Super Bowl party tips for Bariatric surgery patients

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Super Bowl XLII Party tips for Bariatric Surgery PatientsSuper Bowl XLII is upon us, and I know what you’re thinking.  What the hell did I do to my intestines, and how is it going to prevent me from having fun at my Super Bowl party?  Well, get over it.  The fun is in the company you invite, and I’m here to save you from crying in the beer you shouldn’t be drinking with some tips on enjoying some gastric bypass friendly party foods.

When planning your Super Bowl party, there are some foods that just naturally make their way to the top of the list.  If you are inviting intestinally intact guests, you don’t want them to feel deprived of any of their football food favorites, but you can make foods that they will recognize as tail gating must haves, only slightly altered for those of us who are gastrically altered.

One thing your Super Bowl party can’t be without is chili, and that’s a GREAT food for bypass patients.  Loaded with protein packed beans, choose a lean meat in making your chili, like a lean ground beef, ground ostrich, or a ground WHITE MEAT turkey (you may have to ask for this specifically at your grocery store – don’t assume ground turkey is all white meat, and if it isn’t, you are getting a lot of fat from the dark meat).  Use toppers to your favorite chili recipe that include fat free shredded cheese and fat free sour cream.  Your guests won’t know that you’ve chosen this because it’s gastric bypass friendly, they’ll just know it’s a Super Bowl party must have.

I have a terrific recipe for chicken that your guests will think came straight from Buffalo.  The difference is, in regular Buffalo Chicken wings, you are consuming close to 70% fat.  Check my recipe blog to get a recipe that cuts the amount of fat by more than half.  You can enjoy a small portion of the wings, and your guests can go hog wild (or is it chicken wild??) and not know the difference.

Some snack foods easily lend  themselves to gastric bypass patients, but having them at your party won’t make your guests feel like they are eating diet foods.  A nice tray of cheese (stick to low fat varieties), veggeroni (tofu based pepperoni) or turkey pepperoni, and most dips made with fat free sour cream are excellent snack options for a weight loss surgery patient, but they will all be welcome additions to your selection of party food.  You can even do something that looks really fattening and decadent, like a baked mozzarella cheese (purchase the fat free cheese sticks, dip in egg, roll lightly in Panko bread crumbs, bake in the oven until cheese is warm), with a sugar free tomato sauce.

Do a web search for fat free dips, and add things you know you can eat around them.  Most gastric bypass patients can eat pretzels and crackers, although you want to watch how much you eat of these types of foods.  The key to enjoying the dips with the pretzels or crackers is to take a spoonful of the dip on your plate, a few of the pretzels or crackers, and then move yourself away from the dip bowls. 

Pizza is not as bad as you have been led to believe, and if you make it yourself, you can do a lot to make it more gastric bypass friendly.  Use a very thin pizza crust – one you make yourself, buy already made, or roll out from the Pillsbury tubes.  Top it with a brush of olive oil, crushed garlic, and fat free mozzarella.  Or you can top the pizza with crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano, and the cheese.  You can even find sugar free pizza sauce – or make your own – and use that with fat free mozzarella.  You can add more protein to the top of your pizza by topping a white pizza with lump crab meat or shrimp (if you can eat shrimp – it’s still too hard for me), or top a tomato pizza with chopped clams or chicken.  This is something your guests will love and you can enjoy.  Cut the pizzas into smaller slices or even into strips, that way you can feel like you can indulge in two pieces!

And don’t dismiss a salad option.  Of course, if your guests are used to hoagies and creamy salads like potato and macaroni, you may not win them over with a green salad.  But offer a salad fixings bar, including gastric bypass friendly options like shredded cheese, chopped egg, crumbled turkey bacon, diced turkey, etc.  Offer a selection of salad dressings ranging from simple vinegar and oil to the thicker, richer thousand island or ranch.  You can opt for fat free versions of the dressings, or offer the standard dressings for your guests and choose your favorite fat free variety. 

For desserts, include a fruit salad that you can have with a chocolate sauce or a light cheesecake dip.  It sounds a little frou-frou, but your guests will enjoy it.  A sheet cake with your team colors on it is an option for your guests, and many bakeries now carry low carb options made with Splenda that you can usually have a taste of (Cheesecake Factory restaurant makes a low carb cheesecake that is terrific, just eat a SMALL portion). 

When picking up paper goods, make sure to pick up smaller sized plates so that you can have a full sized plate of food using the smaller sized plate, and feel like you are not denying yourself anything.  And invest in the Super Bowl themed cups so no one will know if you’re drinking water or unsweetened iced tea while they are guzzling down the Bud Lights. 

Most of all, enjoy your company.  Enjoy showing off the new you, and showing people that celebrating – even your team’s win in the Super Bowl – doesn’t have to be all about fattening food.

Wrapping Up Christmas Party 2007

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Another year, another party.  I made some old, familiar mistakes this year – plus a bunch of new ones!  But I think overall, our crowd of around 60 people seemed to enjoy themselves.  No one was any wiser for the things I forgot or ran out of time to do.  As usual, we have our list of must do’s and don’t do’s, and I’ll share the list with you. 

To begin with, I just felt really behind the entire weekend.  We planned the party for Sunday, figuring Jim would be home Friday and Saturday to help me get stuff done.  We also spent a week the week before the party in Orlando, so I had a mountain of stuff to catch up anyway. 

By the morning of the party, I had done a lot of the leg work.  We were not having ANYTHING catered, which we usually do.  I had roasted two turkeys, and I had made potato salad.  I cooked the sausage and fried the kielbasa.  I made spinach dip and hoagie dip.  I store bought roast beef, and needed to simmer that in gravy, and simmer the sliced turkey in gravy to put it on the buffet.  I had SOOOOO much trouble with my hard boiled eggs that my 3 dozen deviled eggs turned into just over a dozen.  Brighid – bless her to the bottom of her little heart – had done A LOT of the actual housework – wiping down the bathrooms, running the vacuum, etc.   To complicate matters, the party was scheduled for 2 o’clock, and at 12:45, I ran upstairs to get a fast shower.  By the time I was out of the shower, we already had company!

So here’s the basic lowdown on how things went, what I did wrong, what we did right…

Table 1 – Drinks

We said a couple of years ago that we needed to add another long table and put it in the Florida room with drinks on it.  That would free up the kitchen counter for things and eliminate the need to manuever around the dessert table in the kitchen to get a drink.  Well, this year, we asked my mom to bring her table, and it worked out GREAT.  The sodas, the ice, the liquor, the wine – everything was out in the Florida room on the table out there.  We had two tubs with sodas and beer in them, and we had way too much wine.  We also had a pretty stocked bar and mixers, so anything anyone wanted was there.  We need to get ourselves a table and make this change permanent.

Table 2 – Chafing Dishes and hot foods

We made the decision this year to try to keep everything in chafing dishes, to avoid things like the crockpots being too far on the back of the table for people to reach or what to do with the lids to the crockpots.  In the end, though, I put the meatballs and sausage in a crockpot.  They just taste better cooked together, and the crockpot does a great job helping  the flavors blend together.  The other crockpots had hot roast turkey and gravy, hot roast beef and gravy, green bean casserole (Megan’s recipe), broccoli casserole, and kielbasa and sauerkraut.  At the end of the night, there was virtually NO kielbasa and sauerkraut left – the few odd pieces of kielbasa.  We had some turkey left, more than I thought we would have, and based on the fact that my aunt with a ton of kids cancelled last minute due to pink eye, I figured we’d have stuff left over.  I had made two trays of roast beef, figuring it would be popular and I could easily freeze the leftovers, but I had a full tray left.  About half of the green bean casserole was eaten and 1/4 of the broccoli casserole.  They looked similar in the chafing dishes, so people may have thought they were the same thing, and I don’t know if it’s worth doing veggies at this type of party.  And of course, the meatballs and sausage – most of which was eaten.

Also on this table was potato salad.  I made 10 pounds, and we went through about 6 at the party.  My mom liked it, and since it’s her recipe, that’s all the compliment it needed. 

Table 3 – Snack Type Foods

This table was the biggest disappointment.  I threw away a ton of hoagie dip and spinach dip – both of which have been very popular in previous years.  I got rid of all of the deviled eggs, but I only made a dozen eggs, but only about 16 deviled eggs made it out to the table.  I threw away pretty much the whole cheese tray – I think only Granuaile and I ate anything from the cheese platter.  The pickles and olives were picked on, but I did still have quite a few left over.  The pickles I thought would be least popular – and the ones I threw on at the last minute because I had a spot left over in the divided tray – were the dill spears.  I only had 1 of those left.  I also threw away a whole tray of crackers.  I don’t know why more of this stuff didn’t get eaten.  I know early on, a lot of people were watching football downstairs, and the chips and dip tray was emptied, but no one really came up to get other snacks.

The one exception in popularity from this table was the shrimp.  I made 6 pounds of shrimp and cocktail sauce, and had not one shrimp left. 

Table 4 – Desserts

Would you believe I forgot to put out the bulk of the desserts?  How does anyone forget dessert?  I baked a pumpkin pie, a coconut custard pie, and an apple pie – all Mrs. Smith.  I sliced them and put them out, but they were a last minute addition.  I made a cupcake wreath, but the only one who ate a cupcake was Eilis.  We bought cookies from Wegman’s and made our own cookie tray – people really ate the cookies, but we over bought and had a whole tray left over.  Aunt Barbara and Uncle Buddy brought a 5 fruit pie, and it looked amazing.  Harry and his wife were the only ones who tried it, but both loved it, and then my mom and Bob had it on Christmas Eve and said it was really good.  I also made fruit salad, two bowls.  One was eaten, the other was not, and the dip was gone.  But I had cheesecake, eclairs and cream puffs in the freezer that never made it to the table.  I can’t believe I forgot them!

The other things I forgot – the provolone cheese for the meatball sandwiches; the horseradish for the roast beef; the cranberry sauce for the turkey; and the spicy mustard for the kielbasa.  Evidently, I’m just not good with condiments and accompaniments.

We still had people at the house until after 10 o’clock, and the kids really seemed to have a great time.  I will NEVER do this party this close to Christmas again – it was way too much to get ready so close to having to get all of the Christmas stuff ready.  I also needed more time between the party and the trip to Florida.  Either that, or I need to prepare more ahead of time and freeze it or call in the caterer.

We managed to get everything cleaned up and ourselves in bed by 1 AM – better than I thought we would do! 

Overall, it was a great day.  Jim says every year that this is really for the kids, and they appreciated it.  Granuaile was asking to go to bed when the last guest left, and Eilis was asking for playdates with all of the kids that came.  They had a good time.

Next year – earlier, catered, and with strings tied to my fingers to remember the provolone cheese and other accompaniments!