I’m trucking along. I’m out of town visiting my mother. And I usually lose a little weight even if I don’t try when I’m at her house. That’s probably a good lesson in not keeping things I shouldn’t eat at my house. There are no chips, candy, and other temptations here!
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.
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.
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)
I put together some meal plans for breakfast – things that I like. I included the number of points (WW – Blue Plan), and links the specific recipes.
I did not include any “overnight oats” or “smoothie” recipes because I don’t ever eat those.
The list is in pdf form – so you can click the link and print it for easy reference.
From Living Real With Carol
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 . . . .
So here is the revised recipe:
Make the dough first. This makes four servings.
- 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.
2-Point Banana Bread
1 1/2 cups Self-rising flour (16 points)
1 cup monkfruit granuated sweetener (0 points)
1 egg (0 points)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (0 points)
3 medium bananas, mashed (0 points)
Put all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.
Pour into a loaf pan (5″ x 10″)
Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45-55 minutes (depending on your oven) or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Cut into 8 equal slices. Each slice is 2 points.
My verdict: It is very moist. It took longer to bake than I thought it would. Let it cool before slicing it. Next time I will decrease the monkfruit sweetener. For me, it was a little too sweet. The bananas and applesauce have natural sweetness. So a full cup of additional sweetener is too much. If I wanted to go all natural and add regular sugar to this recipe instead of the monkfruit sweetener, it would add 3 points to each slice (1/2 cup sugar = 24 points).
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.
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.
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.
Sigh. So here’s today’s weigh-in numbers. Notice the +. I have tracked every single bite I’ve put into my mouth since July 19th. I have not gone over my points a single week.
I’m probably eating too much fruit – lots of watermelon and grapes the past week. Seriously, though, would watermelon and grapes cause two weeks of weight gain?
Ten weeks – that makes an average of .68 lbs. per week. STILL over 1/2 pound a week. But . . . that’s so slow . . . . Sigh.
So I will repeat the usual self-reassurances: It’s a marathon, not a sprint. It’s a lifestyle change, not a diet. Look at the big picture. Back in July, you would have been thrilled to weigh what you weigh now. And repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
What can I do differently so that next Friday I will be happy with the number on the scale? Three things:
- I still haven’t been exercising, and that is something I want to make a life-long thing. This week – starting TODAY – I will exercise – aerobics and strength training. Atomic exercise habits.
- I will better manage my zero-point foods. They still have calories, and so limiting them to a few servings a day would be good. My goal is to get my body accustomed to less food. So I want to work on reducing the amount I eat – not just substituting healthier snacks.
- Drink more water.
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
- Dump everything into a large saucepan (or crockpot)
- Bring to a simmer
- Once chicken is cooked through, take it out, shred it, and add it back into the soup.
- 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.