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Happy Monday, Everyone! This is definitely a case of better late than never, as it’s 9:19pm as I type this. I spent today as Dean for the Day at school, which meant my entire day (schedule and workload) was turned upside down. It was an honor to be asked to do it, and I enjoyed the experience, but I also confirmed that I am meant to teach. I enjoy helping kids improve their knowledge and skills and I’m way too much of a control freak to leave my schedule as loose as the deans need to.

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If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

FMM: Fall Favorites

1. What is your favorite thing about this time of year? I love that the mornings are cool and crisp, the days are sunny, and the evenings are chilly enough for a quilt. I love the versatility of the clothes, too. I can wear capris and light sweaters and lots of layers.

2. What do you hope to do again before Summer is officially over? I agree with Kenlie – I’d like to get in some more swimming sessions. In fact, I think I’m going to do that for tomorrow’s workout. The weather has been quite warm lately, so it would be ideal.

3. When did you last go on a hay ride? I’ve never been on a hay ride. I don’t think it’s something we really do in the Bay Area, although I’m sure there are places that offer them.

4. What is your favorite pumpkin dish? My mom makes a Rachel Ray pasta, sausage, sage, and pumpkin dish that is A-mazing. We have it as a side on Thanksgiving.

5. Do you decorate your home for fall? Yes. First I decorate for Halloween throughout the month of October, and then as soon as November hits, I put out the fall wreath. Next year I want to get something to put up on my front door for Back to School; some sort of wreath with apples or something.  I love that the pumpkins can do double duty. Here are some of the decorations I use around the house:

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6. Do you have any hobbies that are seasonally specific? If so, what are they? I really want to get better at crocheting, and the cooler weather lends itself to practicing often. My goal is to make several baby blankets to donate.

7. Apple cider or hot chocolate? I’d prefer to have a Starbucks salted caramel mocha (only in moderation) or a nonfat pumpkin spice latte.

8. Are you a fan of football? If so, who is your team? I absolutely LOVE the San Francisco 49ers.

9. Share a fond Fall memory. I love going to the pumpkin patch in Half Moon Bay to select fun, interesting pumpkins.

10. It’s not Fall until…my friends back east start posting beautiful fall foliage photos on FB. (Like that alliteration?)

Now it’s your turn to share. Don’t forget to go back to Kenlie’s blog to link up in the comments!

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Autumn has arrived! Which means that life is back to normal – school’s in, my schedule is busy, and obligations abound. But I won’t use those as excuses to slack on my goals. The great thing about fall is that the weather is cooler and there are no holidays or other social commitments to derail me from strictly adhering to my food and workout plan.  I’m determined that fall 2012 will be when I achieve my pre-surgery weight loss goal.  Since weekday mornings are hectic, I’m moving my weigh-in day to Sunday.  Sundays are the day that I use to get ready for the week ahead by grocery shopping, prepping my food, planing my meals, and organizing my workouts.  Sunday mornings are relaxed, so it’s the perfect day to weigh in.  Plus, Sunday weigh-ins will keep me accountable through the weekend.  Throughout the fall, I’ll be giving Sunday progress updates called Fabulous Fall Weigh-Ins.

I can’t believe I’m one day late on this update.  The weekend was a blur of bike riding, meeting with friends, and catching up on household to-do’s.  I meant to write this post all day, but only now found the time.

The past week was decent on food and not so great with exercise, which is why I was pleasantly surprised on the scale on Sunday morning.

{Okay, Bella, that’s all good and well, but what we really want to know is how you did on the scale}. Right?!

Today I weighed in at 301.2, which means I lost 2.8 lbs this week. So, I have about 20 lbs to go to reach my pre-surgery goal. To be honest with you, I really have no idea how this loss came about.  Not only is it TOM right now, which usually makes me gain weight, but as I mentioned, my workouts were mediocre at best.  My food was fair, even good most days.  There were just a few evenings that plagued me with sweet cravings.

I’m taking this past week as a gift, but I’m not going to take it for granted.  I know that: 1) weeks like this where I get results without much effort are practically nonexistent and 2) if I was really on my game, I could lose even more than this in a week.  Which means that I’m going to make sure I do much better on both food and workouts this week.

Here’s the plan (because you know I have one):

Food – The normal meals are fine.  I’m good with the nutrition and the portions.  It’s just night time cravings that are killing me.  So I’m going to give myself a nighttime snack of either cinnamon sugar kettle corn (130 cals for 2 cups) or Greek yogurt with honey (as much as I love Chobani for their fruit flavors, I like Oikos better for the honey flavor).  I know the Greek yogurt is the better choice because of the protein, but sometimes you just need something crunchy, right?  Eating this extra snack puts me at about 1350 calories instead of 1200, but as long as I’m getting in a workout each day, I can still lose plenty of weight.  Plus, having the healthier sweet snack will be better in the long run because it will help me avoid binges/overeating.

Workouts – As much as I love walking Sofi (almost) daily, I know that that alone isn’t going to help me drop the pounds.  So it’s time to amp up the intensity.  Bike riding (outdoor or stationary), elliptical machine, Zumba, aqua aerobics, hula, swimming – those are the choices for true calorie burning.  I’m even committing to a “double day” on Wednesday (elliptical 5K right after school and then Zumba in the evening).  Today I had a faculty meeting and didn’t get home until 5:30, after I wrapped up what I needed to at school.  I was tired and a bit worn down, but I took Sofi for a good 30-minute walk and I did the Jill Coleman kickboxing OnDemand, which is a heart-pumping, intense 20 minutes.  I’m proud of myself for putting in a workout  on a day that could’ve easily become “a rest day.”  Tomorrow I’m planning on going to a 45-minute yoga class, but I’m still going to get in either the kickboxing or a BL DVD to make sure I make the calorie burn I want.

Accountability – I’ve set up accountability with two friends and a FB  group.  Scale Warfare and I are sending daily emails/texts, I’m texting/emailing another local friend my workouts after I complete them, and I joined a WLS FB group where I’m posting my workouts there, as well.  Having the check-ins (and people ready to give me a kick in the patoot if I don’t post) is going to be a key.

I’m feeling really confident about my results for next week!!

Until next Sunday, my friends. I hope the scale treats you well, and that you have a wonderful week!

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Autumn has arrived! Which means that life is back to normal – school’s in, my schedule is busy, and obligations abound. But I won’t use those as excuses to slack on my goals. The great thing about fall is that the weather is cooler and there are no holidays or other social commitments to derail me from strictly adhering to my food and workout plan.  I’m determined that fall 2012 will be when I achieve my pre-surgery weight loss goal.  Since weekday mornings are hectic, I’m moving my weigh-in day to Sunday.  Sundays are the day that I use to get ready for the week ahead by grocery shopping, prepping my food, planing my meals, and organizing my workouts.  Sunday mornings are relaxed, so it’s the perfect day to weigh in.  Plus, Sunday weigh-ins will keep me accountable through the weekend.  Throughout the fall, I’ll be giving Sunday progress updates called Fabulous Fall Weigh-Ins.

This week wasn’t one that I’d like to repeat in terms of weight loss.  There were some good things (I have been cooking up a storm), and some bad things (I didn’t workout at all during the week).  And then there was the status quo (I logged all my food each day).  Overall a very “meh” week.  Which, in the grand scheme of things is bound to happen, but when I have a surgery goal that I’m trying to meet, “meh” isn’t going to cut it.

{Okay, Bella, that’s all good and well, but what we really want to know is how you did on the scale}. Right?!

Today I weighed in at 304.0, which means I stayed the same this week. So, I have 23 lbs to go to reach my pre-surgery goal. It could have been a lot worse, especially considering that someone took over my brain on Friday night, but I’ll get to that in a second. The main reason for this stall is that I put no effort into working out M-Th.  I had a lot going on at work, and stayed hours after each day, but that can’t be an excuse.  Staying hours after school puts me at about the same time people with office jobs get home on a regular basis.  And they make time for workouts.  I let being exhausted become an excuse this week, which won’t fly.

I think exhaustion is part of what happened on Friday night, too.  I headed to the drive-thru window at Wendy’s.  What?!  All summer I never once had a slip like this, and then it happens on Friday night, after a really long walk with Sofi, mind you.  I was tired from the week, but proud that we’d gone on a long walk. I knew that I didn’t have anything quick at home to eat for dinner, and I didn’t feel like cooking a meal that would take 30+ minutes.  Instead of heading to Subway or to Safeway to get a Lean Cuisine or something (not great choices, but better than a drive-thru), I drove to Wendy’s, almost on autopilot.  Which is strange, since I wasn’t craving it or anything.  I logged it all, and was sickened by the calories.  It’s a good thing that I did get in a long walk with Sofi, otherwise there would have surely been a gain this morning.

I didn’t let this slip up turn me inside out, though.  Immediately on Saturday I got busy and headed to the 10am Zumba class I love.  It felt good to sweat and move and have an amazing workout done by 11am.  While we were waiting in line for the prior class to get out, a couple of the ladies recommended that I try the Thursday night UJam class.  I’d gone to a UJam class once before at a different club, and found it to be too much “street” dancing for my abilities, but they both said that this Thursday class was very accessible.  As much as Zumba, if not a bit easier to follow.  So, I’m giving that a try sometime soon (I’d go this week, but we have Back to School Night on Thursday).

The other cool thing on the workout front is that one of my colleagues sent an email early in the week to let us know that a yoga studio not 10 minutes from our campus was offering K-12 teachers free yoga throughout September.  They offer classes at 4pm and 4:30, which would be ideal for my later days at school.  I wouldn’t count yoga as a workout on it’s own (as I found out this summer), but it’s a good way to transition from work to home.  I’d like to go to classes at least twice a week.

I said last week that I didn’t want to put pressure on myself by making a strict schedule of workouts, but I think I’m the type of person that needs a bit of pressure.  Plus, I love making plans and sticking to a schedule.  Here’s what I’m thinking:

Sunday: walk w/ Sofi; housecleaning; OnDemand kickboxing
Monday: walk w/ Sofi; bike ride
Tuesday: walk w/ Sofi; UJam Fitness (this wasn’t the instructor they recommended, but I’ll give it a whirl)
Wednesday: walk w/ Sofi; Zumba
Thursday: Elliptical 5K; walk w/ Sofi
Friday: Heated Vinyasa; walk w/ Sofi
Saturday: Zumba; walk w/Sofi

If any of these workouts don’t happen, I will do an OnDemand workout in their place.  With my body, exercise is the key to weight loss.  No matter how tired I am, I have to remind myself of the surgery goal.

I’ve been doing really well with the food, and having fun trying lots of healthy new recipes.  My creative dinners were definitely one of the things I did this week that I’m really proud of.  More of the same this week.  I’m trying:

I’m using ZipList to organize and plan my menus, and I absolutely love it.  I think I may write a whole post about ZipList, because it’s amazing.

Until next Sunday, my friends. I hope the scale treats you well, and that you have a wonderful week!

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Autumn has arrived! Which means that life is back to normal – school’s in, my schedule is busy, and obligations abound. But I won’t use those as excuses to slack on my goals. The great thing about fall is that the weather is cooler and there are no holidays or other social commitments to derail me from strictly adhering to my food and workout plan.  I’m determined that fall 2012 will be when I achieve my pre-surgery weight loss goal.  Since weekday mornings are hectic, I’m moving my weigh-in day to Sunday.  Sundays are the day that I use to get ready for the week ahead by grocery shopping, prepping my food, planing my meals, and organizing my workouts.  Sunday mornings are relaxed, so it’s the perfect day to weigh in.  Plus, Sunday weigh-ins will keep me accountable through the weekend.  Throughout the fall, I’ll be giving Sunday progress updates called Fabulous Fall Weigh-Ins.

As you guys know, this was my first week of school, and I have to admit that even though I was prepared, and made my breakfasts and lunches ahead for each day of the week, I was worried about what this week would be like for me.  I was tired, worn out, and did I say TIRED because I was waking up at 5ish and going to bed around 11:30 (not enough sleep).  Plus, the first week back to school leaves everyone really tired as they adjust to the new daily routine.  From tip to toe I was sore – aching feet from standing for 6+ hours straight, sore throat from 6+ hours talking, and sore mind from, well, everything.  But despite all of that, I am proud to say that overall this week was a huge success.  I only got in a formal workout twice, which leaves lots of room for improvement.  What I did well was staying up and active until dinner time.  I may not have been on the elliptical at the gym, but from the time I came home until it was time to eat, I didn’t sit down once.  I walked Sofi, cleaned up my breakfast/lunch containers,did laundry, straightened the house, watered the garden, set out clothes for the next day, made tomorrow’s breakfast, and got the evening meal going.  Doing that really kept me from snacking unnecessarily and from getting super lazy.  Success!

{Okay, Bella, that’s all good and well, but what we really want to know is how you did on the scale}. Right?!

Today I weighed in at 304.0, which means I lost 3 pounds this week. So, I have 23 lbs to go to reach my pre-surgery goal.  I am thrilled that I lost 3 lbs this week, my first week without Phentermine in over 3 months.  Not only was it a huge transition week because of back to school , but I also had a bit of merriment in the form of: a Friday afternoonTGIF Happy Hour with colleagues (1 Blue Moon beer), a second TGIF with my sis Friday evening (2 glasses of Slo Down Wines SC, which is the best wine I’ve had in ages), and a dinner party (excellent cooking post to follow later tonight) with my parents and sister on Saturday (2 glasses of chardonnay, 1 flute of champagne). For someone who hasn’t imbibed in alcohol most of the summer (the last time was 4th of July), I had quite a few drinks this weekend).  This weight loss shows that I can keep it up with a busier schedule. 

One thing I attribute my success to besides staying on my toes (literally) most of the day, is that I have dramatically cut back on bread and butter.  Almost every day of the summer I’d have a slice of whole wheat toast with a bit of butter along with my green smoothie.  It was fine and moderate, but I do think all that butter (and wheat) added up.  Having the breakfast cookie everyday this week kept me full for hours, but also cut down on the animal fat in my diet.  Eating salads at lunch has been great for upping my veggie count and keeping my grains in check.  More of the same on the food front this week.

Looking at the week ahead in terms of exercise, I’m not going to allow myself to skip workouts just because I’m feeling tired.  This my life for the  next 10 months, and if I want to have the surgery before the year’s end, I need to keep on track.  I’d like to get a workout in daily, even if it’s a 20-minute OnDemand kickboxing routine (I did one last week that kicked my ass in a good way and that I need to repeat this week). I’m not going to pressure myself by saying I’m going to do these types of workouts on these exact days this week.  I would like to make it to the pool at least once or twice while it’s still open and the weather is still warm, but other than that, I’m going to allow myself to play the exact workout by ear.  Here are some possible choices:

  • swimming
  • bike riding
  • elliptical 5k
  • Aqua class
  • Zumba
  • extra long walk (3 miles) with Sofi
  • OnDemand kickboxing, general cardio, Bollywood, etc.
  • Biggest Loser DVDs
  • Wii Fit as a warmup (I haven’t used it in over a year).

The school year is already off to an amazing start, which has me excited about all that I can accomplish in my life outside of school.  I realize that my mood and attitude about what’s going on in my work life dramatically effects how I perform in the rest of my life, especially in terms of my weight loss.  So a successful and happy school year equals a successful time on the scale.

Until next Sunday, my friends. I hope the scale treats you well, and that you have a wonderful week!

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Since autumn officially began last Friday, I thought I’d make this post all about my nod at the new season.

Sunday: Getting ready to head to yoga. I love this top because it’s so fun, plus it’s really soft, lightweight, and comfy. Torrid has the best graphic tees! I just wish they were more affordable. The gray pants are more form-fitting than the ones I normally wear. The whole outfit was fairly form-fitting, and I felt comfortable in it.

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Wonder Woman Tee - Torrid; Gray yoga pants - Avenue; Flip flops - Target

Monday: I love this sweater because it means that I’m losing weight! When I first bought it late last summer (2010), it was very tight on me, especially around the stomach. Now it just glides over that area! The sweater is perfect because it’s really thin, so it can be layered as the weather gets cooler. It was nice that today was more of a true autumn day. Sorry for the poor lighting – My bedroom is really dark when I’m taking these shots in the morning.

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Cowl neck short-sleeved sweater - LB; cropped black pants - Avenue; Shoes - Clarks

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My new Clarks (UnMemoir).

Tuesday: And just like that, the weather around here turned hot (damn you, Indian summer!!).  I decided to wear this dress because it’s cute and cool.  I love polka dots because they’re just so classic.  I got a lot of compliments throughout the day, which was fun.

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Dress: LB; Shrug: LB; cami: LB; Shoes: Clark (Un)Notice

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necklace: LB; Ring: Etsy

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Side view, just to show my shape. Sorry for the poor lighting, these are taken before 7am.

Wednesday: It was even hotter on this day than the previous one, so I wanted to stay cool and  comfortable.  And I guess I was in the mood for another day of black & white.

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Top: Dress Barn; Palazzo Pants: Target; Shoes: Macy's

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I bought this bracelet in 1995 in Sorrento, Italy. I thought the filigree when nicely with the top.

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Just like last week, Thursday was college tshirt day and Friday was a casual school pride day.  I do have good news to report, though.  Both pairs of jeans that I wore each of those days fit me well.  The first pair was from Avenue, called Divine Denim, and they were much too small when I first bought them.  There were still rather snug on Thursday, but I could button them, and they looked good with the long tshirt I had on.  Once they’re a tiny bit looser, they will be really “divine” because they are so light and comfy.  Sometimes jeans can be too stiff or binding, but these feel almost like jeggings (although they’re not).  Today I wore my absolute favorite jeans, from Style & Co at Macy’s, and they fit great.  When I bought them the other week, they were fairly tight, but today there was plenty of “breathing room.”

Tonight the weather is turning quite windy and a bit chilly, and there is rain in the forecast in the coming days, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that we’re done with the hot weather.

Happy Fashion Friday!

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You’ll remember that a month ago I made Back to School Goals, and I thought this would be a good time to check in on those and to make some new Autumn Goals.

Here’s how I did on each of the Back to School Goals:

  1. Track every bite in LoseIt, whether I’m proud of the choice I made or not.  Being honest with myself and seeing the true picture of how many calories I’m taking in is the only way I can modify the rest of the day to make sure I meet my caloric goals.  About 60%.  Many weekdays I would track and then on the weekends I’d be more lax.  Right before I moved, I stopped tracking altogether, but in the past week or so I’ve been a bit more consistent with it, and this week, I’m on target since Sunday.
  2. Stay between 1200-1400 calories each day.  I’d love to be at 1200 every single day, but that’s not realistic sometimes.  I figure that if I can balance the higher-calorie days with increased exercise, I’ll be ok. 60% with this one – when I was on it, I was doing really well but when I wasn’t, I didn’t really pay attention to how many calories I was eating.
  3. Bring a healthy breakfast and lunch with me each day (see Tuesday morning’s post for more on my plan for this). 95%  Even when I was at my most hectic, I brought a good breakfast and lunch.  Sometimes it was purchased at Starbucks, but at least I remained consistent on this one.
  4. Drink 64 oz of water, minimum.  95% I’ve done really well with this because I’ve been working hard and it’s been hot.
  5. Go for a caloric deficit of at least 1000 each day.  Realistically, if I’m getting in a good workout, the caloric deficit will be around 1500. 50% I was working hard at packing,  and I took Lulu for her daily walks, but I didn’t do any formal workouts.
  6. Pack my workout clothes the night before and bring them with me, so I can go right after school, no excuses.* 0% Total fail with this one.
  7. Workout at least 3 days (M-F) and 1 day of the weekend.*  0% Total fail with this one.
  8. Wear the BodyBugg all day at least 1 day this week, so I can get an idea of how many calories I burn at school.  I should be wearing it every day, but my vanity gets in the way.  If it’s going to show with my outfit, I’m not going to wear it.  I usually dress up the first few weeks of school and having a BodyBugg hanging off my upper arm when I’m wearing a dress just isn’t the look I’m going for.  Oh how I wish that they made a BodyBugg that you only needed to wear on your wrist.  Once winter weather gets here, wearing the BodyBugg won’t be an issue, because sweaters and long-sleeved tops will cover it.  Did it once, but that was it.
  9. Wear the BodyBugg for every non-pool workout to get an accurate caloric burn reading. 0% Total fail with this one.
  10. Enter calories burned in various exercises/workouts into LoseIt each day. 25% I hardly ever entered the exercise in.
  11. Cook healthy dinners 6 nights a week.  I usually go over my parents’ house on Sundays, and my mom always makes well-balanced meals, so the key there will be portion-control. 75%  Up until about a week before the move, I did this really well.
  12. Blog often because the more I’m blogging the more on-track I feel. 50%  I tried to blog, but then things got busy.
  13. Understand that when I make excuses for any of the above items, I’m only shortchanging myself.  Do these things FOR ME because they’ll help me get to my goals quicker. I kept this in mind, but obviously didn’t take it enough to heart.

Overall, I think I was pretty miserable at these goals.  I didn’t really set myself up for success by trying to do them in the midst of getting ready for a major move.  Ah well, a lesson learned.

I do that to myself all the time – set lofty goals that are almost too challenging to reach.  It’s worked well in my professional life, but it has never worked for my weight loss efforts, for some reason.  Even with quitting smoking it worked – I never questioned the fact that this was it – I needed to quit and there was no other possibility but success.  And that worked.  Why can’t it work with weight loss? Why can’t my single-minded determination work with the one thing that I have struggled with for so long?  Understanding that would answer a lifetime of questions.

I love the fall season because everything is crisp and new.  The weather starts changing, the clothes get more fun, and the food gets heartier. It seems fitting to create new goals for this new season.  And this time I’m going to keep them simple and check in weekly on Tuesdays.

Autumn Goals

  1. Track every bite in LoseIt, whether I’m proud of the choice I made or not.  Track all exercise in LoseIt, as well.
  2. Stay within 1200-1400 calories on weekdays; 1600-1800 on weekends, if needed.
  3. Cook dinner for myself 5 nights a week, at least.
  4. Prepare breakfast and lunches the night before.
  5. Pack a bag of workout clothes and keep it in my car, so I can go to the gym right after school, no excuses.
  6. Take a class/workout at the gym 3 days a week.
  7. Walk Lulu every day, with 2 walks/day on the weekends.
  8. Supplement “gym days” with Wii workouts.
  9. Keep the fridge/pantry/freezer/snack drawer stocked with healthy choices.
  10. Drink at least 64oz of water a day!

Even though there are 10 goals, they really all boil down to this:

  • Eat Healthy
  • Exercise
  • Track It
  • Stay Organized

Or even more simply:

  • Show my love for myself through the choices I make each day.

I’ll check in next week with my progress on these goals.

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I have been waiting to make this recipe for about a month.  Waiting for the weather to cool down enough so that a nice, warm bowl of soup would be satisfying.  And finally the weather has turned to our normal autumn temps (mid 60s) and I knew it was time to make it.  Since I took an extra day off, I wanted to make at least 2 “big pot” dinners this weekend.  This was one of them.  (Not sure yet what the other will be).

My sister was the one who first told me about this soup, hence the name.  She found pre-cooked, steamed lentils at Trader Joe’s and said that this was one of the heartiest, flavorful soups that she’d made in a long time.  She said her kids even liked it, which is really saying something when we’re talking about lentils.  LC made hers very basic – just lentils, carrots, onions, and vegetable broth.  I knew I wanted to add the chicken sausage just to give it a bit more substance.  Then yesterday on the phone with my mom, she suggested that I add pasta, and when I told her I didn’t have any on hand, I thought about adding the brown rice.  So, this really is a family collaboration.

Ingredients:

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Trader Joe’s steamed lentils (about 2 cups of lentils)
1 pkg spicy Italian chicken sausage (4 links)
2-3 cups baby carrots, cut in half
1 cup brown rice
2 32-oz containers vegetable broth (I used low sodium)
1 onion, chopped
4-5 cloves minced garlic (or as much as you like)
1 TBSP olive oil
salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste

Nutrition info: When I pulled these ingredients into the WW Recipe Builder, it came out to 7 points for 6  large servings.

Directions:

Cook the brown rice according to package directions.  Mine took 30 minutes.  1 cup rice to 2 cups water.

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After rice is finished, chop the onion and begin sauteing it in 1 TBSP olive oil.  Add minced garlic, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes.

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While the onions are cooking, cut each baby carrot in half.  You can obviously cut them as small as you like, but since I don’t like my cooked carrots to be too mushy, I wanted them a bit larger.

download-3 Add carrots to pot.

Next I cut each pre-cooked chicken sausage link into 7 pieces.  I did this so that I’d know how much to include in each serving.  (About 4-5 pieces).

download-4 I like these sausages because they’re quick, and each one is only 3 points. In general, though, I like the taste of the Jenny-O Italian turkey sausage better.  These are what I had on hand and they’re also really convenient, because they’re already cooked.  I added them to the pot so that they could get some of the flavors of the veggies and garlic and brown up a bit.

Next, add the brown rice and vegetable broth.  Stir well.

Keep on high until the pot comes to a boil – about 10-15 minutes.

At that point, lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes.

download-6 This slightly tilted cover is the way my mom always simmers sugo (pasta sauce) and soups, so it’s the way I do it, too.  It allows a bit of air to escape, letting whatever is in the pot get a bit thicker.  Or something like that.  I do it because Mom does it, ok?  😉

The house smelled so good while this was simmering away on the stove. This is really one of the easiest soup recipes I’ve made, and I love that it has so much protein and fiber in it.  Although it does take some time, it is a great thing to make on the weekends and eat all week.  You can get a lot of other household chores done while the rice is cooking at the beginning and while the soup is simmering at the end.

download-7 Yum!  This bowl not only satisfied me for hours, it warmed me inside and out. I’ll definitely make this again and again throughout the fall and winter months.

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