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Alive and kicking

My post title rightly describes how I feel this very moment,after my first kickboxing class today at the gym. I have aches in muscles I didn’t know existed. Just glad to be alive,I say.

I know I have been very lazy about updating my blog.The past few weeks have been down and up.After the 2.2lbs loss with the new gym routine,I  was  -1.2lbs in Week#11. Week #12 I was  -0.8 lbs but week#13 I was back up a +0.6 lbs. So the net loss in 3 weeks was 1.4lbs not noteworthy at all I feel for 3 weeks. But I think I can list a few reasons for this.

One, I think I have started to tone up a little. And when you build muscles, you don’t see it on the scale. How you ask? Well 5 lbs of fat = 5 lbs of lean muscle. Its just that its lean, toned up and better for ya.

Two, I know for sure that the reason for the gain in Week#13 was because of bad eating habits. DH was out of town for 2 weeks. And with my guinea pig/ pig out, I  was being lazy with cooking. No,I did not raid the chips and cookies, what I did wrong though,was pick up some “healthy choice” frozen entrees. Bad idea. One, they didn’t fill me up and two, they didn’t taste good. I feel sorry for the people who eat them everyday, morning,noon,night.And when you exercise but don’t eat right or enough, you don’t see results. That just how the body works. You feed it to lose it. I know it sounds stranger than what we are used to but believe me it works. Its the crux of weightwatchers.Forget the starve to lose philosophy.

So my immediate goal is to reach my goal weight at least by the end of this month. Thats 1.2 lbs in 2 weeks. For that I have decided to do a few things different.

  1. Change my exercise routine more, which I did today starting the kickboxing class
  2. Change my lunch. For a long time for my lunch I have been carrying a deli sandwich on wheat bread, ww zero-point soup and broccoli. I think I need to spice things up a bit. So salad-soup comb it is for the next 2 weeks.

As a note, I have to mention that I have an extended vacation coming up next month. So its good to lose as much as I can in the next two weeks, so I can indulge in some home cooked food,guilt free.

P.S. Sorry I dont have a recipe today.Blame it on my laziness to take pictures right after stirring up a meal. But I promise something next time.

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!!

Oh, what a weekend…

What an amazing weekend it was. Good food, good friends and an awesome Superbowl game. Oh yes and how can i forget the surprising results of this weekends weigh in- another 2 lbs , people.Why was i surprised? Well if you read my post last week, all that eating we did on the weekend, I was sure it would show up on the scale. Looks like sticking to the gym however kept it away.

Since I started this journey (Dec. 1) I have been regular at the gym 5 days a week. M,W I run. T,Th I Zumba and  Fri I attend the gyms happy-hour. Sa,Sun I rest. Yes rest is very important. As far as possible you should avoid workout 7 days a week. You need to let your body recover.

Fast forward to this weekend ,and it was just about the same as last,except for a whole lot of more eating. However,on Saturday when we visited our friends, they had made a healthy spread – appetizer of a warm hearty tomato soup and cheese-chicken sandwiches followed by Falafel and topping it with Gulab Jamun (who said they are not healthy). How can you resist such spread you ask ?. I didnt, I ate everything, just that I watched my seconds.Anyways I have realised, I tend to eat less anyways. Maybe as you lose weight your stomach shrinks.Who knows?. Evening I had lip smackingly good Pav-Bhaji cooked up by DH. Again it wasnt that bad. Because the way DH cooked it up- measuring everything- it came to about a point per half cup. Who knew pav bhaji was a  1 point food? Superbowl Sunday however was a whole another story. The day started with Poha, lunch at IHOP and sharing Big Ben’s spotlight that evening was –Tandoori Chicken.

I was thinking of posting the Tandoori Chicken recipe-since many of my friends have asked for it. But I didnt have any picture to post.So here we go with another one of my creations. I had this as a light dinner one Sunday, however you it fits equally well as a finger food(appetizer). This is my entry to Rachana’s Healthy Bite event. The original recipe called for ground beef,but I used ground turkey instead. Also, one of the key ingredients I would not skip or replace is Bibb Lettuce which is a mild flavored, smooth leaf lettuce and is easily available at any grocery store in the US.

Lettuce Wraps

LettuceWraps

Ingredients

16 oz ( 1lb) 93/7 lean ground turkey
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup green pepper
2 tbsp ginger (chopped/paste)
2 cloves garlic (chopped/paste)
1 cup cabbage finely chopped
2 cups mushrooms
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp any chilli sauce (Sriracha)
8 bibb lettuce leaves.

Preparation

  1. Heat a wok and spray with cooking spray. Add ginger,garlic and onion and saute for few mins.
  2. Add ground turkey,soy sauce, chili sauce and salt  and cook till turkey is brown and cooked.
  3. Add chopped cabbage ,mushroom and green pepper and cook till mushroom is soft and green pepper is crisp but cooked.
  4. Spoon 1/2 cup of the mixture into each lettuce leaf.

Servings: 4 (2 leaves per serving)
Points: 4 per serving

Note: This same mixture if stuffed inside wontons will make yummy dumplings. Maybe that recipe next time.

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

eggwhites Confession: I like eggs. Rather,I love eggs. But what I dont like is that 1 large egg = 213 milligrams of cholestrol,most of which is in the yolk. Its recommended daily cholestrol be about 200mg a day. So if you eat 1 egg, thats it, no more meat or cheese. Ya right,like thats possible.But get this, an egg white has ZERO cholesterol.

On a recent visit a friend of ours,ordered his omlette be made with Egg Subsitute at a popular diner. When I asked, he said that’s what he uses at home  all the time.Egg Beaters,he said.Egg Beaters are made from real eggs without the yolk part. But then again, you will find a wide variety of Egg Beaters at a store.

This is what I found. Egg Beaters Regular is made from egg whites,but has extras for flavor and color. It irates me to see Xantham gum on a producst panel. It just sounds wrong. So I decided to try the Egg Beaters Whites ( actually, store brand same-as Egg Whites) instead. This contains ONLY egg whites. No extras.

3 tbsp of Egg Whites = 1 WW point. So on some weekday mornings,I will just pour 3 tbsp in a sprayed pan,with salt and pepper,fold it in between an English muffin and there I just cooked up my breakfast. I also found that if you whisk the whites and then pour them in a pan,it makes it very fluffy.I made omlette this weekend doing this,it was so fluffily good.

So this is my new staple in the fridge.So try it and let me know.

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

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