Thursday, March 23, 2017

Taco Wednesday

In a recent post, I shared a few thoughts about change. With the vernal equinox mere days past, signs of spring -- including new families of whitetail deer -- serve as reminders of the natural constancy of change.

The seasons and Mother Nature aside though, change is something I think many of us struggle with on a number of levels. For example, as a [relatively]new Weight Watchers leader, I'm often challenged to find fresh ways to present core concepts like mindfulness, activity/fitness, asking for help, etc. By thinking that I need to come up with an entirely new and unique approach to a topic, I allow myself to get overwhelmed by the challenge, forgetting something I sometimes share with fellow Weight Watchers members...... How to eat an elephant.

It's easy to get overwhelmed when you dwell on the end goal versus the journey. Focusing on each step (or 'bite') not only breaks down the [seemingly]insurmountable into the achievable, it forces us to live in the moment, allowing us to savor -- and learn from -- our experiences. Letting go of all-or-nothing thoughts like "How am I going to put a fresh spin on activity/fitness" and, instead, remembering the whitetail deer encountered on a recent Spring walk, can bring to bear new perspectives that enable surprising results.

Recipes can also benefit from small changes or tweaks. For example, I recently made my first taco salad (believe it or not), a dish I've always avoided because "it's unhealthy". Breaking a recipe down to its foundations though, allows you to apply what you've learned from past cooking experiences... Like using ground turkey instead of ground beef, baking your own tortilla chips, or leveraging reduced-fat (or calorie-free) ingredients.

I hope you enjoy the results of such little changes as much as I did!



Baked Chips & Salsa

  • 4 small corn tortillas
  • Olive oil spray
  • Sea salt
  • Salsa, fat-free
Taco Salad
  • 1 lb. ground turkey (93% lean)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 8 oz. bag of shredded lettuce
  • 1 14.5 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 c. Grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/4 c. Reduced-fat Mexican-style cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 c. Calorie-free chipotle ranch dressing

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a cookie sheet with olive oil. Cut tortillas into sixths using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter. Arrange cut tortilla pieces on the prepared cookie sheet, spray with olive oil and sprinkle sea salt on both sides, and bake for 10 minutes or until crisp.

Cook taco filling per seasoning packet, setting aside/freezing half (i.e. (2) 3 oz., cooked portions) for future salads. Separate shredded lettuce onto two plates. Distribute the rest of the ingredients onto each plate, crumbling six of the baked tortilla chips on top of each salad and serving the additional chips on the side, with salsa.

Serves 2, 12 Weight Watchers SmartPoints per serving.

A note to social media users: Here is a sample tweet you can use to share this recipe: 
  • Avoiding Taco Tuesday? Enjoy a @WeightWatchers-friendly Taco Wednesday instead: #tacosalad #RecipeOfTheDay #recipe #foodblog
Additional acknowledgements: Portions of the above recipe were adapted from Slender Kitchen's Baked Tortilla Chips recipe

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Thursday, March 09, 2017


For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven...” - Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, RSV

I walked by a budding pussy willow tree the other day. The snow and ice have melted, song birds are singing in the [still baren]trees, and the boisterous calls of Sandhill Cranes are wafting on the blustery winds. Hints of Spring... harbingers of change.

Change can be thought of in many ways... As disruptive and dangerous, healing and hopeful, frightening and fractious. The results of change are seldom predictable, inspiring uncertainty in some, trepidation in others. Change is seldom entirely new or alien, though. An evolution of what was, a rebirth into what is, a rebalancing of life... Not necessarily for good or bad, but because life is dynamic and ever changing. To quote from the Tao by Lao Tzu:

As it acts in the world, the Tao is like the bending of a bow.
The top is bent downward; the bottom is bent up.
It adjusts excess and deficiency so that there is perfect balance.
It takes from what is too much and gives to what isn't enough.

While I embrace such ideas, I find myself constantly challenged to bend without breaking... to find and recognize the good and the positive in life... to save and cherish such finds so that they can be used as needed to balance out the bad and the negative. Sometimes, when the winds of change are blowing especially hard and life seems particularly overwhelming, the thought of breaking can seem almost comforting.

And then the boisterous calls of the Sandhill Cranes return to the blustery winds, reminding me that, for everything, there is a season... A thought that partially inspired the following recipe; a balancing of my favorite season, Autumn, with my current season, that of a Weight Watchers member (and Leader) continually in search of yummy food. Enjoy!


  • 3 honeycrisp apples, medium, diced
  • Butter-flavored spray
  • 2 tbsp. uncooked oatmeal
  • 2 tsp. unpacked brown sugar
  • 4 tsp. Splenda
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 individual containers of Fit & Active non-fat vanilla yogurt

Preheat oven to 425F.

Combine all ingredients except the yogurt in a mixing bowl. Separate the combined ingredients into two oven-safe ramekins. Cover ramekins in foil and bake ~30 to 40 minutes, until the apples are nicely baked and a little caramelized. Serve with chilled non-fat vanilla yogurt.

Serves 2, 5 Weight Watchers SmartPoints per serving (Note: Substituting a 2 SmartPoint vanilla yogurt will reduce the SmartPoints to 3 per serving).

A note to social media users: Here is a sample tweet you can use to share this recipe: 
  • Missing #Autumn? Try this @WeightWatchers-friendly #breakfast: #RecipeOfTheDay #recipe #foodblog #apples @AldiUSA
Additional acknowledgements: Portions of the above recipe were adapted from ”Mom's Apple Crisp” recipe on

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