Sunday, December 28, 2008

Living the Postop WLS Life in an everyday (non-op or preop) world...

This last week or two has been a long time of temptation for those of us who are postop from WLS and trying to walk the straight and narrow path... For many postops, the straight and narrow is a strict, low carb and high protein diet. Some folks refuse to allow themself even 30 grams of carbs per day. Others lose their weight and begin to live life as a "normal" person. This means eating a well balanced diet of 2000 or less calories per day and exercising somewhat regularly. It means taking whatever vitamins and supplements their new insides make necessary in order to remain "normal" and healthy.

So, when we attend holiday parties and family gatherings where for many folks it is all about the food and tasting all the delightful goodies put out on the table, it can be hard! For those who sternly regulate their carb intake,it can be even harder as soooooo many of the goodies we see put out are sweets and carb-laden foods. So, you either just plain refuse to eat or even taste those items, or you teach yourself to try just a bit of this and that AFTER you eat your protein!

In the "real world" of non-ops, this can sometimes earn you funny looks and questions you don't want to deal with. "Oh come on, try just a taste!" "One little bite won't hurt!" "Why won't you try any of this great stuff?" And, even after you say no sometimes, they just won't let it drop. If these are the kind of things that bother you, be armed with comebacks! "Sorry, I ate before I came..." Or, perhaps, "I'd rather try these yummy shrimp/ham/whatever..." Have a line ready to give them rather than finding yourself standing there trying to come up with something to get them to move on... It really is none of their business, but you know how the world can be!

Christmas is gone for another year... New Year's resolutions?

Christmas has come and gone for 2008. Another year has almost passed as well. Just another few days and we'll be ringing in the New Year--2009! What will the year bring for you? Are you making any New Year's resolutions this year? Will one of them once again be to get back on track and lose weight? Or, has your journey brought you past that point now?

I know that I am happy at this point in my journey. No, my weight is not quite where I'd like it to be and I've never reached my goal of 185 pounds. But, I saw Dr. Stickler the other day in his lobby and he gave me a great big hug and said, "Well, you look like you're keeping the weight off!" Wow, how great does that feel to hear after being 410 pounds?? AWESOME, I tell you...just awesome! I mentioned that we were getting different/new health insurance after Jan 1 and that I was hoping that at some point in the future, I'd have insurance to cover a tummy tuck and get rid of that 5 or more pounds of skin... He said, "Oh, those are just the finishing touches..."

I guess that got me to thinking again about where I am and where I've been. He is right. They ARE just finishing touches. I can (and will) live without them. I will love getting that skin removed at some point in the hopefully not so distant future, but I will not fret over it while I still have it. Heck, getting that skin lopped off will involve a painful recovery AND the need to once again buy clothes as I know I will go down one or maybe even two pants sizes with that change!

So, I guess my only new year's resolutions this year will be to continue to eat healthfully, try to exercise a bit more, and just enjoy life! We could all do that a bit more!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Review: Oh Yeah Vanilla Creme RTD Shake

Remember that this review is written by someone who hardly EVER likes a protein drink/shake product!

On Tuesday, I stopped by my surgeon's office to pick up something our support group leader left for me. When I get by there, which is not very often these days, I try to remember to check out his protein selection and look to see if he has anything new in the shoppe. Well, this time he did! And, I picked up a couple items to try. Item one was a ready-to-drink (RTD) protein shake made by Oh Yeah.
Not only do they sell them, but they also have a drink cooler and offer them pre-chilled for folks in the gym. So, I grabbed one of the cold ones and figured I could go ahead and try it as I headed out to finish my shopping. The stats looked pretty good. Just needed to pass a taste test.

32 grams of protein in this little 14 oz drink? Heck yeah! I asked the receptionist if she'd tried it before and she said, "Yeah, and I liked it a lot better than I did the Muscle Milk." Well, I didn't care much for the Muscle Milk RTD, so that sounded promising! I paid the lady and hit the road.

I had my daughter with me (mom to the worlds' greatest grandbaby), and we tried it together. It tasted like a thin vanilla milkshake. Even she liked it! I did not discern any real protein-y aftertaste either. 14 ozs is totally finishable even for someone just 3 or 4 months postop! In case that pic above is hard for you to read, one bottle is one serving.
Per serving numbers:
calories: 220
fat: 9 grams (1.5 sat, no trans)
total carbs: 4 grams (1 gram fiber, 3 grams sugar)
protein: a whopping 32 grams!

This was tasty. It was ice cold and refreshing too. I would definitely buy this one again. I will probably look somewhere else to purchase as doc's prices are usually a bit more than say GNC as he offers these items for convenience. It is also available in a chocolate milkshake flavor. I'm not huge on chocolate RTDs, so I may or may not try that one!

From the ISS website at

The Best Tasting, Premium Quality Ready To Drink, Period.

Portable nutrition at the highest level, the OhYeah!® RTD delivers a pure and natural taste profile because it is made with fresh diafiltered milk. This high quality, clean taste wasn’t achieved with loads of sugar, preservatives or fat as the OhYeah!® RTD has only 3 grams of sugar and is lactose free. So delight your senses with 32 grams protein and flavors that will make you say…OhYeah!® It’s That Good®.

Available at health and vitamin stores, gyms and retailers nationwide.

Nutrition Facts

Product Name: Oh Yeah RTD Vanilla Creme Protein Drink

Product Type (meal replacement, protein bar, snack, etc):
meal replacement, protein shake

Where Can I Get/Find It? not sure locally, perhaps GNC PLUS several online retailers

Cost: single bottle is in the $3.49 to $3.69 each range, case of 12 is roughly $33 to $38

Pros: tastes great, ready to drink so makes a good "cooler" item but can store at room temp till opening, great to take to work and keep in fridge for a meal in a pinch, 32 whopping grams of protein in a 14 oz serving, lactose free for those postops who can't tolerate milk

Cons: a bit pricey for some at roughly $3 per serving

Overall Rating:
Yeah Baby! I'll definitely buy this one again!

Merry Christmas One and All!

Kay's Naturals Update--Cinnamon Toast Pretzels BACK and better than before!

If you're a fan of Kay's Naturals and their Cinnamon Toast Pretzel Sticks, you will be pleased to hear that they are FINALLY back in stock! Kay's also announced that they are now Gluten Free! That is a big plus for those looking for gluten free and protein rich snacks. Kay's is also offering a 20% discount for the holidays. That discount code is "happyholidays" and is good through December 28th. Of course you can still use the code "minichallenge" after Dec 28th to continue to get 20% off all products! For more information OR to order some yummy Kay's goodies, click over to

181 down, 19 to go!

So, I noticed today that my blog has 181 posts since I started... That means that in just 19 more post, I'll hit 200 posts! Let's see how close I can get before Jan 1st!

What can I post about? LOL

Oh, I tried a new ready-to-drink (RTD) protein shake the other day. I can review that. I've got a note about a beloved Kay's product that I need to share... We'll see what else I come up with!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


A member of our local support group brought this dip to our holiday party. It was yummy! And, it is flavorful while still being good for us! A dip with lots of protein--always a winner! This could be eaten with a spoon if you were in the pureed stage... She used chicken breast she cooked herself and then shredded instead of the canned chicken. I am doing the same thing today! I boiled the chicken breasts the other night (boneless, skinless) while preparing dinner. After they cooled, I put them in a ziploc baggie and put it in the fridge. When I make this dip today, I'll just shred that chicken and use it! The chicken breast was on sale for $1.99 a pound, so I got a pound of chicken for $2 instead of one can for a bit more, while needing two cans! I also think that I'll add some shredded cheese on top before baking...

Servings: 3 1/2 cups dip | Prep Time: 5 min. | Cook Time: 20 min.

8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup blue cheese or ranch salad dressing
1/2 cup FRANK'S® REDHOT® Buffalo Wing Sauce
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cans (9.75 oz. each) SWANSON® White Premium Chunk Chicken Breast
in Water, drained


1.HEAT oven to 350°F. Place cream cheese into deep baking dish. Stir until smooth.
2.MIX in salad dressing, Frank's RedHot Sauce and cheese. Stir in chicken.
3.BAKE 20 min. or until mixture is heated through; stir. Garnish as desired. Serve with crackers or vegetables.

1.Microwave Directions: Prepare as above. Place in microwave-safe dish. Microwave, uncovered, on HIGH 5 min. until hot, stirring halfway through cooking.
2.Tips: You may substitute 2 cups shredded cooked chicken.
3.Slow Cooker Method: Combine ingredients as directed above. Place mixture into small slow cooker. Cover pot. Heat on HIGH setting for 1 1/2 hours until hot and bubbly or on LOW setting for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Stir.
4.Tailgating Tip: Prepare dip ahead and place in heavy disposable foil pan. Place pan on grill and heat dip until hot and bubbly.

Rules of Christmas Cookies and Surviving Christmas While Dieting

First, a funny bit...

Chistmas Cookie Rules

If you eat a Christmas cookie fresh out of the oven, it has no calories because everyone knows that the first cookie is the test and thus calorie free.

If you drink a diet soda after eating your second cookie, it also has no calories because the diet soda cancels out the cookie calories (water has the same properties here).

If a friend comes over while you're making your Christmas cookies and needs to sample, you must sample with your friend. Because your friend's first cookie is calorie free, rule #1 is yours also. It would be rude to let your friend sample alone and, being the friend that you are, that makes your cookie calorie free, as well.

Any cookie calories consumed while walking around will fall to your feet and eventually fall off as you move. This is due to gravity and the density of the caloric mass.

Any calories consumed during the frosting of The Christmas cookies will be used up because it takes many calories to lick excess frosting from a knife without cutting your tongue.

Cookies colored red or green have very few calories. Red ones have three and green ones have five - one calorie for each letter. (Make more red ones!)

Cookies eaten while watching "Miracle on 34th Street" have NO calories because they are part of the entertainment package and not part of one's personal fuel.

As always, cookie "pieces" contain no calories because the process of breaking causes calorie leakage.

Any cookies consumed from someone else's plate have no calories since the calories rightfully belong to the other person and will cling to their plate. (We all know how calories like to CLING!)

Any cookies consumed while feeling stressed have no calories because cookies used for medicinal purposes NEVER have calories. (It's a rule!)

Now, with the funny part out of the way...
Dieting during the holidays takes on new meaning after WLS. We all know "the reason for the season," but Christmas is often just one long feast! We get gifts of goodies from friends, neighbors and coworkers. We attend parties and get-togethers where there is a mile-long buffet table of not the greatest food choices. And, to top it all off, you have a huge holiday meal on or about Christmas day followed a week later by yet another chance to feast at New Year's dinner or on New Year's eve while out celebrating with friends/family. It is no longer about just not overindulging. It is also about finding items that make good food choices on the average party platter or buffet.

ALWAYS go for protein first! This will come in many, many forms on buffets! Good sources to look for are things like shrimp (usually put out for cocktail), meat and cheese that can be rolled up without the crackers or bread that some folks will choose to accompany it, meatballs, chicken wings, and more. These are all common party finger foods these days and great sources of protein.

Always be careful to look for hidden sugars though. Meatballs, for example, might be in a brown gravy (good) OR they might be in a sugary barbecue sauce (could be bad!). If they are in a sauce that you are concerned about, just try one meatball and wait... Then, see how you feel in a few minutes. Dumping can be a fast reaction. I've personally dumped on 1 teaspoon of regular barbecue sauce drizzled over lean, smoked beef! No way it was anything else! The beef sure wasn't the culprit!

Recently, I've attended several gatherings where there were numerous hot dip items that were also good sources of protein. One yummy one was a buffalo chicken dip that I'll post a recipe for in my next post. YUMMY!! Another was a multi-layer Mexican dish that was refried beans, cheese, olives and more. Both of those items could be good choices for even an early postop as they were something even someone on pureed foods could do!

The key here is to remember your protein sources--meats, cheeses, beans, nuts and such. Then, once you've filled your pouch with protein, if you are able, you might try a bite or two of those other items that you just want a taste of to soothe that savage craving you've had since arriving at the gathering and seeing some of the items on the buffet! Perhaps try Susan Maria's 3 bite rule! It goes like this:

The 3 Bite Rule--
The first bite is to get a good taste.

The second bite is to verify it was as good as you thought it would be.
The third bite is your last bite, so savor it.

I try to follow this rule when trying things like stuffing, potatoes, carb-heavy casseroles, sweets, and other things that I know may either make me sick or just plain make me feel bad that I caved in and ate them... And, as long as I wait till after I've eaten my protein for the meal, I can't eat too much of that stuff anyway!

SparkPeople has an article up now about dieting during Christmas... Check it out!

I will admit that this year--over two years postop, was the first holiday season when I felt comfortable making my normal Christmas goodies and knowing that I could make them without eating much of them. I made my family fudge recipe. I made the decorated sugar cookies that I made every year for over 10 years till I had my surgery. And, I will admit that I ate a cookie! I ate some fudge crumbs as I cut it up for the gift boxes. I can make the goodies that my family and friends love and enjoy without feeling deprived...without eating them till it makes me sick... And, I get a lot of joy from giving those items to folks who can eat them in limitation and enjoy them sensibly. And, to soothe some of the folks who can't tolerate the sugar, I even included my Splenda pumpkin cake baked as mini-muffins!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wow, 25 years just around the corner...

While chatting with a friend from high school via email last night, I realized that our 25 year high school reunion will be summer of 2010. He still lives in the area where we grew up. He's actually an elementary school principal there. I'm a teacher here in WV. During this conversation, it dawned on me that the last time I saw these people, I was at pretty much my highest weight ever--410 pounds! They saw me graduate high school at about 275 pounds in 1985 and then "grow" over the next several years till 1998 when I moved away from that area. I was probably about 375 or so then... Now, after my RNY, I am about 202 to 205 most days and am so much healthier and more active than ever before. What a trip it will be to attend that reunion and see all those jaws drop!! WOW!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Win Free Stuff!! Give us your favorite WLS friendly recipe!

I'm still gathering those recipes!! Any recipe you've got that is a good suggestion for a WLS postop is welcome!

Desserts, main dishes, side dishes...YOU NAME IT!!

Anyone who shares a recipe (You can post a comment and list it there! OR, email it to me at will be entered in a drawing for a box of goodies--protein samples, a protein shaker cup, product samples of other items, etc. And, when it is ready, you get a free copy of the cookbook too! It will be worth your time!! SO, share away folks!! Remember, it does not have to be suited to a very early postop person's eating ability! We're looking for things that are good food choices for someone who is postop at most any stage of the game...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

WLS Cookbook

I'm in the process of compiling a cookbook for my county's 4-H
program... It got me to thinking that I'd like to do a WLS cookbook.
But, I need recipes!! I've been saving recipes for over 2 years now,
but it is just the tip of the iceberg! I need more! This cookbook
would be made available to anyone who'd like to purchase it--locally or
otherwise. And, I'd LOVE to include lots of recipes from our local and not-so-local
postops! Each recipe can list the contributor, so you'd get credit for
submitting it too!

I need ALL SORTS of recipes!
protein rich stuff
side dishes


Simple or not so simple...suitable for early postops OR those farther
out--any and all recipes are welcome! Low carb...high protein...good
source of fiber...if you eat it, we want that recipe!!

Please consider sending them in! Send them to me at (created specifically for this project!) and I'll
put your name in the drawing I have going on right now for a box of
protein and snack goodies! (view info on current giveaway) I'm also going to put
together a basket full of other goodies--handcrafted soaps, body
products, and more. This basket will not be drawn for till the project
is complete, so ANYONE who sends a recipe will get an entry in that
drawing. One drawing entry per recipe--however many you'd like to
send! Then, when the cookbook is ready, we'll draw a few names to win a
free copy!!

What to send:
Recipe Name
Nutrition Facts (if you have them!)
Any notes about things you change or alternate, etc...

I will be working on this for a while yet. Send something now and then,
as you come across others, pass them on too!!
Thanks for your help and participation!!

Click to submit your recipe!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Reminder: Kay's Naturals ALWAYS 20% OFF and NEW Kay's products coming soon!!

Quite a while back, I got Kay's Naturals to give all my readers a 20% product discount... All you have to do is shop their site at
Then, after you shop and place the items you want in your shopping cart, use the discount code minichallenge during the checkout process.

By the way--the cinnamon toast pretzels which have been out of stock for quite some time now are due in VERY soon and will be 50% off when they arrive! And, several other products are currently discounted on their site! Check out their main page for that info...

I will include some Kay's Naturals products in the box of goodies I'm giving away right now (see post).

They do have the sample pack for $7.50 right now! Check that out if you are new to their products.

They also have several NEW items in the works. They are not on the site yet, but they include the following items:
sweet barbecue snack mix
salted pretzel sticks
hazelnut protein chips
almond cinnamon protein chips

Those ALL sound like winners to me!! Remember, you heard it here first! Be sure to stay tuned as I will have a giveaway with the new products once they are available for sale! I can't give them to you till I can buy 'em from them! LOL

As always, you can check my product reviews for some reviews of their products...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Share your best holiday recipe and WIN!!

Giveaway time again!! I am looking for any and all weight loss surgery friendly recipes that are suitable for the holiday dinners we're all contemplating cooking and/or eating right about now... Desserts, main dishes, side dishes...YOU NAME IT!!

Anyone who shares a recipe (just post a comment and list it there!) will be entered in a drawing for a box of goodies--protein samples, a protein shaker cup, product samples of other items, etc. It will be worth your time!! SO, share away folks!! Remember, it does not have to be suited to a very early postop person's eating ability! We're looking for things that are good food choices for someone who is postop at most any stage of the game...

What's for supper?? Crockpot is ready!

I was up at 5:15 this morning to shower and get ready for my day. The phone starts ringing normally by 5:45 if there are substitute positions for the day, so I wanted to be out of the shower by then since I didn't shower last night. I hate trying to listen for a phone while IN the shower and then potentially having to get out dripping and soapy to answer it! I am NOT normally a morning person, but I am gradually adjusting to getting up and staying up and this morning I just could not go back to sleep! After my shower and as I got dressed for the day (I have to get dressed to take Mandy to the bus, so I might as well be dressed and ready to work, right?), I made a big mug of my protein cocoa (posted recipe yesterday, so scroll down for that one!) and drank that while I checked email. That was almost 30 grams of protein in for the day!

I am apparently going to have the day off from work today as it is after 7:45 am and no call yet... Ahhh, the life of a substitute teacher--never knowing if you'll work that day or not...waiting on the phone to ring like a teenage girl on Saturday night! Of course I could still get called for a half day this afternoon too. SO, after I put my teenage monster (ugh, another post from yesterday!) on the bus this morning, I started thinking about what I could do or get caught up on around here that I just didn't feel like doing over the weekend.

I thought about cleaning out the fridge, but who really wants to do that? LOL I grabbed a cheese stick and pondered... While standing there with the door open though, a package of chicken breasts were staring back at me and I knew that it was close to time to use 'em or lose 'em. SO, I decided today was a good crockpot day! Heck, ANY day is a good crockpot day, but cold days are great crockpot days! LOL

I pulled out the chicken breasts and an open bag of baby carrots. Leaving those on the counter, I hit the cupboard for some cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soup. Finally, I grabbed a good sized yellow onion. With the crockpot ready, I laid the chicken breasts in the bottom. There were three of them--about a pound and a half. On top of the chicken breasts, I layered most of that pound bag of baby carrots and then peeled the onion and cut it into about 8 wedges that I dropped in there too. On top of this, I poured the cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soups and spread them around so that they covered everything. And, finally, I liberally sprinkled Everglades Seasoning (best everyday seasoning blend on the market!) over the top of it all. Around 10 am (if I'm still here--sooner if I get called to go somewhere), I will turn the crockpot on low and let that baby go till about 4:30 pm. At that time, I'll mix it up good to break the chicken up a bit and stir in about a cup of Barilla Plus elbow pasta and a cup or two of frozen peas. I will let it continue to cook (though on high) till the pasta is all done.

This will make for an effortless dinner meal that will be yummy on this cold, wintry day!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Pouch Rules for Dummies

This piece is one that you hear mentioned all the time but may not know where to find... I found it at

I'm not going to post the whole thing here.... It is 10 pages long. I am, however, going to share a few tidbits that I think apply to MANY of us who are postops! Click the link above and read this thing! It is worth your time and goes pretty quickly!

Rules are made to be broken. No biggie if the patient drinks with one meal - as long as the patient knows he/she is breaking a rule and will get hungry early. Also if the patient pigs out at a party - that's OK because before surgery, the patient would have pigged on 3000 to 5000 calories and with the pouch, the patient can only pig on 600-1000 calories max. The patient needs to just get back to the rules and not beat him/herself up.

1. Fill pouch full quickly at each meal
2. Stay full by slowing the emptying of the pouch. (Eat solids. No liquids 15 minutes before and none until 1 ½ hours after the meal). A scientific test showed that a meal of egg/toast/milk had almost all emptied out of the pouch after 45 minutes. Without milk, just egg and toast, more than ½ of the meal still remained in the pouch after 1 ½ hours.
3. Protein, protein, protein. Three meals a day. No high calorie liquids.

The first six months is the fastest, easiest time to lose weight. By the end of the six months, 2/3 of the regrowth of the pouch will have been done. That means that each present day, after surgery you will be satisfied with less calories than you will the very next day. Another way to put it is that every day that you are healing, you will be able to eat more. So exercise as much as you can during that first six months as you will never be able to lose weight as fast as you can during this time.

Recipe: Peanut Butter Chocolate Ricotta Creme

Got this one from a friend and HAD to ask permission to share it with you all!!

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Ricotta Crème

Two servings.

1 cup low fat or part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 or 3 packets Splenda
1/2 to 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
1/2 to 1 tablespoon baking cocoa (or 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar-free chocolate syrup)

Mix as desired, put in 2 serving dishes, chill, and serve. If using chocolate syrup, you can pour on top instead of mixing in, if desired.

Recipe: Protein Hot Cocoa

It is that time of year again... Time to have a nice hot beverage handy to warm you up, especially after going out for a walk on these nippy days! I am NOT a coffee drinker, so I concocted this protein cocoa to serve my warm beverage needs!

1 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 packet no-sugar-added hot cocoa mix

Mix scoop of protein powder into about 2 ozs of water that is straight from the tap or at room temperature. Mix it well so there are no clumps.
Add the packet of cocoa mix and again mix well.
Add another 8 to 10 ozs of very hot water. I usually have a pan of water warming on the stove before I start mixing the other stuff together.
Once the hot water is added to the cup/mug, stir it till it is smooth and well mixed.
Last step?? ENJOY!!

Notes about this process/recipe:
1) Do NOT mix hot water into protein powder. It will clump and be plain ole' nasty! You MUST mix the protein powder with the cooler water and get it mixed well first!
2) You can use ANY chocolate protein powder. I prefer the IDS Belgian Chocolate and it has 26 grams of protein per scoop!
3) You can also use two packets of cocoa mix and a scoop of unflavored protein powder.
4) I use a store brand (Krogers) no-sugar-added cocoa mix. Many companies have a no-sugar-added version or a "diet" version. Swiss Miss makes a good one. Check the labels and look for the sugar grams! Sometimes the no-sugar-added is not the one you want. Sometimes the better choice is actually labeled diet. Just be a good label reader! I like the Krogers mix and it goes on sale frequently for anywhere from a buck to $1.50 per box!

Working every day...and an update!

Working every day... Unique concept! Well, for some of us it is! I have not actually worked (outside the home) every day in over 10 years... And even then, I only worked 3 to 5 days a week, not every day Monday through Friday every week. Since I went back to teaching though, that has been the case. I have worked every day and for the first few weeks, it was pretty tiring and hard to get back into that work loop... I was used to getting my daughter off to the bus in the AM and then hitting the bed for a bit more rest as I was a night owl who stayed up till about 2 AM every night. I'd get her up and off to the bus (gets on bus at 6:50 AM) and then go back to bed till some time between 8 and 9 AM. Suddenly, I was getting up at 6 AM and leaving the house by 7 AM and not home again till 5 ish and required to stay awake and alert for that time span! Talk about a shock to your system! LOL

Now those of you who are used to it and work every day are thinking, "what the hell is she complaining about???" LOL I'm not really complaining, just finally getting my body's timeclock shifted to where I am in the bed (and asleep!) by 11 or midnight and am able to wake up pretty much on my own around 5:30 or 6:00 and stay up through the day without feeling like a kindergartener who needs a nap after lunch! It has taken me this long! And, now I really think that my thyroid meds are off kilter again as I'm sort of dragging and I am hungry all day long! I won't have new labs done till after Jan 1st (lovely insurance!), so won't really know till then, but in the meanwhile, I am trying to cope... I've been really trying to find better snacks to carry me through the daytime munchies and been really trying to say no to munching on something before bed or when I wake up in the middle of the night. Some nights, I feel sort of loopy and think it is low blood sugar (usually nights we've had an earlier dinner) and I do go ahead and grab a small snack. Other nights, I know it is just head hunger and just say no!

I'm also retaining water in my legs and feet and can see how much they are swollen by the end of the day when I've been on my feet at work. I'm not sure there's anything I can do about that as my doc keeps telling me no about the water pills and to "just stay off your feet..." LOL Yeah, don't I wish! LOL

Other than these minor complaints, life is pretty good (well, these minor health issues AND a pain-in-the-ass teenager!)... I'm still below 210 pounds (over 200 pounds lost) and I am more active than I have been since I was a young child. And I mean young--as in less than 10 years old. I climb the stairs easily several times a day at work. I'm never out of breath or even strained when I reach the top. I can be on my feet without the excruciating pain in my knees and lower back. I no longer have issues with high blood pressure... I'm not worried about being diagnosed as diabetic... The world is much better for me post-WLS!

Life with teenagers...UGH!

I have two of this animal--teenagers! Well, technically, I have 3... I have two daughters, ages 16 and 19. Then, I also have a son-in-law who, while actually 20, acts like a teenager most days. My older daughter and her hubby live at his parents' house and have no responsibility to support themselves, but we (hubby and I) aren't supporting them. My 16 year old, however, is another case. We support her. We love her, but honestly wonder if that emotion is reciprocated most days. She is rebellious and has a bad attitude despite being an almost straight A student who does well and doesn't get in trouble at school (thankfully). She just refuses to do anything that we ask of her at home without first fighting it and stalling. She puts more time and work into getting out of doing stuff than it would actually take to DO the task! And, she is getting worse about staying up way beyond her bedtime on the computer once I am asleep myself. She does NO household chores whatsoever. She doesn't sweep floors. She doesn't wash dishes. She doesn't wash laundry. She hardly ever even cooks anything. She does about 15 minutes worth of outside chores (feeding livestock) a day and acts like it is an all day task to do just that bit. I have to say that I am beginning to REALLY look forward to her turning 18 and going off to college. She is one of those kiddos who will be made move out if she doesn't go to college as you can only take so much disrespect before it wears you down!

Rant over! We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming! LOL

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Kay's Naturals--Everything 50% off!

As some of you may recall, not too many weeks ago, Kay's Naturals had a 50% off sale all weekend long. They're doing it again this weekend! Click over to the site for more info!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Elected President

President elected... Obama? McCain? Nope, ME! I was elected president of our county's 4-H Leaders Association last night. It is a one year term with the possibility of a second year. Most winners (aka suckers!) end up with two years... LOL I replaced a woman who'd served two years, gotten out of it--ugh, I mean finished her term, and then after about a month, the newly elected person backed out and she got stuck back in as president for another year! She was glad to step down last night!

What does it mean? Well, it means you chair the monthly meetings, chair any activity committees, and are responsible for a lot of the behind the scenes stuff that helps keep 4-H running in our county. Oh, and it means you are the number one person for 4-H camp. That is the biggest part of the job and most of the work happens over about a 6-week timeframe as camp is planned, fine-tuned and then executed... Camp is a week long and is held in June. We have had as few as 58 kids to a larger group of about 100. It can be fun though it can also be physically and even emotionally stressful... Just depends on what that one week brings!

I'm happy to serve now that my health allows me to do it. Even a year ago, I doubt that I'd have been able to keep up with it all. Now, I'm anxious to get started!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Matthew & Grandpa

He is getting so big! Matthew is now 3 1/2 mos old and he is so alert and fun to be around! We finally got some decent shots of him and Grandpa this past week... It doesn't show quite how much he looks like Grandpa, but we'll keep trying till we get one that does show it well!

Grandpa sits and holds him and tells him how beautiful he is and how much he loves him and Matthew blows spit bubbles at him... Poor guy is teething something fierce now and the drool is just flowing like water! We've had to start putting a bib on him just to keep him from soaking his clothes so fast! We went to give him a bath the other day and he was soaked almost from his chin to his belly button!

Starting to catch up...

With going back to working away from home most days, I didn't think it would ever happen, but I am finally starting to get back on track... I'm getting somewhat of a routine worked out as far as cooking meals, buying groceries, washing dishes, washing clothes, etc is concerned so that all of these chores are not building up in wait for a day off...

My dishes may only get washed every other day, but there is just me and Mandy eating here most of the time and we're only eating dinner and warming up something for breakfast, so there are not a lot of dishes to wash.

Laundry--well, that is a different story! It took some doing to keep up with the laundry! What with clothes, towels, bedding and all, it piles up when you are not looking! LOL

Buying groceries is probably the easiest. When I wasn't working, I had to plan a couple of trips to town each week just to pick up necessary stuff both from the grocery and the feed store (livestock feed for our animals). Now that I am in town most days from Monday to Friday, it is easy to just run by the grocery store and grab whatever we need without the worry about getting every single thing we need in order to avoid needing an extra trip to town... I still have to plan my trips to Walmart and Sam's Club as those are both about an hour from home and are harder to just "get by..."

And, now that I've been having to get up and get out to work so many days, my body's internal clock is finally starting to come around to this new schedule and I'm staying up less at night and getting up easier in the morning. Now, don't let that fool you! I am still NOT a morning person! I never said I was liking it more...just that it was easier to get up and get going now that my inner clock is shifting gears a bit. I also didn't sleep away the day on Saturday this weekend and didn't even take a nap today (Sunday)! That alone is progress... Last weekend, I swear I could have slept soundly all day on Saturday!

Now, I need to start putting some creative thinking into planning lunch box lunches and packable snacks. I welcome comments about how or what you guys do in that sense. In many classroom situations, there is a fridge and a microwave available nearby, so that helps. But, I generally pack a lunch that would be okay if not able to warm something up. And, as I am finding that I really do need to be eating more calories per day (I lose a bit when I do eat more lately), I am really thinking hard on snack items. I've got a bag of nuts and a couple of protein bars in my bag at all times. I even have a spare bottle of water in my tote in addition to whatever I have packed in my cooler bag and the big cup I tote with me. I need to generate a list of healthy snacks and focus some on those that would be higher protein sources as I've noticed a bit more hair loss again lately and am not sure whether it is my thyroid or just me not getting enough protein...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wow, been a while!

So,...long time, no post, huh? Yep, it has been quite a while since I had a chance to sit down and peck out a post for you guys! Here goes!

I've gotten back to work as a substitute teacher. I've been working somewhat regularly and am actually surprised at how frequently as it still seems so early in the year and teachers are usually sort of stingy with their down days this early out as they may want to use those days for "mental health days" later in the year when they are just plain tired! But, I have had weeks when I got called for every day at least a half day and some a whole day... Sure adds up! I gave my notice with the parent training group and am no longer doing that as of this past Friday. I love the job and working with parents of children with disabilities, but teaching is where my heart lies and getting back into the classroom--even as a substitute teacher--is going in the direction I truly want to go. I hope to find a full-time position in the next year or two. There are actually some social studies teachers approaching retirement in our county, so it may even happen for this next school year. Fingers crossed on that one! I'd prefer to be at the school my daughter attends rather than in the next county over from us... And, Mandy will be a senior next year, so being around school for all the fun stuff will be great! Having that full-time income would be even greater when trying to cope with all the expense of senior year! Senior portraits, cap and gown, graduation announcements, and more! It seems that it never ends! LOL

What else is new??? Matthew (grandbaby extraordinaire!) turned 3 mos old on 10/17. He is just the best baby in the world. He hardly ever cries and when he does you can not even hear it in the next room! He is starting to teethe... This could change things! LOL

He is starting to look a LOT like his grandpa... We're going to have to take a picture of the two of them with their faces alongside one another. You'll see what I mean! His own Momma hadn't noticed it till I pointed it out in the pic above! And I'm talking about her Dad!

He is SO his Momma's son... Check out this one!
How's that for a bed-hog in the making??? LOL He is over 2 feet tall now and weighs about 13 pounds. He's growing like the proverbial weed...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Recipe: Crockpot Chicken & More

I wasn't really sure what to call this one! It was sort of whatever-you-want-to-dump-in! I started out with 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast. I put that in the bottom of the crockpot. Then, I liberally added some Everglades Seasoning. Next, I peeled and sliced 3 big carrots and tossed those in on top of the chicken. Over to the fridge, open the door...what to add, what to add??? Oh, some sweet onion... I wedged up a sweet onion and dumped that in. Back to the fridge... Oh, the last of the sliced mushrooms! Toss those in there too. Next, I dumped in a can of cream of mushroom soup and a can of cream of chicken soup. That looked good enough, so I put the lid on and turned it on high heat as it was already 2 pm.

At around 5 pm, I got to thinking about what else I could do with this crockpot of chicken and stuff... I decided I'd stir in my green veggie instead of doing it as a side. So, at about 6:20, I drained and added a can of green peas. Then, when I realized how much liquid was in there (more of a soup than a casserole), I decided to toss in a couple handfuls of Barilla Plus elbow pasta. I allowed that to cook for about 20 more minutes before I had to add about a cup of water to keep it from ending up too dry! From too liquidy to almost too dry in 20 minutes with the aid of about a cup of pasta! LOL Another 10 minutes or so and dinner was served! I'm calling it Chicken and More! LOL

Sorry for the crappy picture. I think that the lens on the camera steamed up when I pulled the lid off the crockpot!

SO, here it is in a more user-friendly recipe format!

Crockpot Chicken & More

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 medium sweet onion, cut into wedges
3 very large carrots, peeled and sliced about 1/2 inch thick
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
fresh mushroom slices
1 can green peas, drained
1 cup Barilla Plus elbow pasta, uncooked
1 cup (more or less) water

Add chicken to crockpot and season.
Add carrots, onion, and mushrooms.
Pour soups in on top of it all.
Heat on high for 4 to 4 1/2 hours, but stir it all up at about 2 hours and 3 hours into the cooking time, working the chicken into more bite-sized chunks by sort of breaking it up with the spoon.
Stir well, then drain and add can of green peas, 1 cup uncooked pasta and 1 cup water.
Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, till pasta is completely cooked. More or less water may be added while cooking to achieve liquid amount of your choosing--less liquid is more like a casserole dish, more liquid is more of a soup or stew.

Alterations: You could use 1/2 to 3/4 cup of rice of your choice in place of the pasta. You might also leave out the pasta and water and serve this over rice or pasta. Another option is to make it thinner with more water and serve as a soup or stew with some piping hot cornbread on the side!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Win Free Stuff!! Dr. Kracker giveaway drawing...

I recently posted some reviews on the Dr. Kracker snack chips. Search my blog using the term review and you'll see those and other product reviews. These "snack chips" are basically a very crunchy flatbread in small cracker form made with organic, whole grain ingredients. They are crisp/crunchy and they have seeds on them as well. Some even have cheddar cheese on them. They suit my need for a cracker quite well. They are great with something like chicken salad spread on them or a slice of cheese... And, they are a good snack choice for my lunchbox days as well as they are packaged in 1 oz individually sealed bags!

The Home of Uber Crunch!

Dr. Kracker Snack Chips

The good folks at Dr. Kracker donated some product for our mini-challenge folks for a prize for our current round of the mini-challenge!

In five stupendous flavors:

And, I got a few extra to use as incentives as well. SO, I'm offering a prize box now! On Saturday, 10/11/08, I will draw a name. Anyone who posts a comment to this blog post will be entered in the prize drawing! No purchase necessary! LOL And, I'll cover the shipping costs too! So, this is a totally free chance to try all 5 flavors of Dr. Kracker snack chips for the person who wins the drawing! Post your name or OH username and your email address so that I can email you for shipping info if you win! And, if you like, tell us about other products you are interested in seeing reviewed or would like to try as a future prize item!

How many calories can YOU eat and still lose weight? Formula...

Someone shared the following formula for calculating your BMR (basal metabolic rate). I believe the info was posted in Barbara Thompson's newsletter... Your BMR is the amount of calories you burn each day just merely living--breathing and digesting, etc...without any activity whatsoever. This is supposedly the number of calories you'd burn if you just sat on the couch or stayed in bed all day long--24 hours straight. If you eat 3500 calories less than that amount, you lose 1 pound of weight. So, if you ate 500 calories less than that amount every day for 7 days straight, theoretically you should lose 1 pound. 1000 cals less every day for 7 days would yield a 2 pound loss... You get the drift. Here's the formula:

To figure out your calorie expenditure using this formula

For women the formula is:

655 + (4.3 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years) = BMR (Women)

For men the formula is:

660 + (6.3 x weight in pounds) + (12.9 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years) = BMR (Men)

Then you have to determine your Activity Level. This is where it gets tricky.
If you are sedentary: BMR x 20 %
If you are lightly active: BMR x 30 %
If you are moderately active (You exercise 3 to 4 times per week): BMR x 40 %
If you are very active (You exercise intensely 5 or more days per week): BMR x 50 %
If you are extra active (You do hard labor or are in athletic training, or exercise intensely 5 or more days per week for 3 or more hours per day): BMR x 60 %

Add your Activity Level number to your BMR = Daily Calorie Expenditure

SO, for me it would look like this right now:
655 + 881.5 + 317 – 192.7 =1660.8

Then, if lightly active (my life lately), you 'd add 498.24 more calories.
S655 + 881.5 + 317 – 192.7 =1660.8 + 498.24 = 2159.04

That means that in order to lose ONE pound per week, I just need to say below 1659 calories per day. To lose TWO pounds per week, I would have to stay around 1159 calories per day. I am here to tell you that this doesn't work for me! I don't lose even at 1100 calories per day these days. However, when I have those days that hit closer to 2000 calories per day (remember, I am over 2 years postop), I see a drop the next day unless it was a carb-laden 2000 calories... Stressful!! LOL

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Kay's Naturals 50% off special extended!

Scroll down a bit here and you'll find a post about everything at Kay's Naturals being on SALE!! And, not just your average sale--a 50% off sale! They extended the sale! It was supposed to end at 9 am central time on Monday 9/29. As of right now, the site still shows the discounted pricing! Click over to check it out!

Back to school...

Yeah, it is a little late in the season to JUST be saying back to school, but that is the case for me! I may have mentioned that prior to my WLS and losing the weight, my health was so poor that I was unable to teach anymore and I have been away from teaching since 2003 when I let my teaching certificate expire... Well, in 2007, I took two classes and got my certificate renewed. Then, I signed up to go back to work in my county as a substitute teacher till I find something full time and can get back into a classroom of my own. I am also about to apply with the neighboring counties so I can work more often and get to know the folks there and get a handle on any potential job opportunities.

Last Thursday evening, I got the call... My first job as a sub was last Friday. I was a sub for a kindergarten class... Mind you, I am a middle and high school social studies teacher! LOL Kindergarten is not really my cup of tea, but I was excited to get a chance to get back to the classroom! So, I took it anyway and things went great. They were a fun bunch of kids! Then, that very same evening, the computerized system called me again with a sub spot at the high school for two days (Mon/Tues). This time, it was math... I'm a social studies teacher! LOL But, I want to work, so for yesterday and today I have been a math teacher--Algebra II, Geometry, and Pre-Calculus to be exact! It was interesting when someone would ask me for help with something. I did the math... It has been about 22 years since I last worked an algebra problem! WAY too long to know what they were asking me for help with! But, we muddled through with the help of some brainy classmates. All is well that ends well, right???

The call-in system is computerized and somewhat random. You have no way of knowing when or if you'll get called, so from here on out, it is strictly a wait and see sort of thing. Suddenly the phone rings and you are set for another day--or more!

For today, I'm almost done and just spending some time browsing OH and blogging during a planning slot... I stumbled across a post about a protein bar that Alton Brown did on his Food Network show... Here's a link for anyone interested!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

50% off of EVERYTHING at Kay's Naturals!!

I love several of Kay's products, so I just have to share this one!!

This weekend, Kay's Naturals is having a blowout of a sale. If you've never tried their stuff but would like to, this is the time! They will be offering 50% off of everything! And, they still have that $7.50 flat rate shipping, so that is all you pay for shipping whether you buy one item or a whole pallet full!

The sale starts this Friday (9/26) at 5 pm central time and ends Monday (9/29) at 9 am central time. There is no discount code necessary! Just order between that time frame and you get the 50% off deal! The discount is supposed to show up right on the site, no waiting... So, if you're of a mind to place an order, click over to and check it out between Friday evening and Monday morning!

OH, and pass it on!! This special is good for ANYONE!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Long, busy days...

I know, I know... I just wrote a blog about being busy, busy, busy these days! But, it is the truth! I stay busy and just seem to have days when I don't even get a chance to sit down! LOL

This weekend, Eliza, Josh and the Baby have been here. So, I have had some snuggle time with my sweetie! He's two months old already!

It isn't the greatest picture of he and I, but we don't yet have one that is a "good one!" This was first waking up in the morning for me. He'd just nursed and Eliza passed him off to me to snuggle while she started breakfast for us all. I was just waking up and he was going back to sleep!

Just to recount one of these busy days...
This morning, I got up and cooked bacon and pancakes for the crew for breakfast.
While bacon was frying, I got a load of laundry rounded up and washing.
After I ate my breakfast, I got to sit with the baby for a bit.
Next, dish washing...
Then, I cleaned and sliced up 4 quart baggies of peppers from my garden and put them in the freezer.
I put the laundry in the dryer.
That was followed by blanching, peeling and pressure canning a tub full of tomatoes that were good and ripe.
Then, more dish washing to clean up after the canning.
By then, we were grilling hotdogs for lunch. I was good and ate my weiners "naked" without a bun! I also had some of the leftover tomatoes with a bit of Splenda added and then simmered down. Yummy!
After lunch and starting dough for a pizza crust, I got a bit more baby time before we went out to do outside/animal chores. He took a power nap--3 mins of out-like-a-light and then he was fired up and rarin' to go!

After that 3 minute power nap, the baby and I helped Eliza feed and water the rabbits and gave them all some big, crunchy carrots. Look how big they are getting! We've already sold 3 of them and have 3 left. They're 2 1/2 mos old...just a bit older than Matthew!
Their momma (in the background in that pic) is about 25 pounds. That bowl they are beside is 9 or 10 inches in diameter! These are BIG rabbits! (Flemish Giants)

After feeding and watering the rabbits, Josh and I got the chicken feed mixed and stored and the extra dog food and rabbit food stored.
Then, back to the kitchen to put away the jars of canned stuff and the canner and such.
Next, the pizza dough was done in the bread machine and it was time to put together the pizza for supper. I make a whole wheat pizza dough in the bread machine and make the pizza from scratch here at home when we take a notion to do pizza. My SIL (Josh) loves it so much he'll ask if we can have pizza when they're coming over to stay for a few days. We had pizza with pepperoni, fresh green peppers from the garden, mushrooms, and lots of cheese! Mandy complained about the peppers. She told me I should put them on top of the cheese so she can pick them off easier. Eliza told her "just get used to the taste!" After growing my bell peppers in the garden and having them without paying 88 cents each, I am finding all sorts of new places to use them! She better get used to it with 4 bags full of slices in the freezer now! LOL

While Josh had requested pizza, Eliza wanted homemade cookies... So, while the pizza was baking, I put together a batch of my oatmeal, chocolate chip and pecan cookies with the protein powder in them. Those are my favorite cookie and are a great cookie for a postop. Check them out when you get a chance. That is an OLD blog post here! LOL

After the pizza was done and I'd eaten and the cookies were done, I got some computer time to scan email, check my eBay auctions and check in here! LOL What a day! I still need a shower and I have to take my vitamins, but this is a good kind of tired! It is the kind of tired that comes from a day well spent!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Website updates...a necessary evil!

I've been doing the website for a non-profit I volunteer with for like 10 years now... Every so often, you have to go in and recheck all the links on the site and be sure that you are still linking to valid sites and they are the site you intended. It is tedious work and the word fun never comes up in the same conversation! LOL But, it is necessary.

In this case, it was very necessary! The website I am talking about is that of WV CHADD (Children & Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorders). And, the links are all to sites with info about AD/HD--diagnosis, treatment, resources, etc. One link was to a site for support for adults with AD/HD, commonly referred to as ADDults. Well, this link was no longer valid, but it DID go to an ADULT site now! Ugh! SO, it was not the sort of content you'd want your average non-profit/support visitor clicking over to! Thankfully, all of that is done now! I won't have to worry about it again for a bit...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Review: Dr. Kracker, take 3! Pumpkin Cheddar Snack Chips

One more flavor tried...two to go! I'm not sure I have the other two though! LOL

The Pumpkin Cheddar snack chips were about the same as the other two flavors in crunchy crispness and taste. The seeds, what there were of them, were bigger, so there was more flavor to them. I've never tried pumpkin seeds before, so I was a bit unsure of what to expect. Not too bad... These crackers had plenty of cheese on them, just not so much on the seeds.
If there were more seeds, this one would be the best so far. But, as it stands, I think I'm still calling the Klassic 3 Seed from yesterday my favorite!

Monday, September 15, 2008

What a clothes hog I was!

While I may have had to order all my clothing other than bras and undies from Lane Bryant and Roaman's catalogs, I had a TON of it! I took full advantage over the years of their deferred payment options and their credit cards. I stayed at my limit most of the time and usually had at least one order on deferred billing on my checking account debit card!

My point here?? I'm getting there! LOL Since my surgery and losing over 200 pounds, I've been getting around to cleaning closets and storage spots in my home that I previously avoided at all costs as I just was not able to do the work... My home was a huge mess of clutter. Piles here... Piles there... And, the closets were the worst. Most of them sort of overflowed their bounds! The racks were full. The overhead shelves were loaded so heavily with stuff (not usually clothes) that one of them actually pulled out of the wall and fell down! The floor of the closets were stacked as high as the bottom of the clothes with stuff--shoes and other assorted junk. And, lately, one at a time, I'm getting around to doing something about it all.

Despite having given away and shipped off well over 200 pounds of clothes and then giving away locally a HUGE contractor's trash bag of clothes again, I rounded up 40 pounds of size 4X clothes. Now not only were these clothes in good shape, but they were still in the package! They'd never even been tried on or worn! I had so freaking many clothes that I bought clothes I never even opened! And they were stashed here and stashed there.... These clothes added up to well over $400 in cost and there were 36 items!

The good news of this whole mess???? I put them up on ebay! I did it with a reserve price of $150 and a starting bid of just 99 cents. I wanted to start where about anyone could bid and the listing would be cheaper, BUT I wanted to get some money out of them too as I had given away everything else! The first time I listed them, they did NOT sell... In fact, the bidding only got up to like $56--nowhere near the $150 reserve. The second time though, the bidding went from less than $20 to a flat $150 in just a few days and was at $192 about 24 hours before the auction closed. It closed at a wonderful price of $265.00. I was thrilled! It took 3 days for the buyer to pay, but they paid and that BIG ole box of clothes is shipping tomorrow! And, she said that her Mom was going to be thrilled. So, it made someone else happy too!

I got rid of the clothes that I will never ever wear again and had never worn before.
I got a fair price out of them.
Someone's Mom is getting a nice gift--a 20" x 20" x 12" box crammed FULL of new clothes.
I have $265 to put towards the propane we need to heat this winter! Ugh! It is up to like $2.64 a gallon now. We paid $1.82 last winter....

Review: Dr. Kracker, take 2! Klassic 3 Seed variety

Last night, I reviewed the Sunflower Cheddar variety of the Dr. Kracker snack chips. I decided to try another one of the Dr. Kracker snack chips today. Today's choice was the Klassic 3 Seed snack chips.
I think I liked these even more than I did the other one I tried yesterday--the sunflower cheddar variety. These had a lot more seeds in them. Check 'em out!
The sunflower cheddar ones had much fewer seeds on each cracker.

The package says "The Klassic 3 Seed is a compelling blend of nutty flax seeds, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. Crunch!" The certainly do CRUNCH! As a matter of fact, I caught myself thinking that chewing these things to the proper mush point before swallowing was going to be more work than with stuff like Cheeze-Its! So, when you are done, you really feel like you ate something instead of something that just sort of dissolves in your mouth. These DO have a nutty flavor to them. And, they were, as you can see in the pic above, very well seeded.

I think that this one is my flavor of choice so far!

Nutrition Facts for this variety:

Klassic 3 Seed
snack chips
% DV
Calories 120
Fat Calories 40
Total Fat 5 g 8%
Saturated Fat 1 g 5%
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 g 0%
Sodium 220 mg 9%
Total Carbohydrates 13 g 4%
Dietary Fiber 4 g 16%
Sugars 0 g
Protein 6 g
Vitamin A
0 %
Vitamin C
0 %
3 %
6 %

Like the sunflower cheddar, no trans fats, no cholesterol and a fair amount of fiber...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Product Review: Dr. Kracker snack chips

Been a while since I did a product review! Let's see if I remember how! LOL

At our support group meeting, I got a sample of a new product... Well, they are new to me and I have no idea how long they've been available! But, anyway, they are a line of snack chips or crackers called Dr. Kracker and they claim to be 100% whole grain with an "uber crunch!" Actually, here's what their site says about these snack chips/crackers:

Inspired by the delicious traditional flatbreads of Germany, our Dr. Kracker crackers are made with a blend of nature's best organic whole grains and seeds, then yeast-raised and artisan-baked to perfect crispness.

Available in five stupendous flavors, we make sure that every bite of every Dr. Kracker cracker bursts with texture, character, and gusto.

No-nonsense. Not for the faint of heart. And, everything you always wanted in a cracker.

I've only tried the Sunflower Cheddar variety of these crackers.
I found them to be VERY crisp and crunchy.They have nice big pieces of seeds or whole seeds on the crackers. These definitely have texture! They are thicker and crisper than your average chip/cracker though and definitely resemble the flatbreads that they say they are imitating...

Nutrition Facts for this variety:

Sunflower Cheddar
snack chips
% DV
Calories 120
Fat Calories 50
Total Fat 6 g 9%
Saturated Fat 1.5 g 8%
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol <> 1%
Sodium 220 mg 9%
Total Carbohydrates 12 g 4%
Dietary Fiber 4 g 16%
Sugars 0 g
Protein 5 g
Vitamin A
0 %
Vitamin C
0 %
5 %
6 %

No trans fats, practically no cholesterol and a fair amount of fiber... Add that to the taste and texture desirability of these crackers and you've got a winning choice!

They have a page of customer testimonials if you'd like to hear what others have written about them. I'll try to post when I try the other flavors as well. They also have a page with recipes using the crackers. I hope to see them continue to add recipes!

The flatbread pieces of these crackers (another item from same company) are large crackers that would be awesome with cheese spreads and/or meats on top! But, these snack chips are great just by themself.

Go to to find the nearest retailer to purchase these products or go to for online retailers such as

Product Name: Dr. Kracker sunflower cheddar snack chips

Product Type (meal replacement, protein bar, snack, etc): snack (but also available as actual flatbread pieces for use as part of a meal!)

Where Can I Get/Find It? online, Costco's, Publix, some Super Targets, Whole Foods, other health/natural foods markets

Cost: sells for $23 for 24 of the 1 oz bags, so less than a buck per bag, not sure about local outlets and single packages...

Pros: organic and all natural whole grain snack, good taste and texture, great to replace those crunchy snack crackers

Cons: for me, these are not readily available from affordable, local sources/needs to be ordered from online sources, but that may not be the case for everyone--search the retail locations link as some states have a long page of local retail locations!

Overall Rating: Yeah Baby! Good solution for those who crave crunch but want only whole grain choices...

So, what DO you bring to a WLS potluck??

We had a potluck, covered dish picnic dinner at this month's local WLS support group meeting. I stressed over what to bring for literally weeks beforehand! I had not been to one of this group's dinners before even though I've been a member since before my surgery two years ago. I had really never been to a covered dish dinner of any sort for WLS folks before. Normally, if I go to something covered dish, it is with friends, family, or 4-H folks and I just bring something I know I can eat and not worry about it... Not for this though as most of the folks attending would be those who had already had WLS and are more careful about what they eat.

So, you rule out a lot of the old standbys like high-carb veggies and breads. You don't do potato salad---that is for sure! LOL And, add in the fact that I had to drive an hour to get there, so temperature was going to be an issue. It either had to be kept cold or kept hot for that length of time... I knew I was going to take a Splenda Pumpkin Cake as that is now an old standby for me for anything where I take food... It was actually the TENTH one of those cakes I'd made since July 28th thanks to our 4-H fundraising! But, what to take for hot food? I needed to take at least two items I felt as there were two of us attending. Mandy always goes to the support group meetings with me and has become a member herself, so we both needed something. She sure didn't help me decide what to bring or actually do the cooking though!

I looked at lots of Michelle's recipes (Eggface)... I even emailed her and asked what she'd take in this position. Her suggestion was her Italian Bean Salad and possibly adding some sort of meat.

I posted on OH and asked what other folks suggested... I got lots of feedback (lots of Eggface recipe suggestions! LOL She has TONS of casserole recipes!), but still couldn't decide. I did get a new recipe site suggested though and it is a site with WLS recipes! That was a cool find! It is and you should definitely check it out some time!

I made and tried Eggface's Pastaless Chicken Carbonara... It was pretty good. Mandy complained about the spinach. Hubby and I liked it. I'll definitely make it again. Maybe for this dinner??

I thought about a pot of brown beans and ham.

I looked at and thought about Eggface's Italian Chicken and Squash Bake.

There were lots of folks who suggested I take one of Michelle's "bites" items which are little mini-muffin sized crustless quiches basically... There are all different varieties of them!

I wondered what sorts of veggies would show up and even posted on the support group's YahooGroup and asked others to tell what they were bringing. The response I got was that there was always a great assortment and to just bring whatever I wanted. Good response, but not very helpful when I was in such a quandry to begin with! LOL

Then, I asked my self why in the world this was stressing me so much! It is, after all, just FOOD! But, for many of these folks, it was also the reason why they ended up having to have WLS in the first place.... I continued to stew for another week over what I was bringing. Then, I made a shopping list for groceries and included items I would need for several of the things I'd considered making and decided I'd just "go with the flow" when the time came to actually MAKE the stuff.

SO, Friday morning arrives.... The dinner is at 6 pm. I've got stuff here to do many, many things, but WHAT will I make??? I had already soaked a pot of brown beans in case I wanted to do beans and ham, so I went ahead and started the beans to cooking... Was beans and ham plus the pumpkin cake good enough??

After stewing for a while, I decided to put together the chicken and squash bake from Michelle's site. SO, I started rounding up stuff. I love most everything I've ever tried from Michelle's site, so I knew it would be good. And, since I'm talking about it here, I'll post her recipe too...

Shelly's Italian Chicken & Squash Bake

1 cup Chicken, boneless, skinless breasts diced 1" cubes
1 Yellow Onion, diced
3 green Onions, diced
4-5 fresh Mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves Garlic, diced
3-4 Yellow Squash, sliced
1 Tablespoon Fresh Basil, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
a few twists of Black Pepper
1 - 15 oz. can Diced Tomatoes, drained
1 - 10 3/4 oz. can Cream of Chicken Soup
1/2 cup Shredded Italian 4 Cheese Blend (divided use)
Oil/butter for sauteing

Saute chicken till golden. Set aside. Saute onions and mushrooms till golden. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add zucchini, turn to low heat and cover for 5 minutes. Stirring once or twice. Add soup, tomatoes, seasonings, 1/4 cup of the cheese and chicken and stir to combine.

Pour into a Pyrex casserole dish. Top with remaining shredded cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until bubbly and golden.

Now, what I did different...
I did not use green onions.
I added 1 medium green bell pepper, cut into strips and then the strips cut into 3 pieces.
I did not use canned diced tomatoes. I cut up a great big tomato from my garden.
I used about twice as much cheese...
I did not have fresh basil or oregano, so I gave a very hearty shaking of Italian seasoning across the top.

It was yummy! And, it was one of the very few dishes brought that had any veggies in it! So, it was a good choice. And, I actually doubled the recipe and took a big 9 X 13 dish of it and it was all gone at the end!

So that is what I took... I took a big pyrex dish full of pinto beans and cubed ham, a 9 x 13 dish of this chicken and squash dish, and the pumpkin cake...

What did others bring? That was a varied list! Let's see what I can remember...
beef stew
taco dip and Tostitos scoops
macaroni salad
KFC fried chicken and biscuits
something called a Punch Bowl Fruit Salad
fresh fruit (honeydew, pineapple, etc)
gorgeous fresh strawberries and a yogurt dip for them
AND, the best stuff ever--homemade sugar free frozen custard! I ate some of this with fresh strawberries. Then, I ate a bit of it with a piece of the pumpkin cake. OMG, this will be a holiday dessert here this year! You would NEVER guess it was sugar free custard and cake made with Splenda! LOL I told our support group leader (who makes the custard in her ice cream maker) that she MUST give me the recipe now that I have an ice cream maker. I plan to add some protein powder to it when I make it though... If you are going to eat ice cream, at least get some redeeming values from it, right??? I know Michelle would agree on that one! She IS the protein ice cream queen!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Never this busy when I was FAT!!

I got a private message at OH yesterday from a friend asking, "Are you okay?" Her reason for asking was that I'd been so quiet lately. Well, my reply to her was that yes, I was fine, just BUSY!! Life has been hopping lately!

I was involved in stuff preop, but not like I am now. For example, I was the team Mom and scorekeeper for my daughter's softball team for 9 years. I did all of that from a chair... I was a volunteer for my daughter's 4-H club, but that was usually all stuff that could be done from a chair and/or over the phone. I volunteered with a disability advocacy group for 10 years. But, I spent most of my days sitting at home wishing I could do more...

Now, I am working for a non-profit organization that offers training to parents of children with disabilities. I run the mini-challenges over on the OH boards. I am the LEADER of my daughter's 4-H club. I am the secretary of the 4-H Leaders Association, and we've been doing some MAJOR fundraising this last 6 weeks that have involved getting out there and working! We also have had 4-H camp (a week of sleep-away camp with 60 kids this year) and our county fair which the 4-H kids all exhibit at as well as showing livestock. I am back on the list to substitute teach in my county and am applying in the two neighboring counties as well. Not to mention the fact that with hubby on the road trucking for 2 weeks at a time, I do it all with no daily help from him! It's sort of like being a single mom!
Add in the fact that I have that lovely new grandbaby and you have one BUSY lady.

my youngest daughter (Mandy) with her nephew/my grandbaby (Matthew)

I can't belive he's almost 2 mos old already! He's growing so fast and already weighs in at over 11 pounds! Mandy loves to spend time with him (as do I), but we don't get to do a lot of it lately... Bummer! He's a very happy baby, thankfully and fusses over almost nothing. Can't complain about that...just about not getting to see him more often.

SO, getting back to the point! I'm living and loving life these days to a point that I really never even dreamed of! I'm busy to the point of distraction! Heck, I was so busy on Aug 29th (my 2nd surgery anniversary) that it took an email congrats message from a friend for me to even realize that it was THAT day!

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