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Because sometimes you just want some rice!!!

3/20/2012 *Sara-Marie* 2 Comments

When you are watching your weight, carb loaded sides like rice and pasta are usually a no-no, or at least you need to seriously eat them in moderation. Personally, it's easier for me to practice portion control when eating pasta than when eating rice. Maybe because its so delicious or I was just used to eating it almost everyday growing up in a Puerto Rican household. And it was NEVER just a cup of rice. More often than not, 75% of my plate was rice with a little meat and beans. Just how it was. So, I try to make rice only once in a while - more like a treat - than a staple. And today, I was craving me some spanish rice! And I know I can substitute with brown rice, quinoa, etc,  which I definitely do more often than not. But when you crave some fluffy, comforting rice, you have to go with white rice!

As most of you know, I try to be creative in the kitchen based on the ingredients I have on hand. Let me present to you the newest creation:  
Spanish Style Rice with Turkey Italian Sausage and Bell Peppers!
If my marriage with Mark was a dish, this would be it! (Spanish Rice + Italian Sausage = Love)
Basically, I made yellow rice (white rice, sazon, sofrito, salt, tomato sauce, etc) and added 4 links of turkey Italian sausage (removed from casings and cooked in pan before making rice) as well as some red and green bell peppers! Not gonna lie, this came out really good!  Based on the WW Recipe Builder, my pot made 10 servings of about 6 oz each. Each serving is only about 6 points! Luckily, I have enough points left to eat a second serving! (which according to the recipe builder, only equals 11 points! sweet!)

So for all of you skeptics out there -- healthy eating can be DELICIOUS! (Are you noticing a theme?) And you don't have to give up the traditional foods of your culture! Just do what I do: make them a little LESS FREQUENTLY, find a few ways to make them LIGHTER in calories without losing FLAVOR, WEIGH your servings, serve yourself on SMALL PLATES, and SAVOR every bite! If you house down your meal in front of your television you are bound to never even taste your food - plus it will be gone before you know it. If you take the time to eat slowly and experience your food (a la Enrique Iglesias on How I Met Your Mother), you are bound to enjoy it more and EAT LESS! 

Hasta luego!


A Week in Review and a BIG SHOUT OUT!

3/19/2012 *Sara-Marie* 0 Comments

It's been over a week since I've written a post and I don't want to lose the momentum! Last week, I was traveling for work, which is always challenging. I did run one day while away and tried my best to stay on Point. Some days were  better than others, but I did lose 1 lb this week, despite some of the fast food choices while driving! Yay! I do have to admit that I didn't expect a loss this week - but I'm grateful for achieving it!

Running wise, I moved on to Week 3, Day 1 of the Couch to 5k program this morning, and it felt great. I had a cup of coffee before running, which I think really gave me some extra energy to push through those last intervals! I might have to make that a habit! Plus the gorgeous weather makes it so much easier to enjoy.

My goal for this week is to at least run 3 days and do another activity (swimming/hiking/something) an additional 2 times. The weather is beautiful -- no excuses!!

Below are a few pictures of some healthy and delicious meals I have had over the last week:
Smart Taste Rotini Pasta with Roasted Chicken Breasts and Balsamic Peppers and Onions
 Spaghetti Squash with Meatloaf (extra lean beef), goat cheese and 2 thin slices of french bread 
(Saving the points on the spaghetti allowed for the bread!)
 Homemade pizza with green peppers and onions

 Spicy Mango Chicken

I would also like to give a BIG shout out to one of my bestest friends, Stephanie, who had an awesome weigh-in this week! Keep it going! 


Pancakes: Breakfast Chain or at Home?

3/10/2012 *Sara-Marie* 0 Comments

This morning was proving to be a rough morning. My car started giving me trouble last night and I was trying to get it fixed ASAP since I have to make that lovely 5 hour trip to MA on Sunday afternoon. The mechanic where we wanted to take my car isn't open on Saturday, so I was left with no choice but to rent a car. Who knew it could be so difficult to rent a car on a Saturday in the Poconos?! After calling a couple of different places, I finally found one that had a car available but they were closing in half an hour from the time in which I had placed the call. Rushing to put clothes on and waking my husband who didn't come home from his shift until 5am -- it wasn't a pretty scene.

We managed to get there on time and I have a rental for a week. Nice. Problem Solved. Next problem: It was now close to noon, and we hadn't eaten anything yet.

To make up for the fact that I had to wake up a very tired man, I offered to take him out to brunch at the breakfast chain that was across the street. At this point, I didn't care about Points or trying to lose weight. I was looking for some comfort food, looking for it fast, and I wanted my husband to like me again!

To my surprise, he declined the offer and said, "Let's just go home."

I am so glad that he made that decision. I was still in the mood for some pancakes, so as my hubby climbed back into bed, I threw my apron on and starting whipping up some breakfast. Not only did breakfast come out delicious, it was cheaper and healthier than what I was willing to devour an hour previously.

Here's is what I'd like to call:

Mini Heart Healthy Pancakes topped with Sliced Bananas and Nutella
Mini Pancakes
2 Cups of Heart Healthy Bisquick Baking Mix
1 1/4 cup of milk, fat free
1 egg
2 tbsp of brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla

1.) In a large bowl, measure out 2 cups of baking mix
2.) In a small bowl, whisk together egg, brown sugar, and vanilla
3.) Add egg mixture to baking mix and add milk.
4.) Stir until well blended
5.)  Using a small ladle (less than 1/4 cup),  pour pancake batter onto hot griddle, flipping after bubbles form on top of batter.

Using my small ladle, I am able to make about 20 mini pancakes (4 servings of 5 pancakes)

5  Mini Pancakes = 7 pts

1 banana per serving, sliced (0 pts)
1 tbsp of Nutella, or chocolate hazelnut spread - microwaved for about 30 seconds (3 pts)

So in total my pancakes came out to 10 points per serving. Not bad! I still have plenty of points left for the day to enjoy a snack and a good hearty dinner. I would say, this isn't even a cheat meal!

I did some quick research on the breakfast chain I had wanted to go to, and calculated that just a simple order of short stacks (3 pancakes), with NO additional toppings or side orders = 20 points! YIKES! I can't even imagine all of the fancy platters that also include eggs, bacon, toast, etc.

Not only did we save ourselves some money, but we might have just saved ourselves a heart attack!

Happy Saturday!


The most comforting lunch...

3/09/2012 *Sara-Marie* 0 Comments

There is something so comforting about
peanut butter and banana! One of my personal favorite combinations. Today, I have exactly 32 grams of smart balance pb (5pts) with a medium sized banana (0pt) inside a mini soft wrap (1pt).
Time to eat this baby!


New and Improved!

3/09/2012 *Sara-Marie* 0 Comments

I made a few changes to the blog layout...please let me know what you think! For those that enjoy reading my posts, what would you be interested in reading more about? Any feedback would be much appreciated!

have a good night!!!


In the spirit of grilled sandwiches...

3/08/2012 *Sara-Marie* 0 Comments


Whole wheat bread: 3 pts
4 oz deli turkey: 2 pts
1/2 oz goat cheese (I know I'm obsessed) : 1 pt
Pickle: 0 pts
1/2 serving of "veggie sticks": 2 pts

I'm a little carb heavy today, so gonna try to keep that to a minimum for the rest of the day...


Be Creative!

3/08/2012 *Sara-Marie* 0 Comments

I spent about half hour this morning figuring out what I wanted for breakfast. I wasn't in the mood for eggs or cereal. I started to think about making yummy chocolate chip pancakes but then I figured I could save that for the weekend and enjoy a cheat meal. 

Then, I got a little creative! I had some left over roasted veggies from last night's dinner so I threw that in between some wheat bread with 1/2 oz of goat cheese. Veggie grilled cheese! 

It was really good! I think I can elaborate on this idea and maybe add some chicken for a lunch time meal. Yum...I can taste it now...

2 slices of wheat bread = 3 pts
Roasted veggies= 1pt (roasted in a drizzle of EVOO)
1/2 oz of goat cheese with basil= 1pt 

Now I gotta go be productive at work! Have a great day everyone!



Healthy Eating CAN be delicious!

3/07/2012 *Sara-Marie* 0 Comments

Today is proving to be another good day -- staying on track and keeping motivated! Today is also the start of a new Weight Watchers week for me, so I wanted to start strong.

The day began with the alarm going off at 5am and then snoozing until 5:30 with my husband (<--- ooh I love saying that!). After a large cup of coffee and praying with Mark (yes, we pray every morning together and at every meal we share together. I think it's the key for a healthy marriage!), I realized that I still needed to prep for my 9am meeting. Heading to the gym wasn't probably the best decision at the moment. I was able to complete my prep work by about 7:45am and debated on whether or not I could still make it to the gym and get anything accomplished. Instead, I threw my sneakers on and power walked for about 12 minutes around our community. Hey, at least it was something! Last week I would have just sat at my desk and did nothing! And we live at the bottom of a hill, so going up and down a hill for 12 minutes actually got the blood flowing!

The rest of the day was very busy with work but every time I started to think about this weight loss journey of mine, I thought about how I could make this motivation and change sustainable. And since I'm a person that LOVES to cook, and LOVES to eat, I realized that I needed to make sure that my healthier food choices were still delicious and satisfying!

And it's true...healthy eating CAN be delicious. See for yourself.

BREAKFAST: Okay, nothing too fancy here but I needed something quick this morning.

1 serving of Special K - 3 pts (I recommend weighing this out, because a serving is much less than what a normal sized bowl leads you to believe!)
1/2 oz of slivered almonds - 2 pts
4 oz of skim milk - 1 pt

LUNCH: Nothing beats yummy leftovers! Deeper flavors develop over night and its so easy to just throw together!
turmeric stirfry chicken in a mini soft wrap - 5 pts
1 cucumber, chopped with 1 tbsp of dressing - 1 pt
Orange - 0 pt

AFTERNOON SNACK: Most satisfying 2 pt snack ever! Adding zero point items like salsa just spices up any quick snack and makes it so much more delicious! But be ware, this one is a little messy.
mini soft wrap - 1 pt
2 oz of turkey - 1 pt
mango peach salsa - 0 pts

DINNER: YUMMY IN MY TUMMY! I think the best part of this dish was using full fat (full flavor) goat cheese. As long as you weigh it out (I had 14 grams ~ 1/2 serving), you can still stay on target. Turns out 1/2 serving of goat cheese is only 1 point and taste A MILLION TIMES BETTER than 2 oz of the fat free version. I rather have less, but with a satisfying punch! And it melted so lovely into the dish, making it nice and creamy. Seriously, I felt like I was having a cheat meal, but WITHOUT THE GUILT. Hallelujah.

Smart Taste Pasta (white pasta with extra fiber), roasted zucchini, red onion and grape tomatoes, with chicken sausage = 8 pts
1/2 serving of goat cheese with basil = 1 pt

Today, I REALLY enjoyed all of my meals. So much so that my next struggle was stopping at ONE SERVING! I think I just proved to myself that being on a "diet" doesn't have to mean eating bland foods that taste like cardboard. If so, I would probably be back to my old ways in less than 2 weeks.

BUT, there is a better way! And I'm going to follow it!

Lastly, I want to throw out there that I did enjoy this lovely weather by doing Week 1 Day 2 of the Couch to 5K program. I was a little slower today than on Saturday as I had a minor side stitch, but I did finish it! Between the run/walk and the power walk this morning, I started the new WW week with 4 Activity Points in the bank. Not too bad.

Well I still have a couple points left for the day, so I'm going to enjoy a serving of WW strawberry fro yo! Do I have to say it again?




Weigh-In Wednesdays! March 7, 2012

3/07/2012 *Sara-Marie* 0 Comments

Just a quick post to say that the sun is shining and I'm down 2 lbs from last Wednesday! So now I'm just X + 4.6 lbs. Would love to be down to X within another 2-3 weeks...don't let me slack off!!!

Gotta run though because I need to prep for a 9am meeting and try to still get to the gym this morning. It's gonna be tight, so let's see what we can do!

"Jesus looked at them intently and said, "Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible." Matthew 19:26 (NLT)


I'm back!

3/06/2012 *Sara-Marie* 2 Comments

I have made a decision to start blogging more often. I know I've said that before, but I know how it keeps me motivated on many different fronts and I would love to make it a part of my everyday life.

As many of you already know, I am on a journey to a healthier, slimmer, more awesome version of myself.

For the last couple months I struggled with motivation and finding time to workout. I gained about 8 lbs from my lowest in December and about a week or so ago, I vowed to get myself back on track! As of last Wednesday's weigh in, I am down 1.6 of those 8 lbs, but I'm hoping for a good weigh in tomorrow. I can't wait to get back down to my lowest (let's call it "X") and then focus on my next goal of losing 9 more pounds after that.

But I am feeling GREAT this week. I made myself a new workout calendar incorporating "Couch to 5K" training as well as swimming and some strength training. So far over the last 4 days, I've earned 9 Activity Points which is more than I've done in a LONG time.

Plus, I've filled our kitchen with lots of healthy alternatives!

I know that I love reading about different low-point meal options to keep things interesting, so I'm going to also start sharing more about my meals in my posts. Hope that it helps someone! :)

Today for breakfast, I was in the mood for a good hearty breakfast:

Chicken Sausage - 4 pts
1 egg - 2 pts
orange - 0 pts
coffee, black - 0 pts

1/2 oz of sunflower seeds - 2pts


2 mini wraps - 2 pts
4 oz of sliced turkey - 2 pts
2 tbsp of hummus - 1 pt
orange - 0 pts
pickle - 0 pts

Afternoon Snack:
cup of black tea, 1/2 oz of sliced almonds - 2 pts

Preworkout Drink:
1/2 scoop of protein -  1 pt
4 oz of skim milk - 1 pt


small potato - 2 pts
turmeric chicken stir fry - 7 pts

After dinner snack:
Weight Watchers Strawberry Fro Yo Pop - 2 pts 

Let's see if this week's work pays off on the scale tomorrow!

**Crossing Fingers**