Linguini with Mushroom Garlic Alfredo Sauce

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What’s this?! A recipe?!  Yep!!!  I actually tried something new that I really liked.  Could possibly even love it!  I’m not normally a cream sauce kind of gal but I grabbed a Smart Ones Chicken fettuccine Alfredo at the store for lunch the other day and was thinking to myself (because let’s be honest, it was barely edible, but it had 20 grams of protein and figured it would stay with me better than a lot of the other ones…) I can do way better at home so I decided to try making an alfredo sauce but lightened up.

I looked at a few recipes to get ideas and decided to try it with cream cheese for thickening.  I did add a little cream too but I’m leaving it out of the recipe because it wasn’t needed.  To me the cream cheese added more flavor and that’s one of the reasons I don’t like Alfredo sauce, it’s usually too bland for my palate.  So onto the recipe… Oh, and I used linguine because I prefer it over fettuccine but use whatever you’d like.

  • 1 lb linguine (or whatever type of pasta you prefer)
  • 1 8 oz brick low fat cream cheese
  • 1 cup 1% milk (you can try fat free but it doesn’t affect the points.  We just have 1% on hand as my mom is the milk drinker in my family, not me…)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup chopped italian (flat leaf) parsley
  • 4-6 cloves garlic minced (I put 6 in and it had a good garlic flavor so if you’re sensitive, use less)
  • 1/2 cup shredded romano or parmesan
  • 12 or so mushrooms sliced (I cut them in 1/2 then sliced also so the pieces were smaller)
  • 1-2 teaspoons olive oil or butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. When water boils, cook pasta until desired doneness.

Heat the butter in a good sized sauce pan on a relatively high heat to cook the mushrooms.  I like them a browned a bit to add flavor so I do usually cook them a little high and stir fairly often to keep from burning. Set mushrooms aside.

Add garlic to cook for a couple of seconds stirring frequently in a little cooking spray if the pan is too dry, add milk, cream, and cream cheese.  Cook until cream cheese dissolves and sauce is heated through.  Add romano cheese and stir until melted.  If the sauce is too thick, add a little water.  Salt and pepper to taste. Toss with cooked drained pasta.

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As you can see in the picture, I threw in some Aidell’s Chicken Meatballs but I didn’t add them to the recipe because I hated them!  I wanted protein but they weren’t worth wasting the points.  So ignore them.  I do recommend adding some sort of protein such as chicken or cooked sausage or having the pasta on the side with your meal since pasta doesn’t exactly stay with you but if you are looking for a nice indulgent tasting meal, this isn’t too bad for the points.  I will say you do get protein from the sauce (unlike with tomato based sauces unless you put a lot of meat in them) but remember to factor in the points if you do.

Also pictured is my mom’s green beans with shallots and garlic which is probably my favorite all time vegetable so I’ll post a recipe for that soon.  It’s a quick one but I need to figure out the points and measurements for it before sharing.

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Weight Watchers- Winning Weight-Loss Actions

I’m sitting here watching my Giants in Game 1 of the World Series and realized I haven’t posted in a while  I had this written out and almost finished so I might as well get it out while I’m watching.  Go Giants!

This week’s meeting topic is about making an Action Plan for your Weight Loss and it’s funny because I just got on an action planning committee at work and I just realized that coincidence now.  We didn’t really talk about them being actions at the meeting so it didn’t hit me. Anyway, we had a task at the meeting that took us out of our comfort zones.  Our leader gave us each a Weight Watcher product (weights, a food scale, serving spoons, a journal, etc.) and I got one of the 3 lb hand weights.  We had to go up to someone and start talking about the object we had and what we would do with it.  There’s not much I can say for hand weights but we did talk a bit about the serving spoon my partner had.  They are sold at Weight Watchers meetings and very discreet.  You use them as serving spoons but they have measurements to them and they are chrome but that’s not the point of the meeting!

I swear I’m bad at getting sidetracked! SO, the point was to get to know some of the people and I guess get an idea of their life and struggles with Weight Watchers and after that we started writing down different Action Plans.  The three parts were Do it (something I already do that I will keep doing), Stop It (Something I do that I need to stop doing), and Try It (something I want to do but haven’t yet). So I didn’t say what mine were at the meeting because I really didn’t know what mine were.  I needed some time to think about it.  I thought this blog would be as good a place as any to talk about it so here is my Action Plan.

  • Do It
    • Walk- I have been walking at least once a day, 5 days a week, at work with my good friend and we are working on getting it in twice a day (so morning break, and lunch or afternoon) and we’ve been building that up fairly well.  Now is perfect because the weather has been getting cooler so we aren’t dying when we get back to our desks.
  • Stop It
    • Emotional Eating- I can lump that in with a few other thing that all coincide with my depression (possibly getting another therapist or upgrading to a Psychiatrist) but the emotional eating is my biggest issue.  I over eat with every emotion I have and I am an emotional person!
  • Try It
    • Yoga/Meditation- I’ve been wanting to try it and I think it would be good for my mood swings and just getting in control of my feelings.

Okay, so that wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be.  And hey, I lost 2.4 lbs this week so yay for progress!  AND I made a quiche (with scratch crust) and cream cheese Alfredo sauce that was amazing (and I have the post almost ready to go for the recipe!) so losing 2 1/2 pounds AND eating pasta several times in the same week makes me happy!  Although now I’m burnt out on pasta… (which never happens but is probably a good thing!) So my goal (other than the action plan) for this week is to keep tracking everything down and plan my meals because that helps IMMENSELY with this journey!

Comment with an action plan you may have for this week!

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Weight Watchers – What’s In/What’s Out

Yesterday’s meeting went well. I am down 2.4 which lifted my spirits. In the meeting we basically talked about what we should add to and remove from our life. Being that I missed the last 2 months I kind of felt like this was a follow-up to an old meeting because they asked questions like, what did you try that was new that you liked and stuff like that and my mind went blank on a lot of it but it was still a good meeting.

Anyway, I got together with my aunt the other night and we swapped birthday gifts (our birthdays are a day apart in July) and I got her a nice blouse and some candy from See’s and she got me a Fitbit Flex.  I know I already had the Fitbit One but this one you wear on your wrist and it’s easier to track your sleep this way and you just wear it all the time. She got one as well so I helped her set it up and we’re friends on Fitbit now so we can encourage each other to move more.  It encourages you to walk more and take the stairs more because you have a daily goal and it’s fun to watch the numbers go up.

My goal for this week is to get a morning and lunch walk in at least 3 or 4 times this week.  I have to go to my Weight Watchers meeting during lunch so I won’t be able to make walk at lunch that day but we shall see how the week goes!

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Weight Watches Update

Guess what I did last Thursday? I went to Weight Watchers.  I missed NINE meetings!  That’s over 2 months.  I just needed to get back in gear.  I’ve been feeling like crap and I know now that I can stick with it but I need to learn how to deal with setbacks because that surgery really did me in.  Granted, I’m not going to have many other instances like that (God willing none at all) but life throws obstacles at you and I need to find another way of dealing with them other than eating.

The meeting topic was actually quite fitting.  It was about giving yourself a break.  Not beating yourself up when you have a gain or if you eat too much at one meal.  What I got out of it and what I do try to practice is not using negative words with regards to what I ate or how I did one week.  I practice not saying things like, “I’ve been bad,” and being more positive with myself.  We’re (mainly women) taught this negative way of speaking about ourselves and it’s just toxic in my own humble opinion.  So instead of beating myself up about gaining 8.2 pounds, I’m just happy I didnt’ gain everything back, and I’m glad to be back to meetings. See? Positive thinking!!!

As far as general life is concerned, I am quite proud of myself at the moment.  These little blips don’t happen very often but I actually cleaned a lot of crap out of my closet.  Is it perfect? God no! But it’s WAY improved.  I have several boxes (small but still…) of stuff for next year’s garage sale too! Yay! Nothing like motivation of having company over for the weekend to get you into gear!

My life has been a whirl wind of just stuff both emotionally and physically and I’m hoping that by decluttering a bit of my physical life, it will help mentally as well… I heard that helps anyway. I know that when my home is cluttered, my head, and just life in general seem to be as well.  I also have a hard time concentrating.  It’s very frustrating.  And when my home (especially my bedroom) is decluttered, it feels somewhat freeing.  Like, there’s all this space now!

Speaking of what I said above, my cousin came over this weekend and my brother and sister-in-law came for dinner Saturday night so she finally met one of the cousins.  It was a lot of fun!  We went to the Sacramento Zoo on Sunday which was nice and saw a movie after that.  Monday, we brought her home instead of meeting her mom 1/2 way so we could see the rest of the family and it was nice to hang out with them for a bit.  We saw them 3 of the weeks in August so we had a good time catching up. 

Also, I just looked at the blog itself and realized I failed to mention that Nick and Gina got married in July!  It was a beautiful wedding and I’ll post some pictures a little later (but none of the bride until I get her okay.)

So that’s a little bit of what I have been up to.  I’m working on a page for the blog for my favorite Trader Joe’s products and hope to have that up soon.  But in the meantime, I should be having a post at least once a week with Weight Watcher updates again.

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31 Years Ago

July 18th was my 31st birthday.  I still can’t believe I’m supposed to be a responsible adult.  When did all of this happen? It’s weird.  Anyway, I took the day off to go to the Walt Disney Family Museum with my mom and two of my oldest and best friends in the whole world!  I haven’t seen them much over the years and I hope I can change that because we have a lot of history together.  Our mothers were best friends and I practically lived at their house during the Summer.  We took quite a few trips together too, especially to Lake Tahoe.  Lots and lots of history!

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Anyway, I specifically wanted to go to the museum because at the moment they have a special exhibit on Mary Blair.  I am a big fan of her work and I was really excited that they let you take pictures there now too (except where it says not to) and I will go into that whole day trip on my Disney blog and link to it when I have it posted.

As I said, it was so great to catch up with my friends and at the moment anyway we are keeping in touch so I’m really hoping that we won’t let another 10+ years go by without communicating.  They were the sisters I never had and we’ve all been through quite a bit together.

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Saturday, I continued my “birthday weekend” by attending the July meeting for my Disney group (another post on my Disney blog that will be up after the day trip to the museum) and I met up with my brother and soon to be sister-in-law (1 week away!) while the boys got haircuts then we went to our respective homes to rest for a minute, and met back up for dinner at Johnny Garlic’s which is owned by Guy Fieri.

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The food was really good and Nick even braved ordering “Hunter’s Special” (Hunter is Guy’s son) at the moment which was Alligator Jambalaya.  I had a bite of it and taste wise it wasn’t bad.  Pretty mild but a little chewy.  I wouldn’t order it personally but I’m glad I can now say I’ve tried gator! I had shrimp scampi which was a little bland compared to everyone else’s food but I’d go back for special occasions.

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The little guy is obsessed with taking selfless right now and he wanted to take one with me (after taking over 250 on his mother’s phone and I’m not even exaggerating!)

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After that, we went to the mall nearby quickly so the Little Bug could go on the carousel a couple of times.

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We had to go through Nordstrom to get back to our car and I needed red lipstick for my upcoming and since I kind of like the way it looks on me (even though I’m still kind of self-conscious with it on, but if I wear it to special occasions it will hopefully help me with that.) What do you think?

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Then went over to Farrel’s for ice cream and I made the mistake of telling them it was my birthday!  They go ALL out there! I was mortified! Gina insisted on taking a video and they made me make bird noises.  That’s nothing compared to a friend of mine that had to hip-hop dance! At least I got a free sundae out of the deal!

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The two lovebirds!

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My mom got Little Nick a styrofoam hat that the waiters wear.

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Sunday, I slept my butt in and got some errands done for the week, and went to the Crocker Art Museum for “Pay What You Wish Day” which is every 3rd Sunday.  They had a special quilt exhibit which was sort of cool to see how detailed they were.  Most were from the 1850s and all hand stitched so you can imagine how long they took to make.

This is the old original part of the Crocker Art Museum.

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And this is the new… Don’t ask me why it’s such an opposite style of architecture…

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That about wraps up my birthday weekend.  I had a lot of fun and I hope this year will be a good one…  I also am going to make more of an effort than I have been lately with posting here.  I am making a plan for at least once or twice a week to get something out so keep checking back!

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Seriously?!

It’s been three months??? THREE MONTHS?!  (Well, two and 1/2…) I can’t believe it’s been that long.  I won’t make excuses.  I apologize for the lengthy hiatus.  And now lets move on…

So, allergy season is pretty much over and got out of it pretty much unscathed.  The only problem now is that I’ve had pain in my neck I’m sure due to stress and with my paranoid self, I’m freaking out over it.  It’s gotten better but at first I thought it was all in my head but I’m not quite so sure.  It’s definitely better but it’s lasted about three weeks or so now and it’s almost literally driving me crazy. I’ve been taking Ibuprofen and trying a free 10 minute meditation app.  Do they help? A little bit I suppose.  I’m feeling better than I was before starting both.  Anyway, apparently my mom had the same issue and the doctor told her about a pain management class or something like that that might be covered at least by her health insurance so I’m going to send a message to my doctor and see if I can get something like that or something else that can help with the pain in my neck.

Anyway, live has been a blur I guess.  I can’t even think of a whole lot that’s been going on.  I stopped with the training for jogging because I keep getting pain in my legs so I wanted to take a step back, get through allergy season then start back up on a trail instead of on the treadmill.  I even went to Fleetfeet where they fit me for shoes and it hasn’t fully helped.  So, when I talk with my doctor I’m adding that on the list to see if she has some suggestions for me.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to see Maleficent with my Disney group and we had a lot of fun.  I won a pin and I’m working on a post about that over on my Disney blog. This weekend, we’re having the Lunch Buddies event and I am making a Captain America shield themed box for the person I got.

I’ve been getting together quite a bit with my aunt over the last few months as well.  I helped her get a new TV and Bluray Player and set both up on 3 different occasions (the middle one I forgot the cord to hook up the Bluray player…) and I set her up on Facebook.  It’s been good getting to visit with her more than I have been.  I made a promise to myself to not back out of things like Disney meeting events, going out with friends, seeing my aunt, etc. and it’s been quite beneficial for me.

My brother and his fiancé are getting married on July 30th in a small wedding and I’m helping out a bit with decorations so that’s something I’m looking forward to.

I officially cancelled cable and internet with AT&T and signed up with Comcast with basic cable and high speed internet and the plan happens to come with HBO.  My mom wasn’t crazy about it at first but we’re living with it.  I set up Netflix and signed up with Hulu+ so I can watch both on my TV, and we got my mom a Bluray player for her birthday and got her bedroom TV from storage and set that up in her bedroom so she had something to watch in there too.  She hasn’t gotten used to Netflix or Hulu+ yet but we’re working on it.

I’m still at Weight Watchers kind of doing the same but getting better with the eating.  I’m not quite back yet but I’m hoping I lost weight when I weigh in tomorrow.

I think that’s about it.  I have a couple of recipes I wanted to share so I’ll start working on those soon and get back into posting on a regular basis.  Sorry for the long break!

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Weight Watchers

My meeting went well last Thursday.  I’m down another pound. I’m glad I’m going in the right direction again.  I just need to keep at it.

So, something you probably don’t know about me is that I have physically loathed any form or running or jogging my whole life… I’m talking with a passion.  I HATED PE and they forced you to run in PE and on the days you did sports I sucked at that too… I’m very coordinatingly challenged.  It’s pretty sad.  Anyway, the shocker part is the last couple of weeks I have toyed with trying a Couch to 5K program… Not their official one, I have an app that I want to review once I’ve learned all of its features, and I can start with that since it’s similar enough, and you can modify it to what you can handle.

Trust me, that statement above I would NEVER believe I would feel not even a month ago… I would sooner have thought that my future self would learn to love tomatoes, or change my political views… It’s quite a shocker for me.  What motivated me to try is some of the people in my Disney club.  These people have done several of the 1/2 marathons at Disneyland as well as different runs around Sacramento.  It has motivated me enough that if I can stick with it, I’d like to do a Disney marathon with them.  It looks like a blast and you get a medal after.  It’ll take me some time to get there and for now I’m just starting from the very first step so I’m curious to see if I decide to say screw it after the first minute.

I’m not going to force myself to jog if I really don’t enjoy it.  I love to walk and use the elliptical and other stuff and that’s fine with me.  It’s still exercise. I made my first attempt today after work but the app I have that’s sort of a fitness trainer was going pretty slow for what I believe was the jogging part and I felt stupid so I ended up switching to walking… I know I shouldn’t feel that way but self-confidence is an adjustment.  Anyway, I’m going to give it a try tomorrow.

I did have a bingy day after work so I need to get back on track.  I have two more days until my weigh in and I want to keep heading in the right direction. I need to have the right foods in my home I guess.  Or eat a handful of almonds and some fruit or vegetables after or something.  I need to find a way to keep from binge eating after my workouts… I hate this feeling.

Anyway, I’m going to keep at it.  I’ll go back tomorrow afterwork and give it another try and try to force myself to not think about what other people thing because honestly, I’m 99% sure most of them don’t even notice. I’ll let you know how it goes next time!

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