Tag Archives: low-fat

The Metal Square that Spits Out Numbers

Last week, I was bad.  I skipped my Weight Watchers meeting.  I wasn’t proud of it, I just couldn’t handle a gain.  This week I knew I had to be back OP ( which means on program as the WW people say) so that I could get rid of that gain and then some.  I was careful, aside from my choking episode.  I tracked for the most part. I still was a little lazy about tracking.  Need to fix that.  I made healthier, whole food choices.

I went to my weigh in tonight and was nervous.  I usually peek at the scale on Tuesday night just to see where I’m at.  I didn’t do that this past Tuesday because I was having the fish bone removed from my throat.  Yesterday, I didn’t peek either because I was just too nervous.  So, tonight, I made myself get in the car and drove to my weigh in.  I was ready to accept whatever that scale had to say.  I knew whatever it was, it was not going to define me.  It was just one more week, one more number.

Well…

I lost 1 whole pound from my last weigh in. That means I lost last week’s gain plus one pound!  Yay!

So, what lesson can we take away from this?

Skipping weigh in didn’t really do anything.  It was silly really because I didn’t know how much I had gained.  It was also silly because it was like I let that stupid metal square dictate how I was going to feel.  Why does that metal square have that power?  Why do I let it have that power?  I know that I’m not perfect.  I know (now) that I have to forgive myself more easily.  I know that I’m making changes.  So why does that number that comes from stepping on that little metal thing make me feel like crap if the number isn’t what I want it to be?

I think the answer is that I want results.  I want to know that I’m getting that much closer to my goals.  I just need to remember that the number that I see each week is just ONE indication of my progress.  There are other things I can look at if I need confirmation that I’m making progress.  I can look at the fact that when I go out to eat, I look for the chicken and the fish.  I ask for modifications to my plates (no butter, no mayo, steamed veggies).  I move more.

Why do I rely on that scale to be the main source of my progress? Is it because once you get to the number you’re supposed to be at, it’s more acceptable?  Or is it just that the number I’m currently at is a sad number?  Whatever it is, I need to let that number just be a number.  I need to look at other measures and put a little Pollyanna spin on this whole journey.

The week resets tomorrow.  The plan is to just keep tracking, just keep moving, and just keep thinking ahead.  I’m going to use the one foot in front of the other kind of thinking to get through each day.  That should close that 1.8 lb gap between me and that 50 lb charm that I keep playing with.  I will have it in my possession very soon!

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Delicious New Recipe Added to the Repertoire

The last day of August wanted let us know it was still August.  It was a little humid, warm, sunny, a very beautiful summer day.  The Daughter and I did some errands and then went for a nice walk around the neighborhood with the Husband.  It was a nice Friday.

We saw the blue moon over the ocean and it was gorgeous.  I wish that I had a camera that could have done the sight justice.  The blue-gray waves with foamy white caps crashing on the sand saw the pink moon rise brilliantly while the sun set in a fiery glow in the opposite direction.  As the moon rose, it slowly went from a bright pink to a blush to a pale pink tint before taking on its normal glow.  There is something truly beautiful about the moon on the water.  For me, there are few things more beautiful than moonlight on the ocean.

Full Moon over the ocean – Susanne van Hulst

Before all of that though, I tried a new recipe.

It was quite simple but really delicious.   It was pretty easy to modify for less or more people if you need.

Pasta with Spinach and Meatballs

3/4 lb pasta like fusilli or gemelli – I bet though that any past would work if you were in a real pinch.

20 small meatballs (recipe to follow)

12 oz mushrooms, quartered

1 tsp chopped thyme

butter

grated pecorino (again – Parmesan works too if you like)

5 oz baby spinach

salt & pepper, for taste
How to make the meatballs according to this Real Simple article:

3 slices white sandwich bread, torn into large pieces

1/2 medium onion, cut into wedges

1 c fresh flat-leaf parsley

4 cloves garlic, peeled

1/4 c whole milk ( you could use lower fat milk too)

1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce

2 lbs ground beef or turkey

2 large eggs

salt and pepper

Combine bread, onion, parsley, and garlic in a food processor.  Pulse until finely chopped.  Transfer to a medium bowl, add the milk and Worcestershire, let stand for 5 minutes.

Add the beef , eggs, and 1TBSP salt and pepper and gently combine (get your hands into it – it’s the only way to really combine everything.)  Form into 40 meatballs (2 TBSP each)

To cook immediately –  place the meatballs on  foil lined broiler-proof baking sheet and broil, one sheet at a time turning once, until cooked through, 8 – 10 minutes.

To freeze and cook later: Freeze the uncooked meatballs on wax paper-lined baking sheets until firm, transfer to a freezer bag, and freeze up to 3 months.  To cook, broil the frozen meatballs as above adding 2 – 4 minutes to the cooking time.

These meatballs sound similar to my Grandma’s recipe so I’m sure they are delicious.  However, tonight I cut corners and used the frozen turkey meatballs.  They worked out wonderfully and cut the prep and cooking time down.

On top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese, I lost my poor meatball, when somebody sneezed…

Back to the pasta dish now…

Cook 20 meatballs (or heat up some frozen ones as I did).

Cook 3/4 lb of pasta of your choice (for a healthier alternative, there are some great whole wheat pastas that would be much better on the calorie counter), reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water.

Cook 12 oz quartered mushrooms (I used Portobello mushrooms because I like them) and 1 tsp chopped thyme in butter in a large skillet until tender, 8-10 minutes.

Toss the mushrooms with the pasta, meatballs, 5 oz of baby spinach, 1/2 c grated pecorino, and the reserved cooking water.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

It took no more than 30 minutes to cook and serves four people.  It was filling, got in a veg serving, and just really was a nice dish.  I couldn’t get the daughter to try it, though she did love the turkey meatballs which was a first for her.  The Husband declined this tasty dish also and opted for red sauce instead which I kind of expected.

So, the verdict…

I would definitely make this one again.  It was just so good!  I can only imagine how much better it is with the homemade meatballs.  Someday, when I have more time, I will do the homemade meatballs.  I bet it will taste even better!

Plugging this dish into MyFitnessPal gave me the following nutritional info per serving:

Calories: 642 – Kind of high so you can tweak it.  Thinking about it though, this recipe is supposed to be served between 4 people, that means 5 meatballs per person. That’s a lot of meatballs…

Carbs: 70 g – pasta.  Need I say more?

Fat: 5 g – low-fat though.  That’s good!

Protein: 19 g

Fiber 6 g

Sugar: 3 g

Making some minor adjustments to the recipe as written could really change this recipe.  Use whole wheat pasta, cut down on the number of meatballs, maybe use less cheese (not sure that one is too feasible since cheese makes everything better.)?

The Swedish Chef would know how to make this a little more calorie friendly. I just know it!

Plugging it into my Weight Watchers calculator showed that it was 10 PP.  I had the Points so it was ok.  Though this recipe did put me well over my calories for the day.  I wonder how that works?  It’s odd.  Tomorrow will be a light food day.  Going to stay under calories and under Points.  I find when I have a day like today and then go light, I keep my body guessing. At least in the past, when I’ve done that, it works.  So tomorrow I’ll be giving it a go!

 

 

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Scallops Worthy of A Certain Reality TV Kitchen

Post-op visit number one went very well today.  I go back in two more weeks after the bruising is down a little more.  I am the worst patient because I hate how slowly the recovery process moves.  I am not one who enjoys sitting around, doing nothing.  When I say nothing I mean no driving, no housework (well, that one is not too bad I suppose), no real serious exercising , NOTHING.  I’m getting stir crazy.  I enjoy reading and crafting but I also enjoy going out into the world every now and then.  Sigh.   Only a few more weeks for a lifetime of no gallstone pain, right?  Right.

I suppose Mr. Emerson is right  Nature does know best.  I mean, Nature had some hand in creating wonderful diver scallops, the very same type of scallops that I pan seared this evening for dinner.  Diver scallops, for those not familiar with the difference between the varieties of scallops, are the really big scallops that are hand-picked off of the rocks by divers.  Hence the name Diver Scallops. They tend to be bigger because the divers usually go for the more mature mollusks which are usually the meatier kind of scallops. They do taste very different from Bay Scallops which are smaller and often more sweet than Diver (Sea) Scallops.  Bay Scallops, or Nantucket Bay Scallops in particular, are really my favorite variety, especially when baked and covered in a wonderful buttery ritz-cracker crumble (I think the recipe posted in this blog is a tried and true recipe for anyone from southeastern MA and possibly all of New England though I never use the wine…will have to try that next time)…mmmmm….

This blog has another similar recipe too!

They are the scallops made famous by a certain British chef and his wonderfully foul-mouthed show full of aspiring “chefs” who do more swearing than cooking on some episodes.  But more to the point, on the show, one of the appetizers is pan seared scallops (they pronounce them “SKAL-laps” and people from where I live tend to pronounce them “sCALL-ups”).  The wannabe chefs often find themselves struggling to produce the perfect scallop.  I can understand, to a certain degree, that it might be hard to learn how to do if you aren’t someone used to cooking seafood on a very regular basis.  But after seven or eight episodes, you should be able to pan sear those shellfish in your sleep.  Again, I am judging something that I’m sure is much harder than it appears but seriously, is it really that hard?

Tonight, I pan seared some wonderful Diver Scallops to near perfection.  They glazed on the outside to a perfect caramel brown.  They were simply seasoned with freshly ground sea-salt and pepper.  Nothing fancy.  Maybe two teaspoons of butter in the pan (have to watch the fat/oils for a while after all) and then the scallops were done in a few minutes.  I tend to not always pay attention to the clock and watch the scallops but if I had to guess, I’d say 3-4 minutes per side on medium heat.  Maybe 4-5 minutes but again, I eyeball the actual food to make sure the colors are looking right.

I didn’t cook a veg because I was being lazy and also cautious of the side-effect of some of the veggies so I’m taking them slowly as I add them back into my no-gallbladder diet but I did serve them with the Near East Wild Mushroom and Herb Couscous – another personal favorite.  I love couscous.  Usually we have plain couscous on hand all the time but oddly, tonight, we were out.   For the sake of saving time, I bought some of this and it was perfect for the scallops.  Now if only I had a nice Sauvignon-Blanc with it, I think I would have been an even happier girl.

Well Nature, good things come to those who wait, right?

 

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High-Protein, Low-Fat – Other than Chicken…What is Left?

I had my gallbladder removed on Friday.  Fun times.  Not really.  I ended up having to spend the night in the hospital for observation.  Just wasn’t well enough to come home.  Today is day 4 of recovery which is good.  I’m feeling a little better and less sore.

The discharge orders read “Low Fat, Hi Protein no added salt diet.”  Yes it’s the way I’ve been trying to eat for the most part.  But after so many chicken dinners and fish dinners, a girl gets kind of tired of it.  Before the gallstones issues, I was following WW but that gave me a little more leeway in terms of the low-fat part.  If I wanted to have something that had a little bit of fat for one meal, it wasn’t the end of the world.  Now, well…it’s not advised.

These foods are all a big No-no!

So, I come to the internet to find more suggestions for low-fat, high protein, low sodium diet choices that won’t leave me bored to tears when it comes time for dinner. I’m okay with oatmeal for breakfast every day.  I’m okay with the same lunch every day.  Dinner though, is where I look for the variety.

My list of food items for dinner currently include:

What I should be eating (minus the beef)

 

Eggs

Chicken

Turkey

Fish

 

 

Now the challenge is to come up with some different recipes or new recipes that don’t leave me bored. It’s a bit whiney of me, I know but I find myself cooking these things the same way every time. I think part of my problem is that since I haven’t been feeling 100%, I haven’t been able to really think of anything new.  And the additional challenge is that the Husband doesn’t eat eggs or fish and isn’t a huge fan of chicken.  I have given up on trying to cook for him because unless it’s beef, he won’t touch it, no matter what anyone says.  So, last night we had pasta with chicken and vegetables (no oil).  The night before that, we had chicken.  Tonight, I’m going to say fish.  Not sure how or what kind yet, but we’ll see.

If you have any suggestions, please feel free to share.  I’m falling into a food rut!

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New Recipe Alert! (And It Tasted Good Too!)

The Husband works for a seafood wholesaler and from time to time, they get new fish that they sample.  The other day, he sent me a text saying he was bringing home barramundi.  I had only heard of this fish on TV on cooking shows.  I knew it was a Pacific fish and common near Australia (at least that’s what I thought I had heard).

Not knowing anything other than it was also called the Asian Sea Bass, I didn’t really know the best way to cook it.  Luckily, the internet is full of helpful chefs who graciously share their recipes.  If not, I would have probably just pan seared it with some butter and lemon, always a tried and true way to cook any fish really.

We found this amazing recipe on TheBetterFish.com.  After coming to an agreement that it sounded good based on the ingredients in it, I set to work making it.

I started with the Mango Salsa and here are the ingredients I used:

  • 1 mango, peeled and finely diced – I used a pre-cut and sliced mango to save time.  To be honest, I still stink at peeling a mango.
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro or mint – I went with cilantro.
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
  • Salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste

Using the pre-cut mango made the salsa easy  to make.  After I made it, I set it aside and moved on to the next step as directed.

For fish:

  • 4 barramundi fillets with skin, 6-8 oz each – The Husband cut ours a little smaller like 4 oz portions but that was ok with me since it was for me and my Mom and The Husband doesn’t eat fish.
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp olive or canola oil, plus more for brushing the grill – Olive Oil is always my oil of choice.
  • 1/4 cup duck sauce (or sweet and sour sauce) – We used duck sauce as directed.
  • 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce (or Japanese soy sauce) – Oddly, we didn’t have any teriyaki sauce in the house so I used soy sauce.  Added a nice saltiness to the sweet.
  • 1 inch ginger root, peeled and finely grated – Next time, I’m going to use pre-grated ginger root.  Grating it was a PITA! Yes it probably tasted better but I’m lazy and it was time-consuming and annoying.  There I said it!
  • 1 tsp sesame seed oil

For avocados:

  • 2 avocados, halved lengthwise and pitted (don’t peel)
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp olive or canola oil
  • Salt and pepper

Then it was on to the grilling!

  1. Pre-heat the grill to high.
  2. Dry fillets well on paper towels, season lightly with salt and pepper and rub with 2 tsp oil (go easy on the salt since teriyaki sauce is salty).
  3. In a small bowl combine, duck sauce, teriyaki sauce, ginger, and sesame seed oil. Mix well.
  4. Pick up a wad of paper towel with tongs, dip it in oil, and brush the preheated grill. Immediately place fillets on the grill, skin side down.  Cover the grill and cook for 3 minutes.
  5. Dislodge fillets from the grill using a fork, and then flip.  Brush the grilled side with teriyaki sauce.  Place avocados on the grill cut side down.
  6. After 2 minutes, turn avocados a quarter turn to create diagonal grill marks. Watch them carefully, as soon as they brown remove them off the grill and set aside. Flip fillets and brush with more teriyaki sauce. Cook 2 more minutes. At this point the avocados should be browned.
  7. Brush fillets with more teriyaki sauce and flip again. After 1 more minute, test fillets for doneness by inserting a knife in the thickest part of the fillet.
  8. In a small bowl, mix 2 tsp lime juice and 2 tsp oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Brush this mixture onto the cut sides of avocado. Stuff each avocado half with mango salsa and serve with fillets.

Can I just tell you – it was delicious?!  The lightness of the fish and the sweet and spicy salsa were a perfect combination of flavors.  Grilling an avocado was a first for me also and now it won’t be the last time I grill that wonderful fruit!  I can understand why this fish is a favorite of many.  It was light, not overly fishy, and is relatively easy to cook.

 

Picture from the website where I found the recipe…mine looked good but not that good.

I plugged the recipe into MyFitnessPal to get the individual serving info:

Calories: 369 Fat:12 Protein: 28 Fiber: 7 Carbs: 37

I then plugged it into my Weight Watchers calculator and it worked out to 9 Points Plus per serving. I’d call that a pretty awesome meal!

Tonight is weigh in so we’ll see how kind the scale is tonight.  I have been a nervous wreck about my surgery tomorrow but I don’t think I’ve been stress eating.  We shall see!

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