Guess where I went today?

I’ll give you a clue: It’s not Joey or PF Chang’s or Brent’s Deli or Rosti or any of the other 40 restaurants I’ve eaten at almost every day for the last 42 days since the fire.   I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and dragged my f-t ass—tail between my legs—to a Weight Watchers meeting. And you know what? It wasn’t SO bad. (Remember, it can always be worse!) I spent way too much of my life hiding and feeling ashamed and sad. And I’m not going to do that to myself again. Ever.   Ironically, this week I was approached by a company interested in casting me as one of the “real” people who have successfully lost weight on the Weight Watchers “Beyond the Scale” program. Problem is that I got to my goal weight a long time ago (well, problem for them, not problem for me!) and not on this specific program. (BTW – My WW goal weight is higher than my own personal goal weight anyway so that I don’t have to stress out if I gain a few pounds and worry about paying $15 because I’m 2 pounds over my goal weight! You have to check in once a month and be within 2 pounds of your goal weight to stay a free Lifetime member)   But anyway… as I was filling out the questionnaire and listing how Weight Watchers has completely changed my life and how I now don’t measure my self worth by my weight and I’m not so hard on myself, I thought, “uh oh, but isn’t that exactly what I’ve been doing to myself in these last few weeks since the fire?”   I have to say I felt like a bit of a fraud.   So here I am coming out to you all. And I am promising you and myself that I will set a good example by being extra kind to myself and not beating myself up for what has happened.   Let’s see: Eating out almost every day for 42 days vs eating out once a week zero walking vs walking the dog/running with kid from car to school 5 days a week (everything counts peeps!) no weekly training session (miss you Kellie Fit!) pilates 0 – 1 times a week (thank G-d for Hardcore Pilates!!) vs pilates 2 times a week   How could any “body” stay the same?   When you eat out every day (way more calories/sodium/fat) and you get out of your regular physical exercise routine, how could your body stay in the same place? And more importantly, I NEED the physical...

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Nighttime Snacks that won’t take you down
Jan24

Nighttime Snacks that won’t take you down

Last night I ate… a jar of asparagus, a package of seaweed, a handful of cherry tomatoes and a bag of popcorn.   I felt like the very hungry caterpillar. Oh yeah… and a cup of Swiss Miss Light Hot Cocoa (but that doesn’t count, right?)  But… it could’ve been worse (remember, it can ALWAYS be worse!) But seriously, you know those nights when all you want to do is EAT? And when you’re trying to make good choices, gosh-darn you better have something more exciting in the house than carrot sticks.  Let’s face it, most of us don’t eat nighttime snacks out of hunger—it’s more out of habit or to feed some kind of emotional need. (BTW, emotional doesn’t mean that your boyfriend broke up with you and you feel sad or depressed or lonely. Emotional eating simply means that you are eating for reasons other than being physically hungry. You could be exhausted, anxious, bored, or simply happy and relieved that the kids are in bed and you now have some “me” time!) I’m not one who believes that you should eat dinner at 6 and not eat anything again until bedtime (though there are some). Does that bring you joy? Do you think you could sustain that forever? Or does it feel like you’re miserable and hungry and on a diet (If you feel that way you will NEVER be able to do this FOREVER) I think a better way to approach it is to find snacks that satisfy you and don’t trigger the eater in you. So if you find yourself going back for spoon-after-spoon of peanut butter or cup-after-cup of cereal or “just-one-more” mini ice-cream bar, those are not safe snacks for you (at this time).  It’s really just about substitutions and getting more bang for your buck. I’ll give you some of my go-to nighttime snacks—pretty please share them on FB, pin them, forward them to a friend. And I’d love to hear from you! Are evenings difficult for you? What are y’all snacking on after dinner? Please add your comments below. xoxo   Sip on tea It’s incredibly soothing and gives your hands—and lips—something to do! Rooibos (“Red Bush”) Tea—comes from South Africa (where I’m from—but you already knew that, right?) and you can now find it all over the US.  It has all the good properties of green tea but without caffeine. And the best part is it counts toward your water intake.  My faves are Trader Joe’s Rooibos & Honeybush tea and Republic of Tea Vanilla Rooibos >> Read the amazing health benefits here >> Did you know… You don’t have to...

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Healthy Snack Ideas (Weight Watchers Friendly)
Jan18

Healthy Snack Ideas (Weight Watchers Friendly)

My girlfriend asked me for healthy snack ideas, so I quickly threw together this list… and I thought you all might find it helpful too! (Well… do you? Please pin it, share it, and leave a comment below!) Remember the old diet myth that you should have three meals a day and no snacks in-between? Well, that is total and absolute nonsense! You should make sure to eat something every two to three hours and NEVER let yourself get to that point of being so hungry that the best goals and intentions fly out the window.  The key is to learn the difference between a snack and a “treat”. A snack tides you over to the next meal and is healthy and balanced. A treat is… well, you know… a “treat”. When you have a choice, always choose fresh, natural, unprocessed snacks (and food)… but I’m including other options for when you can’t get to fresh. And always try to include some protein which will keep you feeling satisfied for longer. Check labels for sugar and avoid ingredients that you can’t read or understand. If you’re following Weight Watchers, use the (new and improved) handy-dandy app to calculate the points. FYI: SmartPoints are now calculated by calories, SUGAR, protein, and saturated fat. (They used to be calculated by fat, fiber and protein) So some bars that were a good choice before aren’t the best choice now.  Here are some of my go-to snacks—hope you find them helpful. And please tell me yours! Just add them to the comments section below, or on my OrnaBakes Facebook post  >> (you ARE already following me on FB, right?) Remember—don’t leave your house without arming yourself with some healthy snacks! Many of these items are available on Amazon Prime—I’ve linked to them when possible. (I LOVE Amazon Prime!!!) Click here for info on 30-day FREE trial for Amazon Prime >>  Look out for part two COMING SOON: Favorite Night Time Snacks xoxo     Yogurt I always have tons of different yogurts in my fridge. The best choice is a plain, fat free or low fat Greek yogurt and add your own fresh fruit, but when I don’t have time for that… I love Dannon Light & Fit (My fav flavor is Coconut) I heart Eli Quark (which, believe-it-or-not, actually isn’t yogurt – it’s German-style cheese!) (WW Simply Filling) Add some sliced bananas to the Caramel one for a delicious treat. Or bulk up the Strawberry (my fav) with fresh strawberries. You get the idea. Lovin’ thick and creamy Icelandic yogurt which seems to be popping up everywhere. My favs are Siggi’s Acai and Mixed Berries –...

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Orna’s New Year Soup
Jan05

Orna’s New Year Soup

I went to TJ’s yesterday to get ingredients for soup (the first thing I do to get myself back on track), but alas, their truck hadn’t arrived and I couldn’t find most of my usuals (mirepoix, cauliflower, etc.). So I decided to change-it-up (leeks, parsnips, etc.)… and who knew, it turned out to be a big hit! (even with picky one and two) BTW – if you’re not buying TJ’s mirepoix (chopped onions, carrots, and celery), you should be!  You can mix and match veggies and liquids, and even seasonings—just use this as a base if you like. But then you can’t throw me under the bus if it doesn’t turn out delish (wink) Would you believe that I can’t use emoticons because wordpress literally obliterates every single word I type following it.  Yup, I’ve lost entire posts because of one cute little wink or smile. (Argh) And the secret ingredient is… If you’ve been following me you’ll know that my usual secret soup ingredient is curry powder, but since I love the taste of Good Seasons Italian Dressing (made with balsamic vinegar = huge yum) I thought… hmmm… I wonder how this would be in my soup? And it’s a big thumbs up. (New secret ingredient!)   And PLEASE peeps, taste, taste, taste, and season, season, season! You have to taste your food to know if it’s going to be delicious—so taste it along the way and add more salt and pepper if necessary. If it’s too acidic add a pinch of sugar. (I’m sure you won’t need any for this soup though because the squash and carrots are sweet) And if you wanted to garnish it with parmesan cheese, go for it! My little one prefers it pureed (she drinks it out of a cup with a straw), so I use an immersion blender and add some back to the soup to thicken it. (Much easier and less mess than a blender or food processor) Our Costco has immersion blenders for a steal, or you can find good ones on Amazon >>   Anyway… without further ado, here’s my latest soup recipe. (Check out my YouTube channel for my other version with curry as the secret ingredient. And check out my Butternut Squash and Apple Soup for another quick soup idea) Orna's New Year Soup 2016-01-05 14:50:53 Delicious, healthy, quick vegetable soup. Write a review Save Recipe Print 1164 calories 248 g 0 g 19 g 28 g 3 g 2483 g 606 g 78 g 0 g 14 g Nutrition Facts Serving Size 2483g Amount Per Serving Calories 1164 Calories from Fat 169 % Daily Value * Total Fat 19g 30%...

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I will forgive (not forget or regret)

I’m not gonna lie—2015 was hard for me. I lost my dad on October 1st and besides the obvious sadness, it brought up all kinds of emotions for me. Flying to South Africa three times in 13 months also put me out of whack: out of my routine; out of my exercise routine; out of my food routine.  I started to fall back to my old habits and have been self-medicating with food and wine. And it’s time to stop. I feel like I’ve been on a roller coaster since my book was released in January and then I was on CNN in February. I started questioning why I do what I do and just feeling completely burnt out. Somehow I lost my direction and stopped following my passion (hello—my blog is called Orna“Bakes”!) and got on the marketing/promotion/social media train. I hate social media. I think it brings out the worst in all of us. It’s all about instant gratification and comparison and looking to others for approval. Everything I’ve spent my life trying to get away from.  Why am I telling you all this? Because as always my goal is to be the best me that I can be and to help anyone along the way who is experiencing the same kind of pain.  I’m excited to bring in the new year  and get a fresh start. I will forgive myself for not living my best life and I will be compassionate, because when you go through a major life change or lose someone dear to you it’s bound to affect you profoundly. I won’t regret doing the book or the blog or anything else I’ve done, because it’s what got me to this point and we learn and grow with every experience.  What about you? Can you forgive yourself? Are you ready for a fresh start? I’m sending my warmest and most sincere wishes your way for a happy, healthy, kind, and compassionate new year. ...

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What do you want from me?

You’ve all been asking why I’ve been MIA, and… well, life got reallllllly busy and it was hard to keep the balance between blogging, posting, cooking, baking, coaching, and my most important job of all, being a mommy. (Aja turned 6, started Kindergarten, and has SIX new teeth!) So here I am again, feeling inspired to write, and I find myself wondering what direction to take. So I thought I’d throw it out there and see what you all think. What exactly would you like to see from me: more blog posts? healthy recipes? baking? updated shopping lists/meal ideas? weight loss/ healthy eating tips/posts? more social media? (Are you following and enjoying my social media posts? BTW – I’m always posting on Instagram and Facebook—even when I don’t have time to blog—so it’s a great way to stay in touch with me. more Vlogs/YouTube Clips? (Are you following me on YouTube?) another book? (Not gonna happen! At least, not for a while.) My last blogpost was in May (yikes!) and yet I’m happy to report that my blog still gets about 800 visitors a day. But I think it’s time to find a new direction for myself, and figure out how best to use my (very limited) time. I’d love to hear from you. Any feedback, ideas, or requests would be most welcome and appreciated. (Oh, and if you can find me an extraordinary social media genius who happens to be a health-conscious “foodie” and can assist me, you get bonus points AND I’ll send you my famous Crunchies or Bulkas or whatever you’d like me to bake! 😉) As I’m typing this I’m realizing how much I missed you all!...

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