Tag Archives: gallbladder

gallstone gourmet #4.

it’s been a while since the last gallstone gourmet installment. my apologies for this. we’ve both been very busy and relying on a rotation of the same simple staples night after night.  this evening we put away the pasta in favor of something a bit fresher and more colorful.  we made an egg white frittata with charred red peppers, zucchini ribbons, scallions, and part-skim mozzarella.  to accompany the frittata we made crostini with low-fat ricotta and sea salt.

the secret to a healthy, yet still hearty frittata is to use a few whole eggs in addition to all of the whites.  for this one i used a dozen eggs–3 whole eggs and 9 whites.  the yokes add body, flavor, and a lot of nutrients in exchange for a little bit of fat.  we had zucchini, scallions, red pepper and mozzarella on hand, but you can substitute any vegetables and cheese you like!

CHARRED RED PEPPER, ZUCCHINI, SCALLION, and MOZZARELLA EGG WHITE FRITTATA

3 whole eggs+9 whites
1 red pepper, julienned
1 medium-sized zucchini, shaved in ribbons with a vegetable peeler
4-6 scallions (both the whites and the greens), chopped
1/3 cup of shredded part-skim mozzarella
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
sea salt and black pepper

1. preheat the oven to 350 degrees. place an oven-safe skillet (such as cast iron) over medium heat and heat the olive oil.
2. put the red pepper strips in the pan and season with salt and pepper. cook, stirring occasionally, until the edges are slightly charred black. while the peppers cook, lightly whisk all of the eggs together with some salt and pepper.
3. spread the peppers into an even layer and top with the zucchini ribbons. lightly season again. let the layers cook for moment until the zucchini softens. if you slice them thinly it shouldn’t take longer than 1-2 minutes. sprinkle the green onions on top.
4. pour the eggs over the top of the vegetables. quickly top with the mozzarella. lightly stir in the cheese, without disturbing the vegetable layers. cook on the stove until the bottom and sides of the eggs have set. transfer to the oven and cook until the eggs puff, pull away from the sides of the skillet, and brown lightly on top. this should take about 13-15 minutes. you can run the skillet under the broiler for a minute if you like the top even more brown.
5. cut into pieces and serve immediately.

SEA SALT and RICOTTA CROSTINI

1/2 of a baguette, sliced at an angle
olive oil
part-skim ricotta
coarse sea salt

1. preheat your grill or grill pan over medium-high heat.
2. brush both sides of the baguette slices with a small amount of olive oil. i used about a teaspoon total for 6 slices.
3. grill the bread on both sides until browned and crunchy, about 3-4 minutes per side.
4. top with a smear of ricotta and sprinkle with sea salt. (you can rub the bread with a garlic clove, before topping with the cheese, for a little added flavor.) serve immediately.


frittata and crostini volcano!!!

ok. enough with the tasty treats. can we please talk about how amazing this toy is?

it’s the first years 3-in-1 kickin’ coaster. we bought it in blue, but i couldn’t find a decent picture of it. it is both a vibrating infant seat and a baby exerciser of sorts. when she’s brand spankin’ new, pink, and wrinkly, we can set the seat to stationary and just let her chill and vibrate. as she gets older, we can unlock the seat and let her go to town! here’s how it works: when she kicks the platform at the bottom the seat glides up and down and lights and/or music play. it will help teach her cause and effect and build up her leg muscles. how cool is that? once travis and i saw this bad boy in the store, we put our original choice back on the shelf and scooped one up! i can’t wait to see sylvie’s reaction the first time she makes her seat move and the lights come on. i can just imagine her wide eyes and gummy grin now. i don’t want to wait 10 more weeks to meet her! why must this final trimester crawl by so slowly?



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the calm before the storm.

i think i have another gallstone attack a-brewin’. i’ve been getting all the typical warning signs over the past 2 days. i really hope it happens tonight instead of tomorrow night. i have to leave for the airport at 7:30 in the morning on wednesday, and i’m getting on the plane come hell, high water, or gallstones. this calm before the storm is the most frustrating part of this whole ordeal. i can feeling it coming, but i don’t know when or where i’ll be.

the good news is that my strict diet is working. it’s no panacea, but it is helping. it has been 5 weeks since my last attack. before i knew what i was dealing with, i had 4 attacks in the course of 2 weeks. sylvie only needs to keep cookin’ for 9-13ish more weeks. if i keep going at this rate it is likely i will only suffer 2-3 more episodes before her birth. then i can get this sucker taken care of. PRONTO.

there is other good news. my midwife suffered from gallstones in the past. she also had a completely drug free birth with her second child. she told me that, hands down, the pain of gallstones was worse than that of a natural childbirth. my last attack lasted 4 hours and i made it through. it was miserable, but i made it. i know i can do this birth without pain medication because i will be working towards something beautiful and incredible and life changing. gallstones are pain for pain’s sake. childbirth is pain with a purpose.

i know i can do it.

i’m still excited to give birth. i thought i would grow anxious as the big day approached. and, hey, there’s still time for that. i’m not ruling anything out here. but here i am, in my third and final trimester, and no less excited than i was at 12 weeks. it’s a day, maybe 2, of pain and hard work in exchange for a lifetime of joy.



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gallstone gourmet #3.

it’s monday again and you know what that means? it’s time for another installment of the gallstone gourmet! this post is a little light on the recipes this week due to sickness and a farro disaster. we’ll get to that in a minute. now it’s time for turkey burgers and oven fries!

TURKEY BURGERS

1 pound of 99% fat free ground turkey breast
2 Tablespoons of tomato paste
1 teaspoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
kosher salt and pepper to taste

cooking spray
4 slices of low-fat (2%) american cheese (1 slice per burger)
1 package of whole wheat buns or sandwich thins

1. Add first set of ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Break up the turkey and combine with your hands.
2. Form into approximately 1/4 pound patties. If they’re the right size, you should get 4 (duh).
3. Spray a skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium.
4. Once the pan is hot, add the patties and cook, flipping once, until cooked through (about 4-5 minutes per side).
5. Top each patty with a slice of cheese about 30 seconds before they come off the heat.
6. Build your burger to your liking and enjoy!

OVEN FRIES

1 large baking potato (peeled if you like, we prefer the skin on)
1 egg white
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
kosher salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Spray a rimmed cookie sheet lightly with cooking spray
2. Cut the potato into 1/8 inch slices. Cut each slice into 1/8 inch matchsticks. Put the matchsticks into a bowl of ice water.
3. Whisk together the egg white, spices, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl until frothy.
4. Remove the potatoes from the ice water and dry thoroughly with a hand towel. This step is very important, as wet potatoes will not brown correctly.
5. Add the dried potatoes into the bowl with the egg white mixture and toss to coat.
6. Spread the potatoes out on the cookie sheet in a single layer.
7. Bake for 30-35 minutes, turning every 5-7, until browned and crispy. Serve immediately.

now for the farro disaster. i attempted to make a risotto for the first time with farro. i have made it the traditional way, with arborio rice, tons of times. every time it’s turned out great! i prepared the farro the same way, per a recipe and some tips from the chef at trav’s restaurant. after over an hour on the stove, 64 ounces of chicken broth, and ample amounts of elbow grease the farro was only half cooked and terribly salty. even after i tried to coax it with a rousing refrain of “let my people go” (way down in egypt’s land/ tell my farro/ let my starches go!), it still stunk. if anybody has any ideas about where i failed, please let me know! thanks!

ok, it’s about that time. i’m going to try my first non-alcoholic beer. i have very low expectations for these o’douls, but i won’t hate until i try one! wish me luck! happy monday, everyone.

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gallstone gourmet #2.

i thought this whole eating a super low-fat diet would be really hard. but you know what? IT’S NOT. gallstones hurt. like, really really REALLY frickin’ HURT. at the end of the day, it’s not difficult to vividly remember the consequences that come with that brownie a la mode i’ve been craving. i’ll take frozen yogurt with raspberries, please!

now for the past week’s gallbladder-friendly recipes!

last week we had yogurt and spice marinated chicken breast, thai-style cucumber salad and quinoa.

YOGURT AND SPICE MARINATED CHICKEN:

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or one for each person you’re cooking for)
2/3 cup of fat-free plain yogurt
1 Tablespoon curry powder
2 teaspoons of ground ginger (I used ground galangal because I had it on hand and it tastes very similar.)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon of ground red pepper
2-3 cloves of garlic, grated or finely minced
1 Tablespoon of lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
salt and pepper

1. Place all ingredients except the chicken in a large (1 gallon) zip top bag. Seal and bag and shake to mix well.
2. Add the chicken breasts to the bag, squeeze out as much air as possible, and seal. Place in the refrigerator to marinate anywhere from 3 hours to overnight. I made mine the morning of the same day, so they got about 6 hours.
3. Place your oven rack in the top most position and preheat the broiler (make sure to keep the oven door cracked!).
4. Remove the chicken breasts from the zip top bag and place them on a rimmed cookie sheet lined with foil. Spoon a little bit of the leftover marinade over the top of the chicken and place under the broiler.
5. Broil for 7 minutes on one side and 5-6 on the other, watching closely to make sure it doesn’t burn, until the chicken is cooked through. Serve immediately!

this is a recipe i concocted while still in college. the chicken is so flavorful and the yogurt marinade keeps it super moist. leftovers taste great sliced and served cold over a salad or on a sandwich. if you are lucky enough to own a grill, i would suggest grilling the chicken! i don’t have one, but a broiler is basically an upside down grill, so it’s all good.

THAI-STYLE CUCUMBER SALAD

1/2 of an english cucumber, diced
1-2 carrots, peeled and shaved into ribbons (use your vegetable peeler for this)
1/2 of a white or red onion, minced
1/2 cup of rice wine vinegar (find this in the Asian aisle of most grocery stores)
2 Tablespoons of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of chili garlic sauce, such as Sriracha (also found in the Asian aisle)
1 teaspoon of soy sauce

1. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the sugar into the rice wine vinegar until it dissolves.
2. Whisk in the chili garlic sauce and soy sauce.
3. Add the cucumbers, carrots, and onion and stir to combine.
4. Cover and refrigerate for at least several hours (overnight is best), stirring every few hours.

this salad is tart, slightly sweet, a little spicy and absolutely fat-free. SO GOOD.

i don’t think i need to write out a recipe for the quinoa. just cook according to the directions (either on the package or you can easily find them online) and simply add salt, pepper and squeeze a little lemon juice over the top. serve warm or room temperature.

i also made spaghetti with turkey meatballs for dinner last week.

FOR THE SAUCE

1 large (or 2 small) can of plain tomato sauce
3 garlic cloves, grated or finely minced
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
2 heaping Tablespoons of fat-free cream cheese
1 Tablespoon of fresh basil, roughly chopped or chiffonaded (I think I just invented the past tense of that word.)
1 teaspoon of fresh rosemary, roughly chopped (rosemary is one of the few herbs where I think dry is a permissible substitute for fresh)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon fresh oregano
salt and pepper to taste

1. Place a saucier or other high-walled pan over medium heat. Add the tomato sauce and heat through, whisking occasionally. Add the garlic and chili flake, and salt and pepper, whisking to combine.
2. Allow the mixture to come to a low simmer and whisk in the cream cheese until well incorporated.
3. Stir in all of the fresh herbs right before serving.

TURKEY MEATBALLS

1 pound of 99% fat-free ground turkey breast
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon each of garlic powder (or granulated garlic) and dried or fresh rosemary and thyme
1/2 teaspoon of red chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
2-3 Tablespoons of unseasoned breadcrumbs (I used Panko for texture.)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Add all of the ingredients into a large mixing bowl, use your hands to break up the turkey and combine.
3. Place a deep, oven safe pan (which has a matching lid) over medium high heat, spray throughly with olive oil flavored cooking spray.
4. Roll the meatballs into 1.5 inch balls and place in the hot pan. Turn every minute or so to sear on all sides.
5. Remove the pan from the heat. Spoon about half the sauce you made earlier over the meatballs, clamp on the lid, and place in the oven. Cook 10-15 minutes while you cook the pasta.

for the pasta, simply boil your favorite kind (i used this kind for the extra protein, omega 3 and whole grains) in salted water until done. drain well and add into the pan with the remaining sauce. use tongs to mix it all together. place a serving on each plate and top with a few meatballs. enjoy!

i am in LOVE with this pasta sauce. the fat-free cream cheese makes it unbelievably creamy. seriously, it tastes like there’s a fair amount of heavy cream in there! the meatballs are delicious and have almost no fat. just be warned, when using such lean meat, they can get dry very easily. to prevent this, you can mix in a tablespoon of olive oil before rolling them. searing the meatballs before baking and covering with a lid will keep them from getting too dry.

this concludes this week’s gallstone gourmet! tune in next monday for turkey burgers with crispy oven fries, chicken creole, and farro risotto with shrimp, scallions and snap peas!

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last night.

well, the whole zoo trip ended up not happening. instead, i got to take another lovely trip to the ER last night. i had the same horrific pain in the same place as before. this time it lasted for hours with no relief. the whole experience was less than pleasant, and i’m still so tired from the ordeal. long story short, i finally have a diagnosis: gallstones. i have several small, mobile stones in my gallbladder. for the remainder of the pregnancy i have to go on a very low-fat diet (as close to fat-free as i can) and take pain medication when i get an attack. after sylvie is born, i will likely have to get my gallbladder removed. fortunately, the surgery is fairly non-invasive, only requires a one night stay in the hospital, and leaves a very small scar.

i’ll spare you all of the details. travis and i are both very tired after our sleepless night in the ER. on top of that, we have to wake up early tomorrow, make the 4+ hour drive back to indiana, and then go to work for the evening. the time for sleeping is now. the time for a proper update is later. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

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