Friday, July 30, 2010

Go Go Manchego

A few weeks ago I shared my love of Burrata Cheese. I thought I would share another cheese I love maybe just as much: Manchego (man-chey-go)

Manchego is a Spanish cheese and is named for the region of La Mancha, land of Don Quixote, a book some of you may have been forced to read (aka read the Cliff Notes) in high school. It's made from sheep's milk. Don't be scared... I know I just lost a few of you. It really is fabulous. Trust me on this. You will love it. It has a distinctive taste but think mild Parmesan-ish but less salty. Ask for a sample if you can. You will be hooked. It's the perfect table cheese. Store wrapped in wax paper in the fridge for up to six months.

You'll find wedges or wheels in good cheese shops, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, I just scored a huge wedge at Costco during their last Cheese Road Show. It has a distinctive brown zig-zag rind that proves the cheese is the real deal Manchego. You don't eat it, though it won't kill ya if you did, it cuts off easily. It the semi-firm white to pale yellow (color depends on age) mild, nutty, flaky cheese inside yumminess you want.

A little Manchego, thin slices of ham, Manzanilla olives and a couple of almonds and I am in heaven. If you want to be muy auténtico make it Serrano ham and Marcona almonds. The perfect no-cook, sit outside on the patio, enjoy the moonlight, wish on stars, summer dinner.

For dessert we had some sliced apples and the first of the grapes from my garden. They aren't very big but the birds were starting to eye them so we gobbled them up before they could.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Peanut Flour aka Powdered Peanut Butter

Peanut Flour (flour refers to the texture cornstarch-ish) aka Powdered Peanut Butter. You can find a bunch of brands (PB2, Chike, PBfit, Just Great Stuff, Peanut Butter Co, etc.) but look for one that has low to no added sugar.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve Diabetic Fitness healthy

Mmmm. This is GREAT stuff. A nice way to get the peanut butter taste and protein in shakes without adding a lot of fat. Mix in protein shakes and smoothies, pudding, yogurt, sprinkle on top protein ice cream.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Diabetes Low Carb Fitness Workout Healthy

Shelly's Peanut Butter Cup Protein Smoothie

8 oz. Vanilla Soy Milk (you can use ANY milk or milk/water combo. I'm a soy girl)
1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Torani Syrup (I use SF Vanilla)
1 Tablespoon Powdered Peanut Butter (aka PB2, aka Peanut Flour)
1 scoop Chocolate Protein Powder
3-4 Ice Cubes

Add liquid, ice, then powders and blend on high. Like it extra chocolaty add a little unsweetened cocoa powder (baking section)

Here's a few other Eggface ways to use powdered peanut butter:

Shelly's PB&J Protein Shake
Shelly's Peanut Butter & Jelly Protein Ice Cream
Shelly's 5 Minute Peanut Butter & Jelly Cake


Shelly's Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Protein Ice Cream
Shelly's Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip
Shelly's Peanut Butter Caramel Yogurt Dip
Shelly's Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Fudge
Shelly's Peanut Butter & Jelly Mini Muffins


More Eggface Protein Shakes and Smoothies

Monday, July 26, 2010

Today is National Coffee Milkshake Day.

Some of these wacky food holidays are not worth celebrating but I couldn't let this one slip by unheralded. I mean I'll let days like "Don't Put All Your Eggs in One Omelette Day" on July 9th pass and I'm not thinking I'm gonna be celebrating "Four Prunes Day" on October 17th or "National Bicarbonate of Soda Day" on December 30th but "National Coffee Milkshake Day." Yeah that's a day I will celebrate.

I drank this yummy milkshake for breakfast in honor of the day. Mmmm so good. I had breakfast it outside on the patio, enjoying the cool morning air while contemplating how to appropriately celebrate "Grab Some Nuts Day" on August 3. Open to suggestions but keep it clean ;)

Shelly's No Guilt, Good For You, Coffee Malted Milkshake

8 oz. Vanilla Soy Milk (you can use ANY milk or milk/water combo. I'm a soy girl)
1 Tablespoon Malted Milk Powder (No Sugar Added kind)
1 scoop CLICK Espresso Protein Powder (I used Vanilla Latte flavor)
1 scoop SEI Max Chocolate Protein Powder
3-4 Ice Cubes
Optional: Land o Lakes Sugar Free Whipped Cream and Smucker's Sugar Free Fudge Topping

Add liquid, ice, then powders and blend on high. I serve it with a squirt of Land o Lakes Sugar Free Whipped Cream and a drizzle of Smucker's Sugar Free Fudge Topping nuked 20 seconds to drizzling consistency.

Cheers!
Hope everyone has a GREAT week. I've got some great meals planned.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A day in my pouch

The past few days have been AWESOME. Absolutely beautiful weather. 80°'s and dry versus last week's 100°F+ and sticky. This is the Southern California I know and love. My tomato harvest is in full swing. It is a great year. Thankfully the gnarly heat last week didn't seem to do any damage. Every morning I'm getting about this many.

After I picked the tomatoes and watered the garden I nuked a couple of leftover pancakes.

Breakfast: Leftover "Ricottage" Pancakes. They heat up really well out of the fridge. I just nuke them for 25 seconds and seriously it is like you just made them. They will also freeze well between sheets of wax paper. Defrost in fridge, then nuke.

Lunch: Most of the tomatoes I picked in the morning became this salad.

Shelly's Tuna Caprese Salad

1 can Tuna Fillets, packed in Olive Oil, drained (I use Roland Ventresca Tuna Fillets)
2 cups Homegrown, Just Picked Tomatoes
1/2 cup Fresh Mozzarella, chopped
1 Tablespoon Fresh Basil, chopped
dash of Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
A few twists of Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon of any Fruity Vinegar (Champagne, Orange, Lemon)

Mix all ingredients together till well combined.

Dinner: One thing the heat has affected in the garden are the lemons. They are dropping off the tree. I need to come up with some lemon recipes. Mmmm maybe a Sugar Free Lemon Curd. Oooh cooking experiment. I know what I'll be doing when insomnia strikes at 3 AM. Well I figure it's either cooking experiments or go broke buying stuff on infomercials. Though I have to say the Ultimate Rock Ballads CD Set by Time Life Music tempts me. That's 9 CD's, 153 unforgettable hits for just 5 easy payments of $29.99 but wait there's more... ;) Yeah I've seen that infomercial one too many times.

Anyway back to dinner... one fallen lemon helped make my variation on the traditional Italian dish, Chicken Piccata. Normally made with capers (which I dislike) I made it with green onions instead.

Shelly's Chicken Picatta

2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, sliced into 4 pieces and pounded flat
1/4 cup Multigrain Pancake Mix (I use this)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
a few twists of Black Pepper
1/4 cup Chicken Broth
1/4 cup White Wine
juice of one Lemon
3 Green Onions, chopped
Olive Oil for sauteing

Pound chicken breast pieces flat between plastic wrap. Mix pancake mix and seasonings in a flat dish (a pie plate works well) dredge pounded chicken to coat. Saute till golden on one side then flip. Add onions cook 1 minute. Add broth, wine (practically all the alcohol will cook out, not even lightweight post weight loss surgery peeps will catch a buzz on the chicken) and lemon juice. Simmer till sauce thickens and reduces by half and chicken is done.

I served it with a Summer Squash Casserole.

Our Farmer's Market has a great booth that sells oodles of different varieties of squash. Last week I picked up a few sunbursts and sundrops.


Shelly's Sunny Summer Squash Casserole

1 Yellow Onion, diced
4 Mushrooms, sliced
about 4 cups Summer Squash, sliced (any variety will do or yellow crookneck or regular zucchini too)
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons Storebought (or Homemade) Pesto Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
a few twists of Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Parmesan Cheese, grated
2 Tablespoons Durkee Onions (you know the Green Bean Casserole kind)

Saute onions and mushrooms till golden. Add squash. Cook till fork tender and slightly golden. Add pesto, garlic and seasonings. Mix to combine. Pour into a Pyrex casserole dish. In a sealed snack size Ziploc baggie mix/crush Parmesan and Durkee onions together. Sprinkle mixture on top of casserole. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Snacks: Oodles of Coffee and a scoop of my Black Cherry Fluff Stuff.

Have you made it yet? Do it. Soooo good. Between my Fluff Stuff, Iced Tea Lattes and Protein Ice Cream even the hottest summer days are bearable.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Good Morning Pancakes

Any morning that starts with pancakes is a good one...

Shelly's Ricottage Pancakes with Super Special Syrup

1/4 cup Ricotta Cheese (I used whole milk ricotta)
1/4 cup Cottage Cheese (I used pre-mixed Pineapple Cottage Cheese)
1 Egg
3 Tablespoons Multigrain Pancake Mix (I use this)
1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Lemon Pudding Mix, dry
1 Tablespoon Unsweetened Coconut, toasted

Whiz all ingredients in mini food processor. FYI for those who don't dig coconut the toasted coconut in the recipe is is not detected, it's merely for texture, almond flour could be subbed.

Spray pan with non-stick spray. Cook on low till golden, flip, pat flat, cook till done. Nuke Shelly's Super Special Syrup for 25 seconds so it drizzles well. Serve each pancake with a drizzle of warm syrup. Makes 4 small pancakes or 8 silver dollar size.

These can be frozen between slices of wax paper or kept in the fridge a day or 2 and reheated (nuke 25 seconds) for breakfast during the week. Surprising good cold (lazy mornings).

Shelly's Super Special Syrup

2 Tablespoons Sugar Free Maple Syrup mixed with 1 teaspoon Sugar Free Torani syrup. Any flavor Torani (or any other brand) syrup will work. I used SF Raspberry today. Mmmm tastes like a jelly donut. The variety pack would be a fun way to experiment.

A few other Eggface Good Mornings

Shelly's Strawberry Banana Breakfast Parfait
Shelly's Bites
Shelly's Caramel Apple Oatmeal
Shelly's Cherry Nut Mini Protein Muffins
Shelly's Heart Shaped Baked Egg Cups
Shelly's Banana Walnut Oatmeal
Shelly's Breakfast Tostada
Shelly's Black Cherry Greek Yogurt
Shelly's Chocolate Protein Waffles
Shelly's Conshohocken Scramble
Shelly's Crepes
Shelly's Café Biscotti Protein Shake
Shelly's Apple Raisin Protein Souffle

Monday, July 19, 2010

Summertime and the living is easy

What lunatic came up with that?! This week the living has been far from easy. 100+ temps. Humid. It was sweaty and draining. I tried to get some projects done but ugggh. I seriously wonder how I did it pre weight loss surgery with 150+ extra pounds on me. I didn't really cook much this weekend. I miss it. I've been drinking Iced Tea Lattes, eating Fluff Stuff and Protein Ice Cream and only turning the oven on quickly in the late evening.

Saturday I hit the Farmer's Market as usual. Small haul... just onions, garlic, nectarines, corn, a variety of summer squashes, strawberries and cherries. I ran into a lovely blog reader at the market. As my Mum and I were leaving I heard "Are you Eggface?" I said, "Yes" I thought afterward if someone heard that initial exchange they would be wondering what in the world an "Eggface" was. Too funny. Anyway... Shannyn, it was great meeting you!

I spent most of the rest of Saturday getting even sweatier cleaning the garage. I'm in a purging mode. I've been taking a cabinet and section at a time and going through them wondering why in the world I have some of the things I have. Finally went through the box of wires and manuals for electrical items that are long gone. I'm determined to get organized. What has been helping me is this new thing I've been doing... in the corner of the garage I keep a large cardboard box and when I find something in the house or garage that needs to be donated I put it in the box. I used to say things like "Oh yeah that needs to be donated next time I go" and then it wouldn't move on from there. Now I take the item and it goes in the donate box. When the box is full I take it right away to the local thrift and place another empty box in the corner. It really helps.

Sunday I had a migraine. I ran some errands in the morning but by afternoon I was curled up in ball on the couch. Blah. Probably the heat. I felt a bit better by the evening and managed to make a few items for a "tidbit party" that we enjoyed outside under the electric stars. I even broke out my new cheese board. A birthday gift to myself. Good news I hear we are gonna have a reprieve and will be out of the triple digits for awhile. Hooray! I can cook again.

Shelly's Roasted Garlic Cheese Stuffed Mini Peppers

14 Mini Sweet Peppers
1 head Roasted Garlic
1 Yellow Onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
a few twists of Black Pepper
1 Egg, beaten
3/4 cup Ricotta Cheese
1 Tablespoon Fresh Basil, chopped
2 Tablespoons Parmesan, grated

Roast a head of garlic. This is how I do it. Set aside to cool. Wash, half & de-seed mini peppers. Place in a lightly oiled (Pam works great) Pyrex casserole dish. Sprinkle with kosher salt and bake for 10 minutes at 350. Carefully empty any water that has accumulated in the peppers and set aside.

Saute onion till golden. Add seasonings and cook 1 minute. Let cool. Combine all remaining ingredients (expect Parmesan) with cooled onions and the contents of the roasted garlic head. Spoon mixture into a Quart Ziploc baggie. Seal and snip off bag end to form a piping bag.

Pipe cheese mixture into par-cooked mini peppers. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake at 350 for an additional 20 minutes or until lightly golden.

These can be made in advance and reheated in the oven or toaster oven right before serving. Leftovers are great for breakfast the next morning with an egg.

The other items pictured at our tidbit party were marinated mushrooms, kalamata and Sicilian olives, Greek beans and a little salad I made by combining roasted red peppers (jarred) with just picked cherry tomatoes from the garden, fresh mozzarella, salt, pepper, basil, oregano, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Dear Mother Nature,
I'm done with summer. Bring on the Snuggies.
Kthxbye.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Things making me happy

We've had 100+ temps and humidity, complete with afternoon thunderstorms which is really rare for this area. It feels like the sticky Long Island summers of my childhood. I do have to say summer is 150% better post weight loss surgery but this week I dare say even the barely there Olsen Twins would be feeling the heat. I've been taking pleasure in a few favorite things and trying to stay cool.

A few things that made this week more bearable...

* Iced Tea Lattes - Homemade Iced Tea Lattes have been a highlight of my day.

Here's how I do them...

Fill a glass (16 oz.) halfway with ice.
I use my Keurig to brew (on the iced tea setting) some tea. Sometimes I use a storebought K cup but mostly I use that a My K-cup doohickey filled with my favorite loose leaf (1 rounded teaspoon) My favorites are Blueberry Rooibos and Masala Chai.
Top off with milk (I use Vanilla Soy), a squirt of Sugar Free Torani Syrup and optional SF Whipped Cream.

Speaking of Sugar Free Torani Syrup... check out this cool variety pack of flavors. Would be a nice starter set for a new post-op.

* Lush Breath of Fresh Air Toner - OMG I love this stuff. I store it in the fridge... late afternoon when the high temps have me feeling (and looking) like I've been run over by a pack of wild boars. I grab this out of the ice box, spritz my face and neck and ahhhh all is right with the world again.

* BBC's Emma miniseries - I am a period romance freak and Jane Austen is a favorite. I popped this in again this week and it transported me to my happy place. It's my favorite version.

* My Fluff Stuff - If you haven't made this stuff yet. Make it. Remember that Jello 1-2-3 layered dessert from the 80's this is like a healthier version of that. Any Sugar Free Jello, any flavor SF Torani Syrup, any Fruit, and a little Greek Yogurt combination and YUM!

Some of my favs so far...

SF Orange Jello, SF Vanilla Torani, Pineapple (like a Creamsicle)
SF Black Cherry Jello, SF Black Cherry Torani, fresh Cherries (my ultimate favorite)
SF Lemon Jello, SF Vanilla Torani, Strawberries (Strawberry Lemonade)

and this one I made this morning SF Strawberry Jello, SF Strawberry Torani and fresh Cherries

Shelly's Fluff Stuff

1 cup Boiling Water
1 box (4-serving size - the small one) Sugar Free Strawberry Jello Mix
3 1/2 oz. (half a small container) Fage Greek Yogurt
1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Torani Syrup (I used SF Strawberry)
1 1/2 cups Cherries, (fresh or frozen)

Pour boiling water slowly over jello mix. Stir till dissolved. Set aside. Mix yogurt & syrup together till well combined. Add to Jello mixture. Beat with an electric mixer till well combined. I use this gadget.

Place in fridge for 1 hour. Remove from fridge and beat again for 5 minutes till fluffy. Fold in fruit. Put back in fridge and allow to set fully (about 2 hours)

You can use any fruit (fresh, frozen defrosted or canned drained), any Jello flavor, any Torani Syrup flavor.

* Surfing the net.

For the Fashionistas Polyvore.
For the Foodies: Slashfood
For Support: Twitter and the WLS Twibe
For Music: Blip.fm

Well that's about it. The things making me happy this week despite the gnarly heat.

"People don't notice whether it's winter or summer when they're happy." ~Anton Chekhov

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Post Weight Loss Surgery Menus: A day in my pouch

Summer has finally arrived in Southern California. It hit 96 degrees here yesterday. Ughhh. I thankfully had a lot of indoor work to do so I only really felt it when I went outside to pick tomatoes and basil. I waited till late to BBQ. I only turned the oven on briefly and scored a few days of meals out of those 30 minutes so it was a win. All I wanted was easy and refreshing.

Breakfast: One of my super easy favorites Shelly's Strawberry Banana Breakfast Parfait

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Healthy Fitness Gastric Bypass Sleeve Sugar Free Low Carb Recipes Cooking Menus BlogLunch: My "Bites" (aka crustless quiches) are another one of my favorite post weight loss surgery foods. They are the perfect size. Great for breakfast-on-the-go, lunch or dinner with a salad, or weight loss surgery friendly party appetizers that both non-ops and post-ops will love. They are kid-friendly. Whippersnappers love them. I think because they are small like them.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Healthy Fitness Gastric Bypass Sleeve Sugar Free Low Carb Recipes Cooking Menus BlogShelly's Turkey & Brie Bites

1 Yellow Onion, diced fine
2-3 White Mushrooms, diced fine
1/4 lb (about 4 slices) Turkey Cold Cut, chopped
1 oz. Brie Cheese, cubed
5 eggs
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
a few twists of Black Pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Saute onions, mushrooms, and turkey till golden. Set aside to cool. Mix all ingredients (including cooled mixture) together.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Healthy Fitness Gastric Bypass Sleeve Sugar Free Low Carb Recipes Cooking Menus BlogSpoon into lightly greased (Pam non-stick spray works great for this) mini muffin tins.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Healthy Fitness Gastric Bypass Sleeve Sugar Free Low Carb Recipes Cooking Menus BlogBake for 30 minutes at 350. Let them cool a few moments they pull away and pop right out. Makes 24.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Healthy Fitness Gastric Bypass Sleeve Sugar Free Low Carb Recipes Cooking Menus BlogOther Eggface Bites

Dinner: The tomatoes are picking up the pace. I love homegrown tomatoes. I think it may just be my favorite thing about summer. I picked a bunch, a few leaves of fresh basil (also doing very well this year), added fresh mozzarella, salt, pepper, oregano and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette to make this Caprese Salad to go with BBQ'd Lemon Pepper Chicken Skewers. I also made a Greek Yogurt Dip for the chicken (not pictured)

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Healthy Fitness Gastric Bypass Sleeve Sugar Free Low Carb Recipes Cooking Menus BlogSnacks: Oodles of coffee (mostly iced) and a super refreshing Orange Pineapple version of my Fluff Stuff. It tasted like a creamsicle (those 50/50 bars) soooo good. I ate it while I watched "Deadliest Catch" I love that show. Sad one last night. Captain Phil RIP.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Healthy Fitness Gastric Bypass Sleeve Sugar Free Low Carb Recipes Cooking Menus BlogShelly's Fluff Stuff

1 cup Boiling Water
1 box (4-serving size - the small one) Sugar Free Orange Jello Mix
3 1/2 oz. (half a small container) plain Greek Yogurt
1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Torani Syrup (I used SF Vanilla)
1 1/2 cups Pineapple, chunks (fresh, frozen or I use Dole Gold Pineapple Chunks in natural juice, drained)

Pour boiling water slowly over jello mix. Stir till dissolved. Set aside. Mix yogurt & syrup together till well combined. Add to Jello mixture. Beat with an electric mixer till well combined. I use this gadget.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Healthy Fitness Gastric Bypass Sleeve Sugar Free Low Carb Recipes Cooking Menus BlogPlace in fridge for 1 hour. Remove from fridge and beat again for 5 minutes till fluffy. Fold in fruit. Put back in fridge and allow to set fully (about 2 hours)

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Healthy Fitness Gastric Bypass Sleeve Sugar Free Low Carb Recipes Cooking Menus BlogI served a scoop with a squirt SF Whipped Cream. You can use any fruit (fresh, frozen defrosted or canned drained), any Jello flavor, any Torani Syrup flavor.

It's supposed to be even hotter today. Triple digits. Drink your water and stay cool everyone!

Monday, July 12, 2010

National Blueberry Month - Blueberry Protein Microwave Mug Cake and More

July is National Blueberry Month. It seems to be a really good year for them too. Here's some weight loss surgery friendly ways to celebrate!

Protein powder weight loss surgery bariatric fitness recipesShelly's Blueberry 5 Minute Protein Cake

1 Egg, beaten
3 Tablespoons Milk
2 Tablespoons Sugar Free Vanilla Torani Syrup
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
2 Tablespoons Shelly's Blueberry Sauce
3 Tablespoons Multigrain Pancake Mix
2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Coconut
1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
Pinch salt
1 - 2 cup Measuring Cup or Microwave Safe Mug

In a measuring cup or microwave safe mug, Mix egg, milk, syrup, oil, blueberry sauce and combine thoroughly. In a separate bowl, mix pancake mix, coconut, protein powder and salt. Tip dry into wet and stir till combined. Nuke in microwave for about 2 minutes (my microwave is getting old and needs 20 seconds added now - strength varies so start with 2 minutes and add 20 seconds at a time till no longer damp on top)

Let it sit for three or so minutes (it pulls away from the sides) before tipping the cake onto a plate. Yields 4-5 slices. Allow to cool. Slice & serve with a squirt of No Sugar Added Homemade Whipped Cream and drizzle of additional Blueberry Sauce if desired.

Shelly's Blueberry Sauce

1 cup Blueberries
2 Tablespoons Sugar Free Torani (I used SF Vanilla)

Wash blueberries and place in a glass microwave safe bowl. Add syrup. Microwave for 3 minutes. Using a fork smoosh any remaining whole berries. Can also be done on the stove-top.

Weight Loss Healthy Cooking Protein cake slices are also great topped with a scoop of Protein Ice Cream. A scoop of Blueberry Cheesecake Protein Ice Cream or Blueberry Cobbler Protein Ice Cream would be delicious on this cake. A slice of this toasted is a great grab & go breakfast.

More Eggface Blueberry Love:

Shelly's Blueberry Protein Mini Muffins
Shelly's Apple Blueberry Crumb
Shelly's Red, White & Blue Strawberry Cannoli
Shelly's Red, White & Blue Breakfast Parfait
Shelly's Blueberry Oat Bars
Shelly's Blueberry Cottage Cheese Pancakes
Shelly's Blueberry Cheesecake Protein Ice Cream
Shelly's Blueberry Banana Protein Smoothie
Shelly's Blueberry Cobbler Protein Ice Cream

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Leftover Lunch Bento

Hope everyone is having a nice weekend. Mine's been pretty low key. Hit the Farmer's Market as usual. Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, nectarines, pluots, onions, garlic, cauliflower. It was summer squash heaven. I bought a bunch of different varieties of those. Thinking maybe Calabacitas or a foil packet dinner on the BBQ this week. The berries are destined for batches of my Fluff Stuff.

People watched at coffee for awhile. Dropped off my market haul at the house. Filled my super cool bento box up with leftovers and walked to the park. Soaked up some sunshine, read a magazine, ate my yummy lunch then head home to do some gardening. Looks like today will be the last cooler day for awhile. We are finally going to heat up here in Southern California. Darn it. I figured I'd better get the weeding done I've been putting off before it's too hot to move. Wish someone could explain to me how my lawn is dead and dry looking despite watering and fertilizing it but the weeds will grow knee high.

Pink Box (top left): Grilled Zucchini
Green Box (top right): Sugar Free Lemon Pudding topped with Blueberry Sauce
Blue Box (bottom left): Lemon Pepper Chicken
Orange Box (bottom right): Nuts and (in the little blue container) Shelly's Greek Yogurt Sauce for dipping chicken

Shelly's Blueberry Sauce

1 cup Blueberries
2 Tablespoons Sugar Free Torani (I used SF Vanilla)

Wash blueberries and place in a glass microwave safe bowl. Add syrup. Microwave for 3 minutes. Using a fork smoosh any remaining whole berries. Can also be done on the stove-top. Sometimes I add sliced almonds and if the berries are too liquidy I thicken things up like this. Great on top of pudding, oatmeal, Greek yogurt, protein ice cream, ricotta or cottage cheese.

I showed you guys my 6 foot tall tomatoes before but I haven't showed you my grapes. It's a good year. Hopefully the birds won't spot them before they ripen. I'm feeding them seed on the other side of the yard in hopes of keeping them occupied and away from the grapes and tomatoes. Of course all that darn seed they toss all over is contributing to my flippin' weed situation.

Friday, July 9, 2010

A day in my pouch

Breakfast: Spent most of the day on my newly cleaned patio working on a computer project. I brought outside a variety of items in my super cool bento box for breakfast and snack.

Pink Box (top left): Shelly's 5 Minute Coconut Cake
Green Box (top right): Nuts and Dried Cranberries
Blue Box (bottom left): Mixed Berries (Raspberries, Blueberries, Strawberries)
Orange Box (bottom right): Pineapple Cottage Cheese

Lunch: I grilled some Lemon Pepper Chicken Skewers and Grilled Zucchini. The skewers are just white meat chicken tenders threaded on wooden skewers and sprinkled with lemon pepper seasoning. The zucchini is brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with Greek seasoning.

I dip almost all meats. Moisture is key post weight loss surgery to helping things keep headed in the right direction. So I also made a Greek yogurt dipping sauce for my chicken skewers.

Shelly's Greek Yogurt Sauce

2 oz. Fage Greek Yogurt
1 Tablespoon Mayo
dash Seasoning Salt
1/2 teaspoon Greek Seasoning

Mix together.

Dinner: I had a lot more zucchini leftover than I thought I would so I tossed my original plan of meatballs and tomato salad and made this Quickie Lasagna creation.

From top to bottom the layers are...
Provolone Cheese
Bruschetta Sauce (found near fresh pasta or Trader Joe's carries a jarred version)
Fresh Basil
4 slices Grilled Zucchini
Ricotta Mixture
2 Cooked Turkey Meatballs, sliced (I nuked for a minute)
Bruschetta Sauce
Fresh Basil
Ricotta Mixture
2 Cooked Turkey Meatballs, sliced
4 slices Grilled Zucchini

Shelly's Ricotta Mixture

1 cup Ricotta
2 oz. Herb Goat Cheese (Alouette or chive cream cheese will do in a pinch)
1 Tablespoon Parmesan Cheese
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
dash of Kosher Salt
a few twists of Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Milk to thin

Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes till golden brown and gooey.

Snacks: Oodles of coffee, the nuts (from my breakfast bento) and 2 scoops of Shelly's Vanilla Coconut Cookie Protein Ice Cream with a drizzle of Sugar Free Fudge Sauce. Nom.

Shelly's Vanilla Coconut Cookie Protein Ice Cream

1 cup Vanilla Soy Milk (or Regular Milk)
2 scoops Vanilla Protein Powder
1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Torani Syrup (I used SF Coconut)
2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Coconut, toasted
Optional: 4-6 Sugar Free Coconut Cookies, (I used these) broken into pieces

Toast unsweetened coconut (available at health food stores, organic markets or online) on a cookie sheet in a 350 oven for a few minutes till golden stirring every minute or so. Set aside to cool. Store cooled, extra coconut in a Tupperware. Unsweetened coconut tastes so much better and waaaaay more coco-nutty then that sweetened shredded stuff we are used to.

Mix together milk, coconut, syrup and protein. I used this gadget to mix it up. It makes it airy and lump free. No groovy gadget... just whiz on super high in the blender. Pour into ice cream maker. Follow your machine's instructions for freezing. 5 minute before done add optional cookies.

You can eat it right away it is soft serve-ish but I like to put it in the freezer (in a Tupperware) to set for an hour or so.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Birthday & Burrata

My Mum's birthday was Monday. Her answer to "What do you want for your birthday?" is always the same... "Nothing, save your money." I don't know why I go through the ritual of asking her each year because the answer never changes.

This year I got her a bunch of books. She's an avid reader so I hooked her up with the latest from her favorite authors. I made her a basket of some of her favorite treats. British stuff like shortbread, licorice allsorts, Cadbury's. I got her a gift certificate for lunch at her favorite restaurant we'll use next week sometime. Though in true Mum fashion her absolute favorite gift (and the cheapest) was this photo. I took one of the shots of us in New York City (still waiting on more pictures from Progresso), blew it up and framed it. Mum's are so easy pleased. I BBQ'd steaks for dinner. She had a nice day.

While I was BBQing I noticed the patio could use a good scrub. So yesterday I spent outside cleaning. I mean really cleaning. Standing on a step ladder scrubbing down the garden canopy/gazebo thingee, hosing the house down, scrubbing patio furniture. I ache today in areas I didn't know I had muscles.

After everything was put back into place we sat outside and had one of my favorite treats. Burrata Cheese. If you haven't tried Burrata. Do it. OMG it's worth every stinking fat gram. Burrata, "buttered" in Italian, is a specialty of the Puglia region of Italy (the heel of the boot.) It's basically a hollow ball of fresh mozzarella filled with panna (a cream that contains scraps of mozzarella left over from the mozzarella making process.) When you cut into the ball the cream oozes out and my excited heart skips a beat. A few bites of this and you are dreaming of being on a balcony in the sun-drenched south of Italy.

You'll find it in specialty cheese shops. Henry's and Whole Foods carries it too. Trader Joe's is now carrying "Burrata" in a 2 ball container but my initial taste test verdict is: Mr. Joe is off his rocker while I love most things at TJ's what he's calling Burrata is not Burrata. Skip it. My favorite brand is Il Pavone.

You'll want to use it fast, it's fresh and should be eaten with a few days of purchase. Sometimes I serve it savory with a bruschetta like topping of chopped fresh basil and fresh tomato. This time I did a sweet variation of grilled Farmer's Market peaches (brush with oil, toss on BBQ, chop up) and a drizzle of agave nectar (SF Vanilla Torani would work great too.) Seriously though it's so good it needs nothing but a spoon.

Practice moderation. It's not a low fat cheese. If you've read my blog for awhile you realize I don't do lowfat. Here's my theory of post weight loss surgery fat grams. I eat full fat cheese. Fat = flavor. With lowfat or non-fat cheese, yeah I'd get to eat more but whoopity-doo, all I think is how it tastes like cardboard and I sit wondering when I can have my next meal. Instead I have a few bites of the full fat good stuff, savor the utter deliciousness and move on fully satisfied. My premium pouch space is reserved for only the tastiest stuff.