Saturday, August 25, 2012

My reviews of Lean Cuisine dinners

Ok, so it's been a while since I reviewed my favs (and least favorite) packaged dinners. This time I am reviewing Lean Cuisines and letting you know what I think of them all.
Now I have come to the conclusion that Lean Cuisine is slowly starting to win out over Smart Ones in my book of tasty "tv dinners." Since they started the Delicious Rewards program (you get points if you enter codes from inside the boxes to get free stuff) I've been buying them slightly more than Smart Ones and even snagged 2 free lunch boxes and a magazine subscription from it!
So Lean Cuisine has 4 major variations or collection: Culinary, Spa, Market, and Simple Favorites. I've tried a lot, but mostly from the Culinary or Simple Favorites collections.
I've been having a bunch lately, as they were on sale. I love trying new low weight watchers points plus dinners! Makes dinner at working night shift a little better. :D
Anyways, here we go.


Thai-style noodles with Chicken: I actually just tried this today and it was quite good. Smart Ones has a similar one, however recently their recipe seemed to change so I thought I'd give the Lean Cuisine version a try. Quite yummy I must say. Not too spicy, but a good flavor and good amount of vegetables to noodle/chicken ratio.

Beef Pot Roast: Now I adore the beef pot roast from Smart Ones because it is only 4 points plus. This one is just as good (and better because it has less onions- which I hate, and more sauce) however it is 5 points plus.

Chicken Makhani: I tried this for the first time a few days ago, and I enjoyed it a lot! (Thanks to my hubs for picking it up and forcing me to try something new). I'm not always a big India cuisine fan, but this was quite yummy! I loved the sauce flavor. (And I knocked off 30 sec. from the heat time, just in case, and I'm glad I did...any more would of baked the chicken too long).

Chicken with Basil Cream Sauce: ok, so this is my all-time FAVORITE Lean Cuisine ever. Not sure why, but it might have to do with the fact that it is a cream sauce and has tortellini (my fav). I love the flavor on this one, and it has an unusual but good mix of rare vegetables.

Chile Lime Chicken: another fav. It has a kick to it that most packaged dinners don't have, which I like.

Glazed Chicken: This one I get a lot. I like it AND it almost always is available at my local Bottom Dollar store- which makes a difference, so I don't have to go to the Giant all the time. I tend to mix it all up for a better overall sauce flavor, and I tend to knock off 1/2 minute to 1 minute (depending on home or work microwave) from the cook time, as the glaze tends to harden and then doesn't work or taste well.

Tortilla Crusted Fish: Another spicy one. And fish too! I'm not normally into fish, but one time I gave this a chance, and I'm glad I had (co-worker recommended this one). Once again, I tend to knock off 1/2 minute from cook time on this, so the fish's crust doesn't get rock hard.

Asian-Style Pot Stickers:  I really like this one- just the right kick- though I do tend to mix up the dipping sauce over my rice to make a great overall flavor. Love the pot stickers! The dipping sauce is a little sweet by itself, but mixed up, it's great!

Least Favorites:

Ranchero Braised Beef: Horrible. The beef was icky and the sweet potatoes...if you can call them that...ick!

Salsbury Steak with Mac & Cheese: eh. Not that good, in general.

Cheese Ravioli: Bland, boring, too small. You name it, this has it wrong with it.

Chicken Fettuccini: Bland, and boring. I had to put so much pepper on it to have any flavor and it still didn't fix this. The plain old fettuccini is the same situation!

Lasagna with Meat sauce: too small for the points. Crunchy on the edges- so very little not actually ruined, I was so hungry afterwards! ugh. Normal lasagna, same deal.

In Between:

Baked Chicken (with stuffing and mashed potatoes): It was alright. I'm not a huge stuffing fan though. Nothing to write home about.

Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes: It is a comfort food, but it isn't anything fabulous. But it is a good alternative if you really want mashed potatoes.

Cheese Pizza: So I do like these personal pizzas- the 4 cheese is my fav, followed by pepperoni...however, so not as filling as I hope for the points. ;(

Garlic Chicken Spring Rolls: These are great. Only downfall- you'll want to eat the entire box, not half (which is a serving- 3 rolls). ;( They have a great flavor to them, though I'm sure they'd taste best with some sort of dipping sauce.

Chicken Enchilada: It's not horrible, but not awesome either. Having to stop halfways through to 'spread' the sauce is a pain, and the timing on it is a little off- your enchilada gets crunchy if you don't COVER it in the sauce. However the sauce has a good kick, just a pain to deal with.

Mac & Cheese: It's a comfort food, however a kinda bland one. I pack on the pepper for this (or mix in some A1 sauce- long story short: I love mac & cheese with A1 sauce mixed in- started when I was a kid). Either mixed in makes it bearable. Sometimes you just want mac & cheese.

Swedish Meatballs: It's ok. That's really all I can say about it. I'll eat it, but nothing special.

Santa Fe-style rice and beans: Not bad. Similar to that of Smart One's version. I mix it all up, unlike some people, but I will eat it when I want a spicy rice and bean meal.

I'm sure there are a few I'm missing that I've tried, but that's them for the most part. I really adore their culinary collection of foods. Their spa collection isn't bad, I just haven't been able to find it at my local supermarkets a lot.
I hope that helps some of my weight-loss buddies out there. And if you don't use the Delicious rewards, send me your codes! NEVER throw out a Lean Cuisine box without putting the code into your rewards or mine! I've been known to go trash bin diving at work for co-workers who throw their boxes away without using the codes. lol
Anyways, Happy losses and *fingers crossed* for continued losses.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The final countdown... being 0.2 lbs from my goal weight

Ok. Firstly, I am happy to announce I lost another 1.6 lbs this week (and 1 lb last week, forgot to report). This means I am down 61.8 lbs total since October (it is now August) and 0.2 lbs from my goal weight of 150. Once I hit that, I will continue to keep up the losses, but if I bounce up and down around 150 lbs weight, I will be extremely happy, and not be as crazy about the weight loss as I have been.
I was surprised I lost as much as I did, considering that I ate horribly the final days of our theater production (which is now done), and ate a decent amount over my points the day before my weigh in.
Here are the current numbers:

My biggest boost over the week was on Monday I did a lot of stuff around town. First had a dentist appointment (where the dental hygienist comment how thin I was since last I was there in February.) I then had time to pick up a quick bit of lunch. I got me the super healthy 8 points plus meal at Panera Bread: standard turkey sandwich (no cheese) -half with a half- chicken noodle soup, apple and water. I was proud of how healthy I was, considering I'm in love with their breads, I resisted from the high point valued ones.

I then however was tempted by the frozen yogurt place that was 2 doors down, Bliss Yogurt Bar. I've never been to any of these yogurt bars, but decided to try it, but load up on the fruit. I got 1/3 dulche de leche frozen yogurt, 2/3 of the low-fat original creamy frozen yogurt with lots of mangoes and a few marshmallows for a tiny sweetness on top. I asked for the nutritional info, but since they were newly opened, they didn't really have it except the calories for the yogurts. They said the dulche de leche frozen yogurt was 35 calories per oz and 3.5 g of fat. The low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt was 23 calories per oz.

After all of this I was super full, but had to go to my final dress fitting for my bridesmaid dress for a friend's wedding. It fit nicely after she shortened it and my new strapless bra worked great with it- no need for the corset in this dress!

Then I wandered around the one mall till my friend (the bride) was done with work and I stopped by NY & Co. I was in desperate need of a new belt- since that's the only real way to show off I have a thinner waist now without buying an entirely new wardrobe. I headed straight to the sales rack and a pair of white Capri caught my eye. They only had a size 10, so I thought, what the heck, lets see if they fit. Up to this point, recently I've been wearing 12s. When I first started my weight loss journey back in October I was a since 18 (sometimes 16). I tried them on and tada! They fit nicely! They had to come home with me.
I mentioned to the one worker at the store if those on the rack were the only belts they had. She pointed me in the direction of a large jar at the counter of more belts (70% off too). I started chatting with her and divulged that I was in need of a new belt to show off my recent weight loss. After talking about weight watchers and losing 60+ lbs she said "I think we have more belts in the back. Let me get them and see if we can't find you a dream belt". She brings out this huge box of 70% off belts. I found 3 that I really liked- 1 gray, 1 red, and 1 black. They all have that elastics back, so the size really stretches nicely to whatever size you are. I also ended up getting a skirt besides the Capri and belts, but overall it made me super confident in my weight loss.

After my friend, I, and her sister-in-law enjoyed massages, we ate at this lovely place, Pandini's, where I had a chicken pesto labretti, (below) which was amazing. I've been in this pesto kick for some reason!

Another thing I found out, Saltwater Taffy.... Yeah- this kind (below)...

is 1 points plus per piece... I LOVE taffy, and being we are only an hour or 2 away from the jersey shore, my co-workers have been bringing it back to the office in loads. So after researching the nutrition on the back of the one box, For the most part, saltwater taffy is 1 points plus per taffy piece. Crazy! (could be worse though)

This week I've also been having a lot of soup at work. I cleared out our pantries this weekend and decided to try and pack a meal for work only from items we already have in the pantry- which means lots of soup and rice. So many of the Progressive soups are super boring and all broth, that by adding some brown rice, it kicked it up and made a hearty dinner at work. However after 3 days in a row of soup and rice, I was glad to get to the grocery store. lol

Lastly the hubs picked me up some Weight Watchers ice cream sandwiches and he found some new lean cuisines I've never tried before- who knew sending your husband to pick up your "essentials" would mean trying new things. So here is the cherry cheesecake weight watchers ice cream sandwich. Only 2 points plus!

Anyways, I can't believe I'm so close to my goal. I'll have to do a side by side if I make it next week, which to be honest, not sure if that will happen or not- had a crummy day yesterday and tomorrow is my wedding anniversary (wine certainly), but who knows... I do tend to lose weight when I have wine. lol
Happy losses!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Getting close to my goal weight!

Firstly, this past Tuesday (so by the time I post this it will be Tuesday- my weigh in day)- so we shall see how that goes, but back to what I was saying- this past Tuesday I lost 3 lbs! That means I am 2.8 lbs from my goal weight of 150, and 12.8 lbs away from my ideal weight of 140. It's been a crazy long week with practices and performances for our show. We only have 2 shows left (Tuesday and Wednesday) so we shall see how performance week affected my weight loss come tomorrow (later today).

The number one problem- late night dinner. We don't get dinner till we are done with the shows, so not eatting till 10:30/11pm- not cool. Also not cool- the $$$$$ spent eating that late and not at home, most of the time at Applebee's- our bank account is NOT liking these past few weeks AT ALL.
I've been doing pretty good at the bee- point wise, by sticking to one of the weight watchers meals, one of the 550 calorie meals or the steak and vegs meals. I discovered the chile lime chicken (below) is actually quite good, minus the broccoli.

(panini from Friends grill. we shall see if that hurt me this week or not. I tried to be good and only ate 1/4 of the fries)

I also discovered that they are now putting the weight watchers points of my yogurt! Woo!

This past week I also got to have a lovely meal with my friend Cat and her sister after Cat's wedding gown fitting- we ate at this AWESOME thai food restaurant where they are so creative and make your dishes look so lovely! It was wonderful. I also got to have some delicious Squash bread (very similar to zucchini bread) made by Cat's hubby-to-be Dave when we got back.

We shall see how all that Applebee's affected my weight loss later today. *crossing fingers* the scale will be nice to me, considering I'm stressing out about money woes at the moment- and we all know how stress is never good for your diet!

(two more shows with hair and makeup like this)

We shall see!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Ups and Downs of dieting while doing theater

Firstly, I apologize for being so slow to getting a new post up. Since we open in a week with our production of "The Music Man" I've had little time to do anything but do theater stuff or work.
So I'll start it off with, I lost a pound this week (on Tuesday). If my scale keeps it up, I hope I will lose more this coming Tuesday as well if I can help it.
However I was very surprised I actually lost a pound, considering the gigantic cupcake and yummy goodies I had at my friend Cat's Bridal Shower. I mean, look at this wonderful Vanillabean cupcake! (I have a Dulche de leche one waiting for me in the fridge, but I can't bring myself to eat it by myself, so I'm waiting to share it with my hubs).

 (vanilla bean cupcake)

 (dulche de leche cupcake)

 (the bride to be, Cat and me)

 (some of the amazing food spread displayed on my fun array of cake stands!)

 (more food- tarts, apricot things and cucumber sandwich things)

 (these were quite amazing- apricots, goat cheese, and nuts)

(The redish orange dress I wore to the bridal shower. I picked it up when I lost about 45 lbs just for this occasion, so luckily it tightens around the waist, so it still looks fab, if I do say so myself)

Doing theater is so difficult on my diet. Why? Because theater people (ok, community theater people) like to go out to eat after practice. We are all too tired to pack lunches before or cook dinner after practice, so going out to eat is easier- and more fun to hang out with your castmates. Going to diners and chain restaurants that stay open late becomes a weekly thing. So I've been having to be VERY careful in what I order- so as not to break the bank or my diet.
Here are some highlights of my meals since I got back from my CHA trip.

 (This has become my staple if we go to a few of the places- quiche and soup)

 (board meeting bbq- so difficult to give into hot dogs and hamburgers. I think I broke down and had a single burger, but then had lots of fruit)

 (Gigantic zucchini co-worker gave me. We turned it into many loaves of bread-below)

 (zucchini bread!)

 (had a glass of wine on Saturday evening. I gave into temptation)

 (my hubs does makes some of the best pizza. It's all in the crust)

 (nom nom nom)

 (screen shot from my restaurant app- I decided to go with the create your own pasta at the Macaroni Grill with my friend. It totally helped me stay within the points I had saved for that meal)

 (I ended up having wheat pasta with chicken and spinach in the spicy pomodoro sauce- was 17 points plus for the entire dish, I had half there and half left over for another meal)

 (At Denny's. You can get fruit with their slim breakfast items- I was missing fruit for the day, so I actually asked for a second fruit cup later in the meal! Helped fill me up when my slim omelette with 2 strips of turkey bacon didn't do the trick).

 (my numbers for this week)

 (Last night's dinner at the Diner. Beef stew over egg noodles and green beans on the side after a salad. I actually was so full- This wasn't too bad of a meal, lots of vegs. Not the best meal point wise, but I was really tired of salads and soup. It kind of looks gross, but it was pretty good tasting.)

I also was surprisingly getting slightly more comfortable in my 2-piece bathing suit. I was invited over to my friend's house to go swimming, so again the bathing suit issue came up. I just sucked it up and put the 2-piece on and prayed that I didn't look too balloon-ish in it. Luckily it was so darn hot and the pool was so nice that I forgot all about my insecurities long enough to enjoy the pool. I would show you a picture, but I don't want those floating around the inter-webs (as my friend calls it).

(This was taken during the promo shoot for the second Music Man promo- taken by our assistant stage manager Natalie. It's become one of my favs, since normally I don't like pictures of myself, it is nice to have one that you actually like. haha)

Anyways, I am hoping to keep up the good losses this week, as I am working tonight, tomorrow and Saturday, so I have to pack my meals accordingly. *crossing fingers* for another good loss of a week and the next time I post will probably be either during or after tech (hell) week for the show. *squee!*
Oh, and for those that care, here is another promo for our show, this one with me singing in the beginning. :D