Tuesday, June 2, 2009

it's zucchini soup time and calculating the points of things

Look at this yummy lunch from the garden I whipped up on Saturday. Zucchini soup plus cucumber slices from our best-ever home grown cucumber (last year's were not as good--they all turned out white). Rainer has already downed several bowls of the soup already. Love that in a toddler. The zucchini soup recipe is here for those of you interested.
So, one of the things on my mind recently is losing a bit of weight before summer. Especially since there will be birthdays, anniversaries, and cakes and such, I'm trying to lose a few pounds before we start all that. The best way for me to do that is with old fashioned calorie counting or, in my case, point counting, since I've done Weight Watchers before so I think in terms of points. It's frustrating when recipes don't have the calories, fat, and fiber info needed to calculate points, so here's how I do it.
You can click on the photo to see my notes here. Basically I total all the points from the ingredients in a recipe and add them up. For example, in the above recipe, the healthy cookies from Clean Food, the oats are 12 points, the flour 9, the coconut 6, and so on (based on the amounts actually used in the recipe). I total up all the points for the entire batch of cookies (104) then divide by the number of cookies I got out of the batch (38). That comes out to about 3 point per cookie. High, yes, but at least I know how much to count it for and knowing certainly helps me eat only one.
For the Angry Chicken cookies it came out to 2.5 points for a cookie.
Here's the calculation for the zucchini soup. The zucchini is free, and I counted the broth as free too. Here's the thing on the savory recipes, though. You have to know the recipe yield--otherwise you don't know how big to make your serving size. So at least one time when you make the recipe you need to measure out how much it makes (which is what I'm doing in the second photo). Once you know how many cups in the recipe you can figure out how many servings and divide that into the total number of points. For the soup I figured 6 large 2-cup portions at 2.5 points each. A bargain!
I keep a little cheat sheet for the baking projects . . .
and I've started one for the main dish ingredients as well. I get this info from my Weight Watchers materials or sometimes by calculating off the package labels.

I've managed to lose at least a couple pounds so far and still have 2 weeks before school is out.

By the way, it's 5:09--Rainer got up to nurse around 2am or so and neither one of us has been able to sleep since. Finally, after trying to coax him to sleep for 2 hours, we just got up at 4am. Now we're all up, save for the teens. Wah! It's going to be a long day.

14 comments:

DangAndBlast! said...

a surprisingly nifty nutritional calculator is Wolfram|Alpha. (It's also a general computational engine.) You can put in all the ingredients and it'll give you the nutritional info for the total. For example, here's what I made last night. (recipe-free low-fat chocolate-chip cookies, if you were wondering. Moderately good.) Can help you figure out the total counts for it all.

Anna said...

I'm in the lightening up mode too. But I have to add that I was drooling over the skirts you made (and planning my own) when my husband wandered by the computer commented that you were tres sexy. I agree--you look fantastic! Don't lose track of that in your calculations...

Julie said...

I agree with Anna (& her husband)... you look fantastic in your new skirts!

Andrea said...

Wow--zuccini already? We're just putting in our garden. Hope to get to the farmer's market tomorrow and get, what? Garlic tops and early greens and fingerling potatoe? I'll take what I can get! The soup looks good, but will have to wait until July or August (althoug my son found five very early wild strawberries near our driveway yesterday!)

Jessica said...

I'm a point countner myself...it keeps all of my baking and snacking in check. I have never quite figured a good system for homemades until yours! I'd love to get my hands on that baking/cooking cheat sheet of yours if at all possible.

Andrea said...

Thanks for sharing your WW cheat sheets! I think I will copy them. I'm doing WW right now (well, sort of) have found the points counting so time consuming when you want to use a recipe w/o the calorie info in it. But, creating a little notebook like you did for common ingredients is a great idea.

Mary Beth said...

Anna and Julie--wow! Thank you!

Jessica--yes, of course I'll share. Will e-mail you about that.

Elaina said...

I just decided to get back to a little WW point calculating of my own. And I'm going to be making the healthy cookies again, so I'm glad you did the math for me! good luck :)

Rach said...

I see the Taste print out here in the photo! I love that you see them in my kitchen too!

Good luck with the calorie counting. I am hopeless. Terrible in fact.

Adrienne said...

I love your blog. It is tasty looking and has great ideas! I also love that you do all your recipe cheat sheets! That is real dedication. I have been doing WW for the last 5 weeks and have lost 16 pounds, but do not exactly calculate some combined dinners...too lazy. Your soup looks good, but seems low on points with the cream. What kind of cream did you use?? I am wanting to make it very much!

Mary Beth said...

Hi Adrienne. I'm glad you're enjoying the blog! I actually have never tried it with cream. I just use a little whole milk--about 2/3 cup. It's still delicious!

michelle said...

Hi! I am going to try to make the soup soon, but I have a few questions I was hoping you could answer for me. First, it says it needs chicken stock. All I have ever been able to find in stores is chicken broth? What brand do you use? Also, I was wondering what you use to blend this soup? A hand blender? If so, what brand? Thanks so much!

Mary Beth said...

Hi Michelle. Chicken broth and stock are basically interchangeable for simple recipes like this. To be honest, I usually use chicken "Better than Bouillon" or organic "Better than Bouillon" and it comes out great. Sometimes I used to buy Swanson organic chicken broth (comes in a box). I use a stick blender to blend the soup. I would basically never make a blended soup like this if I had to blend it in batches in the blender. My stick blender is an inexpensive "Toastmaster" one, but I'd spring for a high-end one if I had to do it over. I think a stick blender is definitely "worth it."

Good luck!

Mary Beth

michelle said...

Thanks a lot! I love your blog! It's the first thing I look at in the morning. Your family is adorable, and you are an inspiration!