Sunday, March 30, 2014

Delicious Chicken Parmesan Casserole

One of my favourite meals is chicken parmesan.  Of course, since starting my #weightlossjourney I haven't indulged in this high calorie meal...until last night.

Facebook is a wonderful thing and one of my "friends" posted this recipe earlier in the week.  We decided to try it last night and I think I may have died and gone to heaven.  Even the kids devoured it!  This recipe is definitely a winner and one that will make it into regular rotation in my menu planning :)

The recipe was originally posted on Emily Bites blog.  Here you'll find some amazing recipes that have been "lightened up".  She often includes the points plus values for us Weight Watchers trackers. I am reposting here; but be sure to check out emilybites.com for more great recipe ideas.


Chicken Parmesan Casserole

yield: 8 SERVINGS

INGREDIENTS:

2 lbs raw boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ t crushed red pepper flakes (or more to taste if you want it hot)
¼ cup fresh basil, finely chopped
2 cups marinara/pasta sauce (I used Wegmans Tomato Basil)
1 ½ cups 2% reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
2 oz Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (I used the smallest holed side of my box grater), divided
3.5 oz garlic croutons, roughly crushed, leaving some larger pieces (I used New York Texas Toast brand Garlic & Butter)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly mist a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Spread the cubed pieces of chicken across the bottom of the baking dish in a single layer. Sprinkle the minced garlic, red pepper flakes and basil evenly over the chicken. Spread the sauce evenly across the top. On top of the sauce layer, sprinkle ¾ cup of the Mozzarella and one ounce of the Parmesan evenly across the dish. Sprinkle the crushed croutons across the top and follow with the remaining cheese.
  3. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS PLUS:8 per serving (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)
NUTRITION INFORMATION:
303 calories, 15 g carbs, 11 g fat, 37 g protein, 1 g fiber (from myfitnesspal.com)
adapted from Food.com

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Better Me, Week 27

The streak continues.  27 consecutive weeks of losses!

I'm down another 1.3 lbs this week.  My total?  56.7 lbs lost.  I'm closing in on 60...I have it in my sights.

Today, Sharon and I went to our Weight Watchers meeting and it was fabulous as usual.  Our leader, Sue Smiley (possibly the BEST WW leader ever), asked us what inspired us to join WW and what keeps us motivated.  I shared that I joined to become healthy for me and to ensure that I'm around for my kids as they grow older.  I also shared that my kids are what keep me motivated especially when Pretty, who is not active at all, asked if she could learn to run with me!  That's a huge step for her and for me.  It gives me the strength to keep going but it also shows that she has noticed me taking pains to become healthy and wants to join me on my journey.  Talk about a proud mama moment.  I got a bit emotional and everyone was so supportive and sharing in my moment.  It was great; but, it got better.  Sharon shared how we joined together and I am what keeps her motivated.  Of course she made me cry. Sharon is my biggest cheerleader and supporter and I really couldn't do this without her.  Together we are on a path to healthier versions of ourselves and we challenge each other to keep moving forward.  It's moments like this, the shared stories at the WW meetings that make me love Weight Watchers.

My Saturday morning was topped off with a much needed pedicure.  Sharon and I bonded over cuticles and polish; and my toes & feet are now flip flop ready.  Bring on spring!

Thanks for stopping by and following my #weightlossjourney to a #betterme.  See you all next week!

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Better Me, Week 26

26 consecutive weeks of losses! 

Yep, I'm down another 2 lbs this week; making my total 55.4 lbs to date. 

I'm pretty sure 26 weeks of losses is not the norm.  I keep waiting for me to hit that plateau; but, so far it hasn't happened.  Don't get me wrong, I'm quite happy to keep losing.  It means I'm well on my way to the new and improved me.  I know it helps keep me motivated when I see those pounds dropping off.  But, I'm not na├»ve and I know I won't continue like this.  I will plateau at some point and I need to stay positive to overcome that hurdle when I get to it.

I had an overwhelming response to my 6-month progress report post, thank you for all the love and support.  The way I see it, the more people that know about my #weightlossjourney, the more accountable I am for how I move forward.  So feel free to share with your friends, family or anyone you think might feel inspired by my story. 

I also couldn't do this without the help of Weight Watchers.  I have learned, and continue to learn, how to shop, eat and prepare meals for myself and my family.  Through WW, I've learned that there is nothing I can't eat; but, I look at every food and decide if it's something I really, really, REALLY (thanks Sue Smiley) want before eating it.  I still indulge in a glass of wine or a slice of cake now and then; but, WW has taught me that I do have the willpower to say "no", or to have a smaller piece and savour it instead.

Thank you all for the continued support on my road to a #betterme.  I love you all, xo.

Friday, March 21, 2014

6-month Progress Report

Today marks the 6 month anniversary on my #weightlossjourney to a #betterme.  I'm so proud of how far I've come, even if I still have a long way to go.

Many of my friends have asked for this, so here it is...my before/current photo.  I'll be sure to post more when I hit my goal.  Hopefully, this will keep them happy for a little while :)

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Better Me, Week 25

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  I love being able to celebrate my Irish heritage.  I'm a proud 1/8 Irish-Canadian 365 days a year; but on St. Paddy's day, my blood runs a little greener.

I'm happy to post that I was down 1.6 lbs at this weeks weigh-in.  That makes 53.4 lbs total so far!

I've also put my 50 lb reward into action.  I told myself when I lost 50 lbs, I could get the tattoo I've been wanting for 17 years.  Last week, my sister-in-law and I had a consultation and we're both booked in for tattoos on April 5.  I've put my deposit down, it's non-refundable, and I'll be inked soon!  I can't wait.  I'm getting the Twingles' names on my left foot.  It's going to hurt something fierce; but no pain, no gain!

I've also continued with the C25K challenge.  I started Week 3 last night.  That one was rough.  Bumping my 1.5 minute runs to 2.5 minutes doesn't seem like a big jump; but when you're not used to it, it hurts!  I made it through by psyching myself up before every run.  "You got this, you can do it, it's only 2.5 minutes", that type of thing.  My plan is to do day two tomorrow after Guides, so I'll let you know if it gets any easier.

Hope you have a great week.  Thanks for reading about my #weightlossjourney to a #betterme.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Better Me, Week 24

Grand total = 51.8 lbs!

Week 2 of the C25K started last night.  It was a little tougher than week 1, which I expected.  So far, it's not as bad as I had feared.  My knees have been hurting though and I don't know if that's the weather, since I've always had knee issues in the damp and cold, or if it's the running part of the program.  I wouldn't think 8 minutes on a treadmill would be that hard on my knees; but who knows?

Any way...that's my week so far.

I know short and sweet this week.  Sorry.  I've got a ton of stuff to do.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Book 2, #50BookPledge

If you follow my blog, you'll know that the twins and I are all avid Harry Potter fans.  When I discovered the fan-fiction spin off series last year, I was skeptical and excited all at the same time.  I set out to read the first book, James Potter and the Hall of Elder's Crossing, not really knowing what to expect and hoping I wouldn't be disappointed; I wasn't.  You can actually read my thoughts on the third book, James Potter and the Vault of Destinies, here

It shouldn't come as a surprise then that my second read of the 2014 #50BookPledge is the fourth book in the spin-off series; James Potter and the Morrigan Web.  In the fourth installment of the series, James is a little bit older and just as determined to save the Wizarding world.  I wasn't sure where Mr. Lippert would pick up after book 3 and was pleased to see he picked up right where he left off.  It had been some time since I read James Potter and the Vault of Destinies so it was nice to slide right back into the story and remember what had happened in the past books.

James and his family; and his closest friend Ralph, return to Hogwarts with a mixture of excitement and trepidation.  The previous year had been a challenge and they weren't quite sure what to expect upon their return.  Like Rowling, Lippert continues a series of themes throughout the series; building on the story.  With each page turned, I was sucked deeper into that story.  I wanted to keep reading.  I needed to know how it was all going to play out as James and his friends tried to cope with the new world after the night of the Unveiling. 

Serious and suspenseful with the right amount of that British humor we came to love in the Harry Potter books, Lippert does a wonderful job at keeping the reader engrossed.  I especially loved reading about some of my favourite Harry Potter characters who had more detailed roles in this book. 

There is a message at the end of this book where the author talks about the series and whether it will continue.  I sincerely hope it does as I feel like the story hasn't been completed yet.  There are more loose ends that need to be wrapped up and more stories to share. 

In the meanwhile, I would strongly recommend the James Potter series to anyone who loved the Harry Potter books.


A Better Me, Week 23





50 lbs!!!

Yep, that's right.  I'm officially down 50 lbs as of Saturday's weigh-in.  I lost exactly .5 lbs to make the milestone.  While 50 lbs is huge, I still have a long way to go.  I'm still taking it one pound at a time and this week I even started the C25K program.  So far I've done 2 workouts for week 1.  It's not as bad as I feared; but, it's not easy either.  I never thought I'd be a runner.  Not in a million years.  But if I can stick with this program, and I intend to, I'll be able to run 5km by the end of the 8 weeks.  Thinking about how the program is going to help me tone and shape my legs & butt and improve my cardio has me giddy.  Me!  Giddy about exercise!  Wonders never cease!  Tonight is run #3, or the final workout for week 1.  I'm dreading it; but, looking forward to it at the same time.  Is that weird?  Stay tuned for the results from this week's weigh-in.  Thanks for stopping by to catch up on my #weightlossjourney to a #betterme.

Have a great week. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Spring is Coming!



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