Do you Slowwwww Cook?
Dec06

Do you Slowwwww Cook?

I am obsessed with my slow cooker! I lie awake at night dreaming up things I could make in it… But it wasn’t always that way. In the (almost) eight years since I received it as a wedding gift, I had used it… oh… maybe five times tops! Probably because I used to keep it in the box in the garage, and the thought of schlepping it out, dusting it off, and then having to clean it after was waaaay more trouble than it was worth. But then the other day—while running around the block at Kellie Blackburn’s Bootylicious Bootcamp—my friend, Alisa, was telling me about the delicious chicken soup she made in her slow cooker—with a rotisserie chicken! I’m in the process of writing/releasing my first E-Book: 7 Steps to Permanent Weight Loss (COMING SOON!)… so I don’t even have time to shop for groceries—let alone cook something decent.  But Alisa inspired me to purchase a few chicken breasts and whatever pre-cut veggies I could find. (Zero washing or chopping required!) I bust out my crockpot—now conveniently located IN my kitchen—and literally dumped everything in the crockpot. Add some low sodium chicken broth, crushed tomatoes (San Marzano, of course) and some herbs and spices… and voila!   A few hours later I had a deeelicious home cooked stew/soup for my family. Well…um… that’s not completely true. I knew that hubby wouldn’t touch it, and my little one complained bitterly that she prefers granny’s soup—even though I used my handy-dandy Cuisinart Hand Blender (my other favorite kitchen appliance) to puree it for her. But… “I” LOVED it! And I now have a few healthy meals ready-to-go in the freezer. (Don’t you love that?) The chicken got so tender that I didn’t even need forks to shred it. And it couldn’t be easier: Dump Cook Eat   And this got me thinking about all the other possibilities… I think next on my list will be some kind of curry (you know I’m completely smitten with curried anything) and a ratatouille. Yum! I’ll be posting my recipes once I’ve perfected them, but in the meantime—if you don’t have a slow cooker, I highly recommend putting it on your Holiday Wish List!   This Cuisinart 6-QT Multicooker is fab, because you can brown your meat or saute your onions and develop flavor right in the slow cooker, and not have to dirty another pan! Only $129 on Amazon (4 1/2 stars from 559 customer reviews)     Click here to view the Cuisinart Cook Central 3-in-1 Multicooker on Amazon >>   You can even get handy Slow Cooker Liners so that there’s literally no washing. Click to...

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Friday Food Finds: Target
Sep13

Friday Food Finds: Target

In the past few weeks I’ve taken you to Costco and Trader Joe’s on Friday Food Finds. This week I take you to one of the best places to get wholesome food at a reasonable price. Any idea where yet? Bet you didn’t guess Target! Target has a wide selection of smart food choices, and lots of Weight Watchers Power Foods. This week I show you a kid-friendly, high-protein pasta, my go-to Weight Watcher’s Simply Filling Breakfast, and some easy meal ideas.             Don’t forget to give this video a big THUMBS UP! Also don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter, and YouTube Channel so you don’t miss a single installment of Friday Food Finds. Where would you like to see me go...

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Get a Veggetti! (Fab Zucchini Noodles)
Jul17

Get a Veggetti! (Fab Zucchini Noodles)

I first saw Zinguini (zucchini “noodles”) on Caffe Delfini’s menu in Santa Monica—where they claim to have invented them. (Only in LA, right?!) But you probably know by now that I have a slight pasta obsession (okay, major), so I’m not about to order vegetables masquerading as spaghetti on date night.  But when I saw this Veggetti at Bed Bath & Beyond, I thought it would at least be fun to try with my four-year-old, and mayybeeee get her to eat more veggies. You’ll find this Veggetti Spiral Vegetable Cutter on Amazon for $13.05   It couldn’t be easier to use. You literally just insert the zucchini (aka baby marrow or courgette) or carrot, cuke—you name it—and twist…   and out come beautiful noodles! (Make sure to get large veggies or it won’t work as well.)   Okay, you probably realized from the face that Aja only made a couple—the rest was me.   Most surprising was that it felt like I was eating spaghetti!!! (Waaaaay better pasta fix than spaghetti squash or broccoli slaw.) SO yummy that I just couldn’t wait to share it with you. And it’s of course a Weight Watchers Power Food—fab if you’re doing Weight Watchers Simple Start or Simply Filling. (Or Gluten Free, Paleo, Mediterranean Diet, or any other kind of Low Fat, Low Carb, Clean Eating)   The plan was to plate it and take beautiful pics for you, but I just. couldn’t. stop. eating it… and so before I knew it there was nothing left to photograph. (Sorry) Plus, taking pics is the most tedious, painful process for me (does it look appetizing? will people want to pin it?) so this time I just decided to-hell-with-it, I’m just eating and posting.  Luckily I took a quick snap of it in the pan!   You could serve it as a side dish, or top with your favorite tomato sauce and parmesan. Yum!  I used Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning—a wonderful blend of mustard seeds, salt, pepper, garlic and just enough chili pepper for a slight kick—which happens to be from South Africa, but that’s not why I love it. But if you don’t live near a Trader Joe’s (sad as that may be), you could just as easily use S&P and garlic powder.     Next time I’ll try Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute which is my favorite spice blend. I use it in my Cauliflower Muffins which are aah-mayzing! >> Click here for my Trader Joe’s Shopping List (with Weight Watchers Power Foods and PointsPlus values) >>    Simple Start Dinner Idea For the ultimate low point, high-protein, Power Food dinner, serve with a tilapia filet sprayed with...

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Bikini Blues plus FIRST TEN get Summer Coaching Deal
Jul11

Bikini Blues plus FIRST TEN get Summer Coaching Deal

In two weeks (yikes!) we’re off for a three night mini-vacay with five other couples and our littles. It’s interesting what fear and panic three little days has instilled in me. The fact that Palm Springs will be like an oven, and we’ll basically be parking in the pool, isn’t helping. Plus, said friends are all a) gorgeous and b) much younger than me. After wasting hours and energy discussing this (with sister, trainer, friends, and—I know I’m not supposed to, but yes—hubby too), I’ve come to the conclusion that: Everyone feels self-conscious in a bathing suit. (Or “costume”—as we called it in South Africa. Took me a while to stop saying that one!) I mean, obviously I’m not referring to the godly workout freaks who count the days (with joy) until they get to bare their bods to the rest of us mere mortals. But even the skinny minnies beat up on themselves and feel scrutinized. (Why, oh why is that?!)   Do you feel self-conscious in a bathing suit? Has it stopped you from having the summer fun you deserve?   I decided that the first step to feeling better about the trip was to get a brand new bikini, because: a) I’m sick of squeezing the water out of the Vic Sec “Bombshell” bikini tops I already own—not to mention the extreme neck ache (and occasional bruising) from all that padding—especially once they’re saturated with water. (Though I’m pretty good at discreetly squeezing them out with my inner arms.) b) You know how they say getting brand new, cute workout outfit will inspire you to work out? Well, it’s the same with a bathing suit. If you have one that you love—that’s comfortable and flattering—you’ll feel better, hold yourself proudly, and look less self-conscious. And people will be attracted to your positive aura instead of staring at your body parts.   Bikini Buying I must say that Diane’s Beachwear at the Calabasas Commons made it far more bearable. (They have 21 branches nationwide) I’m thinking they probably (no definitely) have some special lighting that hides the lumps, bumps, and bulges. With the encouragement of sweet and sassy Mara, I didn’t even try on one black thing. And a one-piece? Not for me. Here I am attempting to take a selfie of a flirty, fun two-piece to send to hubby.  Unfortunately, when I pulled the cover-up over my head, I revealed more of myself than planned, so went with the safer orange bandeau—way less chance of a wardrobe malfunction when I pick up my four-year-old. Plus it reminds me of the “boob-tube” orange bikini that I had when I was a little girl. (And brings me the same joy.)...

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Dr. Praegers Kale and Black Bean Veggie Burgers (review)
Jun19

Dr. Praegers Kale and Black Bean Veggie Burgers (review)

I was so pumped to find Dr. Praeger’s Kale Veggie Burgers and Black Bean Burgers at my door that I decided to try them today!      My first time getting something on dry ice—I don’t know why that was so pleasing.   This big, giant box for two little boxes of burgers. (Not as green as the Kale Burgers. LOL)   I  am now verrry full. I made one of each to try, and they were both so delish that I ate them both! (Plus a side salad.) I just popped them in the toaster oven and ate them straight up, to get the full flavor.   Here’s the verdict:   Dr. Praeger’s Kale Veggie Burger (Gluten Free) With Quinoa I must admit, it did look a little “grassy” but actually tasted surprisingly delicious. Very fresh and light. Now would I slap this on a burger bun with ketchup? Definitely not. But next to a couple of fried eggs I think it would make for a tasty meal. 3 Weight Watchers Points Plus   Dr. Praeger’s Black Bean Veggie Burgers Let me first say that I am not a fan of black beans. But I really enjoyed the taste and texture of this one—more dense and filling than the others. Very bean-y. And just enough if a kick. Fab with a fruity salsa and/or roasted red pepper hummus. Wrap in lettuce leaves for a low-carb sammy! 12 g protein to keep you feeling satisfied. 3 WW PP   My fav is still the Asian Veggie Burger. Click here for my Veggie Burger Chop Suey Recipe >>   Whole Foods Market carries a wide variety of Dr. Praeger’s products. And you can find the California Veggie Burgers at Trader Joe’s. The California Burger was my go-to dinner for many months when I first joined Weight Watchers. You can find my Veggie Burger Scramble recipe on my Trader Joes shopping List (next to California Burger) >>   But these two new ones could be making their way into heavy rotation!   Click here for where to purchase Dr. Praeger’s Veggie Burgers >>   Simple Start/Simply Filling Unfortunately, since all of Dr. Praeger’s veggie burgers have more than 2g fat, they’re not considered Weight Watchers Power Foods. But, if you’re doing WW Simple Start or Simply Filling, I think they’re definitely worth spending a few points on just to add some variety to what you’re eating. (Or I personally might not even count points if I was just having one of these as part of my healthy Simple Start meal. But shhhhh…. don’t tell anyone that I told you that!) BTW...

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Best Weight Watchers Travel Snacks
Jun05

Best Weight Watchers Travel Snacks

Do you feel like when you’re in an airport… or in the air… or in the car (fill in the blanks)… the calories (and points) somehow don’t count…? A little planning can stop you from making poor choices—en route and at your travel destination. Stay happy, healthy, and in control on your vacation! Here are my Top Healthy Travel Snacks Please PIN, SHARE, TWEET it! Remember, sharing is caring. 🙂   Corazonas Mini Oatmeal Squares (My #1 Travel Snack!) This is my favorite packaged snack—period. I especially love the minis because they’re just big enough to satisfy a craving, and only cost 2 – 3 points. (Try a Peanut Butter Mini with a cup of tea or coffee… mmmhmmm good. You’ll think twice before purchasing a pastry!) 2 – 3 Weight Watchers PointsPlus per bar Where to Buy: Corazonas.com Use coupon code ORNABAKES25 for FREE SHIPPING over $25! Amazon Corazonas Minis at Costco Corazonas Oatmeal Squares (full size) at Ralphs/Kroger, Whole Foods Market, Gelsons Market (California)   BelVita Breakfast Biscuits I’m pretty much ready to eat from the minute I’m awake, so if I’m in some hotel room and have to wait for hours till we’re in a restaurant eating, I’m… shall we say… not my most pleasant self! That’s why I always pack something to tide me over. 6 Weight Watchers PointsPlus for 4 biscuits (It’s always less points if you share!) Perfect for sharing with hungry cousins on Safari in South Africa. (Sorry to those of you in the back who never got any.) Where to Buy: Costco, Target, pretty much everywhere   Or NEW from Kellogg’s – To Go Morning Biscuits  (only 4 WW PP for four delicious biscuits) Where to Buy: Amazon, Ralph’s (Kroger)    Blueberry Oat Bran Muffins Make these delicious, healthy muffins ahead, pop them in the freezer, and you’ll have portable breakfast for the whole family. 3 Weight Watchers PointsPlus per muffin Click here for the super-simple recipe >>   Luna Fiber Bars These are not the sexiest bar around, but they are tasty and satisfying, and get you to the next meal. (What is the sexiest bar around, you might ask…? For me that would have to be a PureFit Peanut Butter Crunch, but I don’t usually spend 6 points on a bar when there’s food to be eaten!) 3 PointsPlus per bar Where to Buy: Target, Ralphs/Kroger/Whole Foods What’s your bar of choice?   Peanut Butter Sammy There’s nothing worse than spending 20 points on a BBQ Chicken Sandwich and greasy chips that you don’t even like, so I always pack an emergency meal. A teaspoon or two of peanut butter (1 WW...

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