Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Beverage Hype in NYC

For anyone who doesn't live in NYC, (or for those who live in the city but haven't heard), Bloomberg has proposed a ban on large sugary drinks in restaurants, movie theaters, etc. While I personally don't drink my calories, I know many people who frequent an afternoon sugary beverage. Bloomberg claims this plan will help fight obesity, but I personally think we have bigger problems to deal with than the consumption of sugar in beverages (ie: why aren't there any salads on McDonald's dollar menu?! And why is Outback Steakhouse allowed to make a Bloomin' Onion or Cheese Fries with over 1,000 calories and an obscene amount of fat?!) I know Paula Deen cut her sugary beverage consumption and lose 30 pounds, but the obesity problem in America extends way beyond Coke and Pepsi. Oh, and not to mention, the ban wouldn't even include juices (which often contain just as much sugar as a soda!)


In my opinion, Bloomberg is wasting his time. I liked the rumored plan to put a higher tax on fast food much better- make the healthier options cheaper, and chances are, people will be more willing to opt for it. If the bag of spinach was cheaper than the bag of rice, I guarantee more families would be eating a salad as a side dish.


What do you think of Bloomberg's plan? Does it have the potential for success??








For further reading, check out this article! Pin It

Garlicy Goodness- An easy way to spruce up a meal

Roasted garlic, while not the best date food, is a great way to add tons of flavor to any meal, but dieters often avoid it because it is generally laden with tons of oil. When making my famous cauliflower pizza one day, I decided I really wanted to spread some roasted garlic on the crust, but I am a huge proponent of avoiding mounds of oil at all cost (too many unnecessary calories in my opinion!), so I decided I would experiment, and luckily for all of us, I determined that a quick, simple spray of coconut oil was a satisfactory amount to roast a head of garlic with the same amount of flavor you would get from pouring oil over the head of garlic, as most people do. For those of you who don't know how to roast a head of garlic (don't feel bad; I was there myself a year ago!), I will give a brief recipe/guide for my guiltless roasted garlic, which I consider a refrigerator staple! It stays for ages and is a great addition to any pasta dish, sandwich, etc.






First, get your broiler ready! To roast a head of garlic, you start by cutting off the top section of the head of garlic, so that all of the cloves are exposed (as shown above). You can save the tiny pieces you cut off and sautĂ© them with some onions and mushrooms (another fridge staple of mine which I add to my eggs in the morning, sandwiches, pasta, etc.) Once you've removed the tops, it's time to add your oil. All you really need is a quick spray, which you then massage into the cloves of the garlic so that when it roasts, it seeps throughout the entire head. I use coconut oil spray because it's my favorite, though for a more traditional roasted garlic, you could easily use olive oil spray. By using the spray, you are saving hundreds of calories compared to the average head of roasted garlic which is doused and dripping with oil, and it's so unnecessary! Anyway, wrap the head of garlic in some tinfoil, pop it into the broiler, and roast away! I let my head roast for about an hour, sometimes a little longer. It will be extremely fragrant, so if you're having company over that day, I might suggest lighting a few candles afterwards!


Feelin' Frisky? You can even add some spices or herbs to the top of the head of garlic which will cook through the head as it roasts to give it even more flavor. Me, personally, I don't need it, but it's a yummy addition every now and then! Pin It

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Makeshift Dinner (No Microwave or oven required!)

So as some of you may know, I just moved into a new apartment in the city last Friday, and unfortunately, nothing works. Literally nothing. (No working AC, intercom, stove, microwave, dishwasher... the list goes on).


As much as it SUCKS, I'm dealing with it (I've become reliant on my three fans and toaster oven), and I recently visited my local dollar store to purchase some long matches so I could light my stovetop because the whole no-working-appliances thing doesn't make the chef in me very happy! For dinner tonight, I got a little creative and threw together a pasta dish using some of my freezer/pantry staples, and since it came together in less than 30 minutes and only required the stove top (and a little additional time to thaw I would assume, since not everyone is living without AC), I thought I would share the recipe.



You'll need:
4oz frozen seafood medley thawed, rinsed, etc.
1/4 cup tomato sauce (I use my homemade sauce that I always keep in my freezer for times like these!)
2oz Atkins Pasta, or any other high fiber, high protein pasta
Veggies of your choosing (I add some peas, chopped cherry tomatos, some sauteed onions and mushrooms which I always keep in my fridge)
A sprinkle of garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, chopped onion flakes, dried minced garlic... basically whatever spices you'd like

To prepare, bring some water to a boil and cook your pasta. Once it's finished, it's time to prepare your sauce! Add whatever veggies to a pot with your seafood medley, tomato sauce, and spices and allow to blend together for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Finally, add your pasta back to the pot and give everything a good mix!

The whole recipe should clock in at under 300 calories depending on the pasta, veggies, tomato sauce, seafood blend, etc. that you use! And seafood has an impressive amount of protein to match the high fiber content of your pasta and veggies, so all in all, a well rounded meal!

Feelin' Frisky?: Throw in a Laughing Cow Cheese wedge at the very end and allow it to melt in with the sauce for a creamy, thick, almost alla vodka-like sauce (sans vodka obviously!)

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sprouted Grainsation

Since I decided to reincorporate grains into my diet, I've come up with a rule when it comes to my carbs- they must be high in fiber (and preferably high in protein too!) Bread is one of the easier finds when it comes to the high-fiber picks, but there are SO many breads out there; it's hard to decide which to buy! Recently, I took a peek through the breads in Trader Joe's, and let's just say they have a WIDE selection of different breads! I don't know what brought me to this particular loaf, since many of their breads had added fiber and a fair amount of protein, but at 90 calories, .5g of fat, and 5g of fiber and protein per slice, I decided on the sprouted whole wheat fiber bread!



This bread has a grainy taste to it, which I love, so if you're a traditional white bread kinda guy/gal, I would recommend looking elsewhere! The little seeds in this loaf make each bite crunchy and delicious. My dad likes it toasted with peanut butter, and I like it toasted with some fat free cheese on it and perhaps an egg or my fav. Tofu Salad! I could see it pairing well with deli meats as well if you're a fan of the traditional lunch meat sammy. Gotta love Trader Joe's- they never disappoint! 

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Oh My Onion!

When I started a low carb diet, I thought I had given up one of my favorite breakfast items for good: an onion roll! Something about a toasted onion roll was about as good as it got for me in the morning, but the average onion roll is fiberless (or close to it) and loaded with useless carbs and calories. One of the best low carb products I have found, to date, comes from our friends at Carb Krunchers: their loaded onion pockets.
These onion-roll wannabes clock in at 121 calories a pop, pack an impressive 7.5 grams of fiber, and don't taste low carb AT ALL. Seriously, I could eat these for breakfast every day. Each pocket is filled with yummy onion flakes which provides a surprising burst of flavor! For breakfast, I pop one in the microwave for about a minute and pair it with a few tablespoons of homemade fat-free scallion/chive cream cheese (recipe here), some low cal/high protein Lox (I shoot for 70 calories/13g of protein per 57gram serving), and some fresh tomato slices. This entire breakfast clocks in at under 250 calories and keeps me full for hours!


The only downside, as per usual, is that they are a bit hard to find and fairly expensive, but SO worth it. You can order them online or check out your local health food/low carb grocer! Pin It

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sinless Slaw

In honor of memorial day weekend, I thought I would share a guilt-free recipe that you can bring with you to any BBQ, so you know you have a healthy side to eat if there aren't many other healthy options to choose from. And the best part? There's only 3 ingredients, and it couldn't be any easier. We're making guilt-free coleslaw.




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All you will need is 2 bags of Coleslaw Mix, 1 Bottle of Walden Farms Coleslaw dressing, and a splash of lime juice! Combine them all in a bowl, mix away, and you're good to go! I generally don't use the whole bottle of dressing, but you can use as much you feel necessary. And just a pointer, I find that it's best to make this a day in advance so it has some time to marinate and soak up the flavor before serving it.


Feelin' Frisky? Try adding a bag of Broccoli Slaw instead of Coleslaw mix! And a little fresh black pepper on top is pretty yummy too! Pin It

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Kay, now these I can eat!

Chips and pretzels are definitely something I missed when I was dieting, but if we're being honest, they are virtually empty calories for the most part. It would take a massive amount of chips/pretzels to make a really filling snack, and those calories add up pretty quickly, which is why I was thrilled when I came across Kay's Natural Snacks. These snacks come in a variety of chips, pretzels, cookie bites, etc.- all of which are delicious. Seriously, I haven't tried a bad bag, though I definitely like some better than others. For something sweet I recommend either the Cinnamon Cookie Bites or the Cinnamon Pretzels.







And my savory faves are the BBQ Snack Mix, Jalapeno Honey Mustard Pretzel Sticks, White Cheddar Krunchees, and Lemon Herb Chips. 











Like I said though, they are all good. And what's great about these guys is that they all pack an exceptional amount of protein and even a little fiber into the 110-130 calorie, portion controlled packages. The only problem is they are a bit hard to find, so I order online! If you order on Amazon, you can get them for less than 70c a bag, which, in comparison to other chips, is fairly comparable! Pin It

Friday, May 25, 2012

Diet-Friendly Delivery

Today was quite a crazy day for me! I moved into a new apartment in the East Village, and let's just say moving is TIRING! As much as I would have loved to cook my first dinner in my apartment, my stove and microwave don't work! (Already off to a great start with my super!)


Anyway, as opposed to wasting the time going out for dinner, I decided it would be best to order in so I could keep on unpacking! Now, I live in NYC where almost every restaurant delivers, but I know in other areas delivery is limited to basically pizza and Chinese Food; however, if you choose to order Chinese Food, as I did tonight, it doesn't have to be a diet disaster. Many Chinese restaurants have added a new diet-friendly section to their menus that offer steamed options- steamed chicken, veggies, shrimp, beef, etc. And you can often get a side of brown rice! I suggest skipping the sauce and adding your own from your pantry! This is about as healthy as delivery gets- just don't overdo your portions! You can always save it heat it again the next day! (Unless, like me, you're microwave-less!)



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Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Hidden Japanese Gem

It's no secret that sushi is one of my favorite foods, and it also happens to be one of the few things I can't really replicate myself at home. There is nothing quite like the fresh sushi-grade fish that Japanese restaurants serve. While sushi seems to most to be a healthy option by default, not all rolls are created equal, and there are actually a few diet-shockers on the sushi menu. While I could go through the nutritional analysis for mostly everything you could possibly get at a sushi restaurant, I'll spare us all the novel and just tell you about a secret roll that most sushi restaurants serve that many people don't know about- the naruto roll!


These rolls are made with no rice; instead, they are wrapped delicately in cucumber! The generic naruto roll usually has a mixture of tuna, salmon, yellowtail, whitefish, kani, avocado, etc., but I've been to many places that will let you custom order the rolls you like naruto style! On my splurge nights I've ordered eel naruto rolls, spicy tuna and mango naruto rolls, etc.- trust me, you won't even miss the rice! And if you find you still want the rice, order a side of brown rice and add a little bit to each roll!


Just be careful when you order these rolls- sometimes they serve them in a "special sauce," so I always make sure to ask for no sauce just in case! Pin It

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wendy Who?

As the weather gets nicer, I do my best to walk as much as possible, so lately, I've been walking home from work every day. In my town, all of the fast food restaurants are in a line, and unfortunately for me, I have to walk past them every day on my way home. Now usually, I don't think about fast food at all, but walking by and smelling the fried chicken and french fries made me think about how much I used to love the crispy chicken sandwiches from Wendy's. Naturally, I went on a hunt for a healthier version to kick this craving, and I came across these:


These vegan patties were the PERFECT way to kick my Wendy's craving. At only 110 calories and 12 grams of protein, when paired with some lettuce, tomato, a Fiber One English Muffin and a little Walden Farm's BBQ Sauce (or Mayo if you want to be traditional), these patties could easily replace the fried Wendy's chicken! I will say though, they reminded me a little bit of crab cakes (which didn't bother me at all!- It's not that they had a fishy taste, just the consistency was more like a crab cake than a chicken patty)


And now that I know that these "chicken" patties are delish, I want to try other products from this line! Their vegan buffalo wings sound incredible, and their new line of sproutburgers sound equally enticing. I'll keep you in the loop as soon as I try them! Pin It

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Look who's pwinning now!

For anyone who hasn't noticed, I've added a 'Pin It' Button to the bottom of every post! I'm a HUGE fan of Pinterest (I've been using it since it first started!), and I seriously recommend it to anyone who doesn't currently use it! I have TONS of recipes pinned and great products listed on my Pinterest!


You can see/follow me on Pinterest at pinterest.com/alyvan and feel free to add BETT to your pinboards! :) Pin It

Monday, May 21, 2012

How to avoid a supermarket spending spree

How many times have you looked back on a trip to the supermarket and wondered why you bought half of the things you did? For me, it's happened quite a number of times. Chances are, its my tummy that guides my hand to that yummy looking loaf of bread I don't need, even if it is on sale!


So, how do we avoid catastrophes such as this one? It's a simple solution- don't go food shopping hungry. Ever. It just doesn't work! Make sure that before you go food shopping, you've had something to eat and made a list of what you need- and then make sure you stick to that list! My rule when food shopping- if it's not on the list, it won't be missed! In truth, if I didn't write down that I needed it, chances are, I don't, unless of course I forgot to write something down... we're all human! Pin It

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sorry Paula, No Butter for this Tummy

So tomorrow morning, my parents and I are going to a taping of The Chew, and rumor has it, Paula Deen is set to be the special guest. Everyone knows Paula is known for her excessive use of butter, so I thought I would share a few of my butter substitutes, as I rarely use butter for anything!


For starters, if you're looking to replace butter as a spread (on a bagel, toast, etc.) I highly recommend Brummel and Brown Yogurt Spread or I Can't Believe It's Not Butter (light)- both have a buttery taste at a fraction of the calories and fat! The stats are fairly similar on both products, so it's really a matter of which one you like better. The I Can't Believe It's Not Butter comes in a Whipped and Olive Oil Variety as well!








If you're someone who uses butter to coat a pan to keep things from sticking, cooking spray is one of the best inventions known to man! They even make a butter flavored one! (Though I prefer Coconut Oil spray like the one by Spectrum- it makes everything taste like coconut and is said to be much healthier than canola oil!) Just a disclaimer though, these cans claim to be 0 calories, but the serving size listed is for 1/4 of a second spray, so if you're spraying for more than 1/4 of a second (and let's be real here, you are!), then it will add a few calories, but again, it's SO much less than using butter!






How else do you use butter? I bet one of these products could replace it!

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Bearing the Seven Seas

Growing up, my mom always cringed at the thought of frozen meat, seafood etc. Until I went to college, I didn't even know that you could freeze meat/fish... I actually thought it would make it go bad (even though freezing would logically preserve it... stupid me). But in going to college, I discovered that you can, in fact, freeze this stuff- and it's extremely convenient to always have it on hand! One thing I had also never considered was buying frozen seafood. Let's be real, the budget of a college student paying NYC rent doesn''t exactly lend itself to fresh seafood, so I hadn't really been making it for myself because it is sooooo expensive to buy in the supermarkets, but recently, I came across a frozen seafood medley, comprised of a mix of mussels, squid, shrimp, etc- all of which are favorites of mine, and it was only 5 bucks for a 16oz bag! Not to mention, seafood is a really impressive protein bang for your calorie buck! So, for dinner tonight, I made myself some high fiber pasta with this seafood medley and tomato sauce, and let's just say it was exceptionally delish- and when prepared in a sauce, I don't know how anyone would know that the fish wasn't fresh! My mom still cringes at the thought of frozen meats and fish for whatever reason, but when I prepare these dishes for her, she never knows the difference (hey ma- the veal from the other night was fresh out of my FREEZER :-O)


What do you guys think? Is there anything wrong with freezing meat or fish?? Pin It

Friday, May 18, 2012

Breakfast to keep you Fiber-full

Lately, I've found myself HUNGRY in the morning, which for me, is a new thing! And not only am I hungry around breakfast time, but if I don't eat something with enough fiber, I find myself hungry an hour later- not good! As I know we don't always have a ton of time in the morning to make an elaborate breakfast, I knew I had to find something that was good for when I have a lot of time and equally as good for those mornings that I don't, and I have to say, when I eat a Fiber One Multigrain English Muffin for breakfast, it keeps me full for hours!

These fiber and protein packed masterpieces only have 100 calories- so they're great for those mornings that you don't want to expend a ton of calories- (just throw some sugar free fruit preserves on top!) And they are equally amazing for someone like me who needs a BIG breakfast with an egg and cheese on top! It also doesn't hurt that they are extremely fluffy and toast really well! (Big perk for me, because I don't really like cold bread!) Another plus- they aren't that hard to find, and they aren't expensive, especially in comparison to some of the other foods I eat that I custom order! The possibilities of these things are pretty much endless! And if for some reason you can't get your hands on these specifically, Thomas's multigrain English muffins have very similar stats, but aren't as fluffy. Either product will do the job though!

Feelin' Frisky? Take breakfast to lunch or dinner and use these fiber-packed funbuns to make an English Muffin pizza or use them as a bun with a Veggie Burger. I've done both. They are delicious!
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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How to avoid stress eating

I've found that stress effects people in one of two ways. Either it makes people eat crazy amounts, or it causes loss of appetite. Either way, it's not healthy! I have definitely found myself a victim of both of these scenarios, and now, I have come up with a simple way to avoid falling into either of these situations. When I know I'm going to be stressed, or when I find myself in a stressful situation, I always make sure to stop, take a deep breath, and ask myself "Am I hungry?" If I'm having one of those eat-out-of-stress days, this will usually stop me from eating something when it's only out of stress. And if I'm having one of those days where I can't eat because I'm stressed, it reminds me that I need to! Sometimes, just taking a second to stop and breathe can actually save us from a diet disaster. I know it seems simple, but it's worth a try!


What do you do to avoid stress-eating? Pin It

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mid Meal Munchies!

We've all experienced it- the in-between-meal-munchies! Fact: When I'm in a munchy-mood, just about anything looks good to me, including things I know I shouldn't be eating. A question I am frequently asked is how is it possible to avoid the bad stuff when these mid-meal-munchies strike? It's simple- always be prepared! Everywhere I go, I always make sure I bring a high-fiber, high-protein bar with me (ie: Atkins, Quest, etc.) Sometimes, I even keep 2 or 3 on me! This way, if I find myself in need of a pick-me-up in between meals, I am prepared! It has basically become a part of my mental checklist of necessities that I make sure to bring with me before I leave the house (right after my iPhone and wallet of course!) If you drive, it's great to keep a bar or two in your car as well, or in your desk at work, or even in your back pocket! (Just don't sit on it! Nobody likes a squished bar!)

Not a fan of bars? Try a bag of mixed nuts and (unsweetened) dried fruit! Just be sure to watch your portion size!
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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

First of all, happy Mother's Day to all the Mommy's out there! 


The original plan for today was to surprise Mama Tiny Tummy when she got back from the gym with homemade, diet-friendly pancakes and take pictures to share the recipe with everyone in the blogosphere, but when Mama Tiny Tummy got home this morning, she stopped the process dead in its tracks because she didn't want to eat pancakes!


So instead, I thought I would share a list of my top 3 Brown Bag Breakfasts- for Mommy's on the go. Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it's important not to skip it. With all of our busy schedules, there isn't always time to prepare something elaborate, such as pancakes, but you don't want to find yourself starving later because all you grabbed for breakfast was a measly apple! (Where's the protein people?!)


So anyway, here are my top 3 Brown Bag Breakfasts:


1. A light English Muffin (Fiber One are my fav!) with 2 slices of fat-free or reduced-fat cheese (and hey, if you have time to toast it and throw a few slices of tomato on it, why not, right?!)


2. A Quest Bar or another high protein, high fiber bar


3. A Reduced-Fat Cheesestick (or 2!) and a big container of berries (Protein+Fiber=Satisfied Mommy!)


Personally, I always make sure to leave myself enough time in the morning to make myself a real breakfast, so I know I won't be hungry later, even if it means getting up 15 minutes earlier. I give you these options above because I recognize we don't all share that mentality, but I will definitely share some of my favorite breakfast recipes down the line! Pin It

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Drink Yourself Skinny

So, as I've mentioned before, I don't drink alcohol. I don't like the taste of it (I actually think it tastes like what I imagine poison would taste like!) I will say, though, I've always loved the virgin versions of the typical girly drinks, so when I found Jordan's Skinny mixes, I was pretty darn excited to try them!





These drink mixers have zero calories, zero carbs, 0 sugar, and somehow, they still taste great! I can only vouch for the Cosmo mix, but it tasted just like a virgin cosmo without all the sugar of the cranberry juice! If you mix these with a little vodka, throw a fresh lime wedge into it, and serve it as a cocktail, I bet nobody would know that it wasn't a real cosmo! Pin It

Friday, May 11, 2012

Chocolate Change-Ups

Confession: I'm a chocoholic. As much as I've developed some killer self-control, I can't live without chocolate. Growing up, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Butterfingers, PayDay, and Baby Ruths were among my favorites, though let's be real, when it came to chocolate, I wasn't too particular, and I could easily put away a whole bar/pack at once (I mean, who only eats a bite, right?!) In looking back at these addicting treats, they are virtually all sugar, and considering I try to steer clear of the sugary indulgences, I knew I had to find something to take their place! Luckily for me (and you of course!), I have found (slightly) more nutritious versions of a few of my old chocolate favorites, but let me be the first to warn you, these are all equally addictive!

In no particular order, here are a few chocolate bar change ups!

Craving:

 
or

Try: 

Why my pick is better: Let me start by saying Chocolite Products are the answer to any dieting chocoholic's prayers. Every single one of their chocolates is absolutely amazing, but this one has to be my favorite. Each little patty is a cross between a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup and a Butterfinger bar (leaning slightly more toward Reese's), and packs an impressive 6 grams of fiber for a measly 35 calories! Oh, and did I mention there is 0 SUGAR in these puppies?! With those stats, I don't feel bad about eating both patties in one sitting, though it's a good thing they only come 2 to a pack, cause a bag of these could be SERIOUSLY dangerous! The downside, these suckers can be pretty hard to find! You might have to order them online, or search your local health food stores! If you like the peanut butter variety, chances are you'll like Chocolite's other products, all of which can be found here! (If you follow weight watchers, they are making a new 1/2 point-per-piece chocolate candy!)


Craving:

Try:
Why my pick is better: While the Atkins bar is slightly smaller than a PayDay, you won't miss the few extra bites because the Atkins Bar has 3 additional grams of protein (10 in total) and a whopping 11 grams of fiber! So, when you're looking to kick that mid-afternoon chocolate craving, at least you won't be hungry again in 20 minutes! Not to mention, the Atkins bar has 1 gram of sugar in comparison to the  (*gasp*) 21 grams of sugar in a PayDay. The downside? Those sneaky suckers at Atkins decided to put Acesulfame Potassium in their bars for added sweetness, and as far as all natural products are concerned, these guys are not. As sweet as they may be, I'm not trying to increase any risk of Cancer if I can help it! Second downer: The Atkins bars are definitely a bit more expensive than a PayDay, but as I always say, eating healthy isn't always cheap!

Craving:

Try:

Why my pick is better: Sorry baseball fans, Babe has gotta go! With a frightening 32 grams of sugar and less than 2 grams of fiber, this chocolate bar is far from satisfying! Again, our friends at Atkins have made a bar to take their place with only 180 calories and an impressive 8 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber! The downside? Yet again, Atkins bars can get a bit expensive, but hey, at least these guys don't have any cancer-causing sweeteners!

What's your favorite chocolate indulgence? I bet I can find a swap for it!


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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Spice Up Your Life Part 2

So oddly enough, after posting about my love of spices, I had a whole conversation with my boss today about our mutual love for spicy/spice-ful food, which has inspired me to share yet another of my spice-based recipes- my flavor-packed Kickin' Chicken breasts (which I made for dinner but forgot to take a picture :\)


Kickin' Chicken Breasts:


6 oz 99% FF Chicken Breasts
1 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder
2 t chopped dried onion flakes
2 t dried garlic flakes
1 t paprika
1 t red pepper flakes (omit if you don't like spicy!)


Prepare the chicken however you'd like! I love to make these on the BBQ or in the broiler because the onion and garlic flakes form a yummy crust! Pin It

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Spice Up Your Life

Okay, the Spice Girls reference might have been a little much, but they don't call me the spice queen for nothing! Spices are just about my favorite thing in the world! My spice cabinet is filled with just about every spice that exists because let's be real, what better way to flavor a dish for minimal calories than some quality spices? Just about every meal I prepare uses some form of spice, and most of my favorite cuisines rely on unique spices to give the dishes the specific flavor. My favorite cuisine is, and always has been Indian Food, and since I was in the most AMAZING Indian marketplace today, I've decided to share with you my favorite spice blend for making an Indian curry dish. I've used this recipe to make a mushroom curry, a mixed veggie curry with spinach, onions mushrooms, peppers, etc., and I've even added chicken to it! It's extremely versatile, extremely flavorful, and I will warn you, a little spicy!

Indian-Inspired Sassy Spice Blend:

2 t Tumeric (My personal fav!)
1 t Ground Cumin
2 t Coriander

3/4 t Cayenne Pepper (use less if you don't want it spicy!)
1 T Onion Powder
1 T Garlic Powder or 3-4 cloves of minced garlic
1 1/2 t Chili Powder
1/2 t paprika (or smoked paprika if you want it to have a slightly smoky taste)

a pinch of salt (can be omitted, but it enhances the flavor)

Feelin' Frisky? To turn this dry spice mix into a full-on curry coma, just add whatever veggies/protein you want to a pot with a little coconut oil (or ghee if you want to keep with the Indian vibe), add the spices with some water, and then a chopped tomato or two (or a few tablespoons of tomato paste if you're a little lazier!), and voilĂ„- you have an Indian masterpiece! 




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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

DBD GFG

If you haven't already noticed, I'm all about the Acronyms! In school, I always used to use silly little phrases to help me remember things, so when eating out, why shouldn't the same rule apply?


When going to a restaurant, it's really important to listen to your body- eat when you're hungry and stop when you're full, even if there is still food on your plate!! If you're like me, and have trouble stopping when your body reaches full (cause that last bite always looks so good!), then follow my next tip DBD GFG: Don't Be Dumb... Go for Gum! That's right! Instead of chowing down on what's left on your plate, pop a piece of gum in your mouth! Now, some people may find this to be rude, so I wouldn't suggest this tip at a business lunch or anything like that, but if it's just friends and fam, it's a great strategy!


On the flip side, this is also a great strategy when it comes to mindless eating at home! When I'm bored, I'm more likely to engage in some mindless eating. Always ask yourself "am I actually hungry?" before you reach for that chocolate bar. If the answer is no, DBD GFG! It's a great way to satisfy the craving to chew when you're not really hungry! And it's also a great way to stop yourself from nibbling while you cook!



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Monday, May 7, 2012

Big Bad Burger Wannabes

Recently, I've been obsessed with veggie burgers. Maybe it's because I've been really busy, and they are super easy to just microwave, throw on an English muffin (with lettuce, tomato, onions, mushrooms, etc.), and eat, or maybe it's just because they're really frigan delicious.


Regardless, the world of veggie burgers is vast and intimidating. There are SO many out there! One of these days, I will compile a list of all of my favorite veggie burgers, but considering that list is going to be quite long, today, I am just going to share with you my favorite lowest cal burger-patty-replacement burger (as opposed to a black bean-type, actual veggie-filled patty). If I'm craving a burger, but don't have time to make one, I turn to my friends at Boca Burger for an on-the-go burger fix. For anyone who says the drive through is the only option when you're short on time and craving a burger, this one's for you!


At only 70 calories each, these patties pack a pretty good source of protein (13g), and when paired with an English muffin, a slice of cheese, and all the usual burger fix-ins, they aren't half bad! 


Disclaimer: These certainly aren't a McDonalds/Burger King Burger. In fact, on their own, the patties aren't all that great, but once doctored up with a little garlic and onion powder, some BBQ sauce and melted cheese, they'll save you quite a bit of calories and fat, and will probably keep you satiated for longer than that happy meal burger!


Feelin' Frisky? In the gourmet burger world, a burger joint is judged by their secret sauce- a good burger is only as good as that last lick of sauce you clean from your fingers! I mean, who uses Ketchup anymore?! Want to know what I put on my Big Bad Boca Burger? Well it depends on my mood! If I'm craving a spicy burger, I'll jazz it up with some jalepenos ands spicy "mayo" (Walden Farms Mayo Dip+ Sriracha) or some good ole Frank's Hot Sauce (maybe even the Buffalo sauce if I'm feeling really wild!). Craving a BBQ Burger? Throw a slice of Fat-Free Cheddar, Fat-Free American, or Fat-Free Swiss on it and drizzle a little Walden Farms BBQ sauce! And of course, no burger is properly dressed without some sauteed onions and mushrooms! Pin It

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Pita for Poppy!

Full disclosure: I love and miss my grandparents a lot. My grandpa is one of the best guys you could ever know- probably the most easy-going, patient, and accepting individual I have ever met. Recently, he has suffered some heart-related health problems, and was put on a fairly restrictive, low-sodium diet. For a guy who sprinkled salt on just about everything he ate, this was a HUGE life-changer, and not only are his salt-shakin' days over, but so are his days eating a lot of foods we wouldn't think of as sodium-suckers! (hey, did you know celery packs a pretty high dosage of sodium?!)


Anyway, Mother's Day is a week from today, and the fam decided on a Greek restaurant! One of the more surprising sources of sodium (at least in my opinion) is actually bread, so when I came across these pitas at my local grocery store, I couldn't leave them there!




While they aren't exactly impressive in the fiber department, they pack a great source of protein and at only 80 calories each and 0, yes 0mg of sodium, they are a perfect fit for my grandpa and any low-sodium dieters out there! (Note: The whole wheat, no salt pita variety pack a little more fiber, but the Pops isn't a fan of whole wheat, so we stuck with white!)


And for those of you who don't follow a low-sodium diet, Toufayan makes a whole bunch of different 80-calorie pitas, which include flavors such as multigrain, wheat, and onion. They also make normal size pitas, which even come in a low-carb variety (which pack a much better source of fiber and clock in at 130 calories and 11 grams of protein!) Pin It

Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Whole Lotta Colada!

I can't help it with the Cinco de Mayo references... maybe it's because I've been cooped up in my room all weekend doing final papers, but in light of the holiday, I thought I would share my favorite Pina-Colada-craving-kicker, which I drink just about every night!


Nothing beats a good cup of tea. And this tea is delicious hot or iced. Spices and Tease make KILLER hibiscus teas, all of which are caffeine-free (which Mama Tiny Tummy loves!). Just look at those chunks of fresh fruit! Seriously, the tea is so good it doesn't need to be sweetened. While the Pina Colada is my personal fav, the Peach Apricot and the Mango Papaya are both pretty killer also! You can buy Spices and Teas' products tea online or at their store in Harlem! Sometimes, you can even find them at local marketplaces and street fairs (think Union Square Holiday Market, Grand Central Station Market, etc.) To locate this yummy tea, check out the hibiscus teas section of their website located here


Oh, and by the way, their spice-blends rock too!


Feelin' Frisky? Just cause I don't drink alcohol, doesn't mean you can't! If you're craving a mock pina colada, this is a great mixer to give that pina colada taste without the added calories! I've heard it goes quite well with Malibu Rum! Pin It

Black Bean Bonanza

In light of the fact that today is Cinco De Mayo, I thought I would share one of my favorite Mexican- inspired food finds! Oasis's Black Bean Dip is pretty killer! It's great to dunk veggies in, makes a great addition to a 7 layer dip, and it's great spread on a high-fiber tortilla (black bean burrito anybody?!). Oh and did I mention that a 1 ounce serving only has 11 calories? No, I didn't leave a zero off- I really mean 11 Calories! Granted, since the dip is fat-free, you lose the protein that black beans usually contain, but if you're craving a burrito but don't want all the calories, this is the way to go!


The company also makes a great low-cal lentil dip and hummus spread! The downer is these things are ridiculously hard to locate and fairly expensive, but if you can manage to get your hands on them, I'd suggest a Cinco De Mayo burrito celebration! I might just have one myself! Pin It

Friday, May 4, 2012

TGIF

I don't know about everyone else, but this week has been CREEPING by for me! Today was definitely one of those TGIF Friday's for me, so in light of the occasion, I decided to try to make-over one of my favorite TGI Friday's recipes- their potato skins!

When I was younger, I used to go with my friends at least once or twice a month for these delicious treats- and I'd eat the entire order as a meal! If only I had known just how greasy and unhealthy those suckers were, but hey, we're all young and reckless once!

Anyway, here are my made over tater skins, and the ingredients I used!

1 medium potato- cooked and flesh removed (I saved the flesh and made mashed potatoes for dinner tomorrow night!)
1/2 ounce of fat-free cheddar cheese
3 slices of Turkey Pepperoni broken up
1/4 of a small jalepeno pepper diced (my added touch)
A sprinkle of chopped onion and garlic flakes (I also added some Chipotle seasoning, but totally not necessary!)
Optional: Coconut Oil Spray to get the skins a little crispier

These guys are pretty easy to make, and if you plan on making more than one potato's worth, just multiply the recipe accordingly. First, cook and flesh out your potato- I microwaved mine. Then, spray a baking sheet (and the skins if you so desire) and let them bake until they crisp up. Then sprinkle them liberally with cheese, pepperoni, jalepenos, and whatever spices you may like, and put them back into the oven until the cheese melts and the skins are super crisp! Serve with a little Honey or Dijon Mustard (Walden Farms anybody?!) and you're good to go! 

P.S.- Based on the size of the potato you use/how much you choose to flesh out, the 2-skin serving probably has less than 100 calories!

P.P.S- Feeling Frisky? Next time, I'm going to try making this recipe with butternut squash skins! Can you say sweet genius?!
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New Fruity Fizzy Friends

Maybe it's the stress of finals, or maybe it's the fact that the weather is getting warmer, but lately, I've been on a serious soda-kick. Again, I try to stay away from those bad artificial sweeteners that appear in most diet sodas, and I try not to drink my calories, so I'm always delighted to come across some naturally-sweetened diet-fizzy goodness. Luckily, I had a Zevia soda in my fridge! (And in a flavor I had yet to try!) These sodas are sweetened with Stevia (yay!), and actually aren't half bad! I've tried a few of them, but today, as I was feeling rather fruity, so I had this guy:
I mean, how could you go wrong with Strawberry flavored soda? It has that perfect artificial-strawberry taste (think Strawberry Jello!), and the perfect amount of refreshing fizz that I needed to power me through an online final! This is actually one of Zevia's newest flavors (they also just released Lime Cola and Cherry Cola which I have yet to try)! I've also tried their Caffeine-free Cola and their Ginger Root Beer, both of which had a slightly strange tinge to them, but totally worth drinking in place of their cancer-causing counterparts.

The company has a bunch of other flavored sodas, and can be found at most health-food stores in the NYC area. If you're interested in their other flavors, or you're not from the NYC area and want to see where these sodas are sold, check out their website here.  

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Sparkling Soda

In the past few years, soda has become a serious weakness for me. I'm a huge proponent of the rule 'never drink your calories', so I always opted for the diet sodas; however, since they aren't sweetened with sugar, most diet sodas are sweetened with Asulfame Potassium and Asparatame, which have been linked to cancer and all sorts of other health risks. Now, I am always on the look-our for sodas that are naturally sweetened and still 0-cal, which are actually a lot harder to find than you'd think! Yesterday, while killing some time, I came across this:


I mean, Coconut Pineapple flavored soda?! YUM! How could you go wrong? And, it's sweetened with Sucralose (okay, so it's no Stevia, but it's vetter than Asparatame!) It tasted like a fizzy, less creamy version of a pina colada! (Just in time for Cinco de Mayo!) It came in a bunch of other funky flavors too- such as Strawberry Kiwi, Orange Mango, Pomegranate Berry, and Black Raspberry!


I definitely plan to try the other flavors, and of course, I will report back as I do! Pin It

Slammin' Sammy!

While I am not a vegetarian by any stretch, for some reason, I really love a lot of veg-friendly products. Natural Power-Fu, for example, makes a mean spicy Hawaiian-Taste Salad. Not only is it vegetarian-friendly, but it's also egg-free, low-carb, and super low-cal! It's great on its own, or in a sandwich, or in lettuce wraps... the possibilities are pretty much endless! The downside? It's fairly expensive and pretty hard to find if you don't live in the NYC area. The company makes a bunch of other salads (as well as premade sandwiches and wraps if you're on the go and can't make your own), which all boast impressive stats! I choose this one because I like the taste best, but I know others who like some of the other salads better. You can find a list of all of their different products here



Since this small container usually costs around $3.99, I like to add what I can to it to bulk it up so it lasts longer! I've been known to add more celery and carrots to the mix, as well as some chopped scallions, chives, and I recently started dicing jalepenos into it as well!

Which brings me to my lunch today! Nothing beats a good home-made sandwich- especially a vegetarian-friendly, high fiber, high protein sandwich!


Curious to know what's in it? Well first of all, our spicy Hawaiian-Taste Salad is making an appearance, after being doctored up with all the extra veggies (look at those beautiful jalepenos!). Then you've got your usual lettuce and tomato, and finally two slices of dairy-free, fat-free cheese on Trader Joes Sprouted-Grain, high-fiber bread! I also added some freshly ground pepper to the Tofu-Salad to give it even a little extra kick!

Talk about a healthy, satisfying lunch! What did you have for lunch? 

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Quest for Quest Bars!

I'm sure we've all had those moments midday where it isn't quite meal time, but we're STARVED. For moments like these, I always make sure I'm prepared- with a protein bar packed neatly in my bag, but with the hundreds of different protein bars out there, how to choose which to buy?! In order to kick your hunger, you need lots of protein, and in order to stay ful, you need fiber- so the trick is finding a bar that has the best combo of the two. And today is your lucky day, I've done the research (and the taste-testing!) for you! 






Clocking in at an impressive 20 grams of protein, an average of 18 grams of fiber, and anywhere from 160-200 calories, the Quest Bars are the way to go. These things are so convenient and are literal lifesavers when I'm hungry, but on the go! I'm not exaggerating when I say I ALWAYS have one with me. The downside? These suckers are expensive, and pretty difficult to find. I buy them at The Vitamin Shoppe, and they sell them at some GNC locations, but I've recently discovered that they are cheaper online, so my next purchase will definitely be from their website!


At this point, I've tried almost all of them and honestly, I haven't found one I don't like! My favorites are probably the coconut cashew, chocolate brownie, and chocolate peanut butter, but like I said, they are all good. They are extremely dense and chewy, which I like, as it allows you to really chew and digest them. Just a warning, they are not like a candy bar- if you want a candy bar replacement, I'd opt for the Atkins Bar (a post on those to come), but as far as a low-cal, keep-you-full protein bar, these can't be beat! Pin It

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Wacky World of Walden Farms

As promised, I am dedicating this post to a very extensive review of all of the Walden Farms products that I've tried! And I'll be honest, I've tried a lot of their products, and some of them are DEFINITELY not palatable on their own! That being said, the ones that are good are SERIOUS saviors, as dressings/sauces/etc. can seriously pack on the pounds!


Anyway, in no particular order, here's my review of all of the different products I have tried! (Pull up a comfy chair- the list is long!)


Chocolate Syrup
Verdict: Pretty damn gross. I certainly wouldn't eat it on it's own, though I'm still trying to come up with ways to doctor it up to make it palatable. It has a very artificial taste, and doesn't even really taste like chocolate. As I've found little/no use for it, I'd say skip it.

Pancake Syrup
Verdict: Winner! This just might be my favorite product by Walden Farms. It tastes just like regular pancake syrup! I use it on pancakes, french toast; I use it to bake in any recipes that call for maple syrup, I put it in Greek Yogurt, and it's my secret ingredient in my squash casserole (recipe to come!)

Miracle Mayo
Verdict: Okay, so it's not quite mayo... it has a bit of a garlick-y taste almost, and isn't quite as thick as traditional mayo. So, to spread it on a sandwich in place of traditional mayo, I probably wouldn't; HOWEVER, (and yes, this is a big however!), when combined with other things, this makes a GREAT swap for mayo. For example, mix it with Sriracha hot sauce and you've got yourself some Japanese-inspired Spicy Mayo! Or combine it with a can of tuna (packed in water!) or some shredded chicken to make a tuna/chicken salad. I have a TON of recipes for different healthy tuna and chicken salads- those are to come!

BBQ Sauces
Verdict: Tried them all, love them all. My favorite is probably the original, but this is probably my 2nd favorite of their products (after the maple syrup!) I use it to marinate chicken, dip veggies, I put it on a burger. The possibilities are pretty much endless, though my favorite recipe that uses this stuff is my pulled pork! (Recipe to come!)


Chocolate and Caramel Dips
Verdict: Approach with caution. I personally don't mind the caramel dip on it's own. I'll eat it on a brownie on occasion, though the taste is definitely a little funky. The chocolate dip is pretty much in eatable on its own- it has that funky artificial flavor to it. You could probably bake with this in substitution for a small amount of chocolate syrup, but I don't know that I'd recommend it, and you definitely won't catch me dipping strawberries in it. I have found an interesting use for them though! If you freeze little drops of them on parchment paper, they make a great topping for ice cream! Additionally, when mixed with cream cheese, they make an interesting frosting/cream cheese spread!

 Onion Dip and Chocolate Peanut Spread (yes, they are grouped for a reason!)
Verdict: Save your taste-buds and your money. These are both absolutely AWFUL.


Caesar and Coleslaw Dressing
Verdict: Not half bad, but not quite what they claim to be. I wouldn't exactly call the caesar dressing a caesar dressing, but it has an interesting flavor- same goes for the Coleslaw. I would use the Caesar dressing on certain salads, and I frequently make coleslaw with the coleslaw dressing, but they definitely don't taste exactly like the originals.

Creamy Bacon
Verdict: Actually pretty good! I'm not usually a bacon person, but this has a nice smokey flavor to it, and actually has little chunks of bacon in it! You could definitely marinate meat in this, or it is pretty darn good as a salad dressing as well!


Honey Dijon
Verdict: A little tasteless, but does its job. I wouldn't exactly call this honey dijon. It lacks the flavor of a typical honey mustard; however, if you mix it with a little real dijon mustard it's delicious! I've also been known to mix it with tuna to make tuna salad!
Raspberry Dressing:
Verdict: Pretty darn good! While I was always more of a balsamic vinaigrette person, this raspberry dressing is actually really good! It has a nice, sweet tase- definitely a winner for any raspberry salad dressing lovers out there!

Well, that's everything that I've tried! I'll continue to update this post as I try other products (as I definitely plan to do so!)

How about you guys? Do you have any Walden favorites?


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