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Not lazy,just busy

Sorry I have been away from the blog for couple of weeks now.Not lazy,but just a whole lot busy.One weekend was sleepover at a friends place and the next DH had  painful wisdom teeth extraction,so I waited on him hand and foot. As for my weigh in updates- Week#8 was +0.2lbs from the previous week, Week#9 was another +0.6 lbs. Going up two consecutive weeks was just not acceptable to me. I knew exactly how I gained them though. That visit to the thai place and that dinner at a japanese steak house,all of them were a known cause.

So I decided I needed to refocus my strategies. I realized I had worked my way up to about a 40 mins of treadmill running( with few stops) but somehow my body had got used to it. I may have hit a pleateau.So the next week I chose to mix 20 mins treadmill with 20 mins elliptical. I had also received my Week#9 booklet which had a awesome 20 min strength training workout. I made these two changes and voila!!!, at my week #10 weigh in I was down 2.2lbs.Can you imagine one minor change in your routine is all it takes.

Another 2.6 lbs and I will be at my 10% goal mark. The journey already seems so long, but I know this is not the end. My personal goal is to try to be a healthy BMI of 18.5-14.9 which for my height at 5′ 3″ is 130 lbs. That’s another 19 lbs.I am only half way there.Lord almighty!! Okie refocus, lets look at short term goals,to get these 2.6 lbs, then another 5 lbs,then another 5 lbs and so on.We all learned, slow and steady wins the race.

This week I am just posting a picture of an elegant dinner we had one Sunday evening – some good wine and Seafood Fra Diavolo – whole wheat angel hair cooked in a Fra Diavolo Pasta Sauce(store bought) with seafood assortment of pan seared scallops, shrimp and frozen mussels( precooked and packaged in tomato garlic sauce). Anyone thinking Italian tonight?
Seafood Fra Diavolo

Update: One of my friends asked me for the exact recipe for Seafood Fra-Diavolo so here it is.

Ingredients
1 cup of store bought fra-diavlo sauce
1/2 box of store bought frozen mussels(these are precooked and packaged in tomato garlic sauce)
5 large scallops (i slice them in half to get 10 scallop discs)
8 large shrimp
1/3 box of whole wheat angel hair pasta
2-3 cloves of garlic slivered
Preparation

  1. Cook the angel hair pasta as per the box and drain and keep aside.
  2. Defrost the box of frozen cooked mussels for few mins
  3. Salt and pepper the shrimp and scallops
  4. In a pan, heat some olive oil and sear the scallops on each side,it gets a slight browning.Remove the scallops and keep aside.DO NOT cover and cook.
  5. And next sear and cook the shrimp till pink.Remove and keep aside.DO NOT cover and cook.
  6. Next in the same pan drop in the mussels and this time cover and cook, the juices will ooze out and also the mussels will steam and thaw out.Remove and keep aside.
  7. In the pan, add some more olive oil and brown some garlic. Drop in the cooked pasta.Pour 1 cup of the store bought Fra Diavolo sauce and mix everything.Finally drop in all the seafood and mix.
  8. Top with some fresh grated parmesan and serve with wine. Bon Appetit!!
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My first big 10

Yes !!! I have hit the 10 lbs mile marker this week. At my Week#7 weigh-in I measured a whole 2.6lbs lighter. Needless to say celebration was to ensue. The day started with a full-course fish lunch at a friends place made by his dear Mom. Fish in all forms, curry,fried,. Evening was none better with a Haldi-Kunku celebration at another friends house,where she served super-soft idlis and chutney. But in both cases I think I faired well. I stuck to my 2 chapatis and less than 1/2 cup rice.I tried to avoid second servings of the fish curry since it had a coconut base,and I traded that for a few bites of mithai and ice cream. Oh and anyways, that’s whats those 35 bonus points are for each week. To splurge,so this weekend I did.

Now that my weight-loss is noticeable,at least to some, people are inquiring about it. My friend Rach has already started eating healthier foods and lost 2 lbs. I seemd to have rubbed off on my aunt, who is a radiologist by profession, too. She began her journey by skipping a meal the day i told her my 10 lbs loss. I had to tell her that stravation was not a great choice. The guilt can make you skip only so many meals before you splurge into mindless eating.Anyways,my point is my success at this is influencing others too. And I think thats great. I think people feel, if I can do it,so can they. I on the other hand feel,I owe all these people an accountability now, more than before.And that keeps me going.

Today’s recipe is a dish we tried at our favourite Gujrati thali restaurant in New Jersey,Jhupdi. I had mentioned about it in my post before. When the waitress mentioned ,Turiya-Patra it sounded like a unusual combination. I had to ask her to repeat herself,just so I was sure what the ingredients were. But the dish turned out to be incredibly tasty, a sweet sour taste of the Patra with the slight crunch of thr turiya.

To the unknowns, Turiya (Parwar/Turai) is ridge gourd. Ridge gourd is very close to zucchini in taste. Patra (Alu wadi) is a dish made from colocassia/taro root leaves. Think about deli swirls  but done with greens like spinach minus the meat. Mad Tea Party and Vee of Past,Present and Me both have excellent instructions to make these at home, that is if you find colocassia leaves. For those of us lazy and not resourceful enough, frozen Patras by Deep will make do instead. To recreate this dish,I found a recipe online, however it seemed to be dry compared to what I had in the restaurant. So I contacted a couple of my Gujju friends and had thier moms share their secret. Powdered by the recipes, but aving tried this dish only once, I made my own from the taste and flavor I could remember.DH gave his stamp of approval.And sometimes thats all that matters,isnt it?

This is my entry to Food In Colors-Yellow Event hosted by Sunshinemom of Tongue Ticklers

Turiya Patra Bhaji

turiyapatra

1/2 packet of frozen Patra (Deep brand)
1 1/2 cup turiya  (ridges removed,peeled and diced)
2 tsp canola oil
5-6 curry leaves
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder(dhania powder)
1/2 tsp cumin powder (jeera powder)
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp brown sugar or jaggery
salt

  1. Peel the Turiya(ridge gourd) by first removing the ridges till smooth. Then peel off the green skin too,escpecially if the turiya is wilting dry.Then dice up the white part of the gourd into thin quarters.
  2. Thaw the frozen patra and chop a few of them into quarters. Leave a few as whole rounds.
  3. Heat oil, add mustard seeds and hing and allow it to splutter. Add curry leaves.
  4. Add diced turiya  and let cook. You may add some water if needed.
  5. Add turmeric,red chilli powder, coriander powder ,cumin powder and jaggery/sugar and let the gourd cook .
  6. When the turiya (gourd) pieces are soft add the patra pieces and mix it all well . Add salt to tast
  7. The patra will soften and and may even disintegrate but that lends the flavor. Cook for about 5 mins and serve.

Servings: 3 (half cup servings)
Points : 3 per serving

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Slow and steady

At my Week#6 weigh in this week, I did not get news as I was expecting it to be. I had only lost a 0.2lbs. I know its still a loss,but anything under 1 lb does not seem significant to me. Maybe I have hit a plateau. I don’t know. My current weight is the lowest I have been in a long,long time. Plateau or not,the goal is still on. We are only half way there.

DH has promised to help me look at my current eating habits to see if we can change anything to move ahead. I have heard, if you continue a routine, your body kind of gets used to it and begins to live with it , unless you shake things up.I want to take a moment here to say thanks to DH. He is my greatest cheerleader. He is one of the reasons I am on track. And believe me he has had to sacrifice on many things. B-Dubs wings for one.But he is not complaining.Most men would.Love him.

So at my weekly meeting, we were discussing foods. And one lady mentioned “Fish Tacos”. It was like a revelation. I hadn’t had fish tacos in a long,long time.The ones I love the most are those served at T.G.I. Fridays.So I decided to recreate the exact recipe called “Al’s Fish Tacos with a corn salsa and lemon remoulade dressing”. I found one version online but I modified it by using store bought fish sticks instead. Lazy I know !!

Fish Tacos

fishtacos

Lemon Remoulade

4 tbsp Hellmanns Low Fat Mayonnaise
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp fat-free sour cream
salt
pepper

Mix all ingredients and whisk to create a dressing.You could use water to thin it a little.


Corn Salsa
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 tbsp diced red onion
1 Serrano pepper (chopped)
1 tsp lemon juice
chopped cilantro
salt
red chilli powder (optional)

Mix all the above ingredients. Sprinkle some red chilli powder for a added zing.

Fish Tacos
4 8-inch Mission Tortilla Carb Balance
16 Gorton’s Fish Sticks
Shredded Lettuce
Corn Salsa
Lemon Remoulade Sauce

  1. To assemble, lay a warm tortilla, top with fish tacos and the remoulade sauce, corn salsa and the shredded lettuce
  2. Here is a tip I read: To warm tortillas, in a plate take some water and dip both sides of the tortilla in it and then lay it on a heated pan. The water helps steam the tortilla warm.

Servings: 4 tacos
Points: 8 per serving

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Still going strong

I haven’t updated my WW journey for 2 weeks now.But things are going strong. Week#4 was the week of New Years Eve. And since we were going to be in NYC that Saturday,I had to skip my weigh in.I tried to stay on track,it was tough.

I always envy people who get to live in big,busy cities. Well,I lived in a big city(Mumbai) myself for 22 yrs. But let me tell you one thing, with all those dine-out options,huge portions, add to that unappealing cramped up apartment kitchen where you will never cook alone,let eat alone, gaining weight is so easy. I guess walking around town kind of helps burn those calories. But if I was to live in NYC,with a car(see I dont do walking!) and have a gazillion eat-out options at my disposal,I would be gaining weight like there was no tomorrow. So its a good thing,I was in NYC for only 2 days. But DH helped pick some healthy options. Loved Hampton Chutney’s Curry Chicken with balsamic onions and Spinach Dosa . Delicious! And oh ya how can I not mention our favourite Gujrati Thali place in NJ,Jhupdi. This time they served an uncommon subzi called Turiya Patra. Yes its Turiya(Parwar/Rodge Gourd) cooked with Patra(Alu Wadi).Unusual yet mind-blowing combination. And its a Gujrati staple I hear.I hope to post this recipe soon.

Anyways,back to WW. Week 4 I skipped weigh in. Coming back home,I knew I had to work all those NYC calories out.Surprisingly enough, at Week 5 weight in,I was even. No loss, no gain since Week 3. When the WW coordinator applauded,I told her, she didn’t know how much hard-work it took me to stay even.:) Losing – is a whole another game.:(

Moving along to this weeks recipe.The blogosphere is exploding with new events. One such is My Legume Love Affair by Srivalli’s Cooking 4 All Seasons and Susan’s The Well Seasoned Cook. I love legumes,  I *had to* post an entry to this one. So this weekend I sprouted up some matki. DH wanted me to stick to Matki Usal-Sukhi(Dry) or Patal(Wet). I chose to try this unusual recipe from Tarla Dalal instead. And though it sounds unusual, its a healthy tasty combination to serve.

Matki Palak Curry

matkispinach

Ingredients
1 ½ cup sprouted matki (moath beans)
3 cups chopped spinach (palak)
1 tomato, finely chopped
½ teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
4 cloves garlic, crushed
10 to 12 curry leaves, torn into pieces
3 tsp oil
jaggery/gul
salt to taste
Ground to paste
½ teaspoon coriander (dhania) seeds
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
2 clove garlic
3 whole dry red chillies, broken
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)
2 tbsp grated coconut
¼ cup water

  1. In a pressure pan, mix the spinach, matki and tomato with about 1 cup water and pressure cook for 2 whistles
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the paste.
  3. When the pressure cooker cools down,set it on low heat and add the paste , jaggery, salt  and let the mixture boil for 5-6. minutes.Turn of the heat.
  4. In a small pan/kadhai, heat  the oil. Add the mustard seeds and when they splatter, add the garlic and let it brown a little. Lastly add the curry leaves.
  5. Get the above mixture off the heat and drop/pour it into the curry in the pressure cooker while its still hot and sizzling. Immediately cover the cooker with a lid to lock in the aroma.Stir when ready to server
  6. Serve with chapatis or yogurt-rice.

Servings: 6 (1/2 cup servings)
Points: 1 per serving

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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
salt

  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
salt

  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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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)

Ingredients

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
salt

Preparation

  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
(more…)

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