Sunday, January 27, 2013

Reese’s Puffs Muffins!

Who knew the words Reese’s Puffs, Muffins and Healthy could be combined into one sentence and it not just be a jumbled up string of words?!  This creation is certainly something that I found to be absolutely mouth watering and a must buy in the very near future (once I start using up some of my baking mixes, etc.).

Around the middle of last year, Betty Crocker came out with a few muffin mixes geared to resemble classic cereals that are out in the market.  One of them was Reese’s Puffs – the other two are Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Cocoa Puffs.  The moment I laid eyes on the Reese’s Puffs muffin mix I immediately had to purchase it.  I will say I had a tough time at first finding these because my local super market did not carry them – I found them eventually at Target and another higher priced grocery store in my area.

Now I am a complete sucker for anything adjoined to the Reese’s brand.  I LOVE Reese cups, pieces, Reese bar mixes, etc.  That peanut butter, chocolate mixture is just a gold mine for me.

For these I made them per the box direction – adding the mixture to a mixing bowl – although instead of using the eggs and oil the mixture called for I simply replaced all that with soda water. 1 ½ cups of soda water to be exact.  I then divided the mixture out evenly into 12 cupcake tins (sprayed with Pam) and topped evenly with the “streusel” topping.

They baked up perfectly and were so delicious.  The cake had a definitive chocolate/peanut butter taste and they were just so yummy!  Not overly spongey as some “healthier alternative” cakes can get.

Points Plus wise it wasn’t bad at all – 3 Points Plus for a muffin.  Quite a delicious and unique snack!

Have you tried any of the Betty Crocker cereal brand muffins?

Kellogg’s Special K – Blondie Brownie Bites

I picked up a box of these new Kellogg’s Special K Brownie Bites in the Blondie flavor.  These are also available in a fudge flavor but since I LOVE white chocolate I had to pick up this box instead.

The Blondie Brownie Bites are individually packaged and are 100 calories for each pack.  The brownie bites are little small square pieces.  But I have to say … sadly, this was a complete miss for me.  The consistency of the “brownies” was more of a raw cookie dough texture.  It didn’t taste like a brownie; it tasted more like … well, cookie dough.  The brownie pieces were really soft which made me feel like I was eating raw cookie dough.  I wasn’t a fan to say the least and haven’t touched these since I purchased them.  My boyfriend likes cookie dough and found them to be okay, so I awarded him with the remaining packages.  If he’ll eat them, I’m not sure, but time will tell.

Point Plus wise, these were 3 points plus … but for me, not worth it.

Have you tried the new Kellogg’s Brownie Bites?

Quick & Simple Dinner: General Tso Chicken

This was an on the fly type of dinner.  I  had some chicken that I defrosted (without an idea as to what exactly I was going to do with it), but my boyfriends and I’s dinner plans altered because we were asked if we’d like to go out to dinner with my BF’s mom.  The next day I decided I needed to think something up – peaked through the cabinet and decided I was going to use a seasoning packet I had picked up at the store and stashed away.

I got this Simply Asia Steamer General Tso’s Chicken pack.  I was a little concerned when I purchased this because it’s a steamer bag and it states to stick everything with seasoning in the microwave, in this plastic bag that’s in the package.  I decided I wasn’t comfortable steaming anything – especially since I had raw chicken on my hands, so I went ahead and improvised.

I added a teaspoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of sesame oil to a skillet then added in my cut up chicken and cooked through.  When done I threw in a can of baby corns and a can of sliced water chestnuts.  I then took the packet of seasoning and mixed it with the recommended amount of water and soy sauce.  The package called for like ¼ cup of sugar or something like that, so I added in a tablespoon.  I mixed that liquid mixture up and poured it over my chicken and vegetables in the pan and heated through.  The sauce thickened and I served it with white rice and steamed veggies on the side.

I will say it was VERY spicy.  My boyfriend didn’t enjoy it (his taste buds are really changing and spices are bothering him now) which left me with a whole bunch of this stuff to eat.  My sister-in-law and brother came over the next day and we shared the leftovers.

Have you ever made general tso’s chicken at home?

Image is mine do not take or use. Thank you.

His & Her’s - Popeye’s for Dinner

A Popeye’s opened in the area so my boyfriend and I decided to grab dinner from there last week.

I had Popeye’s when I went to Florida about 5 years ago and thought at the time it was alright – rather salty, but then again I am very sensitive to salt (because I don’t use a whole lot of it – if any).  Before I even mentioned going there I checked out their website and saw they had a new Louisiana Leaux line which offers a healthier, baked variety of chicken so I decided I’d try that out.

For myself – I ordered the Naked Tenders Combo.  The meal came with 3 naked tenders, a side of green beans, a French baguette roll and a drink.  I will say the green beans were the most REPULSIVE thing.  They smelled horrible; I took one teeny little bite and threw them right into the garbage.  I’m not sure if that’s how they always are, or if it was a really bad batch, but yeck!  The naked tenders were pretty decent – Cajun seasoned and the roll was good – so I made a little sandwich out of it.  Weight Watchers PointsPlus wise the chicken (according to the WW stats) was 3 Points Plus. The green beans would have been 1 but I threw them out and the baguette I guestimated to be 5 Points Plus.

My boyfriend ordered the 5-piece Mild Chicken Tenders combo meal which came with a side of his choice , a biscuit and a fountain drink.  He ordered the coleslaw (which I have to say was pretty decent, worth the points WW wise if you’re a coleslaw fan).  He said the chicken was alright but he’d probably rather nuggets for less batter.

Overall the food was decent.  I would go back if I was in the mood for a low-point protein based meal … but I wouldn’t run right back.  When I do I’ll probably try the Naked Po Boy (9 PPV’s) and see what that’s cracked up to be!

Have you ever eaten at Popeye’s? If so, what’s your favorite thing to order?

Kellogg’s Honey Barbecue Cracker Crisps

Since I am a Weight Watchers member, Kellogg’s Special K Cracker Crisps have been a staple in my pantry since they were released over a year ago.   You generally get 27 crisps in a serving (which is a pretty large amount) and the line used to consist of just 3 flavors (sea salt, sour cream & onion and cheddar).  Kellogg’s stepped up their game and introduced two new flavors to their line – one being the Honey Barbecue (the other is Sea Salt & Vinegar – which I have not spotted yet).

If you’re into healthier chip alternatives and you’re familiar with PopChips – these are very similar.  They’re not as “spicy” as the Pop Chips variety (I don’t think they’re spicy but everyone has different taste buds w/ barbecue flavoring), but they are definitely tasty.  Since these have honey in them, they’re a tad sweeter – but not as sweet as I’ve tasted in some other honey barbecue potato chip flavors.

Weight Watcher Points Plus stat wise – these are 3 Points Plus for 27 crackers.  Quite a generous portion for such small amount of points!

Have you tried the Kellogg’s Special K Cracker Crisps?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Homemade Baked French Fries

I sometimes forget how easy it is to make French fries at home that are healthier for you.  So many times we think of French fries and instantly relate that to deep fried.  Well, there’s a way to make French fries at home, by baking them, and eliminating a whole lot of the fat.

I was inspired to make these by the Weight Watchers weekly I received at my meeting.  They were for cheese fries but since my boyfriend doesn’t like cheese, I decided to simplify it and just make salt and pepper seasoned fries.  I took 2 pounds of white washed potatoes, rinsed them under the water and then cut them up into French fry sized pieces.  I then layered them onto a Pam sprayed baking tray and tossed with a spritz of olive oil, sea salt and pepper.  I then baked them in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, flipping and spritzing with more Pam then baking another 20 minutes.

The fries came out really good.  They were softer, but mildly crunchy on the outside.  If you wanted a crispier fry you could toss them with olive oil.

I made 5 servings, which came out to be 4 points plus values per serving.  Delicious with a side of ketchup.

Have you ever made homemade French fries at home?

Dinner: Slow Cooker Italian Herb Chicken

I decided I wanted to make something in the Crock pot for dinner because it just simplifies things for me – especially since I travel for work.  It’s not a terribly long commute, but in traffic it can get entirely annoying and put a huge damper on my dinner plans.  So to deter that annoyance and being ahead of the game with pre-planning my meals I rely on my Crock pot.  A crock pot has truly been a time saver (life saver?) for me for many years.  If you’re not aware you’d be surprised the things you can make in your Crock pot – from breakfast items to dessert with everything in between.

I had picked up a McCormick seasoning pack in Italian Herb Chicken and it had been sitting in my pantry cabinet waiting to be used.  I was trying to figure out dinner and spotted the packet, realized I had everything needed to make it and onto the dinner menu it went.  Originally the packet called for mushrooms but my boyfriend isn’t a big mushroom fan so I substituted for onion and peppers.

To make this all I needed was 2 pounds of chicken, two cans diced tomato, one can tomato paste, the McCormick seasoning pack and the vegetables of my choice (peppers and onions).  I actually also added minced garlic to the crock pot because I put garlic in almost everything!

After setting my crock pot and “forgetting it” I found the end product was very much a chicken cacciatore.  It was delicious and I did serve this over white rice.

Weight Watcher Point Plus wise I measured out my chicken (3 ounces) and gave it 3 points plus for the chicken with some veggies.  My rice (1 cup) was an additional 5 points plus values.  8 Points plus was not bad for a delicious, homemade and simple dinner.

Apologies for not having the plated version photographed – I took a picture but my camera was evidentially hungry.

Do you have a Crockpot you use to help simplify cooking?

Honeybell Tangelo’s from Florida!

I ordered 4 trays of Honeybell Tangelos from a Ridge Island Grove in Florida back in November.  Honeybells are only available for sale in January because that’s when they are at their peak of freshness.  I cannot stress how much these oranges are seriously the BEST orange I have had in my LIFE! They’re a cross between an orange and tangerine. Typically they’re seedless but once in a while you do find a seed or two in an orange.

The skin is a little tougher than regular oranges and they are a little loose around the orange as the skin is with tangerines.  The oranges are SUPER juicy and quite delicious.  The only downside is I bought so much (I paid like $60 for the bushel) figuring it was the cheapest option that now I have SO many oranges lying around.  I was going to sell a tray to my aunt (because last time I bought 2 trays people kept taking them from me) and this year no one wants any. Pfft!!  I may try to make some fresh squeezed orange juice out of some of these.  Nommers!

Have you ever tried Honeybell Tangelos?

Friday, January 25, 2013

BBQ Pulled Chicken Pizzas!

I made my boyfriend and I BBQ Pulled Chicken Pizzas for dinner the other day because I was feeling inspired and I really wanted something different to eat that was new and somewhat exciting.  I had picked the items up, unrelated to one another and decided to whip them together.  I was quite pleased with how it turned out because I have purchased the Jack Daniels Pulled Chicken in the past to pair with salads – but my boyfriend wasn’t too keen on it because it’s a sweeter BBQ sauce and not a tangy one.  If you’re wondering why there is a pizza with cheese on it and one without – my boyfriend isn’t necessarily a self proclaimed fan of cheese (as I am) so his pizza was made simply sans cheese.

To create these I used the original multi-grain flavored Flat Out bread, 5.3 ounces of Jack Daniels Pulled Chicken and on mine 1/3 cup shredded fat free mozzarella.  I baked them off in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes (really until the cheese was melted and the chicken was heated through).  I enjoyed mine with a side salad … yummers!

Weight Watchers PointsPlus Value wise – this was 8 PointsPlus for the whole pizza (including cheese), 7 PointsPlus without it.

Have you ever made a healthier pizza alternative at home?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Weight Watchers Grill & Skillet Pan Haul

I popped into Big Lots the other day to look for car cleaning supplies and ended up stumbling about a Weight Watchers Grill and Skillet Pan set for $24.99.  I was quite surprised to find such a set at Big Lots, but after checking out some of the pans they had for individual sale I decided to grab the set.  I figured with the Weight Watchers name on the pans, they’d be pretty decent quality.

The set came with a 12 inch griller pan and a 10 inch skillet.  Both pans are non-stick and relatively lightweight.  Within the box was a booklet of recipes.  Big Lots was selling the 10 inch skillet for $15, so I technically got the griller for $10.  I can say I am looking forward to making panini’s and possibly even stove-top pizza in the griller!

Have you ever purchased a Weight Watchers brand cookware?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Homemade Salted Cookie Butter Fudge!

Since I have been introduced to Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter I have been addicted.  I find myself making Cookie Butter sandwiches quite frequently.  So in having a conversation with Sue I decided to google what you could do with cookie butter.  I spotted cookies and fudge.  Fudge?!  That immediately perked my interest because I make fudge every year.  All of the recipes varied most of them using only 6 ounces of chocolate chips.  But I wanted to incorporate the Cookie Butter right into my fudge recipe without having to try to make fudge in a different way (that I wasn’t familiar with).  With fingers crossed I added 2 cups of Cookie Butter to my bowl of dry ingredients.

In case you aren't aware of what Cookie Butter is, it's Trader Joe's version of a gingerbread flavored like peanut butter.  It's got a peanut butter consistency, is smooth like butter, but really belongs in a world of its own. It's delicious.

It turned out to be absolutely amazing!  The fudge had such a smooth and creamy consistency with a very mild gingerbread flavor.  So amazing!  The salt on top of the fudge aided in bringing the flavors together.  My aunt, who is a self-proclaimed “Chocoholic” told me this fudge was THE best fudge she’s ever had in her life.  I call that a success!

If you are going to try this recipe do keep in mind this makes a large 13x9 pan of fudge.

Depending on the amount of pieces you get, which would be what you would throw into e-tools Recipe Builder.  For me, it was 5 Points Plus Values for a piece.

Here’s my recipe:

4 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
1/2 pound butter
2 (12 ounce) packages milk chocolate chips
1 (12 ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips
4 cups mini marshmallows
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter
~1 ½ tablespoons Sea Salt (I didn’t measure, I just sprinkled it over the top of the fudge out of my shaker)

Pour chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, vanilla extract and Cookie butter in a very large bowl. Set aside.

In a medium sauce pan, place the butter, sugar and evaporated milk into the pan.

Cooking on medium/high to medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil (don’t forget to stir it).  Once you start to see bubbles forming set your timer and cook for exactly 11 minutes (depending on how it’s boiling you can lower your heat setting a little from medium-high to medium), stirring constantly.   Make sure you stir constantly or it WILL burn on you.

Once done, pour your hot liquid mixture over the ingredients in the bowl and stir slowly to blend using a metal spoon.

Pour into a buttered 13 x 9-inch pan.  Once all fudge is into the pan sprinkle with the sea salt (just a very light sprinkle not completely covering every inch) and chill very well. Cut when cold.

Would you ever make Cookie Butter fudge?

Homemade Rocky Road Fudge

Every year at Christmas time I make fudge to give to family and friends as a “thinking of you” type of gift.  Typically I make a Bailey’s Walnut fudge, but this year I decided to experiment and make a few different batches.  The fudges I made turned out to be such a hit I think I’m going to just make these flavors moving forward.

Talking to my boyfriend I decided I’d try out a Rocky Road fudge.  The ingredients are very similar (minus the added mini marshmallows) in comparison to the recipe I’ve always used. They were quite delicious.  The fudge recipe I use is seriously the best fudge I’ve ever had – and I’m not just saying that because I made it!  If you do give it a try – I hope you enjoy!

If you are going to try this recipe do keep in mind this makes a large 13x9 pan of fudge.

I put my recipe into the Recipe Builder on Weight Watchers and I throw in the amount of fudge pieces I end up with to figure out the points.  Typically I end up with 4-5 Point Plus Value pieces of fudge.

Now onto the recipe:

4 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
1/2 pound butter
2 (12 ounce) packages milk chocolate chips
1 (12 ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips
4 cups mini marshmallows & 2 cups of mini marshmallows
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups chopped walnuts

Pour chocolate chips, 4 cups mini marshmallows, vanilla extract, and walnuts in a very large bowl. Set aside.

In a medium sauce pan, place the butter, sugar and evaporated milk into the pan.

Cooking on medium/high to medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil (don’t forget to stir it).  Once you start to see bubbles forming set your timer and cook for exactly 11 minutes (depending on how it’s boiling you can lower your heat setting a little from medium-high to medium), stirring constantly.   Make sure you stir constantly or it WILL burn on you.

Once done, pour your hot liquid mixture over the ingredients in the bowl and stir slowly to blend using a metal spoon.

Right before your mixture looks like its setting, dump in the remaining 2 cups of marshmallows and blend in.  You don’t want the marshmallows to melt completely as it is Rocky Road fudge.

Pour into a buttered 13 x 9-inch pan and chill very well. Cut when cold.

Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut – Golden Honey Nut Cereal

I received a box of Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut Golden Honey Nut cereal from BzzAgent to review.  I admit I was intrigued because I go through phases with cereals – there are staples that I always buy once the box is emptied and then there are other times where I am looking for something new to jazz up my cereal bowl (or even my yogurt cup).  I admit I do not eat cereal all the time, but I enjoy having it as a back-up or even having phases where cereal is a meal for a week or two.

I admit when I saw the name “Crunchy Nut” and “Golden Honey Nut” I instantly thought – unhealthy.  I chalked it up to possibly being a sugar ridden cereal that was going to be more calories than necessary.  I admit when I saw the caloric states I was quite surprised.  120 calories for a ¾ cup serving?  Not bad at all!  I converted the stats into Weight Watchers Points Plus values and it was 3 PPV’s per serving.  Certainly not bad!  One of my staple cereals is higher in calories and WW PPV’s than that.

I’ve eaten the cereal by itself (with no milk) and I’ve also enjoyed it with almond milk and a sliced banana.  Both ways are equally delicious.  Without milk it’ll give you that subtle sweet-crunchy that you may be looking for.  With milk it kind of reminds me of a less sweet frosted flakes that are crunchier and that don’t sog out so quickly.

I find eating this with a banana and almond milk it is decently filling.  I can eat it for breakfast (or as another meal during the day) and I’m not poking around the kitchen seeing what else there may be to eat.

Overall I can say I’ve really been enjoying this cereal and have been eating it at least once a day since receiving.  Two thumbs up, Kelloggs!

Have you tried any of the Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut cereals?

Asian Pork Tenderloin

I wanted to make something different for dinner and after pre-planning most of the meals for the week I decided we’d have pork for dinner. I wanted to use the crock pot but outside of that general idea I didn’t have a specific recipe in mind.  I opted to go with a classic Asian style “marinade” to incorporate into the dish.  I grabbed some of the items I would typically use while making stir fry and then experimented with the rest with fingers (secretly) crossed behind my back that the end result was a tasty one.

Thankfully – it was a success!  It was so delicious and something I am going to undoubtedly continue to make when in the mood for pork loin.  Since cooking the pork in the crock pot it was tender and melt in your mouth delicious.  The vegetables were perfect and the sauce was a perfect addition to spoon over white rice.

Here’s how I made the dish:

1/3 cup Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup water
¼ Hoisin sauce
Tablespoon Gulden’s spicy mustard
2 tablespoons ketchup
Tablespoon fresh minced ginger
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
Sprinkle black pepper

Main ingredients:
2 extra-lean pork loins (~1 pound each – I used the Hormel Original pork loins)
One medium fresh onion, sliced
One large red pepper, sliced
Bag fresh baby carrots
Bag frozen Asian Veggie Medley (typically contains broccoli, carrots, pea pods)
2 cans sliced water chestnuts

Add all ingredients for the sauce into a bowl and mix to combine.

Place pork loins in the bottom of your Crock pot (feel free to remove any visible fat the Hormel brand has a small amount of fat which I removed).  Pour sauce mixture over the meat.

Place baby carrots, sliced onion and red pepper into the crock pot.  Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours (you can also cook on high it would probably be done in 4-6 hours).

30 minutes before serving add in the frozen vegetables and the water chestnuts.  Stir in, cover and let cook for an additional 30 minutes to bring the frozen vegetables up to temperature.

I calculated it to be 5 Points Plus Values for 4 ounces of pork loin and a helping of vegetables.  I paired it with a side of white rice (1 cup for 5 Points Plus values) making it a simple and easy 10 PPV meal!

Do you like to use your Crock pot to cook meals?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Weight Watchers Snacks Haul

I picked up a few items at my Weight Watchers meeting a few weeks ago primarily because I really wanted to try one of them and the others sounded interesting.  In celebration of Weight Watchers being a withstanding business for 50 years, they came out with a new snack bar – Celebration Cake.  I’d heard so many people saying how delicious these bars were.  I had waited almost a month before I caved and picked up a box and I have to say they are absolutely delicious! They give you that definitive sweetness you’d get from a piece of birthday cake and I find the texture is a little spongey-ish.  Definitely really good and I find I’m able to have one without wanting another.  I also picked up a box of Fruities.  I’ve seen fruities for the longest time and finally decided to try them ... I got a box of cherry, which are REALLY chewy candy bits (think Swedish fish just harder and chewier) and a box of Citrus Drops which are soft chews.

Of course all these products are only available at a Weight Watchers meeting or store-front.  Prices vary based on weekly/monthly sales, etc.

Have you ever tried a Weight Watchers product?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Power of Positive Thinking

I’ll be truthfully honest – I used to be a VERY negative person.  The grass was never greener, everyone was an idiot and it just was not my day.  Because of this I was never really happy.  I wasn’t happy with myself, I wasn’t happy with my surroundings, I wasn’t happy with where my life was going – and I wasn’t doing anything to change it.

After starting my weight loss journey I found that my tolerance for negative thinking was lessening.  If I thought positively I started to see that more and more positive things would come to light.  I began to switch up my thinking and began tweaking and changing the things that I didn’t like.  With the help of my boyfriend I began looking at the things I could NOT change in a different light – a different angle even.

One thing to remember is that positivity goes a LONG way! You can and will be amazed with how much happier you can be when you wheedle out the negative (people/thinking, etc). I realize sometimes it's hard to see the greener pasture but it’s doable - that is in regard to anything: weight loss, health, personal life, work, family, stressors etc. Things only get better if you think them better first.

Make each event a lesson to learn from.  That person that is frustrating you -- What about them frustrates you – and is it really them or is it you?  Have you slipped up and had an “off day”? Don’t throw in the towel thinking you’re a failure.  Chalk it up to a bad day, take note of it, remember and start over from step 1 the next day or even the very next meal.

Since changing the way I think, I’ve truly changed my life.  I’m a happier person and I allow myself a moment or two to step back from a frustrating situation to evaluate and to look at a situation in a different light.  Sure I have my moments of sheer annoyance (we all do) but I don’t let that screw up my whole day, nor do I allow myself to fester over it (or turn to a whole pizza over).

Keep your chin up, take a deep breath and withdraw from the negativity.  It’s worth it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Trader Joe’s – Pumpkin Butter

Ah, Pumpkin Butter – the greatest thing I’ve eaten in a while.

I will admit I’ve had this jar in my cabinet for a few weeks now.  I originally started hunting for this toward the end of fall but I was advised that it was seasonal and unfortunately they were out.  That is until someone was in the same aisle as me, looking for pumpkin butter, and she asked one of the people working.  They found one single jar in the store and part of me went “Nooo…..”.  Thankfully on one of my next trips to TJ’s I found the pumpkin butter had been restocked on the shelf, so I immediately grabbed a jar because I knew if I waited it wouldn’t be there when I wanted it.  So fast, forward ….

What is Pumpkin Butter?  It’s like a jelly/jam that’s pumpkin flavored.  It’s smooth like butter, but not even in the same category.  It’s also incredibly diverse meaning you can use it in a number of ways – on toast, on ice cream, on meats, in recipes, etc (all at your own mercy)..  Quite confusing, but trust me, it’s amazing.  It tastes JUST like pumpkin pie.  So I guess you could say if pumpkin pie and butter had a baby this would be the end result.  Another unique combination from Trader Joe’s!

I will say, calorie wise this isn’t bad at all.  For a tablespoon serving there are 40 calories.  There’s absolutely NO fat in it and it tastes fabulous.  Weight Watchers PointsPlus wise it’s 1 PPV.  Not bad at all.

I enjoyed this on an English muffin … I then experimented with it, by adding some Cookie Butter and a piece of banana.  Amazingness.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Healthy Breakfast Sandwich

As unhealthy as it is for you, there’s one thing that I used to really enjoy a McDonald’s Sausage McMuffin (that is before I started on my healthy lifestyle change).  Eggs, sausage, cheese, English muffin and cheese – quite a great design for a yummy sandwich.  Sadly, the greasiness of a sausage mcmuffin at McDonald’s or even at a diner is too heavy and fatty on my stomach.  So I’ve learned to make things in a healthier manner.  I do switch this sandwich up depending on what’s available in the house.  I’ve been known to switch the meat choices up with turkey sausage, turkey bacon, Canadian bacon, deli ham or just eliminating the meat all together.  Whereas for the eggs I usually go with seasoning with salt and pepper – but I have been known to add sautéed peppers (and onions if available) into the eggs to make them southwestern-y.

To make this 6-Points Plus Value sandwich, I used 1 Light English muffin (2 points plus value), 1/3 cup Eggbeaters (1 pointsplus value), 1 frozen turkey sausage patty (1 pointsplus value) and 1 slice fat free American cheese (1 pointsplus value).

I toasted the English muffin in the toaster and spritzed a glass bowl with Pam and added in my eggbeaters, sprinkled with salt and pepper and microwaved for 1 minute.  I scooped the egg away from the bowl and microwaved for 45-60 seconds (until all egg was cooked and not liquidy).  I then wrapped my sausage in a napkin and microwaved fro 1 minute.  After that I just assembled my sandwich and enjoyed – so delicious!

Shannon's experience: Weight Watchers - One Amazing Day


I had the immense pleasure of sharing my weight loss journey with a group of individuals at a Weight Watchers One Amazing Day event yesterday.  When I was asked to participate I admit I was scared to death and part of me wanted to back out.  I’m not the most comfortable with public speaking and being heavier practically my entire life I’ve always slid into the room (as unnoticed as possible), mingled in the back and quickly exited.  So the thought of being the center of attention panicked me just a little bit.  But the new me stepped into place and said “You’re passionate about this and a lot of people tell you you’re an inspiration to them.  Do this.  Do it for them.  Do it for yourself.  YOU deserve this!”  So I did it – I signed up and took the 1 o’clock spot.

I know I am not at my goal weight, but I have lost a significant amount of weight over the time I have been a member.  I openly participate at my home meeting and am not afraid to share my advice, my thoughts and any tips/tricks that I have found that work for myself.  If they work for me, they may very well work for someone else.  So my philosophy is why not share?

I joined Weight Watchers in February 2010 because I wanted change and for the first time in my life and most importantly: I wanted it for myself.  I’ve always been the heavier kid as early as my days in kindergarten all the way through college.  I was unhappy with my size and because I was an emotional eater, I would eat to pacify my feelings about my looks (while I would also eat to pacify any emotion I was feeling – happy, sad, angry, elated) – which only aided in me gaining more and more weight.  Family and friends would tell me I should consider losing weight because I had my whole life ahead of me – but I wasn’t in a mind frame where I wanted to take advice from anyone.  I was comfortably wearing blinders and those blinders did not allow me to SEE myself.  I knew the outside world could see me but if I didn’t see me, they couldn’t – right?

Months later, I had my “ah-ha moment” when I finally saw myself for the size that I had become (in a photograph).  I also found myself going shopping to buy clothes in a larger size and thought to myself “This is crazy… what am I doing?”  At that point, I was so sick and tired of being sick and tired I had decided that enough was enough – I needed to get healthy for myself and for myself only.  I knew Weight Watchers worked, I had joined with a family member when I was about 18 years old and lost a good amount of weight.  So, keeping my intended journey to myself (because I didn’t want anyone to tell me to join Weight Watchers because if they told me, I wouldn’t have joined – self sabotage at it’s greatest) I joined Weight Watchers on a Thursday afternoon, on my way home from work, and have never looked back.

To date, I have lost 175 pounds on the program.  I’m about 30 pounds away from my goal weight (BMI) and I plan on obtaining that goal weight this year.  It’s been a long, amazing and incredibly rewarding three years.  Weight Watchers has helped me change my life for the better  I’ve embraced this lifestyle change (including my tracking, measuring and weighing) with open arms and have praised the program and how fabulously it works (if you’re willing to work with it).  I’m a healthier, happier and utterly positive person today.  Such a night and day switch from the person I used to be.

So my advice to anyone who is considering joining or even considering giving up – BELIEVE.  Believe in yourself.  Believe in the program.  It works, but you just have to be willing to do the work and work with it.  It’s not something that’s going to eat up all your free time.  Once you get the hang of it and figure out the points for your frequently eaten foods, it becomes second nature.  And as you see results, you’re going to feel more in-tune and you’re going to want to try a little harder to reach that next goal.  My advice to anyone who’s frustrated: BREATHE.  You did not put on your weight in a week.  Think of how long you’ve been the weight you were/are currently.  Realize it takes time – but once you’re on the journey it’s the most fulfilling thing you’ll ever do.  My advice to anyone who’s struggling: RE-EVALUATE.  Dig into the problem area – what are you struggling with?  What are your goals at this current phase of your journey (because they do differ from when you first start).  If you’re bored – switch it up!  Switch up what you’re eating, add an extra 10 minutes of a different activity and remember continue to keep that positive frame of mind.

You will get there; just believe in yourself that you can and that you will … the rest of just a proverbial cake walk.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Trader Joe's Reduced Guilt Brownies

I picked up a box of this Reduced Guilt Brownie Mix at Trader Joe's on my last trip through the store.  I'm a complete brownie fanatic but I don't necessarily like the calorie content that comes with a brownie.  I know, you can make a brownie as healthy as possible by substituting ingredients (apple sauce, banana, water, etc.) but sometimes you just want a good ole brownie.

These Reduced Guilt brownies intrigued me because all you had to do was add in 2/3 cup of fat free vanilla Greek yogurt (or plain with a splash of vanilla).  Considering I am a Weight Watchers member, I quickly converted the nutrition label into points and it was 3-points for 1/12th of the box.  Not bad, considering most brownies would cost 5 points or more.  I then calculated it with the Geek yogurt and it was still at 3-points, so I had to get it!

I whipped these up as the box stated -- and I admit I added in 1/2 cup liquid egg substitute (eggbeaters) because I could just not get my brownie mix to go smooth.  I baked them per the box directions and they turned out great!  Keep in mind since these are a fat free brownie, they do have a cake-like texture to them.  They are most certainly chocolatey and moist, but they're not ooey gooey fudge brownies. Overall two thumbs up -- definitely a rebuy!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Perdue Simply Smart Lightly Breaded Chicken Chunks

I had picked up these Perdue Simply Smart Lightly Breaded Chicken Chunks at my local grocery store a few weeks ago and had the bag stashed in the freezer waiting for an excuse to be cooked.  That excuse came today because I didn’t have dinner planned and didn’t want to go out to eat.  So I decided to bake these tenders up along with some frozen waffle fries and some fresh steamed veggies.  I have to say, my boyfriend and I were both in agreement, this chicken is AMAZING!  It’s SO good!  Its chicken breast meat with rib meat, but the chicken itself is white when you bite into it.  It’s got a good texture, similar to the texture you get with a real chicken nugget/tender.  It doesn’t have a whole lot of breading on it, since they are lightly breaded and a healthier alternative in comparison to the other frozen chicken choices out there.  They bake up in 10 minutes and are just overall quite yummy.

Point Plus Value wise – these are 3 oz for 4 points, of 6 ounces for 7 points.