Sunday, September 4, 2011

It's the Most Wonderful Time of Year!

Nope. Not Christmas... AUTUMN! Okay... technically it's not until September 22nd, but almost! It's close enough for me to begin celebrating all things fall!! Living in the Louisiana (the land of few trees and even fewer than change colors) for the past four autumns, I forgot that Mississippi and places in the south can actually have autumn! Some of the trees are starting to change already. Driving down the interstate, a breeze of wind caught the leaves of a cute little yellow tree and they magically fluttered through the air. I actually got tears in my eyes and squealed "fall" in utter bliss with a big smile while driving in my car. So in my world, it is officially time to light the fall candles, put out the fall candy (it's so cute in a mason jar!), bake all the fall things, and hang my homemade fall wreath!



And so this weekend, the official weekend of the end of summer, I fully welcomed autumn with all the love I could deliver! How you might ask? A party with the kitchen, a few cans of pumpkin, and me! I'm so thankful for this season coming now! After a month of all the chaos that is the beginning of a school year in the higher education world, I'm finally back. Life has been so busy, three weeks of training, and the first hectic week of school and students moving in. I haven't been able to workout or eat properly at all! The good news, I didn't gain! The bad news, I didn't loose anything but my motivation. The coming of the season I love was just what I needed to find my motivation. I literally haven't cooked or planned a meal in a month (food provided, eating out, lots of cereal, etc.). This week, that all changed. I planned meals for the next three weeks and had a pumpkin/autumn extravaganza!

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Pumpkin Spiced Cream Cheese


I took this recipe directly from my favorite recipe blog skinnytaste.com. I didn't have agave nectar, so I added 3 extra tablespoons of brown sugar instead of the 2 tablespoons of agave. She mentioned that agave was sweeter. So, I started with 2. It wasn't quite sweet enough, so I added 1 more. It's SOOO good. I've been eating it with apples, but I can't wait to try it on bagel thins as well. The recipe makes a little over a cup. It's made with 1/3 less fat cream cheese and 1 point per tablespoon. I am fairly certain I will keep this in my fridge until spring reappears! 

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Pumpkin Butter


This recipe also came directly from skinnytaste.com . I didn't make any changes at all. She suggests 1-2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice, according to your taste. I LOVE pumpkin pie spice, so I used two. She says you can use apple cider or juice, I used juice. 2-3 cinnamon sticks, I used 3. I used Libby's canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling). Can I just tell you, this is amazing! In the comments on her blog post people asked how long it would last in the fridge, and she says 3 days. It makes A LOT, like 4 cups a lot. I plan on using it past 3 days though. I did some research and most places said you could use apple and pumpkin butters longer, up to 3 weeks. BUT still, there is no way I'd use 4 cups, so I am freezing some in ice cube trays for individual portions to store in a freezer ziplock bag. I do believe I will eat this for breakfast every day this week! It would be fabulous on pancakes, waffles, biscuits... Oh my gosh... MUST MAKE BISCUITS! My mouth is watering thinking about this yummy spread on biscuits. It's only 3 points for a 1/4 cup! This yummy pumpkin butter is also a the key ingredient in....

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Pumpkin Spiced Lattes


Another recipe straight from my favorite! Anyone else anticipate the re-release of Starbucks' pumpkin spiced latte every year? Or the pumpkin spiced coffee creamer that only comes out around the holidays each year. I am ecstatic when this happens every autumn! Gina (Skinny Taste's author) to the rescue again! I followed the recipe exactly, except... It makes 2 serving and I definitely drank all of it! 3 points a serving (or 6 if you drink both like me). You need this! I also looked up how to make espresso in a coffee pot. 1 tablespoon of coffee per 1/4 cup of needed espresso. So I brewed 2 cups of water + 8 tablespoons of coffee. I'll save the rest for another batch tomorrow. 

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And then, with all the yummy sweet pumpkiny things. I had to have an equally yummy fall dinner right? What better way to do that than in the crock pot?! My crock pot, Tyler Duff Crock Pot to be exact, is my favorite cooking tool for autumn and winter. It's just so warm and cozy! Chicken was on sale at Sam's, which isn't a typical crock pot meat, but I worked with what I had and threw some stuff together that came out really yummy!

Fall in a Crock Pot Chicken


For sounding more professional, in the picture I named it Autumn in a Pot. But doesn't fall in a crock pot sound so funny? Funny image for sure. But really, the ingredients kind of did fall in the crock pot! 

Ingredients:
-1 large sweet onion
-3 sweet potatoes, cubed
-3 boneless skinless chicken breast
-1 cup dried cranberries
-3 or 4 small Gala apples, sliced
-1 package chicken gravy mix
-chicken broth
-McCormick Smokehouse Maple Seasoning
-salt
-pepper

I tossed the onions in first, cut in half, quarters, and then once more. Threw the cubed potatoes on top of that. Sprinkled them with salt, pepper, and the McCormick seasoning. Seasoned the chicken breast on both sides with the same seasonings. Sprinkled the gravy mix over all of that. Tossed the apples and cranberries on top, poured over 1 cup of chicken low sodium, fat free chicken broth. I finished it with a little more of the maple seasoning, some nutmeg, and a cinnamon stick. Put the lid on, cook on high for 4 hours, and don't touch. It was really yummy! Very much an autumn meal: cozy, warm, and filling. 

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AND since I'm determined to eat healthy this week, I whipped up some fruity chicken salad to use for lunches. I usually do good with breakfast and dinner but not so good with lunch unless I have leftovers or plan! Breakfast this week will be full of pumpkin goodness! Since canned chicken was also on sale at Sam's, chicken salad sandwiches will make my lunches happy!


I don't use any full fat mayonnaise! I use a tad of fat free mayo and for the rest of the "wet" I use fat free sour cream.  A big can of chicken, dried chives, ground sage, salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder to taste. Red seedless grapes and 1 gala apple chopped. Perfect as a sandwich and yummy on crackers too! 

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Stay tuned tomorrow for Brownie Batter Dip, Strawberry Fluff, and Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Homemade Caramel Sauce! Also, if you haven't heard of pinterest.com, you are missing out! It's a virtual pin board! You can "pin" things you find on the web and like or things you make yourself (I've started pinning all my recipes). BUT the best part is browsing other pins. Everything from food, to DIY projects, to clothes, to crafts, EVERYTHING! You should follow me: pinterest.com/kasialindsay!

I hope you can enjoy and celebrate fall too! Or mourn the last official weekend of summer, if you must. (If you are one of *those* people, hehe kidding, I love you even if you don't love the coming season as much as me!) Happy healthy eating!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Make the Most of Summer!

If you know me, you could blurt out my favorite season without thought! I am absolutely head over heals in love with autumn. If you've ever been around me during a hot Mississippi/Louisiana summer, you've also probably heard me say how much I hate summer. Though the summers in the places that most people who read this live are flaming hot and ridiculously humid, I'm reluctantly willing to accept that summer has it's good sides too. This summer I've learned to appreciate summer for other reasons! Don't get me wrong, summer and I are still not bffs, BUT parts of it have grown on me. Any guess?? The food offerings to cook, bake and create with! (Pool time and vacations aren't so bad either.)

The summer is full of fun food. From the sweetest fresh fruits to the crispest fresh garden vegetables to a succulent red ripe garden tomato and even to those favorite dishes and grilled things we spoon on our plates at the many summer BBQs, parties and holiday celebrations. For those healthy eaters out there (that I've now become), we can be lead astray by some of those summer favorites. Salads packed and layered with mayo, desserts decadent with cream, butter and sugar. BUT we don't have to be trapped. Healthy does not at all have to mean a lack of flavor!

Potato Salad


Who doesn't love it? Whose Mamaw doesn't make the BEST one? It's good! No way around it. Unfortunately, most of our grandmother's recipes for potato salad are full of fatty mayonnaise. Skinny taste to the rescue again: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2009/06/baby-red-potato-salad.html! I was on call for 4th of July and couldn't attend the family BBQ, so my brother drove up and we had our own little cookout. He made ribs and I made the sides and dessert. It took a little convincing for me to talk him into letting me make a potato salad that wasn't like our Mamaw's, but he loved it! He said he even liked it better than normal potato salad. That speaks volumes, especially since he's not even on a diet! I made the recipe exactly like hers. For the very minimal mayo I used Kraft 50 % less fat olive oil mayo. Make sure to let it sit. It tastes so much better if it rests for at least 30 minutes.

Grilled Peaches and Apples


The fruit summer offers is too good to not take advantage of! You've seen my previous posts with summer fruits like the strawberry cookies and strawberry trifle. But the dessert I made for our cookout was with peaches and apples! I roughly used skinny taste's grilled peaches recipe: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2010/05/grilled-peaches.html.

I used 1 peach and 1 apple, I prefer gala or fuji. Sprayed them with parkay spray butter, sprinkled them lightly with brown sugar. My brother grilled them, the peach was soft, the apple was not, but I like it that way. I mixed 1/2 cup of non fat plain greek yogurt with about 2 tbsp of honey. Then I mixed in 1/4 cup of fat free cool whip and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and mixed it into the mixture. I topped each half with a couple tablespoons of the mixture and drizzled honey on top. I also used my cinnamon sugar grinder to sprinkle cinnamon on top. 

Our very first cookout with no help from parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles was a success!


Make the most of the rest of summer! Grill everything! Watermelon is lovely grilled as are pineapple, peaches, apples, and every vegetable. Eat fruits like they are going out of style! Because they soon won't be as luscious and cheap. Mix 2 tablespoons of Nutella with 1 splash of milk to thin it out and dip strawberries in it! Best dessert and snack ever! And healthy! Enjoy it while it lasts. Soon our recipes will be filled with pumpkin, aromatic spices and winter squashes. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

I LOVE strawberries. As soon as spring arrives and the cost drops you better believe they will be in my refrigerator. They are a "free" food on weight watchers and like candy! I was browsing recipes to make for community group and didn't want to purchase any ingredients. I wanted to work with what I had and happened upon a strawberry shortcake cookie recipe! Um.. yes please?! If you want the full fat recipe (which is totally acceptable sometimes particularly when feeding other, hehe) you can find the one I based mine from here. I adapted the recipe quite a bit to make it Weight Watchers friendly!



Strawberry Shortcake Cookies


Ingredients with points: 

6 tbsp Brummel and Brown yogurt butter (6 points)
2 tbsp fat free sweet condensed milk (3 points)
little less than 1/2 cup of fake buttermilk (1 cup milk + 1 tsp vinegar) (3 points)
2 tbsp sugar (2 points)
1 cup whole wheat flower (8 points)
1 cup all purpose flour (8 points)
1/2 cup sugar (8 points)

"Free" Ingredients: 
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp splenda


Directions:
Preheat oven to 375°F. In a small bowl, stir together the strawberries, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of the splenda and set aside. In a large bowl (or stand mixer mixing bowl with flat paddle) mix together sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt until combined. Spoon the Brummel and Brown into the flour mixture 1 spoon at a time until you have coarse crumbs. Add fat free sweet condensed milk and 1/2 cup of fake buttermilk to the bowl and stir until the dough starts to come together. Gently fold in the strawberry mixture. If the mixture is too dry add more of the fake buttermilk, but not much! I used 2/3 and it was too much, they were too moist. 

Spoon a tad over 1 measuring tablespoon of dough onto a prepared baking sheet or cooking stone. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let the cookies cool for a few moments then transfer cookies to wire racks to continue cooling. The cookies are best the day they're made, but can be kept in an airtight container for 1 day.

38 points / 3 dozen / 1 point each


A little side note. Don't know what to do with the rest of that fat free sweet condensed milk? Add a tablespoon for 1.5 points to a bowl of sliced fresh peaches, nectarines or strawberries or add it to your iced coffee! A decadent treat!

Make Ahead Sweet and Savory Breakfast Muffins

I've seen the idea a lot lately, from friends, food blogs, the Food Network, and Weight Watchers meetings and materials of making breakfast early in the week to eat the whole week. I was hesitant to give it a try until recently. Why you ask? Because I am so predictable and OCD organized that I sometimes fight against adding more rituals. So I didn't want to be boring and eat the same thing for breakfast everyday! (Also, something I mix up my shower routine on purpose just to convince myself I'm not predictable). I was scared I'd tire of eating the same thing and then it would go to waste and that's a big no no! But, in Weight Watchers our instructor gave us a bran muffin recipe that actually looked edible!






I loved them! I used Kroger brand strawberry yogurt. And that should be 1/4 cup of Parkay Spray margarine. I used the optional oat, splenda and cinnamon topping and they were pretty! I plan on experimenting with these by making pumpkin bran muffins! I'll update you when I do :). These are just 3 points a piece and not your typical cardboard bran muffins.


So, these opened my mind to the prepare breakfast for the week idea, which lead me to today's creation! I'm not sure whether to call them Egg Muffins or Crustless Quiche. Looking at recipes I saw both. I encountered the concept from a friend doing South Beach Diet. They are apparently a big South Beach Diet thing. Weight Watchers version were called Crustless Quiches. I think I like that better because it sounds fancy! These could easily be served as a party food too. I based my recipe off of this recipe, but completely made it my own. I didn't use wonton wrappers and my recipe is 1 points for 2!!

Crustless Mini Quiches


Ingredients with points: 
1 cup egg beaters (4)
3 tbsp bacon bits (3)
3 tbsp reduced fat Parmesan grated topping (3)
1 can (1 1/2 cups) fat free evaporated milk (12)
6 slices deli honey smoked turkey (1)
2 slices fat free american cheese (2)

"Free" Ingredients:
1 small vidila finely chopped
1/4th tsp salt
1/8th tsp pepper
1/8th tsp onion powder
1/8th tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chives
1 tsp parsley
(I actually have no ides on the measurements of the spices and herbs, so just do it to taste and look!)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350. Saute onions until just almost translucent and set aside to cool. Whisk together egg beaters, milk, spices and herbs. Add bacon bits and Parmesan cheese, whisking together. Finely chop deli turkey and stir in. Stir in cooled onion. Finely chop 2 slices of fat free american cheese and sprinkle in (you could sub any cheese you like or have). If you have mini muffin liners, use them! If not, be sure to spray your pan well. I didn't have them and they came out fine! Bake for 20-25 minutes until tops are puffed up and golden brown.

Let them cool in the pan for just a few minutes. They will deflate a little. Run a butter knife around the edge of each to remove and place on a cooling rack to cool. It makes 36 mini muffins. Made like this, they are only 1 point for 2!! They keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, reheat well and freeze well!

Zucchini Noodle "Alfredo" Lasagna

So, I'm not sure if technically speaking we can call this lasagna. I am a nerd and looked up to definition. Lasagna does specifically refer to the pasta, BUT other people call it that so we can too!


I was inspired by a friend who tried something similar, the fact that I had a HUGE fresh zucchini from my Pawpaw's garden and Hungry Girl's recipe. I pretty much used her recipe as a big base and made it my own. I used sun dried tomato basil laughing cow cheese wedges instead of just the swiss. I didn't use any noodles at all. I used cottage cheese instead of ricotta. I added ground turkey instead of mushrooms and spinach (because it's what I had). Lastly, I topped it with just Parmesan and no mozzarella (because I didn't have any).

So I give you what I'm calling...

Zucchini Noodle "Alfredo" Lasagna

Ingredients with points:
4 sun dried tomato laughing cow cheese wedges (4) or substitute any of the low fat Laughing Cow varieties
1 cup FF cottage cheese (3) or can substitute 1 cup fat free ricotta (5)
3/4 cup fat free sour cream (3)
1/4 cup egg beats (1) or can substitute 1/4 cup liquid egg whites / 1/4 cup egg beaters (1)
1 lb ground turkey (24)
6 tbsp reduced fat grated Parmesan topping, divided (6)


"Free" ingredients:
1 extra large zucchini or 3 small zucchini, end removed
1 medium vidilia onion
2 small bell peppers (I used 1 yellow and 1 green)
2 tsp. chopped garlic, divided
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp pepper, divided
1 tsp Italian seasoning


Directions:
Preheat oven to broil on low. Slice zucchini. I used my mandolin on the thin setting slicing length wise. You can also cut it in half widthwise, and then slice each half lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick strips. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and begin broiling zucchini slices in batches to get a lot of the moisture out. 


While zucchini is broiling add thinly sliced onion, bell pepper, and 1 tsp of garlic to a heated pan sprayed with olive oil cooking spray (if you aren't counting points like I am, you can use olive oil, just be aware it will rise the nutrition facts). I added a couple of tablespoons of water to help the veggies cook down. I also sliced my onion and bell pepper on thin with my mandolin. You can also chop them if you'd like. I just like how pretty the round thin slices are. Add 1 tsp of Italian seasoning and sprinkle with salt. Add lean ground turkey. I used 85/15 BUT I rinsed it with warm water after to get the extra oil out. Drain (and rinse if you didn't have the leanest meat) and set aside. 


In a medium bowl, combine cottage cheese, egg beater (or egg whites), other tsp of garlic, oregano, basil, 1/8 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. black pepper. Stir in ground turkey and set aside. To make the sauce, in a microwave-safe bowl, combine sour cream with cheese wedges, breaking cheese wedges into pieces as you add them. Stir in 2 tbsp. Parm-style topping, remaining 1/8 tsp. salt, and remaining 1/8 tsp. black pepper. Microwave in 30 - 45 seconds intervals, stirring in between until very warm. Stir until smooth and set aside. 


Change oven temperature from broil to 425. Spray an 8" X 8" baking pan with nonstick spray. Blot your zucchini slices to remove any excess moisture. Evenly place 1/3rd of the cooked zucchini strips on the bottom. Spread half of the cottage cheese-turkey mixture on top. Evenly top with a thin layer of zucchini, followed by 1/3rd of the sauce. Repeat layering with the same amounts of zucchini, cottage cheese-turkey mixture, and sauce. Evenly top with remaining zucchini, followed by remaining sauce. Sprinkle with remaining 4 tbsp Parm-style grated topping. Bake in the oven for 25 - 30 minutes, until bubbly and cheese starts to brown.

You can add salt and pepper to taste if you'd like. I served it with a side salad. 





6 servings / 7 points a serving!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Perfect Summer Wake Ups

I love coffee. Love love love. But I'm weird and I can't drink hot things when it's hot outside. I also can't eat soups. Soups, hot coffee, cider, hot cocoa, chilli, they just belong in cooler weather for me. I've shared the cold brew coffee recipe previously. It is a great one and I love it! Perfect for iced coffee. But what's better than iced coffee?? BLENDED COFFEE! I love frappucinnos, frappes, whatever they are called at their different stores. BUT they are way too expensive and not as low in points as I'd like them! All you need are a few things and you can make these for only 2 points and right in your own home!


Vanilla Caramel Frappe


What you need:
-a blender (I just have a mini one and it works fine)
-1 cup skim milk
-1 cup ice cubes
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-2 tsp Splenda
-2 tsp of Splenda sweetened caramel coffee syrup like these (I am actually going to order all of the flavors this week and experiment! But you can buy the caramel and vanilla at Wal-mart or Kroger right on the coffee isle.)
-1 to 3 tsp of instant coffee (I actually just use the Wal-mart brand! But Folders and other brands have them too at any Wal-mart or Kroger.)

Add all ingredients to the blender and blend! I use 2 tsp of coffee, but I like a strong coffee flavor. If you like it weaker use less, stronger use more. I like sweet coffee too, but if you don't nix the extra teaspoons of Splenda! (Also, if you don't have the caramel syrup and need a cold coffee fix NOW add 4 tsp of Splenda. Or maybe for some crazy reason you don't like caramel, that's acceptable.. I guess. Hehe.) You could also top this with a little fat free Cool Whip or Reddi Whip if you want to get really fancy! All you have to count as points is the 1 cup of skim milk which is 2 points (unless you use A LOT of Cool Whip or Redi Whip or a non-fat free version of either). I have one of these every morning! I can't wait to get the other syrups in and try peppermint mocha, white chocolate raspberry, mocha coconut and endless possibilities! And don't worry, I will share all my magnificent combinations with you :).


Need some ideas of what to eat with your new yummy coffee beverage? Breakfast is an important meal! Don't skip it. People who eat breakfast are far more successful with weight loss and maintenance than those who don't. The possibilities are endless! You don't have to box yourself into only eating cereal or oatmeal for breakfast! Make it fun with iced, blended and spiced up coffee, but don't forget to add some substance! I heard on Extreme Makeover Weight Loss this week that when you don't eat breakfast it sends a message to your body to store fat!! Do you want any extra fat stored?! I sure don't! I'll share a few things I love.


  • Whole wheat bagel thins for 3 points (like a bagel but not nearly as many points and just as yummy!) with 2 tbsp1/3 less fat (2 points) or fat free (1 point) strawberry cream cheese. You could use any flavor of cream cheese you like or a laughing cow cheese wedge variety for 1 point. 4-5 points total. 
  • Whole wheat light English muffin for 3 points toasted with 4 slices of Oscar Myer precooked bacon for 2 points and a slice of 2% cheese for 1 point. SOO yummy! Microwave the bacon (usually 35 seconds) then build the breakfast sandwich and microwave for just 20 second to melt the cheese. 6 points total. 
  • Add fruit (strawberries, bananas, blueberries, peaches) or nuts to your cereal or oatmeal. Most oatmeals, unless you get one of the outrageously sweetened ones, are low in points. Most cereals, however, are not! So choose wisely. All the Special K varieties are good choices. I also love puffed wheat! It's like sugar smacks without the sugar but I always add Splenda and fruit. 1 cup is 1 point! As compared to most cereals that are 4-5 points for 3/4th to 1 cup. 
  • Cinnamon toast - Toast 2 slices of Sara Lee 45 calorie bread (I use multigrain, and you could use any bread, but I like the Sara Lee because it's 3 points for 2 slices vs. the 4 points of most breads). Spray each side with Parkay spray butter for 0 points. Sprinkle with Splenda and cinnamon! 3 points total. 
  • Banana sandwich - This is sooo filling! It will definitely take you all the way to lunch. 2 slices of 45 calorie bread toasted for 3 points. Spread with 1/2 tbsp of peanut butter on each side for 2 points. Slice a banana and build the sandwich! 5 points total. 
  • Weight Watchers shakes - You can buy the Weight Watchers shake packets from any Weight Watchers class. They are 2 points if you use water, 4 if you use skim milk. I keep the chocolate on hand at all times, but they do have other flavors too. I always use milk to get in my 2 dairy servings for the day. I have made mine in the blender with frozen strawberries as ice cubes. YUM! I've also made them with 1 cup of ice and 3 tsp of instant coffee granules. 
  • Egg Mugs - Oh my gosh these are amazing and sooo easy! If you have a refrigerator at work you could just always keep a carton of egg beaters there to always be able to make this for breakfast! You can find tons of recipes here, here, here, here, or here. Hungry Girl does these and they are just brilliant! Most are 2-3 points depending on what ingredients you add. It's scrambled eggs in a cub basically! My favorite ways are with sundried tomato basil laughing cow cheese and either bacon bits or sliced deli turkey meat and green onions. I always add salt, pepper and onion powder to mine too. 
Feel free to post some of your own ideas and favorites. If you don't get Hungry Girl's emails you should! She sends Weight Watchers friendly, healthy, easy, practical recipes a few times a week. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Best Not-Berry Desserts

I always say the strawberry is my favorite berry, BUT it's not actually a berry! It's an accessory fruit, whatever that is. I love that little luscious juicy red fruit, berry or not. It's so yummy it needs no friends to make it better at all! But oh how much yummier desserts are when the strawberry makes an appearance! I find myself unable to make a summer dessert without the use of strawberries! And so... I must share these desserts with you.

Red White and Blue Trifle
I used skinnytaste.com's exact recipe. Only hers was a lot prettier than mine. This is sooo good and EASY! I sliced my strawberries on my mandolin for even easier preparation. You should definitely make this for your 4th of July celebration! It's only 4 points for an entire cup! I promise no one will be able to tell it's low fat and Weight Watcher friendly!

Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake
I made this one for my RAs last semester. It was their favorite dessert and they attest that it does not taste figure friendly at all! I used this skinnytaste.com recipe with a few modifications. I used a premade reduced fat graham cracker crust. I made the filling exactly the same. I used Kroger brand honey flavored greek yogurt instead of vanilla. It was so yummy! 5 points a slice. A "normal" slice of cheesecake can rank up to 12 or more points a slice!


Strawberry Trifle
This recipe is all me. I had the vision for it and thought it would be called a trifle, but did some research to be sure. The cake part of traditional English trifles are soaked in some sort of liquid, normally an alcohol. This (the soaking not the alcohol) inspired my recipe to perfection!

1 box angel food cake mix
1 pkg sugar free french vanilla pudding
2 8oz tubs of fat free cool whip
1 1/2 cups of skim milk
juice of 2 oranges
zest of 1 orange
2 pts of strawberries

I baked a box cake mix angel food cake and let it cool. FYI, I tried making a completely homemade angel food cake and it's not worth it! I always like to try to do everything from scratch at least once to see if it actually is better. OFTEN it is better homemade, like in the case of pound cake or spice cake etc. But I am not afraid to use a box ever, particularly if it's equal in taste and costs less. In the case of angelfood, it does! To do homemade angelfood you have to use 12 whole egg whites. A. That's a lot of eggs! B. That's a lot of egg yolks to do what with? So I say, go for the box or a premade one, I prefer making the box one to a premade one. While it's baking and cooling slice strawberries (I of course use the mandolin). I let their juices form a little in just a little splenda, you don't need much. It doesn't need to produce as much juice as you'd need for strawberry shortcake. Prepare the pudding with 1 1/2 cups of fat free milk. Fold in one container of cool whip and let it soft set. I use my Kitchenaid mixer to do all of that! Just easier AND I love using it. Use the wisk for mixing in the milk and the flat beater attachment on low to fold in the cool whip. Once cake is cool, break it into bite sized pieces. Pour the juice from the oranges evenly over the cake, tossing to make sure all the cake gets saturated in some juice. Layer half of the cake, half of the strawberries, all of the pudding, rest of the cake, rest strawberries and top with the other container of cool whip. Sprinkle orange zest evenly on top. I've made this twice and everyone loves it! It's so light and fluffy and the orange is a perfect compliment. It's about 5 points per cup.

My last suggestion is always have a box of angel food cake on hand! It's a fat free cake and there is so much you can do with it. Mix it with a can of crushed pineapple and bake in a 9x13, top with cool whip, yum! Mix it with crushes strawberries and bake topping with cool whip and strawberries juiced in splenda. You can also mix it with a can of pumpkin! It's a great thing to have around for baking up a sweet treat that taste indulgent without indulging all your daily points (or calories) in something you will regret! (Though I do highly recommend making room for those decadent splurges every once in a while! Don't deprive. Diets are for depriving. Weight loss is more effective and healthier as a life style change!)

Friday Night Dinner

There is something I love about cooking dinner just for myself on Friday night. I'm not sure why, but it just feels like a treat. Tonight's selection was super yummy! I've been trying to cook fish more. It's such a low point selection and super yummy and filling. I recently got a bag of frozen tilapia filets at Sam's. So now it's time to experiment!


Tonight's experiment was a pesto tilapia served with a maltagliata pesto and caramelized vidalia onion pasta and a grilled watermelon salad with a balsamic reduction and blue cheese. 


Baked Pesto Tilapia
4 frozen tilapia filets
2 tbsp pesto (I got mine from Sam's, you could also make your own)
salt
olive oil cooking spray


Preheat oven to 425. Rinse frozen filet and place each on a foil lined olive oil cooking spray sprayed baking sheet. Lightly salt each side (I used kosher). Spoon 1/2 tbsp of pesto on each filet and rub on the top. Bake for 15-17 minutes. Fish should flake when ready. 


4 oz tilapia filet is 2 pts, 1/2 tbsp of pesto is 1 pt. 3 points per 4 oz filet! Not bad.


Maltagliata Pesto & Caramelized Vidalia Onion Pasta
Okay, so I totally made up this pasta and the name. I bought lasagna noodles but had no intention of making lasagna. I wanted to experiment with them. So through some google searching I found out the term for poorly cut past is maltagliata pasta. It was for sure poorly cut by me! I boiled it like normal then sliced them in half down the middle (hamburger fold) and then in half again (hot dog fold). And viola... maltagliata pasta!


1 pkgs of whole wheat pasta of your choosing (I used lasagna and wanted a "messy" pasta, but you can use anything! Just don't call it maltagliata hehe)
8 tbsp pesto
1-2 vidalia onions
minced garlic (optional)
olive oil spray 
1/2 cup of water or chicken stock
salt


Prepare your pasta per package directions. Never ever forget to salt your pasta water! It's the only chance you get to season the pasta. If you use lasagna and want to make a maltagliata, cut it to your liking. I wanted thick noodles, but you could cut it even smaller. While you're cutting up your pasta (or while it's boiling if you aren't cutting it), place thinly sliced vidalia onion in a heated and olive oil cooking spray sprayed pan. I sliced my vidalia on the thin blade of my mandolin. I used one but next time I'd probably use two bc I LOVE sweet caramelized onions. Let the onions get nice and limp. If the pan starts to get to dry add more cooking spray. Cook them to a caramel/tan color. I also sauteed them with some minced garlic. This is optional since pesto already has garlic in it, but I never mind garlic. As long as I'm single anyway, hehe. I added the pasta and tossed it with the onions then began adding the pesto 1 tbsp at a time, tossing and coating the pasta in each layer. Once I had half the pesto added, I added about 1/2 cup of water (could use chicken stock). I added the rest and let it cook down until the liquid was gone. Top with Parmesan and serve!


1 cup is 7 points. 


Grilled Watermelon Salad
I roughly used this recipe. I grilled mine on my grill/panini maker. I used olive oil cooking spray instead of olive oil. My one suggestion is be sure that your slices are thick enough so they don't cook too much. Mine got a little to limp. I liked the bits that still had the crunch. I used blue cheese instead of goat cheese, and not nearly 1 cup. I just sprinkled a bit on each salad. The balsamic reduction was my favorite! So easy. You litterally just reduce balsamic until its a syrup. It's actually sweet! I want this on every salad! I also served mine atop romaine and not spicy salad greens (A. it's what I have and B. it's what I prefer). 


The only points you count are for whatever cheese you use!



Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dips and Sauces

Tzatziki Sauce (from skinnytaste.com)
  • 8 oz fat free greek yogurt
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled and seeded (1 cup grated and drained)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
  • kosher salt and fresh pepper
Strain yogurt using a metal strainer or a coffee filter for a few hours to remove as much liquid as possible. Set aside. Scoop seeds out of peeled cucumber with a spoon. Place cucumber in a mini food processor or grate with a box cheese grater. Drain the liquid from the  cucumber in ametal strainer and sprinkle with a little salt (this helps release the liquid). You may want to use the back of a spoon to help squeeze out any excess liquid. Combine strained cucumber, garlic, yogurt, salt, pepper, lemon juice, dill, chives and refrigerate for a few hours before serving. Makes about 2 cups. Store in refrigerator for about a week. ¼ cup is is 0 points! ½ cup is 1.


Blue Cheese Dressing (from skinnytaste.com)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 6 oz fat free yogurt
  • 1 tbsp light mayonnaise (I used olive oil mayo)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
Smash the blue cheese and yogurt together with a fork. Stir in mayo, lemon juice, vinegar, and garlic powder until well blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 1 cup. 2 tablespoons is 1 point! It's also really yummy with a baked buffalo chicken recipe I altered. 


Baked Buffalo Chicken 
  • 4 (4 ounce) chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoom vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of parkay spray butter
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill (it called for celery seed but I didn't have it)
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup above blue cheese dressing 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray skillet with cooking spray. Add chicken and cook 4 minutes each side until browned. Place chicken in an 11 x 7 baking dish coated with cooking spray. Combine hot sauce and next 4 ingredients. Pour over chicken and bake uncovered for 25 minutes. Serve with dressing.


Pumpkin Pie Dip (from skinnytaste.com)
  • 15 oz can pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (Splenda would work too)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or more to taste)
  • 6 oz fat free Greek yogurt (I used Kroger brand)
  • 8 oz cool whip free (or Kroger brand fat free whipped topping)
  • cut up apples to dip
Mix pumpkin with brown sugar, vanilla and spices, blend well. Mix in yogurt. Fold in cool whip and chill in refrigerator until ready to eat. Makes about 6 cups. 3 points for 1/2 cup serving. 


And then there is the ever faithful staple in my fridge. Dry ranch + 16 oz of fat free sour cream = 1 pt per 1/4 cup! Never choke down boring raw veggies. 

In the words of my dear friend Stacy, "if there's dip, it's a party!" 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Day 2


Some notes about today. Don't eat spinach artichoke dip. It's not worth the points. If you have a dinner date (or belated birthday dinner date with your cousin) check online menu's before hand! I went to dwlz.com to find points values for food at the restaurant I was going to (Applebee's) to find out exactly what I was going to order before I got there! Simple preparation can help you make healthier decisions instead of choosing what looks good on a whim. AND Bop's has fat free frozen yogurt! 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Test Run


So this is what it would look like! For breakfast I had a Weight Watcher's creamy chocolate shake (2 points) with 1 cup of fat free milk (2 points) and frozen strawberries as ice cubes blended. For lunch I had a lunch date with my brother at Margarita's Mexican Restaurant. I had 24 tortilla chips (yes I counted and broke the big ones in half and counted each half!) for 8 points and salsa for 0. I had a chicken fajita taco salad with no shell, extra lettuce, no cheese sauce, no sour cream, salsa and guacamole on the side (which I just had one bite of) and 1/4 cup of shredded cheese. I count the meat as 5 ounces and add an extra point for any oil they may have used. So 6 points for chicken, 3 for cheese, 1 for the bite of gauc, 10 for the whole salad since lettuce, salsa, and peppers and onions are free. I did the eliptical for 30 minutes and earned 9 activity points (did it for 55 minutes yesterday!). I had a post work out snack of a Special K Honey Nut bar (2 points). I rewarded myself with 3 mini chocolate eggs (1 point total). And then... I went to community group! Wednesday nights will likely always be "bad" as food is provided and not in my control! I guess I could eat at home, but I can be smart! I had 2 pieces of Canadian bacon and pineapple pizza (smallish pieces, I counted as 6 points each), 2 pieces of garlic bread (counted 4 points each). And... I splurged and had a cookie (4 points) and brownie (6 points)! I only allowed it because I'd worked out pretty hard core for 2 days! So to wrap it up I used all of my 41 daily points and 14 activity points! Not the best day, but not horrible either. I will admit, taking pictures made me so much more aware and helped me not have that 2nd cookie! I probably won't be this wordy every time. Or maybe I will... Who knows :). I would like your feedback on if you hate/love/are indifferent/find it annoying about this. It's really easy to do now that I have the fancy iPhone!

And while I'm feeling chatty, I'd like to share a story. So today when the brother and I went to Margarita's for our lunch date, I order the same thing I always do. I've ordered it this way at least 15 times. I just ordered it to go last week! And I had a horrible turned into great experience today. I know it's complicated and I know the waiters and the cooks can't like it, but I'm on this journey for the long haul! This is a lifestyle change and I'm done being ashamed! I will not be scared to ask for my food a certain way or appear to be a high maintenance or picky eater! So every time, I say the same thing: "Chicken fajita taco salad (comes with fajita onions and peppers), no shell, extra lettuce, guacamole, cheese sauce, and sour cream on the side." They glop it on there! It's so much and I like little bites of the sour cream and guacamole but in my control. I KNOW it's high maintenance, and I was embarrassed the first few times. But, it's my life and my health! Well today, I confidently say what I want and the waiter looks at me in disgust (evident disgust!). He tells me they can't do it like that, it's too much work. I tell him I've ordered it that way every time I go there. He literally shakes his head at me as I've I'm ridiculous. I told him I'd order something else. And then... I had an emotional break down! My brother arrived at about this time and I just lost it and sobbed in the restaurant! This guy made me feel so ashamed! My brother went into big brother mode and wanted to say something, which of course I wouldn't let him. But he did ask for another waiter. The second waiter was so, so nice and helpful (and I got my salad how I asked for it). We gave him a $10 tip and I wrote him a thank you note. He asked us to sign it and they hung it on the hostess podium! They also gave us our food half priced. So... bad experience that ended good. BUT GAH! Can you believe that guy?! If you are out there and anywhere on a weight loss or health journey, don't be afraid! Stand up for yourself and be in control. Don't let stupid waiters or anyone in your life push you into a corner that makes you feel ashamed. Stay focused and encouraged! We can do this.

Food Diary

Hello lovely followers. So I have a question for you. I know this is my blog and I don't have to ask permission to do things, but I'd really like your opinion on something. A friend told me of an idea to do a daily food diary as a part of her weight loss journey. She uses it as a way to keep herself accountable to making better choices and owning the bad choices she makes. Would this bug you? Interest you? Annoy you? Motivate you? I love Biggest Loser. It's a huge motivation for me. I sob like a baby every time I watch it. This past week I was extra sobby! But something Olivia (I think, could have been Hannah) said really stuck with me! She talked about how ashamed she has been for so long before she started her journey. Too ashamed to even ask for help. And she challenged anyone in a similar place or situation to not be afraid to ask for help. I've not been secretive about this journey, but if doing something for me that helps me and could motivate others and help them, I'm all for it! Give me your thoughts!

A Little Glimpse Into My Life

As you know, on January 3rd I started my new job (aka THE BEST JOB EVER) as a Resident Director at Mississippi College. I had the amazing privilege of getting to serve this semester along side some wonderful, beautiful, hilarious, motivating and inspiring Resident Assistants. We became friends, and yes, I was their boss, but far more than that, we became a family. Their smiling faces and contagious laughs are gone for the summer. The brick lined walls of Latimer-Webb are far too quiet now and my door misses those knocks. To end the semester and appreciate their work, we had an End of the Year Banquet. Each RD got to say a few things about their RAs. In honor of them, I'll share with you what I shared with them. 


I learned a lot. I grew as an RD from training to every experience I encountered. But those six beautiful girls taught me a lot too. 


I've learned how to spot a diamond from a mile away, where all the worlds largest diamonds are located and way more about presidents than I ever thought I'd know thanks to Leah Frances. But she also taught me what it looks like to expect the best from people and not settle for less than that. I learned that being a ninja is is not an easy job and only people as cool as Kristen can do it (she actually is a ninja and could kill us all with one karate move!). But I also learned from her how to see the beauty in everyone and that each person, no matter how different, is worthy of our efforts. Thanks to Amanda I now know that the sky turns green before tornadoes and I've also never had to watch the weather since we had our very own Lat-Webb weather girl. But I also learned how to see the bright and positive side of every situation. I learned that any word can be abbreviated like totes for totally and awk for awkward and that wearing hippy headbands is totes cool thanks to Mary Kathryn and EB. But from Mary Kathryn I also learned to find God in everything and rely on his Word more. And EB by example has shown me that it's okay to say what you think and feel. I also learned that perfection really is possible, from Katie, who is always on time, always volunteers, and always does her best. But I also learned from her to do things with excellence to reflect the abilities and talents God has given you.


From being a family with these girls I've learned that it's possible to loose at least five pounds from laughing. I've learned how to be the church outside the church and with each other. We learned to love God and His Word more. I learned how to see the world and life with fresh hope. We learned how to do the best and be the best at the places God has you and positions he blesses you with. And I learned how to be a family, love, and trust a group of girls who truly are like sisters to one another and little sisters to me. 

I can't imagine a better RA staff to have the joy and privilege of serving as my first time as an RD! My expectations will forever be high because of the bar you've set. I miss you all!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chicken Likes to Play Dress Up

Chicken, chicken, chicken, chicken. It's a lean mean you eat a lot if you try to eat healthy. It can get boring if you're only making chicken the same ways every time. It likes to play dress up! The possibilities are endless. Challenge yourself to not cook chicken the same way for a month or even 3!


Coconut Chicken
3 (5 oz) chicken breasts cut into 3 tenders (9 tenders)
6 tbsp shredded coconut
1/4 cup crushed puffed wheat cereal crumbs (can also use panko or bread crumbs
2 tbsp crushed bran flake crumbs (can use cornflakes)
1/3 cup egg substitute or egg whites
salt, pepper, chicken magic
olive oil spray


Mix together crushed puffed wheat, bran flakes, and coconut. Season chicken. Dip each tender in egg and then in coconut mixture. Place a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet. Lightly spray the rack and place tenders on the cooling rack. You can place them directly on the baking sheet, but I find when you are looking for a crispy texture using the cooling rack works better. Lightly spray the tenders with olive oil cooking spray. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until cooking through, turning once. 


I mixed together honey mustard and spicy brown mustard for a yummy dipping sauce. It's only 8 points for 3 tenders. 




Chicken Cordon Bleu
Well, a lighter "fake" version, but supper yummy! And only 3 points per piece.


4 (5-6oz) chicken breasts
24 deli thin slices of ham
6 wedges of lite Laughing Cow swiss cheese
Chicken Magic
Cooking spray
Toothpics


Slice each chicken breast into 3 thin cutlets, which gives you 12 pieces. They should look like the second picture here. My recipe is adapted from this one, do not exact. Mine is less points and less work! And everyone loved it.


Season each side of chicken with chicken magic (or salt and pepper if you prefer). Places two slices of ham on chicken and smear have of a wedge of the cheese on top. Roll the chicken and secure with toothpicks. See third picture of that blog's recipe for example. If you wanted to do breading at this point you could, but I didn't. It would increase the point value.


Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish and place chicken seam down. Lightly spray each roll up and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Low Fat Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients
1 lb chicken - 15 pts
olive oil cooking spray
1 onion
1 tbsp lime juice
chicken Magic
salt and pepper
cumin
8 low-carb tortillas - 16 pts
1 1/2 cups low fat cheese - 12 pts
1/4 cup Brummel and Brown low fat yogurt buttery spread stuff - 4 pts.
1/4 cup flour - 4 pts
15 oz of chicken broth
1 cup ff sour cream - 4 pts
1 can green chilies

Total = 55 points divided by 8 enchiladas = 7 points per enchilada (big and stuffed enchiladas!)

Directions
Liberally spray pan with cooking spray. Chop and saute chicken and chopped onion. Sprinkle chicken and onion mixture with chicken magic seasoning, salt, pepper, and cumin (I eye ball it, just liberally coat the top of the mixture with each, if I had to guess I'd say start with 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp of chicken magic, 1/8 tsp of cumin). Once chicken is mostly cooked, add about 1-2 tbsp of lime juice (again, I eyeball it, but it's to taste really. Lime is the secret ingredient than makes Mexican dished taste Mexican).

Allow mixture to cool enough to touch it. Divide mixture into 8 equal parts. It's usually a heavy 1/4 cup.  Sprinkle 1 1/2 tbsp of cheese (3/4 cup divided) inside each enchilada. Roll the chicken mixture and cheese in each tortilla. Place them seam side down in a 9 x 13 sprayed baking dish.

Let 1/4 cup of the low fat buttery spread melt in a a sauce pan. Add 1/4 cup of flower to melted butter and wisk until smooth (making a roux). Add chicken brown and wisk until smooth. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add 1 cup of fat free sour cream and 1 can of green chillies. Pour sauce over enchiladas. Top with remaining 3/4 cup of cheese and bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until sauce at edges is bubbly and cheese is melted.

These make HUGE enchiladas. One really is enough. If you're really hungry 2 will for sure fill you and 14 points for two is not bad either for that much food. I'd suggest 1 with a veggie side or even brown rice. You can lighten it even more with fat free cheese instead of reduced fat, but it was too rubbery for me! I also tried making the sauce with just chicken stock instead of flour and water and I do not recommended that!

A Catch Up Involving No Ketchup!

A. I'm so behind! I have so so so many recipes to share. So in order to catch up, I'm strictly going to post recipe after recipe for a bit, no fluffy commentary. But don't you worry! Fluffy commentary will be back. 

B. I have nothing against ketchup, I quite like it actually. I'm just currently stuck on mustard. It's 0 points and super yummy! Currently in my fridge you can find 5 different kinds!  1. Regular Yellow Mustard 2. Spicy Brown Mustard 3. Southwest Mustard 4. Honey Mustard 5. Dijonaise Mustard. 

Okay, down to business! I'm gonna post a few of my new favorite things here that have become staples for me! I'll try to group recipes in categories for the next few posts so it's not a huge overload in one post. 


My new favorite way to make Iced Coffeehttp://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/27/dining/276drex.html?_r=1! It keeps longer because it's cold brewed and it's sooo worth the effort (which isn't much). I made a double batch and let it cold brew in a mason jar. I set my strainer over a bowl and lined it with two coffee filters. Strain once, rinse out jar, rinse out the strainer, pour bowl coffee back into jar, set up strainer with two more coffee filters, and strain again. I pour it right back in the jar and kept it that way. To sweeten mine I'm a BIG fan of Splenda sweetened coffee syrups. I plan to collect them all, but only have the sugar free caramel right now. I also tried coffee ice cubes! Take 1 part cold brewed coffee concentrate and 1 part water and freeze in ice trays! No more watered down coffee.


I made my favorite pot roast recipe found in a  previous post again this week. It never fails to be amazing! And good news for Weight Watchers, the only points you count are for the roast! I used some left over roast to make a super yummy roast beef sandwich! Toasted the bread, spread some spicy brown mustard, piled on 4 oz of roast beef, topped with green onions and a little blue cheese. I dipped it in some of the left over juice. So good!  


Spiced Carrots! My new favorite side. Carrots are, of course, 0 points on Weight Watchers. I used to love making "candied" carrots with brown sugar and cinnamon and butter. Well now... I make a just as yummy substitute! I have used frozen crinkle carrots and fresh baby carrots, both work well. I just put the carrots in a pan with some water, not enough to cover them completely, cover them about half way. Then I spray about 20 sprays of Parkay 0 Calorie butter spray. When they start to cooked down I liberally sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, and a few packets of Splenda on them. The perfect side to any meal and 0 points!


My other favorite side that is a staple, particularly when I  cook for my RAs (they always request them!) is Italian Green beans. I buy the steam in the bag whole green beans and cook them per package instructions in the microwave. Once finished, I put them in a heated pan and pour fat free Italian dressing all over them. For 1 bag I'd use about 1/4 of the bottle. Cook them for a bit until the dressing starts to bubble and the liquid decreases. Very flavorful and about 1 point per serving. 


Some other fun staple Weight Watcher friendly products I'm a fan of: 

1. Brummel and Brown Natural Yogurt Spread. It's only 1 point per tbsp! I sat in the grocery store and measured all the different ones. It's definitely the lowest and really yummy! Great to substitute for butter or margarine in recipes. 

2. Fat Free Cool Whip: Walmart does not have a generic brand but Kroger does! 

3. Strawberries with melted semi sweet chocolate chips. Such a satisfying dessert fix! Strawberries are 0 points and 1 tbsp of chocolate chips are 2 points. 

4. Cottage Cheese: Okay, so I THOUGHT I didn't like cottage cheese, but decided to give it another try. I LOVE IT! I love it with pears and peaches, BUT I love it in savory ways too. I love it on my salads! 1/4 cup of fat free cottage cheese is just 1 point. I've also tried it on baked potatoes, which is also super yummy! Cheap and you get in one of your dairy servings for the day. 

5. Sugar free pudding and jello: I always keep a made up batch of sugar free pudding of some flavor and sugar free jello mixed with no sugar added can fruit in my fridge. The sugar free pudding is just 2 points per serving. I also often make them into a mousse if it's the right flavor. The sugar free lemon makes a yummy mousse mixed with fat free cool whip. They have so many flavors! Pistachio, lemon, vanialla, french vanilla, chocolate, cheesecake, etc! Sugar free jello is 0 points! The fruit is 0 also. I like to add fruit because it stretches it and makes it more exciting. My favorite combos are orange jello with pineapples, lime jello with fruit cocktail, and strawberry jello with peaches. 

6. Mandolin: Okay, not a food item, but a life saver! I discovered that if I wash, slice, and store all of my produce when I get it home from the store, it lasts longer! I don't know if it actually lasts longer or if I just eat it quicker, but whatever the case, it works! Makes preparing a salad or packing a lunch so quick and easy. Last weeks selections were green onions, cantaloupe, apples,  strawberries, and cucumbers. Also had grape tomatoes washed and read in the fridge. 

7. Good tupperware: Again, not food, but vital! It makes storing your produce fun, keeps everything fresh, and makes for easy portion controlled lunches and snacks. I discovered a secret to making the BIG cheaper bag of lettuce from Sam's last longer. Buy it it's own big tupperware. Wet and wring out paper towels to line the tupperware with, place lettuce in tupperware, cover with more damp paper towels. My super big bag of romaine (for $2.98 at Sam's) lasts completely through my two week grocery period. I LOVE my new tupperware. Got it from Sam's for $19.98. It's a 50 piece rubbermaid set with the locking lids! The lids actually lock to the bottom of the container.

And I leave you with a picture of my OCD organized refrigerator. That's the big lettuce container guy on the bottom. 1.5 gallon. 



Thursday, March 24, 2011

Grilled Cheese and Jesus

Not to be confused with Glee's craziness, Grilled Cheesus. Love that show, but not that episode! But Jesus and sandwiches have been a big part of my life lately. My job challenges me daily. My RAs are amazing young women who love the Lord and make me want to love him more and more. We've been going through the book of Roman's together and it's just been so rewarding.

I love love love my job. I love my life! Being surrounded by a positive atmosphere makes such a difference in my life. Since February 1st I've lost 19.6 lbs! I'm a much healthier person all around. I'm LOVING Weight Watchers. It's somehow like magic to me. It really works! Because they are an easy, light lunch or dinner, I have been eating a lot of sandwiches lately. If you make them right they can be really substantial, not a lot of points, and yummy! I use Sara Lee 45 calorie multi-grain bread. It's 1 point per slice instead of 2! My bread, and yours, can be a blank canvas for a yummy and satisfying meal!

Some of my favorite additions...
-1 wedge of Laughing Cow Garlic and Herb cheese spread on one side (1 point). Their are also lots of other varieties, Chipotle, Blue Cheese, Sun-dried Tomato and Basil. I intend to try them all! A 3 pack at Sam's is $6.
-Honey Mustard, Spicy Brown Mustard, any variety of mustard (0 points).
-Slivers of red onion (0 points).
-Thin slices of Granny Smith apple (0 points).
-Lettuce, Tomato, or pickles (0 points).

AND my favorite addition to any sandwich that just seems to take it from a blah sandwich to a perfect meal...

I spray the outside of the bread with Parkay spray butter (0 points), sprinkle the bread with dried parsley, basil, and a little bit of reduced fat parmesan and toast it! I use an electric panini grill. You can use a sandwich maker or just a skillet! I promise, try it! Paint a beautiful picture on the bread canvas. Yes sandwiches are going to be boring and no fun if you eat the same old plain sandwich every day!


Tell me that doesn't look good?! That whole yummy sandwich is just 5 points! That particular one has lettuce, granny smith apples, red onion slivers, garlic and herb cheese, honey mustard, and mesquite deli turkey with the ungraded bread. Served with a salad of romaine, cottage cheese, tomatoes, green onions, deli turkey, sun-dried tomato dressing, and fat free cheddar and the rest of the granny smith apple on the side. Total meal = 9 points.

Another fun WW friendly recipe I've tried recently is an open face tuna melt. It was sooo yummy! I did it exactly like this recipe: Skinny Tuna Melt.

Last favorite tip of the day. A lot of fresh veggies are 0 points. I LOVE 0 point things. But there's only so many bites of raw broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, or celery you can take before it feels like you are forcing yourself to chew and swallow. So a simple thing I always keep in my fridge now to make fresh veggies an enjoyable snack is fat free ranch dip! Who doesn't love those veggie trays and dipping your veggies in yummy ranch? If you make it with a dry ranch packet and a 16 oz container of fat free sour cream it's only 1 point for a 1/4 cup. It may not sound like a lot, but that amount is perfect for a good portion of carrots or celery or broccoli or whatever you like!

A diet can be boring and feel depriving and make you hungry and angry and defeated! Don't diet. Make simple, yummy, exciting lifestyle changes that you look forward too. A spiced up sandwich and salad really are more filling than any combo meal you can get at a drive thru. Change some things up! Low fat, fat free, or Weight Watcher friendly foods do not mean tasteless, boring meals! Be brave. Be bold. Let food be an exciting adventure. Experiment!