Category Archives: food

Learning to love cooking….again.

So I really love cooking but what I mean here is that I am learning to love cooking new recipes, specifically, healthy, lower calorie, or “Points Plus” recipes.  I decided that we should use my nifty new Weight Watcher’s cookbook, Tastier Than Take Out to find inspiration.  Gary and I browsed through the book this morning and decided on a Mediterranean meal.  We selected the Lemon Oregano Grilled Mahimahi and Sweet Onions and a Greek salad.  We headed down to Trader Joe’s and got our provisions and came home to create a 10 out of 10 dinner for two.  Gary the grill-master found new inspiration for grilling fish and sweet onions.  The salad was a combined effort of preparation, but I must admit that with a bit of encouragement and a couple of great recipes, the team of Amy and Gary once again succeeded! When looking at the photo below, you will note the addition of garlic bread and Pinot Noir.  It is important to create a meal that satisfies and this one really did the trick.  As we sat gazing out of our sky-high kitchen nook window, we realized that we are our favorite cooks and our meals never disappoint.  Maybe we are on a roll and we can dabble in Weight Watcher cooking heaven.  Eating so well and staying on my points “budget” was the perfect end to a lovely, long weekend.

Dinner for two courtesy of Weight Watchers.

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Soup’s On!

I was inspired by my wonderful Weight Watcher leader, Michelle, to cook roasted vegetable soup last Saturday and I thought I would share both the recipe, and my documented soup-cooking journey.  Michelle shared the recipe at our meeting and although you will never notice, this soup has only 1 Points Plus point!  It is amazingly delicious and fairly easy to make.
 
Step 1:
Spray 3 baking sheets with non-stick spray ( I also lined mine with tin foil because I really don’t like to scrub baking sheets).
 
Step 2: 
Chop the following vegetables into chunks:
10 Roma tomatoes
6 stalks of celery (peel the fibers off with a vegetable peeler first)
3 yellow onions
3 yellow peppers
5 zucchini
 

Aren't the veggies beautiful?

Step 3:
Put all of the vegetables on the baking sheets and add rosemary and thyme sprigs (a few) and lots of cloves of garlic!  Mist each baking sheet with olive oil (or drizzle if you don’t have an oil mister, but I suggest you get one. 
 

Mmmmm, lot's of garlic!

Step 4:
 Roast the vegetables at 400° for one hour.
 
 
Step 5:
Meanwhile, put one box of low-sodium vegetable broth, and one box of low-sodium tomato soup in a large pot and warm.  When the veggies are done, put them all in the pot and blend with a nifty Cuisenart Smart Stick. 
 

I love my Smart Stick!

 
If you don’t have this handy blender, you can blend the vegetables in a regular blender first and then add to the broth.  After the veggies are blended, at 2 more boxes of vegetable broth and one more box of tomato soup.  Bring to a simmer and enjoy!
 
Option*
If you would like the traditional grilled cheese with your soup, try this:
40 calorie bread or 80 calorie double fiber wheat bread spread with Laughing Cow lite cheese mixed with a drop of Greek yogurt and diced tomatoes.  Spray a grill, panini maker or other type of sandwich press with non-stick spray and grill.  Just a couple of Points Plus points for a yummy meal.
 
Thanks Michelle!

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Day 8: Math and Muesli

Today I spent the day in Hollywood at the lovely Wilshire Park Elementary school.  The math training I am attending is hosted by the publisher and they graciously provided us with breakfast and lunch.  I had planned ahead and brought my food, but not enough for a long day with no access to other foods.  I had my muesli breakfast and coffee, which sustained me for quite a while.

We had a break at 9:30 and I ate cottage cheese, almonds and a green apple and felt great until lunch.  Unfortunately, our lunch time is 11:00-11:45, which is very early, leaving 4 hours of class in the afternoon and then a long drive home.  The lunch provided looked great, but I had brought a salad, chicken and corn “rice” cakes.  I added a little of the provided salad and a bit of vegetarian pasta sauce (no pasta).  By about 2:30 I was hungry with no options, so I drank my water and tried to think of what to bring tomorrow to stave off hunger.

I need portable filling snacks!  Ideas?  Tonight I am going to venture out to Poquito Mas for some steak tacos.  No cheese!  I feel so good and lighter, healthier, but it is a challenge to be on the go and stick to the detox.  I like a challenge though, so I am up for it.  Thirteen days to go!

So the question of the day is:  How is math like detox?  The answer?  Both involve problem solving.  Teaching problem solving to children is like opening a new world of ideas for them.  It is empowering and they love to figure out the answer themselves.  Sticking to the detox cleanse is like that too.  I am solving my eating questions and coming up with solutions, with a bit of guidance from my patient teacher Olga.

Feeling empowered is a lovely thing.

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Day 6 & 7: It’s The Weekend!

Breakfast!

It’s the weekend!  Usually this means a drastic change in routine, but since it is summer, the fun just continues.  Saturday I started the day with muesli, mana bread with almond butter and coffee.  I went to Curves and then came home to start my CLEANING REGIME!  I am determined to sort through, clean, recycle, toss, and organize everything in my house.  I will get it condensed to a reasonable amount of “stuff” so that I am prepared for all possible outcomes to our housing nightmare.  This is why I need strength and control.

Speaking of control, I am finding that I very much enjoy the structure and control of exercise when SOMEONE ELSE IS TELLING ME WHAT TO DO!  I have figured out that that is why I like the peaceful bliss of yoga (my teacher tells me what to do pose by pose), Curves (the recording tells me when to change stations in the large oval circuit, and Couch To 5k which tells me when to run and walk.  I have far too much on my mind to add exercise directions, but I am a willing participant.

I continued the rest of my Saturday with a lunch of salad with grilled chicken, a snack of almonds and a special dinner out.  We met my cousins in Santa Monica at Real Food Daily where I had the yummy Pizza ya can Eat-za, which is a cornmeal crust with sun-dried tomato pesto, tomatoes, spinach, soy mozzarella cheese, basil served with kale and cannelini beans.  This place is great when on the detox cleanse because everything on the menu is basically OK.  There are a few sugary items and I admit to having a couple of bites of soy ice cream-while not sweetened with sugar, was sweetened with molasses bits, I believe.  I really didn’t desire more than a bite, which is very unusual for me.  I had water with lemon and Egyptian Mint Green Tea after eating.  Success!

"Pizza ya can eat-za" from Read Food Daily

Today I started with scrambled egg and onions, berries and mana bread.  I then went for a great hike with a friend Jill, in Red Rock Canyon.  This was a little more than 2 miles, and Charlie came along.  He was pretty pooped by the end of the hike and happy to get back to Jill’s.  Jill treated me to a lunch/snack of fruit and a cottage cheese/flax oil blend which we had like a spread/dip with rice cake.  This was a very sustaining snack.  At home I had a little evening snack of left over “pizza” from last night and a few almonds.  Dinner will be light.

I have completed the first week!  What have I learned?

1.  Be prepared.

2.  Keep great food in the house.

3.  Eat small portions.

4.  Drink your water!

5. Keep busy and exercise.

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