Monday, December 5, 2011

Sarah's Veggie Panini

The excitement due to my recently restored health is overwhelming, and with that excitement comes major cravings for foods that make me feel good.  Like veggies - veggies everywhere!  Brian and I picked up some delicious Rosemary Ciabatta from Gastronomia the other night, and with the leftovers I came up with a great sandwich.  It is savory and filling!

Sarah's Veggie Panini
Serves: 1
Points+: 9
Healthy Checks: 1 oil, 1-2 veggies, 1/2-1 dairy

  • 3oz Ciabatta, or similar
  • Assorted sliced, raw vegetables, such as:
    • 1oz zucchini
    • 5 sprigs asparagus
    • 1/4 red bell pepper
    • 1 Swiss brown mushroom
    • 4 rings white onion
  •  Olive Oil Cooking Spray
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1T reduced-fat basil pesto
  • 1/2oz soft goat cheese
Preheat oven to 400F (200C).
Slice vegetables and arrange in a baking dish.  Spray with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Roast vegetables in oven for 7 to 10 minutes, depending on your taste.
Meanwhile, slice Ciabatta in half and lightly spray each outer side with olive oil.  Prepare a pan or panini press.  If using a pan, spray it lightly with olive oil spray, and heat it over medium-high flame.
In a small bowl, toss vegetables with pesto.  Place on open Ciabatta.  Spread goat cheese onto the second slice of bread.

Cook panini until the cheese just starts to melt, and the crust is browned and crisp, flipping once.  By using a heavy pan or pot and pressing on top of the sandwich, you can achieve the same result as a panini press.

How Many Times Can a Girl Start Over?

Oops, I did it again.  Had surgery, that is.  Turns out the mushrooms had taken over multiple sinus cavities, and the doctor had to go back in last week to dig 'em out.  And no, once again, I am not joking.
Learning that your frontal sinuses, in your forehead, are completely filled and swollen shut sure does explain the excruciating headaches, though!

I've been on steroids for weeks.
My body looks nothing like it used to.
And I was sick for EIGHT MONTHS.

But the moment I awoke from anesthesia, I knew it was over.  My life can start again!  My exercise regimen can start again (well, when the doctor clears me)!  I can breathe again!!!

So did I lose 10lbs?  No, I gained.  I am unsure how much I gained (we'll find out this coming Friday), but I know I did.  And I don't care, because I'm finally healthy!
Bring it on!  Whatever you wanna throw at me - BRING IT!

But I tell you what, I am so motivated to get back on track.  Weight Watchers introduced PointsPlus 2012 last week, decreasing my weekly Points+ allowance (hallelujah!), and allowing me to customize my plan in so many new and exciting ways.
Who's ready to get this party started?!  The "Sarah's gonna rock the plan and achieve her dream body" party?!

Here's to health.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I believe that one of the greatest obstacles we face in life is our own self.  I could go on for ages listing out all of the possible, destructive reasons for a person's lack of self esteem and self-love.  It could be neglect, abuse, the fashion industry.  It could be anything really.  And I would venture to say that most people can't pinpoint that exact moment in time when they went from happy, carefree child, to weight-obsessed, I-think-I'm-ugly child/pre-teen/teen/young adult/adult/senior.  I can't pinpoint it myself, but I do know it's been a struggle for as long as I can remember.

Of all of the lessons I've learned throughout my own weight-loss journey, by far the most important has been to love myself, no matter what.
When I look into the mirror, I see a gorgeous, intelligent, funny, caring, and sexy woman.  I see a beautiful body, and I remind myself daily to appreciate those parts of my body that I wouldn't trade for anything.  My eyes.  My hair.  My legs.  My feet (yes, my feet,  I have awesome feet).  My collar bone.  The strength and broadness of my shoulders.  My smile.
I am amazing.

Yes, I want to lose weight.  Yes, I want to tone my body.  And yes, I want to look even better than I do today.  But does that mean that I don't love exactly who I am today?  Of course not!

Loving yourself is the best thing you can possibly do to achieve your goals.  When you look in the mirror and see all of the incredible things about yourself, both inside and out, you will feel amazing.  Motivation to achieve the goals you've set forth increases.  Confidence in your abilities increases.  Your sense of self-worth and your positive attitude radiate from within, so that every single person you come in contact with feels and sees just how incredible you are!

Only when you truly love yourself, for who you are at this exact moment in time, and who you always will be, will you be able to achieve your goals in life - regardless of what they are.

Trust yourself, believe in yourself, love yourself.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Starting Over

Considering most of my readers are friends, you more than likely know all of the dirty details of the past 6 months of my life.
Long story short - I got sick.  Really sick.  When I caught what I thought was a cold in mid-April during a trip to Sydney, Australia, I didn't think it was much of a big deal.  But five months of exhaustion, constant headaches, an inability to smell, taste, or breathe properly, feeling lethargic and depressed, and generally just being ill, will cause a girl to well, umm, gain weight.
Remember all of that amazing progress I made 1.5 years ago?  All of those inches I shed, and how happy I was?  It really hurts to wave goodbye to all of that progress, but not have the energy to do anything about it.  I slipped into a spell of self-loathing, which of course led me to chocolate, which then led to more self-loathing.  Shocking, I know.
Ultimately it came down to surgery.  At the end of August I underwent a full sinus surgery, including a 3-day hospital stay and 2 weeks of at-home recovery.  They found mushrooms in my sinus cavities.  And no, I am not joking.  No wonder I felt like crap for months!
Only now am I able to work out full-throttle, smell things, taste things, breathe the air around me!  I'm still recovering, though.  This morning the doctor gave me one more week of meds, one more week of steroids (I HATE STEROIDS), and one more week to really get well before we do another CT of my head.  I'm not healing as quickly as he'd hoped, although I'm staying incredibly optimistic that these meds will in fact kick this crud for good.
So, with all of that in mind, and beginning the 3-month countdown of my repatriation to Houston, I find myself starting over.  The new Weight Watchers Points Plus program is not awesome, if you want my honest opinion, but I know it will probably work.  They wouldn't have switched over to it had they doubted the plan, right?
This past week I tracked as best I could, stayed away from booze, and really kept myself motivated.  But those damn 40mg daily doses of steroids don't exactly aid in the weight loss process.  In fact, they do nothing other than add weight.  A 2.5lb gain this week was not what I expected to see on my scale, but alas I must deal with it.
So what's the plan going forward?  If I bite it, I write it!  Too much cheating goes on in my daily eating, and I refuse to do it any longer.  Every single bit of food that goes into my mouth is going to be documented in my Points Tracker.  Period.  End of discussion.
But the biggest change I am going to make defies the plan WW has set forth for me.  Apparently a person of my age and size (27, 141.5lbs) gets a daily points plus allowance of 29.  Well, that is simply ridiculous, especially when one considers fruits are now "free", or zero points.  I am sorry, but why on earth should I be consuming 29 points per day, when a person who weighs 220lbs should consume the same?  Which one of us do you suppose is going to lose weight?  Hmm?
Starting today, my new allowance is 26 points per day, with only two free servings of fruit.  If I consume more than two fruits, I have to track them as having points.
I'm going to give this new points plan two weeks and see how it goes.  With any luck, the weight will slide off like it used to, and Sarah will get her groove back!  I mean, really people, I miss my clothes!  I bought so many new, pretty things when I lost weight, and now I'm 10 stinkin' pounds heavier!  They don't even button up!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Obviously, We Chose Steak

In the spirit of celebration, last Monday night's meal had to be amazing.  Rather, it had to be the most delectable extravagance that we'd ever had touch our sensitive and discerning palates.  And of course, it had to be easy on the points ;)

This filet mignon will not break your Points+ bank, it will not leave you feeling heavy and regretful.  Instead, as you eat each spicy and savory bite, you will "mmm" and "ahhh", wishing it could last longer.  The amount of steak is up to you - one ounce of raw, trimmed filet mignon equals one Point+.   But the butter - the butter is where it's at!
Kelly and I each had a 6oz filet mignon with 2 tsp butter, for 8 Points+.  We served this with plum tomatoes wrapped in fresh basil leaves, grilled alongside the steak, and a serving of steamed green beans.  Topping the beans with some of the Chipotle Butter is divine!

Grilled Filet Mignon & Chipotle Butter
From Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook
Makes 4 Servings
Points+ value = 1 per tsp butter; 1 per ounce raw filet mignon
(A 5oz raw filet mignon with 1 tsp butter = 6 points)

  • 4 tsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 small chipotle chile in adobo sauce, finely chopped, about 1/2 - 3/4 tsp
  • 1 tsp grated lime zest
  • salt
  • ground pepper
  • 4 filet mignons, trimmed of all visible fat
  1. Combine the butter, chipotle, lime zest, and 1/8 tsp salt in a small bowl; mix well.  Wrap in plastic wrap, rolling to form a small cylinder.  Freeze 10 minutes.
  2. Set up a grill for medium-hot indirect heat; and spray a nonstick skillet with nonstick spray; or heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle the filets with salt and pepper, to taste.  Grill the steaks to desired doneness and transfer to serving plates.
  3. Slice the butter into 4 discs and top each filet with a disk; serve immediately.