Month: December 2017

How He Asked: The Perfect End to Antigua

At the tail end our Antigua trip, most of my family was on the same flight home a few hours earlier than the flight John and I were on, so, after they all headed to the airport, we had some time with just the two of us. Originally we were talking about going sailing, but with the time to get down to the water and back, we’d be rushing around, so we decided to just hang back at the villa and pretend it was ours.

We spent time soaking in the view and swimming around in our private infinity pool and the couple hours flew by. We had a taxi coming to pick us up at our villa around 1pm for our (what I thought was) 4pm flight, so we got our stuff ready to go and around 1:10pm, I called down to the front desk to check in on the taxi and make sure it was coming to our villa and not the front desk. They informed me it was running late (duh) but that it was coming and to just hang tight.

Since I’d been so unplugged all week, I hadn’t checked in to our flight yet, so decided to try to do it on my phone while waiting for the taxi. Once I logged in, I quickly realized that while our flight was at 4pm Eastern time, it was at 3pm local time (!!!!) so not only was our cab running late, but our flight was an hour earlier than I thought. I turned to John and told him we were definitely going to miss our flight, but we decided there are much worse places to be stuck and basically said “Oh well”.

The rest of the story went something like this.

John: Babe, come out on the balcony.
Me: No! We don’t have time! Let’s get our stuff outside and be waiting for when the taxi arrives if we have any chance of making this flight!
John: Come on, let’s soak in the view one last time. The taxi’s not even here yet.
Me: Ugh… Ok.

So, I begrudgingly walked out onto the balcony and we soaked in the breathtaking views one last time.

John: This is so beautiful.
Me: I know. I can’t believe we have to leave!
John: I want to do this forever.
Me: …
John: Do you?
Me: Huh?

And then, slightly confused, I turned around to face him, and he was down on one knee saying sweet things I can barely remember but finishing with, “Will you marry me?”

In the same breath, I said “YES! But, we have to go now!” so he put the gorgeous ring on my finger and all of a sudden I had a fiance!

The above picture is from later because we were in such a rush to get to the airport that we didn’t take any engaged pictures in Antigua!

We ended up in the taxi a few minutes later and the local driver knew the roads like the back of his hand so he booked it to the airport, with John and me giddy in the backseat. Somehow, we made it to the airport with just over an hour until our flight took off, and made it through all the lines and to our gate with a few minutes to spare.

And while many people might think that was the exact wrong time for someone to propose, for us, it was perfect. The only person we told we were engaged was the customs agent when he asked us how our vacation was, and it felt really special to have our little secret for several hours on our trip home until we made it back to the states and could start calling our families and closest friends. John had been saying the trip was his favorite vacation of all time, and I have to say, with that ending to the trip, I can agree.

4 Ingredient Baked Onion Chicken

I’m currently making my way through the depths of my pantry, and one ingredient I have on my list is Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix. I stocked up on it earlier this year when it was on sale and have made french onion dip with greek yogurt a few times, and have also used it with beef in the slow cooker. Until last week though, it never occurred to me to use it with chicken, and now that boneless, skinless chicken breast is on the Zero Points list with Weight Watchers Freestyle, I was especially excited to experiment!

This Baked Onion Chicken recipe is super simple to put together, but has so much flavor it’s hard to believe how easy it is. The entire recipe uses just 4 ingredients (5 if you count salt & pepper!) and has just 10 SmartPoints.5

The hardest part is coating the chicken, and if you make sure to let the extra egg wash drip off the chicken before adding it to the dry mix, as well as use a different utensil in the dry mix (again, so it stays dry) than you use for the egg wash, you should be good to go.

As it’s baking, the coating crisps up nicely so there’s good texture on the outside, while the center stays juicy and delicious.

I cut the chicken into strips and found the amount of coating to be just enough, especially if you ignore the last strip.

But feel free to cut into different shapes (chunks, thin sliced chicken breasts, chicken tenders, etc.) and adjust the ratios as you see fit. In any case, this dish should go over well with the whole family, and may just become part of your regular rotation.

Enjoy!

Print Recipe
4 Ingredient Baked Onion Chicken
This is a super simple, delicious way to change up your typical chicken recipe and make a dish that's so flavorful on it's own you don't need any dipping sauce! Serve over a salad, with oven baked fries, or with rice and veggies for a full meal. For those following Weight Watchers Freestyle, the full recipe has just 10 SmartPoints, so feel free to divide into however many servings you desire. Enjoy!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Servings
servings
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Servings
servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Get your coating station ready. First crush onion soup mix in the packet as best you can, then add to a shallow bowl with the bread crumbs, stirring until well combined. Add salt and pepper if desired. Then beat the eggs with a fork in a separate shallow bowl.
  3. One by one, coat the chicken strips! Take a piece of chicken and dip it in the egg mix, then let the excess drip off before dropping it into the bowl with of dry coating. Use a separate spoon to coat chicken in the dry mix, and then place the coated chicken on a lined baking sheet. Repeat process until all chicken strips are coated.
  4. Once oven is preheated, put the chicken in to bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping half way through. The chicken should be cooked through with a crispy coating while still juicy when you bite into it!
Recipe Notes
  • Options for tweaking this recipe include cutting the chicken into different shapes and adjusting the ratio of chicken to mix and baking time as appropriate; as well as using panko or seasoned breadcrumbs, and if you use seasoned, just omit the salt & pepper.
  • For coating the chicken, a fork in the egg wash and a spoon with the dry mix works best for me, plus making sure to let the excess egg wash drip off the chicken before adding it to the dry mix.

Thoughts on Weigh In Day, Plus Weigh In Results

When I first joined Weight Watchers and meant it back in March 2009, I chose Thursdays as my weigh in day and it worked pretty well for me that time around. I found that the weekdays were much easier for me to stay on track, so weighing in on Thursdays gave me enough time to make progress during the week, plus I had a regular leader/meeting I pseudo-liked on that day.

The downside was that I \found myself in a cycle where after my weigh in, I’d overdo it big time because not only was the weigh in behind me, but it was the start to the weekend. An indulgent Thursday lunch and/or happy hour would morph into a full weekend off track, and then inevitably Sunday night would come around and I’d be in a bit of a panic from how much I’d eaten during the weekend. I’d plan out my week and be really “good” with being on track so that I made up for the damage done (and then some), but it made the process a bit more frustrating than it probably needed to be.

This time around, one of the things I’m doing differently is experimenting with having Monday or Tuesday as my weigh in day, and it seems to be working really well. I find that the weekdays are still easier for me to stay on track, even after weighing in, and by the time the end of the week and weekend roll around now, my next weigh in is just a few days away, so it helps keep me accountable. I originally was set on having Mondays as the day, but I do tend to be a little more lax with the plan over the weekend, and am leaning more towards Tuesdays as my regular weigh in day. Tuesdays give me a bit of a balance – one or two days fully on track post weekend before weighing in, but still early enough during the week where I won’t run into the issue with my weigh in day overlapping with the start of the weekend.

Weigh In Results

And now, for the weigh in results. I rejoined Weight Watchers on October 30, so it’s been just over 5 weeks following the SmartPoints plan (which is now WW Freestyle, and I’m slightly obsessed). I saw a big loss of 6.8 pounds with my first weigh in, with a small gain of .8 pounds at the next weigh in, meaning I went into vacation down 6 pounds from the start.

As I mentioned in my last weigh in post, I wanted to be mindful during my trip to Antigua, but also to enjoy myself and not be obsessive, and I did a really good job striking that balance. I was really active when we were there and snorkeled every single day for at least an hour, plus walked a ton. We also ate a lot of fish, cooked at the villa most of the time, and I didn’t drink that much which was not intentional, but I’m sure helped. I committed to myself that I’d weigh in the week I got back from my trip even if it wasn’t pretty, and I’m proud to say that I weighed in last Tuesday and was actually down 3.8 pounds (over the two weeks), bringing my total loss up to 9.8 pounds!

After the weigh in, I was super motivated to stay on track to pass the 10 pound threshold, and then came down with a really bad cold that I went to the doctor for on Thursday, and it turned out I had an ear, sinus, and upper respiratory infection and needed to go on strong antibiotics to kick it to the curb. That actually made the weekend super easy to stay on track since I wasn’t doing much except resting and eating soup, so when I went in for my weigh in yesterday, I was pretty excited to hit not just the 10 pound mark but also my first 5%, with a weekly loss of 2.6 pounds (!), bringing my total to 12.4 pounds down in just over 5 weeks on the program. (As an FYI, this is a higher rate of weight loss than I expect long-term, as WW recommends an average of .5 to 2 pounds per week.)

I was given a keychain plus 3 charms for hitting all those milestones, and I’ve gotta say, I’m pretty proud of myself for being so committed to my goal before the start of the New Year. It feels so good to have shed over 10 pounds and makes me feel really confident going into the holidays. These results are just what I needed to stay motivated to keep going and make more progress before 2018, with just 3 weigh-ins left for the rest of the year!

First Impressions: Weight Watchers Freestyle

Hey guys! Yesterday the new WW plan rolled out, Weight Watchers Freestyle, which is basically an extension of SmartPoints (SPs), with a few tweaks that I am pretty excited about. If you’re a WW member, everything will update on your weigh in day (and unfortunately they’ve freezed Weigh In Day changes this week while the new program rolls out, so you really do have to wait). Emily from Emily Bites wrote a great overview of the changes to the plan (and has had more time to digest, so her review is more thorough!), but I thought I’d share my take on the biggest program changes.

1.) Weight Watchers Freestyle adds a bunch of new zero point foods.

Previously, it was just fruits, veggies, and some random flavors (think salsa, vinegar, herbs, etc.) that made the cut of zero point foods. I remember when that change first came to be and we were all freaking out over bananas being zero points rather than 2 points. There were of course some doubters saying “How can they be zero points when they still have calories!?” and many of us came to realize it was never bananas that were making us fat in the first place. Now, in addition to all those “free” foods, they’ve added a bunch of lean protein options to the list, and here are the new additions I’m most excited about:

  • Eggs (including the yolk!!)
  • Beans (including black, refried, chickpeas, etc!!!)
  • Fish and Shellfish (including Sashimi!)
  • Tofu (any kind)
  • Nonfat Plain Yogurt (greek or regular)
  • Chicken Breast
  • Turkey
  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Edamame

For someone like me who struggles with rules, these new additions are a very welcome change to the program, because it gives flexibility with what you can eat when you’re out of points for the day. Before, I may have chowed down on a copious amount of fruit while still not feeling satisfied because there wasn’t any protein, but now I can have a legit satisfying meal with ZERO SPs. Some meals I’m super excited about creating zero point versions of:

  • Egg Muffins (these ones are zero if you omit the cheese!)
  • Turkey Chili (Ground turkey, onion, bell peppers, beans, Rotel, chili seasonings, plus corn and black beans if I feel like it!!!)
  • White Bean Chicken Chili (Ground chicken, white beans, garlic, onion, seasonings)
  • Curried Chicken Salad (using chicken breast, grapes, onions, greek yogurt and curry powder)

2.) The Daily Points have adjusted (gone down) to account for the new Zero SmartPoint foods.

Mine went from 31 to 23. Losing 8 SPs made me cringe for a bit at first, but when I reframed my thinking to see it as a way to eat exactly the same amount as long as I included at least 8 SPs from the “new” zero point list, it made me feel a lot better about it. For example, looking at A Day of Eats: What 31 SmartPoints Looks Like, there are 4 SPs from the eggs in the morning, 3 SPs from the lean ground turkey bolognese (1 for oil), and 2 SPs from the salmon for dinner would take away 9 SPs from the daily total (and I also will probably switch to nonfat greek yogurt over the 2% because it’s just too tempting, which would take away another 2 SPs for 11 less for the day). And, like I noted above, it’s now pretty easy to come up with a zero SP meal that’s satisfying if I do run out of SPs for the day, so overall I’m feeling good about this change, too.

3.) We can now rollover up to 4 SmartPoints a day into our weekly points.

This, I love. And, I think it makes sense given how many foods are on the zero point list. It used to be that you had to eat all your daily points… or else! And considering many of the foods that satisfy did cost SPs, it made sense that this was the case. Now, I think there’s an opportunity to make the plan work for us even more, which is especially awesome given the time of year. Planning is one of the key things that makes anyone successful on Weight Watchers (or in life, really), and being able to carry points over may make some of us plan our weeks out a bit more when we know events, celebrations, and/or challenges are coming up.

Today is my very first day on Weight Watchers Freestyle, so I’m still learning the program and will see how these changes on paper play out in real life as I go. Overall, I’ve been really loving the SmartPoints program, and have been having a lot of success with it, but these changes make me even more excited about the program.