Thursday, January 26, 2012

Weekly Wal-Lah: Don't Read While Hungry...You May Eat Your Computer.

     I mentioned last week that I started participating in Weight Watchers, since it is paid for by the hospital I work at, in efforts to be encouraged to eat more healthy foods. Needing ideas for inspiration, I've searched the internet high, low, sideways, diagonal, and have gathered some yummy ideas along the way. Pinterest, of course is a great source, but if you've never heard of Hungry Girl or Chocolate Covered Katie, you should definitely check out those girl's sites!
     And then I thought, maybe you'd want to see what's been cooking in  my kitchen for the last week........
     Enlightened by an idea they mentioned a couple of weeks ago on Biggest Loser, I started making homemade pizza using whole wheat tortilla's for the crust! First I brown the tortilla on a nonstick skillet with a tiny bit of no-cal cooking spray (like Pam), to ensure a super crispy factor, then I load it up with Newman's Own Marinara sauce (procedes to charity), fresh basil leaves, fresh spinach and agrula, mozzarella, artichoke hearts, fresh mushrooms and banana peppers, sauteed onion, the 1/2 ground venison + 1/2 ground carrots I made a few days prior, and pepperonis.
     They are amazingly fresh and delicous, and the entire thing is only 7 points!!!! (Compared to 7 points for a single piece of Domino's pizza.) The extra good news is you can put whatever is in your frig on these things and they taste great!! Yesterday I made one with fresh sliced roma tomatoes, fresh cilantro, sauteed slaw mix with red onion, and grilled chicken. Yum!
     These banana chocolate wontons came from Pinterest! I learned it doesn't take the extra calories of egg whites to make wonton edges stick together, all you need to do is dampen the edges with a little water using your finger! I also learned, halfway into to making these, that it's much easier, once you've sealed the top corner, to pick up the wonton to finish pinching off the edges. If you try seal the edges while it's laying flat on the pan, the contents try to squoosh out, and you can't fit as much in the wonton wrapper.
     I did not grease the baking sheet, didn't have a single problem, and also added a little cinnamon to  mine, because it makes everything better! These little babies hit the sweet tooth spot, while getting a little extra fruit in for the day, and only racking in at 2 points a piece!
     The next thing I got brave enough to try is Kale Chips, also discovered on Pinterest. Instead of using olive oil, I laid all the fresh pieces of kale in a single layer on a baking sheet, lightly sprayed with no-cal cooking spray and sprinkled with Garlic salt (just a tad, Kale is naturally a little salty tasting), Pepper, Cumin, and dried Oregano.  The first couple of bites were a tad strange, but enticing, and before I knew it, I LOVED them. Light, airy, crunchy. So crunchy! I didn't get a picture of the finished product because I was too busy eating it! Did I mention they are 0 points for all you can eat???!!! (Compare that to 4-9 points for a very small serving size of your favorite chips!)
     Another item I experimented with was Stuffed Eggplant, also guess where. I know you're smart enough to figure it out, so I won't even type it. Of course I had to make a few of my own modifications. My stuffing included: 1 cup carrots, a hand-full of fresh cilantro, 5 fresh basil leaves, 1/2 green bell pepper, and 2 cups of spring salad mix----all pulverized together----- and then added that mix to the chopped eggplant guts, 1 cut Ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup weight watchers onion and chives whipped cream cheese, and 1 cup mozzarella. I filled the eggplant halves to the point of overflowing, placed in an foil boat, and after they were almost done in the oven, sprinkled with homemade garlic and herb whole wheat bread crumbs I had left over from the stuffed bell peppers.
     I loved this dish. Really loved it. But it wasn't Patrick's favorite; he's not a huge fan of Mediterranean style dishes, and this was spot on with that region's flavor. This baby has 7-8 points, but is a mighty beast to tackle in one sitting, so I split it in half, and paired with a light salad and fish for a decently pointed meal! (The ricotta cheese is a big point contributor, so I was thinking maybe small curd cottage cheese may be candidate for substitution. Also, the left over stuffing mix would be great for a dip, or to put on chicken or fish as a topping.....or maybe to even stuff a tomato??? Oh, the possibilities!!!)

Where do you get your healthy food ideas from? What's your favorite fix right now?

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