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'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 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)
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

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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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!"