Cafe Rio Creamy Tomatillo Ranch Dressing

I absolutely love Cafe Rio.

I used to get to eat here all the time in Utah, but now, my visits are few and far between.

I haven’t been shy about sharing my affection for their “Mexi-Salad” as I call it.  It’s a salad with lettuce, grilled chicken, an OBSCENE amount of fresh pico de gallo, a tiny scoop of guacamole, and the most delicious salad dressing.

Doesn’t that look heavenly?

Last weekend, I had a chance to eat at Cafe Rio with a friend of mine at their Ft. Collins location.  It was SO delicious… and it got me thinking that I needed to try to duplicate these flavors at home.

The Girl Who Ate Everything has posted a recipe for Cafe Rio dressing.  Loving all of her recipes I’ve tried so far… I knew that I had to try this dressing!  It is INSANELY good.  If you like Cafe Rio, you’re going to LOVE this dressing.  If you’ve never had the pleasure of Cafe Rio, you’ll still love this dressing.

Cafe Rio Creamy Tomatillo Ranch Dressing

From the Girl Who Ate Everything

INGREDIENTS

1 (1 ounce) package Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix
1 cup lowfat buttermilk
1 cup light Mayo
1 large or 2 small tomatillos (they are green and by the tomatoes)


1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 to 1 small jalapeno, seeds removed

Instructions:
1.  Blend all ingredients together in a blender or food processor.

2.  Pour into a container and store in the refrigerator to let the flavors meld. Beware that the dressing tends to get hotter the longer it sits.

Serve it on your favorite salad or along with your favorite mexican food.  I swear, it’s good enough to drink with a straw…. but I don’t recommend doing that.

Super simple salad I made with the yummy dressing…

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Weigh-In Update and Working toward Goal

Saturday was a super-busy day around these parts, and it started off bright and early at Jenny Craig.

Having convinced myself that a “maintain” weight was sufficient based upon last week’s stress levels and sedentary nature, I warned my JCC Amalia that the scale could just glare back at us without moving.  You can imagine my excitement level when I saw this:

This Week’s Loss:  -0.4 lbs

Total Weight Loss: -82.0 lbs

I looked sort of like this… only I don’t squat on the scale, nor do I weigh in wearing just underwear.

Now, I know that 0.4 lbs is not that exciting, but I’ll seriously take any loss that I can muster up these days!  And as my JCC says, “A Loss is a Loss.”  You could even use that sporty analogy that it’s still a W, but being that I don’t like sports… I don’t recommend it.

Ok.  So, now I’m just 9.4 away from goal!!!!  By my calculations, I have SEVEN weeks left to hit goal.  In reality, I have the rest of my life to hit goal… but I’d REALLY like to hit goal before I go on my big trip in September.  Angela and I have even talked about a super-double secret exciting goal plan we can execute while I’m in Nashville… but it wouldn’t make sense to do it unless I’m at goal.  So, it’s game on!  And, how fun would it be to attend Fitbloggin‘ AT GOAL!!

To hit this goal… I have to simply lose 1.34 lbs a week between now and then.  Certainly, I can do that!  It’s going to mean that I’m going to have to buckle down… and get to the gym again.  And, it’s going to mean that I’m drinking all of my water and snacking healthily on the DAILY.

I’ve found a few things that I think can help me along…

MY FITNESS PAL

I’ve mentioned before that this tool is one of my “Necessities” but I ignore it sometimes.  I don’t always log my food diligently, but when I do, the pounds slide OFF nicely.  Weight loss is EIGHTY-FIVE percent about what you’re putting in your mouth, so logging will help.  I logged today and my diary told me this…

Um… I’ll take it!

 I probably won’t duplicate today’s meals… because there was Pinkberry (which isn’t possible daily) and Wendy’s (oops… it happens.)  I did still come in under my calorie count, but it wasn’t the best calories in.  We’re going to do MUCH better in upcoming days.

SNACKING RIGHT

I’ve been on an ice cream kick as of late.  It must be because it’s super-hot outside and summer, because I don’t usually go for the stuff.  Today when I was at the store I picked up TWO viable options for ice cream snackery:

Weight Watchers Ice Cream Candy Bar… It’s ridiculously delicious and indulgent. Let it melt a little before you eat it, you won’t be sorry.

Skinny Cow Vanilla Caramel Cone: I’ve mentioned these guys before. Like a little heavenly fluffy ice cream treat with caramel drizzle and a chocolate coated cone. Yum-O

I eat these in place of JC snacks.  While I love JC snacks, I find that I have more interest in these ice cream treats than the standard cheese curls or lemon cooler cookies.  Keep in mind, both are delicious, but when you want ice cream… you just do.

I also plan to pack a bag of food for my workday, including the following:

Jenny Craig Stuffed Shells

I eat these every single day for lunch at work. I’m quite obsessed.  I think people must think Jenny is SOOOO strict because I’m only “allowed” to eat shells.  Little do they know I just love them!

An Apple, Grapes, or other snackable fruit

Fiber One Bar

Veggies and Dip

Doesn’t that look like a great snack??

I’ve been packing veggies and dip every day for a 3pm snack, and I just love it.  What makes it even better is this little container I found at the Container Store.  It has a separate section (and tiny lid) for the dip.  I made my favorite veggie dip last week and have been enjoying peppers and cukes as a late afternoon snack.  Crunchy and satifying, we’ll keep this trend going this week too.  Check out the Container Store for the fun little container.  Worth every cent of that $3.99!

WORKOUT PLAN

I know that I am going to have to make it to the gym more than once a week in order to drop these last 9 lbs.  That being said, I’ve got a plan in place for this week.  PLEASE work, don’t get in the way…

Monday – Yoga

Tuesday – Pilates

Wednesday – Treadmill

Thursday – Candlelight Yoga

Friday – Break

Saturday – Treadmill + Strength Training

Sunday – Spin/Yoga

I’ve just GOT to get there this week.  And, if I can’t make a class… I need to be on the treadmill.  I’m reading an AMAZING book, which always makes the time go by fast.  Treadmill time should be painless this week.  I’ve got my gym bag packed; I’m ready!

Overall, that’s my plan… and it’s completely doable.  Planning is key.  When I plan, I do SO much better.  What is it that they say… failing to plan is planning to fail.  No way!!!  Failure is NOT part of the plan!

What’s your plan for the week?  Planning to fail or planning to win??

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Yoga Healing

I went to my beloved candlelight yoga tonight.  I haven’t been to any yoga this week, and I was starting to feel it.  Looking back, I haven’t felt like myself all week.

My body seemed stiffer, stress seemed to roll through my shoulders and nestle between my shoulder blades.  It seemed harder to relax my jaw after a long day.

Yoga has changed me.  It’s amazing how when I walk into that studio, I instantly feel the calm.  Yoga has taught me that I am entitled to the peace and goodness that it brings… and that it’s all within my grasp.  That is, if I’m willing to practice.

Maybe it was the fact that I needed it more desperately tonight than I could have even imagined… but I had a pretty powerful experience in class.  Tonight, I needed to be around friends.  And frankly, to get out of my head.  To stop thinking about the things in life that don’t matter, and just breathe.

There are a few things that I feel like I NEED to do for myself each week.  1)  Sleep – I really like my sleep, and I need it to function.  2)  Working Out – It just gets the stress out, and it’s an investment in ME.  When I don’t do it, I feel unbalanced.  3)  Blogging – It’s been a light week for me, and I don’t like it one bit.  See, for me… blogging is my outlet.  Blogging keeps me on track.  It’s sort of become a part of who I am.  When it’s missing, I don’t feel right.

These are my personal basics.  Ones that I refuse to neglect as we move into a new week next week.

When I first saw Deb at class, I told her that I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to make it through the session.  I was telling her a story about my week and literally teared up.  I know that it was because I was exhausted.  I lose control of my tear ducts when I’m sleepy.  It just happens.  But I was in that fragile place, just until the class got started.

If you would have told me I would have been energized by class, I would have told you that you were crazy.  I honestly thought I’d pass out during the first child’s pose.  On the contrary, I was engaged throughout the entire hour.

I would have never guessed that our proud warrior stances would be invigorating to me.  Or that my time spent in half moon was about more than balancing on one foot… it would be about me making it through one more day and symbolic of tackling every challenge that had crossed my path this week.  And I would have never suspected the final savasana would be an intense exercise in quieting my mind… a supreme challenge with so many other things running through my brain.

I also think this is the first time this week that I’ve paid a moment of attention to my breath.  For those of you who practice yoga, you know how powerful the breathing is… and how eye opening at times.  Tonight my brown eyes were WIDE open.

I’ve included a few quotes tonight that my amazing instructor has shared during our classes.  She always shares something that lifts me up and gets me thinking.  I love to hear what Susie has in store for us each week in her pink book.

She also touched on another topic that I truly love.  She shared that “A yoga practice is not taught; it’s remembered.”  I tend to agree with this… for me, it’s as though my body was meant to practice.  I’m compelled to practice and I crave it.  Now, my challenge is to listen to it…

If you haven’t “remembered” yoga lately, I highly recommend you do it soon.  Just as you stretch further into each pose, you’ll be delving a little deeper into yourself… perhaps further than you’ve been before.

Namaste ~ xoxo

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Chicken with Creamy Tomato-Pesto Topping

My days have been so long lately.  Getting to work at 7am and not leaving until around 6pm.  I’m just exhausted.

As you can imagine, these long hours are keeping me from the gym, and I’m not feeling like cooking by the time I get home.  It’s the worst.  I’ve got to turn this around at some point…

Until then, I’m trying to eat my best and working out HARD Thursday through Sunday.  I’ve been hitting spin class on Sunday mornings and sweating my buns off.  That plus yoga a few nights a week is all I can pull off right now.

What’s funny (or not funny at all) is that I got an email from the YMCA telling me that they’d like to help me get back on track.  They don’t know I’m spinning and doing yoga elsewhere… but it’s cute that they’d be checking on me.  I need checking on!

I feel like my eating has been pretty strong, which is the only thing that’s working in my favor these days.

Weight Watchers released a new cookbook this month, and I’ve started cooking from it!

Chicken with Creamy Tomato Topping

From Weight Watchers

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. salt

Cooking spray

2 cups grape tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup refrigerated reduced-fat pesto

2 Tbsp. fat-free cream cheese, softened

roasted garlic cloves, sliced (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

 1.  Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.  Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken, and cook 5 minutes on each side or until done.  Transfer to a serving dish, and keep warm.

2.  Slice tomatoes in half longway.  Then, add tomatoes to the hot pan; saute 4 minutes or until tomatoes soften and begin to release their juices.  Add sliced garlic cloves.

3.  Add pesto and cream cheeses, and stirring until smooth.  Note:  I made half of the recipe (as usual), and used 1 Garlic Herb Laughing Cow Cheese wedge, rather than cream cheese.

4.  Cut chicken crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick medallions.  Place medallions from 1 chicken breast half on each of 4 plates.  Spoon tomato topping evenly over medallions.  Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Per 1 Chicken Breast Half and 1/4 cup Tomato Topping:

CAL 264; FAT 8.8g; PROT 37.6g; FIB 1.6g; CARB 5.8g; CHOL 98mg; SOD 405mg; WW Points Plus 6

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AWP