Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chicken Mushroom Orzo Soup

So let's say you are like me and you like roasting a chicken. And let's say you're also like me and your family eats 2 drumsticks, a breast, and maybe a wing or two, and leaves you with lots of thigh meat and a whole chicken breast and maybe a wing, too. And let's just say you're so much like me that when you finish dinner, you pick off all the remaining meat and make a broth out of the carcass.

Well, if you're usually like me, then you have a lot of broth the next day and you make chicken soup.

But today, see, today I decided that I didn't want plain old chicken soup, with veggies and chicken and maybe noodles or rice. In fact, I wanted to take my sister's yummy beef and mushroom and orzo recipe and turn it into a chicken soup.

So I did. Here it is:

Chicken Mushroom Orzo Soup
Dark Meat Leftovers from a roasted chicken, shredded
6 cups chicken broth
1 cup (dry) orzo
1 box mushrooms, sliced
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
cooking spray

Saute onions and garlic in cooking spray until the onions soften. Add mushrooms and cook until they start to give off some liquid. Season with salt, pepper, a little sage, and thyme (don't overdo the sage. a little goes a long way). Add chicken broth and chicken and bring to a boil. Add orzo and cook 9 minutes more. Serve with a nice hearty bread. Delicious.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Weight Watchers -- 10%!!

As of Sunday, I've hit my 10% mark on Weight Watchers. No chart this time--they're getting too small to see the detail on.

So I've lost a total of 16.8 lbs. I fit very well into size 10 jeans and will pretty soon likely hit a size 8. I think I have about 10 pounds go to, which may or may not happen while I'm still breast feeding. But it feels great to be 16.8 pounds lighter. Oh and by the way, my baby is about 16 pounds, and I really love strapping her on my back and feeling the real difference between what I weighed before and what I weighed now.

If you didn't know, when I was pregnant I was on bedrest. I only gained 15 pounds my whole pregnancy, but what basically happened was I lost a lot of muscle. When I started getting stronger, the muscle weight came back but it became obvious that, had I been not losing muscle weight, I would have put on a lot more weight in this pregnancy. So most of the weight that I gained appeared to come on in the 3 months *after* the baby was born. How's that for weird?

So anyway, there I was at the heaviest I had ever been while not being pregnant. Maternity clothes still fit, but you can't wear them forever. Size 12 clothes did NOT fit. So my options were to buy bigger clothes or lose weight. And I'm really happy to say that WW has fit the bill. If I stayed the way I am, or lost just a couple of more pounds (to get into the WW healthy weight guidelines and reach life member) I would be pretty happy. I do still want to get back into my size 6's but I'm a patient person when it comes to this.

Meanwhile, it's my husband's birthday, and I have lots of weekly flex points to use on a yummy dinner and chocolate cake! Hooray!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Baby-Led Weaning, Week 1

I can hardly believe it, but I've become a believer in Baby-Led Weaning. I honestly thought it was insane when I first saw my friend doing it with her daughter. (Love you Danielle!) I was a huge believer in the Super Baby Food method, to the extent that I have blogged about it and bought the book for nearly every new mom I know. But in the last week, I've become a complete convert.

Now, that's not to say that Super Baby Food is a bad choice for some babies. My son totally thrived on it. He loved his super porridge. He adored his food cubes turned into baby food. I absolutely loved making food for him. But my daughter? Two weeks into spoon feeding and she still hadn't actually swallowed more than a couple of bites of cereal. She appeared to hate bananas. She appeared to hate everything actually. Even the foods she liked she seemed only to tolerate.

Then I gave her that piece of asparagus and she loved it. And I realized, oh my gosh, that she might eat other things on her own as well. I asked Danielle about BLW, and she pointed me to some resources.

That night, I gave my girl a piece of avocado, about 1/4 of an avocado cut into 2 slices. She eagerly picked up a slice, brought it to her mouth, and nommed on it. The whole thing was gone before the rest of us got to the dinner table! That same night, we were all eating chicken and broccoli. I cooked her broccoli a little longer than ours (we like ours pretty crisp) and gave her some. She ate nearly all of it, leaving over just a stem that she had been holding on to. She didn't eat any chicken, but I think I made the pieces too small. When you are doing BLW, the pieces actually have to be a bit bigger at first, until they get a pincer grasp.

So far, baby girl has tried avocado, asparagus, broccoli, bananas, potatoes, whole wheat pasta, and red peppers, and she has at least tried if not loved all of them. Am I nervous about allergies? Perhaps I should be. I'm being careful that she doesn't eat anything too harsh (we took the potatoes out of the home fry mix before adding the chili powder for ourselves and we don't give her anything too acidic) and she doesn't eat anything in the major allergen groups that affect our families (no berries, shellfish, nuts or legumes for a while, but we don't eat nuts or legumes in the house anyway, and the point is she eats what we eat). With my son I waited 4 days between foods for over a year, and you know what? He wasn't allergic to anything. We did wait until he was 3 to give him some kinds of nuts and legumes, but the only allergic reaction he ever had he grew out of after a few months. Meanwhile, my daughter is enjoying food in a way I've never seen a baby enjoy food, and it's completely thrilling.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Mushroom Soup

About a year ago, when I was pregnant with my baby girl, I was having a moment of feeling that meat was icky and soup was delicious. My friend Charlotte gave me this lovely recipe for a mushroom soup that feels creamy but has no cream in it. I changed it up a little bit, because I wanted to add onions and remove some of the fat. In all, it's delicious and about a point per serving (based on 6 servings)

cooking spray
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 boxes of mushrooms, chopped really well
salt, pepper, sage, thyme, parsley (or, as Charlotte says, "season with stuff you like")
1 box (4 cups) chicken or vegetable broth

Saute onions and garlic in cooking spray. When onions become soft, add mushrooms. Season with stuff you like (my seasonings above). Add one box of fat free chicken or vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, and allow to simmer at least 1/2 hour. Blend with an immersion blender until mostly smooth.

I had some fresh parsley, so I served this garnished with a little chopped parsley. Delicious!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

13 weeks on Weight Watchers

It's been about a quarter of a year that I've been on Weight Watchers, so it's time for a real update!

Check out my weight chart. I've lost 15.2 pounds in 13 weeks. Now, on some weight loss plans that would not seem very good (South Beach has you losing that much in the first 2 weeks I think). But gradual is very good, especially when you're breastfeeding, and I am consistently surprised when I weigh in and I have lost another pound. Also, do remember that some of that weight loss happened over Thanksgiving and Christmas! So I'm very happy with it.

Now, I know what happened to me last time I got near goal on weight watchers, and I am doing my best to not do it again. Last time, I was on the Core plan, and after most of a year on the program and losing over 25 pounds, I got a little tired of eating Core foods. I slacked. A lot. And then I got pregnant. This time I am sticking to counting points, which is much easier when you can count them online and using an iPod Touch app.

If all goes well this week I should reach my 10% goal (16.1 lbs lost) next week. After that it's just another 10 pounds to my ultimate goal.

But here's the thing. I know I sound like a commercial, but with the exception of writing everything down, I don't really feel like I'm on a diet. I mostly feel like I'm eating healthy foods and occasionally some unhealthy ones. I am definitely learning the consequences of making a bad choice. For instance, last week I went to Burger King. It probably would have been OK if I had just had the sandwich (Whopper Jr. No Mayo, 6 points) but instead I added in onion rings (10 points) and a sugared drink (3 points), which basically blew most of my points for the entire day. Yesterday, we went to Wendys and I was much more careful, and had a grilled chicken sandwich (7 points), small chili (4 points) and unsweetened iced tea (free). It was still higher in points than a regular lunch I'd have at home, but as eating-out choices went, I did a lot better after the BK debacle of last week. I know I could have had the salad instead of the chili, but I also know that I do get 10 breastfeeding points, and the chili would keep me fuller, which it did.

I've also discovered that I like snacking, but it doesn't really matter what I snack on as long as I can snack. So I buy a giant tub of spinach once a week and eat salads when I get snacky. Last week I also bought a giant head of broccoli and had that to snack on. If I really want something sweet, I have a 1-point bar and it doesn't blow the day away.

So that's it. 13 weeks (only 11 meetings as I missed 2 when we were in Florida) 15 pounds, and about 10 pounds to go. If all goes well I should get my 10% keychain next week. Here's hoping the next quarter is as productive as the first quarter was!