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.

 

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)

October Goals

September has come and gone, and a new month has begun. Here are my goals for October:

  1. Make a list of meals that work for me. I want to plan ahead so I don’t waste so much food. Those plans will be food that I like.  I started on this last night – writing out meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with snacks and desserts. I plan to convert them to pdf and post them on this website.
  2. Build on the exercise routine I started in September. That means doing circuit work in my exercise room, along with having the goal of at least 5K steps each day.
  3. Continue with self-care routines – skin care, bedtime herbal tea, prayer and meditation time each day.

I will stop there. My tendency is to go overboard on plans, but the reality is that they need to be kept small and do-able.

Small Steps – 3rd Month

Another month – more weight gone. September has been the “hump” month. July and August were the beginner months. I was full of enthusiasm and there was no temptation for me to stray.  I had the beginner’s energy and motivation. September came, and some tedium set in. I am pleased that I persevered. I kept at it. After all, I reasoned, this is what I plan to do the rest of my life – track my food and be mindful about eating. So I tracked it all – even the days I used lots of weekly points – even the two weigh-ins during the month when I gained weight.

With the month being such a challenge, I’m thrilled that I ended up with a loss at all.  I had some NSVs this month (non-scale victories), as well. 

  1. I worked more on self-care. I started a skin care routine. Since the first of September, I’ve had a nightly ritual of washing my face with a good quality cleanser, using a toner and night cream on my face. I spent my 71 years taking my good skin for granted. I have always worn makeup every day, but I rarely took it off before going to bed. I’d take off the old makeup immediately before putting on fresh makeup each morning. No more. 
  2. Part of my self-care has been another nightly routine of sipping a large cup of herbal tea prior to going to bed. That’s actually rather funny because I had a box of herbal teas that sat on my kitchen counter for a couple years, and I never drank any of it. So I gave it away a few months ago. Now I’m drinking it every night. That’s okay, though. A new box should be delivered today, and I already have the teas the fill it. 
  3. I have been exercising more. Not a lot, but I’ve made a start, and that’s good. We have a great exercise room with all the equipment I could ever want. So I have no excuse for not exercising. 
  4. I’ve gotten back into reading the Bible and having a morning devotional. That’s something I’ve done off and on for a long time. I’ve been consistent with it the past month.

So, even with the challenges, I am pleased with how September ended.  The total weight I’ve lost since I began on July 19th is 8.4 lbs. Slow and steady . . . . 

 

A Better Cheesy Biscuit With Egg

My sister saw my post with the recipe for Cheesy Biscuits with Eggs, and she came up with a MUCH simpler way to make them. She took the dough for each serving, rolled it into a long “log” and then brought the edges together to form a circle.  So much simpler! And the egg fits into the hole much better, too!  

So here is the revised recipe:

Make the dough first. This makes four servings. 

1 cup self-rising flour (11 points)
1/2  teaspoon yeast (0 points)
1/2 teaspoon salt (0 points)
1/4  cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt (0 points)
1/4  cup warm water (0 points)
Pam cooking spray, butter flavor (0 points)
 
  • Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
  • Prepare a small baking dish with a sheet of parchment paper or a spray of butter-flavored PAM.
  • Set aside about 1/4 cup of the flour to use later.
  • In a bowl, mix 3/4  cup of the flour with the yeast and salt. 
  • Add the yogurt and warm water and mix well. You should have a sticky ball of dough
  • Sprinkle some of the reserved flour on a clean counter or pastry mat. (I actually used a paper towel).
  • Dump out the dough onto the floured mat.
  • Sprinkle more of the reserved flour on the dough, gently fold it over, and repeat until a good ball of dough is formed. Knead the rest of the flour into the dough.
  • Spray your hands with Pam, take the dough and form it into 4 balls of equal size.
  • Note: If you want to make only one or two servings, before cooking at all, wrap the unused dough in a ziplock bag and keep it in the refrigerator till you’re ready to use it. The extra can be used for this recipe, pizza dough, or any other dish requiring bread.
  • Roll each ball into a long log shape and then press the ends together to form a circle, and place the 4 circles on the baking sheet.  Make the circle large enough to hold an egg in the middle. 
  • (optional) Let rise for about 30 minutes. This step will make the dough rise more, but it is delicious without this step.
  • Bake at 475 degrees for about 4-6 minutes until puffed but not browned.
  • Remove baking sheet from oven.

Toppings: Here is a photo of my toppings – chopped tomatoes, grated Cabot 75% reduced fat cheddar cheese, a slice of Canadian bacon, finely chopped onion, chopped spinach leaves.

  • Working quickly so the biscuit doesn’t cool too much, place a slice of Canadian bacon underneath each of the biscuit circles.
  • Crack an egg into each biscuit cup. If you look at the photos below, you will see that the egg white flowed over the top of the biscuit, but it was okay. When I took them out of the oven, they were fine. 
  • Season with salt and pepper. Add other toppings, as desired – just keep track of the points.
  • Return the baking sheet to the oven and continue baking until the biscuits are golden and the egg whites are set, about 10 minutes more.
     
     
     

(Photo below) It’s ready to go in the oven! I’ve piled on so many toppings that you can’t even see the egg except for where part of the white overflowed at the top of the photo. You will see in the next photo that after it has cooked, the white overflowing doesn’t make any difference – still delicious!

 

And here it is – ready to eat.  Absolutely delicious!

Counting the points: Each biscuit (4 biscuits per recipe) is 3 points. Add the points for any toppings you add.

You’ve got to get momentum

idenk > Supporting Teams > Are You In A FFO?The dictionary defines momentum as “strength or force gained by motion or by a series of events.” After two weeks of gaining weight while completely sticking to my WW plan, I realized my enthusiasm for sticking with my commitment was compromised – and I yielded to that lack of enthusiasm over the weekend. It’s almost humorous to think of the things that I eat when I’m feeling defeated.  It varies. This time it was Rice Krispies Treats. I actually lost count of how many I ate. I logged it as 8, and I think that’s accurate . . . but I’m not 100% sure.

Adam Braun Quote: “For any movement to gain momentum, it ...

I was starting down a familiar path – that of thinking about what a loser I am – except for weight – can’t seem to lose that. How I start things and don’t finish them. How I have never successfully lost weight and kept it off long term. Those voices in my head were gaining strength.

I stopped, though. Did I want those voices to gain momentum like they have in the past, or did I want to change direction and gain momentum in a positive direction?

You know what stopped me? Last week in one of the Facebook WW groups that I’m in, someone wrote something about how we should stand naked in front of mirror and name ten positive things about our bodies. I did that a few days ago – and I couldn’t come up with ten. I could only see the negatives – the extra weight, the scars, the blemishes. I wondered if maybe in my heart I feel I don’t “deserve” to be at a healthy weight.  I also wondered what made me become so hard on myself – so critical and unforgiving. Why is self-judgment my go-to response?

This morning when I woke up, I knew I had to stop, change course, and build some momentum away from Rice Krispies Treats and towards success. One success builds momentum towards another success. It all goes back to the Atomic Habits I’ve written about several times before.

So I logged my breakfast, and then left to run a bunch of errands – first I had a dentist appointment, then to the post office and UPS office to mail packages. I picked up some papers at my husband’s office and made a quick grocery store stop for fish and some herbal teas.  Except for the dentist office, those were errands I’d been putting off since last week. I got it all done. I felt good about handling so many little nagging errands. I stopped by Chick Fil A and had their grilled chicken nuggets for lunch. I got only the nuggets. No, I assured them, I didn’t want to “make it a meal” with fries and a coke.

7 Techniques How To Get Motivated To Do Anything

I came home and felt good. I did some work around the house, took a 20-minute nap and, with my husband, planned our dinner.

Today was my STOP-REASSESS-CHANGE COURSE day. I started with a small act (handing errands I had been procrastinating on since last week). I continued to build momentum by sticking to only grilled chicken for lunch.  And then I had fish and vegetables for dinner. Snacks were all low point and moderate-sized servings. I’m ending the day having used only 19 of my 23 daily points. The extra points will roll over into my weekly points, which is good since I used so many weekly points yesterday.

Momentum. I learned I can get it back or shift its direction simply by stopping and deliberately doing something in the direction I want to go. That success moves me to another success, and so it goes.

And one day soon, I intend to do the naked-in-front-of-the-mirror thing again. This time I will come up with ten positive things. After all, this body has seen me through 71+ years of life, it grew two amazing babies, rocked children and later grandchildren to sleep. I like my green eyes and the fact that my hair has just a little natural curl to it. That’s a good start.

Being overweight is hard. Losing weight is hard. I have to choose my hard, and I choose losing weight.

 

Baked Cheesy Biscuits with Eggs (4 points each, WW Blue)

The idea for these came from my sister, Janice, who posted the recipe on Facebook.  It’s a White Lily Flour recipe.  I revised it to better fit in with the WW Blue Plan, and I actually came up with a couple of variations. These are 4 points each (WW Blue Plan) if you use the Velveeta slices, and 3 points if you use the Canadian bacon. I had one for dinner tonight, and I am stuffed!

Here’s the recipe:

Baked Cheesy Biscuits with Eggs

1 cups self-rising flour (11 points)
4 eggs (0 points)
1/2  teaspoon yeast (0 points)
1/4  cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt (0 points)
1/4  cup warm water (0 points)
1/2 teaspoon salt (0 points)
Pam cooking spray, butter flavor (0 points)
4 slices Velveeta cheese (6 points) OR 4 slices Canadian Bacon (1)  OR a combination of both. Just figure out the correct points.
Pam Cooking Spray, No-Stick, Butter Flavor (0 points)
salt/pepper, to taste
Other toppings you might want to add: spinach, onion – whatever you like.
  • In a large bowl, mix 3/4  cup of the flour with the yeast and salt. Reserve the extra 1/4 cup of the flour for later.
  • Add the yogurt and stir until it starts to form a ball.
  • Add the warm water and mix well. You should have a sticky ball of dough.
  • Sprinkle some of the reserved flour on a clean counter or pastry mat. (I actually used a paper towel).
  • Dump out the dough onto the floured mat.
  • Sprinkle more of the reserved flour on the dough, gently fold it over, and repeat until a good ball of dough is formed.
  • Spray your hands with Pam, take the dough and form it into 4 biscuits of equal size.
  • Take a small round cookie cutter and cut out a hole in each biscuit. Place the cut out rounds and the larger biscuits on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You can push on the inner circle to widen it.  Trust me, you want that circle to be big enough to hold an egg!  Those circles that look so big in the photo close in a lot when they cook!
  • Spray the tops lightly with butter-flavored Pam.
  • Let rise for about 30 minutes.
  • Bake at 475 degrees for about 6-8 minutes until puffed but not browned.
  • Remove baking sheet from oven.
  • Either drape a slice of cheese over each of the large biscuits – using your finger to press it into the opening to form a deep cup, OR make four cuts on a slice of Canadian bacon (see photo) and overlap the edges to tuck it into the opening to form a deep cup. 
  • Crack an egg into each biscuit cup. If you look at the photos below, you will see that the egg white flowed over the edges of the biscuits. I worried, but when I took them out of the oven, they were fine. I even had a yolk roll over the edge of the biscuit. I just scooped it up with a spoon and put it back. LOL!
  • Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle other toppings – grated cheese on the ones with Canadian bacon (measure and count the points), chopped spinach leaves, etc.
  • Return the baking sheet to the oven and continue baking until the biscuits are golden and the egg whites are set, about 10 minutes more.
  • Serve immediately.

Notice in the photo above, the egg white that flowed out into the pan. It was fine! The top two have the slice of Velveeta, and the bottom two have the Canadian bacon. I liked the ones with the Canadian bacon best – and they were one point lower! Both were delicious, though!  A serving includes one of the large biscuits with the egg in the middle along with one of the smaller cutouts.

Zero-Point Taco Soup

The weather has turned cooler, and I saw something on Facebook about Zero-Point Taco Soup. I didn’t need persuading – that immediately became what I would make for dinner. I didn’t have taco seasoning on hand, and so I made a quick trip to Kroger to get some.

Within ten minutes of getting home, the soup was simmering on the stove. What could be simpler than opening a bunch of cans, a package of chicken breasts, and some seasoning, and dump it all in the cooking pot! The only other step was to shred the chicken after it had cooked.

I served it with a dollop of nonfat Greek yogurt (instead of sour cream) and a little grated Cabot 75% Reduced Fat Sharp Cheddar Cheese. Both of those are 0-points, too. If I used more (half ounce +) of the Cabot cheese, it would move to a point, but I kept it under 1/2 ounce. It was both tasty and filling. It tasted so good, I had a second bowl – and I counted the cheese as 1 point since I had two helpings of it!

The soup freezes well. So I will put some in the refrigerator to eat over the next couple days, and I will put some in the freezer to enjoy again in a few weeks.

Here is how I made it:

Zero-Point Taco Soup

  • 4 cans beans (black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, great northern beans – whatever kind you like or a combination of beans. I used Kroger’s Tri-Bean Blend)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 large can tomato sauce OR pureed tomatoes
  • 1 qt. chicken broth (you can use less if you want your soup to be thicker)
  • 2 Tablespoons taco seasoning (add more or less, depending on your taste)
  • 1 lb. boneless/skinless chicken breasts
  • diced onion, peppers, garlic – to taste (can use fresh or dehydrated)
  • salt/pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Dump everything into a large saucepan (or crockpot)
  2. Bring to a simmer
  3. Once chicken is cooked through, take it out, shred it, and add it back into the soup.
  4. To serve, you can top with sour cream or Greek yogurt, grated cheese, corn chips – whatever toppings you like

Zero Points on WW Blue Plan. Be sure to add points for any toppings you choose.

Fast Food – Low Points

I had fast food after an appointment today. Fast food for lunch – and it was only 3 points.  I ate AFTER I made the video, and I ended up eating only half the salad.  So , in the video I say it’s 4 points. However, my actual points were:

sauces for dipping chicken (1/2 barbecue packet & 1/2 zesty buffalo packet) = 1 point

1/2 of side salad = 2 pts

Everything else was 0 points (grilled chicken, and lettuce, tomatoes in salad, and less than 1/2 of the light Italian dressing packet)

It was a filling lunch. I’ve really enjoyed Chick Fil A’s grilled chicken nuggets lately!