Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Never Trust a Skinny Girl to Make Your Guacamole

Bethenny Frankel's Mock-a-Mole
4 Weight Watcher Points Plus (1/4th of recipe, plus points for chips)

I am officially admitting it online: I do like Bethenny Frankel and I do watch her show Bethenny Ever-after. I decided I should give one of her recipes a try. As a guacamole lover I was disappointed with her mock-a-mole. I purposely did NOT tell my husband there was anything different about the guacamole and he noticed right away. I didn't think it was horrible but I did agree that it just wasn't the same. I guess I'd say don't mess with my guac, Skinny Girl!

You give it a try and tell me what you think.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Cravings: Sometimes You Just Have to Give In

Garlic Fries & Sriracha Mayo
6 Weight Watcher Points Plus

Ever since a friend sent me this link, all I could think about was fries & sriracha mayo. She wasn't trying to tempt me she just knows I am obsessed with Sriracha. Last night at about 8:30 I decided to give in. I made Ellie Krieger's garlic fries & whipped up some Sriracha mayo with low-fat mayo. It was so, so, so good that if I get into it more the obsession will return and I will be headed back in the kitchen to make some more.

I didn't get fancy with the Sriracha mayo. I just added in Sriracha to mayo until it was a pretty orange color and tasted yummy. It is 1 point plus for 1 T of the mayo. This would be great on sandwiches and burgers.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Weekend Wrap-Up: Garage Sale, Weigh-in & A Grilling Experiment

Tilapia Piccata w/ Snap Peas
10 Weight Watcher Points Plus
(for the whole packet & yes there is fish under there)

It was a great weekend but busy weekend! I finished off a garage sale with a friend. Man was it good to get rid of a bunch of junk! It was a lot of work though. And not the most diet friendly activity. Stress + going through boxes in the basement = pizza cravings for me.

My friend did cook a bunch of healthy yummy food for me when I was at her house, which helped. I wish I would have taken a picture of this Ina shrimp she made. So good!!

I must not have done too much damage because I was down 2.2 lbs at my weigh-in. Which brings me .6 pounds away from my goal. I can hardly believe it.

I haven't had much time to try new recipes lately. Tonight I made Tilapia Piccata w/ snap peas from the June Self magazine. They had a whole story on packet grilling. You steam the food in packets on the grill so you don't have to use as much oil or butter (according to them; although they did call for 1 T of butter/packet?). These are also perfectly portioned because your whole meal is right in the packet. Click here for the recipe.

I thought the dish was good but I think the points where a bit high for tilapia. Confession: sometimes I don't calculate the points until after I have cooked and consumed a recipe. I don't advocate this approach!

I think in theory the packet approach could be really good and easy. I am going to try and look for some other packet grilling recipes. If you have anything that works for you let me know! I am trying to get better on the grill this summer.

I hope you had a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cool as a Cucumber

Cucumber Feta Salad
2 Weight Watcher Points Plus (1/4th serving)

One thing that is hard about summer is the salads. Seriously people does every salad need to be covered in full fat mayo? I have made this salad 3 times now and so far it has been a big hit.

I am in love with this salad right now because:

1. It uses feta. I love feta, almost as much as I love blue cheese.
2. There is no lettuce which I normally pick around anyways to get the good stuff.
3. There isn't any mayo.
4. There is nothing better in the summer than a cold cucumber salad.

This is really easy to throw together and you could make substitutions for what you like or have on hand. I served this for the Moms at a playgroup and added some drained canned tuna (points will change). Here is how I made mine today...

  • One large seedless cucumber, diced = 0 pp
  • 1 medium plum tomato, seeded & diced = 0 pp
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced = 0 pp
  • 2 oz of feta, crumbled (I like to use the block feta in brine because I think it tastes better) = 4 pp
  • 1 T olive oil = 4 pp
  • 1/2 - 1 T lemon juice = 0 pp
  • Splash of vinegar = 0 pp (I used white wine vinegar but use whatever you fancy)
  • Salt, pepper & oregano to taste = o pp
  • Total = 8 pp
  • 1/4th serving = 2 pp
  • Dice vegetables & combine with feta
  • Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar & seasonings. Pour on salad.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Weight Loss Update & Cheesecake?

Strawberry Cheesecake
4 Weight Watcher Points Plus (for 1 slice NOT whole pan, unfortunately)

Apparently you can lose weight AND have your cheesecake too! More on that below, but first some updates on why I have been MIA lately...

I missed a weigh-in last week for a very special 1st birthday. My nephew turned 1 so my family and I took a major road trip to help him celebrate. MI - IN - IL to IL - MO - KS (with two tots). I spaced the trip out so I was gone from home for a whole week. I tried to be good but I also wanted to enjoy the visit with my family. We had a blast.

This week I weighed in and was up 1.2 lbs. Given all of the wine, bbq & fast food that I consumed I am very happy.

We celebrated Father's Day on Sunday with my hubby's family. It was a great day. I made strawberry cheesecake from Gina's Skinny site. I was shocked at how good it was. I didn't have strawberry jam so I topped it with fresh strawberries. Click here for the recipe.

I hope your summer is off to a great start!!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sweet Summertime!

Coconut Cream Pie
6 Weight Watcher Points Plus

It is so nice to approach the summertime without complete fear of the clothes. The shorts that I squeezed into last summer are literally falling off of me this year. I can actually take them off without unbuttoning or unzipping them. (I guess it is time to buy some new summer clothes)

At my weigh-in on Saturday I was down 1.2 pounds which puts me 1.6 pounds away from my goal. I can't believe it. To be honest I am a bet scared of being at my goal. I know this sounds silly but this is when the hard part really starts - keeping it off for good.

We had friends over on Saturday and I wanted to serve dessert that everyone could enjoy but wouldn't leave me feeling completely guilty. My Mom makes this coconut cream pie that is awesome. It makes enough to fill up a 9 x 13 pan which is way too much dessert to be trusted around me. So I thought I would try to cut the quantity down dramatically and make it healthier. I also but it into individual servings so it was impossible to have too much.

It took two attempts but I was happy with the results.

  • 1 1/2 cups Edy's Slow Churned Vanilla Ice Cream. slightly softend = 8 pp
  • 1 box instant coconut cream pudding = 10 pp
  • A few splashes of fat-free milk = 0 pp
  • 1/2 0f 8 oz container of fat-free cool whip, defrosted = 2 pp
  • 12 graham crackers, crushed = 18 pp
  • Total = 38 pp
  • 1/6th serving = 6 pp
  • Crush graham crackers in a plastic bag or in a food processor. Add water to soften the crumbs slightly. Normally you would combine the crumbs with butter to form the crust. I decided to try just water and I didn't really miss the butter. I definitely didn't miss the fat and calories! Press your bread crumbs with wet fingers into your serving dish. I used margarita glasses for mine.
  • Mix ice cream, box of pudding and a few splashes of fat-free milk with a mixer until well combined. You may have to let your ice cream set out for awhile to soften. You want to add just enough milk so you can pour the mixture. Pour mixture on top of crust.
  • Top with cool whip.
  • Chill in the fridge for a few hours or up to overnight.
You could make this even lower in points if you skip the crust. I hope you had a great weekend!

Friday, June 3, 2011

My New Favorite Lunch-time Friend: The Frittata

Veggie Fajita Frittata
5.5 Weight Watcher Points Plus (for the whole thing!)

First I must say that this meal was completely unplanned. As the lunch hour approached, once again, I peered into the fridge wondering what to make myself for lunch. I normally make easy lunches for the girls like PB&J or nuggets. (Judge me if you want but at my house I usually serve something I know they will like for lunch and save the battles for dinner.) Those options are not something I want to eat or should eat. (Well to be totally honest I do like nuggets.) I digress, my point is that I never seem to have a lunch plan for myself.

I miss the variety in my lunches that I used to have when I was working. Going out to eat isn't in my budget or even fun anymore. Taking two tots out dangerously close to nap-time to eat in public with the working folks - I don't think so. You people working and trying to have a nice lunch can thank me for that one.

So today as I stared into the fridge thinking I should really eat these left over peppers & onions from my fajitas a light bulb went off - make a frittata! I have always wanted to make a frittata. I am not sure why I waited so long because it was easy and delicious.

Here is the scoop...

  • 2 eggs = 4 pp
  • 2 egg whites = .5 pp
  • 1 slice of 2% american cheese = 1 pp
  • Leftover faijita peppers & onions = o pp
  • Tomato = 0 pp
  • Total = 5.5 pp
  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Beat eggs & add salt & pepper.
  • Dice veggies (except tomato) and add to egg mixture.
  • Tear apart slice of cheese and add to egg mixture.
  • Pour in a hot oven proof non-stick skillet. Cook egg mixture until it begins to set up.
  • Slice tomato and put on top.
  • Put in the oven and bake until the eggs are completely cooked. At the end turn on the broiler to get the top and edges nice and bubbly. I got impatient and took mine out early.
This is what mine looked like out of the oven.

Here is what it looked like on my plate halfway through with some sriracha.

I hope you had a good lunch today! TGIF.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Do you know the Muffin Man?

Blueberry Muffins
4 Weight Watcher Points Plus (for 1 muffin)

We recently purchased a large (and by large I mean LARGE) container of blueberries from Costco because my 3 year old adores them. If I let her she would eat one pint in one day so I normally ration them. But of course now that I splurged and bought the big one, she decided that she didn't really like them. What to do now? Bake some muffins.

I went to Gina's website, skinnytaste.com because that is often the first place I look for healthy recipes. I found this recipe for whole wheat blueberry muffins. I didn't have the whole wheat pastry flour she suggested so I used 1 cup of all purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat. They were great! Let's just say after hosting playgroup today they are all gone. Next time I will try using the flour she suggested and I think I might make them mini muffins so they aren't so messy for the kids. (Both girls shirts are soaking in vinegar & water as I type this to remove blueberry stains.)

For her recipe click here.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend: Sneezing, Seizing & Sizzlin'

Cilantro Lime Chicken & Veggie Fajitas
3 Weight Watcher Points Plus (1 chicken tender + as many veggies as you like)

This Memorial Day Weekend didn't go exactly as planned. It started on Thursday when my youngest started showing signs of a cold that then took over the whole family. Let's just say we haven't been getting much sleep lately. So there went our plans involving friends. How I wish I hadn't already told my 3 year old that her BFF and family were coming over for dinner on Saturday. (Yes my 3 year old already has a BFF. I know crazy, right?)

The next unplanned event was when my husband declared war over the woodchucks that have invaded our deck. This is probably the 4th generation of woodchucks that has lived under our deck since we moved here. They are annoying but we have been cohabiting with them for awhile now. Anyways, today he snapped and started chasing them with a shovel.

On a good note, I did make it to my weigh-in and was down 2.4 pounds. This sounds great but I think I am starting to plateau. This is how the past three weeks have gone: -1.6, + 1.6 and then - 2.4. I am going to try really hard to kick up my work-out routine this week because I am getting really close to my goal. I am a little less than 3 pounds away.

Even though sickness has kept us from our holiday plans it didn't keep us from grillin'. We ate these sizzlin' fajitas, which we were supposed to have with our friends, and they were delicious.
I didn't change anything in the recipe except I made ours on the grill so I didn't have to use any oil. They were great! The pp breakdowns are below and click here for the recipe.

Here is how I ate mine...

One chicken tender sliced = 3 pp
Peppers = 0 pp
Lime Pickled Red onions = o pp (have you made these? they are amazing if you love onions like me!)
1 T low-fat sour cream = 1 pp
Salsa = 0 pp
Tortilla = 2 pp
Total for my fajita = 6 pp

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Polly Piper Picked a Peck of Peppers for Her Pizza?

Pepper "Pizza"
3 Weight Watcher Points Plus (2 slices of bell pepper)

Clearly I am obsessed with pizza. I just can't resist the stuff and find myself craving it all the time. This is another good pizza swap idea that I got from the Hungry Girl show. She used a bell pepper for her crust. The possibilities are endless! What I liked about this is that you can pick it up like regular pizza and the pepper gives you a bit of the crunch feeling.

Here are the details...

Red Pepper Pepperoni Pizza
  • One red bell pepper = 0 pp
  • 1 T pizza sauce = o pp
  • 1/4 Cup mozzarella cheese = 2 pp
  • 4 pepperonis = 1 pp
  • Total = 3 pp
Yellow Pepper Greek Pizza
  • One yellow pepper = 0 pp
  • Diced tomatoes = 0 pp
  • 4 black olives, sliced = 1 pp
  • 1 oz. of feta cheese, crumbled = 2 pp
  • Total = 3 pp
  • Remove stem and bottom of peppers. Cut in half and remove seeds.
  • Top peppers w/ pizza toppings.
  • Bake in the oven until cheese has melted and peppers are firm but slightly soft. (I did mine of the pizza pizazz.)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Wimbs Need Not Apply: FIRE-Roasted Corn Chowder

Fire-Roasted Corn Chowder
5 Weight Watcher Points Plus (2 cup serving)

When I walked into the library and saw this book on display I just had to get it. I am very quickly becoming obsessed with Sriracha so it was like the book was calling out to me.

This recipe was adapted from the book. I used less olive oil and swapped the cream for low-fat milk. I also used dried thyme instead of fresh because I've got to keep that grocery bill down. I loved this soup but it was really spicy. If you don't want it to be too overwhelming skip the sriracha garnish.

There is also a sriracha crab rangoon recipe in the book. I am going to use it for the inspiration for a lighter crab rangoon. I can't wait to try it.

  • 8 ears fresh sweet corn, husked & divided = 24 pp
  • 1 T olive oil = 4 pp
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced (I used one red, one orange) = 0 pp
  • 1 large red onion, diced = 0 pp
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced = 0pp
  • 6 cups of chicken stock = 1 pp
  • 1/2 cup of Sriracha (If you dare!) = 0 pp
  • 1/2 T dried thyme (or more to taste)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups 2% Milk = 6 pp
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Garnish: fresh cilantro, smoked paprika & sriracha
  • Total = 35 pp
  • Yields approx. 14 cups
  • 1 Cup = 2.5 pp; 2 Cups = 5 pp
  • Roast 4 ears of corn on the grill until they start to blacken, set aside to cool. Once cooled remove kernels from cob with a knife.
  • Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add bell peppers, onions and cook until softened slightly, 5 -7 minutes.
  • Meanwhile scrape kernels from the 4 remaining corn cobs. Add raw corn & garlic and cook for 1 - 2 minutes.
  • Add stock, sriracha, thyme & bay leaves. Bring to boil and then lower the heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Remove bay leaves and puree the soup with an immersion blender.
  • Heat 2 cups of milk on low. Add into pureed soup. Stir in roasted corn that you set aside.
  • Garnish soup with a few lines of sriracha, a sprinkle of smoked paprika & cilantro.

Time to Dig in My Flats?

We had an extremely busy weekend so I missed my normal Saturday meeting. I weighed in on Friday afternoon and was up 1.6 pounds. This may have something to do with the time of day I weighed in but regardless things are definitely getting harder. I am five pounds away from what I think is my goal and I can almost see my finish line. Although, as someone from my group pointed out there is no finish line. This is a healthy diet that I need to keep for good.

I am a stay-at-home so I don't wear heels anymore. On most days I am in tennis shoes or flip flops. On a good day, I am in some somewhat stylish flats. Well it is time to dig in those flats and keep moving forward to my goal.

(My 3 year old daughter helped me with this picture and insisted on adding her and her sissy's shoes.)

Have a great week!

Friday, May 20, 2011

C is for Cookie That's Good Enough for Me

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
5 Weight Watcher Points Plus (Serving 2 cookies)

I love sweets, especially chocolate. I am not much of a baker which is a good thing because I would eat all of my baked goods in very unhealthy quantities. However, my three year old daughter LOVES to help me bake. Just because Mama is a choc-o-holic doesn't mean I want to deprive my daughters so I have come up with a cookie strategy. After making the dough I only bake a few cookies. This is what I do with the rest...

Step One: Put cookies on a cookie sheet lined w/ wax paper and put in the freezer.

Step Two: After letting the cookies set up over night transfer them into a freezer bag.

Then your freezer is stocked with ready-to-go cookies. When you need to bribe your kids with treats, oh I mean when you want to make your kids freshly baked cookies, you just pull a few out of the freezer and bake them. Then you don't have a cookie jar full of cookies to tempt your inner cookie monster.

This cookie recipe was one of Gina's. (love her). It was very easy and yummy. There is only 2 T of butter in these. Visit her site for the recipe.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

So Good I Want to Drink It: Thai Coconut Peanut Sauce

Thai Coconut Peanut Sauce
3 Weight Watcher Points Plus (Serving is 2 T of sauce)

Have you tried Better'n Peanut Butter from Trader Joe's? It is a low-fat peanut butter. I don't like it on toast but it is great in sauces. I used it in this sauce to save on a lot of fat and calories. This recipe was adapted from Steven Raichelen's Beer-Can Chicken cookbook. I used the sauce on his Thai Coconut Chicken which I cooked on the grill in our vertical roaster. This sauce would taste great on plain old grilled chicken or fish. Or if you really want something easy just grab a rotisserie chicken and make some rice. The sauce is very rich so a little goes along way.

Here is my meal pictured below....

Here are the details...

  • 1 T canola oil = 4 pp
  • 2 to 3 shallots, finely chopped = 0 pp
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced = 0 pp
  • 1 T minced peeled fresh ginger = 0 pp
  • 1 t ground coriander = 0 pp
  • Sriracha to taste = 0pp
  • 3/4 cup lite coconut milk = 4 pp
  • 3/4 cup Better'n Peanut Butter = 13 pp
  • 2 t soy sauce = 0 pp
  • 1 T of fresh lime juice = 0 pp
  • Fresh ground pepper = 0 pp
  • 2 T fresh chopped cilantro = 0 pp
  • Yields approx. 1 cup of sauce
  • 2 T = 3 pp; 1 T = 1 pp
  • Heat the oil in a pan over high heat. Add shallots, garlic, ginger and coriander and stir-fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes
  • Stir in the coconut milk and bring to boil. Stir in the peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice & black pepper. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer until thick and richly flavored, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and cook for 1 minute.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Eggplant "Pizza"

Eggplant "Pizza"
5 Weight Watcher Points Plus (for two slices of eggplant)

First of all let me start by saying this isn't actually pizza. In my world, you must be able to pick pizza up with your hands and this is definitely a knife and fork dish. BUT...this was very, very good. I got the idea from the Hungry Girl show and I was a bit skeptical. I really like eggplant so I thought I would give it a try. I was shocked at how good this was. I loved it!!! You could use turkey pepperoni to make this even healthier.

  • 2 slices of roasted eggplant = 1 pp
  • 2 T pizza sauce = 0 pp
  • 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese = 2 pp
  • 8 pepperoni = 2 pp

Top slices of eggplant w/ 1 T of sauce each. Divide cheese between two slices & top each slice w/ 4 pepperonis. I cooked mine on the pizza pizazz using the upper heat source only but you could do these in the oven.

Here is how I roasted the eggplant...

Slice an eggplant vertically into 6 slices. Mix 1 T olive oil with 1 T lemon juice. Add in salt & pepper to taste. Brush mixture on eggplant slices. Roast in a 400 degree oven for about 20 - 25 minutes or until soft. 1 pp for two slices of eggplant.


Weekend Wrap-Up: 25 lbs down and Super Easy, Yummy Grilled Chicken

Grilled Lemon Chicken
4 Weight Watcher Points Plus (for a 5 oz serving)

Besides the weather, we had a great weekend! At my meeting on Saturday I hit a milestone - 25 pounds down! I feel fantastic and I almost can't believe it. We also got to celebrate our nephew's 2nd birthday with family.

On Friday, still faced with my mostly empty fridge, I made the easiest yummy grilled chicken. I loved it and my 3 year old inhaled hers. (Major victory!) This recipe is from the Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook. I didn't have chicken breasts and used chicken tenders instead. The only thing I changed was using more garlic because 1 clove is never enough for me.

Here are the details...

  • 1 garlic clove, peeled (I used 2)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 t grated lemon zest
  • 3 T lemon juice
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 1/4 t black pepper
  • 4 (5 oz.) skinless boneless chicken breasts (I used chicken tenders)

1. With the side of large knife, mash garlic with salt until it forms a paste.
2. To make marinade, combine lemon zest & juice, oil garlic paste, oregano, and pepper in a large zip-lock bag; add chicken. Refrigerate, turning bag occasionally at least 30 min up to overnight. (I did mine during nap-time and grilled at around 5:30)
3. Pre-heat your grill. Take the chicken out of the fridge and bring close to room temp before grilling.
4. Grill on both sides until cooked through.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The I Can't Eat Another Can of Tuna & I Desparately Need to Go to the Grocery Store Magic Wand Pizza

Flatbread Pesto & Tomato Pizza
7 Weight Watcher Points Plus (for the whole thing!)

I have been neglecting my blog recently for a variety of reasons. 1. The whole family got sick including me w/ a nasty sinus infection. 2. Our fridge is bare, so exciting recipes are lacking this week. 3. It has finally been nice outside so we have been spending almost all daylight hours outdoors. I have been weeding and the girls have been playing.

To say that I am beyond sick of my typical lunches (let's just say I don't want to eat tuna for awhile) is an understatement. It has been one of those weeks that I wish I could take my 3 year old's fairy princess wand and use it to make something appear in our fridge. But it turned out that I didn't need the wand. I was able to come up with something that was yummy, got me out of my lunch rut and was super easy!

Here are the details...

  • Flatout multi-grain wrap = 3 pp
  • 1 T pesto = 2 pp
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese = 2 pp
  • Some diced tomatoes from a can, drained & chopped up more = 0 pp
  • Total = 7 pp

Spread pesto on wrap & top with tomatoes & cheese. I cooked mine on the pizza pizazz but you could do this in the oven.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Lighten Up Those Beans!

Cowgirl Beans
6 Weight Watcher Points Plus (1 cup serving)

Have you ever had Cowboy Beans or Calico beans at a cookout? They are very good but not so good for you. They have hamburger and bacon in them just for starters. I decided to come up a leaner version and call them Cowgirl Beans because us Cowgirls need to look good in our Wranglers, right?

I was very pleased with the results. I altered the beans used in attempt to get my girls to eat this. Normally there are butter beans in the recipe, but the bigger the bean the more freaked out my kids get so I used another can of baked beans instead. I am also telling my 3 year old daughter that this is Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl's recipe (a.k.a. Jessie from Toy Story) in hopes that she will eat it.

This makes a ton of beans and would be perfect for a BBQ or cookout.

Here are the details...

  • Ground Turkey = 16 pp
  • 2 cloves of garlic = 0 pp
  • 2 regular sized cans of baked beans (with juices) = 24 pp
  • 1 regular sized can of black beans (drained & rinsed) = 11 pp
  • 1 regular sized can of canellini beans (drained & rinsed) = 11 pp
  • 1 15 oz can of tomato sauce = 2 pp
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar = 6 pp
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar = 0 pp
  • Squirt of sriracha (optional) = 0pp
  • Total = 70 pp
  • Yields approx. 12 cups
  • 1 cup serving = 6 pp
  • 1/2 cup serving = 3 pp

Cook turkey, season with salt & pepper and minced garlic. You could add an onion too but I was being lazy.

Mix tomato sauce with brown sugar, apple cider vinegar & sriracha.

Combine turkey, beans & tomato sauce mixture in a crockpot. Heat on low for a couple hours and then dig in!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Weekend Weigh-in: Break on Through to the Other Side

(My youngest crawling through a tunnel at the park. That is my old hat circa the early 80's. Thanks to my Mom for saving it.)

First of all Happy Mother's Day! With the exception of us all being sick we have had a great weekend. It started off with my weigh-in on Saturday. I am officially in the healthy BMI weight range for my height (a measly 5'4" but in my family that ain't bad). It is very cool that I reached this goal on Mother's Day Weekend because the real reason I started this weight loss journey was so that I could be a better Mom for my kids. I wanted to be healthy and have more energy. And most importantly I wanted to be a good role model for my family. (Well and to be totally honest I didn't want to face another swim suit season in total fear.)

Happy Mother's Day to all of you and especially my Mom!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

I can't believe these are NOT bad for me: Buffalo Chicken Tenders

Buffalo and Blue Chicken Tenders
8 Weight Watcher Points Plus

This is another Rocco Dispirito recipe from his book, Now Eat This!. It was so, so good. I felt like I was eating boneless buffalo wings. If you love spicy food you have to try these. When you are eating them, close your eyes and you will be transported to your younger days when you were at the bar having wings and beers with friends -- until your 1 year old throws her plate on the floor and you are jolted back into reality.

I didn't have any blue cheese dressing so I just put about 1 T of blue cheese on top and ate it on a bed of spinach salad to bulk the meal up.

Here is a link to the recipe. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Steak Frites Meet my Friend, Garlic

Garlic Fries
5 Weight Watcher Points Plus (for a 1/4th of the recipe)

This is another recipe from Ellie Krieger. She and I have something in common - we both love fries! She has a few different oven fry recipes. This one is great. The hardest thing is cutting the potatoes so small (one reason I often do wedges) oh and eating only one portion is a bit hard too.

Here is the link to her recipe.

Figuring out the points depends on how many potatoes you use and what size they are. I really want the weight watcher food scale so I can get a more accurate read on things like potatoes. It would make my life so much easier! Here is how I figured mine...

  • 4 small/medium russet potatoes = 12 pp
  • 2 T canola oil = 8 pp
  • Recipe total = 20 pp
  • 1/4th serving = 5 pp

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things: 0 Weight Watcher Points Plus Condiments

1. My absolute favorite, which my hubby and I can no longer go without, is Sriracha HOT chili sauce. (Believe me there is a reason the word HOT is in all caps.) My hubby and I love all things spicy but this is not your typical hot sauce. Well technically it isn't a hot sauce at all but a chili sauce. Anyways I could try to describe this to you but if you like things with a kick just go out and buy it TODAY. It is great on everything: eggs, pizza, burgers, mixed into ketchup for fries, in Asian sauces, etc. I used it on my crab cakes and it was a big hit. Thanks to my Dad for this discovery. The best thing is that there are barely any calories so this adds tons of flavor without any points.

2. Coming in second is my good friend Balsamic Vinegar. BV is 0 pp and it is a great flavor enhancer. I love using it on salads so I don't have to use a ton of dressing. It works well in marinades too. Or you can just drizzle it on a slice of tomato. The BV pictured isn't just any balsamic it is 25 Star from the Olive Grove. It is so good. Once you buy good balsamic you won't go back. It was great on this flank steak recipe!

3. Number 3 is difficult to describe. It is a grainy mustard but it doesn't have same bite as your typical grainy mustard. The garlic balances it out beautifully. I use this on salmon, potatoes, sandwiches, burgers and today I used to dip my chicken nuggets. (I know fancy, right?) If you live by a Trader Joe's buy this. You won't be disappointed. Thanks to my friend Holly for introducing this to me and for this clutch potato recipe!!!!

4. I bought this Franks RedHot buffalo wing sauce to make Rocco's buffalo chicken tender recipe. I opened it up early to use on our turkey burgers and instantly fell in love. Today I used it as a dip for my sweet potato fries. This sauce is great because it has some spice but it isn't overwhelming. And you can dip without worrying because it is guilt-free. I can't wait to try it on the chicken tenders. Thanks to Rocco for the tip!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Weekend Wrap-Up: Weighin', Grillin' & Chillin'

Buffalo Blue Cheese Turkey Burger
6 Weight Watcher Points Plus

First, I did my weigh-in on Saturday and I was very nervous. I had a horrible week of eating Easter leftovers: scalloped potatoes, green bean casserole & chocolate bunnies. I have never been so happy to gain 1.2 pounds in my life. I consider myself very lucky. Now all of the bad food is out of our house and it back to our healthy lifestyle.

On Saturday night I needed a quick and easy dinner for me and the hubby. I had frozen turkey burgers from Costco that are ready to throw on the grill. I really like these turkey burgers because they are big and only 5 pp a piece. (You do have to make them on the grill and baste and/or season them).

Here is the info...

  • Frozen Kirkland brand turkey burger (or your fav. turkey burger) = 5 pp
  • Frank's Buffalo Wing Sauce = 0 pp
  • 1 T blue cheese = 1pp
  • Baste turkey burgers as you cook them on the grill. Cook through. Top with blue cheese.
These are 6 pp for the burgers plus the points for the bun of your choice if you choose to use one. These were a big hit!

After 2 weekends of entertaining, we are kicking back and relaxing. I hope you are having a great weekend!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Mac & Cheese 3 Ways

Macaroni & Cheese
9 Weight Watcher Points Plus (for 1 Cup serving)

First I have to start by saying that it has been awhile since I blogged for a few reasons. First, we hosted Easter last weekend and had so many leftovers that we have been eating them all week. This lead to a VERY bad week for me and not much (well any really) healthy cooking. I mean bad like eating chocolate bunnies bad. I finally just threw all the candy out. Second, it is difficult to cook with my youngest daughter on a normal day and she has been sick this week. This is what my kitchen looked like after I made the mac & cheese....

Back to the mac & cheese, this recipe is another Rocco recipe from his cookbook, "Now Eat This". Rocco replaces the normal flour and butter in the cheese sauce with a garlic & onion puree. I wasn't sure how this would work but it was delicious! And this definitely saves on the fat and calories. I pretty much followed the recipe exactly for the first version of the mac & cheese except I used regular cheddar cheese instead of low-fat (that's what I had in the fridge), I used italian bread crumbs instead of panko and I didn't use the parmigiano-reggiano. Click here for the recipe.

Version 2. is just the mac & cheese sans bread crumbs sprinkled with diced pepperoni. This was for my 3 year old daughter who is so picky right now that she doesn't even like mac & cheese. She loves pepperoni so I let her "help" by sprinkling pepperoni on hers. It worked because she ate it and said, "That is good!"

Version 3. was for me. I added a tiny bit of blue cheese on top of the mac & cheese and then topped it with diced tomatoes (from a can) and some bread crumbs. I love, love, loved this. The little bit of blue cheese & tomatoes added so much flavor and made this a more grown-up version of mac & cheese.

Overall I was pleasantly surprised with the dish. It was very good and the whole family enjoyed it. I definitely recommend doing a 1 cup portion in a ramekin so that you don't overdue it. It is very yummy!

Here is the point info:

Version 1 & 3: 9 pp for 1 cup, 4 for 1/2 cup

Well, I have to face the music at my weigh-in tomorrow. I have a feeling that it isn't going to be pretty but it will get me motivated to turn things back around for next week.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Weekend Weigh-in

The holidays are hard when you are dieting. They are especially hard for me when lots of chocolate is involved. I remember as a kid growing up that we would always get a chocolate bunny in our Easter baskets. My sister's bunny would be around for a few weeks. She would savor it. Mine was gone in a day or maybe two. My chocolate bunnies never had a chance.

Today at my Weight Watcher's meeting I hit the 20 lb. mark. (21.6 pounds down to be exact.) It felt good to hit a milestone. So how did I celebrate? Well I came back to host Easter dinner for my husband's family. The food was great and everyone had a blast. Now I'd better go hit the treadmill to make up for the feast.

Oh and please Easter bunny do NOT leave me a chocolate bunny tomorrow. You know I can't resist.

Happy Easter everyone!

P.S. - I calculated the points in the chocolate Easter bunny my girls will be getting in their Easter baskets tomorrow. Ready for this....23 weight watcher points plus!!! I am staying far away from those.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Now THAT is a Salad!!

Marinated Flank Steak with Blue Cheese Sauce
8 Weight Watcher Points Plus (for 1/4th of meat & 1 1/2 T of sauce)

I recently purchased Ellie Krieger's cookbook, "So Easy" cookbook. Have you seen her on the Food Network? She is a nutritionist and focuses on good but healthy food. I love that she cooks healthy but doesn't use any "fake" food. I define fake food as fat-free cheese (eck) and artificial sugars, etc. One of the first recipe's I flagged in the book was the marinated flank steak with blue cheese sauce because it used two of my favorite ingredients: blue cheese & balsamic vinegar.

This was very good and easy. The only thing I changed was using romaine lettuce instead of radicchio leaves. (I am not that adventuress with my produce). I made mine on our gas grill, even though it was windy and very cold. I am beyond ready for spring!! I did the onions in a non-stick skillet.

My husband loved this. See you keep the family happy and serve them healthy food!

Here is the recipe.

The Third Birthday... Season?

It seems like we have been celebrating my daughter's 3rd birthday forever. Maybe that is because we have been celebrating it for over three weeks now. It started two weeks ago with our visit to IL. We had an early celebration with the Grandparents in IL and some other family. Then we had her actual birthday this past Wednesday, which we commemorated with a trip to the mall to see the Easter bunny. Finally, we had her 3rd birthday party this weekend.

It was a Mommy & Me Fairy party. Wings, wands and crowns oh my! We had the usual kid birthday spread: pizza & cake but I did make a healthier option for the Mommy's and it was a big hit.

Crispy Pecan-Crusted Chicken
6 Weight Watcher Points Plus (for 5 ounce serving)

This recipe was from the Just 5 Weight Watcher cookbook. It was a big hit with the Mommy's. I used chicken tenders for mine and served them on a spinach salad. Pictured above is my first practice batch that I made earlier in the week with my monster potato wedges.

  • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 4 (5 ounce) skinless chicken breasts (I used chicken tenders)
  • 1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup plain dried bread crumbs (I used Italian because that is what I had)
  • 1 teaspoon of Cajun seasonings
  • Marinate chicken in buttermilk for at least 20 minutes in the fridge.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine pecans, bread crumbs & Cajun seasoning in a dish. Coat chicken allowing excess buttermilk to drip off before coating. Lightly spray chicken on both sides with cooking spray.
  • Spray large nonstick skillet with nonstick spray. Add chicken and cook until golden, 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to baking sheet and bake until chicken is cooked through 10-12 minutes.
Well this brings an end to the birthday season. Because of the party I missed my meeting and weigh-in so I don't have any weight loss updates this week. Now we can move on to the next holiday: Easter. Which is er next week already !?#@@??!!! Hopefully I can eat healthy for this next season too!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Black Beans in Brownies?

Black Bean Brownies
4 Weight Watcher Points Plus

I probably would have never tried this brownie recipe if I hadn't had them at my daughter's playgroup. One of the moms made these when she hosted and I couldn't believe how good they were. They are of course not as good as regular brownies but they are very good considering the ingredients and they don't come with the guilt.

Obviously we liked them because I couldn't get my daughter, and well me too, to wait until they cooled before we tried them. I didn't even get a picture taken before we dove in. My three year old loved them. These are her words exactly, "I love brownies. Brownies are treats for little girls." She couldn't stop talking about them and she doesn't have to know these are a healthier version. (My one year old threw hers on the ground with the rest of her food.)

They actually taste even better when they have cooled for awhile.

Here is how you do it...

  • 1 can of black beans, drained & rinsed = 9 pp
  • 3 eggs = 6 pp
  • 3 T canola oil = 12 pp
  • 3/4 cup sugar = 16.5 pp
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder = 2 pp
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips = 4 pp
  • Total points = 49.5
  • One 12th of the pan = 4 pp
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Combine all ingredients (except chocolate chips) and blend with an immersion blender. You could do this in the food processor or the blender.
  • Pour in greased 8 x 8 pan & sprinkle with chocolate chips.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Kale Chips: Two Thumbs Down

Kale Chips
0 Weight Watcher Points Plus

I have wanted to try kale chips for awhile now. Not because of my diet but because I have heard that kids love these. My tots don't like milk and kale is a good source of calcium, not-to-mention all other sorts of good stuff. So I finally decided to give them a try. I used this recipe although there are tons of recipes for these all over the web.

I have read that you have to be very careful when you cook these. If you take them out too early they aren't crunchy and if you leave them in too long they have a burnt taste. Mine weren't burnt and they were crunchy but I didn't like them. I actually didn't even give them to my kids because I usually only get one shot with them. If they don't like things the first time they really don't want to try them again. I might try this again someday so I decided to wait.

I thought they tasted bitter. I did enjoy them when I added 1 T of low-fat sour cream (1 pp) but they are very crumbly and hard to dip. I also don't think these are worth all of the effort (washing, spinning, drying, chopping, etc.). I think you are better off putting kale in soup.

If you have better luck with them let me know!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Fancy Lunch (Psst there's a secret...)

Spicy Chili Lentils & Quinoa
8 Weight Watcher Points Plus (11 pp if you add the avocado)

When I was working I mostly brown bagged my lunch. But, least once a week I would go out for lunch with a co-worker. Now, I do not go out to lunch for a few reasons: 1. Not in the budget, 2. While I love my co-workers (other stay-at-home-mamas) my bosses (the two tots) are not fun to dine with especially so close to nap-time. But, just because I can't go out to lunch doesn't mean I have to eat a turkey sandwich everyday.

So what is the secret I mentioned above? While this lunch looks fancy (my 3 year old has a thing for Fancy Nancy so this word has been interjected into my lexicon) this is super fast & easy. First I started with Quinoa. I cooked a big batch of this on Sunday so I would have it ready to eat during the week. I just followed the recipe on the bag. I used fat-free chicken stock for my liquid but you could use veggie stock if you don't eat meat.

I have recently started eating Quinoa and I really love it. I was a bit scared off at first because it was described as being very healthy which usually means it tastes like - well you know. First, quinoa is easy to cook -- much easier than brown rice which I ALWAYS screw up. Also, I bought a bag at Costco so now I've got to try it in new recipes (it was just so much cheaper there). You may be scratching your head (I was until recently), if you have never heard of quinoa (pronoucned keen-wah) and want to learn more about why it is good for you, etc. click here.

Next, I opened the bag of Madras Lentils pictured above and microwaved it. I normally don't buy pre-packed stuff like this but the sample lady got me at Costco. It tasted really good. It is marketed as something to mix with rice, a taco filler or as a chili style topping (Think chili fries or chili dog.) It is 4 pp for a serving which is half of the package.

Here are the specifics...

  • 3/4 cup of cooked Quinoa = 4 pp
  • 1/2 package of Madras lentils = 4 pp
  • 1/4 of an avocado sliced (optional) = 3 pp
  • Cilantro (optional) = 0 pp
  • Cook quinoa according to the package
  • Microwave lentils
  • Combine all ingredients & enjoy

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Faux Fried Mozzerella Cheese Sticks!!!!

Faux Fried Mozzarella Cheese Sticks
6 Weight Watcher Points Plus

When you can find a way to eat mozzarella cheese sticks on your diet you have to put a few exclamation marks in the title. I love junk food and I'd put these in my favorite junk food category: Bar Food. If it is fried I love it. I have given up these foods except for on occasion when I decide to splurge. (When you are at Redcoat you just have to go for it and at least split an order of onion rings with your friend.)

So when I got Rocco Dispirito's cookbook, "Now Eat This!" and I saw that he had a healthier version of mozzarella cheese sticks I could not wait to try it. Well, actually he called them, "Crispy Mozzarella Sticks Fra Diavolo" which seems like a very silly name for FRIED CHEESE. But, Mr. Dispirito I am very thankful for the recipe because it was great. Do these taste like real fried mozzarella sticks? No. But they were really good and they don't come with the guilt.

Since I am alone today (my hubby took the tots to my in-laws, "ahhh...") I only made enough for just one serving because there is no way I would have left any of these guys behind. Here's how you make them...


  • 2 low-fat mozzarella cheese sticks = 4 pp (if you have kids around you probably have these in your fridge right now.)
  • 1 T Whole Wheat flour = 0 pp (I put 1 T in the dish put I only used about 1 t)
  • 1 egg white, beaten = 0 pp
  • 2 T Italian bread crumbs = 2 pp (Rocco uses whole wheat panko)
  • 2 T pizza sauce for dipping = 0 pp
  • Oil oil cooking spray
  • Seasonings
  • Total for 4 sticks = 6 pp
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  • Cut 2 mozzarella sticks in half & dredge in flour.
  • Add the mozzarella sticks to the beaten egg white & toss.
  • Coat with bread crumbs. Use your fingers to really press the bread crumbs into the cheese.
  • Spread the cheese sticks on a wire cooling rack that is inserted into a sheet pan, see picture below. This is a technique that Rocco uses for "faux frying". Spray cheese sticks lightly with olive oil cooking spray. Season with garlic powder & salt.
  • Rocco says to bake these for 15 minutes but mine only took 8 minutes. You have to really watch these because when they are ready the cheese with start oozing out of them.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Weekend Weigh-in: Shakin' in My Tinkerbell Slippers?

  • 8 hour one-way road trip alone with my 2 tots.
  • 8 day visit with family.
  • Many glasses of wine with my Mom & sister.
  • And 1 early-3rd birthday fairy party.
  • = a diet disaster?

After an 8 hour one-way drive and 8 days on the road visiting family with my 2 tots I was a bit scared for my weigh-in today. Since I was away from home for a week, I missed a meeting and a weigh-in last week. I also didn't do the best job tracking my daily food intake. But I tried to make healthy choices (thank goodness for Wendy's when you are on the road) and I definitely ate better than I normally would have for this kind of trip.

Today at the meeting, I was pleasantly surprised by a 4 pound weight loss. (I actually made the scale lady weigh me twice.)

It has been 11 weeks since I started at Weight Watchers and I am feeling great. It does require some extra planning but it is worth it because my whole family is eating healthier.

I haven't posted much lately because I have tried a few duds this week. I do have a few things in the pipeline though:

  • My hubby and I made the pork marsala together tonight and I forced him to measure the ingredients (I am becoming quite the Diet Diva). I am going to post the recipe soon with the pp values.
  • I bought some kale so now I have to cook it before it goes bad in my crisper drawer. I think I am going to try kale chips. I let you know if the tots are fooled by this one.
  • I have two new cookbooks to try out. One is a Weight Watchers cookbook and the other is by Rocco Dispirito.
I hope you had a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bedtime Snack

Vanilla Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar Reduction
3 Weight Watcher Points Plus

I have always wanted to try a balsamic reduction. I don't know why I was so intimidated by the process because it was really easy. I wouldn't have guessed that my first would be for dessert but it was good.

I used my new dark chocolate balsamic from the Olive Grove. If you live in the area you should check them out. I love their balsamic vinegars and you can't beat balsamic because it is 0 pp!!!

The sauce was really thick and syrupy. If you like things really sweet you might want to add in some sugar before you reduce it. This would also taste really good on fresh berries.

  • 1/2 cup of Edy's Slow Churned Ice cream = 3 pp
  • Dark Chocolate Balsamic reduction = 0 pp

I used the directions from this site to do my reduction.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Spinach, Garlic & Mushroom Pizza

Spinach, Garlic & Mushroom Pizza
4 Weight Watcher Points Plus for one slice (1/8th of pizza)

Here is my latest healthy pizza! I used my whole wheat pizza dough recipe for this pizza and cooked it on the pizza pizazz.

  • Whole wheat pizza dough = 23 pp
  • Sauteed Spinach & Garlic = 2 pp (for 2 t of olive oil)
  • Mushrooms = 0 pp
  • Sauce = 0 pp (I use store bought sauce)
  • 1 Cup of Sargento Mozzarella Cheese = 8 pp
  • Total = 33 pp
  • 4 pp for 1/8th of the pizza

  • Saute 3 cloves of sliced garlic in 2 t of olive oil until they begin to slightly brown and smell yummy. I want to try even more garlic next time because I love garlic. Add spinach and wilt.
  • Assemble pizza.
  • Cook however you prefer. I used my pizza pizazz. 7 minutes on just the bottom and 15-18 on dual.
I eat mine with my new fav Sriacha HOT chili sauce drizzled on top.

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