Friday, February 6, 2015

Orange Blossom Hummus

I'm the traveling chef again since surgery, well, really the traveling poet now, but believe me when they find out I work as a chef (still as a personal chef), I get hooked into things, but love it! One of the Greensboro, NC ladies I hung out with for a few days, stayed in her beautiful home built in the 1920's, she invited another poet over for breakfast and tea, and Tracey brought me this lovely jar of hummus made with orange blossom water.

It is the traditional recipe for hummus, not too lemony, but had a flower sort of flavor, not overwhelming. Her husband is from Egypt, and it is a common ingredient in things. I loved it, and at first thought it was cauliflower addition, then lavender, but not perfume like at all. It made sense when Tracey told me what it was.

My tastes buds are off right now due to WLS, but things are coming back. With our world becoming smaller, ingredients like orange blossom water are more readily available, so give it a try! I want to thank Tracey Parker Nafekh (she's going to kill me for this photo hijack!) thank you for my gift!

I can imagine what a hoot it would be to really cook with these gals! They already hooked me into helping with an event in March, a real southern luncheon to boot!

I headed this way a few weeks ago to attend the North Carolina Poet Laureate, 2015 induction ceremony for one of our book authors, Shelby Stephenson, and to visit with him on his historic farm outside of Raleigh. That was another wonderful post on my personal poet website, Elizabeth Akin

Monday, January 26, 2015

The New And Improved Chef E (Poet & Writer)

I'm doing it, losing weight.

No sugar, no carbs (outside of complex vegetables, only green leafy and protein, heavy on protein).

Some do not believe bariatric surgery, RNY, or by pass as some call it, is a real way to lose, because of the doctor's making your stomach into a pouch the size of an egg. It is though. Why? Because we, the patients have to maintain it and add exercise into our daily routine.

How did I get so fat, 338 lbs? It is a long story, but years ago I lost my precious daughter, then moved, twice, and tried to restart my catering business and chef career over, and over, and again. Eventually (little violins playing right about here) I honored my husbands wishes and promised not to start any other business up when my cafe closed, teaching jobs ran dry, not to mention other food related and poor economy sadness hit our area. It happened in Dallas ten years before we moved, and the reason why we moved to being with, hubs lost his job (technical IT work left the Dallas area).

I found myself home, bothered by some things, so I stuffed my face and locked myself in for about three years. I even slowed down on blogging (some may have noticed).

Well, I'm back, my new business (with the help of hubs) and career in publishing and writing has been only getting better. I still have straggler chef clients I work for here and there. I also do consulting work for the state of NJ. I'm happy.

Not my lowest weight, but 250 isn't so bad, since my goal is another 100 lbs, with a better BMI. I'll get there by the end of the year, maybe sooner. I'm still cooking for hubs, son, and clients once or twice a week. It doesn't bother me to be around food and to have had the surgery, not at all. And I joined the gym again, and told by my nutritionist and dietitian to get out of the house more, I do. My traveling stuff began again, so that has me on the road, a lot for this year.

My heaviest weight was 338 October 2013, and when I was told I had diabetes, officially. I saw a bariatric doctor in February, he set me up with the hoops you go through, but then I discovered there was an issue with Barrett's Esophagus, surgery was halted. Talk about "here we go again!" and depression. I rescheduled the endoscopy for six months, it had gotten better. My only option due to reflux and the chance of cancer in the stomach or throat, to do the bypass over the sleeve. So I gave in and went with it over no surgery and only more weight gain.

I woke up from surgery November 19th and said, "No regrets." The biggest battle is the eating. Right now I am limited, but I get what I need, a heavy protein diet. I'm consistently losing and in the gym. I am tired right now, but have heard it gets better. I feel young again. (photo above is me at 23, I didn't grow up over weight, was always fit).

The say the honeymoon period is over after two months with this surgery, but not for me! I had to fight and still am. I only wish this bragging came earlier. A reason I won't share, but it feels good to come back in full force.

Never give up! I really hadn't...

No more diabetes, no more high blood pressure, and my asthma is more manageable, like when I was in my normal weight range of 130-150. Occasionally I was 170 if I didn't exercise and eat right.

Me last week in VA at a writers conference. I read as well as my pub company sold books. I will show a full view of my body in a few months. I still  have middle body fat that needs to go. Hubs says I am still sexy, no matter, and he should know!

Peace everyone...

Elizabeth Akin Stelling
Managing Editor, Red Dashboard LLC Press
author of My South By Southwest

Friday, January 23, 2015

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

A serving of cauliflower pizza crust with Jersey tomatoes and cheese of your choice and Yum!

A friend and I made this for lunch one day. A small portion with a salad or greens of some sort would make it a lunch! Yes, cauliflower crust is higher in regular pizza crust (depending on how big your slice) by 4 grams - 14 " slice of regular flour crust is 24 grams of carbs.

One site (Low Carb Pizza crust-cauliflower) claims with a nutrition label it has 14.4 carbs per serving, but gives no size. Most recipes involve adding cheese, which has carbs, Cauliflower, one head has 28-9 carbs depending on what site you read, but it takes a lot to make one small to medium size pizza crust.

Of course it doesn't taste like regular crust, but after you eat a low carb diet like I have for a year, flavor matters more in the seasoning and toppings. Tomatoes, 1 cup, have 16 grams of carbs, so you have to add that factor in. I don't mean to burst the carb bubble on cauliflower and this recipe. It is good, tastes great, and as long as you only eat one piece per meal, you're good.

I found one food site that was honest, 1 serving is 24 grams of carbs, My whole message was after my friends said cauliflower was at the level of broccoli, but it's not. Broccoli, depending on what site you find, is only 4-7 grams of carbs, that is a big difference.

This was a delicious treat for me, and I would make it again!

Educate yourself, eat smaller portions, and pass this on to the children. Obesity is growing into an even bigger (no pun intended) than you realize. Exercise (I joined a gym last night!) on a regular basis.

Good eats!

Update: I had my RnY bariatric surgery on Nov 19, 2014. I was heaviest at 338 lbs, and now am down to 250 lbs. I still have more to go, but am happy and healthy all around. No more diabetes, high blood pressure, and asthma is under better control.