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!

 

 

7-Point Pizza (WW Blue)

I made personal pizzas tonight – one for my husband and one for me.  Pizza is one of my all time favorite dishes!  The last time we had pizza was during the summer when I ordered one from Domino’s Pizza, and it was less than delicious. It was so bad, in fact, that it turned me off from wanting pizza for a couple months.  However, lately after eating so much chicken and tuna and lean beef, I have yearned for something a little more indulgent.

After reading about 2-ingredient dough, and then researching and finding an even better (supposedly) dough recipe, I decided to give home-made pizza another try.

First the dough. I got the recipe from My Bizzy Kitchen. Here’s that recipe:

Dough:

2 cups self-rising flour

1 teaspoon yeast

1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup Fage Fat Free Greek Yogurt

1/2 – 3/4 cup warm water

  • Heat oven to 450 (see notes).
  • In a bowl, mix the flour, salt and yeast together. Stir in the yogurt and mix until it starts to combine. Start with 1/2 a cup of water and see how the dough comes together. If there is still a bit of loose flour in the bowl, add a couple tablespoons of water at a time, until it forms a ball.
  • This dough can be used within an hour of making, but truth be told, I normally don’t use it until day 2 or 3. On the first day I let it rise in my microwave all day, then store it in a ziplock bag.
  • On the day of baking, add a tablespoon of flour on your counter. Wet your hands and grab desired amount of dough for your pizza. Most of my individual pizzas are 5 ounces. Top with desired toppings and bake for 10 minutes, or until desired doneness.

I didn’t  put my dough in the microwave to rise. As a matter of fact, I didn’t let it rise at all because we were making pizza right away.

I divided the dough into four equal parts. We used two of those for our two individual pizzas tonight. I put the other two parts in a Ziplock bag in the refrigerator for pizza later this week. (Note added: We used the extra dough three days later for another two pizzas, and it was perfect! So it keeps well in the fridge for at least three days). The flour is the only ingredient with points. So each of the four parts contain 1/2 cup self-rising flour – which is 5 points on WW Blue Plan.

The photo above shows our two pizzas ready to go in the oven. That’s mine on the bottom – and Ron’s at the top. He added additional sauce on top of his other ingredients. It looks like a barbecue pizza, but it isn’t – just lots of pizza sauce! That’s because he doesn’t usually each much pizza crust because of his blood sugar. Thus, he wanted to be sure he had plenty of the toppings.

In the photo above, the pizzas are on a pizza stone that I bought from Pampered Chef years ago. I had put the pizza stone in the oven while I made the dough. So it was piping hot when we put the dough on it.

I sprayed my hands with butter flavored Pam to smooth out the dough on the pizza stone. Then once we had it spread out, my husband and I added our favorite toppings.

Toppings

These are the toppings I put on my pizza:

Onion, finely chopped (0 points)

fresh spinach, torn into small pieces (0 points)

fresh chopped tomatoes (0 points)

Ragu Homemade style Pizza Sauce (1 point for 1/4 cup)

Sargento Light mozzarella string cheese (1 point per stick), cut crossways into thin circles. In the photo above, you can see the small circles of mozzarella.

3/8 oz Cabot Cheese, Sharp Cheddar, 75% Reduced Fat (0 points for 3/8 oz.)

At the top of this post is a photo of my baked and ready-to-eat pizza. I forgot to take a photo until I had cut it and put the pieces on a plate.  It was delicious! The crust has a little bit of a tangy taste from the yogurt. I really liked it. One great thing about this recipe is that the dough took only a few minutes to put together. And, of course, the toppings were delicious.

And the best thing of all is that the whole pizza is only 7 points. My first pizza in over two months. And I still have 5 points left for today!

Honesty in Tracking

Tracking is the act of writing down what you eat, and it is a key component of successful weight loss for me. Unless I track, I tend to minimize how much I eat. I did not do Weight Watchers for a long time because I couldn’t bear the idea of tracking for the rest of my life. I had to reach the place where I am okay with tracking – to the place where I even like the idea of tracking – before I was ready to commit to it again. I have accepted that I will track what I eat for the remainder of my life. It’s a good thing. 

Tracking in WW doesn’t actually involve writing it down; instead, I log it in the WW app on my phone – or on the computer – and the app keeps track of my point totals. I can click back to see my points for any other day that I’ve tracked – even years ago.

The tracking app is a convenient service. However, you can inadvertently lie to yourself in tracking, too. I have two lies that I have been telling myself since I started back on WW, and they both have to do with logging my breakfast each morning.

Almost every morning, my husband cooks bacon in the oven for his breakfast. He always includes 2-3 slices for me. My breakfast is usually those bacon slices and my coffee.  That’s it.  I looked up points for bacon, chose the one with the least points, and that’s what I’ve been counting each morning: 2 points. I knew that the bacon we usually buy is thick-sliced and that it would probably be more points, but I didn’t think much about it. I was logging it and figured that was the important thing.

This morning, I decided to scan the bar code on the specific package of bacon we had in the refrigerator and see how closely the actual points matched the points I’d been counting for it.  It was 6 points for today since Ron made me 3 slices. I had been counting 2 points – whether he made 1, 2, or 3 slices for me.

I had been counting my coffee as 3 points each morning.  I’ve tried lots of different creamers and sweeteners, and I finally decided that I like my coffee the way I like it.  Whatever the points are, I will just log the points. So, at some point, I figured I used 3 points per cup of coffee.  I named it “Carol’s Coffee” on the app, and each morning I’ve clicked on it to add to my log. However, this morning when I scanned the actual creamer and sugar I use, it came to 4 points instead of 3.  

Instead of 5 points for my daily coffee and bacon, it could possibly be 10 points instead. With 5 extra un-counted points each day, I can understand why my weight loss would be slow. That would add up to 35 extra points a week – and that is my entire “weekly points” total. So, as the graphic above shows, honesty is key.

A few days ago I woke up around 2:00 a.m. to go to the bathroom. My dog, Cabbie, woke up and I ended up having to let her go outside for awhile. I was feeling annoyed because I was wide awake by then. So, while I waited for Cabbie to handle her business and bark at everything she saw outside, I raided the pantry and ate some chips. Then I ate a couple of Rice Krispie Treats – 12 points altogether between 2:00 and 3:00.  I just decided I wasn’t going to log those points because I hardly ever eat in the middle of the night.  The next night, it was late and I ended up enjoying two See’s butterscotch lollypops – 4 points each for another 8 points. I decided not to log those points either. So I had 20 points that I knew I had eaten – and yet I hadn’t logged them.

I’ve always dealt with a certain amount of OCD behavior.  Those 20 uncounted points bothered me. So last night, I logged them – which took away most of my weekly points. However, they are now logged.

Under-valuing my morning coffee/bacon points provides an example similar to compound interest. One time – no big deal. However, under-valuing every single day has a long term effect on reaching my goals.  The lack of honesty would eventually lead to failure because those extra points each day would keep me from reaching my goals. 

So, here’s to honesty being the best policy – and honesty being MY policy for tracking!

Edited to add: I finished this post and headed to get my morning vitamins and realized that I take apple cider vinegar gummies and elderberry gummies every single day. The ACV helps with digestion, and I feel the elderberry helps keep my immune system up to par – which is important with Covid-19 nowadays.  I haven’t counted the gummy points because they’re part of my vitamin regimen. However, gummies have calories and food value. So I scanned and found that the two ACV gummies plus the two elderberry gummies equal 2 extra points each day.  That makes an additional two points I haven’t been counting.  Hmmmm. No wonder I’m losing slowly. I’m fine with losing slowly (“It’s a lifestyle – not a diet!”) Still, to be honest with myself, I will start logging them. 

I will re-think the daily bacon for breakfast. There are other options for fewer points than the 6 points for 3 slices of bacon. I will start working to lower points on my coffee. Many people have said that by slowly decreasing amounts of creamer and sugar, you can get to the point of preferring your coffee black or with very little of both add-ins.

Chick Fil A to the Rescue

Chick Fil A has become my go-to for fast food. I can get a 12-piece grilled nuggets (0 points), barbecue sauce packet (2 points), a small fruit cup (0 points), and I usually have my own Yeti tumbler of ice water with me. If not, I can get a Diet Coke or diet lemonade. It provides a tasty 2-point lunch (or dinner).

I got out of the house today, and after running my errands, I did my Chick Fil A run, and I’m good to go till dinner time. I will likely enjoy some frozen grapes when I get home, and I want to make some low-point muffins, too.

Ron will likely stop by Whole Foods on his way home and get fish for us to grill for dinner. Ron eats fish on a daily basis. I can eat it several days week. Halibut, especially, is my favorite.

 

Eating well and losing weight affects one’s blood pressure

Today I have not been feeling well – headache and a little light-headed. Oh great, I thought, I’m coming down with Covid-19. However, one of my sisters advised that I take my blood pressure since a low BP could cause one to feel light-headed. So I did – four times over the course of about 30 minutes because I’m compulsive like that. Here are the readings:

117/58       98/57       110/58      110/59

It’s a fairly consistent reading – especially for the second number.  And all four are too low. That could easily account for the light-headed feeling I’ve had – and maybe for the headache, too.

I take BP meds each evening. It’s a fairly low dose, but I’m thinking that with my healthy eating the past 7 weeks, plus losing some weight, that it has affected my BP.  So tonight I will cut my dose in half. I will continue to monitor my BP, and hopefully it will be better after a day or two.

What does “mindfulness” look like?

For the tagline to this blog, I wrote: “A journey of health, fitness, and mindfulness after the age of 70.” So far I’ve written a lot about health via all my WW posts. However, I haven’t written much at all about fitness and mindfulness. So today I will talk about mindfulness.

With all that’s going on in the world today, it is easy to have one’s mind full to bursting with all the news about riots, diseases, unrest, quarantines, etc.  “Experts” weigh in with opposing views on just about everything. That makes it all the more important to deliberately be mindful and to foster mindful practices in everyday life.

Mindfulness can be defined as the nurturing practice of being aware of one’s environment, thoughts, emotions, and experiences “in the moment” while remaining kind and nonjudgmental to oneself and others.

Being mindful is no small accomplishment! How am I kind to myself?  How do I nurture positive behaviors in order to take care of myself?  First – back to the other posts I’ve made in this blog – I am being nurturing and kind to myself by taking better care of my body via eating well and following the WW plan.

Mindful eating is really what WWs is all about.  One unhealthy habit I have is that I quickly eat most of my meals sitting in my recliner either watching TV or scrolling through my phone or laptop. I would like to replace that habit with a more nurturing one – sitting at a table with soft music playing – slowing down and being mindful of taste and texture – drinking plenty of water along with the meal.  TODAY I will start with dinner each day – at the dining room table, music from my iPhone, talking with my husband.

What does mindfulness look like right now in my life?

  1. I’ve recently started a skin care regimen. I’m fortunate in having a good inheritance when it comes to my skin. I’ve never had to do much to have good skin. However, now that I’m in my 70s, the wrinkles are more apparent. Rather than going to bed without removing my makeup first (something I’ve always done!), I’ve started washing my face with a good skin care product (Rodan + Fields), using a toner, and then a face cream.  In the mornings, I apply a sunscreen before applying makeup. I consider it a soothing and relaxing way to prepare for bed.
  2. In the mornings, I’ve started back having my quiet time. I did this for year before, but in the past couple years, I’ve let it slide.  During my quiet time, I read the Bible, keep a prayer journal, and read a devotional – all while enjoying my morning coffee. It is delightful way to start the day, and it’s a “centering” practice.
  3. I make my own healing skin cream. I am a “picker” – meaning if there is any blemish on my skin, I tend to pick at it. It is a habit that is SO hard to break! There’s something about the lack of smoothness that makes me feel compelled to try to make it smooth by scratching at it. So I made my own healing cream that I put on any blemish to help it heal quickly.   I mix it in a bowl and put it in small 2-oz. cosmetic jars. And I’m making a concerted effort to stop the picking! I have made my own regular skin cream for the past year, too. I prefer both the skin cream and the healing cream over any commercial cream I’ve found. It’s not only a self-care practice, it helps to foster my creativity.
  4. I do mindfulness walks around our yard. That was something I started at the beginning of the Covid-19 quarantine in March 2020.  We are fortunate to have some acreage where I can walk. I try to get outside in the sun on a daily basis and just walk around, breathing deeply, for a few minutes each day.
  5. I’m working on more regularly keeping my home clean and neat because a clean and organized environment fosters calm and peace. Yesterday I cleaned out my closet (again!). The pantry is next. Then my art studio. The rest of the house stays fairly clean and neat.
  6. With SO much discord in the world right now, I have avoided the news as much as possible for a long time. I get most news via the internet – but I can select news outlets that don’t have obvious biases. I want to form my own opinions rather than be told what to believe – which is what most news outlet do. That way I can be informed without being manipulated into getting upset or angry.
  7. My Apple watch is set to regularly remind me to breathe deeply throughout the day. Sometimes just taking a deep breathe is calming.

Balance is another aspect of mindfulness, and I think I do a pretty good job of that. I work around the house or paint or cook or whatever, but I also take breaks, I write, and I visit family and friends.

A 3-Point Dinner

Tonight’s dinner was straight from the farm stand – except for the tuna. The ONLY points came from the light mayonnaise I used in the tuna salad. I also used a little Fage plain Greek yogurt in order to limit the amount of mayo.  It was a delicious dinner – and I couldn’t finish it all.

And here is how it is logged in my WW account.