Monday, September 19, 2011

Back from Summer Vacation!

So I wasn't really on a vacation from Weight Watchers, but I had a busy summer- I celebrated my 40th birthday in May, I got married in June, I honeymooned in July, and took two vacations in August to Mammoth Lakes and Napa.  All great times, and all yummy food occasions.  But after they were over, I went back to my Weight Watcher basics and am proud to say I am still in my Lifetime weight goal range (barely!)

Now that summer is over, I have been cooking several fall dishes.  I roasted a turkey breast, have been making huge batches of Maple Pecan Granola, and today made an easy and delicious Pumpkin Mousse and a batch of homemade applesauce.  It's fall at my house, and autumn in my kitchen!  Here's a peak at what I've been eating:

Herb Roasted Turkey Breast (plated with roasted brussel sprouts and baby carrots)

2 1/2 pound turkey breast (leave skin on)
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tbsp. fresh chopped rosemary, or 2 tsp. dried
1 tbsp. fresh chopped sage, or one tsp. dried
2 tsp. fresh thyme, or 1 tsp. dried
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  In small bowl, mix oil with all seasonings.  Rinse and pat dry turkey breast, placing in a roasting dish coated with non-stick spray.  Rub herbed oil mixture all over the turkey breast until well covered.  Place in oven and bake until meat thermometer reads 165 degrees, and when flesh is pierced with fork, juice runs clear.  When finished, remove from oven, cover with foil and let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Recipe found in Food Your Crave by Ellie Krieger.  If you use a bigger breast, just double the recipe. 
A 3 oz. serving = 3points plus (without skin)

I found the recipe for Maple Pecan Granola in the September issue of Cooking Light, and everyone loves it so much, that I quadruple it when I make it.  I love it in the mornings with  fat-free vanilla Greek yogurt and berries, or for dessert with homemade applesauce and lowfat vanilla ice cream- it's just as good as apple crisp!

Maple Pecan Granola

4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 and 1/3 cup chopped pecans
4 egg whites
½ tsp. vanilla
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ cup pure maple syrup

Preheat oven to 300°.  Cover two cookie sheets with aluminum foil, and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Combine oats and pecans in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl combine egg whites and vanilla; beat egg mixture until foamy.  Fold oat mixture into egg mixture.  Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in a small bowl.  Fold the sugar mixture into the oat mixture.  Fold in maple syrup.  Spread granola evenly over two cookie sheets and bake for 25 minutes, stirring once.  Remove from oven, stir to loosen and cool completely.  Keep fresh in air tight containers or plastic bags.  I count 2 tbsp. for 1 point.

My last recipe tonight comes from my awesome Weight Watchers leader, Gwen Taylor.  She had this Pumpkin Mousse recipe on a flip chart a couple of years ago so I wrote it down and have made it several times each fall.  It is so easy, so delicious, and because it's made with canned pumpkin which has a lot of fiber- it's very filling!  You could serve this to guests and they wouldn't even know it's low fat!

Pumpkin Mousse

1 15 oz. can of pureed pumpkin
1 lg. box of fat free, sugar free vanilla pudding
1 cup nonfat milk
1 8oz. container Low Cal Cool Whip
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

In medium bowl, mix pudding with milk, pumpkin and spices.  Mixture will be thick.  Fold in half of the container of Cool Whip (saving rest for topping when serving).  Makes four servings.

1 cup= 2 points plus

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

On the road again.

It's hard enough to do Weight Watchers and be successful when you're at home.  It gets ever more challenging when you travel for work.  It's been really busy at work this month, and I have travelled every week (this is why this is my first blog post in May!)

This week I am in Chicago.  I got off to a great start yesterday, went to the gym, walked to get a great salad to bring back to room for lunch, then enjoyed low carb appetizers at the business reception I attended.

This morning was awesome!  I went for a run along the Chicago waterfront, with my half marathon partner, Angie.  This run has been on my to do list for quite some time, and the weather was perfect- cool and breezy.  We started at the Drake Hotel, went up to the Oak Street Beach, then back to Navy Pier.  Angie snapped this along the way...

On my way back to the hotel I found a Trader Joe's and bought the ingredients to make my favorite breakfast- Trader Joe's Nonfat Vanilla Greek Yogurt and the Very Cherry Frozen Berry Blend.  I came back to the hotel, let the berries defrost while I went up to the gym for a little more strength training.  I came back to my room, and assembled my yogurt and berries- only I fished out just the cherries (my favorite!) and layered them with the vanilla yogurt.  Each bite makes me go mmmm!

Later I'm meeting my friend Angie for lunch, and plan to order my favorite salad- Tuna Nicoise.

Make it a great day!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Breakfast Berry Parfait.

I am in love with Greek Yogurt!  A lady at Weight Watchers first turned me on to it and now I eat it almost every day.  I love that one serving has the same amount of protein as two eggs, and now Trader Joe's has a "high fiber" version that has 3 grams of fiber.  My favorite flavor is the vanilla (I love that you can see the specks of vanilla) which I layer with a half cup of defrosted frozen berries from Trader Joe's- The Berry Cherry mix and 2 tbsp. of low fat granola.  My favorite bites are the ones with the cherries and that vanilla yogurt- that is such a classic flavor combination.

1 cup (yogurt cup, not measured cup) of Trader Joe's High Fiber nonfat vanilla yogurt (3pts.)
1/2 cup frozen berries, defrosted (0 pts.)
2 tbsp. low fat granola (I used Cascadian, which counts for one point)

4 points total- isn't it pretty?  :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

On The Road Again.

I have been traveling a lot this month, sorry there haven't been very many posts.  A couple of weeks ago I stopped at a Carl's Jr. to try one of their new Turkey Burgers.  While it tasted great, and was a good choice, it still cost me a lot of points. 

But it was good enough to make me crave another turkey burger, only this time I made it at home, and replaced the bun with organic butter lettuce leaves.  With summer and a wedding approaching, I'm cutting as many carbs as I can.  I made four 5 ounce patties out of one package of Extra Lean Ground turkey from Jenny O and made them according to a recipe I had in my Weight Watchers Momentum cook book.  I grilled them indoors and they came out awesome!

Turkey Burger and Potato "Chips".

Turkey Burgers:
1 20 oz. package of extra lean ground turkey by Jenny O.
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp. ketchup
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients by hand, and divide into four equal portions (on my scale each patty weighed 5.5 ounces with all ingredients incorporated).  Form into patties and pre-heat grill.  Spray with non-stick spray and grill 6-8 minutes on each side.  Build with desired toppings-  today I used butter lettuce, sliced tomato, 1/4 avocado sliced, yellow mustard and 1 tbsp. BBQ sauce.  With no bun it was messy, but it tasted so good!

Potato "Chips"- these look like a thick kettle chip, but really they're slices of baked potato that I crisp in a non-stick skillet with Pam.  I start by baking the potato in the microwave.  When cooked, remove and let cool for a few minutes.  When cool enough  to handle, cut in half length wise then slice.   Spray skillet and heat, cooking potatoes for about 3 minutes on each side.  Sprinkle with salt and serve with ketchup.  Tastes like french fries but much better for you.

Point Plus total- 4 points my my turkey burger patty, 2 pts for the avocado, 2 pts for 4 oz of potato- 8 points total.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Secretly Low Fat Red Velvet Cupcakes.

While in Santa Barbara this weekend for "spring break" we visited one of my favorite restaurants (The Palace Cafe) and made some of my favorite low fat recipes.  I brought spaghetti squash casserole, made whole wheat blueberry pancakes for breakfast one morning, and for dessert one night, my delicious Secretly Low Fat Red Velvet Cupcakes.  These are made just like the chocolate ones I shared once before- a box mix, 1 cup of water, and 1 cup of pureed pumpkin.  Then I frost them with a low fat cream cheese frosting.  They are so moist and yummy, no one knew they were low fat until I told them- and this included men, women and children!

Secretly Low Fat Red Velvet Cupcakes

1 box Red Velvet cake mix (I use Duncan Hines)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup water

1 8oz. package low fat cream cheese
1 box powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 12 cup cupcake pan with non-stick cooking spray.  In mixing bowl add cake mix, pumpkin and water.  Stir by hand until well mixed and no lumps are visible.  Spoon evenly into 12 cupcake spots, and bake 18-22 minutes.  Test with a toothpick.

For frosting, in a mixing bowl add room-temp, softened cream cheese, 1 tsp vanilla and one box of powdered sugar.  Mix with electric mixer and beat just until smooth.  Transfer frosting to a piping bag (or Ziploc bag with corner cut out) and pipe onto cooled cupcakes.  Decorate with red crystals if desired.

Each cupcake is 6 points.  These are really good, and can be a red light food (pun intended) so I bake them to share, making sure I only get one or two for myself.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Tomato, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Omelet

Sunday mornings I enjoy having a bigger breakfast like most.  But that doesn't have to mean that it's full of fat and calories.  The veggie drawers in my refrigerator had tomatoes, mushrooms, and spinach, and my cheese drawer had some low fat goat cheese and mozzarella cheese.  I also had one tablespoon left of one of my favorite condiments- Crema di Pepperoni by AG Ferrarro. It's a delicious roasted red bell pepper tapenade that I like to use on pizza, pasta, and in appetizers, I knew it would be great in an omelet too.

Tomato, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Omelet

3 egg whites
splash of nonfat milk
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes,
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tbsp Crema di Pepperoni (roasted red bell pepper tapenade)
2 tbsp low fat goat cheese
1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves
2 tbsp shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
2 oz. polenta

Spray two non-stick skillets with no-stick spray.  In the larger one lightly saute the tomatoes and mushrooms.  When cooked, turn off heat, and turn on heat for smaller skillet.  Pour scrambled egg whites in to prepare omelet.  Flip and fill with mushroom and tomato mixture, and top with crema di pepperoni and goat cheese.  Close omelet and top with spinach and mozzarella cheese.  If serving with polenta, heat up next to omelet in the skillet- cover to steam spinach and warm polenta.  Transfer to plate and enjoy.

The Points Plus value is as follows, 1 point for the egg whites, 1 point for the red bell pepper sauce, 1 point for the goat cheese, 1 point for the mozzarella, and 2 points for the polenta- 6 points total, and servings of lean protein, whole grains, dairy and vegetables.  Enjoy!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Saturday Night Salmon.

Now salmon might sound boring on a Saturday night, but not when it's made this way, and enjoyed with a glass or two of pinot noir.  A friend of mine shared this recipe, and it is probably my favorite way to prepare salmon.  Had it not been a cold, rainy night we would have grilled this on the BBQ.  But it was, so we simply broiled it and it came out perfect.

Grilled Salmon with Dijon and Shallots

4 6oz. salmon fillets (center cut, skin on)
2 tbsp. minced shallots
1 tbsp. fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme
3 tbsp. agave nectar or honey
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

For the sauce, mix all ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.  Spray grill (or foil if broiling) with non-stick cooking spray and lay the salmon skin side down over medium-high heat.  Spoon most of the sauce over the fish and grill with the lid closed.  Don't turn the fish, and grill 6-8 minutes.  Doneness depends on size of the fillets and how well you like your salmon cooked.  With lid closed the shallots will caramelize into the sauce and become sweet and mild.  When the fish is done, slide spatula between the fish and the skin, leaving the skin on the grill.

I usually serve this with roasted garlic potatoes and steamed broccoli, but this time had a 1/2 cup of creamy polenta and garlic sauteed broccoli with kosher salt and Parmesan cheese.  For the dinner shown on my plate I counted 9 points for the 6 oz. piece of salmon, 1 point for its sauce, 2 points for the polenta, and 1 point for the olive oil and cheese on the broccoli.  This dinner also delivered a serving of lean protein, a healthy oil, a whole grain, and a vegetable- you can't have a more complete meal than that!  Total was 13 points for dinner, and 8 points for my two glasses of pinot noir.  Good thing it's Saturday, I have 49 Points Plus Allowance to use this week!  Make it a great week!