Time Saving Tuesday (TST) 3

Time Saving Tuesday

Join me for the (mostly) weekly Time Saving Tuesday tip.

As a single mother with three daughters, a house, cats and a job working close to 50 hours a week, the only way I can keep up my wonder woman persona is to find things that save me time. This can be a good thing when it comes to not slipping back into former habits that contributed to hurting my health.  Over the years I’ve come up with lots of tricks that work for me and, thanks to Pinterest and the many websites out there, I see lots of others that I’d like to try one day. Each week I thought I would share either a tip that I use or something that I’ve seen on another site. Perhaps some of these will work for you to help save you time and make things a bit easier. If you’ve got a great time saving tip to share why not post it in the comment section below.

This week’s TST tip is to help save you time and money, especially in the kitchen, is to create your own recipe binder of meals you have tried and your family loves. Working on a meal plan in my house sometimes seems like this:

meal planning

Yes that about sums it up. My ideas of what I think would be great to make and my children’s ideas of what they would like usually are two different things. My recipe binder came about when all my plans of culinary deliciousness for the week meant I was eating a whole lot of leftovers myself.  Now I save all the really great recipes that everyone (or mostly everyone) has enjoyed and would like to eat it again.

The recipe binder saves me time because, a day or two before I want to go grocery shopping, I tell my crew to look through and see what they would like me to make. They pull out recipes and leave it on my desk. This helps me create a grocery list and I don’t make meals that people won’t eat. Bonus points for the fact that they are now all old enough to cook so I can leave the recipe out and ask that it either be made or ingredients are prepped before I get home. It saves me money because I’m not wasting food when people decide to not eat the meal.

recipe binder

My recipe binder has also been helpful when it comes to making recipe adjustments. I’ve written on pages, added in ingredients, changed amounts and crossed stuff off. I no longer have to rely on my memory when it comes to the great way I made something the previous time and hope to duplicate it again. And it saves me from duplicating recipe disasters.

One bonus to the binder that I never thought of before is it has now turned into family tradition.  The kids decide if something is worthy of being added to the binder. When they look through the binder they talk about the last time certain things were made and we have a fun time remembering that particular day. It has become important enough that my middle daughter asked if the binder could be passed down to her when the day comes that I no longer use it.

Why not start your own family recipe binder. You’ll save time and money. Perhaps along the way you’ll also end up with some great family memories too!

Do you have a recipe binder that you rely on? Or do you prefer online sites such as Pinterest to help you save all your favorite recipes?


Apple Pecan Pie

My family has enjoyed this pie many times now. The good thing about it is I get to enjoy it as well. This magically pie makes its own crust while being lower in fat and sugar. It makes one 8 inch pie pan appley goodness. My favorite apple combination is two honey crisps and a granny smith apple but just about any type of baking apple will work with this pie.


apple pecan pie1

Apple Pecan Pie
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
This recipe calls for pecans but walnuts taste good too! The top of the pie is sprinkled with sugar which helps it to brown nicely. This step is optional.
  • 3 medium to large apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • ½ cup of Splenda or your favorite sweetener
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • 1¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole pecans or ½ cup chopped
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and spray an 8 inch pie pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Peel, cored and slice the apples.
  3. In a large bowl add the eggs and beat with a fork.
  4. Add the flour, baking powder, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and vanilla extract. Mix until well combined.
  5. Add the sliced apples and pecans. Toss to coat.
  6. Spoon into a 8 inch pie pan.
  7. Combine the granulated sugar and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon. Sprinkle over the top of the mixture.
  8. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the apples are soft and the top is lightly browned.
  9. Cool before slicing.

apple pecan pie2

The granulated sugar sprinkled over the top helps the pie to brown nicely. While Splenda adds sweetness it will not brown. The little bit of added sugar will help with that though it is optional and can be left off if you desire.

This crustless pie is lower in fat and carbs. It makes a nice dessert that everyone loves (and that doesn’t cause dumping or a RH reaction for me) so I will bring it to family gatherings so I know there is one great tasting dessert there that won’t make me sick.

Got a favorite low or lower in carb dessert recipe? Why not leave a comment and a link in the box below.

Greek Lemon Pasta Salad

This is a quick to put together dish and, while I’ve included a recipe, you can toss just about anything in. Use your favorite veggies, swap out the cheese or even replace the sliced salami with diced chicken breast. You can even replace the salad dressing with your favorite kind. No matter what you use you’ll have a hard time creating a bad pasta salad.

Greek Lemon Pasta Salad

Pasta Salad

Greek Lemon Pasta Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 to 8 servings
  • 8 ounces of pasta, cooked
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 4 ounces shredded carrot
  • ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ of a 8 ounce jar of Kalamata olives, sliced in half or quartered
  • 4 ounces mini mozzarella balls
  • 4 to 5 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 4 to 6 ounces salami, cut into thin slices
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook the pasta as directed on the package, drain and cool.
  2. In a large bowl combine the pasta, cucumbers, bell peppers, carrots, onion, mozzarella balls, feta cheese and salami.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, shallot, garlic and honey.
  4. Pour dressing over pasta blend and mix until combined.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Allow the mixture to sit for 30 minutes before serving.

Tips: use whole wheat pasta for extra fiber. Try adding sliced tomatoes, jarred roasted red peppers, some thinly sliced fresh spinach leaves, cubes of roasted squash or sweet potatoes, small broccoli florets or any other favorite vegetables. Replace the sliced salami with diced chicken breast for an added boost of protein.

WLS Tip: while this recipe was originally intended to be a main dish it’s best as a side dish for us. Serve with your favorite protein. My favorite is baked boneless chicken thighs that have been marinated in some of the dressing mix before being baked.

Got a favorite pasta salad dish? Why not leave a comment below as well as a link.

Peach Almond Linzer Shortbread Bars

Over the summer I spend a little time making sugar free and reduced sugar jams for the coming year. This year I ended up with an abundance of peach, peach/orange, strawberry and blueberry. With the hard work out of the way I then spend the rest of the year trying to figure out how to use them up. One of my favorite ways is to incorporate the jam into these shortbread bars. I’ve made changes to the original shortbread recipe over the year to cut back on some of the butter and replaced a portion of the flour with  almond flour. It gives the cookie bars a nice almond taste to them. Since nuts is the theme for the The Recipe ReDux this month, which happens to fall on National Nut Day (October 22nd), I figured this was a great time to make a batch.

Peach Almond Linzer Shortbread Bars

Peach Almond Bar Cookies 1

Peach Almond Linzer Shortbread Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16 bars
For this recipe I used a one pint jar of sugar free peach jam. You can replace it with a cup of your favorite jam or even fruit butter. Choose something thick. Jellies are thinner in consistency and don't seem to work as well because they become watery when cooked.
  • 2 cups of flour
  • ¾ cup almond flour
  • 2 sticks of butter or margarine
  • 1 cup Splenda or confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar free jam
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a 13 by 9 inch pan with non stick cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl mix the flour, almond flour, Splenda or confectioners sugar, baking powder and salt together.
  4. Work the two sticks of butter/margarine into the flour with your fingers until large clumps form.
  5. Pres ⅔ of the dough into the prepared pan.
  6. Spread the jam over the top.
  7. Crumble the remaining portion of dough over the top.
  8. Bake for 4o minutes or until lightly browned.

WLS Tips: While this recipe has been modified to contain less sugar and fat than the original recipe it is still a dessert and can still cause dumping. Don’t over indulge and remain mindful of your portion size.

Interested in seeing what other dietitians are cooking up for National Nut Day? Why not check out these other great recipes:

Can You Drink Soda After Weight Loss Surgery?

Soda Cans

I love the internet. It’s an incredible source of shared knowledge. Of course, sometimes that knowledge is flawed and then the internet because a source of passing along myths. I’m going to point out one of these myths that never seems to die thanks to the internet. I know many won’t believe it because it’s been around for so long but here it is……

Drinking soda will NOT stretch your pouch.

There. I’ve said it but it had to be done. This is one myth that has gone around and around most likely since Al Gore invented the internet. But it really needs to be put to rest. Why? Because by focusing on this myth we avoid talking about some of the real reasons you should avoid soda and other carbonated beverages after having weight loss surgery. Why should you avoid drinking soda (these reasons apply to EVERYONE and not just WLS folks)?

Gas. Yes because of the gas. Want to feel bloated, uncomfortable or even down right pain? The build up of the gas from the carbonation can do just that. While we do have a built in mechanism to help relieve that pressure (burping) many of us post surgery are surprised when we discover that we have a hard time doing just that. Drinking soda and other carbonated drinks can leave us feeling sick sometimes for hours.

Soda also encourages old habits that we are probably trying to change. Stop and think about when and where you drank soda. Was it with certain foods that you are now trying to avoid? Where you an all day drinker? Did you drink in the car while eating other things like fast food? For many people drinking soda is a trigger that encourages their old ways of eating that were most likely not healthy.

If your soda drinking previously occurred at meal times continuing to drink it will create slider foods. A slider food is one that you eat that passes through your pouch quickly. This not only will leave you hungry sooner but it allows you to consume more calories than you should be eating. When the food in your stomach mixes with liquids it creates a slurry that quickly passes through. Drinking any liquid, even water, will do this. However, if your soda drinking was previously during meals then this can lead to unwanted weight gain. See the paragraph above about continuing with old habits.

Speaking of weight gain. Drinking high calorie liquids, such as regular soda, is a source of calories with no nutritional benefit. Liquids pass much quicker through your pouch and drinking these sugary drinks will contribute to weight gain. That doesn’t let you off the hook if you are drinking sugarfree soda. Just look at the reasons above to see why you should avoid those as well.

So there it is. Some of the real reasons why you should avoid soda and other carbonated beverages even if they are not sweetened. These drinks aren’t evil and having them once in a while isn’t the issue. But, if you drink them on  a regular basis perhaps you might want to take a look at some of the reasons above especially if you are experiencing weight regain.

What other things have you heard that you should or shouldn’t do after WLS? Leave a comment below and perhaps we can bust some other myths.

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