Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Super Easy 4 Ingredient Spinach Dip

I've been curling now for four years, three at my current club. By far, the thing I like most about curling is the camaraderie. It's a very polite sport with lots of inter-team encouragement and a refreshing lack of aggressive competitiveness. The club I curl at is in a small town north of Sarnia, where everyone has known each other their entire lives, it seems. One of the best things about our club is that 3 times per curling season, we bring food! The ladies I curl with seem to love dip and crackers, so I found a quick and easy spinach dip recipe I can throw together in 5 minutes to please the masses.

Sorry for the lack of photo, but if you click the link above, you'll see a photo. We all know what spinach dip looks like anyway, right?!

1 9oz box of chopped, frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 Knorr vegetable dry soup mix
8-16 oz (250-500mL) sour cream (seems to taste better when you use less sour cream)
1 cup mayo 

1. Mix all ingredients and stir well
2. Let chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving
3. Serve cold.

There you have it! By far the biggest pain is thawing and squeezing dry the spinach. That stuff's a sponge. I don't know if there's a better way, but I microwave-thawed mine (to save time), then I dumped it in a large strainer and squeezed out the water by hand over the sink.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Mini Weight Loss Progress (5+ months) and Mouth Update (8 weeks)

Hello! It seems I get a lot of questions (IRL) about my mouth and my weight loss. It's super sweet, it's really flattering knowing people are interested in how you're doing. I don't have a whole lot to say on either front so I'm combining the two.

Weight Loss

Much to my surprise, I've maintained the weight loss from after surgery. Also to my surprise, when I came back to work and curling in January, THAT'S when "everybody" finally seemed to notice I'd lost weight. People pointed out I was noticeably thinner since surgery which seemed crazy to me. Overall, I've lost 8lbs since my last weigh-in in December. My measurements are down about 1-1.5" from each area, but I'll leave it to March to do an actual update with all that. I didn't really start back into the low carb and exercise until about 2 weeks ago, so it seems dumb to celebrate "progress" made due to surgery.

As far as an exercise goal, I've been feeling a little lost and confused. I'm not sure what I want to focus on or how I want to go about it. I like the idea of lifting weights but I absolutely hate lifting weights when the gym is busy, and I don't know if waking up early to go is feasible when I have so much other stuff going on that sometimes doesn't end until late.

Ever since 2003, I've wanted to become a runner. I've run on and off since then, never improving very much. Now that my asthma is under control, it's become a lot easier and I would love to do a 10k and/or a half marathon this year. I can already run a 10k in a little over an hour. I feel like running and other various cardio is easier to incorporate into my low carb lifestyle, since building muscle requires carbs and I don't feel "done" with the low carb thing yet.

In March I'll post a new before and after. I found an even older, fatter photo of myself from last year and I was stunned when I realized how terrible I used to look compared to now.

SARPE Surgery Progress

Things are going pretty well with my mouth. In January when my orthodontist told me the gap would start closing, I have to admit I didn't really believe him. But look!!!

January 8th (last day of turning the key) vs February 12th

As you can imagine, this has led to quite a bit of front tooth sensitivity. Since my front 6 teeth are obviously on the move, they're extremely tender. Knocking a tooth on my drinking glass is a painful affair, and biting into food is out of the question. Next time you hold a burger up to your mouth and bite into it, please think of me and be grateful for the convenience of sturdy teeth. You don't know how nice that luxury is until you're using a fork and knife to eat a tuna salad sandwich.

As far as numbness, my face is back to normal but my upper gums are still 100% numb. I'm actually a little concerned about that and will be asking my orthodontist when I see him next Thursday.

My facial muscles are pretty much back to normal. My upper lip still feels stiff and I have no idea why; if it's the new placement of my teeth, the gum numbness, etc. I can pucker my lips but it's uncomfortable and I've lost the ability to whistle. Smiling and laughing are no longer uncomfortable, thank god. Since the gap has gotten so much smaller, I find it much easier to talk and less embarrassing to smile.

My talking is probably 95% normal now. I also barely think about the RPE in my mouth and waiting until April-June to get it out no longer seems like cruel and unusual punishment. Every time someone told me I'd get used to it, I said or thought, "There's no way!" Then one day I realized I hadn't thought about the RPE in a few days. Then even more days went by. Then I realized I'd been eating without focusing on it, talking without paying attention to my own voice and before I knew it, I was indifferent to it.

I had my first steak last week, thinking my chewing was good enough for it. Sadly, a steak is still a little too much, but that's the only food I've struggled with lately.

I probably won't do another mouth update until something big happens.

Monday, February 10, 2014

White Chocolate Oreo Blondies with Buttercreme Icing

What do you love most about the Super Bowl? The hoopla? The commercials? The parties? For me, it's definitely the parties. I first started watching the Super Bowl in 2008. I bet $20 on the Patriots and won my $20 plus an additional $20. I loved the Super Bowl immediately. Nowadays my Super Bowls involve less gambling and more cooking. My boyfriend holds a Super Bowl party at his house every year. Normally I make a cake with my football cake pan, but this year I was feeling adventurous. I combined a few recipes to come up with these blondies. They turned out great and I will definitely make them again! They're very rich so it's easy to eat only a small amount, but I found them pretty addictive nonetheless. I had already eaten a big chunk before our guests arrived (oops).

Ingredients: Blondies
Courtesy of All Recipes.

8 ounces white chocolate, chopped (I used Ghirardelli)
1 TBSP vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs
3/4 TSP salt
1/3 white sugar
1 cup semisweet white chocolate chips (again, I used Ghirardelli)
1 package Oreos (I used Double Stuf but you can use whatever you want)

Ingredients: Buttercreme Icing (optional)
Courtesy of The Kitchen Magpie...this has been my go-to vanilla frosting recipe for a few years, it's amazing.

1 cup of salted butter
3  teaspoons of vanilla
4 cups of icing sugar
4-5 tablespoons of  coffee cream (18% and up)
4-5 Oreos, crushed (from package of Oreos listed above)

1. Preheat oven to 350F (175C). Grease a 9x9 inch baking pan. Melt white chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler, over barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until smooth. Set aside to cool. (Note from Jaime: if you've never melted chocolate before, do yourself a favour and read about how to do it first. You cannot just throw some chocolate in a pot and put it on the burner.)

2. Crush 6-7 Oreos with a potato masher, set aside.

3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat eggs until foamy. With the mixer still running, gradually add the sugar and vanilla. Drizzle in the melted white chocolate/butter mixture. Combine the flour and salt; fold into the white chocolate mixture using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Fold in chocolate chips and crushed Oreos.

4. Spread evenly a small layer of batter in the pan, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan.

5. Lay Oreos on top of batter (do not squish them down against the pan, they should be sitting on top of the thin layer of batter.

6. Spread rest of batter over Oreos.

7. Bake for 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

8. Let cool completely before icing.

Directions for icing:

1. Whip butter with hand or stand mixer.

2. Add in icing sugar, a bit at a time.

3. Add cream.

4. Add vanilla.

5. Add crushed oreo.

6. Whip with hand or stand mixer.

7. Avoid eating spoonfuls of icing

Spread icing over blondies. I also crushed up the leftovers Oreos and sprinkled them on top.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for any diabetic shock, clogged arteries, heart attacks, or any other bodily malfunction due to high levels of sugar!
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