Day 2 Of Simple Start

simple start veggie omelet

My veggie omelet turned was very tasty, despite the fat-free cheddar.

I’m on Day 2 of Weight Watchers’ Simple Start plan and so far so good. The recipes are super easy to make and fill you up. I’ve kept on track with my net carb count fairly easily, and I’m enjoying the program so far.

I made two of the recommended meals today – a veggie omelet with a lite English muffin for breakfast and chicken Parmesan with a side salad for dinner. Both were excellent.

I did tweak the chicken Parmesan by adding spinach to the sauce. Yum.

As much as I worried about the amount of carbs in the food offerings, I ended up creating my own lunch (with power foods, of course!) because I needed more carbs.

After an hour of yoga, followed by 30 minutes on the treadmill, my trainer put the hammer to me with a very intense muscle workout. I needed my mid morning protein shake and 30 minutes later I gobbled up a chicken quinoa salad.

That hit the spot.

Keeping Score Of What I Eat
I admit I am still tracking. I know…I know you only eat power foods so there is no need to track.

Well I’m tracking for 2 very good reasons.

First, I need to track my net carbs. Yes I’m doing Weight Watchers but I’m doing a low carb version. Ever since my doctor told me 2 years ago I need to change my diet or become a diabetic, I’ve tracked carbs.

Second, tracking food is not second nature to me. I worked hard to create this good habit and it doesn’t take much to break it. Sure tracking is annoying, but if it helps me shed pounds, I can put up with it.

Today's indulgence: homemade vanilla ice cream buried under a mountain of berries.

Today’s indulgence: homemade vanilla ice cream buried under a mountain of berries.

Day 2 Indulgence
I’m about to enjoy a half a cup of homemade vanilla ice cream loaded with blueberries and strawberries. So, the same indulgence as last night.

I have to admit, I do enjoy the ice cream. It’s a rare treat these days. It’s something I’d pass on simply because of the amount of sugar. But with my carbs in check I can indulge a little.

But I think homemade frozen custard is on the horizon.


Roasted Chicken with Sautéed Mushrooms & Pearl Onions

food challenge; mushroom

December Food Challenge #2: Mushrooms! I selected the Cremini to go with my roasted chicken.

I chose mushrooms as my food challenge for the week. Why? Since my childhood, I’ve hated mushrooms and have avoided them like the plague. Pretty tough to do growing up in a mushroom-loving home.

No matter what, it seemed that mushrooms always ended up in our food.

Pizza? Check.

Spaghetti? Check.

Stuffing? Check.

What is it about their taste that had me avoiding mushrooms for so long? I have no idea. In truth, I’d never really tried them. I think I grew up hearing all those tales about poisonous wild mushrooms, so I took the message to heart and stayed away.

Last month I gave fish a try (I’ve eaten sushi 4 times since!). It only makes sense that I give my mighty foe, the mushroom, a fair shake.

I knew I’d be roasting a whole chicken last night. I needed a side dish, so I settled on cremini mushrooms and red pearl onions. Why that combo? It struck my fancy.

Ok, the mushrooms smelled wonderful while I sauteed it in butter with pearl onions and red pepper.

Ok, the mushrooms smelled wonderful while I sautéed it in butter with pearl onions and red pepper. But would I like the taste?

Roasted Chicken with Sautéed Mushrooms and Pearl Onions
Net carbs: 9g
Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 5 (assumes 3-oz chicken breast, no skin)
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • Whole chicken (4-6 lbs.)
  • 4 Tbsp. of butter, separated (2 of the 4 should be soft)*
  • 2 C Cremini mushrooms, washed and stems removed (halve large mushrooms)
  • ½ C Diced red bell pepper
  • 10 Red pearl onions, skins removed (if using frozen, thawed)**
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375 F.
  • Clean chicken, removing neck and giblets; pat dry with paper towel. Place on rack in roasting pan.
  • Rub bird with two tbsp. of soft butter.  Then season bird with salt and pepper.
  • Fold the wings under the bird and truss the drumsticks together.
  • Place bird in oven and cook 20 minutes for every pound.  When the internal temperature reaches 165 F, the chicken’s done. When done, remove chicken from oven and let it rest for at least 15 minutes. This allows the juices to collect in the meat (yum!).
  • While chicken rests, in a skillet melt 1 tbsp. of butter over medium-high heat.
  • Add pearl onions and sauté, about 7 minutes. Add last tbsp. of butter, red peppers and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for an extra 2-4 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.

*I use 2 tbsp. of butter in the side dish — my fat count was running too low for the day. You can cut the amount to 1 tbsp. if you prefer.

**I only used 10 pearl onions because I wanted a lower carb count.  If you are not counting carbs, use more if you like (it’s a power food on Weight Watchers).

The whole dang dish was yummylicious!  I captured my husband's dinner before he gobbled it down in record time.

The whole dang dish was yummylicious! I captured my husband’s dinner before he gobbled it down in record time.

My verdict on the cremini mushrooms? 
Wow, I really enjoyed them. I was expecting something limp and slimy. Instead I got a nice, firm texture and a bit of a beefy taste, almost like the mushrooms were marinated in beef stock. I’m lovin’ that! While the cremini is the star of the dish, it didn’t dominate. Another bonus!

So will I use them in another dish? Yes! They were a nice, tasty treat. Since they are also known as baby bellas, I think there’s portabella mushroom out there with my name on it.

Now I need to think of another veggie to try next week.

Any suggestions?


December Food Challenge – Eating New Veggies

I kick off my December Food Challenge with a vegetable I've never tried -- Bok Choy.  Image courtesy of SOMMAI and FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

I kick off my December Food Challenge with a vegetable I’ve never tried — Bok Choy. Image courtesy of SOMMAI and FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

It’s December and I’m on to my second food challenge. What I came up with isn’t as difficult as my November Fish Eating Challenge but I’m hoping it’s just as rewarding and I discover a love of new foods!

The challenge? Eating one new vegetable a week.

I came up with the idea Sunday while at the grocery store. I’m making a stir fry this week and while picking up my standard veggies, I came across baby bok choy. It looks like a leafy celery stalk to me. But since it sits with the cabbage at the store, I’m pretty sure it’s not celery.

I’ve never tired it. It looked pretty. In the basket it went.

If you look at my grocery list, you’ll find about 15-20 seasonal fruits and veggies that are staples in my diet. I never deviate from the list.

Well that just makes life a little too predictable.

It seems like my grocery store is adding new produce each week. And it’s a shame that I’m not sampling any of it.

bok choy, healthy eating, trying new veggies

Freshly cleaned baby bok choy! It’s mild flavor is perfect for stir fries and soups!

Veggie of the Week — Bok Choy
Bok choy is a mild tasting Chinese cabbage perfect for soups and stir fries (woohoo!). It’s loaded with vitamins A and C (1 cup equals your daily allowance of vitamin A — dang). You can eat both the leafy greens and the stalk, but you need to separate them when cleaning.

Speaking of cleaning produce, I usually wash my produce when I get it home. It’s part of my food prep so everything healthy is ready to go. Not so with bok choy. It stays fresh in your fridge for about 6 days provided you don’t clean it.

Bok choy graced my table last night in a chicken stir-fry.  It’s not as strong a flavor as regular cabbage. It seemed to take on the taste of the stir-fry – it’s the tofu of cabbages! But I really enjoyed the texture it added to my dish.

Sorry there isn’t a photo of my stir fry, but my stir fry dishes are never photo worthy. I need to work on that.

Will I use it again? 
Yes! I’ve read different ways you can prepare bok choy. I’m looking forward to making it a part of my regular rotation of veggies. Also it’s pretty cheap. I picked up 5 baby boks for about $0.50 at my grocery store.  With the cost of fresh produce going up, that’s a great price.

Next week, something more challenging – Mushrooms!  Yuck.


First Eating Challenge On New Diet

Ruth's Chris Steak House logo

It’s our anniversary tonight. Will I succeed or fail with sticking to my new weight loss meal plan? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Only 3 days into my new diet and I’m already running into my first BIG test. Today’s my 11th wedding anniversary! We made reservations for Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Actually when going low carb, Ruth’s Chris is a great restaurant. But now that I’m tracking carbs, fat and protein, figuring out what I want is a wee bit tricky.

The good news: I’ll stay on track with the petite filet, asparagus (no hollandaise sauce) and broiled tomato. I can even have wine and champagne for a toast. The problem is I want the 9 oz filet. The downside? It kills me on fat by 20g. I have no idea if that is a big deal or not.

I really want to show discipline, but a big part of me is saying, it’s your anniversary…enjoy.

Well, while I decide what to do with this dilemma, the following is for my hubby – who may have a double celebration if his new dark fantasy e-book can crack the Amazon Top 100 today (shameless plug over):

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