Weight Watchers Recap, Week 1

Hey everybody! Tomorrow is my first weigh-in on Weight Watchers… and I’m here to report back on the week, so that tomorrow I can’t get a number and scratch my head in surprise. I have NO CLUE how it’s going to go. Here’s why: I tracked EVERYTHING I ate, from the handfuls of different marinated olives from Whole Foods to the five licks of orange cake batter to the Salami sandwich my boss brought me for lunch. (My boss just showed up today with a sandwich for my officemate and I – no rhyme or reason- isn’t that nice?! Matt also brought me home a beautiful mum plant last night after a rough day. I <3 thoughtful people.)

Salami, Mortadella and Capacolo Sandwich

So I tracked all week. That’s great, right? Weight Watchers is all about tracking. The reason why I don’t know this is going to go was that on Saturday I was at a memorial party for Matt’s grandfather, and I ate a 5-course Italian lunch – complete with chicken parmesan, antipasti, wine, bread and rigatoni. I tracked it all, but I’m worried that with restaurant tracking, you never know how accurate you’re really tracking. I earned several activity points throughout the week from exercise, but I used all of those and my weekly “flex” points (kind of like extra credit, for those not familiar with WW).

Orange Zest cake, made with greek yogurt!

Regardless of what the scale shows, I have a few “key learnings”, as we like to say in Marketing land.

1) Eating a small, low-point breakfast like greek yogurt and a piece of fruit is perfect to get me through to lunch and doesn’t destroy my points.

2) Eatings lots of fruit keeps me full and satisfied, and if it’s something super yummy like pineapple, it feels like a treat. (FRUIT is ZERO points!)

3) Keeping check on my emotions is worth more than any diet pill could ever be. I had a stressful day yesterday, and my first impulse was to eat. And not eat daintily – I wanted to stuff my piehole full of carbs and go all Cookie Monster. But I took a few deep breaths, drank some water, and moved on. Moved on to life without Ben and Jerry. And I was fine, and now I feel good about moving past that urge.

So – even if tomorrow isn’t very impressive, or worse, slightly disappointing, it was a thoughtful, conscientious week for me in terms of eating, tracking and Weight Watchers. This week is all about focusing on the positive – an activity that I like to do on a daily basis!

How was your week in terms of eating healthy?

The Big Pick

Remember how a bunch of volunteers came and harvested our orange trees a few months ago? Well, today we gave back to our community and this time, we were the harvesters! Food Forward LA was hosting their annual “Big Pick” at my university, CSUN, and today alongside 298 other volunteers, Matt and I helped harvest close to 15,000 pounds of oranges that were donated to Southern California Food Banks.

A regular old pair of Fruit Loops

Here’s a few thoughts about today’s act of volunteerism:

1) Orange Picking is hard work. I have a new appreciation for the people that pick my food. After an hour of arching my arms and neck up towards the sky and pulling on the flexi-rake thing to try and pluck down oranges, I was tired, and feeling lazy. Thankfully, some free coffee and swell tunes put the swing back in my step in no time.

Gettin' Busy

2) Hard work is always, always worth it when there’s a reward at the end (there usually is). Today the reward was knowing that four simple hours of our lives resulted in the full tummies of families across Los Angeles.

A SMALL section of the Bounty!

3) The smell of citrus, tangy and sweet, is one of the best on earth. It’s impossible not to breathe in deep as the crisp, aromatic smell of orange juice wafts by you.

Thumbs up for the sweet citrus smell!

4) Stepping on rotten oranges is fun. ‘Nuff said. They pop like a water balloon under your shoe – and hey, they’ll compost faster if they’re broken down. Step on it!

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's... Matt in a tree!

5) Matt has astounding climbing abilities. He scurried up the trees like a monkey and filled his orchard bag in record time, as I jealously looked on from the floor.

REACH!

6) If you’re harvesting tree fruit, you just might get hit on the head. As I pulled down an orange, another fell next to it and landed right on my noggin. THUD. I’m going to consider it good luck.

If you’re in the LA area, you really should consider volunteering a few hours of your time to Food Forward. Sunshine, oranges and helping people – what’s not to love? Till ‘next time – get your vitamin C – and have an orangetastic day!

 

 

 

Oranges + volunteers = Fruitanthropy

Cute and Colorful Food Forward Van

On Saturday morning, thanks to the help of some volunteers and a great nonprofit called Food Forward, we experienced for the first time, the act of fruitanthropy.¬†Fruitanthrophy is the picking, donating or distributing of fruit for humanitarian purposes. The house that Matt and I rent is graced with two huge, beautiful orange trees that have probably been growing there since the early 1950’s when the house was built. I love the springtime smell of orange blossoms heavily perfuming the air, and the cool, thick shade that their lush green foliage provides, but in our small 2 person family, sadly, most of the actual oranges go to waste.

Food Forward is a non-profit that picks unneeded fruit from people’s trees all over Southern California and donates them to local food banks. With our two massive trees, there’s no way Matt and I could even eat 1/10 of what the trees produce. They came out Saturday morning with their van and ladders, fruit picking tools (I have no idea what those are called!) and lots of empty boxes to collect our backyard bounty.

Helpful Volunteers go to work

It was so much fun watching the people ascend up into the trees and come back with a basket full of oranges. The harvest took about an hour, and talk about an easy way to give back to our community – those oranges were definitely not being used to their full potential, and now, the fruit of our trees can feed lots of hungry people.

Box 'em up!

 

At the end of the pick on Saturday, the team had harvested over 350 pounds of oranges! They separated the oranges from the stems and leaves and boxed them up for their journey to the food banks.¬†350 pounds goes a long way towards feeding hungry members of a community. Even though I wasn’t out there pulling the oranges from the trees, it felt so good to know that we were helping out, especially since food is such a near and dear part of my life.

Over 350 pounds of oranges!

If you have fruit trees in your yard that you aren’t “using”, I encourage you to research some organizations near your house that could help you harvest your fruit. Your trees will be healthy and happy, you’ll help feed hungry families, and you’ll help out a community in times of need. It’s a win win situation! To find out more about Food Forward and how you can help, visit their website at foodforward.org.

Thanks, Volunteers! (Can you spot a Matthew in there?)

Bye, Oranges! Go Forth and Nourish!

Independence Day Treats

Revolutionary Berries

I’ve got a little bit of Martha in me, because when I see cute food, I swoon, and immediately try to think of a reason why I need to make it. Such was the case for these darling Revolutionary Berries my friend Hilda found. My gracious friend Julie was having a 3rd of July party, so I thought they’d be perfect for a patriotic snack.

Party-goers enjoy berries. (Pic credit: Virginia)

They’re super simple and are made with only three ingredients – white chocolate chips, strawberries and blue decorating sugar. They were kind of a pain in the butt to dip in the melted white chocolate, but the result was super cute and happily, the berries were gone in SECONDS -the best compliment you can get as a chef.

Citrus Squishies

The other thing I just HAD to make after seeing them in Food Network Mag (sorry – no link, but “Not Martha” has something similar here.) were “Fake Fruit”. I have two massive orange trees in my backyard, so a reason to actually use the fruit on my tree was a good incentive for me to make these – and they looked like fab party food.

Some of the things you need

 

 

You need these things: Lemons, Oranges, Orange Jello, Lemon Jello, a sharp knife, a muffin tin, and a cutting board.

First, you slice your fruit in half and remove the pulp. I used a sharp knife to loosen the pulp and then a spoon to scoop it out.

Those aren't muffins!

Then you place the empty halves into a muffin tin to balance them. Prepare the jello according to the directions on the back of the box, and use a small measuring cup to fill the rinds up to the top. It’s ok if a little bit spills out because the jello will shrink as it sets. Carefully transfer to the fridge and then refrigerate until firm (let them set longer than recommended – they’re hard to cut). Place wiggly side down and use a very sharp knife to cut them into wedges.

So cool!

 

Next time, I’ll blot the rinds dry so that the jello sticks a little bit better, but I think for the first time making them, they came out great. Also next time? I’ll add limoncello and orange pucker. Mmmm. Boozy fake fruit – can’t get much better than that.

 

Scroll down to see some more pictures. I had a wonderful fourth of July – I hope you did too!

 

Matt and I enjoyed a lime shaved ice!

Yummy! Virginia tries out an orange slice!

Me and my Grad School Girlies - Hostess Julie and Virginia

Happy 4th of July!