Sunday, February 7, 2010

Deliciousness... and weight loss.

In the last couple years, I have increasingly been trying to eat healthier. While it hasn't always worked, I have certainly rebooted my love for cooking food from scratch, experimenting with new recipes and trying new foods (Brussel Sprouts being the most notable for 2009). Cooking good, healthy, whole foods just for me is sometimes a trial, because my kitchen is small as is my refrigerator - which means I don't have a ton of space to store ingredients (and thus have to buy smaller quantities, which are more expensive) and my fridge doesn't hold as much as I'd like - so I can really only make one or two things a week that are going to be stored in the fridge/freezer. That part is kind of lame. But despite that, I have tried some really fun recipes in the first month of 2010. I forgot to take photos of most of them, but will tell you about a few here and provide recipes for your review.

Additionally, my mom has a recipe of the week ministry. She sends out a recipe weekly along with a note about her life and what she's learning in church or through other areas of her life. She's been doing it about three years and I have garnered a ton of great recipes from it. If you're interested, let me know in the comments section (leave your email address!) and I'll get you on the list.

So last week I made a really delicious soup (pictured at the top). I found it in the Rachel Ray magazine and it was full of healthy fresh vegetables including yukon gold potatoes, carrots, green beans, roasted tomatoes, and onions. I added celery and some white beans - I just think every soup that starts with onions should also have celery! The chicken gets put in whole and then pulled out and shredded before serving. The recipe: Hearty Vegetable Chicken Soup is available online.

Despite eating more healthy, and walking to and from campus daily, I was not losing any weight. I had gained about 10 pounds since July and was not feeling great about my body shape and weight. I'm the first to tell you that weight is the least important measure, but because my body wasn't in the shape I wanted, I was feeling frustrated. I had considered joining Weight Watchers a few times in the past year or so, but wasn't sure about spending the money or the time. But last week I bit the bullet and just did it. I have a few friends who have lost weight with WW and kept it off as well as adopting more conscientious and healthy lifestyles and decided that if 2010 was going to be the kind of year I wanted it to be, then I was going to get on this train.

I'm diverting from the stories of the awesome food I've been cooking to tell you this story, because the next two recipes I cooked were WW recipes. But before we get there, I'm going to put my goal out here. Because I'm doing WW online, I don't have a weekly meeting of people to cheer me on. So you, faithful readers, have become my cheerleading squad (well, y'all and some of my friends at school). My big picture goal is to lose 35 pounds in 2010. My short term goal is to lose 11 pounds. Each time I lose 5 pounds, I get to buy a $10 gift card at Best Buy, to go toward buying a Wii when I finish my qualifying exams in May. I'm hoping to put up a goal meter here on the blog - so keep an eye out for that.

OK, back to the food....  :)

I made two INCREDIBLE dishes this weekend. And I'm so excited to tell you about them.

The first is a great vegetarian recipe with Butternut Squash and Ricotta Cheese*. While I don't normally love pasta dishes (its just a lot of carbs!), this recipe had a great "macaroni and cheese" feel to it, without being high in fat and calories. The sauce is made of mashed squash and once tossed together is topped with Ricotta and Parmesan. I added some spices to the recipe, including a tsp of Nutmeg (which I just think should always be included with Butternut Squash).

The second recipe is a Slow-cooker recipe for Chicken Paella*. I've never made Paella before - it always sounded too complicated, but the words "slow cooker" lured me in. While I was making the pasta dish, I prepped the vegetables and rice for the Paella and put them in the fridge overnight. The next morning, I layered the chicken, onions and peppers, diced tomatoes, and broth, added a bunch of spices, turned it on low and left for a study date with a friend. When I arrived back home, the smell was divine. I stirred it up, shredding the chicken, added a bag of frozen peas and the rice and let it heat up on high for about 15 minutes. The only downside was that I didn't have any Tumeric, so the Paella wasn't yellow. The nice part about not having the yellow color is that the color of the vegetables really stood out. The flavor was great and I have enough to have lunch all week! (incidentally, I subbed brown rice for the white rice in the recipe)

Well, friends, that is enough for now. My first weigh-in is tomorrow and I'm not sure that I actually lost any weight this week, but I was definitely more aware of what I was eating and of the mental habits that I've been cultivating around food. I've also been more aware of my physical activity levels and how that interacts with what I eat and how I feel. Hopefully I will continue to become more self-aware on this journey. Thanks for walking it with me!

* If the WW recipe links don't work, let me know in the comments section and  I will email them to you if you're interested. Remember to leave your email address.


Candice said...

1. I can totally relate to the small fridge problem. We had a dinner party on Friday night and quickly ran out of room in the fridge... we ended up hanging a bottle of wine out of our third floor window to keep it cool! (Obviously, this isn't a good solution for you, since you live in sunny LA, but I thought it was clever.) :) Anyway, it is hard trying to fit in any leftovers and you we find that we really have to refrigerate our produce or it will go back too quickly. This makes for frequent grocery shopping, but it's worth it to have fresh, healthy food.
2. I am totally going to make that butternut squash dish. It looks great and butternut squash is huge over here but I never knew what to do with it.
3. My cousin is on a pretty interesting weight loss journey... she is competing in a local version of the biggest loser through her YMCA. She has lost 15.6 pounds in 4 weeks! She is committed to spending a certain amount of time exercising every week and is on a pretty strict eating plan. She doesn't blog a ton, but you can read about her journey here:
4. You can do this Tiff. Do you have a date by which you want the 11 pounds to be gone? I'll be cheering you on!

Candice said...

*we find the produce goes BAD. I can't be bothered to proofread until after I post, apparently!

Anonymous said...

I love my slow cooker! I'm working on losing weight this year too. I have a bunch of healthy slow cooker recipes that I post on my blog if you're interested. (

Alexis Cruikshank said...

Congrats on joining WW. You know I love it. I am actually looking forward to rejoining once baby arrives so I can actually reach goal this time! Keep us posted! - Alexis

Sarah Gail said...

Uh, that soup looks DELICIOUS! I'm going to have to try it! Glad you found some yummy WW recipes! I can't wait to hear how you do tomorrow! :)

BTW- I inherited my brother's wii and purchased Wii fit and Wii Active. Let me tell you-- Wii Active is a WORK OUT. Yikes.