Friday, November 18, 2011

A little pizza misery

The great pizza experiment is over and results were not good.

The Atkins mix numbers.
I made a crust with the Atkins All-Purpose Baking Mix. The directions call for 2 cups of baking mix, 1 1/8 cup of water, 3 tablespoons of oil, plus baking powder, Splenda, and salt. I mixed it in my daughter’s KitchenAid stand mixer. So far so good. I pinched off about a quarter of the dough for my pizza. The recipe makes 8 servings, so I decided I’d have 2. I could always save the leftovers.

First you make the crust and roll it out for the pans. It bakes for 10 minutes, then you remove it, add the toppings, and return to the oven for 10-15 minutes. I made one big pizza for my daughter with pesto and cheese. I made mine with a little tomato pizza sauce, cheese, and low-fat Italian salami.

The crust bakes up rather puffy, but still thin enough for pizza, although I prefer a thinner, New York style over a thick Chicago style.

Pizza from the oven and sliced in half.
The result was a not-bad-looking pizza, I cut mine in quarters and ate 2 slices.  The crust had a slightly sweet, eggy flavor, a bit on the dry side. I could envision it as a syrup-covered waffle or pancake, for which there are recipes on the back of the package.

Unfortunately, it didn’t sit well in my stomach and I had a mad dash to the bathroom and thoroughly lost every bit of it.

Looks like I won’t be making pizza from this mix again. My daughter enjoyed her pizza and consumed a few slices with no problems.

A lot of weight-loss surgery people make pizzas on low-carb tortilla or flatbread. I tried making a grilled-turkey sandwich on one once and it didn’t agree with me. Perhaps all the moist pizza ingredients will make the difference. It’s not that I need pizza, but now and then I get a real jonesing for a slice.

I’m not sure how much I’ll be writing next week; probably at least a few days. I’m firming up my Thanksgiving menu and will probably write about that at least. But if you’re taking an Internet vacation next week, I hope you have a nice Thanksgiving with a minimum of episodes of getting stuck.

See you next week.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Oops, no pizza

After combing the Internet for pizza dough recipes using Atkins all-purpose baking mix, then shopping for a few needed ingredients, I got home too late to make the pizza. So that’s on the menu for tonight.

My sister is visiting this weekend, so I had to make sure the convertible sofa was clean enough. Sometimes we forget to take off the sheets, but luckily we didn’t forget last time and they’re washed and ready to go. Our cat Charlotte sometimes “marks” the couch. I had to ensure there weren’t any yellow spots, and we were pee-free.

My sofa really sucks. It saw better days a decade ago, but it has great sentimental value. I was a contestant on “Jeopardy!” in 1985, the first season it returned, and back then the second- and third-place people won merchandise prizes. My queen-size La-Z-Boy sleeper sofa was my second-place prize. I filmed my appearance in October ’84, but it didn’t air until January ’85, and the prizes didn’t start arriving for a few months after that. It’s been a good couch, and not bad for sleeping. I slept on it for about a week when I had pneumonia in 1991.

I realize this has nothing to do with weight-loss surgery, but sometimes I get distracted by shiny things. Even non-shiny things.

Tonight, for sure, I’m making pizza, and I’ll let you know how it looked.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A refreshing day without drama

For once I got up at a decent time today and was able to spend time on the couch with a big cup of coffee while my daughter harassed the animals. For once it was nice to drive to work and not fall asleep at stoplights because you’re not awake yet.

Charlotte and Kevin don't know they're going on a diet.
My daughter shot this picture on her cell phone.
We’ve decided our bigger cat, Kevin, needs to cut back on the eating. When we first got him several months ago, we kept him in the bathroom for a few days to get him acclimated to the scents in the house and our first cat, Charlotte. After we let him roam the house, we kept his bowl in the bathroom so he would know what food was his. He follows whoever goes in there and begs, and if his bowl is empty, we fill it. Well, he was getting his bowl filled a few times a day, and eating all of it. We’ve noticed he can’t climb the cat tree so easily, so now he’s allowed only a half-cup of food per day until he’s back to his climbing weight. And while he’s dieting, perhaps our other cat can lose a little of the chub she developed after being spayed last year.

It’s easy to think that you’re loving someone by feeding them. I love to watch people enjoying what I’ve cooked. Even if I just scoop it from a canister to a cat dish.  

Tonight I’m trying a new recipe for the humans in the house. I have a bag of Atkins All Purpose Baking Mix, a low-carb, high-protein version of Bisquick. I plan to make a pizza crust, and top it with tomato sauce, cheese and light Italian salami. The pizza makes 8 servings, and each serving of crust has 20g of protein and only 5g net carbs. I’ve been hankering for pizza for a while but didn’t want the heavy crust. Well, I want it, but I don’t want to waste the calories on bread that could have gone to protein. If it turns out pretty, I’ll post a picture.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What a difference a day makes

Woke up today feeling 100 percent better than the weekend. It wasn't the big fluffy cat leaning on me. Didn’t get extra sleep or better food. In fact, I ate the last sliver of cheesecake. I think part of my better mood is due to several people posting me encouraging messages here and on my Facebook. I was feeling very alone, and you folks came through. Thanks, everyone.

I have partially solved my morning shake dilemma. I found Hershey’s sugar-free chocolate syrup at the supermarket. I don’t often look at sugar-free sweets because while they doesn’t have sugar, they do have other stuff that has lots of calories, plus they can have a laxative effect. However, this chocolate syrup has only 16 calories in 2 tablespoons. I added that much to my morning vanilla shake and omigod it was finally something I wouldn’t mind drinking. Even thickened it up a bit. It takes me most of my 40-minute morning drive to drink it all. I’m usually not very hungry in the morning, and my band seems tighter so it’s harder to eat. On the weekends, I slack off with sugar-free lattes all morning.

This afternoon at lunch, I actually measured out what I was eating, and my eye-balled amount was 3/4 of a cup of cottage cheese, about what I’d figured. I’ve been eating Alta Dena 2%, and it has 15g of protein per half-cup, so that’s about 22g of protein.

 I have decided to cut back on the pistachios and goat cheese. While they aren’t as fat-laden as a lot of other foods, it’s easy to overdo them. I eat enough cheese as it is, and even the act of shelling the pistachios doesn’t use up the energy their calories generate. So for now, bye-bye!

See you tomorrow.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sort of a meltdown, but I’m better now

Saturday turned out to be a harder day than I expected. As I’ve written a few times, it was my 23rd wedding anniversary, but my husband is in a nursing home and can’t speak, eat, or walk, so any celebration is low-key.

My day started with my weight up almost 2.5 pounds, for no apparent reason. Well, I’m sure there was a reason, but I just didn’t know it. I went to my Romance Writers of America meeting feeling fat and unsuccessful. I did perk up when I chatted with longtime friends, and I’m in charge of coffee and that operation went smoothly. Then, our president asked if anyone had a laptop, and I raised my hand. Our speaker brought the wrong connection for her Mac to the projector and couldn’t give her PowerPoint. Not only did I have a PC, but I also have PowerPoint, so the meeting was sort of saved. I felt good about that.

When I got home, though, that’s when the blues settled in. Tom and I have been together since 1984 and have had some wonderful times on our anniversary. On our 10th, we were able to return to the same San Francisco Fairmont Hotel room where we had our honeymoon, plus we got second-row seats to “Phantom of the Opera,” and while we were waiting for a cab to the theater, a limo pulls up and Tony Bennett steps out. After the show we celebrated in the bathtub with a Merlot bottled the same year we got married. Other anniversaries have been memorable dinners in cool restaurants and pricey champagne that we decided didn’t taste much better than the $12 Korbel we usually drank.

A lot of that ended with my husband’s stroke in April 2010. He seems to remember some things, and he usually understands me when I ask him yes/no questions. He still enjoys watching football on TV—thank you, Green Bay Packers for kicking butt! But the best part of our relationship was the banter and joking, and now he can’t even speak.

I visited him the evening of our anniversary and became sadder as time went on. He fell asleep just before I left.

I wanted to hold my own celebration. I wanted a tiny chocolate cake and a split of champagne. I found neither, so I settled on 4 slices of various flavors of cheesecake. I ate 3 of them in front of the TV in my pajamas, and saved one for breakfast. Wow, flashback to my binging days. I think I consumed about 600 calories of cheesecake. Plus the last of my pistachio and goat cheese stash. I have a bottle of champagne in the fridge, but I didn’t want to open it for just one glass. I went to bed feeling pretty low. My daughter was on a sleepover, so it was just me and the critters, and they didn’t have a shoulder to cry on.

I woke up the next day feeling different. The sun was shining, and my canary was singing his heart out. I hopped on the scale, and not only did I lose what I’d gained, but I hit a new low. And suddenly I was in better cheer. I left the cheesecake in the fridge and made a big nonfat latte to accompany the weekend paper.

I have resigned to the fact that certain things won’t change. I still love my husband, and I do get the sense that he loves me. We still own our memories. And I lost weight! How great is that?

See you tomorrow.