Archive for December, 2008

Surprise.. Surprise

Every week seems to be more challenging than the last. Week 3 was such. Maybe it is because of the holiday season.Tues evening we dined at the Cheesecake Factory. I love the Thai Lettuce Wraps!!! Turns out they are a healthy choice too.But the fact that we were headed out of town for the weekend,did not make it any more easy. So all week,I tried hard to make up for the foreseen-pigging-out that was to ensue. But the gym being closed on Xmas eve and Xmas day (why would they be closed on Xmas eve morning??) meant two days of lost workout. I was worried I will not be making any progress. The scale at home showed little movement too. But to my surprise when i weighed in on Friday morning,i was down 2.8 lbs.Thats huge!. I am happy but I was worried too that the rapid weight loss could be a post-weekend gain back.We will see next week.

Today’s is a super-quick recipe I found in Healthy Subzis book by Tarla Dalal  which is now DH’s new favorite. If you are going to India or know someone that is, I would suggest you get these mini-recipe books,Microwave Desi Khana,Dals and Healthy Subzis. The photo below does not do complete justice to the awesome flavor of the dish. I think the kasoori methi and cilantro are the key ingredients to this dish.

Corn Palak

Corn Palak

1/2 cup tomato puree
1/2 cup onion paste/grated/ finely chopped
1 cup frozen spinach
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup chopped cilantro(kothimbir)
1 tbsp kasuri methi
1 tsp ginger paste/chopped ginger
1 small green chilli
garam masala
1 tsp chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp dhania powder
1/2 tsp jeera powder
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp canola oil

  1. Defrost the frozen corn kernels and keep aside.
  2. Defrost the frozen spinach in the microwave for a few mins and then drop them into a blender.
  3. To the blender add ginger, cilantro,green chilli,kasuri methi and sugar and blend to a paste.
  4. Heat oil . Add the onion paste and saute till dry and brown.
  5. Then add the tomato puree and saute till oil separates.
  6. Add turmeric,chilli powder,garam masala, dhania and jeera powder and cook for a min.
  7. Add the corn kernels and mix well and let heat for a min.
  8. Then add the spinach puree  and let the mixture come to a boil
  9. Lastly add the milk and let boil. Additionally you could thin it down with some water.

Servings: 5 (half cup servings)
Points: 1 per serving


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A tough but successful week

Another 2 lbs minus.And yes it was a tough week. If you read my earlier post, the  office parties and cookies and cakes didn’t help the situation. But hey you know what, here is what I learned- Instead of denying myself and beating myself down, I went ahead and had a piece of the brownie,the cake or whatever. And then just told myself ,”Listen you just treated yourself today,so now watch what you eat”.That about did it. It worked when this one colleague bought a box full of chocolate chip brownies. I avoided them all day. Then at 3 pm when hunger kicks in,I decided to go for it. And then I skipped my usual 3 pm snacks,not because I had to, but because the cookie kinda fed my hunger and that was the need of the moment.

My worst fear was Friday’s Xmas party. Again,I didn’t deny myself of anything. I just made choices, not necessarily the healthiest ones, but helpful choices. I told myself, “Choose between 2 bbq sausage meatballs or one spoonful of mac and cheese”.I chose the sausage meatballs.It wasn’t like I was craving both anyways,so skipping mac and cheese which I am not a big fan of didn’t classify as “denying”. Ofcourse I loaded my plate with fruits and veggies to fill me up. It was good that most of the sweets were pies and sugar coated cookies,both of which I hate (except fruit pies,ofcourse).

All in all I was happy to see the results. DH has been super supportive,more than I could ask for. He helps me build up the recipes in the WW-ETools (so that we can track the points) while I cook them up. He, to some extent, has had to sacrifice by eating healthy too . 🙂 But someone said,no pain no gain,right?

Next weeks challenge is going to be the Xmas Party at a friends place and our trip back to our Alma-mater town which means I will have to survive the “dining out” experience at all the old college hotspots.

Anyways, this weekend I was craving some chinese, indian-chinese to be precise. So I decided to pair up some Vegetable Hot and Sour with some Veg. Chinese Noodles.

Chinese Sweet-N-Sour and Noodles

Vegetable Hot and Sour

2 tsp canola oil
1 cup canned tomato sauce
1 cup red pepper – chopped to chunks
1 cup green pepper- chopped to chunks
1 cup red onion- chopped to chunks
1 cup carrots- chopped into chunks
1 cup spring onions (white and green chopped separately)
5  canned pineapple rings ( in pineapple juice)- cut into chunks
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp ketchup
1/2 tbsp chopped green chillis
1 tsp ginger chopped/paste
1 tsp garlic chopped/paste
1 tsp sriracha chilli sauce
1 tsp chilli garlic sauce/ sambhal oelek
1 tsp corn starch
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp brown sugar

  1. In a bowl take some water and drop the carrots and microwave for 5 mins.Let cool and drain the water.
  2. Heat oil in a wok. Drop the chopped green chillis, ginger and garlic and let it sizzle.
  3. Add the spring onion whites and let cook.
  4. Add the chilli garlic sauce/sambal oelek and mix.
  5. Add the red onions, green pepper ,red pepper and mix well and let everything soften a bit( about 5 mins).
  6. Add 1 tbsp of soy sauce and the carrots. Mix everything and let cook for another 2-3 mins.
  7. Meanwhile in a bowl,mix together 1 cup tomato sauce, 1 tbsp ketchup,1 tbsp soy sauce,1 tsp sriracha and some of the  juice  from the canned pineapples and make about 1.5 cups of liquid mixture. Add water if needed.
  8. Add this mixture to the cooked vegetables, add pepper and brown sugar and let it boil.
  9. When mixture boils, add the chunks of pineapple and boil for a min more.
  10. Add the spring onions greens and let cook for a min more before turning off the heat.
  11. Serve over fried rice or noodles.

Servings: 6 (half cup servings)

Points: 1 per serving

Vegetable Chinese Noodles/Pasta

5 oz (1/3 of 16 oz box) whole wheat angel hair pasta
3 tsp canola oil
1/2 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup julienned green and red peppers
1/2 cup spring onions ( white and green separated)
1 tsp ginger paste/chopped
1 tsp garlic paste/chopped/powder
1 tsp sriracha sauce
1 tsp sambhal oelek/ chilli garlic csauce
1 tsp black pepper

  1. Boil the whole wheat pasta in water and drain.
  2. Heat oil and add the ginger and garlic and let sizzle for a min.
  3. Then add the spring onion whites and saute for a min.
  4. Add the carrots and green and red peppers and saute till cooked
  5. Add soy sauce, sriracha sauce, sambhal olek sauce,black pepper and salt and saute.
  6. Lastly add the pasta and mix well.

Servings: 4 ( 1/2 cup servings)

Points: 3 per serving

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Food Bytes : Coke Zero

coke_zero I am not a heavy soda drinker,but I do love some fizz occasionally.Escp. with non-Indian food and hence I cannot forgo the taste for the calories. Last week while grocery shopping DH decided to pick a bottle of the new Coke Zero. I pouted imaging the bitter after taste diet sodas have. But when i had a sip,I loved it. I hate Diet-soda. Period. But this thing did not taste like any diet soda I had before and even better,its Zero Calories. Definitely a thumbs up!!

P.S. I have heard good things about Sprite Zero as well.

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‘Tis the season

..of temptations. So yesterday a lady from the office across walks to my desk with a bag of cookies. She says she has to give them away so that she can stop eating them. Nice, her calorie-loss will be now be my calorie-gain. Unfair,I wont give in to the temptation,lady. I sheepishly said “No thank you!!”. She insisted I try one,and I insisted “No”. Just go away you evil lady (i thought).

Proud of  achievement I go home and DH walks in with a box. A box full of oatmeal raisin cookie dough. Thanks to a boy-scout donation he made for a collegues kid. I told him we are not baking any cookies. He pledged he will count the points and then bake them himself. Did I tell you,I love oatmeal raisin cookie!! They are the only cookie-kind I like.

And to top it all, this Friday is  our annual Xmas party. There will be food everywhere.In all  shapes and forms.The only plus this year, is that the food will be arranged on a different floor than the one I work on,unlike every other year. So I believe if I don’t see it,I will not eat it.I think. Unless people walk past my office with mounds of food laid on their plates.

‘Tis the season, I tell you!!

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Survived One Week

I survived Week 1 !! Yes it is a big achievement for someone like me. Lets just say 2.6lbs lighter and healthier feels good.:) No, I did not starve or zero-carb or zero-fat . I ate all food categories,the only difference being I made healthier choices and I portion-controlled.

Last week when I started, WW was just in the works to roll out their new Momentum plan. Of course ,it was hush-hush till our meeting today.I was told to start the core or points plan and that I would be rolled-over to the new plan this week. There was this whole concern and talk about the “new” plan. But today when I attended the meeting I thought that the momentum plan was no different than what I had done for the past entire week,point counting while eating better. For ex. if the points plan allowed you to eat 2 slices of any bread=4 pts, and the core plan dictated you completely skip bread, the momentum plan say- “hey wait a min, why not eat healthier, substitute with 100 cal english muffin-1 pt”.

However, I did realise one thing. This whole diet-this,fat-free-that,100-cal this, can be very confusing. Here is a simple thing. One afternoon I was craving popcorn,so I got “mini-size 94% fatfree pop corn”. When I tried to interpret the points, it was like deciphering-morse-code.For future reference,

  • 94% fat free regular bag= 4 pts
  • 94% fat free mini bags butter flavored popcorn=2 pts
  • 100 cal 94% fat free mini bags butter flavored popcorn(JOLLY TIME Healthy Pop) =1 pt

But believe me it takes only once,only once, to know which popcorn is better,and next time you walk to that pop-corn aisle you will not pick up one of those other unhealthier-versions. Its helps to be an informed consumer. That said, starting this week I will try to post each Wed,reviewing any new product I may have tried.

Okie so moving on to cooking.This week I had some leftover tortillas from last weekends Quesadilla.I was planning to prepare a meat-based Mexican Lasagna for Friday evening but a day before my mom emailed me saying “Datta Jayanti on Friday”. Guilt sets in,switch to plan B, Veg Mexican Lasagna. I decided to use meat-substitute but then decided to stick to all veggies- no meat,real or fake.

Without much hold up,presenting Mexican Lasagna.

Veg. Mexican Lasagna

(place holder for picture)


3 Mission 96% Fat-Free Whole Wheat Tortillas(6″)
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced green & red pepper
3/4 cup frozen corn kernels
3/4 cup canned black bean
1/4 cup Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce
3 oz cut baby-bella mushrooms
1 cup spinach
1 cup shredded fat-free cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Medium Salsa
3 tsp canola oil
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cumin powder
4 tbsp taco seasoning
1tsp garlic powder


  1. Mixture 1- In a pan, heat 3tsp oil. Saute the chopped onion ,chopped green pepper,corn kernels and black beans. Saute the mixture well for 5 mins. Then add 2 tbsp taco seasoning,cumin and chilli powder. Add half of the enchilada sauce and cook well. Take the mixture off the heat.
  2. Mixture 2- in a pan heat 1tsp oil, saute the spinach and mushrooms.Add garlic powder,taco seasoning,salt and saute till the spinach is cooked. Take the mixture off the heat.
  3. Take a round pan. Spray oil. Put a layer of Mixture 1.Top it with a tortilla. On this spread Mixture 2. Spread some cheddar cheese. Layer with another tortilla. Top this tortilla with the Mixture 1 again.Spread some more cheese. And top with the last tortilla.Sprinkle some cheese on the top.
  4. Bake 350F preheated oven for 15-20 mins. If you prefer a crunchy top,broil for the last couple of mins.
  5. Enjoy with a dollop of fat-free sour cream and salsa and a side of Doles Southwestern Salad.

Servings : 4 (each quarter slice)
Points: 4 per serving

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A December Resolution

If you know me in real life, you know that I am unhappy about my weight. I have tried a couple of fad diets. Special K,no-carbs. I have tried them all. And dont get me wrong,I have lost weight every time I did one of these. My problem is not weight-loss,my problem is staying on track,maintaining my loss. Now most people make new yr resolutions, but I made one on Dec. 1 .I decided to join Weight Watchers.

Why do I think WW will work for me? 1) its the group therapy kind of environment that I love 2) Accountability for every thing I put in my mouth every-single-day.My WEEK 1 started yesterday( Saturday). My Goal is to lose 16 pounds. In how many days you ask. Lets just say 3 months. 16 pounds in 3 months. Thats an avg of 2 pounds a week. Which they say is recommended or standard.

I am excited yet scared!! Believe me its tough to switch out to something when you are used to eating without accounting for quantity or quality. DH has been super supportive about this. As soon as I got home from my first session at 9 am yday, DH sat down with me and helped me measure/plan my Day 1. We realized right ahead that within the morning itself I had consumed more than 1/3 of my daily requirements. And I have the whole day ahead,I thought!

Does that mean this is going to be a weight loss blog now? No. Maybe yes. I still plan to post recipes and other stuff. But now you will see measures and serving size for anything food. And healthier foods. And maybe recommendations of places to eat or avoid.While researching WW one thing I realized is that there are very few blogs with recipes for Indian preparations while still counting WW points. Lets just hope this blog bridges that gap.

So here is a start. Last week I was craving some spicy dish to jazz up our dinner. I had just bought a bag of large shrimp. (If you are looking for good quality shrimp for reasonable price,try Sams club).So here is a quick, simple shrimp dish I concocted.

Quick Shrimp Masala

Quick Shrimp Masala


8 oz large deveined-deshelled shrimp (about 18)
1.5 tsp canola oil
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1 /2 cup dices onions
2 tbsp Tomato Ketchup
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic powder/paste
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp clove powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp chilli powder
1 tsp dhania powder
1 tsp jeera powder
1/2 tsp any other masala(I used malvani masala,you could just use garam masala)
handful of chopped cilantro

  1. Thaw the shrimp. Make sure they are deveined and deshelled. If they have the tail on,leave it on.I think the tails lend a nice flavor.
  2. Heat oil. Saute onions. When onions soften,add ginger and garlic paste.Add cinnamon and clove powder.Saute till brown.
  3. Add turmeric,chilli powder ,dhania powder,jeera powder and the other masala. Saute till oil leaves the sides.
  4. Add diced tomatoes and let the mixture cook till oil leaves the sides.
  5. Add the 2 tbsp of ketchup and cook for a min
  6. Lastly add the shrimp and mix well so that the masala coats the shrimp. Cover and cook for 5-6 mins till the shrimp are done.
  7. Lastly top with a generous amount of chopped cilantro.

Servings: 3 one cup servings
Points: 2 per serving

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