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?