Thursday, December 31, 2009

Roundup, week of January 3rd

I can't believe it's almost January! 2010! Holy crow, what a year.

What Happened Last Week?

We started talking about Winning Outcomes. Goals are so very important to your success, that you've GOT to have at least one. Remember, keep it positive, keep it specific, keep it realistic and something you can fit into your life. If you've done that, there's no stopping you!

The HUGE thing that happened last week was that we've gained our newest Lifetime Member. Congratulations to Heidi, who finished her weight loss journey having lost something like 120 pounds! Now she transitions into weight maintenance mode, which is when the fun really begins.

So What's Coming Up?

This week the new Diet Season officially starts! If you're reading this and you're not active in meetings right now, it's time to get back to it. Use the new year as an excuse to make some serious changes!

Topic-wise, we're going to spend the week focused on the importance of tracking. Did you know that people tend to underestimate what they eat by THIRTY TO FIFTY PERCENT? Crazy! Awareness is a critical weight loss skill, and tracking really brings it home.

This week we'll also be sampling our new Roasted Almond Sensation snack bar. It's going to be replacing the Fruity Nutty Madness bar we currently sell. It's so new I haven't even tried it!

2009 Ends With a Bang...and a Whimper

Today I ended my fitness year by taking a special two hour long spin class. And it was honestly the best workout I have had all year.

Before I became a gym rat, I was a half-marathon and marathon junkie. I've run 5 marathons and I don't even know how many half-marathons. Too many to count. I love the way that long distance running feels, and I love pushing my body farther than I ever thought it could go. But then, a nerve in my right foot decided it had other plans for me.

Today's workout is honestly the first time since running that I felt myself pushed beyond my comfort zone. Standing beside the bike after class, my workout pants were literally dripping sweat on the floor. Gross I know, but a testament to how hard I worked. There were a few times when the beat of the music, the beat of my heart and whatever was going on in my brain synced up so well that it nearly had me in tears - I've cried while crossing the finish line of every marathon I've run, so it was a sensation I've felt before, but not for awhile.

At some point during the workout, I started talking to myself (mentally, not out loud!) and I told myself that I was as strong as I ever have been. Real positive stuff. Anyone who really knows me and my neuroses would find that hard to believe! I cannot believe how good it felt. What a wonderful way to end the year!

Many thanks to Elizabeth and Chris, neither of whom will ever see this, for pushing me beyond what I thought I could do today. You are among a select few in my life who has done this for me. Cheers!

Oh, and before we get all emotional up in here, I should say that I am so ridiculously spent it isn't even funny. I fell asleep watching TV and woke up to a huge pile of drool. That's also something that hasn't happened much since I stopped distance running. How on earth did I ever get anything done on Saturdays after long runs is beyond me. I forgot what this shredded feeling was like!

Happy New Year, and thanks for sharing this moment with me.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Food Porn!

This week's "recipe" is my insistence that you must buy the Jan/Feb 2010 issue of Weight Watchers Magazine. I'm not kidding, it's probably one of the best uses of your four American dollars this month.

So I was paging through my copy, earmarking recipes I want to try, and came across this little goodie on page 99: Chocolate Panini. I'm not even going to post the recipe, I'm just going to share with you the photo (okay, not THE photo, but this one is about 95% similar) that goes along with the recipe:

Oh snap! I'm just telling you right now I am never making this recipe. Because while it says it serves 6, I'm afraid I'd be quite able to EAT. IT. ALL. But boy, can I stare at that image all day!

So now my magazine is post-it-flagged on almost every page because I intend to try the following:

Bean, Vegetable and Feta Bake
Kickoff Turkey Sausage with Spinach
Herb Straciatelli with Orzo and Chard
Savory Two-Herb Quiche
Winter Squash Soup
Vegetable Medley with Rosemary

Maybe this issue is just right up my alley, but that list hits about all of the ingredients in my cooking wheelhouse. If you like what you see above, pick up a copy the next time you're in the meeting room. Good eats!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Outsmart the Fat takes on Fat

When I named this site, the fat I was referring to was the stuff y'all are trying to get rid of. You know, the stuff that makes your thighs rub, the stuff that causes muffin top and back fat.

But all fat isn't bad, and the fat I mean this time is the kind we consume.

Linda asked last night if it was still important to get the GHG recommended 2 teaspoons of healthy oils even when you're taking vitamins and supplements. I mentioned the reasons why (healthy) fat is important to our diet, but later remembered seeing a WW article on it that I wanted to dig up.

I don't think this is exactly what I remembered, but it'll do. The essence of what I wanted to mention last night is why we need healthy fats in our diet. Among other things, they:

* help us absorb fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K).
* provide us with vital nutrients (including Omega 3 essential fatty acids)
* are pivotal for proper gallbladder function.

If you're REALLY interested, check out Chapter 6 of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 and you'll see much the same reasoning, and a lot of other things. I will admit my eyes glazed a little, but it corroborates what you see above.

So fat can be friendly. Don't be afraid of it! And as with all of our Good Health Guidelines, try to solve them first with real food, and then if you need to, supplement as necessary. Maybe even work with your doctor on that one - it may turn out you don't need all those pills!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Really, Taco Bell?

I've already started to notice that New Year's Resolution season is in full force. I have a love/hate relationship with this time of year. I mean, obviously it's a lucrative time for me. But the thought of all the people who make grandiose plans to change their lives and then bail out when things get tough shortly after is rather depressing.

Anyway, Taco Bell is getting into the act. Maybe too many people are taking Jared's advice and eating at Subway, so Taco Bell now introduces The Drive Thru Diet.

Astute folks (or Taco Bell fans perhaps) will note that this is simply a promotion of their Al Fresco menu, which savvy Weight Watchers have known about for awhile. People whose BS meters are pinging will also note the disclaimer on their site, that it is NOT a diet, but the food can be part of a healthy diet. Well, sure. As we know, ANYTHING can be if you practice moderation.

Don't believe the hype. Order it if you want, compare it to non-Al Fresco menu items and notice there's not all that much difference, continue to avoid it if you already do. Taco Bell, I'm on to you. You haven't found the magic pill. No one has.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Roundup, week of December 27th

What Happened Last Week?

Thanks to all who showed up to meetings last week. You're the die-hard members, and we on staff love you for it. It's harder to work smaller meetings, since you're less inclined to be boisterous and talkative (well, except for some of you and you know who you are) so we love it when you keep on coming!

Anyway, we looked back on the year's accomplishments, and some of you have impressive stats. There were weight-loss milestones, fitness milestones, and a few of you even became Lifetime Members in 2009!

Special bravos go to Lena and Irma, who celebrated 5% and 25 pound awards, respectively. Great work this time of year, ladies!

So What's Coming Up?

This week we're getting a head start on 2010 by discussing goals. Lots of New Year's Resolutions are about to be set around the country, so let's talk about how to do it and make it work this time. Start thinking now. What do you want to achieve this year?

And now, one for all of you out there. What do YOU want to see happen at your Weight Watchers meetings this year? What's going to help you be successful? Is there anything we've done in meetings that you wish we'd do more often? Feel free to drop a line in comments, via email or Facebook. I want to help craft a meeting that's going to make it worth your time and money!

Weekly Recipe: Pumpkin Enchiladas

Sometime over the summer, Hungry Girl featured the recipe that inspired today's post. Unexpectedly facing a quiet Christmas dinner at home, I knew this was the time to finally make this recipe. But since it was a holiday meal, I didn't want to be the original recipe intended. Even with my modifications this is still a pretty healthy recipe - and it's good!

Pumpkin Enchiladas
Makes 6 enchiladas

6 medium corn tortillas
2 cups enchilada sauce
1.5 cup canned pumpkin
1 medium onion (chopped)
1 cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
4 Tbsp taco sauce
Olives - 4 black, 4 green (diced)
Fresh chives for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spray pan with nonstick spray and heat over medium. Saute the onion until it begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Add pumpkin, taco sauce, olives, and black pepper to the bowl and mix well.

Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside. Warm tortillas slightly in the microwave.

Lay tortillas flat on a work surface. Spread 2 Tbsp (or more if you're generous) enchilada sauce onto each one. Sprinkle each with some of the cheddar cheese. Spread the pumpkin mixture evenly on the centers of the tortillas.

Wrap tortillas tightly and place them seam side down in the baking dish. Cover with the rest of the enchilada sauce.

Bake for about 8 minutes, until hot. Remove the baking dish from the oven, and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the enchiladas.

Return to oven and bake for another 5 minutes or so, until the cheese has melted. Garnish with the fresh chives.

Nutrition information for each enchilada: Calories: 157.2, Total Fat: 4.2 g, Cholesterol: 4.0 mg, Sodium: 827.7 mg, Total Carbs: 23.7 g, Dietary Fiber: 4.7 g, Protein: 7.5 g

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Operation: Healthy Birthday

Today is my 36th birthday. That's right, I'm telling you how old I am - who cares, right? Although I'd rather not hear from anyone who thought I was older than that! Anyway, my Monday group knows that my plan was to have a Healthy Birthday. This meant that I'd stay within Points and get all the Good Health Guidelines. I haven't gone to bed yet, but we're pretty much to the end of the day, so here's how it went:

1. Five servings of fruits and vegetables - all of my main dishes at mealtime had fruits and/or vegetables in them, and I snacked on an apple and an orange. I don't usually bother weighing and measuring my vegetables, so I don't know how many actual servings I had, but I can tell you it was way more than 5 in total.

2. Two servings of dairy - I had my usual morning smoothie: a cup of fat-free milk and a packet of Weight Watchers white chocolate peppermint smoothie, so check on that one.

3. Two teaspoons of healthy oil - I put a teaspoon of canola into that smoothie, and a teaspoon of olive oil went into the soup I had for lunch.

4. Choose whole grains whenever possible - for breakfast I had Quinoa with Squash and Cranberries (from our new Healthy Cooking Basics cookbook, which by the way was awesome). And this week I threw a handful of wheat berries into my vegetable soup. So I think that counts!

5. 1-2 servings of lean protein - for dinner I made Chicken and White Bean Stew with Lemon & Sage (also from that brand new cookbook). While it was chicken thighs, I think because it's a WW recipe I'm still golden on that one.

6. 6 glasses of water - I easily drink 12 glasses of water by say 10am, so no problem whatsoever on that one.

7. Take a multi-vitamin - oops. This is one I haven't been doing lately. In fact, I don't even have any in the house. I completely forgot about this one until compiling this list. Ahem.

8. 30 minutes of activity most days - I woke up early and took a spin class, then went BACK to the gym later (crazy, I know) and took a weights class. I think that counts, don't you?

9. Limit sugars and alcohol - I didn't have any alcohol today; I am about to have "pudding in a cloud" (pudding cup with cool whip) and a cup of sugar-free hot chocolate, and that is the only thing I'm having today that has any non-naturally occurring sugar. DONE.

So 8 of 9 GHGs met. I am coming in exactly at my daily target as well. And to cap it off, tonight I worked a meeting at the Clairemont center as a weigher.

Sounds like a healthy day, doesn't it? I also spent some time reading, surfing the internet, and watching a few episodes of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations. In all, a pretty good day filled with things I like doing.

If only every day were like this day....

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Lapse, but not a Relapse

Those folks over in the meeting topic department certainly know what's what having us talk about lapses this week. The last few days I've been thinking a lot about cookies - which are my kryptonite. When I got home last night, in the mail was a package from a friend who's a chef, filled with homemade goodies.

Guess who had cookies for dinner last night?

The alarm went off this morning, and I had a brief thought about blowing off the gym, but managed to haul my ass on over there. If any of you have ever tried a spin class after eating cookies for dinner, you know it ain't fun. Which is why I had that fleeting thought about bailing out.

But it's done. I'm back on track, and presumably the Cookie Thoughts have gotten out of my system. So it was a lapse, but not a relapse.

If you're lapsing, click on the Comments button and tell me what you are going to do in the next few hours to GET BACK ON TRACK RIGHT AWAY. What are you waiting for...January?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Newsletter, week of December 20th

Last Week

Having lapses are normal, and learning to deal with them is a critical weight loss skill. Persistence, not perfection!

This Week

If you're still coming to meetings in December (and you folks know who you are!), you're probably winners at losing. But this week we'll focus on all that we have gained, in addition to what we've lost this year.


Congratulations to Ginger, who received her 16 week Stay and Succeed award!

WW Product of the Week

The recipe I just posted is from our newest cookbook, Healthy Cooking Basics. If you're not the best cook, this cookbook will discuss a few basic cooking techniques, and give you some recipes to practice on. For the more seasoned cook, check out the harira recipe I posted, as well as the sweet potato and ham hash. Those are the two recipes I've made so far, and both have been seriously tasty. I have a few other grain recipes earmarked for the cooking queue. Just $15.

Weekly Potpourri

I think I might have highlighted this before, but since it came up on Monday night I figured I'd repost it so everyone can check it out. David Kirchhoff is the CEO of Weight Watchers. And a Lifetime Member. And a refreshingly down-to-earth funny dude. Check out his blog for an insight on being a male, being a traveling executive, and being a Weight Watchers spokesperson. Interesting perspective, to be sure.

What's Hot at

No doubt about it, December is a tough time to be a Weight Watcher. Which explains why we have so many empty chairs. (ahem) But check out these tips on how to survive the rest of the month. It's never too late to get back on track!

Quote of the Week

The only thing that stands between a man and what he wants from life is often merely the will to try it and the faith to believe that it is possible. - Richard M. DeVos

Weekly Recipe: Moroccan Harira

This recipe is from our new Healthy Cooking Basics cookbook. I made it for dinner this week, and it is REALLY GOOD.

Moroccan Harira
Serves 6
5 Points value

2 tsp canola oil
1 onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp turmeric
3/4 tsp black pepper
4 cups water
4 cups vegetable broth
15.5 oz can chickpeas, rinsed & drained
14.5 oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 cup brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
3/4 cup fine egg noodles
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
6 lemon wedges

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add cinnamon, turmeric and pepper; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 seconds.

Add water, broth, chickpeas, tomatoes and lentils; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.

Stir in noodles and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in chopped cilantro. Serve with lemon wedges.

Per serving: 253 calories, 4g fat, 10g fiber, 468mg sodium

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Newsletter, week of December 13th

Last Week

Holiday STRESS does not have to be your downfall. What else could you do to make yourself feel better that would be consistent with your health goals?

This Week

Okay, so even the best of us give in to those stress eating moments. When that happens, we need to learn how to turn things around and persevere. If you're worried about a holiday lapse, be sure to join us this week!

WW Product of the Week

Don't stress yourself out thinking you have to spend a lot of time tracking Points this hoiday season. Our Points Clicker can help you stay within your Target with almost no effort! It's the best five bucks you'll ever spend.

Weekly Potpourri

I think I've linked to this company's t-shirts before, but props to Hungry Girl for reminding me how clever these t-shirts are. How can you not chuckle?

What's Hot at

Here is a fun little quiz that nicely ties in with last week's stress topic. Find out how much that holiday stress gets you down!

Quote of the Week

There are only two options regarding commitment; you're either in or you're out. There's no such thing as life in-between. - Pat Riley

Weekly Recipe: Wayne's Pumpkin Smash

This is my week to steal from Hungry Girl - this has been my breakfast all week - like pumpkin pie without the crust!

Wayne's Pumpkin Smash

PER SERVING (1 piece, 1/9th of recipe): 65 calories, <0.5g fat, 81mg sodium, 12g carbs, 1g fiber, 7g sugars, 5g protein -- POINTS® value 1

One 15-oz. can pure pumpkin
One 12-oz. can evaporated fat-free milk
1/2 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute
3/4 cup Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated)
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and mix thoroughly. Place mixture in a baking dish (8" X 8" works well) sprayed lightly with nonstick spray, and bake in the oven for 45 minutes. (It will remain a little soft, like pie filling.) Once ready to serve (it's delicious eaten hot or cold), cut into 9 pieces.

Serve and enjoy!


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Newsletter, week of December 6th

Last Week

If you're in a food rut, how do you expect to have the fortitude to turn down all those holiday goodies? Look to all the sources we discussed, and find something new to eat!

This Week

This week we'll discuss managing stress. But in addition to that, everyone that attends a meeting this week will get two things: a new, STURDIER version of our Pocket Guide, and an issue of Weight Watchers Weekly, which is a new publication we'll be giving out each week as a take-home to reinforce that week's meeting topic. Be there!


Wendy received her first five pound star, Lena reached 10 pounds lost, and Estella has now lost over 20 pounds! Catching up from the meeting I missed last Wednesday, I want to give a shout-out to Jill, who is our newest Lifetime member. I feel like we've had a rash of folks hitting goal and finishing maintenance in the past month or two. Great work!

WW Product of the Week

Along with the new handouts, we're revamping our member kits. That means updated versions of our journals and companions, and now it comes in a nifty new carrying case! If you never invested in this tool before, it's pretty much your encyclopedia for Weight Watchers. Give them a look this week.

Weekly Potpourri

Because it apparently only happens once a year, I wanted to give you all a heads up: the Mission Valley YMCA is running a No Joiners Fee special next week on Tuesday and Thursday (December 8 and 10). Joining this YMCA gives you access to Toby Wells, Mission Valley (on Friars), Hazard Center, and Downtown facilities. Why am I sharing this with you? Well, I'll be popping in to join up myself! This will save you on the order of a hundred bucks, and if you join now, gives you a leg up on the New Years Resolution crowd. Won't you join me?

What's Hot at

I try to give equal time to all the holidays that pop up this time of year, but I know most information out there tends to be Christmas specific. If that's not your bag, but Hanukkah is, they've got you covered with a bunch of tasty recipes. Rugelach! How can you not like that?

Quote of the Week

To think that you are not going to fail is an illusion. Fail faster, you will only be closer to what you want. - Unknown

Weekly Recipe: Don't Try This At Home, Kids.

No really. Don't.

One of the wonderful things about visiting my in-laws is the presence of The World's Best Used Bookstore That's Not Powell's in Portland. Every time we visit, it's one of the first places we go.

This year I scored the holy grail, people. At least, the holy grail as it might seem to a leader with a blog and a warped sense of humor (i.e. ME). I found a copy of The Weight Watchers Cookbook from 1966. I'd seen this before, but NOW IT IS MINE. If I can get my rear in gear, 2010 is going to be filled with some fun stuff as I plow through this. In the meantime, this week's "recipe"....

Cottage Cheese Danish

1 slice crisp toast
2 ounces cottage cheese
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp vanilla
1/2 package granulated sugar substitute

Mix cottage cheese with cinnamon, vanilla and sugar substitute. Spread on toast and place under broiler until warmed through. We think this tastes like a fresh-baked cheese Danish.*

VARIATION: use artificial butter flavor instead of vanilla and add 1/4 tsp orange rind. Roll freshly-made toast with a rolling pin to flatten**, cut diagonally in half. Divide cheese mixture over toast halves, secure bread with toothpicks and bake in preheated oven, 500 degrees, for 10 minutes.

*Yeah, right.

** BWA HA HA!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

The newsletter is going on holiday this week (probably eating too much turkey) but I wanted to pop in to wish you and yours a fantastic holiday.

Remember the rules:

1. Have fun!
2. Come back!

I don't care what happens this week, make sure you're back on track and in your meetings next week.

And now, your moment of zen:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Newsletter, week of November 22nd

Last Week

Knowing the Points values of holiday food can help you decide what you'll eat, how much, and how often. Make sure you're looking up anything we didn't cover!

This Week

"But I made this just for you!" Last week was all about the logical side of holiday eating. This week is all about the emotional side of things. Does that quote sound familiar?


Yesennia received her first 5 pound star, Estella got her 5% award, Pat got a 65 pound star, and Candy is now officially down over 80 pounds. As a wonderful bonus, both Heidi and Trista reached their weight goals, having lost 117.8 and 51.8 pounds respectively. Holy cow!

WW Product of the Week

What you're eating is important, but how much you eat is also good to know. Our electronic scale not only weighs your food, but its database of foods will help you calculate Points values as well! Makes a great holiday gift, too.

Weekly Potpourri

Exercise comes in many formats. A recent study shows that a workout on your Wii can be just as good as doing "real" exercise. Now, don't think that a game of bowling can completely replace a step aerobics class, but know that you're NOT just frittering time away playing those games. You really are burning calories!

What's Hot at

Reinforce this week's topic by checking out how to have a guilt-free Thanksgiving. Some of the tips we've discussed, but there are a couple of new ideas, too.

Quote of the Week

Your past is not your potential. In any hour you can choose to liberate the future. - Marilyn Ferguson

Weekly Recipe: Healthy Stuffing

Healthy Stuffing
Serves 16

1 Tbsp light butter
14 oz stuffing bread (such as Pepperidge Farm or Mrs Cubbison)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced mushroom
2-3 cloves of garlic
2- 2 1/2 cup chicken broth
poultry seasoning to taste (1-2 tsp)
pepper to taste around 1 tsp

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat a large saute pan; once heated add butter and spray with cooking spray. Add carrots and saute; add celery, onion, garlic and mushroom, cooking until veggies are tender. Remove from heat and transfer to bowl and allow to cool slightly.

In a large bowl add bread stuffing and veggies; toss together, season with pepper and poultry seasoning. Add chicken broth, mixing until moist but not soaking. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Spray casserole dish with cooking spray. Add stuffing mix and cover with foil. Bake 20-25 minutes; uncover and cook additional 10 minutes or until slightly crispy on top.

Serves around 1/2 cup each serving.

Calories: 106.1, Total Fat: 1.4 g, Sodium: 406.4 mg, Dietary Fiber: 3.9 g, Protein: 2.8 g

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Newsletter, week of November 15th

Last Week

Holiday season is about traditions - old and new ones. You might have to ask for help if you'd like to adopt some newer healthier habits.

This Week

It's back! Our annual Thanksgiving dinner meeting. Come prepared to be shocked at how quickly the Points add up! Bring a friend - they can weigh in and stay for the meeting with no obligation.


Jessica celebrated her 5% target, Trista reached 50 pounds lost, and Marianne has now been at goal for 2 years! Nice work ladies.

WW Product of the Week

Check out our cookbooks! All of the cookbooks in our meeting rooms are 50% off, so you can get a boatload of recipes for as little as $5! Consider these for holiday gifts, or just a reward for sticking with your plan through the holidays. Sale ends December 8th.

Weekly Potpourri

I mentioned in the meetings this week that there will be a Weight Watchers contingent at a few local events on Thanksgiving day. You can join our very own Fern at the Run for the Hungry 5K and 10K downtown at 8:15 on turkey day. It'll be a healthy start to the day...what you do with the rest of it is up to you!

What's Hot at

You know it's flu season. But did you know that when you get active your immune system can get stronger? I know I keep banging the drum about getting active, but that's because it's worth it for so many reasons!

Quote of the Week

Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone. - Pablo Picasso

Weekly Recipe: Turkey Meatloaf Muffins

This is a recipe that Anna shared with me, courtesy of eTools

Turkey Meatloaf Muffins
POINTS® value 3
Servings 12

2 pound lean ground turkey
1 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 medium garlic cloves, finely minced, or more to taste
12 oz cremini mushrooms, or other mushrooms, diced (about 2 cups)
1 tsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp sherry cooking wine
1/2 cup parsley, fresh, minced

Preheat oven to 350ºF and fill 12 muffin holes with liners. Coat a large bowl with cooking spray.

Place turkey in prepared bowl; season with salt and pepper, mix until incorporated and set aside.

Place butter and oil in a large frying pan and cook over medium heat until butter melts; add onion. Sauté onion over medium heat until wilted and translucent, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add garlic; cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms begin to give off moisture, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Add soy sauce and sherry; cook until mixture begins to resemble a paste, about 5 to 10 minutes. Toss in parsley and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more.

Add mushroom mixture to turkey and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Drop by heaping tablespoons into prepared muffin tins until 2/3 to 3/4 full. Bake muffins until center seems firm to the touch and turkey is completely cooked through, about 22 to 27 minutes. Yields 1 muffin per serving.

These muffins can be made ahead and warmed in minutes in the microwave. Pop extras in the freezer for fabulous fast-food. The addition of 1 1/2 tablespoons of cranberry sauce per muffin increases the POINTS value to 4 per serving.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


I am so pissed at my email hosting software right now, you don't even know. I apologize for how crappy the emails from me look this morning. They just "upgraded" and while I thought it was impossible, the interface is even more unfriendly than it was before. It looks like you're seeing raw HTML.

You should hear the words coming out of my mouth right now....

Newsletter, week of November 8th

Last Week

Motivation is key to get you through the upcoming holidays. I hope you're thinking about what you'd like to achieve by the end of November. Make it happen!

This Week

Another way to keep on track through the holidays is to make sure you stay active. We'll talk about how you can keep that up, including how to add activity to your normal holiday celebrations.


This week we gave a five pound star to Velma who reached 60 pounds lost. She's worked hard on those last five pounds, so she was quite excited.

WW Product of the Week

While you're out running around on those holiday errands, you're taking steps. Our pedometer can keep track of those for you, and tally up not only how far you've walked, but if you've earned any Activity Points!

Weekly Potpourri

HEADS UP! The week of November 15th is the week we'll do our annual "Turkey Dinner" and discuss the Points values of all that traditional stuff. This year I want to make this meeting more successful than ever, so I'm putting the word out now.

If you know someone who is thinking about joining, is curious about our program, or if you're reading this and haven't been in the meeting room in a long time, NOW IS YOUR CHANCE. Guests are always welcome to attend a meeting for free, but at my meetings that week (Monday, 11/16 6:30pm in Lemon Grove and Wednesday, 11/18 6:30am in Clairemont) I will allow guests and you lapsed folks weigh in with no obligation. That's not usually allowed! If any guest is interested in signing up, they'll have to pay the standard fee, but if not, they can walk out the door with no penalty. Spread the word!

What's Hot at

Since we have been talking about the Good Health Guidelines a lot lately, I wanted to remind you about our liquid guideline. I think I posted this article before, but it's a good reminder of why that cup of joe can now count as a liquid, but that martini can't.

Quote of the Week

Every achiever that I have ever met says, "My life turned around when I began to believe in me." - Dr. Robert Schuller

Friday, October 30, 2009

Recipe Swap Index

Here's a summary of all the collected recipes. Bon appetit!

Broccoli, Cauliflower and Swiss Quiche

Lentil Spinach Soup

Mushroom Barley Soup

Orzo Salad with White Beans

Chicken Penne Casserole with Tomato & Goat Cheese

White Chicken Chili

Baby Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Chicken, Mango & Black Bean Salad

Layered Mexican Chicken

Mexican Beef Over Polenta

Lentil Tacos

Tuscan Beans with Sage & Pancetta

Tuscan Chicken Sausage Stew

Quick Caldo Verde

Quinoa Pilaf

Thai Broccoli Salad

Mini-Meat Loaves

WW One Point Hearty Chili

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

Spanakorizo (Greek Spinach & Rice)

Cheesy Eggs Ole

Thank you to all who participated. I've tried a handful of these already, and so far they have all been winners!

Broccoli, Cauliflower and Swiss Quiche

Broccoli, Cauliflower and Swiss Quiche
Serves 6
Points Value: 3

2 cups fresh broccoli florets
2 cups fresh cauliflower florets
1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
5 slices turkey bacon, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups low-fat (1%) milk
2 tsp spicy brown mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne (substitute or add nutmeg)
2/3 cup shredded low fat Swiss cheese (substitute mozzarella OK)
1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 1/2 inch deep-dish glass pie plate with nonstick spray.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the broccoli and cauliflower; cover and return to a boil. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bacon, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is softened and the bacon is browned, about 5 minutes. Add the broccoli and cauliflower; cook, stirring occasionally, until any cooking liquid is absorbed and the flavors are blended, about 5 minutes. Transfer the vegetable mixture to the prepared pie plate.

Whisk the eggs, egg whites, milk, mustard, salt, and cayenne in a bowl. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetable mixture; sprinkle with the Swiss and Parmesan.

Bake until the quiche is set and the tip of a small knife inserted into the center comes out clean, 35-40 minutes. Let cool slightly, about 15 minutes. Cut into 6 wedges. If making ahead, let cool completely. Transfer the wedges to an airtight container. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 days. To serve, wrap each wedge in wax paper and microwave on High until heated through, 1-1 1/2 minutes.

Lentil Spinach Soup – from Marta

Lentil Spinach Soup – from Marta
Serves 6
3 Points value

5 cups warm water (can replace one cup with chicken broth)
1 cup brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
5 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 large tomato, diced
2 Thai, cayenne, or Serrano chiles, minced
1 tsp salt
1 (10 oz.) bag triple-washed spinach, rinsed and coarsely chopped

Bring 4 cups of the water and the lentils to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat; lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the lentils are tender, 20-25 minutes.

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cumin seeds and sizzle just until fragrant, 10-15 seconds. Immediately add the onion and garlic and stir-fry until golden brown, 3-4 minutes.

Stir in the tomato, chiles, salt, and the remaining 1 cup of water; bring to a boil. Pour the tomato-onion mixture into the saucepan with the lentils. Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the flavors are blended, about 15 minutes. Stir in the spinach just before serving.

Mushroom-Barley Soup – from Marta

Mushroom-Barley Soup – from Marta
Serves 8
2 Points value

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups finely chopped onion (about 1 medium)
1 (12 oz.) package pre-sliced button mushrooms
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ cup uncooked pearl barley
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 ½ cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3 Tbsp minced fresh chives

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat 1 minute. Add onion; cook 9 minutes, stirring often. Add button mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Cook 5 minutes, stirring often. Add barley and garlic. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add chicken broth. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 30 minutes or until barley is tender. Sprinkle with chives.

Orzo Salad with White Beans – From Marta

Orzo Salad with White Beans – From Marta
Serves 6
3 Points value

You can double the serving size and serve this Greek-style pasta and bean salad as a main dish for a POINTS value of 6.

2/3 cup uncooked orzo
1 cup diced cucumber (about 1 small)
½ cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 (15.8 oz) can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup reduced fat olive vinaigrette
1 Tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp coarsely ground black pepper

Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain and rinse with cold water. Drain.

Combine pasta, cucumber, and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl, tossing gently. Combine vinaigrette and next 3 ingredients, stirring with a whisk. Add vinaigrette mixture to pasta mixture, tossing gently to combine.

Chicken & Penne Casserole with Tomatoes & Goat Cheese – from Marta

Chicken & Penne Casserole with Tomatoes & Goat Cheese – from Marta via a WW Cookbook
Serves 6
5 Points value

2 cups penne
2 tsp olive oil
3 cups sliced mushrooms
1 onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 cup diced cooked chicken breast
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup fat-free egg substitute (or 2 eggs)
½ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 ounces reduced-fat goat cheese, crumbled
2 Tbsp plain dried bread crumbs
1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 375. Spray a 7x11 inch baking dish with nonstick spray.

Prepare the pasta according to package directions, omitting the salt if desired. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tsp of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and onion; cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the mushroom mixture to the pasta. Stir in the tomatoes, chicken, beans, egg substitute, and broth. Spoon the mixture into the baking dish; top with the goat cheese.

Combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and parsley with remaining 1 tsp oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the casserole. Bake, uncovered, until the topping is browned and the filling is hot and bubbly, about 40 minutes.

White Chicken Chili - from Karen

White Chicken Chili – from Karen
Serves 8
3 Points value

1 can chicken broth (original recipe called for 4 cups, I thought it was too soupy)
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 15oz cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
2 medium zucchini, diced
2 onions, diced
1 Tbsp ground cumin (I use cumin seed and crush it with a mortar & pestle, you can use a rolling pin also)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp chili powder
1 cup frozen corn kernels (white is nice if you can find it)
½ cup fat-free sour cream
½ tsp salt
Cilantro for garnish
Lime wedges for garnish

Sauté the chicken and onion in a pan sprayed with PAM. (if it’s too dry add a little of the chicken broth) Add the remaining broth, beans, zucchini, cumin, garlic, and chili powder. Cook on medium until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender, about ½ to 1 hour. (I like it cooked down a bit. When I double or triple the recipe it takes longer to do that!)

Stir in the corn and sour cream; cook until heated through, about 5 minutes longer. Season with salt & pepper. Serve garnished with cilantro and lime wedges.

Per serving: 193 calories, 3g fat (1g sat fat), 264mg sodium, 6g fiber

Baby Pumpkin Cheesecakes - from Marta

Baby Pumpkin Cheesecakes – from Marta, cobbled together from the memory of an old recipe
Serves 24
2 Points value

16 ounces light cream cheese
2/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1Tbsp vanilla
½ cup eggbeaters
15 ounce can pumpkin puree
24 gingersnap cookies

Preheat oven to 350. Spray mini muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Place one gingersnap in each muffin tin.

Cream together all the ingredients. Spoon into muffin tin on top of the cookie, which will become the crust of the cheesecake.

Bake for 20 minutes, turn, and cook for 30 more minutes.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Newsletter, week of November 1st

Last Week

We discussed the remainder of the Good Health Guidelines, and I challenged you to try and satisfy as many of them as you can. You can do it!

This Week

Whether you're ready or not, the holiday season is almost underway. We'll talk about how to keep you motivated for the rest of the year, and hang on to your momentum.


Jessica, Aubrie and Lucresia all received their first five pound stars. And Irma got her 10% keychain!

WW Product of the Week

Points Clicker and 3 Month Journal - a great way to keep momentum is to make sure you keep monitoring yourself. We've got several methods, from the quick to the more in-depth. Choose the one that's right for you.

Weekly Potpourri

I stumbled across this link last week, which apparently was "Fat Talk Free Week." How often do we make disparaging remarks about ourselves, or think them, anyway! There are people out there who are trying to combat this using anonymous notes that tell people they are beautiful. A neat concept, I think.

What's Hot at

I think we can say that it's now fall here in San Diego. That means it's apple time! Check out this collection of awesome looking recipes that will use the bounty of the season. Tasty!

Quote of the Week

Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or to lose. - Lyndon B. Johnson

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Recipe Swap Part One

As if it isn't obvious, I have started posting the recipes from Wednesday's recipe swap. I'm probably a bit over halfway done, but I have some other things to do today*! So I'm going to take a break and post the remainder some other time - but soon! I have a few questions on a couple recipes, so I'm reaching out to those of you that submitted them to get resolution.

Once all the recipes are posted, I think I'm going to do a Recipe Swap Index - I'll make an entry with links to all the recipes, so you can quickly look at the list and get directly to what you want.

Have a great weekend!

* I'm actually headed to a "vino and vinyasa" event - two fabulous things (wine and yoga if you're not on the same wavelength) that until today I've never put together.

Chicken, Mango, and Black Bean Salad - from Marta

Chicken, Mango, and Black Bean Salad - from Marta
Serves 4
5 Points

3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp chili powder
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1 small jicama (about 1 lb) peeled and diced
15.5oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into chunks
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced

Combine the lime juice, oil, salt, and chili powder in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

--from Everybody Loves Chicken page 61

Layered Mexican Chicken – from Marta

Layered Mexican Chicken – from Marta, via a WW cookbook
Serves 12
6 Points value

2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breasts
3 cups fat-free sour cream
2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 (4 oz.) cans chopped green chiles, drained
2 cups shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese
2 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp black pepper
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut into 2-inch strips
1 cup salsa

Combine the chicken and enough cold water to cover by 1 inch in a large saucepan; bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the chicken is just cooked through, 15-20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a large bowl and let cool to room temperature (reserve the cooking liquid for a soup or stew).

Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with nonstick spray.

Cut the chicken into 1-inch pieces and return to the bowl. Add the sour cream, beans, chiles, 1 cup of the cheese, the cumin, and pepper; toss to combine.

Place half of the tortilla strips in an overlapping layer in the bottom of the pan. Spoon half of the chicken mixture on top. Place the remaining tortilla strips over the chicken mixture in an overlapping layer; top with the remaining chicken mixture. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup of the cheese. Bake until heated through and the cheese is melted, about 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes, then cut into 12 portions and serve with the salsa.
Mexican Beef over Polenta – from Minna, via eTools
Serves 6
5 Points value

1 pound uncooked lean ground beef (with 7% fat)
1 small onion, chopped
14 ½ oz. canned diced tomatoes, with chiles, drained, reserve 1 Tbsp of liquid
1 cup canned yellow corn, drained, or frozen, thawed corn kernels
10 olives, Kalamata, sliced
2 Tbsp canned jalapeno peppers, pickled, chopped (optional)
3/4 tsp table salt, divided
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp black pepper
3/4 cup polenta, quick-cooking
3 cups canned chicken broth
1/3 cup salsa
1/3 cup shredded reduced-fat Mexican-style cheese
2 Tbsp cilantro, or scallion, fresh, chopped (optional)

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook beef and onion, stirring frequently, until meat is fully cooked, about 5 to 7 minutes; drain off any liquid. Stir in tomatoes and reserved liquid, corn, olives, jalapenos (if using), 1/4 teaspoon of salt, cumin and pepper; simmer 5 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

Meanwhile, in a small pot, combine cornmeal, broth and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt; stir well. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until cornmeal is thick, about 5 minutes.

Spoon polenta onto a large serving plate and top with beef mixture. Top with salsa, cheese and cilantro (or scallion).

The polenta will still be soft after cooking but will firm up if allowed to stand for a few minutes before serving.

Lentil Tacos – from Marta via Patty

Lentil Tacos – from Marta via Patty
Serves 4
5 Points value

1 tsp olive oil
1 cup minced onion
½ cup minced celery
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup red lentils
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup salsa
8 La Tortilla Factory small wheat tortillas
Shredded lettuce (optional)
Chopped tomatoes (optional)

In a large frying pan over medium heat, add olive oil and sauté onions, celery and garlic for 5 minutes. Stir in lentils, chili powder, cumin and oregano. Cook for 1 minute. Add the broth. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Remove the lid and cook, stirring often, until the lentils are thickened, about 10 minutes. Add salsa. Warm the tortillas and fill them with lentil mixture. Top with shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes.

Tuscan Beans with Sage & Pancetta – a Marta classic

Tuscan Beans with Sage & Pancetta – a Marta classic, via My Turnaround Program cookbook
Serves 6
2 Points value

1 tsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, cut into strips
2 (15 oz.) cans cannellini or Great Northern beans, drained (do not rinse)
¼ cup fresh sage leaves, chopped
½ tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 3 minutes.

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

Tuscan Chicken Sausage Stew – from Minna

Tuscan Chicken Sausage Stew – from Minna via In No Time cookbook
Serves 4
5 Points value

6 oz. fully cooked Italian-style chicken sausages (preferably artichoke & garlic), diced
10 oz. package sliced mushrooms
1 medium zucchini, diced
15.5 oz. can cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed & drained
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes with roasted garlic & onion
8 oz. can tomato sauce
¼ cup water
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 cups baby arugula

Spray a large nonstick skillet with nonstick spray; set over high heat. Add the sausages, mushrooms, and zucchini; cook, stirring frequently, until the sausages and vegetables are lightly browned, about 6 minutes.

Stir in the beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, and rosemary; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the arugula until it wilts, about 1 minute.

Quick Caldo Verde – from Marta

Quick Caldo Verde – from Marta, via a WW cookbook
Serves 4
4 Points value

½ pound turkey kielbasa, sliced
5oz. container refrigerated chopped onions
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 (14.5 oz.) cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
18 oz. bag refrigerated fully-cooked sliced potatoes (or equivalent amount of cooked red potato)
4 cups fresh cut-up kale

Spray a large saucepan with nonstick spray and set over medium-high heat. Add the kielbasa and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, 4-5 minutes; transfer to a plate.

Add the onions and paprika to the skillet; cook, stirring, until the onions are crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Add the broth, 1 cup water, and potatoes; bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are very soft, 4-5 minutes. Coarsely mash the potatoes with a wooden spoon. Stir in the kale and return to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the kale is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the kielbasa and cook until the flavors are blended, about 5 minutes longer.

Marta also recommends adding some cannellini beans. If you do, be sure to adjust the Points value accordingly.

Quinoa Pilaf – from Karen

Quinoa Pilaf – from Karen
Makes 3 cups
4 Points per cup (recipe has 14 Points total)

1 cup quinoa (rinsed in a fine strainer if not already pre-rinsed, many brands are!)
½ large onion, diced
2 cups broth
1 tsp herb of choice if you like, thyme is good

Heat skillet with a small amount of olive oil. Add quinoa and onion and stir over medium heat until the quinoa is brown and the onion is translucent. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until all of the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes if you have the time.

Thai Broccoli Salad – from Marta

Thai Broccoli Salad – from Marta
4 Points value

1 ½ cup Trader Joe’s organic broccoli slaw
1 Tbsp Trader Joe’s no salt or low-salt roasted peanuts
2 Tbsp Trader Joe’s spicy peanut Thai vinaigrette
1 Tbsp golden raisins

Mix together. You can add 2-3 ounces of chicken, and adjust Points accordingly.

Mini-Meat Loaves – from Minna

Mini-Meat Loaves – from Minna via Weight Watchers Magazine Mar/Apr 2009
Serves 6
4 Points value

1 slice whole-wheat bread, torn into pieces
1 shallot, quartered
2 cups baby spinach
1 lb. ground skinless chicken or turkey meat
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp salt
½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
6 Tbsp ketchup

Preheat the oven to 450. Lightly spray 1 (6-c) muffin tin with nonstick spray. (You can make them smaller and use 12-c muffin tin, then I make them 3 Points.)

Finely crumble the bread in a food processor. Transfer to a large bowl. With the machine running, add the shallot through the feed tube and process until minced. Add the spinach and pulse until finely chopped. Add the bread crumbs, chicken, cheese, egg, paprika, salt & pepper; pulse until blended. (I just mix with my hands like making meatloaf)

Fill each prepared muffin tin with ½ cup of the mixture. Bake until an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of a mini-meat loaf registers 165 degrees, about 30 minutes. Top each loaf with 1 Tbsp of the ketchup. If making ahead, let cool. Wrap each loaf in plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 2 days. To serve, microwave, a loaf at a time, on high about 1 minute.

Per serving (1 mini loaf): 170 cal, 7g fat (2g sat fat), 528mg sodium, 1g fiber

Weight Watchers One-Point Hearty Chili – from Marta

Weight Watchers One-Point Hearty Chili – from Marta
Serves 20
1 Points value

10 ounces extra-lean ground turkey breast
1 medium onion, diced
2 (28 oz.) cans diced tomatoes
2 medium zucchini, diced
2 medium yellow squash, diced
1 (15 oz.) can black beans
1 (15 oz.) can fat-free, reduced-sodium beef broth
4 celery stalks, diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
1 (1 ¼ oz.) package dry chili seasoning

Spray a large nonstick skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium-high heat. Add the turkey and onion and sauté until browned, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the browned turkey and onion mixture to a large soup pot and add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Continue to simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup – from Jill

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup – from Jill
Serves 8
1 Points value

1 onion, diced
Spritz of cooking spray
28 oz. can of plain pureed pumpkin
28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 cup of canned black beans, rinsed
6 cups fat-free chicken or vegetable stock
Salt & pepper to taste

Sauté onion over medium heat until translucent. Add broth, pumpkin, tomatoes, black beans, salt and pepper. Simmer at least 10-15 minutes. That’s it!

Variations: add curry spice, or chopped ginger for a different spin

Spanakorizo (Greek Spinach & Rice) – from Karen

Spanakorizo (Greek Spinach & Rice) – from Karen
Serves 8
2 Points value

1 cup long grained brown rice
2 ¼ cups water (or stock)
1 bunch spinach
1 tsp olive oil
1 small onion (chopped)
1 lemon (juice & zest)
¼ cup dill (chopped)
¼ cup fat-free feta (crumbled)
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the rice in the water as directed. (45-60 minutes on the stove or bake it or steam it – whatever your preference)

Heat the oil in a pan. Add the onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and spinach and cook just until the spinach wilts. Add the lemon juice, dill and feta and remove from the heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cheesy Eggs Ole – from Jeanne

Cheesy Eggs Ole – from Jeanne
Serves 1
4 Points value

Great for breakfast or light supper with 1 Point Thomas’ English muffin

2 oz. fat-free egg substitute
1 wedge Laughing Cow Light Creamy Garlic & Herb
1 Morningstar Farms sausage patty
2 oz. salsa
2 Tbsp fat-free milk
2 second spray PAM cooking spray

Spray pan with cooking spray. Heat on medium; add egg substitute and milk; stir and cook until done. Microwave Morningstar Farms sausage 1 minute and cut into pieces. Add cheese and sausage to eggs and stir. Top with salsa and enjoy!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Newsletter, week of October 25th

Last Week

We tackled part one of the Good Health Guidelines - these are key to weight loss, weight management, and overall good nutrition. Make sure you're attempting to get them in!

This Week

Surprise, surprise, we tackle the remaining GHGs. If you have any questions at all about any of these guidelines, these are the perfect meetings to raise them.


This week's celebrations aren't necessarily scale-centric. We have some athletes in our midst! Both Trista and Anna competed in a triathlon last weekend, and came in this week to tell us about it. Great work, ladies!

WW Product of the Week

Since the liquid guideline is one that we'll be discussing this week, it seems perfect to mention our 24 ounce mug. Just 2 of these a day will satisfy the guidelines. See? It's not that much!

Weekly Potpourri

Looking for the weekly recipe? Well sit tight, because I have a bevvy of recipes for you. Wednesday morning group did a recipe swap, and I have a bunch that I will be posting this weekend when I have the time. It's fun to see who the chefs are in the group. All I know is that I'd love to have dinner with you folks - these recipes are almost all exactly the kind I'd pick for myself!

What's Hot at

Since it's flu season, it's probably a good time to think about how your exercise routine might be affected if you come down with something. Here is a great chart that will tell you whether to stay home or suck it up and sweat it out.

Quote of the Week

Every decision you make - every decision - is not a decision about what to do. It's a decision about Who You Are. When you see this, when you understand it, everything changes. You begin to see life in a new way. All events, occurrences, and situations turn into opportunities to do what you came here to do. - Neale Donald Walsch

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Newsletter, week of October 18th

I'm headed out of town, so this is coming at you a little earlier than usual....

Last Week

It's important to take time for yourself - it doesn't have to be a lot, but you can't take care of everyone else if you're falling apart!

This Week

The Good Health Guidelines are an important part of our program. This week we'll tackle half the list and discuss why they are so great and how you can fit them in.


This week we gave Monica a 5 pound star, Estella a 10 pound star, and Irma and David both got the 16 week Stay and Succeed award. Candy reached 75 pounds lost, and Jill reached her goal weight!

WW Product of the Week

Smoothies! These are a great way to get your milk servings in, so that's why we mention them this week. They are also currently on sale for just $5 a box, marked down from $7.50. Be sure to try our seasonal White Chocolate Peppermint - I love it!

Weekly Potpourri

Okay, special thanks to Debbie for sending me this link. I'd seen something like it before, but couldn't remember where it was! Since this week we were all about the Halloween Candy Handouts, this is fitting: How far do you need to walk to burn off that candy corn? This nifty calculator will show you how far you need to walk to burn the calories in different types of candy. And FYI, you'll need to walk a mile to burn off the 100 calories in 20 pieces of candy corn. Yikes!

What's Hot at

One of the most common questions I get surrounding Activity Points is "how do I know what intensity level I'm working out at?" Well, this article describes a few of the ways you can figure out the answer to that question. Now, be honest!

Quote of the Week

When you face your fear, most of the time you will discover that it was not really such a big threat after all. We all need some form of deeply rooted, powerful motivation - it empowers us to overcome obstacles so we can live our dreams. - Les Brown

Weekly Recipe: Skillet-Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Skillet-Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Serves 4
1 Points value

2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
1 cup water
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 Tbsp grated Parmesan
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts begin to brown, 3-4 minutes. Add the water, bring to a boil, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the water is almost evaporated, about 5 minutes.

Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender and lightly browned, 5-6 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan, salt, and pepper.

Per serving: 81 cal, 3g fat (1g sat fat), 3g fiber, 203mg sodium

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Newsletter, week of October 11th

Last Week

Routines are good, but boring is bad. Small tweaks to your eating or activity can make the difference between following the plan and abandoning it out of sheer boredom.

This Week

You all have a million things to do. Hopefully one of those things is to take care of yourself! Make a point to do just that by attending this week's meeting!


Sharon received her first five pound star, and Elizabeth reached her 15 pound milestone. Great job!

WW Product of the Week

Fruities and Cappuccino Cremes - If you just need "a little something" you've got to give these a try. Each sleeve adds up to only 1 Point, and will keep your mouth busy for a good long time.

Weekly Potpourri

All right, I have a confession. It's really HARD to come up with something new to highlight or link to each week. Favorite food? New online tool? I GOT NOTHIN' this week.

Did you know that YOU can help me though? You can even drop me a comment on these entries. I'd love to know what new foods, new things, new healthy websites or articles you're digging right now. I'll help spread the word!

What's Hot at

It's time to highlight a success story. Many of you know that I lost 26 pounds, and there might be a handful of you who think that if your total is more than that we won't relate. Somehow I doubt it, but if you want to read about someone who has lost over 100 pounds, check out Blenda's story. If she can do it, so can you!

Quote of the Week

Obstacles in life are like logs in your path. You can step over it or move it out of the way. You could cut it up and make firewood. - Unknown

Weekly Recipe: Tabouli

Makes 5 servings
5 Points value

This is a recipe that Marta gave to me - I tweaked it a little bit and ran it through the recipe builder. Note that if you make the recipe as stated and have 1/5 of it, you're getting one teaspoon of healthy oil!

1 cup bulgur
3 bunches parsley, washed well and finely chopped in a food processor
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1/4 cup mint, finely chopped
4 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 cup scallions, finely chopped
1 cup garbanzo beans
5 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Put bulgur into a bowl and cover with boiling water. Cover the bowl and let stand for 10 minutes. Check for tenderness. If the bulgur is still crunchy, add a bit more hot water and let it sit, covered, until it absorbs the water and becomes tender, not mushy. (Alternatively, you can cover the bulgur with cold water and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight while it absorbs the water. Either way, depending on how far in advance you think about it.)

Combine all ingredients and let sit for 20 minutes to allow flavors to combine.

Per serving: 246 cal, 5.8g fat, 9.1g fiber

Saturday, October 03, 2009

September Update: Goals 2009

So, Stephanie. It's October. How are you doing on those goals you set at the beginning of the year?

Well, if you must know, I've spent the past nine months basically circling around them. Well, okay, I drink a lot less diet soda than I used to. But the weight loss? I've not really done so well, if I'm honest. In fact, I weigh a couple pounds more now than I did at the start of January.

So what gives? What have I been doing with all these months? I don't really know, but it wasn't what really needed to happen.

About a week and a half ago, I decided something needed to change. I went to a website that I'd heard about for helping people lose weight. Obviously, I'm not talking about the Weight Watchers website - this time I'm talking about SparkPeople. I'd heard it was a great tool for tracking what you eat.

Yes, I know Weight Watchers has a tool that does exactly that. And I've used it for many years. But I needed something...different.

I've been tracking with it for about a week and a half, and so far it has been helpful at keeping my eating in check. Does it give me anything I didn't know before? No. Although now I actually know how many calories I eat, rather than Points. But it's not a huge revolution in the diet industry. It was just a change. I needed to use a new, shiny tool, or see things in a slightly different manner.

Don't get me wrong - I am still looking at Points values. I am still following the Good Health Guidelines. In fact, I'm going to be fiddling around with the new eTools application on my husband's iPod Touch because we'll be traveling in a few weeks and I want to be able to look up Points while we're eating away from home.

To please the Weight Watchers gods, I would like to state for the record that SparkPeople's database of foods cannot hold a candle to Weight Watchers'. I tried building a recipe at SparkPeople...and couldn't find scallions. The whole process took much longer than it takes me on eTools, and is sometimes an exercise in frustration.

What I hope to distill from all of this (and what I hope you'll take away from this) is not that Weight Watchers is lacking in anything. It's that sometimes you need to make a change. Sometimes you need to shake things up. Sometimes you need to look at things differently. Sometimes using the same tool gets boring.

Coincidentally, this week's topic is going to be about fighting boredom when it comes to following the program. Obviously that can extend beyond just food choices and exercise options. If you've been craving a change, I hope you'll consider a change that still involves our Weight Watcher meetings and can still fit within what I believe is one of the smartest weight loss programs out there. Let's light this fire together.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Newsletter, week of October 4th

Last Week

Find out why you're turning to food when you're not hungry, and you've taken the first step to not doing it again. What could you do instead that would give you the same positive feeling but not the negative calorie result?

This Week

You join WW, you find some low Point foods, you eat them. And you eat them again. And again. Bored yet? We'll talk about ways to keep from getting bored with your routine so you keep wanting to be in it!


Erika, Estella and Julie all got their first 5 pound stars, Cathy reached 10 pounds lost, and Lurenette got her 5% star. And Heidi reached a wonderful milestone - 110 pounds lost!

WW Product of the Week

We try to help you fight boredom by rotating the flavors of our snacks that we sell in the meeting room. Have you tried the pizza pretzels yet? How about the red velvet bar? My favorite still, and will always be, Peanut Butter Bliss. Oh yes. I don't think I'll ever get bored with that one.

Weekly Potpourri

I stumbled onto an article yesterday that says too many Americans still don't eat enough fruits and vegetables. Not even a third of us meet the 5 a day target? Good grief!

Chances are that if you've willingly set your browser to a domain called Outsmart the Fat, you aren't one of those people that the CDC is talking about. But it wouldn't surprise me if you know someone who is! Maybe you even live with one. It looks like we've still got work to do, and Weight Watchers won't be going anywhere anytime soon.

What's Hot at

I love to cook, but maybe some of you don't. Or you just don't have the time. Don't forget your microwave! You'll find some time-saving there's no excuse!

Quote of the Week

If you're coasting, you're either losing momentum or else you're headed downhill. - Joan Welsh

Weekly Recipe: Pumpkin Pie Pancakes

Pumpkin Pie Pancakes
Serves 4
5 Points value

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
3 Tbsp packed brown sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
4 tsp unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg
4 Tbsp maple syrup

Whisk together flours, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk the buttermilk, pumpkin, butter and egg in another bowl until blended. Add the flour mixture to the buttermilk mixture, stirring until just blended.

Spray a large nonstick skillet or griddle with nonstick spray and set over medium heat. When a drop of water sizzles on it, pour the batter onto the skillet by scant 1/4 cupfuls. Cook just until bubbles begin to appear at the edges of the pancakes, 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook until golden, 2-3 minutes longer. Repeat with the rest of the batter, making a total of 8 pancakes. Serve with the syrup.

Per serving: 222 cal, 6g fat (3g sat fat), 2g fiber, 383mg sodium

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Newsletter, week of September 27th

Last Week

One of the best ways to make sure you succeed is to set some goals. What goal did you set for yourself this week?

This Week

It's common to mistake emotional hunger for physical hunger. This is one of our heavier topics, but for many of us, managing this issue is key to conquering our weight issues.


This was a big week! We celebrated Linda's 5% achievement, and gave Trista a 45 pound star. Trina received her 50 pound star AND reached her goal weight. And Rosemary became a Lifetime member! I think these gals knew all about setting goals, don't you?

WW Product of the Week

Weight Watchers Walking Kit - one way to handle emotional eating is to distract yourself. What better way to do that than by burning calories instead of eating them? This kit will help you develop a walking plan, or give you an interesting twist to your existing routine.

Weekly Potpourri

Okay, so Lose For Good is clicking right along, and some of you know that our very own Fern is responsible for working with the charity that is receiving food donated to our Clairemont center. Well, the bins were full, so we snapped a photo before they came to pick it up. 451.5 pounds of food so far! Thanks for all your donations, and remember, you have until October 17th if you'd still like to participate.

Incidentally, that's a photo posted on my Weight Watchers Facebook profile. Yes, I know, that's probably overkill. But if you want to add me, click on the badge to the right side of my main blog page, or look for "Leader Steph", or use my zerneeak email address. Also know that you'll probably easily find my personal profile, but if you're looking for weight-centric stuff, my first name is Leader. Ha!

What's Hot at

Why aren't you losing weight? If you've ever asked yourself that question, please read this article. It might give you some things to target if you're looking to get back on track. Some of these are things we don't even notice!

Quote of the Week

The only thing that stands between a man and what he wants from life is often merely the will to try it and the faith to believe that it is possible. - Richard M. DeVos

Weekly Recipe: Spaghetti with Creamy Spinach Sauce

Spaghetti with Creamy Spinach Sauce
Serves 4
6 Points value

8 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti
2 1/2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
8 ounces fresh baby spinach
1 1/4 cups fat-free ricotta cheese

Cook the pasta according to package directions; drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Transfer the spaghetti to a large bowl and keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat; add the onion, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is tender, 6-8 minutes. Add the spinach, in batches if necessary, and cook, stirring constantly, until the spinach is wilted, 2-3 minutes. Add the spinach mixture and the ricotta to the spaghetti; toss to coat, adding the reserved pasta cooking water as needed to make a creamy sauce.

Per serving: 321 cal, 4g fat (1g sat fat), 11g fiber, 468mg sodium

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Newsletter, week of September 20th

I'm headed out of town for a few days, so this is coming out a bit earlier than usual.

Last Week

Red light foods can trigger overeating. But there are tips to deal with them, and you can decide to focus on the green light stuff - that's right, Filling Foods!

This Week

Goals - they're important, right? I think so and we'll discuss why. Goals don't need to be focused entirely on the scale read-out, so we'll discuss non-scale goals as well.


This week we gave five pound stars to Ginger and Ellie, and celebrated a 5% award with Tracy.

WW Product of the Week

This week we'll be sampling our new Pizza Pretzels. Come get your free taste! You might find it's a good alternative to something that might otherwise be a trigger food.

Quote of the Week

If you develop the habits of success, you will make success a habit. - Michael E. Angier

Weekly Recipe: Persian Spiced Carrots

Persian Spiced Carrots
Makes 4 Servings
1 Points value

1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp honey
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 pound carrots, sliced on the diagonal 1/4 inch thick
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 bay leaf

To prepare the dressing, toast the cumin and cinnamon in a small skillet over medium-low heat just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Combine the spices with the lemon juice, oil, honey, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the carrots, garlic, and bay leaf; return to a boil and cook until the carrots are tender, 4-5 minutes. Drain the carrots; discard the garlic and bay leaf.

Toss the carrots with the dressing to coat. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Per serving: 92 cal, 2g fat, 3g fiber, 205mg sodium

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Newsletter, week of September 13th

Last Week

Restaurant dining can be tricky, but with our tips we can make sure we don't accidentally go overboard.

This Week

You might know that there are certain foods or situations that "set you off" - we'll talk about how to deal with them, or to figure out what those things are if you haven't identified them yet.


Bernice received her 20 pound star this week!

WW Product of the Week

Easy Measure Serving set - sometimes your eyes are bigger than your stomach, and you'll find that your portion sizes might be bigger than you think they are. These serving spoons not only look good, but keep you from dishing up more than you need!

Quote of the Week

There are only two options regarding commitment; you're either in or you're out. There's no such thing as life in-between. - Pat Riley

Weekly Recipe: Hogazas with Sausage and Peppers

Hogazas with Sausage and Peppers
Serves 4
2 Points per serving

2 ounces chorizo sausage
1 red bell pepper, roasted
8 (2-inch) slices Italian bread
1 Tbsp minced cilantro or parsley

Peel the papery casing from the chorizo and pierce the sausage all over with a fork. Place in a nonstick skillet with enough water to cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a cutting board. Finely chop the sausage and the roasted pepper and combine them in a small bowl.

Toast the bread slices until golden. Spoon the chopped sausage and pepper mixture on the toasts. Sprinkle with the cilantro.

1 serving is 2 hogazas.

Saturday, September 05, 2009


If you read last week's entry with my goal updates, I'm certain you've been waiting breathlessly to know what happened at the scale this week.

I lost 4.2 pounds.

That's 0.2 shy of what I gained last week, but close enough. See? Temporary! Incidentally, today's weight (137.8) is the lowest I've weighed in at since the end of May. So either that tells you how rough the summer has been, or how well I've done in the last couple of weeks (I'm more inclined to the latter). I do feel like the last 2 weeks have been more in control, so I'm hoping to continue that momentum into September - I have a few trips coming up that will challenge me, so I need to be on my game before I leave!

Happy Labor Day, all.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Newsletter, week of September 6th

Last Week

We kicked off our 2nd Lose for Good campaign. Now is the time to make sure you're in weight-loss mode. For you and for others!

This Week

Is dining out causing you to fall off program? We'll discuss ways to handle restaurant eating, since it's unlikely we can avoid them forever!

Monday group: remember, we are closed for the holiday. You are welcome to attend a different meeting next week, but come back the following week and tell us about it!


Ettie received her 10 pound star, and Jill received her 20 pound star. Both ladies fought hard for these last five pounds, so the victory is sweet.

WW Product of the Week

Dining Out Companion - one of the mistakes people make is ordering a dish without thinking how many Points it's going to cost. This book takes some of the guesswork out by providing Points values for lots of different restaurants. It's an extremely valuable tool if you like to dine out.

Quote of the Week

To think that you are not going to fail is an illusion. Fail faster, you will only be closer to what you want. - Unknown

Weekly Recipe: Banana Pudding Pops

Banana Pudding Pops
Serves 8
1 Points value

1 envelope (4 1/2 cup servings) reduced-calorie instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups skim milk
2 bananas, peeled and cut into 4 chunks each

Prepare the pudding with the milk, following package directions.

Push 1 wooden ice-cream stick into each banana chunk; place each in one 5-ounce plastic drinking cup. Pour the pudding into the cups, filling each two-thirds full. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

Per serving: 59 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 192mg sodium

Sunday, August 30, 2009

August Update: Goals 2009

August sure got away from me quickly, so it's time for another update on my 2009 goals.

1. The weight thing

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I was actually doing pretty well in August, and lost 0.4 pounds 3 weeks in a row. So there I was at the scale yesterday, anxiously awaiting the results, thinking I'd have some progress to report.


In the past 7 days I gained 4.4 pounds.

Now you know me, I'm a numbers person. This means (in theory) that I took in 15,840 more calories than I burned. I guarantee you this did not happen - I'm pretty sure I'd remember that. Therefore, we're talking some sort of water weight thing. And this is the same thing I'll tell you guys at the scale. You don't just gain multiple pounds of fat (or muscle) that quickly.

So I just have to take this for what it is, stay focused, and boy oh boy should next week's weigh in be a doozy. I hope. I'll let you know.

2. The diet soda thing

I think when I started this goal in January, I honestly thought I'd be drinking virtually zero diet soda. So I think I probably drink more diet soda than I originally figured I would be. But compared to the 32 ounce fountain drink I had every day (and sometimes more) my intake is still well below what it once was. I don't subscribe to the "diet soda is pure evil" camp, so I still think I'm doing just fine.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Newsletter, week of August 30th

The newsletter has been working hard all year, so for the next month or so you'll see an abbreviated version. Still the things you NEED to know, but fewer random links and features.

Last Week

Continuing the quest to get back on track after summer, we discussed how to learn from experience and manage our environments to see success.

Next Week

Lose for Good is back! If you don't remember it from last year, we'll introduce the program, but also discuss "losing for good" as a weight loss concept as well. Let this be the last time you join Weight Watchers.


Apologies to the Monday night group for missing this week's meeting. That means you'll have to catch me up on your successes next week! But on Wednesday Tracy received her first five pound star.

WW Product of the Week

You'll see some information about the Lose for Good campaign in our latest issue of Weight Watchers Magazine. You'll also find some meal plans, recipes, and success stories. Pick one up if you haven't already.

Quote of the Week

I've failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed. - Michael Jordan

Weekly Recipe: Two-Fruit Fool

Two-Fruit Fool
Serves 4
3 Points values

1 8-ounce container frozen fat-free nondairy whipped topping, thawed
3 Tbsp blueberry preserves
3 Tbsp apricot preserves

Divide the whipped topping between 2 bowls. With a rubber spatula, gently fold the blueberry preserves into one bowl, and the apricot preserves into the other.

Gently spoon the blueberry mixture evenly into the bottom of 4 glass sundae dishes (or wine glasses!). Spoon the apricot mixture evenly over that. Serve at once or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Per serving: 147 cal, 1g fat, 1g fiber, 35mg sodium

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Newsletter, week of August 23rd

Last Week

Hitting plateaus is pretty common. Overcoming them sets you apart from the rest. Use the tips we shared and you'll be able to stay on track.

This Week

Building on last week's topic, we'll talk about some of the mental aspects of getting back on track.


Michele got her first 5 pound star, Doni reached 15 pounds lost, and Candy has now lost 70.0 pounds! (yes, that's an exact amount - =p )

WW Product of the Week

We've received our new fall products, and among them you'll find the cookbook I mentioned in this week's recipe post, red velvet 1 Point mini bars, pizza flavored pretzels, and our fall smoothie - white chocolate peppermint. I just had the smoothie for breakfast, and it's really good! I typically enjoy the fall seasonal flavors since they mimic fancy coffee drinks. Check them out!

Weekly Potpourri

Some of you know that Amber and Dan from our Wednesday group are training for the Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk. This is their second year participating, and they are co-captaining their team. If you're a fan of cancer research, please consider visiting their team page and making a donation. Or be even crazier, and sign up for it yourself! If the pocketbook won't allow, just contemplate...walking 60 miles in 3 days. Pretty good, huh?

What's Hot at

It's time for another success story. Many of us have said "I know what I need to do, I just can't get myself to do it." Well, that's what Teresa said, because hey, she's a registered dietitian! But sometimes it's more than just knowing the facts, right?

Quote of the Week

Everyone's life is under someone's control - it might as well be under your own so that you can direct your destiny. - Harry Tucker

Weekly Recipe: New Orleans Muffaletta Sandwich

This is from our newest cookbook Comfort Classics, and I can't stop looking at the picture - there's no way this won't taste good.

New Orleans Muffaletta Sandwich
Serves 4
6 Points value

1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1/2 cup giardiniera, rinsed, drained and chopped
1/4 cup pimiento-stuffed green olives, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
Pinch dried oregano
1 8-ounce whole-wheat french bread loaf or round, halved horizontally
4 ounces (4 slices) reduced-fat deli provolone
6 ounces (8 slices) deli turkey ham

Stir the celery, giardiniera, olives, garlic, and oregano together in a small bowl.

Remove and discard some of the soft crumbs from the center of the bread. Spoon the celery mixture evenly on the bottom of the bread. Top evenly with the cheese and ham. Cover with the top of the bread. Cut the sandwich into fourths and serve at once. Or wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 6 hours.

Per serving: 274 calories, 11g fat (5g sat fat), 2g fiber, 1,105mg sodium

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Newsletter, week of August 16th

Last Week

Cravings are unavoidable. Respond to them in a variety of ways, but don't ignore them! That's a recipe for disaster.

This Week

Are you having trouble getting or staying on track? Stalls in weight loss are common, but we have tools to help you refocus and get where you want to be.


This week we gave a 5 pound star to John, a 10 pound star to David, 15 pound stars to Doni, Tauni and Gretchen, and gave a 25 pound star to Alma. Doni also celebrated reaching her 5% target. And Karen is our newest Lifetime Member!

WW Product of the Week

Three Month Journals - if you're "not on track" you're likely not keeping track. If you pick one of these up, there's really no excuse - you have the ability to track 12 weeks of information, plus you'll find motivational quotes and recipes when you flip through. Check it out!

Weekly Potpourri

I do a lot of reading about food, food issues, that kind of thing. Many of you have probably heard of books like Fast Food Nation or The Omnivore's Dilemma (and if you haven't, check them out!). But I'm turning the tables today. I'd love to hear from YOU. Have you read any interesting food or weight related books lately? Let me know in comments. There's always room in my budget for another book purchase!

What's Hot at

When we discussed cravings this week, we said that one of the causes can be that we are overly restricted. So when I stumbled onto an article titled The Post-Weigh In Free For All it seemed rather relevant. There are some good tips at the end wouldn't hurt me to pay attention to as well!

Quote of the Week

Be careful the environment you choose for it will shape you; be careful the friends you choose for you will become like them. - W. Clement Stone