Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind


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52 Ancestors #4 – Favorite Family Recipe

I can’t remember when I first had this or who made it. The recipe was my godmother’s and long ago became our traditional food for family gatherings, either for a holiday, a funeral, or just a visit. I’ve made it so many times I don’t even need to use the recipe card, though I treasure it in my mother’s handwriting. Much to my shock, I recently learned that my godmother’s daughter has never even made this cake! How can this be possible when it’s so essential to my own family??

Peg Myers Jewish Coffee Cake Recipe

I’m not sure why this is Jewish Coffee Cake and not just Sour Cream Coffee Cake or some other title. A quick Google search for “Jewish Coffee Cake” yielded recipes and descriptions that sound very much like mine, so maybe this was a common recipe, and maybe it originated in the Jewish community. I did find an interesting article about the history of sour cream coffeecake, but am still not sure of the Jewish connection.

Even though I used my mom’s recipe, we made it differently and our cakes tasted different, too. Mom used 8 oz. of sour cream and I generously filled a measuring cup instead, making mine moister. I also have a passion for cranberry so make mine with dried cranberries instead of raisins – and also pecans from our yard instead of walnuts.

We grew up eating this cake for Christmas breakfast and on other holidays. It was what we ate coming home from college, when we flew in for Thanksgiving, when my nephew came for a visit. It’s tradition that we’ve shared for over fifty years. Knowing that the next generation sought out the recipe and also makes it for these special occasions makes me really happy and connects us all to my mom and to my godmother, who gave it to us.


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Cooking Again! Okay, Just a Little Bit

I made mini crustless quiches yesterday, a recipe from my WLS blog friend Eggface.  She has about 50 variations of these little bites, as she calls them, but Sunday I made the Breakfast Bites. Each one has 45 calories and 3g of protein, and 3-4 make a serving, depending on what you’re having with them.  They’re full of eggs, swiss cheese, chopped ham, onions and ‘shrooms, baked in a mini muffin tin. It’s nice to have variety for meals and I’ve been getting sick of 2 oz of cottage cheese or yogurt for breakfast.

She also has dozens and dozens of recipes for all kinds of foods that are WLS-safe but equally appealing to non-ops.  (The bites, for example, would be wonderful appetizers for a party.)  Next on my list to try is protein ice cream.    Or maybe the pizza bites. We’ll see.

I also made pudding yogurt, this time with a protein boost. I mixed a tub of plain non-fat yogurt with a box of instant sugar free vanilla pudding, one scoop of vanilla protein, and 4 TB of SF Torani gingerbread syrup.  I’ve made this stuff for years with just yogurt and pudding, but adding the protein powder kicks up the nutrition value without changing the taste.  The Torani syrup takes care of that, in a good way.  I went a little crazy ordering SF Torani flavors that I couldn’t find locally and am eager to try out.

I went out and about late morning to shop for a few things before the cold rain started – toys for the Toys for Tots drive at work, warm gloves & scarf for the Cold Weather Clothing drive, also at work, and some whey protein to give my nephew for Christmas.  It’s not the biggest size tub but I’m pretty sure he’ll appreciate it and at least it does fill up the “under the tree” space.

Most of my shopping is done, though I plan to pick up some things at the Union Square Christmas Fair in New York City this week on a day off.  Holding my breath that the weather behaves coz I don’t really want to mill around NYC in snow, rain or sleet.  Yes, I’m a wieather wimp.


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Real Food Tastes Wonderful

funny-pictures-kitten-and-stuffed-animal-make-a-punNot that I’m eating a lot of it.  But still, it’s way more tasty than endless ounces of water, Crystal Light, and my small portions of ensure.   No, I’ve graduated to 8 oz of soft food per day.  This week that includes eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt, mashed potatoes, thin oatmeal, and canned or cooked fruit and veggies.

After seeing the doctor yesterday for my follow up, I stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few things to make sure I had the right stuff since my shelves were pretty bare of almost everything except at least a dozen little tubes of Crystal Light tubs.  I was almost overwhelmed by the amount and colors and aromas of food in the store and was glad I had a very small list and could spend not too much time.  I’m not ready to be around accessible food like that.

My first meal was 2 oz of 0% Fage with 1 canned peach slice.  It took me 30 min. to eat and tasted divine.  Dinner was 2 scrambled eggs, except I couldn’t eat both – it was too much food – so I gave the last part to the kitty, who gobbled it up.  She’s thrilled that mommy is back to having food she eats on plates for her to investigate.

My incisions are healing nicely, especially now that the bandaids are off (somehow everyone forgot to mention that I only needed them for 2 days post-op – I think they need to rewrite some of their documentation).  I go back to the surgeon in 2 weeks for my first saline fill.

For those who don’t know, the lapband system has the actual band part itself, which separates out a small pouch at the top of the stomach.  It holds about 1 oz at a time.  The band fits around the pouch and is connected with very tiny tubing under the skin to a port that’s sutured under the skin in the middle of the abdominal area.   Nothing is visible to the naked eye except the surgery scars.

Inside the little band is a tiny balloon that is filled with saline solution injected into the port, going down the tubing and filling the balloon, thus tightening the band to make it more restricted.  Except of course they only fill a tiny bit at a time, and sometimes fluid can be removed if the band is too tight.  My whole band only holds 10 cc of fluid, which is not much.   It’s a dance of sorts to find the “sweet spot” of fullness that allows me to eat/drink what I need but restricts me from overdoing it and eating everything in sight.  Not that that’s likely now, since I get full on an ounce of yogurt!

I’m feeling good, except for my continuing knee pain, and as of this morning, and down 59.2 lbs since April.  I don’t really know my surgery day weight, since I gained about 7 lbs of fluids while I was in the hospital and lost all of those plus another 10 lbs.  The doctor told me to expect only about 5-6 lbs more in the next two weeks, which still sounds pretty good to me.

I pulled some clothes out and realized I can wear things I haven’t worn in at least 4 years – and some things are too silly looking to keep wearing.  It helped that I saw Stacy & Clinton yesterday on a WNTW rerun, and their makeover victim candidate’s before clothes looked a lot like mine.  Major incentive to weed!


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Here’s the Latest on Me and Caffeine

Court Yard ArchEarlier this month, I blogged about weaning myself from caffeine.   I’m pleased to see that I’m definitely in a different place than I was at the end of last month.

I’ve gone from 3-4 bottles of Diet Coke a day to one 16-oz bottle a day.  My original plan was to swap out the regular Diet Coke with the caffeine-free variety, but I discovered I really don’t like how it tastes.  My stomach is not suffering as many bouts of acid reflux without all the soda.  I’m drinking lots of water, much of it flavored with Pomegranate or Cranberry Apple Crystal-Light.  The splitting headaches are gone and I’m sleeping better.

There are 2 six-packs of the 16 oz bottles sitting on the shelf and I’ve discovered that yes, I can nurse one bottle for many hours.  When these are gone, I’ll get a box of 12-oz cans.  From there, down to those little mini cans, the size of the ones they give you when you give blood.  And then that’s it. I’m thinking I should get there by the end of September.

It feels good.


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Weaning Myself From Caffeine

Diet Coke bottleFor the last week or so, I’ve been working hard to wean myself from caffeine, which in my life comes in the form of Diet Coke.   I learned to drink soda at all times of the day when I was in college in the South and it became ingrained when I lived in VA for 9 years.  Even now I have a diet soda with my breakfast, since I get my caffeine cold.

But while a little caffeine can be good for you (increased well-being, sociability, alertness among others), heavy doses can produce negative effects such as insomnia, stress, anxiety, nervousness and jitteriness.  And tolerance for it builds, as with any addictive substance, and requires more and more to produce the same effects.

I found this cool chart that lists the caffeine content of a wide assortment of drinks.  It’s pretty mindblowing.  Energy drinks can contain many times the amount of caffeine as sodas deliver.  Yoo hoo Chocolate has zero caffeine; maybe I should switch to that.  But chocolate has caffeine, too, and ice cream,  and candy.  Check out this chart of Caffeine in Food.  Even Motrin has it.  So it’s not that easy to escape.

But my goal is to wean myself off of soda and soda is my caffeine delivery system, so I’m essentially doing both.  At the same time is more than I can manage (I really like my Diet Coke).  First I’m switching to caffeine-free Diet Coke, allowing myself one bottle or can of regular Diet Coke per day.   I’ve been getting more used to that even though I don’t really like the caffeine-free stuff.  That’s the whole point.  I figure it will be easier to lose the caffeine first, then quitting soda because I don’t like the taste and it doesn’t give me the caffeine I remember.

And losing soda is important because, according to a 2005 study at the University of Texas, San Antonio, Science Center:

[W]hen the researchers took a closer look at their data, they found that nearly all the obesity risk from soft drinks came from diet sodas. “There was a 41% increase in risk of being overweight for every can or bottle of diet soft drink a person consumes each day,” Fowler says.

Yikes.  My risk factor was 57.1% which is ridiculous and changeable. So I’m changing it, one soda at a time, until I’m back to only water.  And if I do decide to have WLS, I need to be off of both caffeine and carbonated drinks before the surgery.  Might as well be prepared, especially since there are other benefits.


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Recipe: Crockpot Salsa Chicken

SparkRecipes is a wonderful site with recipes submitted by members with nutritional information for everything. It’s not Weight Watchers or any other plan but having the nutrition makes it easy to figure out points values (if that floats your boat) or other things to watch for such as lower fat, carbs, whatever.

One of the most popular recipes is for Slow-Cooker Salsa Chicken, which I’ve been wanting to try for a while.  I made it today, with some variations suggested by some of the people who made comments.  It was awesome and will be added as a regular option.

Crockpot Salsa Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (approximately 1 1/4 lbs)
1/3 packet reduced sodium taco seasoning (or regular if you can’t find the reduced sodium)
1 C. fresh salsa
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn, drained
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1/2 C. fat free sour cream

Spray crockpot with cooking spray.  Place chicken breasts in bottom and sprinkle with taco seasoning.  Pour salsa on top of that, followed by black beans and corn.  Top with cheddar cheese soup.  Leave in layers; do not mix.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Shred chicken with a fork.  Turn off heat and stir in FF sour cream.  Serve over rice.

Yield:  5 servings, approx. 2/3 C. each = 5 points  (rice not included)
Supposed to be even better as leftovers, which could be folded into tortillas or turned into a quesadilla.


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The Girl Scout Cookies are Here

Thin MintI’d forgotten which cookies (and how many) I’d ordered weeks ago until the little plastic bag arrived in my office after lunch.   What possessed me to think that I needed 5 boxes of cookies?  Because, of course, I don’t.  I want the taste of them but let’s be honest, I don’t really NEED any of them.  They just bring back memories of being a girl scout myself and selling boxes and boxes by going door to door.  (I pre-dated the concept of having parents sell cookies to work colleagues; we had to sell ours ourselves back in the day.)

So there I was with 5 boxes of cookies.  Of course I had to open one “to sample” and ended up eating one row of the chocolate-coconutty goodness of Samoas.  Bad idea.  But on the other hand, they’re good but I can’t eat a box of them at one sitting anymore, so this is progress.  In fact, I threw the rest of the box away on my way out of the building.  At home later I had a few of the peanut butter ones but the rest of that box is in the trash this morning.

That’s right, I threw out Girl Scout Cookies all by myself.  I failed the test of not ordering any in the first place but passed the test of eating some and then letting go of the rest.  I still have three more boxes but don’t feel compelled to go eat them.  Sometimes having is enough without having to devour at the same time.