Meal Prep: Quick and Easy Bread Dough

I made bread dough for the week – six portions worth. Two of the portions will be used for pizza (Recipe here). Two will be used for two meals of Pigs-in-a-Blanket (Recipe here) one for now, and one for a second meal that I will freeze for later. One portion will go for Cheesy Biscuits with Eggs (recipe here), and the sixth portion will be used for Chicken Pot Pie. That recipe will be posted later.

Forgive the goofiness! I watch my videos and think, “Lord, I bang things around in the kitchen like Julia Child – give directions and then have to reverse them, and then I get carried away weighing dough when it really doesn’t matter! That’s life and reality – at least my reality. Enjoy!

This is a great way to meal prep or the week. When the dough is already made and in the refrigerator, then those meals that use the dough are so much simpler to make.

You will see from the video that it’s easy and quick, too.

The recipe I use made 6 portions. Each portion includes 1/2 cup self-rising flour which is either 5 or 6 points (WW Blue plan), depending on the brand.

Herbal Tea: Is it really good for you?

A few weeks ago I decided to start a bedtime routine to hopefully help me develop the habit of going to bed earlier. I’m a night owl, and I frequently would stay up past midnight. I wanted to change that – not by much, but if I can regularly go to bed by 11:00, that would be great.

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The routine I’ve established is to brush my teeth, wash/tone/moisturize my face, put on my PJs, and then prepare a relaxing cup of herbal tea. I sit in my recliner and slowly sip my tea – savoring it – being mindful. When I finish the tea, I rinse the cup and put it away, and then I go to bed.

The research behind establishing a bedtime routine is that our bodies become accustomed to the pattern. So once that herbal tea hits my system, my body says, “Okay, I’m sleepy! Go to bed, Carol!”

I’ve been doing better on WW since I started this routine. I don’t know if there is a connection between the two or not. However, it is working for me, and I’m enjoying the variety of herbal teas that I’m trying. I’m drinking herbal tea during the day, too. As the weather gets cooler, I will likely drink it even more often during the day.

At night, I choose from a selection of my bedtime teas

And I have to mention that one thing that piqued my interest in herbal teas is that I’m a fan of the History Channel’s show “Alone.” And this past season, so many of the contestants talked about making tea from the plants they found growing around them. “How to make teas” was probably one of the topics that they covered in their “boot camp” before the competition started. And I can understand how knowing which plants to use and how to make the tea would be beneficial in a situation such as that.

This afternoon, I started researching herbal teas. I haven’t read much about them before now. I was eager to find out if herbal teas offer any concrete health benefits. And, by George, they do!

First of all, herbal teas aren’t really teas because they aren’t made from tea leaves. They’re called “tisanes” (I’ve never heard or seen that word before!) or, in more familiar language, they are “infusions.” They can be made from edible spices, herbs, fruit, bark, roots, flowers, or any combination of the aforementioned. An infusion allows you to enjoy the benefits of a plant in an easily digestible form. And just about everything I read extolled the benefits – even including the fact that usually if you’re drinking herbal tea, you’re not eating. Thus, it may help to control weight. LOL! “May” being the operative word in that last sentence.

I went on a bit of a buying spree when I decided to become an herbal tea drinker. I’d had some Two Leaves and a Bud tea at a restaurant a few years ago, and I loved it. So I got some of their “Better Belly Blend” and some “Chamomile.” Then I asked my Facebook friends for herbal tea recommendations, and bought some that they recommended.

Since stomach issues have always been a part of my life, I have a selection of teas that aid digestion. These are the ones I drink after meals. I can testify that they DO help!

The composition of an herbal tea determines the health benefits. For example, chamomile is good for relaxation, while ginger helps with digestion. Here’s a chart with some of the more popular herbal tea ingredients.

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The good news is that herbal teas are very popular, and you can find high quality teas in most grocery stores. Of course, you can get just about all of them from Amazon, although often you have to buy more than one box of them – which makes it a little less tempting. When you only drink 2-3 cups a day, you don’t need a dozen 15-bag boxes!

I wanted a tea box to hold all my teas! I love this one because it hold lots of varieties, and I can easily replace teas as I use them.

There are blends for just about everything. I bought some for sleep and some for digestion, but I also got a detox tea, and some that would perk me up a little, if needed.

Other teas I drink occasionally

I wanted a special cup for my tea, and decided this one that I made at Third Coast Clay when I went there with my 10-year old granddaughter in August was perfect. It’s the right size, and it is now my official tea cup.

Recipe: Vegetable Beef Soup (WW Blue – less than 1 point per serving)

I made a WW-friendly vegetable beef soup today, and it is delicious! The video will walk you through how to make it. The recipe is below.

The soup base is:

1 lb. 96% lean ground beef (10 WW Blue points)

2-3 can diced tomatoes (0 points)

1 can tomato sauce (0 points)

1 quart beef broth (0 point)*

approx. 1 cup chopped onion, 1/2 cup chopped celery (0 points)

Salt and pepper, to taste (0 points)

Directions: Brown the ground beef in a large soup pot. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and beef broth. Salt and pepper, to taste.

Now add your vegetables – I usually buy a bag of frozen soup vegetables. However, you can use fresh, frozen, or canned (drain canned vegetables) – corn, carrots, peas, beans, garlic, peppers, potatoes (count the points for potatoes).

Bring to a boil. You can add more beef broth if the soup is too thick. Let the soup simmer for a couple hours to thoroughly meld all the flavors.

This soup will keep in the refrigerator for several days, and it freezes well.

POINTS: I add additional beef broth, if needed, to bring my total amount to 18 cups – which equals 18 servings.

10 total points divided by 18 servings – .555 points (which rounds of to 1 point.

*Some beef broths scan as 0 points for a quart, and some scan as 1 or 2 points for a quart. It depends on the fat content of the particular broth you buy. Scan the broth you use to figure your points. However, even at 2 points a quart, the total still equals less than 1 point per cup/serving.

 

Weekly Weigh-In – 10/16/2020

It’s Friday – which means it is my official weigh-in date. In terms of weight loss, this is the best week I’ve had since I started on 7/19/2020. The 2.8 lbs lost is measured from last Friday (10/9/2020) to today – one week.

October 16, 2020

It is interesting to note that this week I used all my daily points, all my weekly points, and even went into the negative numbers on weekly points. I don’t think I could consistently eat that much and continue to lose, but maybe it was a re-set of some kind . . . or who knows? I’m grateful for it.

I had a videohealth doctor’s appointment yesterday – and I will go in for blood work and my flu shot and pneumonia shot and to see the doctor in person next week. I’m hoping my blood work will be improved (sugar, cholesterol, etc.) after three months of cleaner eating. Stay tuned.

My take-away from yesterday’s doctor’s appointment is a renewed commitment to clean eating – with as little processed food as possible. It is so tempting when trying to lose weight to want to use artificial sweeteners and processed foods because the calories & points are more controlled. However, this is more than than a weight loss diet. I want to create eating habits that I can sustain for the rest of my life. And I don’t want artificial and processed foods to be more than an occasional part of my life.

Oh yes! One thing I’ve been doing differently is that I’m on an herbal tea kick. I’ve been drinking herbal tea during the day, and I always drink a cup before going to bed. So maybe that is helping, too.

This happened today!

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I’m in shock. I got on the scale this morning fully expecting for the number to be up a couple pounds because, although I’ve been following the WW plan and I’ve logged all my points, I’ve already used up ALL my weekly points. Today isn’t my weigh-in day, but when I saw the number on the scale, I decided I’m logging it anyway. LOL!

Monday will be my 3-month “anniversary” of starting WW. So that brings my average up to almost 4 pounds per month. Wow! I totally will take that.

Yesterday I had a friend lean over and say, “You’ve lost weight, haven’t you?” It is nice for someone that did not know I am on WW to notice the weight loss.

Recipe: Pigs in a Blanket

I wanted a hot dog – particularly a pig-in-a-blanket. And I knew I needed two things to make them: bread dough and hog dogs. First, the dough.

My Bizzy Kitchen has a pizza dough that can be used in many ways, and I like it much better than the 2-ingredient dough because it doesn’t have the strong tangy taste of the Greek Yogurt. You can find the recipe here. It’s quick and easy to put together. Make a batch of the dough, divide it into four equal portions. Put three of the portions into individual zip-lock bags. You can use those portions for individual pizzas or bagels or whatever bread product you’d like. The dough will be good in your refrigerator for at least a few days.

You will use the other portion (1/4 of the recipe) for these pigs-in-a-blanket.

Next, the hots dogs. Hebrew National has great hog dogs, and they have two that can be confusing – a “reduced fat” and a “97% Fat Free” version.

NOT THIS ONE!
THIS IS THE ONE TO BUY!

Get the HEBREW NATIONAL 97% FAT FREE BEEF FRANKS. They are only 1 WW Blue point each – and they taste really good!

Take four hot dogs out of the package. Take your dough (which is 1/4 of the recipe) and divide it into four equal portions. Take one portion and roll it into a long snake-like shape and wrap it around one of the hot dogs. The dough might be sticky – use just a little extra flour to make it workable

Sorry, but I forgot to take photos of the four pigs-in-a-blanket ready to go into the oven. However the other three looked just like the one shown above.

Note: I THINK that you could probably get away with dividing the dough into six portions and making six Pigs-in-a-blanket instead of four. It would bring down the number of points each, too. I intend to do that next time.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes – until bread is nicely browned. The hot dogs are already fully cooked, and so you have to worry about whether they are done. As long as they’re hot, they’re good to go.

POINTS (WW Blue Plan)

1 Pig-in-a-blanket = 2 points (hotdog-1, dough-1)

2 Pigs-in-a-blanket = 5 points (hotdogs-2, dough-3)

3 Pigs-in-a-blanket = 7 points (hotdogs-3, dough-4)

4 Pigs-in-a-blanket = 9 points (hotdogs-4, dough-5)

Weekly weigh-in – 10/9/2020

Another week, and thanks to being in fairly significant pain for four of those days, I lost more weight than has been typical so far. Almost to ten pounds total.

I’m looking forward to the next week – feeling good, doing more walking, getting into my anti-gout routine, and I will also be getting into more art classes.

Time Out – Got Gout!

Last week I was so gung-ho – feeling good and energetic. Then Saturday morning came, and suddenly I couldn’t walk. I don’t mean that it hurt to walk. It means I went to bed Friday night feeling just fine. I woke up Saturday morning and literally could not walk because my left foot was so painful. It was red, swollen, and when I tried to walk, it felt like daggers through my whole foot. Even sitting still with it elevated and with cold packs on it, it throbbed with pain. So I spent Saturday, Sunday, and Monday sitting and sleeping – with as few trips to the bathroom that I could manage. That was the extent of what I could do.

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Tuesday morning (yesterday) I finally got in to see an orthopedist. I thought perhaps I had a stress fracture or a bad sprain. However, it is gout. Gout is caused by too much uric acid in my system. The doctor gave me steroids, and my foot is much better today. I’ve been reading up on how to prevent gout.

Gout arthritis infographic Royalty Free Vector Image

Preventing gout has implications for my WW lifestyle because, for me, it’s mostly about food choices. The doctor may prescribe medication – but not for now. I’ve been looking at the graphic above on the foods to avoid. I have no problem with alcohol, liver, salmon. However, poultry and fish – especially tuna and Halibut – have been mainstays of my WW meals. And I have bacon (red meat) almost every morning. I will definitely need to re-evaluate my menus.

I drove today for the first time since Friday – picked up some groceries I ordered last night. I had tart cherry juice in the order since numerous people told me cherry juice was key in keeping gout away.

I’ve stuck with WW throughout this time. In fact, the pain made me feel less hungry. Thus I had leftover points at the end of several of the past few days. Up to 4 unused daily points can be rolled over into weekly points each day, and now my weekly points are up to 44 from 35. Hopefully I will have a good weight loss this week because of less eating.

I’m on the mend – just taking a little break from posting. My mind couldn’t concentrate on writing when I was in significant pain. LOL! Can’t imagine why.

Big shout-out to my husband, Ron, who has taken excellent care of me – he has cooked for me, brought me drinks and pillows and ice packs – helped me put on the orthopedic boot my daughter loaned me. Ron drove to Larisa’s house to get the orthopedic boot for me – and later he drove across town to get a scooter so I could get around a little more easily.

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What will I change? Here are six changes I will start today:

(1) I’m going to experiment with a sugar-free cherry and nonfat Greek yogurt something-or-other for breakfast. I will see what I can come up with.

(2) I will switch from pork bacon to chicken bacon. Chicken bacon isn’t quite as good, but daily pork bacon isn’t worth having another Gout flare-up.

(3) I’m upping the apple cider vinegar gummies and vitamin C gummies that I take each day since both of those are part of the preventive regimen.

(4) I’m also adding tart cherry juice to my daily menu. It’s 2 points for every 1/3 cup I drink. I will research to find out how much I should drink each day.

(5) I will research to determine what other supplements will be helpful.

(6) I will add more low-fat dairy, whole grain breads, and vegetables.