Sunday, July 15, 2012

Curried Cherry Chicken Salad

In the spring, I saw Anne Lamott speak in Grosse Pointe, and she said something that made me laugh about gaining weight - she said she was "tired of her pants passing judgment about her".   The fact is, my own pants were passing judgment about me, too.   I put on my summer shorts and noticed that some didn't fit anymore.   I don't own a scale, so I wasn't sure exactly how much I weighed, but I knew I probably had gained some weight.  So in May, I headed to a Weight Watchers at Work meeting. About 7 years ago, I lost 15 lbs. following the WW points program, so I thought I'd give it a shot again.  Plus they have a scale there, so I could get some facts about how much weight I gained. 

I was surprised and relieved to find out that my pants were passing harder judgment on me than I thought....I had only gained about 17 lb from my previous goal weight.  I thought it was going to be something like 30 lb.  Since even my max weight is still within the recommend goal weight guidelines of WW, it's up to me to set my goal weight myself.   And I have put it off because I have noticed that for me, I think it's a lot harder to lose the weight this time.  I can't really remember how long it took me the last time to lose 15 lb, but I think I lost about 2 lb a week, and monthly I'd have setback by gaining a lb or two.   I wasn't exercising much.  This time, the max I have lost is a pound a week, and the past couple weeks have shown me gaining a pound, losing it the next week and then staying even over the 4th of July holiday - it's taken me 2 months to lose just 6 lb.  Losing another 9 pounds seems darn near impossible - I keep fantasizing about telling WW that my goal weight is what I weigh right now and bagging the whole thing.   Clearly I am going to have to fit in more exercise this time around, but work has been crazy and to top it off, we're moving to a new office on Tuesday and I have barely begun to pack and my office is in shambles.   

The way I do WW is to only eat real foods - I don't eat convenience foods or "fake" anything.  I don't eat margarine, I eat butter.   I don't use Splenda, I use sugar.   This means that for me, WW makes me have to spend lots of extra time in the kitchen.  All of this requires thinking constantly about what I am going to eat next and taking the time to prepare it and shop for it, which is right up my alley.  However, when I get busy, things get really bad  and I end up with a day like yesterday, where I had to eat a McDonalds Breakfast Burrito for 8 points, instead of my usual hard boiled eggs and sliced tomatoes for 4 points.   I have barely exercised this week - I did manage to go for a long walk one day at lunch.  Sigh...

All of this thinking about food has had some benefits, however.   The good people at Whole Foods asked me to pick up some of their cherries and develop a recipe.  Unfortunately, they weren't able to get Michigan cherries this year because of the crop failures due to our weird weather, but I did get some nice Bing cherries from Washington.   One of the best WW tricks I can share is to try to remember to eat at least one fruit and vegetable at each meal.     So, I decided to use my cherries in a chicken salad with celery to do this all in one dish. Here is the result...

Curried Cherry Chicken Salad
Makes six servings

1 1/2 c pitted sweet cherries
2 stalks celery, chopped fine
1/2 c fat free Greek style yogurt
1/2 c toasted pumpkin seeds (I used dry roasted with sea salt)
3 cooked chicken breasts, diced small
2 t curry powder
2 T honey
1/2 t kosher salt

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate for a few hours so the flavors intermingle well.  This is a recipe that tastes even better the next day.   I like to eat it rolled up in a low carb lavash bread with some lettuce.   In case you are wondering, the WW Plus Points value of this chicken salad roll up would be 5 points.    Gotta run for now - I have only an hour to fit in a bike ride before I head off to church this morning.   Wish me luck - I've got to find time to spend in the kitchen and exercise more.


Tracy Wood said...

I know what you mean about having to exercise more, plan meals more and eat's such a drag! Lovely recipe today....thanks for sharing!

lookinout said...

The recipe looks delicious, and I totally agree with you about the difficulty of losing weight. We don't get any younger and burn an average of 100 cal less per day for every 10 years that we age. We also tend to put the extra weight in our midriffs. Ask me how I know. Good luck.

Tricia said...

Sounds tasty! Too bad we finished up all our cherries this afternoon - hopefully I'll be able to get some more on Wednesday and give this a try.