Weight Watchers


My favorite new veggie du stagione (that’s season in Italian, of course) is winter squash.  We’re talking much more than pumpkin.

I guess, like many others – I have a love affair with pumpkin through the fall season.  Yes, I know it is popular to trash pumpkin because it has become so darn ubiquitous (you know it’s a problem when Starbucks makes a latte out of it).

But, as a squash: pumpkin and its much more succulent cousins: delicata, Hubbard, kabocha, Blue Hubbard, butternut — it is a ubiquitous cold weather treat.

Easy as hell to prepare: half it (or, if really large: section it) and pop it in the oven to roast.  Lots of techniques on the sectioning part — because attacking any of these tough-skinned vegetables can be perilous.  Guy on the farmers market told me, hold it in your hands – at about waist height – and take it down to the ground/floor.  It cracks into cookable pieces.  I have found best to wrap it in a towel — the splunk can send seeds and stringy goo all over your kitchen.

My brilliant friend Victoria Granof, food style and cook extraordinaire, follows the advice of some television cook whose name I forget, who says put the whole squash in the over for 15 minutes at some degrees — probably 400-ish.  It doesn’t cook, but becomes super easy to cut.

What can you do:

eat it roasted as is, puree it and make recipes requiring pumpkin:

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal: 1/2 c. pumpkin puree, 3/4 c almond milk, 1/c oatmeal, cinnamon/pumpkin pie spice/dash salt/vanilla. I use a couple drops of the real-deal stevia and 2 t. brown sugar.  Cook for 10 minutes at 375 degrees, top with 1 T sliced almonds & 1 t. brown sugar – and cook another 10 minutes.  One serving.  And for those who are counting 7 WeightWatchers® points.

Squash soup.  Veggie boullion cube, 2 cups water, shallots & onions, some roasted kabocha (2 cups maybe?), a 1/2 c unsweetened applesauce – cook it up a bit – and have at it with a cook’s best friend: the immersion blender.  Zero WW® points.

And, the list goes on – use your imagination.

Oh by the way, the beautiful lady with the delicata is Signora Maria, straight from Bagnacavallo near Bologna — created by Italian artist Anna Tazzari – a beautiful woman in every way – and extraordinarily talented.

S Maria and Squash

 

 

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Enough with the wah-wah “I’m not in Kansas anymore” pity party about your Italian vacation and there being NOTHING TO EAT in America.  C’mon!!!

This is how to do it:  get off your vacation exhausted duff (okay, do some yoga first).  Let the airplane headache pass and move on.  Or, just plain move.  I walked to my Weight Watchers meeting and saw that, yes, Virginia, there ARE consequences to your cornetto eating – but basta!  Enough.  Move on.

NYC Italian Coffee Bar

I walked to my favorite coffee bar in NYC — Tarallucci & Vino — a completely Italian place, I presume owned by Italians, but if not – certainly the people who work there are speaking the mother tongue.  And, their customers are.  So, too, the bambini.  I ordered un espresso DOPPIO – figured that being in NYC – I couldn’t just order caffé like in Rome and expect to get espresso.  Squisito!

Greenmarket Goodies

A short stroll away: our version of the Campo dei Fiori – without the statue of the executed guy.  The Greenmarket at Union Square.  I filled my market bag to overflowing: beets with succulent greens still attached.  Radishes, broccoli, cauliflower.  I love fall greenmarkets with its squashes, pumpkins and potatoes.

There you have it.  Pure food: the American way.  Now, start cooking.

And, we’re not talking those donut-shaped tiny little oat cereals.  I am posting from London, baby!  The land of fish & chips, fab Indian food, and baps (big ol’ luscious looking rolls).  Yum!

A glimpse into Janet Eats on vacay.  Vacations can, of course, be challenging on the food front.  There is a wonderful technique in Weight Watchers® that enables you beforehand to consider your weight goal.  Three choices: lose, stay the same, gain.  If gain, how much?  Lose?  Really!?  On vacation?!!!  You are a better man than I if you can make that your goal.  But, hey, it is YOUR weight loss journey.  I usually choose gain two-three pounds.  Generally, it works.  Especially if you add walking to the equation.  I tend to pick walking cities.  And, certainly London qualifies for that.  Even the little towns outside of London, which happens to be where I am staying with a friend.

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You might wonder why I chose to write about pigging out in my last blog Janet Eats.  Too Much.

It just struck me that to stay true to my “mission” here on JanetEats, my ‘how I lost 50 pounds’ – I need to be open to all the nuances and challenges of that task.  It would be important to share the whole experience, not just the heady “whoo-hoo look-at-me I’m-losing-weight experience.  And, this blog is not just about losing weight through Weight Watchers, though it is clear that I swear by that program.  Why?  Simple.  It’s the “less in, more out” school of eating that leads to successful weight loss.  Weight University, I often call it.  It is a good time to learn whaddup with the overeating experience.

We do have our ups and downs.  We’ve seen that dramatically with Oprah.

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Shovel It InReality bites!

I am happy to say that I not only lost 50 pounds, I reached my weight-loss goal at the end of January.  In total, I lost 51 pounds.

This does not mean my life as a watcher of weight is over.  I continue to exercise my “eat properly” muscles.  With that, comes indulgences on occasion.   I realized when I reached my goal what an awesome challenge I would be facing with Maintenance.  I know how to lose weight.  I know how to gain it.  Keeping myself at a steady weight, now that is something I need to learn to do.

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avocado

My Saving Grace

Hail, the mighty avocado.  This one fruit singlehandedly saved me on my weight loss journey.  Did you know that it is 7000 years old?  Cultivated in Central America and brought to the New World in the 19th Century.

From WebMd:

It’s true that avocados are high in fat — one reason they’ve earned the nickname “butter pear.” A medium-sized avocado contains 30 grams of fat, as much as a quarter-pound burger. That’s why diet experts have long urged Americans to go easy on avocados in favor of less fatty fruits and vegetables. But now nutritionists are taking another look. They’re finding that most of the fat in an avocado is monounsaturated — the “good” kind that actually lowers cholesterol levels. Thanks to this new understanding, the U.S. government recently revised its official nutrition guidelines to urge Americans to eat more avocados.

I almost started a riot at my Weight Watchers® meeting when I discussed my very own “avocado diet.”

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My Favorite Stew

Lamb Stew in the Slow Cooker

On cold, frigid days like the one we’re experiencing right now in New York City, what a perfect day to stay inside, keep warm and cook up something in the trusty ol’ crock pot.  They’ve modernized the name these days to slow cooker — maybe crock pot is just too Betty Crocker® for the manufacturers.

I have been using my slow cooker for quite awhile to prepare meals on a weekend.  No effort, and they last me throughout the week.  And, not necessarily just in these cold months.  It works any time of the year.

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