Thursday, September 19, 2013

Vegetarian Stuffed Eggplant with Rice, Tofu, Onion and Sprouted Adzuki Beans

On Thursdays in Downtown L.A., right in the plaza of my work place, they have an organic farmers market.  It's always great to see what's fresh, and I get to pick and choose a lot of great produce.  Today, I found these beautiful mini eggplants, about the size of a navel orange.  I bought three of them and spent my commute home thinking of ways to stuff them.  With what?

I had about 3 ounces of silken tofu in the fridge.  I've always got rice, onions, and the sprouts for the this week were some experimental adzuki beans that I started on Saturday.  So here's what I did:

3 small (orange size) eggplants
2/3 cup basmati rice
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
3 oz silken tofu
1/2 cup sprouted adzuki beans (or any other type of bean sprout)
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cup bottled reduced fat spaghetti sauce (or you can use tomato sauce)
salt and pepper

  • Use small eggplant - the size of a navel orange. Wash and cut the top off and discard top. Using a spoon, hollow out the eggplant. Keep the insides and put in the bottom of a large pan. Once eggplants are hollowed, add a little salt on the inside and set aside and allow to weep. 

  • In a bowl, add 2/3 cup basmati rice (rinsed), 1/2 medium onion finely chopped, 3 oz silken tofu, 1/2 cup sprouted Adzuki beans (or other bean sprouts), minced garlic, and mix together. 

  • Rinse the salted eggplant and dry. Fill with the rice mixture. equally among the 3 eggplant. Stand the eggplant in the pan with the eggplant insides (the parts you removed) on the bottom. Spoon about a tbsp of the sauce on top of each eggplant, pour the rest of the sauce over the eggplant. Put an inverted plate over the eggplant to keep them from floating. 

  • Add water to the pan to about 1/2 way up the side of the eggplant. Cover the pan and cook on the stove under medium low flame for about 45 minutes. You can serve with plain yogurt on top (but count those points). 1 eggplant = 1 serving  About 8 weight watchers points plus per serving (without the yogurt)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Heart Healthy Garlic, Mushroom & Kale soup (with barley)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Mardi Gras Salad - A festive salad with cauliflower, broccoli, quinoa and garbanzo beans

I went to Sprouts Farmers Market today and they had the most beautiful yellow and purple cauliflower for sale.  I didn't know what to make with it, so I experimented and this is what I came up with.

1 head purple cauliflower, cored and broken into small florets
1 head yellow cauliflower, cored and broken into small florets
1 1/2 cups red quinoa
3 cups water
3 tbsp white miso paste (or any type of broth)
1 large broccoli crown, cored and broken into small florets
1 15.5 oz can of garbanzo beans, drained
1 oranges, juiced
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 Tbsp ume plum vinegar
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 tsp garlic powder
Blanch the cauliflower seperately, then plunge
in cold ater to stop the 
1 tbsp Trader Joe's everyday seasoning
1 tbsp no salt seasoning
Salt to taste

Cook quinoa in 3 cups water with miso paste added (or you can use 3 cups of any type of broth). Uncover, move to bowl and cool.  You'll be adding this to the vegetables.

Clean both heads of cauliflower and broccoli and cut into small florets. Boil a large pot of water. First, drop in the yellow cauliflower. Boil about 2 minutes til tender but not mushy. Remove with a slotted spoon and put into colander. Run cold water over it to stop the cooking process. Drain and put in bow. Next, do the same first with the purple cauliflower, and then with the broccoli. Combine the cauliflower, broccoli, and drained garbanzo beans, and onion. Add seasonings, vinegar, juice,, stir and chill. Adjust seasoning to taste. Chill.

Note:  If I had lemon, I would have used it instead of the orange juice...but all I had were 2 oranges, and that worked .  I didn't add any oil to save on the points values.

Makes 14-15 cups
Points Plus Value =  4 points per 1 cup serving
I just thought this was pretty 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Thoughts on Success

Last week, my WeightWatchers leader approached me saying that we were beginning a new unit in our meetings.  The topic for the next month was going to be about Success.  All of the WW's meetings were asking various members to speak on this topic about their own personal success with WeightWatchers and she asked if I would speak at our meeting.  I questioned this.  Surely he had me confused with someone else.  I have been anything but successful with my following plan.  I told her so.   "Why me?  I'm not a success.  I've been here since February, and I've only lost 15 pounds.  I've been up and down for months.  Why not choose someone who is actually successful?"   "But you are successful.  Because you keep working at it.  You keep trying.  You keep coming back."  She handed me a sheet with 4 questions on it and asked me to write down my answers and present them at this past Wednesday's meeting.

I thought about success all week.  I was on the Avon Walk.  I felt that was a success.  I mean how many of my friends can walk 39.3 miles in 2 days?  I thought about the fact that I was walking with my brother, and my sister-in-law by my side...and my sister and my husband were working on crew.  I had success in my family because we all loved one another.  We have close relationships.  I thought of my past history with breast and colon cancer....I was walking and I am healthy.  I'm successful in that way.  So all was good.  

Last Wednesday, I went to my WW meeting ready to speak.  I had answered my questions and was ready.  But at weigh in, I got on the scale and my weight was up 1.8 pounds.  Really???  I mean after walking over 40 miles this past weekend.  After all the training.  I was even careful not to eat too much junk always asking myself through the weekend, "Is it worth it?"  Not only that, but I hadn't been feeling well since Saturday evening and had only eaten a little soup and crackers for the past several days.  And a weight gain???  And then to add salt to the wound, my friend who started the same week as I did back in February, hit her 40 pounds lost...and I just felt so low and defeated.  I have worked so hard to track my food, drink my water, stay active, eat healthy.  And now I'm supposed to get up and speak about success?

So our leader gets up and introduces the new topic.  And she invited me up to speak.  I wanted to share with you my thoughts on Success:

1.  How did you feel before you joined WW?  I had lost a lot of weight in the past.  I used to weigh 60 pounds more than I do now.  But I have been 20 pounds less than I am now as well.   Being that I have always been an emotional eater, when my daughter got married last year, and then after that, dealing with my empty nest, my weight started coming back on.   I was feeling really out of control.  I thought that I had to do something.  And that "something" always ends up being WW because the plan is a lifestyle change.  It's healthy, and it fits in well with my life.  So I re-joined...again...with my friend.

2.  What helped you believe you could succeed?  Believing in success in one thing.  Believing in fighting for what I want is another.   I am a fighter.  I am a 3 X cancer survivor.  I'm all about determination and believing.  This past weekend I walked 39.3 miles in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Santa Barbara.  Training for that walk was all about giving up Saturdays for 12-15 mile walks.  And I made it all 39 miles.  But despite all the training, despite the 39 miles, the scale is not moving.  I have been plateauing for over 4 months.  And it's very difficult to sit here week after week and hear about all your successes when I'm working so hard for mine...and nothing's happening.  (At this point, I lost it and started embarassing...but it was just all coming out.  I went on.) So when Sandy asked me to speak today about my success, I asked her, "What success?  I'm not a success."  (Then I really start blubbering...and my nose is running...I feel stupid.  I'm standing up there, and I'm looking at my paper.  And I keep reading ). But there are other sucesses that are important too.  And I guess that's what it's about.  I'm like the Little Engine That Could.  I keep saying, "I think I can, I think I can."  It's not easy.  I have a lot of stresses in my life.  Dealing with cancer, follow ups and check ups, family, taking care of my mom, running a homeless outreach, trying to build my own business, holding down a full time job.  (At this point, I look up up, and half the members are standing me a standing ovation.  Which was so sweet.  Once I saw them and smiled, they started applauding. My leader brought me a tissue.)

3.  What did I accomplish once I started believing success was possible? Again, I'm not seeing the big successes on the weight loss front. But staying on plan has definitely made me feel more in control.  it's definitely curbed the mindless eating.  I am more balanced in the way I am eating.  I'm getting a grip on the emotional eating as well.

4.  How do you keep nurturing that belief so that it stays strong?  Life is short.  I have this image that I keep in my head a lot.  When I was at y heaviest weight, I went in for a stress test.  i did the treadmill and then I got the chance to see my heart on the screen, pumping, with all the infrared colors.  That was my ah-ha moment.  I remember being very emotional thinking that I was looking at my heart...this amazing organ that has been pumping to keep me alive since the day I was born.  And I was thinking about all the abuse I had put it through, through all the mindless eating, fast food, high fat, no exercise...stuff that wasn't good for me.  I keep that image close to me.  

I am on this journey.  The goal is to be healthy.  I know what I need to do.  I need to track, stay on plan to the best of my ability.  I need to move.  But above all else, I need to be honest and take responsibility.  If I can do my best, if I can track and truly know in my heart that I did the best that I could, then I can call that a success.

For me, I wish I could just drop the pounds.  But it's not what my body is doing.  y body has it's own individual agenda.  As much as I wish I could measure my success by the scale, my success has to have a different measure.  It has to be measured in knowing that I am eating right, that I am well for now, that I am being honest, accountable and doing the est that I can on the road to being healthy.

What are your thoughts on success?  How do you measure your success?  I'd love to hear from you.