Standby oatmeal

This oatmeal recipe is my weight loss standby. I’ve eaten it for breakfast every morning in every successful Weight Watchers campaign I’ve had. Some mornings I feel that I need some protein with it, and have an egg or some turkey bacon. Some mornings it’s fine by itself.

Oats are packed with both soluble and insoluble fiber. They stick to your ribs and do wonderful things for your digestion. The applesauce boosts all of that, and adds sweet flavor to the oats. Cinnamon is supposed to stabilize blood sugar, helping you go longer before you need lunch.

Standby Oatmeal

1/2 c old fashioned oats, uncooked
1 cup water
1/2 c unsweetened applesauce (the size of one of the prepacked servings)
1/2 t cinnamon
2 packets Splenda
pinch salt

Put oats and water in a very deep bowl and microwave to cook. Cooking times will vary with microwaves; I do 4 minutes at 70% in mine because 3 minutes at 100% makes it boil over. Did you notice I said a VERY DEEP bowl? Older microwaves were fine at 100% for 3 minutes. Our current one is newish and very peppy.

When it’s done, stir in the other ingredients and eat slowly. It makes a really, really big bowl of porridge for 4 PointsPlus.

Weekly weigh in 3/24/2013

Week’s highest observed weight: 199.2
Week’s lowest observed weight: 196.6
This morning’s weight: 199.2

Weekly summary: I didn’t count points, and the hormonal bloating is still in full force. Midweek I saw 196.6 several times, but this morning it’s up to 199.2, dammit. I’ve got a head cold too. And it snowed last night.

Weekly criticism: I didn’t count points and I made a lot of poor choices. Pizza, waffles, too many meals without vegetables. Also too much sitting on the couch and too little of anything else. Also, too many caipirinhas.

Weekly praise: I made good choices at times they were hard to make. There was no McDonalds for my daughter and I this week (the happy meal toys aren’t interesting right now anyway…) and last night we had a family dinner at a pub grub kind of place, and there was nothing deep fried for me. I also made an effort to eat “more” fruit and vegetables.

Plans for the upcoming week: this bloating has got to stop. My jeans are uncomfortable and it’s making me feel gross and completely preoccupied. Oatmeal for breakfast every morning and more walks are about the only thing I can think of to do about it; I guess this is still hormonal fallout from the miscarriage and to some degree, it will pass in time. Also I must take it easy with the caipirinhas.

Fish tacos

We’re having this tonight, and it’s one of my very favorite dinners. It’s summery, carefree, fresh, nutritious, and delicious. Eat it on your back deck on a soft summer evening… or, like us today, just wish you were.

There are four components: white fish fillets, corn tortillas, guacamole, and pico de gallo.

For the fish fillets: preheat your oven to 400. Lay white fish fillets (such as tilapia or perch) in one layer on a baking sheet. Squeeze lime juice over, then dust with chili powder and salt. Bake until fish is done and flakes easily, about 15-20 minutes. If it’s summer time, you can grill them with charcoal for an extra-special smoky flavor.

For the corn tortillas: I use little 6″ ones that come many to a package. Wrap them in aluminum foil and bake them at the same time you bake the fish, just to get them warmed through and pliable.

For the guacamole: if you live in a place like me, you can only buy rock-hard avocados. So buy them, the brown-skinned kind, not the green-skinned kind. Leave them on the counter until they soften enough that they give a bit to a firm poke. Then you know it’s taco night. To prepare the guacamole cut them in half and scoop the flesh out. For each avocado, add the juice of 1/2 lime and one pressed clove of garlic. Add a tablespoon of cilantro paste (use fresh if you prefer, but I find the paste distributes better in the guacamole) and a healthy pinch of salt. Take your potato masher to it all until it’s a consistency you like. Taste; adjust salt and lime juice to your liking.

For the pico de gallo: dice tomatoes, green onions, and cilantro. Squeeze lime juice over and salt to taste.

Assemble tacos by smearing 1T of guacamole on a flour tortilla and adding 2oz baked fish, flaked, and a spoon of pico de gallo (it’s zero points, so load up!) Each taco prepared this way is 4 PointsPlus, so have a couple! Make up a pitcher of a Crystal Light mocktail to go with it for zero PointsPlus–the mojito flavor is especially nice.

Grocery day 3/19/2013

My daughter and I got groceries a day early. I have an appointment to get (more) recall work done on my Toyota tomorrow morning. Also, we were running out of milk.

This week’s cooking plan:

fruit salad
preserved lemons
chicken pepper stir fry
pork cabbage stir fry
rotisserie chicken, orzo, broccoli
fish tacos
greek salad
catfish, green beans, spanish rice

The fruit salad is just a nice thing to have around, really great on yogurt. Preserved lemons are lemons cut into wedges and packed into a mason jar with salt, then left in the fridge for a month. The lemons turn savory and mellow and absolutely delicious. They are used in many Moroccan recipes. I guess other things are self-explanatory; I will talk more about the greek salad and fish tacos sometime. They’re two of my favorite meals.

The shopping list was thus:

2lb deli turkey
oranges
grapes
strawberries
romaine
cucumbers
feta
flatbread
ginger
iceberg lettuce
tomatoes
green onions
cabbage
lemons
cilantro
avocados
milk
ranch packets
corn tortillas
la croix
green beans
frozen white fish

A good 2/3s of it is produce, how about that? Well, I shouldn’t really take much credit. I organized the pantry this weekend and now I understand just how much pasta and rice and beans we already have. Also, that freezer full of meat. My husband asked for deli turkey and iceberg lettuce to make sandwiches with. The grocery store didn’t HAVE any iceberg lettuce though, can you believe it?

My daughter, who turned two last week (!!!), was game to try a spring of cilantro, which she liked, and a little deli turkey, which she didn’t. She wouldn’t eat her birthday cake or her birthday macaroni and cheese. The child is a mystery.

Six dollar hummus pita with chopped salad

In college I had a favorite coffee house, and I became a true regular there. Any time I walked in, day or night, there would be people there I knew and could sit with. They let my tab carry over from day to day. Several nights a week I would leave when they closed at 2am. It was my home away from home.

They sold a hummus pita that I particularly liked. It came warm and soft, oozing mild hummus and overflowing with fresh chopped vegetables. It cost $6. I’m glad I was young and stupid and enjoyed it then, because I wouldn’t pay $6 for it now. Not because it wasn’t delicious and worth $6 in sheer delight, but because it’s so easy and cheap to make myself for about $1 now that I have a kitchen.

Six Dollar Hummus Pita with Chopped Salad

1 white pita bread (you don’t save points with whole wheat, so enjoy)
1/4 cup hummus (I used Wild Garden brand to calculate points for this recipe)
1 sweet bell pepper (yellow or orange or red, not green)
1 roma tomato (let it sit on your counter for a week to develop flavor)
1 chunk of hothouse cucumber (doesn’t need peeling)
1 T Hidden Valley Ranch dressing

For pita bread to work it first needs to be steamed. Hold your fingers under the tap, then smear water on both sides of your pita. Wrap it in aluminum foil. Put it in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, cut your vegetables into bite-sized pieces and put them in a big bowl. Add the tablespoon of Ranch dressing and toss so that each piece has a thin coating.

When the pita is ready, cut it in half and gingerly smear half of the hummus inside each piece, then pile in as much of the salad as comfortably fits. Eat the rest of the salad as is. Eat the pita and enjoy: warm steamy bread, oozy creamy hummus, crisp sweet veg. Yum.

Makes one serving with 9 PointsPlus.

Weekly weigh in 3/17/2013

This morning’s weight: 197.8
This week’s highest observed weight: 199.6
This week’s lowest observed weight: 197.0

Weekly overview: last Sunday I was pregnant and on vacation in South Beach, having dinner at OLA, one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to. On Wednesday night I began to have a miscarriage. That is ongoing, but seems to be tapering off. I had some serious bloat that is going away.

Weekly criticism: I’ve been eating and drinking whatever I want. Under the same circumstances, wouldn’t you?

Weekly praise: My tummy has been feeling weird enough that I’m not eating a LOT.

Plans for next week: tracking points again, I guess. I wish the weather would warm up so that walking would be pleasant.

Fighting rebellion

I’m in a rebellious state of mind right now, with regards to weight loss.

I don’t want to try that hard, right now.

I don’t want to deny myself any pleasure, right now.

I feel that life is too short to be hungry, right now.

I feel like I’ve done enough hard things recently.

What I’m not feeling right now, though?

I’m not feeling that it’s okay to weigh 197 pounds just because, in spite of it, my husband loves me.

I’m not feeling that it’s okay to weigh 197 pounds because I’ve made life and lost it.

I’m not feeling that weighing 197 pounds is something to be proud of or even learn to live with.

Some time, and some time soon, I need to do it. I just need some time to recover first.