Christmas Joys: Sugar Free Italian Ricotta Cookie Recipe

Happy Holidays to all! Wishing you a lovely day with loved ones. To those who might be having a tough time for whatever reason, sending you a cyber hug, you are not alone. A couple of Christmases ago I had some drama and it was definitely not a jolly time in my world. I understand the internal battle between "faking it till you make it" and collapsing in a heap. I think the answer is something in-between.

Special note for my fellow post-bariatric surgery pals: it's not part of the glossy post-op life brochures but the truth is there is a slight increase in both alcoholism and suicide rates of post-op bariatric patients. I am not saying this to scare people but as a PSA public service announcement and something to be aware of. So if you or someone you love is struggling reach out for help. Emergency help: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) offers free, confidential crisis counseling 24/7. If you prefer text the Crisis Text Line is the free, nationwide, 24/7 text message service for people in crisis. Text HOME to 741741 in the US. Psychologists or psychiatrists are among the many healthcare professionals you can find (search by zip code) on obesitycareproviders.com and I encourage you to find a supportive community: check out the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) Community.

Post-Bariatric Surgery Money Saving Tips
Tips for Reducing Stress
Post-Bariatric Surgery Holiday Survival Tips
Healthy and Easy Holiday Party Recipes

One thing that especially helps me is helping others... making blessing bags, answering fellow post-op bariatric pals questions on the OAC Community forum, or getting involved in advocacy by visiting the OAC Action Center and taking action to try and make a small difference in the world. I'd love for you to join me in any of those.

I'll also share a few joyful holiday scenes from my world. Our Tree...

The World According to Eggface Cooking Post Weight Loss Surgery

I love my little Christmas tree of memories. Every ornament tells a story. It's like old pals visiting each year when I open the boxes. Speaking of ornaments... does anyone else have a spider ornament on their tree? When people see ours I am always asked about it. Did I forget to put away some Halloween ornament or something? It's actually based on a Ukrainian folk story of where tinsel originated. I'm 1/2 Brit and 1/2 Sicilian but I love stuff like this... basically, the story goes... a family had no money for decorations for their Christmas tree and while the children were sleeping, all the spiders in the house spun webs of silver around its branches. When the family awoke Christmas morning, the tree was sparkling with silver webs. A magical gift! So that's why I have a spider ornament.

I seem to add one ornament a year but I have to say this might be the last year I do that or I might have to move up a tree size. This year, I added a globe because I spent a lot of the last 2 years traveling on behalf of the OAC as I served as chair of the National Board of Directors and meeting new friends and fellow patient advocates around the world. I will always remember this time, new friends and those trips when I hang it each year.

I also cooked a bit (this is a cooking blog after all.) I made a batch of Christmasy Italian Ricotta Cookies. These are sugar-free so my fellow bariatric pals should give them a try.

Sugar Free WLS Gastric Bypass Sleeve VSG RNY Cooking Keto Low Carb Protein

Shelly's Sugar-Free Italian Ricotta Cookies

1 cup Almond Flour (blanched, not meal)
2 Tablespoons Coconut Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/8 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/4 cup Butter, softened
1/4 cup Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese, drained
1/4 cup Swerve, Granular (erythritol)
1 Large Egg, beaten
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

The night before: drain the ricotta cheese. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a small bowl, add the ricotta, spread the ricotta into an even layer. Loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator. Let the ricotta cheese strain at least 6-8 hours. Discard the liquid that drains.

Preheat oven to 325. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix together the almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, and salt. Cream softened butter and the drained ricotta with the Swerve until well combined. Mix in the egg and vanilla extract. Add dry ingredients and mix until the dough comes together.

Roll the dough into 1 to 1-1/2 inch balls and place 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Press the balls down with the palm of your hand to about 1/2 inch thick.

They puff a bit but don't spread much. Bake 25 minutes, until just barely beginning to firm up and are lightly golden on the bottom. Look for golden edges. Remove and let cool on the pan. They are too soft to handle when they first come out of the oven but will firm more as they cool. Makes 16-20 cookies. They are great plain but you could drizzle them with melted sugar-free chocolate or the traditional lemon glaze and sprinkle with nonpareils.

Glaze:
3 Tablespoons Swerve, Confectioners
1 Tablespoon Milk, any
1/8 teaspoon Lemon Extract
Holiday Nonpareils (optional)

Cooks Notes: That drained Ricotta Cheese is also super yummy as a savory spread on cucumber slices with a sprinkle of Bagel Spice or Italian Seasoning. So make a little extra. This cookie recipe is sweetened with erythritol (the brand I used is Swerve) which tastes sweet and acts similar to sugar in recipes, no calories or net carbs and works in my plan. You could use sugar but watch the cooking time as the real deal browns quicker.

It's raining here... so we're staying close to home, we have some holiday movies to watch and tidbits (cheeses, meats, dips, etc) to eat. Yesterday, we had a great seafood feast as part of the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a Sicilian Christmas Eve tradition. We had 4 fishes, not 7 this year but they were delicious and very bariatric surgery friendly: Grilled Scallops, Shrimp Scampi, Red & Green Shrimp Cocktail, and a new stuffed mushroom recipe with Crab. It was soooo good. I'll be sure to share it soon on the blog.

I hope everyone has a great day and the year ahead is filled with many joyful moments.

Easy Dinner Idea: Pizza Stuffed Mushrooms

These low carb, protein-packed Pizza Stuffed Mushrooms will satisfy your pizza craving without carby crusty. Your non-bariatric surgery friends and family will love these too. Hello?! Gooey, warm and melty cheese, what's not to love?!



Shelly's Pizza Stuffed Mushrooms

12 Large Mushrooms
1 cup Ricotta Cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
1 teaspoon Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
a few twists of Black Pepper to taste
1/4 cup Tomato Sauce
1/4 cup Mozarella, shredded
1/8 cup mini Pepperoni Slices (*optional)

Clean and carefully remove the stem from each mushroom cap (save for soup) place in a lightly oiled baking pan in a 350 oven for 15 minutes. Remove for oven and carefully (hot) empty mushroom juices that have expelled from the mushrooms. Set mushrooms aside while you make the filling. Blend ricotta, parmesan, and seasonings together till well combined.


Fill each partially cooked mushroom cap with ricotta filling mixture. Top with a tablespoon of tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella, and optional mini pepperoni or another topping of your choice (sliced black olives and cooked crumbled sausage are great too.) Bake for additional 15 minutes.


Perfect just as they are or with a little green salad or on top of zucchini noodles for lunch or dinner. They reheat in the microwave well too... and I may have done that for breakfast the next day. Shhh, don't tell anyone.

Hope you enjoy them.

Summer Night Dinner Idea: Tidbit Party

It's been super hot and muggy here the past few weeks. Hot is normal for my neck of the woods but muggy is not. Usually, the breeze kicks up in the afternoon and temperatures drop pretty quickly... like 30-40 degree drop from daytime temps. It hasn't been doing that but finally, last night felt a little different... a beautiful cool breeze kicked up. More please Mother Nature. I'm so done with summer. I want to cook some casseroles and wear sweaters.

I guess my favorite thing about cooler nights being back is being able to have more "Tidbit Parties" for dinner... that's what we call platters with cheese, cold cuts, olives, grilled or raw veggies, etc. I was just watching a Real Housewives episode (mindless guilty pleasure) and a kid called his Mom's cheese and veggie platter "Organized Food" which I thought was cute. Whatever you call it... I call it part of a perfect evening... starry skies, good conversation, lots of laughs and CHEESE! Some of my favorite pics of past Tidbit Parties...

Bariatric Surgery Recipes Low Carb Protein

Bariatric Surgery Recipes Low Carb Protein

It's actually all perfect meal for us bariatric surgery post-ops... low carb, protein-packed, moderate fat... and your non-op family and friends will love it too.

Bariatric Surgery Recipes Low Carb Protein


Protein Pudding Pops

Hot Summer Afternoons = Icy Cold Treats. We're in for another bout of triple-digit heat here in my corner of the world. Ugggh. These Pudding Pops are delicious and protein-packed life-savers that really help me stay on track in the summer. Who needs H?agen-Dazs?

These are great for newly post-bariatric surgery post-ops too. I had surgery in the summer and so I remember how hard it was in those first few weeks finding approved icy cold treat items. These should be approved on most early post-op plans. Yay! As always: confirm with your dietitian.

Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery Recipes

How to make the pops: Just blend together 1 cup of the milk of your choice, 1/4 cup Premier Protein 100% Whey Protein Powder (I used Vanilla Milkshake flavor, 30 grams of protein per serving) and 1 Tablespoon Instant Pudding Powder, dry (your favorite flavor, I used Sugar Free Butterscotch) and pour into popsicle molds.

Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery Recipes

I found mine at the dollar store but they have some great ones online too. If you don't have molds or want to buy them, those little paper cups you use in the bathroom and popsicle sticks work great too.

Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery Recipes

Freeze several hours or overnight. Warm sides a bit to unmold easily. ⁣Enjoy and while dreaming of cooler days.

Register for the Your Weight Matters National Convention

If you are searching for a great way to stay on track with your health and weight I highly recommend attending #YWM2019 the Your Weight Matters National Convention. Trust me on this... it will be a life-changing and awesome experience that will energize or reaffirm your commitment to your journey with weight. The education is of the highest caliber, the nation’s leading experts (the scientists putting out all the latest studies) break down all the confusing, conflicting messages (free of scams and BS) to give you practical knowledge you can take home.



The Obesity Action Coalition hosts the convention each year and it floats around the country but where ever it is each year treat yourself and go. This year it's in Tampa, Florida which is actually the hometown of the Obesity Action Coalition so you can be sure it will be extra special.

August 1-3
Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina
700 S. Florida Ave.
Tampa, FL 33602

Here’s what you can expect at YWM2019:

Science-based education presented experts in the field.
Connections and support in a like-minded community of others.
EXPO Hall with 30+ vendors offering products, services, samples!
Fun special events and activities. We do a fun theme party each year.
Learn about how to get involved or active in advocacy and #OACAction opportunities.

View the 2019 Program Agenda.
REGISTER (get in on early bird pricing before 5/31)

You will get that great education but even better it will inspire and motivate you for the year.

Hope to see you there!

Winter Issue of Weight Matters Magazine

For my friends with kiddos, I wanted to bring your attention to the Winter issue of Weight Matters Magazine. I had the privilege of writing this issue's Kids Korner article. I loved writing this article. Early childhood education is my first love so it was nice to be able to tap into that creative side. I hope you and your family enjoy the ideas and recipes presented.

Kids Korner Childhood Obesity Nutrition Families Fitness Family

It is an especially awesome issue with articles on making the most out of your relationships with your health care providers, managing your sweet tooth, dressing for comfort and confidence, taking the fear factor out of advocacy and more.

Health Weight Wellness Obesity Nutrition Fitness

If you are interested in receiving a hardcopy of the magazine in your mailbox choose premium membership in the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC). Check out a sampling of some of the articles accessible FREE to the entire OAC Community.

Lemon Blueberry Mini Protein Muffins featuring Premier Protein

This post is sponsored by Premier Protein®. I'm excited to share this new recipe featuring Premier Protein 100% Whey Protein Powder with you. 

I bought a basket of blueberries at the Farmer's Market yesterday. Today I used a handful in a batch of Lemon Blueberry Mini Protein Muffins. They will make a great grab-and-go breakfast with yogurt or a shake or for afternoon snacks this week. I love having something like this ready for the week ahead. It helps make making the healthier choice much easier.

Premier Protein Powder Recipes Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss RNY VSG WLS Low Carb Meals Snacks

Shelly's Lemon Blueberry Mini Protein Muffins

1 Egg, beaten
3 Tablespoons Milk
2 Tablespoons Liquid Sweetener
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
3 Tablespoons Multigrain Pancake Mix, dry
2 Tablespoons Almond Flour
1 Tablespoon Sugar-Free Lemon Pudding Mix, dry
1/4 cup Premier Protein 30 g. Vanilla 100% Whey Protein Powder
Pinch salt
1/4 cup Fresh Blueberries (frozen work great too if you are still some months away from fresh in your neck of the woods)

Mix egg, milk, sweetener (I used Sugar-Free Vanilla Syrup you find in coffee aisle, you can use maple syrup, honey, whatever you love) and oil (applesauce or cottage cheese can sub for oil but 1 T divided between 12 muffins is really not a lot) and combine thoroughly. In a separate bowl, mix pancake mix, almond flour, pudding mix, Premier Protein 30 g. Vanilla Milkshake 100% Whey Protein Powder and salt.

Premier Protein Powder Recipes Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss RNY VSG WLS Low Carb Meals Snacks

Tip dry into wet and stir till combined. Pour into a non-stick mini muffin pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Place 3 fresh blueberries in each muffin.

Premier Protein Powder Recipes Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss RNY VSG WLS Low Carb Meals Snacks

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes till lightly golden. Let cool slightly before removing from pan.

Premier Protein Powder Recipes Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss RNY VSG WLS Low Carb Meals Snacks

If you make these Lemon Blueberry Mini Protein Muffins or are inspired by them to create your own Premier Protein powder recipe post it on Instagram and tag it #PremierPowderRecipes for a chance to be featured on Premier's Instagram feed.

Hope everyone has a great week!

This post is sponsored by Premier Protein® #ad #PremierPowderRecipes For the purposes of this post Premier Protein provided me with product used. Want to learn more about Premier Protein products LIKE their Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram and tell them The World According to Eggface told you to stop by. 

Easy and Healthy Dinner: Cauliflower Rice

Looking for an easy and healthy dinner idea... I love Cauliflower "rice" it not only gives me my take-out food fix but preparing it almost as fast as going to pick up take out. It only has 20 calories per cup (plain) and is packed with vitamins and nutrients. It's way lower in carbs than white or even brown rice and prepared in one of the recipes below you won't miss rice at all. Cauliflower rice is really a blank canvas so it's easy to adjust one of these recipes to the ingredients you have on hand. It's a great way to save money and use up any leftovers.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve RNY VSG WLS Recipes Cooking Food Low Carb Keto

Row 1 (L to R): Shelly's Cauliflower Mushroom Risotto, Shelly's Cauliflower Chicken Fried Rice, Shelly's Spanish Style Fried Rice (served as a side with Barbacoa-Style Beef, Guacamole & Greek Yogurt)

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve RNY VSG WLS Recipes Cooking Food Low Carb Keto

Row 2: Shelly's Cauliflower Beef Fried Rice Bowl, Shelly's Shrimp Fajita Cauliflower Rice (see below), Shelly's Sicilian Deconstructed Riceless Rice Balls

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve RNY VSG WLS Recipes Cooking Food Low Carb Keto

Row 3: Shelly's Quick Mexican Fried Rice (served as a side with Real Good Enchiladas), Trader Joe's Frozen Riced Cauliflower Stir Fry Mix with Shelly's Egg Foo Young Bites, Shelly's Spanish Style Fried Rice (topped with cheese)

You can break-up a head of cauliflower into florets and pulse the florets a few at a time in a food processor until reduced to the size of rice grains or use pre-riced cauliflower (fresh or frozen) which is way less work and less cleanup. If you have a Trader Joe's around they carry both the fresh and frozen pre-riced cauliflower. Most major supermarkets carry them as well as larger stores like Walmart and Target. A favorite of mine is Green Giant steamer bags of riced cauliflower, plain or some have added veggies. Birds Eye has some steamer bags that are seasoned. Steamer bags make dinner super easy because there is less to clean-up.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve RNY VSG WLS Recipes Cooking Food Low Carb Keto

You'll just need to adjust cooking times for fresh versus frozen. From fresh: Saute with a drizzle of olive oil for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally till the cauliflower "rice" becomes slightly golden then saute in the pan with other ingredients. From frozen: Microwave (or cook) as package directs then saute the "rice" in the saute pan with other ingredients.

Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Gastric Bypass Vertical Sleeve RNY VSG WLS Recipes Cooking Food Low Carb Keto

Shelly's Fajita Shrimp Fried Riceless "Rice" 

1 (12 oz.) Steamer Bag of Cauliflower Rice (cook as directed)
1 Yellow Onion, chopped
1 Bell Pepper, diced (any color, I used 1/2 red and 1/2 green for color and flavor difference)
1 Small Zucchini, diced
10-12 Medium (uncooked, peeled and deveined) Shrimp, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Fajita or Taco Seasoning (Cumin, Oregano, Chili blend)
Salt to taste

Microwave cauliflower rice steamer bag per package directions and set aside. Saute onions, peppers, and diced zucchini in a drizzle of olive oil till tender and slightly golden. Add seasoning and shrimp until they just turn pink, 3 to 5 minutes depending upon their size. I like to chop the shrimp a bit so more bites have shrimp in them and they cook faster. You can leave them whole if you prefer. Add steamed cauliflower "rice" to the pan and stir till well combined. Cook till warmed through. Add salt to taste.

Hope these inspire you to create some cauliflower rice creations of your own. If you post them online tag them #Eggface so others can check them out.

The Best Sugar Free Peanut Butter Cookies

Have you noticed that almost all peanut butter cookies have a crosshatch pattern on the top? It sort of reminds me of a hashtag but of course, peanut butter cookies were happening long before the Internet. I am #OBSESSED with these sugar-free, lower fat, no white flour peanut butter cookies. Pressing the little hashtag design in the top of each cookie with a fork allows them to get a little crispy and extra yummy in those raised areas.

I've made 2 batches since New Year. We celebrated with one batch as we watched the ball drop New Year's Eve (Happy New Year Everyone!) and I gave the remainder of that batch to my neighbor but I couldn't stop thinking about them so I made another batch and this one I'm not sharing. They are #MineAllMine

Gluten Free Healthy Cookies Dessert Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Food Recipes

They make a great treat but I've been eating them as breakfast with Greek yogurt. Want a little extra protein mix some chocolate protein powder into your yogurt and crumble one of these cookies on top... Hello! Peanut Butter Cup for breakfast.

Gluten Free Healthy Cookies Dessert Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Food Recipes

Shelly's Sugar Free Peanut Butter Cookies 

1 cup Almond Flour (blanched, not meal)
2 Tablespoons Coconut Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/8 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/4 cup Butter, softened
2 Tablespoons Peanut Butter
1/4 cup Swerve, Granular
1 Large Egg, beaten
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 325. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix together the almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, and salt. Cream softened butter and peanut butter (crunchy or creamy, whatever you love, just watch added sugars) with the Swerve until well combined. Mix in the egg and vanilla extract. Add dry ingredients and mix until dough comes together.

Roll the dough into 1 to 1-1/2 inch balls and place 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Press the balls down with the palm of your hand to about 1/2 inch thick and press the tines of a fork in a crosshatch pattern on the top.

Gluten Free Healthy Cookies Dessert Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Food Recipes

They puff a bit but don't spread. Bake 20 minutes, until just barely beginning to firm up and are lightly golden on the bottom. Remove and let cool on the pan. They will firm as they cool. Makes 16-20 cookies.

If you make them, take a pic and post it on Instagram or Twitter. Add #Eggface I'd love to see.
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