Johnna

Author's details

Date registered: March 13, 2011

Latest posts

  1. Healthy Asian Stir Fry — August 11, 2012
  2. Raw Blackberry and Chia Seed Jam — July 14, 2012
  3. Egg Muffins–A Great Low Carb Breakfast! — July 9, 2012
  4. FDA Approves New Weight Loss Pill — July 9, 2012
  5. Low-Calorie Margaritas! — May 28, 2012

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Aug
11

Healthy Asian Stir Fry

This stir fry is a sure-fire way to add colorful, delicious veggies to your meal!   It’s made with chicken broth rather than oil so it’s both healthy and delicious!

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 pound chicken or beef, cut into thin strips
4 cups fresh cut-up vegetables
1 can (14.5 ounces) chicken broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons Asian Seasoning Mix (Pampered Chef)

DIRECTIONS

1.  Heat large skillet until hot; add half of oil. Add meat; stir-fry 3-4 minutes. Remove meat from skillet; keep warm.

2.  Add remaining oil and vegetables to skillet; stir-fry 2-3 minutes. Add combined broth, soy sauce, cornstarch and seasoning mix. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cook 1-2 minutes or until sauce is thickened and clear.

3.  Return meat to skillet; stir until heated.

Makes 4 servings

Jul
14

Raw Blackberry and Chia Seed Jam

Make fresh, healthy jam in minutes by using chia seeds. Chia seeds, in addition to being a great source of Omega-3, absorb a crazy amount of liquid, forming a jelly consistency. This trait can be employed to make jam without any cooking at all! Simply mix with fruit and sweetener and enjoy.

Raw Blackberry Chia Jam 
(Saw this on Pinterest)

Ingredients:

1 cup blackberries
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup honey
3 Tbs lemon juice

Directions:

Mash berries
Mix in all ingredients
Cover in plastic and set in refrigerator at least 30 minutes

Jul
09

Egg Muffins–A Great Low Carb Breakfast!

15 eggs (for silicone muffin pans, use 12 eggs for metal muffin tins. You can use less egg yolks and more egg white if you prefer.)
1-2 tsp. Spike Seasoning (optional, if you have food allergies or don’t have Spike, use any type of seasoning blend that’s good with eggs.)
1-2 cups grated low-fat cheese (I like sharp cheddar or a blend of cheddar/Jack cheese, use less cheese if using meat)
Optional, but highly recommended, 3 green onions diced small.
Optional: chopped veggies such as blanched broccoli, red pepper, zucchini, mushrooms, etc. (Using veggies will reduce the fat content)
Optional: diced Canadian bacon, lean ham, or crumbled cooked turkey sausage

Preheat oven to 375 F. Use regular or silicone muffin pan, 12 muffin size. If using silicone pan, spray with nonstick spray. If using regular muffin pan, put two paper liners into each slot, then spray liner with nonstick spray.

In the bottom of the muffin cups layer diced meat, if using, vegetables, if using, cheese and green onions. You want the muffin cups to be about 2/3 full, with just enough room to pour a little egg around the other ingredients. Break eggs into large measuring bowl with pour spout, add Spike, and beat well. (I used to add a bit of half and half or milk, but lately I like the way they turn out without it.) Pour egg into each muffin cup until it is 3/4 full. I like to stir slightly with a fork. Bake 25-35 minutes until muffins have risen and are slightly browned and set.

Muffins will keep more than a week in the refrigerator without freezing. Egg muffins can be frozen and reheated, but I like them best when they’re just refrigerated. For best results, thaw in refrigerator before reheating. Microwave on high about 2 minutes to reheat.

This recipe from KalynsKitchen.com

Jul
09

FDA Approves New Weight Loss Pill

It’s big news!   For the first time in about thirteen years, the FDA has approved a new weight loss drug, Belviq.    It will be prescribed only for people whose BMI has reached the “obese” category or people whose BMI is in the “overweight” category and who have at least one weight related health problem such as diabetes.

According to a press release from Belviq manufacturer, Arena Pharmaceuticals, the efficacy of Belviq was proven by “Three double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trials demonstrated that BELVIQ along with diet and exercise was more effective than diet and exercise alone at helping patients lose 5% or more of their body weight after one year and managing the weight loss for up to two years.”

Wait a minute…5%?   At 300 pounds, that would be a loss of 15 pounds.  I’m not sure that is really all that significant–particularly in light of the list of possible side effects.   According to the same press release, these include: .

  • Changes in Attention or Memory: Problems with thinking, sleepiness, confusion, and fatigue have been reported in patients taking BELVIQ.
  • Patients taking BELVIQ should not drive a car or operate heavy machinery until they know how BELVIQ affects them.
  • Mental Problems: Taking BELVIQ at higher than the recommended dose may cause psychiatric problems such as: hallucinations, feeling high or in a very good mood (euphoria), feelings of standing next to yourself or out of your body (disassociation). The recommended dose of 10 mg twice daily should not be exceeded. Patients should be monitored for the development or worsening of depression, suicidal thoughts or behaviors, and/or any changes in mood. BELVIQ should be discontinued if patients develop suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
  • Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia): Weight loss can cause low blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus who are on medicines to treat it such as metformin, insulin, or sulfonylureas. Blood sugar levels should be monitored for patients who take BELVIQ. Changes to medicines may be needed if low blood sugar develops.
  • Painful Erections (Priapism): If patients taking BELVIQ experience an erection lasting more than 4 hours, whether it is painful or not, they should stop using BELVIQ and call their doctor or go to the nearest emergency room right away. BELVIQ should be taken with caution by men who have conditions that might predispose them to priapism (e.g., sickle cell anemia, multiple myeloma, or leukemia), or in men with a deformed penis. Patients should tell their doctor if they take medicines used to treat erectile dysfunction.
  • Slow Heartbeat: BELVIQ may cause a slow heartbeat. Patients taking BELVIQ should tell their doctor if they have a history of a slow heartbeat or heart block.
  • Decreases in Blood Cell Count: BELVIQ may cause decreases in red or white blood cell count. A doctor may do tests to check a patient’s blood cell count during treatment with BELVIQ.
  • Increase in Prolactin: BELVIQ may increase the amount of a hormone the body makes, called prolactin. Patients taking BELVIQ should tell their doctor if their breasts begin to make milk or have a milky discharge or if their breasts begin to increase in size.
  • Increased Pressure in the Arteries of the Lung (Pulmonary Hypertension): Certain weight loss drugs have been associated with the rare but life-threatening side effect of increased pressure in the arteries of the lung. It is unknown if BELVIQ increases the risk for this condition.
  • Serotonin Syndrome or Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS)-like Reactions: BELVIQ and certain medicines for depression, migraine, the common cold, and mood, anxiety, psychotic or thought disorders or other medical problems may affect each other causing serious or life-threatening side effects. Patients should tell their doctor if they are taking medicines to treat any of these conditions such as: triptans, tricyclics, lithium, selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), or antipsychotics; linezolid, an antibiotic; tramadol; dextromethorphan, an over-the-counter medicine used to treat the common cold or cough; over-the-counter supplements such as tryptophan or St. John’s Wort. BELVIQ and these medicines should be discontinued immediately and symptomatic treatment measures should be initiated if patients taking BELVIQ and these other medicines experience any of the following: mental changes such as agitation, hallucinations, confusion, or other changes in mental status; coordination problems, uncontrolled muscle spasms, or muscle twitching (overactive reflexes); restlessness; racing or fast heartbeat, high or low blood pressure; sweating or fever; nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea; or muscle rigidity (stiff muscles).
  • Valvular Heart Disease: Certain weight loss drugs have been associated with problems with the valves in the heart. Patients taking BELVIQ who have trouble breathing, swelling of the arms, legs, ankles, or feet, dizziness, fatigue, or weakness that will not go away, or fast or irregular heartbeat should call their doctor right away. Before taking BELVIQ, patients should tell their doctor if they have or had heart problems including congestive heart failure, or heart valve problems. Patients should not take BELVIQ in combination with drugs that have been associated with valvular heart disease (such as cabergoline). Patients who develop signs and symptoms of valvular heart disease while taking BELVIQ should be evaluated and discontinuation of BELVIQ should be considered by their doctor
  • Most Common Adverse Reactions In Non-Diabetic Patients: Headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, dry mouth, and constipation.
  • Most Common Adverse Reactions in Diabetic Patients: Hypoglycemia, headache, back pain, cough, and fatigue.
  • Response to BELVIQ should be evaluated at 12 weeks of treatment to determine if therapy should be discontinued.

May
28

Low-Calorie Margaritas!

Sometimes you just have to have a Margarita!  It is summer after all!                                             

Recipe:
1 can of Sprite Zero (or any diet lemon-lime soda)
Juice of one lime (approx. 2Tbsp)
1 On the Go Packet of Crystal Light Lemonade or any single serving diet powdered drink mix flavor
1 oz. tequila

Enjoy!

(But don’t have too many–the tequila calories will add up!  And don’t drink and drive!)

May
28

Summer Gazpacho

During the summer, when the heat is high and locally grown veggies are in abundance, nothing is a more refreshing and nutritious lunch than gazpacho!   It’s easy to make with your food processor, extremely low-calorie and delicious!

You will need…

  • 6 medium firm ripe tomatoes, stemmed and peeled                        
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 medium cucumbers, peeled and seeded
  • 2 medium green bell peppers, cored and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups tomato juice
  • 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of tabasco sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 small garlic cloves, peeled  (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons salt (optional)

Using a food processor, feed sections of the cucumbers into the feed tube using the slicing disc.   Use medium pressure and then transfer to a mixing bowl.

Use the metal blade and put the onion into the work bowl of your food processor.   Pulse approximately 6 times to chop it medium fine and then transfer the onion to the mixing bowl with the cucumbers

Put slices of the pepper in the work bowl and pulse approximately 3 times.   Scrape the bowl and pulse again, making sure that it is chopped medium fine.   Then add it to the cucumbers and onions.

Put two tomatoes in the processor and pulse to chop them coarsely.   Then put another three tomatoes in the processor and do the same.   Add to the other veggies.

Take the final tomato and put it in the processor along with the garlic.   Process for about two minutes to create a puree.   Add to the mixing bowl.

Add the remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl.   Stir well, making sure all ingredients are well mixed together.   Cover the bowl and chill well.   Taste before serving to adjust any seasonings.

 

Apr
20

Wow! I Can’t Believe “It Works!”

This is probably one of the most embarrassing posts I will ever write.   Obviously, I’ve been taking a little time off from blogging, but I’ve also taken quite a lot of time off of dieting, exercise and anything remotely healthy for me.   I’ve let the pounds creep back on and am pretty angry with myself!   I gave myself a good talking to and decided that the first thing to do is get back to blogging–which would hopefully motivate me to get with it on diet and exercise!

During my time of being a lazy slug, I became obsessed with Pinterest.  Yes, I know…should have gone to yoga instead.   However, while checking out all kinds of beautiful fashions that I felt too fat to even try on, I noticed a post by Jennifer Williams about her terrific business and the amazing body wraps that she sells.   Jennifer claimed that by wrapping myself I could lose inches off my waist in just 45 minutes.

Before and After Body Wrap

Given that I’ve tried so many things that are total scams, the scam detector in my brain started screaming!   The pictures that she posted looked good but I couldn’t imagine how an all-natural product could possibly make me lose inches in that short time frame.   Besides, I told myself, those pictures probably aren’t even the same people!

I wrote Jennifer, told her about this blog site and asked if she would be willing to send me a free wrap that I could try out and then blog about the results.   She immediately called me and was one of the most bubbly, positive people I’ve talked to in a very long time.   Her enthusiasm is absolutely infectious and by the time our conversation ended, I was actually feeling hopeful that the product might be as good as she claimed.    But the “proof is in the pudding” so to speak, and I’ve definitely been eating too much pudding.   If you are what you eat, my stomach had taken on a definitively pudding-like texture.

A couple of days later, Jennifer’s package arrived.   It included one body wrap, a brochure about the It Works! company and samples of one of of their nutritional products called Greens.  With trepidation, I tried the Greens .   When mixed with water, Greens gives you the complete nutrition of the eight daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables.   It helps to detox the body and alcalyze acids.   Surprisingly, once I got past the green color, it tasted fine–kind of like  watered down Tang.  Well, that is a step up from any green liquids I’d tried up to this point.    I’ve noticed in the past couple of weeks that as a result of neutralizing acids, my problems with acid reflux have improved drastically.

Then came the true test, the Ultimate Body Wrap.   It is a simple cloth wrap that has an all-natural botanically based formula lotion infused on one side.   I took my measurements and sure did not like the number!    It was easy to use… unwrap it, place it on the area you want to wrap (it can be used on stomach, sides, legs, back, arms and even chin and neck!).   Then, I did the finishing touch and wrapped myself in Saran wrap, put on a pair of sweats and lounged around reading a good book for 45 minutes.   It felt great.   There was a pleasant tingling sensation on my skin and it smelled nice.  It just seemed too easy!   How on earth could it possibly do anything?

After my 45 minutes were up, I cut the Saran wrap and got out the measuring tape.   I had no expectation of success.   However, I had lost an inch and a half!   I was glad that I’d taken a picture before.   Then I took an afterward picture and found that there was even a visible difference.  I kept watching and measuring and after 72 hours, it was two inches of loss.   I became very excited and ordered more of them.   Again, my expectation was that after the first one, there wouldn’t be a great deal of success.   I forgot to measure on the second one but I did wrangle more photos with my Iphone and again, it was visible.

It’s embarrassing but I am posting the results photos here for all to see.   No, the photos were not touched up.   Yes, all the pictures are of my “ginormous” belly.   Yes, all the photos were taken by me by holding my Iphone out away from my stomach.   The difference in skin tone is pretty much from the differences in lighting and what I was wearing and how difficult my phone camera wanted to be that particular day.    Embarrassing but true results.   Wow!   I can’t believeIt Works!”

My Results from three wraps….and I’m not planning on stopping here!   Now that I have a kick-start, I’m back to trying to develop more healthy habits!

Results--before 1st wrap to 48 hours after

Results of the second wrap

Results of the third wrap--what a difference from the beginning!

As you can see, this product made a huge difference for me!  .   If you’re interested in learning more, click here!

Apr
16

Chia Seed

Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family that grows abundantly in southern Mexico. It is a super food that have been shown to suppress appetites while providing protein, calcium, and omega-3s. Try adding  ground chia seed meal to your oatmeal, shake or smoothie for a longer fuller feeling.

Benefits:

-Lose Weight Without Starving
-Cuts craving
-Balances blood sugar
-Adds age-defying anti-oxidants
-Increases energy
-Healthy omega-3 fatty acids (more than flax seeds)
-Heart Health
-Relief From Rheumatoid Arthritis
Reduces Menopause Symptoms

Apr
16

Spicy Garlic String Beans

Ingredients:
1 lb green beans, ends trimmed
2 tbsp coconut or olive oil
Minced garlic
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
Celtic Sea salt
Cayenne Pepper (to taste)

Sautee…

Easy!

Feb
20

I Can Make You Thin

Weight Loss Network Review of:   I Can Make You Thin: The Revolutionary System Used by More Than 3 Million People (Book and CD)
Paul McKenna’s book, I Can Make You Thin initially appealed to me for two reasons.  Number one was that it was a thin book and wouldn’t take long to read. (Hey, I’ve always admitted to being lazy!)   Secondly, it had appeal because it also included a CD for guided meditation.

Quite some time ago, I had a weight-loss CD that helped me lose weight which stayed off for years!  Unfortunately, during those years that I didn’t need it, I lost the CD and now can’t remember the name of it.   As a result, I have tested out many weight loss meditation CD’s that didn’t work very well.   I skipped ahead and tried McKenna’s CD at bedtime that day even before reading the book.

At first, I was put off by McKenna’s voice and accent.   Actually, for some reason it struck me as funny.   His voice has a bit of a growl at times so I lay in bed smiling for a little while….but pretty soon I was relaxing.   I woke up the next morning and I can’t tell you what was said after a certain point!   I listened for about five nights with pretty much the same result…snore!  However, I DID start noticing some differences in myself.   The desire to snack out of boredom seemed to have lessened.  I actually got on the treadmill a couple of times.  Hmm…    I kept it up, still being too lazy to pick up the book.   After a week, I stepped on the scale and I’d lost two pounds without really doing anything.   Another hmm…

Now that I’ve finally read the book, I found that McKenna advises not to get on the scale for a certain period of time.   Oops!   Too late.  The horse is already out of the barn on that one for me.   However, the purpose of this site is so that others can learn from my errors and won’t make the same mistakes!

There are four “golden rules” to McKenna’s diet plan:

  • When you are hungry, EAT.
  • Eat what you want, not what you think you should.
  • Eat consciously and enjoy every mouthful.
  • When you think you are full, stop eating.

McKenna explains his premise on each of these and how to go about them properly.    It’s not rocket science, he’s teaching moderation.  But somehow, his system seems to make it easier to be moderate.   Additionally, he adds a “hunger scale” to the plan to help dieters understand their limits, when it is important to eat and how much they should eat.  The hunger scale ranges from number one being so hungry that you are physically faint to number ten having eaten so much that you are nauseous.

All in all, I would recommend trying this system.   It’s inexpensive ($14.99 on Amazon.com) to buy the book/CD set, you don’t have to resist eating foods you enjoy and replace them with foods that you dislike, as well as setting you up with good future habits.   If you wish, you can buy the book here…

Jan
07

New Years Resolutions

My New Year’s Resolution this year was NOT to make any resolutions!   Like many other people, the ubiquitous “Lose Weight” is always at the top of my resolution list.   Every year I swear that I’m going to work out and I’m going to watch what I eat and I’m going to accomplish all kinds of miracles.

Within about two weeks, all my resolutions are broken and my feelings about myself have suffered a blow that was not necessary or needed.   This year, no resolutions, no pressure, no timelines.   When my mindset is right for dieting, I will.  Right now, it isn’t.   So, instead, I’m just going to try to be moderate for a while and try not to gain any weight.  Heck, just being moderate after the holiday indulgences turns out to be a big cut-back.  So, not to be cliché but I’m just taking baby steps.

As for exercise, one of my friends has started the Couch to 5K program.   She has an app for her Iphone and highly recommends it.   The idea is to start running 90 seconds, then walking for a while, then running 90 seconds, etc until you build up the strength to run continually.   It sounds like a great idea!   But, even 90 seconds sounds like a long time for me at this point..   Maybe I’ll try it.   I probably won’t.   I already know that I hate to run.

I have, however, bought a hula hoop.   I feel like a little kid which is actually a really fun feeling!   I put on some lively music and just hoop to my heart’s content.   It’s terrific ab exercise and I enjoy it.   Like New Year’s resolutions, I’ve decided that the key to all of this is to figure out what I enjoy and will actually do.

What about you?   What do you enjoy?   What will you do?

P.S.  I bought my hula hoop from Lindsay Follett who is known as “The Siren of the Circle.”   Her Facebook page is www.facebook.com/SirenOfTheCircle. You can watch her video below.  Next I’m going to take a class to learn how to do some of those tricks!  Right now I’m just happy to keep it up on my waist!

Jan
07

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies!!

I adapted this recipe from one featured on Just a Pinch Recipe Club’s site.   My adaptions include substituting light butter for margarine to eliminate trans fats and adding in some white flour to keep the cookies from being too heavy.   You may prefer to check out the original recipe instead.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup light butter softened
  • 1/2 cup applesauce, unsweetened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose white flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp  salt
  • 2 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts…optional.

Directions

  •  Preheat oven 325
  •  In a large bowl, cream together the butter, apple sauce, brown sugar & white sugar until smooth.
  •  Beat eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla.
  •  Combine the flours, baking soda, & salt.  Then stir into the creamed mixture until just blended.
  •  Mix in the quick oats, walnuts, & chocolate chips.  Remember, some people may have nut allergies so the walnuts are optional.
  •  Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.
  • Bake for 12 minutes until golden brown.
  • Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for five minutes before transferring to wire rack.

Enjoy!!

Dec
19

HCG and the FDA

I mentioned in earlier posts that the FDA hates the HcG diet.   On December 6, the FDA and FTC sent warning letters to the main manufacturers of HCG.    They claim that it is the “first step” in halting the sale of HcG products.  T he letters warn the companies that they are violating federal law by selling drugs that have not been approved, and by making unsupported claims for the substances. There are no FDA-approved HCG drug products for weight loss.

I take issue with the FDA on this.   First of all, they may not have approved it, but I can tell you that the claims for HcG are NOT unsupported as they say.   It works!   I am not one who can go without food.   I have a huge appetite.   However, when taking the HcG drops, I was not hungry.   The diet had its ups and downs but I feel that the FDA has been unfairly targeting the US  homeopathic producers of HcG.   Now, they’ll just take their labs to another country and sell them on the web from there.   The FDA has stated that the claims that HcG helps with weight loss are fraudulent.  I’m here to tell you that they aren’t!   Perhaps they should be cracking down on other manufacturers like Th-121 or those dreadful cookies!  They make the same claims and aren’t effective.

So, what am I going to do now?   I’m going to go get a prescription for HcG and do the diet anyway!     A Boston area pharmacist has created a prescription strength HcG nasal spray along with a supplement plan.   I plan on testing it out and I’ll write more next month.

Dec
02

Healthy Snacking

Snacking can be a killer for a diet! We’ve all heard the admonitions of “eat celery” or “have a handful of almonds” but let’s be honest here. Sometimes the thought of those just seems downright yukky! We want to eat something that feels normal. We get tired of dieting! So, when I tried the Bistro MD plan, I was delighted to discover a couple of very tasty snacks to keep in my repertoire.

The one I love the most was baked lentil chips from the Mediterranean Snack Company.   Inspired by the balanced lifestyle of the Mediterranean diet (as is the Sonoma Diet), this all natural, gluten-free snack is made from high protein, nutritious lentils, garbanzo, and adzuki beans. Bistro MD sent them with a small serving of hummus, which is a dip that I’ve always enjoyed.   Since that time, I’ve eaten them with bean dip, Greek yogurt dill dip, Tatziki, and just straight out of the bag.    They’re salty and crunchy with a great taste and fulfill my cravings for things like potato chips as well as cheese and crackers.   You really can’t lose with a snack that is all natural, gluten-free, GMO free, a good source of fiber, celiac and vegetarian friendly and has 70% less fat than regular potato chips!

The other snack I discovered was a beef jerky type treat called Simply Snackin.   The flavor they sent me was Beef Sirloin with Apples and Cherries.    At only 50 calories, it was a meaty, salty, chewy snack that tasted better than any beef jerky I’ve ever had.   With the addition of fruits, it changes the flavors subtly and adds additional nutritional value.  They are lean and tender at only 1-2g of fat, these high protein snacks feature 8-10g of protein each! No MSG, no trans fats (not even a milligram!), all natural fruits and meats.  The Simply Snackin line features savory gourmet dried meat snacks that begin with fresh,  all natural (no artificial ingredients or added color) 100% beef sirloin or 100% chicken breast meat. Next, tantalizing combinations of fruit, spices, and cheeses are added to produce satiating flavors. Finally, a leisurely roasting process, featuring a light smoking, finish them off.    The end result is really great taste.

I don’t often find foods like this that I’d give the thumbs up to, but both of these snacks really helped with the cravings and actually created enjoyable moments of dieting.   It doesn’t get much better than that for a dieter!

 

 

Nov
14

Pumpkin Flan

This is another of Ellie Krieger’s genius holiday recipes.   This has all the flavor but pares down the calories of pumpkin pie….as long as you keep it at one serving!   For more from Ellie Krieger and The Food Network, click here.

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 2/3 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup solid-pack pumpkin

Directions

Arrange 8 (4-ounce) ramekins inside a 9 by 13-inch baking pan. Spray ramekins lightly with cooking spray.

In a small saucepan, heat 1/3 cup sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar melts and forms a medium-brown caramel, about 7 minutes. Working quickly, transfer 2 teaspoons of the caramel to each of the ramekins, swirling as soon as you spoon in the caramel (it will harden quickly). Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine milk and evaporated milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until warm. Reduce heat to a low simmer and keep milk warm. Meanwhile, bring about 4 cups water to a boil and keep hot. Whisk together eggs, egg yolks, remaining 1/3 cup of sugar, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon. Fold pumpkin into egg mixture. Then fold into evaporated milk. Divide filling among ramekins, then place baking sheet in oven. Pour hot water into baking pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until flan is just set. Let cool. Place a dessert plate on top of each ramekin and invert; flan should slide out, and syrup should flow onto sides of the dish.

Nov
14

Turkey Roulade with Apple Cider Gravy

 

Ellie Krieger of the Food Network always has some fantastic healthy recipes!    Last year, I made her  recipe for turkey roulade, served with roasted brussels sprouts, parsnips and sweet potatoes.   I’m not a very good photographer, but the photo below is the result of my healthy Thanksgiving effort. This recipe has all the flavors of the holidays without the calories and fat.    Click here to find this recipe on Food Network.

Turkey roulade with roasted vegetables

Ingredients

  • 1 (2 1/2-pound) skinless turkey breast, butterflied
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1/2 large onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups), plus 1 cup sliced onion
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 slices day-old whole-wheat bread, crusts removed, cubed (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1/3 cup lightly toasted chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons fresh crumbled sage or 3 teaspoons dried, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon cold water

Directions

Special equipment: kitchen twine

Place the turkey breast between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound lightly with a meat mallet to an even thickness of about 3/4-inch. Set aside while stuffing is prepared.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the cranberries in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, cook for 1 minute, then remove from heat, drain and reserve. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the diced onions and cook, stirring, until onions are golden but not charred, about 12 to 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Add bread, cranberries, pecans, 2 tablespoons fresh or 2 teaspoons dried sage and 1/2 to 3/4-cup chicken stock, depending upon consistency of stuffing; (you want the mixture to be moistened, but not too wet, since the turkey will release moisture when cooked). Cook over low heat for about 2 to 3 minutes, remove from heat.

Salt and pepper the inside and outside of the turkey breast. Spread the stuffing on the turkey, leaving about 1 1/2 to 2-inches uncovered on all sides. Roll up and secure tightly with kitchen twine, trying to keep all stuffing intact.

Heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil in a large Dutch oven or medium-sized roasting pan until hot. Sear stuffed turkey breast on all sides until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Add sliced onion and 1 1/2 cups chicken stock, cover tightly and roast in the oven until turkey reaches 160 degrees F when an instant-read thermometer is inserted into inner layer of meat, about 60 to 65 minutes. Remove the turkey breast from oven and transfer to a cutting board to rest.

Make the gravy: Add apple cider, 1/2 cup chicken stock, vinegar and remaining sage to the onions, chicken stock and juices in the roasting pan, bring to a boil and cook for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by 1/3. Slowly add the cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly, and cook for 3 minutes more. The gravy should not be thick, just slightly thicker than a jus. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Makes 1 1/2 cups gravy.

Remove twine from turkey breast and slice into 1 1/2-inch thick pieces. Serve with gravy.

 

Nov
09

Calories In, Calories Out. It’s Easier Said Than Done!

It isn’t rocket science.   We all know how to lose weight.  Watch what you eat and exercise enough to burn more calories than you need for daily energy.   But, it’s so easy to say but so very difficult to do.

I can have wine with the Sonoma Diet!

I’ve been off the diet cycle for a while now and the pounds are starting to creep back on.  I’ve been putting it off, but it’s time to get back to exercising better judgement.   No more ice cream.  No more gooey baked goods.  Start eating whole grains.  Load up on veggies.  Lean meat.   Blah blah blah…

But it’s not so bad.   I have all the tools.   I’ve been reviewing all these diet plans so I’m equipped with knowledge.  NutriSystem food tasted awful so it’s out.  No cookie diet!   No Th121!    On the bright side, the Sonoma Diet has some terrific, flavorful recipes and it’s an easy way to measure portions.   BodyMedia Fit Armband will measure my daily activity against my calorie intake.   I can carry my TRX system with me when I go on the road for my job.   Now, I just have to hustle up my motivation and I’ll be on my way.

Anybody know where I can buy a bottle of motivation?

Sep
12

Bistro MD

As promised, I purchased a week’s worth of food from the weight-loss food delivery service, Bistro MD so that I could review it.   The first thing that you do is fill out a questionnaire about your food preferences.  I was able to tell them that I hate fish and to rest assured that I would not have any unpleasant surprises when the food arrived.  You have options of seven days of meals, seven days of meals plus snacks, or just a five
Lose Weight with BistroMD!
day plan so that you can take the weekends to enjoy your own meals.   I opted for five days plus snacks.  The cost of this plan was about $30 per day.    It isn’t cheap, but it is very reasonably priced for what you get for the money.

The food arrived the next day frozen and packed in dry ice.    When I opened it, I couldn’t believe how much food there was!!   Unfortunately, I forgot to tell them that I have a soy allergy so a lot of the snacks had soy.   I called Bistro MD about it and the customer service was absolutely terrific–helpful and took

Spinach ricotta crepes with sweet potato home fries and veggie "sausage"

care of the issue for the future.   The snacks that weren’t composed of soy were pretty good and took care of some of my cravings.

The frozen meals were interesting and filling.   There is a lot more food in them than in other frozen meals like Weight Watchers’ Smart Ones.   I did not feel at all deprived.   I took a photo of my first meal.   It was a breakfast of  spinach ricotta crepes with sweet potato” home fries” and a veggie patty that tasted just like sausage.   Other meals included a Southwestern wrap lunch and dinner of jerk chicken with mango salsa.      Some of the meals were more appealing to me than others, but on the whole the food is good and it’s filling.

After my five days on this diet, I had lost 1 1/2 pounds which is healthy weight loss!     I really feel that  this plan is a very good choice for people who are on the go and who want to have healthy pre-prepared meals!


Sep
04

Losing

Johnna’s note:  My friend, Angela, posted this on Facebook.  I thought it was terrific so I asked her if I could share it here… enjoy!

by Angela D.

I want to share something here with you about losing weight and the fact that people do struggle and it’s ok, you just have to dust yourself off and get right back up and keep on truckin’…

A few years ago I realized that I coudn’t keep blaming the fact that I was overweight from my pregnancies. My story was that it was “baby weight”…hahaha…seriously though, Haley was 9 months old when I became pregnant with Jack and I had such awful times with the both of them being on bed rest for most of both pregnancies that I just got used to saying the story over and over again. I was a size 5 when I got pregnant with Haley, lost some of the weight from her getting down to a size 10 and then BAM pregnant with Jack and blew up like a house! It was awful…but enough with the excuses already right?

Anyway, I used that story up until they were 8 and 9 (they’re 12 & soon to be 11 now) and then in the middle of the story I stopped short and said “Oh my gawd…I seriously can’t use them as an excuse as to why I’m overweight anymore! I need to get off my ars!”  Of course I may have thrown in a few choice words here and there, but you get the jist of it right? Which brings me to the next part…

Everytime I tried to lose weight in the past something came up or I didn’t stick to it, mostly I’d get discouraged because I wasn’t getting to my “goal” weight fast enough. Plus I had the “age” excuse on my side now…especially after I turned *clears throat* 40! In other words…it’s been a struggle! I’d lose 5 pounds, then I’d gain it back and I really did yo-yo A LOT! When I finally couldn’t squeeze into my jeans anymore and I had to go up 1 more size which was discouraging to say the least, I started dieting again and got back down to being comfortable in my “fat jeans” yeah, who wants to say that?

I finally decided that hey, this is me and I’m fine the way I am and I love food so I’m just going to enjoy life, eat, drink and be merry. That was until all the Facebook pictures started popping up of me and all my chins! UHG!!! There’s NOTHING worse than pictures of you looking your worst being posted for all the world to see. Not flattering at all and what kind of friend posts your most awful pics out there for all of cyber world to see? If I wouldn’t post the pic myself, please don’t post it for me, I think I’m pretty good at keeping that motto myself : )


Hand with Girl 300x250
Back on track…I never make resolutions for New Years…they never stick but what the hell was happening to my ass? I could enter a room and it would follow me in at some point and time…maybe that’s why people always thought I was late…maybe my ass hadn’t finished entering the room? I don’t know, “butt” (ha…ha…) I didn’t like it and I felt like crap! So this year, I made a resolution, I was losing weight! The first part of this year has been one thing after another, I’ve been running around like crazy, no time to eat right never mind diet or exercise! Yep, there’s those pesky excuses again.

I tried running, walking, dieting so on and so forth and finally I just said that’s it, I’m going to lose the weight and I don’t care how long it takes me! In other words I lied to myself, of course I care how long it takes me!!! But I had to start somewhere.

And this is how I got started…I wasn’t going to look at the “total” amount of weight that I wanted to lose, I decided to set small goals like 2 lbs., 5 lbs, 10 lbs., I really stayed between the 2 & 5 pound mark, it was easier than saying I’d lose 10. I started putting my meals on smaller plates, I have always been a good eater so using a regular sized plate and going back for seconds even though I was full was a bad habit! It took me a while to get used to the fact that I was using a smaller plate, the food tends to slide off the sides, I found that’s a sign of too much food on the plate and I walked almost everyday.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it has taken me a while to do this and I haven’t been extremely strict in my dieting or walking especially lately, it being summer and me running around entertaining kids, having a cooler packed with goodies and snacks galore because I just have to make sure they’re happy! Translation…I have to have my snacks too! I do love chocolate as well, so I found some things that have “splenda” in them and I also buy “reduced fat” products to munch on but I try to stay with “all natural” things…which brings me to some issues…

Issue #1: “Aspartame”~ I can not eat or drink anything with “aspartame” in it…neither should you! Look it up, it doesn’t help you lose weight, it actually hinders the process and is extremely harmful to your body. Anyway, it gives me headaches, bad ones and I have a whole long story to share one day with you all about what happened to me after I stopped eating and drinking stuff with that in it…short version…I ended up in the hospital and I do believe “aspartame” was the reason why because they couldn’t find anything wrong with me. Hey, they even did and MRI and a CATSCAN and yes, I do have a brain! WHEW!!!

Issue #2: Did you know that margarine is 1 molecule away from being plastic? I decided after I heard that, I’d switch back to real butter oh and real cream cheese too! I don’t eat a lot of it so I figured if I’m going to eat it, I should get to indulge! However, since my gallbladder operation, I can’t eat “real” mayo, I have to eat the reduced fat kind and that’s ok with me. I also can’t eat a lot of things that are high in fat, so I’m sure that has helped me along the way.

So finally,finally, finally, I started losing the weight…it is definitely coming off slowly and that’s good because slow and steady wins the race. Most importantly I went to the Dr’s and I so didn’t want him to do my blood work because the last time he did it was awful, he was considering putting me on medication for my high cholesterol! YIKES! I hate taking meds so I said “Nooooooo, I’ll try doing it without meds first” he kind of chuckled and said “ok but if it’s not better soon, I’m putting you on the medication”. Keep reading and you’ll find out my Dr’s results ; )

Also, I think that it’s important to remember that you didn’t put the weight on in 4 weeks, you shouldn’t expect to take the weight off in 4 weeks…a little at a time for a much more succesful goal…a healthier you! And remember that diets only work if you think long term…the slower the weight comes off the longer you will keep it off.

So here it is, I have been “aspartame” free for 4 years, I have been using real butter and cream cheese for years, I just had my gallbladder out last November so if I can’t eat it, I don’t…anyone who has had theirs out knows what I’m talking about and I eat very little fast food and when I do, I get something that’s not too big. Sometimes I even get a kids meal because honestly, once you start eating on a smaller plate, you’ll see that your body is full and you’ll know what makes you full. With the kids back in school now, I am going to start with my walking once again and who knows, maybe I’ll work back up to jogging. It’s good for me and I like it. I used to love the gym, but I’m just not that in love with being in a windowless room with a bunch of other poeple who are either sweating profusely or are all dolled up hanging out by the water bubbler ; )

My final results from the Dr. TAHDAH…my cholesterol is PERFECT and as of today, I have lost a total of 23 pounds. I still have weight to lose but I’m going to do it slowly and the right way because I want to be healthy and feel good. Please remember, don’t get discouraged…if you make one mistake during the day don’t worry about it, just don’t keep making the mistake for the rest of the day or give yourself a break and make the mistakes for the day but don’t do it for the rest of the week. I always have a “cheat” day and if I want some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream I have some but I don’t eat the whole pint anymore I don’t even eat 1/2 the pint! LOL Well, ok, sometimes I eat 1/2 but I won’t do it again in the same week which was always a problem for me because it’s sooooooo yummy!

Anyway, I hope all of you who are struggling to lose weight know that it can be done, just don’t be so hard on yourself and don’t deprive yourself of the foods you like, just don’t eat them as often and don’t indulge so much that you feel like you’re going to explode after eating. Pay attention because once you think you’re full guess what? You’re full ; )

Good Luck and keep on truckin’…

 

Aug
30

What to Eat While on the HCG Diet

There are always questions about what to eat while on the HCG diet.   It is a very low calorie diet (500 calories) and is very strict.   If you’re going to do this diet, which can be rather hard on the body, you certainly don’t want to eat the wrong things and have it not work!!

Below is what Dr. Simeon’s originally prescribed as the proper food:

Breakfast:

Tea or coffee in any quantity–NO sugar. Only one tablespoonful of milk allowed in 24 hours.  Saccharin or Stevia may be used.

Lunch:

1. 100 grams  (about 3 oz) of veal, beef, chicken breast, fresh white fish, lobster, crab, or shrimp. All visible fat must be carefully removed before cooking, and the meat must be weighed raw. It must be boiled or grilled without additional fat. Salmon, eel, tuna, herring, dried or pickled fish are not allowed. The chicken breast must be removed from the bird.

2. One type of vegetable only to be chosen from the following: spinach, chard, chicory, beet-greens, green salad, tomatoes, celery, fennel, onions, red radishes, cucumbers, asparagus, cabbage.

3. One grissini breadstick (the little skinny ones) or one Melba toast.

4. An apple, orange, or a handful of strawberries or one-half grapefruit.

Dinner :

The same four choices as you see listed for lunch.

Other notes about HCG:

The original protocol calls for discontinuing use of things like make-up and deodorant.   I REFUSED!   Some things just have to be done!!   I also used moisturizer on my face.   However, I found that on days that I used body lotion, I did notice lower weight loss.

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