Tag Archives: healthy food

A New Recipe to Keep Me On Track!

I haven’t posted about my weight loss journey much lately.  My heart has been half in it.  I just felt like it was never going to end because there is just so much I need to do!  I let the mind game win.  But I didn’t throw the towel in completely.

This past week, I was 100% back on track.  I wrote down every BLT (bite, lick, and taste).  I was moving more.  I really focused on doing what I know I can do.  Last night, it paid off.  The scale rewarded me with a 4.2 loss. It felt good to have such a great loss.  Why do I depend so much on that scale dictating what I feel?  Why does it matter?

diet journal

I suppose the easy answer is that it is instant gratification.  The number pops up in a matter of seconds and then I know, for a fact, that something worked.  I know that even though I don’t feel like it, I am lighter than I was 7 days ago.  I don’t deprive myself, but I cannot eat whatever I want, whenever I want. I never have been able to.  Accepting that as life rather than a sentence that forever forces rice cakes and celery sticks on me is probably the biggest thing.

The scale is a measurable way for me to see that I’m getting healthier.  I suppose I could have my cholesterol checked every other month, or have my blood pressure taken every other day, but I really am all set with going to the doctor’s office so frequently.  I could take my measurements but to be honest, those numbers depress me.  Lots of people like to see the measurements as a great non-scale way to track the changes, but at this point, I just am not feeling those really high numbers that are known as my measurements.  Maybe someday.  So YAY for a great loss at the WW Scale!

Now…we tried a pretty good recipe recently and I thought I would share it with you all.  It was very low-calorie and very filling.  It was a success with half the family but part of that may have just been the topping choice.

Cheesy Polenta & Mushroom Pizza
(from the March 2012 Woman’s Day magazine)

Active: 25 minutes, Total: 30 minutes, Serves 4

1/2 instant polenta (I use Indian Head Old Fashioned Stone Ground Yellow Corn Meal to make my polenta)

1/4 grated Parmesan (1 oz) (Stop and Shop sells the good grated Parmesan in the cheese section or you can grate your own – I just try to avoid the kind that comes in the green tube because it does make a difference in taste)

2 oz Gruyère or Swiss cheese, shredded (1/2 cup) (I opted for the Gruyère because I love Gruyère!)

Kosher salt and pepper

3 TBSP Olive oil

8 oz small button mushrooms, quartered

8 oz shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, caps sliced 1/4 inch thick

1 shallot, thinly sliced

1 TBSP small fresh thyme sprigs

Mixed green salad, for serving

1 – Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Cook the polenta according to package directions.  Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan, 1/4 cup Gruyère, and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper.  Scrape the polenta onto the parchment paper and spread out to form a 3/4 inch thick oval.

2 – Heat Broiler.  Heat 2 TBSP of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add half the mushrooms and cook, tossing often, until golden brown and just tender, 4 to 5 minutes; transfer to a plate.  Cook the remaining mushrooms with remaining TBSP of oil.

3 – Return the first batch of mushrooms to the skillet and toss with the shallot, thyme, 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp pepper (I eyeballed the salt and pepper.)

4 – Scatter the mushroom mixture over the polenta and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 Gruyère. Broil until the cheese begins to brown, about 3 minutes.  Serve with a salad, if desired.

Switch it up: Use the polenta as a base for other tasting toppings. Try roasted tomatoes, or replace half the mushrooms with cooked sausage and spinach.


As I said, half the family liked it, the other half was not sure what to think.  If you like polenta, try it.  It’s filling and it’s low-calorie.

Here’s the NI per serving:

288 calories, 17g Fat (5g saturated fat), 20 mg cholesterol, 492 mg sodium, 10g Protein, 26g carbs, 2g fiber.

In the land of WW, it works out to 7 pts.  It’s a little higher than you would think but that is in part because you use two kinds of cheese.  You can probably try to substitute low-fat Swiss in place of the pointy Gruyère or use less Parmesan in the polenta which would also bring down the point value.  Either way, it’s tasty!

Do you have another polenta recipe you’d like to share?  Please do, because I love the stuff!

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Filed under Food, Healthy Me - Yay!, New Recipes, Weight Loss

The Perfect Fall Soup – Butternut Squash and Apple Soup


As much as I love the summer fruits and vegetables, I think the harvest of fall flavors is what really excites me.  The squashes, the apples, the pears, the eggplants.  All of them are just so delicious.  What makes these flavors even better is when you can transform them into a flavorful soup that warms up the cool autumn nights.

We went apple picking a week ago today and stopped at a few farm stands. We came home with a giant sack of apples and a few great freshly grown butternut squash (among other vegetables!) and I knew that we had to do something with the apples so that we didn’t lose any of them  by not eating them quickly enough.  My mom learned this great recipe from a neighbor for Butternut Squash soup.  We’ve had it quite a few times and last year, we did it with pear and it was delicious.  This time, I knew that I had heard of people doing it with apples so I wanted to give it a try.

My new favorite vegetable!

First, I quartered the butternut squash, removed the seeds, and loosely wrapped it in aluminum foil and baked at 375○ F for one hour.  Once it was cooked, I scooped out the cooked squash and set it aside.

In a large (4 quart) saucepan, saute one onion (diced), two apples (peeled and sliced), and two tablespoons of butter for five minutes (until the onions are translucent).

Apples, onions, and garlic sauteing. Smelled so wonderful!

Add 1 clove minced garlic and cook for another minute or so.

Then add the squash and 32 oz (1 quart) of chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat on low and let it sit for 20 minutes or so.  Once it’s cooked for about 20 minutes, put into a blender or, use a hand blender if you have one, and blend it until smooth. If you use a regular blender, return it back to the pot and add 1/2 cup of cream (I use light cream) if you want and stir it in.

All the ingredients simmering on low – stirring occasionally.

I also add 1 tsp (or more to your liking) of cinnamon.  Nutmeg works well too but I found that the cinnamon worked very nicely!

Serve warm and enjoy how wonderful the taste of fall can be!  I didn’t take a picture of how it looked when it was finished because I was too excited to enjoy a bowl for myself!  Next time, I will be sure to grab a shot.  I am proud, though, that I was able to grab some snaps while I was cooking.  That is a small victory for me and my blogging – it’s the small things.

For Weight Watchers Points Plus, I plugged in and got a very friendly 4 PP per 1 cup serving.  1 cup of this soup (when left a little thick) is more than filling!

For MyFitnessPal.com, I got the following nutritional info:

127 calories

19g carbs

6g fat

2g protein

2g fiber

7g sugar

A perfect meal for a cool fall day and it’s perfect for those who are trying to eat with their health in mind!

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Filed under Food, New Recipes