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Easy Breakfast: Spinach & Eggs

I think I've said before, I'm a visual eater. And unlike when I first started this blog, I'm sort of a lazy cook now. These days I LOVE meals that don't take long to make. This is a quick throw-together IF you are the sort of person who preps veggies weekly (I am!).

Spinach & Eggs (and a few other things)

  • Red pepper strips (I cut up peppers each week and stow them away for easy access)
  • Sliced onion (I used a regular yellow onion)
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Spinach (I used about 1.5 c. since it cooks down but go with your instinct on the amount)
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced (or 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. already minced garlic)
  • Nonstick cooking spray (or olive oil, about a teaspoon is enough)
  • salt, pepper, Paremesan cheese
  • 1 egg (I used a large, again go with what's right for you!)

Spray a pan down with nonstick cooking spray and set it over medium heat. If you're using olive oil put the pan on the heat and let it get hot before adding oil. 

Add peppers and onions and sautee 2-ish minutes or until they are softened. Add mushrooms and sautee an additional minute followed by the spinach and any seasonings you are using.

I like to just toss the spinach with a pair of tongs until it's soft, but not completely limp. Transfer to a plate.

In the same pan, cook an egg any way you like it (obviously I like mine sunny-side up!). Place egg atop veggie mixture and sprinkle with Paremesan cheese. NOM!

Throwback Thursday: Nik Takes the Hunger Challenge

So...three years ago this summer I decided to do something a little radical. Now to understand why I did this you have to know a few things about me:
  1. By day I work as a writer for a non-profit that deals with global hunger (among other things).
  2. My mother had just died.
  3. My kids live with their father during the summer and so I was all alone (this was before I acquired my Bassett Hound, who now ensures I never truly feel alone!)
I decided to take the Hunger Challenge. That link gives you an example of a Hunger Challenge but the basic gist is that I spent five days eating on $1.25/day, which is about the amount of money people living in extreme poverty around the world have to feed their entire families, not just theirselves.

It was an interesting exercise to say the least. I was 4 years post-op at the time so I wasn't that concerned about physical implications (that is to say, don't try this at home, kids!) and I learned a lot about what hunger really is.

If you want you can peruse my daily videos as I went through the challenge. Some of them are long-ish, but all of them share the insight from what I was actually going through at the time. 

Day One

Day Two

Day Three

Day Four

Day Five (sorta...)

Single Serve Cheesy Mashed Cauliflower

Yesterday I posted the above picture on Facebook of my beautiful little lunch: about 2.5 oz. grilled salmon, along with a spear of brocolli (both leftover from a trip to TGI Friday's) along with a side of cheesy mashed cauliflower I made that morning.

Since I only wanted it that day, I made a single serving. I know some of you either live alone or have family who won't touch veggies with a ten-foot pole, so I though this recipe might be useful to you as well.

Nik's Single Serve Cheesy Mashed Cauliflower
Makes about 1/2 c. (ish) of mashed cauliflower. Divide that into as many portions as you see fit!

  • 4-6 frozen cauliflower florets 
  • 1/4 c. (ish) of water
  • 1 wedge of Laughing Cow Light spreadable cheese (any flavor you like - I use Garlic & Herb)
  • 1 tbsp. shredded cheese of your choice
  • 1 heaping tsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Place florets and water in a bowl. Microwave on high for about 2 minutes. This should leave your florets pretty soft. If not, keep microwaving in 15 second increments until they are!

Drain the water and mash the florets (this can be done with a sturdy fork although for me any excuse to use my potato masher is a good one!).

While the florets are still hot, mix in your cheeses (Laughing Cow, shredded and parmesan), along with your salt and pepper. Mix in well.

I personally like to add parsely to the top (I'm a visual eater) but that's not necessary. If it's not hot enough for you, pop it back in the microwave about 30 seconds to reheat it through. 


The 2014 Bariatric Foodie "Play With My Food" Recipe Contest Cookbook (Free Download!)

So...yesterday we say what happens when Nik gets "trigger finger." For those of you who follow BF on Facebook and Twitter, this cookbook was the "surprise" I'd been alluding to since last weekend. (So there will be no surprise tomorrow...sorry!) I really and truly did not mean to publish it until tomorrow, but hey...stuff happens.

In the end I'm glad I did because it gave me a glimpse into how easy/hard it is for you all to download things from various sources! I think I've got the bugs worked out (think being the operative word here). We shall see!

Anyhoo...let's try this again, shall we?  I'm happy to present the 2014 recipe contest cookbook, which looks WORLD'S better than the 2013 cookbook (shout out to my chief branding consultant, Pam Tremble).

What the heck is the "Play With My Food" recipe contest?

So background: Each fall I do a recipe contest called the Bariatric Foodie "Play With My Food" recipe contest. Why? Because you all cook awesome stuff and you should share it! So I pick a theme and invite folks to submit a recipe. Fellow Foodies serve as judges. This year's theme was "Play With Your Food - All Day Long!" Foodies were invited to submit recipes in one of five categories:
  1. Breakfast
  2. Lunch
  3. Dinner
  4. Dessert
  5. Snacks
Download the cookbook!

Each of the categories above had a winning recipe and all winners received a prize, but all recipes are published in this FREE e-book (did I mention that it's free?).

IMPORTANT: I decided to ditch my shopping cart. It was giving too many folks problems. The above link is to a version of the cookbook housed on my Google Drive. You should be able to both view and download it from there. To download it, you'd go to the icon of the downward arrow with a line underneath that looks like this:

You'll also see an icon that looks like three dots in a vertical line. If you click that, "Download" is one of the options. From my both my iPhone and my Android-based tablet, this let me open the document and from there I had some options on saving it (for example, on Apple products you can save it to iBooks).  Your mileage may vary, which is why you should keep reading if you're using a mobile device!

Mobile Phone & Tablet Users

You can download this e-book to your mobile phone or tablet the same way but keep in mind that your phone or tablet may or may not have the appropriate app to actually open it. If that's the case you should get a message (either from Google or your phone) asking you how you'd like to open the document. Here's the important part to note:

What happens after you click that button, I have no control over! 

If you have trouble, leave a blog comment and I can try to help but I'm not a mobile tech expert (I'm not an any tech expert!) so I may not be much help.

Bottom line...and I say this with love...if you are tech challenged (like me!) wait until you can open this from a laptop or desktop computer and save it there. 

I hope you enjoy this cookbook! It was written by Foodies, for Foodies, so feel free to share the download link far and wide!

Low-Carb Ramekin Shepherd's Pie


So...St. Patrick's Day is tomorrow. And some of you already have your corned beef and cabbage cooking. Yum!

Here's another idea to throw onto the heap. I love cooking with ramekins. It's so fun! You can make a perfect portion (by purchasing the ramekin size that suits you), it's easy to ditch starches (like pie crust in this instance) and they are just darn cute, don't you agree? (TIP: For another St. Patrick's Day ramekin idea, check out my Reuben Ramekins!

I love Shepherd's Pie. And I even love it without any modifications! In moderation I have absolutely no problem eating the full fledged version. But since I also want to enjoy a piece of Soda Bread with this meal, I gotta make a swap somewhere. (Why? Because Nik's blood sugar will sink like an anvil if I have more than one source of starch at a sitting!) This swap I can live with as a weeknight meal. I'm more inclined to use a more traditional recipe for weekends.

Here's how it goes.

Nik's (Version of) Lil Baby Shepherd's Pies
(Makes about 4 six ounce ramekins)
***For Shepherd's Pie purists, please read the recipe notes!

  • 1/2 of a yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 lb. lean ground meat (I used turkey)
  • 8 oz. can peas and carrots, drained
  • 1/2 bag frozen cauliflower florets (or about 2 c. fresh ones)
  • 4 oz. (or approximately half a can) low-fat, low-sodium Cream of Mushroom soup
  • 2-3 Laughing Cow style cheese wedges (any flavor)
  • 1/3 c. shredded cheese for topping
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Put a small pot of water on to boil.

Set a skillet over medium heat and let it get hot. Spray it with nonstick cooking spray and add onions. Sautee about 2 minutes.

Add ground meat, browning and mixing in the onions until meat is fully cooked. Drain if necessary. Your pot of water should be boiling so drop cauliflower florets into it.

Add peas and carrots and stir. Then add soup and stir. If soup doesn't sufficiently coat the meat mixture, add about 1/4 c. milk. Allow the mixture to warm through then set aside.

When cauliflower florets are tender (about 4-5 minutes after returning them to a boil), drain and mash them (I use a basic potato masher). Add the Laughing Cow wedges while the florets are still hot. Mix with spoon until mixture becomes a mash (won't look exactly like mashed potatoes but will bond together and won't look like grated cauliflower anymore either).

Place your ramekins on a baking sheet. Ladle in about 1/4 c. meat/veggie mixture. Top with about 1/4 c. of the cauliflower mixture and top with a sprinkle of shredded cheese.

Bake ramekins for about 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and, if you like, browned.

A few notes:
  • If you are a Shepherd's Pie purist perhaps the soup shortcut just won't do. That's fine! Use whatever you like to make the gravy for the pie. Play with your food! (And if you come up with something good, let us know!)
  • If you are a Shepherd's Pie purist you might also prefer a potato topping. Don't let me stand in your way!
  • Every time I use canned soup in a recipe I seem to get scoffs from folks. I will say this. I have low blood pressure and therefore have been advised against a low-sodium diet. I know that's not the case for many of you. Use your best discretion with regards to canned soups. There are great low-sodium varieties out there!
  • Finally, if a 6 oz. ramekin is too much for you, feel free to make them smaller! They freeze beautifully when you wrap them properly and are a great, comforting meal to reheat!
Here are a few other photos of this delicious dish!

The addition of parsely in food pictures can make a real difference to the visual appeal in my honest opinion. Check out this dish before I added parsely. Doesn't it look more appealing with it? 

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