Thursday, April 30, 2009

Easy Veggie Ideas

What are some great ways to eat lots of veggies throughout the day? Here are some of my favorites:

1. Pita Pizzas or Calzones
-Start with Western Bagel Alternative Pita
-Spoon some low cal pizza sauce
-Pile on the veggies
-Top with a little bit of mozzarella cheese

2. Weight Watcher's 0 point vegetable soup
-Can freeze in individual servings

3. Quick Egg White Veggie Omelet

4. Broccoli Salad (Lasts for a few days in the fridge)

5. Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers
-Frozen veggies with cheese sauce you steam in the microwave
-1 pt. for huge serving

These are my top 5, what are your ideas?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Best Broccoli Salad Ever!

I never thought I could eat raw broccoli until I made this salad. You can use florets, or broccoli slaw mix. Either way, it is amazing! My husband wants me to make it every week and he can eat 2 cups at a time.

8 Servings/ 2 pts. ea (about a cup)

2 bags broccoli slaw or 8 cups chopped broccoli
7 T Sweet Poppy Seed Dressing (I used Trader Joes, but another brand at 2 pts. for 2 T would work too)
1/2 C Dried Cranberries
1 oz. candied pecans, chopped
2 oz. light feta cheese, crumbled

Mix everything together and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Container Vegetable Garden

As part of my quest to make vegetables a bigger part of my life, this year I decided to plant a container vegetable garden. This type of garden is perfect for people who do not have a big planting area or maybe just have a deck or patio and no yard at all. Now is the perfect time of year for doing this. I am not a gardener, and do not consider myself to have a "green thumb" at all.

But how great will it be to be able to eat garden fresh vegetables in a couple of months?

For those of you who are interested, this is how I got started:

1. I bought/found my containers and saved a lot of money by using storage containers instead of traditional pots, which are expensive. I went to Walmart and bought some big buckets for $8 each, and drilled drainage holes in the bottom with my husband's drill. The plastic pots that size were $14. Then I found a couple of rectangular storage bins laying around in the garage, and drilled holes in them too!

2. Then I went to Home Depot and bought my potting soil. I bought the cheapest one that would work for vegetables, because you can add your own fertilizer/plant food. The big bags I bought were $4.99 each, versus $13 for Miracle Gro.

3. Then I went to a gardening center/nursery to buy my plants and plant food. You can buy them at Home Depot or Lowes, but as a beginner gardener, I wanted to talk to someone knowledgeable about which plants to buy. The plants are about the same price anywhere, anyway.

4. Came home and filled my pots with soil, and mixed in my plant food, and planted the plants.

This happened last Thursday, and they have already grown at least 3-4 inches already! It is very exciting. I encourage everyone who has even the tiniest sunny place to plant a veggie or some herbs. It is really a fun thing to do with kids, or even with your partner. And not to mention, a really smart thing to do in this economy.
Patio Tomatoes
Green Beans
Green, Yellow and Red Bell Peppers
Grape Tomatoes

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Skinny Habit of the Week: Load up on Vegetables

Last week's Skinny Habit actually lasted about two weeks, so I thought it would be good to introduce the next one. Load up on vegetables. Another one that is so simple in theory, but I think it is hard to actually do every day.

I love vegetables. I love some raw, some cooked. I still don't think I eat enough of them, except at dinnertime. I think my difficulty is not having quick, easy, accessible veggie options. If I have to wash, cut and steam them,(except at dinner time, when that is normal) I probably won't eat them and will choose an easier snack or lunch option.

We know why vegetables are good for us, but why are they essential for losing and maintaining weight?

1. They are low in calories and high in volume
2. Most of them are high in fiber
3. They contain a lot of water which fills you up
4. They can help reduce food cravings
5. The nutrients from veggies can help our physical and emotional well-being

So my goal with this week's posts, is to explore all the possibilities with veggies. Any tips and advice on how you get more into your diet are welcome!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Breakfast Musings

While my daughter eats breakfast, and I sit at my computer eating mine, I thought I would read a few of my favorite blogs. This post made me think.

I started the in-vitro process this month. Gave myself injections every night, and went to almost daily doctor's appointments to check the progress of my follicles. (The fluid-filled sack the eggs grow in.)

Once the follicles start growing, any real exercise is off-limits. So to make a long (and painful) story shorter, after about 8 days only 3 of my 10 follicles were responding to the medicine. In-Vitro was cancelled and replaced with Intrauterine Insemination. So that was done on Saturday and Sunday. Now I am just trying to keep my stress levels low so that it has a chance of working.

What does this have to do with anything? Well, Roni's post made me think about exercise. I had to stop exercising and it was an almost-daily habit to get a great work-out in. Right now, I am told to take it easy, and with my particular fertility doctor, if I do get pregnant, NO exercise at all is permitted in my first trimester, as I am considered high-risk. I can't even walk the dog I don't have.

I would have thought this would have been a welcome break, and it was at first. But I miss it. I can't believe I do. I miss feeling the sense of accomplishment. I miss the energy it gave me. I miss the endorphins it released. I miss the sense of becoming stronger and fitter.

Don't get me wrong. I am not complaining about this process I am going through. Any future child is worth all this. But I have learned something about myself, that Roni in her post has discovered also. I really do love exercise and can't wait until I can add it back into my life.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt

One of my favorite things to eat with breakfast is greek yogurt. For 2 WW points, it is a great way to start off your day right. This morning I had open face egg white sandwiches with Oikos Honey flavored greek yogurt on the side. I am really full for only a 5 point breakfast.

A few little facts about this yummy, thick, tart and creamy yogurt:

*110-120 calories for each 5.3oz container
*Fat Free
*13-15 grams of protein
*Comes in plain, vanilla, honey and blueberry
*You can download coupons off the Oikos Website
*So much more satisfying than regular yogurt!

Give it a try. It is super good.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

"Skinny" Monkey Bread

Here is a super yummy recipe for monkey bread that is low in points/calories. To make it a filling breakfast, I added some banana and eggs to make a great weekend breakfast. Great for Sunday brunch, or for a holiday breakfast.
6 Servings-3 Pts. ea. (about 130 calories)
8 Servings-2 Pts. ea. (about 100 calories)

1 Tube Pillsbury Buttermilk Biscuits (Small Blue Can, comes in packages of 4)
1/4 C Splenda
1 t. Cinnamon
1/4 C Brown Sugar
2 T light butter
2 t. milk

Preheat oven to 400. Spray a pie pan with butter flavored non-stick spray. Cut each biscuit into 4 pieces. (I used a pizza cutter and it worked great) In a large zip lock bag, pour in the cinnamon and splenda. Put the biscuit pieces in the mixture and shake till coated. Place each piece into the pie pan. In a small saucepan, heat the brown sugar, butter and milk. Boil for 1 minute, and then pour over the biscuit pieces. Bake for about 8 minutes. Cut into 6-8 servings.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Skinny Habit of the Week: Eat a Good Breakfast

This sounds more like common sense than a "skinny habit," but this is one habit that really helps in weight loss and maintenance. The days that I either skip breakfast or eat a wimpy one (ie. just grab a bar or something) are the days when I really struggle to eat right.

On those days, I am usually starving by 11am, and then am cranky and miserable until I get some lunch. I am impatient with my daughter, and when I do eat, I usually compensate and eat more. Some days, the compensation doesn't stop with lunch.

I have been in maintenance mode for a couple of weeks now (as I have started my in-vitro process) and have been eating a little more for breakfast than I used to. I am noticing such a difference in my hunger levels. I am noticing that it does carry into the whole day. I am less hungry over-all and more satisfied with the other meals.

Some of my breakfast staples:

Liquid Egg Whites
Alternative Bagels
Fiber One Frosted Mini Wheats
Peanut Butter Puffins or Reg. Puffins w/
Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (40 cals/cup)
Banana or other fruit
Bran Muffins
Greek Yogurt

I mix and match, for a breakfast of 5 or 6 WW pts. Sometimes I microwave some egg whites and eat them with a bit of light melted cheese on a bagel. Sometimes I have my cereal with fruit and a muffin on the side. Other times I eat some fruit and greek yogurt with eggs, or with cereal. The more filling, the better.

If you aren't currently eating a filling breakfast and trying to lose weight, give this a try and see what happens!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Chocolate Torte

OK. Let's be honest here. Once in a while we all need something sweet. And according to my Skinny Habit of the Week, it is important to not over-indulge.

My solution is simple. If you are a chocolate lover like me, and you make this dessert, it would be REALLY HARD to over-indulge. This dessert is so rich and satisfying that it kills all cravings. You really cannot eat two.

Craving Killer Chocolate Torte

4 Servings/4 pts ea.
(about 215 calories)

1/4 C fat free vanilla yogurt
1 t vanilla extract
4 lg. egg whites
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
3/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder (tastes better with a good brand)
2 T instant no-sugar added vanilla pudding
1 T whole wheat flour (can use white also)
1/2 t. salt
Four 3 1/2" diameter ramekins
Light Vanilla Ice Cream

Preheat the oven to 350. Spray each ramekin with non-stick cooking spray. Place them in a baking dish filled halfway with water. In a medium mixing bowl, with a whisk, mix the yogurt, vanilla, egg whites and sugar. Once combined, add the cocoa powder, pudding, flour, and salt. Mix until just combined, and no lumps remain. Pour into the ramekins, equally.

Bake for 24 minutes, or until tops are shiny.

Take out of water bath and cool in ramekins for 7-10 minutes. Turn ramekins upside down on plates and tortes should come right out.

Cool for another five minutes and then top with your favorite low-fat or fat-free ice cream.

My favorite is Breyers Fat Free and it is awesome. You definitely cannot tell it is fat-free. Only one point per serving, also.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Blog Post Spotlight: Treat Yourself


A friend of mine, Melanie (who actually guest posts here once in a while) emailed me a link to a great blog post about "treats." It fits right into my Skinny Habit of the Week. Here is a snippet, and I know you will want to read the whole post:

"I wonder why you can’t get this simple lesson to stick in your head. The days you eat well are the days that you feel brighter and cheerier. You get more done. You aren’t plagued by headaches. The kids are positively affected by your happier outlook. You enjoy them more and they enjoy you.

You call your indulgences “treats”? No, dear self. A treat is something that makes you feel good. Try a few chapters of a favourite book. A bubble bath. A cuddle session with your kids. Try turning on a fun song and dancing. Try eating something you enjoy that nourishes your body and your self-respect both."

Check it out.
I promise it will not be a waste of time.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Why Limits Are Good and What Not to Do

Wednesday, 3/18/09

Jen, alone while husband is out of town
: I think I'll try a new treat recipe tonight. Roni's Whole Wheat Dried Fruit and Walnut Oatmeal Cookie recipe looks good.

Jen goes to the store and buys dried cranberries and mini chocolate chips to substitute for the walnuts.

Jen puts daughter down for bed, and makes the cookies. 36 to be exact.

9:30 pm: Jen eats 2 cookies right out of oven, having to see how they turned out. Not bad!
Puts another batch into oven, then goes into the living room to watch her tv show.
9:37: Jen comes back into kitchen and grabs 2 more cookies. Goes back to the show.
9:43: Jen comes back into kitchen and grabs 2 more cookies. Goes back to the show.
9:50: Jen comes back into kitchen, switches batches and grabs 1 more cookie. Last one, I promise.
10:00: Jen comes back into kitchen and grabs 3 more cookies.
10:30: Jen puts cookies away as she is turning into one and is worried for her mental health.

Thursday, 3/19/09

8:30 am: I'll just grab one of those. They are almost like having oatmeal for breakfast.
10:30 am: Jen eats 2 more cookies.
3:00 pm: Jen eats 10 cookies.

8:30 pm: Husband comes home.
8:40 pm. Husband sees cookies and tastes one. Husband likes. Husband wonders why they are almost gone.

Jen makes no comment. Jen has nothing to say.