The Sweetest Thing.

" I feel there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people" ~Van Gogh

Jess. February 28, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jessica @ 2:42 pm

Finally updated my Jess./About Me page. 🙂

 

Salt & Vinegar Oven Fries. (3pts+)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jessica @ 7:00 am

  During the many hours I have spent on Pinterest, I have come across several recipes for Salt & Vinegar Potatoes- grilled,  roasted wedges etc. At first, I thought it seemed silly to have a recipe for such things-anyone can toss their potatoes in vinegar! Well I finally looked at a few of them & saw the secret to really infusing the potatoes with vinegary goodness- they are boiling the potatoes in vinegar before finishing them up on the grill or in the oven! I would have never guessed. Making Salt & Vinegar Fries immediately went on my “to cook” list. I am not even a huge fan of fries, but these were delicious! They went perfectly with the Vegan Black Bean Burgers I posted earlier this week.

Salt & Vinegar Oven Fries

4 servings, 3pts+ each

1 lb red potatoes-  cut into fries
1 1/2 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Add cut potatoes, vinegar & water to large sauce pan.
2. Cook over medium heat until the potatoes start to get soft
3. Spray medium cooking sheet with olive oil or cooking spray
4. Drain potatoes, spread in single layer on cookie sheet. Salt & pepper to taste.
5. Bake at 425° for a half hour, flipping once
6. Enjoy!

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Again, sorry for the sucky (& now recycled) photo. I was just too excited about this meal & didn’t take a picture until after eating some. There were more potatoes!

 

Vegan Black Bean Burgers. (4pts+) February 26, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jessica @ 7:00 am
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   As someone who has spent years of my life eating a vegetarian or vegan diet, I’ve made a lot of veggie burgers.  Some of them have been okay & some have been mushy & horrible. None of them have ever  been really good- until now.  I made these last week when I had a friend & her children over for dinner & we all loved them. They are easy to make but require a bit of time because the chilling step is essential.

Vegan Black Bean Burgers

Makes 4 large burgers, 4pts+ each

1 can black beans- drained
1 small onion- quartered
1 carrot- peeled & cut in half
1 stalk celery- cut in thirds
2 tsp favorite seasoning blend (I used Mrs. Dash)
2 Tbls Ketchup
2 Tbls soy sauce
1 cup old fashioned oats
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbls nutritional yeast (could be omitted if you don’t have it, just add an extra Tbls flour)
2 Tbls whole wheat flour

1. Put all ingredients in food processor & process until you get a smooth consistent mixture
2. Place bowl of food processor in fridge & let chill, loosely covered for at least a half hr or up to one hour, if you have time.
3. Form 4 patties from mixture ( it is going to seem like they are not going to bake up well- don’t be scared)
4. Bake at 425° for 30 minutes, flipping half way thru
5.  Serve with your favorite condiments & veggies on a whole grain roll or sandwich thin. (Not included in pts+ count)
6. Enjoy!

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Sorry for the sucky picture. I was so excited about this meal that I started eating before taking a picture. Those salt & vinegar oven fries- to die for! Recipe coming Thursday!

* I think this would freeze & reheat well after baking. I didn’t try it but will next time.

 

Menu Plan Monday. February 25, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jessica @ 7:00 am
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  Happy Monday! How was your weekend? Despite some personal things going on, mine was pretty great! I was able to hang out with my grandma, my mom, my siblings, most of my nieces & nephews & my best friend. There was a lot of laughter, Thai food, french press coffee & wine. Feeling blessed.

   We are due for a grocery trip so this meal plan is built around using up some things & making recipes that I didn’t get to from meal plans earlier in the month.

Monday- Pineapple Chicken Stir Fry with brown rice
Tuesday- Food at a networking event
Wednesday- Crockpot Chicken Tacos
Thursday- Asian meatballs, Veggie fried brown rice
Friday- Honey Garlic Pork chops, green beans, baked sweet potatoes
Saturday-  leftovers
Sunday- Venison Roast with potatoes & carrots

My niece & I (one of them). She is almost 2 & buckets of wild fun. Love her 🙂

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Posts to Come This Week

-2 recipes!
– March goals
– Favorite Cookbooks
– WW good health guidelines

 

Easy Egg Bake. February 24, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jessica @ 7:00 am
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   Quiche is a Sunday brunch (or anytime) favorite in this house. No one can deny that pie crust is delicious, but it is certainly not WW friendly. To save a lot of points and still get a satisfying, tasty brunch casserole, I started making egg bakes which are pretty much quiche without the crust.  With only 3pts+ per serving there is plenty of room for a couple of slices of bacon and some toast on your brunch plate. I also love this recipe because I always feel I’m being sneaky when I get veggies into my breakfast. This recipe is extremely simple & versatile. All you need are eggs, milk & whatever veggies you have on hand. This version is full of sweet peppers, mushrooms, zuchinni & onion. I do not add cheese because I feel the flavor gets lost in all the veggies & it isn’t worth the extra calories/points but you totally could.

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Easy Egg Bake
3pts+ per serving, 4 servings

5 eggs
1/2 c milk
2-3 cups cooked veggies (thinly sliced)
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350, spray 8x8inch pan with olive oil or cooking spray
2. Sautee 3 cups veggies of your choice until they start to lose their crispness
3. Spread cooked veggies on bottom of 8×8 pan
4. In medium bowl, mix eggs, milk, salt & pepper (like you are making scrambled eggs)
5. Pour egg mixture over veggies.
6. Bake at 350 for 40mins or until center is firm
7. Cool 10 mins before serving
8. Enjoy!

 

Alcohol. February 23, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jessica @ 6:00 am
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While my life is far different than the alcohol fueled days of my college years thru mid twenties (and the months after my last breakup), I still like to enjoy alcohol on a regular basis. I rarely drink to the point of intoxication these days (except for that month between Thanksgiving and New Year’s this last year), but I have a glass of wine, a dirty vodka martini or a nice dark beer a couple of nights a week. Unfortunately, alcohol is not very weight loss friendly. A 5oz glass of wine (and who only drinks one 5oz glass?) is 4 weight watchers points. I am likely to have more than one because I truly enjoy drinking a glass while I prepare dinner and one with dinner.  That means I am going to use 8 points+ for 2 glasses of wine. That is more than some of my meals and not something that is going to keep me full or add a lot of nutrients to my diet.  I am not even sure how many points are in a dirty vodka martini or a beer.

Since starting WW in January, I have cut way back on my regular drinking. I think I have had two cocktail nights with friends and opened 2 bottles of wine at home. I want to open a bottle of vino every time I have company over or when the weekend hits, but I have realized, I just can’t. Not only does drinking add a lot of excess empty calories to my diet, I am also much more likely to make impulsive, less than healthy food decisions after a couple glasses of wine.  While I do believe that responsible alcohol consumption can be a part of a healthy lifestyle if it is something you enjoy, I just have to be careful at this point in my weight loss journey. I have no intention of giving up alcoholic beverages but I am ok with having to be more mindful and intentional in my consumption of them. It is a sacrifice I can make to reach a bigger goal.

 

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What are some sacrifices you have made peace with in your attempts to live a healthier lifestyle?

 

Emotional Eating. February 21, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jessica @ 6:00 am
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Emotional eating is fairly common for people struggling with their weight.  More than once (this month), I have had a great day of healthy eating only to be derailed by stress of some kind. It’s not as if I am ordering a pizza or hitting up the bakery, I am just eating the same everyday foods that are always in my house. These aren’t usually even bingeing situations either, just eating “comfort” foods (aka carbs) instead of healthy, well-balanced meals. Garlic bread with melty mozzarella is a favorite of mine.

 

While realizing that I was an emotional eater was not shocking to me, I was surprised to realize the actual physical and mental reaction my body has to stress.  Some people want to shop, punch things or even exercise to relieve stress. I want to eat carbs. I will be perfectly satisfied without the least trace of hunger and then a stressful interaction occurs and all I can think about is eating doughy carb filled foods. My mouth waters,my stomach rumbles,  my thoughts go back to the food in mind regardless of how many ways I try to distract myself. I find it nearly impossible to resist the urge and always feel guilty when I give in. Taking a long walk (or any aerobic workout) is the only thing that usually works and it isn’t always an option.

 

Recognizing my reaction to stress generally involves food cravings, has helped me start to control my actions a bit. I am able to stop myself and talk myself down more often than before. I have by no means worked thru all of my issues with food, but it’s a start and further than I have ever gotten with it before. I just don’t want to use food in a way that makes me feel bad because I love food- in a healthy way for the most part. I love the traditions and community that food creates. I love that food nourishes your body so you can be strong and healthy for all the good stuff. I love getting lost while cooking a meal, listening to loud music and drinking a glass of wine. Eating is something you have to do multiple times a day, everyday and I see no reason not to take extreme pleasure in all of it. There is so much joy to be found in a healthy relationship with food and I don’t want to tarnish that with guilt.

 

What struggles do you face while trying to live a healthy lifestyle?