Sunday, October 30, 2011

A (somewhat) nice winter’s night meal

Pin It Today I made my Cider Baked Beans, yeast free brown bread and turkey dogs (well, I cooked the turkey dogs – Oscar Mayer made them :)

IMG_1593The baked beans were very good (and when I plugged them into the WW eTools, they worked out to 7 points)!  There were 2 cups of turnip and 2 large carrots in the recipe and you’d never even know it!  Each serving of beans contains a full serving of veggies!  I think next time I might cut up an apple or two and throw it into the mix.
While the beans were cooking I got the bright idea to make bread…only I had IMG_1591no yeast…and only had about an hour til suppertime :)  I found a recipe for yeastless bread that only took about 5 minutes to mix up and 50 minutes to bake… Yeah…5 minute bread…not a great idea :(  It’s very dense….and tastes a lot like flour.  At least my beans and weenies were good!!

I also made PC Blue Menu Dark Chocolate Bran muffins…may try one later on this evening.  I’ll keep you posted. UPDATE:  These were just OK.  Disappointing for a Blue Menu product - a bit dry if you ask me.  Likely won't buy/make again - they were 4 points+ for a regular size muffin.

My nieces ate the last of my chicken noodle soups from my freezer today when they came for lunch, so I threw another batch in the Crockpot – added some turnip this time (leftover from the bean recipe)…hopefully the Crockpot method works as well as the stovetop method did.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Tortoise & the Hare

Pin It A guy at WW this morning was lamenting over the fact that he’d only lost 19.6 pounds since he joined WW…on August 31!  He’s averaging more than 2 pounds per week!!!!  My current average, after 25 months on the program, is 1.1 pounds per week… I guess I’m taking the tortoise route :)  Lost another pound today, bringing me only 0.8 pounds from my pre-UK weight and about 9.5 pounds from Doctor Val’s goal.  Maybe by Christmas!!

Decided on a whack of recipes to make this week – I might have been overzealous in planning…spent over $100 on groceries today!!!  Keep in mind, I live alone!  The difference this week though is that I’ve made a snack recipe and a breakfast recipe and my main meal recipes serve 6-8 where last week’s primarily made 4 servings….sooooo, I’ll have lots to add to my freezer stash :)

Today I made three recipes:
IMG_1583 Low Fat Tuna Noodle casserole
This was delicious.  A tiny bit time consuming, but not too bad.  It makes a 9x13 pan and yields 6 generous servings.  The original recipe called for egg noodles, but I used whole wheat egg noodles, which reduced the Points+ to 7 (from 8).  This is definitely one for my favourites list.  I think I might even try it again with chicken instead of tuna.  This is a 9.5/10.

IMG_1580 Low fat chewy fruit & oatmeal bars
As I was adding the craisins to this recipe at the end, it occurred to me that I don’t care for cooked craisins…hmm, into the oven they went anyhow!  The recipe did not specify the number of servings, so I guessed at 24.  They worked out to 3 points+ each if you cut them into 24 squares.  I started to cut them when they were still warm, which I think was a mistake – they started to crumble… the end result though… YUM!  I DO like cooked craisins!  Still won’t see me eating a RAISIN though :)  these are a 9/10…super easy, tasty and quick to make.

IMG_1586 Broccoli and Cheese Mini Omelettes
The original recipe made 9, but I’ve used my mega big muffin tins and made 6.  It doubled the points from 2 to 4, but they are quite large.  The recipe is super easy to make and requires very little time.  You could easily whip these up in the morning and throw them in the oven while you shower.  I ate one of these tonight.  It IMG_1587was a bit bland.  I think when I eat the next one I will season it a bit with salt.  Next time I make them I think I’ll toss in some hot sauce and maybe some sautéed onions.  For now I’ll give this recipe a 7/10 just because of the  blandness.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Kickin’ Butt…literally

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KickBoxing-MARdb So I finally made it to kickboxing class at the Canada Games Centre last night.  I think I must have had it built up a lot in my mind.  I was sadly disappointed with the class.  I think I had more of an aerobics class-type class in mind – Billy Blanks Tae Bo or something similar.  This was more of a self-defence class.  Don’t get me wrong – I think self-defence classes are great!  BUT…if you are going there looking for a cardio workout…you’ll be let down.  In an hour long class, I got maybe 40 minutes of cardio in…not nearly what I’d planned for.  It’s possible that part of my not liking the class had to do with my shoulder injury AND I’d injured my knee (you should see the bruise!) the day before (both on my right side).  Apparently even though I am left handed, I am right side dominant in that my right side is my strong side and tends to be the side I put forward first…blocking punches, kicking, knee kicks, etc.  We had to partner up and I knew I was in BIG trouble when the girl I got partnered up with was the only person who brought her own gloves with her!!  She was tiny, but STRONG!  My poor shoulder…then we had to do the knee kick into the gloves…my poor knee…you should see the bruise now!  All in all, it was not my cup of tea.  I’m trying to talk myself into trying Zumba – perhaps when Anonymous Ann comes to visit next month we may get a chance to try it if we’re both up for it :)

On a happier note, all of my recipes this week were successes!!!!  The stuffed peppers were amazing.  This is the first time I’ve ever had ground turkey and it didn’t have that “ground turkey taste” (know what I mean?)  I will be making these again for sure.  The soup was very tasty too – next time I’ll double the recipe.

Looking for suggestions as I plan next week’s menu.  Sale items this week are chicken, haddock and sirloin steak (or roast) so I’ll be planning my menu somewhat around these sale items.  Any ideas folks??

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Four recipes made – the final three

Pin It IMG_1572Easy  Chicken Noodle Soup
Super easy (hardest part was cutting up the veggies and chicken!).  Super good.  Had this for supper tonight and was amazed at how tasty it was given that I’d used the super low sodium broth to make it.  Another 5 star recipe!  I will post this recipe later (it’s not an online one – it came from my friend Margie).

UPDATE:  Here is the recipe for the Soup!

Quick and Easy Chicken Noodle Soup
PointsPlus™Value: 4
Servings: 6
2 tsp olive oil
2 stalk(s) celery, chopped (medium)
2 large carrot(s), chopped
3 clove(s) garlic clove(s), chopped (medium)
1 medium onion(s), chopped
1 tsp ground thyme
6 cup(s) fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
12 oz Chicken, breast, raw, without skin & bone, diced
1 cup(s) frozen green peas
3/4 cup(s) uncooked macaroni
1/4 cup(s) parsley
1/2 tsp black pepper
1. In large soup pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery, garlic, onion and thyme and cook for 10 minutes or until vegetables are slightly softened
2. Pour in stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and add the chicken, peas and pasta. Simmer for 15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink inside and pasta is al dente. Stir in parsley. Season to taste with pepper.

IMG_1574Turkey Stuffed Peppers
Another easy recipe.  Have not had a full pepper yet, but did have a bite of the mixture and it is super tasty!  Original recipe said that it made 6 servings, but I had an extra pepper (note the odd green one) and I had 18 oz of turkey instead of a pound.  These are for supper on (I think) Wed, so I’ll keep you posted on the final review.

Santa Fe Chicken
Yet another super easy recipe (can you open a can??).  Only tried a small taste and it was very tasty.  Stay tuned for later in the week when I’ll give my full review.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Thai Coconut Curry Shrimp

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Made this recipe tonight for supper and YUMMY!!  You can find the recipe online at the Skinny Taste website.  I served it over black quinoa (which I think I undercooked a bit…first time making this variety and I think it needed to be cooked longer than the white and red varieties…still tasted good though).  On the side I had roasted peppers and mushrooms.  All in all it was a great meal!  I’d give this recipe a 5/5 for taste AND ease of prep.  In total it took less than 10 minutes.  Oh, by the way – it called for scallions and I bought shallots…for those of you in Canada, scallions are green onions, not shallots!  It’s ok though…alls well that ends well :)

 IMG_1561   IMG_1562IMG_1563IMG_1567IMG_1568

Another week, another plan!!

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Last week’s plan went fairly well.  I am going to try being super planned again this week.  I have drafted (draft being the operative word) a menu plan for the week (click the menu to make it bigger): 
Now don’t worry about those days that show low points – believe me, I will eat my minimum, but I just wrote down all I could plan out in one sitting.  I know that, like this past week, the menu will get mixed up – but at least I have a plan!  Hoping that the fitness part will work out somewhat close to plan, but I injured my elbow at the gym yesterday, so I might have to pull back a bit on some of the classes :)
My goal for this past week was to lose 3.6 pounds.  I did not lose that much, but am pleased to report that I did lose 2.7 pounds!! That is a HUGE loss for me :)  This week I would like to lose 1.8 pounds so that will take me back to where I was before I went to the UK.
Well I’m off to have some lunch (tilapia and salad as per the above menu!) and then to the grocery store to buy stuff for my four new recipes for the week.  Surprisingly, I don’t have to buy a whole lot – lots of the stuff I already have in the house :)  Stay tuned for recipes reviews as the week goes on.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Is it spaghetti?

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IMG_1557 Or is it a vegetable?  It’s a VEGGIE!  It’s spaghetti squash :)  Yep, it pretty much looks like spaghetti.  I cooked some up tonight to have with my leftover Chicken and Chili that I made last night.  I topped the whole thing with low fat shredded cheddar cheese and voila!  An AMAZING supper.  If I thought the Chicken and Chili was good lastIMG_1560 night, mixing it with the spaghetti squash and cheese tonight was twice as good!  I am so glad that I doubled this recipe :)


Goals update:

Step Aerobics class – DONE!  Did it tonight and lived to tell the tale.  I am planning to go again next Monday night.  The same instructor teaches Zumba on Tuesday and Thursday night and she told me that Zumba steps are even easier than step and I didn’t find step all that bad.

Recipes – two made, two to go.  I am putting a big black X through that Curried Cauliflower soup in my cookbook.  Brought some for lunch today and just could not gag it down.  Ended up buying soup from the restaurant downstairs at work for lunch :( 

Sugar reduction – Treats this week are only allowed on alternating days (Sat, Mon, Wed, Fri…of course I chose the days that gave me 4 days of treats this week!).  So far, so good.  I have also replaced the sucralose (splenda) in my oatmeal in the morning with Stevia.  Apparently Stevia does not spike your blood sugar (and the inevitable crash) like real sugar, sucralose, aspartame, etc.  I have to say I find it awfully sweet (trying half as much tomorrow), BUT one thing I noticed yesterday and today is that my breakfast kept me full all morning long.  Ordinarily I find myself getting hungry by about 9:30-10:00.  This makes me happy.  I don’t always have time to stop and have a morning snack, so I try to have a bigger breakfast (oats, peanut butter, banana), but it doesn’t usually work.  I’m curious if the Stevia is what’s helping (preventing me from the sugar high/crash)?

Tomorrow I’m heading to see The Help after work – if there’s time, I will go to the gym after the movie, but I’m not too fussed if I don’t make it.  Wednesday night is KICKBOXING!  I’m gonna be kickin’ butt and takin’ names on Wednesday night!  Look out!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

One bust, one success

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I’ve made two of the four recipes I’ve committed to making this week – the Curried Cauliflower Soup and the Chicken and Chili.  I am very disappointed in the soup… it needs something, but I just can’t put my finger on what it was missing.  I added spices (as I always do!) to zip it up a bit, but nada… it’s bland to be honest.  Now the Chicken and Chili recipe…that’s another story!  I LOVE it!  It was a little more time consuming than the soup, but well worth it.  I doubled the recipe, so I got eight servings.  Four for this week and 4 for the freezer.  It called for chicken thighs, which I would normally replace with breasts, but this time I decided to make the recipe as-is.  The recipe was from a cookbook Mom gave me (not a weight loss cookbook) – here’s a pic of the recipe (sorry, too lazy to type it right now!):

IMG_1553 I had this tonight with some multi-colored (red, blue, yellow) potatoes and steamed carrots and broccoli.  It was such an awesome supper!!  Well worth the wait :)

I also did a group fitness class tonight, which was not part of my original plan for the week, so I feel like I’m ahead of the eight-ball already!  I did Deep Water Aerobics tonight.  This was my first class back to water aerobics since my shoulder injury over a year ago (except for my disaster water zumba class).  I was happy to see that the instructor was Jackie, my favourite water aerobics instructor in town!  I’ve been gone for over a year and she not only remembered me, but she asked me how the class was on my shoulder!!  She’s amazing!  I was able to do 95% of the moves and I improvised on the ones I couldn’t do.  I really felt like I got  a great workout – I was disappointed when I realized that the deep water class is only 50 minutes long :(  Oh well…it’s better than sitting on the sofa eating bonbons!

My friend has given me her parking pass so I’ll be taking the car to work tomorrow, which is going to make going to my Step class much easier / less rushed.  Stay tuned for my review….if I live to tell the tale!

Here are some pics of tonight’s supper…don’t be jealous…you can make this too! ;-)

IMG_1552 IMG_1555IMG_1556

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I've got a plan

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I actually have many plans for this week.  I was sad to see another gain on the scale this week.  I know I have not been working out like I should have, but my food has been bang on.  This week WILL be better.

Plan 1

I went to the grocery store this afternoon and bought the ingredients to make four new recipes:

Curried Cauliflower Soup
Chicken and Chili
Turkey Burgers
Sweet Potato Pancakes

Plan 2

I reviewed the fitness class schedule at the gym today and have decided to try something fitness!  I've only tried group fitness (other than water aerobics) twice in my life...loved one of them, hated the other...  This week I am going to try Step Class on Monday and Kickboxing on Wednesday.  I plan to do weights on Sunday, Tuesday (if I have time after going to see The Help) and Thursday.  I will plan to (as of right now) leave Friday open - if I get in all of the other planned days, I will take Friday off and if one of the other days falls through, I will either go to the gym or do water aerobics.

Plan 3

Reduce sugar intake.  I have purchased Stevia to try as a sugar substitute and am going to try to stay away from aspartame as much as possible.  I really only use sweetener on my oatmeal in the morning.  I've been having (and counting the points for) sweets daily since I got back.  I am going to try every other day this coming week.

I'm just putting it out there, but I am aiming for a loss of 3.6 pounds this week.  I know that's HUGE for me for one week, but given the crappy weigh ins I've had in the past month, if I really work my butt off...I should be able to...well, work my butt off - literally!  I'm looking for a quasi-Biggest Loser week...well, my version, given that I work full-time ;-) 

Here we go!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Product Review – PC Blue Menu Lasagna

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lasagna I bought this a while ago when I saw it on sale at Superstore for $5.99 (regular I think $9.99).  I’m pretty fussy with my lasagna – usually only like homemade – mine and my Mom’s for the most part.  Oh, and Anonymous Ann makes a mean lasagna too.  Rarely do I order it in restaurants, nor do I usually (if ever!) buy frozen lasagna, but I decided to make an exception and “take one for the team” so that I could write a review for you all.  As far as lasagna in general goes, I’d give it about a 6.5/10.  As far as frozen lasagna goes, I’d say it’s the best I’ve had.  The Points+ value is 8 points+ for 1/8th of the pan.  I think if they made it in a smaller package (maybe half this size) I might even buy this again, but likely will not buy a full family size again – eating this for 8 days just doesn’t appeal to me.  I suppose I could re-freeze the leftovers into individual dishes to bring for lunches. 
The photo on the box does not full represent the finished results – here are some photos of the finished product in the pan as well as on my dinner plate…note the height of it is seriously lacking :)
IMG_1526 IMG_1527 IMG_1528


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I was talking with a friend about this a while back.  I started a new WW weigh in book (they each hold 16 weeks) and at the time I was 12.4 pounds from my doctor's goal weight.  I thought that realistically, I should be able to get to my goal by Christmas Eve (of this year!)  Since the start of this new book on August 6th I have lost a grand total of 0.3 pounds.  Yes folks, I am 12.1 pounds away from goal after 2 months.  Yes, I realize I had a 3-week vacation in there and I wouldn't change that trip for anything.  It just seems that every time I set a goal for myself, subconsciously I do something to hold myself back.  It's almost like part of me is afraid of reaching my goal.  Is this normal?  I do have some fear of getting there that I am aware of...but I don't know why this is.  Why would I be afraid of success?  Getting to goal should be a positive experience, no?  Satisfaction of getting there, no weekly WW fees (after 6 weeks of maintenance), etc.  Part of me I think thinks that losing the weight will solve all of my problems in life...  what if I lose weight and those issues don't go away?  THEN what?

Has anyone else had trouble like this when they have gotten close to goal?

Sunday, October 9, 2011


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I tried a new Greek yogurt today - Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt (0%).  I found it at my regular grocery store and thought I'd give it a try - the Liberte Greek yogurt I normally buy is fat free, but has 14 grams of carbs per serving - this one has 7!  Protein is still 18 grams and fat is still zero.  Half a cup is 1 point+, 3/4 cup is 2 points+ and a whole cup is 3 points+...a great deal!  And it's organic (not that I'm all about organic).  I had half a cup this morning with a bit of no-sugar added syrup and some raspberries and it was great!

At lunchtime today I decided to treat myself by making homemade nachos (I've had lots of nacho conversations this week and have been craving them!).  I bought my Baked Tostidos and topped them with sauteed mushrooms and peppers, tomatoes and low fat cheese, plus a serving of Oscar Mayer bacon bits.  On the side (as you can see) I had some guacamole and in lieu of sour cream I used some more of my Oikos Greek Yogurt... they were grrrrrreat!

Overall I'd give this Greek Yogurt a 5/5.  I will be buying it again!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I love tilapia!

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It's a toss up whether I love salmon more or tilapia more.  I do love most fish/seafood, but these two are two of my favs.  Last night I picked up fresh tilapia to treat myself and I decided that I would have some of it for lunch today.  Anonymous Ann got me hooked on salmon done in foil in the oven with dill and lemon juice, so I thought I would try it with my tilapia fillets.  Start with a piece of foil (spray with cooking spray), add your tilapia fillets, a couple sprigs of dill per fillet, fresh or bottled lemon juice, salt and pepper and if you want, you can add some healthy oil (I used 1 tsp for 2 fillets).  Fold your foil packet and place on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 15 mins.  Remove from oven and enjoy!  This was SO good!!  Usually I use frozen fish, but there's such a difference when you treat yourself to fresh!  The best part, aside from the taste, is that one large fillet (180 grams) is only 3 points+!

Keep things the same or...

Pin It A girl at WW this morning who just finished her first week (and did amazing) said that she didn't change what she ate, she just adjusted her portion sizes.  That got me thinking.  Is that what I did?  I really don't think it is now that I think about it.  I think I'm more the opposite - I changed what I ate (to healthier/real foods) so that I  could keep the volume on my plate.  My plates at suppertime are usually full - but 85% of it is probably veggies and the rest is lean protein (which I've always liked).  I've taught myself to like new veggies, I've added fruit to my diet (yes, some might say I'm still a picky fruit eater, but I'm eating way more now than ever before!) and I've added some new grains even.  I am definitely a volume eater - and I think if you're making your "volume" up of veggies and healthy grains for the most part, then that's OK...what do you think?  Are you a volume "good food" eater, or do you prefer to eat the "bad" stuff, but in smaller portions?  Don't get me wrong, I still eat the "bad" stuff (no, I know it's not really BAD), I just eat it less frequently than I did in the past.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Do you ever find yourself having one of "those" days...

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where you nearly lose your "filter" and really just don't care?  I found myself nearly telling the girl sitting next to me on the bus tonight that she smelled like a hamster.  That's not like me.  I have thought those things before (not the hamster part, but you know what I mean), but normally I don't have to remind myself not to say these things out loud.  I know, I'm a bad person.  I've been having one of those days...and it's been going on for a week.

A good friend pointed out to me recently that I don't always talk about the difficult things in life on here and I've realized she's right.  Sometimes I hold back on posting things because I don't think it's stuff people will want to read.  I've decided to reduce the filter I place on my blog (don't worry, none of you smells like a hamster!). I am admitting that returning from vacation has been difficult.  I am having a hard time adjusting back to non-vacation life - I have not gotten back into the exercise routine, I'm frustrated by a lot of things not weight-loss related and I feel like I need another break already!!  That's it for now... more blog posting later maybe.

I'm off to find my verbal filter and make some supper.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The worst of it is over

Pin It Well today was the day I was dreading... my post-UK weigh in.  When I got home earlier in the week I was up 10 pounds and was terrified.  Food-wise I rocked from Tuesday-Friday - stuck to my daily points, lots of veggies and lots of water...exercise-wise, not so much... I was SOOO tired and just didn't have it in me.  Apparently the work I did with the food worked well for me.  My official gain, according to WW is now 4.6 pounds!  I am thrilled with this!!!  All I really wanted for today was not to have my total loss drop below 110 pounds (meaning I couldn't have a gain of more than 5.9 pounds), so I am considering this week a success!

I had a great trip to the UK and, even though I did gain weight, I wouldn't change a thing about the trip.  It was great to spend time with Anonymous Ann (she'll be losing her anonymity soon!)  We did a lot of walking and a lot of shopping...  The shopping was amazing - styles, selection, prices (even considering the exchange rate) were amazing... Originally I thought I would do some travelling around while I was over there, but that didn't happen - which turned out to be a good thing.  I realized I have absolutely NO clothes to wear this Fall/Winter...none... so I used the money I had saved for travelling and bought myself some some new clothes.  I will try and do a virtual fashion show sometime soon.

So, I am off to do some cleaning and planning for the upcoming week.  Would be nice if I can get this 4.6 pound gain off by next weekend (but I'm not going to be disappointed if I don't!).  Happy weekend everyone!