Saturday, April 30, 2011

WW Baked Ziti Recipe - 7pp

Weight Watcher's Baked Ziti - 7pp

Cooking Spray
1 pound uncooked pasta (Ziti or Penne)
3/4 pound part-skim Ricotta cheese
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
4 cups marinara sauce, store bought, divided*
1/2 pound part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup basil leaves, cut into ribbons for garnish

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat bottom and sides of a lasagne pan with cooking spray.

Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and rinse with cool water.

While pasta is cooking, mix ricotta cheese, red pepper flakes, 3 T parmesan cheese, and 1/3 cup marinara sauce in a medium size bowl.

To assemble ziti - put 1/2 cup of sauce in bottom of pan.  Top with 1/2 of pasta in an even layer.  Evenly spread ricotta mixture over pasta, then top with 1/2 of the remaining marinara sauce.  Top with remaining pasta, then with remaining marinara sauce.  Sprinkle top with mozzarella cheese and remaining parmesan cheese.  Bake in oven until cheese melts and begins to brown (approx 20-30 minutes).  Allow ziti to set for about 10-15 minutes before slicing into 12 even peices.  Yields one peice per serving.

* According to WWs - If you don't have store bought marinara sauce, you could substitute same measurement of fire roasted diced tomatoes instead, but it would affect points plus values.

Getting Started with Jared

Today is Jared's first day on the PointsPlus program.  So, to get rolling - its good to review some of the information that he'll need to be successful.

First, we need to calculate how many points plus he gets to eat each day.  For a male who weighs 225 lbs, and is 5'11" tall - he starts out at 48 points plus per day and gets an additional 49 weekly pointsplus allowance to use as needed.

Turning to page 60 in the Getting Started book, it is suggested that he break that down as follows:

Breakfast:  8pp
Lunch:      14pp
Dinner:     18pp
Snack:       4pp
Snack:       4pp

I plan to give Jared some suggestions for great breakfasts, lunches and snacks in the next few days - and I trust he'll be referring to my weekly menus for dinner ideas.  I created the weekly menus along with grocery lists to go with them as a way to take some of the "thought" out of the first weeks.  Face it, getting started is alot of work - lots of tools to study, points to look up, getting your refrigerator and cubbords stocked with good foods and purging the bad ones.  That being said, I totally understand if one wishes to make up their own menus - and that is what Jared will be doing with the help of his wife, Katie.  He promises to use some of the recipes on this site, and maybe if we're fortunate enough, he'll share some new ones of his own in time!!

My recommendation for Jared is to always have an abundance of fresh fruit and veggies on hand...especially the "0" pp varieties... 

...and also to put primary focus on eating power foods...

That is the key to feeling full and satisfied.  I also find it helpful to not break into my 49 weekly pointsplus allowance except for special occasions (like weddings, baby showers, going out for dinner or a movie) or when you miscalculated in the first couple of weeks.  I know its easy to forget to track some foods until you get used to it.  Not using the WPA means your weight loss at the scale is better - but using them will not mean gaining don't be afraid of them.  Enjoy your snacks by boosting them with some fresh fruit or veggies. 

By all means - do enjoy food to the full.  By that I think back to the illustration on pages 14 and 15 of the getting started book - you remember the one - on one side was a lonely croissant with a pat of butter for 7pp. 

On the other side was 1 poached egg, 1 slice of whole-wheat toast with a pat of butter (yes, real butter) and 3 oz of ham - all for 6pp!!  So explore your options Jared - find ways to fill your plate with foods that will really satisfy you and fill you up.  In that way you will feel spoiled and not deprived.

By the way - Jared and Katie will be coming over for dinner tomorrow night!  I plan on starting the evening with a Gin and Tonic (1 jigger of gin - 4pp mixed with diet tonic and a lime wedge) and some baked Tostitos Scoops (9=3pp) with fresh salsa (0pp) - so if you're reading this, Jared - save one of your snacks for my house! For the main course, I'm cooking Barbacoa Beef (4oz = 4pp), Cilantro Lime rice made with Jasmine rice - Katie's favorite (3/4 cup = 5pp), Sweet and Sour Slaw (1cup = 1pp) and a nice green salad (0pp + salad dressing of his choice).  For dessert we're having angel food cake (2oz slice = 3pp) with lots of fresh fruit for 0pp (watermelon, cantaloupe, oranges, bananas, grapes and strawberries).  So the appetizer portion of the evening will be about 7pp and the dinner with dessert will total about 15 (figuring salad dressing being approximately 2pp)  I think he'll be surprised how full he'll feel, totally satisfied and how much he can enjoy the evening being on program.  I'm finding that I often feed my company the same food we're eating on program - and nobody is the wiser!! 

So - enough about tomorrow!!  I'm hoping to see comments from those of you who are following the WeightWatchers PointsPlus program.  Be a part of Jared's transformation!!  What works best for you?? 

Friday, April 29, 2011

Jared's Story -- It Begins!

Good morning everybody!  My name is Jared and I want to thank my mom for the great introduction.  I'm excited to participate for 12 weeks on Points Plus Living.  I think my mom has been doing a fabulous job here and I hope I can add to the quality content.  My purpose in "joining forces" is two-fold:  First, I would like to try to put into practice the recommendations, suggestions and recipes found here.  If Points Plus Living can add to my weight loss success it adds credibility to the project.  Second, I realize that I need some motivation and accountability to have personal success. 

So to read more about my story be sure to check the "Jared's Story" tab.  I've posted my Day 1 content and plan to update the tab each weekend.  Your feedback would be greatly appreciated.  Let the journey begin!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Guess who's joining Points Plus Living?

Hello All,

Thanks for bearing with my absence during my recuperation from oral surgery.  April has been a tough month for me - beginning with more than a week of migraine headaches, then the oral surgery - all while we were re-locating our real estate office.  I often thought of taking photos of meals and posting, but it just wasn't happening.  During this time, however, I didn't abandon this blog entirely.  I had an interesting conversation with one of my sons who has been wanting to lose a few pounds and feels he asked me for some help and direction.  As a result, we have come up with a collaboration of sorts.  Let me explain:

You all are likely familiar with the Subway Diet and their spokesperson, Jared Fogle. 

Jared Fogle lost  245 lbs in one year by giving up junk food and eating Subway sandwiches. According to one article, he started skipping breakfast, and ate just two subs a day, a small turkey and a large veggie, along with some baked potato chips, and diet soda.  He cut his daily consumption from 10,000 calories a day to just 2,000.  I don't know about you, but as much as I like Subway sandwiches, I could not stand to eat them everyday for a year.  But, since obtaining Jared as their spokesperson, Subway's sandwich sales more than doubled, and Jared maintained the weight loss for about 5 years.  He's since put some of that back on, and is now working to get back his boyish figure.

So, after giving it some thought, I decided it might be great to have my own "spokesperson" named Jared. 
I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce to you my middle son, Jared.  You may have seen a link to his own blog, Show Me The Pins on this site.  My Jared is 29 years old, married and will admit that he has been plagued with the "satisfied hubby" weight gain.  He recently approached me about joining forces to help him lose that extra weight.  In return for the help, he agreed to become a guest blogger - lending to this blog a man's perspective about weight gain, food, diet and exercise.  I am very excited about our new partnership.
Perhaps having Jared on board, it will take up some of the slack of keeping this blog fresh and full of content.  It is my goal to use this blog to provide him (and by extension, you, too) with information and advice on how to manage losing the weight and to keep it off.  In the process, he will post updates and his thoughts on weight loss, too.  Jared will soon be putting a tab at the top of the home page that will contain his bio, hopefully a recent photo and eventually photos of his be sure to check it out!

Again, thanks for bearing with my absence.  I'll be posting some information to get him started and some ideas to keep him on program.  Then I'll be up and back to posting several times a week very soon.  I have some summer menus and recipes to share - I can't wait.  Enjoy your week!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Easy Fried Rice -slightly modified!

Hey All - thanks for thinking of me and my recovery.  My jaw is still a little sore, but I'm on the mend.  I actually had some hot coffee today (supposed to avoid going from cold to hot and back - as well as avoiding spicy foods).

I started out the day with my favorite combination - egg, onion and peppers.  The only thing that is better than that is when you add a potato!
One egg (2pp) with some sauteed green pepper and onions (0pp)...add a banana (0pp) and a cup of coffee with fat free 1/2 n 1/2 (0pp).

Lunch today was an effort to clean out the office fridge.  We are moving our office this weekend - so the more we get rid of before Saturday, the better!

This poor, lonely wrap cried out for a pickle, but I left the new jar at home until after the move.  Rats!

By the time we got home, dinner really needed to be quick.  I had a huge container of leftover brown rice that I intended for fried rice - and since we had leftover pork tenderloin - it became "Pork Fried Rice".  I simply modified the recipe for Easy Fried Rice from the WW Getting Started Booklet. 

Makes 6 servings...4 PointsPlus per serving

2 sprays of cooking spray
2 - large eggs, lighty beaten
1 cup carrots, shredded
1 cup scallions, sliced and divided
3 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce, or to taste

Coat a large non-stick skillet with cooking spray. Warm pan over medium high heat. Add eggs - tilting pan so that the eggs cover the bottom.

When eggs start to set, break them up into pieces with a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon.  Cook eggs until cooked through -about 1 minute more - then remove from skillet and set aside.

Off heat, recoat same skillet with cooking spray; set over medium-high heat.  Add carrots and all but 2 Tbsp scallions; saute until carrots are crisp-tender; about 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in cooked rice, peas, and soy sauce; cook until heated through, stirring once or twice, about 1 minute.  Gently stir in cooked egg and remaining scallions; heat through.  Yields about 3/4 cup per serving.

(Just for the record - I had no frozen peas...and added 9.5 oz of cubed leftover pork to make it a main dish.  Since there are three of us in our household, we each had a double portion at 10pp each!)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Comfort food after Oral Surgery...and a Give Away...

Today was one of those days I really wasn't into cooking - I'm still recovering from some oral surgery, so the foods I can eat are still limited.  Soft and not spicy...neither hot or really didn't leave much to inspire me.  Had one of my meds not required that it be taken with food, I might have skipped today entirely.

So I started with one of my 'comfort foods' for times I'm not feeling well...poached eggs over toast.  I recycled an old photo...but skipped the orange because of the acid...not good for me this time.
I really wet the toast with the water the egg was poached in so it was soft to chew.  Whole wheat toast - 3pp and one poached egg - 2pp...5 total pp for breakfast.

Lunch was leftover soup from yesterday - Slow Cooker Bean Soup with Kale - 8pp for a huge bowl.

This was a medium sized bowl - remember - its not easy for me to eat right now...but you could easily have had double this as the entire crock pot, which was full, serves 6!  This is how the soup looks when made, but I chose to use my imersion blender to my portion...

So on the left is as cooked...on the right is the blended tased awesome blended, too.  I added a tablespoon of Parmesan Cheese to it, and it was yummy comfort food!

Dinner was from the Week Three Menu...Ham steak, Healthy Au-Gratin Potatoes and Broccoli.  I originally got the recipe for the Au-Gratin potatoes from one of my favorite bloggers - Danica's Daily.  I can't explain what took me so long to make them, but after making them tonight, they have surely become one of my favorites!  I was a little slow to grab the camera...the family had already begun to fix their plates...but this recipe makes a big 9" x 13" pan full that serves 8!  The house smells amazing, too.
 These potatoes were hot, creamy-cheesy with just the right amount of onions..5pp was a bargain!
 Served with 3oz of ham steak - 3pp and a side of broccoli - 0pp.  Some yummy dinner!
It really made my day when Chuck came home with a bunch of my favorite spring flowers - sunny daffodils and jonquils! 

What are your comfort foods when you are sick?  Can I help you fit them into your weight loss plan?

Head on over to Friends for Weight Loss to enter a give away for a case of Chobani Yogurt!  Contest ends next Wednesday, April 20th!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Back to Basics

We had a lady at our WeightWatchers meeting this week who weighed over 500 lbs when she started two years ago.  I'm here to tell you that while she didn't divulge how much she has lost to date, I think I am safe in saying she weighs under 200 now.  That is 300 lbs in two years - or 12.5 lbs every month - or about 3 lbs per week!  How Awesome!!  What did she say was the secret to her success?  In the beginning, she attended up to 5 WeightWatchers meetings per week and she went to the gym that often, too.  She explained how she was too big to use most of the equipment at the gym when she started, and how difficult it was for her to even show up...but in time, she got down to a size where she could use any equipment she wanted to.  Imagine that!  This woman is stronger than I think she realizes- it's all about what is inside a person...that is what I concluded after hearing her story.

Sometimes its good to look back to where we started - and see how far we've come. Take a long look at what makes us successful, too.  I am not the type to attend multiple WW meetings every week - probably because its already an effort to make it to one - but taking a look back at our Getting Started booklet can help me to keep grounded in good habits. 

I remember the first time I laid eyes on this next photo -
My apologies for poor picture quality - my camera is not the best for this type of stuff - but I can dream that one day I'll have a good quality digital camera, can't I?  This photo drove home the importance of learning that all foods are not created equal.  I LOVE croissants - just simply adore them - but when I realized that I could eat a really filling meal for less points - my eyes were opened.  Calories are calories - that may be true - but how some nourish our bodies is what makes the difference.  Both of these pages represent 270 calories...but on a PointsPlus value, the breakfast on the right will really fuel your body and keep you satisfied for a much longer time.  These photos made me wonder what other foods I could do the same with.  That was the first inspiration with the new plan.
This page was my second eye opener.  On former WW programs, I saved points for the big meal at the end of the day and for snacking at night.  I felt deprived almost all day long, and my aim was to reach my goal weight and get back to eating 'normally'.  You might say I had that "Yo-yo diet" thinking...but that was all I understood at the time.  This page -page 60 - had a chart that made all the difference to me:
I know it's hard to read - but for me - with 29 PointsPlus per day to consume - the chart suggests I try to break it donw this way:
Breakfast: 5pp
Lunch: 8pp
Dinner: 11pp
Snack: 3pp
Snack: 2pp

So in the beginning, I followed this guideline.  I LOVED IT!  Imagine...with two snacks planned, I felt like I was eating all day long.  No starvation for me!  I saved the larger snack for the evening - and often didn't even want all 3 points!  How was this possible?  I don't feel like I'm dieting at all!!

Here is secret weapon #3 - Power Foods.  On page 19 of the Getting Started brochure - it reminds us that power foods include fruits and vegetables, non-fat dairy and dairy substitutes, lean proteins, whole grains and more.  Power foods are indicated by a Green Triangle in the food lists.  The science of this program shows that power foods lead to health and satisfaction.  My aim is to have as many power foods included in each meal and snack as possible - so I feel full throughout the day.  I am constantly amazed how well that is working for me.

This trip back through the Getting Started brochure would not be complete without mentioning something that really helped me in the beginning - the "0" points Garden Vegetable Soup recipe.  You can find that on the "pull out" Kickstart Guide. 

I have added that to my list for meals this week...and I'll be following Week 3 of my menus the rest of the week.  I already have the Slow Cooker Bean Soup with Kale cooking for tonight- its a rainy April day so it makes for a great comfort food...besides...I'm getting some oral surgery done today, so I have soup to eat until the swelling goes down.

If you have any questions about how many PointsPlus you should be eating per day, or how that breaks down each day, contact me and I'll be happy to help you calculate it!    Make it a great day!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I'm Back!

Thanks, everybody, for waiting for my return.  I've been temporarily out of commission with some powerful headaches - but thanks to a cute, young Chiropractor - I'm back!  Its not fun growing older and having to admit that the doctors seem to be getting younger and younger...but then again, I can get away with saying that they are cute that way ;0)

So while I was "away" from my blog - I still thought of all of you often.  I occasionally took photos of my plates when I felt up to it, thinking that I'd post...then it wouldn't happen.  When I downloaded all the photos today, I realized that the best part of my days the past couple of weeks was in the early part of the day...all my pictures were of breakfast!  What does that tell you?

Most of my breakfasts start this way:

A toasted whole wheat English muffin (3pp)...
And those of you who have been following me for a while know I'm big on protein with this one has one egg cooked in a non-stick pan sprayed with cooking spray (2pp) and some onion and green peppers. 
Its amazing to me what a difference the veggies make to this sandwich!  Really wakes up a tired old egg!

Never to take a back seat to veggies is fresh fruit -

Oranges, bananas and kiwis...all total 0pp...enough to share, but will I?

You know it!  My guys are not the type to cut up fruit for themselves - sometimes I think they aren't the type to peel it themselves either - but that is for another blogging day ;0)
I spread some chunky peanut butter on this one.  English muffin (3pp), 1 Tbsp peanut butter (3pp) and fresh fruit (0pp, naturally).

Keep in mind that when you make your breakfast on a muffin like this, it becomes totally portable if you have to run out the door quickly to get to work - put the two halves together and eat on the way!  I don't do that often because I get so much more satisfaction from seeing what I am eating and taking the time to taste it and really enjoy it.  You know what I'm talking about, I'm sure!

Last for today is the humble omelet.  This one is a two egg omelet (4pp) with some fresh fruit (0pp) - but with a little surprise in the middle -

A piece of Canadian bacon cut up with some onion and green peppers (1pp) and one slice of Pepper Jack cheese cubed (1pp) for a total of 6pp of whopping fresh goodness that sticks to the ribs all morning!

Two tips on this last one - First, keeping a small container of chopped onion and green peppers - or any combination of fresh veggies you might like in your eggs - in your refrigerator makes a breakfast like this quick and easy.  Second, some of you may be puzzled at the cheese being only one point.  My secret is the "cracker cuts" that you can buy in the supermarkets now...
These happen to be the store brand...but there are name brands available too! Each slice is exactly one point each.  Once you identify products like these and memorize their points plus values, they quickly become a staple in your kitchen.

Well, thanks again for hanging in there with me.  I am anxious to get to the grocery store and replenish my kitchen with good foods and prepare to inspire you with some new recipes!

One final report - our weight loss totals since December 2010:
Corinne - 30.2 lbs
Chuck - 47.4 lbs
Thanks to the WeightWatchers PointsPlus program and lots and lots of support from fellow WeightWatchers like YOU!