I know, I just posted the original version of this recipe, but I played with it a bit last night, and I got an update-worthy reaction from my hubby. Just so you understand a little about why I say that, you should know that he is no pushover when it comes to what he likes to eat, and being a left-brained engineer type, he is definitely not a man of anywhere near as many words as his right-brained wife! You see, Bob’s mom was an absolutely amazing cook and she set quite a standard for me to keep…. But she was infinitely patient with me- it took her several years, but she graciously taught me what amounted to a “Care & Feeding of a Southern Gentleman” course.
Nowadays my sweet guy is generally quite happy with the things I make, but the essence of his male-engineerness means he isn’t always terribly liberal or straightforward about verbalizing his thoughts on the subject. A perfect example is what he told me on our 5th wedding anniversary- with a completely straight face, and in all seriousness, he said, “You’re a much better cook than you were five years ago.” At the time I didn’t quite know what to make of that, but now I know it was, indeed, high praise.
So last night, when he got a spoonful of these potatoes, and I got another supreme compliment, I knew this one was another winner! Oh- what he said was, “This is also a restaurant worthy recipe!” (The “also” refers to what he said about the first version of this recipe- the fries with this spice blend on them.) So I knew I needed to share it. I hope and think Roselyn would be happy about what I’ve done with the lessons she gave me. : ]
Anyway, to make my mashed version from last night, start by preparing the brown sugar and spice blend, as given here, with this addition:
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seed
Next, bake about about 1.5 to 2 pounds of sweet potatoes until they’re very soft, scoop the flesh out of the skin, mash them up very well, and add:
1/4 to 1/2 cup orange juice
Now, just blend it all together very well, put the mixture in a casserole sprayed with non-stick spray and bake, in a 375F oven, for 30 minutes or so, just until piping hot.
I mentioned that I thought maybe the cayenne pepper could be upped a bit- to 1/4th of a teaspoon, but Bob said, “No, it’s just right.” You can adjust as you like.
Here it is! My Weight Watchers weigh-in record from last night… see where it says Total: -100? That means I’ve lost one hundred pounds…
I’ll say it again- 100 lbs! (In case you’re wondering, I don’t always decorate my record, but when I do, it’s because it’s a really special occasion.)
So, how did I do this? Well, there are lots and lots of things that helped me, many specifics of which I’m going to share in my next post, but I just couldn’t wait to share a few of the ones that have been super important.
There are three crucial things that allowed me to achieve what I never could have dreamed possible.
First of all, I’ve had an amazingsupport system!
My husband has been willing to put up with my cooking “experiments,” some of which were absolutely horrendous, but fortunately, many more were pretty good. Completely re-learning how to cook took some practice! He never complained, and ate whatever I made- what a blessing!
Allie and I have been going to Weight Watchers meetings, shopping, eating, cooking, and losing weight together, from the very first night when we began this journey together. And Ashelyn has been my constant cheerleader, along with my entire extended family- parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, so many of my friends, and my Weight Watchers leaders and fellow members.
Seriously- there is absolutely no way I could have done this, apart from support! It hasn’t been nearly as hard as I thought it’d be, but it wasn’t easy either, so without encouragement, support, patience, and acceptance, it would’ve been almost impossible not to give up. I still have a way to go, but I’m looking forward to reaching my goal.
Secondly, as far as food goes…
I certainly haven’t ever felt horribly deprived! I found things that satisfy the sweet tooth, but aren’t so high in calories. Who would’ve thought you could have truffles and lose so much? (Try the Skinny Cow mint chocolate ice cream sandwiches too- they’re amazing!)
So many really good alternatives- you might ask, “Seriously, salted caramel brownies?” YES! Can I have the whole box? Nope. But I can have a couple with a big glass of ice cold milk- if I’m careful with my points the rest of the day. And I am. Every day- I have something sweet every single day.
I was determined not to settle for anything that I hated eating- “diet” salad dressings were always my pet peeve. Most are honestly just nasty, but I’ve found a few that I truly love, like this one! I’ve found this brand at Wal-Mart and Target super stores.
I still eat most of the things I’ve always loved! Not losing weight was not an option, but neither was giving up all of my favorite things- so I just learned to make them in different ways.
In the case of my deviled eggs, I use a combination of Low Fat and Fat Free mayo- honestly, I can’t tell the difference between these and the ones I’ve made with regular mayo.
I’ve found lots and lots of products that don’t taste like what I’ve encountered in the past, i.e. “diet” foods. The new products I’m finding now may not taste or act exactly like full fat / calorie versions, but they’re really good, and I’ve learned how to use them in ways that mean I honestly don’t miss the full fat products.
Here’s a perfect example:
And, third, there’s exercise…
I’m not going to lie- activity is probably my least favorite part of the program, but having pretty workout clothes helps! Water aerobics, or H2O Fitness class, does make this part more fun than almost any other kind of exercise I’ve tried- you almost can’t hurt yourself while exercising in the pool, and there is absolutely no sweat involved. That’s as good as it gets for this girl!
Well, OK, a nice bike ride with the hubby on a cool summer evening, providing there are no bugs, low humidity, and no rain… that’s been a great way to get some activity in also. A pretty bike never hurts either. Are you noticing a trend? Pretty things to wear and ride help! I don’t think I’m going to get a horse out of this, but can you blame me for trying?
These are just a few of the things I’ve learned over the past 20 months or so. There are so many more I want to share, and I can’t wait to write posts about all of them! I just really want everyone on the journey with me to know that losing and/or maintaining a healthy weight doesn’t have to be boring or miserable- you really can have delicious food, that makes you feel full and satisfied; you just have to learn a new way of going about it. So, if you’re in, come along with me as I continue to learn, and grow, (in knowledge, not size! : ) and love cooking, eating, and losing more weight- I’ll show you how you can do it too!
I’m still learning how to do this blogging thing- it’s been just about an hour since I downloaded all of the stuff to get started, and I’m pretty excited that I’ve been able to figure at least one thing out- I’ve changed the colors, so that’s a great big WooHoo! But I’ve also realized I don’t like any of the pictures I already have, so I’ll have to work on that and come back a little later to start decorating! As soon as I learn how to navigate all of this, I’ll start posting my most requested recipes, and some new ones I think you’ll love too!
In the meantime, huge thanks go out to my sister, Amy, and my friend, Deb, who so encouraged me a few weeks ago that I feel I might actually be able to do this- let’s hope they were right!!