Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Pumpkin Cheesecake

1/3 C. graham cracker crumbs
1 can (16 ounce) pumpkin
2 cups low-fat ricotta cheese
3/4 cup splenda
3 T. whole wheat flour
1 T. nonfat dry milk powder
1 T. ground cinnamon
1 t. ground allspice
1 egg white
3/4 cup canned evaporated skim milk (I used fat free)
1 T. olive oil
1 T. vanilla
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Add graham cracker crumbs.  Shake to coat pan evenly and set aside.  
Combine pumpkin and ricotta cheese in food processor or blender.  Process until smooth.  Add splenda, flour, milk powder, cinnamon, allspice, egg white, evaporated milk, oil, and vanilla.  Process until smooth.  
Pour mixture into prepared pan.  Bake 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 275 degrees.  Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Turn off oven and leave cheesecake in oven with door closed for 1 hour.  Remove from oven and cool completely on wire rack.  Remove springform pan side.  Cover cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.  I sprinkled the top of the cheesecake with graham cracker crumbs, topped it with fat free cool whip, and sprinkled it with pumpkin pie spice.  My recipe for baked apples would also be a very good topping.  

Wild Rice with Cranberries and Apples

1 cup brown rice, uncooked
1 cup wild rice, uncooked
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup dried cranberries
1 large apple, diced
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Place brown rice and wild rice in a large saucepan with the broth.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes, until rice is tender and broth is absorbed.  Transfer rice to a large bowl and add cranberries, diced apple and walnuts.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Sweet Potato Casserole


1/2 C. unsweetened apple sauce
3 C. mashed sweet potatoes
1 tsp. vanilla
1 C. sugar or sweetener of choice (I like to use Stevia or Agave Nectar)
1/2 tsp. salt
Mix together and place in casserole dish.

1 small can of crushed pineapple with juice
1/4 C. whole wheat flour
1/2 C. sugar or sweetener of choice
1 C. unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 C. chopped pecans
Blend together and place on top of potatoes.  Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Italian salmon with tomato sauce

6, 4 ounce portions of salmon ( or chicken breasts )
1 medium onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. olive oil
1 T. dried basil
1 T. dried oregano
1 cup of canned, diced tomatoes
2 T. cornstarch mixed with 1/4 C. cold water 
salt and pepper to taste
non-stick cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onion is translucent.  Add basil, oregano and diced tomatoes with juice.  Simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Stir in cornstarch mixture and thicken to preferred consistency.  Place fish or chicken into baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.  Cover with tomato mixture.  Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes, until fish flakes easily with fork.  
This is one of our favorite recipes...so easy and tastes really good.  I served this with steamed veggies and sweet potatoes.  For the potatoes, peel and slice and then place on cookie sheet.  Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice.  Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes or until tender.

Sugar Free Cranberry Sauce

1 bag fresh cranberries
1 C. splenda
1/2 C. orange juice
Wash cranberries in a colander with cool water.  Drain the cranberries and place in a medium sized sauce pan.  Place pan over medium high heat.
Add splenda and orange juice to the pan. Stir well to incorporate the splenda as it melts with the heat.  Once the splenda is completely dissolved, cover the pot and let cook.  Keep the lid on the pot for 20 minutes.  Uncover and stir.  Turn the heat to low for another 10 minutes.  The cranberries will burst open releasing pectin.  Pectin is a natural gelatin contained in the berries.  This will allow the mixture to thicken.  Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.  
If you have leftovers, the cranberry sauce is really good mixed into hot cereal or plain, nonfat yogurt. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Parting ways with Miss Clairol

To dye or not to dye?  I remember finding my first gray hair at an early age...17 to be exact!  I would find them here or there, but it never got to the point of "needing" to dye until about ten years ago.  I went to salons for the first few years, but as the kids got older and more expensive, I could not afford salon visits for color.  I began coloring at home.  I didn't  mind it at first, but after awhile I noticed the color wasn't lasting as long as it used to.  The gray was more difficult to cover.  I was tired of the mess and the smell as well.  A few months into my healthy lifestyle change, I started thinking about letting my hair go gray.  I'd then push it to the back of my mind and think to myself, "maybe when I'm older".  Every few days, I'd find myself thinking about it and eventually looked online for some information.  I found the "Going Gray Looking Great" site.  I loved reading all the bios and looking at the pictures of women who had transitioned and let their silver shine!  I was still nervous about the thought and would even minimize the screen if anyone walked into the computer room while I was on the GGLG site...lol!  Last Feb., I looked in the mirror and saw the changes in my body as the weight came off.  I then looked at my hair...shoulder length, dyed black, dry mess...and thought, "what the hell?!"  Let's make this a total body change! I began chatting with several of the women on the GGLG site and became friends with a lot of them on Facebook.  It's been so nice to have encouragement along the way.  I have become very close to some of those women and am proud to call them my friends.  In April I decided to cut my hair short.  As of last summer, all the dye had been cut out and I was left with a salt and pepper spiky do! I love the ease of not coloring my hair anymore and I love how easy my cut is.  I get a lot of compliments on both the cut and color.  I had a young teenager ask me if I color my hair this way.  I smiled and said no...that it was natural.  She told me how nice it looked.  I then had three different 20'ish year old guys ( within a couple weeks time ) tell me that they loved my hair and how cool it looked.  Two of these guys had gauged ears and one had spiky hair as well.  I guess those of us who go against the "norm" of society have to stick together...ha ha!  I thought I may look or feel old with my gray hair, but I feel the exact opposite.  I feel like a new person and it's been for the best...=)

Matty's Skinny Soup- Dr. Oz show

1 ( 2 lb., 3 oz. ) can of diced Italian tomatoes
4 cans of water ( use tomato can )
4 chicken bouillon cubes
2 large onions
1 large green pepper
1 large red pepper
1 lb. bag of baby carrots
1 bunch of celery
1 med. green cabbage
salt and pepper
Blend tomatoes and 4 cans of water.  Add 4 bouillon cubes.  Shred or chop all veggies, except cabbage.  Add to broth.  Cook for 2 hours and then add shredded cabbage and cook for 1 more hour.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  To make soup more of a "meal" you may add cooked brown rice.

This soup is SO good!  It's great for snacks as well.  I added leftover turkey to it a couple days after Thanksgiving and that turned out really good.  The leftovers make for a good lunch.

Monday, December 19, 2011

NOTHING tastes as good as thin feels....=)

Happy Holidays!
With Christmas fast approaching, goodies are starting to show up on our doorstep.  A sweet neighbor of ours brought cookies over yesterday.  I left them out on the counter for anyone who wanted to enjoy them.  I walked by them a few times and will admit that my mouth actually watered a time or two.  I then remembered the new jeans I bought a few days ago...the SIZE 10 jeans I might add!!! I smiled to myself and the saying, "Nothing tastes as good as thin feels" went through my mind.  As tempting as food is around the holidays, I have stayed on track and plan to stay on track.  I made all low fat dishes for our Thanksgiving meal and our Christmas meal will also be low fat.  I know that as a food addict, I would crave the food even more after eating it.  That along with what the fat and sugar would do to my digestive system, has me wanting to stay on track.  I wanted to do something for my neighbors this year and since I don't bake anymore, ( for obvious reasons! ) I bought Betty Crocker sugar cookie mixes and some holiday cookie cutters to put with them.  I delivered these this past weekend.  I had one neighbor invite me in and then say to his wife, "Look, Lori is half the woman she used to be!".  He also told me that he doesn't make a habit of looking at other mens wives, but just can't help but notice how good I look.  LOL!  I also had a neighbor say, "Girl, if I had seen you on the street, I wouldn't even recognize you!".  I was also told by another neighbor how impressed she has been with the weight loss our family has achieved.  All of these very kind comments along with my new size 10 jeans, give me the willpower to look past those Christmas goodies...=) 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Updated photo

This picture was taken right before Thanksgiving.  19 months and 129 lbs. later, I can now fit into one pant leg of the jeans I used to wear!  I look at those jeans and wonder how I was ever that big.