Monday, 15 April 2013

A few recipe reviews from JM "Fat Burning Meal Plan"

Over the past few days I've been making good use of Jillian Michaels' Fat Burning Meal Plan recipe book that came with the Body Revolution workout (I know, I talk about her plan a lot.  I'm beginning to feel like I'm advertising for her, but I swear - I am receiving NO MONEY to talk about it!).  I originally didn't bother with these recipes when I was doing Body Revolution because on first glance, like, whoa.  Each recipe seems to have so many ingredients, and ingredients I'd either never heard of or thought there was no way my local grocery store in my teeny town of less than 1,000 people would even carry those things.

Did you know:
  • scallions = green onion?  (apparently it is simply U.S. vs. Canada lingo)
  • capers are not found in the produce section but in the pickles/olives section?
  • tamari tahini (oops)
Small lessons, but all in the goal of becoming a better, healthier cook.

Anyway, it turns out that all the recipes I've tried so far were actually fairly simple to put together.  They did take time (lots of prep and chopping), but the results so far have been, for the most part, very tasty and satisfying.  I have followed the meal plan for the past 5 days and have had no urge to eat anything other than what is on the plan.

The meal plan includes breakfast, lunch, an afternoon snack, and dinner.  The calorie and rough Weight Watchers points breakdown looks something like this:
  • Breakfast:  250 calories (6 to 7 WW points)
  • Lunch:  400 calories (10 to 12 WW points)
  • Snack: 150 calories (4 WW points)
  • Dinner:  400 calories (10 to 12 WW points)
For a total of 1,200 calories per day and an average of 28-30 WW points.

In regard to the WW points (for those who are familiar with WW), it should be noted that I have entered all the recipes into the Recipe Builder, so all the fruit and vegetables in the recipes are counted points-wise.

Here are my thoughts on the recipes I've tried so far, especially for anyone who has the meal plan book and hasn't tried them out yet.  And because I'm too lazy to type them all out myself, throughout I will provide links to the recipes other people have already typed out for anyone else who wants to try them (thanks random people who already did the work!).


First of all, I already mentioned that I baked all 3 of the different breakfast muffins from the book the other day (Banana Blueberry, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, and Pumpkin Cranberry).  The pumpkin-cranberry muffin is my favourite one BY FAR!  It is perfectly moist and has a great flavour.  I love, love, love this muffin.  The other two were simply "meh".  I found them both quite dry, so if I make them again I will maybe add some apple sauce or something to the recipes to try to moisten them up a bit.

I also tried the Steel-Cut Oats with Apples and Pecans.  So, so good!  I've made similar steel-cut oats & apples recipes before, but I've never had them combined with a touch of maple syrup.  It's a nice flavour.  I will definitely be making this one often.

And finally I made up a batch of Quinoa Crunch to combine with greek yogurt and berries.  I'm not sure about this one.  I like the flavour of the Crunch, but I found it impossible to actually chew and just ended up with lots of quinoa and flaxseed stuck in my teeth.  I have enough left over for 7 more servings so I will use it up, but I'm not sure whether I will make it again.


What felt like the biggest undertaking of all the recipes was the Roasted or Grilled Vegetables with Romesco Sauce (I roasted mine).  Soooooo many vegetables to roast!  But the preparation was fairly easy as the vegetables are to be cooked in very large pieces.  I have to say though, with all the work of this recipe the result was FANTASTIC!  I really, really loved the flavour of the romesco sauce, which was basically roasted tomato and roasted red pepper pureed with toasted almonds, garlic, and oil.  It is VERY garlic-ky, so I would probably cut back a bit on that next time, but otherwise it is delicious.  The vegetables are to be served with poached chicken, but I had mine with fish because I'd eaten so much chicken in other meals - I just made sure that the calories of the fish worked out to about the same as the chicken would have.

The Mediterranean Tuna Salad Rolls and Chicken Salad with Red Grapes and Toasted Pecans are both pretty simple to make and quite delicious as well!  I'm a girl with a sweet tooth, so the red grapes in the chicken salad are a nice way to satisfy that.


I'm a bit of a dummy when it comes to making smoothies.  I know it's such a simple thing to make, but I always make it too thin or too thick, or I make way, WAY too much of it.  The Banana-Almond Smoothie is tasty and makes the perfect amount for a snack.

The Trail Mix is pretty straight forward and is like any other trail mix.  But it is sodium-free and the dark chocolate chips satisfy my aforementioned sweet tooth.  I can't find a recipe for it already typed so, quite simply, combine:
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds (I used dry roasted, unsalted almonds)
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin or sunflower seed (I used sunflower)
  • 1/4 cup 70% dark chocolate chips
The above makes 4 servings.


Oh.Em.Gee.  I can't wait for Mr. McMuffintop to get home to make the Almond-Crusted Chicken recipe for him because I know he will love it too.  The fresh lemony-almond flavour dances on the tongue - seriously, yum!  It is paired with a Red Cabbage and Apple Slaw which, honestly, I could do without.  I love a creamy coleslaw, and this one severely lacks in the dressing department.

I also made the Beef Stir-Fry with Broccoli and Shiitake Mushrooms recipe.  This is where I screwed up and used tahini instead of tamari, so the flavour might not have been what it was supposed to be, but it was still quite delicious!  (p.s. - tamari is essentially soy sauce, whereas tahini is toasted sesame seed butter - the stuff used in hummus.  The recipe also uses toasted sesame seed oil, so it wasn't an odd ball flavour to have screwed up with).

I know all of this cooking sounds like I've made a ton of food for one person since each recipe usually makes 4 to 6 servings, but as I cook I portion the leftovers and freeze them for easy, future grab-n-go meals.  I highly recommend doing this while trying to lose weight because, come mealtime, you don't have to think about what to make, especially if you're feeling lazy.  I find it's at those times when I make poor decisions (hmmm, I don't feel like making dinner.  Let's order pizza!).

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