Top 7 Trader Joes Salads
May24

Top 7 Trader Joes Salads

Have you ever stood in front of ALL THOSE SALADS at TJ’s and then left without even getting one? (Yup, I have! But I’m a libra, so I don’t do well with too many options.) If you find the choices a tad overwhelming… I’m here to help!   All Salads are Not Created Equal People mistakenly think that having a salad means they’re eating healthy, but in fact some salads can pack way more fat and calories than a sandwich—or even a burger!   My Top 7 Healthy Trader Joe’s Salads   Trader Joe’s Citrus Chicken Salad (My fav!) $3.99 Tastes just like Thai Green Papaya Salad!!! If you’ve never tried one at a Thai Restaurant I highly recommend it. The shredded green papaya (i.e. unripe) and daikon radish give it that same delicious crunch, and the wonderfully light citrus dressing only has 2.5 grams of fat for the whole packet. (I only use half.) I personally could do with a little more chicken, but then I’m a hi-protein kind of girl. You could always add a little extra chicken breast if it’s not filling enough. It has cilantro in it, so if you’re not a fan this one’s not for you.   All Weight Watchers Power Foods, except for the dressing Only 2 PointsPlus (for all the dressing) if you’re doing Weight Watchers Simple Start or Simply Filling 7 Weight Watchers PointsPlus for the whole container (if you’re counting points)   Carrot & Cilantro Bulgar Grain Salad NEW $3.49 LOVE the turmeric garbanzo beans on top, and I usually pick garbanzos out of salads! Very fresh, light and “carrot-y”.   6 Weight Watchers PointsPlus for the whole container   Shrimp & Surimi Salad with Louie Dressing $3.99 FAVORITE Simple Start to-go lunch! Lots of lettuce, so very filling. The only thing that isn’t a Weight Watchers Power Food is the dressing—which surprisingly only adds 2g fat and ONE Point!   All Weight Watchers Power Foods, except for the dressing Only 1 Weight Watchers Point (for the dressing) if you’re following Simple Start or Simply Filling 6 Weight Watchers PointsPlus for the whole container, with dressing (if you’re counting points)   Trader Joe’s Chicken & Roasted Beet Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette Fabulous salad. The lovely feta add richness, so just a little of the dressing and a sprinkle of salt takes it to extreme deliciousness!   8 Weight Watchers PointsPlus for the whole container with all the dressing (5 points without dressing)   Crisp Pasadena Salad with Chicken (Best for sharing) $3.99 The package claims that the dressing is to die for—and it is! I love that there’s no onion...

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Top 10 Weight Watchers Power Foods
Mar03

Top 10 Weight Watchers Power Foods

Weight Watchers Power Foods are good for you, keep you feeling satisfied, and they’re delicious! Weight Watchers is encouraging members to eat more Power Foods with their new Simple Start Program (brilliant if you ask me).     WW Fact: Power Foods are selected not only because of their fat, fiber, protein, and carb content (which = points value) but also by their abuse potential (i.e. they’re less likely to trigger food cravings and derail you!) Here are some of my favorites…   Fiber One Original Bran Cereal My go-to breakfast—and TOP WW Power Food. Only $3.69 at Target ( Click here for my Target Shopping List) Mix it with fat free Greek Yogurt and milk for a long-lasting, super-satisfying breakfast. Add frozen blueberries for extra antioxidants. You can even crush it up to make breading! (My hubby would NEVER eat that, so it’s not something we do in my house, but many WW peeps do.) BTW: Fiber One 80 Chocolate Squares are the best non-power-food nighttime snack—only 2 PointsPlus for 3/4 cup.   Greek Yogurt (not just a food fad) Greek Yogurt has double the protein of regular yogurt, and even the fat free versions are thick and creamy, and very versatile.     Mix your favorite flavor with fat free milk to make Zoku Mini Pops—100% guilt-free fun! (Or puree strawberries, bananas, and plain Greek Yogurt) Adding it to my morning cereal gives me at least an extra hour before my stomach starts to growl (see above) Best mid-morning snack: Dannon Light & Fit Greek Yogurt Blends (my fav is Toasted Coconut Vanilla) Sour Cream Substitute: Top Butternut Squash & Apple Soup or Quick Mexican Chicken & Hominy Soup for added protein and creamy tang.   Oats Don’t think of Oatmeal as just another breakfast food; it’s great for those times when you just need a warm bowl of comfort! Four of my Top Costco Picks involve oats. Microwave Quaker Oats with chopped apples, Splenda and cinnamon if you’re craving sweets at night. Minsley Organic Cooked Steelcut Oatmeal: BEST WW Breakfast-To-Go, or emergency office desk food. Coach’s Oats: Nutty, hearty, Steelcut Oats without the loooong cooking time. Corazonas Mini Oatmeal Squares: 2 WW PointsPlus for one heart-healthy delicious square. I’m obsessed with the Peanut Butter ones—don’t go anywhere without carrying one in my purse!  If you’re nowhere near a Costco, have no fear—you can purchase all of these oaty gems on Amazon! Got Prime? 🙂  -or- Try Oat Bran for a change! (It’s like Cream of Wheat meets Oatmeal) You can find delicious Toasted Oat Bran at Trader Joe’s >>   Polenta Love, love, love, polenta. It satisfies that carb craving without breaking the points bank....

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Veggie Burger Chop Suey
Jan26

Veggie Burger Chop Suey

This is such a fun, pleasing dish to eat—inspired by Dr. Praeger’s Asian Veggie Burgers. (LOVE!) There are SO many different ways to make it, so even if you haven’t seen the veggie burgers, or you’re not a fan of canned goods, read on! Taking the final pics was torturous, because the wonderful aroma was permeating the whole house, and all I wanted to do was sit down and gobble it up!     My new Twitter friend, Kimlai Yingling, saw my lovin’ tweet for these yummy Asian-flavored patties, and asked me to review them for her website, EatinAsian, including what I would do with them. (Review coming soon to EatinAsian) Which got me thinking… I prefer digging into a steaming bowl of tasty goodness with chopsticks (my secret weight-loss weapon), so my creation isn’t in typical “omelet” style—known as Egg Foo Yong. (But if you like it that way, have at it) Mine is more like Chop Suey—without the meat. Whatever you wanna call it, I’m telling you, it’s better than Chinese Take-Out! (And waaaaay better for you.) Each time you find a piece of veggie burger or egg it’s like hitting gold! The burger might break up a bit, revealing the plump, sweet peas and carrots, and spreading distinct ginger flavor throughout the dish.   The long (julienne cut) veggies give you a noodle fix.   You could add celery, scallions, mushrooms, cabbage, or even shredded carrots to brighten up the color. But I tried to keep it really simple and do-able—with pantry and freezer ingredients.   You’ll always find water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, and bean sprouts in my pantry; for times when I’m out of veggies and feel like whipping up some Chinese Comfort Food! I wonder if it’s because my mother grew up in Shanghai and our family has long enjoyed Chinese Cooking. Do you usually keep Asian canned veggies on-hand? I’ll of course always take fresh bean sprouts over canned. The canned ones aren’t as crisp and they can be a bit sour, so make sure to rinse and drain well. You’ll find them in the Asian section of your local market.   TIP: Adding the sesame oil to the veggies—instead of cooking them in it—allows you to use less, but still enjoy the lovely, rich flavor.     I found Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods Asian Veggie Burger at Whole Foods Market. Click here to purchase at drpraegers.com >>   Too bad they don’t qualify for Weight Watchers Simple Start or Simply Filling (they would have to have 2g of fat or less, and these have 5), but TRUST ME these are worth the 3 PointsPlus! If...

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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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