Thursday, May 31, 2012

Blog Publishing from an iPad

I just bought an iPad!

I'm publishing my blog from it right now using an App.

I haven't figured out how to load pics yet

Does anyone write and publish from the iPad..?

Please share in the comments at the very bottom of the post.

 ________________________________________________________________________________



Ok . I'm back to my computer for the rest of this article. It is so much faster.
I don't have a laptop, so I bought an iPad to be able write articles and publish my post when I am traveling.
I have to say, writing and publishing from an iPad can be done, but as of right now it is not as easy as using my computer!

I wrote the above the line material and will add pictures, but it took a longer time and is not as convenient as a computer.

I also found  out that the iPad only is compatible with " Blogger" if I type up my posts in html.
First of all, I don't know html and even if I did, it would be a very time consuming project to have to use it to write all my posts.

My next step was to find an App that would give me the capability of typing in " compose " mode , which is just be able to keyboard.

 I researched and decided to try " Blogsy"

It allows me to type my posts and then just like Blogger it will convert for me.

So, right now I am using Blogsy and learning to navigate it so I can write a decent post with pictures and layout while traveling.

Since then my daughter in law sent me this link with 25 apps and reviews for bloggers. Appolicious . It looks like there may be others that I want to try.


The most difficult part of using the iPad  so far is trying to figure out how to hyperlink.



I would love to start a discussion . If you use an iPad to blog  I would love to know your experiences. Please leave a comment with any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions or questions.

Do you use a laptop and an iPad?
Do I need both?
Should I just stick to a laptop?
Do you blog from your iPad? Do you run into any problems?
How do you hyperlink?

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Portion Control For Weight Loss- Less is More

Have you ever heard the expression, " Less is More"? It is certainly true for me when it comes to portion control. After my experience with pistachio nuts, I truly understand the meaning of that phrase.

The other day while shopping in our local supermarket, I noticed a new food item .
It was cute little individual size bags of pistachio nuts.
I loved the idea because the bags were portioned out, and I could just grab one for a snack on the run.
They were $1.00 a little snack bag of 1 and 1/2 ounce each
I thought that was reasonable and proceeded to take 10 bags.


However, as I approached the checkout counter, I realized I was paying at total of  $10.00  a pound for the little bags. I also realized I could could get a larger bag for only $6.99 pound.

So, I went back and bought one larger bag instead of the ten little individual sized bags.

                                   
Although the larger bag was a better value, in the case of dieting, I can honestly say , " Less is More"!
My intention was to go home and divide the large bag of pistachios into individual size bags.
Unfortunately,  it didn't work that way for me because pistachios are my weakness.

Once I opened that large bag, I started eating it.
I found out that no matter what the size of the bag , I want to eat it all.
The large bag did my diet in.
I ate 3/4 of it in one sitting.
Hard to believe , but true.
 I was on the computer and just having a good ole time, until I noticed a huge stack of shells staring me in the face.

The next time I buy pistachios I will be buying the little individual bags.

Now, I gladly pay the extra for ten individual sized little bags! I take one with me for a snack and that's it! In this case Less is More because it helps me stay on my diet and work with portion control.



  • What happens when you buy large size bags of snacks?
  •  Does it work for you? 
  • How do you manage portion control? 
  • What is your weakness? 
  • Are there things you just can't bring into the house





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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memorial Day Gluten Free Appetizer Recipe Roundup

It's Memorial Day weekend and I'm digging up my oldie but goodie appetizers for some gluten free ideas that you can whip together rather quickly; some only need assembling. These can be used all throughout the summer. Have a great holiday!



These frozen kiwi mojitos are perfect for a hot Memorial day weekend. 
With or without alcohol, they are a big hit.



Avocados are plentiful and reasonable right now.Trader Joes's actually sells little kit of everything you need to make guacamole for just $3.49 ( two avocados, a lime, a hot pepper, tomatoes, a piece of fresh garlic). or just buy your own for this  Easy to make party friendly  Mexican Guacamole  appetizer.


The Hummus Bruschetta appetizers only need assembling and they are always a big hit!


Roasted Eggplant Spread and Roasted Veggies are great for keeping the calories low; make one or both




Are these little caprese bites cute or what? Again, just assemble.. mozzarella ball, cherry tomato, fresh basil,


Got watermelon? Cut some up in cubes and freeze it. This frozen watermelon smoothie is about the most refreshing drink that you can make for both kids and adults.. It's delightfully sweet without any added sugars!


Tangy, full of cilantro and spices, these simple marinated  Middle Eastern  Carrots are a rage in Moroccan restaurants on the salad plate before the meal. You can make them yourself and amaze your guests! Serve these little appetizers cold on a platter.
Middle Eastern Carrots, grilled eggplant, grilled cauliflower, toss salad, humus

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Six Easy Gluten Free Lunch Ideas


Sometimes it's hard to think of something to eat for lunch, especially when it needs to be gluten free.

 The other day, I invited my mother in law over last minute and had to think of something fast.
 It was a warm day, and we wanted something light.  In 20 minutes, I threw this beautiful platter together and we  ( my husband too) enjoyed some laughter and conversation along with these naturally gluten free and vegetarian goodies. It was really tasty and healthy with a Mediterranean flair .

Gluten Free Lunch platter
Fresh mozzarella, Jicama, red onion, guacamole, eggs, humus, and tomatoes sprinkled
with spices. 
The platter consisted of  a Capese ring of tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and a little chopped red onion sprinkled with salt less seasoning and cumin and drizzled with a little olive oil. The center is jicama slices ( which contain a substance to stimulate with weight loss).  The first little bowl held my fastest ever guacamole, while the other bowl held some store bought garlicky humus. I garnished the center with  hard boiled eggs that I always have ready in my refrigerator. In addition, ( but not shown) , I also made a red cabbage and carrot coleslaw ,and we were delightfully happy.
 Continue to read for 5 more ideas. 

Ingredients:
1 package of  fresh mozzarella, sliced
2 large red slicing tomatoes, sliced
1/2 red onion , diced
Olive oil
Cumin, Trader Joe's salt free spice mix ( 21 Salute)
1 small jicama, sliced
3 hard boiled eggs, sliced in half 


Fastest ever guacamole
1 avocado, cut and mashed
juice of 1 lime, fresh squeezed
1/2 cup tomato, chopped ( optional)

5 More lunch ideas: 










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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Low Calorie Snacks that Reduce Cravings


One of the keys to weight loss for me is to always be prepared with some kind of low calorie snack that can help stabilize my blood sugar and therefore reduce cravings!


             Just stuff one chocolate chip in a raspberry for a low calorie high satisfaction snack

It's important to plan your snacks in advance and be conscious of your goals.


These Snacks are What DID NOT Work for Me
scroll down for the snacks that did work for me

Last night, a friend of mine had a few women over for a social evening. She put out snacks of gluten free crackers, blueberry jam covered goat cheese log, chocolate covered blueberries and cherries , vegetable chips, and nuts. She also had vanilla ice cream and an apple type turnover.

She served all things that I love and things that can easily pack on weight!  I nibbled on a few nuts and had a few crackers with goat cheese ( and a few chips); I wasn't too out of control, but I was not eating as consciously as I would have  at home.

Some  snacks can really be caloric and really play havoc with a good eating plan. The 4 crackers and blueberry coated goat cheese, the 5-6 nuts, and the 6-7 vegetable chips probably added up to about 10 points plus on Weight Watchers, which is way too caloric for one sitting. ( Was I even hungry? No! Did they start me craving , YES!)

If I were at home, my snack would have been air popped pop corn for 3 points. I would have sprayed it with olive oil spray and been in snacker's heaven. Air popped pop corn is full of fiber, low in fat and calories which is satisfying. It takes a while to eat, and I love crunching!

Why weight loss is also mental 

One of my favorites pass times is sitting with good friends, talking, having a good time and munching on snacks ( and some wine)  I could have eaten half of that bowl of chocolate covered blueberries and cherries.Thank goodness I didn't taste them.

I always have to bring myself back to awareness and conscious eating . It was so easy to keep having just one more cracker and one one chip. For me, in situations like that , I do better when I abstain.

Once I start, I lose track of my goals:

  • I want to lose weight right now, not maintain. 
  • When I am not consciously eating , I might just maintain ( or even gain) .. and my ultimate goal of weight loss will take longer. 
  • This is a mental journey as well as an eating journey.There will be plenty of time for maintaining, once I lose this weight. ( Of course I only have about 15 pounds to lose) by the way, I still had a great time without munching my way through the whole night!


 I'm starting to love looking better in clothes again, and I feel more energetic!

I have found that since I have eliminated "sugars" and salty foods, I taste food differently.
Fresh fruit tastes amazing especially a mango and a Gala apple. 


Snacks that Work for Me and Help Stabilize Cravings

At home, I always keep snacks in the refrigerator that I can " go to" quickly and that are on my Weight Watchers Plan and of course are all gluten free.
  • Hard boiled eggs ( I buy Eggland's best in a bag already cooked)
  • Mozzarella sticks ( Weight Watcher's brand are just 1 point)
  • Fresh fruit ( apples, pears, mangoes, oranges)
  • Cut up fresh veggies dipped in plain Greek yogurt ( red pepper, cucumber, carrots,etc) 
  • Greek yogurt ( plain nonfat) or add frozen fruit 
  • Air popped pop corn ( I pop it myself)
  • Measured out baggies of  10 raw almonds or 15 pistachio nuts
  • 1 Tablespoon nut butter on celery
  • Scroll down for my favorite 2 point snack
One of my favorite snacks is  Trader Joe's Cherry Berry Frozen Fruit bag ( 0) points plus which I covered in plain Almond milk-( 30 calories per cup)
Put the frozen fruit in a bowl,  cover with almond milk and enjoy it as it gets icy and as the frozen fruit softens it tastes like ice cream. The almond milk is just 1 point plus ..Total snack:  1 pt. plus

I love this snack!  Frozen Fruit with Almond Milk
 Of course you could put the frozen berries ( 0 points plus)  in the blender with plain nonfat Greek yogurt  for a rich and creamy 2 point plus snack. Tastes amazing and really rich in antioxidants!



                                 

Always 

  • Think,
  •  Plan,
  •  Be prepared 
  • Eliminate foods that you can't handle

When I am at home I have no problem following my diet plan because I keep high fiber, low fat, low point plus value healthy snacks around that don't stimulate my taste buds and actually help stabilize my blood sugar. When I am out, I realize how caloric" normal" snacks can be, and it really doesn't work. for me.

I try to eat every 2-3 hours so I don't get too hungry and then make poor choices. Snacks really help me stick to my plan and these healthy snacks are nutrient dense so I benefit from the added nutrition and health giving antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

The key for me is to find nutritious low point snacks and food that I can fill up on and stop the cravings! Sugar, salt, and fried foods call me back for more and more and more.
I find it is hard to eat out. How about you?

I  love to read your comments; so please leave one.
What are your " go to"  snacks?
 Does eating out do you in?
Are there any foods you can't handle? ( Pistachios for me- I want to eat the entire bag!)

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Finding Meatless Monday Meals




Does the idea of eating more meatless meals appeal to you, but do you run out of ideas and wonder what to eat? Eating meatless or eating meatless on Monday is so much more than just eating pizza &  pasta! There are so many excellent resources to find a variety of tasty, easy, nutritious recipes that you can incorporate into your family's menu. Of course, I am a committed vegetarian and all of my recipes are either vegetarian or vegan, so my blog is a great source.

In addition, I frequent many vegetarian/vegan blogs and get amazing ideas. You can not only find recipes but your can also link your meatless recipes.

In honor of National Vegetarian Week I'm presenting this roundup of bloggers who devote promote meatless Monday meals!

Every Monday , My Sweet and Savory hosts Meatless Monday where bloggers from all over blogland link up  pictures and recipes of healthy meatless meals. I find a wonderful variety of healthy recipes on her site every Monday. I found a wonderful recipe for Sweet Potato Zuchinni Kugel that my kids really liked. Visit this blog every monday for lots of meatless recipes .

I was just visiting The 21st Century Housewife and found out that May 21-May 27 is National Vegetarian Week .( Who Knew?)  It is to help people focus on creating more meatless recipes! Although her blog is not vegetarian, she is doing a vegetarian series this week. Today, she is featuring a vegetarian BLT

Monday seems to be the day designated for Meatless Meals and Hey What's For Dinner MoM hosts a Just Another Meatless Monday blog hop as well with links from other bloggers and lots of recipes. On her Meatless Monday blog hop I found a recipe for vegetarian hamburger helper meal that is made from scratch with soy ground beef that can be found in most supermarkets in the frozen section with the veggie burgers on a blog called Confident Cook , Hesitant Baker. Don't forget to visit every Monday.


Midnight Maniac hosts Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays which has an interesting variety of meatless meals each week. Last week I found a recipe for " Unchicken Nuggets" made from tofu on The Common Room that was really delicious and kid friendly too. She hosts this blog carnival every Monday as well.

 Another blog that hosts a Mealtless Monday is Veggie Mama . I'm new to her blog, but she has some interesting recipes. Last week she featured a great recipe for fabulous looking lentil curry that is very easy to make. I'll be stopping by every Monday.

I hope that this helps you find some variety and inspiration for incorporating more meatless healthy meals into your diet and celebrating National Vegetarian Week.

My vegetarian recipe features this week are: Overnight Refrigerator Oatmeal and Ratatouille Polenta

Each day this week, I will be highlighting Vegetarian recipes from across blog land.. Please stop back !

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Refrigerator Oatmeal ( Weight Watchers Style)


                               overnight oatmeal

Doesn't this easy to make refrigerator oatmeal look amazing? And so easy because you simply assemble, place in the refrigerator overnight and in the morning you have what tastes like a wonderful 3 Points Plus WW parfait!

Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day, yet many people skip it or eat something that is not very healthy.  Well, here is a solution and it is Weight Watcher's friendly.
It can be made for only 3 Points Plus or if you add nuts 5 PP.

This oatmeal recipe is actually not cooked, but is made by letting the mixture sit overnight in the refrigerator.
  • There is no messy pot to clean 
  • the oatmeal tastes amazing
  •  It is extremely convenient
  •  In the morning, when you are are in a rush, it is will be ready to eat or take with you.
  • This is a great idea for kids as well because it is a nutritious breakfast.

Basically, you simply assemble the ingredients before you go to bed at night and in the morning you will have a nutritious breakfast that is creamy, thick, and flavorful.

It's so simple even your kids can make it. Why not make this breakfast treat the night before for your kids, your spouse, and yourself. In the morning even though everyone may be on a different schedules, everyone can help his/herself when he/she is ready..you can also make different flavor- fresh strawberry, blueberry, banana, - you choose.

Did I mention that you eat the oatmeal cold?  
You won't mind because it tastes like a delicious parfait.

Are oats gluten free?
Only gluten free certified oats are gluten free ( oats that grow near wheat or other grains can become contaminated) I get my certified gluten free oats at Trader Joe's and they are reasonable.

Autor: Judee Algazi
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: none- place overnight in refrigerator


Ingredients:

1/4 cup dry oats per container ( I used certified gluten free oats and a small mason jar) 
1/3 cup of unsweetened almond or coconut milk ( or use any kind of milk)
1/4 cup of plain Greek Yogurt ( a must if you want it creamy) 
1/4 cup chopped blackberries berries
6 Whole berries for topping
Optional: 1 Tablespoon honey or maple syrup ( I did not use any)
optional; 1 Tbsp. chopped walnuts 

**Those on Weight Watchers : if you want a lower points plus for breakfast
1. omit the walnuts,
2. use nonfat Plain Greek yogurt
3.  substitute a package of stevia for the honey.
a cup of plain unsweetened almond milk is only 35 calories and a container of plain Greek yogurt is only 2 Points plus. I figure the modified version is 3 Points Plus . The full version is 5- PP. Anyone get a different calculation???

Directions:

Mix all ingredients, stir , cover, and refrigerate overnight. Add whole berries as a topping.

Ready to eat whenever you are--great after school snack too
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Food is my passion. I am gluten intolerant, busy. and strive for a healthy balanced lifestyle. It has taken me many years to develop and discover easy healthy recipes that meet gluten free, vegetarian and real food standards. On my blog I share my journey, my struggles, my discoveries, and my new recipes. I hope you find ideas, resources, and recipes that will be helpful to you. Come Back soon.



Author: Judee Algazi

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I got the idea for this type of recipe from  a recipe for strawberry refrigerator oats  that I viewed on  This Chick Cooks 


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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Weight Loss Motivation IV + Italian Recipe


Meet todays guest blogger, Elizabeth, who is the author of the inspiring blog, Food-Ramblings . Elizabeth publishes healthy recipes that are part of her Weight Watchers program. Personally, I find reading about success stories and healthy eating tips important for my "mental" weight loss journey. When it comes to weight loss, I need the influence of those thinking positively about eating and exercise. Elizabeth has also included a wonderful ratatouille polenta recipe!

So, here's Elizabeth:



Weight has always been a struggle for me.  As a child and young adult, I did not enjoy sports and grew up in an Italian family where pasta was a staple in every meal.  As I gained weight, instead of thinking about how I should work to fit in existing clothes, I would just go out and buy a new size.

After college (when disposable income didn’t exist now that I actually had bills to pay L), I knew just buying a size up needed to stop.  I was traveling a ton for work, and eating out all the time did not help the waistline.

Last year, I joined Weight Watchers and was being fairly successful, but after three months with the program, I decided I could do it on my own.  Guess what?  I couldn’t, and I gained what I lost plus some additional pounds.


Despite wanting to lose weight and look and feel better, I couldn’t get the motivation.  I had recently become engaged, and I was moving in with my future husband; life was good.  It was only as I was making our wedding website that I realized something really needed to change.  I had let myself go, and I wasn’t happy about it.

Here’s a picture from November of 2008; it was the first Thanksgiving Austin (my fiancé) and I spent together.  I think we look pretty good!!


And here we are in November of 2010 right after we got engaged.  We still look nice, but our faces definitely got a little rounder…



But here is the picture that really kicked me into gear.  I thought it was a great picture by itself, but looking at it compared to the other ones, I was blown away at how fat (yes, I said it- fat) we had gotten.


Needed Structure

The light bulb had finally gone off!  In January of 2012, Austin and I decided to join Weight Watchers.  I need the structure that meetings provide.  The accountability doesn’t hurt- I know I have to weigh in each and every week!

Doing It Together

Another piece that has been so helpful was to have a buddy in the weight loss process.  Austin and I were in it together, so that meant no (well, less) junk food in the house, and we were going to cook healthy meals.

My blog (http://www.food-ramblings.com/) also was a point of inspiration and accountability.  Even though I started with a readership of only supportive family and friends, I felt obligated to post new, delicious, and healthy (mostly) meals.

We’ve been doing Weight Watchers for almost five months, and the weight loss has been slower than I initially wanted it to be.  I need to remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.  A wise member of my Weight Watchers meeting said some very enlightening to the group during our last meeting.  He talked about being frustrated with the lack of speed of his weight loss.  However, had he not been actively trying to lose weight, he would have gained instead.  What a great perspective!  Think of the big picture—it’s like losing double, right?!?

Austin and I have done well with Weight Watchers.  He has lost 35 pounds, and I have lost 25 (woo hoo!).  Of course, men lose weight faster….


Changing Eating Habits & Trying New Foods

Healthy cooking has been a big part of what has made our weight loss a success.  We are eating new and different food for us, like polenta and quinoa and couscous, and eating many more fruits and vegetables.

One our favorite recipes is Ratatouille Polenta.  We hope that you and your family enjoy it!  And stop by Food-Ramblings to share your stories and get some other delicious recipes!


Ratatouille Polenta
Ingredients
8 Sundried Tomatoes  
1 Tbsp olive oil  
1 cup chopped onion
5 garlic cloves
1 medium eggplant
1 medium zucchini  
1 medium green pepper
1 cup sweet red peppers
28 oz canned crushed tomatoes  
1 tsp sugar  
1/4 tsp black pepper  
1/2 tsp table salt  
1 Tbsp ground basil  
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
16 oz cooked polenta (polenta tube)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (not necessary for the success of the recipe, and there is a vegan friendly option; check out Parma!)  















Check out the fresh ingredients all cut up!

Directions
Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in warm water to cover until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain, discarding the liquid, then chop the tomatoes.

Meanwhile, heat a nonstick pot or large pan. Swirl in the oil, then add the onion and garlic. Sauté until golden, about 7 minutes. Add the eggplant, zucchini, green and red bell peppers, tomatoes, sugar, salt, ground pepper, crushed red pepper flakes and the chopped sun-dried tomatoes; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are softened and the ­flavors are developed, about 30 minutes. Stir in the basil, during the last 2 to 3 minutes of cooking.

Meanwhile, preheat the broiler and spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Cut the polenta into 12 slices; arrange on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with the Parma! and broil 5 inches from the heat until hot and the “cheese” is golden, about 4 minutes.

Serve the ratatouille with the broiled polenta rounds.  6 Weight Watcher Points Plus a serving.

 __________________________________________________________________________________

Thank you Elizabeth for this inspirational post and fabulous recipe.
Please remember to check out Elizabeth's blog Food-Ramblings for more wonderful recipes ( most of her recipes list the Weight Watchers point values)

So, how are you feeling about your body? Your food? Your exercise ? Your life? I like what Elizabeth said, " it’s a marathon, not a sprint" 

 I love to read your comments, so please leave a comment by scrolling down to the end of the post and clicking on the word comments and leave a comment for Elizabeth.

I've started attending yoga classes twice a week and weight lifting classes once or twice a week. The more I exercise the better I feel and want to do more ( It works conversely as well. The less I exercise , the less I want to exercise)

In addition, I'm following Weight Watchers 5 days a week and mixing it up with lo carb 2 days a week. This seems to give me a little more variety- like on my low carb days, I get to eat more fat and cheeses which I love and don't have to weigh and measure. I read about doing this in a magazine and it seems to work.
It's working for me.. I went down a size ( so far)  and feel great. I forgot how great it feels to go to the gym! I'm much more energetic. I said I'm willing to work to get my body shape back and I am!!
I'm sticking with this.  Again, I realize that it's a lifestyle change. I love feeling good and looking better!

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