Monday, May 31, 2010

Going Bananas

As this long & busy holiday weekend winds down and I prepare myself for the upcoming work week, I find myself needing a motivational boost--and a tasty treat.'s the treat:
A Baked Banana

1 underripe medium banana
Dash lemon juice
4 tsp artificial sweetener
Dash ginger

Bake banana in its skin at 375F about 25 minutes. Peel skin; sprinkle with lemon juice and sweetener; add dash of ginger.

(Why is this such a rare treat? Well, because on the 1972 Retro WW Plan--although fruit is required 3 times per day--bananas are one of the "limited" fruits which is only permitted once per week! Also included on this list? Grapes and Cherries. That's just the rules, folks--don't try to understand it.)'s the motivational boost:

A Jean Nidetch Quote
The beautiful thing about losing weight, and I think probably any other kind of accomplishment that takes some sustained effort, is that it lets you know you can succeed at anything you really want to do. I am here to tell you that there is no limit to what you can accomplish, but you have to commit yourself to following your dream...Those who are successful with the program are the ones who tell themselves that they are not going to let anything stand in their way. People who say they can't succeed spend the rest of their lives proving it.
--Jean Nidetch, The Jean Nidetch Story 2009
Ahhh! There's nothing quite like a Tasty Baked Banana Treat and a Good Ol' Jean Nidetch Quote to get your week started on the right foot. Thanks Jean. Now I am ready to face the world.

PS: Stop back later this week to check out my atrocious yet entertaining experiment involving an unsuspecting bunch of celery, a jar of pimentos and some dental floss! You know you're curious...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Precious Pizza: Why Are You So EVIL?

Friday has always been a "date night" for me and my hubby. We love to go out for a few cocktails and some yummy food. Usually we try to find a nice place with a fun atmosphere that serves somewhat healthy dishes, so I can order some fish or a nice salad. You know-- the usual WW stuff.

However, on occasion, my sweet and adorable hubby throws me a curve ball. Let's get a pizza. He says it so simply and innocently; without any knowledge of the beast he is awakening. Just the thought of it sends a chill up my spine.

You see. Pizza is not just a trigger food or a 'red-light' food for me. It is a passageway to potentially horrible things. Just one slice and it could get REALLY ugly. Sorta like this:

"We wants it, we needs it. Must have the precious." -Gollum, Lord of the Rings

Here is a sample of the train of thought that may cross my mind as the pizza conundrum is being contemplated:
  • How will I feel if I eat the pizza?
  • How will I feel if I don't eat the pizza?
  • How many pieces will I eat?
  • How many pieces will I REALLY eat?
  • What horrible events will the pizza eating lead to?
  • Will I be able to recover from this pizza eating event?
  • Will this pizza eating event lead to an endless spiral of emotional self-flagellation from which I will never fully recover?
  • Will this pizza eating event be the ultimate turning point in my relationship with food that will send me back on the path to being overweight again?
Anyway. You get the point. Am I insane, or has 10 years of the "dieting mentality" finally taken all the fun out of enjoying my favorite food? You be the judge.

Well folks. I think that my hero, Ms. Jean Nidetch, has come to the rescue once again with a solution. It's called the Pizzaiola. So maybe this charming 1972 Retro Pizza Recipe will satisfy my yearning for some pizza pie?

1 slice bread (I used 1/2 an Arnold's Sandwich Thin)
1/2 cup tomato juice, cooked down to half volume
Dash of Italian seasonings
2 oz. shredded hard cheese

Toast the bread lightly. Spread with juice & seasoning and sprinkle with cheese. Place under broiler until cheese is melted. One slice and done, baby! Now that's what I call portion control!

No guilt, No flavor, No fun! Now where did I put that Pizza Hut menu?

Thanks, But No Thanks Thursday (En Masque)

This week's TBNT Thursday feature is sure to make you shudder. It's a mind-blowing mold from the 1974 Weight Watchers Recipe Cards - Classic Adaptations Category.

Take a look, and I'll fill you in on the details below:

Liver Pate en Masque

This recipe calls for 2 (not 1) envelopes of Knox gelatine - so you know right there you're in trouble. Now go ahead and punish that gelatine in your blender with 1 cup of bouillon, 2 cups french-style green beans, seasonings, extracts and one heaving pound of cooked liver. Process until smooth. Pour into a 1 quart mold and chill.

Sadly, it gets worse. We now have to make the "glaze", or the "masque" - as it were. I will give you 3 guesses as to what goes in that glaze. Yep, more Knox gelatine. Oh, and also: buttermilk, mustard, bouillon and more seasonings. Try to keep up...

After the glaze has been simmered to the perfect syrupy consistency -- one must spoon that drippy, gooey substance over the unmolded, chilled liver mold approximately 3 to 4 times. Re-chilling and re-setting after each coating. This will help you achieve the lovely dripping candle-wax effect. As a final touch--the chicory and radish garnish adds a lovely flair, doesn't it?

I do believe I would have to be seriously drugged or knocked out cold before I would even consider eating this. Thanks, but No Thanks.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hard Times at the 1972 Retro WW Experiment...

This week, I was beginning to feel a bit lackluster about the whole Retro WW Experiment. I'll be the first to admit it. And just like any other "diet", there comes a day when you have to decide: how long can I keep this up?

I started thinking about how nice it would be to just order a pizza, or go to Dairy Queen, or throw away the Knox Gelatine. (I really need to take a break from those horrifying molds.)

I even tried to tap into my "Inner Jean Nidetch". What would Jean tell me to do? She certainly wouldn't let me give up; Or make excuses; Or feel sorry for myself.

She would tell me: "It's choice - not chance - that determines your destiny."

So today, I made the difficult choice to keep going. Why? I have no idea. But what I can tell you is that I pulled out my 1972 WW Program Cookbook, found a great recipe, put on my 70's tunes - and it felt great.

So here is the recipe that pulled me out of my doldrums and back into my 1972 Retro splendor:

Split Pea Patties

6 oz. cooked split peas
1/4 cup skim milk
salt & pepper
1/8 tsp sage
1/8 tsp marjoram
1/8 tsp thyme

Process all ingredients in blender, chill, and form into 8 small patties. bake at 400F for 15 minutes and top with barbecue sauce.

OK--so I didn't have time to cook split peas, (give me a break) so I used a small can of chick peas instead. But--I did make my own barbecue sauce out of tomato juice, vinegar, lemon juice, Worcestershire, brown sugar, and dry mustard! Very retro, baby!

These spicy little patties were delicious with a little cilantro, and were just what I needed to get me back on the Retro WW Wagon. The 70's music helped a little, too.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Forbidden vs. Unlimited Foods?

This weekend, I got to thinking how easy we have it in the 21st century version of Weight Watchers.

Since there are no forbidden foods in the modern day version of WW, you can have a totally bat-crap crazy, balls-out binge-fest, and still be considered "on-program". Well, technically, that is... If you track what you eat, and get right back on the wagon. It's totally AWESOME.

But there are so many forbidden foods on the 1972 Retro WW Plan, it can be almost overwhelming at times. In fact, last week, I realized I went through an entire day and did not eat a single "legal" food. (Oh yeah--you fall off the wagon a lot on the Retro WW Plan, did I not mention that yet?) It's a good thing I still keep my points tracker handy for the days I need to slip into "Emergency 2010 WW Mode".

However, on the Retro WW Plan, we are lucky enough to have a list of foods that are permitted in unlimited amounts. You are allowed to eat these foods as desired and with reckless abandon. Yeehaw!

Brace yourselves! For your pleasure, here is the 1972 "unlimited" list as it appears in toto:
Clam Juice
Club Soda
Coffee & Tea
Herbs & Spices
Dehydrated Vegetable Flakes
Lemon & Lime Juice
Pepper Sauce
Soy Sauce
Doesn't this list make you want to jump for joy? Are you salivating uncontrollably after reading it?

Sometimes, I like to study this list and try to come up with the most outrageous meals ever created, and then imagine myself eating them in mass quantities. I mean, they are unlimited, right? Could I eat 14 pounds of gherkins and radishes? Hmmmm... Maybe.

With each passing day of my Retro WW "experiment", I gain more respect for those amazing women who actually followed this plan back in the 70's, and I thank my lucky stars for the points system! But for now---I must return to my gigantic seaweed and pimento salad.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Friday Mish Mash

mé·lange: (n.) A motley assortment of things.

Got some fruit? Got some vegetables? Great. Who cares what kind they are? Throw 'em in a pan with some brown sugar and you've got a

Carrot and Fruit Melange
Weight Watchers Revised Program Cookbook, 1972

4 oz. diced cooked carrots
1/2 cup cooked rice (or 1/2 cup bean sprouts)
3 tablespoons water
1 small orange cut in segments (or 1 small apple, cored and diced)
1 tsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. margarine

Combine all ingredients and heat gently. Makes one serving.

Surprisingly, I found this mixture quite appealing. So much so, that I am planning to create many more melanges and add them to my recipe repertoire.

Such as:
  • Cucumber Banana Melange
  • Eggplant Rhubarb Melange
  • Pepperoni Pineapple Melange
  • Frankfurter Strawberry Melange
Seriously. The possibilities are endless. Feel free to add your own to the list...

Thanks, But No Thanks Thursday - Food with a Face!

This week's TBNT Thursday feature is a simple recipe. You take a 3 pound red snapper - clean it, butterfly it, season it, and bake it. It's been done a million times, right?

Then how come I can't get past this picture:

Baked Snapper with Vegetable Topping
Best of Weight Watchers Magazine, 1974

The expression on this poor creature's face seems to be saying, "Why have you decorated me with lemon peel flowers and stripes of pureed pimento/radish/watercress and then stuck a lemon peel in my eyeball?"

This recipe makes 4 servings. Who gets the head? Thanks, but No Thanks.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Steppin' Out - A Very Kitschy Guest Post

When my new friend Heidi asked me to guest blog over at her place, I jumped at the chance. I mean, it's not often folks ask ME to bring one of my revolting Retro WW dishes anywhere. So, of course I pulled out all the stops - along with my favorite copper fish mold (thanks, mom!) - and whipped up a very special recipe...

It's fun, fishy and figure-friendly -- And it's suitable for serving in the kitschiest kitchen in all of blogland!

Please do come on over to Kitschen Feast today and join the party--we're having a fabulous time!

And don't forget to meet be back here tomorrow for Thanks, but No Thanks Thursday and more fishy, moldy fun!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Here's to You #72!

I would like to take a moment to propose a very special toast to my 72nd follower! Welcome Rapunzel! As you all know, 72 is a very meaningful number around here - what with it being the 1972 Retro WW Experiment and all.

In honor of this very special occasion, I am bringing out the fancy high-ball glasses and mixing up a retro mocktail that will blow you all away!

The Bouillon Spritzer
Combine 3/4 cup boiling water with 1 packet of instant beef broth; cool and make into ice cubes. Crush when frozen and transfer to a highball glass; cover with 1 cup club soda. Garnish with lemon wedge, if desired.

So here's to all 72 of you wacky retro WW followers. Thanks for coming along on this journey with me! I shall raise my Highball Glass to you and take a long sip of my Beef Broth Cocktail in your honor.

OK--On second thought, I shall toast you all with a nice glass of wine. I know it's not "legal", but that Bouillon Spritzer tasted like roadkill. Cheers!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Retro WW Teaser

This weekend, I spent some time working on a dish that will really floor you. I can't tell you too much about it yet, but I'll give you a few hints...

It involved a little bit of this:

A little bit of that:

And a great big one of these:

Stay tuned for the big reveal later this week when I present the finished product to one of my favorite bloggy friends. Trust me, this is one potluck party you will NOT want to miss!

Friday, May 14, 2010

This Ain't No Fish Taco!

When I think of fish tacos, I imagine myself on a beautiful beach in Baja California, sipping Mojitos and dining on the finest Mahi Mahi whilst the sun sets over the horizon.

So you can imagine my disappointment when I came home from work today, and made myself some Fish "Tacos" for lunch, courtesy of the 1974 WW Recipe Cards - Budget Best Bets Category. (note the quotation marks, my friends, and click here if you need a refresher on what they mean).

Now, it wasn't really the flaked cod (instead of Mahi Mahi) or even the slice of bread (instead of the flour tortilla) that depressed me. It was the topping.

Instead of my usual chunky salsa or buttery guacamole--I was forced to make my own taco sauce out of PIMENTOS. Yes. Pureed pimentos. With bouillon, vinegar, garlic, and paprika. Seriously.

So to re-cap: Instead of eating fish tacos next to the ocean, I ate my "tacos" over the kitchen sink. Instead of a Mojito, I washed them down with a diet coke. And instead of topping them with a zesty fresh condiment, I poured pimento chunks from the blender all over the whole fake taco thingy. I did listen to some really good salsa music throughout the entire pitiful event, though.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thanks, but No Thanks Thursday - Pepto Soup

As you know, TBNT Thursday is the day I feature one lucky dish from my collection of 1972-1974 Retro Weight Watchers recipes that even I would not eat.

Let me preface this week by saying: I love a good Bisque. In fact, I will go out of my way to find a restaurant that serves a delicious Seafood Bisque.

That said, I could not be more disgusted by this week's TBNT Thursday recipe: Salmon Bisque.

Where do I start?

First, let's address the color. I have eaten my fair share of Bisque and have never seen one that looked like this. I assume this Pepto-Bismolesque shade of pink is the result of how the base is made. Do you want to know the details? Really???

Combine 2/3 cup cottage cheese, 1/2 cup evaporated skim milk, 3/4 cup chicken bouillon and 3/4 cup tomato juice in a blender with seasonings then transfer to a pot and bring to a boil.

Next, let's talk about those things floating in there. That's two tablespoons of chopped pimento and a few random flakes of canned salmon thrown in at the end---almost as an afterthought.

For a fleeting moment, I almost considered making this dish as part of my "experiment". Then I stopped myself. I'll admit I'm curious, but I refuse to give this so-called Salmon Bisque the satisfaction. Plus, I really do think I might gag if I tried to eat it.

In my opinion, this recipe should be called: Pink Cottage Cheese Soup with Floating Canned Salmon Flakes

Thanks, but No Thanks!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Far Out Green Smoothies

It's not easy being green. Especially when you are a frozen beverage.

This refreshing smoothie might easily get overlooked due to its odd ingredients and strange color---but don't be too quick to pass up this delightful little concoction.

Try something new today! Stuff your lettuce in the blender and whip up a Lettuce Orangeade Smoothie!

1/2 cup orange juice
2 tsp. artificial sweetener
4 large lettuce leaves
2 sprigs fresh parsley
crushed ice

Puree in blender. Makes 2 servings.

It's surprisingly delicious and magically nutritious. And if you spill any of it on your lime green shag carpet, it will blend right in. Cheers!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Mother of All Retro WW Roasts

Planning a visit with mom today? Looking for a budget-friendly dish to serve her that will knock her socks off?

Mom is sure to cheer when you place this breath-taking roast on the table.

Crown Roast of Frankfurter

1 lb. of hot dogs - sliced lengthwise and broiled
2 tbsp. cider vinegar
1 tsp poppy seeds
2 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 cup boiling water

Combine cabbage, vinegar and poppy seeds then heap in a mound in center of a baking dish. Lean frankfurters against cabbage to form a crown--securing with toothpicks. Pour water over cabbage and bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Garnish with pimento. Makes 4 servings.

Fair warning: this is not easy as easy as it sounds. The mound of cabbage kept falling over, and the hot dogs were very slippery--so you really have to manhandle them. If you look closely, you will see puncture wounds in the hot dogs where my fingernails pierced the skin during assembly.

Oh-- And tell mom to eat fast. Those hot dogs don't stay standing like that very long. In fact, moments after taking this picture, the entire roast came crashing down into a pile of hot dogs, pimento, cabbage, and toothpicks. It wasn't pretty.

But knowing my mom, she'll still tell me I did a great job and that it was delicious. That's just how she is. Thanks Mom.

Happy Mother's Day to my 2 favorite blog followers--Barby (my Mom) and Kathy (my Aunt and Godmother)...and also to all the other moms out there! Have a FRANKTACULAR DAY!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Music Flashback: 1976

I was so surprised and super excited to find out that the lovely Helen at Doing A 180 gave me the coolest award EVER...The Incredibly Prestigious OH MY BLOG Award. Here's the deal:

I have to choose ONE of the following options of accepting the OMB award:

  • Get really drunk and blog for 15 minutes straight.
  • Write about your most embarrassing moment.
  • Write a “Soundtrack of your childhood” post.
  • Make your next blog a ‘vlog’/video blog.
  • Take a picture of yourself first thing in the morning, before you do anything else (hair, makeup, etc) and post it.
Pass the award on to at least three other fabulous bloggers.

This one was a no-brainer for me.

As far back as I can remember, my happiest memories have always revolved around two things: food and music.

In the 1970's when I was growing up, music was always playing in our house. In fact, some of my earliest memories of my mother are of her dancing around the kitchen and preparing food with the radio blasting. Come to think of it, this is something she still does today.

The soundtrack of my youth would be all of those wonderful--sometimes cheesy-- but always happy songs from the 1970's that were almost as delicious as the food. There are too many to name, but I have picked one that always puts a smile on my face. Enjoy...

Finally, I am passing this award on to all of my favorite bloggers, because I can't possibly pick just 3! So if you are reading this, consider yourself awarded.

Now go listen to your favorite cheesy 70's song and whip up a nice aspic. Trust me, it will make you feel great.

Thanks, But No Thanks Thursday

I can't believe another TBNT Thursday is here. Where has the time gone?

This week's feature is an international dish and comes to you from the Best of Weight Watchers Magazine, 1974. In the spirit of TBNT Thursday, I have once again chosen a Retro WW dish that even I would not eat. But this week I have taken it a step further: this Retro WW dish is one that I can barely even look at without gagging.

I know we should all be open to trying new things... And maybe I am a bit of a prude. But a pyramid of raw meat and fish piled high upon a platter sends a shudder through the core of my being.

The "HO GO II" is a light & lively party dish in which each person chooses his/her own portion of fish, shellfish, or liver using a fork (or chopsticks) and then cooks the food one piece at a time in a cauldron of bubbling bouillon.

Here's a closer look...

Now, maybe under the proper conditions and with the strict supervision of a trained professional chef--I might be OK with this. But something tells me the average party-thrower in the 1970's sent a few of her guests home with a serious case of food poisoning after serving up the "HO GO II"...

Welcome to my groovy party! Here's a fork, some raw meat and some boiling hot bouillon! Oh--and by the way, grab yourself a bucket. It's going to be a long night!

Um...Thanks, But No Thanks.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I Love You, Rhubarb

Desserts are not off-limits on the 1972 Retro Weight Watchers Plan. They are just so utterly labor intensive, you may decide to give up and declare it's not even worth the effort.

Long before the days of fat-free frozen yogurt and Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches--women had to get out their hand mixers, Knox Gelatine and saccharine and whip the crap out of evaporated skim milk to make their own ice cream. They had to make fake chocolate with crazy flavored extracts and bread crumbs. They had to do scary things with fruit and molds and dehydrated skim milk. It was really over the top and time-consuming.

My recent retro WW dessert experiment involved a little something called rhubarb. Call me crazy, but I love this time of year, because it is perfect for rhubarb!

Behold the amazing The Rhubarb Apple Bake...
  • 3 envelopes Knox Gelatine
  • 3 cups diet Cream Soda
  • 2 medium apples, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cups fresh sliced rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup artificial sweetener
  • 1 tsp apple pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp imitation butter flavor
Combine all ingredients and bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

Transfer to an attractive serving dish and chill. Makes 4 servings.

There is a recipe for a "creamy topping" that goes with this, but I'll be honest--I used fat free whipped cream from a can. I just didn't have the strength or the fortitude to pull out my mixer and get to work on it. Plus--I ran out of Knox Gelatine.

I enjoyed my retro dessert experiment and would actually make this again. It tasted like an apple/rhubarb pie without the crust.

Plus, I feel like I have finally found an edible mold. The quest is over.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Chin Gym Sold Separately

Unfortunately, when it comes to exercise, I have always had a hard time staying motivated. In fact, when I found this advertisement in one of my Vintage Weight Watchers magazines, I actually thought it sounded like a pretty good deal. A total body workout -- including chin -- just from wearing this attractive body suit? Where do I sign up?

As much as I would like to buy into the "Skin Gym", I have a feeling it is merely an empty promise. Sigh.

So this can only mean one thing: I must get moving. For real....No Skin Gym.

Starting tomorrow.

In the meantime--I simply must give a quick shout-out to my awesome best friend and fitness guru, Kiki who finished her first half marathon today. YOU DID IT, KIKI!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

What Am I, (Mock) Chopped Liver?

I make no bones about the fact that I do not follow the weekly liver rule on the Retro Weight Watchers plan.

So I was pleased to find this recipe for "Mock Chopped Liver" in my 1972 WW Revised Program Cookbook today:

  • 1 can French style string beans
  • onion flakes, to taste
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • salt & pepper
Chop all ingredients together, seasoning to taste.

So what if this spunky dish has absolutely no resemblance or similarity to the real thing? There's no liver, no onions, no schmaltz! It still has the Chutzpah to call itself Chopped Liver anyway.

You gotta respect that, right?