Thursday, August 16, 2012

Closet shopping

Lately I have been able to go shopping in my own closet, finding things I am fitting into once more that I haven't worn in a while.

This week has been nice - I've been on vacation from work, so I'm working around the house and cooking and eating really well. The 2 lbs I gained are already gone again.

The next step in my cleaning routine, though, will be to go through my closet thoroughly. I am going to find all the clothes I can fit into again and all of the clothes I will fit into again soon and have them ready to go. Anything that is now too big will be set aside for Midalah as she loses weight, also (although not the pants. They'd be clam diggers on her, since I'm short and she's not!). The one drawback of losing weight is, unless you already have clothes in your new size, it can be expensive to buy things that will only fit you for a short while as you continue to shrink.

This came about because today I am wearing a shirt that used to stretch across my stomach when I was in slacks. I am running errands in jeans and the shirt is hanging so loosely from me that it is easy to see it is now too big.  That's a happy happy thing!

So this eating right and getting some exercise thing? It's working! Slowly, but surely - getting there.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Weight Watchers on a budget

So, I've been off-plan for a bit and it shows in the 2 pounds that have crept back on! With Midalah training for a zombie run and Roo wanting to get back in shape, the 3 of us (4 on the nights Roo's boyfriend joins us), have to get back on track.

I'd like to start training again, too, and getting back to a closer goal weight is part of that!

This week is based off the sample menu from Shrinking On A Budget Meal Plans. Their tagline is: "Family Approved Weight Watcher Inspired Meal Plans for a Points+ Friendly Kitchen".

The cost is $ 12 for a 3 month plan. I do love that they've given a sample menu, though. I'd like to see how the recipes go over first before committing to a subscription (they do have a money back guarantee, too).

I'll let you know how it goes!

Fiesta Grilled Chicken (4 pts)
Creamy Ranch Salad (2 pts)

Everyday Easy Macaroni and Cheese (6 pts)
Marinated Cucumbers and Tomatoes  (2 pts)

Chicken Burritos (4 pts)
Carrot/Apple Salad (3 pts)

Slow Cooker Italian Sausages (7 pts)
Cole slaw (1 pt)

Apricot Glazed Ham (4 pts)
Baby Spinach Salad (0 pts)
Rice (2 pts)

Saturday (brunch for dinner):
Individual Fritattas (4 pts)
Fruit  Salad (0 pts)
English muffin (2 pts)

Cheesy Mini Meatloaves (8 pts)
Garlic Mashed Potatoes (2 pts)
Zucchini Sticks (1 pt)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Weekly menu - Week eleventy-something?

I need to figure out what week we're on again. I lost track!

Back to budgeting, both calorie and dollar wise! Money is tight again this week (who isn’t it tight for these days?) and all three of us are making efforts to eat better and continue to lose weight.

Points and cost per serving are estimated using 4 servings as the standard.

This week’s menu:

Open faced tuna and artichoke melts (8 pts / $ 1.63 per serving)

Turkey burgers with salad (8 pts / $ 1.62 per serving)

Tilapia with bacon, pilaf, asparagus (7 pts / $ 2.22 per serving)

Crockpot chicken with potatoes and green beans (8 pts / $ 2.25 per serving, possibly less due to leftovers)

Grilled pizza (No idea yet for points / cost per serving – depends on what we put on it)

Caprese risotto ( 6 pts / $ 1.88 per serving)

Friday, July 06, 2012


Someone emailed me earlier today, looking for a recipe I had shared with them back in 2003. Took a little digging, but here it is. Why I haven't used it in years, I don't know - this was wonderful!

1/4 c tequila
1/2 c dried currants 
2 pints cherry tomatoes 
1 medium red onion, diced 
3 garlic cloves, minced 
3 jalapenos, seeded and chopped 
1/2 of a small can diced chiles 
cilantro, salt, pepper to taste

Soak currents in tequila.  Put all into food processor and process. Serve with chips.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Beef barley stew

Tonight's dinner: Beef barley stew (serves 6)
Price breakdown:

1.5 lbs beef cubes (on sale): 3.48
3/4 c. barley: .50
2 carrots: .15
1 stalk celery: .25
tomato paste: .59
mushrooms: 2.00

$ 6.97 for 6 servings

Sunday, June 17, 2012

French Toast BLT

And I'm back! Hanging in there - still down 21 lbs. Not really making much headway weight-loss-wise, but with the way life is right now, that's not a surprise. I'm happy to be maintaining!

Tonight's dinner is something Midalah found: French toast BLT. Surprisingly good! The bread we used was full of all sorts of yummy goodness. Probably added to the points, but today was my "bad" day, so I think I can deal. Tomorrow - new day, new dedication to losing the last 33 lbs!

Price breakdown:
Bread: 1.59
Bacon: 1.75
Tomatoes: .75
Lettuce: .50
Eggs: .65
Milk: negligible (2 Tbl.)

Total: Approximately $ 2.67 per person (2 people)

Very filling. Actually, this would have easily served 4 people. I know Midalah couldn't finish her dinner, it was too much!

This week will include lemon chicken and rice as well as sausage, peppers and orzo. Not sure what else just yet. Next week, back to menu planning!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Slowly but surely

No menu plans recently - between work, school and just general life insanity, planning has been difficult.

Still, I'm down a bit. I hit 20 lbs gone, so I'm not complaining!

There will be posts later this week. I'm heading out to Michigan with Midalah. MediaWest starts later on in the week, and we will be packing French press and crock pot. The better to save money and eat healthy, right?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Week 10 – Menu time

Hard to believe we're going into our 10th week of eating healthier, though the 18 lbs that I have lost so far are proof that it is working! And that's after a week of traveling for work and eating every meal out for 5 days straight. Getting into jeans and slacks that I couldn't zip up in December has been a huge boost, too.

Last week was a rough one. We stuck mostly to the menu plan, but with working long days and cramming for finals, neither Midalah nor I wanted to wait to eat after 9 pm. Some of the recipes from last week were a little too time-intensive for the craziness. We did stick to the WW plan, though! Yay for PointsPlus points!

This week will be easier – yes, there are still a few final exams to go for both of us, but my daughter is home and may be enlisted to help get things prepped earlier.

15 minute chicken gumbo (8 points)

Open faced tuna/artichoke melts (8 points)

Beef barley stew with roasted vegetables (9 points)

Pasta alla vodka (8 points)

Cajun grilled turkey breast with potatoes and vegetables (9 points)

Pork and pineapple skewers with rice (14 points ) – splurge night!

No idea. We’re going to Faerie Fest and will probably find something on the way home. In costume, of course!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Week 9 – Menu time

Tortellini (8 points)
Salad (0 points)

Garlicky-Kielbasa Spaghetti Squash (8 points)

Stir-Fried Shrimp and Snow Peas in Orange Sauce (4 points)
French baguette (4 points)

Grilled Sausage and Peppers with Parmesan Polenta (10 points)

Chicken and Mexican Red Rice (8 points)

Asian Beef Salad (7 points)

Still up in the air about Sunday. We'll see!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The week ahead - no meal planning this week

Tonight’s dinner wasn’t bad at all. A WW recipe with chicken, red peppers and potatoes: 7 points.

This coming week will be a challenge. I will be traveling for work while trying to stay on plan. One of our stops is Texas, so I’m thinking I need to plan for some steak! Since the set up usually includes danishes and such for the dealers, I’ve packed some healthy instant oatmeal to have in my room beforehand.

I can do this. I will do this! I have 6 lbs to reach 10% of my bodyweight gone. I want to be below that by the time Midalah and I head out to Apocalypticon (aka Media West 32) at the end of May.

Wish me luck!

Monday, April 09, 2012

Week 7 - Oops

No meal plan yet.

Hiking on Saturday (followed by salads) and Easter on Sunday (kept within points - barely) left little time to think about this week's meals.

Tonight is a hasty dinner, cobbled together from the contents of the freezer and pantry: shrimp, sauteed with lemon and garlic, 1/2 c of brown rice and a cup of broccoli (5 points).

Dinner tomorrow night will incorporate Easter leftovers, but we haven't figured out how just yet, only that there will be ham and couscous involved.

After that - we'll figure it out!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Week 6 - Menu time

A minor change last week left chicken oregano for this week's menu:

Chicken oregano with sweet peppers over brown rice (8 points)

Makeover taco salad (8 points)

Beef orzo soup (8 points)

Roast turkey breast with garlic and herbs, dilled potatoes, vegetables (8 points)

Dijon pork culets/Salad/Veggies (5 points)

Asian beef salad (7 points)

French chicken and potato salad (6 points)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Greek Pasta

Adapted from a Weight Watchers recipe, mostly because I thought we had penne in the pantry, but we had already used it up! So I mixed 6 oz bow ties and 6 oz of Barilla Plus elbows. Still around 6 points per serving (and it makes a LOT of servings):

With the change in pasta, it works out to 7 points per serving for 8 servings. This looks more like 10 servings, though!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Healthy movie night

Movie night included a little crab, some shrimp, these:

Asparagus and beef rolls. The paper-thin beef has been thinly covered with a horseradish sauce.

And these:

Cauliflower Poppers and Easy Zucchini Parmesan. The remaining asparagus was left-over from the rolls.

We have lots left over. I think the zucchini and cauliflower may become a side for something this week or next!

Week 5 – Menu Time

Starting off with a splurge!

Movie night with snacks – 11 points total
  • Easy zucchini parmesan - 1 point
  • Cauliflower poppers – 0 points
  • Beef and asparagus rolls – 6 points
  • Hummus and veggies – 4 points

Slow-cooked beef stew – 8 points

Home-baked pizza and salad – 6 points

Chicken oregano with sweet peppers over brown rice – 8 points

Asian shrimp and vegetable salad – 6 points

Greek penne – 6 points

Skillet cassoulet – 9 points

Friday, March 23, 2012

On losing weight and keeping on budget

My life was very different when I first started this blog. I was married, there was a good income coming in and we were able to go and do and splurge.

Things change. I’m now divorced and living on a scarily tight budget as I work at getting things back on track while both my daughter and I go to school. Penny pinching? I have started to learn that art!

Unfortunately for my waistline, however, my interest in food – good food – has never waned. This can be costly both in dollars and in calories.

Years ago, I lost quite a bit of weight, but it was easier then. I was a stay-at-home mom doing volunteer work, so I made my own hours. I had the extra income to purchase items that were healthier without having to look to see if buying something meant less gas in the car.

Of course, gas prices were a far cry then from what they are now, too!

Less healthy foods can be cheaper. The center aisles of the supermarket are full of things that are on sale, but are really not conducive to a healthier eating style.

Yet, I am finding eating healthier on a budget IS doable. It means a lot more work and a larger investment in time than I had originally expected, but you know what? It’s worth every minute spent pouring over recipes and supermarket prices because the outcome in the end will be a much healthier, happier me.

And that’s all I ask for.

8 points

The week mostly went as planned, with some minor adjusting due to some things looking very much like other things when frozen!

Tonight we had Parmesan Tilapia. With Brussels sprouts and dilled potatoes, dinner came to 8 points. It looks like there are more potatoes than there really are, but they are mounded up on top of the fish. The angle isn't optimal, either, but I am learning!

The cost was good, too. I need to work out the total, since I've forgotten how much the bag of tilapia fillets cost. Sprouts: $.25 serving, potatoes: $.50. I want to say the bag of tilapia was $ 9.99 for 10 servings, working out to just under $ 1.00 per serving. So, roughly $ 1.75 per person.

I made 4 servings of fish and Brussels sprouts for lunches next week. Potatoes never freeze well, so I figured, why bother?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Week 4 - Menu time

Week 3 went okay-ish. We never resorted to take-out, but things had to get shifted around a lot. My car decided Monday was a good day to die and that really threw things well out of whack since I had planned on stopping at Giant that night to pick up things for the week’s dinners.

Thanks to the unexpected expenses incurred between the car and Greyhound’s ridiculousness, this week will be based on whatever we have on hand in the fridge, freezer and pantry. I love my freezer. Have I said how much I love my freezer?

Grilled chicken over angel hair pasta and tomatoes (9 points)

Pepper steak over baked potatoes (9 points)

French ham and bean soup (6 points)

Turkey sausage with vegetables (7 points)

Parmesan tilapia, brown rice, vegetables (7 points)

Black bean and salsa chicken (6 points)

Breakfast on St. Patrick's Day

The rest of the day is going to be points-heavy, so this is a nice way to start off. Plus, there's green involved!

3 point omelet

3 - 4 c. loosely packed fresh spinach leaves, washed.
1/2 c. Egg Beaters
1 Tbl. Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Coarsely chop spinach. Wilt the spinach - I leave the leaves damp from washing and toss it into the microwave for 60 - 70 seconds. Anything over 90 seconds is overkill.

Beat together Egg Beaters, cheese, salt and pepper.

Spray skillet with cooking spray. Pour eggs into pan and cook until firm enough to flip (I don't do the 'don't flip' method - leaves the eggs too wet for me, but if you like it, go for it).

Arrange spinach on one side of the eggs and roll.

I topped it with salsa for a little color and added flavor. The grapes were a nice, light finish.

Now - dare I figure out points for a green beer today?

Shimp and Chicken Jambalaya

A Weight Watchers recipe that worked really well here. We ended up halving the portion sizes, because the 2 cup serving size was too big for any of us to finish, including my daughter and her boyfriend!

Shrimp, chicken, peppers and tomatoes - can't go wrong!

After it was done and ready to be served:

Finished it off with some green Tobasco, which really added a nice little bit of flavor.

All this made either 4 huge 2 cup servings at $ 3.25 each or 8 regular (and filling!) 1 cup servings at $ 1.63 each. Well within budget for dinner and lunches!

My old pot is enamel clad cast iron. It looks pretty beat up now, but I did receive it as a shower gift back in January 1990. It's taken a beating and then some.

It has made thousands of meals, been stuck directly on hot coals at camp sites, had coals piled on top of it, etc. This is cookware that is well worth the investment!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Weekly grocery budget

Something I am noticing as we work on this whole eating healthy thing - we are spending less in the grocery store and on food in general.

Buying lunch, either fast food or in the cafeteria, is out for the most part. Leftovers are in.

Dinners are healthy and there are no pre-packaged meals. That means less sodium and less waste overall.

Meals are just healthier. Midalah and I did go out the other night for dinner, using the WW app to make sure we stayed within points. Out of curiosity, though, I started looking through other options on the menu.


40-plus points for a single entree? My entire daily intake is 26 points! No wonder I packed the pounds on, with fast food lunches as a way to get out of the office for 30 minutes, and at least bi-weekly dinners out, complete with appetizers and, sometimes, dessert.

We spend less on the weekly food shopping than we would have on a single meal out. That's a big difference.

Between the financial and caloric savings, I am hoping to be in a much better place - physically and fiscally - at this time next year!

Week 3 - Menu Time

Week 2 was a little difficult, but we didn't stray too far from the plan. Things went a bit haywire with my daughter's trip home from school for Spring Break (I'm looking at you, Greyhound!).

Still, we didn't do too badly. We ended up not having the chili on Tuesday because of work schedules, but stayed within the budget, both points and dollar-wise.

So, here is week 3. The weekend is a little uncertain at the moment, a lot of things going on, so Friday and Saturday are tentative menus:

French bean soup (6 pts)

Broiled chicken with vegetables (3 points)
Something else will be added to this to boost the points a bit!

Broiled tilapia parmesan with spaghetti squash primavera (10 pts)

15 minute vegetarian chili (8 pts)

Turkey sausage with vegetables (7 pts)

Shrimp and chicken jambalaya (11 pts)

Slow-cooked beef stew (8 pts)

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

"Asian" beef salad

Another Weight Watchers recipe:

This one turned out very well. It's reminiscent of a salad I'd get from Salad Works, only with beef instead of chicken, and missing the craisins. Seriously - we will do this again.

Even my daughter and her boyfriend approved, though they had theirs minus the chow mein noodles. I, um, showed them how Anubis did not like the sound of the noodles being shaken in the can. After the second shake, we had noodles all over the kitchen floor. Shake! Shake! SPILL!

Orion and Anubis are very happy dogs right now, with bellies full of noodles!

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Curried Scallops

A slightly modified version of a recipe from Weight Watchers. The original calls for sea scallops, but at $15 per pound, those just do not fit into the budget.

Bay scallops worked just as well and I think this came out decently. One to make again, but with more curry powder next time!

Oh, and including extra milk, some soda and a big gallon of OJ (my daughter is home from college), this week's grocery bill was still under $ 60!

Oh - and the cost for this dinner plus 2 lunches (4 servings total):

Scallops: $ 6.00
Broth: $.25 (I use bouillon)
Pasta: $ 2.19 (it was Barilla, extra fiber, etc)
Scallions: $.15
Half and half: $ .50

$ 9.09 total, or just over $ 2.27 per meal. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Weekly menu planning - week 2

Last week was the first serious get-healthy menu planning that Midalah and I did.

We followed what we had listed, knew what we were doing for dinner each night, and didn't resort to take out after a long day, because we knew just what we had. None of those "ugh, I am tired, it's been a long day and I don't want to be bothered trying to figure out dinner, do you?" conversations were had this past week.

All in all, I think it worked out. So we're continuing and just finished our menu planning for this week, complete with the Points values. With the exception of Friday, every night is under 10 points.

I have to admit - I'm looking forward to Friday. The recipe looks worth every one of the points!

Curried scallops (4 pts)
Angel hair pasta (5 pts)

Hamburger steak with mushroom gravy (8 pts) - no canned soups in sight for this, yay!
Vegetable (0 pts)

15 minute vegetarian chili (8 pts)

Asian beef salad (7 pts)

Salmon (6 pts)
Couscous (2 pts)
Vegetable (0 pts)

Unchained Tuscan Chicken Milano (13 pts)

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Mexican Bean and Tortilla Pie

Tonight's recipe comes from Weight Watchers. 5 corn tortillas, a can of black beans, mashed up, some herbs and spices, tomato sauce and salsa. And, oh yes, cheese.

I did add a little more cheese to the top than the tablespoon it should have been, but not by much. I'm very much under for my points today, so not feeling any guilt over the extra 1/2 point it might add!

Here it is, ready to go into the convection oven:

Recipes need to be on the small size right now - the regular oven is on the fritz, so until we can get someone in to look at it, we've become really good at adapting things!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Meals for the week

As I mentioned in the last post, I signed up today for Weight Watchers. So, Midalah and I looked at what we have in the pantry, fridge and freezer, along with what was on sale this week at Giant. Since it is Lent, seafood is a good deal this week.

We came up with this week's healthy, budget-conscious menu. Even have it posted on the fridge and everything!

Having a set plan will prevent last minute, "well, what do you want for dinner? I'm running to the store" conversations, and keep us from grabbing junk food or tossing something fattening together because it's easy to do.

Sausage and cheese... pancakes?

In a mood for something savory for breakfast this morning, so I trooped down to the kitchen to see what we have on hand.

No eggs. No Eggbeaters. Hm... sadly short on bacon, too. While the freezer is well-stocked, the pantry and fridge need some filling.

Found the last of a box of pancake mix. In the freezer we had turkey sausage crumbles. In the fridge, shredded cheddar.

So, I heated up the sausage, mixed up the batter and tossed the lot together:

They turned out fairly well, actually:

Unfortunately, they also turned out to be around 10 points, even with low-fat ingredients. Found that little nugget out after breakfast, when I finally bit the bullet and joined Weight Watchers.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pineapple and pepper chicken

I'll have to take a photo of this when I take it out of the freezer.

Essentially, chicken in a light gravy with pineapple and sauteed green peppers, served over rice. I made enough for 3 meals: 1 tonight and 2 for the freezer.

Cheap? You betcha. Everything on sale and the chicken from a giant 10 lb package from Costco.

Tasty? It's okay, but it's nothing to jump up and down over. Once we've eaten the other portions, I don't think I'll make this one again.

Still looking for tasty and cheap ideas for filling the freezer!

Monday, January 02, 2012

Last day of splurging

Starting tomorrow, I am back to eating much healthier meals and trying to get at least a little exercise in at some point during each day. It might be only a 15 minute walk at mid-day, but that's better than nothing!

Breakfast this morning was pretty much unhealthy as sin:

Leftover mashed potatoes mixed with a little egg and sour cream, topped with shredded cheese and baked for 25 minutes.
Brown and Serve Sausage (hey, it's cheap!)
Grapes (probably the only healthy thing on the plate)

I guess it could have been worse, but it sure could have been better!