Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Long-Awaited Picture Post

As mentioned in an earlier post, the husband and I packed a bag full of goodies for a weekend trip. In reality, we were only away from the house for a day and a half, but here is the bag full of our snacks.




It turned out that we had plenty of food at the retreat. The sad reality? We plowed through a lot of the bag. I wish I would have taken a picture of it!

Yesterday was the start of a new week for eating vegetarian. I called the doctor to let him know about my choice and see if there were any additional supplements I needed to take. He cleared me for eating vegetarian but suggested taking a multi-vitamin, make sure I ate enough protein and to not be too restrictive and eat a variety of foods. I was stoked.

After the chicken fiasco that was dinner on Saturday night, I made the decision that even though I had meat options in the freezer for dinner, I wanted to dedicate myself to my commitment. I decided on a wrap with a side of peas.

The wrap consisted of:
  • flatout light wrap
  • tofu
  • lettuce
  • chickpeas
  • red pepper hummus

The result? VERY tasty! I was pleasantly surprised at how good and filling it was!

Until next time!

~Anne Marie

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Weekend Recap

So how did I make out with my quest for being a vegetarian over the weekend away? I would have to say so-so. Eating as a vegetarian really isn't much different, and it's not something that I had to consistently think about over the weekend....until Saturday night. Most of our meals were buffet style, leaving the picking and choosing up to us, the retreat goers. I walked past the trays of bacon and sausage and headed for the fruits and bagels. When lunch rolled around, I made myself a cheese sandwich loaded with veggies. Saturday night dinner, however, was sit down with no choice of entree. The only thing they served was chicken....and I ate it. I kind of feel bad about it, but I wasn't sure what else to do in a situation like this. Suggestions anyone?

I made a vow to myself that even though the husband and I have leftovers in the freezer to eat this week (two of them being meat related), I'm going to let him take care of eating them and eat something different. I'm excited and anxious to get this week started.

I'll be sure to get some pictures up, and I apologize for the lack of pictures in the last two posts-I'm coming off a retreat weekend and still a little tired!

Until next time!

~Anne Marie

Friday, March 27, 2009

Oh Skinny Bitch, What Have You Done?

Since reading Geneen Roth's book on emotional eating, I have become very interested in learning about the cycle of eating-why we overeat, situations that cause us to feel the way we do, etc. Losing weight and the cycle of eating is something that fascinates me.



I went to the library last weekend and came across the book "Skinny Bitch" I had heard many great things about the book so I decided to read it. I don't think I have ever read a book with such intensity. After reading it, I decided to dapple with the idea of becoming vegetarian and possibly vegan. I had thought about doing this a few years ago, but the thought of giving up meat pushed the idea out of my head. "Skinny Bitch" changed the way I view certain foods. Things that I really used to like before-milk, yogurt, splenda, meat.....make me sick when I look at them. For the past week, every time I ate yogurt, I kept thinking of the chemicals that are in the milk, asking myself why we are the only species that drinks milk as adults, and the poor treatment of the cows. After talking with the husband, I decided that I wanted to become a vegetarian....at the least. Unfortunately, the husband and I already pre-made our meals for next week (meatloaf and stuffed peppers are sitting in our fridge as we speak). I have vowed that as soon as that is gone, my vegetarianism will be in "full effect."



Part of me gets these negative feelings when I think about switching up my diet. What if I gain back the weight I lost? What if I become out of control with all of the yummy foods? I know these thoughts are irrational, but it doesn't help me feel them any less. I hate how my thoughts mess with my mind. Realistically, not eating meat or fish and eating much more vegetables and obtaining protein from other places is a GREAT thing for my health. I remember feeling the exact same way when I decided to make the switch from counting points on Weight Watchers to following the Core Plan. I was scared that relying on myself know when I was hungry or how much I could eat of something would end in ultimate failure. And you know what? It HASN'T - not even a year later.


This weekend the husband and I are going away on a married couple's retreat. I have made a commitment to myself to start my vegetarianism this weekend. I'll post back on how it turned out.


Stay tuned for the recaps from the retreat. Even though we are only going away for a few short days, we were told to bring a few snacks just in case we are hungry and we can't get food. The husband and I filled half a shopping bag with snacks. Seriously, we should have just brought the entire cabinet! I took a picture for your viewing pleasure and will post it when I get back.


Have a great weekend!



~Anne Marie

Monday, March 23, 2009

Homemade Pizza

I am an absolute fiend for pizza, especially if I make it myself. I am a huge fan of Pillsbury's pizza dough and have been toying with the idea of making my own dough from scratch. It's taken me some time to muster up the "courage" to make homemade dough for a variety of reasons:
1. Pillsbury's pizza dough is so convenient
2. Making dough is time consuming
3. I'll be frustrated if it doesn't turn out.
I decided to throw caution to the wind and try making my own dough. I found a ridiculously easy recipe from Maggie (http://www.thesaladgirl.com/2009/02/02/easy-peasy-pizza-dough/), bought some whole wheat flour and yeast and gave the recipe a whirl. The results? FANTASTIC pizza. I don't think I'll ever be buying the prepackaged stuff again. The only substitutions I made from the original recipe was using two tablespoons of sugar instead of honey. The husband has requested that this be incorporated into our weekend meals more often!


The dough before rising
after rising
getting ready to go into the oven
cheesy amazingness
Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Friday, March 20, 2009

Favorite Weekday Meal

The husband and I are on a pretty regular food schedule. It's easier for us to cook a bunch of food on the weekend and throw it in the microwave to eat during the week. We came up with a rotating two week meal plan. Hands down, my favorite meal of the week also happens to be the simplest meal-buffalo chicken salad.



In the mix:

left over buffalo chicken, cut into strips
1 small can of corn
1 can diced tomatoes (undrained)
1 diced pepper
1 bag of salad




A closeup for your enjoyment

My bowl topped with shredded cheese



Best.meal.ever!

Until next time!

~Anne Marie

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Meatloaf Madness

I sat down for a delicious dinner last night of meatloaf and peas. I got my stuff together for dinner, grabbed my camera and snapped this picture:







And then I had a realization - I love to dip my meals in "stuff." If you look closely, there's mayo, ketchup, hot sauce and blue cheese dressing. I have always been this way, and seeing it makes me feel strange! I always like to spice up my food as much as possible. To me, things always taste better when they are dipped in condiments, dressings, etc.! Am I the only one who feels this way?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Morning Musings

I woke up this morning to the husband making breakfast. Ever since Lent started, he's been taking over the breakfast making responsibility, and I am so thankful for it! I tend to be a plain Jane when it comes to my morning eats. I LOVE my mashed banana oatmeal with a sprinkle of Splenda and a lot of cinnamon. Can't leave out the Fiber One cereal (that ends up as a topping for the oatmeal), my morning coffee and some vitamins. This is my standard breakfast almost year-round.



I'm going to have to think of a filling breakfast for the summertime. Don't get me wrong, oatmeal is always my first choice, but sometimes the combination of oatmeal and coffee is too hot for the summer! What comes to mind is some yogurt and fresh fruit.....now THAT sounds yummy!

When I explained the food blog to the husband, he initially thought I was a little strange. He didn't get the fact that I would want to blog about food. I think he has come around! Yesterday I came home to tell him that I uploaded the video of him trying my brownies and he was so excited to be "on the Internet." Then this morning after I finished taking a picture of my breakfast, he asked if I could take a picture of his breakfast too. He cracks me up, sometimes!

Here's the husband with his delicious eats:



His breakfast consisted of bran flakes cereal, orange juice, a Fiber One bar, bran muffin, and cottage cheese with graham crackers and half a banana mixed in. He sure is an eater!
Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Black Bean Brownie Debate

Since I began Weight Watchers three years ago, I have been bombarded with different recipe concoctions-diet coke chicken, diet coke cake....etc. I came across a recipe for brownies-black bean brownies to be exact. I was intrigued, grossed out and curious all at the same time. It took me three years but I finally broke down and made them for the first time on Friday night.

The basic recipe for Black Bean Brownies is:
1 15oz can of black beans
1 can of water
1 brownie mix
Rinse black beans thoroughly through the strainer. Add black beans and one can of water to the blender. Blend until smooth. Combine brownie mix and pureed beans in a bowl, stir until well mixed. Pour in greased pan and bake as suggested on the brownie mix.
Here are my ingredients ready to go!


After they came out of the oven, I had to immediately try one. They were amazing!! The consistency was more chewy and dense than a traditional brownie, but you couldn't tell that there were black beans in them. They were great!
I have video of the husband and my brother tasting them, but I have to figure out how to upload videos to blogger.
*UPDATED* Here are the videos of the husband and brother tasting the brownies for the first time.
Until next time!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Lunchtime!

Here we are-halfway through the day! I can't wait to get home to the hubby and do some relaxing.
My lunch consisted of tofu with mayo, chickpeas and bulgar and a side of grapes.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Eating Until Stuffed

Hello everyone! Last night I came home and explained my food blog to the husband. He has been such a support during my weight loss and maintenence, but I think I scared him a little bit with the whole blogging business. To each his own, I guess!
Moving along to last night's dinner:



Stuffed peppers with a side of cottage chesse.

And up for dessert:




1/4 cup cottage cheese
handful of chopped dates, figs and peanuts

I was so excited for this dessert until I took two bites and realized I was full. I'm realizing how I rush through dinner just to get to dessert and then am too full to enjoy it. More often than I would like to admit, I'd polish it off and just deal with the "too full" feeling. Not last night. I was frustrated with the fact that I couldn't even remember how good the stuffed peppers tasted because I couldn't wait to get to dessert. Ugh. One day at a time, I suppose. Each day is a new day to stop and make the healthiest choices you can.



On a side note, I must admit that it's a new thing for me to be taking food pictures. I feel sort of.....odd. I'm sure I'll get better with time and get over the strangeness of taking pictures of food!



Thursday, March 12, 2009

Emotional Eating

Lately I've been finding that I'm eating more for comfort rather than hunger. I decided to check out Geneen Roth's book Breaking Free From Emotional Eating. This book has changed my way of thinking as well as eating. I am learning to eat when I am truly hungry and stopping when I am satisfied. It's amazing how many times I mindlessly eat-never really enjoying the food but just shoveling it in my mouth because it's there. I hope that I can gain the insight I need to end the emotional eating and regain control over my food choices!

Quaker True Delights Dark Chocolate Rasberry Almond Review

I got one of these in the mail the other day and was curious to see what they tasted like. Upon opening the wrapper, the first thing I noticed was the huge chucks on choclate and almonds in the bar. One bite confirmed my suspision-they were amazing! Slightly sweet, crunchy and all around good for you. I will definitely be buying these again. I can't wait to check out the other flavors.

To get your free sample visit:

http://www.quakeroats.com/products/oat-snacks/true-delights/dark-chocolate-raspberry-almond.aspx

Recipes Tried and True

Here are some recipes that I've tried along with my reviews of them. I promise to start posting pictures really soon!

Unstuffed peppers
From Heather's Website: http://www.freewebs.com/hwc1973/index.htm

2 TBS olive oil
1.5 lb lean ground turkey or beef
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
3 bell peppers, chopped OR 1 (16 oz) bag of frozen bell pepper strips
1 bay leaf
2 c chicken broth or stock
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 TBS Italian seasoning
2 c instant brown rice, uncooked
12 basil leaves, torn or chopped (or dried basil to taste)
Shredded FF or soy cheese, your choice of flavor

Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add ground meat, salt and pepper. When meat is browned, add garlic, onion, bell pepper and bay leaf. Cook 7-8 minutes, or until veggies are tender. Stir in chicken broth/stock, tomatoes, and Italian seasoning (and basil if using dried) and bring to a boil. Stir in rice, return to boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Cover and cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat; remove cover. Fold in basil if using fresh. Remove bay leaf. Plate and top with cheese.Serves 8

This recipe has become a staple in my house. It is cheesy, comforting and extremely easy to throw together.

CRUNCHY GRANOLA
From the Weight Watchers Message Board

1 cup quick oats
3 TBSP egg whites
2 TBSP Splenda Granular
4 TBSP dry ww couscous
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven/toaster oven to 350. Spray a small cookie sheet (with sides) or cake pan with Pam. Combine ingredients in a small bowl. Using your hands, take a handful of the mixture and press firmly into a ball then break the ball apart into pieces the size of popped popcorn; place on baking sheet. Continue until all mixture is squashed and broken apart, don't worry too much about making the pieces all even, the size variety is nice. Lightly spray oat clusters with Pam spray and bake for 30 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times for even browning. Cool and store.

I really like this recipe, although I made a few alterations. I doubled up on the vanilla extract (as I don't have almond extract) and I used one egg and an egg white instead of 3 tablespoons of egg whites. If you are looking for something crunchy and slightly sweet, this is the snack for you. It could also be adapted by adding in raisins, nuts or even some almond butter!

I'm baaaaaack!

After a little hiatus, I've returned to blogging and I couldn't be happier. What was I doing while I was away, you might ask? I got married. The last six months have been exciting and fun but also stressful. It's definitely been a period of adjustment.





I've decided to come back to blogging. I am using this as a means to write food reviews, post recipes and as a way to keep honest about the things I eat.





Off I go!