Roasted Poblano and Black Bean Casserole

*It looked much prettier before I cut it…But I wanted to show you the portion size!

So this one is not only filling, but low in points.  Right up my alley. 1/6 of the recipe is 6 PointsPlus on Weight Watchers. I was going to pair with a salad, but was honestly full enough from just the casserole! It has some kick, so if you don’t like spicy foods this one might not be for you. (I absolutely LOVED!) To get this recipe go here!

Weight Watchers 7 PointsPlus Baked Beef Ziti (or penne)

 

I thought this was pretty good!  I paired it with a 1 PointsPlus salad and felt very satisfied.  I used penne only because that is what I had.

What you need:

12 oz uncooked ziti

2 tsp olive oil

2 clove(s) (medium) garlic clove(s), minced

1/3 pound(s) uncooked lean ground beef

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried rosemary

1/2 tsp table salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

28 oz canned crushed tomatoes

1 cup(s) (shredded) part-skim mozzarella cheese

How to make it:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat; add garlic and sauté 2 minutes. Add beef and cook until browned, breaking up meat with a spoon as it cooks, about 3 to 5 minutes; drain off any fat and set pan back over medium heat.

Add oregano, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper; stir to coat beef. Cook until herbs become fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Spoon a small amount of beef-tomato mixture into bottom of a 4-quart casserole dish (just enough to cover surface); top with half of cooked ziti. Next, layer with half of remaining beef-tomato sauce and half of mozzarella cheese. Layer with remaining ziti and then top with remaining beef-tomato sauce; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake until cheese is golden and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Slice into 8 pieces and serve. Yields 1 piece per serving.

So You Took the First Step and Joined Weight Watchers…Now What?

It is completely crazy for me to wrap my head around the fact that it has almost been 2 years since I joined Weight Watchers for the last time.  But, its true…This August is my 2 year anniversary!  I have committed 2 whole years to eating healthy and staying active!I touched on this in my last post, but I would LOVE to weigh in at goal (150 lbs) by the end of August.  It won’t be easy…but I’m going to try my hardest!

All of this got me thinking about how overwhelmed I was to start the program.  Yes, I had done it before, but never with the determination I have done it with this time.  I have been asked  by many people for tips and “words of wisdom” for someone just starting out…So I figured this was a good topic to write about!

First and foremost…Take that timed goal you have set for yourself and TOTALLY FORGET ABOUT IT.  (Yes, I understand a lot of times people join to lose weight for an event) But setting a timed goal is setting yourself up for disappointment.  Commit one day at a time and you are guaranteed success.

Embrace the art of planning.  I plan my entire week out by meal on Sundays.  (Sometimes things come up and I stray from this plan…but its rare) This is also a time I plan my workouts.  At this point I pretty much know my training schedule, but before I had set stuff I would look at my calendar for the week and see which days I could commit activity to.  And stuck to it.

Speaking of activity, START SLOW.  I think Weight Watchers recommends starting the activity portion of the plan by getting at least 14 activity points per week (you can do 2 points per day, or if you aren’t someone who worksout 7 days a week you can divide the 14 up in whatever way works for you)  Oh, an added bonus…Those 14+ points you earn with your blood, sweat, and tears…Yeah, YOU CAN EAT THOSE any day throughout the week, all at once or broken up by day.

Speaking of eating extra points…those bonus points you get each week (49 or WW now allows you to choose an amt lower that 49 if you want…I changed to 40 just to see if I saw a difference) But EAT THOSE TOO!  Those should be used for times you know you are going out to dinner, have a special event, or simply for things you want-in my case it’s usually sweets =)  You can also divide those up evenly throughout the week or have 1 huge splurge day and eat them all.  Some people might find doing that causes them to not lose as much…Experiment and see how your body handles it…But I can promise you, if you are strict about accounting for all of those extra points and don’t go over the allotted amount…You can eat every single one of them and continue to lose.

Become one with fruits and veggies.  I am speaking from experience here…before I started the program my fruit and veggie consumption was next to nothing…Unless you count french fries and fruit snacks!  Don’t go crazy and think fruits and veggies are the only thing you can eat, but because MOST have a PointsPlus value of zero…you will become BFFs, quickly!  (If you are someone who doesn’t enjoy fruit or vegetables yet (trust me you will!) try blending them up with some low fat yogurt and having smoothies.  At least you know you are getting the nutrients!

Meet my good friend the spaghetti squash.  Replace noodles with this little gem and you can use a sauce that has a higher PointsPlus value!  (Zero point “noodles”…done and done).

IF YOU BLOW A DAY…DO NOT THROW IN THE TOWEL FOR THE REST OF THE WEEK.  Your week is NOT completely blown from one day…I know what you are thinking…What if i blow the entire week.  Honey, trust me…SO BEEN THERE.  Suck it up.  Go weigh in.  Start strong for the new week.

Learn and Live by my favorite little phrase: “Regret tastes awful” Eating an entire pizza or a pint of ice cream is satisfying for about 2 min…but the guilt you feel after leaves a horrible taste in your mouth that doesn’t go away for quite some time.  So before you gorge, think about how you will feel after.  Remove yourself from the situation even if its just for a minute…come back and see how you feel.  That strong, no food controls me, feeling is so much freaking better than ANY food.  I freaking love food…but feeling like a badass takes the cake (Pun intended) every dang time.

Make sure you eat all of your daily allotted points everyday.  No excuses on this one.  If you aren’t hungry try to pick something healthy, but higher in points (avocado, almonds, toast with real peanut butter to name a few).  If you do not eat your daily points, your body starts to freak out and store fat.  Not fun.

One of the most important tips I can give you is do not completely cut things out you love.  Learn to fit them in.  I eat something sweet everyday.  If you cut something out that you love, one day you will freak out and eat an entire family sized bag of M&Ms…Yes, personal experience =)

Wow that is a lot of info!  Remember this is a lifestyle change not a diet.  I used to hate when people said that to me…but it really is true.  Healthy living is sustainable while still enjoying the “bad” stuff.  And by committing yourself to the program one day at a time, you will learn just how to make this your reality!

*If you have questions for me regarding anything Weight Watchers please feel free to contact me!  If I can’t answer it myself, I will get an answer for you from my leader =)

 

I’m back…So let’s talk about where the heck I’ve been and my summer goals!

Wow, it’s been quite some time since my last post!  But I have had A LOT going on.  Started a new job, was in a friends wedding, celebrated with out of town friends…And as I’m sure you can imagine…all of these things forced me to deal with a lot of food and being off my regular routine.  But I am happy to say in these crazy 2 weeks, I finally weighed in and only gained 2 lbs!

The food:  In a four day period I had a pizza lunch on my first day at my new job, a second pizza lunch the next day accompanied with other pot luck goodies at work, followed by a mexican food bridesmaid dinner that night, a rehearsal dinner catered by Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ Friday night, and then treats, alcohol, and wedding dinner Saturday night.  I went into the midweek and weekend telling myself I was not going to go crazy with my food choices, but I also was not going to stress myself out so much about it that I forgot what I was really there to do: start a new job I am incredibly excited about and celebrate one of my very best friends getting married!  Sometimes it is important to take a step back and realize sometimes its ok to indulge and allow yourself to enjoy events going on in your life!  The important thing for me is Monday morning I was right back at it!

The Running: Yesterday was National Running Day!  My friend Val (The bride from the past weekend!) and I met up with a bunch of Kansas City runners for a 4 mile run to celebrate!  Great people, great course, great time! (40 min, and yes sustaining a 10 min mile is something I still celebrate!)  I have a 5K this weekend that I am really excited about as well!

The workouts:  For the most part I was able to keep my workouts throughout my busy schedule!  Even if I could only fit in a quick 30 min session I made sure to fit that in.  CrossFit has been getting more challenging with each session.  We have started the basics of learning how to do real pull-ups.  My goal is to do just 1 real pull-up by the end of August.  [I think I can, I think I can].

Weight Watchers News: Speaking of goals I have set a pretty big goal for myself.  My two year anniversary with Weight Watchers is this August.  Two freaking years!!  I can’t believe it.  I have set my final goal weight at 150 and am trying to get there by the end of August.  It won’t be easy, but I know I can do this.  I have come so far and it’s time for me to meet this damn goal!

Moral of this story:  Never let food be in control of your life to the point you miss out on the important stuff.  Life is too short to spend major life events worrying about what is going in your mouth.  I am living proof.  Because guess what…In the big scheme of things, 2 lbs is nothing…My pants still fit…and I made memories with my best friends I will never forget.   Make sure to take this with a grain of salt, however.  How quickly 1 day turns into 1 week, turns into 1 month, turns into 1 year.  It is ok to give yourself a day here or there.  But you have to commit back to your routine the next day. Having a healthy lifestyle is a [forever].  The most important question to continually to ask yourself is: Is the way I am eating, working out, etc. something I can do forever…If you can’t live without eating candy for the rest of your life, don’t do it for any “diet”.  That damn “D” word will get you every time.  Trust me.

Gnocchi With Asparagus Pesto

Sorry the pictures look kind of odd bc of my lacking photography skills…Trust me though, this is a goody!

Weight Watchers Recipe.  Serving Size: 1 C, 5 PointsPlus

What you need:

2 lbs trimmed fresh asparagus

1 (17 1/2 oz) box gnocchi

1/4 C grated Ramano cheese

2 Tbsp pine nuts

2 tsp olive oil

1 garlic clove

1/4 tsp salt

1 C fresh basil

1/2 c fresh flat-leaf parsley

How to make it:

Bring large pot of water to boil, add asparagus, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces and cook for 3 minutes

Use a slotted spoon to transfer asparagus to a colander, reserving 1/4 C water from asparagus water. (You will also use the remaining water outside of the 1/4 C to cook the gnocchi so don’t toss it!

Add gnocchi to remaining cooking water and follow package directions

For the Pesto:

Puree 1 C of asparagus, reserved 1/4 C cooking water, 1/4 C grated Romano cheese, 2 Tbsp pine nuts, 2 tsp olive oil, 1 garlic clove (crushed through press), and 1/4 tsp salt in a blender.

Add 1 C fresh basil and 1/2 C fresh flat-leaf parsley; pulse until herbs are chopped.

Drain gnocchi; return to pot.

Add pesto and remaining asparagus; toss to coat.

Turkey Burgers

 

Tonight’s dinner was one that I often forget about!  Turkey burgers.  So easy and affordable and only 6 Points Plus.

What you need:

Ground turkey breast *I prefer turkey breast, if it doesn’t say breast that means there is also dark meat mixed in. (4 oz. burgers = 3 Points Plus, for meat)

Italian seasoning to taste

Garlic salt to taste

Red pepper flakes to taste

Light hamburger buns (I like Sara Lee Delight 2 Points Plus)

Any veggies you like or have on hand (tonight I used red onion and tomato)

Weight Watchers Jalapeno pepper spreadable cheese (1 Points Plus)

How to make:

Form meat into 4 oz patties

Sprinkle with Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and garlic salt

Grill on medium heat (these cook pretty fast so be careful not to burn!)

Spread cheese on bun

Top with your favorite veggies, mustard, ketchup.

Eat up!

Pasta With Veggies

 

Yes, again…More pasta!  I love it =)  This is also called “I have a ton of veggies I need to use up before they go bad”.

What you need: This is for one serving. 7 Points Plus

2 Oz. Pasta (I use Fiber Gourmet-can be found in the health food section at some grocery stores or www.fibergourment.com ) 4 Points Plus

1/2 Red Pepper (0 Points Plus)

Shallot (O Points Plus)

Asparagus (as much as you want, I love!) (0 Points Plus)

Tomato (0 Points Plus)

Red Onion (0 Points Plus)

Lemon zest and juice (0 Points Plus)

2 Tablespoons high quality grated parmesan cheese (1 Points Plus)

2 Teaspoons Olive oil (2 Points Plus)

Red Pepper Flakes to taste

Italian seasons to taste

How to make it:

Cook pasta according to package directions

Boil asparagus on stove for 5-7 minutes (and don’t forget to cut the ends off!) Also once you take it off the stove, rinse it with cold water so it stops cooking.  Cut in to bite size pieces.

Sautee all veggies except asparagus on medium heat for 5 minutes.

Add pasta and asparagus to veggies and drizzle with olive oil.  Add parmesan cheese.

EAT!

A Topic Very Near and Dear to my Heart: Dessert.

 

It’s no secret. I have a HUGE sweet tooth.  I could be in a room full of chips, pasta, dips, etc. and be in full control of myself…Put me in the room next door filled with cookies, candy, ice cream, etc…D A N G E R.  One aspect of Weight Watchers that is key to my success is the idea that you can have anything you want…and they strongly encourage you to include the things you love in your plan.  Remember, this style of eating is a [lifestyle] change, not a [diet].  You will eat this way for the rest of your life, not just until you hit goal!  Let me put it this way: If someone ever told me “You can never have candy again” you would soon hear the headline “Candy lover goes crazy on “diet” enforcer” on the news.  I love when I find products that satisfy my sweet tooth, yet don’t blow my Points Plus budget.  These little gems pass the test!  Blue Bunny (music to my ears) Sweet Freedom Krunch Lites.  They are no sugar added, but honestly do not taste like it!  For 3 Points Plus, done and done.

This Flatbread is a gift from God.

So, these things are HUGE. (I know sorry the picture sucks) I use them to make all kinds of wraps.  Any guesses for Points Plus value??  Being the Weight Watchers expert I am (ha!) I saw these at the store and thought oh geeze…If I wanted to spend 8 Points Plus on just the wrap I’d go all out and eat a piece of pizza!  So, I took out my handy Iphone and typed in the nutritional information-fully prepared to put the wraps back down from the shock of the Points Plus value…Man am I happy I didn’t have to!!!  The entire wrap is 3 Points Plus!!!  1/2 (Plenty for a generous sized wrap at lunch) is only 1!!! The annoying part about these is they are only available at Walmart Super Stores.  I have looked everywhere and that is the only place I have found them.  If you find them somewhere else, please share!!