Sunday, January 30, 2011

Meal Planner Monday: Turkey Sausage with Peppers Marinara Sauce

I found these the other day at Giant Eagle. These are all natural (no nitrites or preservatives or artificial ingredients). I cooked the sausage then mixed a jar of mom's peppers marinara (recipe to follow) with a jar of spaghetti sauce and served over spaghetti.
I estimated the nutritional information for the peppers marinara sauce as follows (1 serving = 1/4 pint jar)...
Calories 127
Total Fat 8 grams
Saturated Fat 0.6 grams
Monounsaturated Fat 4.6 grams
Fiber 2 grams
Protein 1.4 grams
The nutritional information for the spaghetti sauce, turkey sausage and pasta will be on the package. But, for 1 turkey sausage link, 1/4 of the peppers marinara, a serving of spaghetti sauce, and a serving of Ronzoni Smart Taste pasta, it was 10 WW points. (I added some more green peppers and onions sliced just because I had them to add some extra veggie nutrients). The recipe made this way would make 5 servings and cost between $6 and $8 depending on how much you pay for the sauce and pasta. I often get the Ronzoni Smart Taste for less than $1 with a coupon.
Peppers Marinara (makes about 7-8 pint jars)
Bring to a boil:
1 cup vegetable oil
2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste
2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp salt
5-6 garlic cloves
2 cups tomato sauce
Add and simmer a couple hours:
1 onion
1 peck hot, sweet, mild peppers
2 green peppers
Pour steaming hot into sterilized pint size canning jars, seal with canning lids.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Movie: The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry

We watched this movie at our Family Fun Night last Sunday at church. It is a great inspirational Christian movie for anyone school age or older. It really presents the gospel message and I believe it is based on a true story. I would definitely recommend it... Click here to watch the movie trailer

Frugal Friday: Free Wendy's Fries (no purchase necessary)

Ok, so, I hesitated on posting this...just promise me, fellow Biggest Losers, that you will save this coupon for your "cheat day"...maybe even share them with someone else...and don't go overboard :)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Weight Loss Resources

I thought I would post these resources that I found online for all of my fellow competitors in the Biggest Loser Competition and anyone else interested in losing weight...
The target points (Weight Watchers Plan) for your food consumption for the day are calculated based on age and other other factors. This site will help you calculate your target points for the day. From there you track all of your points for the day - everything you consume has a point value (except most vegetables are "0" points).
The point value of each food/drink item is calculated by looking at the total # of calories, # of grams of fiber, and # of grams of total fat. The formula looks complicated at first but it's not so hard once you start using it often. This website gives the formula to calculate the point value of a food or drink. I have a slide rule (these are available on ebay) which does this part for me, so it's quite easy. I find this easier than calorie counting because I can scratch down the points for the day on a piece of paper vs logging in and tracking them electronically. I think if I had an app on my cell phone that I could log in that way, I would prefer that method. So, if calorie counting is working for you then stick with that.
Basically if you stay under your target point value (essentially equal to the max calorie intake) for the day, then you will lose weight. There is a minumum point value for the day (mine is 18) but I've never had to worry about that. You are also supposed to drink 8-10 glasses of water, eat 5 fruits and vegetables and 2 servings of dairy, and exercise 30 minutes a day at least 3 days a week, which you also log in your food diary.
Additional exercise will give you additional points for the day and that is calculated in a formula shown on this website.
I would recommend though from a general health standpoint to exercise at least 5 times a week (3 times a week is not enough), including a well-rounded toning/muscle building/strengthening and cardio workout plan.
One of the things that I don't like about Weight Watchers is that you can technically lose weight on their plan and still eat very "unhealthily". I started some posts awhile back (under Health Topics) on what I thought was truly a healthy way of eating and I hope to pick that up again. I just wanted to post these links as additional resources to help with the portion countrol and calorie counting aspect.
Weight Watchers requires you to be a member to be able to calculate calories/points from a recipe, but I found this website (SparkRecipes) which will calculate the nutritional value in a recipe by inputting ingredients. The only downside I found is that the database of ingredients is somewhat limited. Like I said if calorie counting is working for you, then stick with that. I do think that the recipe link is helpful though, especially for those of us that use a lot of recipes for our meals. Let me know what you think, if these are helpful at all... I'm also posting the links that Jason sent via email previously, which I have found helpful, for anyone who hasn't seen them yet. I don't disagree with anything that he said, just wanted to throw out there another method for anyone who is having trouble with the calorie counting part...did I miss anything?
My fitness pal
My Daily Plate

Church Planning Retreat and Wegmans

We were invited to go on the church planning retreat through Treasure Lake Church last weekend in State College. It was a great time to share ideas about new ministries and areas for church growth, in addition to meeting and getting to know many of the church leaders. We are exciting to start to get more involved there. Please pray for God's wisdom/leading concerning a possible opportunity that may have come up for Mike there in the near future. As a side trip, a couple of them introduced us to Wegman's. It is the first time I've been to a Wegman's. It was huge and I was excited to find some healthy and organic items that we don't have in our stores around here... ...including Organic Free Range Chicken, Organic Grass-fed Beef, Sprouted Whole Wheat Flour, and Organic Red Potatoes.

January Update: Christmas Celebrations and New Year Resolutions

We had a wonderful Christmas this year. Praise God that everyone was healthy (we were fervently praying that we would not have a repeat of last year's stomach virus) and that we could enjoy time with family. For Christmas Eve, we went to church and celebrated with Mike's extended family. Then, on Christmas Day we spent time with Mike's parents, sister's family, grandma and his aunt's family. Then the following weekend (over the New Year), we traveled to Greenville to celebrate with my family. We really were blessed this year and enjoyed that time together very much, although we missed Jason and Kerby being able to be here with us ( We recently purchased a new camera (Nikon Coolpix P100)after our old one continued to need new batteries each time we used it. We were excited to try it out even though we are still learning how to use it. It has some nice features so hopefully we will become more adept at using it and have some professional looking photos eventually. (Since I'm so behind on putting a post up) Mike has already put together a nice video with many of our pictures of Christmas. So, if you haven't seen it yet, you can view it on his blog. I picked a few of my favorites to post:
Aaron with his letter "A" place card
Caleb with his new geeky fun glasses and the old camera that he carried around with him all weekend taking pictures Katelyn working on her "Build a Bear" craft with Mom Josiah (and Caleb in his muscle shirt) after playing the Kinect Us holding up Josiah's magnetic post-its and Katelyn's woven potholder gifts
Mike and I hung stockings over our fireplace this year and had some fun filling them for each other (Mike even received a letter from Santa). We also enjoyed decorating our home this year even though the decorations barely made it up before Christmas. So, we left them up a little later this year to fully enjoy them.
One of our Christmas gifts was the xBox Kinect. We feel so "cool" to receive one of this year's hot Christmas gifts (not that we really care). Our primary motive for asking for the Kinect was to be able to do some fun exercise with it. We took a long time to decide between the Nintendo wii and the xBox Kinect, but we are very happy about it. We have been enjoying it and it has been successful in getting us "moving" in the evenings, as you can see.
Mike and I each set our own resolutions earlier this month. We find it refreshing to do this together in the New Year. The Jan. 2 sermon at my parent's church was a very good one on leaving your past behind and pressing on toward what God has called you to do (Phil. 3:12-14). You can listen to the sermon at this link. (It's not to late to set a new year's resolution if you haven't already - there is still 1 more week left in January.)
My family decided to do our own Biggest Loser Competition and we are officially underway. So far it's been lots of fun. We each have our own goal weight to strive for. And, I'm impressed with how well everyone is doing. We are finishing up week 3 on Monday. It's really helped me stay on track knowing there is accountability. Mike and I finally set out to walk the whole way around the lake (it's about 4 1/2 miles but not flat) and we've done it twice now even through the cold and snow. It was quite challenging. We're also playing in a church volleyball league which has been fun and a good way to get to know more people at the church.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Why did the turkey cross the road?

We got about 8 inches of snow overnight, so I was out earlier today shoveling the driveway and then this afternoon the plow finally came down our road again to clear the remaining snow. A little later in the afternoon I looked out our front window and saw these three turkeys. The sun had been shining and they were quite beautiful so I stood there for a bit watching these interesting creatures peck on a branch or two and stretch out their wings.
They were walking through the woods and I could see them struggling through the snow almost hopping because their legs weren't long enough to carry them above the top of the snow. A few minutes later they went up over the snow bank and walking down the road for awhile then back again into the snow on the other side. I had to chuckle because I thought that it appears that today's answer for the notorious quesion "Why did the turkey (chicken) cross the road?"
...Because the snow was too deep in the woods.