Sunday, October 31, 2010

How to eat healthy at parties

The holiday party season is upon us.  I know there's tons of advice out there on this subject, here's mine...

It's not impossible to eat healthy at parties, it just takes a little planning.  One night won't ruin your fitness/weight loss goals.  My strategy is to bring something that I know I will eat and I try not to arrive starving.  It's a lot harder to make good choices if you're really hungry.

I always offer to bring a salad or a vegetable tray.  Your hostess will most likely appreciate your help.  (In my group of friends I'm known for my salads!)  Costco has large vegetable trays with a lowfat peppercorn ranch dip for about $10.   (They don't usually have celery on them, so I like to slice some up and take it on the side)

I try to make my salads very colorful.  I usually use an organic greens mix, sliced tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, sliced yellow or orange peppers, olives, avocado, sometimes dried cranberries, sliced almonds, or sunflower seeds.  I'll slice cucumbers and either red or green onions and take them on the side (because I don't like them).  I also like to grate carrots, raw beets, or zucchini.  I don't put meat in my salads because I want there to be at least one vegetarian option.  You can add cheese if you like, sometimes I'll add feta.  There's plenty of dressings out there that are healthy options, Trader Joe's has several, I also like Paul Newman's brand or Litehouse makes some good ones.

I like Bethenny Frankel's advice, "taste everything and eat nothing".  To me that means have a little bite of whatever it is you want, just don't go overboard.  You'll be less likely to overeat if you have a little bit of that brownie or red velvet cake.

The most important thing is to drink plenty of water!  Lots of party foods are really high in sodium.  I also try to get in at least 30 minutes of some kind of cardio in early in the day.

A Votre Sante!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Recipe of the week: Pumpkin Pie Squares

In honor of fall, Halloween and Thanksgiving I thought I'd share my pumpkin pie squares recipe.  I actually don't like pumpkin pie, it's a texture thing for me, plus I'm not a big fan of pie crust, so I make this instead.  If you don't like pecans try walnuts or even sliced almonds.  If you try it let me know what you think.  A Votre Sante!

Pumpkin Pie Squares


1 cup unbleached or whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 15 oz can organic pumpkin
1 12 oz can evaporated milk
2 large eggs
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup pecans chopped
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
Whipped cream or ice cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Combine flour, oats, 1/2 c brown sugar in a mixing bowl.  Mix on low for 1-2 minutes or until crumbly.  Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9 X 13 inch pan.  Bake for 15 minutes.

While the crust is baking combine sugar, pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs and spice in a large bowl, beat at medium speed for about 2 minutes.  Pour over crust.  Bake for an additional 20 minutes.

Combine pecans and the remaining brown sugar in a small bowl.  Sprinkle over filling, continue to bake for 15-25 minutes or until knife comes out clean.  Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.  Cut into bars.  Top with whipped cream or ice cream.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Proverbs 31

In my small group today we talked about the Proverbs 31 woman....most people overlook the fact that it's the woman's character that's being discussed.  The end of the passage is my favorite part...

Proverbs 31:

 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
      but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
 31 Reward her for all she has done.
      Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.

I hope you've had a restful weekend and found plenty of beauty to restore your soul.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Recipe of the week: Fried Green Tomatoes

One year I had tons of tomatoes that seemed like they were taking forever to ripen so I thought I'd try making fried green tomatoes, after having seen the movie by the same name.  I don't make them very often but when I do, this is the recipe I use.  I use bread crumbs, if you don't like them, I'm sure cornmeal would be fine, it might be an even more authentic southern taste.  I say to use a mixture of canola (or safflowers) and olive oil because the smoking point of olive oil is fairly low and you need an oil you can fry in.  I still have lots of tomatoes right now at the middle of October and once again it seems like they're taking forever to ripen, so this is what we had for dinner tonight.  I'm not sure how you get ahold of green tomatoes if you don't have a garden, maybe ask your local produce person at the store or someone from your local farmer's market.  If you happen to try it, let me know what you think.  A Votre Sante!

6 medium, firm green tomatoes

black pepper
1/2 -3/4cup unbleached or whole wheat flour
1/4 cup milk
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup fine dry bread crumbs or cornmeal
1/4 cup canola oil, or a mixture of canola and olive oil


1. Cut unpeeled tomatoes into 1/2-inch slices; sprinkle slices with the salt and pepper. Let tomato slices stand for a few minutes while you place flour, milk, eggs, and bread crumbs in separate shallow dishes.

2. Dip tomato slices in milk, then flour, then eggs, then bread crumbs. In a skillet fry the coated tomato slices, 5 or 6 at a time, in hot oil over medium heat for 2-4 minutes on each side or until brown. (If tomatoes begin to brown too quickly, reduce heat to medium-low. If necessary, add additional oil.) If desired, season to taste with additional salt and black pepper.  Serve with Louisiana hot sauce.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Candy Shop

There are many people out there raising awareness about human trafficking, the slave trade, exploitation of children, here's one of them:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Recipe of the week: Apple Almond Gingerbread

I saw this on Whole Food's website yesterday and thought it looked yummy. (Apples, almonds, gingerbread....what's not to like!) I made it last night and it came out great, and it smelled wonderful baking...all the flavors of fall. I followed the recipe exactly (probably a first), next time I'll add more ginger and I'm sure you could use pecans or walnuts if you don't like almonds. Let me know what you think. A Votre Sante!

Apple Almond Gingerbread

5 tablespoons butter, melted, plus more for greasing
3/4 cup slivered almonds, divided*
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons lowfat buttermilk
1/3 cup unsulphured molasses
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
11/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
11/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 Fuji or Gala apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch loaf pan with butter. Put 1/4 cup almonds in bottom of pan and then rotate pan to distribute them around the bottom and sides (they’ll stick to the greased pan); set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together buttermilk, molasses, sugar, butter, vanilla and egg. In a second large bowl, combine flour, ginger, baking soda and remaining 1/2 cup almonds. Add apples and toss well. Stir flour mixture into molasses mixture and then spoon batter into pan. Bake until cooked through and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool in pan for 30 minutes and then invert onto a plate and serve warm or at room temperature.