Monday, March 24, 2014

In Which I Finish What I Started

Here's the deal.

It has taken me over a month to conjure up the desire to finish writing about the "Retro WW Rules".

And with only one lousy rule left, you'd think I could just suck it up, slap together some scary recipe and get it over with. But Oh. My. GAWD. I don't wanna. Like I really don't wanna. AT ALL.

RULE #9: MILK - You must use your daily allotment of milk. Women and men 16 ounces. Skim milk or buttermilk may be used interchangeably and at any time.

So I was going to make this thing called "Milk Ice" where you take a packet of Knox Gelatin and put it in the blender with some dehydrated milk, vanilla extract, water and fruit. No doubt it would have been awful. And smelly. And ridiculous. AND OHMIGOD I JUST CANNOT DO IT.

So instead, I am just gonna sit here and drink some reconstituted dehydrated non-fat milk powder straight from a Pyrex measuring container. As a punishment. Cause that's all I got left in me to give, folks.

After 4 years of blogging about Retro Weight Watchers food, I think I have finally hit the proverbial wall.

What does this mean?

I have no idea. But stay tuned, because this thing has to end somewhere. Somehow.

And you are all in this with me. Whether you like it or not.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Rules for Using Fruit

There's a LOT to cover with this rule. So let's get right to it.

RULE #8 : FRUIT - Select one Vitamin C fruit - orange or grapefruit - each day. Otherwise, vary selections. Fruits may be eaten raw or cooked. One-half cup equals 1 fruit, except where otherwise marked. 
No bananas, cherries, dried fruits, grapes or watermelon. 
Women: 3 fruits daily. 
Men: 5 fruits daily.

Keep in mind--this rule comes directly from the ORIGINAL Weight Watchers cookbook, 1966. The fruit rule was later revised to allow ONE serving of banana, cherry or grape per week. So calm down, banana lovers.

The fruit recipes provided in the Original WW Cookbook include a TON of gelatin molds. They also often involve strange combinations with other foods like celery, pimentos, onions, green peppers, and the list goes on. Cottage cheese makes many appearances, too.

And I never in my life realized there were so many different ways to prepare a grapefruit!

But...One fruit recipe in particular caught my attention. Mainly because it had "cheese balls" in the title. Anytime you mention cheese balls, I am SOLD. So here we go...

I have to admit, I am not a fan of mixing sweet and savory flavors together in my salads. Call me a prude, but I think it goes against the rules of salad making. A salad should either be ALL fruit or ALL vegetables, in my opinion. Once you start putting apples in your garden salad, things get crazy! The next thing you know there are pecans in there. And raisins. And OH my GAWD, the humanity!

Anyway -- this Retro WW Salad goes against all of my OCD salad rules. But here it is. Apples and celery and pimentos and all. God help me.

 What's your take on fruit salads? 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Toasting the New Year

Happy New Year! Lordy, I have so many resolutions for 2014, but for now I just need to get through these last few gosh-danged Retro WW RULES. So here we go...

RULE #7: Limited Vegetables - Select any one of the following vegetables and use at dinner only. Only one serving, or 1/2 cup, permitted. Vary your selections from day to day.

bamboo shoots
brussels sprouts
oyster plant (WTF?)
*tomato juice

* Tomato juice may be taken at any time. Limited to 12 oz daily.

So there you have it. The vegetables with which we must be ever so vigilant. God forbid you eat an extra beet or something.

Since I eat enough carrots to choke a rabbit, I could never follow this rule. But in the spirit of celebrating the New Year, I decided to find a nice healthy vegetable juice "cocktail" recipe to help me toast 2014. Which, by the way happens to be the year I plan to complete this insane experiment. What does that mean? I don't know. But this has to end somehow. Right?

Anyhoo--I boiled it down to a choice between 2 recipes: "Cucumber & Tomato Cocktail" and "Carrot Milk". After a very deep conversation with myself about how I might feel after drinking warm, cooked carrots blended with skim milk - I opted for the "Cucumber Tomato Cocktail"

It was a good choice! Just pop a few ice cubes in a blender with some dill, 3/4 cup tomato juice and 6 slices of cucumber, and you've got yourself a very refreshing glass of Retro WW deliciousness! CHEERS!

I hope the New Year brings lots of good health and happiness to all of my fabulous readers! I love you all! I would also like to dedicate this post to a very terrific lady who was recently taken from our world too soon. Heidi from "kitschenfeast" was one of the first people who inspired me to start blogging, and although we never met in person, I feel like we became friends through this crazy world of writing and retro cooking. I will miss her "voice" every day.

Here's a truly awesome guest post Heidi wrote for the Retro WW Experiment a few years ago. Rest in Peace, my friend.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Wishes

Merry Christmas to all my Retro Weight Watchers friends! I wish you all a happy and healthy holiday filled with everything you love!

As for me, I am very busy preparing for a festive week with my family and friends! But I wanted to take a break to send you a holiday greeting and a very helpful Retro WW hint...straight from Jean Nidetch herself!

For us guys and gals who worry about those pesky "food pushers" at our holiday gatherings, here's a diagram from the 1964 Weight Watchers Program Cookbook showing us exactly how to respond...

Crazy? Or genius? You decide.

Reminder! Celery is an unlimited vegetable! Alcohol is strictly prohibited! So enjoy your sad crudité with a lame-ass sparkling water and have a BLAST!

Merry Christmas to you and yours, from me and mine...

Yeah I take my puppy to visit Santa. What of it?

I promise to post more in 2014. It's my New Year's Resolution! See ya next year!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Unlimited Vegetables

Between the Vincent Price Cookalong and the Meat/Gelatin Guest Post extraordinaire, I almost forgot that we are supposed to be right smack dab in the middle of a full-blown overview of the Retro WW Rules. I apologize if it seemed I had lost my way. I think we are back on track now.

For those keeping score, we are now onto Rule #6 of the Retro Weight Watchers program guidelines overview. And I can't even contain my excitement about this one...

RULE #6 - Unlimited Vegetables. You may eat all you want of the following vegetables:

mung bean sprouts
squash (green)
string beans
water cress

I'm sorry. But when someone tells me I can "EAT ALL I WANT" of something, I just get really REALLY happy. I don't even care what it is. For example -- just the other night, I ate 2 entire bunches of celery just because I could. I am not even kidding. I have been known to polish off an entire jar of kosher pickles in one sitting. Seriously. Two-pound bag of frozen broccoli? Bring it. Gigantic vat of french green beans? No problem.

I am what the experts call a "volume eater". That is a label I wear with pride.

So my love for vegetables comes in really handy. In fact, one time I even wrote a blog post about my undying love for celery. Luckily my body is well-trained and can handle mass quantities of cruciferous vegetables and soluble fiber without any negative consequences. If you cannot say the same for yourself, I would recommend you tread lightly when it comes to this rule. It takes time to work up to the super-human level of digestive prowess which I have achieved.

To celebrate the joy of unlimited vegetable consumption, I made myself a heaping bowl of bean sprout soup today. You know, it's just chicken broth mixed with a can of bean sprouts. What's that you say? Oh you don't think that sounds very good?


Sorry. I got crazy excited for a second there. Anyway...Here is a super appetizing picture of my Bean Sprout Soup. You should totally try it!

That's a full pound of sprouts, baby.

I'm curious....What's your favorite "unlimited vegetable" on the list, and how will you prepare it this week?

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Vincent Price Halloween Cookalong!

'Twas the night before Halloween. And I was kickin' it old school with half a chicken fryer, a bottle of Angostura bitters and some classic horror cinema.

Yes, friends. Thanks to my pal Jenny over at Silver Screen Suppers, my Halloween Eve was spent preparing for the Vincent Price Halloween Cookalong!

Did you know Vincent Price was a culinary master as well as a creepy movie star extraordinaire? Well, now you do! And I was invited to prepare a dish from the twisted mind of this charming superstar, and serve it up for my Halloween dinner. Then reveal it to the world, right here on my blog -- TODAY!

My assignment for this blogging/cooking challenge was pretty easy: Vincent Price's Chinese Chicken

The recipe comes from an advertisement Vincent did for Angostura Aromatic Bitters from 1971. And it sounded pretty good, actually.

It called for 6 chicken fryer halves, but I decided to go with just one. Because the thought of six raw chicken fryer halves made me almost throw up a little bit. Honestly - can you imagine? What the Hell was I supposed to do with that much chicken carcass?

One was bad enough...

*mimi shudders in horror*

I salted and garlic rubbed the poor little guy and then moved onto the marinade.

It was a tangy combo of tomato sauce, pineapple juice, grated onions, butter, and of course -- aromatic bitters. I boiled it and brushed it all over that creepy little chicken body. Then into the oven he went. For an hour.

FYI--This sauce was delish!

Vincent recommended I sip on a "New Fashioned" cocktail while I waited. And really. Who am I to argue with Vincent Price for Heaven's sake?

So the "New Fashioned" is a fancy drink containing a sugar cube, some club soda, whiskey, a twist of lemon, a cherry and of course -- aromatic bitters. On the rocks. Smooth.

As I sipped my cocktail and cued up my movie choice for the evening, I suddenly became very disappointed that I never sent away for the "FREE COOKBOOK" which is referenced in the advertisement. I certainly could have used those mysterious 82 recipes. That "Authentic Chutney" would have gone great with this. Dammit. I've never been good at planning ahead.

Anyway -- Here is my Chinese Chicken in full glory. I served it with some quinoa and broccoli on the side. I'm sure Mr. Price would have preferred a nice fried rice or something, but I just couldn't make that happen. Whatever. Take it or leave it.

I love how it looks all bloody and murderous

We actually really enjoyed the chicken. We sliced it up and watched The House on Haunted Hill. In the dark with candles lit. We even dressed up as our favorite characters. It was a whole big thing.

I was Annabelle. Of course.

Sometimes you just gotta pick a theme and go wild with it. Am I right?  HAPPY BELATED HALLOWEEN!

I have to warn you...this blogging challenge is really freaking huge! Seriously, this thing is WORLDWIDE, people! But if you have some time, take a tour through the internet of my blogger buddies who also celebrated their Halloween in Vincent Price Style, and lived to tell about it:

Brian of Caker Cooking – Fish Fillets Nord Zee
Cathy of Battenburg Belle – Deviled Shrimp and Rice
Sally of My Custard Pie – Deviled Rib Bones
Ruth of Mid Century Menu – Unwealthy Wellington
Angela of Glamorous Glutton – Steak Moutarde Flambe
Lauren of The Past on a Plate – Ayrshire Poacher’s Roll
Emily of Dinner is Served! 1972 - Beef Hearts Stewed
Carol of Craftypants Carol – Deviled Crab
Erica of Retrorecipe – Cucumber Crocodile and Melon Monster
Susie of Bittersweet Susie – Carolina Deviled Clam
Please go visit Silver Screen Suppers for a complete rundown of everyone who participated in this fun and freaky Vincent Price Halloween Cookalong. And a GREAT BIG SPOOKY shout-out to Jenny (the author of Silver Screen Suppers Blog) who organized the entire thing and welcomed us all into the Inscrutably Delicious world of Vincent Price Cooking!

Signing off with a .......Mwaaahhh Haaaaa Haaaaaaaa Haaaaaa (Vincent Price demonic laugh)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

One Brave Follower...

One day, on Facebook, I begged asked for volunteers to do a guest post for my very special meat & gelatin recipe from 1978 - and out of HUNDREDS of followers, only one brave lady stepped forward. 

My dearest Cynthia G. -- you are a true Retro WW warrior and a hero. I salute you. I am proud to call you my Facebook friend and Retro WW Soul Sister.

The Recipe:

Chicken Sandwich Loaf!

The Source:

The Guest Post:

Isn't this beautiful? So exciting to prepare a tasty, visually appealing Weight Watchers recipe for Mimi!

Oops, sorry gals. These gorgeous vegetables would be in a 2012 Weight Watchers recipe...

This is 1972:The Retro Weight Watchers Experiment. You don't really expect colorful, do you?

Here are the ingredients for Chicken Sandwich Loaf, submitted by Donna Naugle in 1978. Clearly Donna was half-starved to come up with a recipe with these ingredients:

First, in keeping with the bland and colorless theme, I poached the chicken breast in water. No low fat spray, olive oil, butter. Just water. Amazingly enough, the chicken had it's own fresh, sweet taste. Let's see if we can change that.

The next step was to sprinkle the Knox gelatin over 1/2 cup water until soft.

Easy enough...

Now we're getting creative. I couldn't find onion bouillon at any of my local grocery stores, and Lipton Onion Soup mix contained actual pieces of actual dehydrated onions, and sugar, and flavor, so I rebelled a bit and used two chicken bouillon cubes instead of one.

Hypertension in overweight individuals was not apparently a concern in 1972.

Now for the really spooky part of this recipe! Here we have a tender, nicely cooked and naturally flavorful chicken breast. Today we would eat it as is. In 1972, we do something completely different: BLENDERIZE it.

Here I'm pouring the chicken bouillon-plain gelatin concoction into the blender with the poached chicken....



And now I am pouring the glop into my vintage gelatin mold. (Mom made many a lime gelatin with cottage cheese and pineapple in this!)

Looks like hummus; smells like the chicken sandwich meat you buy in the deli.

Well, there it is in all it's glory. Now to chill it. And eat it.

Impressions: Color is underwhelming and not at all appealing, especially when I took my fork and attempted to pick off a bite. Rubbery, but not tough. I finally pegged what it reminded me of.   Have you ever had Hormel's canned chicken spread? THAT'S what it tastes like, only low fat. Rubbery, low fat, congealed Hormel's canned chicken spread. 

I would question the perversion of a decent chicken breast into a bouncy, pale gelatin, but this recipe IS from 1972, and we all know what sort of debauched gelatin-based cookery went on back then.

Stick a fork in it. It's DONE!