Tag Archives: Beans

Checking in On My “Pointless” Month and “The Microwave Scrambler”

Happy Friday and happy weekend to you all!! It is officially one month since I stopped counting Weight Watchers points and started with my new approach. It has been a good month, and I’m still very happy with my decision. I promised a weigh-in post today, and I’m happy to deliver.

Before I get into all of that, I thought I’d tell you about my lunch today. I made a batch of black bean taco filling a couple of nights ago, and immediately started thinking of other uses for the beans. The tortillas I use have to be heated in a skillet in order to be good, so an actual taco wasn’t really a lunchtime option. I’d considered the omelette possibility, but I couldn’t really whip up an omelette at work either. I could, however, do the next best thing and make a scramble! At least, I thought I could. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but here’s what I did:

I put my black bean filling and my cheese in a little container, and put 1/2 cup of egg beaters with some salsa in a bigger container. I didn’t think it would be smart to mix them this morning because I was afraid that the beans might soak up the eggs while sitting in the fridge.

Little Bowl

 

Big BowlWhen lunchtime rolled around, I set the cheese aside and heated up the beans. Then, I mixed the beans into the egg beaters and put it in the micro for 30 seconds.

All Together Now

I took it out, stirred it, and zapped it for 30 seconds more. I repeated the process, and, after thirty more seconds, I had a perfectly respectable microwave scrambler in my bowl!

The ScramblerSince I try to focus on getting plenty of protein in my diet, I often favor eggs over bread when it comes to choosing a food “holder.” I think it was just a matter of time before I figured out how to put this to play at work. The experiment was a success, and I have a whole new option for a quick and easy lunch made with leftover veggies and meats! Hooray for the “microwave scrambler!!”

Shifting gears now, if you are a regular reader you may recall that I decided to stop counting points and worrying so much about weekly weigh-ins because it was becoming counterproductive, and I was feeling like I was in a major rut. You can find the post about my decision to switch here. Almost immediately, I decided to start counting calories because I found that I wasn’t comfortable without some sort of framework. I felt bad about it at first, but now I’ve realized that it is a step in the right direction.

I’ll say it again, Weight Watchers worked very well for me. If you are reading my blog and are currently following the Weight Watchers plan, please know that I don’t mean to be negative or discouraging about WW in any way. It is still in my list of options, and I will return to it in a heartbeat if I find that I’m unable to manage my weight with my new approach. I’d just been doing it for so long that I felt like I really needed a change. I stuck with it for the past four years because it DOES work. 

I discovered some things about the way I’d been eating when I made the switch to calories and went “pointless.” First, I realized that I might have been eating way too much fiber and not enough fat. Admittedly, if I’d been diligent about eating my daily requirement for oil under the WW plan, that might not have been a problem. I’m not sure, and I don’t love math enough to go back and figure it out. What I do know is that I’ve found some higher fat foods to be much more satisfying than what I was eating before, and I’ve felt more satisfied with my food choices over the last month than I have in a long time.

I also realized that I might have been too good at gaming the system. I might have been eating too many zero point foods of the healthy variety, since I knew my zero point options like the back of my hand, and I’ve learned that even my spinach has some calories in it. Well, I knew that, but now I understand it much better! A calorie is a calorie. Period. There’s no formula to apply. There’s something comforting about that to me. 

WW taught me well that eating a bunch of empty calorie foods, although staying within my points, would not necessarily fill me up. That’s a lesson that has carried over, and many of my meals look just the same as they did while I was counting points. One thousand calories worth of chocolate would never keep me full like one thousand calories made up of oat bran, omelettes, fruits and veggies. I think that keeping that in mind when making day to day food choices is key.

When I decided to go “pointless,” I was also struggling with the fact that my weight had stayed the same for the last few months. When I weighed in on March 20th, I was at 159.8. After a week of going “pointless” I dropped down to 153.8. I was so surprised! I think that there is much to be said for shaking things up. Today, the scale said 158.8. So, am I saying that I lost a pound this month? No. I’m getting better at looking at my weight over the course of time and not pinning all of my hopes on one snapshot weigh-in day a week. My weight had stayed around 155-157 for most of the month, but I don’t think that my weekend of eating Williamsburg’s best helped me out much for today’s weigh-in. The thing is, I’m not so freaked out about it anymore.

When I decided to make the switch, I also decided to make healthy choices and just see what happened rather than making myself miserable with the pressure to keep shedding pounds. This has done wonders for me, but I find that it is one of the things I struggle with the most. I’ve been so much more relaxed with my eating this month, and I’ve enjoyed so many things that I would have avoided before. I tend to fall back into the old patterns of worrying about staying on track in order to have a loss more often than I’d like, but I’ve gotten better about reminding myself that I don’t have to lose when I find myself in situations where I want to be less strict– like last weekend. The thing is, after a month of being more relaxed, I haven’t gained back 50 pounds. I’ve hovered around the same number and even lost a little. I needed to know that it was possible to achieve that, and I’m so very happy about it. 

My goals moving forward are to continue to stay around the weight I’m at now, or somewhere below. I really don’t want to gain anything back, but I’m ok with maintaining where I am. I also want to get better at paying attention to hunger signals. I feel like I’ve made some improvements in this area over the course of the month, but I have far to go. I would also like to focus even more on making healthy choices than on the scale number or the calories logged in my Sparkpeople calorie tracker. In other words, I’d like to keep working on eating more intuitively. 

This is an on-going process, and I know that I’ll always struggle with my weight. After this month, however, I’m even more convinced that the struggle is well worth it AND that I have the tools I need to be successful while enjoying my life. Isn’t that, after all, the best of both worlds?

As an example of the new approach in action, I will leave you with this:

LaLoo's LoveI attended a retirement ceremony this afternoon at work, and I decided that I really wanted a piece of the celebratory cake. I actually decided to have cake before I even went to the party so this wasn’t a case of seeing it and wanting it. I just wanted it. Period. I used to avoid the cake completely and munch on whatever fruits and veggies were available. That’s definitely a healthy strategy and one that I rely on often. Today, however, when I had my heart set on cake, it wouldn’t have been the best tactic for purposes of avoiding feelings of deprivation. I had my cake, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Yum! Cake with frosting is a major treat in my book! Striving for some balanced choices, I decided to finish off my LaLoo’s this evening without the usual side of chocolate cake from the freezer since I’d already had my cake today. I had a couple of reduced fat nilla wafers instead. I feel good knowing that I didn’t deprive myself of something I really wanted, and that I found a way to balance that out without guilt or deprivation. I’m figuring this thing out, one bowl at a time. :-) 

This is post #99. I’m excited!! You’ll be hearing about my 100th post giveaway in my next post. If things go as planned…. that will be happening tomorrow! For now, thanks for reading, and I hope that my experience can be helpful to someone or, at the very least, kind of interesting. Writing it all out is definitely helpful for me. Thanks for reading it. Ciao for now, bloggie friends!

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Filed under Beans, Cake, cooking, diet, Fitness, Food, Vegetarian Recipes, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story, Weight Watchers

Slow but Easy Baked Beans

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Wow! This weekend flew by and Monday did as well. I’ve been too busy to post since Friday, and I’ve missed it and all of my bloggie friends! I hope everyone had a great weekend. I did! It even came complete with a tiny bit of sunburn. I wasn’t properly prepared for the beautiful weather at the cookout on Sunday, but it was certainly nice to see the sun!

Thank you all so much for the wonderful comments you left on my last post. I will treasure them! I’m so happy with my new approach for now, and I have to say that I had a much less stressful weekend full of eating activities, largely due to my new outlook. It was lovely. I didn’t realize how stressed I had been about food situations. I’ve just been doing my best to choose things that I really want, and then eat reasonable portions. I think I’ve done pretty well.

I don’t have any photos (some friends don’t know about the blog…), so I won’t get into too many longwinded details, but I will say that over the past few days, I’ve enjoyed bastilla, lamb couscous and chicken mkali at a Moroccan restaurant. I had Rabbit Fricassee with Gnocchi, Coq au Vin, Chocolate Mousse Cake with Bourbon Cherries, and an assortment of items from the charcuterie menu including spanish ham and an amazing duck prosciutto at Vinoteca, which is a very cool wine bar and bistro on U Street. At the cookout, I had a small portion of some pulled pork that my friends had smoked, salad, some of the baked beans I’m going to tell you about, and a small lemon bar for dessert. I love lemon bars. Yum!

I’ve kept my portions small, tried to skip the bread when possible because it isn’t my favorite thing anyway, and tried to plan ahead while eating during the rest of the day so as to leave a bit more room in the calorie count for these richer foods. I’ve kept up with my workout schedule too. The last few days have been nice, and I haven’t regretted any of the things I’ve eaten. I figure that’s a pretty good sign that I’m doing ok. Time and the scale will tell, but, as I said before, I’m absolutely prepared to keep tabs on the situation and adjust if necessary. 

So, on to the beans! I volunteered to bring baked beans to the cookout, and I wanted to try making them from scratch rather than just doctoring up some canned beans. Here’s the recipe I came up with:

Mmmmm....

Slow but Easy Baked Beans

Ingredients:

1 lb. small white beans, uncooked

water

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

1 cup chopped onion

3 ounces center cut bacon, chopped

1/2 cup Virginia Gentleman Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

2 tsp. dijon mustard

Directions:

Rinse and sort the dried beans. Place the beans in a large pot and cover them with water. Bring the pot to a boil, and boil for 10 minutes. Cover, and allow the beans to sit for one hour. Drain the water, rinse the beans again and place them in a slow cooker. Add 1 1/2 cups water, onion, syrup, brown sugar, salt and bacon. Cook over high heat for four hours. I added a splash more water to the slow cooker around hour number three because the beans were looking a bit dry. You might want to keep an eye on them and add a little water if needed.

Add the barbecue sauce and dijon mustard and allow to cook for an additional hour.

I made mine the day before the cookout, so I spread them in a baking dish and reheated them at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes just before I got ready to serve them. I think this was good as it allowed a bit of a crust to develop on the top.

This made about sixteen 1/4 cup servings.

I decided to use smaller amounts of syrup and brown sugar than usual, and then to finish it off with a distinctively flavored barbecue sauce to punch up the flavor. I think that the sauce gave the beans a nice taste without adding quite as many calories. I also wanted some bacon, but I didn’t want to go overboard. There was enough in there to give it some good bacon flavor without resulting in greasy baked beans. Here’s what they looked like right after I put them in the slow cooker:

The heat is on!

I know this post is short and sweet, but I need to head off to bed. I have a bit of an early day tomorrow. I’m headed to the dermatologist in the morning for an annual check-up, and I’m sure that my bit of accidental sunburn will earn me a well deserved lecture. Here’s a question: Do you wear sunscreen every day or just when you expect to be out in the sun for a long period of time? 

My everyday foundation has sunscreen in it, and my face didn’t burn at all. I have a weird stripe on one forearm and my collar bones got a bit singed. It is lovely, to be sure. Speaking of lovely, I hope you all have a lovely night and a lovely week. I’m hoping to get caught up on reading/commenting over the next couple of days. I’m sure I’ve missed some great posts! Goodnight!

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Filed under Beans, cooking, diet, Fitness, Food, Recipes, Slow Cooker, Uncategorized, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story