FIVE Veggie Upgrades and Meal Ideas
Jan09

FIVE Veggie Upgrades and Meal Ideas

Steamed broccoli won’t stop me from reaching for hubby’s pizza, but if I have delicious veggies already prepared, it’s a breeze to stick to Simple Start and feel the Power Foods Love! I hope you’ll be inspired by my quick and easy Veggie Upgrades and satisfying Weight Watchers Simple Start meals!     Simple Roasted Winter Veggies 1 sweet potato, 1 yam, and 4 carrots: peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes. Spray half sheet pan covered with olive oil cooking spray. Spread out veggies in a single layer and spray them with cooking spray. Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast at 425 degree F for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender and brown. They’ll be sweet and a little caramelized—yummm!   Turn into a Heart-Warming Winter Salad Toss Trader Joe’s Butter Lettuce and Radicchio (or greens of your choice) with Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil or Trader Joe’s Fat Free Balsamic Vinaigrette (0 WW PP for 2 tablespoons). Top with warm veggies, Turkey Meatballs, halved (Trader Joe’s frozen – 3 WW PP for 2 meatballs), and Parmesan Cheese (1 WW PP for 1 tablespoon) or kick it up a notch with Trader Joe’s Shaved Cheese Blend. (3 WW PP for 2 tablespoons) This is Mr. Picky’s FAVORITE lunch!     TIP: We LOVE slightly sweet and bodacious (can you call vinegar bodacious?), Gourmet Blends Traditional Balsamic Vinegar! I can’t wait for my salad every night because this vinegar is SO special! It’s somewhere between a reduction (like Trader Joe’s Balsamic Glaze) and a regular balsamic. Just sweet and thick enough! (And it’s ZERO points!)   I get mine at the Calabasas Farmer’s Market, but you can purchase them online at gourmetblends.us >>   Mushroom Madness Sauté sliced mushrooms in a nonstick skillet sprayed with Olive Oil spray; season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium high heat for 8 – 10 minutes. TIP: Crimini Mushrooms (Baby Portabellas) are meatier and more flavorful than Button Mushrooms, but either will work.   Make it a Mixed Grill This is my go-to, Power Foods, slim-down-fast meal! Add a Boca Original Vegan Veggie Burger, fried egg and sautéed tomato and onion slices cooked in cooking spray in a nonstick skillet. Sprinkle with Worcestershire sauce and/or mix ketchup and Worcestershire for dipping. – or – Guilt-Free Pasta Add Baby Spinach and Barilla Plus Spaghetti or Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Quinoa Fusilli Pasta, a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Parmesan Cheese for a light and healthy Pasta Entree. (You’ll only be paying points for the Parmesan: 1 WW PP for 2 tablespoons) – or – Polenta Topping Polenta is a great...

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Weight Watchers Simple Start Works!
Jan06

Weight Watchers Simple Start Works!

Weight Watchers just released their two week, kick-start-your-metabolism program that is guaranteed to work! (If you follow it, of course.) This past Saturday I caught the last meeting of the week (WW runs Sunday through Saturday) where the new Simple Start program was the meeting topic. (Don’t worry, if you’re just joining—or returning—they’ll be happy to go over it with you after any meeting.) Happily, I already dropped three of the FIVE pounds that I gained in the last month—after following Simple Start for just one week. (See, I told you it works!) I’d been struggling to get back on track, after giving in to emotional eating in the unsettled weeks following our incredible trip to South Africa. I can only imagine how many points I inhaled night after night—while listening to my jet-lagged toddler yelling that she will NEVER EVER go to sleep! (Now my hubby understands why I gave him a hard time about bringing all those slabs of chocolate back with us.) It didn’t help that we returned smack-dab in the middle of the holidays (after oddly missing Thanksgivukkah)—landing in Christmas pandemonium and a changed season. No wonder I was out of sorts! And this after being out of my exercise routine for a month—and then getting sick, blah blah blah. (But I don’t have to tell you… you know how it happens.) Each pound that I watched the scale creep up made me feel a little worse and a little more out-of-control, but when I entered a whole new decade, I knew it had to stop! Enter “Simple Start” program I dragged myself to a Weight Watchers meeting, and got on the scale even though I knew it was an all-time hideous high. But like I used to tell my members way back when I was a Weight Watchers Leader: If you don’t like the number you see on the scale, that’s okay because you never have to see it again! Once you’re in the habit of eating chocolate or other full-fat, high-sugar “trigger” foods, it’s hard to break the cycle. That’s why Simple Start is so brilliant: when you focus on wholesome, quality foods, your body miraculously stops craving all that other stuff.  Simple Start is basically Simply Filling (which is how I live my life and how I’ve managed to keep my weight down)—choosing from a list of Weight Watchers Power Foods, which are healthier and more satisfying.     Now, even white potatoes and reduced-calorie breads are included.   The difference is that with Simple Start you get 7 PointsPlus a day for “indulgences”—but they don’t carry over if you don’t use...

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Starbucks and La Boulange: Picks and Points
Nov07

Starbucks and La Boulange: Picks and Points

I’m not usually tempted by full fat baked goods at Starbucks (evil!), but ironically, since they partnered up with San Francisco’s La Boulange—which they now own—the “reduced fat”, artisanal options have brought up some serious cravings in me for pastries! Do labels like ‘low fat’, ‘whole grain’ or ‘oatmeal’ make you more likely to give in? I was surprised to find that the “Wheat” Spinach Croissant was higher in fat and calories than the Tomato & Cheese Croissant, after assuming the opposite. (That’s clever marketing for you!)     I managed to stick with my Skinny Caramel Latte (yay me!) and inhaled a Corazonas Oatmeal Square Mini as I got into my car. (One of my favorite Costco items.) This small victory inspired me to compile this guide—with nutritional information and Weight Watchers PointsPlus values—to empower us in the upcoming holiday season! I’ve included my Top Ten Best and Worst Choices, but you’ll find the complete guide below. Even if you’re NOT a Weight Watcher, this list will help you make good choices. Print it! Pin it! Bookmark it! Have a plan before you’re staring longingly through the glass. FACT: All calories are not created equal Weight Watchers does not consider calories at all to calculate points. (Surprised?) By comparing the points versus the calories, you’re automatically making better choices, because PointsPlus values are based on fat, carbs, fiber, and protein—which affect how long you will feel satisfied, and what food choices you make for the rest of the day. TIP: Take something delicious with you, and compare points and “worthiness” to it!  Ask yourself… Is that Lemon Pound Cake really worthy of all those points? You can’t expect a banana or a fruit cup to stand up to the temptation of a 14-point pastry. But if you have something with you that you consider a special treat (not your usual protein bar or Apple Chips), you’ll be better equipped to resist.  My Top 5 Bring Along Snacks Corazonas Oatmeal Square Minis – 2 PP (The regular size Corazonas Oatmeal Squares are 5PP per chewy square of whole-grain, oaty goodness, with 6g protein to keep you feeling satisfied! My fav is the Peanut Butter. Great to keep in the car because they don’t melt. Check points for different flavors!) Vitalicious Vitatops Muffin Tops – 3 PP belVita Golden Oat Breakfast Biscuits – 3 PP for two biscuits Luna Fiber Bars – 3 PP (my fave is Peanut Butter Strawberry) Bobos Oat Bars – 5 PP for half the bar, so a little decadent, but sooo delish and all natural ingredients. Does the ritual of buying something in a little paper...

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Seven Nights of Sexy, Part Two
Oct21

Seven Nights of Sexy, Part Two

I’m sure you’re feeling great about yourself—and your relationship—after completing our Seven Day Challenge, Part One. We’re going to Get into Action with Part Two! I can’t wait to hear how connected you feel, and how incredibly loving and happy your partner has become. (That’s all I need to know, thank you!) You’ll definitely learn something new—and get ideas—just from reading this inspirational guest post by Lou Paget. (Have you ever heard of the SWIRL?) Click here if you missed our Seven Day Challenge, Part One and you’re wondering what this has to do with OrnaBakes! Part Two begins this Wednesday, October 23rd. Join our discussion on Facebook, Twitter, and G+. Try making Fabio’s Mom’s Meatballs together, to get you in the mood for Day 4—on Saturday! Here’s to an extraordinary week… xoxo Seven Day Sex Challenge, Part Two: The Let’s Get Practical By Lou Paget Let’s be honest, you can think about things all day long, that often leads to paralysis by analysis. Even meditation requires action after the stillness. I’m paraphrasing a Mother Teresa quote, “Prayer without action is no prayer at all.” Here I am going to share some of the best ideas that Great Lovers shared with me in my Couples book, The Great Lover Playbook. (Giveaway details below.) First, one must realize that Falling in Love sex is not the same as Being in Love sex, yet one does not take away from the other. They build on one another and many people and couples speak of the cycles of loving and falling in love on a regular basis. Esther Perel, author of Mating in Captivity speaks of how couples are most drawn to their spouse or partner when they are away or they are apart, when from a comfortable distance they observe her being in her element, being radiant and confident, and then when they are surprised by what she/ he looks like. No shock that brides want to knock their future husbands off their feet as she comes to their ceremony. That mental download powerfully sets a desire cycle for them both. Wonder why they show a couple in evening attire in ads? Men in tuxes move women’s libidos. So let’s get started with your Week 2 activities. And FYI – if you want to do days 1, 2, & 3 all at once, have at it. I have structured it to be respectful of tight timetables. Review your Benchmark from Week 1. Give yourself kudos for getting to Week 2. Day 1: You are going to practice the SWIRL. This is using your fingertips or lightly stroking your nails in a continuous irregular wavy pattern on their arms, legs,...

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Seven Nights of Sexy, Part One
Oct10

Seven Nights of Sexy, Part One

I’m sure you’re wondering what on earth sex has to do with a healthy food blog?! Well… I recently asked a friend, who owns one of the top SEO (Search Engine Optimization) companies, how to make OrnaBakes go viral, and he jokingly said, “pictures of babies and puppies.” Since I’ve already exploited my little one as much as possible (kidding), and we don’t have a puppy (yet), I came up with what I thought was the next best thing! I remembered a young lady on TV, a few years back, guaranteeing that sex every single day = weight loss. I actually believe this to be true—not if you’re lying there counting how many calories you’re burning, but because it would make you feel happy and connected, and take the focus off the food. For me, there’s a strong connection between how I feel about my body—and what I put into it—and how sexy (or un-sexy) I feel.   I approached our wise friend, and Sam’s ex-girlfriend (call me crazy), Lou Paget—a widely acclaimed sex educator and international bestselling author—about writing a guest post relating food, body image, and intimacy.             This exciting two week series will inspire you to feel great about your body, and your present or future relationship. (And make for a very happy partner!)   I hope you’ll join us on Day One of the Seven Day Challenge: Monday, October 14th ** Look out for daily reminders and join the dialogue on Facebook/Twitter/G+ ** {Giveaway} One lucky reader will get a signed copy of The Great Lover Playbook (See details below)     Seven Day Sex Challenge, Part One: The Makings of a Great Lover by Lou Paget   Got your attention? Oh Good!! Because what I ‘m going to share with you is Week 1 of a Two Part, 7 Day, minutes a day program, that should you choose to do so will reset how you feel about yourself, your body, and your relationship or future relationship. These simple steps will connect you back to your body and your priorities. These two 7 Day Programs are results driven and I want you to get results. And aren’t you worth taking a few minutes a day to create a fresh, refreshed and revitalized you? I will tell you after 15 years of writing and speaking world wide in the area of sexuality, women and men have told me their Best Lovers were not the best looking, nor do they have the best bodies; what they DID have is the best attitude. And that is what we are going to be working on here starting with...

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Trader Joe’s & Costco Made Easy!
Oct06

Trader Joe’s & Costco Made Easy!

In case you’ve been wondering if I stopped buying groceries, I have actually been to the store! While far easier for you to navigate and print, the lists are now a little more complicated for me on the data entry side. (This code stuff seriously makes my head spin!) Turns out that the thought of it was more daunting than actually doing it (just a tad), so you’ll now be getting my fav food finds as I discover them. You’ll find new items at the top of each section I’ve added more Weight Watchers PointsPlus values New Costco Favs Aidells Chicken & Apple Smoked Chicken Breast (FANTASTIC) Corazonas Mini Oatmeal Squares (Best car/mall/travel snack) Mamma Chia Pouches TJ’s Favs Brown Rice Quinoa Fusili Pasta Quinoa Sushi Rolls LOVIN’ TJ’s Carolina Barbecue Sauce (great for dipping chicken tenders)  Try it in my updated Turkey Pickle Pepper Rollups Click here for my Costco Shopping List Click here for my Trader Joe’s Shopping List I’d LOVE your feedback. Please add your faves in the comments, and email me if you have ideas or requests! And please, please, please SHARE these lists with your friends on your favorite social media sites! That way I can keep shopping and sharing. 🙂...

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