The new Points Plus system is awesome. You get a higher points target than the old system and all fruits and most vegetables are now 0 points!! Freebies rock! The new program also emphasizes eating healthy foods more often. The old system told us that a calorie is a calorie is a calorie, but the new system is different. Like my awesome meeting leader said, a calorie of Crisco is not the same as a calorie of apple. So true. Points Plus teaches us to incorporate more whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean meats into our diets rather than eating McDonald's in moderation (The old program told you to eat whatever you want, just make sure to track it and stay within your points target). It all makes sense really, and I'm glad they finally turned that corner. If we really want to lose weight and change our lifestyle, we need to learn to incorporate healthy foods into our normal everyday routine. Fast food is not "normal" (contrary to your television). We aren't meant to eat all this processed crap. We are supposed to eat fresh produce, whole grains, lean meats and fruits. Our body craves it. The new program helps us to achieve this. I can't wait to share my first day with you tomorrow. Stay tuned for updates and fun info about Weight Watchers. (I will still be counting calories as well as points, like I stated before, so those of you who aren't on Weight Watchers won't be scratching your head. I want my blog to be relevant to everyone.)
On to the cooking. This past week has been full of culinary adventures. I made an amazingly fantastic Italian Beef Stew last Sunday, which I will discuss below with some pics. I found an awesome Carrot Raisin Breakfast Muffin recipe in a Martha Stewart cooking magazine (I really am turning into a housewife), and I made some really great homemade croutons using leftover cheese and garlic breadsticks. Recipes and photos below! This upcoming Sunday is my family birthday celebration dinner. On my actual birthday (March 1st) I went to Olive Garden with my parents and pigged out. This weekend will be a little more on the healthy side, with light family favorites and a low-fat chocolate cake with butter cream frosting (YES, it can be done). I can't wait to share how it goes with you.
Now for the weigh in. Last week I had a total weight loss of 10 pounds. This week I lost 2 more! I know, it's not a ton but it is certainly better than gaining a pound. Plus I figured a few indulgent birthday meals would probably slow it down a bit. Anywho I feel great and I'm not going to expect unrealistic things. Two pounds a week is fine with me. I'm just going to keep on truckin'. Even if you don't lose anything, cheat like a horny politician, or even gain a pound or two, DON'T GIVE UP!! There have been so many times where my weight loss has slowed or stopped and I just said "screw it" and gave up. I'm learning more and more that when you mess up or pig out, tomorrow is a new day and you just gotta get right back on board. KEEP ON TRUCKIN'!!
- 2 or 3 leftover breadsticks (or leftover french or sourdough bread)
- 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- kosher salt
- black pepper
Preheat oven to 350*. Cut breadsticks in half length-wise and then cut into one inch cubes. Put breadstick pieces on a sheet pan and toss with the oil, italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Make sure oil and seasonings are evenly distributed. Spread out the croutons in an even layer on the baking sheet and bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until crispy and golden brown.
Serving size: 1/2 cup = 100 calories, 3 pointsPlus.
BEST BREAKFAST MUFFINS EVER!!!
These muffins were perfect for my family. Grab them on the go for a delicious and healthy breakfast. The carrots, raisins, and oats pack in the fiber and nutrients, while the nutmeg and brown sugar provide the sweet satisfaction you'd expect from a muffin. Pair it with Greek yogurt (like I did above) and you have a well-balanced on the go breakfast.
- nonstick cooking spray
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp coarse salt (such as kosher)
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup skim milk
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
- 1 medium ripe banana, mashed
Preheat oven to 400*. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt until there are no lumps. Stir in oats and raisins. Add oil, egg, milk, carrots, and banana and stir until blended.
Fill each muffin cup with 1/4 cup batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, about 23 to 25 minutes, Serve warm or at room temp. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze!
NUTRITION (per muffin): 186 calories, 5 PointsPlus
This is the amazing beef stew we made last Sunday. The recipe comes from Cooking Light magazine, and I figured rather than provide the whole shebang here (because it's very long), I'll include a link that will take you directly to the recipe. This meal was so good. The stew is similar to traditional beef stew, but amped up with cremini mushrooms, fresh tomatoes, and Italian herbs. So hearty and only 350 calories a serving! No joke! Check it out here at http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dynaction=displayRecipe&recipe_id=50400000109598. I know, crazy URL. I'm sure there's a simpler way, but it works.
Hope you enjoy the recipes and ideas. I'm always cooking up a storm and can't wait to share more recipes. Until tomorrow, keep being a loser!