Saturday, February 8, 2014

Weight Watchers and How it has Changed My Life

I have always heard that joining Weight Watchers is a life change.  But until you actually take the step to join and make that commitment, you cannot understand exactly what that means.  I joined Weight Watchers on February 23rd, 2013 and that is the day that my life changed for the better.

Over the past year, 3/4 of the way through my Weight Watchers Journey, I have lost 77.8 lbs..  Gone from a size 22 to a size 10.  And lost over 67"!!!!  But best of all, I am sooo much healthier than I was when I began this journey.

I cannot believe the things that I have learned!  Nor can I believe the changes that I have made and the steps that I have taken.  All changes and steps that I never would have imagined last year at this time.

Over the next few months, I am going to be writing about Weight Watchers, their philosophy, their methods, their teachings, their recipes . . . and my journey following Weight Watchers.  Let's start with some of the background on WW found on their website:

The Weight Watchers Philosophy:

Our Philosophy
Weight Watchers has always believed that dieting is just one part of long-term weight management. A healthy body results from a healthy lifestyle - which means mental, emotional and physical health. Weight Watchers does not tell you what you can or can't eat. We provide information, knowledge, tools and motivation to help you make the decisions that are right for you about nutrition and exercise. We help you to make healthy eating decisions, and we encourage you to enjoy yourself by becoming more active. To provide motivation, mutual support, encouragement and instruction from our leaders, Weight Watchers organizes group meetings around the world. Members of our meetings who achieve Lifetime Membership have the opportunity to become Weight Watchers Leaders and Receptionists, sharing their personal weight loss success with others.
At Weight Watchers, weight management is a partnership that combines our knowledge with your efforts. And trust us, your efforts will pay off! We help you on your journey by:
 Helping you make the positive changes required to lose weight.
 Guiding you to make positive behavioral changes in your life.
 Inspiring you with our belief in your power to succeed.
 Motivating you every step of the way.

The History of Weight Watchers:

Our History
In the early 60's, Weight Watchers founder Jean Nidetch began inviting friends into her Queens home once a week, to discuss how best to lose weight. Today, that group of friends has grown to millions of women and men around the world who use the products and services of Weight Watchers to lose unwanted pounds. After that first Queens meeting, an estimated one million people, from Brazil to New Zealand, come together each week to help each meet their weight-loss goals at Weight Watchers meetings. And now, Weight Watchers is reaching others via the Web at

In my next post, I will talk about the different plans available on Weight Watchers.

I am in no way affiliated with Weight Watchers International, Inc. - however, if you have any questions regarding Weight Watchers, I would be thrilled to give you my thoughts and also try to lead you to the correct resource to obtain the answers.

Spaghetti Squash Italiano - 4 PPV

Everyone at my Weight Watcher meetings has been talking about Spaghetti Squash.  Well . . . I had really never even HEARD of Spaghetti Squash!

This week, when doing my weekly grocery shopping, I saw a Spaghetti Squash and decided that it was time to join the bandwagon and give it a try.  I perused the recipes on-line, but being on Weight Watchers, none of the recipes really matched the points value that I was hoping for.  Especially since I am soooo stingy with my points!  So I did my own thing.

Here is my recipe - and I have to say, it was so easy and so delicious!

Spaghetti Squash Italiano - 4 PPV


1 Spaghetti Squash
1 Jar of Spaghetti Sauce (I used Prego Chunky Garden Tomato, Onion & Garlic)
1 Package Kraft Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, Fat Free

1.  Microwave your squash for 5 minutes to soften slightly - then cut in 1/2 lengthwise
2.  Scoop out the seeds
3.  Place the two halves cut side down in a baking pan.  Add about 1/4" of water to the pan. Bake @ 350 º for approx. 45 minutes or until the flesh of the squash is tender.
4.  Using a fork, scrape the flesh from the squash into a baking pan.  The flesh will look like spaghetti.  Spread it out in your pan.
5. Pour the jar of sauce over the top of the squash and spread out so that all of the squash is covered.
6.  Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the top, covering all of the sauce.
7.  Sprinkle with Basil and Oregano to taste.
8.  Bake in a 350º oven for approx. 30 minutes or until the cheese is all melted and bubbly.

Servings: 6

Friday, February 22, 2013

Fresh Strawberry Cake

I saw this fantastic looking strawberry cake on Pinterest a couple of weeks ago and it just looked absolutely amazing.  Then I read the ingredients and the directions and I have been drooling over it ever since!

Last weekend when I went grocery shopping, I made sure that I picked up all of the ingredients that I didn't already have and last night, I MADE THE CAKE!!  All I can say is WOW!  It tastes as good as it looks.  I want to thank Brandie at The Country Cook for posting this recipe on her blog in the first place.

For the Cake

  • 1 box vanilla, white or yellow cake mix
  • 1  3 oz. box strawberry gelatin mix (Jell-O)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries (or 1 cup crushed fresh strawberries)

For the Icing

  • 1/2 block (4 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray 9x13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Rinse the strawberries and pat dry.  Remove the stems and dice up.

Put the strawberries into a plastic Ziploc bag and start crushing them up using a rolling pin or other heavy object.  This will take a couple of minutes.

In a large bowl,combine cake mix with the strawberry gelatin powder.  Mix until combined.

Then stir in your oil, eggs and water.

Once that is combined, add in 1 cup of your crushed strawberries.  Gently stir them in by hand.

Pour the batter into the baking dish and bake for 30-33 minutes.

Oven times do vary so to make sure that the cake is done, stick a toothpick in the center.  If it comes out clean, it is good to go.

Allow cake to cool completely before frosting.

While the cake is cooling, make the frosting.

Mix together the softened butter and softened cream cheese.  It's easiest if you have an electric mixer.  Mix until smooth, creamy and lump-free.

Mix in the powdered sugar, vanilla extract and milk.  Mix until smooth and creamy.

Slather the frosting onto the cooled cake.

I used slices of fresh strawberries around the edges of the top and then grated some chocolate over the top as well.

Slice and serve.  Be sure to refrigerate any leftovers.

Meatloaf - One of Those "Comfort" Foods

My husband adores home-cooked meals.  Especially home-cooked meals that he considers to be "comfort" food.  Meals like Shepherd's Pie, Macaroni & Cheese, Hot Turkey Sandwiches, Spaghetti & Meatballs and Chicken & Dumplings.  These are the kinds of foods that he considers "comfort" food.  But one of his favorite comfort foods is Meatloaf.  He just really likes my meatloaf!

My Meatloaf is something that I have been making for years.  It's one of those things that I cook without thinking twice about what I'm doing.  I found the recipe a long time ago in a Disney World cookbook that my Mom had given me.  I'm not sure if it is even the same recipe now - in fact, I'm pretty sure that it has evolved over the years.  So when you put this together, feel free to change things around to your own liking.


  • 1 lb. Hamburger
  • 1 cup Oatmeal
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 5.5 oz. can of V-8 Juice
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Set oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine hamburger, oatmeal, salt and pepper.  Add more oats if you want more consistency.

Add the egg and V-8 juice and mix well using your hands.

Transfer mixture into a loaf pan and shape leaving moats around the inside edges of the pan for the grease to collect.

Place in the oven and bake for one hour or until thoroughly browned.  Slice & Serve :)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Shrimp, Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya

Well . . . I'm a little late for Fat Tuesday but I saw this recipe by Emily on Clever Housewife and this is the first chance that I have had to give it a try.

I added more hot sauce than the the original recipe called for, added some leftover ground Italian Sausage that I had in my fridge, left out the chopped celery since I forgot to buy it when I was grocery shopping and I used cooked shrimp rather than raw and added it at the last moment.

My husband has always been the chef in our household.  We both worked full-time and we were raising five children along with coaching all of their sports, chauffeuring them around to various friends and activities and trying to keep some semblance of a "clean" home.  But I have always enjoyed cooking and it's time that I started doing more of it!!

So back to the dish at hand.  The prep time was fairly short and easy - the smells while cooking were amazing.   The taste was spicy and savory, and very filling!

  • 2 cups enriched white rice
  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, once around the pan
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless white or dark meat chicken
  • 3/4 lb. Andouille sausage, casing removed and diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
  • Several drops hot sauce or 2 pinches cayenne pepper
  • 2-3 Tbsp. (a handful) all-purpose flour
  • 1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 (14 oz) can chicken stock or broth
  • 1 Tsp. cumin
  • 1 rounded Tsp. dark chili powder
  • 1 Tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 1 Tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 lb. medium shrimp, raw, deveined and peeled
  • Coarse salt and black pepper
  • Chopped scallions, for garnish
  • Fresh thyme, chopped for garnish

Cook rice to package directions.

Place a large, deep skillet over medium, high heat.  Add oil and butter to the pan.  Cube chicken and dice sausage.

Place chicken in the pan and brown 3 minutes.  Add sausage and cook 2 minutes more.

Add onion, celery, pepper, bay leaf and cayenne.  Saute vegetables 5 minutes.  Sprinkle flour over the pan and cook 1-2 minutes more, until you have a kind of a roux.

Stir in tomatoes and broth and season with cumin, chili powder, poultry seasoning and Worcestershire sauce.

Bring liquids to a boil.

Add shrimp and simmer 5 minutes.

Ladle jambalaya into shallow bowls.  Place a scoop of rice on to the center of each bowl of jambalaya.  Sprinkle dishes with salt, pepper, chopped scallions and thyme leaves.  Add more hot sauce if more spice is desired.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Baked Tilapia with Shrimp Stuffing

I was looking for something to cook for dinner this evening and found some frozen Tilapia in my freezer and a bag of large, uncooked shrimp.  I Googled these two ingredients (it's amazing how you can Google just about anything these days!) and found a recipe for Baked Tilapia with Shrimp Stuffing that I thought sounded good.  I didn't have all of the required ingredients but knew that I had other things I could substitute instead.

I found the recipe on Spark Recipes and this particular recipe is from a member named APPLECRUMBLES.


  • 1.5 fluid oz. Lemon Juice (or use juice of 1/2 a lemon)
  • 10 Large Shrimp, cooked (chopped small)
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Scallions (green onion), raw, chopped
  • 2 c. Fresh Spinach, chopped
  • 1 Tsp. Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 4 Pieces ( 4 oz. each) Tilapia filets
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
  • Panko Bread Crumbs (I added this ingredient)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Squeeze/Sprinkle lemon juice over Tilapia and set aside.

Peel the shrimp and chop into small pieces.

Heat the Olive Oil in a saute pan over medium, high heat.  Add the chopped green onion, garlic and spinach.  Add sea salt & pepper to taste.  Toss until spinach begins to wilt . . . about 1-2 min.

In a baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray or coated with olive oil, place 2 pieces of the tilapia side by side. Sprinkle with Old Bay Seasoning.

Mix the chopped shrimp into the cooked spinach mixture.  Add Panko bread crumbs to the mixture to taste.  Divide the mixture in 1/2 - spreading evenly on the top of each piece of fish in the baking dish.

Place the other 2 pieces of tilapia on top of the mixture and sprinkle with Old Bay Seasoning, sea salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle 1/2 Tbsp. Parmesan Cheese on top of each fish assembly.

I had mixture left over so added this to the baking dish as well and garnished each fish assembly with one shrimp.

Bake 20 minutes or until cooked thoroughly.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Joined Bloglovin

I have just joined Bloglovin!  Now there are even more ways to follow Notes From A New England Nana daily :)
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