somewhere in the middle

Easy, Homemade Raspberry Sorbet |

After two weeks of settling into life in Maryland, we’re back upstate. I signed the girls up for camp here before I found the apartment, and so we returned a little earlier than I would’ve preferred. We all seem to be finding our footing up here again, and are eager to go back to sowing the seeds we began planting in Bethesda. I have some theories about this, but since clarity is a commodity I’m still in search of, I’ll continue to mull them over for the time being.

We did come back just in time to reap the benefits Mother Nature’s hard work. The car rolled into to the driveway just after sunset on Monday night, but I spied the ruby red raspberries scattered amongst the bushes alongside the house. After dropping the kids at camp on Tuesday, I picked a whole pounds’ worth. The question was what to do with them? Eating them as-is didn’t feel special enough for this small bounty from my own yard. I want something I could savor a little longer. Putting up a pot of jam was incredibly tempting, but something new is what I was craving.

And speaking of cravings, I started Weight Watchers this past Tuesday. Yes, I know. It seems impossible for what I do professionally, and is not at all aligned with my love of baking. I’m not sure where, or how far, I’ll go with this. Nonetheless, I’m decided to see it through for the one month to which I subscribed. I had a lot of success with Weight Watchers 12 years ago, after Isabella was born. I took eating for two very seriously, thinking I wasn’t having any more children.

I’m talking very seriously.

A few years later, I was walking with one of my best friends, our girls a few steps ahead of us. They were three and four at the time. I looked at Vania, and said “do you realize it’s as if I ate our children with my pregnancy?”. That’s what 65 pounds looked like—a three and four year old child combined.

In less than four months I got back on track, eating sensible portions. That was mainly the key for me. I scaled back, literally and figuratively. Exercise wasn’t a focus since I was already pretty active. I worked in a restaurant, which always had me on the go. Plus, I lived in Brooklyn, and walked almost everywhere. And, oh, I was 29.

Flash forward 12 years later. Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Is it true that it’s harder to shed those extra pounds when you get older due to factors like metabolism and plain old fatigue? Or is time to embrace that while I can certainly get myself a bit more fit, I can’t really get back the same body I had a mere seven years ago? With Isabella it took me a full four years to lose all of the baby weight. And then I got pregnant again. My body never quite went back afterwards.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking (and talking to myself) since starting this new eating lifestyle 48 hours ago. There is so much to say on the subjects of eating healthy, feeling good about one’s own body image, and not comparing yourself to other women’s bodies are a few good places to start. I don’t have all the answers, but I do have an obligation to find a better balance within myself.

My girls watch and listen to everything I say and do. Until recently, I was always cautious to keep my thoughts on my own body to myself. The last few months, I realized I was slipping a bit, muttering things aloud. A few people have asked why I want to lose weight. They think I look fine.

The answer is pretty simple: I feel like a stranger in my own body. Perhaps I’ll never see that size four figure I had when I was 23, but the size 12 I’ve quietly slipped into is not one I’m comfortable inhabiting. I want to be back somewhere in the middle.

Five Years Ago: Cold-Brewed Coffee

Four Years Ago: Homemade Maraschino Cherries

Three Years Ago: Rustic Lemon Cake

Two Years Ago: Raspberry & Chocolate Mint S’mores

One Year Ago: Mixed Berry Muffins

Raspberry Sorbet

Makes two pints

Music Pairing: Roadmovies by Bettie Serveert

Next time I make this, I’m going to try it with honey. From a point perspective honey is half the amount of sugar, even granulated natural cane sugar. It’s the difference between it being a 3 point treat, and a 2 point treat (I can’t stand that WW rounds up!). That said, I love the flavor here, and think it’s just enough sugar to tame the tartness of the raspberries without being overly sweet. It’s quite the refresher after a meal especially if you’re serving it with some smoky BBQ for July 4th.

I added some cashew milk to give the sorbet an ever-so-creamy edge to it. It’s not traditional, but I like the texture it provides. You can use any nut milk or soy milk of your choosing (or cow’s milk, too).

3/4 cup (150 grams) Sugar in the Raw Turbinado Sugar, Natural Cane   

1/2 kilo  raspberries (about 2 1/2 pints)

1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh squeezed lemon juice (from about 1/2 a lemon)

1/2 cup (120 ml) unsweetened cashew milk   

1. Make sure the freezer bowl of your ice cream maker has been in the freezer for at least 24 hours.

2. Add the sugar to a small pot along with 3/4 cup (187 ml) water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to cook until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and let sit for at least 30 minutes, to cool slightly (you can do this step up to three days in advance; store the simple syrup in a jar in the fridge).

3. Add the remaining ingredients along with the simple syrup to a blender. Blend until smooth. You can pour the puree through a sieve or cheesecloth set over a bowl, if you like, strain out the seeds.

4. Pour the mixture into the prepared freezer bowl (see step one). Churn until the sorbet thickens into a soft-serve consistency, about 30 minutes. May be served immediately, or transferred to a container, then covered and frozen until firm (six hours, or overnight).

Weight Watchers: 1/4 cup serving equals 3 points – 1/2 cup equals 5 points.

Some more ideas to get you going this 4th of July weekend! #SummerSoiree

Feed Me Phoebe: Red Beet Hummus Recipe with Lemony Yogurt
The Heritage Cook: Tangy Caprese Salad with Pickled Cherries (Gluten-Free)
Creative Culinary: July 4th Red, White and Blue Patriotic Poke Cake
Weelicious: Blue Corn Chip Crusted Fish Sticks with Red Pepper Coulis
The Lemon Bowl: 3 Steps to Perfectly Cooked Sweet Corn
Bacon and Souffle: Red, White and Blue Bark
Healthy Eats: 5 Frozen Treats for a Sweet Fourth
Taste with the Eyes: Dessert for the 4th of July: Elderflower Berry Pavlova
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Best Ever Elk Burgers For The 4th of July
Red or Green: Roasted Sweet Pepper Salad
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Heirloom Tomato Pie
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Summer Raspberry Sorbet
Homemade Delish: 4th of July Cheesecake
FN Dish: Portable Picks to Make and Take on July 4th


  • Elaine

    Good luck with WW! Will look forward to reading about your journey and the accompanying recipes.

  • Laura Wills

    Weight Watchers, in my opinion, is the most sensible way to lose weight. Two years ago, at the age of 49, I began my weight loss journey. After 14 months on WW, I met my goal of losing 100 pounds! So…even in my late forties and early fifties, I still saw success! Do not be bothered by others’ comments; you are the captain of your body – do what is right for you. Thanks for a great blog!

  • Janice

    Good Luck with WW. You are a perfect client because you are not out looking for low point junk food. Besides, the new WW has become deeper and more meaningful than points and scales. You will succeed with aplomb!

  • Genny

    Thank you for this perfect recipe! I recently joined WW myself and have had some success! I’ve been visiting your blog for quite some time and have made many of your recipes. You are a wonderful writer and “your story” has touched my heart. I wish you all the best with WW, love and happiness!

  • Vivian

    I have been going to WW since the mid 80″s…yes I am old. They are the best and I love knowing I can eat anything…in portion and with a plan.

  • Diane

    This looks delish. And good luck with WW! I’ve been cutting out carbs and sugars and that has worked wonders for me – more than anything else ever did. It has certainly encouraged experimentation with recipes (lots of nut flours)! I will try this with stevia or Swerve 🙂

  • Theresa

    Jennie…I really understand the “somewhere in the middle”. I am a 5 time “rejoiner” at WW mainly because I love to cook and eat and somehow always manage to forget the portion size part of the plan..haha! I am back again and at 55 I have found that it does get tougher in that the pounds come off more slowly. I joined 7 weeks ago and have lost 7 pounds. Not bad but with the amount of work I’m putting in I thought it would be more by now. It will happen, though, and probably the way it SHOULD happen. Slow and steady.

  • Jennifer Perillo

    Thanks for the slow and steady reminder Theresa. It really does help! -Jennie

  • Jennifer Perillo

    Thank you, Mardi! One thing I love about the plan is that it’s getting back to thinking about being active at least once a day. Even if that just means taking 20 minutes for myself to go on a walk. I always feel so pressed for time, and feel guilty spending any of it on myself. -xo, Jennie

  • Jennifer Perillo

    The sugar is going to be the hardest, I think. Especially now that berries have arrived, and all I want to do is bake pies! 🙂 -Jennie

  • Jennifer Perillo

    Exactly…anything we want, as long as it’s a proper portion size. I want to get back to that place, Vivian. – Jennie

  • Jennifer Perillo

    Janice – it’s definitely more work to track points when you cook from scratch, but I’m trying to embrace the challenge. In the end, I think it’s still healthier to go a few points over, and use real ingredients, not low-point items with ingredient labels I can’t decipher. -Jennie

  • Rocky Mountain Woman

    I understand finding the middle. I was always a size 6 and then after life kicked me a few times, I put on some weight. I’m trying to lose a few lbs., but don’t think I want to be a size 6 again. Healthy is more important to me at this age than anything else.

  • Janice

    If the truth be told, I have given your book, HOMEMADE WITH LOVE to several WW pals. It serves two purposes beyond the real goal: on hand homemade, quality, satisfying ingredients; and for some the discovery of preparing home cooked meals and treats is not impossible. It’s part of taking charge. Thanks for that. You are a rock star!

  • DamselflyDiary

    I used WW a few years ago to drop 10 pounds (and I have kept it off). But I sometimes found the points too restrictive and I didn’t want to lose weight fast. I wanted to lose weight in a way I could easily maintain.

    So, I gave myself 3 or 4 extra points a day. At the time they allowed you to manually adjust your daily points goal, I don’t know if you can still do that.

    I lost the weight a little slower but I felt it was more inline with a reasonable lifestyle that I could maintain.

    Good luck Jennie! You will have ups and downs (and full days and starving days) but it is all part of the process.

    I look forward to maybe seeing some lighter recipes here in the future.

  • farmerpam

    Whatever one’s choice for weight loss, health gain, has to be sustainable. Can’t be a “diet”, because then there’s the trap of “good” and “bad” days. Check out the free website called myfitnesspal. Changed my life! They’re all good days! Good luck on your quest and remember, slow and steady wins the race! 🙂

  • Shannon

    As a follower of your blog and love for your cookbook!, I also have been doing WW for 15 years now….I too was a size 12 (at 23 yrs old!) and lost 50lbs and am now 38. It took me over a year to lose it, but am thankful to have learned those healthy lessons in my early 20’s and am happy to have been able to keep them off all these years later, ( I allow 5lb flex and then when I hit a certain #, start to keep closer track, more exercise etc. it’s always easier to nip 5# in the bud than 10 and so on…) I too love to cook/bake and WW allows me to still enjoy all of it and I think look forward to cooking at home even more! My biggest tip that I feel has been my #1 way of maintaining (harder than losing I think…) is I’ve kept up my food journal/workout log all these years! I start a new one every year (on paper, old-school style) and only weigh once a week. It’s motivating to be able to look back a few months a see how far I’ve come etc. That may help you too.? I just do it on my own now w/the journaling and IT WORKS!!! And yes, I still count my points but allow for more on occasions, you have to live life and enjoy it right?! Good luck and rooting for you! You can do it!!!! LOVE reading your blog!!!

  • Jennifer Perillo

    Thanks so much for sharing, Shannon. Yes, it is much easier to lose 5 pounds, and that’s a great tip. I do appreciate that WW has helped me be more conscious of how much I’m eating. I tend to be a grazer, and now try to stick to three meals with a snack between each. And my sweet cravings have tamed down in just the week I’ve been on it. We’ll see where this all goes. -JP

  • Sarah

    I so feel you on being comfortable in your own body! I know I’ll never be a size 4 again, but my current size 12 is not what I’m comfortable in. I haven’t had any pregnancies or children, but walking through grief plus new love plus gaining step-children has sapped so much of my energy. I’m now at the stage where I’m reading for children of my own and I know taking care of my own body is so important for a future bun in the oven. Good luck with Weight Watchers and any other steps you take along the way!