Archive for the ‘cooking’ Category

Getting Real

Before I get into my joining in on the ToneItUp Bikini Series again this year, I thought I should take a moment to get real.  It’s been quite some time since I updated my weight on this blog (or even on MFP, for that matter).  I’ve mentioned in a previous post that throughout the fall and winter, my workouts and eating had been a bit sporadic.  I did workouts some days, but nothing extremely consistent, as I had been.  I ate pretty well, but did let more carbs and “snacks” creep into my diet, especially as the holidays approached.  And I gained about 13 pounds from my lowest weight of 170, meaning that on Sunday, April 12th I weighed in at 183.0.  I wasn’t overly surprised by this gain; my clothes had started to fit a bit snugger and my face didn’t look as thin as it had in late summer.  At the same time, I know that in my pre-WLS days not eating great and not working out for 6 months would have netted a gain of much more than 13 pounds.  Which is why I’m so grateful for this VSG tool.  It helps to keep me in line with my portion sizes and helps me make sure that things don’t ever get totally out of control.  13 pounds I can deal with.

TIU Bikini Series


Thanks to @toningupcoco for creating this awesome image!

ToneItUp is at it again – helping people get “bikini ready” in the 8 weeks before summer.  Since this is their 5th year of the Bikini Series, they decided to kick things off a bit earlier, so this year’s Bikini Series will end on June 6th.  Just like last year, I decided to join in on the fun, and immediately signed up for the Bikini Series.  Unlike last year, I’ve become a full-fledged member of the TIUTeam this year.  I bought the TIU Nutrition Program, which includes 1000s of recipes and meal ideas.  Once you buy the Nutrition Program, you’re a member for life; you’re never charged more and you get seasonal additions to the plan. This year for the 5th Bikini Series, they came out with an 8-week meal plan, making it that much easier to follow the TIU suggested meals.  They even included a grocery list and meal prep guide.  With all this built in organization and healthy eating, I just couldn’t wait to start on April 12th.

To prepare, I hit Sprouts and Trader Joe’s on Saturday, and spent some time meal prepping so that I’d be ready to start my day on Sunday with all the foods I needed for the early part of the day.


Then I spent a few hours on Sunday prepping food for the rest of the week.  I’m really enjoying the recipes they suggested, and have been liking trying some new ingredients like shredded coconut and almond flour, trying new meals like chia pudding, and eating a bit more calories than I’m used to.  Since their meals are all based around clean, whole foods, upping the calories hasn’t been departmental to my weight loss.  I have had to cut the portion sizes to fit my post-WLS tummy, but that’s been pretty simple.  At this point, almost 2 years post-op, I know how much I can eat in one sitting.  (So, instead of eating 6oz of mahi mahi, I eat 4oz). I love how colorful and full of flavor the meals are, and I’m eating a ton of fruits and veggies.  The recipes themselves are all pretty easy to make, which is a plus.

Here’s an example of a typical day of food on the Bikini Series 8-Week Meal Plan:

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Breakfast: Blueberry Zest muffins, strawberries, and 1/2 protein shake (I added this in lieu of almond milk because it has more protein)
Snack: apple and hard-boiled egg
Lunch: Spinach, tuna w/ wasabi mayo (this is another one of my own meals, not strictly on the plan, but within most of their guidelines)
Snack: Berry Bright Chia Pudding
Dinner: Chili in a Bowl w/1/4 avocado

Bikini Series Goals

Another thing I really like about the Tone It Up approach is that it’s not just about food and working out (although those are super-important!), it’s also about the mindset you have.  They suggested setting goals to accomplish throughout the Bikini Series:



I’m really proud of the fact that this week, I woke up and did my “bootycalls” (morning workouts) all 5 days before work!  It wasn’t always easy, but I made it happen, and I really do think my day went better because I got the workout in early and felt so energized.  I also love creating the photo collages I put up on IG every morning, like this one I did today:

IMG_3687 As you can see, I’m already well on my goal of hitting 100 miles  by summer! I’m doing so well on this goal that I may increase it to 150 miles by summer – I want to wait another week and see how many I log after two weeks before I make the switch.

TIU Team

Another huge part of the Tone It Up philosophy is women supporting and encouraging each other.  Last year I started following tons of other TIU girls on IG, liking and commenting on their photos.  This year I decided to amp it up a bit by joining two new groups on FB dedicated to TIU.  One is a general TIU Bikini Series group that has people from all over the world in it.  It’s been a fun place to share ideas, ask questions, and get encouragement.  I also joined a more local TIU group on FB for other TIU girls who live in the South SF Bay Area.  This is the group I’m most excited about because it’s full of other women who live in my area.  We’ve already scheduled a few meetups, one of which is happening next Thursday at a spinning studio that I’ve never been to.  I can’t wait to meet some new friends who share my interest in maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle.

Progress Photos – “Before”


Lots of the TIU ladies were nervous about posting their “before” photos online, but I wasn’t.  These aren’t my before photos – you guys know that I started this weight loss journey at my all-time heaviest weight of 315.  I’m really proud of what I’ve accomplished since then, so these photos are a badge of honor to me.  And I just can’t wait to see how much slimmer I look in my “after” photos at the end of the 8 weeks.

Oh, and another point of inspiration – this morning when I weighed myself I was already down 1.4 lbs since Sunday, weighing in at 181.6.  Not bad for 5 days.  Especially considering that I increased my calories from an average of 900/day to about 1200/day.

Wrapping It Up

I’m thrilled with the choice I made to join the Bikini Series again this year, and I’m really looking forward to all of the positive things that will come of it.


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As you guys know, I’ve been loving the ToneItUp‘s workouts since mid-January.  I’ve done them 5 days a week, every week since I began, only missing while I was on vacation in Hawaii.  (If you haven’t checked them out, I highly recommend you do.  It’s completely free, and they have a fun community, full of supportive, motivating people who cheer on every workout you post about).

They’re about to launch their new #bikiniseries this coming Monday, which will run for 8 weeks, until the official start of summer.  Karena and Katrina put so much into the daily workouts they design, and the best part is, the whole thing is free.  All you need to do is sign up for the #bikiniseries and you’ll get reminder emails, weekly workouts, fun giveaways, yummy recipes, contests, etc.

I like the approach that Tone It Up takes toward living a healthy lifestyle.  Not only do they include workouts and nutrition, but they also concentrate on mindset.  Take yesterday’s challenge, for example:

The challenge asked participants to create their own summer must-do list.  Beyond workouts and eating right, what were things that we wanted to make sure to fit in this summer? I loved this! Any time I can make a list and get creative with my summer plans, I’m all for it!  As a teacher, lots of people ask me, what do you do all summer long?  My answer is always the same – anything I want to!  🙂  This summer, I really want to concentrate on enjoying each and every day.  I didn’t include all of my plans on my list, but I did include most of the things I’m hoping to do:



The photo I used is one that was taken for me by a Danish tourist while I was riding my bike at Kailua Beach on Oahu.  She worried that I would be upset that so much of it was in the shadows, but I assured her that I actually liked the way it turned out.  It was the perfect photo to use for this assignment because it has an artsy feel right off the bat.  I like the way I’m in silhouette with the bike, but the ocean and the beach are in the bright sun in the background.

I thought I’d elaborate a bit on each of these summer plans…

Mid-morning swims: One of my favorite parts of summer is being able to swim at the pool at my parents’ townhouse complex.  More often than not, if I get there by 10:30 or 11, I have the entire place to myself, and I’m free to swim laps to my heart’s content.  Sometimes my dad and I meet there and swim together, and it’s a nice way for us to connect with each other as we update each other on the latest family happenings while we’re drying off in the sun.  It’s also a great time for me to be alone with my thoughts and just let go of all worries and stress.  Swimming really soothes me, and I can’t wait to start my almost-daily swims.

Daily doses of laughter: Whether it’s retelling a funny story, joking with my nieces, or watching Sofi do something goofy, I want to appreciate all the little moments of laughter that are part of my daily life this summer.  Laughter is good for the soul and the spirit, and I want to make sure I’m enjoying it all the time.

Hawaii-themed party: Since I had such a fun time in Hawaii, I figured it would be fun to have a party with a Hawaiian theme.  I’m still deciding if I’ll combine it with a Silpada party that I’m planning to have, or if it will be more of a traditional party.  Either way, I have plenty of fun outfits to choose from.

Coffee chats: I live really close to Starbucks (doesn’t everyone?!), so close in fact, that I can walk there with ease.  It’s become a habit with three or four of my friends that we meet up there and catch up about all that’s going on in our lives.  It’s the perfect place to get together because I can get a calorie-free passion iced tea, or a caffeine kick with an iced cinnamon dolce misto.  As far as I’m concerned, coffee is the perfect drink any time of day, so it fits well with a more carefree summer schedule.

SF (and SJ) Giants games: I love supporting my Giants, and plan to go to as many games as I can afford to this summer.  One that I know I’ll go to is the Italian Night at the Giants, where a really large group of family and friends all get together.  It’s so much fun!  The tickets at AT&T Park are expensive, so lately my friends and I have been opting to go to the SJ Giants games.  Not only are they ridiculously inexpensive (less than $10 per game), but they’re a lot of fun.  Very family-friendly, with lots of activities for the kids to participate in between innings.  My friend Di and I are even signing up to do the Giant 5K, which gets us into the game the evening of the race.  I’m actually going to an SJ Giants game this Friday with my sister and nieces, which will be tons of fun.  Bring on the baseball!!

Going on dates!: I’m actually really looking forward to this one.  Assuming of  course there are men to go on dates with.  I was only on Match.com for about 2 months back in November/December, and I have to say, I was pretty underwhelmed.  I got lots of winks, emails, and nudges, but when it came time for the guys to just make the move and ask for my number so we could move it to the next level of texting/talking on the phone and then hopefully soon afterward meeting up, they never pulled the trigger.  Even when I directly said, “here’s my number, I’d love to figure out a time for us to meet up for coffee or something.”  They disappeared quick.  I’m not one to go into a long and drawn out relationship online via email, or text, for that matter.  If you’re interested, you think I’m cute, you want to get to know me better, then let’s do that – let’s meet up and see if we hit it off.  Because we can have all the chemistry in the world online, we won’t know if we’re really going to be attracted to each other until we meet up.  I’m hoping that this time of year will be easier to connect than it was around the holidays.  One of the major takeaways I had from my trip to Hawaii was that I’m really ready to be in a relationship, even a more casual one.  Hopefully I have a bit of romance in store this summer.

Leash-free beach trips: Last summer I had a blast taking Sofi to a lesser-known beach where she could run off leash.  We have the best time when we go – she loves running along the shore, but is afraid to get too close to the water, so I don’t have to worry much about the waves taking her.  We both get in a great walk, we get some sunshine, and I get to read and relax.  What could be better?  Besides just that particular dog-friendly beach, I also hope to hit the other local beaches often this summer.

Long walks w/ Sofi: I take Sofi on walks almost every single day, but in the summer it’s so nice to be able to wake up and take a nice, long walk before the temperature heats up too much.  I love exploring all the different streets around my neighborhood with Sofi.  She loves when I find new places for our walks, so that’s definitely on my to-do summer list.

Reading: I’m not off to the best start so far this year in terms of my reading goal on Goodreads, but I did get quite a bit of reading time in when I was on vacation in Hawaii.  My goal for the summer is to fit in at least an hour a day of reading time.  I enjoy reading so much, and I want to make it a priority during the time of year when I have so few responsibilities pulling my focus from the things I enjoy.

Riding roller coasters: This is a huge one for me! It will definitely be its own blog post when it happens because it will be a major NSV.  I love going on roller coasters – the wilder and faster the better.  I haven’t been on one in I can’t even remember how long because of the time that I got on one and almost had to get off because the safety bar wasn’t going to close.  I pleaded with the kid running the ride to let me stay on it, and he did.  After that I only got bigger and knew that roller coaster were way out of reach.  I didn’t ever want to risk the embarrassment of being asked to get off before I was able to ride the ride.  So, this summer I plan on going to Great America and the Santa Cruz Boardwalk to ride as many roller coasters as I can.  Can’t wait!!

Family BBQs: I love grilling any day of the week, but getting together with my family and friends and sharing a meal as easy as BBQing is something really look forward to.  Sometimes it’s as simple as bringing my meat over to their house for an impromptu BBQ; other times it’s a more planned affair, like for Father’s Day or 4th of July.  Either way, I can’t wait to fire up the grill and get cooking!

Cocktails: Summertime is a great time to relax and let go a bit.  While I usually only drink on special occasions because the alcohol has empty calories, there is something to be said for enjoying a nice glass of white wine or a Swirl (local peeps will know what time talking about) with friends. Any afternoon or evening becomes more of a celebration when you add a cocktail.

Bike rides: I love riding my cruiser around, and now that more of my friends have bikes, too, I hope to get out and go on rides all summer long.  Half Moon Bay, Morgan Hill, and everywhere in between.  I love the freedom I feel when I’m riding my bike, the sun shining on my face, the wind in my hair.  There’s nothing in the world like it.

Backyard lounging: I have this great Adirondack chair that I bought a few years ago that’s nicely weathered now.  I adore sitting in it and enjoying the peace and serenity of my backyard.  Looking at the garden and seeing the flowers and trees.  Watching Sofi cavorting in the grass.  Reading, listening to music, or just trying to keep cool on a warm night.  Sounds perfect to me.

There are a lot more things I could add to my list, but I’ll save those up until I have enough to create an entirely new one.  This was such a fun exercise, and I’m really glad the Tone It Up girls gave this assignment.  It put me in a great mood and gave me some inspiration to get through these last weeks of my school year.

Now that you’ve read my list of how I’m going to create my summer, I’d like to challenge you to write your own list.  Either in the comments or by joining the TIU challenge.  Post a pic on Instagram with your list.  Tweet about it.  Write your own blog post.  It was a fun activity that really put me in the mindset to enjoy myself this summer, and I can’t wait to read about your plans.

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bilblcooksI found this recipe in the November issue of Self magazine, and knew I had to give it a try.  I made it tonight for my parents and sister, and they couldn’t stop raving.  The recipe takes a bit of prep, but it’s perfect to make when entertaining, because the actual cooking time is relatively short – less than 20 minutes.  Plus, your guests will be really impressed! It’s a hearty, satisfying meal that is perfect for fall and winter.

Nutrition Info:

portabello nutrition

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(Note: the original recipe called for chicken broth, but I didn’t include it in the dish I made because I didn’t think it needed it).

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

First, clean the portabello mushrooms and remove the gills and caps.

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Place a piece of parchment paper on a rimmed cookie sheet.  Put mushrooms cap up on the cookie sheet. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and brush half of it onto the mushroom caps.

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Bake for 8 minutes.

While the mushrooms are cooking, start sauteeing shallot/garlic/onion mixture with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Add in rosemary.

2013-11-02 18.44.46 The kitchen will start smelling heavenly at this point.

Add cannelini  beans that have been drained and rinsed, cubed prosciutto, and parsley.  Cook for 5 minutes. Remove mixture from pan and set aside.  Add spinach to skillet and wilt, about a minute.

At this point, the mushrooms will be ready.  Flip them over so you can fill them.  Brush with remaining olive oil/balsamic mixture.  Add spinach.  Then fill with bean/prosciutto mixture.

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Combine panko breadcrumbs and cheese, and divide among mushrooms.

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Coat with olive oil spray and bake for 10 minutes.  The panko breadcrumbs will turn golden and the kitchen will fill with such an amazing aroma that your dinner guests will ask if it’s almost ready.  Tell them it will be worth the wait.

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It’s hard to believe that something that tastes this good and has this much flavor is only 265 calories!

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Autumn has arrived! Which means that life is back to normal – school’s in, my schedule is busy, and obligations abound. But I won’t use those as excuses to slack on my goals. The great thing about fall is that the weather is cooler, which means that those wonderful fall fashions will keep me motivated. Plus, crisp temperatures mean that it’s never “too hot” to workout. I’m going to relish my nightly cup of steaming hot tea as another way to keep my water intake up. I look forward to all those hearty, satisfying and wls-friendly soups, stews, and crockpot meals that I’ll create for myself. This year, the changing season will mark new milestones that I haven’t seen in 5, 7, 10+ years! Bring on fall 2013 – it’s time to reach new heights! Sunday weigh-ins will keep me accountable through the weekend, and will give me a positive goal to begin each new week. Throughout the fall, I’ll be giving Sunday progress updates called Fabulous Fall Weigh-Ins.

Week 22 brought with it the change of seasons.  Finally, we’re experiencing cold mornings and evenings, although our days are gorgeous and sunny.  I love the layered clothing of fall, and it’s been fun putting cooler-weather outfits together.  My closet is down to the bare minimum, so I’ve spent a bit on some new sweaters – more on that in a bit. My food has been great, and I’ve been enjoying lots of fall flavors – butternut squash casserole, rotisserie chicken and pumpkin soup, and today I’m going to make pumpkin pie crockpot oatmeal.  Of course I put my own spin on each of these recipes, especially the oatmeal. I need more protein than the original recipe has, so I add in scoops of vanilla protein powder (I also omit the maple syrup in favor of flavored sugar free torani – saves calories and tastes just as good).

So, how’s the scale looking?

When I weighed in this morning, I was 217.6, which is a loss of 1.4 pounds this week, and a loss of 59.4 lbs since surgery! I’ve lost a total of 97.4 pounds from my highest weight!!  The weight loss is slowing down a bit these past couple of weeks, but I’m proud that I can honestly say that I have never had a stall in these 22 weeks.  Considering how awful my weight loss was pre-op, this is a fantastic fact! Actually, forget the caveat, this is a fantastic fact no matter what!  I see so many others on MyFitnessPal struggle with stalls from week to week, but I’ve never experienced one.  I can’t speak to what happens with other people’s bodies, but I can say for mine that having the surgery absolutely reset my metabolism, which had been shot after so many years of yo-yo dieting. Plus the fact that I have followed (most of) the rules Kaiser laid out and cook most of my meals myself.  I have gone out, of course, but it’s a rare, celebratory thing.  I have completely embraced this new lifestyle, and it’s paying off.

I can’t believe how close I am to losing 100 lbs!  I just can’t wait for that magic number to show up on the scale – I really hope I can get to it this week, but if not, I know that within 2 weeks, I’ll be there.  Can you believe it?  I really can’t.  I know I’ve been working hard, and have done everything I should, but it feels very surreal to me that I’ve lost this much weight.  Thank God I had the surgery!

One of the fun things that I did this week was spend the Anthropologie gift card that Amber gave me a couple of months ago.  Her gift was absolutely incredible because it came as a total surprise, and she said she sent it because I was so inspiring to her.  I mean, c’mon!  So generous and so sweet.  I’ve held onto the gift card because I’ve had it in my mind that I’d spend it when I got to goal.  But then I started thinking about the fact that I’m just now moving into tops that I can find in “normal” stores, so why not treat myself?  Plus the fact that my closet is in desperate need of some new fashions.  I went onto Anthropologie.com and hit the “sale” tab.  We all know that their regularly-priced clothing is so expensive, so I figured I’d see what was on sale.  Wow, there are some amazing deals on really cute stuff, and surprisingly, much of it was for this season.  There were quite a few things I liked, but I also wanted to keep to the $50 gift card and not have to spend too much extra.  So, this is what I settled on:

black anthro It was originally $128, marked down to $39.99.  With tax and shipping, it came out to $49.80 – pretty good shopping if I do say so myself! I got black because I figured it would take me through fall, winter, and into spring.  Plus, I love it.  And it will go nicely with jeans, skirts, and pants.  I know you can’t see much detail from the photo, so here it is in cream, which shows it off much better:

cream anthro I love the shoulder detail – those little loops are fun and funky and just different enough to be unique.  Plus, I think having something at the shoulder will probably help define my hourglass shape.  Or, it will make me look like a linebacker…I guess we’ll see.  I ordered it in a Large, which is crazy!  Many of the comments online were saying that it ran large, so I figured that I would get the most use out of it in that size.  I can’t wait!

Amber, thank you again so much for your generosity.  This is my first clothing purchase ever from Anthropolgie, and it’s all because of you!!  I’ll definitely think of you and your support and friendship every time I wear it.

Today’s quote is a great reminder of all of the things that I CAN do.

  • I can walk a 5K (or 5 miles, as I did with the SJ RocknRoll) without any pain. More than that, I have fun doing it.
  • I can go into any clothing store and buy tops that fit.  This is a huge milestone! (I can’t wait for the day I can say the same thing of pants).
  • I can lose weight even though my life is hectic and there never seems to be enough time in the day to accomplish everything I need to do.
  • I can make time for workouts because I love the way they make me feel and I know they help me create a stronger body, inside and out.
  • I can inspire other people toward their own weight loss goals, and I lead by example.
  • I can achieve every goal I have set for myself, which I’m doing, one by one.

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Until next Sunday, my friends. I hope the scale treats you well, and that you have a wonderful week!

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bilblcooksI’ve been wanting to make stuffed peppers for a while, and since I had some bell peppers in the fridge and had just purchased quinoa yesterday, it seemed like tonight was a good idea. Although the quinoa has more carbs than I usually eat, I like the idea of enjoying it every so often. I checked out a few recipes, but most of them were more Mexican-flavored, so I did what my mom says good cooks do – made it my own.

Italian Quinoa & Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers

Ingredients & Nutrition Info:



Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. While that’s going, get the quinoa cooking.

20130714-183816.jpgI used 1 cup of water for 1/2 a cup of dry quinoa. It takes about 10-15 minutes to cook, so while it was bubbling away on the stove, I got the turkey ready.


Saute the onions in a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add garlic. Add turkey and cook until browned. Once the quinoa is ready, add that. Finally, add half of the pasta sauce and some fresh basil, and combine.


In the mean time, while the onions and turkey are browning, cut two bell peppers lengthwise, and remove the stems and seeds. I placed a tiny bit of pasta sauce at the bottom of a lightly greased pan, just to insure the peppers wouldn’t stick/burn. Then stuff the peppers with the mixture. As you can see, they’re overflowing.

20130714-183926.jpg Add the cheese right before you pop them in the oven.

Over the pan with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

20130714-191625.jpg Look at how delicious and bubbly these look. The house smelled fabulous the entire time they were cooking, and I couldn’t wait for the timer to ding.

20130714-191637.jpg I ate 3/4 of the pepper, and the entire filling, but those of you who haven’t had WLS would probably want to have a salad or some other veggie on the side.  Or, you might eat two halves, if you really have an appetite.  Either way, enjoy – MANGIA!!

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As you guys know, I’ve gotten a TON of great recipes and meal ideas from Michelle over at The World According to Eggface. I love her segment, A Day in My Pouch, where she shows the fun foods she’s eating while staying WLS-friendly. The thing I love about the bento concept is that it provides instant portion control and organization. I was so impressed that I asked for a Bento of my own for my birthday.

My sister and I are heading to SeaScape for the day, along with our pooches, and our outing gave me the perfect opportunity to put together my very first on-the-go bento lunch. So today begins a periodic segment I’m going to call, What’s in My Bento?


Orange: 2.5 oz of tuna mixed with mayo & mustard (I didn’t have any pickle relish)
Yellow: red bell pepper “scoops” (instead of using crackers – watching carbs)
Green: watermelon chunks
Blue: 1/2 a cookie dough Quest bar (for the ride home)

I’m going to be using my bento daily for my lunches once school is in session, and as I put together interesting combos, I’ll definitely share.  Maybe in a weekly post, showing a few bento lunches at once.

I hope you get out today and have a fantastic Saturday!

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bilblcooksNow that I’m a post-op VSG person, I’m on the lookout for recipes that will allow me to keep eating the way I like to – well-balanced, healthy, whole foods. The best blog I’ve found for a post-surgery healthy lifestyle is The World According to Eggface. Shelly cooks the way that I like to, and so when I was looking for something new for breakfast, I knew I wanted to try Eggface’s Breakfast Bites. Like any good cook, I decided to make the recipe my own, and changed it up a bit. That’s one of the things I love about Shelly’s recipes – they’re very customizable. She gives you the main idea, and then you’re only limited by your own culinary choices.

Bella’s Eggface Breakfast Bites



The only ingredient I didn’t list in MFP was the sage, which came straight from my sister’s herb garden. I really love that I can have pancetta and full-fat cheese and each bite only comes out to 40 calories!


Preheat oven to 350 so that it’s waiting for you, and not the other way around.

Since I was using pancetta, I knew that I wanted to cook that up first, so that I could use the drippings as the fat to saute the veggies. So I rendered the pancetta first, and then put it on paper towels to soak up some of the grease.


My food processor came in really handy in chopping up the onions and crimini mushrooms. Once they’re chopped, saute them in the pancetta drippings left in the skillet.


Once the mushrooms and onions are soft, add in the green onions (which I chopped by hand), as well as the pancetta. This way, all the flavors can meld.


Take the skillet off the heat and allow those ingredients to cool a bit before adding in the egg and cheese.


To make sure the muffins come out of the pan easily after they’re cooked, spray the mini muffin pan liberally with cooking spray. I used Trader Joe’s canola oil spray, but something like Pam would work well, too.

20130611-084657.jpg One tip I can give to make cleanup a breeze is to make sure to wipe off the excess spray off the pan itself. The same goes with any egg mixture that might drip on the edges of the pan as you fill it.

Bake the muffins for 30 minutes. While they’re cooking, you’ll see that they puff up and look like real bakery muffins, but as soon as you take them out, they deflate. The kitchen smelled amazing while these were baking.


Eggface showed hers cooling on a rack, so I followed suit. I made sure to put some paper towels under the rack, just in case anything dripped.

20130611-084726.jpg I couldn’t wait to try these! Don’t they look delish?!

I stored all of them in a large container, separating each layer with paper towels. I shared mine with my sister and parents, so I didn’t need to freeze them, but I’m sure they would freeze up beautifully.


20130611-092046.jpgTo reheat, I’d suggest the oven or toaster oven for 10 minutes. It’s worth the time it takes to wait for the oven to preheat because the bites come out warm and almost crisp. (So much better than the gumminess that would come out of the microwave).

20130611-092056.jpg I have three mini muffins plus some fruit for breakfast, and I’m satisfied for hours. Those with a normal-sized tummy will probably want to eat more, but at these nutritional totals, there’s no guilt. Enjoy!

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This morning I had my two-week post-op appointment with the surgeon, and it was refreshing because it was the first time I had an appointment in the bariatric department when I wasn’t worried about making the weight loss requirement.  Unlike my previous appointments, I even had breakfast (a protein shake) prior to weighing in.

gold-starI got on the scale, and it showed 266, which is an 11 pound loss since the day of surgery.  (It also means that I’ve lost 49 lbs so far, so I’m hoping that a big, celebratory post will be in order tomorrow!).  Then they took my blood pressure, something that in the past has always been on the lower side of the high range.  Today it read 119/79, which they said is perfect!  I’m thrilled!!  They asked me a series of questions about my medication, my diet, my pain, as well as my overall feeling, and told me they were really impressed with how well I was doing.  That I was following everything to the letter, and that it showed.  (I felt like they were giving me a gold star, and being the girl who is the perfect student, that was amazing).

Then I met with the surgeon, who said that he was impressed with the way that my scars were healing, with my level of energy, and my general health.  He said I was a model patient!!  He answered a few of the questions that I had, and the entire appointment went really smoothly.

Today’s visit:

  • cleared me for driving!!
  • allows me to move on to more activities than just walking.  Bike, elliptical, and light weight training – here I come.  As soon as all my incisions completely close (2-3 days’ time), I can start swimming!!
  • moves me into Stage III foods!!!!

Stage III Foods

The exciting thing about Stage III foods is that it opens up a wide set of textures and tastes that make me feel like more of a normal person again.  I get to chew my food!  😀  On Stage III I can eat:

  • eggs (although I don’t think I’ll be partaking, since I’m not a huge fan)
  • deli lunchmeat, like turkey, chicken, and ham
  • soft fish, like tilapia, salmon (in moderation), etc.  (No shrimp yet, since those are firmer)
  • canned tuna and chicken
  • tofu
  • dairy: Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, string cheese, semi-soft cheeses (like gouda, mozzarella, etc).
  • all fruit!!  I have to peel the skin off of fruits like apples and pears, but otherwise, I can have all of them.  Pre-op I was limiting my fruit because of the carbs, but now that my portions are so small, I’m going to have fruit with most meals.
  • most veggies, well cooked.  (Stage 4 is where I can have raw veggies and greens, which I cannot wait for).  They did say to avoid overly fibrous vegetables, like asparagus.
  • hard crackers and well-toasted wheat bread
  • mashed potatoes

I can work with that!  I’m already thinking of fun meal plans. Today I kept things fairly simple:


I can’t tell you how delicious the peach tasted!  And having crackers and tuna?  So  good!


My veggies have to be “well cooked,” and since I really don’t like overcooked vegetables, I decided to grill the eggplant.  One small eggplant yielded enough for lunch and dinner for the next few days.

I can already tell that my grocery bill is going to go way down.  It’s going to take some getting used to not to overbuy, but I guess that’s all part of my new lifestyle.  I am definitely going to keep Eggface’s blog in my bookmarks, because she puts together food that looks so appealing (maybe because Shelly’s Italian, too, so we like the same foods?). In any case, I put one of her famous bentos on my Amazon wishlist, and I’m hoping I get it for my birthday.  If not, I’ll buy one before school starts, because it really is perfect for portion control post-wls.

Today was a great day, the whole way around.  Not only did I have a stellar appointment, but I am eating food I really enjoy, AND I got to spend the day with my dad.  He was kind enough to plant a bunch of flowers for me.  (See my IG photo —->).

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Happy Monday! It’s been a little while since I’ve had the time on Mondays to take part in the FMM posts, so I’m happy to have a bit of time to write this up.

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

Food Questions

1. What did you eat for dinner last night? Lowfat curry chicken with roasted cauliflower.
2. If you could make one food calorie-free for the next year, What would you choose? Cheese.
3. How often do you go to the grocery store? I average about 2-3 times a week – I go to Sprouts for produce, Safeway or Target for a few name brand items, and Trader Joe’s for most other things.
4. Do you make a list before buying groceries? Most of the time, it helps me stay organized and get through the shopping quicker.  I’ve also noticed that if I stick to a list, I stay on budget a bit easier.
5. List three things that can always be found in your kitchen. Leafy greens, protein powder, and Cherub tomatoes.
6. How often do you clean out your fridge? I do a thorough cleaning, taking out the drawers and shelves, on a monthly basis.
7. Do you ever use a slow cooker? If so, will you share a recipe? I have a few great, go-to slow cooker recipes, but my all time favorite is my version of Hungry Girl’s 10-Alarm Crock Pot Turkey Chili:

8. How often do you try new recipes? I love trying new recipes!  I’ve found a ton of great ones on Pinterest, ZipList, and Skinnytaste.com.
9. What is the most delicious meal(s) you make? Without sounding like I’m bragging, I would say that most of the meals I make are delicious.  🙂  I really enjoy cooking for myself.  Check out Bella Cooks to see some of my recipes.
10. Share at least one thing that is currently in your kitchen even though you don’t like it.  I bought some Better n Peanut Butter to see if I liked it, and it’s awful.  It tastes so artificial and gross.  It’s definitely heading into the garbage can soon.

Now it’s your turn to answer the questions!   And also be sure to go back to Kenlie’s blog and leave a link to your FMM post in the comments!  I really encourage you to comment on as many people’s posts as you can – I’ve met some fantastic people through FMM, including Kim, among many other wonderful people.  You never know who you’ll meet today.

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It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time for a WIAW. What I Ate Wednesday is a fun weekly post/blog social event started over at Peas and Crayons. If you want to follow my eats everyday, become my friend on MyFitnessPal.



My first time using PB2 – I loved it in my smoothie on Saturday!


I got this idea from Truly Jess: layered oats + Fage + PB2. It was so hearty and stayed with me for hours.



My usual wrap (Flatout, 2 oz turkey, 2 oz ham, 1 wedge Laughing Cow, romaine leaves) + cucumber sprinkled with Tajin (chili lime seasoning I get from the Mexican market).


I tried one of the Lean Cuisine salad creations, and added my own romaine. It was convenient and tasted good, but not something I’d buy on a daily basis. I can make my own salads just as well for less.



Stir fry: jalapeno chicken sausage, kale, onions, mushrooms, red and green bell peppers. (sorry the photo is so dark).


My Hungry Girl 10-Alarm Turkey Chili with 1 TBSP Greek yogurt and 1 oz shredded cheese + a salad. Great on a cold night.


Skinnytaste.com’s baked chicken cutlet (her recipe uses lemon juice & olive oil instead of egg before dipping into the breadcrumbs, and I love the fresh flavor the lemon adds to the chicken) with broccoli rabe. This was the perfect Sunday Dinner meal – very Italian.



Absolutely gorgeous watermelon radish. I love that they’re spicier than regular radishes, and SO much prettier!

  • What was the best thing you’ve eaten today? This week?

I highly recommend joining in on the WIAW posts! Not only do you get a TON of great ideas for healthy, interesting meals, but you can make some new blogging buddies, too.

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