Guest Post: the Reluctant Weight Watchers Foodie!

Hey Everyone!  Angela here (aka. The Reluctant Weight Watcher Foodie).  When Dacia asked if there was anyone interested in guest blogging for her, I immediately jumped at the opportunity!  She did that for me and it was about time I returned the favor.  I just had to figure out what to write about.

Let me start by telling you a little bit about myself.  I’ve been overweight my whole life, but it never really held me back.  I was content.  I didn’t have problems with socializing or dating or traveling… just minor concerns about how I looked (like any person does when they are getting ready to go somewhere) and I just pushed them aside.  I was a strong, confident BBW (still am)!  Then I met the love of my life and realized that if I wanted to have a family, I needed to lose weight.  Pregnancy (and parenthood) is EXPENSIVE and beautifully chaotic, so getting in shape became more important than ever.

I’ve been on (and off) Weight Watchers since November 2010.  My journey has been a bit different from Dacia’s.  She’s a machine!  I’m… an A/C set on auto.  Sometimes I’m on, sometimes I’m off.  Depends on the weather.  That’s my personality, though.  I get focused on one thing for a while, let most other things fall to the side and then I have to take a step back and re-gather my senses before moving forward again.  Right now, I’m back on!  In the past 14 months I’ve lost almost 45 lbs, but I still have about 110 lbs to go.  But hey!  It’s almost 1/3 of the way there.

Enough about my story, though.  Time to talk about my passion.  FOOOOOOOOOOOD.  Why do you think I got to over 300 lbs in the first place?  I love food.  I love new tastes and textures and flavor combinations and kitchen appliances.  I used to cook amazing full fat alfredo and Thai curries and brownies.  Now, I cook amazing LOW-fat alfredo, curry and brownies…. plus a lot of other stuff!  In fact, I’ve learned so much about how to create amazing healthy dishes that I think I finally figured out which career path I’m meant to pursue: Culinary Arts Extraordinaire!  This girl is going to culinary school!  Not sure when, but I’m hoping to be attending Le Cordon Bleu sometime within the next couple years.  Then I’ll know all the right techniques to really bring delicious, healthy food to the next level.

Right now, I enjoy combing through cookbooks and trying out new recipes to inspire my taste buds.  Then I share them with all my readers!  Now, I know that Dacia is happy vegan these days (so happy for her!), but I like meat.  And I’m sure that at least SOME of you readers out there like meat too, right?  I’ve decided to share a recipe with you since that’s what I do best 🙂

This recipe was inspired by one of my favorite cookbooks, the Best Ever Indian Cookbook. I’ve really been into Indian cuisine lately.  The depth of the flavor is incredible and there are actually quite a lot of dishes that come out to be really low in WW PointsPlus.  Many of the dishes are also SUPER fast to cook from start to finish, so as long as you have all your ingredients (and cooked rice in the fridge), you can make a delicious, different meal for yourself or your family in hardly any time.

Chopped Lamb with Curry Leaves and Chile

Servings: 2

PointsPlus Per Serving: 3

Ingredients

– 1 tsp oil, 1PP

– 1 medium onion, diced

– 5 curry leaves

– 3 green chiles (I used Thai chiles)

– 4 oz trimmed leg of lamb, 3PP (I bought a big lamb leg cut it up into 4 oz portions and froze them. It ended up being about $2 per portion which isn’t too bad! Plus, the meat is so tender!)

– 1/2 tsp crushed or minced garlic

– 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger root (I peel mine, freeze it and grate it on demand. Faster, less mess, same intensity as if it was fresh!)

– 1/8 tsp turmeric

– 1/2 tsp salt

– 1 medium zucchini, sliced into half moons

– 3 mini sweet peppers, diced

 Directions

1. Take your lamb and chop it up into really small pieces, almost as if it was ground. If you are comfortable using a food processor to do this, go ahead.

2. Heat the oil in a wok or saute pan and fry up the onion, curry leaves and chiles.

3. Put the lamb into a bowl and mix in the garlic, ginger and spices.

4. Add the lamb mixture and salt to the onions and stir-fry for about 5-7 minutes.

5. Add the peppers and zucchini and stir-fry for another few minutes. Serve hot and enjoy!

This dish is best served with either brown rice or even with eggs!  And if you DID want to make it vegan, all you’d need to do is switch out the lamb for either chopped mushrooms or maybe tempeh or seitan.  You can also put in as much of the veggies as you’d like, just adjust the spices to match the amount. And as for any of the ingredients that you wouldn’t normally have in your house, just find a local asian grocer and you should be able to find them for a really good price.

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February 10, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Cooking, Recipes. Leave a comment.

Recipe Review

This week I tried a few new recipes from the Whole Foods website. If you are ever looking for recipes or new ideas check out their website; it’s awesome. I love it because I can search for recipes tagged vegan instead of searching through all of them trying to find some that might work for me. They of course have a ton of non-vegan recipes and from what I’ve seen they look fantastic.

My favorite recipe I tried this week was Pasta Bake with Tofu Cheese. Oh my word it was amazeballs. It’s like having baked ziti or lasagna without the layers. It was very reminiscent of the heavy, cheesy, ooey gooey yummy pasta dishes I grew up eating. However, it was cheese less. It wasn’t heavy at all. It was filling but not in a ‘I have to unbutton my pants’ way and just as tasty (tastier in my opinion) than the original it’s based off of. Since you are using tofu instead of cheese you totally up the protein content making it a dish that keeps you feeling full long after you’ve eaten. It rocks.

Go make this

Now

It has only nine ingredients and you probably have at least three (olive oil, salt and pepper) in your pantry already.

Pasta Bake with Tofu Cheese
​*From Whole Foods
Serves 4
Serve this vegan baked pasta with a simple salad and steamed vegetables.

Ingredients

8 ounces small whole wheat pasta shells
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cups pasta sauce, divided
1 (14-ounce) package soft tofu, drained
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup soy or rice Parmesan-style cheese, divided
Salt and black pepper

Method

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cook pasta in boiling salted water according to package instructions. Drain well and transfer to a 7-x-11-inch baking dish. Stir in olive oil and a cup of the pasta sauce. Set aside.

Put tofu, basil, garlic, half the cheese, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the mixture reaches the consistency of ricotta cheese. Taste and adjust seasonings. Spread tofu mixture over the cooked pasta and top with remaining pasta sauce. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Bake until bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. Serve immediately.

*I had some Daiya mozzarella vegan cheese on hand so I topped the pasta with that instead of the remaining ¼ cup of parmesan. It was so good. This would be the perfect addition to your Meatless Monday repertoire. Two thumbs up!

Speaking of food, what do you have planned for the big game Sunday? I checked out a bunch of vegan-friendly party food/snack recipes posted on different websites but I haven’t really decided on anything yet. To be honest, I am more concerned with packing for my vacation next week than I am with the Super Bowl. Can you blame me- I’m an Eagles/Bills fan so I have a strong dislike for the Giants and the Pats. Oh, well. I will still watch. I love the commercials 😉

Thanks for reading!

February 3, 2012. Tags: , , , , , . Cooking, Vegan. 6 comments.

Naan Pizza and Giveaway Winner Announced

I think I have found a new addiction in this vlogging stuff. It’s so much fun. I like it even more when I get to make something for the video and then eat it afterwards 🙂 That’s what I did tonight, made some yummy Naan Pizza and then I devoured it as soon as I was done recording. Not to toot my own horn but it was mighty yummy. You’ll see Paul in the video telling you what he likes best about the pizza but I would like to add that my favorite thing is the garlic. I hope you try this recipe out some time and if you do you have to let me know what changes you made to the recipe and how it turned out. Also, I neglected to mention in the video what exactly Naan is. It is a leavened flatbread. It is common in Indian cuisine but it is eaten all over Asia, not just in India. I used to eat it all the time when we lived in WA and shopped at Trader Joe’s. Now though you can find it at most grocery stores. It’s usually near the deli or wherever your store carries pita.

 

This is the package the Naan came in. There are lots of different varieties available and I know stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s carry their own brand Naan.

Veggie Naan Pizza

1 piece of whole grain Naan

1/4 cup of sauce (marinara, pomodoro, pizza sauce- whatever you have on hand)

2 Tablespoons shredded mozzarella

1 Tablespoon grated pecorino romano cheese (parmesan will work great too)

1 clove of garlic, chopped

Few sprinkles of crushed red pepper flakes

Assorted veggies of your choosing. I used; sliced/chopped mushrooms, thinly sliced onion (about 1/2 of a small onion), sliced red bell pepper (1/2), sliced roma tomato (1)

Pre-heat oven to 450. Assemble pizza. Cook on baking sheet or directly on oven rack for 10 minutes (check progress around 5-7 minutes), broil for an additional minute to get it crispier and cheese golden brown.

My pizza was:

468 calories, 15g fat, 69.5g carbs, 10.5g fiber, 17.5g protein and 12 WWPP

Paul’s pizza with turkey pepperoni, mushrooms and extra cheese (1/4c instead of 2 tbls) was:

538 calories, 21.5g fat, 62.5g carbs, 9g fiber, 28g protein, and 14 WWPP

What we learned;

-1/4c of mozzarella cheese is too much, stick with 2 tablespoons

– turkey pepperoni is pretty tasty and adds a decent amount of protein to the pizza. I will try it on mine next time

– yeah, there isn’t much of a difference between my recipe (nutritional value wise) and maybe eating a personal sized takeout pizza or even two slices of pizza but this tasted much better, left me satisfied, and was much more fun adding whatever toppings I wanted. I will definitely make this again!

Enjoy!

Oh, and in case you didn’t watch (or couldn’t watch) the video, the winner of this week’s giveaway is Ashley! Her word was zealous, by the way. Although I am thinking I should probably pick another winner, I mean the girl is in Germany for Oktoberfest right now. Lucky!

Just kidding Ashley! You are still the winner. You should probably pick me up a stein or some lederhosen while you are there just to make sure I don’t change my mind 😉

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

September 17, 2011. Tags: , , , , , . Cooking, Vlog. 6 comments.

My Cooking Vlog: a Healthier Version of a Breakfast Taco and a Surprise Giveaway!

Hello and welcome to my first ever cooking vlog. This was far more difficult to do than the last vlog. Hopefully you can actually see what I am doing and hear me talk as I move around my kitchen. Paul was going to record it for me but the idea of having him behind the camera kind of made me nervous. Instead I chose to prop up my iPhone on top of a bottle of Fiber Choice, leaning against one of those cardboard 6 wine bottle carriers. Classy, I know 🙂 Just to be safe I am including the recipe below for your reference. As I mention in the video; this recipe is pretty basic so feel free to add whatever ingredients you have on hand and change it up however you please. In my opinion, wrap anything in a tortilla and it will taste good.

Veggie Sausage Breakfast Tacos

1/4 cup Southwestern Egg Beaters

2 Tablespoons shredded Cheddar Cheese

1 Tablespoon Salsa or Pico de Gallo

1 Morningstar Farms Veggie Sausage patty

1 Mission Carb Control Whole Wheat Tortilla

1. Heat sausage patty in microwave 35-45 seconds

2. While sausage is cooking, warm tortilla in an ungreased nonstick skillet 10-15 seconds per side

3. Once tortilla is warmed, remove from pan and set aside. Lower the heat on the pan to medium low and add some nonstick cooking spray. Cook the egg beaters until done, about 1-2 minutes. Not very long so pay attention.

4. Once cooked, place the egg beaters on top of warmed tortilla and top with 1-2 tablespoons of cheese, sausage patty which has been cut into bite size pieces, and 1 tablespoon of salsa.

Voila! Breakfast is complete. I do however recommend serving some fresh fruit alongside.

Nutritional Info using ingredients listed above/featured in vlog:

Fat: 9.5g, Protein: 21g, Carbs: 19g, Fiber: 11g

WW PP: 6

This meal is cheap to boot- only .93 cents per taco! The price may need to be adjusted for COL as I am in TX and shop on post; things are cheap here. So maybe 1.50 might be more accurate for you. Still pretty cheap for what you get!

Now for my giveaway, in case you were unable to watch the video, to enter all you need to do is leave me a comment (or you can text, email, Facebook message, tweet, whatever) telling me your favorite 7 or 8 letter word. I know, it’s random as is the prize which will be determined once I see who the winner is. You will basically be receiving a care package, for lack of a better term, featuring some of my favorite things customized with items I think you will like. It will possibly contain one or more of the following; non-perishable food items (yes, Biscoff spread for sure), books, music, or even some of my homemade soaps. Yes, there is also a good chance I will make you a mix tape CD because that is how I roll. You’ll just have to wait and see. You have until 11:59PM CST Friday September 16th to enter. On Saturday, September 17th I will choose a winner at random and announce it here on my blog that day. The only thing required from you in order to enter this contest is that you feel comfortable enough to give me your home address so I can send you the prize!

*Disclaimer: I have not been solicited by or received anything in exchange for mentioning products on this blog. All of the products featured are ones I enjoy and use regularly. I have not been compensated in any way for my opinions. Same goes for any of the items in prize package for the giveaway.

Thanks for stopping by and watching my vlog! Make sure you enter the giveaway! If you make the breakfast taco let me know what you think of it!

P.S. After I was finished with the vlog Paul ate the breakfast taco, his first time eating veggie sausage, and he loved it. Yay! Score one for the healthy breakfast taco!

September 9, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Cooking, Giveaway, Vlog. 20 comments.

Recipes

I have received feedback to my post yesterday in regards to my weekly meals. I would like to say that I am superwoman and am going to be making all of those meals from scratch but that is just not true. Most of the meals are based around items I bought ready to cook like the shrimp burgers and turkey burgers, they came already seasoned/flavored and all I need to do is cook them. For my stir-fry I use Saigon Sizzle Stir-fry sauce by House of Tsang and buy pre-chopped (fresh) stir fry veggies- pretty basic. The pesto chicken was bought already marinated and the couscous is Near East, ready in five minutes. However, there are two things I am making myself and so I will share with you the recipes. Enjoy!

Spaghetti alle Vongole (WW 18 PP per serving, definitely a splurge points wise but totally worth it)

Recipe by the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen

May 2011

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • 6 oz. spaghetti
  • 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 lb. cockles, Manila clams, or littlenecks, scrubbed
  • 2 Tbsp. roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preparation

  • Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a 5-qt. pot. Season lightly with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until about 2 minutes before tender. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking water.
  • Meanwhile, heat 3 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, swirling pan often, until just golden. Add red pepper flakes and continue cooking 15 more seconds. Add wine, then clams; increase heat to high. Cover skillet and cook until clams open and release their juices, 3-6 minutes, depending on size of clams. As clams open, use tongs to transfer them to a bowl.
  • Add 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water to skillet; bring to a boil. Add pasta to pan. Cook over high heat, tossing constantly, until pasta is al dente and has soaked up some of the sauce from the pan. Add clams and any juices from bowl to pan, along with parsley, and toss to combine. (Add more pasta water if sauce seems dry.) Transfer pasta to warm bowls and drizzle with remaining oil

 Nutritional Information

One serving contains:
Calories (kcal) 674.8
%Calories from Fat 41.6
Fat (g) 31.2
Saturated Fat (g) 4.4
Cholesterol (mg) 41.0
Carbohydrates (g) 68.0
Dietary Fiber (g) 4.0
Total Sugars (g) 1.2
Net Carbs (g) 64.1
Protein (g) 27.9
Sodium (mg) 73.1

Read More : http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2011/05/spaghetti-alle-vongole

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower (WW 3 PP per serving)

6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large head cauliflower, separated into florets
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (220 degrees C). Grease a large casserole dish.
  2. Place the olive oil and garlic in a large resealable bag. Add cauliflower, and shake to mix. Pour into the prepared casserole dish, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Bake for 25 minutes, stirring halfway through. Top with Parmesan cheese and parsley, and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, until golden brown.

Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving

Calories: 118

Total Fat: 8.2g

Cholesterol: 4mg

Sodium: 111mg

Total Carbs: 8.6g

Dietary Fiber: 3.6g

Protein: 4.7g

Recipe from allrecipes.com : http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Roasted-Garlic-Cauliflower/Detail.aspx

June 28, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , . Cooking, Food, Recipes. 8 comments.