Sunday, January 27, 2013

Mental Challenges

This last week or so has been a real mental challenge for me. I'm in a bit of a rut as far as weight loss goes - and there's probably three or four real reasons for that.

 First, of course, was surgery a week ago - really, it was only a week ago and I have to remind myself of that. Despite that hopefully being the last round of ass surgery, it will take some time for the incision she made to heal - so it's not unexpected that exercise will continue to aggravate it. Add the New Year's Knee Incident in, and exercise has been extra complicated.

Next, it's been fucking cold here this week, as in barely above freezing at all cold. Some of you in more northern climates might laugh at that, but for North Carolina, it's cold. Add that to carrying around 160+ pounds less than I used to, and it's cold! I've never worn layers in my life - I went to my WLS support group meeting on Thursday night wearing a long sleeved tee, a hand knit sweater, my suede jacket, a hand-knit cowl and hand-knit gloves. And I was still cold! Add to that, the cold tends to make me want hearty, warm, comfort food - which tends to be calorie dense.

I've been struggling a bit with brain cravings, or what I sometimes call "the nibbles". I think some of it at times is boredom, other times it may be putting off breakfast a little too long, and then the "need fuel!" signal doesn't seem to get turned off as it should. I love nuts and things like pumpkins seeds or sunflower seeds, but again - calorie dense, so I need to find alternatives that will give me the satisfaction of a snack without making my daily totals go crazy.

And finally, I've been in a bit of an emotional funk. After the news that the ass surgeries should be over, I can now make the appointment with our reproductive endocrinologist to see what testing he needs to do, if there's any hope of doing IVF on our own, or if we'll need to go to donor eggs. If we need to go the donor route, the expense goes up astronomically, as any donor costs are not covered by insurance. We'll have to weigh chances of success against the cost, a decision that will undoubtedly painful. On top of that, a dear friend's 20-year old daughter just had a beautiful baby boy. Unfortunately her life is a bit of a shambles right now, and the baby daddy is...well...not exactly a parental dream. I hope mother and child succeed, but there's quite a few roadblocks in their way, and it honestly breaks my heart for all involved.

So with all those things in mind, I'm trying to work through whether or not I've actually hit a real "stall" point in my loss. Mentally, I know I just want the loss segment to be over-  I'm so close, roughly 25 pounds to my stated goal, and maybe 15 more with plastic surgery and a smidge more loss, but 25 for now. That's really nothing, in the grand scheme of things, since I'm down 164, but it feels like a mountain right now.

I know I need to buckle down, get as much exercise I can with the limitations I have, make sure I'm maintaining 850-900 calories, and things will happen.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What's For Dinner? Cheesy Chicken Corn Chowder

I was never this cold when I was fat! It stayed below freezing most of the day today, and the house was just cold, even though I had the heat set to 72, and a space heater going in my office. Until I went downstairs to the treadmill at lunch, I was huddled in a shirt and a cardigan sweater - something I'd never have worn in the past, but I was that cold! You don't really think about body heat too much when you're heavy, but it really did make a difference!

In deference to the weather, tonight I wanted soup and decided chicken corn chowder sounded good. I wanted to keep it relatively light, so I'd use broth and milk instead of cream, and I do believe this version was a success.

My Meals

  •  1 cup Kashi Go Lean! cereal
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  •  1 Trader Joe's Chicken Tikka Masala with Cumin Rice
  • 10 almonds
  •  45 minutes treadmill - 3.2 mph, 2% incline, 200 calories burned
Water - 72 oz

Daily Totals - 977 calories, 43.3g fat, 105g carbohydrates, 24.1g sugars, 53.5g protein

Cheesy Chicken Corn Chowder

This chowder uses a mix of broth and milk as it's base - lightening it up compared to some traditional cream or half and half based chowders.  Note that ore-shredded cheeses tend to be packed with corn starch or other additives that prevent sticking and clumping, which may result in some separation when added to hot liquids. I recommend shredding your own cheese for this dish.

  • 4 oz cooked and diced boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 cup yellow corn
  • 1.5 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 slices bacon
  • 1 small to medium onion,chopped
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 large red potato, diced (about 8 oz)
  • 1/2 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh minced thyme
Slice bacon into 1 inch pieces and render in heavy bottom sauce pan. When browned, remove to drain on paper towels. Discard all but 1 to 2 tsp fat. Saute onion in bacon fat until translucent. Add carrot, potato, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes until vegetables are soft. 

Add milk, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer (but do not boil). Add thyme and bell pepper. Stir in cheese until melted. Sprinkle reserved bacon over soup when served.

Nutritional information (1/6 recipe) - 221 calories, 9.4g fat, 19.5g carbohydrates, 7.1g sugars, 15.7g protein

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What's For Dinner? Pork Tenderloin with Pomegranate Red Wine Sauce

First day back at work post-op and it went pretty well - no Vicodin during the day today, so that's good. I've got multiple meetings tomorrow morning, an interview for an internal job posting tomorrow afternoon, and I'm hoping that goes well.

I was browsing around for a recipe to use with the piece of pork tenderloin I took out of the freezer yesterday, concentrating mostly on something with red wine and ran across a lamb recipe with a pomegranate red wine sauce (which I will make as written at some point).

I decided to adapt it to my pork and was pleased with the results. The fun part was making pomegranate molasses. You can purchase this as a prepared food item from middle eastern grocers or online, but the lamb recipe author had a quick substitute available - so I did that, as detailed in the recipe. Be careful though, I went from a simmering and reducing liquid to a bubbling syrup in about 30 seconds - so you need to watch it at the end.

As happens some times, I got chatting with the Man and realized I was eating too fast - things still complain if I don't chew thoroughly, or swallow too fast - and I did it to myself tonight. I ate about half of what is shown on my plate (which was 3 oz of pork, 1/3 cup of rice and 1/3 cup of peas). Some day I'll learn!

Today was also the first day of any exercise post-op, it was pretty light - the Man wanted to show me the XBox Kinect Star Wars game, so I went through some of the tutorial stages of that (lots of lunges with arm swings), and then made him do some planks with me, and did my upper arm workout with the weights. My knee is still bothering me a bit, but I'm going to give it at least another week before setting an appointment with the ortho clinic. 

My Meals

  • 1 cup Kashi Go Lean! cereal
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • Approx 1/2 cup left over lasagna
  • 1.5 cups romaine, 2 radishes, 1/4 cup corn, 2 tbsp Ken's Lite Options Honey French Dressing
  • 2 small slices garlic toast
  • 186 calories burned between Xbox Kinect, planks, and upper body weight work
  • 48 oz
Daily Totals - 1110 calories, 38g fat, 141g carbohydrates, 36.5g sugars, 61.7g protein

Definitely could have done without the bread!

Pork Tenderloin with Pomegranate Red Wine Sauce

Adapted from a lamb recipe over on the Closet Cook , this was a quick dinner full of flavor. Make the molasses ahead of time and keep left overs in a pint canning jar.

  • 6 oz pork tenderloin, trimmed of any excess fat, flattened into medallions
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine (I used cabernet sauvignon)
  • 1/4 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses ** 
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh chives
Heat oil in skillet until it begins to shimmer. Sprinkle pork medallions with salt and pepper on both sides, then add to pan - saute for 3-4 minutes per side until cooked through. Remove to plate and keep warm.

Deglaze pan with wine, then add stock, molasses, honey, and vinegar then whisk to combine. Add butter 1 tbsp at a time, whisking to incorporate. Simmer for 8-10 minutes until sauce thickens. Serve sauce over pork, top with chives. 

** To make pomegranate molasses: In thick-bottomed sauce pan combine 2 cups pure pomegranate juice, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and 1 tbsp lemon juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 40-45 minutes, whisking occasionally. Watch mixture carefully from about 35 minutes on, as mixture will turn from simmering liquid to bubbling syrup quite suddenly. Transfer to pint canning jar to cool.

 Nutritional information (based on 3oz pork and 1/4 sauce recipe): 249 calories, 9.9g fat, 10.6g carbohydrates, 9.6g sugars, 26.6g protein

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Recovery and Long Weekends

It's strange, sometimes it seems like the simpler a procedure is, the longer my recovery takes. As I posted about Ass Surgery Round Four - I only had sedation instead of full general anesthesia. I don't have a rubber band ring hanging out of my butt, yet I've been parked on the recliner for two days keeping the Vicodin dose going full strength. Granted, she did cut open part of the fistula, and we were told I could be bleeding for a few days, but I wasn't expecting to need as much as I have.

That said, it's given me some time to try and focus on my first week's school assignments - neoclassic growth models in macro economics, and a review of single-equation linear regression for econometrics. That's fun when doped up, let me tell you.

I did manage to make dinner tonight, and was hoping to present a recipe for a bariatric friendly corn pudding, but I wasn't entirely thrilled with the result - a bit less corn meal, a bit more salt, and probably an added herb or two. I'll work on developing the recipe a bit more before presenting it to you.

Thankfully, as the evil banker that I am, I have tomorrow off for the Martin Luther King holiday. I'll be making good use of the day for additional recuperation. Hopefully that will also include a good dinner - I've got a pork tenderloin down from the freezer, so as long as I feel up to cooking, I'm hoping to have a yummy meal at the end of the day.

How was your weekend?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Could It Be? Last of the Ass Surgery!

Yesterday I went in for ass surgery round four - this time with the new surgeon from Wake Forest. I'll never willingly undergo surgery at Forsyth Medical Center again unless it's my absolute only choice. The difference in how things were handled at the two hospitals was just startling. It started with my pre-op anesthesia appointment. WF does it as a separate event, so I went in at 7am on Monday morning. First appointment of the day was awesome - they tell you it can take up to 2 hours, but I was in and out in just about 45 minutes.

We were told to arrive yesterday at the outpatient surgery center at 1:30pm for a 2:30 procedure. I checked in at the desk and had barely sat down and we were called back. After I was undressed and ready to go on the gurney, the nurse came in and started my IV, the anesthesiology resident and primary anesthesiologist both came in and talked with me, my surgeon came in, and then the OR nurse came in - I really didn't have an opportunity to read more than a page or two in the book I'd brought between visits.

My surgeon suggested that we could do what she needed under sedation rather than full general anesthesia - sedation like you'd have with a colonoscopy. I was a bit anxious about that, but she said recovery is obviously quicker (and having had a colonoscopy I knew this). I said I'd go with it if she assured me that if I had any negative awareness that they'd crank up the drugs. She laughed and said definitely, so we went with that idea.

The plan for the day was to have her take a look around at what was going on, and insert a seton - basically a loop of rubber band like material through the fistula tunnel that would connect externally - rather like an ass ring (oh, that's a painful visual).

They took me back, had me lay prone on the table with several nice foam pieces to keep my head positioned well so I could breathe. The next thing I knew, they were asking me to roll back over onto the gurney, and rolled me out into recovery. They brought the Man back in to see me, and he said the surgeon told him she didn't need to put in the rubber band, and had opened part of the tunnel up to heal on it's own, and the rest had gone away.

I'm still a little confused as to which part was opened and which had closed - the part closest to external was bigger than the internal bit - but I've sent my surgeon a message to clarify, and I have an appointment to see her in 2 weeks (I love Wake Forest's electronic patient access system - you can securely email any care giver, and they will answer promptly).

The Man said she seemed pretty confident that this was over now. Hooray! That means I can make the appointment with our reproductive endocrinologist (also at Wake Forest) and see what we might be able to do about baby making.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What's For Dinner? Velvety Carrot Parsnip Soup

It's been raining for days here in North Carolina, and they're predicting it may turn into snow tomorrow night into Friday morning (yay - hospital for surgery in the snow!). So it's been cold, dank, and dreary - the perfect weather for soup.

No exercise today, yesterday's treadmill session left my knee a bit sore, not taking any chances.

My Meals


  •  1 serving Maple Pumpkin Seed Breakfast Barley


  •  Salad of 3 oz grilled chicken, 1.5 cups romaine, 1 small tomato, 2 radishes, 1/2 oz shredded cheddar, 1 tbsp chipotle ranch dressing


  •  1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts


Water - 72 oz

Daily Totals - 905 calories, 42.1g fat, 77.2g carbohydrates, 23.6g sugars, 64.3g protein

Velvety Carrot Parsnip Soup

Cold, dreary days call for soup! This velvety vegetable soup is probably best as a portion of a meal - add a salad and some bread (if you can tolerate it), or half a warm sandwich or other protein to round out the meal.

  • 1 cup peeled chopped carrots
  • 1 cup peeled chopped parsnip
  • 1 small or 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives

Heat oil in heavy bottomed pan, then saute onion for 10 minutes until golden. Add broth, carrots and parsnip, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes until vegetables are thoroughly softened. Add salt and pepper.

Carefully transfer soup to blender and puree, then return to pan. Add milk and whisk to combine. Cook over medium heat until milk is up to temperature - do not boil. Top with chives when serving.

Optional - stir in 1 scoop Any Whey protein powder to milk and whisk to combine. Temper with 1/4 cup puree, whisking again. Then add milk/protein mixture to soup and continue as directed. 

Nutritional information (without added protein) - 1/4 recipe.  116 calories, 3.9g fat, 15.4g carbohydrates, 2.8g fiber, 7.4g sugars, 5.9g protein

Adapted from Cooking Light

Sunday, January 13, 2013

What's For Breakfast? Warm Maple Pumpkin Seed Barley

My weekends have been odd lately, I seem to spend most of my time thinking how short they are, and how I don't want to be bored all week. My job isn't that boring, but I suppose it does illustrate how much of a slump I've felt I'm in professionally (working on that, my resume was sent to the hiring manager for one of the positions I posted for).

Today involved some quality Star Wars: The Old Republic play time, some knitting, a bit of house work, and a workout that included learning some new dance moves with Kinect Dance Central 3. I still feel really silly when it shows you dancing for a few seconds in high speed. But at least I'm having fun while getting some cardio in.

The Man had brought his car battery home and we took it back over there after he got home from work today, and his car started right back up. But as soon as we got home and he shut it down, it refused to start again. No idea what's going on. Pain in the ass though, as tomorrow I have pre-op anesthesia appointment at the hospital at 7am - he has to be at work at 6am, and works a block away from the hospital (and 20 minutes from here). So it wouldn't make any sense to drop him off and come home, so I get to find somewhere to try and have breakfast that won't blow out  my daily calorie intake and entertain myself for an hour. Joy. Of course then I'll have to leave for 45 minutes to go get him when he's off at 3. Most days we don't have conflicts in needing a vehicle, but it sucks when we're down one and really need two.

Breakfast today was scrumptious - I've never been a hot cereal fan, but this sounded good, and it's been too cold to really enjoy cold cereal and milk lately. Though I had to use additives too much, by adding half a scoop of heat tolerant protein powder kept the protein level where I need it. While it's a few more calories than I usually have for breakfast, it was a nice switch.

My Meals

  •  1 serving left over Cottage Pie
  • 1/2 cup romaine with 6 grape tomatoes and 1 tbsp Ken's Lite Ranch
  •  2 celery stalks
  •  2.75 oz top sirloin steak
  • 1/3 cup corn, .5 tsp butter
  • 1/4 yukon gold potato
  • 3 carrots, tossed lightly with olive oil, salt and pepper
Water - 72 oz

Exercise - 30 minutes of Kinect Dance Central, 2 30-second planks, weight work: 4lb dumbell set, 20x tricep kickbacks, 20x bicep curls, 20x lateral raises, 40x lunges

Daily Totals - 1006 calories, 33.8g fat, 119.8g carbohydrates, 34.5g sugars, 63.1g protein

Breakfast Barley

It's been cold enough lately, and having 160lb less on my frame means that I feel it a lot more, that I've really been craving warm breakfast. Eggs get old quickly, and honestly they've not tasted quite the same post-op. I've been looking around for protein-rich alternatives to my stand-by cold cereal and milk. This recipe covers all concerns - it's warm, it has comparable protein thanks to the heat tolerant protein powder, and a comforting feel on a cold morning. It's also a great way to use up left over grains.

  • 2/3 cup cooked, salted barley
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 scoop Any Whey protein powder 
  • 1 tbsp roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tsp pure maple syrup 

Mix milk and protein powder together in small bowl until thoroughly combined. Add barley. Microwave for 2-3 minutes until warm (or warm on the stop top in small pan). Protein powder may rise to the top, just stir back into the barley mixture. Top with pumpkin seeds and maple syrup.

Nutritional information: 1 recipe = 1 serving. 264 calories, 4.7g fat, 43.1g carbohydrates, 11.8g sugars, 14.4g protein

Saturday, January 12, 2013

What's For Dinner? Easy Cottage Pie

Lazy Saturday - I slept in a bit, 8 am!, and got a a decent amount of housework and laundry done, but mostly fiddled around online. Classes start up on Monday for my MSAE program, and I really should get a jump on the reading - maybe tomorrow.

Tonight I wanted something a bit different for dinner, and found a recipe for a beef-based Shepherd's pie (probably better called cottage pie since it's beef and not lamb). I fiddled slightly with it, and I thought it tasted pretty darned good. The Man gave it just an "OK" - turns out he's not a fan of that type of dish - who knew?

My Meals

  • Dannon Light & Fit raspberry yogurt
  • 12 lightly salted almonds
  • 2 oz deli roast beef
  • 1 oz provolone cheese
  • 11 Kashi Sea Salt Pita Crisps
  •  1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
Water - 60 oz

Daily Totals - 810 calories, 37.3g fat, 64g carbohydrates, 17.5g sugars, 57.7g protein

Easy Cottage Pie

The variety bug has bitten me lately, and I've been scouring blogs, recipe sites, and more looking for something new to introduce into our meal rotation. It doesn't need to be fancy, and tonight's dinner definitely wasn't, but I found it quite tasty. Turns out the Man doesn't particularly like "this kind of dish" - so I suppose it was good it didn't have any spendy ingredients in it, but it was warm, filling, and best of all - fit well into my meal guidelines.

Modestly adapted from the Framed Cooks.

  • 1 lb extra lean ground beef
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 medium russet potatoes - peeled and cubed
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp butter, divided
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425F. 

Brown ground beef in large skillet then drain and set aside - reserve 1 tbsp drippings in pan.
Saute onion in reserved drippings and 2 tsp butter. As onion turns translucent, add carrots. Saute for about 5 minutes, until carrot softens. Add tomato paste, flour, and 1/4 cup water. Stir until paste and flour are well blended. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add back ground beef,Wworcestershire sauce, and 1.5 cups water. Simmer 5 minutes until sauce thickens. Mix in corn and peas, simmer 5 more minutes.

While mixture simmers, bring potatoes to a boil in salted water. Reduce heat and cover, simmering for 15-20 minutes. Drain potatoes, mix in remaining butter and slowly add 1/3 cup milk while you mash or whip the potatoes. Add approx 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper.

Spoon beef mixture into 9 inch pie or cake pan, or 8x8 square baker. Spread potatoes on top.

Bake in 425F oven for 30 minutes until hot and bubbly. Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional information: (1/6 recipe) - 227 calories, 7.3g fat, 21g carbohydrates, 4g sugars, 19.2g protein

Friday, January 11, 2013

What's For Dinner? Rosemary Garlic Lamb Chops with Stewed Green Beans

Today was weird - I decided to see how my knee could handle the treadmill, and successfully managed a 45 minute session (3mph, 2% incline). I did a bit of weight work as well, and two 30-second planks. The planks will allegedly give me killer abs - I'm waiting!

With all the other changes I have going on, I think I mentioned that we discontinued my Depo-Provera. I've seemed to have started cycling again - but it's pretty rapid, as I started again today - just 27 days after the last time (before anyone says 'but a cycle is 28 days' - not for me, this is unusual). I'm not thrilled, but at least it's the weekend, and if it's as crampy as it was last time, at least I can chill out for a few days.

I'm a bit trapped here this weekend, the Man's car is having some odd intermittent issue with starting, and he ran the battery down the last time he tried. It's safely parked in the lot at the store, so it's not going anywhere, but he's driving mine in the mean time. He brought the battery home to charge up today, so we're hoping he'll be able to fire it up tomorrow and at least get it home so we can do a little more diagnostics on it and see if he and his brother can fix it, or if it will have to go to the mechanic. Ugh, just need one more year in that car, and then the next new purchase is his.

I did pretty good with food today, sitting here happy with dinner, and not feeling like I'll be itching for a snack before bed.

My Meals

  •  1/2 cup Kashi Go Lean! cereal
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 serving Dannon Light & Fit raspberry yogurt
  •  2 celery stalks
  •  Salad of 1.5 cups romaine, 2.8 oz chicken breast, radishes, 1/4 cup corn, 2 tbsp Ken's Healthy Options Parmesan and Peppercorn dressing
  •  Sargento Light String cheese
  • 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 12 almonds
  •  3.5 oz lamb loin chop marinated in garlic, rosemary, lemon zest and olive oil
  • 1/2 cup stewed green beans with bacon
Water - 80 oz

Exercise - 45 minutes treadmill - 3 mph, 2% incline, 2x10 reps tricep kickbacks, bicep curls, lateral shoulder raises with 4 lb weights. 2x20 lunges. 2x 30 second plank. (approx 300 calories burned)

Daily Totals - 943 calories, 43.8g fat, 63g carbohydrates, 24g sugars, 83.7g protein

Thursday, January 10, 2013

What's For Dinner? Dickey's BBQ Pit

Ugh - eating out is sometimes still really hard. And it is rather ironic that it was hard while meeting some folks to eat before going to our WLS support group meeting.

We had a new meeting this month - one intended specifically for people that were more than a year post-op, as our concerns tend to be a bit different than the pre-ops and recent post-ops. The meeting location doesn't have a lot around it for easy food - and one place that a few people in this group likes is Dickey's BBQ Pit - a chain that some of you may be familiar with. I've never been too impressed with their food, and tonight I thought I'd just have maybe a veggie side and then eat when I got home. But, by the time I got there, I was hungry, and went ahead and ordered a quarter plate (4 oz of meat, two sides). I had been completely unimpressed with the brisket I'd had there before - dried out, tasteless. I ordered the marinated chicken breast that others had recommended. It was OK, but nothing stellar. Where I fell down a bit was in the sides - I ordered onion strings and green beans. The onion strings (fried) added some calories, the beans were bland, and I had 2 of the hush puppies that come with every order. Not the best choices.

Then, the group headed to Starbucks for coffee before hitting the meeting. I'm generally not a coffee gal, and I think I've had something to drink from Starbucks maybe 4 times in my life. I asked a few questions, and ended up with a "Light Cafe Mocha, nonfat" - according to that still had 170 calories in it - damn.

So tonight I'm over calories that I wanted to consumer, but that's kind of how things go down some days - tomorrow will be a better day.

Oh - I ordered some clothes from Old Navy's after Christmas sale - and I tried them on when I got home tonight. I love the new outfit - definitely could be worn to about any office event - with the boots as pictured below, or with pumps. Excuse the wrinkles - this is straight out of the package. Best thing? The skirt is a 14, and the shirt a large - even in a non-stretchy fabric!!

My Meals


  • 1 cup Kashi Go Lean! cereal
  • 1/3 cup whole milk

  • Left over time! About 2/3 the size of yesterday's spaghetti shells
  • 2 oz tri-tip
  • 1/3 cup green beans

 From Dickey's BBQ Pit
  • 2.5 oz chicken in bbq sauce
  • 1 serving onion strings
  • 1/3 serving green beans
  • 2 hush puppies
  • Starbucks Venti Light Cafe Mocha

Water - 72 oz

Daily Totals: 1168 calories, 43.5g fat, 138.1g carbohydrates, 49.8g sugars, 68.1g protein

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What's For Dinner? Tri-tip with Nutty Quinoa Cakes

Three or four times a month the Man is scheduled to close at his store. It's slightly annoying, in that cooking for 1.5 people can be a challenge, but cooking for .5 of a person is even tougher. But, I try and take advantage of it and experiment with some recipes that he's unlikely to find appealing. One of his dislikes is "chewy grains"  which means anything but white rice. So if I cook quinoa or other grains, it's only for me.

I recently found a web site called (Food, I Love You) that's sort of a recipe search engine, or maybe better said an aggregator of content crossed with a sharing site (think Pinterest). Through that, I found the recipe for tonight's experiment - Nutty Quinoa Cakes over at Big Girls Small Kitchen blog. Made as directed, they're OK. It seems to be missing a little seasoning - maybe a bit more salt, definitely some black pepper, and maybe something else - perhaps a bit stronger cheese than Parmesan? Not completely sure what's missing, but it would be a good basis for further experimentation at some point. Though the recipe says it serves 2, I got 9 cakes out of it, and had My Food Diary calculate nutrition information on 9 servings. I plated two cakes for my dinner, and got about 1.5 of them in - was a bit too full to finish it off.

My Meals

  • 1 cup Kashi Go Lean! cereal
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 2 celery stalks
  • Left over spaghetti shells made of: 
    • 1/2 cup whole wheat pasta (medium shells)
    • 1.5 oz browned ground beef
    • 1/4 cup prepared spaghetti sauce
    • 1 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • small salad of romaine, 2 radishes, and 1 tbsp Trader Joe's fat free balsamic vinaigrette
  • Dannon Light & Fit raspberry yogurt
  • 3 oz beef tri-tip marinated in marsala, oregano, and basil, then broiled
  • 1.5 nutty quinoa cakes (see recipe link above)
  • 1/4 cup french cut green beans
  • 1 tsp sour cream
  • .5 tsp butter
Water - 80 oz (new record!)

Exercise - 20 minutes Zumba! on the Kinect, 4 sets of strength exercises w/4 lb weights: tricep kickbacks, lunges, bicep curls, and shoulder presses, plus two 30-second planks (estimated 406 calories burned)

Daily Totals: 892 calories, 30.4g fat, 97g carbohydrates, 31.3g sugars, 72.4g protein 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

What's For Dinner? Quick Faux Pho

Today I got to see the new surgeon over at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, since my previous surgeon seems to have given up on the ass fistula of doom. She's going to operate on Friday the 18th and insert a seton - a little rubber band that will make a full loop through the fistula tract connecting outside - both in order to see just where things stand, and then to keep things draining properly until she can take the corrective action in the next procedure she'll schedule about 6 weeks out. Thankfully someone who has ideas!

Beyond that, it's been an uneventful day - had to hurry back home to make a 12:30 conference call, but nothing particularly exciting going on there - just a routine Tuesday call.

Oh, lunch was disappointing - one of the few things I've purchased from Trader Joe's that i didn't care for much. It was only 210 calories, but plainly because it had very little in the dish! Flavors were OK, but for what it was - I'll not be buying it again. 

My Meals

  • 1 cup Kashi Go Lean! cereal
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • Trader Joe's Chicken Breast in Poblano Sauce with Barley and white corn risotto
  • 12 almonds 
  • Sargento light string cheese stick
  • 1 serving   Quick Faux Pho
  • Small salad of romaine, chopped tomato, and Ken's Lite Honey French dressing
Water - 48 oz

Daily Totals - 911 calories, 22.9g fat, 123.8g carbohydrates, 37.1g sugars, 65.2g protein

Quick Faux Pho

Pho is a dish that is simple in ingredients, but long on flavor. To make it "right", beef bones and long simmering broth are necessary. This quick version take short cuts, but can be a decent approximation of the real thing for a quick weeknight meal.

  • 2 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 oz deli roast beef - shredded
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 2 tsp ginger, microplaned or minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 8 large leaves basil - preferably Thai basil
  • 1/2 a serrano chili, seeded and minced fine
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 oz raw bean sprouts
  • 2 oz snow peas, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 shitake mushrooms - caps sliced thinly
  • 2 oz rice vermicelli (usually found in the Asian section of the supermarket)

In a medium pan of boiling water, cook rice noodles for 4 minutes. Add snow peas and cook for an additional minute. Drain peas and noodles and rinse under cold water.

Heat oil in same pan, then saute shallot until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger, stirring constantly for another minute.

Add broth, water, and fish sauce to the pot, bring to a boil, then simmer for at least 10 minutes to combine flavors.

While broth simmers, place bean sprouts, basil, cilantro and mushrooms in two large soup bowls.  Divide beef and rice and peas between the two bowls.

When broth is finished simmering, pour over vegetables in each bowl.

Nutritional information (via 1 serving = 1/2 recipe: 244 calories, 4.5g fat, 30.3g carbohydrates, 2.8g sugars, 19.1g protein


Monday, January 7, 2013

What's For Dinner? Boozy Bistro Chicken

It's a new year, and time to finish the new me! I took most of December "off" - between the never ending ass issue and the holidays, I just needed to take it easy. The nice thing was though, even with reduced exercise (see ass issue), and a bit more rich foods/eating out, I maintained my weight for the month - yay  me!

I will definitely be trying to post daily again, as I've had comments as to how helpful that has been to see how someone eats day to day after having my type of weight loss surgery.

The other good news is, I finally have my appointment with a surgeon for a second opinion on the ass issue tomorrow morning! Progress! I'm hoping she'll have some good ideas, but I suspect new tests or imaging is in my future first.

Tonight's dinner included two new recipes I've posted - a boozy bistro chicken and broccoli cheese casserole. Yum! Probably should have paired the chicken with something other than the casserole, as my daily totals were about 200 more calories than I'm still striving for (850-900). But I'm fairly pleased on the day.

My Meals

  • Multi-Grain sandwich thin roll, toasted
  • 1 scrambled egg
  • 1 tbsp mexican blend shredded cheese
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1.5 cups romaine lettuce
  • 1 small roma tomato
  • 3 radishes
  • 3 oz grilled boneless chicken breast
  • 2 tbsp Ken's Sweet Vidalia Onion dressing 
  • Dannon Light & Fit yogurt - raspberry
Water - 72 oz

Exercise - Kinect Zumba! - 306 calories burned

Daily Totals: 1134 calories, 50.7g fat, 94.9g carbs,  62.3g protein

Broccoli Cheese Casserole

Broccoli is one of those vegetables that while very good for you can also be a bit boring. There's steamed broccoli, it's often tossed in pastas with heavy alfredo sauces, or in homey cream-of-whatever soup casseroles. The casseroles can be tasty, but fat and sodium bombs. I set out to create a lighter version of a broccoli casserole that had less rice and binders than other versions out there. I believe I definitely succeeded on taste!

  • .5 cup cooked white long grain rice
  • 1.5 cups steamed broccoli - cooked until just past al dente
  • 1/2 medium onion - finely diced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 slice toasted white bread (or scant 1/4 cup dried bread crumbs or panko)
Sweat onions in small pan until translucent, set aside in medium sized bowl. Add cooked rice and broccoli (may be added from refrigerated left overs or prepared ahead).

Melt butter in heavy bottomed sauce pan. Add flour and whisk together. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, whisking frequently, until roux turns tan in color. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly. Add salt and pepper. Cook another 2 minutes until mixture begins to thicken. Add half to three-quarters of the cheese, stir until melted. Add sauce to rice, broccoli, and onion mixture.

Spoon mixture into small baking dish (I have a 4x4 Le Creuset dish that fits this perfectly). Top with bread crumbs and remaining cheese.

Bake in 350F oven for 20-25 minutes until casserole is hot and bubbly.

Serves 4 bariatric or small side servings, or 2 larger portions.

Nutritional information (via, based on 4 servings): 195 calories - 10.2g fat, 19.3g carbohydrates, 3.6g sugars, 7.9g protein

Boozy Bistro Chicken has a take on the classic bistro Steak Diane, done instead with chicken breasts. My version is adapted slightly for our portion sizes and needs.

  • 8 oz boneless skinless chicken breast - pounded flat or purchased in thin slice package
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • .5 cup cognac or bourbon
  • .5 cup dry white wine (I use Pinot Grigio)
  • 1.5 cups low sodium Chicken broth
  • .5 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard (I use Grey Poupon Country Dijon)
  • 1.5 tsp butter
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • salt and pepper

Melt butter in heavy bottom saute pan. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper, saute until just cooked through, 2-3 minutes per side (at 1/4 inch thickness). Remove chicken from pan and cover with foil to keep warm.

In the same pan, saute shallot until translucent - about 3 minutes. Very carefully add cognac and the wine, then bring to a boil. Whisk in mustard, cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add broth, then simmer until reduced about in half - 5-10 minutes more. Reduce heat to medium, then add heavy cream. Whisk until incorporated and warm, but not boiling.

Return chicken to the pan, coating with sauce - rewarming for 2-3 minutes.

Plate chicken, spoon sauce over, and sprinkle with chives.

Nutrition information - 1/4 recipe (1 bariatric serving) - 238 calories, 9.1g fat, 2.3g carbohydrates, 0.4g sugars, 13.1g protein, 12.6g alcohol