Showing posts with label Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My Haphazard Weight Watchers Challah


My attempt at making Challah bread would be best if I could call out for my deceased female members of my family on my mother's side. Each and every member of my family made the best Challah bread, not just for the Sabbath on Friday...which was never really explained to me when I was a young child, but for other Jewish holiday traditions as well.


I never had to make my own Challah bread all theses years, up until the late nineties after my last aunt passed away...then, the tradition was broken. I was way too busy working days, at an affluent Jewish Country Club and 3 nights a week working for a mega wealthy household in Palm Beach as a Private Chef. Good thing I didn't have to do any bread baking...that would require a "separate position!"...end of that story!
If any one should doubt what this bread is all about, here's a little history behind it!

The braided challah, which is made with eggs, is the Jewish Sabbath‑and‑holiday bread. It is surrounded by folklore and tradition and loaded with symbolism. On festive occasions a blessing is said over two loaves, symbolizing the two portions of the manna that was distributed on Fridays to the children of Israel during their Exodus from Egypt. The breads are covered on the table by a decorative challah cover or a white napkin, which represents the dew that collected on the manna in the morning. Poppy and sesame seeds sprinkled on the bread also symbolize the manna that fell from heaven. 

Challah is made in various sizes and shapes, all of which have a meaning.
 
Braided ones, which may have three, four, or six strands, are the most common, and because they look like arms intertwined, symbolize love.

 Three braids symbolize truth, peace, and justice.

 Twelve humps from two small or one large braided bread recall the miracle of the 12 loaves for the 12 tribes of Israel. Round loaves, “where there is no beginning and no end,” are baked for Rosh Hashanah to symbolize continuity. Ladder and hand shapes are served at the meal before the fast of Yom Kippur—the ladder signifying that we should ascend to great heights, the hand that we may be inscribed for a good year. On Purim, small triangular loaves symbolize Haman’s ears; at Shavuot, two oblongs side by side represent the Tablets of the Law. The bulkah is a segmented rectangular challah.

Sweet challahs with honey or raisins are baked during the festive season to bring joy and happiness.

The name “challah” is derived from the Hebrew word used for “portion” in the Biblical commandment “of the first of your dough you shall give unto the Lord a portion for a gift throughout your generations.

Linking to: Full Plate Thursday @ Miz Helen's Country Cottage 

Challah
from the Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook


1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 1/2 cups + 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 envelope active dry yeast
1 large egg, beaten
2 teaspoon corn oil
2 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg white, beaten with 1 Tbsp. water
(I used one whole egg, beaten with ! Tbsp. water)
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds

In a small bowl, combine the water and 1 Tbsp. of the flour; sprinkle with the yeast. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in the egg and oil.

In a food processor, combine the remaining flour, the sugar, and salt. With the machine running, scrape the yeast mixture through the feed tube until the dough just forms a ball. Knead the dough by pulsing until it is smooth and elastic, about 30 times.

Spray a large bow with nonstick spray: place dough in the bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let the dough rise in a warm draft free place
until it double in volume, about 1 hour. Punch down the
dough; lightly sprinkle a work surface with flour.







 Divide into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece between your palms.












Roll into an 18-inch rope between the palm of your hands.












Pinch ropes together at one end, and braid loosely.













Be sure to braid the three ropes loosely to allow room for the dough to rise the second time.
Cover loosely with a plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place until double in volume, about 1 hour.










Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 175 C. Brush the loaf with half of the egg white. Bake about 20 minutes...as seen in the photo...after 20 minutes. Brush with remaining egg white, and sprinkle with the poppy seeds, if you're using poppy seeds.








Bake until loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom 10-15 minutes longer. Remove fro the baking sheet and cool completely on a rack.
Points value: 2

Note: this is an excellent small loaf of bread to bake, if you're not planning to make 2 loaves. 1 1/2 cups of flour, is such a small amount, compared to 3 to 5 cups used when baking breads. Simple and easy, just need practice with the braiding!






Not much to say about my weekend indulges...I practically ate the entire little loaf of bread by myself, before I got to share it with my family. Although, I did manage to lose 1 more pound...Total: 14lbs, and still going!

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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hot-and Spicy Chickpea Cakes with Pico de Gallo...and Guest Post

Hot-and Spicy Chickpea Cakes with Pico de Gallo from Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook



I am so honored to guest post for my dear friend Swathi, @Zesty South Indian Kitchen... who at this time, needs all the rest she can get. Glad to know she also has a few other blogger friends that will guest post for her, while she is recuperating. She needs a lot of "mommy and me" time at this very fragile first few months!

I am so thrilled to celebrate the birth of Swathi's little prince...Nikhil! A beautiful, and healthy baby boy! Such a perfect addition to the happy family, and a pride and joy to his big sister, Nidhi.
Swathi dear, I just want you to know, that I wish you and your precious baby all the best of health, and happiness. Congratulations to you, your hubby, and princess Nidhi!
May you, enjoy your new bundle of joy!


This dish is one of may favorite dishes to have for lunch, and for the Pico de Gallo, it's zero points so, healthy, spicy, colorful and delicious! I will be back to add more good news, but in the meantime...here's an easy way to cut the veggies perfect!

Linking to: Full Plate Thursday, @Miz Helen's Country Cottage




just click over to: Swathi's blog  to get the recipe!
 
Thank you Swathi, for giving me the opportunity to guest post for you, again!



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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Smoky Manhattan-Style Clam Chowder...


Still going strong with Weight Watchers and their amazing recipes from the Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook. Also received another one from a friend, called Weight Watchers One Pot Cookbook. I can hardly wait to check out some of the delicious recipes. I actually signed up for the meetings...only, because a lot has changed in the program in the last few years, and it's a different point system now. As far as the weight loss, I'm still at 7 lbs of my weight loss, but I do splurge at least once a week, where I don't even try to count the points because it would totally fall off the points track. As you can see, that really does make a difference when you are trying to lose weight!
If you like clams, then you will most likely love Manhattan Clam Chowder. So light, rich, yet oh, so satisfying, and it's actually a Weight Watchers recipe, that I barely altered. The only difference was, that I added a dry chipotle pepper, that I soaked in boiling water, to give it the smoky taste, instead of using fire roasted diced tomatoes. Chipotle has more of a smoky flavor than fired roasted tomatoes would. I must confess, that I'm totally enjoying this new program, and are looking forward to each day with so much enthusiasm to plan a different meal every day, knowing that it's so flavorful, and healthy with lots of fresh vegetables that can be made so many ways. Just look at the robust color, texture and flavor of this gorgeous Manhattan Clam Chowder. I'm so happy to share the recipe with you.

Linking to: Cookbook Sundays @couscous-consciousness


Smoky Manhattan-Style Clam Chowder
adapted from: Weight Watchers Complete Cookbook

2 teaspoons olive oil
(I used 1 Tbsp.)
1 onion chopped
1 large garlic clove minced
1 (1/2 pound) all-purpose potato, peeled, and  cut into 1/2 inch dice (I used 2 large potatoes)
1 small zucchini diced (I omitted it)
1 carrot diced (I added 3)
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes)
(I added 2 cans of diced regular tomatoes)
1 bay leaf
(1 chipotle pepper)
2 (8 ounce bottles)clam juice
( I used one bottle)
1/2 cup of water
(I used 2 cups of water with 1 Tbsp vegetable base, boiled in the microwave)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (I used 1 teaspoon)
1/8 teaspoon black pepper (I used 1/2 teaspoon)
1 (6 ounce can chopped clams (I used 2 cans of chopped clams)

Soak the dried chipotle pepper, after you have boiled it. Let it soak until soft. Cut in half, and clean the seeds out, and cut pepper into small pieces to add to the chowder.
It's optional, you don't have to use it, if you are using fire roasted diced tomatoes.




Heat the oil in a large pot, over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook stirring until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add celery, carrots, and zucchini (if you're using it) and saute for another 5 minutes. Add the oregano, pepper, and stir through.







Add the tomatoes with their juice, the clam juice, the water, the bay leaf, the chipotle pepper, diced, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer partially cover, for about 25 minutes.










Add the clams with their juice, and cook, just until heated through, about 2 minutes. Do not boil, or the clams will toughen.
8 servings
PointsPlus value:4












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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Chocolate Buttermilk Bundt Cake...

Just wanted to let you know that I'm back on track with my Weight Watchers recipes...and yes, this light and simple Chocolate Bundt Cake is from my Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook. Surprised?...you shouldn't be. It's only 4 points per serving, unlike the the little Pogácsa (biscuits) which I made, had at least 2 points per serving...and you just can't stop at eating one piece.We're on a new track now...still lost 1 additional lb. when I thought I gained some of the weight back...exercise does help!

On a lighter note...as in weight wise, and otherwise, I am staying on the Weight Watchers program and will be featuring mostly, my Weight Watchers' recipes, even for my Guest Post, which I am so excited about! For my Chocolate Bundt Cake recipe,  click over...check it out!

Linking to: http://mizhelenscountrycottage.blogspot.com/ 
                   http://katherinescorner.com/
                  



Chocolate Buttermilk Bundt Cake
from: Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook
2011 edition


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 ounce semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 10 inch Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl.
Combine cocoa and chopped chocolate in small bowl. Pour boiling water over cocoa mixture, stirring
until chocolate is melted.
Whisk together buttermilk, oil, egg, egg white, and vanilla in large bowl; stir in cocoa mixture. Add flour,
mixture, stirring just until no longer visible. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 45-50 minutes. Let cool in pan on wire
rack 10 minutes. Invert and remove pan. Let cool completely. Serves 24 slices
Points Plus value: 4

note: You can substitute low-fat buttermilk, by making your own.
To a 1 cup glass measuring cup, add 1/4 cup of distilled white vinegar, and fill to 1 cup, low-fat milk.
Do not stir, just leave for a few minutes and it will get thick, just like buttermilk...only cheaper, and just as good!

Gong Xi Fa Cai...Happy Chinese New Year...The year of the Dragon!

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Black Beans and Rice...and Cuban Picadillo

Being on WeightWatchers is so much fun, and versatile with all the interesting and delicious foods you can prepare, right out of the cookbook, or get recipes online. Not only that, but you can create your own menus, as long as they are not too fatty, or too much carbs. I love beans, any kind...especially black beans. Here is South Florida we have a huge population of Cuban/Americans that have brought their culture, and cuisine with them to carry on and you can find a Cuban restaurant, or market all around town, here in West Palm Beach, but mostly in Miami!
It's so easy to make Black Beans and Rice, very satisfying with the addition of the Picadillo, which is stirred into the ready made Black Beans and Rice, and if you want to keep it vegetarian...just omit the Picadillo. I will include the basic ingredients for the Picadillo, which is a Cuban hearty ground beef dish, that can be also served with rice, just by itself...combining it with the black beans is really, so hearty and delicious with a simple salad on the side!

Black Beans and Rice
by; Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook

4 teaspoons olive oil
1 green bell pepper seeded and chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
5-6 garlic, minced
1 (16-ounce) can black beans, rinsed
and drained
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 cup vegetable stock, or broth
4 teaspoons dry sherry
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
4 cups cooked white rice

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil. Saute the bell pepper, onion, and garlic, until very soft, about 15 minutes. Stir in the beans, tomatoes, stock, sherry, thyme, bay leaf, oregano, pepper sauce, and water; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens and vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes. If the mixture becomes too thick, add hot water to thin to desired consistency. Stir in the cilantro, and season with the salt and pepper; discard the bay leaf. Serve over the rice. Makes 4 servings.
Points Value: 9

Note: with the addition of the picadillo, another 3, or 4 points are added. What I did, was have my usual coffee at breakfast, and ate an entire grapefruit (0 points)...NO OATMEAL...I saved my 4 points to have the Picadillo

For the Picadillo:
Saute 1 medium onion, 4 cloves chopped garlic, in small amt. of olive oil. Add 3/4 cup tomato sauce, 3/4 cup beef broth, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon cumin, few dashes of red hot sauce, and simmer for about 30 minutes. Stir in 8 to 10 pimento stuffed green olive (you can cut them in half) and chopped cilantro. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes. You can serve them over rice, or add, and stir in with the Black Beans and Rice.

Linking to: Cookbook Sundays @ Couscous & Consciousness

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Chicken Stir-Fry...and Weight Watchers Diet


I have to be all honest with you...although, I've been good this week keeping up with my points system and staying away from unhealthy snacks, but last night I kind of "fell off the wagon"...NO! not the drinking "wagon" since I decided even with my favorite Chardonnay white wine, I am only enjoying that, once a week...even if that! Every point counts, and I don't want to jeopardize it with empty points, but I did. Last night, I just didn't feel like making dinner, so I bought some freshly made sushi, from our local supermarket. Ate the entire 8 pieces...will get to that, later!

Still loving my Weight Watchers Diet, the points are easy to keep track of, knowing that every recipe in the book gives you the points per serving. I made the Stir-Fried Chicken this past Thursday, and I was really proud with my progress of eating healthy, since I started the diet this Monday. When things go wrong, my problem is munching on snacks, that I normally don't do...I end up throwing out bags of chips, crackers, (no boxed cookies), peanuts, things of that nature, but this Friday, I ended up finishing all the chips, peanuts, crackers w/ cheese, so I lost track of my points. I will go into explaining "why" in another post, just want to concentrate on putting this post up, before my train of thought gets carried away.


Chicken Stir-Fry 
 adapted slightly from; Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook

2 Tbsp. low-sodium chicken broth
( I used 1 Tbsp. organic vegetable soup base
and stirred it in 1 cup of water)
1 Tbsp. minced peeled fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
(I also added 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar)
2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp. corn starch
1 teaspoon Asian (dark) sesame oil
3/4 lb. skinless boneless chicken breast
cut into strips (I used skinless boneless chicken
thighs, cut into small chunks)
2 teaspoon sesame seeds (optional)
1 Tbsp. peanut oil (I used canola oil)
8 scallions cut into 1 inch length
(I used sweet onions cut int halves,
and sliced into thin strips)
2 garlic cloves minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
(I used 1/2 teaspoon)
12 asparagus spears, cut into 2-inch length
I used a bunch of fresh green beans,
cleaned one ends, (you can cut them in half)
1 cup trimmed watercress
I used fresh organic carrots sliced (about 3)
also, I used yellow squash sliced thin



To prepare the marinade, in a zip-close plastic bag,
(I used a medium size bowl) combine the broth, ginger, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, (cider vinegar) brown sugar, corn starch, and sesame oil.Add the chicken. Seal the bag, squeezing out the air.(If you are using a bowl, add the chicken and turn to coat with the marinade.Cover with a plastic wrap.) Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight, stirring occasionally, or if using the bag, stirring the bag, occasionally.






Drain, and discard the marinade. (I kept 1/2 cup of the marinade to add 1 more teaspoon of cornstarch, and add at the end.

Heat a large nonstick skillet (I used a wok) until very hot.
If you're using sesame seeds, add to stir-fry until golden.
2-3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl.







 In the same skillet, heat the peanut, or canola oil,. Stir-fry the scallion, or (onion) garlic, red pepper flakes for 2 minutes.( Add the asparagus, sliced carrots yellow squash, and (or if using beans, boil them first till still crisp for a few minutes) add these to the skillet, or (wok) and stir-fry.
Add the chicken and (watercress if you're using it)
Stir-fry until chicken is cooked through, 6-8 minutes.
Add the 1/2 cup of the reserved marinade, if you would like to have a nice thickened sauce, and let it come to a boil. (you can omit this process if you don't want the sauce)
Serve sprinkled with sesame seeds. (optional) I served it over Jasmine rice.
Weight Watchers points value: 4 with sauce, and rice, 6 points
4 servings

linking to: Cookbook Sundays #5 @ Couscous-Consciousness