Drumroll, Please...

After tracking this week,
After a wedding over the weekend,
And after oversleeping a few mornings and not having time to plan a breakfast and lunch,

The results are in!

I weighed in yesterday, and had a loss of 2.8 pounds.

Woo Hoo! I'm pretty close to the big 3-0 (both in years and pounds lost).

I hope you have a very Happy Friday!



Need some inspiration for new meals to try? Let me point you in some new directions...

I only recently found this website, but I so love this website! The goal is to make food that's good for kids and grown-ups to eat but will also be enjoyed by kids and grown-ups alike. There are sections for first foods, toddler foods, and school lunches, but I spend most of my time on the Family Meals section (tagline: One Family, One Meal). She just released a cookbook, and someone has a birthday coming up... ;)

This has been on my frontpage for about two years now, and hardly a recipe goes by that I don't want to devour (chocolate swirl buns, anyone?) Not all of these recipes are Weight Watchers friendly, but a lot of the salads and vegetarian recipes are easy enough to lighten up. And did I mention the pumpkin cinnamon rolls?

This is another relatively new find for me, but its come with high recommendations! From the website: "To feel good, they choose to eat clean and eat from nature instead of natural foods stripped to form processed foods such as crackers, spreads/sauces and sugary snacks." I eat clean as much as possible, but not 100% of the time. These recipes make it look much more attainable!

Easy recipes, common ingredients, and nutrition information right on the page to make cooking, shopping, and tracking super-easy. I love that you can browse through their recipe collections based on dietary needs or season of the year. 
It would have been a really good idea for me to provide a recipe from one of these sites this evening, eh? 

Well, one thing I've learned by tracking publicly is that I'm in a bit of a food rut. I grab what's easy to eat on the run for breakfast, I don't think too outside-the-box for lunch, but dinners are all right. Maybe I'll have to shake things up a bit for week #2?


  • Pumpkin muffin (tasty, but... yawn...)
  • Banana
  • coffee


  • English muffin sandwich (whole wheat English muffin, 1 laughing cow light wedge, 1 serving chicken breast lunch meat, romaine lettuce)
  • Grapes (1 cup)
  • Popcorn (3 cups)


  • Breakfast for dinner! Woo Hoo!
  • Pancakes (2 - 1/4 cup scoops onto the griddle is 4 points) topped with agave syrup
  • Turkey kielbasa, 4oz
  • bananas & apples


  • Ben & Jerry's Half-Baked FroYo (Really? You haven't gone out to try this yet? Its actually overall better for you than their Greek FroYo.)

Tomorrow is the day of truth... boy I really hope this week is a decent loss after putting this all out there!



Ah, Pinterest.
How crafty you make me think I am.
And how much time you help me to waste when I could be teaching myself to be crafty.

But let's talk about Pinterest as a source for recipes! Really, just type in whatever you're looking to make, however you're trying to cook (gluten-free, dairy-free, butter-laden), or in my case, "Weight Watchers." You'll likely come up with dozens to hundreds of pins from other pinners who have found these tasty posts on blogs, websites, or other pinners boards.

See here, if you're not familiar...

This could very quickly turn into a list of all the things on Pinterest that I want to try but haven't had time yet. So instead, just let me tell you that as much as I love browsing on Pinterest, its so useful to me as a meal planning tool. Whenever I come across a recipe I'd like to try (wait for tomorrow's post for a list of favorite blogs and sites), I "pin" it to my board "Food I Want To Eat." (I also have a "Weight Watchers" board, but these two are overlapping more and more.) Then, on Saturday or Sunday, I browse through the pins and pick out three or four that I'd like to try that week. I try to plan for at least one meal in each of these categories: pasta, vegetarian, seafood, poultry, beef/pork. Variety is the spice of life. Or maybe its pepper.

Today, my meals and two Pinterest recipes!


  • Get Balance Fiber Cereal from Aldi (1 cup)
  • Skim Milk (1/4 cup)


  • Grapes (1 cup)
  • Pizza (1 slice)
  • Pumpkin Muffin


  • Cottage Pie (1 serving)


  • Fall Fruit Compote (1/2 cup) with 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • Cheeze-It Crackers (1/2 serving) *this falls under the category of "so not worth the points." Two points for 14 little crackers? I think not.*
  • String cheese

Cottage Pie
Borrowed from SparkPeople
My take on the recipe - it was just okay. The egg yolk wasn't enough to keep the potatoes together and there really wasn't any gravy/sauce to speak of. Maybe I'd add some Worcestershire sauce next time...

2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 egg yolk
12 ounces lean beef (I used 90/10)
1 cup onions, diced
salt & pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups carrots, shredded
1 cup green beans, chopped
1/2 cup frozen corn
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup low-sodium chicken stock

Preheat oven to 375.

Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan, then cover with cold water. Cover the pot with a lid, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 10-12 minutes, until the potatoes are soft.

While potatoes are simmering, prepare the filling. Place a large saute pan over moderate heat, add the beef and onions, and cook until the beef is no longer pink. Add the carrots, beans, spices, and tomato paste, stir to combine, and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add the stock and corn, then stir to combine. Place the meat and vegetables into a casserole dish and set aside.

Drain the potatoes and mash well, using a potato masher or ricer. Add the egg yolk. Spread on top of the meat mixture. Bake 10 minutes, until the potatoes are browned. 

Serves 4 (7 points)

Fall Fruit Compote

Pretty close to a Weight Watchers recipe
This we loved! Its really tasty with a little brown sugar (like I had), it would make a bowl of oatmeal fabulous, and I bet it would be really good with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (which I did not have). Adjust the recipe to accommodate the size of the fruit you have.

2 medium apples, cut into 1/2" dice
4 small pears, cut into 1/2" dice
1/3 cup orange juice
1/2 dried cranberries (these added lots of points but not a lot of flavor)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 orange, peeled and cut into 1/2" dice

Combine all ingredients, except orange zest and orange, into a sauce pan. Cook over medium-high to high heat until most of the liquid is gone, about 20 minutes.  Add orange zest and orange sections. Cook until heated through, stirring occasionally, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Makes 6 - 1/2 cup servings (3 points)


Yesterday was a day off of work - hooray! It was a great day yesterday, lots of productivity, lots of family time, a nice walk in the forest preserve, gymnastics class, and a not-too-unreasonable bedtime (for me, not so much for H who was still yelling "Mama, I have a question for you..." at 9:15pm.

No recipes today, I more pieced together my meals, but while I have your attention, here's a line of salad dressings we loooove at the Even-House:

Bolthouse Farms* has a line of creamy salad dressings that are yogurt-based, and the oil-based dressings are fat-free or reduced-fat. The yogurt thing is cool, but even better is that these dressings don't have any weird things in them - the list of ingredients is short and pronounceable. 

Ingredients in Classic Ranch: Yogurt, Soybean oil, Apple juice from concentrate, egg yolks, distilled vinegar, natural flavors, salt, spices, onions, xantham gum, garlic, vitamin A

The only things that raise an eyebrow for me are "natural flavors" (what does that mean exactly?) and xantham gum. Xantham gum is a product from fermenting sucrose and fructose, so it is an added sweetener, usually used to thicken mixtures. Many gluten-free recipes call for xantham gum to keep the mixture together in place of gluten. Different people have different opinions, but I'd rather have a tiny bit of xantham gum than tons of sucralose or high-fructose corn syrup in my food.

For Weight Watchers, 1 Tablespoon of dressing is 1 point. Allow me to get on my high-horse for a moment... you might be thinking, "But I can eat other reduced-fat or fat-free dressing for fewer points than that." Sure, but do you know what all of the ingredients are? And does that ranch dressing make your three-year-old break out every time he eats it? Just sayin'....

And this three-year-old I mention? His favorite is the blue cheese. Seriously.

  • Pumpkin Muffin (I edited yesterday's recipe to add in the spices)
  • Eggs (1 egg white, 1 egg)

  • Turkey wrapped around a pickle spear (2) - H calls these "roll-up sandwiches." Its for when we don't have bread in the house:)
  • Pizza (2 slices thin-crust)

  • Carrots & celery with ranch dressing
  • Black bean burger with tomato, onion, lettuce, ketchup, and mustard on a white bakery bun

  • Apple
  • Pretzels

*Bolthouse Farms has no idea who I am, I just like their dressings.



Woah, almost didn't make it up today!

A note about water... I drink a lot of water. Obscene amounts. Fish-like quantities. And as much as people say "when you think you're hungry, you're probably just thirsty" they are absolutely right.

Even if you're not ready to start a major lifestyle change or if you don't need to but want to tweak a few habits for your health...


My travel coffee mug is by my side for 50% of the teaching day (I cut myself off at noon).

And for the other 50% of my teaching day, this cup is by my side.

This reusable cup holds 32 ounces of water, meaning that drinking just two of these equals my daily requirement. I usually shoot for three (96 ounces), just because with all of the talking and singing, I need to hydrate a little more. I didn't usually take this cup home with me over the weekend, but I've started to, so that I'm encouraged to carry this cup around the house with me and drink just as much water at home as I do at school.

BTW - the recipe that's included today is "inspired" by a popular recipe from Weight Watchers members. It is simply a cake mix combined with one can of pumpkin and 1 cup of water. I didn't want to use a packaged cake mix, though, so I did some digging on Pinterest and found a few substitutes that I worked in. Enjoy!

  • Pumpkin muffin (see below)
  • Nonfat blueberry Greek yogurt

  • Green beans, 1 1/2 cups
  • stuffing, 1/2 cup
  • chicken tenderloins pieces, 2
  • Trader Joe's pumpkin bread, baked into cake form for a birthday (Happy Birthday, Asheley!)

  • Thin-crust pizza, cheese and tomatoes, 2 slices (or rather, squares to equal 2 slices)
  • Apple

  • Pumpkin muffin (I had to sample them to make sure they were good before serving them!)

Pumpkin Muffins
Adapted from here and there

2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1 1/3 cup sugar
1-15oz can canned pumpkin
1 cup water
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional - will raise the points value)


Preheat oven to 350. Place muffin liners in cups of a standard muffin tin, and spray liners with non-stick spray.

Mix together all ingredients until well-combined and mixture is mostly smooth. 

Spoon into 24 muffin tins and bake for 20-24 minutes.

Makes 24 muffins, 2 points each


AWITLOL* - Day 3

* A Week in the Life of Lori

Admittedly, yesterday was a weird day in my food world. Breakfast was a bit of a rush, due to me heading out for a haircut, lunch was actually at 3:30 (because we were going to catch a movie between the wedding ceremony and reception, but the movie we wanted to see was at a time that didn't work, so we got lunch instead), and then dinner was at a wedding, so it was completely out of my control.

But all said and done, I think I did okay. I justify it by all of the walking around downtown, a little dancing at the reception, and how hard my internal system had to work to keep my core body temperature high enough while I was walking around downtown for two hours without a jacket and in my dress.

I was a bit disappointed that the fish wasn't the healthier option, though every single thing that came out looked great. I just made sure to eat my vegetables first, then the fish, sans crumbs, and lastly the deep fried starchy goodness with cheese.

And last, but not least, congratulations to Al and Tatiana!


  • 1 slice of bacon
  • 1/2 apple
  • (I told you it was weird...)
  • Skinny Combo at Burrito Beach (1 chicken taco, southwest quinoa salad, and veggie chili)
Cocktail Hour
  • Soda water with lime
  • Melba toast with creme fraiche and caviar, boursin stuffed mushroom (one of each, just to sample, but I did pass on the deep fried appetizers)
  • White wine, 1 glass
  • Spinach salad with citrus vinaigrette
  • Whitefish with buttered breadcrumbs (scraped the crumbs off and it was still delish)
  • Roasted asparagus with capers
  • Fried risotto cake (I wish I was joking... it was really rich, and tasted really good. I had about 1/3 of it and then traded the rest to Steve for one of his carrots:)
  • Fresh fruit with creme anglaise (kind of pudding-like)
  • Champagne, 1 glass
No recipes today, but here's a tip for you - when you're cooking bacon, use a metal cooling rack set inside a rimmed cookie sheet. The fat will drip off of the meat and end up in the tray, not your arteries. And speaking of fat, if you bake it at 325 for about 40 minutes, more of the fat will render out so you still get crispy bacon that isn't totally burned.

Have a great week! Tomorrow's another day...


AWITLOL* - Day 2

* A Week in the Life of Lori

Day 2 - Tracking publicly is definitely keeping me honest. And I'm trying harder at making balanced choices. Thanks for the accountability!

I realized that tomorrow could be a tough one - we have a wedding to go to downtown (Yay! I love weddings! Especially swanky downtown weddings!) but that means I'm giving up control of what food is available and how food is prepared. But I think I ordered the seafood entree, so as long as its not deep-fried fish dipped in butter or something, I should be okay.

But as for today...

Breakfast - Egg Sandwich
  • Sandwich thin with one Laughing Cow light wedge, one egg white
  • Starbucks grande cinnamon dolce skinny latte
  • Banana
  • Romaine salad (3 cups), reduced-fat feta cheese, balsamic vinaigrette
  • Blueberry greek yogurt

  • Acorn Squash Salad (see below) - this idea came after eating an interesting type of salad a few weeks back at an Italian restaurant near our house. It was roasted butternut squash with arugula, toasted hazelnuts, whipped goat cheese, and apple cider vinaigrette. It was fabulous. The only thing I wish I would have done differently with my take was to use goat cheese instead of feta. It would have raised the points value, but the sweeter taste of the goat cheese would have been better - the feta was a little too tangy and overpowered the squash.


  • Apple
  • Pretzels (1/2 serving size) and hummus
  • Ben & Jerry's Half Baked FroYo (Yes. Again. Don't judge.)

Acorn Squash Salad
1 acorn squash, cut in half
cooking spray
4 Tablespoons chopped walnuts
4 Tablespoons reduced fat feta cheese (see note above)
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
salt & pepper


Heat oven to 350. Spray both halves of the squash with cooking spray, and roast until tender, about 40-50 minutes. (You could also do this in the microwave.)

Put walnuts in a small saute pan (dry, no oil or spray), and turn up to medium heat. Toast 2-4 minutes - once you can smell the nuts, then they're finished.

Whisk the oil and vinegar together until well combined.

Once the squash is finished roasting, peel the skin off and cut into 1/2" cubes. Lightly toss squash with feta and walnuts; drizzle vinegar and oil and toss a few more times until evenly coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 2


A Week in the Life of Lori

This summer, against everything exercise-related that I believe in, I started running. I realized that running was the only exercise that would give me high returns in a 20-30 minute workout. But the problem was that even though I could run a 5K, I didn't see the other returns I was hoping for.

With all of that running over seven weeks, I gained three pounds. (Seriously?!) I had to change something else if I wanted to see results, so in the last week of July, I joined Weight Watchers. 

And according to my meeting yesterday, that was 26.4 pounds ago.

I've had lots of comments that people are noticing, and yeah, that does feel pretty good. But I also have lots of comments along the lines of "I wish I could do that" or "That's something I really should do." And I'm telling you straight-up, even if its not Weight Watchers, even if its another program or one of your own making, there's no reason you can't.*

And to show you that you can eat good food, you can eat wholesome (read: not fake-y diet food), and still be successful, I'm going to "track" what I eat here on this blog for one week. For those of you who are familiar with the program, you know that writing down every single thing you eat or drink every single day is a key part of the program. And hopefully, you'll see that it isn't something you should do, but its something you totally can do.

* This is, of course, excluding people who aren't supposed to work on weight loss right now for other health reasons.

Breakfast - Egg Sandwich

  • Whole-wheat sandwich thin with one Laughing Cow light wedge and one egg white scrambled with reduced-fat feta cheese (thanks, Steve!)
  • Coffee, black

  • Subway Black Forest Ham 6" sandwich on 9-Grain Wheat with spinach, cucumbers, red onion, tomato, and mustard
  • 3 cups 94% fat free popcorn
  • Apple
  • Quick Cassoulet (see below)
  • Ben & Jerry's Half-Baked FroYo, 1/2 cup

Quick Cassoulet
Adapted from The Dinner Doctor

1 onion, chopped
1 package turkey kielbasa, sliced in 1/2 inch slices and then in half
2 cans great northern white beans, undrained
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water

Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat and throw in the kielbasa and onions. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally  until sausage is slightly browned and onions are soft.

Lower heat to medium-low, and add both cans of beans, the can of tomatoes, and garlic powder. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure its not sticking. 

In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir together the water and cornstarch until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Slowly pour this into the cassoulet, stirring constantly. Allow to cook 5-10 minutes more until slightly thickened.

Serves 6 (1 cup servings)