There’s a tightrope that I walk in my kitchen. If I’m careless and slip off, I could fall into the Paula Deen side, filled with ooey, gooey, buttery goodness and all manner of full fat mac n cheese. The walls in this universe are papered in lard, carpeted in biscuits and gravy, and yep, even the pickles are surrounded by a crunchy, crispy crust. If I fall in the other direction, I slide into a Dean Ornish world of fat freedom that no man (or woman) could possibly endure. A land where dry, unbuttered toast is made with 47 whole grains of boredom, eggs are considered part of a Satanic ritual, and the slightest covetous glance at a piece of bacon could have you standing trial for your life. In between these two worlds of extremes reside ‘The Zone’, ‘Protein Power’, ‘The Atkins Diet’, ‘Sugar Busters’, ’24/7 Fat Loss’, ‘South Beach’, Jenny Craig, and NutriSystem. Soooo many options, so much confusion. What’s a girl to do?
Despite protestations to the contrary, I decided this summer to once again attempt to escape the
gravy crazy train of weight gain that is Mother Nature’s middle-aged birthday present to me. When I moved to the Carolinas I was 44 years old, 128 lbs soaking wet, and a size 4. Fifteen menopausal years later, my size still contains a 4, only that digit has now met, fallen in love and mated with a 1. Possessing a size that now requires double digits has caused me to spend way too much time wining whining about my pitiful, bountiful condition.
When my bud Dixie and I went to Ocracoke this summer, it seemed that we spent 80% of our mini-vacay kvetching about how fat and miserable we were. On the ferry ride back home I thought about how those wasted hours could have been spent on DOING something about my chubby cheeks instead of harping on them ad infinitum. Due to their crazy careers and hours, Dixie has approached me about cooking dinner for their family on weekday nights. “We’ll just have whatever you’re having.” In theory I love the idea for providing custom dinners for busy families, but I think I’d need to be a few years younger to throw myself into that arena. Though I’ve often thought about opening a tiny place where folks could drop in and pick up lunch and dinner. A different entrée every day, with revolving sides, salads, and desserts, take out only, featuring ethnic specialities. With so many busy working couples, I think it would fly.
Determined to stop bitching and start shrinking, I joined Weight Watchers. While I might be THE SLOWEST LOSER in our meeting, I am heading in the right direction. In 2008, 2009, and 2010, I gained 5-7 lbs. every year. Thanks to Weight Watchers, that gain did not occur in 2011, nor will it in 2012. How can I be so sure? Because this is really not a diet, not in the old-fashioned way. You aren’t forcing yourself to starve or eat crap you hate for a short time in order to fit in a wedding dress or go on a cruise. The changes they encourage in their members become so ingrained, they seem to occur at a cellular level. You aren’t depriving or denying yourself anything, no single food or food group is off-limits. All that is needed is honesty and accuracy in tracking your food consumed and activity points earned. In addition to the 10-14 lbs I didn’t/won’t be putting on, I’m halfway to my goal of losing 30 lbs. It’s all about the rewards baby! Every time I walk into my closet and see that long rack of gorgeous size 8 clothes patiently waiting on me I just tell them, “Hold on babies. Mama’s coming!”
Due to my loyalty to all things Weight Watchers I’ve decided to post a reworked recipe every week. Something that might be too sinful or decadent to indulge in often, but something no one wants to forego entirely. Making a few tweaks can take the forbidden out of some of your favorites, hopefully without giving up taste, texture, or appeal. I have been in love with cooking and food since I was nine years old and my food-challenged Mom nearly starved the family to death. After I retired from modeling, I had two career opportunities, based on my two great joys. One was to study horticultural and garden design as part of an intensive one-year training program offered by The Bronx Botanical Gardens, and the other was to attend The Culinary Institute in Hyde Park NY. For reasons relating to amore (duh), design won that battle, but IF there is a heaven, mine will consist of 24-hour days watching The Food Network, Bobby Flay, Tyler Florence, and Ina Garten, ordering delivery from every top restaurant in the world, and reading cookbooks cover to cover. That’s what I’m talking about!
I made this Friday night and won’t ever be going back to regular guilt-ridden Alfredo again! I thought about calling this recipe blog Drunk Bitch Cooking (too rude??) or Pooter and Booger’s Plate (too gross??). At the moment Weighty Katie Cooks is ahead by 2 lengths!
Low-Cal Alfredo Sauce
Courtesy of Food Network Magazine (with a few tweaks of my own)
4 Weight Watchers Points Plus per serving/serves 4
1 T. lite Smart Balance spread
2 finely minced cloves garlic
1 t. lemon zest
2 t. all-purpose flour
1 cup skim milk
kosher salt to taste
2 T. light cream cheese or Neuchâtel
3 T. chopped parsley
Freshly ground pepper
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
Melt Smart Balance in a skillet over medium-low heat. add garlic and zest and cook until garlic is slightly soft, approx. 1 minute. Add in the flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and salt, whisking constantly, just until thickened, about 3 minutes. Add cream cheese and parmesan and whisk until melted, about 1 minute. Stir in chopped parsley, black pepper and red pepper flakes.
Serve over pasta of your choice. MANGIA!!