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mexicantortizza

This is adapted from Hungry Girls new cookbook 200 under 200. Her recipe calls for soy crumbles and less stuff in general to get it to 200 calories. But I adapted it to fit our tastes and to make it a heartier dinner. I plan on using the same concept to make other “tortizzas” in the near future. This is extremely good!!! And my teenager ate 2 of them! I served it with a very simple Jicama Slaw, which is just jicama julienned, shredded carrots, green onion, lime juice, salt and freshly ground pepper . . a nice crunchy side!

8 oz Lean Ground Turkey
8 oz can El Pato (to make less spicy us plain tomato sauce)
1 pkg Taco Seasoning
1 small can diced mild green chilies
4 1-point Burrito Size Tortillas (I love La Tortilla Factory High Fiber Olive Oil)
1 Cup Low-Fat Shredded Cheese
4 tbsp Taco Sauce
1 cup red onion chopped
1 cup tomatoes chopped
1/3 cup fat-free sour cream

Brown taco meat in non-stick skillet. Add in dice green chilies, taco seasoning and El Pato, simmer on medium until the liquid is absorbed.

Brown both sides of the tortilla in a non-stick skillet. Place tortilla on cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick spray. Smear 1 tbsp taco sauce on tortilla, top with 2 oz taco meat, sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Top with 1/4 of each tomatoes and onions. Bake at 375 for 12 minutes.

4 Servings 7 WW Pts per serving (for 1 whole pizza . . this makes me so happy!)

I have been gone a long time! This time of year is insane at work and it was everything I could do to keep my head above water. As you can see I am still going on my weight loss, but with travel and craziness I have been hanging around the same weight (up then down, rinse, repeat) for about a month. I think a lot of it has to do with not tracking as diligently as I was and a big part of my tracking success is menu planning. And posting your menu online is one sure way to make sure you create and follow one.

Also, I have developed a new hobby which is helping towards some long term financial goals, couponing! I am becoming a deal queen and learning from some great women bloggers! I haven’t found a lot of fellow SF Bay Area frugal bloggers, so I thought I would share my deals when I find them!

To quick off my return to blogging I thought I would share what I made for Mother’s Day. My mom is out of town (touring Greece!), and I spent a much needed day off on Friday with my sister and nieces, so it is just me and my guy today! You can tell what life stage he is at by my requests for Mother’s Day this year. All I wanted was some help around the house, to make or order whatever food I wanted and no complaining about anything . . . he gave me a look out of the corner of his eye and said “Ok mom!” . .. sigh . . . teenagers!

But so far my day has been great. Did the majority of my errands yesterday, so I took myself out for coffee (and coupon scavenge) while he slept in and then I picked up a few things at Safeway. Which by the way I got 2lbs of strawberries today for FREE!

Strawberries
How?

I downloaded and printed the 1lb free coupon from the Safeway website, then they were on sale for Buy One Get One Free! Do free strawberries taste sweeter, yes . . . yes they do!

Now for my healthy, easy carnitas!

Carnitas

This was inspired by a sample at Trader Joes! They mixed their ready made carnitas with green salsa and it was so tasty. But they use pork shoulder which is too fatty for WW. So I made my own version in the Crock Pot with pork tenderloin . .. oh . . . my … goodness! This the real deal!

2 lbs of Pork Tenderloin (2 tenderloins approximately)
1 large onion sliced
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp worcestershire
1 tbsp Chili Powder
1 tbsp Cumin (I am such a cumin freak!)
salt and pepper (I used 1 tsp of each)
slice fresh jalapeno (remove seeds and membrane if you like things mild)
zest and juice of 2 limes
1 jar Green Salsa

Layer onions in the bottom of slow cooker. Top with tenderloins and sprinkle on remaining ingredients (except salsa). Cook on low for 4 hours. Shred and toss with salsa. If you like them crispy, spray your non-stick skillet with olive oil spray and crisp them up. Then remove from heat and toss with salsa after they cool for a minute (this is to preserve the texture you worked so hard for!)

6 servings at 4 WW PTS per serving

The great thing about this is I took about half of the recipe and threw it in my freezer for another day . . . it will be great someday in the very near future for quesadillas or burritos! I can’t wait!

For other great recipes: http://www.lifeasmom.com/

I will be posting my menu tomorrow and will include some suggestions for small families who buy the family packs of meat to save lots of money!

Happy Mom’s Day to everyone!

Sorry for the no post last week! It was a busy weekend at work, and I just didn’t feel like making a menu! I ended up improvising all week, which worked out fine (thank god for freezer meals!) and I stayed on plan all week! I was down 2.6 this and 2.4 last week! I seem to be losing really consistently (yeah!). Today I earned my first activity point! When you do above average exercise, you earn activity points (Sex in the City fans insert obvious jokes here!). I have been using the treadmill, but honestly haven’t been working very hard. I did my first Firm video, I have done these before and they really do work! But like all diet exercise programs, you have to do them :-)!

In blog news, I am working on a redesign! I am a web designer and my blog is incredibly boring. So I am working on customizing it to make it more my style. I am working on a couple of blogs for work right now, so this will be good practice figuring out the custom css work arounds. (ending techie speak now!)


Menu 2/22 – 2/27

Sunday
Breakfast: Pumpkin Muffins, Frittatta
Dinner: Quick Whole Wheat Bread, Spicy Lentil Chili

Monday
Turkey Mini-Meatloaves, Potatoes, Broccoli

Tuesday
Stir Fry and Rice

Wednesday
Pork Chops, Fingerling Potatoes, Salad

Thursday
Burger night!

Friday
Dinner Out!

For more menus visit: OrgJunkie.com

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OH! I made some super yummy pumpkin muffins this morning! Soo good! I am starting to really get a feel for how to make baking modifications to recipes to make them work for my point allotments. I am constantly amazed how many recipes from sites like Cooking Light that are supposed to be light that are still 7 – 8 points (300 calories+). These are 3 points, nice amount of spice with a tender crumb. It was such a rainy day today, it was nice to stay in and enjoy these!


Pumpkin Muffins

1 3/4 cup AP Flour
1 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1 cup Sugar
1 tbl Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tbl Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Ginger
1/4 tsp Allspice
1/2 tsp Salt
1 cup Pumpkin
3/4 Fat Free Greek Yogurt (FF Sour Cream would sub)
1/3 cup Fat Free Milk
1/4 cup Canola Oil
1 tsp Vanilla
1 Egg
1 Egg White
1 tbl Turbinado Sugar
1 tsp Brown Sugar

Whisk together dry ingredients and spices, make a well in the center. Combine wet ingredients (through eggs) with a whisk. Pour wet into dry mix until just combined (don’t over mix!). Spoon into 18 sprayed muffin cups. Combine turbinado sugar and brown sugar, sprinkle on top. Bake at 375 for 20 – 25 minutes. Approx 3 points.

Menu Plan Monday

So the last two weeks have been fairly chaotic. Between major work deadlines, a broken toilet and the capper was a nasty cold over the weekend!

The good news is I am beginning to understand how this whole weight watchers lifestyle should work. I am starting to figure out how to put a plate, meal and hopefully a whole day together to make a satisfying plan that covers my bases nutritionally. The big thing is incorporating more vegetables, making them at least half of my lunch and dinner. I made a big batch of the famous zero point soup and have been using that for snacks as well as adding it to a meal as need be. I know this seems pretty basic and simple, but I don’t think I really understood it until last week.

Also, I am having trouble with Friday nights! I weigh-in on Saturday mornings and I also almost always go out and having a couple of cocktails Friday night. I think this is definitely weighing me down. I was up a couple of pounds between Friday morning and Saturday morning. And even though I am counting the points, I think it is doing me harm on Saturday morning. I think I am going to skip my Friday cocktail and see if makes a big difference this week!

Menu 2/6 – 2/13

Monday: Macaroni & Four Cheese, salad
Tuesday: Pork Chops with Mushroom Sauce, Mashers, Garlic Broccoli (inspired by Roni’s)
Wednesday: Southwestern Turkey Burgers, Oven Onion and Zucchini Rings, Veggies and FF Dip
Thursday: Spaghetti, Meatballs, Asparagus (a freezer meal . . . yeah!)
Friday: ??? probably dinner out (hold me, I’m scared!)
Saturday Breakfast: Stuffed Strawberry French Toast

I made the Macaroni & Four Cheese tonight. I was a little unsure about this recipe with the squash in it. I only used one package of the frozen squash and it worked out fine. I also upped the cayenne (of course!) and added some dried thyme and basil to the crumb topping. It was excellent. I definitely tasted the squash, which made it less cheesy but still really good. I also used lowfat cheese which I think next time I would add a little real sharp cheddar to up the cheese taste. But it was great comfort food, which after being sick this weekend really tasted good. And my non-mac and cheese eating boy really liked it!!!

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Last week was not a good week! I started out with a great plan, but the week did not go according to plan. I ended up with several lunch and evening work commitments, leaving most of my menu uncooked and having to make tough restaurant choices to try and stay on plan. I did OK, not fabulous. I learned a lot though! I was trying not to negative self talk, and told myself after eating out that I would just get back to it tomorrow/next meal. This is good, however when the next day came around and I still was eating out and not really following the plan as closely as I should have and still telling myself next time . . . I realized that at some point you have to change your behavior! So I give myself a thumbs up for not talking my self down, but thumbs down for not changing the behaviors. The good news is when I stepped on the scale I was down 2.4!

yogiinterrupted
I don’t think it was just my food choices that got neglected last week!

So my plan for this week is to be prepared! Make sure I am fixing my own food to stay on track, it will taste better and cut back on all the extra fat and sodium that I definitely don’t need. I am going to have another crazy busy work week (less eating out though!!). Being prepared will definitely help me be successful. You will notice I have some repeats this week, got to use up last weeks ingredients!!! LOL

Also, I am off to purchase some tennis shoes today. This may sound obvious, but it is very easy to not exercise when you don’t own a pair of appropriate shoes! 🙂 So this week I am working on incorporating some exercise and also going to try and get some more water in me, I am definitely not drinking enough!

Week #3 Menu
Sunday: Blueberry Scones, Breakfast Burrito, Jambalaya, Salad
Monday: Leftover Apple Waffles, Leftover Jambalaya, Chicken with Mushroom Sauce, Mashed Potatoes, Snap Peas
Tuesday: Oatmeal/Cereal and Fruit, Aromatic Noodles, Slow Cooker Pork Tacos
Wednesday: WW Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce and Canadian bacon, Leftover Taco (as a salad), Leftovers
Thursday: Leftover pancakes, Lunch Out, Meatballs and Spaghetti
Friday: Oatmeal/Cereal and Fruit, Leftover Meatballs, Pizza and salad

zachferry

I hope the answer to that question is yes! I lost it today and I am fighting that ‘you have no will power’ negative self talk thing. I know in the long run it doesn’t matter, what matters is what I do next and working to reduce the times when I overindulge. But it is hard not to berate myself for making bad choices.

So today started off good! My boy was spending the night at a friends, so I skipped the apple waffles (decided I would get up early and make them for inauguration day instead!). Instead I kept it simple with a bowl of Frosted Mini-Wheats.

frostedwheats

On my way to pick up my boy and spend the day with friends I ate this banana.

banana

After this is when it gets dicey! The plan for the day was to take the ferry into SF this afternoon and play tourist at Pier 39, take the kids to the arcade and then head home. A great plan! But first we went to lunch at one of my favorite mexican food places . . .yikes! Now I make mexican style food at home a lot, we like our spicy food! But going to a mexican restaurant is a huge challenge for me. I remember a few years ago when I tried the whole low carb thing, I actually quit the diet at a Chevy’s. If you read Atkins book, he says if you fall off the low carb wagon you will balloon up and literally have to start all over. I think he intended it to give people motivation not to cheat, but I of course took it as a doomsday scenario!

Anyways, I love chips and salsa and guacamole, a lot! And when sitting down hungry in front of a large basket of these things I tend to lose it. When I sat down I decided that instead of constantly dipping into the basket of chips, I would grab 12 at a time (or a ww portion of 3 points) and I would order one of my favorite soft tacos (as opposed to the usual 2) and eat half of my rice and beans. Then my friend ordered guacamole to share after I had already eaten my 12 chips. I proceeded to eat another 2 portions of chips, about 1/2 cup of guac and I also ate most of my rice and about half my beans. The only thing I didn’t do was a big old margarita. YIKES!

coffeesf

Then after walking around Pier 39 I got a cup of coffee and a biscotti, not a horrible choice but I could have done without the additional treat. But, in my defense, everyone else was getting fresh mini-donuts with cinnamon sugar . . . I know no excuse!

It took forever for us to get home on the ferry, and then we had an additional 30 minute drive home from there. So I was really hungry when I got home! So I had a mini cinnamon bagel and a ww 1 point container of cream cheese. Then I made the turkey chili my meeting leader posted on Saturday. It is chock-full of veggies. Her version was a 1 point chili per 1 cup serving (very cool!) However, I thought it needed some more beans, spices and some other ingredients. My version came out to about 3 points for a total of 16 servings. I also finally roasted the pumpkin that was sitting on my counter with a little cinnamon and salt and olive oil spray. Next time I will add some spicy stuff to it with maybe chili powder or cayenne.

turkey-chili

Anyways, by the end of the day, I ended up about 8 points over my daily points limit. Not bad for how many treats I had, but sucks to start the week this way! I need to be less swayed by others around me, just because there was chips and guacamole does not mean I have to eat it. How bout all of you, do you struggle with friend eating? What do you do to stay satisfied while dining out with friends?

Turkey Chili (my way!)

20 oz Extra Lean Ground Turkey
1 medium onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 medium zucchini, small dice
1 yellow squash, small dice
1 1/2 cups carrots, small dice
1 green bell pepper diced
1 red bell pepper diced
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp oregano
4 oz tomato paste
28 oz crushed tomatoes in puree
14 oz diced tomatoes with green chilies
14 oz diced tomatoes
4 cups fat free chicken broth
1 cup frozen corn
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Spray non-stick stock pot with olive oil spray. Saute all the veggies and garlic together for 3 – 4 minutes. Add ground turkey and brown. Add seasonings and saute 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and caramelize 2 minutes stirring frequently. Add in remaining tomatoes and broth. Bring to a simmer, cook 15 minutes on medium. Add in beans, simmer 30 minutes. Add in corn and simmer another 10 – 15 minutes.

Serving size: 1 cup for 3 points
Approximately 16 servings

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tinkSo today was my niece’s birthday party, with Tinkerbell and a tinkerbell cake made by me! I was so busy I didn’t eat lunch before I left and assumed there would be some type of lunch food at the party. Well there was snacky stuff, but no food, food. Oops! So I snacked on hummus and pita chips and some cheese and crackers. I was busy assisting with crafts, etc. so I didn’t feel overly hungry. When it came time for me to serve cake, I cut and served it. I had a small scrap that fell off, but even though I had given myself permission to have a piece of cake, I didn’t really want one. I have had it several times, it is delicious (I am a good baker), but I didn’t need to have a piece or frankly even wanted to have a piece.?! This is new, I don’t expect it to happen often, but I simply listened to my body. I didn’t want the cake, so I didn’t eat the cake!!! I even brought home a piece for my boy, and my sis asked as I was leaving if that was all I was taking and I said, “yes” and that was that! Go Me!!

Anyways, I was hungry when I got home for a meal. So I grabbed some Southwestern turkey burgers I had premade in the freezer and cut up some shoestring sweet potatoes and baked them in the oven. Sorry for the bad picture, but I had left my camera in the car so it was done on my cell phone! I got this “idea” from Roni over at Green Lite Bites and they are really delicious. In addition to her ingredients I added onion, garlic and some chipotle in adobo. Then I wrapped them individually in freezer wrap and froze them. The take two minutes to defrost in the microwave and 10 minutes to cook on my grill pan! I topped it with ketchup, mustard, red onion, tomato, smashed avocado and fat free jack cheese! This is quite a meal for 9 points! And if you haven’t been to Roni’s site . . . go now!!! They are great!

turkeyburger

Onto this weeks menu . . . I will post any recipes that are share worthy later in the week!
Sunday: Breakfast Burritos, Birthday party, Southwest Turkey Burgers and sweet potato fries
Monday: Apple Whole Wheat Waffles (new recipe too!), 1 point Turkey Chili, Baked Sweet potato, Salad
Tuesday: Leftover Waffles, Leftover Turkey Chili as a taco salad, Jambalaya and salad
Wednesday: Oatmeal, Leftover Jambalaya, Chinese Chicken Salad
Thursday: Corn & Green Chile Frittata, Leftover chicken salad, Chicken with White Wine Mushroom Sauce, Yukon Gold Mashed potatoes, snap peas
Friday: Frittata, Leftover Chicken, Pork and Veggie Stir fry, rice
Saturday: Whole wheat pancakes with strawberry sauce, . . .

I have been trying to write this post for two weeks now. Every time I start I delete it because what I have to say represents an evolving change in my thinking. But I need to say it because I would like my blog to be part of my accountability for change, big changes that I am committed to making in my life. The best way I can describe my current state of being is I got stuck and have stayed stuck for the last 10 years. Wow! That is a really long time, but it has been that long. When I had my son I had one major goal and that was to finish school so that I could have some chance of supporting us. Plus after everything I finally knew what I wanted to do. And I took my son to my aunt and grandma every morning, babysat kids in the afternoon and worked my a** off for 2 1/2 years to accomplish this goal. I was so proud of myself when I finished, but petrified at the same time. I now had to get a real job and really support myself and my son. Not the average goal of a new college graduate at the age of 24. And it was and is the hardest thing I have or will ever do. And I have done many things well, I have progressed in my career and have a wonderful (albeit quirky!) 13 year old.

However, when I look back at this transition, I still am the same person I was at 24. I weigh the same, I make the same mistakes over and over again in many areas of my life. Basically I got stuck!

Did you ever see that movie “Defending Your Life” with Albert Brooks? In it he dies and goes to limbo where he has to go through his life (in movie clips) and his past life and convince this panel that he is ready to progress to the next level in his next life. What holds people back from progressing . . . fear! Fear is the big enemy in the movie, Brooks’ character spends much time making excuses about the circumstance (valid or otherwise) why he made the choices he made, but in the end he had to overcome his fear to move on.

See the connection? I am stuck like Albert Brooks character due to my fear. What am I afraid of? The past, plain and simple. I have made a lot of mistakes with relationships and other decisions that I now totally regret and I have not been willing to open myself up to those things so I just stayed the same. Have I made the best decisions with my money, no! I should have saved more, spent less but at the age of 24 every dime I had was needed for the basics in life (food, roof, daycare costs). And any time I got any extra money I was so excited to get a few treats (like a new shirt or a meal out) I would spend that money. But starting 2-3 years ago I am making enough money that this is not the case. We have more than we need and although I have started saving a little and began a little while ago making better decisions I should be doing a lot better. I am staring down the barrel of needing a new car soon, a child in high school who will drive and start college in 5 years. And I know that I just need to change my thinking about money, because the reality of someday owning my own home and having a decent amount of savings is there I just need to make it happen.

I also got stuck in my weight . . . big time. I have never been skinny, weight is always and always will be something I have to be concerned about. But I accepted myself for who I am and love myself many years ago. So why have I not gotten unstuck? Fear! If I get unstuck, lose weight, romance may rear it’s head. This shouldn’t be a bad thing, I would like to be in love, but my last relationship was such a disaster and I got caught up in a really bad situation that although it would be easy to point fingers was just as much my fault for sticking around. And with my son in the picture, I think staying fat has eliminated that possibility. Not that you can’t meet someone if you are fat, but let’s face it, this severely limits you.

So what now? How do I get unstuck?

Well this, for me, is the first step. Writing this in an open forum (declaring my problems) is in a way a first step. Making these changes will not be easy, and what I need is accountability. This blog will be part of that accountability. When I think back to going to college and having a newborn baby and how I achieved that, it was one day at a time. I got up and went to school because I had paid the money and my aunt was expecting me to bring my son so I could go to class. And I had that little baby who needed to have a mom with a future. I was passionate about what I was doing and discovering my creativity and using it to help pay the bills. Payback for my accountability.

So now I have a 13 year old who only knows a single, fat mom. He has never seen a successful marriage/relationship up close (other than his aunt/uncle and others but not in his daily life) or had a mom who loves to be physically and socially active. This makes me sad. He thinks of me as someone who works really hard and takes care of him. And cooks really good. I want to be more than that for me and for him (I am more than that). I want him to see a whole thriving person and I need to let go of my fear and become the person I was meant to be. I am smarter than this and am the type of person who doesn’t let things get in their way. A little fear of the unknown will not stand in my way. So one day at a time toward living a healthier life physically, mentally and financially. The rewards are a little unknown, but I know a 13 year old who will be proud of me for these accomplishments and I will be proud of myself for not letting fear stop me!