What Is This Thing About?

Kicking Some Midlife Ass

You must do the things you think you cannot do.

— Eleanor Roosevelt.

I am not quite sure where to begin. At the beginning, I suppose. But which beginning?

I will start with the beginning of the transformation. Sure, my transformation was physical – I lost 80 pounds and dropped clothing sizes, but it was so much more than that. I spent the past two years overcoming “I can’t.” The “I can’t” which has been embedded in me for decades. Almost half a century. I just made the decision, one decision at a time.

I gritted my teeth and slowly but surely said “Yes” to as many new experiences I could. I decided the only way to grow was to be uncomfortable, so I pushed through my comfort zone and came out the other side, mostly unscathed.

I plan on blogging each new experience, working through my fears and anxiety along the way. I will also post practical things which helped me on my journey, from meal prepping to mindset. Sometimes, I’m sure I will kick ass. Sometimes, it’s going to suck. And that’s ok.

Why do I entitle my journey as a Productive Midlife Crisis? Well, I incorrectly see myself as midlife. I’m sure most would argue that ship sailed 10 years ago. Productive? That is a personal definition, but for me it means to set goals, each just slightly further along than the last, and work to get there. It’s been crazy making myself proud with every step forward that I take!

Join me in making our second act the better act and become the person you always wanted to be! The world needs you!

To read about my journey, see the pages below:

Putting Yourself First

Drowning

Just Don’t Quit

One Small Decision

The Secret To Weight Loss

Small Steps

No One Noticed

Anti-Gravity

Photo credit @shaunterhune https://www.facebook.com/shaunterhune/

Instant Pot Lemon Cheesecake Bites with Blueberry Sauce

These lemon cheesecake bites are quick to make, simple, and delicious! The best part is one serving is zero points, and you may have up to 5 for only 1 point on the WW Blue plan! The zero point blueberry sauce takes it up a notch!

I used silicone molds to cook these. I originally purchased these to create copycat Starbuck sous vide egg bites, and I thought they would be perfect to create individual cheesecake servings. These are similar to the ones I purchased. (Note: this is not an affiliate link. I only show you these for convenience. I do not make money from the purchase.)

Ingredients:

3 cups Fage 0% Greek Yogurt

3 Eggs

1 package Jell-O Cheesecake Sugar Free Pudding Mix

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)

Zest of 1 lemon, finely chopped

3 Tbsp Swerve Granular Sugar Substitute

Directions:

  1. Lightly spray silicone molds with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk eggs, Swerve, vanilla, pudding mix, lemon juice and lemon zest.

3. Add yogurt and mix with a hand mixer until smooth.

4. Evenly divide the mixture between 2 molds.

5. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes, then let the pressure release naturally. Carefully remove and refrigerate.

Some things I discovered:

One mold I sprayed with cooking spray, and one I forgot to. Turns out, it makes a big difference when you remove them. Lightly spray your molds.

All 7 came out beautifully from the sprayed mold. A few came out nicely when the mold was not sprayed.
These were all from the mold not sprayed with cooking spray. Tasted just as good, just didn’t look as nice!

Blueberry Sauce (optional)

Ingredients:

1 cup Blueberries (I used frozen. The only place I could find some was our local Russian specialty supermarket. Local markets have been great during this pandemic!)

1/4 cup water

2 Tbsp Swerve Granulated Sugar Substitute

Juice of 1 small lemon

1 tsp Cornstarch


Directions:

Combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to a simmer for a few minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely to slightly thicken.

This recipe makes 14 individual cheesecake bites. One cheesecake bite is zero points, and you may have 2-5 bites for only one point on the WW Blue Plan! 2 Tbsp of Blueberry Sauce is zero points.

Alternate method if you do not have an Instant Pot:

Pour cheesecake mixture into a greased springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Cool completely and refrigerate overnight.

Please note: I am not a fitness or health professional. I will be listing recipes and meal plans on this blog which follow the WW program, This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical or nutritional information. Before starting any diet program, be sure to consult your medical or health professional.

Meal Prep 2/4/20

This week, I made a dozen Zero Point Hash Brown Egg Muffins for breakfast. I also prepped a batch of Baked Bacon to use in my Brussels Sprouts Hash with Runny Egg. Perfect for breakfast, lunch or a light dinner. Meal prepped my lunch, and it was the delicious Big Mac Salad! Also prepped a larger version of my Italian Chicken Mini Meatballs and cooked them up in my air fryer, and adjusted the points. Served with my Quick Marinara and Spaghetti Squash. Also made a batch of filling to make my Southwestern Stuffed Peppers to put together for this weekend. Best of all, I made a pan of One Point Brownies! They were DELICIOUS!

Breakfast:

Lunch:

Big Mac Salad
The sauce is spot on!

Dinner:

Dessert:

This is a game changer! One Point Brownies! Do not be afraid of the unexpected ingredients! (Beans anyone?)

Please note: I am not a fitness or health professional. I will be listing recipes and meal plans on this blog which follow the WW program, This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical or nutritional information. Before starting any diet program, be sure to consult your medical or health professional.

Big Mac Salad

This salad tastes exactly like a Big Mac, without all the fat and calories of the original! 6 points, including “secret sauce,” on WW Blue Plan. A great substitute!

Assemble sauce first by mixing together the following:

1/2 cup Light mayo

1 Tbsp Ketchup

1 tsp Sugar

1 Tbsp Sweet Relish

2 tsp White Vinegar

1 1/2 tsp Dried Minced Onion

5 pieces Dill Pickle Chips, chopped fine

Mix all ingredients. Let sit in refrigerator for at least an hour to meld flavors. Makes 4 servings. 3 points per serving.

Ingredients for salad:

8 oz. 95% lean ground beef

1/2 onion, diced small

1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

Shredded Iceberg Lettuce

Thinly sliced white onion

1/2 cup Fat Free Cheddar (I used Kraft)

6 dill pickle slices, chopped

Directions:

  1. Spray non-stick pan with cooking spray and saute onion until soft. Add the ground beef and Worcestershire sauce and cook until the beef is no longer pink.

2. Let beef cool and then assemble 2 salads, with lettuce on bottom, ground beef on top, a few slices of thinly sliced onion and cheese. I put the pickles in a separate compartment of my container, so as not to make the lettuce soggy. If serving right away, simply place on top.

Makes 2 salads, each 6 points including one serving of dressing on the WW Blue Plan.

Please note: I am not a fitness or health professional. I will be listing recipes and meal plans on this blog which follow the WW program, This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical or nutritional information. Before starting any diet program, be sure to consult your medical or health professional.

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers

This recipe doubles the filling, so you can freeze it to cut your prep time the next time you make these. And you will make them again! Makes 10 servings (1 stuffed pepper), at 1 point per serving.

Ingredients:

1 pound lean ground turkey (99% fat free)

Taco seasoning mix

1/2 red onion, diced

12 oz package frozen corn

1 can (14.5 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (14.5 oz) Fire Roasted tomatoes

1/2 cup salsa, fat free (make sure it is 0 points, some have sugar)

1 cup cooked white rice

12 small bell peppers, cored

About 1 cup crushed tomatoes

1.5 cups Kraft Fat Free Cheddar Cheese

Directions:

To make filling:

  1. In a large skillet, saute onions with ground turkey breast until turkey is cooked through. Add the can of tomatoes and taco seasoning. Cook until heated through.

2. Add corn and beans. Cook over medium heat until corn is heated through, and all ingredients are thoroughly mixed together.

3. Add rice and salsa. Mix and heat through. Set aside while you prep the peppers.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and fill the peppers:

4. Place enough crushed tomatoes at the bottom of a casserole dish to cover. Season with salt, onion and garlic powder.

5. Divide half of the mixture among 10 small/medium peppers and place in casserole. You could also use 6 large peppers, but the point value per serving would change to 2. Freeze the other half of the filling mixture to use at a later time. Use within 2 months.

6. Divide cheese evenly over the peppers.

7. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Makes 10 servings at 1 point per serving. If you use 6 large bell peppers, the points would be 2 points per pepper on the WW Blue Plan.

Please note: I am not a fitness or health professional. I will be listing recipes and meal plans on this blog which follow the WW program, This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical or nutritional information. Before starting any diet program, be sure to consult your medical or health professional

Zero Point Hash Brown Egg Muffins

A great way to meal prep! Next time, I would definitely use silicone muffin liners, these do tend to stick. Best of all, zero points each on WW Blue!

Ingredients:

6 oz Alexia Hash Browns

1/2 large onion, diced

1/2 bell pepper, diced

4 oz mushrooms, diced

12 grape tomatoes, sliced in half

8 large eggs

1 cup Kraft Fat Free Cheddar Cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray, or use silicone muffin liners. Divide hash browns evenly into a 12 cup muffin tin and press into the bottom.

3. In a nonstick pan sprayed with cooking spray, saute the onion and bell pepper until soft.

4. Add mushrooms and cook until all liquid is released and evaporated. Season with salt and pepper and herbs to taste (I used Fox Point seasoning from Penzey’s.)

5. Add veggie mixture to each muffin cup, on top of the hash browns. Place 2 uncooked grape tomato halves in each cup.

6. Divide 1/2 cup of cheese evenly over the veggies.

7. Beat eggs and pour evenly over each muffin cup. Top with remaining cheese.

8. Bake until completely cooked through, about 15-17 minutes. Let cool before removing.

Although there are points in the hash browns, when it is divided by 12 servings, these egg muffins are zero points for 1 egg muffin on the WW Blue Plan! (1 point for 2; 2 points for either 3 or 4 of them!) Enjoy!

Please note: I am not a fitness or health professional. I will be listing recipes and meal plans on this blog which follow the WW program, This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical or nutritional information. Before starting any diet program, be sure to consult your medical or health professional.

Brussels Sprouts Hash with Runny Egg

This is a delicious and forgiving recipe! I needed to use up a few veggies, starting with Brussels Sprouts. Feel free to experiment! Perfect for breakfast, lunch or a light dinner.

Delicious at 7 points per serving. To lower points, you could use turkey bacon in place of the regular bacon., or lessen the amount of olive oil used.

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 onion, chopped small

2 1/2 cups Brussels Sprouts, shredded (I used a chefs knife for this)

1 small zucchini, shredded

2/3 cup Alexia Hash Browns (different brands will change point value)

4 slices cooked bacon, chopped (Check out the easiest way to cook bacon HERE )

Directions:

In a large non-stick pan, saute the onion and hash browns in the olive oil for 3 minutes over medium heat. Add the Brussels sprouts, bacon and zucchini. Cook through, until a few crusty bits form. Divide mixture in half and place into bowls.

Wipe out the pan, spray with non-stick spray, and cook two eggs over easy, or to your liking. Place on top of each bowl.

I love serving this with hot sauce (no hot sauce is better than Truff!) and breaking the yolk open to eat. Delicious!

Please note: I am not a fitness or health professional. I will be listing recipes and meal plans on this blog which follow the WW program, This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical or nutritional information. Before starting any diet program, be sure to consult your medical or health professional

Baking Bacon

Life Hack! Easiest way to make bacon – on a sheet pan in the oven!

Directions:

Place bacon directly onto a sheet pan.

Place pan into a cold oven. Set oven to 350 degrees. Check after 15 minutes, and turn bacon over. Cook until desired crispness.

Drain on paper towels. All done at once!

Use in my Bacon Cheddar Ranch salad, or in my Cobb Salad, or anywhere! Is bacon ever wrong??

Please note: I am not a fitness or health professional. I will be listing recipes and meal plans on this blog which follow the WW program, This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical or nutritional information. Before starting any diet program, be sure to consult your medical or health professional.

One Point Brownies

This recipe may sound unbelievable, but it is true! No flour at all! Do not knock these until you try them! I am not a fan of most artificial sweeteners, but I must admit, using Swerve did not give these guys any bitter aftertaste. Makes 9 large, chocolaty brownies at 1 point each on Blue Plan.

Ingredients:

1 can (15.5 oz) black beans

3 eggs

2/3 cup Swerve granulated sweetener

1 Tbsp canola oil

2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla

60 of Lily’s Dark Chocolate Baking Chips

Directions;

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Drain and rinse black beans. Place into a blender with the three eggs and blend until smooth.

4. Add all other ingredients except for the chocolate chips and blend until smooth.

5. Spray an 8 x 8 baking pan with cooking spray. Pour batter into pan, and top with chocolate chips.

6. Bake for 40-50 minutes until baked through. I started checking the pan at 35 minutes, but they were not completely cooked through until 47 minutes had passed. Your time may differ.

You would never believe that beans are the secret ingredient! That being said, I would definitely not eat too many at one sitting to avoid any possible, ahem, issues. 😉

This recipe makes 9 large brownies, at 1 point per brownie on the WW Blue Plan.

Please note: I am not a fitness or health professional. I will be listing recipes and meal plans on this blog which follow the WW program, This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical or nutritional information. Before starting any diet program, be sure to consult your medical or health professional

Super Bowl (Lightened Up) Recipes

Don’t use the Super Bowl as an excuse to eat unhealthy snacks! These recipes are so good, it won’t matter if you follow WW or not! Click the hyperlinks below for recipes.

Chicken Chili: Great for a crowd! Can be made in an Instant Pot, Crock Pot, or on the stovetop.

Buffalo Chicken Dip: This dip is great for anyone who likes a little spice! Easy and delicious.

Italian Chicken Mini Meatballs with Marinara Dipping Sauce: Can be made in the air fryer or baked in the oven. The sauce is a quick 20 minutes on your stovetop.

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs: Finger food, great for parties!

Sausage and Pepper Calzones: Made with the popular Two Ingredient Dough, these are so good! Serve with Marinara Sauce to dip!

Cilantro Shrimp Flatbread with Ranch Drizzle: Cut your time by substituting Joseph’s Flatbread instead of using the Two Ingredient Dough. Cut into pieces to serve a crowd.

Instant Pot Taco Stew: great for a crowd! Hearty and delicious! Can be made in a slow cooker or on the stove top as well.

Greek Grilled Chicken with Tzatziki Sauce: Cube the chicken and cook on skewers with a zero point homemade Tzatziki dipping sauce.

Hope you enjoy these recipes! Please like and comment below, and let me know what you think.

Please note: I am not a fitness or health professional. I will be listing recipes and meal plans on this blog which are easy, delicious and many follow the WW program. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical or nutritional information. Before starting any diet program, be sure to consult your medical or health professional.

Sausage & Pepper Calzone

This recipe is a lightened up version of a cheesy snack! I use chicken sausage and fat free mozzarella to lessen the points. Each calzone is only 5 points for the whole thing on WW Blue Plan!

Ingredients:

Two Ingredient Dough (1 cup self rising flour, 3/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt)

1 Bell Pepper, sliced

1/2 Onion, sliced

1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 cup Fat Free Mozzarella (I used Kraft)

Chicken Sausage (I used Nature’s Promise Spicy Italian Sausage)

Directions:

  1. Saute sliced bell pepper, sliced onion and sausage in olive oil until onions and peppers are soft.

2. Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Roll out on floured surface or Silpat.

3. Measure 1 ounce of sausage, some onions and peppers and place onto dough, towards center. Place 1/4 cup of mozzarella on top.

4. Fold dough over filling, sealing the edges. Repeat for the other 3 balls of dough. Spray the top with cooking spray.

5. Place into basket of air fryer. (Can also be baked in a regular oven.) I baked mine for approximately 9-10 minutes at 380 degrees. Check crust for browning, and follow your manufacturer’s guidelines.

Can be served with my Quick Marinara Sauce as a dipping sauce, or eaten as is! 5 points for an entire calzone on WW Blue Plan.

Please note: I am not a fitness or health professional. I will be listing recipes and meal plans on this blog which follow the WW program, This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical or nutritional information. Before starting any diet program, be sure to consult your medical or health professional