2-Point Banana Bread

2-Point Banana Bread

Ingredients

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)

Directions

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).

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.

 

Weekly Weigh-In, 9/25/2020, 10 weeks

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Drink more water.

 

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.

Get Outside! An Atomic Habit

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by [James Clear]Sometimes we come across a book that actually changes our lives. That happened to me a couple years ago when I read a book titled Atomic Habits by James Clear.  The basic premise is that if we set big goals, we often set ourselves up for defeat since big and perfect goals take so much time and effort. However, if we work on small habits – 3 minutes of exercise each morning, cutting out one teaspoon of sugar in our coffee, writing one thank you note each week, making two business calls before lunch – then it becomes like compound interest. The benefits snowball over time.

Back in March when this pandemic isolation began, I decided that one atomic habit I wanted to develop was getting outside for just a few minutes each day.  Here is a video I made on today’s walk. Excuse the breathlessness! I had just walked up a hill. I could’ve waited till I caught my breath to start the video, but this is calling “Living Real with Carol!” and the reality was that I was a little breathless at the moment.

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!

Weekly Weigh-In – 9/18/2020 – 9 weeks

Another “up” week. Last week I was down .8 lbs., and this week I’m up .8 lbs. so basically no progress in two weeks. It’s okay. Next week will be a good week for me.

I’m not surprised at my weight this week. I actually breathed a little sigh of relief that it was not more. I’m not sure why since I HAVE stuck to the WW plan this week. I just felt like I had gained. Maybe next week will have a big loss. 

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.