Monday, June 28, 2004

Monday, monday...

DH and I had a great weekend, if you ask me! We actually managed to clean up from Eli & Miryam’s sheva b’rachot before the one-week mark, and nearly all the laundry in the house is done. We finally got around to doing our taxes (don’t worry, we previously filed an extension), only to find out that instead of $2,000, we’re only getting back $200 (love you, too, Uncle Sam)!

But I have to say, the highlight of the weekend for me was our 2 ½ hour walk on Shabbat. It was a beautiful day out, and owing to our over-packed schedule the week previous, we slept right through to Kiddush. We had lunch at home and headed out for a leisurely walk around the neighborhood. Window shopping is a beautiful thing, and in our neighborhood, there’s always interesting stuff in the shop windows. We walked over 2 miles, but since we hadn’t had time to just meander around like that for months, it was quite enjoyable! I didn’t even realize until I journaled after Shabbat that I had earned 3 activity points in the process! Just goes to show that taking time to enjoy the simple pleasures- a sunny day, eclectic shop windows, and the love of my husband- can be rewarding in more ways that you can imagine!

Thursday, June 24, 2004

I Toooooootally Rock!

I just got back from my WI, and lost 1.4 pounds this week! That's LOST 1.4 pounds, in a week with TWO weddings AND hosting Sheva B'rachot.

Take that, Atkins!

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Kosher Weight Watchers in Ontario

I just found this link to a kosher WW meeting at a shul in Ontario- pretty cool, eh?

Sheva B'rachot Festive Meal Menu

Tonight I am hosting sheva b’rachot for Eli & Miryam (Mazel Tov!), who were married this past Sunday. Now, I love to cook, I love to host, and I love to celebrate- but being a dedicated WW, sometimes big dinners at my house present a problem in how do I make food that everyone will like, but that is also low points- how do I make sure that leftovers don’t ruin my week, while also keeping the celebratory spirit in the menu? I spent about an hour (doing laundry) making up a menu from Weight Watchers Entertains cookbook (an excellent buy!) and came up with a menu that I’m so proud of! My guests will be able to have one serving of each dish and eat only 19 points! That sounds like a lot, but if you think about it, it’s dinner (usually about 7-8 points for me), and then you use about 10 flex points, which is less than a third of what you get for the week! Pretty good for a festive meal, eh? Here’s my menu:

Bridal Punch – 2
Sesame & Poppy Seed Dinner Rolls – 2
Smoked Salmon & Cucumber Canapes – 2
Green Salad w/ Fat-Free Italian Dressing – 0
Chunky Balsamic Mushrooms – 1
Last Minute Lasagna – 5
Slow-Cooked Salmon with Cucumber Riata – 5
Asparagus & Sugar Snap Pea Toss – 2

Work Work Work!

Since I started weight watchers in February, 2003, my long-term goal has been to work for Weight Watchers International. More specifically, I want to be a leader for a kosher meeting and, if possible, help WW develop a kosher cookbook and to refine the kosher search of recipes on the website. (Right now, if you search for kosher dishes on, you will get about ½ of the possibilities that are actually on the site. There are hundreds more which are kosher, but for some reason don’t come up in a kosher search.)

Two weeks ago, I asked my leader about the requirements for working for WW, and she indicated that if you are within 10 pounds of your goal, you can start working as a weigher/receptionist. You have to be at goal/lifetime membership to be a leader, but everyone has to start as a weigher, anyways- I asked her to pass on my information to the territory manager, Lisa, who happens to be my old leader- my favorite leader.

Two days ago, I got ‘the call’ from Dorothy. She said there is a real demand for weighers/receptionists in the Loop, and that so long as I could get 1 ½ - 2 hours for lunch time, I could start working meetings every day! I’m so excited- for so long this has been the final goal, and now I’m seeing it come to fruition. I mean, I still have about 8 pounds to go, but the light at the end of the tunnel is beginning to shine!

Friday, June 18, 2004

Strawberry-Kiwi Crystal Light Slurpee

I have come to truly appreciate 7-11. As many of my blogging regulars know, I am a coffee fiend. Fiend, I tell you! Although my natural tendency has always been towards Starbucks coffee, I have come to realize that I really don’t like their drip coffee. Starbucks is unbeatable when it comes to ‘mixed’ drink coffees, frappucinos, and other such delights. But in the drip department, I find their coffee rather bitter- and expensive to boot. 7-11, on the other hand, has excellent drip coffees, for much less.

This afternoon I was really needing coffee, and had in mind to spend the 4 points on my stock sugar-free vanilla soy latte from Starbucks. However, I needed to detour to a convenience store, and ended up across the street from 7-11. I read this as a sign that I should save my 4 points for Bryan’s cooking at dinner tonight (always a wise decision as Bryan is an excellent chef). However, 7-11 didn’t have the kind of brew I wanted up and ready to go, and the slurpee machine caught my eye. They had Strawberry-Kiwi Crystal Light slurpees on tap, and at 2 points/22 oz, I thought that was a good compromise. Bad thinking.

Regular Strawberry-Kiwi Crystal Light is excellent. However, this slurpee is by far the worst slurpee I have ever had. It’s too tart, it’s too sweet, and it’s kinda making me sick. Diet Pepsi slurpees are the way to go in the future.

Y’know, either that or the soy latte.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Long Overdue Exercise Post

As promised, here is my exercise post, belated though it may be.

A couple of weeks ago, I realized that I was always tired and lethargic- I really thought it was lack of sleep, or depression, or for sure I had mononucleosis and was going to be sick in bed for weeks on end missing countless simchas and ultimately losing my job due to absenteeism (wow- Gila was right! I am a catastrophist!). I figured I needed to sleep and rest as much as possible- so I tried to sleep, but I couldn’t sleep any more than usual, and even then, it wasn’t a fulfilling, restful sleep. Then I got a postcard in the mail from the Multiplex near my house. Now, as a quick back-story, Gila had spoken to the sales guy at the Multiplex a couple of months ago and the poor guy kept calling me to give me his pitch but it was never a good time. So, here I get this postcard advertising a free month at the gym if you participate in a fitness study (read: promotion). I figured, why not? I mean, I was considering joining, so why not try it out for a month free first.

The first time I went, I did 25 minutes on the bike, about 10 minutes of stretching and my PT exercises (bum knee). On my way home, I felt GREAT!! I mean, woo-hoo great! That night, I slept like a rock, and though I wasn’t 100% refreshed in the morning (after all, I only got about 5 hours of sleep), I felt 100% better than I did the day before. I was even in a better mood. I finally realized that I was so lethargic and sleepy because I wasn’t exercising. I used to go to Curves 3-4 times per week, and really loved it, but kinda out grew it, so to speak. It got really easy to just not go to any exercise, and since I never really relied on eating my exercise points, it didn’t matter that I wasn’t earning them- or so I thought. It’s not the points that matter, I realize now, it’s the feeling I have when I’m done. It kinda sucks while you’re exercising. You’re hot, sweaty, out of breath, generally gross and you wonder why in the world anyone would voluntarily do such horrible things to their body. And then it’s over- and you feel great!

So, children, go for an extra long walk with the dog tonight. Climb an extra flight of stairs tonight. Spend ½ hour stretching in front of your favorite TV (you’ll earn a point!) tonight. Whatever it is, do it tonight! You’ll thank yourself for it tomorrow!

Idea: check out the Couch to 5K program. It will take you from a couch potato to running 3 miles in two months! And you won’t believe how easy the first two weeks are.

New Dairy Recipes

I have ‘discovered’ a couple new recipes that I have to share. Now, see my previous post for an explanation of Shavuot as it relates to WW. The question I have is, why couldn’t I have found these great low-point dairy recipes BEFORE Shavuot? Cest la vie- there’s always next year (not to mention Eli & Miryam’s sheva berachot next week: Mazel Tov!)

Last Minute Lasagna
WW Online
8 servings, 5 points/serving

1 Tbsp sherry cooking wine, dry
2 medium carrot(s), grated
1 large sweet red pepper(s), chopped
10 oz chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained
15 oz fat-free ricotta cheese
6 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano, or other Italian herbs
1/4 cup regular egg substitute
26 oz canned tomato sauce
8 oz dry lasagna noodles, spinach


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Coat a large, nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Add dry cooking sherry and heat until it sizzles. (I should note, I forgot the sherry, and it turned out great nonetheless. So, if you either don’t have any or don’t like the flavor, skip it.) Add carrots and pepper; stir-fry until tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine spinach, ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, garlic powder, Italian seasoning and egg substitute. Fold in carrots and pepper.

Spread 1/2 cup of tomato sauce on the bottom of a 9- x 13-inch casserole pan. Arrange a layer of lasagna noodles over the sauce and spread half the cheese mixture over the noodles. Pour 1 cup of tomato sauce over the cheese mixture. Repeat the layers, ending with a layer of lasagna noodles topped with the remaining tomato sauce.

Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove and let sit about 10 minutes before serving.

Crustless Quiche
Community Recipe Swap, courtesy of HAPPY_GIRL
4 servings; 5 points/serving or
6 servings; 3 points/serving

1/2 cup onion(s)
1 bell pepper(s)
1 medium sweet red pepper(s)
3/4 cup mushroom(s)
3 serving Miller's Light Cheddar Cheese (1 oz)
1 1/3 cup fat-free skim milk
3/4 cup Bisquick Reduced-Fat Baking Mix
3 large egg(s)


Spread cut-up veggies in a greased 8x8 pan or pie plate. Cover with shredded cheese. Combine Bisquick with beaten eggs and milk, salt and pepper to taste. Whisk until well-combined. Pour evenly over veggies and cheese. Bake uncovered 30 - 35 minutes at 400 degrees.

Note: You can use any combination of fresh veggies, and I recommended going with crunchy veggies to give this a bit of a snap. Personally, with the eggs, milk, and Bisquick- I chose peppers, onions & mushrooms to make it like an omelet & pancakes in one!

I think this is a great recipe, don’t get me wrong, but I’m still working it- it needs something, and if anyone here figures out what that is, let me know. I’m also going to try it next time with less milk (maybe only 1 cup). That may lower the points value, by the way.

Yoga Review

Tonight, I went a-yoga-ing for the first time. It was awesome! I really didn’t think I would be flexible enough to do the fancy poses, but as it turns out, the poses were not fancy-shmancy at all, and instead of needing to be flexible to do them, I think I’m starting to realize doing yoga will make you flexible! (duh).

Anyways, I did an hour class, which WW online says is worth 3 points. Right now, I feel like it was the easiest 3 points I’ve ever earned, but considering that I was shaking almost throughout the entire workout, I’m guessing tomorrow I’m going to feel muscles I wasn’t aware I had. Yoga, in my opinion, is all about balance- which is a very important concept in the WW lifestyle. I recently told a couple people that you can’t stop life for WW, and you can’t stop WW for life- it has to be in balance. So, would I say I love yoga- can’t live without it? Nah- but I may go to another class next week.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

I Had a Perfect Day!

I had a perfect day today! I drank 64 ounces of water (I always shoot for 100 oz, but 64 is the minimum recommended- eight 8-oz glasses), I had my multivitamin, I ate 5+ fruits/veggies, I had three servings of calcium, and I ate exactly 21 points (1 over target, but I have my flex to use). The only thing I didn't do today was exercise- that exercise point will appear in a not-so-distant post.

Just for kicks, here's my online journal for my perfect day:

1/2 cup Dean's Lowfat Cottage Cheese 2
1 Starbucks Soy Latte, Grande 4
Subtotal 6

Unfried Chicken 6
Subtotal 6

1 Tbsp imitation bacon bits 0.5
1/2 cup canned mushrooms 0
7 oz baked potato 3
1 Parkay Spray 0
1 Eggplant Parmigiana 3
Tel Aviv Vegetable Soup 0
Subtotal 6.5

1 medium banana(s) 1.5
1 medium orange(s) 1
Subtotal 2.5

Total Food POINTS used 21
Food POINTS Balance -1

I got all of my water in by buying a 24-oz sport bottle in the morning, and made sure that whenever I got any inkling whatsoever of wanting something (even if it was wanting a smoke), I would have some water. I also used an old technique- I put it on my desk next to my computer monitor, and every time I see it, I have to drink from it. You get real good at not looking to the left of the monitor that way.

I remembered my multivitamin thanks to the check-off icons on the online journal through WW online. I wanted to check off the multivitamin icon, but wouldn't let myself until I took it. I don't know how long that will last, but it worked today, right? I got my calcium in through 'multitasking my food'. I hardly ever eat anything that doesn't satisfy at least two, if not three or more, needs. This morning, I started with a Grande Sugar-Free Vanilla Soy Latte from Starbucks (4 points per Starbucks' Website, where you can get nutritional information for most of their products). Starbucks, FYI, uses calcium-fortified Silk Soy Milk, and therefore it counts as a milk. This quadruple-teaming latte accomplished the following:

1) Woke me out of my 7:55 a.m. stupor
2) Warmed me up (Could someone please explain why it's freaking June, and it was 55 degrees out this morning?!)
3) Gave me my milk for the day (Grande = 16 oz = 2 cups of milk)
4) Gave me that I'm-treating-myself-'cause-I'm-grumpy feeling with no WI-after-guilt.

My third milk came from the cottage cheese, which also double-teamed in that it's high protein.

Anyways, I was just happy to see that I had such a near-perfect OP day, especially coming off of Shavuot, weddings, camping, etc etc etc...

Now I'm off to more etcetera... Going to Memphis for Amara & Ely's wedding (Mazel Tov!) tomorrow afternoon, so I'll see you all next week.

Now get some sleep!!

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

New Kosher Weight Watcher Products

As promised, here is my glowing review of the new Weight Watcher snacks- which are kosher (O-U, D)- and GOOD! So far there are three varieties: Honey Mustard Squares, Vanilla Chai Swirls, and Cheddar Twists. Each box is about $4.00 and comes with six single-serve pouches at 2 points each. My favorite, by far, is the Cheddar Twists- and I can't tell you how great it is to have a cheese-flavored snack that is kosher AND low in points!! For all those out there who lament not having the cheddar Chex mixes, Cheetos and baked Doritos, check these out and you won't be disappointed. Just try not to eat the whole box at once!

The Honey Mustard Squares are my second place, as I'm definitely more of a snacker than a sweet-tooth. Generally, I don't much care for honey-mustard flavors (dressings, pretzel snacks, etc), but these are lightly flavored and a nice treat.

The Vanilla Chai Swirls are reminiscent of the vanilla flavored bear-shaped cookies I used to have en masse when my mom ran a daycare, so it's a nice sweet snack. Generally I will always choose salty/snacky over sweet/snacky, but this afternoon it was a nice sweet treat that kept me away from the Frappucinos across the street and (more importantly) the vending machine in my office's kitchen.

A little message to the WW product developers out there- keep it up! MORE KOSHER!!!

Unfried Chicken Recipe

I love this recipe and have to post it- it's so easy, and I swear you'd never know it's a WW recipe! Definitely a Shabbat candidate- and great substitute for either fried chicken or shnitzel.

Unfried Chicken
Servings: 6
POINTS(c)/serving: 6
Source: "Simply Delicious" WW cookbook

3 1/2-pound chicken cut into 8 pieces, skin removed
1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp fresh lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
3-4 drops hot pepper sauce (Tabasco)
3/4 cup cornflake crumbs (FYI: Kellogg's Cornflake crumbs are pareve, though the cereal is actually dairy. Check out this announcement page from the cRc to verify- scroll all the way to the end)

Preheat oven to 375; coat shallow cookie sheet with cooking spray. Rinse chicken pieces and pat dry. Mix mayo, mustard, lemon zest, salt and hot pepper sauce in a medium bowl. coat each piece of chicken in this mixture, toss with cornflake crumbs in a ziploc bag to coat. Place on cooking sheet and spray liberally with cooking spray. Cook uncovered until golden brown (about 45 minutes) or until cooked through. Do not turn, do not cover.

Jewish WW Forum (New Link Highlight)

Last night I got lost in blog-land (ok, I was trying to Google myself) and found a forum on Dotti's Weight Loss Zone that I am very excited about. Check out the Jewish WW Forum! You have to register to post, but you can lurk all you want without registering. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

I Have a Good Excuse, Right?

I haven't blogged in a long time because there has been a lot going on- Yosef & Tova's wedding in Cleveland (Mazel Tov!), Shavuot, Camping for Memorial Day weekend... and it goes on- this weekend DH and I are leaving for Memphis for Ely & Amara's wedding (Mazel Tov!)...

So, in the little time I have today I want to say that Shavuot is an evil, evil holiday when it comes to WW. It's a wonderful, joyous holiday for yidden, one of my favorites, actually- but as it's traditional to eat dairy for the whole day, somehow that means you must have at least one kind of cheesecake or frozen dairy dessert at each of the four simcha meals. (A click on that link will prove my point better than anything at all!) Weddings, also, are a time of joy- and limited meal choices. Because of my hypoglycemia, I can't choose a vegetable or fruit platter unless I can bring food also (which is always questionable as to being rude, kashrut, etc.). The food at Yosef & Tova's wedding was, to top it off, excellent- so I had to eat the whole thing. Not to mention the decadent dessert and some tirimisu at the Kabbalat Panim. Why does food associated with a simcha always taste so good?

Camping is a whole 'nother story- it's very possible, easy almost, to eat OP while camping. BBQ can be bison- 1 point/ounce generally- marshmallows can be chowed on at the rate of 2 per point (and they're self-limiting: how many marshmallows can you eat at a time anyways?), and eggs for breakfast can easily become egg whites for breakfast. However- if you camp like the Strachans and Chai Campers (my parents' Jewish camping club out of the Detroit area), you camp in food-style. "Big Breakfast" consists of everything that comes close to being considered breakfast food, and I myself developed "The Mother" when I was about 12; The Mother is two eggs over easy with sauteed onions sandwiched between two 8-inch pancakes, both spread with butter, and the whole thing is doused in maple syrup. If you want the true Mother experience, you have some veggie sausage patties on the side with a big cup of orange juice. Oh- and you have to start your morning with a 4-point jar of Starbucks frappucino, of course. Lunch is super-thin sliced roast beef and cole slaw sandwiched between two pieces of fresh white bread, or canned ravioli. Dinner used to be sausage and sauerkraut- now, I don't care that much for sauerkraut- so dinner is BBQ with baked beans and grilled veggies.

This weekend's camping excursion was so restful, relaxing, I love being outside 24/7- and I actually didn't do as horribly as i make it out to be- but it was the end of a week of binging, and Monday evening I couldn't resist the sugar-free Eli's cheesecake in the fridge (another Shavuot tag-along). I had a piece- at 200 calories, 2 grams fiber, and 16 grams fat. Just goes to show- sugar free is far from fat free.

Y'know the worst thing about binging for a week is you get used to eating a lot- and you get used to never being hungry. Today, I'm 100% OP again, with my yogurt breakfast, turkey sandwich lunch, and snack of grapes, but I'm hungry hungry hungry. Gam zu l'tovah- This also is good- if I'm hungry now, maybe I'll be less likely to binge next year for Shavuot...

More later on some new WW products that are kosher- but I should do SOME work today, y'think?