Saturday, June 30, 2012

Wonton Tuna Melt

I heart wonton wrappers. At some point I'm sure I'll get bored and never see them again. But for now, I'm getting my money's worth out of that one package! I've always loved tuna melts, and tried these out while I was camping. Yummy. I ran out of "real" (well, low-fat still fake) cheese, so a Kraft Single had to do. Worked well enough.

Wonton Tuna Melt
Tip: Get all your ingredients ready to throw on the wonton wrapper. They crisp fast and you want time to heat up the tuna/cheese topping.
  • Spray a pan with non-stick spray (I use olive oil spray) and let heat slightly
  • Place in wonton wrapper and crisp one side
  • Flip it over and top with tuna (I didn't add mayo, but suppose you could)
  • Top with cheese and let remain on heat until wonton wrapper starts to brown
  • Remove from heat and cover to let cheese finish melting
Eat and enjoy!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Face Time

I've hit that stage where people are starting to notice my weight loss. Not in droves, but enough for me to know something must be showing. Over the camping weekend a couple of my guy friends asked if I'd lost weight (without knowing about the surgery), which was cool since guys never notice ANYthing. I could have had a bald head and they'd look at me like "is something different?".

Anyway, I then went back to work on Wednesday from my camping trip, feeling pretty happy about the morning's weigh-in where I hit 219. Now, I don't know if it was the weight loss or the all the fresh air I'd consumed over the long weekend, but I received several comments Wednesday and Thursday at work about looking "refreshed". A colleague who knows about the surgery commented that my face looked thinner, and I'd been thinking the same thing (as had some of you watching my YouTube videos apparently). So I thought I'd post some photos and let you be the judge! Later, gastricsleeve4me

MAY 19: At a San Diego Padres game 2 days before surgery
MAY 24: At the airport waiting to fly home three days post-surgery (and  5-days after photo above)

JUNE 27: Wednesday after work, 5.5 weeks post-surgery and 30 lbs down (to be fair, the angle isn't hurting me here :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

5.5 Week Update (30 lbs lost!)

Howdy readers! As I mentioned in my last post, I've been away camping in the Great Smokey Mountains so missed my 5 week update. Five days of no-scale, no-internet, no-phone bliss. Add friends and my dog, Sadie, and it was lovely. And I came home to a nice weight-loss surprise! Here's the stats:

Surgery day: 250.4
Week 2: 232.1
Week 3: 228.7
Week 4: 226.1
Today: 219.7
1.5 week weight loss: 6.4 lbs
Total weight loss: 30.7 lbs

Yipppppppeeeeeeeeee!!! One of the reasons this is so exciting is that 219 was my first mini-goal. I was hoping to make it by July 4th and I did it with a week to spare! For starters, I haven't seen under 220 for some time. I track my weight somewhat religiously (going back to 2000!) and my stats tell me that I hit 219 for a brief period in 2009, but it's really been since the middle of 2008. I've printed out this historical record and I'm loving crossing out the numbers as I pass them. It's like going back in time! I was at 200 briefly in 2006, but pretty much haven't been under it my entire adult life. That will kick ass.

Camping was great. Talk about easy food packing - I didn't need much! Mornings were either an egg or a protein shake. I'd have another protein shake at some point during the day, and intersperse that with cheese sticks, and slices of salami or turkey. Lunch or dinner was typically warming up my bites or ricotta bake that I'd brought along in the cooler (both were a real hit my non-sleeved camper friends!). A couple times I had tuna with a bit of cheese folded in a wonton wrapper. I can see that becoming a new little staple! When I didn't finish one, it did well getting re-heated in a skillet later.

Now, all that being said, I did NOT get in enough calories. Being out and about, I just wasn't as focused on food as I had been. Now, while that could be perceived as a good thing, it meant that I was barely getting in 400 calories for the first few days. And since I wasn't tracking, I didn't catch it right away. Once I did, I was more diligent. Lesson learned. I don't have to obsess, but I do need to pay attention if I'm going to stay healthy since I'm at a point where my tummy isn't going to signal me.

Enjoy the video and a few pics from the trip. Later, gastricsleeve4me

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Oatmeal Pizzas

I'm back!! Sorry for the absence. I was enjoying some no-scale, no-internet, no-phone serenity while camping in the Great Smokey Mountains in TN with friends and my pup, Sadie. I'll post a bit more about that when I do my 5.5 week update here shortly. But first, let me share my latest cooking endeavor.

A friend of mine is a fan of cooking with oats that he grounds and uses like flour. Not "oat flour" - but actually grinding up the oats. While I will continue to stay low-carb, my nutritionist has advised a couple of times to not go NO carb since it seems to really drain my energy. So I try to include some limited carbs (under 30g a day) here and there. Anyway, I visited my friend on the way back from my camping trip and we decided to experiment with using ground oats for pizza crust.

It was a resounding success! We basically used a recipe but substituted flour entirely for ground oats. When I packed up to leave his place, he gave me a small baggie of the oats we ground in his kitchen-aid blender thingy and I duplicated things at home to make mini pizzas in a muffin-top pan I have. Check out the recipe, photos, and enjoy! Later, gastricsleeve4me

Oatmeal-Crust Pizza
The recipe below is for the large pizza below. Keep scrolling for my notes on the mini-recipe.
2 1/2 c. ground oats (take oats and grind them in food processor, blender, etc. Should look like flour)
2 3/4 tsp. baking powder (if using baking soda use half and omit salt)
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. oil
3/4 to 1 c. water

Mix dry ingredients. Add oil, and start by adding 1/2 cup water. Stir. The trick here is to not get it sticky. If you have, you've added too much. It should be the consistency of slightly dry play-dough (see photo below). Add more water as needed, but just enough so that the dry ingredients hang together, and no more.

Knead on a "ground oats" surface and roll into pizza pan. Add toppings. Some considerations:
  • Pre-made pizza sauce, low-fat mozzerella, turkey pepperoni
  • Pesto, chicken, pine nuts, and slivers of goat cheese (this will be my next attempt :)
  • Refried beans, low fat cheddar cheese, and ground turkey mixed with taco seasoning
Bake at 400. It was 15-20 mins for the big pizza and 10-12 for the small. Yum!

This was my bowl for my mini-pizzas, but you can see the consistency you're aiming for.
All rolled and ready for toppings.
Good 'ol Ragu Pizza Sauce right from the jar
Light on cheese options in the fridge, we found a bit of pepper-jack to spread around
Admittedly still a little unclear on what type of ground meat this was. It was a mystery freezer package. I survived.
I was able to eat about a third :)
Once home it was my turn to try out some mini versions that wouldn't take me a month to eat with my mini-tummy. When I made my small ones, I made a quarter of the recipe above (e.g., divide everything by 4) and it worked out great. Once ingredients were mixed, I pressed them into muffin-top pan using the back of a spoon. I ate a whole one the first night but, honestly, it was too much. Learned my lesson and only ate a half the next time! Nutritional facts for the minis are at the bottom.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Refried bean cupcakes

I've been eyeing the wonton cupcakes from like food porn. On the way home from getting a foot and leg massage at the mall this weekend I stopped into Whole Foods. First, I ate this yummy Spicy Tuna Salad, which had salmon sashimi, avocado, and a bit of spicy sauce (and lettuce, which I skipped). Sleevie wasn't too sure about it, but we'll get there.

Whole Foods Spicy Tuna Salad
While I was there, I decided to grab some wonton wrappers in honor of my official four-week post-surgery milestone. I wasn't ready for the full monty (so to speak :) since I'm still introducing new foods one by one to check sleevie's tolerance level. So I decided to take the spirit of the wonton cupcake but stick to some basics. And refried bean cupcakes were born! Sleevie seems to be okay after one, and frankly one was just right. It was one of the first times I left the table satisfied, but not actually "feeling" it in my tummy. I think next time I'll add a little taco meat. Yum!

Refried Bean Cupcakes
Put wonton wrapper in mini muffin pan
Add tbsp of refried beansTop with dash of chipotle seasoning (or whatever)
Drizzle hot sauce (I did very little)
Top with grated cheddar

Bake 375 for 10 mins or whenever cheese is melted and edges of wonton wrappers start to brown. Garnish with dab of avocado and tsp of Greek yogurt. Nutritional info down below.

If you're interested in some guidance from on using the mini muffin pan instead of the full-fledged pan used in most recipes, you can read the Cupcake FAQs. Enjoy! Gastricsleeve4me

Beans in wonton wrapper with some spices and hot sauce
Fresh outta the oven

Garnished and ready for eatin'
The facts

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Week 4 Update

Hey there! Well, tomorrow is a month. Awesome. Can't wait until it's been like three and I'm actually out of clothes from my closet. At the moment all I'm realizing is that I was clearly a couple sizes above my size-18 wardrobe and was stuffing myself in for the last nine to twelve months! So, now my 18s are starting to fit. I have a ton of 16s, and some 14s as well, so should be a while before I'm out of a wardrobe. At least I'll save some money? Here's the stats:

Surgery day: 250.4
Week 2: 232.1
Week 3: 228.7
Today: 226.1
Week's weight loss: 2.6 lbs
Total weight loss: 24.3 lbs

Seems to be on track with my expectations of 20-25 lbs in the first month, so yay me! Still have a mini goal to be at 219 by July 4, but it might be pushing it, especially if I get into an official stall.

In my video I talk about what I'm thinking and feeling, as well as some of my current favorite things. I also I mentioned that I've been cooking like crazy. If you're interested in the recipes and nutritional info, here you go. Enjoy! gastricsleeve4me

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Cooking with Cauliflower

The cooking frenzy continues! I was going through my fridge to assess what might need to get used up (last week it was getting rid of expiring Fage and making it into frozen protein drops). This week it was a head of cauliflower I hadn't used yet. I'd seen many posts extolling the virtues of mashing up cauliflower and using it as a sort of potato-like base for cooking. So, I decided to experiment.

I made Eggface's Shelly's Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole. My photos and nutritional info are below. I made two tweaks to her recipe; one, I made it in a mini loaf pan and, two, because of that - I added a little bit of egg to each one to get it to hold together. Most importantly, I learned how I'll do it differently next time:
  • It was way too much cheese sauce (probably because I used the mini loaf pan), and the use of the flour, milk, and so much cheese seemed unnecessary. Next time I'll skip the cheese "sauce" and just top with cheese
  • The casserole as-made was pretty unformed. I'd added a bit of egg to each, then ran out. The ones that had the egg held together and I liked having it portioned out this way, rather than in a big casserole dish...particularly since I'm watching my nutritional info so closely these days
  • Apparently using like 5-year old flour makes stuff taste kinda lame. A reflection of how often I cook, I suppose :) Time to buy some new flour for sure
Cheesy Cauliflower Take 2 (aka how I'll make it next time)
1 med head of Cauliflower
2-3 eggs
1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar
1 TBSP butter
1/4 cup Bread Crumbs (optional)

Steam cauliflower, mash like crazy, and fill each mini loaf pan about half way. Best 2-3 eggs and drizzle into each mini loaf pan. Top with shredded cheese. Top with optional crumbs mixed with 1 tablespoon of butter. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

I'm also thinking a version where I add small cubes of ham and use laughing cow swiss (or swiss cheese) instead might be quite tasty. The use of cauliflower seems quite versitile. I saw a fun recipe using ranch dressing seasoning on Check it out. Or, these ones for Shelly's Cauliflower Fritters and Cauliflower Pie from Eggface. Enjoy! gastricsleeve4me

Mashed cauliflower. This was only about 1/4 of it.
Making the cheese sauce (will just use regular 'ol cheese next time)
Ready for the oven!
Baked and yummy
Ready for freezing

The facts

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Baked Ricotta

I've been on a cooking spree lately (frozen protein drops, anyone?). And the funny thing about this is that it's not typical "me". One might argue this is a positive. Because typical "me" would pick up takeout on the way home, and eat out probably 80% of the time (be that eating while traveling internationally for work, the various "lunch meetings" that happen when I'm working in the office, or a whole host of work dinners). So, anyway, I'm taking this as a positive thing.

Like many, I'm a fan of The World According to Eggface. She's got some phenomenal food ideas. I'm a little more used to recipes that have no more than three or four ingredients, so I'm starting out slowly! Even more exciting, I'm learning to take the basis and make things my own - like in the case of my buffalo chicken bites this weekend. Even though I have a freezer full of bites, and more food than I can possibly eat this week, I'm indulging this side of me who wants to experiment with tasty food that meets my nutritional goals.

I've been eyeing the Baked Ricotta recipe from for some time. I finally decided my sleeve was ready to try it. And it met my less-than-stellar cooking needs of having a limited number of ingredients. It also seemed time to put my new mini-loaf pan to the test. So, off I went! The verdict? It was easy and yummy. Two key food qualities I look for in something I'm cooking myself.

I tried freezing a couple, just to see how they'd do. I haven't tried them yet, but I'll let you know. The day after I made them I was craving pizza, and so I decided to re-heat one in the oven with some low-fat turkey pepperoni I found at the grocery store, and a little more mozzerrella on top.

I followed the recipe from Eggface pretty much to the tee, other than using the mini-loaf pan (loving how it portions it out for me) and adding the turkey pepperoni when I had a bit of a craving. I loaded the ingredients into My Fitness Pal and it gave me perfect nutritional requirements to use by loaf. Try it! Trust me, you can do it. Later, gastricsleeve4me

Ricotta mix in the pan (Italian seasoning was key!)
Put the sauce on top!

Mmmmm...fresh out of the oven
Ready for eatin'
Time for leftovers!
Add a little turkey pepperoni and cheese and voila!
My Fitness Pal nutritional facts with my ingredients

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

New Goodies

With all my new-found experimentation in the kitchen, though I would share a few things that I bought this past weekend, which I'm loving.

Baking pans
I bought a mini-muffin tin (not pictured) which has been key, most recently for my buffalo chicken bites (and chicken enchilada ones too!). Plus, there's a bazillion recipes on and that I'm interested in try.

The other one I bought, which I'm using to try out Baked Ricotta tonight, is the mini-loaf pan. It's a silicone one I picked up from I'm also looking forward to trying it out for Cauliflower Bake, and some mini-meatloafs when it comes time.

I put my hand there so you can see size, though I'm considering a new career in hand modeling ;)
Torani Sugar Free Syrups
I've seen so many recipes online using these, I finally bit the bullet and ordered a sample pack from Truth be told, I sort of thought they were sample-sized bottles, not the normal-size bottles I received, but suppose I shouldn't complain about getting more than I thought I was. But I'm running out of counter space! And suspect it will take me FOREVER to go through these.

So, what will I use these for? Add to plain greek yogurt to get the fruit flavor without all the sugar you'll get in the pre-made ones. Add to protein shakes for a different kind of flavor. Or perhaps to cool whip for a yummy dessert? The options are endless. The first thing I did? I actually added a bit of the caramel to mustard and mixed with canned chicken in an attempt to make a fake honey-mustard type thing. Wasn't something recipe-worthy, but did add a bit of the sweetness I was seeking. Really looking forward to trying out the raspberry. I love raspberry ANYthing.

The result of my mis-interpretation of a "sample pack" on
My Favorite Shake Bottle
I received a free bottle when I ordered the unjury starter pack of protein. I love the size so much I went online to and bought another one. I'd scoured the stores for something similar, but everything was super-sized (ah, the American way) and my 6-12 oz protein shakes looked so pathetic in them. It's one quart and now I can keep one at home, and one at work. Fabulous!

Powdered Peanut Butter
I'd posted about this in one of my vlogs, but thought it was worth mentioning a bit more here since it's fast becoming a favorite pantry item. When I got sick of my Isopure Zero Carb Vanilla protein powder plain, I started mixing this in and....YUM. And without the fat I'd get with actually adding nut butter from the store. The brand I can get at the market is made by Betty Lou's, but I've heard PB2 is a popular brand as well.

If you like peanut butter in its true form, you can add water to it and "voila!". Peanut butter it is. You may want to check out this powdered peanut butter review from Daily Garnish as well.

Well, those are some of my new goodies and favorite things at the moment; feel free to share your own! Best, gastricsleeve4me

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Week 3 update

Hey there! Can't believe tomorrow will be three weeks already. Frankly, I wish I could fast-forward a year and be thin :) But guess I have to do the work like everyone else! Here's the stats:

Surgery day: 250.4
Last week: 232.1
Today: 228.7
Week's weight loss: 3.4 lbs
Total weight loss: 21.7 lbs

Very cool. Had a lame four days where I was stuck at 230, but whatta ya gonna do? I have a mini goal to be at 219 by July 4. Haven't been in the "2-teens" since like 2008, so that would kick ass. In the video, I go over what I'm eating, what I'm learning, and what I'm feeling. But first, some more details on what I'm enjoying eating these days...

What I'm eating
  • My protein shakes have mostly been Isopure Zero Carb (Vanilla and Strawberry) and Syntrax Nectar (Caribbean Cooler and Apple Ecstasy). Got my hands on some reusable ice cubes, which is keeping my shakes colder longer. Digging that.
  • Fat free refried beans (2 TBSP), a bit of cheese melted on top, and 2 TBSP of Fage 2% greek yogurt
  • Hummus
  • Campbell's Tomato Soup at Hand (I do half at a sitting), with 1 TBSP of Fage thrown in for protein
  • Frozen Protein Drops from theworldaccordingtoeggface
  • "Bites", aka crustless quiches
Want to read more? Check out my post on making eggface's Frozen Protein Drops, and my very own bites. Would love to hear from you! My comments board is awfully sad :( Enjoy! gastricsleeve4me

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Frozen Protein Drops

Today, I made Frozen Protein Drops from theworldaccordingtoeggface. I used Isopure Zero Carb Strawberry. They came out great...barring one collision with my unfrozen drops and an ice pack that fell on top. Drat. Enjoy! gastricsleeve4me

Complete with the eggface recipe on my ipad :)
I put mixture into a ziplock, cut the corner, and squirted out my drops
Son of a bit*ch. In-freezer collision. Mixed up some more greek yogurt and protein
Ready for eatin'

Friday, June 8, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Bites

Inspired by Emily Bites Buffalo Chicken Cupcakes (but not ready for wonton wrappers) and Eggface's famous bites (but, alas, no buffalo chicken recipe), I decided to make my own. They were sooooo yummy! Had quite a kick, so if you choose to make these, you may want to take it easy on the buffalo sauce. I like spice, and I couldn't have done much more. Had I used low-fat cheese, they would have been more healthy, so will try that next time. Scroll down for photos and the nutritional value of the ingredients I specifically used. I will confess that I don't cook much so trust me when I say "if I can do it, you can do it".

Buffalo Chicken Bites (recipe yielded 17 "bites")
5 eggs (if I had to make again would go down to 4 and aim for making a dozen)
2/3 cup canned chicken (I used Trader Joe's canned chicken in water)
1/4 cup Buffalo Wing Sauce (they had a kick, so try less if not your thing)
2 teaspoons Ranch Dressing Seasoning (I don't like blue cheese, but you could play with that)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

350 for 30 minutes

Ranch dipping sauce
Mix 1/2 teaspoon of Ranch Dressing Seasoning per 1 oz (2 tablespoons) of greek yogurt for a tasty topping

Combined ingredients (except cheese) in bowl. Filled mini
muffin tin about half-way and added cheese, then filed to top

Fresh out of the oven. Cooled, then popped out of pan into the freezer
Nutritional facts for the ingredients I used
Chicken Enchilada Bites (recipe yielded 12 "bites")
After the success of the buffalo chicken bites, I thought I'd go another round with chicken enchilada bites. When I make them again, I might actually cut the taco seasoning in half and add more enchilada sauce.

4 eggs
2/3 cup canned chicken (I used Trader Joe's canned chicken in water)
1/4 cup Enchilada Sauce
2 teaspoons Taco Seasoning
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (wish I had used more, and probably gone for low-fat)
Top with greek yogurt

350 for 30 minutes