Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thanks, but No Thanks Thursday

Once again it's time for TBNT Thursday. The day that I feature one lucky dish from my collection of 1972-74 Retro WW recipes that is so frightening--so utterly horrid--that even I would not attempt to eat it.

I will re-iterate: I don't care if Jean Nidetch herself prepared these dishes and served them to me personally on a diamond-studded, gold-plated Pyrex platter. I would have to look Jean square in the eyes and say, "Thanks, but No Thanks!"

This week's feature is the Molded Asparagus Salad. Don't even get me started on this salad. I get angry just looking at it.

Can't we just set our salad vegetables free? Why must they forever be entombed in a state of gelatine-induced suspended animation?

Tonight, I shall revolt against the mold, and eat my asparagus in its unfettered state. Thanks. I feel better already.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Frank-tastic Dinner for One

A funny thing happens when you tell people you are following the 1972 Weight Watchers Plan: they give you their old cookbooks and recipes and then they dare you to try stuff.

This week, a friend from my meeting brought in some of her mom's old WW program material from 1971, including a recipe book entitled "The Art of Good Cooking". Back then, this booklet was given to members on their 5th week of attendance and is chock full of "legal" recipes to help members enjoy a greater variety of foods on program.

Since I was looking for a quick & easy dinner tonight, I checked out the chapter entitled "Meat, Fish & Poultry". There were so many options. So many delightful legal recipes to choose from in this chapter: Would it be the provocative Veal Balls & Cabbage? Or perhaps the mysterious Bev's Hot Livers (seriously, can someone tell me who is Bev)?? Or the intriguing Fish Supreme which proudly features MSG as one of its main ingredients? Nope. Tonight, I decided to go with the delicious dinner casserole known as...

Frankfurter Stew

  • 1 Tbsp. dehydrated onion flakes (of course)
  • 3 oz. canned mushrooms
  • 1 green pepper, cut into 1" strips
  • 1-1/2 cups tomato juice
  • 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • Dash each: garlic powder, celery salt, parsley flakes, thyme
  • salt & pepper
  • 8 oz. hot dogs - cut into 1" chunks and broiled
  • 4 oz. canned peas & carrots
Simmer all ingredients for 20 minutes. Makes one ridiculously gargantuan serving.

Seriously. It's a lot of food, people. Don't question it. Just enjoy.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Salad That Almost Did Me In

I realize that I have a tendency to gross some people out with my new-found eating habits. Maybe I have even lost a few readers who are just disgusted by me and/or don't have very strong stomachs. So I applaud those of you who have stuck with me through it all. I know it hasn't been easy.

But let me tell you something: you ain't seen nothin' yet.

I stumbled upon this next recipe in a hidden chapter of the 1972 Revised WW Program Cookbook entitled "Unusual Fruit Salads". Up until now, I had never seen this creepy little chapter. It was like it had somehow remained hidden from me behind a beaded curtain; like a strange back room filled with forbidden freaky recipes that time had forgotten. But I couldn't resist. I had to go in.

The recipe has no name. It has no list of ingredients. It is merely a 2-sentence blurb describing how to prepare it. I read this blurb and re-read it at least 10 times, just to be sure I wasn't misunderstanding it. So here it is:
For an unusual first course, slice a peeled, ripe banana over shredded lettuce on a chilled salad plate. Sprinkle lightly with lemon juice and cover with 1/4 cup Cocktail Sauce for Seafood.

Are you confused? Because I was confused. Even my fish mold was confused.

To answer your questions:
  1. Yes. I ate it.
  2. Yes. I was alone.
  3. Yes. I am ashamed
  4. No. It wasn't that bad.
  5. No. I will never eat it again.
Hey, don't knock it 'til you try it! What's the strangest thing you have ever put on a salad?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Refresher

Another weekend is upon us, and although I look forward to the freedom and fun they bring, I have always found weekends to be the hardest time to stay "on plan" ... both retro and non-retro. So I am taking a moment to refresh my memory and reflect upon why I am doing this experiment.

From the start, it has been about having fun, doing something drastically different, and motivating myself in a new way. Oh yeah...and getting back into those "skinny jeans".

I have purposely not been focusing on the scale. Mainly because I have spent years & years obsessing about a number on the scale, and not really doing anything else. This time is different. I am focusing on the program, my choices, my attitude and letting my clothes tell me how I am doing.

It's refreshing.

It's been exactly two months since I began this Retro WW Experiment, and so far I am thrilled with my results:
  • I am more motivated than ever
  • I am in control
  • I am making better choices
  • I am trying new things
  • I am practicing better portion control
  • I am having fun on program
  • I am not feeling deprived
And the Skinny Jeans? They're hanging patiently in the closet. I'll try them on when I am good and ready. Don't worry, you'll be the first to hear about it when I do!

In the meantime, enjoy this refreshing Retro WW treat to kick off your weekend...

Milk Sherbet
1/3 cup non-fat dry milk
12 oz. dietetic carbonated beverage

Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Pour into a shallow tray
or dish and freeze to a "mush" (40-60 min).
Makes 4 servings

NOTE: I used diet coke, but I think diet orange or cherry would be much better.

OK, so I just read somewhere that 120 days of the year fall on a weekend or holiday. That's almost 1/3 of the year. But we don't have to be afraid of the weekends, right?

As Jean Nidetch says, "At Weight Watchers, you don't have to be afraid of anything." I find that very refreshing.

Bring it on!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thanks, but No Thanks Thursday

I have learned something about myself during this crazy Retro WW Experiment: I will eat just about anything. It's a tad embarrassing, but even though I may not finish every last bite, I will at least give almost any crazy Retro WW concoction a fair try.

There are, however, in my vast collection of 1972-74 Retro WW recipes, a select few dishes that are so frightening--so utterly horrid--that even I would not attempt them.

I don't care if Jean Nidetch herself prepared these dishes and served them to me personally on a diamond-studded, gold-plated Pyrex platter. I would have to look Jean square in the eyes and say, "Thanks, but No Thanks!"

So, as a way to highlight these horrifying dietetic disasters, and for your gastro-entertainment, I bring you The Retro WW Experiment's new weekly feature: TBNT Thursday!

Our first featured TBNT recipe comes from the 1974 Weight Watchers Recipe Cards. And is entitled:

Aspic-Glazed Lamb Loaf

This simple, make-ahead recipe consists of 1 lb. cooked lamb that must be put through a grinder. Twice. Then the lamb is seasoned, formed into a loaf, and baked. Next, we must apply a syrupy, thin layer of gelatin over the entire thing. Chill. Then add another layer of gelatin. Chill again. Then (and I am not even joking about this) we are to repeat this step until the loaf is thickly coated in aspic. Stick some radishes, pimentos and pepper strips in there, and then spoon some more gelatin over that. Chill until the entire thing is one big solid gelatin/meat/vegetable formation, then slice and serve with a parsley garnish, of course.

Did anyone actually eat this? And if so...How did anyone eat this without throwing up? Uh, thanks, but no thanks.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Consider the "Choice Group"

There is something I haven't told you. And it's big...I mean really BIG!

Yes friends, I have been holding out on you. There is one little hidden detail of the Retro WW Program that is going to blow your mind.

Here goes...

If you omit 1 slice of bread from your daily menu, you may select from the following group 2-3 times weekly:
  • 1/2 cup pasta
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 1 potato
  • 3/4 cup grits
BAZINGA!!! This new rule opened up a whole new world in 1972. Can you imagine the excitement of women across the WW universe who followed the plan from 1966-71, and suddenly learned that in 1972 you could now eat one half cup of pasta - 2 times per week??!! I'll bet they all passed out simultaneously from sheer ecstasy.

Anyway, since I have really been craving me some serious carb action lately, I decided to activate the "choice group" option for dinner last night. And I found the perfect recipe:

Fettucine (and Sprouts) Alfredo
1/2 cup cooked linguine
1/2 cup canned bean sprouts
2 oz. parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons instant non-fat dry milk
dash imitation butter
salt & pepper

Place all ingredients in a small sauce pan over very low heat and stir until cheese melts. Makes 1 serving. Very delish.

At this point, you may be asking, "What up with the sprouts, Mimi?" And that's a very good question. Allow me to explain... The sprouts are added to many pasta dishes as a way to add some bulk and stretch the portion. They add a funky flavor and change the texture a bit, but once you get used to's really not bad. Also--it's better than sitting there eating 1/2 cup of pasta. That's just pitiful.

Oh--and if you get hungry later, you can just munch on the rest of the sprouts right out of the can.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Liquid Lunch

There are some foods that should just remain as nature intended.

Can someone please tell me why is it that retro dieting requires us to transform perfectly good beverages into congealed solid molds - remember the Friendly Aspic? While at the same time we are forced to alter delicious solid foods into pureed liquid sludge? Can't we just leave well enough alone, for Pete's sake?

By now it is probably obvious to you that my blender is prominently featured in today's Retro WW lunch.

First off, we have the Gazpacho Cocktail. Into the blender goes a tomato, a cucumber, some chicken broth, a tsp. of oil and a dash of paprika. Puree. Serve over ice with chives to garnish.

Then rinse out the blender and toss in 1/4 cup mushrooms, 1/2 cup skim milk, dash paprika, and salt & pepper. Puree. Toss in a saucepan and heat with a can of tuna. Pour over a slice of toast. Voila--Tuna a la King!

So here's a short transcript of lunch in the Mimi household today:

MIMI: Sip, Sip, Slurp. Yum.
HUBBY: What's that?
MIMI: Gazpacho Cocktail, want a sip?
HUBBY: (with horrified facial expression) For the love of God, is there pureed fish in that thing?
MIMI: No--the fish is in the Tuna a la King. This just has pureed veggies.
HUBBY: Oh. Ok then. Sip, Sip, Slurp. Ewwww. That's disgusting.
MIMI: Whatever. Sip, Sip, Slurp. Yum.

One more benefit of the Retro WW Plan: It's nice to not have to share your food.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Retro Lunch Munch

Are you ready for lunch? If you are following the 1972 Retro WW Plan, I know that by now your tummy is growling and you are ready to eat your chair, so let us begin.

I have to admit, lunch is the most difficult meal of the day for me when it comes to retro compliance. I am a very busy working gal, and it can be extremely hard to pull together a full-blown retro WW meal in the middle of my workday. But I try.

Full disclosure: There are many days I still resort to a Smart Ones frozen meal. *GASP*

But, in my defense, I feel like this is acceptable. WW has always been a proponent of the meal-in-a-plastic-tray. Remember these in the 70s?

Or this in the 80's??

Now, if you are playing along, here are the "rules" for lunch back in 1972:

Choice of :
  • Fish, Meat or Poultry, 4 oz. or
  • Soybean, 6oz. or
  • Cheese, 2 oz. hard or 2/3 cup cottage or
  • Eggs, 2
Bread, 1 slice
Vegetable, from group #3 (unlimited)
Vegetable, from group #4 (limited), 4 oz.

Some typical lunches might include:
  • Broiled Flounder, broccoli, bread, and artichoke heart cocktail
  • Pink Lady Salad, bread, Tab
  • Soybean Chili, celery strips, melba toast, tea
Since it is Saturday, I plan to make myself a leisurely, legal lunch today. I think I'll try some Tuna a la King and a Gazpacho Cocktail. Curious? Stop back later for a complete review. Oh--and wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Your Retro WW Breakfast is Served!

Good Morning retro friends! Today's post is in reply to a reader request. Recently, I was asked to post a menu plan with meal ideas for a typical Retro WW week. I thought this was a great idea, so in my next few posts, I will try to highlight some meal ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Today, we will begin with breakfast.

According to the Retro WW "Rules" - breakfast must consist of the following:
Juice or Fruit and
Choice of:
  • Cheese, 1 oz. hard or 1/4 cup cottage
  • or Fish, 2 oz.
  • or Egg, 1
  • or, Cereal, 1 oz. with 1/2 cup skim milk
Bread, 1 slice
Coffee or Tea, if desired
So here is what a typical breakfast might look like:

Have you finished laughing?

Some other tasty retro combinations might include:
  • Broiled Grapefruit and an Open-Faced Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  • Orange Sections and a Not-So-Danish-Pastry
  • Honeydew, Smoked Salmon on Lettuce and Slice of Toast
  • Or my personal favorite--Strawberries and Shredded Wheat Cereal with Skim Milk.
Make no mistake, my friends: By 10:00am you will be starving. Then it's time to whip out the celery and start chomping... that's how we roll in 1972.

Just remember, it's only a few hours until lunch...

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Case of the Mondays...

I really needed a pick-me-up this morning. After a long weekend of Non-Retro WW eating (and drinking), it is definitely time to get back to business.

This is serious folks.

Before diving back in head first, I needed to wake up and smell the coffee, and The Summer Sipper fit the bill perfectly.

Summer Sipper
(The Best of WW Magazine, 1973)

2 Cups Buttermilk

2 Cups STRONG coffee

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Combine all ingredients and chill 4-8 hours. Makes 4 servings.

Since I didn't have 4-8 hours to spare, I just served it on the rocks. The Summer Sipper doesn't taste great, but if this sucker doesn't perk you up-- well then you're dead. Who needs Starbucks when you can have the Summer Sipper?

Now that we are energized and sufficiently caffeinated-- get ready! Because this week I will be highlighting some of my favorite easy retro meal ideas, starting with breakfast--the most important meal of the day. Stay tuned!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Friendly Aspic

"Well, if it doesn't jell, it isn't aspic, and this ain't jellin'!" --Milton Arbogast (Psycho)

Last night, I was in the mood for something different. And friendly.

Having never prepared aspic before, I was slightly hesitant to try this recipe, but the more I considered it, the more perfect it seemed. Refreshing, savory, simple, could it be anything less than wonderful?

Before I started cooking, I made the mistake of Googling the word aspic. I wish I hadn't, because this is what I saw. Have you returned? Are you OK??

I had to shake off that horrific image quickly or I would never be able to continue. I began assembling the ingredients:
  • 1tablespoon unflavored gelatine
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 1/4 tsp lemon-pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
After the gelatine was dissolved in the tomato juice and all other ingredients had been combined, I poured the mixture into a small baking pan and placed it in the refrigerator. I then went about my business for the next two hours--the exact amount of time needed for the aspic to set.

After I finished apron shopping, hemming my bell-bottoms and replacing the ribbon in my typewriter--it was finally time to cut into the Friendly Aspic! I rushed to the fridge---past my horrified husband (whom I ignored as he asked me why I was storing congealed blood in the refrigerator)---opened the door and excitedly grabbed the aspic and a sharp knife.
Let me tell you something, people: This aspic is NOT friendly. It is not even amicable or congenial. It is in fact putrid. I was not ready for this jelly. I don't think I will ever be.

Maybe it's just me, but I prefer my tomato juice in liquid form. What's your take on aspic?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Why I Still Go

If you have been following this Retro WW Experiment from the very beginning, then you know that I set up a few rules for myself in my very first post. One of my "rules" is that I must attend a WW meeting every week.

Even though I have attended WW meetings for over 10 years now, they never get old to me. I have had many, many different leaders and have met many terrific people. Most of my friends are Weight Watchers members, and everything I have learned about weight management came from Weight Watchers meetings.

However, there are days (like today) that even I can't seem to drag myself to a meeting. It's rainy, or I'm tired, or I have a headache, or I'm too busy or all of the above. And I ask myself, "What's the point?"

But---As it says in this ad from 1971, "Imagine having a roomful of people all wanting to help you lose weight and keep it off. Let it rain. I've got too much going for me at Weight Watchers!"

Bring it on, world, I am headed to my WW meeting! What could be better?

Oh, wait! Before I go---I have to thank the fabulous Linda at Diva Weigh for the recent mention. Many thanks for spreading the Retro WW love!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Birds Are Tweeting and So Am I...

What a beautiful Spring day! I couldn't imagine working inside on this glorious sunny afternoon. So I set up a makeshift office on my front porch and whipped up a refreshing Retro WW treat.

The Purple Cow
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup blueberries
2 tsp artificial sweetener
1 tsp lemon extract
3 ice cubes

Process in blender until smooth. This little purple smoothie is yummy and oh-so-refreshing. Seriously. Try this one! If you don't have buttermilk, just use skim milk...that's what I did. (Shhh-don't tell Jean!)

Well--It's back to work now, but the little birdies in my yard are reminding me to tell you all to come on over and follow the 1972 Retro WW Experiment on Twitter. Yep - We tweet now! I know... it's not very retro, but I still think Jean would approve.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Ode to Cottage Cheese

I suspect that if you did Weight Watchers in the 70's and didn't like cottage cheese, you were in big trouble.

Cottage Cheese is the base for so many recipes in the 1972 Revised WW Program Cookbook, there are almost too many too count. Just to name a few:

  • Kugel
  • Danish
  • Pancakes
  • Open-Face Sandwiches
  • Quiches
  • Cheesecake

Additionally, cottage cheese seems to have some sort of magical quality that transforms forbidden foods into perfectly "legal" foods. For example, cream cheese is strictly forbidden on the 1972 program, but if you "make your own" using cottage cheese, Knox gelatin, vanilla extract, ginger ale, and lemon juice --VOILA! It suddenly becomes a dietetic wonder.

Weight Watchers was so invested in this cheese product, they even came out with their own brand in 1973. Does anyone remember having this in their frigidaire?

Luckily, I happen to adore cottage cheese. I believe that cottage cheese is a condiment to be used liberally and placed atop everything: potatoes, noodles, eggs, etc.

Let us now sing the praises of cheese, glorious cheese! What's your favorite?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Have a "Legal" Easter

Just remember: Eggs are legal. Chocolate is not.

Start your Easter off right with a 100% legal breakfast! Try the Terrace Tempter...

Beat 1 egg with 2 Tbsp water and 1/4 tsp vanilla extract then pour over a slice of bread in a small casserole. Let stand for 2 minutes and bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

For the fabulous pink tippity topping: Combine 1/3 cup cottage cheese, 1/4 cup sliced strawberries, a pinch of allspice, and 4 tsp artificial sweetener in the blender and process until smooth. Pour on top of toast and sprinkle with cinnamon.

After consuming this dish, it should keep you satisfied for exactly 37 minutes.

If you hear any other tummies growling during Easter mass, give those ladies a wink and a smile. Maybe they had a Terrace Tempter for breakfast too.

Isn't dieting fun?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Go, You Chicken Fat, GO!

If you are like me and grew up in the 60's or 70's, you were probably tortured by this song at some point in your life.

Sung by Robert Preston (The Music Man), and sent to every school in the U.S. as part of a Youth Fitness Program in the 60's, it is guaranteed to get you moving.

Plus---once you hear it, you will NEVER GET IT OUT OF YOUR HEAD.

We had a copy of this record at our house, and I still remember doing the "Chicken Fat" workout with my mom and grandmother on a regular basis. We had such a great time yelling, "Give that chicken fat back to the chicken and don't be chicken again!"

I have posted the entire "Chicken Fat" song for your retro fitness enjoyment. Now get up, get moving and flap those wings!

Am I the only weirdo that remembers this?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Pink Friday

I realized today that I have really been slacking off when it comes to the Retro Weight Watchers five fish per week rule. Coincidentally, it happens to be Good Friday today.

"Perfect", I thought, as I dove enthusiastically into the 1972 Revised WW Program Cookbook to search for the perfect fish dish.

As I flipped through the pages and pages of fish recipes, one in particular stood out above all the rest: Pink Lady Salad (fish, potato, and beets). There was no question in my mind that I had to try it.

I am simply going to post the ingredients and let you draw your own conclusions about this one:

  • 1 medium apple - cored, peeled and sliced
  • 6 oz. fish - boned and flaked
  • 3 oz. potato - boiled and diced
  • 2 oz. beets - diced
  • 2 oz. raw onion - diced
  • 1/2 tbsp. diced gherkins
  • 1/2 tbsp. drained capers
  • salt & pepper
  • dash paprika
  • 1 tbsp. basic "french dressing" (not from the bottle...oh no...this is an entirely different recipe which I just don't have the energy to go into right now)
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and chill until ready to serve.

Sounds crazy.

Looks even crazier.

Tastes pretty good actually. Why can't all food be pink?