Thursday, February 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Retro WW Experiment!

One year ago today I made a decision that changed my life.

I had a crazy idea. I was snowed in. I really needed a creative outlet.

So I became a blogger.

I will never forget my first post. How fun it was checking back everyday and hoping for followers. I still remember my first official follower. (Thanks Ellen) What a thrill!

Over the past year, I have fallen in & out of love with my blog many, many times - but I am glad we are still together. I have met some incredible people through this experience and have had a lot of fun in the process. So please join me in wishing a very Happy Birthday to the Retro WW Experiment...

Time to blow out the candle!

My 1972 "Raggedy Ann" Birthday Party

So what do you say we break the 1972 Retro WW rules and have a piece of cake? And maybe some potato salad. And ham. Just this once...

My Gorgeous Mom (holding the cake), Grandma, and family getting ready to PARTY!

I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to read my crazy little blogging experiment. I hope you have enjoyed the journey so far. I know I certainly have.

Cheers! And keep on sharing that groovy Retro WW love! There's lots more to come...

The Final Guest Post Entry - Let's Wrap It Up!

Well here we are. The final entry of the Retro WW Guest Post Challenge. How fitting that we are wrapping up this fantastic journey with some delicious hot "wrap ups". Yum. Thanks to everyone who participated in this challenge. You are brave. You are beautiful. Um...You are a little wacky. But that's why I love ya! Please enjoy this last guest post by Jill, and go visit her at!

First off, I’d like to thank Mimi for the chance to try one of the retro WW recipes!

My recipe was ‘Hot Wrap Ups’, and since I’m a big fan of lettuce wrap appetizers, the prospect of making the 1972 WW version was enticing:

1 cup diced celery
1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup chicken bouillon
2 tbsp chopped chives
1/4 tsp garlic powder
dash white pepper
4 large lettuce leaves
pickle slices
lime slices
parsley sprigs

Cook celery & mushrooms in bouillon for 5 minutes. Drain, reserving broth. Cool slightly. Combine celery & mushrooms with chives, garlic powder and white pepper. Soak lettuce leaves in boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain.

Spoon one fourth of the celery mixture into the center of each leaf. Roll up securely, folding the sides of the leaf over the filling. Secure with toothpicks, if needed. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Garnish with pickle slices on top, capers, sliced lime and parsley. Makes 2 servings, 1 point per serving.

This recipe was super-easy to make - about 15 minutes to prepare plus 10 minutes to bake - and I actually had most of the ingredients hanging around the house:

The only real challenge was getting the lettuce leaves to roll up neatly and keep the filling contained. Seriously, who boils lettuce? Fortunately I had a box of toothpicks at hand to save the day.

In my opinion, boiling the lettuce was a mistake - afterwards the leaves were very soggy and not too appetizing. But after assembling the dish and plating it with the suggested condiments it didn’t look too bad (just very monochromatic!)

So how did it taste? Well, it wasn’t necessarily bad, just really bland. The texture of the boiled and baked lettuce was not good. I tried this dish both with and without condiments and the capers were a nice addition - but when combined with the lime and pickle things got a bit ugly.

I think this recipe has potential, but next time I would use lightly steamed Napa cabbage leaves as a wrapper and would probably add some quinoa and ground bison or pork to the filling for a bit of protein and texture. A little onion wouldn’t hurt either! And the pickles and limes will definitely not make a repeat appearance.

Preparing the filling and just serving it with crisp lettuce (instead of baking it) might approximate the lettuce wrap appetizer at some of the big restaurant chains that always seem to have way more calories than they should!

Either way, it was fun making this recipe and getting a glimpse into Weight Watchers’ groovy past! Thanks Mimi!

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Ultimate Retro WW Guest Post - LIVER LIVES!

All I can say about this next guest post is: BRAVO! My buddy Diane from the WW message boards is quite a gem. She stepped up to the plate and hit a home run with this liver recipe. I have successfully avoided the dreaded "liver rule" during the past year of my Retro WW adventure. But thanks to Diane--the Retro WW Experiment will forever include one fantastic liver dish that will go down in history. Hooray?

If you think the switch to PointsPlus was an ordeal, don't expect any sympathy from the WW'ers who made it to goal in the 70s. The program back then had a lot of crazy notions about weight loss, but the most notorious was the requirement to eat liver once a week. So when Mimi asked for volunteers to help try some crazy retro recipes, I just had to go for the liver - no half measures for me!

Here's the recipe Mimi sent:

Liver and Apple Salad
6 oz. cooked liver, diced
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup canned bean sprouts, drained & rinsed
1/4 medium green pepper, diced
1 medium apple, cored & diced
2 tbsp diced pimiento
1 envelope instant chicken broth & seasoning mix
1 tbsp mayo
1 tsp lemon juice

Mix all ingredients. Chill in bowl. Unmold on a bed of lettuce. Makes 1 dinner serving.

I made it for some game friends for luncheon today, and I have to say, it wasn't half bad. But it wasn't half good, either, so I won't make it again.

I should start out by saying I like some organ meats. I do a giblet gravy. I serve chopped liver and liverwurst at parties. I once made Julia Child's chicken livers in cognac. But this recipe had something far grosser in it: canned bean sprouts. I could not cope with the La Choy stuff I bought, so I subbed them for fresh. That's the only way I adapted the recipe. (Plus, I packed it into a ring mold to be extra fancy.)

The recipe assumes you've already got some cooked liver on your hands. Just on the off chance you don't, here's how you cook them:

  1. Rinse the livers well under cold running water
  2. Pick them over to remove any pieces of fat or any black or green spots
  3. Dry them well and crank up your kitchen exhaust fan to 11 (liver, frankly, smells nasty when it's cooking)
  4. Saute in a nonstick pan in a little canola oil, turning frequently until cooked through
  5. Chill thoroughly before dicing up

Since I was making this for company, I doubled the recipe. It's really mostly fruit and veg, hiding the liver pretty effectively. The diced-up ingredients looked fine in the bowl, but when I mixed it all together, the colorful apples and veggies got coated with a none-too-lovely brown liver residue. Ew.

I packed the mess into a tinned ring mold well-sprayed with Pam, covered it with plastic and chilled it for a couple of hours. It unmolded very nicely onto a platter, and I served it forth with my 1970s Vera Neumann napkins.

No one got sick. No one had seconds. One friend cleaned his plate, more out of politeness than delight. One friend wouldn't touch it. Their 4-year-old daughter said she wanted to try it, but then she chickened out. My dog's attitude was, "All the more for me!"