Tag Archives: weight loss

How to get to Sesame-less Street

30 May

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Remember Saturday’s tasty supper that I showed but didn’t tell about yesterday? Because I love you, today you get a show AND a tell (side note: don’t you just love how in this photo, you can see a bit of all 4 of my colourful new napkins? My mom laid them out on the dining room table, ‘cause she likes ‘em). And the title will make sense in due time….patience, my friends. Smile

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So the inspiration for the protein part of my meal came from something I made for the birthday party I catered back at the beginning of May: pineapple chicken teriyaki kabobs (that and the fact that I still had some of the marinade I bought left over: Clubhouse Teriyaki). I pierced a chicken breast with a fork (since I noticed on the bottle it said to pour over “pierced” meat), poured on some marinade, put in a ziploc bag, and let it sit for 30-40 minutes (I would have done it for longer, but I had a busy yet delightful Saturday filled with an amazing workout, baking muffins, yard work, baby holding and a quick grocery trip, so I didn’t get back home until almost 6).  IMG_1598

I liked the teriyaki and pineapple combo at the party (I’m a big fan of sweet and meat. Well, who am I kidding, I’m a big fan of sweet and anything), but didn’t really feel like going to the trouble of making skewers just for myself. So when it came time to grill, I preheated the grill to medium-high, sprayed it with a bit of PAM for Grilling, and threw on the chicken and one nice slice of pineapple, which I lightly brushed on each side with a bit more marinade.

Now for the “sesame-less” part of the title. IMG_1597In the first Hungry Girl cookbook, there is tasty recipe I’ve made once before for “Crazy Good Cold Sesame Noodles.” Only issue? No sesame seeds in this house (I think maybe you see where I’m going with the title). I made my own version, omitting the sesame seeds (it’s only have a teaspoon anyway) and making a few other substitutions which created a delicious end product. Again, dear readers, because I love you, I will show (and tell) you how I did it. Here’s the link to the original recipe, if you want to go by-the-book.

Side note: I used my last package of tofu shirataki noodles for this ( Sad smileWaaah! Happily though, my sister informed me that they are available at the natural foods store right across from her new house!!!!! Smile Road trip soon)!

HHH Crazy-Good Cold Sesame-less Noodles (adapted from Hungry Girl)

Ingredients:

1 package tofu shirataki noodles (I used the fettucini, because that’s all I had, instead of the spaghetti ones).

1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. reduced-fat peanut butter, room temperature (I had to microwave mine a bit for easier stirring)IMG_1600

2 tbsp. skim milk

2 tbsp. chopped red onion

A handful of chopped fresh chives and cilantro

2 tbsp sliced snow peas

1/2 tbsp. light or low-sodium soy sauce

1 small clove minced garlic

A pinch of brown sugar twin

Optional: salt (I used garlic salt, naturally)

Directions:

Rinse and drain noodles well. Pat VERY dry with paper towels. Place noodles in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave for 1 minute. Drain excess liquid from noodles, and pat them again until thoroughly dry (the more dry the better!). Cut noodles into spaghetti-length pieces.

Set aside. In a separate small dish, combine peanut butter, milk, soy sauce, garlic and sweetener. Mix well. Feel free to season this sauce to taste with salt. Pour sauce over noodles, add chopped veggies and mix thoroughly. Allow to chill in the fridge (I was a bit time crunched, and they weren’t as cold as I wanted, so I actually popped mine in the freezer for a few minutes: true story). Then enjoy! MAKES 1 SERVING

IMG_1601The veggies you see on the plate (sorry I didn’t get a better close-up) are a garlic-ginger stir fry. I heated one teaspoon of sesame oil over medium-high heat in a non-stick pan (I know you’re not really supposed to cook with sesame oil because of its smoke point, but what can I say, I’m a rebel, and I love the flavour). To that, I added chopped garlic (a shocker, I know), TONS of chopped fresh veggies (celery, cauliflower, snow peas, broccoli, red pepper, asparagus…think that was it) and a little bit of chopped fresh pineapple. Seasoning-wise, I added ground ginger (would have used fresh if I had it), and after a couple of minutes cooking, a couple of splashes of soy sauce, salt, and then a touch of white wine vinegar (probably not a traditional Asian ingredient, I know) and a hint of brown sugar twin (going for kinda the sweet ‘n sour vibe).

The whole meal came together wonderfully and was a delicious Asian flavour combo. Mmmm…I Red heartgrilled pineapple.

That same pineapple found its way into dessert (cold though, not grilled), and my newest (banana-less) venture: pin-ango soft serve: a nice cold bowl of IMG_1602tropical goodness. On the previously mentioned quick grocery trip, I decided to pick up some form of frozen fruit to make my carb reduction slightly easier (an update on that: carbs are slowly coming back into my life as of last night). I briefly flirted with the 5 fruit blend (mango, strawberry, grape, melon and cranberry I believe) but ultimately went for the mango chunks. Really, that bag was only $2.99 (I think…or maybe $3.99). If you think about how much fresh mangoes usually cost (unless you’re lucky and score a cheap case), and consider the quantity you get, and it’s already peeled, chopped and frozen, it’s a pretty good deal.

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As you can see from the photo, I combined the frozen mango with the fresh pineapple. I did the usual procedure of my banana soft serve, except that since I was using half fresh fruit, no added almond milk was needed. The fresh pineapple made it a bit softer than usual, but it was still nice and chilly, and there were a few mango chunks (which I actually enjoy). Mmmm….double pineapple pleasure in this meal!

This delicious, fresh, fruity supper was the perfect end to a perfect day. It was low-key, I was able to get some stuff done around the house/yard, and meet the beautiful baby daughter of a long-time friend. She slept in my arms for over an hour…I was all warm and fuzzy inside after. Seriously, I felt like I had a big grin on my face as I walked around the grocery store! Open-mouthed smileGotta love babies!

What makes you warm and fuzzy inside?

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Bowled Over

28 May

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So I promised you I’d share the low carb-ish desserts I came up with, and I am delivering (well, one of the things I’m going to share in this post is actually a breakfast, but it fits with my theme, you’ll see). While in Vegas, I bought 4 new bowls and napkins. Partially because I think my blog pics tend to look a little white (white plates, white counter), and partially inspired by slight jealousy for Katie’s beautiful bowls, I decided to invest in a few fun and funky new bowls, and stylish background napkins to go with them. You saw a sneak preview already in this post of the napkin. In today’s post, you’ll see all 4 colours/sizes of bowls and all 4 snazzy napkins.

I have always loved Fiesta Dinnerware and its simple, bright colours. I’ve even stayed at a hotel right near the factory where it’s made (that’s not why I stayed there, just a coincidence). So when I was shopping in Dillard’s in Vegas and saw that it was on sale (score!) and already had a hankering for new bowls, it was a no-brainer!

So the first shot, featuring the small eggplant bowl and the pink napkin is strawberry banana soft serve. Doesn’t it go beautifully with the colour of the napkin? A perfect light and refreshing dessert that fits with my low-carb plan (it might not be traditionally low carb, since I think bananas have a lot of carbs for fruit, but it works for me Winking smile).

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In the orange medium-sized bowl on the orange napkin, we have a simply divine peanut butter and banana concoction. To make the base, I mixed 3 tbsp light ricotta, 1/3 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt, a splash of vanilla extract, a bit of Splenda and 2 tbsp PB2. To that, I added one chopped banana and gave it a good stir. Seriously: SO GOOD! Not even, “oh this is good for a healthy, low carb-ish dessert,” like, this is an insanely delicious peanut butter and banana dessert…TRY IT!

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Up next, in the medium-sized lime green bowl on the lime green napkin, is our one breakfast option (sorry for the bad photo, but I’ve said it before, I’m in a time crunch when it comes to breakfast photography). I made a smoothie in a bowl with 1.5 cups frozen strawberries, thawed ever-so-slightly for easier blending, 1 cup vanilla almond milk and Splenda. I swirled it with a mix of regular plain and Greek yogurts, and topped with 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks (to be low-carb, topped with the fruit instead of my usual cereal). Another beautiful bowl! The sweet smoothie, tangy yogurt, and fresh pineapple combined to make a seriously delicious bowl of breakfast.

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Last but not least, in the small blue bowl on the blue napkin, is a creamy apple cinnamon dessert. I did my usual sauté an apple with water, cinnamon and splenda on medium-high until tender routine (bought Pink Lady apples for the first time since they were what looked good at the grocery store…pickings are slim this time of year). I mixed 3 tbsp light ricotta and 1/3 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt, a splash of vanilla and a touch of Splenda, then mixed it together and topped with a few shakes of cinnamon. Another winner!

So you see, dessert fits into any lifestyle, even when I’m cutting back on carbs. You just have to get a bit creative in the kitchen, and you can eat what you crave if you’re smart about it. So, after 3 days, low carb-ing it is still going okay. I actually enjoy the challenge in a way, because it forces me to think outside the box a bit, and I have to eat more “whole” foods, as opposed to stuff from a box. Not sure how many more days I’ll go, as I am feeling better already, but we’ll see. I have to admit, I did “cheat”  a bit last night, as I was making these brownies for a friend, and had a little taste (or two) of  the batter! Winking smile But that’s ok…they’re made with pumpkin, so a little batter won’t kill me!

What is your favourite “healthy” dessert?

Salad Days

27 May

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Eating lots of salads to get back on track and help shed a few pounds sounds kind of brutal, doesn’t it? Visions of scarfing down endless bowls of greens sounds sort of like punishment. I ate a nice, big healthy salad for both lunch and dinner yesterday, and it was anything but boring. And although it was healthy, it didn’t seem like “diet food” to me.

Just look at that big, beautiful salad (last night’s supper) – doesn’t it look yummy? I’m not sure if I will remember all the veggies in it, but I will try. I started out with some mixed greens, then added:

  • multi-colour grape tomatoes
  • cucumber
  • cauliflower
  • snow peas
  • orange bell pepper
  • asparagus (just slightly cooked, so it was still tender-crisp)
  • fresh parsley and chives (thank you, perennial herbs in my garden Smile)
  • red onion
  • frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • jarred roasted red peppers
  • broccoli slaw mix
  • sliced sundried tomatoes

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My protein was this PC Blue Menu Mediterranean Herb Turkey Filet (I split the whole thing between 2 salads for my mom and I). This was my first time eating this turkey and it DEFINATELY won’t be my last! I cooked it on the grill, and it was soooo tender and tasty!

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This is what the whole thing looked like after I grilled it. I let it rest for a good 15 or 20 minutes. I didn’t want it steaming hot on the salad, and also, if you cut meat right after you take it off the grill, all the juices run out and it’s not as tender and juicy (it’s true, not just something they say on tv).

I layered the chopped turkey on top of all the other veggies, seasoned with freshly cracked garlic sea salt (Epicure, of course Winking smile) and black pepper, and topped the whole thing off with sliced avocado. My dressing was a mix of 1 tsp olive oil, Dijon mustard, fat-free Italian dressing and some simply delicious Raspberry Baco Noir wine vinegar I bought in a fancy wine vinegar mini six-pack back in March when my sister and I had dinner in wine country). These vinegars ROCK! As I said to my mom, often on fancy-sounding vinegars like that, the names are just for show, but you really CAN taste the unique flavour in each one.

Everything came together fantastically for an absolutely amazing salad. IMG_1562Seriously, sooo good (and huge too, I like that in my food). But even better still? I concurrently made a salad for today’s lunch! Everything was the same, minus the corn, turkey and avocado, and plus some chopped deli ham. I love making supper and lunch at the same time – saves on all the chopping and prep.

 

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I did the same thing on Wednesday night when I made a fantastically tasty pork tenderloin for supper (made a quick rub of garlic salt, fajita seasoning, cumin, chili powder and Epicure salsa seasoning) and then threw it on top of an Asian-style broccoli slaw for yesterday’s lunch….don’t you just love cooking ahead?

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So you may be wondering, how’s the low carb thing going after 2 days (even if you’re not, I’m gonna share)? As you can see, it’s involved a lot of salads and lean proteins. But I’ve also come up with some tasty sweet options (which I will share on the weekend). I will never say that I like not eating carbs (you know how much I LOVE my desserts, and my beloved vitatops, and bread…), but honestly, it hasn’t been that bad. I think my body was just craving lean options (mostly veggies and fruit) so much that it’s been happy with the change. But mind you, this is me after only 2 days….we’ll see how long it lasts!

I’m hoping to get my veggies and herbs in the ground this weekend (maybe even tonight), so expect an update on that to come too. Happy Friday everyone!

Lean ‘n Green

26 May

Good morning! It is SO good to be home, in my own kitchen, cooking my own food, and eating LOTS of fruits and veggies! IMG_1548After running for an hour and 45 minutes (and it felt amazing…beautiful day, great run), I wanted a nice, healthy breakfast. But keep in mind I still hadn’t gotten groceries, so I had to throw something together that would satisfy my body’s healthy cravings with my limited resources. I managed to McGiver up something pretty tasty though!

IMG_1549Thankfully, my garden helped me out with the green part of this breakfast. I sautéed some fresh arugula and chives to make an egg substitute omelette (I had an unopened carton in the fridge so it was still good). I sautéed the veggies over medium high-heat just until wilted (see photo). Then, I reduced the heat until medium-low and poured in 1/2 cup of egg substitute, let set slightly, then flip and stir around, added salt and pepper, and repeat. I topped it with one wheel of light Babybel cheese (sliced), then put a lid on the pan to help it melt.

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On the side, I made a super smoothie with 1.5 cups frozen strawberries and rasperries, slightly thawed; 1 cup vanilla almond milk, a touch of Splenda and a handful of frozen, chopped spinach (you couldn’t even taste it, I promise!!! Just wanted to get in more greens). Altogether, it was a totally satisfying breakfast, and exactly what my body craved. Like the napkin? I got this cute set (and some new bowls) in Vegas…stay tuned for more!

If you look at the breakfast, you might be asking, “where are the carbs?” A couple of times before when I’ve overindulged/want to take off a few pounds, I’ve tried cutting back on the carbs for a few days and had success. I’m no hard-core Atkins-style girl, I just eliminate things like bread, pasta, and most importantly, the sweets. I won’t do it for any longer than a week (and I’m not sure if I’ll last that long), just for a little bit to help get myself back on track. I definitely don’t believe in low-carbing it for the long run, this will just be my kick-start to getting back to my healthy eating habits.IMG_1552IMG_1553

 

 

 

 

 

 

After work today (thankfully I just had a half day), I purchased more green to add to my life. I normally plant my vegetable and herb gardens over the May long weekend, but since I was away, I was itching to get started. I haven’t done any planting yet, but I bought all of my veggies and herbs. I can’t wait! I’ve got some of my old favourites, and am trying a few new things – I will share once I’ve got it all in the ground.

After a healthy lunch, then a grocery trip to re-stock the house with LOTS of produce, then a healthy supper with some local asparagus (yes, it’s still on, thank goodness), I am feeling much better about things! Thanks for sticking with me through all of my food issues. Winking smile

Have you planted/are you planting a vegetable and/or herb garden this year?

The problem with Thursday nights

11 Mar

I have a confession to make. I wasn’t sure if I’d post about this, but in the effort to be totally honest, and share my food and eating triumphs and failures with you, I decided to go with it. I am trying to show with this post that while I love to stay in shape and eat healthfully, I am a real person, one that messes up, like all of us do.

So here goes: that butter tart wasn’t all I ate last night. Oh no, there was so much more…my dessert after dinner were two Peeps s’mores (possible post to come about those later)…not bad at all in and of itself. But it didn’t stop there. I also ate some jelly bellies, frozen yogurt, mini eggs, peanut butter out of the jar, a couple of cookies from the freezer, chocolate…I *think* that’s all. Wow, that’s kind of embarassing after I type it all out. Why you may ask? Well the answer goes back to the title of this post.

When I did Weight Watchers, Thursdays were my weigh-in day. Going right along with that, Thursday nights became sort of my “cheat” night – I’ve just been weighed in, and the new week starts tomorrow, therefore nothing counts tonight – makes sense, doesn’t it? Well I haven’t gone to WW in over 2 years, and I still have the Thursday night munchies, as I like to call them (old habits die hard, I guess). Lately I’ve been doing better…I’ve been indulging a little on Thursdays, but not going overboard.

Last night was bad! Why especially bad? I never know for sure…but here are a few theories: It’s almost March Break, so I’m going into “splurge” mode (also not a good thing). It was kind of a stressful night (my mom lost her iphone…don’t worry, we found it). I was going to go to Starbucks for a free petite treat after school but I didn’t…so maybe that sweet craving was lingering? Along the same lines, my mom and I were going to maybe go to Dairy Queen earlier in the week, but didn’t…so another possible lingering craving?

Anyways…I don’t know for sure why it happened, but I do know that once this mentally sets in, it’s hard to stop. Basically I need to go upstaires to bed or I might just keep eating :P. It’s embarassing and humbling to share, but I think it’s important to be honest with you guys, just so you can see that I’m a regular human and not some healthy super hero.

Anyone have any tips or advice for me? I’d love to hear them! That being said, I am getting better at not being so hard on myself and beating myself up after one of these events…it’s all about 80/20, right? I had a good workout on the stepper this morning (LOVE working out on that machine, seriously) and a delicious healthy breakfast (post to come).

How do you get back on track after a binge/splruge, and more importantly, and advice for preventing them? Happy Friday everyone and happy March Break for all you teachers out there! 😀

Mythbusters: Diet Edition

25 Feb

I have to confess, I’ve never actually watched Mythbusters (although it is a favourite of my brother-in-law), but I thought it would make a suitable title for this post. There are lots of tried and true diet “rules” out there, and they are tried and true for a reason – they work, right? But you know the old saying, “rules were made to be broken.”  There are several diet rules that I broke (and still break) while I was losing weight and still managed to be successful, so I thought I’d share with you. I will preface this post by saying that I am by no means an expert, and what I record on here is what works for me – that’s no guarantee that it will work for you or that I think it’s best for everyone – we’re all different! That being said, I believe I do have something helpful to offer, and hope you can learn something from this post, even if you don’t put all of my rule-breaking into practice. So without further ado….

1. Don’t eat after supper. This is a rule you here over and over…I think Oprah herself has even weighed in (no pun intended :P) on this one. The idea being that you don’t need all those extra calories, and after eating a big evening meal, night-time snacking can lead to weight gain. I totally get that and agree. But here’s the thing – I love a night time snack. I don’t know if it’s because I am just such a foodie, or that I watch so much tv, but a nighttime snack is almost a ritual for me. Nothing relaxes me like munching on some popcorn or eating a bit of ice cream in front of one of my favourite shows at the end of the day – anyone with me? So how do I fit my late night munchies into a healthy eating plan? First of all, I don’t eat huge meals during the day. One thing I like about the Weight Watchers points system is that you have your given number of points to eat during the day, but it’s up to you how you use them. So what I typically do is use my points during the day to have a healthy breakfast, lunch and supper, but make sure I have a few left over for the evening. That way I don’t blow my calorie budget for the day on a snack. I also make sure I’ve gotten in my healthy foods for the day (dairy products, fruits and veggies, healthy oils) before I indulge in a treat. And, like the rest of my eats, my late night snacks are something I enjoy, but nothing overly indulgent (unless it’s a special occasion). I don’t down a huge plate of nachos or a giant ice cream sundae – more like some fat free popcorn or a 100-calorie ice cream cup or snack).  I’m not saying that this is necessarily the most nutritionally sound approach, but it’s a way I can eat what (and when) I want and still manage my weight.

2. Skip dessert and sweets to lose weight. If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time (or know me at all), you’ll know the ferocity of my sweet tooth. Giving up dessert would guarantee that I’d be miserable and have constant cravings. Another reason I love the WW plan. It allows you to use extra points for foods that you love. For example, I rarely drink. I could care less about having a glass of wine with dinner or a cocktail when out with friends. I’d much rather have a deliciously decadent dessert – so that’s what I do. This doesn’t mean I eat giant sundaes and slices of cake every night (maybe in a dream world). I have found smarter ways to satisfy my sweet cravings that fit in my regular lifestyle (but you better believe I’m gonna splurge on dessert during special occasions 🙂 ). Hungry Girl has a ton of great ideas and I’ve come up with a lot of my own. I make a lot of “creations” by mixing a fat-free sugar-free pudding cup with fat free Cool Whip and a 100 calorie pack/bar. I’ve also found that 100-calorie cookie packs taste great dipped in some marshmallow creme (I’m realizing as I type this post that I haven’t shared a lot of my favourite dessert swaps – I’ll try to snap some pics soon so I can share).  I also LOVE Skinny Cow cookie dough sundae cups and Chapman’s frozen yogurt (and don’t forget about banana soft serve ).I know Tina, of Carrots ‘n Cake, practices what she calls “cookie Friday,” one day a week where she indulges in a more decadent treat – I think this is a great approach.

3. Try and find events/activities that don’t focus on food. Okay…let me preface this one by saying that I think this is a good idea. That being said, I am a foodie. I always have been, always will be. I love food. I love cooking it, eating it, thinking about it, reading about it, watching shows about it on tv, serving it, and making it to others. While I sometimes wish I was different (it should would make weight loss/maintenance a heck of a lot easier), I’ve come to realize that food is a huge part of who I am. I can (and do) enjoy activities that don’t focus on food, if I gave up cooking/baking/hosting parties (and watching Food Network) while trying to slim down, I’d be denying my passions and personality. So, I need to figure out a way to navigate events and enjoy them without going overboard. I don’t always succeed, but I have picked up some tips. If I am hosting an event, I can control the menu. This makes special occasions a lot easier. Or, if going to a party, I offer to bring something (like double chocolate chews) so I know I’ll have a healthier option. If I’m doing a lot of baking, I try to cut down on calories during the rest of the day. If I have a huge family food fest coming up, I’ll try to eat smart before and squeeze in some extra activity during the day. In the end, I think it’s better to indulge a little bit rather than feel miserable the whole time. And if I can surprise others with my healthier fare during a “foodie” event? Bonus!

So, those are my top 3 diet myths busted (at least for me). These might not work for you at all, as we all have different personalities and preferences. Doe you break these diet rules? What other rules do you feel are meant to be broken when it comes to weight loss?

Beating the BLTs

23 Feb

First of all, let me explain the title. This post is not about eating too many bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches. 😛 If you’ve ever attended a Weight Watchers meeting, you’ve likely heard of this acronym – it stands for Bites, Licks and Tastes…and this kind of BLTs can really get in the way of weight loss, especially for me. I’m going to talk about that today, but first let me rewind to Monday and the yummy dinner I made. Every year for their birthdays, I give my sister and brother-in-law each a gourmet dinner which they can cash in at any time through the year (subject to availability). Since Monday was a holiday, I prepared them a belated Valentine’s Day dinner…here’s a quick run-down of the menu (and let me tell you, I had LOTS of BLTS while making it)!

Started with a pomegranate/berry/mango smoothie

Rosemary chips with a Parmesan cream sauce

Salad was a sweet potato/green bean salad with walnuts in a creamy yogurt dressing served on spinach and arugula

The main course was a homemade, hand-cut pasta in a tomato mascarpone/chevre cream sauce

The dessert (and isn’t it SO cute?) was chocolate mascarpone cheesecake pots topped with whipped cream and chocolate ganache, garnished with a heart-shaped brownie cake pop, heart-shaped shortbread cookies and fresh berries.

The entire menu was a big hit. 🙂 Now back to the BLTs (I thought it would be good to combine the menu run-down with this post, as tasting was a big part of preparing).  Those BLTs can take on many forms: free food samples, a couple of bites off of a friend’s plate, licking the bowl (this is a HUGE one for me), tasting as you cook, eating those tiny little candies that “don’t count” (for me right now, this is the HUGE bowl of cinnamon hearts in my mom’s office)….you get the idea. None of those things is inherently “bad,” but let me tell you, they can add up really quickly. I think they probably slowed down my weight loss, and are probably a large part of why I’m feeling a bit chubbier than I’d like these days.

If you cook and bake as much as I do, you spend a lot of time around food. That means there are lots of opportunities for sampling. Even if I don’t *technically* eat what I prepare, chances are good that I’ve tasted it (often more than once). So what to do? A big part of the Weight Watchers approach is writing down what you eat…and believe it or not, I still do this on most days. It really helps keep you accountable. But, the catch is, most of the time those BLTs don’t make it on paper. So it’s what I’m “not” eating that is undermining my diet.

In the past, I’ve tried to make room for my tasting. For example, on the old WW system, I’m supposed to eat between 22 and 26 points a day. On a day when I was doing a lot of tasting, I would just automatically write off 2 or 3 points for tastes. Or if I went to Costco and had lots of samples, I’d factor that in too. But I’ll be honest, I haven’t been doing that as much lately. I did on Monday, but there’s no way of knowing just how accurate that number is (in reality, it’s probably too low 😦 ).

So I’d really like to cut down on my BLT-ing. I need strategies though…it’s so hard for me to turn down food! Here are some ideas I have, but if you have any, PLEASE leave them in the comments section – I need all of the help I can get!

  • When baking/cooking, I can try and make sure I scrape out the bowls really well and then rinse them in soapy water right away so there’s nothing to lick
  • I need to throw stuff out immediately too (like if I just have a tiny bit of extra frosting) so I don’t mindlessly lick it up!
  • I can try chewing gum while baking (although this has NOT worked for me in the past)
  • I need to be honest with myself, and if I’ve overdone it on the tasting, own up to it and eat less that day
  • I could try to bake less…but that’s not really realistic for me, as I love doing it so much
  • I can avoid in-store samples unless they’re something I really want to try (like on the weekend, I had a chocolate milk sample…not really worth it!)

Now I’m curious. I know I like to bake/cook more than most people. For those of you who don’t spend as much time as me in the kitchen, do you relate to my BLT struggle? Does it look different for you (ie tasting someone else’s food, eating lots of samples)? I wanted to write this post so the blog can help hold me accountable, and also to emphasize what I’ve already said: I’m not perfect, and I struggle each and every day in my relationship with food. I hope that by sharing my struggles and imperfections, you find you can relate and hopefully I (and you) will also have some victories to share!

Eat fat to lose fat

1 Feb

There are some foods that I like, I know are healthy, but I don’t eat that often because they tend to be higher in fat/calories – foods such as nuts or avocados. While I love both of them, and they are chock full of flavour and heart-healthy fats, the higher calorie price tag keeps me from eating them on a regular basis, which is a shame really, as they’re delicious. A couple of weeks ago, I bought an avocado to use in a recipe to make for dinner guests. The dinner was cancelled, so the avocado sat in my fridge.

As you know, I’m not one to waste food if I can help it, so last weekend I resolved to use the avocado in my fridge. I used 3/4 of it to make a nourishing hair masque from a spa book I had (I believe the recipe was for a whole avocado (I didn’t use it all because I wanted to eat some!), 1 teaspoon or two of oil, and some grated ginger). It was the perfect thing for dry, frizzy winter hair and made my hair feel wonderful (not so fun to clean out of the bathtub though) :P!

For supper last Sunday, I used the remaining 1/4 avocado in one of the most flavourful wraps I’ve made in a long time. I still had some leftover ham to use up too, so I diced up 2 ounces and threw that in. For the same recipe that I had bought the avocado for, I had also purchased a jalapeno pepper. I charred it under the broiler, diced it up and threw half in the wrap (the other half went in the spicy/sweet slaw you see on the side). I diced up a bit of diced pineapple and that went in the wrap too (and a bit in the slaw), as well as some sliced red onion. I seasoned with salt and pepper and added some BBQ sauce. Let me tell you – that combination of flavours – sweet, hot, smoky, spicy and textures – creamy and crisp was phenomenal! And the slaw I made on the side (dressing was light Miracle whip, salsa, vinegar, lime juice, cumin and splenda) with broccoli slaw mix, diced fresh peppers as well as the charred jalapeno, pineapple and onions – was a great complement. I also had some mashed, cooked squash on the side.

As for the title of the post, you may have heard this before, but it is important not to eliminate fat from your diet when you want to lose weight. It is an important nutrient for your body, and if you don’t get enough of it, your body can over-compensate and hold onto whatever fat you do get, preventing weight loss. So healthy fats are key to a healthy diet! I learned that on WW – I can testify that having 2 tsp of olive oil a day helped me achieve my goal weight. I had reached a weight loss plateau and adding the oils really did boost my weight loss.

So, in conclusion – don’t be scared of fatty foods (as long as they’re the good fats). Maybe I will try to use avocado more in the future. Do you have any healthy, but fatty foods you avoid? Any tips on incorporating these kinds of food in your diet?

Snow day banana bread

19 Jan

I will take an opportunity I’m given to bake. This banana bread was one of the 3 projects I tackled on my recent snow day. Surprise, surprise, another Hungry Girl recipe. I love banana bread and baked goods of any kind. But, when I started Weight Watchers, for the most part, I gave up on having quick breads and muffins as part of my every day diet. They tend to be way too high in fat and calories to enjoy on a regular basis (but of course, as I always say – in moderation, anything can be part of a healthy diet). In reality, many muffins/quick breads have as many (or more) calories than desserts!

Thank goodness for Hungry Girl. She and her team renovate recipes so we can enjoy our favourites in a slimmed-down version, perfect for every day life. Now…I’m not going to lie. This doesn’t exactly taste like classic banana bread, what your mom or grandma would make. It is good, and I really enjoy it; but the recipe has no fat or sugar in it…you can’t expect miracles! On the upside? Serving size is HUGE…one serving is a slice that is 1/8 of the loaf – pretty generous – and with 140 calories and almost 4 grams of fibre, that’s only 2 WW points (on the old system)…not too shabby! Some of this loaf will be eaten fresh, but most will go into the freezer to be enjoyed later on as part of a quick breakfast or a snack. My favourite way to enjoy it is as a snack spread with a tablespoon of Better ‘n Peanut Butter (this a product I discovered via Hungry Girl that, sadly, I haven’t been able to find in Canada, so I buy in the US when I can). You can’t beat the combo of PB and banana! For about the same calorie count, just use 1/2 tbsp of regular or low fat peanut butter.

Thanks to the snow day, I now have 8 servings of a healthy breakfast or snack waiting for me. 🙂 What’s your favourite quick bread recipe?

Supper and a Summary

13 Jan

I wasn’t going to post about supper tonight, but it tasted so delicious I decided to share with you all. (If you don’t want to read about my dinner but want to hear about my summary of the 5 Day Fast Forward, scroll down) I was looking for something that would come together quickly, as I was doing some baking tonight (which I will share tomorrow, I promise!) and didn’t finish up until about 6:00. I went to one of my go-to healthy, delicious and filling meals: whole wheat pasta with some sort of meat and a whole bunch of veggies…depending on my mood, what’s in my fridge, and time constraints, it changes, but here’s what I made tonight. Looks good, right?

So, I ALWAYS start with garlic (those who know me know I can’t get enough). The meat tonight was this really tasty turkey/chicken sausage with spinach and feta we buy at Costco (we threw out the packaging so I can’t share the brand name with you). I thinly sliced up the sausage, chopped the garlic, as well as some red bell pepper and a portabello mushroom. In a pan over medium-high heat, I heated 1 tsp of olive oil and added all of the above, as well as some sliced regular mushrooms and a sprinkle of chili flakes.

Meanwhile, I cooked 2 ounces (enough to make about a cup cooked) of whole wheat rotini in salted boiling water. Now 1 cup of pasta isn’t a lot, right? But look at the picture…there’s only a cup of pasta in there….I add so many veggies it bumps up the portion size. That’s on of my favourite healthy  cooking tips – while I know that portion size is an important part of weight loss/maintenance, I love to eat big meals. On the Weight Watchers plan, most veggies have 0 points….so adding a lot of vegetables to a meal is an easy way to bump up the serving size (and nutrition factor) without adding a lot of extra calories.

I also blanched some broccoli rabe/rapini  in the microwave….if you’ve never heard of it, it looks like tiny broccoli heads with lots of leafy greens…it can be kind of bitter, so blanching it in some water for a couple of minutes before using it takes the edge off (I learned that from Rachael Ray). To the veggies/sausage, I added the rapini, as well as about a tbsp of frozen tomato paste (freezing in blobs is a great way to prevent it from going to waste after you open a can) and a rather sad-looking tomato I found in the fridge. I let this simmer away, seasoning with salt and pepper and adding a bit of the starchy cooking water from the pasta (another Rachael Ray tip). Towards the end, I added a splash of white wine vinegar and let it simmer some more, then added the drained, cooked pasta and a generous handful of fresh spinach (I still have some left over!). I let it heat through, and dinner was served (and yes, I ate the entire portion in the photo above….it was mostly veggies). I don’t know if I was craving carbs after the last 5 days, but this dinner sure hit the spot….it tasted delicious!

Now….onto my summary of my results and thoughts after the 5 Day Fast Forward. If you remember, I told you when I started that I wasn’t going to weigh myself. Now I sort of wish I had…the plan promises that you can lose up to 8 pounds in 5 days…I would say emphasis on the “up to.” I have tried on my skinny jeans a couple of times (last night, this morning and after school today….a little obsessive, I know) and they are not as loose as I would like. In fact, they feel barely any different than when I started :(.  I have to tell you, I was pretty bummed out and depressed last night after the first try-on. So what are my thoughts after the fact?

First of all , the positives. This 5 day period helped me reduce my focus on food, which is good for me….as food consumes a lot of my time and mental space. Also, since I wasn’t eating a lot of food, I really made an effort to eat slower – putting my fork down and/or taking a drink between each bite. This is something I’d like to continue, as I know I often eat too quickly. I also enjoyed eating things that I know are healthy (eggs, almonds, almond butter) but I normally don’t eat because of their higher calorie count.

I think that maybe I should have reduced my physical activity during the 5 days. I really noticed my energy levels were low, and I should have listened to my body more closely. Except for when I took a day off yesterday, I did all my normal gym workouts, as well as a few sessions of cross country skiing (a new hobby I’m taking up…more to come on that in the coming days). I half wonder if this sabotaged my results.

I would still like to lose a few more pounds…even without weighing myself, I feel like I’m up a bit from my goal weight, and the holidays sure didn’t help. But after trying this experiment, I think that the best way to go about it is the WW (that’s short for weight watchers if you didn’t know) method….healthy eating and exercise, but a diet that incorporates healthy foods as well as my favourites….I don’t do deprivation well….and these last 5 days proved it….I can’t tell you how much I day dreamed about today and what I would eat.

I think I’d feel better about myself if I could lose a few pounds, but I also know I need to work at feeling good with who I am now…if my happiness always depends on looking just a bit thinner, will I ever truly be happy? I doubt it.

I don’t have much else to say on the subject at the moment, but maybe I’ll add more tomorrow. What do all of you think? When you have gained a few post-holiday pounds, do you do something drastic to drop them, or just go back to common-sense healthy eating and exercise? Thanks for sticking through this with me…and I promise….sweet treat post to come tomorrow! Speaking of which, I’m off to find dessert!