Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Reader Question on Cooking.

Well I'm feeling very unoriginal after the fridge post! Apparently everyone likes to take pictures of their own and look in another person's fridge. This still confuses me, you're all fridge perverts.

However, my friend Lycia, who is not new to dieting but is new to the lifestyle change posed a great question: "Did you start out cooking your own meals? Right now I'm completely overwhelmed ..."

And the answer is, yes (and no).

When I first started getting serious about Weight Watchers, I wouldn't say I "cooked" so much as "assembled." I kept my menu VERY simple. Oatmeal for breakfast, turkey sandwiches and fruit for lunch, baby carrots and cappuccino for snacks, and I, too, survived on Lean Cuisines and Smart Ones for dinner at first. I didn't want to force the boys to have to eat the way I was eating, as if "healthy" eating would be a chore for them. And I honestly didn't think I could eat "real food" and lose weight.

It wasn't until I started exploring Weight Watchers fabulous website and their giant database of recipes that I started cooking. When I realized we could be eating most of the things we had always eaten only "lightened up," they were on board (not necessarily by choice, I just started cooking). I started investing in cookbooks, utensils, new pans, and any other gadget I could get my hands on that would make me excited to spend time in the kitchen doing something other than leveling off a pint of Ben and Jerry's while avoiding the giant pile of dirty dishes.

I have built up an amazing collection of cookbooks that keep the meals simple to prepare with limited ingredients as those are the two main points of importance to me when I'm making a meal. a) Do I have (or do I want to spend) time to make this meal? b) Can I afford everything it requires and still utilize what's left over?

That is why my favorite book to date is a Weight Watchers cookbook called Now and Later. The premise of the meals is that you will follow one recipe for dinner "now", and a portion of that recipe will be used "later" to create a separate meal. It's a fantastic time saver, and it also adds variety without forcing you to buy too many "non-staple" ingredients to spoil away in the fridge.

I'd love to hear about YOUR favorite cookbook. Particularly one with simple healthy recipes to get Lycia started (and, perhaps, to add to my collection as well).


bethsjourney said...

Wow! I will have to check that one out.. I love the idea of transforming leftovers... I do it a lot as it is!

I get a lot of my menu ideas offline, and I LOVE this site: http://www.101cookbooks.com/

It has a lot of recipes and most of them are vegetarian.

Rebecca said...

oh man... i totally meant nothing by my comment... hopefully you didnt take it that way.

I really like WWers Dining Out cookbook. Now I use a lot of recipes from their website or even Gina's WW recipe blog.

She woke up FAT said...

Now and later sounds like a great concept. I roast a chicken now and use the leftovers for something new later. Cuts down on cooking.

Jessitracker said...

It's not a weight loss cookbook, but Jacques Pepin's Complete Techniques cookbook is awesome. There are some really cool techniques in there. My favorite has been his hard boiled egg technique. They come out amazing and perfect every time!



totegirl said...

Fridge pictures are always good. All pictures are good. I'm a diet- and lifestyle-change voyeur. Or pervert. Semantics.

I like to use allrecipes.com and enter the ingredients I have in the ingredient search. I've found some really good and random things there, but I usually have to lighten them up.

The Accidental Fat Chick said...

That Now & Later cookbook sounds like something worth adding to my shelf! I find myself using the Fix It & Forget It Lightly cookbook a lot. Most of the ingredients are things I have on hand & the food cooks itself.

TJ said...

Hi! :) Thanks for the comment today! I appreciate your support and the reminder!! :)

I love the WW cookbooks- I like easy stuff- so I always feel they are do-able! :)

erin said...

My favorite cookbook is the Internet. LOL It's where I have found most of the recipes I use.

I love that you used the term "fridge perverts." Hehe

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Crystal said...

my favorite cookbook is also the internet... i love that, since i subscribe to weight watchers online, it has a tool where you type in up to three ingredients and comes up with recipes that involve them... so for example, i could type in ground beef and potatoes and it'll give me as many recipes as the website has with those two ingredients... i LOVE it! i just type in what i feel like eating and viola! either that or any search engine can come up with recipes as well :)

Jambam said...

I love this website:


The variety of meals is amazing and she makes everything herself and photographs it beautifully. There is also a huge variety of both meaty and vegetarian options.

Another recommendation is the book "How to Cook Everything" It's not necessarily a low-fat cookbook but it has lots of low-fat and high-fat options i.e. everything.

It does a great job explaining how to shop for certain foods, when they are in season, what to look for and different techniques for preparing meals. It is wonderful.

Lycia said...

I apologize if this posts twice!

Thanks for all of the wonderful suggestions! I've made it my goal this money to prepare at least one dinner for myself a week. Quite the task considering I've been living off of frozen entrees for 4 years now- yikes!