Friday, June 18, 2010

Happy as a Clam

Last summer I decided to readjust my eating habits using Weight Watcher's point systems. I didn't join the actual organization, but rather used some of my friend's books to analyze and log what I was eating. I became more aware of my intake, while increasing my running, and lost a fair amount of weight without much stress. My mom has decided to join WW this summer and in only a week has done great. She has begun to seriously control her portion size and is already feeling better about herself. I decided with someone else in the house doing it and all the phone applications that make point tracking so easy, I might as well go on it as well. Every time I encounter a "stressful" situation I tend to gain weight and while the weight I'm currently at isn't terrible, I'm not stressed right now. If my body feels much bigger, I won't feel healthy.

So it has been 5 days and my biggest hurdle has been boredom eating. I still do it during the afternoons at work (and with candy! terrible...), but I at least recognize where my fall is coming in. If I keep on task I should, with the aid of activity points and my weekly allowance, be able to finish the week without exceeding the allotted points.

Along with losing some of the extra pudge, this summer includes a focus on trying out (fairly simple) recipes that are tasty and semi-healthy. Sometimes it is difficult to figure out things that you are creating from scratch or that lack nutritional information, but with some helpful cookbooks and handy internet sources I am on my way.

A few things I have tried are...

Low Fat Zucchini Bread (3 points for a typical sized piece). I left out the raisins and it was still very tasty. I have made regular zucchini bread many times before, but with the egg whites this recipe is healthier. There are also non-fat recipes out there, but I didn't have any whole wheat flour on hand... next time :)

Orange Pineapple Honey Chicken
- I made this before the WW, but it's a great way to make a juicy, flavourful chicken, without adding too many calories or points for tastiness. I also did not make 8 chicken breasts as I was only feeding my mom and myself. I did a bit of division and then added a little more of a couple of a things until I felt it "looked right".

Parmesan and Prosciuto Loaf- I have had this small soup and bread cookbook for quite awhile, but hardly make any recipes from it. This was one of the "most okay" for you. It took awhile for the bread to rise (twice), but it turned out wonderfully and is definitely a recipe I'll keep for when people come over or if I need to take food to an event.

Fruited Brown Rice- This was one of the recipes in my Dad's new "501 Delicious Heart Healthy Recipes" book. Many of these recipes are low WW points since they are low fat. This recipe was a little fatty, but worth it. It involved:
1 c. brown rice- I used a slightly different rice with an extra grain or two, but it turned out. Make the rice first. My rice always seems to take longer than desired.
2/3 c. halved grapes- I used green, but it doesn't matter
1/4 c. chopped pecans- which were supposed to be toasted, but mine weren't and it was delicious
2 Tbs sherry vinegar or rice wine vinegar- I think I used rice wine vinegar. This may be the thing you're least likely to have on hand
1 t Extra virgin olive oil- every time I see "extra virgin" I make a lame joke about regular virgins being good enough
1/4 t Salt
1/2 t Black Pepper.

You make the rice.
It says to add the grapes and pecans, but I waited so the grapes didn't get soggy... and because my rice took forever
I put all the other ingredients in a bowl and at the last minute I added the grapes and pecans and then poured 'the others' over, stirred and served.

Green Beans With Caramelized Onions- great recipe in the "Heart Healthy" cookbook. We added the left overs to a salad the next day that made the salad AMAZING. Note to self: pearl onions are beyond difficult to peal. Leave time for crying breaks

Honey Garlic Grilled Eggplant- Mine looked pretty good, but nothing like the picture shown. Note: I don't know (but doubt) that these sites are the original location of these recipes. However, I am simply linking back to the place I found them. You do a google search with your primary ingredient, click on a few, and pick one that you have the rest of the ingredients for. This is the first recipe that I have messed up enough that I will remake it on my own again before making it for a non-related group. I adlibbed quite a few things, but my central mistake was how I dried the eggplant. I DEFINITELY over salted them when trying to dry them and have a bit more reading to do before I understand exactly what to do. I also cut the egg plant pieces too wide which made it more difficult for them to dry, which probably had a bit to do with the over-salting. I still ate mine and tasted it enough to know that it would have been delicious had I dried it correctly.

I have also made a few other things recipe-less, liked grilled yellow squash and grilled zuchinni, but for both I've just mixed together some olive oil and seasonings (lemon pepper, paprika, rosemary, a few other random spices my dad has around) until it smells like something I want to eat. Then I brush it on and grill until there are lines. It's rather unscientific, but I'm happy.

Now to start the list of cooking supplies I will need when I move...
-a sifter
-bread pans
-rubber spatula
-regular spatula
-a place to put that grill

Just dreaming about the grill bit, but truthfully, cooking's a lot easier with a stocked kitchen.
That must be an analogy for something...


heather said...

I made this delicious pork loin coated with dijon mustard with pearl onions. I peeled about two and said, "there has to be a better way." I made Sam google it and we found some instructions on blanching them (throwing them in boiling water for a short short time) that made the skins fall right off without cooking the onions. It was so easy and the meal was so delicious.

I don't know what I would do without google.

Sara said...

Oooh! Wonderful! I think you just saved this recipe for me! It didn't even occur to me that there had to be a better way, haha.

And I'd love to hear more about this pork loin recipe... is it lengthy? I feel as though you probably have a lot of delicious recipes...