Monday, December 26, 2011

2011: A Year in Review

The Slim Santa Snacks have been served. The Egg-Less Nog has been drunk. Another year has come and gone.

It is so hard to believe that my little Retro WW Experiment is almost two years old! In my second year of blogging about the scary rules and recipes of Weight Watchers circa 1970-1978, I became bolder and braver. I tried food combinations that no human should ever consume. I tackled some culinary bucket list items.

I still haven't achieved my goal of meeting Jean Nidetch. Sigh. One day...

Anyway. In case you have forgotten, here's a look back on some of my finest moments from 2011. The good, the bad, and the horrifying.



A Deeply Disturbing Mystery Fluid

"French Fries"

Hint: They're NOT French Fries

Lemon Tuna Mold

My first ever double-decker and first ever video blog

Cucumber Zips

The ultimate freak food

Frankfurter Spectacular

There are no words.

Fluffy Mackerel Pudding

Video proof that I actually eat this crap

Rosy Perfection Salad

My role model in molded-salad form

Cinnamon Squares

The worst thing I ever ate.
And that's saying a lot.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Festival of Light Recipes

Jean Nidetch never missed an opportunity to renovate a favorite holiday recipe. In fact, she could take the most decadent delectable and turn it into a dieter's dream.

So with Hanukkah starting this week, I would be remiss if I didn't whip up some classic WW versions of this Holiday season's favorites.

Being a proud Jewish Brooklynite, and a self-proclaimed F.F.H. (formerly fat housewife), you can bet Jean knows a thing or two about Latkes, Kugels and Sufganiyot. Since most traditional Jewish foods are not often figure-friendly, Jean offers alternatives for the slim-seeking set.

Take for example, the Latke.

As a lover of Latkes, I have experimented with my share of Retro WW Latke recipes...

First there was the Retro WW Blueberry Latkes. They were delicious and nutritious. One of my very first Retro WW endeavors -- I loved them, but my husband didn't. Whatever.

And then came the Cauliflower "Potato" Latkes. These were a hands-down winner. I made them for lunch and gobbled up the whole batch. I'll swap my potatoes for cauliflower any old day.

But today, I decided to take a different route. Instead of a Latke, I made a Kugel. And I'm so glad I did.

Potato Kugel with Cheese Topping

1 Potato, scrubbed and grated
1 egg
1 slice bread, cut up
1 tsp dehydrated onion flakes
Salt & Pepper

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Transfer to a small casserole. Set in shallow pan holding 1/2-inch water. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes. Top with cottage cheese and dill.

This recipe made one big serving of warm potatoey, cheesey goodness, and you can bet your sweet tuchus I ate every last bite.

I don't come from a Jewish family, but our love of starchy potatoes topped with cottage cheese runs so deep, it is almost like a religion. In fact, I would be willing to bet that as soon as my mom reads this post, she'll be running to the store to pick up the ingredients for this recipe.

I hope everyone has a happy & healthy Hanukkah. May your Latkes be light and your Menorah be bright! Gut Yontif to all, and to all a good holiday outfit that isn't too tight!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Slim Santa Snacks

Everyone knows that it is customary to leave a snack for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.

Most normal people leave him cookies.

As a Retro WW Gal, I simply don't keep cookies on hand. They are not "legal".

Anyway--This Saturday night, as I was flipping through my 1970 Christmas issue of Weight Watchers magazine, I found the perfect treat for Santa. The "Snacks & Hors d'Ouevres for the Skinny Christmas Scene" centerfold recipe spread really caught my eye.

What? You don't put on a cocktail dress, sit by the tree and peruse magazines? Why not?

I thought -- with all those cookies he'll be eating, Santa will surely appreciate a slimming snack to carry him through his busy night. Right?

So I immediately put on my apron and got to work on these...

Slim Santa Snacks
1 1/2 cups tomato juice
pinch garlic powder
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
2 Tbsp water
1/2 pound large fresh mushrooms

Combine first 5 ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes. Soften gelatin in water and add to tomato juice mixture. Chill until syrupy.

Remove stems from mushrooms and place on rack. Spoon mixture over mushrooms and chill until set. Repeat 2-3 times until mushrooms are well coated.

I was so excited about my Slim Santa Snacks, I left out a few of them just in case Santa decided to arrive early. You never know, right?

Well! Lo and behold, when I awoke this morning -- I found an empty platter and a special treat in my stocking...

Merry Christmas everyone! I wish you the happiest of holidays filled with peace, love, joy and lots of "slimming" things to eat!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

An Interview with Mimi's Mom

For almost two years, I have been immersed in the 1972 Retro Weight Watchers Program. I have tried, somewhat pitifully, to follow the program and to sample the thousands of "healthy" recipes from that era. My progress has been mediocre. But I press on...

There are, however, millions of people who actually did follow this program over 40 years ago. They were dedicated, strong and successful. I want to pay tribute to them in a regular segment called, "The Retro WW Interview Project".

Today, I start with my Mom...

Mimi & Mom Before & After:

Q: Why did you join WW?
A: It was 1971. Living in Pittsburgh during the 1970's we were big Steeler fans, and one day I looked at the newspaper. In the sports section, it had all the stats of the Steelers players, and I screamed when I noticed that I outweighed all of them EXCEPT Mean Joe Green. I wanted to lose weight on a structured program, and I liked the idea of going to a meeting hearing others in my same situation. Knowing I had to weigh in weekly, to keep me on task.

Q: What is your most vivid Retro WW memory?
A: My first 10 lbs off, I was so happy!

What was your favorite Retro WW treat?
A: I would toast a slice of bread, slice it length-wise and put my portion of farmers cheese on it with a smidgen of sweet & low then broil till bubbly. I swear, it was like cheesecake to me!

What was your "Frankenstein Food"? (the one food that was most tempting to you)
A: Potato pancakes.

What was the hardest rule to follow on Retro WW?
A: No alcoholic beverages!!!!!!! It was so hard to be "social" on plan. As a young woman with a busy lifestyle, I was always in challenging situations with friends and family. It was hard to always say "no".

Q: What was the best thing about being a WW member in the 1970's?
A: Feeling there was a light at the end of the tunnel and that I could eventually fit thru it!

"Go Steelers! I'm so glad I weigh less than you now!"