Tag Archives: chocolate

Who Moved My Cookies?

cookies cover 3Jessie Newman was a smart, sexy, successful Weight Watchers leader, who had it all, until she caught her cheating husband, in the act. After tossing him to the curb, she had to quit the part-time career she loved and wound up stuck in a dead-end job, watching her butt grow. Now, married to a prominent and handsome neurosurgeon, who happens to think she’s cute, cellulite and all, Jessie is ready for a change.

Although it kills Jessie to leave her family, when her new husband, Dr. Tad Newman, gets offered a job in our nation’s capital, this former weight loss guru, still reeling after her failed first marriage, considers this the opportunity she’s been waiting for to quit job she hates, drop the twenty pounds she’s packed on, and embark on a new career.

Happily married at last, Jessie looks forward to letting go of her former life and embarking on a journey of self-improvement. In Who Moved My Cookies?, Jessie sets out to start a new career during a time when companies are downsizing, not hiring. In between tackling online job applications, Jessie works on figuring out the perfect diet while fantasizing about fitting into those clothes she’s been saving since shoulder pads were the height of fashion, even if it means giving up meat and cookies. But not M&M’s. She has her limits. Most importantly, Jessie is determined to make this marriage work, in spite of the many hours her husband is now spending with his sexy new assistant, who just happens to become the subject of the murder mystery she is writing????

As a former Weight Watchers leader who helped thousands lose weight on the Weight Watchers program, I know what it is like to stand in front of the freezer, sneaking a few bites, licks and tastes from the half-gallon containers of mint chocolate chip ice cream and tubes of frozen cookie dough I kept hidden behind the frozen broccoli.

If you can relate to Jessie, or just want a really fun Bridget Jones- type of read, please take a look at Who Moved My Cookies?

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Food Porn and Weight Watchers

Did you ever notice how packaged ice cream is at its peak of perfection the moment you bring it home from grocery shopping? OMG…Stop me now.

My sixteen-year gig as a Weight Watchers group leader in the Cleveland suburbs was like doing eleven shows a week at the Improv. Standing in front of a packed house— 20 to 100 members on average— I would mime sneaking a taste of my newly purchased 1/2 gallon container of Pierre’s chocolate-chocolate chip. Opening the lid immediately after placing it on the kitchen counter, not even caring if my other groceries spoiled from neglect, I would attack the carton like a vulture going after his prey. I just needed one taste. One perfect mouthful. I’d swirl my plastic, (yes it had to be a plastic spoon so as not to give a metallic taste to the ice cream), around the top, savoring the creamy goodness at its peak of perfection. I would glance around the room, noticing my members at the edges of their seats, living vicariously through my experience. I’d watch their eyes tearing up, their lips quivering, as if they were watching pornography. In a way, this was our pornography. Food porn. And we loved it. We craved more. We needed to hear other members’ experiences to learn how to deal with our own issues with food. And to know we were not alone in our struggle with our weight.

During the sixteen years I taught Weight Watchers, I feared that if I no longer had to do my weekly/monthly weigh-ins, I’d put back on the weight I had lost years before. That was scary.

Eventually I had to give up my meetings and I have been struggling with the scale ever since.
I’m sharing some of my weight challenges, along with many experiences members have discussed in thousands of my meetings through the voice of my fictional character, Jessie Newman, in my novel: Who Moved My Cookies? available now on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00G3Q91CS.

Tomorrow’s Diet

I will give up
My favorite treats
From food made with sugar
To food made with wheat.

No more spaghetti
Or tart lemon drops
No more sandwich cookies
Or Tootsie roll pops.

No more ice cream
Or crispy French fries
Or buckets of popcorn
Or even fried rice.

No more lasagna
Or BBQ food
No more large pizza
Unless I’m in the mood.

If I get too hungry
Or get really mad
I know I’ll succumb
I know I’ll be bad.

So forget my new plan
It’s way way too crude
I’ll just be more sensible
When choosing my food.

Veggies and fruit
Fresh, no cans
I’ll be good tomorrow
Tonight, I have plans.

I’ll clean out the fridge
The pantry of Pringles
Polish off the cookies
The ice cream, with sprinkles.

Once all the goodies are
Out of the house
I’ll face my new scale
And so will my spouse.

One More Try for Love

Courage is fleeting
I don’t know why
I’m stuck in the corner
Afraid to try.

Tears are a waste
As night passes slowly
I’ll go out tomorrow
Forget feeling lonely.

Men come and go
Dates seldom work
I’ll wait for right one
Instead of a jerk.

Forget the diet
Bring me the bread
And chocolate and wine till I’m
Light in the head.

Keep my chin up
There’ll come a time
When singing and dancing
And fun will be mine.

Love don’t come easy
That is no lie
Yes, I have the courage
To give it one more try.

My Three Minute Meditation

My three minute meditation

I’m sitting
I’m waiting
For my stress to flee
Leaving my body
Like leaves from a tree.

Just three little minutes
That’s all that it takes
For stress to take flight
And leave me…
I’ll wait.

The three little minutes
He said it will work
To lower my blood pressure
I feel like a jerk.

Just three little minutes
Are driving me crazy
I could have washed dishes
Instead I feel lazy.

Just three little minutes
That’s way way too long
When one bar of chocolate
Would make me so strong.

Just three little minutes
Thank God they are done
Forget about stress relief methods
I’m going out for some fun!

Valentine Courage in a Bowl

Tickled I am
Though not fully pink
I laid down my pencil
And picked up my ink. 

I started to write
Jotting down notes
Dazed and confused
I don't get a vote. 

With hands that were trembling 
No fear in my soul
I tackled my feelings
Then dove for the bowl. 

My bowl filled with ice cream
Glistened with delight
It tempted and cajoled me
On this lonely night. 

Green swirls and brown
Chips in there too
Swimming in fudge sauce
Only the best would do. 

Liquid courage came next
Kahlua worked well
To ink down on paper
What the hell. 

With heart in my hand
Without fearing I'd fail
I signed sealed and stamped the words I love you
And sent them to mail. 

Whatever the result
If he loves me too
We'll know sooner or later
I hope sooner, wouldn't you?

Now time for sleep
My lover away
I pray for his answer
I worry what he'll say. 

We can't always get
The answer we want
Life's just not as easy
As picking a font. 

I long for the day
He answers my prayer
With a bushel of roses
Or scarf, showing he cares. 

I hate Valentine's Day
So much on the line
Hearing I love you
Will you be mine?

If its meant to be
It will
We all know that's true 
I told him my feelings
That's all I can do. 

My cell just beeped. 
A text from my man
"I can't wait to see you
I've made a big plan."

OMG what is this?
He just got my letter
He'll say that he loves me
He'll commit now, he better. 

He stands in my hallway
Drops down on one knee
Darling I love you
Will you have me?

Yes!


Doctors recommend daily chocolate!

This is for your health!!

Although doctors keep changing their minds about whether or not alcohol is healthy for women, they all agree that chocolate, taken in moderation, is a healthy additive to your daily diet. Here are some helpful suggestions for adding chocolate to your diet.

If you are like me, you probably already realize that although chocolate is the perfect breakfast food, whether you enjoy a lowfat, high fiber muffin top or a puffy chocolate cereal, it’s good other times during the day as well.

Oreos, already in sandwich form, are well suited for lunches at school, work or on the go. They can easily be eaten at your desk, while watching TV or standing directly in front of the kitchen cabinet while choosing a dessert.

M&Ms are handy for afternoon snacks and you can never go wrong with chocolate chip ice cream.

Dinner time calls for heartier fare. When making your homemade chile, don’t forget to add a tablespoon of cocoa powder to make sure your meal is healthy.

An evening snack of popcorn is delicious enhanced with a few dark chocolate chips or cocoa powder.

Remember, these are suggestions for your health which is never something to take lightly!

To your health!

Oh, don’t forget the chocolate martini!

My Cheesecake Frisbee

We’d been going together for three months. I was ready to take the leap. I’m not so sure he was.

“Are you really sure we’re ready for this? It’s a big step,” he reminded me.

“I have confidence,” I said. I didn’t want him to know I was scared to death. I’d been married before. I knew this was a major turning point in our relationship. It was now or never. I’m a good cook. I’d make the best dinner ever. And it would be my first dinner party in my new condo. Most important, our two families would meet for the first time.

I carefully planned out the menu. I’d cook my favorites. The dishes I was confident I’d make as well as any star on Food TV. Serving chicken cacciatore, salad and my famous cheesecake for dessert, what’s not to like?

He wanted to help. He offered to make the topping for my cheesecake. I figured that should be easy enough. I’ll let him. He won’t think I’m a control freak.

My kids arrived first. For once they didn’t complain, “Chicken again!” They knew to be on their best behavior. They were rooting for me. They liked this boyfriend. They wanted things to work out for us. There were no complaints when I asked them to set the table.

Next he arrived with his teenagers. Unlike my kids who are loud and outspoken, they seemed shy, reserved. I didn’t feel right to give them a job to do at this point so I invited them to sit down at the table. I was glad I went the extra mile and made place cards so they didn’t have to guess where to sit. I was so nervous, I figured they were nervous as well. What could go wrong? I thought to myself. Calm down. It’s just dinner. I’ve made these dishes a million times before.

As my boyfriend followed me into the kitchen I thought he was going to try to sneak a kiss. How romantic, especially with everyone in the next room. Instead he handed me a “vintage” harvest gold Tupperware container filled with the fruit topping he made for my dessert. “Sorry,” he said. “I forgot to add sugar. It’s more like mushy fruit than a cheesecake topping.”

“That’s ok.” I told him. I handed him a bottle of wine and said, “Just go sit down at the table and entertain your kids.”

Ok, I thought. I can handle this. It’s no big deal. I’ll just put his topping in a nice crystal bowl and we can spoon it on our cheesecake. I go into the refrigerator and take out the cheesecake so it can come to room temperature while we’re having dinner. I carefully run a knife along the edge of the cake and pull on the release on the springform pan. The cake cracks. Not a little crack. This is a major, Grand Canyon crack. It would take a whole container of Cool Whip to cover it but I only had a little left. I had to come up with something. Chocolate is always good. I had a bag of chocolate chips. Quickly I melted half the bag in the microwave and poured it on my cheesecake and returned it to the refrigerator to set.

We all gathered around the table. I set the salad bowl on the table for everyone to take their own. I’d already tasted my chicken in the kitchen before I brought it in. I knew it was delicious. Moist and tender, it had just the right amount of garlic and oregano. It was just the way I liked it. After everyone had a bite no one said a word. I was afraid to ask. My kids finally opened up and started talking about their day, their frustrations with their jobs. His kids sat in silence. My kids finished their plates asking for more. His pushed their food around. Mine were begging for dessert. They love my cheesecake. His remained quiet.

I was starting to take this personally. Maybe they didn’t like being dragged out of the house, away from their computers, their TV, their friends. Maybe they didn’t like chicken. Maybe they didn’t like my kids. Maybe they didn’t like me. Soon, we’d have the piece de resistance; my fabulous dessert. All will be well.

Clearing off the table, it took all the strength I had to not finish the chicken his kids left on the bone. Someone might be watching. I tossed it in the garbage. What a waste. This evening was not going well at all. I was counting on the cheesecake to save the day. I don’t know what they didn’t like about my chicken but I loved it.

I reached into the refrigerator. There it sat in all its glory. My cheesecake. I will redeem myself, I thought. The night will not be ruined. I put on a pot of coffee. I set out the dessert dishes. I passed around new silverware, fresh napkins. I couldn’t wait. I love my cheesecake. “I hope you like the cheesecake.” I announced, practically begging for approval. “It’s my own recipe.” Yes, no frozen Sara Lee* or low fat version for my company. I put my heart and soul into this cheesecake.

I set the cake on the table in front of me. It looked beautiful. The chocolate coating glistened. I topped it with a little dollop of Cool Whip. I even placed a few raspberries on top. It was perfect. I took a deep breath. I lowered my knife to make my first cut. Nothing happened. I tried again. The knife wouldn’t go through. The chocolate had solidified like a rock. It wouldn’t give. The harder I tried to cut the tougher it seemed. I heard chuckles. They were starting to laugh. I started stabbing it with the knife. They laughed harder. I grabbed the knife in my fist and plunged it into the chocolate Frisbee. The entire topping came off at once. Wiping my brow in frustration I couldn’t help but smile as I was getting a round of applause. I took my bow saying, “Now, for my next act…”

The hard part was over. Not only had I gotten through the chocolate, I finally broke the ice. I handed the Frisbee to my boyfriend who delighted in breaking it up into smaller bits and passed them around the table as if he was passing around a ceremonial matzo during Passover. I had no trouble slicing up the rest of the cheesecake and passing that around. The praises were great, but the laughter was priceless. It’s the mistakes that make memories. And I’ve had my share of them.

“By the way,” my boyfriend told me after everyone had left, “the kids hate any chicken on the bone. And so do I. But dinner was perfect.”

To this day, they have never let me forget my first family meal cheesecake.

*Note: There’s nothing wrong with Sara Lee cheesecake. I’ve enjoyed it many times directly out of the freezer, especially the night before starting a new diet.

This is what the cheesecake should have looked like!

My Best Cheesecake Recipe

Serves: 12

Cake:

40 oz. Cream Cheese, Softened.

1 ½ cups sugar

3 large eggs

2 t pure vanilla

2 t almond extract

1 cup sour cream

3 T flour

Crust:

1 ¼ cups crushed vanilla cookies

1 T sugar

1 T butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375º.

Crust:  Melt butter and mix with sugar and cookie crumbs.  Spread on the bottom of a 10” or 12” springform pan.

Bake in the center of the oven for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool. Lower the oven temperature to 350º.

Filling:  In a large mixing bowl, on medium speed, beat cream cheese and sugar together.  Then beat in all the remaining ingredients, adding eggs one at a time, until smooth.  Do not over beat.  Pour into pan and smooth top with rubber spatula.

Bake:  350º for 1 hour, until filling no longer jiggles.  Chill in refrigerator at least 3 hours before removing from pan.

Serves 12.

Variations

Toppings:  Serve with fresh strawberries, blueberries, canned apples with cinnamon, cherries, whipped topping, whatever you like!

Crust variations:  Graham cracker, Oreo Cookie Crust, Cinnamon Wafers!!!  Yum.  Whatever you have in your cupboard.

Like chocolate?  Top crust with chocolate chips before adding filling.

PB&J sound good?  Use peanut butter instead of the butter when making the crust.  Then top the cheesecake with strawberry or grape jelly before serving.

Thanksgiving:  Mix canned pumpkin into the filling and flavor with a tablespoon of cinnamon.

Please add your ideas:   ______________________________________