Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sweet Potato Boats


I used to work in advertising. Now I stay at home with my girls. You wouldn't think my advertising background would come in handy at home but it does. I have discovered that with my picky 3 year old sometimes getting her to eat just requires some clever marketing.

Take for example these sweet potato boats. What makes them a boat - they aren't! They just kind of resemble a boat and because I call them "boats" my daughter eats them right up. We just pick up our "boats" and eat them with our hands. I know classy, right, but you should see how my 15 month old eats hers.

My 3 year old likes plain boats. I like mine with salt & pepper, crumbled bacon & blue cheese. My 15 month old likes hers with melted cheddar cheese. Hers is not pictured because she was melting down and had to eat NOW.

The best thing about these is that they are super easy.

Ingredients (for mine)
  • Small Sweet Potato = 4 pp
  • 1 T blue cheese = 1 pp
  • 1 piece of crumbled bacon = 1 pp
  • Total = 6 pp for both boats (one whole sweet potato) or 3 pp for one half
Directions
  • Prick sweet potato with a fork and microwave for 2-4 minutes until soft
  • Slice sweet potato in half and top with your favorite spices & cheese & microwave until melted.

My Search for Healthy Pizza


Roasted Tomato & Bacon Pizza
8 Weight Watcher Points Plus (4 pp per slice)

I have never met a pizza I didn't like which is one of the many reasons I am now in Weight Watchers. The good thing is that just because I have started a healthy lifestyle doesn't mean I have to give up my pizza. I just have to be smarter about it.

I have begun experimenting with making my own dough. It seems intimidating at first but it is actually pretty easy and so worth it. It tastes so much better. I find that the whole wheat dough keeps me fuller and I feel more satisfied. I am still on the hunt for my perfect healthy dough recipe but this one is working really well for now. It ends up being 3 pp for 1/8th of the pizza + your pizza toppings.

I made this on my Pizza Pizazz (which I love) but you can make it in the oven or on a pizza stone. I have a very curious 15 month old so leaving my oven at 450/500 degrees for one hour to preheat a pizza stone isn't an option for me right now.

My dough recipe is a combination of this Whole Wheat recipe (with some tweaks) and the California Pizza Kitchen technique.

Whole Wheat Dough Ingredients:
  • 2 t honey = 4 pp
  • 1 ½ warm water = 0 pp
  • 1 T active dry yeast (NOT the quick rise)
  • 2 t olive oil = 2 pp (This is used for rolling the dough in the covered bowl. I forgot to add the olive oil into the dough and I thought it was fine w/o it.)
  • 1 t salt
  • 3 ¼ c wheat flour = 40 pp
Recipe Points Plus Total:
  • Yields two 12" pizza crusts
  • 46 pp for total recipe = 23 pp for one whole pizza
  • 3 pp for 1/8th of crust + whatever toppings you put on it.
Pizza Points Overview
  • Crust = 23 pp
  • Roasted Tomatoes = o pp
  • Pizza Sauce = 0 pp (store bought)
  • 3 pieces of crumbled up bacon = 3 pp
  • 1 cup of mozzarella cheese = 8 pp
  • Total = 34 pp for whole pizza
  • 4 points per slice / 1/8th of pizza

Dough Directions

Day one: Dough Making Day
  • Dissolve honey in warm water. Sprinkle yeast over the top, and let stand for about 10 minutes until foamy
  • Form well w/ flour, add salt, pour in liquid. Mix until dough starts to come together
  • Put dough on floured surface and knead adding flour as needed until dough is smooth and bounces back when you press your finger. It should be slightly tacky and barely sticking to your hands.
  • Place dough in an oiled bowl and roll in olive oil. Seal bowl with food wrap. Let stand until doubled in size. Approx. 1 hour
  • Punch down dough. Reform a nice round ball & return to bowl; cover with food wrap Place bowl in fridge overnight. Or you can put it in the freezer for future use. If you do freeze your dough take it out one day before you want to make your pizza and then pick up the directions from below.
Day Two: Pizza Eating Day
  • Approx. 2 ½ hours before you want to make your pizza remove dough from the fridge. Use a sharp knife to divide the dough into 2 portions.
  • Roll the smaller doughs into round balls on a smooth clean surface; be sure to seal any holes by pinching or rolling.
  • Place new balls in glass casserole dish, spaced far enough apart to allow for each to double in size. Seal with food wrap. Dough will double in approx. 2 hours.
  • Then you are ready to roll, stretch or toss your dough and make your pizza.
If you are making your pizza on the pizazz I did 5-7 minutes on the bottom only and then about 10-15 on dual.

Saturday Weigh-in

Well, I had my first weight gain. It was only .2 pounds which is 3.2 ounces -- I had to google this one to figure it out. I has been awhile since I have done fractions. I should have listened to the nice woman who weighed me and taken off my sweater. Oh well, I felt like that was cheating so I didn't.

I am trying not to get discouraged because I am about half way to my weight loss goal. I am hoping this is not the beginning of a plateau.

In other news, after a big pep talk from my baby sissy (who is 30 but that is what we call sisters in my house), I have decided to sign up for a 5K with a fellow Weight Watcher buddy and local Mom friend.

Have a great weekend!!

Kbear

Thursday, March 24, 2011

0 Point Butternut Squash Fries


0 Weight Watcher Points Plus (unless you eat the whole pan and then it is 1 pp)


I didn't set out to make 0 point fries. It was actually an accident but I would call it a happy accident. I bought a butternut squash because I am challenging myself to try more veggies. It sat on our counter for a few days and then finally I had to use it. I decided to do fries because if I call something a fry my girls will eat and let's face it I will too.

I used a similar technique as my sweet potato fries. I actually forgot to put on any olive oil which is why they ended up being 0 points. I didn't miss the oil though.

Ingredients
  • 1 Butternut squash peeled, seeds & pulp removed and cut into fries (0 pp)
  • 1 beaten egg white (0 pp)
  • 2 T flour (1 pp)
  • Season Salt (you could use any spices you like here)
  • Whole recipe = 1 pp
  • Serving 1/4th of fries = 0 pp
Directions
  • Prep your squash. Next time I think I will do this ahead of time because it is a bit labor intensive.
  • Preheat oven to 400 or 450
  • Toss fries in egg white.
  • Add 2 T of flour and toss well
  • Add in seasonings
  • Cook for about 30-35 minutes on first side. Flip and cook about 5-7 minutes longer until browned.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What's for Dinner Wednesdays

12 total Weight Watcher Points Plus

Here is another family friendly dinner option: Sloppy Joes & monster fries (otherwise known as potato wedges but my Tot eats better when I give things fun names). This is great because it is easy, yummy and very cost effective (it really stretches 1 lb of meat).

Turkey Sloppy Joes
Source: Adapted from Rachel Ray

· Ingredients:

  • Ground turkey (16 pp)
  • 3T brown sugar (3 pp)
  • 2 teaspoons to Montreal Seasoning
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups tomato sauce (one normal sized can)
Makes 4 cups = 19 pp for total recipe
  • 1 cup serving = 5 points
  • ½ cup serving = 3 points
I used a regular bun (because that is what we had in the freezer) which is 4 pp.

Tips:
  • I would normally use a Sandwich Thin which is only 3 pp. If you are low on points use only half of the bun and eat it open faced.
  • You can make this ahead of time. I usually make it during nap-time.
  • If you aren't feeding a family stick half of this in the freezer when you are done. Or you can freeze it in individual serving sizes for a quick dinner during the week.

Directions:

·Spray skillet with olive oil cooking spray. Add in ground turkey and begin to brown/break apart

· Mix brown sugar and Montreal – add to skillet

Once meat is brown add in onion and pepper, reduce heat add in vinegar & Worcestershire and cook for 5 min.

Add tomato sauce and past, simmer for 5 min.

Monster Fries (Potato Wedges) My kids love fries and well let's be honest I do too so I am always looking for a new healthy fry option. This one is yummy and works well when you don't feel like chopping up your potatoes into small fries because you need to get them in the oven already!! Just remember always use a really good sheet pan. If you pan warps your fries won't get crispy. Also don't turn them until you can easily turn then with a spatula. If they are stuck they aren't ready to turn!

Ingredients:

  • 5 small/med russet potatoes (10 pp)
  • 2 T olive oil (8 pp)
  • Salt & Pepper
Recipe Total = 18 pp
Once serving 1/4th of fries = 5 pp

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 or 450

Cut potatoes into wedges. Toss with olive oil, salt & pepper. Put on good sheet pan that is sprayed with olive oil cooking spray.

Cook on one side for 20 - 30 minutes until the fries are brown and turn easily with a spatula. Cook on other side for 5 - 7 minutes until browned and crispy.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

One of My Favorite Ingredients - Roasted Tomatoes


0 Weight Watcher Points Plus

One of my new favorite ingredients is roasted tomatoes. I first got the inspiration to do this here on one of my favorite food blogs. I thought 3 hours was a bit much so I have been cranking up the heat on mine.

I buy my grape tomatoes at Costco and they are still reasonably priced even though they aren't in season.

Directions:
  • Cut grape tomatoes in half & toss with 1 t of olive oil. Add salt & pepper.
  • Roast in oven at 350 degrees for about 15 - 20 minutes. Times will vary depending on the type of tomato you use and your oven. Just take them out when they look wrinkly and delicious.
These are great in salads, wraps, omelets, paninis, pizzas or you can just eat them. You can also use all different kinds of tomatoes. I once used roma tomatoes and after they were done topped them with a little bit of pesto. I make a bunch and store them in the fridge for about 1 week.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Today Calls for a Hearty Breakfast


Omelet = 5 Weight Watcher Points Plus

I am going to Costco today. Literally as soon as it opens -- hurry because this is a red alert we are out of diapers!! (My 15 month old is in one of her sister's pull-ups right now.) So today requires a hearty breakfast because I do not want to be tempted by the samples and very cheap pizza & hot dogs. It is so hard to pass up that easy, cheap meal at the Costco cafe.

Here's what I had this morning...

Ingredients:
  • 4 eggs (8 pp)
  • Feta, 1 ounce (2 pp)
  • Left over steamed broc & red peppers (0 pp)
  • Recipe total = 10 pp
  • Serving 1/2 of the omelet (other half when to hubby) = 5 pp
Happy Monday!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Weekend Weigh-in

On Saturday at my Weight Watcher's weigh-in I was down 2.2 pounds. This took me to my pre-baby (1st baby out of 2 babies) weight which I haven't been at for about 4 years. This isn't my goal weight (still figuring out what that exact number is) but it is still a milestone for me.

Also on Saturday I signed up my oldest daughter for 3 year old preschool starting in the fall. The preschool was so cute and I am so excited for her. She is growing up so fast.

Finally, we ended Saturday with a lunch/movie date. It was so nice to spend some alone time with my hubby. Thanks Grandma & Grandpa for watching the girls!

Now off to church with my 3 year old. Wish me luck.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Very Low Point Salmon Burger


Salmon Burger = 7 points plus

We are Catholic so during Lent we try to avoid meat on Fridays. This is a challenge for me because while I like fish I don't have many go-to fish recipes. My favorite fish lunch/dinner couldn't be easier because it is straight from the freezer - The Salmon Burger.

I buy these at Costco but they also have them at the regular grocery store. The salmon burger is only 4 points plus and is a great go-to when you are almost out of points for the day and you haven't eaten dinner yet.

You can cook them on the grill, stove-top or in the oven. Today I did mine in the oven because I didn't want to get the house stinky.

I had mine on a sandwich thin (3 pp) and topped it with baby spinach. I put about 1 teaspoon of ginger teriyaki marinade on the burger when it was done cooking. These are also good with your favorite mustard, BBQ sauce or just plain.

TGIF!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Family Breakfast


Total points for breakfast = 10 pp

At our house we have trouble with the family dinner. My hubby is in advertising so he works late on most days and I have two tots that are just like their Mama when it comes to being hungry - FEED ME RIGHT NOW OR I WILL MELTDOWN!!! So we end up eating most meals during the week sans Daddy. Because of this, I try to fix a nice family breakfast once and awhile so we can all eat together during the week.

Today in honor of St. Patty's day we had green eggs & ham. Well my girls ate toast because they are really picky but at least we all ate together, right?

Ingredients:
  • 4 eggs (8 pp)
  • 1 slice of lean deli ham, diced (1 pp)
  • 1 slice of American cheese, diced (3 pp)
  • Sauteed Baby Spinach (0 pp)
  • 12 pp total
  • Serving is 1/2 of eggs = 6 pp
Directions:
  • If I have to tell you how to scramble eggs than you need more help than I can offer. :)
I had mine with some sprout bread from Trader Joe's. It is kind of like Eziekel bread and is a good source of protein and only 1 pp. I put 1 T of Valencia Roasted Peanut Butter with Flax seeds, also from Trader Joe's and is 3 pp for 1 T.

And of course I had a big cup of coffee. 0 pp and very necessary for me!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What's For Dinner - Wednesdays

Total points for this dinner = 11 points plus

The hardest thing about starting a new diet is trying to feed yourself, and the rest of your picky family. (I am not talking about my hubby because he will eat anything - thank goodness). This is one meal that my whole family will eat, I think it tastes great and it works with my diet. We have had it twice already. Here's the info:

Turkey Meatloaf (5 pp for 1/5th of loaf): this recipe is from Gina's site. Click here for details. I followed it exactly except I used basil instead of marjoram. Also I re-figured the points because the turkey I used had a higher fat content and I didn't have whole wheat breadcrumbs. I love this recipe because it is easy, tastes great and uses ground turkey which I always have in the freezer. (And we buy ground turkey at Costco which I also love).
  • Tip: You can put the meatloaf together ahead of time and stick it in the fridge.

Spicy Garlicky Green Beans (1 pp for 1/2 of serving): This recipe is also from Gina's site which I adore, can you tell? I used frozen green beans from Costco - yes I am obsessed with Costco. These green beans are great because they are frozen when they are fresh. The only thing I changed was adding some red pepper flakes to the garlic. I also only used a few handfuls of green beans instead of using l lb. Click here for the recipe.
  • Tip: Take some steamed green beans out for your kiddies before putting them in the oil & garlic if they are picky like mine.
  • Tip: This technique works really well with fresh steamed broccoli too.

Roasted Potatoes w/ Mustard & Dill (5 pp for 1 cup): This recipe is from my good friend Holly who has gotten me addicted to Trader Joe's. Don't you find that some of your best recipes are from friends? This is a go-to recipe in her house and I have tweaked it a bit (just used less toppings) and now it is a go-to recipe in mine as well. Thanks, Holly!!!

Ingredients:
  • 4 small/med russet Potatoes (1 cup = 3 points)
  • Mustard Garlic aioli from Trader Joes (2 T = 0) You could substitute your favorite mustard but if you live by a TJ's then I would recommend getting this. It is really good.
  • Olive Oil (2T = 8 points)
  • Seasonings to taste: Dill, Salt & Pepper
  • Once cup serving = 3 points for potatoes + 2 pts for 1/4th of topping = 5 pp for 1 cup
Directions:
  • Whisk mustard & olive oil together until they form a paste
  • Toss in potatoes.
  • Add dill, salt & pepper.
  • Roast at 400 or 450 for about 40 to 45 minutes.
  • Tip: I put mine in when the meatloaf was half way done cooking. When I pulled the meatloaf out of the oven, I cranked up the oven to 400. Do you find that timing out things is sometimes the hardest part about cooking?
That's what's for dinner at our house. Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Nap Time = Snack Time?


Fortunately for me on most days my girls take a nap. I use this time to make dinner, do laundry, waste time online and usually have a snack. I tend to want to eat when the girls are sleeping (at nap time & at night) for many reasons. I can enjoy my food without popping out of my seat every few minutes to get someone something. I can avoid having the same argument with my almost 3 year old, "You don't know if you like it until you TRY it." And finally I don't have to watch my 1 year old eat. If you have a 1 year old or have dined with one lately you know what I mean.

My nap time and bedtime snacking are a few of the many reasons I find myself at Weight Watchers. Now that I am eating healthier and watching my portions I am still having my nap time snack. I am just planning it a little better. I make sure that I actually take a break and enjoy it. I am calling it my lunch hour because the lunch hour at my house definitely doesn't count as a break.

Here is what I had today...

Coffee w/ 1/2 cup frothed skim milk = 1 pp
Fiber One Peanut Butter & Choc 90 calorie bar = 2 pp

I love the Fiber One 90 calorie bars. They are very yummy, only 2 points and they have them at Costco! (Just make sure you get the 90 calorie not the regular size)
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