Thursday, December 13, 2012

My ironic prize

Pin It I had this (seemingly) strange phone call a couple of weeks ago.  Some lady "claiming" to be calling from McCormick/Clubhouse Seasonings was phoning to tell me that I'd won a prize!  Yeah right...  She said she had attempted to send me two emails notifying me, but that she had not heard back and maybe her emails had gone into my spam folder.  Sure enough, they were there!!!  She really WAS from Clubhouse and I really DID win a prize!!  I NEVER win anything!!!  Apparently I entered a contest on their website in August where they were looking for healthy cooking tips - I vaguely remember entering now...although I can't recall what my suggestion was... I think it was something to do with using chicken broth rather than fat when cooking and using lots of seasonings :)

So the ironic part of this all... I started selling Epicure in October of this year! :)  For those of you not familiar with Epicure, it is a direct-sales (think Mary Kay or Tupperware) company that focuses on seasonings, spices, dips and cookware products.  So this new Epicure consultant has won a SPICY prize from the competition!! haha  Here is a picture of my prize pack - value of approx. $95 CAD :)  I have to admit that I do love Clubhouse seasonings in addition to my Epicure seasonings - in my world (kitchen), there's room for spices of all variety!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

T'was the 3 weeks before Christmas

Pin It Well, slightly more than three weeks, but T'was 3 weeks and 2 days just didn't flow right :) 

Whew, what a week!  My Live at 5 story was on Wednesday night - if you haven't had a chance to see it yet, you can view it here.  My blog hits exploded (I think it was something like 400 hits in 24 hours...usually that's about 2 weeks worth!).  People I have never met have contacted me on my blog or on Facebook to congratulate me (how cool?!)...,there you go - my very own 15 minutes of fame! haha  I was nervous at first, but it's been fun :)

I have now finished my Christmas shopping and decorating, I am somewhat packed for my trip to the UK (did I mention I'm spending Christmas in the UK??), have finished my first (since Junior High) sewing project - a gift for someone in the UK, and I have packed up my latest Epicure order (last BIG one before Christmas).  Crazy weekend!  Thankfully this coming week doesn't hold any major plans.  Just the usual - work, gym, work gym :)

Things weight-wise are somewhat stalled.  Had a great week food-wise / fitness-wise, but saw a gain of 1 lb on the scale.  Not sure why, but am pushing through this week.  I am going to try a "no sugary treats" week (work-week only!) and see if that helps.  I am finding that once I start with sugar, I can't stop these days! 

Not looking forward to resisting the sugary treats over the holidays.  I think I may have to take up knitting or something to keep my hands and my mind busy while I'm away.  I know I just "took up" sewing...but it's hard to lug a Singer onto a plane...and they'll allow me 6" knitting needles through security I believe ;-)  I have to remind myself that it's about the PEOPLE and the place I'm visiting, NOT the food...although the Brits sure do know how to make mean Thai and Indian food... Ok, maybe one of each... My plan will be the same as last year - healthy breakfast and lunch and a slightly relaxed supper on the nights we go out.  I do plan on avoiding the "low fat" lemon poppy seed muffins at Starbucks UK this time though - I ate them last year thinking they were a wise choice, only to find out (recently) that they are 9 points each!  hahaha, ignorance is NOT bliss! 

Happy first week of December everyone!  What are your plans for your health this Christmas season??

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Live at 5!

Pin It Well, I've made my official television debut this evening!  I was on my local CTV Live at 5!  The video clip is NOW on the CTV Atlantic website.  I believe that I will be able to post an actual link to the interview later this evening.

The interview was focused on my Fitbit, which I ordered online from  Love my Fitbit!!!  There is a newer version available, so the original version that I have (link above) is on sale right now.  Highly recommend this for anyone who is visually motivated.

Thanks Starr and Kate!!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Gluten Free Black Bean Brownies with Epicure’s Maple Bacon Sea Salt

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Doctored this recipe a bit from one posted on the Epicure Consultants website.  Thanks to Heather for sharing this great idea!

PointsPlus™ Value:    1     (3 points+ for 2!)
Servings:  24

4 large egg(s)  
1 tsp baking powder  
1 cup Splenda
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa  
19 oz canned black beans  
1/3 cup chocolate chips  

Combine everything except chocolate chips in a blender. Blend until smooth. Fold in your chips. Pour into an 8"square pan (or mini muffin tins) - SPRAY PAN WELL...these WILL stick. Bake at 350 for 30 mins. Check after about 20 mins.  Sprinkle hot brownies with Epicure’s Maple Bacon Sea Salt.  Enjoy!

Update:  these were so good!  I got 24 "two bite brownies" out of this recipe.  One brownie is perfect!  The puff up nicely in the muffin tins.  I think if making them in a pan, you may want a larger pan than 8", or your brownies might be too thick.  You can replace the chocolate chips with other things - craisins, other dried fruit, coconut... play around and let me know what you come up with!  I'm not a GF person, so I can't tell you what changing the mix ins will do to the GF status of this recipe.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

It may be ugly...

Pin It But it sure does taste good!!

What is this unidentifiable object on my pretty plate? is supposed to be an omelet!  A friend of mine posted the recipe on Facebook last night - one egg, 3 egg whites, 2 Tbsp guacamole, salsa, cheese, salt, pepper, etc.  It LOOKED amazing.  I had all ingredients in the house (well, for the guacamole and salsa, I had the Epicure spices and ingredients to make them!) so this was tonight's supper.  I added a Costco turkey sausage to the mix, plus some orange pepper and diced onions.  It looked so nice in the pan...until I decided to try and get it OUT of the pan.  I think for omelets like this you really need a GIANT flipper to get it out in one piece.  Anyhow - this is it and it was amazing (like I didn't want it to end amazing).  Who knew that salsa and guacamole were good on eggs????

This is a new keeper recipe for me.  Enjoy!

Friday, November 2, 2012

If you want to follow along...

Pin It Here is a chart I've done up that I'm going to print and put on my fridge.  Feel free to use this if you like :)

The 49-day "Goblin to Gobbling" challenge

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Forty-nine days.  Seven weeks.  That's how long I have before I leave on my trip to the UK for Christmas.  For those of you not looking at a calendar, this also brings us to the last weekend before Christmas.

I've always said in the past that the holidays do not bother me (food-wise).  And this was true.  Until lately.  Since I stopped trick-or-treating myself (many, many years ago), my exposure to Halloween festivities has been somewhat limited - I have no children of my own and for many years now I have lived in an apartment building where here has never been trick-or-treating permitted.  For me, this was good for two reasons: a) I don't have to spend money on treats and b) I don't have to HAVE the treats in my house.  This year, however, I was tasked with two things at work - helping one of my bosses get ready for his Halloween open house (to which I was invited) and getting the Halloween candy for my office.  I loved this - got myself a cute Halloween head-band from the dollar store, filled a pumpkin bucket with great candy and "reverse" trick-or-treated in my office (gave out rather than collected)... but there were leftovers.  Those leftovers sat on my desk.  Not good.  I seem to be unable to resist the lure of the chocolate/candy this year for some reason!  This entire week has been so food-focused (starting with the Halloween open house...gumbo, cake, lobster dip, oh my!) that I had to go to a mid-week Weight Watchers meeting on Halloween night just to get myself back on track.  It did help.  But I also realized that I need to re-evaluate things.

Last week at WW I was free for the first time since the summer.  For those of you not familiar with the WW plan, once you reach your goal weight, so long as you are not more than 2 pounds over goal, you attend meetings for free.  Last week I was finally back in the safe zone.  My meeting on Wednesday night was free for me, but I fear (with justification) that this upcoming weigh in will NOT be free.  I know that this is my own fault.  I accept that and acknowledge that only I can change this train-wreck :)  The leader at the mid-week meeting said that we should take 5 minutes per day to reflect on our food.  While I did not exactly do that yesterday, I was more aware of what I was doing than I had been the day before.

So here is my 49-day plan...nothing outrageous or scary...just simple, yet (hopefully) effective!

For the next 49 days I will do a MINIMUM of 10 minutes of activity each day.  I know, I know, that doesn't sound like much.  BUT I will continue to do my bootcamp 2x per week and Zumba 2 x per week.  So that still works out to about 4 1/2 hours of activity per week.

For the next 7 weeks I will evaluate my upcoming week for "danger zones" (aka treat opps) and determine which (if any) are with it and I will plan accordingly.  The only major events I can foresee in the next 7 weeks are my nieces birthday and my Christmas party for work (which falls on DAY 49!).  Halloween is over...Thanksgiving is over... no other birthdays or anniversaries (that I'm aware of).

For the next 1,176 hours I will limit (not eliminate) my sugary-treat intake.  Currently the only "bad" treats in my house are the Girl Guide thin mint cookies in my freezer (yes, I love them frozen!).  These are a 10/10 treat for me and on the WW program are 4 cookies for 4 pts+ (bargain!).  I only have half a box left, so I must ration these.  Maybe just 2 per week... :)  I will avoid picking at silly things that I don't even care for (that spoonful of chocolate chips from the baking cupboard, the chocolate covered raisins...I HATE raisins...but will eat anything covered in chocolate!).  I used to say I would limit myself to treats that were worth a 10/10, but not everything in life is perfect, so I'll reduce that to a 9/10 rating.

For the next 70,560 minutes I will track 100% (been slipping to about 95% lately).  I will also plan my lunches and suppers better (doing more cooking on the weekends in preparation for the upcoming week).

What are your plans for the Goblin to Gobbling season? (aka Halloween to Christmas)  Will you join me in becoming more aware and intentional about healthy eating and physical fitness?

Oh...I also want to blog more than once every few weeks...that's been slipping too!!

Ready?  Set?  Go!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Do you eat when you are not hungry?

Pin It Fiona posed this question to us at WW today.  Then she said she feels bad afterwards when she thinks of the people who simply do not have that option.  Weight Watchers is currently collecting food for our local food bank (now until Nov 3), so this really hit home.  How often do I eat just because I a) want to or b) because I can?  Some people out there have no idea where their next meal is coming from, let alone their snacks.  I am going to try and keep this in mind this week any time I reach for food - am I really and truly hungry?  Or am I just eating because I can?  Maybe every time I catch myself eating "just because" I should toss an item into the food for thought...literally.

Anyone interested in dropping off food for those in need can do so at their local food bank, most grocery stores, or their local Weight Watchers location (funny enough, the one in my area is between Flipburger and the Lindt Chocolate store, so easy enough for anyone in the Clayton Park area to find!)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Gobble, gobble

Pin It Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I have so much to be thankful for - an amazing family, wonderful friends and a great bunch of co-workers and work for a great company.  I've also recently joined another great company (Epicure Selections) as an independent consultant.  I won't be talking Epicure on this blog (well, no more than talking about using Epicure in my recipes like I've always done!) - to keep up with my Epicure life, you can visit me The Spice of Life

I know it's been a LONG time since I've blogged.  I admit - I've been struggling with this journey since I returned from vacation (in August!!)  I lose a pound, I gain a pound....grrrrr  I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong. 

Yesterday was my 3 year anniversary of joining Weight Watchers.  I'm thankful for where I am today vs where I was 3 years ago, that's for sure - I'm smaller (currently just over 120 pounds smaller), I'm healthier, I can cross my legs (both ways!), I can run up a flight (or two!) of steps without feeling like I might die, I can comfortably sit in any seat (except maybe a kiddie one!) and have "leftover" chair on either side of me, I am not afraid to try new things - whether that be tasting new things or moving my body in new ways, I'm more confident and I think I'm even happier with life in general.  I would not change the journey I've gone through over the past 3 years as I think this journey has made me who I am today.  All that being said, I need to get my head back in the game.  I still follow program and I track my food - don't get me wrong, I don't do it because anyone makes me - it's become such a habit for my Type A personality likes to check those boxes in my online tracker (when you check all the healthy guidelines you get a smiley face :) and to see the numbers...I'm such a charts and graphs kinda girl!!  BUT...clearly I'm slacking in some area...perhaps I'm eyeballing too many things that I used to weigh/measure... this week I take stock and get serious again.  I don't really mind if I don't reach my Christmas goal - but I would like to be a FREE at-goal Weight Watchers Lifetime Member once again.... and that only takes 1.8 pounds :) 

Ok, turkey is done, enjoyed myself, but am moving on.  No special events (that I can recall) coming up this week, so I have no excuses!  Back on track... here we go!

Oh, did I mention that I'm going to the UK for Christmas????  Hoping to plan a side trip to Paris for a few days too :)  I am SO excited!  In 11 weeks, I will be there!!!  Can you believe Christmas is only just over 11 weeks away?! 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Bootcamp: the final frontier

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Captain Tanya of the Right to Bare Arms Enterprise, Star-date 17 September 2012.  I am determined to try new things.  I am also determined to work on strength training and toning.  Today's mission was a unique one.  Day one of Bootcamp.  It was a successful mission.  I think.  Well, I lived, so in my book...that's a win!  Hahaha  I was happy to see a friend of mine from Zumba is in the class with me.  Also, the class only has 6 participants, which makes it more personal.  The earlier class has 18!!!  The great thing about this class is that it's taught by my personal it's like getting personal training (twice per week) for 10 weeks for less than I'd pay for 4 personal sessions!  They call the earlier one Bikini-babe Bootcamp (all female) and this one Hardcore Conditioning (co-ed).  I was intimidated by the title of this one, until I found out they were identical :)

One class down, 19 to go!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Mixed Bean & Ham Soup

Pin It A while back I bought a large bag of Nupak Soup Mix (pot barley, yellow split, green, split, green whole, yellow whole, green lentils, bean mix) and tossed it in the cupboard to use "some day".  Well yesterday I decided that someday had would be the day.  As much as I searched online for recipes using dried beans/peas/barley...there is a serious shortage of ideas out there.  I saw a lot of the same recipe (vegetarian) over and over...but not a lot variety and not a lot of meat recipes.  I decided to wing it and make my own recipe:

Ham and Bean Soup
PointsPlus™ Value:    4
Servings:  8

200 gm dry kidney beans or Nupak soup mix
28 oz canned tomatoes
1 cup celery
1  bell pepper (I used yellow/red)
1 Tbsp canned chipotle pepper
1 cup uncooked onion
3 cups water
32 oz fat-free beef broth
375 gm cooked lean ham
2 Tbsp Epicure Picante Salsa mix
1 Tbsp Clubhouse Indian garam masala seasoning
Garlic (to taste)
1 tsp Chipotle chili powder
1/3 cup frozen corn kernels

Bring water/broth to a boil in a large soup pot (Dutch oven).  Rinse beans/soup mix and add to boiling liquid.  Simmer for 60 minutes (or longer – test your beans for doneness).  Add remaining ingredients and simmer for another 20 minutes.  Add salt and pepper or additional seasoning to taste.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Cauliflower "Chicken" Nuggets

Pin It My plan for multiple recipes went a bit off track today, but I did make one of my planned recipes, plus two simpler ones, this one being one of them.

Recipe can be found here.  I had the nuggets with a bowl of my Spicy Sweet potato-corn chowder with ham that I made this afternoon.  The chowder is AMAZING.  It tasted like...more.  Not that the serving wasn't big enough, it was - I just liked it THAT much.  I was a bit disappointed with the nuggets though.  I may have done something wrong, or maybe I expected something different.  I had them with Frank's Hot Sauce - maybe I'll try again with some Bull's Eye BBQ sauce next time.  I would not call this a complete fail..just a "try again" recipe.

I also made rhubarb-blueberry "stew" (basically just cooked them together with some splenda and a splash of lemon juice.  It boiled down to about 3-4 servings and I will eat it over my Greek yogurt.  It would be really good over vanilla frozen yogurt or ice cream...but I've come to the conclusion that I can't keep that frozen evilness in my home without losing control ;-)  I'm not posting any pics of the rhubarb-blueberry's's get the picture ;-)

Spicy Sweet Potato-Corn Chowder with Ham

Pin It This recipe is taken from the new Weight Watchers cookbook called Make Ahead Meals.  I just bought this cookbook and at a quick glance, I found at least 5-6 recipes I could easily make with ingredients I would typically have on-hand...this is the first one.  So far, I'm giving this cookbook a 5/5 rating just for the fact that the recipes look simple enough and call for ingredients that are common (not something I have to run to the specialty store for!)

Spicy Sweet Potato-Corn Chowder with Ham
Serves 6
4 points+ per serving

2 tsp olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 stalks celery, chopped

2 tsp flour
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 carton reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1 chipotle in adobo sauce, minced
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups fresh or frozen corn
6 oz lean ham steak, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup light (5% MF) cream
2 Tbsp minced chives

Heat oil in large sauce pan over medium-high heat.  Add onion, celery and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in flour and cayenne and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.

Add broth, potatoes, chipotle and salt; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, over and simmer until potato is tender, about 10 minutes.  Stir in corn, ham and cream and cook until heated through, 2-3 minutes.

Ladle soup evenly into 6 bowls and sprinkle with chives.  Can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

I didn't have cayenne, so I used Chipotle Chili Powder.  I also didn't realize until I was typing this out that I did not buy reduced sodium ham...but I did buy the no-salt added chicken broth, which is SUPER low in sodium.  Points are more my concern here than sodium, since it's just for me :)  I also didn't bother with the chives and I used red onion and my onion wasn't so "finely chopped"...but I like onions and don't mind bigger pieces in my soup.

If you have never used chipotle peppers before, BEWARE.  They are hot.  Some people have mistakenly used an entire CAN of peppers where a recipe calls for one pepper from the can.  A can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce usually has 5-6 peppers in it.  ONLY USE ONE - I like my food spicy/hot and with one pepper it is plenty hot for me.  Once you open the can, you can freeze the leftovers for another time - they freeze quite well.  I put mine in a Ziploc-type bag.

I have only had a tiny taste of the broth so far and it is YUMMY!  It'll be my supper tonight, so if the full bowl is a letdown, I'll come back and let ya know.  I think it'll be a 5/5.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Afri-Mexi-Greek Couscous Salad

Pin It I wasn't quite sure what to call this...couscous comes from Morocco and northern Algeria (the African part of the title), it has the makings of a Greek salad but I also tossed in some cilantro (Mexican part of the title)...

I found some couscous on sale at Sobeys yesterday for 50 cents per box!  I've never tried couscous before (I don't think), so I thought for that price I could give it a go :)

This is for a single serving - you can adapt accordingly if you are serving more than one person.

Afri-Mexi-Greek Couscous Salad
1/2 cup cooked couscous
handful of diced English cucumber
handful of diced red pepper
handful of diced red onion
handful of cherry tomatoes (quartered)
1 oz Greek feta, crumbled
about a tablespoon of cilantro
2 tsp safflower oil (you could use olive oil, but I happened to have safflower on hand)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (I used honey ginger flavoured, but I'm sure any would work just fine)
salt and pepper to taste

Mix it all together and enjoy!  This was delicious!  I've made a similar "salad" with quinoa before and the taste is quite similar.  I didn't find that the couscous had any real flavour of its own, but rather it took on the flavour of what it was mixed with.

Tonight's salad was served with leftover trout (have I told you lately how much I ADORE trout???), leftover peppers, mushrooms and onions from last night and some steamed broccoli with a new spice I found by Clubhouse Seasoning called Parmesan & Herb, which is DELISH!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Weight Watchers a la Tanya Does not Work

Pin It I've always chuckled when people put down the WW program saying it doesn't work...that as soon as you "go off" the program, you gain the weight back.  Well, duh!  The program is designed to be a change in lifestyle NOT a diet plan.  A change in lifestyle means you change...well, the way you live and the way you eat...the way you do things all around.  Deep down inside, I know all this.  I know the program works... just not MY version of the program ;-)

For some reason I decided (way too many times) to not count my BLTs (bites, licks, tastes for anyone new here).  Oh, that handful of licorice can't be that many points!  Hmmm, I only had a couple crackers...not even a points worth!  Well folks, I'm here to tell you that when you do that ALL WEEK's gonna bite you in the butt.  I gained again this week.  Not huge, but still more than I should have - I gained 1.2 pounds and it is MY fault, nobody else's (I might blame Tom a tiny bit, but for the most part, it's all me).

This week it will be back to basics.  I will cook, I will plan, I will exercise (this is not new).  But now for something completely different (for me).... I am going to switch up my "extra" points this week.  Usually I use my 49 extra points first and then dip into my activity points (very rarely).  This week my plan is to swap that.  Activity points first and THEN weekly 49.  What's the difference you ask?  Well, for starters, everyone starts their week with those "free" 49 points.  We do nothing to earn them, they're just magically there at the start of our WW week.  Activity points, however, are earned.  The only way to start your week with any activity points is to....well, get active on Saturday!!  So, all this to say - no extra points unless I move my butt.  Already today I've planned out my food and I'm looking at my menu thinking...hmmmm, I want more...guess I should put my sneakers on and go for a walk!  Usually I am a 3x week worker-outer and my three days are usually Monday, Tuesday, Thursday.  This would mean that I'd have to wait til Monday for any "extras"...but WAIT...Monday is Labour Day!  The gym is closed, so that means no Step class!  Ok, I CAN'T leave it til Tuesday for extra points!!!  Guess I'll be moving my butt...

This is the way a friend of mine from WW has been doing it and she's doing FANTASTIC.  Another girl from our class tried it last week and lost over FOUR pounds today!  Hmm, I think they may just be onto something here....Stay tuned to see how things work out.

PS - Bootcamp starts two weeks from Monday!!!

What is wrong with this photo?

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Welcome to our new Weight Watchers home...can you spot anything wrong with this photo?

Friday, August 31, 2012


Pin It I read a blog called Chocolate-Covered Katie.  Someone I know introduced me to it, but I can't recall who...whoever you are, I thank you!  I have not made a lot from her site, but I do love reading it.  This afternoon I struck gold!  I made her No-Bake Coconut Crack Bars.  Once you try them, you will understand why they are called "crack" bars.  These little gems are AMAZING.  The recipe said it made 6-8 servings.  If I cut them into 8 servings, they work out to 3 pts+ each - 6 servings makes them 4 pts+ each.  I decided to bring them to share at WW tomorrow, so I cut them into 16 pieces at 1 pt+ each (or 2 for 3 pts+).  It took me about 5 minutes to make (and that included searching my cupboards for a pan small enough for this recipe).  Super easy, super amazing!  Certainly a 5-star recipe in my books.  The only thing I might do differently next time is to drizzle a bit of melted dark chocolate over them... this is not a criticism of Katie's recipe...just a thought :)

I am having my two small bars tonight with my other addiction...flavoured coffee from my Keurig.  These are two addictions I am not interested in overcoming...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Two down, two to go (plus something for Fiona)

Pin It well...two to go until I'm free at WW again :)  I'm totally back in the game, so I am confident that this will come off soon!  Two more pounds after that to get me back to my goal weight and then another 5 that I'd like to lose before Christmas (it'll be nice to have a bit of a buffer when I go away for the holidays!)

One of the things I need to concentrate on this week is planning my lunches.  Last week I had turkey chili a couple of days, but it's not something I really want to eat every single day - no matter how good it is!  I picked up a new cookbook at WW this morning and also picked up the new magazine, so I am hoping for some inspiration.  Stay tuned - you know I'll review and post pictures of whatever I happen to make :)

Fiona, this one's for salad picture as requested!
Happy Saturday everyone!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

If I had a million dollars

Pin It I'd still eat Kraft Dinner...I'd just eat MORE!  haha I heard this song on the radio tonight on the way home from work and had a WICKED craving for KD!  Thankfully I a) had none in the house and b) had a salad pre-made and ready to go.

Speaking of salad (yes, again!)...I've decided something - two things actually.  First of all, I don't need salad dressing - from now on it's balsamic vinegar and olive oil (flavored or not) all the way...and maybe salsa.  Second thing I've decided is this - if you feel you NEED salad dressing on your salad for ain't doin' it right!  My salad has SO much flavour that I think salad dressing might ruin it :)  Tonight's combo was cinnamon pear balsamic and the last (sadly) of my chipotle olive oil.  SOOOO YUMMY!  It was one of those salads I didn't want to end.  I topped it with a bit of leftover rainbow trout that I'd cooked with dill, cherry tomatoes and red onions - just tossed the leftovers over the salad (cold) and enjoyed.  Did I mention the feta??

That's more salad talk.  Must go get some KD....errr, I mean...must go ZUMBA!

Monday, August 20, 2012

I love salad

Pin It I don't think that's a secret to anyone who knows me :)  I'm not talking a plain o'le garden salad - I like EVERYTHING in my salad - lettuce or spinach, peppers, mushrooms, mandarin oranges, craisins, onions, mushrooms, zucchini (green/yellow), cauliflower, broccoli, name it, I'll throw it in a salad!  Usually I top my salad with salsa rather than salad dressing or maybe even some turkey chili.  Tonight I decided to try something different.  Before I went on vacation, my friend Karen and I went to a place called Liquid Gold.  They sell flavoured olive oils and balsamic vinegars.  For tonight's salad I used chipotle infused olive oil and maple balsamic vinegar....OH MY!!!  My new fav...a way to get in my healthy oils and FABULOUS taste!!  I have some other vinegar flavours to try - mango, lemon, cinnamon...oh the combinations....stay tuned!  I'd show you a picture of tonight's salad,, I ate it THAT quick!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Reality Bites

Pin It I know I've been among the missing for the past month or so.  I've wanted to bog, but just wasn't sure what to blog about to be perfectly honest.  My first weigh in after hitting lifetime status at WW saw a 2 pound weight gain.  This was OK though - I was nearly 2 pounds under goal when I reached lifetime, so I had a couple of pounds to "play" with.  A couple of weeks ago I went on vacation...and things went further south.  Don't get me wrong - I had a GREAT vacation and enjoyed spending time with my family.  What went wrong was ME.  I have always struggled with social eating, but I really let it get out of control this time.  I weighed in today for the first time in a month and was (regrettably) up 5.9 stinking pounds.  I had to pay the piper today at WW...literally.  I have to pay the weekly meeting fee until I get to within 2 pounds of goal again.  Not only that, but my free eTools is no longer free :( 

So here I am.  Humbled by the cockiness that I seemed to have developed once I reached lifetime.  I've always "preached" that this was not a diet that I did - that it is a new lifestyle.  Apparently I need to listen to my own advice and learn how to LIVE that lifestyle...all the time. 

Here's my plan: track, track, track; exercise as much as I can; stick to the diet lifestyle that I know works.  I have 4 months until my next vacation and I really want to get a handle on this before then.  I'm going somewhere where I love the food, so it will be difficult, but completely doable.  One thing I did do right on this past vacation was to stick with my usual breakfast (oatmeal, fruit, peanut butter).  I'll do that on the next vacation as well.  I think if I control snacking between meals I will do fine - that seemed to be a problem for me this time...not sure why - I'm usually just an evening snacker :)  Groceries (healthy ones) are bought, turkey chili has been made and I may just make another recipe tomorrow (turkey burgers maybe?).  I have a plan and I'm on a mission...wish me luck!

Humbly yours,

Monday, July 16, 2012

Product Review: Veggie Patch Mediterranean Chickpea Patty

Pin It It's been a while since I've done and product reviews...I think that's because it's been a while since I tried anything new :)

My brother and I were at Costco yesterday and they were sampling the Veggie Patch Mediterranean Chickpea Patties.  They were sampling them with some cheesy marinara sauce, but we asked to try them plain so we could determine if the yumminess was from the sauce or the patties.  We were both thrilled to discover that the flavour WAS in the patties!  They have SO much flavour!!!  Amazing.  These tasty patties are reasonable on the nutrition-front too (3points+ each!).   You can cook them using your microwave or bake them in the oven.  Tonight I nuked 'em and they were still tasty!

I think I will give these a 5/5 rating.  Cost-wise they are just under $1 per patty, so not super-cheap by any means, but if you have a couple of them for your main protein (2 = 10 grams of protein), that's not too bad when you compare it to chicken ;-)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Eating your way around a craving

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Ever done this?  You want a bowl of ice cream, but that would be too sinful, so you pop some low fat popcorn.  That doesn't do it, so you have some veggies and low fat dip...nope, that's not working either.  Cinnamon is supposed to crush sweet cravings, so some cinnamon on some broiled fruit is in order.  But you STILL want that bowl of ice cream.  In the end you cave.  So now you've had about 500 calories worth of "avoidance foods"...AND your ice cream!  Crazy eh? 

Shoulda just had the ice cream to start - would likely have ended up eating fewer calories in the long run :-(  Tonight...I will eat ice cream (well, super yummy frozen yogurt) because that is what I want!  Well, what I really wanted was a Costco ice cream cone, but a) Costco is closed now, b) I don't have a membership and c) I refuse to go OUT to satisfy this craving :)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

My new favorite snack, workout story and weigh in update

Pin It I splurged on produce this week and had a ton of fruit in the house.  This afternoon I couldn't decide what to have for my snack - grapes, apple, mango?  What to do when you can't decide?  Have it all!  I decided to make a zero-point fruit salad (grapes, banana, mandarin orange, apple, mango, blueberries and raspberries with a touch of no-sugar added syrup) and topped it with a 1 point yogurt.  YUMMM!!!  I made enough fruit salad for a couple of servings, but am afraid I want to eat it all NOW!  I won't...waaaaay too much fruit for my belly for one day I'm afraid ;-)  Something to look forward to for tomorrow though!  This would be a great pre-workout snack if I had it over Greek yogurt I think...

Speaking of working out...I decided to try Bodypump class at the new Goodlife in my area.  I'm not a Goodlife member, but they gave me a 7-day pass to try it out.  I went on a Friday morning (day off) thinking it wouldn't be too busy...boy was I wrong!  I got there 20 minutes before the class was supposed to start and the lineup was all the way to the back of the gym.  I asked them how many they took in the class and she said 65!!!!  Now the room is big...but not THAT big when you consider you need a step with risers, a barbell and extra weights and a yoga you need room to lunge!  The class itself was OK (not great) and the instructor was nice, but I didn't find the people in the class friendly at all.  I was also the biggest person in the entire gym I'm sure.  I felt really out of place - especially in my Old Navy workout apparel...let me tell you, I think I was the only one not wearing Lululemon in the whole place (perhaps I shoulda brought my Lulu headband!).  I may try another class this week coming...but not at that location.  Thankfully there are Goodlife locations all over the city, including one near my office.  I think I'll bring my gym gear to work with me, just in case I don't get out in time to get to my regular classes at the Canada Games Centre - then I can always go to one of the classes near work.

On the Weight Watchers front, I had my first weigh in today since I reached lifetime on June 16th.  Not surprisingly, I gained.  I'm still in the "safe" zone and am actually only 0.2 lbs over my goal weight, so I did not have to pay.  I still want to work on getting back down to my final "lifetime weight" before I leave on vacation in a few weeks.  Next weigh in will be the morning I leave for vacation, so stay tuned...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

I need a mission

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I've become complacent.  I reached goal.  I reached lifetime status.  I've fit into single digit clothing sizes (some brands, at least).  Part of me is smug.  I did it and I'm smug.  But I'm afraid smugness is going to get me into trouble.  I need a mission.  I need a new goal.  I've found myself eating things I would not normally eat (let's just call it Canada Day long weekend without going into details).  I know I gained this week.  And I know it's bad.  I'm still within the "safe" zone with WW, but this is not a good direction to be headed in.  So that's the plan...I need a mission/goal. 

One goal I would like to accomplish is learning to run a 5K.  I have the tools needed to get started (sneakers, the Coach to 5K podcast and a healthy body with which to run), but I don't feel like that's the mission I need.  I was online last night looking at various fitness books/programs and I saw a few that piqued my interest - one was called something like101 stability ball routines and another one was 100 strength training routines.  I think maybe my new mission will be to choose one of these avenues and work towards 100 new routines in one year.  What do you think?  I think this will also help me with my blogging, which I have been seriously negligent in keeping up with lately.  Have any of you tried any "XX whatever in XX days" plans?  What did you do?  Send me your ideas, please!!

I think this week's mission will be bringing my lunch 4/5 days to work (been slacking in this area BIG TIME) and limiting myself to buying my coffee twice.  I have to start somewhere!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Among the missing!

Pin It I can't believe it's been two weeks since I reached Lifetime at Weight Watchers (and two weeks since my last blog post)! 

It's been a hectic two weeks and I have to say I've enjoyed the fact that I have not been required to weigh in these past two Saturdays :)  I ate breakfast at home both days, wore my JEANS in the door (vs my "weigh in dress" that I usually wear) and walked right past those scales!  The first weekend I actually went out for dinner on Friday night!!!  I can't remember the last time I did that :)  Next weekend we will be back to our regularly scheduled programming - as the first Saturday in July, I will be required to weigh in and be no more than two pounds over my goal weight.  I think I'll be fine, but just to be sure, this week I will be 110% on track :)  Unfortunately this past week I have been slack with my working out, but it was due to a bad muscle spasm in my back/neck.  It's starting to get better (after two intense massage therapy sessions on Thurs and Fri), so hopefully I'll be back to the gym on Monday for step class. 

Happy Canada Day to all of my friends and family in Canada and Happy 4th of July to all my American family and friends "South of the border" - cant' wait to see you all in August!!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sometimes it feels like a lifetime

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But it's only been just over 2 1/2 years since I started Weight Watchers.  Yesterday I finally received my golden key, telling the world that I am now an official Lifetime Member of Weight Watchers!  My final total loss is 126.4 pounds.  I think part of me never thought I'd actually make it to lifetime status.  Before I got to goal I used to doubt I'd make it that far and then even once I made it to goal, I doubted I'd reach lifetime.  I'm not sure why I had such doubts.  I think part of it was because I have had a tenancy in the past to self-sabotage when I got close to any major milestone.  At the very least, I thought I'd have to extend my maintenance by a week.  Boy was I shocked to be 1.8 pounds under my goal weigh yesterday morning!  Had I lost another .3 pounds I would have been too far under goal and would have had to extend maintenance for that reason...ironic really :) 

Not much else to add here today - it's been a whirlwind of a weekend...week...month...hmm, let's just say things have been a bit nutty lately.  Unfortunately this means I have not had as much time to devote to my blog or to cooking...I'm flying but the seat of my pants in the kitchen lately!  Hopefully once June is over things will calm down a bit and I'll be able to get a bit more organized.  By then I should have my new Epicure products from my party, so I'll have lots to play with :)

Off to do some laundry before meeting a friend for coffee later.  Happy weekend everyone!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Is it really all about losing?

Pin It For nearly three years now I've been solely focused on weight loss (in case you're new here and just catching up ;-).  My blog has been about weight loss, the blogs I follow are about weight loss and even the daytime talk shows that I DVR are about weight loss.  My question now is... is that all that's out there?  Is the entire weight-related world wide web and daytime talk show circuit only focused on losing weight?  I just realized this today.  I was flipping through my Dr Oz shows and The Doctors that I had on my DVR and I realized that the shows I had recorded were still all about weight loss!  I think sometimes I forget that I'm no longer in "losing" mode, but am now in maintenance mode.  I need to find some shows and blogs that focus more on maintenance than losing.  It's hard to make the shift.  Just when I think I've made it, I realize that there is still a part of my brain that searches out weight loss tips, books, magazines, TV shows, podcasts and blogs.  Now that I've become aware of my tendency to veer towards that genre, I will be curious to see what's out there for maintenance.  Anyone have any suggestions?  Maintenance seems so much less dramatic/interesting than losing... ;-)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A new twist on an old favorite

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I've been craving salt this week...specifically my chicken fried "rice" know the one...loaded with veggies....and soy sauce and fish sauce ;-)  I had to (obviously) wait until after weigh-in to have this...thankfully I did given this week's gain (again!!!).  More on the gain later in this post.

Earlier in the week I posted about my grilled baby bok choy.  I still have a ton of bok choy left, so I decided I would throw some in my fried "rice" (for those of you who are new here, I typically use quinoa instead of rice - tonight I used a quinoa/bulger mix).  I also used sesame oil instead of olive oil (yes, I realize sesame does not qualify as a healthy oil...but it's SO darn good!!).  I added my usual peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, onions and celery, and then tossed in some yellow summer squash (I call 'em yellow zucchini) and cabbage.  When almost ready, I added my fish sauce (oops, I forgot to measure, so I added a bit more than usual) and soy sauce, as well as one egg white to bind it all together.  As always, I tossed in some spices.

This was the BEST version of my fried "rice" that I've made to date!  I'm not sure if it was the extra fish sauce or the sesame oil.  I suspect it was the oil :)  I did not want this supper to end!!

Maintenance Week 5:

Today: +1.3lbs
Total: -123.5lbs
Difference to goal: +1.1lbs

I am one week away from lifetime status.  While I will be fine if I stay the same, ideally I would like to get back under my goal weight (rather than being 1.1 over as I am right now).  Not sure why the gains two weeks in a row - perhaps it's all part of the maintenance process, or perhaps I've gotten slack these past couple of weeks.  Either way, I am dropping my daily points to 29 for the week and am going to be super careful about sodium starting earlier in the week than usual.  I have a couple of challenges coming up this week - one being a retirement party for a co-worker that is out of town - not only do I have no idea what they are serving (other than it'll be finger foods), but I'll also be out of town and eating on the road for 24 hours.  I don't do well with eating in restaurants...but I do find them easier than stand-up reception-type events... 

Stay tuned!

Friday, June 8, 2012

I've been bok choyed!

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Found these baby bok choys at No Frills, of all places!  I am sure I've tried it before, but I've never cooked with it before.  Tonight's supper was going to be a plain salad (well, as plain as my salads ever are!) with BBQ chicken on top.  At the last minute I decided to BBQ-grill my veggies (other than the lettuce, tomato and cukes!) to go on top of my salad.  I BBQ-grilled peppers, broccoli, onion, zucchini, bok choy and celery which I had tossed with a couple teaspoons of safflower oil and a tablespoon of raspberry balsamic vinegar, some garlic and some Epicure Cinco Pepper Blend.    It was SO yummy!  I only used one of my baby bok choys, but wished I'd used two!  I am SO addicted to my BBQ grill pan...I want to grill EVERYTHING...think I could have grilled my lettuce and cukes too?  I know tomatoes would have been fine... lol  I used to roast any it'll be grilling for the supper I guess :)

Week 5 of maintenance almost over.  I am feeling very bloated this week, so hoping I don't have another gain tomorrow :(  Time will tell..stay tuned!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Let's talk turkey

Pin It Burgers, that is!  One of the girls at Weight Watchers told us about her turkey burgers she made this week using garam masala spice.  They sounded so yummy!  I've been searching for a good turkey burger recipe for a long time.  I've found that using ground turkey rarely works as a substitute for ground beef, except in chili...I think I'm not crazy for the actual flavour of ground turkey and have to hide the taste with tomato sauce ;-)

Here is what I used (as always no exact measurements...sorry):

1 pound extra lean minced turkey
finely diced veggies: yellow pepper, onion, mushroom and zucchini
1 large egg
2 tbsp cooked quinoa and bulger (leftovers from the other night)
2 tbsp bread crumbs
Indian Masala seasoning (could not get garam masala at the Superstore...not sure if it's the same or not)
Chipotle Mango seasoning (new from Clubhouse!)
Salt and pepper
mix together and form into one big ball.  Score the meat into four equal parts and form your BIG burgers (about 1/2 " thick).

I grilled mine in my new grill pan on the BBQ.  I didn't time them, so am not sure how long it took - maybe 5 mins per side?  Top with BBQ sauce if you like.  My burgers were 5 points+ each and I ate mine on a PC Thins Red Pepper Round Bun.  They are 4 points+ each...I think I'll just use a regular bun next time as I think there are regular hamburger buns that are 3 points+ each.  I've never hopped on board the "thin bun" train...they are usually more dense than a regular bun and end up being the same or more points :)  I topped my burger with some Frank's hot sauce, mustard and sliced tomatoes.

THESE BURGERS ARE AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Served with a small sweet potato (pre-cook in the microwave for a few minutes and then put in foil on the grill) and mixed veggies.  Great supper tonight!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bulgur & Quinoa Blend...and today's spices

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New find at the Superstore!  Been wanting
to try bulgur for a while, so figured this was
a good way :)  It was good!
Nutritional info...figuring out points for
cooked portion made me cranky, so
I just used quinoa in my tracker (it is the
same points as bulgur)

Today's spices over rainbow trout
The finished product!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

I think I'm a chip fiend!

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First the chipster chips and now pita chips in the oven :)  Once again, spices were used.  One pita cut into 8 pieces with a pizza cutter and then each pita triangle separated into two.  Place on a cookie sheet lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray.  Spray pita with a bit of cooking spray and then season as desired (see photo for my preference).  Place in a preheated oven (400 degrees) for 4-7 minutes - watch them CAREFULLY as they burn quickly.  I literally sit on a stool in front of my oven and watch them :)  Serve with salsa or any dips you like.  Yummy!  You can also make these with cinnamon or other sweet options and serve with fruit salsa or just eat on their own.  Nice and crispy!

The secret ingredient

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Here are the spices I used tonight for my chili.  Mostly Epicure spices, but threw in some Chipotle Chili Powder for good measure.  The one on top of the Guacamole Dip Mix is crushed chili :) 

I have no real recipe for my chili - I just throw in whatever I have on hand.  Tonight I used a pound of extra lean ground turkey, peppers (yellow, red and orange), zucchini (yellow and green), onions, mushrooms, black beans, chickpeas, diced tomatoes and Hunts spaghetti sauce.  When I was just about finished, I decided to add a secret ingredient.  Only I had a brain fart and added the WRONG secret ingredient :)  I meant to add cocoa powder, which I have used before.  For some reason, my hands reached for...wait for it......cinnamon!!  The results were great!  This is the best batch of chili yet!  Cinnamon (just a few dashes) is going to be a regular ingredient in my chili from now on.

Chipster update:

Last night I had the girls overnight for a sleepover and we used the Chipster again with regular potatoes.  I bought baking potatoes this time.  One potato (about 10 oz raw) sliced up to enough chips for the three of us.  We tried them with popcorn seasoning (ketchup, BBQ and white cheddar...sometimes mixed!) and I also tried some with just sea salt.  I have to say the sea salt was my fav.  They turned super crispy!  I wish I could figure out how to make them and keep them crispy overnight...

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The great spice challenge!

Pin It This week's topic at Weight Watchers was about spicing things the kitchen :)  Our leader challenged us to try something new/creative using various spices.  I have no idea what I'm going to do...I NEVER use any spices... haha, yeah right!  I think I'm the Queen of Spices.  I don't tend to use "regular" spices (oregano, "regular" garlic, etc.) though.  I like to buy blends of spices, like the ones from Epicure.  I tend to buy the Epicure dips quite a bit and use them as spices rather than fattening dips.  My favorite dip has to be the guacamole one.  Love this on roasted potatoes and other roasted veggies.  My favorite "regular" spice has to be Chipotle Chili Powder, which I put on just about anything!

I am going to try and post a new photo each day this week showing a different idea using spices.  Today I made some rhubarb apple sauce and used the Epicure Apple Pie Spice.  This is great over Greek yogurt, ice cream or frozen yogurt or just on its own.  You could add some jell-o powder mix and turn it into jam and, depending on your Weight Watchers theory of using the recipe builder for fruit-only based recipes, you might call this zero points (some folks believe in putting all recipes in the recipe builder, resulting in fruit and veggies "costing" points; others believe that if they are using all zero point foods, the recipe should be zero points...I will let you decide which school of thought you subscribe to).

Maintenance Week 3 Update:

Today concluded my third week of maintenance.  I actually had trouble eating all of my points this week.  My aim was to stick with the 4 extra daily points, but some days it ended up being only 3. I also only used about 18 of my weekly points when I usually use almost all of them.  The result of these circumstances was a 2 pound loss!  I am now 1.3 pounds under my goal weight.  This week was an extremely stressful/emotional week (all will be fine, I'm sure) and I had less appetite than usual.  I'm sure that contributed to my 2 pound loss this week :)

My two girlies are coming for a sleepover tonight (nieces), so I must go get ready for them.  I'm wondering where one might find a movie rental place these days???

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What will I Chipster next?!

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I was so excited when I got home last night and had a message from Shannon that my Epicure Chipster was in!!!  I may have mentioned that I won a half-price item when I went to Shannon's open house a couple of weeks ago.  I figured this was the perfect opportunity to try out the Chipster before my own Epicure party in June.  Shannon kindly delivered my new toy to me first thing this morning and I've been Chipstering away ever since :)

Here is what I made:

Apple Chips

Regular Potato Chips (Red, White & Blue in honour of my American cousins...well, really because they were the only ones I had in the house!)

Sweet Potato Chips

Overall I am very pleased with my new Chipster.  I did not have the Epicure Ceramic Slicer to slice my fruit/veggies, just my old Starfrit one that's seen better days.  I will very likely get the Epicure one at my party in June.  I've seen Shannon's in action and it slices very, very thin.  PLUS, it's much more compact than my old dinosaur! 

Apple Chips - Took a bit longer to cook than the others and didn't really crisp up as I'd expected, but the taste is amazing!  I'll make them again for sure, but will just know not to expect crispy chips.  I sprinkled cinnamon on some, left some plain and put apple pie spice on some.  I think that these would be fine just plain to be honest.  The flavour of the apple comes out quite nicely.

Red, White & Blue Potato Chips - I am a bit disappointed with these ones.  I think my problem was that I only had a small bag of tiny, bitty potatoes in the house and those are what I used.  They were really too small to slice thin enough, so some of them are not really crispy.  I will try again with a real potato once I've been to the grocery store.  I topped these with the Epicure Red Garlic Sansel that I use on everything :)

Sweet Potato Chips - It's official.  I am in love.  I tried these plain and with cinnamon.  Can't choose a favourite way.  I have to say that these turned out the best of all three chips I made today.  They crisp up nicely (beware, they shrink significantly, unlike the others, which remained pretty much the same) and had a super flavour to them.

So that's it Chipster experience.  I'll have to ask Google for some more ideas and I'm sure Shannon will have some ideas at my party next month.

If you work with me, go to the gym with me or go to WW with me...chances are I'll be bringing samples sometime soon!!