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Sunday Slow Cooker: Butternut Squash Soup Three Ways

Sunday Slow Cooker:  Butternut Squash Soup Three Ways

Nothing screams fall more than butternut squash soup in my opinion and lately I have been making buckets of it. Considering I can pick up a butternut squash for under $5, have all the other ingredients on hand, and can make it in the slow cooker – it’s a favorite meal and freezer item around here. Usually I like to stick to the classic fall butternut squash soup with apples but sometimes I go for a spicy version or curried version. Indian curry works but I actually prefer Thai curry paste for my soup. The sweet and spicy combination is hard to beat.

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Soup
Servings: 6
Serving Size: 1 cup
Nutritional Info: 117 calories, 1.1g of fat, 23.8g carbohydrates, 3.5g dietary fiber, 4.8g of protein, 9.3g of sugar
Weight Watchers® PointsPlus®: 3 * (more…)

* PointsPlus® calculated by Slender Kitchen; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

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Friday Five: Delicious Fall Sides

Friday Five:  Delicious Fall Sides

With November almost here, it’s seems like the perfect time to switch up my side dish game. Normally I get into a bit of a rut when it comes to side dishes and end up making the same dishes with slight variations for weeks. So in that spirit, here are some of my favorite side dishes celebrating fall ingredients. What are yours?

1. Roasted Brussel’s Sprouts, 49 calories, 1 PointsPlus®

2. Honey Roasted Carrots with Balsamic Vinegar, 88 calories, 3 PointsPlus®

3. Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad, 210 calories, 5 PointsPlus®

4. Roasted Cauliflower and Pomegranate Salad with Honey Sesame Dressing, 129 calories, 3 PointsPlus®

5. Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Goat Cheese and Chives, 112 calories, 3 PointsPlus®

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Weight Loss Wednesday: Carrie Lost 55 Pounds!

Weight Loss Wednesday:  Carrie Lost 55 Pounds!

Name: Carrie Carroll
Height: 5’8″
Starting Weight: 200 lb
Current Weight: 145 lb
Pounds Lost: 55 lb

How long did it take you to lose the weight? After graduating high school (2003) I starting working out at Curves and lost about 25 lb in about 6 months. I was fine with this for a while, but then really wanted to lose more. In 2006, in college, I started working out more, and counting my daily calorie intake and lost another 15-20lb. Finally, in 2010 I joined Weight Watchers after my weight fluctuating 5-10 lb. To be honest, I wasn’t FULLY focused on weight loss. But 2014 was my year. I lost another 10 lb to bring me to a grand total of 55 lb lost since high school!

Lightbulb Moment: I had been overweight and uncomfortable with my appearance for most of my life. Clothes not fitting was just the norm. But, after graduating high school, my aunt asked very casually if I wanted to join Curves and start working out with her and my mom. I said yes, that sounds fun- UNTIL I learned they weigh you and take your measurements. I didn’t want that to happen. But I swallowed my pride and did it. Working out was very new to me, but the atmosphere was so fun and supportive. I would wake up at 5am and be proud to be one of the first ones at Curves! It became a healthy addiction! I loved working out and seeing results- losing weight was SO new to me. I’m a nurse, and I want to portray a positive, healthy image for my patients!

How did you do it? First step was Curves. Working out was fun there, and I felt comfortable. Creating a routine of exercising (almost every day) was and is essential. I still wasn’t eating the way I should. Weight Watchers has been an absolute blessing and necessity. It taught me how to eat, basically. Fruits and vegetables are now cornerstones of my diet. Counting points/calories is essential for me- I can’t just “wing it.” Weight Watchers meetings, counting points, and regular exercise is the only way that works for me! Weight Watchers is so flexible.

What was the biggest challenge you faced? How did you overcome it? Alcohol. Going out with my friends and husband and drinking too much. I would ruin very healthy days with too many calories spent on drinking! To be honest- I had to stop drinking. Alcoholism runs in my family. I tried for years to moderate my drinking but truth be told, it was too much. I’ve been sober since mid-January this year… and trust me, that is something I never thought I would say. I’m happier than I’ve ever been- happy and proud of myself. The negative talk I used to tell myself has decreased so much, it’s unbelievable. I know most people don’t need or want to give up alcohol. But I needed to!!

What was the single thing that helped you most along the way, especially when things got tough? Looking at before and after pictures- of myself and of others. Telling myself even though I don’t eat perfectly, I’m much better and stronger and happier than I used to be.

(more…)

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Spinach Protein Pancakes

Spinach Protein Pancakes

Lately I have been a bit obsessed with morning pancakes. Mostly it’s these Banana Pancakes, Pumpkin Pancakes, or Overnight Oat Pancakes; but this weekend I added a new healthy pancake to the rotation and they are made of spinach! Eeek! Before you go running for the hills, consider giving these simple pancakes a try. Much like a smoothie quickly hides the taste of spinach, the same happens here. The spinach flavor takes a backseat and you just get a nice, slightly sweet pancake. Want to cover it up even more? Add a banana and you won’t be able to taste the spinach at all. I like mine topped with a touch of apple butter and a drizzle of honey. Filling and delicious.

Spinach Protein Pancakes
Servings: 1
Serving Size: 8-10 small pancakes
Nutritional Info: 151 calories, 2.5g of fat, 17.2g carbohydrates, 3.8g dietary fiber, 16g of protein, 1.2g of sugar
Weight Watchers® PointsPlus®: 4 * (more…)

* PointsPlus® calculated by Slender Kitchen; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

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Friday Five: Healthier Halloween Recipes

Friday Five:  Healthier Halloween Recipes

With Halloween around the corner and what is sure to be a deluge of candy and sweet treats, I always like to have a few delicious and healthier recipes up my sleeve. So today’s Friday Five is focused on just that! Here are some spooky treats I am thinking about making this Halloween. What’s on your menu?

1. DIY Banana Mummies, 72 calories, 2-3 PointsPlus®
2. Frozen Boo Nana Pops, 98 calories, 3 PointsPlus®
3. Strawberry Ghosts, 104 calories, 3 PointsPlus® (or use vanilla Greek yogurt or sugar free vanilla pudding instead and freeze for a healthier treat!)
4. Candied Apples, 237 calories, 5 PointsPlus®
5. Mummy Muffin Pizzas, 270 calories, 6-7 PointsPlus®

* PointsPlus® calculated by Slender Kitchen; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

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Spinach and Strawberry Protein Smoothie

Spinach and Strawberry Protein Smoothie

First of all, let’s agree to ignore the color of the smoothie in this photo. Sometimes green smoothies are just not pretty. But the taste? I’m into it. It isn’t overly sweet and tastes a bit earthy from the spinach, almond butter, and hemp protein powder. I love this smoothie first thing in the morning to get my body going or after a workout to refuel.

Spinach and Strawberry Protein Smoothie
Servings: 1
Serving Size: 1.5 cups
Nutritional Info: 229 calories, 10.2g of fat, 20.6g carbohydrates, 7.7g dietary fiber, 16g of protein, 9.7g of sugar
Weight Watchers® PointsPlus®: 3 (5 in recipe calculator counting fruits and vegetables) * (more…)

* PointsPlus® calculated by Slender Kitchen; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

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