Tag Archives: weight watchers

Flavorful Moo Shu Rolls


Moo Shu Rolls are really fun to eat, and for anyone on a high protein low carb diet, this is an appetizer for you. We use lean meats so in order to make the dish taste good you will need to make sure you add plenty of spice and flavor, and use a slow cooker that soaks up all the good juices. Moo Shu Rolls are fun to eat and a satisfying balance of salty sweet. The meat is a little salty, and the bibb lettuce provides a sweet crunch.

This recipe was adapted from this Slow Cook It recipe book.

Moo Shu Roll Ingredients:

1/2 pound ground lean beef (7% fat or less)
1/2 ground turkey (original recipe calls for pork–feel free to use either)
1 large portobello mushroom cap, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon five spice powder
20 Boston or Bibb lettuce leaves
3 carrots, shredded
10 thin scallions, sliced
5 radishes thinly sliced

You will need a slow cooker for this recipe.

Moo Shu Roll Directions

1. Combine beef, mushroom, onion, and garlic in a 5 or 6 quart slow cooker. Mix broth, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger and five spice powder in small bowl; pour over beef mixture. Cover and cook until flavors are blended and sauce is slightly thickened, 4-5 hours or 8-10 hours on low.

2. Spoon 1 generous tablespoon beef mixture in center of each lettuce leaf. Top each with about 1 tablespoon carrots, 1 tablespoon scallion and 1 tablespoon radishes; roll up.

I served this dish with a dollop of smoky hot grain mustard and the Trader Joe’s aoli mustard. You also might want to add a yogurt based sauce.

Per serving (2 rolls) about 94 calories, 3 g fat, 1 g Sat Fat, 0 g Trans Fat, 27 mg Chol, 144 mg Sod, 5 g carbs, 11 g Prot, 1 g Fiber.

The Chocolate VitaMuffin Weapon


Why is dessert stressed spelled backwards? It’s because eating food with no nutritional value stresses us out. We feel guilty.

But because I don’t want to live in a world without chocolate, if I cheat—which I do—I try and find desserts with some nutritional benefit.

I was in New York this week to speak at a conference. While I was in New York I was reminded of all the things I did when I lived there (five very fast-paced years). The conference hotel was across the street from Rockefeller Center where I used to attend my beloved Weight Watchers meetings.

The girls in my Weight Watchers meetings were not all overweight. Many of them were just trying to lose a few pounds. But I think secretly more than anything we just loved to talk about food–because (shhh), we enjoy it. We loved our Monday lunch meetings where we would laugh the guilt away, trade tips and tricks and offer compassion when life got tough (trading stories not food related).

Every meeting at least one person would volunteer a new top secret product he/she had found and we would all lean in for the scoop. Free money. That’s what we all want. Desserts that don’t include stressed!

One day someone very enthusiastically brought up a little known treat called the VitaMuffin.

The VitaMuffin is low calorie and high fiber–so it keeps you full. It comes in a variety of flavors but the best one is chocolate. Heat up this chocolate delight in the microwave or the oven. A “diet” dessert becomes a satisfying mouthful of chocolatey goodness.  I will warn you you might want to arm yourself with skim milk to wash it down.

Jacob (partner in food crime and boyfriend) and I tend to split one. We heat it and take about a third a cup of low fat coffee frozen yogurt and mix the two together. I will warn you, dessert will never be the same. And why go to Cold Stone and bankrupt your week’s allotted cheat points when you can eat healthier versions of things that are equally satisfying! Here’s to decadent dessert!

Sweet Cheese ‘N Peach Cinnamon Raisin Kugel


For me cooking has turned into a passion. I study what other chefs, bloggers, food personalities are doing and apply it to my own “practice.” While intuitive cooking is my strength, I am also good at making healthy food delicious. I am passionate about this because I can’t eat whatever I want, and I love to eat good food. I do not “diet” and do not believe dieting works. I do believe you can pick up tips and tricks to translate your favorite dishes into something you can eat without wondering what it did to your waste line or heart.

I am on a constant mission to learn how to enjoy delicious food that’s easy on the body.

I am envious of Hungry Girl Lisa Lillien. She translates traditionally unhealthy food into skinny jeans friendly creations easy on the palate, and easy to put on the plate.

I have been following her for a few years now since I bought her first book.

I was referred to her at a Weight Watchers meeting, and was hooked. I had been informally doing the same type of junk food transformations since I was a teenager–and here was a girl from the opposite coast–Long Island, New York doing the same thing.

Tonight I made her Sweet Cheese ‘N Peach Cinnamon Raisin Kugel (with Walnuts–my addition).

Kugel is a dish that can be made sweet or savory. It’s a Jewish dish generally served as a casserole or a pie, often made egg noodles or potatoes, though at times made of zucchini, apples, spinach, broccoli, cranberry, or sweet potato. I love sweet kugel (I have a sweet tooth) and love when my mom makes this with cottage cheese, cinnamon and raisins. It’s sweet, decadent Jewish comfort food.

Here is Hungry Girl’s version of Kugel.

You will need:

1 package House Foods Tofu Shirataki, Fettuccine Shape (You can get these at Whole Foods or Safeway. They have almost no calories)
1 large firm peach, cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup fat free liquid egg substitute
1/4 cup low fat cottage cheese (recipe calls for fat-free but I’m not a big fan of that)
2 tablespoon raisins (I toss in a handful of large multi-colored ones from trader joe’s)
2 tablespoon Splenda (I use 1 tablespoon Agave instead–it’s less chemicals)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (possibly my favorite tool in the kitchen)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (you can be more generous with this and the vanilla if you prefer)
dash salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts


Heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine egg substitute, cream cheese, Agave (or Splenda), vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt. Stir until completely blended and free of lumps. Mix in cottage cheese and raisins, and set aside.

Rinse and drain Shirataki noodles well. Pay dry. Slice noodles into small pieces.

Over medium heat toss noodles in a pan until they are thoroughly dry and beginning to toughen (1 min or so). Transfer noodles to a mixing bowl and top with the peaches.

Combine cheese mixture with the noodles and peaches, and stir well. Top with a coat of chopped walnuts. Transfer it all to a medium-small baking dish and spray with non-stick spray.Place dish in oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until firm.

Enjoy with dinner or even dessert. Below I plated the kugel with lemon and chive salmon and whole wheat quesadillas with light Mexican cheese. I served this salmon with brown grain mustard mixed with yellow mustard.

You Are Doing Great, and You Can Do Even Better


Ok friends, so I have made a decision, and now that I’m blogging about it, and telling all of you, there is no going back. I’m going to join the thousands of crazy people who decide to do the impossible. Or seeming impossible. I’m going to run a marathon. I have been contemplating this for a few years now. I ran two half marathons when I was in New York, and it was one of the major highlights of my young adult-life—especially the first one, all women mostly above 40 years old, in Central Park. Runners take their sport very seriously, and I have always been a “runner,” but somewhat of an aimless runner, clocking my jogs between 30 and 60 minutes, and getting on with my day.

But now I am committed to pushing myself a little farther than I have been. I’m going to be honest with you folks. I love to eat. And thankfully I do enjoy running. For me the benefits are just as much spiritual as they are physical. If there’s anything that manages the stress, the noise and the chaos that goes on in day to day life, it’s exercise! Food Rules? So now that I am putting a tentative July 31st half marathon and an October marathon on the calendar, it’s time for me to crack down on my snacks as well as my running.

I generally eat pretty healthy, but I tend to cheat. I fully intend on taking advantage of the hunger that comes from running—by indulging in good healthy food, but there are small tricks you can do to get more bang for your buck from your food choices.

Here is a photo I took with my dad after running a race in Long Beach California in December 2008. I need to get back to running like this.

Fighting Fat Is More Fun With Friends:

I will tell you a secret. When I was living in New York I did weight watchers. I wasn’t overweight, I just wanted to learn about healthy eating. My friend and I would go to meetings every Monday and I absolutely adored these meetings. The meetings were generally full of high powered women. It was Rockefeller center. And I loved that these women could so openly talk about their own body issues, their food, support each other and laugh at themselves in their own struggles to manage their weight.

I learned a lot of “tricks” at Weight Watchers. I also learned that when one wants to lose weight, one does not have to starve, or become a strict disciplinarian never to touch chocolate or alcohol ever again.

I remember one woman saying one day, “my kids can’t believe that mommy eats peanut butter toast every morning and mommy is still losing weight.”

I have to admit I really miss my 30 rock WW group. They were a colorful bunch and were a refreshing break when work on a Monday was depressing (somewhat bad culture) and I wanted to be around a group of colorful, loud, empathetic emotional women.

Our teacher was an actress and writer who was so animated and passionate. We all adored her.

I’ve taken you on this circuitous journey to tell you that I will be somewhat tracking my food and marathon journey.

Here are some of my favorite tools I will be using on my marathon journey. I would love for you to share your own as well!


I love kettle corn popcorn (99% fat free)

You all know (especially for the ladies) that sometimes you just feel like chomping on a lot of something—and sometimes the crunch of carrots just doesn’t do it. You want….salt. So popcorn is a way to enjoy a large amount of something low calorie. And according to my running magazine in a study presented at the 2009 American Chemical Society Univ. of Scranton researches tested a wide range of whole grains for polyphenol count. Polyhpenols are antioxidant plant chemicals that may protect your body from cell and tissue damage linked to heart disease and certain cancers.
Also Jacob is reminding me if you get plain popcorn you can top it with natural brewer’s yeast. When I was working at Kresge Coop in Santa Cruz we used to call this “natty yeast.” It tastes like Parmesan cheese and is high in protein. I’m not going to lie—it looks and smells a little strange but don’t judge a food by its cover :-]


Lean turkey is super healthy for you. Sliced thin it tastes really wonderful and it’s easy to make it sexier. Please don’t judge me for using that adjective. I am a big fan of mustard and salsa, two yummy condiments that add flavor. Also you can purchase honey cured turkey or peppered turkey at trader joe’s that’s really delicious and healthy. There is a mushroom store at the Embarcardero in SF that sells hot truffle mustard that is to die for. Mustard is obviously very very low calorie. Salsa is also really low calorie—I like Jack’s Special Salsa or some of the blends from trader joe’s (in the refridgerator section—not the jarred kind). Pico De Gallo is also a good option.


When I am cooking I tend to snack. This is a tradition passed down in my family from generation to generation. We like to pick at things. I didn’t say this was glamorous. But something that can make you feel like you are enjoying food without spoiling your appetite is a pickle. They are very low calorie and pack a good crunch.

Egg Whites (the French Kind):

I love Egg Whites but I didn’t always. Until I learned you could make egg whites taste like French Toast. All you need to do is break your eggs open, mix a few egg whites in with a little skim milk and add a teaspoon or two of vanilla extract and cinnamon. I also sprinkle pepper and salt. It truly tastes like French Toast. Pair this with a little low fat cottage cheese and light vanilla yogurt (just 1/3 cup each) and some fruit and you have a breakfast for a queen.

Homemade Cole Slaw:

I don’t know if it’s because my family hails from eastern Europe, but I am ruined by anything sweet, cold or pickled. So Cole Slaw fits into that. I was at my Aunt and Uncle’s in Charleston this weekend and they ordered cole slaw catered for a family dinner (authentic southern food). The cole slaw was magnificent—but you could tell it was packed full of real mayonnaise and sugar. And this my friends will make runs very difficult. So I cheat. I make my own fake cole slaw. All you do is go buy broccoli slaw at Trader Joe’s (one bag). Mix the bag of slaw in with a healthy amount of light mayo (not globbed on, but just enough so it lightly covers the slaw). Add a little sugar and if you like a little vinegar. Let it sit in the refrigerator. It’s delicious!

Five things I cannot give up:

Wine, peanut butter, chocolate, cheese and coffee. The health benefits of all of these items are largely debated. In moderation…they aren’t that bad! I have gotten pretty healthy while still eating them, so I know I can do it again.

I’ve had a few different trainers in my life. A few that were young like me. One that was a former lingerie and bikini model, and I have one now. I have to tell you having a trainer doesn’t help unless you are personally committed. I think the fallacy here, is that hollywood makes it look easy. We look at people like Jessica Alba and think that’s 1.easy 2.normal. I will tell you it’s not. But I will also tell you that whether you beat yourself or you gently encourage yourself to push your self, just a little farther, and celebrate your successes, the second half of that sentence will make your life much more pleasant. And you have me and a lot of other people supporting you. :-]

Here is a link to a blog I wrote on Jean Nidetch, CEO of Weight Watchers, after reading her book.

Here’s to living a life of joy!