Crockpot Rotisserie Chicken

Roasted ChickenI found this recipe on the message boards (must have etools account or a WW monthly pass for access) and made it this weekend. It’s an easy recipe, tasted yummy, but was a little bit messy because I overcooked it and the chicken fell apart. Oops. The meat was just fine but it made retrieving and picking it out a bit of a challenge.

Crockpot Rotisserie Chicken
1 whole chicken
olive oil cooking spray
Lawry’s seasoning salt
aluminum foil

Spray inside of crockpot with olive oil cooking spray. Clean chicken inside and out. Spray chicken with olive oil cooking spray. Sprinkle with seasoning salt. Note: Do not put any water in the crockpot. Roll 3 or 4 wads of aluminum foil into 2”-3” balls and put them in the bottom of the crockpot. Place the chicken, breast side down, on top of these aluminum foil balls.

Cook on HIGH (will not come out the same if cooked on LOW) for 4-6 hours. (My 4.5 lb chicken cooked for 5 hours and it was too long, so keep an eye on it). Remove skin before serving.You have to use the aluminum to get the deli taste. This chicken tastes very close to one you would buy, precooked, in the deli section of your supermarket.

Yield: 1 chicken
Points: 1 point per ounce of chicken

The original recipe had a variation: to wrap up individual small potatoes in foil and place them in the bottom of the slow cooker to make the foil balls. I tried it and it was very messy. The potatoes ended up sitting in chicken fat and got punctured by the falling apart chicken (the bones had a life of their own, apparently). I threw out the potatoes because they were too fatty. Next time I’m making this with just wadded up foil balls. But I will make it again!

I’m not afraid of the scale

ScaleOne thing that struck me this week in reading other blogs and comments is how many people working on weight loss are afraid of the scale. They put incredible pressure on themselves to get the lowest weight possible, especially those who only weigh once a week. I’ve heard people say they stop drinking as much and shave their food down the last few days to get themselves as low as possible. What you wear to weigh in is debated (shorts and tee shirt? same clothes every time? naked?) as is what time is best to weigh yourself if you are doing that – naked first thing in the morning? 2pm? before bed?

There is no right answer to any of it. People work around their lives, their plans, their chosen weight loss program and figure out a routine that fits. But many are still afraid of the scale, afraid of stepping on it and finding they’ve gained or not lost when they worked hard. No one is ever afraid of stepping on the scale and losing, though if they only lose a tiny amount (0.2 lbs, for example) they get upset that it wasn’t more.

I seem to be in a different place with the scale now. I’ve been going to WW meetings for 4.5 years and somewhere in there, I think within the last few months, I’m not paralyzed by the scale. I wear the same clothes and weigh at the same time, but that’s because I go to a weekly class on the weekend, so wearing the same clothes isn’t a problem.

I don’t drink before I go to my 9:30 meeting and try not to eat anything too salty the day before, but that’s it. The scale provides me with a number that isn’t a judgment, it’s just feedback – and nothing to be afraid of, even if it didn’t go in the direction I wanted. And let’s face it, we all want and hope and often expect that the number goes down by a healthy amount every week.

But the scale reflects my life and how I ate – and whether I worked out more, ate foods in different combinations, was sick and not eating, socialized and ate out more than usual. The number gives me a point on a line to show me how I’m doing and once recorded, the slate is wiped clean and the next week will show me the progress I’ve made in that week. Just another step along a very long road.

Being depressed about it, or scared, or overly elated isn’t going to make the numbers on the scale go up or down. Putting the energy into just working the food plan, being active and healthy, and keeping myself balanced is what makes the difference for me. Of course I want the numbers to go down but I see this as a lifetime, not a short diet, and I’d rather make sure those other things are what matters because they are the factors that will allow me to keep the weight off.

Day of doing nothing

Sleepy womanI did practically nothing today and it was wonderful. Saturday is the only day I can sleep in and often not get on my usual hamster wheel of activity. Sunday is out because I go to a WW meeting first thing in the morning, which means having to be presentable and getting myself there instead of snuggling into the flannel sheets and just dozing.

Today I slept until I woke up at about 8am, giving me about 9 hours of sleep. Since on an average night I only get 6 1/2 hours and on days like today I get way more, clearly I should be listening to my body and going to bed earlier during the rest of the week. I managed to hop right into the shower, something I always do on work days but sometimes like to dawdle about on weekends – that’s where I wake up.

Breakfast was Kashi Vive cereal with FF milk and a banana. I piddled around in the morning watching several “Clean Sweep” episodes and rereading an old favorite book that I found while I was decluttering a bit. Isn’t it amazing how some books you can read over and over even though you know all the characters and plot turns? I just lounged in the recliner with a bottle of water and the book with sunshine spilling in the windows – and nothing I had to do.

Lunch was a Lean Cuisine meal because I couldn’t handle the idea of another salad. And it was enough. And I finally got my act together to get dressed (yes, I was a lazy bum this morning) and off to the grocery store with my scribbled list.

I really sort of like the grocery store, especially when I have a list so I’m not just guessing what I want and then getting home to discover I’m missing a key ingredient for a new recipe. I’m trying two of them this week and needed to get my stuff. Since I have been very undisciplined about the gym, I walked up and down all the aisles twice to get some exercise – and partly because I had senior moments about where the things were that I was looking for.

Fiber One barsOne part of this trip was a quest to find the new Fiber One Chewy Bars that everyone is raving about. People in my WW meeting have talked about them and Hungry Girl just sent out a rave review this week. She even said the Oats & Chocolate one was better than Snickers! That was hard to believe since, seriously, nothing is better. But you know what? When I had one, I understood. It was chewy and rich tasting and very satisfying and I heartily recommend them. And they are only 2 points each!

I also got lots of veggies, yogurt, tomatoes, potato rolls (yum), some frozen pizzas, fizzy water, and a bunch of different things that should carry me through the next week.  I’m also cleaning out my freezer so I have plenty of protein on hand to work with.  But tomorrow’s dinner is a new (for me) recipe for making rotisserie chicken in the crockpot.  With potatoes.  I’ll try it out and if it works well, I’ll post the recipe tomorrow.

But the rest of the day was also quiet and non-productive but nonetheless restorative.  Sometimes we have to just let the mind and body lay fallow for a day or two to be quiet and heal.  I just know that tomorrow I will have more energy for not having done much today.  There are some major things on the list to do, some of them postponed from today, but I’m not worried.  They’ll get done.

It was a good day.

What I Eat for Comfort Food

Creamy yogurt with fruitEveryone has comfort food they turn to when they’re tired, stressed, tired, sick, and/or depressed. Mine falls into two categories – sweet and salty. Oh, sure, there’s the comfort of a thick, flavorful soup. But mostly I want comfort in between meals and that’s why I start to prowl for something that will hit the spot.

Before WW, I would stock up on ice cream, virtuously thinking something like Edy’s Slow Churned would work. It’s so yummy and feels rich and tasty on a sore throat. Of course, everyone knows that a portion isn’t really 1/2 C. It’s more like a cereal bowl, though if you eat out of the container, it’s surprising how much you can eat even without a bowl.

Chocolate and cookies are also good comfort food. I can eat an entire bag of Fig Newtons at one time even though I get sick afterwards now. I just like the figgyness and soft texture. Soft, creamy, rich are all factors for my comfort food. A hard Chips Ahoy cookie won’t cut it.

Soy crispsChips aren’t soft and creamy but they have lots of flavor and crunch, which is also comforting in the right food. I rarely eat plain potato chips but can inhale tortilla chips. I’ve switched to the lite versions when I do buy chips but can’t keep them in the house on a regular basis, since my mouth thinks the entire bag is a serving. Sometimes I substitute a small bag of Soy Crisps which gives me crunch, flavor, and lots of protein.

Of course, not being stupid, I can’t keep many of these things around the house or office because they are so comforting that I could easily eat a whole box or carton without realizing what I’m doing. And out of discipline, I try not to buy these things even away from my regular places. When I do, my body tells me it’s not a good idea, something I don’t usually remember when I start stuffing my face.

I can not substitute carrot sticks or oranges as comfort food. I know they’re good for me but the taste doesn’t satisfy my comfort needs. I do make Pudding Yogurt, varying flavors of pudding and the fruit I mix with it; it’s rich and creamy and usually can satisfy my craving for ice cream.

Snack-size popcorn bags are a god-send in my life. I buy the 94% fat free kind in the mini bags and keep a few in the office, just in case a craving hits. Popping that little bag can mean the difference between controling the intake and making a run on the vending machine. It’s enough food without being too much, crunchy and salty and only one point!

I’m also fond of Vitatops, little individually wrapped treats with lots of fiber and only one point. The company makes muffins, too, but the vitatops are the size Vitatopof the tops of muffins and completely satisfying. Although I can find the muffins locally, I like the tops better. I buy them online – my favorite flavors are Banana Fudge and Fudgy Peanut Butter Chip – and freeze them on receipt, keeping half in my home freezer and half in the work freezer. Put one in the microwave for 10 seconds and you have a nice warm sweet chocolatey thing to have with a bottle of water or glass of milk for a very satisfying, comforting snack.

Baked apples are another good night time comfort food for me. Core an apple, sprinkle nutmeg and cinnamon, add 1 TB of craisins in the core, pour some sugar free raspberry soda over it, cover and microwave for approximately 3 min. (depending on the size and type of apple – I prefer Cortlands). This is a great evening snack with only a few points and tons of flavor. The heat and mushyness of the apple soothes my tummy.

A nice cup of tea is good when warmth is what I’m looking for but it’s often not enough. It’s a place to start, though. I invest in good tea, preferably Tazo because I like herbal tea with lots of body and flavor.

Investing in foods that satisfy is worth the money and effort. If I substitute something that doesn’t measure up to what I’m craving, I find that I just eat more and more of something I don’t really want, trying to feed that taste bud. For example, I’ve fallen in love with Hershey’s Sweet and Salty Granola Bars with Pretzels and seem able to eat just one, which makes my mouth very satsified. I looked for one today and but ended up settling for Kudos bars. Nice concept but not nearly satisfying enough and I found myself opening several to get the comfort taste I was looking for.

I figured out what was going on and threw out the rest of the package. Yayy me! I like having options but there’s no point in keeping things around that get me in trouble because I like them too much or am just looking for what brings the food comfort I seek.

Of course, sometimes I can get the comfort in other ways besides filling my tummy – stretching and moving my body, talking to a friend, getting a hug or sitting in the hot tub. But when food is what I really want, I need to know I can handle it and stay in control.

Quieted spirit

Stained glassI spend a lot of time fighting with my inner self about who I am, what I need vs. want, whether I’m a good person, how I relate to the world around me. And food, of course. You name it, I’ve had inner dialogues about it.

But one area that has gotten very short-shrift these last few years has been my spiritual life. I stopped going to church when I was ready to murder the choir director every time I saw him; it was somewhat in conflict with the concept of worship. I didn’t know how to worship if I wasn’t sitting in the choir loft after 40 years of singing in church choir. So I just gave myself a little sabbatical that has been extended for about 6 years.

I never stopped believing in God; I was just taking a break from church. It’s time to get off my butt and find a place where I can worship again. I am a choir person to my toes and need to sing – it’s how I worship and a way for me to empty myself of the busyness of the world and relax into knowing there is more than what I see around me. I miss the music but also the community that choir members form so easily. I’m rather isolated now and miss that sense of family that comes with belonging to a choir. Note that the “altopower” of my blog address does not come from playing an instrument; I am an alto and proud of it.

Today is Ash Wednesday. Until 6 years ago, this was a big deal day with heavy-duty music and big service. I wasn’t up for all of that this year, although there are certainly many places where I could slip into a pew and worship. Instead, I started off this morning at the university chapel, sitting with a small group beneath the warm sunlit colors of red and blue in the stained glass windows, saying Morning Prayer and receiving the imposition of ashes.

I didn’t know anyone but that didn’t matter. What mattered to me was the comfort of shared liturgy, the stillness of the place, the chance to hear words of prayer, of scripture, of meditation, and feeling a sense of being home in the quiet.

For me to be a whole person, I can’t just work on my body. My spiritual life needs to be fed and refreshed as well. I exist in one but when I remember that my real self isn’t in the limbs and pounds and physical limits of the body, I can soar and not be alone and find peace.

It’s time to find a choir and a church where I can be all of me again.