Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hey Banana-You've Come a Long Way Baby!

Hello Retro WW Fans! I sincerely apologize for my lengthy absence.

You see, I have been very busy working, playing, Christmasing, and yes...following the brand NEW Weight Watchers PointsPlus Program. (And getting back into my skinny jeans in the process, I might add).

It's a little awkward, because as you all know, I didn't have much success on the 1972 WW Program. Part of it was my inability to stay on plan for more than a few days at a time. It was just too strict... And too time consuming.

But I still have an obsession with all things Retro WW. Which is why I pulled out my 1972 Revised WW Cookbook this week and started looking through it for recipes that might be PointsPlus friendly. FYI-There are many. And I will begin to share them with you as I incorporate them into my menu.

However, during my recipe search, I was reminded of a shocking discovery. Apparently, in 1972--Bananas were evil.

That's right. Bananas were only permitted once per week. And they had to be rotated on a tri-weekly basis with cherries and grapes. So if you were lucky, you'd get one--maybe two--bananas per month! And furthermore, on the day you ate a banana you were not permitted to eat any other fruit - be it apple, pear or pineapple. Let's face it--you had to REALLY want that naughty little banana.

The horror! The shame!

I am enjoying the freedom of zero PointsPlus bananas on the current Weight Watchers program so much, I had almost completely forgotten about the fact that bananas were forbidden fruit for the Retro WW gal. So here I am. Downing one (sometimes two) bananas per day like it's my job. And it... feels... fabulous!

Let us now sing the praises of our beloved banana! Raise your fruit bowls in the air and cheer! That is one liberated fruit!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Be Thankful!

I know a lot of my fellow WW buddies are stressing out a little about the impending program changes that WW has recently announced.

Having been a lifetime member of WW for the past 10 years and an admittedly obsessed collector and follower of all things Weight Watcher - I for one am very excited about the change.

...And thankful.

If the WW program hadn't changed over the years, we'd still be eating liver once per week, downing tuna by the pound and gelatinizing our asses off.

And we'd still be eating stuff like this:

So this year, I am thankful that Weight Watchers is changing, evolving and staying on the cutting edge of nutritional science. 'Cause, take it from me - even though the 1972 WW Program may have worked for a lot of people--it is no picnic!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

You Can't Always Get What You Want

This week I celebrated a BIG birthday. It came. It went. I’m forty.

No big whoop.

I wish I could tell you that I put on those skinny jeans and painted the town red.

I didn’t.

You see, things don’t always turn out like you plan. And unfortunately my dreams of zipping up those jeans and posting some pictures of my rockin’ 40-year-old denim covered fanny here on this blog just didn’t come true.

Who cares, though. Right? I’m healthier at 40 than I was at 25. I weigh 50 pounds less today than I did fifteen years ago. I have more energy, eat healthier, make better choices and most importantly, I wake up every morning feeling happy about who I am.


Would losing another 5-10 pounds make me a better person or make my life more complete? Would it magically solve all my problems? Would it suddenly turn me into a “naturally thin person” who will never have to worry about her weight ever again? Nope, Nope, and Nope.

But – Can I tell you a secret? I still REALLY want to get back into those mother flipping jeans again though.

And -- I will be 40 for an entire year, right? So there’s time. There’s still plenty of time…

Friday, October 22, 2010

"Reducing" - The BH&G Way!

I'll admit it: I do whatever my Better Homes & Gardens magazine tells me to do.

That's why I was so thrilled to find out that BH&G has its own "Reducing Plan". Published in 1968, the BH&G Eat and Stay Slim system was based on food exchanges to make calorie counting simple and fun.

Here is the basic plan in a nutshell:

Hmmmm. Can it really be that easy???

And the meal plans don't look too bad either!

I suddenly wish I had the last 6 months of my life back!

OK--I will admit there are a few gag-inducing recipes like this one from the Salad and Vegetables chapter. It's an Iceberg Ring. With Tuna Salad in the middle. Look closely and you'll notice that the lettuce has been suspended in a gelatinized mold. Come on. That's just wrong.

How did I come across this fantastic diet plan, you ask? One of the sweetest ladies in all of blogland was nice enough to send it to me! Just imagine my delight when I went to the mailbox today and found a package from my dear friend from the North--- Miss Vonlipi!

Please be sure to check out Vonlipi's Favorites - it's one my favorite blogs and she's a gem! Her posts are sure to make you smile!

Thank you Vonlipi! You have just made my Retro Dieting World a little more interesting...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thanks But No Thanks Thursday - Return of the Mold!

Wait. What's that you say?

Oh -- You thought you were going to be forever spared the weekly gross-out that is known as TBNT Thursday? Just because I took a little break from the Retro WW Experiment? Well think again my friends!

You don't get off that easy around here. And boy, do we have a moldy treat in store for you this week!

This one is self-explanatory: Cooked Beets. Canned Pineapple. Brown Sugar. Diet Soda. Knox Gelatin. Put it in a mold and when it is solid, stick it on some lettuce.

Sounds good in theory, but I just wonder why anyone would want to eat this thing with so many other salad options out there? I can't help picturing this scary mold sitting out for hours on the buffet at a smoky 1974 dinner party - congealing with each passing minute and gathering a thin layer of condensation and slime. GAG. Yep--I went there.

On the other hand, looking at this dish almost makes me want to get back in the kitchen and whip up a mold of my own. So stay tuned! This weekend, I'll be back to my old tricks and cooking up a very special Retro WW Feast!

In the meantime - Beet and Pineapple Salad Mold? Thanks, but No Thanks!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Pyrex Makes Everything Better

I would have made a terrible mid-century housewife.

Folks--I'm not gonna lie to you. After 6 months of Retro Weight Watchers, it feels really good to be back to modern day WW eating. This week, I hit the grocery store, and filled my cart with Smart Ones, Lean Cuisines, Boca Burgers, and Microwave Popcorn. I even bought some of those microwavable pouches of pre-cooked brown rice.

That's right. The secret is out: I'm all about convenience food.

Cut me a break! After months of labor-intensive Retro WW recipes that can take hours to prepare, it is absolutely FABULOUS to have my food cooked and in my belly in 5 minutes or less!

I'll admit the truth: I'm busy, I'm hungry and I'm lazy.

Today's lunch?

A Roasted Potato and Cheddar Cheese Smart Ones Meal mixed with some extra frozen broccoli. Not retro at all, but I am eating it from my favorite Pyrex bowl. That makes it all better, right?

Speaking of Pyrex--I am thrilled to be a new member of the Pyrex Collective. Stop by and check out this fantastic blog!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Tea for Two!

Happy Anniversary to my sweet and adorable husband. Here's a very special Retro WW treat just for me and you...

2 Teaspoons Instant Tea
4 Tablespoons Water
1 Pint Dietetic Ginger Ale

Into each glass, put a tsp of instant tea, add 2 tsps of water and stir to dissolve. Fill with ice cubes. Pour in 1 cup of ginger ale and stir. Makes 2 servings.

This refreshing drink is the perfect combination of cozy and sweet, with just a touch of the unexpected. Just like us!


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I am a WW "Junkie"

Do you want to know the biggest difference between modern day Weight Watchers and Retro Weight Watchers?

It's the quotation marks.

As seen on these recipe cards from 1974, most of the dishes are not what they seem. They may be called "Brownies" or "Pie", but they are really made from Knox gelatine molded with chocolate extract or whipped evaporated milk served over toasted white bread crumbs. All combined with a few drops of food coloring of course.

The quotation marks make it "legal".

The freedom of modern day Weight Watchers is, of course, that no food is forbidden. No quotation marks are necessary!

So I had some pie the other night (not "pie"). I counted my Weight Watchers Points. It hurt, but I took my lumps and wrote it in my tracker.

This leaves me wondering...How my Weight Watchers Points do you think there are in "Pie"?

Don't even get me started...

Monday, September 27, 2010

I'm Still Here

I know what you're thinking.

She couldn't hack it. The Retro WW Experiment did her in! The liver, Knox gelatine, and tuna were just too much for her too handle, so she threw in the towel.

Well, you're only half right.

About 6 months into my Retro WW Experiment, I realized something. A modern day girl with a full-time job and a full-time social life cannot keep this retro dieting thing going forever. She also really cannot expect to have the time to blog about it daily either.

But--because I still have an undying love of all things retro and all things Weight Watchers--I have decided to return to my blogging experiment. With part-time posting of retro WW recipes, TBNT Thursdays or just random retro dieting thoughts. Whenever the hell I have some free time.

As far as my "official" weight loss plan? I'll be returning to modern day Weight Watchers and the POINTs system. Starting today.

I'm quite certain Jean Nidetch would give me her blessing.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Retro WW Top Ten!

Let us pause for a moment and reflect.

It has been almost 6 months since I began The 1972 Retro Weight Watchers Experiment. In that time, I have gone through 5 boxes of Knox Gelatine, 4 batches of home-made "catsup" and countless cans of tuna. My house is often filled with the aroma of boiled celery and bean sprouts. My friends and family are afraid to visit. And I think my dear husband may have been emotionally scarred for life during a botched aspic incident. So far, it has been quite an adventure.

On that note--Please allow me to share my top ten favorite and most gag-tastic Retro WW Recipes that I have prepared and consumed thus far. Won't you please join me for a walk down memory lane?

#4 Crown Roast of Frankfurter
#3 Friendly Aspic
#2 Mousse of Salmon (Guest Post at Kitschen Feast)
#1 Catsup!

Looking back on the food I've consumed over the past 6 months, I can't believe I'm still alive. That is one nasty collection of funky recipes, right? It's hard to believe there are still many, many more I haven't even tried yet. Do you have a favorite of your own or a special request? Let me know!

There's no turning back now.

PS: I recently received a few blogging awards from some really cool fellow bloggers, and I would like to extend a very big thank you to all of them. What a kick! I was awarded the prestigious Versatile Blogger Award from Barb at Everyday Life's Issues and also from Pam at Go Retro! - And I was also very thrilled to receive the Divas & Champions Award from Ellen at Weighting Around - How groovy is that? Now go check out these fabulous ladies and their super cool blogs!

Thanks, But No Thanks Thursday - Tuna Time!

I am so sick of tuna right now, that just about anything containing tuna would qualify for TBNT status at this point.

And trust me--I came across many wonderfully offensive Retro WW Tuna recipes this week: Tuna Puff, Tuna Fish Cavalier, Tuna Steak Zebulon, Tuna Hot Pot, and the dreaded Tuna-Eggplant Poseidon.

But one stood out from the rest, and has earned the distinguished title of the "Tuna Week" TBNT Thursday Feature.

Sweet and Sour Tuna

On the surface, this dish doesn't look horrible at all. In fact it appears to be a simple tuna casserole. But after eating tuna everyday for a week, I couldn't even begin to imagine mixing these ingredients together and tossing them down my gullet. Let me give you the run-down:
  • Onions
  • Vinegar
  • Mint
  • Artificial Sweetener
  • Canned Tuna
And it's warm. Ewwwwww.

OK--so maybe this week's TBNT feature seems like a let-down because it's not as scary as some of my previous dietetic disasters.


Oh, and Thanks, but No Thanks!

Hump Day

Well, I've made it over the hump of Tuna Week, and I only have one thing to say.

Tuna sucks. But I'll eat it anyway.

This is what I am having for lunch today:

Lunch on a Raft

It's a slice of bread drizzled with lemon juice and then toasted. Then it is topped with an ounce of diced cheese mixed with 2 ounces of canned tuna and a dash of dry mustard. Pop it in the oven until "bubbly" and consume. The recipe said to top it with some watercress, but I didn't have any on hand. So I plopped some broccoli slaw on top and gobbled it down.

So what if it's only 9:00am and I already ate my lunch? Don't judge me. All I have eaten this week is celery, bread, tuna and shredded wheat.

That bag of broccoli slaw is looking pretty tasty right now.

See you tomorrow for a very special TBNT Tuna Thursday!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tuna Treat?

With tomatoes literally popping off the vine from my vegetable garden, I simply had to find a tuna recipe that would also incorporate my bumper crop.

This was no easy task.

When it comes to 1972 WW recipes, there is no such thing as "googling". One must sit down with a stack of cookbooks and magazines then proceed to go through them, page by page until the desired recipe is found.

Everything took longer in 1972. Sigh.

But after 23 minutes of searching, I found the perfect dish!


With a curved knife,scoop out the center of a medium tomato. Sprinkle the inside of the tomato with onion salt. Finely chop the tomato guts. Spoon into a bowl and add 4 oz. canned tuna, 1 tablespoon capers, 1 tablespoon mayonnaise and 1/2 tablespoon wine vinegar. Spoon mixture into tomato.

What a treat! Delicious and nutritious.

Oh--and for those of you who are wondering: Yes, mayonnaise is legal. No, I'm not pulling your leg. Didn't I tell you? 1 tablespoon per day of fat is not only legal on the 1972 Retro WW program. It is required. At mealtime. And it is only to be spread with a knife or spatula---NEVER with a brush. So enjoy your daily tablespoon of mayo, vegetable oil or margarine. But under no circumstances can you substitute real butter or olive oil. That would be illegal.

Now I'm off to find more tuna recipes. This could take a while.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Last week was Shark Week on the Discovery Channel.

This week is Tuna Week at the 1972 Retro WW Experiment.


If you are new around here, please allow me to school you. On the 1972 Retro WW Plan, it is a program requirement to eat at least 5 servings of fish per week. There are many types of fish to choose from, but tuna is THE #1 favorite among the Retro Weight Watchers gang.

Just ask my mom who will be glad to regale you with stories about her Retro WW days of eating tuna straight from the can while holding her nose and trying not to gag. Good times.

So this week, we honor tuna. The chicken of the sea. The king of the pantry. The staple of the Retro WW diet.

Ladies -- Start your can openers.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Thanks, But No Thanks Thursday - It's Back!

Hooray! It's TBNT Thursday again!

This week's disaster on the platter is a simple dish called:

Fish Balls
Weight Watchers 1974 Recipe Cards
"Fish Spectaculars" Category

Let me tell you something. These balls are anything but spectacular.

Here's the skinny: take a flounder and a halibut and toss them into the grinder with a bunch of celery. Add seasoning and mix well. Form balls.

How does one get the Fish Balls to maintain their spectacular ball formation without falling apart? Add some Knox Unflavored Gelatine, of course! Keep adding Knox and water until each of those little balls is completely covered in its own little shiny aspic coating!

Four balls per serving. Spectacular.

Thanks, but no thanks!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Is there anything more depressing than returning to reality after a fabulous vacation? I submit that there is not.

In an attempt to spare you all the gory details of my "Fall from Retro WW Grace", let's just say that I enjoyed every moment of my week in every possible way. I ate, drank and lived life to the fullest.

There is, however, one specific story I feel obliged to share...

It was a rainy Sunday at the lake, so we skipped the daily trip to the beach. While looking for something fun to do, my husband remembered an out-of-the-way diner that a friend had recently told him about. "They have the best pie you will ever eat in your life", they assured him, "Totally worth the 30-mile drive to get there".

So despite my protests, we spent our Sunday morning driving 30 miles into the middle of nowhere. To get a slice of pie.

phot credit:

When we arrived, I was so very pleased. This place was the very definition of RETRO. And I don't mean phony retro--like some of these new-fangled wanna-be retro diners. I mean this place was old school, baby. The menu had things like glazed ham and lima beans and jello on it.

But here's the kicker: one of the luncheon entrees was simply called "Diet Lunch". It consisted of........wait for it........

Cottage Cheese, Fruit and Gelatine!

I almost fell off my chair! I wondered if Jean Nidetch had been secretly involved in the planning of this menu back in the 1970's? Was it fate that I was sitting here all these years later about to place my order? Had some strange force pulled me into this quirky little diner to remind me of my Retro WW Experiment? Was this a message from Jean?

As I stared at the menu, I knew what I had to do.

I ordered the Rhubarb Pie. A la Mode.

What? I couldn't pass up the best pie on earth, could I? Besides...I was on vacation. There's plenty of time for cottage cheese and gelatine now that I'm back to reality.

Thanks for hanging in there during my vacation, bloggy friends! The Experiment is officially BACK ON!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

And Now For A Station Break...

Summer blogging is hard. Isn't it?

I was planning to devote this entire week to my favorite "legal" vegetable--the cucumber. I even had a bunch of fabulous Retro Recipes all lined up: Scalloped Cucumbers, "Creamed" Cucumber Salad, Braised Cucumber, etc. But it all fell through in the blink of an eye.

You see, every year at this time we are typically up to our eyeballs with cukes from our backyard vegetable garden. But when I went outside to pick some cucumbers the other day--there was practically nothing there. It seemed our friendly neighborhood groundhog stopped by and ate everything in sight. This is all he left me:

So no Retro WW Cucumber recipes this week for me. Suck it, Mr. Groundhog.

And on that cheery note, my dear readers, I must bid you adieu for an entire week. I am going on vacation and there shall be no Retro Weight Watchering allowed, no blogging allowed, and absolutely no scales allowed!

I'll meet you back here in about a week, and we will return to our regularly scheduled programming.

Until then, I shall be pondering this deep thought:

"I don't think any vacation is fattening unless you want it to be." - Jean Nidetch

Thanks Jean. I'll try not to let you down.

Thanks, But No Thanks Thursday - Loafing Around!

Is it really TBNT Thursday again? Really?

OK, then it must be time for another horrifyingly bad Retro WW Recipe!

This weeks dietetic disaster comes from the February 1973 issue of Weight Watchers Magazine. It features two great tastes that taste great together: Mackerel and Turnips!

Mackerel and Turnip Loaf

This one's a real budget stretcher! Feed your entire family on this dish, and watch them shudder in fear as you place it on the table. Disgust them even more with a side dish of creamed peas and a glass of prune juice.

Leftovers anyone?

Thanks, but No Thanks!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Gelatinizing Things Is My New Hobby

On a Monday morning, nothing perks you up like a good, strong cup of coffee. But coffee doesn't do much to curb those Retro WW hunger pangs.

Or does it?

Admittedly, I have never been much of a java junkie, but have recently become a fan since coffee is one of the few items that is "legal" in unlimited amounts on the 1972 Retro WW Program. I can drink all the coffee I want. Anytime I want. But I'm still hungry.

So the obvious question that everyone should be asking at this point is: Can I figure out a way to EAT my coffee???

And the answer of course is YES! But how?

Coffee Gelatine

1 envelope unflavored gelatine
2 cups cooled coffee
4 tsp artificial sweetener

Sprinkle gelatine over 1/2 cup coffee in small saucepan; stir over low heat until gelatin dissolves. Add remaining coffee and sweetener. Pour into mold. Cover. Chill until firm.

Now go grab a spoon and EAT YOUR COFFEE!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thanks, But No Thanks Thursday - Go Green!

The Tropical Treasure recipe from The Best Of 1974 Weight Watchers Magazine has so many TBNT qualities! Where do I even begin?

First, let's address the color. Not only is it bright green, but this particular shade of green resembles a pot of glowing nuclear waste or perhaps something that was left behind after a supernatural encounter.

Next, let's talk about the ingredients: Pureed green beans mixed with orange juice, coconut extract, banana extract and instant milk powder? Wow. Now that's quite a combo.

Finally, let's address the presentation. It is baked in metallic custard cups and garnished with mint and orange rind. And if you are really lucky--it will be served to you in a giant treasure chest surrounded by jewels.

OK. Um. Why???

I am so puzzled by this dish that I am almost tempted to try it. But then I remember I live on the planet Earth, not Mars, and I prefer my green beans with a simple dash of olive oil and some salt & pepper.

Thanks, but No Thanks!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Celery and Punishment

Things are getting serious, people. I actually stepped on the scale this morning, and to my dismay, it told me that I have only lost a whopping 2 pounds since I started this crazy experiment. Whatever. Scales lie.

Anyway, I have to be on the beach in less than two weeks, so I decided that I really need to speed things up over here. It's punishment time... Retro WW style.

Today's dinner reflects how serious I am about this:

Celery Linguine

2 Stalks Celery
2 Cups Water
2 Beef Bouillon Cubes

Thinly sliver celery lengthwise. Bring water and bouillon to boil. Add celery and cook 10 minutes. Drain. Consume. Try not to hate yourself too much. Cry yourself to sleep.

Monday, July 12, 2010

There's Something About Mackerel

What do you do when you have some Mackerel in a can and 5 minutes to spare? You make a tasty Retro WW lunch, of course.

The only problem is - what recipe to choose? There are so many possibilities, but I narrowed it down to two of my faves:

The almost famous Snappy Mackerel Casserole and the ever-popular Mackerelly!

I decided to go with the Snappy Casserole, because I was in the mood for something, well, snappy.

It's a simple recipe consisting of 2 ounces canned Mackerel, 1 cup of (legal) Tomato Sauce, 1 ounce Cheddar Cheese, and 1 slice of toast, quartered. Bake the first 3 ingredients in a hot oven for 5 minutes until bubbly, and serve with toast quarters. Makes one serving. I'm pretty sure it is supposed to be accompanied by three glasses of water, too. I have no idea why.

There is only one word to describe this dish: SNAPPY!

One might also dare to describe it as MACKERELLY, but that would just be wrong wouldn't it? That's another dish for another day.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Thanks, But No Thanks Thursday - Save the Liver!

According to the 1972 WW Program, liver must be eaten once per week - and only once per week - either for lunch or dinner. Don't even try to mess with this rule. Seriously. You break-a this rule, I break-a you face. Go ahead. Try me.

Actually--I'm joking. Most of the Retro WWer's I know will tell you that they skipped the liver. I, myself, have never touched the stuff.

So...In honor of the rule everyone loves to break, this week's TBNT Thursday feature is a double-dose! Two for the price of one! Chicken Liver times two!

According to Jean Nidetch, founder of Weight Watchers, there are many "versatile flavors and cooking styles" for liver--so you should never have to get bored with it. You can panbroil it, bake it, marinate it, cook it Portugese style in a skillet, whip it into a pate, fondue it, or run a skewer through it and throw it on the grill. The possibilities are endless when you also consider that you have so many types of liver to choose from: Chicken, Calf, Lamb, Steer, Rabbit, Venison and Turkey. Try them all!

Oh the things you can do with a plate of steaming, hot livers!

Back in the 1970's, many a WW-friendly household selected one lucky night every week to be "liver night". So how about you? When's your "liver night" gonna be?

That's what I thought. Thanks, but No Thanks!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Taste of the Tropics

Even though I live in the firmly landlocked city of Pittsburgh, PA -- I am truly a beach bum at heart. I often daydream about the sounds, smells, sights and even the tastes of the glorious seashore. So when I stumbled upon the "Caribbean and West Indies" chapter of my 1977 Weight Watchers International Cookbook, my tastebuds tingled for the flavors of the tropics.

Attention Fellow Retro WW Beach Bums! Sample this tasty, tropical beverage and you'll feel like you have just woken up on one of the enchanting islands of the Caribbean.

Cafe Puerto Rico

1 cup cold strong coffee
2 cups canned crushed pineapple
1 cup skim milk

Combine all ingredients in blender (in 2 batches). Process until smooth.
Chill. Stir. Serve.
Makes 4 saucy servings!

Try not to worry about the disturbing combination of flavors and textures in this chunky beverage. With every sip - whether you are sitting at home in your bathrobe or at work in your tiny gray cubicle - just close your eyes and tell yourself - "I am on the beach. I am a smokin' hot bikini babe. I am Livin' La Vida Loca." Repeat as needed.

Trust me. It works wonders.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Three Cheers for the Red, White and Cheese

It's Summer! It's a 3-day weekend! The forecast is nothing but blue skies and 80 degree temps through Sunday! Oh--and I also made a Retro WW recipe that was actually delicious.

I tell ya folks, I couldn't be happier.

This is a very special recipe. Why? Because it can only be made once a year, it is specifically designed and named for the holiday-at-hand, and it would just seem silly to serve it any other time.

The Fourth of July Cheese Salad

Combine the following in a blender and process until smooth:
  • 2 2/3 cups cottage cheese (I used fat-free)
  • 8 oz bleu cheese (I used low-fat)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (I used skim)
  • 2 tbsp chives (I used parsley)
  • 2 tsp grated lemon rind (skipped it)
  • 1 tsp Worcetershire sauce (this I actually had)
  • 1 tsp barbecue spice (I used cumin)
Place in freezer in a non-stick tray for at least 3 hours. Remove from freezer 15 minutes before serving; unmold onto serving platter. Garnish with pimiento strips cut in the shape of firecracker.

OK--first let me tell you that this mixture almost didn't make it into the freezer. The velvety smooth cheesy substance was so good, I started eating it with a spoon right out of the blender. I began to imagine various ways to use it in my everyday life: as a crudite dip, a sandwich spread, a baked potato topping, a salad dressing, a cocktail mixer, a body lotion, etc.

Have I mentioned I love cheese?

Honestly, it was one of the tastiest flippin' things I have ever encountered. I wondered, "How could THIS be a diet food"? It's way too delicious!

Then I froze it.

After the excitement of the unmolding (Yes, I get a strange, unexplainable rush from unmolding. No, I am NOT a freak--try it, and you'll see what I mean), I placed the frozen cheese "salad" on a festive platter and topped it with the obligatory firecracker pimiento garnish. I then cut myself a slice.

Hmmm. Somehow, it just wasn't the same. Less tasty, less zesty, less creamy and fabulous. Just a boring block of frozen cheese.

Well--I figure if I let it sit out on the kitchen counter for a few hours, it will go back to its original consistency. Then I can whip out a wooden spoon and go to town. Sometimes you just have to declare your independence from the mold. Know what I mean?

Happy 4th everyone!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Thanks, But No Thanks Thursday - An Old Friend Returns

For this weeks TBNT Thursday feature, I have decided to revisit a previous post. Just in case you missed it, I am re-posting one of my all-time favorite Retro WW dietetic disasters.

I was horrified by this recipe when I first laid eyes on it back in March, and I have continued to be horrified by this dish every day since. Sometimes I even wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat dreaming about it.

Without further delay. Here it is. Soak it in. Let its awesomeness wash over you.

Mackerel-Cantaloupe Salad

This recipe (from The Best of Weight Watchers Magazine, 1974) truly embodies all things Retro WW... fish balls nestled inside a cantaloupe topped with sliced gherkins and generously sprinkled with dehydrated onion flakes.

Here's the thing: All of the components of this dish served separately would be fine. A little mackerel, some cantaloupe, a few problem.

But, when you put them all together in one big scary salad? Thanks, but No Thanks!

Something Moldy...

It's been a very busy week, and truth be told - I haven't been feeling the WW love lately. But that's all going to change on Friday!

I have decided to stop fighting the urge to MOLD, and get back in the kitchen where I belong! I have selected the perfect Retro WW recipe for my Fourth of July weekend. The name of the dish is a secret, but here's a hint: It's cheesy and freezy. Brrrrrr. Stay tuned for the big reveal later this week - fireworks and all!

In the meantime, I will leave you with a lovely photo from the 1977 Weight Watchers International Cookbook. This cookbook features figure-friendly recipes from over 25 countries around the world, and each recipe is more puzzling than the last.

Ladies and gentlemen, please do enjoy this Trifecta of gelatine molds; a "Hat Trick", if you will, from the great country of Canada.

Behold the Three-Layer Molded Apple Custard, the Rosy Rhuberry Mold, and the ever popular Spinach-Cheese Ring. Such a dramatic presentation! And you know they are genuine Canadian recipes because of the Maple Leaf garnish in the background.


Have a Happy Canada Day (tomorrow) to all my Canadian readers & followers - and I'll see ya back here for TBNT Thursday! Don't miss it!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Coffy Toffy - FAIL

"We might think we can't help gaining weight because we're cravers. We crave food, but if we give ourselves a chance we'll find that we crave other things too; food is just the easiest target. I found that I also craved being able to give. I craved being active, doing something I loved. I craved beautiful clothes I looked good in..." -Jean Nidetch

Sorry Jean. Today, I craved candy. It was just one of those days.

So I've been hearing about this fab-tastic Retro WW treat from some very reliable retro WW alums and really wanted to give it a whirl. They tell me if you're craving candy, this is a surefire satisfying substitute. It sounded so simple, and I had all of the ingredients, so why not?

The Coffy Toffy

1 1/2 tsp instant coffee
2/3 cup non-fat dry milk
1 tbsp artificial sweetener
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp water

Combine dry ingredients, then sprinkle with extract and water. Stir until mixture forms dry paste that just holds together, and shape into 1" balls. Chill in freezer.

My first two attempts went straight into the disposal. Apparently, if you stir it too long the mixture will not be pasty "enough", and in fact - it turns into a runny liquid. Sadly, you cannot shape a runny liquid into a 1" ball no matter how hard you may try. On my third attempt, I was able to achieve a paste-like consistency, but still not pasty enough to form into balls. It was more like gooey clumps.

The whole process was sloppy, sticky and thoroughly aggravating. At one point, I think I was swearing at the bowl of Coffee Toffy, and yelling "I hate you!" It didn't help that I had a band-aid on my finger and forgot to remove it before sticking my hands into that mess. Looking back, I really should have thought that through a little better. My bad.

Anyway, on a positive note, I am no longer craving candy. I'm too annoyed to even think about it. The Coffy Toffy is in the freezer, and I think I'll go shopping or take a walk to clear my head.

Well whataya know. I guess Jean was right!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thanks, But No Thanks Thursday - International!

This week's TBNT Thursday Recipe is an exotic Filipino Feast from the August 1973 issue of Weight Watchers Magazine. It was featured as part of the centerfold with an entire Filipino Cooking spread. Actually, most of the dishes looked quite appealing to me, but one of them definitely stood out from the rest, because it had that special TBNT quality.

Try not to be confused by the overly complicated and unusual international name if this dish:

Fish with Scallions

Is it just me, or does anyone else think this particular fish looks like it was picked out of someone's garbage, covered with some chopped scallions, lemons and soy sauce and then slapped onto a platter?

Thanks, but No Thanks!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

To Jean, With Love...

Sometimes, I wonder what Jean Nidetch (the founder of WW and author of the 1972 WW Program Cookbook) would think if she ever read my blog.

I can only hope for a few things:
  1. She has a really good sense of humor;
  2. She understands that this blog is meant to be a tribute - not a parody; and
  3. She would suddenly have the urge to meet me in person.
Yes--I have said it before. I know it is pitiful, but one of my main goals in life is to meet Jean Nidetch. Although my admiration for her may seem a bit stalker-ish, I swear I am not obsessed.

OK--well maybe just a little.

Often, when I catch myself daydreaming, I imagine Jean and I hanging out together - sipping our dietetic beverages and discussing the history of Weight Watchers. I would have so many questions for her. Like, "How have you managed to keep your weight off for over 40 years?", and "What is it like to be the founder of an organization that has impacted the lives of millions of people?" and, "Are frankfurters really a diet food??"

Occasionally, I sort through my Retro WW Recipe File and try to select the perfect dish for Jean and I to prepare together if we ever get the chance to hang out in the kitchen. Of course, it would have to be a mold. Maybe this one:

The Rosy Perfection Salad

Just the name of this dish makes me happy. So upbeat and positive. It's Rosy! It's Perfection! Yes--I think I will definitely be saving this one for me & Jean.

Upon reading this post back to myself, I guess it does sound a little bit crazy, doesn't it? Chances are, Jean will never read this blog, and we will never meet, and I'll never get to unmold the Rosy Perfection Salad with her. But I guess if there is one thing I wish I could tell her in person, it would simply be: THANKS. Ten years ago, Weight Watchers changed my life in so many fantastic ways, and I wouldn't be the person I am today without it.

But, one thing Weight Watchers has taught me is to never give up. So if there is still even a slight chance I could one day meet Jean, I'll need to figure out what to wear. Any suggestions?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Gelatine Delights!

After much consideration, I have decided to lay off the Gelatine Molds for a while. Recently, I realized that my obsession with molds had become a bit of an unhealthy addiction, and I needed to detox from the Knox, baby.

However, this morning I started to twitch and itch. I really needed a tiny dose of know, just to take the edge off.

I found the perfect fix in my 1972 WW Program Cookbook:

The Gelatine Pick-Me-Up

Combine 1 envelope unflavored gelatine, 3/4 cup tomato juice (hot) and dash aromatic bitters in a blender; run blender for 30 seconds. Serve at once.


Perfect. Now I'm all better. It was strangely refreshing and a bit unsettling at the same time.

Now if someone could just explain to me how this concoction is supposed to help me lose weight, that would be great. On the 1972 Retro WW Plan, three packets of Knox Gelatine are permitted daily. Seriously?

Anyone have any theories on this?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

This One's for the Boys

You may have noticed that I write a lot about my mom in this blog, because as you all know by now, she actually followed the Retro WW Plan back in 1972. But what you may not know is that my dad has been a "Weight Watcher by Association" for years.

As far back as I can remember, my mom and dad would often decide to "go on a diet together"...and Dad could always drop weight like a champ.

So, in honor of Father's Day--I am cooking up a very manly Retro WW Feast that I know dad will love:

The Frankfurter Pie

Line a pie pan with 4 slices of enriched white bread; cut in half and flatten with a rolling pin.

After that--pile on 4 cups sauerkraut, 1 chopped dill pickle, 1/4 cup chopped green pepper, 1/4 cup mustard and ONE POUND BROILED & SLICED FRANKFURTERS. (that's right, I said one pound) Then bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

It tastes just like a day at the ballpark! Makes 4 servings. But, what the heck--be a man! Eat the whole pie!

Have a Franktacular Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Thanks, But No Thanks Thursday - Have a Heart!

This week's TBNT Thursday recipe is a special one. In fact, it was a cover-girl back in the Spring of 1973 for the "Dollar Stretching" issue of Weight Watchers magazine. It's name? "Warriors Stew"

The cover shot looks innocent enough. It's just your basic stew, with some celery and mushrooms thrown in there. Lots of seasoning and some bouillon, of course. Even a little lemon juice for good measure. But can you guess the secret main ingredient in Warrior's Stew? Go ahead, take a guess...


I can't help but wonder: how many chickens must a warrior slay in order to produce an entire pound of hearts? Quite a few I would imagine. Oh--And apparently chicken hearts go really well with a nice baked apple on the side (see photo).

Thanks, but No Thanks!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Don't Mess With a Classic

Guess what sassy casserole I made today? I'll give you a hint. Here are the ingredients, straight outta the pantry...

I've always been a fan of the Tuna Noodle Casserole. I mean, what's not to like? It's an American icon, for Pete's sake. It's creamy, comforting, and easy on the wallet. What's more, it can be prepared in one dish - without using a single fresh ingredient. Now that's what I call convenience.

The 1972 Retro WW version of this recipe was easy to make, and sounded pretty tasty. However, it seemed to be lacking some critical components. Take a look:

6 oz. canned tuna
2/3 cup cooked macaroni
4 oz. peas
1/2 cup canned mushrooms
1/2 cup evaporated skim milk
1/2 tsp Worcestershire
dash paprika

What?!? No Cream of Mushroom soup?! No crunchy potato chip topping? No gooey cheese or French fried onions? It almost seemed pointless, but with a heavy sigh, I layered the boring ingredients in my "attractive casserole" (as instructed) and baked until "piping hot & brown" (also as instructed).

Um. I hate to complain, but it's a tad bit dry. And bland doesn't even begin to describe it. This recipe makes one giant serving--so at least I don't have to share it.

Unfortunately, this also means I am expected to eat the entire thing. Maybe my cat is hungry? Here kitty, kitty....

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Retro WW Patio Party

It was such a perfect Summer Saturday, so the hubby and I decided to throw some chicken and veggies on the grill and hang out on the patio last evening. Great music on the radio, great food on the grill, and some really great conversation.

But what to sip on? Hmmm.

Conditions were perfect for a fancy, fruity, frozen cocktail. But we all know that Daiquiris and Margaritas are a BIG no-no on the Retro WW Plan.

The alternative? Trick yourself with a sweet little no-calorie "mocktail" called the "Cherry-O"!

Here's how it's done:
Make ice cubes from 1 cup cherry-flavored dietetic carbonated beverage and 1 cup dietetic ginger ale. Crush cubes (can be done in blender) and serve in champagne glasses with a short straw for sipping. Makes 2 servings.
I actually put my Cherry-O in a giant Margarita glass and drank the whole darn thing. It's so refreshing, they even wrote a song about it! Well... not really--but this boozy, breezy reggae tune sorta makes up for the lack of alcohol in the drinkies. In fact, you might catch a contact buzz just listening to it.

Here's my favorite version by the Rolling Stones. Happy Summer!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Thanks, But No Thanks Thursday - Fluffy Edition

There are only three words needed to describe this weeks TBNT Thursday recipe:


Can someone please explain what is happening here? I am so horrified by the idea of this dish, I am going to need some time alone to contemplate life and where I fit in the universe. This recipe has shaken me to the core. Nothing makes sense anymore.

Fluffy? Mackerel? Pudding? Why God, Why???

Say it with me, people: Thanks, but No Thanks!

Divide Evenly, Then Suck it Up!

Every so often, I catch myself complaining about how hard it is to lose weight. And then I remember it is 2010, and not 1972. Then I bite my tongue.

You see, those ladies back in the Retro WW days had it pretty rough. There were no shortcuts, no ready-made substitutions, no 100-calorie packs, and definitely no excuses. They ate their weekly liver and they didn't question it.

Take, for instance, portion control. Yes, weighing and measuring are extremely important parts of the modern day WW program. But back in 1972, it was hardcore, baby.

Here is an excerpt from the 1972 Revised WW Program Cookbook on the topic of portion control:
Because of the importance of measuring and weighing on our Program, always follow these rules for recipes for more than one serving: Mix ingredients well, and divide the mixture evenly so every portion has an equal amount of each ingredient. Also, in recipes where the liquid as well as the solid part has to be divided evenly, as in soups:
1) drain the liquid and set aside
2) divide solid ingredients evenly, and
3) add equal amounts of the liquid to each portion.

Seriously? Did they really think this barbaric level of scrutiny was necessary? If so, I think I would just skip the soup.

And if you think you were going to get any sympathy from Jean Nidetch. Think again.

Here's another excerpt from that same chapter:
Recipe directions may sometimes look as if they're taking the long way around, but remember, they're all shortcuts to your goal weight! Never try to "get away with" using one pan when we call for two (you may have one less pot to wash, but you'll still have the pot around your middle). Think of the little extra care as "indulging yourself" a new slim figure and a happier life.
Oh Jean! You know I love you, but what kind of shenanigans are you trying to pull with that little statement? Let's be honest here. We follow your rules. But we don't have to like it!