Friday, January 29, 2010

Healthy Stuffed Peppers

It's funny that I am writing about making stuffed peppers because prior to weight watchers, I wouldn't touch a pepper. Actually, I wouldn't even try a recipe with a pepper in it!! My aunt makes a lasagna that is supposed to be really good. Never tried it! lol

Well, I have been seriously pushing myself beyond my comfort zone with veggies and I've found that I like a lot of the ones that I've always "hated". I remember hating spinach, asparagus, peppers, mushrooms, brussel sprouts, oh, and eggplant! HATED THEM!! lol... now they are regulars in my meals, and my shopping list. Amazing, isn't it??

So this recipe comes from the same magazine as the Oven Baked Apple Pancakes that I posted a few weeks ago...

Mexican Beef and Bean Stuffed Peppers... mmm mmm mmm. I know, they sound awful for you, don't they?! Well, the recipe makes 8 servings, which is half a pepper and an 1/8th of the mixture and it's only 170 calories, 3g fat (1g saturated) and 9g fiber!! I have to say, that is pretty damn good, even if you end up eating a whole pepper!

Mexican Beef and Bean Stuffed Peppers
1 1/2 cups Fiber One (original cereal)
4 medium bell peppers - I will be using orange!
1 can (15oz) tomato puree
1/2 lb extra lean beef (90% ff)
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can chopped green chilies, undrained
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese

1. Heat oven 350 degrees. Crush cereal in baggy with a rolling pin or in a food processor. In a medium bowl mix the cereal and tomato puree, let stand about 5 minutes
2. Cut bell peppers lengthwise, in half. Remove seeds and membranes. Place peppers, cut side up, in ungreased 13x9 inch baking dish (I will be using my PC stoneware!!)
3. In skillet, cook beef and onion, over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until beef is thoroughly cooked; drain. Stir in cereal mixture and remaining ingredients, except cheese. Divide beef mixture evenly among peppers.
4. Cover; bake 40-45 minutes or until peppers are tender. Sprinkle each with 1 1/2 tsp cheese, let stand for 5 minutes!

Notes: I season my beef with salt and pepper while browning to give it a little more flavor in the end. Also, if you can't get the peppers it stay upright you can use the PC fluted pan, or even an upside down muffin tin! Just make sure to put a sheet pan under to catch the drippings!

I hope you enjoy! I can't wait to make these!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Uh Oh... another bump

So I was doing sooo well and then I hit a BUMP! ugh

It really sucks that I've absolutely come to love cooking and baking. If I see a recipe that looks good and we have the ingredients... I make it! Not good when at 10 o'clock on sunday night I am making the Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting, that I found while searching the web during "Big Love" (not a favorite of mine).

OR today when I wasn't feeling the whole laundry thing and decided to make some Portugese Natas (custard tarts)... by the way, they all came out freaking awesome, if I do say so myself!! If you want the recipe, I will be posting it on my other blog later tonight... Tee's Closet.

These are not good for you. They only pack on the pounds and make me feel guilty for eating them, so what the heck is my problem!?! Does anyone else struggle with this?? People think I'm crazy and tell me to just stop baking, but seriously - it's not that easy!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Movies

Friday was Hubby's B-day. We didn't do much because we both had to work until 8:30, but he managed to grab a bottle of Amaretto on the way home for a little celebratory drink. That was yummy! So all was well, until lunch yesterday... oopps!

We went to lunch with the kids because we had a gift card for a new restaurant and figured we should try it out. I had the Mediterrean Burger, with Feta Cheese, tomatoes, and kalamata olives. It was very yummy, but came with a TON of fries that I had trouble pushing away. Then the dessert cart came... uh oh!!

I ended up having a banana tart topped with cinnamon ice cream, baked fresh for the individual. I shared it with the kids, but OMG... I didn't want to!! Since it was almost 5 by the time we finished "lunch" - the service was SLOW - I decided it wasn't that bad since we were going to have dinner. However, when we got home, my mom offered to take the kids overnight so we could go out to a movie.

Henry had been really wanting to see AVATAR and we very rarely got out, so we took advantage of this time. We got the tickets and our 3D glasses and headed over to the dreaded concession stand... this is an even BIGGER UH OH!!!! We got a LARGE popcorn... I don't remember the last time I ate that much popcorn - without butter though! See, at least I made "better" choices, right?!? and a diet pepsi... lmao!! oh yeah, and Watermelon Sour Patch candy.

The movie was great! The popcorn was soooo yummy, and I am sooo bloated today... lmao! BUT... now it's time for breakfast and I think that my egg white omlet is calling. My new favorite is egg whites with tomato, spinach, black olives chopped to make em go a little further, and a wedge of laughing cow cheese! Yummy... and only 2.5 pts. Wrapped with a fat free tortilla (1pt) or a frozen hash brown (1pt) baked on the side, this meal makes it feel like I am pampered without the guilt.

I am also going to try to get in a workout today! And I'm off...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Achieving the goals

OK... so I posted my goals and although no one responded on my blog :o( I did have 2 people say that they shared my view in setting them and one actually wants to do the 5K with me... yay!! So that means that 1 friend and my mom want to do a 5K with me... hmmm.

Of course, with me, things aren't that easy, right?! Well, I'm thinking what if I can get a bunch of people together and walk/run, whatever, a 5K. OK... then what? Then maybe we can start raising money for the local food pantries!! Maybe I can ask people to sponsor us and maybe even make it a goal where if I run a certain time, they will give me more. hmmm

I'm just nervous that I will let people down. I am probably way over thinking these things, right? It could just be that we do the 5K and THEN decide if for the next one, we get people to sponsor us. Maybe I will work on just getting my friends to run with me... or walk. Whatever. As long as we drag our butts off the couches that they've been so comfortably plopped over the past few face numbingly cold weeks!!

Whatcha think?? Hope that you are on your way to a healthier you. This can be by parking a little further away, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or maybe as simple as eating a piece of pizza instead of the entire pie!! Whatever changes you are making to get just a little healthier... stick with it!! I'm trying like hell to do it too!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Reasons to Continue...

OK, so I haven't been as good today. I'm still within my points, but it doesn't "really" count if I've only had 1 serving of fruits or veggies, right? So I decided that I need to remind myself why I am trying to lose these last 25 lbs... yes, only 25! I weighed myself today it said 157.8... yay!! Especially since last week I started at 162 point something. lol. It was so horrible, I can't even remember the tenths!

I didn't do anything drastic. I just started following my points again. I started drinking my water again. Heck I even managed to eat chinese food and 1 1/2 portugese egg rolls over the weekend... hehe. BUT, I made better choices. Instead of eating the kung pao chicken with fried rice, or the pork lo mein that I LOVE with the mega sized bowl of wonton soup. I ordered beef and broccoli with white rice and only had a half cup of rice, and then I splurged and had a shrimp egg roll. They totally rock! So I really didn't have to kill myself to make a better choice.

Anyway, today I cooked a LOT! A very dear friend had her baby this weekend and is supposed to be coming home tomorrow. I know how tough it is to settle into the new baby cycle and all that fun stuff associated with it, I figured I would make some dinners for her and her hubby. So this morning I was able to throw together 2 shepards pies, 3 chicken shepards pies, and 4 lasagnas... sounds like the partridge and a pear tree, doesn't it?! I'm also going to make a banana bread for them, but not just any banana bread. I am making the Banana Dream Muffins into a loaf... these are amazing! So I figure I can't steal a piece of the loaf, right??

With all of this temptation, I've been trying to tell myself why I want to lose the rest. It's tough. I go from the shallow... Wanting to look hot! To the deep... want to feel better, sleep better, etc. Figured if I made my list, it would help. What keeps you going?

Me...
  1. Fit in my size 8 cargo pants
  2. Look the part at work
  3. Prove to myself that it can be done, damn it!
  4. Not have to suck in my stomach for every pic
  5. Sleep better
  6. Run a 5K without walking
  7. Not feel so tired all of the time
  8. Feel sexy... lol - sorry, it's true!
  9. Teach my girls better eating habits
  10. Motivate more people to get in shape

That's my list. I know that there are a hell of lot more, but some are too petty to write. I hope that this help a little. Have a great new year!! So far, I am liking it!!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dinner Guest

So last night a very good friend of mine came over for dinner. My hubby was working so it was a girl's night. My mom, Laurie and her daughter and my little princesses... lol. Since we were all very "bad" this holiday season, it was important that we didn't completely blow it with dinner. Although it's very tempting when having people over, it is possible to stay on track while having tons of flavorful, delicious food!

I started with my new favorite... Brussel sprouts. Laurie and my mom both love them, but are used to soaking them in butter after boiling them. I figured that it was my chance to show them how to eat them guilt free, with the roasted brussel sprouts version. They loved them!

Next, I moved onto chopping my veggies for a stir fry. I know that there is no real rule for a stir fry, but I'm pretty new to this area so I was a little nervous. I chopped a red bell pepper, an orange bell pepper and about 1 cup of baby carrots julienne style. Then I sliced about 1 cup of white mushrooms, chopped the ends and halved 1 cup of snap peas, and chopped a head of broccoli. I cooked them all up in about 1/2 cup of fat free chicken stock. Seasoned with some salt, pepper, and onion powder. I was going to make a sauce to go on this, but realized I didn't have any teriyaki sauce. Oh well, it was super yummy all on it's own.

I seasoned my pork tenderloin with salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder. Then seared all sides and put it in the oven with the brussel sprouts for about 10-12 minutes. I used the thermometer and took it out when it was about 150-155 degrees at the middle. While sitting on the table to rest it will continue to cook to the 160-165 and this will allow all of the juices to redistribute. OMG... it was perfect. Just slightly pink in the center, almost melt in your mouth tender... mmm mmm mmm.

Not having a sauce was a little bummer, but I had some Thai Peanut Sauce from the Pampered Chef that adds tons of flavor with just a little sauce. This helped to keep the points down... yay!!

In total, this was a very low points meal. The stir fry was completely free with the fat free chicken stock instead of oil. I used just 1 tsp of oil with the entire 2 cups of brussel sprouts which means that side was free of points as well!! The pork tenderloin was browned in my 12" nonstick skillet so no oil required. That means that for 1 pt per oz, it was about 4 pts per serving. The sauce was 3 pts for 2 Tbsp and thats significantly more than you need!!

I made some white rice in chicken stock and chicken breast with baby corn for the kids. So with a half of a cup of the rice and a glass of 1% milk the entire meal only "cost" me about 9 points. Not bad!

So Laurie felt bad not bringing anything. She decided on some pineapple and grapes with a dipping sauce made with fat free cream cheese and marshmallow creme. This means that with 1/2 cup of the sauce (2pts), 1 cup of pineapple and 1/2 cup of grapes (1.5 pts), it brings our entire evening up to 12.5 pts!

That might seem like a lot when you factor that I get only 23 pts per day, but for an extravagant evening that I knew about it is very doable!! Hope that this gives you a little incentive to try to entertain while staying on track. I know that it might be hard to relate to the points if you don't follow Weight Watchers, but the idea is it keep it "healthier" while keeping all of the flavor!

Have fun. Play with flavor combinations! Add spice! Worst case scenario... you end up eating soup... lmao! Good luck!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Apple Oven-Baked Pancake

Yesterday I was able to take some time and spend it on me. I went to Barnes and Noble bookstore and got a magazine to read while I had my 6" turkey and ham sub from Subway. I found a bunch of healthy cooking ones... Weight Watchers, Light Cooking, etc, but they seriously cost more than most of the reduced price cookbooks!! OMG. So I settled with one called, Simple Healthy Meals. It's by Betty Crocker and it's little claim is "Your favorite recipes healthified".

Skimming through it I found some pretty interesting dishes that I wanted to try. The awesome thing is that most of them were using ingredients that I already had in my house! Don't you hate it when you are going through a cookbook and everything requires at least one thing from the grocery store... seriously?!

OK... tell me these don't sound good...

"Healthified" Classic Potato Salad
4 pts for 3/4 cup (and I can lower this even more!!)
"Healthfied" Cashew Chicken and Broccoli
9 pts total for 1 cup chicken mixture and 3/4 cup of rice
Mexican Beef and Bean-Stuffed Peppers
3 pts for 1/2 pepper with mixture... OR 7 pts for a 2 servings... yeah baby!
"Healthified" Buffalo Chicken Dip
3 pts for 1/4 cup... you can even use this as a spread on a sandwich!
"Healthified" Cheese and Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms
2 pts for 3 mushrooms... put it on a large portabella and make it a meal!

So keep watching because I am soooo going to be making these! BUT, this morning I tried my first recipe for the magazine and OMG... soo yummy! It's called the Apple Oven-Baked Pancake. I was a little nervous because it's made with the Fiber One Pancake Mix and only 1 1/2 tsp of sugar and cinnamon. I'm thinking dry and flavorless, but I was hopeful. My mom had picked up a box of the pancake mix last week, at a local discount store so we could try it. Perfect right?

It was sooo good and we put the syrup into little containers on the side and dipped using about 1/8 cup of the syrup because it came out so moist! It was cake like. Gotta try it! So, here's the recipe...

Apple Oven-Baked Pancake
- makes 4 servings

2 Tbsp of butter - yes butter!!
1 egg
3/4 cup Fiber One Pancake Mix
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 small apple, very thinly sliced (I got to use my Pampered Chef Apple Peeler, slicer, corer... hehe)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon-sugar
Serve with warm syrup if desired (we used toasted pecan... perfect!)

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. While it's heating up, melt the butter in a 9in pie pan in the oven.

2. Meanwhile, in small bowl, beat egg. Beat in pancake mix, milk, and vanilla. Pour the mixture over the melted butter in the pie pan. Arrange the apple slices on top and sprinkle the sugar mixture.

3. Bake 15-20 minutes or until the edges are deep golden brown. OMG... so yummy, so moist. Try it! Oh yeah, for one serving it's only 4 pts and we didn't even use 1 pt of syrup! Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

go me!!

I am happy to report that after only being OP (on program) for Weight Watchers for 2 days, I have already lost 2.5 lbs!! YAY! That means that I have only 17.5 to go before April 10th. I think that I am going to try to get to 140, which would mean almost 23 lbs, but we'll see how it goes from here.

I am very excited and very motivated at this point. Then again, at this point, isn't everyone motivated?? I think about Valentine's Day when all of the chocolate is around, staring at me, that's when I will start hitting the wall. So... I'm preparing!

Hope that you're doing well with your new years!! Have a good one :o)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

And.... again....

So I went back onto Weight Watchers online for this week. I was going to go to a meeting, but I can't get on the scale at 162 and look someone else in the face!! It's bad enough when I get on the scale and that number is looking ME in the face! ugh.

Anyway, so I signed up a 20 lb challenge. It's 20 lbs by April 10th. I like that. It gives me 3 months, which is more than enough time to do it, but not too much that I lose focus. I started tracking again yesterday. Man, I feel like I am in control when I track. I don't know why I stop doing it... well, I do know... it's because I don't want to track that I ate 50+ pts in one meal! So I'm on the right track again now. I am going to fill the punching bag that my mom bought me for christmas and just start hitting and kicking til I get tired... lol.

My brother is going to send me a program at some point, but if I wait it's just another reason to put it off. I hate the way my clothes fit right now. It sucks. They aren't too tight, but I'm too flabby! So not cool. I bought the cutest little dress for the holidays and refused to wear it! I didn't feel comfortable in it at all. All I could see was my belly bulging everywhere. Ok, maybe I'm being a little over dramatic, but trust me, it wasn't good.

Well, I'm off to portion out my pineapple for snacks. I tried brussel sprouts last night and found out that after all of these years of avoiding them, I actually LOVE them!! lol. Well, at least the way I made them anyway. I had a about 1-2 cups. I think it was about 15 of them. I put them in a bowl and drizzled them with about 1-2 tsp of olive oil and then sprinkled kosher salt and pepper. Spread them on a sheet pan and baked them for 40 mins at 400 degrees. They were so good! I didnt even dress them with anything... just ate em like that.

I have so many new things to try now. I found out recently that I even like raw red and orange bell peppers. Still not a huge fan of green ones. They seem more bitter. Oh well, I'm off. Good luck on your journey!!!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Holidays are over... almost

So you would think that after almost dying last night, I would smarten up and start eating the healthy stuff that I have stashed in the fridge, right? Ok, I didn't really almost die, but it felt like it. We went to my hubby's aunts' house last night for her annual New Years Day Party. She had homemade french meat pie, homemade chicken tenders, meatballs, cakes, cookies, and fudge... and I had at least a little of everything. Not cool!!

Anyway, all seemed well when we got home. Kids went to bed, we started to watch a movie. I fell asleep on the couch... BUT when I woke up to move to the bed I did not feel well. Figured I would just go to sleep and be better. NOT! To put it bluntly I was a Pepto-Bismo commercial and ended up having to sleep on the couch to get any relief.

This morning I had a coffee and 4 mini pancakes that were leftover from the kids. Not what I would call the best breakfast. Oh well. At least I feel like a human being again. Is anyone else struggling with getting it started? I haven't had this much trouble since I started Weight Watchers over 4 yrs ago. Gotta kick it into gear though... there's no way I'm going back to what I was. That is not an option.

Basically, I think that at the end of the night tomorrow. I am going to have hubby and the kids go through our "stashes" of holiday crap and start trashing it. I'm not the only one who needs to start getting fit. My kids love the healthy stuff too, it's just not half as tempting when it's sitting near chocolates or chips, right??

OK - this blog is going to keep me honest. So feel free to post your experiences. I am going to start being brutal about workouts, eating habits, and just plain, how I feel. Wish me luck!!