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No Thanks to Cake: 01/01/2012 - 02/01/2012

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Recipe: Lemon-Thyme Spaghetti

It must be in the air.  Maybe it's the fact that it's been in the 50s and 60s in Colorado this week.... but I'm craving summer in a bad, bad way.

Beaches, flip flops, sundresses, tanlines, pool time.... I want it all!

Last night, I made a dish that I didn't expect to taste like summer, but I've since deemed "summer on a plate."  HOLY HANNAH!  This stuff is "over the top" good.

Now, what would make this pasta even better?  Maybe pair it with some chicken cooked on the grill?  Mmmmm... a nice cold glass of pinot grigio.  AND.... eat it all on this patio??  

How about we dine al fresco here... no table?  I'd be willing to hold my plate  if I can spend time in that pool!
Eating outdoors in the summertime is one of my favorite things.  In Colorado, we're fortunate to be able to do it for extended periods and without humidity.  So lovely. 

Have you ever seen the episode of Parenthood where they dine in the backyard?  I'd love to have that backyard and create that dinner party.  Seriously.  That's my dream backyard.

Best show on television.  Hands down.

Ok, without further ado... let me introduce you to my new pasta BFF...

Lemon-Thyme Spaghetti
From Weight Watchers 101 Best Quick and Easy Recipes - Spring 2010
Serves 6 (as a side dish)


6 oz uncooked thin spaghetti
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp. grated lemon rind
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp (or more) capers
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. grated fresh parmesan cheese

fresh thyme sprigs (optional)


1.  Cook pasta according to package directions.

I always break my pasta as I put it in the pot.  Just what I do...
2.  While pasta cooks, combine thyme and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl.  Note:  I'm obsessed with capers, so I added extra.

How pretty and fragrant is fresh thyme - - LOVE!!
My VERY first zesting experience.  I think I did good!

Squeezing the fresh lemon juice... I think fresh is best in this case (and most cases)

Reminder:  I used extra capers...
3.  Drain pasta, and mix with lemon mixture in a bowl.  Toss well.  Top with parmesan cheese.  Garnish with thyme sprigs.

Pictured is TWO servings, as I made it my dinner
PER 1/2 CUP SERVING: CAL: 128; PROTEIN: 4.3g; FAT: 2.4g; SODIUM: 153mg; CARB: 21.9g


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Monday, January 30, 2012

Giveaway Winner and More "New Favorites"

I picked a winner for the Weight Watchers Cookbook giveaway, but it's taken me a few days to let you guys know who the winner is!

There were 28 entries, and the winner is.....

Sam (From the Blog Momma on a Mission)

Sam - Click here to send me an email with your address so that I can send you your new cookbook!  Thank you to all who participated!  I'm going to try to do more of these in the future!

Since I started this blog, I've been talking about the importance of adding in "new favorites" into your repertoire.  For me, a new favorite is a meal/snack that replaces old favorites that may be way out of an appropriate calorie range while being equally delicious!  

Here's a few of my recent faves:

Thomas 100 Calorie Everything Bagel Thins with a wedge of Laughing Cow Light Garlic and Herb Cheese
Jennie O - So Easy Turkey Meatloaf - - It cooks in 8 minutes in the microwave and serves 3
Green Beans roasted in the oven for about 30 minutes with Pam Olive Oil Cooking Spray
Subway's Veggie Delite Toasted on Wheat with Pepper Jack
(My go-to lunch these days)
Craving Pepperoni Pizza?  How about a Lean Cuisine Pepperoni French Bread Pizza
(Volumized with some diced onions and crushed red pepper flakes)

I started slicing it like this and it fools me that it's HUGE with a million pieces.  I love a good mind game.
What new products/meals have you tried lately that you just love?  Inquiring minds want to know....

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

FMM: Makeup Favorites

Here's how this works.  The fabulous Kenlie blogs at and posts weekly questions for participating bloggers to answer.  The idea is to connect with other bloggers and share answers to a series of questions. If you've never done FMM, and today's the day to try, be sure to link back up to Kenlie's page to meet the other bloggers participating.  Here's this week's topic!

FMM: Makeup Favorites

1.  Do you wear makeup everyday? 
I wear it every day when I get ready for the day.  If I am just going to the gym, I slick on a little gloss and that's it.  And, the folks at Target have seen me without makeup WAY TOO MANY a few times as well when I'm just running a fast errand. 

2.  Does your routine change if you’re going out with friends/on a date/to a party? 
I definitely kick it up a little bit more if I'm going out for fun than I would on an average work day. 

3.  Are you loyal to one brand, or do you use different brands for different things? 
I definitely mix it up.  Lancome for mascara and eyeliner, Bare Escentuals for foundation/shadow/blush/gloss, L'Oreal for lipstick. 

4.  Do you wear primer/concealer? If so, what’s your favorite kind?  
Not consistently.  I have Well Rested from Bare Escentuals that I've used a few times, but sometimes it makes me ghostly white underneath.  I need a good concealer, and with one, I would wear it every day.  Eye primer on the other hand, I love!

5. What’s your favorite brand of foundation? 
I'm a Bare Escentuals girl and wear Medium Beige unless I get ridiculously tan in the summer.  I wouldn't mind taking a GREAT beach vacation that required me to go a little darker this year!!

6.  Do you use blush and/or bronzer?  
Both, and I use Bare Escentuals for both as well.  Touch of Sun or Warmth for Bronzer.  Blush is called Tranquil.  So pretty.

Tranquil blush by Bare Escentuals

7.  Do you wear eye shadow/eye liner?  
I wear an eye primer that I think is critical.  It's by Bare Escentuals and called "Prime Time".  I also use their Snow shadow and Moss shadow daily + Lancome's Liquid Art Liner.

Prime Time Eye Primer by Bare Escentuals

8.  What’s your favorite kind of mascara?  
Lancome's Black Carat Virtuose and Definicils - - I choose whichever I find first in my makeup bag. 
Definicils by Lancome

 Lipstick? Lip gloss? Both? Favorite? 

I actually wear a combination of two colors of lipstick.  The first is a discontinued color of L'Oreal lipstick + Bare Escentuals Creampuff on top.  I also use Bare Escentuals gloss on top, and throughout the day.

10.  Do you wear nail polish regularly?  If so, share a few of your favorite brands/colors.  

I'm obsessed with Essie colors lately:  Smokin' Hot is a fave right now, as is Jazz for summer.  I also have a warm spot in my heart for You Don't Know Jacques by OPI.  LOVE.
Smokin Hot by Essie

 11. How do you remove your makeup at the end of the day?  
I plead the 5th. No judgment! 

Do you feel prettier when you’re wearing makeup?  

Yes, yes.  Have you seen me without?? 

Do you have any beauty tips that you could pass along?  

Eye Primer... Seriously, try it.  It changed the way I feel about eye shadow completely.


Friday, January 27, 2012

The Engagement Epidemic

Has anyone else noticed that just about EVERYONE you know is getting engaged these days?  

There was a period of time before the holidays where it seemed that everyone I knew was going from "in a relationship" to "engaged" on Facebook. 

Yep, this one got engaged.
Keep in mind, this was true for most every single girl that I know aside for me.  I have one or two girlfriends out there that are sticking with the single status for now, but for the most part... it appears that the world is pairing off two-by-two. I'm so far behind.

In the past, I've just been too "busy".  Busy working, busy traveling, busy living my life, busy achieving my version of success, and busy not meeting anyone that I could potentially pair up with. I asked a college friend of mine about it this week. Jokingly, I blame her for my not getting out there more (ie... Why didn't you make me date more? So I'd have had more practice!).

Now, at 35 and single, I've realized I want more.  Re-phrased, I've decided to make room in my life and to do something to get more.  

Why not?
How does a young (and fabulous) 35 year old meet a someone that's out there that's NORMAL and awesome.  I don't have the answer for you quite yet, dear readers, but I can tell you that I've started looking and I'll keep you posted.

While I feel it's a little overexposing to tell you too much quite yet, I joined eHarmony right before the new year.  I've always been a little anti-online dating, thinking that it didn't really work or couldn't possibly work for me.  However, I stand corrected. I've been matched with a ton of folks in the Denver area who allegedly are compatible to my personality profile.  Not bad!

It's a VERY low pressure, easy process to begin communicating.  You can move at your own pace and opt out at any point.  I find it very comfortable (surprisingly.)

Wednesday night, I went on my VERY first eHarmony date and it was REALLY great!  I mentioned my migraines I had this week had kicked my butt, but I had already set up this date prior to any of that madness setting in.  I couldn't cancel on him, and I was so glad that I didn't!  Between us friends:  I'd say it was the best first date I've ever had.  He was smart, funny, attractive, a professional, and a total gentleman (all positives in my book.) Now, we're still in the process of getting to know each other, but what a positive experience!  

I can honestly say that I think dating is much easier now that I've lost the weight.  Not because of what other people think about the weight... instead what I thought about the weight.  I always worried about what he was thinking about how I looked, or what people were thinking about with the guy being out with that chubby girl (me.)  It's not healthy to think that way and I recognize it now, but that was the way my mind used to work. 

I felt great walking into the restaurant last night with no hesitation, no major nervousness.  I did text a few people letting them know where I would be and to sound the alarms if they didn't ever hear back from me, which is slightly crazy.... but safety first, folks!

Took a bathroom pic of what I wore - - Couldn't resist! Check out that adorable iPhone!
Because I know you folks love my shopping talk, the outfit came from White House Black Market.  The jeans, bustier (yep!), and sweater were courtesy of a VERY awesome salesperson who put the look together.  The belt is a bow belt from New York and Company, but they sell one at WHBM too... I just already had it.  The iPhone case is from Verizon Wireless (of course).

I don't know what will come next of this date that I went on this week.  What I do know is that I had a great time and that I am excited to see him again.  And, I think that's right on track with where I should be.  It just feels good.

If you haven't gotten out there, what's holding you back?  Also, any good online dating tips/success stories?

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

New Recipe: Roasted Broccoli with Gremolata

As someone who usually blogs daily, it's so strange when things happen that keep you from your usual tasks.  While I usually try to keep this place pretty upbeat, I always try to keep it real as well. The reality is that MIGRAINES have struck your NTTC blogger. 

I'll spare you the ugly details, but let's just say....  Migraines are pretty much the worst. After not having one for about 4-5 years, I had forgotten how useless (and debilitating) they are!  All that being said, I'm hoping to be on the mend and back in my regular blogging rotation, starting with today's recipe.  I've got lots to say afterall and 15 lbs to lose!

Today's recipe is a super-simple one with one of my favorite ingredients - - broccoli!  I made the recipe with the broccoli I had in the fridge, as opposed to the full 3 cups of broccoli.  I did make the full gremolata recipe for extra flavor because I had that huge head of parsley, and I added an extra garlic clove... well, because that's just who I am! 

Roasted Broccoli with Gremolata
From Weight Watchers Four Ingredient 10 Minute Recipes
Serves 4
Points Plus value: 0


3 cups bagged prewashed broccoli florets
Olive oil flavored cooking spray
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp. grated fresh lemon rind
1 tsp. minced garlic

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2.  Place broccoli florets in a medium bowl.  Coat broccoli generously with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt.  Toss to coat.  Place in a single layer on a large baking sheet.

3.  Bake at 425 degrees for 18 minutes or until crisp-tender and beginning to brown.

4.  While broccoli bakes, combine parsley, lemon rind, and garlic in a small bowl.  

5.  Sprinkle gremolata over broccoli before serving.


PER 3/4 CUP SERVING: CAL: 20; PROTEIN: 1.6g; FAT: 0.3g; SODIUM: 163mg; CARB: 3.3g; WW POINTS PLUS: 0

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New Recipe: Creamy Italian Pork Medallions over Spinach

Do you ever have one of those days where so many things pile up on you that it feels so stressful and you can barely breathe?  You may even text one of your friends and tell them you feel like you might spontaneously combust.  I had that day.

Now, the crazy part... most of these things that happened today are GREAT things!  I refinanced my house, I have plans to meet a new friend during my trip to SLC, and I have lots of great job things happening.  Why can even the best of things seem suffocating when they all happen at once?

All it took to cure me was a plane ride here.  I sat on the plane and just relaxed, disconnected from the world.  I took a minute to breathe, and another minute to be grateful. The glass o' wine I'm enjoying at the hotel upon arrival doesn't hurt either.  

Ohhhhhh, I can't wait to tell you more as the week unfolds, dear readers.  Stay tuned.

About This Recipe
Today's recipe is one that should knock your socks off.  I love, LOVED it.  I split the package of pork chops I bought last week, using the first half to make the amazing Hoisin-Lime Pork Lettuce Wraps and the second half to make this delicious dish.  Note:  I once again only made 1/2 of the recipe (if you notice the portions in my pics look small.)

BTW... I think it looks extra yummy on the Plum Fiestaware.

Creamy Italian Pork Medallions over Spinach
From Weight Watchers Five Ingredient 15 Minute Recipes - Summer 2011
Serves 4
Points Plus value per Serving:  5

1 (1-lb) pork tenderloin, trimmed
1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray
1/2 tsp. bottled minced garlic, roasted
2 (6-ounce) packages of fresh baby spinach
1/3 cup light refrigerated Alfredo sauce


1.  Cut each piece crosswise into 8 slices.  Place pork between 2 sheets of heavy duty plastic wrap.  Pound to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. 

2.  Sprinkle pork evenly with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.  Set aside. (Note:  I was more generous then the recipe suggested with the seasonings, particularly the italian seasoning making sure each side was well-coated.)

 3.  Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add garlic to the pan.  Gradually add spinach.

4.  Cook spinach, turning with tongs, 2 minutes or just until spinach wilts.  Remove pan from the heat.  Remove spinach from the pan and keep warm.

5.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add pork.  Cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. 

6.  Stir in alfredo sauce, turning pork to coat.  Cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated.  

7.  Serve pork over spinach.  Enjoy!

SERVING SIZE:  2 pork medallions and 3/4 cup spinach
PER SERVING:  CAL: 204; FAT 6.1g; PRO: 26.8g; CARB 11g; FIB: 4.1g; SOD: 605mg; WW Points Plus per Serving: 5


Also... this recipe comes from those FANTASTIC
Weight Watchers Cookbooks that I use all the time. 
If you want one of your own, you should enter my cookbook giveaway!

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Weigh-In Update and Earning a Reward

REMINDER:  My very first NTTC giveaway is still underway!  To enter to win your very own copy of the latest Weight Watchers 5 Ingredient 15 Minute Recipes cookbook, click here.

Weigh-In Update
I finally worked a weigh-in into my schedule this weekend.  Bright and early on Saturday morning, i headed to my local Jenny Craig ready to weigh, and here's how it went:

This Week's Weigh-In:  -2.8 lbs
Total Weight Lost:  76.4 lbs

I felt like this happy carrot!  (Source)

Losing 76.4 lbs total means that two monumental things have also happened...
1)  I'm only 15 lbs from goal!  Unbelievable!  I remember walking into Jenny Craig for the first time and seeing the director write down that I had NINETY-ONE lbs to lose and just CRYING.  Now, fourteen months later, I've just about made it there!!!  So excited!

2)  I've FINALLY reached another one of my REWARDS.  I really should have set up more frequent reward intervals.  My last reward was earned back in April!  

Nonetheless, my -75 lb reward is in-office teeth whitening.  I'm excited to get this done soon and can't wait to get it scheduled!  I'll keep you guys posted on the process and take some cool before/after shots.  I'm not a big coffee/soda drinker or anything... Just looking to be whiter and brighter this year!  So excited!

With goal JUST around the corner, I'm also extra motivated to get there sooner rather than later.  I have a trip to the beach with friends planned for June, and I definitely plan to be at goal then, if not below.  

It is, however, the last of the pounds... for some reason people always say those are the hardest to lose.  I don't think that will be the case with me.  I'm just going to make each of them cry as I burn them off at the gym.

Cheers to Achieving Goal by June!

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

My Favorite Cookbooks... and a Giveaway!

Last week, I got an email from a reader asking me what my favorite cookbooks were for healthy, low-calorie, low-fat recipes.  I thought that was a great question and also a great idea for a post.

Here's my line-up of favorite cookbooks.  I keep them right next to my stove, so they're always within reach.  I have a few others that are tucked away (and they're clearly not my favorites.)

Weight Watchers All-Time Favorites and Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook - These are fantastic!  There are so many good recipes in here that I love:  Slow Cooker Beef Stew and Mustardy Pot Roast are two of my favorites (in All-Time Favorites.)  The "New Complete" was a Christmas present (thanks, Dad), so expect some recipe samples in months to come!

Hungry Girl 300 Under 300 and Hungry Girl 200 Under 200 - If you don't follow HG, I definitely recommend you do!  She's got fantastic ideas for revamping some of your favorite dishes to make them healthier.  She's also a featured chef on Food Network!

Williams-Sonoma:  Cooking from the Farmer's Market - There are wonderful recipes for cooking vegetables inside this book.  A gift from my friend Steffanie, it's helped me to pick better vegetables and prepare them better as well!

Tastebook- If you haven't ever heard of Tastebook, then I've got a treat for you today!  Tastebook is a site where you can upload all of your personal recipes and store them online.  You can share them with friends (your "Tastebuds") and THE BEST PART is you can print a book with all of your recipes in it!  

You choose your cover and title your book.
And then each page has your recipe + pics.
You can also include a story about why you love it, how you found the recipe, etc.
Weight Watchers Seasonal Quick Recipe Books - These books are published by WW each quarter and contain awesome recipes that you can put together in about 15 minutes with no more than 5 ingredients!  So easy!  These are probably the recipes I use most, and most of the Weight Watchers recipes I post here come from these cookbooks.  Look for them in the magazine aisle in your grocery store.

Cake Pops - I love this little book!  It comes to us from one of my favorite bloggers Bakerella.  I still read her site.  Although these days, her tasty treats have become "food porn" for the most part.  Cake balls and cake pops are to die for.... and if you like them, you should check out her site!


Because I talk about them so much, I've decided to do my very first GIVEAWAY this week for the latest Weight Watchers Five Ingredient 15 Minute Recipe cookbook (pictured below).  One lucky reader will have a chance to win it!

Some of the yummy recipes in this book include:  Citrus Sangria, Breakfast Burritos, Individual Apple-Walnut Coffee Cakes, and Seared Beef Tenderloin Steaks with Dark Beer Reduction and Blue Cheese.  Inside, you'll find a total of 113 recipes!

I'll pick a winner THIS FRIDAY, January 27th. You each have FIVE chances to win and winners will be chosen at random from the COMMENTS  associated with the below.  Here's how you can enter (US and Canadian residents only, please):

1)  Post a comment below about your favorite healthy cookbook and why you love it.
2)  Become an official "Follower" of NTTC (on the left side of my blog) and leave a comment that you are.
3)  Follow NTTC on Twitter - @nothankstocake - and leave a comment that you did.
4)  Post about my giveaway on Twitter this week, leaving another comment that you did so.
5)  Post about my giveaway on your BLOG this week, leaving a comment with the link to the post.

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