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