Monday, March 3, 2014

Frozen Food Reviews

I love frozen dinners.  The biggest dilemma I run into is all the choices and brands that are available.  I'm reviewing some of my favorites.  Lean Cuisine Santa Fe Style Rice and Beans - 9/10.  This is a wonderful dinner, its filling on its own and needs no doctoring up.  If I'm buying a few frozen dinners this is always one of them.  I never get tired of it and its very satisfying and well seasoned. 

Smart Ones Broccoli and Cheddar Roasted Potatoes - 7/10.  They changed the recipe on this to make it more healthy.  The cheese is less cheesy and more saucy now.  The flavor is still there but the texture is not.  I still enjoy this dish every once in a while, sometimes you just need carbs and cheese and this can hit the spot.  Tip: add more broccoli to soak up the sauce. 

Lastly, Smart Ones Pasta with Ricotta and Spinach - 6/10.  On its own this is nothing impressive but it is very easy to doctor up and make into a hearty pasta dish.  I add 1 cup broccoli, 3 cups raw spinach, garlic and a laughing cow cheese wedge.  Microwave additional ingredients in a large bowl and microwave Smart ones as directed.  Combine and eat. Result - 8/10

Saturday, March 1, 2014

How to pack for a 7 day trip in a carry on

Going on vacation is one of the most exciting things you can do.  There is the anticipation leading up to the trip, the planning, the packing, the making of arrangements, and of course the getting there. Now ever since airlines decided to charge me for checking in my luggage, I've decided to pare down my packing to fit in a carry on.  I always seem to shock my travel companions with my minuscule amount of luggage so I thought I'd share my strategies I have learned over the years.
1. The first thing you should is pick out your plane outfit.  I traveled from NY to FL on my trip, so I layered up.  I wore jeans, a sweater, a scarf, and a Northface.  Now a Northface is not what you would usually want to wear in NY but it was light enough to wear in FL on cold nights, so I cranked up the heat on the way to the airport and toughed it out.  Try to pick out clothes that take will take up the most room in your suitcase and plan to wear them on your way home too.

2. Pick a color scheme. Usually people tend to wear browns or blacks.  Pick one  and base your outfits around it.  I chose black and was able to add pops of color with my other choices.

3. Plan your outfits, every item you bring needs a purpose, plan your days out with what you are wearing and then add in additional items if you have room. Bring one pair of PJ bottoms and re-use any tops you wore during the course of the trip

4. Shoes - think about the type of trip you are going on.  I was going to Disney World which means-WALKING. I packed a pair of Sneakers, flats and flipflops.  When I traveled to Vegas I packed heels that matched all of my dresses one black, one white.

5. Jewelry - Now jewelry does not take up a lot of room but I still am a minimalist because bringing 15 necklaces on a trip usually ends a fun filled day of untangling them.  I bring travel friendly jewelry such as a chunky bangle or statement necklace.

6. Make-up/skincare/perfume - This is the hardest category for me.  The liquid rule for carry-ons is no joke.

  • When it comes to perfume I spray down my suitcase, not only does this eliminate the need for me to bring perfume but it keeps my clothes smelling great the whole trip. I am also a huge fan of the roll-on perfumes you can find at Sephora, they run around $18 and are very handy. 
  • I combine my facial moisturizer and concealer in one bottle.  
  • I use an empty container to store my facial cleanser (I bought a Lumene .5oz moisturizer and the container was really nice so I've been recycling it) 
  • My makeup-I bring a eyeshadow quad, a eyeliner, blush and mascara.  If I can I bring samples or make up thats almost gone so I can toss the containers once I'm down there
  • I take advantage of hotel amenities
7. Theres a secret weapon that I haven't mentioned yet, your travel companions! If you have a friend that is checking their luggage and you need to bring your favorite hairspray, shaving cream etc.  see if they can add it to their luggage. 

8. Scout out your destination.  I was at the Saratoga Springs Disney Resort with no car and our resort store had very few travel essentials but when I traveled over to the Polynesian Resort they had a small grocery store with all sorts of travel essentials that a person might need.  

What I packed:
2 Dresses
1 skirt
2 pairs workout pants: capri and pants
2 pairs jeans: colors black and indigo
1 pair shorts
2 workout tops
5 tank 
2 short sleeved shirts
1 long sleeved button down shirt
1 cardigan
1 pair of pj bottoms
2 workout bras
1 regular black bra

2 bangle bracelets

1 cross-body purse

1 hairbrush

9 pairs underwear/9 pair socks

When packing fold your clothes in half and roll, it saves a lot of room and makes your suit case easier to look through

Let me know if you have any tips to add or dilemmas you have run into while packing for traveling

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

12 weeks on Weight Watchers

Happy New Year!  12 weeks have passed since I've started WW and I'm 10.2 pounds down.  Now this may not seem like a lot of weight but mind you I had to navigate Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.  That's a lot of snacks, meals, cookies and drinks to think about. Now that the New Year has began I feel a rush of new motivation and a head start in weight loss for 2014!

I was not impressed with Weight Watchers at first glance but have really come around to it, things I think make WW different than an ordinary diet plan.

1.  The meetings-its good to feel you are not alone.  There are other people in the world that have ate their way through half a bag of chips or took a third helping of lasagna and better yet they live in your neighborhood.

2. The stickers- getting stickers for weight loss is super encouraging, think about the stickers you got on tests as a kid!

3. The accountability through tracking- I really thought that the transition from calories to points would be one of the things I wouldn't like about WW, I've had success with calorie counting.  The points make choices simpler and less daunting.  I like only worrying about 26 points vs 1400 calories.

4. The weigh ins- another thing I didn't think I'd be able to handle, I mean it took me awhile to let myself know my weight on the scale let alone another person!  Now I actually like it, it gives me extra motivation during the week knowing someone else is seeing my weight and knows whether I'm gaining or losing.

There are a lot of things I like about WW meetings, trust me its an investment and I wouldn't be paying if I felt like I could do it on my own just as well.  If you are toying with yet another diet I say give Weight Watchers a try, commit to 2 months and see if it works for you!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

First Week Impression of Weight Watchers

I joined Weight Watchers on 10/20 so I've been following the plan for almost a week and had my first meeting today.  There are some things I really like about WW and others I could do without.  For the things I like: Free points foods!  Who knew you could eat all the vegetables and fruits you want?!?! Well, within reason you try pulling this rule on corn or potatoes and you will be looking at a point blowout! I made a soup with chicken, beans, quinoa and corn and created the recipe on their website- a can of corn was 15 points, lets just say corn and I are no longer on speaking terms.

You have points for the day, which as a calorie counter  this was the part I was least convinced about, but I do like them and hope I get the hang of calculating them soon.

The other tracking feature I like is the workout tracker, I have used caloriecounter and myfitnesspal and I always had the sneaking suspicion that they were giving me way too much credit for my workouts.  On WW I got a decidedly low amount of points for my workout which I appreciate so I don't feel like I can go home and eat an extra 800 calories. 

Things I don't like, the website is not user friendly,  I mean I pay $42 a month to use the website and go to meetings and I can't believe how many glitches I'm finding!  Half of the 'my tools' didn't open the first few days I was on it and I registered for the meeting 3 times because even after I registered there's no where that specifically states 'you signed up for xx/xx/2013'  which really concerned me.  

I went to the meeting without my temporary card (yes this was my fault, but in my defense you can only get to the temporary card by registering for a meeting which I had already done 3 times)  and they had no communication between the website and the meeting computer to look me up.  

The meeting was a lot of fun, there was even someone who brought a pair of pants she could jump in an out of with her clothes on in front of us (love that cliche, but who doesnt').  We all received a list of Halloween candy and their respective points on our way out!  Terrifying!  I think I'm going to be baking Taralynn Mcnitts pumpkin bars to curb any cravings!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

delicious dinner and a fun new snack!

Winter has me loving a good crockpot recipe and this has been my favorite to date.  I am a huge fan of skinnytaste and have enjoyed every recipe on her blog that I've tried.  I have irrational anxiety about not pairing a meal with either a cheese or a carb but I know with her recipes I will be satisified without those so without further ado I present Skinnytaste's "Santa Fe Chicken".  It tastes like you scooped out a burrito and only ate the contents, only and its less than 200 calories for a 9 oz serving! Yum!

I modified her recipe a bit as you can see below.  I added spinach (I cooked it the whole time and could barely see it when it was done, so I would add it about an hour before serving next time but if you have a picky eater this might work out well.) Have slightly less chicken and corn and a lot of hot sauce.  

Mine clocks in at 163 per serving, paired it with Tostitos Cantina chips (15 for 150) ~313 meal

Raw, Boneless, Skinless - Chicken Breast, 22.4 ounces67208146Ico_delete
Vegetable - Red Bell Pepper, 1 pepper30801Ico_delete
Red Pack - Petite Diced Tomatoes, 1 container (1 4/5 cups ea.)881804Ico_delete
Spices - Cumin, 1 tsp8100Ico_delete
Onions - Raw, 0.25 cup, chopped17400Ico_delete
Goya - Black Beans Premium Drained Rinsed, 1 container (1 4/5 cups ea.)31567225Ico_delete
Spinach - Raw, 4 cup28403Ico_delete
Knorr - Chicken Bouillon Extra Large Cubes, 1/2 cube10000Ico_delete
Spices - Pepper, red or cayenne, 1 tbsp17311Ico_delete
Spices - Onion powder, 1 tbsp24601Ico_delete
Spices - Garlic powder, 1 tbsp28601Ico_delete
Corn - Sweet, yellow, canned, whole kernel, drained solids, 0.5 cup661512Ico_delete
 Just a random announcement for a kicking good snack bar.
The fudge dipped bars were only 10 calories more than their undipped counterparts so obviously the right choice was made.  I always feel fancy eating coconut so these bars tasted good and I could wear my tiara without irony while eating them so it was a win-win

Pizza Cravings

Make your very own delicious pizza at home for just 140 calories a slice!
Country Kitchen - Light Italian Bread, 3 slice1203006Ico_delete
Hormel - Turkey Pepperoni, 17 slices70049Ico_delete
Sargento - Ultra Thin Slices - Provolone, 2 slices80165Ico_delete
Sargento - Colby-Jack Ultra Thin Slice, Low Fat, 2 slices80175Ico_delete
Prego 100% Natural - Chunky Garden Combo Pasta Sauce, 1/2 cup701322Ico_delete

Sunday, January 13, 2013

meal for 2 in less than 10 for about $3 a person

I love food, I don't get people that think eating is boring or are super picky because that's not me.  I also love instant gratification I can spend 3 hours completing a task but the best part of it is putting a check mark next to it to show its done.  Thats why I love eating something warm and rich without having to put a lot of time of effort in it. Warning this looks likes I've been paid by steamfresh but I haven't I just love steam-anything!

Here it goes:
(30 cal per 1/2 bag)
(180 cal per serving)

 (80 calories per 1/4 cup)

Start by tossing your couscous and asparagus in the micro for 5 minutes, while you are doing this grab a 1/2 cup measuring tool from your cupboard and measure out your goat cheese.
Take asparagus out and cut it up into 3/4 inch pieces.
Once done toss goat cheese, asparagus, and couscous in large bowl and mix together.
Put in microwave again for 1:30 on 8 and serve! Delicious

Calories: 290
Carb: 36g
Protein: 14.2g
Fiber: 5g
Sodium: 524mg

(The sodium is a little out of control (I'm a salt lover, can't stop wont stop) at  35%.
To reduce it,  add another bag of veggies  to make 3 servings and  make a slightly more reasonable ~23% of your sodium intake,)