Friday, December 25, 2009

Spinach and Onion Quiche Without a Crust

I have fallen in love with Liquid Egg Whites. They are a weight watcher's best friend, and just what the doctor ordered for my DH who is not supposed to have egg yolks and had been told to cut back on carbs. The liquid eggs are low in point value and a filling food(for me) and high in protein and iron (for him). Today's breakfast was a Spinach and Onion Quiche.

1 10 oz. pkg of baby spinach
1 lg onion, sliced
2 cups liquid egg white
Salt & pepper
2 oz. shredded cheese.

Microwave the spinach and put into a strainer. Press out as much of the liquid as possible and put the spinach into a bowl.
Saute the onion until soft and combine with the spinach. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the 2 cups of liquid egg white, and pour the mixture into a quiche pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Sprinkle the shredded cheese onto the mixture.

Bake at 375 for 35 min.

This recipe makes 4 generous portions, and each counts as approx. 2.5 points on the WeightWatcher's program. With multi-grain toast, this makes a most satisfactory breakfast.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cost or Value???

The last 2 days have been a milestone in this Weight Watcher's life. Tuesday started with a tentative "I wonder if these Size 12 pants fit me yet" and , miracle of miracles THEY DID!

My DH thought they looked big, but I think he was just being kind and supportive!

And last night I weighed in at my Wednesday WeightWatcher's meeting - and I had achieved the 25 lb. mark.
That started me thinking about the cost of membership versus the value. I have friends who have told me that they feel that paying $15.00 a week for the privilege of standing on a scale at a meeting an expense they'd rather not incurr. I say anyone who has weight to lose would rather not incurr the cost - IF we could do it alone!
Sure, I've thought about the $15 I shell out every time I weigh in. What would it buy me if I wasn't attending a meeting? A pizza? A few cappucino's? Burgers? Fries? A few additional pounds? The need for larger sized clothing?
The value of the program, on the other hand, is in the tools I've gained in the management of my weight. It's in the weekly guides that I was given in the first 10 weeks - a set of resources to consult again and again. It's in the ability to judge and manage portion size. It's in the ability to recognize the difference between "satisfied" and "full" and push my plate away. (That was a challenge! I always thought I had to eat until I was full!) It's in the satisfaction of knowing I am eating in a healthy manner and preparing healthy meals for the benefit of my DH and myself. It's the skill of being able to work in the foods I love so as not to feel deprived - and still show a drop on the scale. It's in the boost of self esteem I get when I graduate to a smaller size. I could go on......
I have way more to say on the subject of value, but I'll save it for other blogs! (Although it may sound like it, I DO NOT work for WeightWatchers, but I am a happy advocate for the program!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Lucky Find

I'm a sucker for books, and finding this one in Safeway of all places was a stroke of luck. I've always considered my knowledge of the various varieties of fruits, vegetables and herbs to be limited, so this book is just the thing I need to expand my horizons. What particularly captured my interest was the section on different ethnic specialties.
Several years ago, my DH and I spent a couple weeks in China. We lived in an apartment instead of a hotel, and I was shopping for and cooking vegetables I didn't recognize. I loved the adventure of shopping in a Chinese supermarket. I felt like I was in a bubble - floating around, surrounded by a cacophony of sounds I didn't understand, packaging I couldn't read and a multitude of foods of which I had no knowledge. If I had this book with me at that time, I would have felt a little less alien!
This book, titled Dr. Richter's Fresh Produce Guide was published by Try-Foods International. ISBN is 0-9703139-0-x if it is of interest. It has a 2003 copyright.
What I like about it are the clear, vibrant pictures and details. For each variety it holds nutritional information, general info, selection and storage tips, and most important, preparation and cooking tips.
Since I am following the Weightwatchers program, I am getting a little bored with the same vegetables again and again. And veggies are a HUGE part of what I eat, so I'm counting on this book to help me "veg" in new directions!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Soup of the Week - "Cole Slaw" Soup

I got around to taking a picture of my "Soup of the Week" ingredients last Sunday, but never got the blog done - so here it is. The soup is all but gone after daily lunches, and it was one of my better efforts to date. So I'll try to recall what I did to make it - as it's a definite "doagain".

This weeks ingredients were:

1 package Manischewitz Vegetable Soup Mix with mushrooms
2 leeks (white part - well washed and chopped up
medium onion - chopped
3 cloves garlic - chopped

cauliflower - chopped - about a cup
broccoli - chopped - about a cup and 1/2
3 stalks celery- chopped
3 carrots - sliced
1 rutabaga - cut into 1/2'' cubes
1/2 bag of cole slaw mix
1/4 cup chopped dill - loosely chopped
Mrs. Dash Seasoning
Freshly ground pepper
2 bay leaves
1 container vegetable broth (only because the soup vegetables outgrew the amount of water I used.)

My starter was a package of "Manischewitz" Vegetable Soup mix which contains some dried peas, lima beans and barley along with some noodles and seasonings.


1. Bring 8 cups of water to a boil and add the packaged peas and bean mixture. Reserve the seasoning package to the end of the cooking time. (These need at least 2 hours to simmer.)

2. Add the chopped onions and the following seasonings to the soup pot: Mrs Dash, dill, freshly ground pepper, marjoram .

3. Saute the vegetables in a large skillet. When the soup has simmered for about an hour, add the vegetables and continue cooking. (Here's where the vegetables I prepared outgrew the amount of water I used, so I added a container of vegetable stock. I wish I had saved the packaging of the one I used, as it was excellent. It was in a light green box, purchased at Superstore, and had the words "Tastes like homemade" on the package. It was much lower in salt than most of the other vegetable stocks I have bought, so I will definitely buy this one again.

4. Toward the end of the cooking time, add the seasoning and noodle flavour package from the soup mix.

The Verdict - It was robust, nicely seasoned and tasty. Even DH (Mr. I don't like soup) ate it, and it got a great review from a friend who had lunch with us one day.

I ended up with about 16 cups of soup, so that figured to less than 1 WeightWatcher point per cup, so I counted it as 1 point anyway. It was a great filling food!

I'm not sure why, but a hot soup at lunch seems to fill and hold me so much better than a salad.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Banana Blueberry Blog

As usual, I had a couple bananas rapidly turning black on the counter. I refused to add them to the ever-growing black banana collection in my freezer, so muffins seemed like a good idea.

I used one of my new Diabetes Cookbooks: Complete Canadian Diabetes Cookbook, edited by Katherine E. Younker, and once again made what I thought were weightwatcher and diabetes friendlier substitutions. I lowered the fat by using applesauce and only 1 tbsp. oil, and subbed Splenda for the sugar.
This is my version of
Blueberry Banana Muffins
2 bananas, pureed
1/2 cup Splenda
1/3 cup applesauce
1 tbsp veg. oil
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/3 cup yogurt (I used a 100 g. fruit yogurt)
1/2 c. blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1. Combine pureed banana, Splenda, applesauce, veg.oil, egg and vanilla in a large bowl and mix well.
2. Add the dry ingredients into the bowl, followed by the yogurt. Stir in well, and add the blueberries.
3. Drop batter into muffin cups that have been sprayed with Pam, or lined with paper liners. This recipe makes 12 med. sized muffins.
4. Bake at 375 for approximately 20 minutes - until tops are firm to the touch.
By my calculation of the combined ingredients points values, each muffin works out to 1-1/2 points on my Weightwatcher program.
The verdict - Pretty good for a low (almost no) fat muffin. They are certainly sweet enough.
A good low point snack!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Classic Beef Stew with Mushrooms

I love Numerous times a year I order books. Last week, my theme was Diabetes Cookbooks - 3 of them, all published in co-operation with the Canadian Diabetes Corporation. I have Canada's Diabetes Meals for Good Health by Karen Graham, Complete Canadian Diabetes Cookbook, Edited by Katherine E. Younker, and the one I'm using today - Canadian Diabetes Slow Cooker Recipes by Judith Finlayson.
I am using the recipe "Classic Beef Stew" as a guide, but because I like to improvise with ingredients and I only have .645 kg (2.4 lbs.) of meat and not a full kilo, I'll be adjusting the recipe a bit by adding fresh mushrooms. And, at this stage, I'm not sure what else because I haven't started yet. It's "Dollar Days" at Sobey's and IGA, so I have baby carrots and mushrooms waiting in the wings. The challenge for me will be not to add potatoes. How can there be a stew without potatoes? I have NEVER made a stew without potatoes. This will be the first if I can do it!

I've brought up my slow cooker from the basement, washed the dust away, and It's ready to go!

Basic Ingredient List:

1 tbsp olive oil
1.4 lbs stewing beef, trimmed and cut into 1 inch cubes.
2 onions, chopped medium
4 stalks celery, chopped into 1/4" pieces
2-3 large carrots, chopped into 1/2" chunks - or 2 cups baby carrots.
At least 2 cloves of garlic. (I will use 4)
1 tsp. dried thyme. (I love thyme in a stew - I will double it.)
1 tsp. salt.
10 dried peppercorns
1/4 c. all purpose flour
1 cup vegetable broth. (Recipe asks for low salt beef broth, but I don't have any.)
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 cups fresh mushrooms, quartered
2 bay leaves

1. Brown the beef in a skillet using a little of the olive oil at a time and medium-high heat. Transfer it to the slow cooker when it's lightly browned. Already I had to deviate from the recipe and sprinkle the meat with garlic powder and Mrs. Dash Original Spice Blend.

2. Reduce the heat to medium and add onions, carrots, and celery to soften. Again a sprinkle of garlic powder and Mrs. Dash. Then add mushrooms, garlic, salt, thyme and peppercorns. After a couple minutes, add flour and stir into the pan. Then add the liquids and stir until it thickens a bit. Add the bay leaves.

3. Transfer the whole works to the slow cooker, give it a thorough mixing. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 or 5 hours. Remove the bay leaves before serving.

As I was making it, I thought about variations. Rutabagas and leeks perhaps?

The verdict - DH liked it. I liked it too, but I felt there was a little too much of the red wine flavour. Next time, I would cut back or omit the wine and add more garlic!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

THE Diabetes Info Session - What I learned

Wednesday of this week, DH and I attended the Diabetes info session that his doctor prescribed. Much was common sense - eat a balanced diet, limit salt, don't smoke, manage stress, keep cholesterol levels normal, exercise .... all things we all need to hear and do.
Most aspects of the suggested diet will benefit me as a weightwatcher, but there are some differences. For me, when I'm determining the points in a serving of a particular food, I look at the calories, the fiber and the fat content.I'm allowed 18 points per day plus 35 additional over the course of a week. But pay attention to the carb grams? Not so much!
DH has to look at the carbs and the fiber. If the fiber is 3 g or more, he subtracts that from the carbohydrate grams. So, if carbs are 30 and fiber is 4, he counts it as 26 g. And the limit for him is 60-75 carbohydrate grams per meal. If he sticks to the lower end, he should lose weight.
He should be testing his blood a couple hours after he's had his meal. I'd like to see him track what he has eaten, then 2 hours later to test his blood and see the effect.
It goes without saying that he should eat more of the Non-Carbs: vegetables, proteins, legumes, meats, cottage cheese, cheese and limited fats. Most of these foods are also very weightwatcher friendly and filling, so they'll be good for me too.
The carbohydrates are: potatoes, corn, rice, pasta, cereal, bread, fruit, milk, yogurt, ice-cream - All the really good stuff! This will not be easy for a bread and sweets lover. The items he loves the most will be like mainlining sugar straight into the bloodstream for him!
We have our work cut out for us!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Motivated by Cottage Cheese

What to make for dinner? I had 1/2 a container of 1% cottage cheese that I wanted to use, so I've been searching for recipes that incorporate cottage cheese into a diabetic and weightwatcher friendly entree.
Not finding quite what I wanted, I decided to improvise and made the following dish.

Rotini with Creamy Mushroom and Tomato Sauce

1 tbsp. Olive oil
1/2 c. Chopped onion
2 cloves crushed garlic
2/3 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 28oz can President's Choice Blue Menu "No Salt Added" tomatoes
(plus reserved liquid)
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
Freshly ground pepper
2/3 c. 1 % cottage cheese
1/3 c. skim milk
4 cups cooked rotini - (Catelli Smart High Fibre)

Cook pasta separately, drain and set aside.

Saute onion, garlic and mushroom until soft.
Add tomato and liquid and cook together for 5 min.
In a blender, blend cottage cheese and milk together until smooth and creamy.
Add it to the simmering tomato liquid.
Add the pasta to the liquid and heat thoroughly.

Sprinkle with parmesan when serving.

The verdict: I liked it and would make it again.

I am counting 1 cup as 6 Weightwatcher points.

It's pretty low salt and low cholesterol, so should serve as a healthy diabetic friendly meal. Let's see what my DH thinks of it.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Soup of the Week

I believe that one of the secrets of my successful weight loss to date (besides journaling every morsel that goes into my mouth) are my "soups of the week." Today's is based on a vegetable soup mix from "Manischewitz" which can be found in the kosher section of the grocery store. I selected this one over the others because the salt content was so much less than the other varieties.
I started with the soup mix in 8 cups of boiling water, added a bay leaf, large chopped onion, garlic and some additional herbs and spices: thyme, dill, marjoram, Mrs. Dash, pepper (no salt because we have to limit DH's salt intake). After about 3/4 hour of the soup simmering, I added the following vegetables: 1 cup chopped carrots, a stalk of chopped celery,a cup of chopped cauliflower, a chopped parsnip, a bit of chopped broccoli stems, and about a cup of chopped cabbage. There's a little package of seasoning that is added in the last 10 minutes or so of cooking. Soup is done in about 2 hours. I got about 12 cups of very thick soup. If I divide it into 1-1/2 cup servings, I get 8 servings - and I will count it as 1.5 points per serving. I'll try freezing some of it to see how it holds up.

The verdict: Tastes good but needs salt. This I can add when I'm going to eat it.
Hopefully I can get DH to eat it too. He's not a soup lover, but this soup is high fiber, low salt and low calorie - just what his doctor ordered, so maybe I can convince him.

Getting Started

So how does one begin a blog? What motivates a person to blog?
I have to admit that I am the last one in my family to get involved in this social networking business - and I don't want to be left behind.
And what to blog about? Well - my life is not overly exciting. I work. I come home. I prepare meals. I feed my cats. I avoid housework. I go to Weightwatchers weekly trying to shed those nasty pounds that have snuck onto my body over the last 15 years. An ordinary life - but a good one.

What do I have to say that is worth sharing?

Well - a couple things. I've been attending Weightwatchers now for 14 weeks, and I am down 21.4 pounds, which I think is wonderful. I've lost my extra chins and my boobs now stick out more than my stomach did. This is good. I can now shop in the regular petites section of a department store. (Yes I'm overweight and undertall.)

And my husband's doctor has read him the riot act about diabetes control, so that's a new challenge we are facing. So I'm happy to start sharing my trials and tribulatons in coming up with interesting and palateable meals that address our issues.

So that's what I hope to do - and in the process to learn bout blogging and find out why it's such a popular phenomenon.

Happily Losin' It!