Sunday, October 31, 2010

Healthy Snacks, Vegetarian Chili, and an 1,800 Calorie Slice of Cake?!?

Oh, I know I've been terribly neglectful!! But alas... I am back, and you shall not be disappointed.

Let's start with the snacks.  If you haven't already noticed, I LOVE apples, and I LOVE peanut butter.  The combination of the two is irresistible. The other night I had an Apple Crumb VitaTop with 1 TBSP of Better'n Peanut Butter.  To be perfectly honest, I would have rather just had an apple with peanut butter, but this combination was just another delicious way for me to play with my food. (2 WW Points)

 Yet another one of my favorite things to work with in the kitchen is cinnamon.  Here I have a banana cut into slices with cinnamon and 1 TBSP of Fat Free I Can't Believe It's Not Butter.  Melt the butter and drizzle it over the slices with cinnamon, then put the whole thing in the microwave for about 15 seconds, depending on how warm you want it.  (1-2 WW Points depending on the size of the banana.

I've been wanting to make Hungry Girl's Dan Good Chili for quite some time now, and today I finally got the chance.  There were A LOT of ingredients, and it took a while to do, but the recipe makes 10 servings!! That will last at least 2 or 3 days in my house.

This still isn't even ALL of the ingredients, but it's most of them.

The Vidalia Chop Wizard is one of the greatest kitchen tools ever invented. It easily saved me 20-30 minutes of chopping vegetables today.

The HUGE pot of beans, corn, carrots, onions, tomatoes, chili peppers, bell peppers, mushrooms, etc. that had to cook for about an hour and a half on low heat.

Mmmmm! 1 cup = 2 WW Points and extremely filling! My whole family loved it and went back for seconds.
All in all, this recipe required a good amount of time and effort (not to mention the grocery shopping required), but for a family of four, it was well worth it.  I would definitely make this again.

The other day I saw a post on Twitter about something called a "Pumpple cake" - pumpkin pie baked into chocolate cake, apple pie baked into vanilla cake, and all held together with vanilla buttercream icing.  One slice has a whopping 1,800 calories, and the entire cake is 15 pounds and over a foot tall!

I would like to try a bite of each layer, but I'm not sure it's possible for one person to eat an entire slice.  The apple/vanilla combination sounds a bit more my style than the pumpkin/chocolate, but this creation is certainly the idea of someone else who loves to play with their food.  And that's something I can understand!

Thoughts on this masterpiece? Does this sound appealing to you? Would you like to try it?

Happy Eating!
- Steph =)


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Class Canceled = Perfect Opportunity to Cook!!

Since I didn't have class today, I basically had no responsibilities. To take advantage of this, I obviously decided to cook!

Not too long ago, I found this recipe on a WW Discussion Forum for "Eggplant Cheese Rolls."  It's eggplant stuffed with a mixture of fat free ricotta, fat free mozzarella, fat free egg substitute, basil, and pepper.  Start by slicing the eggplant longways and baking the slices for about 15 mins to soften then.  Then put a few spoonfuls of the mixture on each slice of eggplant, roll up the slices, put the rolls in a baking dish, and bathe them in tomato sauce.  Bake for 20-25 mins, and enjoy!  2 rolls = 3 WW Points!
 Before baking it

My two rolls on my plate

I couldn't even take a picture before my family dug in, but this is some of the remains.

Because of the fact that I had to figure out how to peel an eggplant, this recipe wasn't quite worth the effort it required.  On the other hand, it was extremely filling for only 3 WW Points.


For dessert tonight, I was inspired by Hungry Girl's Ginormous Creamy Frozen Caramel Crunchcake (All the way at the bottom of that page).  She suggests caramel rice cakes, but I have apple cinnamon in the house so I used those.  She also uses Cool Whip Free, but I only had Extra Creamy Cool Whip in the house, so I used that.  The choice is up to you - mix and match whatever flavors you prefer or whatever you have around the house.  Either way, one of these sandwiches is only 3 WW Points!! And as the name suggests, they are indeed "Ginormous":

I made this when I was done with breakfast this morning and stuck it in the freezer all day, so that by tonight is was like a pseudo-ice cream sandwich.


Aside from all of this cooking, I was pleasantly surprised when my doorbell rang and I discovered my package from Walden Farms sitting on my doorstep.

If you can't read the picture those say:
- Calorie Free Honey Dijon Salad Dressing (I have a weird obsession with honey mustard)
- Calorie Free Chocolate Dip
- Calorie Free Caramel Syrup

I don't know how in the world the people at Walden Farms do it, but I taste-tested these products and you'd never guess they don't have any calories, any sugar, or any fat.  I have yet to decide what exactly I'm going to do with these items, but the possibilities are endless. (Perhaps some homemade edible arrangements!)  Any ideas? I'd love to hear.

Check back in a few days to see what I've come up with!
Happy Eating,
- Steph =)


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Don't Give In To Your Stress - Indulge in Healthier Snacks!

It's midterm week, and the stress is mounting.  Nothing like a little "decadence" (as my father calls it) to calm the nerves and soothe the mind.  My newest creation is what I like to call a Chocolate Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich:

1) Start with 1 Deep Chocolate VitaTop, Cook it in the microwave as directed on the box, and slice it in half longways so you have 2 slices of chocolate "bread"

2) Spread 1 tbsp Better'N Peanut Butter on one half:

3) Place banana slices on top of the peanut butter

4) Put the other half of the VitaTop on top and eat like a sandwich (although it was kinda messy so I ate it with a fork)

If you make it this way, it's only 3 WW Points.  Use whatever combination of peanut butter and fruit you'd like - peanut butter and apple is a delicious combination too! Not sure what to do with the rest of the banana? Make another sandwich and share it with a friend or put it in the freezer for tomorrow!

Happy eating!
- Steph =)


Sunday, October 17, 2010

This Weekend's Healthy Discoveries

Unfortunately, I do not have visual support, but I do have some great ideas that I tried today that I MUST share...

For dinner I had a Caesar salad that was just romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes, sliced cucumber, Ken's Lite Creamy Caesar Dressing (2 tbsp = 2 WW Points), and as a healthy substitute to croutons, I threw in some FiberOne Original Cereal.  I absolutely love this stuff!  It will add crunch and sweetness to any meal, and up to 1/2 cup is 0 WW Points!  How can it get any better?

After the salad, I was really craving some chocolate, but I also wanted to have fruit.  Luckily enough, a few days ago I made some Fat Free Sugar Free Chocolate Pudding, which tastes great on banana slices!  This snack is virtually effortless, and depending on the size of the banana, it's 2-3 WW Points!  

Since starting WW, I've learned to love all fruits and vegetable and how to make them more flavorful and exciting!  This is vital to anyone's success on the program, and just as important for a balanced diet!

Anymore easy to make snack ideas? I'd love to hear your ideas...


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Heathly Snacking On The Go

3 PM rolls around, you're stuck at your desk and starting to feel hungry.  At this point your only options are the vending machine filled with snacks that are not worth the calories or leaving the building to scour convenience stores and delis for something healthy.  Either way you will undoubtedly be forced to face the temptation of unhealthy options that you will then be craving for days to come.

The obvious answer is packing your own healthy snack packs to hold you over during the day.  Just some of my favorites:

- Baby carrots and cucumber slices
- Clementines
- Fiber One 90 Calorie Bars (sadly I think these have been discontinued, but they are only 1 WW Point, and they satisfy cravings for chocolate in a healthy way)
- 2 Quaker Rice Cakes (some flavors you can have 2 rice cakes for only 1 WW Point! - extremely filling too)
- 3/4 cup Kashi Honey Sunshine Cereal (similar to Cap'n Crunch and Corn Pops, but much higher in fiber and lower in calories... 3/4 cup = 1 WW Point)

Of course you can't just have snacks all day, but pack one or two of these in your bag each day, and I guarantee you'll never be left without a healthy option.

Happy Eating!
- Steph =)


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

2-Point Parfait in a Bowl

So everyday I go into Starbucks to get my Iced Venti Passion Tea sweetened with Splenda, and I have to stand in line STARING at the pastries and goodies.  Well today for some reason, it wasn't the croissants or muffins that were speaking to me, it was the fruit and yogurt parfaits.  So tonight for my bedtime snack, I made my own healthier version:

1 small peach, cut into small bite-size pieces
1 container Fiber One Peach Yogurt (or WW Peach Yogurt)
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of Fiber One Original Cereal

The Fiber One cereal gives you just the right amount of crunch and texture, and it's a fabulous substitute to the high-calorie granola most places put in parfaits.  Up to 1/2 cup of Fiber One Original has a 0 Points Value!! You can use any small fruit and any flavor yogurt you'd like... (I hope to try strawberry yogurt with strawberries in the near future.)  And for only 2 points, this parfait is a pretty good size - bigger than Starbucks'!

Happy Eating!
- Steph =)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Rainy Night Bedtime Snack

It's pouring rain outside, and it sounds like the end of the world with all of this thunder.  What better way to comfort myself than combining 3 of my favorite flavors: apples, cinnamon, peanut butter!!!

Couple this with a nice cup of warm tea and it's enough to make me feel warm and safe, even with the thunder and lightning outside!

Happy Eating, Steph =)

Welcome to my Playground...

I used to be the person who absolutely despised the Food Network and never understood why you would watch someone cook... But then I opened my eyes, watched a few shows, and I was instantly hooked.  Now I can not get enough of Rachel, Giada, Bobby, and the rest of the crew.  Not long after my addiction for the Food Network began, I started to follow Weight Watchers, which even further deepened my love of  and passion for food.  I began to research healthy recipes and cook them for my family.  I accumulated hundreds of recipes and dozens of cookbooks.  Eventually, I got adventurous and started coming up with my own recipes and meal ideas.

The one thing I noticed that was consistent whether I followed someone else's direction or created my own... I always took pictures of my food.  So now, in the offchance that someone else out there cares about my creations, I offer you my work...

 My most recent delicacy - Hungry Girl's Lord of the Onion Rings... it made quite a mess, but I would definitely do it again... Soooo delicious

It was my 21st birthday, and I decided to indulge! It's not gourmet or anything, but it's exactly what I was craving... Applebee's Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundae =)

Dave and Buster's Banana Split = créme de banana, white crème de cacao, a scoop of ice cream, strawberry bacardi, whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and of course I ate the cherry before I could take a picture

Dave and Buster's Cocobanana Colada =  malibu passion fruit rum, banana liqueur, piña colada bacardi, red sugar-rimmed glass

AMAZING moscato wine my boyfriend bought me for my birthday... we drank the whole bottle in one night. Goes down SO smoothly; tastes like heaven on earth!

 Even though I didn't make this, I thought it was worth sharing... Edible Arrangements = a healthy substitute to a birthday cake for me... Fruit dipped in peanut butter - there's almost nothing better ( and YES that pineapple on top is shaped in the numbers 2 and 1!!)

 My interpretation of selva negra cake (black forest cake) for my boyfriend's birthday - I used Devil's Food Cake, and made it with Diet Cherry Coke (diet coke cake).  For the filling I used cherry pie filling, which was a huge mistake because it slid all over the place once I put the second cake on top!

Cool Whip Free as icing

 The final (MESSY) product!! - Maraschino cherries and red baker's icing for the border.  As you can see, the cherries and icing started sliding down the sides.  By the time we went to eat it, the cake was more of a mush, but it tasted AMAZING!

Eggplant Parmesan - WW Recipe

Mexican Casserole - WW Recipe - My whole family loved this one!

Grilled Tropical Fruit (Pineapple, Mango, Banana) - Mmmm mmm!

Homemade Shrimp and Pineapple Fried Rice - WW Recipe

 Whole Wheat Macaroni Salad - WW Recipe - Absolutely delish!

 Grilled veggie pizza - WW Recipe - Clearly my brother could not WAIT to cut into it!

Baked Cinnamon Apples - I have somewhat of an obsession with cinnamon and Splenda, and the combination of the two is simply irresistible.

Asian-style shrimp and broccoli with white rice - WW Recipe

Broccoli and cheese soup - I believe this was a WW recipe- I didn't particularly like it, but my boyfriend enjoyed it - I'm looking forward to trying Hungry Girl's Broc-Star Soup!!

Potato and cheese dumplings - WW Recipe

Salad with apple, grapes, lettuce, and light caesar dressing - My own creation to satisfy my constant craving for apples and grapes

Apple, cinnamon, and Splenda quesadilla - It wasn't what I wanted it to be, and it fell apart when I picked it up.  I'm not sure I would ever try this again, but I just had to try it once to see what would happen.

Gorton's Lemon Butter Salmon, Betty Crocker Au Gratin Potatoes, Bird's Eye Steamfresh Lightly Sauced Broccoli With Cheese Sauce - one of my favorite meal ideas! (2 pts for the fish, 1 pt for the broccoli, and 3 pts for the potatoes - make them with fat free milk and margarine instead of the suggested whole mike and butter)