Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Perhaps I've taken in less salt in the last few days.... but guess what?!? My trusty Westhampton ring, which I've worn almost every day for, oh God, 9 years? Anyway, my ring is now sliding very easily on and off my ring finger. In fact, it's a little loose and floppy. Hooray! The last time I was on WW for real, it got so loose I had to wear it on my middle finger. I'm not there yet, by far, but this still is a great sign!

Doing Better

Well, I've been pretty darn good the last 2 days. I can't explain the new motivation, but I'm suddenly back to sticking to my daily points and conserving those Flexies. Two days may only be two days, but it feels good. I had a light lunch today and my leftover spinach pasta for dinner. I even have enough points leftover for a bag of 94% fat free popcorn during my tv tonight. Hooray! Maybe that *entire* box of Girl Scout Tagalongs that I ate over the weekend was a turning point... or something like that.

Oh, but honestly, I haven't made it to the gym. Last night I ended up having to work at home for almost the entire time, so I didn't make it. And tonight I'm really tired and excited about a darn good night of tv. No gym tonight either. The rest of the week is getting pretty busy... so maybe I'll do a lot of walking over the weekend?

Monday, February 27, 2006

See What Happens

When you have fresh ingredients? I've actually cooked two nights in a row, and man oh man were my meals tasty!

A Hot Bowl of Chili on a Cold Night
(heh, yep, a subtitle.) On Sunday, I devoted much of the day to some crock pot love. I bought ground turkey, kidney beans, 3 kinds of diced tomatoes, and chili seasoning. Oh, damn, and I just realized just this minute that I also bought a pound of frozen corn that I forgot to use. Well, next time. And Safeway was out of my little pack of pre-diced onions, so I actually bought an onion and gave it a rough-dice myself.

Anyway, I browned the turkey with some of the diced onion in a sauce pan, then tossed it into the crock with the rest of the onion, 1 can of kidney beans, 1 can each of plain organic diced tomatoes, tomatoes with green chiles, and tomatoes with jalapenos, and 1 can of water. That's it. Nothing more. I set it on low for about 4 hours. Wow, the smell in my apartment was deelish, as was the final result. Doesn't it look tasty? I had 2 bowls!

For points, I gave it about 4-5 points per bowl. The only items with any point value were the beans and the turkey and each bowl didn't feature huge amounts of either. This was very low fat. I used lean fresh turkey and drained it off. It was so tasty! But, in the TMI zone, let me just tell you... I could've used some Beano. :-P

Call Me Pop-Eye
(yep, another subtitle.) Tonight I made my favorite pasta dish. Inspired by Mandy's wilted spinach from the other night, I had purchased a whole pound bag of fresh leaf spinach. Since they were out of the onions and I used my only onion for the chili last night, I decided to wait until some other time to try just the plain spinach side dish. So I also bought a big package of mushrooms and prepared to make my tasty pasta. I sauteed the 'shrooms in olive oil and lots of garlic, then wilted the whole bag of spinach in the same pan. I added in about 1/2 cup of Barilla tomato basil sauce, and voila! My deelish easy pasta sauce was ready. I served it over Buonaturae whole wheat fusilli pasta, which is actually quite tasty. I made enough for another meal later.

So, between both of these meals, I've had lots of healthy and really tasty stuff. And I have at least 3 more meals' worth of leftovers waiting for me. As the ever-hot-cold Ray Ray would say, YUM-O.

Happy Maintenance

Even though it was kind of a bad week, I was very glad when I stepped on the scale this morning and found that I stayed the same weight! Hooray, no gain - no pain! :-)

So I'm still at 11 pounds down, which makes me happy. And I'm really making an effort (as I wrote about recently on my other blog) to try and schedule more at-home time for myself, which can mean not only better eating in my own kitchen, but also the possibility of some actual gym time. I'm feeling ambitious, like tonight could be the first gym night in ages. I had the whole "my keycard doesn't work" excuse for months, but now that I paid 25 bucks for a new one I kinda have to man up and go use the treadmill. Stay tuned for the outcome of this plan....

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Today's Safeway Deals

I finally made it to the grocery store today. I think it's been about 2 weeks since I've made a real grocery trip, and I know it's had an effect on how well I've been eating. Like I said at the very beginning, I need to try to make sure that I go to the store really regularly. Cuz otherwise, I just go to the convenience store in my basement - like I did this week - and just buy mac & cheese and ice cream and stuff. So I'm glad I went today and bought all kinds of healthy, WW-friendly items.

Today's good dieting sales:

Hanover canned kidney beans and black beans - 64 cents, reg price 79 cents
South Beach cereal bars - $2.50, reg price $3.99
Starkist Lite Tuna in Water 3-pack - $2.59, reg price $2.69
Barilla Tomato Sauce - $2.50, reg price $2.95
Green Giant boxed broccoli in low-fat cheese sauce - $1.50, reg price $2.00
Smart Ones - $2.20, reg price $3.49
Lean Pockets - $2.25, reg price $2.75
Fresh Ground Turkey - I don't know what the per pound sale price was, but I saved about $3.50 on two packages. Woohoo!
Del Monte Fruit Naturals pineapple cups - $1.00, reg price $1.50
Sliced Mushrooms - $2.00, reg price $2.29
Safeway reduced-fat wheat thins - $1.50, reg price $1.99
Safeway chili seasoning mix - 79 cents, reg price 99 cents

One of the men stocking the freezer case gave me the tip that Lean Cuisines will be going on sale this Wednesday. Be on the lookout!!!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Wilted Spinach

So, I'm hoping my cooking friend from last night will chime in... but I want to elaborate more on the wilted spinach side dish she made that was so delicious. I want to try to make this at home.

She said she started by caramelizing onions (in long, thin slices) in a little bit of butter, then tossing in the spinach and a little water and letting it wilt. So simple, so delicious.

My question -- if I try to recreate this myself, can I use olive oil instead of butter? That should have the same effect, I hope, and it's better fat for you. This may be a new use for those pre-diced onions from Safeway.

It reminded me of my favorite tapa from Jaleo... the sauteed spinach with raisins and pine nuts. OMG, that's so delicious. If I wasn't intimidated at the idea of roasting pine nuts myself, I'd love to make buckets of that at home, too!

Good Choices

So, I ended up going way over my points again yesterday... but that is tied specifically to the fact that I ate too much dessert last night. What I'm actually proud of about yesterday is that I made a lot of really good choices. Although I ate *too much* food, the food that I was eating was mostly pretty darn good for me.

At lunch, I was again feeling majorly stressed. In fact, I'd had plans to go meet friends at Au Bon Pain for a healthy soup/salad outing, but work was not going well and there was no way I could leave for an hour without resolving a whole lot of issues. So, sadly, I had to cancel. But I still needed to buy lunch. My first instinct was to just go to the Deli and get some fries and grilled cheese, cuz I was so stressed and I just wanted grease. But, my feet didn't fail me.... I ended up going to a different cafe and getting a really healthy lunch to go: a small skim chai, a gorgeous mixed greens salad, and a cup of lentil soup. I was really hungry, so I did eat the 4-inch baguette with a little butter that came with the salad. But, what the heck, the rest of the lunch was so healthy and light I was okay with it.

I went out to another friend's place for a small dinner party last night. She and I had been talking all week about her intended menu and how to make it WW-friendly, which I really appreciated. The meal was delicious - and my only downfall here was in eating too much of it. Ah, portion control. She made roasted chicken with rosemary that smelled divine, with wilted spinach and caramelized onions, a side salad with a lite vinaigrette. She also made a dish of homemade macaroni n' cheese, but she doctored the recipe to make it much lower in fat than it would've been otherwise. I did have a few (ahem, big) bites of that. But I made sure to fill my plate mostly with all of the green stuff, and that spinach especially was delicious.

The bad decision-making of the night came after dinner, and I like to think my critical thinking skills were a little impaired by the wine.... there was a Boston Creme Cake for dessert, and I found myself eating - oops - two pieces of it. It was so tasty!!!

Well, between the last 2 days, my point total is a complete wash for this week. It happens. But I'm glad that I'm still focusing on making mostly good decisions about what it is I'm eating. I don't know what to expect with this week's weigh-in, but I'm still feeling good about how I'm doing. It's so important to at least be thinking about making choices, rather than just shoving the closest food item into your mouth.... :-)

Friday, February 24, 2006


Ugh. I didn't really need the confirmation, but here it is: I am a stress eater.

Yesterday was a very tense day at work, one of those where by the end of the day I felt demoralized and as if I'd been beaten up cuz I spent the whole afternoon putting out a series of fires. I have a thick skin, so none of this really upset me personally, but it's still stressful and exhausting, taking both an emotional and a physical toll.

When I came home, I was single-minded: I wanted to comfort myself with food. And I had a particular kind of food in mind - macaroni and cheese, the kind from a box. I went down to the mini-mart in the basement to pick up some. And I decided "what the heck?" - that if I was splurging on one vice I might as well just quench all of my cravings and get it all out of the way on one night. So I also bought a real Coke and a pint of Ben & Jerry's mint chocolate cookie ice cream. I felt happier already, just having it all in my grocery bag.

I made the mac 'n cheese, but luckily I was running low on supplies so I didn't make it exactly as called for. It says to use a whopping 4 tbsps of butter, but I only had 1 tbsp left, so that actually helped a lot with the points.

I ate all of the mac 'n cheese, drank 1/2 the Coke before it started to make me feel icky, and ate about 1/2 the pint of ice cream. God, by about 11 pm I felt terrible. My stomach was very angry with me.

I just tallied it all up, which is an NSV in itself cuz sometimes I just wouldn't ever count all this stuff. The good thing is I'd been really good during the rest of the day, so it's just the nighttime that screwed everything up. The mac 'n cheese: 19 points; The Coke: 2.5 points; The ice cream: 14 points. Wahhhh!!!!

So I have now used up all of my flexies for the week and then some. I think I'm at negative 5.5. Ah well, today's a new day. And my throat is hurting so I think I'm gonna stay home for a while this morning and take it easy. Back to soups...

Thursday, February 23, 2006

It's the M in the TBM

that makes it so good, but so bad....

Last night, I ended up at Cosi, as previously reported. And while I went with all kinds of Turkey Light and/or Hummus & Veggies strategy in mind, I was cold and hungry and just really wanted something warm and comforting. So I got the TBM melt -- for you non-Cosi-ers, that's the tomato, basil and mozzarella melt. A whopping 15 points. Eeek. But, I knew it when I made the decision and just decided to go with it and use my Flex Points. It was darn tasty.

And I think I was still pretty good overall, since my dining companion kept encouraging me to try a piece of her deelish-looking pizza, and I said no. So all was not lost.

I ended up using 12.5 flexies for the day. Ah well -- soup for lunch and dinner today, methinks.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Decisions, Decisions

I'm heading out to the Blogger HH tonight, and meeting my partner in crime beforehand for a quick dinner. I think so far we've narrowed it down to 2 cheap places for dinner, and now I need to do some investigating to see which will be more WW-friendly. The choices are either Cosi or Baja Fresh. We've already established (with the tip from Lady B) that Cosi is not very point-friendly, with most things there topping 10 points at best. But I'm not sure how bad Baja Fresh is -- I think they have some low-carb options, so maybe there will be something good there? I'm going to do some investigating and I'll let you know -- but if you have any tips about eating at other place, or other options in the Dupont area, feel free to share!

Monday, February 20, 2006

A Moratorium on Splurging

So, tonight was the final birthday celebration. It was amazing - dinner at the Melting Pot is never less than sinful - but it's definitely time for this phase of splurging to be over. What's the onomatapoiea (spelling?) for the feeling you have when you're bloated and have your cheeks all puffed out from being full? That's what I'm feeling right now. Urrgh. Pfffft. Ullgghhh.

I was good the rest of the day.... and tomorrow it's back on track, for real. Thanks, everyone, for celebrating with me. And now I need your support again as I go back to soups, salads, and light wraps! :-)

A Little Faith Restored

Guess what? Even after all my splurges and doubts over the last 2 weeks, I still lost another pound! Hooray!

I really didn't expect that. I kinda thought I might have gained this time. But this is good - it's totally motivating to see a little success!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Sore Throat = Comfort Food

I've been a lazy bum for the last two days, trying to get rid of a bad sore throat and just a general haze of fatigue. I've been staying on plan, but the kind of food I've been eating to make my throat feel better is just making me feel kinda blah and heavy. What does one eat for 2 days of sore throat pain? Lots of hot and starchy stuff.

Egg beaters with low-fat cheese
Apple juice
More apple juice
Wheat bread w margarine
Beef vegetable soup
Hot chocolate

Apple cinammon oatmeal
Orange juice
Canned bean chili with low-fat cheese
Wheat bread w margarine
And probably more hot chocolate later

Boring, huh? My throat does feel a little better, but I'm nervous about that weigh-in tomorrow. Starchy stuff usually doesn't help with the scale....

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Regaining the Mo'

I think birthday week combined with work events and some emotional stress have all taken a toll on my momentum. It's been harder for me to stick to my points each day, and even when I'm sticking to the points I haven't been as religious about tracking everything online. Today's been easy, cuz I'm just sitting at home, and I hope that I'll be better again about regaining my discipline. I've been doing so well! So even though I just have one final birthday celebration, I'm trying to get motivated again. (Yes, I know, it's been somewhat ridiculous that I've had such an extended birthday thing - but that snowstorm threw a wrench in the plans and people keep wanting to treat me to dinner! Who am I to argue?)

There was a great WW message board post today from someone who was venting. She said she remembered reading some other person's post about how she had just made her Lifetime status and lost tons of weight, but she'd done it by eating only turkey and salads for an entire year. The current poster was using that as an example of the way that she - and the rest of us - would NEVER want to do it. There were lots of great responses and "Hallelujahs!" from other commenters about how they make WW work for them, and still can eat steak and drink wine, etc. I know it's becoming a cliche for me to say this, but the beauty of WW is that you CAN learn how to eat what you love and still lose weight. It teaches you how to incorporate sensible amounts of your favorite things in with a healthy diet. And so you can have birthday weeks or pizza binges or a night with 6 glasses of wine, and still stay on track.

So that's what I need to do now -- just get back in the swing. The best trick is to make sure I write everything into my Points Tracker, cuz then I really know how I'm doing.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Aw, hell.

Friday morning major hangover. My hangovers aren't usually headaches - they involve majorly upset stomach stuff. I think it's the combination of the wine and the giant steak I had last night. As of about 9:45 am today, I hadn't been able to keep anything down this morning and I had just barely made it into work. And a coworker brought in a box of fresh, gooey, starchy, stick-to-your-upset-stomach Krispy Kremes. I had to. And I think I'm about to again....

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

That Gift Horse

Oooohhhh..... the tough choices we make in a day. I've got some major temptations over the next 3 days and I have to pick and choose what I do with them. We have this thing at work that involves a partnership with Starbucks - UNLIMITED FREE hot chocolate at lunchtime from today through Friday. And since it is an important relationship, I really do need to set a good example and support it, right??? Um, yeah, I had some hot choc with whipped cream today. Fabulous. But, then, on the other hand - I did my pre-meal trick and ate at my desk before going to a friends' place where they ordered pizza. I didn't have a single slice! So, I'm picking my battles.

I do have 2 belated birthday events coming up - a steak dinner tomorrow night and The Melting Pot on Monay. As far as I'm concerned, those still fall under the "birthday freebie" clause. Cuz, really, what's the point of trying to be good for those two meals? I'll get more enjoyment out of them than I will out of diet food for weeks. So I'll savor it!

I did go for a cheaper lunch option today. Thank goodness for corner delis!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Why Does Good Stuff Cost So Much?

I had another Au Bon Pain lunch today. Soup, a small container of the Asian chicken salad, a container of pineapple, and a breadstick. Seriously, it rang up to more than $13. The cashier actually went "Wooo! I didn't expect it to cost so much!" The main culprit is the pineapple, which is something ridiculous like 4 bucks per container. For a variety of reasons, I am not a regular lunch-packer and have no desire to be so. I accept that I will be spending money for lunch most days. But, wow, this Au Bon Pain habit is pricey! Most of my lunch options do fall between 9 - 13 dollars on a normal day. Yikes! And it's especially annoying knowing that 2 giant slices of pizza would run me about 3 bucks. Looks like I need to work Subway into the routine a little more often....

Monday, February 13, 2006

Foiled by Dotti's!

Okay, so I just calculated the points for that salad I had today by using the info on Au Bon Pain's actual nutrition info site. Dotti's a total liar! According to ABP and the Points Calculator, my lunchtime salad was only *8* points!

I had actually received an email yesterday from Asian Mistress, sharing with me the advice of a friend who had found Dotti to be less-than-reliable in the past. In this case, it worked in my favor cuz she had it so much higher. But beware that Dotti may be lowballing certain things.... I think it's best to always check for the restaurant's own nutrition info first before going for Dotti's answers. I haven't lost total faith in her, but this was not a happy development.


I made a bad salad choice at Au Bon Pain today.... the Turkey Medallion Cobb. Dotti rates this as 17 points. Yowch! I never eat croutons, so I actually knocked it down to 14 points in my estimation. But this still means that by the time I finished my lunch I had eaten all of my points allowance for the day. Dammit, dammit, dammit. And the office had birthday cake for me this afternoon and I could not eat any of it. Oh well, I was in a really bad mood anyway and didn't feel like having cake. But still.... Of course, I had to eat something for dinner. I'm still at work, getting reading for an evening meeting. I just ate an 8-point Lean Cuisine pepperoni pizza. Even with my 1 Activity Point that I'm counting for walking earlier, I still am already dipping 7 points in to my Flexies. And it's the first day of the week. The worst part is that it was totally unintended -- it's not like I thought the salad was that bad! Harrumph.

No Worse for the Wear

I weighed myself again this morning. Even after yesterday's extreme indulgence, I still maintained! So I didn't gain anything over the last week. This is good news -- and now I am back on track. This week looks a lot less crazy than the last few days, which is great. All the events - both work and personal - have me totally run down. I want to crawl into bed for a long winter's nap....

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Totally Divine Indulgence

Today was my actual birthday and the last of my days of splurging. But, my God, was it worth it. Watch my other blog for a full post on the brunch that lasted all day....

Part of the indulgence included a fan-freakin'-tastic bowl of Carolina gumbo for dinner. Oh, sweet heavens, it was good. I'm a fan of gumbo goin' way back. My parents make about 2 big batches of homemade gumbo each year, and ever since I've left home they make sure to freeze a few big containers of it to give me when I visit. Love it.

So now I'm on the hunt for an easy, low-point, preferably crock pot-friendly gumbo recipe. The WW online recipe requires a Dutch oven. I confess I'm not even sure what that is... I'm going to keep looking, and ask for the parent recipe to see if I can doctor it up to make it low-point. If anyone has any suggestions, please send them my way!

I did weigh myself this morning, before the day of indulgence, and saw that I had actually maintained for this week. So I'm officially still at the 10-pound mark. I will step on the scale again in the morning just to see what the damage is, but I'm gonna go with today's weight as the on-the-record number for this week.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Not Like I Used To

An unexpected NSV (non-scale victory) for today... As y'all know, this is my dieting break birthday-weekend. I haven't been terrible, but I definitely have been enjoying my celebrations. I ate a decent lunch yesterday but last night survived on lots of beer and grazing of greasy bar appetizers, followed by some s'mores. I didn't eat much in quantity, but it was all crap. Today, I had a small breakfast but then met a friend at one of my favorite restaurants for a late lunch. I had 2 greasy/delicious mini burgers and I ordered a chicken pesto pizza. I ate 3 of the 6 pizzas and had the rest wrapped up for home. Then we saw a movie, and I did order a small butter popcorn and ate about half of it.

This is not a ton of food compared to what I used to eat before restarting the diet, but it's definitely more and lower quality food than I've eaten in the past month. And guess what? When it came time for dinner tonight - when normally I would have heard the siren song of that leftover pizza in the fridge - I was NOT hungry. In fact, I was feeling pretty grossly full. I just didn't want to eat anything. By 10 o'clock, I knew I had to at least eat something small, and the only thing that appealed to me was a package of the Green Giant broccoli in low-fat cheese sauce. I just ate that and I still don't want anything more today.

So, the NSV of all of this is that on a day when I'd given myself free rein to eat whatever I wanted... there really wasn't much that I wanted! I ate a big-for-dieting lunch and that was more than enough for the whole day.

Tomorrow will be a culinary adventure with a huge Sunday brunch, and then once that's over the diet is back on again. But if tomorrow's anything like today, that one big meal will probably be enough to get me through the whole day!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Yesterday was Not So Good....

Last night was another big event at work, which throws off my whole day. I was really good at breakfast and lunch, but then again the day started moving too quickly and for the 2nd day in a row I did NOT get a chance to eat my safety-Lean Cuisine. So I went into the evening and its catering on an empty stomach... I grazed a bit too much. There was no dessert so I wasn't shoveling in cookies or anything, but the crab and artichoke dip was probably not so good.

But then came the after.... this was an event that has been a long time in the making and was very, very stressful. So some coworkers and I HAD to go out afterwards. And, since it's birthday weekend I decided to treat myself to my favorite - chocolate martinis. And cuz I was super-hungry, I got mini-burgers and ate 1 1/2 of the them plus the super-tasty potato chips they came with.

I'm starting to tally up the points now, but that may be kinda moot. As I said on Monday, I knew this week was going to be really tough. I'm just happy that I still was good at breakfast and lunch even though I knew the night would be a wash. My goal is to do the same today, cuz I've got big evening-out plans and I'm totally allowing myself to celebrate. My plan is to be good as usual for all the regular meals, but to enjoy the hell out of my birthday celebrations and then start up again for real on Monday. And you know what? Weight Watchers lets you do that! It's a lifestyle, not just a diet..... :-)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Birthday Splurge Has Begun

As I predicted, things are starting to get more challenging as I approach birthday weekend. And I'm allowing it! Today I used my first birthday restaurant gift certificate at Austin Grill. And since today was one of the worst days I've had at work in a very, very long time, I *knew* by about 10:30 that I wanted a steak for lunch. So I did. I was pretty good otherwise - not splurging on other items at lunchtime, but that steak is a pretty hefty point load.

Then the day continued to get worse and worse - very melodramatic. At one point, I gave up on the day and sat on the floor near one of my staff member's desks and bemoaned the day while I polished my shoes. Literally! So she and another staff member dragged me (right, twisting my arm) to Starbucks for fortification before our event tonight. I went for the tall skim chai, good, and I got a chocolate chunk cookie, not so good. But I only ate 3 bites of it, good. This further confirmed both the facts that (a) I am an emotional eater, and (b) I'm doing okay at controlling things, cuz I coulda ate that whole darn thing.

Then we had the catered event tonight. I had my glass of wine and just a few bites off of the grazing table. Nothing too bad, but it still adds up.

The day was saved by the fact that - due to the event tonight and a donor tour this afternoon - I was on my feet running around or leading tours for about 4 hours of the day. So I just gave myself a blanket 4 Activity Points. It may be more, it may be less. Counting up all of the points for the day, I only dipped into the Flexies for about 5.5 of them. Not horrible, but I certainly hadn't wanted to do that yet, knowing of the splurge that is coming over the weekend. But, overall, I'm cool with it. Tomorrow's another day, with another major catered event and lots of on-my-feet time. But hopefully I won't have all the trauma and drama that I had today!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Today's NSV

For those of you unfamiliar with the WW lingo, NSV = a non-scale victory. As in a good thing that doesn't relate to exact pounds lost. We celebrate NSV's just as much as SV's! :-)

So, back to the story.... I just dodged a little minefield of my own making! I knew when I came in this morning that I would have to make a trip to Starbucks, cuz the sinus medicine has me in dire need of caffeine. At about 10:30, a friend and I went over. And I remarked to my friend, "I'm a little hungry, too. Maybe I'll get a low-fat muffin or something."

When we were there, I scanned the food options. And while several things looked tempting - the reducted fat coffee cake, for example - I decided to not get anything. I thought "that's about as reduced fat as my a@@" and made the call that I would just get my tall, non-fat chai latte and then come back to the office and eat my 3-point granola bar. My friend said "Good for you!" And so does the WW points tracker. A quick check of Dotti's says that even the low-fat coffee cakes would still have run me 6-8 points, which I so didn't need.

Hooray for smart decision-making!

Monday, February 06, 2006

My First Milestone

My scale (the dial kind, not a digital) was a little wonky this morning as it somehow had gotten thrown off in the past week, but after fixing it it looks like I lost another pound this week. Just one pound isn't as exciting as the 2-3 pounds I have been losing, but it is when you consider that this means I've hit the 10 pound mark. Hooray!

I did use a lot more of my Flex Points last week, mostly on Cheerios!, so I probably need to keep that more in balance. But I know this week is gonna be filled with allowed splurges cuz my birthday weekend is coming up! I have 2 major plans, one that involves lots of alcohol and one that involves lots of food. I'm allowing myself to enjoy those events, so I'm not stressing about how it will affect the scale next week. I'll be staying on plan for the rest of the week, of course, but I'm planning that most bets are off for those 2 celebrations.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Soup-er Bowl Sunday, or Adventures in Slow-Cooking

All you cooking friends should be proud of me... I actually made something homemade today! I've been feeling kinda sick all weekend, with a head cold and cough, so I really wanted some comfort food. And since I knew I would have *hours* in front of the tv tonight with the Super Bowl (go Steelers!), I decided to dust off my trusty crock pot and make myself some chicken soup.

My crock pot is quite possibly the best invesment I've ever made. I believe I paid $12.99 for it about 7 years ago at a Phar-Mor in Pittsburgh. I use it a lot, to make chili and a variety of vegetable and chicken soups. Today I went with a simple old standard - just some chicken, veggies, and pasta.

I tried something new, though. Safeway now has these little half-pints or so of pre-diced veggies in their produce section. As I've mentioned before, one of the worst features of my current kitchen is there's no room to do any major prep. So I did take a shortcut and bought a package of pre-diced onion. I also got a package of snack-size carrots and celery, and then diced them down from there. That covered the veggies for my soup.

Then it was time to prep the chicken. I bought a package of lean chicken tenders and cut them down to sorta-cubes. Here's another area where I'm ill-prepared - I don't have a good kitchen knife. So I had to use a serrated steak knife to trim and cube the chicken, which was not the best way to do it. I onlyused 3 of the tenders, cuz I got tired of using that knife, so the soup didn't have as many chicken pieces as it could have.

The broth part was simple - 1 can of Campbell's 98% fat-free cream of chicken soup, 1 can of Safeway reduced sodium chicken broth, and about 3 cans of Brita water. (My soup will not be tainted by gross DC tap water.) I added some pepper and some pre-mixed poultry seasoning, but I really wanted the chicken and the onions to create the main flavor of the soup.

After 3 hours of cooking on the low setting, I added in about 1/2 a box of farfalle bow-tie pasta. I let that cook still on low for another hour. My apartment smells fantastic - chicken and onion-y. I just ate my first bowl of the soup, and it was really good. I probably could add more seasoning next time, and the pasta is definitely well done. But overall, I'm very pleased.

As for points... like most homemade things, this is based on estimates. But the pasta has the highest point value of all the ingredients, since there's so little chicken in it and I used the low sodium/reduced fat broth and soup as a base. So I am figuring approximately 3.5 points for a bowl. Which means I can have another bowl during the second half! :-)

Game Day at Safeway

9:00 am on a Sunday is a great time to go to Safeway, even on Super Bowl Sunday. It was practically empty and I got to be the only person in line at the check-out. It was cute to see how many older guys from the neighborhood were just kinda hanging out and talking football with the Safeway guys restocking the shelves. From the talk, it sounds like the Steelers are gonna win (they better!) but some guys were resolutely in Seattle's corner. As a former yinzer, I did actually jump into the conversation at a few points. :-)

On to the diet-friendly sales:
Hamburger Helper - $1.99, regular price $2.59
the red box (I have no idea what brand) of farfalle pasta - $1.00, reg price $1.39
Reduced fat Wheat Thins - $1.66, reg price $3.19
Campbells Chunky turkey chili - $1.66, reg price $2.95
Lean Cuisine, pizzas and select entrees- $2.50, reg price $3.29
Perdue chicken tenders - $5.60, reg price $6.11 (probably by weight)
Safeway brand pink lemonade light canister - $2.99, reg price $3.99
Safeway brand reduced fat, low sodium chicken broth - $.60, reg price $.88

Several of these items are key ingredients for my cooking plans for later today. Stay tuned....

Saturday, February 04, 2006


What's up with Blogger? I have had several great reader comments come in today, but they are not showing up in the comments sections on the posts. So don't worry, I haven't deleted them, it's something with Blogger. I'm hoping they show up again soon.

Surprisingly Tasty

I just tried one of those new Lean Cuisine panini sandwiches. I had the chicken club version, which was 7 points. I have no idea how they made bread that microwaves well, as if it was grilled. I probably shouldn't pursue that question too far, cuz it's gotta be some weird food-science thing. But it was actually tasty. It had some smoky bacon bits on it, and the chicken was good. The cheese melts up well and binds the whole sandwich together, like a home-made panini. I'll have to try some of the other versions next time I hit the grocery store.

But, since today would require the building of an ark, I'm skipping my usual Saturday grocery trip and eating stuff out of the freezer....

Friday, February 03, 2006

A Much-Needed Splurge

I have been craving a steak for more than a week. Which is funny, cuz I just recently started eating beef again after 8 years of no red meat. But, boy, do I have the taste for it again.

I have been pretty good this week on sticking close to my daily points allowance and not using many of the Flexies. And today I was really good - a 1-point breakfast and a light lunch, with no snacks. Since today was my one-month reward day at the Spa, I didn't spend it at my desk wanting my 3 o'clock munchies. And I got in a good amount of Activity Points - 3 of them over the course of the day.

In keeping with the reward day theme, I decided to splurge at dinner. A friend and I met at Austin Grill and I went for their semi-affordable version of the big steak dinner. Of course, I started with chips and salsa and a sangria. Then the steak dinner, which came with a nice big side of steamed broccoli and some garlic mashed potatoes. I only ate a few bites of the potatoes, but made sure I ate all the broccoli. And, well, all of the steak... :-)

I just tallied it up, and really, it wasn't so bad. The steak itself is high in points, but it's not like it's pizza or buffalo wings. With that whole dinner, plus the rest of the day, I ended up at 36 points. The 3 AP's count, and so I'm really only using 7 Flexies. And there are still plenty to use if I need a little freedom on the weekend!

Wow, it was tasty. I can certainly plan for more special treat steak dinners in the future!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

My One Month-iversary!

This Groundhog Day is a cause for celebration for me... it marks one full month that I've been back on WW! Hooray, I've made it this far! It's been a challenge, but I can certainly handle it.

Tomorrow is my reward - I'm taking the afternoon off for a spa day. A facial and massage, here I come!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


I had a pretty light lunch today - the soup/mixed greens salad at Olsson's - so I'm still feeling kinda hungry. I entered the danger zone of venturing down towards the vending machines...but they didn't have anything good. I scanned the pitiful shelves of our cafe/snack bar at work, and came across a 2-piece package of Snackwell's vanilla creme cookies and a mini Peppermint Patty. 35 cents and roughly 4 points. It's hard to calculate the points cuz I'm not sure what the mini-Patty is. But I'm still hungry. :-( Only 5.5 food points left for today (damn Safeway Cheerios nabbed me for a high point breakfast again) so it looks like I need to walk the long way home. Then I'll have enough AP's to justify a decent dinner.