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Archive for February, 2010

Here’s a treat for you, my ‘Weight Watching’ friends!

I recall ADs that showed up around the same time the Atkins diet came onto the scene. The potato industry was trying to keep their followers (many who had opted to follow the low carb diets.) The Ads said, “Don’t Blame the Potato!” I thought it was a pretty good AD campaign and still do….since apparently it stuck with me. Now I say to you, don’t blame the Sweet Potato either!

If you haven’t tried a baked Sweet Potato yet, then you don’t know what you’re missing. Sweet potatoes are not just for Thanksgiving anymore. Nosirree Bob! My dear Mother was talking about them long before I tried one. I absolutely LOVE Sweet Potato fries, but the fried part = bad and is not good for my  eating plan – which is Weight Watchers. A Sweet Potato has only TWO POINTS. That’s right, TWO.  And they are so good for you! Check out these facts:

  • One baked sweet potato (3 1/2 ounce serving) provides over 8,800 IU of vitamin A or about twice the recommended daily allowance, yet it contains only 141 calories making it valuable for the weight watcher.
  • This nutritious vegetable provides 42 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamin C, 6 percent of the RDA for calcium, 10 percent of the RDA for iron, and 8 percent of the RDA for thiamine for healthy adults.
  • It is low in sodium and is a good source of fiber and other important vitamins and minerals.
  • A complex carbohydrate food source, it provides beta carotene which may be a factor in reducing the risk of certain cancers. (Info from http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu)

Tonight I did the following to prepare the Sweet Potatoes:

  • Scrub with a stiff brush & remove any eyes, blemishes, etc.
  • Do NOT remove the skin. The good stuff is in the skin.
  • Wrap loosely in plastic wrap. (My Mom puts hers in a zip lock bag, but leaves the bag open.)
  • Place in the microwave and push the “Baked Potato” button. I really don’t know how long that took for 2, but when it stopped cooking the sweet potatoes were perfect. I would say it was 6-8 minutes for two. Probably 4-6 for one. I don’t like them too soft.

In addition to the Sweet Potato, I decided on a broccoli & cauliflower mixture – it was one of those “micro in the bag” offerings. One cup of that mixture is zero points. Oh yeah!  I followed the directions (6.5 to 7.5 minutes) and chose 6.5 minutes because I don’t like those to be too soggy either. They turned out perfect. And they were the Great Value brand. I normally shy away from off brands, but I’m finding that Great Value is just that – due to the cost and the TASTE. Nice work, Great Value! (It’s a Wal-Mart offering.)

Now, instead of piling on any butter or other spread, I sprayed “I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter” spray on everything. ZERO points – again. And it really adds a nice flavor. So hear this…a delicious baked Sweet Potato and about a cup of broccoli & cauliflower. TWO POINT DINNER. That’s what I’m talkin’ bout!

You will thank me.

And I leave you with this:

A man goes to the doctor with a leek sticking out of one ear and a sweet potato out of the other ear. He asks the doctor what’s wrong.

The doctor thinks a lot then tells him “Well, for one thing, you’re not eating correctly”.

Ba-Da Boom!

*

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It was a day for birding.

The temperature was 37° Fahrenheit.
The mister and I took a drive to Sooner Lake in northern Oklahoma. We saw the usual Buffleheads, Goldeneyes, Mallards, Coots, Cormorants, Scaups, and Gulls – plus a few Harriers. Oh yes, and one Canada Goose acting strange…swimming around with his neck level with the water and his head in the water…we had to watch it for a while to figure out what it was. And the ducks are definitely pairing up…lots of head bobbing & squabbles among the Buffleheads.

But the one surprise for the day came when we heard a Loon – even before we saw it. We watched it swim and dive for a while before we eventually saw it come up with a fish. And here was the kicker, that fish (possibly a Hybrid Striped Bass) was at least as big as the Loon’s head. The drizzle and fog did little to help me out with photography. The poor Loon wrestled that fish for at least 15-20 minutes – even stopping mid-way through to do a little wing-flap. Part way through the tussle, a gull checked in to see what was going on. The Loon finally gave up and went away hungry. But perhaps it learned a little something. ;-)

Here are a few Cool Facts about Loons from All About Birds.

  • The Common Loon swims underwater to catch fish, propelling itself with its feet. It swallows most of its prey underwater. The loon has sharp, rearward-pointing projections on the roof of its mouth and tongue that help it keep a firm hold on slippery fish.
  • Migrating Common Loons occasionally land on wet highways or parking lots, mistaking them for rivers and lakes. They become stranded without a considerable amount of open water for a long takeoff. A loon may also get stranded on a pond that is too small.
  • Loons are water birds, only going ashore to mate and incubate eggs. Their legs are placed far back on their bodies, allowing efficient swimming but only awkward movement on land.
  • The Common Loon is flightless for a few weeks after molting all of its wing feathers at the same time in midwinter.

I can’t wait until the Loons come into full breeding colors. They’re such beautiful birds & their call is mesmerizing!

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How did two months pass without a blog post? Must have been that pre-Christmas/Christmas/post-Christmas thing. Whatever the case, here we go. BTW – Happy New Decade!

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For those of you familiar with the Weight Watchers eating plan, you’ll know what I mean when I talk about my daily points. For those of you who are not familiar with WW, basically described, your new eating plan is based on a daily point allotment which is assigned by your weight at the beginning of the program. As you lose weight, your point allotment goes down. My current allotment is 18 points per day. (Which is also the minimum amount that it will ever be. Thankfully!!!)

In addition to your daily point allotment, you have a certain number of weekly points that you may use at any given time. For instance, when you NEED those french fries and you’re out of points. Tonight, I was heading into dinner with 5 points remaining. Instead of one of the WW meals (many are very good!) which normally contain from 4-6 points, I opted for stir fry veggies. I would normally like to use fresh veggies, but I was in a bit of a hurry and decided to use a package of frozen. Upon checking the content of calories, fat, and fiber, I learned that one serving of the stir-fry veggies contained (here comes the good part) ZERO POINTS.   We WW people LOVE those ZERO POINT items. I especially love them when I’m craving veggies. I grabbed the wok, smeared some olive oil around in it, let it heat & then dumped in the veggies. Mmmm. Seven minutes later – Voilà!  There’s just something very satisfying about stirring veggies around in a wok with a big ole wooden spoon. The package of veggies contained a nice assortment: broccoli, sugar snap peas, green beans, carrots, celery, water chestuts, onions and red peppers. And I just love the crunch those water chestnuts add. Yum.

Now understand this, another reason that I like the sound of ZERO points tonight, was that I wanted a glass of vino with dinner. And since it has 2 points per glass, I had to figure that into the equation. Since I wasn’t having any meat or other food, I doubled the veggie serving to 1.5 cups which = 1 point. Now add in the 2 point glass of Beringer White Zinfandel. For what it’s worth, I’m far from a wine geek and that might not be (probably isn’t)  the right wine for veggies, but it’s my very favorite wine. So there.

Now, if you’ve been paying attention and keeping track of the points, you know that I’ve had my veggies and vino and I still have 2 points left for the day. Just enough for yet another glass of vino OR popcorn!

And for the record, if you’re wondering, WW is a very healthy, slow way to lose weight and learn how to eat sensible portions and healthy foods. I heartily recommend it. I’m doing it with the online program and have never felt that I was on a diet. I’ve been on it (with a few ups & downs) for over a year and am over half way to my goal.

Now, a bit about the photos. They were taken with my handy, dandy iPhone & processed in a cool app called ‘Camerabag.’ If you’d like some different looks to process your photos, check it out. You can instantly convert a photo to one of several filters – including: Helga, Colorcross, Lolo, Magazine, Instant, 1974, Cinema, Mono, 1962, Fisheye and Infrared. These were processed with Lolo – instantly. Check it out. It wasn’t pricey. 1.99 I think.

Bon Appétit!

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