The Weight Watchers Barcode Scanner is here!

by Queen of Points on December 15, 2011

I use my Weight Watchers mobile app quite a bit — mostly when I’m shopping. I call up the PointsPlus calculator and enter in the grams of fat, carbs, fiber, and protein to see if I can work a given product into my program. I’m glad to have it, and have found some great stuff (snacks!) this way.

Figuring out points while shopping just got a whole lot easier if you have an iPhone (there doesn’t appear to be one for Android yet).

The new Weight Watchers Barcode Scanner lets you scan a barcode, get the fat/carbs/fiber/protein details, and shows you the PointsPlus value at the same time. Seriously handy.

2 screenshots from the Weight Watchers Barcode Scanner iPhone app

But wait, there’s more!

Once you’ve scanned an item, you can choose to “track this item,” which adds it to your personal tracker, making adding foods and recipes much quicker. There’s also an “light” option available when you’re scanning, for when you’re, uh, grocery shopping in the dark, I guess.

I think it’s great that Weight Watchers has released this. I know I’ll be using it a ton.

Note: you must have access to Weight Watchers eTools to use the mobile and barcode scanner apps.

Do you use the mobile app much? Think you’ll use the barcode scanner app?


Servings: 4 | Level: Easy | PointsPlus: 5

I love Thai food. I especially love Thai food made with coconut milk. Sadly, coconut milk is outrageously high in fat. I was thrilled — thrilled — to discover the existence of light coconut milk. I suspect I’ll be going on a Thai with coconut milk binge very soon…

This recipe is one that’ll have your dinner guests thinking you’ve been attending culinary school on the sly. It’s delicious, easy, and impressive.

Thai Coconut Green Curry Shrimp on a bed of Lime Scallion Rice



1 cup long grain rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 scallions, chopped
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice 


1 teaspoon olive oil
4 scallions, chopped — keep the white & green parts separate
1 tablespoon Thai green curry paste 
1 lb shrimp, peeled (from 1 1/4 lbs unpeeled)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 oz light coconut milk
2 tsp Thai fish sauce 
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped



  1. Make rice according to package.
  2. When rice is done, mix the scallions and lime juice in right before you top it with the shrimp.


Start the shrimp when you’ve removed the rice from the heat.

  1. Heat the oil on medium high in a large skillet.
  2. Add scallion whites and green curry paste and saute for 1 minute.
  3. Add shrimp, garlic, and salt and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add light coconut milk and fish sauce. Mix well and simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until shrimp is cooked through.
  5. Remove from heat and add scallion greens and basil. Serve over lime scallion rice.


You can use cilantro instead of basil. Goes great with the shrimp and works with the lime scallion rice too.


Slow Cooker “Baked” Potatoes — 5 points

by Queen of Points on December 9, 2011

Servings: 4 | Level: Easy | PointsPlus: 5

I frequently start making dinner and think “ooh, a baked potato would be good with this” about 10 minutes before I’m done cooking the main course. Yes, there’s the microwave, but my experience is that’s a great way to ruin a potato. Granted, using the slow cooker requires even more forethought, but if you think about it any time in the morning you can just toss them in and have them ready whenever your dinner is done.

Baked Potato covered with yogurt, cheddar cheese, and chives


Cheesy Chicken Meatballs and a Slow Cooker Baked Potato

Cheesy Chicken Meatballs & a Slow Cooker Baked Potato

4 medium russet potatoes
1 oz. low fat cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon low fat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon minced chives


  1. Wash, scrub, and dry each potato. Prick with a fork, wrap in foil, and place in a smallish slow cooker.
  2. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
  3. Dress with yogurt, cheddar cheese, and chives.


This is lovely with Cheesy Chicken Meatballs.

I pretty much lifted this recipe from Ginny’s Skinny Kitchen, a website full of excellent recipes with PointsPlus values.

This only qualifies as vegan if you leave off the yogurt & cheese, of course.



Cheesy Chicken Meatballs — 6 Points

by Queen of Points on December 8, 2011

Servings: 5 | Level: Easy | Points Plus: 6

Ground chicken (turkey, too) has a reputation of being pretty bland. Not this dish! These meatballs feel like you’re seriously splurging. They’re great on their own, but you can also get creative. Smash them up, add a bit of low-fat Greek yogurt and a few leaves of lettuce on your favorite bread and you’ve got a fabulous sandwich.

5 Cheesy Chicken Meatballs on a bed of Butter Lettuce


1 pound ground chicken thighs
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup light cream cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil, and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Combine the chicken, eggs, cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, vegetable oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; mix well. 
  3. Form mixture into 20 meatballs; place on prepared pan.
  4. Bake on the center rack until juices run clear, 17 to 18 minutes. 


Hearty Celery Root Soup with Gruyère — 4 Points

December 7, 2011

This soup is hearty, earthy, and rich. How it manages to taste rich with no cream, I don’t know. But it is. I made it as a starter on Thanksgiving and got rave reviews. [ Read More → ]

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PointsPlus 2012—the New Weight Watchers Program

December 6, 2011

Weight Watchers has tweaked their already excellent PointsPlus program for 2012. Along with some program changes there’s a website redesign, some adjustments in points and pricing, and (of course) new reference materials. And here in Central Austin, we got a groovy new meeting location with weigh-in stations that are a bit more private than the […]

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Draught House Chili Cookoff [10]

November 12, 2011

Grand Prize AND People’s Choice Award Winner: Diane!

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Draught House Chili Cookoff [9]

November 12, 2011

1st runner up: Ellen

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Draught House Chili Cookoff [8]

November 12, 2011

2nd runner up: Theresa

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Draught House Chili Cookoff [7]

November 12, 2011

Waiting for the announcement of the winners.

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