Easy veggie curry with carrot raita

Last night I made “easy veggie curry”, one of our standard winter meals and another great one for Weight Watchers. You can make it as spicy or not-spicy as you want. We eat it with carrot raita and rice. If you like fresh cilantro, it is great on top of this.

Easy Veggie Curry

1 T canola oil
1 large or two medium onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 slices fresh ginger root, minced
1 head cauliflower, cored and diced
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
2 14.5 oz cans chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 T curry powder (mild or sweet or hot, your choice)
1 t cumin powder
Salt to taste
Optional: one hot pepper, minced

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Fry the onions, garlic, and ginger until they begin to soften and get color. Add the rest of the ingredients, turn the heat to low, and cover. Let cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Eat with rice and raita. This recipe makes six servings that are 6 PointsPlus apiece.

Carrot Raita

1/2 cup carrots, minced
1 cup full-fat plain yogurt
1 t cumin seeds, toasted if you wish
Salt to taste

Blitz the carrots in a food processor or mince. Mix with other ingredients. Dollop on top of curry. This recipe makes 6 servings that are 1 PointsPlus apiece.

Enjoy!

Grocery day 2/27/2013

It’s Wednesday again, so it’s grocery day again! Yesterday a possible ice and snow storm was moving in, so my daughter and I did a morning run to Sam’s Club to get a few basics stocked in case we got stuck in the house. We bought:

trout filets
frosted mini wheats
goldfish crackers
Torpedo IPA
rotisserie chicken
protein bars
chicken nuggets
farmer cheese
french bread
apples
milk

Then the storm pooped out and we’re left with nothing but a little slush. I don’t think the snow plows even came out. Oh well. Here is my dinner plan for this week:

leftovers
trout, salad, potatoes
pork & cabbage stir fry
white chili
chicken enchiladas
greek chicken salad
freezer surprise

“Leftovers” and “freezer surprise” are pretty much the same thing, right? Food has been accumulating and we need to clear it out. First, though, those trout filets. I’m so excited. How should I fix them? Citrus glaze? Brown butter? Hmmmmmmm.

Grocery list:

knorr chicken powder
ovaltine
cabbage
diced tomatoes x2
navy beans
diced chiles
burrito wrappers
tomatillos
yogurt
eggs
feta
kalamata olives
flatbread
tomatoes
lettuce

I’m excited about the Greek salad, too. I got the recipe from Cooking Light’s website and it sounds exactly like what I want to eat right now: crisp greens and cucumber and tomatoes, savory chunks of chicken and feta and olive, drizzled with creamy dressing and scooped up with piping hot flatbread. YUM.

I am not doing so well with the counting of PointsPlus this week, by the way. More on that this Sunday.

I am also not doing so well with the appearing to be pregnant this cycle. More later… probably from day 1 of cycle 12.

Spoiling myself with food?

I’m one of millions if not billions of people who “spoil” themselves with food. I do it to make myself feel better… when I’m sad, angry, bored, worried, and also as a reward when I’m happy or feel accomplished. Quite a range of emotions, huh?

My treats are pretty standard. Candy, especially chocolate. Pastries. Nice cheese. Alcohol.

But when I think about what I’d eat if I was truly spoiling myself with food? The food that would make me feel rich and pampered and truly happy to eat? If money and time weren’t an object? Very different stuff.

Luscious fresh seafood: jumbo shrimp, crab, langostines, lobster, and sole. Steamed or grilled, maybe with a yummy glaze. Sushi… salmon and tuna belly and barbecued eel.

Fruit at the peak of ripeness: berries, figs, mangos, and plums.

Vegetables, too. Tender crunchy greens. Skinny stalks of asparagus. Vine ripened tomatoes. Artichokes.

Okay okay, and also good cheese and bread and pastries and alcohol.

But still, isn’t it interesting how I down-market my treats because I deserve “something” but not a $3 bunch of asparagus or a $20 sole, which would not only make me feel spoiled rotten and truly happy, but be good for my body at the same time?

I think I should work on that.

Our little fertility problem

Because it’s tied up with weight loss and also women’s health, I think I’m going to start blogging about baby making here. I know it’s a subject with limited appeal, but it’s a big part of my head space right now. If you’re bored with it, don’t read these posts.

I’ve always had a feeling that my hormonal balance wasn’t quite “right”. It started when I was twelve and came down with Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disease that in my case started out as a high fever with no other symptoms. It lasted two weeks and left me feeling tired, so tired. Then my periods began to get long. Then one lasted for several months, and idiotic 13-year-old me was afraid to tell anyone. Then I passed out on the living room floor one evening (anemia I guess), my mother took me to the emergency room, and I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease. I was put on Synthroid to treat that and birth control pills to treat the bleeding, and that was the end of it.

Until I was twenty-nine and wanted to have a baby. I was sure it was going to be a big hairy deal. I hadn’t had unregulated cycles as an adult, ever. I went off the pill. I got pregnant on the second cycle. I had a flawless pregnancy, no problems at all, and delivered our beautiful baby daughter the day before my due date. Happy story.

Fourteen months later, said baby daughter began to sleep through the night consistently, and we decided we were ready to have #2. I went off the pill again, and like an idiot, bought myself some new maternity clothes. Sigh.

My luteal phase was short, only eight or nine days to start with, which is supposed to be a problem but it had been that way last time around and didn’t slow me down, so at first I didn’t worry. Something like 25% of women with no fertility problems have a short luteal phase, my doctor said.

On our fourth cycle of trying I got a positive pregnancy test. Two days later I started to bleed and the test was negative. Chemical pregnancy.

It happened again on cycle eight.

By now I was mad, and made an appointment with my OB-GYN to talk about it. She gave me a Prometrium prescription to start taking as soon as I got another positive test, and sent me for a pelvic ultrasound to make sure I didn’t have fibroids. Since nobody has called me about it in three weeks, I assume that ultrasound went just fine.

We are on cycle eleven now. My cycles are short, so it still hasn’t been a year of trying, but I am frustrated. Have I gotten too old? Am I really broken after all? Was our daughter a huge piece of good luck? Do no other babies want me for a mom? And darn that age gap between her and her possible sibling–it gets bigger and bigger every cycle. I wanted them to be closer together. Now they won’t be; best case scenario is 2 years 8 months apart. Rats.

Two chemical pregnancies could still be bad luck; something like 50% of pregnancies fail early. I probably have a low progesterone level, though. The short luteal phase points to it, the early losses point to it, and my CD21 progesterone draw in August put my level at 5.2, and the normal range is 5 – 18. So yeah, low-ish progesterone level.

And guess what can cause that? Being overweight. Being sedentary. Poor diet. ALL my fault.

So there’s one more reason I want to lose weight. As if there weren’t enough already.

Weekly weigh-in 2/24/2013

Weight at start of week: 198.4
Lowest observed weight this week: 196.0
This morning’s weight: 197.6

Week overview: it was my first week on plan, and I just wasn’t committed. I only got hungry overnight once, and that’s my barometer for a caloric deficit. I had two birthdays and attending food to contend with. I did get a little bit of junk out of my system though.

Weaknesses this week: birthday cake and alcohol. My husband’s birthday and also my friend Diana’s, and I ate the goodies at both. I am also in the “two week wait” and could find out I’m pregnant soon, so I indulged in a couple of caipirinhas while I still can. All of this busted my point allowance for the week. I gave up on exercise in the second half of the week, too.

Strengths this week: I cooked great, healthy, low-point dinners and ate a lot of fruit and veg besides. In the middle of the week, I had 2.4 pounds of crap out of my system. I took some walks and did the 30 Day Shred a couple of times. I intend to keep on trucking.

Plans for the coming week: I always intend to exercise; we’ll see how the weather cooperates. I’m trying to Just Do It. I’ll plan another week of healthy dinners. There will be no birthday cake this time. I’m going to start taking pregnancy tests on Wednesday.

Chicken tortilla soup

Last night I made chicken tortilla soup for dinner. This hearty soup is extremely low points by itself, but it’s best when eaten with add-ons, including a squeeze of lime and chopped fresh cilantro (both 0 PointsPlus), shredded cheese, diced avocado, and toasted tortillas (fat-free wheat tortillas are lower points than regular flour or corn tortillas).

This soup comes out of cans. Are you ready for the recipe?

10 oz chicken breast
2 medium onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 10 oz bag frozen green peppers
2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 14.5 oz can black beans
1 14.5 oz can fat free refried beans
1 14.5 oz can white hominy
1 small can diced chiles
1 t ancho chili powder
2 t cumin
1 cup chicken broth made from bouillon
salt to taste

Put everything in your slow cooker and cook for 5 hours at high or 8 hours at low. Definitely squeeze lime juice on this before you eat it… and if you like cilantro, chop some up fresh to go on top too.

This recipe makes 14 cups of soup. 1 cup is 3 PointsPlus, 2 cups is 5 PointsPlus. Enjoy!

Bra sizing

I attended a seminar last night about correctly sizing your underwear. It was held at my friend Laura’s photography studio, and given by a local fashion designer, JaNelle. Apparently it’s going to be a series. With brownies and champagne. So, hmmmm. Anyway–

JaNelle took our measurements outside of our clothes and gave us the formula to figure out bra sizes based on that. There was a lot of consternation in the room, including from me because the formula said that instead of 38D, which is what I wear, I should be in a 43B. Gee criminy. I took my measurements again this morning without clothes in the way, though, and according to JaNelle’s formula 38D is the real, really correct size.

Want to find your accurate bra size? Here’s the formula:

First you need three measurements. When you take the measurement, have your feet together, your head up, and your arms down. To find the right height on your chest to measure around, imagine that your girls are perfectly perky (I said imagine), and the tape should go horizontally around where your nipples would be.

With the tape hitting that part of your back, take the measurement above your boobs, around your nipples, and around your ribcage below your breasts. You should take these measurements in inches to get American sizes. Now comes the math.

Your band size is the same as the measurement around your ribcage below your breasts.

To find your cup size, subtract your above measurement from your around measurement. If the result is less than 1.5, you are an A cup. If it is 1.5 to 2.5, you are a B cup. From there on, you go up one cup for every two inches: 2.5 – 4.5 is C, 4.5 – 6.5 is D, etc.

Then JaNelle taught us how to figure out correct panty size… because correct panty sizing eliminates VPL (Visible Panty Line). You need two measurements, also in inches:

First measure around the widest part of your hips & bottom. Then measure from your belly button, between your legs, up to the same height as your belly button on your back.

Subtract the second number from the first, and that’s your panty size.

By the way, as far as choosing what bra to wear… I’m sold on Cacique balconette bras. Those things are built like tanks and have a nice flattering shape.