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Hi there! If you’d like to see ONLY my extensive research on Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy, bariatric diet and managing GERD (reflux), you can filter out all my other posts and see just those by clicking HERE. You can see my vlogs about my VSG journey here.

To see any category (recipes, for instance), use the drop down menu to the left labeled “View Posts by Category” and select the category you’d like. Thanks for stopping by!

Southern Biscuits

Biscuits are something that every Southerner should be able to make. And YES you must use White Lily® self rising flour. JUST DO IT. I don’t make biscuits often, but sometimes, like today, I just gotta have a biscuit!! Sadly I did not get pix of making the dough, but I did get a shot of the finished product.

Southern Biscuit!

Here is a handy trick for you! I never have buttermilk on hand, so I make mine like this:

Instant Buttermilk: Put 1 tsp of white vinegar into 1/2 cup milk, half n half or heavy cream. In a couple of minutes, the milk will curdle and voilà! Buttermilk. Just use about 1 tsp of vinegar per every half cup or so.

White Lily® Flour Biscuits
2 cups WL Self Rising Flour
1/4 cup (half stick) butter or shortening, cubed
~1/2 to 2/3 cup buttermilk (more or less)
Yield: about 8 biscuits

Preheat oven to 425ºF

Put flour in a large bowl and cut in butter with dough cutter or two forks. Flour should have a grainy texture with some pea sized bits of butter. Add in 1/2 cup buttermilk and stir in. Keep adding buttermilk until the dough is just sticking together. Turn out on a floured counter and knead just a couple of times to make a ball. Pat out to about 1″ thick and cut out biscuits with a cutter or a glass. Place on ungreased shiny cookie sheet (a shiny sheet will give you a better biscuit crust). Bake for about 10-15 minutes, until biscuits are lightly golden. Serve warm and enjoy!

One Year VSG Anniversary

Sorry this is a day late, but I did get the VLOG posted yesterday over at youtube! Please subscribe! I think I’m going to do some cooking vlogging over there…

May 16 2016, right after surgery:

VSG Surgery 5/16/16

So, one year has passed since I made the best decision I’ve ever made – aside from marrying my best friend. :) And this is what I look like now:

5/16/17 One year!

I’ve not met my goal of 80# gone, but 65# ain’t too shabby. I am goal oriented, so I’m not giddy with the 65#, but I’m glad I’ve lost it. I’m hoping that the new exercise routine will help me get past this mid-180s plateau.

I’m still wearing a L top and 14 jeans, but the jeans are a little loose. I think my waist has gone done another inch or two. Even if I don’t lose weight, I know the weight lifting will change the way I look, so whatever. I guess we’ll see!! Muscle weighs more than fat, so the numbers may not move much.

I’m still taking the same supplements, still taking Nexium. I tried to get off Nexium again and failed, so I guess I’ll keep taking 20mg in the morning and 10 mg at night. I can’t even go down to just once daily. Ugh. I just hope they’ll come up with a better class of drugs than the -azole PPIs (esomeprazole, omeprazole). I kind of like my kidneys and want to keep them for a few more decades. Sigh.

VSG is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. The weight loss is great, but it did so much MORE for me than just that. The experience of having surgery got me over some of my worst phobias – particularly needles. I still don’t LIKE getting stuck, but I don’t pass out any more, which is a fucking MIRACLE. This has also helped with my dental phobia, too. And of course, getting tattoos, which I can do without any fuss now. The awesome nurses in Mexico were SO GOOD at their jobs. Even the multiple sticks for an IV line were not too bad. MIRACLE, I tell you.

VSG also “cured” me of ALL my inflammation issues. I quote cured because I don’t think it was VSG at all, I think it was changing my gut flora that did the trick. When you have any gut surgery, you disrupt the flora by the antibiotics and the fact that you don’t eat for a week. I think this is a very important part of why VSG ended my inflammation. There is SO much research regarding gut flora right now. I’m sure that it will be linked to all sorts of chronic conditions – especially the ones involving inflammation.

VSG also empowered me overall. I finally did something for myself and it paid off. This has given me a new feeling of being in control that I had not had for a very long time.

So when you hear me preach the gospel of VSG, what you’re really hearing me preach is the gospel of empowerment.

If you are tired of being sick, fat and tired, then DO SOMETHING about it. I sat around whining for about TEN years. FUCK THAT. I’ll never do that again! I let myself get fat and unhealthy because of my fear of medical procedures. I really can’t say it enough: FIND A WAY TO DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO MAKE YOURSELF FEEL BETTER. If it’s the gym, a shrink, a doctor, or a medical procedure, make it happen. Don’t waste 10 years like I did!

Kitchen Tutorial #2

This part of the tutorial is every simple recipe I could round up from here as well as ones I make regularly but are not really worthy of publishing on their own. Easy, fast and low carb are the keys for these recipes, unpublished ones at bottom.

Common Cooking Mistakes

Salsa Verde Chili

Creamy Salsa Verde Chicken & Pasta

Baked Chicken with Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Sauce

Asian BBQ Pork Ribs

Continue reading Kitchen Tutorial #2

Kitchen Tutorial #1

Since I spent all day writing this stuff out for a friend who needs a lifestyle change, I thought I’d publish for anyone else who might want to start doing low carb and/or cooking more at home. First up: basic kitchen essentials! Basic tools and getting your pantry started.

Basic kitchen utensils you’ll need:
meat thermometer
measuring spoons
2 cup measuring cup
microplane or lemon zester
crock pot (small basic one is OK)
square baking dish or pan
large heavy bottom frying pan nonstick is fine
small nonstick skillet for frittatas!
couple of soup pans, 2 qt
large wide bottom chili pot (or dutch oven if you want to spend $50+, it’s worth it!)

Basic pantry (NO canned veg other than what’s here!):
extra virgin olive oil EVOO (look for dark bottle, around $10 per ltr)
kosher salt (my recipes call for kosher, NOT table salt)
black pepper
dried basil
dried oregano
dried thyme
dried cilantro
sweet paprika
smoked paprika
L&P worcestershire sauce (it’s the best)
steak sauce
dijon mustard
olive oil mayo (half the fat, all the taste)
seasoned rice wine vinegar
4 boxes chicken stock (low sodium for you)
4 cans diced toms (I like Hunts fire roasted w/ garlic)
Herdez Salsa Verde (NOT spicy) for green chicken, white chili and green chili
1 tube tomato paste (it keeps the longest, look in Italian section)
capers (for chicken piccata)
2 cans Bush’s chili starter (any flavor, but medium is perfect)
2 cans white beans (great northern)
2 cans seasoned black beans
1 jar sundried tomatoes (for a recipe)
1 jar large pimento stuffed green olives (for recipe)
1 bottle Korean BBQ sauce (BiBiGo is great)
Keep canned soups on hand at all times. Progresso low sodium soups are pretty good. Whatever you get, make sure it’s low sodium.

butter, salted
sliced cheese (real, NOT American!)
shredded parmesan
heavy cream (for sauces, keeps forever)**
deli meat, smoked turkey, ham, etc.
**Stay away from low fat dairy. Get full fat cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream and yogurts. To avoid sugary yogurts, get the kroger Carbmaster. It’s not as good as yoplait, but it is also not full of sugar. OR get plain full fat greek yogurt and top with some honey. It’s been shown that full fat dairy is better for you in the long run than reduced fat stuff.

Veg always on hand:
garlic (the prepared garlic in a jar is OK if you’ll use that more)
white onions
lemons (for piccata and I use for lots of things)

Low carb fresh veg for meals:
cauliflower (toss with EVOO, S/P and roast at 425 for 15 mins)
green beans (cut off stems and sautee whole in EVOO with minced garlic and S/P)
greens (baby kale is surprisingly good) Sautee with EVOO, garlic and S/P.
asparagus same as green beans but add some lemon zest and finish with lemon juice

Salad: (eat one per day)
romain hearts
carrot sticks
grape tomatoes

Use 2 parts extra virgin olive oil to one part seasoned rice wine vinegar. Season with S/P. Add in some dried basil if you want or even a dollop of dijon if you feel frisky. Whisk thoroughly to emulsify. This can be held at room temp.

Frozen sides and veg are FAR superior to canned veg because of the sodium. Low sodium canned veg is disgusting. Frozen veg keeps all the nutrition and has far less sodium, even if you get it with flavouring.

Basic frozen veg to have on hand:
spinach (get it in the bag so you can use what you need)
stew veg (for easy crockpot stew)
frozen cauliflower is ok for adding to a recipe, not great alone
frozen greens are fine
frozen green peas are the only peas I use
DO not get frozen green beans or asparagus. That stuff gets GROSS when frozen.

You can also get frozen recipe ready veg such as diced onions and peppers, and they are OK, just not as flavourful as fresh. But if you want to sub in the frozen to save you time and effort, that’s just fine.

There are myriad frozen sides out there, but some outstanding ones I’ve found recently are:
Birdseye Protein Blends – usually a grain and veg, various flavours
Green Giant Fire Roasted veg
any veg mix as long as it’s not loaded with sodium

FYI, you can freeze 9 grain bread! It keeps forever and you can’t tell it’s been frozen. Restaurant trick!

Frozen Proteins:
frozen chicken tenders
frozen thin chicken breast if you can find it
frozen boneless skinless chix thighs

For beef I rarely buy it frozen. I buy it on sale and freeze. For quick chili, keep ~1# packs of 90/10 low fat ground beef or ground chicken on hand.

Other meats you’ll need for various recipes:
flavoured pork tenderloin
bone in, skin on chicken breast
Stew meat or chuck steak
flank, skirt or flat iron steak (look for it on sale!)

If you can’t take leftovers to work (I hear this is a thing??), I suggest going to a boxed frozen solution. One particularly good frozen box meal I found is Stouffers Fit Kitchen. They are good sized portions with a TON of protein and reasonable sodium. They are not the cheapest frozen meals, but they are cheaper than buying lunch every day. Even if you go with the small frozen meals and just buy a small salad, you’ll be doing better nutritionally. Eating sandwiches is better than fast food, but you still get mostly carbs with all that bread. If you could cut down the sandwiches to twice a week and do frozen+salad the rest of the time, you’ll see a difference.

Taxes and Obamacare Penalty

So after the fiasco with our shitty accountant last tax season, this year we decided to go it alone with TurboTax. GOOD MOVE. We tried the free service through Credit Karma, but it sucked balls. TurboTax cost us about $200, but that is $150 less than the asshole accountant AND it is accurate. Y’all know you can write off the cost of filing your taxes every year, right? You can! There are LOTS of things you can write off. Get the IRS forms and READ UP. There are lots of medical things and TONS of fees and shit you can write off in addition to equipment and office space.

We did NOT get any Obamacare penalties this year. Why? Well, because WE made sure to input ALL our expenses, which the asshole accountant did NOT, apparently, even after we gave them to him. Jerk. So we figure that guy cost us several thousand over the years we’ve used him. He cost us at least $600 just last year because he did not put in our expenses properly. Expenses change your NET income, which in turn affects how Obamacare is calculated. He was clearly not happy that we refused to spend $800+/mo on Obamacare and I think he fucked up our taxes on purpose. I’ve got no proof other than his attitude and the marked difference of our return this year, but I strongly suspect.

We were very happy with TurboTax, actually. It asked us lots of questions and provided the correct forms for everything. It is set up for multiple income streams and was overall quite easy to use. We recommend it, even if you have crazy incomes like we do!

We got almost $1000 back this year, as opposed to a coupla hundred last year due to the useless accountant.

My next band name is SUCK IT MARK, in his honour. :P