Saturday, March 31, 2007

Newsletter, week of April 1st

Last Week

Remember who your weight loss role models are. Learn from them! Also know that as you follow the program, you're likely inspiring others.

This Week

Winter isn't the only season with special occasions. Whether it's Thanksgiving, Passover or the 4th of July, learning how to deal with those kinds of eating challenges is critical to weight loss success. Come hear about how to do it!


We had three members reach their 10% targets this week: Annita, Marta and Shawn. One goal down, so what's the next one ladies?!?

Also celebrating this week were Julie (10 pounds), Leah (20 pounds), Marianne (30 pounds) and Andrew (45 pounds). Combined you folks have lost over 100 pounds!

WW Product of the Week

Check out our cookbooks! If you're looking for a healthy recipe to add to your special occasion, these books are great resources. You'll find recipes that fit both the Flex and Core plans, great dishes from around the world, fast and easy meals, and special dishes for the advanced chef. Prices and selection varies by location.

Non-WW Product of the Week

A friend of mine mentioned she'd started exercising again, using the Yourself! Fitness program. If you thought video games were the downfall of humanity, this ought to change your mind. If there's a Playstation or Xbox in your house, you can turn it into a virtual personal trainer who will guide you through all sorts of different workouts. Working out at home without having to shell out big bucks for personal training? Cool deal!

Recipe of the Week

Shrimp and Pineapple Saute
Serves 4
3 Points and Core

1 lb peeled and deveined large shrimp
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp canola oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp grated peeled fresh ginger
2 cups diced pineapple
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
3 scallions, cut into 1" pieces
2 tsp fresh lime juice

Sprinkle shrimp with half the salt and pepper. Saute over medium-high heat in 1 tsp of the oil until the shrimp is just opaque. Set the shrimp aside on a plate.

Heat the rest of the oil, add the garlic and ginger, and stir constantly for about 30 seconds. Add pineapple and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add bell pepper, and cook until tender, 3-4 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.

-- Pure Comfort cookbook

Tip of the Week

Want to make sure you stay in control at a special event? Wear something fitted! Overeating can be uncomfortable anyway, but knowing you don't have much room in your waistband can help keep you from eating too much. Don't wear your "big meal" clothes - you know, that elastic waistband!

Quote of the Week

"Never eat more than you can lift." - Miss Piggy

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A Muffin By Any Other Name...

In the continuing saga of "I Cook So You Don't Have To" I present to you something you might actually care to make yourself.

Let me tell you a little secret. There's a staff message board for us at the Weight Watchers website. Mostly we post about employment policies, meeting room ideas, and our own weight loss, but every once in a while someone will try to track down an old recipe. That, incidentally, is where the Coconut Cream Pie recipe came from, and what started this series of posts.

Imagine my surprise when I logged on to find a fellow leader trying to track down a recipe for "poop muffins." One thing you may not know about me is that I have an extremely juvenile sense of humor, so instantly I knew I had to make these. It is unclear where the name comes it a reference to what the finished product looks like? Is it a reference to the fact that it's a high fiber food? I shall leave the answer as an exercise for the reader, but rest assured I did reach my own conclusions on the matter.

Poop Muffins

Makes 24 muffins
2 Points per muffin

3 cups Kellogg's Original All-Bran
2 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 box low-fat brownie mix

Preheat oven to 350. Spray muffin tins with nonstick spray.

Soak cereal in water for 10 minutes. Add the baking powder and brownie mix, stirring until everything is mixed well.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes.

What do we have here - a cooking success? The muffins are dense, yet still kind of moist. And they taste chocolately. I mean come on, it's based on a box of brownie mix! Which brings me to my final thought. Although these are muffins, I'm not sure they qualify as a breakfast item. Think about it - would you think it's a good idea to have a brownie for breakfast?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Newsletter, week of March 25th

Last Week

Make sure you're not suffering from portion distortion. Healthy foods are great, but quantity counts, too. No matter which food plan you follow, take a tip from the Core Plan - eat only until you're satisfied. Which of course means you'll need that doggie bag!

This Week

There's probably someone whose weight loss success has inspired you. We'll talk about those people, and also the fact that you might be inspiring someone at this very moment.


Oh my goodness, what a week! We had two people reach their 10% targets: Candi and Leah. And plenty of weight milestones as well: Shawn (25), Andrew (40), Kristen (20) and Joann (21). You're all doing such a great job!

WW Product of the Week

Weight Watchers Magazine - you can read about successful members, find great recipes and meal plans, learn what's hot in the field of weight loss, and pick up some great new tips. What's not to love? $4 an issue

Non-WW Product of the Week

Wednesday morning we heard about Lipton Green Tea To Go. If you're looking for another flavor to add into the rotation along with our Mix-Ins (because of course you've tried those, right?) these are some great options. In particular we saw the Mandarin and Mango flavor. Just pour the powder in your water bottle and go.

Recipe of the Week

Sweet Potato and Squash Bake
Serves 6
2 Points

2 pounds acorn squash
1/2 pound sweet potatoes
2 tsp canola oil
1 Tbsp unpacked brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a baking pan with cooking spray. Place sweet potatoes and squash (both cut into chunks) in pan. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg; toss to coat mixture well. Bake covered for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.

--Recipe courtesy of the eTools recipe search

Tip of the Week

Looking to move more but stuck at work? Here are a few tips to help you out: Eat your lunch at a park a few blocks away, and walk there instead of driving. Walk to a coworker's desk rather than e-mailing or calling. Move your trashcan far away from your desk so you'll have to get up to throw away garbage.

Quote of the Week

"Winners have a way - losers have a reason" - Author Unknown

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Newsletter, week of March 18th

Last Week

Feeding our emotions fills a need but stands in the way of our goals. Finding another way to fill the need can be a huge breakthrough.

This Week

The world seems to be suffering from portion distortion! We'll talk about the upside to downsizing our servings.


Guess who hit 25 pounds of weight loss? Rosie sure did! She joins Lynn in the celebrations this week, who has hit her 30 pound milestone. These two ladies, and Mary Ellen who reached her 16th week are great role models for us. They are determined, and they are succeeding.

WW Product of the Week

Three Month Journal - if you like to have your Points tracked right as you eat them, and keep forgetting to grab a new journal each week at the scale, try this little guy. Three months of spiral bound pages help you track and reflect on what's worked in the past and what hasn't. $6.00

Non-WW Product of the Week

If you have trouble getting your daily dairy servings, remember that soymilk is now one of the products you can use! I've recently discovered 8th Continent Light Vanilla soymilk. It's got just 60 calories, so it's just one Point! I've never been a fan of the taste of milk, so this is a great alternative for me.

Recipe of the Week

Sauteed Spinach with Almonds and Grapes
Serves 4
3 Points

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp blanched sliced almonds
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 10-oz bags spinach leaves
1 Tbsp water
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup seedless red grapes, halved

Heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook onions and almonds, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and almonds are golden. Add garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds.

Adjust heat to high, and add spinach, water, salt and pepper, stirring just until the spinach wilts. Add grapes and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.

To make it core, remove the almonds.

-- My Turnaround Program Cookbook p. 260

Tip of the Week

Disarm your cravings with the 5 D's: Delay at least 10 minutes before you eat so that your action is conscious, not impulsive. Distract yourself by engaging in an activity that requires concentration. Distance yourself from the food. Determine how important it really is for you to eat the craved food and how much you really want it. Decide what amount is reasonable and appropriate, eat it slowly and enjoy!

Quote of the Week

"Consider the postage stamp: its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing 'til it gets there." - Joseph Billings

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Newsletter, week of March 11th

Last Week

No matter where you are on the ladder of achievement, believing that you can will help you move to the highest rung.

This Week

If you've ever turned to food in response to an emotion, you'll want to be at this week's meeting. We'll explore why we do it and what we can do instead.


Larry has lost 5 pounds, and Emily has lost 6.4 pounds. You both are off to a fantastic start, so keep up the good work!

WW Product of the Week

Walking Kit - if you'd like to get started on a walking routine, or are looking for something new to earn activity points, check this out. It's got a Walk at Home DVD, a CD with workouts you can take with you, and a walking guide with all the tips and ideas you'll need to make it happen.

Non-WW Product of the Week

If you love Mexican food, but hate to spend a lot of points on tortillas, check out La Tortilla Factory's low-carb low-fat tortillas. They've got several flavors and sizes to suit your recipes. One note of caution - these are NOT zero point tortillas, despite what your points calculator will tell you. If it's not a vegetable, it's not a zero point food. The original tortilla has 50 calories, so please count a Point when you eat one.

Recipe of the Week

Corned Beef and Cabbage with Red Potatoes
Serves 4
8 Points

1 pound lean beef round
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp yellow mustard seed
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp coriander seed
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 bay leaves
8 small uncooked red potatoes, cut into 2-inch pieces
16 baby carrots
1 medium head green cabbage, coarsely shredded

Coat beef with salt and pepper and place in a large stockpot; cover with water. Add seasonings and bay leaves, and set over high heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 40 minutes.

Add potatoes, carrots and cabbage and return to a boil. Increase heat to medium, partially cover pot and boil, until everything is fork-tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of liquid; discard bay leaves.

Slice meat crosswise into thin slices and serve with vegetables. Pour some reserved cooking liquid over each serving.

Tip of the Week

Cooking tip: Rely upon fresh herbs, pungent spices, citrus juices, spicy relishes and/or hot peppers and chiles to boost flavor when cutting back on fat in recipes (fat carries a lot of flavor so you need to replace it with strongly-flavored ingredients).

Quote of the Week

"ANY food can be a red-light food when I'm having red-light feelings" - Ellen Dietschy

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

More from the "I Cook So You Don't Have To" files

I love finding great tasting foods with low Point values, as I'm sure most of you do. Over the years, this has meant trying all sorts of low-fat, fat-free, low-sugar, sugar-free, low-carb, carb-free (and on and on) type products. Some taste great, others are okay in a pinch, and some I wish I'd never bothered to try.

One of my "red light" foods is peanut butter. Once I have a little bit of it, I can't seem to stop. As a result, there hasn't been a jar in my house in a long time. Sure, I've tried the reduced fat variety, but honestly, the nutritional profile isn't that much better than your standard P.B., so why bother?

Which is why when I caught wind of PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter, I was intrigued. According to the nutrition information on the website, the stuff has 54 calories for two tablespoons. And yet...powdered peanut butter that mixes with water? This could either be the best thing ever or the most horrifying thing I've ever put in my mouth.

In the interest of science, I decided to give it a try. With the 4-jar minimum and shipping and handling, I had to shell out twenty bucks. I figured if it ended up being tasty, great, and if not, well, I'm sure it would produce some comedy at least.

The package arrived a few days ago. Here is what the stuff looks like when reconstituted:

And here's a close-up of the faux peanut butter:

I am pleased to report that this stuff TASTES GOOD. It really tastes like peanut butter! I spread it on some toast and wow, was it awesome. My next thought was "hmm, I wonder if it works well in baking or cooking...." Clearly I need a hobby.

Anyway, I decided to make some peanut butter oat bran cookies using a recipe from my box of oat bran hot cereal. Here's the recipe, and no I don't know the nutritional value. Run it through the eTools recipe builder if you plan on making them for yourself:

Peanut Butter Oat Bran Cookies

1/2 c butter, melted
1/2 c white sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1 egg or 2 egg whites
1/2 c peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 c unbleached white flour
1 1/2 c Hodgson Mill oat bran cereal
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix melted butter with sugars. Add egg (or whites); mix well. Stir in peanut butter and vanilla; beat until smooth. Add remaining dry ingredients; mix well. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Criss-cross on each cookie with the tines of a fork. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 36 cookies.

The verdict? PB2 cooks well! These cookies tasted good, although they were slightly dry. I expect that's more a function of the oat bran, though. The peanut butter taste was right on.

I can't believe this product actually is worthy! I'm very excited, because this opens up a whole new realm of Thai recipes for me. There are tons of peanut sauce recipes I've always skipped because I haven't wanted to keep a jar of peanut butter in the house. But having this lighter option (that can be made one serving at a time) is much easier to control. Now Bell Plantations just needs to make it available in grocery stores....

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Newsletter, week of March 4th

Last Week

Once again, we demonstrated that Weight Watchers love to talk about food! Thanks to everyone who shared their best food finds with us.

This Week

During your weight loss process, you might notice some mental shifts. Examining your beliefs - thinking first - can help you identify the thoughts that are hindering or helping your progress toward your goals.


This week our Wednesday group shined! We celebrated Marta's 15 pound milestone, Shawn's 20 pound weight loss, Alanna's 25 pound award, and the fact that Lynn is now back at goal. What a day!

WW Product of the Week

Points Calculator - Do you think carrying around our big square PointsFinder is a nuisance? Does it get crushed in your pocket or your handbag? Our electronic calculator will give you Points values in a small, sturdy case. This is great for calculating points on the go, whether it's in the grocery store, or in a restaurant. $10.00

Non-WW Product of the Week

The product that was shared this past week that seemed to get everyone the most excited was the Hostess 100 Calorie Cupcake Pack. Little mini cupcakes in chocolate (1 Point), golden (2 Points) and carrot (2 Points)? Oh yes. Important note: like all snack and dessert items, these should be occasional indulgences. Because of their nutritional profile, one package of the chocolate cupcakes is only one point (100 calories, 3 g of fat, and 5 g of fiber). If you eat two packages in one sitting (thus eating 200 calories, 6 g of fat, and 10 g of fiber) you will be consuming 4 Points of cupcakes because of the 4 gram fiber cap.

Recipe of the Week

Marta raves about this recipe, and says she makes it all the time for breakfast, so here it is:

Tuscan Beans with Sage and Pancetta
Serves 6
5 Points

1 tsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 oz thinly sliced pancetta, cut into strips
2 (15 oz) cans cannellini or Great Northern beans, drained but not rinsed
1/4 cup fresh sage leaves, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
Ground pepper, to taste

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add pancetta and cook about 3 minutes, until crisp.

Add the beans and sage; cook, stirring occasionally, until the flavors are blended, about 10 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper.

--Turnaround Program Cookbook, page 250

Tip of the Week

If you find yourself doing unplanned snacking, do some research. In addition to journaling what you eat and its Points value, log the time of day and your mood when food is eaten. You may discover certain triggers - a time of day, an emotion - that drive you to eat. Once you know what the trigger is, you can take the next step to dealing with it or preparing for it.

Quote of the Week

"The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind." - William James