Friday, January 31, 2014

Weigh In Month End - January






I did it!  I surpassed the DietBet 4% goal for two bets I participated in and have now lost 10.3 pounds!  I don't know yet how many winners there are nor how much I have won.

Not sure I like having to check in with them, but then again, I was definitely aware that not sticking to my points plan would mean I could lose $50.  I didn't like them posting to my Twitter feed, so I'd turn that off next time I think.  Their auto posts were a little too "markety" and condescending on my behalf (i.e. not sure I can do it - come cheer me on type statements).  A little too close for comfort, considering I only lost 1.2 pounds more than required.  I might do another.  I'm not sure.  I think I will try a month on my own right now.

Have you ever used DietBet?  Did you win or lose or both (win at losing)?

Fab Grab Breakfast of Instant Oatmeal for 3 points - Maple & Brown Sugar




'Nuf said I suppose.  I'm posting to share due to the ease.  I used to eat this flavor of oatmeal on NutriSystem too with their morning shake, but this serving is a bit more.  It's also only 3 Weight Watcher points for me!

I also like to keep my breakfast and lunch low in points when I know my dinner will be higher.  For instance, tonight I had a HUGE taco salad. 





Thursday, January 30, 2014

Flavorful Find - 4 Weight Watcher Points for Half the Package




I Found this in the grocery store on sale and decided to give it a try.  I like lentils and this was pretty good.  It's loaded with protein and dietary fiber at 10 grams and 7 grams per serving respectively for only 4 Weight Watcher Points per serving (2 servings per package).

The package says you can use it as a taco topping, in stuffed bell peppers, party dips, meatloaf, serve with flatbreads, toss with noodles, swirl into soup, serve as a side dish, jazz up salads, sprice up rice dishes.

I'm thinking I'll be trying it in some tacos or a taco salad tomorrow.  To heat, you just pop it into the microwave (with the edge torn open) for 90 seconds.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Family-Friendly Garlic-Broiled Chicken - Leg AND Thigh for 7 Weight Watcher Points WITH Skin



Yet another Favorite chicken recipe of mine.  I don't know about you, but plain chicken just doesn't do it for me.  The only hard part of this dish is cutting the whole chicken down the middle, but sometimes you can Find chickens already cut in half.

I was shocked at the price of this chicken....I have NEVER paid $10 for a whole chicken before in my life, but that's what this one cost me.  Food prices are so ridiculous right now.

Here is the recipe for the delish mixture to baste the chicken with:

1/4 cup melted butter
3 Tablespoons fresh, minced garlic
2 Tablespoons lite soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon black pepper


You just need a 2-1/2- to 3-1/2-pound whole frying chicken cut in half to baste it upon during the last 10 minutes of broiling 6" to 8" away from the heat, turning every 10 minutes until done. Approximately 35-45 minutes.

Note:  I like to put mine all the way down onto the bottom rack and broil each side for 20 minutes on a bigger chicken and then switch to each side broiled at 10 minutes WITH the butter-garlic mixture basted upon it for those last 20 minutes. I insert a meat thermometer to ensure it's done. Before serving, baste one more time with buter-garlic mixture.  You can add chopped parsley sprinkled on top too.   (For whole chickens, a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, but not near bone or fat, should register 180 to 185 degrees Fahrenheit before removing from the oven.)


Voila! And Four out of the Five of us eat this one.  For the one who doesn't, his chicken taken off this very chicken is removed from the bone and goes into making him a quick chicken quesadilla.

The Weight Watcher points vary depending upon which part of the chicken you choose to eat and whether or not you eat the skin.  I add a point for the butter mixture on top of the points listed for the pieces WITH skin.  I take the meat off the bone and weigh it, then look in my handy-dandy points book to Figure it out.

When I was on the NutriSystem plan, I used leftovers of this dish as a PowerFuel serving. 

Planning Ahead and Freezing is Key for Me

I bought a 3-pound package of ground turkey the other day.  I usually divide it up into 1-pound portions and Freeze using my FoodSaver system.  However, I decided to take it another step Further today.

I hate wasting Food, even the herbs I buy. When I Found myself with the turkey out on the counter ready to divide and use a pound to make my Favorite turkey burgers for 6 Weight Watcher Winning Points along with a bunch of cilantro, as it calls for 2 tablespoons, it hit me---combine all the ingredients First and Form into burger patties prior to Freezing them! Der. 

There is another Frequently used Food item that requires the cilantro and the chipotle pepper as well for which you should wear gloves to mince -- the dressing for my Mexican Chicken Salad Platter.  I made two batches of the burger patties and the dressing all at once even though I don't currently have a plan for the salad because it keeps in the Fridge wonderfully.

Out of 2 pounds of ground turkey, I made 10 four-ounce turkey burgers.   I suppose I will use one-pound worth for myself and yank out the other 5 for a Family dinner because, yes, the whole Family eats these burgers.  (The math doesn't add up here because of the weight of the other ingredients added to the ground turkey.)

Here is a photo of the individually Frozen turkey burger patties, which I then promptly packaged up individually and sealed. (I probably would have packed 5 together for a Family night separated by wax paper, but I'm out of the larger bags currently.)







I love, love, love when I Find a way to simplify!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Networking Online - Sheesh.

I understand how it works.  I've taken some cheap shots as the newbie on many occasions.  When I joined the NutriSystem online chat room, I took it, as did many others (wasn't a very Friendly group with a definite pecking order).  When I joined the professional AOL boards as a newbie, I took it (same thing--pecking order.) 

I've joined Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google plus under this weight-loss-journey handle of mine....and I get nuttin'. 

I've outright asked for the people who are Following me on Twitter to share with me their Pinterest handles, their Facebook pages, their blogs.  I WANT to follow people like me. 

Where the heck are you?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Almond-Coconut Smoothie for 5.5 or 6.5 Weight Watchers Points - Good for Meal Skippers



This is another smoothie great for meal skippers.  In Fact, I seem to be doing better drinking two such-style smoothies a day in lieu of breakfast and lunch.  It is better than skipping altogether, as is my usual habit when I'm in a rush with too much to do.

This one is a little less thick, so if you like a truly frozen and thick smoothie to eat on a spoon, I would recommend freezing the 1/2 banana, spinach, and almond butter overnight prior, and try freezing half of the almond milk as well, then adding the remainder of almond milk in at blending time.

I also choose to add spinach to mine, because why not?!  You can't taste it and it helps gets those veggie servings down.

Ingredients: 

1/2 banana (abaout 2 oz.) for 1 point
2/3 cup vanilla almond milk (or FF milk) for 1 point (or chocolate for 1 more-total of 2)
1 Tablespoon shredded coconut (I keep mine in the freezer) for 1 point
1 Tablespoon almond butter for 2.5 points
1/8 tsp. vanilla extract for 0 points (or almond or coconut extracts)

Remember....spinach is 0 points too.

I wanted to try it with 1/8 tsp. of coconut extract too, but I'm Fresh out of it right now.

As a side note, this post took me an hour to get up with constant interruptions from my jabberjaws 8-year-old and my daughter's Fill-you-in play-by-play after returning from a Friend's house as I was trying to add labels.  And....I type 110 words per minute!

Fast Tip:  Freeze your banana and almond butter on a cookie sheet. I just put my nut butter on top of the banana. Sometimes they tip over, sometimes not, but either way, they Freeze together.  When Frozen, place in a baggie and add the tablespoon of coconut, then seal it up so it's ready to grab and go. 

Here are my Frozen ingredients minus the spinach that I now add regularly:




My Top 5 Tips Dealing with the Finicky Family While Dieting



I can speak from experience here.....the Frustration of planning Family meals geared toward helping mom to lose weight with a picky husband, three children, and a slew of other responsibilities can be enough to derail a diet.  It can make you Feel defeated--like something is working against you.

It's definitely Frustrating for me, especially when dealing with the normality of mothering 3 children and all the bickering between them, the prodding them along in life lessons, the homework, the chores, the priorities, and on and on.

I'm, either Fortunately or unfortunately, a problem solver.  When people talk to me about their problems, I take their problems on and mull them over and over trying to Find a solution for them.  It compounds my stress, but it's something I can't help.  It's who I am.  When I'm surrounded by chaos, I strive to make things smooth. When they aren't, I'm pretty much done, and when that happens, there goes mom-as-a-priority.

I've grown a lot as a person, a mother, a wife, and human being.  I've learned a lot.  I also recognized that identifying my own problems (really what sets me back) meant it's time to Find a solution.  Most importantly, I've learned that we are all different in every way and we do the best we can, and what works for one doesn't always work for all.

I would love to attribute the struggles I had in this area to the mother's curse.  I have to admit that I sometimes believe in this curse.  You know what I'm talking about....the karmic curse where our mother's said, "I hope you have 10 just like you."  Yup.  I was one of those picky kids too who Fought like cats and dogs with her sisters, and it is probably payback for being so smug at what I thought was "winning" all those years I chose the opaque black coffee mug as my Favorite cup to have at the dinner table--the one I spit all the Fake-chewed-up green beans into that I emptied into the toilet when I asked to be dismissed to refill my cup with water, and then repeat.  I was amazed my mom never Figured out what I was up to.....Or did she and also choose her battles? 

Here is how I've dealt with meal planning and cooking meals for my Family over the years, even when dieting:

  1. Slow changes. Do not go overboard immediately into organic, clean, vegetarian-style cooking out of nowhere on them.  Just make healthier choices for the time being and work your family into eating healthier a little at a time, and this starts with making all of your Food yourself.  The more Flavor, the better.  Plain doesn't fly.  Don't suddenly choose to serve up nothing but plain chicken breasts and Fish.  Everyone I know who does this gives up on their "new, healthful ways" within months, if they last that long.  It won't work out for you if you do it either.  You will cave and give up because nobody will ever seem happy, you'll be miserable and become defeated.  
Learn to read the labels of the "better" choices you make so you can figure out what and how much of what everyone will eat that you can have while dieting.  The Weight Watchers system is great for learning about how much of what you should be eating, but you can also utilize a simple caloric intake system such as that at My Fitness Pal.  The labels themselves can shock you into a reality check when you discover what a true serving size is.  The key here is making the Food yourself and avoiding pre-packaged, processed items, i.e. convenience Foods.  You may also Find yourself surprised that you can eat many of the items you were already eating, but you are controlling what goes into the homemade dishes.

In time, you will learn how to make them more healthful and how to make healthful variations of your Favorite items.  Take, for example, this evening's dinner of homemade BBQ chicken pizza (I haven't found a good homemade pizza dough recipe yet, but I'm looking)--my pizza was Full of mushrooms, spinach, red onion, and some chicken breast with BBQ sauce instead of pizza sauce.  Anybody else in my house was welcome to try the pizza designated for me that wanted to. 
  1. Meal planning.  There are so many main-dish-type products to choose from.  I divide mine into fish, turkey, chicken, pork, and beef.  That is five main categories to choose from.  With five to cover each week, and always having leftovers, it covers the whole week and includes a buffet night.  I sit down and choose a recipe to cover each category and make a list of what is planned.  I keep that list handy on the fridge.  I'm not left wondering what on earth to fix.  I'm also not likely at all to give in to the Feeling of "I don't feel like cooking tonight, so let's go out tonight."
  1. A li'l something for everyone. I Fall into the category of trying to ensure there is at least one item on the table that each of the Five of us can eat, whether it's a salad or something as minimal as bread and butter, celery and peanut butter, or apples and peanut butter, etc.
Just make sure you have ready-prepped veggies and fruits available to put on the table, and pull 'em out every single meal if you need to. If they are dead set against all options, then they can wait until after dinner to make themselves a sandwich and clean up after themselves, but that's because they are old enough now to do so.

I've never let their preferences lead to a lack of offering up the healthy options.  I just decided this particular battle of wills was actually pointless and stressful, and that is what it is--a battle of wills.  They are learning how to make their own decisions and exert some sort of control over those decisions in the very Few areas they actually can, and then we take it away.  I ask them a couple of times each meal to give something a try and cover the bases of what food means to our bodies, it's Fuel, etc.  Every once in awhile, someone tries something new.  My husband and eldest now always do.  (My daughter likes to drive me crazy by coming home from a sleepover announcing she just LOVES something her Friend's mother made that she has refused to try for years at our house.)

I also do not have a problem with preparing a couple of options at once, but only of the same meat I'm working with at that moment.  For example, if we are having steak for dinner, I will chop up some of that meat to throw onto some tortillas and the picky can eat that as a steak quesadilla.  Another example is if I'm having an oven-roasted chicken that I know only the 3 out of the 5 of us will eat, again, a chicken quesadilla.  Yet another example is tonight I was making Fish, which not many kids like period (I know I certainly didn't as a kid.)  I pulled out some breaded Freezer Fish sandwich patties to bake while I grilled my unbreaded Fish. Not a big deal at all.  I'm already standing there, and all I had to do is preheat the oven and pop those in. No, not every single choice I make is a healthy one, but those nights are Few and Far between and I subscribe to the everything in moderation is okay school of thought.

You will see me Frequently share a recipe labeled with "Family-Friendly" before it. This means most of us, if not all of us eat what I'm sharing at the moment on the blog.
  1. Buffet or Pick Your Poison Night.  My Favorite night of the week is when it's leftover night, which is when I pull out the uneaten portions left over from previous meals.  I don't have to cook this night, and possibly two depending on how much is available.  I put them all on the table, and everyone can choose from those options.  We call this our buffet night. I did this tonight with the Fish options, and I will again offer up the extra options one more time before giving up on them for disposal.
We had two salads on the table.  One was a little bit of leftover cherry-spinach-almond salad that the kids won't eat, and the other a mini Caesar salad that they will.  This is only because I had some romaine lettuce that was about to turn, so I shredded up what I had left of that, and threw in some Parmesan cheese and croutons.  We also had the leftover yellow squash gratin, some twice-baked potatoes, some raw celery that needs to be used up, and some leftover ravioli.  Turned out that everyone ate the Fish patties, including me (at 4 points).  I threw some oven-baked French Fries in the oven on another baking sheet since they could bake with the fish at the same time (neither shown in picture).  One ate the Fish patty like a Fish stick dipped in ketchup, one decided to try the sandwich with lettuce and mustard, the other with tartar sauce and lettuce, etc.  I decided to try the sandwich myself at 6 points, including the avocado-lime sauce recipe on the back of the box and the bun.  The lettuce had been washed and stored in a tupperware container to be on the ready days earlier for me to grab whenever anyway, so I just pulled that out and plopped it on the table.  The grilled southwestern tilapia will even have to wait for me to eat it tomorrow.

Buffet night, scattered across the table as it is, with so many options, sort of makes it difficult for them to complain I guess because they never do.


  1. Find your inner child and what would appeal to you and creatively name your dishes. Of course, this really only works well on toddlers and youngsters probably up until the age of 7 or 8. For example, when serving up split pea soup, I named it Grinch stew, and we all got a little Grinchy with each and every bite. Another couple of examples, renaming our Italian wedding style soup Seaweed Stew and a yellow summer squash and green zucchini dish Florida Sunshine. There are also probably a lot of sites dedicated to helping you pull one over on the kiddos via slipping shredded carrots into their spaghetti sauce or cauliflower puree into another.  I've done that too.
At ages 8, 14, and 16, I find that dealing with the Finickiness is getting easier because they're becoming less so.  The older two always adhered to my rule of trying at least a bite before deciding they didn't like something, and the youngest is just now starting to give in to that a little.  The youngest really dug his heels in on that one, and he used to eat ANYTHING.

Hang in there! It does get easier.  Don't give up.  Get creative.  Approach the situation from a strategic Frame of mind moreso than a Frustrated one, and I'm sure you'll find what works best for you and your family!  More importantly, don't let what works for others make you feel inferior that it isn't working for you! My only regret is waiting for this reprieve to take care of myself. Don't let that happen to you.

I hope that something I've shared here helps you in some small way.  Do you have any tips you'd like to share? Or how 'bout that mother's curse?

Family-Friendly Pizza Night on a Diet for Just 4 Points Per Slice



Back when I was on the NutriSystem plan, they would provide a couple of pizza options, of which I chose the Italian Herb Flatbread pizza.  Their pizza came out to 6 points per slice BEFORE jazzing it up like I show here, and the same way I jazzed up some store-bought premade pizza dough tonight!

The ready-made pizza dough I bought from the store indicates that a 1/6 slice of pizza dough is only 2 points (prior to additions).  Wow, right!?  So I went for it.

All Five of us were NOT home for this single pizza.  It was only me, my youngest, and one of his friends.  Otherwise, I would have made at least two pizzas. 

I spread it out in a 10 x 15" baking sheet.  I then divided the dough into thirds visibly and with a little cut to the edge of the dough (since I was working with 1/6 of a pizza for 2 points) and discovered that if I divided my third of the entire pizza into 3 whole slices, each of those slices was the same size as the NutriSystem pizza I used to make.

I added the following to the whole 1/3 portion of dough for me worth 4 points total (3 slices or 2 large 1/6 slices):

1 oz. of chicken breast (can add more) for 1 point
a bunch of spinach (since it wilts down) for 0 points
red onion for 0.5 points
mushrooms for 0 points
2 tablespoons of barbecue sauce for 2 points
1/2 c. regular (yes regular!) mozzarella cheese for 4 points

(my version worked out to 3.7 points per slice, but I rounded up)

I just can't even believe each slice was 2 whole points LESS than the NutriSystem slice! What a surprise.  I only ate 2 of the 3 slices too for a whopping, complete dinner worth 8 points.

 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Cherry Fudge Brownies at Only 3 Weight Watcher Points per Brownie (Make a Sundae for 5!)


This is obviously G-O-O-D! Can you believe I have somebody in my house who doesn't like it though! For real! My husband would prefer I not add in the candied cherries, but too bad because this year is about me.

Just as the post title says, it's only 3 points per brownie and when you turn it into a warm brownie mint sundae, it's still only 5 points!

Ingredients:

1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt 1 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/3 c. chopped candied cherries
1/4 c. semisweet chocolate chips
2 Tbsp. confectioner's sugar (I never add this)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8"-square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Get 2 bowls out. Combine into one bowl the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt and in the other the granulated sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Add the sugar mixture to the cocoa mixture and stir just until blended (takes some work and gets very thick). Fold in the cherries and the chocolate chips. Work batter into the pan evenly. Bake until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 28-32 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for about 30 minutes. Cut into 16 bars. Remove from the pan and sprinkle with confectioner's sugar.

Yields 16 servings.
Points: 3 points

141 calories, 5 g fat, 34 mg cholesterol, 86 mg sodium, 25 g carb, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein

Sundae Version: Points=5 points
Add 1/2-cup scoop of fat-free mint ice cream, a tablespoon of fat-free whipped topping, and a maraschino cherry.

Southwestern Grilled Tilapia at 2.25 Points per 4 Ounces



This recipe makes plain Tilapia very Flavorful with a little bit of a kick via the jalapeno pepper slices.   It is only 2.25 Weight Watcher points for me.  The only item in the topping with any points is the brown sugar, which is 1 point, so divided by 4, it comes out to 0.25 points.  I will type the recipe as it came to me, but in the winter I just grill this on my indoor electric grill that cooks from both top and bottom without the foil for about 5 minutes.

I am not a Fish girl, but I like this.  When I was on NutriSystem, I would eat this as one of my PowerFuels.

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 tsp. Mexican chili powder (I use regular chili powder)
1/2 tsp. grated lime peel
1/4 tsp. onion salt
4 (4-oz.) tilapia filets (1 pound)
1 jalapeno ppper, seeded and sliced (wear gloves)

Preheat grill to medium, about 300 degrees F. In a small bowl combine the first four ingredients listed, which makes up the topping.  Cut heavy-duty foil into sheets slightly larger than each filet and cut two 3-1/2" slits in each foil center. Coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

Pat fish dry with paper towels.  Place one filet on each foil sheet and sprinkle each filet with the topping, dividing as evenly as possible over fish and pressing lightly. Top with jalapeno slices. Place foil sheets on grill and grill for 6-8 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork. 

Serves 4
Points 2.25 per 4-ounce serving.

110 calories, 1 g fat, 55 mg cholesterol, 240 mg sodium, 4 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 21 g protein, 0 g Omega 3.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

"Honey, Remember When....?"

So I joined a Diet Bet at the beginning of the month.  Actually, two of them.  I had to put aside my horror at having to provide somebody O-N-L-I-N-E photo proof of my weight, which was me standing on a scale in what they refer to as "airport security attire."  Eeek.  What was worse than that?  It was asking my hubby to take that picture for me since we have a doctor's scale.

I told him he had to stand as far back as possible in the laundry room where we would be doing this and I would zoom in on the picture later so the judges could see the weight.  He sighed and said, "Babe, I S-E-E you."  That was to let me know that I could not hide from my Fatness.

So here's the Funny part.  I said, "Honey, I know you S-E-E me, but remember when I weighed 150 and you always guessed me at about 120 and never believed me?  Yeah, I'm kinda hoping we're still there."  We both cracked up.

I asked him what he would guess I weighed in that moment, and he guessed I weighed 0.75 pounds HEAVIER but still pretty darned accurate.

Okay, so that handy little optical illusion I used to present was no longer. Sigh.  Getting old rots, but being married to your best Friend rocks.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Weigh-In

I haven't been weighing in weekly because I've been weighing myself every day due to a couple of Diet Bets I'm in, but as of today, I down' 6.3 lbs. Woot! Woot!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Tuna Melts at 4 Points each




I got this recipe from Weight Watchers, or one of their books I bought, from when I was a member back in the early 2000s.  It's very Filling when you have two for 8 points too.  I have never found a 6-oz can of tuna, as all available to me here come in 5-oz. cans.  I just go with the listed 4 points however despite that.

To separate the fixings into 4 equal parts, I use a small food storage container to mix it up, then pack it down, and using a knife I then divide into four.  As you can see below, I already scooped out my two servings for lunch today.


I've also frozen the individual servings at this point for a more grab-and-go approach.  The liquids separate a tad when defrosting, but a quick stir Fixes it back up.

Ingredients:

1 6-oz. can albacore tuna in water, drained
1/4 c. chopped fresh celery
3 tbsp. light mayonnaise
1 tbsp. sweet pickle relish
4 tomato slices
4 3/4-oz. slices fat-free American processed cheese
2 English muffins, split and pre-toasted in a toaster

Toast your muffin halves first in a toaster.  Combine tuna, celery, mayo, and pickle relish in a bowl.  Place muffin halves on a baking sheet with cut sides up and scoop 1/4 of the tuna mixture into each muffin.  Top with a tomato slice followed by a cheese slice.  Broil for 2 minutes or until cheese melts (or around 8 minutes if you like a little char to your cheese like me as pictured above.)

Place on a bed of lettuce if you wish.

Yields 4 servings (each muffin half is a serving).

Points: 4 points

182 calories, 15.9 g protein, 4.8 g fat, 18.7 g carb,  0.9 fiber, 18 mg cholesterol, 640 mg sodium

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Yellow Summer Squash Casserole - 7 Points





As you may have Figured out, I like to save a lot of points for dinner. This comes in handy when we are having something high in points, like this yellow summer squash casserole.

I cut it up into 16 servings since the nutritional information indicates it serves 8. Then I scoop up 2 of the squares for 7 points, or I just have one square at 3.5 points if my points don't allow a full serving.

I'm not a big veggie girl, but this is delish.


Ingredients:

5 cups sliced yellow squash (about 2 pounds)
2 lightly beaten eggs
1 cup evaporated milk
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 tsp. celery salt
2 cups crushed butter crackers
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup finely chopped onion

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees and coat a 2-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In a large saucepan combine squash with enough lightly salted water to cover. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 3 minutes or just until squash is tender and drain.

In a large bowl stir together the eggs, the milk, the melted butter, and the celery salt. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir.

Fold in the cooked squash, the crushed butter crackers, the cheese, and the chopped onion. Transfer to a baking dish.

Bake uncovered for 40 minutes or until set. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 8.

Per serving: 285 calories, 18 g fat, 90 mg cholesterol, 400 mg sodium, 22 g carb, 2 g fiber, 10 g protein.

(I got this recipe from a Meijer recipe card in the produce section!)

A Paula Dean Recipe w/Weight Watcher Points! Pig on a Stick @1 Point Per Ounce

Pig on a stick doesn't sound remotely appetizing, but this Flavorful pork tenderloin (which I use whenever possible because it's very lean and 1 point per ounce) is a hit with my Family.  I found this recipe when trying to grow my pork tenderloin cooking recipe section by Paula Dean at PaulaDean.com.



It has a dipping sauce made out of orange marmalade, butter, jalapeno pepper, and lime juice.  The marmalade by itself, straight out of the jar, unadulterated, is 1 point per tablespoon and the whole tablespoon of butter is only 3 points.  Spreading out 1 tablespoon of butter amongst 18 oz. of marmalade probably makes the butter in a single-tablespoon serving of the dipping sauce scant, so I don't count it.  I make sure to not go to the end of my points range on days where I have something that *may* add a fraction of a point. The rest of the ingredients added to the dipping sauce are Free/zero points.  I usually don't use up a full 2-tablespoon serving of the dipping sauce with 4 ounces of the Flavorful meat.  So, voila! Four points for 4 ounces of meat and 2 points for 2 tablespoons of the dipping sauce, and together at 6 points.

I made this tonight with some brown-buttered gourmet potatoes and a yellow summer squash casserole.








Saturday, January 18, 2014

Crockpot Chicken Enchiladas - 9 Weight Watcher Winning Points for 2 or 4.5 points for 1!

In a slow cooker or crock pot mix the following ingredients for the enchilada filling:

1-1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 4-oz. can of diced green chiles
1/2 c. chopped onion
5 cloves of minced garlic
1 Tbs. dried, crushed oregano
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 10-oz. can enchilada sauce (can choose green or red)

Cover and cook on low setting around 5 to 6 hours, or if your slow cooker is like mine, check after a few hours. You will reserve the cooking liquid for use in the enchilada sauce later and a little to moisten the chicken, so save it for now. Remove the chicken from the cooker, let cool, and shred it by either using two forks or peeling apart with hands. Now use as much of the reserved liquid as necessary to really moisten the shredded chicken in a large bowl and mix well.


To make enchilada sauce combine the following ingredients into a bowl:

2 10-oz. cans of the same enchilada sauce (red or green)
1/4 c. reserved cooking liquid from shredded chicken filling
1 4-oz. can diced green chiles


To assemble: (You will need at least 8 7" or 8" flour tortillas)



First spread about 1/2 cup enchilada sauce mixture into bottom of a rectangular baking dish (lasagna pan) or enough to cover bottom.   Fill each tortilla with about 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture filling in the center.  Roll up the filled tortillas and place in the baking dish seam-side down.  Put the rest of the enchilada sauce mixture over the top of the rolled and filled tortillas. Now cover and bake at 350 degrees until heated through for about 20-25 minutes.  Remove from oven and top with about 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese.  Bake again, uncovered, for about 8-10 minutes until cheese is melted (and slightly browned if you prefer.)

Makes 8 single-enchilada servings at 4.5 points each.  You may be able to make more than 8 if you fill each with less than the recommended 1/3 cup of filling, but that's your call and you will need to figure out the new points per enchilada that way. In this particular batch, I only wound up with 7 enchiladas. I think I bought the wrong size tortilla.  In this picture I also added more than 1/2 cup cheese, added some crumbled cotija cheese, and some queso fresco (so I only had 1 enchilada).


Calories 53, fat 3 g, cholesterol 4 mg, sodium 436 mg, carbs 5 g, fiber 0, protein 2 g.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Tried a New Soup Today for 4 Points/Cup





Tried something new today....this bisque soup. 

I'm not a big fan of sweet potatoes in general, but I like to try new things because sometimes I'm pleasantly surprised.  This wasn't bad at all, but probably not something I'd go out of my way to buy again.  If, however, you are a big fan of sweet potatoes, maybe it's for you.

It was only 4 Winning Weight Watcher Points for me, but I added some crackers to it for another 4 points.

There are also no preservatives or artificial flavors in it, so that's a plus!


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Fewer Points -- Oopsie.

The other day I was down 6 pounds, and today I'm only down 5 because the 6-pound loss put me into a new points range with Fewer points.  Oopsie!  Gotta hate when that happens.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Family Friendly Mexican Chicken Salad Platter recipe - 8 Winning Weight Watcher Points Max

There is supposed to be more of the salsa, but that was all I had left until I bought some more the next day. 


Love, love, love this salad.  It is also Family Friendly, meaning 4 out of the 5 of us like it.  I got this recipe out of an old Mexican cookbook somewhere that I do not have and can therefore not give proper credit.  I will if you know where it came from though!  You can make it as spicy as you'd like via your choice of salsa spiciness--mild, hot, etc.  You can can also make your serving size a little smaller since the chicken breast is 1 point per ounce and the homemade dressing goes a long way, which is why I've listed this as "8 Points Max."  A couple of shakes is all it takes, and I figured that 1 whole tablespoon of the dressing is worth 3 Winning Points. I so far have never actually used a whole tablespoon of the dressing. 

Here is a pic with the dressing, followed by the recipe and instructions for assembly. At the bottom of this entry will be a recipe to make your own corn and black-bean salsa.


Make the dressing ahead of time to allow flavors to blend. I actually double the dressing recipe so I have some for future salads and store it in the refrigerator.

Dressing:

Blend all of the below ingredients together, cover, shake and refrigerate.  You can use any ol' jar you have handy with a lid.  You must shake it each time before applying dressing.  I prefer the salad dressing bottle above with a small opening because, as I mentioned earlier, a little bit goes a long way. 

1/4 c. olive oil or vegetable oil (I use olive oil)
3 Tablespoon fresh cilantro finely chopped
3 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce finely chopped (wear gloves!)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 clove of garlic finely minced


Salad:

10 c. coarsely chopped lettuce (1 head iceburg or romaine).  I sometimes use both.
3-1/2 c. shredded cooked chicken
10+ grape tomatoes cut in half (I usually use more than 10)
1/4 c. sliced green onions (I just eyeball this to make tomato/green onion mixture balanced)
1 avocado
1 16-oz. jar corn and black bean relish (I like the Target brand)
l lime

Assembly:

Cover a large serving platter with lettuce.  Toss the shredded chicken with about a tablespoon of the dressing.  In a small bowl combine the tomatoes and green onions.  Arrange with chicken mixture down center over top of lettuce, place the green onion/tomato mixture on one side of the chicken mixture and the corn and black bean salsa on the other side of the chicken mixture.  Cut your lime into wedges and place in another row and place your avocado slices on the last row covering the entire bed of lettuce(s).  Cover and chill for an hour, but if you are fast enough, you can eat immediately too. Do not put dressing on until ready to eat if you will serve up & consume entire batch. Use tongs to grab a portion of each section, including lettuce, to create individual salads.

Remember, the chicken breast is 1 point per ounce, the avocado 1 point per ounce (1 slice of avocado sliced into eights), and the dressing 3 points per tablespoon. You can figure out your points for the salsa according to the brand you choose.  Mine is zero! (Winning points).

This makes 6 main dish servings, which are really quite large and very filling.  We usually get more out of it.

You can cover with saran wrap and store the salad, sans dressing, for days, so you can have lunch or grab for a dinner when the family is eating something you shouldn't be. As always, you can divide up into covered food containers or Mason jars for grab-and-go convenience (sans dressing until ready to eat!).

Shortcuts:  You can use deli-roasted chicken instead of cooking up your own chicken breast.  You can toss the avocado with some of the lime to help prevent browning, but I find the avocado still gets squishy, so I take off the avocado slices and freeze them on a plate until frozen and then move them into a baggie. I pull out the one-eighth (1 oz.) avocado about 45 minutes before I plan to eat or pop a slice into the microwave for a few seconds and then dice it up into my salad.

Corn and Black Bean Salsa: (which I've never made)

Combine 1 15-oz. can black beans (rinsed and drained), 3/4 c. cooked fresh or frozen whole-kernel corn, and 1 small orange sweet pepper or green sweet pepper chopped (optional).  Toss w/2 tablespoons of dressing. 

Serves 6.  365 calories, 19 g fat, 73 mg cholesterol, 466 mg sodium, 22 g carb, 7 g fiber, 31 g protein.

I'm About to be 44!

Seeing how 4 is my favorite number, turning 44 in the year '14 means it should be my year.   I also forgot to blog my weigh-in last week, but as of today I'm down 5 pounds.

Look at all the Fabulous F words - Four, Favorite, Forty-Four, Fourteen, Forgot, and Five!

I haven't really been tracking my points, and I still lost 5 pounds, but I know I could do better if I did track, so I'm committing to that now.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Shocked at Myth #6--Bigger People have Higher Metabolisms?

Here is another myth from this link claiming to share the 20 Biggest Fitness Myths.  I find this "Myth #6" irresponsible as well.  It reads, "When people gain weight, 20-30% of that weight is muscle. Therefore, people who weigh more actually have more muscle and therefore a higher metabolic rate than those with less body weight."


Comparing a large person to a small person, probably so; but proportionately speaking, I bet not.  How would you verify something like this?  Care to discuss?

Whuh? Shocked at "20 Biggest Fitness Myths" Myth #2.

This link to "The 20 Biggest Fitness Myths" came across my Twitter timeline tonight, and I'm shocked at some of these "Myths". In fact, some don't make any sense at all even the way they are worded, but some do make me go hmmmmm.

Myth #2 lists spot training to target fat in one area of your body as a myth.  It reads "No, doing butt-crunches won't get rid of the fat in your rear, and doing sit-ups won't lose the extra flab in your belly. Your body burns fat on an even keel."


I can totally understand the wording in reference to spot training targeting "fat" in the targeted spot.   They fail to point out that spot training works the muscle, which in turn manipulates the appearance of the fat in that spot, i.e. lift the glutes and tone the muscle.  Even when you lift the glutes and tone the muscle, there is always a layer of fat there, no matter your weight.

The entire last sentence makes absolutely no sense, however, as it reads "As you'll see in Myth #1, exercise doesn't really help with weight loss."  (Myth #1 was "Sex is a great workout.)  That seems a very irresponsible statement to make considering that exercise burns calories, even if sex doesn't burn many, and it is all about calories in and calories out. When you take in fewer calories than you put out, you lose weight overall, even during spot training exertion.

Care to discuss?