Thursday, May 31, 2012

To Market, To Market

Don't worry, life's not all about counting Weight Watchers points.  

This Cidre Pomona Ice Cream Sandwich was purchased from Cold Comfort at the Moss Street Market last Saturday.  The best thing I have eaten in ages.  Amazing!

Sunday, May 27, 2012


One side effect of Weight Watchers is that I can no longer (most of the time!) resort to food or drink as treats in those movements of celebration, despair or just plain boredom.  Instead, this sort of energy has moved over to buying "stuff" as treats.  While I am sure that there are some who would say that this is a lateral move, I don't really care.  It's a pretty good trade-off in my mind.  Buying a treat here and there allows me to have my moments of impulsivity (and who doesn't have these?) in a way that doesn't mess with the other goals that I am working on. Plus, my home gets a little bit prettier with each purchase.

Is a canning jar a treat?

A tiny silver tray.  The cream and sugar dishes were a gift.

Not only that, it's a fairly equivalent financial trade-off.  While I'd never buy $100.00 of gelato and cookies in one sitting, my weekly spending at my favourite cafes and restaurants has decreased significantly over the past 6 months.  And, although I am an impulsive shopper, I don't shop just to shop.  I have a running list of items I am searching for and buy them when I see them!  The hunt is a big part of the enjoyment for me.  

A serving platter.

I've been looking for a platter with this shade of red for ages!

Almost everything I've bought recently has been second-hand.  And, I must say, impulsivity is the key to shopping vintage, if you don't buy it when you first see it, it will be gone!  

Friday, May 25, 2012

Cornmeal Mini Muffins

When I bought the cornmeal to make polenta, I remembered how much I love cornbread.  Especially warm with butter and drizzled with maple syrup.


Unfortunately, this combination is not particularly Weight Watchers friendly.  A serving of this treat would probably be 7-10 points, depending on the particulars.

I decided to try to make a light snacking size, perfect for alongside a salad or soup.  They turned out perfectly!


Set oven to 400 degrees.

(1) Combine .75 cup of yellow cornmeal and 1.25 cups of soy (or regular) milk in a bowl.  Set aside for at least 10 minutes.

(2) In a separate bowl, combine 1 cup of flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir to combine.

(3) Add .25 cup white sugar, .25 cup vegetable oil, .25 cup unsweetened applesauce and one egg to cornmeal mixture.  Stir to combine.

(4) Combine flour and cornmeal mixtures.  Stir without over-mixing.

(5) Spoon batter, by the tablespoon, into lightly greased mini muffin tins.   Bake for 14-16 minutes or until lightly golden.

Makes 34 mini muffins.

Weight Watchers Points Plus: 1 per mini muffin.  WITHOUT the butter and maple syrup!  But, still delicious!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Spring Vegetable Polenta

Polenta has been a great discovery in my Weight Watchers experience.  While no food is completely eliminated from the Points Plus plan, carbohydrates do add up quickly and bowls of pasta are best avoided.  On the other hand, 1 cup of dry yellow cornmeal (12 points), expands to 6 cups of polenta, giving you a whole cup of the porridge-like grain for 2 points!  It's filling and, while a little bland, can easily be fortified with a little vegetable broth or parmesan.

As soon as I saw this recipe for Spring Spirit Polenta, I knew I had a winner!  I replaced the ghee with regular butter and could not find wild leaks, but I otherwise followed the recipe.

Points Plus Value: 8 per serving

Monday, May 7, 2012

Beef Bourguignon Light

I rarely eat beef.  It's a once-a-month kind of food for me.  And, when I do eat it, it is usually for a special meal, out at a restaurant.  But, having had a delicious meal of Beef Bourguignon at Oak Bay Bistro a few months ago, I had been itching to try making it at home.

However, after searching through a few cookbooks, I discovered that Beef Bourguignon's Weight Watchers points (plus) value: 18 - 20 points per serving, depending on the recipe particulars!  Along with the required bread or potatoes, this could easily use up most of my daily points.  Ouch!

So, I set about searching for an alternative version and finally found one, originally published by Weight Watchers.  And, honestly, it's really good!  I served it with mashed sweet potatoes and oven braised greens.

I made two recipe adjustments, replacing the beef broth with organic mushroom broth and replacing the olive oil with two slices of bacon.  While olive oil is certainly healthier than bacon, I didn't think that this flavour element should be compromised.  This did not change the point value per serving.

Beef Bourguignon Light (8 points)
Mashed Sweet Potatoes (3 points)
Oven Braised Greens (1 point, for a little olive oil)

Total = 12 points, for a delicious and hearty meal

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Chocolate Book Gone Light?

I've been neglecting my little Chocolate Book lately.  I realized this today when I was scanning through old photographs and saw all of my foodie pictures from last spring.

The truth is, I have a confession to make:

I joined Weight Watchers last October.

And, I've felt a little weird about posting this on here, where I ramble on about chocolate and cupcakes.  There are also a million dieting blogs out there and I didn't see myself jumping on that bandwagon (neither the dieting bandwagon nor the writing about dieting bandwagon).  That's just not me.

But, I have to say, Weight Watcher is going well.  I like it and it's working for me.  And, as I reach the 7 month mark, I'm feeling the need for some inspiration and motivation.  So, here I return, to The Chocolate Book.

Now, don't worry, this isn't going to become a blog of celery and Splend@.  I've seen so many of my Weight Watchers peers focus on volume over quality of food.  I've seen many of them forgo a food group or try to keep their daily point totals as low as possible in the hopes of making things happen fast.  I've seen them completely eliminate treats and eating splurges from their lives.  But, that that has not been (and won't be) my path.  I've done that before and it hasn't worked over the long term.  Instead, I follow my familiar food rules: "eat food, not too much, mostly plants".

I've learned a lot.  More than I thought I would.  I've always been a 90% nutritious, 10% crap kind of eater.  This seems pretty normal to me and I didn't understand where I was going wrong.  But, the biggest lesson I've learned is that, nutritious often = very high in calories.  I've also learned that I need to "make up" for splurges within any given day or week.  But, that doesn't mean I've said goodbye to nutritious or yummy foods.  I've made choices.  I have given up granola and my afternoon coffee run.  I rarely add nuts to my salads anymore.  I NEVER buy treats from the bakery case at St@rbucks.  But, I still go to St@rbucks.  And, I refuse to give up butter or real (cultured) yogurt, in place of their inferior uber-processed alternatives.  I still go out for delicious meals with friends, but I'm more mindful about it.  Being realistic and flexible is what allows me to stay on track.

However, it's not easy (which I why I am here!).  For the uninitiated, Weight Watchers runs on a point system and the points just keep on dropping.  I began with a daily point total of 33 but, over time, this has reduced to 27 points per day (the lowest option available is 26 . . . I am almost there) and I find it tricky to get below 30.

Today, I was five points over my assigned daily total.  This is what that looks like:

Plain yogurt (5) with applesauce (0) and chia seeds (2)
Tall homemade latte (3)

Soft Pretzel from the farmer's market (6)
Peach, banana and coconut water smoothie (2)

Strawberries (0) with vanilla yogurt (3)

Polenta with spring vegetables (8)

2 squares of a good quality chocolate bar (3)

= 27 daily points + 5 (these 5 come from my 49 weekly flex points)

It was a healthy, realistic day.  I had treats, but I also made good choices.  The flex points are there to be used, I just wish I wasn't relying on them (or smoothies) quite so much.  What I am doing has worked so far, but I know I am going to have to compromise some more to move forward.  I've got work to do!  But, can I do this as a chocolate loving gourmet?

I am hoping that my Chocolate Book will keep me heading in the right direction.

Hallelujah for local berries!