot of unique items and their prices are usually really good. I buy all my goat cheese there.

This was very bean sprout-heavy, but I was OK with that. I had to use the whole bag, because I knew I would end up tossing it out if I didn't.  If you don't like tons of sprouts, just cut the amount listed below to 3/4 or 1/2 of that.

I'm not sure of the number of servings, since I didn't measure it out. I'd say a WLS post-op will get probably 8 to 10 servings if I had to guess. Since it's veggie-heavy, that could be less, as many post-ops are able to eat a larger amount when there's no meat or grains in a dish. Recipe below.

This coloring in this picture is kind of awful, but you get the gist of it I'm sure. 😄

Fried Cauliflower Rice With Bean Sprouts and Edamame

1 12 oz. bag bean sprouts
1 12 oz. bag riced cauliflower
5 scallions, sliced, whites and greens separated
1/2 an onion, diced
1 cup shelled ready-to-eat edamame
2 whole eggs
2 cloves garlic, minced (I use the stuff in the jar since I hate mincing garlic)
3 TB soy sauce
1 TB oyster sauce (not necessary; leave it out if you don't have it)
2 TB sesame or canola oil
salt and pepper to taste
  1. Put 1 TB of the sesame oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Scramble the eggs, season with salt and pepper, and cook in the oil until done. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. Add the remaining oil and cook onions, scallion whites, bean sprouts, and garlic for about one minute.
  3. Add the riced cauliflower and stir well a few minutes to heat through. (If using raw cauliflower you riced yourself, you might need to cook a little longer. Cook until tender.)
  4. Add cooked egg along with soy sauce, oyster sauce, scallion greens and edamame, mixing well and cooking for about 3 to 4 minutes. 
Note:  If you don't want the extra calories that comes with using oil, you could use cooking spray if you want. Coconut oil cooking spray would likely add a nice flavor to it.

Monday, July 17, 2017

chocolate almond protein balls

For the last couple years I've been buying protein powder, only to let it go to waste . I keep buying it because I get into a funk about my diet--I get tired of eating X food, grocery shopping, trying to decide what to eat, etc., or I start overeating just about everything--and then decide I'm going to go back to something similar to my pre-op diet: two protein shakes per day, plus a meal. So, I spend some money on protein powder, make one or two shakes, quickly realize that they don't fill me or satisfy me the way they used, and then stop making shakes. Then the protein powder sits in the cabinet forever, until such time I toss it or either give it away or resell it. Then I start the cycle all over again. And now that I'm 3.5 years our from gastric bypass surgery, I really don't need protein shakes anymore anyway; I typically get all my protein from food with little effort.

I finally decided that I'm going to put the protein powder, as well as some ingredients haunting my cabinets, to use by making protein balls.

They're super simple to make and you don't have to bake them, either. You can use pretty much any kind of protein powder, nut butter, and mix-ins you want. Just keep the same measurements I stated below. I used chocolate protein powder, almond butter, and rolled oats to make these.  If you like a strong, more traditional almond flavor, you could add a little almond extract. Otherwise it will taste more like almond butter. I also added some cinnamon.

Chocolate Almond Protein Balls
Make 12 protein balls

1 cup rolled oats (not instant oats)
1 scoop chocolate protein powder (my scoop is 80 cc)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
4 TB almond butter (or another nut butter--up to you!)
4 TB milk (more or less, as needed)
1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)
  1. Put the rolled oats, protein powder and cinnamon in a bowl.
  2. Add the almond butter and mix it up. (You could use your hands, which will mix it better, but you might want to spray your hands with some non-stick cooking spray first; it's gets messy!)
  3. Add the almond extract if you're using it. This will give it more traditional, sweet almond flavor, but you might prefer the natural flavor of the almond butter.
  4. Add the milk and mix. You may add more or less. It depends on how dry the mixture is and how well it hold together.
  5. Scoop out some of the mixture. Press it together in your hands and then roll it into a ball. How well it holds together will determine if you should add more milk or some water. It should hold together and be a little sticky, but not runny or crumbly. In other words, it should hold its shape.
  6. Store these in the fridge in an airtight container for about a week.
This recipe using almond butter from Aldi and Syntrax Nectar Sweets Chocolate protein powder is about 73 calories and 5g protein per protein ball. This will vary depending on the type of nut butter and protein you use.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

homemade flavored goat cheese

I think by now everyone knows I LOVE goat cheese. I spread it on toast and top it with a fried egg. I put it in my sausage and goat cheese egg muffins. I spread it on crackers. I even make paninis with it.

Recently I found myself with three (THREE!) 11 oz. logs of plain goat cheese. What to do?

I also recently started growing herbs outside:  parsley, rosemary, sage, lavender and basil. While the others are growing nicely, the basil plant has pretty much exploded with leaves. That's normally great, but I typically only use basil when I make caprese salad. Since my tomatoes aren't ready yet, and I don't want to spend a small fortune on buying grape tomatoes and mozzarella (and there's really only so much caprese salad I should be eating--very caloric because of the oil and cheese), I decided to Google and see if there are any recipes for making flavored goat cheese. Of course, there are many.

I found a recipe similar to the one below; however, it's supposed by be a coating for the goat cheese log, not really a mix-in. (I prefer the cheese to be flavored throughout.) But I wanted to use this one, because I could use up some of the lemon I have in the fridge as well as some of my basil. It calls for fresh oregano, though. I loathe buying fresh herbs, because I never use them all before they wilt. However, our neighbors up the road, who moved in last year, have a huge garden and are selling their harvests. Guess what they have this week? Fresh oregano! They also have dill and cilantro; I bought both.

I made two goat cheese spreads with the herbs I got today. One is based on a recipe I found online and the other I just made up and totally guesstimated the amount of lemon and dill. You'll need to taste and see what works for you. I'd say there's a strong lemon tang in both of these, so if that's not your thing just use less lemon. Also, if you want to use dried herbs instead, that's fine. Just use roughly 1/3 of what the recipe calls for below and let the finished spread sit longer in the fridge.

Goat Cheese with Basil and Oregano

1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
1 TB fresh lemon juice
1 TB extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp chopped fresh oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 to 12 oz. of plain goat cheese, room temperature
(if you like the herb flavor really strong, use 6 oz. of cheese; if you like it less potent, add more cheese)

Mix all the ingredients together and refrigerate for a bit to develop the flavors. Spread on crackers, crusty bread, etc.

Goat Cheese with Lemon and Dill
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 TB chopped fresh dill
6 oz. plain goat cheese, room temperature

Mix all the ingredients together and refrigerate for a bit to develop the flavors. Spread on crackers, crusty bread, etc.

Lemon and dill on the left (make sure you chop your dill a little more than I did.); basil and oregano on the right.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

my workout progress

Today I thought I'd give you a glimpse into my workouts.

I've started keeping a workout log so I can see my progress, but it's also so I can send it to my trainer. He often asks me what I did for my workouts during the week, and, since my memory sucks, I probably sound like I'm making it up as I struggle to remember. So, I decided to create an Excel spreadsheet, which I then email to him before my training appointment. I've been keeping it since June 12.

I started working out again at the beginning of May, but didn't start keeping the log until a couple weeks ago; however, I posted back in May that my first workout went like this:

And this is what I'm doing now.  It varies from day to day, but this is a good representation of how far I've come in two months. I've left the blank rows to show you what I might do on any given day. Now that I'm done with the surgery, I tend to mix things up, which helps me stay motivated and interested. I'm not breaking any records with the weights, but I've been able to gradually increase the weight over the last two months, which means my abs are healing and I'm making progress.

My trainer had me do the plank last week and I was shocked (shocked, I tell you!) to see that I was able to hold it for a full minute. Prior to surgery I'd gotten up to about 1:20, so that was really good. Was it tough? Yes. Did I want to give up? Yes, during the last 10 seconds or so. Was there pain in my healing abs? A little, but nothing I couldn't handle; that's improving. Did I accidentally spit on the exercise mat because I wanted to collapse during those last 10 seconds and I refused to and was breathing like a maniac? Maybe...

My trainer says he will be introducing some new exercises over the next month or so. I'm excited, but nervous, too. Mainly because he keeps warning me there will be burpees in the my future. I can't imagine being able to do this. But I said that about other things and I've done them. This will be just another thing to conquer.