Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Fruity Slaw

I really did drop off the planet for a while. I have been so crazy, between the stomach flu, a Hawaii trip, coming back from the Hawaii trip, getting ready for Christmas that I literally have had nothing to say about weight loss. I "vacation ate" while I was gone, but I was ok with that. You have to be flexible. Since I have been back, I've been pretty good, eating wise. It really was easy to get back on track. Like I've said before, lifestyle-not diet. I haven't weighed in in a while, and I need to get to a meeting. I will be happy if I am maintaining this month.

Now I would like to post a yummy recipe. I made Taco Soup for dinner last night and tried to think of a side that would go with it, besides a green salad. I get sick of them. So I came across this recipe and it was really good - light and fruity.

Fruity Slaw (Sorry no picture)

6 Servings/1 Pt. each

Salad:

3 C cabbage, grated
1 C tangerines, sectioned and thinly sliced
1 C grapes, quartered
1/2 C celery, thinly sliced
1 lg. apple, cored and diced

Dressing:

1 C nonfat plain yogurt
1 t freshly grated lemon zest
1 t lemon juice
1 1/2 t honey

Mix together salad ingredients. Mix dressing ingredients. Chill seperately till serving, then mix all together. Makes 6 servings - about 1 C each.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Think I Lost a few Pounds Yesterday

A quick but definitely not fun way to lose weight. Was it worth it? I would say no.

Yes, you guessed it, I was down and out yesterday with the stomach flu. Am trying to recuperate today; I think it has passed. Thank goodness! We leave tomorrow to go to Hawaii for a long weekend, and I was afraid that we would have to cancel the trip. That would have really sucked.

So as I lay in bed trying to regain my strength, I thought I would check on my blog. Much to my surprise, I was nominated for an award!

Thanks so much, Diva on a Diet! This really made my day.

The Fabulous Award Rules:

1. You have to pass it on to 5 fabulous blogs.
The WW Chick
Liz Rosenbaum Fitness
Back to the Fridge
A Veggie Venture
Bitch Cakes
2. You have to list 5 of your fabulous addictions:
Blogging, Family, Cooking, Reading, Friends


3. Make sure you include the person that gave you the award and link it back to them.
Diva On a Diet


Monday, December 8, 2008

Weekend Reflections

Fell off the wagon on Friday night, had a binge day on Saturday, but reigned myself in yesterday. Hopefully today is successful too. I wish eating well on weekends wasn't so hard. I feel like it is pretty easy to stay on track during the week, but Friday night hits, and we usually go out. Then we usually go out a lot on the weekend. That is probably my biggest problem. I grocery shop weekly, and don't seem to plan meals for the weekend. Maybe I should start. But in the past, when I do plan those meals, the food ends up going bad when I eat out anyway!

I feel like there aren't enough Weight Watcher friendly options for eating out. Maybe there are and I just don' t think about them. My staple places seem to be Mexican, and sometimes you just get burned out on that stuff.

Any ideas?

I have decided that I will continue to do my best through the rest of the holiday season, eat good most days, but I am not going to be so hard on myself if I eat some holiday treats. If I can get through the next 3 weeks without gaining, it will be a victory. If I lose any weight at all, it will be a HUGE victory. This is the best I have eaten (during the holidays) in years. PROPS!

What are your goals during this month? Would you be happy to maintain, or are you planning to lose?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Lifetime of Habits are Not Easily Broken

Today I got up and did not want to exercise. We were heading out to Disneyland so I knew that we would walk a ton. (Not a good excuse)

Disneyland was ridiculous today. It was sooo crowded. We mistakenly thought that it wouldn't be crowded the weekend right after Thanksgiving, but it was awful. No more Friday Disneyland trips. So with the crowds, the long lines and a cranky toddler, we left early. As we were leaving, we stopped for lunch in Downtown Disney. We went to the Rainforest Cafe, because we thought it would be fun for Emily, my daughter.

It was a great atmosphere but the food was disappointing. I ordered lettuce wraps, trying to be healthy. When they arrived, I realized that they had a certain seasoning in them that I can't eat. Every time I come across it, it almost makes me nauseous. So I asked if I could order something else. There was nothing on the menu that looked remotely good to me, except for the most fattening items, like a big juicy burger. Which I almost ordered out of desperation. I finally chose a thin crust margarita style pizza, thinking that I would just eat a couple of slices. So the pizza came, and I ate a few slices and it wasn't even that great! ( I also munched on my husbands bruschetta) I didn't over-eat, but I know that I ate way too many points due to my food choices. And it wasn't even that good. What a waste. So I drove home, thinking about how tired I was, and how I really should burn off those calories.

Here I am, and I still have not worked out. I have an elliptical machine, and it is as easy as walking in the other room and getting on it. I am really trying to get the motivation. I also just grabbed a couple of handfuls of m&ms from the fridge out of my daughter's potty training stash. Great.

Or not so great. But I just read Roni's daily post and she said something that struck me. She said that the habits that brought you to your current state (of a higher weight than you want to be) evolved over time, and you didn't gain the weight all at once. Likewise, changing these habits is not going to happen overnight either. It might even take as long to get back to where you want to be.

This really made me think. Over the past 8 1/2 years, I have for the most part, eaten whatever I want, and not made exercise a consistent part of my life. I have had intervals where I did ok but it was not my lifestyle. That is a long time. Before those years, I didn't really need to watch what I ate, so really my whole life up to now I have developed habits that I now want to break. Ouch. No wonder it is so hard to change.

I am now going to give myself props for the changes I have made. For making this goal and really giving it my best effort. I hope all you readers do the same.

Now I am going to get off my butt and go exercise.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Exercise Motivation

I notice that if I don't exercise first thing in the morning that most likely it wont happen. However, today, I actually exercised at around 3 in the afternoon. Which is a miracle because usually that is the time that I hit an energy low. I put my daughter down for a nap, and I usually spend her naptime either blogging, checking my email, reading a book, cleaning up around the house, or sometimes I even nap. But today I was motivated.

Why? I ask myself. Why am I motivated to exercise 5-6 times a week? I am not an exercise lover, per say. The answer is food. When I exercise, just knowing that I burned that extra 400-500 calories a day allows me a tiny bit of leniency in my daily food intake. With weight watchers, I am allowed 20 points a day at my current weight. The plan does allow me to use my exercise points, but I find if I do that, then I don't really lose the weight easily. So I don't use the points. What I do instead, is allow myself a half teaspoon of butter on that roll, or a tiny handful of chocolate chips or whatever. It makes up for not being perfect with my eating. This is the only way. I am learning that I need that tiny bit of leeway.

What are your exercise motivators? I would love to hear from you.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Product Reviews

1. Alpine Valley Breads and Rolls


I first discovered this company when I lived in Arizona, where their factory is. This delicious whole grain bread (usually 1 point per slice) quickly became a staple at our house. They use simple ingredents, and the bread is soft and amazingly tasty. My mother-in-law came to visit once and came back to California determined to find out where they sell it here.

Made a trip to Costco yesterday and found their organic whole wheat dinner rolls. Super hearty and delicious for only one point.

They have a great selection of different types of whole grain breads. Just go to their website to find out where to purchase - they sell in about 8 states currently.

2. Kahiki EasyCrisp Egg Rolls


Get daily emails from Hungry Girl and this was one of her product finds. The vegetable ones are 1 point each, and the ones with chicken are 2 points each. Each eggroll comes with a little sauce packet. I gobbled one up for lunch today. Quite good. My only complaint was that there was not enough dipping sauce for my taste, I need to pick up a jar of sweet chili sauce so I can dip to my hearts content. I found mine at Vons, in the special/health foods freezer department. You can click on the link and find out where to get them near you.

3. Delallo Vodka Pasta Sauce


Found this little gem when I was shopping for a quick Saturday night meal. Amazingly, it is only 80 Calories per half a cup, compared to a lot higher in most other creamy sauces. Comes out to 2 points per serving, which isn't bad paired with a high fiber or whole wheat pasta. We've had it twice this week because it was so good! I found it at Albertsons, but you can order it off their website, too.

P.S. This photo is not exactly the one I bought, mine didn't say cheese and cream underneath. So not sure if its the same one but I wanted a photo!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Great Blog and easy breakfast idea

Thanks to Roni, I came across an awesome blog today. The name of it is Dani Spies, which is the author's name. She has great healthy recipes, cooking videos and other great tips. I just learned the truth about white whole wheat flour, and how to properly chop an onion. Check it out if you have a few minutes!

Yesterday I make the yummiest breakfast. It was also super quick to make. I call it the
Easy Microwave Omelette. What I did was chop some veggies (I used bell peppers and tomatoes) and put them into a microwavable plastic container (sprayed with cooking spray) with lid.

Then I put about 1/2 slice of cheese over the veggies. I topped it off with 1/2 C of liquid egg whites, salt and pepper. Then I loosely topped it with the lid, (not on tight) and put it in the microwave. I cooked it until the egg whites were firm.

Wa la! In five minutes you have a great healthy breakfast! For only 2 points!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Lean Crock Pot Roast Idea and a Cool Contest


I was shopping for my Sunday dinner, thinking about what I wanted to make, and had an idea. I thought about my beef stew recipe, and how the flank steak just fell apart like pot roast. Since roasts are so fatty, I thought I would try a pot roast with flank steak, which is super lean, and only one point for each ounce, cooked.

I cut up onions, potatoes, and mushrooms, and lined the bottom of the crock pot with half of the onions. I put the trimmed flank steak on top, and put baby carrots and the rest of the cut up veggies on top. I added one can of golden mushroom soup, which is like 80 calories a serving, and 1/2 packet of onion soup mix, and about 2 T Ranch seasoning mix. I also added about 3-4 cans of water. However, for seasoning, you could do whatever you wanted.

I turned the crock pot on low for 8 hours and it turned out great! Since the meat is so lean, it does need a bit of the gravy on top, but the meat just falls apart. Great lean option for a nice comfort-food dinner.
(Sorry about the blurry photo, I turned the flash off to get the right color.)

Contest:

I entered the Mary Lou's Weigh Platform Giveaway!

Check out Roni’s Weight Loss Blog for more information.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Wahoo's Fish Taco

For those of you in California, Colorado, Texas and Hawaii, there is an awesome place that I am sure you have eaten at. Wahoo's. I love Wahoo's because there are a few great healthy and low point choices and you don't feel deprived.

A great addition to any meal is the Chicken Tortilla Soup. Without the tortillas, it is only 1-2 points per bowl, and is great. It is a little on the spicy side, but delicious.

For a 4-5 point lunch I get the soup and a taco. They have great fish, chicken, or veggie tacos and the point range is between 3 and 4 points each.

For dinner, a great option is the bonzai burrito. It is a delicious burrito filled with teriyaki grilled veggies, and beans, rice and your choice of meat. It is a huge burrito, and the fish is only 12 points, the chicken 14. Another option is to get the soup and split the burrito in half and you have a very filling meal.

Last, the kids bowls are another lunch option. For the fish bowl, that comes with rice and black beans it is 7.5 points. Chicken is 8. Much better than the adult sized bowls, which range from 18 to 21 points.

For those of you who live in other states, I am so sorry. Wahoo's is one of my favorite places!

Bump in the Road

Well, it was inevitable. Thanksgiving was what it was, and I was ok with eating. But Friday, the plan was to get right back on track. Didn't happen. The day started out wrong when I didn't get my usual morning work-out in due to sheer laziness. I told myself I would work out later, and later never came. Then my husband talked me into Cheesecake Factory for lunch. I can never order healthy there. The double-scoop ice cream at the movies last night was too hard to resist.

Why is it so easy to slip back into bad habits? You'd think that after over 3 months of successfully changing my eating habits for the better, it would stick a little. Is it really possible to change and actually prefer the healthier choices? Or is it always going to be hard? I can't really answer that question right now. Any thoughts?

So on a positive note, today I am back on track. I have come to terms with my little "bump in the road." Not beating myself up, instead I am moving forward. Got up, worked out, and made myself a healthy breakfast. Did fine at lunch, and am determined to make it through the day making good choices.

Also, yesterday I bought myself my early Christmas/B-day present- a Wii Fit. I am so excited to get going. I have heard such great things about it, and it will be a fun way to get a few additional work-outs each week.

Hope you all had a great holiday.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

Haven't posted a recipe for a while, so I finally made a good dinner, and remembered to photograph it! Am having a much better day than yesterday. I was so tired yesterday from jetlag, and was totally disfunctional. My eating was horrible too, and I had no self-control. I had nothing to say about Skinny Habits.

Today, I woke up and worked out immediately, before I could get distracted. Then we met up with a couple of friends at Disneyland, and walked around the park a ton. That had to be good. It was my night to cook in our dinner club, so I had to make something easy, and this recipe is perfect when you need to whip something yummy up fast.

8 Servings/6 Pts. ea.

1 cup chopped onion
16 oz. shredded cooked chicken breast
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
1 cup salsa
3 oz. 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
8 flour tortillas (Find ones that are 2 pts. each for this recipe)
1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce

Preheat oven to 350*F. Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat until hot. Add onion, and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the shredded chicken, cheese, salsa, cream cheese, and cumin. Cook 3 minutes or until hot, stirring constantly. Separate 1/2 C of the shredded cheese and put aside. Dip each tortilla in enchilada sauce, coating. Shake off excess. Place about 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla, and roll up. Place in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish which has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Pour any remaining enchilada sauce evenly over top, and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese. Cover and bake at 350*F for 30 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Another tool for a cardio slacker

by Melanie J.

Uh-oh....it's one of those mornings. I'm tired because I didn't sleep enough, I have an extra kid at home since school's out, I put on a pound over the weekend, and I really need to work out. Chances are my normal kickboxing class at the gym is out of the question because the babysitting room will be extra full, so there's going to be no one barking at me and telling me what to do.

So now what?

I do best with group exercise classes when it comes to cardio because I get less bored and being around other people forces me to step up my exercise game. But if it's not possible to make one of the classes, then I've learned to have a variety of other options lined up so that I get my cardio done anyway. I have several different exercise DVDs from tae bo to cardio dance on hand and can always check more out from the library for a dollar. I know which cable channels have exercise programs in the morning that I can follow along. These are good options for me, but the best one, the one I have the most chance of sticking out...is walking.

But that's because I have a secret weapon: my iPod.

You've all figured this out already, right? But if yours is full of high energy music chosen to keep you moving, then....we use our iPods differently. I've found something else that works even better to keep me going longer: podcasts. There are dozens, probably hundreds, of these little gems available for free from iTunes on every subject you can imagine. I just load my iPod up with ones that sound interesting, load the baby into the stroller, and hit the pavement with my heart monitor ticking off the calories I've burned. Learning about something new or getting caught up in a story while I'm doing my super cool power walk makes it easier to go just a little farther because then it's not about burning just a few more calories; it's about finding out what happens next in the podcast. And I burn a few more calories anyway.

Perfect for a slacker like me that can't always get out the door just because I should. It's that little extra bonus that makes lacing up my sneakers slightly more likely and every small victory counts. Especially this week!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Back on Track

Well, tomorrow came and went, along with my "eating right" mentality. It was so hard to eat good. I did walk a TON so hopefully that helped.

So I haven't weighed myself, I will wait till my next weigh in, on Saturday. Great. Right after Thanksgiving. Gotta be really good this week because I am definitely eating Thanksgiving dinner.

It wasn't that hard to get back on track today, though. (Got home last night) In prior "dieting" times, I have always (after falling off the wagon) said, "I will start again on Monday." Since this time I am not dieting, (I am changing my lifestyle), it was a no-brainer to eat healthy right away. It feels so good to have eaten right today. I really like the way I feel much better.

So many of my favorite bloggers have talked about the "not waiting till Monday" to start eating right, after a screw up. We have to change our ways if we want this to work. We aren't going to be perfect in our eating. We will always have times where we have more calories than is ideal. What we have to do is be ok with that, and not think that since we blew it, we might as well keep blowing it. If we quit, we will never make it on this journey. Procrastination will just set us back even more. Just more weight to lose.

In fact, just read a post on this very topic, concerning Thanksgiving. It was a great one.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Better Day

Today I really tried to eat better. For breakfast I had a low-fat yogurt parfait, with fruit compote and granola. Breakfast is tough here because there are pastry shops all over the place, and I have to completely ignore my urge for chocolate croissants.

For lunch, I had a bowl of chicken noodle soup and a roll, which couldn't have been that bad.

Snack, well, I went to Harrods and came across their food section. They had a whole department just for chocolates. I had to sample a few. They were amazing. And tiny. I had about 4.

We ate dinner at an Italian place, and I had a chicken, mushroom and tomato pasta with marinara sauce. I tried to eat just a small portion of it, less than half. Hopefully it did the trick and I manage to maintain....

Why is it so hard to have will-power on vacation?

More tomorrow...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Old Habits

Some good news and some bad choices...

Weighed in on Saturday and lost 2.6 lbs! Finally got past my "happy weight" of 135-136 lbs. This was really exciting. Total lbs. lost is up to 11.2 lbs.

That was the good news. The bad news is that I left that evening to go on a trip to the UK. My goal was to not gain this week, and I am NOT off to a good start. I can only hope that all the walking I am doing will help me. I have to eat better starting tomorrow.

This is how my day went:

Breakfast started out ok. Had some light strawberry yogurt, one tiny pan au chocolate pastry, and a cup of mixed fruit.

At lunch, I had good intentions. I ordered the potato and leek soup at a cafe, and a hot chocolate because I was so freezing. (It was bone-chilling cold outside and I am NOT used to it) The soup tasted like water. I couldn't even eat more than 2 bites. So I had to order something else, and there wasn' t a lot of options. The only thing that looked like it would taste good was a ham and cheese croissant sandwich. So I ate it, and it was really big.

Oh, boy. Dinner. Had lost my good intentions. Slipped into Old Habits. Went to a Portugese Chicken place called Nando's. Had 1/2 chicken meal with 2 pieces of pita bread, and part of a salad. Not horrible, but then I decided to order desert. They make the best molten chocolate cake here. They call it Chocolate Fondant Pudding. It is luscious, and they serve it with super rich and yummy vanilla ice cream. I ate it and didn't even feel the guilt.

What am I doing? No more. Tomorrow I have to be in control. How sad would I be if I gain back the weight I just lost?

Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.
Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.

I have to fall asleep chanting this...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Easy Beef Stroganoff

Decided to look into my recipe archives and post another favorite! I love Beef Stroganoff. This recipe is is one of my favorites- it doesn't taste low calorie/fat at all! And it is sooo easy.

4 (HUGE) Servings/5 pts ea.

4 T Onion Soup Mix
2 sm. onions, chopped
2 10 oz. packages sliced mushrooms
1 lb. sirloin steak, trimmed and chopped
1 1/2 C fat-free sour cream
2 t. cornstarch

Spray medium/large skillet with nonstick spray. Brown steak and remove from pan. Spray pan again with nonstick spray. Saute onions and mushrooms until soft.
Add meat to vegetables, and stir in the onion soup mix. Heat till bubbly, then add sour cream a little at a time, until meat is done.
If sauce is too thin, add corn starch and stir till it reaches your desired consistancy.

Serve over whole wheat/high fiber pasta. (Will need to add points)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Emotional Eating Anyone?

I am leaving on a trip to England on Saturday, so I tried to get a few things done today. One of the things on my list was to go to the library, return some books that are due, and get some books for my daughter who is staying with Grandma. We arrived, put the books on a cart that said, "RETURN BOOKS HERE" and went to the children's section.

After browsing for some books for my daughter, I went to check them out at the front desk. The librarian scanned my card, and mentioned that there were a few books due in a couple of days. I asked which ones, and he gave me the names of a couple of books I just turned in. He asked me where I put them, and I said, "On the cart." He started to get really frustrated, and said that I should have given them to him to check in, not put them on the cart. He got up, and said that now he had to look all over the library to see if he could find them, and glared at me like this was my fault. So I waited while he checked all the shelves for them.

He finally comes back (without finding any of the books) and lectures me again and again about how things should be done. He tells me we have to put a hold on the book, and said that tons of people "claim" to return books but aren't telling the truth. So after about 10 minutes of lecturing me, he then asked me if I put a parking pass on the car. I said no. He asked me if I ever read signs on the road. Then, he lectured me again for 5 minutes on reading traffic signs.

At this point I was ready to scream. Finally the checkout nightmare was over, and as I was leaving he said something else about the situation. I turned to him, and said "Then you need to remove that sign that says 'RETURN BOOKS HERE' because that is what I did. I just followed the instructions. You are making me feel like this is all my fault. Have a great afternoon." And then I left. On the way home, I started crying because he was so mean. (Am having an emotional day)

(Wondering what the point of this story is? It's coming...)

So after I got home and put my daughter down for a nap, I immediately walked to the pantry and found the first chocolate item I could find. Thank goodness I don't keep very much in the house. So I ate some Granola Bites, which are only 2 pts.

I was done with the Bites and about to go get more, when it hit me what I was doing. I felt sad, and immediately tried to "fix it" with chocolate. So upon realizing this, I decided to stop the impending binge.

Now, after venting this long story, I feel much better, and don't need a chocolate fix any more.

Feta Stuffed Zucchini

I've mentioned it before, but me and 2 friends do a dinner swap. We each pick a night, and make dinner for all 3 families (small families). Then the Thursday dinner, we rotate. It is the greatest thing ever. Most weeks, you make only one dinner, and the other nights, dinner is brought right to your door! We are all doing Weight Watchers, so we write the points on a sticky note. Anyway, we all are driven to try to make good, well-rounded dinners, with sides.

While trying to think of good side dishes and vegetables, I came across an awesome blog called A Veggie Venture. On it she lists vegetable dishes by Points, and alphabetically. I was browsing through her recipes and found this amazing one called Feta Stuffed Zucchini. It looked amazing, so I made it this week. It was super yummy!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wednesday Workout Tip from the Queen of Slackers

by Melanie J.

So it's almost Thursday and this is a little belated, but I wanted to share my Wednesday Workout Tip with you guys, something I'll try to do every week.

Know first that I hate working out. At least, I do while I'm thinking about exercising and then while I'm exercising. But I like how I feel after, whether it's because of the endorphins or my gradually shrinking waistline, I'm not sure. Since I want to keep my downward scale trend (21 pounds and counting), I have become the master at finding little tricks to get myself up and at 'em with cardio everyday. So here's the first one:

A heart rate monitor.

Yep, it's that simple. No matter what kind of cardio I choose (and maybe I'll blog about that next Wednesday) a heart rate monitor that I bought last spring from Target has pushed me to get just a little more out of each workout. It's a pretty straightforward device. A digital wristwatch picks up and displays my heart rate and calories burned so far from a slim strap that goes around my chest. The plainer ones will just do the heart rate, which my husband finds sufficient. For me, though, having that little number of calories I'm burning grow bigger and bigger is exactly the kind of instant gratification I need to keep me going with my exercise. If I'm pooping out but notice that I've burned 320 calories, I find myself thinking, "I'll just go until 350" and then I find it's easy just to push to 400 after that. If I'm getting bored with my cardio (because the elliptical trainer at the gym? Snooze fest), I just go faster and harder to get the calories burned faster which is a nice challenge to my usual rhythm.

The monitors range from $50-100 depending on the features you want, but mine (a Polaris) has been worth every penny because I know I've burned thousands of extra calories over the last few months that I wouldn't have without my little wristwatch telling me how close I was to a new goal and level of success.

I also blog about random and what I think are hilarious life slices at my other blog, Write Stuff.

Super Yummy Chocolate Cupcakes

Yesterday I decided to try out a new recipe from the Hungry Girl Cookbook. It's called Death by Chocolate Cupcakes. They turned out super yummy! Really moist and flavorful and only 2 Pts. each.

When they were done, my daughter (she's 2 1/2) scarfed one down. She loved it. (Because she, like me, is already a chocoholic) Then, after seeing me take a picture of one, she decided to go get her camera and play foodie photographer.

12 Servings/ 2 Pts. ea.

Ingredients:

2 cups moist-style chocolate cake mix (half of an 18.25-oz. box)
Two 25-calorie packets diet hot cocoa mix
1/2 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute (like Egg Beaters Original)
2 tbsp. semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
1 tsp. Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated)
1/8 tsp. salt

Directions:
Place chocolate chips and the contents of both packets of cocoa in a tall glass. Add 12 oz of boiling water. Stir until chips and cocoa mix have dissolved. Put glass in the freezer to chill for 25 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350. Once cocoa has chilled, stir it, and mix with all other ingredients in a mixing bowl. Whip batter with a whisk/fork for 2 minutes. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray, or line it with baking cups.
Evenly spoon batter (which will be thin, but your cupcakes will rise) into the pan. Bake for 15-17 minutes. Cupcakes will look shiny when done.

1 cupcake
Calories: 108
Fat: 2.5g
Fiber: 1g


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lunch Musings

Today I went to lunch with my daughter. I was going to take her to McDonald's so she could play, but when I walked up, I looked in the window and saw the line a mile long. So we decided to go somewhere else. We ended up at Baja Fresh, and I looked up on my blackberry what I could eat there on Dotti's Site. (She has tons of restaurants and the nutritional value of menu items.) I found that their baja ensalada with chicken was only 6 points, so that is what I got. As I ate my healthy salad, I started to think about my eating habits in the past. I used to get burritos with rice and chips, or even the loaded nachos. Burritos are a whole day's worth of points/calories for me. (20 something) Nachos? 2 DAYS worth of points/calories. (50!) No wonder American's have such a hard time with being overweight. Things people THINK are healthy are full of more fat and calories than they could possibly imagine. I am so glad that I am making this change in my life. I want to be healthy. I want my family to be healthy. I will do everything I can to make this happen.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Liz Rosenbaum Fitness Blog

I just came across a really good blog on healthy habits and fitness. She is doing a give-away right now that any mom would appreciate. The winner of the contest will receive a cute divided plate that has pictures of the type of foods that should be in each section for portion size. I think it is genius; it helps kids see the types and portions of food to be healthy. I am working on improving the eating habits of my toddler, and loved the idea. Check it out!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

It Has To Be Different This Time

I have been struggling the past couple of weeks. I have missed 2 or 3 weigh-ins for one reason or another. I feel like I've hit a plateau and I have only been back on Weight Watchers for about 11 weeks. I now weigh about 136 (Starting weight this time was 144) and have been at this weight (+ or - a pound) for 3 weeks now. I am still exercising, and still counting points. I've messed up a couple of times, but not too badly. I feel like this is my body's "happy weight." It is the weight that I can always reach with a little effort, but it seems to be impossible to go lower. I am only 5'3" and that is still higher than I want to be.

Roni, one of my inspirations, said in one of her blog posts, that if you quit, you will definitely fail. This really helped me today. I had gotten home from church, eaten lunch, and put my toddler down for a nap. All I could think about was chocolate chip cookies. I could not get them out of my head. I wasn't too worried, though, because I knew I wasn't going to go to all the effort of baking them. So I ate a Healthy Choice Fudgesickle instead. I watched a couple of recorded shows with my husband (The Office and Grey's Anatomy) and the chocolate chip cookie bug hit me again. I still wasn't that worried until I walked into my kitchen and saw that my husband had taken me seriously and there was a package of Pillsbury Cookie Dough sitting on the counter, thawing out. It had been hidden by him in the freezer.

Now what to do? I wanted those cookies more than anything. Here was my conversation to myself:
"It would just be one day, you could be good again tomorrow."
"You are going to England next week, and you aren't going to be perfect, so why not get back on track after the trip?"
"You could eat these now and have a 2 Pt. dinner" (This one almost won out)

But then I thought about Roni's statement. How many times have I gotten to this weight, felt a little better about myself, and then quit? Then the rollercoaster begins again. Making this a lifestyle is what needs to happen. I can't live a lifestyle where it is ok to binge all the time. Because believe me, I can never just eat one or two cookies. It has to be at least 5 or 6.

In the end, I ate one little round of cookie dough, and convinced my husband to pack it up and put it back in the freezer. Then I went and took a nap, and when I woke up, no cookie cravings!

A small one, but a victory nonetheless.
Baby steps.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Fiber One Pancake Mix


This weekend we decided to drive up to my husband's parents house in Lake Arrowhead. My mother-in-law always makes super yummy weekend breakfasts, like pancakes and eggs and either sausage or bacon. It is always very tempting to give in, and most of the time in the past I have. So I was talking to my mother-in-law, and she mentioned that she bought some Fiber One pancake mix. I didn't know there was such a thing. We looked on the box to check out the nutritional info and one serving is only 3 points. The only thing that remained to be seen was how big the serving was. It sounded too good to be true. So this morning, I prepared a single serving for myself (which was nice and easy to do) and added one point worth of extra semi-sweet chocolate chips into the batter. It made 3 good size pancakes! (About 5 inches in diameter) I ate those (dipped in a little sugar-free syrup) with some scrambled egg whites and it was a super filling, indulgent feeling breakfast! I didn't feel deprived at all. I know there are lots of recipes out there for low point pancakes, but sometimes you just want quick and easy. I was going to take a picture, but of course forgot to bring my camera with me.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Great Popcorn Ideas

I just found a cool blog called Super Healthy Kids. She posts about popcorn and two ways to make air popped popcorn in the microwave. No buying the chemical-laden microwave popcorn, no need for the time-consuming air popper, and save some money too! You can either use a paper bag or a microwavable dish with lid. I would have never thought of this.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Chinese Chicken Salad

I went to a baby shower a couple of months ago and they had the best Chinese Chicken Salad there. I asked my friend for the recipe, and saw that it had 2/3 C oil in it, which is like 40 points. So I took the challenge to lighten it up. First, I had to find an oil substitute. The baking substitutes like apple sauce and yogurt obviously wouldn't work in a salad dressing, so I did a little research. It was trickier than I thought it would be to find. Finally I read an article about pectin. You know, the stuff you use when making jam. It is made from fruit and has 0 calories. You mix 1 T pectin with 1/4 C of water to substitute for 1/4 C oil. So I tried it in this recipe. It worked like a champ! I also substituted Splenda for sugar, but you might try a natural substitute if you are not a Splenda fan. I'm sure honey or Stevia would work too, you just need to add the points.


Salad Ingredients (Makes 4 very large dinner-size servings)
Whole Salad is 30 pts.
Each Serving is 7 1/2 pts.

1 head green cabbage, shredded
10 oz cooked chicken breast - chopped into 1/2" pieces
2 green onions, chopped
1 1/2 C shelled edamame
4 T sliced almonds
2 sm. cans mandarin oranges, drained

Dressing:

Seasoning Packet from Ichibon Japanese Noodles (Japanese Top Ramen in Asian aisle)
1/2 C splenda
2 T + 2 t. canola oil
2 T pectin mixed into 1/2 C water
6 T seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 t. pepper
1 t. sesame oil

Shake or mix dressing ingredients together. Dressing is enough to toss 6 main dish salads. For this recipe size (4 main dish salads) use 6-7 oz. of dressing. (Whole recipe makes about 10 oz. dressing) Toss with all salad ingredients until oranges start to break up.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It Felt Like Torture But I Did It!

I did my 2-mile run tonight for the first time. My goal is to do it (or another equivalent activity) 3 nights a week in addition to my normal work-outs. I haven't run (outside) in over 2 years. It was hard and my joints complained like an 80-year-old woman, but I did it! Now I just have to do it again!

Eating is not a hobby!

I just read a great post on NeoWeight
that discusses that if eating is a hobby of yours, you probably are overweight and if you don't make some changes, you probably will stay that weight. It makes some excellent points:
1. The reason many people are overweight and always are going to be overweight is because they have made eating a too big part of their lives.
2.
Eating will not bring you long term happiness in life.
3.
Get some hobbies, live happier, (make it so your life does not revolve around food!) and lose weight as a result!

I know that I have been a culprit. As I am striving to change my life, I notice that as I take up new hobbies and stay busy, I am less inclined to think about food.

Dressing Room Motivation

Today when I was getting dressed, I looked at my available options hanging in my closet and was so frustrated. So I decided to go try to find a couple of tops to supplement my meager selections. When I got to the store, I found about 10 items that looked good on the hanger, and was feeling pretty good. I was thinking that compared to the last time I tried on clothes, this experience should be much better, since I've lost a little weight.

So I went into the dressing room, and one after the other, the tops looked horrible. Many needed a larger size than I was expecting, and of course they didn't have that size. Some just looked bad. One was cute but wasn't made well, and fit funny. Mostly, I just noticed my flaws in the mirror. It was pretty depressing. I was expecting my body to look much better than it did.

So, now that it has been a few hours, I have had time to reflect. What positive thing can I take from the experience? It has re-motivated me to keep up my hard work. One day I will look the way I want to. I can't give up until I reach my goal. I know there will be obstacles, but I will not let a few bumps discourage me on my journey.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Taco Chili

This recipe is a mixture of chili and taco soup. It makes a huge pot, and the servings are huge for low points. Great fall recipe.

8 Servings /2 Cups Each /4 Pts. /6 P+ Ea. Serving

1 pd lean ground meat (for my points, I used 96% lean ground beef)
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 C celery, cut into chunks
2 zucchini or summer squash, shredded
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 sm. can green chilis
2 15 oz cans stewed tomatoes
2 cans black beans (can substitute another type of bean if you want)
1 Taco Seasoning packet
1 Ranch-style dressing mix packet (Hidden Valley)
2 t. cumin
16 oz. frozen corn
2 t. chili powder


In a large soup pot, brown the meat, then add onions, garlic, zucchini, peppers, and celery halfway through the browning.
One by one add the remaining ingredients. Do not drain anything, just dump.Heat through, and simmer for a while till the flavors blend (about 1/2 hour).

This makes a lot. Leftovers can be frozen if you like.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Exercise More

Up to this point, I have been very complacent in my exercise habits. I have an elliptical machine, which I am very good at using, I average about 40 minutes 4-5 days a week. I am not satisfied with the amount of weight I have lost in the past few months, so as I was working out this morning I had an epiphany. I was watching an Oprah episode that featured "The Biggest Loser" winners and when I realized how many calories they burned each day, I realized that I needed to step up my game. Obviously I can't work out 5-6 hours per day like they do on the show, but I can do more than I am doing. I am not challenging myself, and I think that is what I need to see better results. My new goal is to continue my existing work outs, but 3 nights a week, add something else. I live in a neighborhood that has a 2-mile perimeter sidewalk around the tract, and I know I could grab my ipod and run that 2 miles 3 days a week. It is harder to do at night, but I know I need to do more to see more results. Unfortunately, just eating right is not enough. Sad to say, but I am finally getting it.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Tricked with Treats

I did NOT follow my own advice yesterday... Have to admit I fell off the wagon on Thursday night and as for yesterday, we won't even talk about it. OK - Seven. Seven candy bars. Ridiculous.

BUT today I have been really good. Went to my niece's birthday party and skipped the cake! It feels good to be back on track. I just worked out on my elliptical for 40 minutes, and I really wanted to take a nap instead. But I am so glad I did.

Hope everyone else got through Halloween better than me.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Distraction

Was reading another blog, Kath Eats Real Food
and her post talks about how she was at the library working on a project and didn't think she could make it to lunch without eating. However, she drank some water and got absorbed into her project - and made it to lunchtime with no problems.

This made me think. Today I am battling monstrous PMS chocolate cravings. All I want is a huge cookie sundae or chocolate cake, candy, whatever. It is ridiculous. I ate a little chocolate mint 2-point bar, instead of something worse, but the craving was not fixed. Not in the slightest. I whined to my husband about it, and he said that PMS doesn't cause chocolate cravings. I argued. But that is not the point. The point is what to do about them. (the cravings)

So I left the kitchen, went to my computer and started blog-surfing. Then I read the post. It made me think about distraction. It works with even the stubbornest toddlers (most of the time), why not with food? As I read her simple statement I realized that as I have been on the computer, and then am off to the next task of the day, the craving has been put on the back burner. It just needs to stay there till tomorrow night when I will have my splurge meal.

So how can I make this technique work in the future now that it is conscious? I need fight the cravings with other activities, whether it is something mundane like laundry, or whether I need to go outside, and walk to the park with my daughter. But now I have a tool to help me when the times are tough.

Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffed Chicken Breasts

by Melanie J

Ingredients

2 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, no oil, minced (I soak them in water for a few minutes to make them easier to chop.)
2 oz. soft-type goat cheese
1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1 pound uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts, four 4 ounce pieces
1/8 tsp table salt or to taste
1/8 tsp black pepper, or to taste
1 tbsp all-purpose flour1 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp corn starch
1 cup fat-free chicken broth
1 tbsp canned tomato paste


Ingredients

In a small bowl, stir together sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese and thyme. Using a sharp paring knife, cut a horizontal slit through the thickest part of each chicken breast, creating a pocket. Be careful not to cut all the way through. Place 1/4 of the mixture in each chicken breast.

Spray a large nonstick skillet with olive oil cooking spray and warm over high heat. Add chicken and brown well. Remove and set aside. Add white wine to pan and boil until almost all evaporated.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together cornstarch and 2 tablespoons chicken broth until smooth. Whisk cornstarch mixture, remaining chicken broth and tomato paste into white wine.

Return chicken breasts to pan. Bring to a summer, cover and cook over low heat until chicken is cooked through, about ten minutes. Baste occasionally with sauce

5 points a serving

I'll be posting here a couple of times a week whenever I make something that Jen really likes and thinks just HAS to be on here. And since I'm not a big fan of exercise, I'll post tips from time to time that help me get out the door anyway. I've lost ten pounds in the last two months and it's all about finding little tricks that work and support good eating habits. You can check out more of my personal blog where I ramble about everything, sometimes even skinny stuff, at Write Stuff.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Quick Pita Calzone

I have made pita pizzas a hundred times but this time I thought I would try a new variation. Instead of piling the toppings on top of the pita, I put them inside! It was an awesome low-point quick lunch.

1 Serving/4 Pts.


1 Alternative Pita (Made by Western Bagel)
Veggies of choice
1 1/2 T jarred pizza sauce (I used Trader Joes)
1 1/2 oz. shredded mozzarella

Cut pita in half. Open and fill with sauce, veggies and half of the cheese in each side. Place halves on baking sheet, spray with olive oil spray (optional) and bake till cheese is melted.

Great fast lunch alternative to a sandwich!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Awesome Beef Stew

I wanted to make something in my crockpot this week, so I looked through one of my recipe books, Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly. I found a recipe called Best Everyday Stew by Elizabeth L. Richards and it turned out amazing! The only thing I did differently was add mushrooms. Using flank steak was a brilliant idea because it is leaner than stew meat, and it falls apart to have a sort of pot roast feel in this recipe. Tons of meat in each serving. I also added a bit more garlic.
My husband loved it!

8 Servings/5 Pts. ea.
Serving Size: 1 1/3 C


2 1/4 lbs. flank steak
8 small red potatoes, chopped into 1" pieces
10 baby carrots
sliced fresh mushrooms
1 large clove garlic, chopped or more if you like
1 med-lg onion, chopped
1 C peas
3 ribs celery, cut into 1" pieces
3 C cabbage, chopped
2 8-oz cans tomato sauce
1-2 T Worcestershire Sauce
2 bay leaves
1/2 t dried thyme
1/2 t dried basil
1.2 t dried marjoram
1 T dried parsely
2 C water
4 cubes or t. beef buillon
2-3 T Cornstarch or Flour mixed into 1/4 C water

Trim flank steak of fat. Cut into 1 1/2 chunks. Brown slowly in large skillet. Chop potatoes and other veggies. Combine all ingredients in large slow-cooker. Cover. Cook on high for one hour, then turn to low and cook for 9 more hours. About an hour before it's done, mix cornstarch or flour with water till smooth, and pour into crockpot. Stir and recover.

(Note: I didn't have time for 10 hours cooking, so I cooked it on high for 2 hours, and then turned to low for 6 hours and it came out perfectly.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Turkey Tostadas

Made these for dinner tonight and they were awesome.

4 Servings/ 5pts. each + toppings (Each serving is 2 tostadas)

1 14 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 can mild (or spicy if you wish) green chiles, drained
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
2-3 T chopped cilantro
1 sm. onion, sliced thinly
3 cups (12 oz) shredded cooked turkey or chicken breast (I bought some turkey breasts and boiled them, and then shredded them. You could use leftovers from another meal as well.)
8 corn tortillas
2 C fat free refried beans (Used Rosarita for this recipe) heated

Toppings:
Salsa
Light sour cream
Shredded lettuce
Light shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Bring tomatoes and their juice, chiles and garlic to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and most of the liquid has evaporated, 15 - 20 mins. Add turkey and cilantro, heat till hot and flavors are mixed, about 2 mins.
Meanwhile, coat tortillas on both sides with cooking spray. Bake on oven rack, or on a rack on a cookie sheet until crisped and lightly golden brown, about 10 mins.
Spread each crisped tortilla with 1/4 C refried beans, about 1/3 C turkey mixture, and your toppings of choice.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Easy Oven Omelette

I came across a much fattier version of this recipe and lightened it up. I made it for dinner tonight and it was soooo good. You can do so much with it too.



4 Servings/ Without the meat it is 5 Pts each.

4 eggs
1 1/4 C egg substitute
1/2 C light sour cream
1/2 t salt
2 oz (1/2 C) shredded light cheese
2 1/2 C Shredded frozen hashbrowns- thawed
low calorie meat of choice - chopped or crumbled (I used Amylu's Apple and Gouda Cheese Chicken Sausages from Costco- they are sooo amazing.) Just calculate the points.

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and pour into an 8x8 pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 325 for about 45 mins or until set. (when you shake it, it stays still)

You can make it with low cal sausage, turkey bacon, canadian bacon or ham, or any vegetable combination. I even thought of doing a mexican version with salsa, peppers, tomatoes and onions. You could even throw some black beans in it. The variations are endless!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

M&M Temptation

The other day I bought a pack of m&ms to help me potty-train my daughter. I haven't got around to it yet, so the m&m's sit in my cupboard, haunting me. Today I almost succumbed. While my daughter was napping, I laid on my bed to read a book. I love to munch while I read. So here I was, craving chocolate, reading my book, and I started to think, "Screw it. I want them. I don't care."

So.... what did I do? Did I eat them?
I wanted to soooo bad.
But I did not succumb to temptation. Funny enough, a couple of thoughts helped me get through the weak moment. The first was the quote I have at the side of this blog: "Nothing tastes as good as thin feels." I thought about that for a bit. Then I thought about something I read recently, which talked about how you have to get past the "now" by thinking about the future instead. So without making a firm decision, I just kept reading my book. The next time I thought about it, the craving wasn't nearly as strong.

I don't think I have ever resisted like that before. Hopefully I can do it again.

Subway

You may all have figured this out by now, but Subway is also a good lunch-on-the-go option.
For 5 Pts you can get the following 6-inch sandwiches:

Roast Beef
Turkey
Turkey and Ham

All of these are on whole wheat rolls and do not have mayo or cheese. If you want cheese, add 1 point, and if you want mayo, add 3 more Pts! Yikes.

A Veggie Sandwich on wheat is only 4 pts.

For white breads (except for the cheese breads) you would need to add 1 point.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Baked Coconut Shrimp

Digging into my favorite recipe archives, I came across this one. Loved this. The portions are huge!

BAKED COCONUT SHRIMP

3 servings/5 Pts ea. or 2 servings/7 Pts ea.

1 1/2 pounds Shrimp (Extra large, defrosted, shelled & deveined, rinsed & patted dry. Costco Shrimp was used to calculate values)
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
dash of salt
1 T honey
1 T lime juice (fresh squeezed)
1/3 cup egg whites
3/4 cup Coconut (Bakers brand is what I used to calculate values)

Preheat oven to 425. Lightly spray a large baking sheet with butter
flavored cooking spray. In a small bowl combine cornstarch, pepper & salt.
In a small microwave safe dish heat up honey approx. 30-45 secs. Add lime
juice to honey & stir.
Slowly add in egg whites & continue to stir.

Place a little coconut in a thin layer on a pie plate or flat dish. (If
you only put the coconut in the dish a little at a time, you will get a
better coating & have plenty of coconut).

Take each shrimp & lst dip into cornstarch mixture, then in egg white
mixture & finally roll in the coconut.

Place on the baking sheet & lightly spray with butter non-stick cooking spray. Bake 10-15
mins. or until shrimp is pink & the coconut is lightly toasted.

For dipping, you can buy a jarred plum or other type of dipping sauce. Or what I did, was make more of the honey lime mixture and drizzled it on top. You would need to count additional points for the honey.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Not Rocket Science

Tonight I went and got my hair done. I was talking to my stylist, Steven, and somehow the topic of weight loss came up. I told him that I have lost almost 10 pounds in the past couple of months. He said, Wow, how did you do it?"

I didn't want to get into the whole Weight Watchers thing, so I just said that I have been trying to make good choices by doing the following things:

1. When I go out, I look ahead of time at the restaurant's nutritional info, try to choose places where I can find a healthy option, and know ahead of time what I am getting. I didn't go into details with him, but the other day, my in-laws wanted to eat at Ruby's Diner. That was a hard one. I studied the menu (I go to dwlz.com to find out the menu options and their Weight Watcher's points) and figured out if I ordered a bowl of vegetable soup, and split a grilled chicken sandwich on a wheat bun and split the side of fries it comes with with my mother-in-law, that I could stay within my daily points. It wasn't easy to resist the burgers and shakes, but I did it, indulging in only a spoonful of my daughter's chocolate shake.

2. Not eat out as much. It is much easier to eat healthy when you prepare it yourself.

3. Watch my portions. Try not to stuff myself. Try to stop eating when I am no longer hungry, but not full.

4. If I know I want a bigger or more fattening meal at dinner or whatever, I eat a lighter breakfast and lunch.

5. I have one splurge meal a week. This is where I use my flex points for the week, for those of you who know the Weight Watcher's program. This meal is my indulgence, so I don't feel deprived. I don't have a splurge day, or weekend, however. Only 1 meal.

6. I exercise 4-5 days a week.

We both agreed that for the most part, for most people, it's not rocket science to lose weight. You just have to do it. That's the hard part. But the more I make these changes to my life, the easier it is to live this way. I really like it. Crazy, huh.

Mini Cinnamon Roll Puffs

I haven't made these in a while, but they really do the trick if you want a warm, gooey treat on a cold day. Actually they are good on hot days too...

1 Pt. ea.

1 Can Pillsbury Buttermilk Biscuits (Come in a 4-pack, blue packaging)
40 Mini marshmallows
Spray butter
2 T Splenda
2 T Cinnamon

Mix Splenda and Cinnamon together on a plate. Place each biscuit on a flat surface. Roll into flat circle with rolling pin. Spray each side with a squirt of spray butter. Dip each side in the cinnamon mixture. Lay inside a muffin tin. Put 4 mini marshmallows in each one. Pinch closed. Bake as directed on the Pillsbury package.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Weight Loss Blogs

So as I learn more and more about the blogging world, I continue to come across great sites. The author of Greenlitebites also writes a blog about her journey of losing 70 pounds and keeping it off. She has videos and great discussions on her blog Roni's Weigh.

Another recent find is Yummy Diet Food. This site focuses on great low fat/low calorie products, and has some recipes on there too.

I feel like I am spending a lot of time online with this little project, but it is so fun! I love to come across great sites - it helps keep me focused and motivated in my own journey.

I would love if anyone had any other favorites to share.

Sweet and Sour Pork

I made this for dinner tonight, and I thought it was really yummy! My husband liked it too.

4 Servings/3 Pts ea.

12 oz pork tenderloin, cut into thin strips
1 C pineapple chunks
(if using canned, reserve juice for sauce)
1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 sm. white onion, thinly sliced or chopped
1 zucchini, sliced thinly
2 roma tomatoes, seeds removed, coarsely chopped

Marinade
2 T rice vinegar
2 T soy sauce
2 T minced or finely grated fresh ginger

Sauce
1/2 C pineapple juice (use reserves from can of pineapple)
1 T soy sauce
1 T rice vinegar
2 t cornstarch

Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl or gallon size ziplock bag. Add the pork strips, toss to coat, and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 mins. Meanwhile, combine and mix the sauce ingredients in another small bowl and set aside. Chop vegetables. Lightly coat a nonstick frying pan or wok with cooking spray, and place over med high heat. Add the pork and stir-fry until it is no longer pink. (3-4 mins) Transfer the pork to another container and set aside. Recoat the pan with cooking spray and reduce the heat to med. Add the onion, pepper and zucchini. Saute until they begin to soften. (2-3 mins) Return the cooked pork to the pan along with the tomatoes, pineapple and sauce. Bring the ingredients to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat. Serve over rice. (additional points for rice)

Monday, October 20, 2008

New Way to Cook Veggies

With most of my dinners, I usually make steamed veggies. I have been doing this for years. And they are good. But tonight I tried something new. A friend and I have started doing a meal swap. We are both doing Weight Watchers, and we both have small families, so we decided to split up Mon-Thursday dinners and each cook 2 meals, enough for both families. I cook for everyone on Monday and Tuesday, and she cooks on Wednesday and Thursday. We write the points of the meal down on a sticky note, and deliver the meal between 5:30 and 6pm. It is sooooo great. Meal planning time is much lower, food is less wasted, and grocery bills are lower. And you get different types of meals than you would normally cook, which is nice because variety really helps when you are eating to lose weight. It also motivates me to try out new recipes, and make my meals really balanced.

So tonight, I tried out a recipe for roasted veggies that a few of my friends use.

8.5 Points Total, servings vary
(1.5 points total if you use olive oil cooking spray instead of oil.)

1 lb veggies ( I used broccoli, but you can use asparagus, zucchini, or other types of veggies)
2 T minced fresh garlic
2 T Olive Oil (Can adjust for smaller amounts of veggies) (Could omit and use spray, probably)
2 T Grated Parmesan Cheese
Kosher Salt
Pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Stir veggies, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl till coated. Line baking sheet with foil. Top with the veggies, and sprinkle on the parmesan cheese. Roast in oven until crisp tender. Time varies with the different type of vegetable.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Rubio's Health Mex

One of my favorite places to either eat lunch or dinner out and be able to stay on program is Rubio's Baja Grill. Their Health Mex burritos and tacos are really good.

Health Mex Chicken or Mahi Mahi taco- 3.5 Pts ea.
For lunch I usually eat one of each and a diet coke.

Health Mex Burrito -either chicken or fish- 10.5 Pts.
I usually need to eat a lighter breakfast and lunch to have enough points left for this one, but it is really filling and delicious.

I often have this same conversation with my husband: He claims that when he eats out for lunch, there is no place to go to get a lower calorie/healthy meal. I will keep trying to prove him wrong.

Tuna Skillet Supper

I love cream cheese. And meals that contain it. Even fat-free cream cheese is good when mixed into a recipe. Here is a good lite variation of good ol' fashioned tuna casserole.

4 Servings/5 Pts. ea.

1 packet dry ranch dressing mix
8 oz. fat free cream cheese, softened
1 C skim milk
8 oz. elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
2 C frozen green peas, thawed
2 cans (12 oz) tuna in water, drained and flaked

In a mixing bowl, combine dressing mix, cream cheese, and milk. Mix until smooth. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and combine with peas and tuna in a large skillet. Stir dressing mixture into pasta. Cook over low heat until mixture is hot.


Friday, October 17, 2008

No Bake Lemonade Cheesecake

Another husband favorite. We cannot tell that this is a lite treat. I was going to take a picture but when I got home last night he had taken a big sloppy slice out, and who wants to see a picture of that?

8 Servings/ 2 Pts ea.

8 oz. fat free cream cheese
1/4 C fat free milk
1 Crystal Light lemonade (I have used raspberry lemonade too) on-the-go packet or 1 t Crystal Light
1 tub fat free cool whip
1/2 C graham cracker crumbs

1. Spray pie plate with spray butter or butter flavored non-stick cooking spray. Dump the graham cracker crumbs in and spread them around.
2. Mix the cream cheese, and lemonade packet together. Add milk. Mix till smooth. Add cool whip. Mix till smooth. Pour into pie plate on top of crumbs. Chill overnight.

This treat still is soft, even after chilling overnight, but it is soo good.

Biggest Loss Yet

OK- I have to share. I weighed in this morning and lost 3.2 lbs this week! My mouth almost hit the floor! So motivating to keep up this lifestyle.

Just yesterday I realized that I have become used to not feeling super full. And I like it. I like leaving a restaurant and not feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. I like feeling like I am in control of my eating habits. It really helps my self-confidence.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Motivation

I have been reading this book called Moose, by Stephanie Klein. It is a memoir of her childhood as an overweight child and teenager. She tells about her experiences at home and at "fat camp." A main theme in the book is how food was a huge motivator for her. For example, as a child, she was motivated to win a swimming race so she could have first pick of the popsicles offered afterwards. It made me think about my own relationship with food. How often is food a motivator for me? Do I look forward to eating food? Do I eat unhealthy food as a reaction to things going on in my life? Do I make food central to my life? How can I change this behavior and not pass it on to my kids?

I believe that the healthiest relationship with food is to look at it as fuel. We obviously need food to survive, but we do not need to gorge ourselves, or fill ourselves up with tons of bad stuff. Klein, in her memoir, talks about the quantity of food she used to eat, sometimes when she wasn't even hungry. She would obsess about food. I go through times when I do too. It becomes a sort of drug. Socializing, many times, is all about food. It is so easy to have it be a main focus. Sometimes when my husband travels for work, I will go junk-food shopping to "get myself through the week." How sad is that.

Hopefully, as I am on this journey to change my lifestyle, I can change my views about food. Can I eat treats sparingly and be satisfied? (I could never give them up completely) Can I have balance in my eating habits? Can I have food fit in to my full life, not have my life revolve around food?

Heidi Klum in an Oprah interview, when asked how she lost her baby-weight so fast, said that she ate healthy her entire pregnancy. She said that it is hard. She would like to eat the cookies and other stuff all the time, but she can't eat everything she wants. She only eats them once in a while. I know we look at celebrities and talk about how they have nannies and chefs and trainers, and it's better to look elsewhere for motivation, but I have always remembered what she said in that interview. If we want to be healthy and skinny, we cannot eat whatever we want. We have to watch it. It's as simple as that.

Any thoughts???

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Roasted Butternut Squash Wedges
















AKA butternut squash fries. I am not calling them that because the end result is too soft to be called fries. This recipe is all over the internet, and on two diet sites I like, Hungry Girl and Greenlitebites. In case you haven't seen it, these are really good, and are a great side dish for sandwich type meals.

1 T Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
1 (2 lb) Butternut Squash

Preheat oven to 450. Cut ends of squash off, and cut lengthwise down the middle. Remove seeds, and peel the skin off with peeler. (be sure to get down to the bright orange layer) Cut into 1/2" wedges or slices. Pour into large ziplock bag or bowl with salt and olive oil. Shake or stir till coated. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Arrange squash in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake for around 30 mins, turning a couple of times. Bake till edges start to brown. I like mine quite toasted, as it kind of carmelizes the squash. Be sure to eat them hot, though- they taste way better that way!

French Dip Sandwiches


I made these last night for dinner, and thought of taking a picture when I was half done with mine. Didn't think anyone would want to see that. :)
The trick to making these lower calorie is the roll. At Trader Joes they have a par-baked panini roll that is only 2 pts. It's not huge, but with plenty of meat, it makes a great sandwich.

Flank or Sirloin Steak (cooked, trimmed of visible fat, is 1 pt. per oz.)
1 Onion Soup mix
1 au jus gravy mix
2 C water
1 Baking Bag

Put steak in baking bag. Mix water, soup mix, and gravy mix together. Pour over the steak. Close the baking bag, and poke some holes in the top. Bake at 325 till done to your liking. You might want to use a meat thermometer, because I have a tendency to overcook mine.
Once the meat is done, slice thin across the grain. I measure out 3 or 4 oz. and put it on the roll. You can add light mayo or cheese if you would like, but I like mine plain. Pour the liquid out of the baking bag into your dipping containers and there you have it. My husband and I love this recipe!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Mexican Chicken















Had this for dinner tonight and was delicious as always. I have to thank my friend Holly for this recipe. This tasty Mexican chicken is so versatile. It can be the filling in tacos or burritos. It can top a salad. My favorite way to eat it is to make a rice bowl out of it. I make a copycat version of Chipotle's cilantro lime rice, top it with the chicken mixture and top that with shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, and either light shredded cheese, or light sour cream. It is really filling meal. Another great one for men, as it is a lot of food.

7 Servings/3 pts ea.
Each Serving is 1 C

4 lg. or 6 sm. frozen chicken breasts- (adjust cooking time if thawed or fresh)
1 Taco Seasoning Packet
1 jar Salsa
1 C Chicken Broth
1 can black beans(drained)
1 can corn(drained)

Place all ingredients in crock pot. Cook on high for about 4 hours (or 3 1/2 hours if using small breast fillets) or on low for about 8 hours. When chicken is done, pull out the chicken and shred. Put shredded chicken back in crock pot and mix.

Cilantro Lime Rice
Add chopped cilantro to pot of rice and water. When rice is cooked, squeeze the juice of one lime and mix.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Chex Mix Bars




















I found a new snack/treat! I picked up some Chex Mix Bars (Turtle flavor) and tried one. It was really good. 130 calories and 4 g fiber!!! Only 2 points. It is very rich and really satisfies the sweet craving.

Easy 1 Pt. Bran Muffins


These muffins are a great way to mix things up for breakfast. Even my toddler likes them!

18 Muffins/1 Pt ea.

3 C All-Bran Cereal (I use the Trader Joes version, I like it better)
2 1/2 C hot water
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 box Krusteaz Fat-Free Muffin mix (Blueberry is my favorite)
Optional: Extra blueberries (I like to add about 1/2 to 3/4 C fresh) Frozen would also work. Points stay the same.

1. Soak Cereal in water about 5 mins. Mash with masher until cereal disintegrates. Mix all ingredients in mixer.
2. Pour into 18 muffin cups
3. Bake as directed on muffin mix package.


Roasted Vegetable and Chicken Stew

This is a nice hearty stew that is also husband-approved. I serve it with Pillsbury biscuits from the blue can, they are each one point. If you like rosemary, this one's for you.

Servings Vary, 28 Pts total

4 C unpeeled, cubed red potatoes
2 C whole baby carrots
1 C chopped red onions
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 T olive oil
1 clove garlic - minced
1 1/2 T dried thyme
1 1/2 T dried rosemary
1 t dried tarragon
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 C sliced green beans
1 C sliced mushrooms
1/2 C dry white wine (can substitute 1/2 C broth with either 1 t white wine vinegar, or 1/2 C broth with 1 t lemon juice)
24 oz chicken breast, cubed (about 4 breasts, or 6 breast fillets)
3 C fat-free chicken broth
3 T flour

1. Spray a large roasting pan with non-stick spray. Add potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, onions, vinegar, oil, garlic, 1 t thyme, 1 t rosemary, tarragon, salt and pepper. Mix well. Roast, uncovered, at 425 for 30 mins. Stir once, halfway through the cooking time. Add green beans and roast for 10 more mins.
2. Pour wine or wine substitute into a large saucepan. Add remaining thyme and rosemary. Bring to a boil. Add chicken pieces and reduce heat to med. high. Cook, uncovered, until chicken is cooked through, about 12 mins. Add roasted vegetables to chicken and wine. Stir in 2 1/2 cups of broth.
3. In a small bowl, combine flour with remaining broth and stir until lump free. Add flour mixture to chicken and vegetables. Cook until stew is bubbly and has thickened, about 3 mins. Serve hot.

Recipe by: Crazy Plates by Janet & Greta Podleski

Stuffed Butternut Squash

I was so excited when I walked out the door yesterday morning and it felt like fall. So the next few posts will be some of my favorite fall recipes!

This one is one of my husband's favorites. The servings are so huge! I actually got this one from a WW magazine, and it has been a favorite of our family's for years now. One time I made this as a demo of a healthy meal for a cooking class with a group of people from my church, and it was a huge hit.

Stuffed Butternut Squash
2 Servings/6 Pts ea.


















1 Butternut squash (1 3/4 lbs) cut lengthwise and seeded
1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1/2 t olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 lb lean ground beef (7% fat or less, or lean ground turkey will work too)
1 C canned diced tomatoes with basil and oregano, drained
1 dried mission fig, finely chopped (I have used chopped raisins, or other dried fruit works too, its just for a bit of sweetness)
1/4 C frozen peas

1. Preheat the oven to 450. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Sprinkle cut sides of squash with half of the salt and pepper. Place the squash, cut side down, on the baking sheet and bake about 45 mins or until tender.
2. Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet and add the onion and sautée till tender. Add the beef and cook till brown. Add the tomatoes, fig and remainder of the salt and pepper. Cook until the liquid evaporates. Add the peas and cook until hot.
3. Turn the squash cut side up and fill the each cavity with half of the mixture.

Optional: For 1 additional point you can top the stuffed squash with a tablespoon of low fat mozzarella, or 1/2 T of mozzarella and 1/2 T of breadcrumbs. Bake till cheese is melted.





Saturday, October 11, 2008

Slimming Slip


A few weeks ago, I was getting dressed for church, and I put on a new dress, one of those high waisted knit dresses. As I was finishing getting ready, my husband said that there were too many lines (its low cut, so I had a cami on underneath) and it didn't look that great. So I went and looked for myself and not only were there too many lines, but too many lumps too. So the dress went back in the closet, until I ordered this fabulous body-shaper slip from Layers Clothing.
Not only does it double as an undershirt/shell but it streamlines all the lumps. No muffin top, only a smooth body. I think I will wear it under every dress I own.

Breakfast Burrito Pizza

Ok. For real I am starting my posts on this blog. I have been waiting to start my posts until I had photos of recipes, but it seems that either my battery is dead on my camera when I want to take the picture, or I forget. So I have decided to take the photos and upload them later on. Start with the ideas and recipes. This blog will be a constant work in progress.

Blah Blah Blah. This morning I was craving a breakfast burrito. I don't know about anyone else, but I hate low-carb, low-cal tortillas. They all taste funny to me. And I like to keep my breakfast at 4 points or less. So today I thought of a new idea. And it turned out awesome!

Recipe:
1 Serving/4 Pts


1 Alternative Pita (Made by Western Bagel)
3 Egg whites
1/4 C or so of salsa
1/2 C Black Beans-drained (mine were 1 pt for this amount)
2 T Low-fat shredded cheese

Spray frying pan with a little Pam. Scramble the egg whites. When almost done, add salsa and beans. Cook and stir till liquid is mostly evaporated. Spoon on top of the pita, and sprinkle the cheese on top. Bake at 400 for about 5-7 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

I really enjoyed this alternative to the breakfast burrito I was craving this morning, and it was a big serving for only 4 WW Points!

Monday, September 22, 2008

To Be Skinny Again...

It all started when after all the summer trips and chaos, I had to squeeze myself into my clothes. (again) How many times had I started Weight Watchers and stopped after the first (or second) obstacle? Baby Shower? I give up. BBQ? I'll start tomorrow. For some reason, this time I am determined to lose this weight and make it a lifestyle. I want to be a skinny person again. And have my clothes be loose. Or better yet, have to buy new ones in a smaller size.

Growing up, I never had to worry about what I ate at all. I didn't gain weight until my mid-twenties, when A. I got married, and B. my metabolism slowed down. I joined Weight Watchers about 5 years ago, and lost a decent amount of weight, but then before I hit lifetime (and maintenance), I felt pretty good about my weight, and started to eat bad again. So over the past 5 years, I have gone on and off of weight watchers (without going to the meetings) and until now haven't been serious about losing the weight.

I am a stay-at-home mom of one daughter, who is now 2 1/2, and I have 15-20 lbs to lose. I started going to Weight Watchers meetings again a few weeks ago, and have lost 3.5 pounds in the last 3 weeks. I weigh in every Tuesday evening.

I have many friends who want my recipes, and I thought it would be fun to journal and post ideas and recipes to help me and others on the same journey. I love to check out other sites on the topic, and see what they are doing in their skinny quest. So I thought, why not me? I am still learning the whole blogging thing, so bear with me.