Review: Cheesecake Factory’s SkinnyLicious Menu
Mar04

Review: Cheesecake Factory’s SkinnyLicious Menu

I had lunch today with my dear friend Helen, who is visiting from Toronto with her beautiful family. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Cheesecake Factory has a special “SkinnyLicious” menu. Oh so good! I haven’t been there in quite a while, because I would find that no-matter what I ordered, I would leave there stuffed, and yet still feeling unsatisfied and frustrated—probably because the portions are huge and seemed more about “quantity” than “quality.” When I first moved to this country I was shocked to see the humungous carrot cakes and salads served in the same wooden bowls we used to serve our family dinner salads in South Africa. I remember sitting opposite my close friend Dina, who was one of “them”—meaning, she could order and eat whatever she liked and still stay skinny. She would have pizza… and dessert, and I would have my usual—a salad. But I would finish the entire salad and walk out stuffed, while she would eat a few slices of the pizza and a few bites of the dessert and be done. I’m proud to say that today I felt like I might finally have become one of “them” myself! Or at least I am seeing fleeting moments of it. I didn’t order a SkinnyLicious Salad—mostly because almost every day of my life I eat chicken and salad, so eating out is my opportunity to taste different things and be inspired as a chef. I ordered the Wild Mushroom Flatbread, which was the perfect size—giving me my pizza fix without the guilty, overstuffed feeling. I ordered a garden salad—with the balsamic vinaigrette on the side—to fill me up. The old me would never have trusted myself to eat pizza in the middle of the day, because that would mean that I had blown the day, and the rest would just be a slippery slope. Especially on a Sunday! But today I happily enjoyed my flatbread, and when I felt peckish around 4:30pm, I made a lovely big salad with fancy balsamic vinegar (I’m loving these right now) and olive oil. Not the usual I’m-giving-up-and-starting-tomorrow chips on the couch. Yay me! My focus was the wonderful time spent with my friend—you know the special ones, where no matter how long it’s been, it feels like you were never apart—not on the food. The actual reason for this blogpost was to let all you Cheesecake skeptics out there know that their SkinnyLicious Menu is definitely worth trying out. I might just have to go back real soon for the Chicken and Mushroom Lettuce Wraps and SkinnyLicious Grilled Artichoke. Or the SkinnyLicious Caesar...

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Weight Watchers Power Foods – will change your life for good!
Mar02

Weight Watchers Power Foods – will change your life for good!

In my humble opinion, this is what it’s ALL about! When I started focusing on eating healthy, nourishing foods (that mostly grow or walk!) I really started to feel satisfied and the weight came off. Now I don’t even need to count points because I know and trust my body to tell me when I’m hungry and when I’ve had enough. I love that I don’t have to feel guilty to eat a banana. This delicious Butternut Squash and Apple Soup—topped with Fat Free Greek Yogurt—is a Weight Watchers Power Food.   When I first joined Weight Watchers (in 2001) I remember my mom asking me why I never ate fruit. Well, I didn’t tell her at the time, but the truth was that I didn’t want to “waste” points on an apple when I could rather eat some sugar snap peas and then save my points for the Weight Watchers frozen treat every afternoon and the giant bag of popcorn I would eat every single night. What I didn’t realize was that the natural sugars in beautiful fresh fruit would have stopped my cravings for sugar and treats. I also used to cook everything without oil and didn’t want to spend a point on parmesan cheese. What I didn’t realize was the fat free food is not satisfying and you end up eating more to compensate. I would choose 1-point “lite” hamburger buns instead of “wasting” two points on an egg. When the Core Plan was first introduced to us as Weight Watchers leaders—the guinnea pigs, before it was marketed to the general public—we could NOT believe that we could eat as many eggs, avocados, etc. as we liked. It seemed to be too good to be true. Well… it was! The people who ate 6 eggs and 2 full avocados a day (I’m not completely exaggerating!) of course, did not lose weight. Here’s a good rule of thumb to live by: if it seems to be too good to be true, it usually is! Here’s another one that I used to tell my members: if you feel like you are over-eating, you are! The key with the Core Plan back then—and the Simply Filling Technique now (choosing all Weight Watchers Power Foods)—is to eat (satisfying foods) until you are satisfied. (Not full!) For Weight Watchers newbies, this may seem daunting. My advice would be to start off counting points so you get a good idea of how much you should be eating, and learn what foods are higher in Points values and should be eaten more sparingly. But still try to choose the bulk of your foods...

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Fiber One Chocolate Cereal 80 Calories—2 PointsPlus NEW!
Feb23

Fiber One Chocolate Cereal 80 Calories—2 PointsPlus NEW!

Deliciously satisfying chocolately, crunchy, squares. The perfect night time snack! Just pour into a cup and savor one at a time. I prefer to drink a little milk on the side instead of adding it to the cereal. (But that’s just me) Unfortunately it is not a Weight Watchers Power Food because it does contain sugar. But if you’re doing Weight Watchers Simple Start or Simply Filling Technique it’s definitely worth spending the 2 points! (Sometimes you just need something a little sweet and crunchy—besides Lite Kettle Corn!) If I’m actually hungry late at night (not just “looking” for something) and I’m keeping it all “core” (i.e. sticking to Power Foods), I will have half a cup of Fiber One Original Bran Cereal mixed with fat free plain Greek Yogurt and milk (and a little splenda). Yummy! (My go-to Power Food Breakfast) As I type my husband is saying, who eats fiber at night besides you? I would say MOST Weight Watchers—like myself—don’t limit their fiber intake to daytime hours! Do you? I would love to hear from you! (Come on ladies, I need backup here!)   WARNING: if you’re not a regular consumer of Fiber One products, TRY THIS AT HOME first! (No more than one serving.) Nutritional Info for 3/4 cup Calories 80 Fat 1g Fiber 9g Protein 1g Fiber One cereals are WAY cheaper at Target—but you can find them at most grocery stores. Let me know what you think… Click here for Why Weight Watchers Simple Start Works >> Click here for other snack ideas on my Trader Joe’s Shopping List (with WW Power Foods and PointsPlus values)...

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Trader Joe’s Organic Superfood Pilaf—BRAND NEW!

Tricolor Quinoa Blend with Sweet Potatoes, Kale & Carrots Super yum and all you have to do is heat it up! Read all about it in the Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer >>   Click here for Orna’s Trader Joe’s Favs (with Weight Watchers PointsPlus values) >>  ...

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Lemonaise Light from The Ojai Cook

I just discovered this fabulous sauce at Gelsons Market, but you can find it on amazon >> Great substitute for mayonnaise, and this light version tastes much better than any of the light mayos out there. I usually make my own lemon sauce (light mayo, prepared mustard, salt, pepper and a bit of lemon juice, rice vinegar & pinch of sugar to taste), but this is great to have on hand.   Click here for my Asian-Style Turkey Meatball Minis with Lemonaise and Marinated Cucumbers >>    ...

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