Archive for the ‘recipes’ Category

Greetings, my friends.

It’s been a little bit since I’ve written. There’s been a lot happening, but that’s no excuse. Fact is, I’ve been pretty darned tired and haven’t really felt like it.

So, the big news is that Wednesday was my one-year anniversary of my bypass. Hard to believe I was propped up in my bed moaning and begging for death. It was almost like having a hangover, except for the five holes in my abdomen. People have asked me if I had any regrets. I think my biggest regret (other than being in such a bad way that I needed the operation) was that I didn’t do it sooner. I could’ve maybe avoided the diabetes and not have the damage to my feet that will probably stick with me the rest of my days.

I had my one-year appointment with Dr. McPhee. He was concerned that I had gained 26 pounds back, but since starting in the Back on Track program, I had lost 11 of those 26. That’s been going great… I find that Dr. Collins has a way of hitting the root causes of why I eat like I do. She’s been able to get me refocused and nudge me in the right direction, which is a good thing. I was starting to really feel down about myself during the two months I was on the shelf. Between the group and the fact I can be back at the gym, well, it has made a world of difference.

What a coincidence... both Flexes that we got in the same picture. Mine is the black/gray colored band and SPW's is the slate blue band.

What a coincidence… both Flexes that we got in the same picture. Mine is the black/gray colored band and SPW’s is the slate blue band.

One of the other things I did was to get a FitBit Flex. It adds a bit of a game to my daily routine and I love those days when I hit my goal and my Flex will start buzzing at random. I guess I’m intrigued by the gamification of calorie counting and fitness tracking. The sleep tracking is a nice feature as well. I also got one for Supportive Partner Woman… I hope she likes it as much as I do. I must remember not to cheer or taunt too much because that can get to be annoying. It’s like when someone will comment on EVERY Facebook status you post. It’s irritating and the last thing we need is more irritation.

The actual process of getting these bands was kind of comical. I had swung by my local Best Buy with the intention of looking at the band. In a surprise move, no one was around to help when I could’ve actually USED the help (Usually, I get one creepy dude who keeps asking me what he can help me with… when I really don’t need any help), so I left there and swung by the Apple Store, on the off chance they had them. They did, although the associate there tried to talk me into the Nike+ Fuelband. I tried, but it’s too rigid and didn’t fit my wrist comfortably. I took it back the following day and so far, I’m very happy. Supportive Partner Woman wanted a different color than I got, but they only stocked pink and black. I had the black and, well, she’s so not a pink person. Luckily, the Apple website had the blue band available and was able to ship it to the store in a couple of days. Problem solved. The website said shipping it to our home would take a week, but I could pay an extra $10 and get it by Friday. Or, I could ship it to the store for free and I could have it Friday. That’s a basic no-brainer, so, yay me.

Speaking of Dr. McPhee, he recently published another cookbook for bariatric patients. It has many of the same recipes from the first edition, but there are plenty of new ones, along with portion guides and some nutrition information. Not to mention the fact that the stuff is tasty. So, if you are a bariatric patient or know someone who is, click over to and check out the book. It’s only $4.99 for a digital download and well worth it.

That’s all I have for today.

Song of the Day: Colin Hay – Overkill
Currently Reading: The Chariot Builders – Steve Matchett


I got to go back to the fitness center today. I had to take it easy, on instructions from Ryan and Cory, but that might change after I see the doctor on Wednesday. Here’s hoping I can sweat next time I’m there.

I have another doctor appointment tomorrow morning. The second toe on my left foot (the one next to Wayne) developed a corn/blister that seems to be hanging around. I’ll probably wind up back in the Boot of Shame. So, I’ll let Dr. Miller take a look at it and see what’s what. Maybe I’m being alarmist, but I’d rather not take the chance on there being a problem. After losing the better part of one toe, you tend to be a tad overprotective.

I also am able to start puree foods today. I attempted to overreach and tried some scrambled egg white this morning. That didn’t go so well. The end result was that the egg white’s residence in my digestive tract was short-lived. Hey, I knew it had to happen and I’m glad that it did, in a way. My pureed turkey chili stayed down, though, and actually tasted pretty good. It’s not the consistency that I like from chili, but it was full of flavor and, most importantly, protein. Supportive Partner Woman (not a real lover of chili!) had a bowl of it and pronounced it to be edible, so that’s always good. I also baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies yesterday so she could take them to work and share the awesomeness with her boss. Apparently they went over well.

I think I’ll share the recipe… it’s bariatric-friendly!

Turkey Chili


1 medium yellow onion, chopped (I only had red ones… they work, too)
6 cloves of garlic, diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup yellow corn
1 lb. ground turkey
1 can of red or kidney beans (15.5 oz) (I use kidney)
1 can of diced tomatoes (I found some with chipotle peppers in the can… perfect)
1/2 tbsp cumin
1/2 tbsp chili powder
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
4 squirts of Tabasco
olive oil
salt & pepper to taste


In a medium soup pot add some olive oil and cook onions, garlic, corn and bell pepper over medium heat, about ten minutes. Separately brown the turkey meat, drain and set aside. In a food processor, blend the vegetables and return to the soup pot. Over low heat, add the beans (drained), tomatoes, turkey meat, Tabasco, cilantro, cumin and chili powder. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Salt & pepper to taste. Should serve 4-5.

It’s a nice, healthy dish that will serve up a lot of protein. 3 oz of ground turkey has 23g of protein and a cup of kidney beans comes in a 16g of protein.

If you make it, feel free to customize it. If you’re a bariatric patient, feel free to throw it in the food processor and puree it. Just remember to eat slowly and stop when you’re full.

Have a great day folks!

I was a bad boy this morning.

I woke up around 4:20, realized how wiped out I was feeling and promptly reset the alarm for 6:30. Loosely translated, that means no visit to the gym at the crack of dawn for me. The extra two hours of sleep didn’t help much, though. I’m yawning and just feeling generally run down. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the cold that has been residing in my head and chest these last few days.

So, last night I had a choice. I could either watch a bunch of self-serving politicians tell lies and get applauded for it, or I could make a batch of New England clam chowder (or as my friends from New England would say, “chowdah!”)

I opted to go the chowdah route. It’s been cold enough for thick soup and with Lent and all that upon us, it comes in handy. I start with a base recipe that I have modified to contain less fat and hopefully all of the taste. I’ll include it here:

New England Clam Chowder


1/2 lb onion, diced
1/2 lb celery, diced
12 oz red potatoes, large diced
4 cans chopped clams and juice
32 oz fat-free half & half
32 oz clam juice
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp basil
2 tbsp olive oil
Bacon salt to taste
4 splashes of Tabasco Chipotle
1 can corn (drained) (optional)
1/2 lb roux

1/4 lb butter
1/4 lb flour

Melt butter, blend in flour to make roux.


1. In a 2 gallon stockpot, cook onion and celery in olive oil and bacon salt until translucent.
2. Pour in chopped clams in juice, clam juice, diced potato and seasonings; blend well.
3. Bring to simmer over medium heat, for 5 – 10 minutes.
4. Add half & half, increase heat until it comes to a slow boil.
5. Add roux slowly, mixing well. Keep mixing until well incorporated.
6. Reduce heat – simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.

It comes out with a nice smoky flavor from the chipotle Tabasco and also the bacon salt. Also, adding the corn can make for an interesting texture and adds a hint of sweetness to the taste. By using the fat- free half & half, you also cut out a lot of extraneous fat and it still thickens nicely.

So, as for the Lenten resolutions, I’m giving up soda. I know… kind of harsh. Fact is, I have to do it post surgery, so I might as well get used to it. I will miss it, no doubt about that. Not so much the taste, but the carbonation. Granted, with such greatly reduced stomach capacity, there will be no room for the bubbles at the inn. I know there’s a lot I will have to give up, at least for some time. It’s a small price to pay when it comes down to it. My reward will be a healthier me. I think it will be worth it.

Hope that you have a great day!

I did it!

Posted: November 9, 2012 in Cooking, recipes

Not the best presentation, but the tastiness is there.

I made jambalaya… and it smells awesome.

Tastes pretty good, too, as it turns out. All in all, not bad for a first try. I’ll post the recipe, even though I’m sure I will tweak it as I make it again. It’s certainly in the rotation.

I made some changes to make it a little healthier. In place of regular andouille sausage, I located some Johnsonville Cajun chicken sausage that cut the fat in half while preserving a nice spicy taste.

Here ya go:



  • 12 shrimp, peeled, deveined and cut into chunks
  • 4 ounces chicken breast, diced
  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning, recipe follows
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper (mix up the colors for visual appeal)
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes (I used canned… it was what I had in the house)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (I used Tabasco Chipotle sauce – SPW likes the smokiness)
  • 3/4 cup rice
  • 3 cups chicken stock (salt free preferred)
  • 6 ounces Johnsonville Cajun chicken sausage
  • Salt and pepper to taste


In a bowl combine shrimp, chicken and Creole seasoning, and work in seasoning well. In a large saucepan heat oil over high heat with onion, pepper and celery, 3 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire and hot sauces. Stir in rice and slowly add broth. Reduce heat to medium and cook until rice absorbs liquid and becomes tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. When rice is just tender add shrimp and chicken mixture and sausage. Cook until meat is done, about 10 minutes more. Season to taste with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning. Depending on your taste preference, you might want to mix more seasoning in with your proteins. Also, more veggies would probably not hurt the cause.

Creole seasoning:

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Yield: 2/3 cup

There ya have it. The good news is that a serving should be around 450 calories. Not too shabby for a filling meal.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Song of the Day: Not The Same – Ben Folds with the Dartmouth Aires

Currently Reading: 12.21 – Dustin Thomason

Supportive Partner Woman (Mistress of the Twittergraph!) and I did some cooking this weekend, trying to jump-start back to our healthier lifestyle. With everything going on, healthy eating wasn’t quite at the forefront, convenience was.

We made an excursion to Wegman’s on Saturday. This was our regular Wegman’s… in Mechanicsburg, PA. It’s in the ideal retail complex. You have Wegman’s, Best Buy, Target, Office Max and Chick-Fil-A all in one complex. It’s like Christmas. We found a really nice beef roast and decided we’d throw that in the slow cooker and I’d make some other stuff, since SPW (Slave to the Voter’s Guide!) had to work. Sunday morning, we cooperated on getting the roast ready, although SPW (Eater of tasty beef!) did the lion’s share of the prep. I just measured out broth and chopped carrots and potatoes. Once it was cooking away, I made lunch… tomato soup and grilled ham & cheese sandwiches. Used a boxed Trader Joe’s soup that was pretty tasty, but it was in the pantry.


After SPW (Queen of the slow cooker!) left for work, I got down to business. I started by opting to make from-scratch risotto for the first time. I used mushrooms, garlic, shallots, white wine and chicken stock, along with arborio rice and, well, I thought it turned out to be pretty good. Had the right level of stickiness, and it was the right texture. I had been dreading it, but the actual making process wasn’t that bad. I was amazed with the quantity of risotto 1.5 cups of arborio rice actually makes. It sucked up around 6.5 cups of liquid! I’m going to add the recipe to this post… I will be using it again, although probably not until I manage to eat the rest of this batch 🙂

Brings me to the next topic… leftovers. This is one place where Supportive Partner Woman and I disagree. She detests leftovers… I think they are the greatest thing ever. I like variety in my meals, but if I can have a nice, balanced meal without spending a ton of time to make it, well, I’m all for it.

In other changes, I start a long period of day shift this week. It will seem strange, but it also gives me more time to cook a fresh meal. Hopefully, Supportive Partner Woman will be able to come home for dinner on a regular basis once her job situation settles down. We shall see.

Here’s the risotto recipe. All measurements are not exact 🙂

Mushroom Risotto

6 cups chicken broth – divided
3 tablespoons olive oil – divided
8 oz. white mushrooms thinly sliced
2 diced shallots (I had some in a jar, so I used those)
3 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Little Penguin pinot grigio)
4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup Parmesan
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives (I omitted)
sea salt to taste
coarse ground black pepper to taste

1) In a saucepan, warm the broth over low heat.

2) Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the mushrooms, and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove mushrooms and their liquid, and set aside.

3) Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet, and stir in the shallots. Cook 1 minute. Add rice, stirring to coat with oil, about 2 minutes. When the rice has taken on a pale, golden color, pour in wine, stirring constantly until the wine is fully absorbed. Add 1/2 cup broth to the rice, and stir until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuously, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 20-30 minutes.

4) Remove from heat, and stir in mushrooms with their liquid, butter, chives, and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

There you have it. Just remember to be patient and keep stirring.

More tomorrow!

Song of the Day: The Forecast (Calls for Pain) – Robert Cray Band
Currently Reading: First Family – David Baldacci

Quote of the Day:

I don’t like food that’s too carefully arranged; it makes me think that the chef is spending too much time arranging and not enough time cooking. If I wanted a picture I’d buy a painting. – Andy Rooney

The Comcast saga continues.

After I actually got decent customer service, Teh Interwebz worked fine for a couple of days. Sunday through Tuesday. Wednesday morning, it was jacked up again. So I called them. When I finally got a live person, I explained the issue, stressing that they were out on Sunday and I still think the problem lies with the modem. As I was on the phone, the modem rebooted itself and things were working. I was told to call back if it happened again. It did. 10 minutes later. I called, spoke to someone different, who insisted on setting up a service appointment. For Friday. Two days with intermittent (at best) Internet service. I reluctantly agreed, still thinking it’s the modem. When I finally got off the phone, I unhooked the modem and reattached the old one. I tested the circuits and no anomalous voltage readings. I let it power up, the AirPort’s green light winked on and the Internet was back.

It’s still back on.

With my (supposedly) EOL Linksys modem from 2003 or 2004.

I have to wonder if Comcast gets a kickback from Motorola on these “recommended” modems. This thing is a piece of shit and I will be taking it back to Best Buy tomorrow. Lord help them if they give me crap about it being open… Admiral Furious might set sail. I might need bail money, so if you have a couple bucks to spare, I’d appreciate the help.

Chicken skewers… all kinds of yum.

Just kidding. I’m gradually getting back on the healthy eating train. Yesterday, I made some chicken skewers for lunch that turned out yummy. I’ll post my marinade recipe below. I usually alternate the meat with slices of green pepper, sweet onion and tomato. I will use mushrooms, too, if I have some in the fridge. I like to get the grill heated up, spray the grates with cooking spray, then back the beat off as soon as I put the skewers on. This allows the meat to get some grill marks and a bit of a sear without overcooking the meat.

I’m on the hook to work Saturday night. Hoping for an unexpected day off, as SPW’s cousin’s daughter (one of our pseudo nieces) is having a birthday. Gotta love that the child likes Legos.

Back to the regular workout schedule next week… I have sessions on Tuesday and Friday. I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve missed the usual setup, with two or three other people. It should help to shake me back out of the funk I’ve been in.

I’m going to wrap it up for tonight… Hope you have a great evening and a better day tomorrow. I leave you with my marinade recipe.

Garlic & Herb Chicken Marinade

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vinegar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian-style seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a medium bowl, combine the water, vinegar, oil, garlic, thyme, Italian-style seasoning, poultry seasoning, rosemary, salt and ground black pepper. Mix well and put in a heavy zipper bag along with your chicken breast pieces. Don’t let it go more than 5-6 hours for maximum flavor.

Song of the Day: The Secret of my Success – Night Ranger
Currently Reading: For Love of the Game – Michael Shaara

Quote of the Day:

Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon. Doug Larson

Time to refocus

Posted: August 17, 2012 in Cooking, recipes, Weight loss

Been kind of cruising along here at MOASTBFFG and it almost seems like I’m going through the motions. I haven’t really been hitting what I need to hit and I’ve been doing you, the readers, a great disservice.

The big ass blister has given me a chance to sort of pause and take stock of where I am, physically, mentally and blogally? Didn’t think that was a word.

See!?!?!? Pigs CAN fly!

I think I need to set some goals and try to establish a time frame. Operating without a set time frame is nice, but it’s easy to just mosey along until it’s too late. It sort of reminds me of being in college and having a paper due at the end of the semester and writing it all the night before it was due, fueled by caffeine and desperation. You can do that with a paper… not so much with weight loss. If that was the case, I’d be snapping my fingers, shotgunning Mountain Dew and I’d weigh 180 in the morning. Aye… and if pigs could fly.

I haven’t talked about recipes in a while. It’s not that I haven’t cooked, just that what I’ve been making has been not a lot of prep work. I’ve been trying to go a simpler route… making tasty food that is simple and depending on the actual food to be the flavor star, rather than the prep. When I made the giant scallops last weekend, all I did was brush them with olive oil and a little salt and pepper before grilling. That’s easy to do this time of year in Cow Country. With the produce being so fresh and available, well, why cover up all that wonderful taste?

One thing I did make was a batch of my meatballs. See, I’m kind of elitist when it comes to meatballs. I simply won’t eat those frozen ones… too salty and the salty taste overwhelms any real flavor the meatballs might have. Not only that, you can be pretty sure that she’s NOT using the highest quality beef. I will usually see the bags of Mam Lucia at the grocery store and mutter, “Mama Lucia… that bitch…”

I think the real secret to meatballs is how long you keep them simmering in the sauce. Not only does that give the balls a chance to absorb the richness of the sauce, it also makes them tender. My recipe is one that I’ve been tweaking over the years, and I am willing to share it.

Here goes:

Brian’s Meatballs

2 lb. ground beef (I use 90%)
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. basil
1tsp. oregano
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. red pepper (optional)
1/4 clove garlic (at a minimum)
2 large eggs
2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup parmesan

Mix ingredients well. Seriously well. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, transfer immediately to sauce and simmer. Four hours, minimum.

For sauce, I usually make a combination of whatever jarred stuff I have in the inventory. I would prefer to make my own, but I don’t really have the time or the tomatoes. Maybe one of these days I’ll get ambitious. One other thing you can do is lightly cook some Italian sausage and put it in the sauce with the meatballs. Adds some extra flavor. My usual sauce ratio is one jar of DelGrosso three cheese and two jars of DelGrosso Tomato Basil.

As far as pasta goes, one of the nutrition people I spoke to had recommended Ronzoni’s Smart Taste pasta. It’s enriched with fiber and while it’s still pasta (40g of carbs) there’s 5g of fiber to help balance it out. While the whole grain pastas might have a smidge more fiber, this wins in taste, in my opinion.

At any rate, I’m going to try to refocus things here. I want to add a monthly measurements feature, more pictures of yummy noms, and just try to not be so scattered and completely stream of consciousness. I’ll still have those moments… this is my blog… but maybe not as many. Besides, the Olympic opening ceremonies won’t be coming around for a year and a half. Plus, they will be in Russia. Maybe President Putin will wrestle a bear or something.

Anyway, I wish you all a happy and healthy weekend!