Archive for January 19, 2010

You’re a Cookie Monster? Blame Your Friends

C is for control, right?

Pick your pals wisely: A new study says that the people you hang around with directly help — or hinder — your powers of self control. “If you spend time with people who exhibit self-control — resisting the death-by-chocolate cake after a restaurant meal, for instance — you can expect your own self-control to be pretty good, too, according to new research,” Kathleen Doheny writes on BusinessWeek.com. “But the opposite seems true, too: Spending time with people with less-than-ideal self-control will influence you negatively, the researchers found.” (Thanks to Heather at scienceandreligiontoday.com for the heads-up.)

How about in your own life? Do your friends help you toward your healthy goals, or do they block them?

January 19, 2010 at 10:02 pm Leave a comment

Fuel Yourself: Slow It Down Now

When I was in high school, my family got a bread-making machine. For weeks, we made tons and tons of hot, crusty bread. Then we put it in the closet, and it never came out again.

This Christmas, I got my first slow cooker. Since then, I’ve used it every week. I’m more than willing to admit that there may come a time when the cooker goes the way of the bread machine, but until then, I AM IN SLOW-COOKER HEAVEN. I’ve made soup and oatmeal in my ceramic oven of joy, as well as some entrees that were amazing. Here’s one, courtesy of Weight Watchers:

Provencal Beef Stew

Ingredients:

1 pound(s) lean beef round, cut into 1-inch cubes (London Broil)

1 small onion(s), chopped

2 cup(s) mushroom(s), sliced

2 medium garlic clove(s), minced

2 large carrot(s), sliced

15 oz canned pinto beans, drained and rinsed, divided

1 1/2 cup(s) canned beef broth, divided

14 1/2 oz canned crushed tomatoes

1/2 tsp dried oregano, crushed

1/4 tsp dried thyme, crushed

1/2 tsp table salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 Tbsp thyme, or 2 whole sprigs, for garnish (optional)

Directions:

Put raw beef in a five-quart slow cooker. Coat a skillet with cooking spray or misted olive oil, then add onion, mushrooms and garlic. Sauté over medium-high heat until the onion mixture is nice and soft, then add the mixture to the slow cooker. Throw the carrots and half of the beans in, too. Put the other half of the beans in a blender with half a cup of broth, then blend. (I did it in a bowl with an immersion blender. Aside from a small spatter on The Boyfriend’s shirt — he was helping me cook — it worked just fine.) Once the puree is done, add to slow cooker. Add remaining broth, tomatoes, oregano, dried thyme, some fresh thyme, salt and pepper to cooker. Cover and cook on high five to seven hours. Garnish with fresh thyme before serving, if desired.

Makes six one-and-a-quarter-cup servings. If you’re counting, it’s four Points per serving.

I had this over a small baked Yukon Gold potato for lunch. Insanely delicious, and there’s no way to tell that it’s not the full-fat version.

January 19, 2010 at 4:15 pm Leave a comment


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