There is a never ending debate over the *Splash* of cream that some of us insist we need in our coffee. Spoiler Alert: its more than you think.
I love coffee too and used to justify the splash of half and half, until I measured it one day and realized it was dragging down my goals, along with the cheese.
In many of our blog posts we toss around various weights and measures to describe ideal portions - 4 ounce portions of salmon, six inch plates, 1/2 cup salad, 2 tablespoons salad dressing, 2/3 cup milk, 1/4 cup ricotta, one ounce of almonds? But that SPLASH of cream is the one we ignore.
Even though I cook regularly and write recipes, I am not always the best at judging how much is in a cup. Most people overpour what they believe is 1 cup, so welcome to the club. Many do not know the glass measuring cup is for liquids and is different from the metal one that measures dry volumes. No worries. Now you do know.
Get ready to measure
It's not just creamer, its everything... sprinkle of cheese is another offender for blanketing things that don't need cheese, like salads and braised cabbage dishes. I have assembled my kitchen measuring tools, right from the drawer to show you how I do this. Nothing in this photo is expensive. Even the digital scale is a $5 clearance find at TJMaxx. These are the perfect bariatric tools for measuring.
How much IS one cup?
Don't adjust your screen, my kitchen used to be orange. First of all 1 cup is 8 ounces and 1/2 a cup is 4 ounces. Using my Pyrex glass measuring cup, which is used to measure liquids, I poured 1 cup of Diet Ocean Spray Cranberry into three different kitchen glasses. I had no idea 1 cup was so little and my glasses are so big! It's less than half a glass. Who pours themselves less than half a glass of something to drink? No One. If we were talking Orange Juice that's 400 calories down the gullet in 45 seconds and why juice is a bad idea after you've had obesity surgery.
Getting the measure right is important when blending because of flavor. If you blend your scoop of Inspire Peanut Butter Cup Protein Powder into a sloppy 1 cup of milk, its going to taste watery. If you eyeball the 6 ounces of water in your Inspire Taco bowl, there is going to be too much liquid. Then we have to listen to you complain in our Facebook group when it wasn't the product, it was your skill slack. PRO TIP ~~ If you use LESS liquid, you can always add MORE but the best solution is to MEASURE.
Ditto for our amazing YUM! No Sugar Added Hot Chocolate mix. The instruction say to blend 2 tablespoons with 1 cup hot water for perfect hot cocoa. Too much water and your cocoa won’t taste super rich! Most of us OVERPOUR liquids.
Back to that Splash of Cream
I measured 1 tablespoon of creamer into Ty's favorite morning mug and it didn’t even cover the bottom. Hmmm, 2 tablespoons was still not enough. When I measured out Ty’s ‘splash’ the way he poured it, it was 1/3 cup, which is quite a bit. He uses flavored Coffeemate but some of you use Half & Half or *lol* Heavy Whipping Cream (you silly keto people with your HWC are amusing) and are drinking way more calories than you want to admit.
When you pour a big shot of Half & Half into your coffee (at Starbucks), it's definitely more than a Splash. We ALL over pour but when we have had obesity surgery, we need to know where our calories come from so we can change habits.
Here is another example of 'someone' being unaware of volumes: Ty’s giant morning Mug of Coffee holds 3 cups - that's 24 ounces. Yet last week he told his doctor that he only drank one cup of coffee every morning. He drinks one mug but not one cup. Please make sure you know how much you are eating and drinking.
Ice Cream Scoops?
Metal scoops come in different sizes and offer the perfect way to portion foods other than ice cream. They cost about $5 each at my grocery store and the size is written on the card. What we think of as a regular ice cream scoop is a little less than 1/2 cup, which is 4 ounces. I have them in 1/3 cup, 1/4 cup, 1 tablespoon, and 1 teaspoon sizes. I bought one a week until I had what I wanted.
On my small plate, I used a metal scoop for 1/3 cup ricotta, 2 tablespoons of tomato salsa, 2 teaspoons of aged balsamic, a sprinkle of sea salt and a few grinds of pepper. A tasty and bariatric friendly breakfast, snack, lunch or supper!
Cheese N Crackers
I use my small 1 teaspoon scoop to add the perfect amount of horseradish cheese to a cucumber *cracker*. Three little crackers on a tiny plate is appealing, filling, and delicious! This is the way to eat after bariatric surgery. The way to NOT go back to how we got here is to own what you eat.
Parmesan is King
I love Parmesan! Some of you ask me if you can use the stuff in the green can for Chicken Crust Pizza. The answer is no. Freshly grated Parmesan or Locatelli Romano are the best flavor deals on earth. You'll hear angels sing when you taste Locatelli on top of a meatball. Use a Microplane and this one ounce piece turns into a fluffy pile of flavor… yet it overfills 1/2 cup and is only 100 calories. When you see one of my Italian recipes that appears cheesy, I am using freshly grated cheese and a MICROPLANE.
I Ate a Few Almonds
My $5 Taylor digital scale is super useful. I can use it to weigh 1 ounce of almonds to eat as is or put them in my white porcelain ramekin and toast them in my microwave for 90 seconds to toss with sea salt and smoked paprika. Almonds are healthy and tasty and you get a lot of them in 1 ounce to nibble while watching TV. I use the scale to weigh a portion of shrimp, or deli turkey, or leftover salmon for my salad. Protein first, followed by vegetables pretty much takes care of portion size, but its a good idea to know what is on your plate. Especially if you are fighting a regain battle.
This has nothing to do with measuring but I thought I would show you the expensive, high tech device I use to tenderize and even out the thickness of my chicken cutlets. Chicken is dry because you have one THICK end and one THIN end. I pan sautè chicken tenders but first I flatten them. Place one tender between two 1 quart freezer bags and gently whack it with this piece of wood from Home Depot until it is an even 1/4 inch thickness. Makes the most tender and juicy pan sautéed chicken paillard (that is French for flattened chicken tender). Season and cook it for 60 seconds per side in a teaspoon of olive oil heated to HIGH in a non stick skillet. Put it on a plate and sizzle a little salsa or white wine to spoon on top. :) yum.
Post op life is good but it's much better if you don't go sideways, fly off the rails, gain back 70 pounds and then have to fight back each step of the way over 10 months to lose it again. This regain maneuver may just be one of those lessons in life you have to go through in order to learn, but either way you'll find that these tips for measuring are a big help.