Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

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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1. What a great week to be off of work!  I’ve spent my week off doing the perfect mix of activities – plenty of hardcore gym sessions, a few new culinary experiments, spending tons of time with friends, and reading.  The only way I could think of to top this week would have been if I’d been laying on a tropical beach somewhere.

20130222-103944.jpg 2. One of my culinary experiments was my cauliflower crust pizza.  Although my first attempt has needs some perfecting, I think I know exactly how to do just that.

3.  Yesterday I spent a fabulous day riding my bike in Half Moon Bay, and I also found this little quote, which just so happens to look strikingly similar to my beach cruiser, Lola.


4.  I finished Gone Girl, and all I can say is if you haven’t read it – READ it!  I can’t say much more because there are lots of twists and turns that keep you shocked all the way to the final page of the novel.  My current read is another one by Gillian Flynn,

5886881 As the title implies, this one is another dark novel, and I am just as engaged by the flawed characters in this one.

5.  Finally, this morning as I was making my coffee, Sofi once again reminded me that sometimes all you need to be content is just a little spot of sun.  I love my pooch so much, and I’m glad she’s here to teach me all of these life lessons.


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Throughout the month of December, I’ll be participating in #reverb12: celebrating the successes of 2012, honoring the challenges of 2012, and planting the seeds for a rich and rewarding 2013. December is the perfect time to reflect on the year that has passed and start to manifest dreams for the new year.

Day 15 – What was the most extraordinary dish you sampled in 2012? What made it so magical? It needn’t be the most extravagant dish, just the one that knocked your socks off with its flavor, texture, aroma, freshness, color, significance, timing… whatever. Relive the magic and help us savor it with you here.

The best dish I created in 2012 was the evening I had my parents and sister over for a seafood feast.  I indulged on the ingredients, but it was worth every penny to experience their enjoyment of the meal.  Here’s a repost of my original one:

Originally posted on August 28, 2012, as part of a #WIAW post.
It all started when I saw this lobster salad recipe on Skinnytaste. I’ll get into the details of that meal later, it’s a good one. Ever since school started I’ve been in the mood to try new recipes. Summertime is always really laid back, and I go with the flow in terms of recipes. Now that school’s back in, I find myself craving the creative outlet that trying new recipes gives me. It’s strange, you’d think that I’d do more innovative cooking in the summer, when I have nothing but time on my hands, but I guess I like to keep it flexible, even with cooking.

First up is a delicious baked crab cake recipe from Skinnytaste. (Can you tell I love her site?) I tried the recipe out earlier in the week, because it was my first time making it, and I didn’t want to serve it to my parents and sister at Saturday’s dinner party without trying it first. I modified the recipe just slightly, and although mine don’t look half as appealing as hers, they tasted great.


The diner party was designed around Skinnytaste’s Chilled Lobster, Sweet Corn, and Tomato Salad. There’s quite a story behind making this dish, but I’ll save the details for the actual Bella Cooks blog post. One thing I will say is that this is one time that living on the West Coast puts me at a disadvantage. Lobster is expensive here – two lobster tails were $50! But my family is worth the splurge, and the salad tasted so fresh and healthy that it was well worth it.


I wish this photo wasn’t blurry, because the dish really looked gorgeous.

I wanted to start off the dinner with a nice accompaniment, and my sister actually suggested an avocado salad. I searched, and found this Chilled Avocado Soup on EatBoutique. This was the surprise hit of the evening. Everyone raved about it, and I agree. I’ll absolutely make this again. I don’t like cilantro, so I substituted Italian parsley, and it was simply divine. And it only took about 15 minutes to put together!


Here’s a shot of the seafood feast. One of my FB friends said that this angle makes it look like you’re sitting with us at the table, so I thought I’d include it. My mom, who is an amazing cook in her own right, was incredibly impressed by my planning and execution, and I think she was really touched that I put in all this effort for my family.


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First and foremost, for all of my U.S. readers (which is most of you)…

I love Rosie, don’t you?


There’s no FMM post today because Kenlie is still dealing with the aftermath of Isaac, so I hope you’ll all stop by her blog, go on Twitter, or FB and let her know you’re thinking of her.  I have lived through earthquakes, but never something as devastating as a hurricane, so I can’t imagine what she is going through.


You guys may have noticed that I’ve been making a lot of great new recipes lately.  I haven’t posted about every single one, because this would turn into a food blog if I did, but I’ll link up and show pics on WIAW posts.  One reason I’ve been able to make all these recipes is something called ZipList.  I found out about it through Skinnytaste.com, and I adore it.  There’s a website and an app, and between the two, I can copy any recipe from any blog or website and save it to my “recipe box,” plan a meal with it, and add the ingredients on a shopping list.  I love it!  I’m sure there’s so much that I haven’t explored yet, but even in the few weeks I have used it, it has become such a time saver.  It also lets me see what ingredients I might already have, so I’ve been using food that might have otherwise been forgotten in my freezer, which saves money.  If you like cooking and keeping organized, check it out.


I just finished reading Summer in the City (Carrie Diaries #2), which is book two of the “YA” version of Carrie Bradshaw’s young life.  It’s been fun to read the backstory about how Carrie came to NYC, how she met Samantha and Miranda (Charlotte only makes a cameo so far), and how she started wearing all of her famously funky fashions.  I didn’t have much expectation of this book, but I am really hooked on this series, and can’t wait for #3.

Next on the bookshelf is a quick short story, The Diary of Darcy J. Rhone by Emily Giffin and then

The Recipe Club: A Novel of Food and Friendship by Andrea Israel.  Since I’ve been cooking up a storm lately, it seemed like an appropriate choice.

What have you been reading?


I know Halloween is a long time from now, but I just found Janine Basil’s Etsy shop (via a Pinterest pin) and I bought this headband for this year’s outfit:

As a teacher, I want to show my spirit by dressing up for Halloween, but don’t want to get into full costume because I want to stay comfortable.  This year I think I’m going as a super hero. {Update: An hour or so after I posted this, I found this shirt on Cafe Press, so I’m all set for my costume:

If you guys use promo code PRGEYT5KATL6, you can get 25% off Cafe Press, too.


Speaking of shopping, last week in my FMM post, I found a laptop bag from Kailo Chic, and I’ve been obsessed with it since, so I broke down and got it:

I’ve also been needing a new fall/winter black tote as an everyday handbag, so I was thrilled when I found this one by AmeriLeather:

I love the proportions of this bag, which work well for my size.  (I avoid small bags because they look so teeny tiny on me).


I’d better get cracking if I’m going to hit all my To Do’s for today:

  • wash and fold laundry
  • vacuum and spot mop floors
  • change sheets
  • get together with Ani (Sofi & Riley) for a puppy play date, and some time at the pool
  • OnDemand kickboxing workout
  • prep tonight’s dinner, as well as breakfast and lunches for Tues-Fri.
  • polish nails and toes
  • read for an hour

I hope you have a lovely day. How do you plan to spend it?

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Happy Monday, Everyone! I’m in a great mood today for so many reasons, the most recent of which is that my sister just sent me the most adorable photo of my beautiful nieces. But it’s always nice to begin the day with the sun shining and everything going as planned.


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!

FMM: Cooking Habits

I love this week’s topic because cooking is one of the things that has become a hobby of sorts.  It may seem antithetical for someone who is trying to lose weight to get so much enjoyment out of food and cooking, but to me, it’s the one of the best ways for me to do something that has a direct impact on my health.  Plus, it’s so creative for me to come up with new recipes.  I love the entire process: finding new recipes, shopping, prepping, cooking, and enjoying.

1. What is your favorite meal to prepare at home? I love trying new recipes, so I guess my favorite meal would be one that I haven’t ever made yet.  If pressed to give you something that I’ve made before, I’d have to say my  version of Hungry Girl’s 10-Alarm Crockpot Chili.  I’ve made it TONS of times, winter or summer.  It makes so much and it’s really easy.  Love, love, love.

2. Do you like to experiment in the kitchen, or do you prefer to stick to the basics? I love to experiment. I have a wide range of flavors and styles that I enjoy cooking (and eating!), and I think variety is the spice of life.

3. What is your favorite cookbook? I love the simplicity of Rachael Ray’s cookbooks – I have every one. Her style is true to my Italian roots, and even when she’s making meals that aren’t Italian in nature, per se, they remind me of the way my mom cooked for us every night when we were little. Hearty and healthy meals. I also love Giada’s recipes. And my sister swears by the recipes she gets from her Sunset cookbooks. Lately, I’ve been pulling a lot of recipes from Eating Right magazine.

4. Do you have any tricks to share that help you reach your fruits and veggies goal for the day? I start every morning with a Green Monster Smoothie, which gives a serving of fruit and two servings of veggies. Lunch is a salad filled with TONS of veggies. And I make sure to have some sort of veggie for dinner, too. If I’m craving something sweet after dinner, I try to make sure I have grapes or watermelon or berries on hand for a healthy dessert.

5. What’s the most interesting thing you made last week?I’m not sure how interesting it was, but last week I made myself lots of fun salads for lunch, one of which was a healthy chicken taco salad:


This salad has a little of everything: poached chicken, light Mexican-blend cheese, sliced olives, Greek yogurt (instead of sour cream), salsa, shredded lettuce, and corn. Yum!

6. How often do you watch cooking shows on TV? I haven’t watched a straight cooking show in a while, but I love watching the Top Chef.  My mom loves The Chew, which I’ve never seen, but I plan to check it out this summer when I’m home during the day.

7. When you’re hungry, where are you most likely to look first? The refrigerator, or the pantry?  It depends on what I’m in the mood for.  If I’m craving something salty,  the pantry for some popcorn or pretzels or something.  If I want fruit, the fruit bowl or fridge.  And if I want cheese or a real meal, the fridge or freezer.

8. List a few healthy staples that can always be found in your kitchen. Too many to list, really.  I always have fruits & veggies, peanut butter, chicken, seafood (salmon or shrimp), popcorn, etc.  I love a well-stocked fridge and pantry.

9. Are you motivated to cook at home even when you’re eating alone? Absolutely!  I eat alone every single night (unless I’m out with friends or with family), and I’ve come to really enjoy the whole process of cooking for myself.  It’s a really nice thing I can do for myself to make sure I’m meeting all my goals and staying healthy.

10. How often do you try new recipes? As often as I can. I’m always on the lookout for new recipes.  I try to make something new at least once a week.

Now it’s your turn to share. Don’t forget to go back to Kenlie’s blog to link up in the comments!

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I don’t know if it’s the fact that I have gotten into a routine of planning, cooking, and eating healthy low-glycemic meals, or what, but so far this week is even easier than last week.  Everything is flowing nicely, and I feel like I could almost stay on Phase 1 indefinitely.

And then I realize that I do love fruit and carbs too much.   Oh, and wine.  Can’t forget the vino.

So, while I’m looking forward to Phase 2, I have to say that Phase 1 has been pretty good indeed.

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I had a great week last week, both in results and in food choices.

This week my goal is to add some flavor to my dinners. Last week it was all about grilling the meat for dinner with very few spices — a bit of pepper, garlic powder, etc. This week I want to make some marinades with light soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. I want to use spices like cumin, chili powder, and ginger. I want to use herbs like sage and rosemary.

I scanned Kalyn’s site and got a few great ideas for quick and easy recipes. Then I went on the SBD website and got a few more. Most of the ones I found involve marinating the meat for an hour or two, and most nights that just isn’t in the cards, since I get home from school too late. So, I’m headed to TJ’s and Safeway to buy all of my ingredients, and then I’m going to start marinating everything. I have the time today, so I might as well do it.

I know it’s going to be a fairly hefty grocery bill today, but most of the things I’m buying will last quite a while. Plus, I should have some of these on hand, like soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. You can make so many good dressings and marinades with them that it just makes sense to keep them stocked.

My mom told me about this great salad that uses broccoli slaw or cabbage slaw (shredded broccoli/cabbage) that you mix with a bit of sesame oil and rice wine vinegar. I think you may add some dijon mustard and a few sesame seeds. She said she made it and it was delicious. It would be great as a side dish for dinner or as a salad for lunch, with some grilled chicken.

One thing I’ve really enjoyed on SBD more than on any other diet/program is figuring out new things to cook. When I was on WW, I would try to cook, but most of the time I just threw things together without much thought. I counted the points after I ate and called it a day. This time around, I’m really trying to think about what I’m going to cook and figure out the meals ahead of time. Not only is it helping me feel organized, it’s helping me succeed.

Ok, off to the grocery stores for this week’s goodies.

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Before I started SBD, I realized that if I was going to be successful, I’d need to stay organized and prepare most of the food ahead of time. I was a bit worried about this, because my life is really hectic right now.

Tonight I proved to myself that I could do this.

I started cooking up some of the boneless pork chops and 94/6 hamburger patties I bought. I put some pepper and garlic powder on them and then just put them on the George Foreman grill. I also chopped some more onion and garlic and sauteed them with some olive oil and cooked up the rest of the greens in the bag. (Enough for two meals). I figured I’d have one protein tonight and then bring one tomorrow night to my grad school class, and the other two could be eaten when I had to stay at school late for journalism and yearbook work nights on Wednesday and Thursday. After cooking all of this meat up, I decided I’d rather wait to eat it, because I wasn’t in the mood for it tonight.

Then I realized that I had bought that rottiserie chicken and I needed to use that up before too long, as well. I had also purchased some stir fry veggies that needed to be cooked before too long. I also remembered I had bought some cooked, frozen shrimp, so I decided to throw all of it together — the stir fry veggies, the roasted chicken, and the shrimp — into the pot that I had already cooked up the greens in. I chopped up more onion and added some sliced mushrooms that I had purchased. I added a bit of garlic powder, salt, and pepper. The whole thing took probably 10 minutes and I had enough food for tonight’s dinner, tomorrow’s dinner, and another lunch sometime this week. I do wish I would’ve had some low sodium soy sauce on hand, but it actually tasted pretty good without it.

Cooking everything at once has its benefits — one night of making a mess in the kitchen and making pots to clean. The downside is that the food might get a bit overdone by reheating it in the microwave. I tried to cook the meat about a minute before being “done” so that when I microwave it later, it will still be fairly juicy. We’ll see.

It feels great to know that I cooked enough tonight for the rest of the week. I should have no problem sticking with SB this week now that I’ve gotten the food organized.

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I was a bit worried about starting SBD today, given the fact that I had to be up sooooo early to proctor the SAT. Luckily, I thought ahead, and made the egg muffins on Thursday night. Plus, BeachGirly and I went shopping at TJ’s to pick up plenty of food for the week, so I had provisions.

My stomach only grumbled once today, but man was it singing! I didn’t get to eat breakfast until after 10:30 because I woke up later than I should’ve at home, and didn’t want to chance being late by eating the mini-quiches at home. Still, when I heated them up and added the sugar-free hot sauce, they were really delicious. Maybe I can give eggs another shot after all.

Lunch was great — a salad of arugala, chicken breast, and crumbled goat cheese with Goddess dressing. I’m not sure what is in the dressing, but it was very low cal, low carb, and low sugar, and best of all, it tasted great.

Snacks for the day included a wedge of Laughing Cow light cheese with cucumbers (I hadn’t picked up celery yet) and 8 macadamia nuts. I also had a small, nonfat, sugar free hazelnut latte which was fantastic.

I had spent 6 hours working on a grad school presentation with CTLB, and I was hungry, even though it was after 8:30 pm. I decided that because I’m planning to stay up fairly late, I’d eat dinner. Knowing that I didn’t want to do a ton of cooking tonight (even though my fridge was stocked with lean, boneless pork chops, salmon patties, chicken breasts, and extra lean hamburger meat), so I stopped at Safeway to pick up a rotisserie chicken. I quickly cooked up some collard greens with chopped onion and garlic, and sauteed that with a bit of olive oil. I was so good! I had a small glass of V-8 that I was supposed to eat this morning, and now I feel so satisfied. Not overly stuffed, but definitely not hungry.

I have high hopes that SBD is going to work well for me and my current lifestyle. The key is going to be preparation and organization. The motivation is intrinsic in the program — if you follow the philosophy of eating, you’ll lose weight. My mom called me today and said that she had lost 5 pounds in her first week. This is exciting because my mom is very tiny, and only needs to lose 10 pounds to get back to 130, her goal weight. If she could lose that much in one week following a modified version of the plan, I know (hope) I’ll be successful following it a bit more strictly. Especially considering how much more I have to lose.

This is the start of a very successful weight loss journey, I just know it.

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