Thursday, January 11, 2007


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Well, I have to confess, I'm back on Weight Watchers' Core Food Plan. I've gained it all back! Boy, does it sneak up on you! I blame it on not getting my usual exercise, due to the crazy weather (we had another power outage on Tuesday due to another wind storm, and some snow, though we got far less than Vancouver and the south island), and a wacky ferry schedule with a small ferry (while our big ferry gets refitted) that cuts into my exercise time before I go to work; eating too much over the holidays; and eating too much of my experiments.

What am I going to do about it? 1.) Practice portion control. 2.) Stick to the WW Core Food Plan, which is a very healthful plan, easy to eat vegan, emphasis on veggies, fruits, wholegrains, and vegetarian proteins. 3.) EXERCISE-- dance, get out for walks whenever possible, or use an exercise bike, and get back on my weights regime, using stretch bands, as well.

Otherwise, my mom just gave us a treadmill, so I have no excuse for not exercising. I have to get a book rack for it, though, or it's kind of boring. I have to have it downstairs in my "office" area because it takes up too much room upstairs. I can watch DVD's on my computer down here, or videos on the old TV I use for instructional dance and exercise videos (which is not hooked up to satellite, so I can't watch TV programs on it). The other thing I've started to do to make it go faster is watching YouTube music and dance videos. I can make a playlist of however long I want to work out. I've found some fascinating concert video clips and wonderful bellydance clips, as well.

I also have a mini-trampoline, which I need to start jogging on while watching TV in the evening. And, I hope to start dance classes again soon.

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Me dancing at my boss's retirement party a few years ago

As I mentioned the Core Food Plan is big on fiber-rich foods and beans can be eaten frequently, provided they aren't full of fat. (You can have 2 tsp. of oil a day-- anything over that is 1 point per tsp. You get 35 points a week to play with.)


Here's a meal I made for dinner the other day to use up some rapini in the refrigerator. I love the combination of the mild, creamy white beans and the strong-flavored rapini! I am very partial to "bitter" greens such as rapini, and they are a powerhouse of nutrients, too.

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Rapini (broccoli rabe or raab)

I used my own home-cooked beans. I soaked them overnight and pressure-cooked them for 35 minutes after draining them and covering them with vegetarian broth, with a chut-up large onion, 3 large cloves garlic, chopped, 2 bay leaves, and a large sprig each of fresh rosemary and sage.

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Printable Recipe
Serves 6 (Adapted from a recipe in my book "Nonna's Italian Kitchen".

A simple dish with outstanding flavor-- one of my absolute favorites. Dark (roasted Asian) sesame oil takes the place of pancetta (Italian bacon) in this recipe. (I have eliminated the olive oil from the original recipe, to cut down on fat.)

If you have no rapini, curly endive, escarole, turnip greens, or kale can be used instead.

1 lb. rapini (broccoli rabe or raab)
1 T. roasted sesame oil
2 large onions, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 c. cooked Great Northern beans (If you use other beans, be sure to see the Important Update at this post.)
OR 2/ 14 oz. cans, drained (you could also use borlotti, romano, cranberry or pinto beans)
salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste

Wash the rapini well and drain it. Remove the tougher bottom parts of the stems, and slice the rapini in 1/2" strips.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet. Over medium-high heat, cook the onions until they are limp; then add the garlic and stir-fry for 30 seconds; then the rapini a little at a time, stirring until it wilts and turns brightly-colored.
Add the beans to the pan and stir them around to heat thoroughly. Taste for salt and pepper.

Serve with crusty wholegrain bread, or spooned over soft polenta. A great winter meal!

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 209.3 calories; 12% calories from fat; 3.1g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 33.0mg sodium; 807.6mg potassium; 35.5g carbohydrates; 8.9g fiber; 2.0g sugar; 26.6g net carbs; 12.4g protein; 3.6 points.


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Anonymous said...

Cograts on recommitting to WW. I have been doing WW for a year now, and I have lost about 23 pounds, most of which was lost on Core. I just love Core; it is so easy to 'follow' and I find I am much more creative in the kitchen when I am not tallying points. I actually find that I lose better (and feel better) when I focus on eating Core foods, and don't even think about or really use my 35 weekly points. If I know that I have 35 extra points to use, I eat when I am not hungry (a big - maybe the biggest? - nono on Core), because I don't want to 'waste' them. So if I forget about them, and eat mostly Core, I'm a happy girl. Besides, it's better to waste points than to waist them!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I also forgot to ask if you are going to meetings, or just doing it on your own? I have been following WW on my own, I just borrowed the points slider and book from a friend, but I did find this website, which has helped me a lot. Since I don't have any friends or family doing the program with me, visiting these message boards gave me a real sense of community, and it was an outlet for questions or concerns.

Also, keep up the exercise, it really does make a huge difference. I wish I had a treadmill or an elliptical, so I had no excuse when I didn't feel like going to the gym.

Anonymous said...

I am anticipating to see the foods you will be eating in your next ww time. I love the photo of you dancing. There is a belly dancing class coming near me. I told DH that I must sign up so I can follow in your the footsteps of my favorite cookbook author / mentor. :)

Anonymous said...

Isn't rapini awesome ?
Can't wait to try it :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Bryanna,
I too am on WW. If it wasn't for my need of Whole grain breads I would too be on the core plan. I joined WW on Sept 7, 2006. As of yesterday I am down 34.2 pounds. I too had been on it before and gained all of my weight back plus. After some long hard soul searching I realized that I needed to do it for me and not those around me in order to succeed. I am blessed to have my husband, our daughter, and my mom on the program, which can be a great source of encouragment, inspiration, and competition (I try not to focus on the competition, unless it is just me competing against myself). I am a new vegan and this has kept me so focused. I also cook or buy very little prepackaged foods. I believe that when I make my food from scratch I am more in tune with it and it helps me to keep my focus. Another great thing that works for me is tracking everything I put into my mouth, which means I measure or weigh everything I eat. I love the WW e-tools. Weighing in grams makes it so much easier to track. I have put the points for a few things on my blog, but I should really do more of that. I love that you post that information with your recipes. Thank you so much. Sorry that I have gone on and on, but I am really enjoying my new lifestyle. I look forward to your recipes. Have you figured out points for seitan? I have tried to make it twice and twice I had diasters. I have been sticking to different veggie loaf and patty recipes until I try again. I wish you all the luck with your plan and would love to keep each other encouraged.

PS. I need to make your loaf this weekend. Yumo!

Have a super weekend,


Anonymous said...

"Naples At Table" by Arthur Schwartz has a fabulous lentils and pasta recipe, some pasta e fagioli recipes, and some great vegan-by-default vegetable recipes (the "spirited" carrots are a favorite). A friend whose father lives in Naples gets requests to bring copies of this cookbook when he visits since it is apparently the most authentic Campanian cookbook out there.

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Sorry I haven't answered sooner-- my comment moderation was turned on, unbeknownst to me, and I hadn't realized all these comments were sitting there waiting to be approved! Sorry!

Thanks for all the encouragement about ww-- awesome results! I do it on my own-- too far from meetings to go regularly.

Dori-- try bellydancing-- it's so much fun!

Anonymous said...

Hi Bryanna:

I have been on WW Core since December 26, 2006 and have lost almost 20 pounds so far. I do the meetings and am fortunate to have lots of meeting times to choose from. Since I pay by the month, I get the e-tools for free. I've already corrected a few of their recipes that come up vegetarian but call for tuna... Argh.

I'm glad I discovered your blog and recipes. I was thinking it was very difficult to do this plan without meat products but your Core recipes look so balanced!

Thank you! I look forward to seeing more.


Anonymous said...

Hey there Bryanna...

Thanks so much for posting some Core recipes! I've been doing WW's Core plan for the past three weeks. I've lost about 4 pounds so far. Prior to that, I was doing Fuhrman's Eat to Live (that was working, but I found I needed the accountability of the weigh-ins at the WW meetings to keep me on track). It does seem pretty easy to be a vegan on Core. Best of luck on your WW journey! :)

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Thanks for the encouragement! I am mostly sticking to it, though testing recipes makes it difficult! But many recipes are within the bounds of the Core Plan.

BTW, I don't know if you noticed my message at the top and in the left column:

(PS: I am in the process of adding nutritional info and WW points or Core Plan info to pre-2007 posts. Thanks for your patience!)

And I am also going back and adding tags to the recipes, including a "Weight Watchers Core Plan" tag where appropriate! I think I have gotten through November 2006, so I have a way to go!

Unknown said...

I found your recipe while looking for rapini recipes. I bought a share in an organic CSA farm this summer and for the last two weeks gorgeous fresh bunches of rapini have arrived and all i knew was to blanch/saute. I live in Ontario and we have fresh Romano/Borlotti beans so I made this dish tonight. I had run out of sesame oil making japanese last week so I will have to make it again but it was delicious without. I did add some lemon juice though as I usually do to everything! I have been vegetarian for decades but recently made a commitment to going vegan (it just makes sense) and food like this makes it better than good (its GREAT!) :) I rarely if ever comment on any food blog however this one stood out. I will be back for more!

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Thanks, Melanie-- I'm so glad you enjoyed it!