Sunday, January 31, 2010

Stressed Spelled Backwards...

I can't think of February - with Valentine's Day in the middle - and not think of chocolate too.  Want to wish you a great month and remind you that eating dark chocolate is actually GOOD for you!

I'm going to be gone on vacation - (pictures to come!) and this month is going to be a rather slow one for me here at The Better Baker blog, so I hope you'll enjoy some old posts that will be shared...and certainly - enjoy some chocolate.  Who wants to wait for Valentine's Day to roll around? NOT me!

Are you feeling stressed? Simply reading this article will make you happy - doing what it says will make you feel even better!  ENJOY!

Dark Chocolate - Stressed spelled backwards!


If you're concerned about blood pressure, it might not be a bad idea to pop an occasional piece of dark chocolate in your mouth! A new study found that small amounts of the candy were as effective at lowering blood pressure as other non-pharmaceutical interventions. While not a substitute for hypertension medications, a small dose of chocolate brought results significant enough to be considered clinically beneficial to overall health - Source: Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter - October 2007

From '365 Reasons to Eat Chocolate'....Chocolate is not a drug, so there are no federal regulations to be afraid of. ENJOY!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Look Forward to Celebrating!!

If we are going to gain some new perspectives, in order to lose some 'old' weight, we must have some goals in mind.


Every day that you eat wisely and move more, you're accomplishing something to be proud of. (And when you mess up - forgive yourself and start fresh again tomorrow...it's gonna happen now and then!)

DON'T WAIT TO CELEBRATE!


When you applaud yourself for all you're doing, and have done, it's so much easier to keep doing those things.


I enjoyed celebrating every 5# loss with....a (dark) chocolate candy bar that had been given to me..a new shirt, etc. as it was always good to keep that in mind while I was working hard to lose those few lbs. at a time.


Celebrating is very important, because it helps to inspire you to continue doing what you're doing.


Just keep on keeping on....it came on one lb. at a time, and it isn't going to drop any faster either. I really believe the slower you take it off, the easier it is to keep it off.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Irresistible No Bake Butterscotch Cookies

SAY YES! TO DESSERTS!



These cookies are fabulous!  I keep mine in the freezer and pop them in my mouth for a tasty and satisfying treat!  They don't freeze hard, but tend to last a little longer than if I keep them in view....

NO BAKE BUTTERSCOTCH COOKIES

1 cup sugar
1 cup splenda
3/4 cup light margarine
2/3 cup evaporated skim milk
1 ozs. pkg. (4 serv. size) sugar free fat free instant butterscotch pudding mix
3-1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
3/4 cup butterscotch baking chips

In a large saucepan, bring sugar, splenda, margarine and evaporated milk to a boil, stirring constantly.  Boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat.  Stir in pudding mix, then oats, mixing well after each addition.  Stir in butterscotch chips, mixing until chips are melted.  Drop by heaping teaspoonsful onto waxed paper to cool and harden.  Yield: 36 cookies

Weight Watchers points per cookie - 2
(prior to Points Plus)

Nutritional info per serving; Calories: 100; fat: 2 gr;

fiber: 1 gr.

-From "Halfmysize.com" cookbook

Linked to Recipe of the Week

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

WW Snickers Pie

I was elated when I tasted this dish that a friend made for the holidays last year.  I'm not a big ice cream fan, but this is one wonderful treat!(Thank you Cathy!)

SNICKERS PIE

1 pint (2 cups) vanilla non-fat frozen yogurt, softened
2 Tb. chunky (reduced fat) peanut butter
1/2 pkg. (1/4 cup) sugar free (dry) instant vanilla pudding
1/2 cup fat free whipped topping


In a large bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well and pour into 8" pie pan.  Freeze until set.  Before serving drizzle 1 Tb. sugar free chocolate syrup over pie. Serves 8

(I like to mix the yogurt and pudding together - stir in the whipped topping, then add the peanut butter in teaspoons and stir, but don't blend. I enjoy having 'ribbons' of peanut butter throughout.)

Try doubling the recipe and put in a 9" X 13" pan.  Serves 16

WW points per serving - 2

Monday, January 25, 2010

Salmon Patties

Fish is good for us - I should certainly eat it more often.  This is a good way to get those Omega-3 oils in us!

SALMON PATTIES

2 (7.1 ozs) pkgs. boneless, skinless salmon (I would use canned)
2 egg whites
1 Tb. minced onion
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
dash of black pepper
10 fat free saltine crackers, crushed
1/4 cup water
2 tsp. baking powder
nonstick cooking spray


In large mixing bowl, flake salmon; add egg whites and mix thoroughly.  Add onions and spices.  Stir in cracker crumbs.  Mix baking powder with water.  Stir water into salmon mixture, making sure all is thoroughly combined.  Heat skillet, coated with nonstick cooking spray, over medium heat.  Form six patties using a 1/2 cup measure.  Place patties in heated skilled and spray tops of patties with nonstick cooking spray.  Cook about 4 minutes on each side or until patties are golden brown.

Nutritional info per serving: Calories: 106; fat: 2.5 gr; fiber: .2 gr

-From Halfmysize.com cookbook

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Making Changes

Whatever food plan you've chosen to try to get into shape... here are a  few goals you might consider...after cleaning out your pantry and fridge of 'no-no's' and filling them with 'yes yes' fooods...I suggest making changes slowly, so that you won't be so overwhelmed with them.


It doesn't make much sense to set a high goal, only to be defeated and then it's too easy to simply give up!

Drink enough water
- suggested atleast 6 - 8 ozs. glasses a day - 3 of those should actually be water - try my favorite...sugar free apple drink - MM! Tastes like real apple juice - grape tastes like fresh also.



Walk 10 minutes a day - park farther away from the door when you go shopping and then walk the length of the store (& back again=) atleast once.


Eat breakfast daily - have some protein with every meal. I enjoy cottage cheese and fruit for breakfast, but maybe you'd rather have eggs?




Decide early what you are going to 'exchange' for what you're wanting to give up. Have celery and carrots ready to eat in the fridge when you need to crunch on something other than potato chips. (And it isn't that you can never have that kind of snack again, but limit yourself. The easiest way I find is to bag up snacks into my own 100 calorie packs)










Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Happy Hugging Day!

It's National Hugging Day!  Hugs really are good for the soul - hug someone today!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Lowfat Pumpkin Spice Muffins - YUM!

These are great for a snack or with soup....De-Lish! You'll never guess these are made with pumpkin! And they're lowfat too!


Pumpkin Spice Muffins


1 - 18 ozs. spice cake mix (chocolate is great also)

1 - 15 ozs. can pumpkin puree
2/3  - 1 cup water


Preheat oven to 350.  Spray muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray or line with 24 paper liners.  Combine cake mix, pumpkin and water.  With electric mixer, beat on low speed for 1 minute.  Beat on medium speed for 2 more minutes.  Divide batter evenly into 24 muffin cups.  Take 18 - 20 minutes or until done, being careful not to overbake. Cool on wire rack.  Top with a dollop of fat-free whipped topping to serve, if desired.



Weight Watchers points (without topping) - 2 pts. per muffin

-From 'Halfmysize.com' cookbook

P.S. - if you want to try a chocolate 50% reduced-sugar cake mix, be sure to check the muffins a few minutes early, because splenda tends to bake faster.  *-*

Linked to Weekend Potluck



Monday, January 11, 2010

Moving More...and More

If we are going to gain some new perspectives, in order to lose some 'old' weight, we must have some goals.

Exercise is an important part of the process of losing weight, but you don't want to push yourself too hard before your body is ready.

We are told that we need at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, but did you know that you can break that down into 3 - 10 minute periods, and it's still effective? I LIKE THAT!

I enjoy walking the most - when it's too cold and snowy to walk outside, I enjoy using an in-home walking video (thank you Leslie Sansone!) to get moving inside. It's amazing to me the difference even a little exercise can make in my energy level....not to mention on the scales. Find what works best for you and try to stick to a regular schedule.

One thing I enjoy doing when I am walking, is to pick up the pace...say, speed up my pace for a block, then slow back down, just for some variety.  Try skipping as far as you can, just to use different muscles.

Find a friend who will walk/exercise with you. It really helps to have that accountability partner and helps pass the time so you're not thinking so much about having to move.

Even if you chose to walk alone, put on some headphones and listen to music or talk radio.  Notice what's around you  - nature, homes, etc.

Find out what others are doing to maintain their faithfulness to exercise.  Things that work for others could also work for you too.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Are you a Weight Watcher too?

Happy 2010!  I think we can all agree that trying to lose weight is among the #1 NY resolutions - ever!

I realize there are many different 'eating plans' and what works for one, may not work for another.  Lowcarb works well for my diabetic husband, and his sisters, but I find it difficult to lose at all that way.

Whatever option you chose - different strokes for different folks is certainly true in this aspect of life - I hope you'll be able to use some of these recipes for helping you to become healthier.

Even though I'm no longer an actual member of Weight Watchers, I did lose 25# in 2008, and managed to keep it off in 2009. I couldn't seem to drop that last 5#, but I try to live what I've learned while attending meetings.  I choose to follow a lowfat plan, but if you simply want to count calories, I hope you'll add some of these recipes to your own collection.

I want to share some of my most favorite WW recipes with you this month - along with tips that help keep me on track. I welcome any comments or ideas too, so please feel free to share.

I have found many wonderful recipes in the 'Halfmysize.com' cookbook that I will share also.

I've learned to eat when I'm hungry, not just because 'it's time' to eat again.

I've also learned to stop eating when I'm comfortably full.

Eating breakfast is very important to get your metabolism going for the day, so don't skip that very important meal.

It's amazing to me how even a little exercise, can make a difference in how I feel.  Keep watching for a post focusing on exercise....

Stay tuned for some easy and delicious recipes to help you shape up...starting now!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Better Baker - Leader Enterprise - January 2010

Happy 2010! 

I am thankful for new beginnings and another opportunity to start over and attempt to be a better person.  Whether you’re trying to improve your eating or spending habits,  or just cultivate your lifestyle over all,  I do hope you’ll set some goals to reach for in the new year.  The little things really add up to be the big things,  so remember-if you are running a marathon,each mile is run one step at a time.  

I love our DVR - we can rewind and watch something again.  But we can't go back and recapture a day.  We only get one at a time, so let's give it our best shot.  As Eleanor Rosevelt once said "Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why its called the present."

I have always enjoyed sharing tips to make life easier.Hope you’ll consider these for use in your household management and maintenance.

Maximize your cleaning time by using versatile products like glass & multi-surface cleaning wipes-they can be used from surface to surface,and room to room.To save steps as you clean,keep a plastic grocery bag with you to carry items that belong in other rooms.

Free up closet and floor space by storing occasionally-used items like seasonal clothes,wrapping paper or keepsakes in plastic tubs under your bed.Use the perimeter of your bed to store shoes or use shoe racks in your closet.

Do you have clutter throughout your home?(Who doesn’t, right?)Choose one task everyday-a cluttered drawer or a messy desktop-and spend 10 minutes putting things in their rightful place.All those ‘little’ spots of time add up,and make things seem more manageable.Enlist your children to help put things away.It’s important for them to have responsibilities too.

Purchase a few inexpensive baskets or plastic tubs to get yourself organized.I have many smaller tubs in my pantry and cupboards so I don’t have things falling on top of each other.It makes it much easier to find that bottle of salad dressing or envelope of seasoning that I’m looking for.

Get rid of worn,or duplicate kitchen utensils,and clothes that no one has worn for some time.The less you have,the easier it is to keep things under control.Get rid of those appliances that don’t get used often,or atleast move them out of the kitchen.You can help someone less fortunate by giving those things away.

Keep a running list on front of your fridge to write down items as they run low,or run out.I taught my children to do this for me,and I didn’t always have to be looking over their shoulder.I also begin writing the list at the bottom of the page,instead of the top.That way you can write out 3 or 4 items,and tear off the bottom of the page,instead of using the whole page for a few things on the list.(Some have told me it’s a left/right brain thing!)

If you haven’t done so,decide to become a recycler.I’m amazed at how many garbage bags of plastic,cardboard and cans I fill in a month’s time!Create a box or bag to place those items in,and make it easily accessible so all family members can contribute to the process.You’ll not only reduce waste,but it will help keep things more organized around the home.

Since I’ve climbed back on the ‘diet wagon’ this month,I am sharing some favorite healthy recipes.You don’t have to be diabetic,or even be dieting,to enjoy these yummy dishes.

CARAMEL APPLE SALAD
20-oz.Can crushed pineapple in own juice,slightly drained
1(4-serv. Size)pkg.Fat-free,sugar free butterscotch instant pudding mix
3 large apples,cored and diced
8 oz.Fat free whipped topping,thawed
2 Tb.Chopped peanuts

Mix pineapple and pudding mix together.Fold in apple and whipped topping.Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.Garnish with chopped peanuts. Yield:6 servings--Calories per serving: 185; fat:2 gr. Fiber:3 gr.

It's important to eat breakfast.  I love this next dish because it is not only tasty, it can be made ahead of time,and warmed up just before eating.  I made this recently and threw in some blueberries - make it your own by adding something that you would enjoy - apples, nuts, etc. You can use 2 cups of oatmeal if you don't have the oat bran.

BAKED OATMEAL
1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
1 cup oat bran
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup skim milk
1/2 (one half)cup egg substitute (or 3-4 egg whites)
1/2 (one half)cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup Splenda
1 tsp.vanilla extract or maple flavoring
2-3 tsp.cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350.Spray an 8"X8" baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.Combine wet ingredients and add dry ingredients.Stir until blended-pour into pan and bake for 35 minutes.Serves 6-Calories:153;fat:3 g;fiber:5 g.