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Nik's Roasted Pear Butter

See the "HOW TO USE" section for details on what this is!

Ok, so I’m really, really, really REALLY behind on stuff lately. For those who have followed this blog more than a year, this is a familiar song and dance.

But I’m trying to get caught up because next week will be all about the release of The Bariatric Foodie Breakfast Book! I’m so excited about that (and nervous).

But first we have some unfinished business to attend to. I owe you TWO recipes that I demonstrated on social media. I’ll post one today, the other tomorrow. First up, let’s talk pears!

Have you ever had fruit in your refrigerator too long? It goes through some stuff! It deepens in color, softens in texture and, in some cases, begins to bruise to the touch. And there’s a point where you look at it, remembering that you really did buy it for a purpose (you really did!) but the fruit has gone past its ability to fulfill that purpose and it is all. Your. Fault.

Ok, so maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but my main point here is that over-ripe fruit can still have a place in your food plan! But first a few words:
  • Over-ripe and rotten are NOT the same thing. You should be able to tell the difference just by looking at the fruit but if there is any doubt, cut a piece of fruit in half. If it is mostly still healthy inside with only a few soft/bruised spots, cut those out and keep it moving.
  • However, note that over-ripe fruit is fruit whose sugars have developed and intensified. That means it’s naturally sweeter than the day it was picked and therefore when you prepare stuff with it, you’ll need to adjust additions accordingly.
  • My ultimate rule for over-ripe fruit goes like a page from the Johnnie Cochran playbook: “If in doubt, throw it out!”
So anyway. One day I was in the grocery store and noticed in the produce section that they had the “last chance” bin out. That’s where the produce folks package up fruits/veggies that are older and sell them for deep, deep discounts. It is a well-known fact in my household that I have the physical inability to resist this cart. I can. Not. Do it!

On the cart this day was a pack of 6 pears. Very, very ripe pears. I bought them, endeavored to do something yummy with them, then put them in the fridge.

And then…four days later…they were very, very VERY ripe pears. When I have very, very, very ripe pears, I start thinking pear butter!

This probably isn’t true pear butter to pear butter officianados (I wonder what they are called) but it was easy and can be used a bunch of different ways.

Nik’s Roasted Pear Butter

Ingredients:
  • 4-6 whole pears (Nearly any kind works, but the ones in the picture are Bosk. Also note they don’t have to be over-ripe. They can be freshly bought.)
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • Optional: ½ c. no-calorie sweetener (I used Splenda) or to taste, 1 tsp. cinnamon or 1 tsp. apple pie spice and I’ll say below how you can add protein, if you wish.

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Cut pears in half. (If they are over-ripe, this will be a “juicy” process. You don’t have to peel or seed them at this point.)

Spray a cookie sheet down with nonstick cooking spray. Place pears, cut side down, on the cookie sheet. 

Roast your pears for 15-25 minutes (the more ripe they are, the less time they’ll take to roast). When they come out of the oven they should be easily pierced with a fork, the skin should have darkened considerably (mine already had dark skins because they were over-ripe, but look for an olive color).


Allow the pears to cool thoroughly before easily removing the skin with a spoon or paring knife. Flip them over and then use a teaspoon to easily remove the seeds.

Place your roasted pears in a bowl (or the bowl of a food processor if that’s what you’ll use to pulverize them) and add lemon juice, sweetener (if using) and spice. If you are using protein powder, you’d add that at this stage as well. I recommend using ¼ c. (or four tablespoons) of protein powder for every four pears you use, but play around with it. You can use vanilla, unflavored or any other kind you like!

If using a food processor, pulverize your pears until they reach your desired consistency (they can be chunky, they can be smooth…go with what you like best!). I don’t have a food processor so I used an immersion blender and did the same.

Chill until ready to use.

HOW TO USE

Well for me I like this straight out of the bowl but I did add some to some protein oatmeal and the kids have been noshing on it as well. I also put some aside and added some black chia seeds, stuck it in fridge (so that the seeds could fill up with water. Post-ops should NOT consume un-hydrated chia seeds as they take in fluid and expand in the gut in their un-hydrated form). What I ended up with is this:


It’s interesting. It tastes good, has a little bit of a crunch, it thickened the whole deal and it gave it an almost…dare I say…carbonated mouthfeel. So…if you’re interested give that a try. 

I also used it to make the dessert at the top of the post which I called "deconstructed pear crumble." It's basically 1/3 c. of the pear butter, about 1/4 c. of Bear Naked protein granola (I also used Fiber One another time but did not photo that) and a little poof of whipped cream. Yummy!

Nik Manifesto: Three Ways of Thinking that Can Hurt Your Weight Loss

Every once in a while, when the stars align correctly, I get in the mood to write a manifesto. The disclaimer here is that these are my thoughts. I’m not a doctor. I’m not a registered dietician. I’m not a psychologist. But I am a post-op who comes into contact with a LOT of other post-ops on a day-to-day basis and so when I see trends, I speak on them. I always expect that my manifestos will get me cursed out but somehow it usually turns out ok.

Today I’d like to talk about our expectations out of this process. Because from where I sit some of our expectations can be a little…interesting.

In jest, I call some of these expectations “fallacies,” mostly because the thinking behind them can be potentially harmful (and when I say harmful I mean both emotionally and, in some cases, physically). So I’ll dive right into the three most common ones I see.

The Fallacy of Equity

This is a fancy way of saying that I see many post-ops who believe that if everyone follows the same rules after surgery, everyone should get the same results. Some folks even believe that because they feel they work harder than other post-ops they should see better results.

These are FALSE. I’m living proof of that! I followed the rules of my surgery to a “t” for the first two years post-op. I exercised like a demon (there is documentation of this), I ate the proper number of calories, I was a protein champ. I never, ever saw this so-called “normal” rating according to the BMI. In fact, most of you will get an average of 20-40 lbs. smaller than I was at my smallest!

That’s not a rant on my part but I am saying this. Like most other statistical measures, WLS results are measured in broad trends, not individual numbers. Surgeons expect a certain percentage of your body fat loss based on the general trends they see, along with any influencing factors that apply to your body. But, again, that is relating you to you. Not to anybody else. So just because so-and-so lost a hundred pounds in four months does not mean you will NOR does it mean that you are a failure if you don't. Your body is your body. Don’t compare to anyone else!

 Bottom line: We are not all the same. And we, as post-ops, aren’t always the best equipped to make apples-to-apples comparisons. So instead of worrying about so-and-so, stay on your plan.

The Fallacy of Graduation

I see this one a lot. I practiced this one from years 2 – 4! This is the fallacy that allows mid- to longer-term post-ops (and sometimes even very ambitious newbies) to believe that they have “graduated” from obesity. Perhaps they’ve reached a certain weight, their labs look fine, they feel great and they think, “Ok, I’m not obese anymore! I don’t have to live by any rules anymore. Yippee!”

That is FALSE. I hate to be the bearer or discouraging news but once a post-op, always a post-op. And to go even deeper, science is starting to tell us that even when our bodies get to be a normal size, our metabolism will probably always be that of an obese person.

Now you can choose to interpret this information as discouraging. You may feel hopeless. I personally don’t see that as the point. To me, the point is that, on some level, we have to continue to work at our health for our entire lives. This should not be discouraging to any of you because even healthy non-ops have to work at their health for their entire lives. It’s a fact of life. The body takes maintenance. For us, that maintenance includes being aware of what we eat, how much we move, taking vitamins, drinking water.

Bottom line: While your life won’t always be centered on the WLS process, the WLS process will always be at least a small part of your life. You don’t graduate, pass go or collect $200.

The Fallacy of Similar Consequences

This one is similar to the Fallacy of Equity but slightly different. Again, this is one I have been especially guilty of throughout my process. The thinking goes a little something like this.

“I exercise and do everything I am supposed to. Jane does not. In fact, I see she eats cookies and still maintains a great weight loss. So I should be able to eat cookies.”

Now…first, divorce yourself from the specific example because cookies could be anything, even stuff that isn’t food. Cookies could be exercising enough, taking your vitamins or myriad other things. The point here is that we sometimes see others doing things we want to do (and believe me, I get the desire to just let loose, I really do!) and think that because that person didn’t have any visible negative consequences, you won’t either.

That is FALSE. The thinking is at least. You could very well not have many adverse consequences to relaxing your personal rules (although I can say with confidence that eventually not taking your vitamins usually catches up with you!). BUT you should always make those decisions based on factors related to you, not anybody else. Jane is Jane and you are you. Just because Jane can eat cookies every day and maintain her weight does not mean that’s what you should (or even want) to do. Am I making sense here?

I’ll give you another personal example. Not only have I always trended higher on the scale than most other post-ops but I’ve almost always been able to eat more. And there was a time when I followed the Jane’s of the world into some new habits. In and of themselves said habits weren’t so bad, but they weren’t the right decisions for me or my body. So they did not have favorable results. I had to learn that even though Jane was doing things I wished I could do, I could not do them. I don’t get the same result as Jane. Why? Because my body is different from hers!

There are many, many more of these so-called lines of thinking that I see, but these are the ones I see most commonly. I think in general this is a learning process. And far too many of us (present company included) have to learn this stuff from the School of Hard Knocks. Insofar as I can give a little insight that may help you recognize these patterns and act on them (if need be), I feel my mission is accomplished!

Keep playing with your food, Foodies. :)


Release Date AND Sneak Peek at the cover of "The Bariatric Foodie Breakfast Book"



I am ridiculously, tremendously, over the top happy to announce that I can FINALLY announce that…

The Bariatric Foodie Breakfast Book will go on sale April 28! At this point I can only guarantee the hard-copy version will be available on that date. You will be able to purchase the book on Amazon!

My “e-book guy” and I are working hard to get the e-book versions done. When they are done the book will be available for Kindle on Amazon and for Nook/iPad on Smashwords. The price for the book is the same as all other Bariatric Foodie books: $12.95 for hard-copy, $8.95 for e-book (no matter which version of the e-book you buy).

For a preview of the yumminess to come, check out the “BariatricFoodie Breakfast Book” board on Pinterest. I’ll be adding more pictures as I get them snapped. In June, there will be an opportunity to ask questions and do a special Q&A with me about the book and the recipes. Stay tuned for information on that!


Until then, THANK YOU for your patience. This was the first time I was so open about the process of developing a book and I thought I was getting on your nerves BUT you all gave me great insight and kept me enthusiastic to make it to the finish line. I really hope you all enjoy this book!

Tilapia Verde


I'm literally eating this as I type. I don't routinely upload recipes this quickly after sharing them (read: don't go getting spoiled) but I figured since it's a quiet day and I have the time, why not?

This dish started with me having a random assortment of vegetable-type stuff to use up. A few days ago I sacrificed two zucchinis and an eggplant to my co-worker's compost pile. While I'm glad they will still get good use, that hurt my heart!

Now I feel especially passionate about using up my veggies since I read this statistic in Women's Health Magazine. 

I also needed something quick to prepare. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I go to a 5:45 a.m. weight lifting class which lasts an hour. In order to get the divas to school on time I must leave by 7:20 a.m. So, this morning (having not prepped anything for today) I had to get back from the gym from a class that ends at 6:45, get un-grossified, dressed, make sure they are un-grossified and dressed, and get us all out the door in 35 minutes. Oh...and make lunch. 

So this is to say if I could pull off that feat with a great lunch, I have confidence in the rest of you!

Nik's Tilapia Verde
(Makes numerous servings. For me, two, for you, who knows?)
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1/2 a small onion, cut into slivers
  • 2 c. spinach
  • 2 tsp. garlic, minced (luckily I don't kiss anyone during my workday!)
  • 1/2 a yellow squash, cut into rounds, then halved
  • 2 - 4 oz. tilapia filets
  • 1 c. salsa verde (mine was homemade...I'd imagine pesto would work well too in this situation to keep the whole "verde" theme although pesto something of a caloric bomb with all the oil...tasty but very caloric!)
  • Salt, pepper to taste
Directions:

Set a nonstick skillet over medium heat and add water. On top of it add all the veggies and garlic. Top with fish and sauce. Cover.

Go get un-grossified and dressed. Return to kitchen and check on it. At this point it should be REALLY watery. Remove the cover and go back upstairs. Do your hair, make-up, yell at your pre-teenager to hurry up, relent to fixing the hair of your teenager ("Because it never comes out right unless you do it, Mom!). Get dog and cat situated then return to the kitchen. (Yes, this is ALL a part of the recipe! Men, you do this too!)

Remove from heat while you get your purse/briefcase/smart technology together. Empty contents of skillet into a plastic container, snap the lid on and get to gittin'! 

SIDE NOTE:

Did I mention La Grande Diva turned 15 on Tuesday? I baked her the cutest cake. I hope you don't find me mean cruel or some other horrible adjective for sharing it with you. It's called an Ombre Coconut Cake (Ombre being a style of dyeing things where you use one color and go from darkest to lightest hues). I got the recipe/method from Food Network Magazine. I posted the pic on their Facebook Page and it's getting lotsa love. It's a HUGE cake. I could only eat a few bites. I'm not a big sweets person. I've not touched it since then. 


So...in summary...I had time to make that fabulously healthy lunch up above AND this beautimous cake (which I made from scratch, by the way). I am Nik, hear me ROAR!

April 1 - Go Green for Peace

If you are participating, right-click on this image and choose "Save As" to save it, then upload to your Facebook profile!

So this is short notice BUT I think it's a good thing.

Bariatric Foodie is committed to upholding a safe environment for ALL post-ops to share their experiences. This includes BF's Facebook and Twitter communities as well as here on the blog. That means I try to be as helpful as I can without judgment to you and I expect the same of anyone who participates in any of BF's forums.

Because honestly, we need one another. We gotta stand together!

Which is why I thought of this "Go Green for Peace" thing. It's a way to show our solidarity toward and support for one another.

So if you'd like to participate (you certainly don't have to!) here's how you can join in. If you use Facebook, tomorrow, April 1st, change your profile picture to the above image. Now...you could pair that with a status update (I'm going to write, "I support my WLS community. That's why I'm going Green!") or you could just do the picture (understandable especially if many of your friends aren't WLS folks).

It's a small way of showing that we support one another through the ups and downs, in the spirit of peace and non-judgment.

So...like I said, take part if you wanna. If you don't that's fine! But I want to give the opportunity for us to show each other that we're all in this together!

#GoGreenforPeace

Edited to add: (I got this question a few times) NO this is not an April Fools joke. I will be changing my picture. I think because I primarily think of April 1 as my oldest daughter's birthday I sometimes forget what it means to the rest of the world! But it's not a joke or a prank! I'm doing this! If you'd like to you are invited. :)
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