Tag Archives: recipe

Colleen’s Fleet Street Spinach Pie


So, my friend Joanna who is in my writer’s group had a wonderful little party last night. The New York Philharmonic performed Sweeney Todd and she was the assistant producer. PBS filmed the production and it was broadcast on Friday night. Joannaaaaaaaaaa had a private screening for all her friends where she served “meat” pies and held a pie making contest.

I made spinach pie. I had never done that before. I was not really sure how to make a spinach pie. I had a three goals in mind when I started. One, I wanted a vegetable and spinach is my favorite. I was a little afraid that with meat pies and fruit pies, I would not have anything that was very bariatric friendly. Two, being bariatric friendly, I didn’t want to eat too much crust. And three, I wanted to win.

So, I perused a few spinach pie recipes and then just winged it. It was absolutely delicious. Even people who claim not to like spinach liked it. And I won!

I won a little plastic 1st place medal, a decanter of whiskey which I cannot drink, and the best part of all! I won a one month light membership to Canvas, which is an alternative co-work space for artistic types who do not have an office.

I was so thrilled because I really only expected to win the bragging rights for making the best pie, which really would have been enough for me. (Don’t tell Joanna, though!)

People have been asking me for the recipe. While I’m a good cook, I’m really bad at putting together recipes. I’m the worst kind of cook. I don’t measure and I just mix everything together until it “looks right”. So, here is the recipe for my award-winning Fleet Street Spinach Pie! Good luck!

A Few Of My Favorite Things

I am a huge vegetable fan. Two of my favorites are kale and spinach. I have a great kale and spinach recipe that I want to share since today is Wednesday, and therefore food day

Now I’m horrible at measuring things. I’m one of those awful cooks who just throws things together until they “look right”. It’s hard for me to write down a recipe accurately. This is not one of those recipes that require precision, thankfully.

I hope you enjoy it!

Spinach & Kale

1 bag raw spinach

1 bag raw kale

1/2 red bell pepper

2 cloves garlic

sesame oil


red pepper flakes

parmesan cheese

salt & pepper

Wash and dry spinach and kale. Cut red bell pepper into strips. Heat wok with sesame oil. Saute garlic, kale, spinach, and bell pepper together until soft. Add salt, pepper, red pepper flakes. You can add a splash of soy sauce at this point too. Serve with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

It’s simple and fast. I often eat it with a little bit of grilled chicken.

Sorry if this post seems rushed today. I have friends visiting DC and I have been dragging them all over the city. Or they have been dragging me. Anyway, for today, we are going to the top of the Washington Monument and hitting a couple of museums. Since I do the museum circuit regularly with my brother, I know just where take the kids. My friend’s little girl is very interested in seeing Dorothy’s ruby-red slippers and Kermit the Frog. She seemed somewhat wary of the bug suggestion, but the thought of seeing the Hope Diamond was exciting.

I’ll post an update on Thursday.

Talking About Food – Liquid Pizza (Writing 101 Day One Challenge)

Today is my first food post for my June blogging challenge. Not too many people understand meal planning and restrictions for bariatric patients. Today I am going to share a recipe for one of my favorite, albeit, stranger meals. I also want to talk about some of my dietary restrictions and why I chose to create this strange little meal.

For a long time after the surgery, I could not have bread at all. I do sometimes have a little, but I keep it very restricted. Bread swells in the stomach and can stretch the pouch. Also, it fills you up with starchy empty calories. My surgeon and nutritionist want me to focus on nutrient rich foods. Starchy foods, such as bread, are not nutrient rich.

One of my favorite foods is pizza. I have not been able to eat pizza since about 2002 because I developed very serious food allergies. I was very allergic to tomatoes and milk products. The combination of tomatoes and cheese sent me to the emergency room with a swollen face on more than one occasion. It seemed the wiser choice to give up pizza entirely.

After the surgery and some weight loss, my allergies abated. I decided to slowly reintroduce foods I had been allergic to. I had great success with that. My allergies did not bother me at all. I decided it was time to try pizza again. The problem was, I could not have any bread.

In the diet plan my surgeon gave me, I was allowed to have a few tablespoons of marinara sauce as a source of vegetables, especially during the pureed food phase of the diet.

During the first few months after the surgery, I decided to try to add cheese for protein, put it in a small dish and pop the whole thing into the microwave for 30 seconds. Tada- liquid pizza was invented.

Now I have taken this idea to a whole new level. I put shredded cheese into a dish and pour marinara sauce over the top. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top and put in toaster oven for 20 minutes.

The dish I use is 4 inches in circumference and 1 inch deep. This holds about 1/2 cup shredded cheese 1/2 cup marinara sauce. I usually cannot finish the meal. Here is a picture:


The dish looks much bigger than it actually is. I put it on a small plate because it is so hot when it comes out of the toaster oven.

I have varied this recipe quite a bit as well. I’ve added ground turkey, vegetables, pepperoni, chopped up turkey burger, whatever I happen to have on hand.

I do sometimes have pizza now. Thin crust, always. I usually take a couple of small bites to get the full-on pizza experience. Then I just peel off the cheese and other ingredients and eat that. Mostly though, when I want pizza, I forgo the bread and just make myself a small dish of the liquid pizza. I couple that with some vegetables or a piece of fruit. Here is the full recipe.

COLLEEN’S LIQUID PIZZA (This has been added to Skinny Girl Recipes tab)

1/2 cup shredded cheese – any kind will do although Trader Joe’s Quattro Formaggio is one of my faves (100 calories per 1/4 cup)

1/2 cup marinara sauce – I use Trader Joe’s organic marinara sauce (50 calories per 1/2 cup)

1/2 teaspoon of parmesan cheese (5 calories)

Calories per meal: 255

Combine all ingredients in a small dish, bake in toaster oven for 20 minutes. Use egg turner to remove from toaster oven and place dish on small plate. Enjoy with a small piece of fruit or a vegetable.

Alternately, you can microwave this. I am trying to get away from microwaving. I have become somewhat of a purist when it comes to my food. I’m buying more organic, shopping at farmer’s markets, and buying grass-fed meat free of antibiotics and steroids when I can. But that’s just me. You don’t have to be as neurotic as I am about food.


(Disclaimer: While marinara sauce is an acceptable vegetable, I do not subscribe to the notion of pizza as a vegetable. Pizza is pizza which is a meal, and not always a very healthy option, particularly when a loaf of bread is consumed in the process.)

Rebooting My Diet

I have been feeling all out of sorts over the past few weeks.  I have been upset that my weight loss has really slowed down and really plateaued.  I have had a lot of emotional ups and downs.  And I have fallen off the wagon, so to speak, a couple of times.  Nothing too major, but enough that I feel I have had several setbacks.

I have decided that I just simply need to reboot my diet.  I got out the diet plan that the surgeon’s office gave me and I am going to examine the food that I have been eating to make sure it is in-line with the Dr.’s recommended diet plan.  Then, I am really going to focus on exercising.  I have been walking a lot, but not really doing anything more than that.


I still have not joined a gym, which I plan to do.  But until I actually can get in one to join, there are lots of things I can be doing.  A friend of mine suggested an app called Zero to 5K.  It is a running app.  I have no intention of running, but he suggested that I could use it to train for walking, biking, or swimming as well.  I love doing those things.  I downloaded the app today.  I will start tomorrow.

I also need to cook more.  I love cooking.  I just have not been taking the time to cook my meals consistently.  I have been eating out some and eating things I can grab quickly, like cheese.  I love cheese and I was not able to eat it for years.  But the truth is, it is very high in calories.  Maybe I should not have 2-3 meals every day.

So, tonight I am making my homemade chicken saag.  Chicken Saag is my favorite Indian dish.  I have a friend from Mumbai who helped me improve my own version of this yummy dish.  I took some to her a couple of weeks ago for lunch and she said it tastes just like authentic Indian cooking.  It should.  It’s her recipe!  I still have it simmering on the stove, but here’s a picture.  I promise to add the recipe to my skinny girl recipes tab.


Everybody’s Favorite Subject – Food! – Question #5

I decided to save the Kelli’s question for Friday because it is a little bit fun, for me anyway.  Kelli asked me:

Do you have any favorite healthy recipes to share?

Oh boy, do I!  Part of my weight problem has always been my love of food and cooking.  The surgery sure did not change that.

My sister and I started a Gluten-Free, Allergy-Free cookbook a while back, but we never finished it.  So, I have about 150 recipes suitable for people with gluten intolerance and other food allergies.  I have scads of suggestions on how to make yummy, yummy food for people with all kinds of food allergies.  Some of it is healthy, some of it, maybe not so much.

But Kelli asked specifically about healthy food so that is what I will address here.  I am using her question to do something I have been meaning to do all year.  As you can see, I have made substantial changes to my website.  I have added a tab up top called “Skinny Girl Recipes.”  I changed the theme to allow the tab to appear on the top.

I have a lot of recipes scattered through this blog, but I am going to be working on getting them moved to the “Skinny Girl Recipe” tab so that they are all in one place.

Today’s recipe is my famous vegetable salad with a cilantro-lime vinaigrette dressing.  OMG it is delicious.

I developed this recipe over several years.  I watched someone on one of the cooking channels make a roasted vegetable dish with Orzo pasta and a lemon dressing.  I made that a few times.  Then several years later, I became obsessed with cilantro-lime dressings and tried several times to make one of my own that was tasty.  Then, I changed the roasted vegetable dish, wish is really a fall-winter dish, to using fresh summer vegetables for some party I went to and then put my cilantro-lime dressing on it.  To say it was a hit, is an understatement.

To make this recipe gluten-free, you can use rice instead of Orzo.  You also do not have to use any grain or pasta at all, just vegetables, which is actually how I eat it since my gastric-by pass.  The recipe is quite versatile.  I have added chicken or tofu to add protein.  I have changed out the vegetables at the request of a friend who does not like peppers.  The dressing can even be changed if you don’t like cilantro-lime.  It’s a great recipe to play around with.  It’s healthy and perfect for a summer picnic.  Give it a try!

Today’s Lunch

Today for lunch I had some pork medallions.  At least that’s what they looked like.  So, I decided to make a sweet and spicy sauce to cook them in.  It kind of worked, but then I overcooked the pork.  It looks good, but was pretty dry.  I baked it and cooked it a little too long.  I work from home, so spending half hour to forty-five minutes cooking over a frying pan is not always plausible since I have to be close to the phone.

Here’s what it ultimately looked like:









As you can see, I had sauted spinach and a side of noodles.  I also had an apple, which is not pictured.

Here’s the recipe.  I would bake it for 30 minutes instead of 45 next time.

Port Medallions

Ingredients & Supplies

5 small pork medallions

Sauce Ingredients

2 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 drop chile oil

1 drop sesame oil

2 teaspoons chile powder

1 teaspoon raspberry jam

2 teaspoons honey

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

salt & pepper


1 9×9 baking dish

1 knife & cutting board

Chop up garlic and combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl until smooth.  Rinse and dry pork medallions and place them in the baking dish.  Pour sauce over pork.  Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.



OK, I admit it.  I’m an an addict.  I love it and cannot help myself when I’m around it.  I make plans for it.  I often allow it to guide my grocery choices.  And, if i do say so myself, I do it well.

I love soup!

Preferably homemade.  Even more preferably, soup I made.  I do not know if it is a result of all of the cans of Campell’s my mom filled me with as a child, (mmmm, tomato soup and grilled cheese!), or if there is something extraordinarily yummy about soup, but I cannot get enough.  To fuel my addiction, I learned at an early age how to make soup and I have only gotten better over the years.

Today I will share my super-secret creamy, yummy potato soup.  Yes, I’m allergic to milk and my soup is creamy.  This soup is milk-free and gluten-free.  It can also be made as a vegan soup by using vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.  It takes about 45 minutes to make and can be made in a medium sauce pan.

Colleen’s Creamy Potato Soup

Ingredients & Supplies

4-5 medium potatoes, cubed

1/2 onion

1-2 cloves garlic

3 stalks celery

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups chicken stock

sage or poultry seasoning

salt & pepper to taste

1 – medium sauce pan

1 – skillet

1 – blender

1 – large spoon

1 – ladel

Add olive oil to hot skillet.  Chop onions, celery, garlic and add to skillet with salt, pepper, and sage.  Cook over medium heat until veggies start to soften.

Add two cups chicken stock to softened veggies. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 5-10 minutes.

In a separate pot, cover cubed potatoes with water.  Cover and cook until soft.

Once veggies and potatoes are soft, place in blender.  I usually blend the veggies cooked in chicken stock first and then ladle in the potatoes, including the water they were cooked in, into the blender and liquify a bit at a time.

Once all is blended, pour back into medium saucepan, salt & pepper to taste, bring to boil, lower heat and simmer 10 minutes.


Add carrots to the celery and onions mixture.

Use vegetable stock to make it vegan.

Reserve 1/3 of the boiled tables and set aside.  Mush them up just a little, add to the pot of blended soup so that you have chunks of potatoes in the soup.

If you’re not allergic to milk, you can add 1/4 cup of cream to the pot of blended soup before re-heating.

This recipe is quite versatile.  I don’t peel my potatoes, but you certainly can peel yours if you prefer.  I had bowl of soup with a side salad.